House Rules

With Daddy out of town for a few days, now might be a good time to reinforce the house rules, as you have taken his absence to mean that we have descended into some base form of anarchy. Allow me to refresh your memories:

1. The floor is not a garbage can. It also also neither a hamper nor a compost pile. Also, and I know this is going to sound completely counter-intuitive, but the broom is not a toy. You have an actual toy broom. Please use that if you must insist on “helping” to clean the floor, which, by the way, would be fine if you would just stop throwing all your shit on it.

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Also, put some goddamn clothes on.

2. Doughnuts are not for dinner. They never have been before, so you have no reason to believe that they will be now that Daddy is gone, as if Daddy was the one thing holding you back from injecting sugar directly into your veins. We don’t even have any doughnuts, so I’m not sure where you thought I was going to conjure these mythical doughnuts from. Also not viable options for dinner:

  • Ice cream
  • “Trail mix” that you create yourself by dumping all of the bags in the pantry into a giant bowl and smashing the contents up with your unwashed palms (see above picture)
  • Salt packets
  • Literally just gum

3. I don’t care that it’s warm outside; you cannot go out without pants on. I know we have a lax dress code around here. But there is a difference between cute and sassy indoor nudity, and Welp, Time to Call the Cops outdoor nudity. I applaud you for at least thinking to put on your boots, but you look like a baby prostitute and I am not going to the slammer because you need to commune with the elements. With your butt out.

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4. Your bed is your bed. My bed is my bed. These two beds are mutually exclusive. Just because Daddy isn’t here doesn’t mean that I am suddenly lonely and cold in the middle of the night and need you to come wedge your feet into the small of my back and attempt to make them pop out through my belly button. Daddy doesn’t do that, and you shouldn’t, either. And before you even ask,

5. No, I do not want to watch Mutt and Stuff at 3 in the morning. Or Shimmer and Shine. Or any of the weird Canadian children’s shows you keep finding on Netflix, like My Big Big Friend or Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs. Those shows are lame, and you are lame for wanting to watch them at 3 in the morning.

6. And I cannot stress this one enough, only poop in approved poop receptacles. Your diaper is fine. The toilet is fine. I guess outside is fine, if you manage to make your pantsless escape into the fenced-in backyard. But under no circumstances should you poop in any unauthorized areas, including, but not limited to, the basement stairs and the mini trampoline. Other people use these stairs and this trampoline. And now other people will never be able to do so again without wondering if at least a microscopic amount of leftover feces has lodged itself onto her sock, no matter how slash and burn one might be with the application of Clorox.

I really don’t think these rules are unreasonable, and I think you’ll find that we all have a more pleasant home experience when they are adhered to. Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to scream them at top volume from the backseat of the car while also explaining how much you don’t love me anymore.

HRH Kim, Queen of Awesomeness

My mother is a huge genealogy buff, and has spent many years researching our family line back to the middle ages. A while back, she was able to link us to Charlemagne, king of the Franks and first Holy Roman Emperor (and, completely unrelated, whose Christmas day coronation by Pope Leo my best friend Megan and I reenacted using sock puppets in French III, because we had a weird thing for puppets back then), which was awesome enough in and of itself, although one would think being the descendant of the Holy Roman Emperor might give me at least some intrinsic knowledge of how to behave at a Catholic mass. (Spoiler alert– the descendant of the Holy Roman Emperor panics and flips the fuck out every time she has to attend a mass, and always nearly faints when you get to the hand-shaking part because it’s just too much chaos and no one ever seems available to shake her hand at any given moment.)

But just the other day, Mom came to me with an even bigger revelation– we are also descended from Mary, Queen of Scots, who herself is a relative of Queen Elizabeth I, which means if some sort of mass plague were to wipe out basically everyone in England, I WOULD BE NEXT IN LINE FOR THE THRONE. I mean, I guess technically my mom and aunt and all their cousins would be first? But I’m assuming they would all abdicate to me, as I am the only one willing to have my entire life televised and my outfits scrutinized to tell if I’m pregnant or just fat. (Just fat.)

