Back when I was working my terrible receptionist job, I learned a lot about corporate culture. Namely, that nobody gives a single shit about you unless you somehow bring in lots and lots of money.
There were several low moments for me. One time, one of the salesmen on the floor lectured me at length for “not doing enough with my life” and told me my self-esteem sucked. I hardly knew him at all. Another time a crazy man came in through the door and blew past the reception desk. I was told to physically chase him down and tackle him, which I refused to do. At 5’0″, I didn’t get paid nearly enough to risk my life trying to trip up a crazy person who was possibly armed.
But one of the worst was when there was a fire in the building. Not a drill, but an actual fire, at least as far as we knew at the time. The alarm went off, and I gathered up my purse to begin evacuating with the others. My boss told me put my things down, stay put, and keep answering the phone (despite the fact that the alarm was so loud that it was impossible to hear who was calling). A missed call could mean a missed sale. He told me that there probably wasn’t a real fire anyway, so I should just keep doing my job. He stood over me as the rest of the employees filed out the door, watching me answer calls in vain, shouting, “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you!” as the phone rang again and again. He finally left with the others, telling me to keep manning the phone unless I saw smoke.
As soon as he fled out of the door, I ran to a different exit, fearful that I was going to be burned alive on the 37th floor. I headed to the stairwell, and hoped he wouldn’t turn around and see me. He didn’t. I headed to a local cafe after reaching the lobby, and continued to hide from my coworkers. It turned out the fire was real, but small, and not on our floor.
After we finally got the all clear, I tried to run up first. My boss found me still at my desk, answering calls. As far as he knew, I stayed at my post. He gave me a little nod, perhaps impressed that I was willing to risk my life for the good of the company.
I hope to never work in a corporate office ever again.
So, I became a member of Citibike, the bike-share system launched in NYC in May, fairly early on. I wasn’t one of the people with a little blue key fob the first week, but I was there by the third. And I’m here to tell you why I don’t much like it.
Some of this is probably unfair, and I’m sure many of my complaints are shared by just about every big city bike-share system in the world. But still, I can’t say I’m not disappointed. When I first heard about Citibike, I got pretty excited since I have a long walk to a subway hub, and I thought bikes could become a part of my daily commute. Or I could just use it to help me run errands after work. Alas, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
The system works roughly like this: You have an annual membership (around $100) that allows you to use a key fob to unlock any bike in the city. You then have 45 minutes to ride it to your destination, and you must park it at another bike dock before time is up, or get charged some pretty outrageous fees. For those who buy only a day or week bike pass, the time limit is reduced to 30 minutes. In NYC, this is theoretically not a difficult hurdle since the bike racks are practically everywhere. Well, except for where you need to go.
Oddly, there are very few racks on the far East and West of Manhattan, where you would think the demand would be high because of the dedicated (and therefore more safe) bike lanes that run along the edges of the island and give you fantastic river views. But nope, all the racks are at least 5 blocks from the edge, forcing you to grab a bike and ride through NYC traffic to reach these oases.
And NYC traffic is terrifying. I’ve now ridden through it several times, and I immediately get panicky and sweaty, my heart pounding hard enough to cause ripples in my shirt. Many streets are one-way, and have no bike lane, and vehicles will not hesitate to honk and narrowly swerve around you. You are constantly scanning the cars parked to your right, hoping against hope that someone isn’t about to open a door and clothesline you to DEATH. Seeing brake lights is a good indication that a door is about to open, but not always. Pedestrians also couldn’t give less of a shit about you, and will cross directly in front of your path even if you have a green light. Nobody looks. Nobody pays attention.
I have never been so aware of traffic as when I’m on a Citibike.
The bikes themselves are also insanely heavy at about 45 lbs. apiece. For someone who is 5’0″, this makes for an ungainly wobbling ride through hot, crowded streets. To unlock the bike from a dock, you have to physically lift up the bike and remove it from the magnetic lock, which is a task I struggle with mightily. I have such problems docking and undocking the damn things that often a bystander will do it for me out of pity. The small baskets on the front of the bikes have bungee cords to hold your belongings, but I find they’re still too small for my purse (though to be fair, my purse is the size of my entire torso).
