Category Archives: learning

Roadway Droppings

Depending on commute time, you can spend a lot of time in your car each day.

Probably a third of life is spent in the car.

Sure, cities say, help the environment….carpool.  What about my mental health?  Carpooling does nothing to help that precious, limited environment.  Who wants to be stuck in a box with a random bunch of strangers with odd habits?

  • Mouth breather
  • Teeth sucker
  • Strange body odor, that you can’t quite figure out
  • Constant talker
  • One upper/know it all/celebrity in their own mind
  • Nose picker/sniffler/throat clearer
  • Continual noise creator: singer, whistler, chatter…anything to fill the silence
  • Cell phone communicator on YELL volume tendency
  • The Convertor to my way of ……fill in the blank for whatever belief.
  • Just to name a few….

Having to go to work on a Monday is annoyance enough, thanks.

There we all are, thousands of us, shuffling along the highway, heading to our cubicles and walls of importance.

Sigh.

Side note: Whoever invented the actual cupholder for the car, rather than the plastic clip you put into the window lip, was a genius.  How many years filled with hot coffee crotches did it take for them to figure that out?

Our car is a little metal box of comfort.  We can reflect on the day’s list of events, review talking points for the upcoming meeting, ponder what the hell that dream meant last night, sing at the top of our lungs, talk to ourselves about the idiocy of our boss/wife/husband/sibling/friend or yell back at the talk radio commentary.  It’s similar to a therapy session crossed with a UFC match blended with a PBS documentary on daily life.  Fascinating and nobody gives a rip.

As you sit in traffic, it gives you time to reflect on the beauty that surrounds you.

Including the garbage. Plastic bags, cigarette butts, plastic bottles, garage sale signs, rope, wood slats, tarps, traffic cones and random bits of junk.  Then there’s the odd balls.

Car batteries and appliances.  Obviously, they’ve been dumped.  Easy to imagine a pick up truck slowing down on the highway in the cover of night and dark clothed individual in the back….quickly pushing the items off the back.

TVs are in the same category.  This is especially true if you come along a stretch of highway where they are plentiful.  There’s one stretch in the desert near my mom’s house and it’s littered with car batteries and TVs.  Like cactus.  It’s interesting.  When you drive through, you count to see if more have arrived.  Did they come on the last bus?  What flight just arrived?  I swear last time there were only four in that cluster, now there’s six.  Are they multiplying on purpose?

Seat cushions and dresser drawers.  Now those are poopers to loose.  They’re part of a set.  Did they fly out of the back of a truck on moving day? Are you going to drive back through where you came from and look for them?  What if you were moving across country?  Kinda hard to explain mixing and matching your seat cushions or dresser drawers.  Not like you can buy them in aisle 4 of Home Depot.  And what if it starts raining?  Or someone runs over your seat cushion?  Total failure at that point.  Might as well keep on going.  Guess you’re getting a new sofa.

Mattresses are a different story.  They could be dropped on purpose, to avoid the dump charge.  Or perhaps, they simply gave out.  Their flying engine booster cable expired and they simply fell from the sky.  Their magical genie was able to continue to on to safety, however the flying….oh wait….I was thinking of a flying carpet.   Never mind.

Have you ever noticed the amount of shoes you see on the road?  Last night a single slipper.  Tan with fake fleece lining. Lots of shoes.  It’s amazing.  Always only one.  What are people doing?  Taking their shoes off in the car and throwing them out the windows?  I HATE YOU SHOE!  You would think they’re going to need that shoe.  Sometimes you see the shoe-mate a few miles further down the road.  At least, if you needed a pair of shoes you could stop and pick them up.  Could be your size.

Speaking of shoes….what about socks? I saw one the other day along the road.  It was navy blue.  Mid-calf height.  Now why would a sock be on the side of the road?  Seriously.  Who is taking their socks off on the highway?  Last time I checked, the deer weren’t wearing socks.

Then there are the toys.  Tragic.  I imagine some kid thinking their stuffed friend wants to smell the air as they zip down the highway.  And poof.  Out the window they go.  Or perhaps the stuffed friend had been rescued by a community refuse receptacle displacementologist, who had strapped them to the grill of their vehicle.  Sadly, the stuffed friend could no longer endure the intake of bugs or simply had enough motion sickness and decided to jump off. Laying along the roadway was a better life than speeding along at the blur of a Concord.

I confess, this year, I lost an antler going down the highway.  Yep. An antler.  Norman, my little car lost an antler.  Completely forgot to tape down his magical reindeer antlers to the windows and when I opened it a crack for air off it went.  For a brief moment, since we were in the standard standstill “practice your patience” traffic, I did ponder stopping to pick it up but thought better of it.  So for the day, Norman was a unicorn.

