The 2012 Apocalypse DID Happen-I Enjoyed a Small Town

Anyone who really knows me, knows that I am a city girl. Growing up in Denver does that to you. Hashtag Denver pride. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to the mountains and chilling out for a while-but for a while-not a lifetime. I will never live in an area where the ratio of animals outweighs the ratio to people. I also put Republicans in the non-people category. They are animals after all. However, when you have family members who you love (or have learned to or are forced to) that live in a small town, you make the annual holiday commutes. I can tolerate a week, but no more. The city is my hood. Neighborhood that is. So after being told that we were going to celebrate the fourth this year in Wyoming, I held back my groans and rallied. What a trooper.

I think my biggest problem with small town’s is that the only time I have been to them in the past eighteen years is for Christmas and Thanksgiving, which happen to be the worst time to go to a small town. Mostly because the weather is awful and your stuck under a roof with all your family, and all there is to do is eat and watch movies. Although, I do love me some pumpkin pie and Christmas cookies.

The morning of our road trip started off not that great. Per usual. As we were about to put my cat in her kennel, she decided to escape outside. Stupid cats and their sixth sense. She saw the luggage and knew she would have to be in a car. That, or she too doesn’t like Wyoming. She is my daughter after all. Two hours later, we finally captured her in our neighbors yard hiding under a ceramic pot. She thinks she is just so clever. Nice try.

Finally, we headed out the door like a herd of turtles. My family has never exactly been known for being on time. Ask any of our friends. They have learned that six pm could mean six thirty or maybe six forty-five, if we have to like empty the dishwasher or walk the cat around the block. Only important things make us late. We are always running fashionably late regardless of anything. We even are on our friend’s daughters wedding video because we ran into the tent (outdoor wedding) right before the bridal procession. Shout-out to Sue G.

The actual Fourth of July started with my waking to my cat literally jumping on my bladder at full throttle wanting to eat her breakfast. She is the only morning person/cat in the family. After feeding her and myself (human food for me) I decided to start putting my Fourth attire on. It was a costume really that only got worse or better depending on how you look at it. It started with my black hair being put in black pigtails followed by bright red lipstick, an American flag bandanna on my head a la Rambo, white shorts, white top, black Converse, red/white/blue plaid shirt and the most outrageous red sunglasses that look like two mouths complete with little teeth. I have literally no clue where I got them, but have been wearing them ever since. I mean, wouldn’t you? You can say that I was feeling a tad patriotic. I could tell that both of my family members were a little embarrassed that they were going to be seen with me all day. You know what, pause, they have both done sooo many things to embarrass me my entire life so they deserve a little payback. I mean just picture those two in Mexico with some mojitos in them trying to speak Spanish to everyone. It’s not a pretty picture and I am pretty sure they are the sole reason for the failure of American-Mexican diplomacy.

After finally making it out of the door, we headed to the local town park a few blocks down to partake in celebrating the day with the citizens of Laramie. The whole town came. All 200 of them. That is a joke. Laramie is actually a bustling college town with tens of thousands of citizens. I guess only the patriotic 200 decided to show up. After arriving at the park, we met up with my two other favorite small town citizens who I have known forever and spend every Christmas Eve with. I shall call them the Jones to protect their very high-profile lives. I wouldn’t want them ending up in witness protection because of me.

Papa Jones, who is one my favorite people was wearing a skin-tight maroon shirt that made my eyes bulge and brain cry a little bit. He informed me it was an ideal temperature shirt and kept you not too hot and not too cold. I informed him that he wasn’t Goldi Locks and that I could see his nips. His wife aka Mama Jones thought it was funny. We then decided to go listen to the patriotic jams of a couple at the band stand jamming out on their banjos and tambourines. I naturally got way to bored just sitting and got up and dragged the male Jones to go with me to get a free shaved ice sponsored by the Kiwanis club of Laramie. Strawberry and blue raspberry shaved ice further completed my patriotic tongue giving me a blue tongue a la Miley. Even my mom made a Miley reference to me. Yikes. She later made a different Miley reference that made me question my entire life’s purpose. Wait for it.

Wanting to walk around, I stole my cousin dog and decided to go walk around the park and check out all the festivities. It turns out that Wyoming is a fairly religious state. Or at least that’s what I assumed after visiting a literal twenty religious tents that all gave me a bottle of water with a bible verse or Jesus fish glued on the bottle. At least god didn’t want me to get dehydrated that day. The highlight though was when the Baptist church made me a Native American headdress. I mean, could life have gotten any stranger at this point? The Baptist church of Wyoming make an Asian-American a Native-American, Fourth-of-July headdress. Is this real life? I also turned one of the construction paper headdresses into a skirt and made my cousin dog put one on too. She was not happy to say the least. I guess Lucille doesn’t like dress up. Maybe she felt self-conscious. Dogs. After I finished my tour of the religious groups, (of which none tried to convert me) I then proceeded to go to all the political booths where citizens were running for city council or those other really important positions. They also were giving away free watermelon which is suspicious considering Laramie is about as white as it gets. That was a joke. I told several of them that I would not be able to vote for them because I fortunately was a Coloradan. State pride. I eventually found my way back to my posse and we decided to go get the free ice-cream sponsored by some retirement group. When I was line I literally ran into the largest dog in the universe. It was a malamute who lived on a farm with his cowboy owner. The literal size of a small horse. They don’t grow like them this in Colorado!

After listening to some more music from some town locals at another bandstand, we decided it was time to head home. Damn’t, I wanted to pie my family in the face or at least dunk them in the massive tank. I know Lucille was sad she couldn’t participate in the dog trick show. I am sure her svelte body would have been great at weaving through all the obstacles. At least that’s what I told myself. My mom and Aunt (aka the Bopsie twins) decided to do more small talk with people, while I walked myself and the dog home. It was an exhausting afternoon. I can’t hang like I used to.

Later that night after we had finished demolishing a pork tenderloin, we decided to sit around and watch some special program on TV located in DC before we headed to watch the fireworks. It was a singing concert near the Lincoln Memorial. I am not even joking when my mom looked at the television and immediately found someone in the audience of thousands that she thought she knew only five seconds later. She thought that she saw my friend Meggan’s head behind Jordin Spark on the stage. How. I don’t why I believed her. But, I did text my friend right away who informed me that she was at the event but didn’t even know Sparks was singing. What a plot twist let down. I then went back to the guest room to zone out and take a break from my mother’s intensity. She get’s way too excited way to easily. Kinda like a hamster.

I think my mom missed me, because she decided to scream through the wall that she saw my friend….again. Being gullible, I jumped up and ran into the living room where I was informed that she was “just joking.” You don’t joke about that mom! Bad mom! I can’t believe I fell for that. Do I have gullible written on my forehead? Apparently so. That, or my mother is easily amused. Probably both if were being honest.

The three of us and Princess Lucile then headed out to our friends house to watch the fireworks. By friends I mean the Jones and my cousin’s Dad who is awesome. Growing up he has always found it fun to pull my leg and mess around with me. That and he always has bubblegum at his house and who doesn’t love mushy, chemical pink stuff. We arrived, late shockingly and had to sprint up the hill outside their backyard. All I was thinking is that this was the start of a horror movie. Me, climbing a hill, in a small town, it’s dark, I don’t have pepper spray (although I did take a female empowerment class as a teen after my mother’s insistence) and I am going to die. It turned out I didn’t. Die that is. Although it was very noticeable to me that I was the youngest person there by at least forty years. Lordy. And I was the one telling them to behave. Typical old people, typical me. Always the voice of reason, even if it is ignored.

The fireworks were amazing. It was Wyoming. Literally after crossing the Colorado border into Wyoming you start seeing the firework outlet exit signs. Not even a minute into Wyoming and they are already telling you to go blow stuff up. And you wonder why Wyoming citizens are they way they are. Hashtag republicans. I felt bad watching the fireworks because I’m sure I supported killing at least three penguins in Alaska by default of not doing anything to protest the fireworks from happening. Passive aggressive global warming is not the worst thing I have been accused of. We then decided to head back to the house and enjoy some rhubarb-strawberry crumble on the front porch. Because it is Wyoming, people continued to set off their own fireworks in the neighborhood and around town. From the porch I could see the entire town. Not really, but it is small town Wyoming. Papa Jones decided to loudly shout out to the troublemakers that he was going to call the popo. I’m pretty sure his three boys did that all the time growing up. Setting off illegal fireworks that is. I died laughing because Papa Jones doesn’t scare me one iota. He is more of a talk loudly and carry a small stick kinda guy. Theodore Roosevelt anyone?

Later that night back at the house, my mother and Aunt decided to continue drinking wine. Typical night. I think they believe that since red wine is so sophisticated, it somehow doesn’t effect them. The very fact that they think red wine is sophisticated is proof that it already has done irrevocable damage. And since they had stocked up on Trader Joes two-buck-chuck wine, they were doing damage. Not to their wallets, but to their livers. I tried to discourage it because I am not about to donate part of my liver in the future. I was adopted so I wouldn’t even be a match. Hashtag perks of not being a blood relative. My liver is going to stay perfectly in tact.

I decided to call it a night and hit the hay until I heard them talking through the thin walls. My Aunt literally told her cat “Hola Mancha, do you want some agua.”  My mouth dropped. The cat does not speak Spanish let alone English. My Aunt also does not speak Spanish, but get a little liquor in her veins and she is basically fluent. That’s the way we all with language really, except for our native language. Funny how that works. Alcohol allows us to speak different languages (some made up) really well, while our first language fails so miserably. “Guys, I no dwunk, I pwomise, I only had like nada.” My mother then decided to tell me that since we were sharing the guest room, I could be the teaspoon and she could be the tablespoon. Um, no. I then went out to try to sleep on the couch where I was smothered by a cat. Love going to my Aunt’s house. Needless to say, I did not get that great of a night of sleep.

The next morning we decided to go for a long hike in Vedavoo, which is a nationally renowned rock climbing area. Literally it is in the middle of just a bunch of rolling hills. I guess God decided that Wyoming was lacking in other areas and wanted to bring more tourism in. And on the fifth day he made Vedavoo, so that people would actually want to come to Wyoming. I was concerned about going on the three mile loop hike considering that I was the only fully put together human that didn’t have replaced parts. My Aunt and mom each have one replaced hip, with my mom also having a replaced knee. I think that’s cheating. None of my part’s are replaced. Hmph. Anyway, the hike was great despite the fact that my Aunt’s dog Lucille is attached to my Aunt at the hip (not her replaced one). That dog is obsessed with her and can’t walk five feet away without having an anxiety attack. Dogs. I tried to scare both of them by walking ahead and climbing a high rock, then screaming a la Tarzan and Jane as they walked by from high above. They were less than amused. I thought it was funny.

