What I’ve Learned from Compulsively Watching True Crime for 20 Years

1. If you absolutely have to go to Washington state, do everything in your power to avoid going to Snohomish County. Nothing good happens in Snohomish County, Washington. Just look at Ann Rule’s body of work – she made an entire career out of writing books about horrific crimes that have been committed in this one small region of the country. (Seriously, she wrote, like, 50 books about terrible, random murders that have all taken place in Snohomish County.) Judging from the Ann Rule canon, which I am deeply familiar with, if you spend enough time in Snohomish County, there’s an extremely good chance that you will be viciously attacked close to your bus stop and battered about the face and head by the light of the Washington moon.

If you’re a sportier type and prone to hiking, you could also get killed on Snoqualmie Pass. Snoqualmie Pass seems to be a mountain that is extremely dangerous not because of its treacherous terrain, but because it attracts psychopaths like moths to a scenic flame. If you absolutely have to go to Washington state and you absolutely have to go hiking, do everything in your power to avoid hiking Snoqualmie Pass – that is, unless you’re in the mood to grapple with a knife-wielding, AWOL soldier who thinks he’s still in Vietnam.

2. If someone seems like a pervert or a killer, he might very well be a pervert or a killer. Humans have a sixth sense for a reason – that little voice in your head is millions of years of evolution telling you that it’s probably a good idea to quicken your pace when passing that gentleman who’s dressed in a soiled trenchcoat and scratched aviators and screaming expletives at no one. Is there a weird dude driving your cab? It’s okay to get out of the cab if you feel like you’re about to get Bone Collectored in it.

3. If you discover that the lock on the window of your ground-floor bedroom is broken and you’re missing a few pairs of underpants and your hairbrush, leave the apartment immediately. There’s clearly a creepy teenager loose in your neighborhood who may very well have masturbated into your sock drawer while wearing one of your hats. Go stay with a friend or a relative until that lock gets fixed and call ADT.

4. Always be extremely punctual when going anywhere and never miss or cancel any plans with anyone. Also, pick up your cell phone every time someone calls you. That way, people will realize pretty quickly if you go missing. They’ll say things like, “Well, I knew that Sarah must have been in the trunk of a sadomasochist’s Kia when she didn’t text me exactly at 11pm like she always does.” What I’m trying to say is, don’t be a fucking flake like me, or else if you do get kidnapped and call someone for help, your lifeline will just be like, “Yeah, sure, Sarah, you’re in the trunk of a sadomasochist’s Kia. It’s always something with you. I’m just going to order without you,” and hang up.

Daily Aggravation 53: Public Denture Removal

The other day on the 6 train downtown, I sat across from a woman whose shrunken face and whopping height of 3’2″ made it obvious that she was 180 years old. Her eyes contained centuries of wisdom, but apparently, none of that wisdom pertained to how to act on a New York City subway.

At first, all she did was eat sunflower seeds – so many sunflower seeds. I was wondering what she was doing with the shells; they seemed to disappear as soon as she spat them out, which, quite honestly, I was thankful for. Then, I turned to my right, where I spotted a gaggle of young, Italian tourists all staring in the general direction of the old woman with their mouths agape. Clearly, something of note was going on with her –  and it turned out to be the most disgusting act I’ve ever seen on the subway (and I was born and raised here).

The old woman had removed her dentures, leaving a puckered, anus-like hole in place of the normal-looking mouth she’d just had, and was proceeding to suck and lick her dentures clean. I honestly didn’t even know what to do with myself besides continue to stare at her, trying to figure out how to make sense of this horrific display.

It was then that I caught the eye of a younger gentleman, who broke into a big grin and whispered to me, “Disgusting, just disgusting,” in a thick accent, referring to our friend, the immortal pig. Turning to my left, I saw that a middle-aged man was absolutely dying with silent laughter; tears were rolling down his face as he tried to contain himself. The Italian tourists got in on the fun, too, as did a beautiful young teenager who was, unfortunately, sitting right next to the old woman as she worked her dentures like this was her last meal for the next six months. We all grinned at each other, totally horrified but bonding through mutual disgust.

At long last, we arrived at my stop, and I got off the train, both utterly scarred and glowing with the satisfaction I get from having real, human interactions with strangers on the subway. We may have the weirdest people in the world living here, but damn, do I love this city.

 

Human Ken Determined to be Fiercer Than Human Barbie

The real, human versions of Barbie and Ken met each other for the first time the other day, and The Daily Mail wrote an article about how much they each hated the way the other one looked. See the news story here.

