Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Once upon a time...

Gather round, children, and I'll tell you a tale of a bitter woman and how she came into existence...

A long time ago, when I was in high school, I studied German. One of our first assignments in the first year was to choose a German name. (Everyone who studied a language in American high school probably did this.) We never thought that maybe some of our real names
were German? We kind of liked the idea of picking our own; doing the job our parents did years ago, know...better. I ended up with Anna, which is actually not so different from Amanda. (I guess my parents did alright on that one.)
My German teacher was big on stories and skits. In the beginning, she would dictate a story using us as characters, and we would write each line down. We drew pictures to illustrate each sentence, to help us remember the story later. (We did the same with new vocabulary words. It is a wonder I learned any animals at all, considering that each picture looked the same except the shark. Which was a fin sticking out of waves. Mad drawing skills, right here.) Later, we wrote the stories ourselves or with partners. Some patterns emerged in the class; things that showed up in story after story. (She deeply regretted the day we learned "to throw up.") After writing and illustrating them, actors were selected and these scenes were brought to life.
I got talking with a friend from that class recently at a dinner party. Donning his tux and gesturing with a wine glass, he brought up these fateful stories. And thanks to that conversation and my borderline packrat tendencies, I have unearthed a very important one, featuring a character you might be interested to meet.

Anna Monster.

You may recall that I was Anna. Sometimes...Anna turned into a monster. When she was angry. And what was she usually angry about? Boys. Boys doing stupid things. (Does this sound familiar?)

In an early story our teacher created, a boy in our class under the pseudonym "Axel" received a Jaguar for his birthday and drove from Detroit to San Francisco. There, he met and fell in love with Anna. (
Gross.) They drove to Las Vegas and according to my drawing, went for Chinese food. (In a castle? Damn, I cannot draw.) Axel saw Pamela Anderson and fell in love with her. (Jerk.) Anna got so angry that she turned into a monster and ate Axel for dinner instead of Chinese food. Following her meal, regular Anna came back, took Axel's Jag and drove to Detroit to see a Red Wings game. (I'm not sure why she went back to Detroit, considering she used to live in San Francisco. But here it is, in black and white.) That was Anna Monster's first appearance. A jilted lover getting a bit of revenge.
Fig. A: Anna turns into Anna Monster for the very first time.

From then on, anytime people (mainly boys) did stupid things in skits, Anna Monster came in and ate them. She always looked the same--our teacher had drawn her on the board and we stuck with that image. We eventually decided upon the noise she made--that was a heated debate. (See figure B.) She often had no role other than coming in, turning into Anna Monster, eating people, and exiting. She was the deus ex machina for our German class; plot resolution. Sometimes she got a line or two. But she always got angry. And then she got revenge. I delighted in having such an integral role. Sure, I had been typecast, but I had been typecast with such perfection that who cared?? There are many things in my life I'm proud of, but I am not ashamed to admit that Anna Monster is somewhere on that list.

So boys and girls, even though Bitter Amanda would not emerge in her current state for several years, I believe that is when she got her start. Because Axel fell so quickly out of love with her, in favor of Pamela Anderson.
And that shit is just not ok.

Fig. B: Anna Monster's appearance was refined over the semesters. Note angry noise.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Breaking News.

Last night a man in a tuxedo helped me remember the origins of Bitter Amanda! However, I have some research/fact-checking to do before I can share the story with you.

Stay tuned, kids...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas miracle.

Today is a triumphant day in the Bitter household. Why, you may ask? Because today is the day when good prevails over evil. Today is the day when things make sense; when order is restored. TODAY IS THE DAY I BANISHED THE DEMON.
How, you ask? Oh, sit down, children, and I'll tell you the tale...

Day 209: Friday
Mother home from work. Students have brought gifts. Benevolent 4 year old gives mother reed diffuser. "Fresh Linen." Tell mother what this is. Experience sympathy cough upon seeing word "linen." Tentatively sniff bottle. Breathe normally. Pause. Gag? No. Sniff bottle again. Find it to be tolerable. Begin planning for coup.

Day 213: Tuesday
Suggest that mother might enjoy reed diffuser. Green light. Set on counter for test run.

Day 214: Wednesday
Objections to new clean linen friend total zero. Clean bathroom for guests. Inquire about putting spitting monster away; cite getting rid of bathroom clutter. Lie. Feel no guilt. Green light again.
Carefully pick up gremlin. Move to cupboard under sink. (Feel delightfully like Harry Potter characters who locked him in the cupboard. Remember that Harry Potter came back with a vengeance. Decide against new nickname.) Wash hands, literally and metaphorically.
Use bathroom freely. All day. Breathe easier; walk taller. VICTORY IS MINE.

What's that, air freshener? You're lonely there under the sink? Oh well, that's a shame...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oh, sure, I know all about that.

Has anyone else seen that commercial for prescription eyedrops--Restasis? (You can watch it here if you haven't: commercial.) I don't know about you, but if I went to my doctor with that information, I would NOT be handed a prescription. She says she's been using eyedrops "several times" each day for "quite some time." She's tried "all kinds." My doctor would say, "....Well.....I'm going to need a little more information here, Amanda. How long, specifically, is "quite some time"? When you say you've tried "all kinds"...can you tell me the brand name of at least one? This cavalier attitude towards eye care might be the reason you're having a problem--which you didn't actually mention. Are there any symptoms? Can you tell me what they are? Also, are you an idiot?" He would use those obnoxious air quotes to show me just how stupid I sounded and I would come home and blog about him.
But this commercial "doctor" (yes I did use air quotes thank you for recognizing that) is all, "Oh hey I know that problem! I'm the psychic doctor! Let me just whip out my prescription pad here and we'll get you sorted out! Have a nice day!"
Not exactly a great ad campaign, Restasis.

Walking past my computer, my mother just asked what I was writing about. Hearing that it was a television commercial, her reaction was, "Well at least you're not writing about the air freshener anymore."

Friday, December 11, 2009


I'm a bit tardy in this, but I have to say how spectacular my weekend was. I flew to DC for some much-needed reunions with amazing friends. I laughed for four days, basically.
I wish I could relate it more eloquently for you. You really should have been there. It was quite an adventure, containing:
1 stop by the White House
a handful of perfect friends
2 excellent milkshakes
4 very late nights of wine and conversation
6 hours of intense Apples to Apples
1 heated debate about an allen wrench
3 additions to my wallet
1 giant portrait of LL Cool J
innumerable pep talks and advice sessions
51 license plates that made us stop and stare
2 pieces of free gingerbread cake at Starbucks
3 documented hugs
2 random men in tuxedos
1 fake birthday
countless refills as Christine "fixes a glass"
not enough plans for future reunions.

I am constantly reminded that I lucked out in the friend department. I may find boyfriends to be stupid and unreliable, but man...I am overwhelmed by friends. It's unfair how many stunning people I get to surround myself with, people who flatter and entertain me. And not just in DC, but all over the place. I can only sit back and hope to live up to the hype. And book another plane ticket.