Erratic.

The film i had to watch for class this week was so utterly dull i spent the majority of it painting my nails a voracious shade of magenta. They’ve chipped so i re-did them this morning, my hands shaking.

I have so much adrenaline in me right now, i’m not sure i’d pass a drug test. Pugs not drugs. But, like, really. I made my coffee extra weak this morning and everything. With two dollops of milk. Two!

Two essays have been vanquished; the last stands some 1200 words in and a very thorough outline to the finish. Frankly, i just don’t want to talk about the male gaze in cinema right now. Any other time, gender politics and art rank in my top-five-favorite things to chat about. Not now. So the cursor blinks maniacally at me on the screen. Taunting my out-of-character inability to focus. In my head it’s the beat of a bass drum: thum, thum, thum.

It’s a proper Edinburgh day: miserable and misty and reeking of rain. I keep toying with the cord of my curling iron, wondering if it’s worth it. Nothing can ruin a bouffant like side-lining rain. No better way to pass time than trying to ensure my lion’s mane looks decent.

My coffee mugs need washing. So does my hair. When i know i will be an erratic mess of non-drug-induced adrenaline, i make a tight schedule for myself the day before: not a moment before nine-thirty, awake. Go to the library, return books. Vacuum. Re-arrange posters. First cup of coffee. Make it last. Wait until after his arrival call around noon from Amsterdam before showering.

Every hour that passes is like a mile in a marathon. All i can do is calculate in my head the distance traveled in relation to the minutes it took to travel them. How many things can i fit in the waiting minutes, the minutes that crush me with their not-yet-itis?

I made guacamole yesterday, with a mojito chicken reprise. Both were a little heavy on the coriander. (I’d scheduled an extra thirty seconds for plucking herbs, so as to make the minute stretch longer). Still, cooking is a work in progress. I’ve dreamed up a new recipe for mac & cheese. Bookmarked some other salad concoctions i hope to try soon.

My pinker-than-pink nails are drumming to the imaginary beat of my aching cursor. Thum. Thum. Thum. Waiting is not my strong suit – it never has been. In the time before my driver’s license, i’d pace outside my mother’s office. Listen to her tap-tap-tapping on the computer, every tap an agonizing delay to my compulsive five-minutes-early reputation. We’d yell at each other like no other time, her furious at my inability to relax until arrived, me incredulous that the world did not move at five-minutes-early-everywhere speed.

I’d like to think i’ve gotten a bit better. Having my own means of transport certainly helped. But on days like today, i’m fourteen and a hypoglycemic meltdown all over again. But there’s no parent to pester to move faster. Only the proverbial clock, the unmerciful slowness of time that is in the in-betweens.

4 hours, 30 mintues. I can do this.

current jam: ‘you got what i need’ joshua radin. soothing music to soothe the drums and drones.

best thing: 800 words remain. 800 words can fill an hour, right?

Tokes with Jesus (And Other Mis-Adventures)

My mother would have you know it is no secret i have a particular condition common among many children. She, in her sage possession of wisdom, aptly refers to it as “selective hearing.” I, however, call it forgetfulness, and claim it to be a side effect of an over-full hard-drive of a brain. But if you’re betting, i’d encourage you to put money on my mother’s diagnosis. Moms do have that knack for being right, even when we mere mortals want them to be anything but.

As further evidence of this, i have a tale to divulge to all ye gathered here concerning this precise malady of mine ears. Recently, in a conversation with my father, i uncovered some disconcerting news which highlighted, most evidently, this very ability i posses to only hear what i want to hear. He recently returned from chaperoning a service trip wherein the workers were predominantly high schoolers. On said trip, the members of his crew were particularly fond of singing one of my all-time-til-the-day-the-sun-implodes-favorites, “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show. When i delightedly exclaimed my approval of such a song to fixate upon, my father agreed – and then uttered a sentence that would change my life forever:

“Yeah! But they had to change one of the lyrics.”

Bamboozled, i retorted that this song was only mildly sexual, and all allusions to such illicit activities were done in such euphemism even the most conservative of teens couldn’t be offended. Despite, of course, the bizarrely pseudo-raunchy music video.

