i have a question...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I am a Pop Culture Genius: vol. XIV

You'd think I have a lot of time on my hands, what with the insistent Netflix watching. Part of it is that it's summer, and I'm really not watching a ton of network television.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I watched most of the first season of Gene Simmons's Family Jewels last weekend.

I was looking for another mindless half-hour reality show to watch but happened upon Ally McBeal this weekend.

Remember Season 4? When Robert Downey, Jr. starred in his most delicious role ever, as Larry Paul? Remember how he was a season regular but then got fired mid-season because he got arrested? Yeah.

It's funny to be watching a show that I forgot is totally based in Boston, now that I live in Boston.

Also, interesting to be watching Portia de Rossi on the show, now that I know she was really suffering from anorexia at the time. (I totally ordered her book last night, after watching a few episodes.)

Now, it's the part of the season when Peter MacNichol's silly little character, John Cage, is dating the Anne Heche character that has Tourette's. I remember (10 years ago, gulp!) watching these episodes with my folks.

But now, during a scene that happens at the school Heche's character works at, I recognize a little boy and immediately know him as Shane from Weeds. He was probably 6 at the time of filming, but the big eyes totally gave him away.

By the way, I intend on only watching the rest of the episodes in the season with Downey, Jr. in them.

This show's kind of annoying aside from him.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Litany of Insecurities This Outbreak Hath Wrought

1. My hair is so gray!

I used to dye my hair to rebel. It was the one thing my mom OK'd when I was in middle school, and when she told me it was OK to dye my hair, I went a little further than I imagined she was comfortable with: bright red, blonde, pink! At about 20, I stopped. And then, at 25, started again because, dude, there were so many grays. Before the Incident That Shall Not Be Named last week, I was planning on cutting and dyeing it (many months overdue) with several days to go before the big wedding in August, to let the hair shock subside. Now, almost a week later, I have been forced to stare at my locks in dismay and realize, if I stop dyeing my hair now, my whole head will be dark brown with a large side of gray.

2. I feel like an oily adolescent.

Full disclosure, I have oily skin and hair to begin with. I'm one of those, if I don't wash my hair within two to three days, it looks like I've been sweating, or that I've just stepped out of a brief rainshower. Except grosser. The women who treated me recommended that EVERYONE only wash their hair about twice a week. I feel like I would have to do some serious updo research before being able to do that without looking like I'm just dirty.

On top of that, part of my aftercare treatment is oiling my scalp (to suffocate any microscopic eggs (gag!)) and, because of my schedule, I've been showering, shampooing, conditioning, and oiling every night, which means a good 24 hours of an oily scalp on an already oily scalp. (Not to mention that, even though my scalp is still sore, I'm pulling my hair back to sleep at night because the oil from my hair will make my back break out.)

It has taken me four days of this to perfect the oily-scalp hairdo: tight bun with a clip to hold the bangs back. Otherwise, by the time I get to work, I'm already feeling hideous. And then, of course, I work with brutally honest kids who ask me questions like, "Why is your hair wet?" as I walk in the door.


3. I am not as over my obsessive compulsive disorder as I might have liked.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesdays nights, I barely slept. I could not turn my brain off: how much laundry did I have to do? What had my hair touched? Which things did I have to boil versus dry? How many staff shirts do I have that aren't contaminated? When can I put the laundry I've hung to dry back in my drawers? When can I start using my hamper again? When can I use the dryer? What time do I need to get home to have time to do all of this? How long will my shower routine take me?

Happy to have tomorrow completely off, even though I still have probably three loads of laundry and my hair routine to perform.

I'll be done with aftercare on Thursday.

Maybe then, I'll feel like myself again.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Do I have a story for you!

It all started when I sauntered into my hair salon, aching and ready for a haircut. I haven't gotten one since probably March, and my bangs are no longer bangs and my ends are FRIED. Not to mention that my hair is way past my shoulders.

I was tended to about 20 minutes after my appointment time, chatted up the woman who washed my dirty hair, and sat in the chair, ready for sweepy, sexy bangs I can rock at the wedding I'm in in August.

My stylist combed my hair and suddenly leaned down next to me.

"You work with kids, right?" she asked.

"Yep!" I responded, proudly. She looked closely at my hair. "Why? Because I have so much gray hair?"

"No," she said. "Don't freak out."

"Uh oh."

"Don't freak out. You have lice."

