Spend enough time at the pool, eventually you’re gonna get wet.

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I know, people are assholes on the internet. Back in the days of Orkut I used to encourage engagement with such folk, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve mellowed down. Happy, medicated, more mature, I rarely interact with the flame war ilk.

But I do still have a temper.

So I bought this thing on etsy, a sticker for B!’s laptop, and I gave it a “neutral” review. The seller reacted by giving me, the buyer, a “negative” review. I thought this was a dick move, and I told him so in a message.

I gave a neutral rating because it’s much larger in real life than it is on your store site, and I felt the image was disingenuous. You can leave my negative review up, but that’s a pretty lame way to retaliate.

He comes back and says that I should have let him know what size I wanted, and that he gave me the “standard” size. After some more back and forth, he provides this as an argument:

Next time you go to Wal-mart, Kohls, Target, etc and you buy a shirt or something similar that is sized related…let’s see if they ask you on the way out if you got the right one to fit you. If you get it home and it doesn’t work, is it the stores fault because they didn’t ask you if it was the correct size? or let’s go to best buy and purchase a macbook bag or case. Say you have a 13 inch but buy a 15 inch and didn’t notice it until later. I guess it is the stores fault for not making sure you made the correct size choice while in the store? Seriously..

to which I reply,

This might be a hard concept for you to grasp: your store is virtual. Customers can’t pick up your item, touch it, look at it, as they might in a Wal-Mart, Kohl’s, Target, etc. And also, these retailers have a RETURN POLICY, in case someone makes a mistake. You might take a tip from their service managers as well, because I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t talk back to their customers like this.

After a few more exchanges he offers to let bygones be bygones if I just admit I was wrong, which, of course, I’m not about to. I tell him so, and bid him good day. As a final kiss-off, he adds three more negative feedback entries for products I had bought and rated as “positive”. So now, to the outside world, I look like the asshole.

This may be all, oh, ok, whatever, who cares if I have negative reviews on etsy.com, but seriously? I GAVE THIS GUY MONEY. AND HE TOTALLY SCREWED ME OVER. It’s the online purchasing equivalent of Dick’s Last Resort, if Dick’s Last Resort was funded by Haliburton and they served your meal with a side of red-hot nail files. Comments, anyone?


Those algorithms must be worth a fortune.

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Apparently, the lawyer I used to sue Ford is on LinkedIn. While this isn’t surprising, the fact that he was recommended as a contact pretty much makes my hair stand on end. Clearly, I have few qualms about internet privacy, but there is almost NOTHING online linking me to this man. Who’s been going through my file cabinet?

Super crazy.

Anyway.


The Things We Carried

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Back in 2006, Katsu and I moved out of our first apartment. It was sad, you know, because we’d had so many good times there, but, honestly, by the end of the day I didn’t know which end was up. We hadn’t allowed enough time to pack properly, and as such spent most of the afternoon frantically shoving clothes into garbage bags. A cursory unpacking left us with this:

"the dining room"

A sorry sight, at best. It had taken Katsumi, myself, and five of our friends two trips EACH to move all our things. Imagine my delight when I found that one of these Things was a half-used bag of dirt. I mean, this was four years ago right, so I have no clear recollection of the conversation.

But I imagine it would have gone something like this:

me: a bag of dirt?
katsu: yeah, what?
me: a BAG of DIRT?
katsu: it’s good dirt!
me: what?

I know this because this past summer, while moving OUT of the apartment pictured above, I found the bag of dirt under the dresser, covered with a full coat of Jake fur. And Katsu and I had the exact same conversation.

me: this bag of dirt?
katsu: yeah, what?
me: we still HAVE this bag of DIRT?
katsu: it’s good dirt!
me: WHAT???

I made a concerted effort to rid myself of as much dead weight as possible when I moved from East Boston. I was throwing away birthday cards, I was selling things on consignment, I donated box after box of books to Lorem Ipsum. Don’t get me wrong, I still had a lot of stuff, but I’m just saying.

So B! and I are getting our things settled in the new place, and I’m unpacking this box, and inside the box is an empty box. I ask B! what’s up.

B!: it’s a prop.
me: it’s an empty box.
B!: but, it’s a prop!
me: *sigh*

I still say an empty box is an empty box, and a bag of dirt is just a bag of dirt, and I wouldn’t move either of those things across TOWN, never mind across the COUNTRY, but honestly? I have this baggie of rice noodles that I’ve been carting around since I don’t know when.

