It’s Toxic

I’m currently being plagued by toxicity. No, I don’t mean I’m surrounded by toxic people—in fact, it’s quite the opposite. I’m particularly fortunate to have many incredible people in both my life and work. No, when I say toxic, I’m referring to the song. Yes, Toxic by Britney Spears. I’ve had that f*cking song in my head now for several days and it’s evolved from an ear worm into a serpent. At first it was amusing. “What’s that song playing in my head?” I asked myself last week. “Oh, Britney. Fun.”  A couple of days later, I was like, “Toxic? Still? What the hell?” as it became more persistent and annoying. Yesterday, it ramped up to the point where I started getting worried. Every time I stop actively thinking, I realize it’s there, playing in the background, over and over again. And the worst part is that I don’t even know all the goddamn words so it’s mostly just Britney mumbling and then belting out the chorus. I actually woke up at 3 am yesterday and the first thing I heard was “With the taste of a sip I’m drinking rye/It’s toxic, I’m hearing thunder…” and it’s even more worrisome that my brain is filling in the lyrics like THAT.

Now, I’m no stranger to the ear worm. I get them pretty regularly, thanks to good old OCD, usually based on something I’ve just listened to, but after a couple of hours or a couple of glasses of wine, they disappear. And because I have a semi-eidetic memory, I usually know the lyrics and can sing along. The week before I began my battle with the Britney Army (slight tangent: I just googled ‘what are Britney Spears’ fans called?’ but first I misspelled ‘what’ and it autofilled ‘what are hemorrhoids?’. Then I misspelled ‘Britney’ and again it autofilled with ‘what are hemorrhoids?’ To be clear, I have never done any research on that topic and thus far in my life I haven’t needed to, but it concerns me that Google associates Britney Spears with butt ailments, so I investigated further and went down a rather terrifying hemorrhoidal rabbit hole and now I know more about the topic than I ever wanted to, and I still don’t know why I can’t get Toxic out of my head.), I had Shame by Foo Fighters playing on a loop, but that was okay because a) I love Foo Fighters and b) it’s an awesome song and c) I knew all the words so I just started merrily singing along.

But now? Is it an omen? Is it a warning? Is the universe trying to tell me something? Could it be related to the sudden upswing in my OCD due to all the adhesive rug grippers I bought suddenly letting go due to several rather vigorous games of boogedy boogedy with Atlas, resulting in my carefully symmetrized rugs being askew once again (I should have known there might be issues with the product when I saw the instruction that read “For renew the sticky, wipe with cloth”)? OR…hear me out: Is Britney in danger and needs my help to free her? Well, if that’s the case, she’s sh*t out of luck, because we’re under yet another stay at home order. Sorry, Brit. At this point, I’m just resigned to having the damn song in my head forever. And you know what they say—the next step after resignation is acceptance, so hit me baby, one more time.

Quilt Update: All patches are cut, and the design has been laid out. Ken figured out how to use the sewing machine because he made a wooden marionette out of some scrap wood and decided to sew it a little shirt and pair of pants. I’ve named the marionette Marty, and he’s adorable in a kind of grotesque way and definitely has Ken’s fashion sense, but at least now Ken can teach me how to sew. Also, just in case you think I haven’t been busy, I also made this cool bookcase out of a 1970s grandfather clock shell.

Profiled

A few days ago, I saw a red flag hovering above the LinkedIn app on my phone. “Ooh,” I thought. “Is someone interested in being my friend?” Now, I know that connections on LinkedIn aren’t technically called ‘friends’, but what exactly DO you call them? ‘Business peeps’? ‘Corporate posse’? ‘Kudo Klub’? (If you know anything about LinkedIn, you know it’s always pressuring you to send kudos to people as if the mere fact that you’ve been connected to them for five years is cause for celebration, like ‘You’ve never once LIKED MY POSTS, MARCIA, so kudos for that.’) At any rate, when I opened the app, I was even more excited to see that it was a personal message. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have been so thrilled but after socially isolating for over a year, any form of communication is exciting. Even the stupid Norton on my computer popping up to tell me it’s protected me from several threats recently is a bit of a thrill. Of course, Norton is just a tryhard, because I have the free version and Norton keeps trying to impress upon me how much better off I’d be if I paid for a better package. But why have a cow and buy milk, am I right?

So I clicked on the message icon in breathless anticipation. There was a message from Jarod. It read, “Hi Suzanne! I wanted to reach out because, based on your profile, I thought you might be interested in discussing your sports flooring needs. Please reach out to me anytime!” Now, there were several questions I had about this message:

1) Who the f*ck is Jarod?

2) What’s with all the exclamation marks? This is LinkedIn, not Twitter.

3) What in the name of all that is holy could possibly have led Jarod to read my profile and glean from it that I had ‘sports flooring needs?

4) What even IS sports flooring?

And because I had no interest in engaging with Jarod about his weird flooring fetish, I will answer these questions myself:

1) I have no goddamned idea. He is neither a Business Peep nor a member of my Corporate Posse.

2) Jarod is very excited about sports flooring and the idea of potentially connecting with me over it. Perhaps he envisions us, sipping wine on a terrace somewhere, discussing whatever the hell sports flooring is.