But don’t worry– when I inevitably ascend the throne, you can rest assured that I will be a kind and benevolent ruler. And it’s not like who I am will really change that much– I’ll still be the same old goofy Kim you’ve always known, except now I’ll expect you to refer to me as HRH Kim, Queen of Awesomeness. And also, you’ll have to walk ten steps behind me at all times, which means I will finally get to realize my dream of riding in the front of all the roller coasters at Cedar Point without waiting in line, because THE LINE FORMS BEHIND ME, MOTHERFUCKERS.

Do me a favor, though, and please don’t behead me, like the people did to Mary back in the day? In exchange, I promise to broker detente with England’s wizarding community, so we can finally get the time turners we’ve all be so desperately wanting. (I’m assuming here that Prince Charles is just a dick to the wizards, and that’s the only reason this hasn’t happened yet.)

I will also change the official royal song from “God Save the Queen” to “Dancing Queen,” because my reign is going to be all about fun. And dancing. And ABBA.

Scenes from the Willoughby Chick-Fil-A

1. There is at least one small child trapped in the plastic car hovering 12 feet off the ground in the play place. My children are both accounted for, so I know it’s not mine, but none of the other parents seem concerned, either, and I’m starting to wonder if someone has just abandoned that kid here, like how some assholes take a dog to the forest and throw a toy out the window and then peel out when the dog chases after it. The parents bought the kid a four-count chicken nugget kids’ meal and bailed, assuming the hyper-polite staff would just take him in and teach him the ways of delicious chicken and homophobia.

2. A man with four inch spacers in his earlobes is telling everyone within a 15 foot radius that Sesame Street is no longer on the air, anywhere, “so you can’t count on Elmo to teach that little bitch to count.” There are so many things wrong with this– the fact that he was referring to a child as “a little bitch”, or that he had expected said little bitch to learn to count solely from Elmo, but for some reason, the one that bothered me the most is that Sesame Street is, in fact, still on the air, so I’m unsure where this guy is even getting his information. I’m also unsure how he is coping with the fact that I could fit my fist through his earlobe.
 
3. Rosie is whipped up into such a frenzy of sheer joy that her ponytail holder has come out, and she has one hank of hair sticking straight up from her forehead, making her look like a tiny Conan O’Brien.
 
 
She has also spent the last five minutes standing at the table of a black family and gawking silently at everyone, because my kids like to ratchet the discomfort level to 100. 
 
4. A very worried grandma is presiding very judgily over the play place, ensuring that no other children come within five feet of her precious golden grandchild. Every single time Addie comes down the slide, she is there, leaning slightly forward and bleating, in a very anxious tone bordering on panicky, YOU HAVE TO MOVE, MORE CHILDREN ARE COMING DOWN THE SLIDE! Apparently, this woman is unaware that the overall favorite activity of children in a play place is to form a giant human train all the way down the slide chute, until it backs up to the plastic car and the abandoned kid can finally claw his way to freedom.

Dear basically everyone,

Rocketbook-2016-01-08-145544-Page003I’m really sorry I haven’t called/texted/responded to your e-mail/written you a letter on the cute stationery I keep buying and then shoving guiltily in a drawer, where it stays hidden from the light of day until Addie unearths it and uses it to write letters to her boyfriend Alex (and by letters, I really just mean pictures of them dressed as ninjas and riding unicorns over a rainbow). Don’t worry, it’s not you. I am failing everyone equally.

I used to be the poster girl for Keeping In Touch. I once wrote an embarrassingly long and heartfelt letter to my second grade student teacher and gave it to my dad to mail it, despite the fact that I didn’t have the woman’s address or first name. My dad, rather than attempting to track her down and hand-deliver the missive, as a TV dad might do, chose to hoard this letter for twenty years and then present it to me one unsuspecting Christmas, alongside the response I got to an ill-fated fan letter to Mark Harmon that just read “rude is rude and I don’t reward it”, so that I could suffer maximum retroactive embarrassment in front of the highest number of family members. This is why my dad is infinitely cooler than TV dads, even though our soundtrack was more out of control laughter than AWWWWs.

Even after these ignominious failures, I kept on pursuing my mission of being The First Person to Never Lose Touch With Anyone She Ever Knew, Ever. Some of you may remember this phase– there were a lot of letters with quotes from Billy Joel songs in them, plus long phone calls in which we lovingly dissected the plots of each Harry Potter book in turn. I was a wiz at texting on the T9 format, and I may or may not have had a text message signature.

