We’ve all heard of Jacuzzi, Kleenex, Post-It, Xerox—and all those other brand names that became the generic term for all forms of that product by all manufacturers.
But did you know that the humble TATER TOT lives amongst their midst?
I started to suspect something was amiss when I stopped at the grocery store to pick up some frozen tots before heading to a friend’s house. (She was making homemade tomato soup and vegan grilled cheese. I felt tots would be an appropriate side dish. Feel free to agree with me.)
Standing there, in the freezer aisle, I realized something.
Like, if you hate tomatoes but they only want to eat at Italian restaurants, you might have a problem. (Trust the vegan on this.)
Do you feel comfortable enough in their home to take off your shoes and rifle through their cupboards?
If you just stand in the doorway, feeling like you need an invitation to take off your coat–lest you overstep the boundaries of showing them your coatless body–then you probably shouldn’t share a common space for any period of time.
Would you yell at them if they cut off your mom in traffic? And would everything be okay afterwards?
“Dude, that was my mom! You need to calm down. For real.”
If you so fear their reaction that you would only meekly say, “Um, I think that may have been, um, a woman who could have given birth to me,” then do not travel with them. Because there may come a time that they will overstep your boundaries–like speaking to you through the door while you’re trying to pee–and you need to feel okay telling them to give you a goddamn minute.
However, if you think that snapping at them for cutting off your mom in traffic would result in a huge blowout or tears–do not let them become the only person you consistently interact with for days on end.
Would they be patient enough to take approximately 6,392 photos of you with your new mailbox?
When you’re on a trip, there’s nothing worse than seeing something super cool and having your travel companion grudgingly taking a photo of you with it–only to discover that you’re squinting weird. You need someone who will snap a bunch of photos. And then snap a bunch more if the previous batch did not meet your standards.
(Please note, this must be reciprocal.)
Would you spot them money for dinner or just straight up buy them a coffee?
During your travels, you run the risk that somebody’s card just won’t work or one of you may run out of cash at a cash-only café. You need to be comfortable with the idea of shelling out money on their behalf that you may never see again. (Or trusting them enough to be sure that they’ll pay you back.)
Have any of their roommates mysteriously disappeared?
Do you know any of their previous roommates? Are they still friends with their roommates? If not, this could be a warning sign that they’re the type of person who will just take your bananas and time your showers.
Have you ever vomited/farted/burped or done some other seemingly embarrassing bodily function in front of them? Would you feel comfortable doing this?
You may be sharing a teeny tiny hotel room with one bed and the flimsiest cardboard wall between that bed and the bathroom. If you eat at that local Indian restaurant that seemed kind of shady–but was recommended by your brother’s girlfriend’s dog-sitter–and you start to feel a telltale rumble in your intestines…
Let’s just say–when you travel with someone, they learn your secrets. If the idea of letting them hear you destroy a toilet bowl fills you with terror, you should not travel with them.
(Naturally, don’t try to be gross. But things happen. Sounds are made. You need to feel comfortable enough with your travel companion, that they won’t openly point out or be horrified of your humanity, so that you don’t give yourself constipation just to avoid any potential embarrassment.)
I feel like this turned into a bunch of things about bathroom habits.
Here, have a picture of baby ducks in Paris:
I had a fine dream of posting something new on this blog every week. But sometimes I just get so busy–and since I don’t have a clear direction for this blog yet, I overthink every little idea–that I fall a little behind.
Also, whenever someone says “I’m a little behind,” all I can think about are tiny butts.
“If only I could have a relationship like Marshall and Lily!”
“What are the rules to True American? I wish my roommates and I were that close.”
When I was younger, I always thought that when I was a Real Adult in my mid-to-late twenties, I’d have a large group of five or six friends. We’d all be interconnected and super close. Know each other’s families and histories. Pop in and out of each other’s apartments. Call each other up on a moment’s notice for wacky adventures. Have a bar or coffee shop where we’d all meet up on the regular.
This did not happen.
