30
Dec

Not long after I started this blog a friend said to me, “You kind of complain a lot.” Message received, buddy. I hear you loud and clear…

I’ve been sick for the past two weeks and it totally blows. The hacking cough. The raw, runny nose. The uncontrollable chills. I kid you not, my body was actually sore from shaking so much over those first few days. Another interesting side effect of being sick is that I regress to junior high all over again every time I catch a cold. Do you remember being that kid who couldn’t stop coughing in class? Please tell me I wasn’t the only one. Ah, those fond memories of trying desperately to contain it, tears running down your cheeks while pretending everything is cool, your body trembling from the sheer force of the cough relentlessly pushing its way back out… Now I’m doing the same thing at work. Once again, I’m an awkward thirteen year old trying not to get noticed for all the wrong things. Still, everyone at the office can hear me and so they ask the obligatory “How are you feeling?” to which I reply the standard “I’m okay.” Except for the day when I had no voice. Talk about awkward. People have no clue how to interact with you when you can’t communicate verbally. For some reason, they themselves begin to randomly gesture with their hands though they can still speak. Then they suddenly give up, get all flustered and brusquely ask you to just write down whatever it is you’re trying to say. It’s awesome.

And I have no shame in admitting that I’m one of those people who feels like my personal universe is crashing down around me every time I get sick. So I indulge in the self-pity. I come home from work every night, dramatically fling myself onto the couch and immediately begin to moan about how awful I feel. In fact, I get so ridiculously self-indulgent that one night I theatrically fell onto my bathroom floor while brushing my teeth because I couldn’t bear one more moment of standing. Granted, I was legitimately woozy, but it was a tad extreme nonetheless.

Now you know those people who somehow thrive creatively while going through some kind of crisis? I don’t get that. Perhaps you think this rant has just taken a bit of a departure – I had been talking about having a cold, right? Though I realize when lucid that having the sniffles is not the same as being served an eviction notice or having your car stolen, it’s all the same to me when I actually am sick. And while I was on the bathroom floor, it got me to thinking – how do people do it? Beethoven didn’t stop writing music even though he lost his hearing. Michelangelo didn’t quit the Sistine Chapel even though he labored for hours at a time while plaster and paint dripped into his eyes. Tom Cruise didn’t give up acting even though all the prints of All the Right Moves can never be destroyed. (I love that movie.) Me? I get a sore throat and my whole world comes to a screeching halt. I wish I could channel that angst into something creatively stimulating, but the most I’ve been able to accomplish over the last few weeks has been to make sure I shower every day. Adding a new post was not on the agenda.

Needless to say, I’m on the mend now and happy to be functional again. The cough is dying down. The faucet that was my nose is nearly shut off. Yet maybe getting sick isn’t such a bad thing after all. Having a mini pity party every once in a while? Okay. Wanting people to fawn over you because you just don’t feel good? Sure. Realizing once you recover that perhaps life is too short to waste it acting like a damn baby? Bingo.

Image: jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

14
Dec

So the other day at work sucked balls. Pardon my crude mouth, but that pretty much sums it up in a nutshell. It was just one of those wonderfully horrible days when not only do you start the morning knowing you have a massive amount of work to do, but also the universe decides to have some fun and throws at you a few really “super” surprises that add to the awesomeness of the day. For me that meant our phones going down.

I would go into the details of just how awful our phone service is, but I’ll tuck that gem of a story away for a rainy day. Suffice it to say, it blows. Hard. And I’m the lucky gal who gets to deal with it.

Perhaps because it’s a chronic problem with which our office has been dealing for a few years now, or just because there’s a history of heart disease in my family – either way, I feel like I’m about to have a heart attack every time I hear the most dreaded sound in my universe – that of the busy tone. When I hear that coming from someone’s office, the palpitations begin and a layer of perspiration suddenly is covering my entire body. Here we go again. Everyone at work tries to be really nice about it – to my face – but I feel the frustration. The annoyance. That “What in the hell is the matter with the phones now?” vibe.

So away I go making the appropriate calls (via cell phone) to get the lines back up. It’s kind of like when you order Chinese take-out. Half the time, you put down the receiver not totally convinced that either you or the guy on the other end of the line have really understood each other. You hope to get the beef chop suey, but you may just end up with moo shu pork instead. In other words, major communication issues, especially since I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about when I spout something like, “Yeah, the PRI is down again,” and then I’m told, “Well, the problem seems to stem from the MPOE.” Umm… Okay…

Fast-forward eight hours. Our business day is now over, the phones still aren’t up, but finally a technician arrives to check out the situation. Well, what do you know? It’s Kali! I totally know this dude. He’s been to our office before to fix the same damn problem. For some reason, perhaps because he saved the day the last time, I have this weird fondness for him. It’s oddly comforting to see him walking over to me; I really want to hug him.

