The Bean Blog (currently on hiatus)

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Post Where I Admit to Wearing T-Shirt Shorts in Public

The Bread Winner and I have joined a gym. The idea of the Bread Winner joining a gym makes sense to everyone who knows her. Me, on the other hand, provides a response more along the lines of, "Really?" But it's happened. I want to exercise this summer, and I want to do it in air-conditioned comfort. And I want to swim. I love to swim, but I very rarely get to do so because I don't make it to the beach very often, and I've never belonged to a pool or gym. But as of last night, I do. So this morning I went to swim.

I walked into the pool room with some flip-flop type things on and then stood next to this bench to take them off and put them onto a shelf. As I did so, I sort of lost my balance a bit, and I was forced to step out to the left side to keep from falling. The ball of my left foot landed squarely on top of a rusty bolt protruding from the floor to hold down the bench. OUCH. That's what I thought. Along with, THIS CAN'T BE GOOD.

I immediately sat down on the bench and looked at the bottom of my left foot. By putting my thumbs on either side of the cut, the calloused skin seperated to reveal quite a deep gash. I looked down at the bench and saw the rusty bolt. Decision time. To swim anyway or not? Well, I swam anyway. Probably not the best idea, but goddammit, I wanted to swim. So I hobbled over to the pool and got in.

About 45 minutes later, I was in the locker room taking a shower. I'd decided that I would tell the guy who signed me up to the gym about the injury and the rusty bolt. I mean, how smart is it to have rusty bolts sticking up from the floor of an area where people are bound to be walking around barefoot? Even more or less beneath a bench, it's not smart. I got out of the shower and was drying off, thinking about the bandaid in my near future. Then I rumaged through my gym bag for my clothes. That's when I realized what I had done. Instead of bringing a t-shirt and a pair of shorts, I HAD BROUGHT TWO T-SHIRTS.

Well, shit, what was I supposed to do? I could have put my swimming bottoms back on, which are mens swimming shorts. But then were soaked (of course) with chlorine water, and I didn't want to wear them in the beautiful black leather upholstry that was in my car. That's when I contemplated yet another bad idea. Perhaps, I reasoned, I could wear one of the t-shirts as shorts? Let's find out.

My legs did fit into the arm holes about up to my knees. I could pull the bottom of the t-shirt up to my waist. Full coverage had been accomplished. I'm not going to lie to you. It looked a little odd. The neck hole sort of hung down oddly between my knees. But the t-shirt was dry. And maybe people would think it was some sort of strange hippy skirt. I'm not really a strange hippy skirt kind of a girl, but no one here knows me. So maybe I could be that kind of girl. All I had to do was walk out the door, get in the car, and make my get away.

Except that I wanted to talk about the rusty bolt. And I wanted a bandaid for my foot, which hurt. That would mean getting someone's attention directed towards me while I talked to them about the rusty bolt WHILE WEARING T-SHIRT SHORTS. I decided to risk it. (No, I hadn't made best series of decisions in the past hour, but oh well--why stop now?)

So I wandered out of the locker room and to the front office area where I sat down in front of Chip (only guys who work at gyms should be named Chip) and said, "I cut my foot in the pool room." Then, to prove that this was significant, I held up my foot so that he could see the bottom of it and the gash. I saw my t-shirt shorts move as I adjusted my legs, but I hoped against hope that visions of lawsuits were dancing in Chip's head instead of logical questions like, "Is this woman wearing a t-shirt as shorts?"

Never saying anything about my t-shirt shorts, Chip got me antiseptic, bandaids, and a promise to do something about the rusty bolt. Then I left, convincing myself out of necessity that the t-shirt shorts had gone unnoticed. I got to the car and realized that I had left my lock on the locker instead of taking it with me. Would I go back into the gym again, wearing t-shirt shorts, to get it? Why the hell not?

As I recounted this story to the Bread Winner, her response was, "Wait. You did what?" Upon confirmation, I was greeted with stunned silence.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Perfect Score

Last night I got back the paper that I wrote for my sociology class. I got a perfect score: 100. This is the second 100 I've gotten this semester. The other 100 was for a revision of a French composition.

When I told a friend/teacher about my 100 on the French comp, she got very, very indignant. She was of the opinion that for a written assignment, 100 should be unobtainable. It was not, she said, a math test. There was always room for improvement. Ergo, 100 is not an option.

I disagreed with her. Perhaps, perhaps (yes, I do like to repeat words and then italicize the second appearance), if one was writing a short story or something like that. But for a language learning class, I think that one can write a perfect paper. One's work should not be compared to "French literature." That should never be the expectation. So if you've met all the goals of the composition (and done them brilliantly, I might add), shouldn't you be able to get a 100?

I feel the same way about my sociology paper. I did a very good job on that. The teacher provided us with goals. I met each and every one of them. And you know my writing was flawless and entertaining, even though it was about the decline in the American Jewish population between 1990-2000. But boy, I tell you, I made that topic HOP. So again, why shouldn't I get 100 for that paper?

