Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I should be packing

This post has been sitting around for weeks with little snippets, things I intended to write about when I had some time. It has said...

Don't get abducted at Kroger
Interviewing at the gas station

Pennsylvania serpentine

Sleeper hold
Robber baron chic

And right now is really not the time to finish this post. I should be steaming the wrinkles out of my suit and packing for my next interview. I have to be at work early tomorrow, and I leave from work to go to the airport. Tomorrow night, I'm back in New York for about 24 hours.

I shouldn't be blogging.
Or drinking this red wine.
But, fuck it.

Here goes...

Don't get abducted at Kroger

My mother forwarded me an email last week. Do you get these? Forwards from your mother? (If we were speaking in person right now, I'm sure someone would say, "No, no I don't. My mother died years ago, and ahh, what I wouldn't give for one last forward from her." And then, I would feel like a tremendous ass. If you are that someone, I apologize for the ass I'm about to make of myself.) My mother doesn't send forwards often, but what she loses in frequency she more than makes up for in asinine content.

This one was a list of tips for the fairer sex as they head out to brave the dangerous world. These are some of my favorites...

Men are most likely to attack in the early morning, between 5 am and 8:30 am.

The number one place women are attacked/abducted from is grocery store parking lots.

These men said that they would not pick on women who had umbrellas.

If someone is following behind you, turn, look him in the face and make small talk by saying, "I can't believe it's so cold out here. We're in for a bad winter."

Well, that settles it. I'm no longer going out to buy milk at 7 am on clear days in June. Mostly, because I'll have nothing to say when I turn around to make small talk with my kidnapper. And I'll look like an idiot carrying that umbrella.

If a predator has a gun, RUN. The predator will only hit you 4% of the time. So, RUN, preferably in a zig zag pattern.

Running in a zig zag pattern, you have a 4% chance of being shot and a 32% chance of falling down and giving yourself a concussion. Unless you're me, in which case, it's about a 57% chance of self-induced head injury.

Interviewing at the gas station

The reason I haven't been spending more time here is because I've been interviewing. A lot. I was in Chicago on November 20th and 21st and then in the south Nov 24th through the 26th.

Four years ago, on my way to a medical school interview, I stopped at a gas station. As I put my VISA into the card reader on the pump, I waited with baited breath.


Never before had I worried that my card would be declined. It was a debit card, and I always had more than enough money in the account. But, as I stood there, I held my breath while I waited for the little screen to say Approved. During that interview season, it felt as though I might be rejected by everything from med school programs to gas station pumps.

I had lost my fucking mind.

I wish I could say that four years and a shit-load of scary personal life trauma later, I have gained some perspective on things like this. And, I suppose that maybe I have. (A little.) I mean, I don't get excited every time I successfully pay at the pump now. But, I'm still mostly a fucknut when it comes to this stuff.

I'm trying not to be.
I'm having limited success.

Today, I spoke to the woman who is in charge of the residency match process at school. She said, "You know, this is an incredibly stressful time, even for people like you who seem to have a good program in the bag." And then, she offered me a carrot stick. I don't like carrots, but it made me feel better nonetheless.

Pennsylvania serpentine

The day before Thanksgiving, I had to schlep my ass through Pennsylvania to get from interviews to my family's house. As I drove through Breezewood, Elvis Costello sang, This is hell. This is hell. I am sorry to tell you...

And there you have it.

Speaking of running in a zig zag, I think the Pennsylvania turnpike was designed by someone who was being chased by an armed madman. It's like that scene from The In-Laws... SERPENTINE, SERPENTINE! I swear, if you could drive through that state in a straight line, the trip would only take ten minutes.

The bright spot: My dad called halfway through my drive and said, "You know what James Carville said about Pennsylvania? It's Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west, and Alabama in the middle." And that's exactly how I would describe the place if I was giving a tour.

Sleeper hold

My grandma uninvited her brother and his wife to Thanksgiving this year. She said it was because she didn't have the room, what with the babies. But, in truth, the babies don't take up much space. (They're sort of like really small versions of regular people.) She just didn't want her brother and sister-in-law there. She compromised and said that they could come for dessert, but she wasn't having them for dinner.

Because there were fewer people at dinner, my grandma decided that we would all fit at the dining room table. All 18 of us. In fact, 16 chairs do fit around her dining room table. There is not a millimeter of space in between the chairs, but they fit. As my brother said, "Thank goodness we're not a fat family." And thank goodness we're nimble, because my mother literally had to hoist her leg over the back of her chair, step onto her seat and slide herself onto her butt. As much as she bitches about her post-menopausal body, I have to tell you, as I watched her Cirque du Soleil herself into her chair, I was thinking, "Damn, she's looking pretty fucking great for her age."

Once I got done checking out my mom's ass, I performed similar acrobatics to get myself up to the table. We started eating, and two bites in, my brother said, "Grandma, we need shorter forks. I just stabbed Grandpa with the end of mine."

