humor, Just For Fun, Lists

A Mannequin? I Manne-CAN’T Believe This…

I’ve had strange weeks before. This past week, though. Well. This past week has been fun.

A MANNEQUIN_ I Manne-CAN'T believe it! (1)

“Aca-‘scuse Me?” (Exhibit 1 of 3)

A few weeks ago, Babs (mom) sent me a text.

“I have two tickets to an acapella Christmas show at at NJPAC on Dec 1 @ 8pm. Any chance you’d go?”

Longtime readers know “anything”+ “acapella” elicits the following response from me:

GoJulesGo gets ready for BlogHer'12

Based on all of the times Babs and I had been to college acapella performances, I figured an NJPAC-worthy show would be Glee meets Pitch Perfect. I hoped they’d cover Mariah Carey, maybe a little Jackson 5, and my all-time favorite, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

“This is going to be so fun!” we squealed over Sangria on Saturday night, the show now only an hour away. As the clock neared 8pm, we scooted past two blue-haired ladies, took our seats and opened the program.

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“You said you’ve heard them before?” I whispered to Babs.

“I think so,” she replied. “On the radio.”

I looked at the song list and back at Babs, eyes as wide as Christmas saucers.

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This doesn’t look like Mariah Carey…

Suddenly, the lights dimmed, a hush fell over the crowd, and twelve men in full-on penguin suits (not the fun kind) solemnly formed a semi-circle, singing at an octave they probably could have heard in whatever country the decidedly-NOT-Mariah-Carey song originated.

Tears of laughter streamed down my face and my shoulders shook as I tried not to make a sound.

“I’M SO SORRY,” Babs whispered, and I snorted audibly.

Trapped in our aisle until intermission, we counted down the somber, unrecognizable songs one by one, each featuring a soloist who, while talented, sang higher than seemed safe.

Manne-CANT post 2

As soon as the last la Navidad was warbled, we ran out of there faster than my mascara. Did I mention Stephen Colbert was interviewing Meryl Streep on the stage next door?

“Shut Your Neck, I Mean, Face Right Now” (Exhibit 2 of 3)

This next story really needs no introduction. Here’s the message I received from my manager last Friday:

Karla-squirrel-tattoo

“I Manne-CAN’T Believe It” (Exhibit 3 of 3)

Last Wednesday morning, I stepped into the elevator at work and secretly played my favorite “I Wonder What Floor S/He’s Getting Off On” game. As usual, I correctly predicted another “8th floor.” (When the purse matches the shoes, or the dress socks are festively patterned, it’s definitely an 8th floor.)

This time, though, when the elevator doors opened, I spotted something…unusual. A woman, sitting in a chair near the coffee machine, frozen in place. Her hair had a strange, dull luster and she stared blankly into the distance.

Is that a…is she a…?

Manne-CANT post 3
I’ve chosen to protect her identity. Given the length of her skirt, I think you can understand why.

Yes. It was a mannequin. (Excuse me, “pulse-challenged,” as we’ve been coached to say by our Diversity & Inclusion team.) Enjoying Starbucks and playing Candy Crush like any normal employee at 8am on a Wednesday. She and I proceeded to have a lengthy conversation about “the 7th floors,” and when I returned to my own floor, I asked everyone I could find:

“Did you know the robots have already taken over?”

“I think it’s a decoy,” Karla replied, scratching her new neck tattoo. “Like the fake dog cut-outs they put in fields to keep geese away. They want to stop us from going to the 8th floor and stealing the good coffee.”

That’s a solid theory, Karla. But if I need to start updating my resume, you’ll let me know, right? …Right?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

It’s because Mercury’s in retrograde, isn’t it?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

humor

SURPRISE! What I REALLY Got from My Masters Degree

What I REALLY Got from my Masters_GoJulesGo_titlegraphic_28NOV2018

‘Cause I don’t wanna lose you now, I’m looking right at the other half of me...”

