Fat Bastard Stole My Mojo

I’ve lost my mojo. A coworker just lost his wife. I’m drinking and sleeping too much; Contemplating the meaning of life.

Southern Arizona is an interesting place to live for myriad reasons but today I’m just thinking about demographics and the cycle of life. I moved here to live with an ex and really didn’t give much thought to anything other than the heat and the proximity to the international border.

The median age in my home zip code was 35.6 years as of 2014 compared to 72.6 years where I work…and I only have a ten-minute commute! Arizona’s population growth has made national news lately. Part of it is due to businesses fleeing states with higher taxes and part of it is due to people retiring in warmer climates.

The thing is, people die. Where I work, we watch people decline. Sometimes, we have to call Adult Protective Services because we see people wearing the same clothes several days in a row and notice new damage to their vehicles. I joke about how people in this area drive but it’s super dangerous. Some have mental health issues. Some have memory issues. Some have substance abuse issues. Some have medication issues. Some are full-time caregivers and are completely overwhelmed. Some are dealing with all of the above in addition to the garden variety issues associated with just getting old already.

Many employers are focusing on benefits which appeal to Millennials, such as student loan forgiveness. Our employees’ average age is over 55 so I’m just sitting here trying to help people who are on Medicare fill gaps in their coverage with voluntary benefits. I receive questions from people regarding their maximum monthly income while collecting Social Security. The younger Boomers are just trying to max out their 401(k)s before they transition to full retirement. They’re probably the last generation who can reasonably expect a full retirement. Thanks for ruining it for the rest of us!

Anyway, this is a community in which there are very few natives. I’ve been here seven years and am considered a long-time resident. The roots are shallow and you can’t just be friends with people from family connections or college. It takes actual work, which is asking a lot when the weather is absolute crap and people keep dying. One might be motivated to check off some bucket list items because life is too short and all of that. I’m more likely to dust off a timeworn paperback of Poe’s greatest works and just wallow in it.

How Old is Too Old?

I may just be a bit too old for the Tucson nightlife. I’m definitely too old for the cold which descended upon us last week and forced me to wear boots and a sweater to dinner. I had a couple Warsteiner Pilsners before I left the house because I was really feeling my German roots and was super excited to have some authentic German food.

Ten55 Brewing and Sausage House looks great inside with the brick and the benches. There were quite a few hipster beards wrapped in flannel, though, so my GenX avocado toast avoidance alarm bells were sounding. The Pork Schnitzel Sliders were good, if a bit dry, but I love purple cabbage and the dijonnaise saved the day. It’s really awkward to eat there with a group and have to order at the bar. It’s also awkward for your friend who chose to drink water to schlep on over to the water bar. Like, say what now? My main issue was I was craving bierocks and they are not to be found in Tucson so I was just going to be disappointed. It really wasn’t the food’s fault.

So then I ordered shots containing Pop Rocks in some alleyway bar behind Johnny Gibson’s Downtown Market. I was like, “Where am I and what am I drinking?” I don’t remember seeing a sign and sort of questioned whether it was a licensed establishment for a sec. That area kind of has a flea market feel to it with the outdoor seating and heaters. Turns out it was HighWire Lounge and I am definitely not in their target demographic. I would tell you more about the shots, which I think they call Molecular, but I can’t be sure because they can’t be bothered to complete their website.

We then proceeded to Batch Cafe & Bar, which is a bit more grown-up. I had The Stud doughnut with bourbon caramel Bavarian creme, dark chocolate, and chopped bacon. It went perfectly with a couple ounces of Jameson neat. Honestly, I didn’t notice any bourbon in the creme but that is likely because it wasn’t our first stop. I could do some serious diet damage in that place. We sat outside so we could critique the surprising number of drivers who attempted to parallel park in front of Empire Pizza on Congress. Is your pizza so damned important that you feel the need to hold up downtown traffic on a Saturday night? How rude. To be fair, though, we gave the successful parkers generous rounds of applause, which I’m sure they appreciated.

I’m still very confused about the next place. The Owls Club has a terrific drink menu but the seating is extremely limited so we left. Old people need to sit while doing the drinking. In retrospect, I’m not certain I could have remained on one of those wooden pews long enough to finish a drink. My back hurts just thinking about it.

We spent a while searching for some of the murals on my map but it seems they have been painted over at some point. Here’s a metal bird instead.

We finally made our way to Scott & Co, which is connected to 47 Scott. It was completely packed and their cocktail menu is quite extensive so I had a Kölsch-style beer and called it good. I just wasn’t in a place mentally to study for an exam at that point. This is one of those places that you need to revisit when the weather is warmer and college is not in session. I want to try all of the ancient cocktails. Someone carry me.

