I Have Evolved. Really. I Have.

IHAVEEVOLVEDFBNotes1000

 

I do not have a short fuse. I have evolved. Really. I have.

I am aware that I complain a lot, but that does not mean I am angry. Frankly, the complaining is what keeps whatever anger I may be feeling from being bottled up and, subsequently, exploding.

Think of me, if you will, as a carbonated beverage. A guilty pleasure. Effervescent and sweet when stable. Put the contents under extreme pressure, shake me up, and I, like that bottle of Diet Coke, will likely exhibit what scientists call “volatility”. (I think that’s what they call it. What do I know? Do I look like a scientist?)

Sometimes working the bubbles into a frenzy is accidental. Like when you’re moving things around in the fridge to make room for the potato salad, and you inadvertently knock the bottle of soda to the floor. It happens. It is best, under these circumstances, if you want to avoid an all-out disaster, to release the pressure slowly, to let the bubbles out carefully. Cleaning up a  heap of sticky goo from between the tiles is time consuming and, let’s be honest, not a whole lot of fun.

Once in a while I find myself in a situation where my buttons are being pushed by someone (or, you know, a bunch of someones; a gaggle of someones). I feel shaken to the point of volatility.

Just the other day I was out shopping. In the course of my trip I began to wonder if some sort of strange magic dust had been sprinkled upon me as I entered the mall, dust that rendered me invisible to other consumers.

Why? Because several of my fellow shoppers, in a number of different retail establishments, either walked directly in front of me — like the woman in the shoe store who was eyeing the same pair of shoes as was I — or, in the case of one clearly deranged J. Crew shopper, actually pushed me aside in front of the chino display. (Pushed me aside! In front of the chinos!)

It is when I find myself in these situations that I must stop and make an assessment, that I must ask myself, as I feel the bubbles rising, as I sense the pressure building, is this behavior deliberately directed at me, personally? Or, is this woman in dire need of a pair of boyfriend-cut cropped chinos?

After checking to make sure that my fellow chino enthusiast was not pantsless, or that the other woman was not shoeless, I took a deep breath, unscrewed the bottle cap just a bit, and allowed the pressure to escape. I took charge of how I released the bubbles, slowly and deliberately, so as not to create a mess.

I decided that their behavior, rude and insensitive as it was, while aimed at me, was not, in fact, personal in any way. It was not sinister. Alas, I just happened to be the woman standing between them and what they wanted.

Reaching this conclusion calmed me. So did slipping the shoes into an empty slot on the Men’s Size 13 rack. If I decided to come back for them, I would know where they were; ill-mannered step-in-front-of-me-without-an-excuse-me-lady would have to commit herself to a long search to find them again. There was no need for petty subterfuge over at the J.Crew; there were plenty of chinos.

What then does a person such as myself, one given to volatility when mishandled, do when her bubbles are deliberately shaken? When there is no mistaking that the bottle of soda did not simply fall, but was pushed?

If  such a situation had presented itself a few years ago I would be telling you how the bottle erupted and I had to clean soda from every last nook and cranny in my kitchen, likely down on my hands and knees, which would have put me in an excellent, but unenviable, position to pray for forgiveness or beg for mercy, whichever was appropriate. In short, it — I —  would have been a mess.

Now? I just wait. For the bubbles to redistribute. For stasis to return.

Sure, sometimes I have to loosen the cap. I have to vent a little. Let some air out, allow some air in. It beats being down on your hands and knees, though. That’s for damn sure.

It can often be a delicate and, yes, uneasy process, but I have discovered that when I am successful at navigating the minefield of my emotions I feel at peace. I rest more easily. Realizing that nestling the soda behind the jug of milk, where it is less apt to topple over or go careening off the edge of the shelf, took me a shockingly long time to figure out.

Sometimes, though, I forget and I stick the damn bottle where it doesn’t belong. And I pay the price.

I am not suggesting that I have become a doormat, nor would I suggest anyone else should be (or become) one. Passivity is just as bad as overreaction. Sometimes you have to take a swig from the soda, say what needs to be said. It is simply that I have learned that not everything needs to be said; that it is perfectly fine to leave a little soda in the bottle, put the cap back on, and toss it in the trash.

