Archive for November, 2008

the battle of who could care less.

11 November 2008

a few years ago i heard about a research project conducted on public bathrooms that found that sensitive men use the middle stalls. since then i’ve always made a conscious effort to be a sensitive man, just in case the study’s acolytes are at the row of sinks, gauging potential suitors. even though i haven’t been able to find anything on the internet to corroborate these findings, which is leading me to believe i imagined them, i don’t see any reason to discontinue this practice.

unfortunately i was only privy to my own thoughts upon entering the men’s bathroom at nassau coliseum. obviously there were those who wondered where colin powell was seated after dropping the game’s first puck or if it was true, as had been speculated, that he was escorted to the roof and taken by helicopter back to washington. ten thousand people or less marveled at the free camouflage hat given away at the door and many tried to take pictures to send to their friends whose other obligations (work, distance, intelligence) kept them from the game. a few calculated how low they could bid on an autographed picture of rick dipietro with a yellowed section of game-used net and still win the auction. many wished that the member of the cast of entourage in attendance had been this guy rather than this guy, who is about four and a half feet tall in person (apparently the camera adds a few inches of height as well). some would have even preferred this guy, though they’d insist he adopt a different facial expression. a couple of people wanted to see this guy, but only so they could punch him in the face.

don’t get me wrong, there were also those who thought about the actual game, those questioning the national hockey league’s decision to replace the puck with a hot potato, as players consistently lobbed uninspired passes to the opposing team. the referees tried to help out the last-place islanders by giving them two five-on-three power plays but the team was too busy yawning to shoot. in acknowledgment of the lackadaisical play of the first period the islanders’ second period jersey featured a calico kitten sleeping beside a reddish-orange ball of yarn, the flyers mascot became a combination of three-toed sloth and flightless bird.

it wasn’t always like this in long island. for the first few years of my life, i thought that it was a requirement that the new york islanders be awarded the stanley cup, the team winning four years in a row following my introduction to the game (well, if i assume my introduction to the game came during my ninth month of life — and i ignored all the talk, during the 1979-1980 season, surrounding the montreal canadiens, last year’s champions).

just when the crowd was deciding on creative ways to end the game, russian roulette being, far and away, the top choice, danny briere faked a slap shot before wristing the puck over joey macdonald to make it 1-0. the only reason anyone stayed for the conclusion was that every child in attendance got to step on the ice and take a shot on goal. until then everyone sat on their hands as the intensity of the game demanded.

trying to see through their lenses.

7 November 2008

the interview was going well (really well, in fact) until the questions turned to my clothing choices. while i was aware that the company had a strict black-and-white dress code for its employees, i opted not to adhere to it considering i was still in the interviewing stage.

what made you choose this outfit?
i wanted to stay close to a black-and-white color pal…
so you knew you had to wear black and white here?

this line of questioning obviously caught me off guard. after all, i wouldn’t apply for a job at burger king wearing one of their uniforms, though, now that i’ve written that out, when applying for a job at a bank, for example, we know not to dress outside certain known constraints, so maybe i was in the wrong. by no means was my outfit outlandish however. i wore a white shirt and black jacket, charcoal moleskin trousers (you can’t wear those pants to work, she said), black loafers, and an orange tie with clouds and blue airplanes (you don’t have to wear a tie to work and you definitely cannot wear that one though i like it very much). if it hadn’t already gotten ridiculous by this point, i would say this is when it started to get ridiculous: you can’t wear those socks to work. my socks could only have been visible to her for an instant if she tilted her head in a certain, likely painful, manner and kept it there, like a nature photographer waiting motionless for a quick glimpse of a previously unknown behavior, but even more shocking is that she felt the need to make a comment about how my almost entirely black socks had a few stripes of olive and dots of pale gray.

the point she was trying to make, i would find out, was that my dress made her wonder whether i even knew what all black and white meant, ironic coming from a woman whose skirt was beige with black painted owls. i pointed this out during one of our less amiable exchanges.

black, white, and beige dress code, then?
well, as a regional manager, i don’t have to stick to that.
but those who don’t work for you do?

all my best lines are his.

4 November 2008

i’ve been hanging out with this girl for the past few weeks. initially we agreed to meet at seven pm, the actual day being unimportant. during our third meeting we finally achieved that arbitrary goal, seven pm, i said triumphantly while pointing at a clock.

she was outraged that i’d never eaten uncrustables (they don’t make your child better at piano or soccer, but they do make taking them to lessons or practice less hectic) before (to avoid further repercussions, i’ve kept hidden the fact that i’ve only eaten a handful of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my lifetime). i’ve since had three flavors (in descending taste order): strawberry jam and peanut butter, grape jam and peanut butter, and grilled cheese. i still think i could make a better version than smucker’s, if only becauseĀ i remain unconvinced that putting that name on a product means it has to be good.

she keeps a little zoo in her apartment: a rambunctious dog, a tailess cat, and two giant tanks full of fish. she gave away a ferret who lived there before i came around. she often tells me that i’d be happier if i had an animal companion. while i’ll admit that her dog is one of my favorite dogs out there, i still have an uneasy relationship with pets. that is, i’m afraid to have them rely on someone who is so loosely tethered to the world.

before she invites me over, she apologizes in advance for the messiness. sometimes i fill an empty box of miller lite (that’s our beer) with shredded paper towels and other debris. sometimes i move bowls to the sink and rinse them quickly with water. this doesn’t bother me as i understand that others live by different guidelines than i do, though it was difficult to keep that in mind when i saw the inside of the microwave she hadn’t cleaned in four years. still, considering i once spent a week living with someone who was likely schizophrenic, whose kitchen sink was filled with trash and bathtub looked like it had been used to cook — and burn — eggs, this wasn’t a major concern.

i had watched dan in real life early the day we met and, against my better judgment, it resonated with me for a little while. i told her, as steve carrell’s fictional character had written in a fictional book, that i wouldn’t hold her past against her (likewise her present and future though that went unverbalized, mostly because i didn’t have a movie from which to paraphrase) after she presented a story about self-operation that included buying medical supplies (clamps, anesthetic, gauze, et cetera) from canada. there was a lot of blood and pain as the anesthetic wore off, but everything turned out well. it was the best thing i’ve ever done, she said. again, i should let dan speak for me — instead of telling our young people to plan ahead, we should tell them to plan to be surprised — as he has a syndicated newspaper column, and i just have this blog.


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