I bet y’all never expected me to write anything about cars. Well, I’m about to shock you! I’m shocking myself, if I’m being honest. I can’t change oil. I can’t change a tire. I can barely get a vacuum to reach the interior of my car. The only things I’m proficient at are filling the windshield wiper fluid container with bug repellent spray and then screaming very creative profanities when it fails to work, and getting regular and very expensive car washes. Nothing fills me with more joy than a good car wash with a hot wax. I suppose I also do a decent job taking care of oil changes, but that’s largely because I get to sit in a cozy lounge and eat snacks while somebody else does the work. When I was at Marshalltown this summer doing a practicum at the local middle school, I realized that somehow I was two thousand miles overdue for a change. Not entirely sure how I ignored that so well. I was so annoyed by my last experience at the dealer, though, that I must have effaced the experience from my mind. They tried to sell me tires, which I didn’t need, and it triggered me because I had found myself so trusting in them. They seemed to be good to me from the time I bought the car, but at that moment, the realization dawned that I was being hoodwinked. They replaced a piece of piping last year for the low cost of $800 and I saw that I had been a fool. I should have gotten a second opinion, at least, but I trusted them. I was like a jilted lover, reader. And so I determined that they would never get the better of me again. I took myself off to Marshalltown’s Jiffy Lube. And I admit to you wholeheartedly that I went for the name alone. Is that not hilarious? Almost as funny as manhole, though nothing comes close to the natural comedy of that name. The reviews of Jiffy Lube are absolutely atrocious, but I didn’t think much could go wrong with an oil change, and before I knew it, I was out of the place. The staff was courteous, friendly, and they vacuumed all the cat hair out of my car. Bless them. I’ll never go back to the dealer, not when I can cackle quietly while my car is being serviced and I can sip really awful coffee. Give them a try.
“Los Espookys” on HBO:
I am a ho anymore for Spanish language television. Nothing brings me greater joy than discovering something I never would have come across before. I’m not going to tell you again how much La Reina del Sur changed my life. But it did. And all 115 episodes are available on Netflix right now. Go watch it. I’ll wait. I’ve got plenty of time. I’m a disembodied voice, anyway, and this website will still be here long after I’m dead and cremated. So, I’m patient. I’m glad you’ve finished watching both seasons of the telenovela and your life is equally enriched. Los Espookys has nothing to do with La Reina del Sur aside from the language so I’m not going to compare and contrast. The show only has a few short episodes and it’s easy to binge them in a few hours, so I highly recommend it. If you haven’t heard of the show, and I’m just going to assume you haven’t, you’re missing out. It’s one of those shows that I don’t fully understand how it came into the world. It’s so obscure. It takes place in an unnamed Latinx nation where a group of friends put on horror shows for clients who need the assistance of the supernatural. For example, one priest is unhappy because he isn’t as popular as a new member of the clergy and has the team create an exorcism for him. Another time, they are called into the American embassy to create the illusion of a haunted mirror so that the ambassador can pretend that she is trapped in an alternative dimension and gain an extra week of vacation time. It’s absurd, but it’s a hoot. The two standout characters are Tatí and Andres. Tatí is an assistant at a misogynistic dentist’s office who is in a dark alliance with a chocolate factory to ensure cavities in the community. Andres is my favorite character played by my beloved Julio Torres. He’s my obsession of late, the absolute definition of absurdist comedy. I mean he just did a one-hour comedy special on HBO that was all about his favorite shapes. He manages to tell meaningful and hilarious stories about the most basic of objects, like one of those tacky tourist glass tchotchkes that have laser etched images inside. In the show, Julio plays the flamboyant and confident Andres, the chocolate prince, heir to a chocolate empire. He is fantastically wealthy, eccentric, deeply serious, has blue hair, and is just a kooky delight. For example, he has a parasitic water demon that dwells within him that will review the dark secrets of his past if he will watch The King’s Speech for her. I understand how wild that whole bit sounds and I’m not going to elaborate further because I feel, no, I know, that you need to watch it. Report back, readers.