Move along.

It is fairly easy to predict, and to control, how a bottle of soda will react in almost every set of circumstances. (It’s science, kids!) The science behind human behavior being far less exact than the science behind carbonation, it would follow that it is not so easy to predict or to understand how humans will react on any given day to any given thing.

We can change. We can throw a curve. We can also learn from our mistakes. We can be shaken, but choose not to explode. The carbonated beverage does not have any say in the matter. It behaves the same way every time. We do not have to.

What it took me far too many years to learn is that people have their own best interests at heart, their own motivations for their behaviors, which may directly or indirectly affect me, but which are hardly ever ABOUT me.

Most days I try to act like the sane grown-up person that I believe myself to be. If I find myself getting angry or frustrated by a stranger I can always do something a little loopy, like hiding those shoes. Because, you know, that was FUN!

If I find that I am getting fired up by someone close to me, I remind myself that there is a 99.9% chance that it is not about me. Because it hardly ever is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working for (fewer and fewer) Peanuts!

peanutsI wrote yesterday about the Minecraft video game. I told you how it’s a game designed to teach children strategy and time management, among, I suppose, other things. I began to think about how these skills are integral to life in general and, how, specifically, they relate to my life — particularly my work life.

Sadly, most days, as a result of working in a corporate restaurant environment — and, I would imagine working in any corporate atmosphere may engender these same feelings — I feel like a pawn — like I’m being moved around the game board to suit someone else’s larger plan. The cards always seem to be stacked against me.

All games, ask the player to employ certain strategies — successful strategists come out on top. In corporate America, the only successful strategists are the game developers. They not only make the rules, but change them to suit themselves whenever the spirit moves them to do so.

The latest example of this is that as of January 1, 2014, our company has seen fit to remove the automatic gratuity (18% added to parties of 8 or more). They claim that this is being done as a result of changes to the tax laws — that automatic gratuities must be taxed at a higher rate than regular gratuities. I don’t believe this malarkey for a minute.

It’s not like they have an abacus in the back office and a guy with a green visor scratching out figures on parchment with quill and ink. They have computers. They employ programmers. I would think it would be easy enough to separate out the amount a server received in the form of an automatic gratuity from the amount of assumed gratuity the company claims based on a server’s sales.

I’m convinced that if the “powers that be” were suddenly subject to some new tax mayhem, they’d figure out tout de suite how to provide the folks over in Accounting with whatever was necessary so that their executive paychecks would not be tampered with. I’m very sure of this!

No. Forces far more sinister are at work here, folks. Far more sinister.

Plain and simple, this is being done because customers don’t like it. The company that I work for, more than any other company I have ever worked for, is far more interested in pleasing our cheap ass clientele than protecting its employees. I see this mindset every single day, so I know it’s true. It’s pathetic.

The minute word gets around to the cheapskate community — I’m sure they have a newsletter, a website, or, at the very least, an email list — we will be inundated with large parties who will make us run our asses off for peanuts. I don’t need a crystal ball to know this is coming down the pike. No. I do not.

It’s difficult enough to get a measly 15% out of a party of two, let alone 18% on a party of ten. At least smaller parties come and go more quickly. Yeah, you’re probably just switching out one cheapie for another, but at least you’ve got a chance at more volume. A server who has twelve available seats in his or her section on, say, a Saturday night can turn their tables over at a much faster rate if those tables contain three parties of four at a time than when they contain one party of twelve. That’s just the way it is.

Further, once a party of twelve is placed in your section, these same tables will be used for large parties all night long. That’s just how it works. (It’s just basic time-space management.)

So, essentially, if you’re the unlucky server who falls into the large party abyss, you’re screwed. You may be able to turn those tables over five times with smaller parties — and even if they are skinflints, which they probably are, you will make your money based on the sheer volume of asses in seats. You’ll be lucky to get two parties of twelve during the same time period. Thus, your income will be at the mercy of only two parties. To put it bluntly, that sucks.