Oath of Allegiance

This past Friday, I had the honor of shaking hands with 98 people from more than 20 countries and welcoming them as citizens of the United States of America. One of the activities of Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is attending naturalization ceremonies and welcoming new citizens with American Flag lapel pins.

I signed up at our last chapter meeting and didn’t realize until the night before that also meant I had volunteered for a public speaking engagement. Say what now? Oh yes…DAR is listed on the program and gives a brief address at each ceremony. Good to know! On the way to town, I was told I could personalize the address to include some information about my patriot. I always hated pop quizzes! I agreed to deliver the afternoon address so I could at least see how it all works first.

When we arrived at the U.S. District Court in Tucson, Security asked straight away if we were the “DAR ladies.” Tell me, was it the red, white, and blue attire that gave it away? We were seated at a table right at the front of the courtroom across from the USCIS officers, one of whom makes the motion to the court for admission of candidates for naturalization.

A gentleman from the State Department provided information about obtaining passports and registering to vote and the judge in each ceremony really spent quite a lot of time stressing the importance of voting. He also talked about the uniqueness of the American experience and how this is the only country in which one becomes an American at the precise moment they become a citizen, regardless of their previous nationality. He said he could obtain German citizenship but never be considered a German (and so on) but that is not the case here.

Wouldn’t you know the afternoon ceremony was packed with so many friends and family they were not all allowed in the courtroom. It really helped my speech jitters to have 48 new citizens plus about 100 supporters, a federal judge, and the other government employees just trying to get through their Friday listening to me talk about our ancestors taking up arms for the cause of freedom. I can never talk about patriot stuff without getting choked up and it’s even worse when I talk about family patriot stuff. Nevertheless, I mostly got through it without my voice breaking and have never been so grateful to take a seat and shut my mouth.

After the Oath of Allegiance, a brand-new citizen volunteered at each ceremony to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. I thought I was in the tear-clear until the video of “God Bless the U.S.A.” started playing. Why was that courtroom so dusty anyway? It’s a health hazard! Speaking of tears, each new citizen and each of their friends and family had the opportunity to speak about their experiences and their reasons for pursuing citizenship. They all had extremely moving stories but the teenage girl who sobbed into the microphone about how hard her mom worked to provide for her family so they could have better lives was nearly my undoing.

After the new citizens received their certificates, they came to our table to receive their pins. We shook their hands, congratulated them, and even took photos of one gentleman with his certificate and flag with his phone. You would never know from being inside that courtroom that we are a nation divided. I checked my text messages after we left the building and saw a national emergency had been declared. There is too much hyperbole and not enough focus on fixing our broken immigration system so that we can have less of what happens at our borders every day and more of what I experienced in that courtroom.

This is something every American citizen should experience at least once. We tend to take our way of life for granted and maybe even think it’s not so great when we watch the news. Forget what the clickbait peddlers are selling to you. I saw for myself 98 people who have endured all manner of hardships to become one of us. As we were walking to the parking garage after the second ceremony, I asked my counterpart how many of these one has to attend in order to make it through without crying and she said she imagines it’s quite a few.

Why Are Children’s Books So Terrifying?

I know nothing about children, aside from having once been one. From what I can tell, there are a whole fuck ton of parents who fall into the same category. At least I own it.

Maybe it was the road rage from the snowbirds driving. Maybe it was the sound of the Cheetos packaging crinkling. Maybe it was simply the annoyance of having my pre-therapy session Twitter interrupted by the voice of another human. Whatever the cause of my near-panic reaction, I am still contemplating the seriously disturbing tale about wolves, a pig, and a flamingo.

I typed the following thoughts as I was waiting in captivity:

New version of 3 Little Pigs/ Wolves in therapist’s waiting room. I need Xanax. Plastic snack packaging. Why am I doing this again?

Does she have to read this so loudly?

I can’t even concentrate on these #TradeValentines on Twitter. This is BS.

What is happening right now? The kid is providing color commentary. I need silence.

Going to spend the next hour trying not to have a panic attack. Omfg.

Wolves used dynamite to blow up the house? How is terrorism in a children’s book?

Flamingo pushing a wheelbarrow full of flowers. Wtf? They’re building their next house of flowers? That’ll never work.

I was going to edit them but I feel they accurately capture the essence of my thoughts at the time. So it turns out, The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig came out in 1993. 1993! It’s supposed to have a happy ending but I fail to grasp how anyone could (or should) be friends with someone who destroyed their house once with a sledgehammer, then with a pneumatic drill, and finally with dynamite. And let’s be real; that flamingo was not giving away those flowers for free. Capitalism always wins.

That, of course, made me think of Hansel and Gretel (Stranger Danger!), Sleeping Beauty (kinda rapey), and my favorite Le Petit Prince (holy symbolism, Batman!). It’s no wonder children have nightmares. Can we not teach valuable lessons without all of the death and dismembering? Have our language skills not evolved beyond The Brothers Grimm?

