We were already on our way so it was too late to turn back now. The deposit was nonrefundable. That’s how they get ya. Probably because of all the people who try back out last minute. I was pretty close.
“How about that phone pole? Is that one about 60 feet?” I said.
“Nah, too short. Maybe like three of those.” My husband answered nonchalantly.
“I dunno. That seems kinda high up.” I felt dizzy already. I don’t know how or why I get myself into these situations.
The week of an art show is always insane, but worth it. The week leading up to a Saturday show I spend almost every night working on packaging, price tags, and printing until as late as I can stand, which is usually midnight since I still have to go to work during the day.
Sometimes I wake myself up in the middle of the night from laughing. My husband calls them laughmares.
Some people talk in their sleep, others sleep walk. I laugh. I’m usually laughing so hard I can’t even say what I’m laughing at. Which obviously makes me laugh harder.
My most recent laughmare is probably my most memorable, and also happens to be the most ridiculous.
So the dream starts out with me, my husband, and my husband’s brother driving our car to a gas station. I guess we are going on some sort of road trip or something.
Then a car full of dudes, in a big truck, rolls up next to us. For some reason they don’t like us and they start yelling things at us and throwing things at our car. I don’t really know what they are saying, but I know it isn’t good.
So my husband and his brother get out and start yelling back at them. All of a sudden I yell, “Stop! I know what to do.”
We wait in our car until they leave and we follow them. The dudes in the truck turn into a fast food drive through line and are waiting at that little intercom thing to place their order. As they are waiting I secretly tip toe up to the side of their window and deliver the best, most offensive comeback ever.
“Your Momma’s so fat she uses bread for eyelashes.”
And then I woke up in uncontrollable laughter. Totally normal.
It's been over one week since everyone posted their New Years Resolutions, and over one week of comments from people who are sick and tired of seeing it. This post is absolutely not about my resolutions, which I know you don't want to hear. Instead, I thought I'd share a book I recently finished that might help you with your own.
A friend of mine started a book club based off books recommended by Ted speakers. The first book on the list we chose to read was Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy Baumeister, John Tierney.
Honestly, I needed this book right now. I wish art was the only thing I did, but right now that is not an option. I am constantly figuring out how I can make more time to make art, market myself, build a website, and not bury myself in laundry all while keeping up with a day job. A struggle many artists face.
But for me the problem is not about more time. It’s about procrastination and willpower. The two things that are constantly trying to ruin my life.
So, when I picked up this book from the library I decided I had to read the whole thing. How shitty would that be if I didn’t have enough willpower to finish a book about willpower?
The book is informative but not boring. The explanations regarding willpower research experiments are entertaining and to the point. The book doesn't exactly tell you what you need to do step by step to improve your willpower, but it does give some tips, which are helpful. At the least, eye opening. Especially the entire chapter related to dieting.
If you are one of those people who are desperately trying to actually keep up with your resolution this year, I highly recommend reading this book. Especially if your resolution is to read more. Two birds. One book.
I was standing in line decked out in a black t-shirt, black Under Armour capris, hair up, with my tennis shoes double knotted. I was ready. Adrenaline pumping. My husband, standing behind me, was giving us a pep talk. We got this.
It was time. The door opened and we all ran in. We spread out, strategically surrounding our competition while we guarded our base. I moved around in stealth mode, quiet but quick. My arms raised firmly, ready for an attack.
I saw my chance. Their base was open, unguarded. I ran. Turned the corner. Then bam!
“Oh my god. I’m so sorry,” I said.
He was down on the floor a bit shaken up. I know he was not on my side but I had just harpooned this dude with my gun. In my defense I didn’t mean to harpoon him. I blame it on that fight or flight instinct. Well, my instinct is apparently to fight.
No problem, except he was probably 9, maybe 10 years old. I don’t really know. I’m really bad with guessing a kid’s age.
I held out my hand to help him up.
“Are you ok?” I asked looking around.
“Yea, I’m alright,” he said as he looked up at me and then quickly ran away to get back in the game.
It was Saturday night and me and four of my friends were taking on an entire late elementary/early middle school aged birthday party at the local laser tag joint. We were the only adults playing, which we are basically used to at this point.
It’s the same story every time. My friends and I are teamed up against a group of kids while their parents sit in the lobby waiting. Bored out of their minds.
We have gotten some under-the-breath remarks from parents about how we shouldn’t be playing. How we should let their kids win. But, well, no.
One time the parents DID come in after we destroyed their kids in the first game. We ended up playing four games in a row. We ran around in the smelly, germ infested area for hours shooting lasers at plastic vest lights. It was glorious.
