28
Mar

Parents just don't understand.

Rarely do my shopping adventures take place beyond the confines of Target or Ralph’s. However, after three years of literally running them in to the ground, I decided that it was finally time to get some new kicks for my neighborhood jogs.

I was long overdue, but I blame the economy; the place where I got my last pair of running shoes shut down. I had only once patronized their store, but found myself oddly saddened by the news. They had recommended such an awesome pair of shoes… And even though my knees were now begging for mercy after each run, I was reluctant to put my Asics out to pasture.

After Yelping for five minutes, though, I came across a store in Brentwood that seemed to know the deal. None of this Lady Footlocker business, yo. I wanted my gait analyzed, my pronation inspected, and my shoes to fit like a glove. Or sock.

Upon entering the store, I was completely overwhelmed. It was a Saturday afternoon, so the place was packed with both people and shoes. I don’t do brand loyalty, so literally every single shoe on wall was a potential winner. Given shoe design nowadays, though, I wasn’t even sure if I was in the women’s shoe section as I perused my choices. I started doing that thing where you just pick up a shoe and stare at it with the hope that someone will see that you need help.

Enter Jerry.

For the record, Jerry at FrontRunners is awesome, people. Go say hi sometime. He immediately sat me down, then stood me back up, then asked me to walk, then even had me run a little for him. I was in heaven. Then off he went to find my next great pair of running shoes.

I had a few minutes to kill, so I turned my attention to the other customers in the store. Lots of moms. In fact, right in my line of vision was a mom and her 10-year-oldish son. All I could hear her saying was, “Are you sure? This is the pair you want? You’re positive? These fit you the best?” The kid giddily shook his head in affirmation. The mom then turned her attention to the saleslady: “How much are these?”

“$110.”

“$110?! No! No, no… We are not buying you shoes that cost over a hundred dollars! I don’t even buy myself shoes that cost $110!”

Awkward. I mean, on the one hand, I totally agree. I remember being a kid. Those growth spurts must be a b*tch for parents; I needed new shoes virtually every month. On the other hand, this mom was doing everything in her power to completely humiliate her kid. She even stood up to make her point a second and third time.

“Come on, we’re going. You’re not getting those shoes. What were you thinking?” I shifted my attention to the saleslady, who you know was silently fuming that she just wasted the last 20 minutes helping this chick.

Then Jerry returned. He had me try on a pair of shoes that truly made my heart skip a beat. So comfy. So light. I did a little test run around the store, weaving my way through the other patrons. Yep. These were my new shoes. I didn’t want to seem too eager, though, so I asked if I could try a few more pairs to compare fit. “Sure!” And off Jerry went.

I immediately scanned the store for cheap mom and her son. They were long gone. However, I soon became acquainted with TMI mom. I had noticed her while trying on my shoes, and now she demanded my full attention. Right as her sales guy sat down with a box of shoes, her phone rang. Strike one. I’m not fan of the peeps that try to keep a call going as they’re ordering their Starbucks, paying for their groceries, or engaging in any other activity where employees have to awkwardly accommodate their lack of manners. The store was full, this guy had plenty of other people he could help, but this chick thought nothing of making him wait on her.

Then she referred to the other person on the line as doctor so-and-so. Okay, I felt bad for a second. But then this lady launched into a detailed description of her infant daughter’s bowel movements for the last 36 hours. I didn’t feel so bad anymore. Instead, I stared in horror as she explained the consistency of her baby’s poop in front of me, the FrontRunners employee, and God. Strike two.

Look, I’m not a parent, but I can understand a parent’s fear that something might be wrong with her child. However, if you were truly worried that your kid is experiencing some kind of bowel movement crisis, would you be shopping for Nikes? Oh, and by the way, the only reason why she thought to contact her pediatrician is because her nanny informed her of Poop-Gate. This is Brentwood, after all. Strike three.

Thankfully, Jerry reappeared to distract me from hearing how zucchini can make for runny diapers. I tried on another pair of shoes, made my decision, and got the hell out of there.

But all is now right with the world. I have my new shoes. They are awesome. I run like the wind.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

21
Mar

I'm not gonna be ignored, Dan!I was late to jumping aboard the texting train. Though I knew of it, I long resisted this form of communication for two reasons. My initial beef with texting – and the one I used as my excuse for not doing it – was that I didn’t want to be so easily accessible to people. But my real gripe with it – and the one I conveniently kept to myself – is that it drives me up the wall when I don’t get a response. Oddly enough, that’s also the reason why I eventually caved in to this technological terror… Once my roommate told me that the weird buzzing sound coming from my phone meant that someone was texting me, I felt obligated to reply.

But there are those who don’t.

It’s cool. I get it. Texting is cas communication, right? But I fear that this casual attitude is overextending its boundaries, and I don’t like it. Not one bit.

