Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Going Postal

Instead of posting a quote or video, I'm going to tell you all a little story. Try to contain your excitement, guys!

My friend Amanda and I recently planned a trip to Niagara Falls at the end of June. She's never been there, and it may or may not be one of the world wonders (have you ever tried to look those up online? Talk about confusing... I guess that makes sense, being "wonders" and all, but you'd think someone could provide a single comprehensive list is all I'm saying, thanks a hell of a lot, Internet), and plus, who doesn't love taking a ride on the Maid of the Mist? So we made the plans, and Amanda so kindly booked the flights and hotel room. I didn't look at the itinerary too carefully until yesterday. Then it dawned on me. We are staying at the Sheraton on the Canada side of the falls. Crap crap crap.

I know what you're thinking, but no, not "crap" because as you well know I consider Canada to be one of the top 5 worst states in the U.S. (second-to-worst, to be exact - no state is worse than Dirty Jerzzz). No, "crap" because apparently I am a completely irresponsible person who HAS NO IDEA WHERE HER PASSPORT IS. You would think that this wouldn't be a huge deal. People lose things all the time. This is America! It can't be that hard to get a new passport, right? WRONG. I don't want to be dramatic here and suggest that my adventures in getting a passport have been all Iliad and Odyssey or anything. It's nothing like that. It's worse. (Whatever, shut it, this has been an epic quest.) I frantically searched my entire apartment for the damn thing and I swear to you, it's nowhere to be found. I've had a queasy feeling about it for several years actually and never ended up finding it when I moved to a new apartment last August, which was not a good sign. But I digress. This is not what the story is really about, so I'll leave it except to say that the little blue book is definitely not here, and clearly someone swiped it from my person in an airport and has obviously been using my identity to pull off elaborate heists a la Catch Me if You Can for the last 5 years.

Passport search being an utter failure, I started doing extensive research online about what to do if you lost your passport. All of the directions are extremely confusing, but to the best of my ability I deciphered the following: you need to fill out 2 forms (a new application and a lost passport form), get 2 passport photos taken, provide a form of identification and proof of citizenship (and according to the directions on the passport application, both of these can be an old passport - luckily I still have my old passport from high school which is expired), and of course a check, and take them to your nearest passport acceptance location. I called the number provided online and found out that that location for me is none other than the Times Square post office, old glory herself (ugh), supposedly on the second floor. It's open 10-3 Monday-Friday, and they will take your passport photo there. Joy.

I meticulously filled out all my paperwork and headed over to the Post Office From Hell in good spirits, ignoring the fact that this is the worst post office I've ever been to in my life and all of my dealings there end in pure frustration with me leaving in a huff, or tears, slamming a door behind me, contemplating taking up smoking, and coming home to drink a six-pack, alone. And surprise surprise, when I got there the winding line reminded me yet again of Disney World if at Disney World everyone was pissed off and dreading being taken for a ride (which indeed they will be).

And guess what? After looking for the "passport department," second floor, post office, wouldn't you know, there was NO SECOND FLOOR OF THE BUILDING. It just didn't exist. Shocker. And there was no place for passport pictures either. Lovely. I was sent out of the post office and down to CVS for my photoshoot. I trudged there and back, grimacing at my ugly 2x2 mugshot, and waited in The Punishment Line yet again. Of course, the "passport department" is one specific person who works there, so after waiting in the entire line, I had to wait in yet another separate extra special line at her window. She *looks through all of my paperwork* (please keep this in mind for later), runs her hand through her nest of hair like she's really aggravated and reprimands me, as only a middle-aged white disgruntled postal worker can. "Wherrrre is your FORM. OF. IDENTIFICATION." I explained that the paperwork indicated the passport counted as both ID and proof of citizenship. Well what a shock, apparently the U.S. government documentation is wrong, I need copies of my driver's license, and no I cannot make them there. She sends me past the people in line, out of the post office and across the street to make copies of my ID, front and back, in a cloud of despair.

Of course I get to the store, make a copy of the front, flip it over, and realize there is a box on the back of my driver's license that asks if you changed your address, leaves space for you to write it in, and stresses that you must notify the DMV within 10 days of your move. Shit. I won't give details for fear that the U.S. government will read my blog, but needless to say, I was hoping I read it wrong and it meant to say "years." Suddenly worried that the government would all at the same time deny my replacement passport, arrest me for not changing my address on my license, and send me to Gitmo for whatever international crimes my doppelganger with my stolen passport has obviously committed within the last 5 years, I paid for the front copy and a sharpie, wrote in my new address, made the back copy, and finally got out of there with a tiny shred of dignity in tact. And walked back to the post office to have it taken away.