I groaned, cursing my alarm. Wednesday. I quickly swiped my phone to silent. Even Justin Timberlake couldn’t convince me 6:15am looked good on a Wednesday.

Bleary-eyed, I got into the shower, wondering what work-appropriate pants might actually be clean and still fit. As the clock neared 7:00am, I started preparing my Commuter’s Survival Kit.

HUED-640-coffee

I opened the fridge and reached for the half and half, suddenly pausing.

I stood there for what felt like days, vivid scenes rushing to mind, clawing for air, demanding to know how I could have been so naive. Maybe I could just go back in time and pretend everything was “normal.” What was normal? Who was I, and why did that person suddenly feel like a stranger to the woman standing in the middle of the kitchen with a twisted expression on her face?

Just hours earlier, I had watched a documentary on Netflix about healthy eating. Or so I’d thought when I’d hit play.

Forks-Over-Knives
Photo credit

Instead, I’d gotten the awakening of a lifetime. My entire worldview was upended, as if learning that everyone and everything I’d ever known had been in disguise.

Earth-in-disguise
Hey! I’m the only one around here who gets to wear ‘stache glasses!

Puzzle pieces I’d never known I’d failed to connect suddenly formed a gruesome picture. And I was part of causing that gore.

Cowspiracy-infographic
And this doesn’t even cover the half of it – like the cruelty. Credit

I poured a few tablespoons of creamer into my travel mug, throwing the remainder into the garbage.

That’s it. Never again.

At lunchtime I eyed the salad bar as though I’d never seen it before. My heart was racing. I felt scared. Alone. So if I don’t have the chicken, or the eggs, or the cheese…are those grains cooked with stock? Are there any non-dairy dressings?

I loaded a plate with greens, tofu, beans, and, Ooh! Nuts! That could work…

My internet browser exploded with new tabs. Vegan Recipes. Beginner Vegan. Why No Honey? Is Wool Vegan? Can I keep my leather hiking boots?

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Thankfully, I quickly stumbled upon resources like this one.

I felt like I was in The Matrix. Except instead of staring dreamily at Keanu Reeves, I was looking at everyone around me, wondering if I’d lost my mind. “They’re eating babies!” my new, red pill-swallowing brain shouted. “BABIES!”

Jules-in-the-Matrix

It was so profoundly disconcerting that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to function normally. (As if I was playing with a full deck to begin with!)

I spent the next month combating this dis-ease by learning everything I could about veganism, wondering how long it would take until someone caught on that I was ordering avocado rolls instead of my normal salmon sashimi. I had adopted the notion that no one liked vegans, and this latest epiphany triggered teenage Jules. What if no one wants to hang out with me anymore? What if everyone thinks I’m a judge-y a*shole?

I had been a vegetarian for all of my teen years, but by 19, had succumbed to latent peer pressure and returned to the Standard American Diet. At 34, I was terrified that I’d let that happen again.

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SAD, indeed! Photo credit

Credibility. I need credibility. And support. In one of the wisest decisions I’ve ever made (besides starting this blog, of course), I enrolled in a Masters degree program for Humane Education.

Essential Elements of Humane Ed
Photo credit

The Institute for Humane Education gave me everything I’d hoped it would and more. Because two and a half years later, I’m happy to report: My vegan flag flies loud and proud. And I promise – I’m not here to convert you.

But I am here for this:

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And this:

Goats

And this: 

I cannot overstate the impact going vegan has had on my life, nor the lightness of heart I feel at every meal, knowing that my decisions align with my values. The real epiphany, though? Realizing my choices matter. I matter.

You matter.

And we get the opportunity to express our true, loving, compassionate selves every day, through every action we take.

What a gift.

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~*~*~*~*~

Have you ever had a Matrix-y moment?

~*~*~*~*~

humor

Dear Life: Now What?

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Now that I’m essentially done with my Masters degree, that dreaded question has reared its ugly head.

