Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Misty Encounters

The last thing I want to do is turn this blog into an outlet for my frustrations and annoyances - although, that would probably result in more frequent posting - but I must vent for a few brief lines.

We have gotten a decent amount of snow over the last week. The air has been pretty consistently misty, which is a nightmare for curly-haired women like me who parade around pretending to have straight hair; but that's not the problem in this case. Allow me to tell you what is:

When it's misty outside, and you are driving in your car, your windshield gets drizzled. It happens. If you are driving behind another car, they kick up more water from the road and add to the drizzle. It happens. Neither of these things are insanely detrimental to life, nor are they avoidable, BUT my problem comes in when we introduce windshield wipers into the picture. Such a handy invention, those wipers. Too bad there is never an adequate setting for the amount of drizzle on my windshield. They are always too fast or too slow. Without fail.

If they are too slow, you can't see. Not a good thing.

If they are too fast, then they make that horrid rubber skidding sound - which, to me sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard.

So, I am forced to choose between risking my life, blinded by mist for a few dangerous seconds, and cringing from spine chills several times in a minute. These are not good options, people/person.

Does anyone feel my pain? Or am I alone in my insanity?

Ok, I'm done whining now. I promise not to write any other pointless rants for the rest of the year. Cross my heart.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More Shameless Encounters

The mall is already playing Christmas music.

There are Christmas lights up and ON at the shopping center next to my house.

I've had "Grown Up Christmas List" stuck in my head for a good two weeks now.

Christmas is coming, my friends.

We must be ready.

I beg forgiveness from all of you for what I am about to do. I've stood on my Christmas-is-totally-commercial soapbox more times than I can count. I even wrote a Sunday School Christmas play all about finding the "true meaning of Christmas" at an advertising agency and I'm about to undo it all.

Let the hypocrisy begin:

I want to introduce you all to the brand new line of Erindipity Holiday Cards! These are my first attempt at seasonal greeting cards, and I ended up with a wide variety of ideas. Some cheesy, some funny, some sarcastic (shocking, I know) and some that most people won't even understand. But regardless, they are available for purchase online or at Bradley Paper in Wichita.

I can't thank the BP gang enough for their help with this creative endeavor in my life. They are awesome and their store is filled with awesome things. I encourage you to look to them for your paper needs, and also for your stock pile of Erindipity Cards, of course.

So, that's it. Check 'em out. Here. Let me know what you think. What you love. What you hate. And what you want for Christmas.

Forgive my contribution to the downfall of this sacred Holiday. But I'm hoping a card or two can brighten someone's day or offer a chuckle or five.

If you are seeking actual Nativity cards, check here.

But Erindipity cards are here. HERE. (There's more than one page, so make sure you click "next.")

Done. And. Done.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Greatness Encounters

If any other females ever want to ride in this car, they are in trouble. You see, this soonertastic Camry LE only has room for 1GR8TGAL.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fruit Encounters

I discovered a funny t-shirt a while ago.

It had a picture of an apple on it, and the apple has a bite taken out of it. It pretty much looks like the Apple logo, but I'm sure it's just different enough that no one can get sued. Anyways, below the apple there is a single line of text. It reads:

"My bad." - Eve

Funny, right? I thought so. But then I got to thinking about it a little more - shocking, I know - and I have decided the apple has been unduly hated for decades.

All theological and philosophical ponderings aside, the account in Genesis simply mentions a "fruit." Who decided an apple was the forbidden fruit? It doesn't say anything about an apple.

Why not a persimmon or something that mothers don't generally pack in their children's lunches? Or even a durian, which apparently is a thorn covered fruit that has a very strong smell. Doesn't that seem more fitting? Shouldn't the fruit that led to the fall of mankind be more sinister than an apple?

Whoever had some kind of chip on their shoulder toward apples should really apologize for starting an irreversible slanderous campaign against an innocent fruit.

So, there.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Snoring Encounters

It happened again.



I went to a movie - The Informant to be more specific - and someone decided to snore through the entire second half. Not just a heavy breathing snore, either. We are talking a full fledged wake-yourself-up-because-your-sudden-snorts-are-so-loud kind of snore.

Listen, if you want to pay nine buckaroos for a nap, that's your business. I don't have to approve your monthly budget. But I would appreciate it if you could splurge on a package of Breathe Right strips too.

Oh, and I haven't even told you about the worst part yet.


