Taking a Stand: The Bitch Is Back

I don’t know when I became this timid person, afraid of hurting everyone’s feelings to the point where I forgot about my own. I don’t know when I lost my spine and just started touching my toes for whomever because I was afraid to stand up for myself. When I was eleven, I told my parents I would no longer eat meat. This was followed by months of power struggles, haggling, and downright fights over what I ate. Years of comments about my “phase.” I stood my ground, although I do thank my parents for, when they realized I was dead set on vegetarianism, making sure I ate healthy. I am proud of this first real assertion of individuality. The vegetarian thing got me made fun of in middle-school as well. Don’t really understand why, but “tree-hugger” was a common albeit moronic taunt, as various neanderthals knocked my books out of my hands and dumped juice in my hair. I stood my ground then. When I saw someone being made fun of, it didn’t matter what other people thought, I told the taunters to shut the fuck up. I was a courageous, somewhat self-righteous crusader all through high school. A lot of times I was a pain in the ass, and would go off half cocked. But I was no one’s door mat. Somewhere since then, I’ve gone the other way. I’ve become the girl who is so concerned about her boyfriends feelings, that she disregards her own.I’ve become the girl who lets her boss stick her with all the lousy shifts because she’s the only one that won’t bitch about it, who lets people take advantage of her nice disposition at work. I’ve become the girl who lets the nasty comment about the odd kid in the corner slide, because the bullies might not mean anything by it, and I need to choose my battles. I’ve become part of the meek and apathetic problem. The meek don’t fucking inherit the earth. They get put in it.

Tonight, I reached my breaking point. It was the first newspaper brainstorming meeting of the year, and I had come up with a good semi-local idea: Daley is not running for another term. This is huge news for Chicago. I suggested we do a piece on the history of the Daley dynasty and Chicago politics and how a new kingpin–ahem, mayor– will affect Chicago. It is the unwritten rule of brainstorming that whoever comes up with a story has dibs, unless they either don’t want it or have a conflict of interest. Neither of these applied and yet no sooner had the idea come out of my mouth than some other guy said, “Oh! Can I write that?” in a manner that very much demanded he have the opportunity. The managing editor upheld the rule and gave me the choice. “Shannon, do you want to write the piece?” Before I could answer, the usurper interjected. “No, seriously, can I have this? I wrote this paper…” Blah, blah, blah, insert pathetic guilt trip look here. The really embarrassing part? The thing that makes me cringe?

I SAID OKAY.

As I walked back to my apartment, I thought it over. This is not the first, second nor third time in the recent past that I have allowed someone else use me as their own personal tissue, their doormat, their bitch. I am no one’s bitch. I am THE bitch. There’s a difference and it’s about time I got back to teaching the manipulators, the bullies and just the everyday people who try and throw their weight around, the difference.

We’re Baa-acck!

It’s a chilly Wednesday morning in Kenosha, and the sun is shining crisp and clear through a blue sky. Little puffy clouds roll languidly along and the lake sparkles. But what’s that, Kenosha residents? Could it be? Le gasp! The unwashed masses of college students roll blearily onto campus, by bus, by shuttle, by car and on foot! Soon, it will be the weekend and they shall descend in locust-like swarms on bars, restaurants and city streets, leaving nothing but crumbs and empty beer cans in their wake. The quiet peacetime is over and I’m sure the residents of Kenosha are just thrilled to have us Carthaginians back. No really, they sent us a lovely welcoming in the form of a noise complaint. My roommates and I watched a movie and went to bed around 12:30 am. We didn’t hear a peep. But truly, thanks.

Contrary to noise-complaining neighbors’ statements, some of us are not uncouth young mongrels. Some of us are decent, hard-working, studious people. I do not think this will keep the KPD (kenosha police department) from gleefully stopping any out-of-state plates going one mile over on Sheridan road in hopes of ticketing a Carthage student. I have Illinois plates and a Carthage decal. All I need now is to find a Bears bumper sticker and I might as well just pay the KPD a flat fee and save them the trouble.

