Wednesday, August 31, 2005

We Must Rebuild

I haven't paid too much attention to the Hurricane (I actually thought in was in L.A., CA instead of Lousiana for a few days). I've read a few articles about it and have the same thoughts that I always have about flooding and construction. With all due respect for the victims involved.

Stop. Fucking. Building. On. FloodPlains.

I hate hearing the 'survivors' of these natural 'disasters' proclaim that they will rebuild. Especially when they spout off about having rebuilt after 1982, 1988, 1995 and 2001 (dates made up). Fucking idiots. If you have to rebuild your city every few years -- then instead of blazing ahead with construction, why not consider moving?

Why should FEMA dollars continue to be used to bail out people who stupidly choose to live in places where flooding (or mudslides, hurricanes, wildfires) are inevitable? How is it a 'disaster' when it is completely foreseeable? Especially in light of Global Warming which predicts that these events are going to become more frequent and more powerful? A city shouldn't experience a 'hundred year flood' every fifteen years. Quit rebuilding.

New Orleans has a rich history, but seriously -- it is a city on the coast, below sea level and super-vulnerable to hurricanes. It prevents being submerged by a complicated system of levees and pumps. Last year it barely missed getting wiped out, too. Can't we just proclaim, 'Enough.' Quit insuring these cities & individuals with federal dollars. My guess is that most people wouldn't rebuild if they had to pony up for it themselves or knew that next time they wouldn't get help rebuilding.

Another annoying thing is all of the deaths and rescues that occur even though the areas had 'mandatory evacuations'. Why do so many people stay behind?

Finally, I read an article that mentioned that all of the highway lanes should be opened to outbound traffic because the roads were at a stand-still with congestion. This isn't a bad idea. However, it didn't suggest alternative ways of leaving the city (i.e. bicycles). Nor did it suggest busses being used to transport people to safety. Nor did it encourage the idea of carpooling -- something like 'in emergency, your car needs to be full of people (not stuff) to enter the highway; pedestrians and car-free people are directed to walk up the highway ramps to get picked up by those with room.' This might be sensible.

My guess is that families with two cars often took both cars, loaded with 'stuff' as they tried to reach higher ground. There might be less congestion if the cars had more people inside them. Of course these ideas mean valuing peoples' lives more heavily than the 'stuff' that they own.

I know that it sounds silly, but I have no doubt that on my bike -- especially on a highway without intersections -- that I would be able to get away from Chicago much, much quicker than in a private automobile. Even during daily 'rush hours' (inching traffic on the highways) I can move faster by bike than cars. This would increase many times if the highways were completely clogged with cars. Imagine how many more people could be moved by pedal power, busses or complete car-pooling.

My Mom Sucks

I hate to be some sort of cliche: unmarried, childless, late-twenties woman who has problems with her mother. But it is true.

She is a nutjob.

Of all of the people I know, she is the only person who cannot share my happiness and dwells exclusively on the negatives of my life. She has been this way all of my life, so her behavior has long since been a surprise. While I don’t really care what she thinks and put little value in her opinions, it doesn’t mean that I enjoy our interactions. Her historical way of addressing problems that I am dealing with is by pointing them out regularly, especially in front of others and laughing. When she is told that her comments are unwelcome and rude she feigns innocence and claims that ‘she is just telling the truth.’

I have another litany of complaints about her here.

Last night we spoke on the phone – she wanted to know about my friend’s wedding, and wanted to tell me about her friend’s daughter’s wedding. She asked if I was still thinking about changing jobs and from her tone it was obvious that she was gloating over the idea that I wasn’t happy with my job. I mentioned excitedly that I paid off the Hbar and have no consumer debt and she commented, "but you have so many school loans that it doesn’t even matter." Thanks.

First, everyone else shares in my excitement over the Hbar – or at least pretends to. She simply cannot utter a positive word about anything unless it somehow leads to weddings and/or grandchildren. As if I’d let that shrew be any sort of influence on rugrats that I might bear. The whole tone of her end of the conversation about my life was how much I have screwed it up, and how much I must regret the decisions that I have made. As much as I say I regret law school, it lead to my current position – which is actually pretty sweet, so I don’t know whether I really regret it.

As for my loans, I don’t know with certainty, but I think I graduated with the lowest law school loans of my classmates. I got a scholarship, I made decent money in the summers and I lived dirt-cheep in the housing co-op. My law school debt is about half of the average of my classmates, and since I put myself through undergraduate, I didn’t have debt when I entered law school. I honestly don’t think bootstrapping oneself through college, going to an elite law school on scholarship, getting a job as an attorney with a decent salary & reasonable hours (albeit a crazy boss), becoming a business owner & planning to buy property in Chicago next year All On My Own demonstrates that I am a major fuck-up.

Besides this resume/finance stuff, I am quite happy with my life. I have great friends, fun experiences; I still volunteer a lot and haven’t sold out. My original plan pre-law school of working for a few years to pay off debt and buy a place, before doing something more worthwhile, are still in effect. When I told her I was overall ridiculously happy with my life she sighed and changed the subject.

She is, and has been as long as I’ve known her, fucked up. She is not and has not been a source of emotional support in my life. When many other people get scared or confused they have urges to speak with or hug their mothers. This thought has never crossed my mind. A cactus or rabid dog would offer more comfort than my mother. She is the last person that I want to speak with when I am in a rough patch in my life. It is much more easy for me to image seeking and receiving comfort from the scraggly panhandler outside my office than from her.

If my father ever finally does divorce the harpy, I will never, ever speak with her again. The only reason I currently speak with her is to maintain the illusion of family cohesion for my father and grandparents. She is, simply, toxic.

She is childish. She is irrational. She is petty. She has a temper. Most importantly, she is mean.

She and my father used to fight a lot when I was younger. Stupid, ridiculous, door-slamming, yelling fights. I don’t know what else was underlying the fights, but the actual incidents that sparked them were amazingly trivial. There is a glimmer of a memory of my dad crying as he asked her what he could do. My. Dad. Crying. My dad is not a new-age, sensitive type. There are three times I recall him with tears in his eyes: this fight with my mother, when I moved out of their house and when he expressed frustration with my mother last fall and talked of divorce.

Her taunting response the first time I saw him cry was along the lines of, ‘what – can’t you take it?’ Seriously. My dad is crying and trying to make it work and she taunts him. Bitch. I later heard this same response years later when she caused tears to flow down one of my brother’s faces.

This is fucked up. Seriously, seriously fucked-up. ‘Can’t you take it?’

My sadist of a mom however hurts people without pause. She seems to think that her role as mother and wife involves critism, second-guessing, "I told you so" and "too bad you didn’t......" Sure, other people say these things too, but besides inane babble about antique stores & garage sales, this is all I hear from her.

As much as I don’t want to rock the family boat again – I am just sick of her. I really don’t think of her besides when she calls or a visit is impending, but every interaction is so negative. Her behavior was bad enough when I was unemployed and her comments at least had merit (although were still not nice or helpful). But now that they are completely without justification in reality, I have no tolerance for them. What makes it even harder to deal with is that she gets offended and her feelings hurt very easily, so any sort of confrontation (which would be satisfying) is damn near impossible. Anytime our discussions become even slightly heated, my dad is obviously worried that mother/daughter WWIII will occur and we won’t speak again for two years. His concern keeps my mouth buckled, but she 1) doesn’t notice his worry, 2) doesn’t care, or 3) takes advantage of my restraint to let her bitch off-leash.

I wonder if I could give her a psych evaluation as a present. I would truly love to hear a professional evaluation of her particular brand of crazy.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The End of Casual?

I overheard a terrifying declaration from my boss this morning.

