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TV Panic

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We’ve all experienced that brief moment of crisis, those few seconds of rapidly and exponentially mounting tension, when the television fades to black and remains obstinately so for just a tad bit too long.  Milliseconds, probably, but it feels like…  minutes.

Who knows… maybe some behind-the-scenes monkey dozed off and forgot to ensure that the cut to commercial break be as seamless as a Speedo.  Or maybe the film editors got lazy.  Or maybe you were watching something directed by David Lynch, in which case everything is intended to make you uncomfortable.

The thing is… we’re so used to sharp, quick, smooth cuts, cuts that leave no room for even the smallest lapse of attention.  After all, can’t let those eyes wander.  So when you’re sitting next to your homie on the futon watchin the boob tube while your buttery hands duke it out in the popcorn bowl, and the screen suddenly stays black for just a second too long… you are suddenly and rudely confronted with your own mortality.

Okay that may be a little dramatic.  Or not.  I mean I’m sitting there, blissfully allowing myself to indulge in the cheap and readily available form of escape that television provides, when suddenly my reflection, alongside that of whoever is bored enough to be watching television with me, is on the screen and will not go away.

I almost can’t breathe until the screen lights up again, and, with a sigh of relief, I can bask in the warm, familiar comfort of Alex Trebek doing something horribly condescending.

I think a large part of that panic, during those short moments, stems from the sudden and undeniable realization that I am, to boil it down, sitting still and staring straight ahead at a glowing box – an inanimate object that most certainly does not reciprocate my tender sentiments.  Oh, the horror.

Watching television: the anti-hobby of slightly shamefaced people everywhere.

It’s true.  Rarely does a hefty portion of TV come without a side of guilt and a dash of self-loathing.  Forgive the cheesy cooking metaphors.  (And that half-assed pun).

I mean, you probably didn’t intend, when you first pressed that seductively circled red play button, to spend fourteen consecutive hours watching Downton Abbey (or Walking Dead, or Game of Thrones, or Pretty Little Liars…) on your computer, lying on top of crumpled sheets and an ever-accumulating nest of crumbs. When you finally dragged yourself out of bed to brush your teeth at 3:30am, you probably weren’t thinking, Yes! I can check THAT off my to-do list!

More realistically, at least based on my own personal experience, while scrubbing those pearly whites you were probably slowly and painfully coming to terms with the fact that you do not live in early 20th century Britain, that you do not have to worry about Germans, and that you do, in fact, have to wake up in four hours.

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Happy New Year, Let’s Dance Barefoot in a Gay Bar

“Happy New Year!”

… I said to my friend Phil as I clinked my water against his beer and looked hopelessly around the desolate T.G.I. Friday’s  for someone to kiss.

Where were YOU at the dawn of 2013??
Where were YOU at the dawn of 2013??

Nine of us were in the middle of a ghost town business district in Costa Mesa, having sprinted to the nearest alcohol-equipped establishment  in order to have a drink in our hands come midnight.  I was barefoot and my feet were dirty.  (It had only taken about twenty steps out the door for me to reluctantly accept the fact that my sexy, sassy New Years heels were both too big and too high.  I doubt I could have held my own in a race with an infant.)

Resolution:  Either learn how to walk in heels, or stop trying to wear them.  Not everyone can be a Carrie Bradshaw.

Anyway, with the exception of our drunken party, Friday’s was practically empty, and the apathetic bartender averted his gaze when he caught my absinthe-glazed eyes wandering in his direction.  So I drank my water.

Because none of us was stoned or starring in a commercial written for obese, midwestern Americans, T.G.I.Friday’s was decidedly not our final destination.  So we left.   And, one way or another, I ended up standing on the curb with Phil and Alex, watching two-thirds of our banging New Years party take off in a minivan.

Next thing I know, the three of us (me still barefoot, heels in hand, feet getting dirtier by the minute) have linked arms and are swaying wildly as we meander across a major freeway overpass, twenty minutes into 2013.  There’s not a soul around, not even on the 405.  And that freeway has like 500 lanes.

Which leads me to believe… we must be the only humans left in Costa Mesa, or in Southern California, or maybe even the only humans left in the New Year!!   Someone must have miscalculated the World’s Ending.

However, when we finally turn up at Garf’s (Which-i-have-Yelped),  there are plenty of human weirdos, and our friends (“Oh hey! What took you guys so long!”) and even my favorite bartender Eddie.  So we’re good.  I let out a sigh of relief, which you could take to mean: phew! the burden of single-handedly repopulating the planet hasn’t fallen on me!

I walk to the bar and order another water from Eddie.  A 50-year-old black man to my left, who looks like Gus from Breaking Bad (see photo),gus-fring turns to me suddenly and – instead of offering me a million dollars to cook meth in a state-of-the-art laboratory – tells me I just made his night.  By just being there!  Wow, I am so flattered I take his sparkly hat, then bail and walk over to the booth where I stashed my heels.

Of course, it’d taken the three of us so long to walk there that, barely ten minutes after we’d arrived, everyone else is ready to move on.

So off we go to Tin Lizzy’s, a bar within reasonable walking distance, leaving Alex behind at Garf’s to hit on some skinny blonde.  (I did not actually see this girl, but I’m assuming she fits that description, as Alex has one type and that is it. I hope he’s reading this.)

On the way, we met a hefty lawyer named Doug who apparently moonlights as a bouncer outside Garf’s, and is known for generously giving cigarettes away to young people.

This may not actually be true.  It is likely that Doug is just a lawyer who was standing near the street entrance smoking, and who happened to give us a cigarette.  …Believe what you want to believe.

As it turns out, (who woulda thunk) the slightly damp tile floor of a dark gay bar past midnight on New Years Eve is kind of a gross thing to be dancing on barefoot.  I tried the heels again, took two perilous steps, then almost fell on my ass when the right stiletto heel simply gave up and broke off.  I threw the stupid shoes on a bench somewhere and haven’t seen them since.

After ordering drinks, the single, straight men in our group of friends (well I guess there were only two at this point – Dane, a buff rower who looks like a Norwegian king, and Phil, a scrappy rapper who could almost pass as black) promptly dispersed to perv on some women.  Rumor has it gay bars are full of vulnerable, half-naked girls who let loose like never before.  So they were on their game.

Meanwhile, I danced with Natalie and Alicia until the soles of my feet screamed at me loudly over the music, “MICHELLE! WE ‘RE GETTING SYPHILIS!”

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