Monday, November 28, 2005

The Curious Incident of the Gas Station in Night-time, or How I Got Called Racist

So, on the way home from class this evening, I stopped at the gas station right down the street from my apartment.

I needed to pick up some type of beverage to mix with my vodka when I got home, so that I could enjoy a tasty adult-beverage while I did my homework.

Because while I strongly advocate drinking while doing your homework, even I don't drink vodka straight. At least not under normal circumstances.

I also decided to get a sandwich from Subway while I was there, so I wouldn't have to cook when I got home. But alas, we shall not discuss whether or not it is a good idea to eat food that is prepared at a gas station.

Instead, we will discuss what happened as I tried to choose a beverage.

There are a lot of beverages to choose from--many of which taste good with vodka--so I was looking around for a good bit. I'm sometimes quite indecisive.
However, I am not at all indecisive about letting strange men get into my car--especially at night--which is why I said no when a young man in a very over-sized furry hooded jacket asked me if I would drive him to Walmart.*

This is how it happened:

me: looking ponderously into beverage cooler, thinking 'diet vernors'? 'diet squirt'? 'what am I in the mood for'? then notice that a strange man I don't know has walked up very close to me--much closer than people you don't know normally get.

strange man I don't know: hey, are you going across the bridge?

me: what?
me (inwardly):what bridge? who is this person? why is he talking to me?

strange man I don't know: the bridge over the high-way. I need a ride to Walmart.

me: oh--I'm going the other way. Sorry.

strange man I don't know: come on, it's only five minutes out of your way.

me: I'm sorry, but I'm really in a big hurry. But if it makes you feel any better, I once ran out of gas right near the Walmart, and it only took me about 10 minutes to walk here.

I smile and start to walk away.

strange man I don't know, not enough under his breath: It must suck to be so racist.

end of encounter.

Oh, did I forget to tell you that I'm a white girl and it was a black man that was asking me for a ride?
Maybe that's because it doesn't matter, or at least I didn't think it did.
I mean, come on people.
This problem has nothing to to with color. At all.
I don't care if you're a white man, a black man, a neon-green man, or even a man who is made entirely of diamonds.

You. Are. Not. Getting. In. My. Car. With. Me. Ever.

Because I Am Not An Idiot.

I may make an exception if you were dying on the side of the road, but even then I would be wary.
Because the world is not a safe place and you aren't supposed to let strangers into your car, for the love of all that is holy.

This may mean I am a cautious person.
This may even mean that I am a bitchy person.

But it certainly doesn't make me a racist person.
And it also helps to keep me from being a person who gets chopped into a million tiny pieces and dumped on the side of the road.

I think it basically makes me a person who remembers the things her mom taught her--like say please and thank-you, wash your hands, and for heaven's sake don't pick up hitch-hikers.

Now please excuse me while I go have a tasty adult-beverage.

*also, I don't like Walmart. Walmart is a cheap sexist bastard, and you shouldn't go there. So really, I think I did the world a favor by not driving the strange man to the evil Walmart.
So there.

Friday, November 25, 2005

In Which A Lot of Food is Eaten and A Lot of Laying Around Occurs

I begin this entry with an apology to the frillions of people--ok, the 3 people--who were expecting this post last night. Please refer to the title for my excuse. Food was eaten, drinks were dranken, and many butts were unable or unwilling to move themselves off the couch.
The couch is is very comfortable.

See? You wouldn't want to get up, either.

Apparently some people think the floor looks mighty comfortable, as well.

So, anyway.
Once upon a time on Tuesday two of my little sisters and I came to visit family in Park City, Utah.

This is Park City.
Isn't it pretty?

This is me and two of my little sisters, Ryan and Amber.* I'm the one with the un-washed red hair, Ryan is the one with the kind-of spikey blondish hair, and Amber is the wee-little one in front. Also pictured are our Papa, our Aunt Mary, and our cousins Jennifer and Emily.
Please feel free to take a moment to appreciate our over-whelming prettiness.
*Other sister, Jillian, is not pictured. She thinks she is too pretty for Park City.