To this, he replied that the line in the fifth verse had to be changed from what i thought was “I caught a trucker out of Philly / Had a nice long talk” to “Met a trucker out of Philly / shared an ice cold coke.”Still insisting that talking was always a good, productive, if sometimes irritating thing, i questioned why the line had to be changed.

A trip down googling lane later, the scales fell from my eyes. The actual lyric is:

“Met a trucker out of Philly / had a nice long toke.”

It was then my forty-something father had to explain to me, his almost-twenty-years-old, Seven-Sisters-School-Attending daughter, that this was not a thick-accented-way of saying “talk,” but rather a reference to smoking marijuana.

Oh.

It’s not that the song holds any less value for me now, or that i’m passing some kind of judgement on the gentlemen who wrote such lyrics. Really, it is mostly just hilarious to me that i could so completely not get a reference to weed – that such a not-subtle reference would have to be spelled out for me by my father.

But here’s the thing: i’ve started to question now just how many lyrics i have mis-heard in the course of my lifetime. Sure, there are songs like “Blinded by the Light” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, where NO ONE CAN POSSIBLY UNDERSTAND A WORD HE IS SAYING after the title lyric. Because, surely, the line is not “wrapped up like a douche who is a runner in the night.” Yet i take small comfort in this one-hit-wonder’s mumble-confusion.

And really, i wouldn’t be fretting at all over such a silly mis-hearing except, well … it happened again. Within twenty-four hours. In unrelated circumstances.

The subsequent day i went to work, put up with more crappy tippers and said twelve Hail Mary’s for not spilling any more drinks, and came home to collapse into bed. Whilst allowing myself to decompress from the day (a.k.a., wasting hours on tumblr) i chose to listen to my most recent musical obsession: Julia Nunes. Most particularly, i was jamming out to “It’s Raining Men” originally by the Weathergirls, and (obviously) covered by Julia Nunes. (I have no shame in my musical tastes).

While singing along i found myself stumbling on a lyric that had never once occurred to me to be anything other than what i had first heard when the song first befell my sixth-grade-ears. For, though the song is about letting yourself get totally wet as men rain down from the heavens, i had in all my innocence, invented a line that somewhat assuaged rampant female sexuality. (Because oh! The horror at such a thought!). In the bridge of this song, i always thought the line went:

“God bless Mother Nature / Jesus needs a woman too!”

Wrong. Again. As Julia Nunes has a little more enunciation (and less rain sound effects) than the original, i heard with all clarity the actual lyric:

“God bless Mother Nature / She’s a single woman too!”

Again, my love of the song has not at all abated. For this song, it’s probably grown – and my understanding of it is considerably less muddled. But twice! Twice! In twenty-four-hours! I’m starting to wonder if my mother’s diagnosis of my hearing impediment is not just confined to my “forgetting” to do the dishes or clean out the litterbox, but a plague upon the house of my brain. How many songs will i continue to mis-hear, continue to improperly sing, before this madness ends? Surely the cataclysmic fate of the world hangs in the balance of Jesus needing a woman and sharing a toke!

The only cure i see in my future is, well, furthered embarrassment. I suppose i shall only continue to naïvely mis-listen and subsequently mis-speak-sing. Still, i shall bear this burden with pride and refuse to sing quietly, even when such lyrics are written only in my brain. And if it means having a few talks outside of Philly or raining men because Jesus and Mother Nature have been a little too procreative in the weather department, so be it.

current jam: ‘good morning sunshine’ alex day (lord knows it could be ‘good morning moonlight,’ save that i double-checked the lyrics before posting this!)

best thing: orange juice and diesel in a suit.

Happy Easter?

I officially received the weirdest, most Dursley-esque gift ever bestowed upon me via the United States mail. From no one other than my own mother.

