So I got stood up last night.
Completely, utterly, irrevocably stood up.
No phone call, no text. Just a complete no-show.
Of course in this age of technology it takes a special kind of miserable scum to not, at the very least fire off an “I’m not gonna make it.” text message.
I mean, I suppose he could be dead. That’s a plausible reason.
Or maybe arrested. That works too.
Maybe I’ll lighten dead, to “in a coma.” I don’t want to be responsible for any fulfilled prophecies.
This isn’t a surprise. I knew, this morning, in the shower as I shaved my legs in vain that he’d do this. I knew because he’d done it before. Not just once either.
And yes, that should be a warning sign.
But I’m doomed to do this, Freud says so.
I lay on my couch instead. Like a slug. Pitifully watching television and pretending I was fine. And I mostly was.
Until my phone buzzed.
And there was mistake numero dos. A guy I’d genuinely liked, and envisioned some semblance of a relationship with who hadn’t made any contact with me since we slept together, BECAUSE OF COURSE.
What did he want, you ask?
I think you know.
Even though I had betrayed my cool girl persona and told him, honestly, straight-forwardly, that I wanted something more.
He proposed via text that he come over so he could, in his words, “fuck your brains out.”
*I have to make an aside and burst every male’s bubble here. I never, ever, want you to spontaneously have you come over and “fuck” any part of my body out. If I need sexual release
so sorry dad hope you aren’t reading this. I can do bad all by myself. YOU ARE NOT NEEDED IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM. To me, sexual intimacy is exciting because its based in a place of god damn INTEREST IN ANOTHER HUMAN ROMANTICALLY. It is a physical manifestation of love which makes sex incredible, and heart-racing and worth the effort.
So I told mistake numero dos I wasn’t interested in a booty call and got into my car. Because sitting in my apartment was feeling like a heavy weight of loneliness.
So I went to the grocery store.
And I put things into my cart mindlessly and then put them back again. Pacing around and existing with other humans. I drove around a while after that. Circling the block for 20 minutes because I couldn’t park my car because I couldn’t stand to just be with myself.
To be with my miserable self. Do you know that feeling?
Not like you’re suicidal or anything, but that you wish you could just take a break from your existence? Just leave your body on hold in a cave somewhere until your heart and brain caught up with each other?
That’s how I feel sometimes.
That’s how I felt last night.
And how I felt as I rode the train Tuesday night.
You see, a woman came onto the car, begging for money. Her voice sounded familiar and when I looked up my stomach turned.
Because it was a woman I’d seen before.
I posted about her last year: https://neuroticall.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/bleeding-heart/
I wrote about how she had tugged at my heartstrings with her sob story. How she claimed to have helped so many people in her life and now nobody would help her in return. How I’d sacrificed some of my money so she could buy a bus ticket home to New Hampshire.
Well this time, she needed money for a train ticket to get back home to Attleboro, where her supposed
imaginary three kids were waiting for her. She appeared pregnant and said that she was 6 months along. I glanced at her stomach, which looked far too big for 6 months. I looked a little longer and it had an odd dent on the side.
She berated the car when nobody offered her any money. She bitched and moaned and all but cried. She accused us of being miserly. She got in people’s faces.
I wanted to stand up and scream. I wanted to say she was a con artist and that pretending she was holier than thou and just “down on her luck” was far far worse than the fact that she’s likely nothing more than a drug addict. But I didn’t. Because I knew it would be fruitless.
And I thought about the stupid ass post I’d written earlier in the week, about being compassionate to those in need. I just felt disgusted, because I got got.
“This ain’t a lie!” she squawked. “If it was than tha bad kahma would go back on my baby.”
“Well in that case,” I thought to myself, “I sincerely hope that’s a pillow under your shirt.”
I’m tired of being disappointed by everyone else. Because ultimately it just makes me feel disappointed in myself. For being trusting. For allowing myself to get my hopes up.
Want to lose weight fast?
Here’s the magic solution!
Go into your pantry when you get home at 10 pm for a snack because you’re “hungry” in this instance “hungry”really means “procrastinating finishing your homework.”
Reach for a box of cereal in the pantry only to hear a faint rustling.
Watch in abject terror as the box shimmies a bit from side to side.
Let out a cliche as all hell, “EEEP!” when a cute and simultaneously disgusting teeny tiny mouse face pops out and sneaks a peek at you, hurriedly returning to the box.
VOILA HUNGER ABATED. Calories saved!
So, yes, that just happened. To me. In my pantry.
Our landlord had an exterminator come a few weeks ago because she had seen a mouse in her apartment. Of course the exterminators could find no mice and came up to our place just to appease her. Saint Roomie and I laughed about how neurotic our landlord was, there were no mice etc.
Yeah, there are.
Whats worse is that there were already mouse traps laid in the pantry, none of which contain any mice.
