Thursday, October 29, 2009

My New Neighbors

I have a knack for memorable neighbors. Like Roy, the 72-year-old bike messenger. Or the people who kept a Post-It note message to the UPS guy on their door for months on end, the woman who rotated her wreaths with every solstice, or Extra from The Day After Man, who shuffles around the basement and leers at people.

So imagine my excitement when I pick up the keys to my new place and realize that I will be next door to an amazing hybrid between the People of Walmart and an obsessive cat lady crazy hoarder person. Wide-open front door? Check. Smelly food? Check. Debris to the ceiling? Check. Contents of balcony? Two bicycles, one dilapidated cooler, a derelict hibachi, damp cardboard boxes, various unidentifiable pieces of metal and various unidentifiable pieces of something that was quite possibly once alive.

Of course, all of these things are flagrant lease violations. However, as I tend to do things like throw all-night karaoke fests and sell black market babies out of my home, I can't really judge. Also, remember, I'm from Woodbridge. Throw in a camper top used as a kids' playhouse, and I'll be right back on Bacon Race Road where I belong.

What I can do is offer a money-back guarantee, swear on a stack of Bibles, and promise from the bottom of my heart that my new neighbors will provide a LOT of blog material.

I can't wait.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

An Admittedly Very Outdated Salute to Miranda Priestly

Stub your toe, and I weep. But if your boss tears you a (justifiable) new one, I'm gonna laugh and create a Top Ten list of why your boss was right. When it comes to work stuff, I'm not the place to go for sympathy. Come to think of it, I'm an unapologetic hardass.

Want to know how harsh I am? Want to know the exact moment I knew I was all grown up? I walked out of The Devil Wears Prada and couldn't get what was so awful about Meryl Streep's character. I thought she was really about the best boss that a recent college graduate could have. And I thought Anne Hathaway's character was a self-absorbed, entitled little whiner.

Back in the day, I could have really used a Miranda to set me straight. The first few years after college exist to tell you that you're not half so special as you thought, that you have to do the grunt work to get to the good stuff, that all honest work has dignity, and that whining is for losers. Well, ideally, you learn those things. If you didn't, godspeed and good luck in the unemployment line.

Think about it. Miranda:
  • Has clear expectations and responsibilities for her assistants

  • Rewards hard work with opportunities to grow (and a trip to Paris!)

  • Expects her staff to dress for success and uphold the corporate image

  • Teaches her staff about the industry (the infamous "cerulean rant")

  • Doesn't yell (once you've worked for a yeller, you'll never do it again)

Sure, her expectations are sort of bonkers, the hours are long, saying "that's all" instead of "thank you" is pretty obnoxious, and the stress is extreme. But...raise of hands...who thinks being a personal assistant for a famous, high-level person in a high-pressure industry is going to be a 9 to 5 cakewalk with plenty of Gawker breaks? Nobody? Ok, then. Point made.

What cracked me up about Andy (played by Anne Hathaway in the movie) is that she really expected her first job to be sunshine and ponies, that she thought it would be OK to make fun of the people issuing her paychecks, and that she was somehow better than people who had toiled for years to get where they are. Pretty standard recent-grad behavior. Of course (disclaimer alert!), not everyone behaves that way, but enough do that the stereotype of the entitled entry-level worker holds some weight.

Of course, the job turns out to be a poor fit, and Andy resigns, which is OK. We've all taken jobs that we've regretted. Of course, it's not ever OK to quit by tossing your work-issued Blackberry into a fountain, and depart without giving notice. But, by that point, I was just ready for Andy to sack up and stop whining.

In the comments, tell me who you sympathize with more: Miranda or Andrea. Or tell me this post is about three years overdue.

Monday, October 26, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I'm moving this weekend. Even though I'm just transferring into a bigger apartment in the same building, I've been talking up the event like it's my biggest life change, ever. Ever ever ever!

So far I have: attempted to develop a mutant with handtrucks for arms, Evited a request to help me move, and asked friends and coworkers to grab a pencil and floor plan printout and take a stab at arranging my furniture. Somewhere in all this carefully arranged hysteria, Brando suggested I plant 'herbs and spices' on my balcony.

Except he typed it as, 'herps and spices.'