Our clientele will never willingly, of their own volition, leave $54 on a $300 check — even if we flashed our boobs at them. No matter how good the service is, no matter how satisfied they are with the experience, it will almost never happen.

And, so, once again, we, the pawns, find ourselves in the unenviable, but not uncommon, position of doing more for less. And, nobody cares. And, that, my friends, is the way this unwinnable game will continue to be played — over and over and over again, until the end of time.

photo credit:
peanuts


Here’s a song that reminds me of peanuts — due to its “circus” references. There’s even a little circus music in it! The line “They underpay and overwork us” feels appropriate today! Enjoy “You and Me Against the World”.

Letting It Go!

nablo13daytenEvery so often the universe sends you a sign. Sometimes it’s a little less obvious than an anvil to the head. Although, once in a while, something does actually ALMOST hit you in the head — remember the sign the universe sent me when it wanted me to read “The End of Your Life Book Club”? Remember that?

Not once, not twice, not three times, but FOUR times this week, the universe has sent me some pretty obvious signals. In one form or another those signals have had something to say about secrets. If you’d asked me last week, before the universe decided to get involved, I would have told you that I don’t have any secrets anymore. I would have told you that when I gave up drinking, I gave up secrets. Now? Let’s just say I’m not so sure. Because the universe was pretty convinced that I had a lesson to learn regarding secrets.

The universe’s intervention came through blog posts, comments, and a couple of intense conversations — one with my boss who can also be a pretty good friend when she wants to be, the other with my husband, who I never give enough credit to in terms of what he often brings to the table. He’s not much of a talker, but, once in a while he senses something is amiss and asks the right questions. He is a pretty good listener, an excellent prompter, if you will. In other words, he gets me to do the talking and, well, as anyone who knows me can tell you, once I start I just can’t stop.

My secret wasn’t about me. It wasn’t something that I needed to confess. It had more to do with how I felt about something someone else had done. This person had not, by the way, done anything to me. As a result, I was conflicted about my feelings in the whole mess. For the simple reason that my big secret wasn’t really about me, I will not reveal any of the particulars. It was, however, bothering me. To tell you the truth, it was bothering me to the point of distraction.

Ultimately, through some soul-searching prompted by comments and posts, and conversations with trusted people, I realized that what I was struggling with was twofold. Did I even have any right to the anger, the disappointment, and the sadness that I was feeling? If so, should I share it with the person in question or should I just suck it up and move along? In the end, I decided on the latter.

I also decided that I needed to stop trying to rationalize my feelings. That’s what I often do in these situations, I question whether or not I have the right to them and I end up feeling guilty and foolish — and, worse, judgmental. Oh, and the original feelings? They’re still there. They’re just buried under the foolishness and guilt.

This time, I resolved to go about this process in a new way — by acknowledging my feelings, by giving myself permission to briefly own them, by recognizing that some part of what I was feeling was a result of my unique life experiences, rather than my tendency to be, at times, persnickety and judgmental, and by choosing to let them go. You know what? It worked. How’s that for maturity?

I made the choice to let go, to move on. Instead of allowing the bad stuff to take up residence in my mind and my body, I made the conscious decision to make room for the good stuff — empathy and compassion. These feel so much better than anger and disappointment.

As a result of my choice — and my realization that it is a choice — I was able to get a good night’s sleep last night. I finally woke up — for the first time in days — feeling refreshed and unburdened. Who knew it could be so simple?

How to Really Feel Like a Loser!

garbage canOnce in a while, during my forays into the blogosphere, I am left with the feeling that I should write about something more substantial than soap dispensers or gum in the dryer. Substantial may not be the word I really want to use here — certainly elephants are more substantial than, say, a bottle of non-dairy creamer (a topic that I’ve featured twice!) — and, really, most things are more substantial than gum.

The word I should have used is “substantive”, rather than “substantial”. That’s it. I should try to choose more substantial subject matter. Perhaps I could stay away from dedicating whole posts to how many t-shirts my husband owns, the difficulty of choosing the “just right” paint color, or my latest (mis)adventures over at the Ikea. Because, really, who will take me seriously if I don’t start writing pieces with a little more heft to them?

