Sunday, August 29, 2010

What Didn't Stay in Vegas ...

A picture is worth a thousand words ... but read anyways.

This is the tale of a little trip I took to Vegas on Thursday … or as I like to call it: The Series of Unfortunate Events. But, unlike the popular children’s books, this is a story of lost luggage, 3-mile walks home, and lots and lots of … fun.

We will begin on the morning of the 26th, the much-anticipated date of departure to the city of sin. The plane ride from Sacramento to Phoenix went off without a hitch and soon after landing I began my 3-hour wait until the seemingly innocent flight to Vegas. And let me just say, THANK GOD the Phoenix airport is breathtaking or else those three hours would have been excruciating — oh wait.

After boarding the flight I assumed would take me, in a timely manner, to my destination, I quickly realized that this was indeed not what an airline that won’t be named but starts with “U.S.” and ends with “Airways,” had in mind. I mean, I’m not like a computer genius or anything (don’t be fooled by the immaculate layout of my blog) but isn’t the computer supposed to work on an airplane before the pilots make the executive decision to board everyone on the plane, taxi away from the gate, and then shut the engines off therefore cutting off the air-conditioning supply to a metal tube that has now become home to 200 people sitting so close together that it would make that person who always breaks all personal boundaries in line at the grocery store feel uncomfortable … ?

After explaining the technical difficulties to everyone, the pilot reassured us that the problem should be a quick fix and we would be up and at ‘em in about 30 minutes.

Three hours later, we were on our way. If it weren’t for the couple from Birmingham, Alabama plopped right next to me, things would have gotten violent approximately 2 ½ hours before that. Explanation: Thirty minutes in, the stewardess walked up to me with the type of sass you can smell from 30 feet away and, while holding a tray of water, said, “do you want some or not.”

As I contemplated the best angle my fist should come at when it met her throat, the woman sitting next to me said, with a twang that gave me a whole new appreciation for Southern charm, “What crawled up you and died?” I personally was going to go with, “You better check yourself before you wreck yourself,” but I mean, whatever.

After finally landing in Vegas (I’ll spare you the details but suffice it to say that finding my luggage in baggage claim turned into a quest that would have made Sherlock Holmes proud), I decided it was time to forget what exact circle of hell the day I had just experienced had dwelt in and just let loose — in fact, it was time to forget things all together if you catch what I am drifting towards you.

The night went as follows (at least I think): hotel check in, discover hotel room has view of brick wall, get bracelet for all-you-can-eat 24-hour buffet, go to the buffet, free drinks at the Rockhouse, walk to a different club as alcohol metabolizes, accidentally rip buffet bracelet, ask around for tape, get tape, tape bracelet, make a convincing argument to barter free passage into a club that cost 40 big ones a person, get in, meet a guy who is simultaneously in the porn and snowmobile racing industry, become intrigued, then get creeped out, turn away and talk to friends instead, bounce out, and then … um … we walked home?

The next morning was great to say the least. Like REALLY great. And by great I mean it sucked.

One particular childhood friend of mine was so sick, she spent the whole day in the room with the curtains drawn and had the dubious task of explaining to the maid why there was a copious amount of towels that all mysteriously smelled like the inside of someone’s stomach. And yes, I did just use copious and dubious in the same sentence. It’s always been a particular dream of mine. So shut up about it.

As my poor friend made the wise decision of staying inside, I thought it would be just super if I showed the rest of the group (there was only one other person) the sights and sounds of the strip. In all my infinite wisdom, I made the suggestion that we all go to New York, New York because “it’s like, really cool.”

An hour and five near heat strokes later, I realized that maybe I should, in the future, work towards being a better judge of the distance between two points — especially when said points are in the middle of a desert and when said walk between these points is done in the middle of August … from 1 to 4 p.m.

Upon return to the hotel room/recovery ward, we found my friend in a much better position than when we left her. And by better position I mean she had turned over since I saw her last. After the 45 minutes it took my body to return to normal human being temperatures, we decided to go to In-n-Out and eat until we couldn’t feel feelings anymore (I’ll give you 9 bucks if you can tell me what TV show that’s from…). We were obviously successful.

Later, we came back to the room, watched Robo-Cop and passed the eff out. Not that Robo-Cop wasn’t exciting or anything. It’s just that it wasn’t.

The next morning it was back to the homeland. But little did I know U.S. Airways wasn’t quite done putting me through their series of mental, physical, and emotional tests. Long story short, I checked in 2 minutes after the time I was allowed and they made me take a later flight, which in turn made me miss my original connecting flight to Sacramento, which ended up scheduling a second, three-hour date with the Phoenix International Airport that afternoon. Just when I thought the first time wasn’t enough — touché Arizona.

