38 Special

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Just before the carnage of last week, I turned 38.

At work, they baked me a cake. Someone got me like a million things of Pop Rocks. I celebrated with my family, there was more cake, and Sadie blew out the candles and opened my presents for me. I realized that somewhere along the way, I’ve grown up. At least a little bit.

So I’ve been pretty calm so far about aging. There are things that have been happening to my body, that I would rather not be happening to my body. But I keep telling myself when I’m 70, I’ll look back and think what a hot piece I was right now. So I’m trying to just be a dish now, celebrate the moment. But as I was stepping into the shower the other day, I saw something winking from my lady patch. Something that stopped me cold. A single strand of silver in my formerly youthful pubes.

I am getting fucking OLD. And it’s not fair. I feel like I’m just getting started. My life is a series of spectacular starts and limp finishes. Failure and I are old friends. But just lately, I’ve been feeling something I haven’t felt in a long time. Ambition.

Real-life me is as big and brash as writer me. But both are things I’ve constructed to protect me from the world. I have a ravenous vulnerability and a tendency to daydream. My personality keeps me tethered to my body like a balloon on a string.

Friday night at closing time, an old man yelled at me for not making his martini fast enough. He was being ornery in that gleeful way the elderly have, and normally I can empathize with that whole almost being dead thing, but I got so, so mad. So mad that when I left shortly afterwards, I stalked the rainy streets for blocks, my mittened hand curled around my switchblade, looking for some kind of nebulous trouble.

I realized I need to chill the fuck out.

Life felt really real this week. When you live in your head like I do, sometimes real life feels almost like set dressing. The extras are milling about. The lighting is never quite right. I feel like I’m always waiting for SOMETHING TO HAPPEN. Sometimes I need to hold my daughter in my lap, and feel the small but solid weight of her, an actual living thing, and remember.

This is real life. This is what is happening.

Over 2000 people want to hear what I have to say. For some reason I keep picturing you guys hanging out on my front lawn. I’m making huge pots of spaghetti, but I keep burning the sauce. I feel bad that I haven’t answered all the comments and read all the emails. I’m kind of a shitty friend in real life too. The one who will ignore your phone calls and then write you a ten page missive in the middle of the night.

I have a hard time connecting with people. But I’ve gotten messages from total strangers this week that were so hilarious, so perfectly worded, so amazing. You get me.

That is so fucking cool. But it’s dangerous, too. The computer has become a humming honey pot, and I crave that dirty euphoria. Just because I’m not wanking to porn doesn’t mean I’m not getting off. My dreams have turned jerky, pixelated, stop-motion.

Back in reality, I’m kind of  a mess.

I owe my dogs a walking, my Sadie a cuddling, and my husband a good no-frills fucking. I need to clean my house. I’ve always had a sort of nihilistic approach to housework. It always gets messy again. But I find, when I give myself over to it, there is a satisfaction in the struggle. A simple task completed makes me feel good.

Today, I dedicated myself to pleasure. I painted Sadie’s toes blue. I ate dinner in my mom and dad’s kitchen, and I told them some stories, and we laughed. I drank a beer. I ate a cupcake. I remembered how much I love marijuana, and “It’s Always Sunny”. And since the weather broke, I took the dogs for that walk, out in the night.

I like remembering my night-self.

And now it’s time to write. I’ve been worrying too much about the direction this whole thing is taking. I don’t want to be a one trick pony. I look around at the things around me and I notice things. I have a voice, and I’m not sure what I want to say, and there are things inside me that scare me. But overriding that fear, there is the cold delicious pleasure of writing words that someone is actually reading.

So I’m writing you tonight purely for pleasure. Because if I’m not enjoying this, I’m just jerking us both off. And I want this to be a slow jam.  I don’t need to figure it all out right now. I think we can figure it out together. I’m sitting here, 38 years old, with my gray pube, my mouth filled with fizzing Pop Rocks, my brain filled with fizzing thoughts, my spirit bubbling over, and I want you to know me.

I want to know me.

I’m not ready to give up just yet. I’m just getting started.

take this job and shove it!

17

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Confession: I’m a bridge burner. At least, I used to be. I was a pyromaniac-immolating jobs, friendships, romantic relationships…..and standing back to watch the blaze with glee. I would nearly always do this in the month of December. While others were trimming their trees, sipping cocoa, and ice skating hand in hand, I was getting all contemplative and feelingsy. This had nothing to do with Christmas, and everything to do with the impending end of another year. Another year gone, and I was still broke, still crazy, still not where I wanted to be, and someone must be punished.