"You guys keep pushing the limits. I am going to have to start enforcing a dress code. You at least have to iron your pants."

He said this to one of the junior partners who looked pretty rumpled.

I quickly trotted out of my office and past my boss, wearing a business suit (I took another depostion today, and happened to be dressed up). I hoped that this would remind him that we always dress up when we need to.

Thankfully I had just changed because about two minutes earlier I was walking around the office braless in a studded camoflauge muscle-shirt.

One of the redeeming things about my workplace is that I normally don't have to dress well. On most days I wear the same shitty clothes I wear in my 'real life.' I intend to wear little white socks with maryjanes, but often don't change out of my bike shoes. Several of my clothes have been cut apart and remain unhemmed. I think around March I completely stopped wearing nylons -- even days before I get my legs waxed. I often just wear tanktops and a week isn't complete without at least one braless day. This is a Major Perk of working here.

Talking with my roommate, I have determined that being able to dress like a slob is worth at least $10,000/year to me. There would be 'hard costs' like purchasing new clothes & drycleaning, but the bulk of this figure was determined by how much I dislike dressing up everyday.

I hope that my boss doesn't create a dress code. If he does it will be just another incentive to find a new job.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Is there a name for them?

There are a ton of super-annoying clones out on the bike paths. I keep encountering these men and I wonder if 1) there is a factory somewhere that keeps pumping them out, and 2) whether someone cleverer than I has already named them?

They seriously look the same to me -- or at least like brothers to each other. Here are their characteristics:

Male
White
40-55 years old
Chubby
Beergut
Spandex Shorts
Logoed bike jersey
Racing bike shoes (NEVER recessed cleats)
Gloves
Fancy road bikes
Inflated sense of biking ability
Selfish entitlement to the path

optional:
aerobars
excessive hydration systems
headphones

These racer wanna-be types are my least favorite type of bike rider. Why? Because they are clueless, reckless and selfish.

Clueless because they don't seem to realize that color-coordinated jersey/shoes/bike/helmets do not make them fast. Neither do their expensive bikes. Clueless because they don't understand that the hybrid/cruiser riders and pedestrians actually have a right to the path, too. Clueless because they cannot believe that people in street clothes and laden with paniers ride faster than them.

Reckless because they refuse to moderate their speed with the conditions of the path. Blind curves or lots of families? Certainly this is no reason to slow down. Reckless because they force other people to dodge them. Reckless because the headphones don't allow them to hear their surroundings. Reckless because they will draft under unsafe conditions.

Selfish because they stubbornly try to resist being passed. Selfish because they think they deserve to be first in line at stoplights, even by the people who passed them. Selfish because they won't get off the path when they stop to rest/repair/chat.....

I can't be sure, but I also bet they are sissy riders who are afraid of riding on the streets. These clones are all over the paths, but rarely do I see them on the streets. I bet they drive to the beginning of their bike ride. Also, I don't see these guys in the rain, or when the weather is cold -- or too hot. My guess is that they are suburban, fair weather, strictly recreational riders.

Paul and I rode some of the paths on Sunday and saw tons of these clones committing various acts of reckless/stupid/selfish behavior. One guy in particular outdid all of them.

We encountered him weaving all over the path very slowly, talking on his cell phone, as we rounded a blind curve. We dodged him, but he was completely oblivious to the idea that he was a danger. While we were waiting at the next stoplight with a group of riders, he caught up. Before the light changed he pedalled into the intersection to get ahead of the other riders. We got stuck behind him as he hugged the center line and made passing him very difficult (even though Paul was dinging his bell at him). Finally we got around him. At the next stoplight he did it again.

Paul was leading and I rode behind him, but not too tight. We are comfortable riding pretty close behind each other because we do it pretty often (I shamelessly do this when there is a headwind to fight, as there was on this ride). This guy completely hugged my rear wheel for as long as he could before we would drop him. Everytime we slowed down for curves or slower riders, I heard the screech of his brakes well after I began slowing down and saw him appear out of the corner of my eye. It was super annoying, and I didn't feel particularly safe with him that close. After yet another stoplight--pass situation he was again riding my wheel as a hill approached. Paul was ascending slower than I prefered, and I heard this dude panting behind me -- when his phone rang. I assume that he slowed/stopped to answer it, because I heard a man behind him curse right before we crested.

Once more he caught up to us at a redlight (these are large, busy street crossings -- it takes minutes for the path users to get a green light). After we passed him, I again felt him tucked in tight behind me. I moved a bit to the left and as soon as the path was clear I pulled ahead of Paul and kicked it up a few mph. Paul of course followed, but we dropped the wanna be almost immediately. We didn't see him again, thankfully. I hope his inflated ego popped when he realized that he couldn't hang with a girl in a skirt and pigtails and a boy wearing a leather belt who were both carrying gear and whose bikes/shoes/helmets didn't match at all and managed to ride without wearing gloves.

I understand that several of my comments sound hypocrital, because I complain that they go too fast for the path, but then also complain that they go too slow for me. The speed really depends on the path and the number of people on it. Paul and I don't recklessly pass slower bikers & he rings his bell as we approache so they usually move over a bit. Usually the path was congested near the crossings, but then would become clear in between (I think the walkers didn't stray far from the crossings) and it was possible to ride pretty fast. The wanna be types always try to maintain their pace through the congestion even if it means passing people really slowly or playing chicken with oncoming riders in order to pass. So my problem with them is that they ride too fast on the congested parts, but can't ride fast enough when the path is clear.

My computer wasn't on, but Paul said that when he was leading, he generally rode 18-19 mph. When I pulled ahead, we nudged up to 21-22mph. At first it was just to drop the annoying spandex-clad jerk, but then it was just fun to do for several miles.

This doesn't mean that all middle-aged, spandexed, road warriers are assholes. Their behavior is what makes them assholes. Lots of other riders are assholes, too -- but this combination seems especially prevalent. Does someone else know of a name for them?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Cellulite

This post should have been written weeks ago after going to the triathlon that Steph and Shalan did. During the canoe trip, I was again reminded about this topic.

Women have cellulite. Not all women of course, but many women—probably most. Young women, old women, fat women, skinny women. I don’t watch TV and don’t consume a lot of advertising, but seeing real women with cellulite is somewhat of a shock to me eye. In my mind, women have tight, smooth upper legs, thighs and butts. This is just not true in reality however. There were many amazingly fit women at the triathlon with small tight stomachs, arms that were thin and toned, with defined calves and prominent quads—and cellulite on their legs. The women who didn’t have some cellulite were few and far between.

Many of these women would look damn hot in tight, low-rise jeans or short skirts. Head-turning hot. But in their swimsuits, they reveal cellulite. Many women who finished in damn good time had cellulite. These are athletes—women who train and run and swim and bike. They have low body fat and toned muscles. Still they have cellulite.

Why is this so shocking to the eye? Why is it such a dirty word, and a thing of embarrassment? Why do women spend millions of dollars trying to rid their bodies of this? Why do they stress and cry and feel bad about themselves over these few ounces of fat? Why is the ideal apparently unattainable to many women through natural, non-crazy means? Why has the imagery of women become so different from the reality? What problems does the disconnect between image and reality have on men and women? How many otherwise fit women are uncomfortable or ashamed of their bodies once they pass the age of twenty?

In some ways I am lucky to have avoided many of these hang-ups. I was a chubby girl/teenager. I never had a tight, young body to mourn as I get older. I am somewhat less chubby now as an adult, but being ‘hot’ was never part of my self-image, so it’s hard to understand the fuss. My value as a person and a friend doesn’t change when my weight fluctuates. I didn’t cry when I got my white streak of hair and I didn’t notice when the first fine line around appeared around my eyes.

