So I’ve been home in Cincinnati for almost a week, and I’m bored to tears.
I’ve observed my mom’s Christmas decorations, which include 6 trees of various sizes, 1 nutcracker, 4 snowmen, 2 angels, 4 Santas, 1 polar bear, 1 sheep, 1 miniature Christmas village, 1 train, and 9 elves. Scattered around are also ceramic mice and tiny little fake wrapped presents. All are surrounded by fake snow.
She gets pretty into the holidays.
Then I decided to just run around and take pictures of interesting/strange things in our house. Not pictured items include Popples, Purrtenders, ancient My Little Pony horses complete with a pink plastic castle, Smurfs, and bags of Troll dolls. Click on any photos to see them full-sized.
I’m not sure at what age I actually stopped believing, but it was fairly early.
Perhaps it was seeing the stress in my parents’ eyes as they took trip after trip to the mall for “just a couple of things.” Maybe it was noticing mysterious packages being brought into the house, draped in bath towels. But most likely it was when I managed to discover my parents’ hoard of presents each and every year.
They tried so hard to hide them from us kids, but they always kept all the gifts in one location. When they tried to break up the hiding spaces, they inevitably forgot about a few, which meant we discovered still-wrapped presents years after the fact, stuffed into a bathroom cabinet or lurking beneath a 24-pack of toilet paper.
I made a game of this every year, poking into every nook and cranny of the house until I found the mother load. My parents, aware that I did this, made sure to wrap all the presents immediately so that at least some surprise would still remain intact. I found presents in crawl spaces, behind pipes, behind shoe racks, under dressers, and more. I’d give a cry of triumph, then carefully cover the gifts again.
But I remember one year my parents picked a particularly bad hiding space. I had a little private fort area in the back of my mom’s closet, behind the clothing rack. Since this closet was right by the sloping roof of the attic, there was a small triangular space behind the dresses and coats, and I lined it with pillows, lights, books, and snacks. If I felt overwhelmed by the world (which was frequently), I could retreat to my secret space, and read and munch until I felt calm again.
Somehow, amazingly, my parents never knew about this space of mine. I suppose they never removed enough clothing to see the club house I had set up back there. And yet one year, I went back to read a book, and lo and behold the entire space was filled with Christmas presents! How they managed to place all of these gifts without noticing all my stuff, I’ll never know, but I discovered the presents VERY early that year. Honestly, it kind of took a lot of the fun out of the season since I had to stare at the gifts every day. I would wedge myself between the stacked presents and the wall, and continue to read and sip on my juice boxes. I eyed the gifts with suspicion and jealousy – they had taken my spot! My one secret space!
Not to say I didn’t enjoy eventually opening them, but frankly, I was glad when they were gone.
So this story is going to get a little gross, but don’t let that stop you from reading. It’s no second asshole, but it’ll do.
I have quite possibly the strongest gag reflex known to man, much to the dismay of past and potential boyfriends. The list of things that make me gag is endless, and includes things like strong wind, cold air, and even exercise. I still can’t take a shot of alcohol to this day because as soon as it hits my throat, I shoot it violently right back up.
Anyway, when I was little, from about the ages of 4-9, I was sick with a cold on a regular basis. Sinus infections were my constant companions, and when I’d lie down to sleep at night, the snot from my nose would begin to trickle down the back of my throat.
A normal person might just cough a bit, but not me. In the dead of night, I would vomit everywhere while still asleep. I wouldn’t wake up until I eventually rolled into the now cold pile of vomit covering my pillow. In horror, I’d turn on the light and survey the damage. One side of my head would be completely caked in puke the consistency of oatmeal, and my clothes were crusty and stiff with pale pink grits. My waist-length hair would be sopping wet, and my sheets and comforter looked like they had been hit with a spew-filled grenade.
My routine went thusly: Pad out of bed, creep upstairs, sloooowly open the door to my parents’ bedroom, then stand there, petrified with fear. I hated waking up my parents every time I threw up, but there wasn’t a good alternative. They would never get mad about it, but I could tell they were exhausted and annoyed by my repeated performances. So I would stand there in the dark, my vomit-filled hair beginning to dry and crack, and wring my hands for close to 30 minutes. I’d shift anxiously from foot to foot, trying to decide who I should wake up.
