30 October 2004

I made sugar cookies today. I got the recipe from online; it was on some sort of website where people rated the recipes, and this particular one had a pretty high rating. And it didn't require anything really gross or unusual, like almond paste or lemon rind. So, I wrote down the recipe and followed it pretty much to the letter.

Pretty much, I say, because the batter was sticky as hell, and the recipe called for me to add "enough flour to allow for rolling." So, I added some flour. And the dough was still sticky. So, I added some more flour. The dough was STILL sticky. So, I added some more flour. And the fucking dough was STILL FREAKING STICKY. By the time I'd added "enough" flour, I'd added, like, three cups or so. And THEN I could take a rolling pin to it without it being basically soggy.

And then... then I realized that the recipe didn't even have any vanilla in it. How the hell do you have sugar cookies without vanilla in them? But by this time, I'd put about thirty or forty minutes' worth of time and energy into these stupid cookies, to say nothing of a massive amount of flour, sugar, and vegetable shortening. There was not a chance in hell I was going to just throw them away or something. So, I rolled out the stupid dough, cut out half-assed cookies with a cookie cutter shaped like a snowflake ("...and they say no two snowflakes look alike? So, um... that's why these don't?"), and baked them.

And they tasted like a cross between a really bland scone, and a fucking Milkbone.

And yes, I DO know what a Milkbone tastes like.

I don't want to talk about it.

Nobody really likes the weird cookies except my room-mate D. Including myself. I MADE the damned cookies because I WANTED some sugar cookies, not because I get my kicks throwing flour around the kitchen. Oh well. D. can have them. I will try to remember not to refer to them as Milkbones in his presence.

* * * * * * * * * * *

A friend and I went to the gas station earlier to inquire about buying some rolling tobacco for Neil, who is pretty much out of cigarettes. I only had two dollars left, and then Neil gave me ninety-five cents. Unfortunately, the tobacco was $3.79. Happily, my friend gave me the rest of the money.

And the guy behind the counter said to my friend, "Can I see your ID?"

The gas station guy smiled at the proffered identification card. "And you? I need to see yours, too."

Okay, so I happen to think this is a really stupid, fucked-up policy. What happens if you smoke and you walk into the convenience store to buy a package of cigarettes, and you happen to bring your six-year-old child with you? Are they going to refuse to sell them to you on the basis of you being a responsible parent and not leaving your kid alone in the car outside? I was NOT the one purchasing the cigarettes. No money left my hands. No tobacco entered my hands. It is RIDICULOUS to ask for MY identification simply because I was in the store and happened to be holding conversation with a person purchasing cigarettes.

But I didn't argue THAT point. I dug in my pocket and pulled out my passport. Opened it politely. Showed it to the man behind the counter.

"The best you've got, huh?" he asked. "I'm going to need to see your EYE-DEEEEEE."

He was talking to me like I was about five. And had Down's Syndrome. And was unconscious.

Every ounce of stubborn New York bitch rose to the surface of my being. You know how some people get all offended if you tell them their mom wears combat boots? And they're, like, ready to kill you? Over, like, basically nothing? I was seriously ready to kick this guy's ass. I was pissed enough that I had to ask for money from Neil's and my friend. I was pissed that the dude was asking for MY ID to begin with. And I was absolutely infuriated that he was talking to me like I was a moron. What the hell?

I started a fight. Whatever. The man was asking for it. I got in his face. I got mean.

"Ex-CUSE me?" I said. "This IS valid identification. Matter of fact, this will get me to EGYPT if I wanted it to. If you want my driver's license, you're shit out of luck, because I lost my wallet a couple of weeks ago, and so this is what I've got to show you."

"Ma'am," said the man, still talking to me like I was a moron, but, at the same time, trying now to laugh at me, "It says so RIGHT HERE on the counter what our policy is."

I looked down. Read the policy on the counter. It said something to the effect of "Every customer must present valid ID in order to purchase tobacco or alcohol products." Something like that.

"Yeah?" I said. "So you want a valid ID? Well HERE is a valid ID, issued by the federal fucking government. It's got my picture, it's got my birthdate, and for fuck's sake, it was issued by the United States GOVERNMENT."

"Well, it ain't valid," he said. "And if you lost your wallet, then why do you still got this? Shouldn't you have your license with THIS?"

Yeah, that didn't make any sense to me either. Who the fuck keeps a passport in their wallet?

I yelled at him: "What about it, exactly, is not VALID? You wanna take a look right here for me for a minute? This here is a PICTURE of me. This here is my date of birth: May 28th, 1980. And THIS... this right here? Yeah, THAT says this piece of VALID IDENTIFICATION expires in 2009. TWO-THOUSAND-AND-NINE. Now. What the hell about it isn't fucking valid?"

"You're just not gonna let this go, are you lady?"

"No, sir, I am not going to let it go. This is valid identification, and you're talking to me like I'm a six-year-old because I happen not to have a driver's license on me."

"Lady, I don't care. It don't matter to me this time. You just make sure you bring in your identification next time you come in."

