Note: This is an excerpt from my meandering recollection of driving from L.A. to D.C. during our cross-country move in July. I wanted to post it sooner, but I didn't. I will likely eventually post all of it in bits and pieces. But maybe not.
When you're driving one-way across the country, uprooting yourself and starting anew, it takes longer than you would guess to really feel like you're leaving. For me, with Point A being Los Angeles and Point B being Washington, D.C., we were well into New Mexico before it hit me that I no longer lived on the West Coast (which I had done my entire life, one week shy of 34.5 years, but who's counting?). In fact, at the moment of the realization, I no longer lived anywhere. Think about that. The tangible example that set this in stone for me was that we stopped at a DQ on a misguided whim. It was Road Trip Day 3, and we'd done such a good job of not eating like truckers for the first three days that we decided to reward ourselves by eating like truckers.
I ordered a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard, and the guy at the drive-thru repeated it back: "One large Reeseez blizzard." Forget the "large" part, which is none of your business. Where I'm from we say REE-SEZ, not REE-SEEZ, and this minor twist was the first real-world indication that I had left my element. I still ate the whole thing, of course, and you would too.
In general, the field of eye medicine feels like it originates from someone with a great sense of humor who was forced by overbearing parents to become a doctor. Some examples? Fine.
Contact lenses are dime-sized pieces of clear plastic (one atom thick, easily dislodged) that are given to people specifically because they have vision problems. Think about that.
I like to imagine the other article headlines are just a few of the seven things that successful people never say. "Climate change will mean way less sushi."
1. Find a piece of bread
2. Spread some olive oil on it with a brush or your finger or something.
3. Set it aside, but make sure you remember where you put it.
4. Find a pan or a pot or something metal that can hold liquid and be cooked on a stove.
5. Turn on your stove and oven simultaneously, twisting the knobs at the exact same time. Make sure people are watching, because this really makes it look like you know what you’re doing.
I've decided to dig through the archives and republish some of the things I've written over the years, so that's what this "retro post" stuff is all about. I'm choosing things that I like for whatever reason, are generally evergreen, and make me feel good about myself. Thank you.
She was my dream girl. For sure. She had long, luxurious curls the color of really good beer, and deep, dark, penetrating pale ale eyes. Her lips, so full and moist, tasted like beer. She had perfectly pinched, rosy cheeks, as though she’d been drinking a lot. Did I mention her hands? They were holding a beer. She was definitely my dream girl, but I don’t know why. Another thing about her: she was curvy, like an an hourglass almost, or a really strange-shaped beverage container — like a pilsner glass with boobs.
I had to meet her, which might ordinarily seem suspect, considering I already knew what her lips tasted like. But things are far from ordinary around here. So I walked up and offered her a beer, even though she already had one. “Would you like a beer?” I asked, cleverly. She looked at me with those drunken eyes, head cocked and brow raised.
“Have we met?” she asked.
“I was the guy who tasted your lips earlier.” The ice thus broken, our conversation could only improve from there. Soon I discovered that her name is Beer (it’s foreign, I guess?), which explains the confusion when I offered her one. As we talked we both smiled uncontrollably, not unlike two teenagers who didn’t get carded at the beer garden.
The wedding was a blur.
Now Beer and I have been inseparable for longer than I am able to remember. For some people, love is sensuality, security, laundry, and infidelity. For me and my lady, it’s late nights, ill-advised road trips, bleary-eyed confessions, lack of inhibition — you know, fun stuff. That’s why she is my dream girl, an addiction for which no 12-step program has the cure.
First published in June 2006
The apocalypse probably isn't going to happen later today, but it might. That's one of a handful of overly ambitious motivators I use to dissuade myself any time I'm about to play video games for an hour or watch an entire season of a TV show that I've already seen multiple times. It almost never works, but the important and frustrating thing about it is that it need work only once or twice a year to affect everything drastically.
Katrina and I are getting married in May, and these days that requires a wedding website to direct all the guests on where to go, how to get there, and where they will be staying once they arrive, among two dozen other details. Gosh only knows how this was accomplished in the days before the Internet. I picture old-timey folks heading down to the library to pull up dusty atlases, cross-checking with local newspapers on microfiche, dialing the operator for advice, and ultimately just staying home and sending a Western Union telegram.
An unexpected bonus to creating a website specifically for our wedding was that it gave me a chance to write about how Katrina and I met, which is a story I've told dozens of times but have never committed it to anything more permanent. It's a good story. Well, not the actual meeting part. That's pretty boring for anyone but her and me. And short. We met on OK Cupid, a dating website for folks who don't feel like paying for dating websites. But the story that led up to us meeting is a much longer, more interesting one, which I'm going to share with all of you right now.
If you're like me, you jump at the chance to check out a bar you've never been to. Maybe you're visiting to try some new booze, take advantage of great prices on booze, or explore the booze of a different neighborhood -- whatever the reason, a new place is a gamble.
But one thing you can always expect, no matter the city, neighborhood, or general vibe of the place, is certain categories of patrons who pop up at every watering hole from New York City to Seattle, south to the border, and beyond. You've seen them, you've inadvertently interacted with them -- hell, you may even be one of them. Here are the types of people you'll meet in every bar:
Christmas is featured in a disproportionate number of the childhood memories I've managed to retain. These days, the early arrival of the holiday season is a popular topic for hilarious jokes and pointless complaints, but in my memory Christmastime was about three-quarters of the year in the 1980s. That can't be right, but I get why it seems that way. The holiday classic A Christmas Story opens with the narrator explaining that the entire kid year revolves around that time in December. Mostly because of presents. But as you grow, the holidays become about something more, and that something is booze. Well, booze combined with all the other magical traditions of the season, of course. Specifically, in my thirties, Christmas is all about the tree, the decorations, the music, the perfect gift for my partner, the food, and -- more than ever -- the movies.