Emily Chase Smith, Writer – Unedited


Product Name: Emily Chase Smith, Writer – Unedited

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Visions of Vespas and front row parking danced in my head as I signed up for a motorcycle class at the local community college. The vintage green scooter with the surf rack must have obscured my better judgment when I picked a weekend in August, in California, on asphalt, and in boots, jeans, gloves and a long-sleeved shirt. I blame everything that happened next on my heatstroke-addled brain.

The first evening of the class was held in a comfortably air-conditioned room and started innocuously with introductions. Reasons for taking the course ranged from learning to ride on the freeway to clearing a violation for not having a motorcycle license. Our teacher, Doc, spent three hours teaching us motorcycle safety, but all I heard is 257 ways to get killed riding a motorcycle. Doc’s gems included, “whether the ball hits the window or the window hits the ball, the window pays the price” and “humans are at the top of the food chain, and bikers are at the bottom.”

My favorite question came from the Jersey boy, Jared, in the row behind me sporting a gold necklace and two diamond earrings. He asked, “what if I’m just running up to the store to get a pack of cigarettes in the middle of the night? Do I need to wear boots?”  Leave it to Jared put the old axiom ‘there is no stupid question’ to bed for all time.  To his credit, Doc fielded the question like a pro. The rule is, “all the gear all the time or take the car.” He went on to paint a picture of Jared hopping on his motorcycle in the middle of the night to get his fix wearing flip-flops. Going 40 miles an hour, Jared hits a rock and lays over his bike. The result is a meat sandwich – the asphalt and bike are the bread and Jared’s ankle is the smoked turkey. A compelling visual. I felt like we should also break out the slides of cancerous lungs, but one step at a time.

Among other protective riding gear Doc talked about armor – pieces of metal placed at strategic bony points on the body like knees, ankles and knuckles. Doc told a story of getting the freeway and the car in front of him kicking up a rock that hit him on his index finger knuckle. It felt like a shot and if Doc had not been wearing armored gloves, he was sure his finger would’ve been taken off. It was about this time that I began to seriously reconsider my Vespa decision. Even the lure of endless parking may not be enough.

We then went out to the lava pit for the riding portion – ten hours on pavement so hot it melted the glue in my classmate’s boots – not Jared’s of course because he didn’t show up. The fancy hand and footwork required to ride a motorcycle includes a clutch, gearshift, throttle, front and rear brakes and is a lot like dancing the samba with a robot. We didn’t have to deal with mirrors – all the previous crashes took them all off.

We spend hours weaving through cones, practicing swerves and fast stops. For a beginner like me who was still trying to figure out how to stay upright, it was fantastic and when we hit 15 MPH it required my full concentration.

We spent 10 total hours at speeds approaching 20 MHP riding in circles, shifting, stalling, and turning and not one person – even the total newbies dropped their bike. We did, however, spend a lot of time honking at each other while trying to signal a left-hand turn. Those buttons are really close together.

Then the clipboards came out and we took our driver’s test. I passed with non-failing colors after wiping out a few cones that apparently didn’t represent pedestrians. The whole class passed and celebrated with an ice-cold water under a pop-up tent. At the graduation ceremony the instructor, Dan, said something that changed my life forever. “These are perishable skills. If you don’t practice them, you’ll lose them.”

The next day I swung by the Harley dealership and made it official. I bought at red 2007 Sportster and enough gear to break up a prison riot. But I had tell my mother about it via text because I’m not THAT brave.

The kids and 10,000 YouTube videos wore me down and made promises my carpet wouldn’t see kept. We got a puppy. It’s surprisingly difficult to actually get your hands on an actual puppy in Southern California. The shelter waiting period is longer than one for a handgun—they clearly think you’re starting a dog fighting ring. In the end, we found an ad in the furniture section of Craigslist that was entirely in Spanish except for the word “beagle,” and our fate was sealed.

I sent an email in Spanish to which the family responded by having their English-speaking father call me. Clearly, I can’t pass for a Spanish speaker even in writing.

