Winter in New England, or If The Sky Had Food Poisoning You’d Be Its Toilet

It’s supposed to snow here in New England tomorrow.

That’s right.

Snow.

Now, if you don’t live in New England (or the mid-West, or, strangely, parts of Georgia), or if you don’t have eyes or ears or skin, or if you’re under nine years of age (in which case, you really shouldn’t be reading this), you might be thinking, “Ah, yes, snow! That sparkling loveliness that falls softly to the earth like angel feathers on Christmas morning.”

However, if you are in possession of any one of the five senses, you know that snow is not wonderful. In fact, I have it on good authority that snow is orchestrated by the devil.

Think that’s going a bit too far? Let’s examine the evidence.

Before I moved to New England, I lived in Florida. I wore sandals every day and was blissfully ignorant of this instrument of icy hatefulness plaguing the rest of the country.

Five years ago, I made the catastrophic mistake of leaving palm trees behind in order to experience grey skies and 4pm sunsets, polar vortexes and sleet that falls horizontally to most efficiently pierce your eyeballs.

(A tip: If you happen to live in Florida, congratulate yourself for your good fortune and then run out and invest in a burial plot down the street, because you should really never leave. Ever. Even your corpse doesn’t want to experience this.)

Winter in New England has a way of taking things that sound awesome and making them horrible.

For example: snow days. This sounds fun, I know, because who doesn’t want to skip out on work or school?

False. You’ve missed work only to sit in a freezing cold apartment (having already lost electricity due to the apocalyptic winds pistol-whipping the power lines), unable to get out your front door because when you open it, you are met with a perfectly created (by the devil) door-shaped Wall of Snow. And besides, even if you could gnaw your way out, your car looks like a snowy loaf of bread baked for a giant.

I’ll give you a second to picture that.

At this point, maybe you’ve managed to stay inside, playing Solitaire with actual cards the way the cavemen did. Or, maybe you have a pet. Because you’re an idiot.

(I’m not talking about cats here. We all know that cats don’t do anything except eat, sleep, and hate you.)

When you have a dog during Winter in New England, and it’s too big to fit in your purse, you have to take it outside. (Of course, if it does fit in your purse, obviously it can just pee and poop in there. Problem solved.) Dogs are not bothered by how much snow ruins your life. In fact, they seem to revel in this life-ruining, laughing at you as they prance through dirty black street slush.

This is how I look before I take my dog outside in winter:

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This is how my dog looks before I take her outside in winter:

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Okay, so against all odds and reason you’ve made it outside, abandoning your meat locker of an apartment to watch your canine defecate. You make it down to the street only to discover that the street has disappeared, and in its place is an endless sheet of ice so hateful that it turns completely invisible, making each step a game of Russian Roulette (but only if you play Russian Roulette with a bullet in every single chamber).

Before you can make it a block, you’ve fallen repeatedly on the Invisible Death Ice and sustained multiple injuries and severe internal bleeding. Your pup, however, has never been happier. And of course, if there is frozen, nondescript animal feces anywhere within a fifty mile radius, your dog will inevitably try to use it as face lotion.

And yet, you must venture on. You do this because A) your dog is selfish and B) to turn back and retreat to your apartment is inviting sure death, because one more second alone without electricity to power your Don’t-Kill-Myself light and you will be unable to resist the ever-increasing urge to just stand outside naked and end it already.

(Basically, every single day of Winter in New England is a struggle to not kill yourself. Just when you think the sun can’t possibly set any earlier and the sky can’t possibly be any darker and your socks can’t possibly get any wetter inside of your “waterproof” boots, they do. And you think “Well, I’ve lived 28 years. What more is there to do, really? I’ve had a good run, and now I think I’m all set.”)

Which leads me to one more New England phenomenon of which I was previously unaware: everyone has a drinking problem.