You know the one.

NOW WHAT?

I recently listened to a book by Mike Dooley, Leveraging the Universe: 7 Steps to Engaging Life’s Magic, and he repeated this phrase often: Don’t get caught up on the “cursed hows.” (<—Totally worth the 5-minute read.) What he meant by that was: figure out what you want and visualize the end goal, then let the universe decide how it’ll deliver.

If you want to be a published author, for example, spend a few minutes each day picturing your books already on the shelves and, most importantly, feel how it’ll feel when you achieve that goal. Yes, also put some pen to paper today (“do what you can with what you have”), but don’t spin your wheels wondering about how to get a publisher or whether your idea has already been “done before.”

If you want a romantic partner, don’t get hung up on a specific person, just picture the kinds of things you’ll do with your dream mate and how you’ll feel when you’re together. Yes, you can add specific details like what you’re wearing -and please do!- but if you decide it’s got to be Gary from accounting, you might wind up butting heads with the universe, who’s working overtime to get you stuck in an elevator with Pete from payroll, the perfect guy for you.

When I picture where I want to be in a year, I see an active, fit, social butterfly who’s swimming in creative projects and opportunities, brave enough to say “YES!” when it counts – and “NO!” too.

While I’m trying not to get hung up on too many hows, I know it’s important to work with what I’ve got at my disposal today. For starters, I signed up for a half marathon in May, despite it having been two years since my last run. I even recruited two of the most inspiring “accountability partners” I could dream up, spanning New Jersey to Oregon, to help me get in gear:

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Meet East Coast A.P.: Remember Janeen? The one who says yes to everything? I may have used that little fact to my advantage…
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Meet West Coast A.P.: Vegan Retreat Unicorn #2, Dakota, a.k.a. Superhuman Freakazoid and author of the blog that will make you either hide in a corner or decide to start CRUSHING IT!!!!

To show them how compliant I am, I joined a gym…

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“Y” U NO LIKE 2 RUN, JULEZ?

…made Google docs outlining every aspect of my ideal life, started logging daily exercise, water and caloric intake…

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…and shed immediate poundage via purging more joyless belongings from the tiny apartment

I’ve even acquired new confidence-boosting crystals and signed up for a week-long “past life therapy training” with She’s a Maineiac at Omega Institute in July.

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Because I’m crazy now, in case you’ve forgotten.

I’m trying to up the ante in every area I can think of, breathing life into “November 2019 Jules” in ways that feel tangible yet exciting.

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2016 Jules, breathing life into another exciting vision.

As for creative projects, I’ve been keeping a list of fun blog post ideas and researching marketing courses and products. So far I’ve narrowed it down to a couple of top choices:

  1. Campaign Monitor  / My Emma – I think they can help me get my newsletter game straight with their sleek designs and impressive customer roster, plus a really reasonable Basic membership fee ($9/month)

    “Email acquisition best practices”? I’m definitely going to need some help… Photo credit
  2. Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing – this one comes recommended by a financial independence blogger I really like, Millennial Boss, but with a $197 price tag, I’ve been hesitant to take the plunge

(If anyone has any recommendations or experience with either, please leave a comment!)

I don’t know about you, but I’m still feeling antsy. Maybe I should stop with the hows and go tinker with my Google doc some more.

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 3.15.51 PM
Actual screenshot from my “ideal life” Google doc. …DON’T JUDGE. Okay you can judge. I still love you. …Do you know anyone single?

~*~*~*~*~

Do you believe in the power of creative visualization? Do you get hung up on the “hows”?

~*~*~*~*~

DISCLAIMER: This post contains sponsored links.

Blonde Moments, humor

Would You Like Fries (and a concussion) With That?

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“My father-in-law and I have this friendly banter going,” my friend, Stacey, explained over dinner the other night. “We like to bust each other’s chops.”

