Day 16: She’s Really Funny, but like Negative Funny.

Oh god.

First of all,
I’ve been in Park City for the past two weeks,
so I apologize for the absence,
but there is no way anyone cares,
so I’ll continue.

Prompt: Do you have a reputation? What is it, and where did it come from? Is it accurate? What do you think about it? 

That’s a lot of questions for this ungodly hour. I say ungodly because I woke up hating the world so all the hours of today will be ungodly.

Over Christmas I attended a few family parties, running into people I haven’t seen in a long time. Some on purpose, some not on purpose, one of which a friend of mine’s little sister who I believe remembers me as “the girl who can do the splits.” I haven’t grown up much since then, but she certainly has. (She’s beautiful and has a mind that wants celebrate the world in a way I’ve only seen in her older sister, which makes me grateful there can be at least two of those people in those world).

I’m not sure what I said to her at the party, but I remember she was laughing. It might’ve been something about Taylor Lautner or Lifetime movies, but I had been drinking red wine, so there’s no knowing.

The next day, this girl’s older sister, my dear friend, messaged me to say that she, the younger sister, had said, “Hilary is really funny. But like, negative funny.”

No one has ever described me more perfectly. 

Yes, okay, I’m funny, but more importantly, I’m negative. There’s the old, “it’s funny because it’s true” perspective, but the only way I like to make people laugh is to talk about all the ways I’m a terrible person. Or all the ways you’re a terrible person.

I’ve been working on a stand-up routine where
I play a Minnesotan girl whose husbands keep dying of sudden heart attacks.
And I think it’s hilarious.

So I like to talk about how messy my house is, or how I don’t remember what it feels like to have someone like you, or how I ate an entire package of goldfish crackers in one sitting, or how I was really drunk that one time and peed on the carpet. Some might find that sad, but I think it’s hilarious. And at this point, it’s what people expect of me. That, I find it comforting. If you can’t laugh at life what are you supposed to do.

Oh god Hilary, what have you done now?

Well, I fell down the stairs twice today, and the lights no longer work in my apartment, but I don’t want to fix it. I’m living with cockroaches and I’ve been eating guacamole as it’s own meal for 4 days. Oh, also, I hate my life.

I’m worried about you. 

Speaking in hyperboles. I’m always speaking in hyperboles. Last year, I was running down the street, intoxicated, when I tripped and fell, hit my cheek bone, and rolled into the gutter. The next morning I texted a picture of my black eye (I’m already exaggerating) to my siblings and said I “curb-stomped my own face.” Did I really curb stomp my own face? No. But it’s hilarious to say that I would be so terrible to my body.

Yes. I can be terrible to my body. I won’t deny it. Sometimes I’ll wake up to Diet Coke and I’ll fall asleep with chocolate in my bed. I’ve taken diet pills (2 weeks total) and I’ve purposefully thrown up after eating 2/3 of a jar of peanut butter. My senior year of college I was struggling with, things like self respect, and I’d passingly tell my friends I hadn’t eaten or slept or I was letting myself be emotionally abused by a 19-year-old and my writing teacher just told me I needed to dress to my full potential. At least I was laughing. When my friends expressed a concern about my mental health, I could only respond in the most Hannah Horvath way, “I’m trying to become who I’m supposed to be.” (That’s probably a misquote).

Behind every funny anecdote is a depressing reality. All realities are in fact, depressing (which is why I don’t understand utterly happy people, they cannot be trusted), so I don’t know what I would do without laughter. I’m aware my mental stability is sitting on a thick telephone wire, hanging between two sturdy poles. Sometimes a big bellowing bird joins me, leveling out the balancing act, and sometimes they fly away, in which case it takes me longer than others to roll back to center.

If I wasn’t constantly making fun of myself, I don’t know what people would think of me. They’d probably think I was a very negative person, not at all funny.

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On Being (Un)Assigned

I was sitting at the old wooden table my parents bought from the Spanish furniture store on Broadway listening to cars pass while the NFL Redzone was the main focus of everyone else’s attention. My brother said, “All of my siblings are completely different.”

And I knew this, but hearing him say that, made it real. He is entirely correct.

