Vacation… Nothing Like What I Wanted

the kids are on vacation this week. i feel like it puts my life on pause, because i have it set in my mind that we’re going to spend all this time together, and we’ll walk away from the week with the satisfaction that we had fun and did something productive, and our time wasn’t wasted. you know it doesn’t work like that. why am i always thinking of things that don’t work like that?
i swear my kids *only* look forward to being bored. it’s like their entertainment secretly comes from watching me sweat when they look at me with those dead eyes and say “i’m bored.” they expect that i will reply with a whole list of options they can choose from, to take advantage of all their free time and willful energy. and i will do that, but they will be unable to choose from that list, because there are so many logical and practical options, that they can’t even begin to think about how much work that would entail. that’s not fun. they say that, “that’s not fun.”
my daughter likes to ask me about dinner. as soon as she gets home from school, or even sometimes right after lunch. she isn’t the only one. they all do it, all three of em. they want to know what it is, and what the ingredients are, and when it’s going to be done, and how many more minutes mom are you kidding twenty minutes that’s soooooo long!!!! they have to know the details, because if they don’t, they might just have to wait until the food is in front of them, and nobody wants to find out that way.
i’m confident that, if my daughter could somehow combine the eye rolling with “what’s for dinner,” she would find a way. food might be her dominant thought these days, even when she’s not hungry. she likes schedule too, so it really makes her day when i make a meal plan for the upcoming week. that will keep her occupied (as far as the boredom) for awhile. i don’t know if she is picturing what the dinners will look like, or how good they’ll taste. i don’t even know why i do the meal plan, because i usually end up dreading whatever i’ve locked myself into. and if i try to change my mind during the week, look out…
when my son is bored, he gets incredibly awkward. he won’t tell you he’s bored, he’ll just impress a weird presence upon your situation until you ask him what’s up. go ahead, ask him. what did he say? i bet you i know exactly what he said. he said “just hangin.” because that’s what he wants you to think. he doesn’t want you to find something for him to do; he wants you to guess what it is that he has already decided he wants to do. it’s a twisted-ass mind game he likes to play, and it’s sick. he likes when you can’t guess it, because he will just sit there and breathe forcefully out of his nose until you say “computer?” and that’s definitely what he’s gunning for. but he won’t give you the victory of coming up with the correct suggestion… he’ll just say “sure.” and play it off cool. before you know it, he’s surfing seizure cartoons on youtube, and you’re saying “did i get it right?” yeah. that’s his boredom, preying upon your confusion. just let it happen.
they’re bored. my first suggestion to them is always “take a shower,” because teenagers STINK. i mean, i knew that back when i was a teen, but i never knew how vast the spectrum of stink – the stinktrum- was. i didn’t know how far down the stink rabbit hole – the stabbit nevermind – went, until a few years ago. in some weird way, you kind of justify the armpit stink, like “whew, what’s that smell?” and you sniff the armpits, and you say “it’s definitely me,” or “nope, not me.” but you don’t freak out about it. armpit stink is easily identifiable, and easily remedied. but that’s not the only game in town, is it? no. it isn’t. there’s a whole host of other stinks that you don’t notice until they’re joined together in a vicious assault on your olfactory world. is it ass? is it breath? is it hair sweat? is it feet? is it safe to breathe anymore? there are questions.
i don’t know what half of the stinks are, and i don’t wish to make anyone feel badly for smelling a little rotten, so i generalize. i say “wow, one of you is bringin the funk, and so you both have to shower.” they start blaming each other. they smell their armpits. they talk about their most recent shower. they attempt to postpone the whole ordeal of showering. now who’s thinking of things that don’t work like that?
i remember my feet stinking, when i was a kid. i didn’t like to wear socks with my sneakers, and because i was so active outside, it was pretty much the most vile thing you could ever imagine. naturally, my parents hated me for it. i think i got in worse trouble for having smelly feet, than i did for spray painting private property (multiple times). i can see their frustration, because i probably had stink lines coming off my very existence, and i didn’t give a shit about it. i’m not sure when i decided it was extremely important to be clean and smell good, but i venture to guess it jump started alongside my excessive deodorant application in my mid-teens. grunge was “in” before that, so everyone kinda smelled like a bag of dirty dishes.
i’ve forced the kids to hang out together. hooray for small accomplishments. boo for boredom, because now i have nothing to do. i’ve already taken a shower, and my kids don’t like hanging out with me apparently.