This line of thinking left me thinking and wondering — I suppose it was inevitable — WHAT heftier subject matter I could tackle today. The minute I wrote the word “heft” up there in paragraph two, though, my mind had already begun to wander — also inevitable — to the point where all I could think of were trash bags. I don’t support one brand over the other — I buy whichever is on sale — but “heft” AND “elephants” seems to have led to “Hefty” and “Jumbo”. The combination of these two words has deposited me right at that weird place in my brain that is, apparently, reserved for trash bag-related musings. (I also may have, as you shall see, some issues to get off my chest, which are tangentially related to trash bags!)

So, in lieu of “heftier” subject matter, today I’ll just have to deal with trash bags. Because now I can’t think of anything else. Perhaps tomorrow I can get cracking on something more substantive — like plastic wrap. (Let me tell you something, kids, I have A LOT to say — and very little of it good — about plastic wrap!)

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve noticed — and I’m not proud of this — that I become resentful when I have to purchase trash bags. The week that I have to do this, it bumps my grocery bill up by $15. I could buy a lot of produce for $15. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $8 worth of that produce would end up, rotten and uneaten, in the bottom of a trash bag days later — or, possibly (and very likely up in this joint), spilling out the top — but still, I’d have had the option of eating the clementines or the kumquats — to say nothing of the ugli fruit or the mango.

It’s not that I enjoy throwing away food. I don’t. It kills me to do it. I’d like to be able to tell you that this is because of all of the starving people in the world. And, on some level it may be, but mainly my aversion to this activity is part and parcel of my very American self-centeredness. That may be unfair. There are probably any number of Americans who are, I’m sure, dedicated to solving the problem of world hunger. I’m just not one of them.

My weekly foray into refrigerator cleaning doesn’t often leave me with a sense of middle-class guilt. You won’t necessarily find me having many “grateful for the availability of cantaloupe melons” or “happy that I had the resources to purchase two pounds of chicken cutlets” kind of moments. Nope. More often my thoughts go something like this: “Two bucks for this damn melon! Three minutes waiting for the old guy to get out of my way in the produce department so that I could buy it! Ten minutes to peel it and cut it up! Five minutes searching for an adequate container to hold it! No one even touched it! And now I’m throwing it away — into a trash bag — a trash bag that also cost top dollar!”

I know. I know. What’s the alternative to purchasing trash bags? Composting? Yeah. I don’t think so. I don’t even want to know what composting involves. I’m not certain, having very limited knowledge of the composting world, but I’d wager organic materials are required. Whenever I hear the word “organic” in the same sentence as garbage, I can’t help but think of manure. No, thank you. I’ll just pony up the cash for the trash bags.

I did receive some startling news regarding trash bags recently. According to Fang, I have been purchasing the “wrong” garbage bags. There we were, in the paper products area of the Target, when he shook (shook! like a crazy person!) a box of something called “force flex” bags at me and pointed out (by tapping loudly and aggressively on the box!) that “THESE are the type of bags that don’t rip — the ones with the little puckery things on them — please buy these from now on, okay?” Well, at least he said “please”!

Once I had overcome the urge to use my own natural “force flex” on Fang’s face, two things occurred to me right there in paper goods: I’d like to meet the genius or team of geniuses who thought up the gussetted trash bag — I think they are just the type of folks who could get to work on manufacturing a broom that doesn’t become separated from it’s handle when one is simply using it to sweep things up — you know, using it as it was designed to be used.

I mean, I could see if I were employing a broom to knock some sense into my clearly deranged husband. I could see the handle becoming, much like Fang, “unglued” — if I were using it in such an “off-label” way. If, however, I’m using a broom to do a little light housework (I try to stay away from anything that would fall into the category of “heavy” housework!), then I really DO NOT understand WHY its two parts WILL NOT remain together.

I’ll tell you another two parts that may not remain together if my husband doesn’t begin to use the good sense that, up to this point in our relationship, he has always employed. Fang really NEEDS to get a grip on reality. This new behavior of carrying on in places like The Home Depot and Target is not only unsettling, it’s downright humiliating.

