Chapter 1

           

 

The sniffles of the audience resounded throughout the theater, signaling she had them in the palm of her hand. She cried right along with them until finishing the scene and walked off stage right. A new scene began as Alex was pulled into a darkened corner behind a sheet by a female stagehand.  Lisa, or Lauren, began to undress her and reached for a new costume. “You’re doing so great Miss Martucci.”

“Thanks.” Alex was wiping at her still dripping eyes and trying to calm herself down.

The stagehand placed a small bottle of eye drops in her hand and began to button her blouse.

“Can I ask you a question?”

Alex turned to her, almost void of any semblance of emotion. “Sure, of course.”

The stagehand looked up at her straight on, as if she was trying to muster up the courage and nerve. Her bottom lip quivered a bit. Alex shifted the weight on her feet back and forth uncomfortably.

“You’re a pretty established actress now…Why did you decide to go back to stage acting?”

Alex stared back at her numbly, trying to come up with a quick answer that would please the girl and get her to shut up at the same time. She most definitely couldn’t tell her the truth. “Well, I love being on stage. I feel more connected to the audience. It’s much more fulfilling than acting for cameras and grips.”

Alex mentally patted herself on the back. It did sound much better than the truth, my career is taking a dive and all my agent could get me was this shitty off-Broadway play just didn’t have the same deep, introspective actress tone to it.  In fact, it just made her sound bitter.

The young girl seemed to accept that as an answer and moved on to reapplying her makeup. “That totally makes sense, I mean it’s great when you really get something out of your work right?”

Alex was horrified by her overly bubbly response. How a person could be in such a good mood in New York of all places boggled her mind. This cream puff of a girl clearly belonged on a beach somewhere wearing shorty shorts and turning an unnatural shade of processed food orange number 8, not asking personal questions about her career.

Alex went into defense mood. “I’m sorry I didn’t get your name…”

The puff ball looked up at her obliviously to apply some lip gloss to her lips.

“I’m Lisa.”

Her memory of meeting the girl came back quickly with the name.

“Oh, that’s right. Sorry, my mind is elsewhere.”

Lisa seemed unfazed. “No problem.”

Alex remembered when her director Mark had pointed out Lisa during rehearsals and had told her she was his niece. She was almost nineteen. Alex was suddenly surprised at how much younger she had thought the girl was than herself when Alex was only twenty-four.  It had become hard to keep simple things straight from time to time. So much had happened since she had moved from LA to New York. She was a pretty well-established actress now, with a lot on her plate.

Her parents were a big part of the weight. Most of the money she was making these days ended up being sent back home; no matter how badly she was hurting. Alex knew her parents needed the money. They just weren’t able to make it on their own. Alex looked up when she noticed the puff ball was yapping at her again.

“Look up towards the light so I can reapply your eyes.”

Without saying anything, Alex tilted her face towards a small black desk lamp that had been mounted on to a beam above a small mirror that was barely large enough to see your own eyes in. Lisa pushed back her carefully groomed brown bangs and re-lined her eyes in heavy charcoal. It was important for everyone in the house to see her expressions without having to strain, so she was heavily made up and caked on.

Alex listened carefully for her cue to rejoin the cast on stage. It was coming soon but puff and fluff hadn’t yet wiped off her base makeup and redone her blush. She was getting antsy now. She couldn’t be late on. It would throw off the whole play and confuse the audience to no end. Not to mention it would be the epitome of unprofessionalism.

Out of the corner of her eye, Alex spotted a makeup cloth. Her hands began to itch to grab it and clean off her face. The feeling of dried tear streaks down her cheeks and neck was a blunt reminder of how messy she looked. As her arm twitched to swipe the cloth, the sparkle queen finally reached for it and began to clean her off. This would have been fine if her entrance wasn’t now only three beats away! And the girl was rushing as fast as a sloth on heroin.

This is ridiculous, Alex thought. “Here, I’ll help you.” She grabbed a blush brush, dipped it in some blush with the thickness of face paint, and began to blindly rub it into her cheeks.

“Oh, are you sure? I could…” but before Lisa could finish her thought Alex threw down the brush, turned on her heel, and scuttled towards the stage leaving the speck of glitter in a high state of confusion.