Well. I was instantly taken with the idea of my very own urban garden of venereal disease. I picture herpes as a vivid green moss. Chlamydia would probably be a delicate white flower, like baby's breath. Syphilis would be low-maintenance and popular among basement dwellers, like a spider plant. Gonorrhea would be a little more robust and colorful, perhaps like a cyclamen plant.

HPV? Not a plant, but the High Performance Vehicle I borrow from Zipcar to pick up my social diseases from the Home Depot.

When you think about it, most STDs have pleasant-sounding names. It's a rare word that sounds like what it is. 'Flabbergasted,' for instance. That sounds exactly like what it looks like: seeing every ounce of flab on your body, quivering and aghast at what you have just witnessed.

In the comments, tell me what various STD words sound like to you. Or just tell me your favorite word.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Five Rules of Gracious Living

I am not an etiquette maven. I almost always reach for the wrong fork, say the wrong thing, or invite friends to soirees with titles like, "Yes, I Just Evited You to Ask You to Help Me Move." (What's more fun than moving my 83 pairs of shoes two stories and 20 feet? Nothing. That's what. Plus I offer a competitive pizza-and-beer compensation program.)

But I do believe in five rules for gracious living:

1. Offer your seat on the Metro to the elderly, the pregnant, or, hey, even someone who looks tired or like they were on their feet all day. The average Starbucks barista makes $8.55 an hour to deal with caffeine-starved self-important morons all day - why not offer her your chair?

2. Bonus round: Offer your seat by merely saying, "Would you like to sit down?" Don't add a justification, like, "You look pregnant to me." Super-special bonus - this gets you out of being thumped when you tell a non-pregnant lady that she looks pregnant.

3. Never leave someone sitting alone in a corner at a party. Middle school is over, and so is ostracizing someone because they might be uncool. Go over and introduce yourself! Unless they're rifling through the sofa for spare change. Because that's just weird. But, overall, five minutes of potentially boring chitchat with a stranger won't kill you. And you might even make a new friend.

4. When you ask a coworker to do something, don't call out 'thank you' over your shoulder as you walk away. Thank them face-to-face. Don't treat gratitude as an afterthought.

5. When you have guests coming over, and they ask what they should bring, ask if they had something particular in mind. They might have a specialty they'd love to prepare for you. Doling out assignments converts your friends into unpaid caterers. Let them do what they enjoy, even if it means a dozen artichoke dips and four tater tot-and-bean casseroles.

In the comments, tell me what etiquette rules you've invented lately. Or tell me I've tumbled off the Cliffs of Nice into the Abyss of Insufferable.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Menagerie of Decorating Pet Peeves

After last week’s love-in, I decided something: I miss the little things. By which I mean, I miss getting ticked off about the little things. Like that ridiculous wave of silliness that smacks into people when they begin feathering their nests.

Hey, a little venom makes the world go ‘round. And a lot of it knocks it off its axis, spinning us into the nether regions of the galaxy. And we all know how we feel about nether regions. So, without any further ado/lifting of the interstellar petticoats, here are my Top Home Decor Pet Peeves:

Inspirational wall decals. Whether it’s a single word, like, “Family,” or a sentiment consisting of treacle-flavored barf, such as “Family is Really Nice and Stuff,” it just comes across as a clutter of unimaginative hokum. Inspirational wall decals are for people too cheap to collect Precious Moments figurines.

Accent Walls. It just looks like the decorator got bored and moved on to something else. It's trendy, it's not all that cool...kind of like naming your child Madison and then claiming you came up with it first.

The West Elm Catalog. Who doesn’t like to flip through the West Elm catalog and imagine themselves in a world of sterile Bohemia? Who doesn’t want funny-shaped headboards and decorative octopi? Until you start reading the testimonials, which come from sanctimonious twits like the Surfer Skier who enjoys parachuting, the poor, and his girlfriend. My vision of hell is spending all eternity at a dry, no-dance Baptist wedding with the West Elm Catalog People.

Sage Green. Overdone. Annoying. I can’t decide whether it’s the Harvest Gold or Avocado Green of our generation.

Lucite Furniture. No, decorators, it does NOT make a room look airier. It makes my knees look bruisier from all the times I bang into your goofy invisible furniture.

Overly Arty Book Arrangements. Why would I cover all of my books in matching paper? Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of, say, deciding which of my books I'd like to read? The people who do this are also probably the same ones who have those $300 stand mixers that never get used.

