Tag Archives: Relationships

How NOT To Drive to Los Angeles

FinallycartoonDo any of you other married people have a random, sensitive topic you never bring up because you and your partner once had a huge fight about it and that weird fight came to symbolize all the ways you and your partner don’t see eye to eye?

Yeah, me too.

Only, it pertains to my first marriage. My husband John and I were both married before (no kids) and I think his trigger topic with his first wife was television medical dramas or home improvement shows or something because she was always buying sod in Tahoe and killing it.

My ex-husband and I, on the other hand, could never bring up:

The Best Freeway For Driving Between Northern And Southern California

A fact that my mischievous cousin Vanessa probably remembered, so when we were all siting in a hotel near Disneyland last week (more on that trip in future posts) and she casually mentions how her buddy Steve was arguing about why people shouldn’t take Interstate-5 to get to Los Angeles, I had to jump up and shout:

“WHAT?? I-5 is the ONLY sane way to get to Los Angeles and ONLY LUNATICS WOULD TAKE ANYTHING ELSE!”

Before launching into a history lecture about how I-5 was specifically built so the military could move weapons across the state and any other route takes forever… getting far too worked up about the best freeway to use because, well, this argument and I have a long history together.

Taboo Marriage Topics

See, I met my first husband in the Army during a youthful existential crisis where we were both learning Arabic. He was from Virginia whereas I’m a Northern California native who went to college in Los Angeles and therefore lived in Southern California for several years while regularly driving up north to visit family.

 

Well, imagine you’re a California native who is engaged to a Virginian who hasn’t set foot off the military base, yet keeps telling you Wrong Things About California. Like, that San Jose is part of San Francisco. Or that you should be calling it “Frisco.” (I had to refer him to Emperor Norton during that argument).

And further imagine that you’re getting ready to drive up north to your wedding rehearsal dinner, with your super-gay usher in the car (I’ll tell you more about him if you want), when said Virginian starts demanding you take US-101…

And you tell them NO, because you’ve made this drive a thousand times and truly know that I-5 is the better route. You keep pushing for I-5, yet they keep insisting on 101 and when you want to know why, you find out that their dad once had a business conference in California where someone told him that 101 is a prettier drive–a dad who never actually attempted I-5 but clearly must know better than you.

“Okay, so you know that I lived in Los Angeles and probably drove up north about once a month for several years, right? Don’t you think I’d have a better idea than someone who never even tried…”

“Well, my dad said it was better.”

“WHEN DO I EVER, EVER INSIST ON A ROUTE? DON’T YOU THINK I’D KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT?”

And it was true.

See, I can’t find my way out of a paper bag. I couldn’t hit water if I fell out of a boat. I have a HORRIBLE sense of direction and I completely accept that about myself.

People have different strengths and weaknesses, and finding my way around will NEVER be one of my strengths. My family tells funny stories about how I tried to drive to San Francisco in high school and ended up in a cornfield or whatever… in short, I know this and have made peace with it. My ego is completely disconnected from the art of knowing the best way to get to anywhere and I DO NOT BOAST about knowing any directions unless I’m 100% SURE.

But if I know any direction in the world, it’s that I-5 is the best way to drive to Southern California, because I’ve tried the other ways and have been stuck in a 21 hour-vs-6 in rush hour San Francisco traffic before.

I’ll probably be shouting as much to the convalescent home aids after Alzheimer’s has devastated 98 % of my brain: “TAKE I-5 TO GET TO LOS ANGELES BECAUSE IN ANYTHING ELSE, MADNESS LIES” as the nurses shake their heads: “She’s going off about Interstate 5 again…”

Because THAT fact may be the last one left standing.

No matter. My ex pulled out a map to show me how 101 parallels 5. He kept arguing about how his father’s casual overhearing of something should trump my actual, hands-on knowledge until I finally said:

“FINE. Let’s take 101.”

And of course, a more experienced man would’ve known that “fine” translates to a dare in the female universe. But we were kids at the time.

So the drive ended up taking twice as long.

We missed our wedding rehearsal.

We missed the rehearsal dinner.

