Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pawn Shop

"Have you got any bullets for this gun?"

He looked over at me and the gun in my hand with a puzzled expression.

"What gun? You've got a wrench in your hand."

I looked down at the instrument of death in my hand. Huh, he was right. It WAS a wrench. I was dismayed.

"How the fuck am i supposed to rob a pawn shop with a wrench?!"

"Just stick it in your pocket and point it at them. They'll just THINK it's a gun."

I groaned at him. "That's so cheesy! Only some asshole in a movie would do that!"

"Well, you're stuck. They don't make bullets for wrenches. Here, put this on." He handed me something that looked like a shower cap with a face mask attached.

"What's this?"

"It's an anti-DNA identity protection device. They won't be able to identify you, and you won't leave any DNA at the scene."

"It looks like a shower cap with some eye-holes cut out."

"It is. I made it myself."

I had to admit, i was impressed. "Good idea!" I put it on, and i instantly felt like no hair or face skin would be left on our victims' counter top. I looked over at him. He had put his on too, but i could still discern his ethnicity. I opened my mouth to point this out, and then closed it, as it couldn't really be helped anyhow. I hoped the pawn shop people weren't getting suspicious of us. We'd been sitting outside in this car making our preparations for quite some time now, after all. I thought i'd be nervous if i were a pawn shop person watching two jerks in a car outside putting on masks and conversing as long as we had been.

"Ready check," he said to me.

I took a deep breath and nodded to him. We got out of the car and rushed inside the pawnshop, him brandishing his gun, and me poking my wrench as far forward in my pocket as it would go, hoping it looked like a gun, and glad they couldn't see my face painted with embarrassment. It really was a cheesy thing to do. So cliche.

He approached the counter, looking rather like a badass who'd done this before. He thrust a Walmart bag toward the clerk and demanded the money. The clerk looked apprehensively at the register, and back at my partner, like he wanted to say something. He decided, at last, to do so.

"Er, you won't need the bag. I can just put it right in your hand." He proceeded to open the register and dump the contents into my partner's outstretched hand. I looked at his hand and did a mental tabulation that was probaby far off its mark, as badly as i suck at math in my head. Anyhow, it looked to be about thirty eight cents in nickels and pennies.

"What the fuck is this?!" i demanded.

"What, you think you're the only one having a bad economy? People pawn their shit, take my money, and then don't pay on the loans. Then i'm stuck with all this bullshit no one wants to buy!" He gestured around at the shop. I looked at the items for sale and realized he was right: it WAS a bunch of bullshit no one would want to buy; the place resembled a picked-over thrift store more than a pawnshop.

"Well why the hell are you lending people money for shit you know you can't sell?!"

He glared at me. "SO SORRY for making business choices that would impede your score!"

I menacingly thrust the wrench farther forward in my pocket. "You'd better be glad i don't shoot you out of frustration!"

His lip curled. "You can't shoot someone with a wrench, moron."

Moron?! This wasn't even my fucking idea!! I pulled the trigger and shot him twice in his bad-business-decision-making head. He stood there looking at me, the surprise slowly draining from his face like blood from the wounds i'd inflicted. He fell to the ground behind the counter. I pulled the wrench out of my pocket and looked at it. Huh. Guess it was a gun, after all.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I'd begun to feel like a stalker, but i couldn't help myself. I was back at the Lavateria again, sitting on the floor slumped against a washing machine, staring at the one on the corner directly opposite me.

To the casual observer, it was nothing special; just the average, every day coin-operated Speed Queen- super capacity. To the slightly-more-observant observer, it was the only machine in the place that still only cost seventy five cents. The rest had been raised to a dollar twenty five.

To me, it was our washing machine. Ours. I said it aloud, to taste it in my mouth. Ours. Saying it didn't bring back the taste of him.

I pretended to wonder if he ever came here to look at this machine and reminisce the way i did, knowing damn well that he didn't. As often as i found myself sitting in this spot with a lit, unsmoked cigarette slowly burning itself to ashes between my fingers, i'd have seen him if he did.

I pretended to wonder if he ever tried to recall my taste in his mouth the way i did his, knowing damn well that he didn't. I was just temporary. I was an amusement. A distraction to occupy the fortyfiveish minutes it took for his clothes to dry. I was a magazine, lying on a table top in a dentist's office: there to pass the time, and then to be discarded and forgotten once the time had been passed. I wondered briefly if the magazines recalled every person who caressed their flimsy, gaudy jackets, however briefly.