What I have noticed with displeasure is that I can’t easily pull all-nighters like I did in high school and college. I also know that since I work in an office instead of a kitchen, factory or warehouse, that I don’t have the upper body strength that I used to. These things annoy me, because they affect my quality of life, and the things I can do. But my ass getting a bit squishier—I really couldn’t care less. Other women feel differently.

My best friend in high school had a ‘hot’ body. She recently had a kid and has severe body-complex issues because she can’t seem to get her perfectly flat belly back. She is in pretty fantastic shape already, but she obsesses about her slightly thicker waist and belly. She used to be an athlete and very competitive, but now she works out with the sole purpose of looking good. She doesn’t enjoy it and she treats it like a chore. Her husband completely adores her and seems to have a much more rationale view of the way her body changed, “She’s a mom now. Her body changed radically to have our child. I love my son, and I love my wife – she’s the sexiest woman in the world – how could a little belly change that?” Still her image of herself is strongly tied to how attractive her body is. The whole situation seems sad, and can only seem to get worse as we get older.

Now I am not at all advocating that people simply use aging as an excuse to let themselves become obese slugs – but the futile quest for the unobtainable ideal seems like a huge waste of time. I don’t understand the obsession with women expected to look like they are 20 years old, no matter what age they are. It just seems to disappoint everyone, men and women. Most women can’t be the ‘hot chick’ and most men won’t be able to date the few that are. Women can apparently be very fit, and yet physically not ‘perfect.’

What would perfection take? Surgery?—yuck. Obsessive diet/exercise/massage regimes? – More ‘natural’ than surgery, but at what cost? When I see extremely muscular/cut guys, I wonder what they have given up to spend two hours a day in the gym. What is their intellectual and emotional development if maintaining a ‘perfect’ body is such a priority in their life? Do they read, travel, garden, volunteer or cook? Do they have time to be good friends, family members or lovers and take the time to nurture those relationships and be there for their loved ones – or do they miss out on living life in order to lift or train? What other great things could they do during the time they spend working out?

Obviously my friends and I spend a lot of time on our bikes – but I don’t think it is any of our goals to sculpt a perfect body. We ride for fun and transportation. We ride to explore. We ride as an activity in itself, and not a means to an end. We ride to spend time together. I don’t know that the gym rats listening to headphones really enjoy the activity.

So, back to cellulite. Yes, I believe that the smooth legs of models are more aesthetically pleasing than the squishy upper-legs of most adult women. I also believe that this is an incredibly silly thing to worry about. I also don’t believe that it is such a difference that non-smooth legs are ‘disgusting’ or embarrassing or should continue to be hidden from sight by TV, movies and advertisements. I hate that seeing cellulite on my thin, fit friends is shocking. I hate the possibility that they might see their bikini-clad body in the mirror and feel shame. I hate that there are women who are even shy around their lovers because of their bodies. I hate the fact that what apparently is normal in even fit adult women is considered a flaw.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Tell Me Your Secrets

I don't know what is happening, but this summer I have become many peoples' unwitting confidant. Friends, both new and those I have known for years, have suddenly started revealing amazing experiences from their pasts. Drug addiction, abortions, affairs with married people, children given up for adoption, intravenous drug use, stripping, prostitution......these are some of the highlights of the revelations. Very bizarre.

Most of these friends are now perfectly respectable, have-their-shit-together types. For some reason, they have all shared this information in what had been fun, late-night, light-hearted conversation. I don't think I flinched from any of the news as it tumbled unexpectedly from their lips, but it feels weird to know so many friends' deep, personal secrets. They all seem relieved to have someone in their current life know about their past as they declare that I'm 'the only person in Chicago who knows this' and implore me to keep the secrets safe (duh).

Is there something new in the water that pushes people to reveal these things? Also, why me?

I guess I shouldn't suggest playing Truth or Dare at my next party.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Row, row, row my boat…

Actually: Paddle, paddle, paddle my canoe.

More accurately: Paddle, paddle the rental canoe gently down the Wisconsin River.

A group of thirteen of us went to Wisconsin for a canoeing/camping weekend that involved 21 miles of paddling between Sauk City and Spring Green.

Six canoes
Five single people
Four couples
Three days
Two guitars (two mandelines, too!)
One keg (5 gallons).

Lots of fun. The canoeing ended up being more strenuous than expected, because there was a pretty fierce headwind.

Paul and I definitely bike better together than we canoe. Our canoe zigzagged down the river in a drunken, fishtailing manner. We certainly improved over the weekend, but we were not synched up very well. I prefer to paddle on my left side (I’m right-handed, so I don’t know that this makes sense) and stroke faster than he does. He was very slow to understand that the canoe is very responsive, but latent when you steer it. This caused a lot of over-correcting, wiggling when he was in the rear (plus he often took breaks when my back was to him). When I was in back he also tried to steer—which made the over-correcting even worse.

A group of people went up to camp at Devil’s Lake on Friday night, but we left early on Saturday morning. John B. picked us up and we had a greasy, diner breakfast near the Wisconsin border. Paul normally eats very healthily, but loves breakfast buffets, ‘bacon & syrup, tater tots & gravy, pancakes & cheese – you can’t get this stuff on any menu!’ he exclaimed excitedly. So with a belly full of eggs and grease we met the others at the canoe outfitter. It took us forever to get going.

Our group was definitely a party group. John G. and Josh rowed the canoe with the keg (completely visible for all passer-bys to laugh at). Another canoe contained three guys: the middle guy’s responsibility was to play guitar and sing while the other two paddled. We often clumped up to share snacks or just be silly. Plus there was a lot of ‘mid-river re-fueling’ from the keg canoe. There are a lot of small islands & sand bars in this river – and many small sandy beaches along shore. We could camp anywhere we wanted to on the route.

Progress was slow and we stopped at an alcove for swimming & hiking. I don’t have much river-swimming experience. It is sort of freaky. The current was pretty strong in some random parts. Plus there were steep drop offs where it was very easy to lose footing in the shifting sand. Suddenly not being able to touch the bottom while getting caught in a current isn’t very fun, so I rejoined Paul on the shallower sandbar area before we all went for a hike. There were some very cool looking mushrooms on the path to the top. At the top of the bluff I began sneezing—apparently there was some sort of pollen that I was allergic to. Paul and I quickly descended and were bothered by bugs, “when nature attacks.’ My nose cleared up in just a few minutes.

Someone said there was a nude beach up ahead, which turned out to be true. Paul and I were the lead canoe at this point and kept going since we had stopped a short while ago, and didn’t expect others to stop. We were wrong—several of the other canoes stopped to swim/sun naked for a bit. Damnit. Swimming naked feels so damn good. When we met up with the others, Lisa was canoeing topless. Later at camp, people changed clothes without much concern for modesty. I very much dig this idea of being pretty comfortable with nudity. It sure beats trying to change clothes in a tent.

The sun was directly in our faces and the reflection off of the water was blinding. Paul was in front, and his poor little belly is all pink and sunburnt. The river seemed full of canoes as everyone started looking for a beach to camp on. We had hoped for a whole island to ourselves, but ended up sharing it with other groups. It was big enough that we didn’t disturb each other, though.

After we pitched our tents, a campfire was lit and dinner prepared. The keg was finished, wine was opened and 1.5 bottles of bourbon was drunk. Several of the guys in the group are musicians, so there was a lot of singing & guitar-playing around the campfire. Hui Hwa organized s’mores making and everything was good and cozy. The couples used the cold air as an excuse to cuddle for warmth and the bourbon was passed to help warm everyone’s blood. When Paul and I snuck away to our tent there were several people sleeping around the fire.