“Wait ’til she tells you about the latest,” her wife, Lauren, added. “My dad decided he wanted a new shed, and being the way he is, he had to get all of the measurements–”

“Like, all of the measurements, including the weight, so he’d know the impact on the grass,” Stacey said. “The whole nine.”

“Technically you need a permit,” Lauren explained.

“Hang on,” I replied. “You need a PERMIT to get a SHED? Just a regular SHED?”

9.-Small-Shed
Reason #1,654,923 I’m glad I sold my house. Photo credit

“Yeah,” Stacey nodded. “But no one does it. Including her dad.”

“Wait for it,” Lauren smirked, raising her eyebrows.

“So,” Stacey grinned. “He got his ‘illegal’ shed a couple of weeks ago. And I decided I’d prepare a little letter from the county zoning office. It took me four hours.”

Go-Jules-Go_prank-zoning-letterI stared between Stacey, Lauren, and this magical document, mouth agape.

“No,” I finally managed.

They explained that they had waited until an evening when they knew both of Lauren’s parents would be home. Lauren’s mom was in on the whole thing. On the chosen night, Lauren’s mom got up from watching the evening news and surreptitiously rang the doorbell, pretending someone was there. She returned to the living room, holding the letter out to her unsuspecting husband.

Needless to say, it was a slam dunk.

None of us could have ever predicted that only moments later I would need to recruit Stacey’s letter writing abilities for myself…

In the midst of discussing the many merits of Lasik eye surgery with my friends at the other end of the table, I leaned forward a couple of inches to take a sip of my drink.

“I’d do it again every year if I had t–”

*BAM*

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Photo credit

Everyone turned and looked to see where the alarming *THUD* had come from. My eyes welled with tears.

“Oh my god, I’m so sorry!” our waitress exclaimed while I tried to gather my bearings.

What…Huh…?

I blinked.

It took me several seconds to realize our waitress had snuck up, ninja style, on my right, to clear a very, very pointy plate. Our fates collided the moment I decided I was parched, leaning forward a few millimeters…

*CLUNK*

The corner of my right eye nailed the corner of the plate she had just lifted.

Go-Jules-Go_dangerous-plate-ahead

No one knew what to do. I didn’t have enough wits about me to explain that this was the only manner in which I ever got injured. Randomly. Freakishly. Embarrassingly. (I think it runs in the family. …All of the family.)

  • Age 7: Broken crotch: Balance beam or playground torture device? Jury’s still out
  • Age 15: Left butt cheek scar: Courtesy of a jagged bathtub faucet when I bent to get the soap
  • Age 19: Right eyebrow scar: Eyebrow ring + glitter eyeshadow. ‘Nuff said
  • Age 30: Left wrist scar: Pushing a tray of cookies too far into the oven
  • Age 34: Sprained sesamoid (“Turf toe”): Too-small high heels and an over-caffeinated stride

This time, though, there was clearly someone else at fault. (And yes, the above list is but a mere smattering. You’ll just have to wait for my memoirs.)

Stacey immediately began drafting a letter to the restaurant from my “attorney.” While we awaited her final touches, I answered a text from my new bloggerunicorn-vegan retreat friend:

Outdoorsy-NJ-style

~*~*~*~*~*~

Any other freaky accidents happening out there? No? Just me? …Who are you? Where am I?

~*~*~*~*~*~

 

humor, Uncle Jesse

Caring for My Dog: A Simple 137-Step Guidebook

Dear Reader,

Congratulations! After careful review, you have been selected to oversee my 8-year-old Australian Labradoodle, Uncle Jesse, while I’m away. Given the exceptional taste you’ve demonstrated by reading this blog, I feel marginally concerned certain you’ll be able to accommodate my dog’s daily demands.

Because I’m so confident in your abilities, I’ve attached only the abbreviated version of my 137-step guidebook. If at any time you find yourself doubting your caretaking capacity, please call one of the nineteen numbers I’ve listed in the back of this manual.

