Category — What is wrong with you?

The guests that never leave

I went to a fabulous party last night.  It was a non-shower, baby shower.

More like a cool party where both sexes were invited and not one single baby game was played.  Awesome!

Great food, great conversation, great guests and super great hosts.  Not to mention one damn cute dog.

But there was this one couple who kept to themselves the whole night.  Hour after hour they ate snacks and only spoke to each other. I tried a few times to visually connect with them and say hello, but they weren’t having any.

They like cheese popcorn

As the clock kept ticking and guest after guest left (including family members) the American Gothic couple (my nickname for them) showed no signs departure.

At about 10 pm, then they moved to the family room and comfortably settled into the sectional, watching TV and not speaking or looking at the few remaining people.  The only thing that was missing were the pajamas.

By then, I was itching to pull her hair into a bun and hand him a pitchfork.

On the drive home, it made me ponder why people go to parties and not talk to anyone else for hours.  And also why people turn into the guests that won’t leave.  Since this is Palm Sunday, here are my thoughts,  Ten Commandments style, on the rules I believe they follow.

1.  Hold thy tongue, while coveting thy neighbors snacks.

2. Thou shall not speak with strangers lest a venereal disease flies out of their mouth and into yours.

3.  Speaking interferes with beer pong, so hush thy mouth and guzzle thy hops.

4. Thou shall not speak after 5 p.m. except to place a drink order.

5.  Thou shall not engage with the unwashed masses.

6.  To show your devotion to the hosts, thou shall stay into perpetuity.

7.  After the hosts fall asleep, help thee to the jewelry, silverware and dog food.

8.  It is sinful to utter the word “goodbye.”

9.  Should the hosts decide to sell the house, thou will be moved to the next place along with the furniture.

10.  No need to get thee a life.  Thou have already taken over someone else’s.

And so it is written.

April 17, 2011   1 Comment

Dear Sirs. Oh, no you didn’t!

Yesterday I received a form email from a U.K. public relations firm trying to update its media contact list.

The sender was “Amy.”   The email began “Dear Sirs.”


Just on the outside chance I’ve taken a trip in a time machine, I take stock of my environment.  No bell-bottomed jeans, no peace symbol necklaces and no leather headband. I check the calendar, just to be sure.  Yup, it says 2011, not 1968.

Phew.  I’m good.

Hey, Amy….what time period are you living in?!!  Are you a maiden partying with Anne Boleyn at Hever Castle?!  Are you a scullery maid for Queen Victoria?!  Or simply dressing for dinner at a manor in Surrey?!  Because last time I checked, the U.K. workforce also has women in it.  Or haven’t you noticed?

Here’s the thing.  The rest of us residing in 2011 pretty much get that addressing an email to a list that’s at least 50% female as “Dear Sirs,” will give you and your firm a big black eye.

Communications specialist, you say?!!  Amy you are a riot!

On the other hand, I do have a sensitive side.  Perhaps Amy has been part of a cult that’s been cut off from society?   Or maybe she was never taught about gender equality.  Or maybe she has mother issues.

So big-hearted me would like to help her along.  Here are a few pieces of information and tips for you, Amy.

a.  Many females work outside the home.  We get paychecks, run companies and are respected. As preposterous as that might sound, I pinky-swear…it’s true.

b.  If you take a closer look, you’ll find that you do have keys on your keyboard that are capable of typing and Madam.

c.   Most of us no longer walk six paces behind our partner.  Unless, of course, we are positioning ourselves to push him into oncoming traffic.

d.  I’m thinking that communications might not be the right profession for you.  Here’s a thought. You might want to audition for a remake of Stepford Wives.

e.  Woman are allowed to own land and vote.  Shocking, but there you have it.

f.  Always know your audience.  Otherwise, a sarcastic woman who fought the equality battle decades ago may very well blog about you.

April 13, 2011   Comments Off on Dear Sirs. Oh, no you didn’t!

Travel day from hell

I love visiting places all over the world.  The getting there part…not so much.  One of my least favorite airports in the whole world is Miami International.  Let me count the ways.

1.  Leaving the airport is Groundhog Day redux.  I triple dare you not to get lost. (My escapades detailed here.)

2.  Dropping the rental car back at the airport is harder than the leaving part.  As if that could be possible.  The path between finding a gas station to tank up and getting the car back to the rental center resembles silly string after it’s left the can.  You need to allow an extra hour to navigate all of this.  Seriously.

3.  Then there’s the barrel of laughs associated with checking luggage.  Today, there was the queen of all morons who didn’t get the concept of anything over 50 pounds means an excess baggage fee.  She also didn’t get that the people behind her were not on a field trip to the airport, but actually needed to catch a flight, too.