"Oh, honey, he'll be okay."

Easy for her to say. She wasn't sandwiched in with the rest of us. She and my sister, Kelsy, were in the two seats that wouldn't fit around the table--the bleachers. They sat behind us, eating off of their laps, mocking us in our struggle to move food to our mouths without blinding our neighbors.

We all kind of got into a groove, coordinating bites with those next to us so as to avoid injury, and things were going pretty well. We'd had a few glasses of wine at this point and frankly, we got a little cocky. We decided to up the ante. We decided to pass the rolls.

My uncle was passing the basket to me when he somehow managed to put his young son in a modified sleeper hold. I looked over to see my poor cousin, his head wedged in his father's armpit, his little voice squeaking, "Uh, Dad...I can't really breathe here."

It was our first Thanksgiving related near death experience. I can't imagine how terrifying it might have been if I hadn't been mostly drunk when it happened. My poor cousin, though. He may never give thanks again.

Robber baron chic

The uninvited uncle and his wife did, in fact, show up for dessert. It's a bit hard to explain what it is about this man that makes him so difficult to be around.

He has a lot of money.
None of which came to him through his own ingenuity.
Yet he feels rather entitled.
And likes to give advice to the less fortunate.
And tell them stories.
Which are boring.

He used to come in a tie every year, but he's loosened up a bit there. The day after Thanksgiving, my dad and I were having coffee and this conversation...

I said, "Did you notice, Uncle Peter showed up in casual this year. His shirt wasn't even tucked in."

"Yeah, you know what we call that don't you?


"Robber baron chic."


★Susan★ said...

M told me that thing about Pennsylvania once upon a time. I'm always terrified that my card will be declined. And I always feel so validated *as a person* when it says "approved." Like without that little digital screen's approval I'm worthless. Justin's mom sends him email forwards like that all the time. At Thanksgiving we sit guys in the living room, girls in the dining room. Like in Kindergarten. The words 'robber baron chic' make me think of something involving a cape, and perhaps an eye patch (bedazzled!). I'm really glad you posted. Be careful traveling. I know you'll be great!

Maria said...

Oh, honey pie..what a great post. And I am snitching your comment about your uncle, because it fits my boar bil SO well.

I don't remember worrying about my credit card going through (I didn't have one and I am old enough that when I was a young woman, we didn't have bank cards) but I do remember budgeting 3 bucks for gas per week and praying that it would be enough.

And my sister's thanksgiving table was similar. I never did get a roll because it was at the end of the table. We did have the ball of butter, though...we should have smeared it on ourselves to get out of our chairs.

For a sappy, messy assed woman you shore are funny....

Shan said...

You've just made me bray like a donkey T. How truly unladylike. I loved the table yoga. It reminded me of how I have noted things my mom can do at each age she reaches. And I too, have checked out her various features wondering if I will hold up so well in a particular area. I do this in vain as I was adopted and am not of the same make but, never-the-less.

I can't wait to hear which place you end up doing your residency in. Bet you can't either. You surely have the suit wearing mastered by now at least! Gah. Stay strong. :)

Amanda said...

oh thank you thank you for posting this! I loved every minute of it! Strangely enough, in high school my friend Campbell gave a speech on what to do if you are getting raped and one of the things was to make polite conversation with your attacker. hmm...

gitz said...

Oh my hell, I think I just hurt myself laughing. I have a great uncle who is so the baron. I could picture it perfectly.

Zig zag running... I would pay to see that. I mean, I'd feel really bad for you and the whole gun situation after I was done laughing, but I'd still love to see it.

Don't worry about your placement. You kick ass... even the lady with the carrot stick thought so. I'm sure the belt would totally put you over the top. :)

.j.william. said...

"Sleeper Hold" was some straight-up David Sedaris beauty.

MmeBenaut said...

This was one of your "hold onto your socks" reading events. Terroni you are so funny. If I was feeling better I'd say more but let me just say that I can understand where you get your humour from. Having seen a photo of your Mom (when Logan was born), I can testify that she looks fantastic for her age!

dive said...

Weird advice, T.
I very rarely attack between 5 and 8:30 AM; I'm usually stuck on the stupid train then. I have to wait until lunchtime before I can attack weemen.

I remember family meals like that. Sheesh! Thanks to time and death and not breeding we're down to the last three of us so unless we all eat off the same side table that kind of thing's no longer a problem.

Robber baron chic. Hee hee.

Anonymous said...

No, no I don't. My mother died years ago, and ahh, what I wouldn't give for one last forward from her.


(okay, I'm cracking myself up here, which is unseemly.)

Eric said...

Hi, I found your blog through Maria's, funny, funny stuff.
When I was a kid our parents used to place my cousin and I next to each other, me on the left, at every family gathering. He's left handed, I'm not.
I remember them laughing, they claim not to remember doing it.