All posts by Laura

Brock Turner skipping on home after a brief trip to prison

It seems like just yesterday that Brock Turner, general scum of the earth and poor excuse for a human being, received a gentle massage of the wrist for raping an unconscious woman outside a party at Stanford. Brock is a precocious rapist, having committed the assault at the youthful age of 20. On Friday, he will be released from prison after serving half of his six-month sentence.

I fondly remember my mom cooking me a special meal when I returned home from college on breaks. Brock’s family will surely welcome him home from prison with a festive celebration. I’m sure it will take some encouragement, but perhaps with the help of therapy from whatever psychologist is willing to treat violent sex offenders, Brock will get his appetite back and enjoy a nice ribeye steak with his dad. Be sure to hide those pretzels and chips, Dad! After all, Brock’s loss of appetite was the real tragedy in this whole ordeal.

It really helps the train delay when you swear at MTA

I was already having a bad day on Monday. Then there was a flash flood alert, and I, umbrella-less, braved the ten-minute walk to the train station. Quick shoutout to all those people who stared at me like I was a disgusting mess when I entered the station, because apparently the cause of my being drenched was perplexing.

On the way home the train stalled for a very long time. As every New Yorker knows, this is the worst thing that can possibly happen ever.

You know what definitely helped? That guy next to me who “muttered” louder than a yell, “Jesus fucking Christ. Goddamn worst train system EVER.”

It was really important that he said that, because otherwise I would have assumed that he, like the rest of us, was totally excited by the delay. I was really glad to know his feelings. And I’m sure the many children around were happy to learn some new words. The best part? His expression of feelings made the train start again!

(Well, not really, but I’m sure when the train eventually did start moving, it was because of him.)

Strangers making noise at the subway

The other day, I entered the subway station and a man was playing an erhu. No, I didn’t know what it was called before, and I’m not about to confess which search terms I entered to find out because they won’t make me sound very smart, but congratulations, now you know what it’s called, and I know you were wondering. Anyway, an erhu, a thing you now know about because you just Googled it, sounds deeply annoying. I walked a little further and discovered a trumpeter. You all know what a trumpet is, and how annoying it sounds. Can you imagine these two competing musicians occupying just one small station? Get your shit together, guys. Also the train was late, so I had to listen to an erhuist (yup, I made that word up)/trumpeter mashup and it was not okay.

It makes so much sense that Brock Turner’s father raised him

By now, you’ve probably heard about scum-on-the-earth Stanford swimmer’s horrifying father’s plea for leniency for Brock Turner, a young man who underwent the trying ordeal of having raped a woman behind a dumpster after a frat party. (If you haven’t read it, here it is via The Guardian.) I kind of hate that I just called him a Stanford swimmer, because he’s a rapist first.

You may also know about the Turner Family Support Fund Facebook page, which solicited donations for the defense of their son against the violent rape he committed. Not being a parent myself, I can’t speak to what I would do in this situation. I guess you have to keep loving your child, even if that child is a rapist. But you don’t have to ask other people for money to support him. Nor do you have to feel sorry for him because he can’t enjoy a steak and only got “20 minutes of action” out of raping someone.

I wonder if the rapist’s father would feel better if it had taken longer to rape his victim. (Side note: I’m pretty sure he has no actual idea how long the rape lasted.)

How does his mother feel about all this? As noted above, I’m sure she has to keep loving him, but that doesn’t mean she has to be proud of him. I sincerely hope she’s not proud of him.

“I’ve been shattered by the party culture and risk taking behavior that I briefly experienced in my four months at school,” the rapist said in his blame-game statement. Really great use of the passive voice. Your high school English teacher must be proud. I guess it was the abstract “party culture” that violently raped a woman, and subsequently made you the victim of its evil pull.

“These things force me to never want to put myself in a position where I have to sacrifice everything.” First of all, that statement offends the victim. Secondly, it offends the English language, because what? I’m really sorry about the sacrifices you had to make in order to rape someone.

I can’t respond to this any better than the victim herself did. If you haven’t read her statement to Brock, please read it in full here.

In summary, The Onion said it best with this amazing video from 2011.

Wistful yearnings of a Yelp reviewer

I was on Yelp looking for a bar to pass time before my class tonight, when I came across this review. I felt so bad for this poor guy.

One Saturday night, I was feeling depressed. I was tired of spending Saturday nights alone watching stupid YouTube videos. I was also upset at the fact that I’m 31 and I still live with my parents, while almost everyone I know has their own place. In order to get over my misery, I hung out with my two best friends, Bud and Light.

