Monday, July 30, 2007

Burnt Lunch

I swear I didn’t do on purpose! How was I to know that nuking a Leona's take-out was going to cause a small fire?

It was only leftover penne arrabbiata, from a week ago. I figured it’s the oldest thing in my fridge and I better eat it before it started growing fungus. That would be bad because I don’t have any good recipes for mushrooms. I’d have to throw it out and as I’ve said before, that goes against everything I’ve been taught in Sunday School by Sister Mary Giada De Laurentiis.

What? Turning on the Food Network on Sunday counts as Sunday School. It’s a deeply religious experience: first I turn on the serene, beatific Giada, then I tune in to Tyler’s Ultimate and imagine myself prostrate on the altar of Chef Tyler Florence, naked, writhing on a bed of romaine, covered in his special brand of thick Italian dressing. The thought of it makes my bread rise. Soon enough, it is warm, thick and splay--ready for eating.

My penne arrabbiata was in a Chinese take-out container, which is weird, because Leona’s is an Italian Restaurant/Pizzeria. You’d think that the container would be something more fitting for Italian food, like maybe, you know, a gondola. But I can see why they opted for a Chinese take-out container. It’s cheap, just a piece of cardboard folded into a container--ingenious, really. It’s just one of those things that the Chinese have graciously shared with the world, like the fortune cookie, tofu and the classic ‘me rove you wroooong time!!!’

Most days, I half-expect not to find my food in the office fridge. Has someone ever stolen your lunch? Have you thought about taking somebody else's lunch?

Once, I had half a steak sandwich gone missing. This troubled me greatly. I wished that I had a photo of the sandwich so I could put up a “Have You Seen This Sandwich?” sign with the photo of my young, innocent sandwich and my phone extension on it. Instead, I had to settle for a description: ‘6 day-old steak sandwich, medium rare on foccacia, light mayo--no cheese, last seen lovingly wrapped in a pale yellow wax paper.’ They say that by individualizing the victim, it humanizes them to their captor.

This person had to be stopped. I mean, who who who but a sinister person would take some unknown co-worker’s food from the fridge and eat it? This person had no morals whatsoever and should be stopped before they molested some child like they molested my poor steak sandwich. Did they rub it on their privates before consuming that tender, seasoned flesh? My stomach turned at the thought.

It’s totally insane, just the idea of eating somebody else’s food. What if the person didn’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom before making the sandwich? What if it was made by a vengeful wife who peed into the spaghetti sauce after finding lipstick on her husband’s underwear? And oh-dear-god-in-heaven, what if it was a salad that had ICEBERG LETTUCE. Shock!

But my food was there, so I took the take-out container by its aluminum handle and put it in the microwave oven. I don’t know about you, but I like my food piping hot--scalding, if possible. I like to feel the sizzle; it’s more appetizing that way. I hate eating through my food and finding a cold middle. It’s almost like dating a Korean guy and finding out he can’t do calculus or my laundry. It’s annoying and somewhat disappointing.

I figured that five minutes should do it. Since I am always afraid of bacteria, I add an extra minute to kill off those tiny little buggers. 6-0-0, I punched into the keypad. Start.

I settled down with my current book, a real page-turner: Soon I Will Be Invincible, so I am quickly absorbed. The lunch room was empty so it was pretty quiet save for the low, steady hum of the microwave.

Then suddenly, a few minutes in, I smelled smoke. Looking up, I saw wisps of black smoke seeping out of the sides of the microwave’s door. I jumped up and flew across the room to shut it off.

The door of the microwave sprung open. Inside, the white container was black where the handle was attached, small embers forming around the super-heated aluminum. I grabbed the hot container and threw it into the kitchen sink, burning my fingers. I turned on the water.

The inside of the microwave was sooty. Panic rising, I close the door, took the wet container from the sink, threw it into the trash and ran out of the lunch room. I felt a bit like a criminal leaving a crime scene. I wished I had time to wipe down for fingerprints. Everybody’s a fucking CSI these days; forensics is the new porn.

An hour later, I passed some people in the hallway jabbering about the lunch room. I kept quiet, avoiding eye contact. I was afraid that my guilt, combined with my now-acute hunger, would show on my face.

Inexplicably, at around 330pm, I found myself back in the lunch room. The counter where the microwave sat, was bare; only a smoky outline the evidence of its existence. What was it they say? A criminal always returns to the scene of the crime?

My stomach rumbled and churned.

I was drawn to the refrigerator. I opened the door, staring at the contents. Now, my colleagues’ food are somehow different: enticing--sexy. With nervous fingers, I picked up somebody’s Gladware, peering inside. It looked like pad thai; bits of peanut clinging on the pale, translucent noodle strands.

I struggled briefly, then I put it back. Right then, I was that person who stole your lunch. A foodnapper. A snack pirate. A hamburglar.