But my biggest gripe with Citibike is the docking situation. There is an app for the system that is supposed to tell you how many docks are free (and therefore able to be parked in) in a given location, but in practice, the numbers are wildly inaccurate. Every time I have tried to park near my apartment, the docks are all full, no matter that the app told me that there were five parking spots. I then ride another five minutes to another dock, now not very close at all to my apartment, which is ALSO full, though the app assured me that seven delicious parking spots were ready and waiting. Upon arriving at my THIRD dock, I find not only zero parking spaces (the app said there were nine), but also two other worried-looking Citibike riders circling around, fruitlessly seeking a place to leave their bikes. One rider, fed up with the system, just left their bike by the docks and threw up his hands in disgust. Doing this will automatically charge your credit card $1000, so finding a dock, and finding it QUICKLY (before your 45 minutes are up) is imperative.
On three separate occasions, I have had to go to four different docks before finally finding a parking space, and frantically shoving your bike into a dock is a race against time. Often, another bike is racing towards the same one empty parking spot, and it is survival of the fittest. I have had to ride aimlessly around Manhattan for 30 minutes searching for spots at 1 in the morning. I then have a long walk in the dark to actually get to my apartment. It would have been faster to simply ride the subway and walk in the first place. Also, a few times, docks have been “closed for rebooting” or simply closed indefinitely, the shiny bikes glittering in the sun, but ultimately useless.
Despite the fact that I have paid for a year’s worth of this system, I plan on walking from now on. It’s simply not worth the stress of both the streets and the docks. Of course, this could all be remedied if I just spent $200 or so on my own bike and parked it at my apartment, but then it would probably get stolen. NYC bike thieves seem to be second to none. Also, I am supremely lazy. So there.
In 9th grade, all students at my school were required to take Language Arts. To my dismay, this turned out to be a public speaking class disguised as a writing class, which meant that my easy A was about to become a desperate C. Though friends have pointed out that I can be loud as fuck in public, especially while talking about embarrassing stories, I suddenly lose the ability to be coherent when placed in front of an audience.
I start talking about a mile a minute, sweating all the while as my face either turns as red as a drunkard’s, or as pale as someone about to pass out. My eyes will dart all around the room as if trying to identify who from the crowd is about to get up and shoot me. Whatever latent paranoia I have (which is a LOT) kicks into high gear, and I become convinced the audience is plotting my downfall at all times.
So yeah, public speaking and I don’t really get along.
But sadly, this class forced me to do it on a regular basis. It all culminated on one unfortunate day when we had to read a short story that we had written out loud to the class.
The assignment was to write a “funny” retelling of a classic fairy tale, and we all had to choose different ones. As a somewhat angry and depressed teenager, my idea of “funny” was a dark as shit Goldilocks and the Three Bears that took place in an apocalyptic future where weapons were as common as loose change. The body count in my story was startlingly high, and I was probably only saved from arrest by virtue of this being written before Columbine. My tale ended with both Goldilocks and the bears burning to death after Goldie’s flame thrower showers the house with fire. Goldie manically mutters that the temperature is now “juuuust right” as her hair bursts into flames.
I did not know in advance that we would have to read this out loud.
I heard about the change in the lesson plan during lunch, as students who had the class earlier in the day recounted their classmates’ “hilarious” stories. My only thought was, “I’M FUCKED.” I knew very well that my story was going to be seen as the ravings of a homicidal maniac, and I ran to the computer lab to shit out a different story in the ten minutes remaining before class.
I was unsuccessful.
And thus I found myself perched on a stool at the front of the class, having to read out loud some of the most disturbing shit I had ever written. As the bullets began to fly and blood ran from one end of the bears’ cabin to the other, I started to feel like I was watching a car wreck from afar. Try as I might, I couldn’t stop the brutal scene that was unfolding before me. Soon enough, my anxiety crested and I completely lost it. I began to laugh hysterically, describing the deadly fire between giggles as I gasped for air. I actually started crying as I plowed through the morbid tale, laughing so hard that my words about graphic murder came out as squeaks. I eventually slid off the stool to the floor in a desperate attempt to abort the insanity. The teacher insisted I continue reading from the cold linoleum. He did not much care for me.
