Friday, July 29, 2011

Library Day

My brothers and I were homeschooled. To some people this seems to mean that we were raised by wolves, but to us it just meant that when we finished our schoolwork we could go outside and have big-wheel races instead of waiting on 29 other kids to figure out what an adjective was and give three examples.

It's not as lonesome as you would think. Our mom would meet up with other "homeschool moms" (their phrase, not mine. I'm not that lame.) to form clubs and other things to trick us into thinking we were normal kids. We had a bowling league, a 4-H club, a special day reserved at Roll-A-Bout, Quiz Bowl, Battle of the Books, science club, plays, and Food Fairs, but my absolute favorite day of all was Library Day (known elsewhere as "Thursday").

At the risk of sounding like a complete nerd, my library was. The. Shit. All other libraries can suck it. If I could still go their storytime hour without being the creepiest person there, I so totally would. I've considered renting a kid so I could pretend to just be a loving parent who's really into kids' books. What's abnormal about that?

In the enormous children's section, there was a tub of weirdly-shaped plastic block things. These were perfect for weapons because Dray and I always had to play Power Rangers with our friends, embarrass our moms, and disturb the peace as much as possible. We used the slanted display shelf of books as the Command Center and from there went on our missions, which consisted of screaming "Hiii-ya! UNH!" and kicking as high as we could at the guy playing the monster,. We were always highly successful, especially me because I was the fabled Pink Ranger and the only girl, which obviously equals badassness. Not every girl raised in the '90s could say she rescued a fake Angel Grove from a fake Lord Zed without even wrinkling her floral overall-shorts, ya know.

The library computers only had one game, and it was a Magic School Bus game that loaded as fast as a top-of-the-line computer from 1994 would let it. Meaning, I slammed the mouse in frustration and banged all the buttons on the keyboard at least every three minutes. I've never been very patient. I desperately wanted to help the bespectacled ginger kid leap his way further into space one platform at a time while collecting coins, but I failed him repeatedly until I was forced to leave him and stop harming the computers with my uncontrollable brat-rage.

Every year the library had a summer reading contest for kids to promote staying literary even when school was out, or something. They had a different theme each year and all the kids were given construction paper cutouts of symbols that went with that theme. These had their names written on them and were tacked to the humongous floor-to-ceiling bulletin board in the children's room, and for every 100 pages each kid read they'd get a sticker on it. Well, I thought this was an incredible idea because I liked reading, winning, and everyone knowing that I'm winning at reading. I devoted every hour of my waking life to reading and getting so many precious stickers that I had to get multiple paper baseballs or whatever to hold all my shining tokens of accomplishment and awesomeness. I was so amazingly literary, all the other kids wished they could be homeschooled too instead of being stuck in their classrooms, not being best friends with their brothers or covered in stickers and chrome nail polish.

Once I reached a certain age, damaged all the computers, read all the books I cared about, won the summer reading contest so many times I grew bored with it, and saved Angel Grove from as many attacks as my high-kicks were able to, it was time for me to graduate from my beloved children's room and move to the small alcove for "young adults." Here I spent hours puzzling over the twins of Sweet Valley High, wondering what sex was and if I'd ever have boobs. I had never known there was more to teenagerness than what was illustrated in The Babysitters Club books, and all the new information was pretty frightening to a girl who still wore braided pigtails with dragonfly barrettes.

I was delighted, however, that some of the books in this section couldn't be finished before I left, even when my mom's gossipiest friends were sitting with her. I started taking home huge stacks of random books, unsure of what genre I would like now that I was part of this mysterious club, "young adults." I adored murder mysteries immediately, except when I couldn't sleep because a masked man with a rusty screwdriver was lurking in my closet behind my velour highwater bellbottoms. Time travel, space travel, reincarnation, telekinesis, aliens, demons, ghosts, magic, secret worlds -- anything that seemed impossible enchanted my young adult mind because I wanted there to be more to life than Asheboro, Family Matters, and wanting pizza for dinner.

I never completely grew out of that phase.

Because I wasn't quite enough of a nerd as my dad would have liked, he taught me how to play chess, and once I mastered it I would challenge kids at the library. Sitting at a table with the board set up in front of me, my feet dangling above the ground, I would grin evilly through my straight-across-the-forehead bangs at passing children. Most of them would walk away from my glare quaking in intimidation, or perhaps hurtful laughter. After each game, I would shake my opponent's hand, nod wisely, and solemnly declare, "good game" just like my dad taught me. Because nobody likes a sore winner. Then whoever I had crushed would stumble away crying and never show their face at the Asheboro Public Library again.

Nobody ever would have guessed I'd be a college dropout. Kids with a sick amount of stickers and chess victories like I had almost always end up graduating from Harvard, not dropping out of the community college.

Without all the library time I was exposed to in addition to being homeschooled, I doubt I would have become so delightful, classy, charming, well-educated, accomplished, competitive, literary, and respectful. There's eight adjectives that describe a noun (me), and I'm not waiting on you to catch up.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How rude.

Basically everyone I know shares a hobby of saying outrageously offensive things to me. Even some people I've never met like to join in once in a while. Here are some of my favorites.

*Kacy and I were at a church function, dancing like idiots and enjoying our lives, when a stupid church-lady leaned over to us and commented, "You girls dance so much, you should be thin!"

*I used to frequently hang out at my work after my shift to talk to a co-worker because I had no life and I never got to see her. She went to ring up an elderly man who was buying two candy bars. Mistaking him for one of those delightful old people, I innocently joked, "One of those is for me, right?!" He looked at my belly, considered it for a moment, and replied, "You don't need it. You look like you should try an apple or a carrot."

