The Bean Blog (currently on hiatus)

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Another Memorial for Life at TJ's Place or My Life as a Blogger

I've been thinking of writing a post about the end of Kevin's blog, Life at TJ's Place, and now seems like as good a time as any. However, I can't write this memorial without writing about my own beginnings as a blogger, so here goes.

I started blogging not too long ago in May. Strangely enough, I heard of blogging through Jones Soda. How I managed not to have heard of blogging before, I can only blame on my advancing years and the fact that I still like to play Super Mario Bros. But anyway, I was exploring the Jones Soda website because they accept photo submissions for their labels. A photo of mine on a label would be cool, don't you think? So I did that and then started sniffing around the rest of the site, and that's how I discovered Jones Blogs, with this text at the top: "At we're happy to feature blogs and stories from around the web. Think of it as instant messages on the web. Read about blogs, how to get your own blog started, and how to get your blog listed here for others to read." Beneath a listing of their blogs, they had a link to Blogger, and that's how I ended up with a blog of my own.

At the time, Life at TJ's Place was a "Blog of Note" (as was the Moxie Blog, then known as Cinema24). Like many others, once I was exposed to Life at TJ's Place, I was sucked in. It was fascinating reading. Strippers and drunkards and losers, oh my! I know there is some debate about whether or not "Kevin" even worked at a strip club, but that doesn't matter to me. Kevin's way of writing about a strip club was what was important, and if he pulled all his stories out of his ass, I couldn't care less.

I commented on his blog initially, but only a few times. He got 50+ comments to each post, and it seemed like the comments I did make got lost in the mix. I tend to comment for two reasons: one is to let a blogger know that someone out there is reading their writing and enjoying it; the other reason is because comments allow an exchange between the writer of the post and its readership. When someone is getting 50+ comments, they know people are reading their stuff. I only regularly comment on one blog that gets 50+ comments to each post: Vadergrrrl's Rant Page, and I comment there because she responds to my comments and she comments on my blog. Kevin did neither of those things, so I just read what he wrote and enjoyed it without commenting.

As the summer wore on, posts on Life at TJ's Place got less and less frequent. Honestly, they started being less and less interesting as well. He seemed to spend more time writing about his golf game than the strip club, and as far as I know, the only thing more boring than watching golf being played is reading about a man practicing his chip shot in his backyarrd. But Kevin's was the first blog I ever started checking daily. It was the first blog that I bookmarked. I kept coming back for more, even when the more was "I need to work on my putting."

Since I wasn't leaving comments, I didn't tend to read them much either. But when weeks would go by without a post from Kevin, I would satiate my desire for more posts by checking out what others were saying. I noticed that a debate would start up about whether or not Kevin was alive. The thought that he might be dead never crossed my mind. I just thought that he was out of town or busy. I also noticed that as more time went by, the comments would get more demanding and angry: "Where are you?" "We want a new post!" and "I'm angry that you haven't posted anything." Those comments, along with comments like, "I live for your blog," and "My life has no meaning without your blog," freaked me out. I can only imagine that Kevin read that shit and wondered, "What have I gotten myself into here?"

On August 29, 2004, Kevin wrote his last post. The comments got out of hand again. Read them for yourself if you don't believe me. Again, people wondered if Kevin was dead, but I felt certain that it was his crazy fans that drove him away. I've noticed some comments like these on Diary-a from time to time as Rita tells her story. Perhaps I was out of line, but once I cautioned her fans in the comments section to Part 44, "Hey people, chill out. If you go over to Life at TJ's Place, you'll find out what happens [when] readers get demanding. Rita is giving us a gift. We just have to appreciate it, no matter how much or how little she chooses to give us..."

Kevin had a dedicated fanbase. Some of them worshipped him and some seemed to hate him. I guess that's the way it always goes. I wonder what makes someone keep going, even thrive on the attention (both good and bad) and someone who says, "Holy shit!" and packs it in. For instance, Dooce has so many fans that she doesn't even open up her posts to comments very often, and when she does, she gets about 200 comments in a few hours. By the time she'll close comments two days later, she has over 500. On top of that, she gets tons of email, and some of it is hate mail. But she keeps her blog going. She hasn't been thrown off her game.

