MAKE THIS GRANDPA PROUD

You reading this blog post will not persuade you to vote. That’d be silly.

My reach is extremely limited, with only 151 followers on Twitter, 200 followers on Instagram, and 7 subscribers on WordPress. And even so, a “sh*t ton of famous people” have already urged you to vote; Aziz Ansari has angrily made a video during his lunch break in order to convince the last few people who were on the fence to vote; Amy Schumer has mildly threatened you by letting you know your voting history is public (not WHO you voted for, but IF you voted) to get you to the polls; and Funny Or Die has collaborated with Ben AffleckWill Ferrell, Keegan Michael Key, Craig Robinson, Ben Schwartz and Naya Rivera to make state-specific “Everyone Votes” videos, just to name a few.

You already know how important it is to get out and vote. For Hillary Clinton. For Gary Johnson. For Hillary Clinton. For Jill Stein. For Hillary Clinton. For Donald Trump. For Hillary Clinton. For Deez Nuts. For Hillary Clinton. Four times for Glen Coco (but none for Gretchen Wieners).

Over Labor Day weekend of this year, I participated in a duoprov (improvisation with two performers) competition at Dojo Comedy with a fellow Bell Curved cast member where audience voting would determine which teams advance in a March-Madness-style bracket. While, as always, we wanted to focus on providing an entertaining show for the audience, we knew the real challenge would be recruiting audience members that would have our back when it came time to fill out their ballot.

We had recruited seven audience members; not bad for the Friday of Labor Day weekend. A few days before the event, my friend who had previously committed to attending sends me a text message saying that her grandpa would be in town that weekend to help her move to a new apartment. Immediately I text back, “BRING HIM.”

Extremely surprisingly our bloc grew to eight.

This was our first attempt at duoprov, so we went in with few expectations. We chose to perform a 10-minute mono-scene (read: stuck in one location for 10 minutes), which quickly turned into a seduction scene in an office break room. How we did is neither here-nor-there, we had eight audience members.

The top three teams that would advance to the next round were being announced. Not us in first. Not us in second. And a tie for third between our team and another team with SEVEN votes. Because this was a low-key competition and because the tie was handled with both teams advancing to the next round, I didn’t hire a private investigator to weed out the flip-flopper. I had a hunch or two, mostly fueled by a post-improv beer (or three).

Fast forward a week later, I was chatting to my friend (the one who had recruited her grandpa to come and support me), and I must have cared enough about the one vote to casually bring it up. I presented all of the possible scenarios to which she matter-of-factly replied, “Oh, no, it was my grandpa.” After he had cast his ballot he told her the two teams he had voted for, and when she told him that neither of those teams were my team, he replied that he thought she had brought him to vote for the two teams he most enjoyed. Which he had done.

The case was closed, and I couldn’t be mad because at the end of the day, her grandpa had performed his democratic duty.

And now, it’s your turn. Go to the polls and vote tomorrow, and make her grandpa proud. Not because of this blog post, but because one “team” is better.

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SLEEPLESS IN D.C.

Shortly after moving into my new apartment complex, I was quickly welcomed to the community with a series of calls from my concierge. “Are you home?” Yes. “Are you bouncing a basketball?” No. (Random)”Have you bounced a ball of any kind this evening?” No. “What are you doing right now?” (Intrusive) Uh, making my bed. “You’re making too much noise, get a rug for underneath your bed.” Okay.

Looking back, there was no way that making my bed was responsible for sounds similar to that of bouncing a basketball. But I was so timid, I had no idea how to tell her how absurd that was to suggest. She would call when I wasn’t home. She would call when I was. But never when I was bouncing a basketball. To this day, she probably still thinks it’s me.

Either way, eventually the calls became less frequent until finally they stopped. The noises in my apartment complex, however, have been going stronger than an Energizer bunny. What lives are people living to cause this persistent stream of noise?

Right now I’m experiencing a periodic banging noise. And the only coping mechanism I’ve found to be successful in helping me endure this unbearably long marathon of pounding noises has been listing all the scenarios that could be causing such a ruckus to occur:

  1. Bouncing a basketball
  2. Hammering
  3. Sex (which would transform “banging noise” into a pun)
  4. Excessively tenderizing a piece of meat with a meat mallet
  5. Dobby the House Elf punishing himself for telling Harry Potter secrets
  6. Aggressively flattening a piece of clay on a surface
  7. A man stuck under a very long and wide table trying to get out from underneath
  8. Persistent knocking on the door from denial that no one is home
  9. Engaging in a prolonged fight over the bathroom
  10. Noah 2.0 building an arc
  11. A resident hulahooping in their walk-in closet, not phased by hitting the walls
  12. A concussed head banger unaware how close to the wall they are
  13. Gnomes in a cabinet excitedly jumping up and down in tall hats
  14. Practicing for a (professional or amateur) pogo competition
  15. A very tall man fist-pumping
  16. A tap dancer tapdancing in scuba diving fins
  17. Learning how to kickbox using the wall – cross, cross, uppercut, roundhouse kick
  18. Frustratedly trying to excavate a genie from a lamp
  19. Assembling a complex, thirty-piece IKEA table
  20. A hard-of-hearing elderly man in a rocking chair too close to the wall
  21. A stomp-only step class

Now cut it out so I can sleep.

