Sunday, May 27, 2007

Heavy Breathing

Thursday morning we were all slow to get up, especially Kasi, who's reluctance was at least in part due to her "insomniac" status. It is my very humble opinion that a good portion of that non-sleeping can be blamed on someone's mild addiction to Facebook. I am no one to judge because hello, I am totally all over the covert online stalking. Driving past your ex's house is so 1996.

After a quick bite to eat we headed up roads that are commonly known as 'pig trails' in northern Arkansas. I'd been delegated to the driver seat because I am that kid who turns multiple shades of green right before vomiting all over your grey upholstery- and lord knows how hard it is to get that smell out. Best just to let me continue with my controlling personality and let me drive.

After ten minutes of driving up a mountain in a Civic, taking curves at 25mph and staring warilly at the one-foot-high railing, Kasi threw herself without warning onto the front armrest. As it turns out, all three of us are prone to car sickness. And even if we weren't prone to car sickness, those mountain roads would have forced anyone to reconsider the buffalo chicken sandwich they had for lunch.

We stopped at several lookout ponts along the drive, if for nothing else than to put our feet on solid, non-moving ground. Also, the pictures were nice. Even though Kasi delighted in making me nervous by clambering over railings and hanging onto the backs of signs, thus leading to some really unflattering pictures of me, standing with my shoulders up by my ears and eyebrows that fade straight into my hairline.

The whole point of the drive was to stop at Craggy Pointe and do something called 'hiking.' I was promised that the 'hiking' would not involve boulder jumping or climbing or areas without protective railings. Say what you want about me, say that I'm a weeney, that I'm unathletic, that I'm inherently lazy. But just understand that while you are tumbling to your death after a railing gives way, I am probably waiving at the cabana boy for another margarita. And you can't waive at the cabana boy from the bottom of a ravine when your arm is being chewed off by vicious gophers.

The hiking wasn't really that bad, at least not as bad as I'm making it out to be. I did get lots of enouragement from Becca and Kasi, friends who never once rolled their eyes when I told them that we were going to have to stop and rest. Again. Becca kept promising that I would feel such a sense of accomplishment when I reached the top, even pulling out her camera to capture that moment when I finally pulled my ass up the last step. That picture will never see the light of day, a) because I was bracing my upper body on my knees and you can see straight down my shirt and b) you can clearly see the bloody mass of a lung that I lost on the way the way up. I blame the high altitude.

I can't say as I'd hike every day, all day- and I still think people who roll up in the Smokey Mountains for three months of solitary hiking are fucking insane- but I might consider doing it again. For money.

Friday, May 25, 2007

I would just like to know how all five hotels are booked in Timfuckto, TN. The only attraction in this town is the Loretta Lynn Museum and Dude Ranch. Give me break.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

ZerO percent humidity. It's late, don't judge.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Zerp percent humidity leads to good hair days

The interesting thing about today was not the abundance of incense-burning stores, but rather the fact that I walked for seven straight hours- up the hill, down the hill, up the hill again- and never once broke a sweat. Not even like a pre-sweat where you feel the back of your neck getting hot and the hair around your neck (at least mine, anyway) rebels against the smoothing effects of a straightener and ringlets itself out of sheer defiance.

This was a nice change of pace after the 85% humidity of Central Arkansas.

Midway through the day I found myself wandering through a store full of shoes. Shoes on sale. Racks of shoes. On sale. But as much as I love seeing Irish green flats with delicate bows, I have a foot thing. Not like a nasty foot thing, just a foot thing that usually requires a special order. That is, unless I happen to get lucky and some poor shopkeeper has taken pity on the Big Foots with bony heels and narrow widths. Try finding a size 10AAA. Just try.

I'd changed out of my polka dot flats earlier in the day because they were rubbing the ragged cut on my foot that stems from where Butterbean mistook my dangling foot for a ladder. Always the girlscout, I had planned for this event and packed my favorite (and only) pair of black flipflops. These are the same flops I purchased three years ago from the discount bin at Walmart. In those three years they survived several stints as a cat chew toy and that time in Mexico when ::cough:: someone ::cough:: dropped a lit cigarrette while lounging in a beach chair. This person may or may not have been slightly intoxicated. Either way, the heel of the flop has sported a character buiding half-hole since the summer of 2004. It's safe to say that it was time for The Replacements to roll in.

Because I am vacationing in a land where people do not judge you on the basis of your designer jeans but rather the brand name of your polar fleece, every store we visited had multiple selections of "shoes." Some of these "shoes" are made specifically for walking on creek beds. Others are made for rock climbing. And still others are made for the hippies to buy and wear to Phish-esque shows as they normally have to park way far away, and that's a lot of walking for someone so high.

