Odd Occurances

Did I Dream This Day?

It’s been a strange day. Amazing, but weird. It started with my alarm scaring me so badly I almost yelped. I might have actually done it but I was out of it so I can’t be sure. I was super groggy when I got out of bed so it took me a while to notice I wasn’t in any pain.

You might assume I would jump for joy at this realization but not only do I never jump, as to avoid pain, but I was so confused by it I couldn’t have thought to be happy enough to leap. I simply let the dogs out and fed them, got ready and took my kid to school. I’m lucky I remembered to brush my teeth and throw a clippie in my hair.

After dropping her off I went to the gym, for the first time in four days I believe. I was a little nervous but even working out was odd today. First, I didn’t sweat while on the elliptical. I know, TMI but this was so out of the ordinary it’s worth adding to the list of strangeness that was this day.

Since it has been half a week since I worked out I expected it to be really hard but it wasn’t. I felt like I breezed through everything. Part of me wanted to stay longer and work harder but I was afraid my back would rebel. During all of this there was this tiny lady staring me down. I do mean the entire time. No matter where I went or what I did she was right there.

She had no expression on her face so I couldn’t figure out why she only had eyes for me. It was so uncomfortable! Eventually I got tired of it so after she once again got settled on the machine closest to mine I got up and went into the 30-minute workout room to finish up. I kept expecting her to come in there but she didn’t. I forgot about her and did what I needed to. When I left the room I saw her right outside the doorway but she was turned away.

I felt like a guilty child rushing past, hoping I wouldn’t get caught, but I did. A woman I previously worked with stopped me before reaching the other corner and we stood and talked for a few minutes. I was happy to see her but I wished we were standing anywhere but where we were. I could feel those eyes on me again!

When my conversation was ending, tiny lady walked past us and went into the locker room. So I went to sit in a massage chair for a while. While sitting there I realize I was being stupid. The poor woman had probably accidentally focused on me while she was working out and she might not have any idea she’d made me so uncomfortable. As there was nothing I could do about it I stopped thinking about it and tried to enjoy the massage.

Then I went to the locker room. Standing in front of my locker, naked, was tiny lady. She jerked a towel up in front of her, lengthwise, and scowled when she saw movement but as soon as she saw my face she relaxed and dropped the towel. She turned her back to me and went about her business. I don’t know precisely what that business was because I was too busy trying to find my locker without actually looking anywhere in its direction.

I’m pretty sure I bent sideways to retrieve my bag. This is impressive because as far as I know I shouldn’t be able to do that without a lot of pain. I promptly went into one of the changing rooms and closed the curtain. I heard a loud sigh from her, which prompted me to change slower than I ever have, ever, in the history of ever.

I heard another woman walk in and she made this odd little squeaky, gaspy sound. This was followed by a snort and a laugh, origin unknown. I’m sitting there on the little bench trying my hardest not to giggle at how ridiculous the whole situation was when I hear some huffing sounds. I believe they were offended noises but I can’t be sure, then someone walked out. I guess another lady had come in because one said “Can you believe that?” and another answered “Nope.” Then all was quiet and I finished changing.

When I peeked out there was only one other person in the room and she jerked around and stared at me in horror, then relief, I’m guessing because she feared I was also naked. She smiled at me sheepishly and we both left.

In the parking lot I was almost approached by a drunk woman asking for money (this was 9am!) but she was fixated on a man who’d come out before me. She kept yelling “Sir!” over and over but he was ignoring her. She turned in my direction and said “Ma’am,” but then turned back to the fleeing man and forgot about me.

I headed to what is quickly losing its title of ‘favorite writing place” to write. There was some guy in my spot, for the second time in a week. I guess it’s become his favorite spot too. So I sat in at the second choice table. It was a little uncomfortable because I didn’t have my laptop and while I can write without it, it was a change in my routine that threw me off. Still, I had my tablet and a spiral so I got to work.

The end of my novel was rearing its head at me. I was half excite and half terrified. Add in being weirded out by how my day was going and I had no clue if I’d be able to write. I did. My first task was to type up a few scenes I’d handwritten, then I wrote a couple more. When it came time for the last scene I realized I’d already written it, weeks ago, by hand. I was hungry by this point and my back started hurting so I went home for lunch and to search for the scene. I never found it. I searched through everything but it was nowhere.

