Thursday, December 29, 2005

Manton vs. Woman Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

We're going to move on now to what was actually a success in terms of dating - my first girlfriend. Not some other girl like I might have mentioned down below, or a 6th grade partner which just amounted to you circling "yes" on a sheet of paper. No, this girlfriend and I went on a DATE.

Notice the non-plural.

Sixth grade really brought about a lot of change in my life. First off, I was moving from elementary school to middle school, otherwise known as "the worst years of your short life." Secondly, my left knee decided to be an asshole and stop properly functioning. This was known about for a few years, as my knee would ocassionally lock up, forcing me to stop playing basketball and writhe in pain on the black top. I told my mom about this, and she said it was growing pains. We saw a doctor who said I had...uh...how to spell german words...Osgodschlauters, an affliction that is German for "growing pains." That, along with water on the knee and loose cartlidge, meant that I had to be on crutches for 6 weeks, and ruined sports for the next year or so afterwards. When I looked across the doctor's office at my mom after he gave me the diagnosis, she confidently turned her head to me and said, "I told you it was growing pains."

Couple those two events with a sudden weight gain, and I was set for my formitive hell years. I was always a thin child, weighing only 70 lbs at 11 years old. That summer, without the ability to really work out with my knee and my fascination with this new thing called "food," I gained some poundage. 46 in a year, to be exact. It was so bad that at the beginning of 7th grade, a lot of the kids couldn't recgonize me. Yeah. Yeah it was that bad. To say I didn't have confidence was to say I didn't like eating - it was an obvious lie.

This crippling lack of confidence, self-hatred, and overall malaise with middle school really didn't make me feel like a big winner in the female department. For a while, I just sort of didn't care, with the occasional liking and pining away for some young lass who was classes above me. Fate would have it, however, that I would find someone on Ellis Island, symbolic of immigrants finding freedom in America. Except I didn't have to truncate my name or be subject to embarassing medical examinations, nor face a horrible travel over from another country. So almost exactly like it.

There was a new girl in the middle of 7th grade, if memory serves, and because we didn't get a new girl for some time afterwards, she was new girl for a while. Her name was Kyle, a rather small and thin girl with a cute face and rather quiet demeanor. It was surprising that she had only a few friends, but I guess that's what happens when no one bothers to learn your name since, well, you're already named the new girl. In eighth grade, our history class was learning about Greece and Rome, so we took a trip to Ellis island.

On the way, she was in my group or what have you, and I said a joke, and she laughed. I kept trying to make her laugh, and I kept succeeding. During the walking audio tour narrated by Peter Jennings, we turned off the bootleg Walkman and talked about a wide variety of trivial shit that I can't remember. By the time we were watching the IMAX movie and she was telling me she was scared of either darkness or boring IMAX videos from the seat next to me, we were as good as engaged. Afterwards, at another exhibit, Ali Gletow talks to me for the first time in about 6 months (she asked me every day if she was fat, and I'd say no, so finally I just said she was fat and I got blackballed) and asks if Kyle and I are going out. Well, if everyone thinks we're going out, I guess we're going out.

Kyle and I then decided we were dating and exchanged phone numbers. This was before the time of cell phones, but still in the time of personal ground phone lines, so we exchanged numbers. Every night we would talk after school for exactly 45 minutes. It did not matter the circumstances, we had to talk for 45 minutes. Right off the bat, we should have realized that we weren't meant to be - we couldn't carry a conversation for 5 minutes. She brought up a Rob Zombie remix album that her sister got her called "American Made Music to Strip By" and I swear to you I came back to "do you, uh, strip to it?" or a similar joke every 3 or so minutes. I was awful.

This was not my first experience with girls on the phone. Carly Patterson used to call me in the summer of 6th grade, that dark transitioning time, and we would discuss bullshit like this. Usually this would occur with my more attractive friend Stephen (this is because almost every girl wanted him...and he never went after any of them...and it really bugged me) but still, it did occur without him every now and then. The coup with Carly was that one time, in the middle of the night, during an outdoor movie, she pulled up her shirt and showed Stephen and I her bra. It was the highlight of my sexual adventures for 2 years, until I went to Rachel's house one night and two people put my hands on Maggie's breast. It was the first breast I had touched, and touching was better than seeing, but I still feel like such a dirtbag.

