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Miss Peach

Like putting a good belt on a cheap dress

To the Mean, Obnoxious, Bitchy Woman at Target in Jersey City Last Saturday

Friday, April 28, 2006

Ma’am,

There are really a myriad of questions I’d like to ask you. I just don’t understand you. Are you always so mean? Is your hair always so long and untrimmed? Have you thought about getting it cut? Do you have a different tracksuit for every day of the week? Are you always so self-centered? So impatient? If so, I think the first thing you should learn is that the Target Greatland in Jersey City on a very rainy Saturday afternoon is really no place for you.

When you got in line behind me, and I had one water bottle in my hand, I am sorry that you assumed that was all I was buying. I don’t understand how you could, though. Nobody walks into Target and leaves with one lonely, bright pink, hard plastic water bottle. I don’t mean to tell you what to think, but there’s a second lesson in that fact.

When my roommate appeared with our cart of what, admittedly, contained a LOT of cleaning supplies, was it really necessary to loudly exclaim to your husband, “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me?” I’m no shrinking violet. I love me the f-word. Frankly, I love it so much that I’m trying to learn to love it a little less. But was it really necessary?

We ignored you. We looked at each other and rolled our eyes. Until, passive-aggressively, you got up in my roommate’s face and rudely said, “Are you together?” We, politely I thought, said we were. Which unleashed a verbal torrent which, I hope and imagine, is something one would only hear in New Jersey. I can’t remember all you said, but I vividly recall the following:

”You’ve GOT to be FUCKING KIDDING ME!”
“This is FUCKING RIDICULOUS!”
(To husband) “Can you FUCKING believe this?”
(To us), “Come on! Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME?”

Now, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that your anger prevented you from switching up the dialogue too much. But your verbal abuse really pissed me off. Which is why I was so pleased to hear Genoa say, “I really don’t understand what is so ridiculous about this!”

I believe this is what followed:
You: When we got in line, SHE had ONE thing, and that’s what we thought she was buying!
Me: Well, that was your wrong assumption.
You: Then SHE comes over with the cart! This is fucking ridiculous! FUCKING RIDICULOUS!
Me: Well, you’re welcome to go get in another line—there are several checkout lanes here.
You: That’s NOT THE POINT! YOU HAD ONE THING!
Me: Sorry you’re so upset.

When I turned back to my roommate, I was livid. My blood was pulsing and my face was hot and I’d by lying if I said I didn’t want to scream an obscenity (or, if we’re being honest here, a string of them) at you. But, because I try to be a good and decent human being, I held back. Until I heard you hurling yet more obscenities at us, and I turned to you and said, “You know what? I really have no interest in standing here listening to you complain. If it’s so important to you, just GO AHEAD of us. For God’s sake, just go AHEAD.” And we moved out of your way and let you go.

Whereupon you continued your bitching. And that is why I feel no remorse whatsoever—really! Not a drop! For saying the following:

“Look, stop your bitching. You’re ahead of us, you got your way, YOU ARE WELCOME!”

And then loudly saying to my roommate:
”FUCKING NEW JERSEY, RIGHT?”

It also explains why I was positively gleeful when they opened up the checkout line next to us, and we were the first ones served. That, ma’am, is what people mean when they talk about karma. Just so you know.

My best to you and yours,
Miss Peach

When in Doubt, Blame the Airlines

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Yesterday was my father's birthday. Happy Birthday Dad! He was supposed to fly into New York today for work, and I had a celebratory dinner planned, because, as I surely don't need to explain to you, there's no better way to celebrate your own birthday than taking your daughter out to dinner! (To quote him: "Maybe you can have some champagne to celebrate my birthday!") But he missed his flight.

I can't tell you how wildly uncharacteristic this is of him. This is a man who is punctual to fault, who once was twenty minutes late to meet me and I panicked, convinced something was seriously wrong. This is a man who will stand at the bottom of the stairs as my mom and I are getting ready for dinner or some time-oriented activity and say, "LADIES! Five minute warning! We are going to be LATE!" So you can imagine my shock when he called to tell me he wasn't on the flight and wouldn't land until midnight, so dinner was off.