I tried looking on the computer, just in case I’d already typed it up. It wasn’t there either. I searched through all my spirals and notes again, then again. Finally I decided to rewrite it. It irritated me because I liked the way I wrote it originally and I didn’t feel like the new version lived up to it, but I can fix it during revisions.

Then it struck me. I was finished with the first draft! I was so distracted by my odd day and the search for the elusive scene, I hardly noticed my accomplishment. I didn’t feel excited. I felt weird. It was like I couldn’t believe it or something. This day has simply been too weird.

So I must be dreaming, although I hope not because I don’t want to dream about odd tiny naked ladies, and spot stealing men. I certainly don’t want to write that final scene again!

Sidenote: There were several more odd occurrences today. From me leaving the dogs alone to take my son to the store without thinking about it (we never leave them unsupervised) to a woman calling me from the doctor’s office saying I owed $700 I don’t actually owe (which she discovered was an error on their part). I hope nothing else strange happens today. One can only take so much!

I Can’t Wait Until I’m Old So I Can Be An (*$#%@&^)

When I was younger, a few months or so ago, I often wondered if people getting close to the age they consider old said that to themselves. Lately I’ve encountered so many mean, irritable, grumpy, rude, insertcurseword-ish elderly people it was like a plague had hit.

It seemed everywhere I went they were to be found. At my favorite writing spot hogging tables. At the grocery store mumbling obscenities at everyone they passed when the other people didn’t move out of their way quickly enough. Driving through town causing road rage wherever they very slowly went. There was the guy at the convenience store who cut in a long line and glared at the young girl who dared to question him, or at least started to dare before his frightening expression shut her down.

Oh, I can’t forget to mention the lady in a department store parking lot whose car somehow managed to take up three spaces. When I noticed I shook my head and she jumped out of her car and screamed at me as I walked by.

During some of these, and other, encounters, I’ve said what was stated in the title to myself. Or wondered if I’d be a jerk to everyone around me with impunity once I hit a certain age.

Every time I encountered one of these people it would irritate me and I’d piss and moan about it to my husband or friends, sometimes even my kids, but I wouldn’t do anything.

Then something happened.

I wish I knew what my trigger was but I don’t . One day I realized my bullshit detector was on super sensitive while my tolerance of said bullshit was at an all time low. At times, like with the lady in the parking lot, I snapped back. All I said was “Look at your parking lady.” when she was yelling and questioning my right to shake my head. However, while I know I didn’t say it in a nasty tone, I’m quite sure I delivered it in a way that would irritate her the most. Not very nice on my part.

Or at the grocery store when an extremely older woman tried to herd me out of her way with her cart and I didn’t budge. In all fairness, in this case I couldn’t have moved due to other shoppers but I know damn well I wouldn’t have anyway.

So this brings me to my point. It’s a vicious cycle. These pissed off elderly folk were probably treated poorly by people they thought of as old and now that it’s their turn, they are doing the same to the ones of us who are younger.

AND I WAS IN THE PROCESS OF PERPETUATING THIS CRAP!

There I was, reacting the way we all eventually end up reacting  when others are jerk faces to us. It’s like the ones who were pissing me off were gradually passing the torch to me. I’ll admit, at the rate these encounters were happening, my goal-age for being an old asshole was going to end up being much younger than the ones I watched behave badly. Not only that, but I was contributing to the anger these perpetrators already had too much of.

A strange, and all too often occurrence (at least the start of it) today made me really think about what I was doing. A lady deliberately cut me off with her cart several times at a drug store. I don’t know why she singled me out or what prompted her to keep it up but I was getting pretty irritated. Not the first time she did it. I hardly noticed, just a minor blip on my ‘oh look another a-hole’ radar. I can’t tell you what my expression so I don’t know if it contributed. A few rows in she did it a second time, with eye contact.

I remember thinking, man what’s up with this lady, but I kept searching for what I needed to buy. You know that feeling you get when someone is staring at you? I kept feeling it and every time I looked up I saw her over the short displays and she would quickly look away. It was so weird but I said “It’s not all about you Kristi” over and over. But it was all about me this time.

We were in the vitamins section and there are four or five rows of the stuff. Each time I left the row I was on, there she was, her cart almost colliding with mine, along with a nasty look, then a satisfied smile for her friend looking at end caps.