Hands down, the strangest thing I have ever found along the roadway?

A set of dentures.

 

Airline Rodeo

I don’t get it.

We’ve all been there.

Yet it’s mind boggling.  It makes no sense.

None.

Airplane boarding.

Airplane de-boarding.

Let’s reflect, here at gate D-47.

There’s 15 minutes until boarding time, plenty of time to grab a coffee, visit the restroom, buy a newspaper, down a few shots of Jagermeister, make a phone call, snag a sandwich and some snacks for the flight but no.

Already passengers are lining up at the start of the catwalk entrance for the airplane.

Seriously.

The airline representative at the gate announces over the loudspeaker:

In a few minutes, we will begin the boarding process.  Please take note of your seat assignment and board when your row is called.

****

Right.  Like this actually matters.

Watch out, you’re about to get trampled!  Everyone and their brother pushes forward towards the gate.

Bags are hefted on to shoulders.

Pulley suitcases are squared up behind,  wheels double checked for quick launch and shoes scuffed against flooring, like bulls in tauromachia,  to ensure successful dodging of all slow pokes ahead.

Also remember at this time, your carryon bag must fit in the overhead compartment.  If it doesn’t fit in the overhead compartment, we are happy to gate check it for you.  (Side note: or just try and ram it into the overhead compartment while everyone watches while silently cursing you….as you are delaying the flight.. and see who wins, you or the Boeing 747)

****

Ladies and gentleman thank you for flying with Vexatious Airlines.  We are now going to begin boarding.

So begins the litany of prequalified fliers who are oh so savvy and much more dignified than you to actually BEGIN the boarding process:

First Class passengers.

Global Platinum Card Members  / Vexatious Advantage Shakers and Movers Members

Global Silver Card Members / Vexatious Advantage Unique Personality Members

Global Business Card Members / Vexatious Advantage Mediocre Members

*****

At this point you look around and a third of the gate has boarded the airplane.

Thank you for your patience.  We would like to continue boarding with our Vexatious Advantage Members who have reached Movie Star Status.

Those fliers who have reached Vexatious Advantage Soap Star Status, please board the plane now.

Thank you for your patience, our guests who have reached Vexatious Advantage Aim for the Stars Coupon Book Status please come down the catwalk.

*****

Another third have disappeared towards the plane.  Huh.

Welcome aboard to our Cat Lover Club

Welcome aboard to our Dog Lover Club

At this time, thank you for waiting, we would like to welcome aboard those guests who had tickets to the original Woodstock.  Those of you who had tickets to a Farm Aid concert, your time to board will be coming up, please wait for your announcement. 

Members of the press, we would like to offer you this time to board.

Families traveling with small children, or those who need extra assistance when boarding, you may board at this time.  If you need extra assistance, we hope you brought someone with you for that assistance.  If you are traveling with an emotional support pet please wait until you are called for boarding. 

Uniformed military personal, you can board at this time.  We thank you for your service.

Thank you for your patience, those who are too attached to their electronic devices to pay any attention to these announcements, we invite you to board at this time.   You aren’t listening anyway.

Prima donnas please board at this time and anyone who thinks they are all that, but aren’t even the pickle on the plate, please board at this time because you aren’t listening to any directions anyway because you think it’s all about you anyway.  

Our guests who are traveling with emotional support pets, including but not limited to: Golden Retrievers, teacup chihuahuas  himalayan cats, ferrets, ducks, teacup pigs, pygmy donkeys, ferrets, camels, spider monkeys, albino lizards, wallabies, hamsters, turkeys, porcupines, rabbits.

Farm Aid ticket holders, you are welcome to board at this time.

****

You look around and only a handful of people remain.

At this time we would like to begin general boarding beginning with the back of the plane. For those guests in row 35 – 20 please board now.  Oh, forget it.  There’s only 6 of you left, please figure it out and board now.  

 

****

Everyone is so anxious to get on the plane, they can’t hardly stand it.  It’s all about pushing and shoving. And for what exactly?

To be cramped in a tiny seat, with no leg room, shared armrests, crawling with bacteria and if you are damn lucky….your seat mates won’t be chatty. The toilets smell, unless bless the hearts of your flight crew (Who, by the way, have one of the hardest and least appreciated jobs in the entire world.  I thank them for all they do to make our journeys the easiest and most enjoyable they can.) have put a bag of coffee in the tiny little lavatory to absorb the piss-o-roma fragrance.