After he told the news, I paused for a beat, and then said, "I don't understand, HOW did you miss you flight?" There had to be a story there, and I was going to get it. Well, the story is that they are now closing flights FORTY minutes before they leave, and he arrived in the 30-40 minute window. Which, I have to say, is also wildly uncharacteristic of him--but then again, it was an early morning flight, so I guess it's understandable. But it set my dad off. Where, he wanted to know, were the announcements? The policy has always been THIRTY minutes! He's a fantastic guy, but these are precisely the things that get him really riled up, and I send vibes of apology to whatever check-in clerk had to bear the brunt of his aggravation. But anyway--word to the wise, you all. FORTY minutes, not thirty. Don't be playing it "loose and fast" because apparently they've cut 11% of their flights and this is how it's going to be. The cost of fuel is changing everything. This is precisely why you need to book your flights to Michigan right away. There aren't going to be any seats! It's going to be a nightmare. If you want to go anywhere this summer, you had better make those plans now.

Couldn't... stop... the rant. Sorry about that. Apparently I need to book my flights for July NOW or I will not be able to get there, people. I will be going nowhere because there will be no seats and have I mentioned? It's going to be a nightmare from here on out. (He really hates the airlines and takes every opportunity to complain and declare some sort of apolcalyptic event that is completely their fault.)

Other than that, though, he's just a sweet, funny man, and a fabulous dad. He's the type of guy who, when I'm cutting something up in the kitchen, will stop and show me the proper way to chop that onion, and always let me "paint" the meat on the grill, and used to "gun it" when going up hill in his car when I was little, just because it made me laugh. He's the type of dad who, when you call him to ask which 401K to contribute too, will give you a very well-thought-through answer including the most boring (but useful) breakdown of all the types of funds and what risks go with each one. Who will sit you down when you're having a rough go of it, and will tell you a story from his life that's really analagous, and show you that even though whatever it is you're going through sucks, there's a lesson in it, and good will come of it, and then he'll give you a big bear hug and fix your favorite dinner. Who, when you get busted in high school for beer, and are forced to tell him all about it after he returns from a fishing trip, will react this way:

Mom: Miss Peach, don't you have something to tell your father?
Me: Um, yeah. Um, well, so, see, we were at a party on Friday night, and um, well, erm, Tom offered to go to the store? Because he was going to get beer? And it was the last day of exams? And so he was already going to get some beer? So we, um, Kathleen and I, we, um, yeah, well, we asked him to get us a six-pack of Bud Light? And, um, well, I guess his ID wasn't great? Because, well, he got arrested?
Dad: Yikes. Is he okay?
Me: Yes.
Mom: His mother is very angry and called here twice.
(Very audible, shaky, freaked-out sigh, excapes my lips.)
Dad: Well, what the hell does she want from us? Her son had the ID! It's not like Miss Peach forced him to go in there and use a fake ID to buy alcohol underage! He already had the ID. Clearly this wasn't the first time he used it.
Mom: I know, it's a little ridiculous.
(My palms are sweating.)
Dad: Well, Miss Peach, we do need to discuss this.
Me: Yeah. (My knees are shaking.)
Dad: You and Kathleen were going to drink a whole six-pack?
Me: Well, I mean, maybe, I mean, I don't know, we just gave him that number. I mean, we didn't want a twelve-pack!
Dad: OK. And you chose to get BUD LIGHT?
(My mouth opens, and I realize I have no idea how to respond to this.)
Dad: I mean, if you're going to go to all that trouble, you should really at least go for Miller Lite. But BUD LIGHT! Miss Peach, it's really not worth it.
(My mouth is still open, and I can't figure out how to respond.)
Mom: Charlie!
Dad: Well, it's the truth. (Shaking head and walking away) Bud Light!