After several times I was beginning to wonder if she was playing some kind of game since she seemed to be enjoying herself. Then it hit me. Was I really taking the time to wonder if some pissy old lady was messing with me? Yep. As this had never happened to me before I was quite surprised. It was a little funny and I found myself smiling. I glanced at my nemesis  and instead of quickly turning her headthis time she glared at me. Guess the smile rubbed her the wrong way. Oops!

I giggled. A lot. It was just so ridiculous. I couldn’t help myself, every time I looked at her, I laughed harder. She got madder, then I guess confused based on her expression. Somehow through my giggle fit I found my vitamins and started to leave. She moved to cut me off again.

I let her. Then I left.

Once in my car I felt guilty because I know me laughing made it worse. Then I got mad because I didn’t think I should have to feel guilty for her being an ass and I hadn’t done it on purpose.

Then I made a decision. From now on I’m going to do whatever it takes to avoid people like her. I don’t have to bite back, or in this case laugh (which is another form of fighting back at times). I can keep my head shakes to myself and just get out of the way when needed. This doesn’t just apply to the well aged, I’ll stay away from jerks of all ages.

I can’t control my face (when I amused mostly) so I’ll keep my head down when others act like toddlers. I’m not really a petty person and I don’t like how someone being nasty brings it out in me. I can’t fix them, but I can try to be a better me.

Most important, I’m not going to let the anger infect me. And when I’m old enough to act like an asshole and get away with it, I won’t. Even when I want to.


 

Sidenote: Somehow some aspects of the lady from the drugstore must becomea part of my novel. I’m in need of minor characters.

Writers & Coffee Shops

Why are writers drawn to coffee shops? Is it the need for caffeine, or maybe the ambiance? Perhaps it’s due to the feeling we are supposed to write in places like that, since many other writers do so.

For me it’s the smells. If you’ve read many of my posts you already know I despise the taste of coffee, but the smell, oh man, it’s amazing. There is a comforting feeling being in a place where coffee fragrance fills up the building. If only the stuff tasted as good as it seems like it would. Don’t lecture me, we all know coffee is an acquired taste.

I’m not sure why the scent impacts me so much but I have a theory. My parents drank coffee every morning when I was young. When I was old enough they started sending me to the kitchen to get them a refill, and eventually make the coffee and bring the first cup. Little kids are weird so I thought this was practically an honor.

Eventually I got to the point where it was a hassle and I started playing tricks.My mom never once thought it was funny when I ‘tripped’ and threw an empty mug at her. She fell for it every time. My dad, well I only did it a few times to him (daddy’s girl here), but he hated it and thought it was funny so it wasn’t worth it. It made for great memories, for me. I imagine my mom still doesn’t find it amusing.

My dad passed away when I was 15 and I hadn’t brought him coffee in years but I still associate the smell with bringing him and my mom their morning cup. I think about standing near the counter and watching the percolator, amazed at how it worked. I remember the smiles and thanks and feeling important.

So maybe I started coming to coffee shops because I heard it worked for other writers but I keep coming because it works for me. I get funny looks because I order hot tea but it tastes great and gives me my caffeinated fuel. Being judged for not drinking coffee even gave me a story called The Secret!

Of course, I can’t forget the people watching aspect. Already this morning I’ve been fascinated by the behavior of three different people. One was a woman who was clearly angry but trying to hold it in and possibly not take it out on the staff. Another was actually a family of four. I don’t know what happened but they came in with smiles and walked up to the counter. After a moment the dad looked angry and they all left, with the mom and two kids looking embarrassed. I’m pretty sure there is a story brewing after seeing that.

The most interesting was a man who came in looking exhausted. He never stopped moving. He paced for a while then when he sat down he fidgeted. His head swiveled around as if he was looking at everyone in the place but when his eyes reached me I could tell he didn’t see me. When they called his name a couple of the people working chatted with him, asking why he hadn’t been in for so long. Even his voice sounded tired as he told them his wife had just had a baby. Ah!

The poor thing leaned on the counter, which meant he stopped moving. It was clearly a mistake. He looked like he was going to fall over. His knees buckled a bit but he shook it off, showed off pictures of his child and left. I hope he made it safely home! There is also a story in my head after watching him.

Some of my best writing happened in coffee shops so I will continue to be a typical writer and hang out in these places.

