Thursday, December 6, 2012

Adventures In Unemployment

Last week I applied for six jobs and internships. That is a personal best for me. As a person in the creative field, I often find myself strutting down Unemployment Boulevard. It's parallel to Alcoholic Avenue and intersects with Hermit Junction. Usually I catch the ForeverAloneTransit Bus on the Rejection Loop. Other times I take the Toyota Prius, or as I like to call it, the Booty Patrol. If you are my father, then you just call it "My Car." I like to call him "My Elderly Chinese Roommate."

Of course, I'm not just squatting with my elderly Chinese roommates forever. While I have yet to score a full-time job like a proper grown-up with salaries and team-building exercises with co-workers named Glen and Susan, I have had some luck as a freelance designer. I scour for gigs on Craigslist like that scene in The Dark Knight where Bruce Wayne uses a sonar device to track every person in Gotham to find the Joker. I even use the Batman voice while I'm job-hunting to get me in the entrepreneurial spirit. "THIS IS NOT THE LOGO THIS COMPANY NEEDS BUT THE ONE IT DESERVES!" I'm kind of a public servant to small businesses. In the meantime, I'm still moonlighting as a waitress at Ocean's Seafood and Grill where my elderly Chinese roommates become my elderly Chinese supervisors. Being physically unable to escape them is good motivation for me to search harder for the Joker.

Job interviews are my new social life. If I went on as many dates as I do job interviews, then I would be George Clooney but with a classier Batsuit. I do have to class it up for interviews. If I'm not lurking Craigslist gigs or charming my way to generous tips from old, middle-aged seafood connoisseurs, I'm wearing yesterday's pajama bottoms and looking more and more like the face of meth. The latter ceases to apply now that my eczema has cleared up so I really just look like your typical starving artist.  In the tradition of superheroes, I must conceal my true identity, and this goes for all potential employees in this rickety job market. We are beautiful, special snowflakes, and nobody is ordering snow cones at the office, honey.

When I land an interview, I am no longer the eyesore who falls asleep on trash cans. I can talk about penal codes without cackling. I do not show up at social gatherings only to be accosted with "Hmm, I didn't know this was a slumber party." I am a capable adult, and my car is not called the Booty Patrol. When I meet a potential employer, I give a firm handshake that says, "Julie Sheah, always a good decision!" They may ask me about my past experience, and I will regale them with bubbly anecdotes that display my capability as an employee and do not at all suggest that I may have just eaten an entire box of Valentine chocolates that I purchased myself. When they tell me that they like my portfolio, I say "Thank you" even though what I really mean is "I love you." My face emotes a friendly, docile expression that says "You can trust me with this job... I'll even shingle your roof to sweeten the deal." I charm and dazzle as if I have nothing to lose. Thus far, my superhero approach to unemployment has proved rather successful for me. It's probably due to my method acting; I really have nothing to lose.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Adventures With Eczema

My ecczema is pretty bad right now. Normally my eczema only acts up when I've been hitting the sauce too much and poppin' that ass too hard on the dancefloor. It likes to come out as a reminder for me to get some sleep. I usually have minor, dry patches that aren't very noticeable and don't even bother me that much. I like to pretend that they are wounds I sustained during my tour in 'Nam or that time I was moonlighting as a bodyguard and took a bullet for Whitney Houston. My past is painted in mystery, danger, and ballads whenever my eczema acts up.

There are no flashbacks to dodging bullets in the jungle or carrying Ms. Houston through a crowd today. No jollies to be had at all. I've woken up almost every night unwittingly clawing my skin off. I thought I was incubating a xenomorph with the way I was tearing at my chest. In regards to my last post, now would be the best time for that butter yellow onesie with the pre-installed, baby mitten covers. Like an enormous baby, I am a danger to myself. My eczema began on my neck and spread to my torso and even a few bits on my arm. I damn near pulled a Harry Osbourne and smashed the  mirror when I saw that it had spread to my face. Not the moneymaker!!! As a complimentary kick in the groin and a stab to the old ego, the ad agency I interviewed with last week did not contact me today as they said they would. I thought I had dazzled them at that interview, yet here I sit horrifically disfigured and unemployed. I'm inadequate. I'm out of shape. I'm a monster. You know that scene in The Fly when Jeff Goldblum's nose, ears, and other pieces of his body fall off? It's just like that, only I'm not a scientist. I'm unemployed. Jeff Goldblum is so lucky.

