Mean Girls at Any Age

I was working on a blog post about the dark night of the soul but I put that serious subject on the back burner so I can vent a bit.

Better to vent with words than to do what my initial reaction was, that’s for sure.

OK, here’s the deets…

I planned to go to a turbo kickboxing class at my gym. It’s one of my faves cos it’s super cardio and focuses on core strength and I’ve got some FIERCE kicking ability from all those years of ballet training.

It starts at 9:30 a.m. which isn’t the most ideal time because I like to work out earlier and get it out of the way so my day is free. However, the instructor is awesome, so I make a point to attend her class.

I arrived at 9:10. There was a sort of loosely constructed line outside the Group X room as there was a spin class in progress. I was the third person in “line”. When it was time to go in, I made a beeline for the spot I like. The girl (in her 40s, not really a GIRL per se) put her bag down and I moved to the right of it. She said, “That’s my spot.” I said, “What?” Like I swear, I couldn’t believe she said what she said. She said, “I put my bag down for my friend. I’m right here” She pointed to where I was standing. I said to myself, ‘whatever” and moved a few inches to the right.

OK, wait, that’s not what pissed me off. Bear with me, the rest of the story is coming up…

As I moved ever so slightly to the right, ANOTHER girl (again, not a girl, prob in her late 30s) said to me, “You’re going to get kicked.” I assume she was referring to the part of the class in the title: kickboxing, but as it turns out, I believe it was more of a physical threat.

I said nothing but didn’t move. She then said in a really nasty tone, “I was here first, you need to move.”

OH NO SHE DINT.

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I could feel my hackles rising. GURL, you do not want to go there. Trust me.

As she was most definitely NOT THERE FIRST, I said, “No you really weren’t. I was here first.”

She proceeded with some blah blah blah bs crap about how she had put her stuff down (not true) and I said, “Are we back in high school?” and stood my ground. Literally.

She didn’t move and I didn’t move. Picture this. I’m 5ft and 92.4 pounds with all my clothes on, including shoes. She’s about 5’7″ and outweighs me by about 50-60 pounds. AT LEAST. I still wasn’t planning to move cos right is right and all that, you know? And why should I?

The girl on my left who had initially asked me to move cos she had “saved” a spot decided to chime in and join her friend in bullying me by lying and saying, “Yes, she was here first. You were messing around with being in my spot.”

OH FOR FUCKS SAKE, YOU STUPID BITCHES. They have no idea the level of rage I have stored up inside of me right now.

It’s kind of funny if you think about it.

When that thing inside me finally blows up, it’ll be like Hurricanes Irma and Harvey got married and the Mexico earthquakes were their babies.

There I was, one on either side of me. Entitled Southern California bitches who picked on the wrong chica.

I’ll back up and mention this is not the first time they’ve played these high school games, trying to intimidate me into moving. In fact, I had a discussion with the instructor about it a couple weeks ago, and she shared her own gym mean girl stories, so just letting y’all know this is a REAL THING.

What do you think I did? 

Kick the living shit out of her? Unleash my really really foul mouth full of nasty commentary?

Nope. Not this time, anyway.

I channeled my friend, the Dalai Lama, and simply picked up my workout gear and handbag, told her, “I’m not dealing with your neggy shit” and walked out of the room.

THEY LAUGHED AT ME AS I WALKED AWAY. THEY LAUGHED AT ME. Okie dokie. Noted. No worries. I got this. I almost stopped, turned around, and was going to give her a piece of my mind, but I thought to myself, I’m too old for this shit, and kept my self respect and a certain amount of Zen. She wasn’t worth my sarcasm or a stroke from rising blood pressure.

While it’s true that I got all dressed and ready to exercise and all that, the atmosphere was so hostile and negative that I wouldn’t have enjoyed it anyway, as they throw shade constantly.

I left in order to diffuse the situation instead of igniting it further, which would have only been satisfying for a moment or two. I wasn’t about to demean myself by lowering my vibrations to her level.

What I did was to locate the manager and tell him why I left, declined to make a formal complaint, but gave him a description of who it was and he said he’d check her out ‘cos even without a formal complaint, if it happened again, he’d kick her ass out. And he would talk to the instructor, whom I told him was well aware of these specific mean girls and their nasty little girl games.

I was actually proud of myself for handling it in a non-violent manner especially since she was ITCHING for a fight. She just wasn’t worth it.

As a former ballet dancer, I am just as much in love with the mirror as anyone else, but I won’t engage in World War Three over it.

What would YOU have done?  

Before you reply, moving to another spot was not an option for me, because she was a bully and a liar and no one should be allowed to get away with that. At any age. And why should I do what she says? She’s certainly not the boss of me and she doesn’t work for 24 Hour Fitness in the capacity of policing the virtual floor space.