Because you would think this would be the end of my saga. You would be wrong. I get back to the post office and back in line. Apparently the passport department is now a different person, so I finally get up to the front of the line and get passed to someone else's special line. Behind a person who is getting a visa - not a quick process. The girl had a lot more paperwork than I did to fill out and was trying to pay the fees by credit card, which is not allowed. And it was taking forever. By the time I got up to the window, the new woman looks through all my paperwork and informs me that MY APPLICATION CANNOT BE DOUBLESIDED. That's right, folks. In an attempt to be environmentally responsible, and with no indication that this was against the rules, I had printed out the application on two sides of one piece of paper. Apparently the U.S. government hates the planet. And me. She made me fill out an entire new application. Whyyyyy the first woman did not mention this to me is completely beyond me. AND then I had to pay THEM $100 for processing. If you ask me, they owe ME at least $100 for all of that nonsense.

I know postal workers hate their jobs, and I'm truly sorry they have to deal with the people who haunt the halls of the Times Square hellhole. But I honestly think the USPS tries to get vengeance by without fail making things way more difficult than they need to be. I swear every time I leave that place the postal workers are all lined up behind me laughing and pointing because they have done this intentionally and with purpose. I do not wish this upon you. And so I tell you this cautionary tale of woe to warn you that if you ever plan to get a new passport, you should a) take an entire day off of work, and b) re-read this post so you know exactly what not to do. Good luck, and good night (because that's how long it will take you, believe me). Oh, and if my passport-stealing doppelganger is reading this, I really hope it was worth it. Punk.

Guess I have to go to the DMV now to change my address. Seriously guys, kill me now.

Monday, April 19, 2010

True Love

"Real love is identifiable by the way it makes us feel. Love should feel good. There is a peaceful quality to an authentic experience of love that penetrates to our core, touching a part of ourselves that has always been there. True love activates this inner being, filling us with warmth and light. An authentic experience of love does not ask us to look a certain way, drive a certain car, or have a certain job. It takes us as we are, no changes required. When people truly love us, their love for us awakens our love for ourselves. They remind us that what we seek outside of ourselves is a mirror image of the lover within. In this way, true love never makes us feel needy or lacking or anxious. Instead, true love empowers us with its implicit message that we are, always have been, and always will be, made of love."
- from today's DailyOM

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Things I don't care about

So as of yesterday I was thinking that I might try to take a break from so much Internet usage. Mostly because I was watching Weeds, and Nancy Botwin mentioned that all of this is desensitizing. Why I am taking advice from a fictional character who is also a drug dealer and a completely irresponsible parent and human being in general, I have no idea. The best I can tell you is that I just really like her. Sorry guys.

But of course that never really played out, as evidenced by the fact that over the last 48 hours I have been posting on my blog and sharing links to Facebook as well as signing up for Foursqaure (it's pretty creepy, right?), finding new blogs to read, catching up on my Google Reader blogs, and reading this article from Penelope Trunk about conflict resolution.

This article brought me to a conclusion -- maybe the reason I am not in a relationship is because I don't give a flying **** about things like paint colors. I love Penelope Trunk, but a recurring fight that she has with her fiance The Farmer is about painting wood versus leaving the wood exposed. And apparently according to the post this is a fight that most couples have. I just can't see myself ever caring about something like that. If The Farmer wants to leave his wood exposed (that's what she said), I really don't see why that's a problem. Who gives a crap?

But then I realized that domestic issues like this are things that people who eventually want to have a family are supposed to care about, right? I guess the color of paint in the place where you live matters to people. Maybe I just have a hard time relating because I've lived in apartments with stark-white walls since my freshman year in college (thanks NYC!). I know I'm a huge pain in the ass about some things (my food idiosyncrasies and my anxiety disorder and my hyper-sensitivity are three things that immediately spring to mind), but I can promise you guys I will never be a pain in the ass about paint colors.

