Thursday, June 08, 2006

New Thing #94: being open about my credit card debt. Oh, and a really bad date story.

(NOTE: I just wrote this blog post and I haven't reread the whole thing, so excuse the many typos that I'm sure the entry contains, and also, as I was skimming, I noticed that I go in and out of present and past tense several times and I think it's sloppy, but I'm not in the mood to fix it and make it less sloppy right now.) (Jesus, Erik.) (This was supposed to be a really short blog entry and then it got really long and then it threatened to get even longer and then I stopped myself and now I'm adding this random "note" at the beginning of the entry.) (I'm going to stop this random not right now.) (Except I was to say that I didn't have lunch today.) (And I'm really hungry right now.) (I am about to have the most massive dinner to make up for the fact that I didn't have lunch.) (My stomach is SO EXCITED.) (End NOTE.)

(Okay, I published this note and then I had to make ANOTHER note because, um, "I'm going to stop this random not right now" is making me laugh because obviously I meant to say "I'm going to stop this random note right now," but the Freudian slip is funny.) (And also, I have no idea what I meant to say when I typed "Except I was to say that I didn't have lunch today." Obviously there are missing words in that sentence, but I can't figure out what they are. I mean, it feels like it should say "except I was about to say..." but that doesn't sound right to me.) (But whatever.) (Enough of this.) (End NOTE now.)

So I’ve been doing lots of writing off-blog, not much writing on-blog, and the blogging is going to be light the next few days as well. My apologies.

But real quick, New Thing #94: I came clean to my mom and step-dad about my credit card debt. Here’s the deal:

I dug myself into a big credit card hole (I don’t want to say what the figure is, but let’s say it’s smaller than a house and it’s bigger than a breadbox) and I’ve been trying to dig myself out of it, and I’ve actually been making some progress (I have a plan!) (It's slow but steady!) (vs. my old plan, which was to just ignore the credit card bills and hope that they would just go away) (which they didn't) (so finally i was like, "let's try plan b") (which is the one i'm working on now) but I’ve been keeping the credit card debt a secret from the folks (because I was certain they would be all parenty and judgmental), until the other night when I was talking to them and I was finally, like, “fuck it.” And I told them how much debt I have and that I’m working on it, and instead of them being all parenty and judgmental like I expected them to be, they actually trusted that I’m on top of it and we actually laughed about it. Which was refreshing.

I guess I am an adult, after all.

Oh my god, though, speaking of people who are NOT adults, I was subbing for this English class today and there was these two Goth girls in one of my classes, and I love Goth girls, so I tried to, like, bond with them, but they were SO not into me, which was SO goth of them, and then at the end of class, one of the Goth girls started to cry for no apparent reason and she ran out of class just as the bell was ringing and then the other Goth girl stayed behind and decided to try to freak me out, which she failed miserably at, but I give her points for trying.

Let me set the scene.

Kelly, the crying Goth girl, has just run out, and all of the other students have filed out of the room as well, and I'm collecting some loose papers left behind on desks and I notice that Kathleen, the other Goth girl, is still in the room and she's staring at me.

"Can I help you?" I ask.

Kathleen doesn't answer. She continues to stare at me.

"Is Kelly okay? Do you know why she was crying?" Again, no response from Kathleen.

"Are you okay?"

Again, no response. Okay, whatever. You're playing some sort of game and I'm not gonna play along, I think to myself.

I continue to pick up loose papers.

Kathleen walks up to me and pokes my shoulder, then slowly walks away.

"Do you need anything?"

And then she turns to me and starts flicking her tongue at me and does a really bad impersonation of Hannibal Lector: "I'm going to eat your liver with fava beans!"

"Nice," I say.

She starts laughing and then, in a totally normal voice, says: "Just kidding."

"Cool," I say.

And then she tries to impersonate Hannibal Lector again, but this time her impersonation is even worse, as she says: "Or am I?????"

I'm done collecting papers. I'm ready to go. I'm tired of the Hannibal Lector act.

"Well, I'll see you tomorrow," I say.

And then she runs out of the room cackling.

Kids can be so weird. I think maybe it was some sort of awkward I-don't-know-how-to-flirt-so-I'll-impersonate-Hannibal-Lector type of pubescent Goth thing.

