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Just a simple threadbare gypsy soul, wandering from blessing to blessing on this earth.

March 22, 2012

Battling the Bees

It’s Bee Season again. I am not talking about the sweet-looking, fuzzy, bumble variety drunkenly careening across the sky with oversized bodies and tiny wings that look about as useless as T-rex forearms. I’m not talking about the useful kind that make delicious golden honey and pollinate my plants. What I’m talking about are despicable atrocities of un-bee-coming size: the Carpenter Bees. 

These shiny-bottomed nightmares are, for lack of a better word, freaky! Not only do they stare at me unrepentantly from their monstrous compound eyes… Not only do they hover in mid air about a foot from my face, rubbing their hairy front legs together like a criminal eyeing easy prey… Not only do they slam full speed into whatever of my body parts happens to get in their way hard enough to bruise, they are also easily the size of my thumb from the tip to the second knuckle! Despite the fact that more than one person has told me, independently of others, that I have “carnie man hands,” this is one huge bee-yotch.

Apparently, the ones that swarm around my balcony searching for appropriate locations at which to bore new tunnels with their hideous chomp-chomp-chomping are, in fact, beeyotches, since male bees, like many male humans, just hang out at home and impregnate people. Typically I am pro-female and rail against every variety of attack on women. Not so during Bee Season.

The mysterious disappearance of the American bee notwithstanding, I find it very difficult not to wish the curse of colony collapse disorder upon these backward beasts who wear their skeletons on the outside.  I have spent many an afternoon earning tennis elbow by swatting away these colossal and colossally unnerving fiends with my tennis racket. They make a fantastic thwacking sound and fly in long, graceful arcs that would make an ancient architect scurry for his drawing pad. The connection of racket to bee is quite satisfying. It’s also quite useless, as these insects are extremely resilient and hardly ever even get wounded by my ferocious beatings!  In fact, most of the time they just sort of stall in mid air and turn right around as if nothing has happened, and come back to hover too close and stare at me, rubbing, always rubbing those forelegs, grooming before the feast I am afraid will be made of my face.

It occurs to me that these bees are a metaphor for my addictions, my personal struggles. It seems useless to bat them away, because they always come back, stare me down, and search for tender places to gnaw into, leaving deep, branching, scarring tunnels that could, if left unchecked, cause structural damage and collapse. So I’ve got to. I’ve got to get out that tennis racket, and beat those addictions over their heads, and knock them and knock them away, because if I don’t they’ll take over and breed.  And if I just keep standing out there with that racket, if I just keep taking the swings, every once in a while I’ll hit one with such power that it gets cut right in half over the strings and will fall, lifeless Goliaths, at my feet. And then, I will be free.

Oh, it’s Bee Season all right. But I’m armed and ready.

Photo by Paul Choate, found here.

March 9, 2012


It’s true. I do. I really, really love tofu.  But I won’t be able to put it on my license plates!  At least, not in Colorado, according to Odd News for today.  And that’s really too bad, because I bet that would make even the grimmest prisoner-for-life smile a little  as he stamped out the letters on that license plate. “Heh heh,” he’d growl to himself, “This person loves to expletive me!” And then, after pondering which of his perky, junkie ex-girlfriends it could be (discounting, of course, the one for which he was serving time after doing in), he’d probably tell his fellow inmates all about it, unless he was trying to shank them.  I’m not even going to worry about the high volume of stereotypes worked into that paragraph. I’m just going to wail a bit.

First of all, has our society really become so perverted that the first thing popping to mind when we see a plate reading “ILVTOFU” is a sexual pronouncement? When I first read the headline, “Colo. Rejects ‘ILVTOFU’ license plate,” I didn’t get it. What was the big deal? Some Birkenstock-wearing granola out there loves her some tofu! And then I read the article.

Here’s what I think happened. This nice woman, who probably belongs to PETA and voted against the right to bear arms, filled out her application for vanity plates like a good, law-abiding citizen. Joe Blow at the DMV received this application. He summarily glanced at it to ensure its completeness, and then, just as his slender fingers were poised to drop it atop his towering stack of paper, he caught sight of the vanity proposal.

“Holy expletive!” he probably shouted, drawing the attention of his fellow cubicle dwellers, most of who’d been distracted from their fiercely competitive Bejeweled sessions by his outburst. “You won’t believe this expletive!”  He then most likely folded the application into a tidy paper airplane – not the lame kind that you or I make, with narrow nub wings and overlong bodies that almost immediately go into tailspin, but the kind that government lifers know how to make, the kind with upturned wingtips and complicated noses and that sail for office miles and never get caught in anyone’s hair or take out eyes – which he sailed across the room for all the payroll on perpetual coffee break to check out. They, in turn, probably texted their significant others and tweeted their hilarity and status updated with mobile uploaded images immediately.

