The Police Man Incident

Oftentimes the boyfriend and I do not have days off that coincide, so I am left to my own awkward devices…and  things like this happen.

This Christmas, I was lucky enough to have an entire week of vacation and so of course I planned to do all the do-all-the-thingsthings and finish all the workouts and clean all the house!

The week started off strong. On Monday I visited my Grandma with my mom and aunt and afterwards I was all fa-la-la-la-la let’s run some errands!

I headed out to my Jeep so that I could finish all the last minute shopping and buy some groceries for our very bare cupboard.

The Jeep started right up, which is always a great thing, because sometimes the Jeep doesn’t start right up. That’s not what happened today though.

I threw the Jeep in reverse, put my foot on the pedal…. And I went nowhere. To explain a little bit, our driveway is gravel and I generally park to the side of the gravel so some of my tires are occasionally in the grass of the front yard.

Perplexed, but not yet sure what was happening, I stepped on the pedal once more, but, again, I went nowhere. I hopped out of the Jeep to evaluate the situation. Aha. My right back tire was spinning out, in a large mud pile. Thanks, constant rain. Thanks.

After some thinking, I decided to pull the Jeep forward and attempt to back out with all the tires on the gravel. I had to Austin Powers the Jeep to get situated on the gravel so it was a lot of slight reverse, get stuck, slight forward, slight reverse again, and so forth. ibpshefgo8dwil

I was pretty proud of myself for problem solving the issue, until I attempted to back out of the driveway, again, and both my back tires began spinning out. A hazy cloud of gravel dust engulfed me as I crouched down to inspect my wheels. Yep. Both were deep in a gravel hole.

Accordingly, I decided to give up and text the boyfriend and let him know I was stuck at the house. I turned off the Jeep and walked to the front steps, when I decided to check the mail. I headed back to the street to the mailbox where I noticed a younger looking kid walking down the road, with no jacket on. I stopped and watched the kid, wondering if maybe they needed a jacket, or if they were just a rebel without a (jacket) cause.

Because I was contemplating the kid with no jacket, I noticed an unmarked police car at the end of our street. Not moving. Car running. Just parked at the end of the street. (I knew it was an unmarked police car because, in the past, I had a job where I had to sometimes work with police officers.) That’s strange, I thought to myself, and I hoped that nothing had happened to any of our neighbors.

I stood there for far too long, staring down a the cop car, lost in thought, before I realized I must look somewhat ridiculous standing in the middle of the road, clutching a stack of mail, zoned in on a car with a cop inside.

I quickly turned to walk back to the house and got to the top of the steps when I heard the unmistakable sound of a car zooming down our road. The unmarked police car slammed to a stop in front of our house. The car turned off. I was standing awkwardly at the top of our steps, and I began to panic.

What if this isn’t really a cop? What if something happened to someone? What if I’m being set-up? What if they tracked me down because my tail light is out? Should I run? Should I call someone? Should I dial 911?

Key Fist

I settled for situating my keys in my hand the way all women should when alone and feeling panicked – with one key between my fingers so that if I made a fist I could punch someone with that key. (In the eye.)

The policeman slowly got out of his car. His head was turned sideways and he was talking into the radio on his shoulder, but I couldn’t hear what he was saying. I noted that the inside of the car did actually look like a cop car.

He held a giant metal clipboard in his hands and he slowly approached the steps of my house. He was mumbling something, either to himself, or the radio, I couldn’t tell.

Finally, after what felt like 7.5 hours, he made it to the steps, looked me dead in the face, and said, “What do you know about a hit-and-run that occurred last Thursday?”

And, guys, he said it really accusatory, like I was wearing a shirt that said “I love to hit-and-run!” or like I was running a hit-and-run workshop out of my house and he busted me while I was teaching the basics.

ice-t-confusedI responded, very intelligently, by saying, “Uh……what now?”

He then informed me that he noticed my car was on and running, and now it wasn’t, and it just so happens he was investigating a hit-and-run involving my type of Jeep. He gave me that side-eyed look that people give you when they feel like they’ve caught you in something. Like when the boyfriend asks me if I used his towel, again, and I say no, because I know he hates that, but the towel is wet and he knows I’m lying. It was that kind of look.

