Potato Chips Really Take the Anxiety Out of Dating

Or: Today’s Title is Remarkably Deceptive

This is The Midnight Lion.

Meeee-yow

But since we’re all friends here, we’ll simply be calling him “Midnight Lion” from this point forward. Notice his glorious mane.

He has known me for over half my life. He is perhaps my most very best friend,* and has been since we met.
*See how I used vocabulary to keep my favoritism mysterious? This is a life skill.

Don't hug lions. They are dangerous

With our powers combined, we cannot summon Captain Planet, any Power Rangers, or the Wonder Twins’ stupefying powers. But we CAN summon quite a lot of scathing sarcasm.

As my dearest, oldest friend, he is tasked with one quintessential quest: Help make sure I am a functional, mostly-only-pleasantly-crazy human being.

In fairness, he is also crazy

This is an accurate representation of many of our conversations.

He is pretty good at it.**
**I’m mostly functional. Ish.

He has also been one of my most valued advisors. He has a lot of great advice*** to share.
***Highly morally questionable and probably dangerous.

Today I am sharing with you some very sage dating advice from The Midnight Lion. You’re welcome.

Me:
I’m supposed to be getting ready for a date, but I’m scared of boys and I need a nap.

Midnight Lion:
But think of all the free food that can happen to your face. You like food. There might be ice cream.

Me
But what if he thinks I’m ugly or dumb or he’s mean or something. Napping is never mean.

Midnight Lion:
Is he capable of providing you with free food?

Me:
Probably?

Midnight Lion:
Well, there you go. Nothing about tonight can be bad, because free food. 

Me:
I dunno. Well, yes. Maybe. My brain has to work out if I can accept free food without longterm commitment. Food is pretty serious.

Midnight Lion:
Let me help. Free food and dates feel good. And are delicious. Like potato chips. 

Me:
…Gawd. I do love potato chips

Midnight Lion:
So, like, you eat the potato chips, because you want them. Then if you don’t want them anymore, you don’t have to eat them.

You can go get cheese doodles instead.

Me:
Wait. Who is giving me potato chips? 

Midnight Lion:
Your date is the potato chips. 

Me:
I thought the free food was the potato-chippy-prize for going on the date. 

Midnight Lion:
No. Your date is the potato chips. You’re committing to the potato chips for a snack. The snack in this metaphor is the date-activity.

But sometimes you just don’t want potato chips anymore. Like, you might be halfway through the bag and you’re like “Ugh. No more. This is a terrible snack.” So then you put them down or even throw them out, and never think about them again.

Me:
I think about potato chips a lot. 

Midnight Lion:
We aren’t talking about real chips. This is a metaphor. 

Me:
Oh. Right. But, what if my potato chip snack doesn’t go so well, but I still really, really want potato chips? 

Midnight Lion:
Go get more potato chips. You can even get a different bag. The bag might have changed, but they are still delicious. 

Me:
And, what if by eating the potato chips too early, instead of waiting to eat them with dinner, then I’m like, out of potato chips? 

Midnight Lion:
Who cares? They are just potato chips. 

Me:
Is this still a metaphor, or do I really get potato chips? 

Midnight Lion:
This obviously continues to be a metaphor. 

Me:
Oh, well in that case…It’s hard for me not to take every snack seriously, because I want to find the potato chips I want to eat for the rest of my life.

Midnight Lion:
Ew. Cannibal. 

Me:
So, I’m confused. When do I get chips?

Midnight Lion:
GO GET DRESSED FOR FREE FOOD.

In case you were wondering, I was not even slightly late for my date.

Also, this has happened more than once:

THERE COULD HAVE BEEN SPIDERS

Real friendship is all about knowing how to get your friend to get out of bed in the morning.

And now you have met my closest friend. It’s like we’re closer friends now, too.

An Illustrated Guide to the Experience of Automobile Repair

Or: My Car Has Been in the Shop for a Week and I Am Not Coping Well

A week ago, my car stopped working*, rather abruptly and without much warning.*** It happily turned on, and happily changed gears, and happily refused to go any faster than two miles an hour.
* Was attacked by invisible space pirates and stolen from me by a tow truck.**
** This is what I tell people when they ask me what happened to my car. People should probably stop asking me what happened to my car.
*** Except for that terrible sound that it kept making that I was ignoring.

My car is very happy about being a non-working jerk.

My car is very happy about being a non-working jerk.

So I called the automobile club, which is the club they let you pay to be in when you happen to have purchased a car. The automobile club, which calls itself AAA****, reluctantly agreed to tow my car exactly four miles before they would charge me a very silly amount of money per mile. I let them tow my car precisely three-point-seven-five miles and then called my car insurance people and had it towed (for free) seven more miles to the repair shop.
**** If adult entertainment is abbreviated as “XXX”, does “AAA” mean that I’m engaging in some form of wholesome adult automobile-related activities? This is today’s awkward thought.