Kevin and Dooce. Two people, two different reactions. Makes me wonder what I would do if I were in that situation. Like most people, I would love to get 50+ comments to each and every post I write. Who doesn't want to be adored by the masses? But there's a downside, apparently. It isn't all adoration, and for some people, the downside is too great.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Ulrich Haarbürste: A Great Storyteller

First of all, I must give credit where it is due. I never would have stumbled across Haarbürste's stories if it had not been for Rita's blog, Diary-a. That being said, this is the greatest fucking site I've ever visited.

Rita seemed disturbed by Haarbürste's work. In her post where she shares the link, she writes, "It has to be one of the most fucked up things I have ever read." True, perhaps. But it's also brilliant.

Ulrich Haarbürste writes about one topic and one topic alone: Roy Orbison being completely wrapped in clingfilm (saran wrap). As if that topic is not enough, I have compiled the top six things I love about these very strange stories.

  1. The cast of characters. There's always Roy Orbison, of course. Not surprising. Then there's Ulli, the author. Again, not surprising. But then there's Jetta the terrapin. Okay, this is bizarre and genius. A man with a pet turtle is one thing. But then to name the turtle Jetta. I frickin' love that.

  2. After Roy Orbison is completely wrapped in clingfilm, Ulli always makes the announcement, "Roy Orbison is completely wrapped in clingfilm." The act of wrapping Roy Orbison in clingfilm is not enough. No, it is not complete until Ulli says it out loud. That is great.

  3. The ease with which Ulli convinces whomever is in control of the situation that Roy Orbison must be wrapped in clingfilm. In Roy in Clingfilm Story 1, Roy himself agrees to be wrapped in clingfilm to settle a bet. In Roy in Clingfilm Story 2, Ulli instantly convinces Roy's tour manager to let Ulli wrap up Roy's unconscious body as a way to save Roy's life. In Roy in Clingflim Story 3, Ulli and Roy are held at gunpoint, and Ulli convinces the gunmen to allow him to wrap up Roy in clingfilm. (I won't mention the other scenarios--I don't want to wreck the stories for you.) The beauty of all of this is that Ulli need only to make the suggestion, and the course of action--wrapping Roy in clingfilm--is instantly agreed upon. It should also be noted that Roy Orbison is never wrapped against his will. He always agrees to the wrapping.

  4. The preface to Roy in Clingfilm in Space: "This tale was specially commissioned by the 'Zoo Nation' science-fiction fanzine. Hitherto I have kept my tales of Roy in clingfilm strictly within the realms of plausibility but this scenario may be more fantastic than usual. Then again - who can say? - Ulli" Do you understand the many implications in this statement? First of all, someone commissioned Ulli to write a "Roy in Clingfilm" story. OH. MY. GOD. Secondly, Ulli considers the other stories to be plausible. I'm giggling right now.

  5. The presense of clingfilm everywhere. In Story 2, Ulli has clingfilm in the trunk of his car. In Story 3, while in a pet store, Ulli "happens" to have clingfilm with him. In Space, there is a "Clingfilm Stowage Compartment where several hundred of the translucent rolls of joy glint softly in the cabin lights" on the spaceship. And best of all, in Roy in Clingfilm at Christmas, Ulli reveals the true extent of his clingfilm capacities. We have gotten to the point where Roy agrees to be wrapped in clingfilm. I will now allow Ulli's words to speak for themselves: "I bow my assent and make to the kitchen. But when I open the cupboard I turn ashen and begin to quiver. For the cupboard is bare. The cling-film has been used, all the rolls of it. In alarm, I return to the living-room and open the other clingfilm cupboards but it is the same story. I check the cache in my bedroom wardrobe and again there is none. I ransack the entire house from top to bottom. I look for the emergency rolls I keep hidden in the toilet cistern and inside lampshades. Everywhere there is the same horrible dearth of cling-film. My palms sweat. I wish to die." Do you see the beauty of this passage? Ulli goes to the kitchen to get clingfilm. Of course. That's where anyone would keep clingfilm. But then he goes to the "other clingfilm cupboards." That's some fucking good shit.

  6. These stories stay relentlessly in the moment. However, we get one glimpse of Ulli's past in Story 2: "I studied at a catering college for some years but was forced to leave for reasons I prefer not to disclose." The implications here are staggering.

