Mar 152016
 

 Alternately titled: Another Dumb Idea!
Last week when I was meandering about town during my lunch break, I kept pausing to either tweet or text Henry about all the perils in my path. You know, like Planned Parenthood protestors, city school kids, an errant paper bag skipping across the pavement. (I COULD TRIP!)

And it made me think about how much more fun it would be to SEND A POSTCARD instead of these electronic means of communication. Like my lunch break is a vacation and oh motherfucker, do I wish you were here. 

Perks: 

-snail mail is never a bad thing and gives the mailman something to read other than Pennysavers and campaign mailings. 

-I love handwriting things and it will give me something other than my name to scribble over and over again at my desk. And let’s be real, I don’t have the time/attention span to write full blown letters. 

-I’ll have something to give Last Mail!

-WHAT A PERSONAL WAY TO STAY IN TOUCH!

If I have your address, don’t be surprised if you get some weird sketch of the Stalker of the Day (I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE SOMEBODY’S WATCHING MEEEE) or a poem about the trash in the river. 

And if I don’t have your address and you want to get a random post card, email me! Butgavincantdance@gmail.com

I’ll probably also send them to random addresses as well because that’s not creepy it’s sweet. 

I’d like to send one a day and I’ll start as soon as Henrh buys me stamps, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. #HenryProblems

And if you wanna send one back from your own lunch break, PLEASE DO! Postcard frenzy!!

Oct 182014
 

When my brother Corey was texting me pictures of the Amish guys working on our dad’s roof, it brought back fond memories of the time my other brother Ryan and I stalked the man who was building our back porch when we were kids. I knew I had written about it at some point, so I searched my LiveJournal archives and now I am sharing it here, because I think it’s kind of funny how I am still basically the same person as I was when I was a kid.

I have a different dad than Corey and Ryan, so clearly our penchant for stalking comes from our mom.

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What was the best summer ever? Could it be the summer of ’92 when we hosted a French exchange student (that deserves it’s own entry)? The summer of my nineteenth birthday party marathon? No, my friends. It’s the summer of 1994 that wins this title.

My parents were in the process of having a back porch built onto our house. This was a big deal for my brother Ryan and me, because stalking one of the workers became the sole reason we got out of bed each day. I mean really, who wants to swim and lay out in the sun when you can be violating someone’s privacy?

We would run from window to window, snapping pictures of him. One day, Ryan even chased his truck up the street. Those pictures turned out fabulously. I’ll never forget the day we discovered his name was Gary. We ran into the house, erupting into shrieks and giggles.

After a week of wasting film on this fine craftsman, we decided to incorporate a little more extremity to our game. More thrill, if you will. We needed a bigger adrenaline rush. The next obvious step was to collect Gary’s cigarette butts and beer cans. When you’re young, you want souvenirs for everything you do.

We would wait until he would go to his truck, then sprint out in the backyard like scavengers, picking through the grass in search of a butt or two. Once we accumulated enough to satiate our pursuant appetite, we brought our treasures in the house and stowed it underneath the couch in the family room.

Stalking Gary consumed so much of our summer. How much, you ask? So much that it infiltrated the summer of my friends, as well. Christy was in Atlanta (I believe) for some sort of academic camp. I wrote her a letter and enclosed one of Gary’s cigarettes butts for her to cherish as well. I just wanted her summer to be as rich as ours had become, thanks due to Gary. I wrote letters to every one of my pen pals, detailing Gary’s every action and movement. Everyone clung to the Summer of Gary with bated breath.

Unfortunately, the fun and games ended when my dad unearthed our stash of memorabilia under the couch. Now, any other dad would have rightfully accused us of smoking and drinking. Not my dad. Luckily for us, my dad recognized the extent of our weirdness long before this incident, so he believed our tale and we escaped punishment. The downside was that he forbade us to continue our game. Something about we were embarrassing him or something.

I often wonder what Gary is doing these days, and if he knew he was being stalked. Was he flattered? My mom says ‘nay.’

Jun 232014
 

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OMG one of my favorite parts of our road trip was when we got to drive through the boarded-up hole where Henry used to live while he was in the SERVICE OMG CAN YOU STAND IT.

I wondered out loud if perhaps Henry had grown children running around Bunker Hill, but he assured me that was impossible, which means that Henry didn’t have sex for like THREE YEARS from 1984-1987.

I was in elementary school then, roller skating and being awesome.

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Henry is sitting next to me right now, against his will, and I’m asking him for information to include with these pictures since he has refused to write anything on his own because he hates thinking of the years of his life that didn’t include me.

Obviously.

He was an aircraft CREW CHIEF. Whatever that means.

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Here is a street that Henry may have walked on! He probably at least drove on it in his GREEN GRAND PRIX. (He just corrected me and said it was blue but last night he told me it was green. Now he’s saying he had both. God, brag much?) He doesn’t recall Brown’s Game Room being there when he lived there in the EIGHTIES. I asked him if there were any whore houses there and he got really impatient and said, “Not in BUNKER HILL. Those were in KOKOMO.” Oh. Sorry.

Henry never want to Indiana Beach while he lived there because he didn’t know it existed. He did, however, go to the fair. Once. He can’t remember if he rode anything, but he knows for certain he didn’t kiss any girls there because kissing leads to SEX and he wasn’t having that in Bunker Hill. That would have ruined his reputation as the Base Eunuch.

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This is the neighborhood where Henry’s trailer was but he claims the trailer isn’t there anymore, but he wouldn’t drive back to where it used to be so I couldn’t get any pictures of the empty pit that remains. He wouldn’t even get out of the car while I was taking these pictures. (Admittedly, there wasn’t much there to photograph and I didn’t want anyone to come running out of their home, spitting Skoal at me, so I was pretty quick to wrap this up.)

Also, Henry has no pictures of his trailer, because he wasn’t in the habit of taking pictures of his non-descript living quarters. He had a variety of roommates, including Les, Tim (WHO HE IS FRIENDS WITH ON FACEBOOK! I’m going to message him soon), and John. He thinks John only lived there for a little while but he doesn’t remember because it’s hard to remember things that happened in the 80s, you guys. He claims that they never brought home any local women and this is just so weird to me. They had lots of porn on VHS though. He mumbled “no” when I asked him if they all watched it together, which means that he wanted them to all watch it together but they were like, “Ew get out of here, Eunuch.”

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HENRY HAS BEEN TO THIS BAR!!! Apparently, he mostly drank at the bar on BASE. What a snob. He told me that he used to drink LONG ISLAND ICED TEAS at the bar on base. You guys, Henry used to drink LONG ISLAND ICED TEAS. Now I know what I’m serving at his 50th birthday party next year, complete with cocktail parasols and fruit on swords. And obviously they will be served in mason jars with paper straws, as an homage to Henry’s Pinterest addiction.

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Henry made me get in the car after this for fear of the homeowners mistaking me for someone casing their house.

Henry used to cook his own food when he lived there and he just said, “I don’t understand why this is such a big deal to you, I cook my own food now, too.” Oh yeah. But for some reason, I keep imagining him in velour lounge pants and a wife-beater, stirring succotash on top of a hot plate. He just told me he cooked Thanksgiving dinner once!! For like 4 or 5 people, he doesn’t remember!

(I AM SO GIDDY AS I WRITE THIS! The notion of Henry having a life prior to me is hilarious and mythical to me all at once. I need to know all of it.)

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I was excited to talk about this picture but Henry yelled, “THAT IS A WHOLE DIFFERENT THING. THAT IS NOT EVEN BUNKER HILL. THAT IS TEXAS.” He didn’t do cool things like this in Indiana. Probably because he didn’t know how.

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This was when Henry first saw the thing and then realized it wasn’t the thing anymore. (You know, that base thing.) It’s a prison now! He said he doesn’t have many feelings about this since it was so long ago. There was a reunion last year that he didn’t attend. He said it was because all of the people who went were people who were there for like a million years and not an early-discharge pussy like himself. I asked him if he had one of those dishonorable discharges and he got really irritated so that means yes. Probably because he was a Eunuch. And back then, that was probably worse than being gay.

He’s laughing right now but it’s not the “I’m having a good time!” kind of laugh, but more of a “Can I please go to bed now because my sanity is starting to come out of my nose” kind of scary laugh.

Nov 292013
 

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When I think of Pittsburgh, abrasive Yinzers yelling about football, Mr. Rogers, and pot holes are among the first things that come to mind. Not wineries. In fact, I didn’t even know that a winery existed so close to Pittsburgh until two weeks ago when Corey and I were looking for things to tour and found the Narcisi Winery in Gibsonia! And then some of my friends had either been there or said that they heard of it, so I felt confident that this wasn’t going to be just a grape graveyard in some beer-bellied hillbilly’s backyard shed.

Our tour was scheduled for 10:30 Sunday morning, and we somehow made it there promptly without getting lost, no thanks to Henry who refused to give us directions as part of an experiment to make us grow our wings. Thank god for GPS.

There was a small group of women who walked in right before us and I felt relieved that this probably meant the tour was legit. Everyone immediately stopped in an awkward cluster on the other side of the entrance, and that’s where we stood until the BROAD emerged from the back and told us we could go stand in the gift shop, probably because she didn’t want to have to stand there and look at us. Corey and I looked at each other with wide and knowing eyes because OMG THE BROAD! So then we all moved into the gift shop where we could at least spread out from an awkward cluster into more of an awkward dotting.