Wait, so what are we talking about? Oh yeah, Kyle.

Well, Kyle was insistant on talking for 45 minutes, as if this were the designated time for a couple to be talking. Once 45 minutes were up, as if there was a timer, she would say she had to go - the Old Faithful of conversations. Poor Kyle desperately wanted a real boyfriend, and I certainly wasn't that guy. We didn't talk in school really, and there wasn't any hand touching. Meanwhile, kids were getting head a few lockers down in the Boys bathroom; the tortoise vs. the jet. She decided we should go on a date to really solidify the relationship, the precursor for later in life when you have a child to save a marriage.

Luckily for her, I was well versed in the dating game. I told her to stave off awkwardness, we needed friends. She was going to take her friend, and mine, Ali B, and I was going to take Jassim. When it came to picking a movie, we decided on Mission Impossible 2 because it was incredibly romantic. When the big date comes, after my mom picks up Jassim and we drive to Kyle's house, Ali B calls in sick. Ruh Roh. What do we do now? Well, we go to the movie and I ignore Kyle (who looked extroadinarily cute that night) who wanted to hold hands and cuddle. I don't think I touched her. Obviously, I didn't know shit about dating.

After that, the relationship started to fall apart, which is sort of a lie since it wasn't a relationship in the first place. One night, when I was playing my friend Pod in NFL 2K1, she called me to tell me it just wasn't working out any more. I agreed, laughing, calling Pod an idiot, and yelling TOUCHDOWN! as she made a very somber and serious evaluation of our time together. I wish I could tell you what she said, since I was too busy celebrating my 80 yard TD pass. Needless to say, she hated me until she left Park Ridge, saying nary a word to me for almost a year or so after we broke up. She was a great girl, and I'm sorry that I hurt her, but realistically, we had nothing in common and it would never have worked out. So boo hoo Kyle - you should've seen it coming.

Next, I actually get a girlfriend. For about a year. Yeah, a bit of a drastic change.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Manton vs. Woman - Part the one after the first one

Well, I was criticized for having blog entries that were too big, so I cut the first part into two seperate entities. It probably doesn't even matter, especially since I'm writing this one seconds after publishing the first part. I'm a schmuck sometimes.

After learning about dating through Canteen Night, and dispelling my notions of being gay because I didn't fight over the honor of having Ali Gletow correct my spelling tests, I dove head first into the pool. About 3 years later in 6th grade.

I had a crush for a while on a girl named Jenna. I took an instant liking to her in second grade when she would laugh at my little comments that I would make. For example, my teacher asked "what do cows make?" One of my astute classmates answered with "milk!" My teacher congratulated that student on his or her immense intelligence. She then said, "cows make milk and...." Before she could finish the thought, I yelled out "cookies!" and brought the fucking house down. My teacher and all of the kids were in hysterics. Sadly, that was the catalyst for what you're reading right now - the realization that I really enjoy getting laughter out of people.

Anyway, tangent over. Back to my misery.

I made it a point of coming in every day and trying to make her laugh. It's really a lot harder than you think, especially when it went on for 4 years. I pined away never revealing my affinity for her, just hanging around like a creep dropping stupid hints that no one picked up on. That all changed come 6th grade, when I realized it was time to bite the bullet and ask her out.

Here is where the first major problem came in - I had absolutely no idea what a date was, where it should be held, how intimate it should be, nor whose parents would be driving. The second problem was that I was rather sure she didn't like me. When asked which Friends character I was most akin to, Jenna answered with the dorky, hatable Ross, and not the funny, witty Chandler. (note: this was when the show first started and when ross was a nerd and a half. now, i don't have a problem with ross, and would be ok being called ross-like...but i still think i'm more like chandler, god dammit!!) Not getting the desired reaction, I realized that over the course of the year she had been rather mean to me for no real reason, and not in the "I'll-hit-you-cause-I-like-you" way, but the "queen bitch" way. By this point, I didn't care; I just needed to ask to prove to myself that I could.

