Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Moment Of Ick.

I was never a fan of watching sitcoms growing up, and a big reason was the Moment Of Ick that would invariably occur in the last five minutes, where the father/mother would sit the troublemaker kid down and patiently explain The Big Lesson That Needed To Be Learned Through The Wacky Misadventures Of The Past Half Hour. I dislike the Moment Of Ick very much. It’s just patently unreal, no parent is ever that patient, that kind, that accompanied by cloying synthesizer strings when explaining what the troublemaker kid did wrong. It makes my skin crawl.

And while we’re on THAT topic, something else I very much dislike is people crying in front of me. Ooooooh, gross. I think it has something to do with the fact that I hate naked displays of emotion. I hate open vulnerability. Yes, I know that’s a part of being human, and yes, it probably says a lot about me that I hate it, but boo on you, I hate it anyways. I’ve been known to cry in church on more than one occasion, and it’s usually me sobbing at what seems like the vast gulf between me and God, and I hate myself for doing it, so I’m an equal opportunity Open Vulnerability Hater. Boo on you. Boo on me. Boo hoo boo hoo, boo hoo. Ooooooh, gross.

Today in 11:00 church, I’m sitting in the back, like I usually do, and this woman comes in somewhere in the middle of the sermon and takes the empty seat next to me. I think the people who show up late for church are kinda whacked. I mean, you wouldn’t show up in a movie when it’s half over, so why would you do it in church? How are you gonna know what’s been covered? How are you gonna pick it up? What’s the point? 11:00 church is an offshoot from a Presbyterian church, and Presbyterians are known for being on the laid back side when it comes to being on time, but it’s still a little silly, I think.

So the sermon winds up, and we go into singing more songs, and I’m sitting there, deliberately not looking at the people who’re doing Hands To Heaven, just closing my eyes, and trying to focus on connecting to God, and then I hear it.


Not I’ve Got A Cold Sniffles. Not I’ve Got A Sinus Infection That I Thought Was The Flu Sniffles. Open Vulnerability Sniffles. Naked Displays Of Emotion Sniffles. Uh oh.

I open my eyes, and sneak a glance. Yep, the woman sitting beside me is clutching a crumpled tissue, and those are definitely tears under her eyes. Aw, man. What am I supposed to do. Oh blegh. I know EXACTLY what I’m supposed to do. I am, in fact, supposed to embody a Moment Of Ick. GROSS! I DON’T WANNA!

Take it away, interior monologue! You know exactly what you’re supposed to do. Your life is always made up of moments where what you don’t wanna do is exactly what you’re supposed to do in order to learn something, or to grow as a person. I don’t wanna. You’re in a CHURCH, for God’s sake! Demonstrate the love of Christ, you little shit! I don’t wanna, and I don’t think she wants me to.

Look at all the times I’ve cried in church. The last thing I would’ve wanted is for someone to come up and console me. The last thing I would’ve wanted is for someone to have hugged me. That would’ve made me feel ten thousand times worse, because not only does it mean I’m embodying a Naked Display Of Emotion, I’m embodying a Naked Display Of Emotion And Somebody Saw It. Naked Displays Of Emotion are supposed to be a private thing that occasionally happens in public, and you’re supposed to go on about your day and let that person get their emotional crap together without an audience. I don’t want this woman to feel worse simply because I’m acknowledging that I know she’s hurting. Just because that’s what you think doesn’t mean that’s what she thinks. You’re a certifiable Crankypants. She probably isn’t. Do something!

To stifle the debate, I reach out and put my arms around her. Oh gross. Oh ick. Oh ick ick icky poo. What if she really didn’t want that? What if now you’re making it worse because she really IS like you, and now she’s gotta deal with a Hugger in the midst of her Naked Display Of Emotion. What if now instead of crying, she’s frantically trying to come up with a way to gently escape your grasp? AHHHHHHHHH! SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!

