Captain’s Log, Stardate April 26th, PDX Int’l Airport

4:22am

I have begun to realize that life is just a series of waiting rooms. You wait all week for the weekend to start. You wait on your doorstep for the taxi to arrive, then you wait in the cab making patient small talk with the driver. You stand and wait with your luggage through winding lines, then wait your turn to walk through the metal detector. You sit at the gate waiting for your plane to board, you count down the minutes to the ceremony, and you wait your turn for your own wedding.

When a new baby is born into the world, we might as well just welcome them out of the womb with old magazines, a TV on mute, and a water cooler with paper cups. Because the waiting game is a big part of life, little one. And the sooner you get used to it, the better.

4:46am

I got exactly two hours of sleep last night (this morning?), and it’s likely I won’t see a bed for another 20 hours or so. This is a fact so astonishing that it has its own gravitational pull – I very literally felt by body slump with this realization. I fear this load might be too much to bear; I might topple over any minute.

4:54am

I am sitting next to an airport Starbucks, and have spent the last eight minutes weighing the pros and cons of getting coffee.
PRO: Caffeine
CON: But then I won’t sleep on the plane
PRO: But I wouldn’t have done that anyway
CON: But then I’ll crash right about when it’s time to see everybody
PRO: But it’s coffee
CON: Good point.
PRO: But I’m too tired to get up.
CON: Better point.

CONCLUDING CONUNDRUM: Sleep depravation causes lack of energy, lack of energy inhibits motivation to go get coffee. Coffee would alleviate sleep depravation.

Spent five minutes thinking this through. Still haven’t gotten coffee.

4:59am

UPDATE: Creepy bearded guy behind me is reading over my shoulder. Read through all pros and cons of coffee. Also presumably reading as I type this.

Subject has made no audible reaction to watching me write about him.

Subject probably thinks I am crazy. Anyone reading this over my shoulder would think I was crazy. I think I am crazy.

Maybe coffee would help.

Putting Captain’s Log away; pulling out a book instead.

5:01am

UPDATE: Sleep depravation apparent, cognitive capacity dwindling. Reading book deemed mentally impossible. Continuing Captain’s Log, insanity be damned.

5:08am

Creepy bearded guy still casually reading over my shoulder. Looks away every time I catch him. No direct eye contact yet.

5:13am

UPDATE: Eye contact has been made. Sheepish smile. CBG has now pulled a book out of his backpack.

Considering changing seats to read over his shoulder.

5:21am

CBG bores me. Thought about getting coffee, instead settled on searching the gate for other people-watching entertainment.

Lack of sleep seems to have had a delusional authoritative effect on me: I have begun to establish rules that I expect those around me to follow.

1. I dislike that I am tired and others do not seem to be. I have spent 21 of the last 24 hours awake, and it seems only reasonable for the people around me to outwardly match my internal level of exhaustion. They do not.

2. Two sorority girls are laughing loudly nearby. Unacceptable. Nothing is allowed to be funny in an airport at 5:21am. They must stop immediately, I demand it.

3. It seems a absurd that if I want coffee I have to stand up and go get it. I paid hundreds of dollars on this plane ticket. I should be brought coffee while I wait.

Now intentionally not getting coffee on principle. Protesting airport coffee.

5:26am

There is an important businessman to my left who would like everyone to hear his important business phone call. It’s very very important that we all hear this so that all people in a 20-foot radius know how very important of a businessman he is. The importance of this cannot be overstated.

It seems inevitable that there is some derivative of this character in every airport, on every flight, without fail – which seems suspiciously coincidental. I am starting to wonder if it’s all staged. Maybe he’s a paid actor, and they fill the role on every flight to annoy everyone enough to distract them from something else.

5:36am

UPDATE: Took 10-minute break from Captain’s Log to reflect on conspiracy theory. Could not come up with plausible enough reason for airlines to hire paid actor to annoy me. Concluded that outlandish thoughts are probably a result of sleep depravation. Probably should get coffee after all.

5:45am

Flight boards in 10 minutes. Still debating Starbucks but time is running out.

Ironically, with every passing minute I seem to become more and more resolute in my desire for coffee, and yet I still haven’t gotten up yet.

Approaching boarding time is now becoming a stressor. Eyes are darting back and forth between the gate and Starbucks sign. Brain actively telling body to get up. No word from body.

5:50am

Flight boards in five minutes and others have lined up for coffee. Line is now longer than it was a few minutes ago – increasing number of variables is making decision-making harder. Brain ill-equipped to function under pressure.

5:55am

Flight boarding.

Another line / another waiting room.

Make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in a full upright and locked position.

