Monday, June 24, 2013

I Am a Literal Saint... Albeit Begrudgingly But a Saint Nonetheless

Wednesdays are a busy day for me. No, not at work. I only have like three or four busy days a month at work and they don't often fall on a Wednesday. Wednesdays are busy home days. Why is that so? You may be asking yourself. The answer is plain and simple. Thursdays are trash day. Need I elaborate? Whether I need to or not, I will elaborate because otherwise this would be a relatively short post and, as we all know, I don't kowtow to brevity peer pressure. The fact that Thursday is trash day is important because I need to place the containers by the curb so that the collection truck can pick it up and do whatever they do with trash. In a bit of a side note, I really don't know what they do with the trash. A co-worker was having issues with the disposal of a dead skunk once and I suggested throwing it in the trash and she was appalled. Apparently, it's illegal to dump dead animals in the trash  I have made a mental note of that for future reference. Not that I have ever disposed of a dead squirrel, after the BF's puppy killed it that one Sunday morning, by placing its lifeless body inside two plastic bags and depositing the bags in the trash bin. FYI, the two bags were to make sure that it didn't attract any animals and they in no way indicate that the squirrel was torn in two or more pieces thus necessitating multiple bags. Come to think of it, there was not any blood so I am pretty sure it died because its neck snapped and thus endured a quick and painless death. Also, this probably did not happen because I totally did not put that squirrel in the trash collection bin. I realize that, by now, I have gone on three different tangents. Let's recap: first, there's the main story about Wednesdays being busy; second, we have the skunk story with a co-worker which is being used as a means to illustrate that I don't know what happens to trash once it is collected; and third, there's the non-incriminating story about the squirrel. The squirrel story, just as its titular character, has reached its end so I will finish up the second tangent. As I was saying, a co-worker was appalled that I suggested dumping the skunk remains in the trash because it is illegal and, this she added of her own volition making me pontificate on what happens with trash once we are done with it, because she felt sorry for the people that have to sort through the trash to try and salvage whatever may be recyclable. I told her that I did not think there were people that sifted through the trash but the seed of doubt was planted in me. Luckily, the seed never germinated as I was not curious enough to look up whether trash gets sorted or not. I think it's about time for me to go back to the main story.

Wednesdays are a busy day for me. If you factor in that the house is only occupied by me and the Old Man, it is obvious the house does not get too messy. Especially since I have not really cooked since Medea and Dad left for Mexico and the Old Man avoids cooking because he makes a big mess. I never told him anything about the messes he used to make. I would just go after him cleaning and he finally got the hint. Do I feel bad that he does not cook and has to purchase most of his meals? Yeah, I do. But, not too much because he loves onions and he used to stink up the whole house with the smell of burning onions. He is not a great cook. All this to say that, although I pick stuff up here and there throughout the week, I really only clean on Wednesdays. Now, you will be reading this post on a Monday, but I wrote it on a Thursday so from now on when I say yesterday, keep in mind I mean Wednesday and not Sunday. Are you with me so far? If you are, let's move on. If you are not, I don't know what to tell you. Maybe I will apologize because your education system failed you. I am not sure if I will apologize though because that is not my fault. Regardless of whether I apologize or not, I am moving on because there is no reason to hold everyone else back just because a hypothetical you can't keep up. Try to follow along and maybe you'll get it. Anyway, yesterday (Wednesday, remember?) after work I went home and had a light dinner and started straightening things up right away and worked diligently until I was done. Ha ha, as if! After dinner I laid down on my bed for a while (an hour or two) and watched some Saturday Night Live. It was still Wednesday, by the way, but Netflix has a whole bunch of old SNL seasons available for instant streaming. I really gotta stop referencing all these days of the week. It gets confusing after a while. Well, I finally set about cleaning and I did work for about two hours in the common areas of the house. It's not that I have attention deficit disorder, but I get bored easily. To avoid being bored while I am busy with mindless chores, I always play Will & Grace in the background as I own all eight seasons. Why is that important? You ask. It's not. I just wanted to share that with you. Does everything have to have a point? The answer to that is "I hope not because otherwise I have wasted a lot of time writing about cleaning on an article about me being a saint." I am getting to that, by the way. Don't rush me. Not everything is about the destination, sometimes it is about the journey. This time it is about the journey so allow me to be your guide and quit complaining about the many detours so you can enjoy the word landscape I paint before you. A forced metaphor, perhaps, but nothing is perfect so let's move on. Among my most hated chores, and I hate them all although with different degrees of severity, is washing dishes. Especially since I still wash dishes by hand as I don't trust dishwasher machines since I was raised washing dishes by hand and that is the only way that I feel that dishes are really clean. Washing dishes is not only annoying; and gross; and smelly; and your hands get all wrinkly from the water during; and they become very dry after, forcing you to use copious amounts of moisturizing lotion to regain a semblance of normal skin; but it used to always make my back hurt. I say used to because I have learned that if I sit on a stool while washing dishes, my back won't hurt. Well, I was sitting on my stool washing dishes and watching Will & Grace when the Old Man returned from wherever he goes during the day and attempted to tell me about his day while I washed and watched (dishes and TV respectively).  The conversation did not go well because I am not a great multitasker and, despite the fact that I have watched all eight seasons of Will & Grace at least five times and can quote my favorite jokes in every episode along with the actors, I was way more interested in the TV show than in what he had to say. He eventually got the hint and went quietly to his room where I expected him to stay for the rest of the evening/night.