As a writer myself, I am humbled by Haarbürste's storytelling ability. I feel that I have much to learn from him. His mixture of the truly bizarre with the completely mundane is wonderful. I also appreciate his ability to keep his stories focused on the topic at hand. He does not concern himself with explaining every little thing. For instance, why would Roy Orbison be walking around residential Dusseldorf, Germany? Who cares? If the story is going to happen, he needs to be doing just that, and that's enough for Haarbürste.

I have some lessons to learn from this genius. I will do my best to absorb them.

Saturday, October 23, 2004


My little puppy (ha!) looks like Frankenstein...if Frankenstein's ass and side had been where his seams were.

Here's the base of Chester's tail:

Apparently, this was the result of some sort of gland gone wrong. When the vet was explaining it to me, it sounded like something that happens pretty often. The vet wasn't worried about it.

And here's the site of the scary egg lump:

This one was just full of fluid. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to pop this thing like a zit. It just seemed like we could stick a pin in it and deflate it ourselves. But I suppose it was better for Chester to go to a medical professional, eh?

The good news is that neither of the lumps looked cancerous. The vet didn't even think that they needed to be biopsied, which was great because it saved us $100 ($50 for each lump). I feel so relieved. That huge lump on his side has scared me for a long time. Since I'd asked the vet about it so often, I intellectually thought that it was probably okay. But emotionally, when I saw that thing there, I just wanted it to be gone.

Then I felt that hard lump at the base of his tail last weekend, and I got even more scared. The hardness of it somehow seemed more ominous. That, and the fact that it was hidden. You couldn't see it, but when you felt it, it was so solid and substantial.

A weight has been lifted off my shoulders. As I was leaving my vet's office with Chester, one of the vet techs who knew how much money we'd put into Chester in the last six months said, "We're hoping we won't see Chester for a long time now." You and me both, sister.

Friday, October 22, 2004

The Lump

Today that lemon of a dog, Chester, is going under the knife again. This time to remove two lumps. One of the lumps is hard and can only be felt (it's at the base of his tail). The other lump looks like it might be his unborn twin brother about to sprout from his ribcage like Eve from Adam. The thing is huge, and I'm not kidding. Don't believe me? Take a look at this:

It looks like an egg hanging off of his side. We got Chester in August of 2003, and it was there then, although not quite as big. Older dogs tend to get fatty tumors, which are generally benign. It was big already when we got him, but over the last six months, it's gotten bigger.

I've asked our vet about it several times when I've brought Chester in for other things. (And if you know Chester's history, you know this has happened often.) They always say the same thing: They can remove it if I want them to, but fatty tumors are harmless, and the only reason to remove them is for cosmetic purposes.

But the thing is so fucking big that we decided we could no longer stomach looking at it anymore. We'd wanted to wait until the winter when we finally come into some money, but when I found a second, harder lump at the base of Chester's tail, we decided to just do it now. The Bread Winner just had a birthday a few weeks back, and her mother and my mother both gave her some money, so why not spend it on Chester? It's been at least a month since he's cost us anything.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Post-Sex Notes

I love Dawson's Creek. Think of me what you will, but it's the truth. I own seasons 1-4 on DVD. I've bought each of them as they've been released, and I can't wait for the 5th and 6th seasons to come out. Now that I've made my confessions, I can go on with this post.

Today's re-run on TBS is from the 6th season. It's the season premiere where Dawson and Joey finally have sex. They start banging shortly after midnight. Next time you see them (the next episode), they're waking up and they decide to go for it again. Fade out. Fade in. Joey is alone in the bed and Dawson has left her a note. She's surprised. What? Dawson got out of bed?

Okay, kiddies, when you are sleeping in a twin sized bed with a person you have never slept with before, there is no way in hell that person got out of the bed without your knowledge. Hell, I've been sleeping in a full sized bed with the Bread Winner for over five years, and when she gets up in the middle of the night to tinkle, chop onions, or go out hooking, I wake up a little.

So what is the deal with this scenario? You see it time and time again on tv shows and in movies. Seems like whenever someone has sex with someone else, Partner A wakes up to a note left by Partner B. I haven't had sex and spent the night with all that many people, but there have been a few, and this just seems proposterus to me. Most of the night is spent sleeping fitfully, because every time you wake up to roll over or change position, there's someone in the bed with you who has never been in the bed before. And it's not just me. My partners have been the same way. I get up to use the bathroom--their eyes open.

