1. I have now been a part of no less than four truck breakdowns at new job, including a depot record two in one day on Monday. I'm starting to get a reputation. Number one I've talked about previously. Number two was harmless (apart from a tongue lashing from our one-toothed mechanic who sounds like the crazy cat lady from the Simpsons when he gets agitated). The truck didn't exhibit any signs of malfunction until I pulled into the garage at the end of my shift. At that point it started smoking furiously and smelling like burning flesh. I still don't know what was wrong with it (see mechanic above), but I know he wasn't happy with me and the truck was out of commission for a week or so. Monday's episodes I can't be blamed for as I wasn't even driving, just riding along. I won't bore with the details, but the end results were unloading one truck and loading another on the shoulder of a freeway at 5:00AM (breakdown #1) and an hour-long ride from St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, to New Hope in the backseat of a tow truck (I didn't realize they had backseats either, but am thankful they do as I wasn't interested in riding three across the whole way back) which gave me an awful kink in my neck from the awkward position I was forced to take my nap in. So, to sum up, I have killed or been an accomplice in the killing of four different trucks already. I have been acquitted once from insufficient evidence, allowed to walk once from a hung jury, and escaped twice as my partner refused to testify against me. I am the Jeffrey Dahmer of high-caloric delivery trucks.
2. Speaking of the new job, a combination of that and the grueling, ultra-competitve Schlitz Sporting Club have left me with a nasty case of late 1970's pre-teen boy legs. In other words, before video games and cable became so incredibly awesome that sheer boredom forced you outside and, invariably, into physical activities. Witness:
Photo one is, I believe, proof that my skin has the toughness of wet toliet paper. Not the double strength Charmin that those creepy cartoon bears always have stuck to their ass in the commericials but the kind of toliet paper you find if you have ever been unfortunate enough to have to take a shit at Walmart or the Metrodome. This injury occurred playing volleyball with the Schlitz Sporting Club last Sunday. Understandble, perhaps, except for we played volleyball on the kind of lush sand you see in travel brochures for exotic beaches in places you have never heard of. It was so soft you could make matresses from it. How I managed to savagely tear up my knee in it is beyond comprehension. It's akin to suffering a concussion in a pillow fight with a toddler.
Photo two is the aftermath of a savage attack I suffered from a fully-loaded bread rack. Rushing to finish my day last Saturday and begin my sorry excuse for a weekend, I was pushing a fully-loaded rack up a ramp at a faster than recommended speed (yes, bread racks have speed limits). One small stone in my path began the slapstick hilarity. A wheel hit the stone just perfectly, causing the rack to lurch violently forward and begin tipping over. Determined not to let this happen, I reacted quickly, pulling back on the rack with everything I had. Unfortunately, in my split-second reaction, I failed to take into account that I would also have gravity in my favor (I was pushing uphill). The result was pretty obvious. Next thing I knew I was laying on my back in the Cub parking lot, buried in 108 loaves of white, wheat and pumpernickel bread. My extreme shame and embarrassment caused me to jump up quickly (I tried to do that!), reload the cart and race into the store. Only after a few minutes of wondering why I was getting horrified stares from suburban tennis moms did I realize my leg was gushing blood.
3. I have been offered (and accepted) a temporary contract writing reviews of various places/events around Mpls. I found the position on Craigslist, which made me a bit jittery as 97% of Craigslist ads result in anal rape or worse, as anyone who watches as much Lifetime Television or the Hallmark Channel as I do can attest. However, it was with a site I had heard of before and follow up emails with them have been reassuring. The interesting part is the ad said they were looking for "young, hip, social butterflys" for the gig. Without question, these are the first three descriptive terms I would use for myself if asked. Or perhaps the last three. Either way, I sent them a link to my blog and answered a few sample questions and was offered the gig. The only catch is they want the reviews to be short (ala Twitter format). As is agonizingly obvious to anyone who has read this far, being short and concise isn't easy for me. I get far too much egotistical enjoyment from my own narrative and tend to go on and on (and on). So, it may be a bit of a challenge. Regardless, I'm looking forward to it. My friend Carrie (who has done online reviews previously) summed it up best when I turned to her for advice: "Writing for money is entirely different than writing for yourself. Think of it as having sex with an old woman. Your dick knows what it is doing, but it isn't necessarily enjoying itself." Brilliant.
4. I realized sometime this week that I have worn long pants exactly twice since May 19th. Once was for a wedding. The other was for a wake. I don't know whether to be proud or embarrassed of this.
5. Finally, story time. Or, more accurately, a cautionary tale about the perils of shopping severely hungover while suffering from middle-aged dementia.
I have a good friend - for sake of anonymity, let's call him Moe Bepple - who quite often is inviting me for cocktails. I like Moe, and I love cocktails, but 98% of the time I decline. Sometimes it is for legitimate excuses (other engagements, responsibilities, etc.), but sometimes it is because I am simply afraid. Moe is 30 years old and, like most people ten years younger than I, is able to consume far more alcohol far more frequently than I. When I do agree to meet up with Moe, it always follows the same pattern: He will buy the first round, which we will drink down and I will buy the second. Then it's his turn, then mine, etc. It's a pretty simple ABAB pattern that you learn in kindergarten. However, I think Moe may have been absent the day they taught this lesson. Sometime around the third repitition, he always seems to fuck it up by introducing "C" into the equation. In this example, "C" = undistinguishable potent shots. So, now our simple ABAB pattern has evolved into something that looks like this: ABAB(A*C). Confused yet? If not, hang on. After Moe introduces "C" into the equation, I will try to regain balance (literally and figuratively) by simply providing my B. (ABAB(A*C)B). Moe, however, will not be denied. Before my B has more than a few sips gone, A rears it's ugly head again, with it's now permanent (even uglier-headed) attachment C. Pretty soon, B is removed from the equation altogether and we end up with something like this: ABAB(A*C)(1/2B)(A*C)C(A*C)AA(A*C)C. The end result is never pretty. I don't want to give the impression that it's not fun - it always is, but it usually takes me about a week to recover.
