Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Paranoia and Suspicion

Something is afoot.

Given that I am about to suffer a "milestone birthday event,"  I suspect that the husband and various family members are plotting. The nature of said event is of issue: Dad is a notorious prankster and several family members owe me for things I've inflicted upon them.

Let's face it: I've dished out a lot of pranky crap to those around me -- whether on their birthday or no -- and I know that payback is probably a bigger bitch than I am.

God forbid it involves clowns. *shudder*

There have been surreptitious emails and phone calls. Various people have let snippets of info drop.

I'm developing a twitch.

Tripling down on stupid.

Pediem is a prognosticator par excellence. Two days after Miss Drunken Hot Mess got herself bounced from class for shameful inebriation, I got a call from her advisor.

"She wants to drop the class. I looked at her grades; she's got a high B. What gives?"

I related the tale, including the call I made to her ResLife rep*, recommending a spot of alcohol education.

"Ah. That changes things. I'm not signing the slip, then."

Twenty minutes later, the phone rang again.

"She claims none of that happened, and you are lying to cover up the fact that you've been harassing her and making her life Hell. She's gotten her parents involved, as well."

"Fine! I'm formally requesting an Honor Court. There are 24 other students in the class -- one of them her roommate -- who can testify to her condition and behavior, as well as the fact that she has not been singled out for anything in class. If she wants to go for broke, let her."

"Honor Court? Really? If they decide against her, she can be kicked out..."

"Hey, she's damaging my reputation by making baseless accusations to cover up her own misbehavior. I'm not going to bear the consequence for her immaturity and inability to hold her liquor. I'll see her and  her parents and everyone else in the auditorium to discuss it."

A week later, we all sat there - Advisor,  Department Chair, Dean, ResLife Counselor, Roommate and 23 students -- waiting for the circus to start. The clowns finally straggled in with Miss DHM trailing her parents. She looked like a bus had hit her, and her parents looked a fearsome combination of rage, indignation and bewilderment.

The proceedings opened, and her father led with, "My daughter is innocent, this is a ridiculous endeavor, she did nothing wrong, the professor is picking on her..."

The peanut gallery of students engaged in giggling, indignant gestures and eye-rolling. Coughs of "bullshit!" were heard. Even her roommate was seen to mouth, "Are you really going through with this?" to her.

One by one, we all gave our versions of the event in question. Unsurprisingly, 25 of the 26 of us who were present gave an overwhelmingly similar description. Some of them filled in details from the party itself, but everyone agreed: she was drunk and disruptive in class and had been asked to leave politely.

As the hearing continued, Miss DHM sank lower in her seat. As she sank, you could see her parents' blood pressure rise. The anger shifted from me to her, and it was clear that someone was going to Get It when we left that room.

The Dean had had enough of the bullshit, and called everyone to order. Judgement was rendered: she was full of shit, I was clear, and all the witnesses (myself, the students, Department Head) were dismissed. As the door swing shut, it was her, her parents, the Advisor, the ResLife Rep and the Dean.

Nothing good was going to come of that. The roomie and I hung around in the hall, waiting to see what would shake out, exchanging sympathetic and concerned chatter. Contrary to how she might feel about it, I really did give a shit about her and how she was going to come out of this. Forty-five minutes later, the doors swung open.

The Dean and Advisor stalked out, both looking steamed. The ResLife Rep came out, shaking her head. "What a friggin' dumbass. Looks like you've got a single from here on out." Miss DHM ran out, sobbing. her parents came out last.  Her mother apologized to me, as did her father, and both explained that she would be withdrawing to school to work on her "maturity issues." She just didn't expect that her actions would spiral into such a big deal.


*Dolores, the ResLife Rep, has seen it all. She is a combo of Honey Badger (who doesn't give a shit) and the "Ain't no one got time for that!" lady.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mother Hen says...

If you show up to a 9:30 AM class reeking of stale alcohol, smoke and questionable life choices, I am going to give you a Look.

That Look will cool several degrees if I notice what appears to be either crusted vomit or "gentleman's relish" in your hair. Ditto the smeared eye makeup, missing earring and what appears to be a hell of a hickey on your clavicle.

If it becomes evident, over the course of the first fifteen minutes of class, that you are still inebriated from the previous night's festivities, due to excessive stumbling, inability to modulate your voice, obnoxious cackling for no apparent reason and falling out of your seat four times in ten minutes, i will not look the other way.;

Yes, I will embarrass you by calling you out to speak to you in the hall.

If you can't focus your eyes, stand up straight or speak without slurring, I'm going to ask you to collect your stuff and leave.

Jesus Haploid Christ. Have some self-respect. Failing that, have some frickin' common sense.

(Not being a complete ogre, I let the roommate out of class to escort said student back to the dorm and babysit. Someone is going to be dreadfully embarrassed to come to class next week, I think.)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Things have gone Cattywampus.

Her left eye is fogged; as a result her depth perception is for shit. She appears to be part Abyssinian, part tabby and part Dodge Dart.

Guinness, 1991 - 2012

It was May 23, 1991. He was a small handful of tabby fur. Poison-green eyes, brick red nose -- both runny due to a massive respiratory infection. He was maybe six weeks old.

"Look, maybe you can do something for him. We can't keep him. Good luck!"

He got better. He went to college with me. He weathered heartbreaks and hangovers, family drama of all stripes and disasters. His fur was absorbent and could mop up tears easily.

He moved to Florida with me, for grad school. He developed a taste for small green lizards, and horked up lizard parts at inopportune moments (often as a form of social commentary, I am convinced). we rode out a hurricane because no shelter in the area would take pets.

He moved back to PA with me, and was there as I navigated pre-wedding planning and all the drama that goes with it. He stalked the 700 square foot domain of our first shit apartment, and made it clear to the new husband that HE had been in my life first, and as far as he was concerned, the husband was transitory. Shoes were crapped in; butts were placed on pillows. Eventually, detente was achieved, but it took years.

He inspected the new house carefully, discovered the best nooks and crannies to sun in, and terrorized any mice foolish enough to set paw in the house. The dog we bought was thoroughly cowed within 48 hours, as was the proper order of things. When dog #1 passed, dog #2 was similarly trained quickly.

He looked on in bemusement as the first baby came home. With resignation as the second one arrived. with indifference as the third one made an appearance.

As he got older, he spent more time sleeping soundly in the sun, and left the running of the household to the younger cats. As elder statescat, he only weighed in on significant issues, and his judgement was given mighty credence.

November 6, 2012: I came home to find him at the top of the stairs, struggling to move his back end and crying. Though the vet is literally 2 minutes away, it was the longest drive of my life.  The vet kindly told me, with pity in her eyes, that there really was nothing to be done -- there is no cure for old age. Twenty-one is practically Methuselah in cat years.

He purred in my arms as she gave him his last injection, looking up into my eyes with his poison-green ones. He calmly closed them one last time, and the purring slowed, then stopped.

I was lost. I sobbed for a few minutes, cradling my cat, and then gently laid his towel-wrapped form on the table. In the waiting room, a woman I had never met before pulled me into her arms and cried with me, and then walked me to my car.

A week later I picked up a box that was much too small to hold an animal who had been such a large part of my life and my heart. I swore that I would never, ever let an animal get that tied up in my heart again, and that I would never subject myself to that kind of heartbreak.

January 12, 2013: she was a small bundle of tabby and white fur, one eye permanently clouded white by an untreated infection. Her oine copper eye glared with "fuck you!" as she thrust her paw between the cage bars to grab my upper arm with her claws....