Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mixed Nuts

Sometimes encounters with nuts don't constitute an entire story, but more of a blurb.

Here is a small sampling from a bowl of mixed nuts:

- Ad Agency Nuts. There is a whole bowl of nuts dedicated to nuts that rise to the top of ad agencies. Technically, they are called Borderline Personalities. In laymen’s terms, they are the people who make you cry and then tell you your mascara is running and hand you a tissue. They violate common decency. And if you were ever to ask for an apology, they would not know what you are talking about nor would they even know how to give you an apology.

The Narcissist Nuts. These nuts only see their own kind in the nut bowl. They are not aware of any other kind of nut or nut bowl. Trying to engage with them will only bring loads of frustration. Stay away from this bowl.

Stage Mother Nuts. These women may have children in theater or not. The point is, these nuts only speak about their children and their activities. It’s a boring bowl. They are enmeshed in their kids’ lives. They may start freaking out about what college their kid will go to when the kid is in 8th grade, or younger, maybe. This bowl will waste your time.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Black Friday, Nevermore...

I ventured out on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. I am not one of the nuts who get up at 4:00 am and run to Macy’s to buy wrapping paper at 5:30 am. No, I was just out in my car cruising around. No special agenda. Being an artsy person, I frequently frequent Michael’s and Joann’s. My cruise had me pass and then drop into Michael’s. It was somewhat crowded. I strolled around and picked up a few items. I got in a line and things seemed to be moving along pretty steadily. I had my iPod and was coping quite well. When the fellow ahead of me got to the register, he laid his 12 skeins of yarn on the counter and the young female clerk scanned the skeins and got the grand total. Like I said, things were moving along so well. But ooops, the newbie clerk forgot to scan the 40% off coupon. In order to rectify this, she had to rescan all 12 skeins to undue the purchase. She then started the order all over again. Now we are on our third scan of the 12 skeins of yarn. She then scans in the coupon, but the register/computer did not accept it. She got on the phone to call the manager. Mind you, the store is packed, every line is very long and the manager is very busy. While our clerk calls for the manager and looks to her right, I notice that the manager is actually standing to her left. I say to the Manager, Mam, would you mind helping our clerk? Yes Mam, I will be right there. The lovely Manager comes over to help our clerk. Her screw up was not simple. It was a massive screw up and the clerk was not communicating the depth of her mishap. As the Manager is helping the clerk, the fellow with the 12 skeins, a much older Chinese man, turns to me and says, out loud: Why don’t you mind your own f-ing business you f-ing bi--h.
Wow, did my request for service merit that level of obscenity?
I retorted: I was just asking for some help.
You should mind your own f-ing business you f-ing bi--h.
He repeated this over and over. I looked to the other people in the line and NO ONE would have eye contact with me. I had become the Michael’s pariah.
I looked at my potty mouthed neighbor and said “You need to be quiet right now.”
But, he did not heed my request.
He continued in his rant, repeating different variations of the same words mentioned above.
I then said: “You are the most horrible person I have ever met in my entire life.”
This still did not calm him. However, the Manager had now finished undoing the mess up that the clerk had created. She pointed at me: You, take your merchandise and follow me. Realizing I was now getting preferential treatment, I turned to my potty mouthed friend and said: HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.
The lovely Manager checked me out in a jiffy. I did ask her: Did you hear what he said to me? She said: I was trying not to listen. I then high-tailed it out of there. Fearing the crazy Chinese dude may physically harm me, I ran to my car, got in and locked the doors. I phone my husband right away to tell him about the insanity I had just been a part of. He is so lovely, his first comment was: That is horrible. And it was. I went home and spent the rest of the day recovering from Mr. Nasty
Once I got home, my husband and I started to psychoanalyze what was up with Mr. Nasty.
One, why is an older Chinese dude buying 12 skeins of various yarn, not the same yarn, different types of unattractive yarn? Did he have an invalid mother or wife at home whom he had to shop for? An invalid whom he resented? And a seemingly helpful or assertive woman did not fit into his little Gestalt of a world? God only knows, the dude was nuts and rude at the very least. I don’t think I deserved those exact words. I was not a criminal in that situation. Once again, my magnetism for nuts, drew me in and it was this was far from the Holiday shopping spirit I was looking for.
Later I was playing over some comebacks I could have used if I had not been so stunned.
Sir, I am an off-duty Torrance Police Officer and if you do not shut your pie hole immediately I can have your sorry ass in the back of a squad car and down to the station lickety split. If only…..

