Trip Report: Inca Trail (Day 1)

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Andes farmland on the way to Ollaytatambo

We spent three days partying in Lima before arriving in Cusco. Truth be told, a good idea would have been to cut out one of those partying days to come to Cusco earlier. An even better idea would have been to come to Cusco first and did the partying afterward. This would have been better for us physically. All that drinking…. Oy.

The way we did it, we only had 1.5 days to adjust to the altitude. I did not have any significant issues, just slight fatigue, but 47 had trouble breathing. She also had a nuisance headache. Our hotel was awesome but we were on the third floor.  Even with just backpacks I felt like we were climbing mountains. We would come up to the room and collapse into bed like we’d just been on a marathon.

Arriving earlier would have given us more time to explore Cusco. We just did not do the place justice. Because 47 was feeling poorly, she stayed in the room while I went out. I was a history major and a religious studies minor, so I could have spent a lifetime combing through the churches and museums dedicated to faithful nuns and priests. We just didn’t give ourselves enough time.

The day before the hike began, we met with our tour guide Ruben at the Wayki Trek office. We also met with two of our fellow hikers: Gina, a Peace Corps volunteer from Eastern Europe and Martin, a graphic designer on sabbatical from some French territory.

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I think it’s the Urubamba River

Ruben did a great job of outlining everything that would happen during the trek. Truthfully, I had been having serious misgivings about the whole thing. 47 and I made these plans eight months ago when we were deployed and doing two-a-days at the gym. Everything I had been reading stated that a hiker should be physically fit. I am anything but. Ruben kept going on about how Day 2 was the challenge day but he had never had a client that quit or couldn’t make it. Buoyed by this, I told myself everything would be just fine.

The next morning, I didn’t even want to get out of bed. It’s cold out and my bed is warm; why should I go on a 26 mile hike anywhere? I am a person that can sometimes be blasé about money—which is stupid, because I don’t actually have money to throw away like that. I was thinking to myself, “Who cares about the couple hundred dollars I spent on this trip? I’m sleepy.” Eventually we did get up and get going.

We were the first to be picked up. Then we stopped to pick up two married couples: Sam and Jessica, and Chris and Katie. Gina and Martin opted for the Wayki Experience, so we had to drive out to the porters’ village to pick them up. Once we had everybody we started out for Ollaytatambo.

Hikers getting ready in Ollaytatambo

Hikers getting ready for the trek

After leaving Ollaytatambo, we headed down what can only be described as a Road of Death to the Kilometer 82. Seriously, I’ve been in quite a few foreign countries and driven on some hair-raising roads but this road… it’s like a one lane dirt road and our driver must have thought it was the Indy 500 because he was blazing and then we had to scoot off the edge of the road near the river so another blazing fast truck could pass.

We made it safe enough but maybe that’s an experience I would not care to repeat. At Kilometer 82, we prepared for the hike. Ruben introduced us to the porters, which he kindly asked us to refer to them as Quechua. There were a total of 13, and we couldn’t remember their names except Señor Condor, the senior porter and Señor Alfredo, the head cook.

“Well, I’ll remember Señor Alfredo, because he’s the cook and that’s the most important person because he knows where the food is,” said 47. My thoughts exactly.

My hike was almost over before it even began. It was very windy that day and my entrance paper almost blew into the river. Thankfully someone and their hiking pole saved it from blowing in.

Fresh as a daisy at the start

It’s now or never!

After you take a dozen pictures under the Camino de Inca sign and clear all the formalities, the hike begins.

Right away, I saw this was maybe not a good idea. My friends don’t talk to me into drugs or illegal activities. My friends talk me into feats of physical abilities that are quite beyond my capacity. Three years ago, my so-called friends talked me into doing the Bataan Death March. It was a terrible idea. My friends also talked me into doing a marathon. Also a bad idea, but I have completed two more since. I’m sorry to say the Inca Trail was MY idea.

That first little incline into the trail and I was like, “What are you doing!!” Five minutes later we saw a British woman COMING BACK. The trail is one way, folks, so obviously she was quitting not even fifteen minutes into a four day hike. She said, “Stomach bug.”

Yeah, okay, if that’s what you want to tell yourself.

Within thirty minutes it was clear that I was the weakest person in the group. 47, with her freakishly long legs, is a strapping Polish-Irish girl who can balls her way through anything physical. She Crossfits, so you know, physical torture is a national pastime for such people. Gina and Martin had done such hikes as Patagonia and some wilderness experience in Nepal. Jessica was an Olympian, for heaven’s sake. Seriously, she said she competed in the Olympics and holds several national records in her sport.

The first day was not specifically horrible. I just realized that I should have been in better shape. The up-hills were the worst. It wasn’t the altitude; it just going up that was so bothersome. I’m only 5’1 and my stubby little legs just can’t eat up the terrain like that.