Attempting to aid in my flop relacement, the girls first convinced me to try on a pair of flipflops made by Choco. Every time I heard this I thought of the Choco Taco at Taco Bell and I just couldn't bring myself to pay fifty bucks for something so ugly.

Later I tried on a pair made by Teva. At twenty bucks this was far more reasonable and far less ugly. So I puchased them just as the store was closing, immediately running outside for a ceremonial trashing of the rubber foam that has carried me from Mexico to Dallas and from Dallas to Asheville. They now lie borken-heartedly in a dumpster off Lexington Ave. I will miss them.

Oh My.

I have encountered my very first Granola. She does not wear deoderant, shave her legs, wax her moustache or comb her hair. I am very aware of the deoderant situation because she keeps walking past my seat in the dressing room. Jesus Christ Almighty. We need an intervention.

Tennessee is far too long a state

After twelve hours in a very small Honda Civic, Kasi and I made it to Becca's house. Before we move on, I'd like to point out that her directions to the house included "turn left by the taco stand." This was a moment of clarity for me; we were rolling into a town where the tacos? They are sold out of stands? Not that I would ever eat a taco stand taco, but still. The fact that other people eat taco stand tacos means this place might actually serve BBQ ribs with actual ribs and not vegan tofu rib substitute.

In the car, in one of our many half-delirious conversations, Kasi ended up divulging some pretty interesting factoids. Like how she and Becca had agreed to refer to everything as a "walk." As in, "Hey Robin, let's go take a walk around the mountain park!. Or, "Hey Robin, let's take a walk to that waterfall in the park brochure!". Replace "hike" for every "walk" and you've got the truthfull description of the activity. But knowing my proclivity to veto a hiking excursion, the girls were going to try a little bit of trickery- all in an attempt to get my chubby ass up a mountain.

The thing about hiking is that I don't necessarily hate it. Its just that I have a very literal translation of words, and when someone says "Let's go hiking!" I assume they mean "Let's take up our walking sticks and leap like goats from boulder to boulder!". This literal translation problem is the exact same thing that got me into trouble when my friend Lily suggested we "float" the river. Only "float" really meant "paddle fervently inside a metal Canoe of Death," and did not mean that we were going to float gracefully down the river on a no-paddling-needed flotation device.

I have to admit, the walking trick probably would have worked. But now that I am wise to their ways, they will have to provide physical proof that the "hikes" are free from boulder-jumping. I am, quite obviously, not a goat. Also, shoe-oriented Southern girls have a very hard time reconciling their outfit with sneakers.

Monday, May 21, 2007


The pre-vacation sprint has worn me out.

But! Have had epiphany about the blackberry. I was going to attempt to sever the umbilical cord, the one so firmly connecting me to mobile google-stalking and instant emails. But look! I can email post, which is so very different from my other nefarious activities!

Sigh of relief.

Take those old records off the shelf

In less than 36 hours I will be headed out of a town on an east bound train.
Only the train is my car and the beverage cart is my cooler full of Diet
Pepsi and grapes.

Its been nearly seven years since I took a proper road trip and just as long
since I took a proper vacation. Technically I took a trip to Mexico three
years ago with two guys, which theoretically fits the Vacation description
(no work, abundant beer). However,I don't feel its a vacation if you spend the
majority of your time ducking the pussy being thrown in the vicinity of your
hotel room. I'm not sure if my friends were really that hot or if the equatorial
sun plays tricks on the eyes, but the naked girls that paraded in and out of that
room were enough to force me into a temporary Lysol high. Thus voiding my
vacation experience.

Long story short, I am seriously in need of a change of scenery.

I'm going to be driving with my friend Kasi to visit our friend Becca in
Ashvegas(Asheville), North Carolina. I've yet to figure out why its referred to
as Ashvegas because from what I understand, this is the place where granola comes
to die.

Even though Becca was born and raised in Little Rock, she could not have found
another city so closely matched to her patchouli-wearing lifestyle. For example:
The first time I met her she was wearing a blue potato sack dress, Birkenstocks
and a jingle bell anklet. Those Birkenstocks nearly had to be pried from her
cold dead feet, but Kasi and I put our manicured feet down when Becca considered
fixing the broken straps with duct tape. As someone who takes an inordinate amount
of pride in her shoes, this was just anunacceptable answer to the broken strap
problem. The acceptable answer,obviously, was to buy new shoes.

