Tag Archives: invading personal space

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.

 

 

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Airline Travel : Hold the Rolls Please

There’s nothing more I’d rather do then get into a metal tube with a bunch of strangers, sling shot myself through the air at the hands of someone else’s capabilities and land exhausted, grumpy and achy in a distant city.

Awesome.

Life changing.

Fun.

Let’s do it again please.

What is it with people getting on an airplane?  It’s always a mad dash to see who can be first to board.  News flash folks: this isn’t a game of Musical Chairs.  There is a seat for you, provided you have a ticket.  Everyone wants to beat the stranger next to them to get on the plane.

I have a limp so I need extra time to board early.

My contact fell out so I can’t see and need to go first.

Yes, my 15-year-old needs extra time to get settled, we’re going to pre-board.

This computer bag, garment bag and messenger bag are over weight and too heavy, I need a wheelchair to get down to the plane.  Excuse me.

Forget about those that actually need to board first.  Hell, just run the legitimate folks down, they’ won’t mind.  Isn’t it obvious?  They’re just like the rest of the group.  Just one in a herd waiting to hear the cattle call to move forward.

I’ve written before about passengers who believe the entire overhead compartment is just for the two of them.  (Not for all three in the row on that side, just the two of them.)  They always feign shock when the flight attendant comes by and asks them to fold up their coats and to please take down the “mine, mine, mine” sign taped on the door.

They usually respond with “But we’ve always done it this way.”  I’m sorry honey but that excuse stopped working in 6th grade when you could no longer snow your teacher into believing you didn’t know the proper way to settle into detention.  I was born at night, but not last night.  Let’s move on.

As John Q. Public gathers anxiously around the gate’s podium everyone is eyeballing everyone else and thinking one thing:

Who am I sitting next to?

If you’re a people watcher, you can see the expressions change as the public reviews its options from one possibility to the next.

Yes.

No.

Hum, ok.

Definitely yes.

No.

No.

Hot momma…yes.

When it comes down to it, we’re all hoping for one thing:  maybe the middle seat will be empty.  If the airlines were smart, it would be an option for passengers seated on the window or aisle.  You could select a box that says, “willing to split fare for middle seat” and if the person who books the other side of the row agrees, you each pay $200 to save that middle seat for yourselves.  Why not?  If I’m flying from one end of this country to the other, I’d pay for half the space.  Unless I was in first class, then it wouldn’t be an option.  But, let’s not dream – let’s stay focused.

The one draw back to selecting your perfect seat mate while waiting for the racer’s gun to go off at the gate, is if you’re boarding a flight already in progress from another city.  Well this sucks.  You don’t get to ponder the possibilities of those already seated on the plane.  It becomes a cruel game of Peek-a-Boo!

Guess who?

No, I’d rather not.

Recently I was upgraded to Alaska Airlines MVP and was delighted with the fact I could directly book my aisle seat into an exit row.  A little extra leg room never hurts.  Not that I need it, but it’s helpful for when your seat mates have to climb in and out.  Climbing over me is fine, provided you’re the one I want a lap dance from – chances are you’re not that person – so I’ll take the extra space.

Recently I was on a business trip with a small posse of my industry mates.  We were all on the same short flight.  This particular flight had one stop before we reached our final destination.  Quick, easy, perfect.  The two segment flight was all of about 45 minutes of flight time but with boarding and stopping and all that other stuff it was about 2 hours start to finish. Ridiculously easy right?

Wrong.

Apparently the Karma Gods were not happy with me.

Walking on the plane I start immediately, counting back to my row.  That would be row 14 thank you.  Left side.  aisle.

One.

Two.

Three.

Four……

Wait.  What?

Five.

Six.

Seven.

That can’t be right.

Eight.

Nine.

Ten.

Are you kidding me.  I better check my boarding pass again.

Eleven.

Twelve.

Thirteen.

Just shoot me.  I didn’t even notice the welcome sign.  I ponder ringing the call button and asking for a fist full of little vodka bottles.

Fourteen.Welcome to Dante’s third circle of hell : gluttony.