And who are all these note leaving people anyway? I've never gotten up after a first time sexual encounter and left a note for a sleeping person. Frankly, it has never occured to me. If I have to go, I say, "Hey, thanks, gotta run," and usually, "How does a booty-call next Saturday strike you?" Have any of you woken up to a note? Or have any of you left one?

Maybe the reason I've never left a note (besides the impossibility of leaving unnoticed) is that I have a television and I go to the movies. 99% of the time, the note leaver really likes/loves the note receiver. So why did s/he leave the note? "I didn't want to wake you up." But the note receiver never appreciates that sentiment. Can't say that I would either. So why do they do it on tv? Because all of their tv friends have done it? And even though they exist only on tv, don't they have tvs in their tv world to realize that the note receiver would much rather that the note leaver actually just wake them up instead of leaving the note?

Maybe I'm expecting too much from television and movies. Reality is for those of us who are real, after all. And maybe it's a good trade off. What do you get in first time television sex? No fumbling. No confusion. And simultaneous orgasms. All on the first go! Plus you get a deep, coma-like sleep afterwards. Sounds great. I guess back in my single days, given the choice, I would have been happy to wake up to a note as a trade off for all that.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Over 30? Over Stressed? Over Weight?

If you have cable, you can't help but see the pleathora of ads out there for the new breed of diet pills which supposedly target belly fat. CortiSlim was the first of these drugs that I saw advertised, although Relacore has been making up for lost time by relentlessly running ads every 15 minutes it seems.

Both the CortiSlim and Relacore ads follow the same formula. First, they "ask" the questions about age, stress, and that you are at least 30 pounds overweight. It's the next part of the commericial that just kills me. Relacore does it this way, verbatim: "Take a look in the mirror. You've got excess body fat around your waist, hips, and belly."

They say it like it could be a relevation to you. "The fat is around my waist, hips, and belly! I've never noticed that before!" With the first questions, you may or may not be "over 30, over stressed, and overweight" (although if you live in America, there's a good chance you are). But come on people, if you are 30 pounds or more overweight, THERE IS FAT AROUND YOUR WAIST, HIPS AND BELLY.

However, these commercials act like there's a chance the fat could be located somewhere else. As if a person 30 pounds or more overweight will get up, go to the mirror, and say, "No, I have abs of steel--the six pack still looks good. And my ass. Well, you could bounce a quarter off of that bad boy. My waist? Yep, I can still touch my fingers and my thumbs together when I span it. Oh well, I guess CortiSilm/Relacore isn't for me. Now, if only they could come up with a drug to target the thirty extra pounds of fat around my wrists and ears!"

Do people really fall for this bullshit? Do they really imagine that there are fat people over the age of 30 who are stress-free and therefore carry their fat in places other than their waist, hips and belly? I mean, is there someone out there in a cornfield in Iowa going, "If only I was happier, my extra fat would be stored in my toes!"

But there must be. I can only imagine that before they ran these ads, they did focus groups, etc. I can only imagine that they keep running these ads because they are working. I just can't imagine that there are people out there who are stupid enough to think that 30+ pounds of fat could be stored in some other area of the body if you are under 30 and/or not under stress. I guess I'm just naive that way.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

More Pictures of Blue

Here is a picture of Blue in his customary spot on the doormat. I wonder if he appreciates the symbolism.

Here he is wondering why the food-giving human has a scary black, clicking, blinding light producing box in front of her face.

Here Blue is outside, looking happy, but in fact he’s terrified because he is outside and being required to stay about three feet from the human, and on top of that the human is making loud noises. None of this is good. I tried to explain that we were outside for the light and that he needed to stay that far away from me in order to get his body in the shot, but his ability to grasp complex grammatical sentences (longer than one word) is rather lacking. And on top of that, when he’s scared he presses his ears back, and he’s so cute with his pointy ears with the one that bends down at the tip, and the only way to get him to put up his ears was to make loud noises, and I know that scares him even more, but is it my fault he’s cute with the pointy ears?

Monday, October 18, 2004

Broken Blue Dog

I write a lot about Chester, but he is not the only dog I have. I think I've mentioned Blue once or twice before. He has issues. Many, many issues. I got him a few months before I got Chester. The Bread Winner had agreed to let me get another dog--a dog that would fetch because I'd always wanted one. Then I saw Blue, a big, black shepard mix (about 70 pounds). And he had a blue eye. I fell in love with that blue eye, and soon, he'd found a new home with us even though he did not fetch (which is why we ended up getting Chester a few months later).

