Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How's that bricklayin' coming?

I have a first line, a follow-up paragraph and no story, but that's a lament for another day. The lawn must be mowed with the world's most anemic lawnmower and I found my safety glasses (which I rock) so I'd better not tarry.

Who writes like that? Not me.

I said something this weekend that I thought would make a great title for a book, but makes a sad statement about me.

"I promise not to be myself."

We were discussing the possibility of going camping as a way to have some sort of affordable vacation. The idea of being here together all summer is enough to give me hives and tremors. I've already plotted my occasional escapes to the library, the Riteaid, CVS. I can unravel an entire afternoon with five dollars and a baggie of coupons. It may look like I'm saving money, but it's self-serving, I tell you. I'm saving a little of my sanity, too.

Anyway, we have not been camping people. We used to go with Doug's family to the northwoods of Wisconsin, but we stayed in fully-equipped cottages with bathrooms and electricity. 1999 Lisa would scoff at the idea of camping, real camping. She had snit fits about the lack of television and the summer that Sophie was an infant insisted on taking the portable television with the built in VHS player. The only flaw in that plan was that she forgot to pack any videos except The Wedding Singer and it was already in the player. What a long week for Lisa who lay across the bed with a baby attached to her nipples committing the dialog of The Wedding Singer to memory while her family went out and had fun riding go-carts and horses, paddling canoes, playing in the lake and hanging out around the campfire.

"So? Camping? In a tent?" I asked Doug last night. "We wouldn't need much. A tent, a couple of sleeping bags and air mattresses." I was reading Good Poems American Places by Garrison Keillor felt all itchy for a road trip. A change of scenery. Different trees, different skies, a different place where I do all the damn domestic stuff. Camping seemed like a reasonable approach financially, at least.

"Let me think about it." 

That means he's not sold on the idea and is buying time. Fair enough. We're not camping people. We're also not dog people or church people or riding lawnmower people, but I'm willing to try not to be myself. I'm willing to try with mood altering medication and duct tape placed securely over my mean mouth with its cutting words and martyred sighs.

It's not like I'm suggesting renting a bus and creating a stir among the very excitable East Coast media crowd, for cliff's sake. I'll even leave the feline entourage at home. Those poofs are insufferable when Room Service isn't available while traveling. I mean just try explaining the KOA's lack of a Concierge Club Floor to five sour-faced, disproportionately disdainful furries.

Or maybe I'll just hide out at the library and read about medical horrors resulting from mosquito bites and be glad I'm not going home to a tent and an air mattress that leaks and sounds like someone's farting every time you move on it. Until we have to, that is. The unemployment cash cow keels over next month and my hair is starting to fall out in clumps from stress. Hello, Fellow 99ers, is this seat taken?

To make my hair thicker, fuller and shinier, I applied for a pile of jobs this weekend after I discovered a different website offering job postings. Here's hoping Santa Baby makes my wish come true and drops a big old job into my stocking that's still hanging desperate and full of catnip from the mantle. It's like Christmas waiting for the Barbie Dream House that never came. Only I'm hoping this year will be different because I've been a very good girl. Check email. Is that my phone ringing? Please oh please.

I'm trying to use positive visioning (I know, it sounds silly to me, too). I'm looking beyond the application process and envisioning myself in an interview. The words "I promise not to be myself" keep coming back to me. Unless, Google calls. Then I'm all me and more. Their website says that's what they're looking for. And to tell you the truth, any employer who encourages you to let your freak flag fly even a little, would be a perfect match for me. And vice versa. So, Google, call me, okay? Let's hook up.

I know what you're thinking. They've probably read my blog since they - The Google - essentially own it. Please. Like this blog is anything special? Do you know what search string draws people here most often? High functioning sociopath. So yeah, I'm not terribly worried about someone reading this blog and thinking that I'd make a bad employee. They're already potentially employing someone who's googled the phrase high functioning sociopath or found me while on a quest to learn Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's bra size. Sometimes both.

Besides, Lisahgolden isn't my real name.*

In closing, I'm sorry you can't get this last few minutes back. I don't understand it either. Let's blame David Sedaris's Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk. Or the heat. The humidity. The sweatbees. What's the moon doing?

Lost in my mind and stuck in my head.

*Lie, a big fat lying lie just lying there.


  1. Here's hoping for that phone to ring! We've decided to go camping this summer. The son is laughing. That says it all, doesn't it? But I beg to differ. I grew up in the sticks. I know how to light a fire. So what there are lots of nice hotels in between. I can still do it, right?

  2. I love camping, but not during summer when mosquitos are on the war path.

  3. Google would be a fool not to hire you!!!

  4. I don't want the last few minutes back. All that made complete sense to me, which likely tells you something about how my brain is working.

    This morning I tried to set fire to a critique I received 6 months ago from a person who hates my guts. Why I've held onto it for 6 months, who the hell knows. But today ... yes today was the day. I went outside with those mean-spirited pages and a stainless steel dog bowl to burn them in (how appropo) but I couldn't get the paper to light. I tried 4 times, but only managed to singe the edges. So I went and got the other dog bowl --- the water bowl --- and used that dog-saliva-laden water to drown the pages instead.

    My desk feels cleaner already.

  5. And I meant to say I love your title. I would buy a book with that title. And here's to your phone ringing more than once....

