Friday, June 28, 2013

Let's Have Lunch (again)

I've been working from home for the past few days for a couple of reasons (internet is dicey in the office, Don and Laney are in Iowa so I didn't want to leave the dog alone, traffic was all messed up because of some flooding, because I wanted to....), but today I was back in the office so I decided to go get some sushi for lunch.

When I emerged from the elevator the part-time doorman (i.e., the one who fills in when the normal guy is off) said, "Getting some lunch, Deb?"  And I said "It's Meg."  And he made that face you make when you get someone's name wrong.  Then I told him that I thought he'd called me "Deb" last week because his name wasn't really Ray (as I'd been calling him) and he was getting me back.  He told me his name was Ray and then made that face you make when someone says something weird and kind of paranoid to you.

When I went outside I realized that I am probably the only person in the Chicago city limits who is not wearing some kind of Blackhawks regalia which was a little distressing to me since, as I've mentioned before, I really hate it when everyone is doing something and I'm not.

(This is, of course, excluding the Real Housewives because no matter how many people I know who watch and love those show I just... ugh.  I mean I have a hard enough time with amateur assholes because at least I can convince myself they may be accidental assholes -- hey!  just wrote a new hit for Brad Paisley! --  but when they go pro and asshole behavior is how they make a living, it makes me want to stab myself in the eye with a fork.)

Chicago is Blackhawk crazy these days.  And I'm jealous because I would like to be on board with that.  It's so much fun!  Reminds me of the 90's era Bulls fever only fewer flipped cabs.  But I just can't watch hockey because I can never follow the puck and end up relying on rise and fall of the announcer's voice which gets kind of melodic after a while and then I get sleepy.  Also, and I hope you will forgive  me for this, but there is no accent more annoying than a Canadian accent.  Other than that accent, though, Canada seems practically perfect. Sometimes Louis Gohmert gets re-elected or John Boehner says he won't bring immigration reform up to a vote because House Republicans need for the Mexico/America wall to include Mexican-detecting phasers set to kill and I think I would like to move to Canada, but that accent. Also, I think it's less forgivable up there to not be into hockey.

Anyway, I got some brown rice/mixed vegetable sushi (which is probably not *really* sushi since there's no fish in it) and some vegetable gyoza which was effing delicious.

And now I have to go back to work.

Hope you enjoyed your lunch!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Let's Talk About Louis Gohmert

There was a time, many moons ago, when you could sometimes have a thought and feel like you had landed on a rare, golden truth because there was no google around to tell you just how banal and ridiculous you really were.  Those were heady days, the 90s.  I remember once, sitting at the bar (or behind it... I spent most of my time in front of or behind the bar back then) and finding myself in the throes of what I thought was the TROOF.  'Twas:

You can get away with being an asshole if you aren't dumb.  And you can get away with being dumb, if you aren't an asshole.  But there is no room in the world for dumb assholes.

Turns out I was wrong and we ended up spending the following decade stuffing Congress full of 'em.

Which brings me to Louis Gohmert, Republican Congressman from Texas, and Platonic Ideal of the Dumb Asshole, who recently stood up in front of Congress and told what I'm sure is a totally true story about a constituent in line at the grocery store:

"He looks at the king crab legs [being bought by a person with food stamps] and looks at his ground meat and realizes because he does pay income tax, he doesn't get more back than he pays in.  He is actually helping pay for the king crab legs when he can't pay for them himself."

I'm sure, like I said, that this is a TOTALLY TRUE EVENT.  That devious poor who was buying king crab legs with food stamps hangs out with the girl in Minnesota who ended up mentally retarded after getting an HPV vaccine and is neighbors with the guy who got really mad when that other guy wished him a Merry Christmas.  They live in this neighborhood called Apocryphal Republican Stories Of People Doing Made Up Shit that Riles Up an Increasingly Resentful and Gullible Base.  They should really look into renaming that place... it's kind of a mouthful.

Lookit: poor people are not the problem.  I looked it up: the percentage of our federal budget that goes into paying for food stamps is one kabillionth.   This is not true.   "Kabillionth" is not an actual mathematical term.  But it is MORE true that Louis Gohmert king crab leg story.

And, in this first world nation of ours, helping poor people to feed themselves is literally* the least we can do.