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Frank of the Nativity

I’ve always been fascinated with nativity scenes. Growing up as the only Jewish kid on a Catholic block, I clearly knew that we were not going to have a little manger scene with a miniature Baby Jesus in our house. The closest I got was my neighbor’s house across the street. They had cotton batting resembling snow spread out under their tree. It was tucked among the batting with a manger scene with all the characters and animals. I would get on the floor and get very close and stare at these figures. I loved dolls and miniatures and I knew nothing like this would ever make its way through my front door.
As a grown-up person, I am still intrigued by manger scenes. Sporting a new camera, I decided to devote the Christmas season, of which I am still an outsider, to taking photos of every nativity scene I could track down in my area.
I remembered in an older part of town there was Church of the Nativity. Now if they didn’t have a manger scene, no one would.
I drove by and was not disappointed. The characters were larger than life with life-sized animals as well.
I parked and approached the scene, shot close ups from all angles. Upon parking the car, I noticed a homeless guy sitting on a bench a half a block away. My first thought was, oh he looks harmless and by the time I’m done shooting, he won’t have time to get anywhere near me.
This tells you how wrong I can be. Right after taking my last shot, the homeless guy down the street is now in my face. Friendly guy I think to myself. No obvious odors and friendly.
How long have you been taking photos he asked.
Now I am usually cold and ignore homeless people. He seemed harmless and in the spirit of standing in front of a manger scene in front of a Catholic church and it being Christmas and all, I launched into a conversation with him.
Oh I've been taking photos for many years.
Isn't it beautiful? He commented in regards to the manger scene.
Oh yes I said.
It's a beautiful story too.
Yes it is I agreed.
He proceeded to tell me that he had visited a man who had been sick and was getting better, but the man was really quite discouraged with life in general.
He encouraged the man with stories about The Lord who is responsible for all things. The man asked him, you think the Lord can help me? Oh yes he told him. Who do you think is making you better?
And went on to say he cut his finger when repairing a refrigerator and who do you think healed his finger? Because The Lord is in charge of your immune system and therefore he healed his finger, at which point he showed me and I noticed his finger nails were exceptionally long, but clean. The fact that he only had three dirty teeth was a bit disconcerting though. His pony tail tied up in rope, a bit odd. The fact that I actually stood there and listened to the guy's rant, so out of character for me. It was grossing me out, but I had made the decision to have discourse with him.
It wasn't until he asked me for a hug, and I let him hug me, and that the hug lasted way too long, that I started to question my judgment. For a split second I was not sure if I was going to be able to wrangle myself out of the hug.
He told me his name was Frank.
Frank wanted to give me a CD. A Guys and Dolls CD.
Oh no I said. I already have that one, which is the truth.
I said I had to go. At which point he wanted a hug goodbye.
For unknown reasons, I let him. Again, the death grip, again I was afraid I’d never get out of the hug, but praise God I did and walked quickly to my car.
Who's your favorite photographer he called out.
Ansel Adams I called back.
Your trunk is open.
Oh thank you I said. I ran to shut it, hopped in the car, locked the door and waved goodbye.
I drove several streets over and thought okay who can I text and tell them of this macabre incident. Is there something about shooting manger scenes that attracts odd encounters I wondered? These scenes do present unexpected entertainment. Several days after my encounter with Frank, I kneeled in dog poo in front of a manger scene. I learned that carrying Wet Ones in your car is a good thing and today I learned that the Lord created my immune system.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Bowtie Guy

It was a Friday, before lunch. I was waiting in my office for a candidate to show up for an interview. I needed a new PC tech. I would always think to myself, please, let this one be the one, because interviewing is such hard work.
The receptionist phoned me, my candidate had arrived. I walked to the lobby and there was a dapper guy in a velvet dinner jacket, bowtie and tortoise shell rimmed glasses. He greeted me with a big grin, shook my hand and said: “You don’t look anything like your Playboy centerfold.”
Okay, I now hate this guy and have to spend 15 minutes with him. We make our way over to a conference room where we sit at right angles to each other. I cannot remember much of what was said, but did look at my watch several times. He proceeded to tell me about the personality conflict he had with his previous female supervisor. I ask him if he has issues with women and he says YES.
Well thank you for that, I never would have guessed.
For the remainder of the day I could not get his catchy opening line out of my head. I now should mention that my last name is November. Thus, the Playboy reference which went right over my head.
It was not until dinner that night when I was recounting the Bowtie guy to my husband, that the most horrible politically incorrect thing you could say in an interview had been saved up just for me.
Yes, Miss November, me, does not look a thing like her Playboy centerfold. That is definitely one periodical I would gratefully not be seen in. I wonder how long Mr. Bowtie worked on that line before he sprung it on me and what part of his pea brain thought it was a good idea.