He continued to assign our siblings, one of them “this perfect thing,” another, “who fuckin’ knows,” and then there was a pause. “And I’m a complete degenerate.” Everyone laughed, myself including.

But there it was. He didn’t assign me. Or, he wouldn’t assign me. Was it because his friends were present? Was it because I was present? Did he know exactly what he wanted to say but was avoiding hurting my feelings? Or, rather, did he not know at all. Did he find me unassignable?

In high school, I moved about from group to group. Everyone worked, but also didn’t at all. Mainly because I knew they didn’t really like me. I just knew it. I’ve had this inkling feeling since kindergarten that all of my friends talked about me behind my back. And most of the time it was true. I wouldn’t be invited, or I’d be there and no one wanted to talk to me, or if they did they were teasing me for laughing too loud or talking about movies no one had seen. I floated from theater kids to jocks to geeks to “goths” (people who know the world is insufferable). I was outcasted at one point, rejected, yelled at from the bleachers, forgotten, cheated, and on and on. It seemed I was always just one step outside the circle.

College made more sense. The film department, or so I thought.

I have made this joke to my brother at least once a year:

“If we went to high school together, you wouldn’t have been friends with me.”

He’s sick of it, but I still laugh uncontrollably after a few glasses of sauvignon blanc, because it is so terribly true. And I will forever be trying to prove him wrong by finding people like my brother, falling madly in love with them, and never being loved back.

And I know what I just said. I know what it sounds like. It sounds like I just said I’m in love with my brother, but that isn’t what I meant. Come on. He’s just so cool and I want to be cool and I never will be.

People love to talk about “their type.” My type is latinos..well my type are sad blonde boys… my type are overweight red heads. Hilary, what is your type? 

I have no idea.

Because I’m unassignable.

I’ve liked them all, but no one has really liked me. I’ve liked nerds, jocks, punks, skaters, stoners, freaks, drunks, druggies, jokers, red heads, foreigners, artists, space cadets, hikers, fools, models, jerks, snowmen, dancers, signers, dog owners, actors, haters, gamers, oldies, gym rats, and so on (many more to come).

I have no idea what I want. I can’t pick a type. I’ve heard over and over again you can’t find love until you love yourself. And I believe that, but, it seems near impossible. Sure I love myself but I also detest the reflection in the mirror. Do you have any idea how tiring it is to simultaneously hate yourself and think you’re better than everyone else? It’s exhausting.

I’ll bet you, if I ever got one of those brother-a-likes to like me, I’d lose interest immediately.

On New Year’s Eve, I sat on the couch with a friend of mine, reading horoscope. It was then and there I found out that I was almost entirely incompatible. Aquarius. Only gets a long with two other types of people. That’s it. Out of all of the signs, I only get two.

But it makes sense. It makes so much sense.

And this is why it is so hard to make friends. I’m sick of everyone immediately, but I want everyone to like me. My brother and I can sit in silence for a frightening amount of time, while I think desperately of something to say to him that will make him laugh or catch his interest. I know we have things in common, like blood, parents, love of white wine and dancing, but most of the time I feel I am worlds away from my family. And I’m so aware of it i consciously perpetuate it.

When I return home, I’m like this moldy jewel, sitting on a stool, in the middle of the room. I’m not that pretty to look at, but everyone is still staring, waiting for me to do something weird.

And it’s because I’m funny.

But the only reason I’m funny is because I point out everything that is wrong with me, at least in comparison to them. And there’s a lot. And if I can’t think of something I’ll lie and say, “Oh god I’ll never have kids.” and everyone laughs.

I’m both a terrible liar and a terrible liar. I do it often and I don’t do it well. I say things and think to myself, “That is simply not true.” But I’m so desperate for approval, or maybe comradery, that I’ll agree with everything.

Oh yes, you’re right, I agree. (I do not agree).

Yes, I’ve seen it! (No I haven’t). 

Oh yeah, I’ve been there too (I’ve never even heard of that place). 

I know! (I don’t know.)

You didn’t know that? (Neither did I, but I sound like I did).

Because I can’t say who I am. I am utterly clueless.

I do know what I like. 