Black Leather Furniture. Why is it that virtually every man, once he starts making a little money, runs right out and buys a black leather couch? Forget, "I'll call you," the black leather sofa is the ultimate mystery of the Y chromosome.

Decorative Antlers. Unless you shot it, killed it, ate it, stuffed it, and danced on its carcass, you don't need antlers over the loveseat.

In the comments, tell me what sort of decor makes you cringe. Also, the image above is from Dictator Style, which is seriously the funniest book in the whole entire universe. It even has Saddam Hussein's collection of disturbing topless sci-fi art!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The End, My Friends

Well, it's the end of the week, the end of my awesomeness, and the last two guest posts. Enjoy!

Hammer imagines I'd watch Hee-Haw with his grandma, which not only rhymes, but might be one of the sweetest things anyone's said to me in a while:

You know, I don't let just anybody get in MAH TRUK, much less insist they do so, but Shannon settled right in like my old Ford was custom-built for her. The hound dogs took to her immediately, and the fact that she's on the petite side just means we get to haul an extra cooler of beer up front. You don't need to have dropped out of the management certificate program at NOVA Community College to know that what you got right there is a win-win, I tell you whut.

When she wasn't telling us young 'uns to simmer down so she could watch Hee-Haw in peace, my grandma was always fond of saying, "Now Hammer, you make sure you surround yourself with good people." Although she never met Shannon, I'm sure she'd approve of our association. Grandma wouldn't know a blog from a bag of Fritos, but she knows that your 500th anything is a pretty big deal. I can see it now... "Good day!" she'd exclaim, listening patiently to Shannon try to explain what the hell a blog was and why a person would write one for so long - under their real name no less - and then she'd start to drift a bit, perk back up after a while, and say, "Shannon, do you think there are any stations showing Hee Haw tonight?"

And you know what? Even though there ain't nobody showing Hee Haw anymore except The Playaz, Shannon would actually make an honest effort to scroll through the listings and check. You never know, stranger things have happened. In fact, stranger things do happen. To Shannon. All the time. And because she writes every bit as well as she improvises, we're able to share in these experiences and exploits from the comfort of our own homes and offices.

It's not as fun as hanging out with her in person, but your odds of ending up on an episode of C.O.P.S. are a hell of a lot lower.

Meanwhile, J credits me with e-pimpage:

Shannon's blog is filled with things I'd like to say, but didn't think of first. But more importantly, it's a focal point for discussion. And a segue to socialization.When you read DSJ, you come face-to-face with so many of life's absurdities and strange coincidences. And incompetent Krispy Kreme clerks.When you meet DSJ, you find that there is an amazing ball of charm who will always look out for you, throws fantastic parties, and shares stories of goulash at gas stations on the Croatian-Hungarian border. Last but not not least, she's also the finest e-pimp DC has to offer :)

Thanks everyone for participating! Come back next week for my top decorating peeves, why I get paranoid so much, and a recap of whatever weird thing happens to me over the weekend.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Grandmaster of the Self-Love Parade

Today's guest posters are [F]oxymoron and the Foggy Dew.

First up, [F] compares me to a petty criminal made of delicious fried strips of pork:

What can I say? Everybody needs a good dealer, and in this town, when I need a good blog high, I click on over to your hood. If I could snort your lines, I would.

Even more abstract and nonsensical: Your blog is a spunky enigma wrapped in bacon.

The Foggy Dew gets a little more sentimental:

Original Snark (kind of like Original Sin, but more fun)

I met the DSJ a long, long, looooong time ago. Back in the day when the Interwebs flowed over copper wires, you had to dial into the campus’ server and when a professor asking, “Does anyone know what the World Wide Web is?” was a legitimate question. In all honesty, when my Geo 15 “The Dynamic Earth” aka “Rocks for Jocks” prof asked this question, I had no idea what the hell the Web was. (Seriously, there were a large number of young men in the class who, while they could have had a glandular problem, were most likely football players.)

Anyway, getting back on topic, the DSJ and I met after a showing of The Professional at the end of our freshman year in Chapel Hill and have been friends since. Through much of the time after graduation, though, something came between us. No, really, there was: a lot of miles. Soon after she helped me move into my first post-college, roach-infested $190 a month apartment in a town I’d promised myself I’d never return to, the DSJ herself moved on from the Southern Part of Heaven.
[ed: Foggy didn't actually let me move boxes or carry anything...either from gentlemanliness or the fact that I was mostly invited along as comic relief.]