Meanwhile, Corey had decided he hated all of the women right off the bat. Wow, that really reminds me of someone….

“Especially the one with the bangs,” he muttered. “Oh wait, there are several with bangs. The one that looks like that bitch from The Terminator, then. Sarah Connor.”

And I knew exactly who he was talking about because SHE DID LOOK LIKE SARAH CONNOR.

A younger couple showed up after awhile, and they seemed pretty inoffensive, and then more people arrived for the Bangs Party. “Oh, I think I know her,” Corey mumbled while quickly pivoting out of sight. He didn’t say anything else after that though so I figured he was just pretending to be a Pittsburgh Celebrity. The Bangs Party had grown into a group of about 8, mostly older bitchy women, but the group was also interspersed with a few younger ones holding Kate Spade clutches, too. It appeared to be a party of some sort, which I deduced after my hyper-observational skills noticed some of the broads arrived with GIFT BAGS. So then I decided I would hate them, too. Sibling solidarity and all that.

And then Broad emerged from a side door and said hi to us! To just Corey and me!! Like we’re celebriwinos! (If that wasn’t already a thing, it is now.)

Suddenly, Corey began to have a mild anxiety attack. “Wait—when we do the wine tasting, are we supposed to spit?”

I shrugged, because although I’m quite decorated in the whole spit/swallow debate, I have never been to a real life wine tasting. While Corey Googled, “to spit or not to spit at a wine tasting,” I started to picture several scenarios of me spitting wine back into a spittoon, one of which resembled wine spurting out of my mouth like water from a firehose, and I promptly decided that no matter what, I would just swallow. Unless there was an option to spit into a Kate Spade.

We must have been left to wither away in the gift shop for a good half hour staring at wine-relevant novelty items like wine charms and bottle stoppers before ROBERTO finally came out and started the tour by dripping his hot, velvety* Italian accent all over our faces. I imprinted with him almost immediately, but let’s be real here, we all knew I would.

*(Not to be confused with hot Velveeta. Although now I’m picturing him covered in hot Velveeta AND IT AIN’T BAD.)

He was thankfully not an old man like I had been anticipating, but somewhere probably in his late 30s/early 40s with a beautiful shock of perfectly manicured Italian hair and probably a Vespa in his garage, if you know what I mean.

(Do you? Because I don’t really.)

Over top of a loud Frank Sinatra jam, Roberto began telling us the history of the winery. Here is what I learned:

  • It was opened in 200-something when the Narcisi family moved here from Somewhere, Italy.
  • Roberto also moved here from Italy in 2006.
    • He is not a Narcisi
    • But I am in love with him still
    • His accent, OMG
  • They grow some grapes on the premises. Other grapes are grown somewhere else.
    • Lake Erie, I think
  • Roberto is fucking Italiamazing.

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Then the tour moved into a warehouse-like room with big tanks and more talk about wine, a lot of which I had a hard time hearing over the bombastic Michael Buble Pandora station. I took pleasure in cutting off Corey’s Enemies-With-Bangs on the way out to the tank room, because it was a race, after all.

It’s always a race.

In this room we learned how wine is made and Roberto really started to get into his wine zone and even began telling some jokes, all of which I laughed SUPER HARD at while maintaining rape-y eye contact with him.

A LIVE RECORDING of Edwin McCain’s diarrhea-inducing hit “I’ll Be” came on and I wanted to curl up in one of those tanks and die a slow, drunken death. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, various members of the Bangs Party began ASKING QUESTIONS.

In particular, Shirley MacLaine’s doppelganger asked, “Which wine has the least amount of sugar? Like for, say, a diabetic.”

Roberto answered, “Any dry wine. Dry wines actually have zero sugar in them. Are you a diabetic?”

Shirley MacLaine, confused: “No.”

Roberto went on to explain the mysteries of dry wines and fermentation and other things that I couldn’t hear very well on account of the noxious collective fumes of the Bangs Party perfume penetrating every orifice of my body.

Shirley MacLaine interrupted. “But which dry wine has the least amount of sugar?”

Roberto: “None of them have sugar.”

Shirley MacLaine: “Yes, but which has the LEAST?”

Roberto: “Literally, all dry wines have zero sugar.”

Shirley MacLaine: “So, like a Cabernet—-”

Roberto: “If it is dry, that means it has no sugar.”

Shirley MacLaine: “So—-”

LOOK LADY, ALL DRY WINES ARE AS DRY AS YOU, SO STFU.

I couldn’t make eye contact with Corey at all during this because I knew I would start choking on throaty laughter.

And then one of the younger members of the Bangs Party decided to ask a question just to hear herself talk, and it was so pointless. “How many employees do you have here?” she asked. WHO CARES? WHEN DO WE DRINK??!

Then we looked at a bottling machine while the Bangs Party People said things like, “Oh wow” and “Huh” before it was finally time for the wine tasting.

P.S. Erin + Roberto 4ever.

[Up next: Part 2, where we move the tour upstairs for the wine tasting, eat a Tuscan sundae and INTERACT WITH THE BROAD.]

Sep 262013
 

Right before I fulfilled my parental duty of retrieving my child from school on Friday, Henry came home and began to gather up all of the dirty clothes to take to the Laundromat, which annoyed me because it meant he was going to be gone for like, two hours! On my day off! We barely get to see each other during the week, so I was not cool with this.

So after I brought Chooch home, the poor kid had just gotten comfortable in front of the computer, when I screamed, “OMG WE SHOULD GO STALK DADDY AT THE LAUNDROMAT!” Chooch thought this was a horrible idea because it involved us walking more than 20 feet. So I called him lazy, bribed him with ice cream and money, and he eventually caved.

This Laundromat is a mile or so away, I figured. And I know that there are safer ways to get there on foot, but I chose the way that made the most sense in my directionally-challenged head, because it only required us to make two turns. What it also required was us walking down a very busy road with little-to-no sidewalk. I never understood this since there are TWO HIGH SCHOOLS on this road! Isn’t that a thing that kids do—walk home from school? You’d think a road might be more accommodating. There are also several bends in the road so cars oftentimes came flying at us seemingly out of nowhere. I kept making Chooch walk further and further off of the side of the road until he started screaming at me for making him get burrs all over his shoes and socks and then OMG ONE GOT STUCK TO HIS HAND! It’s times like these, when nature-things are involved, that I am reminded how similar we are to one another.

And then, god forbid, a BUTTERFLY popped out of NOWHERE and that little sissy lala screamed like it was actually Jason Voorhees with wings, because he hates butterflies, you guys. Like, a lot.

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I was going to DRAW a map until I remembered that maps already exist on the Internet.

I mean, that seems like a simple walk, right? MapQuest told me that it’s 1.58 miles and was supposed to take us 38 minutes but I think it might have taken us longer because Chooch tends to forget where he is and he will start walking in this slow, dreamlike cadence and ask me rambling questions about what my favorite insect is and then he will say his is the Kimodo Dragon and we will have a huge argument about how that is not an insect.

Meanwhile, I was so afraid we were going to get hit by a car and Henry would spend the rest of his life thinking we were walking to the Laundromat because we wanted to spend time with him since we love him and miss him so much—-wait, he totally wouldn’t think that. He would know for sure that we had our typical asshole-motives for walking down McNeilly Avenue during prime afternoon traffic.

(FYI: Spellcheck keeps automatically capitalizing Laundromat. Thank you for teaching me that it’s a proper noun, Spellcheck. OR IS IT?!)

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Then I had to stop and buy Chooch his stupid “frozen treat”, as he kept calling it. But the shitty gas station had a minimum to use a credit card, so I ended up having to use his promised $5 to buy his stupid “frozen treat”, but he had totally forgotten about that part of the deal by then anyway.

And then it was finally time!

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Turned out that Henry was all the way in the back watching Family Feud, so this allowed Chooch and I to slip in through the front door and trench-crawl around aisles of washing machines, popping up every now and then to snap some pictures. (Chooch’s turned out AWESOME. Sike.) Our stalking unfortunately was cut short because CHOOCH hasn’t quite learned to stifle his giggles on the war field, so Henry eventually caught on. (Eventually = 30 seconds.)

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Subject turns upon hearing mysterious yet familiar choked chortles.

And then we were totally busted, thanks Chooch. I knew I should have left him at home! (I mean, it’s OK to leave a 7-year-old home alone if there are cats in the house too, right? And pretzels?) So then Chooch wasted more money in the vending machine and watched too-young cartoons on the complimentary telly while I ran around taking pictures like I’ve never been in a Laundromat before (this is almost true since Henry does all of the laundry, all of the time).

Once Henry found out that we walked down McNeilly, he got all Fatherly and started lecturing me about how dangerous and stupid that was. YEAH I KNOW, OK. THAT IS WHY THE WORD “HINDSIGHT” WAS INVENTED.

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“I didn’t think you two would actually walk all of the way here to help me,” Henry mumbled dejectedly.

