also, we’re not talking about the fact rats might have been involved

My Halloween pumpkin, freshly carved, on the left; what remained on my front doorstep 4 days later. Good news: in case you were wondering, squirrels are not afraid of ghosts.

Halloween pumpkin Washington-20131031-00450

this is why i fail marketing 101

I think you’re supposed to post links when other people are kind enough to publish your work on their own blogs. I just remembered that. Seriously, I flunk every blog test out there.

I sent in a story to Globejotting this spring during Dave Fox’s 100 Hours of Humour (yeah, that’s how he spelled it; he’s gone rogue), for one of his flash humor writing contests on the theme “Road Trips”. I didn’t win and he published it anyway, because he’s awesome that way. So thanks, Dave!…six months later.

Lumberjacks & Roosters

we have nothing to fear but scariness itself

I’m kindof a chicken, and I know it.

I don’t like snakes, or bears, or goingveryfast down mountains, or, you know, hills, or riding bikes in traffic, or heights.

Heights is definitely the worst, though. It’s always been around, since those days of very long walks to the end of the high dive board when I was a kid in the Red Cross swimming lessons. The beginning of every summer my friend Angie & I would have to dare each other into the first jump, and then over and over again until we beat back the terror to manageable degrees.

Then, we agreed, we didn’t need to go off it again until next summer. I mean, why should we? It’s not like we were scared or anything.

Well, it’s been a long time since I saw a high dive, but it didn’t seem to be a problem to me until very recently.

I went to Busch Gardens with my friend Dante a few weeks ago and found a startling dearth of acceptable rides. Scary, scary, speedy roller coasters? Nope. Almost upside-down Viking ship? I think not. Swings? Are you insane? Those things are death traps! What’s holding you aloft? A couple of thin lampchains? Why don’t you just tape yourself to an airplane wing if you like those odds? Personally, I like the twisty upside-down kind of roller coasters without any big scary hill, but BG is short on these types of rides. DarKastle was the closest substitute and that was fun and all for a ride with a very problematic narrative once you start thinking about it (seriously: those magic sleighs don’t make any sense), but it wasn’t really a ride so much as a show. Otherwise, I was pretty much limited to the kids rides, and apparently I’m too tall or something for those (thanks a lot, BG employees).

We were told, however, that Apollo’s Chariot was “not too bad”, so I agreed to try it out. Only one little hill! I could do it, right? I was in!  I even meant it!…until it became clear that we had to ride in the 2nd car from the front…and I freaked. Just out and out freaked. I couldn’t make my legs step into the car. “Not happening, ” I said, finally. Dante rolled his eyes. “Okay. Going without you.” He did, and when he returned (alive, without visible injuries) assured me, between some mild mockery, that it was not bad at all.

Feeling justifiably ashamed, I agree to go on his favorite ride next, Le Scoot log flume. Now, it’s true the log flume has a drop at the end. But you’re not even buckled in. People don’t fall out of the log flume. People take babies on the log flume. This, I could handle.

Until we got to the boarding dock, and it became clear I had to ride in the front.

“I can’t ride in the front,” I gasp, in horror.

“Well, I’m not riding in front,” Dante says. “The person in front gets splashed and I just dried off from the wildwater raft ride.”

“I can’t ride in the front!” I shout.

“It’s the log flume!” he shouts back. “Nothing can possibly happen to you!”

He’s now in the back seat of the log and it’s starting to move. The teenaged BG worker is struggling to hold it still for me to climb in. I’m hovering on the edge of the dock, practically dancing around in panic.

“You can ride back here with me!” That’s Dante’s last-ditch offer.

“I can’t.” I say, desperately. The teenager swivels around to stare at me incredulously.

“You’re not going at all?” he says.

“I can’t.” I say. I can’t do it. Dante waves at me cheerily as it bobs around the corner out of sight.

The teenager is still staring at me. Who’s afraid of the log flume, is his expression.

That’s right. This girl.

So this is how I know it’s gotten a little out of hand recently, this fear of heights.

In retrospect, I guess jumping off that crazy high dive every summer was a good exercise; somehow knowing at age 8 that I couldn’t let my fear control me. If I can’t do heights, I can’t ride ski lifts, can’t climb ladders, can’t ride helicopters, can’t hike mountains and volcanoes. Can’t travel to far-off places on airplanes. And that’s the scariest thing I can think of.