*A guy I liked once told me he thought short girls were "gross and creepy."

*Some stupid high school girl made fun of me after we took a picture together because I "wasn't as photogenic as her." This isn't the same girl, it's just an example of how clearly photogenic me and my friends are.

*A lady asked me who did my eyebrows when I was minding my own business at work one day. Flattered and not expecting to be slandered, I told her that I plucked them myself, to which she responded, "Oh... yeah, I can tell."

*A blond-haired, blue-eyed girl I knew in high school liked to casually remark, as if she wasn't directing the comment at anyone in particular, "I've always thought brown eyes and brown hair are so boring, ugly, and common."

*I should never have asked my ex-boyfriend what one thing he'd change about me, because his dismaying answer was, "I'd make your boobs even."

*One of the "cool children" in middle school told me he always watched me when I went to blow my nose because my face got all contorted and disgusting.

*There was a rumor going around this past year that I was a lesbian. I have no clue where they got that idea.

*In my high school Spanish class we had group projects where we had to advertise a product. I was teamed up with a perky skinny girl whose idea was, "We can market a weight-loss drink! You can be the before, and I'll be the after!"

*People often tell me how terrible my laugh is, how it sounds like a rabid hyena, and how weird it makes my face look.

*At a concert or something like that with my ex-boyfriend, I told him I was going to the concession stand to buy some food because I hadn't eaten all day. I bought a hot dog, tater tots, and a drink, and when I returned to my seat with it he asked if any of it was for him. I politely told him he could go buy his own damn food like I'd had to do. He shook his head as if I were eating everything they had behind the counter, and asked in disbelief, "You're gonna eat all that?"

*Grumpy old people at our church liked to tell Kacy and I that we were "immature" and "needed to grow up" and "weren't serious enough" and other such elderly beliefs. So we ran around in the rain in the church parking lot during service to prove that we didn't have to do what they say.

*I made fun of myself to Kacy one day, calling myself "morbidly obese" and she asked in surprise, "Oh, are you morbidly obese? I thought you were just regular obese."

Names are changed to protect the criminally insane.

Back in the days when I was still talking to Charming Adam, I used to be a bit of a Facebook whore. I talked and flirted with a lot of different guys, some that I knew from high school or my brief stint at college, and some that randomly added me as a friend because of my extreme sexiness.

One of these stranger-fellows was five years older than me, talked to me constantly, and thought I was pretty, which significantly clouded my judgment like always.

He seemed perfectly nice and normal on Facebook and texting, so logically I agreed to meet him at his house to watch the Superbowl. I do not care about the Superbowl whatsoever but I was lonely and there was a chance that a boy might put his arm around me, so I was up for anything.

He texted me directions to his house, which was conveniently less than ten minutes away from my house. I cheerfully filled my best friend in on my exciting plans, and she stared at me as if I'd told her I was going to meet Hannibal Lector.

Horrified Kacy: "What do you know about this guy?"

Naive Amanda: "His name is Carter. He likes dogs and the American Pie movies."

Horrified Kacy: "...Do you know anything other than what's on his Facebook page?"

Naive Amanda: "Yes. I have to go or I'll be late."

At his house, I met him, his roommate, and their pet Pit Bulls, and settled in on the couch to watch the seconds on the football timer tick by. I texted Kacy every five minutes to assure her that I was not being raped/killed/harvested for organs. Other than my texting, there was almost no conversation as the guys watched the stupid Superbowl, so I felt outrageously useless and awkward. Like usual.

Carter was ridiculously short; he was probably shorter than me, and I'm only 5'3&1/2" but I was in no position to be picky. He put his arm around me and I was perfectly content with my life. We even kissed after the game, which wasn't quite as magical as I'd hoped. He came at me tongue-first and I had some trouble breathing that way, but I think I took it like a champ. Every girl has to experience at least one guy who relies that heavily on his tongue while kissing... it's like a rite of passage sort of thing. If you survive it, you are now a woman.

After I became a woman, I went on about my life and we continued texting each other but not really finding anything out about each other. I don't know how two people could talk so frequently and not get to know each other at all, but we managed it. Carter invited me over to his house later that week, to which I replied, "hell to the yeah." I was used to guys losing interest quickly so this was a nice change of pace. I went to his house, where we laid down and watched some movie that I didn't pay attention to because I was nervous that he might want to boink me and I couldn't remember if I'd shaved my legs or not.

Instead, something even more horrifying happened.

He got a bitchy text from his ex and started crying. I don't mean just a couple of tears that he wiped away before I could see them. I mean huge, wracking sobs from the depths of his soul.

I stared at him and patted his shoulder awkwardly, wishing I never would've met him because I couldn't handle this situation. It was a very selfish thought but I didn't judge myself for having it cross my mind. When he finally wiped away the last of his man-tears, he looked up at me with pitiful eyes and tried to ruin my life.

Crazy Carter: "I don't know why you care about me crying. You can leave if you want. My life is nothing but darkness."

Amanda: "Um, well, I'm not going to leave anyone alone while they cry." (No matter how much I want to.)

Crazy Carter: "I should just die, nobody would care or notice anyway, I hate myself so much."

Amanda: "Oh dear. Oh God. Just, calm down, it's okay."

Crazy Carter: "Darkness, sorrow. I'm leaving for the army next month. Will you wait for me? Despair, gloom."

Amanda: *Miserable* "I..."

Crazy Carter: *Starts crying again*

Amanda: "...Yes, okay?"