P.S.  Note, I don’t care about your kids, grandkids, your job, where you live or what book you’re reading or where you’re going. I don’t like to fly.  I only do it because it’s the quickest way to get there and I’m a little claustrophobic so please, leave me alone. I simply get into my seat, wipe everything down with my Clorox wipes, put in my earplugs and do my best to tune everything out.

As the fliers race down the gate catwalk,  waving their boarding pass in hand to be scanned, their magical entrance to the airplane granted and approved…quickly scurry beyond the doorway down the jetway.

Only. To. Be. Halted. 40 people back on the jetway.

Que the evil laugh.

They can’t wait to get out of the boarding area.  One of the privileged few.  Look at me.  See you suckers.  I’m outta here.  Yeah, well….guess what.

Here we all are.

Waiting.

In the jetway.

Aren’t you precious?

Let me grab my eyeballs before they roll out onto the tarmac.

Jackass.

You go from one waiting area to the next.  Why the rush?

Everyone gets on the plane.  No need to shove and sigh and huff and puff.

Bags stowed and we get into the air.

Eureka!

*****

For as absurdly impatient everyone was to get on the damn plane, it’s as if they had no idea everyone was expected to actually get off the plane upon arrival at the destination.

The plane lands, sometimes to the sound of applause…and arrives at the gate.

Passengers excitedly leap out of seats and annoyingly tap fingers and roll their eyes….annoyed we aren’t moving faster to get off the silver bullet.

Somewhere from the time we left the last departure lounge, to the time we arrived at the new gate…..the hundreds of passengers on this plane have had a mind fart.  Where has all the urgency gone?

Suddenly nobody can find their bags.  Where’s my glasses?  Where’s my book?  Where’s my chapstick?  Did I have a jacket?  Did I bring a water bottle?  What about the cell phone?  What gate are we going to?  I can’t find my shoes!  Is this my suitcase?  This isn’t my bag!  Where’s my husband?  What city is this?  Oh I’m not getting off here.  Can you help me close this zipper?

The circulating air has made everyone slow and stupid.  People who couldn’t get on the plane fast enough suddenly have spent the last 10 minutes, or longer taxinging from the runway to the gate picking their nose and pondering how daises grow rather than gathering their shit up from their seat and organizing their departure!

Fuck people – if you would pull yourselves together we could all get off the damn plane faster.  You idiots were so concerned about getting on first.  It’s all about me. ME. ME. ME FIRST. FIRST. FIRST.  However when we land, it’s like you’ve lost your mind.

Snap out of it and focus.  You are holding the rest of us up.  From the time the pilot said we have begun the 20 minute decent for landing, the smart ones started packing up.  Plan ahead folks….for arrival….not just the departure.  It works both ways.

Be smart.  Travel smart. Get out of my way.

 

 

 

 

 

Women Are Disgusting

I will admit it without any hesitation.

Women are disguisting.

For all the whining and carrying on we do.  Seriously.

Put the windows up! My HAIR!

Don’t kiss me!  I just put on my lipstick!

Don’t sit on the furniture!

Take your shoes off!

Do I have anything on my teeth?

Is my hair out of place?

Did you see her?

Does my ass look fat?

WATCH IT!  I just got my nails done!

.

.

.

.

.

We

Are

Filthy

Creatures.

.

.

.

.

If you don’t believe me.  Walk into any women’s restroom.  Any day of the week.  Any time of the day.  Any where.

Trashed.

What the hell?

I have never seen anything like it.

One should hope the worse thing experienced in a women’s toliet is exiting with paper stuck to your shoe!  Not.  Even.  Close.

First, let me tell you, it’s not a restroom. It’s a room filled with filth, disease, mayhem, absence of any barriers and worse of all ….a lack of common courtesy.  The men’s room is aces above what females exhibit behind public doors here.  Honestly, cleaning crews probably wear hazmat gear at the end of the day.

How do I know the men’s rooms are aces above what is available in ladies rooms?

I’ve been in them.

Come, walk with me.  Put down your cigar.  Put down your chardonnay.  Sorry, reds give me a migraine so I’m white wine only – bear with me here.  Or you can down your shot of Jameson – one of my favorites.  Of course don’t dare me cause I will take you up on the dare as some will attest to.  But, again, I digress.

Come with me as we walk into a public restroom designated for women.

Open the door, ignore the confetti of towels on the floor.  Walk past the sinks.  We’re headed to the stalls.

First stall – you push open the door and they didn’t flush.  Toliet paper clogs the pot, which multiple people have already used…not one flushed.  Or tried to flush. Great.  That’s just great.  NEXT.

Second stall – open the door and there’s piss all over the seat and not just a drop or two… someone turned on The Golden Shower.  Oh hey and there’s plenty of toliet paper all over the floor.  NEXT.