Alex didn’t feel that bad, she figured Lisa was in that state quite often. Her leading man was about to cue her on stage. She sucked in her breath sharply and released it, trying to get rid of the butterflies in her belly. She found herself feeling so nervous almost every time she entered a scene. She wasn’t as comfortable with the stage as she was on the sound stage. Her belly butterflies were beginning to feel more like pterodactyls flapping about, trying to break free of her constricting digestive system. She would just have to use her fear in the scene. And try not to pass out under the flaming hot lights.

Alex sucked in another deep breath and jerked herself into the scene and onto the stage. She stepped into the spotlight once again. Soft Rose and Bastard Amber warmed her body instantly. The heat was a welcome change from the chilly wings backstage. She settled into the scene nicely and found a rhythm with her acting partner Devon. He was a polite man/boy with the appearance of an overgrown Kewpie doll. His shock of blond hair even came to a point at the top of his perfectly oval head. His cheeks were rosy, his eyes were blue, and sometimes Alex couldn’t get the image of him in a diaper out of her noggin.

Paraphilic infantilism aside, Devon really wasn’t Alex’s type. But he was the bee’s knees for her scatterbrained character. Luckily this was the breakup scene where Devon’s character Alec left Alex’s character Joan for a cute red headed paleontologist named Amy. Unfortunately for Alex, this scene brought out the absolute worst parts of Joan.

“I don’t understand what I did…Just tell me and I’ll fix it!” Alex sobbed out her lines up stage right, carefully watching her back the whole time. Needless to say, stupid Joan was so unstable. Alex hated reliving the golden age of seventeen every night via Joan; the mousy bookworm with low self-esteem and a poor body image. Not that she thought uber highly of herself, but she certainly was not a Joan.

Devon was yelling down stage left towards her now. He hadn’t forgotten his lines but he was jumbling them up a bit to the point where Alex wasn’t sure when or where to come in at. She was frustrated and worried it would show on her overly expressive face. Luckily the audience didn’t notice and must have chalked up her confusion as part of Joan’s inner turmoil.

“Don’t try to understand, just let me go and get on with your life! Can’t you see how you’re dragging me down?” On the end side of the word, ‘down’ Devon’s voice cracked. He was going with the quite sensitive approach tonight. Which was completely absurd since the entire point of this particular scene was that Alec was a self-absorbed bag of sleaze that oozed a level of confidence that was impossible to achieve.  Over time these subtle changes during a live scene had become an annoyance to Alex. She didn’t know how to plan out her reactions correctly ahead of time if Devon tried to keep things “exciting” every night.

Alex countered Devon’s left field acting by throwing herself down on her knees and crying boisterously and intentionally comedic. Bringing a comical element into Devon’s dramatic ‘abandonment scene’ threw him off his game and flustered him more than ever. The audience’s tone had switched and many were laughing. Devon haughtily made his exit with his last line, obviously annoyed with Alex, not Joan.

“I’m leaving now,” he blurted and left her on stage.

Her sobs began to ebb away. This was the part where unstable Joan began to pack her things, ripping clothes off hangers and throwing them haphazardly into a large red suitcase strategically placed under the set bed. Now she would have to crush the audience’s good mood and depress them all over again. It was the consequence to embarrassing Devon and going for a laugh in a dramatic play.

She packed her fake clothes into her fake suitcase while furiously wiping at her eyes and giving a monolog about how she had been so stupid to fall in love with such a loser like Alec. Sometime during this process, Alex’s brain had left the building and she was no longer acting. She was merely going through the motions and saying the right lines to be finished with her scene. It baffled her that she had been so nervous not fifteen minutes ago to step out on stage, and now she was completely subdued. It was as if someone had switched off the faucet marked ‘passion.’ What little she had left spiraling down the drain quickly.

The house was silent. Alex picked up a fake framed photograph beside her fake bed. The picture was of her and Devon posing as their couples’ counterparts. She paused, frame in hand, and took in the room, now in shambles. As tears continuously streamed down her face, Alex hurled the photo through a dummy window. It shattered the fake glass made of confection sugar. The audience gasped and out of the corner of her eye, Alex saw a few people backstage jump, including puff ‘n’ fluff.