There is almost nothing that will make you feel like an old loser quite like when you find yourself wandering around Target on a Saturday night. If, however, you don’t feel like a big enough loser whilst doing this, get your husband to admonish you — in public — about trash bags! That ought to do the trick.

To distance myself emotionally from what could have fast become a heated argument, I distracted myself with thoughts about what could be the next “big idea” in can liners? They already have “scented” ones — I don’t think they work all that well, but they are available. I don’t usually buy them. Who knows? Maybe I should. I’ll have to ask Fang whether he is in the scented or the unscented camp. I’m sure he belongs to one or the other. He’s probably given it a lot of thought. Clearly, he’s the one in this relationship who has an understanding of the trash bag industry.

If it were me — if, say, instead of being the sort of woman that people think they can shake a box of trash bags at on a Saturday night at the local Target — if I was not THAT woman, but, instead, if I was the woman who held some swanky job in the upper echelons at one of your larger trash bag conglomerates — I would get on the decorated bag. I would market it with a Lucite trash bin. Then, you could match your bag décor to your kitchen décor. How about that for an idea? Huh?

Maybe, just maybe, this concept would take the world by storm — change the trash bag industry forever, even! Perhaps, on the heels of this stunning success, they would let me — little old me — work on the broom thing. (They wouldn’t have to know that I can’t even be trusted to PURCHASE the correct trash bag, would they?) Now, THAT, my friends, THAT would be something worth writing about, wouldn’t it?

Related posts:
On gum
On the last time Fang “lost it”!

photo credit: garbage can

“I’m fine!” Please Stop Asking!

THE fakest smile EVER!

THE fakest smile EVER!

I am a fairly happy person. Sure, I have complaints. Who doesn’t? What I am NOT, however, is a big smiler.

Perhaps it’s genetic, but smiling just doesn’t come all that naturally to me. Contrary to what some people may think, given that I’m not a natural-born smiler and that smiling is equated with happiness, I actually am a relatively content person. That I have to work at it — the smiling thing — is mildly annoying, but I’m used to it.

Seriously. I have to will myself to do it. I have to become conscious of pulling my facial muscles in an upward direction. Some days I feel like someone should come running up to me, you know, with a bouquet of roses and award me the Daytime Emmy for my efforts in this area. So far this hasn’t happened, but I live in constant hope that it will. Maybe tomorrow.

It’s difficult, more difficult than the easy smiler can imagine, to plaster on the fake smile. I’d prefer to show happiness in ways that I’m more comfortable with, like a little “soft shoe” or something equally wacky, thank you very much. And I’m happy enough, often enough. For the love of God, I would really love it if people would STOP commanding me to “smile”! Even better would be if they could refrain from asking me, “What’s the matter?” Ninety-nine times out of a hundred my answer is going to be, “Nothing’s wrong. I’m fine.” Because I am. Really. I swear.

For the record, I do not wander through life mopey and dejected. Sometimes I do. You know, when I FEEL mopey and dejected. That’s not very often, though.

If you ask me, my countenance is more “thoughtful” than it is “stony”. I don’t run around scowling, just for the sake of scowling. Sometimes, though, there’s something to scowl about, particularly in my line of work. Do I need to elaborate on THAT? I thought not.

I don’t often feel angry. Annoyed? Sure. Yes. Absolutely. Angry? Not so much.

Can I go from annoyed to angry if the situation calls for it? You betcha! Admit it — so can you.

Call me crazy (you wouldn’t be the first), but I prefer legitimate emotion — even mild annoyance or downright anger — to phoniness of any kind.

Unfortunately, I work in an industry that reveres a sunny disposition. Demands it even. So, I do what I have to do. I smile for the camera, so to speak. It’s my “front of house” demeanor — friendly and upbeat. Different, by a long shot, from my “back of house” demeanor, which is more along the lines of snarky and exasperated. More the “real” me.