I stood up, stubbed out my cigarette, and the thought along with it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Brief Rant About People Who Reprhase Questions

Has someone ever asked you a question you didn't know the answer to? Did they then turn around and rephrase the question so that it sounds a little different, and then ask you again? That's a practice quite a few people i encounter in daily life engage in, probably without even realizing what they're doing.

I don't get it. Recomposing the same question in a different format generally isn't going to cause me to suddenly know the answer. My boss is particularly fond of this tactic.

"How many boxes of syringes did we get?"

"Not sure."

"Do you know how many pallets there were?"

". . . no. . ."

"How many did the invoice say there were?"

ARGH!!! It doesn't matter HOW you ask me about the quantity of syringes that came. . . I still don't fucking know how many we got in!!

"How much longer on that viable particle monitoring?"

"I didn't know i was supposed to do that."

"Did you start it?"

"No, i didn't know i was supposed to."

"When do you think it'll be done?"

"I don't know, i haven't started it!"

"Well how long is it going to take?"

This line of questioning makes me want to brain myself with a package of Trypticase Soybean-Casein agar plates. Only then i wouldn't be able to use them to do viable particle monitoring.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Who I'd Like To Meet (Myspace Blurbage)

Now there's a field of text on my profile that's given me pause for quite a long time. Who I'd Like To Meet. I've always wondered if it means celebrity-wise? Or just a type of person i may feel i'm lacking in my life? You know, in case that type of person happens to be browsing my profile; then that big, overhead light bulb could go on, and that person could clap their hands together decisively, saying aloud, "Why! That's me! All that's missing is my name!" It's more possible than the former, i'm sure. After all, this IS a social networking site.

But if it's a rhetorical question, asking me if there were any particular person of fame i'd like to meet (you know, just to see what type of person i am), then i'd certainly have to say no, for a couple of different reasons. People judge you based on the answer to that question, and i'm going to pretend for the moment that i care what The Random Masses think of me.

Let's say i proclaim wanting to meet a long-dead poet, or famous peace maker, or philosopher. Let's say i put in that field "Gandhi", and then i make my case for why i want to meet him: great man, want to pick his brain, ask him what he thinks of modern society, all the usual blah-blah. Now i look stuffy, possibly a little snobby, and certainly more than a little trite. While it may be 100% true that i want to meet Gandhi, saying so has the quality of a fake answer, and gives the appearance that i'm trying to impress someone.

Since i want to avoid looking boring and trite, i decide instead to be modern and trendy. Let's say i enter "Miley Cyrus" in the Who I Want To Meet, and then i briefly make my case for why i want to meet her: omg, so cute and talented and her dad is SOOOO hawt! Now i'm putting off a vibe that clearly says Not To Be Taken Seriously (unless i'm a guy, then it puts out a vibe that clearly says Stalker-Creep with a Lolita Complex).

But in truth, it's not the judgment aspect that prevents me from putting a celebrity into Who I Want To Meet. There are a few movie stars and musicians/singers that i truly enjoy. I will go and see a movie of dubious potential if Samuel L. Jackson is in it. I love that guy, and generally even when the movie itself is sucking like a strung-out crack whore, his parts are blissfully unsullied by the smut that is the rest of the movie (primary example: The Spirit). I love Bjork's music and her voice gives me those chills along my scalp and arms that generally accompany a soundgasm. MGMT takes me to a whole different plane of consciousness without chemical assistance. But i don't want to meet these people.

Well, why the hell not?!, you may be demanding right now. And even if you're not, i'm going to tell you.

In my own mind, Samuel L. is a brilliant, hilarious mixture of different tones of all of my favourite roles he's played. He's edgy like Jules, tough and resourceful like Neville Flynn; he cares, but brooks no bullshit like Lorenzo, and is an evil genius like the Octopus. Bjork is every bit the angel she sounds like. MGMT is a small group of wise children, with an insight into life that belies their youth.