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Then I got bored and decided it was time to walk back home (a safer way this time!). I thought for sure Chooch would hang back and come home with Henry in the car, but he was all, “No, I love you more than daddy. He can rot. Let’s go!”

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Ha-ha, look at the Dance Gavin Dance pin on his collar. I made him wear that to school.

After Henry came home with a thousand loads of laundered clothes, we went to dinner at Hanni’s Place, which is my new go-to for cheap American fare. They serve an outstanding veggie burger dumped with some mean coleslaw on a fresh Cellone’s (local bakery, OK?) buns, the waitress was pleasant without being overbearing or too interrupt-y, and who I can only assume was Hanni himself even came out from the kitchen to thank us for coming in. That’s a place I want to support. A thankful place with good coleslaw, I guess.

Henry couldn’t find a single thing to complain about it, and he he is one of those super crotchety complainer types that can take a five star meal and whittle its merits down to your basic Happy Meal.

Chooch thought he was so cool for ordering beer cheese fries and then proceeded to call forth eight different personalities to entertain us. It was exhausting. But not so exhausting that I couldn’t later walk down the street to CVS to rent absolutely nothing from Red Box! By the time I went to bed that night, I had accumulated a little over nine miles on my pedometer, and that doesn’t count the first walk to and from school that morning because I hadn’t yet put on my pedometer.

What a productive day off! I’ve already decided on my next day off, I’m going to sit on my front steps and wait for Purple Pants to walk by, and then I’m going to follow her around all day because I need to know where she goes.

Aug 102012
 

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There is some conflict happening in our department right now involving the placement of paper clips upon the copier. I’m so angry about it that when I explain it out loud to people, I actually fear that my words are going to grudge-fuck each other and spawn a fiery hate baby.

Until then, thank god pretzels and severed fingers are permitted.

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This sign is actually looking out for people so I’ll let it slide.

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My friend Michelle sent me the best mug ever! She said it probably won’t do much to improve my reputation at work, but that’s OK. Everyone there will agree that it fits in perfectly on my Desk of Inappropriate Things.

Elsewhere at work, I was having problems that only the Help Desk could fix. The guy I spoke with was pleasant and polite, but I couldn’t tell if he had a speech impediment or an accent, but whatever it was made him say “eggcellent” when I permitted him to remotely access my computer.

I answered all of his questions in a standard “I have shit to do, IT dude” tone.

After we hung up, he emailed me I have me try another avenue to reach computer victory. His name was Alex and his last name was approximately 9 syllables long so I felt compelled to look him up in the Firm directory.

HELLO ALEX.

Even Barb and Debbie were like, “Yes, this is the man you should cheat on Henry with. Go for it.”

I was on my lunch break a few minutes later and even though the sensible “what will the neighbors think” side of my brain was saying “No, don’t do it, dumdum,” I found myself typing his name in Facebook anyway.

DOUBLE HELLO ALEX.

“OMG OMG!” I cried giddily, making Barb stand up to look at my computer screen, with Alex’s HOT FACE AND NAKED TORSO looking back.

From there, I learned that while he lives in Boston now, he’s actually from BELARUS and lived there at least through high school, based on his “about” section. That explains the accent and HOTNESS.

I guess I’ll have to stop making fun of the Belarus athletes in the Olympics now.

I also learned that he recently traveled to Doha and he’s 38 which is pretty much my ideal age.

“You should make that picture your new computer background,” Barb laughed, but I seriously considered it until I realized that there was a possibility he’d need to remotely access my computer again, which made Barb crack up at the thought.

Then she REALLY wanted me to make his picture my background.

The last email I got from him yesterday said he had some ideas about how to fix my issue and that he was going to go home and sleep on it.

“OMG HE’S TALKING TO ME ABOUT SLEEPING HOW INTIMATE!” I hyperventilated.

Meanwhile, before any of this happened, I ran into my co-worker Cheryl in the kitchen who told me that it sounded like something a different department was going to fix for me, and that I should just email them. And I was going to do that, but then I had to go and look up Alex’s picture in the directory and it just totally snowballed.

“I’m totally stringing him along,” I admitted to Barb, and then told her what Cheryl had suggested I do. “But that was before I fell in love with Alex,” I explained. I didn’t even care about gaining access to this particular Outlook inbox anymore — I just wanted to keep Alex in my life for as long as possible.

When I got to work this afternoon, I had an email from him telling me to let him him know when I had a “minuet” [sic] because he wanted to try something out, which I of course construed into a million different sexual contexts and did that creepy, throaty laugh I do when I’m being weird.

He called me again, and this time I was totally perky and excitable, a complete 180 from yesterday when I spoke to him in a bored and distracted manner.

However, while we were on the phone, I noticed that everything had been fixed and I now had access to some stupid Outlook inbox, though I’d have preferred access to Alex’s pants.

I was really whiny for awhile after that.

“Maybe he looked you up on Compass too and did the same thing!” Barb suggested soothingly.

“Ugh, if he saw my picture on Compass, there is no way he’d have felt compelled to look me up on Facebook!” I pouted. Seriously, my Firm photo is Fug City. Plus, my hair was still dark brown and hanging all limply around my fat mongoloid face when it was taken.

Later in the night, I told my friend Kristen the whole saga, so she immediately looked him up in the Firm directory and noticed that HIS CELL PHONE NUMBER IS LISTED. She texted it to me but I haven’t done anything with it yet. Alex better pray I don’t find a way to Boston sometime soon.

I was going to include his OMGHOTBELARUSIAN photo in this post, but…remember what you learned this year about being stupid with photos on your blog, Erin.

Man, this week has been rich with far-fetched crushes.

Jul 072012
 

On my way home from CVS on Thursday, I noticed Purple Pants a block ahead of me so I ran (losing steps on my pedometer in the process!) to catch up to her and was able to snag some prime surveillance, which seemed incomplete until I added Xiu Xiu’s “Hi.”

I’m pretty sure she’s wearing the once-purple pants.

May 172012
 

Foreword: Yesterday at work, Lee was lambasting me for stalking the Jonny Craig lookalike at Delgrosso’s and even went as far to say that he wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if I grew up to be a serial killer. The whole time he’s talking, all I can think is, “Oh, but I’ve done so much better when it comes to stalking people” and of course the first thing I thought of was JIMMY, the pizza boy I stalked for three whole days back in 2005, during snowy November nights WHILE PREGNANT. I even made a(n extremely poor quality) video, which is at the end of this post, and after watching it for the first time in 3+ years, I STILL get a thrill when I see Jimmy. You should note that most of the video is me saying, “OMG THAT’S HIM!” and Henry mumbling, “No that’s not him,” until the very end WHEN IT’S HIM.

OK go on.


Originally a LiveJournal post from November, 2005.

The Jimmy Set-Up

One night while taking a leisurely stroll with Henry, I insisted that we walk past the pizza place which employs the latest delivery guy that I’m stalking (I have a thing for pizza guys: Exhibit A / Exhibit B). His name is Jimmy. This I know because last week as Henry and I were ambling past, Jimmy was sitting in his car, waiting to pull out when another employee of Pizzarella came running out, yelling, “Jimmy! Jimmy, wait!” Alas, Jimmy didn’t hear him and pulled out into traffic with a squeal of his tires, the Pizzarella sign adorning the top of his car. “Huh, there goes Jimmy,” I said as we looked on.

Big deal, right? Well, on our way back from our walk that night, we were crossing the street. All was clear, but suddenly, while we were in the middle of the road, a car came flying up over the hill, forcing me to run the rest of the way. I was clutching my stomach and yelling, “Don’t hit me I’m pregnant!” (LOVE playing that card), when I happened to toss a glance over my shoulder and I saw that it was Jimmy in his dinky white sputtering car with the Pizzarella sign on top. “Aw, it’s Jimmy!” I yelled, as I tugged on Henry’s arm. He didn’t care.

One block over, and it was time to cross the street again. We had just stepped off the curb when another car came barreling at us. I started to yell threats about being pregnant when I stopped and screamed, “Hey, it’s Jimmy again!” His window was down and he clearly heard my zealous exclamations of his name; they were rather orgasmic. Henry was embarrassed. So I decided that it was fate; I mean, obviously. Maybe there’s supposed to be a movie made about us, I suggested to Henry. A romantic comedy!

I began to outline the premise for Henry. Man drives recklessly around town with the intent of running over any and all pregnant women he comes across, because he hates babies and the vessels which bear them. One fateful night in November, he sees me walking with Henry. Henry selfishly dives out of the way, leaving me in the headlights of Jimmy’s car. He hits me, but unfortunately for him, I survive, and so does the baby, which ends up being his, so he spends the rest of his life hunting down me and the kid, trying to kill us with his pizza delivery car.

“How is that a romantic comedy?” Henry asked. Well, maybe it’s more of a thriller. Or it can be a dark comedy and we’ll just have Pee Wee Herman doing something occasionally.

Ever since that night, no matter what Henry and I are involved in, I make time for Jimmy. “Hey, remember Jimmy?” I’ll ask. “No,” he’ll say. Maybe his lack of a Jimmy memory is because he’s trying to trick me into having sex at that particular moment or he’s too engrossed in “Good Eats,” but I know deep down there will always be room for Jimmy’s memory in Henry’s heart. Someday, maybe he’ll be secure enough with his manhood to admit it.