So really, maybe we all have our Bag of Dirt.


I guess I was kind of rich, for a second there.

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My friend loaned me this purse awhile ago. She has lots of purses. Nice purses. Designer. And she likes to share the joy! God bless her, she gave me a Gucci. Now, being a person who shops mainly at Marshall’s, I have no idea the relative value of Gucci versus Fendi versus B. Makowski, all I know is that this purse is PERFECT. It’s the perfect size, perfect length, perfect color and perfect interior. I adore it. I took it all the way across the country with me, and I fell more in love with it each day. I mean, sure, I felt a little strange dragging it through Waffle House, and I made sure not to put it on the floor of the rest stop bathrooms, but, generally, carrying it made sense in a way that only destiny can craft.

B! and I stayed with this friend after our illustrious return to the East Coast, and on Friday night we took her out to dinner. While enjoying a pre-entree cigarette, I confessed my feelings about the Gucci.

“I just LOVE it,” I gushed, “I mean, it’s absolutely PERFECT. Like, oh, where are my keys? Let me just reach my little arm down in here and what’s up, hey now, here they are!” I held them aloft like a trophy. I could never find my keys in my other bags. Clearly, this Gucci had magic. And I told her so.

“I can’t give it to you, Erin.”

“Oh, yeah, I mean like, OBVIOUSLY. I didn’t mean to suggest – ”

“That’s an eleven hundred dollar bag.”

Stop. Wait. Hold up.

“WHAT?” My jaw dropped. “You let me take an ELEVEN HUNDRED DOLLAR BAG all the way ACROSS THE COUNTRY? Are you INSANE? Have you SEEN what I do to my purses?”

“I just wanted you to enjoy it, I like to share things with the people I love!”

She’s clearly the sweetest girl on the face of the earth, but this realization was too much. I’m a Destroyer of Things, and that Gucci didn’t stand a chance. Not in my clutches. I returned it to her last night with just a few tears and very little fanfare, and now I’m back to my normal tote. But I’ll always remember the smell of fine leather and the way it settled in on my shoulder… Ciao, Gucci. Ciao.


I have this kind of informal mission statement…

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“Let’s go on Facebook, see what medication Erin’s on today,” said my boss with a smile as he opened up his laptop. “You know, you really should be careful about what you post on here. What is it again, that you take? Abilah…”

“Abilify,” I answered, pulling up a chair.

I thought about what he said all day, even as my brain filled to bursting with the exhilarating information overload that comes with starting a new, exciting job. I thought about it as I looked for apartments with the nuttiest realtor I’ve ever met, and I thought about it as I snaked homeward down the southeast expressway.

It’s not a new thought, that I should be a little less candid. Nobody needs to know what medications I take, nobody needs to know that I went to McLane, nobody needs to know my history, or my struggles, or my triumphs. But I think it’s important to break stereotypes and foster open dialogue. There’s still so much shame associated with being mentally ill, and so much stigma attached to taking medication to mitigate its effects, that I sometimes think EVERYONE who’s been depressed should start a blog. At least then we’d know we were in good company.

I’m a highly functioning person. Even when I was actively depressed, I was a highly functioning person. Even when I got to the point of being suicidal, I was operating on a level that most people would find acceptably, even extremely, productive. I was hired to my first industry job when I was 22, when I was 26 I had a co producer credit on a multi-million PBS documentary, and between 27 and 30 I devoted myself to learning every aspect of production and post. My entire resume was built on the back of my unmedicated depression.Β Because of the stigma, I was incredibly reluctant to “cave in” and take the pills my on-again, off-again therapists would try to prescribe.

My life is so much better now that I’ve caved.

I know that potential employers will likely google me and find all of this, and I know that this might one day hinder my job search efforts. My blog comes up on the first page, it’s not like you have to dig very far. But this candor is not something I’ve done without thinking, considering, and weighing the options. In the end, I come out with this:

I held all this in for so long, lived in shame, and when I was in my darkest moments I felt so alone. I thought nobody else (except CRAZY people) could possibly feel the way I was feeling.

Guess what. I’m not crazy. Neither are you. But we feel these ways sometimes. And there’s no shame in taking steps to make yourself better.


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