Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Let the Annoyer Who Is Without Fault, Well, Annoy!

Photo by Frank Hebbert, via Flickr.
Recently, a good friend of mine told me that a coworker corrected her grammar from a casual correspondence that was none of the coworker’s concern. The unsolicited advice was (obviously) annoying, and my friend asked me (an editor who never makes mistakes) if she had, in fact, been wrong. Well, yes, she had been wrong. But just out of curiosity, I asked what her coworker’s correction was. Lo and behold, the annoying, presumptuous coworker was also wrong! It got me thinking: why the F would you correct someone (annoyingly) if you aren’t 100% sure that you are correct?! It just opens a can of worms for you to be forever considered a raging a-hole.

Unfortunately, this behavior abounds. Last night I went to the Janis Joplin tribute show on Broadway (which was amazing, by the way—the only downside being the other theater goers). The chairs were all numbered, but confusingly each armrest had a different number, so it was easy to make a mistake and sit in the wrong seat. The usher helped me to my seat and told me to just count the seats from the outside in to know if you were in the right one (i.e., seat 10 was 10 seats down). So these two women are sitting behind me yapping away and another couple comes and tells them they have to move down. They immediately get in a flutter and pull out their tickets, arguing that THEY were in the right seats and that the other couple was wrong. My rampant perfectionism could take it no more, and I turned to tell them that they were NOT in the right seats and to move down. “That’s BS,” the woman said to me. “You’re meant to count from the outside aisle.” I said, wanting to add “it’s the new math.” This was met with a quiet “Oh, right.”

And finally this morning on the Metro North (vessel of all annoyers), I was horrified when an old grumpy woman screeched at some young, pleasant exchange students to get their feet off the chairs. “Hate to break up your party,” said she, “but you’re not allowed to do that here.” (Can only assume by “here” she meant in the good ole U.S. of A., thus being annoying and ethnocentric all in one breath. Okay, yes, it IS annoying when youth put their feet on chairs. But these youngins were actually pleasant and cultured, and having a quiet, intelligent conversation rather than being glued to their smartphones. It wasn’t this commuter’s job to stick her ginger head in their space and lay out the law . . . especially when five minutes later she simultaneously broke EVERY unwritten rule of commuting: she space invaded the young foreigners and tried to make nice by conversing with them, she began to hack her germs all over without covering her mouth, she began to talk on her cell phone, and she began to talk loudly to her seat companion. All that was missing was some nail grooming.

So to all ye who annoy: back up on out of others space, do not attempt to teach others when you yourself know nothing, and don’t get righteous unless you know you are right!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The BBQ Club

Living in what city folk would call “upstate” (but in actuality is only an hour outside of the city), has its benefits. The main one: BBQ Bizatches! Since I have become the owner of a deck, I am using my BBQ day and night, thrilled to have easy meals, no mess in the kitchen, and that nice smoked flavor. You name it, I’ve been barbecuing it: clams, salmon, chicken, corn on the cob, brussel sprouts. (I could go on a la “Bubba” from Forest Gump, but I will spare you the details.)

I can also now revel in the selection of marinades at my disposal. It seems like every cook on the Food Network has their own sauce, from Bobby Flay to Guy Fieri. My current favorite: Stubs. (As I told my BFF last weekend after a day of gardening and home depot visiting, these are the simple pleasures of the (close to) middle-age suburbanites. Oh how things have changed!)

This weekend, I went to my local gourmet shop to get me some Stubs, and to go out on a limb and try a product recommended to me by my friend called Soy Vay, a kosher marinade that she claims is to die for. I admit I was slightly reluctant to ask for it, as it sounded funny to say ‘Soy Vay.’ What if they’d never heard of it? What if they thought I was just saying “Oy Vey!” But as soon as I inquired, the shop owner started raving, telling me he puts it on everything. He said he was practically all sold out. There was but one bottle left, and he told me to guard it with my life.

As I went to pay, a large man with a scruffy beard, a U.S. flag bandana around his head, and a motor cycle jacket who looked like a character out of Sons of Anarchy commented on my Soy Vay, saying he, too, slops that shi-at on everything.

“Man, I am barbecuing practically every day,” I said, trying to be friendly. “I’m so glad it’s summer.”

“What the hell does summer have to do with anything,” My Duck Dynasty-esque companion said in a gravelly voice. “I barbecue ALL year round.”

“True,” I said, wishing I hadn’t struck up the convo after all. “And I have a covered deck, so . . .”

“Covered, shmovered!” he shouted. “I’m out there rain and shine, 365 days a year.”

I hurried to pay when he whipped out his cell phone. “Take a look at this!” The photo showed about a foot of snow, with a small, black weber grill looking lonely and cold in the center; a circle of flattened snow had been shovelled around it.