Which reminds me of one of the worst dates I've ever been on. It was with this guy who I'd met online. We'd spoken on the phone a few times, but this was the first time we had met in person. For some stupid reason we decided to go see a movie (instead of, like, getting coffee or drinks) and I agreed to pick him up (instead of meeting him somewhere) (which is, like, the #1 rule of internet dating) (and I certainly learned my lesson on this date).

He seemed totally normal when I picked him up and our conversation was perfectly normal as we headed to the movie theater and he seemed completely normal while we waited for the movie to start, but then, as we were watching the previews, they showed a preview for a movie about a serial killer and he leaned in and whispered to me: "The password to my email account is Hannibal Lector."

Okay, there are so many things wrong with whispering that to someone when you're on a first date with them.


Second of all, WHY ARE YOU TELLING MY THE PASSWORD TO YOUR EMAIL ACCOUNT??? That's weird and freaky too!

And third, THE FUCKING PASSWORD TO YOUR FUCKING EMAIL ACCOUNT IS FUCKING HANNIBAL LECTOR???? You would only have Hannibal fucking Lector as the fucking password to your fucking email account if you're a fucking PSYCHO.

Which, obviously, this guy was.


I'm sorry I can't stop shouting (with the ALL CAPS), but the memory is still vivid (even though this was, like, four years ago).

I spent the entire movie worried that my date was going to kill me. I don't even remember what movie we saw. NONE OF IT registered. I was literally afraid for my life the entire time we were watching the movie. As soon as it was over, I was ready to ditch this weird freak.

But I still had to drive him home.

So we get in my car, and he seems nice and normal again, though I'm sure that I'm acting really unusual because I totally don't trust him and I'm now afraid that he's a freaky serial killer and I'm literally sweating from fear.

Now, the movie we see is in Hollywood and he lives in North Hollywood and the quickest route back to his house is through Laurel Canyon, so we're driving, and I'm trying to make innocuous conversation about the movie, and then we start talking about movies in general, and I mention that my favorite movie is Tootsie, and then he says: "My favorite movie is Silence of the Lambs."

And then I'm, like: "Interesting. Yeah, movies are cool. So what kind of sports do you like?"

And then he starts imitating Hannibal Lector. And unlike Kathleen the Goth, this dude's imitation of Hannibal Lector is spot on. But he's not just imitating Hannibal Lector--he starts imitating Clarice (Jodie Foster's character) too. He starts performing an entire Hannibal/Clarice scene--playing both of the parts.

He's all, "Oh, Clarice, your problem is you need to get more fun out of life." And then he switches into a "Clarice voice" and says: "You were telling me the truth back in Baltimore, sir. Please continue now." And then back to Hannibal: "I've read the case files. Have you? Everything you need to find him is there in those pages."

And I'm trying not to show my fear because I definitely think he's a crazy lunatic now, so I'm like, "wow, that's really great! You know the lines!"

And he ignores me. He contines, as Clarice: "Then tell me how." And then, as Hannibal: "First principles, Clarice. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing, ask what is it in itself? What is its nature? What does he do, this man you seek?" And then, as Clarice: "He kills women."

And I'm trying to be encouraging but firm: "I don't need to hear any more. I believe that you know the dialogue."

But he keeps going: "No. That is incidental. What is the first thing he does? What needs does he serve by killing? Anger. Social acceptance."

"Wow, you REALLY know the dialogue. You are REALLY good at that."

Clarice answers: "Sexual frustrations." And then Hannibal snaps: "No. He covets. That is his nature. And how do we begin to covet, Clarice?"

"Did you ever perform this in an acting class or something?"

"Do we seek out things to covet? Make an effort to answer now."

"Look at the moon!"

But Hannibal-dude doesn't care about the moon: "No, we begin by coveting what we see every day. Don't you feel eyes moving over your body, Clarice? And don't your eyes seek out the things you want?"

And I'm really starting to freak out now. I'm racing through Laurel Canyon, trying to get back to this crazy dude's house as quickly as humanly possible.