Right then, I didn’t even care that there could’ve been, you know, pee in the pad thai...

I finished reading the book Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman and I loved it. This book is about a super-villain Doctor Impossible who escapes from a maximum-security prison, who despite several failures to take over the world, compulsively plots to do it again, like it was a tic. At one point, he finds himself blurting out “I. Am. A. GENIUS!” and then kicking himself afterwards for being so stereotypical. Meanwhile, his ex-girlfriend Lily (good? evil?) joins the equivalent of the Justice League. She, who has intimate knowledge of his personality. Would she help bring abut his defeat or is she a plant? This book is for you geeks. It’s funny, exciting and it fucking rocks.

Other posts about work:

Things That Might Drive Joe To Crazyville - Guest blogger Joe rants about work.
Flying Toasters - It is just another cruelty that there is no free coffee at work.

Solitary Confinement - My assignment honed my skills at goofing off.
Three Hours - That's how long my commute was, each minute closer to my demise.

Check out my other recommendations, including "Books You Must Read" and "CDs for a Desert Island" here.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

This Is Where I Self-Destruct

This is when I let my doubts, my insecurities into the room. Doubt sits at the foot the bed and Insecurity lies beside me, its head nestled on my stomach.

My boyfriend is asking me why I'm quiet. If I were trying to talk things over, if I were trying to make this right, I would answer him instead of giving him the silent treatment--my favorite argument tactic--because it's the only way to I know to resolve conflict in relationships in a totally, you know, mature way. I would make an effort to communicate and tell him why this bugs me and maybe we could come to an agreement.

In the early days of our relationship, I would've been more forthcoming, probably because I was afraid he would break up with me, which scared the shit out of me, because I was barely hanging on to 155 lbs. If he had broken up with me, it would've sent me in a tailspin and I would’ve ended up rock bottom, at bottom of a bag of potato chips, party size, for my party of one.

Why is it that when I am happy, I can't just be happy? I have to think about why I am happy, how much longer I will be happy and whether I should buy some more lube just in case this happiness last longer than another 20 minutes. At least when you're miserable, you could wallow in it. But whoever heard of wallowing in happiness? If you do, maybe you should check the dosage of your medication.

I have to ask myself: Is this going to last? Is he going to stop loving me? How much longer is he going to keep doing the laundry? I have become used to having him in my life. If we split up, how am I going to keep the evil telemarketers at bay?

How am I going to survive without knowing how to operate the dishwasher?

He alway pretends to be me when a telemarketer calls, "May I speak with Paul?" This is by the way, is a dead giveaway that the caller is a telemarketer. When my friends, my family call me, they say, "Wazzup, hookah??!?" Except of course, my grandma, who is quite genteel so she says, "What's going on with my little prostitute?"

I can't deal with telemarketers because I always end up buying whatever shit they are selling or answering totally insane and ridiculous surveys about the state of our Economy. I don't know why I can't do what any normal person would do and just scream obscenities into the phone and hang up. I just can’t do that.

Why am I mad?

I'm mad because he told his mother we'd have dinner with her at the Olive Garden without asking me. I mean, how could he, when I could've been planning some big fancy dinner for us with the package of baloney and an egg in our refrigerator. I mean, it wasn't that big a deal, but at least ask me--I would’ve said yes.

Now, I have to suffer through the 'endless salad and breadsticks,' tediously asking for an umpteenth refill. Then, I have to make sure I lined my man-purse with a large baggie so I could fill it 'leftover' bread and salad.

Yes, it made me angry, which is nuts because, like I said, I would’ve gone anyway. If this was the first year of our relationship, instead of the fifth, I would've even enthusiastically tried to think of a creative gift idea for her. After all, I would've still been trying to buy her affection, instead of merely tolerating her.

So instead, I give him the silent treatment, which by the way, is easier when you've just had botox. Later, I may even throw a fit or pick an argument, I don't know, depending on my mood and outfit. It's hard to act huffy when you're not wearing a feather boa or a pashmina.

Why do I do this? Why can't I let a relationship be? Why do I have to second-guess myself? Why do I have to question the status quo?

And whyohwhy do I let Doubt and Insecurity lie on my bed, especially when Doubt constantly sheds and Insecurity has fleas...

Cary Tennis, that wise sage advises a man from his dark thoughts which mirror my own.

Other related posts:

Detour - We carry our heavy emotional baggage through an SF airport.
It Don't Smell Like Roses - I believed in the Happily Ever After. Boy, was I wrong.

Stuttering - You can't argue with a hot Marine who stutters.
Girl, Interrupted - A national argument about a girlfriend in a coma.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cheaper Sneakers

"They're turning kids into slaves 
just to make cheaper sneakers.
But what's the real cost?
'Cause the sneakers don't seem that much cheaper..."