Finally, she picked up her suitcase and walked up stage left towards the set bedroom door. As she grabbed the door handle, Alex took in the room one last time. It was important to pause at this point to show the audience all the damage Joan would be letting go of. In a film, a bad film, but a film non-the-less this might be the part where a slow motion montage flash-back ran of Joan and Alec’s failed relationship.

They would be seen strolling through the park hand in hand, cut to them having some deep conversation on their couch late at night. Them eating out at a fancy restaurant, Alec feeding Joan a spoonful of some chocolate fudge dessert. But on the stage, the boring same old stage, that only saw the same sad tacky story played out over and over every night; all that happened was a long drawn out pause…And maybe a deep sigh for good measure. Tonight felt like a deep sigh kind of crowd.

She pulled the door open slowly looking straight ahead. The house had seen enough raw emotion for one night. Alex stepped through the doorframe and closed it behind her as the set went dark.

*****

     Later that night Alex returned to her spacious studio apartment in the West 70s. A spacious studio apartment in New York City usually only meant you had to walk three steps from the bed to the bathroom. And you couldn’t fry an egg in your kitchen while soaking in the bathtub. Upon entering her real apartment she flipped on the living room lights and plopped down heavily on the couch. She threw her hand to the side, groped for the answering machine atop the in-table, and pressed play. BEEP BEEP, “first message…Hi, Alex how was the show tonight?” For some reason, her agent, Channing liked to pepper her voicemail with social niceties that couldn’t possibly be answered. “Hey listen I really need you to come to the office tomorrow, it’s important. Call me ASAP!”

Superficial dread swept over her immediately. Though she liked Channing as a friend she hated having client/agent meetings. It always felt so technical and cold and confused the lines of their already rocky friendship. “Next message…Hey girl! It’s me, I miss you, we haven’t seen each other in forever! Text me.”

“I just saw you last week!” Alex yipped back at the machine; she was beginning to believe Nick’s complaints of Kim’s clingy disposition within their relationship. It didn’t help that Alex was becoming such a hermitized loner. Lately, any time she was out with Kim and Nick she couldn’t wait to run home and shut herself in and away from the rest of the world.

“Next message…Hi, sweetheart.” Crap. This was the beginning of a bank-breaking message that came along with generous portions of aggravation and debt. “I hate to ask but I was wondering if you could send just a bit more money so I can buy some groceries? Again I hate to ask but your sister needed some new shoes and I had to use the money you sent before to cover that and I…Message erased.” Alex didn’t need to know the amount, and she probably wouldn’t until her bank statement came at the end of the month. Opening an account with her mother’s name on it was possibly the worst financial decision she had ever made.

If her father ever found out that her mom had access to that account he’d probably flip his lid, and hers for that matter. Fortunately for her mom, Tom Martucci liked to keep his head buried deep in the sand.

Now fully depressed, Alex slouched off the couch and walked to her bedroom area and turned on her laptop that was still sitting on her night stand from the day before. Whenever she started up her computer it, for some reason, reminded her of her parent’s first computer. Her new one was faster than any she’d ever seen and it had never given her any grief. Her parent’s, on the other hand, had to be coaxed to slowly wheeze back to life, and it was barely strong enough to handle the internet. The printer on that dinosaur was also a huge embarrassment, seeing as the thing believed it was some kind of printer/type writer hybrid.

Alex began to lose herself in an old black and white film she had saved on her computer while relaxing on her bed. The dark hues of noir? began to lull her to sleep. Inside she was still just barely awake, dancing on the razor’s edge of consciousness. Her outside was a different story; her jaw had gone slack and a bit of moisture was trying to escape her mouth. Just as her lips twitched in response there was a loud quick banging at her front door.

She shot up frightened and disoriented; wiping the back of her hand across her mouth she cursed her bad sleeping habits. “Stupid drool!” The banging continued.

“Alex!” a voice on the other side called. It was Kim.

She turned to her bedside digital clock that told her it was almost three o’clock in the morning, and her eyes almost fell out of her face. “Alex!”