Movies
The Ephron Girls
Meg Ryan
Writing
Nail Polish
Labradors
Christmas Trees
Baths
Vinyl
Modest Mouse
Mysterious tattoos
Old photos
Snoopy
Family History
Laughing
Whiskey
Wine
Grilled Cheese
Tap shoes
Fitted dresses
Curly hair
San Francisco
Traffic lights
The ocean
Crying
Popcorn
Soy Chai Lattes (from Starbucks)
Fluffy socks
Judy Garland’s voice
Diet Coke with goldfish crackers
Sneezing
Homemade chex mix
My TV
Avocados
Fireplces
Erin, Jaclyn, Amanda, Anne, Katherine, Corie, Hannah, Elaine, Daryn, Simone, Allison
Minnesotan accents
And finally the fog, accompanied by coffee.

I was at a wrap party a couple of months ago when my boss said to me, “We need to find you a boyfriend.” and I shouted back over the music, “I’M TOO WEIRD.”

If you read this blog, you already know that, but it’s too perfect to use once. Because no one responded after I said it. They know it’s true. I had just spent the past week convincing everyone I was from Minnesota and laughing at myself to the point of tears.

And even worse than not knowing who I am, I don’t know where I want to be. Nothing adds up. People, places, careers, they’re all in different places. It’s a terrible thing to be in a place. I don’t want to be anywhere. And if I’m there I want to be somewhere else. Because, I don’t know what I want.

Besides attention. I will always want attention.

Every time I go home I think I want different things in my life. I want to marry someone I’ve known since kindergarten, I want to never want to make new friends, I want money and a big house and as always, I want all the cool kids to like me (you can imagine my lying streaks are off the wall). My unassigned behavior is off the wall, reassigning me with every new person standing in front of me. I start to believe I could actually be domesticated.

Until I hear people criticize my mother’s (un)organization skills and realize I’m worse than her.

“You guys are making me feel bad, I’m worse than Mom.”

“Well you better change.”

Oh dear.

Zero to Hero Day 2: I Used to Hate My Middle Name

Day 2: What’s Your Name?

Yes, I already have an about section, but now I’ve told myself I’m doing this whole challenge thing, so here I am again.

When I was younger my middle name frustrated me. It was so manly. I couldn’t spell it. For the life of me I couldn’t understand why my parents would assign such a wretched name to me. Fitzgerald. Fitz-gare-uld. The sound of it was revolting. I’ll never forget in grade school when I had an art assignment that involved writing my name. Afterwards Sammy noticed I spelled my middle name wrong and he laughed at me. “You can’t even spell your name?” It was so complicated! All those letters!

And my mom would tell me, your Great Great Uncle, your Great Grandmother’s older brother, your Grandmother’s Uncle, My Great Uncle, is an American Treasure.

Who was this man? Who cared? I was a girl! Other girl’s middle names were Lauren or Marie or even Anne. And here I am with this heap of letters.

So he wrote a book. Great. Books terrified me. I was convinced I was never going to be smart enough to understand books. What I was reading never seemed to be what other people were reading. Yes we had the same book, but it was as if they were getting completely different messages than I.

Eventually I understood. F. Scott Fitzgerald. His little sister Annabel married Clifton F. Sprague and had my grandmother Courtney Sprague who eventually married Daniel Vaughan, and then had my mother Laurie Vaughan, who married Stuart Douglas Campbell and here I stand, the youngest of four children, Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell.

Once I made it to high school I avoided AP English. I still found myself on a lower level than everyone else. We read The Great Gatsby junior year and I absolutely loved it. I couldn’t believe it. I was named after this guy. This guy who was an American Treasure. My middle name quickly became my favorite part of myself.

So I was sent off to college and of course, I became a writer. Every paper I wrote was pages longer than it should have been. People started to tell me I was good at this thing, writing. I still don’t believe them, but I know it’s what makes me happy.

So there it is, there’s the name. I don’t think that answered the Day 2 challenge really, but at least you learned something if you made it to the end of this. 

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Zero to Hero: Day 1

It’s probably the worst month to decide this but I’m participating in the Zero to Hero blogging challenge because WHAT THE HECK.

Day One: Who Are You & Why Are You Here

Hi. I’m Hilary. I can’t be trusted with my own legs (I fell down the stairs 3 times yesterday). I have absolutely terrible thoughts. And I’m completely obsessed with myself. I think I’m hilarious.