Yes, princess, the rules apply to you, too.  No, they aren’t willing to make an exception “just this time.”  This is the airlines.  They eat their young and smile while doing so.  These are the people who make signs that say if your bag is 50.1 pounds, you will pay an excess weight fee.  They count ounces for chrissakes, so they really aren’t going to cut you slack for 14 extra pounds.  Just as an FYI, you also aren’t going to get a free snack and blanket, either.

Oh, and one more thing.  Since I would like to get home during this millenium, I would appreciate if you yank your bag off the scale and deal with sorting your underwear off to the side.  Okay?!

Don't be fooled by the pastels. MIA is a house of horrors.

4.  Having survived the luggage process, I’ve got just enough time to hit the rest room before racing to the gate.  I enter to find two cleaning ladies screaming at each other in Spanish.  The verbal duel continued at about 100 decibels the entire time I was in the ladies room. Bonus? I even got a dirty look for giving them a dirty look.  Sweet.

5.  Grateful to finally be back on the ground in Chicago, I headed to baggage claim.  I kept my fingers crossed that there wouldn’t be a long wait for luggage.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the carousel move a few minutes after I arrived.  I was even more surprised to see my bag among the first to be off loaded.

You can't pull a bag by grabbing metal stubs.

That is, until I reached for it.  Somewhere between MIA and ORD, the telescoping pull handle had been broken off the bag.  Beyond irritated.  Picture me hunched over like Quasimodo, trying to drag 48 pounds of luggage through baggage claim.  Very attractive.

On the bright side, I got a nice little tan during my time in South Florida.  So far, the airlines haven’t figured out a way to bill me for that.

April 5, 2011   2 Comments

Kicking the tires, biting the steering wheel

I have to admit, I find the Chicago Auto Show little bit perplexing.

With my car approaching its 17th birthday (yeah, you read that right), I thought it might be a good idea to take a quick drive over to McCormick Place to do a little side-by-side eyeballing.  You know…just in case I want to stop driving an “ancient car,” as my accountant refers to it.

It’s been decades since I last went to the car show and didn’t exactly know what I would find there.

For me, McCormick Place is where I go to attend trade shows.  Mostly business folk in suits or corporate logo shirts trying to uncover the latest technology.

From the second I walked out of the parking structure and onto the enclosed bridge that connects you to the main facility, I knew the vibe was going to be a tad different.  For starters there were lots and lots of short people.  I know that there is a politically-correct name for them.  Wait.  Give me a sec.  Oh yeah…children.

I thought the car show would offer some ordered environment where I could ask questions about a vehicle, get a little one-on-one time with the car and maybe do a little horse trading.  And that the decibel level would be under three digits.

Clearly, I was clueless.

Once I got inside, I encountered a full-fledged carnival atmosphere.  They were selling popcorn, pretzels and other casual fare.  For the taller people, they even had an adult beverage stand–probably to help them deal with the screaming and jumping shorter people.

In a nut shell, the car show was closer to McDonald’s Playland than Let’s Make a Deal.  Basically, it was people and their families crawling in and out of vehicles.  Jumping on back seats with drinks. Pressing buttons in repetitive jackhammer motions. And twirling knobs in an attempt to drill into middle-earth.  In short, an amusement park with stationary rides.

The manufacturers’ representatives seemed to be hunkered down at a counter in the back of each display area. (No dummies, there.) It wouldn’t surprise me to find they were armed with C-rations, camo gear and grenades.  With the exception of the jump-suited cleaning crews whose job was to repetitively whisk off imaginary lint from car exteriors, pretty much the signs (some of them interactive) did all the taking.

The promised land.

BTW, Mercedes Benz did offer me a pair of 3D glasses so that I could watch the videos they were projecting on pillars.  No thanks.  Don’t need to see a 3D movie of the line, because this is the car show, right?  And unless I am hallucinating, you have actual cars here, correct?  That’s sort of like inviting me to watch a movie of the Eiffel Tower when I’m standing at the base of the Eiffel Tower.

The other creepy thing is that people strangers psychos think it’s normal to crawl into the passenger’s seat when you have just gotten into the driver’s seat.  Hello!  Personal space invasion.  Perimeter alarm.  Creepy creeperton! (The latter is specifically-targeted to the guy who said, “oh, its fine if you sit here with me” with a leery grin.  Yeah, thanks for the offer Ted Bundy, but I don’t think so.)

Then there was the baby.  (Cutest little boy…ever.)  However, his parents allowed him to use the leather-covered steering wheel of a BMW 5 series as a teething ring.    And then take a picture of him doing it, because it is oh so cute to put saliva and a couple of teeth marks all over the belting leather of a $60 thousand car.

Finally, my hat’s off to Ferrari.  No dummies, there.  Unlike Mercedes, BMW, Porche, Audi, Lexus, Range Rover, etc., Ferrari does not exhibit at the Chicago Auto Show.  I guess their customers aren’t interested in buying a well-trampled $200 thousand California model with teeth marks, giant pretzel crumbs and Slurpee stains.  Go figure.