I finished doing dishes and moved on to sweeping, taking out the trash, and mopping. When I was finished with all the cleaning and while I was getting a glass of water to take to my room, the Old Man slunk out of his room and asked if I would take him to the emergency room. I had just finished mopping and was wearing just a white undershirt and some shorts and was all sweaty so I told him I would have to take a shower first. He then said that he may not need to go to the emergency room right then because he had just taken some medicine and he wanted to see if it would take effect and that he may not need to go to the emergency room after all. He said that he would let me know. I told him that was fine and went into my room hoping that his medicine would do the trick. I was putting some clothes up and straightening out my room a bit when, about half an hour later, he knocked on my door. I begrudgingly opened the door and he said that he would have to go to the hospital after all. I asked him to give me a minute to take a quick shower and change. He told me that was unnecessary as all I had to do was drop him off since he was not expecting me to wait with him. I asked how he was going to get back and he said he would call someone when the time came. Dun, dun, dun... Since I was just going to drop him off, I decided to just throw on a shirt and put on some flip flops as I was envisioning just pulling up to the door for him to get out before I just drove away. I did not even comb my hair or grab my hat or anything. On our way to the hospital, he casually mentions that he meant to grab his handicap tag from his truck so that I could park in a handicap parking space. I asked him why would I need it and he mentioned that he wanted me to go in to make sure that he could communicate what was wrong to the ER staff. I was already unhappy about having to drive him there but asking me to go in with him after not having a chance to get ready was really going over the line. I managed to swallow my frustration and, after dropping him off at the door and finding a parking space, I quickly ran my fingers through my hair and headed for the entrance. Allow me to paint you a picture. I was wearing black flip flops with a pair of black shorts made out of the same material as sweat pants and which people usually wear around the house during the winter. On top of this, I was wearing a t-shirt with navy blue and white stripes that did not match the shorts or the flip flops. Add to that a disheveled head of hair and, although not a miasma, a subtle hint of sweat and exhaustion that one could hardly describe as pleasant. I was not happy. When I walked into the lobby, the Old Man was already in a wheelchair and they were wheeling him into the admissions area. He motioned for me to follow and, surrounded by an aura of embarrassment and defeat, I followed them into the admissions area. Luckily, the lady that came in to take all his information spoke Spanish so I was able to quickly and easily excuse myself and head back to my car to drive home.

As I walked back to my car, the whole nightmarish ordeal now behind me, I started to feel better. Was I happy that I had helped the Old Man? Not really. I am not a selfless person at all. However, I could not help thinking that, independently of whether or not I was happy about it, I had done a good deed and I had good karma coming my way. I felt really proud of myself and decided that I deserved a treat for my saintly work. I mean, I may not be Mother Teresa but I did take the Old Man to the hospital so that should count for something. It did not take me long to decide on how I was going to help the cosmos reward myself. I headed to Chipotle. By now, it was nearly ten at night. In fact, I got to Chipotle just five minutes before they closed. I saw this as a sign that the universe was thanking me for my good deed. When I left Chipotle, brown paper bag in hand containing the scrumptious components of a very late and heavy meal, and got in my car, serendipity surprised me yet again. Upon turning on the radio and switching stations I heard this song and interpreted it as another sign of the good fortune of which I felt I was really reserving,
If you have not heard that song before, please watch the video. I swear to you that it is worth watching. I first ran across this song back in February of this year. It caught my eye because it was on sale on iTunes for sixty-nine cents and it was by the singer of that "Thrift Shop" song that was being played everywhere. I clicked on it to listen to the sample and remember hearing the first two lines, " When I was in the third grade / I thought that I was gay." I was not sure if I had heard right so I headed over to YouTube and listened to the whole song and by the end of the song I had tears in my eyes. No, I was not blubbering, but I could have if I did not have an instant urge to share it with everyone I thought would be open to its message. Upon further research, I learned that the infamous "Thrift Shop" was Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' second single and that "Same Love" had been released a few months prior to it. At that point it made me very sad that "Same Love" did not get any airtime in Texas. I was not surprised, mind you. Just saddened. I own the song and the video to "Same Love" and I can't listen to it without feeling a sense of pride and getting a bit choked up. Needless to say, I was pretty excited that it was on the radio. I could not believe my good luck that "Same Love" was getting some airplay in Texas. I, being the humble and reasonable human being that I am, assumed that it was all due to my grand display of charity and turned the volume up in my car as loud as it would go as I drove home. I was walking on air by the time that I got home and I felt that nothing could go wrong. I went inside and feasted on my Chipotle burrito while enjoying one of my favorite British comedy shows, The Catherine Tate Show, on Netflix.

