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.

Cruz wins the Iowa Caucuses, scares me

Last night ended with a dual cliffhanger for me. (I go to bed at 10:30, because I’m secretly eighty years old.) First, The Bachelor culminated in a “to be continued” BEFORE THE ROSE CEREMONY. Also, Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz had marginal leads in the Iowa caucuses. When I woke up this morning, I found out that those marginal leads had become clear victories overnight, and that Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, which means early spring and also that people will be quoting Bill Murray all day, but that would have happened whether he saw his shadow or not. There was still no resolution to the Bachelor conundrum.

On the plus side:

-Hillary’s emails addressed to me personally with the subject “hi” and “no subject,” in which she warned me that Bernie Sanders was outspending her and implored me to donate money, were ultimately just scare tactics. God, Hillary, I already gave you $15.00. What more do you want?

-Early spring! How early? I’m not clear on that. Somebody tell me the rules?

On the minus side:

-I still have to hear a lot about a twenty-two-year-old movie.

-I have to wait until next week to find out to whom Ben is giving roses, except for Jubilee, the army vet, who already got kicked off.

-A man who embraces carpet-bombing is a serious contender for president.

So yeah, rough day.

Interlude: an appreciation for some strangers on the subway

You know that moment of doom when the train stalls and the conductor announces “afhjkadfbkafbkasf” and you have no idea what s/he said because it was incoherent? And then you ask someone what s/he said and they have no idea either? And eventually s/he repeats it, and you realize there’s a sick passenger, and you proceed to bang your head against a wall because you’re definitely going to be late to work? Well, a couple weeks ago, I was that person who made you bang your head against a wall, because I totally fainted on the subway.

Here are some things that happen when you faint on the subway: you automatically get a seat, the conductor comes over and encourages you to get off the train (but what do you do then?), people offer you a lot of medical advice, and actually, strangers are very nice. After I insisted that I was fine and wanted to stay on the train, people offered me water and spoke to me in soothing tones. A special shout out to that one woman who offered to get off at my stop with me and walk me to work.

In summary, thanks to those strangers, and also, the next time your train is stalled for a sick passenger, know that s/he is probably really embarrassed and never wanted to be that person and is really, really sorry.

Just a quick reminder that David Bowie and Alan Rickman were not personal friends of yours

Guys. It’s very sad that Alan Rickman passed away this week. It’s also sad that David Bowie passed away the same week. But please remember that they are celebrities. You did not know them personally. They are not your mom or your boyfriend. You admired their acting and music respectively. You did not share mimosas and tater tots with them on the reg. So when you post “I FUCKING HATE THIS WEEK” on Facebook and Twitter, please bear in mind that your life is not going to change because these two individuals are no longer part of it. They were never part of it.

Also, it’s not a strange twist of fate that they died during the same week. It’s not even a coincidence. They actually had nothing to do with each other, just like they had nothing to do with you. Lots of people you never knew die in the same year, month, week, even day.

Obviously it is not up to me to forbid you to collectively mourn. But please remember that this week is what you make it to be. You can still live your life minus one great musician and one great actor.

(Apologies to any of my Facebook friends who did, indeed, consider these two individuals close personal friends.)

My new year’s resolutions and a word about people who camp out at Times Square on NYE wearing adult diapers

Happy New Year! I paused Married at First Sight just to check in because it’s been awhile.

First, a word to the people who just had to see the ball drop last night. Please take a long, hard look in the mirror. Is this who you want to be? Let’s start with the fact that you spent your vacation in New York at Times Square. I know you don’t live here because nobody who lives here goes to Times Square EVER (except in the case of real necessity), and never ever ever on New Year’s Eve. Also, you stood in the cold for hours and hours so you could watch a ball drop, a ball you could have watched on TV like I do every year, and it was so vital to your happiness that you wore Depends. If you didn’t wear Depends, you waited around in your own filth for hours and hours, or you have the strongest bladder known to man or womankind. Next time you come here, please do me a favor and hit up a dive bar in the Village. We’ll all be happier.

And now for my resolutions. Last year’s didn’t go so well. I resolved to write non work-related material for at least one hour a week and to compliment myself once a day for the sake of my self esteem. Resolution 1 broke down around February. I think resolution 2 went a bit further, but once I started paying myself compliments like “resilient liver,” I decided maybe I don’t have 365 amazing qualities. This year I’m going for more attainable things like:

-Eating meals off of proper plates rather than out of containers

-Eating said meals at appropriate meal times rather than snacking around the clock

-Crying less (I’ve only cried once this year so far, so things are looking up!)

-Buying new clothes no more than once every three months

-Keeping my orchid alive (this is the first one I’ve ever gotten to re-bloom, so fingers crossed)


-Figuring out why my laptop keeps waking up in the middle of the night after I put her to sleep/stop worrying that she’s going to attack me

-Maybe stop naming inanimate objects and referring to them with pronouns like “she” and “he,” but probably not

Nobody’s Forever Young (Bob Dylan and Rod Stewart are in their 70s)

The other night I was in a dive bar in Brooklyn where I observed the following exchange:

Drunk girl (to bartender): “Hold old do you think I am?”

