Mar 27, 2008

my dumb town

A few months ago I did a strange thing.

I felt that it was strange.

I mean, even I.

(I realize that it's subjective)

The only reason I mention this right now - is, as a result I find myself walking blocks out of my way to avoid this piano bar that's in my neighborhood.

And if one is avoiding it, as piano bars go - it couldn't be situated more inconveniently.

Because this piano bar is everywhere I go.

Not that anyone is ever at this piano bar, not at least until very late at night.

But it's the bills - the bills posted all over the front of this piano bar, that I'm trying to avoid.

(not any actual people)

It's a long story.

(switching gears)

I found out definitively that Earwax is no longer renting movies.

At first they said things like, "We're remodeling the downstairs".

I thought, " nice."

Maybe they're having the mildew smell removed, too.

But then they started saying things like, "..we may or may not be renting movies ever again."

Which sounded like they weren't really remodeling anymore.

(and, I had suspected that they weren't)

Then, it was things like, "check back."

Which was hopeful.

Hopeful in a bullshit way, that - even though it's bullshit, one tends to accept (as though there must be some mystery going on that one must accept - because such mysteries are beyond the lay person: I don't know the inner workings of Earwax = I accept "check back" as a possible condition of the very mysteries of Earwax).

Because not everything is meant to be privy to one.

And that was ok with one - with me.

All I wanted was an answer.

Even if I was afraid of the answer. I wanted an answer.

But I didn't really want any answer.

Because I knew the answer and I didn't like the answer.

Then my boyfriend just went in and got an answer.

That was yesterday.

He told me the bad news while handing me a pint of Chunky Monkey.

To his credit, I had been relying heavily on Chunky Monkey for a while.

Meanwhile our Netflix had arrived - so there was that, too.

What with Earwax gone.

(the cafe is still up and running, but, truly, I never associated the two. Yes, I had eaten there, but it never felt like I was "eating at my movie rental place" - never did).

The guy at Earwax Cafe did offer my boyfriend a tip about another movie place located about a mile west of here.

I don't know - that's a mile away.

That's a whole other thing.

And he mentioned that many people have been upset by this turn of events.

But they "just weren't making enough money on the movie rentals anymore" kind of thing.

Which made me think of my late fees.

My late fees. Alone.

All those times I was late (every single time) I liked to think that my late fees made a difference - somehow.

And, I couldn't have been later.


(I couldn't have)

Mar 24, 2008

a recent email - proof that no case is ever really closed

Dear f,

I am currently dispatching to you from beneath my desk at work.
For this reason - and others that you will soon understand, I need to make this as brief as possible.

I wrote to you about three months ago. I was the woman having problems with three stalkers.

If you refer to that previous case, anything I fail to describe to you here (as I am rushing) will be outlined for you there.

Due to recent developments, I realize that I had not three, but five stalkers - all along.

Such a thing is unprecedented. I'm sure.

Despite our combined efforts to "handle" (what were) my three stalkers, the remaining two have recently made their presence known to me in ways both stealth-like and obvious.

Interestingly, the obvious ways in which I'm being manipulated - are far more disturbing to me than the stealth-like ways.

I guess it's the audacity. The outright boldness of such obvious maneuvers - clearly meant to confuse the victim into letting down her guard (a technique well documented in various military histories, as well as in at least two episodes of Bat Man) that frightens me.

Even though I can't account (despite meticulous record keeping) for their ability to remain under my radar (or yours) for the last three months - these goons are definitely connected to my first three stalkers. And are up to similar tricks.

Words like premeditated, and phrases like caught in the head lights, run amok through my mind all over again.

And I think, why me..?

I feel hunted.

Like a woodland creature (the similarity between me and Bambi not being lost on me) as they, as of this writing, are probably working together.

Not only do Four and Five (that's how I refer to them - as Four and Five) keep constant check on my every move - every second of my life, but seem almost virus-like in their ability to adapt.

With each twist and turn, they keep getting stronger, smarter and harder to out-wit (despite how skilled I am at all of this).

