The Cough, a horror story.

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Warning, this is gross.  Not quite as gross as that time I accidentally Carried my sex buddy, but if this story becomes a stage show, you’re definately going to want to stay out of the splash zone in the first few rows. 

Can I offer you one of my ..... tissues?

Getting over a nasty little cold has left me with a particularly bad Cough.  To understand why I’ve capitalized the C in cough, you have to understand that this is not the bodily function of the politely dying Victorian consumptive, this is more like a pull start motor in the throes of an exorcism.  From flubber demons.

"You're my new mommy!"

My Cough demands attention, and a certain begrudging respect.  Strangers stop and say “Woah.”  And then often cross themselves, scoot away and start googling “death rattle” on their phones.  My cat won’t have anything to do with me, she just hides and dreams of better days when I didn’t hack thunderclaps at her.  A trash truck driver actually stopped his work to look around for what the ruckus was.

"Do you hear something?"

And now that I’m moving through what my friend Helena politely calls the “expecterant phase,” it’s gotten messier.  And she’s pretty much the only person willing to be around me during it, bless her heart.  For her trouble, she and two of her unsuspecting friends got to witness the following this morning.

We’re driving and I start to feel the cough tickle come on.  It sounds and feels like a tick-tick-tick in my chest because I’m breathing through a film of semi-gelatized snot.  Once I start coughing, I have to finish, I have to hack it up or I feel like I’m going to choke on it.  (I did warn you this was going to be gross.)  I start hacking and my leg starts twitching like a dog getting it’s belly rubbed and then it ends with me with a mouthful of demon-snot.  I can feel it’s firmer consistancy floating in my salivia.  I’m out of tissues in my purse, so I try to sidetalk out of one side of my mouth with the debris and various Cough shrapnel floating in the other, “are your windows up back there in the back seat and does anyone mind if I spit out the window?”

They don’t so much agree as realize they have no real good choices here and say, “um sure?”  I roll down my window and wind up for the pitch but get firmly checked by the seatbelt’s shoulder strap.  I recoil and make a second windup but the whole missile launch has already been thrown dangerously offbalance.  In that slow-mo that only bad memories come in, I realize that it lacks the critical OUMPH! but there is no return. 

It's too late to take lessons.

I fall back into my seat with snot and salvia streaming across my right check and tendrils extending into my hair.  “Babies spit up more effectively than that,” I offer feebly.   A hand extending from the backseat, belonging to a girl I’ve just met moments before (and probably never again, now) offers me two crumpled Rubios napkins.  I realize that most of the damage is to the shoulder of my own top, where I’ve Jackson Pollocked a fist-sized green and yellow painting of my viral illness.

Not that I'm suggesting he's anything less than a genius.

I hear the two girls in the back seat discuss the contents of the one girl’s purse, from whence the napkins came, probably because they’re desperate to distract themselves from the horror of what they’ve just seen.

I continue to take stock of the damage.  One ambitious bit of snot has broken my body’s gravity and streaked away like a green comet of nasty across the back passenger side window.  This is now the view of a nice girl named Cynthia, whom I barely know.

But with a daytime background.

 At least I made sure that window was UP?  Small saving graces, I guess.

“That pretty much could not have gone worse.”

We arrive at my destination and I offer goodbyes.  “Ok, thanks and can we not talk about my harffing a snotball all over everything?”

………………. Silence.

“No,” I continued.  “That was so bad that I think it enters the realm of funny and we must joke about it.” 

“Yes,” came the chorus from the backseat, as the final word on the subject.

A Little’s Enough

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I wrote fan mail once and I mean like once in my whole life. 

I facebooked Tom Delonge from Angels & Airwaves (also Blink 182) and tried at first to NOT sound like a deranged teenager and then gave up because who cares?  I wrote about what his music had meant to me at an especially wounded time.  I went ahead and threw in a “you saved my life.”  I’d be more ashamed except I really truly meant it.

Secret Crowds

Everything’s Magic

Love Like Rockets

A Little’s Enough

 

As I was writing a chat window popped up and “Tom” asked me for my info to send me free tickets.  It was obviously a hacker, and I don’t recall whether I bothered to hit send on my email or not.

All that to say that as much as I like to think of myself as someone who holds her shit together around people who are celebrities, Tom Delonge was above and beyond.  If I met him?  Pregnant and out on rape charges.  That’s how that would go down.

This weekend I had a mild inner ear infection.  The kind that make you dizzy, really, really dizzy.  I spent my weekend on the couch crocheting.  I was feeling better today and in yoga pants I’d put on Friday night and never bothered to change, I took my bike up to the corner grocery store.  It’s important to have a visual of my wet hair, sequined tshirt with cat hair, and bike helmet.  I had about 18 items in my cart but since I’m in that store like every third day I know that the express lanes are often waiting and totally accepting of more items.  I have the decency to pretend to care when I start unloading my items onto the counter. 

