The next time I say that I'm going to get back on The Dating App just because I'm bored, gently take my phone away from me, put a joint in my hand, light it, and send me to go lie down for a few minutes. Nothing too strong, just "dad weed." The kind of weed you can smoke a little and still run errands with ease. 

It's just like, the worst parts of dating wrapped up in an app and it's the worst. (I know I said worst twice, it's redundant but I'm leaving it there for emphasis.) 

Mostly it's either people who are awkward and trying not to be, or people who are like, "Hi, I'm awkward and I can't think of anything to say." (The second one is better even though it's all awful.)

Either way it's nothing. Aggressively nothing. It's more nothing than regular nothing. It's so much worse than just going to a bar and sitting by yourself for an hour and then going home, because at least then the solitude is pure. Like, just be by yourself in a room with a bartender and a jukebox. Don't be by yourself in your living room eating Caesar salad out of the bowl you mixed it in with randoms messaging you when you just want to watch TV without pants on. Let me try to throw together a quick graph to illustrate:

---alone (pretty ok)---
                                        |___ app alone (kill me now)______

Just let me regret eating salad for dinner in peace! Don't make me get to know you. Your career sounds boring. My dog is better than your dog. I swear to Christ, the last thing I want to do is meet you, and I know that's not necessarily fair, but the app itself makes me loathe you. I hated you at hello. Like if Jerry Maguire was set in 2019. Am I making any sense? Yes, I'm sober, why do you ask?

So I uninstalled it.

Then I made the mistake of listening to Joni Mitchell. Good lord. It's a law of the universe that some albums you can't just throw on while you kind of hang out and get ready for bed, and I totally forgot about that law and in doing so accidentally disrespected the album Blue and paid for it, dearly. 

Tread carefully.

I was minding my own business, putting on one of those sheet masks, because my child spent all last week waking up in the middle of the night and freaking out and refusing to go back to bed, so my face has been looking a little zombiesque (it's a word now). Those masks never fit on my face right. Sorry my face proportions aren't "normal" enough for you, Neutrogena. Gyawd. 

The song "California" came on and all of a sudden I was like, crying a little? I can't even fully explain why, but it's probably because I made myself a mix CD when I moved to California when I was 24 and that was the first song on there. No, wait, it was the second one. The first one was "Going to California," by Led Zeppelin. (I had a whole theme going.) I drove from Severna Park, Maryland to Dallas, Texas by myself, picked up a friend of mine from college who lived there, and then we went the rest of the way taking turns driving. We stopped in Denver to visit another friend, this one from high school, who had just bought a black Chow Chow puppy. Oh my god. She was sooo cuuuute. We took her to the park and people kept stopping us to basically just scream. We screamed back. She was the cutest chubby ball of fluff. One man said, "She looks like a Kodiak bear cub!" My friend blew raspberries on her little black belly. Goddammit, that dog was cute. Pixie's getting jealous, not as cute as Pixie, OF COURSE. (No, seriously, she was ridiculously cute, it was almost absurd.)

This is not the actual puppy, but this is what she looked like. I'll wait while you finish screaming.

Where was I? Oh right, Joni Mitchell.  Blue is a lie detector album. Not just a lie detector, but a revealer of truth. Apparently, I secretly want to move back to California, that's one thing that I learned tonight. I also don't want to be on the dating app, that was made very clear to me. I'm also like, not over anything, ever, and that's nothing new. And I am not adapting well to living in 2019 and I still feel I was born in the wrong era. Nothing super shocking, but the music is also so beautiful and it's just not fair.

What's funny about Blue is that whenever I listen to it, I always feel like the songs are in the wrong order. Tonight I finally figured out why, it's because the first time I listened to all of those songs it was on Napster. Yep. Napster was invented and I was like, holy crap, I can finally listen to all of these artists properly and I don't have to spend $20 per CD or borrow scratched-to-hell copies from the library! Thank you, music angels! So I just like, downloaded a shit ton of songs and haphazardly arranged them in sequences that made no sense and burned them onto CDs so I could drive around Stillwater, Oklahoma (Napster was invented my first year of college) blasting tunes and getting stoned with my roommate.

I got academically suspended that year. Whoops. I blame Napster. And marijuana. Also beer. And Oklahoma (it's really depressing). But I bounced back and graduated, albeit in five years instead of four. The extra year was my exploring-my-mind-got-distracting-but-was-totally-worth-it year.

But really, I think my roommate didn't particularly care for Joni Mitchell. None of the girls on my floor did. I'm talking about my floor in the dorms. There were two towers, I think 12 stories high, connected by a lobby with a cafeteria and mailboxes and stuff. The boys had their tower and we girls had ours. The boy tower smelled terrible. The girl tower smelled like Bath and Bodyworks hosted an orgy sponsored by Victoria's Secret. Fruity lotions were really big back then.


If you weren't wearing one of these two fragrances in 2000, what were you even doing with your life, anyway?