Dumb assholes like Louis Gohmert stand up in front of congress and claim that the $4 a day a person gets in SNAP benefits is breaking the bank and then head on home to cash their checks from corporate America.  ExxonMobil get 600 million dollars in tax breaks;  Apple pays no taxes on a 74 billion dollar profit.

Make enough money to buy yourself a congressman or two as dumb and dickish as Louis Gohmert, gerrymander a district or two so that a congressman as deeply embarrassing to the state at large as Louis Gohmert can run practically unopposed and... same as it ever was: the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

But I am hear to tell you that you don't have to be a dumb asshole.  To avoid it, stop laying the blame for your own financial impecuniousness at the feet of people who have less than you.  Punch up, fellow middle-class strivers.  Not down.   Stop begrudging those few dollars that help people feed themselves. And start asking why ExxonMobil isn't paying their goddamn fair share.

*I know I'm using the word "literally" wrong.  But it's for effect.  Dammit.

Monday, June 17, 2013

My Hair Prompts Musings on Cultural Touchstones

I haven't gotten a haircut in well over a year.  I cut my own bangs (seriously) and then leave the rest to whatever deity is in charge of hair (Artemis?  Thor?  Krishna?).  My hair is long enough that I am coming dangerously close to sister-wife territory except for how I dye it blonde every six weeks using whatever light golden blonde hair dye is on sale at CVS, which I think is probably frowned upon in whatever religion has sister-wives.

But the thing is I'm 44 years old now and have never, hand to god, EVER, gotten my hair cut and liked it for more than 15 minutes.  It's just so much easier to ignore it and shove it in a ponytail or, if I'm putting my big girl shoes on, a fancy side braid or something (I am an excellent braider which would have come in handy if I had been a sister-wife because then I could have been in charge of plaiting leather things for sale at craft fairs which is something I imagine sister-wives do).

This morning I did a high ponytail because it's hot and can't stand things on my neck when it's hot.  I was walking through the office and my long ponytail was swinging side to side and I thought to myself, "Jesus.  I probably look like some middle-aged wannabe Marcia Fucking Brady."

And that's when it hit me, like a punch in the face, that if I'd said that aloud to one of the twenty-something paralegals who share office space with us, they'd have no idea what I was talking about.

And that just blew my damn mind.  It is beyond my ken not knowing who Marcia Brady is.  It's like not knowing who Jesus is.  Marcia Brady looms that large in my consciousness.

When I was a kid I'd come home from school and watch some barely tolerable syndicated 60's sitcom on one of the three (THREE!) channels we had.  So did everybody else.  That created a whole linguistic shorthand for us that younger (and, for that matter, older) people just don't grok. Thanks to cable and DVRs and the like,  kids today come home from school and aren't limited to whatever syndicated sitcom a network can afford... they can watch shit they really like (even if it's so much worse than The Brady Bunch... I'm looking to you, Victorious).   This shared anachronistic televised cultural vocabulary may well be limited to Gen X and Gen Y.

This grand revelation occurred to me around 10:30 this morning.  Throughout the rest of the day, as they occurred to me, I chronicled various figures from afterschool sitcom viewing that provided for broad cultural touchstones for my generation. Here's a fun exercise: let's say I've met someone at a party and was telling you about them by saying, "She/He/They remind me of {fill in the blank with one of the names below}":
  • Eddie Haskell 
  • Barney Fife
  • Potsie
  • Gladys Kravitz
  • Lucy and Ethel
  • Ginger or Maryann
  • Danny Partridge 
  • Jan Brady (sigh... I always felt like a Jan)
  • Arnold Ziffel
  • Darren Stevens
  • Major Healey
  • Buffy and Jody
  • Jethro Clampett
  • Ellie May Clampett
  • Miss Jane Hathaway
  • Sergeant Shultz 
  • Colonel Klink
  • Gomer Pyle
  • Uncle Charley
  • Nellie Olsen
  • Helen Hunt on PCP
If this doesn't ring a bell for any of you, I guess I should tell you to get off my lawn or something.  But that's not really how I roll.  There's no virtue to be gleaned from watching too much TV as a tween.  But it was a nice shorthand when I was in my 20s and was out amongst my peers.  I'm sure twenty-somethings nowadays have their own thing.  This is all to say that I am only reminiscing and am not, yet, a grumpy old man. Like this guy - which is probably something else you kids don't remember:


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Let's Have Lunch Again

So I brought salad fixings into work, but decided I wanted a little something salty to go with it; hence I trekked away from the desk to which I am generally shackled en voyage to CVS in order to purchase some chippy comestibles.