An anecdote if you will… Not too long ago, a friend asked if I would talk to his niece about my beloved alma mater, Columbia College Chicago. Apparently she really wanted to attend CCC, but hadn’t the chance to check out the school for herself. Why? Because she lived in France. So it was up to me to explain not only the ins and outs of film school, but also the joys and wonders of downtown Chicago. I happily accepted my friend’s request and proceeded to write a book about everything from declaring a concentration to keeping your eyes akimbo for muggers. I even reread my Facebook message masterpiece several times to check for spelling errors and split infinitives. It was perfection. I hit the send button with a flourish and eagerly awaited her response.

I’m still waiting.

I got nuthin’. I never got a response, nor did I ever receive a thank you. I didn’t even get a “thx” or “ty!” I suppose some people would say that kids her age simply don’t have the manners that you and I were taught. Pardon my French, but that’s bullsh*t. If anything, we’re worse.

Social media is bizarre, and there’s no getting around it, so I won’t try. I’m not gonna get all crazy because you didn’t like my Facebook post or respond to my tweet. I might de-friend you, though. If you haven’t so much as liked a single photo or status update in however many years of being Facebook friends, I might end our online relationship, but I figure you probably won’t miss me much if I do. However, I hold LinkedIn to a higher standard.

If Facebook is the clingy creeper and Twitter the over-sharing loudmouth, LinkedIn is the respectable sister who tries to make good on the social media family name. After all, there’s actually a purpose to LinkedIn beyond stalking friends and telling the world who you think should get voted off American Idol. LinkedIn is supposed to be for professionals, dammit.

Though the site posts warnings about accepting invitations from people you don’t know, there comes a point when that’s exactly what you have to do. How else are you going to expand your network? It would be kind of awkward to tell someone that you’re not accepting her invitation until you meet her in person. Plus, if you live in LA, that could take forever. I have best friends living less than five miles away whom I’ve not seen in well over a year.

But I have no shame in saying that I will totally check out a person’s profile before hitting the accept button. And once I do, I automatically send the following message:

Hi ____!

Thanks for the invite to connect. It’s a pleasure to meet you!

Cheers,
Anna

Nine times out of ten, I get crickets. Perhaps I’m in the minority here, but I think that’s a touch rude. Now if we were on Match.com or OKCupid, sure, no problem. The sad truth to online dating is that you have to disregard your urge to be a decent person and ignore the peeps you don’t like. Otherwise, you’re just leading them on. I’ve been on both sides of that coin, and believe me, you’re only cruel to be kind. But ignoring someone to whom you reached out on a professional website?

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

14
Mar

I'll give you something to really cry about!

What do you do when your parents disobey you?

I may not have children, but I do have one troublesome mother and a very stubborn father who won’t listen to me. I don’t know how real parents do it. You know what’s best for them, but they refuse to heed your words of wisdom. You tell them something, and it goes in one ear and out the other.

The constant worrying has made me gray before my time. Or it could just be my parents’ genes. Yet another reason to be frustrated with them.

I’ve heard there was a time when smoking was considered cool and sophisticated. (See Mad Men.) It was even recommended for some medical conditions. (See The King’s Speech.) But Lionel Logue was onto something when he told King George that perhaps the cigarettes weren’t doing him any good, and as history has born out, we all now know that smoking is actually very, very, very bad for you. So of course all the cool parents want to do it.

In some regards, I can’t blame my mother. She’s from Europe. Anyone who has stepped foot on the European continent knows that the entire place is covered in a fog of cigarette smoke. Okay, that may not be true, but I’m willing to look a blind eye to anyone with a foreign passport. Like a passport, though, your excuse expires in exactly 10 years. My mom’s passport expired in 1965.

My dad on the other hand… He was born and bred in the heartland of America. Though I realize that plenty of people from his generation lit up like chimneystacks back in the day, the evidence was clear even during his youth that smoking can kill. And regardless of whether he chose to read the news, I was more than happy to keep him abreast of the latest medical findings.

As a kid, I launched my own anti-smoking campaign. I hated my dad’s cigars and made sure he knew it. Once while in a particularly defiant mood, I took his brand new box of White Owls and broke every single one of them in half. Needless to say, he was not pleased when he came home from work that evening, looking only to relax with a smooth smoke. I took his fury as a sign of victory. Pretty sure he just went out and bought another box later that night.

In its own weird way, my parents’ smoking devotion has had two beneficial effects: both my sister and I have never touched a cigarette. Actually, I can’t totally vouch for my big sister. I do vaguely remember a rebellious phase during her teen years that may have resulted in a puff or two. I, however, never had a rebellious phase. Quitting Latin during my last semester of high school was about as insubordinate as I ever became. And to this very day, never once has it crossed my mind to pick up a cigarette. (Though I do sometimes regret giving up Latin.) So in this respect, you might say that my parents are devious masterminds at getting their children to behave.

