A Silent Killer


On any given week, the things that are going to “kill you” seem to change at the drop of a hat. Drinking too much coffee is bad. Not drinking enough coffee is bad. Texting is bad. Emails are bad. TV is bad. Standing is bad. Sitting is bad. CAN’T WE JUST LIVE?

The “perils of sitting” seem to be the danger du jour, and to combat the paranoia and guilt us into “wellness,” my company installed standing desks for everyone who has a cubicle. So far, I think their purpose is primarily to have people walk by and exclaim, “Ooo, standing desks!” before walking into their offices and shutting the door. And because there are a bunch of us with the desks, it’s become a competitive peer-pressure situation. “Well, I stood for three HOURS yesterday!” and “Oh, not in the mood to STAND today?” ….are both things I’ve said since getting this desk.

The standing desk has grown on me as the week has gone by, and I do find myself feeling a little guilty when I sink into my ergonomic chair, avoiding the gazes of my coworkers high above me. And inversely, I actually looked forward to adjusting my desk to the appropriate standing height for optimal neck and shoulder comfort when I got into work this morning! Anything I can do to make my life longer…except giving up coffee. If that swings around to being bad for me again, I’ll stand for the rest of my working days!

What’s My Age: 75, funneling my retirement fund into velcro-closed New Balences.

An Ideal Commute (…What?!)

When I started working and was living at home so many moons ago, the absolute worst part of my day (and the primary source of the gallons of tears I shed) was my commute–a two-and-a-half hour ordeal that destroyed my soul and any future I had of living in New Jersey ever again. Even now, five years later, I still walk past Port Authority and dry-heave in front of the Hale and Hearty Tavern and Bar! The smell of a NJ Transit bus will forever be burned into my nostril hairs! Just typing “NJ Transit” sent a whirl of terror to my gut!

My sister on the other hand, has a commute so ideal, it’s walking distance…from her bed. She works from home and the longest part of the day is the 14-step staircase to the downstairs kitchen. What a life! Let this inspire some jealousy before the mad-cap commuting dash of the holiday weekend….



Chomp, Snap, Scream!

132I can think of few things that I find more disgusting, more distracting, more loathsome than listening to the sound of someone snapping their gum. Unfortunately, I happen to work in an office where this is not only an acceptable practice, but one that literally EVERYONE I WORK IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH DOES. I always considered myself a bit of a compulsive gum-chewer (albeit a silent one…) but my bad habit pales in comparison to the amount of Wrigley’s (sponsor me??) that’s being smacked, chomped and snapped for ten hours a day.

Obviously, this is a burden I have to bear silently (unlike the chewers around me…). How does one even brooch that topic? “Um, excuse PLEASE STOP OR I WILL MURDER YOU!” is what I really want to say, but that seems to lack the professional demeanor I try to emulate in the office. I just really can’t think of a solution that doesn’t have me snapping. (Har har….gum puns!)

Also, even though everyone is loudly advertising that they have gum, no one ever offers to share the gum! This may be the biggest crime of all in my book. If I have to suffer through this disgusting symphony of jaws and tongues, I should at least get a free stick out of the deal! For now, my coping mechanism is plugging in headphones, massaging my temples, and wishing for a sharp stick to poke through my eye!

What’s My Age: 7, when I finally learned how to blow bubbles with my wheel of Bubble Tape. 


Height is Not Relative


I’m a pretty tall lady, and it’s definitely not something I’m self-conscious about. I honestly can’t remember ever being insecure about my height, which is pretty surprising, considering I’ve been almost 5’8″ since I was 13, and the majority of my teenage years were spent in a haze of self-consciousness and embarrassment. But I’ve been saved from the habit of slumping or crouching, and I’ve embraced my perfect posture with gusto!

The one arena that this has become a bit of an issue though is with online dating. Three times now I’ve met men who were either exactly my height or just slightly taller, which means that they lied about how tall they were. When a person says they’re 5’10”, that’s something I can visualize pretty clearly, and when I find myself eye level with my match, my limited math skills quickly calculate this little fib while simultaneously feeling sweet relief that I wore flats.

Obviously, there’s more to a person than their height, but we all have our types and mine is a tad taller than the average Joe. But what I also don’t understand is why you would lie about your height in the first place! Unlike other personality traits you could probably bury until date two or three, it’s going to be pretty obvious that this detail doesn’t match up. Maybe I’m just being vain, but potential mates, lie about the true extent of your Game of Thrones obsession before bending the truth on your height, for the sake of tall girls everywhere!

What’s My Age: 17, when I rocked the boho-glam look for senior prom, complete with flat gladiator sandals, so I hovered just a single inch above my date. 

Snacks on Snack on Snacks

126My office loves treats! We’re always celebrating birthdays, sharing breakfast breads, passing around giant boxes of chocolates, and digging into cupcakes just because it’s “Thursday” or “raining out” or “a work day.” Hey, I’m not complaining! I love treats! I will always remember the magical day last summer when a Friendly’s ice cream man came in and made sundaes for everyone. It was, without question, one of the best days of my entire life. (Only made better if they had had Vienna Mocha Chunk, the best ice cream EVER CHURNED.) (PS, Friendly’s, sponsor this blog please???)