But we all know it's not true. Samuel's got a personality that has nothing to do with the ones he portrays on the screen. Bjork is a bit of a nutcase, and MGMT is just a group of kids who like to get high and play music well. And i don't want to meet face to face with any of these realities. I guard my fantasies jealously, and i doubt any of the celebrities i enjoy could live up to who they are in my mind. No, i can't enter a celebrity into Who I Want To Meet.

That leaves real people.

But how real can this person be, if i decide to enter in all the qualities i'd like to see condensed into one human being? Let's say I'd Like To Meet a person with a sense of humour (not just any sense of humour, but the RIGHT kind of humour that would make everything that this person uttered a piece of comedic genius to my ears), not too tall, but not too short, of average build and level of goodlookingness, that enjoys online gaming, reading, movies (not just any movies, mind you, but the kind of movies i like), and casual dining. S/he'd have to be witty, but not so witty that i felt inferior in their presence; her/his social views would have to be moderately left; s/he'd have to be undecided on important topics like gun control, the death penalty, and religion, so that we could stay up late talking about their pros and cons.

And so on. It seems to me that even if i put all this into Who I'd Like To Meet, this person couldn't possibly exist. And if they did, and through some cosmic miracle, that person was on Myspace, tripping over my profile with the time to read Who I'd Like To meet, what're they odds that my personality matches THEIR Who I'd Like To Meet? Not that it matters, seeing as how it's my Who I'd Like To Meet we're talking about here, but those odds are looking a lot like lottery odds, therefore rendering the whole purpose of that blurb moot. And let's face it: even that level of compatibility could get old after a while. Small incompatibilities make friendships interesting.

Alas, after all this musing, i still have nobody to put in Who I'd Like To Meet. I guess i don't really want to meet anybody in particular.

Hello, it's nice to meet you :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sorry, What Was That?

Over the years, i've become quite deaf. Not Christy Smith-deaf, you understand, but somewhat hard-of-hearing, especially for my age. I attribute it to all the concerts i've attended without protection for my ears, the volume theaters like to play movie sound at these days, and driving a Jeep for the last eightish years. Okay, the volume at which i play my music probably had something to do with it, too, but i digress.

As a result of this loss of hearing sensitivity, i've noticed two annoying things: one thing that i do, and one thing that other people do TO me. I never noticed the thing that i do until it was pointed out to me yesterday by a buddy of mine while i was at work.

People i work with are well aware that i can't hear worth a damn. Rather, that i have difficulty distinguishing what they say over the background noise. Sometimes, i just get tired of saying, "Huh?", and "What?" and "Sorry, what was that?", and i just smile and nod or say something noncomittal. So John was telling me something yesterday that i just couldn't make out. I nodded and said something like "Okay". . . i honestly don't remember exactly what i said, and continued with whatever it was i was doing.

All the sudden he got really annoyed with me and burst out, "Why do you do that?!" Well. THAT certainly got my attention.

"Do what?"

"Act like you heard me when you know damn well you didn't! I said, 'Line 4 is for you, it's Capintec!'"

Fantastic. I almost missed a call i've been waiting for for a week now. I took the call, and hung up to find John standing over me. Nope, he wasn't going to let this go.

"You've gotta quit doing that."

"I know, i'm sorry. I will."

"You don't even know you're doing it! Fucking pay attention!"

"I said i will!" Jeeze, i didn't mean to blow him off. I just get so tired of asking people to repeat themselves. I didn't realize how often i was i was Smiling And Nodding at people. I can see how that'd be irritating as hell. I resolved not to be irritating as hell in that fashion anymore, though i had a sneaking suspicion people were gonna get right sick of saying everything more than once.

Then he did the thing that irritates the hell out of ME: he started saying something, then he turned around and walked away while still talking. Now i REALLY can't hear what he's saying.

"Seriously? You harangue me for not listening, but then you walk away and expect me to hear what you're saying? I've TOLD you how much i hate that!"

He looked over his shoulder and smirked. Bastard.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Open Arms or Open Eyes?

Over the course of the last few years, i've made friends with, and subsequently broken up with, a girl i work with (we'll call her. . . you guessed it, we'll call her "Jane"). I've blogged about this girl several times over the past twoish years, so i won't go into details about why she sucks so much, but her most unpleasant traits seem to be her tendency to lie compulsively, twist the things people say to her around and then tell everyone else about it, and general back-stabbiness.

