Courtesy Flush, round 2
Monday, September 29, 2008, 6:59 PM

This is one of my favorite entries and is worth a re-post. Not because it's one of my favorites, but because it is worth repeating. (Um, did I just repeat myself twice? Frick!) It happened almost two years ago, but it happened again today. Actually, it's happened to me a lot since October 2006. Apparently the wrong people are reading my blog!

Please pardon me whilst I bang my head against the wall a few times.

There.

Better-ish.

This is an entry I called Public restroom indignities that was unhappily inspired by real life horrah. People! People! C'mon.

~*~*~*~

I’m in a public restroom stall, trying to get the safety pin holding my pants together off because the zipper finally broke and I’m not ready to retire the pants yet. Or buy a new zipper. My gut is pushing out a wee bit too far, which makes the unpinning of the pin somewhat of an adventure.

All of a sudden I’m slammed with a smell, an oh-gag-me, oh-kill-me-now stench of diarrhea times twenty. The person in the stall beside me has just got started. The sounds are awful, but the smell is awfuller, and I still haven’t gotten my damn safety pin undone.

Stupid fat gut!

Stupid vanity that makes me wear a pair of pants that need to be safety pinned!

I’m finally successful in getting the pin loose, and sink down onto the tissue papered toilet seat with a strangled sigh. I concentrate on breathing shallowly with my hand over my mouth. I'm peeing out a fourth of the Mississippi River because I’ve been drinking lots of water lately.

And I wonder why people don’t poop the way I do. I’m seriously considering a campaign.
1. If you know you’re going to have to, create a seal across the toilet lid with your butt cheeks and thighs. No cracks. (Pun intended.) Let no air escape.

2. As soon as you drop one, flush the toilet. If you’ve got another coming, fine. Flush anyway and keep the seal intact. You don’t want to smell it, do you? Your stall mate sure as shit doesn’t. (Pun intended.)

3. Wipe quickly, then press your legs together tightly and reassume the seal while you go for more toilet paper. After more than three wipes, flush again -- fumes have escaped during your leg parting wipes. Flush baby, flush. There is no shame in flushing.
I’m still peeing when my stink bomb-dropping stall mate bursts out of the stall, ignoring the sink on the way out. I imagine chasing after her to demand that she wash her hands before she poisons anyone, the gross-sick-pig-hog-sow-cow. I’d at least have liked to see who she was so I'd know to give her a twenty-foot berth from now on, so I can give her the Miss Manners Look of Distaste.

And then I’m hit by the thought that anyone entering the restroom will think that I’m the one who’s filled the restroom with unholy funk, and I’m pissed. (Hah! Another pun!) I’m cursed and trapped for the short long run because I have pants I have to safety pin back on, plus a wrap-around skirt that I have to re-adjust. Mother Nature and Murphy of Murphy's Law must be busting a gut. Me? Not so much.

Someone else does come into the restroom. I cringe in my stall while I fight with the safety pin, and I want to say I only peed, I didn’t do the funk. The lady in the next stall snappily undoes her pants (kaboom, zip), falls heavily onto the john (with an attitude of distaste), jerks off the toilet paper (lo, impatience), and gets the hell out of the dodge, all the in space of 75 seconds or less. As I flush the toilet, she’s doing the fast chug-chug-chug on the paper towel dispenser. She’s no more than the sound of the closing door when I take my place at the sinks.

Bodily functions and bodily expunging is normal. I get that. It doesn't mean I'll excuse you for being a Neanderthal about it, though.

Courtesy flush, ya'll.
A flush in the middle of the toilet-sitting process in order to reduce the aroma....

5 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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Vicarious hurt
Friday, September 26, 2008, 7:02 PM



On the way home from work tonight, I noticed a couple hanging around the corner of the book store I pass. They weren't standing together. The guy was bracing himself against the outside of the building with a hand and looking at the girl, who was facing the wall. I noticed them in my peripheral vision--I was actually getting ready to scowl and look ferocious at the pair of Greenpeace activists, Obama activists, or Whatever They Were Trying To Sell Me Today.

