Eleven (11) of the World’s Most Annoying People

1. People who play Never Have I Ever by constantly insisting, “Oh, that’s the one thing I HAVEN’T done.”

 You: “Never have I ever done heroin.”
Them: “Whoooo-eee, that is the ONE drug I haven’t done. Ohhh man. Crazy times, crazy times.”
You: “Never have I ever had sex at the bottom of the ocean.”
Them: “Good thing you didn’t say “in a bed!” Because you would not believe some of the wild nights I’ve had. Oh baby!”
You: “Never have I ever punched a celebrity in the face.”
Them: “Not in the face, no, but boy have I punched some celebrities!”

…and so on. Note that this person loses EVERY TIME.

2. People who are overly enthusiastic about horrible, banal, annoying jobs, specifically the people who stand in the middle of the sidewalk with clipboards.

Him: “Hey you! Yeah, you! We’re gonna make CHANGE today!”
You: *puts in headphones*
Him: “You can’t spell environment without mention! As in, did I mention how fabulous it feels when you do the right thing?”
You: …

3. People under the age of 50 who write memoirs.

Her (chewing thoughtfully on the end of a pen): Middle school was a particularly hard time for me. I remember we used to eat lunch in the cafeteria. The chairs were plastic, red and hard. I was lonely. Everything changed when I went to high school. I met Bobby. We kissed under the bleachers, and he tasted like [insert applicable popular candy of the decade].
You: …zzzzzzzz…

4. People over the age of 50 who haven’t done anything that can be objectively described as “badass” and who write memoirs anyway, usually about a) the heavy drug/alcohol/party culture of their youth or b) the pristine/countrified/home-cookin’ culture of their youth.

Him: I remember growing up in the 80’s. All that big hair and neon clothing. Tim and I used to go down to the clubs and dance the night away, smashed out of our minds on acid.
Her: Mother baked the sweetest lingonberry pies.

5. People who write recipes that call for too many onions.

You (while making the recipe): Ouch! Ouch! My eyes! GODDAMNNIT!
You (eating): Yum…YUCK!

6. People who offer to make “delicious, home-cooked meals” for your boyfriend.

Someone actually did this to me. Inexcusable, unless that person is your/his mom.

7. Old people who have no concept of time and constantly get your age wrong.

Your dad (with his arm around you): Hi, Aunt Agatha, you remember Juniper, my daught–
Aunt Agatha: Is this that skanky bleach-blonde wife of yours? You two were always pawing each other in public.
You (leaping away): AHHH!
Aunt Agatha: Oh, Juniper, my cataracts are so bad that I didn’t see you! You look just like your mother. How’s the fourth grade? You got a boyfriend yet?
You: I’m 22.
Aunt Agatha: Is that your husband?

8. People who don’t understand you and/or think you are always talking to them.

Your facebook status: UGH I WANNA DIE.
Them: http://www.thereisstillhope.com call me sometime gurl.
Your facebook status: Anyone know a good place I can pick up some crack cocaine? This day WILL NOT END.
Them: http://www.drugsarenottheanswer.org im here for you babe!
Your facebook status: It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.
Them: Where/when?

9. Really friendly people who are actually employees of weird, soul-sucking pyramid schemes.

Friendly girl: Hey! Sorry to bug you, but you have the CUTEST shoes. Can I ask where you got them?
You: Gee, thanks! What a relief to experience some friendly human-to-human interaction in this cold, bitter era! I got them at Payless.
Friendly girl: Awww, job doesn’t pay very well?
You: Hehe, you know.
Friendly girl: Have you ever considered working for Mary Kay?
You: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! (You run out of there and update your facebook status to “TEAR MY HAIR OUT BY THE ROOTS AND SOUSE MY EYES WITH BURNING OIL!” Friend #8 helpfully directs you to http://www.amIacutter?.gov.)