It’s the strangest thing, though — I actually FEEL happier in the back of the house. Even though it’s very likely that I’m not grinning ear to ear, once in a while you’ll even catch me dancing. Yes. I can dance WITHOUT smiling. I know. It’s a gift. I think, and I’m no behaviorist, but I really do believe that I FEEL happiest (even if I don’t LOOK it) when I’m allowed to be who I am.

Sometimes I can slip into my genuine personality with my guests — the ones that know me well. And, guess what? They like me better this way, too. I put them at ease. I make them laugh. With them, I have developed a deeper and more honest relationship. Always a good thing.

I find it far more relaxing to behave naturally. And I understand that smiling does indeed come naturally to some people. I’m just not one of them. (I’m no born dancer, either!)

The next time that you assume that someone is unhappy just because they haven’t pasted on the fake “front of house” smile, understand that you might be wrong about that. Dead wrong. If you have an opportunity to spend any time at all getting to know them, you might just discover that they even enjoy dancing.

I know this may be difficult, but please DO try to resist the urge to constantly harangue them with questions like, “Are you okay?” or “What’s the matter?” Unless they are visibly upset (shedding tears, keening, banging their heads against hard surfaces), it may very well be that they are just not born smilers. Live with it.

photo credits:
La Giconda

Super Waitress

temper tantrumI had a customer tonight who came in with the express intention of getting a rise out of me. Clearly he had no idea who he was messing with. Don’t you just love it when people underestimate you? Sorry, guys, but most of the time it’s men. I’m not certain what drives their behavior, Mommy issues? Breast envy?

I knew what he was about the minute I approached the table and he refused to make eye contact while interrupting my greeting. (Folks, it’s rude to speak when others are speaking!) When people do this I know I’m dealing with an asshole. He demanded a Coke with “lots and lots of ice”. He repeated this request several times in the space of about 38 seconds. I just nodded, smiled, and continued to take his order. Normally I would have just gone ahead and gotten his drink, but he demanded that I “not move a muscle because he wasn’t done”. Okey-Dokey. So, I remained his prisoner while he instructed me as to how soft he expected his butter to be — “Not melted, but soft enough to spread. Am I making myself clear?” — (Crystal! And thank you for confirming my earlier suspicions about you! I will now be adding “condescending” to asshole when I think of or refer to you!) and how hot he expected his bread to be — “Hot enough so that the softened butter melts when it comes into contact with the bread, but not hard and crusty so that I break a tooth” — (Oh, if only! If only!) What am I? A physicist? He then repeated that he wanted “lots and lots of ice” in his drink. Wow!

There are a couple of ways to deal with an asshole like this. Most of the time I fuck with them, you know, for shits and giggles. Often when I am confronted with this kind of creature, I will deliberately adopt a vacant look and act as flaky as possible. I will repeat their order several times, deliberately getting it wrong each time. I find this exasperates them. It’s the highlight of my day.

Adopting the “ditzy waitress” persona is highly amusing, but it takes time. And it was late. So I opted to go into “Super Waitress” mode. I raised my energy level to exuberant, plastered on the smile, and “Yes, Sirred” him to death.

I went into the kitchen and set about warming the bread and the butter to his exact specifications. I also filled a glass with ice and poured Coke into it. Being “Super Waitress” requires a fair amount of proactivity. In this vein, I also filled another glass with just ice. When I brought these items to the table I could tell that he was annoyed that I had not only gotten his crazy ass order right, but that I had brought the extra ice that I am certain he was planning to send me scurrying back to the kitchen for. For the record, “Super Waitress” doesn’t scurry. She anticipates.

He ordered the soup. Before he could even annoy me with the inevitable, “make sure it’s piping hot” request, I enthusiastically said, “I have a feeling you’d like it piping hot! I’ll take care of that for you.” He was really getting worked up now. I could tell. He so wanted something to go wrong or to have something to say about my “attitude”, but “Super Waitress” never gets guest complaints! I fetched his soup, but not before I had microwaved and stirred it. The soup was still steaming when I brought it to the table. When I put it down he gave me a finger wag, to indicate that I needed to remain exactly where I was until he tasted the soup. I took his grunting noise as an indication that he was satisfied with the temperature, texture and taste.

