How to Get out of Jury Duty

Once upon a time this blogger had jury duty. I showed up at 8am, drank some coffee, read Christopher Moore, watched the video about civic duty, and chuckled to myself at the fifty-something man in a three piece suit snapchatting his lady that he didn’t want to be there.

In the courtroom, the potential jurors answered yes or no questions like “Do you drink” and everyone said yes. (I love Arizona.)

When it was my turn, they brought up that I had said yes when asked if anyone close to me had a DUI. “Um, yeah, like several of my co-workers?”

The prosecution’s lawyer asked if that made me hate cops. “Naww,” I said. “They deserved it.” He grinned at me and I smiled back. The defense lawyer looked ill.

“What do you mean, deserved it?” he asked carefully. “Oh, they told me what they blew,” I said lightly.

“Did that surprise you?” he asked. I laughed and said no. I was briefly worried he was going to ask me out.

The defense asked if I remembered the charges. I recited them back to her. She asked if that gave me an opinion on the matter. I responded affirmatively, as the charges were significantly over the legal limit. The judge told her it was a stupid question and she needed to ask a better one.

“Do you have any bumper stickers on your car?” she asked.

I couldn’t figure out why she asked this. Was she trying to determine if I was cool and hip? I didn’t know what the cool and hip answer was so I settled on the truth. “Um, no. Well, kind of? I have a window cling.” She looked excited and asked what it was.

Oops.

“This is kind of embarrassing,” I said with a breathy laugh. “You know those decals of like families, with the husband and wife and the kids and the dog?”

Here she nodded encouragingly.

“Well, my boyfriend got me one for Christmas that is a guy and girl and bags of money because we don’t have any kids.”

The entire fucking room lost it. Even the judge was cackling. Once he caught his breath he asked if anyone had any other questions.

They didn’t.

And I was free to go.

Enough

I’m bad at sticking to things.

I haven’t written here in months. I am bad at exercise. I am worse at dieting. My least favorite part of fake nails is having the same color on my hands for two whole weeks IT’S SUCH A COMMITMENT.

The only things I’m really good at sticking to are reading, drinking, and Liebling, and that’s because those things require no effort. They are a part of me, like breathing or tattoos or ankle bones. (But not a part of me like my boobs, because I hate those, or my hair, because I can’t decide on that either. Just so we’re clear.)

But I’d like to be the kind of person who can stick to things. To be able to say that I exercise five times a week — and mean for more than just this month, and know I will keep it up. I’d like to go out and do things and stick with them and not be so desperately unsatisfied by my skin and my hobbies.

So here is step one. Write again. Write more. Tell a story. Keep a promise to myself.

Made Up Anniversary #4

Today is Liebling’s and my made up anniversary. This suits us as we like to think of ourselves as the Morticia and Gomez of our friend group, and also because we have no real anniversary. It is difficult to quantify a thing that was always friendship and always more and sometimes less and quite often drunken.

It would be accurate to say that I have always loved him. It would be fair to say that sometimes I insist that I hate him, but mostly when he drinks the last beer or says something anarchical.

I’m trying to remind myself that it has been less than a month since I saw him last, and it’s really not that long; other people have had to survive long distance for longer with less visits than we’ve had. But it is still hard when I can’t sleep to not be able to wake him up, and somehow harder still to try and summarize the days and weeks that don’t have him in it.

It would be accurate to say I am grateful to be in love and also fair to say that it is so painful to be so far apart.

I can’t believe it’s been four years of love. Pretty damn amazing.

It would be both accurate and fair to say I love him more now than ever.

The Least Populated State in the US

I am writing this from Cody, Wyoming. All I knew about Cody before coming here was that Bill Bryson came here once and made fun of its commercialism and pointed out that Buffalo Bill wasn’t even from here, let alone Wyoming.┬áSo I was not surprised that when I landed there were huge signs everywhere advertising Buffalo Bill.

Mostly, I was just glad to be off the three-row plane that jostled me the entire way from Denver. I could have handled the tiny plane. I could have handled the turbulence. What almost pushed me right over the edge (a short fall, I know) was the irascible brat behind me. He kicked my seat over and over and over. I was seriously considering turning around and telling him that if he didn’t stop kicking my seat I was going to murder his parents in front of him.

But I’m passive aggressive so I just heaved a huge, dramatic sigh and squiggled around in my seat until the little shit’s father finally realized what he was doing and told him to stop.

So anyway, Cody. I get off the airplane. On a metal ramp. Into gale force winds. And then had to walk all the way to the door.

I got inside and blinked to fix my dry contacts and look for a rental car sign. Like a sign from the heavens it was directly in front of me. Next to the other rental car places. I stared. At the counter I asked for some basic directions and the all-American goofy guy got out a highlighter and showed me my hotel on the map. “You can’t miss it,” he said eagerly. “It’s really the only road in town.”

“Thanks,” I said, mildly horrified. “When I bring it back Saturday is it hard to find?”

He gestured down a short hallway. “This is actually the whole airport.” This time his eagerness to help was tinged with apology. I looked down the hallway and back at him. The airport was significantly smaller than the middle school I attended. “Welp, thanks,” I said, slowly backing out the door in fear.