3) I re-examined my profile. It says my name and that I’m the author of Smile and The Dome (I should probably update that with my two new books, The Seventh Devil and Feasting Upon The Bones and if that isn’t a shameless plug, I don’t know what is). It also says I’ve been endorsed for Public Speaking and Educational Leadership despite the fact that the only thing I ever post on LinkedIn is my blog. Where, in ANY of that, is there the slightest indication that I’m a) athletic b) interested in sports c) interested in floors?

4) The only thing I can even think of is astroturf. Why would I ever in a million years need astroturf? I HAVE GRASS, JAROD. Or is sports flooring that bouncy stuff? Because that MIGHT be cool, maybe in like one room where you could go when you were stressed and just bounce around on your sports flooring like Tigger until you felt better. Then it occurred to me—could ‘sports flooring’ be a euphemism? But I couldn’t for the life of me think what it might be a euphemism for, so I asked Ken:

Me: What could an interest in sports flooring be a euphemism for? Like, you’re a professional killer and you bury someone under concrete at an arena?
Ken: That’s very dark. Hmm. The only euphemism about sports I’ve ever heard is ‘Water Sports’.
Me: Water sports? Like water polo?
Ken: No, like…”pee play”. You know, Golden Showers.
Me: EWWWWWW.

So I immediately wrote back to Jarod: I DON’T DO THAT. What a creep. Then I looked and realized I had two other messages, one from ‘Matt’, who wanted to know if I was interested in an AI Training Pilot Project. Now, if that’s a euphemism for teaching my robot butler how to bring me wine, count me in. The other was from someone who thinks I like camping. Guess which message I’ll be responding to based on my profile?

Quilt Update for those who are following: I’m now at 270 squares. Thanks to those who recommended the rotary cutter. That thing is a godsend.

Weekend Update

Well, Happy Easter Weekend to all of those who celebrate it and Happy Weekend to those who don’t. The mydangblog household doesn’t observe Easter particularly, but we do give each other chocolate according to pagan tradition, and chocolate is one of the few life’s pleasures left to us as we’re currently under yet another “lockdown that’s not really a lockdown”. As someone on the interweb succinctly put it: “I can go to Costco, but I can’t go to my barber. My barber can go to Costco but can’t give me a haircut. We can both be in Costco at the same time—maybe he can cut my hair in Costco.” People aren’t allowed to gather in groups of more than 5 people, but come Tuesday, classrooms will be full of 30 kids per room. Ultimately, I’m never sure if this is a pandemic or just a really bad Monty Python sketch.

At any rate, before I begin, I have three updates. First, an update on the quilt. I have, as of this day’s reckoning, cut 121 squares of denim with about 300 to go. I will be attempting to purchase a rotary cutter today on the advice of my many quilting friends (you never know how many you have until you tell people you’re making a quilt), if I can find a store that’s open.

Second, thanks to all of you, I did indeed win Spillwords Press Publication of the Month, and I am very thrilled and grateful to everyone who voted or tried to vote (that site is super-finicky) or even just clicked on it to read it because that counts too.

Third, and this ties into number 2, I’ve begun the sequel to The Seventh Devil. It’s called The Devil You Know, and now I have lots of names for the characters thanks to my promise to name them after anyone who voted for me.

And off we go on another foray into the strange world of Facebook Marketplace.

1) Drama: Free

You can just tell by the photo that Amanda is a very dramatic girl. It’s amazing to me that she isn’t charging more for her drama but maybe the lockdown is getting the better of her and she’s so bored she’s just willing to give it away. So I contacted her and asked about a sample:

Me: What kind of drama are you offering?
Amanda: Low level best friend drama, mid-range passive aggressive wife, and crazy ex-girlfriend.
Me: Can I try the crazy ex-girlfriend?
Amanda; I WILL SLASH YOUR TIRES, YOU BASTARD!!
Me: Wow, that IS intense. I think I’m good.
Amanda (sobbing): So that’s it? You’re just going to leave? WHY??!! I LOVE YOU!!
Me: Okay, have a good weekend.
Amanda: You too!

2) Bookshelf: It is issued.

It wasn’t so much the bookshelf in this ad but the description, which reads “Good bookshelf. We are moving. It is issued. Has a lot of place. It is useful.” So, these people are moving due to some kind of decree? Is there a dude whose job it is to randomly evict people with bookshelves, like, “I see you have a good, useful bookshelf. I must demand that you move immediately. Leave the bookshelf behind in this place. I have spoken.” I hope he doesn’t find out how many bookshelves I have—I have no intention of moving.

3) Self-portrait: 5 dollars

This is an excellent example of a post-modern charcoal sketch in the style of a young Matisse. Personally, I would title it “Artist Holding Boom Box”, but those could be boobs. And that’s the joy of art.

4) Custom Handmade Boat: $100

What a lovely, idyllic scene: A peaceful living room with birds merrily chirping in their cage, a puppy snoozing on his pillow, the sunlight spilling in through the cracks in the boat—wait, what? I’m guessing that the genius who handcrafted this boat has never actually been in one and is unaware that the key to building a seaworthy vessel is to ensure that the water STAYS ON THE OUTSIDE. Now, you may be thinking that the person meant a good bookshelf SHAPED like a boat, but the description below simply reiterates “Custom handmade boat”. This is the stuff for which relocation decrees are issued, my friends.

Enjoy the weekend, everyone—now I’m off to cut some denim.