-jg

Crock of Ages

I’m neither a GenX-er, nor a Millennial, by standard. Some sources say I am the last year of GenerationX, being the last few stragglers to belong to the pre AND post-internet age, some say I am a Millennial by definition, but neither could truly describe what it is like to be a child of the 80’s and 90s. It was such a different time. I know, I know, every decade is “special” because we are each nostalgic for our own childhood- a life without worry or priority, caring about nothing more than soaking in the influence of your culture. The children of the 80s became the teens of the 90s, and we lived a very specific experience, falling through the cracks of generational labeling.
When I was young, single digits, I could fly to China if I felt like it, just as long as I came running when my dad told me to. Nobody cared where you were, or what you were doing, if you weren’t causing harm. We could ride our bikes to the next town. We could play at the park, and then walk to a friend’s house, and then go explore the arcades and stores and any cool architectural or industrial structures that caught our interest. We didn’t take anything strange that might be drugs or medicine, but we ate food off the ground. We didn’t approach strangers, because we were taught that there are fucking creeps out there, and people get kidnapped (or worse) every day just for talking to strangers. We had code words, just in case a stranger approached us. We knew the “No, Go, Tell” rule (for those not familiar, that means 1: Say ‘NO!’ 2:GO away and 3: TELL an adult what happened) so if someone came around to fuck with us, that would become an adult neighbor’s problem, and the creep would get his ass kicked. It’s funny now, looking back, to think the correct action when confronted by a stranger… is to go tell another stranger. A truly good kidnapper could easily loophole that shit, I think. I don’t know any, but I’ll ask one, next time I see one, see what he or she thinks.
When I think about a textbook Millennial, several of my friends and relatives pop up in my mind. Coming of age as the century/millennium turns… not just for teenagers anymore! Many of my acquaintances have clung desperately to their childhoods, possibly to slow the sands of time, and make the good things last a little bit longer. I can’t be mad at that. The part with which I take issue, is that it results in a culture of  40 year-old men subsisting on microwavable food, because their coming-of-age was not facilitated by any rite of passage. Some cultures still have religious rites of passage for boys transitioning into manhood, but outside of that, family traditions have done little to preserve the importance of proper rites of passage confirming that the boy has met the maturity and responsibility of manhood. These days, we let 10 year-olds act like grown adults, by placing them in front of first-person shooter games, conditioning them to take lives without thinking, rather, rewarding a higher body-count or more brutal kill. No 10 year-old is ready to take a life, and we shouldn’t be using that as a way to shepherd them into being a grown-up. We encourage girls to wear layers of makeup on their faces, and show more of their body skin, only to feel the reward of more ‘likes’ because it really is a chemical reward. People want to be so beautiful, that they will do whatever they need to do for the approval of others. They want to know that someone else – even if it’s a complete stranger – finds them attractive, and it has gotten so out of hand, that we no longer value how WE feel about ourselves.
I like to think I came of age long before I became an adult. I was forced to grow up very early, and was exposed to a lot of what professionals call Adult Themes before I knew what the fuck a theme even was. As much as I knew about being an adult, I couldn’t wait to be one. I read books that probably weren’t for me. I watched movies and heard music and eavesdropped on conversations and studied people and memorized lingo and developed ideas and wrote books and poems and didn’t give a shit about how old I was. I became cognizant of things my peers couldn’t even comprehend when pointed out to them. I got laughed at, because I was thinking too deeply. I found it difficult to relate to my age group, and sought relief in older friends. It helped me stay on the trajectory of growing up as quickly as possible.
I remember when I was in 8th grade, I went and knocked on every single door in my town and my neighboring town, for a fundraiser. I can’t imagine my kids doing that in today’s society, because today’s society has erased those golden times of safety and security. Stranger Danger has taken over, and now we don’t want to NoGoTell, because getting to that point is even too much. Perhaps everyone already thought that was a weird idea, and I’m late to the party. There you go, kids… proof that we don’t know shit until we’re grown. So stop thinking you do. I didn’t even know everything, and if I didn’t, then you didn’t either, because I knew EVERYTHING.