With each new job and every move we literally got further apart. Now I may not get the sequence exactly right, but it went something like this: Jacksonville, N.C. (me); Washington, D.C. (her); Indianapolis, Ind. (me); Texas (me again); Bogota, Colombia (not me); another town in Texas (sigh, me); Sarajevo (definitely not me); Washington, D.C. (FINALLY! Me); Washington, D.C. (Hey, cool! We have the same first digit in our ZIP code.
Root beer for all!)

I should point out all of those moves took place between October 1998 and April 2006. Personally, I think I was about one move away from a free U-Haul rental.

Sometime in 2002, I got an e-mail saying something along the lines of “the DSJ has posted new material.” It’s been so long I can’t even remember what this space was called way back then [
ed: The Diplomat's Wife], but I clicked over and liked what I read (she may have been making fun of the Camdens) and, from that point forward, kept an eye out for any new postings. I thought, “Hey, this is a pretty good way for DSJ to keep everyone up to date on what’s going on,” because, that being 2002 and all, we were all still limited to phone calls and email, none of them fancy schmancy do-dads you kids got today to keep in touch.

Her early posts set the tone then and her snark’s as fresh today as it was the day she started this joint. Hmmm, that sounds a bit…obscene, doesn’t it?

Neither here nor there, where were we? Oh, yes. Like Inigo said just before they stormed the castle gates, let me sum up since there’s too much to ‘splain. Seven years, 500-plus posts, I’ve read them all (including the 20 or so she’s taken down, so I don’t know if they should actually count), been mentioned in a couple and am continually impressed that no matter how stupid the people she writes about are (the baby stroller door stop anyone?), there’s always someone dumber out there to inspire another post.

We’ll just have to keep on reading to see if Darwin was right.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

31 Flavors of Narcissism

I'm in the midst of a weeklong self-love spectacular. In honor of my 500th post, I gave myself the week off and asked friends and associates to tell me how this blog changed their lives. This way I get to highlight some of my favorite bloggers, AND totally avoid having to post anything myself. I'm amazed that anyone actually took me up on this, which tells you everything you need to know about the generosity of the DC blogverse.

Lemmonex keeps it simple:

Shannon reminds me every day that you can be a complete spaz...and still maintain your charm and wit.

Brando apparently credits me with book larnin' and forcibly getting him to wear shoes by throwing him on his back:

Picture it--a broke and bedraggled immigrant from the wilds of Maine, who barely speaks the language of the Mid-Atlantic region, and had never heard of "scanner jockeys" let alone ones who were disaffected. I certainly needed bloggalicious guidance to help show me how to be "cool" and "hip" and "not a social disaster area that leads people to have parties celebrating the fact that I couldn't make it to the party".

Back in the Wild North Country, being "cool" involved knowing the Red Socks starting lineup (and spelling it "Sox", which was hard to get used to, like ordering vodka on the rox), wearing a fleece year round, and answering "ayuh" to any question involving me wanting more beer. I would have been lost if it weren't for a blog known as Disaffected Scanner Jockey. With this blog, I learned what "skeevy" men were--and how to avoid them!--as well as the perils of being petite on public transportation. I learned that there was something called "shangria" and it could lead people to drunken debauchery. I learned, in short, of what was humming in this fair city of ours.

Since that time I've become savvy to the ways of the world, and no longer ripped off by guys at airports selling colored pieces of yarn. Damn those yarn guys.

If only I'd had Disaffected Scanner Jockey years ago. Happy 500!

Meanwhile, Malnurtured Snay would like to thank me for my emotional distance, my status as the emotional taker in our friendship, and a side order of crusty trans fats:

I'm really glad that I started reading and commenting on Shannon's blog ... not so much for the actual posts themselves, but because I guess I got her to feel like she owed me something for all the reading and commenting (side note: how many times has she posted on my blog? Zero. Zip. Nada.), that one day, she brought left over doughnuts from her office to me and my coworkers at my part-time job.

