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Problems Sister and Stella-Rondo Never Had

26 Mar

I would like to take this day behind the barn and dispatch with it swiftly. I had to go to the post office. TWO post offices (posts office?), in fact. The first one was to pick up a package.

See, what had happened was I wasn’t wearing pants and I was on the phone with my bank. As one does. I couldn’t get to the door in time and didn’t get my package. My lovely postman rang several times because he’s obviously been there before and knows I’m often wiping Nutella off my face before I answer the door. Now, my friend Desi was a bit stumped at this because don’t all Southern ladies have bathrobes? Well, yeah, I reckon. But that never occurred to me, honestly.  Probably because my bank was calling to verify two very legitimate charges, which I appreciated since last year I had THREE different debit cards due to security breeches. Note to self, find another bank. Anyway, I was so stunned that they were actually like monitoring stuff that all I could do was kind of freeze in place, my phone in one hand, and my precious cargo being loaded back up and taken away.

Taken away to the depths of the Mendenhall Post Office. Where it could not be found. So. That should have been a sign, BUT OH NO! Did I heed said sign? No. No, I did not. For I am an idiot of the highest caliber. For various reasons, I needed a mailbox. So I’d gotten one online at a post office location that I preferred. I printed out everything the site told me, got all my ID (strangely, no one accepts one’s belly button as proof of birth), and trekked to Southern Avenue. BIG mistake. Let me just cut to the chase. By the time I got back in my car, I had no post office box and I was in tears.

By Billy Hathorn (National Portrait Gallery, public domain.) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Me. IN TEARS.

This is why EVERYTHING at the post office should be done by machines. Machines do not tell you things like it does not have to do what the website says. Machines do not tell you, “Y’all just don’t know. Y’all don’t know how to fill out a form. Y’all can’t come in here with stuff ain’t doing you no good.” This woman was the most heinous individual I have ever encountered, and I once got stuck in a KKK rally in Brandon, Mississippi. Truth. So I went and finished my errands, got home, canceled my mailbox online, and wrote a complaint that was, as my friend Dean says, pointed yet poignant. I know USPS doesn’t care.  I know nothing will be said to this woman, and even if it were, it wouldn’t matter. Some people are just toxic.

Over the years, I interviewed many people for many jobs, most of which dealt with the public in some form. There are a few guidelines I had when interviewing candidates.

  1.  Did the person smile? You honestly have NO IDEA how many people go into an interview for a customer service job and never smile. WHY would I want you as the face of my business? FAKE IT! If you aren’t looking at me like I’m Gary Collins and you’re Miss Alabama, this ain’t working.
  2. “The customer is always right” is a phrase that will NEVER get you hired. One, the customer is rarely right. Two, it doesn’t matter. Three, put a little elbow into your answers. Don’t give me trite crap I know isn’t true. Such as
  3. “I’m a people person.” Here’s who says that. People who hate people. I’m a people person. Never said I like people. Now, unless you truly are like Frankenstein’s monster and are MADE OF PEOPLE, leave that shit at home.
  4. “I love helping people.” Go work for Red Cross. We’re here to make money. People who say they love helping people are the ones who get busted shoveling extra bras into their friends’ shopping bags.
  5. “I’d just love to play in clothes/shoes/makeup/tablecloths/small appliances all day.” This ain’t Ronald’s playground. I’m paying you to work. If you happen to like it, great, but it’s NOT play. Unless you are telling me that you play the tuba in your spare time (which you fully understand will be nonexistent if you take this job), “play” should not be used in an interview.
  6. A customer service job is not the place to take out your revenge on the world. The customer is not your enemy, no matter what you may feel, think, and what your loss prevention manager tells you. If you’re telling me nothing but horror stories about service, I’m going to start to think YOU’RE the problem.
  7. A smooth transaction can change a person’s day. This is the honest to God truth. You can be having the worst day ever. Run in your hose. Zayn left One Direction. There’s a black fly in your chardonnay. But one joke from the woman at Freds about how those select-a-size towels probably have a Napoleon complex, and it looks a lot better.
  8. A terrible transaction can change a person’s day. This is the honest to God truth. You can be having the best day ever. You don’t have to wear pants. Black Sabbath decide to play your favorite neighborhood bar. Someone gives you something besides chardonnay. But one “I don’t have to do ANYTHING the website says,” and you are suspended between hopelessness and rage to the extant you both clutch your pearls AND say screw everything, go to Taco Bell, and binge on Netflix and remorse the rest of the day. Because
  9. PEOPLE SUCK. We all suck. We’re all egotistical, shallow, self-aggrandizing assholes. You know why Ghandi was a pacifist? He never had to stand on line at the DMV. He never had a toddler who decided to eat nothing but Gummi Bears for two weeks straight only to suddenly THROW A FIT AND FALL INTO IT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WINN-DIXIE because HOW DARE YOU??? Did you not intuit that three seconds ago your toddler decided to HATE Gummi Bears and now only wants hot dogs with ketchup, in a bun, but the crust taken off, served on the YELLOW PLATE while you sing “The Bing Bong Song” from Peppa Pig???!!!