I felt irritated which helped me shake the anxiety and I very firmly informed the police officer that I knew nothing of a hit-and-run, and that he was welcome to look at my Jeep, but that I couldn’t move it or anything because I was stuck in my own driveway.

He turned, inspected the wheels shoved deep down in the gravel, and then his whole demeanor changed. He laughed a little and walked to the front of the Jeep, looked for a few seconds, and walked back to the steps. He informed me that the Jeep in question left behind a bit of its taillight at the scene of the crime, but that obviously it wasn’t my Jeep.

He held up his clipboard and complained about all the places he had to go to track down Jeeps. I stood awkwardly, staring, while he kept talking to me like what I wanted to do on that day was stand in my front yard and talk to a random cop about his job.

Finally, after offering to help me get the Jeep unstuck (I declined – please leave, policeman, your tiny car cannot tow my Jeep), he bid me adieu, and let me know that he would be crossing my name off his list.

I realized, after the fact, that it probably did indeed look suspicious that I was backing in and out of my driveway (albeit unsuccessfully), then got out of the Jeep, then stared down the cop car, the quickly began walking to my house. To be fair, though, I do feel like this guy could have identified himself a little better, and then I wouldn’t have felt like I was smack dab in the middle of an episode of Law and Order.

For the record, the boyfriend did have to tow my Jeep out of the driveway (twice, we thought it was unstuck and then, surprise, it was still stuck) and I no longer park in the yard.


The Cake Incident

Disclaimer: I have an incredible memory. Like, really. So this is what happened and how it happened. Really.


While I was growing-up my family lived about 5+ hours away from my grandparents when we were younger, so visiting them was a  treat. A cause for extreme excitement.

One particular birthday, I do believe it was my 5th, I got the amazing gift of riding in the car with my mom and siblings, over the river and through the woods, to my grandparent’s house.

Guys, it was the best house. Complete with:a giant backyard and a place to make s’mores with my grandad and a creek and a room where we played office and a basement with a piano. And sometimes my cousins were there. And my aunts were there.

I was so excited and I couldn’t wait to get there and have my birthday party and get lots of presents and eat cake and run around and be spoiled. Life as a kid, am I right?

We were nearing my grandparent’s house when my mom got a phone call and stated something along the lines of, “No, I’ve got it, she doesn’t know.”

I remember asking her what she was talking about, but she hedged my question, so I imagine I went back to daydreaming about toys and cakes and ice cream. I suspected nothing.

We finally pulled into the driveway and then… I guess we unpacked the car and played while all the grown-ups talked. I’m not sure. This isn’t the good part, which is lucky, because I don’t really remember it.

Anyway, some undetermined amount of time passed. Then: PARTY TIME.

The party location was the back porch of the house, also very large, and also dangerous because if you walked on it without shoes on you would get splinters.

I stepped onto the porch to see a table with a cake on it and, guys, I sincerely love cake, because I sincerely love icing. I can eat an entire thing of icing. I guess I lack the taste buds or stomach or whatever to understand what people mean when they push a plate of something half-eaten away and groan, “I’m so full; that’s so rich”. Is rich a synonym for delicious? Because I ate the whole thing. And now I’ll finish yours.

(I don’t eat entire containers of icing — super bad for you. But I’m just saying, I can do that. Not that I have before. Except that I have before. Funfetti is the best.)

Back to the cake. The cake looked glorious, covered with white icing with those big poofs of tastiness all around the edges. Plates, napkins, forks, and a large butcher knife surrounded the cake. Perfect set-up. Best day ever. Best birthday ever.

My mom excitedly told me that since I was older, I could cut my own cake. With the giant butcher knife. (Does this seem weird? Because, at the time, it didn’t to me.) I was going to cut myself the biggest piece of cake that anyone had ever eaten and put my entire face in it.

I grabbed the knife (Did I mention it was a large butcher knife?  Because it was.) and tried to cut the cake. It wouldn’t cut. I was pressing down so hard and I couldn’t slice my cake and I wanted to eat my cake and it wasn’t working. I looked up, feeling confused.