I don’t think I really need to say why I’m here. It feels utterly obvious (ahem, obsessed, funny, me).

No really, I’m here because of Nora Ephron.

Join me in the Zero to Hero challenge won’t you?

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22 Reasons You’re Not Ready To Be 23

  1. There’s no way Taylor Swift’s song doesn’t apply to you anymore. I don’t know about you, but I’m not feeling 23.
  2. Student loans are due, so you decided to opt for the Income Based Payment system. You’re income is $0. You can’t be 23.
  3. You still go back to your college town twice a month because it was the greatest place of your life and you’re texting and driving along the way, you don’t know why you’re doing it, but you’re doing it AND YOU CAN’T BE 23 YET.
  4. Then you realize, last year you made fun of all the 23 year old post-grads who kept coming back to visit on the weekends. “Why would they even come here? Don’t they have a life?” You’re going to be 23 and you don’t have a life.
  5. When your Mom says on the phone, “Well I mean I’m assuming you aren’t drinking as much anymore…” you laugh and then after a long silence say, “Why would you think that?” You can still drink when you’re 23 right? RIGHT?
  6. You still have all the posters from your college house up in your apartment. When people come by they say, “it still has the college feel.” And you smile, despite the fact you have no friends. There’s no way you’re 23.
  7. Last time you went home your brother told you you were gonna have to grow up and probably find a job that isn’t really what you want out of life. It brought a tear to your eye. 23 year olds don’t cry this easily.
  8. Over Christmas when your entire high school was at the bar, you got so drunk you forgot you hated everyone and silenced your phone to ignore your mom and then she locked you out of the house, but you thought it was hilarious. 23 year olds listen to their mother.
  9. Jennifer Lawrence is 23. She’s won an Academy Award. You haven’t gotten out of bed today. You can’t be 23.
  10. You tell people you have 4 jobs, when you really have 4 internships. It’s called omitting the truth, but you’re not sure if 23 year olds are legally allowed to do that.
  11. You didn’t get anyone a Christmas present this year because you’re broke, but you said, “Definitely next year!” And you can’t say that again when you’re 23. You’re screwed.
  12. Someone just invited you to a dinner party and you asked if you could bring Fireball. They politely declined. You brought it anyway and no one over 22 drank it.
  13. The kid who you used to change their diapers for just followed you on Instagram and you actually vomited in your mouth. 23 year olds can at least control their upchuck reflex.
  14. The reason you’re actually upset about turning 23 is because it just doesn’t sound as fun. Threes are so boring! You can’t explain it, but they are. Here’s the thing, a 23 year old can at least explain themselves.
  15. You’ve been singing “What’s My Age Again?” all these years, and now you finally understand it, but you don’t want to understand it. So you tell people, you don’t really understand it.
  16. And now you’re realizing your sister had a baby when she was 23. If you had a baby right now, you’d make it watch Bob’s Burgers and scream at it for not laughing at all the same jokes.
  17. You got carded last night and you actually got scared because you forgot how old you were. Oh my god can I be here? Then the bartender smiled. What a relief! “Being 21 is great!” Wait now he looks confused. “I thought you were 22.”  Oh my god you’re right. You’re practically 23, get it together.
  18. You just realized you’re in that period  movies  typically montage over. Here’s Sally at 22 and here’s Sally at 26! You have no idea how you’re supposed to act in those in-between  years because you base literally everything you do on When Harry Met Sally. Normal 23 year olds aren’t doing that.
  19. The Regular Show is about two 23 year old friends, but, you don’t even watch The Regular Show, your nephew does. He knows more about being 23 than you do (better get Netflixin’).
  20. You’re still completely afraid of the dark. There’s no way Soulja Boy is afraid of the dark (you guessed it, he’s 23 and he dances in the dark like there’s no tomorrow). If you danced in the dark you’d fall over.
  21. You have no idea how to filter yourself at work, but everyone laughs and says, “Oh they’re 22, I remember what I was like when I was 22.” But no one ever says a thing about being 23. THE RULES, THEY CHANGE.
  22. When you realized you couldn’t have a raging birthday party in your studio apartment because you live above your landlord, you came to the conclusion you’ll never have fun again. Then you swore off fun entirely because what’s the point of half-fun, and furthermore, what’s the point of living if all your friends can’t get drunk in one room and blast LCD Soundsystem. So you contemplated suicide for awhile, but then were distracted by a new episode of Adventure Time and you laughed for awhile and then ordered some ice cream to be delivered straight to you door and when it was 5 minutes late you called the delivery guy and told him he might as well not bring it because you can’t handle the torture, and well yeah, 23 year olds don’t throw temper tantrums, and you just did.