Go-Jules-Go-Caring-for-my-dog-guidebook

STEP #1 – HYDRATION

It’s imperative that both you and Uncle Jesse remain hydrated at all times during his stay. This includes, but is not limited to: chilled, Brita-filtered water, refreshed 6-30 times per day, washing and drying the bowl after each rotation. In a pinch, you may provide tap water; we strongly discourage the use of bottled water.

Uncle-Jesse-Fancy-Paws
You will know you’ve misstepped if you’re greeted by this pose.

STEP #2 – NUTRITION

Uncle Jesse insists upon an on-demand supply of V-Dog kibble. If any kibble goes uneaten for more than 12 hours, please sample before deciding whether to discard.

Uncle-jesse-eating
Regarding the placement of his bowls, please select a warm, well-ventilated, cushioned area of the home where he will feel comfortable dining in his preferred reclined position.

Each time Uncle Jesse reenters your home after his mandatory nature bathings (see Step 3), he will expect a “treat” for his willingness to return to your humble dwelling. Acceptable treats include homecooked, plant-based items, arranged on a ceramic plate as follows:

UJ-plate

Should you question your ability to select a permissable food item, I’ve drafted this reference card:

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STEP #3 – EXERCISE

Uncle Jesse has grown accustomed to 5 miles of brisk walking out-of-doors each day; however, this can be broken into 2+ segments as we understand your employer refused to provide a leave of absence for this visit.

UJ-Maine-hiking
Uncle Jesse prefers the unsullied Maine wilderness, so I’ve emailed you a weekend itinerary that would allow for the 16-hour roundtrip.

As with hydration, stretching is paramount before each session. If you find he is panting for more than three and a half minutes upon returning, please encourage him to lie down and point your fan directly on him:

UJ-with-fan-on

STEP #4 – ELIMINATION

Assuming you’ve strictly followed steps 1-3, you can expect an impressive number of bowel movements per day. These occur in varying volume and composition during the aforementioned 5-mile walk, so carrying an array of multi-sized “poop bags” is prudent.

DistanceHousetoPoop
Please refer to attachment B for a list of defecation coordinates that meet Uncle Jesse’s poop-to-house-distance ratio requirements.

STEP #5 – SLEEP

Uncle Jesse is deeply committed to “total wellness” and therefore insists upon 12+ hours of uninterrupted rest time per day. Please leave your bedroom door ajar at all times. I noticed you had extra pillows on the couch. I suggest moving these to the bed while he adjusts to sleeping in a new location.

Placing towels on the bed to protect your linens will only arouse his rancor.

UJ-bed-no-towel-on-pillows

STEP #6 – PLAY

You’ve probably heard that most dogs enjoy fetch. Being of a highly sensitive nature, Uncle Jesse would rather remain indoors for playtime, with you sitting on the ground and tossing his toys directly into his mouth while he perches on the couch.

If you fail to amuse him, he will notify you by placing the toy between his chin and the pillows that I’m sure you have remembered to return to the couch before beginning this exercise.

UJ-done-playing

STEP #7 – INTERACTION WITH LESSER BEINGS

Uncle Jesse and I are still reviewing the finer points related to the presence of any…well. You know.

Sophie

At this stage in our discussions, we would both prefer if you locked any “Others” in the basement for the week as we believe it will reinforce the natural balance of things and keep all parties safe from psychological harm. We’re just looking out for your well-being here.

STEP #8 – EDUCATION

Uncle Jesse has an ever-expanding repertoire, with evidence of his aptitude appearing at 10 weeks old.

To maintain this intellectual agility, we enjoy practicing shake, stretch, sit, lie down, paw, other paw, little speak, big speak and “Watch the hair, huh!” on a daily basis.

Please also feel free to pass by our local Catholic church at 7:00am, 8:00am, 9:00am, 12:00pm and 6:00pm so that he might work on his pitch.