He was six when we got him from the shelter. He'd been there for over six months. Before that, he'd spent the first 5.5 years of his life living in a basement. That can mess up a dog, and he's the proof. He follows me around wherever I go in the house. He panics--and I mean panics if a door is closed between us. This means I have to stand at the back door, with the door wide open, while he's in the backyard doing his "business." Otherwise, he won't do it. He'll just stand at the door and shriek. I've never heard a dog make a noise like the noise this dog makes.

He doesn't like thunderstorms or any loud noises. He crams himself into the smallest spaces you can imagine. He even climbs up on our laps, if you can imagine a 70 pound dog on a lap.

For a long time, he wouldn't come upstairs to the second floor. He slept downstairs by himself. The last six months, he's been coming upstairs to sleep in the bedroom with us. But he only comes up after we're in bed and have turned off the lights. Then we hear his footsteps coming up the stairs. It's like he doesn't want us to know he's there because he's afraid he'll get in trouble.

When he does sleep downstairs, and I come downstairs in the morning, most times, I'll see him curled up on the sofa. He is welcome to be there. But he does not get onto the sofa when I am in the living room. He usually curls up on the doormat in front of the front door. We have a dog bed in the living room, and Chester generally sleeps there, but even when Chester is not there, Blue will not sleep on it.

The Bread Winner and I look at him often as he's doing something odd (which is just about all the time), and we say to each other, "He's broken." Chester has been broken physically, but Blue is broken inside his head and his heart. We're trying to fix him. Or rather, we're trying to give him a good place to live and hope that time will fix him. He's got six years of damage to undo. We figure it will take at least three years, and we've had him for a year and a half.

He's made progress. I mentioned that he will come upstairs at night now--even if he does it on the sly. And sometimes, he'll let me go into the next room without following me. Lately, he's started doing something new. He still won't sleep on the couch while I'm in the living room, but he's moved away from the doormat and has started to sleeping on an animal bed:

Of course, this is a bed for a cat or small dog. Cramming his 70 body into it is only partially successful at best. But at least he's starting to think that he's worthy of it.

Monday, October 11, 2004

It's Getting Cold In Here, So Put On All Your Clothes

Yes, the weather is changing--at least here in the mid-Atlantic states. I find it ironic that the Bread Winner and I are confronting the same exact issue we were dealing with this time last year. Namely, we have no heat. How's that? Here's how.

When the Bread Winner and I first looked at this house in the spring of 2003, there was faux wood paneling and shag carpet as far as the eye could see, plus the added bonus of styrofoam drop ceilings in the downstairs rooms. The Bread Winner looked at this and said, "I don't want to live here." But the price was right, and I had a vision. I said, "Yes, it's horribly unattractive. But that's just surface stuff! Picture hardwood floors, drywall on the walls and ceilings! We'll move the kitchen from that tiny room into this other bigger room! It'll be cute! And it's cheap!" She was skeptical, but she put her faith in me and my vision. We bought the house.

First we tore out all the carpeting, all the wood paneling, and all of the ceiling tiles. Next, we hung the drywall. Finally, it was time to re-do the floors.

This house has given us one gift: it had hardwood floors beneath the carpeting. All we had to do (ha, ha, "all we had to do," oh that's funny) was pull up all the old stuff, sand the floors, polyurethene them, and ta-da, beautiful floors. I would go into the details of this back-breaking work, but that's not the point of this post. The point is the radiators.

The house is heated via radiators. In order to re-finish the floors, we had to move the radiators here and there. This also meant that we had to drain them and disconnect them. We did all that. We did the floors. We moved the radiators back into their positions. But we did not re-attach them or fill them back up. Believe me, we had other pressing issues on our minds, and as it was summertime, providing heat to the house was not important. So we didn't deal with it.

Then it started to get cold. Rather than do something about it immediately, we--okay, I--didn't. It started to get cold. I started wearing a jacket, knit hat, and scarf in the house. It took a while, but towards late October, I'd been cold long enough, so I got off my ass and hooked up the radiators. That was also an adventure, as one of the pipes decided to break, but that's another story for another day. What's important is the fact that we had no heat and it got cold.