“Made sirloin on that bad boy. That was New Year’s Day! That’s what I call barbecuing, bitcheeess!”

Slightly disturbed, I hugged my precious Soy Veh to my chest and exited. Apparently I was not cool enough to ride with the big BBQ boys. Yet. But I will be . . . mark my words, readers, this winter I WILL BE.

“Happy grillin!” I heard him call as the door shut behind me.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day (sigh)

Happy Valentine's Day Readers! Although lame, cheesy, and often disappointing, I know you're all secretly craving a Valentine's day card, box o' chocolate or, if you're me, a jug o' wine. This morning when I checked my email to scour the grand influx of well wishes clogging my inbox, I was shocked at the inconceivable notion that I had but one, from my loyal blog reader and dear friend, Jana Lia. She sent this card from someecards.com, possibly the best ecard site out there. I firmly recommend if anyone feels down, depressed, anxious, or like jumping off a bridge, they first visit this site and revel in the hilarity of the sarcastic, spot-on, raunchy, timely cards that aren't afraid to tackle any topic, no matter how taboo. This particular card made my day, because, as Jana Lia pointed out...what IS it that Meatloaf wouldn't do? (For my young readers who don't know this song (the horror), please do yourself a favor and click this link.) Perhaps there is a Meatloaf guru among us who knows the answer? If not I can only speculate and invite you to do so as well:

1) Allow backdoor entry with foreign object? (too obvi?)
2) Wear a thong and parade around the room?
3) Serenade his love with Dashboard Light for the 500th time?
4) Exchange necklaces adorned with vials or each other's blood?
5) Watch a Party of Five marathon?
6) File those scary nails and take off that weird costume from the video?

If anyone has the answer, inquiring minds would love to know. Until then, hope you all have a romantic evening with your significant other or, if alone, that you survive the annoyingness that is Valentine's day. And remember, Dear Readers, I lerve you all.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Boring Diner

I recently moved to a complex that used to be only for “the aged”. As a result, I’m considered a “young” inhabitant. Sometimes this works to my advantage (I am the youngest person at the community gym and thus eye candy for the 80 plus!). But mostly it just exacerbates my feeling that I’m getting old, especially when these seniors are more hip and happening than me!

Take New Year’s Eve for example. Wanting a “quiet” night, I went with several people to the local Chinese restaurant, predominantly frequented by the oldies who live in my complex. By 9 PM I was beginning to yawn and couldn’t wait to get home, when suddenly a group of 20 octogenarians waltzed in rambunctiously, their rowdy chatter filling the space. The portly barrel-bodied women donned sparkly shirts bedazzled with sequins and the men wore sports coats over black turtlenecks (one even sported a ponytail). They were happy and animated; disturbing thoughts of they might be getting "lucky" filled my head.They were just starting their night . . . and I was done.

And now on top of it I have been called out twice by the waiter at the aforementioned Chinese restaurant for being a boring diner. Tall, wiry, and bespectacled, this particular waiter took my order a few weeks ago with no complaint. A few weeks later, however, when I went again, the waiter laughed nervously as he approached me and my dinner companion. “You again,” he said, chuckling.

We placed our order, and suddenly his friendly face scrunched up in disgust. For a moment he looked lost in thought. Finally he said, “Same as last time? Really?” Me and my companion exchanged looks. Of the dozens of orders he takes per day, how could he possibly remember what we ordered a few weeks back?

We smiled and nodded. “You don’t want something different?” he pushed. Nope . . . we’re boring. He shook his head, laughing as he walked away.

Last night, we went back. It had been several weeks. The same friendly man attended to us. As soon as he saw us he started cracking up (still not sure what is so amusing aside from our obvious boringness!). But this time I had come prepared . . . I was going out on a limb. Instead of the spicy tuna roll and asparagus roll (without sesame seeds, to avoid my faux allergy), I was going to order a vegetarian roll (with avocado, sweet potato, and Japanese pickle). Instead of the Shanghai soup dumplings, I was going to try a steamed vegetable dumpling. This is called “Living On The Edge” people!

But before I could go cahhhrazy and change things up, he whipped out his pad and said “OK, boring customer. So, same thing, right? Boring diners? Hmmm? Soup balls? Edamame? Haha. Spicy tuna and asparagus roll, no sesame? Red wine? Right? Same as usual. HAHAHA. Same. As. Usual.”*

What happened to the crazy, spontaneous, fly by the seat of the pants girl I was for most of my life? The girl nicknamed “Crazy Amy” or “Amiac” by friends? The world traveller who had eaten cuisine in a dozen different countries? Apparently she got left back in my 20s. I can’t even keep up with the old farts I live amongst and apparently to boot I am now the laughing stock of the Chinese restaurant.

