The Genuine Friend – A person with whom you interact outside of Facebook. In regular contact. A rock solid friendship, with or without FB.
The Possible Genuine Friend – Someone you have not met in real life but click with marvelously on FB. These two will stay in regular contact. Strong potential for a long-lasting friendship.
The Forever Acquaintance – That person who only touches base with you on your birthdays, holidays and special occasions/announcements.
The Minion – When one person likes/comments on another person’s posts frequently but the recipient rarely, if ever, acknowledges that person. Usually a celebrity/fan-based relationship. Or someone who thinks of themselves as a celebrity.
The Relative – Acceptance of friend request is obligatory in nature unless there is bad blood with that family member. Also can apply to coworkers and bosses.
The Background Noise – When 2 people friend each other then never, ever, ever touch base with each other ever again. A pointless, non-relationship with no there there. Pure filler.
The Stalker – When a sociopath obsessively homes in on a FB friend. If you post a cat picture, they’ll post a cat picture. If you change your profile pic, they change theirs to one with the same pose as yours. They regularly like and comment on your posts, but there’s an underlying, unnerving hostility present. Possible closet Trump supporter. This person usually winds up in the unfriend bin.
The Lech – Typically a married man using FB to troll for vulnerable ladies. He will be charming and engaging at first but before you know it, is messaging you crotch shots and badgering you into having a tryst. Eeeuuu. Block him.
The Spammer – That person on FB solely there to market their business or tout their new book. They have no interest in engaging with anybody. Can be the other end of #4, though they’re usually more extreme in how they work to stay on message. Annoying to most people unless they have a personal interest in their brand.
*Speaking in absolutes is fun! Who doesn’t like a list? But in reality, most relationships are fluid and ever-changing, usually not all one thing permanently. So please, don’t get your knickers in a bunch. Take this blog entry as intended – lightly and with humor! Thanks for reading and have a pleasant say. Yes, say.
“A List of Things All Women Do” – A resource used by every novelist, ever…
2. Be startled by their period showing up
3. Heave their bosom
4. Blush some more
5. Snipe at attractive women
6. Stare at their naked form in the full-length bedroom
mirror and sigh
7. Fantasize about sleeping with rock/movie stars
8. Blush yet again
9. Drink too much-but only occasionally-and get randy
10. Fantasize about what life would have been like if you
hadn’t had kids
11. Scoop up kids, hold them tight, tell them you love them
as a consequence of guilt from #10.
12. Feel flushed-not to be confused with blushing
13. Become besties with one of the attractive women
you used to snipe at
14. Brush your thick, lustrous hair, then tie
back into ponytail
15. Cook a lavish meal for your family that goes
16. Leave your husband, find yourself
17. Once found, go back to said husband
18. But by now husband has a much younger, hotter girlfriend
19. Wait for husband to see the light and dump girlfriend
20. Tell your kids “your father’s just going through a phase”
21. Get drunk again. At a sports bar. Hookup with some
chiseled, blue collar airhead
22. Lay in bed nursing a hangover as your husband strolls back in,
ready to start relationship anew
23. Clumsily explain the condom wrapper by your bed
24. Watch your husband stalk out of the room as you call after him
that it didn’t mean anything!
25. Sob into your pillow
26. Vomit, shower, nibble some toast for breakfast
27. Sigh then blush some more
We say, “I’m going to bed,” but never, “I’m going to couch,” or “I’m going to chair.”
We say, “the show is at night,” but never, “the show is at day.”
We say, “I’m fixing dinner.” Oh, really? Didn’t realize it was broken.
We say, “I’m going to jump in the shower.” Do you, really? Do you strip down on one side of the house, run and take a flying leap through the shower curtains?
Some people say, “I’m going to take a dump.” But do you? I mean, where are you taking it? On a date?
We say, “I need to change my shirt.” Are you going to stand over it with a wand and cast a spell, “voila! Now you’re a dress!” Maybe the shirt didn’t want to change. Maybe it’s been happy all this time, content in all its shirtiness?
Vegas culture sometimes makes me feel self-conscious, for example, whenever I page through the weekly magazine and see photos of the hotties in their slinky dresses, spray-tanned skin and neon teeth. All the gals striking the same pose they learned is flattering to the camera, with one hand on a hip, head tilted just so, with wide toothy smiles and eyes opened as large as they’ll go. Their pneumatic chests mashed into that of their gal pal. And, off to the side, is always a bro in black with short, spiky gelled hair, eyes gleaming like a kid in a candy shop.
I could never be one of those women. I’d feel stupid in a tube dress or with my hair all blown out like Farrah Fawcett. I have never been able to endure a salon for long. I get my hairs cut and styled then split. I can’t imagine sitting there for hours for extensions or a weave or coloring. By the second hour, I’d be reaching for the nearest bottle of nail polish remover, which I’d chug until I was retching and sprawled on the floor, mouth foaming, eyes rolling up into my head.