It’s a joke as old as time, well as old as cars, but it’s well known that the Department of Transportation at your county courthouse is hell on Earth. People glare at you, treat you like a criminal, and never take a flattering image for your identification. I don’t know why they’re so rude about photography. It isn’t hard to make somebody’s day by letting them look good in their driver’s license. I feel almost like I should go into politics and use this as my rallying call. As president, I assure you that I will have photographers on staff. I might even charge an extra fee so that we can raise revenues for the county. I’m a genius, y’all. Anyway, a few weeks back I had to take a test for the state for my teaching license. To get into the testing center, I wasn’t allowed to have anything aside from my driver’s license. I couldn’t have my hearing aide, my rings, they even ran my glasses through a scanner. I don’t understand how my rings and glasses could possibly do anything to change the outcome of my test. And in the end, I did extremely well, like with scores that are legit brag-worthy. But I’m not here to tell you all about my prowess in pedagogy and social sciences. I’ll save that for a later date. Anyway, for reasons that I can’t figure out and are still a mystery to me, I lost my driver’s license. It was literally the only thing I had on my person. Where could it have gone? I’m hoping that somebody stole it because of how deeply attractive I was in the image. It was back in the days when I was wonderfully thin with cheekbones that could have cut glass. I miss that picture. I should have had copies made. Oh well, it’s long lost to me. I was paranoid that I would get pulled over or would be denied a glass of wine, so I set my mind to go get a replacement in the morning. But then I thought I would get arrested so I thought about a news story I had recently read about kiosks that dispense renewals. Turns out they’re open for twenty-four hours a day so I took myself to Hy-Vee at eleven o’clock at night and tried it out. It took like ten minutes and I had a paper copy tot are with me until the actual copy arrived. And, y’all, I screamed when they allowed you to take up to three pictures to pick the best. Of course I was wearing glasses and glasses aren’t allowed so I am not totally in love with the picture, but it’s fine. I will never go back to the DOT unless it’s absolutely necessary. Or when I’m president and go to check on my photographers.
Long John Silver’s Fish Tacos:
Now that I practice what is basically a very unhealthy version of the Mediterranean Diet, I’m seeking out fish wherever I go. I rarely cook the stuff at home, but if it’s on the menu at a restaurant, it’s going to be mine. My favorite fish of the moment is barramundi, but my most guiltless pleasure is the Baja fish taco at Long John Silver’s. This isn’t healthy, reader, obviously, and it’s no good for my fancy diet, but I crave fish tacos in the most obscene fashion. In Mexico City, there was this amazing fish taco shop that was about ten minutes away. They made the freshest and most delicious I’ve ever had, and ever since returning to America, I’ve been on the hunt for something similar. Honestly, I’ve never come close, not even adjacent to the same delights, every fish taco that I’ve come across has been incomparable. Almost a different dish entirely. But the most delicious of the many I’ve tried is the Baja fish taco. The fish is fried with a batter that shatters in the most satisfying way. The coleslaw is perfectly tangy. The sauce is brilliantly good — like better than it really has any right to be for a fast food restaurant. The tortilla is whatever, but it’s Long John Silver’s, you know? I am ashamed of how many I’ve eaten. I’m on pins and needles for the next one I get to eat. I’m obsessed. It’s almost a good thing that there aren’t many Long John Silver’s around these days. I thought they had gone out of business, actually, but lucky me…they’re still around. I might treat myself to a quick jaunt to Des Moines to get some tomorrow after my first day of student teaching. Oh yes, that would suit me right down to the ground!
Lack of CAMP at 2019 Met Gala:
I have a lot of goals and ambitions, but I have more dreams than either of those. One of the fantasies that I have every intention of making come true is attending the Met Gala one way or the other. I don’t care if I have to get in there as a caterer or an assistant or a plumber, somehow I’m going to get myself to that event. I want nothing more. Well, I do want a lot of things, but is is one that makes the top ten. I went to Oceans 8 largely to get an inside peek at how the Met Gala works. Let me assure you that I was taking rabid notes. I’ll get there. But this post has nothing to do with my expectations and goals and dreams. The theme of this year’s gala was CAMP, and I don’t think I could have been more excited. Unlike the straights, I know that camp does not refer to gallivanting around in the woods with a tent and a s’more, camp is an aesthetic that is near and dear to my heart. It is a celebration of excess and decadence and of the absurd. I know I’m camp. When I wear my silk florals and golden boots and ridiculous glasses, I’m part of the camp aesthetic. My version of camp is fashion, but this is not the only way to go about it. The suits that Harry Styles wears are camp. Lady Gaga is CAMP. Cher is camp. Jon Waters is camp. Karl Lagerfeld was camp in his own subdued way. Anything can be camp, so the definition is very expansive. And for whatever reason, a good many of the guests at this year’s Met Gala didn’t seem to understand the definition or even the concept of camp. This was a horrifying disappointment for me. Harry and Gaga knew what they were doing and they served camp. Gaga was over the top, Harry was deconstructing gender norms. They were wonderful. But so many others were a tragic letdown. I think the most heartbreaking moment of the entire Met Gala was seeing my beloved Rami Malek walking down the pink carpet in a black suit with a shiny suit and some silly shoes. This wasn’t camp. This was just nice Saint Laurent. And honestly, I would have given him a pass if he had not just won an Academy Award for playing FREDDIE flipping MERCURY! Freddie was CAMP. How could Rami not at least tease us with a little leather or lace or something sheer or at least a quirky little hat? I don’t understand. I’m raging. And I know that there are bigger fish to fry, but this really pissed me off! When I finally make it to the Met Gala, I will be making a STATEMENT.