Tuesday, December 2, 2014

1000. Dolphin in a Wheelchair and Other Disturbing Things

There are some phrases you never hear uttered, such as, “That chocolate was disgusting,” “I would totally vote for Nixon if he were alive,” and “Hooker with morals.” 

No one says these things, because they are unacceptable to say.  They are lies.  We all know there is no such thing as “disgusting” chocolate.  Heck, even stale and melty M and M’s are better than no M and M’s. 

Another thing you never hear about is when someone who used to love to write suddenly (or maybe not so suddenly) just stops.  STOPS.



What?  Did Hemingway stop writing? Did Shakespeare stop writing?  Did John Grisham one day just stop writing??

No, of course not.  They had something to say, and an audience who wanted to hear it. 

As a blogger and eventually book writer, I also had something to say.  More than something.  I had a LOT to say. 

But guess what?  After 1000 posts (that’s right, count ‘em), I think I have said it all.  And not only that, I am a little bit sick of hearing my own voice.  So, Blog, I am divorcing you.    

It’s been a fun ride.  I remember when I started and had zero followers.  And then two.  And then, unbelievably, 10.  Then somehow, 100.  And now, over 600!  In just five years. 

For someone who considers herself shy in real life, this is a huge accomplishment for me.  People wanted to read what I wrote! 

Somehow, I cobbled it into a book.  And then with help from a fellow blogger, we made a second book.  The insecure me I was when I was 11 might not believe that.  But it’s true. 

I thank you, dear readers, for reading what I wrote, and for commenting.  (I was a bit obsessive, sometimes checking my comments every 15 minutes, sometimes less).  I thank you for making me feel like what I wrote mattered.  And for taking the time to come back and read just one more essay, one more paragraph, one more story.  I was writing for you.

But lately, the busy-ness of life intrudes.  The laundry.  The job.  The carpool.  There are never enough unoccupied minutes to build a pyramid of words.  Discarded words lay littered across the floor of my study, mocking me (“MOV, you’ll wish you had us back!  Mark my, uh… words!”).      

Now I must bid you and this lovely blog adieu.  It pains me, because I know as soon as I sign off, Muse will return with buckets full of ideas for me (“Muse, honestly, where have you been for six months?!”). 

I never thought I would utter this phrase:  Goodbye, Blog. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

999. Shameless Self-Promotion

I can’t stand it when you first meet someone and then they start telling you about their Faceoff account, or Chatter following, and ask you to join them on In-Linked.  Frankly, so much self-promotion is off-putting.

Hey, did you know Christmas is sneaking up on us in just a few weeks?  You know what makes a great gift?  MY BOOK.  Actually, all 3 of them.  If you like my blog, my books are the best of the best, and one of them is co-written by the divine Marianne Walsh of Chicago magazine fame! 

Here are the Amazon links to the books.  Order now so you don’t have to worry if they’ll arrive in time:

Herman the Cat Goes to Outerspace (children’s book, illustrated by über-talented Haley Wolfe)

And remember, every time you buy a book, you save a panda from extinction*.


*made up “fact”

Sunday, October 19, 2014

997. Lie-Baby

I coined a new term last night:  lie-baby.  It’s just like cry-baby, but instead of using it to label someone who whines and cries over nothing, it is used to describe someone who lies in multiple situations for no good reason.    

It could, in fact, be used to describe me.  I much prefer “lie-baby” to the poisonous sounding “pathological liar.” 

I lie to my children about what’s in the fridge (“No, we are totally out of ice-cream—sorry!”), I lie to my husband about picking up his dry cleaning (“They were closed for … uh … Grandparents’ Day”; it’s a legally recognized holiday), I lie to my co-workers (“Of course those cookies I brought are homemade”), I lie to my neighbors (“I can’t pick up your newspaper because we will be out of town, too,” trumps the truth that I most likely will forget and would prefer to not embarrass myself in this way). 

Lies are easy.  Truth is hard. 

The truth tells people you are not perfect. 

It’s hard to tell your kids no dessert.  It’s hard to tell your husband you forgot to do something.  It’s hard to tell your co-workers you are too busy to cook from scratch.  And it’s hard to tell your neighbors that you might forget the chore they assign you.  Wait—is that a pattern?  Forgetting? 

I tell myself to write things down, maybe that way I can get things done and not have to lie about them to appease others. 

I will write things down, I will. 