In the end, I received a C- on the story (my teacher cited disliking “black humor”), and I gained a reputation for being batshit INSANE for the rest of my freshman year of high school. Fucking fantastic.
So yeah, everybody gets these. If you haven’t found one on your own body, you simply haven’t been looking hard enough, and it’s probably at least six inches long by now. SEARCH THYSELF.
I remember discovering mine for the first time, growing out of the right side of my abdomen like it fucking belonged there. It looked like it came off Gandalf’s head (the White, not the Grey), several inches long and as glossy as a unicorn’s mane. I plucked it with horror, only to have it grow back again and again, the thin strand as white as purely driven snow. Now I monitor the spot with grim vengeance, razing the area as soon as it pokes it’s tiny silky head out of my stomach.
I remember a girl in my class in college who had a massive two-inch black hair emerging from her chin, like Satan’s own pube. I couldn’t understand how she had never noticed it before, but it became more clear as I watched her glance in the mirror in the bathroom. She always angled her head in such a way that she never saw the offending hair curling in the breeze. My God, had nobody ever told her? I didn’t know how to approach that situation since we were merely acquaintances, and she soon ceased coming to class altogether. Had she been strangled by her rogue hair in the night? Perhaps she looked on it fondly, stroking it gently before drifting off to sleep each night. I will never know.
So right around puberty, my body decided it could go fuck itself.
I mean, not literally. Well, maybe a little bit literally. But more like my body thought that betrayal of itself was the order of the day.
The first time it happened, I was in the kitchen getting some breakfast around 6:30 am before school. Suddenly, while in mid-sentence, I keeled over and thwaked my head against a counter before slumping to the floor unconscious. I had no memory of what had happened, but came to with my parents’ concerned faces floating above me, and a goose egg slowly forming on the back of my skull. After testing that I had my full wits about me, I was sent to go catch the school bus with little fanfare. My head ached the rest of the day, but I otherwise felt fine.
This scenario would replay itself several more times over the next few months, finally culminating in a fainting session where I stopped breathing and my mom had to call 911. By the time the paramedics arrived, I was conscious and talking, but couldn’t stand up without immediately passing out again. But I refused to go into the ambulance, and simply sat on the floor slowly eating cereal until I could get myself onto the couch.
We never really figured out what the problem was, but it seemed to be related to blood sugar. I started swallowing spoonfuls of sugar whenever I started feeling a bit out of it, which usually preceded a fainting spell. I began carrying hard candies around with me always, for a quick sugar boost on the go. To this day, I know I need some candy or soda if I start getting the “sweats and shakes,” as I call it.
It’s bizarre, but luckily the days of collapsing like a felled tree seem to be behind me.
So I know hundreds of blogs have covered this topic, but there were some costumes even I was surprised by this year, so here we are.
So we have not one but TWO Sexy Russian Communist costumes, and what are essentially Sexy Nazis, but without the swastikas.
Sexy Palace Guard
This just cracks me up since it’s one of the satirical costumes featured in the Girls’s Costume Warehouse video, and now it’s for real. One of these years, I’ll dress up as the Sexy 1900s Steel Conglomerate Tycoon.
So these are PASTIES NOT COSTUMES! Why in the world are they in the costumes section?
Sexy Board Games
I really don’t understand this trend. We have Sexy Etch-a-Sketch, Monopoly, Darts (x2), Tic-Tac-Toe, Twister (x2), and Operation (x2). I was a little surprised not to see a Battleship-themed costume given the movie. Hollywod really missed a tie-in there.
Sexy Breakfast Cereal
This also baffles me. These aren’t even costumes. Why did Kellogg’s think anyone would want these?
Okay, so I know corn isn’t actually a fruit, but it’s fruit-adjacent. Or something. Is there someone out there seeking some hot corn action?