This is a run-of-the-mill bar. There’s nothing special about it. It’s small and cramped.There wasn’t that much to do other than to watch TV or joke around with your friends. Practically all of the patrons were white (not that I have a problem with that). The bartenders were cool. I had two drinks while I watched a Mets game (there was nothing else on). I didn’t have anything to eat so I can’t comment about that. .

I didn’t come here with the intention of meeting women (although that would’ve been nice). I just came to pass the time. I neither liked nor disliked this bar.

Granted, maybe Yelp isn’t as appropriate an outlet for this as, say, his therapist’s office. But it seems like Yelp is all he has. It’s kind of like how I feel about my credit score. It’s all I have, and it’s really, really special to me.

Upon further investigation, I discovered that this individual has also reviewed such establishments as Brooklyn and Queens (for all you non-New Yorkers, I am indeed referring to the Burroughs; these are not some new hipster establishments).

He really likes Kmart, his local music store, and his physical therapist “who speaks in a fake American accent;” Newark Light Rail, not so much. Let’s take a look at what he had to say about that:

Many people think that Newark is a ghetto, crime-infested city. However, I recently began an unpaid internship at a legal aid organization in downtown Newark. After walking around the area, I realized that there are actually nice parts of Newark. With that said, I decided that I wanted to check out Branch Brook Park. I’d heard that it’s the New Jersey version of Central Park. Today, I headed to the park. I fucking regret it.

I got on the train at Newark Penn Station. The inside of the train was relatively clean and the riders behaved themselves. However, I noticed that several of the underground stops were desolate and dimly lit. Someone could get raped or robbed in those stations. The ride was pretty fast- it only took about 20 minutes to get to Branch Brook Park.

I got off at the station and walked to the park. I wanted to see the cherry blossoms but I came a few weeks too soon. I was very disappointed. I headed back to the station and waited for the train back to Newark Penn. And then that’s when things went from bad to worse. I was about to lean on a pole when I noticed that it said ,”Danger: High Voltage”. I quickly got away. I was scared shit. Keep in mind that I was on the platform, not the tracks. Why would NJ Transit have something so dangerous on the platform? I was inches away from being fried to death. Wouldn’t it make sense to have a fence to protect people from something that’s potentially fatal?

A simple train ride to a park nearly turned into a ride to the cemetery.

How not to make small talk with strangers: Weirdos Abroad part II

On our second day in Iceland, my friend and I decided to visit the local hot springs. In the hot tub, a woman came and sat near us.

“You look really familiar,” she told me.

“Where are you from?” I asked.

“America,” she said. Well, yeah. I got that.

We did the whole where-are-you-from, where-did-you-go-to-school, etc., and found no hidden connection. “Were you on the trip to see the Northern Lights last night?” my friend asked. Yeah. That was it. The connection was from being in Iceland.

The woman, whom I will call Susie (mainly because I can’t actually remember her name), started telling us about her PhD program. She was a TA, she said. That was the last normal thing one would tell a stranger during small talk that came out of her mouth.

Susie proceeded to tell us that she hated everyone in her program, because they all hook up with each other and she’s too professional to get involved in that kind of debauchery. She launched into a long story about a man in her program who routinely teaches class drunk. One time, she said, he arrived so drunk that he began throwing up and eventually passed out after writhing in a pool of his own vomit in front of his class. Despite her efforts to get him fired, she said, he still works there.

Susie also informed us that her students routinely bring guns to class.

“As you do,” I said.

When we left the hot springs, my friend turned to me. “I feel like we can safely talk about what just happened now,” she said.

“I was trying not to make eye contact with you,” I told her. “That just happened.”

The only thing worse than crying babies on planes

I’ve been traveling a lot this month, and all these flights have reinforced a critical reality that I probably already knew: annoying people on planes are infinitely more annoying than annoying people elsewhere.

Yesterday, on my flight back from San Francisco, I boarded the plane and made my way to my aisle seat. There was a woman wearing pancake makeup sitting in the middle seat in my row, a fur stole hung over the back of her seat. Strangely, this didn’t immediately scream high maintenance to me.

As soon as I sat down, she remarked, “So I guess we’ll have to stand to let that person in,” gesturing to the window seat. I agreed with this hard-hitting analysis of our seating arrangement. “You know,” she continued, “I usually like the seat you’re in.”

“Oh,” I said.

“You want that seat?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said.

She sighed dramatically. “I’m going to be bothering you a lot to go to the bathroom.”

I was so excited for the six-hour flight.

When the food cart came around, she asked for the flight attendant’s opinion on the quinoa wrap. She held up a credit card. “I can’t find my other one.”