Oh, I’m serious. I mean everyone has a drinking problem. Me, you, your neighbors, the guys you work for, the dude that delivers your mail, your mom, your cat, the voices in your head. They. Are. Drunks.

And here’s why: In a world where we throw around terms like “polar vortex” (which is obviously some sort of terrifying sexual reference, by the way. You’re not fooling anyone, Weather Channel) and every other day the skies open up to spit in your face, what else is there to do, really, but drink? Think about it: it’s 3:45 in the afternoon and inexplicably the sky is pitch black. You’re not at work because it’s been buried under the projectile-vomitous snowfall. You have no power, no heat, no television to numb your depression. Also, no electricity brings the added bonus of a sudden need to eat/drink everything in your fridge as quickly as possible before it all turns to cheese.

And so, you gather your resources. You venture into the world (or at least into your kitchen) and you find alcohol. You get into your sweatpants, you get under seventeen blankets, you look out your window at the swirling blackness shitting down from the sky, and you drink.

And you don’t even give your dog a bath. Maybe you’ll start using poop as moisturizer, too. Whatever.

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Let’s Do The Putin Scootin’ Boogie

The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics are coming to a close (or already have, depending on where you’re reading this. I’m not really sure how time works) and once finished, people the world over will be left with one resounding question: What can we take away from this beloved and controversial global event?

Have no fear. Below, I’ve compiled a list of the most important life lessons with which Sochi so generously gifted us:

That Johnny Weir dresses better than 97.6% of all straight men, and 92.4% of all straight women. (I’d give you the mathematical equations behind this, but I fear they’d go right over your head. Just trust me.)

That if you refuse to let the gays help with the decorating, the whole place will fall to shit.

That Russia – along with much of the world – is in serious denial. “Officially,” there were 11 gay athletes participating in the Olympics. Total. And all of them women.

Really? We’re doing this?

Okay. Well, I guess that number is probably accurate, if we’re not counting every single male figure skater from every single country ever.

Alright, so that last sentence is completely true a slight exaggeration. But seriously, if there’s anything more gay than wearing a bedazzled chiffon blouse and dancing on knives to the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, I haven’t seen it. (I’d like to, though.)

That no one will ever understand curling. Ever. Even the athletes don’t understand it. They thought they had signed up for ice dancing.

That this is what Vladimir Putin looks like when he’s watching figure skating:

happyvlad

And this is what Vladimir Putin looks like when he’s standing near the Olympic rings:

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This is what Vladimir Putin looks like when he’s being tickled:

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And this is what Vladimir Putin looks like just before he murders this puppy:

Bulgaria Russia  Putin Borissov

Don’t do it, Vlad! Just let the puppy go.

That Shaun White is 412% hotter with short hair, but that long hair is the source of all his power.

That Canadians ruin everything, from bacon to hockey.

That Kate Hansen is a better dancer than me.  (And is also probably better at the luge than I am, but I’m pretty freaking awesome at the luge, so I can’t be certain. Let’s just call it a tie.)

Speaking of the luge: that this sport is basically the Olympic equivalent of pushing a bunch of people off a cliff and calling it a race to hit the ground the fastest. Congratulations, you almost died faster than everyone else almost died.

That the list of things Russia’s government is cool with is surprisingly eclectic. I’ve developed this handy pie chart to help explain:

71ypc

This should clear things up.

That certain NBC reporters want Bode Miller to cry more than they want to breathe air. In the next Olympics, journalists will be beating the athletes with two-by-fours rather than wasting time with questions. It’s quicker.

And finally, and most importantly, that Bob Costas is a demon.

Pinkeye my ass.

Nuts. Literally.

Grammar is a really big deal to me. By that I mean, if I’m reading a book, and I come across a typo, I immediately strip the author of approximately 99.75% of his or her credibility. And then I set the book on fire.

I know. Harsh.

Books aren’t really the worst offenders, because let’s face it: if you’ve written thousands of words, over hundreds of pages, there is bound to be a mistake or two. I get it. We all have problems.