"All right, yes. Now please tell me how..." he continues, as Clarice, before switching back into the Hannibal voice: "No. It is your turn to tell me, Clarice. You don't have any more vacations to sell. Why did you leave that ranch?"

Okay, I was going to continue cutting and pasting the dialogue from the Silence of the Lambs scene because the dude literally did THE ENTIRE SCENE, word for word, while I was frantically driving him home, and I thought that reprinting the entire scene would be the best way to accurately convey how truly creepy this date was, but I cannot reprint any more of the scene because I'm creeping MYSELF out too much, right now, right here at my computer.

Suffice it to say, we finally got back to this guy's house, I barely even stopped long enough for him to get out of the car and shut the door closed behind him, and then I hightailed it out of there and never called Hannibal-dude ever again.

Lesson learned: When you're going on an internet date, you should ALWAYS meet at a public place (i.e. a coffeeshop or a bar) first.

Also, teenagers are weird.

And, credit card debt is bad.

(Note: the photo is of Rachel Kann as my favorite Goth, Rose, from Theatre of NOTE's production of my play Yellow Flesh/Alabaster Rose.) (Photo by Joe Foster.)


Erik said...

Bad grammar(er)!

The title of this post should say:

"Oh, and a story about a really bad date."

Anonymous said...

REAL first.

Anonymous said...

Because Erik can't have first on his own comment thread.

christy said...

you're right, erik.

the story wasn't really bad.

Erik said...

Lindsay, I didn't SAY "first" because I knew it wasn't mine to say! You got your first fair and square!

Erik said...

Thanks Christy!

frank's wild lunch said...

God I love that movie.

Where are all the comments? I can only blame glitchy Blogger so long before I start to get worried....

Anonymous said...

I love these stories. Goths have been frequent characters in my life lately, so it's especially meaningful now.

Thanks for following up the liveblog with one that has a new thing and a fun story. I need balance.

How's the math coming on getting all you new things in by the end of the year. I mean it's June, right? We're almost half way pressure though.


christy said...

there was something i came here to tell you but now i forget.

Jesse said...

I love this story and have told it to people when we're talking about bad dates.

Erik said...

kyle (fwl)--i know, i know, BLAME BLOGGER. (even though blogger is free) (but they've been down) (hence the lack of comments) (but still) (actually, maybe we shouldn't blame blogger because hopefully they "maintenance" they've been doing will make them work better, i.e. photos, etc.

Erik said...

It makes me sad when an entry has less than 200 comments.

Erik said...

Which is sad in and of itself.

Erik said...

Deart Lindsay Lindsay,

I love that Goths are in your life right now. That's intriguing to me. I want to know more.

I love the Goths.

Even weird Goths like the two girls I met while I was subbing.

I once went to a Goth dance club and it was the best. Do you know the Goth style of dancing? Maybe they don't dance like this anymore--this was back in college--but their dance style was very arm-centric and it was awesome.

Sorry about the MTV posts, BUT I AM OBSESSED.

I try to maintain a balance.

And, yes, I know, I am pathetically behind on my New Thinging. I have no idea how I will hit #365 by the end of the year, but I still hope to.


Erik said...

Christy, remember dammit!

Erik said...

Jesse, yeah, it was a crazy bad date.

Erik said...

I just talked to Uma on the phone and she was like "I didn't really think it seemed like THAT bad a date." So maybe I didn't describe it well enough. It was REALLY scary. I truly thought I was going to die. I truly thought he was an axe murderer.

There's one detail that I left out that maybe will help sell the fact that the evening was truly terrifying.



And he held it in his lap and he never opened it, but he, like, was holding on to it really tight and I kept waiting for him to unzip the thing and whip out his "Now THAT'S a knife" knife.

Erik said...

Oh, and Lindsay Lindsay, I like that you signed your comment double like that and I want to start calling you that from now on:

Lindsay Lindsay

Like Humbert Humbert but less pedophilic.

TheDarkerUma said...


i challege the "scary" factor of this date for two reasons:

1) who say's "look at the moon" when they are terrified of their suitor? i spit out my ice cube (trying to dilute the taste of a free diet coke - still nasty) when i read that. that would be like me in an alley where a strange, menacing guy comes up to me, and i say to him..."look at the moon". i'm just sayin.