Fortunately, the Carthage campus is a tad isolated by the beach and the arboretum, giving the residents and students a lovely little buffer, with the exception of my apartment building, from whence I heard no peeping. But this buffer also necessitates a car for those of us out job-hunting.

Having exhausted my resources on campus only to discover I can’t be hired due to my ineligibility for work-study last year, I came to the conclusion that this year I would need a car if I wanted a job. So, I bought Old Blue, with his Carthage-decal-shaped police target on the rear, rented a random, hopefully non-homicidal person’s driveway in lieu of a $450 parking spot on campus and am ready to go on the employment hunt. Nice restaurant down the road? Hit it, we’ll see. Restaurant’s downtown? Not hiring, or mysteriously lacking any staff on my last visit. Today? It’s time to invade Chili’s and the various surrounding stores. The ironic thing is I’m out some $1300+ for the car, the insurance and sundry, and yet I have no job. I really am starting to realize the importance of money, despite a certain parents assertions. For instance, the meal plan is paid for by my padres and is thusly considered free food. Kidding. Did you know that my generation (the generation of current high school and college students) are the first generation in over fifty years that will make less than their parents? Swell. Now, I never was one to care much about money, so long as I had food, clothes and shelter, I was fairly good. My American dream is a cabin in the Smokies, with two dogs, a cat, and a tiger. The tiger might be negotiable.

My point? I had one about a paragraph ago, I promise. I may have to go back and find it. Oh, there it is!
College students in general are not loud hooligans, it’s just the non-hooligans are inside watching Disney movies and going to swing dance club, and the hooligans are out drunkenly harassing your cat. Due to kitty’s angry yowls, you are more aware of the drunkies than lame but harmless people like me. Until I knock on your door and offer to rent your driveway. Hire me to protect Mr. Fluffy? I need a job.

Old Blue and Jiffy Lube

Just last week, I bought the minivan off the faja, who seemed all too pleased to be rid of it and eagerly bought a used Audi A6 in its place. Twenty years of driving minivans I guess explains his giddiness. I however, after another summer of ninja-waitressing, am pleased as punch to find myself the owner of any car, no matter how it affects my non-existent street cred. Old Blue is actually the car I first learned to drive in, and he has a lovely dent to prove it, so I suppose it is for the best that we continue our journey together. However, after the original excitement and a week of random bursts of “The car is MINE bitches!” I started Old Blue up last night to discover a strange noise. Further investigation revealed that the old gent was in need of an oil change.
With a distinct feeling that the honeymoon was over, I made my merry way over to Jiffy Lube this morning, fully expecting to encounter some of the notorious mechanic scammers. I mean, I’m a twenty year old woman who doesn’t pass for eighteen most days, with little knowledge of cars and no stern-looking father at my side. I could practically feel the sharks circling already. I knew what I wanted however, and what Old Blue needed, and had prepared my coldest “Don’t fuck with me” glare for what I thought was the inevitable pushy mechanic telling me I needed to get the serpentine belt replaced ASAP.
I was pleasantly surprised when the man at Jiffy Lube cordially and professionally mentioned that my brake light was out (I knew and had already forgotten about that!) and that with the oil change, he would change my air filter and rotate the tires for an extra $23. Neither of these things were unexpected–they were actually needed–and he was not at all pushy. He also suggested a better type of oil for my vehicle. Before you get all suspicious, I have to mention that this oil didn’t cost a penny more than the oil we had been using. I paid $72 for a change of oil, air filter, a fixed brake light and a tire rotation, all of which was done in about fifteen minutes–or in a jiffy, if you will. Moreover, the employees there were extremely polite, friendly and helpful. When I paid, I turned to find an employee already at the door holding it open for me, and another opening my car door, wishing me a good weekend with a rather genuine smile. So in short, while I sigh at having to cough up $72 so early into my car-owning experience, I do believe that Old Blue, Jiffy Lube and I are at the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Get You Some Ed-ju-ma-cation