He wasn't alone.

The snorer had a friend with him.

Wait, actually, it couldn't have been a friend, because I am certain an actual friend would have woken him up and kept him from disturbing everyone in the theater. That's what friends are for. Clearly Sir Snores-Alot was accompanied by a foe, not a friend. (Yep, I just used the word "foe.") I have no other explanation for how a friend could possibly let the person they are with be that obnoxious. A foe, on the other hand, would have reveled in the glares from the other theater patrons.

Yes, he must have been a foe. A very successful foe.

On a separate note: you should see The Informant and tell me what you think. It's different and has a crazy story. I liked it just because of Matt Damon's inner monologue. Absolute hilarity.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fishy Encounters

Did you know that Swedish fish are made in Canada?

It's true. I'm sitting here at my desk with a bag of SWEDISH fish and it clearly states they are made in Canada - not Sweden. False advertise much? I don't know why I care about this. Maybe I need to get over it, but for the time being I'm going to stew and feel cheated. It's a grey, cold Tuesday, what else do I need to be doing?

I think it's my duty to turn this traumatizing moment into a life lesson. What good is a moment of shock and disappointment if you can't learn anything from it?

Life Lesson: there are many things that ought to be questioned.

Believe it or not, this is a difficult lesson for me swallow. You see, I'm a rules girl. Always have been. Sure, I've been known to push the limits a little. For example, there were these stairs in my sorority house that we weren't supposed to use unless we had guests or were graduated. (They said something about keeping them clean and yada yada yada...) They told us not to walk on them, but they never told us not to ride down them in a laundry basket. So, being the rules girl that I am, I went ahead and cruised down in my trusty RubberMade sled. But aside from my moments of childish genius, I'm content to just follow the rules.

They say, "Don't open this door," and I say, "OK. Anybody wanna go get a snack?"
Don't swim til 30 minutes after you've eaten - no problem.
Be home by this time - fine by me.
Make sure you get this grade - sure thing.
Eat this, it's good for you - if you say so.
Enjoy these candied fish from Sweden - Absolut....Wait just a second.

While I have no intention of developing a rebellious streak, I think I'm going to ask more questions, because clearly I don't over analyze things enough...

I will, however, say one thing for my fishy friends: they have an interesting website.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Racing Encounters

We've had a rainy September. The sun seems to be holding its own this week, but I would say about 70% of this month was spent with grey skies and oodles of puddles for pouncing.

Last week I was riding in a car on a rainy day - not driving, mind you - and I was reminded of an old pastime of mine: Raindrop Races.

Am I the only kid who used to ride in the backseat on rainy days and turn my window of water droplets into an intense competition? The rain drops would trickle down the window and gain speed as they absorbed other little drops. They would race down the glass until they crashed into that little black rubber window guard at the bottom. My drop always won - go figure. It was very exciting.

As far as what this says about my obession with competition and victory...well, I'll let you be the judge. But I have to warn you, if you judge me, I will challenge your judgment and win.

Yes, it's that bad. Yes, I'm working on it. And no, it's not easy. But I'll make it. Mark my words. I will overcome this challenge, just like I always do...

I mean...

Aw, fiddlesticks.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Aunt Encounters

My adorable adopted niece, previously featured here, has been having a tough time lately. Her little sister was born in March and I'm afraid she's suffering from middle child syndrome. She has been unusually grumpy lately. Really grumpy. So grumpy, in fact, that has refused multiple cookies on multiple occasion. We are talking seriously grumpy here, people.

Two weeks ago, she was in a particularly terrible mood while I was hanging out at her house. The events of that evening are etched in my brain. Why? Well, I'll tell you. On that fateful night, my dear, sweet, adorable adopted niece was giving goodnight hugs and said these words: "I don't like Aunt Erin." Not only did she not want to hug me, she actually said she didn't like me. At all. Out loud. Part of me died inside.

Her parents were quick to jump in and tell her that wasn't nice and tried to comfort me by telling me that every other day she says she doesn't like one of them. But it didn't really help. I mean, they are the parents. They punish and yell and make you do chores and say please and stuff, but I am the cool aunt. The word "no" is not in my vocabulary. I felt so betrayed.

But then, last week, something changed. I was at her house again (I'm there quite a bit), and I was sitting on the couch in the living room. All of a sudden, I heard a call from the bathroom down the hall. It was Ana. She said, "Auuuuunnnnnnntttttt Errrrrrrrrrrrriiiinnnnn!" My heart leapt up inside me. She wanted me. ME.