Have I Mentioned that I Love National Public Radio?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

I woke up super early this morning despite having been out pretty late last night. I could not fall back asleep. So what did I do? What any normal twenty-something would do! I turned on NPR and straightened my room.

Which brings me to declare something. I love NPR. No, really. I LOVE NPR. In a somewhat alarming fashion. Part of this is that my job basically revolves around their programming. And up until now, I've been writing off my need to listen to NPR as a "work thing". On road trips with friends, I claim I need to know what they're covering and force a local station check periodically. When I was in Chicago last year, I insisted on listening to the local programming so that I could "know the shows". I'm all for music and fun when with friends or on the road, but do NOT ask me to go more than two hours without those sweet, soothing voices and calm, clear delivery of the headlines.

This isn't anything new, really. I grew up on it, and have a completely Pavlovian response to the "All Things Considered" theme song of stomach rumblings from listening to it on the way home every day with my mom. But my love for NPR is slightly over the top. An admission? I think the on-air talent are celebrities. Utter and complete celebrities. I once went to a luncheon where Michelle Norris was speaking just to see her in person. Yes, it was work-related, but the real reason I went was to put a face to the voice. (And much as it pains me to say this, I found her to be really annoying and borderline insufferable. But this is all a moot point, because I love Robert Siegel. The man could talk to me about the properties of iron and I would find it fascinating. And when he laughts? Oh, I love his laugh. It's just so soulful yet intelligent.)

Ahem. Pardon the swooning there.

Now, you might wonder how I took the dismissal of Bob Edwards. I didn't take it well, people. I didn't take it well at all. To be frank, I cursed out Renee and Steve every morning, and when I got the news via email at work that they were the permanent replacements, I literally flipped off the computer. I still miss Bob's soothing chatter in the morning and remember how I loved waking up to him. Nothing got me out of bed like, "SARS is on the rise in the far east, causing much concern throughout the western world. We'll hear the latest from a summit on the topic. Today is Monday, March 27th, and you're listening to Morning Edition on NPR." Cue theme music, and I was up and at 'em!

A few years ago, Linda Wertheimer called my coworker Megan. This was when we shared cubicle space, and I could hear every conversation she had. The conversation went like this: "Hello? Oh, hi! Uh huh? Hm. Oh, that's interesting. May I ask you to hold for a minute? Thank you!" and then she put the phone down, turned to me, and said, "Oh my god, that's LINDA WERTHEIMER!" And I'm not kidding when I say I squealed. Now, Meg loves NPR every bit as much as I do, so I wasn't too embarassed. But you can see how that could be a tad, well, laughable to other people.

Meg and I often take it a bit further. During the transit strike in December, for instance, we were walking from dinner to a nearby bar and discussing the utter lack of public transportation. It was all anyone could talk about here, and Meg and I were no exception. Except this is what our conversation was:

Me: Man, can you imagine how much money the cabbies must be pulling in? I mean, for me to get to work [50 blocks, roughly a $10 ride under normal conditions] costs $35! And that's WITH three other people so that we can cross the "96th Street Blockade!"
Meg: I know, I can't believe there haven't been more stories on it. I mean, the Times hasn't even covered that to my knowledge.
Me: Yeah. Frankly, I'm a little disappointed in Marketplace. WHERE is the financial coverage on this here transit strike?
Meg: Oooh, good point. I can hear that intro.
Me: I know! "Hi, I'm Kai Ryssdal, and this is the Marketplace morning report. The transit workers in Manhattan may not be getting paid, but there's money to be made amidst the transit strike currently paralyzing the country's most denseley populated city. Taxi drivers are making money hand over fist, and with no end in sight, this Christmas season could be a record-breaker for medallion holders. Stacy Vanek-Smith has the story."
Meg, laughing and picking up Stacy's part: "John Kowalczyk starts every day at the car wash on the West Side Highway, where he gets his taxi ready for the morning shift. But for the past two days, he hasn't had a moment off to clean his classic yellow cab..."