I know there isn’t anything nearly as trite as complaining about a government agency, but cliches are cliches because they’ve happened enough to be cliche. People with absolutely no power anywhere else in life will always try to create a superpower at work. When there are no consequences for actions, people do what we do. We act like jerks. I did cancel my order, I did write a complaint, and I know that nothing will change because I am the only one in this situation who was inconvenienced. No one else has a stake. It’s the post office, where else am I going to go? So I go get a mail drop. Still the USPS. What the woman wanted, she got. She wanted to tell someone no. She wanted to know–or act as if she knew–more than someone else because she has absolutely no power. People who throw fits and fall in them are no different from that toddler. And when we do that, we’re telling the other person, “YOU are responsible for my behavior,” rather than taking responsibility ourselves. Unfortunately, this woman today exercised her no-power with me. I don’t show emotion with this kind of deal. I don’t get loud. In fact, I get like Alec Baldwin quiet. I speak very distinctly. I ask how we’re going to fix this. Most of the time, it works and we all move on. Today? Not so much. Not only did we not fix the problem, she didn’t get to see me get upset. So we both lost.

Also? That package was missing two items.

In short, I hate everything. But you knew that.

My Gift Is My Blog And This One’s For You

10 Jun

gifting birdWhen did we stop giving and start gifting? Were we gifting before 2009? Was it before or after we turned “friend” into a verb? I can’t remember. I just know it drives me nuts, this gifting.

My Facebook feed has become populated with people who were gifted. And I don’t mean like they can do long division in their heads or could play Chopin in kindergarten (these two feats carry equal weight in my world). One person gushed about how she was gifted a beautiful peace lily. Nice. One woman had been gifted some homemade preserves. I like preserves. One woman was gifted a repurposed…you know what? It doesn’t matter a repurposed what. The fact “gifted” and “repurposed” were used in the same sentence by someone not demonstrating cheap summer crafts with bendy straws on the Today show was enough to make me remove her from my cocktail party list. (NOTE: My cocktail party list is totally fictional. Having a cocktail party would involve people. And cleaning the 472 cases of sparkling water and Dr. Pepper out of the dining room.)

When one gifts rather than gives, one makes it all about the giver. The recipient is just an innocent bystander forced to accept a vintage crying clown rendered in porcelain because it was fabulously kitschy. Had the recipient been given the sad clown, she might have thought, “Wow. My friend saw this and thought of me.  She must have remembered the conversation we had about my Aunt Mitty-June who collected porcelain clowns and how as a child I was simultaneously fascinated and petrified by them.” When the same friend is gifted, the conversation is more like the giver thinking, “I remember a story of something about clowns scaring the crap out of her. I’ll give her this Pagliacci figurine to show her I’m both cultured and an active listener. Plus no one else will be in on the joke so I’ll get to tell the whole story at the party.”  Ninety-five percent of all items bought to be gifted are bought at Anthropologie. True fact.

Gifting is selfish. Gifting is done by people who spend too much time on Pinterest and believe every occasion must be marked by giving out personalized cupcakes and renting a photo booth. If you’re being gifted, I can just about guarantee it’s by someone who doesn’t know how to change a tire. I have a firm policy of not making friends with anyone who can’t change a tire. It’s like trusting someone who has no tools. HOW CAN YOU BE FRIENDS WITH THAT PERSON? Who doesn’t need a screwdriver? Gifting is trendy. Gifting is the friend who wears a seersucker shorts suit and gold platform wedges. Giving is your friend who would smack you upside the head because a grown-ass, 45-year-old woman should know better.

It might be better to give than to receive. It certainly is if you’re on the receiving end of a set of placemats repurposed from your friend’s children’s juice box straws.

As I Was Saying…

9 Jun

tweet yallYeah, so didn’t make it back quite in the time frame I imagined. I’m just not going to get into why because it’s really just not that interesting. I mean, I know I’m not generally interesting anyway, but this is like hearing someone else’s dream not interesting. It’s like listening to someone describe a dress not interesting. Have you ever noticed that when someone describes what she’s going to wear, it never looks like you think it will? There’s a lot of that going on in my world.

And yet here I am. IT’S ALL FOR YOU, INTERWEBZ!