A little side story that just makes me cringe every time I think about it, is when my mother asked my where my wrecking ball was. This is the second Miley reference. I had put my hair in high buns on top of my head because it was so bloody hot out, and apparently the mother had been keeping up on pop culture and thought I looked like Miley. That was a mid-life crisis moment for me. At least I wasn’t wearing a nude leotard and grinding up all on little people and giants on a stage in front of thousands. Someone obviously did not get enough attention as a child.

After returning from our hike later that day, I was still feeling the patriotic rush running through my veins and decided to make an American flag cake with the help of Betty Crocker. Love that girl. My gurl Betty C. Four hours later, way too much food dye, a mess of a kitchen, and way to much raw batter consumed, I had myself a layered cake with cream cheese frosting. When you sliced into it, it literally looked like an American flag with the little patch of blue in the corner and red and white stripes. It was a masterpiece. I delivered slices around the neighborhood and town to friends. They were impressed. Cleaning the kitchen took about the entire night. Not a fan of cleaning. Who is. This was our last hoorah before closing the weekend and heading back to civilization. AKA Denver.

I know it sounds like I didn’t have all that great of a time, but I really did. The only time small towns are all that appealing is for Fourth of July celebrations and when you need to hide out from society. I mean, no one is going to go looking for you in a town the size of a pimple. So dearest Aunt, I will try to stop making fun of you for living in such a small town because I now have figured out the appeal. Free ice-cream and snow cones are amazing. But really, you won’t see me moving their anytime soon, but I will be coming to visit more often. Just what you always wanted dear Aunt. More of me. Get ready.

Milwaukee is A Wonderland ( But Not John Mayer’s)

Okay. This self titled city girl is about to admit something that might ruin her reputation that doesn’t even exist. Pause, wait for it.

I heart the Midwest.❤

If I were to take a photo now describing my new feelings for the Midwest, I would throw up a Taylor Swift gang sign and make a heart with my hands, where you could see me slightly smiling through the heart. I love the Midwest like all the tween’s around the world love The Biebs. I just can’t get enough, was crying when I left, want to go back already and find the Midwest very charming, but not all that intelligent. I mean, did Bieber even go to school? People in the city are just smarter. I mean I think like TCAP, CSAP, ACT, PSAT and all those tests prove that anyways. And we all know how accurate and reflective of real intelligence those are. I mean your goal on the ACT is to get a 36. I guess they don’t want you to shoot for the moon with one hundred. They just want you to climb a little hill. Solid.

In honor of my new love for this large region in America, where people are way to friendly and concerned with saving money and being thrifty, I have decided to tell five more stories that will demonstrate that this is in fact is true love. I mean it’s really a kindergarten crush at this point. I think we are in love because the Midwest loaned me a crayon. However in my case, it’s an elephant and not a crayon (see story below. It’s riveting). And I also semi-stole that elephant. I also just look forward to getting to know each other more and just watching our love blossom like the flower it is. I am positive that the Midwest does not reciprocate any of these feelings back and just wants my tourist, city money. City money is more valuable after all.

So with a drum roll inside your head…….the list begin.

1). I know I have mentioned it before, but Cermak’s is a WONDERLAND. Milwaukee really is a super diverse (but unfortunately very segregated) city, which is great because it means there are amazing places to shop that aren’t your typical King Stupids (King Soopers) or Safelessway (Safeway) groceries. You could spend literally five years trying something different each day and you still would not have explored all the wonderful things in that story. Not only is the produce absolutely incredible and fresh (doesn’t have to be organic if it’s local and raised right…kinda like a kid), but there is a massive plethora and it has so much variety and options. I even found Milo there, which is a Nestle drink that I used to consume in Malaysia like it was my job. I mean it was. It’s like chocolate milk, only better. Anyways, if you are ever in the Midwest, you have to go there! It’s fabulous! And it has a great deli that even makes homemade ricotta which I used to make melopita (see story 3). On a side note, I decided to do the actual grocery store shopping dance to which my cousin’s boyfriend was mortified and immediately told me to “stop it.” He was my only ride home, so I obeyed. Had I been the driver….

2). I taught my slightly older, but not wiser cousin how to make individual, triangle, Greek Spanikopita. Always the little grasshopper teaches the sensei. The sensei just doesn’t know it. I think Kung Foo Panda is based off of this idea. This is reality. Anyways, I was teaching her to make this simple, but super delicious and healthy treat (could be appetizer, snack or meal) and like any normal person, pretended that I was on the cooking/food channel and had a show-only it wasn’t very appropriate or viewer friendly.

“And while your folding these triangles and shaping the phyllo dough, you just want to lightly caress them, but in a non-sexual way because I think that is a felony in the Midwest.” 

She loved it. I loved it. The Spanikopita loved it. Talking to your food makes it taste better. True story! And because we were in the privacy of our own home, Uncle Sam couldn’t do nothing about it. Constitutional rights. I am sure this is what James Madison was thinking about when he thought of privacy and personal human rights.

3). Sorry for the second cooking story in advance, but it is a good one. My cousins boyfriend/beau…let’s call him big Geazy from now on. He is about as white as wonder bread, so it really is fitting. Anyway, big Geazy and I were in the kitchen and I was teaching him how to make melopita, which is an amazing and super healthy and easy dessert. It only has six ingredients which are: ricotta, eggs, cinnamon, lemon juice, flour (only 2 Tbl.) and honey (agave works too). I was teaching big Geazy (the b is lowercase on purpose for irony) like a cooking show once again, preparing the ingredients ahead of time so it’s like on TV where it look’s like you basically have to do nothing because they are just dumping little bowls in a large bowl and stirring(when in reality it takes like 3 hours and you need like a watermelon carver tool that they don’t sell at Bed, Bath and Beyond). But, the point of the story is that you have to butter the pan to prepare it and I told big Geazy to “lightly fondle the butter and spread it around the pan a la Paula Dean.” He thought this was the funniest thing in the world. He also might have been one or two (or six) Moscow Mules in at this point though. He probably got like copper poisoning and was just twitching laughing. Real possibility. We were in the Midwest after all.

4). There is a beautiful area like forty minutes outside of Milwaukee called Palmyra which reminds me of my Grandma’s old house because of the kitsch small town, lake and just relaxed and small community vibe of the area. It is a great hiking area, and there is a fabulous trail loop through really beautiful forest with a sandy bottom that bikers and hikers really love. It’s kinda a hidden gem. But, it is also mosquito and frog hatching season. So we were walking and running through that seven mile trail like it was our job, or we were just afraid of all the bugs and ran out of repellent. Mosquitoes are also a great excuse to hit and slap your family members and get out pent up anger from that one Christmas they bought you a hideous sweater and you had to smile and write them a thank-you note. “Sorry, I thought there was a mosquito on your face. I am saving you from West Nile virus.” I mean, what are they going to say to that? Exactly. So while we were trooping through the forest there were mosquitoes stalking us as well as baby frogs who were literally everywhere. My cousin and I made a real effort to avoid stepping on them while her boyfriend just said “babe, circle of life.” Cue that song from the Lion King (again). They make quite the pair.

5). While I was suffering, I mean enjoying Milwaukee, there was a festival called Bastille Days going on which was great. I am pretty sure that the festival had nothing to do with France, but that the Milwaukee tourism board wanted more money and an excuse to party-which is totally okay and an acceptable reason. Cash money. But, to be fair there was a miniature Eiffel Tower. Besides that, there was nothing French about that festival. It was like a massive outdoor market with tons of local artisans, vendors, beer tents and every other person holding a weird animal (probably brought in illegally) or half naked doing a strange human contortion for money. I enjoyed it. Maybe not the two acrobats who were half naked and twisting themselves on a pole, but the fluffy dogs and lizards were fabulous. I ended up buying a cool scarf from Thailand and my cousin bought a really cool and unusual flower vase. It then started to pour rain (I think God was crying because he realized I only had one day left) so we ran back to the car under our umbrellas. My umbrella literally flipped upside down and was no use. Thanks cousin. The rain also allowed me to get a two dollar discount on my scarf. “It’s raining, I have to go home and play with my cousin’s cat, please, two dollars off??” It worked. Thank you lord. Two dollars saved is two dollars to spend on something else.

So I hope you now understand what a true WONDERLAND the Midwest is. Only not John Mayer’s, because I am pretty sure that song was referring to like Jessica Simpson or Jennifer Love-Hewitt and they ain’t got nuttin on the Midwest. I don’t even think Mayer won a Grammy for it. Bummer. The Midwest would have if it qualified.

10 Strange Events that I Witnessed in the Midwest

I will preface this with saying that any of these things could happen anywhere really, so I am not making that much fun of the Midwest.

1. On a sidewalk on a bridge to connect to a highway, I saw a man (full grown) on a child’s (literal child) mini, bubble-gum pink Vespa crusin, going who knows where. Where is your camera when you need it.

2. After coming home from the grocery store (go Cermaks!), we were carrying in the bags when a man in a doo-rag walked past us and looked at my cousins boyfriend and  exclaimed:

“You go yo-self a watermelon man.” This was said with much enthusiasm and Midwest twang.

3. While shopping at Macy’s during a massive sale, a woman looked at a shirt I was holding and exclaimed how beautiful it was and how she always wanted one like it and yada yada ya. She tried to take it from me with her words. Better than her little, Italian fists is all I will say. She also did not succeed, I have feisty Asian blood.

4. I unfortunately passed by two accidents after they had just happened-both of which I later learned ended up fatally. One involved a semi-truck and a pick-up truck with one of the drivers having a medical emergency before the accident. The second one was down in the city by the river where I believe someone drowned and another person went missing. Both are such tragedies and little reminders that anything could and does happen.

5. My cousin has a fabulous raised garden that is growing an impressive amount of squash, zucchini, pumpkins, snap peas, eggplant and a plethora more. (By the way how fab is plethora as a word…totally the cool kid of words). And the soil of the Midwest is AMAZING! Who knew. I loved gardening and weeding with her. As I was gathering all the weeds, I put them into the bucket while singing “I got a bucket, got a bucket full of weeds, got a bucket got bucket full of weeds, oh, oh oh, oh oh” a la Natasha Bendingfield. My cousin’s boyfriend was not amused. I don’t think he likes the sound of my voice. Which is just soo weird because I am basically Adele-only Asian and better.

6. During an evening stroll around the park, I told my cousin’s boyfriend all about my childhood sex education. Because nothing bonds two people quicker than the traumatic stories about how we learned about the “birds and bees” as children. He told me that his parents (a doctor and nurse) taught sex ed at the local junior high where he went. I one upped him by telling him about the time my mom and her friend, who happened to be a high-level employee (basically the boss) of Planned Parenthood took me there on the weekend for a private tour. Nothing says friendship like teaching your daughter about alll that good stuff.