And Now, a Tragic Story

It was Senior year of college. I was stressed, but we were all stressed. I’d like to say I was more stressed than you were, but who am I to say such a thing?

What I’m saying is I was stressed. And even more, I was getting fatter. It was terrible. I lived on the beach, but the thought of a bathing suit gave me more anxiety than the amount of shopping debt I’d gotten myself into. (I’m always in shopping debt, and now Chase keeps calling trying to offer me more credit cards, have they lost their minds?)

So, as it always goes with me, I got into the habit of exercising, again. I’ve never been in shape. I will never be in shape. I go through roughly 3 month periods where I think I’m going to get my life together, but it’s quickly followed be a longer period of being self destructive, i.e. avoiding the grocery store, convincing myself I’m actually saving money by eating gourmet grilled cheeses, drinking vanilla lattes every day, wearing my hair in a ponytail indefinitely, not shaving my legs, mixing alcohol, considering walking to my car a decent workout, picking at my face, and eating popcorn every single day, and constantly searching for some sort of entertainment that will make me cry.

But the exercising wasn’t doing a thing. Not one thing, I tell you. It was a mystery. I was barely eating. (When I go through my 3 month cycles, I’m on the verge of anorexia. Not really, but sort of, but not really).

Meanwhile, I had found a delicious drink at my favorite coffee shop, Caje, in Isla Vista. The Ice Blended Coffee. An absolute treat. And it was just coffee! I was struggling to get to class on the daily, and this, well this was the greatest drink to ever happen to me.

The ingredients? Coffee, ice, and ice milk. So harmless.

I had at least one a day. Large ones. Sometimes two, if someone on my festival committee failed me and I had to pick up the slack.

And I was running. I was doing things. I was swimming laps. Walking all the time. These were activities more than running to my car! Yet, the scale was showing no difference.

One day I was waiting in Caje for my Ice Blended Coffee when I peaked over the tall counter to watch them make it. Just then I saw it happened. They scooped ICE CREAM INTO THE BLENDER. ICE CREAM. I HAD BEEN DRINKING A MILKSHAKE A DAY FOR MONTHS.

If someone said to me, do you want a coffee every day of your life? I’d say, well why not. It’s not the craziest thing I’ve ever done. BUT A MILKSHAKE? Do you want a milkshake every day of your life? NO. THAT IS THE CRAZIEST THING I’VE EVER DONE.

Ice milk, you guys. Ice milk. It isn’t milk on ice, or whatever you want to tell yourself it is. It’s ice cream. The term “ice milk” should be illegal. It’s omitting the truth from the public. It’s a terrible wrong doing.

No wonder I was a cow.

I’ve never had an Ice Blended Coffee from Caje since and now when I hear people ordering them at that beautiful Caje counter I want to scream, “Do you know what you’re doing! I don’t think you do! Do you realize what ice milk is! There’s no way you could know! And it isn’t even your fault! THEY’RE OMITTING THE TRUTH!”

I can’t order ice blended coffees from anywhere else. Why? Because they don’t taste as good.

They don’t have ice cream in them.

Isn’t that so terribly tragic?

Non-Compliments: A Homecoming of Regret

The holidays bring around such a wonderful feeling. Pretty lights, chex mix, wine, laughter. Isn’t it so great? 

I love this season. I really do. But every time I go home I have this idea that it’s going to be the most wonderful time of my life, and then I remember the second I step foot into my parent’s house. 

Oh. 

That’s why I don’t live here. 

I’m here to tell you about non-compliments. The epidemic of homecoming. A non-compliment is often packaged in a kind tone or an allegedly well intentioned statement, but they are the worst things people can say to you. 

