>>> The Rollercoaster of Drama
By staff writer Simonne Cullen
April 9, 2006

Recently I realized that I am in a relationship. And it’s actually really serious. Probably the most serious relationship I have ever been in. Like most relationships it didn’t start out serious. My computer at home was built so early in the 90’s that it’s not compatible with my iPod. My trusty laptop has been a resident of Best Buy’s repair shop for almost three months now, so it only seemed natural to put iTunes on my work computer, and over time, without knowing it, all of my comedy CDs, all of my music, and all of my Lost Podcasts, every audio entity I owe totaling over 4,000 is sitting happily on the fifth floor in the reception area. The convenience and ease, it was so natural, and it made me realize that I can never quit my job. I don’t think I’d be able to handle any audio transition emotionally, taking a chance on another computer, re-ripping all my CDs, creating all new playlists, onto a new computer, all for an unknown outcome. I have twenty playlists. No way will I ever get them back to how I set them up originally. It’s just too hard. The only way I can ever make a clean break is if I save up a month’s worth of paychecks and buy a whole new setup at home, and at this point I don’t think staying in four weekends in a row is even worth it.

One of my friends gets to wash down the elephants at the zoo. How cool is that job? She gets to spray elephants with a hose and scrub down the two baby elephants every week. How exciting is that? I’ll tell you how exciting my job isn’t: I get enlivened every time the UPS guy delivers our new coffee packets. Now I don’t mind doing internet research until I go back to school in the fall, but how do you even apply to wash down huge animals? How would that interview go? “Well my roommate in college was the fat kid from Lost, and we shared a bathroom, so let’s just say I probably have an edge over the competition when it comes to large mammals.” Whatever. I’m still jealous.

“Women never like to be caught unprepared, yet none of them ever have condoms in their room when they need them, but have six different pairs of shoes.”

I’m going on vacation with my extended family to Ireland this week. The four of us each have a day where the other three have to go wherever the one wants to. Of course I pick the Guinness Factory, and I’m going with a bunch of women (none in my age range) so they all tried to veto me, and I don’t know what was more disheartening, that they didn’t even seemed impressed with my preliminary, “But it’s the only beer waterfall in the world” defense, or that my mom busted out her trusty Ireland guidebook to tell me that 60% of the world’s Guinness is currently made in Nigeria.

I was recently informed that upon arrival I would be driving around Europe. You know where they drive on the other side of the road? I kiss the off ramp of the two expressways from hell here in the states, and they want me to drive successfully on the opposite side of the street? That's great I can see the slide show of our vacation photos now. The whole family is sitting around the living room and my aunt will say, “This is the one of Monie in the compact car about to drive us to Kilkenny.” Immediately followed by, “And this is the one where she crashed into a herd of sheep and a neighboring farm's fence. Don't keep the doubles of those we need them for the insurance claim.”

All of my friends keep telling me to bring them home real Guinness beer. When I point out we have perfectly good Guinness here, they frown and say it tastes different in Ireland. I'm like, will it taste that much different after being carted around in my suitcase next to my dirty socks and underwear all week?

My cousin Viv that's going with me is still in the stage where she thinks that magically, we're going to sit next to some movie star on the flight and be invited onto his private yacht for a private dinner. I don't know whether to tell her now that she'll probably be sitting next to a overweight body-odorous man, with yellow teeth, sipping out of a flask, or let her continue to believe there's a chance Chad Michael Murray will actually be on this flight. Maybe I should just introduce her to vodka over international waters. “Here hon, drink this, this, and about five of these in the bathroom, and when you come back your plane buddy may not look like a WB star, but maybe if you squint really hard, maybe Andrew Keegan. Who? Exactly.”

Shortly after deciding that the entire issue of Tigerbeat could be on our plane, Viv decided to tell me that she planned on speaking Spanish the entire trip, because no one east of the Atlantic likes America. I am the only one on the trip that is not fluent in Spanish. I can speak it and understand it, it just takes me a moment longer, and by the time I’ve formulated a sentence that relates to the conversation everyone else has moved on to another topic. I’m like, so you’re going to speak Spanish the whole time we’re there? What if a cute guy comes up? You want me to translate everything for you? Because I’m really only affective when I’m translating Canadian into American, Spanish to American, I’m useless.

Packing for this adventure is a pain in the ass. My mom was a flight attendant for thirty-five years, so luckily she does all my packing for me. All I have to do is lay out the clothes I want to bring. And even though my mom and I don’t normally get along, I have to give her credit, she is incredible when it comes to packing. She can take all the clothes in a sorority house and fit neatly into an overhead compartment with room leftover for a hairdryer, full length mirror, and at least five pairs of shoes. She’s like the David Copperfield of luggage, you know there’s a trick somewhere, but she never reveals it, and even if she did, it’d be far too complicated to learn, and quite frankly I’d rather be drinking.

You know why women pack so much? Because they want to be prepared for any event. You could be going to Lake Tahoe for three days to chill at a friend’s cabin, and there will always be the one girl somewhere who will ask, “Do I need to bring my formalwear, because if so I have to pick it up from the dry cleaners.” We just don’t want to be caught off guard and underdressed at any occasion. And yes guys, I know it seems unrealistic that a girl would need anything else at Lake Tahoe but a bikini, but in the mind of the woman there lurks the idea that there might be a dinner party thrown somewhere that requires heels, and no way is she going to show up in flip-flops. Women never like to be caught unprepared, yet none of them ever have condoms in their room when they need them, but they will have six different pairs of shoes.

The day before my family goes anywhere important is like a tornado hitting our daily lives. We left for our trip on Thursday and Wednesday was probably the busiest of my life. I had to get my taxes done, my parents are still trying to claim me as a dependent, they get a huge refund, I owe the government a whole paycheck, it was a mess. My dad finally had to learn how to pay the credit card by phone, which sucked two hours out of my life, and then the shoes my mom is break in for the trip are giving her blisters so we went on a three hour hunt for shoes, and normally she could do this on her own, but she’s been developing a taste of shoes that look like their from a orthopedic line, and I just can’t be seen with someone wearing those shoes—you know, in case Prince William just happens to be in our Guinness Factory tour group.