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November 29, 2007

Impervious to Illness

This is about the time of year when everyone starts feeling the tickle at the back of their throats or the snuffle at the tip of their nose that tells them they are about to be felled by pestilence. Multiple colleagues of mine have even reported a suspicion of having modern plague (mono).

I would like to take this opportunity to declare that this year I shall not be one of Disease’s many fallen. This year I will escape the clammy clutches of any form of influenza or common cold. This year I will conquer mucus, phlegm and fever.

This year I will be a vision of health.

And it’s all really simple whycome. The human interaction in my life is now so limited that my chances of germ contraction are next to nil. Compared to the stewing cesspool of human filth that is a college campus, I now live in monk-like conditions. I rarely interact with my roommates and I disinfect that which I must touch in our shared space on a regular basis. The parties I used to host so frequently are no more, so there’s no chance of mistakenly swapping syndromes by swapping snacks or sips.

At work my closest coworker sits approximately five feet away from me, so there’s no chance of a wayward sneeze or errant spittle to mar my biochemistry. The next-closest coworker after that is stationed approximately 25 feet from me and faces the opposite direction. I don’t have to handle money or touch people in order to do my job, either.

The one place where I’m in real danger is on the metro, where people are often packed so tightly during rush hour I literally have a crush of humanity breathing down my neck. Beyond sporting a surgical mask, there aren’t a lot of measures I can take besides wearing my gloves when I cling to the handrails for dear life.

Even if a sneaky germ managed to get its way into my system, I am fully confident the ridiculous amounts of Vitamin C I ingest daily will bring it to its knees.

November 28, 2007

Broke Boot Metro

Yesterday wasn’t the best of days. Actually, it was the latest in a string of not-so-good days. But yesterday was particularly bad. My coworker had a personal crisis that was so sad it made me nearly weep, and then I got into a huge fight with a dear friend and felt like I was having a heart attack.

And then, on my way to the metro after I left the office for the day, the heel of my right boot snapped off. It was still dangling to the upper part of the shoe by a few sinewy pieces of leather on the heel, but it would no longer serve as a support for my girth.

I was already having trouble walking yesterday because I was wearing a pretty tight pencil skirt that was static-clinging to my tights, causing me to have shuffle instead of taking my usual long, powerful strides. The absence of a right heel just about made me a contender for Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks with my limping hobble.

The shame made my cheeks glow as red as my skirt (and my jacket, and my phone, and my mp3 player… I kind of like the color red). I’d like to think no one noticed my plight unless they looked directly at my shoe because I was I was balancing so gracefully on my toes. But the stares of passers-by told me this definitely was not the case.

What’s really eerie about this incident is that around this same time last year the heel on my previous pair of black boots broke off as I was hurrying to French class. And I was wearing the same outfit I had on yesterday. WEIRD.

So now I’m out a pair of black boots and I keep having dreams about buying a pair of Uggs and my conscious mind can’t understand this because I think they’re really ugg-ly and I’m just so scared and lonely and confused I want to ball up under my desk and dream about Wolf Blitzer instead.

November 24, 2007

A desperate plea for pity

Seems to me that very few people are actually from the DC area. It's a transient place where people flit in, put in a tortuous two or three years with the politician/government agency/news medium of their choice and then flit out again.

This being the case, it's been practically a ghost town here this Thanksgiving weekend. I had a few buddies with whom to spend the actual holiday, saving me from having a complete emotional breakdown, but otherwise it's been just me and The Flatulent One.

And boy, is he creeping me out. I exited my room on Thursday to find he had cleaned the entire apartment. He even laundered the dining room table cloth and our bathmats. This from the the guy who can't be bothered to wipe the sink of his excess shaving cream and stubble. Then this morning I went in the kitchen to find a plate heaping with brownies. This from the guy who has never so much as boiled water for a meal (he tends to favor take out pizza and Wendy's). Maybe the Good Roommate did poison him.

Because I could only stay cooped up in my room for so many hours reading another book about Tudor England-- the TV and thus our entire shared living space had been claimed by Sir Flatulence for hours-- I met up with my sole friend who is actually from DC for dinner. We went to the neighborhood to the west of mine, and on the moderately long walk home I couldn't stop myself from staring in to restaurant windows on families enjoying a lovely meal together.