Actually, what she does is grab my arm, and we hang like that for the rest of the song. There’s the occasional thought of How much longer do I have to do this, and I hope she doesn’t ask me to pray with her. But the end of the song seems like a good break, and so I do one of those air kisses above her forehead and let go. She smiles at me and the band launches into the next song and NOW the slide comes up on the screen that “There are people in the back that can pray with you if you need prayer.” Ha! They don’t mean me, lady! She doesn’t move. She doesn’t go in the back, she doesn’t ask for prayer. She also doesn’t cry anymore. I may have embarrassed the tears right out of her.

After we’re dismissed from the service, she looks at me and says “Thank you.” Ask her what’s wrong. Ask her if everything’s okay. Ask her if she needs prayer. “No problem.” I say back. And zoom, she’s out like a shot. She moves for the door even faster than I have when I’m trying to escape Pastoral Twit’s service.

So there. I was a Moment Of Ick. I do not feel better about myself, because I don’t think I was experiencing the love of Christ. I may have been demonstrating it, but if I’m not experiencing it, does that mean it somehow doesn’t count? She didn’t know the difference, she probably thought I was an evangelical Looney Tune that wanted her phone number so I could call her every day and read devotionals to her. But I know the difference.

If I wait until I experience the love of Christ in order to demonstrate it, I may never demonstrate it, because I will continually try to quantify it No, that’s not it. No, that’s not it. But if I demonstrate it without feeling it, I feel like a fraud. There should be a happy medium in there somewhere.

Maybe a one arm hug next time.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Jesus Never Had A Runny Nose

Here are a few things that Jesus never had to deal with in his lifetime:

Sinus infections

Chapped lips and cracked nostrils from cold weather and sinus infections

Clogged ears

Flu symptoms

Anxiety attacks because you can’t tell if it’s the flu or a sinus infection

You know how I was driving around and blessing everyone from my car? Yeah, I’m getting it all back now with my sneezing and the hail of “Bless yous!” that follow. Funny in retrospect I guess.

If I could tear my nose off my face, I’d be such a happy camper.


Sunday, February 19, 2006


I grew up in a traditional church, where we sang the doxology, and there was a choir and an organ, a call and a response, and preachers in robes and all that fun stuff. But with the advent of Contemporary Worship, things sure are different. Now you’ve got drums, and guitars, and beats and some pretty groovy tunes going on. When my parents come out to visit and I take them to church, I have to make sure I bring earplugs for them, even though we’re sitting in the back row, that’s how loud it can get.

And I dig the music. I once tried to describe to a friend of mine, Clarence, why my church was so cool that he should come with me to a service sometime. His response was that church is supposed to be church with a capital C, that it’s supposed to be reverent and holy and respectful and lofty and sacred and definitely not something where a funky bass line is invoked. I found it interesting that he held church in that regard, when he didn’t himself go, (nor did he want to.) I think he was a lapsed Catholic. Most of my friends are. Or heathens. One or the other. I love them all equally.

Anyhow, when the music has gotten this beaterific during the service, you can’t help but do a little something. Clap your hands, obviously. Nod your head, maybe. Stomp your feet. I prefer the One Leg Bounce. Y’know, where you’re just…bouncing it when you’re standing on it. It’s cool commitment. If you wanna mix it up, but don’t wanna get too crazy, you can do the Alternating Double Leg Bounce. Or together. Whatever hits you.

I go to two different churches. 9’o clock church is so big they have four services. 11 o’clock church just started last year, so they have maybe 250 people at their one service. Both feature live music during their services. 11 o’clock church sounds indie rock (they’ve been known to play stuff like Death Cab For Cutie, Joseph Arthur, and Bjork on the Itunes for the pre-service music.) 9 o’clock church is more pop soul stuff, and they run their services like a live concert, complete with video cameras projecting the images of the folks onstage on three different screens. There’s cross cutting, dramatic angles, a nine piece band, background singers, five main singers, and a jazz flutist. I think you can buy it on DVD in the lobby afterwards.

Now, there are people at these services who I call “Jumpers.” Not that they’re diving off buildings for God (though that would be pretty awesome to hear them justify it if they did) but they do indeed Jump to the music.