Alex hopped off her bed and padded quickly to the front door, throwing it open without pause and already yelling at her best friend “SOMEONE BETTER BE DEA…” But at first glance, the look on Kim’s face said that someone might very well be dead.

Her friend was standing in the hall with her short brown hair matted to the sides of her face with tears in her brown almond eyes. Her lips were quivering and she was leaning on the door frame for some support. Alex was wondering when the other shoe would drop with Nick. “Get in here!” She rushed Kim into her apartment and sat her down on the couch. She spent the next ten minutes making tea, getting Kim tissues, pouring tea, and swaddling her friend in a large black sweater.

“Now that you’re calm can you please tell me why the hell you’re screaming bloody murder outside my door at this ungodly hour?”

Kim took a deep breath and held it in until she almost turned blue,

“Breath, Kim.”

She let it out in a hapless sigh. “Thanks…Promise not to judge me?”

Alex patted Kim’s folded hands. “Aw honey, I already know you’re crazy.”

A small smile broke on Kim’s face, Alex let out a tiny giggle. “I think I might have accidently got myself knocked up,” she told Alex while staring blindly at her own folded hands.

Now it was Alex’s turn to take a deep breath. “Please tell me it’s Nick’s.” She was grappling for a shred of hope.

Kim’s face scrunched up and she looked completely away. “Well…”

“Oh what the shit Kim! I can’t even handle this right now! We agreed no personal disasters before eleven a.m.…You are in serious breach of a verbal contract.”

Alex sprang to her feet and began to pace back and forth in front of Kim, who sat sullen on the couch very red in the face. This was not how her quiet night alone was supposed to be. For one, you needed to be alone and that had all gone to pot thirty minutes ago. She stopped mid pace and turned to Kim. “So who else could it be?” Alex realized her stance was very motherly and scolding, she dropped her arms out of the firm fold they had been in and sat back down beside her best friend.

Kim spoke very carefully, as if to keep from incriminating herself as a hoe bag. Even if she was a big bag of hoes, Alex would still love her the same. She had always been there for her. “Do you remember my ex boyfriend Jackson?”

The name rang a bell somewhere in her brain. “Kind of I guess.” Alex urged her to continue. “Have you seen him lately?”

“Well I met with him for coffee about three months ago, just before I moved in with Nick. I don’t know why I had this urge to see him after all this time had gone by but I did and then we…”

Alex filled in the blanks. “Accidently ran back to his place and had sex?”

Kim let out another big puff of air “Basically.”

     “And let me guess. You didn’t use protection because accidental sex doesn’t really count right?”

     Though she said this in a joking nonjudgmental way, Kim was still tortuously embarrassed. She bobbed her head up and down and blurted out, “It was off the books sex,” before she crumbled all over again. Alex could tell this was going to be a long night that would carry into the early morning.

 

 

 

 

The Double Cleanse

When I heard that the goddess of skin care, Caroline Hirons, was teaming up with Pixi to create a product, I was in immediately. You had me at Caroline. Like many other skin care junkies that sift through endless blogs and Youtube videos trying to find the next big thing that will completely alter my skins’ life, one day I stumbled upon Carolines videos. And thank God I did. If I hadn’t, I’d probably still be baffled by the way makeup flaked off my dry, dead face.

On To The Product

Let my preface this review with my timeline of use: I’ve currently been using the Double Cleanse for two months. I use the cleansing cream in the morning sometimes, but I use both at night always. . . Or for however long I’ve had the product.

The first night that I used the Double cleanse, I noticed two things; Firstly, I realized that after using both cleansers, a lot of my makeup had been left behind and I had to actually triple cleanse with a micellar water. The second thing I noticed, was that both cleansers in the product seemed very similar to two of Lush’s products I had purchased before.

The Solid Cleansing Oil half reminds me of the consistency and performance of Lush’s Ultrabland Cleanser. However, where Ultrabland relies on beeswax for replenishing moisture and picking up the days’ makeup, The Double Cleanse uses a combination of fruit, seed, and avocado oil to achieve the same results.