“This is fine,” the flight attendant said.

“I don’t know where I put my other one,” she said, rummaging around in her purse. “I can’t find it. Oh, here it is. I guess you can use that one if it’s too late.”

When the drink cart came by, she asked for a “Cabernet wine.”

“And I need a headset, too. I’ve already missed half the movie. And these grapes are rotted.”

Three “Cabernet wines” later, she knocked an empty bottle onto my bag. “These trays are too small,” she whined. She apologized profusely. Just kidding, she didn’t.

After observing our delightful seatmate craning her neck and sighing dramatically several times trying to get the flight attendants’ attention, the woman in the window seat told her about the call button overhead. She was charmed and inspired. The flight attendants, I imagine, were not.

Silence is golden, but duct tape is silver: Weirdos Abroad part I

Hello dear readers and welcome to a very special series I’m calling “Weirdos Abroad.” While traveling in Iceland recently, I was reminded that sometimes traveling Americans are even more annoying than those who are being obnoxious domestically. In each part of this series, I’ll examine an individual or individuals who made me embarrassed that I share their nationality.

We’ll start with a trip to the Blue Lagoon. The bus ride took around an hour, but it felt like five years due to two people sitting behind my friend and me. I’ll call them Bill and Sally. Bill and Sally are probably in their late fifties. They are not married to each other; Sally’s husband was not present, and Bill was Tindering the whole ride. How do I know this? Because they never stopped talking.

Bill had long sideburns and a soul patch, a look that was popular before my birth and attractive never. Throughout the ride, he frequently referenced his many dates and informed his traveling companion that she would be his wing man.

Sally is from the Midwest. If possible, she likes to talk even more than Bill. She narrated our whole trip.

“Look, it’s moss,” she exclaimed. “I wonder where it all comes from?”

“And now it’s raining,” she noted.

At this point I turned to my friend. “I will give them $10 to stop talking for five minutes.”

She didn’t think that would go over well.

“I think I’m going to bed early tonight,” Sally said at one point. I got it. Her vocal cords were probably raw.

“You can’t,” Bill wailed. “You’re going to be my wing man.”

“The only people who get my humor are children, old people, and East Coasters,” Bill said.

“I hate East Coasters,” Sally said.

My friend and I, born, raised, and currently residing on the East Coast, shared a look.

We were lucky enough to end up on the same bus as Bill and Sally on the way back. Before getting on the bus, Bill stopped a young Asian woman.

“Do. You. Speak. Eng-lish?” he asked.

“Yes,” she said.

“Where is this bus going?”

She looked at him, shrugged, and walked away.

Bill shook his head at Sally. “She didn’t understand me.”

I support Clinton, and you support Sanders, and that’s okay (as long as none of us supports Trump)

Hillary Clinton was a different kind of first lady. She wasn’t a Nancy Reagan, married to the patron saint of the Republican party, or a Barbara Bush, married to…okay, I got nothing on George Bush, Sr. She was a politician first and a wife twenty-third. And that’s when people started hating her, back when sexism was rampant, unlike now when it’s completely eradicated, and women enjoy all the same privileges as men do. Unlike the other first ladies, she did STUFF. And then she became a senator and did more stuff. And then she became secretary of state and did even more stuff. And you know? I am sick and tired of people hating on her because she dared to be a person back in the 90s and had a vagina at the same time. She not warm and fuzzy, and, as I’ve come to realize, you cannot be a powerful woman and be warm and fuzzy at the same time. Our society does not accept that. But you also can’t be a powerful woman and avoid being called a bitch, because our society does not accept non-warm-and-fuzzy women; only men are allowed to be the opposite of warm and fuzzy. So in summary, women should not be powerful.

I say all this because people are so set in not liking Clinton and finding a lot of ways to avoid supporting her without having one central argument other than she just rubs them the wrong way. Some people say they’re against this whole idea of a Clinton dynasty. Guess what: only one Clinton has been president. And Hillary isn’t even an actual Clinton; she just married one. If you want to talk about Benghazi, I would just like to say of course she’s had some foreign policy issues, because she is the only candidate with any foreign policy experience. No, Sanders never made any international errors, because he’s never been responsible for dealing with other countries. If you like Sanders, that’s okay, but I hope you support him for what he stands for and that you know what he stands for and just how viable his ideas are in the real world. That is, I hope you didn’t just become a diehard Bernie fan because you don’t like the alternative.

And if you really love Bernie Sanders, I accept that, and I hope you can accept me, too. Just as long as neither of loves Trump or Cruz.