I was concerned about being cold and put on a wool shirt and socks for sleeping. I was actually a little too warm at points in the night. Paul steals covers shamelessly in his sleep, so my woolen clothes were helpful. He also crowds me. No matter how much room we have to sleep, he crowds me. It is rather cute, because he does it unknowingly in his sleep and is always apologetic and embarrassed in the morning. He sleeps with his arms around me, so whenever I roll away, he rolls closer, until I reach the edge of a bed or the wall of a tent and have nowhere left to go. Our 1.5 person tent could easily have slept at least one more person.

Our group woke up and immediately began making coffee & pancakes. If on my own, I’d eat granola and apples on camping trips, but these friends are all about eating real food on trips. I actually suspect that some of them use ‘active’ trips like canoeing and bike-packing as excuses to be gluttons, because food seems to be such a priority to them at camp.

Paul is more modest than I am, but even he seemed pretty relaxed by the end of the trip. He’s never swam nekkid, and now regrets missing the nude beach, too. In the morning he didn’t even blink when I changed out of the clothes I slept in public. On Saturday he had seemed a little uncomfortable by my public clothes-changing, so I planned to go behind our tent to change my top. He instead shrugged and said, ‘we saw Lisa topless for half of yesterday, why bother?’ It’s pretty cool that after just a few hours of being with immodest people, he also is more comfortable. Although he still changed his clothes in the tent and later the car.

Paul and I walked around the island for a while looking at the rock fragments in the sand—and I found him a pretty clamshell. We found two burrowed ‘trails’ under the surface of the sand and tried to figure out what made them. The felt good to walk on the sand squished pleasantly as the tunnel collapsed under my feet. After we broke camp, combed for pieces of trash and divided the remaining gear/food/garbage between the canoes, I sat in the shallow water for a while trying to trap one of the tiny minnows in my hand, but never succeeded. Finally our group was ready and down the river we went. Most of the other camps had already left, but there were a few tents still standing as the shoreline changed.

In one spot there were several bales of turtles sunning themselves on logs. Even though I warned him that the turtles would simply slide into the water when we approached, we tried to get close to one of the logs. The turtles eyed us warily and then scampered into the water when we were too close for their comfort. Paul believed me and we didn’t try to get closer to any other turtles.

The drunk canoe (three guys, one guitar) came by us and soon there was a clot of our canoes sharing snacks and beer. Jake, the main organizer, believed that we had miscalculated yesterday, and hadn’t covered nearly as many miles as we needed to. His recalculations revealed that we had 10 miles to travel in three hours to reach our pick-up with the outfitters. This meant that it had taken us at least 8 hours to travel the first 11 miles. I didn’t think that the necessary pace would be possible. But we all agreed to paddle quicker. Shortly after this meeting, we looked back and saw the drunk canoe stuck on one of the numerous sandbars, while the guys were screwing off.

After more paddling we saw a bridge up ahead and then after we went under it, there was another bridge. Paul remembered that on the map there were three bridges pretty close to each other, and the third bridge was the pick-up spot. We felt relief that we wouldn’t be late. Shortly afterwards we reached the rest of the group at an island stopped for lunch/swimming/shenanigans. I busted out my Asian cabbage slaw, and chopped cucumbers for salad. Kyrie opened her fantastic curried chicken salad and we all dug in.

We all ate heartily and alternated lazing around with swimming. Jake took this opportunity to hug his bottle of scotch and demonstrate how fucked-up he was. Many photos were taken of his sprawled form and Kyrie joked that she was on ‘death watch.’ Jake is a doctor and we kiddingly fretted that just as we possibly needed a doctor, he was the potential passed-out patient. We poured water on him to wake him up and headed back down river. When we passed his canoe, he was the ‘middle man’ drunkenly playing guitar and singing while being paddled downstream.

In this short leg of paddling, I got massive sunburn on my legs, about two inches below my bikini bottom, where I had my dress hitched up to. My poor legs are bright pink and very hot to the touch.

We arrived at the pick-up point just as the outfitters school-bus pulled up. It took very little time to load the canoes and our gear. All through the trip several people were excited about smoking and drinking on the school bus. The last of the beers were cracked and Jake asked the outfitter if they could smoke on the bus. He said he didn’t care, but when the pot smoke wafted up to him he directed us to put it out. Jake drunkenly apologized, and claimed that there was a misunderstanding. Then we started singing “The wheels on the bus” and adding verses like, “the bus driver said ‘put that out, put that out, put that out’. He was wearing very dark glasses, but he looked on the verge of giggling at us a few times.

I don’t smoke pot, and it is somewhat weird to see so many of these older friends using any opportunity to get high. All of them are generally responsible and are in a good place in their lives, some are married and one has two babies. Even though I have known lots of pot-heads with their shit together, it still strikes me as a little weird to see so many of these friends eagerly toke up. They definitely defy the stereotype of pot smoking as either a phase of youth or a middle-aged activity confined to losers.

Paul and John were having some pretty dorky conversations on the way home, so I curled up in the back sleep and napped for most of the ride back to Chicago. Back at Paul’s place, we showered to try to get the sand out of our hair and skin. Several stalks of aloe were snapped and we slathered each others’ sunburn with the aloe juice. Still, my legs are pink and warm today. My butt also somewhat hurts on my bicycle seat—apparently 10 hours on an aluminum canoe seat isn’t the best thing for the sitbones.

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Hbar, Free and Clear

As of 9:30am 8/19/2005, I no longer have any consumer debt. [my student loans are still kicking around, of course!] I just made my final payment on the debt I incurred to buy the Hbar, and cut the check for September’s rent. So. Exciting.

The Hbar being paid off completely is the third factor that makes quitting my job attractive. September is a three-paycheck month, too–so if I am conservative, I should have approximately $6,000 saved up by the end of the month. That is enough for me to pay my bills for almost six months. In six months I should be able to get another lawyer job. Plus, I could cook at the Hbar and really extend my departure from the legal world indefinitely.

However, in the immediate future – it is time for me to splurge. I have been postponing several purchases for quite a while (one since 2002!) to celebrate: a job offer; paying off my credit card debt, paying off the Hbar. I met that goal and shortly I will buy a:
  • Hamilton Beach commercial stand mixer,
  • digital camera (recommendations welcome), and
  • telephone/answering machine (my current phone has a cord and requires me to shout to be heard well; the answering machine cuts people off randomly).

In other fun Hbar news, we are offering beer at prices inverse to rising gasoline prices. Too fun.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The calm after the Storm

So of course today the boss is super-friendly and chipper. I’ve heard him say things like, ‘the weather must have everybody down–the office seems gloomy today’ (it was raining outside). He is totally oblivious that in reality the staff isn’t upbeat because of his behavior yesterday. Apparently in his meeting prior to meeting with EM and me, he was throwing things and having a royal fit. I also forgot to mention that while he was freaking out at EM and me, he was also trying to style his daughter’s hair. Seriously. She was playing on the computer unfazed while he exasperatedly fiddled with different hairbands and sparkly pre-teen girl hair thingies and simultaneously read us the riot act. Nutjob.

Besides my regular work, I have also been negotiating/revising the CBF lease–because they are switching buildings. Contract work is so much more fun than litigation. At first I was doing this after-hours, but this past week or so things have been heating up and many phone conferences needed to take place during business hours; plus for fast turn-around I needed to work on some of the changes as soon as I got them. This has lowered my actual billable hours a bit, but I’ve been staying late and/or skipping lunch to try to keep my regular hours up. Months ago I arranged for CBF to be considered one of our pro-bono clients, and I ‘bill’ the time (so both myself & the firm could get credit for the hours I spend doing legal work for CBF).

