Wednesday, June 20, 2007

“You say it’s your birthday!”

It’s beloved husband’s birthday today, so I feel I owe him a day of not being difficult and of actually maybe being sweet to him a little, but I’m dying inside of the need for him to call me at work so I’m actually a little fumarole right now.

But, the real truth is that I love that guy. I don’t always remember his birthday or our anniversary or how long we’ve actually been together (I have to count on my fingers up from 1997, which is easy this year, but will only get harder in the future), but I cherish being with him.

I remember our first big fight being over the word “cherish.” Aww! I’m positive that set the tone for the rest of our affectionate but testy relationship.

I tried to force him to say that he cherished me. I don’t know why, but apparently in 1997 I needed to be cherished. He was recently relieved of a very bad relationship, and he refused to say “cherish” because he said it sounded so … gosh, what did he say? Something like it sounded too possessive and controlling, which was what he had just escaped.

Or maybe it was “devotion” we fought over. Maybe he wouldn’t tell me he was devoted to me. That seems right. (I don’t even remember his birthday, so recounting our first big fight isn’t something I’ve actually put a lot of work into remembering.)

You know what I do remember? Our first “date.” I was twenty years old, and I had never been to a liquor store. I thought it was like a bar where they checked your ID as you entered, and that I couldn’t get past the bouncer since I was under age. The liquor store seemed like a mysterious, sacred place, where I was sure that there had to be more than Killian’s Red and Milwaukee’s Best. But I wasn’t sure—maybe that was really all there was to beer?

Matthew fixed everything. “You’ve never been to a liquor store?”

“No, I can’t get in.”

“Why can’t you get in?” he asked.

“Because I’m not twenty-one.”

“You don’t have to be twenty-one just to go in.”

My mind opened to the possibilities, like an alcoholic flower blossoming in gin. A gin blossom.

“I’ll take you. Let’s go.”

“Right now?”

“Yeah, where do you live?”

And thus we began. With a trip to the liquor store. And it was true, there were more beers than Killian’s Red and Milwaukee’s Best. A whole world of lagers and ales and porters and weis and bitters—brilliant. The world of beer became brilliant. We chose a coffee beer called Silverback Ale. It was divine. The church of liquor store opened to be my place of communion.

The liquor store became our special place. Before every party we attended, we went hand-in-hand to the liquor store to peruse the wall of exotic beers and carefully select our brew for the night. Our special time together before wild college parties, we paid reverence to the sanctity of beer.

He paid; I was still only twenty, after all.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

3rd OMG! for the day

My high school graduation theme was "My future's so bright I gotta wear shades." I just found out that the actual song is about nuclear war! My mind, she is blown. Oh, that's funny too!

Yo baby daddy

How did “baby mama” and “baby daddy” become acceptable expressions of relationships? I’m not a pro-marriage fundamentalist, but I do believe that if you make a family, you have an obligation to participate and nurture that family. Creating human life is a contract of commitment and responsibility raising the person you brought into being.

We even have other discouragingly common terminology to describe familial failure: “dead-beat dad.” Social commentators consider the phenomenon of dead-beat dads to be a source of dysfunction in child development. It may be one factor, but I don’t whole-heartedly blame dead-beat dads for the totality of family breakdown. I see many social and cultural variables tugging on the strings of the relationship fabric.

And what about the negative connotation, the social stigma, of “single mother,” or, more judgmentally, “un-wed mother”? Are all single parents necessarily flawed at parenting? In my personal experience, I know that not to be the case. I’ve known many successful families created from non-traditional households. My best friend was even raised by a single father and was rarely visited by her “dead-beat mom.”

Maybe these expressions are evolutions in U.S. speech to describe complex relationships that previously had no terminology to quantify the variables of modern families. Maybe these relationships are nothing new to U.S. society, but are getting their own parlance for the first time. Personally, I’d prefer that there be no dead-beats and no negative implication to single parent child-rearing. “Baby mama” and “baby daddy” might be handy expressions, but the implication is the absence of a missing parent. Mommies and daddies should own-up to the complicated family they created and un-complicate their children’s lives.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Fire in the belly

My astrological sign is cancer. I’m totally an invasive disease that gets in you and eats you up with anger. My symbol is the crab. I’m totally the gnarly crab nipping at your toes and making your day unpleasant. That is, if you’re my spouse. For those of you not related to me by blood or marriage, only a very few of you have witnessed first-hand the biting-ness that is Christine in full wrath mode (I’m lookin’ at Erin and Monya as my main non-legally-bound victims.) (Sorry.) (Sort of.).

I like to fight. I’m a crab named Cancer--and I’m not into that zodiac stuff—and I like to brawl. I would say that for the most part I’m mature enough to keep my rage in check, but, honestly, I’m a rage-oholic. It’s true. My favorite thing to do lately is to swear at old ladies in parking lots. Now, I’m not talkin’ about I’m in my car, they’re in their car, their bad driving makes me yell road rage obscenities. No. I’m talkin,’ I’m walking in the parking lot, she’s walking in the parking lot, and something about her very existence just pisses me off. So I curse her out. Not loudly, but not quiet either.