I felt like the curmudgeonly father in those Christmas movies who leaves his home and children in a huff, cursing the bad luck the fates had bestowed upon him, until he happens upon a scene of familial tranquility. He pauses outside the window rimmed with frost and looks adoringly at the family inside. Feeling his stare upon them, they nudge each other and point to the window. Alarmed at the feeling of his heart slowly shedding its encasement of ice, he hurries home, finally aware of the true meaning of Christmas.

I was that man, dear readers. Except I had no family to hurry to. Only the roommate.

And now, as he takes one of his 40-minute showers in complete darkness, I cannot help but feel that darkness seep into my very soul.

November 21, 2007

And then things got even weirder...

In a repeat performance of the previous evening, The Good Roommate zoomed out of his room as soon as I got home last night, intent on conversing with me as I nuked my Amy's macaroni and soy cheez frozen meal. (Stop that eye rolling. Whole Foods is the only grocery store within walking distance and it was on sale, OK?)

"So how's it going?" he asked.
"Oh, you know. Fine," I replied.
"What's up?" he asked.
"Not a whole lot. My day was pretty standard," I replied.
"What's new?" he prodded.
"Um... I'm having a hard time getting a senator to call me back for a story I'm writing," I finally offered in hopes of ending the cycle of pleasantries.
"Oh. That sucks. So I've been thinking about what I told you last night."
"Please tell me you decided against poisoning him."
"Don't worry. I had another idea. Remember that email I sent out a couple months ago?"
(Note: he's referring to a six-page email he sent me and The Flatulent One enumerating all the different rules of the apartment. Example: "The food I buy is my food. While I don't mind sharing, it is my decision on whether to share my food or not. I did not buy it for you, and you may not have anything I want in return.")
"He's been using all my silverware and dishes and not washing them when he's done. (Note: this is a violation of Rule No. 3--Using Stuff in the Kitchen) Before I leave this weekend I'm going to either take all my pots and pans and stuff with me to my parents' or hide them all in my room."
"What if I have to make something, though?" I asked.
"Oh. Well... You could pick out everything you think you'll need and hide it in your room," he offered.

After politely declining this gracious offer, we spent a jovial 10 minutes discussing how ill-equipped for life The Flatulent One is. It was during this time that TGR told me how much he enjoyed having me as a roommate, all the while staring at my chest.

November 20, 2007

And then things got weirder...


Upon returning home from work and a subsequent trip to the grocer’s last night, The Good Roommate exited his room and began conversing with me as I put my plunder in the fridge and various cupboards.

“So, how’s it going?” he asked.
“Oh, fine. I had an alright day. How are you?” I responded.
“So what’s up?”
“Umm… nothing? What’s up with you?”
(note: TGR is painfully shy it often takes him awhile to work up the courage to state his purpose)
“You know those cookies that were on the counter last night?” he finally sputtered.
“I didn’t touch them,” I retorted, knowing how anal he is about people eating/drinking/touching what is rightfully his.
(note: I think I know better than to eat ANYTHING in that apartment that hasn’t been sealed in an airtight container)
“Yeah, I didn’t think you did. I knew it was (The Flatulent One)… Well, I’m going to make another batch of cookies and leave them out and he’ll be sorry he ever messed with me.”
“What-- you’re going to poison him?!?”
“Let’s just say he’s not going to be able to leave the bathroom for awhile.”
“But I share a bathroom with him! If his butt explodes I’m going to have to deal with the sounds and smell more than I already do! Please don’t!” I begged.
“Oh yeah; I forgot about that. I’ll come up with something else.”

November 12, 2007


Everything I’ve ever done in my life has had an expiration date. I knew when I was going to graduate high school and college, and most of the jobs I’ve held during those tenures have ended around those dates. Both of my post-collegial internships have also had pre-determined exit dates.

I’m nearing the end of my latest endeavor and it’s time to contemplate something that terrifies me: a job with a foreseeable future.

That means I actually have to figure out what I want to do. Most days I love what I’m doing right now: political reporting for a mid-size daily newspaper. But newspapers are dying, if you haven’t heard. Like, sucking in their last rasping, putrid gasps of air, collapsing upon their decayed limbs, taking one last glance at sweet, sweet life from their milky, mildewed eyeballs dying.