In Park City there are many other family members as well, and we all stay at this really fabulous house thanks to Aunt Mary and Uncle Tom.

Here's the whole family in front of the fireplace.

Are you going blind from all the prettiness?

Still, while it may look like there are a lot of people here--some very important family members are missing because they allegedly decided that it is more fun to be in Florida for Thanksgiving than Park City.
Barbara? Aunt Margaret*? Are you out there?

*We would like to take this opportunity to thank Aunt Margaret for sending us some fabulous shortbread cookies and fudge. They were no replacement for your company, of course. But they were damn good. In fact, I seem to recall a fight or two breaking out over the fudge.

Tim and Emily are caught in a brutal fudge-related battle.
Things can get pretty ugly around here, people. It's not all wine drinking and couch sitting.

That's all for now.
But stay tuned for a re-telling of the epic Scattergories* battle of the century.

*Hey Rumplebutt, have some cheese dip.

Monday, November 21, 2005

coming attractions

i wish i had something exciting to tell you right now.
but, i don't.
however, on tuesday, i am going to park city to spend thanksgiving with selected family members.
this isn't in-and-of-its-self all that exciting, of course.

but allow me to tantalize you with this fact--there will be people there with digital cameras!

i may take pictures and sit in front of the computer long enough to figure out how to post them in my blog!

it's all very exciting, really.

so, stay tuned.

unless you're expecting me to be all goddess-like-beautiful.
then you should probably go away now.
unless you like red-hair, then stay.
keep reading.
you shall be rewarded.
as soon as i figure out the camera thing.

also, if you like mountains-stay tuned as well. many mountain pictures are sure to appear.

you never emailed me the picture of carrie.
or your address.
you can tell tracy's sister's cousin that i don't even want your address anymore.
except, if you want your birthday/care package/christmas present, it would be in your best interest to go ahead and send it, anyway.
i'll be waiting by the nacho cart.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Basic Etiquette v.2: a guide to acceptable bathroom behavior

I can't remember where the hell I read this--I think it was in a psychology class I took the first time I tried to go to college--but it really stayed with me because it was really disgusting, and also kind-of seemed true.

Anyhow, what I read was that women's restrooms are basically the most disgusting places on the face of the earth. Whoever the writer was speculated that this is because women are forced to be pretty and neat and nice in their public lives, so when they go into the public restroom where 1) no one can see them and 2) they don't have to clean up the mess because it's not their bathroom--they go crazy. I mean years-of-built-up-tension-peeing-all-over-no-hand-washing-nose-picking-crazy.

And I can't say I disagree with the author's theory.
I mean, I'm a girl. I use public restrooms, and I have noticed that they are mighty disgusting, most of the time. Further, I've noticed that they are disgusting in a bizarre this-disgusting-mess-was-made-on-purpose sort of way sometimes.

For example, I have had the unfortunate experience at least three times in my life of walking into a bathroom stall and seeing that the walls were smeared with shit. I'm guessing that the shit didn't fly out of someone's ass and smear itself on the wall. Once my friend walked into a public restroom and found a piece of poop on the floor next to the toilet. Then there's the pee on the seats, the used tampons thrown on the floor, the sinks filled up with paper towel--I'm just saying that it's impossible that these disgusting things are occurring naturally.
Someone is doing them.
Like, on purpose.
And I think they need to stop.

Seriously, girls--listen up.
It is 2005.
You don't have to be perfect and nice and pretty in your public life. You are allowed to have opinions and even express them. You can yell if you want, and burp--as long as you say excuse me--and wear jeans more than once without washing them, and throw your hair in a pony-tail 3 days in a row because you just don't feel like washing it.
But you cannot--and I feel very strongly about this--smear your shit on the wall in a public restroom.
A line must be drawn, and shit smearing is so far across that line that it's not even funny.*

*Friends Interlude--you have crossed the line! You're so far over the line, you can't even see the line. The line is a dot to you!*

Now I know most women aren't going into restrooms and saying to themselves you know what? i'm sick of the system. i'm sick of pretending to be perfect and clean and non-gassy all the time. i think i'll feel better if i reach into the toilet and smear this shit all over the wall.
But I do think there is an unfortunate paradox going on where some women are being really disgusting, and it's causing other women to do mildly disgusting things.