“I hope they don’t count past 15,” I mutter to the tattooed elbow in the corner of my vision, just so I don’t seem like the bitch who ignores signs.  Rocket ship tattoos, it registers.  Really awesome rocke- HOLYSHIT.

HOLYSHIT.

HOLYSHIT.

THIS IS HAPPENING.

HOLYSHIT.  I know who that is.  I glance at the clock beyond his head.  Yep, that’s Tom Delonge.  I pretend to consult my blank wrist to the time on the clock.  Still very Tom Delonge.  Stop looking at a blank wrist.  Tom is buying groceries with his daughter Ava.  I am melting down while wearing cat hair, sequins and a bike helmet.  He’s attempting to do normal people things.  I’M attempting to do normal people things while watching him do normal people things.  Do not touch him.  DO NOT BURY YOUR FACE IN HIS TSHIRT AND CRY, VJ.  STOP MUTTERING THESE INSTRUCTIONS TO YOURSELF  TO YOURSELF UNDER YOUR BREATH HE MIGHT HEAR YOU.

He turns and looks at me.  I hope I wasn’t making strange strangled noises, I don’t think I was, but who really fucking knows?  His eyes meet mine and my face splits in an enormous smile and there was a moment of I-know-you-know-that-I-know-and-I-know-that-you-know-that-I-know and Ava said “Daddy!  something I didn’t catch.”

.

.

The cashier said “cash back?” and I stopped blinking. 
“That was Tom Delonge from Blink-182, you know.”
“Was it?”
“He’s kind of the only person that I don’t know that I totally care about.”
“You should catch him in the parking lot.  I’ll hold your stuff.”
“No ……. I don’t think I could do any better with words.”

Gosh, even Cash Cab lets you have one Phone-A-Friend.

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I was waltzing into the grocery store the other night and yes, maybe I was actually waltzing.  It was 80 degrees warm and I was happy.

This trim, bright-eyed thing asks me right before the doors, “can I ask you just two questions for my sociology thesis?”  The only possible answer to that in my polite, sunset-beach world is yes, yes of course!

“Yay!  Ok.  Which immigrant group has been most beneficial to the US?”

I smiled an indulgent smile.  She must have misspoke.  We don’t ask questions like that.

I got blank brightness and realized that was really her question.  I mean …. goodness.   I stammered a bit around the word “diversity,” but I can’t recall a single coherent thought I expressed so it’s no shock she wasn’t making notes.   Finally I threw out “Canadians!  My boyfriend is a Canadian and he’s totally my favorite.”  And then mentally facepalmed at hearing myself sound so, like totally smart.

“Ok.  Great.  So.  Which immigrant group coming to the US causes the most problems.  In your opinion.”

*blink-blink* 

I checked back two or three times at her face this time, the same innocent expectance on her features.  I suppose I should have seen that question coming but ….. she really expected me to Answer That Question.  With Words.  There was some more stammering from me about diversity being inherently valuable but it was probably less coherent that the last time.  

She really wasn’t going to let me off the hook, and to walk away seemed like it was saying “screw you and education along with it!” 

I flashed on saying, “Duh, WHITE PEOPLE,” but it was clear she was referring to the modern nation, not the continent as a whole.  (Although in hindsight that answer still doesn’t seem to be …. incorrect.)  So I flubbed out something about how our lack of understanding and appreciation for other cultures is really most often the problem.  Why, just for example I recently saw this video where muslims are gathering in LA to fundraise for local LA charities and they’re heckled by a bunch of  rednec……… oh shit, she’s going to take the short answer of what I said as “muslims.”

“NO!  Uh, ONLY BECAUSE OF US, and our LACK OF KNOWLEDGE about their ACTUAL CULTURE AND FAITH!”

She nodded at my discomfort (finally!) but her pen was raising to her pad.  “I see,” she said.

As she wrote her lips seemed to mouth her words, “very uncomfortable,” and I can only PRAY her study wasn’t on American immigrants but on how retardedly silly white people are when they talk about it.

Tyransanity

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I already love this season of America’s Next Top Model, it’s got major crazy potential.  

Tangent, I heard a coworker mention me as liking “food and crazy people.”  I love that they’re beginning to really know me.

To start off, instead of showing the tape of the auditions, Tyra decided to dress up and reenact them herself.   No seriously, that happened.

Then.  Tyra has this big group of girls and they’re socializing and the judges are picking the girls to go on as contestants, from another room.  Then all the girls are given envelopes and told that if their picture is inside, they’ve been chosen to be a part of this cycle and if not they’ll be going home.  Half the girls get a photo, and are elated.  They’re led off and NEVER SEEN AGAIN.