Anyhoo, back to the story. A couple of weeks ago, Moe asked if KT and I would be interested in meeting he and his wife for a drink somewhere before they went to a Twins game. Perfect. It was on a Saturday, meaning I had to work and couldn't meet before 4:00 or so. Plus, the Twins started at 6:00. How much damage could be done in two hours? Needless to say, I severely underestimated Moe and his damned complex formulas. Seven hours and two unused Twins tickets later I somehow ended up at home in bed passed out cold. KT was slightly better off than I (apparently being a female - or perhaps just being sensible - allows you to refuse to accept C into your equation), but feeling no pain all the same.
Sunday morning arrived with all the well-deserved head and stomach issues one might expect. Fortunately, we didn't have a huge list of things we needed to accomplish. A quick simple trip to Menards for a pair of gloves to protects my hands from razor-sharp loaves of bread was all that was on our agenda. Piece of cake. Several Excedrin and a few pots of coffee and we were on our way at the break of noon.
Anyone who knows and loves KT dearly is already aware of the following two facts, but for all others, a brief tutorial:
Anyone who knows and loves KT dearly is already aware of the following two facts, but for all others, a brief tutorial:
1. KT loves Menards. Everything and anything about it. This is in direct contrast to my feelings about Menards.
2. KT does not, nor has she ever, allowed public spaces or the presence of others (strangers or friends/family) discourage her from talking about, laughing about or (especially) expelling gas. Where most others feel a sense of embarrassment or shame, KT feels nothing. While most times this results is nothing more sinister than exceptionally loud belching in the middle of a store, it can occassionally take a nastier turn.
Because of my severe hangover, I didn't have the energy to gripe and moan and be the crybaby I typically am at Menards and I allowed KT to meander the aisles aimlessly with only token resistance. After suffering through bathroom fixtures, power tools and doors we arrived at the "seasonal" section which is always her favorite. The seasonal section in late summer was filled with close out patio furniture and other summery items they were trying to dump off to make room for the Halloween crap they would be displaying soon. I picked a comfortable looking chair in the corner and popped a squat knowing it would be several minutes before KT was thoroughly satisfied she had sat on every available chair/loveseat/swing possible. Watching her from my perch, however, I noticed her with a rather disturbing look on her face, jumping from seat to seat at a pace much quicker than normal. I knew immediately what was going on and wasn't surprised in the least when she waddled (yes waddled) over and said "we should probably get out of here". You see, as comfortable as KT is with farting in public, she is equally - if not more - comfortable quickly vacating the scene of the crime and pinning the deed on some poor innocent sucker who just happens to be wandering by.
Happy for the excuse to bail, I jump up and head for the registers careful to stay upwind of KT. We head to an open lane, watch the high-school age girl ring up one pair of gloves and a box of Gobstoppers, and then stare at each other uncomfortably while the cashier repeats the amount we owe a few times. We both reailized immediately that we hadn't brought any form of payment along but spent a few moments patting all of our pockets anyways, not wanting be the one to break the news that we were unable to pay. Finally I caved, saying "sorry, just realized I forgot my wallet and don't have any money on me". KT, always the polite one (public flatulence aside), chimed in "we'll come back, we promise!". I'm not sure if the cashier felt pity or scorn, and I'm not sure which would be worse, but she just turned to the next people in line and explained that it would be just a bit as she needed a supervisor to come over and cancel our sale out.
That's not so bad, right? Just about everyone has at one time or another forgotten their wallet or even dropped ass in a store. It's not a big deal - we just cut our losses, laugh it off and head home for a much needed nap. Yeah, well, not quite. Sometime between leaving Menards and walking the 30 yards to our car, KT and I seemed to forget all the valuable lessons we just learned. We didn't drive home. Instead, we drove directly across the street to Target. I still can't figure out how it is possible for not one, but two, people to completely forget within 30 seconds that they had no money along, but KT and I managed to do it. We strolled into Target and began shopping anew. Miraculously, however, I managed to recall our lack of payment option before we reached the register. Sheepishly, we headed for the exits. About 100 feet from the door, however, KT violently grabbed my arm, digging her nails deep into my flesh. Before I could react she begain wailing as if she were in labor. Again, KT and I have been together a while, so I knew exactly what was going on. She had to poop. Along with a lack of filter on appropriate times/places to expel gas, KT seems to lack the warning signs others get when it's time to take a deuce. It seems to strike her suddenly, violently and without warning or mercy. A nasty hangover only makes it worse. So, to compound my misery, I walked out of Target with KT clinging to my elbow, wincing and loudly proclaiming "It's coming! It's coming! I have to pooooooooooop!" while all the normal Sunday shoppers watched us not sure whether to call the police, ambulance or psych ward.
We left Target and headed for home. After a nap, more Excedrin and KT taking care of her intestinal issues, we tried one last time. Too embarrassed to go back to either of the other places, I was desperate enough to tap Walmart. The trip went off without a hitch and after three stores and six hours I had my work gloves (and my Gobstoppers). It's ironic that Walmart was our success story as our other exploits would have been par for the course there and nobody would have even noticed. Three lessons were learned from the experience:
1. Never, under any circumstances, trust Moe Bepple when he wants to have a "couple" beers
2. Never, under any circumstances, go in public with KT after a night of drinking unless she has successfully expunged all her demons
3. Despite my protestations to the contrary, we are indeed "Walmart people"