I boarded the elevator on the sixth floor at the same time as this perky little guy that I could tell was an elevator chitchatterer. But, as is has been so amply documented in my online history that I'm sure there's no level of NSA agent who doesn't know this: I really hate banal elevator chitchat. I have, therefore, developed an anti-chitchat body language jujitsu so formidable that I have yet to encounter the chitchat ninja who can broach it.  I am chitchat proof.

This is also handy on airplanes.

The elevator door opened on the fourth floor, and a dude gets on carrying some bags from this place.

Chit chat ninja spies an opportunity!  "Those look heavy!" he commiserates.

The other guy, who clearly feels the way I do about elevator chitchat but whose own jujitsu has been hampered by his parcels just shakes his head.  Waits for a second. Then says:

"Well, maybe you couldn't carry it."

It was the meanest anti-chitchat jujitsu I've ever seen deployed and I am a woman who once countered a "Sure is cold out there" with "It's winter in Chicago."

Made me chuckle though.  I should step away from my desk more.

Still, poor perky little chitchatterer.  It's tough when feelings become the collateral damage in the elevator chitchat wars.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Internet, Shame and Time

I really super duper mean to blog more.  Not that I suspect there are legions of desperate Well-Ites bemoaning the lack of Meg Bon Mots.  But, I've been inspired by a couple of bloggers and really mean to try and pop something on this blog at least weekly.  

But, you guys, Laney stays up SO LATE now.  Her bedtime is 9:00 and I can't get a damn thing done while she's awake because she insists on conversating until the lights goes out.   We talked about hands a lot today.  The conversation ended thusly:

Laney: Wait! What if you had two thumbs and a bunch of fingers on one hand and only fingers on the other?
Me: I guess it'd be pretty hard to use scissors
Laney: No.

"No?"  What the hell? "No?"  I was pretty proud of that scissors thing.  She loves me but she is a shitty audience these days.  Ingrate.

Anyhoo, inspirational bloggers.  The first is my cousin, Shawn, who is keeping this perfectly delightful blog that I love to read and that also makes me jealous because she's very thoughtful and always uses good grammar and would never, under any circumstance, sully her published thoughts with words like "conversate."  But I have no such scruples because I believe "conversate" should be a word and refuse to think too deeply about that. I just love to read her blog and I love that it's reliable, you know?  Every Friday, you can read what she's writing about and it's just such a damn pleasure to read.

Shawn led me to another blogger, who's become a Facebook friend, that I'm also real pleased to know and am also super jealous of.  It's this fellow named Mark who keeps a perfectly gorgeous blog which is also, like Shawn's, so thoughtful and well-written.  And it just oozes with the kind of kindness we should all have in our lives.  His last post was called "Shame," and you should go read it.  Here's a link.  I thought it was such a moving thing to write about.  But I am ashamed that even as I read it, I began compiling a list of people who should have shame.  Want to hear it?  Hear it goes:

1. Congress
2. People who don't use turn signals

Remember when Facebook first became a thing and people were all, "It's just a place where aging people missing their youth reconnect with old flames."  And even back in those heady days of yorn, those people were so tiresome because, look, I love my husband very much and would never do anything to hurt him on purpose (unless I were behind him and he failed to use a turn signal then I would CUT the motherfucker in his sleep).  But really, the main reason that neither I nor any other reasonable adult person uses Facebook for affairs, either emotional or practical, is... ugh.  Ain't nobody got time for that!

It's a damn miracle I managed the energy to string together 30 minutes to write this!  I may even shock myself and put off Arrested Development to proof it (I probably won't do that).

But isn't it wonderful that there's this shorthand way to get to know people, virtually, you don't get the chance to meet IRL.  I feel like my virtual world is a stream of interesting, hilarious, thoughtful people who live too far away, or are otherwise too far outside of my world to get to know on the physical plane.  From furniture-making bloggers, to fellow 30 Rock enthusiasts, to parents of adorbs new babies.  The old friends I'd hear from maybe once every couple of years.  Or, god, haven't heard from in 20 years but now know all about. The new friends I know better.

If it weren't for all the government spying and people posting quotes from celebrities that those celebrities never said, virtual life would be practically perfect.