Monday, July 26, 2010

Oh good, she's complaining. Something new.

I am officially putting myself on food probation. It's like academic probation, but instead, when I eat too much, oh you know, ice cream topped with cake and a pie - I get kicked off the school soccer team and can't play in the championship and everyone gets mad at me and makes "Thibeaux is a Quitter" buttons that they wear every day. Just kidding, I'd never make the soccer team, I'm terrible. Absolutely zero eye-foot coordination. Other things I am bad at as a result of this: dancing, freestyle walking and dodging land-mines.

I've struggled with weight issues my whole life. Because let's face it, I'm never meant to be a skinny girl. I'm like two and a half skinny girls. No, I'm like if one skinny girl ate a moderately skinny girl. That would be me at my best. But when I was growing up, I watched too much TV and played sports and wanted to be popular and this is the solemn swan song of my teenage years. Bottom line, I wanted to be someone I was never going to be. So I did what any awkward, uncomfortable girl in the mid-nineties, early 2000's did, I overcompensated with humor. It was my own personal mission statement that I would use humor as a defense mechanism to mask my insecurities about myself and how disappointed I was every time I looked in the mirror until I was no longer disappointed. We all see how well the "until" part worked out.

I think the part that really sucked about my everlasting struggle with my weight was when I realized that all those stupid doctors and fitness instructors and nutritionists were absolutely right. There was no magic pill, no spell I could cast, because I think if there was, even Crabbe and Goyle would have figured it out, to instantaneously change my appearance. Growing up helped, of course. I'm much better as a young adult than I ever was as an adolescent. And of course I was never overweight enough to consider some kind of surgery, forget you National Institute of Health and your weight minimums, so I was simply stuck in the middle, not skinny enough, but not fat enough to get stapled, between the proverbial rock, and a hard place. The rock being my love of the couch and affinity for cake, and the hard place being my dislike of the concept and patrons of "the gym." It was also extra annoying because none of the easy foods, like frozen pizza or Kraft mac and cheese, are actually good for you. And being the sullen, rebellious teen I was, my parents couldn't even make me talk to them, let alone eat "healthy." I chalked their forced multi-colored meals up to parental tyranny and I stormed the castle in the form of Jack In The Box 99 cent tacos and Zebra Cakes.

Author's Note: upon scanning my Microsoft Word "Symbols" for the cent sign, because I didn't want to write out the word "cent" for no particular reason, I was mystified that while they offer the ohm symbol, there is not a cent symbol to be found. Now, I, being an audio engineer, might have a use for the mathematical term in which resistance is measured, but I cannot say that the general public needs to write "The speakers are rated 500 watts at 8 ohms" more than they would need to write, "There's the new store in town, everything is 99 cents."

It's been a lot of ups and downs, but at the end of 2009, I was finally within earshot of my ultimate weight goal. And if I'm being honest, I really deserved it. Not only did I spent 10 or more hours a week at that stupid 24-hour fitness voluntary torture warehouse, but I turned down cake. I turned down cake and french fries, and answered the question, "baked potato or salad?" with the s word more than once. It sucked. But finally getting to buy clothes you like in sizes that don't make you die inside is a reward. And finally looking like you fit in with your brothers who are essentially pipe-cleaner sized people is a reward. And not getting Kevin Smith-ed on any particular Southwest flight is a reward. And like any "formerly fat kid who found the light," I made a solemn vow: I will never look like that, again.

So that is why, my dearest friends, I am putting myself on food probation and mandatory sweat factory sessions. Because I'm too poor to buy new clothes, so the ones I've got simply have to fit. Even though I resent the gender bias when it comes to appearance and the demand for perfection, because it's not enough that I have to do the same work as you jackasses, it's not enough that I have to pretend like I care about other women's rights, but I have to look put together and flawless, and I have to shower every day while doing it. Call in Batman, we have an injustice only a seksi vigilante can handle. No, even though I resent it, I buy into wholeheartedly. Plus, Eleanor 2.0 owes it to original Eleanor to stay the right shape. Original Eleanor turned down delicious, flavor-filled carbs and suffered through tasteless "could have come from my backyard" salads for Eleanor 2.0.