Two more hours go by and – hells yeah! – the phones are now tentatively up and running. However, Kali needs to stay for just a bit longer while they test the lines one last time. Meanwhile, he and I have absolutely nothing to do at ten o’clock at night except chat. And guess what? Kali is a pretty awesome guy. He begins to tell me about the trip he and his wife just took to China. Turns out they went to Antarctica the year before. And the year before that it was a Southeast Asian tour of Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. He then reveals that he actually visited these same places thirty years earlier while in the military and how interesting it is for him to go back so many years later to see how everything has changed – or not changed at all. He gushes about how happy it makes him to see his wife experiencing those countries for the first time and how fun it is to share in it with her. He tells me how much he just loves to travel, to experience something so unlike his own life and to meet different people from around the world.

Kali and I end up talking for well over an hour, and for having had a colossally awful day, this completely resuscitates it. Despite the last twelve hours of hell, I walk away from my office that night feeling good. Yeah, it sucked to have the phones go down in the first place, but then I never would have had the chance to hear some really amazing tales and get to know a pretty cool person…

But I swear – if those phones go down just one more time, I’m going postal on someone.

Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

01
Dec

So in my last post I mentioned that I spend a fair amount of time at Target. However, I wasn’t being totally honest…

I’m there 24/7.

Why? Because I love Target. I looveee it. Off the top of my head, I could name you eight different Target locations within both Orange County and the greater Los Angeles area that not only have I visited, but also have on occasion cross-checked with each other just to see what differs from store to store. So far, the one in Glendale has the rest beat by a mile – three whole floors! When I found this out I had what some people would call an out-of-body experience. Hands down, Target is the Best Store In The World. Where else could you buy toilet paper, birthday cards, a new vacuum cleaner, M&Ms and three (or four) new blouses all in the same place? And for a very reasonable price I might add.

Now for any of you out there snickering at me with your highfalutin, “I’m better than Target” attitude, lemme tell you something – you’re all a bunch of posers! The main reason why I even decided to write this post is because over the last month or so, I suddenly realized that pretty much every friend I have is also a Target devotee. We gush about the cute dresses. We marvel at the plethora of holiday décor. We squeal over the ample selection of affordable wines. Yes, Virginia, there is wine at Target. Thus my decision to take this somewhat embarrassing love into the light that no one may ever again do the walk of shame out of that store as they push an overflowing cartful of those easily recognizable bullseye bags.

The second reason for this post is because I saw a rare sight the other day in Target – a group of tourists. I don’t want to use tired stereotypes in describing this lot, but they all had either a fanny pack or passport purse on their body and cameras in hand. I kid you not. There was no mistaking these foreigners.

At first, the jaded city dweller in me thought, “Seriously? A tour of Target? Dude, these poor people got ripped off.” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that introducing those around the world to the beauty and wonder of Target was totally dead-on. Whether you like it or not, the store is completely representative of America as a whole. The clothing section has the latest fashion styles streamlined for the masses. The media section has both the most popular books and movies on sale for your reading and/or viewing pleasure. And the food section says it all – you have your choice of either prepackaged processed foods ready to eat or prepackaged frozen foods ready to warm up. No fresh fruits or veggies anywhere to be seen. Is that not the average American’s diet or what? (To be fair, though, I just noticed last week that a Target in the OC recently opened a produce section. Just furthers my belief that Target will one day be the salvation of us all.) By the time I left the store, I was wishing I could be one of those lucky tourists. I bet they got some kind of goodie bag. Bastards.

Like any great love, though, it’s not perfect. You know how when you have a huge crush on someone from afar and every little thing they do is just so adorable and cute? Yet when you finally start dating, you realize they have a bad case of dandruff and a really annoying way of trying to give you a back rub when you don’t need a back rub and in fact it actually kind of hurts and could you please not dig your fingers into my spinal cord? Well, anyway… That’s my relationship with Target. You see, once upon a time, in a land far, far away – the western suburbs of Chicago – I used to work at Target. One summer I was a cashier; that was pretty cool. Yet when I returned during my holiday break, they claimed all the cashier positions were filled and that I would have to work the dreaded food court. That lasted all of about three days. I won’t go into details, but let’s just say it involved a bird beaten to death with a broom in the storage area and one very freaked out Anna. Needless to say, I quit on the spot.

Alas, my fairytale romance with Target is a bit tarnished, but time really does heal all wounds. Now when I walk in and look at all the wonderful things that are about to dazzle me for the next several minutes… or hours… I simply smile, grab a cart and happily make my way down the aisle with a little extra pep in my step. Once again, all is right with the world.

DISCLAIMER: I swear I’m not getting paid a dime for the above adoration. Cross my heart and hope to die… in Target. Just hopefully not with a broom in the storage area.

Image: jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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