But last time I checked, having sweets available in the office doesn’t automatically mean that you have to eat them. And yet the amount of chatter surrounding said treats is almost always a deafening chorus of: “OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT SUGAR THING HOW CAN I POSSIBLY EAT THAT I CANNOT BELIEVE I’M TAKING ONE OF THESE I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M EATING THIS AND DIGESTING IT INTO MY BODY OH MY GOODNESS I AM AN AWFUL PERSON I WILL NEVER FORGIVE MYSELF WHY DID ANYONE BUY THIS THERE ARE SO MANY SWEETS AT WORK!”

Ahem. Here’s a protip: If you would like to eat a sweet thing, then eat one. If you do not want to eat a sweet thing, then don’t eat one. But please, let’s not air every single one of our body insecurities over a chocolate chip cookie. Save that for bathing suit shopping!

What’s My Age: 52, prime age for saying things like, “This is going straight to my hips!” and, “I need this (insert food item here) like I need a hole in my head!” 



A Taste of Justice

135Last month, I was called to do my civil service and report to jury duty! When I announced this news, the universal reaction was “Ugh, that’s HORRIBLE. I feel so bad for you!” But frankly, I was really looking forward to it! It was an opportunity to be out of the office for a few days, and done with my day by 5 PM! And because I work for the news, I just assumed I would automatically be excused from serving because of “the media” and could spend the day reading my book in peace.

But my two days at City Hall were much more eventful than I anticipated, and I think I became the first person in the history of the universe/the US court system to love going to jury duty! It was great to start my day with a purpose–I had to be at the courthouse by 9 AM, which is about 40 minutes before I usually even wake up in the morning! There I was, riding the rails with the other downtown commuters, coffee cup in hand, making my way to city hall. Just the hustle and bustle of legal life was an exciting change of pace, and the paralegal eye candy wasn’t half bad either! Career change?!

Throw in a full hour lunch break each day, the opportunity to actually meet friends for a real-life happy hour, getting home when it was still light out….what a dream! And the legal process itself was incredibly interesting–while I didn’t get put on a trial, I got through several jury deliberations before they indeed cut me loose. Too bad I have to wait another six years til I’m back in the box once again!

What’s My Age: 24, a recently-graduated law student, still intoxicated by the potent cocktail of pure justice! 

Aaannnddd Here We Go!

127Something I haven’t yet dipped my toe into on the blog is talking about online dating, mostly because I ABSOLUTELY HATE ONLINE DATING and it causes me a pretty high level of angst. But….what is this blog for if not angst?? Why did I start this blog if not to air my grievances about everything in my life? Plus, I think I’ve turned a corner and have gotten to the point where some of the scenarios I find myself in can actually seem pretty comical, which means that, with the help of support group, I’m “ready to share.”

But why do I hate online dating? WHERE TO BEGIN. I have a lot of thoughts (mostly of the caps-lock variety…) on this topic, primarily because I haven’t been successful at it, so obviously there must be something wrong with “the system.” But my biggest complaint is that it gives us an anonymous platform to be our worst selves, with no consequences. We judge people on their looks, we decide at the drop of a hat and without any second thought we’re not interested, we put zero effort in and get annoyed when there’s no response, or we put too much effort in and then feel upset when it’s not reciprocated. And then, if the stars align and you find some random person you have a thread of commonality with, carry on a dialogue with them, make plans to actually meet, follow through with those plans, and then meet face to face…where to begin with where it goes from there?!?!

This is really more of an intro to a continuing series I’d like to call “Why Alyssa Can’t Get a Boyfriend.” (still working on that title…) But needless to say, the story pot is practically overflowing, so get ready to feel a lot better about yourselves at my expense. And if you happen to be in a successful relationship, find your person and scream in their face, THANK GOD YOU EXIST.

What’s My Age: 12–a socially awkward pre-teen TOTALLY STRESSING about like, never ever having a boyfriend! 

Loud and Proud

130-01The benefit of being a naturally nosy person is that it’s delightful when you find those little gems of conversation on the subway, on the street, or on someone’s phone (I have perfected the side eye…). And because I usually get off the train before a conversation is finished, or breeze past before fights are resolved, I hear these things without any sort of context, which makes them more bizarre and head-scratching than they might be otherwise! But I’m glad people are feeling their feelings out loud so I can secretly laugh at them on the internet. Keep it up!

  • “My life is just full of question marks right now, but I’m really learning to just embrace that. But it means I have a hard time making any real decisions, because I’m embracing those question marks. You know?”
  • “You shouldn’t have to date in the winter. That should be a thing.”
  • “What’s your mantra for 2016?”
  • “So I told her to stop texting him completely and her brother was like, ‘Woah, that’s extreme!’ And I was like, ‘No! This is necessary!'”
  • (Read subtly from a guy’s cell phone screen as he was typing it….) I’ve been beginning to wonder if deep down I don’t really want a relationship with anyone.  ….(text bubbles from invisible friend) I’ve been thinking the same thing.

How many of us have written that text?! (Raises hand slowly….)

What’s My Age: 73, a nosy grandma who swears she will keep your secret…and then tells everyone the secret.