That might be a lie. 

Lie-baby decides to console herself with ice-cream, she thinks there might be still be some left in the fridge.     


Thursday, October 9, 2014

996. Big Enormous Supermarket

It is still dark out, but you have to go to the grocery store because you are out of things to pack for the kids’ lunches.  Only one store close by is open at 6 am, and it’s the Big Enormous Supermarket (BES) and their logo is a dinosaur eating a whale eating an elephant.  The hungry carnivore (named with originality and creativity to spare) is of course “Bessie.”  No one seems to notice Bessie looks suspiciously like a brontosaurus (famous for being vegetarian).  Seems BES’s marketing department has no access to Google. 

You hate BES.  And not just because of the eating-disorder-conflicted Bessie. 

How do you loathe BES?  First of all, it is no exaggeration to say the store is bigger than two football fields.  And that’s just the frozen aisle. 

If you find what you need right away (and that is rare), then you will inevitably need something on the other end of the store, and then the final thing on your list will be back in the first part of the store.  So there is a lot of backtracking going on. 

Their prices are high.  But at 6 am when they are the only store in town with the door unlocked, what are you going to do?  BES holds you hostage to its excellent selection of nothing. 

You are there, after all, for kid lunch food.  This means juice boxes.  You (intelligently, you thought) go to the beverage aisle.  Beverages to BES mean soda.  Rows upon rows of soda.  Coke, Diet Coke, Pepsi, even Fanta.  Do they still make Fanta, you wonder?  No juice boxes. 

This is not enough to strike you down.  You keep searching.  You stumble upon the water aisle, and ever hopeful, you peruse it looking for juice boxes.  Nothing. 

Nor does the snack aisle produce juice boxes, and there are no employees to be found.  (At this point you think they should hand out some sort of map/directory at the front door.)  You finally see an employee in the bread aisle and you innocently ask him where the juice boxes are.  He shrugs and apologizes that he works for the bread company and not the actual grocery store.  He has no idea where juice boxes are. 

Next, you find someone who is wearing the store uniform.  You ask her the whereabouts of juice boxes.  She shakes her head “no” and pretends to only speak Spanish.  You switch into flawless Spanish (how you are congratulating yourself on minoring in Spanish in college!  It is finally paying off) and then she switches into flawless English. 

“Juice boxes?  For kids?  I have never heard of that.  No, we don’t carry those.” 

You sense she is lying to get rid of you. 

It is now 6:15 and you have wasted a quarter of an hour in this stupid store and you are not happy with her answer. 

You realize it is not so much a language barrier issue as a volume issue.  Yours gets louder. 


She is starting to understand that she cannot get rid of you as easily as she first thought, therefore she walks you down the length of two football fields saying to herself quizzically, “Juice boxes, juice boxes?” as if you asked her for chocolate-covered grasshoppers. 

Twenty minutes later, you and she are standing in the candy aisle and lo and behold, juice boxes.  It takes every ounce of restraint you have to not pick up a pack and throw it at her.  You lift one pack off the shelf and say, “See?  See this?  Juice boxes!  I knew you had them!” 

Victory is yours, if that is how you measure victory, wasting half your morning yelling at BES employees to “educate” them about what products they sell. 

And this is why you do not shop at BES.  Ever, ever, never. 

Until the next time it is 6 am and you are out of something.            

Friday, August 22, 2014

995. Meat Vs. Quiet Comfort of Your Own Home

The mystery person pounded on the door.  It was the kind of knock only the UPS guy does, or maybe Fedex.  I was not expecting a package, but the knock said I must have one. 

I opened the door and saw a salesperson.  I glanced behind him and saw his truck:  “Meaties.” 

“Hello,” he began cheerfully, “Have you ever heard of Meaties?” 

I had not heard of Meaties, but from the looks of it, he was selling frozen meat door-to-door. 

I did the only thing I could:  “I’m vegetarian.” 

He looked crestfallen, like a child expecting Christmas when it is already January. 

“Sorry,” I added, an afterthought. 

“Your whole family?”


“Even your husband?” 

“I’m gay.” 

I’m not really gay (although I think gay people are wonderful and wish I had more gay friends) and I am not really vegetarian.  I am just extremely morally opposed to people trying to sell me things when I am basking in the comfort of my own home taking a break from blatant consumerism.   

“I don’t believe you.” 

About which part?  The vegetarian or the gay?