STEP #9 – GROOMING

Do not, under any circumstances, tamper with his hair, nails, ears, or teeth. If he appears standoffish, remember to say “please” before asking to pet him.

UJ-judgy-part-2
Soooomebody forgot her manners.

STEP #10 – TRAVEL

Should you need to chauffeur Uncle Jesse, please leave the back passenger side seat free (he will not tolerate the other side), and leave the window rolled down fully, provided the speed does not exceed 45 MPH and/or the temperature remains above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

UJ-rearview-mirror
If you do not excessively stare, he will permit one rearview window photograph per car ride.

And not to worry, dear reader – those new lights in each room are simply CIA-approved surveillance cameras.

~*~*~*~*~*~

humor, Just For Fun

Someone Tried to Steal My Emmy

Someone-Tried-to-Steal-My-Emmy_GoJulesGo

“I don’t know how to ‘rate’ how I’m feeling. I don’t even f*@%ing want to be here.”

Seven heads shot up and stared at the redheaded woman in our circle. A few of us giggled nervously.

“You all have these cool projects you’re presenting, and I just don’t know what I’m doing here.”

Alyssa’s eyes watered and inwardly, we all applauded. Finally. An honest answer.

GoJulesGo-PMbootcamp
Usually team-building events go more like this. Or this.

In an uncharacteristically social moment a few months earlier, I had accepted a friend’s invitation to a “Vegan Creatives” 5-day retreat on Cape Cod.

“I want to get a bunch of my vegan artist friends together to talk about our projects and brainstorm,” Shawna, the retreat mastermind, had explained. She and I had met the prior summer at my Masters program residency, where she had graciously overlooked my penchant for public urination.

Much like the cold sweats I experience when interviewing narcissists for school assignments, as the retreat neared, I began to shvitz. What was I thinking? I didn’t know the hostess or anyone going. Sure, I had my thesis project to present, but I was also in the throes of writing said thesis. Could I handle any more stress?

“JUST GO,” I told myself for the 9,000th time. “It’ll be good for you.”

DAY 1

Arrive at guest house. Meet three-legged, one-eyed dog and attractive vegans #1-7. Eat colorful food and receive unicorn name. Grow concerned that I seem to be having…what’s the word…fun. No. That can’t be it.

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DAY 2

Convince Alyssa she too is having, well, whatever these feelings are. Begin stroking each other’s hair. Watch Tracy feed pet bee sugar water. Try to take photo without Dakota wearing a bowl. Unsuccessful.

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DAY 3

Eat more colorful food, voluntarily touch beach garbage, and reevaluate entire existence. Can I vote using new unicorn name?

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DAY 4

Learn that not only do new best friends save animals, sing, write, paint, cook, act, travel, scale mountains, rollerblade with bubbles and have kickass blogs, but the hostess, Allison Argo, has won half a dozen Emmys. Attempt to steal one.

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DAY 5

Say goodbye. Ugly cry.

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Until Alyssa reminds me to snap the f$&@ out of it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go tuck my Emmy into bed.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Dating, humor, PSAs

Can You Get PTSD from Dating?

Go-Jules-Go-title-graphic-PTSD-from-dating

Yesterday I had to interview someone for a grad school assignment.

Emphasis on “had” to.

Assignments like this send me, a 36-year-old introvert, into a cold sweat before the semester even begins. Especially when I land an interview with someone who has a very fancy title in a sector with which I am very unfamiliar.

I immediately took to Google. This man and I were from nearby towns and he was, I soon learned, just a few years older. We undoubtedly had acquaintances in common, changing the whole tenor of the interview. I found him on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube…I suddenly knew way too much about him before even meeting, reminiscent of my prolific dating days.

“Just chill out,” I told myself. “At least it’s not a date!”

Except it totally was. Coffee shop, late afternoon, two people with an agenda…

As soon as my interview subject -let’s call him Ted- arrived, he stuck out his hand and said,

“Hi Jessica, nice to meet you.”

