Wednesday, November 28, 2012



ok, this is morbid and untrue.  kind of.

Turning 30.  You never really think it's gonna happen to you.  Until it does.

My birthday is on December 23rd (I call it my Birthmas).  It's a big one.  I'm trying to stay positive about it, but turning 30 kind of feels like I'm about to get a disease or something.  I feel like I have no excuses to act like a child and throw cherry tomatoes at peoples butts and/or heads anymore.  I can also no longer try and find a way to put a boiled egg underneath seated people's butts to make them think they've defied all odds and laid an egg.  Will I still be able to head bang violently when I turn 30 or will I have to downgrade to doing the polka or whatever?  I did learn a lot of lessons in my 20's - and believe it or not, I actually remember them.  This past decade has been filled with highs and lows including but not limited to: intensely awkward situations, shitty jobs, 3 big moves, a shit ton of anxiety and some happy times.  At the risk of sounding like cheezewiz, I feel like I've really gotten to know myself through these temperamental years. In fact, as I worked on this Toe Pick post I found myself cringing at the corniness of some of my anecdotes.  But maybe not using the word shart in every bullet point is a sign of maturity?  Who knows.  All I know is there is no way to avoid being just a little corny when it comes to putting down life lessons on paper.  Don't believe me?  You try it.  So just Haribo bear with me.  I never thought I'd say (er… write) this but I am actually welcoming my 30's with open arms.  Because man, my twenties were harder than Pee Wee Herman in an adult movie theatre.  Surviving the perils of my 20's has been my biggest accomplishment thus far.  Without further ado, I bring you the top 30 lessons & (for lack of a better word) things I've learned about myself over the last trifecta of decades.  The first one is long.  Don't worry, they're not all this long. (That's what she said.)  

1. I've conquered my drunk texting tendencies.
It was a Saturday night after a sorority/fraternity swap. I was a freshman at Ole Miss. Texting had not yet been invented. It was on this fateful, hazy night when I  committed my first drunk “messaging” infraction.  I had made out with Ole Miss's back-up quarterback the night prior to said infraction.  My vulnerable roommate had made out with Eli Manning (can anyone say tag team!?)  It was one of those nights that me and my former roommate will remember vividly, like for the rest of our lives.  Eli and the back up QB will not, most likely.  Whatever.  I didn't get the Back Up QB's (moving forward: BUQB) digits so my friends and I did some detective work.  The ole miss edu e-mail address was structured as so: first initial + middle initial + first 6 letters of last name.  (Incidentally, this explains why my gmail address is - apparently I wanted to simplify things in my life when I set up my gmail account like 10 years ago - it is my biggest regret to date. xoambuntin) Anyways, I sent the BUQB the most incoherent, sloppy, grammatically incorrect e-mail ever in the existence of e-mails asking him to go to dinner with me and my parents who would be in town the following weekend.  He responded with a resounding, strong to quite strong - NO.  If only I'd known back then that this would only be the first of a slew of communicative misfortunes I'd have.

It took awhile but I've learned: Guys generally don’t like to be pursued by girls.  That’s the guy’s job. It goes back to the stone ages when the hairy men would beat their chests, swing from branches and hunt for wild boar to provide for their girlfriends.  Men are hunters, by nature. If you’re a smitten, vulnerable girl with a propensity to text aggressively after a couple of cocktails then please trust me when I tell you: it is absolutely vital that you develop some strategies to prevent yourself from texting needy, sweet nothings to your crush come cocktail hour.  It took me the better part of my 20’s to realize that serial texting a crush is a HUGE no-no.  It wasn’t until I hit 28 that I actually decided to do something about my textaholicism.  I racked my brain for methods I could use until finally I came up with a solution: I grabbed a spoon and scooped the ball out of my blackberry and gave it to my trusted roommate.  She took said ball and honored my wishes:  “Here – take this.  Guard it with your life."  My ball-less phone disabled me from texting for a few months until finally I rifled through her room and found it sitting proudly amongst the outdated Yurman’s in her jewelry box.  Needless to say, my temporary hiatus from texting guys was short lived. I promptly reinserted the ball. It wasn’t until about a year ago I finally trusted myself to get a ball-free phone. Now I am proud to say I’ve been clean from drunk texting for almost 10 months.  But it’s an everyday struggle.  And I'll always be in recovery.  At least now I can admit it: My name is Alexandra and I'm a textaholic.  (Hi Alexandra.) 

