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Proof that men are born that way.

15 May

Last week Alan almost kicked a ten year old’s ass.

We were checking out a beer garden with live Irish music in Arlington. Sitting on bench with our backs to the building, we toasted each other and began scanning the crowd. A woman sat eating dinner with her two sons at a nearby table. She had her nose in her iPhone, and one of the boys stared at us.

I don’t mean our eyes occasionally met and we both awkwardly looked away. He STARED at us. Constantly. And they didn’t appear to be sweet little boys… we’d seen them before they were seated, raising holy hell with their soccer ball and climbing all over every available bench. They ran the joint like spoiled rich kids – which – given where we were – they probably were.

I noticed  him staring and continued scanning the rest of the crowd. When my eyes got back to Alan, I saw that he was fully engaged with the kid, having a stare-down.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“That kid won’t stop staring,” he said.

“I know,” I responded. “But do you have to stare back at him?”

“Actually,” he explained, “I do. It’s not just a staring contest, it’s a male dominance thing.”

“Really? Because it LOOKS like a staring contest,” I challenged.

“No,” he informed me, “That little shit knows exactly what he’s doing.”

I looked back at the kid and – sure enough – he was brazenly staring at Alan, not blinking, not  flinching, with a bored/cocky look of entitlement on his face, shoving french fries into his mouth without even glancing at his plate. I could kind of see Alan’s point.

Alan continued to stare at him and I could tell he was actually getting irritated.

“This is ridiculous,” I said. “I’m not buying the dominance thing. Besides – he’s a kid. You’re an adult. Why are you even engaging him?”

“Because it is RUDE. Someone needs to set him straight – he’s way too cocky. I’m tempted to walk over there and ask the mom if they know me, then – when she says no – then ask why her kid has been staring at me non-stop. At least she’ll understand he’s being rude.”

We then spent a few minutes laughing as we imagined how that conversation would go:

“Your kid has been staring at me.”

She ignores us.

“Lady, get your nose out of that phone and look at your rude kid!” 

When we finished laughing, we looked back over and the kid was STILL boring holes into us. Alan, frustrated, ran his hand through his hair. And in turning his head ever so slightly, he happened to notice the flatscreen television screwed to the wall behind him, broadcasting a hockey game.

As it turned out, I saw it at the same time. We both looked at each other with sudden awareness, eyebrows lifted.

Mystery solved.

“So,” I asked him. “When I write this for my blog, should I title it, ‘Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of Mistaken Dominance?’ Or should it be ‘The Case of the Rude Child?’

Apparently he thought BOTH were fantastic ideas, because he didn’t respond. Or maybe we’re having a Silence Contest. I’m really not clear on these things. Must be a guy thing.

Touch my monkey.

27 Oct

With Halloween approaching, my sister and I were recently chatting on Facebook about costumes. She was planning to go as Frida Kahlo, the Mexican painter.

Me: That’s a bit obscure. How would people know?
Alicia: Long wig. Flowy Mexican dress. Uni-brow. Mustache. Monkey.

Me: Got it.

Fortunately, she lives in Ann Arbor, so most of her (well-educated and artistic) friends would be able to put that together. If I tried to pull that off in DC, where things run a bit more political and less cerebral, I think people would just think I was aiming going as a transvestite with a monkey fetish.

A few days later, I chatted her again.

Me: How is the costume progressing?
Alicia: It’s not. Too expensive. I’m at $35 already and I don’t even have the wig or the monkey. Pulling the plug. Besides, I don’t know where I would get a monkey.
Me: What about that monkey you had when we were kids?
Alicia: ???
Me: The puppet. Where you velcroed its arms around your neck and stuck your hand up it?
Alicia: I had this monkey?
Me: Yes. It had a squeaker in its mouth you could squeeze.
Alicia: Sounds like you were jealous of my monkey. You remember it a little too well.
Me: I was. You wouldn’t let me play with it.
Alicia: Had I known, I would’ve worn it around constantly.

Me: No doubt.

And because older sisters never outgrow their urge to taunt and get a rise out of their younger siblings, the next day this is what she posted on my Facebook Wall:

In case you’re curious, her latest costume idea is even better than Frida and would play well anywhere. Any guesses?

That’s right – she’s going as a bad ventriloquist. We’ve already decided that has the potential for sheer comedy after a few glasses of wine.

The best part? She’s been practicing saying, “Who’s your daddy?” through gritted teeth all week, which – even without the puppet – is pretty awesome.

If third graders worked in offices, this wouldn’t be funny.