My mom was usually the less annoyed of the two, but she was nearly impossible to drag into consciousness. I could poke her, call her name, shake her, even jump on her with no result. My dad was typically more upset by seeing me covered in my own digestive juices, but he could be woken up with a whisper, so he got the brunt of clean-up duty.
I would touch his arm lightly, and his eyes would fly open, confused yet alert. He’d take in my watery eyes and vomit-covered face, and let out a long, low sigh through his nostrils that set his mustache aflutter. He’d push me into his bathroom so that I could shower and clean myself up, and he would slowly drift downstairs and collect all my soiled bedding and stuffed animals. He’d sleepily run a load of laundry, nodding off periodically until I emerged warm and clean. The process of picking chunks of food out of my hair was painstaking, so these showers lasted a long time while I scrubbed.
Fresh sheets would go over the rubber mattress cover that I slept with every night, and I would fall back into an uneasy sleep. I never puked twice in the same night, so my dad would go back to bed as well. My first beloved stuffed animal, Piggy, sadly became a casualty of my overactive gag reflex. He was placed into the dryer after a puking session, and his fur melted together until he was a solid lump of fibrous plastic with a snout and two black button eyes. He was replaced by an identical pig that I called “Piggy Mach II,” unaware that mach was a unit of speed rather than a fancy way of saying “version.”
My gag reflex also prevented me from taking pills until I was a teenager. I suffered from frequent migraines when I was young, and the pain was unbelievable. The pounding would be so intense that I would start to cry, which in turn would make the pain worse, which would then make me cry harder, etc., etc. This vicious cycle would continue until the stabbing in my head would make me (of course) throw up. This would release some endorphins that would make me feel a little better, at least for a brief period of time.
A doctor put me on the beta-blocker Inderal, which was thought at that time to reduce the incidence of migraines. The tiny blue pill had to be taken whole, and could not be crushed. But my attempts to swallow the pill resulted in it shooting from my mouth and skittering across the floor. So every morning, I would dissolve the pill by swishing it around with a mouthful of water. This process took a good 30 minutes or so, and since I held the water in my mouth the whole time, I became effectively mute each day. My parents got very good at interpreting my grunts and squeaks, and I rarely had to resort to using a pen and paper.
Thankfully, I can take pills just fine these days, though I still have the digestive constitution of a finicky cat. I live a good portion of my life in constant nausea, but haven’t thrown up in my sleep since I was a child.
Practically my entire time in Japan was spent in a haze of illness.
My theory is that my body simply had no resistance to all the new germs and bacteria floating in the air of this different country. I spent a good portion of my childhood fending off sickness after sickness, building up a fortress of memory cells that keep my coughs and colds to a minimum these days. But in Japan, all bets were off, and my body became an all-you-can-eat buffet for every virus for miles.
I got a bad cold every other week or so, which always lasted for at least five days. My supply of medicine was tiny, and getting more over-the-counter drugs required a 1.5 hour drive. Even when I got to the medicine aisle, I had no idea what to buy since everything was in Japanese. Though I had studied the language for years, I didn’t know all the nuances surrounding drugs.
While I do occasionally get colds in America, they are usually fairly mild and merely uncomfortable at their worst. But each and every wave of illness in Japan was accompanied by a raging fever that would last for days at a time, sapping my strength and sending me shivering to my bed. Fever-reducing tablets seemed to have little effect on bringing down my temperature, and I would hobble to work with my head feeling like it was floating several feet above my body. The slightest head movement would bring on vertigo, and I ended up using a trash can in the staff room more than once for vomit. Charming.
