Pinterest and Facebook are full of of pictures with inspirational quotes on them. Sentimentality for sentimentality’s sake doesn’t work on me. I have no ill will towards the people it does inspire, it’s just like how broccoli just tastes bitter to some people – you know, because of genetics and shit. So, when I see these rampantly shared images, my gut reaction is a little different from the people who love them. I get unspired, if you will. Here’s some side-by-side comparisons: on the left, inspiring inspirational inspirement and on the right, my brain’s rejection of it. (P.S. I do know that “unspired” is not a word and there’s “uninspired” as a real word, but “uninspired” suggests that there was an expectation of it being inspired, and I just don’t feel that way, so I made up a word instead).
Pinterest and Facebook are full of of pictures with inspirational quotes on them. Sentimentality for sentimentality’s sake doesn’t work on me. I have no ill will towards the people it does inspire, it’s just like how broccoli just tastes bitter to some people – you know, because of genetics and shit. So, when I see these rampantly shared images, my gut reaction is a little different from the people who love them. I get unspired, if you will. Here’s some side-by-side comparisons: on the left, inspiring inspirational inspirement and on the right, my brain’s rejection of it.
I hate shopping for clothes. Even more specifically, I hate trying on clothes. I hate every moment of the experience.
First of all, I’ve seen too many “very special episodes” of TV shows about shoplifting to not know that there’s some person sitting at some control booth watching me change. We all know you’re out there, you mouth breathers with your bar-b-cue potato chip fingers, just waiting to catch me shoving tank tops and bras into my purse. When I arrive at the changing room and I do a weird dance in front of the mirror with both my middle fingers in the air – that is directed at you, sir or madam.
I also hate the number cards they pass out when you go and try clothes on. Never are my insecurities over my ability to count so tested as when I have to come up with the correct number of garments I want to wriggle in and out of as quickly as I can in that florescent nightmare of a room. What if I give the wrong number? Will I waste away in prison, cursing myself for my inability to correctly tally up pants? Will those miscounted pants – the two I never had in the first place, become an enduring mystery, like D.B. Cooper’s money? “Nobody knows where C.E. Williford may have hidden those two pairs of khakis. We may never know,” Dateline will tell it’s viewers. “But I didn’t! I didn’t hide two pairs of khakis, I just count worse than a toddler,” I will yell, but it will fall on deaf ears.
Last week I had to face the harsh reality that I have grown too fat for all but two pairs of pants – one pair of capris, and one pair of black jeans. I live in the South, which means in the summer it feels like a sadistic grandma is smothering you with a soaking wet hot quilt. If my black jeans had them, they would have rolled their eyes hearing me explain that although it’s 102 degrees outside, I’m sure if I stay in the shade it’ll be fine. But, even I am not that delusional. I only had one pair of useable pants. This was a sad realization, and doubly so because it meant having to buy new pants.
I made my way to the local Super Target, grabbed 3 different pairs of pants of varying sizes (I did count correctly – things were looking up), and headed to the dressing room. Even if there’s a lock on the door, I have a constant fear of being walked-in on, like someone will pick the lock because they’re certain nobody’s in there. This has never actually happened to me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t worry about it; it’s is a free country.
I quickly tried on all three pairs of pants. I bet I looked like a contestant on Double Dare trying to get through the obstacle course in time. One after the other – none of them fit. They were too small. After removing and individually cursing each pair, I gathered my things and left the dressing room. As instructed by the attendant (is that the right word for that job?), I left the unwanted and now cursed pants on a giant pile for someone else to put back (that always bothers me, I feel like I’m shirking my responsibility to put things back where they belong).
This is when a rational person would then get some larger sizes to go back and try on. No. I don’t go back in to dressing rooms after I’ve gone once. I take the information I gathered from the first trip – “those pants were too small for me” – and jump to conclusions – “the next size up is obviously the correct choice.” I went to the pants what were the least tightest and bought the next size up, being so thankful that I’m smart enough to outwit a second trip to try pants on.
The next morning I woke up and grabbed my new pair of pants and I swear I heard my formerly sole pair of pants, a crumpled, broken heap in the corner of the room, crying tears of joy.
The new pants are too big. Did I return them and resign myself to another voyage to the fitting room? I think we all know the answer to that. No, they’re not so big that I can’t wear them. I just need a belt. If the belt were a tied rope, yes, I would look like a hobo. But, I would rather look like an overweight hobo who still somehow manages to have pants that are too big than take my clothes off at a place other than my own home for the second time in a week.
Life is about growing, learning lessons that help you improve yourself. With age comes wisdom and all that jazz. What lesson did I learn from The Ballad of Buying a Second Pair of Pants? Fuck lessons.
This post was in response to Studio30 Plus‘ writing prompts this week.
Last Monday my mom came down with a nasty GI bug. Then, the next day, Tom got sick. We’re pretty sure they both got it from my 3 year old niece.
During those few days I was magically unscathed, I took care of them figuring I’d get sick Wednesday or Thursday. I even tweeted about it.
I’m Florence Nightingale over here with a sick mom and husband (if Florence was like, “if you need anything, text me.”)
— Carrie Williford (@cannibal_nerd) June 12, 2012
I keep hoping that helping out two sick people will bring the reward of not getting sick but I’ve seen Contagion and know better.
— Carrie Williford (@cannibal_nerd) June 12, 2012
But then Wednesday came and went. Then Thursday, and Friday, and Saturday. “Holy fucking shit,” I thought to myself, “maybe I’ll actually be spared.” And that is what the germs were waiting for. They don’t just make you sick, they are sick.
