Thursday, June 30, 2005

iPod in Pain

After waiting one month for it to arrive, I have finally joined the cult of NOVA yuppies who ride the Metro and wander DC fashioning the tell-tale white earbuds that fill their heads with streaming music. I am now a proud iPod owner, and aside from the fact that my ears are clearly too small to accommodate these earbuds (clearly made for giants only), and the fact that listening to music is not only a source of constant entertainment, but physical pain for me, I am very pleased.

It goes without saying that at this time, I am very much regretting having pierced my tragus a year ago. For those of you who do not know what a tragus is, calm down, it’s not what you’re thinking. I’m referring to my inner ear - the cartilage that extends from your face to where your ear begins – supposedly, the most painful part of your body to pierce. (It has continued to hurt ever since I got it.) If you don’t believe me, I dare you to try it, or better yet, squeeze your finger nails gently into both sides of the cartilage and see how much of that you can tolerate. I kid you not. In any case – I clearly digress – given this, you can only imagine how uncomfortable it has been for me to jam these super-human-giant-sized earbuds into my ear every five seconds when they fall out. In fact, my tragus – which is now nearly purple from the abuse it’s put up with since I got my iPod - has been the cause of many a conversation with random strangers on the Metro who’ve inquired about how I manage to comfortably use earbuds given my obtrusive piercing. Obviously, I don’t manage. It’s horrible.

Nevertheless, I love my little turquoise iPod -- little and compact, just like me. Every so often, I spot another iPodder who gives me a nod or a smile and I wonder how I managed to get by before becoming a member of this digital music fraternity. Every so often, I spot some poor misguided soul, still stuck in the past, wearing huge earmuff style headphones and holding a 5lb CD player in their hand, and wonder when they too will be enlightened. As I wander through the streets of Arlington, Virginia, blasting The Used or listening to the lead singer of My Chemical Romance scream his freakin head off into my ear, I am content to have a soundtrack to my life.

I’ll be more content, however, when my new (midget-sized) earphones come in next week. Hopefully, before my tragus falls off! Either way, as long as the song remains the same, I’m sure I’ll be content…


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Loster than Lost... AGAIN

As anyone who knows me knows, if I were to walk outside of my apartment, close my eyes, and spin around three times, I would probably not be able to find my way back to the door. For these and other reasons, I've often considered investing in a portable GPS tracking system, and have taken heart in the fact that I don't now, and never will, drive.

God knows that I've been on many adventures that involved being lost. (I wasn't nicknamed "Lassie" for nothing!) I mean... who could forget "trekking cross-country" from New York to DC (I'm not too good with maps either!) with Re a couple of years ago? It's still hard for me to not to laugh when I think about how many times we accidentally found the same ditch somewhere in Virginia (I'm still not sure where) 3 times! Or how we stopped 5 cars and asked for directions, each time getting more hopelessly and irevocably lost. My favorite instance, however, had to be on the morning we headed back.

Re and I had been lost for some time by this point, and being that I don't drive, I was content to go through a Pottery Barn catalog (imagining I could afford anything in there) while she tried to figure out where we were going. We stopped a couple of strangers who actually had great directions. Re spoke to them -- she seemeed to know what they were talking about by the way she was nodding her head in between her intermittent giggles that she is seldom able to control when she's nervous -- so I just continued circling and checking off items in my catalog. When the couple left, Re rolled up the window and drove off before turning to me and asking, "Where do we have to go?" I, of course, had no idea, and must have been so preoccupied that I didn't realize how bad what I'd say next would sound. "Didn't you write it down?" she asked frantically. "Write it down? What do I look like?" I blurted out. Fortunately, after being "on the road again" for so many days (being lost in the same 5 mile radius of our Crystal City hotel), Re was prepared for this from me and instead of fighting, we laughed and mused neurotically until we found another couple to give us directions, that we ultimately used... to get more lost.

The memories from this trip were not far from my mind on Tuesday when, much in the same fashion, my inability to drive or pay attention to directions, caused me and my best friend Em to get loster than lost -- ironically, in the same 5 mile radius of Crystal City that Re and I spent 3 days navigating.

Em and I were on our way to a cookout. Em was starting to get cranky as she always does when she is unbearably hungry, and I, of course, had no clue where we even were. After driving through the winding and inexplicable maze that is Crystal City, we gave up and decided to go home before it got dark. Little did we know that on the way home we'd somehow end up in Prince George's County (famous for having the highest murder rates in DC), North Capitol, and almost in Anacostia (another stellar area). Nor could we have imagined that we'd finally find our way back to Arlington, only to miss our exit and end up in Springfield, Virginia. Unfortunately, Em was not as amused by my directional/attentional deficiences as Re was, but that did not stop me from laughing about everything from the way in which Em locked the doors everytime a car with six people pulled up alongside us blasting gangsta rap, to the blinding lights in the tunnel which caused me to put my sunglasses on in the middle of the night. No, sadly, Em was not amused, and as we drove deeper and deeper into the ghetto, suddenly my sense of humor started to wane as well -- up until our car was filled with toxic fumes from the gas leaking out of a beat up, stripped down chevorlet riding along side us, when I announced that we should look on the bright side, noting that we hadn't spontaneously combusted.. yet.

