Tag Archives: sarcasm

Shadows, Sun, Stillness

21 Apr

Peace.  Today seems like it just might be full of it.

Unlike yesterday.

Yesterday, I learned that for some people, nothing goes better with 8:30am sun and breeze than a good, loud dose of rap music.  Bonus points if said music echoes through the entire courtyard when others are trying to concentrate.

I also learned that my idea of proper laundry room etiquette doesn’t exactly line up with everyone else’s.  Seriously, just because I got up early to use the four washing machines, it doesn’t mean I might want to dry my clothes right after that, you know?  It’s perfectly fine with me if you disregard the usual order of who-got-there-first and dump your own wet laundry in the dryer right when I’m about to use it.  Perfectly.  Fine.¹

But, whatever.  It was a sunny day, albeit a loud and laundry-filled day, and I did my best to be patient.  The music stopped, eventually, and my clothes are dry and folded.²  Even though my DVR somehow managed to not record Glee, it was still Tuesday: Lost-day.  Plus, my friend brought me a free non-fat latte and some Shiner for our midnight Lost-viewing refreshments.  (Public Service Announcement: there’s a reason Starbucks doesn’t make Grande Non-Fat Beer Lattes.)

Today, though: aaaaaahhhhhhh.

I can smell peace, and it smells like green grass and potted plants.  It sounds like breeze in the leaves, and the on-going conversation between the two little red birds who sit in those leaves.  It’s sun and shadows, and the fact that they’re shifting slowly.  It’s stillness.  This day will not escape me like yesterday did.

I’m fully aware that inner peace and circumstantial peace are two separate things.  Sometimes, though, circumstantial cacophony has its way of drowning out inner peace’s calm voice.  Today, the two peaces are having a nice little conversation.  I hope it’s a long one.

Better take advantage of this morning, so I’m off to start reading the last few chapters of Linda’s novel!  (PS: Go read Linda’s latest post, and not just because she says nice things about yours truly.  It’s full of honest perspective on rejection and the often discouraging querying process.)

I wish you all a peaceful day of sun, breeze, and birds.  (Singing birds, as opposed to creepy Alfred Hitchcock birds.  Also as opposed to the visually challenged kinds of birds who nosedive into windows, or birds who mistake big hair for their nests/toilets.)

¹I guess I should add, in her defense, that she cleaned her clothes in her own washer and they happened to need drying at the same time as mine.  Being dryer-less, what else was she to do?  Wait?  Though I understand where she’s coming from, it had a frustrating effect on me nonetheless, due to the way I had scheduled my day.  (Got up early to do laundry, only to have it take way longer than expected due to Dryer Girl.)  Add rap music to the mix, and the frustration was turned all the way up to eleven.  (This Is Spinal Tap, anyone?)

²As for dry, folded, and put away?  Not so much.

Scissors

13 Jan

I am afraid of scissors.

Not just any scissors, though — only the kind of scissors found in the hand of an insecure, inexperienced hairdresser who pretends he knows how to cut curly hair until two hours later, when he comes back crying with an instructor over the mess he’s obviously made.

Those kind of scissors, you know?

I also get irked when instructors pretend they know what they’re doing, too, and refuse to admit that the mane of frizzy non-curls and the shelf-like excuse for layers looks like crap.  And when, in response to my “Areyoukiddingmethislooksabsolutelyterrible!” gasp, they (yes, they, as in two separate supposedly competent instructors) advise me to “Just go wash it yourself and see if it looks okay, then come back and we’ll fix it.”

I expected more from you, Toni & Guy Academy in Carrollton, Texas.

Maybe I should back up a little bit.  I’ve been to this place twice before and received stellar service, which is a big deal because I’ve had some major Hair Trauma in my life¹.  So, I decided to return even though the guy who did my hair those two times moved on to a real salon — I figured that asking for someone who has a lot of experience with curls, combined with the instructors roaming the floor helping out their students, would land me at least something presentable.

