Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hostile Encounters

After a little less than a year on the job, I have discovered several unexpected occupational hazards associated with my current state of employment. (I have to be vague here because my mother is convinced I will inadvertently disclose important personal information in this blog and then someone will steal my identity and probably my soul. Yes, I am a grown woman. And yes, she sorely overestimates my reader base.)

Let's suffice it to say my job requires constant corralling of young people and generally has me begging for some semblance of order and/or normalcy. While these things are fairly hazardous, there is something even more dangerous that I am required to do. Ready?

I have to.... go to Sam's Club. Alot.

I personally find Sam's scary enough on its own - I mean, who builds shelves that high? and do they ever actually pull stuff down from the top shelf? or is it just supposed to look monstrously ominous and leave everyone in awe at the massive amounts of massive quantities in one building? - but, really, it's the people at Sam's that scare me the most. I am NOT talking about those sweet little ladies who hand out the samples - God knows I love them. No, I am talking about my fellow Sam's patrons.

Now before you write me off as chronically over dramatic, let me explain.

I only go to Sam's when I have to buy huge quantities of junk food and other sugar laden products, which happens surprisingly often. As I am minding my own business, pushing my flat bed cart up and down the aisles, I get the most disgusting glares from people. They squint their eyes and grit their teeth and look at me as though I alone am to blame for childhood obesity in America. Have you ever been held responsible for an epidemic? It's not fun.

I try my best to just smile and go on my merry little way, while at the same time glaring back with a "you-try-appeasing-forty-teenagers-without-junk-food" kind of look, but I have a feeling that one of these days I am just going to explode. I'll throw down my ten pound bag of chocolate, walk over to their cart and look as judgmental as possible as I stare at their stock pile of fruits, veggies and other Kashi products. Then I will come to the unfortunate yet inevitable realization that I am pushing a heart attack on wheels and they are single-handedly saving the planet. My bad.

I knew Sam's was scary, but I didn't know it could be so hostile.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Airport Encounters

I love traveling.

Sure, it's a headache sometimes. I definitely hate having to put any and all liquids in tiny ziploc bags when I go through security, but it's also kind of adventurous and, in my opinion, insanely entertaining. There is just something about being around people you know you will never see again.

For example, I was traveling to a wedding this last weekend and had a bit of a layover in the Dallas airport. I decided to get a small snack - luckily I wasn't too hungry because it was all I could afford - and I was sitting at the gate waiting for boarding to begin. One chair to my left, there was an older woman - probably 65 or 70 years old - who was reading Newsweek. She seemed fairly normal and nice, but first impressions can be deceiving.

So the older lady - we'll call her Gladys - is sitting next to me reading an article on the latest advancements in sperm science, when another lady - we'll call her Betty - enters the scene.

Now, Betty also seems quite normal. She is probably about 55 - 60 years old and she took a seat on the row of chairs attached to the back of the chairs Gladys and I were sitting in. Betty put down her bags and got all settled in. Then she did the unthinkable. She pulled out her cell phone. (insert ominous music here)

Turns out Betty's son and his wife had a baby the day before and she was on her way to go see her new granddaughter. Good for Betty - bad for Gladys. You see, Gladys was really trying to focus on that sperm science article. It was apparently very important to her.

After Betty had talked in a not-so-quiet voice for about five minutes, Gladys began to get very perturbed. She started turning her head and twitching hoping that Betty would get the hint, but Betty was far too excited about her granddaughter to notice. Unwilling to let Betty have her moment of joy and determined to get her point across, Gladys chose another course of action: she put the riveting article down in her lap, raised both arms and stuck her index fingers in her ears. Now, it's important to understand that she didn't keep her arms at her sides while she was doing this. No, she had both arms protruding from her head.

It was priceless. There is nothing like seeing a grown woman act like a three year old. And the best part was that Betty didn't give a hoot whether or not Gladys was annoyed. She kept talking, raised the volume of her voice and finished her phone call with a huge smile on her face.

Like I said: I love traveling.