It’s back to school time, and many of my friends and cousins are gearing up to go back to college, or anticipating their freshmen year. Back in June, I spent every Saturday at a graduation party. These are just family ones; I was invited to a few non-familial graduation parties, but a girl’s got to work! But amidst all the chex mix, family news and small children running wild, I heard a lot of who’s going where and how they decided on their school-to-be. Hearing all this made me nostalgic, remembering all the ACT preps, the tests, the applications, the acceptance letters, the rejection letters, and who could forget the FAFSA? I sure can’t, I still have to fill it out every year. But still there was something thrilling and terrifying about having to make a decision that could alter the course of my life.

Through all of the stress and worrying, through every college visit and audition, the best advice I ever got came unsurprisingly from my father. He told me it didn’t matter a whole lot what college I ended up at, what really counts is what you do when you get there. Now, we shan’t be discussing my personal decisions, accomplishments and mistakes since I graduated from knee socks and plaid skirts to sweet freedom, no. We’re gonna talk about The Process. Why? Because it’s my blog and I said so. That, and some of my younger cousins have that deer-in-headlights look when discussing the future. Me? I’m hoping the world ends in 2012 so I never have to pay off my student loans.

The Process of choosing a college has a lot of variables. Cost, location, size, intended major, and interests. For me, the top two concerns were strong English and music programs and a low cost.

Let’s start with cost. We’ve all hear about how much the cost of higher education has inflated in the past decade or two. Almost every kid out there is gunning for some scholarship or another, and most will have some debts to pay off when they get out into the cold cruel world. Some choose to go to certain state schools to offset these debts, some go for every scholarship on the face of the earth because they chose a private institution, like me. If you’re smart, you’ll do all of the above: look for a cheap school, and apply for every scholarship you can. It doesn’t matter if all you find are $1000 ones–it all adds up, and $1000 will cover your books for a few semesters if you shop right.

Next deal breaker category for me involved my major. I had the fortune of knowing more or less what I wanted to study, which made finding a specific school easier. Friends of mine were less lucky. Many of them were bright, multi-talented girls who could do just about anything–and thus had no clue what to major in! My advice is make a little venn diagram of your strengths, and your likes, and see where they overlap. Then, look for a school that has a strong program in that category. So maybe you’re really good at math and science and working with kids. Maybe you really like kids and science, but you really don’t like math. So look for a school with a good science program, and a good education program. Maybe you’ll be a scientist, maybe you’ll be a teacher, maybe you’ll be a pediatrician. This method narrows the list down, but keeps your options open.

Next is location, location, location. Sometimes, a little distance is a good thing, but then again flying halfway around the world for school makes being home for Christmas difficult. If you live in Northern California, maybe try looking for a Southern California university, instead of one in New York. I chose a happy medium: Carthage College is about a two-hour drive, with a train route between school and home. Far enough, but only just. Another thing to consider with location is job opportunities and places to go around campus. Some schools are miles away from a decent grocery store, which is hard if you don’t have a car on campus. It also makes getting a job or internship for the school year nigh on impossible.
Size is a matter of preference. If sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name, and Cheers is closed, then you might want to try a smaller school like the University of Redlands in Southern California. If you enjoy the anonymity and excitement of an urban climate, a larger school like University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign would be ideal.

Lastly, we have interests. Many religious people might want a strong campus ministry, not a strong campus nightlife. For you jocks out there, you can mix business with pleasure at schools with good teams and athletic scholarships. Sometimes, you find groups on the fringe of your major. I would never have considered journalism had I not joined the Carthage Current. Students seeking a business degree at the aforementioned University of Redlands will find needed contacts in Delta Sigma Pi, the business fraternity. And one last thing? DO NOT UNDERVALUE GOOD FOOD. I will always remember the rockin’ cafeteria at University of Iowa fondly. Yum.