I am so glad that we hired a Quechua to carry our extra gear. So, here’s how that was almost a fatal mistake. When we booked everything we did not initially hire an extra porter. For some reason, I thought I did but I never did. In the months leading up to the hike, I kept having these nagging little feelings like I forgot something. Two weeks before the hike began I was like, “YOU DIDN’T HIRE A PORTER!! IT’S TOO LATE!” I will never delude myself into thinking that I could carry my own shit. I immediately emailed Wayki Treks. I was so scared because I started reading other TA reports about how they wanted a porter at the last minute but couldn’t because the porters are under the same guidelines as the hikers—having to get clearance to enter the trail, same as everybody. In the hour it took for Wayki Treks to respond to my email, I sweated my whole life away. But thankfully, they were able to accommodate us.

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That road less travelled

That first day was a little warm, but not uncomfortable. It did not rain at all. I arrived last to the campsite, but I wasn’t horribly far behind everyone. No one made me feel like a loser for being in the back, and it wasn’t that big a deal. Seriously, the slow walking gave me ample opportunity to take in the scenery. Isn’t that the reason you’re out there, to enjoy nature at its finest?

I have never been camping before—at least, camping that wasn’t military, and it was a good experience for me. It is something that I would definitely do again. The other hikers laughed at me because they decided that this was not camping, when someone pitches your tent and cooks for you. They all started going into stories about trying to set up tents in the middle of a storm and then having to cook when you’re starving, and blah blah blah. You know what, that’s awesome you do those things, but it doesn’t sound fun to me. There’s shit that a person MUST do (like work, take care of their kids, etc), and there are things that a person WANTS to do. Things you WANT to do are usually fun. Setting up a tent in rainstorm doesn’t sound like fun, but if that’s what you like to do, more power to you!

This seemed to set the tone for the rest of our trip. Gina and Martin started going into all these awesome, rugged experiences they had. Actually, it was really annoying. It’s one thing to talk about an awesome trip you went on; it’s quite another to brag about it and then lord it around like you’re the shit. It was also super obvious they hooked up, even though they just met. Hey, more power to them. Wish I could have had a holiday boo.

It also became apparent the type of money the two married couples had. They met each other at the wedding of a mutual friend. Chris and Katie had been on a riverboat cruise on the Zambezi. I think Sam and Jessica went diving with great white sharks, or some shit. Basically, they went on all these trips that sounded horribly expensive.

47 and I seemed to be the only regular working class people without a wealth of exotic experiences, but you know how I don’t really give a fuck. When Gina, Jessica and Katie started up a yoga session before dinner, that is when I realized that I was on some other hipster planet. Yes, I know some yoga moves. I got an app for that, but they seemed to take it way too seriously. Me and 47 were like… whatever.

Señor Alfredo was not playing games.

Food was pretty good

The one thing I worried about was the food. If it’s not soy sauce, teriyaki sauce or drowned in some kind of spicy chile I don’t really want it. The food wasn’t bad at all. Señor Alfredo really surprised me. I mean, they’re cooking shit in a tent, with what? I don’t even know. I tried to peek in one time to see how they did it but there were like 10 dudes in the tent and I couldn’t really see. They do feed you a lot.

Gina, who claimed to have gone on all these amazing expeditions, freaked out about the water. I guess she felt like she was gonna get diphtheria, or something.  She insisted on buying bottled water and dragging it around everywhere she went. She carried it and didn’t complain, so that’s her issue. First, the water is coming out of a pipe from an actual glacier. It don’t get no purer than that. Then they boil it. Problem solved. I was worried about the taste, but it tastes like the same crap you get out of an Evian bottle (actually better, Evian water is gross). You won’t get salmonella dysentery, I promise. It’s not even a real thing anyway.

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An Inca ruin, one of many you see on the trail

Sam bought a bottle of pisco from the locals that live around the campsite. I have to say that Sam really helped to liven our sad little crew. He had a great sense of humour and cracked jokes the whole time. It’s really great to have someone like that whose spirits can never be dampened. His wife, Jessica, was also pleasant. Chris and Katie, not so much. In fact, I don’t even know how these two couples are friends. Katie was a straight up bitch. I feel sorry for dudes who have clingy ass wives. He seemed like he could have been cool but his wife was uptight and annoying. 47 and I predicted their marriage wouldn’t last long. Petty, I know, but whatever.

Anyway, I thought the camp was nice. Yeah, so what it’s not real camping, but as Katie said, “This is my standard.” 47 and I shared a tent, which they claimed was for three people. If they had shoved a third person in that tent they would have been shoved right back out. Two people, yes; three people, hell no. We had a dining tent where we ate our meals, and a tent with a toilet in it. It’s not the best toilet, but it’s better than fumbling around in the bushes or trying to look for the campground toilets in the dark. I thought the whole setup was decent.

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Where the earth meets the sky

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Operation: GTFO (Day 64)

SHARP Is Real

True to form, we’ve begun with the list of stupid rules. I know it’s hard to be in charge of 100 people and know that everything they do is a reflection of your leadership. One thing the Army doesn’t realise is that you really can’t control people. People are gonna do whatever the fuck they wanna do, and it doesn’t matter what kinds of punishments you mete out. There will be people who hesitate in their actions, who consider the consequences, but for the rest, they’re either gonna hope they don’t get caught or they’re just gonna do it and who gives a shit.

Now you guys stay there until you learn how to make responsible adult decisions.

Now you guys stay there until you learn how to make responsible adult decisions.