Whenever this happened, I’d be sent off to the local clinic, which was run by an elderly man with no English ability whatsoever. He would sit there with an electronic dictionary, trying to ask me questions before throwing his hands up in the air in defeat. As a result, he would just poke and prod at me in silence, then send me away with copious amounts of drugs. This one-doctor/one-nurse facility was a pharmacy as well as a clinic, and I would come away with BAGS of medicine. Many drugs in Japan still come in powder form, which means you put some water in your mouth, then pour a packet of foul-tasting powder in there, then mix it all together before swallowing. The process made me gag every single time, so I rarely ended up taking the medicine given to me. Plus when I checked with my dad regarding the drugs, he found that they often had nothing to do with my condition. For a fever, the doctor apparently gave me a powerful anti-coagulant as well as a diuretic. I decided not to take them.
However, on one occasion, I felt so abysmal that I tumbled into the clinic and nearly passed out in the waiting room. My fever was nearly 104 degrees, but the doctor decided that an enema would fix me right up. I was nearly delusional with fever, but knew that this sounded sketchy as hell. I refused the enema, and immediately a nurse was at my side, attempting to jam an IV needle into my arm. I jerked away, saying “NO” repeatedly. For all I knew, they were going to knock me out, then pump my intestines full of so much water that I’d explode into a fountain of feces. The doctor was not used to his patients refusing treatment, but eventually just sent me home with a bag of drugs and the instruction to drink “many water.”
I felt so awful that I decided to give the medicine a chance. I had about a dozen powders, and I could read enough Japanese to decipher that I was, apparently, supposed to take them all at once. I choked the powders down, then retired to my bed with plenty of water and a book. But I was too feverish to make out the words on the page, and I fell into a doze. I woke up shortly afterwards suffering from auditory hallucinations.
I heard people screaming, especially children, and I began freaking out. I didn’t realize it was a hallucination at first, and I tried to run out of bed, only to fall flat on my face. I was so dizzy that I could only crawl, and I began to make my way down the stairs on my belly. It took ages for me to reach the first floor of my duplex apartment, but I immediately emailed my dad all the medicine I had taken. I knew my fever was high, but I had never experienced anything like this before, and I was worried that the drugs had something to do with it.
Sure enough, I got a quick response that said, in all caps, “STOP TAKING EVERYTHING!”
One of the medicines in particular was an antibiotic that was illegal in the US since it could cause sudden liver failure (and death), as well as, you guessed it, hallucinations.
Also snuck into the drugs was another anti-coagulant, and a laxative. The next few hours were terrible for me, but luckily most all of the medications were flushed out of my system within 12 hours.
I never went to that clinic again. I swear that doctor was trying to kill me.
This story is a lot less traumatic than the other ones, but it was still something of a wake-up call in high school.
I had signed up to do a pretty cushy community service job at the Cincinnati Flower Show. This is an annual event with a gala fundraiser one of the nights, and I was to attend and help however I could.
They told me to “dress up nicely,” so I went with my friend Daniella (of Coolsculpt fame) and arrived at the show in a dress and heels. I figured we might be helping with check-in, coat-check, or hors d’oeuvres. Whatever it would be, I knew that at least this time, I wouldn’t come away with permanent psychological scars.
However, it became clear that we were to perform none of these activities. Rather, we were to just stand around and “look pretty.” Daniella and I wandered around awkwardly, being ogled and and hit on by men old enough to be our fathers. In front of their wives. We were both 17, and as the night wore on, we got gifts of flowers and candy from countless lecherous men.
Apparently the gala was in sore need of some eye candy, and so the organizers contacted our local high school for some nubile young women. Lovely.
I still remember a similar incident when I realized I was too old to Trick-or-Treat anymore. When the men passing out candy give your ass a little grab as you turn to go, apparently you’re too old. I loved Trick-or-Treating, too.
So there is a camp near my parent’s house for developmentally disabled children and adults. It’s in a beautiful area of Ohio with sprawling fields, well-maintained buildings, and a dedicated staff. They accept volunteers throughout the year, but especially during the busy summer program.
I signed up the summer before 9th grade, and on the first day, we were introduced to our dedicated group of campers. Ages ranged from 6-40 or so, and I was placed with the adult campers. Most everyone wanted the little kids, but I was relieved at first to get the more mature and less rambunctious adults. However, when I was introduced to my two campers, I realized that things would not be so easy after all.