The Cleansing Cream, or the “Second Cleanse,” really reminds me of Lush’s 9 To 5. From the minute I used this product, I was in love. It’s so simple and easy, and after you use it, your skin feels clean. Unfortunately, the 9 To 5 cream falls short, only because Lush adds a fragrance to it. As someone with sensitive skin, I knew it would only be a matter of time before my skin decided it didn’t like it and revolted with copious amounts of white heads.

The Cream Always Rises

The Double Cleanse definitely has a lot going for it. Both cleanses, oil and cream, are fragrance-free, paraben free, and vegan. They feel great on the skin and nothing has ever taken off my water proof mascara like the solid cleansing oil does. The only real gripe I have with the product is that after I do both cleanses, I still get quite a bit of foundation off when I go in with my Garnier Micellar Water. But that’s just me. Maybe I cake on more foundation than your average Jane. Who knows? I just feel like after two cleanses my face should be clear of foundation at the very least. If the solid oil cleanse can remove my water proof eye cosmetics, then it should totally obliterate my foundation, right?

Mind Boggling

My overall opinion of the product is that it’s a really great quality cleanser, not necessarily a makeup remover. It’s very hydrating in that after I use the product, my skin doesn’t feel tight and dry as a foaming cleanser might make your skin feel.  I love Caroline Hirons and hope that this is just the beginning of her partnership with Pixi. I can’t wait to see what they come out with next.

 

 

 

Procrastination and Unfinished Business

 

In my whole life, I don’t think I have ever reached a goal that I’ve set for myself. It’s very discouraging to come to this realization of ones’ self, and you would think that most people would take this new-found information about themselves and try to overcome it. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people. All this realization has done is heap on another load of self-doubt and an overwhelming sense of, well, being overwhelmed. I think the sense of feeling overwhelmed when I take on new tasks is the root of my not being able to finish what I’ve started.

As I look around my office now, I realize even the most menial projects I’ve either struggled to get through or have just given up on all together. My closet is like a holding cell of arts and crafts, stranded, but not forgotten. There is a large box filled with toilet paper rolls that I planned on turning into paper flower wall decorations that I saw on Pinterest once. The project will probably never even get the chance to be a “Pinterest Fail” because; it most likely will never be finished. Collecting the rolls was the easiest part, which is still an ongoing thing in my bathroom and in my boyfriends’ office bathroom as well.

When we first moved into our new home I hid about thirty empty toilet paper rolls under the sink cabinet in his bathroom, figuring he’d probably never look under there. It took a few weeks, but eventually, he found them. I think he’s pretty convinced that my DIY wall decoration is never going to happen because I’ve just taken to toilet paper roll hoarding so seamlessly. Who needs a cost effective art instillation when you can just have step 1 shoved into every available space of your home?

I don’t draw the line at paper rolls, though; there are dozens of hook rugs, half knitted scarves, and unfinished stories lying around as well. The unfinished writing thing hurts a lot. I just wish there was some sort of pill I could take, or maybe a tea; they’re doing some pretty crazy shit with tea these days that would help me get my crap together!

Pretty Sure Cancer Isn’t a Real Thing

 

            Last year, my grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer. He had been sent to the dermatologist to have a suspect mole checked out, and like we all thought, it was cancerous. During the removal of the mole that was located on his upper chest, they also removed three lymph nodes. Apparently, they all had cancer in them. I say this with a skeptic tone because, before all of this diagnosis of cancer, my grandfather was the strongest man I knew.

A little backstory on my grandfathers’ toughness and Bad-Ass-erie; my grandpa was shot in the back when he was in his twenties, and the bullet is still there. The Docs, at the time, thought they would be doing more damage taking out the bullet, so they just left it there. At the age of 70, he hopped on his motorcycle and traveled clear across the country. When he arrived in North Dakota, he started to feel strange. He went to the ER there, where they told his that he was suffering from bleeding ulcers. The doctors there pleaded with him to stay at the hospital, but there’s really no telling my grandpa what to do once he’s set his mind on something. Against the hospitals’ orders, he discharged himself and road all the way back to Vegas on his bike.

The man is obviously certifiably insane, which was ever-so crystal clear, the time he went into cardiac arrest while in a movie theater while watching Expendables 2. He waited until the movie was over, and then calmly went out into the lobby and called an ambulance for himself. When we asked him why he didn’t go to the hospital sooner, he just replied with, “I wanted to see the rest of the movie I paid for.”