Here are the good things about having a puppy:

Here are the bad things about having a puppy:

I work at home, so now I have a companion. She’s like every annoying office colleague I’ve ever had rolled into one. Ashley who eats your yogurt—the puppy eats your furniture. Melissa who won’t stop talking—puppies have seventy-five different ways of getting your attention, all of which include copious quantities of noise. And Elaine’s messy files have nothing on a pile of crap under the dining room table.

Like babies, God tricks you into a puppy with cuteness and takes away your better judgment with sleep deprivation or the streets would be filled with Moses in the bulrushes baskets of puppies. Take the dog and the money’s yours. You can even resell them on Craigslist, but try the pet section this time.

Some experiences are so horrific they drive me to write. Some things I know will provide such fodder it’s practically entrapment. Enter speed dating.

Just like the title of one of my favorite podcasts, I am a woman of uncertain age, but just between you and me, that age is 44. The stated age range was 34–46 for women and 37–49 for men, and the category was designated “professional,” but despite the maturity and education, it is just as awkward and terrible as you’d imagine.  The room was complete with numbered tables, name tags, and a bell that rang every six minutes. The ladies stayed seated, and the men moved around. Chivalry in action! I was staring down the barrel of ten speed dates. Bring it on.

First up was Leo, a 37-year-old full-blooded Italian. Sharp-eyed readers may be aware that at 44 I am at the “mature” end of the spectrum, whereas Leo should have been carded. That being said, I kill with the preschool set, and Leo and I shared a great many laughs. He’s so talkative that his Italian electrician coworkers regularly tell him to shut up. The pieces clicked into place. “Wait, are you telling me Italians say you talk too much?” “Yes,” he replied, “but you know what an Italian that’s been told to shut up says? YOU shut up.”

Up next was Dan, an 8th grade English teacher and former grocery bagger who bore a striking resemblance to Dana Carey in Master of Disguise. We spent our six minutes trading book recommendations and contrasting bagging groceries to teaching junior high students—bottom line—groceries don’t talk back.

John sat down in one of Nordstrom’s finest gay men’s shirts. Think Cam from Modern Family. In contrast to those football players with no necks, Jeff was all neck, no head, reminiscent of a zucchini. We don’t get to choose our skull structure, so I didn’t fault his resemblance to a tubular squash, but the stalker vibe was hard to stomach. As a former CFO for a multinational company, you’d expect John to be able to converse, but that was most definitely not the case. Longest. Six. Minutes. Of. My. Life. It was his third time there—truly shocking!

Scattered in between the notables was a parade of the unexceptional, which in this crowd was a positive. Six minutes of polite conversation with IT consultants and project managers. One told me that he was “certified divorced” and had the paperwork to prove it. Another dropped his former wife’s profession—physician. Relevant? Yet another was concerned that I didn’t make as much as a writer as I did practicing law. So kind of you to worry about my bank balance. Out of the corner of my ear, I’m hearing such conversational gems at the other tables as, “Do you have any pets?” Clearly, we’re all on this sinking ship together.

My last speed date sat down sporting a man bun—a perfect opening. He had lived all over the world, and when I asked why, he said, “to find himself.” Again the question must be asked, “What did you find?” His response, “Are we going to go there?” to which I replied, “We could just talk about what kind of car you drive.” Turns out he hasn’t owned a car in years. The talk got deep, and when Saanjh’s

not accompanying his friend to speed dating (so he’s not the only Indian guy there!), he teaches firewalking in Goa, India, and works for a nonprofit in DC. Fascinating. This guy could not be more out of place in Orange County, home of Bravo’s original Housewives franchise. We traded expat recommendations and emails.

At the end of the rounds, you turn in a paper with a list of the men’s names and “yes” or “no thanks” circled. I noticed the lack of “hell no” but let it slide. The next day you get an email with your matches—those you said yes to who said yes to you. You also get the email addresses of those you said no to but said yes to you, and I quote, “. . . in case you were on the fence about choosing them or not.” No fence sitting here. I’m going to take my chances in the grocery aisle.