On a side story, one time I was at the March for Woman’s Lives in Washington eons ago and I was at a Planned Parenthood with my family and friends and picked up a strawberry-flavored condom and asked my babysitter if I could have it. I thought it was candy, I was ten. Candy, condom, same difference. She denied me and told me to ask my mom, somehow all with a straight face. Hi KG. I think that entire event shaped my entire outlook on life and the world.

7. My cousin and her boyfriend have surprisingly not shanked me after days full of side comments, snarkiness and all my stupid stories. I constantly am jabbing them about the Midwest with comments like “oh, your tired, it must because your a Middie now. Not because you didn’t sleep well last night.” Or her boyfriends favorite, which is that I constantly remind him I went to an inner-city public school. They also went to a public school, it was just in a small town with a diversity  level you could count on your hands. “Silly kids, I went to public school, I know how to do this better than you (as I chop carrots).” Basically any conversation they have I just have to put my two cents into. My poor mother. LOL. Imagine 18 years of constantly raising a mutant having an opinion. If it doesn’t say it in the Constitution that it ain’t the truth mommy dearest. Murica.

8. After an exhausting morning (we were in the Midwest where the life just get sucks out of ya), my cousin and I came home and passed out on the couch. We literally shopped till’ we dropped. I didn’t even know I had fallen asleep until I was dreaming about fighting with my cousin’s boyfriend, probably about me going to an actual public school (see story 7). We woke up to Germany winning the World Cup an hour later. Apparently the world was still spinning while we were taking a siesta. Who knew.

9. I do not recommend watching the movie Bad Grandpa 0.5 (it was so bad it couldn’t even be a whole movie….it was deduced to half of a number). I left the living room about ten minutes into the movie. I mean I really could only watch Johnny Knoxville running around in his little, white, underwear with his prosthetic balls dangling to his knees for so long. Not to mention his male friend who played an old grandma, who squeezed her prosthetic boob to put milk in her/his coffee while going on a blind date with a twenty-something year old in a small-town diner. This was all being filmed under-cover too. Murica. I was traumatized for life. I’m glad Netflix carries this.

10. THERE ARE PING PONG TABLES IN THE AIRPORT. This is the most exciting thing I have seen since sliced bread. Amazing. Why doesn’t every airport slash every communal and public area have one or sixty of these. I am a little tempted to just check tennis balls at every person walking by who is complaining about traveling, crying, whining or simply looking a little unhappy.

11. And a special 11th story because I love breaking the rules. 

Depending on who you are, I may or may not have left little notes all over their house just with a star on them saying “hahha, made you look.” I am the world’s greatest house guest. Hopefully we will still be family when they find them all.

There is a Literal Elephant in the Room: Stories from the Midwest

This afternoon, my cousin and I decided to go for a hike around town. Although, having grown up in Colorado, I really don’t consider hiking anything other than walking in, up, through or down a mountain. But for these purposes, we shall call it a hike. It was really a casual, but long stroll between the beach and a forest. It was lovely. Who knew. After walking about a mile, we decided to climb up a obscenely steep staircase up to who knows where. All I knew is that it looked like we were going to end up in heaven with all the stairs ascending into the forest. It turns out that Jesus was not waiting for us at the top, and if he was, he clearly had closed the gates and was not about to welcome me. That’s right, I am no angel.

We ended up being on the other side of the street to a very ritzy neighborhood, where the houses must be in the minimum of two million dollars. They were stunning, obscene and I felt like I should have been wearing a polo and sweater-vest, instead of a camelbak and athletic wear. I shouted across the street to two well-dressed gentleman’s, giving admiration to their beautiful, probably french-speaking dog. It looked a little prissy for a dog. As I walked down the sidewalk with my cuz (cousin) I noticed that across the street was a pile of stuff near the curb. My eye caught the sight of a beautiful elephant statue that came up to about my knees. Because I am my mother’s daughter, I ran across the street nearly getting hit by a Range Rover in the process, to scavenge for possible free items that could be worth a million dollars. Or one dollar.

I will say that I can say now how eerily similar my behavior today was that of my mothers. Literally, it is so scary. Had my mom been there, she would have claimed that elephant like it was her job. It is a scary truth that we all have to admit to ourselves in our lives that we, normal daughters of the world are our mothers. It’s just a fact of life that the sooner you accept, the sooner you can get on with everything else.

This elephant is literally the most amazing thing I have ever seen. At first look with the teak and weathered painting, I thought it could have been a relic of the Min dynasty and I could sell it to China to pay off the national debt of the USA and become a national hero. Statues in parks and schools named after me here I come. My cousin quickly burst that bubble and informed me that it was solid ceramic and that there was no way the Min dynasty ended up in Midwest America. Crazier things have happened. I mean, I ended up in the Midwest.

Sitting next to the elephant were two silver pitchers that I told my cousin to take, and with a little polish could be real beautiful. Who am I, a ninety-year old grandma? Why do I know this! After my urging, she took them. I also nabbed a spare pare of headphones sitting in a basket next to all these treasures. I wanted to take a leather wallet, but the voice of reason (my cousins voice) informed me that it was a man’s wallet and I had already gone to far. Voice of reason I guess.

I was slightly concerned that I might not want to take these items because I could get arrested and then end up homeless smoking crack on the street. Always my thoughts go to worse possible scenario. Always. With concern in my head, I decided to ring the doorbell to double check. I could tell after going on their porch that they had just cleaned out their entire house because there were dozens of garbage bags, likely to be picked up for donation sitting on their porch. That eased my concern just slightly. They also didn’t answer the door, so I just decided that me and this elephant were fate. As I picked up the elephant, the two polished gentleman walked by and my immediate thought was  to tell them that I was not a criminal and that it was sitting on the curb. They laughed and said something along the lines of that in this neighborhood that’s just what they do. They just toss a hundred dollar silver wine pitcher on the curb for the peasants to pick-up. I will say that I was a tad worried that those could have been the owners of the house, in which case would have been realll awkward.

So my cousin holding her two items of silver, and me carrying a large elephant, proceeded to walk down the street. We literally looked like two white collar criminals. Everyone looked at us in confusion, with most people laughing a little bit. I mean, it was a funny sight. My cousin was mortified, while I just found the whole thing great, because that elephant is fabulous. We passed a biker, to which I immediately told him that we did not steal these items are were actually nice people. He just laughed and told us he liked the elephant. It kinda looked like we had gone a scavenger hunt or were being paid to do some sociological experiment where TV crews would catch the reactions of everyone and see if anyone would confront us. That, or we were just two weirdos wandering around the Midwest. The latter is more accurate.

Five minutes into our walk back to the car, I realized how ridiculously heavy this elephant was. Since we were at the top of a hill, I really did think of just letting it roll down. Why not. Instead, I carried it down a very steep set of cement stairs where people were running up and down getting their health on. One lady suggested that I carry it on top of my head. I think that would end up with me getting a concussion and my elephant in many pieces. I wasn’t willing to risk that. I had already planned my entire future house decor and theme around this elephant. That is not a joke either. This elephant is that cool that it would change anyone’s life.

After making it down the hill, I realized we still had about a mile to walk alongside a very busy street where people would and did stare. I mean how often do you see a person carrying a large statue of an elephant down the street? If you say often, you obviously are taking a few extra pills a la Rob Ford. I immediately had a laugh attack when I thought of the possibility that maybe this was like the husbands favorite possession and his wife decided to clean house and get rid of it without his knowledge; then was driving and saw me carrying his prized possession down the street. It was literally the funniest thing at the moment. Not so much had I been arrested. I also thought that maybe someone had phoned the police saying a suspicious girl had been carrying an elephant down the boardwalk and the local news station the decided to send a helicopter to capture my escape route.

“And there she is on foot, the target, making her way with the elephant down the boardwalk, walking at a slow pace trying not to be noticed….” I mean what else is happening in the Midwest to report about. This is a Saturday Night Live sketch waiting to happen. SNL, I’ll have my people call your people.

This elephant literally weighs thirty plus pounds and I have absolutely no muscle in my arm. Anyone who knows me can attest to this. It’s probably because all the muscle went to my brain as a child. I mean…..I’m just so smart. So like any good family member, I forced my cousin to carry my elephant. After ten minutes of walking, I suggested that maybe I should wait with the elephant and silver on the side of the street, while she went and got the car. I didn’t want to leave my elephant, but my cousin on the other hand is a different story. She can fend for herself. She then suggested that we hide the elephant in the bushes and get the car together. I refused. There was no way I was leaving this elephant for just anyone to walk by and steal. I was not being ridiculous either. It is one good looking, ceramic elephant.

She then just said she would carry the elephant until we crossed the street, because that would just be way too embarrassing. Logic. We passed several parked cars where the people literally just stared at us and I ignored it completely. I am cool and I know it and don’t need someone in a car to judge me and my elephant. I saw several people laughing with me, not at me. I was laughing too, the entire time. I did not wake up thinking that I was going to carry an elephant for a mile in the middle of Wisconsin.

After passing the elephant to me, we finally made it to the car and put my darling elephant in the trunk . My arms literally were literally about to fall off. Who knew that was going to be my daily cardio.

On the way back to her house, my cousin and I were literally just dying imagining her boyfriend coming home to seeing an elephant in the middle of the living room.

“Darling, why is there an elephant in the room?”

“What are you talking about, do we need to talk about something? Do you feel like there is an elephant in the room we need to discuss?”

“No, there is actually an elephant in the room”

That is literally how we played out the conversation an hour before that actual conversation took place. Not even joking. We were sitting on the porch drinking (water of course, hi mom and NSA and the popo), when her boyfriend walked in the house and immediately like any normal person informed us that there was an elephant in the actual room.

We basically died laughing. I think some stomach abs even formed from the exercise. It was that funny.

So in the next few days when I have to take this thirty pound monster on the plane, I hope TSA doesn’t feel it up like they did me on the way here. That would be uncomfortable for the elephant and me.

So guys, it turns out that physical elephants in the rooms do exist, even when your not at the zoo or some sub-Saharan African country.

Just imagine me walking into the airport carrying an elephant wrapped in bubble wrap and presenting it to Southwest. I bet they are going to love it.




I am Headed to the Midwest…Lord Help Me.

I have repeatedly said over the course of my very long life (nineteen and a little more years) that the only reason people go to the Midwest is if they have family there. That rule also applies to small towns. I obviously grew up in the city where only educated Americans live. That was a joke. Kind of.

