but seriously, there is no passive-aggressive anger in this meatball sandwich i just made you

Well, I just snapped at a perfectly decent human being. And I think it was a pregnant one, carrying a gift for someone else. Yeah, I’m an asshole. See, I was dropping off a gift at a baby shower because I wasn’t able to attend and this nice-looking young woman who was dressed lovely and smelled like flowers asked me to park somewhere else, and I fixed her with the dead-eye and said, “I’m not staying”, practically hissing like some cretinous Gorgon sister. It wasn’t her or what she said; she caught me at a bad time. Then she proceeded to back down on the parking thing, she introduced herself, and then said, “It’s nice to meet you.” I felt about two inches tall and hideous.

Yes, today is one of those days you don’t want to cross me. Or don’t even want to try to say anything to me unless it’s something like, “Hey, can I help you carry that?” or “You look nice today.” That’s right, I’m being a bitch. Now I know I joke about being a bitch all the time but I never mean it, because anyone who knows me knows I’m not really. I guess I should stop saying it because it cheapens days like today where I’ve just about had enough and I extend my regrets to anyone who’s going to run across me and I really, really want people to give me a break and not annoy me. But they keep doing it.

Part of my problem may be a slightly heightened sense of schedule and responsibility. My brother is visiting. This is a good thing, except that it’s hard for me to have company. I mentally “hover” over the person(s), especially if they’re not someone I can trust to help me care for my kids. And it’s really a mental holdover of my own, not a reflection of the capabilities or willingness of my guest(s), who are always happy to help I’m sure. Whatever it is, it sucks.

Once in my life I have actually taken a “time out” from my visitor: I basically said, “You need to entertain yourself for a while. I’m going to sew.” In that case my friend was probably relieved to have a break. But it’s hard for me to do. As I type this now my brother and son are upstairs playing on the computer and I feel guilty. Not guilty for neglecting my son, which I do regularly, but guilty for not providing 100% appropriate entertainment for my guest. This is dumb because this guest, like most, does not need this from me.

An IM from my husband: he is going to be home late. He doesn’t know when. Yay! More good news.

let’s get physical!

Vignettes from this morning’s chapter in my quest for a kick-ass bod. Yeah, I’ve been working out. Did you notice? Check out the ass. Actually, I need more of an ass. This flat, yet broad, expanse of corduroy could use a little ghetto.

So anyway, a local gym is offering free membership for those willing to supervise their daycare mornings. My loverly friend Steph is taking advantage of this great deal and asks me along to her workout this morning. Excellent! I know the gym has a trial membership, but I’m not sure this trial will also include the daycare option… So… I’m a considerate woman (read: schmuck); this morning an hour before Steph picks me up, I call.

I get some pipsqueak on the other end, making powershakes or whatever. I can tell she doesn’t “get” the daycare arrangement. She’s acting vapid. I continue to press my point, thinking, For heaven’s sake, I shouldn’t have called! Finally, she breaks her slack-jawed silence: “Are you looking to get free daycare?” she accuses. Vomity little tart. I almost hang up. In a cold fury, I ask if there’s someone else I can talk to. She puts a manager on and in two minutes I am off the phone, issue resolved (“Sure! Come on in!” the seemingly more sensible manager chirps).

[Sigh!] OK. Time to get The Girl out of bed (sleeping in, the little sodder), off to preschool, gym bag packed, hurry hurry. 8:45 AM, Obstacle #42 of the morning: I have no athletic shoes (the closest thing being my least butch pair of docs). Aha! The neighbor girl’s Vans she left with me – at a 9 1/2, a full two sizes too large. Fuck it. Nothing, not rabid children or bitchy gym-counter girls or the fact I am wearing pajama bottoms, my hospital socks, and clown shoes – will keep me from pumping iron!

We get there. Throw the kids in the childcare room. Flaunt our “personal sweat towels” (Steph’s old burp cloths) and my iPod. I do a little time on the elliptical machine. My ass screams in protest. I flail off to do some stretches so I won’t be crippled tomorrow. I flop on the mat next to an older black man who is rolling an exercise ball into position. He is at least sixty pounds overweight yet I noted he spent over twently minutes on a stair machine kicking ass. Wearily he settles himself on the ball and picks up a large staff-like object across his shoulders. “Is that your Jedi saber?” I ask him. He sasses back, “More like Friar Tuck!” Giggle, giggle.

It’s a good workout and we end up in the steam room (me and Steph, not me and the older dude). My towel is tiny and I am reminded of the locker room scene in Starsky and Hutch. A short shower and a kid pick up, then we’re on the road for blessed, blessed coffee.

I feel great. I don’t even hate my life for the rest of the day.

that homecoming crown, still so elusive

What is that feeling I’m having again? It’s so familiar. Not a good thing, either. Why am I acting so awkwardly? Why am I not talking? What’s wrong?

Oh yeah. I’m the odd one out.

It happens every once in a while. Very rarely, really. In this case, it’s me and a small group of ladies I would call acquaintances (as opposed to friends). They’re friendly. They’re nice. In their presence, I feel like a dork. I’m not telling the right stories. I’m not keeping my crayon between the lines of the coloring book we’re using. Maybe I have an intensity about issues I shouldn’t. Maybe it’s how I wave my middle finger in the air to punctuate a story (never at somebody, more like to make a point). Maybe I should have smaller boobs and stop wearing tribal earrings (I swear, the only remotely “edgy” thing I have going!).

It’s times like this I am grateful I (generally) like myself, and that I know people who like me for the person I am. Most of these people are women who are – to use my friend Steph’s descriptive of yours truly – “brassy”, irreverent, and outspoken, like me.

But sometimes – like now – I feel an elusive cliquishness that distresses me. I don’t know how to break the code and play by the rules. I want to. I don’t have a problem playing by different rules. So I stop saying anything snarky, or the word “crotch”, or talking about my husband’s ass. Still, I can tell I’m not fitting in. It isn’t working! Last resort? Be quiet. Be a wallflower. Go home to those who like you. Call best friend up and share an amusing sexual harassment story.

These days I know enough about people to know that exclusivity is often not deliberate – it’s a miscommunication between species. In this case, the vanilla-wafer jock / cheerleader girl with the overly-friendly, foul-mouthed trollop who takes smoke breaks behind the gym (guess which one I am?). It doesn’t even hurt, exactly.

And then I wonder – do I do the same to other girls? Who are they, and what’s their story? And why are they silent?

If that’s me, I’m truly sorry, sisters.