A good place to find schools listed by cost, size and rank (subjective, maybe but fairly good) is the Forbes list of America’s Best Colleges. Sadly, dear old Carthage isn’t on the 2009 one, but the University of Redlands and the University of Illinois at Champaign both made the cut.

Other lists exist, such as U.S. News’s best College list.

One of the most helpful sources for my classmates and I was FastWeb. It connects you with schools, scholarships and employment opportunities based on your needs and qualifications. I wonder if they’ll give me a scholarship for the free publicity? I’m thinking no, but ah well.

I’ve mentioned a few schools on here (cough, CARTHAGE, cough) but that doesn’t mean I think anymore of them than any other school. Look for the ones that jump out at you. Look for what fits your description in these categories. And of course, remember the best advice I received during The Process:

It’s not where you go, it’s what you do when you get there.

Why Introverts Don’t Sell

I’ve recently become a spectator in the world of publishing and self-promoting due to my dad’s (hereby being referred to as the Faja) entrance into the world of crime fiction writing. From my comfy seat on the sidelines, I’ve learned a crucial and somewhat depressing fact: Introverts don’t sell.

I’ll explain. (Duh, it’s a blog, of course I’m going to wax poetic about my own ideas) Our lovely new cyber-innudated universe makes networking a whole new ballgame. Back in the proverbial day, when I was no more than an infant mewling and puking in the nurse’s–or Faja’s–arms, networking meant being nice and rubbing elbows with them people within your circle, be that a social circle or one at the office. Now we must go out of our way to “meet” and “friend” people we didn’t know existed until they popped up in a tweet. It seems a rather artificial means of fostering a relationship with someone, requesting to be their friend with a strange sort of resume based on name, relationship status, and mutual friends as the acceptance litmus test, but it is apparently the norm for those busy little networkers out there. Screw what your high school internet safety assemblies taught you! Friend the creepy 80 year old with some ins in the music business! He’ll make you a star! Just perhaps not the kind your mother will like.

All jokes aside, it is not enough anymore to simply make the grade with people you meet, passively accepting bonds that come naturally, no. Now you must find out who’s who in your field of choice, go out and stalk them on Facebook, follow them on twitter. I’m an old-fashioned bookworm. I don’t make it a point to be the social butterfly, or to meet people. I let them come to me. No more! I must relentlessly stalk those Twitterbugs, and friend the creepy old men on Facebook. Of course, lots of people enjoy these cyber-friendships. The Faja has been making all sorts of new friends amongst the writer-types on twitter. I’ve recently met some lovely people through him due to his constant twittering. Rather sad that he’s more technologically up to date than me, then again I’m a bit of a hippie. But I digress.

Today, one needs to foster relationships not only with the people in your geographical circle, but with those business associates halfway across the country. Going into writing? Start following your fellow writers and going to writing conferences that double as drinking benders. Smarm it up, wallflowers, this is no world for the passive-aggressive! Time to find your Yoda (little shout out to a few people who know who they are) and tweet the hell out of them. You’ll sink into cyber anonymity otherwise, and nobody listens to a nobody.

“Perfect”

Okay, folks, plug your ears if you want another kind and sweet blog post about love. Cause this ain’t it. Few things can really piss me off. One thing that is guaranteed to push my buttons every time? Cruelty and mockery towards disabled people, or anyone who can be viewed as vulnerable for that matter. You may need a little background on this to fully understand: I have two older brothers, both with developmental disorders. My oldest brother has Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD, and a learning disability, all of which prevent him from leading a truly normal, independent life. My other brother is severely autistic and mentally retarded. Growing up, I saw quite a few kids pick on my brothers and kids like them. It never sat well with me, and while I’ve learned that it is not socially acceptable to hit the cowardly assholes who get their jollies out of tormenting those seen as “weaker” than them, sometimes I still feel a few of them deserve a good right hook. Last night for example.