My favorite and only first cousin (only one of my Aunt’s decided to procreate) moved to the Midwest this past year after graduating graduate school to become a special education teacher. On a side note, what she does is absolutely incredible and the patience she has is far beyond a dweeb like myself to posses. Anyways, she and her boyfriend have had a great first year living out in the Midwest and have loved it. Although they did moved from Wyoming, so their standard of living isn’t all that high. Once again, that is a joke. Kind of.

After hearing about their fabulous place at Christmas and seeing the occasional glimpse into their lives as Middies (I think I just made up that term) through photos and gossip among the elders in the family, I decided it was far time for me to go visit them and experience it for myself. After booking my flight earlier this summer, there has been non-stop chatter about all the things we could do when I got there. I will say that I did book my flight for only a four day visit, paying an extra ten dollars to not have a fifth day. I mean, I absolutely love my cousin, but I feel like you should leave a trip wanting more instead of wanting to get the h*** out of there. I also love summer in Denver and have a life, obviously. Plus, we are both Olson’s and have the oddest family dynamic and interactions with each other. We both have tempers. Don’t get me wrong, we all love each other, but things do get crazy when more than one of us are under a roof together. Don’t even ask me what happens when alcohol and a foreign country is involved. I could write a whole book series on our oversea travels. Just think Osage Country and The Hangover only it’s a reality show on TLC. Basically my family in a nutshell.

After shoving some Smashburger down my throat on the way to the airport (I was not about to pay for over-priced icky airport food), I got a notification from Southwest that my flight was delayed an hour. I told my chauffeur to drive slower and not speed. By chauffeur I mean my mother. I am not that fancy like Iggy. By the way Mom (my only reader most likely), Iggy is a white female rapper. Just think Beyonce, only white with less booty and no Jay-Z. There used to be a time in my life where I was obsessed with the airport. I still am, but less so now that my eyes have been opened to how many idiots roam those hallowed halls flying to destinations with wailing babies and carrying way to much luggage. Physically and literally.

My mother being herself dropped me off at passenger pick-up, but didn’t leave. Typical her. I was doing roadside check in, while she made sure that like a meteor didn’t fall on my head or something. I swear if she could put me in a protective bubble she would. She was also convinced that Southwest wouldn’t let me check a bag for free when I knew for a fact that they would. I won. While waiting in line at curbside check-in, I was also half lecturing her to leave before the airport police on segways-yes a segway-were driving around yelling at people to get going and threatening to issue tickets if they literally didn’t just drop their passenger off and leave. They really don’t even want you to waste time giving your loved one a hug good-bye. These cops take their jobs wayyyy to seriously and obviously weren’t loved enough as children. Who doesn’t love a good-bye hug. Oh wait, that’s right me. I’m a fan of a side-hug or a shoulder squeeze, but I really don’t like a full-on hug. It’s just too much. She finally left me alone and I proceeded into the airport with a full whoosh of air-conditioning hitting me on my way in. Helloooo global warming!

After plowing through the meandering idiots, I finally made my way down to security which is always such a joy. It took five minutes and a lot of weaving back and forth to even make it the start of security. They had all those stupid nylon ropes where you basically waste your life weaving in and out to make traffic “flow” better. We are not cattle thank you very much. After flashing my ID (It was taken 3 years ago with bad lighting at the DMV), Helga stamped my ticket and ushered me into the chaos. Being a veteran flyer, I started to take my shoes off and deal with my laptop and all my liquid carry-on items without anyone asking me. I deserved a gold star. I was wearing a very simple black wrap dress, so thought I would have absolutely no problem. Turn’s out I was wrong. After being objectified by the security machine that takes an image of your body (you just KNOW that there are some creepy weirdos in a back room looking at all these photos of naked people), I was then moved by another TSA agent to go to the side to get further patted down. AKA felt up. And this lady meant business. Apparently the elastic to the waistband of my dress was reason for concern. Or so they told me. I felt like I was back at a high school dance where people are just feeling everyone and anything up. It was uncomfortable and I wanted to take a shower afterwards. I mean, I understand national security and all, but really? With all this technology you have, a pat down is still required?

I then shoved all my belongings back in their bags and slipped my shoes on and proceeded down to the train to take me to my terminal. I arrived at terminal C and went up all the escalators and down all the walking sidewalks until I arrived at gate 29 which was at the literal very end of the hall. Convenient. After confirming that my flight was delayed, I decided to go buy myself some very over-priced frozen yogurt and skim the newsstand for any important world events. The biggest headline was that the Queen of England was having a tiff with Kate Middleton. Important stuff. After getting my daily dose of education, I sat down for the next hour watching all the cattle file in and out of the gate terminals, all looking very bored and annoyed. I made some small talk with an older couple heading to Vegas for lord knows what. They told me it was for a family reunion, but I didn’t believe them for a a second. I mean, they did not look very trustworthy at all with their Vera Bradley bags and slip-on leather loafers.

My flight was finally called to stand and line-up literally like cattle. That’s what I don’t like about Southwest. Based on how soon you check-in within twenty-four hours of your flight correlates to your position in line. And since there are no assigned seats, you would think you would want a high number so you could be in line first. But really, it sucks either way. If you have a high number you get to choose where you sit, but not who you sit with. And if you have a low number you get to choose who you sit with, but are most likely stuck in a middle seat. It blows either way. I ended up sitting between two older woman. One of which was crocheting a baby blanket and the other who was listening to an audio book, only her volume was on full blast so I also heard the book. After a few hours on the plane, I made friends with both of them and like any other person discussed Obama, Hilary’s chances (I mean presidency is not something a person should win by default), I learned about all their families, we laughed at all the stupid Sky Mall products (a raincoat for a dog….really??) and they gave me advice about what to do while in Milwaukee.

All this conversation allowed me to ignore my slight and subtle fear of flying. Being so neurotic I always think of worse possible situations and how I would get out of them. I mean, would a plastic bag work as a parachute? Could I tackle a full-grown man? What if the pilot had a heart attack. What if someone gave birth on the plane.

After landing and claiming by bag, I was greeted by the warm arms of my cousin and the large arms of her boyfriend. I really can’t tell you how good it is to see family. Even if this family member tried to drown you as a child (she claimed she was teaching me how to swim), gave you alcohol in Mexico as a young, innocent minor, or told you that you were going shopping and instead made you hold her hand while she got her belly-button pierced at a sketchy tattoo parlor (and then told you to lie to your aunt aka her mother), there really is nothing else in the world like family. Even family in the Midwest.

So here’s to me surviving the next few days. I can promise you that you will not see me leaving a cheese head or Midwest enthusiast. Midwest tolerant is more like it.







Airport Runs Bring the Fun

If any of you live in Colorado or have been to the main airport in Denver, you know what I mean when I say that the airport is in the literal middle of nowhere. Whenever people come to visit for the first time and I start driving home, they always ask me if this-and by this they mean all the empty prairie land-is Denver. I always laugh because I can just see their anxiety forming because they wanted to come to the city and were starting to have heart palpitations thinking I was going to take them to go poke a cow or churn their own butter. DIA (Denver International Airport) IS in the middle of nowhere and has quite frankly the most stupid architecture and welcoming symbols surrounding it. Don’t even get me started on all the conspiracy theories surrounding this airport. But to start, our airport looks like a bunch of white mountains, TP’s, white waves….whatever you want to interpret it as, the point is that it looks pretty ri-donkulous. And now with construction, it looks like there is a glass ship attached to the side of the airport. Who designed this. And then there is the giant blue bucking bronco with red, glowing, laser eyes to great people to the airport and Denver. Why. Nothing says the Mile High City like this statue. It would have been better if they put a marijuana leaf that emitted low doses of smoke to help people adjust to the Mile High City. That statue is literally ruining Denver’s Rep. A-town down. And, the artist of this hideous, blue, bronco eventually died because the statue fell on him. I’m not even lying. That actually happened. Anyways, our airport is just so strange because unlike most cities, DIA is located in the middle of a field.

I was going to the airport to pick-up a friend who had returned from a Fourth-o-July shenanigan trip (hi Meggan) and was driving my mother’s massive, overly-complicated Jeep she bought to replace me when I was away on a trip. This is not a joke. Literally, two weeks after being gone I face-timed her and she was all “look what I bought!” She bought the largest jeep possible with every complicated device, video screen, park-yourself and all those stupid accessories car’s come with these days. She is not a soccer mom either. So, there I was running, er driving late to pick up my friend complete with a “Welcome Home Meggan D-Money” sign attached with scotch tape to the passenger side in shiny, metallic letters. I wanted to embarrass her like any good friend would do.

Meanwhile, the drive to the airport is probably the worse thing anyone will ever experience because it consists of driving on a million different highways with people who are ALL running late either to catch a flight or pick someone up. So basically everyone is going over the speed limit, changing lanes and not being a considerate driver for a huge stretch of highway.It was stressful to say the least. Plus there was construction because apparently our current paved highway wasn’t that great. That or it’s elections season and Udall wanted to created thousands of jobs to shove up Cory Gardner’s ass. It’s a real possibility.

I was coming from across town in Denver, so had decided to use the trusty GPS to help me navigate and get me there ASAP. It turns out the GPS is not all that great. You will soon learn why.

As I was getting closer to the airport and all the signs about airlines, pick-up and parking started popping up and confusing me, eight lanes were merging into four and I immediately started to panic. I will say I am not the best with directions or following road rules. That doesn’t make me a bad driver though. I just like to spice up life even if it means getting a ticket. So as I merged a hard right, cutting off some black Bentley, I started to hyperventilate slightly. Not to mention Meggan called me right then wondering where I was and I started ranting about what a shit show I was experiencing and how I was almost there, when then the GPS decided to start talking to me in French. W.T.F.

Par le voz blah blah blah. It then started beeping probably telling me I had arrived at my destination, only 180000 times because my car kept driving and the french lady on the system was confused because I was already there. I took Spanish in high school. I then missed my turn off to passenger pick off and started driving to the parking garage. French GPS lady went batshit crazy. And I couldn’t turn her off because the entire car system was now in French including the air conditioning and weather machine. My car turned into an icicle. A literal icicle. I don’t understand Celcius. Hashtag stupid American. Meanwhile cars were honking at me because they were waiting to get a ticket and go into the garage to park and jet off to the Maldives or wherever they were going. I went through the ticket machine, then pulled to the side of the road where a few construction workers were with their large honky-tonky jeeps. Knowing my friend was waiting, I felt the panic and ran to the worker blabbering about how I was actually really smart but turned off the wrong exit and shed a few invisible tears and then told him how I needed help and had to pick my friend and blah blah blah. The older, white-haired man looked at me like I was on crack and pointed off in some direction giving me the “wow, stupid people do exist in this world” look. Life is humbling.

