Thursday, November 16, 2006

Well now... Isn't that Special?

I am fairly positive that I never wanted to know what it feels like to be a drug addict. I have an abnormally increased fear of needles so the concept of being an IV drug user was never on my horizon. I can barely stand to inhale nose spray when I am the most conjested so cocaine was never a thought. Over-the-counter medications in pill and liquid form often have the opposite effect on me (I'll NEVER take Nyquil again) and I did actually share a joint once... in the eighth grade... and immediately hacked up a lung... which was more embarrassing than anything else... and that was the end of that forray into drug-induced debauchery.

Today I had to take a drug test in order to work part-time for a local mall during the Christmas holiday. I want a little extra shopping money and this is the perfect time for that to occur. I have never taken a drug test before. I knew from speaking with my niece that I would have to pee in a cup and I have done that at the doctor's office before, so I went into this with, I thought, my eyes wide open.

Au contraire, mon frere.

(That, by the way, is the extent of three years of high school French. Except that I can also ask you to open the door)

I arrived at the drug testing facility this afternoon with my thoughts collected and my full bladder. There would be nothing worse than an empty bladder when one needs a specimen jar filled. Tinkling on demand is a foreign concept for me and I would hate to develop something like Wee-Wee Anxiety.

I signed in and was directed through a door to meet the office WWN (affectionately now known as the Wee-Wee Nazi). She directed me to stand on the other side of the counter from her and to sign on the dotted line. I suppose the counter offers her some protection from my evilness. I imagine that by signing the form, I was confirming that the specimen was actually coming from me and only me. Not my evil twin. That is when the nightmare began.

I am certain that this facility sees all kinds of people. There are, of course, rules and guidelines for this sort of thing and I imagine they get all types of drug-infested weirdos. I haughtily assume that I do not bear any resemblance to said weirdos. I also haughtily assume that since I told them I was drug testing to qualify for a part-time Christmas job AT THE MALL, that I would not be viewed as a drug-infested weirdo. I was wrong.

I felt as if I had been temporarily transported to a parrallel universe and that I was, indeed, a resident of a maximum security rehab facility that does bed checks and panty-raid"esque" searches through all your belongings to find hidden contraband. I probably felt this way because just a few nights before my friend Brent and I watched an HBO documentary entitled "Thin". It was a real-life docudrama of some women in a therapy center for people with eating disorders, namely anorexia and bulemia.

I do not suffer from those conditions. Really. I don't. One might even say that I have conquered that disease. Except, I never battled it. I would love not to belittle the women I watched on HBO, but the fact of the matter is they were the most ridiculous, manipulative women I have ever had the misfortune of watching. They worked the system. They worked over each other. They worked over their counselors and their 90 pound bodies irritated the smack out of me. So Brent and I, in a fit of unity, watched the rest of the program while eating handfuls of M&Ms and taunting/heckling the screen. Yes. We. Did.

At any rate, at my drug test today, I felt like I was at that type of facility. Once I signed my name, I apparently lost several IQ points and developed an unknown drug habit. The WWN pointed to the room behind me and showed me a small metal lock box. I was informed that I was to place my purse in said box, lock it, and bring the key to her.


"Yes. Really."

Hmm... tough crowd. I did as I was told and handed WWN the key. I was then instructed to remove my shirt. Now, before you think that I was humiliated by having to endure some sort of body cavity search... I will tell you I was not. Although, that would make the story better. They weren't even looking for track marks on my arms. No... I had on a layered shirt, i.e. a long sleeved shirt over a short sleeved shirt and apparently the WWN believed that I had contraband sewn into the cuffs of my sleeves or something. I hung my shirt on the hook along with my umbrella... because that is where I normally stash my heroin... and was told to walk to the sink and rinse off my hands, but not to use any soap... because apparently I needed to make sure there was no cocaine residue on my hands, before I was given the little plastic cup in which to place my business... but they didn't want my business tainted with soap.

And that is when the stop watch began ticking. WWN informed me that I had four minutes from the time I closed the bathroom door in which to fill the cup to the line and return the cup to her.

"Excuse me?"

"You have four minutes."

"And if I can't in four minutes?"

Silence. My Wee-Wee Anxiety officially began.

I rushed to close the door when WWN said something about flushing and all I could think was "Talk on your own time, honey... I got BUSINESS to do here!" I fumbled with my jeans. Hated men in general. Sat down. And nothing. Not. One. Thing.

Suddenly, I became The Little Engine That Could and began my "I think I can, I think I can" mantra. And I did. Happily. But I only had about two minutes left!!! So I wiped off the cup because I'm. Not. A. Guy. and promptly flushed the toilet.

At which time I heard WWN screeching "You're not supposed to flush!"

What?! Oh... that must have been her parting comment right after the stop watch started. Tough lady. I flushed. The water is now blue again in the toilet. I hate that you didn't get to see how green it had been just scant minutes before. I'm testing for a part-time job AT A MALL for goodness sakes! Give me a break!

I handed my business over to WWN who now informed me to proceed to the sink and wash with water AND soap, because apparently it is okay to remove the cocaine residue now. I had more anxiety from the past four minutes than I have experience in probably four years.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Theatrical Review - The Lion King

I cried approximately three minutes into this production. I did. No PMS reasoning behind it, I was completely blown away at the three minute mark.