“It’s true.  My whole family is vegetarian.”  Here I almost added “vegan,” but thought better of it. 

He gave me a blank stare. 

“I shut you down, huh?” I inquired, stating the obvious. 

“Yeah,” he shrugged. 

I suddenly felt obligated to throw him a bone (so to speak):  “My neighbors LOVE meat!”  I pointed to their house for emphasis. 

“Have a good evening,” he murmured, defeated. 

Ahhh, Meaties.  They don’t stand a chance.  Now if someone just knocked on my door with a truck called “Chocolate-ies.” 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

994. Help, I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up

I recently wrote about my face not cooperating with my brain and now my feet are apparently in on the mutiny:  yesterday I fell while walking.

Notice I don’t say “while skateboarding” or “while bungee jumping” or some equally glamourous or athletic endeavor.  Nope.  Walking. 

Let me set the complicated scene.  Daytime.  My front yard.  Walking at a normal pace (not running) toward my car parked out front.  Accompanied by my kids (because let’s face it:  there are always witnesses to help record life’s embarrassments and retell them in excruciating detail after the fact).  I made the critical mistake of stepping off the curb when suddenly my rebellious left ankle chose this precise moment to go out. 

I came toppling down (with a surprised, squeaky sort of grunt sound effect emanating from my nose and mouth, young witnesses later confirmed) and landed face down in a heap in the street, keys and purse strewn about the asphalt. 

I felt like I’d been pushed, or at least tripped. 

This is when my life switched into slow motion, like some sort of Matrix movie.  I lay there in a crumpled up pile for what seemed like 10 minutes (but was probably 10 seconds) evaluating what had just occurred.  Who was my assailant?  Had Tall played a cruel joke on his middle-aged mother and given me a well-timed shove?  Had Short picked up the sidewalk and shook it fiercely, like a blanket?  Had a rare earthquake just announced its presence?       

No.  My feet just did not get the memo to perform a complicated maneuver (e.g. “walk”) and therefore I fell. 

The fall was not without repercussions.  Skin was scraped.  Ego was bruised.  Blood was involved. 

The children (who are used to falling off their bikes and such) were immediately sympathetic and helpful:  “Mom!  Are you okay?”  “Do you need help?”

I pushed myself up and for the first time noticed my elderly neighbor Harriet staring at me from her front yard across the street.  Harriet is about 99 years old and has a live-in nurse. 

I did not want to alarm Harriet, so I waved and called out:  I’m all right! 

She waved back from her walker and responded, “Don’t worry, dear, that happens to me all the time.” 

I dusted myself off, got in the car with the kids and drove away, praying Harriet would not post a video of my fall on YouTube later.      


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

993. Wipe That Silly Smile Off Your Face

You look in the mirror and you realize that the edges of your mouth point down a bit, just a bit, into a permanent frown, through absolutely no fault of your own.  You force a smile.  It looks forced.  You bare your teeth.  Now you look mad instead of merely unhappy. 

You realize all those clichés your mother used to say are true:  Your face is going to freeze like that.  When you’re young you have the face you were born with; when you’re old you have the face you deserve. 

You now understand why complete strangers often tell you to Smile, it can’t be that bad!  And now you tell yourself that yes, from now on, you will smile.

All the time. 

Against your will.

This is in an effort to not exacerbate the frowny lines that are currently conspiring with a few choice lines in between your eyebrows to take over your face, a face that up until 10 minutes ago you were (naively) under the assumption seemed happy to the world, or if not completely joyful then at least neutral. 

But neutral has moved to Switzerland, and THIS has happened to you. 

You examine your newly forced happy self in the mirror.  Then you panic, thinking that the happy lines may become etched and then you will look like a marionette with chiseled marks next to your lips and cheeks.  Deep enthusiastic lines of a fake happy that you do not feel, a happy meant only to replace or at least temporarily distract from the scowl that has taken up residence on your head. 

You say to yourself, I am not mad!  I am not unhappy!  But the proof is still there, laughing at you (figuratively laughing, because if a laugh were there then there would be no problem). 

But there is a problem, a big problem:  the grin looks worse than the frown.  You look like a lunatic escaped from the asylum.  Now your forehead is participating in the bliss experiment, and it is not an attractive option. 