Crazy Carter: "Oh okay, good." *Puts in a new movie and hums "Sk8r Boi" by Avril Lavigne*

Amanda: *Guilt, regret, fear, confusion*

I was no longer lonely or desperate enough to enjoy time with this guy, nor did I have the capability of helping him deal with his horrifying problems. One of these problems made itself quite apparent to me as time went on: obsession mixed with possessiveness. He began to text, call, and Facebook-message me incessantly, usually when I had no way to respond.

(5:40 p.m.) Crazy Carter: "What are you doing?"

(5:42 p.m.) Crazy Carter: "I guess you're too busy for me."

(5:43 p.m.) Crazy Carter: "I should've known you were just like my ex, she never answered me either."

(5:50 p.m.) Amanda: "I'm at work..."

(5:51 p.m.) Crazy Carter: "Yeah you're so wrapped up in your stupid work, whatever, you don't even care about how I need you and stuff. Give me attention."

(5:54 p.m.) Crazy Carter: "My ex is being mean to me and I'm so sad and alone. Wahhhhhhh."

(6:00 p.m.) Amanda: "I know what you mean..."

(6:01 p.m.) Crazy Carter: "No you'd never understand. Nobody understands how hard my life is. My ex is so mean to me, she told me she didn't want to talk to me ever again. I don't need this."

(6:10 p.m.) Amanda: "Well I dated a guy for two years and two months, we just broke up a couple months ago and it's rough. I understand how you feel and stuff. Please accept my sympathy and stop the craziness."

(6:11 p.m.) Crazy Carter: "No, me and her dated for three meaningful years, which is exactly ten months longer than your relationship. So you don't get it. Stop acting like you understand me. Nobody understands me and I like it that way."

We went through this consistently for a few weeks. I wanted to tell him off but I knew that he drank alcohol and OD'd on Tylenol the night he basically asked me to marry him, and I was afraid of what he might do. The concept of me being at work, driving, or doing other activities that prevented me from responding to his text messages completely went over his head. I had to be readily available to him at all times so that I could be bitched at for simultaneously not understanding him and trying too hard to understand him.

On Valentine's Day Carter made me a dinner of undercooked chicken and corn, which was nicer than any other meal a guy had cooked for me. I got him a red stuffed dog with giant eyes, and he got me one as well even though I hate dogs.

He became furious when I wouldn't perform certain Valentine's Day-related acts that I was uncomfortable with and he threw the dog in his closet saying he didn't care anymore.

I cried and drove home in a Valentine's Day super-blizzard at 1:00 a.m., skidding on ice and my confused tears.

He continued texting me like nothing was wrong, but I'd finally had enough. He was not my responsibility, and even though his problems broke my fragile little heart, I have always had a maximum capacity of one for crazy people in my life, and that position was filled by me. So I made the difficult decision to avoid all contact with him. This decision was difficult not just because of my tender, caring soul, but because his contact with me was ridiculously frequent.

Crazy Carter: "Hey."

Crazy Carter: "You can come over tonight if you want, but I'm drunk."

Crazy Carter: "Stop ignoring me and give me the attention I deserve."

Amanda: "I can't do this anymore, dude."

Crazy Carter: "Whatever, I don't care about you anyway because you've never really cared about me. You're just like my ex-girlfriend, have I ever told you about her? She was a bitch."

Crazy Carter: "Baby please answer me. I just want to see you."

Crazy Carter: "What's your fucking problem?"

Crazy Carter: "I'm sorry if I've hurt you or if you've found someone else, just don't leave me, please, I'm needier than I let on."

Crazy Carter: *Cling, cling, whine, anger, guilt*

Crazy Carter: "I was falling in love with you but if you don't care about me then I guess I'll stop loving you. My ex, who was a bitch, didn't love me either."

I deleted him from Facebook and spent the next six months getting an escort to my car after work so he wouldn't be able to stalk me.

Thankfully my enchanting fairytale date with Charming Adam weeks later changed my mind about meeting guys on Facebook.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Things I was too lazy to do

I announced on Facebook one day that I was having trouble writing, hoping to get some suggestions or at the very least some attention. One of my friends is a blogger and she advised me to make lists of things to help organize my thoughts, giving me several examples of lists that could lead to funny or interesting stories. I told her that I'd thought about it but that I'd been too lazy to actually do it, and she added the title of another list, "things I was too lazy to do." 

That's where this blog came from, and I have added a link to her hilariously inappropriate blog at the bottom of this page. I'm not putting it up here on the top because then you'll navigate away before reading my blog and never come back. 

Things I was too lazy to do

1) Go to college

I did really well at the community college... my first semester. Then I discovered the magic of skipping class. First it was just once in a while when I thought I deserved a personal day to wear basketball shorts and a tank top, watch Degrassi, and eat bacon pizza. It quickly escalated into the realization that this lifestyle was much less stressful and that I could easily get used to it.

My grades started to slip as I spent more and more days sleeping in and rotting my brain on the computer. I didn't care after a while because I didn't even have a major picked out. What was the point? I'd go back when I figured my life out.

Unfortunately, I wasn't presented with many opportunities to figure my life out on my couch. All I was presented with was sixty extra pounds of fat to strap on to my thighs and belly. As my clothes started getting smaller, so did my list of options for the future. I had no experience, no education, no prospects, no hope, and no waist.

Everyone I know loves to harass me about going back to college and becoming a successful something-or-other. I nod and pretend to take their nosy, offensive suggestions into consideration, then go home and spend nine hours doing sudokus and texting about what color I should dye my hair.