It was a rather chilly day in late Fall, and there was rain early in the morning, forcing recess to be on the blacktop. That morning, I made a small decree to my closest friends that I was going to ask out Jenna today, probably during recess. 18 seconds later, every child in Bergen County was fully aware of my plans. Let me take the time now to tell anyone reading to not do this, because all this maneuver accomplishes is having more people around during an already stressful situation. The tension built up all day long with kids from my entire grade asking me if the rumor was true. I looked down at my brand new yellow and black reversable Nike shorts, got my confidence from my cool new wardrobe, and shook my head yes.

The last class before recess was music class, which amounted to chorus with a lot of movie musicals thrown in. On this day, a nice Asian man came in to talk about the growing popularity of bongo drums. He spoke for a good half hour about all sorts of drums, but only referenced No Doubt for actually using them, leaving us a bit unimpressed with his meager evidence of the bongo boom. Thankfully the bell sounded and we were unleashed on the blacktop. Luckily, a certain Jenna had forgotten her purple winter coat on the table. Some genius boy suggested this was my in - hand her the coat and ask her out. I looked him in the eye, shook his hand, and said, "you are my greatest ally." Ok, so I really said "thanks dude!" in a non-gender specific high-pitch shrill.

I nervously clutched the coat as I walked outside directly from the music room onto the black top. Some of the more athletic guys were playing football, but stopped throwing the ball around upon seeing me, and fell into a group behind me to witness the momentous occasion. Even the less-athletic guys on the swings and monkey bars came to see what the fuss was about. We all walked over, me leading in the front, towards Jenna, who had a gaggle of girls behind her, also eagerly awaiting the festivities. I stopped in front of Jenna, with her coat in an outstretched arm, I asked "Jenna, would-"

She had a preemptive answer of "I would never go out with you! You're too skinny, too ______ and too ugly for me to ever go out with you!" Taking her jacket, she turned around and walked across the rickety basketball court, through the large group of stunned girls. I stood there with a tinge of red-faced embarassment while the auidence was stunned in silence. Not the "ohmygodBruceWillishasbeendead!?!" sort of roaring shock, but the "I can hear the pin drop/Sprint commercial" silence. Everyone sort of turned and looked away, I would guess a sign of respect, and tried to carry on with their 30 minutes of supervised freedom. Immediately I turned to play football, knowing that I would be denied. Thankfully, my extreme lack of self-esteem saved me a good 3 years with a shrink. Ironic? Certainly.

There was another dating experience in 6th grade, when I went on my first date. My friend Stephen had the hots for a girl named Samantha, one of the first in our grade to get breasts. Instantly she rose on the charts, and she liked Stephen, and he really liked breasts. Needing moral support, as this was the first date in the history of our class, friends were needed to come along and smooth out any awkward silences. Suzy and I were selected, and the date was set for dinner at the Diner, followed by a viewing of Austin Powers at my house, and possibly some playtime on my sweet Nintendo 64.

The whole process was rather uneventful, except for the fact that Samantha spilled her drink three fucking times. The first spill was when we were all looking at our menus. Samantha, sitting across from me, knocked her Sprite over, flowing right towards the crotch of my khaki pants. Direct hit. If 5 minutes in to your first "date" you get ice cold liquid thrown on your crotch isn't a sign, I don't know what is. I was shocked as I held the menu with both hands in my lap and even more shocked when Samantha nervously blamed me. She knocked her newly-filled glass of Sprite over about 10 minutes later, now soaking my shirt and thighs. This time she bravely took the blame.

Back at the house, as I watched Austin Powers for the 20th time, Samantha was having another Sprite in my living room. This time, the carpet absorbed all of it. I looked at Stephen, and we both wondered what adding breasts to the equation did to a girl's overall sense of balance. Obviously, it didn't help. The awkward point of the night was when gifts were exchanged. Because it was in early December, someone decided to get gifts for everyone on the date...without telling me. After receiving some great stuff from the two girls and Stephen (including an awesom Reese's Peanut Butter Cups tin which I still have) I felt a bit put out. Luckily, I gave Stephen a wallet I got from my Mom earlier in the week that my Dad refused to employ and doled out some blank audio cassette tapes to the girls. I really was an ass.

