My Story, Yours Too.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

On How I Once Used a Q-tip

Another excerpt from my novel, Woman on the Verge of Paradise, follows. This blurb brings you into the closet with me, after I've made good use of a q-tip.  Said closet borders my apartment and Noah's. Reminder: Noah is the ex-boyfriend-who-kissed-like-he--was-trying-to-budge-a-dead-possum-and-might-be-into-necrophilia-and-lived-nextdoor-so-what-can-possibly-go-wrong?

As if his failure to ever move out wasn’t enough, Noah quickly replaced me. While I hunched over my typewriter to work on a paper for Community Organizing one night, I heard a knock on his door. He answered. A female greeted him with, “God I had such an awful day!” Noah responded by inviting her in for some wine. I responded by  turning into a mad, masochistic, paranoid, insanely jealous ex with a plan.

With both hands, I scrunched up all the hairs in the vicinity of my left ear, then tucked them tightly behind that ear. Next, I pulled a q-tip from my bathroom cabinet, thrust it into my ear and twisted frenetically, until I was certain I’d cleared out all remnants of excess wax. Then I entered the closet that bordered our apartments. In perhaps the most undignified moment of my life, barely upstaging my slipper-slippage-into-ladder ensemble, I pressed my ear against the closet wall and held my breath to hear exactly what was going on.

Truth is, I detected nothing but free flowing high pitched sound bites mixed with an occasional deeper toned blurb. But I convinced myself otherwise. They were going at it, I was sure. After a few minutes of eavesdropping, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I came out of the closet, secured a box of Kleenex and plopped down next to my phone.

“Ka, Kathryn, it’s Robyn. Am I bothering you?” I blew my nose into a tissue. “I just, I need a friend. Is this an okay time?”

"Of course Robyn. Are you alright?”

“No, I’m a mess. You know how I told you Noah’s still next door?”

“Yeah. Why? What’s going on?”

“God, Kat, I was finally getting over him, but then I heard some stupid whiny bitch at his door saying —I pinched my nostrils in to best imitate her— ‘God, I had such an awful day!’ And he’d rather be with her than me? What the hell! Then he f*ckin’ invites her in for a f*ckin’ drink and they’re on his couch now in our spot and he’s f*cking her brains out!” I blew snot into a gob of tissue. “Sorry. Ugh. I can’t believe I did this but I went into my closet to listen to them. I don’t know what came over me, I couldn’t help it. What the hell was I thinking, Kat, dating my nextdoor neighbor that” —sniffle— “bastard?”


  1. I love your description of the ex. I am somewhat surprised that you made it past the first kiss, although I am not sure what "trying to budge a dead possum" kiss is like. I am betting I wouldn't enjoy it.

    I would totally be OK if someone called feeling like that. Who wouldn't have their ear to the wall. If they were a good friend, I would run over a stethoscope to make it easier.

  2. You should've order some no strings pizza delivery and gotten back at him.

  3. Well at least you didn't grab a glass and use it haha should have turned on some porn flick and cranked it up for the whole place to hear.

  4. F*cking her brains out?
    He's doing it wrong.

  5. Dang! Now you only have one uber clean ear. Maybe she'll be back tomorrow and you can eavesdrop with the other ear? =P

    I love this story, Robyn!


  6. Aha, "f*cking her brains out!” Sometimes a Q-tip could be used for other purposes.

    Gary :)

  7. I am glad you used the q-tip on your ear. My first thought at the title was dear God don't let it be about a cat in heat.
    I generally don't feel that cleaning my ears with q-tips actually helps me hear better.

  8. There's a rawness to your story that makes it all seem quite believable and compelling.

  9. I have to love tales of spurned love and ear wax xo

  10. I always picture guys that did me their current jobs...saying stuff like "ya want fries with that?" It just makes me feel better.
    great great post!
    Blessings, Joanne

  11. Cheryl, it wasn't enjoyable. But I liked him, for some odd reason(s). Wish we'd been friends back then. A stethoscope would've been great.