My mom suggested that I hold the knife like a dagger. (Seem weird yet? I mean, honestly.) So I grasped the knife in my fist, gathered all my strength, and shoved it down onto the cake.

The cake exploded. It exploded everywhere, and the cake was ruined, and I ruined it by cutting it like I was stabbing something. Everyone was laughing and there was.. water? Yes, water all over my cake and I was holding a knife by my side, dripping with watery white icing, looking at the mess and wondering why.

Everyone kept laughing and looking really joyful and slapping their knees. When she caught her breath, my mom told me the awful truth: the cake was made of water balloons, covered in icing.

Water balloons. In icing.

I began crying, then, looking at the cake I would never eat. Did I feel embrassed? No. Confused? Not anymore. Sad? YES. Sad, because all I wanted was to cut into that cake with my plastic fork and shove it into my mouth as quickly as possible, and now my cake was ruined.

LUCKILY, there was  backup cake ready and waiting to be devoured. So, the day wasn’t ruined and I got to eat cake and open presents and run around and be spoiled. I’ve told this story multiple times, and my mom has since said that perhaps I was too young for the water balloon cake prank. She also assured me that I was in no danger while cutting the water balloon cake.

Perhaps I was too young, but if i know one thing, I know it for certain: I will definitely make a nice water balloon cake for my nephews. On their 10th birthday.


This isn’t me (actually, I have no idea who these people are, thanks for the video…) but this is a pretty accurate representation of what happened to me. Minus the crying. I definitely cried.




The Interview: Part II

So. Awkward.

Go to The Interview: Part I and read it first. Then it will all make sense.

I stood up once my name was called and followed the nicely dressed man into a larger office. Once inside, I was instructed to sit down at a circular table in a very squashy leather chair. There were papers scattered across the table and bookshelves lining the walls. These people were serious about food stamps interviews.

Another woman was inside the room, sitting across the table from me. She was sharply dressed and emanated a no-nonsense attitude.  The man sat down behind his large desk. He looked tired. The lady’s face was puckered in what I assumed was disdain and disapproval. I didn’t know why. Yet.

I became very aware that the atmosphere in the room was intense. My insides did that unsettling thing where your stomach twists and turns and you know you’re about to be uncomfortable. Like when you didn’t really study for a test and then you get the e-mail that the grades are posted and you have to force yourself to check your grade. Or like when your phone rings and it’s your dentist and you suddenly remember you had an appointment scheduled for ten minutes ago and you’re sitting at your desk at work.It felt like that. Except a little bit worse.

A good many seconds passed by before anyone spoke. The nicely dressed man then began speaking, hesitantly, and he stated he would like to describe the requirements for the job I had previously applied to.

Everything clicked into place. The suits and dresses and weird looks and my feeling of discomfort and the people waiting and the nice office.

This was a job interview.

My mouth fell open and I struggled to find the words to explain myself. The man, I think, continued to talk but everything sounded like buzzing, like the room was filled with mosquitoes (not again!). My hands started sweating and I started shaking like a drug addict needing a fix. I could smell myself, I was sure of it.

I interrupted the man, against my better judgment, because it’s rude to interrupt someone and as it turned out I was in the beginning stages of an interview. I informed him that I was under the impression that this was an interview for food stamps. Looking incredulous, the pinched-face lady asked me if I was joking.

I explained the situation as best I could. And there really was no great way to say, well, I am struggling and applied for food stamps and now, here I am,dressed in raggedy clothes that were washed two weeks ago and oh, also, that things that you smell is me. I was perspiring like I was outside in Alabama in mid-July and I was focusing all my energy on getting my legs to stop shaking and my hands to stay still.

After the embarrassing words finished tumbling out of my mouth, I was asked if I would like to continue the interview. I remarked that I would have to answer all the questions incredibly well to be considered for this job now, and the lady laughed and said that was true.

It occurred to me that I had two very simple options: run out crying and never look back, or go through the interview and then run out crying and never look back.

I decided to go for it. I was already there and these people clearly thought I was an idiot. Their faces were set in disbelief and pity.