Third stall – there’s someone inside sitting silently…obviously waiting for you to leave so they can finish pooping.  Awkward, but what are you going to do.  HEY!  There’s a book called, “Everyone Poops”  I suggest you buy it and get over it.

Fourth stall –  there’s two empty toliet paper rolls on the floor.  Never a good sign.  Sure enough.  NO paper.

Fifth stall – clean.  You go in, shut the door.  The door doesn’t lock.  But you know, it’s not unusual.  You have a system and get to business.  Then as you’re getting the paper ready to clean up…. several things catch your attention.  It could be the unwrapped sanitary items in the bin – sitting in plain sight like some weird art project by Norman Bates….just nasty and then there’s the disguisting wipes off of someone’s finger of whatever on the stall wall.  Really? Come on ladies!  Just foul, foul, foul people.

As you go to flush the toliet, with your foot – you notice……pee on the floor.  PEE.  ON.  THE.  FLOOR.

Now trying not to touch anything, let us march out to the sinks.

We may or may not wash our hands but by god, I am going to fluff my hair and apply fresh lipstick….before heading out to greet you, my beloved.  Because, I am your Princess.  Your oh so perfect Queen.  Right?  Of course!

Yeah right and monkeys are going to fly out of my ass.

Now, let’s exit the restroom.  The woman has annihilated a stall – single handedly but yet won’t touch the handle to the door upon exiting.  FEAR – she might catch a cold from germs or the Ebola virus.  Let us throw out one last act of defiance – with a paper towel she’ll grab the handle of the door and without a thought, crumple it up and then aimlessly toss it in the general direction of the trash can.  Hence, a mountain of paper towels like Everest that grow with the passing of each hour.

Other things that are ridiculous in ladies rooms?

Being in a stall and little kids climbing under to look at you.

All the moaning and groaning of women pulling up and down their panty hose,  panties and various bodily torture devices designed to keep us looking smooth and svelte.

The sighing of sitting down on the toliet.

At work, women, for some reason and I’ve only ever seen this where I work….put toliet paper down the length of the door to cover the crack so nobody can see them.  Really?  What woman is peeking in between the cracks?  I’m not visiting the bathroom on a tour – I’m going to pee and then get back to work.  If you think your YaHoo is so precious or you’re spending so much time in there posing that someone it going to want to stop and look at you – W O W.

It’s a common, common, common occurance for woman not to flush.  Are they saving water?  The toliet seat cover didn’t flush.  The toliet paper they used to cover the seat didn’t get flushed.  The turd didn’t flush.  All the STUFF didn’t go down.  Why is it woman can’t do a courtesy check and double flush if necessary?  We’re double checking our fucking cleavage, hair and teeth but can’t take a second glance at the toliet to see if our pee and paper have been disposed of properly?

I just don’t get it!

It’s disgusting.

It’s disturbing!

Steven King could make a horror film out of it!

Those ads in Vogue this season are so hot – with the girl leaning against the nasty toliet in her Lucky Brand Jeans, looking all hot and bothered.  I so want those jeans.

OMG and did you see that one ad that Calvin Klein did with the couple making out in that ladies room with pee all over the floor and the trash?  I so want my man to do that….NOT!

And did you see that latest Victoria Secret ad with the wings?  Fantastic, she was seated on the sink with all the trash and toliet seat covers all over – that was so cool.

Nothing about any of this garbage reads sexy, hot, sultry or beautiful.

What woman thinks this is acceptable?  Someone has to clean up after you!

I’m not the first woman to let this cat out of the bag.  It turns my stomach every damn time I go into a public restroom.  It’s not a restroom it’s like the fourth level of Dante’s Inferno.  I’m not kidding.  I spend more time circling his damn Inferno….

All I can say is this…..

MEN…

Listen up…..chances are your woman is pulling the wool over your eyes!

So please, do yourself a favor…. the next time we chastise you for farting in front of us….remember this blog!  Ask her if she does a courtesy flush.

Some Things You Should Know About the Most Important Thing…..ME!

The other day I was at work.  For all the challenges I face, I enjoy work.  It’s something new every day and I learn more every week.  There are some days, I can’t wait to get to work.  Honest.  I don’t lie.  I’m terrible at lying….hence, reason #1 I could never be an undercover secret agent.

Sometimes, I think…

No.

Sometimes, I know….

The people I work with think I’m crazy.

That’s okay.  I didn’t suddenly become crazy.  I arrived to this job already crazy.  As one person said to me last week, “You are the only one who could get away with that.”  Yes.  I guess so.  But I was only being honest.  The difference was I said it out loud.

Oh, you want to know what I said?