So you go the Mona Lisa route:  subtle, soft, Zen.  Just a hint of a smile, but enough to erase the frown without a plastic surgeon being involved.  Maybe Mona Lisa was actually frowning in Leonardo’s original sketches and he said, “Hey, M.L.!  Smile, it can’t be that bad!”  And she complied, because somewhere deep inside her soul she KNEW that this portrait would hang in a museum immortalizing her for all time.  She decided the fake happy was worth it. 

You wonder if she exercised her mouth muscles in the mirror first, practicing a teeth vs. no teeth look. 

The teeth look, you conclude, is the best for you.  No one in the 40 plus years you have roamed the earth ever tells you that you have nice eyes or a perfect nose or that they love your hair; however, they do compliment you on your smile a lot. 

When you bother to smile that is. 

You step back from the mirror, trying to guage if another five feet makes a difference.  It does not. 

You are unfortunately realizing that this new Mona Lisa thing is not becoming for you either:  in fact, the gentle expression that worked so well for Da Vinci’s muse appears on you more like… a smirk. 

You go from looking unhappy or irritated to the much, much better condescending. 
Great.  If only Da Vinci were alive to paint it.  

Saturday, August 9, 2014

992. But What If No One Shows Up?

I click “Send” on the Evite and immediately regret it. 

A tsunami of doubt pummels me.  What if no one comes?  What if I am sitting in the restaurant for an hour by myself after booking a group reservation and the busboys and servers all stand in the back mocking me and placing bets on how much longer I’ll wait? 

I tell myself to stop agonizing over it, Of course people will come.  This is a group that we started 10 years ago when we had tiny babies.  We met for dinner once a month to get out of the house, away from husbands and cranky children.  The group grew from 4 to over 50 at one point, and now has shrunk back down to somewhere in between. 

I look forward to these dinners, to the comfort of being surrounded by women my age and to discussing the mundane and the profound while eating shrimp scampi that someone else cooks.  These dinners keep me sane. 

We take turns organizing, depending on who feel especially courageous.  It is my turn now.       

What if no one likes the restaurant I picked?

What if the restaurant lost our reservation?

What if the restaurant accidentally overbooked and never let me know? 

What if it rains/ snows/ hurricanes so hard that everyone cancels? 

All of these things have happened. 

Deep breath, MOV, deep breath. 

I turn the computer off, wondering if the Evite design I selected is enticing enough to get people to respond.  And then I tell myself: 

Shrimp scampi by myself is still delicious. 


Saturday, August 2, 2014

991. Pretty Shiny New

“Mom, can we go to Target so I can get a new Lego set with my birthday money?”

I know I should be doing back-handsprings of joy for an excuse to go to Target, but didn’t we have enough Legos already?  I told myself it was his money to spend how he chooses, and if that meant adding to the Lego museum that was his bedroom, then so be it. 


“Short, you have a lot of Lego sets.  What about saving the money instead?” 

Here I got a look like I had perhaps suggested he chop up his tennis shoes and eat them for lunch. 

“Save it?!  It is my birthday money!  I. Want. To. Buy. Legos.” 

I sighed.  “Why?  You have so many already.” 

“But I have already played with all those.  I want something new.”

His comment jolted me like biting into a shard of glass in the middle of a pasta casserole.  Something new.  Of course!  This was not about acquiring or not appreciating what he already had.  This was a matter of human beings being hard-wired to seek stimulation.  How is the same thing you already have and have already played with a million times stimulating?  It’s not.  We want something new.  Which explains why I never read a book twice or watch a movie twice. 

Pretty, shiny, new.  Did I need another sundress when I already had 6 hanging in my closet?  No, but I was bored with those.  I wanted to wake up my brain synapses with something new.

“I get it, Short.  We can go to Target tomorrow… do you mind if Mommy looks at a few sundresses while we’re there?”       


Thursday, July 31, 2014

990. 29 TVs and Nothing to Watch

His knock was loud and unexpected, like a stray firecracker on July 5th.  I spilled my coffee on my shirt in my clumsy attempt to get to the door.  There he stood, toolbox in hand.  I was glad he was here, but he was early. 

“My name is Omar, and I am here to install your DirectTV,” he said mechanically, like he’d probably said 5000 times before.  And then:  “Did you know you have coffee on your shirt?” 

This was actually the third technician that DirectTV had sent in two weeks, so I wasn’t in the mood to have my hygiene habits critiqued. 

“You know you are the third tech, right?” I tried not to growl. 