2. It's taken 5 boots, like 56 parking tickets, 5 fender benders and a blown up car to make me realize that I can't drive.  Or park.  Or get my oil changed.  I will always be a passenger or a pedestrian.  I've accepted it.
driving, changing radio station, talking on phone IN the rain = i should not be allowed behind the wheel
3.  I vow to be less picky once I turn 30.  I mean, let's face it - if I ever want to find a real live bona fide BOYF I'm going to have to let some things slide.  One time I went out with a really hot guy who was great, but he wore a pointer finger ring on his left hand.  Every time he touched me, pointed at me, wiped his mouth, fixed his hair, fixed MY hair or signed the check after dinner I'd see it.  And it irked me.  The little glimmer of the white gold ring would catch my eye and leave me shart of breath.  I'd begin to feel sick.  Scared, even.  If we ever got married he would be wearing a wedding ring AND a pointer finger ring all on ONE hand!  Awk.  Ultimately the relationship fizzled and I blame it partially on my disdain for The Ring.  I resolve to let go of my Seinfeld-esque tendencies and embrace quirks.  Because let's face it - I am the quirkiest of the Quirkersons.  I actually have proof that I've become less picky - this guy I've been kind of seeing used an "LOL" in a text he sent me.  (fyi - LOL is my least favorite of all the acronyms.  I hate it more than I hate Michael Vick).  I questioned him at first but then realized it was dumb to let it really bug me.  It is, after all, only 3 horrible letters. 

this is what i said to myself upon the reception of the "lol" text: take a deep breath.  it's only the worst thing a person could type. let it go. NBD.
4. I've learned to equate my ideal guy with my ideal egg roll: slightly golden, hot, hard and crisp, tough on the outside but warm on the inside, and filled with surprises.  Also, both are better with a little sauce.
5. College was the best time I've had and probably will ever have.  In retrospect (from a mature, rational standpoint), Ole Miss was probably not the right school for me - I would've benefited from going to a small, structured, all girls commune school.  But when have I ever really been into making the right decision?  Going to Ole Miss was the best poor decision I've ever made - and the friends I made there are the breast people I know.  Sure, going there was to the detriment of my brain cells, but lemme tell ya - Oxford, MS is one of the coolest places on earth and I feel grateful to have been able to experience it.  
6. I've realized that if I had to organize different forms of egg rolls (from different VietnameseChinese, etc. restaurants) into a family structure it would go a little something like this:

Slanted Door egg roll: Godfather
Aux Delices Imperial roll: Mother
Out the Door Shrimp roll: Father

House of Nan King spring roll: daughter

Frozen PF Chang egg roll from Safeway: Bastard stepchild

The step cousin of the egg roll: The super burrito from Lil Chihuahua (yes, everything you've heard is true: burritos are a distant relative of the egg roll.)

7.  While we're on the subject of egg rolls I've finally realized that my obsession with them may be unnatural - and I'm venturing to guess there might be a Freudian explanation behind it?  They are kind of phallic, no?  

8I've learned that I have a really hard time ending a telephone conversation.  Do I say bye first?  Or does she/he?  What if we both say bye at the same time?  Awkward City!  If the person simply hangs up without even saying bye does that mean they're mad at me or did they feel like the conversation was so brief that it didn't necessitate a goodbye?

9I'm a paranoid over analyzer.

10. Hangovers get worse as we get older.  Duh.  I used to be able to go out 5 nights a week now I go out like twice a month.  WHY?  Because I really don’t like downing bottles of pediolite all day long after a night of partying, or wondering why my shoe ended up in my neighbors bush, or begging random people to "hold me" on a Sunday afternoon after a wild weekend, or waking up in the fetal position on someone’s floor with a penis drawn on my forehead.  I know I will never look back on my 20’s and wish I’d gotten out and partied more.  And to be honest, really good things started to happen to me once I slowed down on the partying.  And it’s no coinkidink. Also, my Ace Ventura impressions are the best they’ve ever been because instead of doing them 4 times a week I only do them a couple times a month – so each performance is more valuable.

11. I will be more frugal in my 30's.
I will save my money instead of spending it on frivilous things like eggrolls, Haribo bears, pez dispensers, pfunks, lint removers, crest whitestrips, People mags, eye brow waxes, pediolite, black scarves, Stila bronzer, doritos, an apple, orange soda, and Kambucha.  My 20's have been filled with financial woes.  The upside: at least I'm not a golddigger.  And at least I have acquired an eggroll friendly palet as a result of my investments in Chinese food over the years.  So I've got that going for me…which is nice.