My dad cruises all the time. According to him, it’s the only way to travel, but as I waited in line to check in, I couldn’t imagine him there. I was having trouble imagining me in this line. I’ve got a strong WT streak in me (white trash for the uninitiated). I’ll stay at Motel 6, and a Denny’s grilled cheese always hits the spot, but I don’t camp out at The Dollar Tree for four days. It appeared the rock-bottom fare on the cruise line I’ll call Circus was a siren song to the loud, scantily clad, heavily rouged, blowing through their unemployment benefits crowd—a booze cruise for the 40-oz. set.

The ship, let’s call it the Inventiveness, runs 3- and 4-day cruises from Southern California to Mexico. She sails up and down the coast of California and Mexico . . . never anywhere else. She doesn’t peel off and head to Europe or even the Bahamas.  She just ferries boatload after boatload of drunk fast-food workers in for a good time Fresno with décor lifted from the Vegas Tropicana.

My good friend Kate and I have been traveling together since we found a snake in the pit toilet at church camp. She’d been on this cruise before, years before, and was designated a VIP, entitling her to one free 33-oz. bottle of water. You connoisseurs may recognize this size as “the more than you can drink in one sitting.” We didn’t let the snake stop us in 1979, and we weren’t going to let the unwashed masses stop us this time.

Cruise we did. We got the fruity drink in the cup shaped like a fish whose colors exactly matched my cruisewear top I lovingly call my Boca Raton wear. We played the heck out of bingo and sang along at the piano bar, which involved a great many keys in each and every song. We did skip the “art” sale. I was afraid that after a few days on board a Velvet Elvis above my fireplace would seem just the ticket. A narrow miss.

But on our last day aboard, Kate went prospecting and stumbled on the Serenity deck—so serene that at first we feared it was only for VIPs—read Kate. But no. It was for all of us. Complete with special yellow towels and situated at the back of the boat, we scored front row seats with only our toes between us and a view of the wide-open water. There we camped, outlasting three rounds of bachelorette parties until our stomachs called us to dinner and the Kathy Lee Gifford wine, Gifft. If you didn’t know that existed, you’ve been hanging out at all the right places.

The Gifft was flowing at the Illusions Lounge that last night. If you’re a fan of people watching, a night at the Illusions Lounge will require your prescription to be adjusted. It starts out as dancin’ to the oldies and at 10 p.m. moves into “I can twerk better than you in an outfit that would get me arrested in thirty-seven states” club. Our evening culminated in listening to a lover’s quarrel coming from the stateroom across the hall in between the slamming door and unique combinations of the seven dirty words, which I desperately tried to drown out with a rerun of The Love Boat but to no avail.

It was a cruise for the ages. A hearty thank-you to Circus Cruise Line for opening my eyes to a great many things I once believed only existed on TV—or maybe on Hollywood & Vine. I do want to be clear, though, I’m not saying don’t go on a Circus cruise. Just make sure you have all your shots. The Inventiveness in all her tarted-up glory is waiting for you.

I awake with a start to the distinctive swooshing sound of scotch tape unfurling from its roll at an alarming speed. It’s the speed at which the tape is moving that woke me up. It’s a frantic pace, one my mind knows signals something problematic, nefarious even. Whatever requires that much tape at that speed is not good news.

Could it be a plumbing leak? Scotch tape is certainly not the best choice to stop one but I could see my 10 or 13-year-old grabbing what’s at hand. They’re under strict orders not to wake me unless they’re on fire. They know the engulfed in flames rule can be extended to a plumbing guiser as well, right? Kids can be rigid sticklers when defending themselves from an obvious rule exception and magnanimous when desiring something they want, like a router restart. I should probably add excessive water and electrical issues to the list of authorized wakings but that the sound of scotch tape woke me up is not likely due to an emergency or my fear of one, but more likely my DNA, epigenetics if you will.