I was ready to jump up off the couch and get her the moon if she needed it when I heard her little scruffy voice finishing her statement. She yelled, "WIPE ME!" I put my moon lasso down and plopped back on the couch and died laughing.

The good news? Looks like I'm back on the nice list.

The bad news? I have a feeling it's going to be several months before she is a fully competent wiper.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Musical Encounters

I am now accepting applications and submissions for my music library. I feel like I used to be really good at finding new tunes and adding them to my life's soundtrack, but lately I feel out of touch.

This may be wishful thinking, but I feel as though fall is just around the corner and it's my favorite time of year to discover new tunage. There's just something about the cool breezes and fall leaves that demand a repertoire of perfect songs to fit any and all possible moods and thoughts. During the autumn months, more so than any other time, my thoughts and journal writings are generally always accompanied by a stellar song lyric or moving melody. I don't want to have a short supply this year.

So, I welcome your thoughts and suggestions (assuming someone actually reads this). I am pretty eclectic and would love a wide range of genres - however, punk rockers, country bumpkins and metal heads need not apply.

My headphones and car stereo thank you.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Flying Encounters

Yesterday I flew on an airplane - well, two airplanes to be exact - and I feel I must report the presence of an unticketed passenger. Who, you may ask, could possibly sneak past the gauntlet of security guards and x-ray machines? I'll tell you who: a fly.

With no regard for the law, the TSA or my personal comfort, the fly boarded the plane and settled in on my row for the duration of the flight. At first, I was extremely annoyed - I readily admit that I have yet to discover the beauty of God in this tiny creation of His - but after some thought, I began to feel sorry for the little fella. I mean, he was on a plane from California to Colorado. Leaving behind his fly family and all his fly friends. Not to mention the drastic temperature change I was certain would send his tiny body into shock.

On the other hand, maybe this was a planned escape. Maybe he had set out on a journey to make a new life for himself in the Rockies. Maybe he was tired of the hustle and bustle of California life, and was ready for some relaxtion and a sweet gig at a ski lodge.

OR maybe I really need to come up with better things to occupy my thoughts.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More Shamelessness

Maybe I just got back from two weeks at camp - yes, I am actually an adult.

And maybe when I got back I found out my cards are now available for purchase online.

And maybe I am freaking out.

AND maybe you should look at them HERE.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Shameless Plug

At the risk of sounding way into myself and slightly self-seeking, I would like to announce the release of "Erindipity Greeting Cards."

I got insanely frustrated with Hallmark and other card producing types while my best friend was living in Ireland for a year. I would go to the store to find cards to send to her and would always leave disappointed and empty handed. So, I took matters into my own hands and started making my own cards to send to people. I showed them to a few family friends and long story short, they ended up in the hands of the fine people at Bradley Paper in Wichita, KS. They were kind enough to believe in my insanity and randomness, and have made the cards available for purchase in their store. It will be interesting to see if there are actually people out there who have the same kind of ridiculous sense of humor that I do. They actually sold eight cards the very first day, but I have a feeling my family had something to do with that. Only time will tell...

Moving on, here's a pic of the initial display:

We are working on some art and a tag line to place over the cards. Here's what we have so far:

Anywho, if you are in Wichita and in need of a card to send for some occasion, or really no occasion at all, you should stop in and check them out. You should check out Bradley Paper regardless. They are wonderful, talented people who really know their paper!

Ok, my advertisement is now over. As you were.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Edgy Encounters

This is my dust pan.

I bought it (and my broom) at Target in the "going to college" section, where things are super useful and super cheap.

THIS is said dust pan's saber-toothed edge.

I offer insane cool points to the person who can tell me its purpose.

I mean, besides helping me fend off ferocious dust particles and other fierce forms of filth.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

4th Grade Encounters

Last year, I took on the task of teaching the 4th grade Sunday school class.

Wait. Let me rephrase that: Last year, I got suckered into teaching the 4th grade Sunday school class. While I realize many people prefer to work with elementary students, I actually prefer working with teenagers. I just really need a group that can understand certain things. Important things. Things like sarcasm.