However, I fully anticipate getting called into his office soon so we can discuss the amount of time I have spent on CBF pro-bono work. I’ll explain that maybe, just maybe, having an attorney who comes in early, stays late or uses her lunch hour to work on pro-bono legal work is actually better than the attorneys who shop on their lunch hour, arrive later than I do and leave earlier. Oh yeah, he will then certainly flip and complain again about the other attorneys who aren’t involved in the community and don’t have interests outside of their jobs & drinking. He is just too weird to figure out. Contradiction & hypocrisy nest comfortably in him–they probably snuggle like puppies in the crevices of his brain.

I don’t know if I complained about this previously, but one of the reasons the firm sucks so much is because my boss is distracted. This isn’t his regular ADHD distraction, but a huge distraction of his time. He is leading a capital campaign for a school and spends tons of time on this at the expense of his real work. Probably about two full days each week he spends in meetings on this campaign; one of our paralegals is so busy doing this fundraising that she is getting a special assistant; other support staff are often too busy to do the attorneys work because they are busy on a fundraising project. It is seriously out-of-control. When the boss turns his eye of Mordor back to his law firm, he is confused that he is out-of-the-loop on client issues–not surprising considering that he is often days and sometimes weeks behind reading our memos and approving our letters.

What was that?–approving our letters? Yes, he doesn’t want a single letter to be sent from the firm unless he approves it. This includes the most mundane cover letters. [ Dear so-and-so, please find enclosed a copy of the documents we discussed. ] Obviously we break this rule all of the time–and then listen to him complain about it. But then he lets our letters awaiting his approval linger for days or weeks. Sometimes he complains that we didn’t ‘keep on him’ to review our work. But then other times he doesn’t want to be bothered with such trivial matters. Often he calls us a ‘pack of sharks’ as circle around his office waiting to discuss files/clients/motions/discovery...... He sighs when he sees his inbox, and exclaims disgustedly that we keep giving him more work. Sorry dude, but that’s what you get for wanting to micro-manage everyone. [One of the most fun things I do every once in a while is follow all of his anal-attentive rules to the letter and watch him twitch at my constant pestering–afterwards I run on a much longer leash.]

Besides him being obviously scitzo, it doesn’t make sense with other things. For instance, I call clients/opposing counsel/investigators All The Time without him holding my hand or checking my words. I also email them with abandon without oversight. Why doesn’t he care about these communications, but wants to wipe my ass when it comes to cover letters?

More freaky is that a few weeks ago I wrote a g-damn opinion letter that he sent out to the client without substantively reviewing my work. This is completely bizarre: he wants to double check cover letters, but will send out final work product (under his signature) of a new attorney, to an important client, without reviewing my analysis of the law. Totally crazy. If we were doctors, this would be him hovering over me as I drew blood, but allowing me to perform heart surgery unsupervised.

I think it is a bad sign that 1) I have moments on my commute to work almost every morning recently when I consider getting hit by a car as a way to avoid going into work, 2) I felt resignation and disgust as I wheeled my bike out of the basement this morning, because I knew the ride would end at work, and 3) am increasingly tempted to not come back to the office when I am away during the day–tantalizing thoughts of ‘what would happen if I just didn’t go back’ cross my mind. I try to calculate the cost of forfeiting my clothes, shoes and random other junk versus the joy of never returning.

What would happen is a question that haunts and fascinates me? Obviously it wouldn’t be professional, but what really would happen if I just never came back? Sure, they’d phone my house, but I can avoid answering my phone. I don’t even think they have my private email account. After I’d been having this thought for a while, Paul told me of a former co-worker who was in the middle of a grueling meeting where his team was sort of getting bitched at, when he excused himself to go to the bathroom.....and never returned. Even though I’ve never met him, that dude is a hero. So that is the state of my job–I am tempted to quit my first real professional job in a less professional manner than I’ve ever quit a job before, even crappy high school jobs.

Oh dear God–I can now hear him having a conversation about Snoop Dog with our Grandma IT person. What is this insane asylum that I work in?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Let Craziness Flow Freely

My boss was on one of his rampage days again. Such a g-damn pain. All of the Associate attorneys and at least one of the partners have decided to look for new work, along with half of the paralegals. Yeah, morale is great around here.

In his classic freak-out, speak-before-thinking-style, the boss decided that I will take the most important deposition for one of our files. Great...... I'll be deposing a head partner at a big lawfirm, whose name made another partner here shudder in fear. Even Better. Best though, is my boss directing us to both: not spend too much time on the file AND make sure I know the material backwards and forwards so we can do several mock depositions.

These two ideas are completely incompatible. I am a new attorney, and therefore I will need a ton more time to prepare for any deposition than my boss does--he can take a deposition in his sleep. Secondly, if he is going to spend the time to review the materials in order to give me realistic mock interviews, then it would be much easier for him to take the dep himself. Stupid ADHD.

If I was the client I would freak out to learn that an attorney with less than one years experience was going to depose the most important witness in her case. Seriously, this is damn-near malpractice. Guess what I will be doing for the next two weeks? Guess whose boss will bitch and moan that I am spending too much time on this case (the client won't be able to pay the whole bill)? There is absolutely no way to win with his directives.

Fuck it though--it's his firm. If he wants to manage it into the ground, I really don't care. Either I'll get a new job before the firm folds, he'll pull his head out of his ass, or the firm will fold and I'll go on a little vacation sponsored by unemployment insurance.

To answer Frick's previous question: My boss is actually a great lawyer when he is focused and he is pretty prestigious in some Chicago legal circles. However good attorneys do not necessarily make good managers--and that is where our problem lies.

I'm going home to make coconut ice cream or flan for a dinner party tomorrow night. Work Blows.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Bananas and Melons

Are the two fruits I hate. I wish I didn’t hate them, but I do–I really, really do. The smell, the texture, the taste. Blech.

Apples
Oranges
Kiwis
Grapes
Watermelon
Cherries
Strawberries
Mangoes
Blackberries
Currants
Figs
Pears
Boisenberries
Lemons
Nectarines
Pomegranet
Raspberries
Pineapples
Mullberries
Peaches
Grapefruit
Plums

I enjoy all of the above fruits, but bananas and melons I do not wish to eat. Melons–the generic picnic fruit salad–found everywhere in summer.

Bananas are even worse: So cheap, so convenient–individually wrapped without pits, stones or seeds. Potassium-packed and easy to peel. What smoothie is complete without bananas?

Damnit.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Health Insurance

The Hbar owners decided last night that we will offer our full-time employees health insurance. So. Fucking. Cool. We already pay them decent wages (no semi-slave immigrant labor for us) and try to treat them well in other ways, so this seemed to be the logical next step. The restaurant has been consistently profitable for the last several months–not just paying its bills/loans, but actually making a profit above that, too. We decided that health insurance was a good use of these profits.

I was uninsured for the bulk of my adult life, even though I worked full-time and I constantly stressed about it. I also hated those bosses who stretched every rule so as to not have to offer me insurance. Biking in Chicago without insurance freaked me out, especially considering the massive number of accidents that are hit & run here.

So I feel all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that we are helping our employees. Plus, as an owner, I can opt in anytime I want to, also. While I get health insurance from my firm, it is nice to know that if I ever decide to throw in the legal towel, I can not only start paying myself to cook at the Hbar, but also get insurance. Or if I start doing legal consulting, I have easy access to an insurance plan. Mostly, though I am just happy that my company is doing better for its employees than most of the companies that I worked for.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Work Blows.

Two hilarious things are occurring with serendipitous timing (actually there is a third important factor that will occur in eight days; read about it then):

First Billing.