I wonder what thoughts flicker through the minds of women like this: “OMG, who is texting me now?” “OMG, her hair is sooo lame!” “OMG, he is sooo cute!” (Apparently their every thought must begin with OMG. I don’t know why but it seems right.)
Me, I’m quirky and scruffy and wear little makeup. I shampoo/condition my hair, towel dry it and hope for the best. I wash my hands and clip my fingernails, that is, if I haven’t bitten them to the nub already. I dress like I’m in the Ramones – my uniform, a black t-shirt and Levi’s. But you know what? Gosh darnit, I’m okay with this. There’s room for both the slick and the scruffy in this great, big world.
PS: Sometimes when I see pics of those girls, I’m reminded of this funny bit by Louis CK –
The scene: You’re out with a group of friends, hanging in a coffeehouse. You haven’t visited with these people in many months, because you’re all adults and have jobs, kids, whatever. You’ve got your drinks, you’re comfortably seated, you start catching up. But wait! Three of the five friends are engrossed in their iPhones. One by one, they come up for air, blinking, “huh? Did you ask me a question?”
It’s gotten to the point where I find myself declining invitations to socialize and you can blame smart phones for that. I’m just old enough that I can remember way back when, before the advent of cellphones, when people would gather and the conversation would flow, minds would meld, ideas would be hatched. But I know that if I hang out with people at a coffeehouse or go to dinner nowadays, conversation will not flow, it will happen in fits and spurts as pockets buzz and “oh, it’s my boyfriend, I’d better text him back.”
There was a time when human beings weren’t all on-call, 24/7. When people would revel in one another’s company and THAT WAS ENOUGH! Gather ’round kids, let me tell you a tale…
The year was 1991. I was sitting in the living room of a friend’s apartment in Venice Beach. There were a bunch of us, bohemians all-musicians, writers, painters. As wine flowed, we touched on the topic of the Italian Renaissance. The question was posed: Can a group of people be a catalyst for a modern renaissance? What would be needed for a renaissance to happen? In these pre-internet days, we decided that there’d have to be a hub, where the talent could congregate. I hit on the idea of a magazine as hub and as we lolled on the floor and couches and the night wore on, we talked excitedly of plans to bring about a modern day renaissance.
In the sober light of morn, we stretched and laughed about our big, deep talk, went our separate ways. But I became obsessed with the idea of starting a magazine that could act as a cultural hub. In 1993, when I had a little extra money to mess around with, I decided it was time to do this thing. I considered calling the magazine “Renaissance” but thought that sounded pretentious. I wanted my zine to be playful and light-hearted and thus, “Burnt Toast” was born. With covers in bold, bright primary colors, featuring artwork, articles and poems, my intention was for BT to be a creative hub for locals in my hometown of Huntington Beach and the surrounding environs. Long story short, Burnt Toast was published bi-monthly for the next year and a half and it was one of the best things I ever did. BT was popular and loved and helped to launch the careers of several writers. There are a few books out there floating around where Burnt Toast is cited in the acknowledgements. Just the look on people’s faces, to have budding poets throw their arms around me, so excited to have their poem published, was the greatest thing ever.
See what I mean! All that came from one, incredibly iPhoneless conversation! And while I realize I’m probably sounding like a grumpy old cat lady, fact is, if the people I hang out with are going to spend half that time gazing at their phone, then I’d rather be home, strumming my guitar or ensconced in a book, cuddling Harold and Mod.
And while you’re at it, get off my lawn! Dagnabbit…
Since I recently had my life turned upside down, when my company decided to lay off many employees including yours truly, I haven’t been in much of a blogging mood. So here’s a fun post I wrote four years ago, for an old blog I used to maintain. Enjoy!
A broiling Saturday morning, and I’d just finished up grouting a new mosaic. My local friends were either out-of-town or working and I didn’t feel like sitting around my Huntington Beach apartment, staring at my Facebook wall, all day. I scanned the OC/LA Weekly for events, all of which seemed to center around food/drink and hovering in the hundred degree heat. This was my dilemma; here it is the height of tourist season in SoCal on a sweltering hot Saturday. Roads were sure to be jammed everywhere, tempers short. I didn’t want to drive to the desert, where it was by this time (10am) already at asphalt-melting temps. I ruled out a coastal drive to Ventura or Santa Barbara (PCH on a summer Saturday? Fuhgeddaboutit!). Museums would surely be packed with families looking for a cheap way to escape the heat. I was left with fleeing to a mountaintop. Besides, in the mountains, I’d find cooler temps at the higher elevations. I could drive to Big Bear, but knew the roads up there would be clogged with day/weekend trippers. How about a mountaintop less travelled? One I had yet to visit? Idyllwild it would be.