It’s not cute; it’s creepy. And frankly, it makes Twitter seem downright wholesome. @dog_rates 15/10,  I’m counting on you.

When the Jokes Write Themselves

I was looking at a work calendar and noticed someone is going to the dentist on Valentine’s Day. And though I have the sleeping habits of an 80-year-old woman, I have a teenage boy’s sense of humor. I mean, there are less hygienic instruments one can have placed in one’s mouth on International Steak & BJ Day. Honestly, I would rather go to the dentist.

I, on the other hand, have an appointment with my therapist on Valentine’s Day. Because who doesn’t need a good skull fucking on the worst day of the year? It’s the only day she has available this week and I appreciate the symmetry. The only thing missing from my life is a cat.

On a completely unrelated subject, I’m thinking about buying a Subaru. Just kidding. I also don’t like cats.

A friend and I were talking about our plans to try a local restaurant that serves several types of homemade sausage and we both keep having to stop mid-sentence to avoid calling it a sausage fest every time the subject, uh, comes up. Can’t stop; won’t stop.

The same friend thought I was kidding when I told her she’ll know I’m really serious about finding a man when I spend my weekends at the shooting range. I joke around saying it’s a target-rich environment but seriously…that’s where the men are. And you get bonus points if you actually know what you’re doing. You don’t have to wear makeup or do your hair. I love the smell of propellant (and toxic masculinity) in the morning!

Anyway, I’ll be spending Thursday evening drinking Tullamore D.E.W. on the couch with two very special canines and rethinking my life.

Breaking My Own Rules

What do a hidden mural, a steak coma, and a play about omelets have in common? They’re all part of my latest harebrained scheme.

I don’t typically do the after dark things when I have to work the next day (because I’m obviously 80) but I made an exception to see Something Rotten! at Centennial Hall as part of the Broadway in Tucson 2018/2019 Season.

Whenever I have to do something all the way in Tucson (because it’s so FAR), I always check the proximity to the Trident Grill locations and Sunday was no exception. The original Trident is right next to the UA campus and I was craving steak and Founders Porter. Imagine my dismay when I was told they no longer serve the Founders Porter and I had to make do with Guinness. The horror!

Where does this bionic asparagus grow?!?

I can’t be mad, though, because I needed that steak. It was cooked exactly as I requested (medium rare) and although I completely demolished it, I really needed a nap by the time I was finished.

We then set out to find this particular mural for the photo op. Unfortunately, we were in a hurry to get to the play on time and we couldn’t find it. The sun was setting, there were college students everywhere, and we couldn’t find the damned mural. The backup plan was basic af but couldn’t be helped. I couldn’t stop laughing at the absurdity of it and look like a complete goober in even the best pic. There are nearly 1,000 murals in Tucson and I need photos with all of them. You know, to prove I occasionally leave my house. It’s a different proof of life concept without the Polaroid of the day’s newspaper.

Lame, lame, lame…maybe a little shame in my game.

We got to Centennial Hall just in time and the play was a riot. I had to dig deep in my memory to get some of the Shakespeare jokes but Thomas Nostradamus was hilarious. I don’t normally like musicals but I needed all of the singing and the dancing to keep my ass awake. Thank God for the lady with the crazy laugh at all the quiet moments. This woman seriously had the most Marty McFly laugh I have ever heard in real life and I would invite her to parties just to hear it.

What does any of this have to do with omelets? Nostradamus foretold the most popular Shakespeare play of all time and confused Hamlet with Omelet. Or vice versa. You know what I mean. So there were literally people dancing around on stage wearing egg and then omelet costumes. It’s funnier than that, what with all of the Shakespeare references and sexual innuendo, and I’m glad I broke my Sunday night rule to see it.

As we were driving down Broadway, we passed The Screening Room and I saw on the marquee they’re showing Two Women Drinking Wine and Talking About Murder. My friend and I agreed that one might have been more our speed but such is life. You can still catch it tonight! I won’t be there, however. Two work nights in a row is outside the realm of possibilities.

All of the Things

I have done all of the things this week and I am all of the tired. It’s a good thing tomorrow is Friday. God damn it; this is Wednesday.

The brain is overheated. I have a knot in my shoulder the size of Antarctica. And those groceries aren’t going to buy themselves.

My therapist was asking me questions this morning about what I need to be able to do _______. How the hell should I know? It’s like being raised by wolves and being asked what I need to be able to act like a duck. Fucking duck lessons? Why are you asking me?

Seriously, don’t ask me anything. I’m the one who’s fucked up as a soup sandwich. I mean, holy shit. I was giving her online shopping tips. And paying her.

But you guys…Macy’s is having a pop-up sale that ends tomorrow.

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