Material Trace of Deficient Socialization

I like to talk. I like to talk to people I know, people I don’t know, people I want to know better, and even people I don’t give a shit about. I’d rather talk to the guy behind me in the checkout line buying nothing but peanut butter and People magazines than stand silently by myself. I consider myself a decent communicator – unless I’m talking about something I actually care about. Then I dissolve into a sputtering, foul-mouthed wreck.

Case in point: I fucking hate littering. Like, a lot. If I see you tossing a cigarette butt out of your car window, I wish upon you nothing less than instant and explosive diarrhea. Alas, I can put it no more eloquently than than, “Hey you! Litterer! I hope you have a shitty day!”

The closest I’ve come to having a rational discussion about littering was on an “urban hike” (I don’t know why I put that in quotes; we literally walked 14+ miles through our city, which is the capital of Virginia and therefore a legitimately urban setting, with camelbacks filled with water and Lärabars) and she told me that friends had been giving her a hard time about tossing banana peels from her car window. As these friends live in Asheville, NC, a notorious hippie enclave, I got the feeling that she expected my reaction to be along the lines of “Damn tree huggers! Of course you should throw your food leavings from your car window!”

Her argument was that 1) banana peels are biodegradable and 2) who wants to drive around with a banana peel in their lap? While the logic of her arguments are admittedly sound, 1 + 2 does not equal C.
I had to move beyond my typical argument against littering – IT’S FUCKING DISGUSTING – and dug way back to Ethics 101.

“What if everyone threw their banana peels out of the window?” I asked. “There’d be piles of rotting banana peels lining every road in the country. The garbage would attract raccoons and possums and the roads would be cluttered with roadkill. The view would be ruined, marred by blackening banana peels and the odors of decay. You are an exceptional human being, Nameless Friend, but you are not an exception to the No Littering rule.”

Kant ruled the day, and my friend was convinced.

(This logic, however, rarely works on smokers, as they all throw their cigarette butts wherever they choose and have absolutely no shame.)

Some people are gifted with emotionally-resistant golden tongues and can express themselves eloquently not only despite of their very deep feelings on the subject, but perhaps because of these very same feelings. I was listening to a recently discovered podcast (Intelligence²) when a line delivered by one of the debaters prompted me to get out a pen a jot it down.

The discussion was about whether Tiger Moms were doing a better job of turning out successful children than Western parents. Arguing for the Tiger Moms was British writer and psychiatrist Anthony Daniels. He recounted personal anecdotes of French mothers arguing with their children in the shop around from his house, British kids yelling obscenities as they ran through the streets, and the abundance of trash he had observed concentrated around school yards.

“Each piece of litter, and there are millions of them,” deadpanned Daniels,”is a kind of material trace of deficient socialization.”

YES. “A material trace of deficient socialization.” Don’t you just want to repeat that phrase until it moulds to the contours of your brain like a favorite sweater? Fuck, those are some delicious words.

When you litter, you are basically acknowledging that you either have no idea how your actions might impact anyone else in the world, or simply do not give a damn. I would argue that littering is one of the most selfish, self-centered acts one could commit.

What makes littering unique as a social plague is that almost everyone is disgusted when they see anyone else doing it. We don’t high five each other for tossing a dirty diaper into the ocean. No one compliments the man chucking an empty big soda bottle from his window on a job well done. And yet we do it ourselves and sleep soundly at night, having justified our act of littering as a one off, or (perhaps more bizarrely) as a “green” act akin to composting, having returned a peach pit or orange peel to the earth to disseminate it’s carbon back into the environment.

So yeah, don’t litter. I really hate hating you.

 

Wisdom among the cantaloupes

I came back to dust off this mother fucker and found this in my draft folder. I wrote it more than a year ago. I’m not feeling quite so full of angst today, but reading it still gave me what my college roommate called the “bubble guts.”

First of all – spelled cantaloupe wrong. Again.

I know it’s been a while, but it seems like writing this blog used to be a lot easier. Sit down, bang out a post, and publish. Done and done. But I am struggling over here, y’all. I feel like not a whole lot of stuff is happening in my life, but I know that’s not true. I keep a list on my phone of essay ideas, but I just can’t seem to string more than 20 words together.

Here’s one such post.