I mean, they REALLY get into it. They Jump. They Hoot. They Holler. They’re dancing like it’s Greg Dulli and The Twilight Singers up there. They’ve got their hands up in the air, or if they’re trying to be cool yet committed, they do what one minister accurately describes as “The Flipper,” where it’s palms up to the ceiling at your waist. I don’t have my digital camera yet, otherwise I’d do a whole photo montage of it. And since the last thing I’d do is take a picture during the service, let me put a picture up there of some church I do not know. Here. See? That’s exactly what it looks like.

The 11 o’clock service has only one Jumper, but he’s committed! He’s gonna Jump by himself damn it, because it’s all about him praising God, and this is how he’s gonna do it.

The first time I encountered the Jumper phenomenon, my first thought was, What’s WRONG with you? People are staring! STOP IT!

Then I thought Well, just don’t look at them. Focus on the stage. But it doesn’t work at 9 o’clock church, because everyone on stage at 9 o’clock church is singing with such passion, with such commitment, with such ANGUISH. I mean, you all really have to come to the service with me to understand (or buy the DVD in the lobby.) They’re singing as if their LIFE DEPENDED ON IT! Like they’re just going to up and die right now if you don’t believe in what they’re singing.

For example, one of the songs today had the lyric “Lord you are good and your mercy endures forever.” Wonderful lyric. Wonderful sentiment. Absolutely true. So why does their close up, which is projected twenty-five feet high behind them, have them looking as though they’re being burned at the stake? Biting lips, furrowed brows, intense gazes to heaven, which, let’s be honest here, is the ceiling. Remember the scene in Fast Times At Ridgemont High, where Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character is having sex, and she’s on her back looking up, and the camera cuts to her point of view and all it is, is the ceiling? Because she’s thinking sex is supposed to be this wonderful romantic beautiful thing, and all she’s seeing is the cabana light (at least, I think it’s in the cabana. Maybe it was in the dugout? It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the movie.) Point being, these singers have such an anguished gaze at…the ceiling (and the bird’s nest up in the lighting grid.) What’s their problem? Are they straining to hit the note? If you’re singing praise songs to God, why aren’t you, y’know, HAPPY about it?

It makes me uncomfortable, in the same way that when Pastoral Twit at 9 o’clock service does the All Call for people who REALLY need prayer to come down to the front of the stage. ‘Cause I’m thinking Why do I have to go down THERE? Why can’t I be prayed for right where I am? I don’t wanna move. I’d have to step over people. It would inconvenience them. People would be looking at me. I hate it when people look at me. I’ll stay right where I am, thanks.

Additionally, when Pastoral Twit closes us in prayer, we’re all supposed to close our eyes, and he says something to the effect of “anyone who heard today’s message and it touched something in them, and you want to make a commitment to God right now, would you raise your hand please, so I can pray for you.” And then he counts how many people raised their hands. The idea is, I guess, is that it’s okay to raise your hand when everyone has their eyes closed. I always wanna be a brat, lift my head and look around, to see if it’s REALLY twelve people that raise their hand, because it strangely comes out to be around 12 every single week. I never do, though, because I’m worried I’d be smited on the spot. Ka-BOOM! Lightening comes down, burns me to a crisp, Pastoral Twit would say “The work of GOD!” and they’d launch into song, this time the anguished looks would be stemming from Dear GOD don’t let me be smited like her.

But it’s that same thought. Why do I have to raise my hand if I want to make a commitment to God? Why can’t I not raise my hand and still make a commitment? What’s with the public display? It makes me want to NOT raise my hand, just on principle. Like how when I go to weddings, and I’m forced against my will to participate in the bouquet toss, when everyone’s hands go up, mine go down. On principle.

So one day, instead of stewing over how much I hate the Jumpers or any public display in 9 o’clock church, I tried to figure out the source of where the anger was coming from. Not so much What’s wrong with them? But rather
What’s wrong with YOU?

