Dear Universe (The Addendum): Oops. My Bad…

So there I was, sitting down to dinner with my family one glorious night a few weeks ago to a sublime serving of steamed salmon and broccoli (or maybe it was Kraft Mac-n-Cheese with chopped Lil’ Smokies…I forget), and I found myself breaking the cardinal rule of the Byerman family dinner table.

My iPhone, which was buried in my pocket, dinged. Yet I did not ignore it, as per usual (and per written mandate, posted and affixed to every surface in my dining room. This is a serious rule, people.).

Instead, I dug it out of my pocket, slid the happy little slide-y button, and freaked the fuck out.

Because this is what I saw:

Yeah, the yellow arrow wasn’t exactly there. (This is a dramatic re-enactment, after all…bear with me…) But it might as well have been — because in that moment, the emails above and below were irrelevant. All I saw was the email from “Diet Coke Community.” And it was practically glowing. And flashing. And in my mind, it was most definitely mocking me. Like, loudly

Suddenly, it was as though I had that evil cartoon devil on one shoulder, and the incredulous angel on the other. I, my friends, come from a long line of avoiders, and I’m constantly subject to that loud-and-clear voice from within that directs me down a path of peaceful avoidance, toward my ultimate destination at an idyllic little spot I call “Ignorance.” Because it’s bliss. Seriously.

Typically, The Avoider voice generates a complicated and convoluted internal dialog that succinctly yet thoroughly brings to light the pros and cons of a stated course of action with unmatched eloquence. And it goes something like this:

Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Run! Don’t look! Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Avert your eyes! It will go away! Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Hide! Under the table will work! Crap.

Yet on the left shoulder resides The Confronter. Slightly less verbose, it simply said:

Shut the eff up, wussy girl. Just open the stupid email, will ya? Sheesh.

Guess who won? The Confronter, naturally (You just don’t call me “wussy girl” and get away with it. Take that, Stupid Confronter.).

And here is what the scary email said:

Oh. Crap.

Here’s the deal: In keeping with my insistence that The Universe isn’t really listening, I think I thought that the thought of Diet Coke listening was unthinkable.

I published my last post, went on about my business — never imagining that I’d receive a follow-up email after having brazenly called out the No. 2 soda (and No. 1 diet soda — take that, Pepsi people) in the whole-wideass-world.

Nay, The Universe

But apparently, The Universe is listening. And so was Diet Coke. Lesson learned.

So within a few days, this arrived on my porch:

And inside? A sparkly new intact drawer for my fun little fridge.

And all this…

And while I’m all kinds of grateful to Diet Coke, it was only through the act of taking this photo that I realized something truly frightening.

Can you see what I’m talking about? Look closely. My outfit? Black stripes, red accents, silver jewelry. My home décor? Black swirls, red and silver accents.

Oh. My. God.

I’m all matchy-matchy with the Diet Coke!

This picture single-handedly helped me realize: My house is decorated to coordinate with a Diet Coke can.

And clearly, my fashion sense takes a cue from Diet Coke as well.

Hell, even my BLOG COLOR SCHEME matches my favorite soda!!!!!

But I mean, come on…everyone uses cans as “can”dles, right?

They don't burn easily, and they kinda have a funky metallic scent to them when lit, but they're sure purty.

And everyone’s bedroom is done in hues of their favorite soda, right?

Ho-ly shitballs. I may have a problem.

Orrrrrr…some might suggest that I may have been sending messages to The Universe. This whole time. Begging for Diet Coke — even through my décor, fashion and bloggy background.

But those people would be bat-shit crazy.

Nope, I  still don’t consider myself a believer. Not even after a few days later, when I got a huge spike in visitors from a specific website, with a URL that indicated it was the University of California San Francisco (with which I’m not affiliated). I clicked the link and found this, on a page devoted to a class teaching … what else, blogging:

(Um...did you notice the Diet Coke color scheme? Just sayin'...)

Once again, the psycho-nut crowd devoted fans of The Secret would say, “You did this, you know. You asked for comments. Well here they are.”

(And yeah, alright, point taken: Perhaps I more like demanded comments. Whatev.).

Anyhow, here it was — feedback about my blog and this particularly brazen post, in all its glory, as part of an assignment, no less! I mean, where else would I have been able to glean this insight:

“…Mikalee’s Blog Post was entertaining and funny at the same time to read. It seems like she gets plenty of readers for her blogs, probably a good hundreds or maybe thousands of visitors per day.”

Try “millions or maybe bajillions.” That’s a much closer estimate.