Today’s society is so afraid of what bad things could possibly happen, that we rob kids of any chance of great things happening. “Only 0.09% of kids are successful in that field, so he shouldn’t waste his time and intelligence doing that… he should definitely go and change the world!” That’s an actual quote I overheard, said by an otherwise great father. He wants what is best for the child, so he wants to keep him primed for intellectual growth and success, but doesn’t realize he is willing to sacrifice the WANTS and GOALS of the child himself. They are equally important; a child will try much harder to succeed in an area where they are interested, and the positive reinforcement by the parents should be supplemental to that. We get too afraid of our kids failing, and in effect, reduce their opportunity for individuality and autonomy.
Let me put it this way, and this is not regarding the dad previously mentioned: if you’re trying to control your child’s path, don’t ever expect them to know what the fuck to do next, because their free thought is clearly unimportant. They can’t do the right thing until you tell them what the right thing is, and it had better be in line with what YOU think they should do once they actually are a free-thinking adult. They are just letting you do all the work in the meantime, which is really what you want, right? Oh, it’s not what you want? You want your child or teen to pick up some slack and do some of the thinking and work themselves, to reach YOUR goal? That’s a bit of a contradiction.  They’ll never learn to do anything, if you’re doing it all. Don’t tell them they shouldn’t do something they’re passionate about, out of YOUR fear of failure. That is delivering a very unsupportive message that reads: “Your confidence does not matter.”
Parenting is impossible to do right, and I can prove that, just by informing all of you who have been blessed enough to go this long without realizing this shit, that kids say things like “I hate you” and “I wish you were dead,” no matter how good of a job you do. They’ll tell their friends all about how mean you are, and they might tell their counselor something in anger that can seem much worse than it is, and they tell their friends’ moms “I wish YOU were my mom” no matter how good of a job you do. They will say “That’s unfair” before they say “Thank you” for the most part, no matter how good of a job you do. Kids’ brains are so far from being fully developed, it’s ridiculous to think they ever know the right thing to do or say. It’s ridiculous to think there IS a right thing to do or say, and parenting is a shining example of that.
Parenting is hard, and everyone is constantly judging you, and you get tons of unsolicited advice, and don’t forget that everyone is scrutinizing every decision you make, either way you make it, and childrearing standards change every day, so you’d better keep up so you don’t get DHHS visiting you, and that’s just on top of the constant state of worry and disaster prevention that is the involved parent’s mind. It doesn’t end when the toddler turns into a walker. It doesn’t end when they are adults, either, but instead GETS WORSE! I don’t want to start down the road of arrests and drug addiction and poor life skills creating even the most minimal ripple effect in my family. We all want our kids to do right, and to be okay, but there is so much out there that appeals to our mid-brain (aka, the pleasure center that makes us love gambling and sex and drugs and being all wild and chancey) that we can’t possibly control. Parenting sucks. You worry, but you don’t want them to know about it. So you foster their current state of happiness and you try to enjoy the moments in real-time, while still worrying in your mind, hoping that you’re not making a face that says “hostage.”
I wonder what kind of generation will be after this one? Will we ever go back to childhoods without screens 14” from our faces? How will Screen Babies raise their children, not having grown up with varied experience with the outside world? Will their kids talk to each other? Will they ride bikes and jump out of trees and swim with leeches and explore and get hurt without having to be kept home “for a few days, to monitor”? Will they make up handshakes that you have to be IN PERSON to perform? Will they have a better NoGoTell? Will trust and independence given by the parent create a more responsible child, maturing at a younger age? What will the studies on Screen Babies be, once they become adults? The future is an endless branching of uncertain paths. There are so many questions to ask. Will one of yours be “What do you want to do when you grow up?”

