Saturday, October 17, 2009

Friends, Roofies and Blaming the Victim a.k.a. Would You Pick Me Up in the ER?

The level of disagreement I feel over DoubleX columnist Lucinda Rosenfeld's "Friend or Foe" advice regarding roofies, friendship, alcohol and the emergency room is without measure. If I had to put it simply, I'd say, "I couldn't disagree more." But specifically, I feel like her advice is wrong on so many levels that I can't quite wrap my mind around it.

Little known fact about me: When I was in college, someone drugged me. That event not only shapes my trust or distrust of others, it shapes my opinion of people who shift the blame for such incidents from where it belongs, squarely on the shoulders of the person who did the drugging, to the victim. Most people seem to understand nowadays that it isn't OK to echo the old "she deserved it" line when it comes to sexual assault. Why, then, do so many people still cling to that ridiculous notion when it comes to violating someone by drugging them? What is the main reason that someone would drug another person? Oh. Right. To subdue them, likely so that they can't/won't fight off a sexual attack. Do they deserve that part, too? Did I deserve it?

Regarding Rosenfeld's terrible advice, it's an insult to almost anyone that she assumes people don't care enough about their friends to get up and go to the emergency room if they are in need. Are you kidding? If I got a call in the middle of the night from a friend in the ER, I'd be out the door before I even hung up the phone. This woman in the article was talking about close friends whom she had known for 10 years. Really? Ten years of friendship and they leave her in the bar, ignore her when she frantically calls for help while almost passed out on a sidewalk, and then get grouchy with her when she needs assistance leaving the hospital? A follow-up letter indicates that her friends ignored her hysterical call for help because, in her drugged state, she danced with a guy one of her friends had a crush on. Those, in my opinion, are not friends at all. I would do better for a complete stranger. Hell, I'd not leave someone I actively disliked passed out on a sidewalk in the middle of the night. This isn't even so much a friendship issue as a "here's what decent humans do" issue.

Rosenfeld argues that there is a limit to what you can expect your friends to do for you. I agree with that statement, taken alone. But she goes on to say that friends are really only good for chats about boyfriends or pets, and if you want someone who will actually be there for you in an emergency, you need to either be having sex with them or they should be related to you. That's a bit silly, don't you think? You can only expect decent treatment if you have a partner or live really close to your parents?

Even worse, though, is that the entire advice piece reads like an indictment of this woman's life and choices. She may have been drinking or (gasp) drunk. She might have engaged in ye olde flirting and dancing with men! Maybe she was doing lines in the club bathroom. It's possible that she had called her friends for help before. But.... none of those things excuse her "friends" for leaving her at a club and then ignoring her requests for help. None.

Even in Rosenfeld's apology, she says she just didn't believe this woman's story. That may very well be the most genuine sentiment in the whole shebang. I did drink a bit in college, but I'd say I probably drank less than many of my classmates. I didn't regularly call for help or end up in compromising situations. In fact, I can't think of a single time that I called someone to pick me up in the middle of the night, for any reason. However, when I told a few of my friends that a young man at a party had drugged me, I got the same treatment as the woman in Rosenfeld's column. They didn't believe me. It took me a few years to really get mad about this. Full understanding of the situation came with age and more realization of just how awful and potentially dangerous that situation was. I do know this, though. That very same guy I tried to warn people about drugged and raped another young woman a few months later. She never even attempted to press charges. Why? She "knew no one would believe her."

My question is this: Would you pick me up from the ER? Would you show compassion to another human being who is clearly in a terrible and scary situation, or would you cast aspersions on their honesty and actions? Is it too much to expect your friend to give you their life savings? Probably. Is it too much to expect that your friend won't leave you for dead on a sidewalk somewhere? Uhh. No.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Facebook - It's Not Really About The Icon

I recently read an article that condemned women who use pics of their kids as Facebook icons as boring has-beens who now dominate dinner party conversation with discussions of strollers and school lunches. Interesting. I don't use my daughter's picture as my Facebook identity, but it seems a bit off to me to make a sweeping judgment about that many women based on... well, Facebook.

Is Facebook that ingrained in our lives now that we can judge a person's whole life by the photo they put by their name? If so, I suppose I should try to check this monumentally important account more often. Frankly, I'm far more likely to make snap judgments based on the annoyingness of the games and apps and quizzes a person spews onto my wall than I am to care what photo they choose. My friend Alison has a cartoon character. Dare I contemplate what that says about her? Facebook is a tool with which you can find out more about a person's world. Let's not mistake it as their entire world.

If I did choose to put a picture of my daughter up to represent me for a day, I'd do so because I'm proud to have achieved a reasonable level of career success while maintaining some hobbies and a sort of clean house, spending a lot of time volunteering, having an active social life, *and* raising a daughter who is funny, well-rounded and well-behaved. Whether or not that meets anyone else's definition of the healthy, modern woman matters to me about as much as their choice of Facebook photo.