“No, worries, ma’am, we will get everything fixed good today.”

I was hoping his tech skills were better than his grammar (and my hygiene). 

After three hours (I know, right?  THREE HOURS????  How hard can it be?), he was finally finished. 

“I guess you probably have another call after this?” I asked unenthusiastically, trying to make pleasant conversation as he gathered up his random greasy tools that were spread all over my living room floor and had also migrated to the kitchen island. 

“Yes, two more calls.  But yours was pretty easy.  One time I had to install 29 TVs at one house.” 

I thought I heard him wrong.  Surely he must have said, “Five,” and I just couldn’t understand his accent. 

“How many?”

“Twenty-nine.”  Silence.  And then, as if for explanation:  “It was a big house.” 

“Did 29 people live there?”

“No.  Just two.” 

My mind of course raced to my own house:  where would we put 29 TVs even if we wanted them?  Let’s see:  living room, dining room, kitchen, three bedrooms, both bathrooms, study, laundry room, garage, basement, storage room… that only got me to 13.  Not even half way there.  We would have to double up in every room. 

“They never talked to each other,” Omar continued, like he knew the couple intimately, which he probably did if his track record of three hours per TV applied there:  3 x 29 = a month of living at their house installing TVs.  I wonder if they tipped him.  Or if they offered to let him stay in the guest room(s) overnight so he could get right back to work the next day(s). 

“I would never have 29 TVs,” I said haughtily.  “Who needs more than 28?” 

Omar nodded solemnly, not getting my joke.  I reminded myself to try the same joke on The Husband later to see if it was a language barrier issue or if it just wasn’t that funny. 

Tall and I had a long discussion about it later.  “Twenty-nine TVs…” he said longingly, as if he were saying, “Unlimited free Legos…”

“Where would you put them, Tall?” I demanded. 

“I would put nine clumped together on that wall,” he pointed to the largest wall in our living room.  “Then it would be exactly like the TV store, or Target.” 

This conversation was making me feel more and more judgmental.  “Let’s go to the library, Tall.  Get your shoes on.” 

He clutched at the remote, like a drowning man clutches to a life preserver.  “No.  You can’t make me.  At least let me record Phineas and Ferb.”  He clicked at the keys and the screen went black with an eerie message from the Universe:  No Signal. 

Looks like Omar would be returning once more.  I made a mental note to wear a clean shirt. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

989. Would Aliens Be Such a Bad Thing?

After that last post, I started thinking (which is never good in my case).  I sorta trashed aliens in my post title, as if it would be horrible to be rescued taken by aliens. 

Let think about this rationally for a minute, shall we? 

Benefits to being abducted by aliens: 
  • No more cooking dinner/ doing dishes (which I hate anyway)
  • Could probably catch cat nap on long journey to Mars or wherever
  • Would learn secrets of the universe
  • No more having to be fake nice to neighbor who can't remember your name (you can't remember his either, but that's beside the point)
  • No more feeling guilty about not putting all kids' photos in something resembling an album
  • Off the hook for swim team carpool

Non-benefits to being abducted by aliens:
  • Might miss new episode of Project Runway (do flying saucers get cable?)

So, I would respectfully like to re-title my last post.  Henceforth, we can refer to it as "MOV Was Not Abducted by Aliens (But Would Not Mind Too Much if That Were the Case)."


988. MOV Was Not Abducted by Aliens

Hello, I am back. 

I would not be surprised if you broke up with my blog while I was on, ahem, hiatus for the past 6 months.  (BTW, I have always liked that word:  hiatus.  Say it with me, hiatus.  Sounds very officialish and important, like its equally impressive literary brother, sabbatical.  Hmmm.) 

The reality is not as romantic and fantastical as hiatus implies.  I was not (in no particular order) abducted by aliens, transferred to Paris, or brainwashed by zealots.  No.  I just spent all that time not blogging and not being online in a semi-productive way:  we renovated our house. 

When I say it like that, I know you picture me rolling up my sleeves and going all DIY.  We actually hired an architect/ builder and they did everything.  I picked out tile.  And light fixtures.  And doorknobs (Did you know there are approximately 4,397,221 choices for doorknobs?).    