-jg

It’s Esteem of Your Muthafuckin Self!

When I was a teenager, I did not think I was pretty. I was told I was, but I figured everyone’s inner circle regularly boosted them with praise, to keep their spirits high, so that’s what was happening to me too. It’s that whole bit about teaching kids self-esteem. I tried to find things wrong with me, where there weren’t things to even be wrong, and the few times I heard “stop, you look fine” were not enough to combat the job I did to myself mentally.
I didn’t wear makeup, and I didn’t have acne, but I did have a neo-pubescent mustache that wouldn’t have been hidden by makeup anyway. My tiny, lash-less eyes were buried behind androgynous features, combined with a fashion sense that screamed “I obviously don’t care” and all of this was supported by a father who didn’t let me wear anything that was tight or short, or showed the curvature of my body. My hairdo situation wasn’t any better, and at one point, I looked exactly like a boy. There was nothing “pretty” about me.
My father often made me feel ashamed of my femininity. He would ridicule me for trying to wear dresses, and talk rudely and endlessly about how short they were, no matter how tasteful it really looked. He would bark at me if my shirt hugged my chest at all, and would pull at the neckline to see how easily my cleavage would become noticeable. He never let me pick out my own school clothes, and I never once got my hair “done.” When I had an argument or objection to something he said, or if I didn’t laugh at his crude and disgusting humor, he was sure to let everyone know that I was on my period, and needed to “change my plug.” Women were nothing to him, and any sign of femininity was looked down upon, in a means toward it ultimately being hidden.
I used to wear pants that were baggy around my hips and butt, because I was “fat.” Not only that, but I would also tie shirts around my waist, which was in style, lucky for me. I wore nothing but granny panty underwear that I was certain my father was unable to properly shop for. I wore oversized shirts, mostly men’s size “Large” when I barely tipped the scales at 75 lbs. In fact, all of my clothing was either actual boy clothes, or just gender neutral. I cut my own hair, and pierced my own piercings. Everything I did, was to cover up how shitty I felt about myself. If it looked like I didn’t care, people wouldn’t expect that I should want to show my beauty off…wherever that was.
I wasn’t allowed to date, or spend the night anywhere, so the only time anyone saw me without clothes on, was during gym class when we changed in the locker room. When I developed stretch marks on my thighs, I was so embarrassed that I began changing in the single stall, which included standing in the drainage water, and usually getting my clothes wet. I didn’t want anyone to see how dark and red my legs were, so I wore long shorts, when the other girls were dressing normal. There were times when I felt so disgusted with myself, that I wouldn’t come out of the locker room at all.
One time, there was a girl already in the stall, and I panicked and just walked out of the locker room, out of the gym, and into the office, pretending that I had been sent there. Why? My stupid teenage brain, that’s why.
I spent my entire first 18 years in this mindset. I would cover my body with my arms, even when I was fully clothed. I would sit in positions that were awkward and uncomfortable, to avoid anyone seeing how disfigured my body was. I would swat hands away when people hugged me, to keep them from touching any “fat parts.” I smiled with my mouth closed, so nobody could see my teeth, that were far from white or straight.
When I finally found out that there was nothing wrong with me, 30 years had gone by.
As an adult woman, I am curvy. I have an hourglass figure, but I also have cellulite and stretch marks and extra skin that used to be round with fat. When I walk around, or twist or bend, my stomach sometimes pops out of my shirt, and I don’t care. I used to be so mindful of the possibility that anyone would see even an inch of my pre-stretchmark stomach, that I would hold my shirt in place and just work with one hand for whatever I was doing. I was on patrol at all times.
I have spider veins and patchy leg hair and crooked knees. I remember being 18 years old, and wearing jeans every day in the summer, because I didn’t want anyone to see the tiny little microscopic veins that were on my calf. It was 100 degrees for several days that summer, and I was committed to covering myself up. Now, I wear what is comfortable. As long as my butt cheeks aren’t hanging out, I wear whatever shorts are most readily available.
My boobs are two different cup sizes, and I often don’t wear a bra, despite how uncomfortable that might be for some people with weird mixed emotions about breasts. Finding a bra that fits two different sized boobs is not an easy task, so I like to give up on it. If I need to wear one, I break out the granny bra, because if I have to wear one of those strangling fucking things, it better be comfortable and it better support the ladies. When I wear no bra, I just stop caring about what size either of my boobs are. Makes a huge difference for me.
My neck is now disproportionately long and slender, when compared with the rest of my body. I don’t care that it makes my body look extra round.
