Que Sera Sera

Take My Breath Away:

My very first sexual awakening happened in fifth grade, lying in my sleeping bag at my best friend Stephanie’s house, during the love scene in Top Gun. After the scene ended, she got up without a word, rewound the tape, and we watched it again. This happened twice. Neither of us spoke, but a general feeling of a-haaaaa lingered in the room.

At the bar:

1. This particular barmaid should not wear a shirt that says “Cutie.” Unless you are undeniably hot, or have a huge rack, you really shouldn’t go claiming this sort of thing. On other nights I’ve noticed that she also has one that says “Foxy,” and, inexplicably, one that reads, “Buh! I don’t even know you!”, so perhaps she took advantage of some sort of 3-pack sale. Still, no excuse.

2. It never fails to freak me out that a large paragraph of graffitti in the women’s restroom seems to be scrawled in my high school boyfriend’s very distinct handwriting.

3. If you didn’t want me to write things on the walls, you shouldn’t have handed me a Sharpie during my 23rd birthday alcohol-extravaganza. Regret won’t erase it. (I cringe too when I read the one about You Know Who, but it’s up too high on the wall for me to cross it out. Was I somehow taller at 23, or was it just some sort of cocktail stilts?)

4. A few things you should know about me and the jukebox:

a) I will always get a tiny crush on any boy who plays the Ramones’ I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend. Don’t worry; it will pass.

b) I will always sing along to Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London, drunk or sober. Same goes for Abba’s S.O.S., probably in a Swedish accent. Every girl at the table will eventually chime in. Roll your eyes all you want, boys; it’s fun.

c) If I’m really drunk, the odds of me playing REO Speedwagon’s Take it on the Run and changing the verses as I see fit are off the charts.

5. On a related note, don’t let Brian B. near the jukebox if he’s really drunk, because he thinks it’s funny to play Billy Squier’s The Stroke three times in a row.

6. We are the wittiest, prettiest, savviest girls in the room. Everyone else is a ho. I mean, did you see her pants? Please.

Some scenes not suitable for children:

Do you remember the first PG-13 movie you were allowed to see in the theater, without your parents? Not R-rated; those are typically snuck into, or caught on HBO after the kids you were babysitting went to bed. The PG-13, however, is an acknowledged rite of passage. A big deal.

My first was Batman. I was twelve, and we were on vacation at the beach. It was the second rainy day in a row, and my brother and I were tired of being dragged around to kitschy shops, so my parents dropped us off at the theater while they went in search of yet another place that sold sand-dollar related artwork. Half of me was thrilled to be away from my parents and at a PG-13 movie alone, while the other half wanted to whine, Hey, that’s not fair, he’s only seven!

I also remember that, as luck would have it, I already happened to be wearing my very trendy Batman T-shirt that day (with my Keds, cuffed jean shorts, and coordinating fluorescent yellow socks, natch). Unfortunately, the logo on the shirt glowed in the dark. I was terrified that someone might notice my own personal bat signal in the theater, so I sat through the entire movie with the box of popcorn held directly in front of me.


Today I don’t want to proof, or tweak, or revise, or concept. Today I don’t want to work at all. Today I want to sleep til 11:35 while it rains on my window. Today I want to sit on the couch in my pajamas and watch SpongeBob SquarePants and Jeopardy and Audrey Hepburn movies. Today I want to beat the Legend of Zelda on my old school Nintendo. Today I want to sit at Borders and read trashy fashion magazines without looking at my watch once. Today I want to wait to wash my hair until 6:00 when Emily calls to invite me over for pizza. Today I want to play The Sims until 2 in the morning, not worrying about waking up on time the next day.

Are you allowed to get nostalgic for unemployment?

Fuji and Sake:

Lying around last night, we played our own version of What’s Better? Some frequent winners were robots, the 1940s, Stephen Hawking, hot tubs, brown sugar and cinnamon pop tarts, and Fuji and Sake, the Siamese-twin cats featured in the newspaper’s Adopt a Pet column the other day. Not Siamese cats, mind you. Siamese-twin cats. Conjoined! Two heads! Named Fuji and Sake! For real. (The caption under their photo read, “We’ll let the picture speak for itself. These brothers are inseparable and very timid.”)

Needless to say, in the game of What’s Better?, Fuji and Sake in mariachi outfits trump everything.

Mansion Apartment Shack House:

Last night we played M.A.S.H. while waiting for the pizza. We wrote on a napkin with a rollerball pen. Our feet touched under the table. Buddy Holly played in the kitchen. No one else in the restaurant exchanged as many super-charged raised eyebrows as we.

I’m going to drive my Vespa to my job as a mermaid, and then come home to the mansion I share with Tony Soprano the trapeze artist and our 27 children on Io, one of Jupiter’s moons.