And then I heard the girl sniff loudly and I realized she was crying--that I was probably walking past a breakup. As soon as I thought this, my throat got a big lump and I couldn't breathe. I didn't know either of them, and I was ready to bawl good and loudly. I wanted to kick the guy for making her cry in public, especially in the busy area where this drama was taking place. Of all the weak-kneed, rotten, assholery things to do.

I don't know their story, but this is what I imagined as I passed, my head bowed and my throat too tight to say anything when I was asked if I cared about helping to save the world's energy. At that moment, all I cared about was a stranger's pain. It doesn't make it any less painful, but sometimes it's easier to identify with anyone else's pain.

5 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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Short and sweet
Thursday, September 25, 2008, 6:53 PM

I feel like such a slacker lately. Not just in Blogland, but in other areas, too. Actually, it's not really a lately thing, it's more of a for-the-last-six-months-and-maybe-then-some thing. Confession is supposed to be good for the soul, right?



Yeah.

Whateva.

I spent some of tonight reading over some of my bloggy writer-ish entries. I'm biased, but damn, I was hooked all over again by what I wrote. This is a good sign for me, because I am my own worst critic, especially after the work has grown cold. It was also sad because, well, because. I ain't going there.

Instead, I leave readers with this thought (because I always want to make people laugh or make that face): I was reading a book that mentions Vienna sausage (apparently there's a lot of protein in Vienna sausage and it's good to eat if you have magical powers and are drained from using these magical powers), so I bought a few cans this week. And I think those weenies look like baby penises. So I can't eat them. Anybody want 'em?

12 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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My writuals
Sunday, September 21, 2008, 11:41 AM

...Responding to the questions of writer rituals posed at The Writer's Retreat.

Questions like what I do to get into the writing mood, what I do while I'm writing. Mostly I just think about how I should be writing. When I do sit down to write, I rewrite the same paragraph into incomprehension. Anyway, I figured I'd tackle the questions anyway, not because I think it's going to turn on a light bulb for anyone, but hey, it might be helpful for me.

Where are you?
I'm one of the High School Musical Wildcat cheerleader girls doing a jig on the gym floor, singing my heart out about how I'm going to make all my dreams come true.

No, wait. I'm a bug on the wall watching Michael and Nikita's Hand Dance.

Hmmm, no, I'm Kristy McNichol and I'm getting my first glimpse of Christopher Atkins (and true love) in The Pirate Movie!

Er, okay. I'm Trinity from The Matix kicking ass amidst rampant chaos. To a way cool song, too.
Now if only I could come up with one of these scenarios on my own. Then it wouldn't matter at all where I was writing, if I was using a pencil on a page or keying the words into a word processor.

What are you writing with?
Half a brain most of the time. But I've learned the hard way that the best way to write for me is via keyboard in the comfort of my home--less distraction that way. Also, my chores should be done--dishes cleaned and put away, laundry done, papers filed, candle burning. Everything in it's place and a place for everything. And geeze, do I wish I had a maid.

What's the oddest object in front of you?

A squashed AMP energy drink carton. These days, I need all the energy I can get. I just wish these drinks didn't kill my tummy.

What are you listening to?
I choose certain songs to write certain scenes. Always have, always will. There's just something about the right song that draws forth whatever emotion I'm determined to capture for my characters, that helps the words flow.

Right now, though, as I write this entry, it's Jason Mraz' LIFE IS WONDERFUL (and I'm trying to feel and believe in it).



Is there anyone else in the room?
If there is, they ain't saying boo, thank God. (If you mean my muse, she's in the back going through old clothes I can give to Goodwill. She's in a rotten mood, and she's stone-silent.)

What time of day is it?
Just before noon, actually. My favorite time to write, though, is first thing in the morning or last thing at night. I'm at my most productive then. Or, I used to be. I think I will be again...

What do you look at when you're looking for inspiration?
Inspiration hits me unexpectedly. I could be looking at or listening to anything. The key for me is to realize what the inspiration is and to chase it with everything I've got, even after the feeling lessens. And that's the tough part because I have to kind of ignore real life (which I can't do), and yet realize (and forgive its intrusion) that it is life which helps keep my inspiration going.