At around 3:30 a.m. my good luck ran out. I woke up and I was feeling nauseated. I figured out pretty quickly that it is not wise to eat a whole Chipotle burrito with spicy salsa, chips & guacamole right before bed. I had to get up and take some Alka-Seltzer and sit up for a minute so that my indigestion would subside. Fifteen minutes later I was back asleep. Unfortunately, that did not last long. At 4:40 a.m. my phone started ringing. Remember earlier when I wrote "Dun, dun, dun..." after the Old Man had said he would call someone to pick him up? Guess who he called? I answered the phone and one of the nurses told me that the Old Man was ready to go home and he had asked her to call me to pick him up. I, naively but hopefully, asked if he would be waiting for me at the door and I was told I had to go in to room seven to pick him up. I was not happy. I was very not happy. I know unhappy is a word but I felt like saying "very not happy." Get over it. I got up and got dressed. This time, I had the presence of mind to wear jeans and a cap so that I did not look as scraggly. The general air of exhaustion, exasperation, and discontent remained around me through the whole ordeal though. As I was driving back, I could not help but to feel I was being punished for something.  I did not know why though as I did not deserve to be punished but rewarded for my good deeds and my humble ways. I was not even pleased, well too pleased, when the song "Thrift Shop" came on the radio reminding me that "Same Love" had played on the radio the night before. I arrived at the hospital to find the Old Man still in his room complaining about what they had done to him and the fact that they had given him fluids. The nurse came in for him to sign his discharge papers and it was then that I found out that he was being discharged because he refused to be admitted. How did I find this out? I had to sign a paper saying that I was a witness when he declined further medical assistance. I begrudgingly signed the paper just to get everything over with. I was seething though. I was woken up because the Old Man refused to be admitted to the same hospital he had made me drive him to the previous night. The nurse may have noticed my annoyance because she asked if I wanted to go get the car and wait out front for her to wheel the Old Man out. I gladly stepped out and drove the car to the front where I had to wait about ten minutes for the Old Man to get all the crap he had brought with him in a Wal-Mart bag. I had been concerned earlier whether or not I was emitting any aromas since I had been sweating in the afternoon but once the Old Man got in my car I realized my concerns were invalid as there is no way anyone would have been able to smell anything on me as long as I was near the Old Man. I almost felt bad for him but then I noticed what time it was and good old fashioned rage surged its way through my veins once again. On the ride home, he kept trying to complain about how they had given him liquids and how he had refused to let them draw blood and how they had not done anything for him and I started feeling bad for the ER staff. He kept trying to complain even though I kept turning the radio up louder and louder. I finally was able to find a song I knew and started singing along and he finally realized that I had no interest in talking to him or listening to his imagined slights from the hospital staff. I am not trying to make him sound hard to relate to but at one point he made sure to point out that the reason the doctors did not know what they were doing was because they were Middle Eastern. I wasn't drowning him out just to be mean, though that was an added perk. I had to do something or else I was going to reply with what was really going on through my head and that would not be good. Let's see, at one point I was thinking that we really need to pass a euthanasia law in the U.S. Even now I am not convinced that a euthanasia law is such a bad idea. We made it back at around 5:45 a.m. and, as much as I tried, I could not get myself to go back to sleep.