Stephen and Suzy played Cruisin' USA on N64 while Samantha and I talked about...christ only knows. After my dad dropped the two girls off, Stephen slept over and we discussed our first experience with dating. We learned that some girls can't stop spilling drinks, Austin Powers is a fantastic movie, and that the N64 was so much better than Genesis. Stephen also learned, after a soul-searching 15 minutes, that he didn't really like Samantha and decided to dump her clumsy ass and go out with Suzy. Obviously, we never figured that Cruisin' USA would be so essential to the dating process.

The next morning, Stephen was getting ready to leave when he tipped over the Sam Goody's gift certificate (remember when that shit was on paper?) envelope revealing a note. There, written in meticulous and pain-staking detial, was a note in calligraphy. In it, it stated how happy Samantha was on simply going on a date with Stephen, and wished him and his family a merry Christmas. He read it, passed me the note, and paused I looked him in the eye. "What are you going to do?" I asked. He pondered for a second and replied, "oh well, sucks for her." Dating rules.

Manton vs. Woman - Part Uno

Every now and again someone will bring to me a story about how a guy asked a girl out with a love note or concocted a screen name especially for the event of talking to a certain girl. I hear those stories and I laugh. I do not laugh at the person (well, not all the time) but mostly because they haven't got shit on me when it comes to bad news and women. At this point, I would like to say that the term 'women' is used loosely, but if I used "young women/ladies" I'd be called a craddle robber, pedo, etc. and there is enough evidence of that already.

For this entry and others, I would like to share with you, the reader, how poorly I have related with females. No one can tell for sure what it is that made women dislike me. It could be my stutter, my stupid hair cuts I had from the age of 3 onward, my awkwardly tall body, my more awkward plump body, my inability to decipher codes (she sneezed - totally wants my shit). Maybe the fact that I think I'm dumb, not very fun to be around, and am rather bleh when it comes to the attractive scale. That or my massive overconfidence.

I will now zip backwards to a time of innocence, of MC Hammer and his parachute pants, of New Kids On The Block and Hey Dude! Elementary school will be the first stage; the formitive years.

The first experience I had with liking a girl came with Ali Gletow. This was pretty much well-worn territory with every boy in my first grade class, because, well, everyone sort of liked her. The big coup was to have her grade your spelling tests. So, every time the test was finished, we'd pull out our red correcting crayons (why is red always the color of failure?) and anxiously await to switch partners. Some of the boys would switch amongst themselves, and if we knew what being gay was when we were 6, the rest of us would certainly call those guys homosexuals.

After the big rush every week, it got to be a hassle. Knowing that I was slower than the rest, and seated as far away as possible, I gave in to my homosexual urges of just switching with Scott who sat to the left of me. It turned out well since no one would date her until she was in 6th or 7th grade, but I think he was 18 or so at the time, so we never really had a shot. I look back and think of all the energy they wasted, and hope it takes a year off of their life while I reap the benefits.

Kids have a wonderful way of naturally pairing people together. This was never more evident than in 4th grade, when it was time for the first Canteen Night. No one knew what a Canteen was, nor how it related to a dance in our elementary school's multi-purpose room, but no one really cared. What we all DID know, however, was that we needed dates, as dictated to us by Saved By The Bell. Instead of basing these dates on trivial things like feelings and attraction, we did it by the easiest way possible: physical similarities!

People were paired off based on hair color, height, width, and all of the other important things. Geoff and Erin were paired together because they were shorter than the rest of us, thereby making a suitable couple. I was chosen to be with Kristen, a longtime friend, and fellow eyeglass wearer. No one knows who really laid down the rules about who got who, but we all followed them. If we knew how to dance, and thought that slow dancing wasn't incredibly weird and awkward, we would have looked like we were straight out of a musical. Instead, all the boys stood on one side of the gym staring at all of the girls on the other.

None of the relationships lasted a month after Canteen Night, even with such strong similarities.

Part 2 will delve into 6th grade, when things start to get hot. And by hot I mean emotionally crippling.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

A time to learn

Christmas is historically known as the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the son of God, and savior of humanity. Christmas is more commonly known as the time to make our economy not seem like it's in the shitter. Also, it is the way to show how you truly valuable people, because more care=more expensive gift.

This Christmas has turned out to be more than just the exchanging of gifts. Oh, I know what you're thinking, but this isn't some happy horse shit "I learned people are good!" or "the spirt of christmas is inside of al of us!" No, no I found out some odd and unkown pieces of my family. And everyone who walked into Christmas walked out with the same sexual orientation so it's not that, either.