12 It's important to keep in touch with high school pals.  I went to my 10 year high school reunion last summer and it made me very aware of what a pivotal time in my life that was.  Trying to endure the unexpected nuances of adolescence is challenging - especially at boarding school.  Being back at my old school amongst my old friends made me realize how close we were - we had to be, because we were essentially stuck in a kennel wrought with endless rules and boundaries (which we broke and crossed, respectively).  My high school was about an hour an a half from VMI - Virginia Military Institute (or, as I sometimes lovingly call it: Virginia's Masturbating Idiots)  where my dad was the Prez.  Since it was semi nearby my friends and I would go stay at my house on weekends sometimes.  My house was directly next to the Barracks -which was filled with hot cadets who hadn't been around a woman since their mom's dropped them off at orientation (incidentally, this is partly one of the reason's my parents sent me to boarding school at the ripe old age of 14).  I guess one weekend my friends and I decided to take a midnight stroll over to Barracks to shoot the shit with some men in uniform - and well, word got back to the General, and he wasn't pleased. I don't think I need to give further explanation - just read this:
It's a good thing my dad is cool as shit and didn't end up forcing me to enroll at VMI. Sidenote: I'd like to thank my brother Charlie for tattling on me.  Thanks very little, Charlie.  

 13. After having worked about 8 reception jobs in my 20’s I’ve become fully aware of how much being the underdog at the office sucks.  You spend day in and day out doing bitchwork for people who treat you like you’re less of a human than they are.  There was one job I had where I was responsible for refilling the tampons in the ladies bathroom.  That’s right, Bosswoman who treats me like I don’t exist, you can thank me for providing you with a superplus during your 6 hour long important client meeting.  I’m not bitter though, because working these thankless jobs has taught me the importance of treating everyone well – from the homeless guy sitting outside my favorite Walgreens to an important work client – absolutely no one deserves to be overlooked or undermined.  Also, there is something uplifting about smiling at a stranger and having them smile back.  So be nice. And smile.  It's much easier to be kind than to be a huge dickhead.

14. Another lesson I've learned from my failed attempts at being a receptionist/ Executive Assistant?  i should never, ever, ever be in charge of keeping somebody organized. In fact, it should be illegal.

 15. I’ve mastered the art of interviewing.  For realz.  I’ve been on so many of them and have almost always gotten the job.  (Granted I didn’t last too long at most of them – see #14).  One of the reasons I love recruiting is because I know exactly how to prep candidates for interviews and can offer advice based on my many experiences.  It’s simple: People love to talk about themselves.  (Why do you think I have this blog?)  So it’s key to ask the interviewer question after question about themselves – once they’ve divulged their life story to you, you’ll leave the interview feeling like a therapist but they’ll think you’re just the greatest person alive because you expressed so much interest in hearing about their Aunt Edna who used to blow dry her poodle's balls.

16. I’ve realized that Family is of the utmost importance.  Why?  Because they’re always there.  They have to be.  I’ve fallen out of touch with friends, been dumped, fired and rejected.  My family can never fire, dump or reject me.  They’re the one constant I have.  Along with my Haribo Gummi Bear nightlight.

17.  People are inherently good.  The guy on the Muni who aggressively told me to "MOVE out of the way!" the other day?  He's not a bad guy - he may have just been having a shitty day.  Maybe he got a urinary tract infection and was in a hurry to pick up his 14th bottle of cranberry juice. I realize that most things are circumstantial, and that each person, deep down has a good heart. (I realize there are exceptions like Charles Mason and Scott Peterson so don't shart with me.)

18. Don’t be jealous of anyone you see on facebook.  Pictures are deceiving.  One time I posted some pictures from a Tahoe weekend back in ’09 after I’d been fired from a receptionist job and I look happy as a pig in shit.  You’d think I’d just won the lottery and was the most blissful person alive but really I was more scared and sad then I’d ever been, practically.  It was all a facade.  Ever experienced FOMO from looking through someone’s pics from a wildly fun party in an exotic locale?  Just imagine what’s not pictured: the partygoers sitting in their cubes Monday morning, barely able to function with major anxiety from the weekend.
a pic from FB - Tahoe '09. I look happy right?  I wasn't 
19. Life is shart so don’t give one: a shart, that is.  Ever notice that life goes by faster as you get older?  I’ve wasted so much time in my 20’s caring about what people think of me, my egg rolls, and my overall oddness.  I’ve gotten to a point now where I’m beginning to be OK with who I am.  It’s okay to be different – it’s what makes you stand out. I used to cringe and whimper inside when someone would call me a weirdo and now I own it (or at least try to).  Because at this point in my life, it’s too late for me to become normal.