I detest the fact that, generally speaking, the military does not allow individual Soldiers the attempt to be responsible and that there is a tendency to hold everyone accountable for one person’s actions. Then leadership complains that people do not do the right thing. Well, you never give anybody the chance to do the right thing. You come down hard with the hammer right up front, because you feel like you have to nip bad actions in the bud. That is the wrong way to go. When you come down too hard right away you will get the Soldiers who say, damned if I do and damned if I don’t. You will get an otherwise decent Soldier who feels like he has to break the rules because he cannot succeed any other way. Then you also have those Soldiers who grow up under the oppressive thumb of Big Army and when it is their turn to show some responsibility, they fail miserably.

A lot of you have kids, right? Or you know people with kids. Think of it this way: For all the kids who were kept under lock and key their entire lives, what’s the first thing they did the minute they got away from oppressive adult supervision? Uh, they started acting like assholes. Why? Because their parents never gave them any opportunity to learn to be responsible, so they could excel at being responsible. The parents were like, “They’re kids. They don’t know how to conduct themselves. We’d better keep them in a jailhouse environment or else they’ll ruin their lives.” No, they won’t ruin their lives. You will. And that’s how the Army operates.

Leadership gets all of us together and announces there is a midnight curfew. All Soldiers, including officers have to be in their living quarters by midnight. LOL. Seriously? The reasoning? SHARP is real.

They’re talking about sexual assault and sexual harassment, of course. I really wanted to die laughing, but really, I’m only an E6 and that actually doesn’t mean a whole lot. Because I’m fond of lists, here’s what I took away from that briefing:

  1. Doesn't he know he can't stalk me until after midnight?

    Doesn’t he know he can’t stalk me until after midnight?

    You can’t get sexually assaulted or sexually harassed before midnight. Criminals and perpetrators typically follow all applicable laws and rules. They know better than to harass or attack anyone before midnight. It’s okay for me to walk around as innocent as a sweet baby lamb in broad daylight because nothing bad happens before midnight.

 

  1. If I get raped after midnight, it’s my fault. If I happen to get out of a late movie and I’m walking back to the barracks with m
  2. e and my battle buddies and we get attacked we only have ourselves to blame. Rapists and perverts know it’s fair game after midnight.

 

  1. I am too incompetent to conduct myself accordingly after midnight. Before midnight I’m a genius, but after midnight I turn into a bumbling idiot who runs down the street butt ass naked with the hopes no one will sexually assault me. I don’t know that I should walk with a battle buddy and that I should notify others where I am going in case of an emergency. I’m too stupid to walk from the gym to the barracks, even though the bathroom to my barracks is almost the same distance.

 

  1. These dudes single-handedly took down ISIS; they saved the President from assassination; they also walk their grandmothers to church on Sunday.  But they can't be out after midnight.

    These dudes single-handedly took down ISIS; they saved the President from assassination; they also walk their grandmothers to church on Sunday. But they can’t be out after midnight.

    My leadership failed me. In all my years in the Army no one in my chain of command ever taught me a lick of sense. I never heard of a battle buddy or safety in numbers. I have no idea what SHARP is. I’m a complete idiot because my leadership didn’t teach me anything about protecting myself.

 

  1. I’m being confined for my own good. Even though I have stayed out after midnight on my last deployment (because I worked overnight shift), I really have no idea what to do. Those times I was just lucky. For my own safety, I should probably be chained to my bed. Sexual predators come out from their hiding places after midnight.

 

  1. Almost midnight.  Time to get my sexual harassment on.

    Almost midnight. Time to get my sexual harassment on.

    The Army believes SHARP is more about random rapists then acquaintance rape. Everything I just wrote before was tongue-in-cheek, but this one I’m actually serious about. When we watched that SHARP video at training a couple years ago, I noticed that all the incidents involved victims and perpetrators that knew each other. None of them involved a person walking down the street and some miscreant jumping out at them and raping them in the street. I don’t know the statistics on the incidents of sexual assault in the Army: whether it’s acquaintance or random, but it’s something that I think is valid. I’m more likely to be harassed/attacked by someone I know than some idiot hiding in a bunker, waiting for someone to randomly walk past. At this time I do not believe any of my peers have any nefarious designs on unsuspecting victims, but who’s to say that nothing happens out here on the job site, late in the evening (but not after midnight), or early in the morning, or any fucking time of the day when no one is around?

Or how about that long ass walk to the bathroom? If anyone actually cared about random rape then maybe we wouldn’t be so goddamn far from the toilets. Seriously, I have to pass eight male barracks before I get to the toilets. The living quarters have a key pad for entry, but the bathrooms don’t. Anybody could walk in…. like they did when I was in Iraq….and another time when I was in Kuwait, just two years ago. Dude walked in the bathroom, claiming he didn’t know that it was the female bathroom. This was at 6AM. The dude that was filming through the air vent, that was around 9 at night. So yeah. I guess they didn’t get the memo.

Were it me in charge, I would turn this thing into a teachable moment. Everything in life is a teachable moment, whether you succeed or fuck up. If you’re gonna be hanging around after dark, you need a battle buddy and you need to let someone know where you are. If you want to sit in the USO till 2AM, then hang out there till 2AM. Just don’t go skulking down in the bunkers by yourself with Kuwaiti dinar hanging out your bra.