Five years ago at Christmastime I was working for a new-home builder. We’ve all heard of McMansions, well I sold McHovels. I once saw a kitchen cabinet fall off while I was giving someone a tour of a model home. I was constantly harassed by my creepy boss (he had tiny soft Little Person hands) and I made something like 47 dollars a week. I also worked two nights a week at The Lodge Bar. The Lodge Bar was a cheesy chain nightclub with a hunting lodge theme. I know, it’s really embarrassing. I had been working both jobs all year, but suddenly December came and I decided to get out the matches. I quit my day job, filing a complaint against Mr. Creepytown, and I quit my Lodge Bar job too. This email I wrote them made the rounds in the industry, passing from person to person, but since I started blogging I have received several requests to post it. So here you go, my early Christmas gift to you. I will post unedited, and footnotes as well.

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On Sun, 12/21/08, Nichole wrote:
From: Nichole
Subject: Partnership…..not!!
To: some people who shall remain nameless
Date: Sunday, December 21, 2008, 4:25 PM

Hey guys,

This is usually the time of the week that I email my partnership availability. (1) Well, this week I am emailing that I am quitting this janky shit shack called the Lodge Bar. I have been tending bar longer than most of our staff has had pubic hair, and in twelve years in this industry, this is the absolute worst job I have had. I came in with my eyes open, I was warned. I knew it was corporate and cheesy and the epitome of everything I loathe in life. But I really needed some extra cash. Sadly, the cash never came. I have never worked so hard for so little return. (2) At this point I would feel like less of a whore giving hand jobs in a massage parlor. Even more frightening is the fact that most people who work there actually think it’s cool, as is evidenced by the fact that they are lurking about every night whether they are working or not. It is such an alien concept to me, since everytime I walk through the door I feel like I am dying inside. I have not seen a group of people more zealously brainwashed for a common cause since the Third Reich. Since I am not a sycophantic turd who drinks/sleeps with management, I get treated poorly even though I am literally one of maybe three girls who work there that can actually mix a drink. Apparently, the priority is to be an adderall-crazed poptart who gyrates behind the bar all night giving free drinks to every d-bag that throws me a wink.

Our customers suck. Only people that do suck would want to come to the Lodge Bar. If I see one more fat girl sucking down a fishbowl I am going to go on a killing spree. Oh, and while I am it…..quit billing DJ SEAN as the best DJ in the city. That washed up coke mess has been a social pariah and known douche since the late 90’s. I am frankly amazed he has managed to have a renaissance of sorts in the redneck club scene. Also, napkin throwing…don’t get me started. I love how we can waste upteen boxes of napkins a night throwing them into the air like ghetto confetti to bad techno music, but if I crack open a Red Bull to enjoy, I get looked at like I just stole the Hope Diamond.

I have been enduring the hour of phone calls a week, inviting people in to enjoy a “VIP Happy Hour” consisting of soggy sub sandwiches and cheese cubes from the Ice Ages, but now I am responsible for selling New Years Eve tickets!!!! As if I know anyone, self included, who wants to ring in the new year surrounded by dead animal heads and the finest that Price Hill has to offer. So while I would love to be your resident cougar (even thought I look younger than half these leather-faced tanning bed junkies) I am saying sayonara suckers, I am off to greener pastures.(3) Thank God. Don’t worry about getting me my last check since you never managed to process my paperwork correctly anyway.

xoxoxo
Nicki D

P.S. Jenny, you’re actually really cool. Get out while you still can. (4)

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1. “Partnership” was a nice markety term given to the hours a week we were required to come in to the Lodge Bar and make telemarketing calls to people, inviting them to come in for a “VIP happy hour”. We were required to do this without being paid, because, hey, we’re all partners here at Lodge Bar!
2. Technically this was not true because my day job sucked pretty hard also.
3. I had no job prospects whatsoever.
4. I have zero recollection of who this “Jenny” person is.

In conclusion, I would like to say that The Lodge Bar was no better or worse than any other club. I was 32 years old! I was ready for a different phase in my life. And the next year, I got married, and the year after that I got pregnant, and here it is 5 years later and it’s hard to remember that life at all.

I haven’t set anything on fire in a while. I love my job, my husband, my daughter, my house. But it is good to know that when things get bad, I have the ladyballs to fuck some shit up.

P.S. If you currently hate your job, feel free to use this email as a template.