I had not prepared one second for any of the questions I was asked. I had not researched the job, the boss, or the requirements. I had not practiced my answers to what my best quality is and what I did when I got into an argument with a co-worker.

I was also interviewing for a position for which I had no previous experience. At all. So, when all was said and done, I couldn’t even pretend to know what I was talking about.

The interview lasted a while, though. The lady didn’t say much – I assume she was highly disappointed in me overall. Once I felt that we were winding down, I threw out one last pitch. I told them that anyone who could handle the extreme humiliation of what I had just gone through could surely handle any sort of work-related issue that would arise from this job. I tried to turn the situation to my favor, explaining that only someone with the utmost confidence would continue an interview looking as I did.

I didn’t think they bought it though. A total strike-out. They thanked me for coming in and shook my hand. (I assume they immediately used hand sanitizer after I left.)  With another sinking feeling, I realized I would have to exit, in front of all the other people in the waiting room, looking like a disaster.

I walked out of the office with my head held high. I’d like to say it’s because I actually do have the utmost confidence in myself, but I really didn’t want to see the other interviewee’s shocked and disgusted faces.

Once I was back in my car, I immediately called my sister and explained what happened. She laughed, of course, because these things tend to happen to me, although she admitted this was one of my worst humiliating stories. At least it’s over, she told me.

I got home and the boyfriend asked how everything went. The story exploded out of me and he, too, looked amused. I felt the tears sitting in the corners of my eyes as I tried to paint him an accurate picture of the degrading experience.

I remember eating some Spaghettio’s and sitting on the couch, feeling dazed and disappointed and upset at myself for blowing an opportunity to get a better paying job. I knew the man and the lady were telling their families at dinner that evening about the sweat-stained girl who thought she was getting some food stamps but ended up interviewing for a job.

A week went by, and I still thought of the situation with shame, but I thought of it less each day. I would never see those people again. The day would come where this was a distant memory.

After about a week and a half, when the boyfriend and I were driving back from buying a small amount of groceries, my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number on the screen.

I answered, and it was the man from the interview. I immediately wondered if he was calling to make sure I wasn’t actually battling a drug addiction and to see if maybe I needed some help.

He offered me the job on one condition: that I wear different shoes to work.

I stayed in that position for a year and a half before making another career move. But that interview will always be the one I look back on to remind myself that sometimes great things can come from awkwardness.

It’s not as if I could forget it, anyway. It’s become a family favorite and I can only hope nothing more embarrassing happens to knock it from the number one spot.


The Interview: Part 1

Millennials, as a general rule, struggle to find jobs after graduating, have to move back in with their parents, and, once they do find a job, struggle with underemployment. These are all issues that I have personally faced. I’m sure most people survive these indications of the weak economy with grace and tact. I can’t say that I would always classify myself as one of those people.

This following.. incident… is one I swore I’d never tell anyone, because it’s embarrassing on many levels. But in the spirit of being an open book (which no one asked me to do, by the way, I just decided to do it) I will share.

It’s coming to you in two parts  because it will be more suspenseful that way because it’s a long one.

Right after the boyfriend and I moved in together, we were struggling (as most millenials do) to make ends meet. The boyfriend was looking for a job like it was his job (although they don’t pay you for that) and I was a receptionist at a furniture store. We were barely making it. I mean barely.

So I was applying everywhere, too, when I had the time. EVERYWHERE.  Sure, I can probably work in a train station. Sure, I can admit patients to the hospital. Sure, this link says open position, let’s apply.

And no one was calling me. And no one was calling him.

It was bad.

So, after long discussions and budgeting plans and an overall feeling of complete frustration,  we decided that we should take advantage of government assistance. Everyone, hold your judgments. Seriously. We applied for food stamps (Food stamps are also known as SNAP.)

And boy, does my county put you through the ringer when you make this decision. We had to send in proof of employment and non-employment, copies of bills, copies of birth certificates and socials, letters from employers, letters showing we were applying for jobs, and vials of blood. Okay, I’m lying about that last one. But I was calling and e-mailing and faxing everyday trying to get us some help.