Billing is the bane of every private attorney’s existence. Quick: in six-minute increments account for all of the ‘work’ you did yesterday. Work does Not equal: surfing the web for fun, reading the news, lunch, peeing, emailing friends, blogging, going to the water cooler/pouring coffee or chatting with co-workers about non-client matters. Bitching about work, clients, opposing counsel, judges or fellow employees does Not Count As Work. Now try to account for eight hours minimum of work each day. Besides their self-selecting natural type-A, anal-retentive, perfectionist, assoholic tendencies–this is what attorneys are forced to do. Little wonder most of us are raging egotistical pricks or passive-aggressive back-stabbers. We steadily carve our lives away in unhappy increments. One of my friends billed 3400 hours last year--he told me this in the single time that I saw him in the whole calendar year.

Anyway......my boss makes billing much, much worse than it already is. To sate his ADHD/OCD ego-driven, micro-managing craziness, he requires that we enter our time for the previous day by 4:00pm. This really blows. Most firms require this monthly, or at the most weekly–but daily is completely unheard of. I can’t count the number of times that I have been out of the office all afternoon and come back late to a message from him whining that my time wasn’t entered. Lately I have been completely negligent and go for days in a row without entering time, and just ignore his frenzied messages–he never tells me to my face, so I can ignore with ease. Other attorneys have apparently been doing the same thing. There used to be a battle-ax of a secretary who would call us at 4:10 when our time wasn’t in; but she left the firm months ago and we are all slacking.

On Monday I was in the office for over 16 fucking hours (6:00A.M.ish – 10:30P.M.), and I received a message from the boss to all of the attorneys stating that instead of him ‘chasing us down’ to get us to enter our time, he would begin fining us $5 a day when we were late, starting next Monday. We are fucking attorneys, not kindergarten children. I wanted to respond to the message with a suggestion that he run us through a ‘spanking machine’ instead. I curbed that inclination because I thought he might take it seriously.

None of the attorneys are pleased with it (actually Insulted and Pissed Off is more accurate)–and looking at the TimeSlip program, we are all independently, silently refusing to enter our time since this message was issued. Now each day he continues to send increasingly peeved messages to us demanding that we enter our time. Quite hilarious. As stupid as it is, this is what has actually made me decide to definitely start looking for a new job. I have a few cases heating up in the next few months that I don’t want to deal with, so the timing is really sweet. Treat me like a child, lose an attorney. Pretty simple.

The second thing that is quite interesting is that we received a message requesting that we update our resumes for the firm website and client packages. Gotta love that timing. The assistant will even help us format our resumes to ‘make them look really sharp.’ Oh yes–I am totally going to update my resume in my office, on the firm computer, with the help of firm staff and bill the time as ‘administrative’ all for the purpose of leaving the firm. Lovely. But, hey–I’m just doing what the boss demands.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I'm Published!

My article on gendered portrayals of bicycling recently got published. I've had requests for a follow-up article and a tentative request to submit a piece on biking for the Chicago Magazine. Pretty Cool. Read more if you'd like:

Where are the women bicyclists? Certainly not in the pages of bicycle catalogs or magazines.

Many of the common bicyclist stereotypes are men: racer, mountain biker, messenger — they are all hardcore and they are almost universally depicted as male.

Look at the advertising. Prevalent images are aggressive, mud-splattered young men going down challenging mountain bike paths, or competitive guys on road bikes racing fast.

When we finally see men and women together on bikes, they are presented as couples, leisurely riding along recreational, car-restricted trails. Sometimes there are family pictures. These people aren’t typically riding, but simply holding their bikes and wearing helmets in wholesome poses.Also missing will be pictures of women riding alone, riding in traffic or getting dirty. And you sure won’t see women riding bicycles as a means of transportation.

Of course, Madison Avenue’s sexism is legendary. So it’s not surprising that when the industry shines its beacon on bicycle products, there’s a “No girls allowed!” notice tacked on the doorway to fun and adventure.
Apparently, this suits the bicycle marketing departments just fine. What I wonder is, what possible profit do they see in boxing men and women into such narrow areas of interest, and possibility?

It would be great to open up a bicycling publication and see an image of a commuting woman assertively taking her lane in downtown traffic. How about a girl with a messenger bag on her back, jumping a pothole in some alley? Or any woman, with her shoulder and arm muscles flexed, jaw clenched, wearing that “take-no-prisoners” look. Instead page after page supports the notion that men grit their teeth and pound through the pain, while women smile sweetly as they serenely sightsee and stop for snacks.

Portrayals of different riding styles segregated by gender begin with the youngest demographics. Raleigh boys’ bikes are advertised for their toughness and ability to withstand the miles of abuse your “little rippers” dole out. Their girls’ bikes come with matching handbags, streamers and are guaranteed to be “a hit in the ‘neighborhood style parade.”

What we face is self-fulfilling, cyclical prophecy: offer boys tough bikes, advertise with photos of men riding hard, and we raise yet another generation of boys who believe that bike-riding is only about speed and competition. Simultaneously, give girls frilly, pastel bikes emphasizing style instead of function, depict women only as casual riders, or ignore them completely, and find that girls aren’t as interested in competitive, high-performance riding.

Gender stereotypes are counterproductive to promoting bicycling. So is the consistent portrayal of biking as strictly a leisure activity — whether hardcore racing or casual sightseeing. Strict categories and divisions don’t represent the bikers on the street. We are women and men, young and old, big and small, fast, slow and everything in between. We ride for a lot of reasons: transportation, competition, leisure, exercise, thrills — ideally, all of the above. People who ride are diverse because bicycling is an inclusive activity. We shouldn’t allow these tired images to paint us into the same tired roles.

As bicyclists, we can do our part. Look, for example, at the Cycling Sisters, (www.cyclingsisters.org) who welcome all women and who volunteer to teach bicycle maintenance and traffic skills, organize challenging rides, give racing workshops and support each other to become better riders.

Look at the women who bike each day to work. Look at the ones who train out on the lakefront, fierce and proud.

The real face of bicycling is out there: millions of women — and men — doing things our own way. We set the examples you won’t find in the mass media.

Come ride with us.

The Mint Julep Rides Again

The poor girl had been stabled and hobbled for several weeks. She was literally resting on her forks and missing pedals, because the Bianchi had snagged both her front wheel and pedals. A week ago I finally put her back together–and since then, the Bianchi has been stabled. The fixie is a joy to ride again–plus I am clipping into her with both feet for the first time. Fear and inadequately adjusted SPDs kept me from clipping in before. Once I did it a few times it was easy and I feel comfortable doing it.

Weirdly, she has been attracting a lot of unwanted yuppie attention. Chads and trixies walk past me in the crosswalks and smile and compliment her sparkling streamers. Very bizarre–normally yuppies and I ignore each other. I guess the Julep is such a cutie that she is irresistible to even the most generic yuppie heart. Each time this happened I thanked the yuppie, flashed a big smile and thought to myself, ‘I hope you think a little better of bicyclists from now on.’

I think the Julep is the cutest bike ever--but also Damn Tough. She looks especially cute when I lock her to the top of fence posts.

Besides her minty color, she also has a tiny girl's frame that looks too small for the wheels. The shiny mylar streamers finish the look.

However, she is Damn Tough--her drop bars are bare metal, she doesn't have a rear brake to slow down her skinny tires and her 52/16 fixed gear ratio doesn't fuck around.

Tough and Cute. The Julep is fun on my Chicago streets.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Let’s Talk About Sex

(Easily labeled for brothers to avoid).

As I said I would, I brought up ‘The Talk’ with the boy last week. It went amazingly well–he was very receptive and not at all defensive. Fantastic.

He had some seriously flawed assumptions about me that he is looking forward to dispelling in the flesh. tehehe. I learned that my suspicions about his previous experience was dead-on, and completely explained his tentative behavior. He also alleviated some of my concerns that he might need too much tutelage. I went from feeling apprehensive to extremely excited about getting it on with him. Lesson One was a resounding success and we had, in my opinion, a great make-out session.