My music was never allowed to be the music that everyone listened to while we got ready to go out. The girls would be all, "Who is this?" and I'd be like, "Uh, Sinatra? We just had dinner like barely an hour ago, it's Rat Pack time," and they'd be like, "Well we're going to start getting ready soon, can you pick it up a little?" "Like the Doors?" "No, don't you have the new Nelly song?" "Get out."


(I'm not even going to mention any of those Nelly songs by name because I don't want them getting stuck in my head. I've already heard them enough to last multiple lifetimes. It was a dark chapter in American music history and I'm not going back there.)

(Oh my god, one sneaked in anyway, I'm not even kidding. Am I being punished? Did I accidentally murder someone and forget about it? What's the deal?)

My roommate and I lived in room 212 in Wilham North. (212 forever!) She was a pisces with a virgo moon and I'm a virgo with a pisces moon. We somehow became the girls who kept a running schedule of every single party going on in town every night of the week. Okay, only five nights a week. 

I want to start by saying, these were NOT frat parties. Gross. No. They were regular house parties. And we weren't binge drinking and throwing up on the lawn in tube tops and mini skirts. We were stoned and occasionally barely throwing up on someone else's lawn on the way home because our bodies were rejecting the three Keystone Lights we each drank, as is right and proper. We did own a tube top each but we wore them with jeans because we were classy, okay? And our abs were effortlessly flat because we were 18, so we had every right to rock those tube tops. Our friend Rosie (he was a guy, Rosie was his nickname) started calling us Smoky and Junior because we occasionally smoked a little pot. I was Junior. I hope my mom doesn't read this. Somebody remind me to take this entire blog down before my child learns to read, too.

Every dorm room had a landline in it and nobody had cell phones, so we kept a note pad by the phone and seriously, I laugh to think about this now, but strangers would call and say, "Hey is this Sarah and Inga's room?" and we'd be like, "Yeah, what's the good word?" (it was Oklahoma) and they'd be like, "Oh this is so-and-so-my-name-is-not-important-you-will-forget-it-forever-as-soon-as-we-hang-up, just wanted to let you know that we're having a party at the Rugby House/4th and Jefferson/3rd and West street. Can you tell the girls?" Yes. We will somehow be the ambassadors to all of the girls at this school. No, but we will tell several girls and let the news of your party spread naturally, like a bacterial infection. 

I guess if I had to come up with a label for it, we were female party scouts. The people calling were male party scouts. They had to scout out girls to bring to their parties. We were the scouts who provided the girls. This could also happen naturally when a group of us, or shall I say, a pride of us, was walking down the sidewalk past a party that boys were trying to get off the ground. (It was a simpler time.)

Every group of dudes has a natural scout in it. That scout can instinctively spot the natural female scout in a pride of girls. Then they're like, "Hey! Hey you! No, not you, you! Yeah. Wanna go to a party?" Then the two scouts meet at the border of sidewalk and lawn to have a little negotiation (or "negosh," as I like to call it). He's trying to figure out how many chicks you can get over there, how good looking they are, and how many are game for a laugh. You're trying to figure out if this party is going to suck or not, how annoying these dudes are about to be, and how to avoid giving out any information whatsoever about your sisters. It's a dance as old as time, and I love to haggle. 

"I can tell you that two of them will put out, but I can't tell you which ones. Do you or do you not have a keg?"
"Yes, but it's Natty light. Are you one of the ones who will put out?"
"I swear I will walk away right now and take my crew with me."
"All right, all right, relax. What about the one on the left?"

"What's she saying?"
"If you'd stop talking for two seconds, I could hear and tell you."
"She better hurry up, my feet hurt."
"Ask him about the keg!"

[no dialogue]

I started using a fake name in most Oklahoman social settings because my own name was too unusual for the Midwest and made life difficult. I used to say my name was Kelly, after one of my best friends back home. I just blurted it out one night and it was the first one that came to me. I got so tired of having to tell my life story and then provide an Icelandic language sample whenever anyone introduced themselves and I was just trying to get from one end of the room to another. (Oklahomans tend to be super friendly and they introduce themselves to you a lot.) My girlfriends caught on and would call me by my "nom de guerre" as soon as we walked through the door of any gathering. 

All the stuff leading up to the parties was fun, and so were the first few laps around the room, but usually after a while you'd just like, make your way to the front porch and wait for your crew to be ready to go. Some were fun, though. It just depended on whatever the alchemy of parties was up to that night.

So, by the end of California I had realized my error and succumbed to the lure of Joni. I broke in my new bath tub. It's a "garden tub" so it's bigger than the standard issue ones that come with most apartments, but I still ended up with my feet propped up on the wall, on either side of the water temperature turning thingy. Who are those tubs made for, anyway? I ask you. I may be taller than average, but I'm not that tall. Yet I've never been able to entirely submerge my body in a bathtub where I live, except for my Portland bathroom. That one had a huge cast iron tub from who even knows what year. The house was built in 1906 so it could have been really, really old, now that I think about it. That was a nice place, even if the neighborhood was sketchy and there was zero insulation and the street was too noisy and it was too small and overpriced and not really great for a baby that needed lots of sleep. But the fire pit was good, and the bathroom. Nice for washing the campfire smell out of your hair in the morning. 


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