To any other writers out there, if you work in coffee shops, what are your reasons? To any who don’t do this, I highly recommend it. Bring your headphones and enjoy!


Photo by Ryan McGuire. Go check out his work, it’s amazing!

Sidenote: I almost titled this post: Writers & Coffee Shops –  A Love Story.

“I Like Turtles.”

“I like turtles.” Never have three words been used to annoy two young girls as much as they have this summer. This is a really old video but somehow I came across it again recently. It probably randomly popped up in my Facebook feed. Since then I’ve used it so many ways I should be almost be ashamed of myself, or at least my daughters feel that way.

It started with me waking them up one morning. To get my youngest daughter out of bed I have to either sound angry, annoyed or annoying. During the summer I normally opt for the latter. For example, I once opened the door to their shared bedroom and loudly said “boop.” That’s all, nothing else. Both sat up, gave me the death look and did the teenager sigh (I live for that sigh). I’ve tried singing – badly, weird voices – mostly quoting movies and occasionally videos on Youtube (yaaassss), asking bizarre questions, etc. I tend to be pretty repetitive too so they get the joys of double annoyances.

A week or so before I went out of town I walked in their room and said “I like turtles.” I like to think I said it exactly the way the zombie kid did. One daughter sat straight up startled and the other said “what did you say?” I repeated it and they both looked confused but wide awake. Little did they know it was the beginning of one of the most irritating times of their lives!

I woke them up a few more times with it, including playing it on my phone on max volume. I sent many texts and memes. Some they laughed at, others rated only an: “OMG Mom!”  I searched for their favorite things/people and the word turtle to find stuff to send them, namely Homestuck and Anna Kendrick (I succeeded too). I took pictures of everything turtle related I came across including a metal turtle on my in-laws’ porch, glass turtles found in every single truck stop we visited and this beauty:

TurtleCrossing

I couldn’t have possibly aggravated them more. By the time I quit, it had degenerated down to only eyerolls. Once the sighs stop I’m done. I’m a mom, I always reserve the right to be super irritating, repetitive, and funny (at least to myself). When you were(/are) a teenager wouldn’t you rather have been woken up by silliness than grumpiness? Doesn’t sending stupid turtle pictures seem like a better way to check in with family when you’re far away rather than constantly asking if they are behaving and getting their chores done? Besides, with me having an emergency situation come up while out of town the kids were scared. The best thing I could do to reassure them was to be my normal ridiculous self.

The only bad thing to come out of the weeks of turtleness is now I have to come up with something newly annoying, but since I always do I’m not worried! Maybe I’ll go back to the ‘yaaassss’ cat or the ‘how now?’ thing. Any ideas you want to share will be appreciated and utilized. I would hate to have to resort to learning the words to whatever song is popular right now…

Sidenote: In case you were wondering, I don’t particularly like turtles.

Writers Are Weird

I was working a lesson in the writing class I’m taking and I had a moment. You know, one of those breakthrough moments. I was making a mind map about why I want to write. I came up with many things that surprised me but one in particular struck me.

I wanted to be able to justify my weird. I’ve been odd my entire life. I’ve always seen things just a little differently than the people around me. I over-analyze everything (I don’t advise this). I add theme songs to daydreams. I bring up books constantly as examples of…well everything.

I often came across as distant. I wasn’t really, but when you’re in the middle of making up a cool fight scene it’s a little difficult to give others your full attention. I’ve lived more in my head a good portion of the time.

I was/am one of those types I like to call fringe people. You know, the kind that like to be in a group but stay on the edges. I’m not anti-social but I’m too busy watching everything to truly participate. I enjoyed this a lot but everyone else tried, unsuccessfully, to get me more involved. Every time someone came to the realization that I was content where I was, they thought I was weird as hell.

One guy thought I was the strangest person he’d ever met because I really truly listen to lyrics in songs. It probably didn’t help that I said things like: “This song talks to me.” Another said only weirdos and the British drink tea!

I’ve been accused of being strange because I read science fiction and fantasy. Or even just for preferring reading to whatever it is that someone else wants to do. My coworkers at previous jobs never could understand that reading IS doing something and no I really didn’t want to stop to talk about nothing with them. The readers out there get that one. Ever heard this while reading: “Since you’re not busy….”

