Archive | September, 2004

Ten years of sweet, sweet freedom

30 Sep

I got an invitation to my ten year high school reunion yesterday. The five year was okay, and I’m not in prison or anything, so I guess I’ll go. Also, it’s only twenty bucks.

I’m tempted to reprint the whole invite for you, but I don’t want to ask the president of my graduating class for permission to reuse his work, so I’ll merely snark on the following things:

1) My reunion is at the Village Club in beautiful downtown Needham, which means that at 11:30 when the damn thing lets out, the streets will be crawling with twenty-something drunkards, lurching zombielike toward their parents’ homes.

2) The president urged us to RSVP, either by phone or by “e-mail” (quotes his). Apparently, he thought some of us might be stuck in 1994, and only have heard tell about this newfangled “Internet” thing that the government is working on.

3) My reunion is at the Village Club in beautiful downtown Needham. Wait — I said that already. Okay, how bout this: I’m totally sneaking in a dirt-cheap bottle of Blackberry Brandy and drinking it in the bathroom, just like I used to at the Village Club rock ‘n roll shows in high school.

More importantly, who wants to be my date? I need to bring someone totally horrifying with me. Just being my same gender isn’t good enough anymore, people. Please drop me a line if you have a pet pig that you can’t bear to leave at home, or a 1970s era Dodge Charger with flames painted on it, or a lot of rather ill-advised elective surgery on your head. Thank you.

My brother John

30 Sep

My brother-in-law is going to Iraq in a few weeks. I don’t know when exactly, because the army doesn’t tell you these things, and I don’t know where exactly, because every time I ask, my sister answers, “Muhfahbuhdadada” and I go “whah?” because I’m a stupid American white person.

I really like my brother-in-law, so I’d prefer it if he’d just get a nice desk job and hang out with my sister, but he wants to save the world, so off he goes to Iraq.

No, seriously, do you understand? He wants to go to Iraq. To help people. About a month ago, he started having terrible stomach problems, probably as a reaction to his anthrax vaccine, and he didn’t want to tell anyone about it, because he was afraid they’d make him stay home.

I think my sister must have picked him as an antidote to growing up with me as an older sister. I am so, so shallow. I mean, like, seriously shallow. I don’t even read the newspaper all that often. I spend most of my time thinking about boys. It’s really hard for me to wrap my head around someone like John.

Sample conversation between me and John, to illustrate my point:

Me: Are you really, really going to Iraq?

John: I really am.

Me: Why?

John: (crickets chirping)

Me: Okay, I’ll let you go, but on one condition: If they start shooting, I want you to grab the guy nearest to you, one who isn’t my goddamn brother-in-law, and use him as a human shield.

John: (mouth hanging open in horror)

Me: No? Okay, how bout this. Let’s work on your running. How fast are bullets? We need to make it so that you can run faster than that.

I am not happy about any of this.

Ty Cobb Tee Ball

29 Sep

That rat bastid Derek Carpenter is not in the office today, and so he’s missing out on my brand new bright orange “Ty Cobb Tee Ball” shirt. It’s really something to see, too, let me tell you.

When I am Queen…

28 Sep

…Bathroom primpers will be executed first, before enemies of the state and people who carry puppy dogs in handbags. Honest to God, if it takes twelve tubes of unguent and spackle to make you presentable, just save up for the big sandblasting and have done with it. Some of us have a touch of Fenway Park Syndrome and can’t go while you’re standing there listening.

Bob ponders the changeable nature of Woman

28 Sep

I got a phone call the other day from my friend Bob. (Read his opinions on my opinion throughout this blog. He calls himself “Bob Fuckin’ Smith.” “Fuckin'”, as you may or may not know, was an early surname prefix akin to “Mc” or “O'”, meaning “bastard son of the cranky side of the family.” No one knows why it disappeared, but all props to Bob for resurrecting it.)

But back to my phonecall.

“Hey, Bob.” I said. “What’s up?”

“One of chicks on Sex and the City just came out,” he said, gloomily. Whenever Bob says anything, he says it gloomily. It’s implied, okay?

“NO! Which one?”

“The blonde one.”

“SARAH JESSICA PARKER? Oh my GOD.”