Finally, I sent in what I thought was our last piece of missing information.  A few days later, I received a phone call from my county’s agency asking me to come in for an interview. Just an interview, no other information. Was this for food stamps? I asked. And I was told it was.

I Googled it and it turns out sometimes you do have to interview for food stamps. It’s actually not uncommon. A friend of mine in another state went through the process and an interview was required. It made me extremely anxious to think about explaining myself and my life to a stranger. But, if that was what had to happen, that was what I was going to do. I wrote “food stamps interview” on the calendar on the refrigerator.

A few weeks went by, and I was feeling more comfortable and confident about the food stamps interview. The boyfriend was at work on the day of the interview and I had the day off. He offered to go with me after he got off work, since the food stamps were for both of us, and we almost decided he should go. He didn’t though. It would have been a close call time-wise if I waited on him and I felt like I could do a good job representing us.

That morning, I went to the gym, cleaned the apartment, and did not shower. Let me reiterate this: I hadn’t showered. At all. I decided to wear jeans, a purple t-shirt that said volunteer on the back, and really old pink Nike flip flops. I also wore a grey jacket with holes in the sleeves. And a broken zipper. I think I had make-up on.

This is what I was wearing… minus the jacket (which I have since thrown away) and the shoes (which also have been thrown away)…

It didn’t matter what I looked like, I thought. Just needing some help here.

I felt the nervousness returning during the drive  to my county’s office, but I had since decided that this was: 1. not a permanent solution to lack of funds and 2. the proper use of the system.

Once I arrived,  I found the correct building and confidently entered through the double glass doors. I saw an extremely long queue wrapping around in the main lobby, so I just stepped right in line. Honestly, I felt confused about where I was supposed to go. Was there a specific meeting place? Were all these people here for interviews? I remained in line, slowly inching forward.

After a few minutes a side door opened and I heard my name called above the noise of the crowd of people waiting. Some of them turned to look at me as I stepped of line. I found a very nicely dressed woman, holding a clipboard, looking around the lobby. She must have called my name.

I (still confidently) walked up to her told her my name. She looked me up and down (like, literally, her eyes went up and down over me and I could sense some sort of disbelief.. and maybe disgust.. emanating from her). She just stared at me. I told her again she had called my name. Maybe she hadn’t heard me. It was kind of loud in the lobby and I could feel the eyes of the other people on my back. She stared some more. Finally, in what seemed to be a decision against her better judgment, she took me through the door, out of the lobby, and down a long hallway to a snazzier looking waiting area that appeared to be right outside an office.

I noticed the leather couches and leather chairs in this new room were full of people and there were no available seats. The (who I now deemed snarky) lady got me a straight-back, wooden brown chair and asked me to sit and wait. She informed me that they were behind schedule.  I nodded, thanked her, and sat down.

I admit, at this point, I thought things were a little off. I had a strange inkling that maybe… but no. It couldn’t be.

I surreptitiously let my eyes roam around the room and I observed  that all the other occupants of the waiting area wore extremely dressy clothing. This struck me as odd. But then – of course- these people probably came from their jobs. It was the middle of the day, after all. And that’s why there was a guy in a suit and a woman in a dress and heels. They all also seemed to be holding papers, and I had arrived with nothing. I texted the boyfriend but we decided it wasn’t that strange, that I was just feeling my usual anxiety, and he wished me good luck.

Minutes ticked by.  The others sat very properly and attentively in their leather seats, legs crossed, ankles crossed and hands folded in their laps. I, on the other hand, busied myself by scrolling through my phone and texting and commenting on Instagram and playing solitaire. The minutes turned into one hour. Then an hour and a half.

Others went in the office and came out looking sure of themselves or looking distraught. Maybe this interview was going to be more intense than I bargained for. Some of them gave me a side-eyed look as they walked by, but I didn’t pay them much attention. I was too busy playing Scoops.

The door to the main office opened and a man in a suit and tie walked out.

I heard my name called. It was my turn.


Want more information?

USA Today on Food Stamps & Underemployment

How Many People Use SNAP?

New Face of Food Stamps: Working Age Americans