ULYSSES’ UNBROKEN THINGS

To give a little backstory to my backstory, I started taking improv classes at the Washington Improv Theater (WIT) last summer. My co-worker told me how she had registered for classes at an office happy hour (Please read as: just the two of us drinking at a bar), and three beers later I was texting and calling all of my friends telling them I had registered (I hadn’t). Now, I might be a lightweight, but let me tell you, the one thing I’m not is a lightweight who doesn’t follow through.

On the first day of class, I walked into a room full of strangers — including a college student, a farmer, a self-denied hipster — representing different areas of D.C. residency and spanning three generations. Our first scenes were painful in the awkward-getting-to-know-you kind of way. With most scenes representing over-exaggerated stereotypes. Of a firefighter with a dalmatian that tags along. And of best friends who fight over a boy. And of meatheads flexing their muscles welcoming you to their “gun show.”

I’m not a sentimental person, and I’m not about to start now, but retrospectively, finding improv was one of the moments when D.C. became more than just a city where I worked.

Fast-forward one year, I’m now in an incredible indie improv troupe, Bell Curved, with three amazing improvisers and friends I met during Level 3 of the WIT curriculum. Our last performance was at IMPROVAPALOOZA, a festival of experimental improv, where we had submitted a show where we would receive three book title suggestions from the audience, combine those titles into one new never-been-written title, that we would then improvise the plot of in 11 minutes. Our audience suggestions produced: ULYSSES’ UNBROKEN THINGS.

To watch the video, CLICK HERE.

And as an ode to our performance, I decided Ulysses’ Unbroken Things deserved to be written. So as accurately as possible, here’s to you, Bell Curved.


Ulysses was a busy man, and didn’t get much time to himself. He lived in a beautiful and big house with his two roommates, Annabelle and Gretchen, who maintained slower lifestyles of self-employment that allowed them to telecommute. They picked up the slack on the chores around the house for him, with the agreement that he would run errands on his way home after work every Thursday.

And this Thursday was no different. He had endured a long day at an undisclosed work location with an undisclosed occupation, and then had gone to the grocery store for their usual haul.

When he turned into the driveway, he didn’t see his beautiful and big house, but instead it was burnt down and in shambles. His two roommates were rolling around in the ashes crying and appeared really torn up. Still in shock, and not sure what to say, Ulysses got out of the car without unloading the groceries, and walked up to his roommates, and said what anyone would in this situation, “Whoa, what the fuck happened while I was gone?”

Immediately, they just told him to look away. But the mess couldn’t be missed, and it couldn’t be unseen. “Everything we have kept inside this house is gone,” Annabelle cried. “It’s all gone,” added Gretchen.

Annabelle blurted out that they were sorry, “We came home and there was a fire.” The logic didn’t add up. They rarely left the home. Ulysses already began to suspect they weren’t telling the real story, but let them continue.

“Right, Gretchen?”

“Yes, it was already going.”

“We weren’t even here.”

“We didn’t start the fire.”

“No one knows how it happened.”

“It was always burning.”

Ulysses had to stop them right there (for copyright purposes and), it was clearly a rambling of lies. “Just tell me the truth. I want to know what happened to my things. Take me back.”

Vividly, as if a true time-dash backwards, they went all the way back to that morning when Ulysses was leaving for work. They had claimed to be reading, as they do in the morning, right before Ulysses says his daily goodbye and reminder to watch his things. After Ulysses left, Annabelle revealed to Gretchen where she had found her book. It wasn’t on the communal bookshelf, but behind the old bookshelf with thousands of books hiding a portal. Annabelle had just found it and had no idea how long it had been there. Gretchen, as the former firefighter in the household, pointed out, “If we go through, it should be fine because this is not a fire hazard.” 

After entering the portal, they realized, “There’s fire all inside this portal!” And Gretchen being able to put two and two together, yelled,“It’s a portal to hell!”

A noise that could only be attributed to a Fire Lord or a fire alarm could be heard in the background. They both were able to sigh a quick relief that it was just a fire alarm, before then realizing IT’S A FIRE ALARM. They ran back to the portal entrance and climbed back through the bookcase.