My issue is more with things like advertisements, magazine articles, even television commercials which use words incorrectly or misspell their message or generally just piss me off. It drives me crazy. Like, “Silence of the Lambs” crazy. Or bath salts crazy.

That said, there is one grammatical mistake I make about 67 times a day, and it is this: incorrect usage of the word “literally.”

I love this word. It is, without a doubt, the most overused word in my vernacular, so much so that I have tried, on more than one occasion, to eliminate it entirely from my daily vocabulary. But I can’t. Because the word “literally” literally makes everything better.

For example: If I were to say, “I am going to kill you with knives,” that would be okay. I mean, it might be sort of funny, or sort of scary, depending on our relationship. If I said, “I am going to kill you with knives, but you know, figuratively. I would never hurt you, lulz!” that would be lame. But if I said to you, “I am literally going to kill you with literally, like, seventy-two knives,” the awesomeness of this threat increases by a great deal.

(I also enjoy a good exaggeration.)

My point is, I know that I’m using the word incorrectly, because I’m not literally going to kill you, and if I were, we would probably not be friends and you would probably not be reading this blog. (You might be thinking, “Lauren, we are already so not friends, despite the fact that I am reading your blog.” That’s fair. Carry on.) I also didn’t literally sleep for 100 hours last night, nor will I literally give you a million dollars to hang out with me, and I can almost guarantee I could never literally eat my dog’s face because she’s so freaking adorable and slobbery and gross. Nevertheless, I have said all of these things, and with glee.

Anyway, one day I literally decided to start a blog. (Wait…that one works.) And in doing so, I imagined many names for said blog (most of which involved the word “blog” because I am nothing if not creative). My friends chipped in and offered their suggestions, and while I almost decided upon my personal favorite (My Milkshake Brings All the Boys to the Blog), I wanted the title to have something to do with me. (And while my milkshake does a lot of things, I’m not sure it does exactly that.)

Which brought me to the phrase, “Literally, nuts.” Because nuts are funny, one, and two, because I am pretty much actually and very literally insane in a myriad of ways, which I’m sure we’ll get to later. And also because then I could put a picture of actual, edible, adorable little kernels on my title page and giggle to myself because they would be literally nuts.

Oh, puns. I wish I knew how to quit you.

Update: One of my friends just texted me to say “Did you mean to have the typo at the end?” No, I did not mean to have a typo in the post about how much I hate typos. I am an asshole. (Don’t try to look for it, I’ve killed it with fire.)

Putting My English Degree to Good Use, or: Does This Mean I’m a Published Writer?

So here it is, world. My blog.

I’m not gonna lie, the word “blog” really freaks me out. There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is that I used to want to be a writer, and by “writer” I mean of books, and by “books,” I mean those things that we used to buy and share and feel and smell and occasionally read before reading stopped being a thing. As much lighter as it would make my purse, I just cannot bring myself to buy a Kindle because A) I’m poor and I hear they’re literally giving out books for free at the library, and B) I love the physical experience of turning pages, and of that specific kind of anxiety you feel when you start running out of pages to turn and you know that it just can’t end like this.

You don’t really get that from a blog, am I right?

But alas, the world is changing without me, blogs are the new books and the internet is the new coffee shop, so here I am.

Anyway, I decided to start a blog because I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things, and while the world may have absolutely no use for those opinions, that hasn’t stopped TMZ, has it? For a long time I have been unburdening myself by means of Facebook statuses and long-winded text messages to friends, and very often the response I’ve received has been positive. That said, it’s always been painstakingly obvious to me that I was taking the easy way out, that these positive responses are due to the fact that my audience is comprised of people who generally agree with me and my views (hi, Mom). Not always, but most of the time. And so it’s been sort of like asking your husband over and over and over if he really and truly loves you, knowing full well that each and every time he’s going to say “Yes, of course, you’re lovely,” because if he says anything else you both know you’ll choke him out. Or so I hear.

