Wednesday, January 6, 2016

How I Made An Ass of Myself, Pt III

Years ago, I wrote about how I made an ass of myself while buying a new phone, and then later while buying a new laptop. Making an ass of myself when speaking to others in a retail environment is not a new experience for me. Having just returned to the U.S. after several years away, I found myself in a similar situation. And I knew I was back. I knew I was back.

Albert was my student for two years. He presented himself in 7th grade like a grown, scowling, near-mute version of the Cosby character with the same name, and only slightly slimmer. In the two years I was his teacher, I never saw Albert smile. And I'm not sure that I ever heard anything but a disgruntled grunt from him. To Albert's credit, I think he was not exactly an angry kid- I think he was just given a particular demeanor which I projected into his future as having difficulty helping him get a girlfriend, obtain a job, or otherwise interact with other human beings in a functioning society.

"Holy shit. Albert got a job," was my first thought when I saw him, these many years later, behind the register of the Walgreen's in which I was making a quick preemptive stop to pick up some tampons and pantyliners. "Holy shit, Albert's going to have to scan my tampons and pantyliners," was my second thought, and suddenly panic set in. I hid behind an early Valentine's display of large stuffed bears and made a distress call to my teacher friend. "I can't do it!" I whisper-yelled. "I...there are tampons...and....ALBERT!....ALBERT!" You can imagine my friend's alarm. And confusion.

Not actually Albert. Thank you, random photo stock guy.
There are several uncomfortable situations in which one hopes to never find oneself: walking in on your parents having sex, your parent walking in on you having sex, and having to have Albert check you out at Walgreens when you're buying tampons and pantyliners. These things are all in the same trauma-category. Do not doubt me, dear reader, until you go back in time and teach Albert for two years, and then find yourself in the position for him to make conversation with you while handling things which are directly related to your vagina.
What I had to bring to the counter.
What I imagined Albert would imagine and why I had to hide.
"You've gotta get out of there," my friend advised. Her counsel is wise, and I was starting to attract attention, what with my stage whisper and tampon-clutching and bear-hiding and peering nervously towards the checkout counter. But then, like an 11-days-after-Christmas Christmas miracle, Albert walked away from the cash register and disappeared through a door behind the photo developing equipment, only to be replaced by a thinner, whiter, chattier, scraggly-beard-ier version of himself. This is to say Albert seemed to have gone on break and his manager took over the duties of man-handling the customers' purchases, including my now crumpled box of tampons and pantyliners. Thank you, baby Jesus!

I mumbled something incoherent into the phone, hung up without warning, and ran to the checkout with such speed that I left a WWI trenches scene reenacted by plush bears in my wake; bodies everywhere. Some still moving. I am sorry, bears. Momma's got to strike while the non-Albert tampon buying iron is hot.

Out of breath, I tossed my purchases upon the counter. Albert's replacement, Larry, we'll call him, because his name tag said "Larry," greeted me. "Did you find everything alright, ma'am?" It wasn't exactly a warm greeting. I'd put it closer to indifferent, but eye-contact was made and an attempt at a smile. I pictured Albert setting his grumpy gaze on customers while scanning their purchases. I picture Albert making an irritable exhale followed by an incoherent mumble, and I wondered if he'd ever be up for employee of the month. You know. Like if everybody HAD to have a turn at it. Oh, Albert.

Not actually Larry. Thank you, Google Images.

"Hi, Larry," I said. And that's where I should have stopped. Because that's where most people do, save the occasional back-and-forth chat about the weather. But I have an affliction. And if you've spent any amount of time with me, especially in public, around other people, you will have come to this same conclusion already.

"I used to be Albert's teacher. In middle school." This garnered no response from Larry, which was no deterrent for my already babbling mouth-talking machine. "Yeah. I taught Albert," I continued. "Tell him I said hi, will you? Ms. Maret. He'll know me. I'm Ms. Maret. His teacher. I mean, not now. But I used to be." Larry scanned my box of tampons and placed them in a plastic bag.

"Yeah. Tell him hi. Except don't tell him that I was buying tampons." Larry looked up at me briefly, and smiled uncomfortably. "I mean," I shrugged theatrically and started doing this weird kind of nervous dance, "it's not like they're for ME or anything." I leaned back and did this floppy back and forth arm shake like Dan Akroyd and Steve Martin characterizing two wild and crazy Czech brothers.

"Hey...hey...they're not for me. I'm just...they're for a friend." I stopped the shoulder shaking and arm flopping, but the words continued spilling out. "The tampons. Not for me. So, you don't have to tell know...because I don't..." and then I made a triangle with my hands and placed them around and about where my lady-parts are. "Because teachers don' know...we're like Barbie dolls down there. Teachers. We don't have. You know. So no need to draw Albert's attention there."

"It's ok," Larry said. He scanned my box of pantyliners, nervously.