Not wanting to drive in a huge loop around the airport, I decided to call Meggan basically crying telling her my problem and that I didn’t know French to which she was probably realllll confused what was going on. Me too Meggan, me too. I then decided that I could maybe cheat and pick her up in the parking garage if we could manage to find each other. Clinging to my phone and cowboy hat while some 80’s music blared from my radio, I drove through the garage praying the airport police wouldn’t come arrest me. (You know how they are about making sure no one stops longer than a second to pick some one up or else you will get whistled at and issued a ticket… exaggeration). I called Meggan for the 67th time and I eventually found her, after she semi-leaped over from passenger pick up to the garage.

I was so relieved I had finally found her and hadn’t been arrested in the process. She got a kick out of the sign. Mostly probably because she is not that gangster in the scheme of things and I had referred to her as Meggan D-Money. I had thought of bringing balloons, but decided I didn’t want to kill a sea turtle when the balloons ended up in the ocean. See, Al Gore, people do care about the environment. I then had to pay three dollars for being in the parking lot all of ten minutes. Just imagine how much it costs to park there for an actual vacation period time. Airports are the best.

I am pretty sure Meggan found this whole scenario just hilarious while I had been two heart beats away from a full blown cardiac arrest. It doesn’t take a lot to rile me up I guess. I also hate being late thanks to a mother who growing up was never on time. Childhood trauma will do that to you.

So Anyway, the real morals of the story are to make your friends take a cab home and learn French while you still can.


I Now Know NPR is Not the Only Radio Station…Thank You Mother

(So this will be quick and sweet and goes like this (said out loud in a sing-songy voice):

Growing up, I was one of those kids whose parent’s believed that the driver was in control of the Radio (which could have very well been just a made up rule to avoid listening to Radio Disney) and that kid’s should not be trusted with this task. I find it incredibly ridiculous that parent’s will leave their child during the day and allow strangers to spew information into their little impressionable heads (by stranger’s I mean teachers), yet won’t let them make the big decisions in life like to set the mood of their day to some Hilary Duff or Backstreet Boys. Nothing says a good morning like jamming out to NYSNC.

Anyways, I WAS one of those kids who had the pleasure of listening to Prairie Home Companion, NPR, Karl Sagen, Bob Simon, Ryan Warner and all those super over-educated radio voices whenever I was in the car….which was frequently. Biking or walking to my thousands of “enriching” activities including but not limited to Chinese dance, Chinese lessons, African dance, chess club, soccer, art, piano, flute, mother-daughter book club (true story), bell choir, church choir,  volunteering and many other’s that obviously was just too much. I mean look at me now (and I am not referring to that annoying Drake song). I am such a good infant adult probably because of all those activities.

I had the pleasure of listening to interesting journalistic pieces about feminism in Guatemala, why guacamole causes autism, the fall and rise of the Bush family, 10 reasons why America sucks, 34 reasons why being politically active matters and millions of other super quirky and VERY important topics that if I did not listen to as a 7 year old, I probably would not get into Harvard and end up homeless and smoking crack. Hashtag NPR Saves Lives.

In reality, I just wanted to pre-teen jam out to some Hil Duff and bop out to Radio Disney until my head exploded with pop culture. Unfortunately my reality was education. I think my mom just believed that being a mom did not mean she had to give up her right to be educated instead of having her brain turn to Radio Disney mush. Go Mom. But to her credit, for Christmas she did buy all of those terrible teen bop CD’s and eventually bought me a CD player to listen to in the car. I have a feeling that a lot of relationships could be salvaged if there were two radios in the car.

But the point of all of this is that today in 2014, I have satellite radio with thousands of options, normal radio, pandora, spotify and my IPOD to listen to in the car and I still choose NPR. Dear lord. This is a sad, but true fact. I love NPR. I love Garrison Keeler. Prairie Home Companion (I even know all the running jokes and find them hilarious). I also love me some news updates about Sudan and other countries only a NPR journalist would travel to and find the most obscure and interesting stories. Not to mention, the weekend news with Bob Simon and local Colorado reporting with CPR. I even have learned to tolerate the monthly pledge drives. You know it’s bad when you say you can tolerate the monthly pledge drives. That’s true love.

So to all those Mom’s out there-I would force feed NPR and CPR down your child’s ears. It’s the best advice I have and probably will ever have in my life.

And to my Mom, thanks…I guess….for making me an educated person. It was the least you could do.

So to all those drivers out there, if your going to roll down your windows at blast Miley and her wrecking ball, I will return the favor and roll down my windows and blast NPR. Hallelujah. Maybe it’s a passive aggressive way to combat those people who blast Miley like it’s their job. But at least I am being an educational passive aggressive person.  So much better.

He Went to Jared! Turns Out Television Advertising Still Works.

You know that jewelry store that is on every billboard, magazine ad, television ad and has permeated so far into our culture that most female, mid-twenty, looking for a proposal somewhere in America know’s it’s name? Well, if you don’t-it’s called Jared. I think it’s official title is Jared, the Galleria of Jewelry or something trying to sound high-class when really it’s located in most suburban malls. Classy. Their main tagline is has turned into the whole hashtag phenomena, we just can’t shake it if we try. If this is my mother reading this (mostly likely is considering she is my only reader), I still don’t have a good definition for ‘Hashtag’ that would make sense to you other than being that it just makes life more funny….at least to me. Anyways, Jared-the Galleria of Jewelry has a saying that goes along with the brand that goes like this, “He Went to Jared.” I guess they aren’t a fan of the whole lesbian movement. I mean, females who want to propose to their girlfriend are probably already sending Jared angry, feminist letters ranting about why their tagline is discriminating and hurts not only their, but every lesbian in the world’s feelings. I’m sure that they do get these letters and complaints all the time.

So, other day I was getting my yearly eye check-up to make sure I don’t have glaucoma like my Aunt’s dog, or that my blood vessels aren’t fusing together in my eye or some other reason that I was told to get me to go to the doctor. I hate going to doctors. Bed side manner has seriously been lacking since the 70’s. After a lovely eye doctor assistant had a machine blow air in my eye while I stared at a fuzzy picture of a hot air balloon, it was determined I don’t have glaucoma. Hallelujah. She then took photos of each of my eye close up with some fancy microscope device while reminding me to open my eyes really big. It was struggle, I have Asian eyes. And that isn’t racist, I am Asian. I then went to sit down in the puke-pink colored chair while waiting for the doctor, Mr. Person (that is not a joke), to come visit me. If any of you have been to a doctor you know exactly what shade of puke-pink I am talking about. It basically is Pepto-Bisoml’s uglier cousin who looks on the verge of death.

As I was sitting in the ugly cushioned chair, my mother decided now was the time to talk about college studies, her hopes and dreams for me and what would happen if I went blind. Doctor’s offices brings out every worry a mother could ever have. Also, why was my mom at my eye doctor appointment. I am nineteen and a full-fledged, infant, almost-two year old adult. I tried to get her to leave to which I was reminded of who pays for my medical insurance-I immediately shut up. I was saved from further sMOTHER questioning (it is not a coincidence that mother is part of the word smother) when Doctor Person walked in to the room. Like any well behaved and raised person, I stood up and shook his hand and went through all the necessary small talk that is required of human interactions. He then sat on his little swivel stool and asked me all about my eyes. I nodded in the appropriate spots and after many important questions I oohed and ahed too. I basically confirmed to him that my vision is just fine. Even though my mother fed me lots of Vitamin D as a child, I still have to wear contacts and glasses and am terribly near-sighted. Meaning without any prescription, I can only see about a foot in front of my face clearly with the background being blurry as shit.

He then brought the massive butterfly-looking device down to my face and proceeded to ask me if I could see and which version was more clear.

“One or two”
“Two or three”
“Seven or Sixty-five”

Basically, they all looked the same level of clearness to me and I found the procedure extremely stupid. If any of you have been to a eye doctor, you know exactly what I am talking about. He then made me stare at a bunch of letters through the device, asking me to read the lines E,K,S,D and so on while changing the power and adjusting as necessary. My favorite part was when he would ask me if I could read the bottom line for him (the smallest in font) and I would say well if I squint and focus really hard and tilt my head to the left I kind of see the letter S. It turns out it was a D. D for dipshit. Aka me. Fortunately, Doc. Person found all my snarky and obnoxious comments a little funny and a pinch amusing. Apparently his prior patient was only Spanish-speaking and with his high-school level of Spanish, it was a real struggle. If his Spanish high-school instruction was anything like mine, he probably only knows Hola and can count from one to ten with a major american accent.

“Uno o dos”

At least his Spanish prepared him for this part. The poor patient probably wanted to strangle him. This seems like an appropriate spot to LOL, which no Mom, does not mean lots of love. LOL=haha. Got it?

Okay, moving on. Basically we learned that after all these tests my eye sight had gotten a little worse over the last year and he let me know that my prescription could use an adjustment to which I answered that I think I would live and didn’t really think life could get any more crystal clear than it was already. Sheryl had the sMOTHER insight to jump in and say that we would take the adjustment. I think she thought that somehow adjusting my eye-sight would allow me to hear her better and not just yes her all time. I have selective mother hearing like most of the daughter population of the world. Doc. Person then shared that my left eye would see better under this new prescription and it was like a shoe size, typically one of our feet is larger than the other one and adjusting a half size could make all the difference. I think that was supposed to be a doctor joke. I chose not to chuckle.

Like any typical Olson, I then decided to ask him questions about his life and basically become emotionally deep with him for a hot minute and find some mutual connection. Since my mother knows basically every person in Colorado (she is the extreme extrovert and sees every person as an opportunity to make a best friend while I see every person as an opportunity to get a disease or be murdered) and the Midwest, she found the connection for me. He was from North Dakota but went to college in Ohio where my Aunt lived for a while. This sixty-ninth degree of separation in my mother’s eyes basically made him and us like family. I also learned that like me, he had spent some time doing service work in Central America where he learned that he was a lot more American than he thought. Any American who doesn’t think they are that patriotic or doesn’t feel American just needs to leave the country for a while and will come back chanting USA USA USA and feeling like they should go buy a pick-up truck and thank God for Target, stop signs, paved roads and butter. I mentioned I was making a Paula Dean inspired meal that night, to which Mr. Person got really confused. Apparently he doesn’t watch Food Network or is part of some anti-discrimination group. I mean we all know what happened when Paula Dean uttered the N word. For the first time in her life people were throwing butter at her, instead of her throwing butter in every meal she made including vegetables and salad. I took this as an opportunity to remind him that she was the Southern, white-haired woman with crazy eyes who thought butter was a food group. My mother was five seconds away from inviting him to dinner. Again, she is a people person to say the least.