I’ll go to another class this evening where I won’t be attacked, but because I had that unexpected extra time, I felt like retail therapy was just what I needed, so I bought Angel Boy 2.0 the most adorable chair and boy doll for his next visit. Yes, it’s an elephant chair!! And the boy doll, while not anatomically correct (which is what I’d been looking for), sports working zippers and buttons and and other cool stuff.

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WHEW! I feel better now. Thanks for allowing me space to vent!

The macro view of this issue is that in this current world climate, people are generally not kind to one another; there’s an undercurrent of meanness and aggression and hostility by women toward other women that is really ugly and so sad to witness it and to also be the target of it. Yes, their behavior was atrocious, but what is equally as upsetting is the sheep mentality of those that were observing; not ONE person spoke up. Very much a sign of the times, I’m sad to report.

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When Is A Friend Not A Friend?

Let me ask you a question about friendships…is there a line that can’t be crossed?

What would you do if a friend acted in manner so egregious, so counter to your own value system?

Have you ever said to yourself, I can’t be friends with someone like that, and end the friendship?

It happened to me.

I met her at the gym; she overheard me talking about my obsession with all things Chanel and we became friendly.

My tugboat man coined the phrase “friend not friend” because all we did was shop together. We never went out for dinner as couples and we never socialized together with our husbands. She had been to our house, but had never invited me to hers.

She was a “shopping friend.”

That means we’d meet every couple of weeks or so and drive in one car to a mall, either Fashion Valley in San Diego, or South Coast Plaza in Orange County.

Whoever didn’t drive bought lunch for two; that was a fair trade.

That was the only thing we had in common, even though we learned that our kids attended the same elementary school at the same time.

She’d been a working mom throughout their entire childhood; I’m an ardent advocate for the stay-at-home-mom situation.

She had a tough childhood: was unwanted, abused by a stepfather, and forced to travel around the country with her migrant worker family.

She managed to graduate from college and has been married to the same man for about forty years, the only man she’s ever slept with.

He just happens to be a millionaire, which is an amazing rags to riches tale.

Her inner fortitude and drive to extricate herself from poverty are admirable qualities and I’m sure that somewhere in there is an explanation for the way she acted the last time we spent the day together.

On this particular day, it was her turn to drive. Since she never had new clothes when she was growing up, she became a compulsive shopper, and always bought something, no matter what the cost. I’m more of a browser, and fairly thrifty except for that one (or two) Chanels.

After six hours at South Coast Plaza, we were on the highway heading home.

Looking out of the passenger window, I spotted a little puppy walking in the weeds parallel to the freeway.

I pointed and said, “Oh my gosh, do you see that? Pull over, pull over, there’s a puppy right there. You stop and I’ll run out and get it before something terrible happens.”

She wouldn’t stop.

She would not stop.

She flailed a hand about —  you know, in that way, that universal sign of blasé dismissal — and said, “Oh, someone will help. It’ll be fine.”

“No it won’t. We have to help. We HAVE to. Get off the next exit and let’s go back. ”

She refused to stop the car, no matter what I said.

“How could you say you love animals but you won’t stop to help a creature in dire need of assistance?”

I was powerless. I hate feeling ineffectual, useless, helpless.

I’m sure she endured all that and more growing up with her dysfunctional family but it would seem that she might have felt more of a kinship toward another helpless creature, not apathetic indifference and total lack of compassion.

I was silent for the remainder of the ride.

By the time we got back, it was getting dark. I thought about jumping in my car and driving back to where I saw the puppy but I didn’t even know the exactly where we had been, which is the reason why I hadn’t called CHP or animal rescue. It would have been impossible to locate. All I know is that it was somewhere on the 405 South from Newport Beach.

That was the last time I saw this friend not friend. She went on a vacation soon after that and when she returned, I heard she started going to another gym.

I’m haunted by the vision of that puppy that I couldn’t help.

Of course I couldn’t be friends with someone like that.

Everything I needed to know about her true character was revealed, and for me, that’s a non-negotiable area.

A deal breaker. A heart breaker.

Have you ever had to end a friendship?

Sometimes Things Fail…Epically

This is an example of a fail.

Not a major failure in the grand scheme of things, but a fail nonetheless.

It’s okay to laugh — I laughed at myself.

It’s one of my better qualities; self-deprecation, not taking myself too seriously.

But seriously, WTF was I thinking?

Check out my Goldfinger — 24K pond — I got a little carried away with being all crafty and thought a simple restoration was in order — you know, Mother’s Day is coming up and my Angel Boy is gonna be here, and I’m singing  the song of a happy mommy.

This morning I received an email to let me know that my tugboat man is a comin’ home too!

Yay!

My Angel Boy AND my Tugboat Man! Woooohoooo!