And where else would I get to read the following analysis, which was just chock-full of awesomeness and shared details of the Death Squirrel (It’s exactly like the Death Star. Only different):

As I went into her blog, not because I wanted to, but cause I had to as part of the assignment I wasn’t that interested in reading so I just scrolled down the page. As I was scrolling down I noticed a picture with a book up on file on a tray but I kept scrolling down and finally got to a picture of a death squirrel. At that moment, I said to myself: “oh shit; is she barbequing squirrels?” Her use of dramatic pictures was effective to get me to read or be interested in her blog even before I had any idea of what the blog was about. As soon as I started reading, I read about the burning of some book, and I immediately told myself, ok this is one of those crazy people calling for banning of books that they disagree with. The smile on her face with a book burning on her hand make me think that she didn’t care about pain or suffering, but right then and there I read that she is aware and glad that Bett is watching with a fire extinguisher in case something goes wrong with the burning of the book. I smiled and was relieved that she was not a nut case and that perhaps she had something important to say.
These two initial reactions with pictures and words were enough to get me to read her blog with interest and ease.
As I kept reading I noticed her intensive use of the word “believe”, as if she doesn’t believe and if she does believe it is naïve to do so, as a fairy tale similar to A Christmas Story. However as she play around with this word, I noticed these initial capitalized words, REALLY YOU’RE LISTENING FUCK LOVES ALL. It sounds like she does believe and she is happy that her readers (universe) are listening to her.

She comes across as a friendly yet upset person with her choice of expression, short sentences and fragments. It makes me feel like I am listening to one of my nagging friends that want to dump their rage and disappointment on me, and yet I keep listening because I am intrigued.
The contradiction of ideas of what she wants from the universe. She dreams of being this supper human with expensive cars, diamonds and mansions, yet she is preoccupied with a meekly unsavory diet drink and a supper husband when she has the care and comfort of her boyfriend Brett.
Surprisingly, at the end, I was satisfied with her ramblings and ideas with her choice of short and blunt sentences.

My responses:

  1. May I share your assessment that I am “not a nut case” with certain people in my life? Thanks in advance.
  2. If you string together the capitalized words in my post, you really get “REALLY YOU’RE LISTENING FUCK LOVES ALL”?!?! Wow. (And did you also know that if you read that post backward, you’ll find three examples of “Paul is dead.” Forreals.)
  3. I come across as a friendly yet upset person? Mission accomplished. (Not really: I’d say more unfriendly yet happy, but I’m digging the free analysis.)
  4. Watch what you call a “meekly unsavory diet drink,” friend. Seriously. Watch it. The Universe is listening, and so is Diet Coke — after all…

And I had no idea about the following:

I despise her layout. Red on a computer screen can really damage my eyes. She also decided to add more red when she quotes a conversation. (WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT LADY! Are you trying to destroy the only thing I pride in, my 20-20 vision?!)

Um. Yes. Yes I am. And here I am, posting your comment in an eye-destroying evil red box. How does that feel, huh?

OK, but here’s my favorite-favorite-FAVORITE comment:

“She is so interesting and hilarious. She rambles about one thing and then another, but she does it in a way that you want to keep reading her blog…I think that if she really wants a publisher the Universe should have one coming her way because she carries the personality and thoughts of a skilled writer that can keep a viewer to read.”

From your lips, adorable and astute UCSF student blogger, to The Universe’s giant ears…

And speaking of those giant ears, Dear Universe: You may want to invest in an ear-candling session. My post was addressed to “The Universe.” Not “The University.”

But yeah, cute little play on words…

(And if you’re remotely interested in other students’ comments from this class — or if you just want to verify that I’m not making this shit up — click here. Just don’t leave comments there, because that would make you look like a total creeper.)

So, your turn as usual:

  1. Please please please: Someone tell me they also have a house decorated like their favorite soda? Anyone? Anyone?
  2. Any feedback on my color scheme? Because the red and black was intentional (blood and death, baby — or was it Diet Coke?), though I certainly would never want to hurt my dear readers’ 20-20 vision and all…
  3. Did you happen to see that I’m now unemployed? Or rather, self-employed? I’m contemplating launching a new series called the “Brave or Stupid Project,” which would measure my take on how this whole self-imposed full-time freelance writing career is playing out while I’m figuring out the vast publishing world. So any feedback/advice on how not to eat Kraft Mac-n-Cheese with chopped Lil’ Smokies nightly would be much appreciated. Because that’s just disgusting. And I trust your insights. You guys never have steered me wrong…
  4. I’ve missed you all. And I’m happy to be back! 🙂
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