Archive | December, 2012

Tip: Your ass is not a parking meter

28 Dec

Image Source: (c) 2012 - pithypants

Sometimes, when we’re having a lazy Sunday, Alan and I like to walk up to The Diner on 18th Street for breakfast.

The other weekend, sitting there nursing a tall Diet Coke, I looked over Alan’s shoulder and did a double-take. “Dude. There are at least two inches of visible plumber crack behind you,” I told him. “Turn around and look.”

Alan – game for anything amusing – slowly turned, his mouth full of egg. Had he been anyone else, I might’ve cautioned him to “swallow your bite” before looking. But Alan has an iron stomach and finds most disgusting things simply “curious.” (Don’t even ask him about watching a caesarean section unless you want to lose your cookies.)

This time, however, he took a big swallow to clear the egg before allowing his mouth to hang open. I took pleasure in watching his eyebrows lift in incredulity. He turned back to face me. “What? The? Hell?”

Exactly. Behind him. perched on a stool at the diner’s counter, was a young woman wearing low riders. Very low riders. So low, that every time she wiggled, her pants would tug down another few centimeters. By the time Alan looked, she was showing more than two full inches of crack.

“It looks like you should slip a quarter in there when you walk by,” I commented.

Alan agreed. “Can you imagine if we were seated directly behind her?” He mimed creating a paper wad out of the straw wrapper and tossing it at her. That line of thought prompted us to assess the people who were seated behind her, right at eye/crack level. Miraculously, no one seemed to have noticed. Yet.

And then our game began… as we wrapped up our meal, we kept surveying the other diners, watching for their reactions as they picked up on their scenic vista. As their lights slowly came on, we were rewarded with some pretty vivid double-takes, elbowing, and smirking whispers. By the time we left, the rear section of the restaurant was filled with tables of strangers all catching each other’s eyes as if checking to see who was in on the joke.

I suppose I should’ve gone over to the girl and – as if I were pointing out a downed zipper or toilet paper trailing from her shoe – alerted her to the issue. Call me shy, but I couldn’t find the words to approach a stranger and tell her her she’d shown her ass to the entire restaurant. Or maybe shy isn’t the word for it. Call me karma.

Maybe I’ll order a bunch of these and hand them out as subtle hints:

Image Source:

Perspectives on Christmas

26 Dec

Image Source:

At 14 and 10, my nephews are at challenging ages to shop for. When they were younger, I could hit an easy  home run by springing for the one gift on their wish list that they were sure even Santa wouldn’t bring.

Now, however, their tastes run more expensive. While I could afford to pull the “Crazy Aunt” card and get them the electronics they’re pining after, I don’t think it’s healthy for kids to keep up with the Joneses.

So yesterday morning, while we waited for my sister and her family to arrive at my parents’ home, I looked at their wrapped gifts under the tree and had second thoughts. I imagined them opening my presents, then looking at me with the eager eyes of puppies, convinced I had hidden their “big” gifts as some sort of game.

After gifts had been opened, however, I realized my second guessing had been ridiculous. Although we tend to go a bit sparse on the gifts compared to many, we were still surrounded by much, much more than most people in other countries would even dream of.

And – silly me – I’d forgotten: they’re not *those* kinds of kids. They appreciate what they have. So if there was disappointment, they did a good job not showing it and only expressing gratitude for what they had received. Besides, once we started playing some board games together (Taboo and Smartass, to name a few), the pile of “loot” was even less important.


Meanwhile, I wondered about another Christmas scene unfolding some 500 miles away.

Continuing one of my favorite traditions, my friend Betsy and I adopted a local DC family for Christmas. It’s a win-win-win as far as I’m concerned: I can indulge my urge to do some legitimate Christmas shopping (since I tend to either make donations or shop for my nephews online), spend time with a good friend, and do something truly in the spirit of the season.

This year a mother, a father and their two-year-old son comprised the Alexandria, Virginia-based family we had adopted. The program’s coordinator emailed us their wish list and included a note, “They’re a nice young family, working hard to make ends meet.”

So three weeks ago we walked to Target and picked out some nice outfits, toys, a few things for their home and a generous gift card. The gifts looked lovely when wrapped – enough to neatly fill the space beneath a tree come Christmas morning.

Although they’re down on their luck, I hope they were able to forget it for a day – and carry with them the knowledge that they aren’t in it alone, that people really do care.


Image Source:

Then, as I got ready for bed to put an end to my Christmas Day, I happened to see a story on the news about Mitzvah Day in Detroit.