I am sorry. I just lied in the last sentence of the previous paragraph. I did manage to fall asleep. I fell asleep a full twenty minutes before my alarm went off. I am actually convinced that it would have been better to not fall asleep again as waking up was a total... drag, for lack of a better word, this morning. Right now, I am exhausted. I have had coffee and chocolate so far and I am still not fully awake. I don't do well if I don't get my sleep. You can ask anyone (BF) and they (he) will tell you how bad I am when my sleep is interrupted.  As for now, I do believe I received a karmic reward last night for dropping him off. I am still very excited about hearing "Same Love" (if you skipped the video earlier, please go back and watch it. It is totally worth it. I promise.) on the radio. However, there has been no reward yet for picking him up and I am about to go from a saint to a martyr, sleep deprivations is among the worst forms of torture, if I don't get what's coming to me. It's not just the fact that my sleep was interrupted but that I have to go the whole day in a somnambulistic state. I guess that is the price I have to pay for being a good person even if I am being a good person against my own better judgment and will.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Book Review: El Amor en los Tiempos del Colera, or, The Hardships of Being in a Book Club

I have been told that I am opinionated. Personally, I don't see it. I consider myself passionate and have very clear likes and dislikes when it comes to books or movies or people... or pretty much everything. It's not my fault that I know what I like and can articulate my sentiments in a semi-coherent manner and can argue my point of view fervently. I mean, if that makes me opinionated then call me opinionated. Why do I bring this up? Well, it's because I have also been told that I should write reviews. I have never considered myself a critic even if I do criticize everything I come across and am very critical of the books or movies or people... or pretty much everything I run into. I have always thought that critics needed to have an above average understanding of the medium they critique in order to form a cohesive argument. Unfortunately, I have never felt that I have above average knowledge in any field so as to be a bona fide critic. This perceived inadequacy extends to the field which I love more than any other field, literature. But Carlos, you may be asking, don't you have a B.A. in English Literature? To that I respond with a definite and resounding, yet tinged with a bit of sadness, yes. Unfortunately, I have often felt my education did not provide me with enough knowledge to consider myself proficient in the world of literature. I don't think my education failed me as it provided me with the tools to attain that knowledge for myself. Unfortunately, I am not the avid reader I once was so, though the knowledge is an arm's length away as I have a bookshelf full of books I have yet to read, I have not necessarily flexed my literary muscle as of late. In order to remedy that, I joined/co-created a book club. To be honest, although I have always wanted to be in a book club, this club was the brainchild of my friend Hillary. It's a small club consisting mainly of Hillary, The Thing and yours truly. So far, we have only embarked on the reading of one book, El Amor en los Tiempos del Colera (Love in the Time of Cholera) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I probably won't write a real review of the book but I do want to mention some things that came to mind when I read it. However, I will do that later in the blog. First, I want to talk about the book club.

As I stated earlier, I have never been in a real book club before in my life. Granted, there was that small group of kids that would sit around and read during gym class in high school and called ourselves a book club, but I don't think that counts. To be truly honest, I am not even really sure if I am in a real book club now. This may be due to the fact that I am unsure what the rules for normal book clubs are. I don't know how fast they read their books or how often they meet to discuss them. I will detail how our book club is working and then leave it for you to judge and decide and tell me what we are doing wrong because I feel we are definitely doing something wrong. One of my first questions is whether or not three people are enough to constitute a book club. On top of that, one of our members, Hillary, lives in Portland, Oregon whereas The Thing and I live in Texas. This has complicated things somehow as we have to find a way to meet to discuss the book. Our first idea was to use Skype. Then we realized that you cannot use Skype for three way video call for free so we had to look for another medium. The Thing suggested that we use Google+ and that will be what we will try next. I am saying we will try it because, as of right now which is two months after the club started, we haven't really had an official meeting yet. Our club meetings are supposed to be weekly on Monday nights at 8:00 pm Central Time (6:00 pm Pacific). The Thing has so far been unavailable every time. Also, me and Hillary haven't necessarily met at the correct time either. We have discussed the book twice though but both times were over the phone on random days. As for the book itself, it only had six chapters. Six loooooong chapters. We were supposed to read one chapter a week. If we had kept up with our reading schedule, we would have finished the book in about a month and a half. Two months later, only one of us had finished the book. I think that this may be our biggest problem yet. It's not the fact that we don't all live in the same area, or that we don't ever really meet to discuss the book but that we are not really doing the reading. I am fairly certain that a book club that does not read may not really be a book club. Maybe it's just me. I mean, yes, I was the only one to finish the book, but I did finish it two weeks later than it was scheduled so my commitment is not much greater than The Thing's, even if she only read about fifteen pages. The last time I talked to Hillary about the book she had one chapter to go but had no idea where her book was. I had finished the book two weeks late; Hillary was close to finishing it but had misplaced her copy of the book; and The Thing had never even finished the first chapter, so I figured it was time for us to move on to the next book and call this one a bust. It was Hillary's turn to suggest a book and she settled on 1984 by George Orwell. Yesterday, I emailed them a breakdown of the book by chapters and pages and suggested two reading schedules, one that will take three weeks and one that will take five weeks to finish the book. I am letting them decide which route they want to go. We are supposed to have our first meeting about 1984 on Monday, June 24 so we will have to wait and see how it goes. It can't go much worse, right? Right?!?