As quickly as they entered the time-dash, the beautiful and big house went back to being burnt and in shambles. Ulysses no longer had time to talk about the fire that destroyed his home and all of his things inside of it, he wanted to know more about the portal. “What happened to the portal? I want to go. You always do fun things without me.”

Gretchen tried to warn him,”It was a terrible place, Ulysses.” But he wasn’t having any of that. He wanted to explore it. He wondered for a moment, “I should probably be more upset my things are burnt,” but quickly shook those feelings. He wanted in that portal.

He wanted to go in that portal so badly that right before his eyes, he noticed a great, bright, red portal burning, fiery, red…

Out of nowhere, Annabelle proclaimed, “It’s been burning while the world’s been turning.” But the portal had to interrupt (this copyright infringement) by getting fiery and sucky, and began to suck Ulysses towards the portal. Ulysses thought to himself what a dream come true this was, it couldn’t be real. But as Annabelle began to shout, “It’s sucking, Ulysses, don’t you see. It’s sucking,” Ulysses surrendered to the portal and let it suck him through, which retrospectively resembled more of a dance.

Ulysses emerged to the other side of the portal with a pencil-roll-like entrance. “Oh shit. Well, it’s definitely full of fire like they said.”

Immediately, Ulysses was welcomed by the Fire Lord, “Welcome, Ulysses. I am the Fire Lord that has brought you to this fiery place.” Ulysses reached for the Fire Lord’s fire-hand but then realized how silly that was. Silly Ulysses. They engaged in some chit chat, some small talk, developed a surface-level friendship.

“Is there any answer I can give you for a question you might have?” offered the Fire Lord. Taken back, Ulysses wasn’t sure which question he should ask, “That is an open-ended question.” But now that he was thinking about it, there was a question tugging in the back of his mind he needed to get off his chest and resolved. “I went to the grocery store and I had all my things in the trunk, but then I saw my house was burnt down so I ran out of my car. I’m giving you a little backstory. So what I need to know is how long until the milk spoils in that trunk because I didn’t have a chance to unload…”

“What is the temperature outside? I haven’t been outside in years.” What Ulysses wishes he had inquired about, now that he had a chance to reflect back, is the last occasion that had called for the Fire Lord to leave hell and go outside.

“It’s like 78, a little overcast.”

First he answered Ulysses’ question,“You have two days, Ulysses.” But then the Fire Lord began to berate him, “These questions are belittling to my power. It’s 4000 degrees farenheit inside here. I’m surprised you’re still alive.” Was that a threat? Jokes on you, Fire Lord, “I’m actually feeling a little chilly.”

The Fire Lord didn’t have time for idle banter. Ulysses thinking maybe he could milk (pun intended) another answer out of him tried for a second before the Fire Lord yelled,“I’m not a genie, you’re not rubbing a bottle.” And before Ulysses knew it he was getting sucked back through the portal back into his burnt down and shambles filled home, completely missing the Fire Lord call out to him,“You’re very disappointing.” That would have broken him.

Ulysses pencil-rolled back into the ashes, but it didn’t matter because his face was all burnt up and there was smoke billowing off of his clothes. Gretchen and Annabelle demanded to know what had happened, but all Ulysses could reply back with was, “We have two days to unload the trunk.” That surprised the whole gang.

Annabelle, Gretchen and Ulysses came together in a warm embrace acknowledging that while their home may be burnt down, they still had milk. And each other. And love. As they stood in a pit of ruin with the walls crumbling around them, they thought of but one thing — a glass of milk.

Ulysses ran to the car and grabbed the milk from the trunk, “I guess the cups burned down?” And Annabelle, as usual, provided the soundtrack to their friendship…“We didn’t start the fire, it was always burning…”

THE END.


Bell Curved would love to see you at a show; like our page on Facebook (so we feel loved and validated, and) to stay in the loop about where and when we’re performing.

And if you’re interested in taking classes (or if this post sparked an interest), go to www.witdc.org and sign up. You will meet 12 amazing new friends, you will be taught by a talented and fun-inspiring instructor, and you will be guaranteed 150 minutes of happiness a week for eight weeks. They also have FREE shows at 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm every Tuesday at Source Theater on 14th Street NW with a jam at 10:00 pm, open to all experience levels.

THE PAW PRINT PRANK

Last weekend I discovered we can’t all be good at everything. As it turns out, I am terrible at executing pranks via social media. I also discovered that my friends are on board if (and when) I decide to get a paw print tattoo.

This weekend, I was back at my parents’ house where my mom is going on a renovation rampage. Along with that comes uncovering gem purchases that may have become buried (intentionally or by accident; in this case, perhaps a little of both). My sister and I found a sheet of temporary tattoos from Black Dog. It was nautical-themed with a Mermaid dog, a Pirate dog, two ships and two paw prints.