Bartender: “Uh…23 or 24?”

Drunk girl: “Ughhhh. I’m 24?”

Bartender: “And that’s bad?”

Drunk girl: “I was hoping you’d say 22.”

Bartender: “Is 22 that different from 24?”

Drunk girl: “22 is young. 24 is so old.”

Now, I’m aware that I have, on occasion, complained about being old, or getting upset over birthdays. We’re all guilty of doing that at some point. I hope I wasn’t doing it at 24.

Coincidentally, this took place shortly after I had a conversation with a friend who just turned 30. I mused about younger friends who think their youth is a badge of honor. Newsflash: age is one thing you definitely cannot control. And guess what: you’re 24 now, but you’re going to be 25 next year, and in six years, horror of horrors…30. Everybody is every age until death.

Nobody loves getting older after 21, except my dad, who is counting down the days until his 65th birthday when he will reap all the benefits of being a senior citizen. For the record, it’s over a year away, but he already has a list memorized. The supermarket in my hometown gives a discount to shoppers over the age of 55 on Tuesdays. Apparently you have to identify yourself as a senior citizen. My dad goes every Tuesday.

That said, I just really want to have my shit together by the time I turn 30.

New Orleans: where people drink like they just got their first fakes

I had the pleasure of visiting New Orleans for the second time last week. This time was better. The number of drunk people in the streets was roughly equal (high).

One night, my friend and I ate dinner at a distinctly New Orleans establishment, where we were crammed into a picnic table next to an extremely drunk couple in their mid-forties. They drove all the way to Alabama for a funeral and stopped in NOLA on their way back. I know all this because they told me. Here are just a few statistics about our hour-long interaction (I’m calling them Fred and Candy for the sake of anonymity, and also because despite our being best friends FOREVER by the end, I’ve already forgotten their names):

Number of times Candy showed us pictures of her hotel room: 3

Number of times Candy ran her fingers through my hair: 4

Number of times Fred crapped all over New York: 3

Number of times either of them seemed sad about whatever friend or relative had passed away: 0

Number of times I had to justify being a vegetarian to them: 2

Number of drinks Candy imbibed during this one hour: 3

Number of drinks Candy had likely consumed prior: 5?

“I’m a hairdresser,” Candy told me as justification for touching my hair. Okay, but she’s not my hairdresser.

Fred: “New York is so dirty.”

Candy: “There are so many homeless people here.”

Fred: “Show them the picture of our hotel.”

Candy: “The bathroom looks like my grandmother’s bathroom.”

In fairness, it did look exactly like my late grandmother’s bathroom–all blue plastic toilet, seashell soap.

Later in the evening (20 minutes later): “Look at this picture of our hotel.”

Candy: “Our nineteen-year-old daughter is too good. She never gets into any trouble. She always makes curfew.”

My friend: “What’s her curfew?”

Candy: “Well, she doesn’t have one.”

Candy: “That pasta looks so good. It almost makes me want to be a vegetarian. But I love meat. I’ll eat anything.”

Fred: “No you won’t. But you’ll drink anything.”

Candy: “That’s true.”

Candy left her sweater on her chair. They were already outside by the time I caught up with them. I’m glad I did, because I got an eyefull of Candy’s six-inch leopard print heels. Also, they both hugged me after the sweater exchange.

I think my favorite comment was uttered by our waitress when she brought us the check: “So those people were real sober.”

I’m not about to tear down children

who were trick-or-treating on Saturday, because my heart is not made of stone. (Although I’m a little over the Elsa costumes. Let’s try to be a little more creative, guys, k?) But while I was handing out candy on my stoop, a parent decided to dig in, too. Are you for real? Are you, an adult and mother of two, going to demand candy for yourself? (Yes. Yes, she is.) That’s even worse than the teenagers. Not that they shouldn’t have shame, too.

My hopes for the Gilmore Girls revival

Ever since it was announced that Gilmore Girls might return for a short run on Netflix, I have been mostly anxious that I am being lied to. I want this to happen more than I want a puppy or Donald Trump to not be our next president. Okay just kidding about both those things, but I want it badly.

Demi Adejuyigbe of Gilmore Guys, a podcast you should definitely be listening to if you’re not, wrote this amazing list of suggestions for the revival on the Hairpin. I’d like to add a few of my own:

*It is revealed that season 7 was just one long, horrible dream.

*Mrs. Kim has been hiding Lane’s father in their attic Mrs. Rochester-style this whole time. Or maybe under Lane’s floorboards. He has been entertaining himself with Lane’s contraband music.

*Lorelei singlehandedly brings back the 90s.

*Rory and Lorelei each break up a few more of their ex-boyfriends’ marriages.

*Emily takes down the New York Times using only her words because they rejected Rory that one time.

*Luke introduces a delicious portobello burger at his diner.

*Paris becomes Hillary Clinton.

*April disappears because she was a useless plot device and annoying and no one ever liked her anyway.