Dena Taylor | 2008
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Dating Advice

Boy-Man meets Lady-Girl. They flirt. They smile. Individually, they entertain inappropriate thoughts about acrobatic positions and butter. Boy gets Girl’s number. She beams. She gushes. She blathers on in great detail to her friends about how cute he is. Even though he has a single wonky tooth. Boy mentions his “totally hot chick” encounter to his brother who responds by punching him in the arm and calling him “dickface.” That night, Girl fantasizes about Boy asking if he can kiss her. She gently falls asleep. Boy does what he always does and conks out in the middle of it, mouth open. The next day, Boy-Man wants to call Lady-Girl but fears she may have changed her mind. He flicks his tongue over his wonky tooth and consults www.askmen.com for advice. Meanwhile, Girl douses the butterflies in her stomach with Diet Coke and Mentos. She repeatedly checks her phone while Googling “how long until he calls?” on...

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Watch My Stuff?

Coffee shop Hey, I have to use the restroom. Would you mind watching my stuff for a sec? Yes. Thanks. I mean, yes, I would mind. I’ll just be a sec. If it’s not too much trouble. Actually, I find it very troubling. Seriously? Yeah, but mainly, I just don’t wanna. “Don’t wanna?” Yeah, I don’t really feel like watching your stuff. I mean, watch it for what? Are stained nylon book bags a hot commodity these days? Are you afraid someone’s going to swipe your free Bank of America pen? Or, do you really think some rogue plagiarist is going to run in here and steal your ideas for a Superbad quotes blog? No one wants that, man. Trust me. Wow. You’re such an ass. That may be the case, bro, but this ass has got better stuff to do than watch your personal belongings just sit there motionless. Bland. Beige. For your information, I watched your stuff when you went out and...

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Grocery-Store-Parking-Lot Rage

On the way to a friend’s for dinner, I stopped by the Randall’s grocery store for some sangria makings. After entering the parking lot, I slowed down and considered my parking options. Just as I turned into a space I noticed that I had a Rav4 crawling up my ass. “Dude, it’s a parking lot,” I growled to myself. I gave a backhanded wave—my way of saying, “Back off. You’re too close. It’s a parking lot! And you’re driving a Rav4—a car completely devoid of masculinity and high performance ratings.” I turned off the engine, looked in the rearview mirror and realized he was still behind me. He was waiting. Maybe he’s going to apologize, I thought. Maybe he’s going to admit he was driving like a big fat jackhole in a parking lot where the elderly, the teething and the clueless can’t defend themselves against his reckless ways. “You gotta problem?” he asked with attitude. He...

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Janeglish [15]

Courtesy of my sister. MOM: My printer isn't working and no one will help me!!! SIS: Maybe you could call Carmen's husband, or Tony. Bake him a pie and I'm sure he'll fix it. Or, I can call someone for you. MOM: (forlornly) Yeah, right. No one is going to come. The next day. MOM: Mr. Miller from next door says he'll try to fix my printer but if he can't I can call a company here in town called, uh...

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Baked Goods, Altered States

I'm not sure what has drawn my mother to the post office in the last few years but like Angelina to adoption, politicians to guys named Joe or squirrels to nuts, she's hooked. Through what we now refer to as MPS, or Mom's Parcel Service, we, her offspring, can expect to receive a minimum of one package per month. Contents vary from something she found in the family room cupboard and wants to get rid of, to something she found in the kitchen cupboard and transforms into a baked good. The intent behind this new shipping craze is pure and welcome--for there's nothing like a care package from Mom to make you feel special. The problem is what happens to the contents while in transit. While the care in which Mom packs her homemade cupcakes (yum), cookies (delicious) and experimental oat bars (not so much) is evident, nothing can protect her...

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TZ – Epilogue

I've been back for almost two weeks. The first week--a jet lagged haze--contained moments of stark contrast. Walking to the coffee shop, for example, I was struck by the pavement--glorious pavement--everywhere I looked. A car passed and no dust was kicked up and sprinkled on my face or clothes. Then I noticed the care with which people water, mow and manicure their lawns. In the limited experience I had in Tanzania, people took equal care of their home's appearance. They may not have had grass or planter boxes or any other adornments but what they did have was neatly arranged--everything in its place. I was also struck by the garbage cans and recycling bins lining the curb. Quite a large, complicated organization is tasked with running a program where people come directly to our homes and pick up our trash! It's quite something. They give us containers, too. And designate days...

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TZ – Ch. 5b

Habari! Thursday's trip to Arusha, to sit in on a Rwanda Tribunal trial was one of the most powerful experiences I've had here--second only to being honored with the children's affections and attending Elizabeth Ryan's memorial. I shamefully admit that I was ignorant this was still going on. I'm embarrassed to say I never took the time to really, truly understand the horrors that took place in Rwanda in 1994. That year I was living in Seattle, working for a cruise line, probably wishing I had a boyfriend and made more money and wore smaller sized jeans. My only complaint is that we didn't spend more time at the tribunal. I could have spent at least two solid days listening in to the trial, reading indictments, watching the judges faces as they listened to the witness, and listening to the witness respond to their questions with the help of a translator. It's...

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TZ – Ch. 5a

Jambo, At breakfast, the day after my last post, my nursery school cohort felt nauseous. Her symptoms weren't unlike another volunteer's symptoms, the latter of which attributed it to sunstroke from a weekend excursion to a nearby lodge featuring a shiny pool, lounge chairs and intense sun due to our proximity to the equator. Since nausea is a symptom of malaria and a few people were suspicious, a trip was made to the hospital in Moshi, where for a few dollars you can get the quick malaria test. While some folks were negative, these two tested positive and were given medicine accordingly. Us "older" folks receive the greeting of "Shikamoo" (that's a long "o" not "ew"), so I couldn't help but greet my cohort with a coined, "Shikamolaria." Thankfully, she laughed. The rest of us paid special attention to our nightly DEET coatings. I added extra time hiding in my room...

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