They say bad things can't happen during daylight, but I'm not so sure about that.

They say bad things can’t happen during daylight, but I’m not so sure about that.

I wish the Army would stop trying to cure the disease by killing the patient. Why doesn’t someone actually be a leader and teach some common sense? You know where sexual harassment happens? At the fucking workplace. Last deployment, the creeper who gave me a gift was at work. He did not show up at my living quarters after dark. You know where sexual assault happens? Everywhere, and at any given moment. A sexual predator is going to take whatever opportunity s/he can to do whatever. You can be assaulted on the way to work, on the way from work, hanging out in the movie theatre, or even here in these PCBs. We have already had two incidents that I know of where a member of the opposite sex was in the wrong PCB. It wasn’t midnight either.

There is no specific magic hour where bad things happen. Don’t ever get lulled into that either. I was never sexually assaulted but I was robbed in broad daylight while walking with a battle buddy. I guess nobody told that guy he wasn’t supposed to attack me until after midnight, or does that only apply to SHARP?

Life Hacked

I know what you did last summer.

I know what you did last summer.

You’re a new parent and you are just now able to get your wee precious baby to sleep.  The kid is resting comfortably in  his crib, and you and your spouse have an adult beverage and decide to turn in for the night, hoping to catch a few hours’ sleep before the kid wakes up screaming to be changed.  You doze off and just before you get to REM sleep, you hear, “Wake up, baby!  Wake up, baby!” in this menacing, death metal, horror-movie voice.  You think, WTF?!  Did someone break in?  You and your spouse race down the hall to the baby’s room.  Imagine your surprise when you find out that your kid is still sleeping peacefully and there’s no one in the room.  Turns out, the creepy voice is coming from the baby monitor.  Some lunatic on the other end starts screaming obscenities at you and you just stand there completely confused as to why this is happening.

Apparently, this happened to an Ohio couple.  They have a Foscam baby-monitoring camera installed in their kid’s room, which some lunatic hacked into.  They have not caught the weirdo yet, but I’m pretty sure the couple has disengaged that particular monitoring system. 

I have a new friend, and he lives in the speaker.

I have a new friend, and he lives in the speaker.

I see two issues with this.  First, what kind of maniac are you that you hack into baby monitors to aurally assault an infant?  The fucking kid can’t even understand the string of curse words spewing out of your mouth.  Do you really not have anything else to do but curse at three month old babies? 

Second, why is everything now connected to the Internet?  Look, I love the Internet.  I’d probably die without it, but I don’t think everything I own should be connected to it because of weirdoes like the one mentioned above.  Why is a baby monitor connected to the Internet when the parents are home?  I could see how useful it might be if you left the kid with a babysitter and you want to make sure everything is kosher.  But you’re in the next room and the baby monitor is livestreaming to YouTube and random people in China are watching the BabyCam like people watch that damn PandaCam.  Unnecessary!  There’ve been a few articles about webcams getting hacked.  Don’t you people learn!

I just think it is weird that we’ve started connecting everything in our lives to the Internet.  Your home monitoring system, home thermostat system, and home lighting systems are a few things that have become internet connected recently.  In theory, it sounds really awesome.  You’re at work and you want to check on your house.  Your home monitoring system is on a webfeed that you can monitor when you’re not around.  So can everyone else.  Home thermostat internet system sounds like it would save you a ton of money.  You’re on your way home from work and you click a few buttons on your phone to cool the house a bit before you get there.  Home lighting system works the same way.  You’re gone on vacation and you want to turn the porch lights on in the evening and off in the morning. 

Some hacker got into our iSprinkler but customer service couldn't help us.

Some hacker got into our iSprinkler but customer service couldn’t help us.

Normal criminals don’t have time to fuck around with your lights and AC, but fucktards who hack into baby monitoring systems would love to set your AC to 55 while you’re at work, thus ensuring a super high energy bill.  Winter time?  Freezing outside?  Hahah, now you have no heat, bitch!  I will just fuck around with your lights and turn everything on and off, all night long because I’m a dipshit and have nothing else to do.  Apparently, there are people out there like that.  These systems are supposed to have security but hackers prove everyday if they want in, they can get in.  If the CIA can get hacked, I think your $9.99 Wal-Mart lighting system can get hacked too.

A little discretion can go a long way.  We want life to be easy but is it that serious you need  iThermostat?  You do know they have the thermostats you can time.  It’s digital but not connected to the internet.  Why isn’t that good enough?  If you have a BabyCam, why is it on the Internet when you’re home?  Maybe only turn it on when the help is watching the kid.  They will also be around when the lunatic starts in on the creepy catcalling.  The baby will never be alone with Random Hacker Guy. 

And I won’t even get started on allllllllll the data that is being collected from your Internet-connected devices.

In the Pockets

Two years' worth of rent well-spent

Three years’ worth of rent well-spent

I’ve spent a small fortune this weekend, and I wish I could say it was on something awesome like a jetpack or an invisibility cloak.  When you become a responsible adult you don’t get to blow your money on things that matter.  You have to buy dumb stuff, like food, rent and car repairs. 

