Diner Conversations

The waitress is looking for a screwdriver. A Phillips screwdriver in particular. Thankfully, there is a group of what can only be described as “good ol’ boys” sitting behind me. One of them gets up because he has a screwdriver in the truck. 

The day has been saved. 

Now one of them is regaling the group with a horrifying story of a seventeen year old “punk” who shot and killed a Marine. Apparently, when the boy was questioned he had a “shit-eating grin,” and then he confessed. The boy’s parents were charged as accessories to the crime. There is something about a car that was stolen. This car is now “sitting on my lot.” 

These guys are now discussing the price of holding a car in impound. Apparently, it costs $111 to hookup to a car and only $18 per day. If you are overcharged you have to pay the bill then turn in the impound lot that overcharged. 

Now, the story is starting over and his friends are loudly telling him to “shut the hell up.” They don’t remember this incident and I don’t think they are buying his story. 

Now they are discussing John and Adam Walsh. This is proving to be a pretty interesting conversation. 

He got sidetracked. He wants to talk about Dan Brown books now. This is apparently the most literary conversation these guys have. 

Wait for it…. He just said “I shit you not.” 

My day has been made. 

PS: forgot to post this back in August when it was relevant. So, now it’s just a hilarious memory from Oklahoma. 

Distorted Beauty

Selfies became a lot more fun when I found apps like Prisma. Now I can make myself look like a cartoon character even if I don’t know how to draw. 

I guess some people may think selfies are ridiculous, however when you spend as much time traveling alone as I do, you gotta get pictures somehow. 

It has nothing to do with vanity. 

I spent years hating every single picture that I ever saw of myself. I struggled to smile for the camera. I tended to avoid pictures if I could get away with it. I simply did not want there to be any record of the way I looked. 

I made funny faces. 

I am too fat. 

My nose is too turned up and my nostrils flare when I laugh too hard. When I am mad. When I am tired, happy, or sad. Okay, my nostrils just flare a lot. They are active little boogers.

My neck is short and thick. 

You can’t see my collar bones. 

I am built like a potato, all lumps and no curves in the right spots.

I perpetually looked constipated or pissed off in almost every picture. 

I was dressed wrong. 

I was not thin enough. 

My hair did not look right. 

My teeth looked odd. 

I spent so much time berating the image of the girl on the paper that I couldn’t appreciate the memory that had been captured. 

It goes beyond a low self-esteem. I was full of loathing and resentment. I just knew I was not enough. 

I hated the camera. I made fun of “those silly girls” who had the audacity to playfully pose for their own shutter. I convinced myself they were somehow the antithesis of who I should be if I was to be taken seriously. 

There was not one single event that was the turning point. Slowly, I started posing for photos with friends. I started out standing behind everyone a peeking over their shoulder. There must be a hundred pictures of my son and I with me grasping his shoulders and peering around his head. 

Once iPhones had the forward facing camera, making faces in the camera replaced making faces in the mirror. Don’t lie. You know you do that too. It has nothing to do with liking the way I look, it’s almost like a curiousity about what my facial expressions look like to other people. 

Occasionally, I take a photo that doesn’t look too bad. If the light is just right and I am relaxed I like some of the photos. Honestly, part of it is practicing posing, angles, and lighting. I feel like I am making progress. 

I’m not going to pretend like I feel like I look good the majority of the time. I still hate so much about what I see. 

Aging is difficult. 

I have more acne than I did as a teenager. 

I can’t even begin to imagine what is happening to my pores, all of the sudden they decided to become prominent, and they collect debris like tiny gaping hoarders. 

The skin on my face is thinner, drier, more oily, blotchy, and something is happening my eyelids. It’s as if the tissue is migrating to under my eyes instead of holding my eyebrows up. 

My eyelashes have decided to abandon me. Perhaps they have migrated up to my brow. 

There is a very deep ravine marching across my forehead. There is no way to smooth it out anymore. 