I think I have talked enough about the book club and should now discuss the book. I liked it. I had read one of Garcia Marquez's books before and I had really enjoyed it so I was looking forward to reading a second book by him. I found Love in the Time of Cholera to be very interesting because we are presented with characters that, though they share conflicting story lines, are all very easy to relate to. I guess I have become jaded by novels that have a clear antagonist to move the story along. I did not find that in this novel. Every action of every character is executed because the character truly believes that to be the best course of action. In this manner, Garcia Marquez presents us with a novel that delves deeply into the meanings of love and the many different manifestations of love even if the results were not always the "happily ever after" we have become accustomed to. He does not put one form of love above the others but presents them all as they are along with their merits and their faults. It is definitely a book worth reading if you like to read.

I guess I thought I had more to say about the book than I did. In a way, I do have more to say, but it is hard to discuss something without giving specific details and it's hard to give specifics to people who have not read the book. I guess having a book club is a good thing after all. I mean, even if we don't follow through on everything, at least we get a chance to discuss the book with someone else. Also, I did not know that writing reviews was so boring. I mean, did you read that last paragraph? It's probably among the worst things I have ever written. As I said, it's hard to discuss something without giving details but it is even harder to review something and try to make it interesting at the same time. I guess being a reviewer is not for me. Believe me, I have opinions. Unfortunately, these opinions are better expressed when other people know what I am talking about and when I am not trying to be serious. I don't do well at being serious. I also don't do well at writing last minute posts, which this one is. Not much has happened lately so I had to write this right before it posted so I apologize for that. Still, I did not want to let a week go by without posting so it's up to you to decide if something really is better than nothing. For what it's worth, I think it is.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Dottie Needs to Stop Calling Me Names

I have known Dottie now for almost four years. In those four years we have gotten to know each other and are pretty comfortable around each other. She is the person from work with whom I habitually go to lunch. We will often be joined by other co-workers but, when making the plans, she is the one that I usually consult. Working so closely for forty hours a week has lead to what most people call a friendship of sorts. It is not all perfect, of course. She used to have a propensity for calling gay people "fags" so I had to explain to her that it was not an appropriate term. We have had other arguments but they are mostly about religion. Mainly, her having one and me mocking it. It is these kind of interactions that often cause Dottie to flip me off, cuss me out, or both. That doesn't bother me, though, as I often have it coming. It also doesn't bother how often she "slips up" and calls me "girl." I figure she just feels comfortable around me and that makes me feel comfortable around her. She tends to be very straightforward and that is the reason why I called her the other day when I was acting like a little bitch and she called me one. I figure it's all fair and in good fun. However, last Tuesday I showed up to work and presented her with this,

Please forgive the wrinkled tissue paper but I was re-using some I had received. The gift bag, however, was brand new; even if it only cost me 69 cents.
What did I get for the, I am not going to say beautiful because I know the used tissue detracts from its overall presentation, pretty cute present? Did she say, " Thank you, Carlos. You are very nice and thoughtful?" No. When she opened her present, Dottie called me an asshole.

I may need to go back a bit before her response makes any sense. Dottie is not one to use foul language except in some very precise circumstances. She will cuss at you if you did something to deserve it or if she is not feeling well. Believe me, in this case and as usual, I had it coming.

It all started the previous Sunday. I was hanging out with BF when I get a text from Dottie saying, and I quote:

"Just came from Care Now and getting RX at Walmart. Been sick since Friday night with migraine headache and vomiting."

Since she mentioned she had sought professional help and medication, I asked if she was feeling better. She stated that she was. I, then, suggested she should stay home on Monday if she wasn't feeling well and she said she would go to work depending on how she was feeling. I stopped texting her then because she was cutting into my time with BF plus there was no way I could make her feel better.