Middle seat.
Physical ability to nap diminished.

In case of an emergency, Oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling. Secure your own mask before assisting others. Even though Oxygen will be flowing, the bag might not inflate.

I have been awake for days now. Years. If I don’t get some caffeine soon I will collapse in the middle of the vows.

In the event of a water landing, your seat cushion can also be used as a flotation device.

Maybe I’ll just order one from the flight attendant. That’ll be my last opportunity.

Please note that we will not be providing beverage service on this flight. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Captain’s Log, Stardate April 26th, PDX Int’l Airport. 6:25am

Definitely should have gotten coffee.

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Take the stairs.

Here’s a fun fact about me: I hate riding in elevators.

I know, I know: Hate is a strong word, and I try to avoid using it (see this post and this one – and, if you’re just plain hard up for reading material – this one). But I’m sticking firm to my verbiage here. I really, truly, wholly and absolutely hate it.

Don’t get me wrong – conceptually speaking, I actually really like elevators. I’ve spent the last six years of my life working in hotels; elevators have been a regular part of my daily routine. They are superbly convenient, a fantastic technological achievement.

As far as vertical transportation vehicles go, elevators are easily in my top five.

Here’s the thing, though: I have this incredible, inexplicable ability to attract awkward social situations to me like a magnet. If there is even a vague, remote possibility that there will be weird sideways glances or throat-clearing involved, you can pretty much guarantee that I’m within a five-foot radius. It’s honestly quite a talent; I should add it to my resume.

And from a sociological standpoint, elevators are a veritable cesspool of awkward situations. Put the two of us together, and the ensuing awkwardity* is enough to make Michael Cera cringe.

For instance: When I enter an elevator already occupied with a group of people, my internal seventh-grade wallflower makes an appearance. And I’m suddenly paralyzed with a terrifying realization:

These people have already been riding this elevator together.

That means they already have a history. They probably have several floors under their belt – who KNOWS what kind of inside jokes they might have established? Maybe they said, “Hey – the next time these doors open, let’s go all quiet and act like we don’t know each other. Then when the new person leaves we’ll burst into laughter about her chunky shoes and messy hair and glasses. Won’t that be funny?! SHHH, here she comes.” And I walk in, all clumsy and oblivious – a perpetual outsider.

I greet my comrades with the obligatory smile-eyebrow-raise, and consciously focus on the progression of floors with each audible DING. The silence is penetrating, and the awkwardity* palpable. So inevitably, when it reaches my floor, I trip over myself to get out.

…Only to realize, moments later, that it isn’t my floor.

This would be totally fine, if only I could maintain the presence of mind to pretend otherwise. But instead, my knee-jerk reaction is to whip around, stretch out my arm like the figurehead on the bow of a ship, and make a “G-UHHH!” sound as the doors close just beyond my fingertips.

My theatric tendencies momentarily set aside, let’s not forget that the entire population of the elevator just saw my completely embarrassing mistake and reaction. But even then I could probably still stand it. At least the doors are closed, I’ll never see those people again, it’s over. Take the stairs, move on.

But, of course, Murphy’s Law of Elevator Logic would not allow it. So of course, to add insult to injury…

The doors reopen.

My fellow elevator occupants – the damned jerks – have been kind enough to press the “door open” button for me. Which means I now have to walk back in, head down, and live with my error (and subsequent physical outburst) for another four floors.

Do you get what I’m saying here?

I could continue to itemize the other, awkward, elevator-related social experiences I’m referring to, but honestly, I think it would be more time-effective to list NON-awkward elevator interactions.

Like, oh I don’t know… taking the stairs.

*yeah, I made that word up.

Want more incessant ramblings in a 140-character format? Follow Susie on Twitter here.

New Things! Exciting Stuff!

Things are happening! Things and stuff and… happenings!

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Coolest offer letter packaging ever? Yes.

In case you didn’t read between the lines in my recent post about jitters, I just got a new job! A writing job! And giving Susie a writing job is something like Tom Hanks becoming a professional toy-tester in the movie “Big.” This was my first week, and for days I’ve been itching to just tap somebody on the shoulder and say, “Sooo just to make sure I’m understanding this correctly… You want to pay me… Actual money? …To write? Are you sure?” It’s like getting paid to eat chocolate, or play with puppies. Somebody is giving me a check for something I would gladly do for free! I’m still geeking out about it.

There are other elements to the job than just writing, of course, and since 100% of my professional experience until this point has been in a completely different industry, there’s a lot to learn. But I’ve had my first couple assignments already and they seem to have been well received, so that’s good! (barring the possibility that I have the absolute kindest, most generous coworkers in the world and they just don’t have the heart to tell me how wretchedly awful I actually am. You never can tell with nice people.)