Now, a year later, you'd think that everything was ready to go. Wrong. We finally got the kitchen relocated this winter, and we decided to swap one radiator for another in what will become my office. The same cycle repeats. We drain the radiators. We disconnect the radiator to be replaced by another. We do not set up the new radiator. Now it's getting cold. Now we're bundling up in the house.

I'd meant to work on the new radiator this past weekend (I need to move a pipe), but I didn't get to it. So I'd meant to do it today. But I didn't get to it. Will tomorrow be the day I finally do the work? Or will it be another day of multiple layers and goose down slippers?

Friday, October 08, 2004

The Last Swim

Don’t you want to throw the ball for me?

That’s it--right there!

You could pick it up and throw it that way!

Okay, you’ve got the ball. You’re going to throw it. I’m ready. I’m ready. I’m ready.

Here I go!

Splashing is fun!

Time to work. Must get ball.



Must bring ball back!

Here it is! I’ve brought it back!

Don’t you want to throw the ball for me?

Do Your Job, Asshole

Two experiences I have had over the past week have worked me into a frenzy. You know, the type of frenzy that involves sitting on your ass, watching Sportscenter and blogging. That type of frenzy. With me?

But back to the situation at hand. My blogging friend Newell and I have been having a little "argument" in the comments section of his post of Wednesday, October 06, 2004, about the expections of retail/customer service employees vs. the expectations of customers.

Let me preface my opinion with my own history working retail and/or customer service. I do this because I have a feeling that my brothers and sisters in retail bondage around the globe will strong disagree with me, but what the fuck.

Anyway, I started working at a McDonald's at the tender age of 14. I moved on from there to a Baskin & Robbins and then a drug store. After graduating from high school, I ended up working very briefly at a gas station and then for a very extended time at a little bookstore, where I would work for 4 years (my longest stint with one job). During the bookstore job, I finished getting an associate's degree and got a "real" job, i.e. fulltime non-retail employment working for the state of Delaware as a computer network specialist. Although this was a foray out of retail, at least 50% of the job was customer service: "I can't log in!" "My computer won't do X!" I can't tell you how many times I said, "Let's try rebooting first." A move to Pennsylvania also meant a change in employment, and I ended up working for a community center. This job was also at least 50% of what I would call "customer service" although a community center doesn't really have "customers." I answered all sorts of questions and helped all sorts of people do all sorts of things. That's customer service.

All of this is my very long and drawn out way of saying, "I've been there, retail bondage brothers and sisters." I've answered the stupidest questions by the stupidest person. I've had someone say, "Where are the napkins?" when the napkins were literally about six inches from them. I've had people ask questions like, "When is the June 6th parade?" I also remember this one time when a charming gentleman came up to me and started yelling about how there was no toilet paper in the bathroom, so he had to "hang his ass over the sink and clean it that way," and what was I going to do about it? (Stay far, far away from that sink, if you're curious.)

So I've been there. I know what it's like. Have I always been the model of good behavior in these situations? No, of course not. I've said things I shouldn't. I've done things I shouldn't. And I've been chewed out by my boss for saying and doing those things. I deserved it.

I know that I've deserved it because I've also been on the other side of it. I've been the customer who has been treated rudely by the person behind the cash register or on the other end of the phone line. For instance, my street recently got permit parking, so I had to get a permit for my car. I've never had a city issued parking permit. I didn't know the drill. So I called the number I was supposed to call and asked, "What do I need to do?" The woman started rambling off this list of items I needed to bring to get my permit. One of them was the car's registration card. I still have the temporary registration for my car since it's new, so I said, "I just bought a car, so I only have a temporary registration. Is that okay?" She just repeated, "Bring your registration card in with you," and sounded completely annoyed by me. I said, "Excuse me, I must have the wrong person. I was under the impression that this number would connect me with someone who was supposed to answer my questions. Could you transfer me to that person, bitch?"* When I wanted her to clarify what I could use for proof of residence, she gave me attitude again.

What the fuck is up with that? I mean, does she have somewhere else to be? She's stuck there for eight fucking hours to answer these types of--perhaps--stupid questions. And I know they are stupid, but I want to make sure because I don't want to go through the hassle of going downtown, parking, going into the Philadelphia Parking Authority building, waiting in line, only to get up to the window and have the person on the other side say, "Oh, I'm sorry, a water bill isn't good enough. We need the electric bill." I'd rather spend two mintues asking stupid questions of a person who is paid to answer stupid questions. Just do it bitch! Tell me the goddamn water bill is fine! What the fuck else do you have to do?!

