Thoughts on football

I’m not a woman who watches football for fun. I mostly just watch when I’m high, and then start thinking of other things—of gods and men and war, how games are like modern-day battles, with athleticism, grit, fervor and pain all on glorious display, like Grecian epics (or tragedies, like in the case of last night’s Buccaneer’s kicker, who couldn’t make the field goals that would have altered the entire trajectory of the game).

In my slightly stoned state, I began comparing the rampant concussions in the NFL to ancient fighting pits, pitting warrior against warrior in front of crowds of blood-thirsty fans, hungry for victory but hungrier still for their enemy’s defeat. It’s such a guy thing, I thought. War. Sports. I can only seem to get into the game when I imagine it to be something else, when I ascribe some meaning that may or may not exist. But then again, how could there not be meaning to such a large and lucrative pastime? It means something when its players take a stand against injustice, when they use their time in the spotlight to illuminate issues that are bigger, that go beyond.

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Happy Wedding Day, R + B

The problem with love at first sight is that it’s too easy. Too outwardly simple. It leaves no room for the imperfect, unfiltered journey through which love often weaves. And yet it exists, this indecipherable, beautiful, almost magical phenomenon of how we love, whom we love, and when. As if the choice is made beyond our control. Something we fall into.

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Sober thoughts on St. Patrick’s Day

I’ve always viewed alcohol as the drug of the insecure. A way to shed inhibition and become a looser version of yourself. You, but askew. The You you want to be, but can’t quite get to on your own.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m all for a glass of wine. It’s just not my drug of choice.

I much prefer the introspection of marijuana. Of creeping into the weird and winding corners of my brain. Finding comfort there, along with other dear friends. Humor. Peace. Gratitude. Time. Always, Time. Where marijuana slows it down, alcohol speeds it up. Nights lost in darkness.

I’ve reached those blackout points myself on a handful of occasions, and they’ve always left me shaken. Horrified of the could-have beens. I could have been the victim of something awful. I could have driven home and killed someone. The possibilities are endless.

I say all this not to judge the drinkers. I get it. I’ve done it. I do it still.

I’d just prefer to spend my St. Patrick’s Day smoking green instead of wearing it at the bar.

The Lotus Eaters

I loved him before the drugs.

Sitting in the corner of Mr. Pierogie’s 9th grade, Honors English, we’d pass each other notes, handfuls of which I still have saved in a frayed, decades-old Victoria’s Secret box. There are the snarky one-liners about the class know-it-all; the fear we harbored for the wobbly barstool upon which our sweet, fat teacher would sit; the exchanges that said nothing and everything about life at 13.

When I try to pinpoint the exact moment I fell in love with D, I return to that classroom. We had finished the first half of The Odyssey, and from his precarious perch, Mr. Pierogie asked us which of Odysseus’ challenges had been the most dangerous. “The Lotus Eaters,” D whispered to me. It seemed an odd choice, only a few small pages about a flower that forever trapped its willful victims, certainly less exotic or action-packed than some of the other stories in the epic, and my face must have reflected my bemusement. He smirked and added, “It’s the only one I actually read.”

When the know-it-all raised his hand to make the same argument—something about hopelessness, loss of willpower, how those who ate from the flower abandoned desire for all else—I fell madly in love with D’s smile, the free-of-arrogance, I-told-you-so expression that said, “So what if I got lucky? I’m right.”

Shortly after our initial drunken kiss some 11 years later, after we went from being friends to being more, I asked Mr. D if he, too, knew the moment he loved me. “We were in the cafeteria,” he said, going into explicit detail of watching me, wide-eyed and open-mouthed, as I devoured what must have been a very delicious popsicle. “That’s the girl I’m going to marry,” he joked, and we both cracked up.

We didn’t share another class until senior English, and our casual connection continued through college. We’d hit the bowl in his dorm, exhaling pot smoke into an empty water bottle filled with dryer sheets to mask the smell. Once, I accompanied him and his girlfriend on a blunt ride behind campus, grabbing the closest available beverage to soothe my throat, only to gag as the gin-laced juice seared its way to my stomach.

We went to parties in the seedier parts of the city. He taught me how to hock loogies and download songs off illegal websites. We took statistics sophomore year, our first shared class since high school, though he’d eventually fail the course and drop out altogether. After that, it was years before we saw each other again.

When we did, it was at my wedding. Newly single, D came alone and caught the bouquet. At 22, I had married a former pothead who smoked with me on our first date but never touched marijuana again. The sex was mediocre. When a friend once asked what it was that I saw in him, I apparently replied, “He has D’s sense of humor.” She’d remind me of that after the divorce, after D and I became “more,” after my corny remark of always loving him and after the chorus of duhs from our mutual friends.

We were potheads that first year, but D was more, and I didn’t realize just how debilitating more could be. D knew. He had called it eleven years before, in freshman English.

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Is this marriage?