I was wrong.

My stylist hardly spoke to me for two hours² and when he did, he mumbled.  He asked me how to style my hair (and then proceeded to not take my advice).  He cut it haphazardly, and not completely, and hair kept falling out of his fingers when he pulled it out to cut it.  Five minutes in, my hair was already starting to dry.  With curls?  Not a good look.  There was no hair product on it at all, and all the tiny curls began to expand.  And expand.  And expand.

I gave him the benefit of the doubt until he began to style it.  He brings out an on-its-deathbed bottle of styling cream, and when I say, “That looks almost empty,” he looks at it and goes, “Huh.”   Then he squirts a pea-sized amount³ and proceeds to mess with the same (already dry) section of hair for the next thirty minutes.  (For visual assistance here, you should know that the rest of my hair was twisted and clipped above my forehead, like a frizzed out mane of horsehair.)

I start to get angry at about the time he pulls out his blow-dryer and asks, “So, do you normally just do a power blow on it?”  When I say, “I have no idea what that means,” he asks if I use the blow-dryer sans attachments.  Okay, I haven’t had many hair cuts in the past decade, but I know one thing: you don’t blow-dry curly hair without a diffuser attachment.  You just don’t.  I mention the diffuser, and he responds with a confident, “Uh…I think I have one of those here somewhere…?”

Long story not-so-short, he steps away and finally asks for help.  The instructor comes over, unclips my horsehair-like mane, and foofs it just a bit.  I couldn’t believe it — this was how an instructor decides to fix the mess?  It looked like an asymmetrical frizzed-out helmet of hair, a two-inch mane of ugly bordering my face and neck; the back was a two-tiered wall, with the one layer I saw looking more like a shelf than a layer, about an inch higher (and straight across) than the longest part of my hair.

I’m not exaggerating.

After communicating my frustrations to a different instructor (to no avail), I headed for the closest real Toni & Guy.  

I walked in the door.  Everyone laughed.  I cannot tell you how relieving it was to have a salon full of hairdressers laughing at my hair: finally, finally, some validation for how awful it was, some “What happened to you?” sort of empathy.  Oh yeah, and a salon full of people who knew exactly how to fix it.

Forty-five minutes later (and about as many dollars), Lupe finished with me.  He far surpassed my directive of “Fix this any way you want to, just help me not want to hide in the bathroom forever.”  It’s sassy, semi-short, and looks pretty (as opposed to crap).  Score for Lupe: return customer for life!

My favorite part of my post-traumatic-shock conversation, as Lupe transformed me from zombie nightmare into a hair model: “Just imagine,” he says, after I tell him about the novel I’m writing, “If you had a book signing today, and you had to go to it with hair like you came in with!”  I know, Lupe, I know.

(Inner Drama Queen = indulged.) (Thanks.)

¹Incident #1: Two weeks before high school graduation, year 2000.  Hair was thinned out on the bottom so much that I looked like a mushroom head with Medusa snakes slithering out from the bottom.  It took about two years to grow out (two years of college).  This scared and scarred me, and I did not get another hair cut until last summer. (Yes, in 2009.  Yes, I went almost the entire decade without scissors touching my hair.  Surprisingly, it didn’t look that bad.)  Incident #2: In 2002, I was on a mission trip with my church, and we were building a front porch; silly me, I forgot to tie my hair back that day, and accidentally ended up getting a large chunk in the front caught in a thick drill.  It ripped out.  I never saw any fashion magazines setting trends for my look, incidentally. (When it grew back, it started as a strange sprig of hair that stuck straight up in miniature-unicorn-horn-like fashion.)

²Have I mentioned yet that it took two hours?  Two hours.  For something that made me want to lock myself in a bathroom.

³I typically use about two full pumps (i.e. about ten times the size of one pea) or else my hair will frizz out.  I also have to do this when it’s wet, or else it won’t make any difference at all.

Footsies, I Tell You!