“Slacker.”  (That’s all I’m saying….to protect the guilty and myself.  The truth would only be revealed under a tickle session.)

Of course, the up side is they know I’m kidding.  I hope.  People are so serious, it’s good to laugh. It releases the toxins you hold deep inside your gut.  Expel that shit like phlegm and be happy for a change.  Of course if you start playing that stupid song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” I will come by and snap off your music.  Be happy – yes.  Don’t be a pain in the ass.

I would like to get one of those things the gymnasts use to leap up to the high bar, balance beam or vault over the horse.  What are those things called?  The launcher.  I want one.  If anyone knows where I can get a used one please let me know.  That is how I want to come into my next meeting.  L A U N C H myself through the air!  Land with grace and yell out “TAH DUH!”

Besides these things, you should know…..and those who know me well, know this already.

NEWS  FLASH:  I’m not a hugger.

Unless you are a small furry critter of some sort, chances are slim I’m not going to embrace you.  Sorry.  Just the way I roll.

Part of it is because I’m short, almost like a pocket pet, hugs can be awkward for me.  A certain friend describes me as being like a candy bar:  “Fun Size!”

SO….as I was saying.  The other day I was at work and a co-worker came by my cubicle.  I’ve only met this person a few times before but feel like I’ve known them forever.  They come in and start towards me.

IMMEDIATELY there’s a “whoop whoop whoop HUG ALERT whoop whoop whoop HUG ALERT” siren going off in my head.  I don’t move a muscle.  If I’m still they’ll usually stop in their tracks.  It’s only slightly awkward, but we get through it.

Yatta, yatta….nice chat.  Moving on.

Later in the day, I was speaking with a different friend and advised them of the following:

“Yeah, you may want to mention to Pat that I’m not a hugger.  I think they might have been aiming to hug me earlier.”

Fast forward a few days later.  I end up having to stop by the potential hugger’s desk.  I pop in and my friend jumps up from behind the desk.

Immediately, my hands start to sweat.  Seriously?  Really?  OMG.  My heart starts to race and I think, “here we go again with the awkward moment.”  I do the only thing I can think of as my upper lip breaks out into a sweat….

I put my bag down and say, “HEY!  I bet our friend Kerry told you about my hugging thing huh?  Well alright, now that you know…..(gulp)…..I can hug you.”

Nervous laughter.

Ha.

Ha.

.

.

HA. HA. HHHAAA.

Pat, pat, pat.

.

.

I sit down and then look them in the eye and say, ” alright, so now you’re on the approved hugger list.  Don’t be going around telling people though okay.  LOTS of people want to get on it and I can’t permit that.”

They nod their head and reply, “Understood, I can only imagine how difficult the try outs are.”

Although, I will admit.  Some days are bad days and I could use a hug.  Without my better half here at the moment there are times when I think…..would I rather….hug a co-worker or hug a stranger?  Luckily, I haven’t acted on that impulse yet.

Today, I kinda had a personal struggle kind of day.  It was 80% great and 20% poopie.

I decided to go get a quick pedicure at my favorite local place.  They have the massage chairs that even squeeze your butt.  I like having my butt squeezed.

Sorry, was that too much personal information?

Anyway, I got the same guy who I got last time.  I never call ahead, I just go with the luck of the draw.  He does a great job so I was delighted.   Here’s the thing.  He’s Asian.  I’m American.  I’m terrible with accents.  90% of the time I have NO CLUE what this man is saying to me.   Tonight I sat in the chair.  He sits on the little stool and says to me:

“Atoub lkjdai kdi iqp bag? I’agb boie akv right?”

My little brain tries desperately to decipher what he’s just said…..bag…..right?  Bag?  Right?  WTF?  I laugh and say, “You think?”  He laughs and says something more about the bag and women.  I laugh.  Then about 30 seconds later it hits me!

Eureka!  I shout out, as if I am on some type of random B-rated game show, shown only on Wednesday nights on channel 7633 at 2:30AM:

“YES!  Of course I have multiple bags in my tote!  The bigger the bag, the more stuff I can carry!”

Then, because it was a last minute trip to the nail salon, I wasn’t too concerned about not having shaved my legs today.  Small stubble.  Not terrible.  I was wearing pants today and I knew nobody would be touching my legs.  Well, outside of a doctor in case of an emergency, but I wasn’t anticipating an emergency, so I didn’t shave.  My legs were nothing like sand paper.  Honest!  It wasn’t like it was fuzzy and braidable hair and it wouldn’t burn his hand off…so I wasn’t horrified about it until he said:

“Paiobo  aieq shave for me today.”