At about 1:30am early Sunday morning, I woke up. I didn’t feel so good. Deep down (in my sick stomach) I knew. But, this was the very beginning, the Phase 1. Phase 1 consists of me steeling myself to not get up and barf because if I don’t, then I’m not sick. This is a sad, proud phase. I think even the germs feel sorry for people during this phase, because they know this is a stupid phase, and they know you know it is, too.
Inevitably, I just felt too bad to not get up and barf, and so I did. And you know what? I felt better. This, I believe, is the germs’ favorite phase. Phase 2: throwing up the one time and then thinking, “that wasn’t so bad, I think I’ll go back to sleep.” Oh, how the germs revel in that last grasp at optimism, that naive hope.
Soon, Phase 3: the aches and fever set in. I couldn’t sleep, but everyone else was asleep, so I couldn’t complain to anyone. That left me with my thoughts. My weird, crazy, stomach-virus-fever-thoughts. The two I remember were:
-My feet were cold, but I didn’t want to move to get any socks and also thought I would die if I tried to put socks on. So, instead of getting socks, this played in a loop in my head: Get your feet iced up, grab a stick of Juicy Fruit. Over and over and over.
- “I feel so bad, if someone were to prop me up next to Hitler, I would probably just let them take a picture of us together.”
At 3am, after accepting the fact that I was not getting back to sleep and deciding that my fever thoughts were not the best way to pass the time, I went downstairs to watch TV. I watched two and a half hours of Three’s Company, with violent vomit episodes coming to knock on my door once every thirty minutes. This brought about Phase 4 – “oh my God, there’s nothing left in my stomach, I should not have to barf anymore, isn’t there some kind of form I can fill out and turn in that will stop it?” No, there is not. This is the phase of deciding the bathroom floor is as good as any bed, and deciding that food is for chumps, I’m not bothering with it anymore.
Then, morning came, and I could boss Tom around and tell him to do things for me and I didn’t have to throw up anymore, and a Futurama marathon came on, and Phase 5 arrived: the only time I ever, ever eat Jello. And it was good. I ate my Jello, and besocked my own feet, and felt thankful that the worst was over.
Any good fever-thoughts you’d like to share with me so we can all laugh about them since it’s in the past?
As I’ve mentioned too many times already, we just moved from Atlanta back to North Carolina, where both Tom and I are from.
I was going through my phone pictures and I found two little examples of things I’ll miss from our time in Georgia.
The first is from the Japanese restaurant near our house. There’s a mural with lots of rabbits and anthropomorphic vegetables. My favorite part of the mural is this:
In all the fun and laughter amongst the rabbits and the vegetables (ok, yes tomatoes are a fruit), one rabbit seems to have gotten a little carried away in her enthusiasm, and this is clearly upsetting to the tomato she’s so happily rough housing. Maybe I like it so much because that’s how I felt in Atlanta – just a little tomato being jostled around by an over-active rabbit. Yeah, I got deep and metaphorical there for a second. Please know that I did not actually like it because that’s how I felt in Atlanta – I like it because a tomato is being man handled by a rabbit, so there’s no need to delve deeper to see why it’s so awesome to me.
The other image on my phone was of a run-down mansion that looks like it was built in the 1980s. We would pass it on our way to the movie theater that plays retro movies, also often from the 1980s. The house is a pastel peach, and I can just imagine all sorts of 80s douche bags dressed Miami Vice-style, having big parties and thinking it would last forever. And it sort of did, because nobody has changed that house since its heyday. This too could be seen as a monument to my time in Atlanta – arriving with the best of intentions and then slowly feeling the need for a change but continuing to stay the same. But, HA, no. We didn’t move to Atlanta intending to stay. Nope, I liked passing by this house because it stuck out like a sore thumb, reminded me of the 80s, and was on the way to watching old movies on the big screen.
Then came the pictures from the short two weeks we’ve been back. This past weekend we went to a small family reunion, held in my father’s small hometown, where my grandmother lived until she died. My grandparents owned a farm. My dad hated helping out on the farm because he was allergic to everything involving farms (which he so lovingly passed on to me). So, when the time came, my dad sold his share of the farm to my uncle, who is more enamored with farm land and farm-related activities.
So, while I love this town, and have many wonderful memories of spending time on the farm, I don’t actually know much about the ins and outs of farming. As a child I did more “look, I’m on a tractor!” novelty tractor rides than finding out exactly what tractors can actually do. I was also more, “hey look, there are peanuts everywhere and I can have some!” than actually understanding how the peanuts got there.
As we made our way to the farm, we ended up behind this thing. It looked like someone took a bunch of other things and made this one thing. It also looked like perhaps we would find an alien driving it if we looked close enough. I can deduce that the giant old-timey looking wheels are to go down the row of crops, and that the tank on top (you can’t see it from this angle), sprays stuff, but as to what it’s actually called, and what it really does – dunno. But, still, there’s a part of me that sees something like this and it feels right. I may be allergic to farms, but it’s still there in my genes somewhere.
We passed the contraption (after contemplating driving under it just to see if we could fit) and continued on toward our destination. I haven’t been back to this town in years. Living in Georgia meant there wasn’t a lot of time to visit anywhere other than where my mom and sister live. So when we finally hit the street we were looking for, there stood the image that trumps all man-handled tomatoes and coke-filled pastel 80s mansions:
My family’s road. On my family’s farm. A lovely reminder of where my father came from and, by extension, where I came from. And while my dad isn’t here anymore, and my grandma is gone, too, the road bearing their last name is still here, and I can visit it any time I want. And that’s what being back home means to me.
That, and free food from my mom’s house, but mostly that.