Consider the pee-on-the-seat issue.

Does anyone else think it's crazy that we spend so much time trying to teach the men in our lives how to properly manipulate the toilet seat so that we don't end up sitting in pee or falling into the bowl, and then we go out in public and pee all over the seat like a bunch of hypocrites drunk on our own power?
I think that the problem is that women are afraid to sit on seat in public restrooms because of the few crazy-shit-smearing women out there. And the bathroom gets more and more filthy because of this.

Women are not meant to pee standing up,or even squatting.
We aren't good at it.
Hence the pee on the seat and the floor and on your shoes, and so on.

So, I'm putting my foot down.
I'm starting a revolution.
If we can all just make a decision to go into public restrooms and not do disgusting things, won't we all be happier in the long run?

If everyone would just Sit On The Damn Seat like a normal person, then no one would accidently sit in pee because they weren't paying attention.

We wouldn't have to worry when we wear flip-flops into the bathroom that we might step in someone's pee.

From there, I'm sure it's only a short step to world peace.

In case this was a bit too ramble-icious to make much sense, I will now provide a brief list of basic public restroom rules.
1. do not under any circumstances reach into the toilet and remove your poop, for wall-smearing purposes or any other reason you may think of.
2. the age old rule 'please dispose of waste in the proper receptacle?' it's not an old-wives tale. just do it.
3. if you really cannot bring yourself to sit on a toilet seat because you're afraid it has been soiled by people like you who attempt to squat and then pee all over the place--you should really take a little wad of toilet paper and clean the rim of the seat off. Because being forced to confront Someone Else's Urine all over the seat of a toilet is far worse then thinking about how someone else's buttcheeks sat there. Because buttcheeks in and of themselves aren't really all that gross. Even if they are covered in cellulite, they're better then urine. I promise.
4. Wash your hands! Especially now that you know how disgusting the bathrooms are!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

An Open Letter to Airlines

To: Delta, Northwest, American, Continental, Southwest, America West, Spirit, Song, blah blah blah.
Re: The Incredible Level of Suck
From: Tiffany, Queen of Wanting to Keep Her Feet on the Ground

Dear crazy-lazy-moneyhungry-geographicallychallenged airline-decision-making type people,

What the fuck?
I don't want to be rude--but seriously, what the fuck?

I hate to fly. Hate It! With all the hatred I can possibly summon--which is a lot.

But still, I know that I must go places. Because it is fun.
To that end, I have been trying to purchase some plane tickets. I would like to fly from Detroit to Salt Lake City on December 27th, where I will spend what is likely to be a fabulous couple of days with my Aunt Mary and Uncle Tom in their mountain house--most of this time will be spent drinking champagne in the jacuzzi and hopefully not breaking any of Aunt Mary's champagne glasses, which I may or may not have accidently done on a previous visit. It's all hearsay, I tell you.
Then we will drive down to Las Vegas! For New Year's Eve! And also for my Grandpa's 80th birthday party! Which will be at Mandalay Bay! Because my Grandpa is cool like that!
Anyway, I will then need to leave Las Vegas and return to my mundane student-bartender-type life back here in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This will obviously require another airplane ride, hopefully on January 2nd.

Unfortunately, the airline industry has a completely different idea.

The fuckers.

I have "purchased" tickets for this trip 4 separate times, only to find that one or more of the flights I booked was not "confirmed" by the airline in charge of it. I have tried multiple options--expedia, orbitz, and even plain old Delta airlines. Still no luck. I "purchase" my tickets, only to be emailed a few days later and informed that I have to start all over. The ticket-brokers are always nice enough to say that they haven't charged my credit card, and that I won't be charged a penalty fee.
Which, really?
As if you could possibly penalize me because you Sold Me Tickets To A Flight Which Didn't Exist?

