Image: IMDB

It’s been pouring all week in New York, and although I just got back from visiting my family in the desert, I feel ready to get out of the city again. Clouds? Rain? HUMIDITY? No thank you.

But vacations can be overvalued in this economy. They say the best part about taking time off work and traveling is simply the act of planning your escape, as you diligently compile your Google Docs and relish in the anticipation of skipping town. Anyone who has been on a vacation can attest to this: Shit always goes wrong. The worst vacation experiences show you a side of the place you’re visiting that you never wanted to see: I once got my passport stolen in Paris on a Friday night—meaning I had to wait until the following Monday for the U.S. embassy to open. I slept on a friend of a friend’s cot in her college dorm room. In the end, I also had to visit the British consulate to acquire another visa to go back to Glasgow where I was studying abroad, and then cried in a cyber cafe while G-chatting my program coordinator after I could not acquire said visa. She emailed me a letter to show at the airport (?), but the real nightmare was when I almost didn’t make it to the airport at all. In lieu of the train, a single shuttle bus arrived instead; it immediately filled up and I swear people were RIOTING to get on. A nice Turkish couple pulled me into their cab and eventually I was on my way.


It was the day Obama got re-elected, so this story has a happy ending. They often do—but I’m interested in the time that shit hit the fan with such intensity, you thought, “There’s no possible way this could get any worse.” I want to know about the way things, in fact, did get worse, and how that left you with an almost sick respect for the universe.

Hopefully you’ve felt that way before, so I can know I’m not alone. Speaking of, I felt a cosmic connection to many of last week’s entries. How did we all have so many bad haircuts? Here are your best stories:

I laughed, overtheriver1991:

During the summer between 7th and 8th grade, I decided I was going to start calling everyone at school “hon.” I don’t know why. I’m not Southern. I can’t for the life of me explain how I came up with “hon,” but I think I just wanted to be known around campus for having a “thing.” And my “thing” would be calling people, “hon.

Anyway, after the first week of the school year, one of the popular girls approached me during PE, told me that I had to cut the “hon” shit out because her friends thought it was stupid and I was annoying everyone. Frankly, I don’t blame her for calling me out, I was probably such an incredibly obnoxious 13 year old.


Ah itsnotaboutthepasta, the old “I’ll just tell everyone I have a different name now,” never gets old:

The summer before 8th grade, I got a TERRIBLE (and I mean terrible) pixie cut. I had no idea that my face could not carry this haircut and spent the next year shamefacedly growing it out with metric tons of hairspray and a million headbands. It did, however, reset my hair type - from lanky-greasy puberty hair to something much more manageable.

Then I moved to a different state for 9th grade and started introducing myself with an entirely different name until my mom inadvertently busted up the whole scheme by walking up to me while I was standing with my new friends and calling me by my real name. My friends teased me about it for a while, but luckily it was high school and everyone found something else to gossip over and forgot about my weird intro after about two months.


Your brother and mine would have gotten along, Screamapillar:

Yeah. I was really down because nobody signed my yearbook on the last day of school, so - when our neighbor loaned my family his beach house for the summer - I decided to not pack anything (not even my Gore Vidal books).

When we got to the beach town, my mom took me shopping and I did kind of a grunge-y beach bum sort of look and started hanging out with some cool older kids, but then my jerk-ass older brother ruined it by showing them my yearbook. It all worked out in the end though and my new friends taught me to love myself for who I am and not to try and be someone I’m not.


Honestly, deannanimal, I think you were onto something with those T-shirts:

I decided one summer to become a “dank hippie” and to me that meant wearing shirts with double entendres printed on them from American Eagle and linen skirts from Old Navy and Birkenstocks every day. Pretty sure I missed the mark.


Eighth grade is bullshit, EleniRPG:

This was hardly an attempt at a full reinvention, but it was a small, failed attempt at something that remains a mystery to me to this day. See, I was never a cool kid—a total nerd, geek, and dork—always behind current styles. In middle school, my socialgoal was simply to keep my head down and not stand out.

The summer before 8th grade, though, my mom took me back-to-school shopping for new sneakers. I got my typical gym-class appropriate sneakers, and normally I would have stopped with just that. But I also saw, in the clearance section (so, cheap enough to convince my mom to buy another pair), some shoes that caught my fancy. They were unlike anything I had owned before, but I thought that they were stylish and maybe I would look good in them. My mom bought them. When I showed them to my older cousin, she said, “Oh, how chic!” so I knew I had a winner.

I wore them on the first day of 8th grade. The whole day, I felt like people were staring at my feet and whispering. But no one said anything to me directly. No compliments, no criticisms. Just stares and whispers. Were they saying, “Those are cool, I never expected her to wear cool shoes”? Or were they saying, “Can you believe she is wearing those hideous things that are so out of style?” It was all I could think about all day. Was it some fashion faux pas? Did I accidentally buy men’s shoes? Did it look like the nerdy girl was trying too hard? The paranoia was so terrible that when I was walking home from school, I was completely expecting the other kid that was waiting for the crosswalk at the same time to say something about my shoes. But nothing.

It was a relief when I got home. I took the shoes off and never wore them to school again. I still don’t know what was right/wrong with those shoes or even if I was imagining all the mysterious attention they were getting.


See you animals next week.