Fortunately, we escaped unscathed, with no bullet holes or muggings to mention. Sadly, Em never got her hamburger or beer that night, but what she did get was a lesson: NEVER EVER EVER assume that Nan has the faintest clue as to where she is... EVER.

Perhaps investing in that GPS tracking system isn't such a bad idea afterall...


Monday, June 20, 2005

EBay Listing: My Life, Good Condition, Slightly Used

In spite of my Tiffany jewelry and Coach bag and wallet (none of which I actually purchased myself), I've always considered myself to be a girl of simple means and tastes (OK, so maybe not with clothes!). But with regards to the so-called "finer things in life," I can honestly say that I've never been known to be materialistic. Yet, in 2 short days, I've learned: In spite of whatever preconceived notions you have about how much you have, it's a strange and scary thing to sit down and look at the things you value, only to realize of what little value they really are.

Yesterday, I found out that I lost my editing job (aka my livelihood). This job was the only reason that I was able to keep my [$400k] apartment [that is being ripped out from under me as Ballston slips further and further into its imaginary role as MANHATTAN] and not move into a cardboard box on the corner of Fairfax Drive when my rent was raised by $200 in April. This would also explain why I've been able to live in such a great little corner of Arlington while working a public policy/non-profit (aka I make no money) job without slinging plates anymore at the local pub and grille, as I did before. And it got me thinking... how much does the value we assign to the things we value translate in the outside world?

So sadly, yesterday, after receiving the upsetting news, I set about to search my apartment for anything of any value that I might be able to sell on EBay. Very sadly, the list of things worth value included some antique vases that I'm not permitted to sell should I wish to remain in the family, my Apple iSight which I no longer need now that X is out of the picture (now filed under EBay Listing#...), and... well... that pretty much sums it up! As for things that I've bought and do not want, the list falls short at a poorly chosen John Mellencamp CD (what was I thinking? I know!) and a Velvet Revolver CD I recently bought but was unimpressed with. Yeah... that should NOT be too helpful in regards to making rent.. huh? Do you think anyone would want to buy X's old t-shirt or a stuffed frog I won at a street fair?

So, as I continue to examine the contents of my very humble little life, I realize that although I do not have all too many possessions, the things I value are those that others would not appreciate...

And that gives me a much greater appreciation for the things I have...


Sunday, June 19, 2005

Bella's Monthly Quotes (2)

For those of you who followed my previous blog, you'll recognize this as my monthly update on the ridiculous exchanges I've partaken in over the past month (I've taken the liberty of separating them into neat little sections this time):


"You're not a princess! You're a Queen" - some weird guy at Legacy (NY)

"T-I-G-E-R Tiger! Rarrrrr!... Cat eyes" - some weird guy at the Georgetown Waterfront - who was actually serious!

"If you didn't come up here tonight, I was going to start knocking on doors on the 2nd floor asking for sugar."

"You have a boyfriend? Sorry you have that problem. Let me know if there is anything I can do to fix that for you" - at the Georgetown Waterfront


"Dance with him! He likes big-breasted women" - eloquently put by Jenn's dad

"When you dance, it's like, You are shaking everything." - another of Karim's insights

"Cyn, I think Nan's more Arabic than us" - Christina commenting on my belly-dancing


(on Coldstone Creamery)
"Nan, seriously, it's so good, I want to lay down and roll around in it," - Em
"I want to wash my hair with it." - N

(on driving)
"This guy's riding my @ss like he's getting paid for it" - Em, with another of her well-put driving observations

(on pedestrians)
"What are they crossing the border?" -Anonymous

(on the row of 6 beauty marks I have trailing from my face to down my shirt)
"Oh, I see where this is going." - N

(on affectionate behavior resulting from alcohol consumption)
"She's not drunk, she's amorous" - a stranger at the Wine Festival

(on shoes)
"Right now my pinky toe and my big toe feel like they are being held for questioning... 'I swear I don't know anything'" - me to Em on our hunt for the perfect shoes (see "Footing the Bill")

(on dinner)
"Em, dont be 45 minutes late this time, otherwise I really will eat my shoes and then we'll be running around 3 malls this weekend looking for new ones."
"Don't you eat during the day?"
"No. I'm trying to save up for the mall(s)."

(on inside jokes)
"I love the Alien"

"That's why I make the big bucks!" - :/


"Nan, seriously, you really need to learn to draw the line"
"Yes, I clearly need lessons!" - an exchange between Jenn and I after a night that has been banished from my memory
(The follow-up statement a few days later: "Isn’t it sad that after everything that happened this weekend, I’m most inclined to write about my shoes?!")

"Be careful. I can't tell you to be good, but I can tell you to be careful" - My grandma (Ma) before I got off the phone with her to go upstairs to Nick's