I wish I had an internal image recorder. I'm sure that would solve almost everything right there.

What is guaranteed to remove your concentration?
I doubt anyone is interested in a long list--God knows I'm not--so I'll share the most important. Me. My fear. More than I want the internal image recorder, I want the fear gone to kingdom come. Since that's unlikely to happen, I think I'll go take a shower.

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The original article: Writuals - scribes reveal daily routines

16 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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Opaque: The rest of the story
Friday, September 12, 2008, 5:56 PM

Like the website promises, an evening at Opaque is an experience.

That's why I wanted to go.

That's why I bugged my friends to go.

And that's why I wouldn't cave and just eat dinner at someone's house blindfolded.

~*~*~*~

The diners/players

Andi (me)
Teresa (T)
Annabelle
Anna

For some reason, I was surprised by how many other people were in Opaque's lobby area. I guess I'd expected the employees to stagger guest reservations, or that the restaurant was smaller or had less of an appeal because everyone I'd talked to or emailed about the dark dining thing didn't seem that interested in going (ahem), or said/wrote that they would never go to such a place (ahem).

Surprise, surprise, ya'll! Opaque is the new Karaoke (you read it here first).

In addition to my party of four, there was a group of six, and another cozy couple (not counting others that came later in the evening). None of us had ever been to the restaurant, everyone was wearing black or dark clothing, and we were all in jolly spirits imagining the oh, oopsies to come. We introduced ourselves to each other. I remember Debbie and Dennis, and that's it because I've never been good with names.

The hostess, who was wearing an ear bob and wee microphone, handed us the menus (I snapped a photo) and we chose our three-course-meal. There's a pre-defined menu and there aren't a lot of choices, which cuts down on the I can't decide what I want time, but everything sounded wonderful. My menu of choice:

Spring baby lettuce with mixed nuts,
and grilled stone fruit with champagne vinaigrette

Spice-crusted flat iron steak, spring baby vegetables,
mashed potatoes and silky cabernet sauce

Bailey cheese cake with vanilla essence

Once we all placed our orders, the hostess let our server know we were ready. "Table 5 is ready for you, Lynn," she said into the mike.

Ooo. Wild.

The restaurant states its wait staff is blind or legally blind, and our waitress was definitely legally blind. She wore no eyepatches or shades, which was a bit of a shock for me, but what can I say, I'm easily shockified.

Lynn said she could see shadows, but that was it. I thought about asking for a photo, then was immediately ashamed of myself. (Just one reason why I'd never make a good reporter.)

BUT. Apparently I'm corrupted and no longer as naive as I once was, because I wondered, my whiskers twtching, if maybe Lynn was wearing contacts that made her eyes look, er, blind. They can do a lot with contacts these days, you know....

That thought vanished, along with my eyesight, when Lynn lead us--her train of feet-shuffling humans--into the restaurant. The doorway was draped with black felt and looked like the entrance to an abyss or a corny Halloween party, and the floor was covered with something that felt like a heavy plastic rug--so we could "hear" our footsteps. With each step I took farther inside, my hands tightened more and more around Annabelle's shoulders until finally I was almost cowering against her back.

Holy cow, it was BLACK. There was a glass-and-a-half of wine in my bloodstream, but it wasn't fortifying me at all. I knew it was going to be dark (hello), but there are different colors of dark. Of black. And this was skerry black.

But have you ever noticed that things aren't how you usually imagine them?

Lynn was wearing bells around her ankles. At first I didn't notice them at all because I was too busy thinking about was how friggen dark it was, about how I really didn't want to fall or break my neck and end up in the ER with everybody giving me the look that says I knew this was a bad idea.

Our footsteps sounded like scritch-scrape, oopmh, hee-haw, clump-clump, ohmigod, hah, ow, oh crap!, giggle, snort, yeowl [bad word, bad word], sorry, clumpity-clump, ow!

As freaked out as I was at the pitch blackness, I couldn't help laughing about it all. That was me you heard giggling and snorting above.