I ended up in a hot tub in the middle of the night, drinking cheap wine out of paper cups with my gay friend, who kept asking me if I really planned to give up dating forever for a guy who kept insisting he could smell ozone and that San Jose was part of the greater San Francisco metropolitan area (allegedly mentioned in southern textbooks).

JUST LIKE 101 IS THE BEST WAY TO DRIVE TO LOS ANGELES, RIGHT??

Yeah, he kept correcting my knowledge about California until I was forced to pretend that dividing by zero is possible (“You’re dividing it by nothing, so it doesn’t divide. Five divided by zero is five!”) just to watch him freak out (this is what happens when nerd marriages go wrong).

And that’s the thing with these weirdly-sensitive arguments that never make sense to outsiders–they always represent something deeper.  In this case, his lack of respect for what I brought to the table and my pleasure at letting his doomed plans blow up.

But here’s the thing… turns out Vanessa’s friend Steve was arguing that 99 was the best route. He made some compelling arguments.

Compelling enough that John and I actually tried it. We drove home from Los Angeles using California State Route 99 as Satan ordered his minions to shovel all the snow inexplicably blanketing his domain.

And… it was… ahem

IMG_5535
(What passes for historical artifacts in California)

Roughly as good as taking I-5.

It took a little longer, but only about 20 minutes, and had more interesting shops and restaurants along the way.

In fact, we briefly fell into a time warp when the kids discovered old Coke machines and novelty soaps outside a unique antiques & snacks shop.

So… I was wrong. There IS another sane way to dive across California. 99 is a breath of fresh air after years of taking I-5.

But I’m STILL completely against 101 for interstate travel, despite the 40 minutes of prettier initial scenery before adding several hours to the trip.

And I won’t even talk about the Pacific Coast Highway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ice, Ice Baby (AKA- Introverted Dog People)

I used to consider myself an introvert until I met my husband and started having conversations like the one we had last week.

We were driving to our very first Back-To-School night because Brontë is starting Kindergarten. It’s a milestone, so I was pretty excited.

But my husband seemed out of sorts. He kept braking the car, worrying about getting there on time (even though we were waaaay ahead of schedule) and kept ranting about how the church we live next to really, really needs to do a better job of trimming their hedges…

John: And WHY do they let people leave free sofas on the corner!? That just looks TACKY. Like our neighborhood is one GIANT GARAGE SALE.

Me: Umm… are you alright? is there something wrong?

John: I just WANT TO BE THERE ON TIME.

Me: We’re going to be sitting in this car for half an hour. We live 5 minutes away from the school.

John: I don’t even know WHO’S GOING TO BE THERE.

Me: Probably teachers and parents. Possibly the principal.

John: Yeah, look…

Me: What?

John: I’m… (sighs) just an introvert getting ready to go do this big, stupid extrovert thing and there’s going to be ALL THESE PARENTS and stuff.

Me (confused): Are you scared?

John: Not scared, I just don’t know what’s about to happen. I hope nothing bad is about to happen and there’s all these people

Me: What could possibly happen? Like, one of these people is gonna pull out a gun and start robbing us? A bomb could go off? Someone hauls off and punches you in the face?

John: NO. There could be… ICEBREAKERS. I really, really don’t want an ICEBREAKER to happen.

Me (incredulous): Is this the kind of thing where you’re nervous but secretly like it?

John: I DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO TELL A STRANGER ABOUT MY FIRST CONCERT OR SEE WHO CAN BUILD A TOWER OUT OF POPSICLE STICKS.

Me (in hysterics): I have to Facebook this. Do you mind?

John (assuming I simply can’t envision this catastrophe occurring): You just GO AHEAD because I’ve ACTUALLY HAD TO DO THOSE THINGS. At WORK. They grab a bunch of introverted tech geeks and make them…

Me: Build stuff?

John: TALK TO PEOPLE.

penguins.jpgSpoiler: There didn’t end up being any icebreaker activities because they were too busy trying to make people volunteer for stuff (another frightening scenario I hadn’t foreseen).