I have arm flab, and inverted elbows. That sounds funny, and you may have a difficult time picturing it, so let me help you. When you look at someone’s elbow, from the back, there should be a pointy bump where the bone protrudes and creates the “elbow.” Mine isn’t there. It’s an indentation, where the arm flab completely eclipses my elbow. You know how much I care? None. When I wave, my Hello Bettys get their glory in the sun. Just as it should be.
I still have the mustache, and I still don’t wear makeup, even when I get the largest blackhead in the whole world right in the middle of my face. I don’t care. If my zit grosses you out, go home.
I don’t spend any time on my hair, other than the annual cut that I still do myself. I have gone weeks without even brushing my hair at all…recently. I don’t care. It looks fine, and I even wash it a couple times a week.
I don’t look at clothing sizes, and some days, I don’t even look in the mirror to see if I’m dressed appropriately to go to the store. Clothing is fucking weird, and I am realizing how much it messes with people’s minds. It doesn’t matter what the number on the tag says. Sometimes, you just need to put the clothes on, and let your personality do the rest. I’ve seen some well-dressed people act like assholes. Just saying.
I don’t work on my nails at all, and actually tend to chew them off. Looking at them right now, I have 3 nails that I would consider “long” (any white showing beyond the nailbed) and 3 that I would consider “too short” (cuticles missing, scabs where the nailbed should be, deep pockets where hangnails were ripped free). The rest are just sitting there, recovering from their own “too short” status. I also have knuckle hair, and hair on the tops of my hands. And a bunch of scars. When I make any sort of exchange with someone, I catch them double-take at my ET fingers. I don’t care. I’ll use my alien hands to eat your Reese’s Pieces.
I smile with my teeth showing more often than not, and don’t care if my freckles or dark circles are showing. The fact that I’m smiling, probably means I don’t care about whatever you have to say about them.
I’ve never worn high heels, mostly because of those slack knees, but also because I’m built like a starfish. My legs start out meaty at the top, but get suspiciously skinny and chicken-like once you get past the knees that don’t work. My calves have zero definition to them, and don’t even want to be noticed, so just check out how skinny my ankles are… holy shit my feet are just toothpicks. When you have a child’s size 4 foot, and non-existent ankles, holding up a wide set of hips and ass isn’t physics at its best. The second I even look at someone wearing high heels, my ankles give out, even if I’m not standing up! When I put on any shoes, I have to prompt the ankle roll, just to see how likely it will be that I fall. The answer is: VERY. Like, even if you’re walking extra cautiously down the flat sidewalk in the middle of downtown Chicago, on the way to your brother’s wedding, you can still roll your ankle and end up on the ground. Believe me, I’ve done the research. So, I stay the fuck out of heels, because they don’t look “better” in my opinion, so why go through the trouble?
Speaking of my feet, I would like to point out that I was told at 16 years old, that I had Hobbit feet. Hobbit fucking feet. I have some toe hair, and some stubby toes, but I feel like they’re pretty normal, other than that. As a 37-year old, I still have the toe-fro, and still have the tiny feet, but guess what… don’t care. My boyfriend rubs my feet every single day, and if he can get past it, then what the fuck do I care what you think?
My point to all of this, is that I thought my body image was normal, when I was a teen. I thought that it was how every girl felt, and that we all thought we were fat, and we all had things we were hiding, and that nothing was going to look okay as long as we were in school. Now that I’m an adult, I’ve realized something important: where I used to think none of that shit mattered, I now know it does matter. All of it matters. It matters at the time, it matters 20 years later. A girl goes through self-esteem changes with the metamorphosis of her anatomy and physiology. Nobody pulls a caterpillar out of the chrysalis mid-way through and says “wow, that’s fucking ugly, and will never be beautiful.” Every stage matters, because we don’t lose that sense of how we felt about ourselves, even when the thoughts were harmful, even if we change our minds down the road.
These days, I love the way I look. I like that I have a soft body. I don’t mind when my clothes don’t fit perfectly, because my body isn’t made for the clothes, so I forgive. I don’t try to look any better than my normal self, because that’s who I am. I don’t discredit any women who do spend time and effort on their appearance, because that makes them feel beautiful. I consider myself lucky to feel so blessed with my natural body, even if it is revolting against me in my 30s! I still love it. It gets out of bed every day, and brings my boyfriend to work, so he can be the best he can be. It gets my kids to school, so they can educate themselves on how to read other people and accept their differences. Hell, it brought those two humans into this world! It gets me to the grocery store so I can feed my family. It provides me with a canvas to tattoo. It takes the food I feed it, and makes it into energy for me to use. It glows in certain light. It provides hugs when others need them, and strength when I need it.
Loving the way you look is a great feeling.
Loving the way you feel is a great look.
Just love yourself.