But in any case, I could not be more thrilled to start this new adventure, and I just wanted to give a quick update and explanation as to the crickets on my blog this week. My first couple of days have been a whirlwind adventure and I’m just allowing the dust to settle a little.

*Sidenote: I’m know I’m being vague about the nature of the job and company, but I’m not sure what all the rules are yet and how blurry the line is between writing for me and writing for them… and far be it from me to put the kibosh on this whole opportunity just because I couldn’t keep my big mouth shut. But who knows? Maybe it’s totally fine, and maybe soon I’ll be broadcasting it to the whole wide world. Maybe I’m too paranoid and overthink these things too much. Maybe I was born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.

 

On Snacks and Taxes

Sit down boys and girls, and I’ll tell you a tale.
About taxes, adulthood, and thinking things through.
Take heed of the dangers of snacking and snail mail!
Kids, I spilled guacamole on my W-2.

The IRS website was awfully picky
On page order, staples, and what to include.
So getting it perfect is terribly tricky –
Even when not eating Mexican food.

But I still looked for something to eat at the time
And the bag was right there on the shelf…
The dip was just perfect, with onions and lime,
And the chips were as salty as Redbeard himself.

As I lifted the chip to my mouth for a bite,
A chunk of guac started to drop.
It sailed to the tax return – a perilous flight,
And stuck to the paper with an audible plop.

I tried with my finger to wipe off the green,
Then the goopy stuff started to run.
I ran to the kitchen to get the thing clean…
But the damage was already done.

It’s amazing that people like me still exist
With instructions so clear and explicit.
But now I’m awaiting a slap on the wrist –
And the taxman to pay me a visit.

I picture him knocking, all rigid and stern,
And addressing me calmly and slowly –
“Ma’am, there was a problem with your tax return…
This here – is this guacamole?”

So learn from me, children, and make no mistake –
That this, too, could happen to you.
A cautionary tale does my carelessness make.
Kids: Don’t spill guacamole on your W-2.

He’s Still Talking.

He’s still talking.

If you had told me 20 minutes ago, I would absolutely not have believed you. “No way,” I would have said. “No way he will still be talking 20 minutes from now.” My over-confident, 20-minutes-ago-self would have patted you condescendingly on the shoulder and told you, regretfully, that you must be mistaken.

And yet – here I am. 20 mother-effing minutes later. A huge cardboard box still perched on my right hip, me awkwardly repositioning it every few minutes as I smile and nod and say “mmhmm” to this man who has apparently lost the ability to identify social and conversational cues. I do not exaggerate when I say that I am just one “which reminds me…” away from holding up my hands in surrender, letting the box crash to the ground, and shouting “I’M OUT, BROSEPH. I AM WALKING AWAY NOW.”

Maybe he has bad eyesight, or some other physical disorder – which makes him legitimately incapable of processing the scene in front of him. Maybe he DOES NOT SEE that I am carrying something close to my own weight in this cardboard box, and that I am standing OUTSIDE A DOORWAY and am MOMENTS AWAY FROM REACHING MY DESTINATION. Maybe he thinks the beads of sweat on my forehead are glitter from a recent arts and crafts project. Maybe he’s from another culture where women carrying heavy things around is just another day at the office. Maybe he thinks I’m stronger than I look. Maybe he thinks I don’t mind.

HEY! GUY! I DO MIND. This is very literally the heaviest thing I have lifted in the last calendar year. My arms feel like they are about to fall off, my back has been at a 45-degree angle since you first cornered me, and if I have to shift my weight one more time I am worried that all of my bones will just give out and collapse. PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, TAKE NOTICE.

This is my own fault, I know it is. I was cordial at first, greeting him like he was the highlight of my day. “MR. CALLAHAN!” I cried out in mock delight, “How ARE you?!” I shifted the box to one side like a mother with a laundry basket, and gave every impression that there was nothing more important to me at that moment than saying hello to the middle-aged man who works in the building next to mine.

…It’s my fault. I overdid it. I over-committed.

This became immediately apparent to me when Mr. Callahan began to describe – in exquisite, excruciating detail – his recent two-week vacation in Hawaii.

Oh, that damned tropical getaway! I could write a book on this man’s Hawaii vacation. I could write an entire series. After writing said series, I could then create a fake online persona and write tangential fan fiction that went into even more detail about each fabulously humid day – the volcanoes! The cocktails! The snorkeling! I could tell the story of this man’s Hawaiian adventure in my sleep. When I die, my last gurgling words will be “Mr. Callahan… ate… poi… at a luau…” The amount of time it is taking him to recount this trip to Hawaii is arguably longer than the trip itself.