2) Pay my bills

I ended up in the emergency room last August when I had strep throat, tonsillitis, and a lymph node infection. I didn't have insurance so they charged me more money than I make in a year. At the time the thought of the cost didn't bother me, because my throat was almost completely closed off on one side and I thought I was going to die.

I got my bill in the mail a couple weeks later, cried, and tried to forget about it. The thought of my outrageous debt filled me with guilt and fear, so I avoided calling to set up a payment plan. If I ignored it, it would go away until I could somehow deal with it.

Incredibly, it did go away; I don't get bills from the hospital anymore.

Now I get threatening letters from a collection agency.

3) Exercise

Every single day I make a promise to myself that I'm going to work out, lose weight, and regain the hotness of my late teenage years. In bed at night I imagine running for miles, shedding layers of fat behind me. But then when I try to run, I don't get much further than tying my shoes before I give up and read Cosmo in front of the TV instead. Even the sexy airbrushed magazine girls have trouble convincing me to get off my ass.

I play Wii Fit sometimes, but the little cartoon version of myself ballooning up and announcing, "that's obese!" is more discouraging than motivating. So I get a glass of Pepsi and a box of Oreoes and vow to start my skinny quest tomorrow.

4) Look pretty

It requires lots of things for a girl to look presentable. And I just don't care enough to wash clothes that aren't sweatpants, take a shower, dry my hair, straighten my hair, wash my face, put on makeup, and wear non-flip-flop shoes. So quite often I look disheveled and severely rumpled, as if I just rolled out of bed. Usually, this is actually the case.

I tell myself that any guy who is put off by my unbecoming appearance is a shallow jerk that I don't want to deal with anyway. Also, guys who expect the frequency of my leg-shaving to be any more than bi-weekly are not worth my time.

Follow this link to discover inappropriateness of ridiculous proportions ----> Just Inappropriate

Friday, July 22, 2011

Kick me while I'm down.

I'm a fairly modest person. By that I mean that I don't like people to know private things about me or see me naked. However, accidents happen, and with my horrible luck/karma/ju-ju they tend to occur in very public places.

One summer I went to the beach with the guy I was dating and his family. This boy was incredibly fair-skinned and didn't like to be around people or spend time with me, so we only went to the ocean a couple of times. Watching Spongebob and eating chips seemed to me like something we could do back home, so I occasionally went with his sister and her friend to try and enjoy my vacation.

Us girls splashed around in the pool and chilled in the hot tub like typical hot teenage beach girls. I had my new bikini so I thought I was the sexiest, tannest person alive. Skin cancer hadn't occurred to my young mind yet. Then I started to feel guilty, having fun while my boyfriend sat upstairs by himself. He had exiled himself to the hotel room but somehow I still believed he wanted to break away from his boring cycle of TV, video games, and junk food.

So I went upstairs to present him with my whiniest, clingiest argument that he needed (and secretly wanted) to spend romantic quality time with me on the beach.

He either agreed with me or wanted me to shut up, because he put on his swim trunks and followed me out to the ocean. I skipped and giggled and held his hand, convinced that we were now on the fast track to spending happy-fun-time together.

Even though I'm deathly afraid to be in the water over my head, I trusted the ocean to respect my limits and only splash the waves mildly onto my legs so I wouldn't freak out. The ocean kindly obeyed.

Then we got a little brave and went out further, where we had to jump with the waves to keep our heads above water. I was delighted but kept getting saltwater in my eyes and couldn't see. Unable to see the waves approaching, not knowing when to jump, I started to get scared and told my boyfriend so. He eased my mind by getting behind me and picking me up by the waist when he jumped. It made me feel light and happy and in love, because I was a simple eighteen-year-old girl who read romance novels and expected a lot but often received very little.

After several times of us jumping together so adorably, I felt the bikini string around my back start to loosen. I looked down between waves and, through squinty saltwater-filled eyes, saw the strings floating on either side of me. My boyfriend reached for my narrow, toned waist to help me jump for an oncoming wave, and I screamed for him not to. "THINK OF THE CHILDREN!" I cried, panicking and falling gracefully forward out of his reach, desperate to keep my buoys underwater. The wave crashed right on top of my face, and I lost all sense of direction.

The string that remained around my neck was being pulled out and down, trying to drag my body to the sharks. Wanting to stay alive way more than I wanted to stay clothed, I reluctantly ducked my head down and let my noose get rushed away by the violent ocean that was no longer respecting my boundaries.

My poor boyfriend saw his pathetic, topless girlfriend crying and letting herself get tossed around in the ocean, apparently having given up on life and dignity. He responded by heroically running to get his shirt off the shore to cover her shame.

I had been washed up pretty far on shore as I awaited his return. I sat, cradling my knees tightly against my chest, gasping for air, as merciless waves crashed on me and knocked me over again and again. They were like middle school kids coming across a fat girl crying in the bathroom. Perfect chance to kick someone while she's down.

Finally, he brought me his shirt and guided my pitiful, drunken steps to the safe sand. I reminded him that was my new bathing suit, and he sighed and looked at me for a while, surely contemplating whether I was worth the trouble and embarrassment I so often caused him. I watched from a distance as he wandered around aimlessly, waiting for a brown and blue cloth the size of a ship's mast to catch his eye. It never did.

I stumbled dizzily and blindly back to the hotel, where his sister and her friend were leaning over the balcony, waiting to hear what had happened. I shook my head and asked them to throw down a different bikini top so I could get in the calm, waveless pool that didn't want to marinate me with saltwater and eat my clothes for dinner.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


My first car was a 1996 Nissan Sentra that I got when I turned eighteen. I was absolutely delighted with this purchase because it meant freedom and independence and adulthood.

