Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas lists

Men I Would Marry

1. Alton Brown - Not only did he whip up a sweet potato pie in 60 seconds, but he dressed up like a pilgrim and sat on the giant turkey float at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. I admire this about him, as well as the fact that he is brilliant and makes molecules out of Styrofoam and advocates grape juice. Plus he's hilarious.

2. Burton Guster - He plays pretend and goes on adventures for a living, and that is the kind of living I want to be doing. And he can tap dance. And he's hilarious.

I'm not inclined to resign to maturity.
3. Aaron Rodgers - Any man who can maintain his manliness with his face shrouded in yellow deserves a doting wife. Also, according to Sunday's commentator, he's cool like the other side of the pillow. I have no intimation of his current state of sense of humor.

I am manly, even in yellow.
Professions I'd Profess

1. Radio City Rockette - Because they are beautiful and smiley and everything Christmas is wrapped up in their synchronized kicking legs. I particularly loved this year's outfits.

I want legs like these.

2. Foot model - I have particularly lovely feet (once the scars from summer camp heal), and they are way underappreciated by being shoed and socked most of the year.

3. Cheerful tollbooth operator - I usually have to work up the nerve to roll down my window at a tollbooth, because I just know the person I am rolling down my window to is probably not going to make eye-contact with me, and will most likely mumble and take my money with as much joy as if they were taking my kidney stone. I want to be a cheerful tollbooth operator so I can smile at people and wish them a good day and make their long trip seem a little bit shorter.

Places I Would Be

1. Whoville - Because only when living in a snowflake can dressing like candy-canes be every-day attire.

 2. The Pie Hole - It's colorful, I love pie, it's probably snowing there, and I think the Pie Maker is a dreamboat.
I am a dreamboat.
 3. Wilmore Old Fashioned Christmas - I have spent the past 4 Christmases walking down shop-lined Main Street, watching the tree lighting in the cold, drinking hot chocolate and eating homemade cookies, and singing the Hallelujah Chorus in a giant stain-glass church. This year I will only be there in my heart.
Thursday, November 11, 2010

sock day

Today Wigwam had a sock sale in Sheboygan.

Apparently this is a biannual event that all of eastern Wisconsin knows about. My parents got in on this tradition two years ago and I ended up stealing most of my mom's socks to claim them for my own. They are warm and beautiful and comfortable and my feet toast champagne in celebration whenever I put them on.

So I ventured into Sheboygan to find this sock sale, all by myself. Google maps told me where to go, but when I pulled into the parking lot, I stopped the car in front of a giant warehouse and bent my head to peer out the windshield. A steady stream of people exited through a door with no handle on the outside, all of them carrying unmarked brown paper bags. I watched them for a few seconds, to make sure they didn't look like they were brainwashed or zombies or pale (a sure indication that a vampire had just feasted on them). They looked normal enough.

I parked and walked toward the entrance. An old lady, waddling and wearing a fleece jacket with pastel wolves on it, walked in front of me and I used her as a source of comfort, because nobody would attack me or kidnap me or try to suck my blud if I stood close enough to an old lady. (My reasoning is just flawless.)

I walked through the door and down a hallway, where I felt like muttering, "Walkin' the Mile, walkin' the Green Mile," and hoped I did not meet the same end. And when the hallway ended, I stopped and my eyebrows said to my hairline, "I'm coming to meet you." Aisles formed by open boxes filled a large, hallow warehouse, and dozens of people filed up and down the aisles, stopping occasionally to bend at the waist and dig through piles of socks.

I laughed.

And then I dove in.

If you have never dug through a cardboard box full of wool socks, I suggest you do so. It is a humbling yet strangely satisfying experience, much akin to what I assume pigs feel when they hunt for truffles. I've never asked one. But next time I see one, wearing my Wigwam socks, I know we'll exchange glances, and I'll smile, and the pig will nod, and we'll walk away with a bond that anyone who has not dug for socks or truffles will not understand.

At first I was too self conscious to dunk my head in a box, and casually walked down the aisles, surveying the piles from a safe distance. I stopped in front of one, and bent a little to swish some socks around noncommittally. Everyone else had their own individual boxes to fill with socks. And people walked around like chickens trying to decide which coup they wanted to nest in. And when I realized that I couldn't possibly look more ridiculous than the rest of these people, and that the women wearing shirts with cupcakes made from puffy paint weren't going to judge me, I stooped my head into a box and dug with claws of a raptor.

And with my head in a box, I listened to the conversations of the people around me.
"Do you think Tommy would fit into a large?" One lady said.
Another couple walking side-by-side surveyed their box. "I've already got enough for the kids...." Oh, what a happy Christmas those children are going to have.