What about those creepy people whose pics show them turned to the side, or with a hand near their face, or even a stray lock of hair falling over one eye? They're obviously ashamed of themselves, hiding their lack of contribution to the world, and should possibly re-consider even being on Facebook at all. It's gotta be a full-on shot of your face, or you're just plain doing it wrong.

At the end of the day, though, if you find yourself obsessively characterizing your Facebook contacts based on the photo they choose as their icon, perhaps it's time to take a little break? Besides, as far the dinner party conversation issue goes, I can't say I'd enjoy someone who wanted to talk smack about other people's Facebook choices any more than a parenting-only conversation. At least the stroller convo might have some useful real-life applications....

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A Day With The Soybean Queen

When you work from home, it's a tricky thing. I love that I have the freedom to set my own schedule, and I can usually bail on work and go have lunch or go to my daughter's school activities, and finish up my work at 2 a.m. or whenever my next free moment comes along. The problems with working from home are two-fold, though.

First, I never leave my work behind at the office, because my office is handily contained in my laptop, which always seems to be nearby. And I love it. I start to get a wee bit twitchy without it, in fact. Yesterday, I went to town without my laptop (normal) but I also forgot my phone (not normal), and I had to quell a rising panic when I realized that I couldn't spend the hour of wait time between my daughter's sporting events checking email, playing on Twitter, surfing the web or catching up on work. Gah! OK, so it really wasn't that hard to stop the panic. I marched my little one off for a mom/daughter dinner and laughed at her restaurant antics (wouldn't mommy like a kiss after EVERY bite of food???). No prob, Bob.

However, when it's ten o'clock and I'm exhausted but I know I could crank out just one.more.thing before bed? It would be handy to be able to leave the office somewhere else. Perhaps I need a time-sensitive lock box for my laptop. This laptop may not be used between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Of course, then there would be a tornado or something at 1 a.m. and I'd have to gnaw through the lock to check the weather. OK, maybe no lock on the laptop. Whatever.

The second problem with working from home is that everyone else forgets that I work. At all. Well, except my editor. She *always* remembers. :) Even my husband, when he's home during the day, will ask, "what are you going to do today?" Ummm.... well... they actually won't pay me if I don't do work at some point, so I think I'm going to work! Sound good? Yay! Other times I'm working along, typing intently, brow furrowed with the effort (note to self - get Neutrogena to sponsor blog with anti-wrinkle cream for brow furrow), and my husband suddenly decides that he really and truly needs help holding a tape measure or a level or pushing some sort of button on a piece of farm equipment RIGHT THEN. And suddenly I am an unpaid farm hand with a mangled manicure.

Even my mother asks me what I'm doing when she calls me during the day. *sigh* I think part of the problem is that for people who live in my little town, what I do is less visible than, say, someone who assembles things or farms or works in a store or teaches children. Being a writer seems nebulous and unofficial. Being a writer on the internet, even more so. Once, upon hearing that I was a freelance writer, someone said to me, "doesn't that just mean that you don't have a job right now?" Ha. Ha. Ha.

Today's schedule is pretty standard, except that I don't have to go to town for anything. Whew. I'll spend about 4 hours of my day writing things that pay the bills. I might spend 30 minutes to an hour writing things for fun, like this blog (shocker - it doesn't pay the bills! Sure would like some of that anti-wrinkle cream, though). Then I get to do the random stuff that fills up every mom's day.

I need to call the car dealership to find out what options they can get for me on an '09 Ford Flex. I think we're going to (FINALLY) buy one within the next couple of weeks, and I don't want to order one. So, the dealer is looking for one that has most of what I want. As usual, I have very expensive tastes and I am forcing myself to reign it in a bit. Do I really need that Panoramic Vista Roof? Probably not. But I waaaaant it. So badly. Frankly, the light-up cupholders also appeal to me, but I suspect that it would actually send my husband into some sort of catatonic state if I spent money on lights in cupholders, so I'm avoiding that. You can CHOOSE the COLOR of your CUPHOLDERS! Daily! I know.... I'm stopping now.

After I try not to kill my husband with vehicle upgrades, it's off to the garden for a while, where I must plant one Cleveland pear, four heirloom tomatoes (Mr. Stripeys and Brandywines), four columbine, two purple nettles and three yews. Then I need to weed. A lot.

When the wee one returns home from school, it's homework time. Then we play ball in the yard. I claim this is for her benefit, but after my showing at my own softball practice last weekend, I think she knows it's actually for me. While I'm making dinner later, I'll check in with my fake internet girlfriends to see what madness they're up to today. I confess, that's one of my favorite parts of the day.

The evening is usually spent trying to get my child to not use the living room as a toy box and laundry receptacle, being grossed out while she and my husband watch Andrew Zimmern and discuss actually eating the bizarre foods he's sampling, chasing the kiddo off to bed, doing a little more writing, and collapsing into an exhausted (but still really sexy) heap after making some attempt to clean my kitchen and scale Mount St. Laundry.

And that, my friends, is why, when you call and ask me what I'm doing, I say, laughing, "oh, nothing."