Technological Ebola --> One disappointed vegan.

Sadly, most people are idiots, and no humor is so easily found as the no-no kind. But this is not the first time an organization has had to hedge its bets. This type of response is the reason why there are warning labels on baby strollers that say “Remove infant before folding,” and “This product does not enable you to fly” on Superman costumes. To be fair, I needed that last warning on my enormous umbrella after watching Mary Poppins for the umpteenth time.

The brainwashing power of Disney aside, could we just clean up our acts already? Stop with the child prostitution rings and the drug running and the theft of stuff you wish you had (like my bicycles in ’94 and ’98) and the putting of plastic bags over babies’ heads and the swallowing of iPod Shuffles! If we could just get past our incredible inanity, perhaps we could all sit back and enjoy a bit of mirth at the prominent love one has for one’s tofu.

Cited article:

Colo. rejects 'ILVTOFU' license plate” Odd News. Upi.com, 08 Mar. 2012. Web. 08 Mar. 2012. <http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2009/04/08/Colo-rejects-ILVTOFU-license-plate/UPI-46031239221493/>.

March 5, 2012

The Personal Space Infringement of Restaurant Ferns

Some days are Diner Days. Usually, Diner Days are the ones when you sleep in a little bit late, get moving a little too slowly, and make pathetically feeble efforts at doing something productive or workout-related before giving up. The purpose of a Diner Day is to reinforce the laziness with which you began it, so that for the remainder you can feel comfortably vindicated about doing not much, even if that means you sit on the couch for several hours watching movie trailers over your husband’s shoulder.

Possibly the most intriguing benefit of Diner Days is the freedom to be a completely vile and judgmental human being without observation, a freedom afforded to sneaky listeners like myself by the glorious invention of plastic, fern-like restaurant foliage. These beauties line the booths and the open windowsills between “smoking” and “nonsmoking” sections, and while they offer absolutely no protection from secondhand smoke or of sound insulation, they deliver something even more magical: the illusion of privacy.

Restaurant ferns impart upon Diner Day-ers all the forbidden appeal of skulking about behind corners and listening with an ear pressed against a glass at walls without having to leave the comfort of your own sticky, pleather booth! Also, it’s impossible for someone to accuse you of eavesdropping (or fern-dropping, for that matter) in a diner, as long as you don’t stare and are wise about your uncontrollable guffawing at the speaker’s expense.

Alas, restaurant ferns bring with them a cost. Never dusted, they drop particles made of other people’s skin and ash into your food, unbeknownst to you. They allow crawly things, with too many legs for comfort, to scurry in and out carrying bits of your horridly delicious meal. Worst of all, restaurant ferns have absolutely no sense of personal space!

I was taught, by an obsessive-compulsive germaphobe at 6th grade summer camp, that one’s full wingspan in diameter around one’s entire body is one’s Psychological Circle and that no one must ever infringe upon this space without invitation.  Having slept on the bunk above this girl, and having had to climb the access ladder next to her face, I was constantly wreaking her wrath in compulsive multiples of three.

Therefore, I learned at an early age to be conscientious of people’s space.  So when a grimy, spider filled restaurant fern pokes me in the cheek with its plastic-sheathed wire skeleton, I am unhappy. I get a little uncomfortable when I witness vapors of leftover Marlboro breath floating Burton-like from between the false-spore-dotted fronds, too close to my clothing. I dislike their oily sheen and faintly eye-stinging aroma left over from too many Tabasco splashes and greasy, prodding fingers. Restaurant ferns are jostled by passers-by and shift to teetering precariousness, threatening at any moment to drop full into my omelet.

Thus, the joy of exploding into wheezing shush-laughter at a neighboring diner is cut off savagely by the hacking coughs wrought from too quickly inhaling puffs of unknown entities loosed from the pot by your last attempt to surreptitiously move the fern just half an inch that way.  (These coughs, however, can typically be quelled by great gulps of back-burner coffee, against which nothing stands a chance.)

All in all, Diner Days must be revered as the luxury of childless couples, since people blessed with children are regularly awakened by them at ungodly hours because of loud suspicious noises, long suspicious silences, or hair raising perceptions of being watched, the latter of which are generally met with the heart-stopping shock of opening eyes to a child no more than two inches away, who is grinning suspiciously. Furthermore, couples with children have to think about things like health, growing bodies, and feeding young bellies before crankiness sets in.  (Sometimes wives have to think about that last one, too.) So don’t chastise yourself the next time you struggle out of bed, creaking and groaning like an oak in high wind. Treat yourself to a Diner Day and be prepared to feel a whole lot better about yourself.