There are a lot of other things that prove my grandpa’s toughness . . . Or stubbornness. Unfortunately, I’m not at liberty to recount like 80% of them thanks to the witness protection program . . . kidding, maybe.

My point is the man that I’ve known my whole life has never let life or his ailments get him down. The only thing that has knocked him the fuck out is stupid fucking chemo therapy. My grandfather is 72 now and in the past few months that he’s been on chemo have been a disaster. It seems like when he had no idea that he had cancer, he was fine. Since he’s been on the chemo, his health has seriously declined. He’s depressed because he can’t go anywhere, or do anything without shaking like a leaf. And then when he brings this up to the Docs, they just refer him to a neurologist.

Nothing makes sense anymore. I feel like this whole “Cancer” thing is just something that was made up by the medical industry to suck more money out of our pockets while systematically fixing our over populated planet at the same time. I know I’m going off the rales with this conspiracy theory, but I can’t help it. I’m angry.

I’m angry that, once a month, my grandfather has to go somewhere and have poison injected into his body to kill off a disease of abnormal cell growth. Maybe all these people with “Abnormal Cells” are actually X-Men or something. And all we’re doing by killing it off is denying ourselves a world with actual superheroes!

On a more serious note, this has been very upsetting to my family, as I’m sure it has been to countless other families. It really sucks to sit with your loved one and feel like there’s nothing you can do to stop their pain. I hate it.

Why NYX is a Life Saver

Come Through Affordable Makeup!

Ever since I can remember NXY products have always been a staple in my makeup bag. I still remember the first little pot of concealer that my mom brought home for me when I was around twenty. She knew that I had become very self-conscious about the dark circles under my eyes, that I know now were a direct result of my anemia. I used to think it was because I didn’t get enough sleep, but now thinking back on that time in my life, sleep and work were about all I really had going on.

As any other run-of-the-mill twenty-something, I was on a budget, and makeup definitely had to be part of that budget, otherwise people who aren’t used to seeing your bare face ask if you’re sick all the time. So I started looking into more products from NYX. I loved my undereye concealer so much it compelled me to try out more products.

Liquid Love

I think everyone in the makeup world can agree that the last couple of years has been all about highlighters and the highly coveted liquid lipstick. Every major, and indie cosmetic company has their own line of liquid lipsticks, and I love pretty much all of them. The only gripe I really had with these lipsticks is the price tags on some of them. A good liquid lippy that doesn’t stain your lips and is of good quality can run you anywhere from $18-$50!

That’s why I was pleasantly surprised when NYX launched their Lip Lingerie liquid lipsticks. Every shade in that collection is stunning on any skin tone. The best part is the formula hands down. Whenever I go to apply a liquid lip I second guess myself, “Am I going to be eating something that will break this down?” Or, “How many times will I have to reapply this?” I never have these concerns when I’m wearing the Lip Lingerie,  ever.

Blushing For The Gods

If there was one blush that I couldn’t live without, it’s my NYX Ombre Blush in Mauve Me. In my opinion, the mauve color is very complimentary to a medium to light skin tone. I also have it in the color Soft Flush which gives off the most pigmented peach blush I have every seen. Word to the wise; Tap that brush off girl!

NYX continues to grow and prosper as a company as they should. Every product in their collection is well thought out and, more importantly, has a purpose. I’m truly on the edge of my seat to see what they will come up with next.

Working in a Restaurant is Like Going To War

Let me begin with an honest statement; I hate my job. I’ve hated it for about five years now. I don’t think I could possibly pinpoint a definitive reason for my hatred because there are so many reasons why I absolutely despise the place. However, I can list the reasons why. The number one being that my job has robbed me and my family of having any normal holiday celebrations for the last ten years.

I work at a pretty well know restaurant that thrives during the holidays, more specifically Thanksgiving. Every Thanksgiving since I’ve turned eighteen has been a nightmare because of my employment. We sell pastries and whole turkey dinners that can accommodate families of up to eight people. Granted, a lot of restaurants and grocery stores have since jumped on the one-stop-holiday dinner-shopping, but the company that I work for started it all and has made a nationally known name for themselves in the process.

