Thursday, May 13, 2010
(The accompanying photo is of an inadvertently phallic candle that my friend Michelle’s son made for her. It appears he suffers from a lack of crafting genes too. God love him. Wanna see more creative blunders? Check out www.regretsy.com. where DIY meets WTF.
And now to the blog entry....
I've been designated as "arts and crafts leader" for my church's Vacation Bible School program. This hulking delegational blunder by the volunteer staff equates in strategic insanity to putting the Unibomber in charge of conflict management or having Lady Gaga lead a conservative dress initiative. Just the thought of gluing googly eyes onto construction paper or setting foot into a Michael’s store makes my left eye twitch.
When Lisa, the gal in charge of VBS volunteers, casually announced that I'd be leading five nights of arts and crafts for age groups ranging from tantrum throwing threes to authority questioning twelves, I thought she was kidding.
"Lisa, you've been sniffing hot glue again. I'm the one who gave the United Methodist Women poison ivy and chiggers with my backyard corsage project and was banned from teaching Sunday School because of my "pin the tail on the chipmunk" anatomy lesson using real body parts. Thanks for dropping the restraining order, but it doesn't mean you should put me in charge of a class that could lead to our church having its charter revoked by the Southern Methodist Convention.
"It's not a joke, Angela. I can't find anyone else who'll do it. Everything you'll need is in the VBS packet. I'm sure you'll do great.”
"Lisa, that's a dangerous thing to say, but I'll try," I said, panic filling my heart and lungs like the heat from Martha Stewart's soldering iron.
I am good at a few things. Things that don’t require painting, sculpting, knitting, macramé or creating keepsakes with popsicle sticks, sequins, mini pompoms, glitter, mod podge and decoupage. I work well with words …and cooking anything that has “Helper” in the title. I also do a great Beth Moore impersonation. That’s pretty much it.
My most recent craft projects include inadvertently splatter painting my bathroom with Miss Clairol #132 while trying to color my own hair. I’m not sure which got the better end of the deal….the bathroom or my hair. They’re both still recovering. Then there was my Bondo colored, pancreas shaped pottery creation at Camp Blue last summer. This is an awesome family camp in the Sierras, hosted by the U.C. Berkeley Alumni Association where among playing volleyball, Cribbage, canoeing and drinking to the point of Cirrhosis of the liver, moms, dads and kids churn out enough clay pots to wow the entire Catawba Indian nation.
Knowing I wouldn’t be any good at pottery, but feeling the urge to at least say I’d tried it, I slunk down to the craft hut while everyone else was watching the famous shuffle board tournament that often ends in bloodshed. Surrounded by the hippie knee sock family of five that makes an entire casual set of dishes each year, I grabbed a glob of clay and set to creating a masterpiece…or something. After 20 minutes of pumping, spinning, sweating, and kneading (sounds like sex…eh), one of the knee sock kids…the little girl with blonde braids, tapped me and pointed to my blob which I’d nicknamed “despair,” saying in a hushed tone, “I don’t think that’s going to make your mommy very proud. Would you like to me to give you one of my dishes?”
Tears of laughter mixed with beads of sweat as I said, “Honey, my mom gave up on me a looooooooong time ago. But thanks.”
No one warned me that I shouldn’t reach up and wipe my tears with my clay covered hand. I spent the rest of camp week with a left eye that was cemented shut.
Even as a child I was a crafts failure. At seven, I was the only Girl Scout with no achievement patches sewn on my sash. I tried telling everyone I wanted to keep it unblemished, preferring the “less is more” philosophy. One day, after Melissa McAshton made fun of my lack of accomplishment, I asked Uncle Earl, a life-long Hell’s Angel, for some of his old patches. He acquiesced and Aunt Thelma sewed them onto my sash. The next week at Scouts, I was the only one with patches that said things like “.357 beats 911,” “Gas, Ass or Grass. No One Rides Free,” “POW MIA” and “Ride Naked.” Our troupe disbanded shortly afterward.
Back to the present, VBS is exactly one month away and I think I’ll rely on my partner Caroline to do most of the actual art and craft work with the kids. She’s good at everything. Maybe I can simply act as motivational advisor offering affirmations like “Great job, Brandon. Your mom’ll totally put that up on the refrigerator after she stops laughing.” Yeah, that’s what I’ll do.