10. People who are flakier than those Pillsbury commercials would have you believe their croissants are.

Instead of a dialogue, I’ll give you a sermon. It’s fine to flake every now and then. Everyone gets sick. Everyone occasionally feels like they’d rather jump out a windowpane of razor blades than socialize. However, if you flake on your friends two (2) times in a row, or several (SEVERAL) times in a month, especially when they have paid good money to prepare the cavier brulee that you specifically asked them to make, don’t be surprised when they move on without you. In this day of instant gratification and bloated newsfeeds, who has time for a flaky friend? Not me, Hugh, not me.

11. People who unnecessarily correct your “mistakes” and/or people who respond to casual texts with perfect capitalization and punctuation.

James Joyce at a writer’s workshop, reading aloud: Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him on the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned:
– Introibo ad altare Dei.
Them: I’ll go first! OK, so my first comment is that “dressing gown” should be two words. Let’s see…oh, and I’m not sure that the Latin really does anything here, like it doesn’t really tell us anything about the character if we can’t understand what it means, you know?

You, commenting on another friend’s facebook status: aw guuurl that’s awesome!
Them: Sorry to be annoying, but did you mean girl?

Your text: are you coming to the thing tonight? i cant get a ride might be late cuz i have to take the el.
Their text: I’ll be there at 8 o’clock.

Who do you think is the most annoying person on this list? (IS IT YOU?) (Nahh, impossible.) (Secret answer #12: It’s the Kardashian sisters!) My vote goes to Person #1. Thanks, Person #1, for inspiring this whole post. Keep living on the edge.

On Jazz: A Conversation With Tori & Charlie

Charlie: So lately I’ve been really digging the Keith Jarrett American Quartet of the ’70’s.
Tori: Is he hot?
Charlie: I don’t know about you, but I think Charlie Haden and Paul Motian are one of the best bass/drum teams in jazz history, right up there with Philly Joe/PC or Ron/Tony.
Tori: Once I was on a team.
Charlie: Shades of Jazz, off the album Shades, perfectly showcases what is so great about this band: deeply swinging, a foot in both bebop harmony and free jazz harmony, and a palpable joy which is a mark of all great music.
Tori: Can we be done soon?
Charlie: No, we’ve just started.
Tori: I don’t like writing blog posts together.
Charlie: Well, this is awkward…
Tori: My new Vogue is here!
Charlie: I’ve also been enjoying Dave Holland’s playing with Anthony Braxton recently. It’s especially interesting to listen to Holland next to (Tori wanders off) Haden. Both are players who have mastered free bass playing, but are coming from different places…also, Dave is probably one of the most direct heirs to Ron Carter! Boo? Boo? (sound of wind whistling through the open door) 
Charlie (cradling his Keith Jarrett LP and singing softly): And if I cried a little bit…when first I learned the truth…don’t blame it on my heart…blame it on my youth.

My Career Goals To Date

Ages 0-5: Princess, Sparkle Princess, Mommy

Ages 5-8: American (we lived in Africa and I really missed America for some reason)

Age 9: Destroyer of Walmarts (when we came back to America I loathed Walmarts)

Ages 10-14: Horse Owner, Professional Horse Rider, Horse

Age 14: Concert Pianist

Age 15: Mrs. Frederic Chopin

Age 16: Anything But Concert Pianist

Age 17-18: Actress, BAMF

Age 18.5: Lady Macbeth

Age 19: Vagabond

Ages 20+: Writer, Professor, Professional Existential Wreck, Assassin, Sugar Baby

Dirt Poor

I thought I had a hundred dollars left but apparently I have negative fourteen. Here are some ways I can survive until payday on Monday.