Unfortunately, Jimmy wasn’t at the shop last night. However! As we walked past, a man exited the pizza shop, carrying a precariously-stacked tower of trays. We watched him walk over to his parked Audi and struggle with the opening of the passenger door.

I’ve never seen Henry move so fast in my life. “Here, let me get that for you!” And then an awkward exchange of “No, it’s cool, I got it” and “Are you sure, man?” followed by “Yes, thanks man” and ending with “Oh, OK, bud!” ensued. I was able to hold it in long enough for Henry to rejoin me on the sidewalk, but then it all came tumbling out of the loose cannon.

“Oooooooh! Henry’s new boyfriend!”

He wouldn’t talk to me after that and even tried to walk me into a street sign.

Anyway, I’m going to order from Pizzarella this weekend, but only after I make sure Jimmy is working. Then when Henry is paying him, I’ll be hiding by the window, or maybe behind a bush*, taking his picture. You just wait, Jimmy.

(*I should plant a bush.)


The Jimmy Fake Out

But I don’t even like their food, I thought, after I urged Henry to place an order to Pizzarella that Saturday night. And when Henry brought up that tiny detail, I of course lied and said, “You must be thinking of another place, buddy. I love Pizzarella. It’s like being in Italy. With all that real Italian food. Mmm. Trevi Fountain, holla.” Indigestion brought on by sub-par Brookline Italian fare was a small price to pay in order to lure Jimmy to my doorstep.

Thirty minutes later, Henry began pacing back and forth in front of the window, with his arms crossed tightly across his chest. Wow, I thought, Henry is nervous too!

Turns out he was just really hungry.

When I heard a car pull up to the house, I lurched for the camcorder and yelled, “Is it him!?”

It wasn’t. It was some worthless piece of shit who could never match up to Jimmy’s talent for pizza slinging.

My pasta tasted like poison. I ate bitterly as I reflected on how Henry refused to grant me permission to cut him earlier that day. Just one little slice across his chest with a box cutter, it was all I asked; a small token of our love, I begged. “Shed your blood for me, you son of a bitch,” I hissed with my fingernails at his throat. If he really loved me, he’d have let me. So now I can add this to the list of his other vetoes: me vomiting in his mouth; him dressing as Michael Myers and raping me (I would have loved to one day tell my child that that’s how (s)he was conceived); allowing me to take a Danish lover; and the list goes on, my friends. The list goes on.

And so I start thinking. I don’t have the money nor the appetite to continue ordering shitty food every day in hopes of drawing Jimmy to my front door; I would just have to go straight to the source. I begged Henry to give the night one more chance by walking with me to Brookline Boulevard, where we would have a real life stake out.

“Either do this or let me cut you”: a proposal in which I win either way. I suggested that we pack a small bag full of sustenance, maybe some crackers and peanut butter, because there was no telling how long we’d be gone.

“Oh, we won’t be gone that long,” Henry mumbled as he zipped up his jacket. I tucked the camcorder snugly into my pocket and pulled my hat down low over my eyes.

It was time.

****

There was no sign of any of the Pizzarella delivery cars as we walked past the shop the first time, me giggling uncontrollably and Henry telling me to shut the fuck up. When I’m giddy, I walk like a drunk, forcing him to grip my arm hard to pull me out of the way of other pedestrians. I hoped it would bruise so I could show the cops, but it didn’t. Damn those cold-weather layers. I plan on battering myself in time for my sonogram next week so all fingers will point to Henry.

We passed this guy Brice who used to stalk me, and his dog took a dump in the middle of the sidewalk. He acts like he doesn’t even know me now, I thought, as my wave and bright smile were met with a vacant stare. I looked at Henry in disdain. It’s all his fault. All of my stalkers retreated with their tails between their legs once Henry came barreling into my life, disrupting the natural order of things. (Gas station grocery shopping, inviting people over from chat rooms, blind dates, roller skating in the house. This list deserves its own entry. Or book.). I walked in silence for a few seconds, shedding invisible tears for stalkers past. Tossing a quick glance over at Henry, I felt a thousand pounds of hatred as I watched the way he scrunched up his shoulders to block the wind; the way he looked like a hoodlum with his hood pulled up tight around his fat face. Look at what he’s done to me, I thought, thinking of all the fun he’s driven out of my life. Maybe he can give me some STDs too, to ice the cake; make sure no one will ever want to stalk me again. No more Brices or Gothic Carls or Johnny Blazes. I’ve been tainted by domesticity. What stalker in their right mind would risk peeping into my window only to catch a glimpse of Henry traipsing around in his underwear? Who wants to stalk a boring quasi-housewife? (If you answered “I do” to that, my address is available upon request. I can also send pics of Henry’s bare legs to requested parties, as well.)

Luckily for Henry and the fate our unborn child, I distracted myself from further thoughts of running away by making zombie noises. The first one I did was the best, but then I couldn’t remember how I did it and I began to try too hard, which resulted in me sounding like I had emphysema. Still, I practiced on and on, relentless, because I’m no quitter. Plus, I wanted to test it out on unsuspecting passers-by.

“Was that it?”

“No.”

“Was that it?”

“No.”

Finally, Henry stopped answering me altogether, but it didn’t matter since we were now across the street from Pizzarella. I dusted off a spot on a retaining wall and made myself comfortable. Cracked my knuckles a few times, blew on my finger tips, punched Henry in the crotch — you know, all the things people do when they’re preparing to undergo some heavy surveillance.

While I was getting nestled, two young kids pedaled past on their bikes, so I hit them with my zombie sounds. And then I laughed about it for a few minutes and kept saying, “Hey Henry, remember when those kids rode by and I made zombie noises at them?” He wouldn’t answer; that happens sometimes. I guess it’s because he’s old.

As luck would have it, right when I got the camcorder all set up (you know, extracted from my pocket and turned on), a drunk old black man came from our right, slightly staggering with his head down. So I taped him, with Henry whispering, “Don’t. That’s not nice. Stop.” See what I mean? I am so oppressed. Too bad Henry then started to laugh. Mr. Fucking Humanitarian. This is the same guy who comes home from work and brags about seeing prostitutes fighting and a woman wearing white pants with a menstrual Rorschach pattern on her crotch.

But I’m cruel for videotaping a wino.

While I was fully immersed in this anthropological specimen, Henry jabbed my arm and pointed across the street. A delivery man had returned. I swung the camera in his direction and began squealing, “Oh my god it’s Jimmy! It’s Jimmy!!” The butterflies were ricocheting all over my stomach as my laughter shook the camera, and then Henry said, “Oh wait. That’s not him. Jimmy had a white car.”

What, daddy? There’s no Santa?

I was crushed. Even more so than when I lost the Alternative Press “Number 1 Fan” essay contest last year. (I lost to some cunt in California who wrote something similar to this: “OMG I DON’T HAVE AN OLDER BROTHER BUT THANK GOD I HAVE AP BECAUSE YOU ARE LIKE AN OLDER BROTHER WHO SHOWS ME GOOD MUSIC.” How does that make her their number one fan? I would say that makes AP her number one imaginary friend. Fuck you and your non-brother, you fucking slut. Of course, I didn’t follow the rules and my essay was about three hundred words — give or take a few hundred — too long. In any case, I know that girl’s name and where she lives. And in one of my lowest and darkest moments, I even tried to find her on LiveJournal so I could flame her. There, I said it.)

You see, we don’t actually know what Jimmy looks like; just his car. Still, I really think I’m in love with him.

I really am, I think.

We waited a little longer, huddled together against the wind. “Sweetie, I don’t think he’s working tonight,” Henry said as he patted my head. You know it’s dire when he calls me sweetie.

But then the clouds parted and another delivery car pulled up.

“That’s not him. That’s the guy that delivered to us earlier,” Henry said with authority because he excels in all things pizza and vehicles. But while Henry was shooting me in the face with his smugness, he totally missed the delivery guy emerging from his car. Suddenly, one of his legs completely gave out, like it was made from putty, and he fell back against the side of his car. I laughed, and I mean laughed, with enough volume and zest for him to hear and look over at me. This made me laugh even harder and I’m going to admit something here because I’m honest: I peed. Yes, I pissed my fucking pants, right there, sitting on the wall. Erin urinated. Granted, it was the tiniest dribble, maybe the size of a gum ball at best. But it was enough to feel warm and uncomfortable.

Look, I’m pregnant, OK? This shit happens. And by shit I mean piss.

This was the final straw for Henry and he urged me to get up and start walking home with him. Also, he was pouting because he missed the stumbling delivery man.

“Wait,” I said. “Not until I know for sure. Give me change, I need to make a call.”

And so I walked a half of a block down to the gas station and called Pizzarella from the pay phone, because I’m proud to be part of the world’s 10% without a cell phone. While I dialed the number, Henry stood beside me but I pushed him away because I didn’t want to laugh. I needed privacy for this one.

A girl answered and, while my mouth was wide open, there was this ill-timed delay in my speech. I almost hung up but didn’t want to waste the fifty cents. (Fifty fucking cents to use the pay phone now? It’s been a long time since I had to use a pay phone. Jimmy, my man, you’re raping my pockets.)