7 Nov

It’s Saturday!  And, what does any normal person do on a Saturday morning?  Probably not get up at 6:17 in the morning to work on a novel.  I haven’t even had coffee yet, can you believe it?  Believe me, I’ll be crafting a fine espresso beverage as soon as I hit publish on this post.

After hours of focus and diligent typing, I’ve managed to almost catch up to where I need to be.  Yesterday, when I posted last, I was at 7,385 words.  I’m pleased to say I’ve written 3,686 words since then.  Whee!

As fellow writers (and fellow humans), I think you will appreciate this little random story I’m about to tell.  My sister teaches 6th grade creative writing – how fun, right?  Um, apparently not.  This is her first year to teach the subject, after two dreadful years of teaching 7th grade math.  In the small town where she teaches, they require her to test the kids using those Scantron formats — multiple choice tests where kids have to fill in the bubbles to show their answers.  

I was pretty much appalled that for CREATIVE WRITING she had to give multiple choice tests.  What?!  Whatever happened to, say, writing creatively and getting a grade based on your work?  What’s even more appalling are some of the answers to the questions the kids had to answer.  The test was kind of dumbed down, because it was an assessment for my sister to see where she should start teaching them.  Even so: wow.  Listen to this.  

You tell me — when asked what part of speech the word “person” is, how is it freaking possible that more than half the class answered ‘verb?’  And, when asked what the plural of “foot” is, and given the choices A) foots, B) feet, C) feets, or D) footsies, what moron parents and/or teachers taught these children that “footsies” is the right answer?  Fifty-three percent said “footsies,” I tell you!  I’m astonished and perplexed and all those other words that sound so much better when coming out of Tim Gunn’s mouth.

Poor sister.  Poor kids!  She certainly has her work cut out for her.  I’m encouraging her to write Jen Lancaster-style books about all her crazy experiences.  She could probably turn out six different memoirs about her life, and they’d all be captivating and hilarious.  I’m serious.  The first one, which she’s already started, will be called I Make the Peppy Girls Cry, about being a tough (stuck-there-against-her-will) cheerleading sponsor for some catty-bratty junior high girls.  

On that note, in the midst of stressing about word counts or the right way to pace a novel, let’s just be thankful we know what verbs are and that those things with toes (or is it “toesies?”) at the end of them are called feet.  

NaNoMeter: 11,071 down | 38,929 to go

Monster

28 Oct

Oh, man.

Um…why didn’t you guys warn me not to get absolutely, totally excited about my NaNoWriMo idea?  Oh yeah, and that once I got excited about it, I’d just have to commit, once and for all, because I have zero idea whatsoever how this new story is going to end?

I simply must find out.

In order to find out, I’ve got to start the thing.  And, in order to start this particular project come November 1st, there’s a bit of research involved.  

Ahem, did I say a bit of research?  I think I meant three tons of research.  Never fear, though.  I know (kind of) enough to write the thing right now (I think), to get a story on the page bare-boned.  It’s just that the research will make all the difference between a good story and an excellent one; it will make me a she-nailed-her-facts kind of author instead of a poser-extraordinaire.  And nobody wants to be a poser-extraordinaire.

So, yeah.  The rest of October, I’m going to get as much written on my WIP as possible, along with justenough research as necessary to get going for November.  After November, I’ll return to my WIP, let the NaNo piece simmer in a drawer, and come back to it later.  That’s the plan, anyway.

I am definitely a project-driven kind of girl.  How on earth did it take me so many years to realize that?  So many years spent in day-in/day-out futile jobs, jobs where you could see no progress over time.  Countless checks cashed, countless pitchers of milk steamed, countless chicken sandwiches hurled¹ at customers through the drive-through window.  Countless days waking up earlier than the sun, countless curse words uttered (loudly, in harsh tones) at me when I was the Angel of Bad-Banking-Account News², countless days of wanting — needing — to do something more.

