Things I Hate #33: Clogged Drains


I don’t hate clogged drains for the reason you might think. The soggy, crime-scene clumps of mangled hair don’t bother me so much as the ostentatious nature of a clogged drain itself.

I hate clogged drains because they demand attention. They refuse to cooperate. They’re masters of high drama and, distracted by this display, you don’t know you have a problem until it’s practically too late.

Facing a clogged drain, you’re left to wonder what could be down there, left to wonder where you went wrong. Did someone forget or did someone refuse to dispose her clay facemask into the trash and not into the sink? Could you be losing hair at an alarming rate? Could you be losing your mind? Or is it something deeper and more dangerous, a flaw in the pipes that could leach poop water through the foundation’s cracks at any moment?

Clogged drains push you to think about these things. A sink or tub filling up with the murky water you’d planned to discard is too neat a portrait of suppressed emotions bubbling to the surface, that twirling film of hair, dirt, and suds too reminiscent of mental illness. If bathing is the physical equivalent of mental cleansing, then splashing in your own filth can’t be good.

There is immense relief in clearing a clogged drain. You can’t fully appreciate a clear drain without experiencing the alternative firsthand. With a few glugs of an erosive chemical cocktail, you’re back on track in no time but not quite back to the way things were. The fear of a repeat episode settles in the back of your mind, launching flashbacks to the front lines every time you spit your toothpaste into the tide and count the seconds as it swirls out of sight.

You could argue that’s what a clogged drain wants you to think—that you have no chance of a skating through a clean, clear future, at least not for long. But where there are hiccups along the way or clogs in a drain, there is also ample opportunity for redemption. Aren’t those the moments we all live for anyway?

Image via Flickr

Things I Hate #19: The Attitude of Seabirds

Seagulls. Pelicans. Puffins. Albatrosses. All annoy the shit out of me. Whenever I see a seabird picking over someone’s leftover fries, either on the boardwalk or in the parking lot of a clam chowder joint, I want to claw my eyes out.

I should make it clear that I love animals. Depending on how you look at them, seabirds are unusual, alien creatures. Birds are nearest to our Jurassic ancestors with their scaly talons and sharp beaks. They’re our only chance at manipulating DNA into living dinosaurs–if you’re into that kind of thing.

It’s their attitude that gets me riled up. Have you ever left your funnel cake for a second, only to find a seagull is picking it to pieces? Have you ever tried to take a selfie in front of a sunset, only to have one squawking behind you, desperately looking for attention? They’re just so grabby. And I hate to stereotype an entire class of bird, but I bet you’ve never had a chicken steal your last nugget at the beach. Chickens wouldn’t do that, and not because they’re against cannibalism. They’re all for it. It’s a matter of common courtesy.

Seabirds are special in that they literally give no fucks. While normally I would admire that kind of attitude, in a seabird it’s uniquely revolting to me. Put a leather jacket on and back off, seabird, then maybe we’ll talk.

All this talk about seabirds reminds me of a song my good friend* Jason Schwartzman introduced me to. It’s a song I think we can all appreciate, a song about seabirds flying home, wherever that may be.

*We’re not really friends in the sense that we’ve ever met or anything.

Things I Hate #24: When a Jar Won’t Open

jar of granola

So smug.

Imagine the worst possible thing that could ever happen to you. Divide that by fifteen. Not being able to open a jar feels like a fifteenth of the worst thing that could ever happen to you. That’s pretty bad.

Everyone knows what I’m talking about. But in case you don’t, picture this: You’re hungry. You find the jar full of maple pecan granola that you lovingly made yourself. You think, wow, I’d love to eat some of that right now, so you attempt to open the jar. When I say attempt, what I really mean is struggle. You try turning the lid with your bare hands, but it won’t budge. You grab a towel and try using that to get a little more friction going. You remember seeing a rubber mitt designed specifically for this problem, but one of those never seems to be handy when you need it. You start to question yourself: I didn’t put lotion on, did I? Am I a pathetic weakling? Am I having a stroke? You bang the lid against the countertop, run it under hot water. You consider smashing the jar with a hammer just to get inside, not caring if you mix shards of glass into your delicious homemade granola.

This is what a jar does to someone when it won’t budge. The sick irony is that maybe you didn’t really have to eat the granola before—you kind of only wanted a little bite of something—but now that the jar won’t open, you want that granola more than ever. You want that granola so bad you’ll go to the ends of the earth to get it. You’re contemplating selling your soul to the devil himself when, suddenly, the jar opens. The moment is glorious. Think fireworks, think trumpets.

Only the misery doesn’t end there. Now you’re questioning the jar. Naturally, you’re afraid to twist the lid on tight. Then again, if you leave it loose, you risk letting your granola get stale. A classic lose-lose. Once that trust is gone, you never get it back. Now you’re wolfing down an entire jar’s worth of granola with a bottle of cabernet sauvignon and a chick flick, wondering if you’ll ever love again. Though you know you will.

All it takes is one good jar.

Put the Sex-zema in Eczema with these Halloween Costume Ideas

It’s that time of year again for All Hallows’ Eve, which is fancy for Pass Out Drunk in a Costume Day. For us girls, we can’t just pass out drunk in any old costume. It’s got to be sex-ay.

I don’t know much about that, though, so I’m passing this assignment on to my alter idiot, Kale. She’s a fashionista, maxxinista, and sometimes when she’s breaking out in a full-body rash, an eczemanista. Eczema may be a very common, treatable skin condition, but Kale knows how to take it to a whole new level with costume ideas that wow even while you want to scratch your eyes out.

Take a look at her video below and put the sex-zema in eczema this Halloween: 

Or, if you’re looking for real costume inspo, check out last year’s post about how to be a feminist for Halloween. Because Kale might be a little confused about feminism… for instance, what that word means.

Things I Hate #47: Cold, Sunny Days

cold sunny day

There’s nothing crueler than a cold, sunny day. It’s a contradiction, a meteorological paradox. If you were to look up paradox in the dictionary, you should read an unnerving story about a cold, sunny day.

Here’s how it works.

You look out your window. It looks sunny outside. This cues your brain to think warm, sunny thoughts. Images of sandy beaches and sipping mojitos poolside flood your brain. You think, maybe I’ll wear a light blouse today. Or, maybe I’ll opt for flats instead of heavy winter boots. And if you’re in San Francisco, the king of mind-fuck sunny-cold days, you bring a light sweater just in case.

You go outside. It is far colder than you expected. This is when you realize you’ve been duped. You wanted to believe in warm weather so badly you opened yourself up to heartache. You won’t make that mistake again. You’ve closed your heart off for good, vowing never to be this vulnerable again. Because what did you really expect? It’s late February, or maybe an equally deceptive day in March. You knew it was too good to be true. Even your mother warned you.

But it was sunny outside. It still is sunny outside. You thought maybe a few rays would cut through the cold just enough to touch your skin. You thought there was a chance it could work if only your face warmed up a degree or two.

But no. You thought wrong. You’re cold and exposed. Now it’s back inside to layer on more clothes or face the world with your light sweater and broken heart. From now on, you’ll only trust reliable gloomy days cloaked in fog or rain. No more of this flirting with a wild card—at least that’s what you tell yourself.