The problem is, when she's being nice to me, she seems like such a warm, caring, genuine person. I mean, she's so convincing that after being burned by her repeatedly, i have to mentally remind myself when she's talking to me NOT to fall for her bullshit.

Luckily, she's also incredibly predictable. She's one of those people who can't seem to get along with everyone at once. So once she fell out with the other girl at work she was "friends" with (I suppose we'll call her "June". . . and, as an aside, June is the Not A Racist girl from a few blogs back), i figured it was only a matter of time until she started sucking up to me again.

She obliged on my expectations a few days ago, but her tactic has thrown me for a loop. She actually apologized for being cunty.

Normally when she tries to sleaze herself back into my good graces, she just pretends like nothing happened and that things've always been fine. I can't complain about this because i allow her to do it to a degree- i smile and am pleasant to her, but i don't actually tell her anything vital about what's going on in my life nor do i hang out with her outside of work. I hate having the awkwardness of a bad relationship while i'm AT work, so i go along with it most of the time. Spineless? Two-faced? Maybe. I don't pretend to be a perfect person.

But this time, she actually acknowledged some of the meaner things she did to me and apologized for them. I went through the motions of forgiving her; some of the minor transgressions i actually did forgive her for, and others i cannot find it in myself to be so magnanimous about. I probably don't need to say that she seems very genuine and heartfelt in her apologies, but i just can't help but think that if things were okay between her and June, this conversation wouldn't have happened.

I imagine i'll do what i always do: Smile and say it's okay, don't worry about it, and keep my back always facing away from her. I will remind myself daily that open eyes are appropriate when dealing with Jane, not open arms. After all, open arms would expose my back once again, and i'm all too aware of what happens when i do THAT.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My Dog The Liar

Most people look at a dog, and and are completely disarmed by how cute he is. How fun, how sweet, how loving, how soft; and the adorability of his antics! People just melt in the innocent eyes of a dog.


But behind those innocent eyes lies deviousness, the depths of which we shall never fully plumb. Deceit and dubiousness cloak themselves in soft fur and doting attention, distracting you from their plots and intentions. Oh, yes, dogs have a hidden agenda. The agenda?

Acquire more food by any means necessary.

I was cooking supper yesterday (it was Taco Tuesday), when i noticed my dog standing wiltedly by his food bowl. He paced back and forth between me and his bowl, looking forlornly into its empty depths, and then wistfully back at me.

"He must be pretty hungry if he's standing at his bowl instead of scavenging for possible dropped food around my feet," i thought to myself. So i went out to the garage, filled the scoop a little fuller than usual, since it was a half hour past his normal dinner time, and dumped it into his bowl. He fell onto the food like a parched man into an oasis after a month in the desert.

Ry was sitting at the table, doing his homework, and he asked me, "Did you just feed the dog?"

"Yeah, i got it."

"I already fed him."

What! It was all an act, then. This dog, without a word spoken, outright LIED to me! He was a veritable Scammy McScammerson! And i fell for it; hook, line and sinker. He finished his food and waddled smugly by me. He looked up at me as he passed, and i could swear i could see his little Bean thoughts in his little Bean head:


Monday, April 6, 2009

Digital: It's Not Just For Watches Anymore!

Have you ever been reading something (a book, magazine, blog. . . whatever; it isn't important) and encountered a word you didn't know? What do you do with it? Use the context to gather a ballpark meaning and continue on? Pull out a dictionary of some sort? Google/Wikipedia it?

Or do you ignore it and move on?

I'm usually pretty faithful about looking up words that i don't know the immediate meaning of. A ballpark definition isn't generally specific enough, in case i like the word and want to use it later.

Reading stuff on my Kindle, i discovered, has made me a bit lazy. There is a built-in dictionary in it, and all i have to do is highlight the line with the word in question on it, and it returns to me the definition of every major word on the line. Too much information? Maybe. But i kinda like it.

Recently, i was forced to put my Kindle down and read an actual, honest-to-grapes paperback book. It was an absolutely miserable experience! I was tethered to my desk while reading at home so i could have access to Merriam-Webster.com. Reading out? I had to try and remember words i wanted to look up. About halfway through the book, i surrendered looking things up altogether just to get through the damn thing. For the first time in my life, i got a glimpse into the life of someone who hates to read, though i'm sure the reading-hater wouldn't cite the lack of a good, ready dictionary as their primary reason. The result of this surrender: i misused a word and was called out on it.