1. Morph into a higher form of creature who needs naught to survive but air and water.
2. Eat Babybug, the magazine for babies! “Featuring extra-heavy pages, non-toxic ink, rounded corners, and staple-free binding, BABYBUG is safe for little ones to explore, helping them understand that reading is fun and can be a part of every day Tori to eat.” Bonus: since I work for Babybug (among other magazines), I have a practically unlimited supply of delicious nontoxic food at my disposal!
3. Eat my toiletries. I am sort of a toiletry hippie, so most of my products are safe to eat, as I use mostly avocado butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, vegetable glycerin, and essential oils of rosemary, basil, lavendar, lemon, and tea tree. NOTE: DO NOT EAT LEMON OIL OR USE IT UNDILUTED. That stuff is hella strong. I was just joking about eating the lemon oil. The rest is serious.
4. Eat the scary frozen lentils that were in my fridge for 4+ months and that I threw away yesterday.
5. SURVIVE OFF THE DELICIOUS CHEESE AND OLIVE SAMPLES AT WHOLE FOODS (this one is in caps because a) I already do this and b) uh, yum!).
6. Sell my clothes on eBay. Keep only my yellow skinny jeans, yellow Frye boots, yellow coat, neon yellow cardigan, oversized yellow sweater, yellow knee socks, and superhero bodysuit made from pure, cursed gold stolen from the tombs of the Pharoahs. Change my name to Green.
7. Sell my little sister on eBay.
8. Sell the melted fondue cheese that hardened into the shape of the virgin Mary that my friend Meri threw away like a week ago on eBay.
9. Try out for the Joffrey Ballet. I hear they pay really well!
10. Sell my apartment on the black market. Say, “It’s great for growing weed!” When winter hits, punch the “starving young artist” who sells his “beautiful, noncomformist paintings” outside Caribou Coffee. Take his change. Burn his paintings to keep warm. Sell his paint supplies on eBay. When he wakes up, make friends with him and apologize so as not to upset my karma balance too much.

Grandmas Gone Wild

I don’t have a problem with the elderly. I am one plan to be one someday. I love my grandparents. Sometimes I judge old people when they stare at me on the bus, but they’re judging me, so our bad karma cancels each other out and creates good karma…RIGHT? However, there is a certain sect of the old that MUST! BE! STOPPED! Act now, friends, or forever hold your peace!

I refer, of course, to the Grandmother Who Writes Children’s Literature.

There are a few subsects of the GWWCL:

1. “I Create the Ideal Grandchild Through My Literature” Grandma: This type of grandmother writes fluffly little pieces from the perspective of the grandchild she wishes she could have in real life. Example: poems titled “I Love Grandma,” “Grandma Bakes the Best Pies,” “My Snuggly Grandma,” “Grandma, You’re the Best!” “Dude, My Grandma’s Rockin'” and so forth. She creates freckle-faced little narrators that spew sentiments like, “Boy, is it Sunday yet? I can’t wait to go to Grandma’s house! She always has a plate of fresh-baked cookies, and she gives the best hugs EVER! Boy, I just can’t wait to visit Grandma. Once, Grandma took me to the zoo. IT WAS THE BEST! Every time I’m sad, Grandma knows how to make me feel better. I love mowing her lawn and taking out the trash–it’s the least I can do!”

NOTE OF SOME INTEREST: The problem with the ICTIGTML Grandma is that no matter how much grandchildren love their grandma, they would NEVER express it with such cloying cutesiness. They are scheming ways to set Grandma’s dog on fire and steal all her loose change. 

2. The “I Complement My Grandmothering Skills Through My Literature” Grandma: Similar to the ICTIGTML-GWWCL, the ICMGSTML Grandma writes works of art that celebrate the perfect grandmother–based, of course, on her own life. Expect to see gems like “What I Like About Grandma” and “What Makes Grandma So Unique.” While the ICMGSTML Grandma loves to praise her own “fluffy white hair,” “special special kisses,” and “wise use of retirement money,” a more accurate list would probably run as follows:

Grandma has no money
So Grandma has no clothes
My mom says she’s “eccentric”
So I guess that’s how it goes
We take her to a thrift store
To try on a pink shirt
She smells a little funny
And drinks a lot from a bottle
And screams at me from the dressing room

NOTE OF SOME INTEREST: SO I’M NOT A POET. What did you expect, a sonnet?! Geez, you people, it’s like I don’t get a moment’s rest.