Lynn seated us one at a time popcorn-string style. "Andi, your seat is to the left," she told me. She took my arm in hers and when she had my hand, she pressed it against the table. It felt like a card table wrapped in thick fabric. (Annabelle swears the table cloth was red, blood red. I don't know why, she's nuts.) I was the train's caboose, so I was the last one to sit down. I sighed big time once I sat, too. I'm about as uncoordinated as a person can get while seeing where I'm going. Moving around blind isn't just dangerous for me.

Lynn, who has a photographic memory or who wore night vision goggles, then introduced us to each other.

"Teresa is sitting next to Anna, who is sitting across from Andi, and Annabelle is sitting across from Teresa." She had us girls shaking hands like we were strangers meeting for the first time, and we might have been, because it was too dark to see my own hand in front of my face. Who's to say I wasn't shaking the Bride of Frankenstein's hand?

My fork was to the left, spoon to the right, yadda-yadda. I swept all the metal to my left side and put my napkin in my lap because I had no intention on using my silverware. Sue me! Along the way, I felt the rose petals scattered across the table. I lifted one to my nose and sniffed. And then I ate it because I know it's possible to eat rose petals--I read or saw this somewhere.

Anna, my across-the-table mate, took charge of the bread and butter when it arrived. Anna loves a challenge. She's never met one she probably hasn't overcome. She took care of buttering our bread (with a knife, or so she says).

"Andi, give me your hand," she'd say. And in it she'd place a piece of neatly buttered bread.

Teresa and Annabelle (especially Annabelle) were all, "Ohmigosh, how can you butter bread in the dark? Mummpfh, this is good, num-num-num. I can't believe yadda-yadda, blah-blah."

Yup, Anna was our go-to girl.

Yeah, YOU taste it first, Anna.

Sheee, Anna, YOU jump through the hoop of fire first.

Oh hell, yeah! Stick your head in the lion's mouth first, Anna.


Lynn came back with our drinks. I have no idea how she carried a tray of drinks across a pitch black room without tripping and falling, but wow, I couldn't do that with the lights on. Which is just another reason to consider the flip side of my "experience." I was but a momentary volunteer to be blind. My sight would return as soon as I stepped outside the restaurant.

I ordered a silky Cabernet to go along with my silky cabernet wine sauce. Actually, we all got wine--in big ole brandy snifters. I sighed with relief. Me and T are notorious glass knocker-overs, but if we were working with snifters, chances were good we wouldn't stain the table cloth.

Which I'm still curious about. Is it WHITE? Black? And would I be nuts if I called the restaurant to ask?

The thing about Lynn handing out our drinks is she not only remembered our NAMES, she remembered where we were sitting. Cabernet at one, Zinfandel at two, pinot noir at three and four and effin' woe if I mess it up...

Part of the--no, I'd say at least sixty-percent--of our experience at Opaque was interacting with Lynn, our waitress. When one is left sitting in an alien place in inky darkness, one needs a vibrantly bright personality to cling to, and Lynn was definitely that. I could tell she loved her job. I got the sense it was empowering for her to have us sighted folks willingly put ourselves in a disadvantaged setting. Maybe Lynn figured it was a way to connect on a level we otherwise wouldn't, because who wants to eat without being able to see one's food?

Yes, I know the list is long.

Anyway.

I kept blinking my eyes and waiting for my sight to adjust to the pitch black, but the dark dining advertisements weren't kidding when they meant dark dining. My sense of smell isn't that great and neither is my hearing, so I was blind in all respects. And because I was nervous, I already felt like I had to go pee but I wasn't brave enough to get back out of my seat yet.

The salad was wonderful. I loved it. I didn't use my fork once. Didn't need to. Food has always tasted better to me when it comes from my fingers. My only problem? There was too little of it. Salad, that is.

Meanwhile, there was an annoying clang-clang-clang coming from my left. It was making me wince, dammit. Seriously messing with my zen.

"What the frell is that?" I demanded.

Annabelle started laughing. She has a crazy, noticeable laugh, the kind I recognize even if I don't see who's doing the laughing.

"I can't find any lettuce," she laugh-wailed.

I made a sound. "Stabbing lettuce even when you can see doesn't work. Give me that fork."