Hilary, are you going to brush your hair? 

What? No.

Hilary, do you ever brush your hair? 

Why would I do that.

Hilary, that’s an interesting outfit. 

Alright.

Hilary, you dress very interesting. 

I heard you the first time. 

Hilary, why would you want to go dancing in the Castro? 

I don’t understand this question.

Hilary, you had a lot of fun last night, didn’t you? 

What are you suggesting? 

Hilary, is that how you’re going to grade the cheese? 

…yes.

And after all that, he ate the cheese I graded. Took it right out from under me. 

Every time. Every time I’m so excited to go home. But every time. Every time I’m reminded that I could never, ever again live there. Now I sound like a terrible person who hates her family. Which simply is not true. I’m obsessed with my family. But if anyone told me I had to move back there I would start selling myself on the streets. I don’t understand how I could have ever handled being so intensely monitored. 

And then the old photos. Mom got out all the old photos. Even a giant collaged poster board of the times when I was so skinny. I couldn’t bare to look at it. Mom asked, “Why? I think it’s great!” Yes it’s great that my hair is parted in the middle, I’m wearing black eye liner, I have a sequined top on and I only weigh 115 lbs. 

I’m trying to anticipate all of the non-compliments I will receive on Christmas, but I just don’t think I can prepare myself. I might prepare an automated response, “Hilary isn’t here right now but if you’d like to leave a message you can call her back when you’re ready to be nice.” And by nice I mean just don’t tell me what you’re thinking. Or do, but don’t act like it’s a compliment. Because it’s not. It’s a non-compliment. 

Car Haven Car Heaven

I’m most comfortable in my car. Correction, I’m most honest in car. Or maybe I’m most human. (Ah, they’re all the same…).

It is my belief that the best place to feel all your emotions is inside your car. Particularly your car with no one else present. Not other people’s cars. Other people’s cars are their havens, not yours. You’ve got your own car (maybe you don’t, so, well, I don’t know).

Let me explain. There is no other place in this world where no one can disturb you. I promise. Or maybe it’s that you can’t disturb anyone else? Okay it’s both.

Let’s lay down the basics. I am speaking mainly of driving on freeways. Windows either up or down, depending on your mood, not the weather (entirely). If I could pick the best it would be the late evening, on the freeway, windows down, but heat on half-blast inside the car. It’s a wonderful combination. Back to the type of roads. Freeways are certainly ideal for two reasons. Fast. Fast is fun. The second reason works off the first. When driving fast the people and places around you are merely partaking in your life, not you in theirs. I will never care if that tree, sign, or person sees me singing my heart out. They’re only a small part in my grand play. After freeways, you’ve got your highways and main roads. Speed is still decent, however, you have the occasional stop light where others might look at you and judge. Which leads to the whole reason cars are the only place I can truly feel comfortable:

All conventions, societal rules, whatever you want to call them, all of them do not apply in the car (when it is moving). Okay yes, the rules of the road apply, but that is it. You can do whatever you want. You can be disgusting, you can be loud, you can be rude. No one is going to say a thing! You can’t do this in your apartment. You have neighbors. You can’t do this on the street. You might get arrested. You certainly can’t do it at work. Neither can you do it at a restaurant, or a gym, or your parents’ house. No one will allow it. Someone will stop you.

But not in your car. 

For starters, and this is and will always be the most important aspect of the car, the music. Not only can you decide what you want to listen to, you can decide at what volume. Loud. Always loud. This option isn’t allowed anywhere else. There’s always someone to disturb. And I can’t listen to anything quiet. I must be enveloped. I am in the song because the car is now the song, and it’s transporting me through time. It’s making me feel everything. So you picked your music, yes. And guess what? You can sing as loud as you want. I told you, no one is going to say a thing! It doesn’t matter how terrible your voice is. You aren’t disturbing anyone. And you don’t have to think about how potentially weird or silly you look singing along (I can’t handle concerts sober), no one is watching you. I have had some of the most emotional sing-a-longs you can imagine in the car. Screaming and crying and laughing and acting. I act all of it out. I perform all of Gypsy, Singin’ in the Rain, Hairspray, The Sound of Music, and Mamma Mia! at least once a week, if not more. And I’m telling you, I would have been a close second to Ethel Merman. Everything would totally come up roses for me, if the roses were coming up in my Honda Element.