But somewhere along the line, I started running out of things to say.

I don’t know if it was the arrival of my first smartphone– presented with a device that allowed me to call, text and e-mail from one convenient location, I proceeded to freak out and use it solely as a method of playing bootleg Uno against strangers for hours– or my full-time job, or my children– but over time, I realized there are only so many ways to say “I went to work, I drove home, I microwaved some dinosaur-shaped chicken and read five thousand books about cats, and then I went to sleep” before your audience starts losing interest.

Deep down, though, I have remained that overeager yearbook signer begging everyone to KIT! So I hope all of you will consider this form letter to be my first volley into a successful re-ignition of our communications:

Dear [YOUR NAME HERE],

I am so sorry that I fell off the face of the earth and stopped responding to your e-mails. The truth is, while you were off being awesome and doing your [Cross-fit/volunteer work/pro-bono cases involving cute monkey defendants/writing and directing a successful Broadway play about the life and times of Spiro Agnew/other cool hobby here], I have been very busy barely remembering to shower and spending an uncomfortable amount of time reading quizzes on Buzzfeed.

As you may have heard, I am spending 2016 trying to better myself, and also learn Spanish and maybe start drinking more than a pity cup of water every day, and so, I would love for us to get back in touch. I promise I will write you witty repartee about my day, and ask questions that really matter, like “do you put your dirty dishes IN the sink, or on the counter NEXT to the sink?” You think that question has an obvious answer, but ask around. You’ll be surprised.

So [YOUR NAME HERE], what do you say? Are you ready to enter into the magical world of electronic communication? Also, do you promise not to save any embarrassing e-mails I write and forward them back to me in 2036? That’s kind of a dealbreaker for me.

Love,
Kim

 

Booby trap

[Author’s note: The following blog contains frank discussion re: my boobs. Please advise my dad that he has to skip this one. Don’t tell him what it’s about. Just say it’s got something to do with, like, a Father’s Day surprise or something. Wait, don’t say that, because then I’d have to come up with an actual Father’s Day surprise. Just say it’s about my period. That’s somehow better than him reading about my boobs.]

I feel like when I die, if history is allowed to choose what’s written on my headstone, it will read KIM OJA: SHE HAD FREAKISHLY LARGE BOOBS. It’s basically my defining characteristic: curly hair, completely rectangular body frame, giant knockers from outer space.

This sounds as though I’m bragging, but honestly, it’s anything but. I’ve been lugging these things around since the third grade, and I’m honestly getting pretty tired of them. They turn any hug into a game of Invasion of the Inappropriate Booby Mashers, and any button-down shirt into a game of Unintentional Sexy Peek-a-boo. In fact, they really offer you only two sartorial options: something I like to call Sun’s Out Boobs Out, in which you basically have no choice but to appear as though you just walked off the set of a porno, even if you’re just trying to buy cat litter at Target, or Matronly Librarian Grandma, a high-collared, gunny-sack approach to hiding your dirty pillows entirely.

Also, once, I found a piece of granola under one of my boobs when I hadn’t eaten granola in at least 24 hours. Which is so super gross that I can’t even spend much time thinking about it, although I guess the lesson I learned there is that, in a pinch, I might be able to store snacks in there.

And I don’t even get to count them as Curves, since in order to qualify as being Curvy, you also need a small waist and bigger hips and ass. My hips and waist are the exact same size, and I have the flattened pancake butt of a 14-year-old boy, so basically I just look like a brick that someone taped two oranges to.

Things have only gotten worse since I gained a little weight over the last few weeks, since it appears that three fourths of that weigh has deposited itself into Left Boob, leaving Right Boob looking sad and deflated in comparison to her bulked up sister. Thankfully I’m able to camouflage it pretty well, but every once in a while I look down and it looks like someone just slapped some googly eyes on my chest and called it a day.

I know I shouldn’t complain about having something that other people literally undergo surgery to achieve. And I know I could undergo surgery myself, if it really meant that much to me. But every once in a while, they just become a little too much, and I want to take them off and leave them on my bedside table for a little while. Although I guess if I did that, where would I store my snacks?