My final argument on the whole 100 debate concludes with this: Why have a possible score of 100 if it is impossible to achieve? Doesn't make any sense.

I'm interested to hear what you think, as long as you realize that if you don't think the same exact thing that I think, you're wrong. So if you're okay with that, leave a comment daring to contradict me. Or leave one so we can bask together in our mutual rightness and point and laugh at how wrong my other friend is for her opinion.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Show Friday Night: or I'm Old

Tim asked me to tell him how the Amy Ray show went on Friday night. I was going to email him, then I thought, Nah, I'll make it an exciting post for everyone. You can thank me in the comments.

First of all, I'm old. I must preface this story with that fact. Back when I was young, frisky, and in my 20s, I would not have been as annoyed as I was, but those days are gone as my 30s loom before me.

So the show was at the North Star Bar, which is a good sized bar that often has local musicians and small national bands (I saw Joan Osbourne there before she hit it big). There's a room with a bar, a room with billiards, and a room for music. The room for music has no chairs.

The ticket said that the show started at 9pm. I wasn't interested in the opening band, Cordero, so I wanted to arrive around 9:30, but the Bread Winner and a friend who came with us wanted to be there at 9. Okay, who am I to argue? So we got there at 9. And waited. And waited. And waited. Around 9:30, I decided to sit on the floor, because like I said at the beginning, I'm old. So I sat on the floor with my friend. And waited. And waited. And waited.

At 10:30pm, Cordero takes the stage. By this point, I'm pissed. I mean, AN HOUR AND A HALF? What is that about? (I refer again to the fact that I am old.) My friend and I had a debate about what they were doing before coming on. Did they have a legitmate excuse? Late bus? Fiddling with equipment? Something like that? Or were they just hanging around backstage for no reason? My guess is that the last option is true.

I had listened to a couple of their songs online, and I was actually prepared to like them. Until they made me wait FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF. Then I hated them. And then, THEN, they had the nerve to play for 40 MINUTES. They left the stage at 11:10pm, and I said, "Good riddance." By the way, I remained sitting on the floor for their entire set and booed between songs. That's just the kind of sport I am.

In the meantime, my friend and I made a bet between us about how long it would take between Cordero leaving and Amy Ray taking the state. We went for an over/under 30 minutes. She instantly took "over." I took "under." I could not believe that, with it being AFTER 11PM AND ALL, the equipment change would take longer than 30 minutes. I said we bet, and you might be wondering what the bet was for. Just rightness. That's the kind of girls we are. Being right, and being able to lord it over your friend, is more than reward enough.

AND I WON. Amy was playing the first song of her set in around 24 minutes. WAHOO! The only thing that I was happy about that night.

And her set was good. She's a great performer. I like her solo stuff. I was happy. Except that I was tired. It was smokey. My feet hurt. My back was starting to hurt. At first I was like, What's wrong with me? Then I remembered, Oh yeah, it's fucking after midnight and I've been here for over 3 goddamn hours. Around 12:15am, I told the Bread Winner that I was going to the bar room to sit down and get off my feet.

This annoyed me. First of all, I realized that when I was younger, I used to be able to do shit like this without complaining. Secondly, the whole point of coming to the show was to see Amy Ray, and now I was going to duck out during her set. C'est la vie.

I settled myself at the bar with a cranberry and orange juice and read the subtitles to Fraiser. It felt so goddamn good to be sitting down on a chair with a television in close proximity that I basically didn't care that I was missing Amy's set. And then another friend of ours joined me there, so we started talking and hanging out. I was rather content (mostly due to the fact that I'd had a wonderful nap that afternoon).

After about 15 minutes, the Bread Winner came into the bar and told us that Amy Ray said that the band only knew two more of her songs, so they were going to play them, and then that would be it, no encore. I was a bit surprised at this. I went back into the music room, and Amy was true to her word. Two more songs and that was it. She played for just over an hour. In other words, I waited two and a half hours for one hour of entertainment, and I missed 15 minutes of that because of the long ass wait.

In conclusion, I'm old. And I won't be doing that again. It was great to see Amy play in such a small venue, but screw it. In the future, if there aren't chairs, I'm not going. The end.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Wondering

I wrote a paper yesterday. Is it really necessary that I write another today?

Really?

Monday, April 11, 2005

Well, I'll Be Damned

For those of you who remember Life at TJ's Place, "Kevin" posted something new on Sunday, April 10.

I'd always liked Life at TJ's Place, and for some reason, I couldn't delete it from my list of favorites. And I had a suspicion that Kevin might return one day and post again, once he felt like all the crazies (i.e. his fans/commenters) had left the building, so to speak. And now it's happened.