But I did end up Facebooking the conversation and was surprised by how much moral support my husband received. Many people talked about how they’d rather just keep working than attend meetings with forced interaction and some went as far as calling extroverts “complete social tyrants.”

Is this a thing? Do people really hate icebreakers this much?

(Psh, and they say dog people are extroverted compared to cat people. That clearly doesn’t apply to everyone.)

 

When Your Husband Sleeps With Dragons

As previously mentioned, my husband and I have wildly different circadian rhythms. He falls asleep by nine, whereas I don’t even try for another five hours or so.

Partly, this is because I’m a freelance writer who must squeeze in work whenever a toddler isn’t demanding I admire her pee or open up yet another yogurt cup.

But mostly, my husband and I are just differently wired. He gets groggy by 7 PM, while I will literally have no memory of any conversation we have before 9 AM. “Write it down!” I’m always reminding him. “So I can read anything worth remembering after coffee.”

On the other hand, whenever I accidentally wake him up in the middle of the night, he jumps up, looks at me as if I’d just dumped the cat box all over his room, then repeatedly grunts while flinging the covers over his eyes to avert the horrors. He claims to have no memory of said reactions, but his disapproval is nevertheless made abundantly clear.

So my stealth skills have dramatically improved because I like a challenge (even if said challenge is just moving things around in your husband’s room so he wakes up confused).

Still, I’d been trying to stop that lately until the other night, when I realized I’d left my phone in his room and… argh… it was 3 in the morning. I didn’t want to wake him up, but I needed to count up how many Anglo-Saxon kings died suspiciously young in the Kingdom of Mercia.

Why? Because they didn’t have a lot of reliable methods to figure out causes of death back then and so many kings died within a couple of years of taking the throne, often in their early twenties, and aren’t you curious too?

Maybe not, since I’m uniquely weird like that and in retrospect, this question probably could’ve waited until the next morning. But it didn’t feel like it at the time.

Plus, I’ve now been tiptoeing around my husband long enough that I assumed I could slip in to access Google and sort out all the Anglo-Saxons without my husband ending up any the wiser.

And I approached this mission like a ninja boss: I squeezed the door knob completely before opening the door. Leaving the light off, I walked toe-heel, toe-heel to the nightstand to quietly melt my hand over my phone. I really thought I was getting away with it, when…

He suddenly lurches forward in bed with enough force to knock a pillow off.

I freeze.

He turns his head toward me.

He takes a deep breath, rubs his temples, and says…

“I’ve been letting her use my dragon costume again.”

He sighs in relief.

What?

Okay, so the man was clearly dreaming. Apparently, about loaning out his dragon costume again.

Wait a minute. Who has been borrowing his dragon costume? It sounded like an admission. I try to imagine any situation where you’d be nervous about admitting this fact.

Wait… he’s obviously been loaning out his costume to some other woman and had to finally come clean about it before all the costume-swapping led down a dangerous path. I mean, a kid wouldn’t fit into a grown man’s dragon costume, right? So my husband must’ve been loaning it out to some lady on the sly. To some nefarious end.

Who borrowed your costume?” I asked him.

“I don’t remember,” he said.

“You were JUST telling me about it.”

“Umm… you?

Like that’s not suspicious. Knowing he’ll be mindswept by full consciousness any minute now, I scramble to satisfy my curiosity via a different route:

“When was the last time she borrowed it?”

And he looks annoyed, like I’m asking him to remember what he ate for dinner two Thursdays ago.

“It was…” he starts. “Borrowed what?”

“Your DRAGON costume.”

He blinks a lot.

“I have NO idea what you’re talking about,” he says.

Dang it. I guess we’ll never know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advice for Men: Cracking the Fat Pants Code

look fat.jpgMany guys who have been in long-term relationships will, sooner or later, find themselves staring down the barrel of the following question:

Do these pants make my butt look fat?

According to male comedians, this is a very stressful problem. You’re not sure how to answer this question without either lying or starting a fight. It may even feel like a huge, manipulative bid for forced compliments and you’re not sure how to handle being put in this position.

Well, I’m here to help.