What the hell?  What?  What?  What?  I missed the first part.  WHAT!?  Did he say I did or didn’t?  I don’t know!  Good grief.  No clue.  Then we proceeded to the mask and the scrub on the legs.  I pretended to lay back and enjoy the chair massage.  With my eyes closed….thank you….to avoid further conversation.

We have two friends, who I really enjoy their company, however they both make me nervous as hell.  Why?  I can’t bloody understand most of what they say.  They are both helicopter pilots.  Why does that make a difference?  Trust me….it does.  That’s another story.

But they BOTH have accents.  I mean really, either one of them could read a cookbook to me and I’d be drooling.  However….me…… trying to carry on a conversation….with one of these guys?  I’ve got nothing.  Nothing.  Notta.  Zip. Zilch.

It’s so bad.  That my better half had to tell them, “you know she only get like every fourth word you say.”  They knew.  Yeah, because of my confused nods and smiles.  OMG I’m an idiot.

The other day at work we had a conference call.  Luckily it was just over the phone and not a video call.  Good lord.  One of the people on the call had not just one accent but TWO accents.  He started off British, which I get.  Check, got it, I’m good.  Following right along until BAM…all of the sudden he has a heavy Indian accent.

I’m not talking Native American accent.  I’m talking from India, India accent.

WHAT?

I went from hearing:

“Yes, it would be easy enough for us to come and visit with you and discuss your process.”

To:

“Tjagjoun   gp’iep”  aoibuo yboiafp   poiqrpjp’ja  ‘a;ojp[i  kaip  qgv.”

Then to:

“You would need to provide us with an accurate schedule as to the time frame.”

Followed by:

“Hkahgoi adyfug ghkb vvaip afihaivoj alboubo a aougo.”

If anyone could see me, they would have literally found me with my eyes squeezed shut, elbows on my knees and my fingers pressing into my temples…..so very seriously trying to concentrate oh so hard on whatever this British Indian man was trying to say.

I had nothing.

I won’t even go into the conversation ON THE PHONE I had today with one of our French  tour operators.  Luckily I was able to get the gist of why he was calling, so I was able to get through the conversation.  Dear Lord.  Instead of inventing “TV Ears” could someone please invent ears for people who can’t get over the accents?  Most of the time all I get is:

LA  LA  LA  PENCIL.

Lastly, I wanted to share with you my first day on the beach here near my house.  It was over the 4th of July.  The beach is literally a 5 minute drive from my front door, to the beach parking lot.  So easy.

I claim a little patch of shady sand……and settle in for my afternoon.  Okay, not really an afternoon because I don’t have the patience but I planned for ONE HOUR.  Which was perfect for me on the first trip.   Over by the lifeguard tower, it is mobbed.  Wall to wall people.  I’m a ways down the beach, in the shade of a high rise.  Perfect for my delicate Alaskan skin.

The first thing that I ponder are the signs not too far away from me that read something like, “Beginning from the front of this sign is 50 feet of private beach property.”  I’m confused.  The sign itself is hammered into the sand about 50 feet from the front of the obvious property line….the green grass.  However, does the sign mean it extends another 50 feet into the ocean?  Or does it mean 50 feet behind the sign is private beach?  So confusing these Floridans.

I’m happy as a clam.  In my bathing suit.  Wearing SPF 75 (thank you Alaskan friends) and watching the parade of people.  OMG.  That’s a whole other blog.  Suddenly, out of the right corner of my eye vision I see a 4WD vehicle fast approaching.  It slams on the breaks …a few car lengths away from me and the guy leaps out (doorless 4WD) and grabs a surf board off the top of the vehicle.  He lunges into the waves, throws himself on top of the board and begins to propel himself into the ocean.

I’m thinking, the Alaskan I am…..on the beach….in the blazing sun……wearing SPF 75….trying not to blind people with my vampire like skin……

Wow..he really wants to catch the waves.  Must be good wave action.   I watch him out in the ocean.  He’s paddling and paddling…..gets out to just where the waves are starting to form.  He’s talking to another group of people.  Yatta….yatta..

Waves are forming and going.

Forming and going.

Forming and going.

The guy on the surf board starts looking back at the beach and he’s patting his head.

?

?

?

?

What the hell does that mean?

He’s obviously not patting his head and rubbing his tummy.  He’s signaling to someone.

Then I take notice he’s talking to a group of kids who are out there on an (this is genius) inflatable mattress.  Not just a raft.

A  QUEEN  SIZE  MATTRESS.

GENIUS.

Winner.  Winner.  Chicken.  Dinner.  I LOVE that idea.  So much better than the little floatie raft things.  I love this.   Last time we were in Maui, I lost half my bathing suit trying to get back in to the beach…..carrying a floatie raft.

Seriously.