I shudder to think what the people walking past must have been thinking about us.

Is this a problem? Do I need an intervention?

Oh, and be sure to stay tuned for these scintillating forthcoming posts:
"I miss Ted Koppel. Terry Moran can't even read the damned teleprompter properly!"
"If it's wrong to DVR CBS Sunday Morning, then I don't want to be right."
"David Brancaccio is really mixing things up at NOW--how about last night's shocking report on the state of our national fisheries?!"
and the one I know you all will be clamoring for:
"Five reasons why I have an unnatural and completely inappropriate crush on Tim Russert."

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I am a big fan of Easter, and always have been. This began when I was little, when it meant getting a new Easter dress. Every year, we would go to Bullocks and I would get to pick out a pretty frock to wear to church. For a while there, when I was like 3 and 4, I wore my Alice in Wonderland dress—it was pale blue with poofy sleeves and a white apron on top that had embroidery around the edges of teapots and “I’m late, I’m late! For a very important date!” Later on, it was all about dresses that looked like drapery. I have no idea why I gravitated towards them. When I look back at those pictures now, all I do is wonder why my mom let me wear dresses made of upholstery. Oh, and I wore a hat and white lace gloves as well. When I was a little girl, I was all about being a lady.

To that end, I even took a class (with my Brownie troop, for a patch no less) called “White Gloves and Party Manners”. It was held at another Bullocks (the one in Pasadena on Lake St., for anyone who knew that area back in the early ‘80s) and a really uptight woman with a bun would sit us all around tables with china and show us how to properly eat soup. (FYI: No slurping, tilt the bowl away from you when you get to the bottom, and move the spoon away from you as you dip at all times.) I don’t remember a whole lot from the class. We still have the book somewhere and I am periodically urged to take it out and reread portions—my father likes to tease me about my manners, though I’m still pretty good about following the rules. I never remember to push my chair in after myself, but otherwise, I’m good to go.

Annnd where was I? Oh, yeah, I love Easter! I do. But as an adult it’s not as much fun—no Easter bunny, no new dresses and fun hats, no sugar highs from chocolate and big family soirees. Every year it makes me a little sad. I’ve established a tradition here which is to brunch with my best friend and spend the day with her, walking around and doing something springy, but it’s simply not the same.

So I was settling into my yearly Easter funk when I came back from a loooong meeting this afternoon, and I had not one but TWO care packages. Lucky me! The first was from my parents, who build the best ones ever. It had camisoles, a Starbucks card, a sugar scrub, cute stationary, “mad money” (My father’s trademark, five bucks to spend frivolously—I usually put it towards beer which would make my mom roll her eyes but my dad would so totally high-five me), and See’s lollipops. Yum.

And then package number two arrived. I had no idea who it could have been from and actually thought it must be work related until I opened it up and it contained:
--One package Red Vines
--One “big bag” of Cadbury Mini-Eggs (how jealous are you, Red?)
--One eggfull of Starburst jellybeans
--Two burned cds

I spent the next ten minutes trying to decipher the handwriting on the cds, which didn’t look familiar at all. I was mildly freaked out at first—who the hell would know that I love Red Vines and they’re hard to come by here, that the Mini-Eggs are my favorites, and would go to the trouble of burning me cds and not include a note? Creepy, right?

And then I stopped being a moron and looked in the box again and found the card—from my best California girl, who has been one of my nearest and dearest since 7th grade, which is why she knows all about what candy I fancy. Mystery solved.

So I made some thank-you calls, popped open the Mini-Eggs, and kicked into work mode. Today my motto was “get shit done”, so I was basically on auto-pilot, crossing item after item off my list. Which apparently includes not registering that I was popping a Mini-Egg into my mouth every minute or so.