This is not their real logo. In fact, for legal reasons, I'm probably talking about an imaginary company.

This is not their real logo. In fact, for legal reasons, I’m probably talking about an imaginary company.

The first day was pretty rough.

There was much worrying and wringing of hands.

There was much worrying and wringing of hands.

But then things started looking up.

And by "up," I mean the dealership paid for a rental car for me because they were all out of loaners.

And by “up,” I mean the dealership paid for a rental car for me because they were all out of loaners.

Then overwhelming feelings of guilt…overwhelmed me.*****
***** They overwhelmed my vocabulary.

The keys felt like betrayal in my hand...

The keys felt like betrayal in my hand…

But then the joys of an unfamiliar fancy car won me over.

Clearly my car love is a fickle, fickle thing. Mostly because I only have an AUX plug in in my car.

Clearly my car love is a fickle, fickle thing. Mostly because I only have an AUX plug in in my car.

But even fancy technology and a super-charged air conditioner****** couldn’t fill the dark void in my heart left by the absence of my beloved car.
****** It’s the South. It’s already hot. Also I really love air conditioning. Captain Planet is not proud of me.

My face is not leaking, But my eyes are. Traitors.

My face is not leaking, But my eyes are. Traitors.

Sorrow leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to writing angry letters to your car repair shop, and never delivering them.

It's like the opposite of a ransom note. It's an "I hate you and I'll give you anything you want" note.

It’s like the opposite of a ransom note. It’s an “I hate you and I’ll give you anything you want” note.

And finally, imaginary-letter-writing leads to a call from the car repair shop telling you that your car is probably ready to be picked up.*******
******* Yes. Obviously the first thing leads to the second thing. Don’t your imaginarily-written-letters make things happen?

This is the car repair guy I have been dealing with. Let's call him Jim.  Jim is really not sure how to deal with me.

This is the car repair guy I have been dealing with. Let’s call him Jim.
Jim is really not sure how to deal with me.

My heart filled with joy. It grew to three times its regular size********
******** Like the Grinch, but lots less green and fuzzy, and probably more medically concerning.

But then I got to the repair shop, and they tried to keep my car again.

THAT'S NOT A REAL THING, JIM.

THAT’S NOT A REAL THING, JIM.

Really, this is the story of why I’m never taking my car to a mechanic ever again.

It Does Not Matter How Fancy I Dress in the Morning

I will not make it to work in the same condition.

For the first time in my life, my place of employment is now in a proper downtown area.* This is a new development – today was my very first day working downtown.
*We’ve spoken before about how I totally live in a real city, with big tall buildings and things. We call our downtown “uptown,” because in the South, we like to confuse outsiders.

Which means I spent extra time this morning dressing up all slick and business-y. You know, so I could fit in with all the other highly professional and snappily dressed adults.

See? There’re business heels and a business coat, and even business hair. I’ve got this “professional” thing down.

See? There’re business heels and a business coat, and even business hair. I’ve got this “professional” thing down.

But little did I know that the universe was conspiring against me. I’d made resolutions to eat healthy foods and avoid the costly temptations of a downtown diet. I’d packed salad in my bag for lunch, and yogurt for breakfast. Clearly, I was prepared for the onslaught of very-cool-things that metropolitan areas can offer.

Nope. No one is prepared to resist cookie smells.

Nope. No one is prepared to resist cookie smells.

It stopped me in my tracks. The sweet smells of baked treats and coffee slithered through the air like that hypnotic python in The Jungle Book.** They were calling to me.
**A source of many of my childhood nightmares,*** and therefore a perfect comparison.
***HE CAN HYPNOTIZE YOU WITH HIS SPINNING EYES!

I tried to resist them.

This is my “resisting” pose.

This is my “resisting” pose.

It was not effective.

This is my “totally not resisting” pose.

This is my “totally not resisting” pose.

Mostly because the sweet, sweet smells were leading me to my office building, y’all.

Smooshing your face up against the window glass of a fancy bakery is a very professional thing to do.

Smooshing your face up against the window glass of a fancy bakery is a very professional thing to do.

And so I went to my first meeting with a bag full of cookies and an extra-giant soy cappuccino.

Best. Meeting. Ever.

Best. Meeting. Ever.

Looking substantially less business-important than I did 20 minutes before that.

I’m taking this as a sign that the universe probably wants me to go completely broke, and live entirely on sugar.

This is a double-marshmallow rice krispy treat covered in CARAMEL CORN, guys,  _Caramel corn._

This is a double-marshmallow rice krispy treat covered in CARAMEL CORN, guys,
_Caramel corn._

I hear you, Universe.

I Will Not Get Off the Couch and Go to the Grocery Store for Salad

….But I will go for cupcakes and cranberry juice.