The new post is not about "life at TJ's Place." By that, I mean it's not about strippers. It's mostly a short story that he decided to post for whatever reason. It was actually a pretty good little short story but.... I really liked his posts about all the characters at the strip club. So for me, I have to wonder, will Kevin return to posting about strippers? I kind of doubt it. But I guess time will tell. And who knows? Maybe there won't be another post for eight more months.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Cool Auction

I haven't seen one of my good blog friends around these parts in some time now. Rumor has it that he's busy renovating a building and turning it into an independent movie theater in Springfield, Missouri. When his budget fell a bit short, he decided to try to raise funds by auctioning off the naming rights to the concession stand, aka Cinebar.

The question becomes, do you want to have a concession stand named after you? Your blog? Your dog? Your dog's blog? All of these are possible, if you just check it out. There's no reserve and the bidding started at $1.00. The auction ends April 17, 2005 12:00:00 PDT. Go for it!!!!

Monday, April 04, 2005

Death of a Neighbor

There's only one neighbor on my street that I've ever had any run-ins with, and now she's dead. Actually, our run-ins used to include her husband, but he's dead too.

It all started four or five years ago. Something was happening that generated excitement and caused the neighborhood to empty out of their houses and stare. I think it was a fire on the railroad tracks. I'd walked down closer to the corner and happened to stop in front of my neighbor's house. Our neighborhood is made up of rowhomes, and some of them have trees planted in front that grow out of little squares of dirt in the sidewalk. This neighbor had such a tree.

I was with one of my dogs, Will, a little shih-tzu. When we paused in front of this woman's house, Will understandably started to sniff the tree and then he lifted a leg to pee on it. The woman and her husband started yelling at me, telling me to get the dog away, that what he was doing was disgusting. I looked at them in confusion for two reasons.

1) The tree was growing from the sidewalk. Sidewalks are communitty property. They do not "belong" to individual property.

2) Will was peeing. Little bitty Will (11 pounds) was peeing a little bitty urine. If he had been pooping, of course I would have picked it up. But peeing? One is under no obligation to do anything about peeing.

I was honestly confused at their reaction, so I started out by saying, "He's just peeing." They continued to be verbally abusive to me. So I came right back at them and said things along the lines of, "This tree doesn't belong to you," and "I'll let me dog pee here anytime I want, you mean, old assholes."

Now, I'd like to point out that if they had nicely said to me, "Hey, would you mind not letting your dog pee on that tree in the future? We'd really appreciate it." I would have said, "Oh, I'm sorry. Sure, not a problem." But because they were yelling at me, I yelled back.

The old man died shortly afterwards.

The old woman remained, and I kept true to my word. I walked by her house regularly with my dogs because the house I was renting (at the time) didn't have a backyard, and I took the dogs out four times a day to "do their business." When one of them wanted to pee on her tree, I let them. Oftentimes, the old woman would come to the door and stare at me, trying to intimidate me. I would stare right back at her with a little smile as if to say, "Oh yeah? And what are you going to do about it?" Sometimes she would start yelling at me again. I would happily taunt her with remarks like, "I love it when one of my dogs pees here. I try to stop them from peeing other places just so they'll have something saved up for this tree."

I asked other people in the neighborhood why this woman was such a nasty cow. They shrugged their shoulders and said that she could be a little prickly. Everyone else seemed to get along with her. One time, when I was discussing this topic with a neighbor from a few streets over, she said, "You know she has cancer." And I said, "Good. I hope she dies."

I don't regret many things that I've said in my life, but that's one that I do.

Things between us didn't change until the Bread Winner and I bought the house we now live in, which has a backyard. We rennovated the inside first, which took about two and a half months, from mid-May to August 1st in 2003. We worked on the house and worked on the house, every day, doing everything ourselves (with some help from family and friends). This house is directly across the street from the mean old woman's house, and she liked to sit outside in the summers in a chair and watch who was coming and who was going and generally what was going on. She couldn't help but notice all the work that we were putting into the house, how we were making it better.

She started being...almost...friendly. More so to the Bread Winner than to me. Her daughter and grandson had moved in with her after the death of her husband, and the daughter was nice to us. Once she even helped us as we were pushing either the refrigerator or a big filing cabinet up the three stairs that led to our front door. Another time, the old woman offered to give us some trim she had in her basement that she had no use for.

It seemed that a truce had been called.

She made it through chemotheraphy. She was doing fine, as far as I knew. I haven't seen her much, but then again, it's been winter. There hasn't been an opportunity to observe her sitting out in her chair, gossiping with the other retirees in the neighborhood.

The Bread Winner and I came home from having breakfast with a friend on Saturday morning, and a few of the neighbors that we are good friends with were standing out in front of the (formerly mean) old woman's house. One of them said to me, "She died this morning."

What? I didn't know she'd been sick again. I didn't know she'd relapsed. Apparently, she'd been in the hospital for a month and had just come home...to die.

Back when I'd said, "Good. I hope she dies," I'd never really experienced a death before. I didn't know what that meant to the people who survived. And somehow, without knowing that, I didn't have a good understanding of life. I wish I had never said those words. I guess we live and learn, and one of the hardest lessons to learn is how to live through a death.