I almost just had a stroke thinking about it.

And if you thought that was bad, consider this.
Now they want me fly from Detroit to Salt Lake with a lay-over in Atlanta.
No, you did not just hallucinate.
I said Atlanta.
Because that's on the way, right? I mean, could I get $10 knocked of the ticket price (which I won't even mention because, holy shit) if I was willing to fly into Shanghai on the way to Utah?
I'm just wondering.
Because this all makes very little sense to me.

Kind-of like how on the way home from Las Vegas they want me to fly to phoenix--the complete wrong direction--and then to Atlanta, then to Cincinnati, and then finally to Detroit. Where I will arrive at 9 am.

I'm thinking that someone must have decided that geography is not important knowledge for airline flight plan makers.
And that seems unfortunate.
I would like it if you could try to be a little more helpful.

Thanks for your time,
Tiffany, who is seriously beginning to think that she's not supposed to get on a plane.

I don't think I can talk about this anymore.
I have to sit here and try very hard to grow wings.

Because all this is making me feel even more like getting on a plane is a bad idea.
It seems like the world is trying to send me a message.

But, world?
Why don't you want me to go to Vegas for New Year's?
I promise to be good!
*she crosses her fingers behind her back

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Postmodernism and A Fear of the Future

Literature majors of the world should take a minute to unite right now--wait, I guess no other literature majors read this blog.
Well, anyway--if you are a lit major and you ever read this I'm just trying to say that reading literary theory is like giving yourself fifteen billion and eleventy thousand paper cuts all over your body and then pouring vodka on them. But, totally no vodka is allowed to go in your mouth, where it clearly belongs.
In other words, it sucks.
I mean, it has a purpose and all that. And important things to say and whatnot and ok, fine, I admit it, I actually mostly like it.
Don't tell anyone.
But I do still have one complaint: stop with the 30 thousand word sentences.
For real, people.
We already know you're smart, or else why would you be writing literary theory to begin with? Stop it with the superiority complex already. This is my advice to you, important literary critic people of the world.

Ok, now that my little rant is out of the way.

Today in class we were discussing postmodernism. Which I won't go into detail about because no one cares. Which is actually sort of appropriate for a discussion of postmodernism, but whatever.
Anyway, the point is that lately everyone always feels like they're living after something.
I mean, there was the Victorian repressive-stick-up-the-ass-mind-your-manners age, followed by the modern age where everyone was all woo-hoo! Look at me! I have bad manners! I draw strange ugly pictures of people who don't really look like people but they are people because I say so! I write stories about topics you consider inappropriate! I am a rebel! Aren't you shocked by me? And now we're just postmodern. We don't need a new name. We're all desensitized and whatnot. Nothing shocks us because we are so, soo cool.
At least that's what the theorists are trying to say--in much more verbose language, of course.
As for me, I think we call ourselves postmodern because it's better than talking about either what we actually are now, or what we're on the way to being.

pre-apocalypsism, anyone?


except, it's really not funny at all.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Dining Out: A Lesson in What Not to Do, v.1

Okay, so I've worked in a restaurant for 11 years.

Make your jokes now--but meanwhile keep in mind that I make more money than 80% of the people I know who have 'real' jobs, I also go to school full time, and I go on vacation A LOT, which one cannot do so much when one has a real job. Or so I hear.

Anyway, the point is--what is up with people who seriously think that a person working in the service industry = a person who is not really a person?

Pondering this question, I have come to the conclusion that I have no choice but to share the horrible stories that happen to me and my friends in the hopes of teaching the general public how to behave when dining out.
I mean, come on people.
Customer is always right, or no--we are still in charge of the food that you will eat. As in, put in your mouth and chew and swallow.
If you really think that we are The Hugest Idiots In The World, then why would you give us this responsibility?

Consider the woman I waited on last week.