He’s going to end up in a shack in Chicago with Tina Fey, the international spy, driving his dunebuggy full of their five children to his job as a pirate.

All in all, I’m only jealous of their honeymoon on Neptune. Well, and that Tina Fey gets to come home to him at the end of the day.

We’ll just see about that.

Can’t Complain:

The day I walk in the door tired and frazzled and ready to pick a fight is the day he looks up and says, “Damn, Gina… I like that skirt.”

The morning I wake up feeling foul and cranky—the only way I can even get myself out of bed is the promise of a nap later—is the morning there are homemade biscuits and gravy waiting in the kitchen at work.

The powers that be are just bound and determined to make me have a good day, so who am I to fight it?

My 2-cent movie review:

Anakin Skywalker with the robotic arm is every girl’s Husband Dream come true.

No Wire Hangers!

Last night, Erin and I split a bottle of red wine and watched Mommie Dearest, probably for the seven billionth time, but this time it occurred to me: exactly where is elementary school-aged Christina Crawford getting these contraband wire hangers? Some dealer on the playground? Off the Hollywood black market? Is she hanging around dry cleaning establishments when she should be at home scrubbing the bathroom floor?

Also: the close-up of wild-eyed Faye Dunaway lounging on the white couch in her closet, clad only in turban and robe, slowly massaging lotion onto her elbows, is without a doubt the most demonic scene in the history of cinema.

You make the call:

Substantial evidence that I am in fact a thirteen year old boy:

I’m not even going to tell you how many times I watched this and laughed.

Substantial evidence that I am in fact someone’s grandma:

I looked at these pictures of Paris Hilton and thought, Does her mother know that she leaves the house looking like this?

Unflavored for me:

I went to the kitchen at work to get a soda, and noticed that hanging in the vending machine alongside the Cheetos and Snickers is “Mr. Nature No Cholesterol Unsalted Energizer Mix.” Mmmmm. I bet the kids love that one. One bag of bite-size cardboard bits for me! You know, the one manufactured by Mother Nature’s creepy New Age hippie husband?

Brian’s 2-cent movie review:

“This happened when I saw the last Star Wars movie, and I was expecting it this time, but still: Why would you cheer when the LucasFilm logo shows up? I can only think of one reason: ‘WHOOO! Yeah! Here’s my money, George! Take it! I don’t need it! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!’ ”

Trivia #2:

Even more little-known facts about people you don’t know. No links, no further info. How fun for you! Again!

My brother had so many freak accidents growing up, we had to start taking him to different emergency rooms so they didn’t think we were abusing him.

Tony wore a T-shirt on his first day at a new school in the third grade that read “Are We Having Fun Yet?”

Emily is a punk rock Martha Stewart who makes sugar cookies in the shape of a hand giving the goat for her boyfriend’s band’s shows.

Erin has a homemade Inspirational Hedwig poster hanging over her makeup mirror.

Laura was once given a warning by Fidel Castro’s bodyguards for getting too close to him while taking his picture.

Josh has let me cut his hair while we were both drunk on two separate occasions.

My father has three cassette tapes in his car: the Beatles’ Rubber Soul, Dvorak’s New World Symphony, and ZZ Top’s Eliminator.

Brian M. arches one eyebrow better than anyone on the planet.

Kate tried to hide her Tupac Shakur tape under her Natalie Merchant and Jeff Buckley albums when we were roommates.

Mikey does the most unbelievably believable Sammy Davis, Jr. for an Irish guy.

Kerry looks just like Audrey Hepburn when she dyes her hair brown.

Brian B. bought all the groomsmen in his wedding authentic Mexican wrestling masks as thank you gifts.

My mother writes the contents of all our Christmas presents on the sides of the packages every year in shorthand.

Alex gives everyone a nickname the minute she’s introduced to them.

Christina applied to three grad schools only—in Hawaii, Vancouver, and Amsterdam.

Brian P. loves Shiner Bock beer so much, his wife booked him on a tour of the brewery. In Texas. They live in California.

I have never seen the movie Dirty Dancing all the way through, nor do I ever plan to do so.

Tony Woos:

“I tried to impress her by speaking a little French, but all I knew were J’taime and le fromage, so I just kept telling the cheese I loved it over and over again.”

Cruisin’ with the Nuge:

Sailing down the highway on a bright sunny day, on my way to return Amy’s car, flipping through the radio stations, and I come across the greatest guilty pleasure driving song of all: “Stranglehold,” by Ted Nugent. I leave it there and cruise like a badass at 85 mph. Best lyric in the entire song:

“And if our house gets in the way baby/you know I’ll burn it down.”

I like that kind of dedication in my man.

You Say...

