Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Miniature Horse, Of Course

Today I spent the entire day reading an entire book. Nothing too intellectual, just a frothy novel about a champagne vineyard in France and three sisters who couldn't get along until a Gypsy showed up and straightened them out. The most intriguing character was their pet, a dwarf miniature horse named Cochon (French for pig). Having never heard of dwarf miniature horses (tinier, even, than a regular miniature horse), I immediately Googled them and learned they are sometimes put into service in the manner of seeing eye dogs. Fascinating. I always think about how fun it might (or might not) be to get a puppy, but I think I could definitely be the talk of the neighborhood with a dwarf miniature horse following me around on his little hooves.

Anyway, I needed to take it easy today because for the past week I've been kickin' it in Kentucky, gettin' buzzed on bourbon balls, shootin' the s$%! with a variety of family members and researchin' a new breed of cool kids who appear to be taking over the town: Hillbilly Hipsters (my own term, don't you love it?). I tell you what, they're a slightly standoffish crowd, and I pretty much feel like an uptight supernerd around them. I never did come up with quite the right outfit to properly infiltrate (my hair is waaaayyy too shiny for that scene), but I did manage to take some pretty revealing notes, which you won't find here since I'd rather work them into a story for a paying media outlet.

While in Louisville I had one breakfast at my favorite restaurant, Waffle House. Atmosphere-wise, that place has really taken it up a notch since the smoking ban kicked in. One new thing I discovered at Waffle House is that I don't need to order the double waffle, ever. It's just too much dough. I also noticed a line of fine print on the menu that I'd never seen before: "Thank you! You had a choice and you chose Waffle House. Please send comments to..." followed by an address. I always try to comment whenever possible, so I started thinking about what I might say. Basically, I'd be full of compliments. Good waffles. Crispy hash browns. Exceptionally friendly service. I like watching the line cooks work the grill. My only advice would be that Top 40 music should not be allowed on Waffle House juke boxes. Only oldies and country.

Meanwhile, I defy you all to lead me to a more outstanding fast food establishment than the Chick-fil-A at exit 172 off I-65 in Lafayette, Indiana. I mean, give me a break. It's fabulosity defined. Sparkling clean, with delectable waffle fries and employees who seem genuinely delighted to be serving up chicken sandwiches. It's also a great place to stock up on my favorite low-fat mayonnaise packets, which I carry in my purse at all times. They're not open on Sundays because the Chick-fil-A corporation believes in a day of rest, so I sometimes have to reschedule my drive to a Monday morning so I don't miss out.

P.S. The highlight of Christmas Day was when my sister Claire brought one of those spiky head massagers to dinner at my grandparents' house. In a rare episode of bonding among all factions of the family, we passed it up and down the 20-seat table, each person massaging the next one's head. Even Sammy, our golden retriever, got his head raked. It was a very warm moment.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

30 Going On 13

Last weekend, I was watching the enchanting Jennifer Garner flick 13 Going On 30 (it was part of a movie marathon that included two other favorites guaranteed to drive any man away, In Her Shoes and Something's Gotta Give), and thinking I really ought to star in the sequel, 30 Going On 13.

When I was 13, I was a very powerful eighth-grader at Crosby Middle School. I was the number-one flute player in the school (duh), and my band teacher and I even had a special whistle. (Mr. Dennis Anderson was possibly the best teacher of my entire public school career and beyond, and I sincerely wish I'd called him up and told him that before it was too late.) My on-again, off-again love interest was a bad boy named Brandon with a floppy blond bowl-cut, and I never found his antics anything but 100% amusing. Most of our romance played out in the back of Jefferson County Schools bus #411, but he was an excellent folder of notes and he did jump off my parents' balcony to impress me once.

Anywho, if I could lend my 30-year-old brain to my 13-year-old self for a week or so, there are a few things I could easily accomplish:

1. Since my most cherished activity of all time is staring out the window, I would stage a walkout at Crosby Middle School, a stinking brown blob of a building designed in the '70s when the presence of windows was considered a menacing distraction for students. Little did those idiot architects know how many perfectly coherent sentences I would dream up while staring out of windows later in life.