I had it all rehearsed in my head. A simple, “Hello, is Jimmy working tonight?” would have sufficed. But instead, I ended up sounding like a head gear-wearing 12-year-old Bobcat Goldthwait making his first prank call at a slumber party.

“HI!!!! [pause to bite back laughter] IS JIMHAHAHAHAPFFFFFFFFT WORKING TONIGHT!?!?!?”

Who?” She was clearly annoyed. I hoped it wasn’t his girlfriend.

“Jimmy.” I wasn’t laughing now, but rather trying to hold back more spurts of urine.You know how hard it is to manually shut yourself off once you’ve started!

And so I was informed that Jimmy was not working that night.

“THANKS” I yelled and slammed down the receiver. And then I laughed all the way to a stomach ache, while the urine burnt my thighs as it dried.

The next day, at exactly 2:20 PM, I was on my way to Pitt to schedule classes and I totally passed Jimmy and his white car on the road. I made a slight detour on the way home, parked across the street from Pizzarella, and finally captured him for a lifetime of pleasure on video.

Jul 142011
 

Maybe you’ve read somewhere that I don’t like grocery shopping. Maybe Dionne Warwick told you or you were one of the privileged people who have witnessed me throwing myself into Henry’s shoulder and whining about hating grocery shopping while I’m at the grocery store. (A very rare occurrence, though I was just there a few weeks ago to  make sure Henry bought all of the fruit for our popsicle throwdown.)

I just think it’s boring  there at the grocery store. Utterly, skull-fuckingly boring.

And confusing. And occasionally stinky.

I can’t even be trusted to go grocery shopping alone. Once, Henry was busy at home doing other things that any mediocre-to-good housewife should be doing, and he asked me to run to the store to grab stuff to make cookies. I’m sorry, but there is no “running to the store” with me. That’s a term for people who can enter a supermarket without winding up crying in the dairy aisle or dry-heaving near the meat counter.  Henry saddled me with a shopping list and then also sent Janna and Blake with me, so I just let them do everything and it was OK.

This is usually why Henry does the grocery shopping without me. So when he asked me if I wanted to go with him Sunday night, I was a little apprehensive.

“Why?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” he said with a shrug. “To spend time together?”

Janna was at the house, playing Wii with Chooch. So my options were to stay and watch them both fail in impossible ways at baseball (and possibly hear my son spout off some new slurs), or tag along with Henry and ask him 15 game shows-worth of questions just in the produce section alone.

And then I went back to my initial suspicion of why he asked me in the first place. Maybe he had a present for me! Maybe there was a new puppy in the trunk of the car! Maybe he was going to propose! (And I would get to say “fuck no!” Seriously, it’s Warped Tour or not at all.) So that is how someone who hates grocery stores ended up at Shop n Save on a Sunday night with Henry.

Evidently, he really just wanted to spend time with me. No presents, puppies or proposals. Just produce.

In the first three minutes, I learned the difference between peaches and nectarines and that I shouldn’t grope a bunch of hot peppers (they were so cute and had something to do with bonnets) and then touch my eyes. Then I watched disgustedly as Henry contemplated what kind of seemingly identical package of hot dogs to toss in the cart.

We were headed back toward the check-out lines in record time when I realized that Henry hadn’t gotten a pineapple, and Janna really wanted him to get a pineapple. I know this because she said three times, “Don’t forget to get a pineapple, Henry!” He was going to cook out that night, and Janna thought it would be positively swell if he grilled fruit too. Specifically pineapple. It was her dying wish.

He grabbed a can of pineapple slices and set it in the cart. (He sets things in the cart; I PLUNK TOSS & THROW things in the cart, and then I kick it. Fuck a cart.)

“Canned? Really? Janna wanted a real pineapple.” I was in the mood to make things difficult.

And that’s how we ended up back in the produce, so Henry could prove to me that the fresh pineapples did not seem ripe to him. But I wasn’t listening to him, because that’s when I saw her for the first time.

This adorable little old Asian woman with a squished face. I was grandma-smitten.

“She looks like Gizmo!” I whispered to Henry, who sighed and called me racist. (I still don’t understand why—I thought I was being complimentary.)

We were at the check-out by this point, and I was kicking myself for not taking her picture. I was already forgetting what she looked like (in my mind she was looking less like Gizmo and more like a kaiser roll); that wasn’t going to be very conducive to my grandma daydreams.

“I need to go back and find her,” I whispered hoarsely to Henry, who shrugged me off. “Do you think she’s still here?”

“You only saw her three minutes ago,” Henry snapped. And as he was bagging the groceries, that’s when I decided it was now or never.

“I’m going to go find her!” I cried.

“Whatever, child,” Henry mumbled irritably. I noticed the cashier was listening, so I put my head down and slunk away, back into the bowels of the store. When I turned the corner, I started to run and swivel my head all around, looking for my target.

I have this major malfunction when it comes to covert operations. I don’t know how to be casual, calm, or anything that you wouldn’t expect from a meth addict on the prowl. I am jittery, clumsy, completely obvious. Which is why when I found her near the meat, I came to a jarring, obvious halt and fumbled with my iPhone. While her husband was perusing the meats, she was inspecting a table full of buns, so I stood next to her and picked up a package to seemingly scrutinize when really I was just using it as a proverbial potted plant.

It was not a good time to take the picture, so I followed her as she rejoined her husband, pretending to be beyond interested in the row of Bob Evans mashed potatoes hanging a few feet away from the meat. Neither of them seemed to pay much attention to me as they pushed their cart behind me and continued on their way. I threw down the packet of mashed potatoes and followed them as inconspicuously as I know how to, which is, you know, not very inconspicuous.

When I’m stalking people, every sense is heightened. If people try to speak to me while I’m on the hunt, I lose all sense of “normal tone” and tend to answer in the high-pitched yells of a tweaker.

But then opportunity shone down on me as she stopped in front of an open air cooler of condiments and other such sundry. I tripped over myself to get to the other side, placing myself directly across from her and a wide array of Sabra hummus, which happens to be something I know a lot about (the pine nut kind is my favorite) and I was happy I no longer had to pretend to know what I was doing in front of a goddamn wall of MEAT. Finally, I had her in my cross-hairs I had to rise up on my tip-toes to get a picture of her, and at that point, I was over trying to be surreptitious. My Machiavellian qualities surged to the forefront long enough for the image to be captured for prosperity. I then stutter-walked my way out of the store, openly laughing alone. And it was this deranged, guttural, low-octave cacchination that I tend to reserve for moments of near-insanity. Like when riding the Caterpillar or posting old Service pictures of Henry on the Internet. It’s my asshole siren, if you will.

Henry was loading the last bag in the car by the time I made it out to the parking lot, still sounding off with my Corky chortle. He frowned and shook his head. I talked about her the whole way home.

OK, maybe she’s half past Gizmo, more toward Shar-Pei. That doesn’t make her any less huggable.

Jun 142011
 

Also known as: HOW ARE THEY STILL TOGETHER?!

A couple of you (literally, two people) expressed interest in seeing this video of Henry and me in Cleveland back in 2004. We were there for Curiosa, but I talked Henry into going a day early so we could do touristy things. And by touristy, I clearly mean drive aimlessly through Cleveland’s ghetto in search of E.99 and St. Clair, the crossroads that Bone Thugs n Harmony commonly rapped about. Most of my high school career was spent being a hyper fan girl for Bone, calling record stores demanding to know when their new releases were going to come out, cutting pictures of them out of Rap Pages and The Source, and trying to con my best friend Christy into taking a field trip to Ohio when she got her license. (She wisely said no.)

When Art of War came out, I made my then-boyfriend, Psycho Mike, drive me an hour away to a certain record store that was promising a FREE COLLECTOR’S MEDALLION with the purchase of the new release. It was totally worth being berated and emotionally denigrated in his car the whole time.

I do not have that medallion anymore. But I loved it dearly (although briefly, I guess).

Anyway, Professional Driver Henry had difficulties finding it (blamed it on Cleveland, not his refusal to LOOK AT A MAP) and we became even more Sid and Nancy than usual. We finally made it to E.99 (aka the double glock, yo) and I should have been dying of happiness but considering douchey Henry was next to me, my joy was clearly negated.

I posted the video on LiveJournal years and years ago, but somehow THE ORIGINAL FILE DISAPPEARED, WHADDUP HENRY. So I made him re-edit it and today he finally finished. He said he would have done it much faster if I had been nicer to him about it. But I think he just wanted to put off the inevitable: that everyone will coo sarcastically over his luscious locks of yore. The quality is super bad. Probably Henry’s fault.

Annoying, right? (Me, not the video quality.) This is why I rarely post videos.

The last time I had this on YouTube, I was barraged with hateful comments from REAL BTNH fans who are neither stupid, white, nor girls. Hopefully that doesn’t happen again.

P.S. The part where I call Henry “uneducated”? Don’t go crying rivers of pity for him just yet. That was my tip of the hat in reference to the time he and I had a political argument and he told me I was uneducated. I responded by breaking his glasses.