Anyways, my time in 4th grade was not a total loss. I got some grey hairs out of it, as well as this little gem of an encounter:

One day we were talking about St. Simeon and how God had promised he would see Christ before he died. In the same lesson, we talked about St. Anna who lived and worked in the temple. Now, Anna was a widow. Her husband died after they had been married for only seven years. Just to be sure we were on the same page, I asked the kids if they knew what a widow was.

One girl raised her hand to answer.

Girl: Yes! It's like what my Sitti (Grandmother) has to write on papers when it asks "married, divorced, single or widow..." since my Jiddi (Grandfather) died.

Me: Exactly.

Other girl: Man, Erin, it must really stink to be a widow.

Me: Yes. It is very sad. Wait... I'm NOT a widow.

Other girl: But you're not married.

Me: Right, but I have never been married. My husband didn't die.

Girl: So, you mean, you're JUST single.

Me: Yes. Yes, I am... So, back to St. Anna...

It seems the only logical explanation for me not being married is that my husband must have died.

Thank you, nine year old girls, for your insightful comments.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Innocent Encounters

Our church recently started a Mom's Day Out Program.

Two days a week, the halls are filled with tiny people toddling their way around. My ears ring with their joyous laughter and giggles and, of course, their shrieks and screams when they realize their mothers are leaving them....FOREVER. No, not really. But sometimes the way they scream sure sounds like that's what they think.

Anyways, today one of our priests was walking down the hall and passed the toddler room. He walked by and waved and as he moved past the door he heard one of the kids say, "(gasp) I just saw GOD!" I love the genuine amazement in kids. The priest is always here, in God's house, and for all they know he sleeps here. So, naturally he must be God.

I miss the way the world, and people, looked through my childhood eyes. As the priest was telling me about this encounter, I couldn't help remembering my childhood vision of the Big Man Himself. I used to think that God looked like my dad. I vividly remember having dreams about God and even though I never saw his face, He was always wearing a robe just like my dad's and He had on my dad's slippers. Maybe it's because the first prayer I learned was the Lord's Prayer.

I would be the kid that took "Our Father," to mean "the father of my brother and I."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"You Too" Encounters

I think my brain has a short circuit. Lately I've been saying things without thinking and it's getting a little out of hand. No, not like insulting things or inappropriate things - just the wrong thing for that moment. I feel like I'm stuck in a Brian Reagan sketch. Particularly the "you too" one, which can be enjoyed here.

For example, yesterday was my day off. A mom called me with a question and after talking to her for several minutes we were wrapping up our convo and she said, "Enjoy the rest of your day off." Without thinking, I enthusiastically said, "You too. Bye." It wasn't her day off. I knew that. But I just blurted it out and there was no turning back.

Seriously, this has happened to me five or six times in the last three days, and once was at a funeral:

"I'm so sorry for your loss," I said.

"Thank you. You are so sweet. Have a nice day, Erin," said the lovely mourning lady.

"You too!" said the babbling idiot that has been running around in my body.

Really? I said have a nice day to a woman who was burying her husband in a matter of hours.

Totally appropriate, right?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Everyday Encounters

As we have already established, I work with kids. Teenagers to be exact. They fill my life with joy, always keep me on my toes and puzzle me to no end.

I offer a conversation I had yesterday as an example:

Me: How was your day?

Teen: Good, but I'm really tired.

Me: I'm sorry to hear that. Did you have to be at school early?

Teen: Yes. And I've been tired all day. I could just lay down and take a nap right now.

Me: You should go for it. (Inner monologue: I mean, you did show up an hour and a half early for tonight's activity. It might help both of us if you got some shut eye)

Teen: I can't sleep now. I'm wide awake.

Me: But you just said you could take a nap right now.

Teen: I know, but I'm wide awake, so I can't. I've been wide awake since five this morning.

Being a teenager is much more difficult and confusing than I remember.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Easter Encounters

For 40 days following Easter it is customary for Orthodox Christians to greet each other by saying "Christ is Risen!" and then the other person responds by saying "Indeed He is Risen!" We say it in all kinds of languages and sometimes even make up our own. (You may recall the scene in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" where Toula is trying to teach Ian to say "Christos Anesti"...) In fact, I bet if you found an Orthodox church in your phonebook right now, someone would answer the phone by saying, "Christ is Risen," in one language or another. It's a pretty big deal.