We parted ways with Doc. Person and went to the main lobby with all the different type of glasses staring back at you to check-out. A very lovely woman with massive bangs and a beautiful braid helped us wrap up the end of the visit. Apparently I forgot her name, even though she was very memorable. She had a huge silver bracelet on her left wrist with lots of beads and charms on it that caught my mother’s eye. All I was thinking at the time is, yay, Sheryl is about to make another friend and I will learn another random person’s life story.

Anyway, back to this bracelet-that is the star of this story. My mom gently grabbed her wrist as she was trying to talk to us about eye stuff-that was why we were there-and exclaimed what a beautiful piece of jewelry it was. The kind lady who I shall call Zelda responded that her husband had given it to her years ago as a gift and every time they traveled somewhere gave her a charm as a momento. My mom loved the little Eiffel tower and charm shaped like some European country and smiled at the pretty beads and other shapes. Zelda then launched into a story about how they had just returned from a trip through Europe to which my mother found exciting, because she too had been to that small, minimally tourist visited continent twenty years ago. It was yet another human bonding moment. My Mom then asked what every charm meant and which ones represented which countries. All I was thinking is, hey, this visit is about me an my non-glaucoma eyes and your making it about YOU? Typical my mother. L. O. L. As they were forming a new friendship over this bracelet, my mind immediately thought, oh shit, I am in a commercial right now. A TV crew is about to pop up and I will be on television in the next year.

I had this very bizarre but appropriate thought because of a flashback to a Jared (the galleria of jewelry) commercial I had seen on TV. The exact scenario in the commercial was playing out right in front of my eyes with my mother and Zelda. Cue the emotional music to make you want to buy something with someone approaching a stranger asking where they had got such a beautiful bracelet to which the woman said oh “HE WENT TO JARED.” After the catchphrase to which an image of the bracelet pops up and a sexy female voice says something along the lines of “buy her a gift for some stupid holiday that she will never forget. Our new line of holiday charm bracelets will be an instant conversation starter and memento of your expensive trip together.” Nothing says coming home from an expensive trip, only to spend more money on a piece of over-priced jewelry to remember this trip. What happened to just having a memory in your mind? Oh right, Alzheimer’s.

I literally felt like I was in the twilight zone. My college-educated, above-average in intelligence mother was falling right into the trap of the Jared (the galleria of jewelry) advertising and marketing campaign. How. Could. She. I raised her better than that! Only because I take every opportunity in life to correct her and remind her who the smart one in the family is, I slightly shook her shoulders and exclaimed that she was walking right into the lion’s den of advertising. Zelda thought this was hilarious after I explained to the both of them what was happening.

“Your right!”

Zelda shouted my two favorite combination of words at me, while my mother muttered them quietly (but not too quiet so I didn’t hear). I was literally so appalled that Jared’s whole advertising scheme that probably cost millions in dollars was playing out in front in me.

Sheryl soon found the humor after getting over that I had once again proved who was the smart(er) one.

So Dear Jared fortune 50000 company. Congratulations. All your advertising really does work. Unless there is some debby downer, such as myself there to stop a “Jared” moment from happening. I am not sorry. But, to be fair your jewelry really is beautiful even if some small child in a developing country is making it and being paid under minimum wage and whose health is deteriorating from the toxic metal. Really, your jewelry is gorgeous.

So the moral of the story of me going to see an eye doctor is that yes, he went to Jared and no, I will never be visiting that store anytime soon. Unless I do for some odd reason find myself in the suburbs with nothing better to do than buy a charm bracelet to remind me of my travels. That is about as likely to happen as me, at nineteen years, getting Alzheimer’s. And were not talking about selective Alzheimer’s when your mother asks what happened to _______ (fill in the blank).

I am my Mother and my Cat is me. Or is my Mother me and I am my Cat.

If you have a pet (and by pet I am not including a human child), even if it is not a cat, then by all means continue reading. If you don’t have a pet, you should probably go to your local humane society and buy yourself a cute little munchkin (once again not referring to a human child) and wait long enough until you start feeling parental feelings and then come back and read this. Like any good or semi-decent writer, I want you to be able to relate to my words.

I have never been a fan of people who have kids and feel like the rest of the normal, probably more sane rest of the population can not relate to you anymore. I have also in turn never been a fan of the non-human-life-nurturing people who think that they are above those with kids because they can still drink at all hours of the day and party like its 1988. I basically don’t like people. Also, people with kids still act like its 1988 and do stupid things. By stupid I mean drink. I wouldn’t know this from experience now would I am mom? Note to readers: My mother is not an alcoholic (maybe only in Mexico but who isn’t), but still enjoys a glass or red wine just as much as anyone else. Probably a lot more than a Mormon, but a lot less than me who still thinks wine tastes like aged vinegar and the only people who say that they like it is because they want to appear sophisticated and worldly. I know for a fact that drinking Trader Joes two buck chuck wine is nothing to brag about. However, my Aunt in small town Wyoming may think differently. I mean, to the townies of a small town, Trader Joe’s is probably considered fancy and two buck chuck wine may referring to label of a limited brand made in the valleys of France and sold only to the elite wino’s of the world. Two buck chuck refers to the price. Two dollars (and ninety-nine cents, but whose counting). On a side note, I am pretty sure the cashiers at that store think my mother and I are alcoholics because we purchase an usual high amount to divide between family members that don’t have access to the cheap wine of Trader Joes. We even come prepared with cushioned wine bags and nothing says obvious alcoholic like a customer who comes prepared. At least we brought money.

But, back to the point. My cat is my child. Although my mom says it’s actually her cat because she is the one who pays for it’s food and medical bills and houses it. Details. Had I know that those were the only things to qualify someone as a parent, I would have gotten a child a looong time ago. Especially now with universal healthcare and panhandling still being legal in most American cities. To be fair I do clip her nails, pick up her shit and brush her luscious fur, besides providing her all the love in the world of course. My cat and I have an emotional bond that extends beyond physical objects and the money that buys the physical objects. We have an understanding between each other and we really “get” each other. And I don’t mean “get” and “understand” like the contestants on the show,The Bachelor, who convince themselves they have ALL found their soul mate and partner in life after one conversation. I can tell my cat loves me in her eyes. I’m pretty sure that’s what every bachelor contestant said too. Yikes.

Seriously though, I love my cat and I don’t even know what love is because I am only nineteen. Obviously. But to be fair when I was five and I said I loved this boy in my class, I now know that I only thought I loved him at the time. My love for my cat extends way beyond loaning each other crayons and trading peanut-and-jelly for ham-and-cheese. The love I have for my cat is like nothing else. Not only does my cat give me unrelenting attention (even if it’s only a few minutes before she knows it’s her dinner time), but she agrees with every opinion I have ever had and never says anything mean back to me ever. I know this because I speak cat. But seriously, it’s like when you know that Harry Styles is looking and singing only to you at a concert-my cat is the greatest thing on earth and I know she feels the same way about me. Also, I have never been to see Harry Styles sing because I feel like that would make me crazy, and I just prefer to be crazy about my cat rather than a small British boy. But, if my cat had tens of thousand of people all over the world coming to see her stand on stage, sing and wiggle her body, I would obviously be front row and screaming like it was witnessing a miracle. I mean, it would be a singing cat. Whisky (her name) too has fabulous hair, interesting style and sucks up to anyone willing to give her a pat on the head and a treat. Harry styles and my cat are one of the same.

To all the non-believers, having a cat really is like having a child-only better. You can leave them home alone all day and all they do is sleep and wander around the house. And when you come home, they are absolutely thrilled to see you and you just have to give them a scratch on their head and they basically think you are Jesus. You don’t have to send them to school, wonder about what weirdos they are hanging out with or who they will become when they are older. Most likely because you know they will just end up fat and happy. Once again, cat’s are the greatest.

When I read the paragraph above, it oddly does remind me of my childhood. My mother may have not left my home alone allll day, but she did leave me for parts of the day. The fact that there was a babysitter or neighbor watching me is irrelevant. And I was almost never excited to see my mom when she came home, but mostly because she didn’t come with candy or soda everyday. She was one of those health conscious parents. She also didn’t have to send me to school, she chose to. And I always had great friends, I went to a private school which are notorious for only having only “normal” people go their. Anyone who wants to pay for their child’s education can’t be crazy. She also never has to worry that I will end up fat because of my skinny Asian genes, and knows I won’t always be happy because she raised a way to neurotic, expressive and artistic child, rather than one that just smiles all day and skips through fields of daffodils. I grew up in the city.

So the other day while I was casually thinking about family dynamics, I naturally thought about my own relationship with my cat-child. It freakishly reminds me of my relationship with my mother. I constantly want to play with cat’s fur, while my mom is always wanting to brush my hair or put it in some up-do she thinks will be life-changing. I am nineteen. I guess it’s a motherly instinct always wanting to adjust and play with their child’s hair. Everyday when I come home I immediately want to hug my cat and give her a big cuddle. Everyday she runs away from me, and if I do manage to squeeze and cuddle her she lets me know that she is not happy. Remember, I speak cat. As a mom, Sheryl always wants to hug me and I run away screaming-it’s an instinct at this point. It’s like blinking, it just happens. Whisky also never wants to go to bed when I want her to. She just looks at me like who-are-you-to-tell-me-what-to-do. I know the feeling Whisky, I feel ya. I also catch myself scolding my cat for cleaning her nails-as if I think it’s going to become a bad habit that will make her a bad person/cat in the future. I mean, who am I to tell her what not and to, to do. How will she form her own personality and understanding of the world if she doesn’t explore it herself and come to her own conclusions? Tell that to my mother. I also caught myself at a vet appointment asking Mr. Sharky (yes, that is the vet’s name) if Whisky was at an optimum weight and height for her age and breed. Flashback to every year at my physician appointment. Shoot, she is an inch too tall for her percentile-she probably won’t make friends or have a fulfilling life.

So basically it’s like deciding which came first, the chicken or the egg. But in this case, I came first because I’m older than my cat and was here first. Unless were talking cat years because I think you multiple by seven. But I was still physically here first. It’s probably not a good thing that I learned my cat parenting skills from my mother. Because look how I turned out. It would be really weird if my cat-child turned into a nineteen year old human child. Talk about a bad parent. When you really look at, my parenting skills are exactly like the one’s I was raised on. And I didn’t even get a written manual. I just made up the rules as I went. Unlike my mother, I was not reading parenting books and going to PTA meetings and hearing about my child’s social interactions with other children from their parents. Although, I do know that everyone think’s that Whisky is great and very social. Except from Spunky, the dog across the street. She loathes my cat. What a bully.