Dec 112009
 

I have this new toy at the top of my blog, kind of like a billboard for “featured posts.” So this morning, while Chooch was watching cartoons (and by that I mean playing games on the phone I never get to use), I decided to go back into the archives and find some more oldies-but-goodies (goodies to me, anyway) to add to it. Basically, this is just another life distraction. Every time I came across an old post from my data processing night shift job (I worked at that place for a year and a half and still don’t know what to say when people ask me what I did there. Stalking? Blog-writing? Candy-stealing? Co-worker-annoying?), it made me miss having a job. And not even so much of the part where I had money, but moreso the extracurricular activities I partook in, like stalking the cleaning staff and developing faux-crushes on boys in other departments just so I could annoy those around me.

This post from March 2008 made me especially inspired to find a job.

————————————————-

Creepy Cleaning Guy Visual

For over a week, I had been trying fruitlessly to capture a picture of the creepy cleaning guy at work. One night last week, I tried four separate times but my asshole flash went off, blowing my cover; twice he and I locked eyes, me frozen like a deer for an excruciating moment of timelessness, before finally pivoting and running away.

I tried over-the-shoulder shots, from-the-hip shots as I (probably very conspicuously) paced in front of the cleaning office, through-the-window shots which only resulted in the flash ricocheting back and blinding my eyes.

It was hard to stalk him this week, due to my lack of vision, but my luck changed last night.

Toward the end of the shift, I heard Eleanore in the kitchen saying hello to someone. When she came back to her desk with a cup of coffee, I hoarsely whispered, “Was that him??” She laughed and nodded. I was so angry that she didn’t even try to stall him! I ran out into the hallway by the loading dock and I noticed that his big wagon of garbage bags was parked at the far end of the hall.

I ran back inside.

“Bob! Pretend like you’re getting something out of the vending machine so I can act like I’m taking your picture,” I ordered. So Bob and I went back out into the hallway and loitered in front of the vending machines, waiting for the cleaning guy to return to his wagonmobile.

“I don’t think he’s coming back. You’re going to have to just go look for him,” Bob said, tired of standing around like an asshole.

So we went back inside.

Shortly after, one of the security guards — a friendly young man named Aaron — came over to say hello. I decided it was time to recruit new reinforcement, so I told him what I was trying to accomplish.

“Oh, you mean Bill?” he asked, laughing. “You know what to do? Throw some paper on the ground. He’ll have to stop and pick it up and that’ll afford you some time to take his picture.”

Best idea ever.

I grabbed an empty package of peanuts from my desk and told Collin, Bob, and Eleanore that Aaron agreed to go on watch for me.

“What’s he going to do? Whistle when he sees him?” Collin would not take any part in mission. But I know he’s secretly sad that he’ll soon be missing out on the shenanigans. I offered to start sending him a newsletter and he was like, “Of what? All the weird things you say?” Then he tried to recall a time I said something normal, and came up short.

Ignoring him, I ran back out into the hall, looked around frantically, and tossed the trash in front of the vending machines. If there was a surveillance video of me, it’d be a ridiculous montage of me side-stepping, ducking around corners, crouching down, peering through windows with cupped hands, and fleeing with my hands up and waving.

“He’s not a rodent, you know,” Bob said, accelerating my giddiness when I came back to my desk to wait for Aaron’s signal.

Unfortunately, one of the other cleaning guys picked up the peanut bag, so I replaced it with a crumbled sheet of notebook paper.

I waited for hours (probably 20 minutes, really) and just when I was about to give up, I heard the gentle squeaking of a wheeled garbage can, followed by the swishing sound of a broom against carpet. Standing on my tiptoes, I peered over the edge of our divider wall and spied the top of Bill’s head from over top of someone’s cubicle.

“Hey Bob,” I said loudly. “Now would be the PERFECT time for me to take that picture of you.” He looked at me, confused. “You’re the only one here I don’t have a picture of!” I enunciated each word and widened my eyes, hoping Bob would catch on.

“Oh. Okay. Where do you want me to stand?” I pointed to the area right by where Bill was about to emerge and Bob said, “No, that’s a stupid place—oh, unless I’m just a decoy?” I ended up not needing Bob anyway because Bill walked right past us and started going down another corridor in between cubicles. I hurriedly snapped two pictures.

“Here I thought you actually wanted my picture,” Bob said, pretending to be hurt. But I think he really was crying A LOT on the inside.

“Oh Bob, if you only knew how many pictures I have of you that you don’t know about,” I said with a wave of my hand. He probably thought I was kidding BUT I WASN’T.

I ended up getting more pictures of Bill later as he was helping himself to a cup of coffee. I felt very satisfied by the end of the shift. Another chapter closed.

May 032009
 

Today I annoyed hung out with Alisha, who brought up Phipps Conservatory at least fifteen times because she is apparently wildly obsessed with weeds. I let her babble on about all her exciting trips there, and then I remembered the one whole time I went. It was two years ago, and it was with Kara, who doesn’t live her anymore so I feel compelled to repost this since I don’t have any fresh examples of torturing her.


Learning About Plants & Kara

Originally posted August 21, 2007

There I was on a dreary Sunday, sitting around in just Henry’s underwear and watching instructional knitting videos, when Kara arrived to hang out. I started to get up from my filth to fetch her a particularly swiss-cheesy pair of underroos, when she stopped me. It seemed that in lieu of festering in Henry’s waste and eating freezer-burnt bonbons while watching 70s horror porn, Kara was in favor of actually leaving the house and going to that place where people go — I think it’s called the outside. Outdoors? Public? Slaughterho—no wait, I’m thinking of something else.

She seemed desperate to wile away her afternoon at Phipps Conservatory, where a riveting Chihuly glass exhibit was underway. Not wanting to get in between her and culture, I agreed. It gave me a reason to use my rainbow backpack that I bought specifically for Warped Tour but then left it hanging on the knob of the bathroom door.

Did I mention the adorable unicorn appliqué on the backpack? I hoped people would think I was a lesbian. A lesbian with an enviable collection of black light-sensitive felt unicorn posters in a day-glo array.

Flowers and non-flower plants don’t really get my fancy very tickled, but I was pleasantly pleased to discover some new species that I had never heard of.

P81900921. Creepy Laughing Male:

Balding on the crown of his head and clad in an army jacket, this species will creep up behind you and molest your ear drum with his scandalous laughter, which feels like a big wet tongue and makes your shoulders raise to your earlobes in hopes of acting like a condom, before whipping out his camera and turning his molestational instincts onto the helpless plants. He is accompanied by his presumed paramour in a striped shirt and he will later make you recoil when he appears to be snapping perverse shots of a random baby in a carriage. Later you will learn that the baby is really his and his companion is his father, not paramour. But watching him slouch in his seat in the cafe still doesn’t make you feel like planting his seeds in your garden.

More angles of Creepy Laughing Man:
P8190091 P8190094

P81900972. Witch Disguised as Pedestrian:

Slipping into a pink sweater does little to camouflage this white haired witch’s natural aura, especially when she is incapable of denying her vast knowledge of every spice and herb growing in the outside garden. Your first reaction will be to assume she’s planning on making a brew that will eradicate the entire elf population of Western Pennsylvania, and you’re ashamed when you find out that really she’s just planning on whipping up an aromatic stew for her dinner guests that evening. Way to be prejudiced. You’re probably also the kind of person who would slide over a chalice of bat juice to a witch without actually taking their beverage order, when maybe they’d have preferred a nice White Russian in a frosted high ball.

But yeah, you’re right. She does have some magical locks.

P81901073.Thai Food Aficionado:

Can be found predominantly in the tropical gardens of Phipps’ Thailand Section, monopolizing the employee inside a kiosk displaying samples of Thai spices. He will pressure her until her eyes water in fear, demanding to know every last datum of curry until she eventually fakes the need to blow her nose continually, causing him to shrug and leave. If you have the misfortune of finding yourself ogling a lotus while he is within earshot, do not speak poorly of it, for his female companion (wife or mother, relation is unknown) will sneer at you and lambaste you about the sweet, sweet balm the lotus secretes, causing Thai Food Aficionado to radiate death waves from his robotic eyes as he brusquely chimes in that lotus root is best served as a tempura. Interaction with Thai Food Aficionado learns you that it’s about as savory as spending an afternoon under a willow reading Chaucer with some stink weed.

Here, Thai Food Aficionado is deciding if the pond fish would taste delicious with a nice curry. Later, you hear him spinning yarns of pad Thai and lemon grass.
P8190110

To my delight, I also learned some new things about my friend Kara:

  • Kara doesn’t like orchids; they are ugly and gross and they scare her.
  • Kara is scared to death of butterflies and will pull all kinds of exaggerated faces to convey her dismay while trapped in the butterfly room. She explains that it’s “like bugs crawling all over [her].” Hopefully, Kara’s first born will be a butterfly.
  • Kara thinks star fruit is gross and ugly.
  • Kara will yell “Ew!” as if she has just put her hand in a jar of eyeballs, when really she has only touched a soft leaf called a Lamb’s Ear.
  • Kara hates lotuses and they remind her of worms and make her protectively cover her boobs.
  • I had to double check my ticket to see if I was in Kara’s Haunted House.

    Kara was also kind of cranky and surly. She admitted it was probably because she was hungry and in a very strange and disorienting moment, I realized that it was almost like hanging out with myself. If that’s the case, then damn, I’m annoying. Wait, don’t people tell me that all the time?

