Monday, July 24, 2006

Hey, that's my hedge.

I hate the heat. So I have not left the comfort of my cold compresses and my super high-powered fan. But the few times I have made it out in this stifling 35-degree weather (95 degrees for those metrically challenged) I observed these strange sites:

1. A man jumping an invisible rope while wearing corduroys and a hooded sweatshirt. He seemed to be engaged in this activity in an attempt to impress a similarly adorned woman sitting on a park bench. She seemed unimpressed.

2. A man dressed in a pinstriped suit reminiscent of a Wall Street trader emerged from a drug store with a bar of deodorant in hand. He took the green deodorant cap off, pulled the clear protective plastic covering separating him from the deodorant, threw the clear protective covering on the ground, loosened his tie and unbuttoned the three top buttons of his crisp white shirt, placed the deodorant bar inside his shirt, and deodorized.

3. A mustachioed teen carrying a can of pink spray paint stopped in front of a 15 foot by 20-foot hedge. Then, he turned left, then right, and then left again. Once he seemed confident that I posed no threat he wrote his name, Bob, on the hedge in front of him. I giggled and took my spray paint can to the next hedge...

Monday, July 17, 2006

High Security Measures

Yesterday, at the movies, I decided to buy a box of jumbo Junior Mints. The price - $4.00. However, when I placed my hand in my pocket I realized that I only had a fifty-dollar bill - so I handed it over to the cashier. She squinted at the large amount of the money and eyed me suspiciously. Then ten seconds later she took the bill in hand.

As I waited for my change I noticed her walk to a sink located between the soda machine and the popcorn popper. Then she turned on the faucet and placed the bill under the torrent of cold gushing water for five seconds. Seemingly satisfied with the degree of wetness, she held the drenched bill up to the light and examined the front and then the backside.

After she completed the examination she returned to the counter and informed me that my $50 was indeed authentic. Then she placed the bill in the cash register and handed me my change - two soggy twenties, a damp five, and a rusted loonie.

I took the wet money and walked to the bathroom. In the bathroom I stood in line waiting to use the hand drier behind a woman with three damp twenties and two soggy fives and another woman with a waterlogged fifty and three drenched tens. As each woman held the bill under the drier we looked at each other knowingly.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

She is not convinced.

TW and I live on the third floor of a three-story building. There are two staircases in the building but often – o.k. always - I opt to press my luck and take the rickety, slow moving, rusty elevator. The elevator, decorated in a faux wood grain finish, moves so slowly that TW can enter the building five minutes after me, ascend the staircase at a leisurely pace, enter the apartment, and finish washing the dirty dishes strewn throughout the apartment before I even make it to the third floor. Needless to say, TW, less foolhardy than me, refuses to join me in the elevator.

Actually, until last week I thought that no one – but me – took the elevator. I would often see mothers and fathers with bulky strollers and three children hanging off their hips walk up and down the stairs; delivery people laden with innumerable pizza boxes in their hands emerge from the stairwell with sweat on their brows; and moving company employees lumber up the three flights of stairs with couches and other apartment furnishings in tow.

But last week – after an overly greasy meal – I returned home and entered the elevator. On that night the elevator smelled like fish. Putrid. Rotting. Fetid. Fish. My first thought – “Huh, I guess someone, beside me, actually risked their life in this elevator.” My second thought, “I think this rotting fish smell is going to make me puke.” So, by the time I made it into the fresh air of my apartment my face glowed a pale shade of green.

As soon as I walked into the apartment I regaled TW with the dreadful story. She sensibly remarked, “So. It looks like you will be taking the stairs for a while.” In response I shook my head back and forth and responded, “No. Actually I think I will cloister myself in the apartment until the fish smell in the elevator dissipates.”

I have not emerged from the apartment in a week. TW is beginning to worry but I assure her that it will be just one more day, just one more day. She is not convinced.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Just in time.

As I sat in the passenger seat of my friend’s 1979 Volvo station wagon waiting patiently for the stoplight to turn green, I witnessed a horrific site. A site that came to me in my sleep in the form of a sickening nightmare; a site that I continually seek to forget but cannot; a site that I fear is permanently imprinted on my synapses. I witnessed a Mentos style pick-up attempt.

To my right, driving a 1983 blue Jeep Cherokee, sat a man in his early-thirties wearing a frayed cowboy, drinking an A&W root beer, and smoking Kool cigarettes. To my left, sat a bleach blond nineteen year old driving her parent’s luxury car and adjusting her eye shadow and lipstick in the rearview mirror.

While stopped at the red light, the A&W fan leaned forward in his seat, pretending to open his glove compartment while simultaneously looking past me, my friend, and the roof of my friend’s car to catch the eye of the peroxided teen. As if on cue, the peroxided teen finished applying her make-up and turned to the right – looking past me, my friend, and the roof of my friend’s car – to return the glance of the cowboy lothario.

Then, when the eyes of the lothario locked with the peroxided teen – the lothario puffed on his cigarette, blew three smoke rings, and drawled in a faux southern accent, “Nice night isn’t it?” The peroxided teen giggled, nodded her head, and squeaked, “Yes. Yes it is.” The lothario bolstered by this response mimicked a phone by placing his pinkie finger near his mouth and his thumb near his ear.

In response to the cowboy lothario’s practiced display, I opened the car window to feign puking. But before I could carry out my Shakespearian dramatization, the light turned green. And we sped off. Just in time. Just in time.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

It's as good a reason as any for a long weekend...

Today is Canada Day. I am not sure what Canada Day celebrates since Canadian independence was somewhat of a non-event. But regardless, banks are closed today, there is no mail delivery today, and everyone is walking around the city today with Maple Leaf flag tattoos adorning their faces, Maple Leaf flag patches adorning their backpacks, and Maple Leaf flag decals adorning their t-shirts. In an effort to get into the spirit of the day I sought out a Maple Leaf flag of my own.

So, when I noticed a Canada Day information booth where volunteers were giving out paper Maple Leaf flags I stopped.

As soon as I arrived at the booth, I asked the volunteer if she would give me one of the ubiquitous Maple Leaf flags. She said no. When I asked why she explained, “You are an American. These flags are for Canadians.” I retorted, “How do you know I am American?” Bored by my question she responded with a grammar lesson. She explained, “You said, Could I have a flag please? You put the emphasis on the “I” instead of the “please”. So, you must be an American. A Canadian would ask, Could i have a flag PLEASE?” Flummoxed by her Canadian logic I repeated my question putting the emphasis on the “please” instead of the “I”. She declined my request again - this time she explained that I clearly harrumphed after saying “please” and that this again was an Americanism and not a Canadianism.

Undeterred by her rebuke I continued, “What if you give me the flag and I give it to a Canadian?” She sighed, “Only if you recite the Canadian national anthem to me first.” I breathed in deeply, puffed up my chest, and bellowed, “Oh Canada. Something, something, something. Canada, something else, something goes here, and then another something.” She, not fooled by my tuneful insertion of words, remarked, through hearty giggles, “That’s not the anthem.” Then handed me the flag in an effort to get me out of her hair.

I graciously took the flag, put it in the zipper of my backpack my bag in such a manner than all those around me could see the Maple Leaf, and walked off triumphantly. When I finally arrived at my destination I reached for the flag and held it up to TW to admire. She stared at me thoughtfully, “Is this why you are thirty minutes late?” Then she pulled ten Maple Leaf flags from her backpack and said, “I bought these in bulk at Costco. Next time you are feeling patriotic just ask.” Point taken.

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