When I first started working there as a cashier I had just started my first year of college. I figured I could work my way to serving if I wanted and it’d be easy money while I worked on my Bachelor’s in English. I started out part-time during the last week of October. Little did I know, I was being groomed to take on their busiest time of the year.

When they first told me I’d be working on Thanksgiving Day, I was a little heartbroken. At the time, my grandmother had recently passed away and Thanksgiving and Christmas were always like her Super bowl. For weeks she would plan out her cooking schedule, buy her Christmas cards early, figure out what amazing gift she would get my grandpa for his one and only Hanukah present. My grandmother made magic happen every year. She epitomized the iconic matriarch in every way. She made sure every year that all five of her granddaughters had new Christmas dresses to take the yearly holiday photo. When people were losing their minds on Black Friday in the stores, my grandma was setting up her Christmas tree so that the gifts she had bought in August had somewhere to go for a few weeks. She was amazing, and 2008 would be the first holidays without her.

The more I thought about it, the more okay I was with not being at my grandparents’ house for Thanksgiving. At the time the pain of her not being around was very fresh and I really don’t think I could’ve bared being in a house that was filled to the brim with every special memory of my childhood. Mostly because every special memory I had was connected to her in some way.

In the end, I decided not to quit and stayed on through Thanksgiving. I’m pretty sure the only two things that got me through that first Thanksgiving was the fact that my best friend was working right alongside me and that I still had Christmas Day to look forward to.

It’s funny to think back on that first year. The way I think about any holiday now is such a polar opposite to how I thought about them then. Back then it was all about being around my family and not caring about what hardships tomorrow might bring. I was “Living in The Moment,” as the kids strive to do these days. Now, the day after Thanksgiving all I can think about is next Thanksgiving. How to do things more efficiently, what am I buying for my boyfriend for Christmas, what’s the most expensive expression of my love that will make up for him sitting at home alone on a treasured holiday?

This past particular Thanksgiving my only thoughts on the holiday centered on how ridiculous it is that we celebrate the Trojan horse that we called Thanksgiving to trick Native Americans into trusting us. The dinner of peace was just a ploy to get the natives in our pocket, so we could then rape, murder, pillage and ultimately take their land for our own. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

A particular incident that sticks out in my mind of that first year at the restaurant began at 7 am in the morning. When I first started working there, I had all morning shifts, which actually had its perks in a lot of ways, but at the time I couldn’t stand it. I’ve never been a morning person, so most days I worked you could find me falling asleep standing up while filling a whip cream bag. I longed to work the fun and hip night shift with my best friend and the servers that were actually my age. Instead, I was stuck with the seniors and above crew. Where all of the servers were older than my mother and had been serving there since the restaurant had opened in the early 90’s.

Don’t get me wrong, eventually, these women would become like my extended family, but when I first started, it was like entering a high school cafeteria every day. They made my life a living hell. They hated me because I was new and young. Word to the wise; The older servers hate new and young girls. Even though a “seasoned server” can run circles around any new hot young thing and they know it. They still find you threatening. Maybe it’s because they know the young bus boys will all be tripping over themselves to run their food and drinks, and clear their stations first. Meanwhile, the older ones can’t get the bussers to bring more napkins to their two tops, let alone run their food. Whatever the case may be, they very much disliked me at this time and it really came out on days like this.

I answered the phone at around 7:15 am. The man on the other side of the call asked if we had any fresh blueberry muffins. I was trained to tell all the customers that our muffins were made fresh every day, so, of course, that was my response. He was pleased and quickly made an order with me over the phone for eight of them. After I hung up the phone, I went to the showcase, packed the eight muffins, and set them aside with a ticket attached to the bag.

At about a quarter to nine, the man walked in, paid for his muffins, and went on his merry way. About fifteen minutes later I got an angry call from an older woman. She was screaming down the line so loud and shrill, I had to hold the receiver about a foot away from my ear. She was pissed! She had sent her husband into pick up eight blueberry muffins, and what he had brought home were, “Stale pieces of shit!”