My friendly (I hope :) argument with Newell is along the same lines. He posted that a customer at a gas station should know the number of the pump they want gas from. Yes, they should know it. I give you that. But if they don't, isn't it the GAS STATION ATTENDANT's job to know just that type of information? I've had that exact experience, both as a gas station attendant and as a customer. When customers approached me and didn't know their pump number, it was no big deal. I spent about 20 seconds ascertaining which car was theirs, and then I put the pump number in the computer. After all, what else do I have to do? Even if there's a line of people, what difference does it make? I'll be there until my shift ends whether or not people are in line. I help the customer in front of me as quickly and politely as I can, and then I help the next one. Doesn't make one speck of difference to me whether or not I spend 30 seconds or 10 minutes with one person.

That's why I get so annoyed when I'm the customer, and I get treated like I'm a hindrance. I am a polite, reasonably intelligent person, as long as you are the same to me. I know that, as a customer myself, I've been in the same exact situation I described above: I've not know the pump number. When I get attitude from the gas station attendant about it, I say, "Hey, asshole, do you work here? Okay then, WHAT FUCKING PUMP NUMBER IS THE BLACK SUBARU PARKED AT? Four? Thank you. Put $20 on pump four."*

*Okay, I've never actually said these things because I'm not clever enough to come up with them on the spot. I'm more shocked that I'm being treated badly for no apparent reason. But in the future, watch out!

Friday, October 01, 2004

At Least I Still Look Young and Fabulous

As some of you might remember, I have been half-heartedly trying to make some money as a wedding photographer. I've been a little commitment phobic about it, so when I met a real wedding photographer--someone who has a studio and makes a liviing from wedding photography--and he said he'd like to meet with me to discuss if I would be interested in being a second photographer to him, I jumped at the chance. Okay, you got me. I waited over a month before getting back to him on it. But I did get back to him, and I'm going on a trial run with him tomorrow, Saturday.

All this is not the point of this post, however. I'm just setting the scene. I met the guy at his studio to talk about the details, and while we were discussing things, he asked if I was serious about this. He wanted to know whether or not I was just in it for a few weekends and then I would drop off the face of the earth. The implication, understandably, was that he didn't want to waste time training me only to have things not work out. I will now pick up the conversation from that point:

ME: Yes, I am serious about this. But since you've raised this point, I feel like I should let you know that I am trying to get pregnant right now. Therefore, it is quite possible that eight months down the road or so, I might not be able to work for a period of many months.

Wedding Pro: Oh! So you're married!

ME (A few seconds go by while I contemplate the question and all of its implications--first of all, it's now clear that he does not realize that I am a lesbian, and I wonder if I should come out to him now or later and whether or not that will be a problem for him. I also go over a familiar debate I have with myself about the word "marriage" as it relates to me as a lesbian--no, I am not legally married, however, I am in my heart and in the eyes of my family and friends. But I do know of people, both gay and straight who, for different reasons, object to the word "marriage" for same sex couples. All of these thoughts go through my head in under three seconds and then I just give the easy answer): Yes.

WP: How long have you been married for?

ME: It's been two years now.

WP: How old are you?

ME: Oh boy. If you must know, I just turned 30 this month [September].

WP: What?

ME: Yes, I'm 30. It's depressing.

WP: I can't believe it.

ME: Me neither.

WP: No, I mean, I thought you were 19.

ME: 19?!

WP: Yes. 20, maybe 22, at the oldest.

ME: Thank you. Thank you very much.

In hindsight, knowing that he thought I was 19 makes some sense out of the conversation. Not many 19 year olds are actively trying to get pregnant, and fewer still have been married for two years.

I told the Bread Winner this story afterwards, and she laughed with me. I mean, I might not look 30, but 19? That's a bit extreme. I was wearing a t-shirt, jean jacket, and a baseball hat, but still. I'm not complaining about it. I'm definitely at that point in my life where when I order a drink and I am asked for ID, I say, "Thank you," much as I did with this wedding pro. The Bread Winner said to me, "See? It's a good thing. Now that he knows you're 30, he takes you more seriously." But no, really, that's not a good thing. I am not ready to be taken more seriously. The wedding pro might not have figured out my physical age, but he pretty much hit the nail on the head otherwise.