"Or those. Nope. Also not mine. For a friend. The same friend even! No pantyliners for me, sir! So. You know."

Larry placed them in the same plastic bag as the box of tampons. I'm sure Larry was really wanting to go home at this point. He appeared to go to his happy place in his head. A place where a lady was not wildly gesticulating about feminine products in front of his cash register counter. "I used to be Albert's teacher," I said again, as if I could put back on track this derailed social encounter.

Larry had two items to go: a pack of gum and some shampoo. I always have some decoy purchases to take the focus off of the things I'm buying to keep the cashier from thinking about the fact that I'm buying something to keep me from BLEEDING THROUGH MY PANTS FROM MY VAGINA BECAUSE SERIOUSLY GROSS HOW CAN WE EVEN LOOK EACH OTHER IN THE EYE AT THE CHECKOUT LANE! and Albert. Man, was I glad Albert wasn't behind the register. Man, was Larry hoping he was.

And here I'd like to give Larry an award for speediest cashier of the year. Of all-time, perhaps. Because I've never seen someone scan, bag, grab money, and distribute change in record-time the way Larry did. "So, you know," I said, "just tell Albert I said-"

"Did you find everything alright, sir?" Larry said to the guy behind me in line. I detected a "please save me" desperation to his greeting, and I know an exit cue when I see one. I backed towards the door and bowed two or three times, an unfortunate left-over from 3.5 years living in South Korea. I'm sure this did nothing to bolster Larry's level of comfort in that very moment, but there it was.

In the parking lot now, I had that elation of having evaded the life experience that involves Albert and my tampons. And then slowly, as it always does, the realization of my filter-less and socially awkward exchange became clear. I called my friend back. "Aimee," I said. "I have to tell you what just happened."

"Whaaaaaaaat...." she said. "Whaaaaat did you say?" She already knew the story. She was just being filled in on the particulars of this recent episode. I remind her that I just spent years living in a country where my verbal oversharing of thoughts and feelings and observations were largely not understood by the greater population.

But now I'm back. In English-speaking and English-comprehending United States of America. I. am. back.

I am.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Arabian Nights, in a nutshell

I just read the last page of "Arabian Nights." I mean to say I read all of the preceding pages, too- not just the last page. But, hear me now: that story is crazy-town. I mean totally nuts. I'll try to summarize it for you now, because I'm that kind of stand-up gal.

There are two brothers, both kings, who live in different kingdoms. The older one sends word to the younger one that he'd like to see him. "Bring all your stuff and travel on over this way, bro'!" he says. Essentially. Delighted, the younger brother packs his stuff and heads out with a group of people, leaving his wife at home.

Oops! He forgets something at home, so he turns around and goes back in his castle to get it. I can't remember what it was, but he felt he needed it. Lo! (The word "lo!" appears a lot and I like that.) Lo! The king finds his wife in bed with a man. A black man! Lo! Lo! And it wasn't really a bed. It was like a carpet on the floor or something. Seems like a king could have a real bed, but okay.

So the king is all super-pissed and super-shocked seeing his wife and what I imagine to be some kind of chiseled LeVar Burton- not because I'm really wanting to see LeVar Burton gettin' it on with some white lady, but because I could picture him in that role. Maybe it's growing up with Roots and much later Reading Rainbow. And Star Trek Next Generation. So, it is possible. Anyway, the king sees LeVar and his pasty lady going to town and with one swoop of his sword, he cuts them in four pieces. FOUR PIECES! That was some swishy-swirly swift cutting, there, king. Lo!

So, the king goes back outside and says nothing of what he saw or did. He just hops back on the horse, or whatever, and takes off for his brother's house. They get there in three days, because everything happens in threes. Brothers hug. Things seem cool. But the older brother notices his younger brother is all sickly like. Probably because he just sliced some people in fours, but he keeps that to himself. Younger brother just wants to kind of chill out in his room and that's what he does, declining an opportunity to go hunting with his older brother.

While the older king-brother is out hunting, the younger brother looks out his bedroom window and sees the older king-brother's wife walking outside with 20 of her attendant ladies. They go to a fountain and all start taking their clothes of and the younger king is like, Lo! But then he notices ten of them are actually dudes disguised as lady-attendants. Lo! Lo! The ten real ladies and the ten dudes disguised as ladies get it on. Lest you worry about the wife of the king, she also gets it on by yelling some kind of whooping call into the air and Lo! Another chiseled black man come scampering down from a tree and hops right on her. Everybody goes to town for a bit and then the process reverses itself. Chiseled black man runs up the tree, ten dudes re-disguise themselves as ladies, ten ladies get their clothes back on, and the queen does the same. All go back inside.

Well. You can imagine that the younger king was at a loss for words, having just witnessed this. It did put things into perspective, though. He suddenly didn't feel so badly about his own situation and decided to keep what he saw to himself.