My heart dropped, mostly out of embarrassment. Panic set in, and I apologized profusely as my stylist gave me advice on shampooing my head and calling a nitpicker (gag). She explained that she couldn't cut my hair, as she left me with my limp, wet, infested locks and shuffled me out the door. But she assured me that after I called a nitpicker (gag!), I'd be able to return to get sexy, sweepy bangs.

I threw my hair up into a tight, wet bun and nearly ran to CVS, feeling dirty, embarrassed, and annoyed.

I spent the rest of Saturday hiding, trying to figure out how to tell everyone I needed to tell, and researching lice.

I know that they actually love clean, dry hair. That they can't cling to African American hair because the hair shaft is different. That they have three stages of life and go through them every 10-40 days.

I felt like I had just seen blood coming from a cut I didn't even know was there and now was throbbing in pain.

I slept in infested sheets for two days, paralyzed by not knowing what to do first.

Everything I read on the internet assured me that the pesticide shampoos don't work anymore, so I didn't do one.

I called several nitpicking services, hoping to get things handled as soon as possible, but the fastest they could get me someone was a tentative evening slot on Sunday.

By Sunday morning, the embarrassment had subsided and I was just kind of pissed and feeling gross. I realized my job couldn't be mad at me since I definitely got it there. I didn't know how bad my case was, and I didn't really want to know. Ignorance felt like itchy, scabby bliss.

Now that I sort of knew what I was looking for, I began to see the small nits when I scratched and even saw a live louse or two. (Gag.)

I spent most of Sunday watching Gene Simmons' Family Jewels (gag) on Netflix and feeling dirty. Counting down the minutes until the technicians would come to take care of me. Told my bosses who were both awesome about it and tried to forget my state, scratching all the while.

4 PM and 5 PM came and went, and I got a call from the owner of the treatment center who told me that the woman who was coming to take care of me had had car trouble and wouldn't be able to make it. The soonest they'd be able to send someone would be 3 PM Monday.

Today, I got a call at 10 to 3 saying they'd make it by 4. It crossed my mind a couple times that the whole company was a hoax, but a little after 4, two women came armed with a magnifying light, special shampoos, clips, baking soda, conditioners, and oils.

Here's how the process went:

1. I sat in my chair as they inspected me and deciphered that I had probably had lice for weeks. They oohed and aahed over the amount of nits at the base of my head.

2. They dosed my head with lice treatment shampoo that smelled like peppermint and soothed my itchy scalp, and I kept it on for 30 minutes, while I offered the women take-out menus because they had not eaten all day, having come straight from a screening at a camp in Weston.

3. Got my shampoo rinsed and then was doused with a concoction of baking soda and conditioner, which they combed through my head 1/8-inch sections at a time, removing tons of eggs and many lice in various stages of life. I was both horrified and fascinated. This process started at 5:30 PM and ended at 9:30 PM. (This proves not only their thoroughness but also that I had a fairly bad case.) By 8:45, I was starving and ready to burst into tears, my scalp screaming from the constant pulling on it. After downing a PB&J, I got my second wind and made it through the last 1/4 of my head. We spent the four hours watching Food Network and VH1. Highlights included most of the Mary J. Blige: Behind the Music and a couple episodes of Sex and the City.

4. The baking soda and conditioner were thoroughly rinsed and they took another inspection of my head, exclaiming at the way my scalp shined.

5. The final step was the application of some oil treatment to the scalp, to suffocate any microscopic eggs.

6. They were out of the house by 10 PM, at which point, I sprayed down my mattress, couch, and rugs, swept my house, scrubbed my desk and tables, took all the trash out, and stripped and remade my bed.

I have a 10-day aftercare program, which will still give me a full week to get a haircut before I go to California in August.

I cannot imagine dealing with this alone. Nitpickers are the only way to go these days, it seems.

I am thoroughly physically and emotionally exhausted and vow to keep my hair up and to keep my hugs from being too tight at work.

Who gets lice these days?

Serves me right for loving my job so much.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Overheard at Work, vol. XVII


It was over 80 degrees before 8:00 AM today and, now, after 7:30 PM, it's still 100 degrees out. (And 86 degrees in my house.)

"Wow. I've never seen a grown woman do a cartwheel."--an 8-year-old, after I proved I've still got it.

Me, to a teen: How's the internship going?
Teen: Good.
Me: Working hard?
Teen: Yes!
Me: When I did administrative work, my hands used to be covered in papercuts.
Teen: Oh. Well, I'm not working THAT hard!