2. I would provide myself with many deadly comebacks and various other knee-as-weapon moves to use on the vast array of young men who found it endlessly entertaining to suggest I was on the fast track to a successful career at Hooter's.

3. I would strongly advise myself against being dragged to Christian rock concerts and stadium revivals by various friends' mothers, who clearly thought I needed Saving. I mean, how close did I come to being brainwashed?! Well, not very.

4. I would throw away any jars of Noxema facial cleansing mousse that may have been lying around our house at the time. Noxema is the most drying chemical agent on earth.

P.S. I am SO MEAN to telemarketers who mispronounce my name. It really gets me going.

Telemarketer: (Long crackling pause): "Hello, is this Mrs. A-muh-lee Drew-key?"
Me: "No."
Telemarketer: "With whom am I speaking?"
Me: "Amalie Drury."
Telemarketer: "Well, Mrs. Drew-key,"
Me: "I'm sorry, but do you see a "k" anywhere in the spelling of my name?"
Telemarketer: "I see D-R-U-R-..."
Me: "So why do you keep saying it with a K? And what makes you think I'm married?"
Telemarketer: "I'm sorry, Mrs. Dur, I mean Drew..."
Me: "I think you've got the wrong person, and furthermore, I don't have enough cell phone minutes to indulge this conversation. Adios."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Manifesto Kind of Mood

Watching Jerry Maguire always puts me in a bit of a manifesto mood. You should have heard me up on my high horse last night, going on about high-rise living in a conversation with Jeff over a turkey burger at Marge's on Sedgwick. (Stay tuned for more on this topic in Jeff's upcoming book, Cool vs. Comfort: The Eternal Architectural Conundrum.) My passionate speech about the existential issues involved with living like stacked ants in overly imposing glass boxes reminded me of the intensity with which I used to approach my neighbor on Cherokee Road in Louisville to speak to him about his leaf-blower. Basically, I wanted him to:

1. Not blow leaves and sticks upon my freshly washed car, which was parked near his residence.
2. Not blow leaves when people were trying to get married in peace at the church across the street.
3. Not blow leaves when I was trying to study for the GRE.

The Quote of the Month goes to my friend Tim, who noted (upon having inadvertently attended the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival on Michigan Avenue):

"It looks like the suburbs exploded down there. Everyone was wearing Lucky jeans."

P.S. I go to a lot of trouble to text big words like "galavanting" and "cumulonimbus clouds," so please don't write back if your text vocabulary is limited to the letters R and U.

P.P.S. Happy birthday to my mammy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I Am My Own Housewife

Today was my first official day at home, since I abruptly became someone who Works From Home. (Photo: Working from home.)

I awoke and asked myself, What now? Well, I said to me, you might as well make yourself an egg, just like always.

I turned on the TV and searched my DVR recordings for something to watch. I decided on last night’s episode of The Hills, which I couldn't view during its normal airtime due to the draining, gut-wrenching emotion of the Britney Spears documentary, which I’d watched for two hours beforehand.

About seven minutes into The Hills, my brain began to shut down. I snatched the remote and pressed the “last” button switch to TV in real time. What do you think was on? The Hills. The very same episode. The very same moment in the very same episode, the one where Spencer chastises Stephanie about visiting their Nana. Poor Nana. What toolbags she has for grandchildren.

Later, I proceeded to my gym, Equinox, one of the loveliest places to kill an hour or two while boosting one’s sense of self-righteousness. It was noon. I warily assessed the other worker-outers, assigning each of them an excuse to explain why they might have time to do lunges in the middle of the day.

At Whole Foods, I filled a cardboard cup with spicy gumbo. I waited patiently for chicken cutlets at the meat counter.

Back at my apartment, I said to myself, You ought to dust those baseboards. You should mop (without moping, mind you), and later, you’ll throw away that super-sized box of oatmeal that expired in 07. You can replace it with a box of Quaker’s new Weight Control oatmeal.

Meanwhile, who decides to market a product using the term “Weight Control?” There is a similar tagline for a certain section of the menu at the Cheesecake Factory, I’ve noticed. Weight Management. As if anyone wants to announce to a group of dining companions and the waiter: “Yes, I’d like the Weight Management Pear and Endive Salad, please.” Yeah. And a box of tampons, while you’re at it.