The Baby’s Speech

This afternoon, I took Rosie to a speech therapist to attempt to address her refusal to communicate at a level higher than that of Cro-Magnon Man. I figured it was a win-win situation– I would finally know what Rosie wanted for breakfast without pointing at every single thing in our pantry and saying “THIS?” really loudly like I was talking to a foreign tourist, and Rosie would finally be able to explain to me why exactly it is that she spazzes out whenever I try to sing her “Rocket Man” at bedtime. A deep-seated fear of space travel? Maybe she likes the Shatner version better?

The appointment started out well enough– waiting room full of toys, other kids for Rosie to wander up to and then stare pointedly at, which is her current favorite group activity. The therapist came and got us, took us to another room with even more toys (as well as some sort of hellish high-chair looking thing with arm straps that I don’t even know what that was for– “ENUNCIATE YOUR R’S OR YOU WILL NEVER EAT MAC AND CHEESE AGAIN!”) and started explaining to me what was going to happen. There were two parts to today’s visit– observation for Rosie, and a test for me.

That’s where things started going downhill.

In addition to my fear of sandwiches and driving, I also have a strange paranoia that all doctors will think I am constantly faking, even if I’m not. In my mind, there is a good chance that I could walk into an ER with a bullet wound and the doctor would just be like “did you try putting Bactine on it? God, suck it up.” And as soon as I knew I had to take a test, I absolutely knew that they were going to find two things:

  1. There was nothing wrong with Rosie
  2. I am a bad person for taking up valuable time from a client that actually needs speech therapy, and there’s a distinct possibility that the worst picture ever taken of me will be used in a Ted Cruz campaign commercial about how I am everything that’s wrong with Obamacare

And then it didn’t help that as soon as they started asking Rosie to pronounce things, she was busting out words I didn’t even know she knew as crisply as a proper British lady, and the therapist exclaimed over how well she was doing, and all I could do was stare at Rosie with slitted eyes, because now I knew she was just dogging it at home. I had just been subject to a long con.

I won’t know the results of the test until next week– I will say that Rosie followed up her initially stunning performance with a ten minute incomprehensible monologue that appeared to be about the pair of shorts she wanted to put on her baby doll, but could also have been about world hunger– but I’m thinking this entire thing was just a ruse so that Rosie could get out of day care for a couple hours and play with some new toys. I hope she shows this level of dedication to her school work in a couple of years. At least I already know that she’ll be better at tests than I ever was.

 

Weigh to go

You know how the Modern Woman is supposed to be all body-positive and embrace her curves and wear a bikini even though her midsection looks like it was mauled by a mountain lion? (Maybe that last one is just me.) Listen, I try to do that, I really do. 95% of the time, I don’t let three numbers on a scale define me. I don’t care about the numbers on the tags in my dresses, either, as long as they fit me nicely and make me feel sassy. Basically, I don’t care about numbers at all, so my life is very much like my junior year of high school when I almost failed pre-calculus.

But then 5% of the time I care about numbers very much, and basically become like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. 

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This would also explain my hatred of K-Mart

Not coincidentally, this 5% of time matches up almost exactly to the 5% of time that I bother to weigh myself. I generally try to steer clear of the scale as much as I can, because as long as I know that I once weighed 135 pounds eight years ago, I can assume that that hasn’t changed. Logic!

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of weighing myself last night– which you’re never supposed to do, anyway, because by the end of the day you are basically just a walking sack of fatty bloatasticness that somehow magically fixes itself while you’re sleeping– and discovered that in order to reach my goal weight, I will have to literally just stop eating until August 2018.

This, of course, is not feasible, because I have no self-control, so any attempt at a fast would last only the length of time it took me to use my superhuman chocolate-seeking powers to locate the nearest source of free candy on someone’s desk. So instead I need to work on developing a healthier relationship with food– salad and I are good friends, but I’m in a very abusive relationship with pizza– and then I have to do the unthinkable.

I have to exercise.

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Photographic representation of my feelings on exercise.