We had a few more conversations in the next few days about what we were thinking and our expectations. Neither of us were very productive at work because we kept fantasizing about each other. I was damn near chomping at the bit to see him over the weekend.

We had plans to spend all day together on Saturday, first going to Family Style at Chris’s place: a vegan cooking/eating fest that began at 10:00am at the Farmers’ Market and ended about 4:00pm. Super-great fun. This is the second one that I’ve been to and we were both excited to go. Later that night was bowling with some of my law friends to celebrate Amy’s b-day. Paul was going to meet several of my friends for the first time throughout the day.

After going to the Farmers’ Market we needed to stop by my house for my food mill and to drop his newly-bought tarragon plant off at his place. We of course played kissy-face and the threat that clothing would be removed and that we would miss Family Style entirely loomed large. Anticipation is a good thing.

Anyway we had a great time at Family Style–I like men who I don’t have to baby-sit around new people. He was very comfortable and I wasn’t at all worried that he wasn’t having fun.

Finally we left to go back to his place to nap. Seriously–we were in afternoon lull, food-coma mode. The futon was pulled out and we snuggled like puppies and dozed for quite a while. Very sweet.

After the laziness wore off we started making out and clothes randomly appeared across the room. One of his cats kept staring at us–which is sort of disturbing.

Things were going well and he remembered the key points from our previous discussion. He was very excited, but when he would get nervous and I’d feel an uncomfortable vibe from him, so we slowed down let the intensity lower several times. And then things got weird, but it was a weirdness that I was half-way expecting.

We stopped messing around to have another conversation, which I also wasn’t looking forward to.

Topic: The intersection of Sex and Love.

He and I stand kitty-corner across from each other at this intersection. He told me a few weeks ago that he was in love with me, and I didn’t return the sentiment. Now, I have thought that he was a boy that I could potentially fall in love with, and I like the idea of being in love again, but I don’t currently love him. Lying about such important things is completely unacceptable. Understandably, he is afraid of basically falling more in love with me and risking getting hurt once I get the chance to fuck him silly. So he wants to go slow and not start having sex until he is ready, which he sees most likely happening when we are in love with each other.

If someone will please let me know why sensitive guys are attracted to me–clue me in. I am a rough and tumble, brutally honest tomboy and this should be obvious to anyone who interacts with me. The sweet, sensitive guys tend to keep their sappiness hidden–and I only discover the full extent of it once we are already emotionally involved.

We discussed my concerns about a sex/love Catch-22, whereby he won’t feel comfortable trusting me enough to have sex unless I love him, and I won’t be able to fall in love without the trust that can develop from being lovers.

I sounded like the biggest skank ever as I voiced these concerns. I asked him what he thought about being in love with a trollop, tart, strumpet and he giggled and denied that he thought I was any of those things. I told him how after finally ending my horrible 2.5 year long law-school dry spell with repressed Catholic boy (primary object of last rant) I high-fived the Catholic boy. His face registered amusement, tinged with horror and a sidedish of ‘please don’t tell me about other men you’ve slept with.’

This must be how randy high school boys feel when they date virginal girls. I feel crass. I feel like a completely insensitive bitch for thinking some of my thoughts. But, since I have never tolerated boys trying to pressure me into having sex until I was ready, I can not do that to him. Instead, I am trying to be understanding–and he has thanked me several times for being so cool with this, when he says it is obvious that I don’t prefer the situation. He is a little sheepish about having this view, but mostly relieved for getting it out in the open. I respect him for expressing his feelings and being introspective enough to know what is right for him. I respect him even more for his recent diligence and newfound skill at turning me into a meowling, sweaty, trembling ball of wantoness.

Our conversation veered from crass to sweet to giggling and back again several times. I giggled at his sappiness and he blushed a lot. Too cute. The cat didn’t find this phase as interesting and fell asleep with her back to us.

I don’t like the pressure on me to somehow magically fall in love with him, and I don’t want him to feel pressure to let me fuck his brains out. I very much adore the boy and want to continue learning more about him, but I haven’t been in love in several years and don’t think it is something that will come quickly or easily.

Moral of Story: I’m not getting laid anytime soon.

Damnit.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Calling all Ex-Girlfriends

Listen bitches—I am sick and tired of cleaning up the messes you left behind. It is pretty obvious that many women aren’t doing their jobs as girlfriends and lovers.

The evidence: men who don’t know how to fuck. Even worse are those that don’t even know that they don’t know how to fuck.

This is disgraceful. So help me if I have to teach yet another man how to romp around in bed I am going to Scream. I want hazard pay or a tax write-off or something. My sample size isn’t nearly high enough to be definitive—but I am suspicious that this is all too common.

What is wrong with you women? How long have some of you dated these men? One year, two, three, five? You put up with bad or mediocre sex for Five Years. Shameful.

I completed law school, passed the bar, and learned to work as a lawyer in five years—imagine the sexual skills these boys could have learned in five years if you would have done your job. Imagine the great sex you missed out on in five years.

No instead you compromise or downright lie and these men walk away from the relationship thinking that they are competent lovers. So not only do I have to teach them, but I have to try not to wound their precious egos during the deprogramming process. Fucking Bitches—do your jobs! It is incredible to me that there are men in their late twenties who have been in long term relationships and still don’t know how to fuck. Damn you all to Hell. I sincerely hope that you are cursed with shitty sex for the rest of your lives.

There is absolutely no reason for this. If my mom can learn to use the internet in a few months, then men can be taught to fuck well over the course of several years.

Besides, I am possibly the last person in the world who should be designated to navigate the minefield at the intersection of Sexual Performance Street and Male Ego Avenue. I am crass. I am blunt. I am not sensitive. I am a Taurus forced into a china shop. Thankfully I am smart enough to know that I have to rein in my tactlessness—but it is Damn Hard, and I chafe under this restriction. I am a lawyer, not a pre-school teacher for a reason—nurturing and sympathy are not my default settings. Yet you lazy, sniveling cuntrags push this burden onto me. Fuck you, poorly.

Hint: Do NOT simply complain, whine or snicker to your girlfriends if your boyfriend isn’t doing it for you. They won’t be able to help. He is the person who needs to know—bitching behind his back won’t improve the situation (although venting is good).

No the teaching process is not fun—but you are only making it harder for everyone now that they are set in their boring ways.

If you are dating a boy who sucks in bed, please take immediate action. First let him know and offer to help him learn how to be better, and then follow through. If he doesn’t put effort into trying—then dump his ass and specifically inform him that it is because he is a bad lay.

---------------------------------------------------

If you haven’t figured it out, I am concerned that the boy I am dating might need some sexual reprogramming. My fingers are crossed that it is just nerves, because generally boys who adore me are too nervous to feel comfortable during our first few interactions, which is fine and understandable. But honestly, I do NOT want to have to lay down a ton of groundwork for some decent sex.

This rant actually is motivated by boys in my past who are causing me to be skittish about the situation with the boy in my present.

So, the next time I see the current boy, I am tossing my cards on the table, along with my expectations and desires. Hopefully he can alleviate these fears or at least enthusiastically sign up for lessons. Everyone else cross your fingers on my belhalf too, lest my blog turn into the Bed of Awkwardness.

Monday Riding

I’m sick of work. Anyway, I tore my skirt mounting my bike at lunch. So now my not professional frayed denim skirt has an even less professional 5 inch tear up the left side. This skirt has put in many, many miles and I have noticed the fabric getting thinner recently, so I’m not too surprised. EM at work, knowing my tendency to be unprofessional and my favorite half-assed method of fixing clothes (staples), fully expects to see me wearing the skirt next week with a row of staples holding it together. I told him that instead I’ll probably go punk rock and spring for actual safety pins.