Posted by Angela Weight at 9:38 PM
Saturday, May 8, 2010
This week has been checkered with grievous episodes of misspeaking on my part. It isn’t a shock to those who’ve known me for more than an hour. All my life, I’ve said the wrong thing to the point of fully digesting my foot, nail polish and all. This, in particular, would’ve been a great week to be struck with laryngitis. Too bad you can’t schedule that kind of thing.
Through the years I’ve had to apologize to more people than live in the nation of Uzbekistan for insults ranging from “when’s your baby due” said to an effeminate pot-bellied man to “don’t take this the wrong way, but I think you’re a bitch. Everyone does, so it shouldn’t come as a shock.” I finally had business cards printed featuring a clipart foot-in-mouth logo and the phrase “I’m really sorry for whatever I said.” I hand them out randomly… mostly to women, especially at places where cocktails are served.
When God doled out tact and verbal filtering devices, he skipped my mother’s side of the family, including me. I’ve often thought how great it would be if one could simply purchase the character trait they were lacking…or have it transplanted from a donor. I sometimes envision a gracious and genteel finishing school teacher being mugged and murdered shockingly; the perpetrator fleeing without uttering a single please or thank you. The one bright side of the horrific tragedy is that her tact (which remained fully intact) would be transplanted to me. I, of course, would promptly get out my best stationary and write a note of genuine gratitude and invitation to tea for her remaining family members.
This week’s drama comes to us compliments of the Daffodil Drive Gardening Society, of which I’m a junior member (meaning that I’m allowed to kill a maximum of five houseplants and remain in good standing.) It all started on Monday at the flower arranging marathon. My friend Natalie and I worked feverishly competing with 10 other duos for fastest foxglove centerpiece. We’d just gotten into a groove when Shelley sidled up. “Great to see you ladies. Natalie, thanks for asking me to cater your Botox brunch yesterday morning. Melanie told me I’d get a phone call to plan the menu, but I didn’t. Thanks a LOT” Shelley tacked a cursory “just kidding” and snarky laugh on the end of her statement.” An uncomfortable silence followed.
My IQ is not much higher than my diastolic blood pressure, but I know that people often dress up verbal jabs as humor to get their point across in a palatable fashion. If Shelley were a famous chef her signature dessert would be open switchblade served in puff pastry. “Gosh, Shelley, I’m sorry!” Natalie stammered.
In attempt to rescue her from awkwardness, I said “Shelley, you and Natalie aren’t even very good friends. Are you? I’ve never seen you hang out together or heard of you calling each other. Plus, Marci the Meal Maven did an awesome job. I mean, why would she ask you? Did you ask her to perform the hair removal at your Brazilian Waxing Breakfast? Ya know she’s a great esthetician.”
The more I said; the worse things got. Natalie finally elbowed me in the ribs saying "hutt--hupp, Hanela" under her breath in a way that sounded like her tongue had been bitten off. Shelley, looking wounded and incredulous, huffed away.
“That wasn’t funny, Angela. She’s never going to speak to me again now,” Natalie whined, sounding normal again.
“Well, who in their right mind has the nerve to ask a gathering host why they didn’t use her services? Isn't it your decision who you hire? Plus, she makes fun of you behind your back. Don’t get mad at me; I’m just the messenger.”
Natalie began chatting with Rosemary at the next table and acted distantly toward me the rest of the day. That’s the thanks I get for being honest. The human foot tastes surprisingly like chicken.
The next night, in my Mother-Daughter Banquet comedy routine which was supposed to end with a serious, reverent reading of Philippians 4:11 and devotion, I forgot my notes and butchered the text…. stammering “Uhm, Paul… or was it Phillip… said to Timothy….. or Titus or somebody…Maybe it was Jesus… that he was happy in prison…or something like that.” And then I made a crude joke about circumcision. It went from bad to worse. I could feel the audience cringing in unison. It was important that the program end on an inspirational note. I totally blew it. On the bright side, the jokes were really funny. Maybe I’ll stick to comedy clubs from now on.
It’s now Friday. Natalie and Shelley are going out tonight to revitalize their friendship…without me. The church women are having a bake sale. No one called to ask if I’d help out. Perhaps getting this off my chest, under the cloak of a blog entry will make things better….or ruin them even further. Maybe I should keep my fingers away from the keyboard as well.
Posted by Angela Weight at 8:39 PM