"Think About It"
Flight of the Conchords


Other related posts:

The Assassin - A night with another comedian, Margaret Cho

A Blogless World - A slave to blogging, I imagine a world without blogs.

Watch the Video.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Death Wish

Don't you sometimes wish that somebody was dead, just because they have so much power over you? Someone maybe like, you know, like your boss, or your teacher, or like, Madonna? Yeah, sometimes I wish that Madonna were dead.

Ok not really, I am totally looking forward to her next album, even though Confessions on the Dancefloor left me a little cold.

But sometimes, I wish my mother were dead.

Is that horrible? You can say it, tell me I'm horrible, it's okay. Sometimes, I wish that Cher was dead too.

Ok, that's not really true either. You who have children know this; your kids have wished you dead a thousand times to your face for not letting them drive the car, play video games or to wear make-up to the boy scout troop.

I don't really want my mother to be dead. My mother is the only person in the world who can really get to me, she's the only one in the world who can put any kind of sense in my head. She's the only person in the world who can make me feel happy and sad and angry all at the same time.

In my last visit home in the Philippines, my mother drove me around town. She wouldn't let me drive her car, ever since I backed the car into the garage door. What? I was fifteen but I was paying attention and totally looking at the rearview mirror, you know, at my hair.

And as we usually do while we're in the car, we were having an argument about my financial situation, my "bachelorhood," my eclectic choices in deodorant. The conversation would go from a discussion of what diets we were on, to how long to hard-boil an egg, to why-the-hell-aren't-you-married-yet? Sometimes it would go exactly like that, except without the first two topics.

It's a touchy subject, one that nobody in my family would ever have the nerve to bring up sober--or at least when I'm sober.

When I'm drunk, then it's free game where all the old aunties come by and sit around and they all start planning my big fat heterosexual wedding. I don't have the heart to tell them that I would never get married unless there were Limoges china involved. And a shotgun. And the girl had a penis.

My mom brings it up at every opportunity, as if my "sell by" date is fast approaching, that if I don't get married soon, I would have to be marked down for a quick sale. She doesn't know that in local circles, I am already cheaper than a whore with no boobs and a crystal meth habit. She thinks that the right girl will "turn" me back, back into a werewolf with my bushy unibrow and untrimmed man-lawn. Which is sad, but I think she prefers that. She prefers me with wild bushy pubic hair. Mothers. Sigh.

I remember the day my younger sister got married, my mother was so radiant, so happy, you'd think it was her own wedding day. We were all having a wonderful time, drinking, laughing. My mother was in her element. She was able to marry off one of her four children. I think that she thought that we would all get married in succession, inevitable, like time or tide. Or herpes.

That was ten years ago, my sister is still the only married one of her children.

Sometimes, when I think about my mother, it makes me really sad, especially when I think that if something were to happen to her, I will not be by her side. Even if I rush on the next flight to the Philippines from Chicago, it will be 16 hours, 45 minutes and a smelly cab ride too late.

Once, I woke up in the middle of the night and thought that I was back home, until my eyes adjusted to the darkness and realized that I was not. It filled me with a small despair; I could not walk out of my bedroom and find my mother's bedroom down the hall.

The thought of my mother slipping away from the world scares me, and I wish--don't think me callous (even though I don't blame you if you do)--that she was already gone, the grief already behind me, because I don't know that it will ever be behind me.

This distance from my mother and my family is an ache in me. It is always with me, like a pebble in my shoe. If my Mom were to be gone, I would miss that ache, that pebble.

Mom, I wish you can be with me forever.

I had debated whether to put up this post. Most of the time, when I write, I don’t censor myself, I let my thoughts wander freely. This was supposed to be my Mother’s Day post and I was in sort of a mood when I wrote it.

Did I go too far? I feared that mothers might launch a vendetta against me, or conspire to give me a bad perm. When I asked my boyfriend to read it, he said it to was too dark, which I kinda knew, especially since we were both sitting in the living room with the lights off.

To heck with it, let it be posted. You tell me if I crossed the line.


Engagement - On her deathbed, my grandmother schemed to get my dad married off.
Letter From Home - I come across a letter from my mother which tugs my heartstrings.

voyeur - I stumble on a train wreck of a blog, of someone who wishes he were dead.
My Sister, The Hurricane - The baby of our family fulfills our genetic destiny.

Cary Tennis of advises a man who can't get home before his mother dies.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Because It's About You

maybe nobody goes to your web site because it's about you

(c) 2005 The New Yorker


you were born and so you're free - Take a wonderful, dark and poetic journey, from deathbed to oblivion, written and drawn by Anders Nilsen.

Cartoons - The New Yorker cartoons slay me. These are ones which have appeared in this site over the years.