All in all I’m not too upset about this. Cockroaches or Bed Bugs? THAT’S IT SHOWS OVER YOU CAN ALL COME TO MY FUNERAL WEARING A HAZMAT SUIT. But mice don’t bother me nearly as much.
I’ve actually been waiting for a mouse attack on my soul for awhile now.
There has always been that creeping sense of impending retribution around the corner….
You see, in college I worked in a biomedical research lab. Where I helped do experiments on mice and hamsters for a paycheck.
I’m confused as to why I did this as well. I’ve put a lot of reflective thought into it and unfortunately I’ve never come up with a satisfying answer.
It basically went like this?
-I needed a job.
-I answered an ad looking for an administrative assistant for a biomedical research lab, unknowingly applying to work with one of the most feared researchers/professors on campus.
-My interview consisted of my former boss asking if I knew the alphabet, I assured him that I did and the job was mine all mine.
I didn’t know at the time that I’d be doing anything other than filling and organizing. I had been hired because my boss, who I’ll refer to henceforth as, “the doctor” was under fire for not keeping records to industry standards as well as a slew of other things I’m smart enough not to write here. I was hired to remedy his lack of organization, which was honestly a futile effort because he couldn’t have given two shits about organization, for the doctor it was all about the science. His research was his life, an all-consuming passion.
I pitied him.
Because the Doctor had a reputation for being ornery and volatile and maddeningly specific, most biology majors refused to apply to intern with him. This left the grad students stretched to their limits and a solution was devised. The head grad student took me under her wing and taught me how to preform a variety of duties, including caring for the research animals, assembling their high-tech activity recording cages, and weighing female mice to check for pregnancy. I was fine with pretty much all of this.
I didn’t love cleaning out hamster and mouse cages, the smell of the animals quarters always made me vomit. I loathed cleaning inches and inches of animal dust and dander off of the equipment. I hated these tasks ESPECIALLY when I had to do them in the dark. Part of the experiment on the hamsters was regarding circadian cycles. They lived in unnatural light patterns, sometimes going weeks with the lights continuously on, but other times they went weeks in total darkness. Lab housekeeping and other functions had to be done, darkness or not. The fact that I never had a panic attack while attempting to change the sensor on a metal cage, in a completely dark room full of hamsters scuttling around and running on wheels…BLARGH JUST REMEMBERING IT IS MAKING MY PULSE RACE.
But anyway. These duties, while unpleasant weren’t awful or beyond my realm of capability. My only complaint was that I felt my work was worth WAY more than 8 dollars an hour.
Eventually my supervisor began to see I was an intelligent and good, responsible worker and she decided I could increase my duties.
Which meant I would take tissue samples from mice, extract the DNA, do a complicated procedure wherein I suspended the DNA in a liquid and then another complicated procedure followed which allowed me to see certain genetic characteristics of the mouse and track their genealogy.
I did that.
With no scientific background. Just a really patient teacher and an immense fear of having to find a new job.
The thing I didn’t realize when I took on this task, not that anybody asked if I wanted to or not, was how we would “extract the tissue” in order to get the DNA.
One day my supervisor gave me a list of things to gather so I could go help her in the animal room.
I gathered the supplies, test tubes, alcohol, tweezers, cotton swabs, and scissors and down we went to the basement.
Some of you will judge me for what I’m about to write and I don’t blame you.
Together with my supervisor we took baby mice, one by one, held them down and cut triangle chunks out of their right ears.
Nobody asked me my thoughts or feelings on the matter. I was just following instructions and suddenly I was doing it.
And yes, yes I do realize that this is perhaps something a former Nazi might say. And no, I don’t feel good about it.
I was assured that this was in the best interest of the mice. It kept them from being inbred, it helped further the research so their shitty lab lives were not in vain, and also there are very little nerve endings in the ear of a mouse. When you cut a mouses ear it feels a bit like cutting into damp newspaper.
SORRY HOPE YOU WEREN’T EATING BREAKFAST. This is a sensation I don’t think I’ll ever forget, no matter how hard I try to repress it down.
Allegedly the mice felt no pain when this happened. My supervisor and I actually coped by cooing to the mice, saying “Don’t you want to look like your brothers and sisters?!”
But I do know that those baby mice felt fear. Mice generally hate interacting with humans, it isn’t natural. Even more they don’t like being handled by humans. Those moments where my supervisor and I held them down and took a chunk of their ear was likely forgotten soon after it happened. But the sad, pitiful, protesting, sounds they made when it was happening is forever imprinted in me.
I’m not an advocate for animal torture by any means. But I do think that animal research is a necessary evil. Sacrifices are made for progress. It is very much a double edged sword.
Those mice were cute. When I went downstairs to feed them and change their water bottles I used to sing to them.
I guess I always knew they’d come back to haunt me in some way or another.
No, I am not her mother.
Thank you though, for assuming it! And leaving me to weigh the pros and cons of correcting you. Are you someone I may possibly see again? Does it even really matter? Do you actually know my employers? Is my not correcting you going to make things more, or less awkward?