There are gray hairs sneaking their way into my brunette locks, which has taken on a dull sheen if I don’t get it colored by a professional. I was also unaware of how the shaft would become thinner and increasingly prone to breakage. 

And don’t even get me started on my chin. All I can say is tweezers are no longer optional. Perhaps this is the lash’s new address. 

Despite my dissatisfaction with essentially every body part and feature, my son has my smile and my nose. Really he looks very much like me. I think he is the most handsome dude ever. I realize you are most likely suffering from the delusion that your son is the best looking kid to walk the earth, but you are mistaken. It’s okay, I won’t correct you. Well, not out loud anyway. 

How can I despise the features of my face, when I see them on my son and feel they are perfect? How can I tear down someone else’s child? Bet you didn’t know I was someone’s perfect child. I would never say the things to another woman that I say to myself. There is a bit of honesty I was going to insert right here, but it really made me sound like an asshole. It had to be cut. Just know I am not as kind as that last statement sounded. I am really quite snarky. 

So, what have I learned? 

It takes a conscious, purposeful effort for me to be kind to myself. Sometimes it takes just as much for me to be kind to others too. I have to frequently redirect myself and somehow prove that I am not quite the ogre-spinster I picture in my head. 

Yes. I know. Looks are not everything. If you are nice and behave in a warm, loving way, you are are beautiful. There are a million other cliche phrases I can insert here to fight the good fight against the shallow tide pool of my judgemental mind. Let’s be real though. A girl wants to be pretty. I want to feel pretty.

I’ve spent years trying to pretend I didn’t care and acting out all my tomboy fantasies. I kept my hair chopped off, dressed in horrifically ugly T-shirts with obnoxious sentiments, I even wore a doo-rag religiously for several years. I was trying to prove to myself it was okay for me to hate the way I look. I didn’t care anyway. So there! 

All I managed to accomplish is a profound delay in acquiring the skills necessary to operate the various tools of femininity.  

I still don’t know how to use the curling iron. The blow dryer is frequently a disaster.

I can’t paint my own nails. 

Eyeliner is pretty much hit or miss. 

Eyelash curler? Oh, the medieval torture device that must have been invented by a masochist? Nope.

The eyebrows? Yeah, that’s tricky. Mine are frequently crooked, giving me a mildly surprised expression. 

My clothes frequently don’t exactly go together. How the hell do people know what makes an outfit? Maybe there is a book. I should google that. 

Despite my desperate and often humorous attempts to appear like I have an ounce of taste, I like it. I like wearing clothes I think are cute. I enjoy having long hair. Red lipstick is my absolute favorite thing in the world. Sometimes I even feel kinda cute. 

So, I am going to keep taking the damn selfies and practice smiling like a girl. I am going to take selfies making funny faces too. I may even try to learn how to giggle. I owe it to myself and all the people who love me to record the fact I was here. 

When I am lucky, I will see a glimpse of the daughter my mother thinks is beautiful. Maybe someday I will feel a little less disdain towards her. 

Signs… and juvenile humor

Why would you ever tell someone this? 

Is there a difference between a speed bump and a speed hump? 

Why have I never noticed this sign before? 

This seems rather dangerous since it is in a no parking zone. 

I guess you gotta hurry so you don’t miss your flight? 

Who is in charge of coming up with sign wording? More important, can I please have that job? 

Am I the only one who finds this hysterical? Maybe I just need coffee. 

Hehe. Speed hump. In the thru lane. Wait! It’s not a no parking zone. This changes everything! Do you have to have a handicapped sticker to partake? And what purpose does the tow truck driver serve in this scenario? Do you speed hump while he is towing your car? Is that an extra charge? How long does it take to speed hump? Maybe it’s a flat rate. 

So many questions. Too few answers. 

I’m just glad my checked bags were under weight. 

Speed hump. Hehe. 

I’m not saying not saying I should demand a refund… but…

Liquored up? 

This has been on the sidewalk outside the hospital for four days now. I know I should pick it up and throw it away, but now it has become a fascinating thing. I have wasted a lot of time pondering this situation. Maybe I just need a distraction. 