    In typical Erin fashion, I ignored the fact that there was a finger print on the lens. It gives the pictures character. Charm? No? Ok.

    P8190104
    Thingies.

    P8190093
    Life would be worth living if these were what eyeballs looked like. Or nipples.

    P8190089
    When penii party.

    P8190079
    Would suck to fall on.

    P8190096
    Kara’s fortress will protect her from all the scary flowers and sinister butterflies, but I fear she’s on her own with that foreboding sky.

    Afterward, I fed Kara’s face in the cafe, where Creepy Laughing Man had been joined by his wife and kid and that dude we thought was his lover but really was his father. It was kind of comforting, even though I kept hearing him laughing and it was really like having my ear fingered, which kind of made me blush and wish I had a rosary to nuzzle.

    Right before we left, Thai Food Aficionado stamped in with his mother-figure and proceeded to ask the girl behind the counter what every dessert tasted like. Kara and I tried to hold back squeals when they chose the table next to us. His companion, having fallen in love with her cake, made the life-or-death decision to go back and get another hunk, which she paid for in exact change. She then cut it right down the middle, employing an enviable steady-handed precision. I took it upon myself to imagine the dialogue exchanged was akin to her telling him that he just hadn’t lived until he prayed with the Tibetan monks, but instead it was really, you know, tasting some crappy cafeteria dessert. Thai Food Aficionado, well on his way to becoming Stale Dessert Connoisseur, speared his half with a fork and raised the entire chunk to his mouth. He gnawed off a large portion, swallowed, and then engulfed the rest.

    I hope there was at least some coconut milk in it.

    Jan 142009
     

    Foreword:

    I had a quick flashback of staking out in a mini-snow storm to video tape some pizza delivery guy whom I was stalking for God only knows what reason, and I decided, “Hay ya’ll, that was a fun yarn, let’s all reflect on that right now, ya hear.”


     Originally a LiveJournal post from November, 2005.

    The Jimmy Set-Up

    One night while taking a leisurely stroll with Henry, I insisted that we walk past the pizza place which employs the latest delivery guy that I’m stalking (I have a thing for pizza guys: Exhibit A / Exhibit B). His name is Jimmy. This I know because last week as Henry and I were ambling past, Jimmy was sitting in his car, waiting to pull out when another employee of Pizzarella came running out, yelling, “Jimmy! Jimmy, wait!” Alas, Jimmy didn’t hear him and pulled out into traffic with a squeal of his tires, the Pizzarella sign adorning the top of his car. “Huh, there goes Jimmy,” I said as we looked on.

    Big deal, right? Well, on our way back from our walk that night, we were crossing  the street. All was clear, but suddenly, while we were in the middle of the road, a car came flying up over the hill, forcing me to run the rest of the way. I was clutching my stomach and yelling, “Don’t hit me I’m pregnant!” (LOVE playing that card), when I happened to toss a glance over my shoulder and I saw that it was Jimmy in his dinky white sputtering car with the Pizzarella sign on top. “Aw, it’s Jimmy!” I yelled, as I tugged on Henry’s arm. He didn’t care.

    One block over, and it was time to cross the street again. We had just stepped off the curb when another car came barreling at us. I started to yell threats about being pregnant when I stopped and screamed, “Hey, it’s Jimmy again!” His window was down and he clearly heard my zealous exclamations of his name; they were rather orgasmic. Henry was embarrassed. So I decided that it was fate; I mean, obviously. Maybe there’s supposed to be a movie made about us, I suggested to Henry. A romantic comedy!

    I began to outline the premise for Henry. Man drives recklessly around town with the intent of running over any and all pregnant women he comes across, because he hates babies and the vessels which bear them. One fateful night in November, he sees me walking with Henry. Henry selfishly dives out of the way, leaving me in the headlights of Jimmy’s car. He hits me, but unfortunately for him, I survive, and so does the baby, which ends up being his, so he spends the rest of his life hunting down me and the kid, trying to kill us with his pizza delivery car.

    “How is that a romantic comedy?” Henry asked. Well, maybe it’s more of a thriller. Or it can be a dark comedy and we’ll just have Pee Wee Herman doing something occasionally.

    Ever since that night, no matter what Henry and I are involved in, I make time for Jimmy. “Hey, remember Jimmy?” I’ll ask. “No,” he’ll say. Maybe his lack of a Jimmy memory is because he’s trying to trick me into having sex at that particular moment or he’s too engrossed in “Good Eats,” but I know deep down there will always be room for Jimmy’s memory in Henry’s heart. Someday, maybe he’ll be secure enough with his manhood to admit it.

    Unfortunately, Jimmy wasn’t at the shop last night. However! As we walked past, a man exited the pizza shop, carrying a precariously-stacked tower of trays. We watched him walk over to his parked Audi and struggle with the opening of the passenger door.

    I’ve never seen Henry move so fast in my life. “Here, let me get that for you!” And then an awkward exchange of “No, it’s cool, I got it” and “Are you sure, man?” followed by “Yes, thanks man” and ending with “Oh, OK, bud!” ensued. I was able to hold it in long enough for Henry to rejoin me on the sidewalk, but then it all came tumbling out of the loose cannon.

    “Oooooooh! Henry’s new boyfriend!”

    He wouldn’t talk to me after that and even tried to walk me into a sign.

    Anyway, I’m going to order from Pizzarella this weekend, but only after I make sure Jimmy is working. Then when Henry is paying him, I’ll be hiding by the window, taking his picture. You just wait, Jimmy.


    The Jimmy Fake Out

    But I don’t even like their food, I thought, after I urged Henry to place an order to Pizzarella that Saturday night. And when Henry brought up that tiny detail, I of course lied and said, “You must be thinking of another place, buddy. I love Pizzarella. It’s like being in Italy. With all that real Italian food. Mmm. Trevi Fountain, holla.” Indigestion brought on by sub-par Brookline Italian fare was a small price to pay in order to lure Jimmy to my doorstep.

    Thirty minutes later, Henry began pacing back and forth in front of the window, with his arms crossed tightly across his chest. Wow, I thought, Henry is nervous too!

    Turns out he was just really hungry.

    When I heard a car pull up to the house, I lurched for the camcorder and yelled, “Is it him!?”

    It wasn’t. It was some worthless piece of shit who could never match up to Jimmy’s talent for pizza slinging.

    My pasta tasted like poison. I ate bitterly as I reflected on how Henry refused to grant me permission to cut him earlier that day. Just one little slice across his chest with a box cutter, it was all I asked; a small token of our love, I begged. “Shed your blood for me, you son of a bitch,” I hissed with my fingernails at his throat. If he really loved me, he’d have let me. So now I can add this to the list of his other vetoes: me vomiting in his mouth; him dressing as Michael Myers and raping me (I would have loved to one day tell my child that that’s how (s)he was conceived); allowing me to take a Danish lover; and the list goes on, my friends. The list goes on.

    And so I start thinking. I don’t have the money nor the appetite to continue ordering shitty food every day in hopes of drawing Jimmy to my front door; I would just have to go straight to the source. I begged Henry to give the night one more chance by walking with me to Brookline Boulevard, where we would have a real life stake out.

    “Either do this or let me cut you”: a proposal in which I win either way. I suggested that we pack a small bag full of sustenance, maybe some crackers and peanut butter, because there was no telling how long we’d be gone.

    “Oh, we won’t be gone that long,” Henry mumbled as he zipped up his jacket. I tucked the camcorder snugly into my pocket and pulled my hat down low over my eyes.

    It was time.

    ****

    There was no sign of any of the Pizzarella delivery cars as we walked past the shop the first time,  me giggling uncontrollably and Henry telling me to shut the fuck up. When I’m giddy, I walk like a drunk, forcing him to grip my arm hard to pull me out of the way of other pedestrians. I hoped it would bruise so I could show the cops, but it didn’t. Damn those cold-weather layers. I plan on battering myself in time for my sonogram next week so all fingers will point to Henry.

    We passed this guy Brice who used to stalk me, and his dog took a dump in the middle of the sidewalk. He acts like he doesn’t even know me now, I thought, as my wave and bright smile were met with a vacant stare. I looked at Henry in disdain. It’s all his fault. All of my stalkers retreated with their tails between their legs once Henry came barreling into my life, disrupting the natural order of things. (Gas station grocery shopping, inviting people over from chat rooms, blind dates, roller skating in the house. This list deserves its own entry. Or book.). I walked in silence for a few seconds, shedding invisible tears for stalkers past. Tossing a quick glance over at Henry, I felt a thousand pounds of hatred as I watched the way he scrunched up his shoulders to block the wind; the way he looked like a hoodlum with his hood pulled up tight around his fat face. Look at what he’s done to me, I thought, thinking of all the fun he’s driven out of my life. Maybe he can give me some STDs too, to ice the cake; make sure no one will ever want to stalk me again. No more Brices or Gothic Carls or Johnny Blazes. I’ve been tainted by domesticity. What stalker in their right mind would risk peeping into my window only to catch a glimpse of Henry traipsing around in his underwear? Who wants to stalk a boring quasi-housewife? (If you answered “I do” to that, my address is available upon request. I can also send pics of Henry’s bare legs to requested parties, as well.)