I just want to say that I hate spring. I mean, I hate summer more. Especially August. But summer is at least honest. You know you’re going to be miserable in summer. You know you’ll spend three months peeling your thighs off hot car seats. You know you’re going to shower three times a day because walking out to get the mail makes you sweat through your caftan. And your mailbox isn’t even at the road. You know there are bugs as big as toddlers that are just waiting patiently to suck the life out of you by biting your ankles…just like toddlers with wings, in fact.

No, I hate spring because it’s too damned optimistic. Spring is all about promise, but it’s like the promise of that pub with the sign “Free Beer Tomorrow”. And now we’re into June and it’s going to be 95° this week with 876% humidity. You know what that means? There’s nowhere for the sweat to go. So you spend a little time outside and you turn into a Syracuse salt potato but without the creamy interior. Spring is crafty like a ninja. One day you’re sweating your bippy off and the next day you’re digging for wool socks. One day everything’s all green and fluffy and the next day it’s like Colonel Kilgore decided he wanted to smell victory so everything’s charred.

Also in Memphis, as in much of this part of the world, the hotter it gets, the more we all start sounding like Blanche DuBois. The heat turns our brains syrupy and ridiculous memories start oozing out our ears so then we’re like Blanche DuBois at the end of the play. And we start using the term “branch water” too much.

I’m going to be writing more regularly this summer, although I’ll just tell you up front I’ve got some obligations that might make that more difficult in the immediate future. BUT DO NOT CRY, GENTLE READER. For just like bangs and STDs, you’re pretty much stuck with me from here on out.

The Year As I Saw It

21 Dec

Posting will be even lighter than normal for a while. I’m heavily medicated to make it through until the second week of January or so. Here are some of the most-read posts from 2012 and a couple I threw in just because it’s my blog and I get to do that.

Merry Christmas, y’all!

Sucking The Life Out Of The Holidays

Sucking The Life Out Of The Holidays

Things You Never Hear People Say About Movies

Things You Never Hear People Say About Movies

Why I Stand Up But Stay Quiet

Why I Stand Up But Stay Quiet

Pandora And The GPS Lady Walk Into A Bar

Pandora And The GPS Lady Walk Into A Bar

My Impression Of The Internet

My Impression Of The Internet

Bless Her Heart, She Just Doesn’t Know Any Better

More Like Fashion Backward

More Like Fashion Backward

Culinary Westerns

Culinary Westerns

Sex Gets A Brand Guru

Sex Gets A Brand Guru

 

Today’s Mood

8 Nov

…and yesterday’s, and probably tomorrow’s too.

Hammered Snot

Pandora And The GPS Lady Walk Into A Bar…

24 Oct

Pandora: (Slugs back a dry martini and sucks on a Camel Light) Finally! A bar where you can smoke! How did you find this place?

GPS Lady: (Orders a cosmo) I know my way around pretty well. I just happened to spot it. So, again, you know what happened today? AGAIN?

Pandora: You had to refrain from yelling, “MY NAME IS NOT YOU BITCH!!”?

GPS Lady: Uh, YEAH. Jeez. On my setup there are clear instructions how to name me. Of course, my creation name is Julia, but does anyone bother to find that out? No. They do not.

Pandora: They ask for our help and complain when we give it to them.

Julia: It’s not my problem you don’t know north from west. Let me do my damn job. And they really think I can’t hear them say they think they know a shortcut I don’t? If you know so much, turn me off and let me get some rest! It’s bad enough they leave me on when they go to and from work. Can we get some peanuts?

Pandora: There’s this woman, she wants nothing but John Legend and Common. Um, hello? iPod? I’m like, stop with the thumbs up. Hitting it every time you listen to that song isn’t going to make me play it any more.

Julia:
RIGHT? Like when they keep typing wrong and start punching my screen? It won’t get you where you need to be any faster there, Smokin’ Joe. You don’t have to bloody my nose.

Pandora: These people are the worst. Look, I’m programmed with complex algorithms and shit. Trust me, if I say you like Ke$ha, you do. Like I don’t know when you listen to Miley Cyrus. Girl, please.

Julia:
I work from satellites, not voodoo. Guess what, if it’s storming, I’m going to work a little slower. I’m not freaking Dumbledore.

Pandora: 
I’ve been working with this guy a few years now. Nice guy, generally lets me do my thing, right? But like now he’s got a John Prine station, a Guy Clark station, and a Drive By Truckers station. I ask you, how am I supposed to run three different streams from that? Combine them? Oh, no. I work off musical traits, not brainwaves. If it twangs like country, I’m gonna keep giving you country. How am I supposed to know Garth Brooks reminds you of your ex-girlfriend?

Julia: Can I get another cosmo, bartender? And whatever Pandora’s having.