February 19, 2011   Comments Off on Kicking the tires, biting the steering wheel

Eggs. Not just for breakfast anymore.

If you caught the Grammy telecast, you may have noticed that Lady Gaga arrived in a huge egg.  Carried in by muscular egg bearers, no less.  It wasn’t labeled, so I’m not sure if it was organic, from a free-range chicken or just your basic white model.

Trains, planes, eggs

So, if Lady Gaga can arrive in an egg, I’m thinking that the whole range of grocery products are now eligible for transport.  I’m imagining stepping into the street and hailing a zucchini.   If I’m in the mood to splurge, I might try to book a ride in a stretch eggplant.

I wonder if these new generation vehicles come with options.  Mushroom air bags?  Cantaloupe cup holders?  Carrot stick shifts?

But let’s step out of the chicken coop and away from vegetarian plate for a second.  I get the whole “artistic expression” thing, but sometime the envelope is pushed so hard that art becomes caricature. (Two words. Meat dress.)  In my opinion, Gaga is one Whole Foods shopping cart away from toppling to the other side.

In the interest of full disclosure…I’m a Gaga fan.  I think she’s really gifted.  But I’m starting to get really distracted by all of the gimmicks.  (I mean, she wears or arrives in more protein than most people eat in a year!)

In addition to the Grammy arrival via hatching, there were also the prosthetic shoulders and forehead protrusions.  I almost forgot to mention the rubber ass cheeks.  (I’m deliriously happy that my mother wasn’t sitting next to me watching this because it would be impossible to explain the reason someone would be wearing an ass dress.)

Enough already Gaga.   You are just getting too scrambled for my taste.

February 13, 2011   4 Comments

$6 club soda. Seriously?!

Last night I paid $6 for a club soda.  WTF?!  In the interest of full disclosure, it was actually $5 and I tipped the server a dollar, but the WTF still stands.

It was a glass full of ice cubes and maybe 3 oz of soda, all in.  Let’s not forget the straw and the cocktail napkin.

People…please tell me.  How does it even make sense that a club soda costs five  bucks?  It’s not like it was served in a silver goblet…or that they threw in a complimentary neck massage.

Oh…and NO SNACKS.  Sorry, but is that even legal?!  Isn’t there an amendment somewhere that says if you are going to get charged that kind of money for a club soda, you need to also get some over-salted peanuts along with that?!

You did notice by now, that I’m still in Las Vegas…and still hating it, right?

What? No shots?

And if the club soda episode wasn’t enough, this is what I saw this morning as I walked out my hotel room.  (Sorry, for the lighting, but I was trying to sneak the shot as others were walking by.)  This is not a floor with hospitality suites.  Just your regular old deluxe king rooms.  Occupied typically by one or two people.

I’d like to know who this person(s) was who could suck down this much beer and not die.  Or perhaps they are in the Vegas morgue with a toe tag that reads: King of Beers.

February 8, 2011   Comments Off on $6 club soda. Seriously?!

Crazy cat lady

I live in a high rise on Chicago’s lakefront.  My building has 200 plus condos.  So, with so many people living in a vertical space you will get people that run the gamut from normal to nutty.  Sometimes you get a whole fruit bowl.

Right before lunch I entered the elevator to drop off some outgoing mail with our desk person.  I immediately notice a fellow tenant holding a beautiful Burmese cat.  Uh oh. Having lived in this building for almost 20 years, this was my first elevator cat encounter.  This is a very good thing because I am severely allergic to cats.  So much so, that I avoid going to cat people’s homes because the end result is not pretty.

Neither the cat, nor the human was dressed to go out into the impending blizzard, so I was curious as to the reason the cat was riding in the elevator.  I ask….

Does your cat want to go outside and experience the 40 mile an hour winds?  Are you trying to introduce her to a Chicago blizzard?

The cat owner’s answer was under the category of “people…what is wrong with you?!”

Cat health club

I sometimes like to take the cat to the penthouse party room.  No one is up there during the day so I take her up there and let her run around.

If I owned a sledgehammer it would have already drilled a hole in my skull.  I looked at her incredulously and said:

Umm…there are people like me who live in this building and are severely allergic to cats.  You have just spread allergens all over the party room so that if I sit on a piece of furniture your cat sat on, I’m going to break out in hives, cry and start itching.

However, what I really wanted to say was:

Lady, you realize that isn’t Secretariat in your arms, right?  Cats, by nature are lazy.  They are the exercise anti-Christ.  Sleeping is their primary goal in life.  Taking your cat for a brisk run around a party room may  be fun for you, but I’m pretty sure the cat will reward you by dumping some of its body fluid on your clean sheets as soon as you take her home.

I saved the best for last.  This woman (also middle-aged) is a medical doctor.

Moral of the story?  Another example of how higher education does not necessarily translate into common sense.

February 1, 2011   1 Comment