My Dad's side of the family literally has about 80 people in it. I wish I was kidding. Among them there are a great number of older folk that I refered to as Uncle and Aunt, like Uncle Michael, Aunt Stella, etc. One day, when I was 14, I made the shocking realization that I had been living a lie. It turns out that my father only has one direct sibling, his sister, my aunt Sue. Other than that, no one else came out of Grandma's womb.

Then who are these people that I consider my aunts and uncles? They were all cousins of varying degrees of seperation, but because of their older age, it seemed more appropriate to give them an uncle or aunt title as a sign of respect. Except that no one told me, the kid who thought his family tree was like a big, equal redwood. I felt betrayed and conspired against, so I ask my grandma and mom to explain themselves. I expected to hear a multitude of apologies, maybe a few tears, and lots of pity hugs. Instead, they laughed in my face and pretty much called me a dummy. The truth hurts sometimes.

This Christmas was just as informative. Apparently, my great grandfater Miller was acutally named Muller with the two little dot things over the o, and was incredibly German. Grandma has refused to admit it for years, fearing that she would be pegged as a nazi, completely forgetting that her family could have been persecuted by those Nazis. What a silly goose! My mom and I also believe that my Dad's side was Jewish at one point - the pieces all fall into place. Ironically, I got Schindler's List from my Grandma.

She insists that my heritage isn't a big deal, that I'm an American and that's that. That's all well and good, but nationalities were a very important thing when learning about other countries. In elementary school one year, we were all told to ask our parents what countries our relatives originally sprang from. For example, the Mazzeis were from the Czech Republic, which did not exist in the pre-1991 world map (the USSR didn't go away in the Park Ridge school system until 1998) and the Rogers who were somehow linked to almost every important American possible. Now I feel like a liar, putting down only Poland and Ireland, not knowing that I was cheating people of knowing about my 1//8th German heritage. Also, it kills my tried-and-true line of "I'm Polish and Irish - a dumb drunk." I'm more pissed about losing the line than being lied to.

Finally, I learned that my great grandmother on my mom's side's maiden name was Booth, and that the name John Wilkes was barred from the house. Therefore, it's conceivable that I descend from the man that killed Lincoln. My mom believes that is where my origins for participating in film and theatre come from. Personally, I believe it's because I'm an only child and the only way that I could keep myself entertained was to make a 3 hour G.I. Joe battle in my basement. This also explains why I'm shitty at Halo except with a pistol when someone's back is turned to me (stovepipe hat need not apply).

So, I could possibly be a President-killing Nazi. Joe Lieberman, I think I hate you now.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Productivity is for losers

It's 2:36 AM, and I have a test in 6 and a half hours on the subject I really understand the least, natural science. Instead of studying the Krebs cycle one more time and understanding its relationship to glycolosis (yeah 2 pyruvate!), or bitching about how I don't need to know this shit since I'm a FILM MAJOR, I'm going to post some random thoughts that have been in my head for a week or two now.

The NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is inherently detrimental to its own cause. How can they advance if they are still using a term as old as Colored People? Haven't they upgraded themselves to African-Americans (even though most have never been to Africa)? Maybe it's for standing by traditions, or nostalgia, or maybe they don't want to be known as NAAAA.

Scantron paper simply cannot be erased. I'm not sure what technology they use to eradicate removing marks from any number 2 pencil using any eraser, but god damn, it's flawless. I had a final on Friday where I wrote the incorrect answer, tried to erase it, and ended up making it .1% lighter. Of course, I freak out because the all-powerful machine, while being able to correct a thousand tests, can't differentiate between shades of correctness. Later on, I skipped one question, writing down 3 wrong answers. I tried to erase them, I really did, but the results have left me thinking I automatically got three wrong. One erasing job was simply impossible to get rid of, and since I thought the answer was the same as the giant, not-going-anywhere mark, I left it as is. The next answer was erased in a lovely streak fashion, taking up B, C, and D; I did not attempt to make a correct answer. The last one became a tiny bit lighter, so I made the answer I wanted to choose darker than the night to ensure that the machine would know THAT was my final answer. The machine will still cyber-laugh and mark it wrong. Technology is a pain in the ass sometimes.