"Prepare to DIE!"--an 8-year-old, playing Hospital Tag, where you have to tag people on each arm and leg before they "die" and are out.

"You have the feet of a goddess."--my peer leader, to the 8-year-old boy who was walking on his back.

"I'm related to him."--with weary disappointment, a 10-year-old girl, in response to her 8-year-old brother completely ignoring my greeting.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Overheard at Work, vol. XVI

ZOMG, it's been SO LONG since my last "Overheard" post!

We are two weeks into our summer program. I am teaching three hours each morning with the (sporadic) assistance of a 14-year-old peer leader who was assigned to me slightly begrudgingly. I do everything from Boalian Image Theatre with 11-year-old girls to playing tag games for over an hour with 9-year-old boys and lots of things in between. In the afternoons, I monitor the building and try to get administrative work done...I feel like I've been at work pretty much non-stop since the 4th of July.


"I'm tired of seeing the same water bottle since 1964!"--a teen, noting and putting down my sweet water bottle that I am never without.

[While playing Categories, a teen kept blathering and commenting and refusing to listen and gloating. I suggested the final category.]
Me: OK, the category is states!
Teen: Canada!

[As I patted my peer leader affectionately on the arm]
PL: Patting me on the back makes me fart!
Me: I'm not patting you on the back!
PL: Yeah, but it's still going to make me fart.
[As I crossed the room away from him, he let a big one rip.]

Sunday, July 10, 2011

8th Annual "Birthday Extravaganza"

S and I have been celebrating our birthdays together since 2004, when we threw a three-day 21st birthday bash that broke records in alcohol consumption and sleep deprivation. When I was apartment hunting between my sophomore and junior years in college, I sent out probably 12 Craigslist inquiries. The only person who responded was S, whom I had met several times because she was involved in the student-theatre group I worked with.

I guess you could say Craigslist brought us together.

We've celebrated together every June 21-23 since.

This year, however, with my work schedule and her moving mid-June, we couldn't be together on our birthdays proper.

I had the idea that, since we were both so busy and couldn't venture either North or South, to be together, that we should figure out the geographical midway point.

Turns out, it's basically Hartford, CT.

So, we agreed to meet there for the day. We'd have a boozy lunch, spend some time in a park, and see some sights, then head back to our respective homes.

I woke up around 7:30 to make some breakfast and head to South Station for my 9:30 bus ride. Peter Pan to Hartford on a random Saturday in July is totally the way to travel. There were probably 15 people on my bus, both ways, and everything ran exactly on time to the minute.

I got there a few minutes before S and went searching for a restroom in Union Station. I followed a long line of men to a corner and figured the women's room was somewhere else, so I entered the lobby:

Empty. No benches.

I was confused but headed back to the bus terminal and finally found the bathroom.

When S got off her bus, I showed her how odd the lobby was and then we stood on a corner to figure out our destination for lunch.

Agave Grill ended up being a pretty OK spot. Tasty if too-sweet drinks, OK salad, and actually really good nachos.

Full of drink and food, we headed toward Bushnell Park, where we sat here for about 2 1/2 hours:

That's the State Capitol, fyi.

It was perfect weather for sitting under a tree and we chatted and laughed off our drunkenness until it was time to try to track down some more food before our buses departed.

The walk was eerie. We couldn't figure out why the park wasn't packed. It was a gorgeous day, the grass was bright green and soft, there was a playground and pretty statues and historical buildings to look at:

It was like something from I Am Legend, and it just kept getting weirder.

As we walked further into downtown, we were confronted by groups of people in strange costumes and wigs. They were mixed with lots of crazy, street people, who called out to us as we wandered, hoping to find another spot to have a drink or some food.

Nothing was open.


This is the food court in State House Square:

The only place open in the food court was Szechuan Express, randomly.

We turned a corner and found a crappy restaurant where S had a beer and I had a homemade rootbeer but we refused to order anything on the sticky menu.

Finally, we happened upon a small market where we got some snacks and parted once again at the bus station.

When I got back to Boston, I was unnerved by how many stands at the food court were open in South Station.

It was probably the strangest place we've ever been together, and that list includes a place called Hunk-o-Mania AND the Las Vegas Strip in June.

Also, this is what they eat in Worcester, one of my stops on the way home:

America is weird.