“No, not her.”

“Wait. Kim Cattrall?”

“Maybe. Listen, I don’t know, okay? I don’t watch the fuckin’ show.” (Nor does he watch the “O’Show”, nor the “McShow”.) “I just want to know one thing.”

“Shoot.”

“Is female sexuality just like, this totally changeable thing? Can you just switch at any minute? What gives?”

“Oh, yes. We’re like parakeets that way.”

“Shit. That’s what I thought.”

I was pulling his leg of course. I don’t think female sexuality is any more mutable than male sexuality. The only difference being that if a girl thinks she might be a little bit gay, everyone in the world (except for real lesbians) throws a parade for her, whereas if a guy voices any confusion, he gets stoned to death or at least stuffed in a locker in the boy’s room.

Also, I didn’t know it was Miranda who came out of the closet. Let’s just say that I don’t think anything’s changed for her, sexuality-wise. If anything, she’s just thrown up her hands and declared, “You know what? Fine. You guys were right. I’m totally, totally gay. Man, that’s a relief. Now who wants to go to Meow Mix?”

I knew this already:

27 Sep

Study: Living in the Suburbs Can Make You Sick

Case in point: Did I ever tell you about the time I went to visit my high school guidance counselor, a semester after graduating? This is the woman who had made my life a hell all through school, asking me why I wasn’t taking more math classes and trying to get me to apply to schools far away when I could barely drive to the post office without having a panic attack. She had a bleached blonde moustache and a weird sour body odor, like bad milk or yogurt.

Anyway, I went to UMass and did really well. My GPA was a 3.9 my first semester, and I was really happy and felt well and successful and young and pleased with myself. So I went back to visit my guidance counselor, to show her that she’d been wrong.

“Good for you,” she said, pursing her mouth beneath its moustache. “Now what are you doing for … extra-curricular activities?”

I should have said “drinking”, but instead I just cried.

I know you’ll probably say that she was just one asshole, an isolated incident, nothing, certainly, from which to extrapolate an entire set of values. But I swear to you that she was emblematic of my high school, and in some ways, the snootier aspects of my town. Whatever you were doing, it wasn’t good enough.

I should’ve mentioned this earlier…

26 Sep

…like, say, when I first got back from my trip, but I loved Chicago. Everyone was so friendly there! For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel like a weirdo. (In Boston, the fact that I say “please” after every separate item in my sandwich order is considered somewhat strange and maybe a little creepy. “With tomato, please. Yes, please. A little mayo. No, thank you, not toasted.”)

The first thing I did after arriving was run out to a dive bar around the corner and eat an astonishing amount of meat and watch a Bears game. Then I called up my cousin Rolfe, who is from Chicagoland originally (although, if you want to get persnickety about it, Deerfield is just as close to Milwaulkee), and tortured him over it.

“You can smoke everywhere,” I hissed into the phone. “And everyone leans on their vowels for half an hour. Come hooome, little Hubley, come hooome.”

Which brings me to my next point, which is that Rolfe has been trying to tell me for years now that I’m essentially a Midwestern person who sprang up in New England by mistake. After my trip, I think he’s right. Although, then again, big hotels are their own sovereign nation, like Luxembourg or Monaco. We were at the Hilton, and we could have been in Chicago, Atlanta or Kuala Lumpur. People bring you things and clean up after you. I love it. It makes me think that I’d make an awesome rich person.

The boss around here

25 Sep

I’m not a pet person. This always embarrasses me, the same way it embarrasses me that I don’t like small children or know how to cook. It seems, I dunno, sort of Cruella De Ville of me. I don’t like to feel a kinship with characters that Glenn Close would play just for the paycheck.

It’s not that I don’t like animals. It’s more that most of them make me sneeze. And I haven’t grown up with them, so I don’t know how to hold them or pet them or make them behave. This last problem is sort of a silly thing to worry about when it comes to cats specifically, as no one, but no one can make them behave.

For some reason, though, I seem to date a lot of guys who have cats. Why? I dunno. I also like to take up with Republicans right before major elections. There’s got to be some deep-seated psychological reason for all of this, but I’m afraid to go poking around in my psyche looking for it.