Just Stay

“Why do you have to move to Baltimore? Do you know how long it takes to get to Baltimore? I’ll never see you. You won’t come down here. Why can’t you stay here?

Just stay, okay? Just stay.”

I overheard this half of a phone conversation at one of my neighborhood grocery stores. I almost started crying right there in front of the JIF peanut butter (fuck you, Peter Pan). The angst in her voice was like a punch to the gut.

So I’m sitting there in the peanut butter/jelly/pickle/olive aisle (kind of a weird combination, but I can dig it), sick to my stomach. Because I have totally been there. Pleading with someone to just care. I stood there, filling my cart with an unhealthy amount of Nutella, fervently wishing it was appropriate to hug strangers in the grocery store.

(Side bar – what are the most appropriate places to hug strangers? Right now I can only think of one place – game shows, namely The Price is Right, just after you are invited to COME ON DOWN. If you are a person with good smelling hair, I would imagine that you could be giving out more hugs than you are currently dishing out. Hugs and donuts, friends – we could make the world a little bit better.)

My Kind Of Party

Just a warning – I’m going to discuss my dogs’ rather unusual diet in this post. Pinky swear you won’t remove me from your Google Reader Feedly? Thanks.

So. My dog’s Rather Unusual Diet is of the raw variety. As in, put down a towel and throw a raw chicken leg quarter in their direction and let them go at it, bones and all.

Actually, only Ernie eats on a towel. Dex refuses to eat this patently uncivilized diet in my decidedly civilized kitchen, so he eats outside in the yard. His choice, not mine. I am not complaining.

Sometimes it’s chicken, sometimes it’s venison. Sometimes it’s meaty meat, and sometimes it’s liver (gross) or kidneys (even grosser). This weekend, although he doesn’t know it yet, Dexter is getting a whole sheep’s head all to himself.

But I digress.

A byproduct of my dog’s diet is that I am constantly trolling for affordable meat. Craigslist has been wonderful –  hunters looking to offload freezer burned venison haunches are my favorite. I do feel a little creepy contacting sellers about rabbits or goats. If you don’t know, there are two camps of rabbit and/or goat breeders and sellers; those who raise their animals for meat, and those who raise their animals for pets. If you accidentally send an email to a pet rabbit breeder inquiring about purchasing their “culls,” be prepared for a nasty reply.

When I can’t get anything else, I stock my freezer with 40 lb. cases of chicken leg quarters that I buy from a local restaurant supply outlet. These chicken legs – which I feed in between goat or duck or sheep head scores – come minimally processed and don’t contain any of the yummy/icky added flavorings you’ll find in most grocery store chicken.

Oh my gosh, I’m talking way too much about raw meat. BUT I CAN’T STOP NOW.

Sometimes I can’t get to the restaurant supply warehouse. Mainly because I am lazy, but also because they close at 6pm during the week and sometimes traffic works against me. So I find myself at the local Food Lion store where they sell 10 lb. bags of low-sodium chicken legs. They usually have boxes of Hot Tamales for $1, so most of the time my cart contains nothing but 40+ lbs. of raw chicken and a few boxes of chewy cinnamon candy.

I am convinced that the cashiers whisper as they see me coming.

Here comes that crazy chicken lady. All she ever buys are chicken and Hot Tamales, Hot Tamales and chicken. What the fuck kind of diet is she on?

Once I tried mentioning (with an airy, we’re-all-friends-here chuckle) that of course all this chicken wasn’t for my own consumption! It was for my dogs! But I’m pretty sure that made me seem even less like a woman who has her shit together.

But one time, about a year and a half ago, I realized that I needed a few additional items. I had recently started entertaining an overnight guest of the male variety, and needed to stock up on…party favors. And then I remembered that I needed to grab some batteries for my Wii remotes (what? We were newly dating and playing a lot of Wii bowling).

It was only as I was unloaded my cart onto the checkout belt that I fully realized the picture I was painting for the unlucky cashier.

40 pounds of raw chicken
4 boxes of Hot Tamales
Box of Ultra Sensitive Spermicide Lubed Trojan Condoms (18 count)
AA batteries (24 count)

Damn, girl. What kind of party are you throwing?

What would you name your cloned neanderthal baby?

Something amazing happened yesterday.