I work at a country club as a waitress. It’s job filled with lots of hard work, long hours, and interesting clientele. Some of the members are the kindest people you would ever meet, and they’re a pleasure to serve. Others however, like the ones I’m contemplating ways to dropkick, deserve a special table in hell. Last night a table of about six sat down in the section next to mine. I know a lot of the members, but this one I knew personally. She directs many local community plays and other theatrical productions. I’ve been in a few plays with her. Her guest was the mother of a girl I went to high school with. The daughter was an unpleasant, entitled diva and the mother was the worst kind of snobby stage mother you could meet. I try not to hold grudges and believe in second chances, but this lady sure blew it.

I know you’re all so disappointed I’m not kicking ass and taking (or spilling) names here, but that would truly be cowardly (not to mention get me in all sorts of trouble). Instead, these people shall serve as a lesson in their anonymity. I digress. Towards the end of the night, my own six-top left, which was situated next to this charming group. As I was clearing, I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation. You’d be surprised what waitresses hear. People seem to think we don’t have anything else in our heads but a desire to serve them, but the fact is, we do have other concerns besides making sure your V.O and water is extra heavy on the V.O. We hear what you say and *gasp* sometimes we even disagree! It’s as if the apron makes you invisible. Ninja waitress!

Again with the digression…

So, as I’m clearing, I hear laughter. La Director starts explaining to her guests.
“So we see the tents, and we thought it was a festival and so we went to shop. But the there were no stands or anything and a ton of people in wheel chairs or with Down Syndrome.” Nothing really offensive here. “So it turns out it was a Disabled Pride Parade!” Laughter. I don’t understand the funny, but whatever. “I mean, they’ve all these people in wheelchairs, an they’re having a parade. They can’t walk!” Hysterical, really. Your wit astounds us. But it gets better. Stage Mom chimes in.
” And on top of it, there’s some guy with obvious problems” she says this as if to be an imperfect being is somehow distasteful “trying to make a speech. And I mean, trying, I couldn’t understand him!” Laughter. Hardy har har. Of course both of them aid there droll humor with the offensive gesture of retardation. You know what I mean, the limp hand smacking against the chest. And to top it off? “And they weren’t even selling anything. I mean, you want me to help you, actually sell something, come on.” Whatever people. The conversation included other undoubtedly witty remarks, but at this point I was too busy keeping my back to them, as I could no longer keep on my happy waitress face. I would have dearly loved to give them what-for in front of all their peers, but alas, I seriously need this job. After a while, these bitches left and took their lack of empathy with them.

What really gets me about these people is the arrogance. They are rich, blessed semi-talented people (although not nearly as much the cat’s pajamas as they think they are. More like hairballs.) with well-provided for attractive, blessed and (for stage mom) decently talented children. They’ve never had to deal with a 21 year old son, having a meltdown in an airport, or have to explain to their oldest why he’s alone all the time. Instead of thanking their lucky stars, these people decide it’s something they deserve, that those people affected by something that makes them less than perfect in society’s superficial, overly made-up eyes are somehow beneath them. Part of me wonders if for La Director it’s a occupational hazard. You spend your life having people audition for you, bending over backwards for your approval, and maybe you start thinking that somehow you’re worth more than the average joe. If that is the case, sorry lady. What you are is a failed actress, director whatever, stuck doing community and high school theater. Being in a position of power doesn’t mean you deserve it, or have some divine right to it. And that goes for anyone. I remember her in these plays. She was not kind to kids like my oldest brother with Asperger’s. But I was young and thought she was just another neurotic, hard-ass director. Now I see bitch couldn’t handle something not “perfect” on her stage.