For example, last night, I got a text from Four (4:37 pm central standard time, according to my cell phone). He asked that I meet him after work at a predetermined place. I waited twenty three minutes (an old trick of mine) and responded:

c! u! ther RoCkSTaR ! <3

My first red flag?

When Four was ten minutes late (that's when I start to consider a person late, at ten minutes).

Though Four is routinely late, something told me that this was a ruse.

I always know something is off when the hair on the back of my neck stands up.

Then, like clock work, the hair on the back of my neck stood up.

It wasn't long before Four was twenty minutes late.

Then, thirty minutes late.

And - you get the idea.

Let's just say that I continued to wait, continued to drink (and bravely continued to pay for my own drinks) until the place closed.

Meanwhile, where was Four?

Outside. Spying on me. The entire time.

That's right.

Call it instincts. Call it ESP. Call it whatever you want.

Call it chilling.

(I certainly do)

As I'm sure you can imagine, my life has become a constant state of dodging, hiding, and (as of last week) donning wigs and other disguises just to get to and from everywhere.

Note: Five might be dumber than Four (and, for that reason, even more dangerous).

Five is not only all over my Myspace account, but replies to my messages and texts within the hour (as though he is completely unable to pretend that he's busy).


Please respond quickly.

Thanks - and Go Cubbies!
Missy Smith


Read this very carefully and do exactly as instructed:


Email your boss (don't touch your cell phone - it's bugged).

Ask your boss to come to your office immediately.

When he arrives - barricade the door.

Have him contact security.

Tell him that security already knows the situation.

They do.

I've briefed them on the matter. They're currently awaiting signals from you.

Have your boss tell security the code phrase:

We need help removing Missy Smith from the premises.

Security will know what this means.

Security has explicit instructions to make your departure appear like you are being reluctantly escorted out of the building.

Go along with it.

Not to frighten you - but much of the problem has been determined to be internal.

For this reason, any eyewitnesses should believe that they are seeing you being removed from the building against your will.

This is a safety measure meant to protect you through this - the first phase of our operation.

This requires you to be as convincing as possible:

Yell, fight, scream, bite. Be a total disgrace - whatever it takes.

After your departure I will meet you at a second location - which will be made known to you as soon as you have clearance.

At that point - we will begin the process of detaining your stalkers as well as providing you with your new identity.

Ironically, Bambi is in the works for your new secret name
(the government whole heartedly agrees that Bambi is fitting).

Until then, be brave
Go Cubbies!

Mar 21, 2008

too many people on one computer becomes a hot button (literally)

Dear F,

I'm not sure if this has anything to do with etiquette - but here's my problem:

At work I have to share a computer with two other colleagues.

Lately, as I navigate through websites - via mouse and keyboard (though, especially mouse) I've noticed that my hands feel dirty.

As a result, it's difficult for me to focus on what I'm doing on the internet while at work.

I should mention that the keyboard and mouse at this computer don't actually look dirty (though, obviously, I don't have a microscope).

And, if it's possible, it's as though my (mouse) hand feels a few degrees hotter. That is, hotter than my other hand or the rest of my body.

Perhaps the microbes on the mouse (if not keyboard) are multiplying at an exaggerated rate due to multiple users.

Maybe, due to these distinct conditions, the temperature on the mouse actually rises (infinitesimally - but just enough for me to notice).

Am I'm just more sensitive to this rise in temperature than my co-workers are (for some reason)?

Could this be a health situation? Am I just the first one to notice this problem?

And, in what other circumstances (than sharing a computer) would I need to deal as directly with other people's microbes?

What steps should I take to try to get things back under control?

just another cog in the Starbucks machine..
~ Patti ~

Dear Patti,

I must say that I'm not sure how it's supposed to be obvious to me (from where I sit, here at my desk) that you don't have a microscope.

I was similarly unaware that the waitresses at Starbucks needed computers for their research (you mentioned the internet).

Though knowing such makes me happier. Somehow.

(Moving on) it appears that you have reluctantly stumbled into the thankless position of the under recognized (all too often taken for granted) everyday hero.

Take a bow.