My ride home last night rocked. First I saw T.C. waiting atop the Des Plaines bridge for the light at the bottom to turn green. We had a few silly conversations before I turned left onto Grand Avenue. Turning left from Milwaukee Avenue is sometimes challenging because there is so much oncoming traffic—but last night I waited for a few cars and then just zoomed through. Most bicyclists make these lefts ‘pedestrian style’ by making a box turn in the crosswalks. I however just love taking the left lane and riding like a car.

As I zipped by on Grand (I was running late for a dinner with John and Mia) I encountered another perfect biking situation. Approaching a red light I saw an earth-moving machine in the right lane, followed by two cars with their right blinkers flashing. Not wanting to get stuck behind that mess, I moved to my left, planning to split the lanes. Just as I was about to slow down for the red light, it changed to green, so I didn’t lose much momentum and merged in to take the left lane of traffic. The earthmover actually booked and I wasn’t able to pass him quickly. Instead I clicked into a higher gear and kept pedaling. He was also shifting fast and trying to get as much speed out of that huge vehicle as possible. The Race was On. When I got up to 25 mph it seemed like his vehicle was topped out and we made eye contact and nodded our heads in appreciation of our lighthearted race. After just hanging next to him for a while at this pace, I shifted again, spun faster and then left him behind. All Good Fun.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Weddings

Paul and I traveled to Milwaukee to attend the wedding of Steph, one of my oldest friends. We biked down to the Amtrak station, boxed our bikes and then rode the train. The corn in IL and WI is incredibly stunted and dry. Very sad. The cabbage patches looked very nice, though.
Anyway, after a few hassles at the station we put our pedals back on our bikes and rode to the neighborhood of the church for lunch before the ceremony. At the church we changed into nicer clothes and the wedding began.

A major problem with church weddings is all of the talk about God......the priest just can’t shut up about God and Jesus. He also said that Jesus is the third partner in this marriage. I didn’t even know that Steph was into three-somes. As I sat there listening to the drivel, I was amazed at how many hours of my life were wasted attending church. I am also pretty sure that word will get back to my parents that I did not receive communion, too.

We biked about 15 miles out to Brookfield for the reception. It was farther than I thought it was, and we left the ceremony much later than I expected, so we didn’t have nearly as much time to clean/pretty up as I hoped. Also the woman at the desk couldn’t find my reservation even after I carefully spelled my name. She started to look really nervous and fidgety and I know that they overbooked the hotel that weekend (a common practice). She started to deliver the bad news to me that my reservation wasn’t in the computer and that there were no rooms–I asked her how she was spelling my name and she replied with a phonetical spelling that had half of the letters wrong. I spelled it again and then she found the reservation immediately. Grrrrrrr......I don’t understand why people can’t listen to the answers of the questions they ask. This interaction wasted precious showering time.

We ended up having about 30 minutes to shower and get ready. When I hopped out of the shower I learned something interesting: Paul is even worse at ironing than I am–which I didn’t think was possible.

Besides the church bullshit, I am not a fan of typical weddings. What a bunch of fluff. So much money, time, effort, stress......goes into each wedding. Plus, if you didn’t know better, you would think that Steph and Steve are the first people ever to fall in love and get married. Seriously, people falling in love is pretty common, as is getting married. Yet the whole day is framed as if this is some sort of miracle that we are all blessed to witness. I’ve seen them together for years, and I can’t imagine that being married will really change anything about their lives. (Except Steph will have a huge hassle changing her name). The whole wedding fuss just seems like a waste.

Still, I am very happy for Steph and Steve: I foresee pregnant friends in the next year of my life. The reception was fun and no one was very stressed about anything. I guess that is the one good thing about weddings–it does bring friends back together from across the country.

The next day was a very late start–I’m blaming it on the wine. We rode down to Kenosha to ride the last commuter train into Chicago. The weather forecasted a 10-15mph headwind–which of course was what happened. We maintained a pretty good clip–the slowest we rode on long stretches was 15mph, but more often 17-18. I didn’t feel great and it seemed to take more effort to maintain the speeds that we were riding. Our timing was sort of tight and we really, really needed to make that train. We finished eating breakfast sometime after 1:00pm and had 50+ miles to go before the train left at 6:45.

Besides about 10 miles of this trip (which I rode from Racine to Kenosha in February) it was a completely unknown route to us. I was concerned about getting lost, so we stopped pretty often to check the map to make sure we didn’t miss any turns. Of course, we still did miss some turns, but we improvised instead of backtracking. Too many times our brief stops to look at the map lasted longer as we sat in the shade and cooled off a bit. Almost the entirety of the ride was under the blazing sun. Stupidly I wore a dark tanktop and skirt, instead of bringing a light, loose sundress to wear–so I felt the heat more than usual.

BTW: I am one serious sweater when it comes to bike riding. Soon after stopping each time I was completely slick with sweat and had drops puddling and running down my calves. Totally gross. Plus, I sweat out a lot of salt–I think much more than other people–and develop interesting salt stains on my clothes & helmet straps. I am often covered in white salt powder at the end of long rides. Another absolutely disgusting discovery I made is that when I hit 24-25mph, my helmet is forced against my forehead, and my sweat is squeezed from the saturated cushions. So many times that we went down hills, I was treated to a warm salty spray in my eyes. Let there be no doubt that I am a gross creature. If I was Paul I would want nothing to do with me during & after long rides, but he doesn’t heed my warnings and only remarks jokingly that I feel ‘slimy’ and taste ‘salty’. At least I don’t stink, too.

We dorked around a lot in Racine–we first took a meandering ride along the waterfront and then tried to find ice cream. We wandered around the downtown area a lot before finding an open ice cream parlor. Once there we also lingered too long. By the time we got back on our bikes it was 5:45. Yikes! I think this final leg was about 10 miles along a highway, and directly south into the wind. The road was under construction and detoured a lot. Sometimes we took the detours, and other times we just rode through the closed off construction site. The worst parts were when there was only one narrow lane of traffic each direction and lots of orange cones, barriers and posts. The options were either take the lane and royally piss off the cars behind us, or hug the shoulder and let them squeeze past. Luckily these areas didn’t last very long–and we never got honked at.

I did the first pull for several miles, and then Paul took the lead for the remainder and led us into Kenosha. One problem that caused us to miss several of our earlier turns was that the county highways often aren’t labeled as such in cities or townships, but instead are only signed with their local street names. Very annoying. Plus a lot of intersections are completely lacking in signage, which is even less useful. I didn’t exactly know where the station was in Kenosha, but was instead just depending on highway signs to alert me that I was in the right area. Just as I thought we may have overshot the station, I caught site of a metra train parked on the elevated track. Woo Hoo. We were a little north of the station, and rode through some gravel train lots to get to the proper boarding area. We got to the station around 5:25 and actually had to wait for the train to arrive. Thank goodness.

I’ve never ridden this train before–but it was very full in Kenosha and became almost completely full as we picked up more people. This full run from Kenosha to Chicago only happens three times on Sunday–it certainly looks like there is enough demand to support more of these runs. I know that I would love that to happen, especially now that bikes are allowed on board. Not only is it much cheaper than Amtrak, but it is much less of a hassle to transport bikes.

We stopped at the Hbar for dinner and basically crashed after we were done eating. Even though it was only 50 miles, the sun, the wind and the pace really made it more challenging than other longer rides–the hills didn’t help either, I suppose. Overall, a good ride. I think I need to do a century this month though. In August the most biking I did in one day was only 80 miles, and that just isn’t acceptable

Web Counter
Site Counter