Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Quick Notes on a Nerd in Amish Paradise

Photo by natalie419, via Flickr
In general I try not to listen to people’s conversations on public transportation, at restaurants, or on the street, as about 99.9% of all that I hear annoys me. Speaking a second language doesn’t help, as I can’t block out those annoying conversations that may just sound like a jumble of noises to others. But every once in a while, I hear a real gem that I believe warrants repeating, if only so we can all collectively roll our eyes, readers.

So I’m on the subway this morning going to work. It's already claustrophobically tight in the car, with people smashed against each other and invading personal spaces ad nauseam. In front of me is a balding business man who looks harmless enough—were he not punching a balled-up fist into his other hand and saying, repeatedly “let’s go” to nobody in particular. In back of me is a wolf pack of raging dorks, guffawing unbecomingly.

“So, I used to actually live in Pennsylvania,” says one geek, so loud that the entire subway car flinches. His voice tells me he is a) young, b) a total nerd, and c) not from New York City, as any of these characteristics guarantee that the person in question does not get that nobody wants to hear their MOFO conversation.  

“That’s right, Amish country,” the nerd continues in all his glory, while the Business Freak starts to twitch. “And you know what’s curious about Amish country?”

Geeks 2, 3, 4, and 5: “Herdeeherdeeher what’s that?”

Nerd 1: “Well, I’ll tell you it’s their naming conventions. They may be very serious people, but the names of their towns are . . . let’s just say, VERY risqué."

Geeks 2, 3, 4, and 5, riled up now: “Herdeeherdeeher, like what?”

Nerd 1: “For example," (allowing long pause for dramatic effect) "There’s INTERCOURSE, Pennsylvania.”

Geeks 2, 3, 4, and 5: *explosive laughter.*

Nerd 1: "And there’s BIRD-IN-HAND, Pennsylvania . . ."

Before I could flip out in passive aggressive angst, or get punched by Business Freak, I slipped out at my stop. I could hear the orgasmic laughter of the dweebs as the doors shut behind me. Part of me was relieved I didn't have to listen anymore, part was disappointed—what other wild and crazy names does the Amish country boast? And lastly I was left confused. Unless you're naming your “John Thomas” a bird, men, why is that name risqué exactly? Please answer in the comments section.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Craft Box

It’s official. I'm old. And what gave it away, do you ask? Well, it all started with some crafts . . . I’m not talking Minecraft or witchcraft, people. Nothing as interesting as that. I'm talking about making freaking arts and crafts.

Working at a journal in Manhattan, I’m expected to stay current on social media (ugh). We recently created a Pinterest page at work, and that’s where it all went downhill. As I trolled around the site learning how to use it, I was suddenly lost in a magical world of recipes, DIY, home décor, and crafts.

It was innocent at first. I saw some cute ideas for Halloween—mummy candles made by wrapping gauze around a mason jar, vampire pumpkins, using a drill to make artful jack-o-lanterns. The possibilities were endless. At first I just “pinned” these ideas because I liked them. Then I started to think . . . hey, I can do this!

Before long, I began to go to sleep thinking about crafts I could make, and wake up with the intention of executing them. I became a frequent flyer at Michaels and AC Moore. I’ve made mummy mason jars, turkeys out of mini pumpkins, gourd candle holders, reindeers out of wine corks (and boy, do I have a LOT of wine corks). My crafts began to take on a life of their own, so much so that for Christmas I was given a craft box to organize all the ribbons, buttons, googly eyes, and other shite I’ve started to accumulate. Friends expressed concern, my father called me “Martha Loser,” my brother asked my mother in confusion, “Why is she so into crafts?!”

Others expressed relief. When focused on crafts, I'm not as cray as usual, and it keeps my anxiety, bossiness, and neurotic tendencies under some semblance of control.