You see, I think what we have here is a male/female communication problem. For whatever reason, men tend to speak directly whereas women deal in subtleties. While you think it’s a loaded question, we’re not actually trying to set you up.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t wrong answers. Here are a few examples, followed by our likely emotional response:

Do these pants make my butt look fat?

 

honey-do-these-pants-make-my-ass-look-fat-no-your-ass-makes-your-ass-look-fat-8f2e4.png
Hardee har har…

1- “No, that bowl of ice cream you scarf down every night makes you look fat.”

(You bastard, calling me fat! What about you cramming down cheeseburgers while you sit on your farty butt playing Call of Duty all day!? How DARE you judge ME? Stupid photoshopped magazine women…)

2- You get all nervous and scared before saying, “Umm… no, umm… you look fine.”

(He didn’t even look! Why is he so freaked out? He obviously thinks I’m a hideous whale and now he’s LYING to me about it. He’s probably lying about EVERYTHING ELSE TOO.)

3- Without even looking, you say “I don’t know. Whatever. I don’t know anything about fashion.”

(This is obviously important to me, yet he can’t take 30 seconds out of his day to give me his honest opinion. Just like how he doesn’t  care about what color we paint the living room. He’s not invested in me or our relationship.)

trap.jpgOkay, so this seems like a trap. No matter whether you say yes, no, or I don’t care, you’re still bound to be wrong.

But here’s the thing: women who ask this question don’t actually want you to evaluate their figure.

See, women’s fashion is infinitely complicated. We’re always trying to strike a delicate balance between looking like we just stepped off a Mormon compound or looking like we charge by the hour.

We want to wear clothes that are flattering, but may not be sure whether we can pull an outfit off, so we want a second opinion. We don’t want to walk outside looking terrible, but also don’t want to be insulted. So…

We don’t ask:

Am I fat?

We ask:

Do these pants make me look fat?

The difference is subtle, yet important. We’re giving you a pants parachute. We’re saying, “Go ahead and tell me if I shouldn’t wear this, but definitely blame it on the pants.”

 

To illustrate, I’d like to share an example of someone answering this question perfectly. Granted, it was a girl, which meant she held a huge advantage in navigating female psychology.

I was attending college in Los Angeles at the time, getting ready for a party. I had put on a silver-sequined skirt and kept studying myself in the mirror, unsure of whether or not it was working for me.

So, I decided to ask my roommate Ellen what she thought…

Me: Ellen, could you please come over here a minute and give me your opinion? I want to wear this skirt to Sara’s party but I’m not sure if it looks good on me or not. What do you think?

Ellen gets a real serious look on her face before walking around me in a circle, carefully evaluating every angle of the skirt.

Ellen: Hmm. Okay, you know what? I HATE that skirt!

Me: Umm.. okay.

Ellen: Because that skirt is doing HORRIBLE things to you. It’s making it look like you have a BIG SQUARE ASS, but you definitely DO NOT HAVE a big square ass, so I’m not sure how it’s doing it.

She walks around me a couple more times.

Ellen (looking angry): You know what? Take off that skirt and give it to me right now!

I take it off, wondering what’s she’s planning on doing next.

Ellen grabs the skirt, marches over to the trash can and chucks it inside. Slamming down the lid, she says, “I NEVER WANT TO SEE THAT SKIRT AGAIN. That skirt was INSULTING YOU. It was taking your nice figure and making it LOOK LIKE ABSOLUTE CRAP.”

And then she stomped off, leaving me giggling while looking for something more flattering to wear.

Now, you see how she did that? She let me know I looked horrible in that skirt and should never, ever wear it out in public, without hurting my feelings one bit. Because she blamed it all on the skirt.

That’s the trick. I hope this helps.

One note of caution, however: I don’t recommend throwing away your significant other’s clothes. This was a bold (though highly entertaining) move that would be too risky for most guys to attempt.

 

 

Girl Farts and Water Faucets

According to a mic.com survey recently covered by Glamour and Women’s Health, most people start farting around their significant others sometime between two and six months of dating. About ten percent let it rip from the start.