Give me a monster pile of research any day.  I love projects, where results are visible, problems malleable, and an end in sight, no matter how far away it may be.

¹Poetic license?
²Your account probably didn’t get $1,000 in the negative by you being 100% on top of your budget, now did it?  And you really think I’m going to let you take all of your ex-husband’s funds from his account, which you are not on?  For more awesome opinions on working my lovely job at the bank, check out this old post I almost forgot about! (Warning: Sarcasm ahead if you click the link…)

You Really Want to Know? Really?

2 Aug

Do you ever get questions that are impossible to answer?  Questions that make you wonder, um, can you think for yourself?  Questions like these, for example:

“Where’s the bathroom?”  Do I look like I know my way around the Shanghai airport?  Being here once before does not make me an expert of this airport’s layout.  I know ‘bathroom’ is difficult to say in Chinese, but come on – that’s, like, the first thing we learned here.  And you’ve been here once before, too, just like me.  Seriously.  There is a sign two feet away from you that shows you where to go.  

Can I switch to an aisle seat?  I feel sick and don’t want to sit in the middle.”  Do I look like the flight attendant you just spoke with five minutes ago?  She printed your ticket five minutes ago, I’m sure you could go back up there and ask her.  Do I look like I have the necessary authority to switch your seat? 

Lately, I’ve been thinking a little about other such questions and the people who ask them.  I’m a few years beyond the dreaded, “What are you doing after college graduation?” question* but others have risen in its wake, especially since I started writing my novel.

Now, don’t get me wrong – these questions are not ignorant ones, like the ones above.  It’s just that they are the ones everybody asks.

What is your book about?

When will you be finished?

Have you sent it to a publisher yet?

Legitimate questions – difficult to answer.  I’m finding the responses I give depend entirely on who’s asking.  

Some people want to hear nice, quick answers – how you wrote your fantastic breakout novel in one month and scored a publishing deal (and got paid some major big bucks, oh, and they want to make it into a movie) with the first person you showed it to.  Things like that.

 These are the questions that are the hardest to answer, because most people who ask them don’t expect to hear a five- or ten-minute long explanation**.

They’re even less thrilled when you explain, “Well, actually, writing a book takes a good deal of time…Yes, I was still working on this same book months ago…Yes, I’ll probably be working on it for several more months…”

It kinda reminds me of the whole “How are you?” thing where people have time and energy to handle your “I’m great!” but not your “Well, my week was pretty lame, actually, and here’s [thirty minutes explaining] why…”

Sometimes, though, the rare gem of a human being makes your day and wants to hear the truth.

Like the whole “How are you?” thing, these questions feel wonderful to discuss with people who care to hear the real, not-always-neatly-packaged answers.  Some people expect a five-second answer, but are pleased when you tell them more than that.

Thank goodness for people who understand that writing a novel is not a project where you snap your fingers and a finished book appears.  Thank goodness for people who understand the desire to produce my very best possible work, and not just fly through it for the sake of seeing lots and lots of ink-covered pages.  Thank goodness there are people who know, and care, that writing is not just about the finished product but how you got there.  Kinda like life.  

 

*Fortunately.  Being an International Studies major who does not want to work in politics or move overseas does not lend itself to a wealth of job opportunities.

**To clarify: I’m not talking about instances where you are supposed to be succinct, like when pitching your novel.  That’s totally fine with me.  It’s more the I’m asking because I’m being polite and don’t reeeeally care thing that bothers me.

Pat Benatar’s Coffee Slave

27 Jul

Attention, Snooty Blonde Woman who wiped out the entire pastry case at Starbucks:

Riding here in a limousine does not give you the right to treat the employees (namely, my friend Wanda) like dirt.  Don’t deny it – I was behind you in line, and heard every word while starving to death.  Okay, not to death.  But starving.  