2) i believe i have heard at least 95% of your dates(i'm assuming you have omitted 5% for reasons such as you forgot or you are scared of me). but girlfriend, that ain't the scariest. not by a long shot. (sorry MAP/PAM)

toodles. (it's a lie that erik claims he never says that)(he says that all the time on the phone)(all the time = approximately 3 or 4 times in the last year)

Erik said...

ok, UMA, (and I want you to notice that I'm calling you UMA and not URP because I am ANNOYED with you),

the date WAS scary. And I hear what you're saying about you thinking that this was nowhere near the scariest date I've ever been on, but you're just thinking of other dates that YOU think were scary and that might have been BAD in my opinion, but which I looked at as "future anecdotes" while I was on them. However, I wasn't "scared" on any of those other dates. The only date I've truly been AFRAID on was THIS ONE.

Swear to god.

And the thing about me saying "look at the moon" is this:

1. I don't honestly remember EXACTLY what I said to him, but I definitely said LOTS of really innocuous things because I was trying to get say ANYTHING i possibly could that might get him to STOP doing the Hannibal Lector impersonation. Maybe he liked the moon and that would be the thing that would get him to stop the dialogue and we'd start talking about the moon, which would have DEFINITELY been a preferable conversation topic.

Just sayin'.


Erik said...

By the way, you are SO annoying sometimes.

TheDarkerUma said...

since you are already annoyed with me....why did you number your "moon" reason(s) when you only have one? it kind of detracts from your argument.

but fine...its the only time you have been scared. fine.

but anthony hopkins was pretty rockin in that movie. and you can understand someone making there password their favorite fictional character can't you?


TheDarkerUma said...

oh erp...i am very dissappointed. i aim to ALWAYS be annoying.

you, for some reason are less annoyed with me than others. but as you can see, i'm working on it.

TheDarkerUma said...

sorry for the typos but i'm flying out the door.

Erik said...

2. when you say "look at the moon" to a normal person, they say something along the lines of "oh, it's beautiful!" or "it's full!"

but when you say "look at the moon" to a crazy insane psycho killer, they just keep on quoting Hannibal freaking Lector to you.

Erik said...

i wasn't going to mention the typos, but since you did...

Erik said...

hmmmmmm, i was really annoyed at you, but i stopped being annoyed at you just now. how do you like that? does it ANNOY YOU?????


TheDarkerUma said...


i was thinking of leaving you a voicemail the next time i called.


Bonnie said...

I have far too much to say.

Funny stuff and clever stuff and making-fun-of-typos stuff.

But the important thing: My goal was to be $100K in debt by the time I was 30.

I was very close to making the goal.

And at 30, I went into debt consolidation with one of those consumer counseling companies and froze all of my credit cards for four years.

And I emerged at 34 debt-free.

(Except for the student loans, which I did not put into consolidation, because they are on "income contingent repayment" which means, as long as I own the company that pays "my" salary, I don't earn enough "income" to even HAVE to pay student loans, and at 7% interest, I'm just letting that loan money ride, ride, ride until my company is huge and very profitable, at which point I will write a check for the whole student loan debt and say, "Thanks. That was fun!")

I'm going to assume that your "got it under control"-ness involves debt consolidation and commend you on making a brave, scary, but ultimately very responsible choice. I do not regret having done it. I was SERIOUSLY in major, scary credit card debt. And I wasn't even having "collection issues," I was just sick of paying SO FREAKIN' MUCH each month in finance charges. Consolidation way helped with that.

And now I'm free!

Funny thing, though, I got so used to NOT using a credit card for four years that now I seriously CANNOT bring myself to do so.

It taught me to pay cash for everything (or debit card, which is modern-day cash, of course) and now I don't ever worry about how I'm going to pay for something because by the time I have it, I've already paid for it.

Yay, me!

And yay, you!