Why do you hate the Jumpers, Amy? It’s not like they’re jumping ON you. They’re just jumping to jump. Leave ‘em alone. What’s the problem? The problem is they’re annoying me. Why? Because they look stupid. They don’t think they look stupid. Why do you think they look stupid? Because they’re JUMPING! IN CHURCH! Because they’re excited about worshipping God! This is how they express themselves. Leave them alone. What’s the big deal? Because I don’t wanna Jump because I’ll look stupid like they do! Nobody asked you to Jump. Well, I have to Jump, don’t I? I mean, if I’ve never felt the presence of God or anything, and THEY obviously do…

And there it was. I wasn’t angry at the Jumpers. I was jealous. Jealous of the Jumpers.

Surely, the reason I wasn’t feeling the presence of God was because I didn’t Jump. Because I didn’t raise my hands to heaven. because I didn’t go down to the front to be prayed for, because I didn’t raise my hand when everyone has their eyes closed. If only I would lay aside my pride and do all the stuff I didn’t wanna do, the Floodgates Of Feeling would open, and the Presence of God would wash over me like a tsunami and I would Jump. Oh yes, I would Jump.

But I am not a Jumper. I’m not. I know I’m not. To force me to jump when I’m not a Jumper would be the proverbial square peg into the round hole. It would be ugly and awkward, and I’d most likely be resentful.
Because I wouldn’t be Jumping to express my joy at worshipping. I’d be Jumping in the hopes of conjuring up the presence of God, like rubbing a lamp. I’d be stomping a hole in the floor trying to bring the God on, and that’s not what it’s about. I am not a Jumper. I am a One Leg Bouncer.

Do the Jumpers feel the presence of God? Who knows? Maybe they do. Maybe they’re really into the music, maybe they’re uninhibited people by nature. Regardless, the Jumpers are EXCITED. I wanna be excited. I wanna be excited for God. I wanna be excited ABOUT God. And I keep getting waylaid by these ridiculous judgments on Jumpers, on public displays of worship, and I don’t WANNA raise my hands, and I really feel like I’m five years old.

So I close my eyes. Do my One Leg Bounce and close my eyes. Amazing how it takes care of ALL of it.

But my hands are staying in my pockets.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Mom is not a technological ninny

My mother would like it to be known that yes, she did make it to the blog, and yes, she saw the ballerina picture, and yes, she did read the metaphor that she sponsored. She neglected to mention if someone indeed tipped her off, or whether God whispered in her ear Psst. Your daughter is making short jokes about you on cyberspace. It can't be her other daughter, my sister, who's only slightly taller than her. (love ya Agatha! Don't mean it at all!) No, no, it must be me.

Mom reports, "Yes, I think God was with all of us that day (like every day) with Bunny in the water sustaining her strength in swimming, me in the boat (I think it was a tow boat rather than a canoe 'cause that is a more stable boat (I do remember a lot about small boats from those camping days) And God was with the counselors - yes there were two -- who had encouraged Bunny's swim abilities and were encouraging her (not too loudly because no one was to distract the swimmer)"

So there ya go. Obviously, the overuse of parentheses is an inherited trait.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Another Metaphor

Okay, today’s metaphor is brought to you by Amy’s Mom. It’s cool, we can talk about her, she only made it to the blog once, and even then I suspect it was because she liked the baby picture of me in the corner. She hasn’t figured out the ballerina picture went up last night. If you are friends with my Mom, please feel free to tell her what she’s missing by not visiting this site more often. Because if she starts reading this stuff, she’ll get freaked out. And folks, the game of Freaking Mom Out never gets old. Never. Yes, it’s completely juvenile and I really should grow up. But to freak out a 4’11 woman who also happens to be your mother is COMEDY GOLD! Ha ha ha.

Anyhow, Mom told me this story once of her days at summer camp. The name of the camp is so perfectly ridiculous, I’m not even going to try and cloak it. It’s Camp Merrymeeting, located on beautiful Merrymeeting Bay. Mmmph. Mmmph. BWAH HA HA HA!

In those glorious sepia toned days, when manners were manners, and carpets came in the color of puce, and everyone wore those silly looking swim caps when entering a body of water larger than their bathtub, in order to achieve the status of White Cap in your swimming class (It’s the highest level you can achieve, don’tcha know), you had to swim from one side of Merrymeeting Bay to the other. It’s probably not as wide as the Amazon, which is what I immediately thought of when she told me the story, but it’s wider than one would think, because your swim instructor and a Designated Swim Buddy would be paddling in a canoe beside you.