Who knows what T and Anna were doing. I knew they liked what they're eating, though. Everything was good, especially since I'd confiscated Annabelle's dang fork and got rid of the awful clang.


...will update here and there, now and then (sorry)

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9 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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A Blind Dining Experience
Tuesday, September 09, 2008, 7:40 PM

In early April 2008, I tried to convince a couple of friends that I wanted to go eat in a restaurant that served its food in pitch blackness after reading about dark dining in a magazine left on the lunch room table. I was turning forty-years-old this year and I figured why the eff not?

It took some doing. Nobody really wanted to go. There were worries about cat or dog food being served in place of [fill in the blank], worries about hygiene, and worries about cost. All reasonable, yeah, but I brushed them aside again and again.

"Why don't you come over for Bar-B-Que chicken this weekend," Anna said. "You can eat blindfolded and we won't even charge you $99.00 for it."

No, dang it!

I wanted to have an experience.

Besides, we tried eating in the dark at T's house, which totally didn't count because we weren't eating in pitch dark beside the neighbor's house with his outside lights...and the friggen lights from text messages on cell friggen phones. Ahem.

Anyway, it was...interesting. Okay, disconcerting. I found it annoying not being able to see the white of my potatoes from the green of my squash (I wanted the potatoes and the chicken, but not the squash so much). So I used my fingers because stuff tastes better when they are fed to my mouth by my fingers. But it still wasn't what the dark dining site promised.
"This is not just a simple game that plays on the sensual nature of food, but a trip into inky darkness."Cindy Dorn - L.A. Times

"I’ve certainly never had an evening like it before."Richard Foss - L.A. City Beat


The months passed.

May

June

July

August

The girls forked over their funds for our dark dining experience. I heard a grumble now and then, but mostly I think they tried not to think about it. I think it was the not being able to see what I'm eating and the hygiene thing of it all.

Um, well, there was the cost, too. Nobody wanted to spend $99 on dog food paraded as beef.

"Oh c'mon," I'd say (wail, cajole, moan, gripe). "Do you really think they'd stay in business if they fed Kibbles-n-Bits to the patrons?!"

What follows is our experience via photos. There was the road trip from Los Angeles to San Diego; finding our hotel. Discovering Opaque. Ending the evening in a hotel bar that used to be a bank. And then, God help me, Little Italy the next day...



All I can say? All I can really leave you with right now? It was an experience worth every penny. And I'd do it again, too.

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8 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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T13: Things I Didn't Do
Wednesday, September 03, 2008, 7:11 PM

In lieu of a more complex and less fun post than I hope this one will turn out to be, I'm just going to snarf on Kaige's idea and runnith with it.

And so I give you my version of a T13.

Thirteen things I didn't do this week (or last week):


13.
Grinned for a camera at one of the local DMV offices

12. Naired my toes

11. Purged/Filed (if the big one hits Los Angeles, I have enough paper for a small bonfire--and maybe that's why I'm reluctant to purge/file, heh, heh)

10. Written the next part of my online series--I started it and gagged--does that count?

09. Canceled my Sparkletts account because they keep coming on unscheduled days, so I figure they want me to friggen cancel anyway

08. Took the time to eavesdrop on life at a nearby cafe (mua-hah-hah...it's only a matter of time)

07. Ran on the damn elliptical machine upstairs

06. Said no to chocolate

05. ...No to wine

04. ...No to extra sharp cheddar cheese (oh, God; oh, God)

03. Bought a lottery ticket for last Saturday's drawing (I DO play, Kaige, and one of these days I'm going to WIN)

02. Did Alice's Book Buzz Tag meme (dang it, Alice)

01. And, the most important thing I haven't done in the last week-and-a-half is the LAUNDRY because I need to sort and organize my clothing and closet, and I guess I'd rather eat dirt first

~*~*~*~

On the other hand, I'm thrilled I finally posted another argen-fargen entry. Yaay me.

~*~*~*~

So, if you're going to take the time to comment, make me feel better and share something you didn't get done this week (the worse, the better, ah-hah-hah-hah). Kaige is off the hook, but she's the only one.

Spillith.

11 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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