Come Monday morning, I pulled into the parking lot to see her car there. I figured she was feeling better. I went to her office and she confirmed my hypothesis by stating that she felt better. The other co-workers that were gathered in her office then started asking her what was wrong. She explained how she had been sick all weekend. She even jokingly said that her daughter had, in jest, asked if she was pregnant. It is worthy of mention that Dottie's age is what she calls double-nickel (figure it out yourself) so she is past her child bearing days. We all shared in the laughter at the ludicrous and bizarre image of a pregnant Dottie.

The rest of the day went off without consequence. After work, I had to go to Target because the twelve-packs of Pepsi were on sale four for ten dollars. I like to stock up on soda when it is on sale as I drink a lot of it. While in the store, I decided to look around and see if there was anything else worth buying. It was then that an inkling of an idea began to spawn in my twisted little mind. I found myself shopping around for an item that I never would have thought I would buy. Seriously, if someone had ever told me before that I would one day purchase this item, I would have bet my life that they were wrong. Nevertheless, I headed over to the pharmacy area and purchased this,
This little box set me back about nine bucks but I refused to buy the generic brand because it did not look as cute. Also, I really love the black background from my pictures. Who would ever guess that it is just my comforter?
Now, even I am not enough of an asshole to think I can gift someone a pregnancy test and get off scotch free. How should I soften the blow? First, I thought, I had to buy a pretty bag. I walked over to the gift bag area and noticed there were some on clearance. On that clearance area, I found the cute little bag from earlier and, after making sure that the pregnancy test box fit inside, decided to buy it. I still felt there was something missing so I went over to the candy aisle and bought a box of Hot Tamales which happens to be her second favorite candy.

I drove back home and decided to put the present together. I had not bought tissue paper because I was sure I had some at home. I was wrong. I searched for a full two minutes before I gave up and decided to use some tissue paper from a gift I had received about a year back. It did not really go with the box because it was just one sheet of black and one sheet of white but I figured I would make it work. I ended up cutting up the black sheet in two so I could wrap the Hot Tamales and the pregnancy test and then just using the white as the picture shows. I was actually pretty proud of it but I had this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that this could all backfire somehow.

The next morning came around and I walked into Dottie's office and handed her the bag. You could tell she was a bit wary of what the gift could be. Just by shaking the first box she knew it was Hot Tamales. She did not know what the second box was, though, so she ripped a piece of black paper off so she could see what it was. The minute she figured out what it was, she looked straight at me and said, "You asshole!" She smiled as she said it so I knew everything would be okay. The gaggle of co-workers then started asking what the box was and she finally unwrapped it for all to see. I would like to tell you that the joke went over great and that people were laughing til tears came to their eyes, so I will. As far as you know, people laughed til their sides hurt, even if that is not the truth. The co-workers thought it was funny and they kept passing it around trying to determine who needed it most and joking around. The test ended up in one of Dottie's drawers and has been designated the office's contingency pregnancy test which is available to the next person with a pregnancy scare (it's always a pregnancy scare, right? I've never heard of a pregnancy pleasant surprise.)

All in all, the joke went over pretty well. Pretty well, though, is not worth the eleven or so bucks the gag gift had ended up costing me. I did not do it to get a great laugh, though. I did it to try and cheer Dottie up a bit after her terrible weekend and that would have been worth the eleven bucks if it had worked. Why do I say "if" you ask. I say "if" because I am not sure if it cheered her up. I don't know how funny women find reproductive jokes as I am not a woman but I do hope that it is not a sore subject for women of the double-nickel age. If nothing else, Dottie did smile plus she loves cussing me out, or at least I think she does otherwise why would she do it so often, so it was not a complete waste of time/money. After all, she could not have been that mad since she at least got a pretty gift bag and some Hot Tamales out of it. Nothing can be that bad if you end up with some candy.

I was going to end on that last line and I realized how pedophiliac it sounded. Don't think about it too much. I should just amend that line to read "Nothing can be that bad if you are an adult and you end up with candy." I guess that sounds a bit better. I don't want to encourage anyone to try anything just for the sake of candy but I am still pretty sure that, at least for Dottie, the candy made the experience better. I will stop now as I feel like I am digging a hole deeper and deeper. This whole paragraph sounds perverted. Damn.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hijinks at the DMA, or, How I Became an Art Thief

There is a girl, she is older than me so I should say "woman," at work that is not my co-worker. She works with Preggo so she's Preggo's co-worker. I do not claim her at all, though I have nicknamed her The Thing. Yes, that's a shocking nickname. What's even more shocking, at least to me, is that she answers to it. You may be wondering why, if she is such a non-entity, I am introducing her to you guys. The answer is simple; she made a thief out of me.