Here’s the problem, though: Human Ken isn’t Human Ken as much as he is a clone of Janice Dickinson. Go look at the photo of him in the link above and then come back and click on this one. Am I wrong? They have the same face, for crying out loud.

It would’ve saved this guy an awful lot of time if he’d just taken a photograph of Janice Dickinson throwing shade to his plastic surgeon and said, “Give me that face, but make it even FIERCER.”

Daily Aggravation 52: Having to Work Past Your Prime

I think I had the somewhat dubious honor of being the passenger of the oldest cab driver in New York City today. My initial fears about his competency were confirmed when I said, “I’m going to 78th and Madison,” and his response was a confident “78th and York!” 

My first thought was, ‘Well, maybe he just didn’t hear me,’ because I’m sorry, but there is NO accent or weird moment that could make ‘Madison’ sound even remotely like ‘York.’ Then I thought, ‘Oh, God. What if he just has no memory left? Now I have to spend the whole time worrying that my cab driver is going to forget how to drive while we’re crossing Central Park.’ Luckily, we got home just fine, and after shouting and repeating directions about where to pull up and let me off, I was out of the cab and on my merry way.

It is a grave injustice that my extremely elderly cab driver is still needing to work at 154. Sounds to me like someone danced with the devil in the pale moonlight!

A Threatening Cypriot Surprise from Sophia

The e-mail subject line “Just don’t let the days past you by without enjoying them to the fullest!” seems vaguely like a threat. I can imagine a silver-haired witch saying it with an Eastern European accent and a toothless smile while handing me a cursed trinket. So obviously, when an e-mail with that subject line arrived in my inbox, I really had to click on it. I was met with the following missive: 

Hello, mighty man! How are you?
I feel so lonely these days! I guess you would make a hot company for any playful babe like me! Why dont we meet online to get each other better? I have a number of thrilling nude pics at this dating website. Please be there for me! The registration is free. I will tell you everything in a private chat, sugar!
Cannot wait to see you! >>>>>>>   

Now
———-
To not receive this message again, visit the page below:

or write to:
Nautell Capital Limited, Stasinou, 1 Mitsi Building 1, 1st floor, Office 4 Plateia Eleftherias, Nicosia Cyprus 106

It took me a few reads, but I finally came to the realization that there is a singular line that makes this e-mail creepier than most ridiculous spam. Yes, there, in the middle of all this sex chat and weird adjectives like ‘playful’ and ‘thrilling,’ is the sentence, “Please be there for me!” 

This is the point at which the e-mail goes from being a funny romp in the world of cyber solicitation to something out of an episode of Law & Order: SVU, Cyprus Edition. Does anyone actually think that watching some chick take her clothes off on a webcam constitutes ‘being there’ for her? That person is a shitty person. Or is this a plea for help? Most importantly, why are you making me feel weird and responsible for this bot’s safety, weird sex website? This is a very bad marketing campaign, seriously.

Also, please notice that the e-mail ends with the words, “Cannot wait to see you…Now.” That is fucking terrifying and undoubtedly threatening. Is the Sophia of the e-mail address about to show up at my apartment dressed like a rabbit, or pick me up tonight in a converted taxi cab like the Bone Collector? Jesus. Way to give me a panic attack, Nautell Capital Limited. I’m going elsewhere for my viruses. 

Daily Aggravation 51: Unwieldy Rollerbladers

I experienced a new level of disgust and irritation today when I was peacefully walking down the sidewalk, headphones in, and almost got mowed down by a frizzy-haired, middle-aged woman on rollerblades. She came out of nowhere, staggering quickly towards me in an unwieldy fashion like she was doing an old-timey slapstick routine. From her helmet, ankle/knee/wrist/elbow guards and mouthpiece, I could tell that she had invested a good amount of money in looking so embarrassingly stupid and neurotic. Her socks, which looked like they were thigh-highs that had been bunched up and then pulled down, were neon yellow and glowing in the sunlight.

At the last minute, she made a sharp turn and headed across the street in the other direction, her arms flailing as she just barely maintained control over her portly body. A delivery guy on a bike and I watched her leave, and as he turned to me, we shared a look that said, “Hey, bitch – it’s 1:00pm, the sun is out, and we can see you too fucking well already. Next time, leave the day-glo socks at home.”

On The Indignity of Spray Tanning

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I was born with a pale yellow complexion akin to a discolored tooth. I have dark hair and dark eyebrows; I just look better with a tan. So today I went to the Beach Bum Tanning Salon on 86th Street to get a spray tan. 