Moral of this story: Don’t mess with Alabama, I should have paid attention in geometry, and U.S. Airways can suck it hard.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Weddings, World Wars, and Who?

I don't understand this sign, but I respect it ... much like San Francisco ...

Hello all … three of you. I MEAN MILLION OF YOU. I come bearing stories of the week and a half since we last spoke. And there’s a lot of exciting stuff, trust me. You may want to sit down — although, why would you be standing up. Unless you like to stand up and read things in which case whatever. Live and let live.

Anyways, we’ll start in the majestic land often referred to as the Bay Area, a land of ever changing gay rights, pot, and lots of fog. Even though those three descriptors have absolutely nothing to do with why I went there, they seem to sum it up in a way I accept as truth — so shut up about it. Off topic.

Anyhow, my mom, my sister, and I travelled to this geographical region to visit some friends of the family and live it up. Mission accomplished I’d say — our days consisted of getting up whenever we damn well pleased, leaving the house at some point, and coming back to play badminton until the sun crept over the beautiful landscape that is Redwood City, CA. And yes, that is where Scott Peterson was convicted. Remember that whole thing? This story just got a whole lot more interesting right? Wrong. This has nothing to do with that. But please, read on.

On the three-hour drive home I somehow started talking about World War I and didn’t shut my trap until we were pulling into our driveway. Three hours of me talking — about WWI. That has to be a record. Hence, it probably shouldn’t have surprised me that my sister was slumped over and enjoying a nice REM cycle while my mom was nodding her head to show her interest in the effect the Treaty of Guaranty had on British-German relations while it was completely obvious that she had been tuning me out since minute two. But moving on …

The next day, it was off to Walnut Creek to go to my cousin’s wedding and see a side of the family I hadn’t seen in years — my mom’s. She has six brothers and sisters so there are a freaking lot of people. As per usual, we were late and walked in the side door as soon as people began to walk down the isle. Nothing like sitting down too hard on the wooden bench and having your mom whisper but more like yell at you from the other end of the isle to scoot down more to make the entire church despise your respective branch on the family tree.

I’m blaming my mom for that one. At least I tried to be quiet. She really couldn’t have given a crap that intertwined with the “Here Comes the Bride” melody flowing from the organ, was her harmonious voice making up a whole new set of lyrics that went a little something like: “Hey Ash, you have like three more feet down there right? Do you think you could move over a little bit because I have my big purse today and I’m not putting it on the floor because it’s new and I don’t want people to step on it or anything. Oh and did you bring your camera because if you did can you take some pictures of the family while we’re here because I don’t really have any new ones of all 3784658 of us …”

What every little girl dreams of on her wedding day. I know that’s what I dream of — a guest you want to kick in the pants.

The rest of the wedding went off pretty great. I got to sit next to my favorite gay uncle at the reception. Well, he’s my only gay uncle but he’s my favorite — so he’s my favorite uncle who happens to be gay. Let me know if that’s not comin’ together for anybody. I hadn’t seen him since I was 18 so we had a lot to catch up on — life, graduation, boys, and why there was a giant vase in the middle of our table that had both candles floating in it AND fish. We weren’t sure if PETA would be tickled about that one. Indeed, by the end of the night all but one were stone cold dead. Well, I wouldn’t say “stone cold” because I think the reason they passed to the great beyond was because the candles made the water reach near boiling temperatures. But alas, they are in a better place now … and by that I mean they were most likely flushed down the toilet at the end of the night. Better? Maybe …

After the wedding we made the long drive back home and in the days following I continued applying for every job you can imagine unless what you are imagining is selling my body for recreational use. In which case you would be mistaken. Except I might have to look into that pretty soon. Student loans are on the horizon — which means stripping is not far behind it. I kid … kind of.

Yesterday however, my mother and I made the executive decision to get In-n-Out (where I used to work … a lot) after I got fingerprinted for the Peace Corps. Yeah, I signed up for the Peace Corps. It doesn’t pay as much as stripping but I’ll be like helping people and stuff … AND/OR SINGLE HANDEDLY CHANGING THE LIVES OF THOUSANDS OF THE LESS FORTUNATE … but, probably just helping out here and there.

Anyways, as we pulled up to the pay window, I noticed something familiar about the person reading back our order. Five seconds later after he asked me if my cheeseburger was animal style or regular, I realized that it was Matt. A guy I had worked with at the Placerville In-n-Out six years ago when I was still so young AKA retarded. He really put the sugar in my cookie in those days, the miracle in my whip, the wind beneath my wings. And now here he was. Here I was. And here my mom was. Smack dab in between the two of us handing him money. As he handed her back the change I leaned over and said, “Hey, we used to work together up in Placerville remember? It’s Ashley … ?”