It all started on a relatively uneventful Monday when she mentioned she would be going to the DMA (Dallas Museum of Art) that Friday. Apparently, the museum would stay open late and she asked if I would like to go. Normally, I would have rebuked such a blatant attempt at attaining my friendship, but she mentioned that the exhibit was Greek themed and my determination wavered slightly. She added that there would also be a free lecture on the Greek Gods and Heroes. Once I heard that, all my protestations went out the window. I have been a fan of Greek mythology since I was a child. In fact, I was kicked out of ESL (English as a Second Language) classes after two and a half years because the teacher caught me reading The Odyssey. I am such a fan that I can still list the twelve Olympian gods from memory. Prove it, you say. Here goes: Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Hades, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Ares, Hermes, Apollo, Athena, Artemis, and Demeter. I swear to any god, though my favorite was always Athena, that I did not look that up. Also, the twelve Olympians changed from time to time and place to place. For example, I know some people, at some place or point in time, included Dionysus. I am not sure who was demoted or replaced I just know that it happened. I feel like I am digressing. Once I heard about the lecture, any qualms I had had about going were assuaged. I was actually very excited about it. There is nothing like a good lecture to start off your weekend. If you disagree with me, you are plainly, obviously, and unequivocally wrong. Despite all my excitement, I was not about to let The Thing know my true state so I told her that I would think about it and get back to her. I asked her who else was going and she said that another friend of hers was joining us. I was appalled at her assumption that we were friends. I quickly corrected her by telling her that it was not "another friend" that was joining us but just "a friend" as I was not to be considered her friend and that the use of the word "another" was inappropriate. She admitted her fault so now it was just a matter of waiting til Friday.

During the course of the week, we come to find out that the exhibit of Greek sculptures was a loan from London and thus had a cover charge of sixteen bucks. As much as I love the Greeks and their propensity for male nudes, I was not about to spend sixteen dollars when there are many free nudes on the internet. I am kidding... Yes, I am kidding. I had to think about that for a while but I decided I was kidding as there is a big difference between pornography and art (or pornographic art as Medea would call it). I did decide against paying for the exhibit though for two reasons: I had never been to the DMA before so there was plenty of stuff to enjoy that did not require purchasing a ticket, and I really did not want to spend any unnecessary money.

When Friday rolled around, I met The Thing in Highland Village and she drove the rest of the way. We had to stop in Irving to pick up her friend.  Unbeknownst to me, she had failed to mention to him that I was coming; therefore, I had to wait in the car while she went and knocked at his apartment. I felt like I could have called CPS (Child Protective Services) or at least animal protective services (if such an entity exists) because she left me in her car with the doors locked and the windows up. I started to see my life flash before my eyes but she came back so fast that I did not even get a chance to make it to puberty. Anyway, she introduced me to her friend and we were on our merry way. The drive there was only just a bit awkward due to the fact that I am uncomfortable with uncomfortable silences so I tend to fill the time with awkward comments and questions. I am not saying I felt like a third wheel; but, they were friends and I was the outsider. Other than that, the drive was uneventful. Well, I did have to look up directions because, even though The Thing offered to drive and had been there before, she did not know how to get there. She said that she usually would park at her sister's and take the, and I swear to the Flying Spaghetti Monster this was her word, trolley. I asked where her sister lived. She said Carrollton. By this time, we were already on I-35E close to the Medical Center Area. If you are unfamiliar with the geography of Dallas, we would have to drive about 20 minutes away from our destination from where we were to reach Carrollton. When I protested that this was not practical, The Thing said that she had meant to say that she would park at her sister's work. It was too bad that she did not make that clear earlier but she is not the great conversationalist that I am. Then again, few people are. Another hurdle we were not prepared for, due to The Thing's lack of un-trolley travel experience, was parking. We found one of those lots that you pay for at a machine a few blocks away. When we looked for the machine to pay, we noticed there was a line for people to pay. It turned out that the machine was malfunctioning so it took us about thirty minutes to be able to get a receipt to put in the car. All in all, what with the detour to Irving, the traffic of Dallas, the inconvenience of the parking lot, and a very needed bathroom break as soon as we got to the DMA, we were not ready to enjoy the museum experience until about seven thirty.