I can’t even begin to describe the image that has been permanently burned into my mind.  At first I thought it was a walrus.   It’s a walrus slumped over into my seat.  Brown leathery neck folds.  Shiny bald head.  In my moment of confusion, I couldn’t figure out how he manged to get by the door attendants.

When did they let animals this large into the main cabin?  He’s obviously not going to fit under the seat in front of his owner.  Oh wait, the lady seated by the window is pressed up against the glass like a sea star.

She’s not with the walrus.

Uh-oh.  This is not a “happiness is” moment and I’m going to have to take matters into my own hands.

Before I set my bag down I realize my arm rest is up and he’s literally, laying half way across my seat.

Awesome.

Now I’m kicking myself.  I should have changed my seat.  I should have changed my seat.

I take one glance at walrus man and throw my bag into my seat.  I verify, again, my boarding pass and the seat assignment.

Damn.  Damn.  Damn.

He straightens up and as I’m taking my book, ear plugs and gum out of my bag…he puts down the arm rest.  Thank goodness for common sense on his part because I was ready to very politely advise him that while I’m sure he’s a nice person, I don’t really want to get to know him any more than I obviously have to at this point.

The only thing that is going through my mind now is how am I going to sit back?  Half of his upper body is in my seat.  I don’t remember asking for additional back support on this flight.  Nor, did I ask for a jello like body pillow to rest my head upon.

I slowly inch my way back.  Pretending to stretch my back by twisting from side to side.  Here goes nothing.

S M A C K

That would be the sucking sound of my  shoulders finding what little space available under his ham hock of a bicep and suctioning to the pleather seat back.  It was then for the first time in my recent memory, I had to fold up like a Praying Mantis to survive.  I am very small.  I am a little bunny rabbit.  I am cute and furry.  I am small like a spec of sand.  I am light as a feather.

People continue to board and  I can only guess my facial expression – a desperate, silent plead for help.  Anyone want to switch seats?  Where is a small kid when you need one?

One of three things would happen as people noticed my situation:

Knowing grimace of pain and sympathy – mostly from strangers.

Compliments on my shirt, hair, necklace or earrings – mostly from strangers.

Horrified smirks and pats on the shoulder – fellow co-workers.

Thanks for the support guys.  Appreciate it.  Can feel the love oozing now.

Before they shut the front door, I realize with a churn of my stomach, this guy is radiating heat.  Lots of heat.  Not just any kind of heat.  Pit heat.

Arm.

Pit.

Heat.

I didn’t realize personal sauna was an option on airlines these days.  I certainly don’t remember requesting this service for this flight or any other.  And this isn’t an add-on service I’d choose in the first place.

Insert full on toddler wailing moment…….WAH!

Now can I have a double vodka – hold the tonic – with a lime please?  This guy next to me is buying whether he realizes it or not.    If I’m going to get felt up for the next two hours by a stranger, you better keep them coming.

Oh, right. The suck thing is on the short flights, there’s no beverage service.  Of course, at this point I don’t think a beverage would have helped.  I was trapped under the walrus’ flipper…there’d be no way I could have squeezed my lime into my vodka!  Just open the little airplane bottle and pour it into my mouth, that’s fine.

(Note, my boss sitting across the aside from me would have probably had a few words to say about that activity, but you know…desperate times call for desperate measures.)

What I truly don’t get is if you know you’re a giant person…why, why, why….would you book a middle seat?  Why?

Everyone has to make sure their carry on fits inside the airplane.  They have those tester frames set up at the check in area, so you can ensure your bag will fit.  Smaller planes will have the gate attendant come through and gate check oversized bags.  If size matters – all size should matter.

If your ass doesn’t fit inside the seat simulator – you have to buy the middle seat.

Period.

End of story.

Why should the rest of us, who have paid the same amount for our 17.5 inches of seat – have to endure 1/3 of it being consumed by a stranger’s fat rolls?  They’re comfortable, shouldn’t the seat ends be comfortable too?  If you’re into  sharing strange, fleshy rolls, by all means – enjoy it!  I however, do not.  I prefer to rub up against people I know and even then, those people are a small select group of pre-approved people.

If you’re oversized, do me a favor.  Buy the extra seat so we can both be comfortable.  Otherwise, this is going to be an expensive flight for you.

Ring that call button please.