How long is it going to stay there? 

Why is no one else freaking out about this random empty liquor bottle? 

Who threw it down? Why not just throw it away? 

Who actually wants to drink this cheap, disgusting stuff? 

Did they take a nip before entering the horror of the hospital? Did they need some liquid courage to enable them to walk through the doors and face their worst fear? 

Did they need a shot after walking out to allow them to shake the overwhelming pain they experienced within the walls? 

Perhaps they are just an alcoholic who carries around single servings of vodka. 

Did they enjoy it? Is this the only one they had? Oh my god! What if they drink all the time and they are driving? That would be terrible! 

Who drinks outside a hospital? 

Can you really blame them? Hospitals are horrible places. No one likes going to the hospital. Well, no one sane. 

I know! I should pick it up and throw it away. To be honest, I really don’t want to touch it. It seems gross just there on the ground. Someone may have dropped it in disgust. What if there is something toxic on it? 

Besides, if it stays there long enough it has earned the right to stay there. 

Folks, do me a favor. Don’t throw your empty liquor bottles on the sidewalk outside the hospital. It gives me entirely too many things to process. 


Warm and fuzzy memories popping up on Facebook. Catching up with old friends. Seeing everyone post their wedding and baby pictures. Instagramming my martini (it was really good.) Sharing another photo looking out an airplane window. 

We can share the mundane parts of our lives and our friends can get a little glimpse into what we do sometimes. 

Unfortunately, this has led us to have hundreds of “friends”. People we probably would not even recognize if we saw them out in public. 

It’s important to remember the people who are actually there for us. The people who would call us even if we disappeared from social media forever. 

Maintaining relationships is especially difficult when you are rarely in the same place for more than a few months. It requires effort and a commitment to honesty. Unfortunately, it is also a two-way street. You may believe someone is a friend and it turns out they may just be a “friend.” 

It’s funny how many different meanings the word friend has. 

  • super close friends that are really more like family 
  • good friends who know some of your secrets
  • occasional good time friends who are good for an entertaining evening
  • friends you love to hate 
  • friends you stalk on social media
  • friends you can’t seem to get away from
  • friends who used to be friends but you have grown apart 
  • friends from work 
  • friends of friends who you call friend because it’s just easier than explaining the connection
  • people you like and want to befriend

Are we completely devaluing the word friend? How do you separate each person’s role in your life? Does it matter? 

Probably not. 

Just make sure you let the people who mean something to you know. Don’t drop off the face of the earth. Be present and available when they need you. 

Don’t keep your enemies closer than your friends- you may just lose the ones you really love. 

Traveling Life

And the difference with me is I used to not care. Stockholm let me go home.

-Jason Isbell

Sometimes it is easy to take home for granted. All the best people are there. My heart is there. So, I am constantly on the go, forever leaving my heart behind. 

So I can stay in a hotel and experience beds not as comfy as mine. Internet connections that require a sign in at the most inconvenient moments. Too many meals eaten out. Laundry crammed into plastic bags. Running out of good books to read. Always leaving something behind. 

Most important, I get to use toilet paper that apparently has a “subtle touch.” Let me tell you, it’s about as subtle as a scrap of sandpaper. I really want to meet the guy who came up with this name. 

Maybe all my friends who call me Princess have a point; I am a little spoiled. 

Wandering adventures are exciting and nerve wracking. Hanging out in airports and driving crappy rentals (unless you get lucky and hit the big time like I did this trip!) can wear on a person. I still wouldn’t trade it for the monotony of regular employment. 

I just have to keep my anchor firmly embedded with the people I love. I need them to keep me moored. As long as I have this, I can safely explore and push myself to do more and see more. 

Maybe I will even find more subtle touches. 

There Are No Victims

There are no victims, only volunteers. 

Wait. Before you get all pissed off and start telling about all the terrible things that happen to innocent people, let me explain. 