Both had at least 100 pounds and 15 years on me, and one named Peter sadly could not stop drooling. I had to lead him by the hand to each activity since he was frightened of large, open spaces, but his palm was so slick with spit that I could barely hold on. The other man named Mark took a liking to me immediately, and would attempt to kiss me (with tongue) whenever I had my back turned. Neither could really speak, but both had big smiles and seemed very excited about their first day of camp.
Though dwarfed by my charges and possessing zero training, I was still determined to get them both to where they needed to go on time. Peter kept sliding out of my moist grip to run behind trees and cry. Mark kept playing with my long hair, tangling it around his fingers and tying it into knots. Our pace was slow, but we managed to make it to both dance class and arts and crafts without much incident. However, when it was time for swimming, things got dicey.
We volunteers were told to strip the campers ourselves, and slip them into bathing suits. As a 14-year-old girl, I hadn’t yet seen a full naked male body, and was freaked out by this directive. My charges were both upset by my attempts to lift off their clothes, and Peter ran out of the changing area in the yard while Mark began flailing around and screaming. More experienced volunteers glared at me, disappointed in my inability to control my campers. I asked someone to look after Mark while I headed off to go find Peter.
I found him around the back of the building, huddled amongst the trash cans and looking scared. I gripped his slimy fingers and led him back to the changing area, where I saw Mark stark naked and giggling with his arms in the air. He was doing a twisting dance that made his flaccid penis slap rhythmically against his thighs, over and over. Horrified, I dropped Peter’s hand and headed straight to the pool itself, deciding in that moment that someone else could handle their clothing.
Afterwards, I was leading my campers to story time when Mark suddenly lunged for me, grabbed my face, and stuck his tongue down my throat. I tried to shove him away, but he grabbed my hair and ripped a chunk right out of my head. He tried pulling me over to the nearby woods, which were dark and deep, but I broke away and ran. Bleeding and traumatized, other volunteers took over both Peter and Mark, and I stumbled off so I could sit down. My scalp was bleeding copiously and my wrist was aching, but most of my hair appeared to be intact. As I dabbed away the blood, I realized that technically, that had been my first kiss. The thought left me feeling empty.
I did my best to cover the bald spot with the rest of my hair, and then it was time for my mom to pick me up. I told her the story, but as an ER nurse, she seemed less than horrified. She sent me back there two more times before I managed to find a replacement volunteer opportunity. Though it got easier the more I worked, and nobody else tried to attack me, I am clearly not made of the right stuff to work there. I will leave it to people more noble, good, and patient than myself.
A short time after my reading to the blind fiasco, my mom got a packet in the mail from the United Way.
Inside were phone numbers for various volunteer organizations, though when we began to dial, we discovered the packet was woefully out of date. Most calls went to disconnected numbers, or completely unrelated companies. Many had gone out of business, never to be heard from again. So it was exciting to finally find a human being at the end of the line, even if it sounded like we had woken her up. At 3 pm.
Her “organization” was called something like “Fighting for Animal Welfare,” but it soon became clear that the group had disbanded several years before. But she was old, and had an overrun garden, so would I mind terribly coming over and tending to her carrots?
I argued with my mom that this was not actually community service – this was just helping a single woman. Wasn’t my service supposed to benefit the whole community at large? But I was overruled, and my mom arranged for me to show up that weekend.
I was still too young to drive, so my mom shuttled me over to the opposite end of town, passing by projects and burnt out churches on our way to this lady’s house. “Just be nice and SMILE, for Christ’s sake,” my mom urged, hoping that I wouldn’t run screaming from this opportunity, at least.
She dropped me off in a nondescript driveway, then sped off, promising to be back in two hours or so. Alone, I hesitantly rapped at the woman’s screen door. I heard a violent burst of coughing come from within the dim house, followed by a guttural spitting noise. An ancient-looking woman emerged from the darkness, supporting herself on a cane and covered in at least three layers of clothing.
“Come on in,” she croaked, “and don’t let the cats out.” Each cat was named after a different racial slur, which was charming. I pet “Wetback” uneasily as she settled back into an armchair that had shaped itself to her sagging body.