I found my rental car and threw my things into the trunk with the help of the gale force winds. Thanks, wind. Then I proceeded to spend five minutes hitting switches until I found out how to adjust the steering wheel height from “small child who is probably allowed to drive here oh God the country is scary” to “moderately tall for a woman” height. I cleaned the windshield twice during the process. I didn’t even bother with the radio. I don’t know how pilots do it. It all seems like a big lie. No one can track that many switches. They can’t possibly all do something.

At least this time I didn’t smash the brake while looking for the clutch. I’m getting better at driving rentals.

I made it to the hotel, which was complete with a taxidermied (okay, maybe it was just a stuffed animal, but who could know a thing like that) deer with enormous antlers and a Santa hat, and Christmas tree in the lobby. (Welcome to Wyoming, I guess.) There was no elevator, so I walked all the way up to the second floor and then neither of my keys worked, so I had to go back downstairs and try it again. I have yet to stay in a Holiday Inn where I do not have trouble with the keys working. Holiday Inn Express, all fine. Holiday Inn, no fucking keys. I’m beginning to develop a complex. Get it together, Holiday Inn. I don’t need this.

Let’s just hope I can make it to Saturday without having to drive in the snow.

Filiberto’s

One of the most common questions I get asked since moving to Arizona is how much amazing Mexican food I’ve eaten. And the answer, to my own discredit, is almost none. Between insisting on getting sushi every time I go out and home cooking so many meals (thank the gods for food delivery service Hello Fresh), I haven’t actually eaten very much Mexican food at all. I have become a huge fan of Southwestern food, but that’s as close as I’ve gotten.

So today Ithaca and I moseyed on down to Filiberto’s. It’s a five minute walk, right next to the Taco Bell. She met someone at a party who told her they couldn’t even believe Taco Bell was still in business with a Filiberto’s next to it, because it’s the best drunk Mexican food ever.

I found this a bold claim. I have had a large number of people tell me that if I was a Disney princess I would be Taco Belle. My love for Taco Bell is boundless, and some of you may remember I once drunkenly bullied a large black male bus driver into taking my drunk, barefoot ass to Taco Bell against the express wishes of the people paying for his evening bus shuttling.

And I have to say, it was a DISAPPPOINTMENT. (Lower case letters were not enough to express my disdain.) At 9pm on a Saturday night, my sister and I were the only two people in the entire restaurant. It was not a small restaurant either — it had a bar and two whole sides. We sat at the bar when no one came to seat us. A girl who looked fifteen, maybe, asked if we were twenty one. I laughed and said yes. This was apparently enough, because she did not card us. Then I ordered the special off the huge poster off the wall (carnitas taco and a Negra Modelo). She stared at me as if she had never seen the enormous poster, and just quietly poured my beer. She brought my sister a bottle of Corona.

We stared at each other helplessly after she left. “She didn’t know what you were talking about,” Ithaca said quietly. “I know. But more importantly, why is there no one here?” I whispered, afraid someone would leap out of the shadows and kill us. “I’ve never been in an empty bar before. This feels like the apocalypse.”

After about five minutes of silence I was convinced that we were the last people on the planet. I get why everyone’s so crazy in the Walking Dead. Empty bars can make a person lose it.

I was served carne asada, which was I guess more or less what I ordered. It was delicious, but not memorable. I would never have a hankering for it, even when drunk. But the NACHOS. (Sorry, it’s just all that disdain again.) I asked for nachos and cheese. The waitress (or fifteen year old daughter of the owner, or zombie, not really sure at this point) said “Chips?” And I said “Sure.”

Turns out they were unsalted, super bland tortilla chips. And there was no delicious melty white cheese dipping sauce. There was just shredded cheddar cheese (NOT EVEN MELTED EITHER) thrown on top of the chips.

I was horrified. “I AM HORRIFIED,” I whisper-shouted to Ithaca. “THEY COULD HAVE AT LEAST MICROWAVED THE CHEESE.” I love cheese. This would have honestly been an acceptable compromise. Unmelted cheese on nachos is never acceptable, even as a compromise.

She ate them in stunned silence. I took a healthy swig of my beer. I ate like a person who is 30% hungry and 70% frightened of the rapture, which I consider pretty good since I was only 10% hungry and 90% terrified of how empty the bar was at 9 on a Saturday night.

Against all odds, we survived and fled out the door. We both agreed we didn’t see any need to go back.

I think I’ll stick with Taco Bell.

Thankful

I’m writing this from Scottsdale, Arizona. I thought I should ground myself here for a moment or two since I’m going to be traveling to three states in the next three weeks, and it’s been a while since I’ve written anything.

I know I missed Thanksgiving by a week, but I’m still thankful. I’m thankful that I have friends who invited me to the biggest, most cheerful, and welcoming Thanksgiving I’ve ever been a part of, and I’m thankful for strangers for making me feel at home. I am thankful to the universe for settling me in a home where it’s December and I’m wearing shorts and can leave the windows open (just not at night, the desert really does get cold).

I am thankful to my amazing friends who text me as if I’m still less than two hours by car and not four and a half by plane. I’m amazed and delighted that three people from Cleveland have spent time with me here so far.

I am thankful for having three bookstores near me (and yes, I’ve been to all three in the last month, and yes, I bought books every time, and yes, that was the only Black Friday shopping that I did).

And I’m so, so looking forward to Christmas. Liebling is coming to visit, and I get to spend Christmas with him and my sister. What more could I ask for?

More books, maybe. But really, that’s it.