-jg

WOMAN…Whoa, Man…

let me kick this piece off with an explanation: i’m a woman.
ok, here we go.
recently, i went to hannaford, which is a local food store in my state. i had been driving around for quite awhile, slugging back large gulps of coffee between running errands and rocking out in the canyonero, so naturally i had to pee like nobody’s business (except for yours). i’m the type of girl who likes to walk briskly through the aisles of the store, just barely eking my way past your cart full of crap, leaving enough air between us for you to gasp it in, because *you* thought i was going to clip you. man (or woman), i know what i’m doing. you know how long i’ve been driving carts? forgetaboutit. i need to go pee.
this particular hannaford is the smaller of the two in my town, and was last updated several years prior to the other one. the other one is always crowded, so they have the multi-stall bathrooms. the smaller hannaford has 2 single-person bathrooms: you guessed it, one for men and one for the ladies.
now i don’t know if you know this is happening all around the country, but society has taught *me* that i don’t belong in one of those two bathrooms, despite their identical privacy and similar features. the outside of each bathroom looked the same, other than the sign on the door. both doors locked. both bathrooms had a sink, with soap and hot water, and fancy automatic paper towel dispensers. both had a toilet, which was really the hot ticket for me. they were in the same location in the store, and neither had a line outside. the only difference i could perceive, is that one was occupied and one was not.
so i went into the bathroom labeled MEN.
when i got inside, it was a world of wonder! you may recall that i mentioned the similar features inside. normally, i would have gone heavy-handed on the hyperbole and said they were “identical in every way” just to further serve my complaint, but this was not the case today. this bathroom had something the WOMEN rooms don’t have: a classy hole in the wall that you can pee into.
there’s a toilet, which you can also pee into, and a sink (which you could also pee into, if you needed to) and even if times get desperate, there is a grated drain on the tile floor. so many options! granted, women get most of those same options, but if we can’t aim our streams into a classy hole in the wall, who’s to say we’d be any more successful at peeing into a drain? that’s the MEN brain talking.
despite the seemingly endless possibilities, i went with the ol’ tried and true. not gonna lie; i was curious about the urinal (that’s that classy hole in the wall) and was tempted to test my own aim. i’ve peed in the woods and on the side of the road a TON of times, and i passed those life tests with flying colors! am i getting off topic? sort of. the point is, men are offered these special separate receptacles simply because they have dongs, but that should never limit anyone without a dong from using a urinal! if they’re able to use it, let them! some guys have tiny tiny tiny dongs, and they still manage to use the urinal, so i’m fairly confident there are women who could pull it off just as well (if not better!)
i’m getting to the point of my story, too.
i washed my hands, with the equally powerful soap and equally warm water. the equally dry paper towels dried my hands just nicely. i opened the equal-in-quality door to exit the bathroom, and there was a woman standing outside the door. as i moved past her, i say “pardon me,” and give her a polite smile and nod. at this point, i’m confident the interaction is over.
only it wasn’t.
anita (that’s what i’m going to call her, because she looked like an anita) turns around and says “oh no, why did you make me almost go in the men’s room?”
first of all, anita, i didn’t MAKE you do anything. if i had the choice to force you into action, i would have made you pay for my groceries. trust me. you *almost* walked into a perfectly legit bathroom, with perfectly legit facilities, that you could have peed all over. but you chose not to go in there, and instead turned around and projected your ignorance on me.
you should have gone in there, anita. it was magical.
it would be rude to ignore someone’s obvious cry for help, so i replied to her question.
“well the other one is locked, so… i used that one. there’s nobody in there, and it’s clean. go on in!” i encourage her.
i realize now that i am making her out to be an old lady, and she wasn’t. she was probably in her 50s, and that’s pretty young for today’s standards. i can assume she is aware of the stigma surrounding gender-exclusive bathrooms, so that was most likely what was driving her to distress, and it was showing. her face turned red. her tiny hand flew up to her mouth, in horror. she pivoted on a tiny foot and headed toward the tiny hannaford customer service desk, presumably to complain about my defiance. after a brief exchange, anita returned to the restroom area and stood outside the door labeled WOMEN.
i finished my shopping, and went through the self-checkout, which is located by the restrooms. it had been fifteen minutes since my interaction with anita, and i had all but forgotten about her, until i saw her *still waiting* outside of the door labeled WOMEN. a man walked out of the bathroom for MEN, and anita smiled at him as he passed her.
what the hell, anita??
need i remind you, that this is the 21st century?! we’re all pissing into the same pipes, we’re just a foot away on the other side of the wall (whoa, that was deep). it made me wonder if she has separate bathrooms in her house, as well? could her daughter face the same horrific reaction, after using the same bathroom as her (MALE!) brother?? we willingly eat from the same silverware as strangers have used when we go out to eat, but let’s lose our fucking minds over which side of the wall we piss on.
explain it to me, anita, because i’m having a hard time. you glared at me, and smiled at him. i can only assume you glared at me for using the wrong toilet, but did you know that he peed into a hole in the wall??? i could have done that too, but i didn’t, even though i totally wanted to use less water. maybe that’s why you smiled at him? i’ll never know.
another thing i’ll never know: how long did anita wait to use the restroom for WOMEN? she was still standing outside the door when i left, which made for an estimated wait time (as far as i witnessed) of about 25 minutes. she very well could have waited 45 minutes by the endt, for all i knew. i safely ruled out emergency status, because she would have used the other one in that case. this was a matter of preference, for which she was willing to wait. one for which she was willing to fight nature. morals and principles and shit.
well i have morals and principles too. for instance, i won’t pee in the middle of the road, only the side. i won’t pee in the top of the trees, but i will next to one. i probably* won’t use a urinal, but i will use a men’s toilet. that’s just how it works. complete exclusion is ridiculous, and only serves to drive apart a just-barely-functioning society. pick your battles.
takeaway messge: let people use whichever single-stall toilet they want! i’m not even trying to force the anitas of the world to share a bathroom with the opposite gender. it seriously is a choice. you can use whichever bathroom you want, and the world keeps on spinning. if you don’t like that there are other people using the bathroom you want to use, go use your own bathroom. i feel like this isn’t even a problem.