I do know for a fact that I am turning into my mother, but that’s a whole different enchilada. Aka a really long story. I really am concerned that the way my mom raised me has transferred to my own child through the forces of nature and nurture. So while I am slowly becoming my mother, does that mean Whisky is slowly becoming me? So I am basically my cat, but was here first? And if my cat has kids, they will through the degrees of connection be me? I am not ready for grandchildren. Even if I wouldn’t have to change their diapers. I am too young-said every grandma in the world. So yes, I know my cat is cat-child and I am my mother’s daughter. What more is there to know.

Jury Duty-Living the American Dream

I feel like I should start by saying that this is a fictional story (Hi NSA). Well mostly. Not Really. It’s true. But only a little. By little I mean a lot. But just the first sentence. Actually all of it. Never mind. You can decide for yourself. So I am neither confirming nor denying that this is true or false or based on fiction or a non-fictional event that I saw in the news or happened to me or my distant cousin who is actually like a sister to me in the Midwest.

To say it was an experience would be the understatement of the century. And we are privileged enough to have Miley Cyrus as part of this century. It was an organized shit show bringing together “the lucky chosen” from the lottery of the citizens of Denver and forcing them to participate in the judicial system. I later learned that a surprising amount of my fellow potential jurors had been through the judicial system themselves, either recently or in their reckless youth and felt as though they were coming full circle. Cue that song from the Lion King. I’m sure it was a very emotional moment for them.

After passing on jury duty once because of prior, very important obligations, karma picked me again and I was summoned to fulfill my civic duty. After hearing stories from my friends and family, I assumed I would just have to go to the court house and sit in a room waiting to get called, only to get dismissed a few hours later because I weren’t qualified enough as a person. Or human. Yes, that was my dream for the day. Martin Luther King would be proud. Dream big or go home. I would have liked to. Go home that is.

I arrived at the courthouse ahead of schedule with a yogurt in my hand and a scowl on my face. I mean, does anyone wake up feeling excited to go to jury duty? I later learned that there are people, or at least one person. It was like meeting a unicorn.  After going through the equivalent of airport security and getting stopped for security to buzz down my hair-apparently my hair tie had potential to cause major harm-I followed the marked signs and bright arrows to my doom. To say that the night before I hadn’t been lying in bed and thought of hiring someone off of Craigslist to be me for the day, or wondering if stating I had restless leg syndrome would help me avoid this day would be a lie. But when a very stern, expertly styled older lady with aggressive make-up and large, presumably fake jewels glared me down while I signed in, I thought I had made a good adult decision to show up. That and the fact that my mother told me that telling them I had restless leg syndrome would be a blantant lie and could affect my entire future. Thank you Mom, I was joking. I wouldn’t actually do that because I already knew it wouldn’t work. See, all that money for private school did teach me deductive reasoning and logic if anything else. My public school friends would have never known this.

As I walked into the massive room full of rows of seats with people pretending that they were talking their smart phones to passive aggressively communicate to any future seatmate that they don’t want to do any small talk, I immediately felt like I was at the airport. Adding to this feeling was that no one really wanted to be there this early, and there was a variety of eclectic style from the I-just-woke-up flannel pajama man to the perfectly tailored business woman tapping on her blackberry who had obviously more important things to do and let all of us know it. She was in a very fancy suit. I chose a seat near the front next to a man who appeared to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown and was madly fanning himself with his juror summon slip. Calm down buddy, your last few hairs are not going anywhere on your balding head. Okay I didn’t think that at the time, only just now. And yes, I know that is mean to even write or think and balding men have feelings too, probably more than the average person if I’m being honest.  After pretending to busy on my phone, the already quiet room became silent as a lady began lecturing us from the podium. Let the games begin. I then felt like I was in the Hunger Games and knew I would have to volunteer as tribute-I mean juror-to save my new, sweating bald seat mate who was basically like my sister Primrose Everdeen.

We were all told to turn our head to the left as a video about the importance of jurors in the legal system began. This reminded me of the safety video on airplanes as none of us really were paying attention to the rules, but knew it was important in case the plane crashed or the more likely chance of discovering if jury duty really was like an episode of Law & Order. I mean, that show and Mariska Hargitay are really convincing. I then remember some man’s voice (likely a hired actor cast as grateful citizen one) saying something along the lines of how much he learned and how he eventually had a lot of fun being part of the process. The rolling of the eyes around the room was universally felt. How much money did he make for saying that?  The video finally ended and the lady at the podium told us it was a busy day of cases and we would likely be chosen, at least out of this room to the next phase in the selection process. 3304, 4405, 2084…..Is this a raffle? I oddly wanted my number to be called just because of the pure boredom. I was simply ecstatic when I heard my number and proceeded to the back of the room as several people glanced up at me. Yes, be jealous-I was picked and you have to continue sitting and being a non-important citizen.

The overly perky interns dressed in their perfect smart casual outfits ushered us to the elevators like cattle going to their doom. At least there was air conditioning. We were then told that we could choose the healthy option to expedite this process by taking the stairs. Like any respectable citizen, I chose not to. Sorry mom. About a hundred of us were gathered outside a courtroom while the interns told us that they were going to take roll call. Joy. I was called early to walk into the courthouse where I proceeded to sit down in the jury box. The chairs had cushion while the audience benches did not and damn it I wanted to be comfortable.

The judge then walked in the room in his black gown with a surprising smile on his face telling us all to sit down as we did the respectable thing to stand up. Blah blah blah, importance of being here, civic duty, legal system wouldn’t work without us, welcome, be honest, raise your right hand etcetera etcetera etcetera. My ears then perked up after hearing actual information. It turns out that this was going to be a week long first degree murder trial. I immediately like no one else in the room texted my mother in excitement. It’s not a traffic violation, this is exactly like Law & Order! Hashtag this is getting real.

After shuffling around the room again, I was chosen as one of the forty-five to be further questioned. It’s weird how every time they narrowed down the selection process, I sat there hoping my name would be called, yet knowing that I did not want to be called. I’m sure there is a syndrome or disorder that this feeling is categorized under. I should call my psychologist Aunt in Wyoming and ask her. Next to me in the jury box was a woman carrying a large bag that looked very distressed and annoyed that she had to be here. Welcome to the club girlfriend. I heard her tell an intern that she had to pump milk and wouldn’t know when until a moment before. Here we go. The summon slip did not ask me to bring a change of clothes. I guess at the time I thought her milky bodily fluids were going to explode on me at any moment. She was actually very lovely and later explained every facet of motherhood to me including breast milk and we became best friends…..for the day.

This middle part is a bit of a blur considering the annoying repetition and drawn out low voice of the judge giving the questions and scolding us for thinking we had important events in our lives that would prevent us for serving for a week. Nothing comes before our civic duty. Amurica. Yes I meant America, but America sounds like a white-educated person while Amurica sounds like the average hobunk citizen such as myself-I grew up in middle-class Denver.. He then asked if before we started if any of us would have a serious obligation this week, reminding us that his definition of important was probably not ours. The amount of hands in the air-I admit-made me chuckle as the slew of excuses began pouring in. Apparently being pregnant and having trouble sitting, being a single-mother of two infants whose husband was deployed, a family reunion, having a final in a doctorate program, being short-staffed, a video game tournament (he was ranked in the top 100 to his defense and I named him Mr. Personality) and having a brother getting married on the East Coast were all excuses worth of being shunned like a child. There were also many people with PTSD from the Vietnam War, a local shooting, serving as a juror on a prior murder case and Mr. Personality who decided to tell us he basically had PTSD from every life experience including a video game that gave him nightmares. Me too, buddy, me too. I know this is very insensitive to say, but I was about to have PTSD from listening to all these people rant on about their lives. The only person the judge did dismiss was ironically a juror who worked for the District Attorney’s office. The judge found this hilarious because of the obvious irony to only me and him and her in the situation. I think I was the only juror who enjoyed irony. Life is full of it. She was replaced by one of the extra cattle from the back. Yee-ha. We were also informed that this was a case not seeking the death penalty. I am 90% positive that some of the jurors did not know what the death penalty really meant and just gasped because they it was an appropriate reaction.

The judge then proceeded to introduce us to the defense and prosecution which was like night and day-or a warm fuzzy blanket and an angry black bear charging at you. The prosecution consisted of two warm smiling people from the District Attorney’s Office, while the defense was a single well-aged silver fox that had likely swallowed one too many lemons and probably competed in lots of triathlons to release the stress of having to deal with people like me on a daily basis.  Sitting next to the angry silver fox was a much older balding man who we later learned was in fact the man who had been accused of murder. I know I wasn’t listening that well, but after conferring with my new best friends after the break, it was confirmed that they did not mention that the actual accused was sitting in the room. My mommy best friend for the day thought like me that he was another lawyer for the defense. Not to judge-okay I was absolutely judging the man; he looked capable of nothing more than maybe simply throwing a fit at Applebee’s because his biscuit was too crispy and he didn’t ask for vegetables and got them anyway. He probably didn’t tip very well either.

Each side then had maybe thirty minutes plus to ask us a variety of questions that consisted of hypothetical situations (to indirectly test our knowledge of the judicial system), to what we thought about gun control and if we thought it was fair that the DA’s had the burden of proof in the situation. A man who mentioned he had children also got asked a theoretical question involving stolen cookies and which of his children he would believe even if there was chocolate on one of the accused faces. It was a dead giveaway that the head prosecution was a mom and trying to demonstrate she could relate to us peasants. Oh, and since all moms are good citizens and naturally never lie, we should believe everything she says and vote with the prosecution if chosen for the jury. She said all of this with pearls, a modest suit and a Kennedy-styled bob and big whitened smile. I trusted her immediately. Most of us answered in concise and vague answers, while others decided that this was the time to tell their life story and share every opinion they had especially when they were not asked to. I’m pretty sure there are support groups for this, and the public courtroom is not one of them.

After the judge asked if any of us had been arrested, a surprising amount of people raised their hands and were then forced to share with the entire room. It was like going to an AA meeting-and I haven’t even been to one, but through pop culture and word of mouth can assume what they are like. Welcome to 2014. We weren’t forced to collectively say hi to them or say that we were here from them, but it did feel appropriate to do in the moment. I had to bite my tongue. A middle-aged man said that twenty years ago he was for possession of marijuana (that good a good chuckle), a nice lady said she had used her sister’s ID and been caught (she added she was deeply ashamed), Mr. Personality (who showed up in flannel pants and a neon shirt with his beer belly sticking out) said he had gotten out of jail a few years ago for possession (shocking) and another guy with very intentionally greasy hair said he had been in and out of the judicial system as a troubled kid. All I was thinking is…these people all have just as much as say as I do (not that I am all that great) through voting nationally and locally-this explains a lot about this country.