We moved out during the chaos (cue violins played by tiny tiny grasshoppers), and just moved back in.  Here is a partial list of things that went wrong:  our hot water was out, the old air conditioning system for the old part of the house went out (but then was fixed), the new air conditioning in the new part of the house went out (but then was fixed), the doorknobs were wrong and removed (square on one side, round on the other!), my carpenter put up shelves in my walk-in closet and accidentally punctured the AC pipe in the process (so the AC was repaired yet again), the exterior door to master bedroom does not lock (so has been boarded off temporarily), several light fixtures have not been installed, and our refrigerator is in the garage (new fridge ordered was discontinued), one of the toilets is improperly installed and has to be fixed... and that list is just since last Wednesday.  Don't get me started on the radiator leaking through the basement ceiling and causing problems there or the kitchen sink being installed to old pipes that were backed up with lint from a washing machine that had been removed five years ago

It is unbecoming to complain when one has everything, but it would be nice to have a toilet. 

So.  There you have it, my life in six paragraphs.  I am back, and I hope you will come back too.  I'll bring the funny and you bring the wine.  Or vodka (I'm not picky). 


Friday, February 28, 2014

987. How I Lost Lots of Weight Fast and You Can Too

The past few days I have been surrounded by admirers telling me how skinny I look and how my clothes seem like they are just hanging on me.  I love this sort of thing, especially since I have not actually lost and a single ounce.  People ask me my secret and then I ramble on and on about how it was a lot of dieting and hard work at the gym.
I am lying.    
My secret is that I went to Macy’s and bought clothes three sizes too big.  The clothes literally swallow me up.  I look like Kate Moss, but without the scowl. 
I walk around the house and my new jeans slide down my hips a little.  So I reach for the chocolate cake. 
I figure I earned it. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

986. If I Get Your Name Sorta Right, It Should Still Count

For some strange reason, I was not blessed with the DNA coding to remember people’s names correctly.  Fortunately, I can remember that I do know the person, and that we had a long chat about where their daughter is going to college or about how their cat might have to have surgery, but then the part about their actual name?  Not so much. 
Sharon?  I want to call her Karen. 
Winnie?  Let’s make that Wendy. 
Brad?  How about Bob. 
JoAnna?  I’ll change that to Jessica. 
I should get points though, right?  Partial credit?  It means I was paying a tiny bit of attention at some point, but maybe not all the way. 
The Husband (big surprise here) does not quite agree with me. 
“If you know you forgot their name, why don’t you avoid it all together?  Because if you get the name wrong, it’s not like in math class where you get some points for showing your work.  You lose points.  It is better to not say a name at all and then you stay at zero points instead of negative.”
Zero points?  Who wants to stay at zero points?!? I want the possibility to earn points!  
I call the kids in for their opinions. 
“Grande, Little, Mommy wants to ask you something.”
“It’s Tall and Short, Mom.” 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

985. Small Talk

I just got back from the hairdresser.  A new hairdresser. 
Let’s kill the suspense, shall we?  The hair results were successful.  I do not want to complain about my hair.        
What I want to focus on is the small talk.  You know how you are in a situation where you have to converse with someone for a long time about something completely benign?  A situation like meeting someone for the first time at a party or being stuck next to a Chatty Cathy on the airplane?  Here are some things my new hair lady and I discussed:    

  • Have you been watching the Olympics/ what’s your favorite sport
  • Can you believe this weather/ I am so ready for Spring
  • Have you seen any good movies lately/ do all theaters have reserved seating now
  • Are you planning a vacation any time soon/ where do you want to go
  • How long have you been working here/ do you like it
  • Did you always know you wanted to be a hairdresser
  • Are there any restaurants you recommend in this mall
  • Are you from this area originally

At the end of the three hours, my brain was fried.  Then I walked out into the fluorescence of mall lighting and ran right into a neighbor of mine.
After greeting me enthusiastically and getting my name right (wish I could say I got her name right, but I grappled with, “Is it Julianne or Juliet???” so I opted for the more neutral, “Hey … you!”), she launched into a round of “Have you been watching the Olympics?” and “Can you believe this weather?” 
I couldn’t do it.  My head bobbed up and down politely while I tried to force myself to make intelligent comments about teenagers riding snowboards and wiping out in Sochi.  Make small talk, I told myself, Say something smart!
There was nothing left in the gas tank.  Nothing.  Julianne/Juliet finally looked at me sympathetically and said, “You seem tired, is everything okay?” to which I simply responded, “Did you always know you wanted to be a hairdresser?”