Anyways, at the Eater service this past weekend, there was this adorable 10 year-old altar boy who was holding a basket of bread after church on Saturday night (apx. 2:30 a.m.). My friend walked by and said, "Christ is Risen, Daniel!" He didn't respond, so she explained to him how he should respond when someone greets him in that way. I mean, he is so cute and he has to learn sometime. She was trying to do him a favor. You know, help him get more candy in his Easter basket.

Later, while everyone was feasting in the hall, she saw him and again said, "Christ is Risen, Daniel."

He looked and her and said, "Yeah, yeah. So I've heard..." and walked away.

It. Was. Priceless.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Periodic Encounters

It's Tuesday. Again. The kids are here. Again.

This time they didn't bring chickens, but they are working VERY hard on their periodic tables. How do I know? No, I am not creepily lingering outside their classroom doors. I am just sitting here at my desk listening to them sing all about the elements. Over and over and over and over...

I would like to invite you to join my world for a moment:
Warning: you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

(This is sung to the tune of "This Old Man." You know, "This old man, he played one. He played knick knack on my thumb..." No? Your memory can be jogged here.)

Lithium, Barillium, Boron, Carbon.
Nitrogen, Oxegen, Florine, and Neeeee-On...."

Also, keep in mind that the teacher/mom who is leading this songfest has an amazing falsetto range.

I. Love. Life.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chick Encounters

Every Tuesday, a homeschool group rents out the building I work in for their "co-op day." (My thoughts on how you can be called "homeschoolers" and have classes in a big building with a zillion other kids will have to wait til another day.)

Needless to say, Tuesdays are loud and always an adventure. I'm used to it. I am used to hearing ridiculous songs about the periodic table and the order of the presidents. I am used to walking down the hall while hugging the wall because the children insist on walking side-by-side in groups of eleven when they venture from room to room. I am even used to seeing breast-feeding mothers - EVERYWHERE - with or without blankets to cover themselves. Doesn't even phase me anymore.

But today - oh, today - today is different. Today, Tuesday, the 14th of April, is the day that the kids brought chicks to school. No, not hot teeny-boppers or twenties somethings, like real chicks. Baby chickens. How do I know this? Well, the chicks have been chirping and tweeting ever since I walked in the door this morning. Don't get me wrong, they are adorable, and it makes me sad to think about how many of them will probably die before they make it to the "big farm" all the mothers are taking them to on Thursday. I just wish they could be cute and adorable in a room that isn't right next door to my office. Is that too much to ask?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Joyful Encounters

I'm just going to say it: I love Christmas music. I don't care how typical it makes me. Or how annoying it might be to other people. It's true. And that's all that matters. So what could make me write about Christmas music in the middle of April? THIS:

(sorry about the wind noise - it was very blustery)
This is my dear adopted niece singing her heart out on the swings at the park two days ago. She loves to sing, but usually only sings Christmas carols. What can I say? She's a woman after my own heart.

Anyways, she just kept singing this song and every now and then she would stop and say things like, "It looks like spring over there," or, "there's the mailman," and then she would start all over. Again and again and again. She is two and I love her.

If that doesn't make you smile, well, then I'm sorry, there is no hope for you.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pirate Encounters

Today I was driving and I saw this cute old couple driving in their minivan. They were probably in their late 60's. They had on matching track jackets and I imagine they were going to take a few vigorous laps around the mall or something equally classic like that. (It's probably sad how I let my imagination play out other people's lives as well as my own. Then again maybe I'm just like Meg Ryan in "You've Got Mail," when she sees the butterfly on the subway and imagines it is on its way to Bloomingdale's to buy a hat that will turn out to be a mistake. Not that that makes it any better, it just means I'm not alone in my insanity - I have a wonderful fictional character to keep me company.)

Anyways, I saw this couple driving in their lovely minivan that probably holds all their perfectly behaved grandchildren, when I suddenly noticed something. They had a license plate on the front of their van, as many people do. But this license plate didn't say "Florida," or have a smiley face or an airbrushed name on it. Instead, it had this. No lie. There was a skull and cross bones on the front of their van. Totally didn't see that coming.

Clearly my imagination and I have a serious problem when it comes to the accuracy of our visions. Oh well, can't win 'em all.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Frigid Encounters

Dear Weather,

Please make up your mind. If it's going to be a really long winter, stop teasing us with 80 degree days and then blasting us with blizzards (the kind not from Dairy Queen).

Your indecisiveness makes my head hurt and really irks my feet. They aren't too happy about getting to spend a week and a half in flip flops and then being forced back into socks and boots. They are claustrophobic.