So it looks like I’ll have to find something else to occupy my time. Ideally, I’d like to make a contribution to society, but sometimes I think I’d be just as happy popping out 2.5 kids and spending my days playing catch with them using various kitchen implements. Of course, the unfortunate half of a child, who we’ll call “Semi,” will only have one eye. His/her lack of depth perception being what it will be, it seems more likely than not that the various spatulae and egg-shaped timers I'd lob would blind the poor tot completely.

November 8, 2007


There is a girl in the apartment. A girl!! This is the first time since I've been here someone besides me has brought another person to the lair. Following are the clues I used to piece this occurrence of shooting star-like regularity:

-There are two sets of curtains on The Things sliding doors-- one inside his room and one outside. This morning, for the first time, the outside ones were drawn, indicating that he needed privacy of a very special sort
-While I was in the kitchen fixing my breakfast of frosted mini-wheats, I heard the door slide open behind me and a female voice decide not to venture out in the common area whilst I was there
-Once I was safely ensconced in my room, this creature went into the bathroom and actually washed her hands after relieving herself
-She then proceeded to take a shower-- and left the lights on!

My, my... it seems Mr. Lonely Heart has landed himself a lady friend. I hope beyond hope that this was merely a one-night stand and I don't have to add his primal grunts to the roster of intimate noises I have come to be acquainted with. *Shudder*

November 6, 2007

They slayed her neigh!

Remember little Natalie, who desperately wanted a pet horse but was denied by her City Council? Looks like they might have done her a favor. The Star Tribune published a story today about someone killing another little girl's pony:
LONG PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Authorities are investigating the killing of an 11-year-old girl's pet horse in central Minnesota.

Katie Symalla discovered her horse Savannah dead in the field by her family's farm in Long Prairie on Saturday.

Katie says Savannah was her "best friend in the whole wide world."

The family last saw Savannah on Friday at 5 p.m., and arrived home Saturday just before 2 p.m.

Katie's mother, Victoria Monti, says whoever killed the horse skinned her face and took her eyeball.

Investigators with the Todd County sheriff's office are trying to figure out who killed the horse, and why.
They took her eyeball??? What does one do with a horse eyeball? I mean, do you run a string through it and wear it as a necklace? Can it be used as an amulet to ward off evil?

Note: I'm home sick today so odds are good boredom will drive me to post more than is necessary.

November 4, 2007

Thank you, Daylight Savings Time, for choosing the weekend I LEAST need you

I posted a lot this weekend. Wanna know why? I'm bored out of my skull, that's why. Wink, my usual weekend buddy, is out of commission at the moment because her manly love is in town. So while I'm sure they're quite enjoying having a whole 'nuther hour to snuggle in, as an already-early riser, I'm dying over here. I'm dying, I tell you! I don't need another hour in the day! I would be quite happy with three less, as a matter of fact! Gah, bloop and bollocks. I'm going to make a paper chain counting down all the minutes I have left before the yarn store opens and I can get the materials to make some knitted sushi in honor of the one social thing I did this weekend.

November 3, 2007

Sorry my posts are turning this blog into, but...

... I have had such a weird morning, and it's not even 9 a.m.

As you know, I share a bathroom with a roommate I alternately call The Thing, or The Flatulent One, or That Lump of Flesh. This bathroom connects to my room through my closet, so if I leave the door between my room and closet open I can see if the light is on in the bathroom without leaving my bed. There are two downsides to this: a. I can more clearly hear the cacophony of his morning noises and b. this was how I discovered that he now chooses to shower in the dark, which totally creeps me out.

This morning I awoke at 8 a.m. and desired a trip to the W.C. But there was not only a strip of light shining beneath the bathroom door, I could hear that the fan was on. "That's odd," I thought to myself. "The Thing hasn't gotten up before 9 any day this week (aside: I think he's been laid off/fired), and he's up at 8 on a Saturday morning? Hmm." Thinking that normal humans might forget to turn off the light or the fan, but not both, when leaving the bathroom, I had little reason to believe he wasn't actually in there. So I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, after a half-hour I pressed my ear up to the door and, upon hearing nothing but the whir of the fan, knocked. Nada. Fearing he might be passed out on the floor in a pool of his own vomit and excrement, I hesitantly opened the door. No one in there. WTF.