This miserable woman came in with her husband and a small child who was allowed to sit under the table for their entire stay.
Miserable woman ordered fried cheese, and her husband ordered a burger. The child was ordered--nothing.
I think they may have forgot he was under the table.
The husband ordered a burger cooked MEDIUM.
I brought him a burger that was cooked MEDIUM. Because I know how to remember things and then type them into a computer. Because I am very smart.
After I dropped off their food, there was apparently some kind-of uproar because the husband cut the burger in half before taking a bite, and found that it was a little pink in the middle.
Not red, mind you.
Pink. Just like a medium burger should be.
Anyhow, I didn't hear the uproar because I was busy doing other important things like doing a shot with one of my bar regulars. But it just so happened that my boyfriend was cleaning the table behind said table and could hear the miserable woman bitching at her husband that this was not acceptable and don't even think about taking a bite of that burgerand I can't believe she brought you this burger,

(which, really? do people think that we taste the food before we bring it out? because sometimes we want to--because we get hungry, too. Because we actually are people. But, still? We don't do that. Because it is gross. And also, If I would have taken a bite out of the burger before I served it--it still would have been cooked medium, and I still would have served it. Although I would have been concerned that they would notice the bite that was missing)

so, clearly my boyfriend was aware that my table was unhappy and was going to come and let me know.
But when he walked by said table-of-miserableness, the miserable woman grabbed him by the arm and growled go get our waitress.

(it must be noted here that under no circumstances should you Ever Ever Ever touch your wait person. People often make this mistake, and it is so by far not okay. Do Not Do It Ever).

So anyway, my boyfriend comes and gets me and says that my table needs me. He neglects to tell me about the grabbing, the growling, and the general bitchiness that has been ensuing at my table.

I go to the table unprepared, which is fine because I ask if everything is okay, and the nice husband simply says that the burger is a little pinker than he likes it, and asks me to have the cook throw it back on the grill for a minute or two.

This is not a problem.

It is the service industry, after all.

We are totally aware that you are allowed to eat your food the way you want it, and we have no problem doing that.
So I take the burger back to the kitchen, the cook throws it back on the grill, and I take it out to the table after a few minutes.
I drop the burger off and tell the husband I'll refill his soda, and when I come back he can tell me if the burger is okay now, or not.
I walk to the complete other side of the restaurant to refill the soda, and even from there I can hear the miserable woman yelling at her husband she just put the same burger back on the grill and brought it back out here and that is disgusting and she's got another thing coming if she thinks she can get away with that.

So I'm standing at the soda dispenser, frozen, wondering why this miserable woman thinks that I think I'm 'getting away with something.'
I mean, her husband asked me to put the burger back on the grill.
But now she's pissed that the same burger re-appeared at the table.
But isn't that the point of throwing something back on the grill?

Anyway, I walk back to the table and give the husband his refill of Diet Coke. I stand there for a minute waiting to see if bitch-monster-lady is going to say something to my face. But she doesn't. So I turn to the husband and say I'm sorry if I misunderstood you. I thought you wanted me to put your burger back on the grill. Is this burger okay with you, or would you like me to bring you something else?

It should be noted that I can rarely manage to be this nice to ass-hats, but I did feel that the husband was mostly an innocent bystander.

The husband, clearly embarrassed by the wife's antics, murmurs quickly that everything is fine, and proceeds to devour his burger faster than I've ever seen anybody eat anything, though all the while his miserable wife keeps yelling at him to don't eat that because this is ridiculous and disgusting.

She refuses to eat her fried cheese because she would clearly like to be a martyr.
She is Islamic jihad for restaurant diners.
Only, even more misguided.

Frankly, by this time the whole ordeal was wearing a little thin.
Or, a lot thin.

I mean--you come into my restaurant and it's my job to provide you with a nice dining experience. But if you are just plain old crazy and unreasonable?
Well, I'm not trained to help you with that.

So I continue to blow sunshine up the ass of this table--because that's what we do in the service industry, especially when we can tell that we're dealing with a person that will refuse to be happy no matter what. In fact, that's when it's the most fun.

Later, when I drop of the check, I don't even get a full step away when I hear the miserable woman growl to her husband don't tip her.