And all because I couldn’t just keep my stupid head down. I just had to say hello, didn’t I? Didn’t I just have to be polite? Regardless of the fact that this box is getting heavier by the minute – no doubt it must be five hundred pounds by now – I just could not walk by this man without acknowledging his presence. This is what I get, for trying to be friendly. Stupid, stupid girl.

Somewhere in space, a star is reaching the end of its celestial lifespan. Its neutron core is imploding, heating to billions of degrees, and a supernova is thrusting tons of cosmic debris into the universe. A titanic sphere of energy and mass just turned itself inside-out and transformed into a black hole… and meanwhile this. Man. Is. Still. Talking.

Surely he can’t have this much to say, can he? Surely there can’t be this many words in the English language. Sooner or later (sooner… if there is a God), he must wear himself out. He will run out of minute details to fill me in on. He will stop talking. He must.

Hallelujah, boys and girls, there is hope! He has made actual eye contact with this godforsaken box. His facial expression is one of pity – he has noticed this gargantuan load I am carrying. Now he will realize his faux pas and correct it. He is about to smack his head in embarrassment and open this door for me, I just know it.

“Well anyway, I’ll let you go…”

This is it. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. The box gets even heavier in my arms – as if it knows this is the home stretch, it is yearning for the other side of that door. I shift it again, giving it mental instructions to be patient. Our endurance will be rewarded soon.

“Unless you want to hear about Oahu?”

My blood stops dead in its tracks, and I swallow once. My eyes are wide as golf balls – I look around frantically for an escape. Please, somebody, anybody walk up the stairs right now. Please let my cell phone ring in my pocket. Let a car thrust up onto the sidewalk and maim me – let lightning strike the top of my skull. Something, anything, to distract from another hour of conversation about leis and hammocks and palm trees. As I shift the box to my other hip for the umpteenth time, wincing in pain, I find myself spitting out the words before I can even mentally review my options:

“I’d love to!”

Brain Fluffies

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Well hey there, readers! I imagine you’re wondering why I’ve been MIA all week. (…Or, much more likely, you didn’t notice my absence at all. You walked around your life all tra-la-la and didn’t give a flying rat’s patootie about me and my blogging lull. But I would rather believe you were frantically pacing the floor, refreshing your web browser every two minutes, and cursing the skies in agony because you COULD. NOT. LIVE. without another SusiePost.

…That’s how it happened, right??)

In any case, the reason for said lull is that my mom was in town this week! Which means, among other things, that I am now well-versed on the life story of every obscure family member’s current whereabouts and life happenings, my house is now 1,726 times cleaner than it was last week, and we are officially TWO episodes behind on Dance Moms, which has only ever happened to me like once before in my entire life.

But it’s totes okay, because my mother is quite possibly my very favorite person on the planet. (Sorry, other Earth-dwellers.) She stayed in our guest-room-slash-office, in which there is a Norman Rockwell calendar hanging on the wall. Today after dropping her off at the airport, I sat down at my desk to find this written on the calendar:

ImageIsn’t she adorable?!

I love my mom. But I cannot deny that she is also by far the weirdest/quirkiest person who has ever existed. For instance: When I was little, she was vehemently against me saying bad words. Which, sure, is a pretty standard parent concern… Except that when it came to teaching me how to speak, and my mom was flipping through her mental dictionary to determine “good” from “bad,” she took a red pen to a lot more words than I think was totally necessary. Among these were “stupid,” “bored,” “hate,” and of course, anything even remotely or suggestively referring to a bodily function.

Which meant that as a child, I grew up using exclusively creative alternatives to otherwise totally anatomical descriptions. I never had to “go potty,” I had to use the restroom. And it wasn’t my butt that hurt, it was my po po.

Most of these have not made the cut into my adult vernacular, but one thing that did stick is that instead of saying “brain farts,” in honor of my mommy dearest, I – to this day – call them “brain fluffies.”

And I don’t know if it had to do with her visit, or Taylor’s absence last week, or if my mind is just generally starting to atrophy… but I have experienced an awful lot of brain fluffies lately.