5 Aug

First a bit of back story… I’m a pretty easy going person, so my knee jerk reaction if someone can’t do something or doesn’t have what I need is, “No worries.” And I almost always mean it.

Last week at work I was typing that exact phrase into a chat window in response to a co-worker, when it struck me as funny if — instead of saying “no worries” — I actually wrote back: “I HATE YOU.” Don’t ask me why, but that completely tickled my funny bone.

I was still giggling at the thought when a work buddy chatted me, so I had to explain why I was laughing. The great thing? He completely cracked up too. We immediately both adopted the phrase (but only in response to each other), but used it infrequently enough that each time it popped up it caught me off-guard and struck me as hilarious all over again.

I encourage you to try it, but only with a work buddy. If you do it to a non-buddy, they will think you are an asshole.

Anyway. So last night, I thought I would share this tip with the world (by which I mean the small handful of people who follow my twitter feed out of sympathy). Except, instead of posting it where you’re supposed to tweet, I sent a direct message to one of my followers. This is what I wrote:

Work tip: the next time you’re about to type “No worries” in response to someone who can’t help you, instead type “I HATE YOU.”

That triple cracked me up. First, because it’s just a hilarious tip to share. Second, because it looked like I had personally sought them out for these words of wisdom. Third, this person had reached out to me about six months ago, asking if a restaurant they represent could quote my review on their website.

Steal my content? I will cut you.

I had given them permission, and thought I was pretty cool about it. Instead of bartering for a credit at the restaurant, I simply asked that they link to my blog to drive traffic back to the source of the original article. The tweeter said she’d check and see if it was possible.

Did they link? No. Did they post the entire content of my review on the company’s website? They did. Did I get a kick that it was in the “media” section, between two legitimate restaurant reviews written by real people, while mine had to be attributed to someone named Pithy Pants? I did.

[Note: they’ve apparently since wised up and realized I’m in no way an official restaurant critic or journalist, because when I just checked the site, that entire section was under construction. Maybe they’re running background checks on all the content they repurposed from strangers?]

In any case, I like that after six months of not communicating, the way I reached out to this person was via a direct message giving her tips on how to be awkwardly aggressive. And even sweeter? That our previous exchange had ended with her promising to look into linking to my blog, and my writing back three simple words:

Cool. No worries. 

Making friends in the Windy City…

23 Jan

Saturday we grabbed lunch at Elephant & Castle in Chicago. (I know, I’m not a fan of chains either, but it was damn cold out, it was one block from our hotel, and it had a selection of over a dozen good draft beers. So take that.)

Anyway, there was a woman <in her early forties with bleached blonde hair and a loud attention-seeking voice> seated at the bar with three older male companions.

Her voice was so intrusive that Alan kept cringing.

“Honey,” I said to him, but as if I were talking to her, “I’m sure you were cute when you were 20, but you’ve doubled in age. Not so cute at Volume 11.”

Alan added, “And now you look like leather.”

Then he cackled and forecast, “You’re probably going to get me in a fight!”

“No,” I told him. “Those aren’t fighting words. But I’m working on some.”

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Enlisting Facebook: my passive-aggressive war on noise.

6 Nov

I don’t use the “Places” function on Facebook that often, mainly because I don’t need my stalkers to know exactly where I am at all times. But also because I don’t want burglars to know when I’m not at home. (And stop thinking, “Paranoid much?” because I’m not. Everyone should be obsessed with stalkers and burglars.)

Anyway, tonight – curled in the comfort of my recliner next to the fireplace – it occurred to me that I’m such a homebody, the place I would “check-in” the most would be my home. So out of curiosity, I did a quick search to see if it was already established as an official Place on Facebook.

Alas, it was not, but – in addition to the bars, restaurants and gyms that surround my condo – I did find a couple places I think it would be fun to select when I’m home.

  1. Freedom Market: This is the bodega on the corner where I buy my Diet Mountain Dew when the Safeway down the street runs out. It’s a tiny shop run by an Asian family (assuming the clerks own it), and the 80% of the space is dedicated to beer and wine.
  2. Strivers’ Section Historic District: Until tonight, I didn’t realize that my section of Dupont Circle had a specific name. Shamefully, I had to Wikipedia it. It’s pretty cool that Langston Hughes probably walked past my building on a daily basis… and that I now regularly walk past the homes that Frederick Douglass built.

It got me to thinking about creating a place for MY building, so people could check-in here. And then, because my neighbor Michael started stomping around above me, bringing my blood to a boiling point, I decided I could stage a social media campaign to silence him.

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