I came to when my phone rang and realized that I had eaten a sickening amount of chocolate. That was three hours ago and I’m still unwell. My Easter funk will henceforth be known as Chocolate Poisoning, because given how ill I feel, I think it might not be a bad idea to inquire about a stomach pumping. Gah!

And look how far I have come from my ladylike beginnings. Maybe it IS time to whip out my copy of "White Gloves and Party Manners" for a refresher.

UPDATE:
PLEASE. Someone. I beg of you. Take the mini-eggs AWAY.

Train to Gay Pareeee

Monday, April 10, 2006

I am positively dying to go somewhere outside of the US. I haven't traveled anywhere new in so long I practically forget what it's like. A year and a half ago, I nearly went to India for two weeks, and I bailed because I couldn't so much afford that trip. I know it's a good thing I didn't go. But still. I really do wish I had, despite the fact that it would have meant months of ramen for dinner.

Anyway, all these thoughts of travel have got me thinking back to my semester studying abroad and some of the crazy stuff that happened. I lived with an extremely dysfunctional family in Paris. Going into this would be a post in and of itself, but suffice it to say that the mom was crazy, and though the son was very nice, they both refused to speak French to me. Oh! And her daughter got arrested not once but twice while I was there, for committing check fraud with her boyfriend on an OLD BLIND WOMAN. And they were supposed to feed me two dinners a week and I got about five meals the entire time I lived with them. Anyway. They were a strange bunch.

As a result, I traveled a lot, which was great. One trip was to Italy with Eve and Maureen. Maureen was a nice but odd girl. Eve is still a very good friend, who also happens to be my best friend from high school's best friend from college (got it?) and we just happened to do the same program. Random! But really fun. Eve is a great girl and thank god she went to Milan with Maureen and I b/c Maureen went off her rocker at one point, something having to do with not being able to buy cigarettes I think?, and stopped talking to us. It was really strange. Anyway, Evie and I had each other to make it through, which was a good thing given what happened on our train ride home.

We took an overnight train from Milan back to Paris, so we had reserved three spots in a six-person couchette. When we got to the compartment, two girls had taken the top two couchettes-PRIME positioning-so we took the middle two and Maureen took one of the bottom ones. (Since she wasn't talking to us, there was a lot of huffing and sighing and mean stares and hair flipping.) And then Passenger Number Six arrived: a man who had awful body odor and a passport written all in arabic, and an empty backpack with one bottle of water in it. Strange, given we were on an overnight train to a city hundreds of miles away in another country, right? Eve and I were wary and discussed in the hallway how it freaked us out and what if he was a terrorist? Like, oh my god! Then we decided we were profiling and maybe he was going to start life over in Paris! Who wouldn't? So we dropped it. The train left, we all put on our headphones and went to sleep, his body odor (he was below me) wafting up and preventing slumber for a bit there.

The next thing I remember is waking up and realizing the train was stopped. I figured we were at the border or something. We stood there for a longish time, and then suddenly there were LOTS of loud footsteps in the hall coming down the car. They stopped outside our door and then there was a lot of loud pounding and men yelling "POLIZIA! POLIZIA!" in the deepest, most intimidating voices I've heard. I was paralyzed-I didn't know if I should open the door or just lay there and why the hell were they pounding at our door? Eve and I both sat up a bit and looked at each other; I could make out just enough of her face to see that she was terrified and I must have looked the same way. At this point, I was groggy and so disoriented that I had completely forgotten about Passenger Number Six and his empty backpack with one bottle of water.

Suddenly, the door busted open and I recall them literally HAULING the guy out. It happened really quickly-they basically grabbed him and he was gone in a flash. The train sat there for like another hour, and then went on without him. We all eventually fell back asleep and woke up in Paris, groggy, wondering what the hell happened. We never did find out.