Older king-brother returned from hunting and found his younger brother suddenly in good spirits. The color was returned to his face and at dinner, he ate a shit-ton of food. The older king was all, "What's up with you? How'd you get better all of a sudden?" And the younger one was all, "Oh, man...don't ask me that. Ask me anything but that." So the king asks again and they go back and forth in this way for awhile. It's crazy talk.

Finally the younger king says what he saw, and let me tell you, the older king goes nuts. He kills them all. Lo!

The two kings, deciding that all women are sneaky whores, take off for the forest with the plan of never returning. "We don't need no sneaky whores!" And certainly there aren't any in the forest. Or are there?...

They get to the forest and find there some big ol' monster thing that's like as big as the sky. It's huge. And ugly. And mean. It's called an "Ifrit" and it's supernatural and could kick your ass, big-time. So, this Ifrit has a coffin with it and the coffin's all nailed shut. When it opens it up, a beautiful lady comes out of it. Man, oh, man is she a knock-out. Turns out this Ifrit stole her on her wedding night before her husband could do his thing with her. The Ifrit wanted to be the only man to make the sweet, sweet love to the lady. Ever. Ever, ever, ever.

So the Ifrit takes the lady out, but he gets really sleepy and falls asleep on her lap. Not sure how, what with his giant sky-sized head and all, but okay.

The lady catches sight of the two kings and is all, "HEY! HEY YOU TWO! Come down here and have some fast-sex with me while this Ifrit is sleeping, or I'll wake him up and make him kill you!"

Say what? Do what? You want us to....what?

They weren't so into the idea. In fact, they were terrified, but she persisted. So, they scampered down the hill where they were perched and proceeded to argue about who was going to go first. "I'll only do it if you do it first!" one king says to the other. "No way, man. I'm not going first. You do it." This goes on for some time and the lady gets really pissy-like.

"Look! Commence with the love-making now or I'm waking him up! I swear to Allah!" So one king, I can't remember which one, quickly goes to town. Then the other one does. This all happens in like a sentence or two, so don't go looking for anything spicy.

The lady's all "Yeah, so he thinks I'm all pure and only do it with him. Lo! This is how I get back at him. Secretly!" Daaaang. 

Well, this pretty much sealed the belief that all ladies are sneaky whores, and they can't get away from them no matter how hard they try. So, back to their castles they go! And, they have a pretty smart plan: One king will take a virgin bride, do his business that night, and then kill her the next morning, only to get a new virgin bride that day. See? No more lady-trouble!

But, lo! In due time all the virgins have been done-it to and killed, except two sisters. And their dad was all, "Oh, no! Uh-uh. No way. You girls are NOT going to go get made love to and killed the next morning. No you are not!" And he tells them some story about a dude who understands what animals say and it's a long story and it ends up with the husband beating the tar out of his lady in a closet. "See? That's what I'll do to you if you go to the king! Ah-hah!"

But, lo! These ladies were defiant and a little on the awesome side, if you ask me. And they had a plan. One would marry the king, and the other would show up at bed-time all like, "Hey, if you're going to kill my sister tomorrow morning, could I visit?" And the king would be all like, "Sure." And the sister would go, "So, my sister [her name's Sheherezade, by the way, which is one sweet name, if you ask me] is so good at telling stories. Could she tell one, please?" And the king would be all like, "Okay." And the sister started telling some crazy-ass story that went on and on but it was fun to listen to. But, lo! She didn't finish it by morning, so the king had no choice but to say, "Damn it. Okay. Here's what we'll do. I'll keep you alive until tomorrow so I can hear the rest of the story." The story-telling sister was like the pretty lady Paul Harvey of the Arab world.

This went on for 1,001 nights. Lo! I'm only on night three, but let me tell you, this is some good and crazy story-telling. One dude married his cousin and she couldn't have his baby, so he got some concubine lady to do it. The cousin-wife was all "Bitch!" and she turned the lady and the son into a cow and a calf. Then she sold them to the husband and had him butcher the cow. His own wife! Stone-cold crazy!

There are more Ifrits and deals being made and sneaky whore-ladies galore. I couldn't make this stuff up.

Okay, I could. But I didn't.

If you are looking for a 500+ page summer read 1) you have too much time on your hands, 2) you've come to the wrong place, because this is a blog and there are not 500 pages here, and 3) I'd recommend reading The Thousand and One Nights. I'm reading the 1850 translation by Sir Richard Burton. But not this one:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Singing The Headlines

Ohhhhhh, I don't wanna cook no meth in my purse.
I don't wanna cook no meth.
But if I did, using a soda caaaaaaaaaan,
I wouldn't do it at Wal-Mart.

Ohhhhhh, I don't wanna get busted for cookin meth twice.
I don't wanna get busted twice.
If I can't cook at Wal-Mart, maybe I can try this gas staaaaaaaation!
Oh, well. That didn't work out so well.

Ohhhhh, I don't wanna get stuck to a toilet seat.
I don't wanna get glued to a seat.
But if I sat down on a super-glued seeeeeeat,
I'd make sure it wasn't at Wal-Mart. (in Kentucky!)

Ohhhhh, I don't wanna harass my neighbors all day.
I don't wanna make them cry.
But if I put nails in the street, came at them with a crowbar, called their autistic son a retard, gave them the finger, and dump bleach on their caaaaaaaars,
Well, just let me do my thing.

Ohhhhh, I don't wanna leave my hand-made business cards for prostitution on some windshields,
I don't wanna prostitute myself at all.
But if I did, and I worked for foxy lady's private escooooooorts,
I wouldn't want to get busted at Home Depot.

Ohhhh, I don't wanna invent shoes that look like slave shackles.      
I don't wanna sell shackle-shooooooes.
But if I did-
that's just stupid. Wtf?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Out for Revenge...Any Suggestions?

A friend of mine recently posted the following on facebook:

So, my staff TPed my office and I am out for revenge...any suggestions? 

As it turns out, I do have suggestions. I like to think of myself as a general problem-solver, for what it's worth, and I'm freely giving of my ideas. Some may call it a gift. Below I offer my friend five ways to let her toilet paper-wielding office mates know she'll have the last laugh around these parts.

1. Show up drunk. Covered in blood. And smelling of garlic.

This was my first suggestion, and as I already posted it on facebook as a response to your plea, you could very well be tossing back lunchtime martinis while rubbing a garlic clove on your face with one hand and the blood of neighborhood rabbits and squirrels on your shirt with the other hand. If that's the case, the rest of my suggestions will have to be stored away for another time, which is just fine. There is no expiration date on revenge. 

With this plan, your office buddies will take notice immediately, of not for the way you stagger to your desk than for the potent smell of garlic. And maybe the sight of questionable blood. "Is that Mary? What's wrong with- what in God's name? What's on her- Oh, sweet Jesus!" Someone will reach across and grip the arm of someone else. A third party will slowly, without taking their eyes off you, call for security. A fourth worker, that one guy, there's always that one guy in the office, will vomit into his trash receptacle. 

Who's got the upper hand now, huh? Ha! TPers=0. Drunk, garlicky, bloodstained you=WIN!

2. Put their hands in a bowl of warm water and wait for them to pee. If they don't, do it yourself.

I remember this prank as a pre-teen. Sarah Klasskin's house, I think. It was a classic girls' sleepover, with everyone afraid of being the last to go to sleep, lest their hand be placed in a bowl of warm water, causing them to relax their little bladder into a state of pee-on-the-couch-ness. I don't think it ever really worked, but that's not to deter you from trying it at work. 

Perhaps look in the office fridge for some tupperware. Remove the sandwich or deviled eggs or whatnot and fill the container with warm water. Walk it over to your office mate's desk.
"Here," you can say, "I got you a little something to relax your hands, what with you typing on the computer all day and all that talk about carpal tunnel." Gently lift up their hand and place it the container of warm water. Stifle your giggles.

"Wait for it......" you can say. "Wait for it....." Your office mate may sit there, hand it water, with a confused look on his or her face. Don't panic. If they don't pee right then and there on their office chair, go to plan B. Let go of your own bladder. Yes, it will feel funny at first, but this is what pranks are all about, right? The funny-factor? Here you can let your morning latte run down your legs to the office carpet with the unmistakable pitter-patter not heard since maybe kindergarten. "Ha!" you can yell. "Look what you made me do!" 

Office laughs will be all around. Again, you'll be on top. WIN!

3.  Quit. And then show up like a month or two later and say "JUST KIDDING!" to your boss and the person they hired to replace you.

This will be hilarious. Oh, how they'll admire you for your timing. Put your things on the desk that was once (and still is) yours and sit right back down to do your job. Perhaps they will have deleted your work email account. Don't worry. That's just them trying to one-up your prank. Just start typing away as if you were on email. They won't know. Don't flinch.

"Could someone go fetch me a cup of coffee? I sure have a lot of catching up to do!" This is what you can say to anyone listening. Which will be everyone. Because they'll be standing there in awe of your ability to pull a good prank. 


4. Go to your bosses house and hide in various places, yelling "SURPRISE!" when he or his wife finds you

Tuck yourself in their bed at night and when they wake up..."SURPRISE!" Duck down in the shower under a towel or two and in the morning when they pull the shower curtain back..."SURPRISE!" Squeeze yourself into the back seat of their car and when they get in with the morning paper and their briefcases..."SURPRISE!" Hide the baby somewhere safe, like a closet, and get into the baby's crib. Make cry noises over the monitor and when one of them comes in, sleepy-eyed, in the middle of the night and looks over at your full-grown face..."SURPRISE!"

Now, this one's a little trickier, because in an attempt to match your skills at pranking, they may prank you back by calling the police on you. Don't be thrown off. Those probably aren't even real police officers. They're just friends in uniforms to try to out-prank you. Here's what you do: After the "SURPRISE!" you'll just need to beat a quick retreat and then make yourself scarce until the next day's surprise. You may want to consider calling in sick this particular week.

Man, oh man, will everyone end up getting a big laugh out of this one. WIN!

5. Take your boss's computer and throw it out the window. 

That's not even the prank part. Yes, that will get you the initial gasp and "WHAT DID YOU DO?" part that's all part of pranking. But what you want to do next is say, "Just kidding! I'd never do that. I put your real computer in this box." And then hand him a computer box...wait for it...full of his family photo albums which you swiped while playing "SURPRISE" only you drew little mustaches on every single face in the albums! If you've ever seen anything about pranking, you'll know that drawing a mustache on a picture of someone really gets everyone roaring with laughter. 

That, my friend, is how you prank someone! YOU WIN AGAIN!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

How I Made an Ass of Myself, Part II

About a year ago, I wrote about how I made an ass of myself while buying a new cell phone. Perhaps that's what happens when I'm out of my technology comfort zone. I don't know. Put me in the middle of an Apple store or a Sprint store with the intent to purchase and I get kind of nervous and a little amped up. Before I know it, I'm making an ass of myself.

Click here to see how I did this a year ago.

Yesterday I turned in my work computer to the administration building. Actually, it was a loaner, since (as I put it) my laptop "got thirsty and decided to have a little drink of coffee." Turns out coffee speeds people up but slows computers down. To a stop, actually.

So this loaner had my everything on it. Files, pictures, music, and access to the outside world- beyond actually going outside and greeting people face-to-face like they did in olden-timey days. My laptop was my lifeline to all things human. From its glowy screen I learned about people ingesting "bath salts" and chewing other people's faces off. I learned that Justin Bieber went off stage and ran into a big piece of glass, only to go back on stage again to perform more musical Bieberisms and suffer a concussion after the concert. I learned that a Star Trek dude's ashes went up in space and that one of my friends likes Ikea. Seven like Spotify. Three like Moby. I feel so learned with my laptop connecting me to the world. Learn-ed.

And here I found myself being let into a dark room full of computer carcasses and placing my laptop on top of a pile of others. It was after-hours and I was told to "just put it over here- someone will get to it on Monday." Get to it? Some of the laptops' slow-blinking hearts were still beating. Run away, little ones! I wanted to yell. They're coming for you on Monday! Wiping you clean! You'll have no idea who you even were. It occurred to my that I may be over-dramatizing this handing in of my laptop a bit. But it was my laptop. Wasn't it?

No. Actually it belongs to the district and isn't even meant for my personal use. Lesson planning and emailing parents is one thing. Staying up till the wee hours of the morning refreshing my Facebook page in the hopes that someone, anyone, would post something as my eyes glaze over and my head keeps trying to nod itself to sleep is another.

So, there it went. On the pile.

Like someone who puts a dog down and rushes straight for the Humane Society for another, I made impressive time driving from the administrative building to a nearby Apple store.


I don't know if you've ever been in an Apple store, but it's a little creepy. Everything seems to glow from underneath and it feels a little like everything and everyone in there could be controlled by HAL. If nerds mated with Starbucks Baristas, you'd get Apple store employees. A little hip. A little nerdy. Pudgy bearded W.O.W. guy, sassy pretty-faced gay guy, and multi-colored dreadlocks girl all mingle here as employees of the big Apple. Their casual blue polos say "Hey, I'm approachable. I could sell you a Mac or retrieve your golf balls for you." I'm kind of down with that.

When I walk in I see about 25 employees in there. No shit. Some are with customers, hovering over glowing tables and tapping away at keyboards. Others are stationed at an area to help set up new purchases. Then there are those standing in twos and threes, looking like awkward teens at a school dance waiting for someone to ask them to the floor. I feel an overwhelming sense of "Who do I choose?"

I don't have to think for long, as bearded W.O.W. guy chooses me.

"Can I help you?" His eyes look reddish and glassy. I wonder what Apple's drug testing policy is. As long as the guy can sell me a laptop, I really don't care.

"Uhhhhh," I say, with shifty eyes and a nervous disposition for no reason at all. "I need a laptop. I don't have one right now. I mean, I had to give mine back to my school. Not that I was doing anything bad with it or anything. I mean, I know some people look at nasty stuff on their computers and then their company finds out and then they have to give it back. Yeah, that's not why I had to. I'm leaving. To teach. In Korea. I'm laptopless." It's a little strange that with everything that flew out of my mouth just then I'm most concerned that he'll think I said the word "topless" and picture me as such.

"Oooookay." That's what the cell phone guy said a year ago. "Ooookay." Like, handle this customer with care. She's liable to go cuckoo right here in the store. "Did you know what you want?"

I bring my hands up and start typing away. Like air drumming or air guitar. Only this was air typing. "Like this. Something I can go like this with."

"You want a laptop?"


"Well...let's start over here."


"The MacBook Pro is our most popular. It can do everything that...Are you okay?"

Until he said something, I didn't realize I had brought my fingers up to my mouth and was making a little motion almost like my lips were itchy and each finger was independently and quickly scratching them. It could also look like I'm trying to tame a very unruly harmonica. I do this when I'm nervous or stressed.

"Oh. Me? Yeah. I'm just...did I tell you I'm without a laptop right now?"

"Yes." He looks at me with a little bit of pity. I think it's pity. It could be fear. "We'll get you one here in a bit. You'll have one again real soon."

"It's just...I haven't been without one for 8 years."

"I know. We'll get one for you here in a bit. It's okay."

"It's okay," I try to soothe myself. More lip scratching.

"It's okay," he says. "Why don't you come over here and look at this one. It's super-light."

Off we go to the MacBook Air table. Now I switch from anxiety to excitement.

"Yes! I will take one of these!"

" you want to know more about-"

"This one!" I've positioned myself above one of them and am mock-typing away. Clickity-clickity-clickity. "I'm sending email!" (I'm not really.) Clickity-clickity. "Now I'm on Facebook!" (I'm not really.) Clickity-clickity. "Look! I'm checking the weather!" (Not really.)

"Okay, there. Looks like you like the MacBook Air."

"Yep. I'll take it."

"Now, do you want an 11 inch or 13 inch screen?"

Here you can insert the sound of a needle being dragged across a record, and the music suddenly stops playing.

"Wait...what? Which one? Oh, there's two. I don't know. Which one do I want?"

He shrugs his shoulders.

"Does it really matter? This one's bigger, but...wait. Will I be bummed out if I get the smaller one? I mean, will I wish later that I got the bigger one? AH! This one has a tiny google bar! It's tiny! Oh, no! Will the tiny google bar bother me? It might. Wait...maybe it doesn't matter. Will it matter? Will it bum me out? Wait..." I go on like this for a bit, not really pausing enough for W.O.W. to say anything. He continues to shrug his shoulders with each question I ask.  I settle on the larger screen.


"How much is this going to be. WAIT! Don't tell me! WAIT! I guess I have to know. Okay. Okay." I take a few deep breaths. "Tell me." I scrunch my face up like I'm about to get punched. I writhe around a bit. People are looking. I am clasping at my gut. I am sure, looking back on it, that it may have appeared I was going into labor or about to have a horrible accident right there in the middle of the store.

He tells me the price.

"Oh, sweet Jesus! Oh, fuck! REALLY? That's a lot! Oh, shit! Okay. Okay. It's okay. I just have to sell my car. Like THIS WEEKEND! Want to buy my car? For real. I'm selling my car."

He does not want to buy my car. Nor do the people in the store within earshot. I know. I asked them. "Okay. Fine. Here. Take this." I hand over my credit card and then emit a series of hurt-animal whimpers. "Oh, man......ohhhhh, man......ohhhhhh, man...." I mumble as he swipes the card. Then I start hop-dancing. This, too, I do when a little nervous. It looks a little like a cheerleader trying to psyche herself into a cheer, but I never actually get to the cheering part.

"There we go," W.O.W. says. "Now let me just go in the back and then take you over to [I was really hoping to get the hot technician guy, but I was led to a guy who was the human equivalent of Teddy Ruxpin] so he can get you all set up.


W.O.W. brings out a thin, sleek box wrapped in clear plastic and sets it on the table in front of Teddy Ruxpin. Teddy rips a tiny bit of the plastic and asks me to remove the rest. "Are you okay?" he asks. I realize that I'm still whimpering.

"Me? Oh. Yes. It's just that...I'm trying to pretend I didn't just spend a lot of money that I don't have. Let's pretend that's a loaf of bread."

"But it's not a loaf of bread. It's a laptop."

"Yeah. But let's just pretend it's a loaf of bread and that you're just going to slice it up for me."

"You can't slice up a laptop."

"Well, that's good. Because that's not a laptop. That's a loaf of bread."


I remove the plastic. "Open the box by lifting the top," he says. This is weird. Is he not allowed to touch it, or is this supposed to be some magical moment created by Apple? I open the box. Inside is my silver laptop, also covered in plastic, snuggled into some black foam. "Now remove the plastic by-"

I am pawing at the plastic in a frantic way because I like the sound it makes and I can't quite seem how to get it out of there.

"-No. Just lift this tab he-"

Still frantically pawing. Squeeking sounds are being made. People look from several directions.

"Right here! The tab right here! Pull this tab!" Ruxpin shout-whispers.

"Oh. Okay. I got it." I remove the plastic.

"Now, lift up the lid."

"It's like we're doing a little surgery. If you ask me for a scalpel, I'm going to freak out a bit. Doctor."

He might of smiled. I can't tell. I was pawing at the plastic that I took off of the laptop. Plastic that smelled like....

And here I began to sniff everything in the box. The keyboard. The screen. The foam. The computer cord. "And this one smells like a new Barbie! And this one smells a little like some crayons. And this one smells like..." Maybe it was at this time that the other blue-shirted Apple hipster-nerds began to feel a bit of pity and/or concern for Teddy Ruxpin. Maybe it was before.

Either way, we went on in this way transferring files and setting things up for about an hour. I might have danced a bit to some Ace of Base. I might have smelled some of the items on the accessory wall. I might have asked a few more people if they were interested in buying my car. 

I don't know. I was excited! A new laptop! And my connection to the world was not severed! And I was nervous. I just dropped a butt-load of money that I'm not too entirely sure I have for something that ten years ago I was perfectly fine without.

I mean, I don't need a laptop. I don't need it like I need food, air, or water. But here I am, on a Friday night, with the option of connecting with real live people for, say, a movie or dinner. And I prefer to be in my house, with my dog curled up next to me on the couch, and my fingers clicking away on the keyboard of my new MacBook Air, so I can communicate with you. The collective you. The "out there somewhere" you. And when I've had enough, instead of waiting for the evening to be over and to putting my key in the ignition and make the drive home, I will type the last word of the last sentence, followed by a period more than likely, and turn off my connection to the world.



Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Little Conversation with The Vapors

I've got your picture
Oddly enough, someone did steal my middle school picture from a little collage of photos in my classroom. Is that the one you're talking about? Or, wait...if it's that really embarrassing one that somehow makes me look super-busty and was taken by a family that I nannied for, I'm going to be really mad. And embarrassed all over again.
Of me and you
Oh, whew. Wait a second...when did we meet?
You wrote "I love you"
Now you're just making stuff up.
I love you too
Aw...that's swee- wait! You don't even know me!
I sit there staring and there's nothing else to do 
I never have nothing to do. Even in a room alone, I like to inspect my freckles. Perhaps give that a try?

Oh it's in color
Yeah, we've got color photography now, buddy. *gives look like "You're a dummy.*
Your hair is brown
Thanks. Thanks a lot. Now what secret of yours would you like me to expose?
Your eyes are hazel
I'd complain to your photo people about the developing job. My eyes are actually bluish-green.
And soft as clouds
Eyes aren't soft. They're actually like a water balloon SUPER full of water. Not like a grape, as I had originally thought. I learned that when Uncle Jimmy punctured his eye with a drill bit and water went all over his face.
I often kiss you when there's no one else around 
Like, when I'm sleeping, you mean? Or like you kiss my picture? I get if it's the busty one, but if you're kissing my middle school picture, we have a couple of problems here. As a tween, I kissed my poster of Adam Ant with my lips coated in my roll-on "kissing stick" and it made the poster get all color-bleedy and wrinkled. So, perhaps if this photo of me means anything to you, you'll want to steer clear of that kind of making out.

I've got your picture, Yeah, I heard you the first time. 
I've got your picture What, are you playing "keep away"?
I'd like a million of you over myself
Really think about what you're saying here.
I asked the doctor to take your picture
I'm sure that went over well.
So I can look at you from inside as well
Have you ever *seen* the inside of a lady? Don't get your hopes up.
You've got me turning up and turning down and turning in and turning 'round
I'm not doing jack, buddy. You're the one getting all revved up about my insides.

I'm turning Japanese I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so
How do you figure?
Turning Japanese I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so
I mean to say, what gives you that impression?
I'm turning Japanese I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so
You know- any bit of evidence would be helpful here.
Turning Japanese I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so
Yeah, and Matthew McConaughey thinks he's god's shirtless gift to the ladies, but thinking it doesn't necessarily make it so.

I've got your picture
Okay, so which picture is it that you've got again?
I've got your picture
You're a man of few details, I see.
I'd like a million of them over myself
If it's a million pictures of my inside lady parts that you're wanting all over yourself, I'd like to pronounce this conversation over.
I want the doctor to take your picture
I'm going eye doctor, here. Just so that I can keep the little bit of vomit that's trying to make its way up my throat down.
So I can look at you from inside as well
I wouldn't mind seeing a picture of the inside of my eye. Get doubles, please.
You've got me turning up and turning down and turning in and turning 'round
Here you go again. Taking no responsibility for yourself. Haven't you heard that a person can't *make* you do something you don't want to do. Unless they have a gun. Which I don't. I mean, I did. The last guy I dated gave me one as a Christmas gift, which was kind of odd. But I gave it back when we called it quits.

I'm turning Japanese I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so
If you can watch this video with pure glee and delight, I might give you about 10% Japanese-turning points:

Turning Japanese I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so
If you actually order that kit and make the meal, I'll bump you up to 50% Japanese.
I'm turning Japanese I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so
If you actually prepare AND eat the meal, you're on your way. I'm going to say 75% Japanese.
Turning Japanese I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so
You didn't. I knew it. You're David Fenton. From England. Get over it.

No sex, no drugs, no wine, no women
No fun, no sin, no you, no wonder it's dark
I'd like to suggest a little thing called a "gratitude list." It goes a long way to get rid of this little victimy thing you've got going on here.
Everyone around me is a total stranger
I'm guessing if you're wearing a suit made of photos of lady inside parts, people aren't too keen on getting to know you. Just a thought.
Everyone avoids me like a cyclone ranger
See my previous comment.

That's why I'm turning Japanese I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so
Because Japanese people will be less creeped out by this sort of thing? I'm a little offended.
Turning Japanese I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so
Oh, I see. Well, you might have a point.
I'm turning Japanese I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so to think they might not mind the lady pics so much.
Turning Japanese I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so

Turning Japanese I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so
Okay. I'm really starting to get it now.
Turning Japanese I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so
Yeah, um, I'm just going to grab this picture of myself right off your desk...
Turning Japanese I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so
(Think so think so think so)
And kind of head out the door here. Good luck with your Japanese-turning, or whatever.
Turning Japanese I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so
Good luck with that.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Backstreet Boys and I Have a Conversation

Oh, I guess that includes me.
Rock your body!
Not sure what you mean exactly, but I'm gonna guess dancing. Which I enjoy. So, okay, I'm in.
Got my attention the first time, silly.
Rock your body right!
Quit being so critical. Everybody's got their own dance moves.
Backstreet's back, alright!  
Yeah. Alright. Jesus. Did you need to scream at me? And where'd you go in the first place?

Oh my God, we're back again  
From....? The Piggly Wiggly?
Brothers, sisters, everybody sing
I like the family feel you got going on here.
Gonna bring the flavor, show you how  
Just don't make it olive-flavored or anything with blue cheese, please.
Gotta question for you better answer now
Ooh! I'm good at this! Ready!

Am I original?
Um. No. Not really. There were a lot of boy bands before you.
Am I the only one?
Kind of just said that. Weren't you listening?
Am I sexual?
Definitely not.
Am I everything you need? Not at all.
You better rock your body now Oh, good. Back to dancing. I'm in.

Here I am!
Rock your body!
Still hope you mean dancing, because I'm bustin' out my best moves.
Still here...
Rock your body right!
There you go with the criticism again.
Backstreet's back, alright!
Man, you come and go a lot for a group that announces you're back again. You're like the cuckoo clocks of boy bands. Here! Gone! Here! Gone!

Now throw your hands up in the air
 Okay, fine. Like a line-dancing move or something?
Wave them around like you just don't care  
Feeling a little silly, but okay.
If you wanna party let me hear you yell
No, I'm totally fine on my couch right now, but thanks.
Cuz we got it goin' on again  
Um, I missed the part when you had it goin' on the first time.

Am I original?
This again? You are really insecure.
Am I the only one?
You're not even one of the ones.
Am I sexual?
No. No means no.
Am I everything you need? Nope.
You better rock your body now Or what? Are you threatening me, Backstreet?

You do realize I'm the only one here, don't you?
Rock your body
Fine. But only because I can't resist dancing.
Wow. You have thick skulls.
Rock your body right
I'm doing the running man! How much more could you want from me?!
Backstreet's back, alright!
So everybody, everywhere
That's a shit-load of people. You know that, don't you?
Don't be afraid, don't have no fear
Wait. I'm confused. Do you want me to "don't be afraid?" or to "don't have no fear?" 
Because the second one's a double-negative, which means you want me to have some fear.
I'm gonna tell the world, make you understand
Wait! Fine! Okay! I did it! I stole a bra from Famous Barr in Clayton in the 80s, but it was only because I wanted to appear cool to my older sister's friends!
As long as there'll be music, we'll be comin' back again
Oh, weren't about to share that? *gulp* Oops.

Oh. my. God. This again?
Rock your body!
I'm totally out of breath.
Everybody! What?
Rock your body right!
Nothing's ever good enough for you, backstreet.
Backstreet's back!
You didn't even go anywhere this time, numbnuts.
Rock your body!
I quit. You're pissing me off.
You're talking to yourself now, I'll have you know.
Rock your body right!
You'd make a horrible teacher. Or parent. Never have kids. 
Backstreet's back, alright!
Go away.