Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spring And All*

Ault Park daffodils on April 10, right before it started raining and never stopped.

It is hard to concentrate. It's like I've returned to high school and the shining sun and humid air has me completely restless and drunk on the smell of lilacs and the sight of daffodils. Which is then only pulled out from under me when it starts pouring rain again. And again. And Again.

April is, indeed, the cruelest month.

APRIL is the cruelest month, breeding 
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing 
Memory and desire, stirring 
Dull roots with spring rain.

T.S. Eliot, 1922
The Wasteland

Consider this my spring poetry thesis (from dead white guys), because as I thought of that stanza, which I memorized a hundred years ago not because I had to, but because I couldn't not remember it, I thought of about a half-dozen more poems about spring and April that cut to the quick of this jarring season.

Leave it to poets to take the freshness of spring, when everything is supposed to be hopeful and new, to remind us of this yearly rollercoaster of longing and wishful thinking.

Eliot's "lilacs" brought my mind to Walt Whitman's When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd, Whitman's public mourning over the assassination over President Lincoln, and the "sprig of lilac" he intends to lay at his coffin.

When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

Walt Whitman, 1865

Every returning spring, Walt? Ouch.

Since studying Wordsworth in English litch-rah-cha I can't see a daffodil and not think of the lines:

I wandere'd lonely as a cloud…

And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils

Wordsworth, 1804

But whatever joy and promise Wordsworth gave me in his Daffodils, Ted Hughes took it away when I read his Daffodils in Birthday Letters, his deathbed response to his wife, Sylvia Plath's, suicide.

Our lives were still a raid on our own good luck.
We knew we'd live forever. We had not learned
What a fleeting glance of the everlasting
Daffodils are. Never identified
The nuptial flight of the rarest epherma-
Our own days!
We thought they were a windfall.
Never guessed they were a last blessing.

Ted Hughes, 1998

Read the whole poem. Go ahead. And I challenge you to find me a more heartbreaking, nostalgic, bittersweet and remorseful poem about spring and death and relationships. Or daffodils, for that matter.

Now that we are all duly hopeful for better, sunnier days while filled with regret over gray skies and rain, who wants wine?!

Come over, we'll discuss. New topic: How to disable your car's airbag, because if we're gonna be up all night boozing over heart-wrenching spring poems we'll wanna die in the crash.

But let me end on a sunny note of spring here.

Though April remains the cruelest month, ee cummings' joyful, made-up words 'mud-luscious' and 'puddle-wonderful' from In Just make mud and rain seem fun, no? I could no more explicate this poem than I could cure heart disease (what, in the hell, are you talking about, ee?) but In Just has a vibe to it like it's a wet and wonderful spring whatever planet he's living on.   

* Of course the title of this post is after a William Carlos Williams poem of the same title, with the title parenthesis, By the Road to the Contagious Hospital. So, you know, there's that ray of sunshine too.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Praise Jesus!

It's Good Friday and I have the day off not because it's a holiday for me, but because I told the Boss Man I needed this important religious observance off to cleanse my soul.

I argued that if anyone needs to get closer to God it's me, so, pony-up with the approval, Boss Man.

He ripped up my request.

In fact, I have a stack of PTO requests he's ripped up. He doesn't believe in God or work-life balance, while I happen to be a firm believer in work-life balance.

I will go to the mat for PTO. I will judge anyone who isn't a zealot for time off. I observe days off with reverence, like it's my religion.

Me: Tomorrow is an important religious holiday and I'd like the day off to observe and reflect.

Boss Man: You can't even say that with a straight face!

Me: I can. Really. But... I just heard a really funny joke and umm... back to my serious convictions about wanting the day off tomorrow...

Boss Man: *rips up my PTO request

Me: What would Jesus think about your complete disregard for the environment... and my desire to get in touch with my spiritual side?

Boss Man: *beating his head against the filing cabinet

Me: I'm going to walk up all those steps at that church in Mt. Adams. You know, get ready for the Pig and repent all at once.

Tiffany (who teaches Sunday school): Do you even know what happened on Good Friday?

Me: Yes. Jesus rose from the dead, that's why it's called GOOD.

Tiffany: No. It's when he DIED.

Boss Man: Ohh, sorry we don't all have YOU as our Sunday school teacher.


* wait, Boss Man and I can't be on the same page here... back to the fight

Me: You're not helping, Tiffany. Er... I mean, this is why I need the day off, to educate myself. I'm a sponge thirsting for divine knowledge.

* Knowing he'd rather be stabbed than touched, I resort to guerrilla tactics and touch the Boss Man's hand, forcing a pen into it; he cowers in fear and disgust

Me: Sign the PTO slip or the hand gets touched again.

Boss Man (finally signing): You are the devil.

Ok, he didn't really call me the devil, but probably only because he doesn't believe in the devil.

I'm off to get this long-weekend party started begin my spiritual cleanse.

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Heart Just Sank (It's Probably The Oily Pizza Slices)

Sbarro is going bankrupt, you guys. A moment of silence for that little slice of mall food court heaven that hardened my arteries one slice at a time.

This is really really sad for me because when I used to work at the mall I would always eat Sbarro.

Ok, that's a lie. I never worked at the mall. But I did eat at Sbarro like clockwork, to the point where the Sbarro worker-guy who always heated up my greasy pizza slice thought I did and would give me the mall discount. For Sbarro. 

Let me explain.

Travel back in time with me, will you, to the year 1998, when your intrepid hero here, (that'd be me, jackasses), moved to Ohio from Virginia.