The instructor would paddle the canoe and the Designated Swim Buddy (Mom’s best friend named Bunny. Not lying. That’s her name) would be cheering you on. “Go Amy’s Mom! You can do it! Put a little power to it!” and should you get exhausted before reaching the other side, they’d haul you into the canoe and you’d go back to shore and everyone would laugh at you and call you names. Okay, no. They wouldn’t do that. But I’m sure there was an element of shame involved. It’s CAMP, for Pete’s sake.

Anyhow, I carried that image of swimming across the Bay around with me forever, as my Writer Brain had magnified it to the point where it would make a really cool scene in a movie and it would look like THIS especially if it was at sunset (which is retarded, because nobody would run the risk of the sun going down before you made it to the other side) and you could hear the swelling violin strings as our little swimmer paddles and paddles and paddles her heart out because she’s NOT gonna give up! NO! That White Cap status is HERS, dammit! (although, you'll note in the picture that there are two people in the canoe, and nobody in the water. Uh-oh.)

A sidebar: when I was quizzing Mom on the details yesterday, I discovered just how tricky it is to have a Writer Brain. Because for the longest time, I thought it was Mom who was going for her White Cap status. It wasn’t. Mom’s not that strong of a swimmer. Mom was Bunny’s Designated Swimming Buddy. Mom was in the canoe paddling, and it was the counselor who was cheering Bunny on, “Go Bunny! You can do it! Put a little power to it!” And Bunny did indeed do it, and the White Cap status was indeed hers, and I learned to always check my sources. (I told Mom that she was sponsoring the metaphor for today’s blog entry. “Hmmmm” was all she said. She’s not gonna read it. Somebody please go to her house and bookmark it on her computer, because she doesn’t know how to do that either. It’s amazing she even knows how to turn the thing on. Cause she’s not tall enough to see over the table. HORRIBLE! I’m taking the express train to HELL, I am.)

ANYWAYS. When I started working with Counselor Gladys last year, and when she kept urging me to figure out what I think God is like, what do I think God is like, the Merrymeeting Bay scene suddenly smacked my head.

And I explained it to Counselor Gladys like this: You’re you. Merrymeeting Bay is Life. You’re in Merrymeeting Bay, and you’re swimming for the other side. God is in the canoe next to you, “Go Amy! You can do it! Put a little power to it!” and I’m swimming, swimming swimming I think I can, I think I can, oh wait, I’m cramping up. Shit, I’m going under! I’m gonna drown! GLUB GLUB! HELP! And only then would God lean down and help out with some well-placed providence. And yes, I appreciate the well placed providence, I’m slobbering with gratitude over it, but now I feel bad, I feel stupid, that I couldn’t make it to the other side of the Bay on my own, that God had to lean down and help. ‘Cause you don’t get the White Cap status if you get an assist from a canoe.

So I told all of this to Counselor Gladys, and she said I was wrong wrong wrong. Kidding. They don’t ever tell you you’re wrong wrong wrong. They go “Hmmmmm” and gently suggest a different way of thinking it. What Counselor Gladys said was that it’s not that you’re in the water and God’s in the canoe. God apparently hauled you into the canoe before you even pushed off the shore, and you’re sailing the balmy seas of Merrymeeting Bay together, and when you only saw one set of footprints in the sand it was when He was carrying you, and blah blah blah.

It’s a lovely metaphor. It is. I’m not saying it’s not true. But most days, it sure feels like I’m the only one in the boat. Which is an improvement, because I used to think I was in the water and God was laughing at me in the canoe. And He probably still is laughing at me, we're just both in the canoe and I think I'm the only one in the boat and He's going "I'm here! I'm right here!" waving His hands in front of my face, jumping up and down, boing, boing, boing.