I don’t know where the new old lady rage came from. It seems like some sort of Freudian internalized misogyny, right? Or like I’m victimizing the helpless because it’s easy. Or maybe I’m lashing out at a vision of myself that I fear: aged, out-of-touch, fragile.

I don’t know why. I just know it’s fun. So, generally, don’t get too close to me. There’s a safety zone of about 100 feet, but closer than that, and you’re fair game. Especially if you’re an old lady.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Three is the lucky number

I just got three parking tickets. Three. All at once. On my scooter! The problem is that they were all totally legit, and I can’t contest them in traffic court.

I found this awesome bike rack on lower Michigan Avenue that was like footsteps from my office. I thought it was the perfect place to lock up. So did a few others. And that was probably my undoing, attracting unwanted attention from the law by having three scooters at one bike rack.

Ticket #1: “Illegally parked motor vehicle on sidewalk.” Unfortunately, this is completely by the book, and it is totally illegal to park any motorized thingy on the sidewalk, but I usually cheat and get away with it. Bummer I got caught. I also heard that the police were going to crack down on illegally parked scooters and motorcycles that they found on sidewalks. Places the target squarely on my bike, repeat sidewalk offender.

Ticket #2: “No or improperly displayed city sticker.” In Chicago, you have to have a special sticker on your car that is basically a tax on city drivers. For motorcycles and scooters, the sticker is impractical, so the city issues a metal badge. In the seven years I’ve been riding, I’ve never had a city badge. It’s a calculated risk, a chance I’ve been willing to take since usually the cops don’t pay much attention to scooters. Bummer I got caught. But I still saved money over all those years of having no city badge in comparison to one ticket.

Ticket #3: “Expired vehicle registration.” Yep, another calculated risk. My license plate expired in June, and we’re moving to Florida in August. I chose not to renew my plates at the cost of one year since I’ll just have to pay for another year once I move to Florida. Again, the police rarely pay attention to scooters, so I thought I could skate. Bummer I got caught.

Walking up to my bike that day, I saw the orange parking ticket glaring on my speedometer. “What?” I shouted to myself. “How did I get a ticket?” And then I got closer: “Oh my god, there’s another ticket!” And then I realized, that, yes, there was a third. Astonishment. There were so many parking tickets that the issuing officer had to get creative on where to place them. Two were tagged on my seat.

After the initial shock, I realized my husband was going to kill me. And then I thought of how preposterous it was to get three tickets at once, and that the situation was so absurd as to be hilarious. “What’s the funniest way to show my husband three parking tickets?” I asked myself. First I considered using lolcats speak from the website I Can Has Cheezburger? One lolcat construction went something like, “I can has fiscal problem?” Or maybe (“mebbe” in lolcat), “I can has cash floe problem?”

Giddy on my three-ticket problem and its absurdity, I settled on the awesomest revelation I could think of: a fan. I would walk into our apartment where my husband would be on the couch playing videogames. I would hold the tickets stacked, facing my husband, so it would look like one ticket. Then when he shouted, “You got a parking ticket?” I would fan one over so it looked like two tickets. Then when he shouted, “You got two parking tickets??” I would fan the last over, revealing that I had three tickets.

I’m not good at jokes, though, and I usually laugh so hard at myself that I can’t pull off a prank. I walked into the apartment, chuckling, with the closed ticket fan in place. As I bent over to set my helmet down, I showed the tickets in profile, which apparently revealed something to my husband: “You got two tickets??” he shouted.

I laughed, and I shook my head. I carried on with the plan. I fanned the second ticket over, and he just stared at me, mouth open in surprised anger. Then I fanned the third ticket over, and I laughed hysterically at my joke, “No! I got three tickets!”

Stunned outrage from my husband, knee-slapping humor for me. He was not amused. I told him my lolcats joke to see if that one worked better. Nope. He was not having fun with the parking tickets. I could see the little financial wheels behind his eyes turning and grinding, thinking, “We can’t afford this. SHE can’t afford this. She’s going to make me pay!” Yep. I was going to make him pay.

After he calmed down, I explained that this was hilarious because it was so outrageous to get three parking tickets at once, and he eventually saw my side of the story. We discussed the financial risks we took with city badges and license plates, and he agreed with my calculation that despite receiving three tickets, we were still ahead on the financial obligation of legal scooter ownership.

Although I enjoyed laughing at three parking tickets, it’s a joke I’d rather have skipped. The only lolcats to describe the end result: “I no has root canal munees?”

Monday, June 04, 2007

Re: Dream entry #5

Could my dream come true? According to Chicago soft news publication, “Redeye:”

“Rock ’n’ rolled”

After wrestling many a sweaty opponent during his career, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson finds himself wrestling with divorce. You decide which is worse.

The pro wrestler-turned-action star announced his separation from Dany Garcia Johnson, his wife of 10 years, in a statement to People magazine late last week.

“We’ve been fortunate enough to spend the last 17 years together as a couple and look forward to spending the rest our lives together as best friends and business partners,” the statement said.

It’s not exactly as entertaining as “If you smell what The Rock is cooking,” but he makes his point.