First of all, you have to be buzzed into Beach Bum, an establishment that sits under a massive awning announcing the fact that it caters to the lily white and vain among us. This means that I stood waiting outside for a good three minutes, which doesn’t seem like that long a time when you’re not waiting to be let inside a tanning salon but really does when you are. After climbing the flight of stairs to the salon, I was rung up by a freckled girl who was animatedly grooving to the City High song, “Caramel,” while she was charging my credit card. Then I was led into the Mystic Tanning both and given a set of complicated instructions. 

“Here,” said the employee tasked with explaining how to use the machine to me as she handed me two plastic bags. In one were sticky foot shaped pads that I was instructed to affix to the soles of my feet so I didn’t end up with leathery-looking feet like a Hobbit. In the other was a shower cap. “Get undressed, wait until the machine is ready, then put barrier cream all over your hands and go into the booth. Wave your hand in front of the sensor and the spray tanning will begin.” 

When she left, I quickly disrobed, trying to minimize the amount of time I stood in the room in just my underwear. The Mystic booth is a closed chamber, but you have to do all the preparing outside of the booth, in a closet-like space that looked like there might be a hidden camera in the vent. I quickly stuck the foot pads onto the soles of my feet, then applied the barrier cream to my hands like I’d be told to. When the machine announced that the ‘warming-up period’ was complete and it was okay for me to get in the booth, I gingerly opened the door and took my position. 

Inside the booth, there were four numbered foot-shaped tiles on the floor. A robotic voice instructed me to place my left foot on Number 1 and my right foot on Number 3, and when I’d done so, the voice piped in and told me that “the spray tan [was] commencing.” 

Let me tell you – there’s nothing quite like standing half-naked in a weird booth in a weird tanning salon while a machine sprays an ice-cold mist all over your body and face. I felt kind of like I was being waterboarded, and I was concerned that I was standing incorrectly and setting myself up to be half orange, like a Bridge and Tunnel version of Two Face. Luckily, I seem to have succeeded in getting a pretty good tan, except for one thing: my hands are a different color than the rest of my body and look like I just got a hand transplant.

Hi handsome! ;)

There’s nothing like a spamalicious e-mail to put me in a good mood. This gem arrived in my inbox earlier today:

Hi handsome! 😉

If you looking forward about spending great time in a company of funny, cute chick then I’m waiting for u!
I really liked ur photo shots and that’s why decided to send this mail! I’m sure that you wouldn’t stay disappointed after staring at mine too.
So, I wait for you to answer this message and who knows we will go somewhere, drink some vodka, talk about different subjects and who knows I gonna invite you to visit my life! 😉

You can find my profile here: xxxxxxx

With kisses,
Trinity

First of all, just who does Trinity assume I am? “Hi handsome”?! Jeez. This reminds me of that time a waiter called me ‘Sir.’

Furthermore, I’m pretty sure that ‘going somewhere,’ ‘drinking some vodka’ and ‘talking about different subjects’ sound like three suggestions a bunch of aliens would make during a round of Taboo if the category was ‘Humanoid Courting Rituals.’ This begs the question: are we missing out on having contact with extraterrestrials by not checking our Spam inboxes?

I must admit, though – I can’t stop thinking about whether or not Trinity gonna invite me to visit her life! Can you even imagine? Just chilling like Zenon, looking out of a space portal at a red dwarf, drinking cold vodka and chatting with an alien from Mars Attacks. I’m SO DOWN.

Who knows.

With kisses,
Caroline

Daily Aggravation 50: Instagram Activists

People are close to rioting in the streets because Instagram wants to claim ownership of their photographs, and I’m having a hard time getting behind their rage. Seriously, what photos are people posting that warrant this kind of self-entitled ire? All I ever see on that website are pictures of kale salads and ugly feet at the beach.

I’ve got news for you, everyone on Instagram: nobody gives a fuck about the sunset you saw from the window of the Denny’s on the interstate, and we couldn’t care less that you tried on a zany hat that you didn’t even BUY. Also, your dog may be cute, but we don’t need real-time updates about his bathroom habits, and finally, WE GET IT, you have friends. Am I supposed to congratulate you on not being Boo Radley?

How about instead of getting so uppity about something so trivial, you delete your fucking Instagram and devote your activist energy to something that isn’t, oh, I don’t know, COMPLETELY self-serving? Kthanksbye.