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Neurotic As Hell

Choosing Figs Blog

I've been boring lately. Really, truly, boring. I'm not going to complain about it because being boring has been entirely my choice. I could be at Carnival with my friend Matt right now. I could be in Ecuador learning to surf with Chris. I could even be living on one of my friends' couches in the city. But, instead, I'm living in the suburbs. Staying with my mom. Without a car. Enduring one of the worst winters Chicago's ever seen. It's a certain version of hell....

Don Eduardo del Rey, draped in yellow and black armor, galloped into the stadium. His smile was snide but sincere as he rode his steed in parade with a confidence becoming of such an accomplished knight. We cheered for him, waving our yellow flags with revelry, as others booed. We swooned as he handed out roses to the girls in the crowd, secretly hoping he would bestow one of us. We clapped in elation when he crowned Heather, our guest of honor, Queen of the Tournament. We scrambled to our feet whooping ovations when our knight took to battle, as...

"Fuck the future. It would've been nice to have you in my present for a little while." A heart in my hot chocolate at Little Goat. If I'm going to be alone, I'm going to need chocolate.   I had been drunk the night before receiving that message, sitting outside a hostel in Laos at god knows what hour, after dodging another backpacker who kept trying to kiss me and take me back to his hotel room. Instead I broke free and walked home, alone, got out my laptop, and wrote to a boy I'd met at a hostel in Vietnam a few...

After a year-long hiatus, I'm back in business with my life goal of reading every Baby-Sitters Club book ever written. In order. From the start. I was stuck for a while because, while I had a few books in the series, I didn't have number 5. And because of that, I couldn't move on. (And, you know, there was that little fact that I was traveling most of the year and couldn't fit an entire library of Baby-Sitters Club books in my backpack...

I still bite my nails, still throw my dirty laundry on the floor, still leave used dishes in the sink. I can't play the guitar, can't knit, can't paint. I never finished that novel I started writing in college. I haven't had a boyfriend in over ten years. I never became a dancer, an actor, a writer. I don't even have a career. I'm still paying off my grad school loans. I'm afraid of heights, of talking on the phone, of getting eaten by a shark. I'm getting to the age where I should start having kids.   I celebrated my birthday at Las Tablas — a Colombian restaurant in...

I've been so busy working a temp job the past two weeks that all I want to do when I get home is curl up with Food Network. So I haven't had much time to write. And I'm certainly not traveling at the moment. But, since I'm traveling to New York this summer, it's on my mind. I went to New York City for the first time in 1999, the summer between graduating high school and starting college. I wrote this years ago, 2005 maybe, before I had a blog, for a travel writing class I took in grad school. At...

It's not that 2013 wasn't a good year for me. By any standards, it was amazing. I spent six months backpacking from Guatemala to Colombia. I spent two months traveling around Ireland, England and, briefly, Scotland. In the US I made it to Hawaii, Seattle, and Memphis. I'm doing good. But, even though spent most of the year moving around, I felt like I was at a standstill. I got lazy traveling last year, picking places not because they were where I necessarily wanted to go most but because they were convenient or cheap. I hardly worked, choosing instead to squander my...

Eight minutes had already passed and the meat sweats were kicking it. My fingers were sticky with strawberry lemonade and grease. Crumbs of pink soggy bread rolled down my cheek. A near empty paper plate in front of me held just a few more bites of the fifth bun. In the week before, friends of mine, professional eaters, had sent me tips: separate the hot dog from the bun, snap it in half and eat the two halves together, dunk the bun in a liquid with a taste you like....

I'm pretty sure I first heard about Dyer's Burgers while reading Hamburger America (a roadtripper's bible of road food stops) some years ago. The restaurant on Memphis's Beale Street is known for it's deep fried hamburgers. But the patties aren't just cooked in any old grease: they're cooked in really old grease. Each burger is fried up in the same grease they've been using for 100 years, since the restaurant first opened in 1912....