After checking my email and usual news sites, I decided to take The Good Roommate up on an offer to watch his copy of Enemy of the State, which was housed in a bookshelf in the living room. As I exited my room, a larger-than-usual opening of the curtains in The Thing's room caught my eye (aside: The Thing lives in what is supposed to be a sun room, with sliding glass doors separating it from the main living area. He has long curtains up for his privacy). I could see he wasn't in his bed. "That's odd," I thought to myself. "Where could he have gone so early on a Saturday morning? Perhaps he never came home. Could he possibly be with a lady friend?" Chuckling to myself with the high unlikeliness of that being even remotely true, I walked across the living room and scanned the movie titles until I found what I was looking for.

I heard some rustling behind me. Figuring it was just the pipes creaking or the air turning on or off, I ignored it. Then I heard some distinctly human noises. I turned around and there he was, struggling to prop himself up on the couch. Not for the first time, and probably not even close to the last, a scream caught in my throat upon seeing him (aside: Sometimes I'll be watching TV, thinking I'm alone in the apartment, when I'll catch him staring at me, his face seemingly floating in a crack of the curtains of his room. Once I was straightening my hair with the bathroom door open, and I saw his face bobbing around in the mirror. When I looked back, he had already scurried back to his room).

Not knowing what to do or say, which is often the case in my encounters with It, I wordlessly returned to my room, clutching Enemy of the State in my hand and wishing I didn't have one living in such proximity.

November 2, 2007

Gettin' medieval with it

Dana Milbank, my favorite Washington Post-er, had another extremely amusing edition of his "Washington Sketch" column in today's paper about Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey's waffling on whether waterboarding counts as torture.

Here are some of my favorite snippets:
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition -- and few could have predicted it would play such a prominent role in Washington in 2007. As the United States fights the first war of the 21st century and nuclear weapons spread across the map, President Bush has managed to build a bridge to the 15th century -- by picking a fight with Congress over the use of a weapon perfected by Torquemada.
And this:
Americans, many of whom get their information about medieval torture from I want to be Dana Milbank when I grow up.

November 1, 2007

A bit more than a bump in the night

My Halloween was extremely tame. For the first time in memory, I didn’t don a costume. I didn’t see anyone with one, either, unless you count the halo headband California Sen. Barbara Boxer was fiddling with at an Environment and Public Works Committee hearing yesterday. (Idaho Sen. Larry Craig, who also sits on the committee, was dressed as a lecherous old man, but it’s debatable whether it was a costume.)

I returned home after work and supped in my room as the lump of flesh I live with sprawled on the couch in front of the TV, as he is wont to do. I was a bit nervous about the means I would have to use to remove him from his constant perch so I could enjoy the two hours of programming I allow myself each Wednesday—“Pushing Daises” and “Gossip Girl.”

To my delight, however, one of The Thing’s never-present friends must have tempted him into some inbibery. He got into the shower (an activity he now enjoys in the dark), made his usual gurgles, belches and snorts, and then vacated the premises just in time for my first show.

Wink joined me for the second, as is our habit, and brought me some delightful treats. We sipped a solitary glass of vino each and then she left for the Metro. That was, I thought, the extent of my holiday celebrations.

BUT I THOUGHT WRONG! (Insert witchy laugh here)

In the middle of the night, 3 a.m. specifically, my eyes snapped open. Groggily wondering why on God’s green earth my body would choose to rouse me at that specific time, I suddenly heard what I assumed to be a troupe of ghosties and ghouls tramping through my living room.

As my mind cleared, I realized that it was The Flatulent One, banging and stomping about, cursing and drunkenly slurring threats to our furniture at the top of his lungs. Now, from the safety of my office chair, it seems a bit silly that I didn’t go out and slap him upside the head for disturbing my slumber.

But, dear reader, you must understand that I have often entertained the terrifying thought that one day this oaf will barge into my room during a drunken escapade and defile me. There was no way I was about to confront an angry drunkard twice my body mass and invite an assault on my person. Plus, the lock on my double doors is rendered useless by the slightest wind, which causes the doors to fly open.

It just wasn’t the time to risk getting the wrong response to “Trick or treat?”