“I got a pretty overgrown garden back there, so there’s a lot of work to do. You might be wondering about all these clothes I’m wearing.” I nodded warily, eyeing the exit in case she decided to start stripping. “I’ve got all this on since I’m deathly allergic to bees, and they are just EVERYWHERE back there. I think there’s a hive, but I’m not sure…” She trailed off into another prolonged hacking session, which she wrapped up by spitting into a bowl she kept by her armchair. “Do you know what an EpiPen is?”
Indeed I did, if only because my brother is allergic to everything on earth. Essentially, it’s a compact spring-loaded syringe that injects epinephrine straight into a patient suffering from a severe allergic reaction. Remember that scene from Pulp Fiction where Uma Thurman’s character is overdosing, and they stab adrenaline straight into her heart? It’s kind of like that.
She gestured to her thigh with hands that were covered in 3+ pairs of gloves. “This is where you’ll need to aim if I get stung, okay?” And without further ado, she hobbled off to the back door, nudging “Kike” out of the way with her foot. I meekly followed, wondering if one of her neighbors would take me in if I started pounding on their door.
In moments, we had arrived at the garden. It was surrounded by a rusty chainlink fence, and calling it “overgrown” was an understatement. Briars tangled everywhere, choking the tiny rose bush that must have been planted well over a decade ago. She pointed to various plants, giving me their scientific names, then finally shuffled over to the carrot patch. Which looked just like the rest of the garden, and had bees buzzing angrily in the vicinity.
“Yeah, this is where I want to put them. You’ll have to clear out all these other plants, though.”
The other plants in question were thick, thorny vines that had inexplicably been coated in six inches of manure. The stench on a hot summer’s day was overpowering, and I wrinkled my nose with distaste. The woman caught my expression, and warned me not to be so “uppity.” She told me to set to work, but mentioned that she couldn’t spare a pair of gloves. “I need them all to protect myself from the bees.”
She had me set up a lawn chair so she could watch me work, and I began to dig amongst the manure with my bare hands. The thorns pricked my skin every time I grabbed for a briar, but without gloves, I had no choice. Soon my hands were covered in blood and cow shit, and sweat was pouring down my face. The woman began asking me questions about my eating habits. I revealed that I ate meat, and her face became so red and puffy that I thought maybe she had been stung by a bee without me noticing.
“How could you eat poor defenseless animals?!” She wrenched herself from her seat, and huffed back into the house. I kept digging, hoping against hope that somehow two hours had already passed. She came back a few minutes later, and thrust into my face graphic pictures of animals being tortured and butchered. “This is what your diet has caused! All this suffering!” She rambled on like this for the next hour or so, comparing me to Hitler during the Holocaust. I wondered how “Kike” the cat would react to all of this, but he was safe within the confines of the house.
I finally cleared away all the brambles and weeds, and she handed me a tiny packet of carrot seeds. I was to plant them into shallow troughs, then water them. That seemed simple enough, and I was starting to get hopeful that I would soon be out of the hot sun. I dropped the seeds into the furrows, but then realized that there was no hose. Or a watering can. Or even a bucket. How was I supposed to water these?
The woman had an answer. She disappeared outside the chainlink fence for a time, and I began to worry that she was going to make me pee on the carrots or something. But I eventually heard a shout, and the next thing I knew, I was completely soaked with freezing cold water. She had gotten hold of a hose that was attached to the side of the house, then had turned the thing on full blast and aimed the stream so it would go over the 6-foot fence and into the garden. The water had hit right on top of my head, and I could hear her screaming at me to tell her when the water hit the carrots. I directed her over to the patch, and my troughs were instantly overflowing with water, with seeds floating away towards the bees. I yelled at her to stop, but decided to keep the escape of the seeds to myself.
By the time she came back into the garden, the water had soaked into the earth, and everything appeared fine. I was ushered inside, but told not to sit on anything since I was still dripping with water.
She was trying to convince me to play the keyboard during an animal rights parade when I heard a car finally pull into the driveway. I lept over a meowing “Spic” in my eagerness to climb into the car, and that’s how my mom found me. Soaking wet, my hands covered in blood and shit, and an unmistakable look of fear and desperation in my eyes.