But my battle cry will always be, as it has always been, I hate the gym.

Friday, July 2, 2010

How drinking makes me magic, self esteem issues, and the trouble of turning 23.

I blame Panic! at the Disco and Fall Out Boy for my obsession with really long titles. I think they're funny. All-inclusive hilarity, like me on an open bar cruise.

I'm forcing myself to down a 20 oz. coffee before 9:15 pm, because I have to go back to work. Work: the job that ruined my manicure, made me bleed, and will be the reason that within a couple months, I will give the hulk a run for his money. On account of my muscles, not my already overdramatic temper, but I see why you automatically went there. No really, I love it. The reason I'm telling you this? Because sometimes it's fun to pretend like my life is super hard and I really like sympathy. Almost as much as I like attention. Actually, I think the two go hand-in-hand. You won't understand, you're not a middle child! Moving on.

The other night, I was out with some friends at the bar - and the aroma of baking pizza dough was drifting through the patio area from a few buildings away. So naturally, my friends and I called in our order. The great thing about that detail is that we googled the number for Lanesplitters, and phoned in our order, and the place is literally 2 doors down from the bar. And as we are devouring our pizza, because that shit was gone in about 7 minutes, one of my friends from out of town asked why we hadn't thought to order a pizza sooner.

And so I explained.

In the Harry Potter series, penned by the amazingly talented JK Rowling, there is a bar located in London called the Leaky Cauldron. In the first novel, it is described as a hole-in-the-wall pub that seemed to be invisible to passer-bys. Rowling writes, "Harry had the most peculiar feeling that only he and Hagrid could see it." Basically, it's a building that can only be seen by wizarding folk. Lanesplitters is the Leaky Cauldron of Oakland; it can only be seen by magic people. However, the thing that makes people magic is three or more alcoholic beverages.

I've lived in this area for almost 8 months now, and the only time I think to go to Lanesplitters is when I have passed the third drink marker. It's only after that third gin and juice that I realize Lanesplitters is there, and that it is delicious. And once I see it, I can't imagine life without it. It has never taken me longer than 8 minutes to finish a slice of pepperoni pizza. And that is including my drunken chatter, because I may or may not have a tendency to soberly talk at people, so when I've been drinking, it's a wonder if anyone gets a word in. I've always said it, but now I have the perfect explanation to back up my beliefs. Drinking makes me magic.

Speaking of Harry Potter, two other things come to mind. Okay, about a hundred other things come to mind, including that time I was watching Lord of the Rings and yelled "Expecto Patronum" when Gollum attacked Frodo. But more importantly, two immediately relevant things come to mind. The first being my need to admit that Harry Potter June was a bit of a failure. Damn you, Catholic guilt. I only made it through 4.5 books. It turns out I might be a little busier than I thought.

The second thing is a quote from my very fantastic friend Kristin.

"Of course I tell people to read your blog. How could I not? But it's like telling someone to read Harry Potter. What do you say? Read Harry Potter, because it's amazing. That's all there really is to say."

First off, I'm going to overlook the fact that this was said on my birthday, which was last Thursday, she could have just been playing by the rules*, and take it as pure truth and sincerity. If I had a fan page on facebook, I'd think this would be worthy of being in the "about me section." Oh wait, I do. That's right folks, my blog has reached fandom status. Well, either that, or I have friends who like the internet as much as I do. Kristin will be handling all my publicity now. Though I hope I don't really "make it" cause then I'd have to make it offic (pronounced "oh-ffish") with like, documents and crap. And I hate documents. But I like filing them. It's such a dilemma.

Here's the problem with having a fan page. You all knew I couldn't just be happy about it. While I am absolutely delighted to know that people I've never met are reading my blog and finding it mildly entertaining, having a fan page, with a fan counter, is absolutely a new source for self-consciousness and paranoia. It's like how I check my comments on this repetitively. I have to know. I have this insatiable need to be liked, which does not go well with my incurable sarcastic reflex. So basically, I want to be snarky about everything, and then I expect people to think it's funny and like me for it. Is that not really how it works? So with the addition of a fan page, I now have the ability to see exactly how many people like me, and even worse, how many people thought they liked me, and then changed their minds. What happens when one day, I have 25 fans, and then I check a few days later, like I invariably will, and I only have 23? Well readers, two things will happen.