I’m not going to point fingers at who made the call, and even if I did, I honestly wouldn’t know which way to point. But at the end of the day, a joint decision was made to put matching temporary tattoo paw prints on our wrists (because #basic) and we’d post it to social media as if we had gotten real tattoos. Funny, right?

Insta

Immediately it backfired. My Instagram post received its first three “likes” from tattoo artists (and my tweet received its one and only like from my dad). First things first, hats off to Black Dog for their convincing temporary tattoos. But secondly, this is going downhill quickly.

Next, I get a response from a friend from high school who I had accompanied to get her first tattoo, and may or may not have been asked to leave by the tattoo artist because I “wasn’t being supportive” (mildly accurate).

In my defense, I was more so kicked out because of an insensitive comment, not for being disruptive or disorderly. I merely made the low-hanging-fruit joke associated with getting a tattoo that says NO REGRETS: “After this, I feel like it’s possible you’ll have regrets.” Retrospectively, bad timing. Before I knew it, I was shoved to the waiting room and her boyfriend was sent in to more supportively accompany her.

With her comment on the photo, that was four strikes, the joke was not going to land.

My solution was to write a comment with the hashtag #temporarytattoos4ever. Which again, was not that clarifying because the addition of the “4ever” could be seen as negating the “temporary”.

So at this point, I’ve ruined the set-up and the punchline.

Just in case anyone is reading this blog post only to find out the truth (and if it hasn’t become clear yet), it’s not a real tattoo. Though, if it was, I could have easily followed that tattoo with one that said NO REGRETS.

For those of you who feel lied to; for those of you who feel disappointed in my execution of this tattoo “prank”; and for those of you who didn’t even see the Instagram post to begin with, here are all the pictures my sister and I took while trying to get a good hand selfie. Hand models we are not.

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& THEN THERE WAS ONE

As a 5′ 2″ individual, a maxi dress is a difficult fashion choice. Prom dress shopping was challenging. After trying on approximately one long gown, seeing half of the dress’s fabric lying on the floor, I opted for a shorter silhouette.

Fast forward into adulthood, two maxi dresses found their way into my closet. I didn’t grow — although, according to my doctor’s file, I grew an inch and a half post-college because the nurse allowed me to wear my UGG® boots while getting my measurements taken at my annual physical. I did, however, discover the advantages of alterations.

There are certain setbacks you have to be aware of with maxi dresses (#amIright, ladies?).

  1. They sweep up everything in your path – solid OR liquid. Walking down the streets of DC, I can’t help but be super conscious about how nothing I wear should be touching those sidewalks. Before you know it, you’re collecting discarded receipts, cigarette butts, and half-eaten french fries. And the liquid element, I don’t want to talk about it.
  2.  The possibility of falling up or down steps increases tenfold. Sure you can lift the bottom of your dress while walking up stairs, but it does not eliminate the fear of stepping on even an inch of the fabric causing your whole body to jerk forward or be thrown downward. Call me paranoid, or call me prepared.
  3. There’s a smaller but equally troubling chance of someone else stepping on your maxi dress. People have (far too frequently) stepped on the back of my flip flops, which surface-area-wise is significantly harder to do than a billow of fabric – so I’m not ruling it out.
  4. Moving steps, also known as escalators, are dangerous to navigate. I know some of you are rolling your eyes, thinking I’m at the end of my list and grasping at straws here, but let me tell you – a few summers ago I was walking down the escalator and saw a “bottleneck” as my dad would say. What was it? A woman who had gotten the bottom of her maxi dress caught in the side of the escalator. It was causing a jam, and she was holding onto the fabric as it was being pulled from her body. I stopped because I’m a good person (and I like involving myself in things), and I looked at her and asked “how much do you care about this dress staying intact?” She looked at me wide-eyed and replied, “not enough.” Along with another who had stopped to help, we ripped the caught corner of the dress from the rest of the fabric, and we watched as the non-liberated piece shred. In that moment, a new fear materialized (mild pun intended).

Due to an unforeseen set of circumstances, I am now down to only one maxi dress.

Following an after-work happy hour, I made the trek home on the Metro. As I was taking the escalator up, I became hyper-aware as to not get too close to the edges with the dress — plant your feet and stay still on the ride. I made it to the top (#winning), but the first step I took was right on the front of my maxi dress.

I not only tripped, but fell so deeply that both of my feet became trapped inside of my dress. I tried to stand up, but ended up just kicking the inside of my dress. Full disclosure, I was a little inebriated (but don’t judge me, #work and #happyhourdeals).

I’m fumbling in my dress cocoon-style at this point. In a public space. Let me use this sentence as a pause for you to take a moment to truly picture that.

It didn’t take long for survival instincts to kick in. I didn’t think about the consequences of what I was about to do, I just reached down and ripped open the entire side of my dress – thigh to ankle. But my legs were free, and that’s what mattered.