Since my eczema hasn't been this bad in years, I have taken this opportunity to try some home remedies. I've been using coconut oil as a moisturizer, and it has changed my life. I don't just spot treat with it though. I douse myself in it. I am marinating in its coconutty goodness. Literally, I use a tiny spatula to scoop the coconut oil out of a bowl because the original container is a gallon-sized bucket. It's too big for me to put on my bathroom counter and too small for me to sit in so I opted for a bowl with a tiny spatula. I'm not Kevin Costner anymore. Now I can pretend I am an enormous crustacean being prepared for a Hawaiian meal. Gone are the days when I exited the shower only to smell like soap and lotion. Now I smell like an Asian fusion dish. I love fusion food so I don't know how I'll ever go back. I'll probably go  back once this eczema clears up.

I've also tried pure aloe juice from an aloe plant. I read that aloe helps heal and relieve itching for eczema sufferers, and I had used it to treat burns since I was a kid. Feeling the spirit of Mother Earth, I snipped a branch off the aloe plant at home and prepared for amazing results. Wow that shit burned! I think it inflamed the broken skin that I accidentally scratched. I've since stuck to the coconut oil and occasional oatmeal mask.

One remedy that I've used for a few years now is an alcohol-free, aloe, and witch hazel toner. While it doesn't smell like a luau, it does help with the itching, and the lack of alcohol is less drying on the skin. I bought this toner because Patrick Bateman also uses products with "little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older." He's also a big Whitney fan which makes me think Patrick and I could be best friends if only he didn't kill women.

It's been about a week of demonic eczema and still no signs of it clearing up. So far it's been pretty easy for me to hide my decrepit body and mutilated face though. Having no friends and no job does have its perks! I've been keeping busy indoors and avoiding physical human contact. I don't want the villagers to find out and try to smoke the hideous creature out of the house. My parents wouldn't like the smell getting in the upholstery. I suppose I'll just have to look on the bright side and dream up new storylines that include this my disfigurement as a plot device. I could be Tommy Lee Jones' portrayal of Two-Face in Batman Forever! I already drink out of two glasses simultaneously so I'm halfway there! How exciting, I've always wanted to commandeer a circus, and bother Val Kilmer. This could be the beginning of an amazing chapter in my life. I could have so much fun in my head. I won't ever have to be around people or leave the house again. Oh God, someone call me please!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I Like Nice Things

Yesterday my mother, Max and I went shopping for a new human being. Apparently my cousin's lady companion had her baby three days ago so my mother wanted us to buy her a gift. I feel like babies' gifts should be welcome-to-the-world survival kits with clothes, rations, toiletries, a small knife and flint, pretty much anything you need to survive. My mentality for buying practical gifts is, "Will this help Tom Hanks on the island after the plane crashes?" We ended up buying tiny, new-human-sized clothes and socks for baby Tom Hanks. She will be well equipped for this coming winter unless she balloons to Da Vinci Code-sized Tom Hanks.

While browsing the baby section at Target, I realized that I really wanted all of these products. The onesies, the padded cribs, super-soft blankets, and butter-yellow apparel beyond my wildest dreams. Do I have "baby fever?" Have I reached that age where I want to settle down and start a family? FUCK NO! I want all this shit for myself! Why would I buy all these things for a baby? What have babies ever done for me? I need these things to better my life. I propose that the baby section be renamed the Luxury Goods section and have everything made in adult sizes because this stuff is too nice for children.

I saw so many things that I needed just as much, if not more, than a baby does. I found a tiny pair of crocheted socks that were so soft, I imagined wearing them would be like walking on air. Why the hell do they think adults don't want these? My feet are all mangled and crumbling to pieces from stomping around in these stripper heels. I need crocheted socks! Babies can't appreciate luxury socks that feel like you're walking on air because those fools can't even walk yet. I also sampled the bumper pads that are supposed to go around the bed to prevent those clumsy oafs from bumping their heads. Clearly, these should be a safety standard for all citizens, like the airbag or seatbelt. I don't know how many times I've bumped my head against the wall, the bed, or other furniture. One time I even shut the car door on my own head. Where was my padded bumper then? Some dribbly baby was using it while I got my head smashed by my Acura Legend! I took a hit for that baby, and I didn't even get a thank you.