He refused to order his dinner until he had finished his soup. The second the soup spoon left his hand and hit the plate I was there to remove the empty bowl and all of the soup accoutrements. He now wanted more bread. I was instructed to bring it exactly as I had brought the first loaf. He was, it seemed, cleansing his palette with bread between courses. I also noticed that his soda was half empty. So, when I brought the bread I also brought another soda. As I placed the bread on the table, he proceeded to actually shove what was now an empty glass about a millimeter from my face to indicate that he needed a refill. A refill that I had brought with me. It was in my other hand, but he couldn’t see it because his obesity interfered with his range of motion; he couldn’t turn his neck to see my other hand. (I took note of this. Because if he was going to drive me to bitch slap him I wanted to be sure he wouldn’t see it coming!) I took the empty glass that was practically touching my nose and immediately put the refill with “lots and lots of ice” down in its place. I could see that my efficiency was clearly pissing him off. Yay!

He then pronounced his readiness to order. And it was a pronouncement. He delivered the line, “I am now ready to order” in a tone and manner one would normally associate with the guy who announces that we should all “Please stand for the playing of our National Anthem” at sporting events. He then began to order, except the passive-aggressive fucker decided to whisper his order. Whisper. I swear that he thought that his whispering would force me to get very close to him. Not on your fucking life. Not in your dreams. Not even for a minute. But the game, clearly, was afoot. Instead of getting closer to him I just kept saying, “I beg your pardon, sir, but I can’t seem to hear you. Can you speak a little louder?” Like in your big boy voice? Finally, after I had repeated this phrase no less than six times, he became so exasperated with my refusal to bend down and let him whisper in my ear, that he began to bang his fists on the table and stomp his feet while he practically screamed the order at me. He was, I swear to God, shaking. And he kept saying over and over, “Medium well. I want it medium-well. Make sure it’s medium-well.” Okay Little Lord Fauntleroy, medium-well it will be.

Of course he returned his (perfectly cooked) medium-well steak. I wasn’t surprised. He needed for something to go wrong. We cooked it up for a couple of more minutes and the manager delivered it. Whatevs. By that point I no longer cared. Because I had won. I had driven him to a temper tantrum. He thought he was going to break me? BAHAHAHAHA! He’d of had to get up pretty early in the morning to do that because no one, and I mean no one, is a bigger asshole than I am.

photo credit: temper tantrum

Solve for X

halfmastflagI don’t feel like being funny today. I feel like being angry. And I hate it.

I hate that there are people in the world who steal the lives of children.

I hate that some guy can wake up in the morning, stick a few guns in his pocket, and proceed to rob parents of their children.

I hate that anyone who survived this latest atrocity has lost the sense of security that is such a large part of what living in a small town is all about.

I hate feeling like someone failed this young man— because maybe they didn’t, but I can’t help but feel that they did.

I hate that nowhere my kid goes on a daily basis is safe from the odd lunatic with a gun— not at school, not at work, not at the movies, not at the mall. Nowhere.

I hate fucking guns. I fucking hate, hate, hate them. (And please refrain from responding that “guns don’t kill people” because that is just a load of horseshit. Guns don’t shoot themselves.)

I hate that one of the first Facebook posts following this tragedy was some ridiculous quote about God not being allowed in schools. This bullshit is NOT about God nor is it about religion. Praying wouldn’t have saved those children today. It didn’t save the Amish schoolchildren either. And, really, what kind of God allows this kind of thing to happen again and again and again?

I hate that in the aftermath of this tragedy news outlets were speaking with grade-school children ON CAMERA. Are you fucking kidding me?

What I hate most, though, is that I know, FOR A FACT, that this shit is not going to end. Because there is no solution. There is no way to protect ourselves or our children from this random, unthinkable violence. No way.

I hate that I worked all day and half the night and my kid went to school and then to work (AT THE MOVIES, AT THE MALL), so I haven’t seen her yet. I know she is going to hate it, but I cannot wait to hug her when she comes home. I cannot wait.

photo credit: half-mast flag