Let’s just say, the rest of my journey was a breezy one. And now I only have one maxi dress.

COOKING FOR DUMMIES

Despite being fully moved into my apartment for three months now, I just realized yesterday that I’ve only used my oven twice, my stove three times, and my microwave once. Look, some people are meant to cook themselves dinner every night. And some people are meant to rummage through their cabinets and/or refrigerator playing a game of what-can-I-snack-on-and-call-it-dinner (currently undefeated).

This runs in the family (sorry, Mom). In preschool, I politely outlined in a class assignment just how (un)gifted our family was in the kitchen. We were asked to share a family recipe with the class, in which I recited our favorite dish:

Step 1: Cook the vegetables.

Step 2: Burn the vegetables.

Step 3: Eat them anyway.

If there was one thing I wasn’t, it was a liar.

I personally didn’t attempt using kitchen appliances much, though, so who was I to throw the first stone. When I did, 1 in 4 times something went awry.

When I was 9, I put a bag of popcorn in the microwave. I didn’t realize that when I pressed 3 that meant three minutes and when I pressed 3-0-0 that meant three hours, so I pressed the latter. That was not only the longest snack I’ve ever had to wait for but that was also the day I learned how to call 9-1-1. It didn’t take the full three hours for the microwave to catch on fire and for the whole first floor of our house to fill with smoke.

When I was 14, I had to bake brownies with two of my friends for a school-wide bake sale. They ended up paying us not to sell our brownies when we brought a tray full of oily brownies, because apparently measurements are not a part of the recipe you can play by ear.

In college I grew up in a lot of ways, culinary skills not being one of them.

The freedom of having access to a kitchen I could use at any time was both liberating and dangerous. But the one thing it wasn’t was helpful or conducive to learning to cook, bake, or even reheat.

I did, however, learn some valuable lessons my senior year. A mimosa is not a meal. And placing a piece of cheese on bread and heating it up in the microwave will never taste as satisfying as real grilled cheese. And just because there’s a buy-one-get-one sale on a 1-lb bag of ziti pasta, doesn’t mean you should cook both bags at once, especially if all you own is a medium-sized pot. And adding 1 cup of flour and two tablespoons of cheese instead of 1 cup of cheese and two tablespoons of flour would not result in queso but in an uncooked cheesy bread that should never be dipped into with a chip (no matter how hungry you are).

You’ll be proud to hear, I don’t even need an oven or a stove to ruin a meal.

A few weeks ago, I went to my kitchen, opened my refrigerator, and saw the two avocados I had bought a week ago and was waiting (as) patiently (as possible) for them to ripen. I squeezed them. Finally, I was going to get to make guacamole with these beautiful avocados.

To give you a full picture of the scene, I was so focused on these avocados, I didn’t even turn a light on in the kitchen. I’m like an 8 out of 10 on the hungry scale, so I’m working hastily.

I use a knife to cut the avocado in half and this knife is so top-notch I didn’t notice that I had sliced right through my pointer finger in the process. The moment I see blood, I immediately release a sound oohwhoaaohh and start sliding down the nearest wall. As soon as I hit the ground I realize I’ve just simulated my own faint. I’m not afraid of seeing blood and I haven’t lost nearly enough to be dropping in and out of consciousness.

I chuck the avocado at the ground, because betrayal.

I stand up, and reach for my phone contemplating whether I should tweet about this first or call my mom, but ultimately I knew there would be time for crafting a witty 140-characters later.

What do I decide to say first? “Mom, there’s blood everywhere.” Not true. “I sliced through my finger in an avocado accident. It won’t stop bleeding.” It just started. “I’m going to head to the hospital.” I had been working from home so I then added, “I’m going to have to email [BOSS] and let them know what happened.

But my mom knows me. She instructed me to send no such emails and to, if anything, seek an urgent care facility. But to wait it out to see if it will stop bleeding on its own. I told her “But I don’t want to lose too much blood.” I’m not a doctor, but retrospectively, that was highly unlikely and/or impossible.

Eventually the bleeding stopped, I wore a band-aid for a week and it slowly healed leaving behind a scar reminding me that there’s a cost to “cooking” hungry.

All I wanted was guacamole.

On that note, who wants to come over for dinner tonight?

TROUBLE(F)AKER

Growing up, I was only sent to the principal’s office once. I don’t know the average, but it feels like a bragworthy fact.

I’ll admit, I spent a chunk of time in after school detention throughout high school. But only because I didn’t like the idea of waking up in the morning. And I didn’t see the importance of wearing matching socks the way my teachers did. And I didn’t care if my shorts were peeking out of my skirt because I craved to sit cross-legged in class despite the constraints of a uniform (#allgirlsCatholicschool).