Even though they were stale, the wage slaves I work with were really happy to get free food, and I was the recipient of sexual favors from the less repulsive members of the staff the whole evening. By sexual favors, I mean they didn't throw books at my crotch, which was a welcome relief, and if you've ever had some douchebag, who somehow got a job in a bookstore despite thinking that Q comes after R and before Z, slam a hardbound edition of The Lord of the Rings into your preciouses, you'd be thanking her, too.

Stay tuned for more heartfelt tributes in song, interpretive dance, and sarcasm-laden prose from Hammer, [F]oxymoron, J and more.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

(500) Posts of Shannon

Welcome to my 500th post! It only took seven years, three blog titles, one involuntary shutdown, a marriage, a divorce, several breakups, about 20 posts I took down because I thought they were too mean/not very good, six apartments, several thousand Heinekens, nearly 8,000 comments, and a LOT of narcissism and jackassery to get here.

My original plan involved a parade with a float, and maybe people throwing money and going into convulsions on the sidewalk. However, that appeared to involve permits, bribes to the Taxicab Commission (because they ALWAYS need a bribe) and a trained goat. What? A parade should ALWAYS have a goat.

Instead, I asked a few friends to send guest posts and testimonials about how this blog changed their lives. Weirdly, some of them took me seriously (because, come ON, who takes me seriously?). I'll be posting these vocabu-tastic and occasionally heartfelt accolades for the rest of the week.

First up is Brett, who credits me with a failed relationship, enabling the creepiest aspects of her character, and a free cupcake. Yet, somehow, it's kind of sweet:

Cheers to Shannon's Lack of Anonymity Which Allows People to Stalk Her (And Leads to Me Stalking Others)

Disaffected Scanner Jockey is solely responsible for my last breakup. Well, no, that's a lie. But this blog is a large part of the reason I sought out the last person I dated. Let me explain...Shannon is obviously not an anonymous blogger. Nor does she go through great pains to avoid describing herself physically. Through the blog alone one could glean that she is a tiny redhead/brunette, depending on the month.

But really, we have her full name, people. You can easily pull up her picture on Facebook or G-chat. Which is exactly what one of Shannon's regular readers/fellow bloggers did. And when he later spied her from afar at Artomatic, he sent her an email from his nom de plume letting her know she'd been recognized.

He, however, was much more bashful about his anonymity, which in turn made Shannon very very curious about this mystery man. You can't very well send someone an email saying "I see you" and not reveal your own identity. So we (I?) made it our (my?) mission to out this guy. I enjoyed his writing anyway, and most bloggers I've met have turned out to be relatively normal people. And so began the Twitter brigade.

For those of you unfamiliar with the phenomenon that is tweeting, it is often the quickest and most direct way to reach someone when you don't actually know them. I reached out under the pretext of finding him a job. Soon enough, we were emailing back and forth. I had his first name and his place of employment. If you're at all familiar with Google, there's a lot you can do with that information. And I'm a pretty good detective.Still, I had to meet this guy in the flesh. I knew I'd eventually wear him down with my incessant questioning, not to mention my wit and blurred yet seductive Blogger pic.

We met for drinks, then dinner, then cupcakes, and the rest is history.It was fun while it lasted. Alas, all good things must come to an end.Yeah, I know I'm leaving out the major details that would make some smile and others cringe.

But I know that both he and our mutual friends will read this post, and that stuff is proprietary information. I will tell you this, though: if this blog is responsible for fits of frustration and making me cry, it can also take the credit for romantic picnics, coconut kisses, and the first and only time I will ever imitate a chicken in public.

And now I am seeing someone else wonderful had it not been for your lack of anonymity. So cheers to you, Ms. Scanner Jockey. You've kept my hopes high and my bed warm. And my life full of laughs and love. -Brett

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Am I a Bad Feminist?

Sometimes I wonder if I'm a bad feminist.

Don't get me wrong: if you claim that women's value can be reduced to fertility and/or boobs, then I'll be all over your ass like a bad tattoo. Moreover, if you tell me that my anger will subside along with my PMS and/or the procurement of a pretty hat, you are dead to me.

If you use the word "feminazi" in my presence, you will writhe in pain and wonder where your fingernails went. If you dismiss feminism as 'man-hating' you will only earn my pity. Personally, I love men.

Most feature articles about women drive me nuts. Most often, they're about well-off women who gave up high-flying careers to raise babies, and then this small and posh minority are presented as an amazingly relevant social trend. What about the women who can't stay home, or the men who'd like to?