It's an improvement, believe it or not. Mom would be so proud, if she ever got around to reading this blog. I bet Bunny knows how to look up a blog. Hi Bunny! Hi!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I am bad

I do not have my post ready for the faithful Sunday night / Monday morning readers. ARGH! I suck. I do. I have it started, I don't have it finished. It will be up sometime later on Monday. Many many apologies. In the meantime, please enjoy this lovely picture of me as a ballerina before the writer instinct took over. Who says I only put up pictures of cute boys.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Wrestling With The Purple Monkey

Dreams so far this week have included a hike through some canyon like thing with Roomie Jekyll, a party at a community theatre where everyone was dancing with the lights out, but no reptiles, thank goodness. I did show somebody my still bruised arm from the Red Cross adventure and she was horrified. She said, "My God, what happened?" "What, doesn't everyone get bruised from giving blood?" "Not like that."

In the middle of the Purple Monkey rewrite, so I don't have much in the way of pithy posts. However, since appears to be down for unknown reasons, I encourage you all to click on Daily Oliver, which is in the same vein of Gosh Darn Cute Animal Websites. Those of you who know me might find my penchant for linking to Gosh Darn Cute Animal Pic Websites a little out of character. To which I say...nobody truly knows anybody. Because I'm listening to NIN's "Closer" while I rewrite. Which, well...mentions an animal in the lyrics. Kinda. Sorta. It also has the lyric "You get me closer to God" which justifies it being mentioned on this blog. Kinda. Sorta. Ah never mind. I'm going to hell.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Snakes, needles and dreams, oh my

I have two Irrational Fears in my life: Needles and Snakes. Rats don’t bug me. I can kill spiders and cockroaches with gleeful abandon while Roommate Jekyll jumps up and down on the bed screaming “Kill it, kill it, KILL IT KILL IT KILL IT! (pause) Don’t use MY SHOE!”

It’s not like a needle dropped me on my head as a kid, or that a snake bit me on the playground. There was an incident with a wasp’s nest when I was an inquisitive four year old with a stick who didn’t pay one bit of attention to “Amy, you leave that strange brown nest looking thing in the gutter alone RIGHT NOW!” An incident which sent both my mother and me to the emergency room. Ah, youth. Ah, blessed memory loss which blocks out traumatic experiences. So you could make the pop psychology conclusion that Millions Of Wasp Stings = Amy’s Fear Of Needles And Fangs, if you’re into that kind of thing.

So Needles and Snakes are not Playtime Pals with me. Now hop along to the TV show Survivor, which premiered its newest season this past Thursday night. I’m embarrassed to admit that I still watch the show, which lost its mojo somewhere after the second season. Not sure what compels me to continue, probably because it’s a ritual with me and Roomie Jekyll, one of the few things we make room in our schedules to do together. She won’t make the transition to the much better reality show The Amazing Race, which still is exciting as ever, (The family edition excluded.)

So here we are with Survivor in Panama, and Host Who Will Never Take His Ugly Hat Off Jeff is intoning how awful and rough it’s gonna be for our hapless contestants. They then cut to a bunch of animal shots in a laughable effort to make the viewing audience think they COULD be killed by a big swooping bird, a shark who’s only attacking the camera because some PA is holding a bloody steak just out of frame, and then…a snake.

Ewwwww. A snake. Icky poo.

But no big deal. Survivor has increasingly used shots of snakes as Squirmy Moments, in case you’re not already squirming at the copious amounts of boobage on display (both on the women and in contestant interactions.) So it’s not like I’ve never seen snakes on my TV screen before.

But that night, I had one of the more realistic nightmares I’ve had in recent memory. I open my eyes (literally) and see a snake in my bed. On the left hand side. It’s black. It’s staring at me. And in the blink of an eye, it starts wiggling towards me. Not slithering. WIGGLING. As in, mighty fast.

I leap out of bed (keep in mind this is not me dreaming that I’m leaping) and stand in the middle of my bedroom, heart pounding, breath ragged, as my Dream Brain and my Rational Brain duke it out. Go back to bed. Can’t. There’s a snake in my bed. No there’s not, you’re dreaming. Go back to bed. Can’t. There’s a snake in my bed. It’s hiding in the covers, and it’s gonna bite my toes the second I shove my feet down. Think about what you’re saying. How did a snake get in your room? Under the door, of course. There’s plenty of room. How did the snake get in your house? Came up through Roomie Jekyll’s bathroom. Why didn’t the snake go after Roomie Jekyll? Because it knows I’m afraid of snakes? It…hey, why am I standing in the middle of my bedroom?