The group of “rejects” are taken to collect their luggage and then Tyra informs them that SURPRISE, they’re going to the models’ apartment because they are in fact the contestants for this season.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who, witnessing the sea of delight and hugging that followed, wondered about the first group who thought they were the winners.  Did one of the Jays, or perhaps Tyra appear to break the JUST KIDDING YOU LOSE news themselves, or were they just poisoned or shot to avoid the trouble?

Ok so THEN, the girls go to their photo shoot/runway show and it’s them getting their picture taken during hair and makeup backstage at the photo shoot.  One girl (Brittani [whom we like]) has her eyelid folded up during makeup, a moment that is captured and makes second best photo for being, and I quote the judges, “so hot.”

THEN, the girls are carefully taped inside big inflatable hamster balls full of glitter and told to walk down a runway that is a balance beam.  That is floating in a pool.

Naturally two girls (only two!) fall off and are now in a big beach ball floating with no traction, and are expected to save themselves.  Before the oxygen in their bubble runs out.

 

One rather bubbleheaded girl muses that she is worried she’s “spend the rest of her life in that bubble” without being able to get out.  I don’t think she’s referring to the suffocation risk but in light of that it suddenly seems like a valid objection.

The girls that fall try to will their balls to the side of the pool by flopping around in them like dead fish.  No one in the audience or backstage makes the slightest move to help.

It’s a beautiful concept and no thanks to anyone but the models, no one dies

The girls then move into their first elimination panel and are understandably very nervous.  Tyra only wishes to discuss her tshirt, which has a giant picture of fellow judge (and Vogue editor) Andre Leon Talley.  Andre Leon Talley is wearing a top hat that has it’s own ponytail, bobbed and sticking straight up as if in indignation. 

I love this show more than ….. well more than most things.

So for who I like (“we” referring to the royal we of Aurora and I, as Aurora is too busy to watch regularly but likes to lustily cheer for my choices when she gets that rare moment [Aurora is the best best friend ever]), we like Hannah.  She’s so pretty!  with so much hair and energy and eyeliner!  and so far, not the slightest whiff of bitchcrazy!!

We also like Molly, Brittani, Dalya, Ondrei and Mikayla.

 

We like Sarah but we’re concerned about her potential.

Who do you like?  And can someone explain Andre Leon Talley’s hat to me, please?

You brought a sloth to a wine tasting, don’t look at me like I’M weird.

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Valancy Jane – “OMG.  Are you raffling off a live sloth?!?!”

Wine Store Management – “Hahaha!  No.”

Valancy Jane – “OMG.  Can I hold it?!?!”

Wine Store Management – “Hahaha!  No.”

Valancy Jane – “Can I take a picture of it on the raffle table and send it to my brother saying, ‘I WON!!!’”

Wine Store Management – “Hahaha!  Yes.”

(note, my photo didn’t come out, this photo is borrowed)

Plenty of cookie.

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One of them, the accountants I worked with, one or another of them always remembered to bring me back one of the giant cookies from the monthly association meeting.  I think they must confer on it before they leave, ‘who’s got the cookies for the office girls?’

It’s sweet.  So is the cookie, which is no lie as big as my face. 

Half of it was still on my desk a few hours later, when I noticed an ant crawling towards it.  I’d never seen an ant in this building before.  It’s so clean! and marble! and beige!  I put the little plastic dome of a vending machine toy dispensor over him (yes, I carry these in my purse) but I wasn’t sure where to take him.  If his family was in our office – or anywhere on our floor - they were hella sneaky.  The only place I was certain an ant could live was downstairs, one floor and out to the parking lot, but that was too far to assume he’d come from there.  Last time I tried to move an office spider out to the parking lot he was too scared of the outdoors and ran directly under my foot.  Trying doesn’t always work, yo.

My boss surpressed the second blink when I told her where I was going, trying to pretend she doesn’t think that’s weird.  Bless.  The ant did flips around the inside of the plastic bubble while we waited for the elevator.  Was it really better than just squishing him, to exile him to the land of rival ant gangs?  Were there little ant friends somewhere that would miss him?  Yes, I do think about these things.  Yes, I do care.  I’m careful even with very small life. 

An ant is a social creature.  It might not miss it’s mama, per se, but it sure can express agitation at a survival problem when presented with an unfamiliar terrain.  And it did, up and down that concrete curb.  So I did a very sentimental, shortsighted (but if that’s not human what is?) thing. 

I left it the other half of the cookie.

Dear darling Internet, you’ll tell me the truth, won’t you?

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These pants.  These pants are awesome.  But ……. will they love me back?  I’m short, especially the lower half, and not conservatively proportioned.  Will the well-defined waist keep me from looking too hip-py?  Will hemming them (which I often have to do) destroy the tapered leg?  I strongly suspect I can make these work, but then I remember the year I thought short-sleeved mock turtlenecks where the way to go.  (Picture NOT supplied.)

In return for your advice, I will offer my own on any subject you choose.  Anything at all you want advice on.  My only warning/qualification is that I’m a brave little slut.