Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Just A Minute, Men

It's been a while since I've been able to indulge my little hobby of having my picture taken with interesting people. Not that I haven't seen any interesting people but I also have a rule that they must not be scary. For example, almost every day I see a guy who is very fit, wears head-to-toe spandex and a hat last seen on The Love Boat's Captain Steubing, and carries a baton (the kind a majorette twirls). Rumor has it that he also asks women he meets around town if they like to jello wrestle with other women. I avoid him.

The gentlemen pictured above were standing outside the vistor's center at the Boston Common. The Army Dude (who took the picture) was surprisingly reluctant to approach them. It seems odd to me that someone like the Army Dude, who is trained to shoot people, makes sure the troops have enough bullets to shoot people, and studies people-shooting tactics would be so afraid to TALK to people, but there you are. I guess in combat nobody says, "Excuse me, would you mind if my buddies and I shoot you and your buddies?" Or at least, not if they want to live to tell that particular story.

It's my experience, however, that people wearing 18th century garb and using the word "huzzah" in a sentence generally enjoy attention and are pleased to have their picture taken. These gentlemen were no exception.

After we all said "REVOLUTION!" instead of "cheese," I thanked the guy on my left for not putting his hand on my butt as one of the bikers on Route 66 had done. The guy to my right - who was carrying a flask on a strap - said I should have expected that from a biker so the blame was on me. He may be right. But somehow, the colonial garb and the flask ruined his credibility for me.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Golden Girls

It's about ten years ago now that I worked in a property management office with three fun, feisty women, the youngest of whom was in her late fifties and the oldest of whom was in her mid-seventies. I was in my mid-thirties and they called me "The Kid."

Two of The Girls were world travelers. They'd take exotic vacations every year to places like Egypt, India, Africa, and China. One winter they went on an archaeological dig in Arizona. Sometimes just the two of them would go on a trip, sometimes they'd go with a group of intrepid middle-aged women. Either way, they'd have a blast.

The other Girl was the eldest of the group. Going out on the town with her was interesting and a lot of fun. Men would ask me "Who's your friend?" She was a terrific dancer, could chat with anyone, and knew most everyone in town. She was a constant reminder that you can be a fun, vital, happy person at any age.

It was interesting to be an honorary Golden Girl. I learned a lot more about nursing homes and ageing than was probably healthy for me at that time. I got a lot of advice - often more than I wanted but rarely more than I needed. And I learned that life was definitely not over at forty.

I was fortunate to become more than a co-worker, but a friend and daughter to these women. We saw each other through some difficult times. We genuinely enjoyed each other's company, which made a tough job easier.

Toward the end of the time I worked with them, one of the women died of cancer. The remaining three rallied around and kept each other going. We reorganized the office and hired new people. As nice as they were, we could never recapture the magic. In retrospect, I understand that you can't replace a Golden Girl. Our friendship had become more than the sum of its parts.

One particularly cold and rainy day, I commented that I was going to go home, put my pajamas on, and watch The Golden Girls. One of the ladies said, "You're going to leave here and watch The Golden Girls?"

I replied, "I watch it every day from six to seven."

She was surprised. She said, "You don't get enough of that at work?" Clearly, I did not.

The YouTube clip at the top is my favorite moment from The Golden Girls. It was a very funny show, which I can --and do -- quote at length. But this is my very favorite scene. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I had lunch the other day with a Friend Who Shall Remain Nameless For Reasons of National Security. He suggested that I've revealed too much personal information on my blog.

I asked him what he felt was too much. That I'm an old maid with a cat? My encyclopedic knowledge of show tunes? The fact that I may or may not look like my profile picture?

If my boss happened to read my blog, I don't think it would tell him anything he didn't already know about me. He's spent forty hours a week with me for almost four years now. He's aware that I take a weekly ballet class because I assault his eyes every Monday night with a view of me in dance pants and a sweatshirt when I change before leaving for the day. I regale everyone with tales of my cat pooping on my comforter at inopportune moments (I know you're thinking there are no moments worse than others for that to happen; you would be wrong).

The thing is, I don't work in a job that requires a security clearance. I don't even know if I could get one. The Feds would have to interview my mother and she'd probably tell them I was dropped on the head as a baby, they'd look at my medical records where my doctor has written "Completely nuts. Also, allergic to Zithromax," and they'd most likely hear about how I was almost some Mexican guy's child bride that time I went to Tijuana with my aunt and grandmother when I was fifteen.

I'm guessing that if you're the kind of person whose name on your friend's blog is Nameless For Reasons of National Security, your challenge probably centers around having relationships with other human beings without revealing too much of yourself - or at least, of what you do on a daily basis.

My challenge as a writer, on the other hand, is to say "Here I am, here is what I think about and maybe find amusing," and hoping that someone else enjoys what you have to say. Since my friend and I are both introverts by nature, I speculate that I have taken on the harder challenge.

Especially since my goal for 2010 is Global Domination, and as of today, I have about eight regular readers.

Friday, April 16, 2010

This Just In

I think my sister is right: I am funnier when I'm properly medicated.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

We Are ALL Busy: A Rant

I want to call a moratorium on using the phrase "I'm so busy" as an excuse for rude and selfish behavior. I'm thinking of the person who shows up without an appointment (that I have repreatedly asked him to make) and wants my help RIGHT NOW because he's "so busy." Never mind that I am answering a 6-line telephone, working on four spreadsheets on two computer screens, getting the boss' coffee, troubleshooting the fancy-pants moody photocopier, and carrying on a hilarious conversation with a friend via email about how she should break up with her boyfriend by posting it as her Facebook status.

I'm thinking of the friend who keeps making lunch dates and breaking them at the last minute because she's "so busy." Or the person who chronically shows up hours late for everything. Or the woman in the twelve items or less line at the grocery store who has 20 items and then keeps everyone waiting while she goes back for one more (she's in a rush). Or the people running stop signs all over town because they have somewhere to be.

Here's the thing: everyone's busy. Do you know anyone who isn't? I don't. For the love of God, just tell the truth: you overscheduled yourself; or you bought a PDA so you could get super-organized and you have no flippin' clue how to use it and lost all your PD; or you woke up with a four-alarm hangover this morning and getting to the point where you felt like you might live put you two hours behind; or you are truly, honestly sure that the world revolves around you, and if your every need is not catered to, the galaxy will explode.

Seriously. I don't want to hear that excuse again unless you really are a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest - in which case, I want to see the official ass-kicking contest rules, pictures of the event, and medals won, if any.

Rant over. I feel better now.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter!

I Have Internet Access Today!

At least, I have it right now. That could change at any moment due to rain, or wind, or the earth's rotation, or the satellite having PMS, or whatever.

I've been trying to convince my internet provider (whose name shall remain anonymous, but it rhymes with "Horizon Tireless") that there is a problem, despite the fact that when I am talking to them, I am sitting in front of my computer on a cellphone whose access is also provided by them. One service is working properly and the other is not.

Customer Service and the folks at my local "Bland Tireless" retail store have suggestions about how I might work around the problem. But my opinion is that if I'm paying $59.99 per month (before they add surcharges, postage and handling, pain and suffering, etc.) for "unlimited access," I should have access. Not once in a while, not on sunny days only, not hours after my bedtime. Any old time I want to, I should be able to log on.

I honestly don't think that's too much to ask, but apparently "Horizon Tireless" disagrees. In the short time it has taken me to type this post, I've already been kicked off once.