Reading this reminded me of something a guy friend posted on Facebook. He had seen a female coworker walk into the bathroom with a newspaper and couldn’t get over the shock. Apparently, it was the most horrifying, unfeminine behavior he had ever witnessed.

I couldn’t help but respond: “You know women have to use the bathroom too, right? We have working bodies just like you.”

“Sure, sure,” he said. “But I picture them floating above toilets with yards of fluffy dresses, totally unconnected from what’s happening below. The newspaper makes it all too real.”

“If it makes you feel any better,” I told him, “Sometimes I used to take a book into the bathroom at work when I didn’t even have to go. I just wanted a break.”

It did make him feel better, which was hilarious since he was hardly some teenage boy living in dreamland. He’d been married to his high school sweetheart for fifteen years… how could he still be so touchy?

But then, who was I to talk? I was so shy when my husband and I were first dating that I’d turn the water on whenever I had to go number one. I didn’t want him hearing my pee sounds.

explosion
When women hold in farts

And if I needed to do anything more elaborate, I’d make him take his dog for a walk: “Your Rottweiler just told me she needs to go for a walk around the neighborhood.”

John, bless him, would actually do it. He’d grab the leash with a big smirk on his face because he knew exactly what was going in but found it cute that I went to such lengths to maintain the princess illusion.

He had no such hangups, transitioning into open-farting and walking around in ratty shorts early on. He’d pop one and I’d scowl at him and he’d tell me it was just because  he felt comfortable around me now.

“A little too comfortable,” I’d grumble.

girlfartsMy friend Steph thought I was crazy. One evening she took my hand and sat me down, looked deep into my eyes and had a serious talk with me about bodily function acceptance.

“You have needs too,” she said. “You have to pee and fart like everybody else and there’s no call for this amount of shame.”

“I know,” I said. “I just think contorting your body while grunting out farts all the time isn’t good for romance.”

She rolled her eyes but needn’t have worried, because pregnancy would be a game changer. Beyond throwing up left and right, you reach a stage during pregnancy where you have to pee every ten minutes, very urgently and often with little warning. There just isn’t enough time for elaborate preparations, so the faucet-starting subterfuge had to quit.

But that wasn’t all.

I remember distinctly the moment it happened. I was nine months pregnant and John and I were standing in the garage when I felt a fart coming on….

I clenched my butt-cheeks as per normal, but began to panic as I realized it wasn’t going to cut it this time. I felt the tingle of a thousand air bubbles straining my lower intestines as my butt cheeks valiantly struggled to hold back the dam…

But it was no good. I had a ten pound bowling ball collapsing my intestines and realized this fart was about to happen, like it or not.

I tried to let it out slowly, hoping it would pass quietly and inconspicuously , but it began audibly rumbling from the gates. It started with a balloon squeal, then as my muscles faltered, it crescendoed into a growling roar.

It was the longest, most horrible fart I ever farted, beating any night alone after cauliflower and beer. I don’t know if it was the pregnancy hormones or if the baby was farting simultaneously, but the thing just kept on going and going, amplified by garage acoustics.

Echoing throughout the garage, I may as well have had a microphone by my butt, and there was no point in pretending anymore. I started nervously laughing in horrified embarrassment and each flex of my stomach muscles popped the fart noise out louder until it sounded like the fart was laughing too.

I swear this thing lasted at least a minute and a half. It was such a ridiculous fart that you wouldn’t think it was real if you saw it on a slapstick comedy. “That’s just stupid,” you’d think.”No authentic farts could possibly go on for that long. Some special effects guy needs to back off the whoopee cushion.”

Well, pregnancy farts do. Somewhere halfway through mine, my husband John broke into hysterics. His delicate wife who wouldn’t even pee without the faucet on was now farting right in front of him like the champion frat boy of alpha epsilon omega. By the time it was over, John was grabbing his stomach and rolling on the ground with tears pouring out.

The weird thing is, I think the Great Fart made John happy. It meant we were really a couple and could finally let down our guard. He was now the guy I trusted enough to fart around, and once you’ve farted like that, there’s just no going back. The princess illusion is over.

Thank god for that.