I hate owning a car.  I hate driving.  If I lived in a place where I could walk or ride a bike without fear of being run over, I’d totally do it.  The shitty part is that my office is about 10 miles away, a reasonable biking distance that is rendered impossible because of the ultra-dangerous conditions of a mega-highway and everybody driving like NASCAR.  I took the stupid vehicle for its 90,000-mile preventive maintenance check.  I hate doing stupid things like this, but if you want the car to last you have to, or it turns into a piece of shit and you spend even more money.  Just to check the car, it cost $600.  Naturally, they’ll find the slightest thing wrong, which in my case, it was something to do with the drive belts and brakes.  What I hate about the whole thing is that you really don’t know, you have to trust these people.  Am I qualified to inspect brakes?  Not at all.  Do I want to die or kill other people in a fiery death because my brakes failed at the worst time?  No, I don’t, so I agreed to the $350 to redo the rear brakes.

Ma'am, you're definitely gonna need nitro boosters and a cloaking device, state law, you know.  Also, your passenger seat ejector is busted.  You're looking at an easy million, but I can get you a 10% off coupon.

Ma’am, you’re definitely gonna need nitro boosters and a cloaking device, state law, you know. Also, your passenger seat ejector is busted. You’re looking at an easy million, but I can get you a 10% off coupon.

Is that a lot of money for brakes?  Probably.  But you know what you can’t do in the car world?  You can’t call around for a better price.  Everybody wants you to bring the vehicle so they can look at it and assess you a price.  Usually, they’ll charge just to look and then they’ll say something slick like, “Of course, if you need brakes, we’ll deduct the cost of the inspection from the amount you pay for the brake service.”  It makes you feel like you’re getting something, but you’re not.  That’s shitty.  It’s not like you can use one of those price comparison apps to find the best price.  You have to drive all around town and these car places know you don’t have time for that. 

I do what I can to save money on car repairs without being too cheap.  Because my car is relatively new, I do want it to last for quite some time, so I got to take care of it.  Yes, I’ll get brakes.  Yes, I’ll get tires.  Yes, I’ll top off the fluids.  No, I won’t wash it.  And no, I won’t get an oil change every 3000 miles. 

I knew I should have got the premium air freshener.  Now what?

So that’s what he meant by “you won’t get far on 1/8 tank of gas.”  Damn.

I will not even begin to pretend that I know shit about cars, but I started to wonder about this 3000 mile oil change thing when I bought my first car in 2001.  Everyone had all this advice for me, including change the oil every 3000 miles.  I did this diligently because I wanted the car to last, but every time I went to the oil change place I was kicking out $40 to $50.  For a lot of people that ain’t a lot of money, but that was a small fortune for me back then.  I just wondered why all the car commercials talk about how their cars are so advanced with the latest technology but yet they still needed to have their oil changed every 15 minutes.  Even the car oil commercials talked about how awesome their new oil was.  It didn’t make any sense to me, but I kept on changing the oil until one day I didn’thave any money so I skipped the oil change.  Skipped another and another and another.  By the time I had some extra money my Corolla had gone 8000 miles without an oil change.  It still worked fine so I kept doing it that way. 

Who needs an auto repair shop?  The manual makes it easy.  By linking the windshield wiper mechanism to the radiator cooling system and bypassing the fuel injection pistons I should correct the "empty gas tank" problem.

Who needs an auto repair shop? The manual makes it easy. By linking the windshield wiper mechanism to the radiator cooling system and bypassing the fuel injection pistons I should correct the “empty gas tank” problem.

There wasn’t any Google back then, so I couldn’t look it up.  Forget about that little book they stick in the glove box.  No time to read it, but my Corolla went on to drive more than 250,000 miles with an oil change around 7500-10000.  I sold it because I wanted something new, and when I bought that car I actually did look in the book.  Hmm, amazingly my brand new Hyundai said to change the oil every 7500 miles.  I knew it.  Total conspiracy.  That car went 200,000 miles with random oil changes.  The only major issue was air conditioning and the fact that I wrecked it eight times.

I dated this guy for awhile who is a car fanatic.  He loves everything about cars and reads up on them as a passtime.  He looked at me like I was stone cold crazy when I told him I only changed the oil about 7500-9000 miles.  Of course, him being a man and me a stupid woman who cannot fathom the complex intricacies of the car world, he scoffed at this.  I don’t need to know anything about cars.  I only need to know how to read.  I told him to look at his car’s manual but he just rolled his eyes.  Hey, it’s your money.  Even worse, it’s your time.  I can now afford $40 to change the oil, but I can’t afford the four hours it takes to drop off the car, wait and then ignore them while they try to sell me magical floor mats and a special engine flush that allows the car to hover over traffic during rush hour.

According to the manual in my current vehicle, I should change the oil at 3000 miles only if I drive at low speeds for long distances, make frequent 5-mile or less trips in freezing temperatures, drive on rough or muddy roads frequently, or while towing long-distance. 