  6. I say pitch a tent in the backyard. That way you can get the experience but still hear if the phone rings.

  7. Isn't that "The Secret?" If you build it, they will come?

    Or something??

  8. I've never been one for sleeping in a tent either but I've noticed that people who do enjoy camping seem to spend more on their gear than it would cost to stay in a nice hotel for two weeks. The one time I did camp was in an almost prehistoric period when I was too young to know better.

    Some friends and I borrowed an old 12 man army tent for a planned shopping and clubbing trip to Montreal. That meant we had our fanciest clothes as well as all the peripherals like jewelry, hairdressing supplies, and makeup. To begin with, we'd gone sightseeing on arrival so had to set up the tent while we were slightly drunk and it was almost pitch dark. Can you imagine how many tent poles a 12 man army tent has? Did you know you're expected to have a mallet or a sledgehammer to sink the guy ropes? Can you see 4 girls in dresses and high heels doing such a thing? We finally got it fairly stable only to discover we had to clamber through prickly bushes to get to the door opening. After cutting our way through, we hauled in our suitcases, camp beds, blankets, and pillows. I regretted not having let my father show me how to use his old primus stove when I set fire to a corner of the tent. Thankfully, a deluge of rain put it out. Did you know you're not supposed to touch the ceiling of a canvas tent when it rains? We didn't and every spot we touched let in more water. After spending a miserable night in the station wagon we drove home the next day. I've never been camping since.

    I hope you get the Google job.

    ps: How do you know what search strings people use to find you? I did eventually find my stats.

  9. The idea of going on a vacation where when you ask to use the bathroom and someone hands you a shovel? That's not a vacation, that sounds like boot camp (not that I ever went or woud have considered it).

  10. I started laughing with your poofy cats who are too high-maintenance to go camping and just kept on laughing until the end.

    I do like camping, but so far every time I've gone I've had access to some sort of bathroom, at least a (clean, nice, well-maintained) porta-potty. Later this month I'll be camping with a bunch of hippies in the desert and am a little nervous about the accommodations. I'm sure I'll adjust, but for right now I'm clinging to my bed and my electricity. And my flush toilet.

  11. Okay, when the hair is falling out, it is time to regroup. Seriously, regroup.

    My husband and I were both campers prior to our meeting each other. But that was back in the day of setting up the tent, crack open the beer and build a raging fire, while staying up playing drinking games with friends, who in my case always knew how to cook.

    Now, a hundred years later, I have trouble finding the fun in taking three kids out to be eaten by mosquitoes, and having to clean up after them with no conveniences like hot water...and with one recently potty trained. And doing this all sober?? No, I cannot imagine. I think I want to take them when we can all go and drink together...that would put me at about, oh, 70 or so and perhaps then it really isn't going to be all that grand. Plus, isn't there a law about playing drinking games with your kids? That will not turn out well for anyone. Mark my words...

  12. I don't remember riding a horse on that trip, so I will need to see a receipt.

  13. We went camping every summer when I was a kid -- usually for 4 weeks at a time! How my parents did that, I do not know, but it's true we always stayed at places with flushing toilets and hot showers, so that explains some of their survival.

    I love to camp, but I do like to have electric when possible, and the flush toilets are nicer when you make the late night trip.

    I say go for it, but with 2 recommendations: (1) do a lot of research on any place you decide to stay. Be sure yo know what you're in for: if you want seclusion, try to find out how big the sites are and whether there are trees between the sites (try TripAdvisor for honest reviews). And (2), borrow camping gear from friends and neighbors. It can indeed get expensive if you buy everything at once, but just about everyone I know has a tent or sleeping bag or even a Coleman stove in the garage waiting to be used. (If you lived closer I'd lend you mine!)

    Lastly -- and don't you hate it when people disappear for long stretches of time only to show up and write rambling comments -- one of my favorite childhood memories is of waking up early in the mornings and seeing my mom sitting in a lawn chair, watching the sun rise over Kerr Lake Reservoir, watercolors and coffee cup in her hands ....

  14. Mosquitoes carry MALARIA!

    If I ever start a band, do I have your permission to name it High Functioning Sociopath?

  15. Lisa - I hope for a phone ringing off the hook for you. And a camping trip...we go camping every year and Boo Boo loves it. We started simple with an overnight and now do a full long weekend.

  16. //real camping.//

    ...is a tarp,sleeping bag, a sack of whole grain muffins and a quart of Seagram's..... in the mountains. Hey, bears shit in the woods and so can you!

    just saying.

  17. Campers are bred in the bone, it can't be taught.

    If you're game to try it, though, and want to stick to a tight budget, might I suggest renting good equipment from REI? Good stuff makes a trip much more comfortable, and the rental fee is still cheaper than buying cheap gear that is guaranteed to make your trip miserable.

  18. You can totally come and camp in my back yard. I doubt my neighbors will mind.

    You can also come inside during the daytime and watch tv if you want to.

  19. Ring, goddamn it. I don't want to be the only one who's rejoined the work force and is knee-deep in triplicates. I hope you're lying on your apps, Lisa. It's horrible and wrong, but times are tough. Say what you need to say and do a such a good job later that they won't want to fire you. Take it from a high school dropout.

  20. Why has no one hired you as a daily columnist?

    It's beyond me!

    I'm so hoping that something comes through for you, Lisa. I'm in your corner.

    As far as camping goes, near a body of water is the best!



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