20. I've learned that animals have the capacity to lift your spirit like no human can.  (yes, I know humans are animals.  Please, just work with me.)

21.   There is no worse pain than a broken heart.  It’s like dealing with a death only worse because that person is still alive and you’ve gotta deal with seeing their shit on all over facebook. But, a break up is survivable.  Life goes on, and gets better – even if you don’t think it will.  If there is one giant lesson I’ve learned from going through a breakup it’s this: shut the fuck up.  The more you talk about it to your girlfriends the less likely they’re gonna want to be around you.  You get free reign to talk about it for the first 2 years** following the split (give or take depending on how long/serious the relationship was) – all you want, but then – if you’re not over it, go see a shrink.  There’s this line in swingers that I think sums up the agony and recovery from a breakup perfectly:
" Sometimes it still hurts. It's like, you wake up every day and it hurts a little bit less, and then you wake up one day and it doesn't hurt at all. And the funny thing is, is that, this is kinda weird, but it's like, it's like you almost miss that pain." - Ron Livingston, Swingers 

Well, I don’t agree with the last part of this but certainly the first.  

22.Playing games with the opposite sex may work in the beginning, but once you get him/her  hooked they begin to backfire.  I am the former queen of Game Playing - but now that I'm nearing Cougardom I plan on leaving my Monopoly, Shutes and Ladders, and Candyland's in the dust.  Time to get serious.  I don't want my eggs to expire, or whatever.  Also, I will stop suggesting Benihana as a date spot.  Time to grow up and go somewhere sophisticated on a date, like PF Changs.


23. I've accepted that maybe I won't ever find The One.  And I'm okay with that.  I do want kids though.  So either I'll get artificially insiminated or adopt.  Assuming the adoption agencies don't shun me.  And that's a huge, ballsy assumption, mind you.

24. I'm going to start using phrases like "mind you" instead of "shart."  Furthermore, there is nothing more unattractive than a grown woman with a foul mouth.  So I'll  clean it up.  My mouth, that is.  I don't clean, remember point 13?  Fuck, this is going to be hard.  That's what she said

25. ^^I will stop using overused expressions from TV shows that peaked back in '05.  I will also find some new movies to quote besides Ace Ventura and Friday.  It's beginning to feel a bit routine.  Now that I'm turning 30 I must pick more mature movies to quote like The Others, Jane Eyre, Schindlers List and Lincoln.

26. I've learned that I never would've been able to get through all the shitty things that've happened throughout my 20's (and teens) without a sense of humor.  I've also learned that that through writing, I have been able to express myself better than I ever could verbally.  I think I average about 7 "likes" 2 "whatevers", 4 "ums" and 3 "totallys" per every conversation I have.  Writing has proven to be the best therapy I've found - I love it more than eggrolls and haribo's combined.  Like, um, totally.

27. (this goes hand in hand with 26)  Although I do love to write, I am absolutely hopeless when it comes to knowing where to use apostrophe's'.  Just can't keep up with the Jones's'ss'.

28.  Being alone is ok.  I'm not talking about being single - I'm talking about being a loner.  The older I get the more I like to be by myself - I am proud to write that I went to 4 movies in the past year by myself - one of which was a porno called SHAME - I thought it was going to be an interesting little indie film, dag was I wrong. (btw-"dag" is my new favorite expression - thank you, Stike.)  I remember walking out of the theatre that afternoon by myself, dressed in my standard all black attire, looking like a total pervert - very shameful.    

29. I've learned all too well that life is hard.  But so are Haribo gummy bears after they've been in the freezer for 46 minutes (the best way to make them) mmmm. There's always a silver lining.

30.  Lastly, I've realized how much money I owe my parents because they've put up with my shit for the past 29 years and for that, they deserve all the egg rolls in the world.  Love you M+D.  You are the best people I know - and will ever know.

Were some of these too deep for Toe Pick?  I feel like they were.  Oh well - thank you for reading.  I am looking forward to forging into my 30's, with an egg roll in my hand and a clear idea of where I'm going to next: the Walgreens down the street to pick up a fresh pack of Haribo's.

xo, Nige