She thanked the woman from the rolled-down car window, then screeched off. “What in God’s name happened to you?” I relayed the story, and it was decided that we would no longer use the United Way packet for volunteer opportunities.
It’s community service experience week here on Angry Penguins.
At my high school, a certain number of community service hours were required each year in order to graduate. I joined Key Club in order to complete my hours more easily, but I always came up short and had to make up hours over the summer.
My mom attempted to help me in this endeavor by finding service opportunities for me, then forcing me to go. Pretty much every single job I did for community service ended up being horrible. I know writing about how community service sucks makes me a terrible person, but hey – I kind of AM a terrible person.
So without further ado, here’s the first story:
I was 15 or so and went to the Cincinnati Association for the Blind downtown to see if they had any work I could do. I folded fliers for a while and did some data entry, then got a request from a blind elderly woman in a nursing home who wanted someone to read her books.
I love to read, so I jumped at the opportunity. This would be fun! I liked reading aloud and trying to do all the dialogue voices, so I figured this would be entertaining for both me and the lady. But when I got to the nursing home, the woman requested only Danielle Steel novels.
In case you don’t know, Danielle Steel writes cheesy bodice-ripper type of romance novels, and they all feature copious amounts of detailed, gratuitous sex.
However, I didn’t know this at the time, and so I began to read. The woman had no arms, but was a chain smoker, so we sat outside and I changed out her cigarettes every few minutes. I soon reeked of smoke and was coughing as I tried to choke out the words on the page. Whenever she finished a cigarette, she’d bark at me to get another, and she’d spit the filter into the grass before telling me to go grab it for her. Her sightless blue eyes stared off into the distance, and she ground her gums in annoyance as I prepped another cigarette and jammed it between her toothless lips. She drooled as she smoked, the saliva vaguely tobacco-colored.
Within five pages, I realized I was starting to delve into a sex scene. Descriptions of “bulging manhood” and “hot wet thighs” proceeded into some really explicit stuff, and I panicked. There was no way I was going to read this out loud in public amongst the nurses on their rounds. I casually attempted to flip ahead a few pages, but the old woman’s sharp ears picked up on what I was doing.
“Don’t you dare skip past the juicy parts!” she cried, her cloudy eyes shining with lust. Her cigarette dangled from her lower lip, half unbroken ash and half moist paper. I reluctantly flipped back a few pages and painfully read about “engorged members” and “hands slick with fluid.” Smoke billowed out the woman’s nostrils, and she smiled with glee. “Yeah, that’s the stuff,” she mumbled, shifting rhythmically in her wheelchair. A nurse giggled and gave me a smug wink as she walked by. I was overcome with embarrassment, but continued to read until my hour was mercifully up.
I never went back to read to her again.
I was something of a whiny bitch as a child.
Sure, I had my cute moments, but some of my mom’s catch phrases from that era were: “Would you like some cheese with than whiiiine?” and “I’m not the cruise director on the Titanic, find your own thing to do and save yourself.” I was, and still am, a champion whiner. I’d like to think I’m a bit better these days, but damn do I love a good bitch session. Few things let off more steam.
Anyway, the story today comes from when I was quite young – maybe 6 or 7 years old. Barnum & Bailey had come to Cincinnati, and my parents decided to take me and my sister to the circus for the first time. I was SUPER excited to see lions and elephants, but already terrified in advance of any clowns. A friend of mine had stolen a VHS copy of Stephen King’s IT from her parents and made me watch it during a sleepover. I never saw clowns the same way again.
Sadly, I remember very little about the circus itself since I decided to have a massive tantrum immediately afterwards, and it pushed all memories of cotton candy and trained dogs out of my little mind. As we left the big top, I saw a street vendor selling pink plastic spinning wands that played music and flashed lights. Basically, just like the one in the photo above, but pink instead of blue.
Being the magpie that I was, I simply had to have one of these. It was obviously a cheap piece of crap, but at that moment, I wanted it more than anything in the whole world. I begged my parents for one, but they had already spent a fortune on tickets, crummy food, and balloons, and were not interested in toting home yet another junk toy that I would likely forget about after an hour or so.