I am also disappointed that I can't purchase an adult-sized pram, or as I like to call it, a Luxury Wheelchair. I could be tired from a long day at the office or injured from a nasty tumble due to my penchant for bargain stripper heels. Either way, it would be nice to lay in a softly padded Luxury Wheelchair while someone pushes me around. I don't like the sun or bright lightbulbs so the ones with the pop-up hood would be mandatory for me. I would also like one with the big sturdy wheels so my designated Luxury Wheelchair driver and I can do some sweet jumps. While I'm injured, it would also be nice to go home to a nursing chair, or shall we say, a Luxury Recliner. I almost rocked myself to sleep sitting on that display chair. The smooth forward and back motion reminded me of the log ride at the carnival and soon I was in a blissfully calm state dreaming of smoked turkey legs.

I've been an adult for a few months now, and it would be a hell of a lot nicer if I could upgrade these amenities. I don't want to drink coffee, listen to podcasts, worry about my metabolism, and talk about taxes. I'm not asking for much. I just want to go to bed without fear of my head smashing a hole in the wall. Excuse me for being excited about bedtime! I want to wake up and swat at various dangling objects that hang overhead while soft music plays. I want my padded Luxury Wheelchair with the pop-up hood and all-terrain wheels with Hugh Jackman pulling me across short distances. Most of all, I want to wear a butter yellow onesie, sit in my Luxury Recliner and think "Yes, I am a baby Tom Hanks."

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Love Story

Eating, fantasies about eating, and the aftermath of eating occupies almost my entire social life. If I were an anorexic, I would have no friends, and my family would shoot me like Old Yeller because of what use am I if I can't eat with people? I have been told, much to my delight, that I dance on a fine line between food and garbage. I am proud of this because it is a trait that I shared with the greatest love of my life. I call her the greatest love of my life while she calls me a sick, obsessed fan who needs to get a life. Lovers' quarrels, that is why we were meant for each other.

My sweet lady friend, who I have adoringly deemed dead since leaving me on this godforsaken continent, became my friend many years ago over a plate of quesadillas. I watched enthralled as she snatched a plate of old quesadillas from a strange woman at a Tex-Mex restaurant and proceeded to gleefully devour her prize like a glorious baboon. She then declared that she avoided paying for food whenever possible and that free food was her favorite food. Then she got up and bought a milkshake. I was dazzled by this elegant lady. From that moment on, I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.

My elegant, baboon, lady friend and I became incredibly close over the years, and one of the reasons for our powerful bond was our common attitude towards food. We loved food and did not discern between garbage and food. One time on an evening stroll, I spied a paper plate of ambiguous leftovers on the sidewalk. Being the attentive companion that I am, I kindly alerted her by shouting, "Hey man, free food! Free food's yo favorite food!" She responded by punching me in the head, which meant "I love you."

Those were the glory days of our relationship. I remember like it was just yesterday we couldn't decide on what to eat for dinner so we each ate a pint of ice cream. She had the Blue Bell Anniversary Sundae because she was such a refined and classy lady. I watched as she passed out on the floor in a sugar-induced coma. Her collapsed body in the prone position, like some kind of enormous penguin in mid-slide. "Beauty, isn't she?" I thought. Soon I too fell asleep, dreaming of a land of ice cream and riding my penguin lady friend down a sundae mountain. Later I was awoken by her roommate who had come home late and probably wanted me to get out of her bed. Remembering my manners, I asked, "Hey, you wanna get some wings for dinner?" She replied, "It's three A.M." Alas, I was in love and had lost all concept of time and space.

One of the most adorable things about my friend was her insistence on keeping food long past their expiration date. It was one of the things that made her special. On one of our romantic weekend roadtrips, she gave me an egg custard tart which I eagerly accepted. My teeth mashed into a soggy crust, and a dairy-tinged smell clouded my nose. The tart had begun the early stages of decomposition, but my ambitious lady friend refused to give up on it. Giving up was not in her nature. Alas, it was her determination and fearlessness in the face of bacteria that attracted me to her. I spat the wad of molded pastry out in a napkin, wrapped it up and stuck it in a crevice of her car. I knew she'd know what it meant when she found it.

"I love you."

The years flew by as our love aged like the molded cheese she told me was safe to eat. It's been almost a year since she died. I've since moved on with my life, knowing that she is in a better place... one that has better Korean food because that bitch is in Korea. I think of her often and wonder if she thinks of me. The taste of cheap bread brings tears to my eyes and reminds me of the romantic evenings where we tried to see how many sandwiches we could eat. The sight of garbage on the floor evokes nostalgia and a hint of fear of my head being punched. I miss her. I will always remember her laugh, her smile, her scent. The scent of staleness.

Goodbye, my love