After spending at least ten minutes describing all the ways I’d make sweet sweet love to Jon Stewart, I asked him who his secret celebrity crush was.

“Um, I don’t think I have one.”

“Yes you do! You have to. Everyone has one.”

“I really don’t think I do.”

“Come on! Think. Make one up if you have to.”

“Uh… Lisa Loeb.”

“Lisa Loeb? Reality Bites Lisa Loeb? Lisa-Loeb-and-Nine-Stories Lisa Loeb?”

“Yeah, I guess.”


“For real?”

“I don’t know. I like her glasses.”


After much pressing on my part, he also revealed a weakness for Tina Fey, which I must admit to sharing. (Tina Fey is a stone fox. And hands down the funniest person on SNL, with Tracy Morgan coming in second.)

You know, it’s hard to go wrong with a boy who likes funny, smart dark-haired girls in glasses.

Well, maybe just the glasses part for Lisa. Although I must say: her glasses are pretty cute.

How was your day?

I am incredibly sleep-deprived at the moment, and plan on tumbling onto the hardwood floor the minute I’m finished posting this, waking up in my own drool several hours later, oblivious to all current events.

Last night I went straight from work to dinner and a performance of Blast downtown at the Performing Arts Center with some family friends. Right after the lights went down and the place got quiet, their ten year old son nudged me and whispered, conversationally, “Hey, have you ever crapped your pants?”

I struggled to maintain my composure for the rest of the show, which despite being described to me as “like a marching band, no, more like a Super Bowl halftime show, but like a Broadway show, too” was very entertaining. I got in bed at midnight and slept like Sigourney Weaver when she’s all drugged and possessed in Ghostbusters until my alarm went off at 5:30.

That’s right: 5:30.

Evidently I’m lobbying hard for the title of Best Friend of the Year, so I woke up at that ungodly hour on a Saturday to drive to Tahlequah for Laura’s graduation, where I was rewarded for my sacrifice by having two small children kick me in the back the entire two and a half hours, much to their mother’s complete—how do you say? Ah, yes: complete not fucking paying one bit of attention to your two small children under five. I had little dusty footprints all up and down the back of my black dress because I was trying to be a Nice Lady this time.

Afterwards, Laura’s grandfather took us all out to lunch at a place called Restaurant of the Cherokees, where I enjoyed the Fried Chicken, Salad Bar, and Carrot Cake of the Cherokees before freshening up in the Ladies Room of the Cherokees. No one was interested in purchasing a commemorative shot glass at the Gift Shop of the Cherokees next door, probably because everyone else tired of my of my many Of the Cherokees jokes long before I did, as is usually the case.

After the meal, as we stood in the parking lot talking, Laura’s grandmother admired the azaelas blooming in the Garden of the Cherokees (see? I just can’t stop myself), causing Laura’s grandfather to remark, “Peg, I’d steal some for you, but I might end up with an arrow in my back.” Then he launched into some story about Belfast and ended with a Woody Allen quote. He turns 78 this year and has brand new teeth.

When I got home, I called my mother and asked her what she wanted to do for Mother’s Day, and she said, “I don’t know… I was thinking it might be fun if we all went to the arcade and played some air hockey.”

I’ve got to go sleep all this off now.

30 Shopping Days and Counting:

Exactly one month until my 25th birthday. Just to save you any trouble, if you were toying with the idea, I do not want a magnetic American flag decal for my car door. I would, however, be very happy with a tube of Hard Candy glitter dip lipstick in Stop!.

The perfect gift for the hot dog maven in your life:

Two thoughts:

Sucka-fooled by the beauty myth. Again.

Doin’ the things/a spider can:

Saw Spiderman tonight. A good time had by all. Some thoughts, though:

Car Trouble, or 1.21 Jigawatts Deux:

The whole DeLorean plan fell through the minute I suggested it to Eric at Enterprise, so I’ll be cruising around town this week in a Pontiac Grand Am. That it’s silver, two-door, and has a spoiler only reinforces the fact that I am driving a sorority girl car. Not even an A-list sorority girl, either. Like, her name’s Amy, and she’s the girl the guys in the big frat cheat on their girlfriends with, but never leave them for. Amy’s house is totally second-tier. Amy still loves leopard print. Amy gets purple fake nails every week. Amy’s favorite TV show is Charmed, and for completely unironic reasons.

Amy is a pseudo-skank with a heart of gold. And I’m driving her car.

The fact that it’s silver is a little redeeming, though. I’ve always wanted a silver car.


On my way back to the office, chilling in Amy’s car and listening to that new Brandy song on the radio, just because you know Amy would, the car starts dinging and lights come on all over the dashboard. Lots of lights! Different lights! Lights that say ABS, lights that say TRAC OFF, and most fun of all, lights that say SERVICE VEHICLE SOON. I drove it back to work and called good old Eric at Enterprise.