It would have been a decent car except I have a habit of being poor and not taking care of my stuff. So it went months without oil changes and tire rotations and other things you're supposed to have done to your car. I rode around with screeching brakes for a ridiculously long time because I was too poor and embarrassed to take it to the mechanic. I had my youth pastor fix the brakes (or change them, or whatever you do to brakes when they start sounding like death) and then another friend had to do the same thing a while later, but they kept on squealing at me and keeping me from getting attention from attractive boys that didn't involve some form of jeering.

I ignored it for the most part by turning the radio up really loud and singing along even louder. My friends really enjoyed this and always wanted to go places with me because I sound just like Alanis Morissette and Kesha and Taylor Swift all rolled into one.

I usually tend to date/befriend guys who are mechanically savvy, but my boyfriend at that point in time was only an expert at video games and ignoring me. So my access to free help was limited.

Interestingly, my predicament didn't affect the amount of time I spent driving. I drove to school (back when I was a good college kid), work, friends' houses, my boyfriend's house, church, and around aimlessly when I was bored. I figured it wasn't hurting anything other than my ears and self-esteem.

If I had just saved the money I spent on gas and food, I could've afforded to keep my car running. Too bad I was constantly bored and hungry.

So one afternoon I convinced my brother Thomas to go to a Mexican restaurant twenty miles away from our house to fulfill both my moods of boredom and hunger. He didn't want to go but I said I'd pay for his food and he couldn't resist that offer.

We got in the car to go eat and like always, he made fun of how messy my car was.

Thomas: Do you have any clothes left in your room, or are they all in your backseat?

Amanda: No, there are some in the trunk too. Watch where you put your feet, I have some movies and CDs in the floorboard.

Thomas: What's all this crap around your emergency brake? Straw wrappers, two keychains, a bottle of lotion, a Beach Boys CD, a pack of cards, and a copy of The Notebook? Seriously?

Amanda: What? I need all those things to be close by when I'm driving. I might need them.

Amanda: *Pointedly applies lotion from said bottle at a stoplight*

He shoved all my junk into the pocket on his door and I made a show of searching all over for my Beach Boys CD that he had moved.

I might have stooped to playing solitaire on my lap just to prove my point, but we arrived at the restaurant before it got that childish. Thoughts of nachos swimming in cheese were calling my name.

We stuffed our fat faces and talked about how awesome and funny we are.

Thomas: I'm the funniest one in our family and I draw masterpieces in the time it takes you to devour those nachos.

Amanda: I'm the most attractive and I go to church so I'm better than you.

Thomas: I have the greasiest hair.

Amanda: I have a job.

I got a to-go box to make myself feel thin even though I planned on eating it as soon as we got home. I generously paid for our meals and left a tip, and we left. We had nowhere else to go so we headed home through downtown.

My brakes were doing their usual shriek, as Thomas and I pretended to hear the sound coming from another car and judge them to divert attention from us. Everyone could tell by my sweaty red face and his long oily hair that we were too classy to be the culprit of the noise pollution.

Cruising down Main Street, trying to look cool, I saw a light turn yellow. I was a good citizen and acknowledged that yellow meant "slow down." At least, that was my intention.

My foot hit the brake, which screamed in protest and hit the floor way too fast, finally dying of exhaustion. In a wild panic I turned left at full speed (downtown full speed, which is only 25 MPH) so I could at least die on a small side road or parking lot without causing a six-car pileup on Main Street. I was quite considerate of others even in the face of a disaster.

We zoomed down some side road while Thomas turned to stare at me with enormous UFO eyes.

Thomas: What was that?

Amanda: *Uncharacteristically calmly* My brakes aren't working. At all. The pedal is all the way down against the floor right now.

Thomas: What do we do?

Amanda: *Mind is blank, preparing for death* Uh...

We got to a stop sign that met another busy road. We sailed through, directly between cars approaching in both lanes, and Thomas, realizing I wasn't going to do anything whatsoever, yanked up the emergency brake when we got to the other side, which was mercifully a parking lot. I gaped at him, then the emergency brake for a while as I realized I never would have even thought about using it or cleaning out the stuff that was previously stored around the brake. I wondered who the hell let me have a license, and why I was so incapable of things like saving my life.

I called our mom and told her our adventure. She wasn't very impressed and told me to call AAA to have my car towed. After I obeyed, I called Kacy to get a response and some sympathy for my horrible car. Best friends typically respond exactly the way mothers don't.

It wasn't worth fixing everything that was wrong with the stupid car so I bought a new one that I can't afford and gets low gas mileage. But it's pretty and white like me.

I don't keep things sitting around my emergency brake anymore. But I do sometimes pull it up when I park on a hill and forget to take it down until I've driven all the way back across town wondering what that horrible smell was.

Monday, July 18, 2011

How To Have Acne

One of the things people are always asking me for is advice on how to maintain a glowing complexion like mine. Not everyone can be blessed with the silky-smooth skin of the angels.

That was a lie, but I can share with you what I know best.

How To Have Acne

1. (For girls) Have a period. Menstruating makes your hormones go psycho and declare war on your pores. No defenses you've set up will be able to withstand this onslaught, so embrace it.

2. (For girls or girly boys) Wear makeup. When your period and general teenagerness gives you unsightly blemishes, the most effective solution is to coat on several layers of oil-based foundation and concealer. This way all your red lumps and bumps will become flesh-colored mounds that proudly proclaim your natural beauty.

