Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Betty, Veronica, and Korean Accents

So I don't know if any of you have been to the Glendale mall lately, but there's an evangelical group that roams around there in ones and twos.  And guess who they found?

Technically, I guess I asked for it.  See, I had run into one of them earlier this year.  Their game is to look for people to talk to and they start off their pitch by saying something to the point of, "Do you believe in God the mother as well as God the father?"

The first time they tried to talk to me, I wasn't very friendly, I admit. I was trying desperately to find sweaters and Christmas presents and I didn't have a lot of time to stop and chat about gender identities for God.  So I shook her off, and went on my way.

And instantly regretted it later.  Because, you know, why NOT engage somebody like that?  What do they have to say?  Is it crazy cocoa cocoa puffs or not?

So last night, I'm at the Glendale Galleria again, this time on a hunt for jewelry for a friend's wedding on Saturday.  And as I'm dashing around, I remember that poor possible crazy cocoa cocoa puffs gal and I idly mention it to God, "I wish I'd bump into those people again so I'd have something to write about for the blog."

Not more than seven minutes later, a Korean and African American gal grab me right out in front of a jewelry store.


Okay, so here they are, what's their deal?  They are Betty and Veronica (obviously not their real names), from the World Mission Society Church of God and Betty is the leader of the conversation, which is only regrettable in the fact that her Korean accent is SO thick, there's many times where I have to say, "I'm sorry?"  And it's not about her telling me about the three parts in the Bible that specify God is "the bride."

But yep, that's their pitch, God and "the bride" a few times in Revelation, (Rev. 19:7 Rev  22:17, to name a few.)  When I point out that it's generally understood that in Revelation at least, references to "the bride" are understood to mean "the church," Betty comes back with "How can the church be coming down out of heaven?" and "How can you be born without a mother?"

Even though I told them that I'm a Christian and I believe in God, they don't let go of their stranglehold they have on their pitch.  But WHAT exactly they're pitching, is really unclear.

They really want me to believe in God the father AND God the mother?  Why?  What for?  I don’t get it.  I don’t need to get it.  If you’re walking up to strangers in the Glendale Galleria and trying to persuade them of something, you’re kinda going about it the wrong way anyway. 

They wanted my phone number, just like those pushy people on my college campus ages and ages ago, so they could call me to remind me to come to their church.  No, thank you.  I got their phone number, and said I’d think about what they had said.

But all things considered, they would do well to have someone say it without a thick Korean accent.  Says me.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Thoughts On Giving Up Sugar and Alcohol For A Month

Things are somewhat getting back to normal after the Hey, Let’s Get Tangled Up In A Hit and RUNNNNNNN events of the past few weeks.

My month long abstention from sugar and alcohol ended on June 8th, so I’ve had plenty of time to jump back on board the Tequila Train.

(let’s be clear, I don’t drink a lot.  Friday through Sunday is usually it.)

The Hit And Run Accident happened before June 8th, though, and I was completely in my rights to go home and drink myself silly, to cheer myself up, and make myself feel better at this horrible world where bad people can hit your car and run away and never experience any consequences that you will ever be made aware of.

And while I went home, and yes, I cried on the couch and whined to God about how this year has been really mean and generally sounding like a petulant bratty 12 year old, but I did not drink.

And part of that was due to the petulant bratty 12 year old that paradoxically said, “I’m not gonnnnnnnna just because I coulllllllld if I waaaaaaaanted tooooooo.”

But a bigger part of me recognized through the tears and the brattyness that drinking would not improve this situation one bit.  The car’s bumper would still be mangled.  The bad guy would still be gone, and I am still on the hook for a $1,000 deductible.

And I think that’s the biggest thing that I learned from the Month Without Sugar Or Alcohol – why do you drink?  Why do you eat sugar?

Not a new revelation about my discipline or self control.  Not a hard learned lesson about the addictive properties of refined sugar.  Not even an interesting science experiment about how much my tolerance dipped in a month (which manifested itself not in the number of drinks I consumed after the month, but the headaches which showed up the day after.)

I can easily say that giving up sugar and alcohol wasn’t worth it.  It didn’t make me a better person.  I was damn cranky and snarly.  The scale said I lost five pounds, but you couldn’t see it anywhere on me.  I didn’t feel healthier.  I didn’t feel better.

But what I did learn was more along the lines of why do you drink?  Why do you eat sugar?

The sugar question is easier to answer because the answer is simply because it’s there.  If you swap M&Ms out with grapes or pineapple, you still get a sweet fix and can consider yourself a better person.  One Diet Coke a day or a Skinny Vanilla Latte from Starbucks can handle your caffeine fix.  Those are habits I can easily maintain without issue.  Though, yes, I did have Yogurtland on Sunday and yes, it was glorious.

The alcohol question.  Well, it definitely made me reexamine my habits, and how casually I would throw back a drink for no other reason than it’s Friday, the start of the weekend.  I could easily cut that out, no problem.  Make my drinking intentional and purposeful.

The biggest benefit to drinking is when I write.  Because alcohol drowns out the negativity in my head that constantly whisper you suck, you suck you suck suck suck, and what you’re writing is absolute crap, and why are you even bothering to try because you are never going to get anywhere, I promise you.