His sage advice?

“I guess just keep driving it, and if something happens, we’ll trade you out.”

Eric, Eric, Eric. Not if I’m dead because it blew up as a result of me not SERVICING the VEHICLE SOON enough, you won’t.

Then. Then! Then I get the check from Mr. Pathfinder’s insurance company for the work on my car. Only it’s for $1200 instead of $1386, which was the estimate. And they’ve already started working on it. Grrrrreat.

You know, the only summary I can really think of for this whole scenario is that I wish Amy was a real girl, because she probably has some really good gossip, and I would so totally set her up with Mr. Turquoise Pathfinder.

Googling my name again:

This is depressing, on so many levels.

Ah, youth:

If you’re hankering to see a movie full of smooth young naked bodies having lots of sex, I highly recommend Y Tu Mama Tambien.

I also recommend smuggling liquor into the theater like we did, although it does make walking down all those steps at the end a difficult task.

I could really use that extra $23.70 this month, too:

Through some slight of hand of some data entry clerk, my gas bills come every month addressed to SARAH BRWON, and every month, I fleetingly consider not paying it, before deciding that defense probably wouldn’t hold up in a court of law.

Lesson learned:

If you eat your breakfast toast in the nude, you’re going to be dealing with Crumb Issues all day long.

Leaving in the fairest of the seasons:

In three weeks, my wonderful friend Laura moves to Columbia, Missouri to begin work on her Ph.D. in biology. I won’t know what to do without her.

Laura and I met when both our mothers forced us to participate in sorority rush the week before our freshman year of college. We were paired randomly as rush roommates, and I looked at the 8 pairs of Converse she’d packed for 5 days of tea and sandwiches and knew this was the beginning of a good thing.

Laura didn’t know her way around town during our freshman year, so she’d just hand me the keys to her Bronco and let me play Ill Communication as loud as I wanted on her CD player. I was kind of bummed when she figured out the main streets.

Laura knows that I’ve had her Bruce McCullouch CD since 1997, but doesn’t ever demand that I return it. I mean, really demand.

Laura once convinced me to prank call her old boyfriend in Denmark during our sophomore year of college. His mother answered, and I have no idea what language she said it in, but what she said was yes, Morton is here, but he’s asleep, and so am I.

Laura came to my New Year’s Eve costume party drinking a Guinness and wearing the head to a lamb costume her mother had made for the church nativity play.

Laura says, “Oh, sweet pea,” when you’re having a bad day.

Laura was a much more dedicated student than I was, and I loved persuading her to skip classes with me. Once I convinced her to skip her Friday morning class to tag along for my haircut. By nightfall, we were in some blues club the next state over.

Laura ate dinner with me at the Subway down the street every Monday night for an entire semester because I thought the sandwich artist looked like Beck.

Laura once told my mother that I was her “bosom friend,” like they say in Anne of Green Gables. I always give her a hard time about it, but I secretly think it’s kind of endearing.

Laura and I sat next to each other during graduation. When the two valedictorians gave their speeches—boys we had both dumped our freshmen year because they were too dull—I turned to her and said, “You’re dating your professor, and my boyfriend hasn’t had a job since January. What the hell were we thinking?”

Laura is not afraid of bugs. In fact, she will come over to your house at 9 am on a Friday morning to dispose of the biggest roach in the world while you cower on the couch in your bathrobe.

Laura and I once spent a weekend of debauchery in Kansas City, maxing out our credit cards, replacing our bloodstreams with alcohol, and waking up in our hotel room with an unknown boy in the bed between us. For the record, everyone was fully clothed, and he was very polite about the whole thing. As we walked him down to the lobby, he turned, cocked his head, and said, “Hey… you guys don’t have British accents today.”

Laura made me a tape just last week that begins with Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s Good Vibrations. It ends with Simon and Garfunkel’s Only Living Boy in New York. Needless to say, it’s the best tape ever.

Laura can breakdance. I know I’ve already mentioned this, but it bears repeating. She can also play the cello, flute, piano and bass guitar. She was once in her ex-boyfriend’s Rentals-esque band, but quit because all the songs he wrote were about her.

Laura will come over any night of the week to have a glass of wine and watch Legend or Willow or The Dark Crystal, all of which she owns. This fact alone would qualify her as the coolest person I know.

Laura once accompanied me to a fraternity party in order to find the guy who’d forced an ungentlemanly act upon me. She coaxed him outside where I punched him in the stomach. Twice. Then she sat up with me all night while I cried. Really ugly, red-faced, snotty crying, too. The next day, she gave me a Shel Silverstein card.

You need a friend like Laura.

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