Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Big Fat Bully

We humans are such bullies. As my mom puts it to her cats, "I'm the boss mammal." And bossy we are. The other day I was driving down my street and watched in horror as a black Volvo crushed a little bird under its tires. Its partner (was it a mom, a baby, a boyfriend, a best friend...?) flew off, then hovered around its dearly departed, chirping and screeching and fluttering its wings. Just like that, a little life was snuffed out by a big human bully.

I was fuming about it all day. What makes us so special? Why should we have the power to decide which animals roam free and which end up on our plates, which trees get demolished and which get to provide shade for us at the beach, which flowers dot the landscape and which wind up in vases surrounded by dinner party guests? It's astounding the gall we humans have: the ways in which we play god everyday.

Then as I was driving to the gym later and witnessed a giant hawk or vulture swoop down and tear a piece of roadkill to pieces, carrying off a huge bloody chunk of flesh in its beak, I felt better knowing that at least one species was benefiting from all our bullying. Our angry tires, made his delectable dinner. Vultures feeding vultures... Maybe we're not so bad after all.

Nah, we're bullies.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cat Asses

In the past 2 weeks I have cleaned not one, but two, cat asses. This, my friends, is not my idea of a fun summer activity. The first was my cat Jade, a dried poo-ball stuck in her fluffy white butt. I had to clean it off, and then scrub her butt in the bathtub as she meowed and yowled like a banshee on crack. Blood curdling, glass shattering, ear drum popping shrieks, as if I were strangling her or sticking pins in her eyes. Our subletter must think I'm some sort of sadist. I kept yelling out, "Really, I'm not hurting her. She hates water!" just so she wouldn't call Animal Control on me.

The second offense occurred yesterday with my roommate's cat, Patrick - the big, furry gray beast with three legs. He has some sort of bladder inflammation, and after taking him to the vet, I noticed he had peed all over his backside. I couldn't let him walk around the house like that, poor dear, so I hosed him off. My arms now look like pin cushions, one particularly gnarly puncture wound currently turning black and blue. A poke hear, a poke there - I wore long sleeves to the gym because I was worried people would think I was a blind heroin addict.

The point of my story is to 1.) bitch and moan and 2.) hope that by writing about it, no other dirty cat butts will fall on my lap. I am no groomer, nor do I want to be. And most importantly, I'm slightly anemic and can't risk loosing any more blood. So, universe, could you lay off for a bit?


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

David Sedaris Hates Me

Yup, you read it right. One of my favorite authors in the world thinks I'm an utter disgrace. How did this come about, you may ask? It all began with a little book by the name of "When You Are Engulfed in Flames." A friend of mine gave it to me for my birthday last year, so when I heard Sedaris was holding a free signing in LA last Wednesday I jumped at the chance. I'm not really one to collect autographs, but there's something about a signed book by a renowned author that makes me feel better than other people.

However, things got dicey when I realized the said book was in Nashville with my boyfriend. Feeling bad, he offered to pay me back if I bought a used copy in town. Did and done. The literary shit then hit the fan, once again, when once arriving at Barnes & Nobles with friends, we realized you had to buy a new copy in store to be allowed to get it signed. "Since when? The website didn't say anything about it!" I demanded answers. Apparently it's a special deal Sedaris made with the bookstore. I was beginning to smell a sellout. Needless to say, I had to buy yet a 3rd copy of the book to be returned at a later date once I got through and had my used copy signed. Sound confusing? It was.

But nothing beats the four hours, no four and a half hours, I spent in line alone once my friends - off to bigger and better plans - ditched me, their unsigned books in my hands. My stomach growled. I wished that I'd brought snacks or at least my Updike book club pick. I'd already read the Sedaris book cover to cover. Plus, the line weaved through the worst sections of the book store - Sports, Automobile, Crosswords (particularly painful since you can't very well do one and then put it back in place), Expecting Mothers. Gross. I did manage to look up the car I'm selling in the 2009 Kelley Blue Book. One small victory.

After making friends with the girl ahead of me, taking deep breaths to calm my nerves and flipping through a fabulous book of postcards entitled "Cute Animals Delivering Bad News", it was finally my time to meet the MAN. I had been watching as he spent fifteen minutes with each person, smiling and making little notes in his pocket notebook. Would they end up in his newest essay? His journal? A NY Times article? Would I make the cut?

That's when I blew it. Blew it big time. I had been praying he wouldn't ask what I did, as I'd hate to tell a professional writer of his caliber that I'm a small fry writer myself. But guess what? Bingo. You got it. He asked what it was that I write. "Screenwriting and an online column." I didn't want to mention the commercial treatments because people always want an explanation of what they are, and I have to watch dismayed as their eyes glaze over in confusion and boredom.

He pushed further about the column, and when I told him it revolved around frugality in LA he asked for an example. Well, I'd written about free book signings. "What about them?" he asked. "Just that they're a great way to meet your favorite author. I also talked about books in general." "What about books?" he prodded. "That used bookstores are a wonderful option and your library of course--"

Silence. A look of pure hatred spread over the jolly man's face. "So what other than telling people to not give author's their proper royalties, do you talk about in your column?" The only thing I could think to say? "Uh-oh. I'm the asshole." He tried to revert to his friendly demeanor, but his agent kept shifting her eyes to the exit trying to get me to take the hint. I couldn't leave, though. I had four damn books to sign! And the man kept asking me all sorts of questions. My palms were sweating. I felt lightheaded. I had to get out.

Later, as I drank a glass of wine to wash down the feeling that I was for once in my life 'the douchebag', I read over what he wrote in each book. They are as follows:

Erin: "Diabetes is for lovers."
Katy: "I'm so angry you're not here."
Lindsay: "I'm glad you're alive."

And last but not least:

Me: "Your story touched my heart."