I was instantly transported to my childhood where everything is new and fresh and exciting. I sat completely in awe of everything about this production from the downbeat until the final ovation. At points there was so much going on that my mind could not accept it all... and I wished I were Samantha from "Bewitched" and could freeze time in order to take it all in.

I thought the giraffes were going to do me in until I saw the hippo. I thought the hippo was fabulous until the elephants came up from the audience. I thought the elephants were fabulous until the sun rose over the stage. I thought the sunrise was spectacular until Zazu entered and began flapping about. I thought Zazu was the best until Scar began to speak. I thought Scar was beyond anything until Timon and Pumba arrived on stage.

All in all I was completely entralled and enchanted from beginning to end. If you have not seen this production... run, do not walk to the nearest ticket outlet and find a way to go. Is it pricey? Yes... but it was worth every single penny! If I could find a way to go again... I would be there in a heartbeat.

Run... don't walk... or the hyenas may find you, and then you'll be a goner!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

And the Winner is...

For the love people! Do I have to wake up on election day with the breaking news story NOT being about our tight senatorial race here in the Volunteer state, but instead I get newscasters and radio disk jockeys going on and On and ON about Faith Hill's reaction to Carrie Underwood's snatching an award out from under her Country Princess Nose!

I thought that took the prize, until just a few minutes ago, as I was watching a NATIONAL NEWSCAST OF THE ELECTION, the scrolling ticker tape under the image let me know that Britney Spears has filed for divorce from K-Fed citing irreconcilable differences.

Really? You're kidding me. Could you maybe have thought about that tidbit BEFORE you allowed the man to use you to reproduce? Twice?

Yeah. No one saw this coming. I'm going back to the election coverage.

Let Freedom Ring!

The Story of An American Beauty

Remember just a few months ago how I was lamenting my eldest niece's journey into adulthood, because it effectually meant I was growing old as well? That is still true. She is lovely, tall, strong, opinionated and full of life. I am still growing older. But today, she became one more thing: An American.

No... she has not been an illegal alien residing in this country without a Visa or green card. But, for the first time ever, in her entire life, she embraced democracy with both hands and she VOTED in her first election.

I was a pivotal player in this transition. And I am not afraid to boast because of it.

After I finished crying over the fact that she had turned 18 back in May, I got on the web, and printed a voter registration application for her. I stood over her and watched her fill out the form. I took the signed form, put it in an envelope, and mailed it myself.

She is now eligible for jury duty... but we haven't talked about that yet.

She never received her voter registration card, but called the election commision to confirm that she was indeed registered, and to determine the location of her voting precinct.

We discussed some of the issues on the ballot and we see eye-to-eye on some things, and disagree about others. But that is not the point. The point is, it falls upon her shoulders (as it does billions of other Americans) to bear the responsibility of her vote. Whether we agree or not is moot... even though I really, really, really wanted her to agree and vote the way I do.

Yesterday, she started feeling sick. This does not bode well for election day. I had already voted and reminded her that election day was today.

So, today I came home from work after a tough day (one of those where nothing goes right) and jumped in the shower, threw on my PJs, and got ready to sit down and watch the election coverage. Before my hair had time to dry, Kristin sent me a text message by phone saying that she had not been able to vote, because she had felt so sick. It was 5:45 p.m. The polls closed at 7:00 p.m. I texted her back and told her there was still time.

She was at her grandparents with her mother, but did not have a car. I was sending her the text message that read: "If you want to go vote, I will take you"; while she was sending me one that read: "Can you come get me and take me?" I put real clothes back on, and at 6:00 p.m. I was heading to pick her up.

We arrived at the polling location to find we had to park on the street and stand, in the rain, in the cold in the parking lot of the Volunteer Fire Department. And we proceeded to stand there for the next hour and a half. We met up with a lady who used to teach Kristin's small group Bible study, and chatted away with her, while sharing an umbrella with each other.

We got in the building, and not too long after that, Kristin was presenting her driver's license and signing her name on the doted line. I didn't think I could have been more proud of her, until I watched her step up to the voting booth, and begin to concentrate on the ballot before her. I wanted to jump up and down and make a big fool of myself in front of God and everyone still standing in line, but knowing that I would like Kristin to continue the voting practice in years to come, I decided to remain calm, cool and collected.

She emerged with a smile on her face, and I was honored to have shared the moment with her.

We went back to my place to watch the first results roll in. She had great questions to ask, and I tried to give her the answers. It was our first election together. I wonder if she'll let this become a tradition? The senatorial race in Tennessee is a very tight one. She left my house thinking that her candidate may have lost, but truly, the race is still too close to call... and we may not know the outcome until tomorrow... if then.

Did she and I cancel each other's vote? Possibly. That isn't the point either. She saw the responsibility set before her as an American citizen and she seized the responsibility with both hands. She physically felt ill and yet stood in the cold rain for more than an hour to cast her ballot.

Oh, but that the women of Iraq could do the same without fear of torture and death.

Kristin was born in the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave, and tonight, she took her first steps to fulfilling her American destiny. She is a true American Beauty.