3. The “Unintentionally (Dear Lord At Least We Hope It’s Unintentional) Sexual” Grandma: The U(DLALWHIU)S Grandma is perhaps the most horrifying of the Grandmas Who Write Children’s Literature. This Grandma likes to write about teenage boys who perform “acts of kindness” to older women, but manages to infuse her writing with a tension that can only be described as…uh…hard to ignore. A real-life quote: “A deep, absurdly loud sigh escapes me as memories of Grandma flood my brain–round and bumpy in all the right places, smelling pleasantly of lilacs…”

NOTE OF SOME INTEREST: Scholars have debated for centuries whether or not the U(DLALWHIU)S Grandma is a valid subset of the Grandmas Who Write Children’s Literature. Those who profess disbelief at the existence of the U(DLALWHIU)S Grandma insist that she is merely a figment of the imaginations of immature young editors who can “make a dirty joke out of anything.” Those who argue for the existence of the U(DLALWHIU)S Grandma cite numerous examples from literature that support their case, most notably the infamous U(DLALWHIU)S Grandma who wrote the Song of the Inchworm, whose memorable chorus went “humpy-up tickle, humpy-up tickle.”

I Get It

We’re all just little basil and swiss chard seedlings, trying desperately to grow in whatever sunlight we can snatch from the cruel maw of the world. (Psst: those are my lil plants!)

It’s easy for me to get infuriated to the point of spontaneous combustion when I read some of the blogs out there. Some of my writing friends and I have a few particular favorites that we read whenever we want to feel…uh…absolutely blinded by sheer rage (it’s a lovely sensation and looks great on almost everyone, you should try it sometime). The blogs that really make me writhe are usually written by educated white twenty-somethings who have lots of opinions about “issues”: you know, why gender is absolutely the most fascinating thing ever, or what the political arena is lacking (answer: their voice), or how to be an artist (what credentials? credentials are for the plebiate! [I made up that word {but maybe it’s real}]), or why the world is one big bigoted discriminating overweight Republican who nonetheless should be hired as a runway model to represent diversity of size. You get the point: insert “political correctness is so blase” joke here.

For some reason, I hate “issues” to the very core of my being. I think talking about race, gender, politics, religion, and even the environment has become nothing more than verbal masturbation, especially in an age when there is so much freaking information and misinformation out there. Quite frankly, your impassioned opinion is about as important as the third-to-last vienna sausage in a can of vienna sausages that expired in 2004. Which is not to say that people should be opinion-less, but it all feels so circular and, yeah, masturbatory, and so I get uncomfortably angry and want to cut my appendix out with a pencil sharpener.

But maybe I’m the one who needs to tone it down a bit (at least inside my own head). At the end of it all, we’re exactly the same–just a bunch of loser twenty-somethings with big opinions on what we don’t like about the world. It’s totally exhausting. I gotta stop hating. I get it. You’re mad about something and it’s translating into big “issue” talk that I find pretentious and insipid, so now I’m mad about you and it’s translating into this blog post. Nothing productive has been accomplished.

Insert a picture of me doing a yoga pose and glowing with inner light.

I think people are given far too many forums in which to express their half-formed, overwrought opinions and their photoshopped public persona–INCLUDING ME. I think things would be a lot better if we all GOT OFF THE INTERNET and grew up a bit. I think a lot of people have too much time, money (even if you think you’re poor…you’re not), and maybe even a sparkly big vocabulary on their hands, and so we’re all swimming in a sea of big opinions from lazy people. While I’m glad I don’t live back in the days where I would have been married at 12, birthed my first child at 14, and at 22 be a washed-up old hag with perpetually chapped hands who smears goosegrease on them at night, I don’t know if I would have found so much to disgust me about the world…which, FYI, is giving me wrinkles! At some deep level maybe it’s good to have your psyche turned AWAY FROM YOURSELF!!! and engrossed in the sweet hay of your mattress that smells like harvest in sunshine, and the salty reeds soaking up the urine on your floor, and your illiterate children playing with the pigs, and your stranger of a husband, and the cycles of the sun, OK I may be channeling a little bit of the Tudor Period now, but I don’t care, I love Henry the 8th and would have made a good wife for him OK?!