Talk about a lovely idea… Jews and Muslims work with church groups in the Detroit area and go around playing Santa, taking toys and meals to homes of the disadvantaged. As one man on the story said, “It may be as close to World Peace as I’ll see in my lifetime.”


Today we visited some friends who are hosting an exchange student from China. This was her first American Christmas, and although the family kept things low-keyed and only gave her two small gifts and a stocking full of toiletries, she kept sorting through the contents of her stocking, examining it all with quiet incredulity. Noticing her interest in all the gifts, someone asked if her family exchanged presents for any holidays.

Nothing like this, she said. Including birthdays, this was the most she had ever received in terms of presents.

And this is a kid whose family can afford to send her to the US in an exchange program. Not exactly poor.


So… for those of you who stressed about finding the perfect gift, or who are about to buckle under the weight of January’s credit card bills, something to keep in mind for next year:

The magic of Christmas doesn’t have to cost a penny. You don’t have to have a small child in your home to find it. Just be grateful for all that you have. Share with those who don’t have as much. And I promise: you’ll feel rich. It won’t matter what you put under the tree.

[And now, in my next post, back to your regular, snarky/pithy/biting programming.]

Drunk or tired – what’s your excuse?

19 Dec

Image Source:

Last year I remember seeing a study that claimed “tired driving” is as dangerous as “drunk driving.” While I certainly didn’t set out to provide another data point for their research, yesterday I helped prove that exhaustion does lead to impaired judgment.

Monday night I went to bed at 11pm, had insomnia and woke up at 2:30am. And never fell back asleep.

Right? You did that math, didn’t you? 3.5 hours of sleep.

Unlike (seemingly) most of the adult population, I do not have children, am not retired and am not in college, so I’m not sure what to do with a night that nets fewer than six hours of sleep.

If you must know, I ended up accepting defeat, grabbing my laptop and plowing through a pile of work from 4-8am. (I’m sure a lot of DC government workers would’ve made the exact same decision. Right.)

But it’s kind of creepy when you realize you’ve already put in almost half of a traditional work day and few of your North American colleagues are even online yet. It’s like arriving at the zoo before they’ve released the animals from their cages. Or even built the cages.

So I was in the kitchen, serving up my second lunch when Alan started striking out blindly, trying to find the snooze button in the bedroom. I felt mildly European, as if I were in a time zone five hours ahead. Unfortunately, Alan didn’t think I sounded even a petit peu French when I tried to greet him with an accent. He was mainly confused. Sigh.

It’s difficult being a morning person. No one gets me.

Anyway, as the day progressed, the “edge” I’d felt by starting my über-early quickly faded. By 11am, I was ready for a nap. (Unfortunately, I was booked solid and am running up against aggressive deadlines, so that urge couldn’t be indulged. Also? I think companies generally frown on mid-day napping.)

At 3pm, I fetched ice for my caffeinated soda from the stacked dryer unit in my kitchen. I was literally standing there with my hand patting around in the empty dryer, thinking, “What did I come here for?” when I remembered: ice cubes. And had to do a 180-degree turn to locate the freezer.

Then later, on my next caffeine push, I caught myself just before I almost poured Egg Beaters in my tea instead of Half & Half. In my defense – the cartons are the same size and similar colors.

So back to that study… while I didn’t get behind the wheel, from my in-home testing, I think it’s safe to confirm that exhaustion leads to poor judgment and impaired function. I mean, you tell me – have you ever gone to a party and looked for ice in a dryer?

Separately, it makes me think we’ve been a bit quick to judge Diane Sawyer, whose face is one of the most common search results when you search Google for “drunk or tired” images. I don’t know… what do you think? Is she drunk, or simply tired:

Why You Aren’t Invited to My Wedding

13 Dec

…Namely, because I won’t be having one.