I don’t remember how I discovered or perhaps I always knew that if you wrap a present with more than 3 pieces of tape you’re doing it wrong. Cut the wrapping paper the right size and use one in the middle and one on each end. There might be some wiggle room with a very large box but for your garden variety gifts, three will do it. I am the oldest and the careful use of scotch tape was instilled in me. In the subsequent 5 and 7 years, my younger siblings were indoctrinated as well. Waste not want not was alive and well in our home.

I don’t remember which one of us it was, I can’t imagine it was me. As the oldest I’m still a hopeless rule follower. My brother is a more likely candidate because he was a mild to moderate rebel, but it could easily have been my sister, the undercover creative with too much time and not enough supplies. There appeared in our home a tape ball. For the uninitiated it’s exactly what it sounds like, a ball of tape. I hope you’re suitability horrified.

If one of us had taken a dump in the middle of the living room, it could not have been worse. There are reasons for that type of event that garner sympathy, not enough time to get to the bathroom, loose bowels. But there is no logical excuse, no reason that lends legitimacy to a tape ball. It represents the worst of human nature, wastefulness and pretty much all of the seven deadly sins except gluttony but you could make a case for even that. And poorly hidden. A tape ball left out in the open. No one heard its creation and if no one found it, other than the more excessive than usual tape usage, maybe there were a lot of birthdays in that time frame, no one would be the wiser. 

The fact that the tape ball was practically on display really points to my sister. Mandy is the youngest and never very good at covering her tracks. When she ate sugar out of the container in the pantry there was a gritty trail that ran right to her. Empty packets of Kool-Aid eaten in the closet were left for discovery. Jimmy and I knew to put in the evidence the trash, the bottom of the trash, not the bottom bottom where it could be seen through the bag, but middle bottom where it won’t be exhumed by someone looking for an errant school paper. I don’t remember what happened to whom when the tape ball was found but it is connected in my memory to another set of family folklore.

My mother once told us kids that we were able to go on a vacation to Hawaii because “we save tape”. It was, in her mind I believe, a connection between thrift and fun. Don’t waste your money on things that don’t bring you joy so you have money to do fun things like going to Hawaii. And she may have said all that. But we didn’t hear anything after “we can go to Hawaii because we save tape”.  I believe this conversation happened somewhere about 1985. If you have a family, whatever level of functionality, you know that once some things are said, they can never be taken back. Such is the connection between scotch tape and Hawaii.

Last year I visited Cuba. I have a very low level of Spanish but was pretty proud of speaking some while there. I was showing off by telling my kids about my trip in Spanish, the younger two having spent elementary school in a Spanish immersion program. They were listening in the polite but waiting for a break in the conversation in which to go back to their phones when I gifted them with “hablo con la pais”. What I was trying to say is that I talked to people in Cuba about their city. What I said was I talked to the city. Nothing could be funnier to my children in 2017, now, or I suspect years in the future. I tried to explain but when given an opening to mock your parent, the explanation matters not. The epic moment is immortalized.

My brother, sister and I cannot be in the same room with an exposed roll of scotch tape without making a Hawaiian comment. To our credit, it does not extend to duct tape or electrical tape but to our mother’s detriment, 33 years is not enough in which to kill it. Also immortal is my loathing of the waste of tape. I’ll roll off 15 paper towels to avoid getting even a little bit of broken raw egg on my hand, I’ll throw away the last bit of shampoo to avoid turning it over to bang it out for a few more days, but wasted tape is an abomination – and I don’t care if I ever go back to Hawaii. 

© 2011 All rights reserved.

Click here to get Emily Chase Smith, Writer – Unedited at discounted price while it’s still available…

All orders are protected by SSL encryption – the highest industry standard for online security from trusted vendors.

Emily Chase Smith, Writer – Unedited is backed with a 60 Day No Questions Asked Money Back Guarantee. If within the first 60 days of receipt you are not satisfied with Wake Up Lean™, you can request a refund by sending an email to the address given inside the product and we will immediately refund your entire purchase price, with no questions asked.