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January 24, 2005 - 4:22 pm

JUST SAY ďNOĒ

Did you ever have one of those moments where you realize how much of an idiot you are and wonder how your friends can stand you or even, for that matter, how youíve made it to adulthood mostly for your lack of the simple ability to say no when you really need to?

Yeah, me too. Only, Iíve had so many of these moments in the last week or so that bad-choice-related stomach aches are becoming the norm.

Couple of examples:

EXHIBIT A Ė NO LIFESAVERS. I bring one of the Boyís friends home with us after school on Thursdays. This past Thursday was no different, except for one little thing: I almost killed him. Bugs Bunny cartoons and snack time went okay, but then I let the kids have lifesavers before they started their homework while I made some phone calls (or rather, sat on HOLD with an insurance company who insists I paid them over three thousand dollars for the last six months of coverage, yet has denied all claims made during that period because of lack of payment and yet just sent me a $15 check for overpayment of premiums). Anyway, the Boyís friend comes out of the kitchen and starts to say something when, all of a sudden, he grabs his throat and bends over, hacking like a cat with a fur ball. I set the phone down and start patting him on the back asking if heís okay. He gaspingly asks for a drink of water, but canít seem to swallow it. He proceeds to try this over and over, and every time the water comes right back out on the kitchen floor because, HELLO, LIFESAVER IN THE THROAT, AND THAT LITTLE HOLE IS MIGHTY SMALL. John had a few dreadlocked workers over at our house unloading some glass out of our basement as I take the poor child outside to try the Heimlich maneuver. It was mayhem. The kid is choking, my kids are crying, asking if their friend is going to die, the workers are standing there staring with glassy-eyes and huge plates of glass in their hands, and Iím beginning to lose my trademark coolness. He could breathe, thank god, but he was definitely uncomfortable and not seeming to get that damned lifesaver down at ALL. I finally snatched him up and ran to the car, yelling at my kids to get in quick, and screeched off after managing to scream back to the workers that we are going to the ER. To make a long story short, the kid is okay, but could possibly have a cherry lifesaver in one of his lungs Ė his parents just have to watch for a spike in fever and sudden uncontrollable coughing (didnít I already see that?). Thatís all. I felt so bad all night and all the next day, even though I knew he was probably okay and all that. It just sucked so bad for him and his parents, and it was on my watch, and no matter what anyone says, I still feel bad.

Oh, and when I got home from the ER and picked up the phone to call the kidís dad (who was on his way to the hospital at that moment), I realized I had never hung up from the insurance company and was STILL ON HOLD after 47 minutes. Thatís service for you, Blue Cross Blue Shield style.

EXHIBIT B Ė NO BUCKHEAD NIGHTCLUBS. I had a little party at my office on Friday evening where I made a complete ass of myself relaying the details of EXHIBIT A above to a group of people, but thatís not the story Iím going to tell you right now. This story is about how I let Julie talk me into going to a swanky Buckhead nightclub after my little ass-showing party instead of going to Sweet Devil Moon or Billy Goatís Cantina with Melanie, Jenny, and Nicole. Julie and I were going to meet a friend of hers who is recently divorced and is visiting from New York. But, OH MY GOD, when we got there I realized just how under-a-rock Iíve been living for the past, oh, I donít know, ten years or so, because this club Ė letís call it Aiko because thatís its name, and I really donít want to protect anyone here Ė was pure, unadulterated hell for me. It was the kind of place Iíd have thought was really cool before I was old enough to get in, and the kind of place that once youíre old enough to get in, if you donít realize how much of an underage drinking / meaningless sex factory it really is, youíre probably enough of a creep to like it just for that fact. We went straight into the ďV.I.PĒ area, which at this place holds utterly no significance for me (I mean, itís not like Jacques Cousteau, Pablo Neruda, or Jimmy Carter were likely to walk in there or anything), and were there for a total of two minutes before I told Julie I absolutely had to leave immediately before I pulled out the handgun I was required to present along with my I.D. to get in and went ballistic. I called a cab and chose to stand outside in 20 degree weather rather than stay inside that place. When the cab driver picked me up I ranted for a good ten minutes on ďWhy in HELL would ANYONE want to go to a place like that?Ē while he just chuckled in the front seat and was my savior by driving me home.

EXHIBIT C Ė NO PAMPHLETS ON THE POSSIBLE EXISTENCE OF GIANT MOLES. John was ACTUALLY HOME (albeit sleeping) when I got in bed last night at 9:00, but instead of waking him up for some desperately needed meaningless sex on my part, I chose to read a Kafka short story instead of disturbing him. I know, I know. And god only knows when the chance will come my way again. Iím just having kind of a hard time imagining having sex with him again since his hernia operation TWO AND A HALF WEEKS AGO. He still seems damaged or whatever and I donít want his guts to fly apart or anything. He keeps making ďcheck my scarĒ sexual innuendos, but that really just is NOT EVEN REMOTELY SEXY and mostly just grosses me out. I mean, itís not a sword scar from defending me from a band of ninja warriors; itís a hernia scar from where his guts were coming out of his stomach because he is out of shape. Plus, he had already gone to work when I woke up at 2:00am to get a drink of water. Oh well. Maybe next month.

EXHIBIT D Ė READ MY LIPS: NO NEW CLIENTS. Unlike at home, I canít seem to say ďNOĒ at work lately. I just got back from another new client meeting which I have not one iota of time for because Iíve gotten a score of other new clients in the last few weeks and if I donít start saying ďIím completely booked for the next four months,Ē I will not be able to complete the work on my already-too-full plate in a timely manner. Clients will be dissatisfied and will not refer me to their friends and family, and this is bad because this is how Iíve gotten most of the work I have now.

EXHIBIT E Ė NO MORE COOKIES. Hereís the clincher. This one gave me the biggest bad-choice stomach ache of all. I was at home for lunch today, and rather than opt for the delicious leftover roast beef, mashed potatoes with homemade gravy, steamed broccoli, and buttery carrots from last night, I chose to have Saturdayís leftover pizza with sour cream and onion potato chips, you know, just to continue the run of bad choices Iíve been making lately. So after my salt fix, I searched around for something sweet. The best I could come up with was a bag of shortbread cookies from who-knows-when. I glanced cursorily for an expiration date, and not seeing one immediately began to dive in. To my credit, I continued to look while eating, and right around the fifth cookie I found a clue as to the age of said cookies: three little white WORMS crawling around the plastic container Iíd pulled out of the bag. Yep. WORMS.

No. No. No. Nope. No way. Canít do it.

Just practicing. Itís not my strongest area, you know.

~Samantha

recommended:
reading -"The Village Schoolmaster" by Franz Kafka
viewing - The Odyssey
listening -"I Cain't Say No" from Rogers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma

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