No matter what anyone thought or said, I stayed weird. It’s part of me. It is me. However, when you hear something in a negative light for years and years it eats away at you. I didn’t know that until this lesson. Somewhere in the back of my mind I wondered if being weird was good. There was some guilt insidiously hiding there. Sometimes it made me stupidly put down my pen. I got over that but there was still a need to prove myself.

If I was this weird then I damn well better be a writer or the weird was for nothing, unjustified. Well frack that! I am weird, and I will wear that title with pride. I will write because I want/have to, not just because I feel like I should just to prove something to someone.

It boils down to most people think you should be exactly like them and if you’re not then you are branded with these terms: weird, strange, odd or bizarre. I looked up the definitions and I fail to see how of these things are bad.

  • Weird — fantastic; bizarre
  • Strange — unusual, extraordinary, or curious
  • Odd — differing in nature from what is ordinary, usual, or expected
  • Bizarre — markedly unusual in appearance, style, or general character and often involving incongruous or unexpected elements; outrageously or whimsically strange; odd

I don’t need to justify my weird, I need to embrace it. I’m a writer and writers are weird. We have to be and if we weren’t then there wouldn’t be so many books out there to enjoy.

So I’ll keep reading and getting way too into music. I’ll continue writing and I’ll always be weird

If you’ve ever been saddled with these labels, well it’s probably true, and so what? What exactly is it that you have to prove? All you have to be is you. Be weird, embrace strange, believe in bizarre. Normal is just a setting on a washing machine anyway.


I’ll call this my six minutes of writing for the day, but it took much longer. Now I’m going to do some writing in 10 minute bursts for a while. I love productive days!

Sidenote: When I did a spell check, frack didn’t come up lol!

Too Much Anger In The Air Today

Any of you ever had someone confront you after they caught you shake your head at their terrible parking? It happened to me a little while ago. I was about to pull into a spot and realized there was a car taking up half of that spot and the one in front of it. I drove around and went to another spot and noticed there was a lady in the badly parked car. I shook my head and thought she was an idiot.

That was the end of the story for me. Not her. As I walked in front of her car to get to the store she partially got out and said “Why did you shake your head at me?” She was pretty agitated, and waving her phone at me. I was so surprised I only said “Excuse me?” She repeated her question, which seemed to anger her even more.

I stopped and stared at her for a second before responding. “Look at your parking job.” She turned bright red, and I continued on into the store, (I’m pretty sure I was still shaking my head). I have no idea what she said after that, but I could hear her practically yelling into her phone, bitching about me I’m sure.

So after I walked in the doors I turned back and watched as she corrected her parking issue and I laughed, which of course got me weird looks from the people near me. Did I leave out that this lady was a much older woman, like 80? She was also half my size, so I was somewhat impressed that she had to guts to confront me.

I felt a little bad, because I didn’t have to even respond but she caught me off guard. However, I think it’s ridiculous to yell at someone for noticing when you mess up. I did see her in the store and she pretended like I didn’t exist. This time I kept my head under tight control.

I feel like I should somehow turn this into a short story or flash fiction, or even a small scene. Either way I wanted to share it; this was too weird not to. Has this kind of thing ever happened to any of you? How did you handle it? I can’t be the only person that has that issue where words come out of my mouth before thoughts are completely processed.

Odd occurance

Today I went to hell, otherwise known as Wal-Mart. I was there for sherpa blankets for my dogs and random other stuff like paper plates and toiletries. Everyone shopping there today was awful. The top secret anger/idiot gas that gets sprayed on everyone as they walk in the door was working. Anyone that could get in my way did. If there was an opportunity to give me a nasty look, it was taken. So a typical trip. But as I walked through the aisles I noticed something very odd. No grumpy employees. I know you don’t believe me but it happened. All the workers were laughing and happy. They were stocking shelves so at least ten asked if I needed help. They were Happy! These people made even the most irritated looking customers smile. It was awesome and totally brightened my day. I still got in the worst line, with the slowest cashier there. The lady behind me still got irritated that I beat her to there, but I left happy. Now this was my fifth stop of the day and I had four more to go. I should have been grumpy myself but after that I was beaming positivity.  I smiled at everyone who crossed my path as I shopped in other stores. I’m sure a few people thought I was nuts but they smiled back. Who would have thought that a trip to Walmart would make my day?