Mr. D says I have a tendency to project my stress onto our relationship, and he may be right. Sometimes when we smoke at night, I find myself unable to get comfortable in his arms, or on the couch, or in the bed. I just sit there, on edge, anxious and tense, wondering why I can’t relax, and it compounds the already growing feelings of inadequacy and insecurity that mar my Groundhog’s Day existence, where every day is the same, and I never feel good enough at home or at work, and I wonder if I’m arrogant for wanting more for our life, or ambitious for dreaming big.

I told Mr. D that I was sorry if I take my woes out on him, and he said it’s okay, that at least I don’t express it on the kids, or at my job, or with my parents. And then I wondered, is that marriage? Is that what we do for the ones we love? Absorb some of their stress while they get their shit together?

If so, I’m grateful for it. If not, I’m tipsy (I hate alcohol), and these are all thoughts for an essay on another day.

Subversive park rangers, national heroes

Rogue National Park Accounts Emerge on Twitter Amid Social Media Gag Orders.

The headline, alone, gives me hope.

The First Amendment is the cornerstone of what makes America great, and it’s beautiful to see these freedoms being upheld. In fact, maybe Trump–with his ironic platform and backwards ideals and misguided crusade against the very founding principles that distinguish our United States from the wider world–will, in fact, serve to unite us.

Maybe we needed to be grabbed by the pussy, these cold and chilling threats to our democracy the unexpected glue that will band us together in ways that transcend politics and bond us in the indestructible beauty of our nation’s moral fiber.

Maybe that’s the audacity of hope. That we are great because we are good. That our destiny will be written by us, not for us.

I’m a bad friend

This is the start of an essay for a longer day, but it’s something that I’ve been thinking about. Mostly because of my last essay on Gwyneth.

“Well, it’s not like she’ll ever see it,” Mr. D said after I posted it.

“No, she might,” I replied. “She knows about the blog.”

An hour passed. I felt anxious about letting my bitch flag fly so flagrantly.

“Do you think she’d be offended,” I asked Mr. D.


I thought about it for a minute more. “Well, it’s not like we’re good friends. Plus I ruin friendships all the time.”

Mr. D laughed. “And now you know why.”


What’s on the other side?

I wonder. I imagine all of the people we loved are there, waiting for us.

I bet the other side isn’t as exciting.

I bet it’s more peaceful.

The most powerful, even over Zeus, were the three goddesses of destiny. “They were the three Fates, and they decided how long a mortal would live and how long the rule of the gods should last.” Clotho spun the thread of life, Lachesis measured it, Atropos cut it at the end.

Thathu used to wear a thread. He lived to be 92.

“You know what Drake says,” I asked Big A in Colorado.

My then-five-year-old  rolled her eyes. “No, mom. What does Drake say?”

“Everybody dies, but not everybody lives.”

That was when we were still in the hotel. It looked so grey and miserable, but flowers don’t need jackets in the rain, as Little A pointed out. Then we hiked up the mountain, cutting straight up like a dollar sign.

All we have is time.

Mr. D, would you move with me to Hawaii?

Super Thathu

Thathu, my grandfather, has been ready to “pack off and go” for decades, his morbid fascination with death just part of his 92-year-old charm.

Back when he was healthy enough to make the days-long flight from India to the US, he would sit on the sofa with our mutt beside him, pondering which of the two would “win the race.” Not sure what exactly he meant, but our dog died 11 years ago.

He likes to wrap up in a blanket and moan, “Yenna mo pandra da.” (“Something is happening to me.”)

His children describe him as a crafty old man who always gets his way. He has no qualms resorting to blackmail.

When he came to Minnesota to meet his youngest grandchild in 1991, he spent a few hours alone with the crying baby before threatening to jump in the lake.

He once screamed, “You’ve given me AIDS” in the middle of the hospital ward, as terrified patients wondered what the fuck was going on. My grandfather didn’t/doesn’t have AIDS.

He hates all religion and thinks Islam is a scam. Upon being introduced to his daughter’s pious Pakistani friends, he offered some unorthodox advice: “I tell my children, ‘You’ve left behind a shit place.’ But you’ve left behind a shittier place. Now that you’re in America, forget all this non-alcoholic nonsense you learned in Karachi.”

Thathu could toss ’em back.

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High times at the holiday party

I have a theory that a woman becomes a witch on her 33rd birthday. Or some do. It’s kinda like finding out you’re going to Hogwarts at 11, but without the personalized owl invitations. I think I might be becoming a witch.

I know that’s really arrogant to assume. Also a bit unhinged. But whatever. I’ve been voicing my birthday theory aloud more and more. Sober. Stoned. In meetings. At happy hours. I mentioned it to some of my coworkers at the office holiday party last week, and Becky with the Good Hair was intrigued.

“How do you know if you’ve become a witch?” she asked.

“I dunno,” I said. “I think maybe the universe gives you signs.”

“And why your 33rd birthday?”

“Because 3 times 3 is 9, and ‘9 is a witchy number,'” I said, quoting Rayanne Graff, from the Nicky Driscoll episode of My So-Called Life. “Also, 32 has been a big year for me personally, and I think the world revolves around me.”

She laughed and I was glad. I was also pretty high.

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