As for Stage mom, her arrogance is just sick. I know her. She’s some kind of hairdresser, which means that whatever money she’s got, is money that her husband makes, not something she’s earned. I’m all for equality in a marriage. But don’t act like you’re better than someone because your hubby’s richer. She spends all her time pushing her daughters, giving them this idea that they are entitled to the lead in every play, the solo in every concert, the applause of every commoner they bless by sneezing on. Her girls are brats, but i can hardly blame them with that kind of upbringing. But seriously, she’s never had to deal with a child who isn’t an attractive, talented, smart, “normal” child. How dare she act like other’s hardship, god forbid the PRIDE they took in what that hardship has made them, is some kind of joke. Disabled people are not sideshows. Your are the true mutation, the real imperfection. Get over yourselves, and don’t let me run in to you when I’m not in my uniform, because ladies (and I use the term loosely) it’s GLOVES OFF.

Thank you, and I hope you enjoyed your meal.

The American Idol Experience

Being the facebook junkie that I am, I recently noticed a friend of mine had passed through the first round of American Idol auditions. Hey, what’s in the feed is fair game! After wishing my friend good luck with the next round, I found myself reminiscing about my own American Idol experience. No, my friends, you will not be seeing me rocking out in Hollywood anytime soon, but I did come away with some rock-and-roll battle scars.
Most people don’t understand how American Idol auditions work. I sure didn’t have a clue what I was getting into when I registered at the United Center in Chicago last summer. Like all other tv shows, AI goes through many stages before you get to see the audition reel.
For those wanting to audition, here’s what happens: After hunting down the locale, you need to go in a day or so before the actual cattle call style audition and fill out the appropriate paperwork. Being a newbie to the whole AI gig, I went the day before, around noon. I was shocked to see no one milling around the parking lot, just a few bored looking employees passing out the registration forms and bracelets. One such bored employee gave me my ticket for a seat in the stadium and bade me come back tomorrow. The gates would open around 7, but you could come sit in the parking lot at 5am.
Taking the parking lot opening time as a hint, I and my oh-so-amazingly-patient friend Liz parked our butts on the asphalt at 5am the next morning, amidst a throng of various people vying for attention from the cameramen who occasionally swept the area. Since we had a few hours, we contented ourselves with our packed breakfasts and people-watching.
Something about competition and the glittering oasis of fame-mirage though it may be– turns what would be normal, sane people into idiots and complete fruitcakes. There were people there who, like me, were obviously there because they actually have experience and some degree of talent in the musical arena, and they dressed and behaved accordingly. There were the obviously delusional, who tended more towards the aggressive side, mauling people who got between them and the camera. And then there were the Camera Ticks. These were people who suffered no delusions, who knew they weren’t going to be kicking out footlights on stage at any point in their lives, but still wanted their fifteen seconds of fame. They were painfully easy to find. For instance, we saw “The Bride of Simon” who dressed in a wedding gown wearing a sign with her proposal to our friendly neighborhood Brit, “The Hotdog Man”, Santa, one of the Bananas in Pajamas who apparently had taken a solo career, and other such characters. At first, it’s funny, but as the hours pass and your sanity thins, and you realize that idiots like these are the reason the goddamn wait is so long, you start picturing the various misfortunes that could befall the Camera Ticks.
And the hours do get long. At seven, we poor, gullible Idol hopefuls are herding en masse inside United Center. Being towards the front of the crowd I thought, oh hey! I may actually not have to wait so long! This isn’t so bad! Beginners mistake, grasshopper.
Contrary to what the bored employee had told me the day before, our ticket numbers were not simply to insure entrance into the ninth gate of hell–I’m sorry, the United Center–They were actual seat numbers. Turns out, the day to wait in line at five in the morning is the first day of registration. But no one tells you that. So, with our enthusiasm only slightly dampened, Liz and I head up to the third floor of the United Center. Once the victims–ahem, hopefuls–have all filed in, the world’s most obnoxious man with a megaphone explains how this is all going to work. But first, he explains, and although I can’t see his face from way the hell up in the stadium I can hear the evil grin in his voice, we must all sing the group song.