Have I ever been this honest with anyone? No. I have not. No one has ever seen me perform Gypsy, and no one ever will.

Moving on.

You can cry in your car. You’re driving and you’re crying. You’re crying and you’re driving. Yes it can hinder you ability to drive, but who is going to tell you to stop crying? I hate when people interrupt crying. It is so rude. Can’t you see I’m busy crying? If I don’t get the full cry out of me, it’s just going to come back later. I will always prefer crying in my car. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done it this year. It always seems I’m running from somewhere, and I need to cry, and I panic, where do I go? I don’t want to see anyone! And then my car presents itself like a guardian angel. You can cry in here, Hilary. Oh thank god. The second I close the door it’s like I’ve entered the panic room, or a safe haven (same thing, yes?). Additionally, of course, you can cry to music. But you already know that. You must know. If a song hasn’t caused you to realize an emotion, you’re listening to the wrong music. Once I was driving to see an old boyfriend of mine. I knew I had been feeling somewhat uncomfortable about him, but I didn’t truly understand my emotions until I was in my car, driving to him, and listening to The Killers “For Reasons Unknown.” We had to break up. Because my heart, it didn’t beat the way it used to. And my eyes, they didn’t see him no more. (I could go on, but I’ll stop).

What else?

Well, there’s that great Mom saying, “Calories don’t count in the car.” I’ll stand by it for my whole life. Eat it all! You’re in your car! It’s your rules, not theirs. Get the milkshake, get the fries, and the burger. You’ve got all this driving to do!

More.

This might seem to break the privacy rule of the car, but it seems I’ve told my darkest secrets over the phone in the car. And I call everyone in the car. Honestly, everyone. If one person doesn’t answer, I’m on to the next in a second. I’m sorry, you didn’t answer so I’ve moved on. I love to call people in the car. Yes, it definitely has to do with how loud I talk. But remember, I’m not disturbing anyone. And I’m pretty sure my landlord can hear everything I say on the phone in my apartment. (Again, loud talker). The phone does eliminate the music, but it does not eliminate the crying. You can cry on the phone, yes you definitely can. If you’re concerned about how often I cry, just stop it. It is often, but it is not your problem. I love it.

Moving on.

And you don’t want to talk about this. I know you don’t. But you can be so disgusting in your car. What if you sneezed and now there is snot all over the steering wheel? No one is there to tell you it is gross. If a tree falls and no one is around, does it make a sound? So it’s not gross. You’re only human. I’ve puked in my car (into a cup). Yep. It’s true. If someone had been there, it might have been traumatizing, embarrassed for years, but my car is safe and it’s just me so, whatever. That happened. Moving on. I think I have come close to peeing in my car, but it hasn’t happened (yet, I’m terrible at holding my bladder, you’d think I might’ve birthed 8 children).

My Mother always likes to remind me that before I turned 16 I told her, “I’m getting my license, and I’m going over that bridge, and I’m never coming back.”

I am so terribly dramatic, but that has already been made clear (crying). And I did nothing of the sort. When I got my license, I drove to the mall, not over the bridge. Why? Because it was 45 minutes, down the same road, you could go fast, and I could sing, and cry, and talk if I wanted to. It was everything I ever wanted.

I fear the day I’m too old to drive. I don’t know how I will ever cope.

Society Makes Me Feel Weird: My Mornings as Told by Coffee

There are four ways my day can start out. If you see me in the morning, as most people at work do, you can know exactly how I’m doing based on my coffee. Not my coffee consumption or what type of coffee, nothing of that sort. It’s the thing that carries the coffee, whatever you want to call it.  

1. No Coffee (not really)

And by no coffee I mean no coffee at work. This day has not existed in about a month, maybe more. This is of course, my most impressive state. Why? Because it means I actually woke up, got out of bed, made coffee, and had time to get back in bed and drink it. It’s such a lovely thing to do, but it only happens when I’m adjusting to a new schedule. It used to be when I started a new round of classes at college, but now it’s when I have a new job. I’m so concerned about being ready on time and making myself presentable that I actually wake up in the morning and I have time to do things, like drink coffee and watch Adventure Time, like an adult.  