So, yeah, screw you, sleazy car maintenance guy and ex-boyfriend so-called car afficionado person.  One of you just wants in my pockets, and the other is just stuck in his ways.  Either way, you see why neither relationship could ever really work out.

The Internet Morality Police

Morality Police

Morality Police

Who are the Internet Morality Police?  Who even fucking knows?  A random set of douches hiding behind their tablets, too afraid to stand up to their own opinions.  I should actually title this The Anonymous Internet Morality Police, because they are awesome pointing out your faults and judging you, but amazingly, they cannot actually say it to your face.  These people lurk on blog comments, CNN comment threads, and the Fox News Channel.  They are silent on Facebook and any other site that requires you to login with real information and possibly a photo.  These people rarely have the guts to tell you to your face how they feel about you.

I think confession is good for the soul.  It’s painful to keep secrets.  Constant lying only exacerbates a situation and makes it more difficult to forgive and be forgiven.  I am not and never will be a perfect person but when the time is right I usually ‘fess up to all my sins.  It’s like a colon cleanse, I think.  You get all that bad stuff out and you look down at it in the toilet and say to yourself, “Okay, no more of that.”  I think if you confess you are less likely to commit the same transgression again.  I think a lot of people grow from admitting their mistakes.  Or maybe that is just me.

But in confessing, you’re also laying yourself open to all judgement.  People say judging others is wrong, but I disagree.  It’s a fact of life.  We all do it everyday.  If someone says to you, “That guy is a horrible person.  He cheats on his wife and doesn’t take care of his kids.  What a bastard.”  That’s a judgement.  If someone else says, “She volunteers at an old folks home and regularly saves children from house fires.  She’s so nice.”  That’s also a judgement.  So if we’re going to say we should not judge anyone, then we also cannot give compliments.

If I wear this hood, they can't read my nefarious thoughts.

If I wear this hood, they can’t read my nefarious thoughts.

I’m okay with judgements, but you can’t be a coward about it.  Don’t say behind my back what you can’t say to my face.  I am baffled why we engage in this behaviour.  If you really don’t like a person or you hate their behaviour, why can’t you tell them?  If you say, “Hey, you know what, I don’t like your lifestyle.  I don’t like anything about you.  I’d rather not associate with you,” what is wrong with that?  Why are people afraid to say how they really feel?

Anyway, I wrote this confessional piece back in October 2010.  I admitted to some very shady behaviour that did not bode well for me.  My life kinda sucked while I was engaged in this behaviour but at the time I was too stupid to realise it.  Although I wrote the piece in 2010, the events took place in 2003 and 2006.  I wrote about why I did what I did and why, at the time, I felt I was right.  Then I wrote about why it actually sucked, what happened to me and the consequences. 

Forget about the homeless, she has to anonymously bash an unwed teen mother AND an atheist before dinner.

Forget about the homeless, she has to anonymously bash an unwed teen mother AND an atheist before dinner.

The backlash I got from the Anonymous Internet Morality Police was truly amazing.  I guess every person who responded was a saint, who fed starving children, donated their incomes to the homeless, and stands out in front of clubs on Friday night, quoting Bible scriptures.  What’s even more insane is that I wrote that shit back in 2010 but yet I am still receiving comments on it.  I got one this morning, which prompted me to write this.  None of the comments are even useful, just name-calling and bashing.  It is my most active post.  Nothing I’ve written before or after gets comparable traffick.  I think that says more about our society than my actual behaviour. 

There are going to be a thousand more confessions from me, and I welcome any and all comments.  But if you’re going to be lame and hide behind Anonymous, then get a life.  Your entire opinion is invalidated because you cannot back it up with your own face.  Most of the commenters are probably people I do not even know, but there were a handful of comments that were specific enough to only have come from people I knew.  Random person I don’t know, yeah whatever, but supposed “friend” lurking behind Anonymous or even person who’s always hated me lurking behind Anoymous:  come at me.  More than anything in the world, I hate bitches.  Punk ass bitches:  people who cannot stand up to their own words or whatever it is they believe in. 

At any rate, I password-protected that post because it had long since passed ludicrous levels.  I mean, how do you even respond to “semen dumpster face?”  Yeah, I don’t know either.  And if that actually came from an adult, then I’m done with humanity.

April Fool

Yeah, look out, buddy

Yeah, look out, buddy

I believe strongly in karma.  I believe you get back what you give out, so I think I must have given out some bad ju-ju in order to get back the type of crap I’ve been getting lately.  I sure wish I knew what it was so I could atone for it and perhaps change my fortune.  Time will tell, of course, and it cannot rain all the time.

Of course, I’m talking about the dudes in my life.  I sure know how to pick some winners.  Maybe it’s because I’m not such a prize myself.  You know you’re lucky if you manage to catch someone who’s “worth” more than you are.  Most of us attract and link up with those who are similar to us on the dime scale.  Meaning, if you’re a five, you’re gonna get somewhere between 4-6.  If you’re an 8, you have a good chance of capturing the elusive dime piece.  Or whatever.

It just seems to me the ones I want don’t want me back, or the ones I don’t want are obsessed with me.  No matter how nasty or bitchy I am, these fools keep coming back.  Let’s talk about Creepy McWeirdo.  We’ll call him Chad for shorts.