"This IS my identification. What about that aren't you GETTING?"

"For all I know, lady, you're not eighteen."

"That's why my passport has my freaking BIRTHDAY on it. Are you stupid? I just showed it to you. Would you like to see it again, where it's got my birthday on it?"

"Listen, I'm just tellin' you..." The man was laughing at me now, like I was crazy, or retarded, or fucked-up or something. "You bring your ID in next time, or I ain't selling you no cigarettes."

"I'm not BUYING any cigarettes. I'm not even going to SMOKE these!"

But at this point, my friend was getting pretty antsy. I felt bad for starting a fight; he was probably embarrassed. But I still wouldn't let the moronic convenience store clerk have the last word. I said, loudly enough so that anybody else in the store could have heard: "It's just too fucking bad that this place has the cheapest cigarettes. Guess we'll be spending more money from now on since we'll be going elsewhere."

The man just kept laughing. I would have slammed the door, but it's damned hard to slam one of those gas station doors.

But holy shit, what a stupid prick!

How DARE some schmuck in a fucking Chevron uniform treat me like that? Laughing at me? Talking to me like I'm stupid? I'm the customer, dammit, and the customer should always be treated like she's at least somewhat right. And in this case, I DID happen to be right. That asshole just happened to be too stupid and provincial to recognize that a passport is valid identification. Moron.

Oh, I was SO pissed.

* * * * * * * * * * *

When my friend and I got back, Neil was nowhere to be seen. That was pretty weird. I got a creeped-out feeling. I dropped my coat on the floor without really looking. Looked to see if the bathroom light was on. Nope.

"He must have gone over to see J----, or maybe J--," I said, raising an eyebrow, but trying to sound cheerful. But I wasn't convinced. Neil doesn't go out much. Certainly not without a reason. Certainly not without leaving a note or something.

And then I heard Neil chuckling. He'd been hiding. He'd been curled up in a laundry pile, and I'd absent-mindedly thrown my coat right over him. I knew he meant it as a joke, but I'd been genuinely weirded out by his absence. Had it been ANYBODY other than Neil playing that kind of a joke on me at the moment, I might have screamed. I wasn't angry, just... I just had that feeling one gets when there are too many noises going on and one can't make sense of any of it. That sort of moderate frustration.

I hugged Neil, sort of glared at him for hiding, and told him an abbreviated version of my fight with the gas station man.

* * * * * * * * * * *

So far, in typing this entry, I have been interrupted no fewer than ELEVEN times. For DUMB shit, mostly. I love my friends, but sometimes you people REALLY overestimate the importance of DUMB CRAP.

More specifically, when I am typing a journal entry, it doesn't freaking matter to me that the chugging sound of the dishwasher is irritating you.

Nor do I feel compelled to help you find something to eat when you're asking me if there's anything good in the fridge.

Nor am I particularly thrilled by having somebody standing over my shoulder telling me I type pretty fast. I mean, yeah, I do type fast -- sixty words a minute with two fingers -- but I don't freaking care to hear it when I'm trying to THINK.

And it makes me even grouchier when I'm repeatedly asked if I'm okay. No, I'm not okay, but it's just me being grouchy. And if I'm left alone for a couple of minutes, I'll probably feel a little better.

Eleven freaking times, somebody's needed a piece of me.

Gahd, I love these people, but once in a great while, they make me want to pull my hair out.

Just once in awhile.

At least I know they care. No, really, I'm not being sarcastic. At least I know they care. It makes me happy. Crazy, but happy.

* * * * * * * * * * *

I got a letter from my grandmother today saying that my bird is sick. He has been living with my grandparents since I moved to Washington. It would have been very hard to take him on a Greyhound with me. I miss him a lot though. I know he's just a cockatiel, but my parents got him when I was just a tiny baby, and I started taking care of him when I was around eleven. I've known my bird longer than I've known any of my friends, or even my brothers.

And despite common belief that birds don't have the kind of personality that dogs or cats do, my bird actually has more personality than most humans. You ever see a dog try to play a guitar with its beak? You ever see a cat beg to come into the shower with you because it adores the sound and feeling of jungle-like hot rain on its back? My bird is great. And, like a dog-owner can tell his or her pet's distinctive sounds from those of other animals, I could tell my bird's song from all other cockatiels'. For some reason, my bird has a thing for Enya and AC/DC. I might have influenced the Enya thing a little bit, but he sure as hell didn't learn the AC/DC thing from anybody *I* know. Like I'm telling you, for a tiny little creature who doesn't LOOK like he ought to have too many brains, he's got his own (albeit bizarre) tastes.

Well, he's sick.

And some lady that my grandmother consulted told her that he's extremely fortunate to have lived as long as he has. My bird is pretty much done for.

I guess I knew that this was coming. He's 24 years old, for gahd's sake.

It's still really, really hard not to cry.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Yeah. Anyway.

* * * * * * * * * * *

We carved pumpkins last night. They came out really well. It was fun. There's more to it than that. But my heart just isn't into it right now.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Going to read myself to sleep I guess.