Figuring that the drive up the mountain would be the highlight of this journey, I took my time, savoring the vistas, pulling over whenever possible. I was blessed with very little traffic. A couple of hair-pinny curves took me by surprise, even though I was driving slow and cautiously. Oh yeah, did I mention I have a fear of heights? My heart shot up into my throat as I rounded these curves, curves that did not have any kind of barrier. One false slip of the foot and you’d careen over a cliff. But the views were breathtaking; the sweeping expanse overlooking a valley buttressed by the cloud-topped San Gabriel mountains.
The village of Idyllwild was a lot like I’d pictured it be: small and kitschy, with hippy-elite, white-bread touches. I tried hard to keep my mind open, to ignore the shudder that naturally overtakes me when I see astroturf and cutesy-wootsy log bear carvings in an otherwise beautiful landscape. I consoled myself by noting that at least there was no evidence of the musty Bavarian-doily motif you find in the neighboring mountain town of Big Bear (author’s note: Coincidentally, I’d move to Big Bear a couple years later!).
The town was swarmed with families poking around, lumbering, fanning themselves in the 85 degree heat. I popped into a crowded coffeehouse, ordered an iced latte and found the only seat available, outside on the porch in the shade. Music was blasting from speakers overhead, competing with a live, astroturf-side performance by a solo-guitarist of New Agey bent. A flock of loud, smoking teens and young adults near me added to the cacophony. I marveled at the irony of my attempt to seek peace and tranquility on a mountaintop in tourist-soaked SoCal.
I next grazed the shops and galleries for a bit then decided I’d escape the tourists and take a quick little hike. I studied the trail map and found one denoted as ‘easy,’ the Ernest Maxwell trail. I drove over to Humber Park, parked my car, found the trailhead and started up. Immediately I noted the steep incline and after a dozen steps thought “this is the most strenuous ‘easy’ hike I’ve ever been on!” I made my way up slowly, huffing with each step, stopping to snap photos of Mt San Jacinto, looming over me at nearly 11,000 feet.
Suddenly I came upon two forest rangers. We all seemed surprised to see each other.
“Hello, do you have a permit?” said one.
“Uh, no,” I stammered.
“You need one to hike the Devil’s Slide trail.”
“Oh, I, uh… I didn’t know…”
“Are you just here to take some pictures?”
“Uhh… yeah. That’s it.”
“Okay, well you can go through a little ways. But next time you’ll need a permit for this trail.”
Thanking them profusely I resumed my hike. So much made sense now!
Not wanting to take advantage of the rangers trust in me, I started back down after about 15 minutes. It was then that it occurred to me I’d neglected to hang my Adventure Pass up in my car. I figured the rangers would be out in force today, so I scurried down as fast as I could while trying not to sprain an ankle.
Sure enough, when I emerged from the trail, I spotted a ranger with a clipboard walking away from my car. I called out to him, to explain the situation, that I had a parking permit but had forgotten to hang it up. I don’t wish to relive this unfortunate conversation in full. Just picture him full of condescending attitude and me pressing my lips together hard, lest I blurt out something that would get me into more trouble.
Feeling pretty ticked off at having been scolded by a pseudo-cop (thoughts running through my head at this point ran along the lines of “what, did you fail forest ranger school so you were relegated to parking lot detail and now you’re a bitter man with a thankless job you hate?” etc..). I was also soaked in sweat to my skin, feeling hot and picked on (I had the Adventure Pass right there on the seat of my car! I’d have shown it to the guy if he’d let me! Sheesh.). I felt the time had come to blow this joint, meander down the mountain towards my lovely, beachy home.
And now some thoughts to mull, courtesy of Paul Theroux, one of my all-time favorite writers. This is an excerpt from his book Fresh Air Fiend.
“Some people say that the travel book is a kind of novel, that it has elements of fiction init…half the prosy animal of nonfiction and half the fabulous monster of fiction, and there it stands, snorting, and pawing the ground, challenging us to give it a name. There are, no doubt, books that fit this description: little trips that writers have worked up into epics and odysseys….you take a trip – a couple of months…not too dangerous – you write it up, making it fairly harrowing and mocking, and dramatizing yourself, because you’re the hero of this – what? Quest, perhaps, but full of liberties.
When I read such a book and spot the fakery, the invention, the embroidery, I can read no further. Self-dramatization is inevitable in any travel book – most travelers, however dreary and plonkingly pedestrian, see themselves as heroic, solitary adventurers. And the odd thing is that the real heroes of travel seldom write about their journeys.”