I am fully indoctrinated in the Cult of Fitbit (I HAVE WALKED OVER 4200 MILES SINCE 2013 AND I WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT IT!!!), but I’m starting to think that’s not enough. I may actually have to do something that involves sweating, and there is almost nothing I hate more than sweating (maybe kitten murder– maybe). And as someone who managed to live her entire life without participating in a single sport since a season of pre-K t-ball and whose gym teacher once open mocked the way she ran, I can promise you that I am not cut out to be a person who exercises “for fun”. I refuse to accept that it can be fun, and when you attempt to persuade me otherwise, all I hear is “HEY! COME SWEAT SO HARD THAT YOUR UNDERBOOBS BECOME A LUSH AND VERDANT RAIN FOREST, AND THEN GASP MANIACALLY FOR AIR WHILE WORKING YOUR LIMBS SO HARD THAT YOU FEEL LIKE YOU GOT HIT BY A TRAIN!”

So I’ll do it if I have to, but I expect some sort of award ceremony afterward. With cake. There has to be cake.

And now, a word from Kim’s Headache

What up, jerks?

This is Kim’s Headache—the one she’s had for the last two days, that makes it feel like there’s a balloon filled with acid threatening to pop inside her entire neck and head area. You know, the kind that starts out all innocently, like, man, I must have slept wrong on my awesome new pillow, but NOPE, because I AM HERE TO DESTROY YOUR WORLD, MOTHERFUCKER.

Kim never gets headaches, either, which is what makes this so fun. She literally prides herself on it, as if not getting headaches is an actual skill she has cultivated over the years. She gets the stomach flu as easily as making eye contact with a weird IT guy in the work elevator, but headaches, never.

So when I come in and unpack my bags and take my Frito-smelling socks off and drape them over the radiator of her brain, she freaks the fuck out. It’s suddenly Hug Your Children One Last Time Before You Die time, because It Is Obviously Brain Cancer.

And I am an extra bad headache, too, not the kind that you can banish with a couple of Advil and a glass of hot tea. I am the kind of headache that takes at least four Advil and a crucifix to even slightly subdue. I’m the kind of headache that removes your sense of taste and replaces it with the taste of grass clippings and metal, even though you can still smell everything just fine, just because I can.

Kim’s other organs tried to stand up to me, and I’m like, whatever, you’re fat and stupid and nobody loves you, and they all just ran away crying. I am like the Donald Trump of headaches.

And you know what? Also like Donald Trump, I have decided that I am never leaving. I’ve got a good gig here. I kind of outgrew Kim’s head and face area, so I’ve annexed her lymph nodes. They’re like a pied a terre for my awfulness. I didn’t anticipate that my move would also make it more difficult for Kim to swallow, but good. I am glad.

I know once I finally get evicted, it might be ages before I can sneak back in here, so I’m living it up. EDM Dance Party in Kim’s sinus cavity right now, and y’all are invited. Because I am nothing if not generous. I keep it 100.

Addie Oja: YouTube Sensation

It is completely natural, as a first-time parent, to assume that you will not fall into the same traps as every parent to ever come before you. Sure, it seems like everyone else’s kid only eats chicken nuggets and hot dogs, but your kid will be different– your kid will eat off the adult menu at a sushi restaurant and everyone will be like, “my goodness, what a little champion among men! You are clearly the greatest parent of all time– I DEMAND you write a book with all your secrets,” and you will laugh and say “oh, no, there’s no secret, we just don’t offer any other food options– we make this child fit into our lives, not the other way around.” And then everyone will applaud, and you will probably win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Or, more likely, your child will stage a hunger strike that goes on for days, and your only options become mac and cheese or death. And it’s not even going to be the good mac and cheese, it’s going to be shaped like Spongebob Squarepants and colored florescent orange.

I think new parents face this dilemma on a daily basis– this one, or any number of others like it. YOUR child will only read classic literature from a very young age, and will already have the entire Harry Potter series under her belt by the third grade (most of which she read by herself, because she’s also a genius). Never mind that right now, MY child will only read one book– something called “Biscuit Makes a Friend”– over and over and over again. One day she may also put her clothes in the hamper without being threatened with amputation, or make it through a trip to the grocery store without imploding when I won’t buy her a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles snack saver. But that day is not today.

No, today was the day I helped her make her first egg surprise video.

If you are a parent and have somehow avoided these up to this point, then congratulations– you really SHOULD write a book with all your secrets (unless your secret is “Don’t let your kid play with the computer,” in which case I will just be ignoring your advice outright). But if you’re anything like me, you were powerless to stop the creep of these videos into your every day life.