Not so for my four-year-old, however, who sees no conflict between farting and princessery. She’ll happily run around in elaborate princess dresses and rip farts whenever she feels like it. She’ll giggle while telling us “my butt said ‘thurp'” before going back to her tea party like she’s the fairy unicorn sorceress of Glitterland.

I’m glad she can fart in peace.

 

 

My Husband’s Rebuttal to My Comic Book Article

zombie husband“So I read that article you wrote about me on your blog yesterday,” my husband John said, as he walked in the door from work.

“You read my blog?” I was pleasantly surprised.

“Yeah, I did. I thought maybe I was in the wrong place for a minute, since it was all about zombies and The Walking Dead, but I read it.”

I smiled as he continued.

“I thought it was good. Very funny. But I disagreed with the way you characterized me in the article and almost wrote a rebuttal in the comments section.”

“You totally should have done that,” I told him. “Actually, tell me what you disagreed with and I’ll write a followup article about it that can be your rebuttal. I’ll write the “wife version” and “husband version” of the same argument!”

“I don’t think I was nearly as militant as you made me come off,” John said. “But I’ll need to look at the transcript to point out exactly what happened differently.”

No problem. I was thinking a husband and wife version of an argument could be absolutely hysterical. In my version, he could be farting and mansplaining and turning down the thermostat. In his, I’m slapping him with a frying pan for breathing and talking in that shrill pretend-lady Monty Python voice.

I wanted to get this gold mine down on paper while it was still fresh. So as John was getting ready to go to bed, I reminded him to please pull up the blog article so he could tell me exactly how he remembered things differently.

For those of you who haven’t read the post, here is the transcript:

Me: My friend George was telling me about The Walking Dead comic books. He said that in the comic books, Andrea is more likable and Merle and Daryl don’t exist.

John: Really? That’s interesting.

Me: He said the comics are really good though. I’d like to get them so I can check them out.

John (looking very stern): Now, you understand that comic books are an investment, right? You can’t go leaving them around your bathroom like your lady magazines.

Me: Lady magazines?

John (very seriously): Yes, your lady magazines and your lady books. You just plop them on the back of your toilet and next to the bathtub.

Me: I also have mystery novels in there.

John (sighing): Well, it’s unacceptable to treat comic books this way. Comic books are investment pieces that need to be kept in dust jackets. You have to be careful when you turn the pages and you can’t go setting your coffee cups on them. Understand?

Me: Yeah “dad,” I hear what you’re saying. You don’t want me to jack up the comic books like I do all my lady mags.

John: Or set your coffee cups down on them.

Me: Because comic books are mature investments for serious grown-ups.

John: Exactly.

Me: If we get a Michonne action figure, can I take her out of the box and play with her?

John: You need to be serious about this.

Me: Yes, because this is a very serious discussion about the importance of comic book integrity.

passive voiceAnd here is a transcript of the discussion we had tonight, where John corrects how he came off in my version.

Me: So how do you think things happened differently? What do you disagree with?

John: Well, here’s one. You said I was “looking very stern.” I don’t think I looked very stern at the time.

Me: No? How do you believe you looked?

John: I believed I looked… “caring.” I cared deeply about the mutual investment we were considering. Loving, even.

Me: Okay, you believe you “looked caring.” What else?

John (continuing to read): A lot of this seems totally verbatim. It’s kinda scary, actually.

Me: You should be afraid. Women, especially wives, are very good at remembering exactly what you said during an argument.

John: This feels shorter than the actual discussion.

Me: I may have edited for clarity, but I think I kept the gist of everything important we said.

John: No, you left stuff out.

Me: What did I leave out?

John: You left out the part where I explained that comic books should be kept in dust jackets because they increase in monetary value over a period of time, and that keeping them in good condition is vital to maintaining their monetary value as a mutual investment.

Me: And you believe that including this information would have made you come off as less militant?

John: Well, it shows more of my reasoning for helping you understand why comic books need to be taken care of. I was afraid that you would leave them everywhere and the kids would walk up and tear pages out of them and then they wouldn’t be worth as much. And coffee cups, I really didn’t want you setting your coffee mugs down on them.