But then again, sometimes it's amazing. Has anyone thought of who made the tissue box where there is one tissue conveniently waiting to be plucked out of the box, ready to sacrifice itself so that your nose isn't as full of goo? Allow me to overshadow that valiant act for a second and center on how easy and helpful the tissue box set up is - there's always one waiting. Unless the box runs out or the tissue doesn't catch, and then we bitch and moan, completely forgetting about the luxury that box affords us 95% of the time. We are all selfish assholes.

I don't understand why Under Armour is expanding its line to other things outside of clothing to be worn by angry, yelling black men (as referenced by the house-protecting commercials). Why does one want an Under Armour gym bag? Do we really care if the contents inside the bag stay toasty warm or free of sweat? More importantly, will the back pack be skin tight to my shoulders and make me look jacked? Actually, will it make me look like the rail-thin, uber-pansy that I try and mask with loose-fitting clothes? If so, fuck that.

Am I the only one disturbed by the fact that according to Campbell's Chunky Soup commericals, Donovan McNabb has had about 4 moms? Is there some sort of controversy? A womb confusion? A squabble for money? I would like someone to get to the bottom of this, and I'm sure a very confused Donovan would, too.

If the q-tip is as bad as everyone says it is - why do they still make it? Wouldn't someone in the medical community have called the factory up and let them in on the secret? Or, there is a secret pact with Ear, Nose and Throat doctors and the Q-Tip company to get a kick back when people go in to get their ears cleaned out. People use q-tips thinking they are cleaning their ears but in reality they are just jamming the wax in deeper and deeper until it hits brain tissue. I smell conspiracy...and a built up of wax. Wait, does wax smell?

Finally, I hate the term "try something new" because no one ever tries something new. Everyone does something that someone else has done but passes it off as being new because what, they themselves haven't done it? I haven't swam with the mighty dolphin, but a shitload of people have. Therefore, if I were to try it, I would be trying something that is really old hat to anyone who has visited Sea World, or one of those beautiful resorts surrounded by crime and poverty. I suggest that the next time someone tries something new, actually go for it. Here are some examples:

Brush your teeth with Icy Hot
Eat a best-selling novel
Make out with a barnyard animal (I think I've seen videos of this already, though)
Drink orange juice with pulp and enjoy it, saying "man, all of this shit that is built up on my teeth right now actually makes the process of drinking a liquid so much more enjoyable!"
Skateboard on ice
Sleep with a penguin (not have sex with it, you sickos, just...cuddle, ya know, until lulled to sleep)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Fuck Boston

This city should go straight to hell. This anomaly of scientific weather patters can eat my balls. How the fuck can there be 7 inches of snow in Jersey, which, closest, is 200+ miles away, while in the NORTHEASTERN city of Boston it's 37 degrees and there can be no snow? No rational person could explain this. No one!

No one could explain why how, inexplicably, the first snowfall we got, that at least somewhat stuck, was on October 29th. Two days later, it was 65 degrees out. How does this happen? Is there some sort of curse from the Puritans? Wasn't it enough that Boston decided to preserve the paths for horse-and-buggies and consider using them for their modern, paved streets, causing the complete clusterfuck which is Kenmore Square (that's all true people)? Haven't we done enough to appease God to close liquor stores at 10, and close bars at 2? Isn't it enough that my local CVS in bumblefuck New Jersey is open 24 hours, as well as the Dunkin' Donuts/Baskin Robins, but nothing here stays open past 12?

WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FROM US?!?! WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN BOSTON WITH THIS WEATHER!!?!

I can't even relish in the fact that God sorta likes this area by bestowing upon them Curt Schilling or having the Pats win 3 out of 4 years. That has to be the trade off; championships for shitty weather. Everyone, please, give your rings back, because I'm tired in living in Day After Tomorrow land.

Today it was supposed to snow somewhere between 3-9 inches, probably nothing longer than the average penis (6"). I can take a penisload of snow...that really didn't come out how I imagined it would. Anyway, that's not a lot of snow, as last year had the most amount of snow in recorded history for Boston. Six inches? Bitch please.