As the words left my mouth I studied his face for any hint of recognition and then I realized … he had absolutely no flipping idea who I was. He apologized for subconsciously not deeming me important enough to remember and my mom drove forward and graciously did not laugh in my face. I did though. I mean, it’s funny. And don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I look different than I did when I was sixteen but c’mon! How could you not remember THIS! … that was a joke. I’m trying to get my body image up for when I start prostituting in a week.

Maybe I should just work at In-n-Out again. That way Matt can put the cherry on my sundae and completely block it out 6 years later … the possibilities are endless.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Miracle (Starbucks) on 34th Street (Main St. Placerville)

Pour some sugar water on me ... in the name of staying up
for another 3 hours applying for jobs.

Greetings loved ones. I am sorry to report that this entry will not be as travel-filled as the past couple have been. Indeed, the only real travelling I’ve been doing is from the couch to the refrigerator — and occasionally to the shower. And by occasionally I mean OCCASIONALLY. Just kidding I shower. It’s just that I think that life should be about more than just looks you know? That may or may not be my excuse for not showering.

Anyways, if this accidentally starts to sound like a cover letter, I apologize as I’ve written and applied to about 39825783946598 jobs in the past couple weeks. And no, that was not just me running my fingers across the number keys. That number is an accurate reflection of the amount of times I have released my resume into cyber space with a blind faith that I will eventually hear back from someone — a thought that I am beginning to think I have pulled out of my backside region. Every day on Facebook it’s the same ol’ thing. Everyone posting statuses about how they just landed the best job ever and life is just sooo great. Well shove it.

Ok, that sounded really bitter. But when you’ve just spent 200,000 big ones on an education that has so far only made you more dependent on others than when you were 3, you tend to become a little bitter. Bitter like a lemon. Or those cumquat things that, I’m going to be completely honest with you, I thought were baby oranges for a good portion of my late teens/early twenties. So like up until a month ago. Maybe that’s why I’m unemployed. Well geez if I knew that was going to be a test maybe I would have asked sooner why those stupid orange bushes outside my friend’s house never grew oranges that were bigger than an inch. I just figured they had vertically challenged trees. How was I supposed to know? Crap.

So this has been my life — waking up, showering (….), going to Starbucks, applying for jobs, and repeat. Throw in a couple episodes of The Office and really stupid scary movies about three or four times a week and you have a day in the life of Ashley. Come on in, the waters’ fine. Only if you want to though. Because the water is warm, but boring. Didn’t know water could be boring did you? It takes talent.

Speaking of me, I went to Starbucks today. Shocking. But this was no ordinary Starbucks. No. This was THE FIRST STARBUCKS I EVER WENT TO EVER IN MY LIFE. Of course I was about 14 then. I remember it as if it t’was yesterday. My dad opened the smudged-glass door unto the bustling café of wonders and legal-stimulant addiction. As a reminder, this was in Placerville, so by bustling I mean there were five people in there.

Anyways, as my innocently eager eyes scrolled down the menu (a menu that by the time I went to Pepperdine I would be able to recite backwards while intoxicated and solving a Rubik’s cube) I found my poison — a mocha malt. Now, because I was young and uncultured, I had not the foggiest idea that a “venti” meant the biggest freaking cup in the whole world. I mean, shoot me but I thought “tall” was supposed to be the large one — forgive me, I knew not what I was doing.

So there I stood waiting at the counter with my father, so proud of my choice yet so blindly unaware of the error in judgment I had made. As the barista called out my dad’s grande black coffee and my larger-than-my-head blended drink, my heart was filled with both joy and confusion as to why anyone could ever possibly want a coffee that big. Of course now I just have no idea why anyone would order a tall. I mean c’mon, it’s not even worth it.

So I grabbed my 10,500-calorie drink jubilantly and skipped out the door and into the car — sipping all the way. Five minutes later on the hairpin-turn drive home, I felt like my stomach wanted to be anywhere but in my body. I didn’t go back to Starbucks for like a year. Actually, the day I went back was the day I got my drivers license. I was again, with my dad — and it was the same Starbucks. And so began my addiction.

And now here I am — then just a naïve 14-year-old girl, now a mature, sophisticated, and unemployed 22 year-old woman. Just livin’ the dream — one day/venti iced coffee with room for cream at a time.

Damn you Dad, damn you.