This leads me to my next thought, which is something else I don't give a sh*t about - weddings. I know most people spend most of their lives planning out their weddings, and their dress design, and color schemes, and flowers, and venues, and hideous bridesmaid atrocities, and whatever else. Me? I'm thinking I'll just get married/have a reception wherever my parents want me to since clearly they're the ones all excited about the prospect of weddings and grandbabies and financial independence and government documents and financial independence and mortgages and financial independence. I'll wear just a regular dress - it can be white but it's not going to look like a cupcake from my worst taffeta nightmare or be purchased at a bridal shop, I'm thinking more along the lines of just picking out a cute dress at Anne Taylor Loft or Banana Republic or something, no vail - yuck those are so stupid, and I'll just have my sister as a bridesmaid and she can wear whatever she wants. Everything else, I don't really care, daisies might be nice, but if my future husband (whoever he may be - probably nobody if people read this post) wants chartreuse flowers (that's a color, right?) or bubbles or exposed wood or whateverthehell, I'm down with that, I really don't care.

Believe me, I recognize the fact that this is truly bizarre. But I honestly don't see myself changing my non-opinions about any of this once I (if I ever again) have a boyfriend though. Engagement rings - people care about this stuff. Me, I couldn't care less. Why spend tons of money on a ring? I don't get it. Just pick out whatever one you like. The fact that these normal things that normal people care about just do not make any sense whatsoever to me speaks volumes about the fact that I must be seriously messed up I guess.

Does all this make me less of a girl? It would be one thing if it was just paint colors and floral arrangements, but I also don't like shopping, or buying shoes, or talking about purses. I don't get it. I'm not a tomboy by any stretch of imagination, people would probably call me a "girly girl" with my prairie skirts and baby-t's and sundresses and my pink guitar. But clearly there is something wrong with me.

I guess the upside is that since I haven't been in a serious relationship since I moved to NYC 4 years ago, I don't really need to worry about any of this anyway. (Again, thanks NYC! You're a real f****ing pal.) Since I don't care about paint colors but I'm the only one who has to listen to me not care about it, it doesn't matter anyway, right? But I'm just saying. One would think that in the future I may be in a relationship again, at some point, if I ever move out of this city. I guess I'll just have to find someone who looks past my anxiety disorder and also doesn't mind the fact that I don't care even a tiny inconspicuous amount about these normal things that society tells me I am supposed to care about.

God I'm so emo right now, I should just make an indie movie about my life. Debate about the photo below among yourselves, I'm going to go read.

Gifts for Musicians.

This is my second favorite ever, behind Pan Flute. :)

Quote of the Day

"Like Tim Burton here. Imagine it, Tim. Nobody could rip on you for all the rehash movies you've made lately. There'd never be a TV show that pointed out you haven't had an original thought since Beetlejuice. And you put Johnny Depp and the same crappy music in every film. And if you're that in love with Johnny Depp you should just have sex with him already. A TV show could never say that." (South Park)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pics of the day

1) This was posted on NatalieDee under the title:
"Quit calling him ladybug, guys!"

2) This comic on xkcd talks about something I'll always remember from working at a digital agency. Boy the developers always used to get pissed. It's FORWARD-SLASH, not back-slash! They always said: "If you can't bring yourself to say forward-slash, just say slash. IT'S NOT A BACK-SLASH."

Monday, April 12, 2010

"Genuine beauty is always quite alarming."

It's 1:42 a.m. and I can't sleep at all. I realize this could be due to the fact that I drank a huge coffee at like 2pm, or the fact that I was out until 3am last night, went to bed at 4, and got up at noon. But I actually think there's a third, more influential reason. The book I'm currently reading.

I'll spare you the details of the book, but I will tell you the name - The Secret History by Donna Tartt. (The title of this post is a quote from the book.) I just wanted to say that one of the greatest things ever is reading a book that's so captivating that you can't think about much else. I've read some good books within the last couple months (The Lovely Bones, Mystic River, Rabbit Run, The Alchemist, The Abstinence Teacher), but it's been a while since I read something that really engaged my mind and senses enough to disrupt my sleep. Unlike a lot of books, with this one, the more I read, the more awake I am.

I really want to get up early tomorrow, so I'm going to go make some tea and read something boring instead, but I just wanted to mention this because to a bibliophile like myself, this is one of the greatest things in life. I know at least Ben will know what I mean.

Goodnight to all, and I leave you with this week's Sarah Palin impression by Tina Fey: