Category Archives: “Other people”

Exhibiting bad manners in public

I arrived at the BART station yesterday morning and walked casually down the platform. I was just approaching one of the pre-walking marks on the ground when I noticed something strange. Looking up and down the platform, I saw single-file lines, with maybe 3 or 4 feet between each person, lined up in front of where the train doors would land. The people in these lines were reading newspapers, or looking at their phones.

Standing near the edge of the platform, I kept studying the lines. When did this happen?

I texted Drew: “Is it a bart manners thing to line up single file to wait for the train? Everyone is doing it here but I’ve never seen that before. Can I just stand near where the door will be or do I have to line up?”

He wrote back: “Yeah, it’s the opposite of the NY cluster.”

That’s what I’m used to…people pushing and shoving to get through the doors first. That’s what I’m comfortable with. Is that sick?

I said: “But…a single file line? I don’t like it. =( And now I realize I’ve been that beezy cutting lines the whole time?”

Then he called me a NY a-hole and I laughed out loud, and the train came, and while I didn’t push and shove to get on, I definitely didn’t wait for the line to go first, and then I camped out near the doors. So I’m definitely that bad-manners BART person who you glare at during your morning commute. Sorry about that! It’s been mostly inadvertent up until now.

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Filed under "Other people", Drew, Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction, Travel, Work

Your picture frames have changed, and so has your name

I’m suffering from this new dilemma. It has to do with Facebook. (Doesn’t everything?)

This isn’t about how the Facebook newsfeed is now all shared articles, video ads, or people sharing photos attached to recipes. (Where are the pithy status updates of yore? I never thought I’d miss them, but I do.)

This is a relatively new dilemma. Here it is: I’ve started seeing photos where, even when I study each face, I have no idea who anyone in the photo is.

Sometimes, while scrolling, I’ll pass the header telling me “So and so is tagged in a photo.” Then I stare at the photo and try to figure out which one of these people is my friend. When I can’t figure it out, I scroll up, go, “Oh yeah, wow, she’s really changed since middle school” (or whatever), and then go on my way.

But it makes me wonder what is the point of being friends with people if:

a) I never talk to them;
b) they never talk to me;
c) I can’t recognize them in a picture; or
d) there are more than 2 degrees of separation between us.

Not to sound exclusive or anything, but if I’m going to waste time on Facebook, I’d prefer to waste it on people I actually know in real life and care about. (Along those lines, I guess I should also excise those people I’ve hidden and thus forgotten about.)

Oh Facebook…what will I worry superficially about when you’re no longer a thing?

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Filed under "Other people", Friends, Memoir, Nonfiction, Not awesome, Technology

Throwback Thursday: Poetry

I wrote this in May of 2003 for a friend who worked in a mall, and used to complain about it occasionally. (It was an Abercrombie, I think.) (The poem is written in blank verse.)

To Work In A Mall

How tepid a life, to work in a mall
To see the same overfed, overbred
crowd, lurching around vendors & candy
machines.  To stand in a doorway & spout
the same rubbish—  “Hey, how ya doin’?  If
I can help you with anything, just let
me know.  Stenciled Ts and flip-flops half off.”
How worthless to fold that same pair of shorts
eighteen times in one day (& you know they
are the same pair because of the crease in
the waistband) because people try them on,
Take them off, drop them on the thin carpet
for posterity—or you—to pick up.
How tiring to be manhandled and
questioned for eight hours a day about
the same things—FAQs—when all you want
is to go down the way to the Starbucks,
& ask them for the strongest drink they have.

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Filed under "Other people", Fashion, Friends, Nonfiction, Sentiment, Writing

Throwback Thursday: An Explanation

In the summer after I graduated from high school, I worked on a B-movie being shot in my hometown. And OMG wait I just googled it and THERE’S A TRAILER ON YOUTUBE AND IT’S JUST AS CHEESY AS I REMEMBER IT.

Oh wow, I think I just got what the plot is.

Okay. So that’s what I’m talking about. This production company (meaning, the director/producer, a camera guy, another guy, and the actress who played the mom) came to town and we shot this thing over the summer. The rest of the crew consisted of like 4 teenagers (me included) who were all interested in “drama” and were likely getting paid a “pittance” but I don’t remember because it was all in “cash.”

I do remember learning a lot, but also starting out knowing nothing. The director depended on us a lot but without always telling us the details of what we were meant to do. I think she expected us to come in knowing more than we did. We did our best, but it was stressful. I was basically fulfilling a stage management role (before I knew what that was) although in the movie credits I’m listed as Production Coordinator (holla!).

I have this one really clear memory of being out at the goldmine (?) in the middle of the hot summer, and I was supposed to be holding this umbrella up to shade one of the kid actors. At one point, the director sort of barked at me that I was supposed to be shading the actor, not myself. But the thing was, because of the angle of the sun, I had to hold the umbrella pretty much up and down in order to shade the kid. I pointed it out and she ceded the point. This was a major victory in my life…that I’ve clearly hung onto.

I was thinking about this recently because I realized that I still have this deep down need. I sometimes daydream up situations in which I’m in some kind of major trouble, and then I think of the circumstance that would make it all go completely away. Like, “Okay, so I’m a key witness in a major investigation, but I leave town, and then the police are calling me but I don’t return my phone calls, and it’s looking really bad for me…BUT THEN, when they finally get ahold of me, it turns out that I called the precinct a week ago when I left town, which I had to do for a family emergency, and I told them that my phone was lost, and gave them a different number at which to contact me, but a lazy officer didn’t pass on the message, and it’s not my fault at all!”

Stuff like that.

So yeah. There’s a fun fact about me, backed up with an amusing TBT anecdote. Hope you enjoyed it.

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Filed under "Other people", Celebrities, Children, Memoir, Nonfiction

2 kinds of people

After much consideration, I have decided there are two kinds of people in the world:

There are the people who walk into a public bathroom, push open a stall door, see an unflushed toilet, and walk away…and then there are the people who take on the burden of flushing it.

(For the record, I will do the right thing and flush it, and then use a different stall.)

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Filed under "Other people", Nonfiction

Why the 7-Eleven clerk thinks I’m a shoplifter

When I told Drew I was going out and asked him if he wanted anything, and he told me he just wanted a regular Snapple iced tea, I thought it would be easy. But Target didn’t sell Snapple iced tea – Target didn’t sell any single Snapples. They only had 8-packs of Kiwi-Strawberry and Cranberry-Raspberry.

After Target, I went to Dinosaurs to pick up sandwiches for dinner…but all they had in the way of beverages were Mexican Cokes and a fountain soda machine. B and I walked over to the little grocery store nearby, which did have diet Snapple iced tea, so I bought one, just in case, and also a Henry Weinhard root beer because it sounded good. I put these into the same bag with the sandwiches, and B and I headed back home.

I decided at the last minute to stop at the 7-Eleven to see if they had Snapple. They had one left, so I grabbed it from the case. But all I had was a card, no cash, and so to make it seem more worthwhile, I also got a small sugar-free green slurpee.

Inexplicably, there was a long line, and I stood there, balancing a heavy bag of Vietnamese sandwiches and 2 glass-bottled beverages in one hand, a Snapple and a slurpee in the other hand, with a 25-lb baby strapped to my chest. At one point, B got his hands on the straw in the slurpee and flipped green slush onto his face and down the front of my shirt.

Right after that, the guy in front of me left the counter, and as I stepped up to it, the spreading wet spot (from the cold, condensation-covered glass bottles) on the paper bag I was holding gave out, and the diet Snapple slipped out and hit the floor. Normally, I would have just stooped down and grabbed it, or maybe it would never have happened in the first place, but the baby strapped to me makes it hard to quickly squat down, and so I stood there for a minute.

I thought I was mildly exasperated, but the clerk may have read it as guilty.

“What was that?” she asked, as the girl behind me picked up the diet Snapple for me. I thanked her.

“And what’s all this?” the clerk asked, gesturing to the bag.

“That’s stuff I’ve bought elsewhere,” I said. She was already ringing up the diet Snapple. “Oh, that’s not from here…only these things–” (gesturing) “–are from here.”

She looked at me doubtfully. I offered her the receipt from the grocery store. She didn’t take it. I hightailed it out of there.

So maybe she doesn’t still think I’m a shoplifter. But, she didn’t offer me a bag (which would have been helpful, given that my bag clearly had a giant hole in it). So there may still be some hard feelings.

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Filed under "Other people", Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction, Not awesome

Do not pass Go

Last night, Travis, Haley, and Erin came over for dinner, and what inevitably turned into games. We played Pixar Monopoly because Drew loves Monopoly and no one ever wants to play.

I think Monopoly gets a bad rap – my initial impression of it is that the game goes on forever. (Other first impressions – Risk: people lie and get mad at each other. Clue: it’s way too easy for adults to play. Dominoes: despite playing this game all the time as a kid, I have no idea what the actual rules are.) I’ve played Monopoly with Drew one other time and he’s weirdly good at it.

pixar monopolyI tried to start strong, but I made an entire pass around the board without landing on any property to buy. On subsequent passes, I tried to collect property and save money. I got into a bidding war with Erin on Travis’ property, in the hopes that it might make her run out of money. There was a moment when Erin, Haley, and I formed an alliance to get each of us a monopoly, and I really thought that might be a turning point in the game.

But alas, I was the first one to run out of money and then property, while Drew just built traffic cones (houses) and Al’s Toy Barns (hotels) on everything ever. Erin was out next, then Travis folded, and then there were a couple more turns that were basically Haley handing over everything she owned to Drew. And, for the record, the game didn’t feel that long – when we checked the clock we were all surprised that it had lasted around 2 1/2 hours.

I guess I’m not surprised I was the first one out. I’ve never been that great at Monopoly. I keep thinking I should be better at it. I get the strategy. I just don’t execute it well. Or I don’t have good luck. But as I watched my money go – the 500s, the 100s, the 50s, the 20s – it just stung a little bit, you know? It’s just a game, except that in Real Life I also don’t own any property or have a ton of money. And just in like in the game, it’s difficult to tell where I went wrong.

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Filed under "Other people", Dollars, Drew, Friends, Games, Humor, Memoir, Not awesome

Wash & Fold

I’ve been threatening to take some laundry to the Wash & Fold down the street for months now.

If you’re unfamiliar, a Wash & Fold is the real meat of a laundromat – you drop off your laundry and then pick it up again several hours later, and it’s all clean and folded and bagged for you. Drew used to do it in New York all the time – I’m talking gigantic bags of laundry. I never did it, but I think I was a little more regular about just using the laundry room in our building.

We don’t have laundry facilities in this building, and we typically take our stuff to Drew’s parents’ house and do a bunch of wash there if we’re hanging out. But these days, with the additional loads of baby clothes/supplies, it just seems to be piling up. I’ve gotten into a habit of skimming off the top layers from my laundry basket, like the stuff I actually wear regularly, and just washing that. Which means that layers of forgotten clothing and towels accumulate on the bottom of the basket.

True-Life Example: Sometime around the end of February, we finally sucked it up and did all our laundry that was sitting around. At that point, I found, at the very bottom of everything, the pajamas I wore for Christmas morning pictures. Yikes.

So. Today I was getting things done and taking names, and one of the things I decided to get done was to take the tier-3 laundry that was still in my closet, and drop it at the Wash & Fold.

The drop-off went okay. She didn’t put my name on it or anything, but I assumed it’d be okay. And she wrote down my name (maybe?) and my phone number. She told me to come back “later this afternoon.” I was pretty jazzed thinking that by the end of the day, all my clothes would be clean and I would have spent my time on work and other chores.

I went back this evening to pick it up, and a different woman told me it was twenty bucks. Cue exclamation points in my head, but then I guess that’s 16 pounds, and I’m not great with guessing weight, so I guess it might weigh 16 pounds. I tried to hand her my card but she just looked at me and said, “It’s cash only. Didn’t she tell you that?” Ugh, no she did not, and now I have to drive all the way to the ATM to get money because I really need these jeans for tomorrow.

When I got back, I was a little grouchy, mostly because I sensed that my side trip to get cash was going to cost me the parking place right in front of our building. I walked inside and attempted to find the same woman. She wandered over to the counter and asked me where I went to get cash. I was like, Seriously? Just give me my clothes. Then she told me I could have just gone to the ATM at Winters, a bar a few blocks away. Now, I have a thing where I really want to use Bank of America ATMs, since that’s my bank and my card, and it’s not like I had to drive 10 miles to find one or anything.

So, I got my stuff and I got home and I had to get another, slightly farther away parking spot, but it’s still all okay.

But driving home it occurred to me: the Wash & Fold is not for me. And I should have known that. For two reasons:

1) I don’t like other people washing my clothes. Like, I generally avoid letting Drew do my laundry. I just don’t really like the idea of someone else touching my dirty clothes. And,
2) I kind of have a method of folding that I prefer. And it’s not like it’s great folding, or anything, but it fits with the way the rest of my stuff is folded, so I like it.

So goodbye, Wash & Fold. We probably won’t do business together anymore.

I was so proud of myself this morning. I guess pride do goeth before a fall.

16.5! I guess they weren't swindling me after all.

16.5! I guess they weren’t swindling me after all.

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Filed under "Other people", Fashion, Humor, Memoir, Not awesome

The Dolor Store

Despite having a bunch of different calendars – wall calendar, planner, work calendar – holidays still seem to sneak up on me. Which is how I end up using a random cow sleeper for a baby Halloween costume, cobbling together a Green Lantern onesie and some striped socks for St. Patrick’s Day, or thinking on the Friday before Easter, Should we be doing an Easter basket for him this year?

We opted out of the Easter basket, figuring it would just be stuffed animals (and I have sworn to myself to not buy any stuffed animals, since he seems to collect them just fine on his own) and candy (which Drew and I would eat ourselves, obviously, and which really isn’t necessary in this house). So, no Easter basket this year. And no “My First Easter” outfit, because I also haven’t gotten into things which are really only applicable one time.

But Easter kept nibbling at the back of my mind, and on Saturday afternoon, I found myself alone in the car, driving a route that would take me past the Dollar Store. And I couldn’t resist turning into the parking lot, searching out a spot, going into the store that I have always just passed on my way to Starbucks.

As it was the day before Easter, I expected them to be pretty cleaned out. But I saw it as soon as I walked through the door: a pair of kid-sized bunny ears, blue and white, on a rack with a giant “$.99” sign.

(Okay, actually there were two sets of bunny ears, but the first one I picked up had a lot of loose threads dangling off, so I was happy there was a second, less-shabby pair.)

I grabbed the ears and got in line, pulling a handful of change from my pocket. Luckily I had found a quarter on the ground when I left home, which meant I could use fewer dimes and nickels. I had just separated out $1.05 worth of coins when a guy behind me said, “Excuse me, can I set this on the belt?” and put down a basket with 8 jars of pickles. I counted them while he walked over to a wall of kitchen implements and selected a pizza cutter, then came back.

The woman in front of me was slowly writing a check for a selection of things that for some reason just made me sad. In fact, being in here was making me sad. The bin of dingy-looking plush animals by the door were looking at me with disconsolate eyes. I looked away from there and noticed a rack of off-brand candy, and just below it a shelf of pastel-colored Tootsie Roll banks. So that’s where all those things went.

The guy behind the guy behind me said, “Are those pickles any good?” and the pickle guy said, “Eh, they’re all right.” Who buys 8 of something that’s “all right”? The woman in front of me was almost done writing her check, and my bunny ears had traveled all the way to the cashier on the conveyor belt. At that point, another cashier opened up a second register, which I figured was just my luck, since it would have been awkward for me to get all the way over there. Three people from the end of my line bailed and went to the new register. The woman in front of me was just putting the finishing touches on her check.

Finally it was my turn and I paid with a handful of change, which at the last minute, I suddenly thought I had counted wrong. It wasn’t wrong, for which I’m grateful. Paying with a bunch of change is okay if I’m in the right frame of mind – but at some point while waiting in line this whole trip had just gotten depressing, and suddenly paying with a handful of the wrong change could have ruined the whole bunny ears experience.

I got my receipt and my $.06, and hurried out of there with no intention to ever come back.

But once Drew and I put the headband on the baby, and he looked all around with these wobbly fuzzy blue ears, my heart melted and the sad Dollar Store trip and the handful of scrounged change was all totally worth it.

ears

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Filed under "Other people", Baby, Drew, Holidays, Memoir, Nonfiction, Writing

Part-time optimist

I’ve been trying really hard to be more optimistic. Not just optimistic in the glass-half-full way, but also in everything-that-comes-out-of-my-mouth kind of way. Like, I’m trying not to complain about every little thing.

Some parts of my job are less fun than others, and if I give voice to the constant commentary going on in my head about these parts, I would probably spend a lot of time bitching to people around me. I try to keep a lid on that. (Drew still gets most of the splatter, though.) I try to be really aware of what I’m about to say, and whether it’s useful information, and whether the person I’m saying it to will have heard it a thousand times already.

A lesser version of this is badmouthing your friends. I’m going to guess that a lot of people do this, based on my experience. But I guess I could be wrong. I admire people who never say a single bad thing about their friends. (Or at least I would, if I’d ever met one.) I can be judgmental, I’ll admit it. But it comes to a point that even I have to say, Enough already.

I just think of the people I really like: optimists and positive thinkers. Versus the people I avoid: pessimists who complain about every single little thing. (We all know these people.) (Some of us are these people.) And since, at the heart of it all, I really want everyone to like me, I’m striving for goodness here.

I have this memory of when Drew and I first got together, of him telling me that a good friend would just do things for another friend, and not expect repayment. You just do things for your friends because they’re your friends. He likened it to Jesus, in fact, which as I recall made me feel really terrible about whatever I’d just been saying. I think he was even doing dishes while he said it. I’ve never forgotten that.

I want Baby B to grow up to be a kind person and a good friend. I want him to be friendly and quicker to smile than to complain. I want him to be happy in general. So I’m hoping that bringing him up in a household of laughter and positivity will help ensure he grows up to be the kind of person that I would want to be friends with. (You know, even if I weren’t already so biased.)

It’s just on my mind tonight.

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Filed under "Other people", Being a girl, Friends, Self improvement, Work