The lecture I mentioned earlier, the one that convinced me to attend the museum with people who were not my friends, started at seven. The restrooms were right next to the lecture hall so we asked a lady that was sitting at a desk if we could still go in. She told us that the lecture would probably only last about fifteen more minutes but that we were welcome to go in. We went in and The Thing's friend found three seats together for us to have a seat. However, the seats were not aisle adjacent and they were theater seats. I knew I would not be able to sit in one comfortably if I had a person on each side of me. As I was not close enough to The Thing yet for us to invade each others' personal space, I found an aisle seat two rows down and, with an apologetic hand gesture, motioned that I was going to sit there instead. Once situated, I was able to enjoy the droning monotonous voice of the lecturer whose soporific quality caused the gentleman behind to doze into a restful slumber. How do I know? I could hear his subtle snoring over my shoulder. His nap did not prove too distracting though as the lecturer was really only covering the basics and her lecture, or the last end of it which was all I caught, was very Heracles-centric.

After the lecture, we decided to roam around through the galleries in a meandering manner as we did not really know the layout of the place. At least, I did not know the layout as I had never been there before. We entered a gallery that contained myriad tribal art statues. I am not gonna accuse those cultures of being phallocentric but I lost count of how many penises I saw. However, I did learn that it is not polite to point them out to your fellow museum-goers since that is seen as "immature." It's not like they were realistic anyway. I thought of taking a picture but I did not know if that was against the rules and I did not want to get kicked out.

During our trajectory, we crossed Africa, South America, India and parts of Asia. We finally made it to Europe and went through Impressionism, Cubism and Renaissance. In the area between Cubism and Renaissance, we saw some stairs going down into another exhibit of which we could see a blown up picture of a very creepy clown. We decided against venturing into the nightmare gallery and decided instead for the more formal Renaissance paintings. However, we learned that the Renaissance gallery looped around to the Impressionist area. Since we did not know where else to go, we decided to go back and venture into the nightmare gallery.

We walked back to where we saw the stairs and descended into the clown photograph gallery. We soon realized that this gallery was showcasing different photographs by the same artist. I would tell you her name but, to be honest, I can't remember it. There were different rooms with different motifs. The creepy clown room contained about four or five blown up pictures of clowns. There was another room with the artist dressed in many different costumes. The most disturbing room contained pictures that were sexual but morbid and macabre at the same time. It was very entertaining if a bit unsettling. We walked through all the rooms; each of us taking as long as we wanted with each piece. Because of this, I found myself ahead of the group as I entered the last room we had to see. I was looking at the few last pieces of the exhibit when something peculiar caught my eye. First, one of the two main entrances from the outside to that first room was cordoned off sending all traffic through only one entrance. Second, I noticed that there was a pedestal letter board that showcased different prices for adults, seniors, children and students. Third, there was a gentleman at the entrance that had a handheld scanner and kept asking people for tickets. It was then that I started to think that we may have stumbled into a gallery that was not free. I re-joined The Thing and her friend and informed them of my suspicions. We then walked back into the room where my suspicions were confirmed and the first onset of panic began. What did we have to do? Should we go to the front, admit our mistake and pay our belated admission? We were not willing to do that. The admission fee was sixteen dollars and, if I was going to pay that much money, I was going to pay it to see some sculpted penises in the Greek sculpture exhibition.  We decided then to quickly, yet nonchalantly, trace our steps back and leave the way we came in. We headed back to the stairs and, as we were ascending back to the Renaissance area, we noticed there was an "Exit Only" sign written on the wall that stipulated the stairs should not be used to gain entrance into the priced gallery. We had not seen the sign when we went in and there was no one there to stop us. There is no excuse however and we unwittingly became art thieves. We remained paranoid for the rest of our stay at the museum, constantly looking over our shoulder and scanning the walls for cryptic messages that would incriminate us in any way.

The rest of the stay was uneventful. Come to think of it, the rest of the night was uneventful if you don't count the two times The Thing almost got in a car wreck and which made me decide I was not riding anywhere else with her if she was to be the driver. As for now, all three of us are still at large. I don't think police crack down on people who shirk their admission for an exhibit they stumbled upon inadvertently. Still, I believe I am now a seasoned criminal. Perhaps even more so than those who've spent time because I was smart enough not to get caught. Then again, bragging online about not being caught is how some real criminals have been apprehended so I better not admit anything offhand. For all you know, I made this story up. After all, my life is terribly boring and I am always looking for new stuff to post so I could have, and quite possibly did, make it up. That's for me to know. Well, me and The Thing and her friend.
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So What if I am not Typical? I'm Still Fun. by Not Typical, Yet Fun is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.