So what if you are Pat Benatar’s* coffee slave?  It’s not generally considered nice to order the staff around, then ask, “Have they started my cups** yet?”  First of all, the “they” of whom you speak is Wanda, who is currently bagging your two trillion pastries, so no, she has not started your cups.  And when she replies it will take four years (ahem, minutes) for your coffee to brew – since you need gallons of it – realize that Starbucks was not warned they would get hit by Hurricane Coffee Slave today.  

Appropriate ways to treat your barista include the following: gratitude, in abundance.  A non-demanding attitude***.  Not taking ten minutes to order when you see Wanda is the only one available to ring people up, and that a line has formed behind you to the door.  While I’m on the subject of lines – next time, it might be a good idea to step aside when you wait for your order, too.  It looked like Wanda was having a hard time taking everyone else’s requests while you waited (impatiently) for your coffee right in front of her cash register.  Just a thought.

So, in case you’re wondering, everyone in the entire building watched your drama unfold.  Of course, I heard every word because I was behind you the whole time****.  Even though the lowly baristas didn’t look like you’d offended them, there is indeed a reason you carried your spoil back to the limo all by yourself: solidarity.

It’s a good thing I wanted oatmeal, since you took all the scones.   

In the future: be nice, and the world will carry your coffee for you.  You will spill less, and therefore become a happier person.

All my best wishes,

The Girl with the Growling Stomach

 

*Hearsay.  A woman in the drive-through told my friend Ann, who told me.  Pat Benatar, if your coffee slave is a charming angel, my sincerest apologies.  

**”Started my cups?”  For future reference, this doesn’t really make sense.  Do you mean, “Started making my drinks?” or “Did she get my order?”  How, exactly, does one start a cup?

***This means, you say, “May I please have…” instead of, “Give me this, that, and every one of those, at this very instant.  Please grow three more arms, while you’re at it.”

****Starving.

I Thought You Were My Friend, Maintenance Man

15 Jul

Dear Maintenance Man,

I thought we were friends.  

Remember that little conversation we had about the birds – how that red bird has made both of my birdhouses his home?  Remember how you helped me carry my laundry to my door when you were cleaning the walkway the other day (and how I didn’t complain about the ear-splitting noise of your machine, even though Remy the Cat was completely freaked out)?  

You even tamed the vicious sprinkler for me, the one that decimated my succulents and flooded my porch.  Our parking lot is still a river every time it rains, but I bought some golashes, so I can deal with that.

But seriously?  Our sink’s garbage disposal has been broken since Sunday, when we called you.  I sincerely appreciate you coming by on Monday and letting yourself in to the apartment while my friend and I were sweating to Thirty Day Shred.  I really thought you would come back, especially since I asked you to return in twenty minutes and you said you would.

But, you didn’t come.  It’s getting increasingly difficult to move around the dirty dishes we can’t rinse in our backed up sink; the sink, by the way, is now a nice shade of orange from where the ravioli residue crept toward its eventual death.  

Call me crazy, but since I very clearly said, “Please come back in twenty minutes,” I did not expect for my husband to get a phone call saying you attempted service twice, and that I told you to come back both times, especially since this is not how it went down.

I thought we were friends.  Of course, if you resolve this soon, I am willing to forgive you, since I would miss those chats about the red bird and the extra hand with my laundry.  When you come, just watch out for Remy the Cat.  He tends to greet people at the door, and if you’re not careful, he may just run for his life out that door.  If you lose our cat, I think our friendship will be forever ruined.