I’ve been re-inspired to complete a bunch of projects and clean the house (yes, again) so I’ll have free time to play with my two best boys.

So…ya wanna see the debacle? Here ya go — you might need to put your shades on, it’s kinda bright…in the sun….the blinding glare of a haphazardly spray painted nature pond.

I’m definitely conveying a mixed message here.

Is it a garden sanctuary or Jersey Shore? Wow.

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I had to turn off the pump for the waterfall; too much overspray from the gold paint. Yes, you’re seeing correctly–for some reason, I painted the trunk of that tree.

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I’m very proud of this pond — except for the gold. I dug it out, mixed and poured the concrete with no help from anyone, and that includes placing each and every rock and boulder.

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This is an epic fail. My task this afternoon is to empty the water and try a wire brush to remove as much of the paint as I can.

If THAT fails, I’ll have to send out a mayday call for a captain to assist.

No Rest For The Weary or How My Captain Spent The First One-Hundred-Forty-Four Hours Of His Homecoming

Timeline
Monday at midnight: Yet another godawful thirty-five minute drive to the airport, albeit no traffic and not too many drunk drivers weaving all over the road, thank goodness. I wore an animal print maxi-dress, nothing elaborate this time, no “theme”. I could barely keep my eyes open, but my car seems to know the way without much intervention from me, so that helped. I waited in the airport cell phone parking lot, which is not well-lit and has the most disgusting Porta-Potties. I mean DISGUSTING. And to make matters worse, they have no lights at night, which means—well, it means that it’s a nightmare for me.

When a girl has to go, a girl has to go, ya know what I mean? I was at critical mass.  But I am a smart and resourceful chicka and brought a camping headlamp to use so that I could see how nauseatingly filthy it was in there. At least I could see what I was doing—there were no seat covers, so I used three layers of toilet paper on the seat before I dared sit. No squatting on the sides this time; not enough room for two feet. OMG, could anything be more ghastly.  What were the previous 645 people DOING IN HERE!!!????  Got the call, picked him up, moved over to the passenger side—no snacks to hand feed this time. That’s what he gets for giving me no notice at all, but yes, very glad to see my captain anyway. I just like a bit of time to properly prepare an appropriate welcome. He’s lost a bit of weight, but still has those incredibly gorgeous blue/green/gray eyes.  He’s tired, but very glad to be home.  After a late dinner of leftover chard quiche,  it’s off to bed by 1:30 a.m. I am a harsh task master and make him get up at 7:00 a.m. with a cup of freshly ground French roast and we are off to the gym for my regular Boot Camp class. Hee hee, he doesn’t have much energy, I mean who can blame him; he told me he had two hours of sleep in the last two days, but I think he needs to work through the pain. I whipped out my project list and he was willing to meet my demands without too much whining and pleading and negotiation.

I really, really wanted the upstairs bathroom to have new floor molding. For some reason, he had previously installed some gray rubbery looking molding and it always reminded me of a nasty Greyhound bus station bathroom, which was totes at odds with my enchanted seashell and beach rock persona, so it was off to Home Depot! Got the floor molding and a commitment from my nice husband to completely remodel the downstairs bathroom the next time he’s home for a few months. Yeah!

He got right on the molding…see how lovely?

My 1983 Mercedes odometer stopped working about a month ago, so my hard-working husband took the instrument cluster out from under the dashboard and discovered that a couple of teeth had broken off the gear (I’m repeating what he said, I have no idea what he’s talking about) and MacGyver’d a solution. He glued small pieces of a toothpick to the gear where the teeth had broken, and voila! Success! He is a very ingenious captain, that captain of mine.

Next…I wanted to replace a swing arm lamp that was a creative project gone wrong. I had painted it black and glued seashells on it. This was not one of my better ideas, I have to admit. I don’t have a picture of it ‘cos it’s too embarrassing to view a failure, but I did take a picture of the beautiful new lamp my ever-so-nice husband installed for me during his first seventy-two hours not out to sea.

The weather here has been so very hot that our vegetable garden was suffering. My ever long suffering husband covered the garden in shade cloth.  Of course he did a much nicer job than I would have. He’s very detail-oriented. Just what you’d want in a good captain.

On Saturday we walked to the beach and back, about six miles. The weather had cooled off enough to make this endurable, but the last mile back is uphill and quite challenging.

Not done yet with projects; he decided to sand and varnish the deck. This was not on my list, I really hate when he does it, ‘cos sanding makes a mess and I have to close all the windows or I end up with a fine coating of dust everywhere. You can definitely tell he knows his way around boats; our deck looks like it could float away on its own.

Sanding while wearing the proper dust mask

Welcome aboard! “Stand by to cast off!”

Now he’s taking a well deserved nap with the remote still lightly clutched in his hand…