Friday, January 30, 2015

Where's the Teeth?

I share an online calendar with a friend of mine. He works three jobs, and I try to stay social with my peeps, so it's just easiest to do a quick schedule check when we want to make plans like buying tickets to a show.

Last week I was sitting in the waiting area of my dentist's office when I got a text message. Here's what it said:

"You'll love this: I went in to my dentist appointment today at 2pm, only to discover that the appointment on my calendar was YOUR dentist appointment."

We were in separate offices across the city, but due to a misreading of a poorly color-coded time slot, only one of us was actually supposed to be there. 

He got hearty chuckles from the receptionist. I got my teeth cleaned. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Diamonds in the Rough

At some point in our lives, we've all worked at jobs that were, politely put, less than stellar. When I first moved to the TC, I worked retail at a boutique gift store. It was intended as a short-term gig, a place to land while I got my bearings in a new city. Six months, I reckoned, would do the trick.

Over a year later I was still there. I worked weird hours and could barely pay my rent, but I'd met such wonderful people. My coworkers were so bright and funny that they occasionally made me forget my aching back and the last customer who'd treated me like dirt.

There was a guy in a band who would write little songs, such as his ballad about the Loomis truck driver called "Armored Car of Love." There was a woman who would twirl rolls of wrapping paper like batons, tossing them up in the air with a flourish. There was a girl who would work late nights during the Christmas rush, and we'd dance outrageously to a techno version of Bing Crosby after the store closed.

But the story that makes me laugh without fail involves another girl who was (and is) utterly delightful. We'll call her Heidi.  Because that's her name.  For a few months, we were selling personalized bracelets. You could buy a simple leather band and choose individual "diamond"-encrusted letters to thread on in any combination that suited your taste. 

On one particularly slow afternoon, Heidi decided to do a little shopping. She announced that she was going to make a bracelet for her sister, and proceeded to carefully pluck sparkly pieces out of the trays. She finally turned, quite seriously, to display her creation.

"Do you think she'll like it?"

I'd expected her sister's name, perhaps, or initials, or an inspirational word that held special meaning for them both.  What I saw instead, spelled out in glittery diamond letters, was "POOP."

It was ridiculous. And genius. And still one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

I eventually left that job, partly due to a poor change of management, and partly because having to call 911 after skateboarders threw lit firecrackers into the store didn't seem worth $8 an hour. I was too young and dumb to realize that you shouldn't burn bridges, because I frickin' dynamited that one. But I was lucky enough to know a few real gems, and that's worth a lot.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Drink. Click.

Holy balls, people! It's been almost a month since my last post. I hope everyone had a lovely holiday.

I went home to South Dakota and spent a week eating my weight in goodies and generally trying to return to my natural vegetative/hibernating state. 

One night I heard my dad shout that he was watching slides. I roused myself from beneath a heated blanket and made my way to the basement, where I found him clicking through a tray of my parents' wedding pictures from 1974.

I was well acquainted with all the images, since I'd painstakingly scanned, edited, and archived them several years before. But I'd never had the accompanying commentary from a happily buzzed father. 

"Look at that. Look at your mom. She looks like a freakin' movie star!" 

Drink. Click. 

"I never really noticed how pretty that dress was. With the lace on the sleeves and neck ..."

Drink. Click. 

"Whoah! Someone put a lot of work into those streamers."

Long pause while it slowly dawned on him after 40 years. 

"You know, I bet when all of us guys left and went out to the bar, the girls stayed behind and decorated!"

At that moment my mom arrived to confirm, with an amused smirk, that he was correct. Then she joined him on the couch to fill in the rest of the blanks, and they both looked back on each other as if for the first time. 

Drink. Click.