For some reason, this refusal made me simply lose my shit. I distinctly remember throwing such a dramatic tantrum that probably even the clowns thought I was a little over the top. I got down on the ground, crying and flailing my arms and legs. Imagine you are my parents, and you’ve just spent a heartwarming evening with your daughters, showing them the joy of their first circus. You feel content, and like you’ve done right by your kids. And then one of them flips the fuck out for no damn reason at all. My parents, not ones to put up with such a display, dragged me off to the car. The message was that I could scream all I wanted, but the answer was no, and that was FINAL.
As soon as we got home, I ran off to my room to stew about the wand. I felt horribly unlucky and bitter, acting every bit the spoiled brat that I was.
When I went to school on Monday, I was crushed to see at least half a dozen fellow students running around gleefully with their own circus spinners. I went to a ritzy public school, and evidently these kids had managed to pull in the mother load of circus merchandise. I nearly burst into tears, and went to go sulk in the corner for a while.
But then I had a thought. Maybe I could get a circus wand after all? I had orchestrated a trading ring at my school involving me and a few other girls. We would bring random objects from our houses, then see what we could swap with each other. I had pulled out the big guns once before to secure Lisa’s rabbit fur monster. It was a little black ball made from rabbit fur that had two googly eyes poking out of the top. Oh, how I wanted it. I was so desperate to have it that I traded her FOUR other items for it. For some reason, I was obsessed with fur at this age, and just couldn’t get enough of it.
For a circus spinner, I decided to pull out all the stops. One of the girls had one, and I dangled in front of her several of my prize possessions, including a hot pink rabbit’s foot that I carried around everywhere, and claimed was magical. Assorted boondoggles and friendship bracelets (a little girl’s bread and butter) finished out the array of objects I was willing to trade, but I had no takers.
Nothing could compete with that damn circus spinner wand.
I eventually let it go, and after a few weeks, nobody was bringing theirs to school anymore. I later traded my rabbit’s foot for some pogs and a slammer (a terrible, terrible trade). These were later confiscated by school officials as being “gambling paraphernalia.” The trading ring collapsed soon after, but I still sometimes think about that stupid wand.
I have a special relationship with sleep. I first noticed I thought about sleep differently when I was a teenager.
Sure, all teens love sleep, but I really, really had a thing for it. To feel rested, I need at least ten hours of sleep a night. At the minimum. It is not unusual for me to sleep 12-15 hours at a stretch, and it is full on AWESOME. I sleep so much that I actually consider it a hobby.
I love the whole feeling of climbing into bed, of letting my back stretch out, of wrapping myself in blankets. I lie in bed and read, or listen to music, or watch TV until I fall asleep. When I’m almost out, I rouse myself just enough to put my computer or book on the floor, then drift away. I often have very vivid dreams, though they not always very interesting. There’s nothing worse than dreaming about a typical day at work while asleep. Dreams about answering hundreds of emails are not my idea of fun.
But despite this, there’s nothing better than sleeping in completely and utterly. I mean you put in some ear plugs, close your blinds, and you are dead to the world. Maybe you wake up and the sun has already gone down since you’ve slept until 5 pm (oops?). Maybe you come to around 9 am, but go back to sleep because, hey, you don’t have any responsibilities today. Maybe you wake up slowly, luxuriously, but you just stay in bed and read a book for a while.
The only time my entire body is all one temperature is when I am either 1) in the shower, or 2) asleep. I suffer from terrible circulation in my hands and feet, so having both nice and toasty after a few hours under the covers feels wonderful. I have back pain most of the time, but it disappears after I’ve been asleep for a while. Sometimes my dreams are fantastic, and occasionally I can wake myself up enough to consciously control the dream while still being asleep. It’s always fun to wreak havoc in one’s own subconscious.
If I have to wake up to an alarm for too many days in a row, I get extremely crabby and pissed off. If I am kept from decent sleep for a day or two, I will be nearly unable to function in the world.
Basically, sleep is awesome, and I would do it for at least 12 hours per day if I could. I don’t understand the concept of “too much sleep,” and people who wake up at 6 am to go to the gym or something baffle me. What could be better than being asleep?