Did he just say Jessica? We’d exchanged at least five emails prior to meeting. Perhaps I should rethink my signature.

Go-Jules-Go-new-email-signatureHe had the Book of Mormon-meets-Quasi-Casual-First-Date look down pat: pressed checkered button-down and perfectly coiffed hair, complemented by fitted slacks with matching belt and shoes.

“You know, I just came from the same coffee shop in [a nearby town],” he said, walking towards the counter. “I was meeting Mr. Mucky Pants from the Board. We had so much to discuss, I didn’t even get to have coffee.”

And thus began a 90-minute, name-drop-laden autobiography in which Ted was the unsung hero.

Beginning in 6th grade.

I managed to ask two of my eight questions.

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And here I was worried I didn’t prepare.

Midway through, he veered -unprovoked- into his personal life, detailing his recent divorce.

“I’m a really happy guy,” he said repeatedly, with a razor sharp edge to his voice. “I played the role of the guy who tried to fix everything. I have a really long fuse, you know. But get this…”

Ted went on to describe his ex-wife’s grievances, and then how wonderfully everything worked out for him, because:

“I’m a really likable guy. I mean, really. I’m so easy to like.”

“Jury’s still out,” I replied before I could stop myself.

He plowed ahead, telling me about the amazing woman he’d met shortly thereafter, and I wondered how I’d ever get us back on track. He leaned across the table, his hands dangerously close to my Central Perk-sized latte. I angled back in my chair, legs crossed, my pen hovering over a small notepad. My heart rate picked up. The flashbacks came in nauseating waves.

…The guy who showed me YouTube clips where he surgically removed his big toenails…

…The guy who wanted to hook up because he and his wife were “on a break”…

…The guy who told me he only dated “German girls”…

…The guy who said his mother made him “scared of sex”…

...The guy who sent me acapella sound clips of Seal songs

…The guy who–

STOP!

STOP!

MAKE IT STOP!!!!!!

“So the next day, Ms. Fancy Drawers called and said she RECOMMENDED me to the Board.”

I snapped back into the moment. Ted was still going.

“This woman has met the president and the pope, you know? Yeah so that was exactly 17 years ago today. That’s right. I was sitting in her office, seeing smoke across the Hudson.”

I nodded and scribbled in my notepad while Ted talked about how hard 9/11 had been for him, personally, on the very day of his esteemed new role.

“Do you have kids?”

Wha…did he just ask ME a question?

“No,” I replied, sitting up straight. “But I do have a d–”

“Well, I have two,” he said. “You need to show kids that THEY’RE IN CONTROL of how they react to everything. You know? Shit happens.”

“Thank you again for your time,” I said when he finally paused to take another sip of his artisan cold brew. I also gave silent thanks to the Merciless Parking Meter Gods who brought this interview date torture to a close.

“I just hope I’m always this accessible,” Ted replied.

I hightailed it to my car, and for the next hour, trembled in the corner of my apartment, staring down the Ghost of First Dates Past.

Jules-meditating-Zac-Efron-spirit-guide
I think I’ll stick to this.

I shuddered as I thought about how Ted embodied every other horrifying first date I’d had over the past few years. The ones where I’d laugh and nod, asking question after question, arriving home exhausted and disappointed, my vocal chords atrophying from lack of use. I’d take off my make-up and high heels, picking peacock feathers off my dress – the same dress I’d second-guessed every day for a week.

I poured myself a pity glass of wine, just like I did back then, and remembered where I was four years ago.

Newly divorced. Like Ted.

Living alone for the first time in my life. Like Ted.

Starting a new job. Like Ted.

Craaap, I thought. Ted is ME. For a split second, it all came rushing back. I had been so scared. Sad. Self-absorbed. God. I wouldn’t pay to go back there.

And the tremors finally subsided.

So.

~*~*~*~*~

Maybe I’ll give him a pass this time. What do you think?

~*~*~*~*~