-jg

Can I Help, Or Be Lazy?

Sometimes, my kids come up to me and say things like “What can I do?” or “How can I help?” That sounds pretty endearing, I know, but let me also provide you with a short list of things that I have told them they “can do” “to help”:

  • Put your shoes in the hallway, where the shoes and coats are.
  • Put your backpack in the hallway, where the shoes and coats are.
  • Do your homework.
  • When you are finished eating, clear your plate and rinse it off.
  • Stack your dishes with the others stacked on the counter – not in the sink.
  • Put your dirty towels in the laundry as soon as you use them, instead of on the floor in your carpeted room.
  • Put your dirty clothes in the laundry as you wear them, to ensure you always have clean clothes.
  • Pick up any trash you leave around the house.
  • Care for your pet.
  • Wash your blankets because they stink.
  • Close your window during the day when it’s above 80 degrees.
  • If you really can’t avoid soaking the floor during your shower, please at least clean it up.
  • Plunge the toilet when you clog it. Definitely DON’T NOT tell someone.
  • Go outside.
  • Fold your laundry and bring it upstairs.
  • Don’t wait until everything is done, to ask “What can I do?”

 
Do you think they have done any of these things, regardless of how many times I have given them these options? I’ll tell you what happens: the minute they discover something none of us have done, they turn an annoyed eye at me, and say “You didn’t save the leftovers!” That’s when I say “Well, technically, none of us saved the leftovers. If YOU had saved them, there would be some, but I don’t see any.”
Or when they come downstairs in some ridiculous outfit, and try to tell me they have no clean clothes, like I’m supposed to feel some sort of blame for that. My kids differ in this situation, in a very funny way. My daughter will say “I don’t care if my shirt is dirty,” but my son will pretend like he’s had an aha moment, and run upstairs to change into that shirt he “just remembered” he had. Of course, that shirt is also wrinkled, and probably smells like his bedroom. He comes downstairs looking worse than when he went up there, and presents his new get-up with what I can only describe as an expectation of some rather impressed nodding.
I remember when I was their age(s). I didn’t care about much, but I also didn’t have cool parents living in my house, trying to hang out with me all the time and do fun stuff. I guess it doesn’t matter what approach you take; things will go the way nature wants them to, and your kids will ask you “What can I do to help?” when what they really mean is “How can I make you think I’m responsible, but still actually be lazy?” If they only knew how many times I have felt like asking them that same question.

-jg