This story, however, needs a preface; one, you are undoubtedly unsurprised by, having to do with cats. My two cats, Eli and Picasso, are experiencing their first proper North Carolina spring at present, with Picasso’s first birthday this past week and Eli’s sometime in June (we think). As such, they are shedding LIKE CRAZY. Want to wear black? Forget it, you’ll be peppered in orange kitty fur so quickly you might as well be going out for Halloween dressed as a Flintstone. To combat the sheen of tangerine fluff covering every tangible surface of the house, my mom has taken to working a combination of lint rollers, in varying widths, overtime. But instead of using it on her garments (and mine) exclusively, she’s taken it to the source: she’s resorted to lint-rolling the cats. Multiple times a day.

Before you hail out animal cruelty and start waving the PETA banner,* a disclaimer: the cats ADORE this. Eli positively convulses with purring delight at being de-furred in this manner. And even with the roller treatment, they still shed more than hobbits in summertime. If they weren’t the deities whom i worship loves of my life, they’d be positively disgusting.

And, in case you need proof of healthy and purrrfect kitties, here are photos from spring break:

picasso, the lone centurion.

eli, mesmerized by the out-of-frame lint roller. really.

(Really, i’ve just been waiting for an excuse to post these!)

All of this to say, i really miss my cats. When i landed in Raleigh in March at the commencement of my spring holiday, one of the first things my brother said to me was “You really miss the cats more than us, don’t you?” To which i promptly responded, “Well i can hardly talk to the cats on the phone, now can i?” Strictly speaking, this isn’t exactly true. My mom occasionally holds the phone up to the cats while i coo at them from the nor’east. They probably look as baffled as you do, dear reader.

But my mom, who has accommodated all my weirdness since utero, misses the cats when she is away perhaps more acutely than i do.

It is for this reason she sent me the officially weirdest, most Dursley-esque gift, amidst a haul of chocolate and eggs, ever beknownst to mcmizzies anywhere:

Yep. That is exactly what you think it is. A sheet of lint paper with cat hair on it.

I come from a weird place, friends.

Happy Easter/Passover?

current jam: ‘out on the town’ fun.

best thing in my life right now: chocolate reeses easter eggs and mashed potatoes with friends in homes.

*unless, of course, the kind of peeta we’re talking about is the josh hutcherson kind. this provided, wave on comrades. wave on.

Captured and Imprisoned Again: A Lefty-Trombonists Tale by the Sawktrombone.

Captured and Imprisoned Again:

A Lefty-Trombonists Tale by the Sawktrombone.

I am not Lizzie McMizzie, and this is a hostile takeover of Wandering Writes brought to you by the Socially Awkward Trombone.

OK, so it’s not really hostile. In fact, I was invited here in what was probably the biggest mistake Lizzie has ever made…

Now you’re wondering who I am and how the heck I know Lizzie McMizzie. Well, it’s a long story, and I can’t tell you how tempting it was to just turn this post into a long and embarrassing story about Lizzie and Her shameless childhood antics. Alas, I will spare Her the humiliation and give you the cliffs notes (I’m saving the REALLY crazy stories for Her wedding).

Lizzie moved to my neighborhood when we were in the first grade. We rode bikes and built forts and put on plays like all normal children who have ambitions to stage Les Miserables and Jesus Christ Superstar at the age of 7. I was a crazy child, but Lizzie was unusual. In that sense, She was (and still is) way more outgoing than myself. Yes, I loved musical theater, but did I want to act? No freaking way. Hide me under the stage please.

I have watched Lizzie grow through the years. I stood by as She tested out dozens of middle school names. I watched her go from a fashion disaster wearing rainbow ensembles and one opera glove to a fashion pioneer (AKA unintentional hipster). It was this sort of outgoing nature that made me positive that Lizzie was going on to great things. She never has cared about what people think of Her, and She remains grounded in Her beliefs. This brings me to why our friendship is so unusual.

Although I would admit to sharing a pretty strong moral foundation with Lizzie, as well as a love for old British men, most of our views do not align. In many aspects, we are polar opposites. Yet somehow, this friendship works. We have chats on all subjects, and I am probably the only one who is allowed to make fun of the fact that Lizzie is enrolled in an all girls school. Why? Because She knows that no matter how many times I joke about Her sexuality, I support Her in Her efforts to become an enlightened and cultured individual no matter how much it makes me laugh.