1. I will think, for hours, about all the different scenarios that have occured in the last 72 hours to cause someone to go through the effort of finding my page, and "unlike"ing it. Was it something I said? Have I insulted any cultural groups lately? Were my attempts to mask someone's identity when I was making fun of them too thin, and therefore transparent? Author's Note: I never do that.

2. I will begin the process of trying to figure out who it was. I will scour people's newsfeeds seeing if it says "Joe NotFunny has unliked Eleanor Thibeaux" see what I did there? It's a defense mechanism. Don't judge. And when I don't find that, I will start checking the page more frequently, as to keep better tabs on my fans. I might be the creepiest paranoid blogger that has ever lived. Am I crazy? Yes. It's like my mom told me once, "yes Eleanor, you're a bit crazy, but it's only in a really, really good way." Thanks, Mom.

And if you can believe it, in all this craziness of fan pages and work, I turned 23. And as if you weren't convinced that I was insane by all the information I've divulged, let me tell you about the 48 hours of my birthday.

Something happens in my brain when it's my birthday. June 30 - July 2 is a period of time, the only period of time in my year, when I completely drop the facade of being a well-balanced, polite, self-aware individual. Strangely enough, it's also the period of time when I lose the most friends... weird, huh? I'm kidding. Sort of. It's definitely a period of time when I test my friendships to see who the real keepers are. (Shelby Cook and Brian Gomez passed with flying colors.)

So Wednesday was the start of "it's my birthday." I said that about every other sentence. Best part? It wasn't even technically true. But the truth becomes a sort of a relative abstraction around July 1. And that night, I went out. I mean that in the most literal definition. I went out, I really went out. At one point, I was telling a stranger, I believe his name was Dave? Maybe it was Peter. No wait, I think it was Andrew. You know what, that's irrelevant. Anyway, BarGuy McNoName told me that I couldn't be Batman because I was a girl. So I explained to him that first off, he was wrong, and the reason he was wrong was because it was my birthday. Secondly, I explained that he wouldn't feel that way if I had my utility belt on. A utility belt that contains a flask, hotel bottles of various liquor, a holster of straws, a mag light, and a grappling hook, of course.

I can tell you how that night started, played out, and ended with one sentence.

I fell asleep in my leather jacket.

Thursday morning I woke up, and I was still a little drunk. I was afraid of being hungover on my birthday, so I went to the bar. Apparently no one told them it was my birthday, and on my birthday, rule number 5a, my bar should open at 9:30 am. So I waited.

In the retelling of this story, a friend said, "what's amazing about you is how drunk you get the night before, close a bar, and then are up at 9:30 the next morning. In the showing of this picture, the owner of Heart and Dagger simply said, "aww Eleanor, you look so sad."

After I accepted that I'd have to wait, my silly drunk self went to breakfast. It turns out, 23 year-old Eleanor still really loves breakfast. And Bacon.

Apple mimosas. Because I wasn't intoxicated enough for 10 am.

Guess what I did next? That's right, I took a birthday nap. for three hours. The best part about napping on your birthday? You wake up, and it's still your birthday! Went to dinner with the only two people willing to tolerate me for another six hours, and I realized at this point that their patience was wearing thin. They were operating strictly on genuine love for me as a normal person, and the unyielding faith that this was just another day that would have to end at some point, and they could get their less obnoxious friend back.

Thursday night, there were shots. Thursday night, there were drinks that I didn't pay for, and drinks I didn't ask for. Thursday night, there were friends, and Thursday night at midnight, those friends sought their revenge. Turns out my own medicine? Pretty bitter.

Friday morning I returned to my senses, exited the birthday fog with my remaining dignity, because did I really sing and dance to every single Queen song that played on the jukebox? The rumor is that I really did, and went back to work as an almost functional, or as functional as I ever was, 23 year-old.

* "the rules" - this term refers to my self established set of guidelines for appropriate behavior of all parties on my birthday. This list includes, but is not limited to, "laughing at all my jokes, not making fun of me, agreeing with whatever I say, tolerating drunken rambling about my birthday, how awesome I am, and how much I love the internet."