This past weekend, a friend who I was going to visit texted, asking what I wanted to do over the weekend. She mentioned yoga, pedicures, shopping, and then said, almost shyly, “or we could do nerdy crafts.” My eyes lit up like a slot machine. Jackpot! A partner in crime. “Should I bring my craft box?” I replied. And though we got teased mercilessly all weekend for being craft nerds, we had a great time with our creations and drinking wine. The result: the Valentine's Day wreath below (no, it's not a toilet seat cover like my brother thought, or a life preserver).

So readers, if you’re wondering why I haven’t been blogging so often, now you know. I’m too busy a craftin’. And this is how I know I'm old. Instead of going out dancing or partying or socializing, I'm content with my new hobby. This may seem like a cry for help, but trust me, it’s not. If crafting is wrong, I don’t wanna be right. I am a craft addict. And I like it.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Magnet

In the past few weeks I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m an annoyer magnet. I hear you, I know . . . I’m easily annoyed. But statistically speaking, is it really possible for so many super annoyers to revolve around me in such close proximity? Do we have a statistician in the house?

Obviously riding the Metro North every day doesn’t help. These trains are packed to the brim with people who suck. People who talk on their cell phones loudly (while this used to only occur during “off peak” hours, it is now a vexing regular occurrence), people who let their kids run amuck, people whose voices carry and not in a good way a la ‘Til Tuesday, people who are sick and shouldn't be on the train, forcing those who are healthy to succumb to their spewing germs, and people who sit next to me and then proceed to act weird.

Like last night. I was on the 7:52—not so late that it should have been the twilight zone, as the late night trains tend to be. I was sitting alone and hoping to stay that way. Then an elderly gentleman with a bright sweater, neat little beard, and a bag that seemed to be filled with rocks (I should know, it landed on me when he thrust it onto the seat) asked if he could sit down. He seemed innocent enough, despite hitting me several times with his elbow as he fluttered and settled. As another commuter barreled down the aisle and hit me with his briefcase, my seat companion even expressed concern, “Gee are you okay?” he asked with a friendly smile.

I was just fine. Until he started to make himself at home. Reading his cell phone and texting (with key pad volume on), scratching himself with fervor, as I began to worry about lice or bed bugs, and yawning loudly. “AHHHHHHHHHHH,” said he, while stretching out comfortably, invading my space. This was followed by constant leg jiggling that vibrated the whole chair (I felt like I was suddenly in Kimye’s disturbing Bound 2 video) and more sighs of satisfaction. I began to lean away, using only half of my allotted space.

As luck would have it Jiggles got off at the first stop, and I could have clapped in relief. The guy across from me met my eye and shook his head. “Bet you’re glad he’s gone!” he said. I smiled back, feeling that all was right with the universe. Until the guy across from me started to misbehave.

No sooner had he made the comment, he began to rummage through his bag in search of a beer, which he then took ten minutes to open by clumsily hitting the top of the bottle as if the twist off cap would suddenly untwist itself from repeat slapping. After finally getting it open, he guzzled loudly, smacking his lips. As he continued to try to meet my eye, I leaned away, scooting myself over to the other half of my allotted space. WHY??

As we approached my stop the man suddenly jumped up. “Did I miss my stop?” he asked the guy next to him, who shrugged as if to say, how the helladeria should I know? “FECK!” he shouted, throwing his arms in the air, beer a swingin’.“FEEECCCCKKK.”  He dashed to the front of the train dripping beer in his wake. “FECCCKKK,” he shouted again. Another drunk man in a suit (when did so many people start getting shitfaced on the train?!) shouted out to him sympathetically. “Man that sucks! I feel for ya.”

“It would have been nice if somebody told me!” he shouted to . . . his seat companion? His drunk friend? The collective commuters? Nobody could tell. “I have a feeling it was on purpose too!” he continued. “Let’s watch this guy sleep through his stop,” he said, laughing wildly. I was scared to get off at my stop, but I had to. He followed me off the train.

“Guess what? Someone decided to NOT tell me it was my stop. Can you believe it?” he asked. I quickly gave him a Gilly from Saturday Night Live “Sarry” before running to the shelter and safety of my car. I’m happy to report no incidences on my morning commute. Happy New Year, readers!