Probably not the worst thing a person could do, but i was pretty mortified, seeing as how one of my pet peeves is when people bandy words about without knowing what the hell they mean. It just makes you look stupid (or, in my case, lazy).

Anyway, to get to my point, i have to say that i really hate actual paper books. I wish everything was published digitally.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I'm Not A Racist, But . . .

Have you ever been involved in a conversation where someone dropped that line on you?

I was standing around at work the other day, bullshitting with one of my less-liked coworkers, who cornered me while i was making some tea. I asked her how the new girl, "Jane", was working out; my coworker glanced around, dropped her voice a few octaves (which didn't help, believe me), and told me that Jane's work ethic was sub-par.

I'm going to interrupt myself to give you a bit of background info on Jane: She's worked here before. She was fast, efficient, friendly, and a genuinely likable person, even if she did take twenty years to tell a story. She was fired for attendance issues, but this was all before my coworker's time, so she just assumed that Jane was fired for being a shitty worker.

Curious about what had changed, i asked my coworker what she meant by Jane's work ethic being sub par. I immediately regretted asking as my coworker launched into a long, rambling, incoherent diatribe about Jane's habits. She takes too long on her breaks. She takes too many breaks. She's too flirty with "John" (the other technician on the midnight shift). She leaves early. She doesn't check in packages right. She's moody. And so on.

Eventually her general complaining narrowed down to what her real problem was: John and Jane get along very well, and John and my coworker never have. John and Jane got along very well the first time Jane worked here, and their reunion was a happy one; now my coworker feels like she's on the outside looking in. Then she dropped the million dollar disclaimer on me:

"I'm not a racist or anything, but i don't come to this job so that i can get ganged up on by a pair of darkies. So sorry i don't live in the ghetto!"

And just as she said that, two of my other coworkers walked by and raised their eyebrows at us before walking on. Fucking great! I've just been privy to a racist remark, in front of witnesses.

What happened next was unimportant and unremarkable, but my point is this: when people say dumb shit like that, it makes the other person look like they're a part of the conversation, rather than the recipient of an unwelcome view point. The passers-by assume that the other person (in this case, me) shares that sentiment, and make judgments about both parties. If my boss didn't know me better, and if John weren't a good friend of mine, i could have been in a lot of trouble just for standing there when my coworker said that.

So the next time someone says,
"I'm not a racist, but. . . [insert generalized racially-motivated comment here]" in your vicinity, walk away as soon as you hear the first four words. And if you're one of these people who says things like that, i got news for ya, Pal: That disclaimer doesn't make your racist remark any less so for having said it before making your statement. If you make derogatory comments based on someone's skin colour, you're a racist. Period. And fuck you for making the rest of us look like assholes for being polite enough to stand there and listen to you.

Random Things People Do That Give Me Feelings Akin To Road Rage

Advertising themselves as Editors For Hire. . . and then you read their blogs, and realize they can't spell or use punctuation for shit. They've essentially fucked up their own resume.


Create Myspace blogs that are just links to an external blog.


Posting "OMG FIRST?" as a blog comment. Congratulations. You've just wasted the spot where your comment can't be blogdicked to page 35 by not saying anything meaningful at all.


Posting "OMG FIRST?!", but being nowhere near first, so when i'm hardy enough to weather three pages of comments, there they are in all their tardy glory.


Blatant sycophancy in general.


Saying, "Didn't i tell you?" when i give you a blank stare after you've just referenced something you obviously thought i knew about. I don't hand out blank stares to extract explanations for things i've already been told.


Fishing for compliments by saying negative things about yourself. Don't bother, i'll just agree with you.


Laughing really loudly just so i'll ask what's so funny.


Laughing even louder when i fail to ask. Yes, i heard you laughing the first time. I figured if it was worth sharing, you just would.


When people say, "Guess what?" and actually mean it.


Saying, "Six of one, half dozen of another."


When i say i dislike something, and someone smugly replies, "Oh, but you haven't tried MINE."


The inevitable offense people take when i try THEIRS and still dislike it.


Tagging themselves in pictures they're not in.