Not too long ago, I was seeing a guy who had maybe the cutest cat in the world. His — the cat’s, not the guy’s — name was Boss and he was an elegant little orange gentleman cat with a teeny little face and a big mouth. He yowled all the time. The guy liked to do tricks with him, holding him up in the air and smooshing his little face up so his fangs stuck out and saying, “Look! Boss is a vampire!” The amazing part about this is that Boss let him do it and didn’t scratch the shit out of him. He didn’t even seem to mind all that much.

Theirs was a special relationship. Ours — mine and Boss’s — was not as special.

The first time I stayed over, I passed out on the couch, only to wake up and find that Boss had peed on the rug right by my shoes. I got off easy. He could have peed on me. When I woke up, he was sitting on my chest, batting my right boob with his paw as if to say, “Let’s get one thing straight, okay? I can hurt you.” Anytime I stayed at the house after that, he’d spend the night walking up and down my inert form while the guy snored blissfully away unhindered. “I am the cat here,” Boss said with his unblinking kitty eyes. “This is my boy. Do you hear me? Mine.”

Maybe he figured out that I’m not a pet person. But I like to think that he was threatened by my grace and sophistication and was afraid he’d lose his boy to me, just because I don’t have tuna breath and rarely torture mice.

Actual message left on my friend Ilisa’s voicemail just now

25 Sep

“Hey, Horowitz, it’s Hubley. I’m just calling to say hey. And also, to … I don’t know, I feel fat. It might be these pants. Maybe I should wear a skirt. I know you can’t see me or anything, so it’s hard for you to tell. But maybe you can call me back and tell me if I, y’know, sound fat to you. Okay. Bye.”

Livestrong

23 Sep

I was never going to get one of those yellow rubber Livestrong bracelets. I’d see guys at the gym with them on and think, “What a tool. If you want to donate money to cancer research, just write a check.” They seemed like friendship bracelets or charm necklaces or some similar jewelry trend, left over from the era of Trapper Keepers and sticker books. Now that I’m a grownup, I don’t do sartorial fads. I never bought a white belt or a trucker cap. I know what looks good on me, or at least what I like, and that’s what I wear. (I’m actually pretty particular, too. My Mom likes to knit. She makes sweaters for everyone, usually Aran style fisherman sweaters. But when it came time to make me my sweater, she presented me with a bunch of patterns from a Contemporary Knits booklet, and said, “Look! I got you some hipster patterns to look at. This one is a hoodie!”)

But I have a Livestrong bracelet now and I wear it every day. And there is, of course, a story.

My friend Cathy is one of those people who always has a job and then about six charities that she works for, donating time and money and her not inconsiderable organizational skills. She’s a much better person than I am, basically, and I have no idea why she keeps me around. I think it’s because I’m fun at parties.

Anyway, about a week ago, Cathy had some people over to play poker. She fleeced me out of about twenty bucks, but I got some great chili out of the deal, plus this Livestrong bracelet, which was in a basket of about twenty of the suckers, sitting on her kitchen counter.

Cathy always gives stuff away at her gatherings. At the Sopranos finale, she gave out little squirt guns. I like free stuff, so I always take one of whatever she’s giving out. So I reached into the basket and said, “Oh, hey. Livestrong bracelets. Can I have one?”

“Yes,” Cathy said. “You can have one. But only if you’re really going to wear it.”

She added that mostly because she had to order these bracelets so far ahead of time, and because they cost a bit of cash. But I picked up something else from her tone, too, which was that my particularness might be ever so slightly irritating for my friends, from time to time, and that they shouldn’t have to shell out for the privilege of having their gifts abandoned in the pile of crap on my coffee table.

So now I’m trying to be the kind of person who wears gifts. (Please don’t give me any sweatshirts with kittens on them, or anything like that. I’m new at this, and you don’t want to push me.) I’ve been wearing the bracelet for a week now, and I really like it. It’s extra big, just like my watch, so it sort of fits the whole “I’m so smart, I can’t be bothered to make sure my socks match” intellectual urchin thing I’ve got going on. But most of all, it’s reminding me to try to be good instead of cool.

Leave it to me to turn a cancer benefit into a quest for personal growth.

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