While it’s definitely ego-pumping to receive positive comments from your friends and family, it’s not really helping anyone grow or expand in the long run. It doesn’t make me mature as a writer or force me to re-evaluate my views, and I imagine it hasn’t done the same for anyone else, either. Which is why I’ve decided to take my thoughts to the streets. (And by “the streets” I mean the wires and satellites which magically make the letters appear on this screen as I type them, and then supernaturally fly those letters into your home by way of what I can only assume is fairy dust and hamsters in wheels.)

So anyway, back to My Feelings.

I’m a person who’s burdened by a lot of concerns. Lots of things worry me. You may be thinking, “Oh, Lauren, everyone has worries, duh,” as I would if I were reading this, and then I would think, “You must be SO full of yourself to have started a blog just to talk about your concerns!” (I’m pretty judgmental, obviously.)

But, to give you a better idea of what it’s like to be In My Brain, here’s a laughably tiny list of the things I’m concerned about at this very moment:

That my boss will notice that I’m using her computer to write my first blog entry, even though I’m writing it in a gmail window (on top of being judgmental, I’m also very sneaky).

That I’m hungry. Duh. And speaking of food:

donuts, and their merciless hold over me.

That terrible things are happening in Russia, which goes hand-in-hand with:

gay rights.

Animal rights.

Women’s rights, paying special attention to the subcategory of:

women’s reproductive rights, which leads me to:

public health care.

Private health care.

My privates. (I’m sure most women can attest that it’s pretty much a full-time job to keep up with what goes on down there.)

My dog.

My dog’s privates. (This actually is not a joke – at all times she is either A) licking her butt, B) itching her butt, or C) doing something to her no-no place that you’re really not supposed to do in mixed company.)

My dog becomingly increasingly obese and my role in this. Also, the fact that she’s a total bitch. (Figurative or literal? You decide.)

That my dog is home alone right now, and what if that makes her sad? And what if that sadness is also contributing to her growing belly? And what if she’s picked up on my bad happens and she, too, is a stress-eater? Which reminds me:

Stress-eating.

The snow outside and the fact that I refuse to do any shoveling and the potential this has to do real damage to my marriage.

My marriage. Not because anything is wrong with it – quite the opposite, in fact. It’s lovely. Unless I’m missing something important. Maybe we’re on a downward spiral because I’m subconsciously ignoring some real problem that’s slowly driving a wedge between us. Like my refusal to shovel. Perhaps we should talk about it. I’m going to go home tonight and talk to him about it, because obviously he resents me but is keeping his feelings locked up inside to avoid confronting our issues. What a dick.

Speaking of the snow outside and my refusal to shovel it: Seasonal Affective Disorder. (Which, by the way, I totally didn’t believe was a real thing until I moved to Boston and realized that New England weather is America’s way of weeding out the weak.)

Poverty, sadness, illness, depression, hopelessness, worldwide despair. Also,

national disasters, global warming, killer bees, dying coral reefs, and sad, fuzzy polar bears clinging desperately to glaciers the size of whiskey rocks.

Money/taxes/paychecks, or: Things That Fall Under the General Umbrella of “Not Enough.”

The mysterious creature known as the “401k.” Because I am almost 30 and genuinely have no idea what that is.

Self-control. This is probably a skill worth looking into.

The pros and cons of spending five years on an English degree and half of a Communications degree. If only they gave out halves.

The fact that the amount of money in my savings isn’t enough to even warrant being called “a savings,” but would really be more appropriately titled, “a measlings.”

And in the “What a Surprise! Said No One Ever” category:

How to make a blog.

And that’s just the stuff I’m worried about right now.

So if you’re looking for a candid exploration of any of the hard-hitting issues mentioned above, look no further. We may even go into my privates. (That one’s figurative.)

You’re welcome.