Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Playing Ketchup Part 1

I've definitely been through some crap in my life, but the Universe (my arch-nemesis) decided to throw my way a rather eclectic slew of challenges both big and small within a relatively short period of time. With every new shitstorm, I would chuckle and utter, "Well played, sir, well played." Then I would burst into tears because eventually even the most minor of hiccups would send me reeling at the cruelty and injustice of fate. Once the clock struck 2013, however, life became just a little bit brighter. (After I stopped vomiting all over San Francisco, details to come). I know it's insane to think that things magically change when one year ends and the next begins. But the proof is in the pudding. Mmm... pudding.

Playing Ketchup

How do I summarize six months worth of drama, heartbreak, transition, and triumph? Why, let's make a list! (I feel like this is the start of a very bizarre musical number, but then again, that's how I feel about 90% of the time).

1. My Body Has Declared Mutiny

After hardly being sick a day in my life (other than a random week of vertigo in high school during which I tried to walk down the hallway and ended up swaying and stumbling into lockers like the love child of Lucille 2 and a drunken sailor), I managed to end up at the doctor at least a bajillion times (more like 7 or 8, but still). While the issues I faced were in no way serious or life-threatening, (trying to maintain perspective), it definitely felt like it at the time. Ultimately I blame the stress from my job at Studio City for completely fucking up my immune system. I'm still dealing with some health problems, but everything seems to be under control at the moment. Of course now I find myself frantically WebMDing even the slightest twinge, cough, or tummy rumble. The experience has made me a raging hypochondriac, so thanks for that new diagnosis as well, Universe.

Lucille 2
My imaginary mother
2. RIP Stan 1989-2012

My beloved car and oft-mentioned Partner in Crime, Stan, perished on October 5th, 2012. I was coming home from Sally Tomatoes practice late at night when I noticed he was making strange chugging noises up the 405 near Sherman Oaks. All of a sudden, the lights went out. Whatever strange car disease he caught must have been contagious, since he sidled up right behind another car that was also stopped dead in the right hand lane. They had to shut down the whole frickin' freeway which was still crowded at 10:30pm on a Wednesday, so a CHP car could literally push me up the hill and roll down the other side to the offramp. It was very dramatic. While I waited in the cold for a tow truck, I curled up in a ball in the front seat, sobbing. I had a feeling this was the beginning of the end for my dear friend. Sure enough, Pep Boys would have had to basically rebuild the whole frickin' engine. Not worth it for a car this old and admittedly shitty. So I donated his body to charity and adjusted to the harsh reality of being a pedestrian in LA.

3. The Schlep

I had only just transferred to my new property in Pasadena, originally a mere 20 minute drive from North Hollywood, when suddenly I had a two hour commute on my hands. This involved two trains and a thirty minute walk through ghetto NoHo. Because LA public transportation is stupid. Adding two hours on either end of my work day was just killing me. Not literally. But it did suck.

4. My 25th Birthday

Speaking of suck, October 16th was my 25th birthday. Arguably the last milestone birthday I will ever have (if you consider finally being able to rent a car as a milestone). I had to work that day, so I carried my party dress, cute shoes, and makeup all the way through the Schlep for my birthday dinner at Cheesecake Factory in Old Town Pasadena. I invited fourteen people. Guess how many showed up. One. My dear gay husband Eric, who still made the whole affair fabulous. But when you're already having a hard time, you just want to have fun and cheesecake with the people who love you. While I know that this is not the end of the world, especially compared to everything else that was going on, it was definitely the rancid cherry on top of a crap sundae.

Fun Fact: My birthday was at the same Cheesecake Factory where Penny works in the Big Bang Theory. It looks nothing like this and I'm not sure why on earth she wears that ridiculous uniform that also bears no resemblance to the real thing. In any case, the more you know!

5. The Big Move

This one is actually a good thing. Because I could no longer stand losing four hours of my life commuting, I knew I had to move to Pasadena STAT. Ever since I left UC Irvine, I vowed never again to have a roommate. Not that my experiences with roommates were so bad, but I love being Queen of my own castle. I finally came to the realization that I could either spend $775 for a terrible one-bedroom in the ghetto with no A/C or heater, but plenty of cockroaches, or spend substantially less to share a discounted luxury two-bedroom in glorious Pasadena at one of my company's properties. Needless to say, my place is BOMB (to borrow a 90s colloquialism)! Also, my roommate Smita is awesome. We very rarely see each other, but when we do, we hang out and watch Say Yes to the Dress or forensic cop shows.

