Monday, September 29, 2008

Grocery Guilt

I often experience grocery guilt, and I don’t think I’m alone. At the store after work today, I actually felt pretty good about my basket of bananas, oatmeal, tomato soup, broccoli, skim milk and sugar-free gum (even though I’d only gone for bananas), but the gentleman in front of me was acting rather strange. When I got in line behind him, he took a step back, and I (overdramatically) scooted to avoid being stepped on. He glanced at me sheepishly, avoiding eye contact, and mumbled something to the effect of, “I just have this stuff,” motioning to his sad little pile of sustenance.

What’s this guy’s deal? I wondered, before I focused in on his items: a can of chili, an array of brightly colored packages of frozen Jewel-brand burritos and what looked like candy I didn’t have time to identify (as I sensed my staring was making him even more uncomfortable). As I (unsuccessfully) tried to stop myself from judging, I realized he might be feeling a bit like I was last night when, in my hungover state, I just couldn’t make it the extra few blocks to the grocery store and instead bought a bag of pretzels, a tub of whipped cream cheese and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s at Walgreens. As the cashier rang me up, I wondered if he knew this was my Sunday dinner…

Seeing the same guilty look in someone else’s face made me kind of sad. Maybe this dude had just had a rough day and was as horrified by the idea of cooking and dishes as I was last night. Frozen burritos are his choice, and he should have the right to purchase them without shame. I’m well aware of the fact that the things I feel self conscious about are the faults I’m most judgmental of in others—so I’m making a resolution to stop critiquing fellow shoppers’ choices. Except for checkbooks. Using checkbooks in this day and age is simply ridiculous, and I will continue to shoot dirty looks and sigh loudly when the person in front of me breaks out the pony express of payments and I’m trying to get home in time for the beginning of Gossip Girl.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Heard on the Strip…or at the Hard Rock

“Whose is this? I’m gonna drink it.”

A: “She’s fatter than me.” B: “REALLY??”

“I wanna be your daughter’s daddy.”

“He’s getting his ass juice all over the place!”

“Why didn’t you guys wake me up??”

“I’m not hungry, but I could eat.”

“Is there anything else you’d like to complain about?”

“I don’t really want to sit by you—I’m seriously sick of you guys.”

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I’ll take my Vegas without a side of butt floss, thanks.

Although Vegas pretty much represents everything I think is wrong with the world… I. Love. It. (Just one example of the hypocrisy that permeates my existence.) When I go, I usually manage to empty everything from my brain except the pursuit of fun, and can even find the very best in things that would normally send me over the familiar edge: silicone (duck lips and underboob provide hours of entertainment), bachelor parties (shift the conversation from last night's strip club to the proposal story), seizure-inducing casino atmospheres (slot machine zombies make me feel more alive), etc.

But on the long weekend I just got back from, two idiots broke through my pleasant oblivion, sending me on more than one tirade that had no place in The Land of Fun. We first encountered them when we checked into the Hard Rock and went to the pool on Saturday. It wasn’t packed, as the big day to go to the Hard Rock pool is for Rehab on Sunday, but there were a decent amount of people nodding to music that was quiet enough that you could talk, rather than shout, when making conversation.

So my point here is that it wasn’t a crazy party; yet, as soon as we made our way to the main pool area, we couldn’t help but notice two men, sporting thongs, mullet wigs and 70s sunglasses, doing a ridiculous kind of monkey dance. They hopped and gyrated around the pool, back and forth, up and down different levels, grinding up against any group of women they crossed paths with, some of whom seemed amused, most of whom seemed annoyed and/or disgusted. And one of the mullet men had a dollar bill tucked into his butt floss. (Didn't his mother ever tell him how filthy money is?? Ew.)

It was like a never-ending train wreck—except I could definitely look away. One of my friends wondered aloud if the duo would be back for Rehab on Sunday, and you better believe they were. (Saturday was probably a dress rehearsal.) Even though their appearance the next day was a bit more understandable, as everyone puts on their Sunday best for Rehab (high heels and bikinis that look more like underwear than swimsuits, teeny tiny spandex swim trunks, etc.), I found them even more annoying the second time around—even before one of them rubbed his bare backside up against my leg while I was trying to order a drink.