Sexy Jager Bomb, Rum, Martini, and Beer. Sure, why not. They’re no more stupid than the rest of these.
Sexy Non-Sexy Things
Cindy Brady is seven years old. Little Orphan Annie is 11. Just think about that. Brian from Family Guy is a cartoon dog. When’s the last time you thought about the insane sex appeal of golf, one of the most boring sports ever? There is a girl here sincerely trying to stir your loins as a pink TV remote control.
And here we have the weirdest ones, at least to me. When you were watching the Honey Badger video, were you thinking how much you’d like to fuck that animal who eats poisonous snakes and munches on bees? The next girl has a terrifying gaping maw on her bright pink stomach. Is this one supposed to be referencing something? And the coup de grace is the Sexy Tarantula, who appeals to absolutely no one on Earth, except perhaps some creepy guy who masturbates to Arachnophobia. We must stop this madness.
Sorry I’ve been neglecting this blog so much. Work has been insane, and has only recently finally calmed down.
Anyway, this morning was pretty traumatic.
Remember when I had pins in my feet? Well today, they were finally yanked from my right foot. And since I was awake for the whole procedure, I can give you the blow-by-blow.
I was called into a small room where my blood pressure was taken, and I talked with the anesthesiologist. However, my plan was to do this all under local anesthesia only since I don’t much like being put under. This would prove to not be the best idea.
I was then led into a freezing cold room where a curtain went up between me and my foot, and a nurse bathed my foot liberally in betadine. Hence the yellow color in the photo above. I tried to sneak a peek at what was going on, but was told doing so would “compromise the sterile site.” Really? Because the air conditioner was blasting air all over the room, and the door to the hallway was open for the entire procedure. Plus the curtain was only maybe two feet across, so it wasn’t much of a barrier.
Anyway, the doctor came in and poured some freezing cold liquid on the injection site, which was incredibly uncomfortable. It wasn’t liquid nitrogen (I can’t remember what it was called for the life of me), but it felt like the entire top of my foot had been dunked in ice water. Then it was time for the numbing injection, which hurt like a BITCH. Three CCs of something were pushed into my foot, and I was told to “relax.” Yeah, not happening. Only the site where he would be cutting was numbed, with the rest of my foot left alone.
After waiting 10 minutes or so, it was time for the cutting to begin. Though I could only feel pressure or minor pinching, it was still psychologically scarring to realize what was going on down towards my toes. The doctor made a 3/4″ cut directly on top of my original surgery scar, then went to TOWN with a chisel. Well, maybe the tool looked different, but I couldn’t see it, so I’ll just describe the sounds and sensations.
He chipped away at my bone with large amounts of pressure. The bone had grown over top both of the pins, so freeing each one was not an easy task. He would position himself, then just start scraping away for several seconds, my bones grinding the entire time. He would then pause, reposition, and repeat. I’m honestly not sure how long this lasted, and though it felt like 15 minutes of pure torture, I imagine it was actually shorter than that. Though there wasn’t really any pain, it was still incredibly upsetting to imagine what was going on down there, and I felt close to fainting for almost the entire procedure. Hence, if you ever get this done yourself, you might want to opt for the IV sedation. Most people who get this done get the sedation, and according to the doctor, it takes a “tough sort” to opt for local. I certainly didn’t feel tough. I was almost in tears by the end.
Finally, he pronounced that both pins had been removed, and he stitched up my skin, which felt like I was being bitten by fire ants. Two bandages were applied, my foot was wrapped up, I was x-rayed, had my blood pressure taken again, and was sent on my way. I wore my usual sneakers out, and was told to take a cab home so that I didn’t put too much pressure on my recently battered bone.
Now I’m home, and though the pin site is still numb, I can tell that it’s swelling, and I feel a vague burning sensation. However, I can walk decently, so at least there’s that. I have to keep the stitches dry for 10 days (which means no bathing my foot AGAIN), and will get them out the day before Halloween. And then I’ll get the pin taken out of my left foot. Maybe I’ll opt for some happy-time drugs in the future? Or I’ll at least bring headphones, since the bone scraping sounds were the worst part of all.