Your speedy attention to this matter is greatly appreciated.

Please and thank you.



Saturday, March 14, 2009

Littering Encounters

I just treated myself to a chocolate chip cookie dough milkshake from Braum's. If you live in a part of the country/world that doesn't have Braum's, well then I am very sorry. Their ice cream is amazing.

As I was pulling through the drive-thru tonight, I paid the nice man at the window and then he asked me if I wanted my receipt. I said no. I have this terrible habit of getting receipts and then leaving them in my car. It gets pretty ridiculous, so I opted out of this opportunity to add to my mess. Anyways, when I said I didn't want it, he crumpled it up and dropped it outside the window. Seriously. I wanted to shake my finger at him like a disappointed, enraged old woman, somehow blaming him and his entire generation for the downfall of the entire world. But I restrained myself and just looked at him with my disappointed eyes.

I mean, why would he do that? And is it my fault that there is now one more piece of litter on the streets of my city?

I should have just opened my door and picked it up and handed to him and said something insanely witty and over his head. Oh well, shoulda coulda woulda...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Knit Encounters

Today it was snowing, so I busted out my trusty knit hat to keep me warm on my treks to and from my car - and, who am I kidding? to help keep my hair from turning into a giant frizz ball. Anyways, I ran into this lady I know and she asked me if I made my hat. My first instinct was to laugh and say, "Ha. Do you even know me? Do these hands look coordinated enough to use knitting needles as something other than giant metal chopsticks?" Instead, I just smiled and said no.

But the more I think about it, the more I can't decide if I should be offended by her question. (Yes. Yes, I do have a terrible habit of over thinking things. Thanks for asking.) Seriously though, did she mean that my hat looked shabby and the only possible reason I would actually wear it would be if I had poured hours and hours of sweat and tears into its creation? I mean she didn't say, "Did you make your hat? It's really cute," or, "what fine craftsmanship that is." For all I know, she was appalled by my choice in headgear and will promptly be mailing the people at Banana Republic a letter chastising them for creating and selling something as abysmal as this hat.

Or maybe she just likes to knit and was ready to offer me an invitation to her next knitting party...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Explosive Encounters

I don't know why, but I've always loved gadgets. Not like those crazy gadgets "as seen on tv" that can be yours for one small payment of $19.95 (plus shipping and handling), but real gadgets like my iPhone and my camera and other cool electronic gear.

I recently watched Ocean's 11 and it was at the part *spoiler alert* where they blow up the vault door using those little stones that look like giant emeralds... Anyways, Danny has this cool little trigger device that sets off the bombs, and, call me crazy, I want one.

Now if you are from the FBI and you are reading this, I assure you you have nothing to worry about. I don't want to blow anything up. I just want one of those trigger things to do something amazing like start my dishwasher or dispense my laundry detergent. I just feel like life would be way more exciting and dramatic if I had a button that took care of these menial tasks.

Aw, geez. Now I sound lazy. Go ahead, world. Judge me. I'm still putting one of these on my Christmas list.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

More Character Encounters

As "great" as the Fonz was, he was no match to the character sitting on the other side of my lovely middle seat on my 3 hour flight last weekend.

Folks (or folk), I would like to introduce you to Holly Hangover. Holly was probably in her early 40s. She entered the plane with her sunglasses on and her puka shells securely fastened around her neck. She was sporting a black tank top, a cute little skirt and some serious bed-head hair. Holly needed to sleep. She knew it. I knew it. But unfortunately, the Fonz was out of the loop.

Turns out Holly was on the same cruise the Fonz was on. It was destiny. They chatted for a few minutes about how great everything was, while Holly safely stowed her brand new over-sized straw bag under the seat in front of her. Once they had finished their small talk about the cruise, the Fonz (who was a master of the obvious) looked at Holly and said, "So did you have a little too much fun?" Holly gave him a half smiling, half "if-I-had-a-Dramamine-I-would-drug-you-just-so-you-would-stop-talking-to-me" kind of look and laid her head back on the headrest.

When the drink cart came rolling by, Holly opted for the Bloody Mary mix. Those expensive little bottles of vodka were calling her name, but her body was threatening to go on strike if she took another drink. She had been sentenced to a slow and painful death by hangover, and there was nothing she could do about it.