So that's odd, right? But here's what gets me. I was talking to my parents a few days later and told them about it-how terrified we were, isn't that so creepy, what do they think happened? And they were both hysterically laughing at me on the phone. Now, if YOUR daughter had been on an overnight train in a foreign country and a man had been hauled off by the police, would you find that funny? I don't think so. I found it slightly disturbing that they found it oh-so-amusing. It's the one time I've wondered if they were crazy. Well, that and the time my mom got drunk on Christmas and started talking to the balls hanging from her necklace, but I later realized that she wasn't really drunk and was just messing with me. But that's another story altogether, isn't it?

Monday, April 03, 2006

commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

So I lost all comments. Boo. But better now than later I think, and if I got that "That's great! Did you know you can make money at..." from Anonymous one more time, I was going to be very, very irritated.

The Three Bees, or My Boring Sunday

Sunday, April 02, 2006

My weekend was pretty low-key--it started out with wall-to-wall plans that got cancelled bit by bit as a cold slowly took over my life. I'm hoping it'll head it's merry way tomorrow, given I stayed home today to mend and sleep. Last night I couldn't sleep b/c I was all hopped up on cold meds. Is it wrong to take Delsym while the Mucinex in your system has a few hours to go? Regardless, I won't be repeating that again tonight as I would rather not think the shower curtain is moving by itself when I wake up tomorrow morning after having hallucinatory dreams.

On Saturday, Gen and I went to help our friend paint her new apartment. We're pretty good at painting, given that we've painted both our current apartment and our last one. And we've got the tools. So we're good people to have around when you need a little help on the wall color front. Our friend's apartment is lovely and now quite colorful, plus it was fun to help out. But I think being in the "move" mindset got us thinking about things we needed, and that let right to the Bed Bath and Beyond on the Upper West Side.

I usually go to the BBB in Chelsea, so this was my maiden trip to the new one on the UWS (which is infinitely closer to where I live). Yay. Our coffeemaker broke three weeks ago, and I was on board to get a new one, but I've been out of town so much that I hadn't dealt with it. So after laying on the couch all morning, nursing myself and whining a lot, I got Gen to agree to go down there with me.

The problems with shopping at Target have been well documented before, and I too have trouble getting out of there for any reasonable amount. But the thing is, at Target, things seems so necessary. Of COURSE I'm buying toilet paper. I need it! And it's so much cheaper there than the Gristede's on the corner. But BBB is all... accessories. I mean, sure, I went there to get a coffeemaker, which is a necessity (for me, at least). But then, I decided a new hair dryer was in order. And then I remembered I needed two euro sized pillows for my bed. And suddenly I was in the kitchen tool department and... I went a little crazy. At one point, I had one of those wooden citrus juicers, a lemon zester, a salt mill AND a pepper mill, a mini-whisk, kitchen shears, an avocado slicer, and a little thingie you drop in the water when you're cooking eggs and it'll tell you when it's soft or hard-boiled. Definitely all useful purchases. But definitely not necessary purchases. I walked over to the cart and Gen looked at me like I was insane, and I realized she was right. So I put all but the kitchen shears back (those we really DO need), and stuck with my original list.

But to be honest, I'm really jonesing for that avocado slicer now. I may have to go back and get it.

The coolest part about our trip to BBB though was that Gen bought a food processor/blender combo. It's two appliances in one! We didn't have either, and we spent the subway ride back discussing how many different things we were going to make with it last night. But once we got back, and I set up the coffeemaker and cleaned a bit and all that, I was so wiped I couldn't even think about cooking mac and cheese, let alone the mexican fiesta we were planning (guacamole and quesadillas and margaritas! Definitely that was the Delsym in conjunction with three Halls drops and a tea with honey talking.) So I parked myself on the couch, snacked on the perfect, oh-so-paper-thin apple slices Gen food-processed, and ordered Chinese. There's nothing like wonton soup and veggie dumplings to make a girl feel better. Nothing. Well, except your mom making you noodle soup and toast or something, but given that mine is 3,000 miles away, I'll settle for wonton soup.