Me: Okay, so if I include that information, you’ll be more comfortable with your portrayal?

John: Yes.

Done and done.

My Husband Lectures Me About Comic Books

redneckMy husband and I love watching  The Walking Dead together. He couldn’t be happier that I’ve finally gotten on board the zombie bandwagon, since he’s been an aficionado and self-proclaimed expert for years.

I used to think he was crazy every time we were walking down the street and he would point out why some random building would make a great (or terrible) base camp for the zombie apocalypse.

“WHOA, look at that!” he would say, all excited, “That place has no low windows, a roof outlet, and a big iron fence surrounding the place. That’s totally where we need to go after the zombie apocalypse hits!”

Umm, okay. I had no idea how a grown-ass man could spend so much time planning against monster attacks, but I figured he had enough other good qualities to keep around. Plus, he might come in handy if the zombie apocalypse hits.

He had hassled me into watching all kinds of zombie movies,  certain that with enough exposure, I would  understand his vigilance. I would occasionally humor him (because I want to watch stuff like Downton Abbey without resistance), but would be bored the entire time.

For one thing, monsters aren’t real, so I don’t understand devoting loads of mental energy and strategic planning on them. For another, monsters are scary and I end up having to sleep with the lights on.

For over a year, he kept nagging me to try The Walking Dead, but I was absolutely sure I wouldn’t like it. Finally one night, after we wrapped up Breaking Bad, I agreed to give it a go. It went down like this.

John: So now that Breaking Bad is over, you want to try Walking Dead?

Me: Umm. Didn’t we have some other show we were interested in seeing?

John: No, we’ve watched all the shows we wanted to see. You want to just try an episode or two?

Me (sighing deeply while rolling my eyes): Uh… FINE. But if I hate it, I don’t watch to have to watch the whole series.

I sat through a few episodes (despite my terrible attitude) and by the third, I was absolutely hooked. I LOVE this show.

Maybe it’s the great story development, maybe it’s the complex moral dilemmas, or maybe it’s the fact that TWD actually includes well-written, bad-ass female characters, but I found myself not only anxiously awaiting every next episode, but totally sucked into the whole zombie mythology.
shaneI would have long discussions with friends (sometimes involving ridiculously-long Facebook comment threads) where we would dissect all the choices and motivations of TWD characters. We shared quiz results about which WD character we’re supposed to be. We talked about how Rick should be planning better for the Governor’s imminent attack on the prison.

One time, we were discussing Andrea’s gaping character flaws when my buddy George told me how she was a much more sympathetic character in the original comic book series. He told me about a few changes they made in the television show (like the invention of Daryl and Merle) and recommended reading the comic books if I ever had the chance.

Hmm, that sounded like a great idea. I couldn’t get enough of The Walking Dead and this would open up a whole new dimension. So I told John that I wanted to get the comic books. The discussion went like this…

Me: My friend George was telling me about The Walking Dead comic books. He said that in the comic books, Andrea is more likable and Merle and Daryl don’t exist.

John: Really? That’s interesting.

Me: He said the comics are really good though. I’d like to get them so I can check them out.

John (looking very stern): Now, you understand that comic books are an investment, right? You can’t go leaving them around your bathroom like your lady magazines.

Me: Lady magazines?

John (very seriously): Yes, your lady magazines and your lady books. You just plop them on the back of your toilet and next to the bathtub.

Me: I also have mystery novels in there.

John (sighing): Well, it’s unacceptable to treat comic books this way. Comic books are investment pieces that need to be kept in dust jackets. You have to be careful when you turn the pages and you can’t go setting your coffee cups on them. Understand?

Me: Yeah “dad,” I hear what you’re saying. You don’t want me to jack up the comic books like I do all my lady mags.

John: Or set your coffee cups down on them.

Me: Because comic books are mature investments for serious grown-ups.

John: Exactly.

Me: If we get a Michonne action figure, can I take her out of the box and play with her?

John: You need to be serious about this.

Me: Yes, because this is a very serious discussion about the importance of comic book integrity.

My husband is actually lecturing me about messing up my toys.