40 Days and 40 Nights: A Reflection

My hero.

It’s no secret that I gave up Facebook this year for my non-religious but obligatory observance of Lent. Facebook to me is not just as website. It is a box in which I can keep all of my friends, and some people whose pictures I just like to go through at random. This box of friends enables me to socialize without the annoyances of actual human contact, putting on pants, and things like this. In giving up this integral part of my life, I was curious to see what would come of my spare hours (yes, hours). Perhaps I would learn new things or go “outside.” At the same time, I was afraid. What would I do without Facebook for 40 days? Would I even be able to communicate with any of my friends? Would I be exposed to any important YouTube videos? Would I die? I didn’t know. But now I do know, and the answers to those questions are sleep, and carrier pigeon, and some, and a little. It’s not just that simple, though. What you are about to read may shock you, but please believe every word. These are just a few of the things I did to replace my Facebook time:

1. I met a guy. We were texting for a while, and it was getting pretty serious. One afternoon I texted him something really clever like “Remember that old man from the pizza place?! LOL ;).” I mean, there was so much room for response. But when 30 minutes went by and he had not responded, I lost it. I began shouting, and flipped over a table in the Chipotle, creating quite a mess. I was subsequently arrested, but luckily I know Dog the Bounty Hunter’s number by heart. I used my one phonecall on him, and he was able to bail me out. Upon exiting the jailhouse, I got a response text. “Haha, so crazy ūüôā ROFL.”

2. I took up scatting. No one really got into it, though, so…

3. I had a baby. She was really cute, but I couldn’t quite figure out what her race was, so I just named her “Swagger” until I got the paternity tests back and could name her something more heritage-appropriate. One morning we went to Trader Joe’s. I took her out of the Baby Bjorn, because I thought it would be a convenient place to put my produce. She was in the cart, and I was chatting with the cashier, who was reallycool and gave me three tickets for bringing my own back. I was in a pretty great mood, but it wasn’t until I was already on the downtown 5 that I realized Swagger was missing. I made this face :\ I was almost home, so I just let it go.

4. I started baking with wheat flour.

5. I was summoned to the basement of a Burlington Coat Factory, where I was met by none other than…Gayle King.

¬†“I have something to tell you,” she said, blowing Cuban cigar smoke into my face.

“Spit it out, already,” I said, waving the smoke away. “This is really rude of you, you know? I have asthma.” She blew more smoke, and I began coughing. She laughed evily.

“Seriously, though,” she said. “What you need to know is…I’m your mother.” I slapped her across her face, and she across mine. “If I’ve learned anything from Joan Crawford,” she said, “it’s that Mommy does the slapping.”

“No wire hangers EVER!” I said. We both began to laugh, and then I hit her over the head with a brick just as my real mother popped out of a closet saying,

“April Fools!” She and I looked at each other and made this face :\, as Gayle lay weak and nearly motionless on the cold Burlington floor. Then I shrugged.

“Good one, Ma!” We high fived and went to get frozen yogurt.

Those are just a few of the bigger occurences of my Facebookless Lent. Honestly, I don’t think giving up The Book served much of a purpose. It’s like saying, I’m not gonna touch my nose for a week. Why would you do something like that? Just to say you did. And I did it. But now I’m back with a vengeance. I love it still, and I like to think it loves me back.¬†But I know that I don’t need it, and that means something.¬†Like some Michael Chabon character once said, “Distance makes the heart grow fronds.”

Bird is the Word

This is kind of racist but...I can't tell one African grey parrot from another. This might be Jasper.

As most of you know, I am not a fan of animals. I love dogs, and I like tigers and bears (in pictures), and of course there is the indepsensible honey badgr, but I could really have nothing to do with most animals for the rest of my life and be totally happy. One of my least favorite types of animals is the bird.

¬†This past Sunday, Heather and I were eating frozen yogurt outside of St. Mark’s church, enjoying a lovely Sunday and analyzing N*SYNC lyrics, when something went awry. Hundreds, nay, thousands of filthy, rotten pigeons swarmed towards us in a fury. I screamed, and ducked, as I have seen Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, and I know what those beasts are capable of.¬† Alas, they avoided my person, and the situation was over before I knew what was happening.

The close call on Sunday reminded me of a bird with¬†whom I once had a rather tumultuous relationship. That bird was named Jasper. Jasper was my grandfather’s African grey parrot whom he had had since long before I was born. The bird could talk, meaning he could say “Hello” and people’s names, in the obnoxious way that parrots do. He’d always be like, “Lauren! Lauren!” and I’d be like “shut up!” and he’d peck at me, and I’d think in my mind of giving him the middle finger, but I didn’t, because¬†I was a mere babe. When¬†i was about 10 my grandfather died, but luckily for us all, he was survived by that freaking bird. In my grandparents’ final years they lived with my aunt, and so did the bird.