Throughout the flight, it became more and more difficult for her get comfortable. She was in pain, and it showed. She became progressively more and more bent over, until her head was resting on the lovely touchscreen in front of her. It was pretty funny to watch her forehead accidentally push buttons. I swear I'm not a mean person, and I don't like seeing other people suffer - but every time her head pushed a button, the picture on the screen would change and it would shine in her eyes. She was so confused and so miserable. It was difficult to witness.

By the time the plane landed, Holly's head was in her lap, and every breath she took was accompanied by a painful groan. She gathered all her belongings and her straw bag and made her way down the aisle, using every row of chairs to support her along the way. I felt so bad for her.

But I would have not even mentioned Holly if it weren't for what happened next: as she was leaving the plane, the Fonz asked if she would be on the same cruise again next year. She turned, smiled as best she could and said "Hell, yeah!" and walked off the plane.

She had had a great time. It was obvious. There's no way she was missing out another experience like this one.

People make so much sense.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Character Encounters

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I love traveling. You meet and see all kinds of crazy people. Last weekend I was traveling to a conference and met several such characters. I think I will dedicate the next few posts to introducing you to them.

I think we will begin with my friend from my 3 hour flight. We'll call him "the Fonz." He sat next to me in the window seat. He was around 60 years old, but he still had dark curly hair and a dark mustache. He had on gold rimmed glasses, a gold watch and a gold chain necklace, as well as a muscle shirt covered by a Hawaiian print shirt and a brown suede jacket.

Like most of the people on the flight - except for me, of course - Fonz was returning home from a week long cruise. But not just any cruise, he went on a Rockin' 50's Cruise. Apparently they only play music from the 50's and you just dance your life away. The Fonz loved it, except he now had a song stuck in his head and he couldn't get it out. I know this not only because he told me, but also because he sang it for a good part of our time together and it was then stuck in my head. "There she was just a walkin' down the street, singing do a diddy diddy dum diddy do..."

Now, in order for you to fully understand my interactions with the Fonz, you must first know that I had gotten about 4 hours of sleep the last night of the conference and I was not in my usual conversing mood. So, I plopped down in the chair next to the Fonz and he looks at me and says, "I'm sorry if I snore, I'm so tired and I plan on sleeping the whole flight. I'm exhausted and slightly hungover. Oh and I have to keep these shades closed because I'm extremely photosensitive." Fine by me. I had headphones and planned on zoning out as soon as the plane took off. I was, however, a little confused as to how his photo sensitivity affected his time on the CRUISE SHIP, but whatever....

The wheels leave the runway and I reach for my headphones so I can watch a movie on my personal little screen built into the seat in front of me - side note: Continental Airlines is my new favorite. They have actual food and On Demand video, meaning you can start and stop any movie whenever you want. And they actually had a really great selection. - Anyways, I started watching my movie and saw that the Fonz was playing with his screen too. The only thing is, he didn't have headphones, and he wasn't going to drop a whole dollar on the ones they sell on the plane, so he was limited to the games. Turns out the Fonz is very passionate about inflight electronic games. I felt so sorry for the person in the seat in front of him because he was literally punching the "touchscreen" on the back of their headrest. He was doing very well at checkers. I know this not because I was watching his screen, but because he did a fist pump after each good move he made. No joke. He would do the fist pump and then say "yes!" and look at me. I, of course, smiled the first few times but then quickly learned that it would be to my benefit to pretend that I didn't notice.

After he tired of checkers, he gave bowling a try. Bad idea. He couldn't figure out how it worked, and he wasn't happy about it. His frequent fist pumps turned into exasperated gestures. At one point he threw his hands in the air and over the back of the chair and grabbed onto his headrest and started shaking it. The only problem with that - aside from the fact that he was behaving like a two year old - is that he messed up the screen of the person behind him. That poor soul actually had to tap him and ask him to move his arms. All for a bad game of bowling...

Several games later, the Fonz got bored with his little screen. I thought maybe he would make good on his talk of snoring, but I'm not that lucky. Instead of sleeping, he took a vested interest in what was playing on my screen. Awkward. First off, there's a glare coming from the window behind Fonz, so he has to lean toward me to watch MY movie, without sound, and totally violated what little personal space I was entitled to in seat 26B. Secondly, he would look at the screen and then look me expecting some kind of reaction to what was happening in the movie. So so awkward.

Needless to say, I breathed a sigh of relief when my time with the Fonz was over. What planet do these people come from?