It’s been a really ridiculous few weeks. You may have even noticed my absence.* I swear, I did not abandon you on purpose. I have a good*** reason, I swear. You can read about it at the end of this post if you want.
*Awww, you did? That’s so sweet! I missed you** too.
**Just you. Don’t tell everyone else, but you’re my favorite.
***Lame.

This is what my “Everything is ridiculous” couch pose looks like. It’s my own form of yoga, and I am head guru of it. I am, in fact, accepting students at this time.

This is what my “Everything is ridiculous” couch pose looks like. It’s my own form of yoga, and I am head guru of it. I am, in fact, accepting students at this time.

What I’m saying here, people, is that I haven’t gone grocery shopping in weeks.

Seriously. I own three types of candy, one mostly empty bag of chips, and a lot of spices.

Seriously. I own three types of candy, one mostly empty bag of chips, and a lot of spices.

There is no food in my house.

Except the three types of candy, mostly empty bag of chips, and all the spices.

Except the three types of candy, mostly empty bag of chips, and all the spices.

Not owning any food means I have been primarily living on fast food, candy, pizza, and granola bars. It’s a slow-motion descent into the wild and crazy world of malnutrition. And so, from my artful pose on the couch last night, it occurred to me that I should eat a vegetable. Any vegetable would probably do.

Salads are made of all the vegetables, and are thusly the high king of all vegetables. Malnutrition can be solved by salads. Because that’s how Science works.

Salads are made of all the vegetables, and are thusly the high king of all vegetables. Malnutrition can be solved by salads. Because that’s how Science works.

But then I remembered the couch was comfortable.

And that groceries ARE hard. There are so many things to look at and buy. And so many types of candy to try NOT to buy.

And that groceries ARE hard. There are so many things to look at and buy. And so many types of candy to try NOT to buy.

Thirty minutes later, inspiration struck. It struck like a freight train. Or like an affectionate four-year-old-niece filled with sugar.*****
*****Not that I would ever give my niece sugar or anything. Definitely not. I am responsible. And probably an adult who can be trusted with small people. Probably.

THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT I NEED AND I MUST HAVE THEM NOW.

THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT I NEED AND I MUST HAVE THEM NOW.

Suddenly, a trip to the store didn’t seem so hard. It became a fleeting quest to procure cupcakes and juice – the most noble and desirable of prizes.

Look! I can find my keys! LIFE SKILLS!

Look! I can find my keys! LIFE SKILLS!

Filled with my mission, I wasn’t distracted by things like candy or toys or lofty thoughts of buying all-the-ingredients-to-make-actual-meals. I was focused. My trip to the store took 7 minutes and 34 seconds, and then…then my good friends, there were cupcakes.

AND THEY WERE DELICIOUS.

AND THEY WERE DELICIOUS.

And juice.

And everything was good again.

 

THE REASON:

Sometimes I talk about The Company – the sweet, sweet conglomeration of corporation-ness that pays me dollars and gives me a reason to use some of my more boring skills. Apparently they have noticed my undying love and blissful devotion******
******Tendency to show up every day and do what I’m told.

So they promoted me.

This has resulted in a reshuffle of my responsibilities and priorities, and a general mucking up of my time management “skills.”

But mostly it has resulted in me ending every extra-long workday by falling on my couch and refusing to get up. Because success is, apparently, super complicated and exhausting.

I Am Very Good at Annoying Mechanics

Or: I Had to Get Work Done on My Car Today and This Blog Post Is Very Short Due to My Lack of Lunch Break

I’m going on a road trip soon. I’m not going to tell you when. But road trips mean getting my car checked out, my oil changed, my tires rotated, and my alignment adjusted.

I love my car. It looks like a bubble. It is an ugly doodle, though.

I love my car. It looks like a bubble. It is an ugly doodle, though.

This is not just because I am a responsible adult. It’s also because I love my car with a fiery passion. It’s a tiny Nissan Versa. It looks like a bubble. I bought it new, and for the first many months of its life, I did all the maintenance on it.*
*Under the express supervision of my father, who cannot quite figure out how I can get completely covered in oil when doing things like checking my coolant.

What, do you not have a special head accessory for car care?  You are so weird.

What, do you not have a special head accessory for car care?
You are so weird.

But when I got my fancy job and moved into my beloved apartment, I could no longer work on my car. That kind of wildly independent-woman behavior is frowned upon, apparently.**
**Probably by super sexist insurance companies who are concerned abotu things like “safety” and “liability.”

So I take my car to a mechanic.

My mechanic also has  fancy car-care headwear. Because neither of us are weird.

My mechanic also has fancy car-care headwear.
Because neither of us are weird.

This makes me jealous. But it also transforms me into a small, irritating child.

Don't try this at home, kids.

Don’t try this at home, kids.

And that is why my mechanic finishes my car super quickly every time I go in. But it’s also why he rolls his eyes every time I come in.

Kids on road trips have nothin’ on me.