I’m the dumbest person I know.
Sometimes I can’t believe I’m allowed to live unsupervised in an apartment with a stove and sharp objects, and I’m consistently amazed I haven’t accidentally starved to death yet. A couple of weeks ago, I was pretty sure I was going to jail for being stupid, and frankly I wasn’t surprised. It’s the kind of thing I’d expect from a boob like myself.
It started when I forgot about the back half of my car. It’s easy to do when you’re an imbecile.
Reasons I Forgot About the Back of My Car
- I conduct my business in the front half of the vehicle. There’s no reason for me to think about anything that happens behind the driver’s seat. Since my legs are short (and also because I’m an idiot), that means I never give 70% of my car a single thought.
- I once had a car named Ruby, and she was the love of my life– the most beautiful thing on this cold, dark planet. Great love stories always end in tragedy, though, and Ruby and I were no exception. I left her (because I’m an idiot), and now I have Beryl. I respect Beryl, but I’m not in love with her. I never look at her back half because it brings up memories of Ruby’s curves.
- Shortly after Beryl and I became an item, my job required carting a group of photogenic elderly people around on short notice. The backseat was buried under Taco Bell wrappers, campaign signs, and heaven knows what else (because I am an idiot with poor nutrition). I didn’t have anywhere to dump it out, so I scooped it up embarrassedly and threw it in my trunk while the attractive old people judged me. I cleaned it out later, but the damage was done. I never use the trunk because I associate it with deep feelings of shame.
One evening in March, a friend and I decided to make an ice cream run. Ice cream is not even on my Top 10 Best Desserts list, but we desperately needed to get out of the apartment. I had just finished elucidating on what a safe driver I am when a siren started behind us.
I started running through a list of things I could have possibly done wrong. We’d watched Breaking Bad all day, and my neurotic brain instantly decided we were being pulled over for meth. I’d clearly been driving meth-ily. When the officer came to the window, I did my best impression of a person who doesn’t do meth. It should have come naturally because, you know, I don’t, but I was suddenly hyper-aware of how suspicious every single one of my nervous tics looked.
Fortunately, he had not pulled me over for methamphetamine. Unfortunately, while I was busy ignoring parts of my vehicle, some of those parts were expiring. When I say my license plates were old, I don’t mean they were a week or two past the renewal date. I had successfully avoided looking at them for more than six months. The ticket was close to $100, but I was just grateful no one thought I was on meth. We drove back to the apartment, ice cream-less and sad.
I sent my check in a week later to the wrong court, so it was returned. I put it in a file labeled “IMPORTANT THINGS”, made a mental note to send it again ASAP, and immediately forgot about it. Then two weeks ago during Trivia Night at a bar, my friend Ashley said, “Did you pay your traffic ticket? I forgot about mine, and a friend at the court said there was a warrant for my arrest. I bet you have one!”
“Ha!” I said like a person who regularly has warrants issued for her arrest. “I don’t care. That’s my fifth warrant this week.”
I did care, though. Maybe it’s because I’m the oldest child, or maybe because I’m a civilized human, but I like rules. If I lived in a totalitarian country, I’d be the jerk who’s always bringing up how efficient and well-organized the government is. I was useless for the rest of Trivia Night. I kept wanting to yell, “HERE’S A FUN FACT: I’M GOING TO JAIL.”
I spent the next two days desperately calling the court, but I kept getting away messages. With every unanswered call, I became more convinced I would be arrested.
Things You Do When the Cops Are Coming for You
- You think about the best way to explain your arrest during future job interviews.
- You start looking at your friends differently, trying to gauge if they’d be a good choice for your phone call.
- You obsessively Google things like “How much will my bail be?”, and “How to tell your grandma you’re in jail”, and “Which prison gangs are the most fun?”
- You consider trying to escape once you’re inside, just to say you did it.
- You wonder if you could shank someone if it came down to it. You decide you probably could. You start to worry less about jail because you think it will teach you about yourself. You start to look forward to it a little.
After three days, someone finally answered the phone.
“Hello,” I said. “I forgot to pay a traffic ticket and I’m dumb and I don’t want to go to jail because I really like rules and I’m generally well-behaved and I DON’T EVEN LIKE ICE CREAM THAT MUCH SO I DON’T KNOW WHY I WAS OUT THAT NIGHT IN THE FIRST PLACE!”
“Hmm,” the lady on the other end said. “That ticket was dismissed. The officer didn’t submit it before the court date.”
“Oh,” I said. “So… no one wants to arrest me?”
“No,” she said. “You don’t even have to pay it. You’re lucky!”
“Yeah,” I said. “Lucky.” Then I hung up and went back inside to my office and my boring, boring life.
As verbose as some of my blog posts can be, I’m a pretty quiet person in real life.
I come from a family of bookish nerds, so I’m introverted by nature and nurture, which probably has something to do with it. Another piece of it is self-preservation, I guess. Years of observation have taught me that sometimes stupid things come out of people’s mouths. I still say the darndest things, so it’s not like silence makes me immune, but it definitely cuts down on the sheer volume of dumb things I could be saying.
Social networks are one of the coolest things about the internet (besides the widespread availability of cat pictures, obviously). Sites like Facebook and Twitter really have changed the way we interact, for better or for worse. I love messing around with new trends in social media, but there are some extremely popular sites I simply don’t get. For example, I’m 80% sure FourSquare exists so burglars know when you’re not home, and I keep using Instagram to take pictures of words, which sort of defeats the purpose. There’s one particular site that’s completely beyond me, though, and I resent it.
I will never understand Pinterest.
Pinterest reminds me of high school lockers, except in this case the locker was designed by Martha Stewart and smells amazing. Some people dedicate the inside of their locker door exclusively to pictures of corgis in sweaters. Some people use it to save messages about positive body image, confusingly combined with pictures of people working out until they fall over dead. Some people just post pictures of their hair. One girl is using the inside of her locker door for pictures of David Bowie during his particularly coked-up years because she didn’t understand she was supposed to be collecting recipes for healthy variations on french fries. That girl is me.
If you like your superheroes tall, dark, and broody, Batman is right up your crime-ridden alley. Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered in front of him. He dealt with his grief by dressing up like a bat and jumping off tall buildings to eradicate the scum poisoning his city. He’s a misunderstood maniac, but also a beacon of hope, delivering justice where others cannot. A silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.
Stew on that, Bruce Wayne-style, while I talk about something unrelated.
When I was 11, I moved to Hawaii.
At the same age wizards go to Hogwarts, preteen girls become terrible humans. Before the move, adults were always trying to assuage my angst by telling me it was going to be an experience. I quickly realized calling something “an experience” is a misleadingly positive way to say nothing at all. Describing something that way is completely accurate and completely inadequate.
Is there a self-help book out there for people who take self-help books too seriously? Self-Help Books for Dummies? Is that thing? Because I need that.
I don’t even like self-help books. I’m skeptical of anything that promises to fix all my issues (and they are legion) in 300 pages or less, but the main problem is that I often take the experiments I conduct on my life way too far. Sure, my initial self-help book approach could best be described as “unhealthily cynical”, but if I feel any part of it has some value, I’ll take the whole thing too seriously for my own good. It never ends well.
What I Thought: What’s this? A book about how not to suck in your twenties? I’m in my early twenties! I can nip this one in the bud!
What I Learned: Most people in their twenties are underemployed or unemployed. Their parents have all divorced so they don’t know how relationships work. They have no longterm goals because they’re putting life on hold, and nothing good will ever happen to them unless they change right away (but even that may be too late). Oh, also my ovaries are going to dry up any day now. Seriously. ANY DAY NOW.