Okay, I guess I’ll correct you.
“Oh! hah! I’m her nanny actually…”
Oh my god.
Did you really just ask me how much I get paid?
Why, pray tell, is that any of your business? Why is it suddenly socially acceptable to inquire about not only my finances but subsequently the finances of the family I work for?
And while we’re at it lets get one thing straight.
Just because I nanny for an infant does not mean I am also a wet nurse.
I have never lactated in my life, and I do not plan to start any goddamn time soon.
No, I would not breastfeed this baby even if I could in fact produce breast milk. Maybe if we were marooned on an island and I had no other choice. Until then I shall soldier on, providing the baby its own defrosted frozen breast milk from its own mother in this handy dandy contraption called a bottle!
Possibly the worst part of this conversation would be the follow up part wherein you asked if she ever “gets confused” and tries to breastfeed my breasts anyway..
Firstly I would like to gently direct you to someplace called the internet. It is a magical land where your quite obviously depraved mind can have a field day imagining all sorts of dirty lactation scenarios!
Secondly just because I’m the nanny of an infant it does not mean I have any magic powers or insight into her mystical brain. For all I know its just colors and shapes floating around in there. I am sure she “gets confused” every three to five seconds when her tiny immature brain is bombarded with new sights, smells and sounds. Then again she may have it all figured out, and is listening to this conversation right now and laughing her ass off at how little tact you posses.
GOOD DAY, SIR.
I SAID GOOD DAY!
One thing moving to the city has brought into my life is an onslaught of homeless people.
And neighbors who are living just above the poverty line.
Poverty and homelessness are not new concepts to me, but I was accustomed to only seeing these things when I occasionally went downtown, or visiting New York City.
To see homeless people every day is sort of strange. In Boston there are plenty of homeless but somehow there also aren’t that many so they stick out more.
On my way to work every day I’ve been passing the same homeless man. He looks a few years older than me at most. He is always sitting outside the Au Bon Pain in the morning, holding a sign that says:
“If you can’t help me today, help somebody else tomorrow.”
Which I think is a nice sentiment.
Ever since I watched my father give out money to people who needed it in Davis Square I’ve been more cognizant of how I treat those I see panhandling on the street. Standing with the sign as we tried to give away money, I was shocked at how many people saw you with a sign from afar and tried to do their best to make you invisible. It was a strange and erie feeling.
I mean, we’ve all done it right? Averted our eyes from sadness, from guilt and nagging obligation. I do it too. But I’m trying not to. I reason with myself that even if I don’t have money to offer, it doesn’t mean I should treat the homeless like nothing more than a piece of litter on the street.
I try to make eye contact. To smile. To say “Good Morning.”
But then last Tuesday morning I noticed that the Au Bon Pain man
(who I’ve named James in my mind, because I feel that name suits him.) looked particularly dejected. It looked as if maybe he’d gotten into a fight. His nose was swollen and sitting at an odd angle on his face. His eye was completely full of blood. He really looked miserable. I remembered that I had a lone dollar bill in my wallet and stopped by the small stone wall in front of the restaurant to fish it out. On my way to my wallet I saw the package of crackers with peanut butter I had intended to eat for breakfast, I decided to give those to him as well.
He took the money and crackers and you would have thought I had handed him a winning lottery ticket. He thanked me so profusely, and exclaimed how excited he was to have breakfast.
It was simple for me. It felt like nothing. But it made a difference.
But I’ve been worried about him all week.
Last night I went to the drive thru to grab something quick after an extra long babysitting stint.
There was an enterprising homeless man with a cane standing right near where you placed your order. As I drove up he called out to me, as many people often have;
“You should try smiling! You’re a beautiful woman.”
I smiled and I thanked him. He then asked if I could help out a homeless veteran. I sighed to myself, thinking that it wasn’t fair that I was ordering food because it was late and I felt too lazy to cook and this man was probably scraping together coins for something off the dollar menu. It was a chilly fall night and I wondered where he was sleeping.
I told him I had no cash but he was welcome to the large collection of coins I had in my door. It was mostly pennies but he conceded that every little bit helped and took them graciously.
I wasn’t going to use those damn pennies anyway.
Before I drove forward to pay he said
“Well you tell your boyfriend he’s a lucky man, you are a beautiful woman truly.”
And of course, even though his flattery may have had an ulterior motive, it was a reminder, again. That these are people.
Living, breathing, struggling, members of the human race.
And whenever I give money to a panhandler I do still have that nagging feeling…that “He’s probably going to use this to buy booze” feeling.
But even if the homeless veteran was going to use my pennies toward drink or drugs or even cigarettes, those are his choices to make. My job at this point is to practice having faith whenever possible.
To enact the golden rule.
I know I can’t save every down on their luck person in Boston.
But I may as well try my best.