I totally have plenty of friends. Individual, one-on-one friends. My vegan/vegetarian friends. My long-distance friends. My book club friends. My former-colleagues-turned-friends. My best friend from childhood. My soccer friends. My friends I met through random activities.
But despite my best efforts, I have not been able to find or create a core group. And I live above a coffee shop AND down the street from, like, three different bars! COME ON.
Why is this? Is it because I live in D.C. and all my friends are in different neighborhoods and it takes at least half an hour to get anywhere that requires public transit? Is it because I’m slightly introverted and I like occasional alone time? Is it because I moved away from the area where I went to high school and college?
Television shows displays these solid group friendships though time and time again. Friends is the first show to come to mind. But there’s also Happy Endings. How I Met Your Mother. New Girl.
The friends always just effortlessly fell into their friendship together. The show usually begins a year or two after the group is established, with flashbacks to show how the different characters met. Sometimes there’s a pair of siblings. Or two people who are already a couple. College friends, childhood friends, and random new friends mix. Sometimes the show starts after the random new friend is accepted into the group. There’s a neurotic one. There’s an equal amount of men and women. There’s the friend who just wants to get married. (Ted/Ross/Dave, anyone?)
I’M ALMOST 29. IS IT TOO LATE FOR ME TO HAVE A FRIEND GROUP? HOW DO I DO THIS? SHOULD I TRY TO FORCE MY FRIENDS TOGETHER TO CREATE A GROUP? OR WOULD I HAVE BETTER LUCK BEING THE RANDOM NEW FRIEND?
Ancient architecture, streets that curl and wind like Christmas ribbon. Castles. Despite all the tourists, you can see a fairytale city just under the surface.
But it’s so easy to burn out on beautiful buildings. Look, there’s one. Oh hey, another one. So many beautiful buildings. Staying in Prague? Guess what, you’re in a beautiful building. Going out to eat? This restaurant is also a beautiful building.
It should come as a surprise to no one that my favorite memory of Prague is touching The Golden Penis at Prague Castle. Honestly, I don’t know if that’s what it’s actually called. But that’s what we should all call it now. You’re welcome, Prague Tourism Board.
I had not been expecting it. The statue of a boy stood proudly in a square, surrounded by people all avoiding eye contact. The penis had been rubbed shiny by previous visitors. Families, a group of young men, other tourists–you could tell they all wanted to touch it, but were afraid of looking like weirdos.
This was my chance to shine. Because I am truly excellent at looking like a weirdo. Thrusting my phone at my travel companion, I stood erect in front of the statue and placed my hand directly upon The Golden Penis. The crowed laughed. And then cheered. Strangers spoke excitedly in foreign languages.
“You all know you want the same picture!” I prompted the crowd of tourists in English, still laughing. (Since my Czech is actually rusty Polish.) I used hand gestures and indicative head tilts to encourage an older Czech woman there with her grown children. And you know what? She went for it.
(Moment of pride: The horrified “Mama!” from her fully adult son.)
And while I don’t remember where exactly this statues was on castle grounds (truth–I had just drank the strongest Irish coffee of my life), that makes it even better. Now it’s your journey. To try and find The Golden Penis.
Dicks: Bringing international cultures together since the dawn of time.
I used to think my spirit animal was the corgi. Small legs. Close to the ground. Super excited about everything.
However, I’ve been making a lot of changes lately. And I think it’s time for a new spirit animal. Entre goats.
Yesterday, I went to the open house at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Poolesville, MD. I held a chicken for the first time. I was like, “HOW DO I PET YOU WITH FEATHERS?” And the chicken was all, “You got this.”
But the goats. At first, the herds of goats just took one look at me, said “Nope,” and trotted away. It was like high school all over again.
On my way back to the barn, I encountered a large older goat–who I would guess was newer to the sanctuary since he was just skin and bones. He just stood there and let me scratch his back and rub the underside of his neck. This goat did not seem to care much for people. Or other goats. Or anything, really.
Background: I am well-known amongst my social circles for winning over dogs with my excellent massages. I have researched how to become a professional dog masseuse, but the programs are either kind of shady or involve learning how to massage people first. Pass.