You may not believe me – do amazing things happen to 31 year old women? They certainly don’t happen in their backyard, unless that something is discovering a dinosaur fossil or giving birth to a cloned neanderthal baby.

Maybe I’ve played this up too much. What really happened yesterday is that I ate the first tomato from my garden.

It was delicious! But feel free to throw your old tomatoes at my head, as I know eating a tomato from your garden is hardly amazing, even if that tomato is yellow and delicious and you’ve known that tomato since it was a brave little un-pollinated flower.

But.

I’m pretty sure the 17-year-old Home Depot Garden Center employee who was tasked with watering the plant that yielded The Most Amazing And Delicious Yellow Tomato Ever shared a joint with my young, impressionable plant before I paid $3.88 for her and brought her home. I think this same employee rubbed psychedelic mushrooms on her tender leaflets and maybe even exposed her root buds to acid tablets.

Because I had the craziest dreams last night.

Like, chewing on gumballs while running the wrong way through a crowd during a 10k. But the gumballs turn into your teeth and the race is all uphill, and you’re running on your knees because you forgot your shoes and oh! you have no shirt on.

And you really have to get home because you can hear you sister’s parrot screaming (what? Your sister doesn’t have a parrot? DOESN’T MATTER) and if you don’t get home to feed it it’ll die. And how can you make your sister believe that you are sorry if you don’t even have a shirt on? Plus, your teeth are soggy, chewed-up gumballs and suddenly you’ve forgotten where your house is.

But really, that tomato was exceptionally delicious. Five stars. WOULD EAT AGAIN.

My favorite cuss

Shit.

I don’t know what to say so I figure I’d start with some sure-to-please profanity. Speaking of profanity, do you have a favorite cuss word? I’ve narrowed my favorites down to two: shit and dick.

Shit Dick.

If you drop a SD bomb on someone, not only are you adequately expressing your anger (“Look how mad you’ve made me! I said a word that would shame my mother and prompt her to add another tearful entry to her Evidence I Have Failed To Raise A Socially Acceptable Daughter journal”), but you are also conveying how absurd the situation is.

“No, I’m not 100% sure what a Shit Dick is, but I’m 87% you are it. Shit Dick.”

How badly do I wish this photo was staged? So bad.

How badly do I wish this photo was staged? So badly.

Text from my (new) neighbor yesterday:

“I’m letting the boys out to potty, then letting Ernie run with Dyna (her dog). Hope you don’t mind.”

And that’s how I found out she has a key to my house. While is cool and all, I guess. It’ll keep me from letting the dirty dishes pile up in the sink. Ernie has already trained me to keep dirty underwear hidden in the closet, so three cheers for shame-induced housekeeping!

As I live alone, and have for a while, certain things have become habits. Peeing with the door open. Singing in the shower. Sitting on the couch in my underwear watching Weeds and crying (side note – I thought that show was going to be funny, but really it is depressing as shit and I have a huge widow crush on Jeffrey Dean Morgan).

Seeing as we are close friends and all, I’m going to let you in on another secret: if it’s yellow, I let it mellow. Please, hold your applause. Just doing my part for the planet.

But.

On the day in question, I came home to find a distinctly un-mellow deposit in the toilet.

“Did she really? What kind of person does something like – oh wait. I did that.”

I DID THAT, FRIENDS.

Let the judging begin.

 

 

xoxo

Sometimes I miss blogging. The times that I miss blogging are when I’m driving home from work, stuck in traffic, and the local NPR station is running a story on the aging population’s inability to detect increasing levels of iron in their drinking water.

What?

Why does this story make me miss blogging? Because the reporter keeps pronouncing iron “EYE-rin.” Go ahead, say it out loud. Maybe I’m just a hick from Virginia by way of North Carolina, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard anyone in real life pronounce it “EYE-rin.”

Then I get to thinking about how I pronounce iron. IRE-n. EYE-ern. I was starting to go a little crazy. I needed an audience to bounce my break from reality off of.

HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE ‘IRON,’ INTERNET?

So yes. I gotta get these thoughts out of my head.

Also, I’m a fan of this blog. And I’m grateful to it, as well – I parlayed this little outlet from a place to keep a friend updated on her rehomed dog, to a part-time job writing for a pet  blog, to a job I love with an organization I adore.

So hello, old friends. Hope we can do this again real soon.