Then it suddenly dawns on me.

Duh.

I’m such an Alaskan.

On the beach.

This guy, anxious to get out and catch the waves?

Yeah, he’s a life guard.  Telling these kids they can’t be out there on an inflatable mattress.

I’m such a nerd……on the beach.

 

 

No Comprendo aka La La La Pencil

One thing I’ve learned since moving to Miami is…..I need to learn Spanish.

Pronto.

The local community college, had a Saturday class being offered this summer, “Beginner’s Conversational Spanish.”   Great!  Sign me up.  That’s exactly what I need.

Now, I will be able to make small talk in elevators, listen in on conversations when they think I don’t know what they’re saying and I can tell the Urgent Care to stop leaving messages for Juan….as they only leave messages in Spanish.  On my work cell phone no less.  I don’t know Juan.  How do I know what they’re calling about?  I had to ask one of my coworkers listen to the message, which I knew obviously it wasn’t for me.  It was in Spanish – duh.

Today was the day for my first Spanish class.

I was excited and ready to get going.  I logged the community college’s address into my GPS and headed out the door.  Of course, I had a general idea of where I was going.  Down the highway a couple of exits and then head West-ish.  When I got off the highway and was stopped at the first light, I should have trusted my gut and pulled a u-turn.  There was a vaguely familiar looking man sitting on the side of the road playing music.  On a 5 gallon plastic bucket.  For money.  He had a mustache like Cheech Marin.  Had I been quick enough, I would have snapped his photo as he looked like someone I used to work with years ago.  Enormously large bushy mustache….all you can see on the face…..stache and more stache.

Anyhow, I made my turn and quickly realized this was not the best neighborhood to be driving through.  I was expecting a scene out of West Side Story to erupt at any moment.  As I drove, I continued to keep my eyes open for unauthorized drag races to cross my path.  After a little research, I found that this town in particular had the highest crime rate in America in 2004.  Dear Lord, keep your eyes on the road and let’s just keep going forward.  I should have turned around at that light back there.

The ridiculous GPS, which sometimes sends me in circles.  Literally:

Turn left.

Turn left

Turn left.

Turn left.

Turn

NO!

Didn’t bother to tell me to Turn Right…..and I zipped right past the college.

Turn Left

Turn Left.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know.

Click.  OFF.

I pull into the first tiny little parking area.  There is a LAKE of water covering three spots.  Being I am now living in Florida, my footwear is not suitable to navigate this wading pool.  I drive to the end only to realize the last open spot is clearly marked (with a Pictionary sign) for people with babies and strollers.  Crap.  I head out of the parking area and a lady is blocking the exit, trying to decide whether or not to turn in.  She finally decides to give it a try and turns past me towards the pool.  As I head down the road to the next parking lot I see she zipped into the people with strollers spot and I slow down to see if she has any babies with her.

That would be a big NO.

I give her a disapproving glare and continue on my way.  Seriously, parents have it rough enough and now they can get this one little break in life.  Uneducated girl is going to take one of their spots because she’s too lazy to walk from the next lot over.  I hope you get explosive diarrhea in rush hour traffic…  (This is my standard curse.)  Yes, apparently she is uneducated.  Even if English isn’t her first language the giant picture of a stroller should be a dead give away.  My guess is she doesn’t do well in Pictionary or Charade games.

After I get my spot, I head towards building Numeral Uno!  I am a few minutes late and make my way to the second floor to the assigned classroom.  Yahoo….so excited.

I open the door and the instructor first greets me with a “bon jour!”  Followed quickly by a “buenos dias.”  I mutter a quick “hola” while she explains they were just talking about the French language as she teaches both.  Whatever.  I grab the first seat I see, right by the front door.  As I go to sit down I look at the girl a few seats back.

It’s the STROLLER LADY!

Great.  A sign of things to come.  Another indication I should have turned around at that light with Mr. Mustache.

Suddenly the instructor is addressing me.  All I catch is, “Giruod jab, whiuyt?”

The only thing I can say is, “Donna.”  I assume she’s asking for my name.

Then she says, “Luiy weng tldiwl uls?”

My response:  blink blink blink blink.

Again she says, “Luiy weng tldiwl uls?”

Again my response:  blink blink blink blink.  For good measure I shake my head NO.

An older gentleman in the class yells out, “last name.”

Oh!  Powell.  Donna Powell.

Good grief.