But my trip to the principal’s office was in the fourth grade, so it counts about as much as an expunged underage drinking citation (which I would know nothing about because I’ve never been caught drinking under the age of 21, and I’ve never had to call my parents to pick me up from a party to be released from police custody, and I certainly did not have to go to a three-day course watching videos about the dangers of alcohol with my boyfriend-of-the-time and his best friend – but hypothetically if any of this were to have happened this may or may not make an interesting blog post topic in the future).

Give or take a few moments, I was a good kid.

I know I liked to challenge authority. Not in a delinquent way, but in a kid-who-always-asks-why kind of way. And if I had an opinion or a witty comment, I more times than not felt inclined to say it out loud (and still do). Especially if I could get a laugh. Moments of silence were moments of opportunity to me.

I remember one day my class took a field trip, and for some reason that is even less clear to me as an adult, we left our backpacks back in the classroom. When we returned about 30 minutes before the end of the school day, we were greeted by our Language Arts teacher who let us know she had taken the liberty of taking our composition notebooks out of our backpacks so she could grade our assignments that were due that day. Despite the school-planned field trip (pause for reflection).

Immediately, I turn to a classmate and whispered just loud enough for the whole class to appreciate my comment (without thinking about how that would also include the teacher), “doesn’t she need a search warrant?

You would have thought I had whispered that she erotically fondles pears before falling asleep every night. Zero-to-sixty, “Elizabeth, could I speak with in the hallway NOW?”

I zoned out while she dished me a lecture (mild-to-moderately deserved), but I snapped back into focus when I hear this come out of her mouth:

“Your ideas are crapola.” 

Here I thought I had made a relatively intelligent remark for a fourth grader (one I still predominantly stand by today). But she thought it was crapola. There was some pride in riling up a teacher enough to come at me with a pseudo-swear word. But that wasn’t even my intention. I truly wanted to know.

Should I have kept the comment to myself? Maybe.

More importantly, could I have kept the comment to myself? Less confidently, maybe.

Still this isn’t what led me to the principal’s office.

It was after recess, when adrenaline is high. One of my classmates, whose personality could best be described as like sweet-and-sour chicken, decided to stretch her leg out to trip a not-so-popular classmate claiming it was an accident. My fourth-grade self called bullsh*t.

I still don’t really know what my thought process was during these next few moments, but what I do know is I lifted my leg, swung back, and gave her a solid kick in the shin.

Before I knew it, sweet-and-sour and I were headed out the door, down the long hallway to the principal’s office. I was starting to get a little sweaty-nervous. Sweet-and-sour (not a first time offender) picked up on this, turned to me and said, “if you don’t say anything, and I don’t say anything, they can’t prove anything. Do you promise you won’t say anything?” I nodded.

Okay, I thought, I can play it cool.

The problem? I couldn’t play it cool.

As soon as my body crossed the threshold, from the hallway into the front office, I broke down sobbing, and erupted like a volcano of emotions, “I’M SO SORRY I KICKED HER BUT IT WAS ONLY BECAUSE SHE TRIPPED SOMEONE AND CLAIMED IT WAS AN ACCIDENT, BUT I KNEW IT WASN’T, IT WAS BULLYING, AND BEFORE I KNEW IT I HAD KICKED HER IN THE SHIN BUT I KNOW I SHOULDN’T HAVE. I JUST DIDN’T WANT HER TO GET AWAY WITH IT. I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WAS THINKING. AM I GOING TO GET IN TROUBLE? ARE YOU GOING TO CALL MY PARENTS? I’VE NEVER EVEN BEEN TO THE PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE BEFORE. I’LL NEVER KICK ANYONE AGAIN, I PROMISE.”

I looked over at sweet-and-sour and she was furious, with a capital F.

Looking back, I imagine her calling me a little B-word. But I grew up fairly sheltered, and I don’t think we were introduced to that kind of language yet. I vividly recall getting scolded by my bus driver for telling a classmate to “shut up” so I doubt little b*tch could’ve flown under the radar.

Once I finally closed my mouth, I looked up at the principal not knowing what would happen next. I tried to make eye contact with sweet-and-sour, but she wasn’t having it.

The principal sighed, opened the door leading back out into the hallway, and said I could head back to class. She didn’t have to tell me twice. I hustled right back down the hallway to my classroom. There was a part of me that felt that was easy, but there was a larger part of me that felt I don’t want to experience that again.

But that was the day I realized I wasn’t about that lifestyle. A few weeks later, I joined the Math Olympiad team (and came in first place that year, trophy and all).

IT’S EITHER LOST, STOLEN, OR BURIED IN MY PURSE.

If there’s one thing I could work on as a person, it’d be organization. I don’t have the need to know where things are at all times (which is extremely concerning to my mom). I know they’re somewhere, more times than not. That’s why my studio apartment is ideal. There are only so many places I can set things down.

