Like a lot of people, I keep notes on my phone to remind myself of things, sometimes writing-related, sometimes work-related, and they’re quite often so cryptic that I can’t figure out which is which. I was on the train on Friday night, typing in a reminder to buy wrapping paper (for the first time in twenty years, we don’t seem to have any, and the gift bags have been passed back and forth to the point that they’re a little shabby), when I realized that the first note was titled “Player One”. And while you would think this kind of note would be writing-related, like for a cool story about a grand chess master who falls in love with his opponent, or the saga of an unindicted co-conspirator who is identified in court documents only by that pseudonym, this one is actually work-related:
Me: So there’s something wrong with my email. I changed my password this morning and now I keep getting error messages.
IT Guy: You’re not the only one. But don’t worry—I can set you up with a temporary account.
Me: Thanks. I don’t want to miss any important messages.
IT Guy: OK. The only thing is that the sender line won’t have your name on it—it will say Tester 1.
Me: Ooh, could it say Player One instead?
IT Guy: No.
Me: But that would be cooler.
IT Guy: I can’t rename it.
Me: Never mind then. Nobody emails me anyway.
And now I have to relive my disappointment at never having a cool nickname. Other weird notes:
1) “Christmas Candle Scents”
This one might not SEEM weird, but it’s followed by the names of the guys on my fantasy hockey pool team. Was I trying to figure out what Frederick Anderson would smell like if he was a Christmas candle? He’s a goalie, so maybe “old leather, wood, and hard work”? And by “hard work” I mean “sweat”, but I didn’t want to be mean. I asked Ken for a nicer word than sweat, and he said “Mildew” which is actually worse. Also, if you think a candle that smells like a hockey player wouldn’t be very pleasant, I just went on the Chapters Indigo website where you can purchase a candle called “Frostbite” and I would much rather that my house smell like a hockey player than gangrene.
2) “Don’t Rub Your Banana On Me”
I once worked with a woman who LOVED bananas. Then we got a summer student who was violently allergic to them and no one was allowed to eat them anywhere near her. Finally, the student went back to school and my colleague was super-happy about this, but around that time, I had had a severe allergic reaction to a naturopathic cream that contained plantain:
Colleague: I’m so ‘appy that I can eat les bananes again! (*She was French*)
Me: Just don’t rub your banana on me.
Colleague: But of course not, mon ami.
And that’s what I loved about her—most people would have been like, “Why the f*ck would I EVER rub my banana on you?” but she was just like “Pas de probleme!” as if it was the most normal request in the world. And I know if I had asked HER to call me Player 1, she would have said, “J’adore your cool nickname!”
3) “Trophy Wife”
I just went on a cruise with my parents, and in the evenings, my mom liked to go to the casino, so my dad and I would hang out together in one of the many lounges having a drink and whatnot. On the third day in, we were in the elevator and an elderly woman was complaining about how hard and confusing it was to organize shore excursions for herself. I pointed at my dad and said, “I never worry about that—he does it all for me” to which she replied, “You’re lucky you’re in a relationship.” I was taken aback but I said, “Well, he’s MY DAD so I guess it’s a kind of relationship.” But after she got off the elevator, my dad said, “I didn’t want to say anything, but last night in the lounge when we were having a drink and a laugh, a couple of guys my age walked by and one of them winked at me and gave me the thumbs up.” And I realized that there is nothing weirder than being mistaken for your father’s younger trophy wife, so from that point on, whenever I could, I would loudly emphasize the relationship, like “Can I get a glass of wine for me and ONE FOR MY FATHER?” or randomly yelling “HEY DAD!” at him from across the deck. But then I also didn’t want people thinking that I was my parents’ middle-aged spinster daughter either, so I started bringing Ken into the conversation, like “I wish my husband was here—he would have really enjoyed this” until one guy was like, “I’m so sorry for your loss” and I had to clarify that Ken wasn’t dead, he was just at work.
4) A poem inspired by waking up from a weird dream at 3 o’clock in the morning:
I quite often wake up in the middle of the night and frantically write sh*t down in my phone. In fact, in My Week 119: Donut Store Memories, the short story titled “Double Double” was based on a dream I had where I was brainstorming with the Canadian writer Eric McCormack. I don’t normally dream up poems, but a while ago, I woke up in the middle of a dream where I was yelling at someone “I’d rather have an anonymous cadre of dubious angels!” I liked the line and wrote it down right away. Then this past week, I was reading a poem by an actual poet and blogger friend, Brandewulf of Brandewijn Words called Wakeful III and I started thinking about all the times I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep because of the negative thoughts that can swirl around my brain. So I wrote this poem:
They came because the moon had called them
An anonymous cadre of dubious angels
Dancing on the head of a midnight pin.
You etch your rage onto vellum,
Hands heavy with loss
As they waltz until dawn.
Ken read this and I asked him what he thought. “Meh, it’s OK,” he said. That would have been a real blow to my self-esteem, except that last week BOTH Uber drivers gave me 5 out of 5 stars and they would have both LOVED this poem, I’m sure.
The remainder of this note says, “When the ball left my hand, it didn’t always go where I wanted it to, but most of the time it went over the plate.” This is what I heard a winning pitcher say in response to a reporter asking him, “How do you feel the game went?” And isn’t that just the best f*cking answer that you’ve ever heard? He could have said, “We won. Yay.” but he stretched it out into a whole string of words to make it SEEM like he was saying something profound. And maybe he was, in a kind of Zen Buddhist way.
6) “15 divided by 0 equals bacon”
Because it always will.