To give you an idea:

  • While writing this post about my name, I literally had to stop and think about how many Ns “Susanne” has. What’s my name again?
  • The other day I was typing a text to Taylor and got distracted… and when I picked my phone back up I had typed the words “I just” and I could NOT, for the life of me, remember what the end of the text/sentence was going to be. “I just can’t believe it’s not butter”? “I just think the Killers are extremely underrated”? “I just saved a bunch of money on car insurance by switching to Geico”? Who knows, it could have been something life-changing and profound, and now it’s lost forever! (Although let’s be honest, it was probably something more like “I just really wish I had a cheeseburger right now.”)
  • We are currently out of coffee. This is somewhat of a rarity in our household, and I guess my brain hasn’t fully adjusted to it yet – because I kid you not, on Friday I rolled out of bed half-asleep, shuffled down to the kitchen in my socks, and poured myself a nice energizing mug of milk. It wasn’t until the ice cold white liquid hit my lips that I realized it was not, in fact, a cup of coffee. I wish I was joking.
  • Recently I looked at my checking account balance and it was significantly lower than I expected it to be. This made Susie sad. Fast forward to two minutes later, my mind had since wandered from the minimal account balance, but part of my brain still knew that there was something to be upset about… and I literally had this conversation with myself alone in the car: “Hang on a sec, I feel really sad right now. But wait, why am I sad? I know there’s a reason; I feel like it was something that happened recently… What did I do recently? OH! That’s right, I’m broke!” It’s like the two halves of my brain are on two completely different wavelengths, and neither one of them is communicating with me.

I have no idea what prompted this sudden drop in mental capacity, but surely it must improve now that my life has reestablished some semblance of normalcy…

…Or at the very least when I’m caught up on Dance Moms.

 

Why I Should Never Be Left Home Alone

Taylor is at a super important work conference this week, which means I have the house to myself.

For other, more functional human beings, this might mean a certain sense of freedom – a refuge from the standard routine and an opportunity to indulge.

For non-functional human beings (READ: psychopaths; Susie), this week means obsessive, distraction-geared housecleaning, replacing meals with wheat thins and Kraft singles, and staying up late sobbing over Disney movies in my underwear.

Secret’s out, guys: I’m kind-of a loser.

My pathetic lonely escapades momentarily set aside, though, have you ever actually re-watched Disney movies as an adult? I just saw Pirates of the Caribbean for the first time in a good few years – and a small detail I had previously forgotten was that at the end, (spoiler alert!) Captain Barbossa dies.

This wouldn’t be such a big deal except that his whole plight as a character – no less, the PLOT of the entire movie – was that he was living this half-life as an undead skeleton pirate guy, trying to pay the dues on his cursed existence and re-join the living.

“For too long I’ve been parched of thirst and unable to quench it. Too long I’ve been starving to death and haven’t died. I feel nothing. Not the wind on my face… Nor the spray of the sea…. Nor the warmth of a woman’s flesh.”

…And literally moments after he finally gains life and feeling back, practically simultaneously as he resurfaces into human consciousness and emotion… he gets shot! And his final words are “I feel… cold.” As in, he is finally capable of physical sensation again, what he’s been thirsting for and seeking out for YEARS… and his first/last feeling is one of chill and pain. Of being shot in the freaking stomach by his former co-pirate.

…I mean, WHAT?! This is a kid’s movie?! Sure sure, he’s the bad guy, we’re not supposed to care… but that’s some intensely deep stuff right there. That is legitimately depressing – and not in a Disney depressing-but-still-a-happy-ending kinda way, like when the winds change and Mary Poppins leaves to go help another family. I’m talking serious, perspective-altering, go-sit-in-my-room-and-listen-to-Nirvana-and-write-in-my-journal, I-need-to-contemplate-the-meaning-of-life-now kind of depressing.

And it’s even worse because I have a little sister who loves this movie. And I just couldn’t help it: I watched Barbossa die wide-eyed, imagining my innocent baby sis absorbing this scene. When I first envisioned Christianne watching this transpire – Christianne, whose bare, chubby legs I can still see waddling around the living room, who shrieked in terror at Disneyland whenever we came within a 12-foot radius of anyone in costume – I couldn’t help it. I caught myself thinking, “Does she even know what that means? Does she even know what death is?”

Which is a testament to just how warped my mind actually has actually become – because I obviously have no comprehension of the developmental progression of a human brain. I must have been about 14 when this movie came out, which is the exact same age my sister is now – and moreover the movie is rated PG-13, so the experts in Hollywood obviously thought that was age-appropriate material for someone just like her.

But I apparently suffer from the same delusional disease as most adults – that is, thinking that I was so much older at her age. Surely I wasn’t so small and fragile and little-sister-y when I was 14, right? I was different. Totally mature and more than capable of comprehending this completely macabre movie ending.

…Wasn’t I?

But the fact that I, at 24 years old, gasped when this happened on the screen… leads me to believe that people a full decade younger than I am are probably not emotionally ready to process it.

…But then again, considering that while Taylor is gone I have every intention of sleeping with all the lights in the house on, maybe my conception of maturity is skewed.