It’s my belief that silly outfits are just plain lazy substitutes for personalities. Instead of learning how to strike up a conversation, these two thought all they needed to do was throw on a couple of thongs and mullets and dance around like buffoons. Nonstop. I can’t decide if they were trying too hard or not enough, but jeez—it’s Vegas, REHAB in Vegas—a place where this feminist makes BFFs with bachelor parties. Please, leave the costumes at home next time. We were all having enough fun, more, in fact, before your bouncing banana hammocks entered the picture.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Corporate Personality Disorder

Last summer as part of its “Office Politics Playbook,” BNET ran a feature called “Office Politicos: A Field Guide,” which included creatures such as “The Snake,” “The Art Chick/Band Guy,” “The Sidekick,” “The Class President,” etc. I remember finding them entertaining, but maybe a tad simplistic. The types I find most, uh, interesting to work with are those whose personalities possess a perplexing combination of dichotomous characteristics. For example:

The Disinterested Egomaniac

Definition: Although she attends most brainstorming meetings and conference calls begrudgingly and participates in the former with a look of boredom and the latter on mute, once this cube dweller perceives any sort of ownership over a project, she falls deeply in love with her own work and is unreasonably offended by any criticism, constructive or otherwise. Although she pokes fun at others who act like minor issues are matters of life and death, a last-minute m-dash deletion can send her on an angry emoticon rampage and perhaps a two-hour mental health/coffee break.

Traits: Petulant, Arrogant, Insecure

Habitat: A limbo between cruising at the office and getting up in the middle of the night to finish work projects remotely.

The Overworked Helping Hand

Definition: Despite constantly complaining about all the work he has to do, this office personality cannot resist a cry for help. He feels personally responsible for fixing everyone’s problems but his own. Although he refuses offers to take things off of his plate while he’s yapping about his ever-rising blood pressure, he won’t let the slightest gripe go by without dropping what he’s doing to find solutions to co-workers’ issues—which often means piling their unfinished tasks onto his own wobbling tower.

Traits: Happy-Go-Lucky, Frantic, Obsessive Compulsive

Habitat: On the phone, helping someone retrieve a deleted file (even though there’s nothing in the neighborhood of “tech support” in his job description), while simultaneously IMing another co-worker about how annoyed and stressed out he is.

The Lazy Control Freak

Definition: Although this corporate character prefers to remain MIA during the planning and beginning stages of a project, she insists on jumping in at the very end to either put her stamp on it with extremely minor and largely meaningless input, or discount hours/days/weeks of others’ work by insisting on a change of direction at the last minute. She has a special talent for taking credit for the project’s completion while blaming any missed deadlines on the incompetence of others.

Characteristics: Sluggish, Ambitious, Curt

Habitat: Difficult to locate but will suddenly appear at the top e-mail strings, usually directly above a phrase like, “Good to go!” Her message will say something to the effect of, “Looks good, but…” and end with, “Thanks.” Period.

Oh the strange and capricious creatures that roam the cubicle maze… Guess which one I am…

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Taste of her own medicine?

It's surfaced that Republican running mate Sarah Palin's 17-year-old daughter is five months pregnant... how interesting... so far the reaction from Democrats has been to respect the privacy of Palin's family, and the reaction from Republicans has been to stand behind Palin as a "real person" and someone who "walks her talk." A quote from
"I think, if anything, it shows the Republican Party is a real American party," said Rex Teter, another Texas delegate. "Every family has to deal with children, and sometimes children make decisions that parents wish they would not have been made, and things happen. But I think children are a blessing from God."
Hm... yes, Palin certainly does represent the America pro-life extremists like herself have created. According to the same article, Palin supports abstinence-only education. She also opposes abortion even in the case of rape or incest and is a member of "Feminists" for Life. (Needed to add quotation marks because that phrase makes absolutely no sense to me.) The mainstream media is dancing around all of this information due to a sudden respect for privacy, but we all see the irony here, right? "Pro-life," anti-sex education, anti-contraception extremists refuse to see the ineffectiveness of abstinence-only education in schools-- even when the failure of abstinence-only education in their own homes is staring them in the face-- and making headlines.

According to a Today Show segment that aired this morning, teen pregnancy rates are on the rise in the U.S., and three in 10 girls become pregnant by the age of 20. And why is that? They're not using protection! Shocker! If schools aren't going to teach teens about safe, healthy sex, and their parents might not, who will? Virgin/whore role models like Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson? I'm going to guess no... f-ed up, oppressive, unhealthy ideas of sexuality-- now those the media's doing a great job of teaching. Clearly.

So yay for family privacy and all that... but when a public figure's personal life directly exemplifies the failure and hypocrisy of her political platforms, I do believe it's worth pointing out. After all, the personal is political-- Palin should recognize that rhetoric-- she apparently considers herself a feminist.
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