Here's the problem. The ground wasn't cold enough for the snow to stick, so instead we have an accumulation of slush that ranges from 2 inches to around 8, to about a foot and a half in giant puddles. Boston, for whatever god forsaken reason, doesn't really believe in what we civilized people refer to as a "draining system." No, these backward-ass fucks believe that the sun will come and naturally evaporate the water in minutes, thereby dissolving the problem with minimal work done (the Boston way - look at the 20 years strong Big Dig...that's still not fucking finished). Oh wait, I forgot, YOU DON'T SEE THE SUN FOR WEEKS AT A TIME. Whoops! There's a monkeywrench in the works.

Instead, the city has plows and BU has snowblowers for these types of situations. Problem: there is no way to have a snowblower move out slush. It's impossible. It would be easier to find a gentile in Newton than to try and move water with a rapidly-moving fan-thing. So now we have 20 idiots trying to do the impossible, having no effect, but continuing to plow because that's what they're paid to do.

Even better, because of the lack of drainage, there are GIANT puddles that are easily twelve feet by eight feet, about every 400 feet or so, and are completely unavoidable. Throw that in with the fact that some are in the middle of traffic zones, which makes you prey to the worst drivers in the world in conditions that could hinder their braking systems in their vehicles that weigh at least a ton. It feels like I'm walking in one of the final levels of Super Mario, having to traverse all of those obstacles just to get to Bowser and learn that my princess is in another castle from a fidget with a giant mushroom hat on. Except this time, all I get is shoes that each gained 7 points because of water logging, pants that are wet up to my knee, and a general malaise with the city I currently live in.

Even better, I get another 4 months of this, as spring doesn't start until late April if you're lucky, and another two years of winters like this. How do I stop it? This July, I say we utterly destory Boston and start over. If they can fly away to distant Iraq and Afghanistan to do it, this should be a walk in the fucking park. Set up a grid system of streets, a proper system for draining rain and snow, and throw up a giant uv lamp so it at least gives us the impression that there's a sun, and that God hasn't shunned us after all.

I hate this fucking place.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Explaining and Understanding Friendship

There are all sorts of people in this world, and the odds are you have to associate with some of them. From the freaks, to the dorks, to the jocks to the senile old man who won't stop pestering you to repent your sins, this mortal plane is certainly full of diversity. I, however, will easily break down most people into 3 groups, because grouping by sexual orientation, skin color, place of birth, or actions are so gosh darn simple!

There are three types of friends: School friends, party friends, and friends. The last, which really should be listed first because of its importance, is the blanket type of pal; the one you can take anywhere. These friends you can end up having classes with, end up going to parties with, or just hanging out with. They are the all-purpose campanion, who in snow, sleet, rain or armaggedon will be there with you (I was warned to repent, so I can't say I wasn't given a heads up). The other friends, though, do not fall under this all-encompassing blanket. Oh no. Not at all.

The School Friend
Description: School friends are people in your classes who you are friendly with, but nothing too solid. While not prevalent in most high schools--at least small ones like mine--where the people you learn with are usually kids you've grown up with and are forced to be your school, party and overall friends. In college, the stakes are drastically different...especially one with 16,000+ undergrads. The school friend is someone who you'll hang around with in class, make jokes with, maybe study together. But that's as far as it goes. When you are outside of your college any ties to that person are immediately tossed aside. Walking to class and they're there? You walk by, and they're excited because they don't want to walk with you, either.

Pros: If they're annoying, you're done with them as soon as the lecture or discussion is over with. One such disposable friend from last year saw me the other day, and the experience was...incorrect. He's the kid that you don't really like, but you met at orientation, so you feel some obligation to be nice (98% of people from orientation you won't even acknowledge once school starts) and talk to them. You find out that this person is annoying, with a terrible sense of humor, and isn't very smart, which makes him a bad choice when it comes to group projects. But, you keep him along because you sorta feel bad. Next year, you see him, and you make an effort to be nice and say hi, start some small conversation, and this fucker blows by you, making it seem like it took too much effort to say hi back. ...THAT'S NOT YOUR JOB, THAT'S MINE! I'm pissed on the "cool" principle alone being ruined, not the fact that he was rude. The positive? I rarely see this fucker, and I'm happy.

Cons: If you like the person, the transition from school friend to all-around friend is a difficult bridge to create, and usually fails. You have to befriend people you can only stand for no more than 3 hours at a time - that's the trick. People you'll life, but get on your nerves, and luckily you won't have to see them anymore until your two classes tomorrow, and thank god for that.