And I can't help it.
But I seriously turn around and look right at her and start to laugh. Not on purpose, mind you. It was just one of those laughs that couldn't be stifled.

Because, really?
The chances of me going home and feeling somehow punished because I don't have the two dollars that I might have made off that table are pretty minimal.

So, miserable woman? If you're out there, here is your lesson:
If you're at a restaurant where you are only spending $13 on lunch for two people? Then you are not in the kind of place where you have earned yourself the right to be rude to the staff.

And also, if you're getting so upset about a burger that you weren't even going to eat--you might want to work on that.
Because there might be a reason why your very young son is hiding under tables at restaurants.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A Friend Named B.S.

I have this friend named B.S.
No, this is not a joke.
B.S. stands for something different entirely, but I don't know whether or not it's nice to mention other people's names on my blog. Because, you know, three people totally read this blog. And I didn't ask her permission.

Also, B.S. sounds mysterious and fun.

And, people? B.S. is fun.
Like, totally the mostiest funnest ever.

I met B.S. a long time ago, when I was 18 and working as a newbie in a famous-but-unmentionable chain restaurant in Ann Arbor.

B.S. knew all kinds of things that i didn't know: how to sneak food into the love shack to eat while you were working, how to sneak under-age me into bars, how to pee outside without peeing on your cute bar clothes, and many other things.

I'll just put it this way.

Things were learned. Fun was had. Things were done which I would only ever repeat to a very select and small group of people*, but 99% of those things are things that I would never, ever take back.
I would fight you for them.
And I would win, because B.S. taught me how to be tough, too.

***here, if you are B.S.--or are someone who knows what I'm talking about when I say B.S.--you should envision breast-shaped coffee mugs (look, I can steal stuff, too!), peeing on boats of people we hate, a jager room, and possibly a coke machine next to the wall of a hotel in the Florida keys. Among other things, of course. fun things, people. Because we are cool girls.***

Anyway, one day B.S. moved away.
And then she moved back because she was getting married and she was pregnant.

Of course, that's not the whole story.
To sum it up, B.S. first moved to Ohio, which was very sad, but still fun because I could totally drive down to visit her very, very often. And then we would get drunk and pee on boats. Then one day B.S. decided to move to Florida, because boys are assholes. And that was very sad because it is very much more difficult to drive to Florida than it is to drive to Ohio. Still, drives were made. Once B.S. has entered your life, you can only go so long without some quality (drunken) B.S. time. Anyway, the point is B.S. met Mr. Right on her look-at-me-I-live-in-Florida adventure, and she and Mr. Right moved back to Michigan to have a baby.

And life was complete again.
Because B.S. was near to me.

B.S. and Mr. Right did not know what flavor of baby they were going to have. On Febuary 6th, 2002, they had a beautiful baby girl who was immediately given eleventy hundred pink outfits which I ran out and bought as soon as possible because I have a shopping problem.

As time has passed, I have continued to buy many clothes for this beautiful baby girl, for several reasons--the above mentioned shopping problem, and also because I love B.S. and I know that she wants her beautiful baby to be in high fashion, which is hard to find in the middle of butt-fucking-nowhere, Michigan, where they live.

Anyway, I went to visit them the other day, with--of course, a little bag of clothing-goodies for the beautiful baby--who is now 3 and a half.
As we were showing her the clothes, she picked up a shirt and looked at me, and she said "oooh, tiffunny. yu awways get me pwesents."

And I swear it was the most adorable thing I ever heard.

I only ever bought her the clothes because I wanted her to have the cutest everything.

I know that B.S. and Mr. Right weren't exactly planning to have a child when the beautiful baby entered their lives, and I know that having a baby--no matter how beautiful--can't be easy, and I just wanted to offer whatever support I could.
That support turned out to be clothes, because of the previously mentioned shopping problem.

Still, when I heard the beautiful baby say that--it was special.

Is that bad?
I mean, I know we're not supposed to confuse material things with love and all that.
But I'm glad that the beautiful baby knows that I care about her.
And her parents.