2. Coffee in my own to-go cup (do the money-saver dance)

Oh how economic of me. I did once own a pink tumbler, but I appear to have lost it in the move (as you do with most things, or did a roommate steal it? I’ll never know). The coffee tumbler is a very empowering purchase. It’s like you’re yelling to the world, “I drink coffee! But I can do it myself! And I save money! Therefore, I am better than you.” But now the pink tumbler is gone. Fear not! I recently discovered at some Starbucks you can purchase a $1 reusable cup. Don’t be confused, it is not a tumbler. This cup cannot tumble at all. If it were to tumble, you would say goodbye to your coffee and whatever items might be in the vicinity and our now covered in coffee. Still, this cup is wonderful. It has my name permanently written in sharpie on it, and it’s spelled right! Because I spelled it! I told you, wonderful. And even more, if you do choose to take this cup into Starbucks and not use it with your own coffee at home (I drink Peet’s out of it, which must be sacrilegious), you get 10 cents off! This cup pays for itself in 10 cups of coffee! My goodness. Talk about wonderful. But back to the point. I bought the reusable cup and I pour my morning coffee in it and take it to work. People see me and first think how impressive I am that I’m not only on time to work, but even had time to go to Starbucks (I didn’t, it’s Peet’s) and if they do figure out that it’s a reusable cup, they view me as both economical and “green.” I win on both accounts! They don’t know that I  haven’t showered, woke up under 30 minutes ago, have my hair braided because it’s greasy, and found this sweater under my comforter, because they don’t need to know. I work there, Jesus, they don’t need to know everything. 

3. Buy coffee (look great) 

Everyone looks great with a cup of coffee in their hands. I’m telling you, it’s beautiful. It screams, “I do things and I’m important.” I’m jealous of everyone who walks by with a to-go cup of coffee. I don’t need coffee, but I want coffee, always. Similar to the reusable to-go cup of coffee, the real to-go cup of coffee, that you just bought on your way to work, masks any and all problems you might have faced that morning, because now you’re holding coffee and you’re important. Did you eat breakfast? Certainly not. You didn’t even have time to make coffee! Your place is a mess! You can’t even find your coffee cup in the dirty dishes. And even more, this cup of coffee lets everyone know, you can afford it! “Oh my god is that from Groundworks?” Yes. Yes it is. And it’s amazing. Everyone is jealous of you. Can’t you feel it? You’re changing everyone’s minds about their day! They’re going to get coffee too! And then they’re going to do things! My god you’ve practically started a revolution. But you’re not a part of the revolution unfortunately, because you’re pretty sure you didn’t lock your door, might have left the curling iron on, didn’t put the britta away, and you just got a text from the bank reminding you that you only have $26.78 left in your bank account. What the hell are you doing buying coffee. 

4. Coffee in a mug (whatever)

You don’t want to believe me but I’ve done it, twice. First of all, it means you are way too comfortable with the people at work. More comfortable than they want you to be. Because you’re late. You’re literally an hour late for work and you’re holding a cup of coffee in a mug from home that you drove with for an hour and now you keep reheating it in the microwave. What the hell happened to you last night? On both of these mornings, I did not care about anyone, anything, any-whatever-you-can-think-of. I look in the mirror and say, “Well…okay.” Then I pull on leggings and I giant sweater, I pour coffee into my mug, add creamer, and walk right out the door. And then I spill it. I spill it all the way down the steps. I spill it on the sidewalk. It’s on my hands. It’s on my jeans. It’s about to be in my car, but I don’t care. I do not give one fuck. I don’t even apologize when I’m late to work. Aren’t they used to it? And you know what? Why can’t I bring my mug from home? It’s just as economical as the tumbler! Even more! (Maybe?). Why is everyone making me feel weird about this. They’re not saying anything, but I can feel their thoughts. I know the mailman saw me walking to my car carrying a coffee mug. I know he did. And I know that guy who walks his two great danes looked at me weird. I just know it. Stop it. Stop it. I’m serious. Stop it. Just let me work so I can go home and drink coffee tomorrow.