And I'll come back with all of the other comments later. I'm beat. This week has been IN. TENSE.


christy said...

okay, this isn't what i was originally going to tell you (because i still forget) BUT the creepiest date i've ever been on was with this older guy who got my number in starbucks and i thought he was kind of interesting/mildly attractive (note: always make sure you see a guy walk before you agree to go out with him. he was sitting the whole time in starbucks. the minute i saw him standing up, on our date, at the farmer's market, my soul fell out of my chest. and that was before we sat down to eat.)

anyway, we sat down awkwardly to eat lunch and he was talking about how i was late, and i was like, sorry i was late but i didn't even really want to come (okay i didn't say that.)

so he said:

"I'm going to have to punish you. I've been wanting to punish you all morning."

And it was like, before our food even came. So I decided it wasn't enough to get through this date and avoid his phone calls, I had to like, totally turn him off somehow because he was totally giving off Stalker Serial-Killer Vibe.

So a little ways into lunch I just said out of nowhere:

"Yeah, I'm pretty fucked up."

He looks at me oddly, and asks me why I would say that. I was like, wracking my brain, "think Christy, THINK, WHY ARE YOU FUCKED UP?"

So I said:

"I don't know. But that's a pretty fucked up thing to say, huh?"

And he was like, "Yeah."

Anyway it worked. He never called (!)

Anonymous said...

Oy. What is a mother to say?

It's so cool that I already knew when I read that "really bad date" story that you HADN'T been killed by a serial killer. That really helped a lot.

And Uma, please don't tell me the stories that are worse than this. Not that you would, but still. And you so missed the point of the "look at the moon" line. It was actually a quite brilliant survivor skill that came to Erik instinctively because, even though he was probably already abusing his credit cards by then, he very much wanted to survive so he could one day confess to his parents, feel like a grownup, and pay off his debts. (Okay, so he had a few other reasons to live that were even more compelling, but this had to be part of it.) He was speaking to the Hannibal Lecter guy's better self, trying to lure him away from his evil inclinations long enough to get him out of the car, and an innocuous comment like this should have been a brilliant way of doing this. Which only goes to show that this guy actually was a serial killer. Fortunately, Erik just wasn't his type.

So I managed to avoid lecturing Erik about credit card debt--cause I'm a grownup, too, sort of, sometimes--but right now I sure do want to lecture him about Internet dating, except that I get that Hannibal scared him to death and he learned a valuable lesson from all that, which only goes to show that kids really don't need lecturing from their parents, unless they are still kids and they are going Goth cause they think nobody gives a damn and they really just need attention from anyone, and think how lucky they are to get a sub like Erik to torture--someone who really actually sees them, if only for a brief time. But that's really something.

I am out of breath.

Who else thinks my son is brilliant?!


Anonymous said...

PAM- your son is brilliant.

UMA- you are a cold hearted snake.

ERIK- I remember you breathlessly telling me this story and I was so mad at/scared for you, and I hated this story and I really thought that the man purse man may have killed you given any more of a chance. I hate this story. But, you know what would make it creepier? If his name was Mace. Just sayin'.


Bonnie said...

Thank GAWD the lovely Eleanor replied to PAM about KiKi's brilliance. I was really starting to get worried.

And a little sad.

And I worry that I comment too much on KiKi's blog or else I'd have done it.

'cause it's true.

He's brilliant (that's you, KiK. Sorry to talk about you like you're not here).

Erik said...

I'm only kinda brilliant, not really brilliant, but thanks y'all.

Erik said...

PAM, don't worry, I lived through it. I'm sure it'll turn up in a play or screenplay one of these days--the Hannibal Lector quoting date.

Erik said...

Eleanor, you're right, if his name was Mace and he wrote me a poem, then I probably would be dead right now.

Erik said...

BonBon, the first rule of My Year of New Things is that it's impossible to comment too much.

There is no second rule.

Bonnie said...


Anonymous said...

Dear Bonnie,

El hijo del PAM es brillante. A excepci├│n de cuando viene a fechar asesinos seriales.

Oh my God, so truth.

(Thank you, babel fish for my new favorite phrase. I will leave it everywhere on Erik's blog for readers to find. Like bread crumbs that lead back home.)


Erik said...

"The son of the PAM is shining. With the exception of when he comes to date seriales assassins."

I love ALL babel fish translations!

I am The son of the PAM!

And "so truth" IS a great phrase. Use it wide and far.

Bonnie said...

I never thought I could love KiKi's comment threads more... and yet I do.


Thank you, Babelfish!