I was so scared at this point. I was positive I was going to get fired. The woman asked to speak to my manager so I quickly apologized and transferred her call to the office. I sat staring at the little red light on the phone that indicated someone in the office was on that line.  I knew that when that light went out, my manager would be coming up to get some kind of explanation as to why I was such a fucking idiot. I think when you know you’re about to get in trouble as a kid or an adult, the worst part is the couple of minutes of unknown fear. Your imagination takes over and suddenly you think it’s actually a possibility that not only will your boss fire you, they’ll go off the handle and hit you or something else completely heinous.

When my sweet, Asian Associate manager came up to the front of the house to speak with me, she didn’t really look angry. She didn’t look happy, but definitely not angry, and she didn’t say a word to me about the muffins. She acted as if everything was normal so I followed suit and kept my mouth shut. She briefly did something on one of the computers up front, and then, just before she headed back to the office, she turned to me and said, “When that man comes back in, hide and have someone come and get me.”

I was stunned. All I could muster was an up and down shake of the head and an, “Okay.” And just like that, she turned on her heal and flitted away to the back. I didn’t know what to think, but I wasn’t getting fired at that moment so I tried to continue with my side work and get on with my day. During the hour and a half it took for that man to come back, I must have looked out the window a thousand times. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember what he was wearing. Ironically, I remember his face to this day, but I have no idea what he was wearing. If only I could remember, I could be gone, hidden behind the pantry before he even hit the door.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t fast enough. I was in the middle of finishing up a transaction with a customer who had bought several pastries when he walked in. I was standing behind the counter and couldn’t run away and hide as I was trying to give this woman her change. I quickly handed her $3.75 back and tried to bolt, but he stopped me in my tracks with a slam of his stale muffins on the front counter.

“I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU SOLD ME THIS SHIT!”

I looked back at him, not knowing what to do. He was screaming obscenities at me at the top of his lungs. This went on for what seemed like literally forever. To the point where I didn’t even know what he was saying. All of my focus was on trying not to cry. My recollection of what exactly he said is very fuzzy. All I really have left of this memory is the moment he started to dig into his shopping bag. He opened the muffin box, plucked out a blueberry muffin, and threw it at my chest.

I remember that that was my breaking point. As I ran away, desperately trying to hold back tears, I saw the older server-women laughing hysterically at me as they rolled their silverware. Luckily, my manager was already on her way up, and when I realized that I made a B-line for the bathroom.

As I stood in the ladies room stall, sobbing and unenergetically wiping streusel off my chest I played the absurd moment of being assaulted with a muffin over and over in my mind. At the time I couldn’t comprehend how crazy and irrational food can make a person. To be completely honest, I still really don’t understand why people get so worked up about sustenance that we just end up shitting out after our bodies take what it needs to survive.

After I had calmed down a bit and had decided not to run out of the bathroom, out of the restaurant and into my car, never looking back, I left the Ladies and crept up to the front counter once I knew the muffin man was gone. My manager at the time was so sweet, even though I was a complete dumb-ass who had just cried at work. It wouldn’t be the first time, but it would be the last time anyone saw. . . Don’t hold me to that, it might be a lie. She told me that I had just done what they had taught me to do and that she had had problems with that particular customer before. I later learned that if the blueberry muffins weren’t personally handed to the “Muffin Man” straight out of the damn oven, in his wife’s eyes, they were old and stale and she almost always asked for a refund. I was the only lucky one to actually have any of the “stale” muffins thrown at them though.

It’s funny how something that I thought I would never live down makes me crack up now whenever I tell that story. Just the other night I was trying to tell my boyfriend about D-Day with the Muffin Man, and I could barely get the words out, I was laughing so hysterically. I don’t know if I can laugh at things like that now because of how ridiculous the situation was, or because since then I feel like I’ve had way worse customers.

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Extra points if you can guess the book I bought based on the recommendation list!

Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

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The shimmer and matte browns in this little guy really compliment a medium skin tone, which I’m sure any mixed girl can appreciate. I’ve noticed lately, a lot of color stories that mainstream companies are choosing for their makeup lines do not necessarily compliment a deeper skin tone.  Or the pallets are created without the consideration that there are many different kinds of pigmentation, and they don’t all look great in the basic pallet coloring format.