    Luckily for Henry and the fate our unborn child, I distracted myself from further thoughts of running away by making zombie noises. The first one I did was the best, but then I couldn’t remember how I did it and I began to try too hard, which resulted in me sounding like I had emphysema. Still, I practiced on and on, relentless, because I’m no quitter. Plus, I wanted to test it out on unsuspecting passers-by.

    “Was that it?”

    “No.”

    “Was that it?”

    “No.”

    Finally, Henry stopped answering me altogether, but it didn’t matter since we were now across the street from Pizzarella. I dusted off a spot on a retaining wall and made myself comfortable. Cracked my knuckles a few times, blew on my finger tips, punched Henry in the crotch — you know, all the things people do when they’re preparing to undergo some heavy surveillance.

    While I was getting nestled, two young kids pedaled past on their bikes, so I hit them with my zombie sounds. And then I laughed about it for a few minutes and kept saying, “Hey Henry, remember when those kids rode by and I made zombie noises at them?” He wouldn’t answer; that happens sometimes. I guess it’s because he’s old.

    As luck would have it, right when I got the camcorder all set up (you know, extracted from my pocket and turned on), a drunk old black man came from our right, slightly staggering with his head down. So I taped him, with Henry whispering, “Don’t. That’s not nice. Stop.” See what I mean? I am so oppressed. Too bad Henry then started to laugh. Mr. Fucking Humanitarian. This is the same guy who comes home from work and brags about seeing prostitutes fighting and a woman wearing white pants with a menstrual Rorschach pattern on her crotch.

    But I’m cruel for videotaping a wino.

    While I was fully immersed in this anthropological specimen, Henry jabbed my arm and pointed across the street. A delivery man had returned. I swung the camera in his direction and began squealing, “Oh my god it’s Jimmy! It’s Jimmy!!” The butterflies were ricocheting all over my stomach as my laughter shook the camera, and then Henry said, “Oh wait. That’s not him. Jimmy had a white car.”

    What, daddy? There’s no Santa?

    I was crushed. Even more so than when I lost the Alternative Press “Number 1 Fan” essay contest last year. (I lost to some cunt in California who wrote something similar to this: “OMG I DON’T HAVE AN OLDER BROTHER BUT THANK GOD I HAVE AP BECAUSE YOU ARE LIKE AN OLDER BROTHER WHO SHOWS ME GOOD MUSIC.” How does that make her their number one fan? I would say that makes AP her number one imaginary friend. Fuck you and your non-brother, you fucking slut. Of course, I didn’t follow the rules and my essay was about three hundred words — give or take a few hundred — too long. In any case, I know that girl’s name and where she lives. And in one of my lowest and darkest moments, I even tried to find her on LiveJournal so I could flame her. There, I said it.)

    You see, we don’t actually know what Jimmy looks like; just his car. Still, I really think I’m in love with him.

    I really am, I think.

    We waited a little longer, huddled together against the wind. “Sweetie, I don’t think he’s working tonight,” Henry said as he patted my head. You know it’s dire when he calls me sweetie.

    But then the clouds parted and another delivery car pulled up.

    “That’s not him. That’s the guy that delivered to us earlier,” Henry said with authority because he excels in all things pizza and vehicles. But while Henry was shooting me in the face with his smugness, he totally missed the delivery guy emerging from his car. Suddenly, one of his legs completely gave out, like it was made from putty, and he fell back against the side of his car. I laughed, and I mean laughed, with enough volume and zest for him to hear and look over at me. This made me laugh even harder and I’m going to admit something here because I’m honest: I peed. Yes, I pissed my fucking pants, right there, sitting on the wall. Erin urinated. Granted, it was the tiniest dribble, maybe the size of a gum ball at best. But it was enough to feel warm and uncomfortable.

    Look, I’m pregnant, OK? This shit happens. And by shit I mean piss.

    This was the final straw for Henry and he urged me to get up and start walking home with him. Also, he was pouting because he missed the stumbling delivery man.

    “Wait,” I said. “Not until I know for sure. Give me change, I need to make a call.”

    And so I walked a half of a block down to the gas station and called Pizzarella from the pay phone, because I’m proud to be part of the world’s 10% without a cell phone. While I dialed the number, Henry stood beside me but I pushed him away because I didn’t want to laugh. I needed privacy for this one.

    A girl answered and, while my mouth was wide open, there was this ill-timed delay in my speech. I almost hung up but didn’t want to waste the fifty cents. (Fifty fucking cents to use the pay phone now? It’s been a long time since I had to use a pay phone. Jimmy, my man, you’re raping my pockets.)

    I had it all rehearsed in my head. A simple, “Hello, is Jimmy working tonight?” would have sufficed. But instead, I ended up sounding like a head gear-wearing 12-year-old Bobcat Goldthwait making his first prank call at a slumber party.

    “HI!!!! [pause to bite back laughter] IS JIMHAHAHAHAPFFFFFFFFT WORKING TONIGHT!?!?!?”

    Who?” She was clearly annoyed. I hoped it wasn’t his girlfriend.

    “Jimmy.” I wasn’t laughing now, but rather trying to hold back more spurts of urine.You know how hard it is to manually shut yourself off once you’ve started!

    And so I was informed that Jimmy was not working that night.

    “THANKS” I yelled and slammed down the receiver. And then I laughed all the way to a stomach ache, while the urine burnt my thighs as it dried.

    ETA: At exactly 2:20 PM, I was on my way to Pitt to schedule classes and I totally passed Jimmy and his white car on the road. It’s so on for tonight.

    Sep 132008
     

    Henry just sent me this picture of THE GIRL that he nabbed in the library. I am overjoyed, seriously tickled to the brightest pink in the apples of my cheeks. And not only because he gifted me with another secret picture of THE GIRL to add to my collection, but also because my very own Henry has finally, after seven years of being my reluctant beau, succumbed to the dark and seedy underworld of stalking. Take my hand, Henry; you’ll be safe down here with me.

    Jul 212008
     

    My parents were in the process of having a back porch built onto our house. This was a big deal for my brother Ryan and me, because stalking one of the workers became the sole reason we got out of bed each day. I mean really, who wants to swim and lay out in the sun when you can be violating someone’s privacy?

    There was no real reason why we felt so intrinsically drawn to the sweaty laborer. He wasn’t good-looking, he didn’t sport a peg-leg, he wasn’t albino. He was just your average forty-something year old porch-builder with tinted eyeglasses, a farmer’s tan and a bushy moustache. I don’t even think he ever spoke to us. I mean, would you?

    We would run from window to window, snapping pictures of him. Pictures from the kitchen, pictures from our parent’s bedroom, pictures bent around tree trunks. One day, Ryan even chased his truck up the street as he departed for home after a long grueling day of hammering nails and chugging Schlitz under the shade of a maple. I often wondered if our porch-builder had a good broad with a nice plump behind to nail, maybe cook him up a nice thick stew.

    I’ll never forget the day we discovered his name was Gary. We ran into the house, erupting into shrieks and giggles. Our mom’s reaction was something akin to “Yeah, so?” accompanied by an eye brow raise. She always raised the eyebrow that bore a scar from when she was a baby and rolled off her bed, banging her face off the corner of the nightstand. I still can’t believe she never made up a better story, like how she was nicked by a gypsy’s butterfly knife the time she tried to steal cantaloupes off their wagon. When I was fourteen and viciously mauled by our psycho rabbit, you better believe I went back to school with a yarn about getting stabbed during gang initiation.

    After a week of wasting film on this fine craftsman, we decided these clandestine snaps weren’t providing enough of a sociopathic rush. We needed more thrill, something that provided more of an instant gratification. When you’re young, you want souvenirs for everything you do: pocketed sugar packets from a truck stop diner, pebbles from the parking lot of the first sex shack your dad made you wait outside of, bloodied gauze from your first tooth extraction.

    So the next obvious step clearly was to collect Gary’s cigarette butts and beer cans.

    We waited until he’d go to his truck, then sprint out in the backyard like scavengers, picking through the grass in search of a butt or two. Once we accumulated enough to satiate our pursuant appetite, we brought our treasures in the house and stowed it underneath the couch in the family room. Like chipmunks storing acorns, crack heads hording rocks.

    Stalking Gary consumed so much of our summer. So much that it infiltrated the summer of my friends, as well. My best friend Christy was out of town for some sort of academic camp. I wrote her a letter and enclosed one of Gary’s cigarettes butts for her to cherish as well. I just wanted her summer to be as rich as ours had become, thanks to Gary. I wrote letters to every one of my pen pals, detailing Gary’s every action and movement. Everyone clung to the Summer of Gary with bated breath.

    Unfortunately, the fun and games ended when my dad unearthed our stash of purloined memorabilia under the couch. Now, any other dad would have rightfully accused us of smoking and drinking. Luckily for us, my dad recognized the extent of our weirdness long before this incident, so he believed our tale and we escaped punishment. The downside was that he forbade us to continue our game and pitched our pirated keepsake, muttering something about how we were embarrassing him or something.

    I often wonder what Gary is doing these days, and if he knew he was being stalked. Was he flattered? I asked my mom: she said probably not.