3. Keep that makeup on. Keeping this makeup on for as long as possible, especially overnight, will clog your pores and give you that desirable shiny look. Also if anyone happens to touch your face, their fingers will slide right off and they'll get a healthy bit of moisturizer on their skin.

4. Invest in an entire line of facial care products. This includes highly chemicalized cleansers that dry out your skin to the point of cracking when you smile, harsh exfoliators for tearing through all the layers of skin, and oily moisturizers to increase that stinging sensation to its maximum potential.

5. Style your hair appropriately. Have bangs, an awesome emo hairstyle like my friend Patrick who is even more awesome than his awesome emo-ness, or any other haircut that creates a curtain of hair in front of your face. This is quite helpful for both hiding pimples and creating more of them. Added gel or spray will improve the creation process.

6. (For guys) Shave. Shave quickly, with an old/rusty/dull razor, in all directions, or without shaving cream. Use this technique and you will soon have a full beard, mustache, and sideburns made up entirely of appealing razor burn and in-grown hairs.

7. Sweat. Do any activity that causes you to perspire. You will achieve that "glistening" look and add to the clogging effect of makeup. This also ensures that you will have acne spring up all over your body, rather than keeping it isolated to your face.

8. Touch your face. Constantly bring your fingers up to your face, especially after doing things like frying and eating bacon or putting gel in your hair.

I sincerely hope that everyone will find these tips useful and follow them so that I will look more attractive by comparison.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fun Amanda

I hardly ever drink alcohol. I like to think myself as a "good kid" because my list of sexual partners is quite short and I don't enjoy participating in activities that cause me to hallucinate or see more than the normal amount of things when I look at them.

I never-ever got drunk until I was 21. I was staying with my friend Max (who is gay, like Lance Bass), my boyfriend at the time Mark, and one of our other friends, Andy. They discovered that I'd never been drunk, and reacted as if I said I'd never tasted bread. They decided that my status of "good kid" needed to change immediately, and against my better judgment I finally agreed. Being homeschooled has given me a very low resistance to peer pressure.

We prepared for the occasion by stocking up on various sorts of alcohol, since I had no idea what was good. I mainly picked out bottles that were pretty and had appealing descriptions, especially those containing the words "French," "exotic," and "sparkling."

After everyone got off work and came back to the house, we set up the beer pong table, which was really the bathroom door that they unhinged and placed on the kitchen table which was too short by itself. Whether you call that innovative or ghetto, it served its purpose well.

I let everyone know at least every ten minutes that I didn't like beer, so logically we decided that if I had to drink during the beer pong game, I could just take a shot of whatever fruit-flavored poison I desired. The plan was too perfect to fail.

I started out the evening looking attractive and put-together, as always.

At some point after several rounds of vodka/rum/tequila pong, I thought it was a great idea to go lie on the floor and watch the TV which only had a menu screen up because we were using it to listen to a CD. Someone else took my place in the game so I could occupy myself with searching for hidden messages on the TV screen and humming the Cow & Chicken theme song.

The guys were very sweet and patient with me, considering how ridiculous I was.

Max: Dude, is she ok?

Fun Amanda: YES. I can hear you, don't talk about me.

Mark: Do you want me to put a movie on for you so you can sit here and relax?

Fun Amanda: NO I wanna be in the party. I'm playing pong, I just needed a break so I could.

*Everyone waits for the end of my sentence*

*I feel them all exchange an amused glance at my expense*


Max: Okay Amanda. Don't yell please, just calm down. We'll leave you alone, okay?

Fun Amanda: Oh god don't leave me alone.

I have a horrific fear of being left alone when I'm sick, so I suppose that fear extends to drunkenness as well. They left me anyway, but that's probably because I either whispered my plea or spoke in Swahili.

As I gazed into the enchanting lights of the TV, I remembered that I hadn't eaten and my stomach was cold and lonely with two liters of exotic sparkling French stuff in it. I also remembered that everyone I lived with worked at Bojangles and brought home leftovers every night.

Since eating three cajun filets and four drumsticks is way more satisfying than wearing a size 6, I went for it.

I ended up in the kitchen somehow and began my search for artery-clogging yumness.

Fun Amanda: I just, where's the, can you..."

Andy: It's on the couch. Go lie down and you'll find it.

Fun Amanda: Ha ha, I don't want, I'm fine, just chicken for the.

Mark: Ok let's go back to the couch, you want me to put a movie on for you?

Max: I think she's hungry, let her have a drumstick.

Fun Amanda: YEAH like with my... closet, happens.

They made me go sit back down and brought me some food. I was completely indignant at being treated like a child so I cried and threw my chicken bones on the floor. A combination of the sobbing and the fried chicken turned my stomach into a blender so I lurched my way to the bathroom and threw up. I was by far the most charming person I could think of at that point. The vomiting teamed up with the crying to make me hyperventilate, and I was 100% positive that I was going to die in the doorless bathroom of a trailer, smelling like fried chicken and failure.

Max came to check on me and found me hunched over on the floor, eyes bugged out and gasping for air. He lifted me to my knees and miraculously, cold, fresh, beautiful air filled my mouth and nose from the vent that God had placed directly beneath my face. He got me under control but I was still morbidly embarrassed to face everyone else so I sat on the edge of the tub and wondered why people think being drunk is fun or if I was doing it wrong.

Max: Are you all right? What happened? What do you need?

Fun Amanda: Don't... questions. MAX!!!

Max: What?!?!

Fun Amanda: ...left. But I was at. Where Mark?

Mark: *Comes running in, looking terrified and worried and probably amused at how pathetic I was* I'm here, what do you need? You wanna go watch a movie?

