Laurie Notaro on Recipe Theft, Cheap Toilet Paper, and Not Being Invited to a Close Friend's Party on Facebook
Laurie Notaro is an author, crafter, and expert at finding a good cocktail. She grew up in Phoenix, but is currently based in Eugene, Oregon. Each week, she'll be joining us to share a crafting adventure, draw a flowchart, or remember a few of her favorite things about Phoenix. Today, she shares her reaction to a friend's event on Facebook, to which she was not invited.
I wasn't on the invitation list.
I checked twice, three times. I was sure that I was just so used to seeing me that I had skipped it out of habit. The list was long, full of faces that I knew. A long line of faces that had eaten party food at my house and had pulled a beer I had paid for out of a cooler on my back porch.
And on this long list of Facebook invitees for a birthday of someone I considered a very good friend, mine wasn't one of them.
'Mark Zuckerberg is an asshole,' I immediately thought. The last thing I ever wanted in my life was social transparency! I want to stay in the world where I think that the people who like me like me and the people who hate me like me, too. I don't need to know the truth! I can't handle the truth. Who can?
If you ever really feel the urge to time travel, especially back to seventh grade, all you need to do is log onto Facebook. It will only be a matter of moments before the opportunity presents itself in pictures of people laughing that you're not in, inside jokes you don't get, and proof that doesn't get any more concrete that people you like don't like you back.
I was instantly transported to a place where I emerged from a lunch room with smooshed bread packed around the orthodontics of every tooth and I was terrified at the unknown horror of maxi pads. I gave up salt water taffy, Cracker Jacks, and corn on the cob for four years. I was not giving up bread. On the bright side, it would be the last year I was able to wear buttoned shirts without the aid of safety pins in the breast bud area. I should have been enjoying the moment, because I had a decent body mass index that would scurry out of my control by eighth grade due to my Nutty Ho Ho fixation, but I now can't help focusing on the fact that I have been left out again -- by people I know and trusted.
I have two first reactions:
1. Wishing that Mark Zuckerberg would get some friends so that he may someday soon be blown off by them and irreparably scarred by the social burn on his very own creation-turned-monster.
2. To burst into tears, put on my KC and the Sunshine album, and imagine that Rick Springfield will move the hair out of my face that I have put off washing all week with a gentle, loving hand, and wipe my tears away with the cuff of his red leather jacket and hopefully not pop a pimple on my check in the process.
'What is it this time?' I wonder, looking over the invite list again. What did I do this time? Oh. Oh, oh oh. I see she's invited, the girl who got drunk at a party last year, fashioned the cardboard 12-pack holder on her head and set it on fire. I look to see who else is coming -- the guy that who is clearly so on the spectrum he can make talking about Honey Boo Boo as tedious and snore-worthy as whatever he just read in Harper's. And then there's the girl who got an $800 tattoo running up every fat roll on her right side, who claims to be too poor to order anything off a menu but will help herself to food on your plate -- she got invited, too!
How can I not be invited? I'm sorry if it was because I said you had cheap toilet paper at your house, I'm sorry. But I just don't understand why you wouldn't want your guests to have the best bathroom experience possible, and not have to go through half a roll of off-brand bathroom tissue just to accomplish the mission that four squares of Charmin easily can.
You get what you pay for. And I'll buy meat in the clearance section before I will skimp on a life necessity like sturdy but gentle, non-balling toilet paper. And yes, I know you spent some time abroad and we should all be happy that we live in America where newspaper is upcyled in more primal ways than say, the Czech Republic. It's just that we do live in America -- not in a country crippled by wars and huge moles. That's all. We live in America. Home of decent toilet paper. Wipe free or die.
And yes, I will admit that I did walk away from your grandma in mid-sentence at your last barbeque but she spit a taco chip on my face while she was talking and in all honesty, I stood there for as long as I could. For as long as I could. It landed right above my lip and it came at me like a rocket.
I knew it and she knew it but did she reach over and wipe it off? NO. And was I too afraid to insult her by brushing a chunk of masticated Grandma food off of me? YES. So I stood there, seeing the yellow chunk that seemed as big as the sun every time I looked down. I tried to blow it off. I tried to shake my head. But the chip had guacamole on it, the mortar of nature, and it was going nowhere. It would stay with me for decades if I let it. Three people passed by and pointed to my lip, including my husband, who yelled at me later for not being a good party eater.
And if this had anything to do with the stuffed mushroom issue, then say it to my face. At Thanksgiving at my house, I invented that recipe, I was the one who experimented for years with blue cheese, garlic and wine. THAT WAS ME. And that was also me who gave you the recipe when you asked for it, that was me when a platter of them appeared at your Christmas party and a guest complimented you on them, and that was me who heard you say "thank you," without the proper attribution.
You cannot co-opt a stuffed mushroom and claim it as your own when I am standing two feet away. That is theft. Grand food larceny. You are an appetizer thief, and next time you ask me for the recipe for my chile con queso or mini-quiches, you can probably expect it to be an abbreviated list.
BUT I STILL LIKE YOU. I WANT TO COME TO YOUR PARTY. Why won't you invite me? I want to be the one to say to everyone after the girl with the flaming head has passed out that "Someone needs an intervention, but she already ruined one of my carpets, so we can't have it at my house, although I will bring stuffed mushrooms." I want to tell the girl that has just plucked cheese off of my plate that her tattoo doesn't look as much like an oak tree as it does a human, arthritic claw, and I am fully prepared to bring my own toilet paper. In fact, I want to. I insist on it.
I am the perfect guest.
I just don't want to talk to your grandma.
Stay tuned for new adventures with Laurie Notaro, and catch up on a few classics in any of her books including The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life,It Looked Different on the Model, I Love Everybody (and Other Atrocious Lies), There's a Slight Chance I Might Be Going to Hell, and An Idiot Girl's Christmas at Changing Hands, on Amazon, or through her website.
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