As I left, all of the waiters turned their heads to the side, nodding and smiling. I could hear them thinking “Lame. Boring. Diner.” But I will show them. REST ASSURED readers. Next week, when chuckles comes over with his pad, I will say “up up up, I’m gonna change it UP!” Instead of a STEAMED dumpling, I will go for FRIED dumpling. Maybe a little white wine instead of red? How about instead of a spicy tuna roll, a spicy yellowtail roll.** You see where I am going with this?

*Somewhat (very much) exaggerated for effect.
**Readers, feel free to chime in on dining selections I should be making.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Just Stay Home

Ok, Ok. I’ve always been somewhat of a hypochondriac, but things are really getting out of control. And as usual, I’m going to blame it on my least favorite of all people: commuters.

My hypochondria started in grade school with things like wanting a broken leg so I could have crutches and get people to sign my cast or wanting the extra platform on my shoe like the boy on Little House on the Prairie who had one leg shorter than the other. I can only posit that these things had to do with wanting extra attention rather than a fear of illness.

Later, in college, there was four-year lapse in my neuroses, when nothing fazed me and I most definitely did NOT worry about germs, illness, adverse drug reactions, being one step away from needing a stomach pump, or all of those things combined. (Only kidding, I would never succumb to such debauchery. Or would I?) If only I could still be THAT person. My roommates used to yell at me for not washing my hands enough and I teased my BFF relentlessly for once wearing a surgical mask while flying to avoid germs.

The real, crippling hypochondria returned in my mid-20s. I would worry ad nauseam about fatal diseases and believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was about to die from one. But even then I only worried about the real scary ones (cancer, AIDS, brain tumor, mad cow’s disease, African sleeping sickness...). Who doesn’t?

Unfortunately,  I now worry about even the fartin common cold. A slight pain in my head, probably due to dry scalp, becomes a warning sign for shingles. A sore throat is definitely throat cancer brought on by too much wine. Dizziness is not dehydration or the need to eat, but a brain tumor about to spring forth through my right eye. And heart burn is most certainly a heart attack.

And now we have to worry about the flu, which, if you listen to the media, is descending upon us this season like a plague on ALL of our houses. If you listen to the news, we are one step away from Gwyneth Paltrowesque seizure-inducing death a la Contagion. And if you're like me, scared of all medications and the flu shot (not for the needle, mind you, but for the 0.000001% chance I will have an allergic reaction to it), then you are playing Russian Roulette every time you step on the Metro North or the New York City subway. Despite the fact that I have had the flu many times and survived, my mind is now conjuring images of my funeral with family members shaking their heads and saying “if she only got the flu shot, she’d still be with us.”

So who do I blame? Commuters, of course. And their damned “presenteesim” (annoying jargon for the selfish, inconsiderate act of not staying home when one is brimming with illness and spewing their germs all over, getting everyone else sick in the process). Every morning on the train I cringe at the chorus of nonstop coughs that sound like a death rattle. I feel like I am riding the train with a bunch of mogwais who ate after midnight and are now in the process of turning into gremlins. Gremlins who blow their snot all over the place and cough up productive sputum, all while not covering their mouths and wiping their own spittle on their seat to infect the next innocent person to sit down.

Since I can’t just lock myself in my home until April, I have employed the following:

• Manic hand hygiene (my roommates would be proud that this act has gone from once a day [when showering] to multiple times, especially after riding public transport). I now see how OCD develops.

• Social isolation: hard in a city of 8 million, but I now walk to and from the train instead of riding the subway and avoid people at all costs, especially those who are sick.

• Vitamins: to boost my immune system, which in my head, is always failing.

There are only three things left to try:

• Wearing a surgical mask while cleverly hiding it under a big, stylish scarf.

• Starting a movement or campaign along the lines of Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" (to drugs). Mine can be called Just Stay Home (when you are sick and putrid).

• Living in a bubble.

Would that I could do the latter, readers! In my bubble, I’d be sitting in a reclining chair, reading my Nook, playing Bubble Witch Saga on my Ipad, watching Downton Abbey on the tele, and drinking a glass of Spanish wine. I’d wave to all of you from inside, happy as a sandboy, whatever the helladeria that means. You’d wave back with a look that says you "get me" . . . you know . . . with a faux, encouraging smile and nod. But secretly you'd be giving each other knowing glances, suggesting I be admitted to American Horror Story's Asylum, and whispering: “that AmyMC . . . she may be good for a random blog post, but boy is she BATSHIT CAHRAZY.”