Bag checks are my nightmare. On numerous occasions, security professionals have gone out of their way to give me feedback on the state of my purse.

At the security checkpoint entering a Justin Timberlake concert (FutureSex/LoveShow, just to clarify) at the Verizon Center, the guy checking bags looked inside of mine, and chuckled, looked me in the eye and said, “You need to get yourself a wallet.”

I was stopped at the Gatwick Airport leaving England last summer because I had too many loose coins floating around in my purse. (My friend, defending me, thought the best way to diffuse the situation was to yell, “It’s because she doesn’t know how to use them.” While it was true, it did not stop the security lady from sifting through my bag.) My irresponsibility with my belongings had turned me into a security risk.

Usually this is the turning point for the protagonist, but I did not, have not, and most likely will not suddenly care about the organization of my purse.

Just yesterday morning I was attempting to buy an iced coffee, and I reached in my purse to find it was literally empty except for my keys I used to lock my apartment door behind me. Thankfully I had a loose five dollar bill wadded up in my jacket pocket (normal). I had left my wallet and purse accoutrements in my backpack, which I had carried to and from work on Sunday.

And why check your purse when you leave the house to make sure you have everything? I’m slightly concerned I didn’t notice the change in weight (from something to nothing); I was carrying an essentially empty bag during my entire commute to work.

But before you judge me, let me tell you, sometimes (one time) it just might work in your favor.

A few months ago, I was enjoying some happy hour beverage discounts at, let’s call it “MOUNTAIN CITY”. The layout of the restaurant makes it so in order to get food, you have to leave your table, get-it-yourself style. After so many Yuenglings, a girl is going to get hungry (please see: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, similar chronology).

It never crossed my mind to bring my purse with me. I know that breaks like six rules of Girl Code and ten rules of Adulthood, but I can’t go back. I didn’t bring my purse. I left it on my chair UNDER my jacket.

I get back, I’m eating mac n cheese, life is good.

I’m reaching for my purse to pay. I put my hand in my purse to reach for my wallet. There is no wallet.

I was gone for like 5-7 minutes (complete after-the-fact estimation). I had assumed being surrounded by tables of other people would dissuade any thievery or  mischief. There was a security camera on the ceiling two feet away from our table.

I had taken my cellphone with me because #millennial, but I quickly checked my purse to see what else had been taken.

As my hand makes contact with the items scattered in my bag, I start to laugh. The growing kind of laugh that might occur right before a mental breakdown. My friend who’s been watching me the whole time on this emotional roller coaster is just waiting for the fallout.

But instead, I start placing items from my purse on the table. Credit card. Debit card. Driver’s license. Health insurance card. Access card for my office building. Dollar bills. Coins.

I hadn’t put anything back in my wallet correctly.

The pilferer had stolen an empty wallet.

I felt tickled at the thought s/he would open the wallet to find nothing but a Starbucks gift card with probably around $6.00 left (hey, that’s a beverage) and an empty Dave & Busters Power Card. But I also felt a tinge of sadness for them. All that mental preparation and dedication to committing a crime just to get caught on camera stealing a near-empty wallet.

But we all learned a lesson that day. Don’t ROB a SLOB.

THAT’S AMORE.

As most of you reading this should already know, my love life is (and always has been) thriving. [Please read as: I’m single AF.] I actually have a theory that I peaked in the fifth grade, but we’ll save that for a rainy day.

Sophomore year of college I met a guy. I don’t want to character paint this guy too much, I’d prefer we go into this story with as few preconceived notions as possible. Let’s just say, we had a mutual interest: each other; and in this story, we were on a date.

Have you ever had an experience, or phrase, or word, so embedded in a memory that every time you experience, see, or hear this experience/phrase/word, you can’t help but think back to that moment? I have, and I heard it today.

For this particular memory, it’s triggered by the mere mention of the word AMBIANCE.

[FADE IN] It was a Saturday night in Clemson, South Carolina, where date night location options were limited. Most restaurants were bars. Or fast-food restaurants. So we chose a place with this description on Yelp, “Homemade pasta, plus mix-&-match options, are found at this buzzy spot with vintage Italian posters.” Not Italian cuisine, Italian posters.

Despite it being a fast-food Olive Garden, they decorated well. The tables all had salt and pepper grinders, candles, water glasses with a carafe for refills, a basket of toasted baguette slices. I was impressed (enough).

This wasn’t our first date, but awkward conversation with me is a relationship-long experience (as I was told by a recent date, I’m awkward “in an endearing way”). I end up rambling to fill what I think are awkward silences and in this instance, I commented on how the food wasn’t great here, but I did like the ambiance.