The Party Friend
Description: You're drunk, I'm drunk, we're having a great conversation. Later, I see you on the street and I realize that without copious amounts of alcohol, you're a bore. Uh-oh. It's hard to rekindle the magic you get when you first meet someone when you're both trashed. There is this sort of social lubricant quality to alcohol that makes meeting people new and exciting on its own, let alone someone who is interesting. Once the drinks are done, the party cleaned up, and dude that no one knows who was passed out on the couch has left, this friendship is dead. Until next weekend, and then you're best friends again, saying things like, "this fucking guy...he's fuckin...this dude is fucking crazy man!"

Pros: "They're sharing a drink they call loneliness, but it's better than drinking alone" -Billy Joel, Pianoman. When you drink on your own and don't have fun, well, you should start thinking about attempting something with 12 steps. Drinking with people you don't know is fun, too, because almost none of your actions have any rammifications outside of that party. Nicknames like "weird tall dude" and "guy that freaks me out" are ok because everyone's jovial and who cares if you see that guy or gal ever again! Unless they're the one angry drunk, then it's wise to call them "sir" or "ma'am."

Cons: Paying up at a party when you don't know who's throwing the party, and it turns out it's the person who you're asking "whose house is this, and do you think we have to pay for the beer?" Also, when you meet a kid at a party your frist weekend freshman year and have a 10 minute conversation with, and then realize he's in every one of your classes. This is what I'll refer to as "friend crossing," and crossing a Party and School friend is like mixing vodka and rum - you're gonna end up regretting the whole affair. So I never talked to that kid again. I think he was lonely, but I'm not going to end up vomitting up what tastes like sour OJ just because he doesn't have friends. The bitch.

The Friend
]Description: Buddy, chum, pal, compadre, brother-or-sister-in-arms. Many names, same meaning: someone who will hang out with you when you're sick, watch after you if you vomit everywhere, and will do stupid, potentially dangerous things with (I should write one of the Chicken Soup for the Soul things, I'm touching). They are the ones you turn to when things go terribly wrong and you need guidance, a laugh, or some substance to make you forget. They'll eat with you, see a movie with you, and be ok with the fact that you two men pretty much just went on a common date. The people you care for, the ones you mess when you're away, the ones that know you like few others do. And the one guy that you hate but you're friends with because you always need someone close in relation to you to dislike.

Pros: Spiritual guidance, companionship, help meaningless tasks go over in a somewhat entertaining fashion. They keep you company when you want it, or when you think you don't, but you really do. There are few bad things about friends.

Cons: ...Except for when you want to cut them loose. There is no easy way to stop being friends with the kid who's juuust too annoying, who talks a liiiiittle too much, who criticizes you for tooooo many things. Through the years, I've tried the "don't talk to them for a month" (with girlfriends, too), the "we're going to publicly embarass you and make you feel like you're less than scum...and you can't hang out with us anymore, either" technique, and have fallen victim to, "you're banned from the lunch table, go away." There is no easy way to deal with getting rid of a friend, or being the friend who's rejected. Hopefully, you'll just "drift apart," "go your own sepearte ways," or "grow up at different speeds." Usually, though, it's full of tears, sorrow, and either a horrible break or you just decide it's not fucking worth it so I'll just stick around and bitch to everyone about it. The latter is almost always the solution.

There are other types of friends, of course, but they usually fall into these categories. For example, a School Friend could also be an After-School Group Friend, an Athletic Teammate Friend, or a Marching Band Friend, which isn't a group, and most certainly is NOT a sport. Work Friends I would file under Party Friends, because usually working involves going out afterwards and gettin drunk or high to try and cope with the menial work you all survived. Drama Friends, however, are a group that defies logic, description, and any semblance of reality. Things you would never think you'd do, say, or feel happen when you're locked up with people playing dual roles as you and the person on stage. They are like War Friends, just without the blood, but all the pain. After going through all of this shit, you feel a bond, like you were in the 'nam, just without pot and The Doors.

If you have any sorts of other types of Friends, or stories to share, do so in the lovely comments section - that's what it's there for YA SILLY GEESE!!!