Monday, May 04, 2009

Still Aliiiive. Barely.

My poor, neglected little blog. :( I had surgery in mid-February, and boy, did I underestimate the time it would take to feel human again. I think I'm nearly there, two and a half months later. Let this be a lesson to you, surgery-getters. Take whatever recovery time your doctor gives you and double it.

Allegedly, I should have been able to go back to work 2 weeks post-op, if I worked outside the house. Two weeks after my surgery, I was still sleeping in the guest room so that no one stood a chance of accidentally touching me, I could barely stay awake for more than three hours at a time, and I still wasn't driving myself anywhere because I couldn't wear a seatbelt unless I also put a pillow underneath it. No, that wouldn't attract the attention of the local law enforcement at all! And I'm sure my employer would have loved finding me face-down on my desk every few minutes, too.

Luckily, I have mostly recovered just in time for softball season here in the Midwest. As you may know, we sometimes lack recreational options out here in the sticks, and hence, softball is HUGE during the summer. The little one has coach-pitch practices already, and my husband and I have practice for beer-league softball in another town. It's a good thing I can drive without that pillow now, because I rarely see the outside of my truck unless I'm standing in a ball field somewhere.

I'm not that great at softball on a good day, so getting ready to play after having surgery is humiliating at times. Swinging a bat with 35 inches worth of relatively fresh scars around one's chest/midsection? Ow. It still kind of hurts to raise my arms very far, which makes it really interesting trying to throw a softball very far. The good news is that my performance at practice means they'll be less likely to put me in to play very many games, thus reducing my overall humiliation.

After all of the driving to practices and running after softballs and batting until my arms might fall off means that the small amounts of post-op energy I've regained go away pretty fast. So, if I don't blog again for another 48 years, I'm probably napping. All sayings involving sleeping animals and how you should let them remain asleep apply here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A New Country

Tonight, on the way into town for gymnastics....

Kid: I wonder when there will be a new country?
Me: (laughing) I don't know. Maybe it will just be a surprise?
Husband: (puzzled) What do you mean? Like, where?
Kid: I mean, like, next to Missouri.
Husband: Well, Arkansas is kind of its own country.
Me: (laughing very hard)
Husband: Wait. Pretend I didn't say that. It would definitely be wrong on your geography test.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Scene From The Living Room

During the morning hair-combing ritual....
Me: Tomorrow, some friends of mommy and daddy are coming over. You probably don't remember them, but you've met them before. I think you'll like them. Mr. Dave was the best man at mommy and daddy's wedding!
Maya: You mean he sat still?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Holidays.... They Are Over

And I am on my way to China. Yeah, it was a little random. :) More to come on that later. Let me tell you about Christmas.

Maya wanted a Barbie dog, and a Ken doll. No problem, I thought. Oh, how arrogant of me. That thought is the downfall of parents everywhere around Christmastime. I also waited until just before the actual holiday to do my shopping. In retrospect, that may have had something to do with it.

I arrive at the store and look for a Barbie dog. There are none that do not also come with a Barbie. Oh well, Maya will love an additional Barbie. Bonus! I pick one up. She looks great. All blonde and fabulous. I nearly throw her in the cart when I do a double take, curious what that pink stick is that Barbie is holding in her hand. And then I recoil in horror. It's a poop scoop. And then I see them. The tiny brown plastic pellets. Yes. I have very nearly purchased plastic Barbie dog crap. This is... unacceptable to me, to say the least. This Barbie dog has a strategically placed hole in its backside. Barbie feeds it the plastic pellets (yes, those same ones) and then they come out of that hole in some sort of twisted perpetual Barbie recycling program, and Barbie happily picks them up with her pink, plastic scoop, her perfect smile still painted on her face. It's just a little too much for me. I can't buy plastic poo.

There was one other choice in Barbie plus Barbie dog. This set had a mama dog and several puppies. I breathed a sigh of relief and picked up that box. Oh, look! They have cute magnetic noses and can give little eskimo kisses! How sweet. And they have little plastic bottles and you can bottle feed the puppies with real water! ...... Wait a minute. What's that little pad over there in the corner of the box? Are you kidding me? The ONLY Barbies with dogs in this whole store BOTH involve some sort of bodily function? Well, I'm not proud, but I bought the peeing Barbie puppies. It seemed slightly more dignified than the recycled foodpoo.

I still needed to find a Ken doll. Surprisingly, there were only two options for him, as well. One was a beach-theme Ken. His clothes were normal, but his hair was somewhat like a 1970s disco Ken with a heavy dose of shellac. He could surf all day and that hair wasn't going to move. Barbie was not going to be happy looking at that hair after a long day of cleaning up puppy pee.

The other Ken had stylish clothes, very nice hair, a handsome face and a really sweet messenger bag. He was entirely too well put together, actually. I'm not really sure if he was the right Ken for Barbie, either. At the very least, though, he doesn't over-use the hair products, and they can enjoy many hours of shopping for swell clothes and accessories together. Maya loved both of them. And their incontinent little dogs.