Rational Brain eventually compels me to get back in bed and lo and behold, no snake biting my toes. Pop psychology dictates that I dreamed of a snake because I saw the snake on Survivor. Must try harder to make sure this dude is the last thing I see before I go to bed. He is Tyrone Leitso, who played dreamy sensitive Eric on the lamented show Wonderfalls. Sigh. Give me a moment, please. I’m lost in a fantasy…okay, I’m back.

Now trip along with me to yesterday. This month’s outreach project through one of my churches is a blood drive with the Red Cross. It’s perfect, you can literally save a life without having to invoke God or anything! Yay!

I have a huge masochistic streak that I’m always wrestling with, and it’s this part of me that made me sign up for something that involves a needle, but that was before I was dreaming of Snakes in My Bed. Still, I’m not wimping out. I’m donating plasma for JESUS, dammit! As long as I don’t see at the needle, or watch the blood coming out, I should be okay. Yeah, it’s gonna hurt, but Ms. Masochist hasn’t been sated in awhile, and better thisaway than me courting rejection from beautiful men, ‘cause I’m really trying to be better about that, ha ha ha.

So now that it’s over, I’m either REALLY committed to the idea of community outreach, or the idea of facing Irrational Fears, or the idea that I love being mean to myself, because, people, they got me in BOTH ARMS! BOTH!

There was some kind of paper tissue clot in the needle when they stuck the left arm and the blood wasn’t going anywhere. You know you’re in trouble when you’re staring at the wall and you hear things like, “You need help with that?” “Yeah, it’s…it’s not doing anything.” “You want me to get…” “Yeah, could you?” And then a third voice shows up, “What should I do?” “Well, we can try doing this…” movement that I CAN FEEL IN MY VEIN! ICK ICK ICK ICKY POO! And then, “Okay, we’re gonna have to take this out.” They explain it’s the needle’s fault, and that we can either try the other arm, or I can call it a day. NO! IT’S BLOOD FOR JESUS! HE SHED IT FOR ME! THE LEAST I CAN DO IS REPAY THE FLIPPIN’ FAVOR! Bwah ha ha ha.

Needless to say, the other arm takes just fine, and I do much better than the other chick who’s also trying to donate blood, gets grey faced, has to lie down on the cot, whole nine yards. After I fill up the bag (no, I don’t look at it), they take the needle out, I get grape juice and cookies, try to make small talk with the grey-faced chick who doesn’t wanna talk to anybody. I look at the Grape Juice And Cookies Volunteer, “So, can I go?” “Well, if you’re sure you’re feeling okay.” I feel fine. I feel a-okay fine. Both my arms are bruised to the point where Roomie Heckle is sure that I’m mainlining heroin behind closed doors, but I’m fine.

And that night, I dream about alligators eating Harrison Ford’s blond haired six-year-old son while I’m screaming at them on a yacht. I don’t think Harrison Ford has a blond haired six-year-old son, and I haven’t seen an alligator lately, so I’m getting a little ticked off here. I faced down my Irrational Fears (sorta)! Why don’t I get nice dreams! Damn.

One time, one of my best friends Winifred and I were giggling over stupid questions on a reality show application (I think it was The Mole, though I’m sure they ask these dopey questions on all the reality show applications.) The question was “What is your greatest fear.” Whatever you put down on the application, the show will try their hardest to make sure you have to come face to face with it. So Winifred and I were thinking up really awful stuff, stuff like, I am absolutely terrified of long deep massages on a Caribbean beach administered by the very hot actor Alessandro Nivola.Please, please, whatever you do, do NOT give that man a bottle of oil and a towel and point him in my direction! DON’T YOU DARE!

So there ya go, subconscious. Tonight’s the test. Don’t you even think about putting dreams of Mr. Nivola in my head tonight. Fingers crossed.