I also think it my job to bring Her head from the clouds by being as horrible and ignorant as possible to remind Her of the real world. But let’s face it, I’m a completely harmless goofball. So will this blog be a parody of McMizzie? Absolutely. I will shamelessly poke fun at Her (as a matter of fact, I already have).

That intro was way longer than preferred. Whoops. I shall now jump into my area of expertise. My blogs are generally about socially awkward situations that I mix in with music and trombone players. Today I will be diverging a bit in honor of Lizzie’s blog. I will be writing about trombonists and music, but it will be a kind of tribute to Lizzie’s style. I mean, just look at the title.

The Oppression of Left-Handed Trombonists

 Dearest friends/readers/ducklings,

 It is with a heavy heart that i alert you to an injustice that will affect you, dear reader, in no conceivable way.

A few of you may be surprised to learn that the trombone is an uncommon instrument, but it is more likely that you are momentarily leaving this page to search Google images for a trombone.

Now do you know what it looks like?

Good. We shall continue.

Historically, the trombone has never quite fallen into the category of “sexy”. Yes, there is a fair amount of innuendo that follows the trombone, but upon close inspection, one realizes quickly that the trombonists are the reason their instruments are seen as awkward.

Trombonists are awkward. In past blogs i have made it clear that anyone who decides to pick the trombone has been born with an awkward gene, or has had their childhood poop jokes suppressed due to the socially unacceptable nature of poop. But of course, if you like poop jokes you probably have been born with some sort of genetic predisposition to be awkward.

Poor genetics can be considered a disability right?

Let’s consider the genetic disbility that brings about red-green colorblindness. People with this disability are having new technology developed to make it easier to live in a world that is missing color. Trombonists born with awkward genes are left to fend for themselves in a world where avoiding eye contact is social suicide.

Life is hard.

Society enjoys pushing unpleasant things out of sight. For starters, trombonists are placed at the back of the orchestra. Not a big deal right? Trombones are loud. But did anyone stop to wonder why the trombone is loud? Maybe it’s because trombonists had been trying to get attention for years and when one of them got the bright idea to start playing loud for acknowledgement, the government placed the trombones in the back. All the government needed was a cover excuse that wasn’t “they’re too awkward to be seen by paying customers” because the media would have reported that as discrimination.

Government? you ask.

Yes. Government. It’s a conspiracy. The amount of awkward people on this Earth is regulated by a government that acknowledges the need for awkward people to play the trombone. If there wasn’t a need for trombones in every orchestra, all of the awkward people would have probably been exterminated by now.

The awkward people are kept in cells under the basement of every orchestra hall in the country. It is here where they are trained to play trombone and encouraged to speak to other “Awkwards” to improve their social skills.

Trombonist 1 (1): “I play trombone.”

Trombonist 2 (2): “I play trombone”

Trombonist 3 (3): “I play trombone”

1: “You play trombone?”

2: “I play trombone.”

3: “I play trombone.”

1: “I play trombone.”

There is rarely improvement.

When the need for a trombonist arises in an orchestra, a member of the stage crew, with the help of a uniformed official, reluctantly picks a person to place into society as a trombonist.

Now the real question is how the “awkwards” get captured in the first place.

Basically, if a child decides to pick the trombone of h/is/er own free will, s/he is doomed. After high school or college, anyone who picked the trombone as a child is whisked away and hidden under an orchestra hall. Even if the kid quit the trombone after a year, s/he is doomed to the same fate because s/he had the initial attraction to the instrument. Picking the instrument means you must have the awkward genetics.

One will occasionally find people who escaped the relocation. They keep their history under wraps, but it is difficult. Basically, if you know someone who is awkward, that person managed to avoid the government kidnapping by choosing occupations with limited social interaction. All of them played trombone at some point in their lives. I beg of my readers to PLEASE not turn these people in. If you know an awkward person, be friendly and accommodating. No one should have to go through what most trombonists suffer at the hands of the stage crew that poke through the cell bars under the theater. But of course, i don’t expect you to be accommodating. Go ahead and pander to the color blind. Throw the “Awkwards” under the bus.