And yes, I could go to therapy, I could read a self help book, I could do a lot of things, but none of those solve the writer’s block as quickly as a glass of Don Julio.

And, as any writer will tell you, sometimes the most important thing you can do is get over that block and start writing.

So I think I will modify my habits, and will become Queen of Moderation.  Though there’s probably nothing nicer than a Sunday afternoon Mojito.  And I think I will be okay in saying I don’t need a reason to justify one of those.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Was This Really Necessary?

So yeah, I was in a hit and run accident last Tuesday.  Some idiot came up behind me as I was on an on ramp to a freeway and slammed into my car.  I swerved around a lot, got the car back under control, and pulled over onto the shoulder of the freeway.

The other car comes up around me, the passenger in the front seat indicates that they’re gonna take the next off ramp, so I pull out behind them. 

And that’s when they take off, speeding far far away, deliberately losing me in the traffic.  I don’t have time to grab the iPhone to take a picture of the license plate or anything.

And once again, the ironic thing about everything is that not less than thirty minutes before, I was talking to God.  Things have been so stagnant for so long, and so, like any good little Christian who’s sat through thousands of sermons, I offered up prayers to God and said, “Is there something You’re trying to show me that I’m not seeing?  Please open my eyes.  Please show me what You’re trying to tell me.  Please tell me.  I’m listening.”

And then fifteen minutes later, this joker slams into my car.

(longtime readers of the blog will remember that The Worst Day Ever also involved me praying in a car.  If there’s a sensible takeaway to any of this, it’s that I need to STOP PRAYING IN THE CAR.)

I haven’t felt this helpless in quite some time.  And perhaps it’s an apt metaphor for my life currently – me doing my absolute damndest to accomplish something (get the license plate number of a hit and run driver) and watching it zoom away, completely out of my reach.  I’m trying my hardest and I’m failing completely.

Having said all of that, I do have some handy dandy tips for any of you that happen to find yourself in this kind of situation in the future:

1. If your accident happens on a freeway, call the highway patrol, not the police.

2. They do not have cameras on on or off ramps to freeway, so try your hardest to have your accident ON a freeway preferably under a camera, ho ho ho.

3. You will be screaming, crying, and trying to survive a killer adrenaline rush.  But as soon as the car is parked, take pictures of the damage.  The cops will most likely take 45 to an hour to get to you, do not waste the daylight.

4. When you call the police (or highway patrol) make sure you have your exact location before you call them.  Don’t say “On such and such a street across from a swimming pool.”  Get the cross streets, get the name of the recreation center attached to the swimming pool, so they can find you.

Things Not To Say To Someone Who’s Been In A Hit And Run Accident (Assuming They’ve Told You Their Whole Story):

  1. “Did you get the license plate number?”
    1. If they HAD gotten the license plate number, they would’ve included that detail in the story. You asking them, and them saying no to you makes them feel stupid all over again, like it’s their fault, like they didn’t try hard enough, when very technically, you’re not supposed to chase down a hit and run driver because it’s dangerous.  Don’t make them feel bad.  It’s along the same lines of, “Have you sold any scripts lately?” Believe me, if I had, you’d know.
  2. “Didn’t you go to the doctor?”
    1. Again, if there was any injury to them, they would’ve included that in the story.  A good tipoff is listening for the phrase, “The airbags went off and everything.”  If you don’t hear anything like that, it’s a good assumption that they are okay, just really really pissed and upset.
  3. “It could have been so much worse.”
    1. Yes, I know.  I could’ve been killed, I could’ve been decapitated, I could’ve had all four limbs broken and have to type with my nose for the rest of my life.  But look, that could’ve happened to you too.  Things could ALWAYS be WORSE to ANYONE.  I will look on the bright side after the appropriate amount of anger and frustration has taken its course.  Don’t cut off that emotional avenue.  It’s not healthy to suppress that.
  4. “Maybe God used you in some way to get through to the Hit And Run Driver, like maybe hitting you prevented another bigger accident, or perhaps served as a wake-up call to the Hit and Run Driver.”
    1. Oh, gosh, that’s lovely.  I don’t want to hear how me and my mangled back bumper (that’s going to cost 2 grand to fix) served as a footnote to someone else’s catharsis.  God could’ve totally gotten through to that guy without me and my vehicle.  He’s God, after all. 
But here’s a list of What You Can Say To Someone Who’s Been In A Hit And Run Accident (Assuming They’ve Told You Their Whole Story):

  1. Gosh, I am so so sorry. 
  2. That totally sucks.
  3. Hugs.
  4. Thinking about you.
  5. I’m gonna talk to God later about this.
  6. Do you need a drink?
  7. Here is a Twix bar just for you.
  8. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.

I have screamed at God, I’ve yelled at God, I may have called Him an asshole, but I didn’t use the f-bomb. I consider that a small small small step forward.

But just one day at time.  That’s all I can focus on now.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Well, I had a post tonight...

But then I got hit by a car that then took off.

So now I have to go wrangle police and insurance information.

and you will get your post next week.

People suck.