I realized I was the only person left in the library besides the oldish lady with the squinty eyes behind the checkout desk.
“Are you guys closed?” I asked.
“We are about to be,” she said with that judgey undertone only old ladies can have.
“Ok, what time?” I said.
“In five minutes,” she responded.
The clock above her head said 4:17. Ok thanks? So, this library closes at 4:22? Weird.
I kept browsing. I mean I understand when it’s closing time people seriously need to leave. But I am pretty sure I still had some time. I was nice enough to narrow it down to one shelf. I wanted something weird to read and I had five minutes.
I bring up time because the book I randomly picked ended up being very much about time. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker is about a family who lives in California when the Earth’s rotation suddenly begins to slow. Everything is thrown off, gravity, the environment, and time.
Suddenly the days are no longer collected into a neat, even number and they keep getting longer and longer. This book is not an action packed doomsday movie. It’s more psychological. It’s about human survival. It’s about the impact the Earth has on our lives. How one small thing, something we don’t even think about, affects us so greatly.
I finished this book yesterday afternoon and I can’t stop thinking about it.
Have you read this book? What did you think about it?
Another book I stumbled upon at the library was 1996 by Gloria Naylor. I always scan books into the Goodreads app to get a feel for what others thought. This book only had 78 ratings, not that many. The ratings were also all over the place. This intrigued me.
The main character of this book is Gloria Naylor, who is also the author. An award winning author at that. Naylor tells a story of government surveillance, a covert operation which aggressively invades her privacy and life.
I don’t want to give too much away, or anything at all, but I will say the genius behind this book is in the writing. It takes you on a psychological journey of paranoia which becomes slightly more intense with each page turn. Although the book is categorized as fiction you will undoubtedly be left with a feeling that just maybe it is true.
Fiction or not this book does what is intended. It makes you consider the what ifs and leaves you a little bit uncomfortable. I read this book several years ago and it is still fresh in my mind and still pretty disturbing.
In college one of my professors brought me into her office to talk about how quiet I am in class. I was getting an A, I obviously understood the material but she would like me to speak up more during class discussions. I mean, it was an argumentative writing class so I get it.
It’s not that I wasn’t aware of this fact, or shy, or didn't have any ideas. I guess I felt like people were saying the same things over and over. If I agree with someone or having nothing new to add to the conversation, to me, there is no point in talking. I would rather listen, analyze and think further about the situation or problem. But to the other students I was quickly forgotten.
I also become acutely aware of my introvert status around people I have just met. I am absolutely terrible at small talk. I always end up making a comment about the weather, which is not at all witty or interesting. I wish I could be one of those people who always know what to say, who can speak comfortably with everyone. Then one day at the library I came across this book titled Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain I felt like I had to at least read the front cover page. Well, once I read the front cover page I couldn’t put it down.
This book put into words what I have been feeling my entire life. Again, it's not a shyness thing it's about energy and attention. Extroverts get their energy from other people introverts recharge while they are alone. For example I can get on stage and sing and dance all day but if you put me in the middle of a crowded party I will probably end up at a small table with one or two people, or I'll just go home.
The book highlights the common misconceptions about introverts. It explains how the world, schools and businesses are set up for extroverts. And extroverts are constantly rewarded, sometimes regardless of what they are actually saying. But introverts must also learn to adapt to situations they are uncomfortable with. Survival of the fittest.
I think everyone should read this book, parents, teacher, extroverts and introverts. Why? Because we are all people living on this planet and if we want to keep surviving and evolving we need to learn how to effectively communicate with each other as the population continues to rise and expand. And I'm not talking about Facebook status updates or Tweets.
Ideas need to be shared easily, comfortably and confidently. And quiet ideas need someone to be patient, to understand they need space to recharge, and listen to them. If workplaces and schools only cater to one type of person a lot of good might be missed out on.
There are more than quite a few horror stories on the internet written by servers or bartenders and their experiences with terrible customers. I worked the restaurant scene for 5 years and definitely have my fair share of stories. My scariest customer encounter happened about five years ago during a March Madness game played at Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville. I don’t remember who was playing but I do know Kentucky fans were involved. Why? Because they were freakin everywhere downtown.
I was bartending at that time and the bar I was working at had just been bought out. New owners meant lots of changes. Some were good but a lot was not. So this big March Madness game was coming to the arena right next door and we were all given 12 hour shifts, without breaks, for 5 days straights. The first day wasn’t so bad, but by day 3 we were all exhausted, hungry, and over it. Little tank tops are not the best choice when you are working outside, on a rooftop, in 40 degree cold and rainy weather.