Another Fun Fact: the exterior of City Hall from Parks and Rec is also in Pasadena. I fucking love this town!

6. Boy Drama

a. Winston.
I took a break from boys while I was figuring some stuff out. But once I thought I was back on my feet,  I met a guy named Winston. He was very sweet and I thought the name Winston was the best thing ever. Sadly Winston gave me the creeps. I could never put my finger on why exactly. I tried to give him a second chance by inviting him to watch Community over at my place. I was still commuting at the time, so I ended up falling asleep on the couch halfway through the second episode. Yes, I was exhausted, but I have a feeling if I had liked him more, I probably would have powered through. Poor guy, will probably always be traumatized by that. He tried to kiss me good night and my gut instinct was to basically shove him out the door. The last time that happened was with the French Creeper. Has this impulse ever happened to anyone else?

"Are there other black nerds, or is it just you and Urkel?" -30 Rock
b. Patrick
Patrick was a good guy. Imagine Toofer from 30 Rock, only slightly less pompous. We went on a fantastic first date to a South American BBQ place that must have been really expensive. (I'm not used to that). We got along great, talked for a few hours at Starbucks, and he walked me home in the rain. Then I was an adorable romcom heroine and couldn't get the damn security gate unlocked with my fancy new laser fob thingie. I ended up having to call myself on the intercom to buzz myself in. Which he thought was hilarious. And then I never heard from him again. At least not until a few weeks ago. I was used to guys disappearing though it always drives me nuts. But he sincerely apologized and explained himself to my satisfaction. When I told him I was dating someone else, he gallantly said, "I knew I couldn't be your only fan." Sweet, right? Though now it sounds kind of creepy and stalkerish. But I swear, it wasn't like that. I hope.

c. Matthew
Frickin' puppet master. Not even worth a whole paragraph.

I find this picture highly unsettling...

d. James
The first time I ever said "Fuck you" to someone, and genuinely meant it. I guess it's my own fault. Damn those twinkly blue eyes and devilish grin. That boy is poooooiiiisoooon.

7. Family Drama

I don't really want to go into the details of this one. Basically, the one thing I always thought I could count on, my family, nearly fell apart around Thanksgiving. As a whole, we seem to have moved past it, but it's still not ok with me.

Corporate espionage!!! Dun dun dun!

8. Selling Out

The Monday after Thanksgiving, my company found out that our two biggest competitors bought us out and were going to divide us up 60/40. The well-established, flourishing company that I finally had grown to love (after transferring to Pasadena and realizing that it was just Studio City that was Hell on Wheels), no longer exists. Imagine if McDonald's and Carl's Jr. randomly decided to buy out Burger King. It's kind of like that. No one saw it coming. At the time, we didn't know if we were all still going to have jobs, or what the new company would be like. The term "drinking from the firehose" was thrown around a lot. The sale is finally complete, but we are still in the painful process of transition. It's turning out to be ok, just awkward. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether I my kickass employee housing discount will be cut in half. That would suck. But we shall see.

9. Grief

Not long after attending a friend's funeral, I lost two members of my own extended family. Some of my other friends have experienced similar tragedies and my heart just breaks for them as well. It definitely comes in waves.

I wish I looked this pretty when I'm sick...

10. Vomitting on BART

To top off a truly banner year, on New Year's Eve I christened a Bay Area Rapid Transit train with the contents of my upset stomach. Specifically, copious amounts of pasta mixed with vodka. Sorry about that, people of San Francisco! But that's what you get when your best friend who moved to San Francisco leaving you alone and miserable in LA is a former alcoholic and drinks vicariously through you and you just happen to be a lightweight. After a lovely day visiting with Eric and exploring the city, we had decided to watch the midnight fireworks over Fisherman's Wharf from on top of a faraway hill. But the entire time the fireworks were exploding and Eric was sharing the traditional New Year's kiss with his boyfriend, I was blorching like a champ. I like to think that I was vomiting up everything bad about 2012. I still had a nasty hangover on January 1st, but once it was over, a fresh start lay ahead.

So that's just a sampling of everything that sucked about 2012. This is already a really long post, so I think I'll leave the sort-of happy ending for next time. Ta da!

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