I used to like Katy Perry’s “Hot n’ Cold”, it’s a fun song. However, after two hours of singing that damn tune with 12,000 other people, the majority of which have no place near a musical competition, I want kill Mr. Megaphone next time he instructs our section to smile for the camera. Finally, the song that never ends ended, and the first section got in line to sing their little hearts out. Now, at these first auditions, you do not sing for Paula, Randy and Simon–yes I know two are gone now, but they weren’t when I auditioned–you sing for two local judges. There are twelve booths on the floor of the United Center, with two judges a piece. Four people at a time go to each booth, stand in a line and sing for 30 seconds by turn. The judges confer, and then keep who they want and send the rejected out the door. They did this by sections, starting with section one on the first floor. I was in section nine on the third floor.
From our eagle-eye vantage point, the other inmates and I could see who came away from the judges with a gold ticket and who didn’t. They were pretty generous with that first floor. By the second, they’d gotten stingy. By the third, they were just as sick of auditions as we were. I got my chance around 6:30pm. During this wait time, we were told we could wander about on our floors, so long as we did not leave our floor. There were a few vendors selling hotdogs and pretzels, thank the lord, but little else to distract us. On the third floor, there were about two thousand other hopefuls, and most of them were trying to out sing each other.
I mentioned before that there were the “real” singers, and the delusional, right? There’s also an in-between group who I’ve dubbed the choir boys. Not limited to just males, the choir boys think that because they can carry a tune, they have a divine right to be a rock star, and heaven help you if you do not bow down to their talent. To prove their superiority, they had little sing-offs the whole eight hours between our release from group sing to when I got the hell out of dodge. They knew we weren’t seeing the judges any time soon, they knew everyone there couldn’t care less about their song choices, but they wanted everyone to admire and fear them. The choir boys, as well as many of the real singers, had engaged in psychological warfare.
They gathered as many to them as possible and sang like they were being judged–which they were. The purpose? To psych themselves up, and others out. So many people were singing and playing, I was thankful to be on vicodin. (I had my wisdom teeth out two days before) My sole comfort is that I ran into my ex and his new girl, and she was one of these psychological warfare believers. Only, it doesn’t really work if you suck. Hey now, I never claimed to be a nice person!
After twelve and half hours of “Hot n’ Cold” and every other song and shenanigan known to man and watching those gold tickets become endangered, my section was finally called to go audition. Liz wished me luck and off I went. I had chosen a country song by Sugarland called “Stay.” Beautiful song, I hadn’t heard anyone else sing it all day. Until the girl in front of me sang it. I felt like smacking myself in the head like one of those V8 commercials. I got up, sang, and when they turned away my whole group of four, I practically thanked them I was so grateful to just get out of there! When me and Liz finally made it outside again, it was 7pm. Thirteen hours, my friends. I saw a lot of people trowing tantrums outside the United Center, and a lot of cameramen eager to catch the juicy meltdown. Me? I took a nap on a bench until my ride arrived. While a lot of this pissed me off to no end, very little of it was AI’s fault. I mean, they can;t help that the music business is full of divas and drama, or that so many wanted to audition. What really chafes my ass is that I’ve watched this show. I’ve seen them put the awful people in costumes on for a laugh. Or worse, I’ve seen them take someone with some obvious mental issues, exploit their delusions up until they actually get to Simon, Randy and Paula, and then rip them apart in front of millions of viewers. That’s just sick. There are three rounds before seeing the actual judges. That kind of thing is no oversight, it is a purposeful, cruel prank to pull for viewers. Not mention, for every idiot they put up there, another person with real talent doesn’t get their shot. So, for those of you reading this who thought, “well maybe I could just try for it. It’s a long shot but it could be fun” I hate to quash your dreams, but stop right there. It’s not fun, I’m afraid, and unless you have real experience, a killer voice–and I don’t mean grandma told you you sing so lovely in the church choir– and a seriously high tolerance for idiots, don’t bother. You’re clogging up the system, and it’s not worth it. As for my friend who made it? I’ve heard her sing, she’s great. I hope she makes it. After all, the torture session is over.