Fun Amanda: Oh. My. God.

While I collected myself, Mark sat with me on the edge of the tub, doing his own pondering, probably about why he was dating someone who cried so much. He seemed to think that I really wanted to watch a movie, or that movies were a magical cure for drunkenness and lameness. Once I decided that everyone had probably forgotten how ridiculously I'd behaved, he stood to help me up, but fell backwards into the tub. Lucky, along with super-crying abilities, inebriation also enables me with ninja reflexes, because I hooked my arm back and around him in 0.000007 seconds so he wouldn't fall. Mark was so amazed by my surprising show of athleticism that he told everyone about it immediately, even though that only made it harder for them to forget everything else I'd done.

I tried to resume my tequila pong game while singing the wrong words to a Katy Perry song we were listening to because I really wanted to have fun like other drunk people do. I was a big ball of tangly-haired, tear-stained, tone deaf fun that night.

Fun Amanda: Baby we're all fiiiiire works, come and get your brooooothers cursed!

Max: Okay I scored but please don't drink anymore. We put all the alcohol away except for the beer anyway.

Fun Amanda: *Pouts, not because I wanted any more to drink but because they were all right and I was wrong*

I won the beer pong game because I'm awesome, and then everyone else wanted to do lame things like talk and play games without me. So I went outside to breathe air that wasn't polluted with smoke and judgment. I stood on the porch, staring at the stars and listening to the people inside having fun without crying or pouting, and faced the fact that drinking just was not for me. It would never be the sexy-fun-time I envisioned.

With that realization, I went back in, ignored everyone, crawled onto the futon that served as my bed, wrapped myself up in blankets and shame, and slept for eighteen hours.

Thankfully, I can be fun and sexy without the aid of alcohol.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"You're gonna wear THAT?"

I would like to believe that the way I dress and style my hair isn't really my fault. How could it be, when my parents look like this?:

Clearly nobody was going to tell me not to leave the house just because I was wearing a cowgirl vest with a plaid skort or my eyebrows were hanging down over my eyes. Or maybe they realized how ridiculous I was, but preferred to let me express myself in whatever misconceptions of beauty I wanted to. Either way, thanks, mom and dad, for allowing me to be a free spirit, no matter how much of a freak everyone else thought I was. I try to just tell people my fashion faux pas are because I was homeschooled.

Yes, I was quite adorable. The overload of frills, lace, floral patterns, and buttons is probably a bit much for church, but this was my favorite "fancy dress." Once I drew a picture of a house in one of the folds of frills with an ink pen in the car, and that still didn't stop me from wearing it as frequently as I could. As you can tell by my curtsey, I was a little lady. A little lady with at-home straight-across-the-forehead bangs and curls that fell out an hour after they were created. I would've curled my hair twelve times a day to keep it curly if I'd been allowed to and known how, but I was stuck with stringy thin straight hair instead. Then I discovered if I braided it, it would stay wavy for longer:

That's me on the far left, the one who resembles Bozo. I saw myself more as a supermodel, but my self-deception did run pretty deep. Also, I'm cast off to the side of this group of kids because they were all jealous and intimidated by my beauty, not because I squinted my eyes when I smiled, used lemon-scented perfume that made my mom throw up, and wore white dresses with a slightly different shade of white jacket.

Apparently I enjoyed wearing all white. I'm not even sure where I got white jeans from, but I expertly paired them with a white shirt and a single braid that hung directly in my face. I'm pretty certain I ruined my vision by constantly having to peer through and around that braid. That, and I always read with a flashlight for hours at night.

This was just one of a thousand pairs of patterned tights I would rock underneath shorts. If you can't tell what that appealing design is, it's crayons and polka dots. I typically wore them with sandals so nobody would miss out on even an inch of my incredibly decorated legs. I look ridiculously young here but I was 11, and it was the day my best friend Ashtyn was moving to California. That baby is her little sister and we were obviously helping pack the U-Hauls and not getting in the way of the adults. I don't remember why I seem to be celebrating when my best friend was moving across the country, but you can tell I still loved her because I was wearing our friendship necklaces made out of wooden beads and twine.

Even when I entered my teen years and began public school, my style didn't improve any.

This is what I wore to the Cotillion Winter Ball. I searched for days for a jacket/shrug/thingie to wear with the dress because it was cold out and I didn't want to freeze. Apparently a knit poncho was supposed to keep me warm and make boys ask me to dance. I didn't do a single thing differently with my  hair and makeup that day, even though the winter ball was supposed to be a big deal. I guess I thought I looked so spectacular every other day of my life, it was impossible to raise the bar any higher. I spent most of the evening sitting and talking with some other girls about what all those boys were missing out on and how great our hair looked.

Another night at Cotillion, I suppose I was under the assumption that all pastel colors can be mixed and matched, and that greasy middle-parted ponytails were in style. Just to save this guy from ridicule, we did not date. He gave me rides because he lived near me and was friends with my older brother. He didn't like me romantically because I wore zip-up hoodies to fancy occasions and talked about things like potato chips and geraniums when I was awkward.

Even when I did manage to dress like a functioning member of society, I still suffered one major drawback. I wore the same dirty old pair of tennis shoes with almost every single outfit. It gained me some mad respect from my peers, because they could never pull off that sort of high fashion.