The premise is eerily simple– someone, usually a grown-up who probably never has sex with anyone ever, presents a series of plastic Easter eggs to the camera. And then opens them. And there are toys inside. And then we gawk at the toys. And that’s it.

It is really, really creepy.

Of course, there are more variations than just that– sometimes, the eggs are hidden inside inflated balloons, so there’s also the delightful treat of hearing balloons popped before you get to the big toy reveal. Or sometimes, they’re in a kiddie pool, and the star of the video has to go wading for them. Sometimes, the star is just a disembodied, vaguely Asian female voice with a fancy manicure. Sometimes, it’s a man in a really shitty Spiderman costume.

And sometimes, it’s my five-year-old daughter.

To be fair, Addie has moved on to a different, slightly less creepy iteration of the egg surprise video– it’s an offshoot of the genre in which people watch as you build Lego sets. Addie had a pet hospital she wanted to show off to the world, so she disassembled it before even asking if I’d be willing to act as videographer in this scheme. I readily accepted, as it was a family activity we could do together that allowed me to just sit very still and make no noise, so we staged the set in our dining room, and Addie made the magic happen.

As I was filming, I took a moment to appreciate how much work must actually go into these egg surprise videos. Most of the other videos, for instance, didn’t have a backdrop of sun-faded school art, or a cat that appeared halfway through and started eating out of a discarded yogurt container, or a baby intent of providing her own DVD voice-over narration. They also starred narrators who actually knew how to assemble the Lego project in question, and they did not end with a completely unrelated set piece about something called Fart Goo.

The finished product was a triptych of videos so flawless in their amateurish nature that I am certain that we are going to be a write-in for the best film short category at the Oscars this year. When the accolades come rolling in, I fully expect my name to be up there with Scorsese, Spielberg, and the guy who directed Sharknado. 

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You gotta stick it out for the big fart goo finale

From what I understand, people are making millions of dollars a year creating and starring in these egg surprise videos, but I don’t think Addie is going to be one of them, at least not yet. It’s not exactly the life path I would have chosen for her, but I like to let my children spread their wings wide like eagles, and soar through life at their own altitude.

I also almost exclusively feed them dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and raspberries for every meal, so I might not be the best judge of these sorts of things.

The weight of a kangaroo tail: Monologue for a middle-aged man

[The scene opens in a sparsely decorated DMV. Every seat is filled, but the spotlight is trained on one chair in particular, occupied by a silver-haired man with tiny eyes made even tinier by his metal-framed glasses. Most of his monologue is directed not at the audience, but at the bored-looking teenage girl seated beside him.]

Man: See, this is what happens when we don’t get up early. Gotta get up early if you want to beat the lines. But you had to stay up late last night playing with your phone, huh? Insta-chatting with your girlfriends.

I’ve seen a couple of people come in here and grab a number and then go back outside to sit in their car. That’s stupid. It’s like, do they think the ladies behind the counter are going to go outside and summon them when it’s their turn? Then they come back in here and are all mad when they’ve missed their number and have to start over from the beginning. And then they do the same thing again. It’s lunacy.

[Nudges teen girl with elbow, juts chin at incoming man. Says, loudly:] Ohhhh, no. Here comes trouble. Am I right? Here comes trouble. Here comes– oh. Never mind. I don’t know that guy.

Kayla is going to New York City for spring break, huh? You tell Kayla that’s the most godforsaken city in America. If you’re looking for good shopping, you go to Vegas. Vegas has the best mall in America.

You know, I read somewhere that if you lift up a kangaroo’s tail, it wouldn’t be able to jump. But have you ever tried to lift up a kangaroo’s tail? It’s basically impossible. It weighs like eighty pounds.

Huh. Those guys in line just said that Lenny died. I wonder who Lenny is. I hope his family is okay.

No, we’re not getting coffee after this. Did you know there are eight teaspoons of sugar in a caramel macchiato? I might as well let you drink a two-liter of Pepsi then. Probably be better for your stomach.

[The man’s number is called. He rises and approaches the desk.] I am an illegal. My driver’s license is out of date. [Leans in to hear what the woman has to say.] No, I don’t want to take off my glasses for the vision test. I need my glasses to see? What kind of stunt are you trying to pull?

[SCENE]