A quick, pretend bow.

Now, may I remind you (darling - before we pop open any wine coolers, or break out the Lionel Richie - as all good leaders are entitled to do) that you do indeed deal directly "with other people's microbes" in a number of ways at work.

The restroom. The register. The coffee making equipment. The exchange of money.

Not to mention the air that you (all three of you) breathe.

I suggest that you call an informal meeting with your colleagues.

Close the door behind you when you do this. This will not only unnerve your co-workers, but will underscore everything you say from that point on.

Tell these two (soon to be friends for life) that you would like it if they washed their hands before using the computer from now on.

Just make sure to say it with a smile.

Between the dirrectness of your speech, the smile on your face, and the closing of the door - Your co-workers will be confused. Maybe a little alarmed.

Which is good.

They will see you as serious and genuine.

And they will understand your concerns (even if they don't admit it - ever).

And what's not to understand?

Now do the following:

1. March right down to the nearest dollar store.

2. Invest in the biggest bottle of disinfectant you can find.

3. Place it near the computer that the three of you share.

4. Attach a note explaining that, due to unique microbe mingling, and the resulting (though infinitesimal) temperature changes detected by you on the mouse - a disinfectant will be employed by all users of the computer from now on - bla bla bla.

5. Sign it Patti.

And, Patti, keep smiling..

(no matter what)

Consider politely informing your customers that microbes are probably everywhere. They have a right to know. Ask them not touch anything unless absolutely necessary.

Also, email HQ detailing your intentions to clean up the microbes at work!

Use the word manifesto in the subject line, run a spell check, then copy it to every single person at Starbucks.

All done?


Now go ahead and break out those wine coolers, Patti!

And as always..
Youuuuu're welcome!
f !

Mar 13, 2008

I love lamp

I have this desk.

I got it when my grandmother died.

It's a large 1920's office desk.

I've had it for about ten years. I'm sitting at it right now.

It was some time before I felt comfortable about removing any of the files that what were in it.

At first I ignored the files entirely (around two years).

Then (as boring as they were) I sorted through them.

Then (about a year later) I shred them.

The files.

Goodbye. Kaput. Never coming back.

They were mostly old check stubs, anyway. And a manuscript. Something about my grandfather's secret double life.

But they were taking up valuable desk space. And if I was ever going to really "live" my "life" it was important that I actually use this desk.

Besides, the check stubs were ridiculous. Checks were really big back in the 1940's. At least three times the size they are today.

I did keep a few things found in those files, though.

Like the check stubs from my mother's ballet classes.

Somehow they cost twice as much as my (modern day) ballet classes cost.

So weird.

So, some of it was kept.

Some of it.

Not all.

I had to be heartless.

Because (as it turns out) my mother is completely incapable of throwing anything away.

I've done the math:

my mom = (a happy childhood) + (baby boomer) + (luxury)
x (WWII did not happen to me) + (free to be you and me) + (small apartment) + (guilt) + (incredulousness)
= I am a bad daughter from the future
= my mom lives in the past (infinity)

So, I never tell my mom anything. Ever (about any files).

Strangely, back in the mid nineties, when I first received the desk - my apartment suddenly smelled like grandmother's house.

It did.

For a couple of months.

This fell somewhere between ok and disconcerting.

It wasn't a bad smell.

Just not at all the way my apartment smelled (at the time).

That is, not a vodka smell, not an acne medicine smell - but more of a Rive Gauch, instant coffee, mildew and bananas smell.

My grandmother's house.

Right there.

In my living room.

All the time.

Which felt like a constant half frown from my grandmother.

Yes, I'm here.. yes, I completely disapprove..

But, like so many ghost related issues, it resolved itself.

It went away.

And whole years past.

I moved.. I went on a trip to Ireland.. I went back to school..

I celebrated the turn of the millenium..

I got a job.. I got a phone.. I changed my hair..

And life went on.

But (then) just yesterday - I realized something has been bothering me.

For about a week.

The smell (Rive Gauch, instant coffee, mildew, bananas)
has returned..

(end of disc one)