One hot summer day, my aunt decided to clean her kitchen floors. She moved Jasper’s cage outside, as he was stationed in a corner of the kitchen. I was at her house with my mother, and she was on her way out to run errands.

“You’re not going to leave Jasper out here, are you?” I asked her. “It’s really hot.”

“He’s an AFRICAN GREY parrot,” she said. “He’ll be fine.”

I shrugged my shoulders as I was only a kid. What did I know? Stupid girl. African things love the heat. Never mind the fact that he’s used to being in a 68 degree house all day.

So, my mother and I went to the store, and came back to my aunt’s house. The cage was still outside. I walked up to it, and immediately knew that something was wrong. There was bird poop everywhere, and Jasper’s eyes were wide like he was on crystal meth (and you did not want to see him on meth).

“Mom,” I said, walking backwards in fear, “I think Jasper’s dead.”

“No he’s not,” she said approaching.

“I’m pretty sure he is,” I said, tapping the cage. He fell like to the bottom of the cafe, his body stiff with rigor mortis.

“Oh my god,” said my mom. I began to scream hysterically.

“I told her! I told her not to leave him out here!”

I don’t know why I was suddenly so emotional. I did hate the bird. But I think it was my frustration over not being listened to, in addition to some small connection to the heinous creature. My aunt drove into the driveway moments later. I ran up to her as soon as she exited the car.

“I told you! I told you!”

“What?” She ran over to the cage to see Jasper’s brick-like dead body. His eyes were still wide, looking at us as if to say, You dumb bitches.

My aunt, of course, began to cry and blame herself (as she should have, for killing the family’s legendary pet).

So despite one momentary lapse, I generally hate birds. In real life. There is one bird that I kind of like. He’s locked inside my computer. Enjoy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utkb1nOJnD4

*Video referred by HDay

Sitting Pret-y

Yesterday, I was kind of freaking out. I didn’t know what was going on. I’ve been sick for about a week, so maybe the illness hadreached my brain, but maybe this was all really happening.

You see, I was at a Pret a Manger. I frequent this particular location, where I like to have a cup of joe, or in yesterday’s case, a tea (sore throat, you know?).¬† Well, I went to get my drink, and the check out girl smiles.

“Hi, how are you?” she says.

“Good how are you?”

“I’m good! What can I get you?”

“Can I just have an Earl Grey tea?”

“Sure.” She makes the tea, and hands it to me. “It’s on the house,” she says.

Oh, hey girl, I think. We smile at each other, in an almost-but-not-quite weird way.

“You want a bread roll?” she says, reaching for a pile of freshly baked rolls. Does Zac Efron get dreamier with each passing day? Hell yes.

“Sure,” I say, bouncing my shoulders in delight. I immediately make a mental note that this is the best day ever (better than¬†the day¬†Obama was elected president, or when any war ended, or 8 days ago–when I didn’t have whooping cough).

I walk upstairs to find that their are plenty of seats (including booths!), AND the AC is working (last week, I thought they were turning the upstairs portion of the cafe into a shvitz). Fist pump. I sit in a booth (jealous?), but much to my dismay, I cannot connect to their wireless network. I type in “muffin” several times, but am still unable to connect (I remember the first time I used their wireless network, I actually was eating a muffin. How perfect?, I thought. How perfect?)I went back, carrying all of my valuables with me.

“Can you tell me what the internet code is? Mine isn’t working.”

“It’s muffin,” says one of the cashiers (not the one whom I am currently in love with).

“I tried muffin…it didn’t work.” Confusion. All around.

“Well,” said one of the cashiers, “why don’t you try it again, and let me know if it doesn’t work.”

“Ok,” I smiled. They all looked at each other perplexed. As I turned around to walk back to my seat, I was greeted by a wink from one of the workers sweeping the floor. That’s right, a full on wink. I blushed, not knowing what I did to deserve such love from an entire prepared food restauarant staff.

Upon returning to my seat, I tried muffin, again to no avail. I went back down, not to cause a scene, but only to let them know that their internet wasn’t working.

“It’s still not working,” the cashier I had previously spoken to said upon seeing me. I shook my head.

“It’s really no big deal,” I said, “I just don’t know if anyone else needs internet.”
“It should be working,” said a short girl next to the guy whom I was speaking to. They waved over the manager, a young Hispanic man. “The internet’s not working,” said the girl.

“We changed the password,” he said. “It’s abocado.”

“What?” we all said.
“Abocado.”

“What?”

“Abocado.”

“Oh!” I said, cracking the code. “Avocado! Thank you.”

“What’s the code?” said the guy behind the counter, not hearing my exclamation.

“Abocado.”

“What?”

I had my code so I went upstairs. The rest of the visit was fine, if unspectacular. I said my goodbyes and went about my day. When I return to that Pret a Manger, though, I expect to be greeted with a red carpet and fanfare. And I’ll be disappointed if at least one member of the staff doesn’t ask me out on a date.