I lived in Hamilton for my second newspaper job and minus a boyfriend I had in Cincinnati (who worked nights), I didn't know anyone. So on Saturdays, since I was bored and didn't have any friends and was like, 23 years old, I'd go to Tri-County Mall and walk around and buy crap.

This was before Tri-County mall became a ghost-mall. It was in its two-story heyday, filled with commerce, Starbucks, American Eagle and a giant food court.

So basically, it was everything my 23-year-old heart desired.

Every Saturday afternoon I'd speed through the back roads of Butler County excited for a Frappuccino, a slice of Sbarro and some more clothes from American Eagle I didn't need.

The Starbucks was on the first floor near the tobacco shop and the pet store and I'd always get the same girl taking my order, "a light, tall, coffee Frappuccino." ("Light" because I was healthy.)

One day I noticed the price was a little lower. As she rung me up she pointed and said, "You work back there, right?" Which meant she a) thought I worked at the mall I was so consistent in my visits to Starbucks and b) thought I worked at either the pet store or the tobacco shop.

"Umm, yeah," I stammered.

I lied not because I wanted the mall employee discount so much, but more because of what it meant to admit that I spent so much time at the mall that the mall workers thought I worked there too.

Sad, people. Just sad. (Ok not really, I actually like the mall, still.)

A few weeks after getting called out at Starbucks I was getting my usual slice of Sbarro to wash down with my Frappuccino when the Sbarro worker guy says to me, "I thought you'd quit. I haven't seen you in a few weeks."

I stared at him.

Quit what, I wondered. Pizza? Food courts?



He thinks I work at the mall.

"Umm, no. I didn't quit."

I got the mall employee discount at Sbarro too.

Now that I see Sbarro is going bankrupt I can't help but feel a tinge of sadness in my hardening arteries for them. I mean, they were really, really good to me as a fake mall employee.  

I'm sorry Sbarro if you're going bankrupt because I got 25 cents off my pizza order those few months in 1998. Or if because I finally made some friends and stopped eating your "Italian" food every weekend.

Oh god, this is all my fault. *sob

Friday, April 15, 2011


Dear This Week:

We are broke-up.

It's not me, it's you. You suck and I've had enough. I don't ever want to hear from you again.


P.S. You're getting fat.

P.P.S. Don't let me see your fat ass at happy hour tonight.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pap Spears at Walgreens, Y'all

Skip to 1:37 - hilarity to ensue.

"Between the Swiffer refills and the cat food. Ladies, just look for the stirrups."

Monday, April 11, 2011

We Are 'Balls To the Wall'

1) Because we're all ovaries and 2) We're slow as hell.

Look for us at the Pig:

• I'll be the one dying on the hill into Eden Park
• Julie will be anxious about the serious runners near her who are bouncing around and stressing at the first relay stop
• Rachel is the one mostly likely to have 'Balls' lettered on her singlet
• and Michele will be enjoying a glazed donut while she waits for us at the fourth leg.

This is serious, you guys.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Friday Night With Gina Dreamboat

Some women storm out of bars on their boyfriends because he's a big jerk, or he's ogling other women, or maybe because he's dumping her.

Not this girl.

I left Ray sitting at bar this weekend because - wait for it! - he told me he didn't vote for the smoking ban.

I said, 'I can't date you anymore.' And I meant it.

For about 7 minutes.

Then about halfway home I thought, 'Uh oh, I just got all crazy pissy about a smoking ban... that passed five years ago. And I left Ray sitting at the bar. Oh. Crap. He's gonna be maaaaaad.'

Think, Daugherty, think! Tell him you're sorry. No wait, tell him you're having your period! YEAH. Oh, right. Umm... tell him it all started in the fourth grade... and you never learned to read!

Fortunately, Ray is more rational than I am when I've been, how shall I say this... overserved.

He wasn't even that mad that I dumped him, left in a fury and abandoned him at a bar by himself.

But seriously, who doesn't vote for the smoking ban?

Eh, he was young and stupid. As opposed to me, who is occasionally drunk and stupid.

Best. Girlfriend. Ever.

Monday, April 04, 2011

April Fools Day, 2011

It's 5:30 on Friday. My tax return is lighting a fire in my bank account and I'm halfway to Kenwood Mall.

My phone rings; it's the Boss Man. He never calls.

Shit. He's gonna want something and I'm gonna have to drive back to work. Ugh.

I answer anyway, because I'm good a employee like that.

He says, excitedly, "Did you hear about the new restaurant on the moon?"

I respond with silence.

He continues, undeterred: "It got bad reviews; the critics said it had no atmosphere."

Oh god, I think. It's even worse than having to drive back to work... on a Friday.

"Hahaha! Good, right?! There's a little April Fool's from a scientist for ya!"

It was the longest 31 seconds of my life.

Fortunately I was able to salve my mental anguish with a soft pretzel and some new clothes.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Name Our Relay Team

Training is easy.

In addition to working out like, six times already (and probably breaking my foot) I am also eating burritos, frozen pizzas and lots of Mexican food. You know, to get "in shape" for the Flying Pig Relay.

I plan to suck it kick-ass again this year, so look out world.

No, training is easy. The difficult part is coming up with an awesome team name, amirite?

Won't you be lambs and help Rachel, Julie, Michele and me with naming our relay team.

The suggestions so far are:

• Lady lumps
• Bad Case of the Runs
• Worst Pace Scenario
• Sole Train
• Balls to the Wall

(My personal fave is Balls To the Wall. I can't even say it without cracking up.)

We're having our first team meeting on Saturday, where we will continue our "training" over breakfast potatoes and further discuss this important race time topic.