    Alex, why didn't I think of that?! Thanks.

    Pat, another great idea! Drats, where were my blog friends when I needed them? (The internet didn't exist back then.)

    AlP, LOL. Good one. You're so good. I'm sure Mrs.P tells you that all that time. Right?

    Elsie, yeah, my hearing has been lopsided/one-sided ever since. =) Thank you.

    Gary, I wonder if this post will effect q-tip sales. If so, will it be for the better or worse?

    Ruth, it clearly didn't help me hear better, but I think it had a placebo effect. (I only thought I heard better.)

    Stephen, thanks so much. It's pretty much as true as true is true. Except his name was actually...Oh I won't go there. He's a lawyer; he sues people for a living.

    David, that's a coincidence. I'm glad this one worked for you.

    Joanne, I love your coping strategy. In this case, all I had to do was google him and see that he is completely bald. And he doesn't look good bald either. I'm fully vindicated.

    Thanks, all. I love you and your comments.


  12. I think you hear better if you put the mouth of a wine glass next to the wall with your ear at the base. You might then have head Noah saying stuff like "Pull yourself together, you whiny bitch!".

  13. The heck with him. Don't you know the serious dangers of inserting Q- tips in your ears? There was a recent episode of Girls where the star was rushed to the hospital because she got in too deep. You really need to watch more TV Robyn. Loved your excerpt by the way, and I can't wait to read more!


  14. This has blown my mind Robyn haha, I have to admit that you are quite the genius when you get ideas into your head, really made me laugh, love this story.

  15. LOL... When I read your subject line, I was trying to think of all kinds of ways I could use a qtip.... Hmmmmm you used it on your ear. Good Job!

  16. I admit with the title my mind went else where. And it does say on the package don't stick them in your ear, not sure what else ones does with them though.

  17. ach! That must hurt!

  18. Everybody eavesdrops now and again. It doesn't subtract from this guy not being a dead-beat rat bastard with lousy taste and cheap wine.

  19. GB, I like your suggestion. And I should've drank the wine first.

    Julie, that's funny. I'll have to find that episode. Thanks.

    Yeamie, thanks so much for cheering me on.

    MyJourney, kinda disappointing, huh? It was the standard use I defaulted to, plus the whole eavesdropping on the ex thing.

    John, I don't know and don't want to consider other possible uses.

    Nutschell, the q-tip didn't hurt as much as mis-hearing what was going on.

    Al, does she talk in her sleep? Anything incriminating?

    L, thanks for the validation, and I'm sure it was Cheap Chuck's. That rat bastard.


  20. I always use q-tips in my ears, because I like to live dangerously. I also put food in the oven before it's properly pre-heated and don't wait 30 minutes after eating to go swimming.

  21. You should of drilled a little hole in the closet wall and set up a spy camera.

  22. We call those "ear twigs" in my house.
    I was scared it was going to be a gross "I made myself deaf" post.

  23. When I first read the title and the blurb about the book, I was a little worried about HOW you used a Q-tip. (BTW, do you ever wonder why they call them Q-tips. I mean it doesn't look like a Q.) Anyway...maybe you should have done some heavy breathing and moaning in that closet instead. And Alex, no strings pizza delivery guy???Are you kidding me? That's one I hadn't heard.

  24. I love the beginning -- so funny! -- and then I got so sucked in I felt terrible for you. You sounded so miserable. Awww ...

  25. I love love love the cleaning of the ear-wax before eavesdropping! Keepin' it real! hahaha.
    Have a great weekend, friend!

  26. Never put a Q-Tip in your ear! It's on the directions! Just the outer part...where the crust builds up in the crevices.

    When you use it any further, you're cramming the wax down by your eardrum like you're loading a canon. Then you'll never hear what he's up to.

    Cute story, Robyn. Good to see you again!

  27. I love how you used my real first name...and spelled it right. And Q-tips are dangerous. Just sayin'. Love your stories!

  28. LMAO!! Just the laugh I needed. Exes suck!

  29. Exes are the worst. I am really loving your story, Robyn.