Dear Santa,
This Christmas I would really like some socks. I will be an extra good boy if you can make them Wigwam. Please give the skateboard and iPod Touch to some other child with less ambition. Sincerely, Johnny

One young lady shuffled through a box of socks and frustratedly said into her cell phone, "Well how is he supposed to keep his job if he forgets to tell people what's wrong with their ears?"

I hope "he" is not a doctor, and that I have never gone to him.

In the end I walked out of the door with no handle on the outside, carrying an unmarked brown paper bag full of socks. I feel like a true Eastern Wisconsinite. And my feet are pouring the bubbly as we speak.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

predicaments of people persons

Sometimes when I'm driving by myself, I make friends with other drivers to lessen my loneliness. I pick a car to caravan with and pretend that it shares in mutual companionship. Sometimes I name it.

Today I passed a purple semi and it tooted a few abrupt honks at me. This is not the first time I have been honked at by a semi. It happens at least once a road trip. I can never understand why. Is my tire flat? Is my gas lid indecent? Is there a tuxedoed man clinging to the roof of my car? I assume that must be it, because only truck drivers from their perched altitude could have such a clear view of the top of my car, right? It certainly cannot be that they're honking at me flirtatiously, because today as I sat in my Camry listening to Michael Buble in my plaid pajamas and with my stuffed bear sitting on my lap, I'm pretty sure I did not give off the "hey, I'm flirty" vibe.

I realized about 45 minutes later, however, that that purple semi was still in my rearview mirror. I had faithfully employed cruise control the entire time, so my speed never left 75, but the purple semi, whom I decided to name Grape, was fluctuating in speed. He came up beside me and passed in front of me. I didn't mind, since I was lonely and Michael Buble ONLY sings about being in love. (I think "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You" is a horrible concept.)

However, Grape's speed remained inconsistent, and I eventually pulled out to pass him again. Again, he honked. Okay. What's the deal? Is there toilet paper sticking out of my tailpipe? He couldn't possibly see into my car from his height, and think that I'm an attractive lass. Maybe he's lonely, too, I thought, and recognizes that we're in a caravan! I've never had another car actually acknowledge our automotive symbiosis. This was so special.

I had just drunk 3/4 of a tall Starbucks's Thanksgiving blend, and my bladder was ripe. But if I got off to pee, I wouldn't be driving with Grape anymore. Mom called, and I asked her if semi trucks ever honked randomly at her. She said no, that she had never been honked at by a semi. I still thought innocently that Grape was just honking in communion, when he drove up on my left to pass me. I looked over and he waved at me in an odd way, wiggling his fingers as if he was telling me to fall behind. I pretended it was a friendly wave and hung up with my mom.

I am incredibly ignorant and this is all very embarrassing. I am going to die at a very, very young age, unless I stop believing that everyone sees life as innocent frolics through meadows of daffodils, like I do.

Well, the lanes widened into 3, and Grape pulled up with a lane in between us, so that when I looked over at him, he said something (I can't read lips, bucko), and motioned backwards with his thumb. I, in confusion, and to myself, said, "What?" Then a truck sidled up in between us, and I pretended that I tragically got swept away in traffic, separating us after over an hour of driving together. Really I stepped on the gas and maneuvered through cars in an attempt to get very, very far away. Then my brother called, who had apparently been told by my mother that I'd made a friend with a trucker.

"Actually, he tried to talk to me, so I drove away," I explained. I could still see him in my rearview mirror, several cars behind me.
"Yeah. Have you ever seen Joy Ride?" Brandon said. "The trucker tracks him down--"
"But his truck is purple." Nothing associated with purple could be threatening! Barnie, Asbury University, eggplant....
"--and he rips off his jaw."
The tips of my eyebrows had met in the center of my forehead. "Now I'm scared."
"He seemed friendly!"
"They all do."

Fear had heightened my need to pee, but I was terrified of getting off at an exit with Grape still in sight. I seriously thought about whether I could drive the remaining 2 1/2 hours home in a wet seat, if I just peed where I sat. I would rather have to buy an entirely new car because it smelled like urinated Thanksgiving blend than to die.

I kept driving, and eventually I lost sight of Grape. He was long gone, as far as I could tell, and I got off at a stop to use the bathroom, scanning lines of semi trucks to make sure Grape wasn't one of them. I drove home thinking a few things. 1.) What kind of desperate person tries to hook up with a random person on the highway, from two different vehicles? (It gives a whole new meaning to speed dating. ha, I just came up with that.) 2.) What kind of naive person thinks that when a trucker honks at her, he's simply delighted to have a driving buddy? 3.) There is a time and a place for friendliness, imagination, and child-like faith in the human race. It is not while driving alone through Chicago next to a semi truck driven by a strange man.

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