I met this dude at work.  We did not work together at all, but just happened to work for the same company.  We had no interaction with each other work.  I went to a company meeting and saw him there.  The second time I saw him wandering around in the hallway.  We struck up a conversation and a few months later he asked me if I wanted to go out sometime.  Yeah, sure.  We had a few things in common.  He is moderately attractive.  I could have done a lot of worse, just going off face value alone.

First couple of dates were decent.  At that particular time I was not interested in long-term, just a nice person to spend time with.  After a few months of dating, though, I realised that when I scratched below the surface we had nothing in common.  The fundamentals are important.  He would say stuff like, “I would never raise another man’s kid.”  Lots of people wouldn’t, but I said, “What if the father died and the woman was a widow?”  He said, “Send the bastard to an orphanage.”  Uh, I’m sure a lot of women will agree to that.  Once we were having a conversation about social responsibility.  I believe in the “it takes a village” mantra.  He said that he could really give a shit about other people’s kids and that he wished he did not have to pay taxes to fund schools.  So basically, let the little fuckers run rampant and when they come rob your ass, don’t complain.  Obviously, not the type of guy I could ever see myself with for an extended period of time.

He said he was into feng shui

He said he was into feng shui

Shit started to go downhill after he invited me to his house.  Let me tell you that when a woman makes up her mind about whether she will sleep with a man, there is really nothing you can do to change her mind (legally, I mean).  I was already thinking no, and when I got to his house, I thought HELL NO.  He lived in a decent apartment WITHOUT A STICK OF FURNITURE.  And when I say without a stick of furniture, I mean literally.  The living room was bare, like when you first move in.  There was nothing in the kitchen, no counter objects, nothing.  We passed the first bedroom, which had absolutely  nothing in it.  When we went into his bedroom, he had two LAWN CHAIRS, a TV sitting on top of a TV box, and an air mattress, like something you would use for camping.

Uh.  Yeah.

So we sit in the lawn chairs, but he doesn’t have cable (neither do I), but he didn’t have like Netflix or DVDs or anything.  He had a Playstation and he asked if I wanted to watch him play a game.  I’m into gaming, but I don’t want to watch you play a game.  He only had one controller, so scratch playing a game together.

Keep in mind that he is in his mid-30s.  I’m in my early 30s at this point.  So, definitely should be established by now.

I was completely turned off and decided that I really didn’t want to see him again.  Being in someone else’s apartment is dangerous territory though, so I made up a story about just receiving a text message from a drunk friend.  I told him that I made a promise that I would always come get her if she was too drunk to drive, because she already had one DUI.  He offered to help but I said that it was going to be difficult because I had to sneak her back into her house where she lived with her parents, even though she was an adult.  Yeah, lame.  I know, but it’s all I could think of.

You have to understand, he has this cute dinette.  I couldn't resist.  Are we cool?

You have to understand, he has this cute dinette. I couldn’t resist. Are we cool?

I left, but because I believe in dumping a person to their face (as opposed to text messages or phone calls), I told him to come see me at the end of the week.  He came over and I told him that we should just stick to being friends or co-workers.  He seemed disappointed but he didn’t get upset.  I didn’t hear from him for a week, but he started texting me again, asking me how I was doing.  It wasn’t anything weird, just casual.  He called every now and again, and the conversations were always very neutral.  He didn’t ask me out again or ask me if I was seeing anyone else, nothing like that.

But he started talking about himself and weird little things.  I told him I was getting deployed (the first deployment) and he said he’d been in the military.  This whole time I never knew he’d been in the military.  He said he got out because he refused to PCS to Hawaii.  I don’t know what insane person doesn’t want an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii for a few years, but everyone has their preferences.  Then he said he’d been deployed to Saudi Arabia (I think).  He said little weird things that didn’t make sense, but I didn’t press him because it was his business.  Later, I came to realise that he’d gotten into some trouble on his deployment.  Then one time he called and said he was bored.  I told him to get a hobby and he said, “When I go out after dark, I get into trouble.”

What grown man says this?

Then he called to say that he was in trouble at work and that he might lose his job.  He did not say exactly what the trouble was, but something about his deployment and maybe he might have blacked out, or something.  It was all very sketchy and I started to wonder if he had been kicked out of the military, rather than just getting out like he claimed.

I know you’re like, “why are you even still talking to this person?”  Okay, we didn’t ever see each other again, face to face, and talking on the phone seemed harmless.  I didn’t hear from him for a few weeks, then he sends me a text.

Hey what’s up?

Not much.  Just chillin’

Yeah, I’m over here chillin’ with my wife.

…………………. wife?

I did not initially freak out because I had been in his apartment.  There was ZERO indication that anybody lived there other than him.  There were no women’s clothes, no shoes, a second toothbrush, nothing.  Sure, it could mean anything.  Maybe the wife lived somewhere else.  Maybe that wasn’t his apartment, but….

Me:  Your wife?

Him:  Yeah, I just got married.

Me:  Uh, congratulations?  Were you engaged while we were dating?

Him:  No, we just met a few weeks ago.

I didn’t even respond.  It was too weird.  Days later.

