Thursday, November 19


Like most of my posts, this one has a back-story that will take a long time to explain. Also it is beginning to occur to me that, at least in my mind, my ordinary experiences are always linked to stupid pop culture references – and I have no control over it.

Waaay back in 1999 there was a God-awful made for television mini-series called “Storm of the Century.” It’s a Stephen King story, which is good. But it was written for TV by Stephen King, which is bad. I mean have you seen his “version” of The Shining with that dude from Wings? I rest my case. Basically, this has the other dude from Wings and is about a small town in (gasp) Maine that was having a huge storm and this stranger shows up and wants the folks in the town to give him a kid to be his heir and if they don’t comply, he’ll kill everyone. Of course, this is merely a condensed synopsis, but you get the gist.

After wasting three nights (or more, I blocked it out) of my life that I can’t get back, the only mildly entertaining thing that I got out of this piece of crap (which won an Emmy, BTW), was the line “give me what I want and I’ll go away,” which the villain kept saying over and over. Yeah, it was just as cheesy as it sounds. But, I found myself latching onto the bad guy’s catchphrase, because the more I thought about it, the more I realized that in a way, it was already kinda my mantra. I’m not trying to sound like a spoiled brat, but sometimes I act like a spoiled brat. Being an only child does that to you sometimes, but hey, the perks are nice.

While I toss the phrase around at home, mainly in regards to whatever Mark is eating, I really try not to take on the attitude in public. However, there have been times that I’ve been pushed to the edge and I’ve used my mantra to, as my friend Amy says, “unleash the beast.” That’s we call it when I completely lose my shit on someone in public. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s an awesome spectacle, like an emotional meteor shower. Of course there is a story here involving a 4th of July trip to Hilton Head, the Redneck Games of ’04, fire ants and a born-again rental car employee named Billy. But I’ll save that one for a rainy day.

Occasionally, “give me what I want” can be extremely helpful when say, you’re having a Falling Down kind of day and all you want is some delicious ice cream and the counter jockeys keep screwing up your order.

I don’t know if you are aware, but pregnant women, we have these things called "cravings." Sometimes they aren’t a big deal and sometimes they are a matter of life-and-death. Seriously. That was the situation the other weekend around 4 in the afternoon. After a particularly frustrating day with my “spirited” two-year-old (that’s what her teacher told me to call her after I struggled with an alternative for “little turd”), I decided that the best way to salvage the remaining portion of the day was with some emotional eating. You know, a good slogan for all dessert and fast food restaurants would be “filling your emotional void for over 30 years.” Honesty in advertising goes a long way with me.

So, instead of throttling a toddler, I opted for ice cream. In particular a chocolate malt. I know what you’re thinking “hey chubbs, it’s not 1954,” but a well-made chocolate malt is thing of beauty. Besides, I wanted it. I know that doctors like to say that pregnancy cravings aren’t “real,” but I’d like to see them fight off the ice cream after they've thought about it for five hours.

We went to Sheridan's (normally, I don't call out places that piss me off, but since they saw no need to reply to my strongly-worded email, I see no need to protect their identity) and ordered at the drive-thru. We got a “huh?” in response. We ordered again. The girly with the headset repeated it back so fast we didn’t catch everything she said so Mark said “huh?” Through the speaker, I heard a sigh and an eye roll. Yes, I heard her eyes roll – it was that apparent. She begrudgingly rattled off our order in a tempo we could comprehend and we moved forward.

Upon arrival at the window, she pretty much threw everything at us, mumbling “thank you.” She was especially irritated when I had the audacity to ask for a lid to Piper’s ice cream. I mean what kind of monster asks for a lid for a two-year-old? You give me a lid and the next thing you know I’ll be asking for napkins, too. Her facial expression added, “if this is the kind of cruel world God has created, I don’t want to be a part of it anymore.” We drove off with our desserts and precious lid, but as I took my first sip of malted I realized that sugar-tits had given me a plain, regular chocolate shake. That bitch.

Mark sighed deeply and asked if I wanted to take it back, to which I replied “no, no, no it’s fine.” Now, my husband is a smart man. He’s been around girls and girlfriends and me for a long time. Long enough to realize that the “no, I’m fine” response actually means, “you’d better fix this ASAP.” Although I’d entered my passive aggressive plea, he turned the car around and headed back.” As I just mentioned, this isn’t his first time at the rodeo, so to speak. I think that he very wisely weighed the option of fighting traffic to get back and exchange this drink or listening to me bitch about it for the rest of the day. Like I said, he can be smart sometimes.

In yet another move to prove that he’s schooled in the ways of Ashlee, Mark wouldn’t let me go to the window to exchange the drink. He made me sit in the car, where I sat helplessly by and watched him talk to the unenthusiastic employee behind the counter. The upside was that they have glass walls, so I could’ve seen had anything “extra” been added to my malt. When Mark brought it back to me I took a sip and damned if it didn’t taste the same. He looked tentatively at me and said “is it OK?” Well, I should have lied, but I didn’t. I did however ask him not to go back and have these brain trusts try a third time. I figured that I’d put everyone in the car through enough that day and I also realized that I haven’t even hit the really crazy part of this pregnancy, so I’d better save up some “rational bucks” to cash in later. Besides, all I really needed to do was add about a half a container of malt into it when we got home. Problem solved.

Make no mistake, had there not been any Markervention, I would have had no reservations about pulling out the "give me what I want and I'll go away," to the fuck-nuts behind a goddamn ice cream counter. Because I assure you, given my mindset they would have, or it would have been the Shitstorm of the Century.

The one funny thing to note regarding the Storm of the Century was that when it came out, I was working at a Borders in Atlanta. For some reason Stephen King was trying to pass off a bound copy of his shit screenplay as a new "book." Anyway, as a promotional item they gave away some gigantic umbrellas that had "Storm of the Century" printed on them. These were really class-A umbrellas. Not only were they HUGE, but they had a real classy wooden handle. After all was said and done, the movie sucked, but I loved my umbrella.

One rainy day, Mark had taken the SotC umbrella for his walk to the train station. On his way, the rain and wind picked up and snapped the umbrella handle in two, blowing the umbrella out of Mark's hands and into the street. The huge, blue canopy cartwheeling right into Midtown Atlanta traffic. The BMW's and Mercedes careened to avoid it, but alas it was too late. In the downpour, Mark could make out a fender-bender caused by my beloved umbrella. Drenched and afraid, he took cover in a nearby bookstore. It was the Outwright Book store. Did I mention this happened in Midtown? OK, because that means that it's the "gay" section of Atlanta, or should I say "gay-er" (not that there is anything wrong with that).

This actually worked to Mark's advantage, because while he waited for the rain to subside and the police to come, he was comforted by the patrons of the bookstore, who'd "seen the whole thing," and apparently really thought he was cute and also "family." It was almost as funny as the time he went into the pitch-black gay club by our old apartment to use the ATM (yeah, sure). He didn't realize that the club was really small, and had masked this fact with a back wall made entirely out of mirrors, that is until he ran into it.