He gazed at me with a mixture of concern and affection I’ll never forget, and he responded in the most sincerest of tones,

Then why didn’t you order the ambiance? Why did you get the rigatoni?” 

In the split second afterwards, I was forced to decide how I wanted to react. I could (as rationally as possible) explain why I didn’t order the ambiance, I could hysterically laugh with such vigor and for such a long period of time that the entire restaurant would begin to stare, or I could leave. And I’m not entirely proud to report, I chose option #2.

The intensity of my laughter eventually died down.

I explained to him what caused it.

He said he knew. I think he said something along the lines of “I was just kidding” or “I misheard you.” I let it go. I’m forgiving. And I liked going on dates with him.

As in most developing relationships – platonic or romantic – this turned into an inside joke. Combined with my love of extending the lifespan of a joke to the point of beating a dead horse, I brought this up at most likely every restaurant we ever ate at following. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

I

always

remembered

to

order

the

ambiance.

RENT-TO-OWN

It has been one year since I’ve written a blog post (and my last post was my first).

Growing up, my mom used to tell me that if I haven’t worn a piece of clothing in a year it was time to donate it. Donate it or wear it. That said, I’m going to try on this blog one more time, see if it still fits and attempt to make it a more fixed part of my wardrobe.

I have a tendency to be drawn towards shiny objects (hobbies) but lose interest in them just as quickly. It’s not something I’m proud of. I have a closet full of yoga mats, crocheting needles, instruments, tennis rackets, and workout DVDs telling me to break the cycle. So let’s (re-)kick this blog off with how I fell in (and out of) love with the idea of learning to play the clarinet.


In elementary school, learning to play an instrument was a rite of passage. And more importantly, a right to leave science class twenty minutes early (because that was the “only” time they could squeeze an extracurricular into our busy fifth-grade schedules).

When choosing my instrument, I don’t think I really cared. I probably wanted to do what’s popular, because #elementaryschool. I switched school districts mid-year in the fourth grade, and I think it took me longer to feel like I had lost the ‘new girl’ title than it should have.

Push came to shove, I selected the flute.

But according to the instructor, I wasn’t suited for the flute (fluited, if you will). “Your fingers are too fat, and it’s only going to get worse.” He was right. It did only “get worse” – my fingers today are larger than they were in the fifth grade.

And what’s the solution to fat fingers? A clarinet, clearly.

For a while I was really enthusiastic about that clarinet. I liked missing twenty minutes of science class, just due to the feeling that came with having two places to be. I liked carrying around the instrument case that gave the impression that I had a skill. I liked when the song ended and the teacher praised us. I even liked when we were all told it we needed to practice more, because we were working towards something, together.

What I unfortunately did not like was practicing.

And even more crucial, learning to read music.

Instead of learning, I just spent hours drawing a diagram of the clarinet below each note and coloring in the holes I needed to cover, or keys I needed to press, to play the right note. My sheet music looked like a hot mess of misaligned priorities.

In my defense, this method was fairly sustainable.

What this method wasn’t was good enough to get me a spot on the Maryland All State Band. Technically, I did get a spot. But that was because there were four spots and only four students auditioned. And apparently not playing the entire song and crying wasn’t enough to be disqualified as a candidate.

I passed on the opportunity.

But this didn’t break my stride.

The night had come for the biannual band concert. Let’s just say I was as prepared as I needed to be for the circumstances in which I was anticipating for that evening. It’s not like there’s a way to ‘steal the show’ at a band concert. Showboating seemed frowned upon, it was more of a collaborative exhibition. We either all sounded good or we all didn’t.

I was ready to autopilot through this concert until the curtain came up and my instructor made an announcement. “We are so fortunate that our principal is an advocate for arts education at this school, and since she is a clarinetist, we’d like to invite her to the stage to join us.”

Okay with me.

The more the merrier.

Let’s do this.

Why is she walking towards me.

Why is she pulling a chair up next to me.

“Excuse me, would you mind if I shared your sheet music?”

I’m not sure I played one single note that entire concert because I couldn’t wipe the shocked-mortified-concerned-dumbstruck look off my face as my principal used my pathetically doodled sheet music. I just sat there holding my clarinet staring at sheet music, then my principal, then my sheet music, then my clarinet, then the audience, then the principal.

I figured that if after a year of “practicing” and playing I wasn’t convinced to learn to read music, it probably wasn’t in the cards.

I was over it.

My parents and I took the clarinet back to the music store to let them know we no longer needed to rent it.

“Ma’am, you’re actually two payments away from owning this clarinet. You’ve been on our rent-to-own plan this whole year. It’s practically yours.”

Fourteen years later, that clarinet is standing upright, still assembled (reed and all), in between the piano and the bookshelf in our living room taunting me.


Just like the clarinet, this domain name is mine and I might as well use it.