We were then asked if we had taken any sort of law classes in high school, college or beyond not including the arbitrary civic high school class. A few people were law students, two or three lawyers, my mommy best friend for the day was a victim’s advocate, some past mock-trial students and a half of dozen people had taken a college class. I shared that I had been part of a Constitutional Scholar team in high school, and the judge then asked if I had gone to a particular high school and then asked if I had fun at the National competition in DC. I smirked and he smiled and the judge and I formed a special bond right then of which I was the only one who felt it. Yay.

Apparently it’s also important to know if any of the jurors have family or friends who worked with in the judicial system. Basically everyone did-although I am pretty sure the judge was not referring to distant cousins, college friends or family they don’t speak to in the Midwest. Also doctorate program candidate threw out that he was a park ranger for four years growing up. So there’s that.  Mr. Personality also last minute shared that he had a second cousin in the South who worked as a detective but he never spoke to. I learned that we all have a cousin or neighbor or roommate or relative who somehow are connected to the judicial system and that they don’t talk about their work and it hasn’t affected any of our belief systems and none of us thought it would prevent us from being a fair and perfect juror. Only that lesson took about an hour to learn with the perfect political correctness of the lawyers asking the questions and the two follow up questions asking if we were sure and positive of our prior answer and then asking this of forty-five people who were all tired, hungry and cranky. It was basically like talking to a bunch of babies-some of which were more educated and some who just mumbled and drooled. Literally.

The sharply dressed interns then brought a massive television in with seven questions on the screen after the request of the judge. At that point I decided to ironically call him The Judge because that is what he is and it seemed appropriate because he kept looking at me and judging me. Plus to the average citizen Judy is Judge Judy, so he can be The Judge from now on. We were then asked to stand up and answer each question which included the following: to introduce yourself, education level, any family of friends working in the judicial system (didn’t we already cover this?), our relationship status, if we had kids and our hobbies. Yes, they wanted to know if we crochet, camp, have fetishes and love long walks on the beach. I’m pretty sure there is a website for the last question whose name starts with E and ends with Harmony. After hearing forty-five too many life stories (I didn’t really want to hear my own either), The Judge then shared that each side had an hour to ask us follow-up questions. An hour. Each. There was a collective silent groan-because all of us wanted to pretend we were considerate people who didn’t loudly groan in public. The memorable follow up questions started with Mr. Personality sharing that he was an anarchist and would side with the defense because he had a horrible time in jail, but did not resent our judicial system and would be a fair juror-which I’m pretty sure had nothing to do with the question he was asked or made any sense to anyone including the overly-educated, well-aged silver fox representing the defense. Even Mr. Hotshot was confused. There was also the older man who had a breakdown involving his PTSD from Vietnam and shared a brief war story and his problem with murder who then started to cry as the defense continued to semi-yell at him and then remind him that this was a serious matter and wondering if he could complete his service as a fair juror based on his experience. The man said he had doubts, but not serious doubts and could muster up the strength to do it if picked. Again this took like four follow-up questions to come to the conclusion that was already known that yes, he could be a juror. It was like listening to Chris Christie explaining to the public he had nothing to with the closing of the bridge, then hear every news program analyze his statement, then hear every late night show comedic make fun of him and then hear everyone laugh as the situation was discussed in an interview with him, Chris Christie, a week later. We learned nothing more than we already knew.

Another interesting gal tried to claim that she was the sole guardian of her two toddler nieces and could not be here. But then after further interrogation by The Judge, who caught her in a lie, said that she meant guardian for the week-not life. Obviously. The Judge was not happy and seemed surprised that someone would lie, or simply not state the whole truth. Shit happens buddy. My mommy best friend then said she needed to go pump (I immediately ducked in cover of fear of an explosion of milk), but conferred with the interns and said she could wait until the upcoming break. It was also discovered during this questioning that one woman clearly did not know English. As the judge tried to figure out if she was just not mentally there or actually did not know the English language, my fellow jurors all quietly shouted out “she doesn’t speak English.” I had a brief flashback to the movie Mean Girls and wanted to stand up and shout “she doesn’t even go here.” But my reference would probably not have been appreciated or understood by anyone but myself. The movie Mean Girls is a classic.

Being a little annoyed and feeling extra feisty I decided to share with the defense that no one owns a gun without the intent of killing, yet I still believed in the second amendment. I don’t think he liked it. I later learned that he indeed hated my opinion. I was trying to be neutral and normal until I heard everyone else’s ridiculous beliefs and opinions and felt the urge to share my own. Sharing is caring. The nice-but probably fake nice for show-prosecution asked the man who said he had a family reunion if he could go to the lunch on Thursday during break and refrain from drinking and becoming inebriated enough to return in the afternoon for jury duty. He said that while his family really enjoyed beer and it would be tough, he could do it. It’s not a marathon buddy. Of course you can do it.

The Judge then said that there was going to be an hour lunch break and they would start dismissing people after we returned. Why not before? Oh because we wouldn’t want it to be too convenient for anyone but of course. My mommy best friend immediately ran to handle her milky bodily needs (I assumed) and the rest of us ran off to get lunch, coffee and deal with the fact that after four hours we still didn’t know if we were on or off the jury. I ran downstairs to get a chai and call my mom to complain and share everything that had happened (who else would listen)? There was a lot of why me in the conversation, while convincing myself and her that it was kind of interesting. I also realized I still had forty-five minutes of doing nothing before I had to go back to doing nothing. Productivity at it’s finest. I decided to do the thing I do in airports and get annoyed at for other people doing-making awkward small talk that is usually emotionally deep for a hot minute with people I will never see again. I ended up having a riveting conversation outside the locked courtroom with two fellow potentials (our self-given nicknames). Mr. Personality returned and I immediately looked at it as an opportunity to entertain myself. That’s not mean either. If you aren’t being used or using other people, you’re not useful, you’re useless. I’m pretty sure that quote is from the always reliable Kanye West. True story. So it turns out there is a lot more to video gaming then I ever knew or wanted to know. Mr. Personality tried to convince me that running a fortune 500 company was just like being the captain of his crew on this game because he too was managing hundreds of people all over the world who weren’t as smart as him and he was in a position of “a lot of responsibility.” I think he compared it to international business because he had to deal with some annoying prick in Australia and it was difficult because of the time and cultural differences. He also told me that there was no better rush then playing speed chess.  He then added other than sex. Thank you Mr. Personality. Fortunately I was saved by the bell and didn’t have to hear him explain the why part of his later story.

The courtroom was opened up again by the smart casual interns and we all filed in, again, like cattle going to their death. The Judge dismissed seven people of his choice including the non-english speaker, several of the PTSD potentials, the potential who had a family wedding and a few other non-memorable potentials. All I was thinking is you are going to dismiss a lady for a wedding but not the moaning, obviously in pain pregnant woman? She is carrying life! It was that moment I lost all faith in our judicial system.

After those people left, they were replaced by people in the back of the room and questioned by both sides and went through all the millions of questions we had to answer from The Judge. One replacement decided to make his own public service announcement that he would actually enjoy serving as a juror and wanted to be picked. Yes, he was the previously mentioned unicorn. Obviously a past teacher’s pet. One of the replacements was also a nice older woman who obviously did not understand English, but kept telling us she did. But then said only kind of, but mostly, sort of, everything, but just a little. She was dismissed and replaced again. The Judge then announced that each side could dismiss up to eleven people and would start voting us off the island. The prosecution shockingly dismissed Mr. Personality. I knew we were all sad to him go and mourned him for a hot minute. At least I could take off my sunglasses from the glare of his neon shirt. The defense dismissed my mommy best friend and life-long victim’s advocate. Prosecution dismissed a person who couldn’t deal with graphic images. Defense dismissed the opinionated college professor. Prosecution dismissed the pained pregnant woman. And then shockingly, the defense dismissed Ms. Olson. Aka me. In that moment I felt like the second runner-up to Ms. America. A little sad because I came so close in a lengthy and tiring process, but relieved I also wouldn’t have to fulfill such a boring duty, but okay with the turnout because I knew deep down that I had botched the personal question (I should have just said peace and education). I was also not devastated because I had met amazing and inspirational people who would be “life-long friends.”

I then proceeded to get a double scoop of ice-cream from my favorite place because what else do you do after that kind of day. So the moral of the story is that no, it is not like an episode of Law & Order, but it is like Judge Judy and yes, the judicial system kind of sucks, but trial-by-jury and innocent until proven guilty is still a lot better than the alternatives. And we as Americans only know it’s better than the alternatives because we haven’t tried the alternatives out of fear it could be worse than what we have in place now. Oh, and that we see how other countries do it and we as American’s always make the superior decisions, so of course our system is the best. I also left not feeling that great about the state of our society. I mean, where are these people hiding when they aren’t summoned to jury duty? We don’t have a forest in Denver. I also wondered what would even happen with the case and then thought of all the very real possibilities of mishaps, typos and forces of the universe that allow justice to be served. And while we were trying to get justice served, the defendant would probably continue to still eat at Applebee’s and bitch about the vegetables that come with every meal, only to end up in prison and then wonder where all the vegetables were in prison food. Actual possibility. I mean justice is really not ever served. The only people who really are served are the juror’s. Yes, it’s about us, ALWAYS. Well I guess we were summoned and not served. But the point is that no one wins. And even if one side feels like they won, they also lost and just don’t know it. At minimum they for sure lost a few minutes of their lives being blinded by the neon of Mr. Personality’s shirt. I didn’t know they sold neon in other states besides Florida.

So I really didn’t learn anything that I already didn’t know or assume during jury duty. But I fulfilled my civic duty and now the popo doesn’t have any reason to file a warrant for my arrest-at least that they know of for now. In twenty years I could be that potential juror everyone laughs at because twenty years ago I was arrested for smoking an e-cigarette vapor device. And I do know of people who have been issued a warrant for not showing up, or at least my neighbor’s cousin’s co worker in Texas had that happen to her and it was awful. Story of the world, isn’t it? We are all forced to care about everyone’s problems because while they aren’t happening to us, they in some way, shape or form affect us, will affect us or already have and we just don’t know it, and therefor are our problems right now. It’s the deductive reasoning skills we learn in Kindergarten that carry us on in our responsible, adult lives. I’m only one year into being an adult at nineteen and all. Do you want me making the “big” decisions about who belongs in our society and who belongs behind bars? Well I guess you don’t have to decide because I wasn’t selected as a juror. So you should probably find the well-aged silver fox somewhere in Colorado that ate one too many lemons and is a triathlete to deal with all his angst (from having to question idiots like me) and thank him for having the sensibility of not choosing an infant adult. That is right ladies and gentleman, I am an infant adult. I mean, god only knows how long this would be had I been selected for a week. You are welcome.