Ten Reasons I’m Not Interesting in Getting Married:

  1. Half of marriages end in divorce. I don’t see people rushing out to volunteer for anything else that has equal odds in ending in misery. I’m of the “If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it” philosophy. Why get cocky and publicly proclaim you’ll be side of the coin that lands face-up? Maybe just try enjoying what you have.
  2. You can keep your gifts.  I’m sure we can all point to at least one couple whose primary motivation for matrimony was the registry. For young, poor couples, I get it. But I’m not young or poor, so I’ll buy my own china, thanks.
  3. Choice is more attractive than obligation. I’d rather know that Alan stays with me because he’s delighted by me – not Image source: (c) pithpants 2012because the alternative just requires too much effort. (Delighted/tolerates – what’s the difference?) There’s something nice about being chosen day after day.
  4. Married couples let themselves go. Many people act like marriage is the goal – and once they arrive there, they kick up their heels, eat some Ho-Hos and call it a day. The men stop working out, the women stop wearing make-up… people start using the bathroom with the door open. I’m not superficial, but I like the idea of a little effort.
  5. Weddings aren’t for the couple. Sure, weddings allow you to publicly express your commitment, but mainly they’re a way to gain approval from society for living together and having babies. I’m not interested in having babies (have you met me?) and I’m too difficult to live with (again – have you met me?), so I really don’t need anyone’s approval.
  6. It’s no one’s business. When you remove kids from the equation, why does it matter to other people how long Alan and I intend to be together? It shouldn’t – they’re not in this relationship.
  7. Speaking of – I don’t need the government (or God) in my business. I’m not a Libertarian or anything, but I don’t see any value in allowing the government to define my relationship. Nor do I believe there’s a Higher Power who can bind my fate to another human’s. If that worked, I don’t think we’d see so much divorce.
  8. People change. Hopefully they grow together, but not always. Seems foolish to say you’ll be together forever without knowing how you’ll grow. Make a commitment to be honest with each other and embrace each other’s changes – then see what happens. Seems like it increases the odds of growing the same direction by addressing it head-on.
  9. I’m not a wedge-driver. Even if I loved the idea of marriage, I’m not interested in obtaining a status my gay friends can’t have. As long as marriage is only a status allowed to certain couples, count me out. It’s like a caste system for recognizing love. I don’t want to take away from couples whose commitment is every bit as strong as mine – by being in a category they can’t access.
  10. White is not my color. Everyone knows it adds ten pounds. Not the direction I’d like to head in.

That said, it’s somewhat ridiculous to be pushing 40, referring to Alan as my boyfriend as if we were teenagers. Or calling him my partner, only to have people wonder, “Business partner? Or is she gay?”

It irritates me that people need to assign a label to a relationship they aren’t in. Or that two people loving each other without conforming to traditional labels confuses them. Not. My. Problem.

And yet… while we aren’t willing to hop down the aisle, force friends to fly into DC for an expensive party, or sign a piece of paper saying we’ll allow a judge to determine when we’re no longer compatible, we DO want to head a lot of this nonsense off at the pass.

So we’ve exchanged rings. Not in a ceremony. Not with an audience. And not with any vows other than what we tell each other through our actions on a daily basis. But hopefully these rings help explain – without words – how we view ourselves. Regardless of what we call each other.

Please save your notes of congratulations or deep soliloquies on the topic of commitment. We’ve been here for a while. Thanks for catching up. Hopefully our rings will force a lot of well-intending people from asking when we’ll get married. Because for all the reasons expressed above: it kind of seems beside the point.

And now…

The #1 Reason I Might Regret This Decision…

Not ever getting a chance to film moments like these:

What if I pay you in pebbles?

11 Dec

Yesterday I stopped by the library on my way home from work to pick up a book. My least favorite librarian, Rita the Regulator, was manning the check out desk. I’d actually surmised that before I set foot in the library, when I called from across town to see if they would be able to use my license rather than my library card.

This is how she answered the phone: “This is the Z- Branch of the District of Columbia Library. This is Ms. X- speaking. Go ahead.”

Um: Go ahead? Are we on walkie-talkies?

Anyway, fifteen minutes later I was in line, waiting to check out a book. Rita was informing the young woman in front of me that she had two fines she’d need to pay before she could borrow another book.

“If you’re going to pay cash, you’ll need to go to the main library – the Martin Luther King branch. Or if you’re going to pay here you’ll need to bring in a certified check or money order. Or you can go online if you’d like to use a credit card.”

The woman looked stupefied. “Well, how much is the fine?” she asked.

“Ten dollars,” Rosie told her. “Five for each item.”

The woman paused, looking thoughtful, then asked, “Will you accept canned goods?”

SERIOUSLY? I think you’ve gotten your wires crossed, ma’am. This is not a high school dance, a pub crawl or an office holiday party. Where else do cans constitute currency unless you’re ten years old?

Original Image Source:


To Rosie’s credit, she didn’t berate the woman. In fact, her literal interpretation of the world must not leave any room for humor, because she simply said, “No. I’m sorry. We cannot accept cans.”

Good to know.