She goes back to the question at hand and begins to discuss how things will be listed on the immigration form, regarding your name.  Immigration form?  What the hell?  This is supposed to be Beginner’s Conversational Spanish, not how to fill out your immigration forms.  Well this is strange.  Next up, the instructor, whose name I have not a clue, starts to talk about something that sounds suspiciously like, “come here lama.”  NO clue.  I have not one bit of an idea what this woman is saying.  It continues as she points to the board, each time with a different stress accent.  “COME here lama.”  “Come HERE lama.”  “Come here LAMA.”  She explains in English something about using the “tu” when speaking with small children and the “utes” when speaking to adults.  “Come here lama.”

By this time I start looking around the room to see if there might actually be a lama somewhere.  Here a lama.  There a lama.  Everywhere a lama lama.

Guess what?  No lama.  Damn.

The instructor continues with the lesson:  “Oulkjda  jldoa  pencil  a’kdao kluou!  Hwid, wolwd jweoub aoul?  Taden pencil aera oueab weraouib alkpie. Right?  So then, aoiudf’ag jlareio  aoiejang aliduar ieialgob  alkubow.”   Now I’m looking around to see what everyone else is doing.  Nobody has a notebook out…not even a pencil.  Even the instructor only has a cell phone and cup of coffee on the desk.  Should I ask if I am in the right class?  Is anyone else dazed and confused or are they getting it?  One guy is sitting there smiling like this is the biggest punch line he’s ever heard.  Really?  I am so screwed.

Well, it’s still only the first few minutes of class, maybe she’s going to start explaining whatever she’s saying in a minute.

Cue the hourglass timer…..any minute now we’ll be speaking in English.  Any moment.  Wait for it.  One minute.

“Taljgljb  kjadaljgio  alkjro?  Waoiudgh lkjdfopig qjdagji adlgajgoiuej akfji?  Haidoug lkaj it.  The plural of the uya aor, aoiuf alkjb as it is in English.  Veriu aloiu akdj polg akjb.  You want to aenbo agoiub and then in the French language it is pronounced ela aoub akuouv alouf vous.  Taerib aljboiue jaoe kjgi alkjir; buanb aiuelg which is what?”

Which is don’t make eye contact cause I have no clue what you’re saying and I’m pretty damn sure it’s not English.  La la la chicken.

“Bof lb iead, akjoie afoinl aulz ojghs oaurl and always make sure you ahbie pbiael aieug adiwow.  Now, of course sometimes bagowie wobbloiu aty byru xkiao. Zcait abiuet itub lama aeiu?”

This is getting really, really awkward.  Now it’s obvious she’s asking questions to the class.  I’ve got nothing.  The suck thing is I’m sitting in the front row.  Prime target for being called on.  Duck and cover.  Duck and cover.  No sense in trying to fake tying my shoes. First, because I’m in the front row and second because I’m wearing slip ons.  Total failure.  Whatever happens don’t make eye contact.

Shit.  Shit.  Shit.  Shit.

It’s dawning on me that apparently, you need a working understanding of the Spanish language for this “BEGINNER’S” class.  Well had it been a requirement, do you think I would have signed up for this hell?  I have no clue what this woman is saying.  Yatta, yatta, yatta SHE, yatta, yatta, yatta what do you call that? Yatta, yatta, yatta, yatta and then you yatta yatta yatta lama.

How the hell do I get out of this?  I better do it quickly before we partner up for role playing and conversations.  Oh my god, the horror of that thought.  As soon as she turns her back to erase the board I am out of here.

Now she’s talking about pronouns and tenses.  She’s asking questions and don’t you know it, STROLLER LADY is the only one answering.  I don’t want to be rude and leap up from my desk and bolt to the door, but I know it’s only a matter of time before we have to pair up.  What is this Top Twenty Spanish Pronoun Questions?  Let’s get on with it.  Turn around.  Turn around.

Honestly, I shouldn’t worry about being rude and walking out.  After all she’s the one speaking in another language that I don’t understand.  Geez.  That’s rude.  Miss Manners would not be impressed.

I casually take out my cell phone to check the time.  I have only been here 20 minutes.  Well guess what.  Time is up.  Gotta go.  Oh yeah, did you hear that?  Sounded like a fire alarm.  Gotta run.  I casually loop my hand bag over my wrist and pick up my book bag off the floor.  The instructor starts to reach for the eraser and I’m up and out of my seat faster than a naked man being bit by fire ants on the yin-yang..  As I swim through the air to get to the door I hear her say:

“Yzgibb   aoiuearlj olkg  iwkg  aiublka laopiw?  Zkie gubja….”

Don’t turn back, that could have been directed to me…..for crying out loud, this is an episode mix between Fear Factor, Whose Line is it Anyways and Hidden Camera.  I close the door….on what I think is mid-sentence and then breathe a sigh of relief, wipe the sweat off my upper lip and think to myself:  Gotta go.  The lama called……and it said SAVE YOURSELF!