I attempted to fix my eyebrows several times, almost always with horrifying outcomes. I invested in this tiny razor that promised to sculpt eyebrows perfectly. When I got it in the mail, I rushed to my mirror, threw the instructions to the side, prepared to look like a glamorous Hollywood actress, and shaved off half of my eyebrow. I gaped it in shock and spent the next thirty minutes trying to at least make the other one match so it would seem like I'd done it on purpose. I kept my hair hanging in my face for weeks to hide my embarrassing mishap. Also I really liked to show off my gums and fold my upper lip back when I smiled; I thought it made me look exotic, like maybe a cannibal preparing to attack.

This was my eighth grade school picture. Up until now I have shown it to less than ten people because I like to forget how unfortunate-looking I've been in the past.

Please appreciate how attractive and well-dressed I am now that I've grown up and become slightly more socially adjusted.

Except if you come to my house without warning on any given day you will find me wearing leggings underneath patterned boxer shorts, a t-shirt covered in stains from a hair-dying incident, and my hair in pigtails.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Smart Shoppers

I go absolutely crazy for discount shopping. I clip coupons like an old lady, check prices at various stores, and send off for rebates. When I find out that the people I love are spending too much money (or, more than I think they should) on things, I search around and try to find them a bargain.

So when I found out how much money my best friend was spending on salon hair care products, I had a mild stroke and then began searching for them at different places.

Side note: I don’t judge her for using expensive shampoo, and she doesn’t judge me for waiting on Herbal Essences to go on sale. Friendships just work better that way.

I found this elusive product at –name of store undisclosed- and mentioned it to her while we were out shopping in Winston-Salem. We passed a different branch of said store and decided to run in and see if they had it in stock as well. It seemed like a harmless idea at the time.

We walked in, found the two hair care aisles, and split up to search for the shampoo she was wanting. We looked up and down those aisles twice, then we each walked down either end of the aisles to see if it was on one of the endcaps. No such luck. I wandered off to try and locate their clearance section while Kacy looked at nail polish or some other thing I didn’t care about.

I paid little to no attention when I heard someone crackle over the intercom, “security scan all aisles!” until I also heard a man raising his voice at the front of the store, apparently irate that the manager had made this announcement as soon as he saw him walk in the store. Because this customer was black and the manager was white.

Oh shit, right?

I edged closer cautiously, trying to eavesdrop but my heart was pounding in my ears and I couldn’t hear. I don’t handle confrontations well, even when I’m not involved.

Thankfully, Kacy loves confrontation and wasn’t scared to venture closer to where the action was, and she relayed their dramatic conversation to me as soon as it was over and my ears quit pulsating with over-excitement.

Offended Customer: “Did you think that just because I’m black, you have a right to assume I’ll steal from your store?”

Idiotic Manager: “Yes. Actually I didn’t even see you. Or your color. I don’t see color. Please leave and stop yelling.”

Offended Customer: “How dare you! I have a right to be here! You can’t make me leave! I haven’t done anything wrong! Exclamation point!”

Idiotic Manager: “I can do whatever I want, I’m the manager. I’ll call the cops if you refuse to leave.”

Offended Customer: “……why……?”


Offended Customer: “…………..”

Idiotic Manager: *Calls cops and tattles on the man for being in a store*

Idiotic Manager: *Tells cops about the whole stupid incident*

Idiotic Manager: “…and it didn’t even have anything to do with this man, I called a security scan on these two suspicious white girls!”


We were the only other customers in the store, so this accusation was clearly pointed at us. Even though we never do anything bad or suspicious. We once accidentally stole some eye shadow from Wal-Mart and were almost in tears when we returned it to the store.

Total criminal masterminds.

I was ready to just leave, but like I said Kacy <3’s confrontation. So we had to go ask the dumb manager guy what beef he had with us, yo.

Confrontational Kacy: “Excuse me, is there a reason you hate us?”

Idiotic Manager: “Um, what? Can I help you?”

Offended Customer: *Realizes how dumb the situation is and leaves the store while attention is diverted from him*

Confrontational Kacy: “I was standing right there when you were on the phone with the police. I know you think we’re suspicious, and I want to know why."

Awkward Amanda: *Fiddles with random object on the counter*

Idiotic Manager: “Well, you were walking up and down the aisles, evading the cameras. Clearly suspicious behavior. I watch crime TV."

Confrontational Kacy: “We were SHOPPING. You walk up and down aisles when you shop, and how would we even know where the cameras are? I don’t see any cameras. Also, you don’t get to call us ‘white girls’; you’re white too! I think you’re being quite abrasive right now.”

Awkward  Amanda: *Wonders if she can convince Kacy to go to Pizza Hut with her for lunch*

Idiotic Manager: “I’m not that. I’m not that type of person at all, I just got screamed at by an angry black guy and now I have to deal with the cops! You wouldn’t understand, it’s a lot of pressure to be a manager.”

Idiotic Manager: *Clearly doesn’t understand the meaning of “abrasive” or remember the pronunciation of it long enough to repeat it*

Idiotic Manager: *Probably doesn’t realize that he contradicted his prior claim to not see color*

Idiotic Manager: *Quite likely just started this position and is on a power-trip*

Then the police showed up. They clearly couldn’t do anything since that customer already decided to leave on his own after seeing how mentally unstable Mr. Manager was, but they had to sit through the whole stupid story anyway. I think the manager was getting his jollies off all the attention he was receiving that day.

The police nodded, obviously didn’t care about this insignificant little man, and left the store to pursue other major crime cases.

We followed them out and told them how that horrible little rat-man thought we were suspicious. They rolled their eyes, exchanged a few jokes with us about how dumb he was, checked out our smokin’ 18-year-old bods, and continued on living their lives.

Kacy and I didn’t have lives to continue living, so we talked about our badass run-in with the cops non-stop for a week, then at least once every two weeks for the next four years.