The bar was slammed. Like ridiculously slammed. There wasn’t time to think or do anything except pour drinks and pop bottle caps. The customers were relatively understanding, until they weren’t.
This guy, covered in blue, came up and asked for a simple drink.
That will be $4.50.
He creepily smiled at me. I made his drink and handed it to him.
Sir, it’s $4.50.
I turned around to get the next person’s beer. When I turned back around he had ducked behind the bar and was giggling.
Sigh. Dude, it’s $4.50.
I was now serving the third person after him and when I turned back around to get money, dude was gone. I think usually I would have been more relaxed but it was day four of this shit and I was all fired up. I told the girl working the bar with me I’d be right back. I scanned the area and saw him. Bingo.
My 5’4” self marched up to his over 6’0” stumbling self and demanded he pay me the $4.50. I told him he had to pay for his drink and that he couldn't just walk away without paying. He was with his friend and his friend started apologizing and took out his wallet to pay me. So I took the $4.50 and went back to the grind.
I reached down to grab a beer out of the cooler and when I stood up to turn around dude was coming at me hands in a fist. He was behind the bar at this point towering over me and screaming at me about how terrible of a person I was.
For a second time stopped and I swear there was a flash of light. I braced myself for the hit as I dropped the bottle in my hand. But the hit never came. Luckily I worked with some of the best damn bar backs and staff and they intervened and grabbed the guy. Whoa dude. Not cool. Even the other customers chimed in, booing the guy.
But, like I said there were new owners now. The drunk guy in blue went to the owners, who happened to be standing by, and belligerently told them how I was the worst person he had ever met. You would think the owners would back up their employees a little, especially since all I was trying to do was get him to pay for his drink.
Turns out I was wrong. The guy actually had a pretty big tab at the bar but I was unaware. He never told me. Never even hinted to the fact. There is no way I would have gone through the trouble to find him if I knew that. Every beer I didn’t serve meant I wasn’t getting paid. The owner comped his whole tab and apologized for my behavior. My behavior.
Shortly after dude walked away with a free bar tab another guy in blue threw a chair over the roof onto the street three stories below. Luckily nobody got hurt. So all you March Madness fans behave yourselves out there and be nice to your bartenders and servers. They are tired. They are hungry. And they really just want to get through the day without getting hit.
One of my really good friends was having a birthday and I wanted to show her the best time possible. So I gathered up all our friends for a night of roller skating in retro, vintage clothes followed by dinner and debauchery.
Birthday girl and I scoured all the local thrift shops for the most hideously awesome outfit. After two hours of giggling in the fitting rooms we had decided on our ensembles and went home to get ready.
We arrived at the roller skating rink and laced up our skates. I don’t care who you are, when you are an adult and you put on skates for the first time there is an acclimation period. We all walked around like baby giraffes on the carpet, with our skates on, to regain some sense of balance. Once we had enough (liquid) courage we hit the rink.
Man, those 12 year old were fast.
I could hear that inner judgemental adult voice, that sometimes catches you by surprise, screaming for safety. My fight or flight senses were activated and saying, bitch, get out of here. You are too old for this. You aren’t going to make it. My reaction to these warnings? Shouting at the DJ to turn. that. music. up.
The problem wasn’t when we were going straight. It was those sneaky little bastard turns to go the other direction. You know, where your balance is so thrown off you have to lean sideways like you’re on a bobsled team.
We had just passed one of those dreaded turns. Sigh of relief. Then someone had the genius idea to take a selfie picture while we were skating. Yea! Great idea!
It all happened so quickly. Snap. Bam. Rip.
As the iphone clicked I was pulled down and completely busted open my vintage dress. In the back. My super cute outfit now resembled a hospital gown. Luckily (I guess), I had on underwear that actually somewhat covered my rear but it was still embarrassingly obvious what had happened. I tried my best to make it look like I had thoughtfully left the house that way.
“It’s not so bad right?”, I asked my dude friend.
“Jackie, there are children here”, he responded.
Damn. I knew it, but you think a girl could get a little white lie in dire situations to make her feel better. Unfortunately, I had no change of clothes. I had car pooled. And next up was dinner at a hibachi restaurant. It took us 20 minutes to get a table we had reservations for. No idea why.
I'm Jackie, an artist, illustrator, and friend to ghosts, monsters, and aliens. This blog is full of DIY projects, stories, and things I think are cool. Stay weird.