Life is hard. In fact, it fucking sucks sometimes. There are bad people who do bad things. There are accidents, illnesses, and other unspeakable tragedies. It’s horrible and completely unfair. 

However, I choose to believe I have an obligation to rise above all the bullshit. I can choose to stay a victim, and choose to let life’s hardships keep me down. It’s a choice to allow my past to haunt me. 

All that sounds great, right? 

The problem is that regardless of what I choose to tell myself the past is still there. I still bear the scars of things I had no control over. All it takes is one negative incident and I am at risk of feeling all the feelings I have worked so hard to overcome. 

I was talking to a friend the other day and I realized no matter how much work I have done my automatic response is still to abnegate all the good things in my life. To discount my accomplishments. To feel like I am not enough. The drive to prove I am worthy. Worthy of what? I have no idea. 

So, the struggle continues. I make the decision to not be a victim. It’s not an automatic response. I decide. I choose. Sometimes I choose wrong and wallow in self-pity. Other times I choose rationality and put the regrets away for a bit. Until there is another blow to my ego. 

Frankly, the cycle sucks. It’s still better than just being stuck as the victim. 

The saga of the girl with daddy issues shall continue… please tune in next time. 

A Million Passengers

Yesterday I was sitting in the airport waiting for my plane to arrive. The airline representative came on the loud speaker to let us know the incoming pilot was coming in for his last flight before his retirement and they were welcoming him with… something I did not hear. Turns out it was three fire trucks spraying the plane as it taxied to the gate. She did not want us to be alarmed by the spectacle surrounding the aircraft we were about to board. Smart, Southwest Airlines. I would have been very concerned. Is my plane on fire? What’s the problem? Is it safe? Nevermind, I’ll drive. 

Once the plane made it to the gate, the passengers deplaned, and the pilot finally exited the tunnel greeted by cheers and hugs from his family and friends. It was nice. 

The guy behind me in line must have known more about aviation than I do because he was very curious about the number of trips the pilot had completed. He asked several members of the flight crew, and one of them was not sure of the trip number however he reported the pilot had exceeded one million passengers. 

Let’s think about that for a moment. One million passengers were under this man’s care while he assumed responsibility for their safety from gate to gate. That’s a big deal. This pilot had willingly spent every day of his career with lives depending on his ability and skills to maneuver his aircraft safely. 

I felt a sense of pride in my career choice when I realized we had similarities in our professional lives. We both assume life and death responsibility every time we go to work. 

It’s no wonder these jobs are well-known to have high rates of burnout. Not only are we responsible for not making a mistake, we are also responsible for outcomes of things that are completely out of our control.

Despite the occasional overwhelming fear associated with my career, I am proud of what I do. I was more than a little proud of the airline captain who had safely transported over a million passengers too. 

Art Imitates Life

As I begin my first real attempt at fiction, I am realizing how much life influences my imagination. 

Is it cheating to use real world situations and to change the details and dream up new and perhaps horrifying situations? What if our worst nightmares really do come true? 

If it happens in my imaginary world, does that make the story true and reliable? I hope I can serve my characters and allow them to tell their story. Besides, I really want to find out what happens. 

Hope I don’t chicken out. 

Just Stop Talking

This Prisma app cracks me up. 

I am standing here trying to impart vital information to someone, however I must have started off wrong. I just keep jabbering away, sounding less intelligent the more my mouth keeps moving. I am well aware of how I sound and I am desperately trying to recover. When I fail to find an endpoint, I eventually just stop talking. Then, more often than not, I just walk away. 

This happens to me frequently. I’ll be in the middle of a funny story or joke and I’ll realize I don’t know the end. 

Worse, I’ll start telling a story in a group conversation and in the middle I realize it is completely unrelated. 

Sometimes it’s funny. 

Usually, it’s embarrassing. 

If only I could somehow explain how I got to this story in my head, they would understand how it fits. 

People who know me well are lucky. They can usually follow along and eventually understand the relevance. 

For the rest of the world: oops. I’ll just try to stop talking. Until you say something that reminds me of something else.