Him:  Hey, I need your advice.

Me:  About what?

Him:  My wife goes through my phone.  I don’t know what to do.

Me:  Uh, I don’t either.  If you don’t have anything to hide, what’s the problem?

Him:  I like my privacy.

Me:  You’re married.  No such thing as privacy.

No response.  Two days later.

Him:  Hey, what’s up?

Me:  Nothing.

Him:  My wife’s friends are coming on to me.  I don’t want any drama, what should I do?

Me:  I have no idea.  Why are you telling me this?

Him:  Because you’re really smart and I value your opinion.

Me:  I’ve never been in that situation.  I don’t know.

I began to wonder if this wife even existed.  It seemed like something contrived to make me jealous, which didn’t really make any sense.  A few days later:

Him:  I got fired.

Me:  Sorry about your luck.

Then I deployed.  Over the course of that miserable deployment, he emailed me a few times to see how I was doing.  I wasn’t the happiest person on deployment and apparently he didn’t like my response.

Him:  You’re so nasty to me, and I don’t know why.  I really care about you.  I’m just trying to look out for you.

I don’t hear from him for a year, then early in 2013:

Him:  Hey, what’s up?  You never wrote me back?  Why do you ignore me?  I thought we were friends.

Pictured:  actual text message

Pictured: actual text message

I don’t remember ever saying I was going to write back, or even what he was talking about actually.  It was out of the blue.  We chatted a bit on Google chat, but at this point I had completely moved on with my life and I could not understand why he was still bothering with me.  I had not physically seen him since 2011.

Him:  You’re really hostile for no reason.  I just want the best for you.

Fast forward March 2014.

I’m at work and run into an old boss of mine.  We’re chatting and another co-worker comes up.  That co-worker says, “Hey, you guys remember Chad, the weird guy?”  I was glad that someone else found him to be weird.  This co-worker then says, “He’s marrying Katie.”  I didn’t know who Katie was, but I said, “I thought he was already married?”  No one knew anything about it.

And in a strange turn of events, he emails me earlier this month.  It was like a horror movie.

Him:  Hey what’s up!  Long time no talk.  I guess you’re too busy to say hi.

Me:  Uh, hi.

Him:  So we’re back to the hostile thing?

Me:  What do you want from me?

Him:  I’m just trying to be your friend.  I’ve always wanted to be your friend.  I know you don’t believe it but I really cared about you but you kicked me to the curb.

Me:  Congratulations on your marriage.  Second marriage?  Or like a polygamy thing?

Him:  What?

Me:  I thought you were already married but I saw Tina and she said you’re marrying a girl named Katie.  What about the other wife?  Did you get divorced?

Him:  I don’t know what you’re talking about.  I was never married.

Me:  Okay, whatever.  I don’t know if you’re a liar or just a weirdo.  You said you were married before.  I don’t delete emails or text messages, so I’ll be glad to forward those back to you so you can see what you once told me.  I don’t really care because I didn’t like you like that but at least get your lies straight.

Him:  I never lied.

Me:  Whatever.  I don’t know why you keep contacting me.  We’re not friends.  In fact, this whole interlude has just been strange.  Everything about it is off.  Please do not contact me ever again.

No, they said it was cool.

No, they said it was cool.

I have never said that to anyone before.  I have remained friends with just about everyone I’ve ever dated.  I’ve never had any vicious falling out with boyfriends or lovers.  Usually, relationships just run their course and it’s over.  I might be inwardly jealous if someone moves on before I’m ready to, but I don’t stalk people or anything like that.  Usually, there’s a period where we don’t talk and then we run into each other again and strike up a conversation and we’re just friends.  Mostly, I’ve never wanted anyone back once it’s all over.  This guy, though, nah, he has to go.

I was so creeped out that I tweeted that if anything ever happened to me, go into my email and find a folder called “To Me.”  It has every email and google chat we ever had.  I also don’t delete text messages, so there’s those too.

The struggle is real.

 

The American Dream

Fuck bitches, get money

 

Apparently, I’m in the wrong business.  You got college girls doing porn, making bank enough to pay for an expensive education at Duke.  Now you got pimps making more than $1.5 million a year.  What kind of fool am I to do things the “traditional” way?  Graduate high school, go to college, get a job.  There are some statistics that point out many college grads aren’t getting jobs.  There are more statistics that state college grads aren’t getting jobs that were worth their degrees.  I’ve never run the numbers myself but I started wondering if this whole thing isn’t some big scam.  Go to college to be a doctor or a lawyer, spend most of your life trying to pay off the loans.

In no way am I advocating becoming a pimp or porn star.  These things are short-lived.  Looks fade.  Pussy fades.  Money don’t roll in like when you were young, tight and 18.  Pimps get beat down, shot, stabbed up or arrested.  End up in body bags from a disgruntled prostitute or another pimp what caught you on his turf.  I think the moral of this graphic is that whatever hustle you can come up with to make it through the game is what you should shoot for.  Be a doctor, if you want to be a doctor.  Be a porn star if you really want to be a porn star.  Don’t just do shit because they said you have to.  College is not for everybody.  Pimpin’ ain’t for everybody either.