 

So!  Thanks in advance, Mr. Maintenance Man,

The Girl in 134 West

Oh, the Joy of the Wal-Mart Parking Lot

30 Jun

Dear nice lady in the Wal-Mart parking lot who bit my head off,

I did not steal your Very Close Parking Space on purpose.  For some reason, I thought you were holding up the entire line of cars because you were waiting for that handicapped car to back out.  I’m not sure why I thought that.  Perhaps it’s because you were waiting behind that space with your blinker on for several minutes.  Unfortunately, they sat there motionless, unable to back out because you were too close to them.  You couldn’t back up because I was behind you, and so on.  So what did I do?  Well, naturally, when I saw that minivan back out a few spaces up, I went around you so I wouldn’t be in anyone’s way anymore.  How was I supposed to know you didn’t have one of those little blue handicapped tags dangling from your rearview mirror?  Too bad I realized a bit too late that I had completely ruined your entire day, and that you had, in fact, laid claim to said Very Close Parking Space an hour ago, when you started holding up the line.  You made your message bitterly clear by laying on your horn and waiting for me to get out of the car.  Oh, and there was also that bit where you informed me (loudly and with pointed finger, might I add) that I am, “VERY, VERY RUDE!”  I’ll be the first to admit it wasn’t the nicest thing to do when I decided not to move my car after your yelling fit, but seriously.  I was only trying to get out of the way, and I could have gotten my green beans and been back on the road in the year that spanned while I sat behind you in the lot.  I hope your legs didn’t wither as you walked the extra ten feet to the door, after you quickly found that spot a few spaces over.  

Best regards,

The Girl in the Sweaty Green Shirt

Satirical Instruction Manual, Entry No. 1

16 Jun

How to Use the Drive Through at the Bank

1. Do not use the buzzer as a weapon. Hearing the buzzer (especially in rapid succession from customers who have been in line for less than two seconds) is equivalent to being the object at whom daggers are thrown.
2. A deposit slip is used when you make a deposit — NOT when you only want to cash the check.

3. No, I cannot do ten transactions at once. You might have to wait a couple of minutes.

4. Yes, you do need I.D. if you want cash back. I don’t doubt that you’ve been our customer for forty years. However, I’ve only been alive for twenty-four of those years, and what’s more, I’ve only worked here for one of those years. And, I’ve never seen you before, so what makes you think I know who you are? Yes, I will need that I.D. Thanks.

5. What on earth makes you think that I’m going to give you cash for a $4000 check made out to your roommate’s sister’s boyfriend’s mom? 

6. We cannot hear you when the tube is coming through to us. Please don’t push the buzzer and then send the tube immediately after you’ve buzzed. For that matter, please don’t buzz at all. See Rule #1.

7. Please send in all transactions at once. We feel silly if we tell you “Thank you, have a great day!” more than three times in one visit. We also feel annoyed. 

8. On that note, if you have ten transactions, please come in, instead…

9. Rolled Coin + Drive Through Tube = Broken Drive Through Tube. Common sense could be Warning #1 on that lesson, Warning #2 would be the label on the tube that tells you not to send coin through. 

10. Rolled coin is better than loose coin, though. We don’t have a counter, and we don’t have time to count your 5,000 quarters. 

11. Don’t be this person: Tube comes in, with a check. “Would you like to cash or deposit today?” I ask. “Cash, please.” Okay. So I proceed to cash. “Anything else today?” “No,” they say. I send the tube back with the cash. BUZZZZ. “Yes?” They tell me, “I want to deposit now.” Did I not just ask you a) if you want to cash or deposit, and b) if you needed anything else? Grrr.

12. Plucking your nose hairs in the commercial lane is unacceptable. We understand that you are busy and may not have time to do this before or after work, but if you want your teller to be able to focus and get your transaction right, do not distract us with this (or any) sort of bodily grooming. 

13. Please have your stuff ready before you pull up — no one wants to sit behind you for fifteen minutes while you fill out the deposit slip that we don’t really need in the first place.

14. “For Deposit Only” is not an acceptable endorsement. Is it that hard to sign your name? 

15. And, finally, please don’t yell at us. We are the bottom of the bank food-chain as it is, why would you think we have any authority over the rules and regulations? We don’t make them. We get paid to keep them.

***

Fortunately, I am no longer a bank teller.  Just thought I’d share some of my most lovely memories and hopefully – hopefully – make the life of some other poor teller a little more bearable.

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