Elevator Talk


What do people in LA talk about on the elevator, since the weather is always the same?

I’ve had a lot of time to think about this really important question, since I ride the elevator at work and am constantly being asked about the weather. Based on my one short trip to the city years ago and a lot of reality television, this is what I think small talk consists of in LA:

  1. a recent pilates-yoga-meditation-tai chi class on the beach
  2. how many kale juices each person drank that day
  3. which crystals will resolve a particular emotional ailment
  4. fusion cuisine in unsatisfying portions
  5. the weather always being the same

My one friend in LA will probably tell me they actually discuss astrophysics and world hunger while waiting for the little numbers to ding and the doors to slide open, but it’s likely she’s been brainwashed by Scientologists, so whatev.

Run For Your Life


I’ve started a new running app because I’m constantly trying to trick my brain into thinking exercise is a good idea. This one drops me in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and requires that I run around the woods collecting supplies, saving people, and luring zombies away from our township. I’ve learned a few things about myself during this process:

  1. If we’re in some kind of 28 Days Later running-zombies situation, I have no chance of survival. The app intermittently requires that I run from zombies that are chasing me and I just have to speed up to evade them. In reality, zombies aren’t like, “Oh, you are really putting in a good effort. I’ll slow down to match your pace.” Nope, they would just be like, “Nice. This girl’s legs are so short and stumpy. She’s going to be slow and delicious.” ***
  2. Clothing items are not a high priority for me in a disaster situation. Every time I pick up a pair of trousers (silly English folk), I’m resentful of the imaginary space they’re taking up in my pack. These people just need to keep their clothes in better condition. A stitch in time saves nine, guys.
  3. No real life scenario can motivate me to move like dehydration-induced hallucinations of being torn apart by the undead.
  4. Since no one else can hear Ground Control in my headphones, people seem to assume I’m a moderately insane woman and step aside when I yell, “Zombie Chase!” and sprint down the sidewalk past them.

***Obviously I know that a zombie doesn’t have a functioning left frontal lobe and therefore doesn’t have that kind of language control, but I think the basic instinctual message would be the same.


Super Pests


I just read that there is a strain of “super lice” spreading across the country and now I’m nervous around anyone who scratches their head. So, if you see me today, please don’t act inquisitively or deeply consider anything.

When I was a kid, my elementary school was obsessively preoccupied with lice prevention. Is that still a big concern? I guess not, since the lice have prevailed. Volunteer mothers (never a father, not once) would walk through rows of desks and run pencils through our hair, making sure there weren’t any disgusting creatures crawling around our scalps. We also got a lot of warnings about sharing hairbrushes with our friends.

Well, joke’s on you, lice—I haven’t brushed my hair since 1994.



I feel like I was born a feminist, but I remember the exact moment when I realized that being a girl meant something different than being a boy.

I was about two or three years old and living in a weathered house in western Michigan. There was something that needed fixing, as there always is, and my dad had brought a few guys over to the house to help. I can’t remember if they were friends or uncles or guys from the nearby Air Force base where he was stationed. Either way, they were all in our hot, musty basement trying to make something work that was broken.

I walked down the stairs and stepped through the door at the bottom. I was wearing shorts, but no shirt, which I’d bet I often did around the house as a toddler. My dad turned around and said, “Lindsay, go upstairs and put a shirt on.” I’m sure he was kind about it and probably said a few other things at the same time, but I don’t remember those other words. I looked around at the guys, noticing that they weren’t wearing shirts, and asked my dad why I had to wear one when no one else was. He told me, “Because you’re a girl.”

That tiny phrase struck me like a ton of bricks. My dad was probably just trying to get me to cover up in front of these other grown men, who may well have been strangers, and that seems like responsible parenting. I’m sure he wanted to quickly offer an explanation he thought I could understand and was hoping I wouldn’t throw a tantrum. (I was an intensely stubborn child. Unbelievable, I know.)

But the statement didn’t quell my confusion. It caused so much more. It was the first time I remember thinking about what it meant to be a girl—that it actually meant something at all. Before that, the fact that I was a girl seemed as insignificant as the color of my eyes. It was something that was real, but not pertinent. In that moment, though, I realized it meant I had a different set of rules. I didn’t know what they were yet, but I’d learned that they were out there. It was confusing and it seared a great big question mark in my brain.

My dad raised two strong daughters by having high and varied expectations of us and demonstrating that equality is a daily practice, one that he lived. Despite that, the short, off-handed phrase he muttered to my toddler-self awakened my now constant struggle against the pressures and assumptions that come with being a girl. I didn’t know then all the other things society would tell me I had to do and not do. The list seems endless. To be honest, I’m still figuring that out. And, by figuring that out, I mean I’m forging my armor and crafting my battle plans.