It is now time to address the second part of this post. Lefties.

If there was ever a group that was oppressed, it was the lefties. Just a few years ago they were seen as the devil incarnate. Children who were naturally left-handed were forced to learn to write with the right hand. This often required school teachers to use razor wire to tie the left hand behind the back of the student as they learned to write with the opposite hand. Razor wire was used in the hopes that if the student couldn’t learn with the right hand, the left hand would be sliced straight off. This left (haha punny) the kid with no choice but to use the right hand.

Today, our society is just as bad as it was when there were frequent hand lacerations, but it manages to hide prejudices better. The world is still tailored to right-handers. For example, walk into any classroom. Most, if not all, of the desks are for the right handed. If there are any left handed desks, they are shoved to the back in hopes of keeping the devil people as far away as possible. Most computers are for right handed people, as well as most musical instruments.

Righties enjoy significant discounts when it comes to buying golf clubs, baseball gloves, and other sports equipment. All of the lefty stuff is priced way higher.  Hot water is on the right, cold on the left. People are better when in their “right mind”. When people are correct about something, they are “right”. Instead of saying “OK”, the word “right” is often substituted.

“Left” has bad connotations.

I “left” my stuff there and it was stolen.

S/he “left” the party too early and missed the goodie bags filled with 50 inch HD TVs.

Sandy was “left” at the cemetery to fend for herself among the awkward dead people that tried to kill her with trombone music and ghostly flatulence.

So where does this leave the trombonists that are left handed? Well, it’s funny, the awkward gene must also tie in with left-handedness. The percentage of trombonists who are left handed is higher than average. Still, they are a minority.

The left-handed trombonists tend to be the last people released into society. It would just be too dangerous. They get “left” behind so to speak. When a lefty trombone is released to an orchestra (as a last resort) they are embedded with a GPS locator and are essentially put under house arrest. They can play in an orchestra, but they still have to live in the theater. When the orchestra goes on tour, a trumpet player is assigned to the lefty trombone. This trumpet player is in charge of keeping the lefty out of trouble.

Trumpet players love having power of over people, so they enjoy being the babysitter of the lefty trombone. Usually the lefty is forced to stand perfectly still on snails and trumpet spit while the trumpet player alternates between blasting in h/is/er ear and playing the “Pictures at an Exhibition” excerpt over and over and OVER. No one could possibly imagine a worse torture than this.

There is one particularly terrible result that comes out of monitoring the lefty-trombone individuals.

You know those crazy people that think a chip has been embedded into their arm by the government? The ones who hide when planes and Nazguls fly overhead?  You probably just thought of them as homeless psychos in need of ostriching (ostracization), or John Nash.

(it should be noted that this had to be drawn with my right hand, as the mousepad was designed for right-handed people. prejudice.)

Wrong.

Listen to these people. They are escaped left handed trombonists. Somehow they managed to leave the side of their trumpet lord, and the GPS locator chip means that they are constantly being chased down. Help them stay free!

This is the end of my societal rant. I urge you all to help free the trapped trombonists as i am destined to be one when i graduate college.

Thank you for pulling through to the end of this. It should be noted that Lizzie did a guest post on my blog while I did a guest post on hers. So if you are now missing the McMizzie, feel free to hop over to socially-awkward-trombone.blogspot.com.

Lizzie: Thank you for allowing me to guest post today. I hope the reputation of your blog will not fall into the depths of Mordor after this. I wish you well, and I shall never forget your 4th grade offer to house my dark-haired family should there be another Holocaust.

-The Socially Awkward Trombone

Comment question of the day (see rules for the giveaway if you need a refresher!): What is the most awkward family event you were ever forced to attend?

Yesterday’s Winner: Morgan, for sharing the link on Twitter! Congratulations, Morgan, i’ll be mailing you the postcards next week.

A side note about the giveaway: if you choose to follow this blog as an entry into the contest (thanks!) you must let me know in an additional comment! This is so i can keep track of all of your beautiful faces. Or icons. Whatever.