Later Becca moved on to the closed-toe Birk. I didn't really find this a step up
in shoecouture, however. Just think- instead of letting the foot smell waft around
and dissipate, the closed-toe version was merely bottling it up inside its leather
confines, waiting for an unsuspecting roommate to pick them up and die from
olfactory overload.

I'm picking on Becca's not-so-latent hippie tendencies, just as she would pick on
me formy shoe elitism and heathenistic tendencies. Notice, please, that I said
HEATHENistic and not HEDONistic. I am much to preppy to, you know, act all

My only goal for the next week is to drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a road that
took fifty years to build. Last week I watched a special on mountain roads, and the
Blue Ridge Parkway was a main feature on the program. Though the scenes involving
over-the-cliff shots freaked me out, I'm open to stopping and taking some pictures.
Assuming my friends sign a no-pushing contract and I am guaranteed at least fifteen
feet between me and the railing. Those railings are never near high enough for my
paranoid sensibilitites.

Other than avoiding a rocky death, I plan on sleeping late and eating lots of organic
free range chicken with gluten and dairy-free mashed potatoes. I'm only assuming
that this is what granola people eat. Here's hoping its more than just granola because
this kid needs her daily dose of non-vegan entrees.

We plan on having a photo journal of sorts, which will not be near as artistic as the
name implies. I would wager that most of the shots will be coming from the inside of
a moving vehicle. I may or may not post them throughout the week because HELLO,
this is a vacation. But this is 2007, not 1999. I will be traveling with my digital
camera, cell phone, blackberry and laptop. These items are just as necessary as
toothpaste and razors.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Maggot on my sleeve and a Bozo nightmare

My only goal for this weekend is to change the filter on the vacuum cleaner. For the past six months I have ignored the fact that perhaps the vacuum’s lackluster performance could, at least in part, be blamed on the bits of treated paper and plastic that were coated in layers of icky dirt. The same dirt that I do not acknowledge as being a part of my carpet. Theoretically I could wash the filter but I never remember that interesting little fact until I’ve already begun cursing the vacuum for missing that clump of cat hair, right there. Oh, and over there.

Also, the fact that the filter encourages you to wash it with warm soapy water but threatens you with certain death should you NOT LET IT DRY COMPLETELY, well, this just scares me. If I can’t remember to put soap in the dishwasher how am I going to remember to let the filter dry completely before inserting it back in the vacuum?

If I’m honest with myself, the filter changing thing was my goal for last night. I did at least take it out of its package, but the package opening coincided with an episode of ‘Workout’ on Bravo. I haven’t been near a gym in ten months but watching mindless television turned out to be way more interesting than taking apart the vacuum cleaner.

And if I’m even more honest with myself, the filter changing was my goal for Tuesday. The thing about making goals is that if you don’t really feel like accomplishing them, you just mark them off the list and move them a few days away. This is how I manage to be both obsessively organized and astoundingly lazy. And while Tuesday would have seemed like an excellent day for accomplishing tasks, what with my whole day off and all, as it turns out it was not. I was very busy thumbing my nose at the doctor after he told me I was never, ever to eat bread. Like, ever again.

This was disturbing news to me. I mean, bread. BREAD. How can you be so mean to the yeasty goodness? And so I nodded my head in the same way that I used to nod my head at my father when he told me I should practice changing the tires on my car. I am non-verbally telling you that while your idea seems good to you, it seems non-good to me. Therefore I will be ignoring you from now on.

After the visit I drove across town to the Krispy Kreme. I don’t really care for their donuts but their pastries, oh, their pastries. Would you like some pastry stuffed with strawberries and crème? Would you like it topped with drizzly icing? Would you? Well, did you know that they come by the dozen?

I ate three in the time it takes me to drive downtown. And then I spent three hours on my couch bemoaning the fact that my stomach was trying to claw its way out by way of my belly button. And my sternum. And probably my knees. I was miserable and cranky and uncomfortable. It was one thing to ask me, politely, to cut back on the bread. But to issue a decree, a stern one at that- well, my natural inclination was to revert to the mentality of a four-year-old with a really good grasp of the f-word.

I’m not sure how well I’m going to stick to this new order. I feel extreme embarrassment when I order something and ask them to hold the croutons or the tortillas or the side of delicious crunchy bread. I’m utterly paranoid that someone is mentally rolling their eyes at my attempt at fad dieting and I have to stop myself from word vomiting that I’m only doing what the doctor told me to do, SO THERE. I’m also of the opinion that I should be secure in the size and shape of my body, even though I most assuredly am not. But that doesn’t mean that other people need to know I’m moderately insecure. But it’s totally okay for people to know that they don’t make near enough drugs for my Crazy.