I cringe every time I read about unmarried women in their 30s, who can't seem to settle down and squirt out babies. Of course, that hits a little close to home. But the real pain is the drumbeat of "urban career girl won't live up to her responsibilities," while men are let completely off the hook. Where's the accompanying article about the men who won't settle down? Why is it just women who get the mass media guilt trip?

I find it extremely annoying when women describe themselves only in context to other people. "I'm a wife and mother and daughter and sister." When was the last time you got an answer like that from a man? A man would probably answer, "I'm a sales representative and I like tacos."

Sex and the City? Don't even get me started. Boycrazy bubbleheaded materialistic nonsense presented as neo-feminism.

But I can't sing along to every battle cry. For example, I don't feel the need to be any sort of trailblazer with my career. I'm a secretary, and I was raised by a stay-at-home mom. Throw in a teacher and a nurse, and we'd probably assemble into Traditional Feminine Careers Voltron.

I don't want to be a CEO or a scientist, but admire women who are willing to put in the work that it takes to be a leader.

I don't care that brides being given away at weddings is a patriarchal tradition that reduces women to chattel, because it makes the dads really happy.

I don't want to know how to change the oil in a car, repair a stove, or operate power tools.

I believe in a woman's right to choose, but would never consider abortion an option for me.

I think most women fall somewhere in the mushy middle. All we want are choices for ourselves, a fair shake, and the opportunity to speak our minds. Isn't that what feminism is about?

Are you a feminist? How do you define feminism?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Can I Be Completely Honest? Oh, Like Anyone Wants THAT

I come from a long line of excessively blunt people. Dinner with my family can feel sort of like going through a carwash in a top-down Mini Cooper convertible, as you are bludgeoned and buffeted by a thousand brushes and walls of soap.

Don't believe me? This is what my mother said when I asked why we had so many baby photos of Skye, and none of me: "Well, by the time the second baby comes, it's just not that exciting." She went on to point out that my sister and I looked astonishingly similar as infants, so she didn't want to waste the film.

My mother's take on childrearing might be slightly out of the ordinary.

Since every woman turns into her mother, my own honesty can be a little frightening. I must cross the line a dozen times per day, and never even notice. I've probably offended all of you without even trying. Hell, some days I offend myself.

I ought to know better. I know that if a friend says, "Can I be honest?" it means, "Can I be brutal?" I know "I'm just being honest!" means, "I'm being mean, but cloaking myself in forthrightness so I seem like a good person." And I know sometimes an indirect answer could keep me out of a whole mess of trouble.

But I also know direct questions deserve direct answers, that the truth will come out, and that nobody wants to be seen in pants that make their butt look like the hind end of the Hindenberg.

How did you decide your level of honesty? Or do you think it is predetermined, like hair and eye color?

Friday, October 02, 2009

Jet Packs and the Secrets of Optimism

I believe in all sorts of cheesy needlepoint throw pillow philosophies. "The greatest pleasure I find is in my garden," for instance. Not that I have a garden, but a metaphorical garden of sorts. OK, that was a stretch. So let's just admit that my worldview is populated mostly with Hallmark sentiments, squishy full-body hugs, and the air-raid siren that heralds my latest terrible idea.

If I had to pick a guiding philosophy, it would be, "Happiness is a choice." I'd also add, though, that happiness involves careful planning and robust organizational skills. My version of happiness is simple, but takes a lot of hard work: a well-prepared dinner, routines, the occasional surprise, people who pick me up when they hug me, long-term friendships, that look coworkers give me when they haven't yet realized that I'm kidding, a closet full of great (deeply discounted) outfits, and always having something to look forward to. I think that last one is the most important.

In the short term, I have a four-day weekend coming up, a new duvet cover, a hike with friends, my birthday, a Michelob the size of my head, Sundays slobbing on the couch while pretending to care about football, and wiping the dust off my Crock-Pot.

In the long-term, I have that point where I can finally get away with letting my hair go gray, a lifetime of love, dreams about everything from marriage and family to a trip to Buenos Aires, the chance to be a batty old lady who hands out stale cookies to the neighborhood kids.

And jetpacks. I'm astounded and kind of pissed that we don't have those yet.

In the comments, tell me what makes you happy.