Pandora: And if I get another ‘80s hair band station again, I swear to God, I’ll set you on fire with your Aqua Net and a Bic lighter. I know “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” reminds you of back in the day when rock stars signed your non-saggy boobs and snorted coke off your non-dimpled ass, but give me a break!

Julia: Do you know how many times a week someone programs in an ex’s new address? There are so many creepers out there. How do they think I don’t know what they’re doing? Although, they aren’t as bad as the ones who think they’re being funny by answering each of my directions. “Sure thing, honey! Left in 500 feet! Where to next? Just like a woman to boss me around!” It’s like amateur night at a Catskills resort. “Julia, I’d like to take a pleasure trip! Let’s take my mother-in-law to the airport!”

Pandora:
I’ll admit, I do throw a random mutation in there every now and then. Generally just before I time out. You’ve been listening to REM all day? BOOM! Now here’s some Billy Ocean. Hey, when is…

Siri:
(Flops down on a bar stool and snatches Julia’s drink) Omigod, you guys, sorry I’m late. I spent all day with this redneck– who never gets my name right– I have to call Gator Baiter who kept telling me he was “fixin’ to wont some grains fer supper, Sookeh.” What the hell does that even mean? Listen, are you hungry? I know this awesome place for tandoori chicken. Julia, you drive.

Everybody’s Got Something

26 Sep

We watched Sherlock Holmes Colon Game of Shadows a few nights ago. Don’t judge. It was certainly not my favorite of colon movies. That honor goes to Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood. I haven’t actually seen this movie, and don’t plan to. I just really like the title. Anyway, I think a better title would have been Sherlock Holmes Colon The One Where Everyone Looks Like They Smell Really Bad.

The other day my buddy Gita suggested I write about teeth bleaching. She’d seen a box of bleaching strips in the drugstore and those bad boys were $50. AMERICAN MONEY. What’s that got to do with a 19th century fictional detective, you ask? Well, I was noticing in the movie there were a bunch of gypsies with really straight white teeth. Really, really white. Like almost blue. And straight. Did I mention that? Straight, even, and blindingly white. I guess they used their costume budget on Noomi Rapace’s hair extensions so more authentic dentures for extras were out of the question. Apparently all those jokes about British dentists are lies and more lies. It seems our cousins across the pond perfected UV whitening in 1889. Cheeky monkeys.

I’m not part of the Cult of Blinding Teeth. I brush, I have the occasional cavity or root canal. I had braces and a retainer I never used. Once I even bought a box of industrial strength whitening strips from a coworker who was in dental hygienist school and was selling them for some sort of fundraiser. I smoked for a number of years so I’m sure I really could have used them more than the three or four times I actually did.

I did a little Amazon search. Seems if you search “teeth whitening” you get something like 2,600 products. The most expensive one I found was something called a Glo. It looks like a retainer mated with a tanning bed and connected itself to an iPhone. It’s $275, BUT it uses a technology called Guided Light Optics, so you know it’s worth it. It does not say if it accidentally shocks you that you will receive superpowers, but a girl can dream.

Point being, fifty bones is a bit much for me to pay to have Band-Aids coated with hydrogen peroxide affixed to my teeth for any length of time. And the only way I’m going to stick $250 in my mouth is if I’m sitting at a table in Commander’s Palace and soft shell crab is involved. I don’t think people are foolish for wanting white teeth, and if you’ve got the money then by all means, stick the equivalent of an oral tanning bed in your mouth. Our many methods of tooth enhancement is one reason the terrorists hate us. Let’s face it, until Al Qaeda invents something that delivers both tooth whitening AND Botox in one nifty application, we still rule the world.

I’ve noticed an emerging trait in myself. I get a little pissy when the actor’s teeth don’t match the character’s teeth. It’s petty, I know that. I’m just saying that Ferdinand and Isabella decreed that bathing was illegal so I’m guessing they didn’t take a lot of time to scrub the old molars. I don’t think anyone playing Isabella should have teeth so white they seem transparent. They do extraordinary things with special effects these days. If you can make a person blue, I should think you could make her teeth brown. And gnarly.

Beyond that, of all the cosmetic enhancements I wish to make, blindingly white teeth are just above wanting my elbows not to look like smiley faces when they are not bent. I’ll spend the $50 on some sunscreen and moisturizer. A little concealer and lipstick never hurt anyone especially when the lipstick has blue undertones. Makes your teeth look a little whiter. And I notice two-inch black roots waaaay before teeth. There is an astounding array of nice hair color touch-up kits for about six bucks each.

No, if I’m going to spend $50 on something to make me look better, I’ll buy five of my favorite v-neck t-shirts from Target. It’s deep enough of a neckline no one really notices my teeth.