They refuse to do the same.

Despite bouts of pneumonia and high blood pressure and heart attacks and take your pick of any other ailment, they are steadfast in their smoking ways. It’s beginning to tick me off. Regardless of whether a child is 5, 25, or 50, she wants her parents. Age does not diminish the love you have for your family. The older you become, the more awesome things you get to experience. The more you experience, the more you would like your parents to be around to celebrate those moments with you.

Even though I’m not a parent, I’m trying to think like one. What exactly do you do with a disobedient mom and dad? If the roles were reversed – and I was 20 years younger – they would have the option to send me off to boarding school. So it looks like I have only one choice… Either my parents shape up, or I’m shipping them off to a nursing home. I hear they know exactly what to do with unruly seniors.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

07
Mar

My heart will go on.
I knew it couldn’t last forever. At least that’s what I prayed.

My antennas went up about a week ago. When you work from home, you quickly become attuned to the comings and goings of your neighbors. Though the foot stomping and door slamming have always made it fairly easy to tell when the Dude Bros were home, I suddenly detected another presence making its way up and down my stairwell at least once a day. It was my landlord.

I know for a fact that my landlord has two phones, but apparently he has no need for either of them. He never calls. Instead, he simply shows up at your door with new smoke alarms, a sink faucet, or baklava. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate each of those gestures, but when you don’t bother to change out of your pajamas five days out of seven, you don’t take too kindly to unexpected visitors. Between you and me – and because I know that my landlord will never read this – I’ve simply ignored his gentle knocking on more than one occasion.

Which is why it didn’t surprise me that he was trying the same tactics with the Dude Bros and getting the same results. I could hear him walk up my steps every evening, knock on my neighbors’ door, knock some more, knock a third time, knock again… and then make his exit back down the stairwell. After two days in a row, my suspicions grew.

I began to evaluate the situation. Was it an urgent repair? No, otherwise they’d probably just let him in. Was it a late rent check? Perhaps, but given my completely unfounded assumption that both Dude Bros were getting bankrolled by their parents, I doubted it. Hmm… Could it be Eddie Murphy?

Not THE Eddie Murphy. Because I typically hear and not see my neighbors, I often assign certain attributes to their noisy friends that come over all the time. For a while, it was Annoying Girl, who had a special gift for making the clicking of her high heels delightfully piercing against the concrete stairwell. She was equally charming when she would make phone calls on the steps or take a smoke break out there or both.

Now it’s Eddie Murphy. I call him that because he sounds exactly like the actor. The first time I heard him in my neighbor’s apartment, I enviously thought to myself, “How did those two mofos make friends with Eddie Murphy?!” Now I know better. If he really were Eddie Murphy, I assume he would have brought over one of his 25 kids by now. He must have custody some of the time, right? Regardless, Eddie is over quite frequently, and I concluded that my landlord must have noticed.

Now you might think that it’s none of my landlord’s business regarding whom the tenants have over. You’re probably right, but that doesn’t matter to him. He owns the property, it’s been in his family for decades, so it ain’t no thang for him to get nosey about visitors. I distinctly remember my landlord once tell the unsuspecting friend of a past neighbor that he didn’t know him and he had to leave. That’s just how my landlord rolls.

I’m not sure if the Dude Bros really hadn’t been home all those other times that my landlord knocked, or if they realized that he would never, ever give up, but they finally answered the door the other night. And I was there to hear it all. Though my door. With my ear right up to it.

First, my landlord wanted to know who Eddie was. As it turns out, he’s not Eddie Murphy, nor is his name Eddie. Go figure. He’s a Jerry. Once my landlord wrote down his name – and made Jerry spell it out – he questioned Dude Bro #1 about Dude Bro #2. Apparently he’s gone missing.

Dude Bro #1 then told my landlord that Dude Bro #2 was in a hospital back in Miami and that he would be there “for a while.” My landlord pressed the issue.

“For how long?”

“I don’t know. Maybe a few months.”

Please, I’ve lived in LA for too long now. I calls ‘em as I sees ‘em, and that kid’s in rehab. I could sense that my landlord was extremely perturbed by this non-answer answer. He wanted it in writing from Dude Bro #2.

“Well, he’s in a hospital. He can’t write to you right now.”

That’s when Dude Bro #1 started asking if he could sublet the place. I thought my landlord was going to have a heart attack right then and there. Needless to say, he quickly shot down that suggestion.

My craned neck was beginning to hurt, so I was forced to leave my post at the door. I don’t know how their conversation was ultimately resolved, but it looks like this might be the end of an era, folks. The end of the Dude Bros. Godspeed… and party on.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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