So this goat was getting the full Pug Mugsly treatment. But eventually, I had to go. I made my way around the barn, and got distracted petting another goat and taking this picture on my way out:
And then suddenly, another goat comes bursting into view. It was my goat friend from before. He went looking for me! It could have been a coincidence, but I’m choosing to believe it wasn’t. The whole time I’d been waiting to enter the goat field, he hadn’t once appeared around the front of the barn. And this goat kind of tossed his horns in excitement when he found me.
Of course, this was rewarded with more petting. (See photo at top of post.)
After researching goats when I got home, I learned that goats are actually super smart and very graceful. They also have those badass horns and aren’t insanely codependent like sheep.
Aside from a bamboo plant named Barbara—whose life I saved during an emergency fungus-cutting procedure in my office kitchen—I kill plants. It’s like my aura slowly drains the life force out of them so I can be stronger. (I’m scared to get a dog.)
I’ve killed three aloe plants—each named Al. (Al, Al Jr., and Al the Third. All now residing in that ancient garden in the sky.) I’ve killed mint. I’ve killed those random herb plants they sell at Giant that seem like a better idea than just buying packs of basil you’ll never entirely use. I’ve killed plants that people have given me, saying, “There’s no way you can kill this.”
But the hot new trend in both plants and decorative apartment accessories seems to be air plants. What the hell are air plants? Truthfully, I’m not 100% sure. Supposedly, they are a species of plant called “Tillandsia” and are native to tropical climates—like Florida down to South America. They don’t need soil to live. The plant just sits there—showing off its naked roots—only needing a little soak of water every week or so. They’re hardy enough to be sold over the internet. They can survive temperatures from 50-90 degrees Fahrenheit.
They do need air circulation—duh. And light. They absorb through their leaves, rather than their roots. Hence why they can just hang out wherever.
Personally, I think they’re our first contact with an alien race. The perfect sleeper agents. Tiny. Tough. Hard to kill. It’ll turn out that aliens are less Lizard People and more Groot.
I’m planning to order this air plant:
If the initial Tillandsian contacts can survive the hostile environment of my presence, then I welcome our new plant overlords, and intend to cover my apartment in these tiny alien spies.
Did you get a new job? Congratulations! Here’s hoping that it’s better than your old job. Because remember how excited you were when you got your old job? And how that turned out?
Anyway, telling your coworkers that you’re putting in your two weeks notice doesn’t have to be awkward! You don’t have to ominously shut the door and then after a few seconds of silence, blurt out that you’re leaving. Then continue to sit there, not knowing what to do, as they fumble through trying to look happy for you.
These ideas are all better ways I could have put in my notice:
Put it on a cake! “I quit” never tasted so delicious.
No one can be mad at the words on a cake. It’s physically impossible. I did bring in cannoli the day before, but that’s even worse. Then you earn a reputation as the cannoli-bringer, let it sink in, and then inform them that you will no longer be bringing cannoli because you will no longer be working there.
Announce it in a song.
Replace the lyrics of Nazareth’s “Love Hurts” with “I Quit.” I quit, I’m done, it’s true, so loooong.
Have a kitten tell them.
Put a sign on a kitten that says, “Pug’s two-week notice.” And then just let the kitten run around the office. People will be delighted! A kitten! They’ll barely notice you announced you’re leaving. But have a back-up kitten, just in case.
Fake your own death. Just don’t tell them. Obviously, you have to tell HR, but by now you know whether you can trust them to keep a secret. Then on your secret last day, make a big show about how you’re going to go to that creepy carnival two towns over. Did they hear about it? No? Rumor has it that people have gone missing. They go into the Funhouse and never come out. But you’ll be fine! Totally!
Make a hilariously unreasonable demand.
“If we can’t get Benedict Cumberbatch for this campaign, then I quit!”
“But, Pug, we’ll never be able to get Benedict Cumberbatch.”
“WELL THEN I GUESS YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS.”
Good luck. Make sure you keep at least one bridge un-burnt.