Who wants to go to King’s Dominion with me??

(P.S. We’re still not going on those damn swings.)

(P.P.S. Okay. To be completely honest, I’m not committing to anything beyond the log flume.)

apparently, i have some kind of bad airport karma.

It looks like this!

So I’m in Atlanta for the weekend and my departure flight is at 3:25 pm. I’m actually going to make it, too, despite departing later than I’d planned, driving an hour through Atlanta traffic, missing my exit, and having to double back to refill the tank of the rental car before turning it in. It was going to be close. But I feel confident! Punctual! as I pull into the garage, hand over keys and rented Garmin to the Dollar employee, grab my bags out of the back and point out the pair of black pants evidently left in the trunk by the previous renter (black pants on a black hanger against charcoal interior = no one saw them, including me, until I was unloading my bag at the hotel 2 days ago). Across the parking lot, up the escalator, onto the Skytrain, 2 stops to the Terminal, up the escalator, down the hall, across the crosswalk, down the escalator, to the Delta counters, merrily I go. I just need my confirmation code to check into the kiosk. My confirmation code is in my phone.

 Where the hell is my phone.

 10 minutes of increasingly panicky searching later, including finally dumping my entire bag out into a chair, I face facts. It’s in the rental car. Goddammit.

 Am I going to miss my flight? What time is it? Where’s my phone?

Oh, right. Goddammit!

 I stand for a minute, actually weighing the two: my flight…my phone. Would they mail it to me? Yes. No! What am I saying? I need my phone.

 Up the escalator, across the crosswalk, down the hall, down the escalator to the Skytrain, 2 stops to the parking garage, down the escalator, across the parking lot. The Dollar checker-in remembers me. She also remembers that someone else drove off my car to the lot to be cleaned 5 minutes ago. “Over there,” she points, to the next parking lot over.

 Across the parking lot. Another Dollar employee in a neon green vest greets me. I explain the problem, and he’s willing to help.

“What kind of car is it?” he asked. “A red Chevy,” I answer.

“A red Chevy what?”

I stare at him.  Man, I don’t know. I don’t know cars. I’ve known Other Half and his car for over 6 years now and shared ownership for 3 and still, when asked “What kind of car do you have?” am forced to answer, “A green one”, because that’s all I usually remember. When pressed, while I will seldom come up with “Volkswagen” and certainly not “Passat”, I can usually add (super helpfully, in my opinion), “I think it’s German.”

 Personally, I thought it was pretty freaking amazing I came up with “Chevy”. Also, it’s red. Did I mention that it’s red?

And like this!

 “Like this?” he asks, pointing to a small red sedan. “Yes!” I exclaim. Could it be this easy? I open the door, dig around and under the front passenger seat. No phone. I shut the door and doubt. Is this the right car? Frankly, my dear, I don’t have any damn idea. I don’t know what my rental car looks like without my stuff in it. It had a red exterior and a grey interior. We only spent 2 days together getting from points A to B and back to A. We don’t have much of a relationship.

“There’s one!” Vest Guy says, pointing two rows over. Aha! I scrabble about the floor. No. No phone.

 “Up here?” A third red Chevrolet, several cars up.  Wait a minute. I stop and survey the sea of cars. There must be at least 15 identical red Chevys dotting the parking lot.

 Awesome. I am definitely missing my flight.

 Halfway through the lot we find my phone on the floor of a car which may or may not still have a pair of black pants in the trunk. I thank Vest Guy profusely and trek back to the terminal to arrange a new flight to DC, since mine is currently preparing to taxi the runway. I am lucky, in the sense that there are practically hourly flights from Atlanta to DC, so I am not stranded for an extra night. For a mere $50 change fee (!!) I am booked on the 4:15 to National Airport, arriving only an hour later than planned. Other Half is glad not to have to drive to Dulles, located in the western Godforsaken Hinterlands, which is much further from our house. As far as I know, I arrived home with all my pants. No animatronic animals were involved in my delay. So I guess it could’ve been worse.

 

Also: like this!

I think I’m going to start driving more often.

excitement

Off to my first writers conference ever tomorrow – the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. Can’t wait!

sorry, sloth

You’re totally right.

maybe i post on thursdays

..or, I just can’t keep track of days. Slackest. Blogger. Ever.

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