Monday, June 29, 2009

Recent Awkward Guy Events

On Friday the daughter of a good friend of mine died. I was a little shell-shocked by the news, even though she's been sick for a long time and everybody knew it was coming. I wasn't sure what to do - in those situations you want to be helpful, but you also don't want to intrude during a time when somebody might need some peace and quiet. Nadine, the surviving mother, has plenty of local family and a large circle of friends. Maybe she shouldn't have to entertain guests like me at a time like this, I thought.

But what I thought I should do was go by and tell Ben what had happened. Ben's known their family for 30 years or so. He doesn't answer the phone, and he doesn't have e-mail, so I thought I'd go by and tell him. Ben's also hard of hearing, doesn't have a doorbell, and sleeps irregular hours, so I usually get his attention by shouting for him in the kitchen.

So I was strolling into the dark house shouting. I saw movement near the back of the room. Then Ben turns to face me and he's stark fucking naked. You'd think in such a situation a man might cover his parts with his hands, or stand sideways. But Ben gripped the hair on the sides of his head, his eyes squinted up and his teeth clenched, and he made this growly noise that communicated great frustration. I guess he figured he'd already been seen so it made no sense to hide.

"Oh, you're nekkid," I said. "Put some clothes on and come out here. I got something to tell you."

"Oh, OK."

So a few mintues later he comes out and I tell him that Celine died a few hours before. When I saw the look on his face, I wished I'd stayed home. And it reminded me how upset I was about it myself. The news was so heavy there was no temptation to get sucked into an eddy of awkwardness over what had just happened, thankfully.
Last week I mentioned how I conspired to make friends with my neighbors because they put up a pool in their back yard. I finally got to reap the benefits of my hard work this past Saturday.

They put a table next to the pool and covered it with chicken wings, cheese bread, and a vegetable tray. You could just hang over the edge of the pool and chow like a pig from a trough. It was divinely decadent.

Sr. Toledo, the pool owner, was the only man in the water. Me and three other neighborgirls were in there with him, and he started talking about the difficulties of maintaining healthy pool chemistry. "We don't want to be causing any vaginal infections," he said. "And if any of you ladies get one, let me know as soon as possible so we can correct the situation in here."

Sure thing!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer Stuff

We've had enough rain for a change this year, and that must be what's spurred the boom in local four-leaf-clover populations. Before this spring, it'd been years since I'd found one. Now I'm finding them all the time. I sat on a park bench a few weeks ago and counted nine in a nearby patch.

There are a lot more things blooming later this year than in recent years, which is cool. And the Orange Ozone days have been noticeably absent. On the whole, I'd rate this past Spring as Excellent, and I'm looking forward to this summer. My new neighbors put up a bigass inflatable pool this weekend, so I hurried right out to meet them and make friends. I'm looking forward to soaking in 150 gallons of Wal-Mart bargain pool in the coming weeks.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

An Exception For The C Word

Normally I'm against the C word, as many women are. But it's the centerpiece of the following story, which is the funniest I've heard in months, so I'll make allowances for it this time:

Derrick from downstairs said he used to work in an Atlantic City casino. He did various things in there, but he said one of the worst tasks the job had to offer was that of cashing out people's chips. Derrick and his co-workers dealt with a lot of pissed-off and abusive people at this particular duty. People would either come up to complain that they hadn't won when they thought they should have, and others would complain that they should have won more. They took out their frustrations on the staff, and the staff in turn learned to hate customers.

Derrick said Atlantic City is one of the places in the country where it's not uncommon for business transactions between opposite sexes to conclude with one party saying "Thanks, hon." In practice, it sounds like "ThanksHun." So Wade, Derrick's co-worker, started substituting "ThanksCunt" for "ThanksHun" with female customers. The difference was so subtle they almost never picked up on it, and when they did, they just looked a little puzzled and failed to catch on to the full message. Thus, he was able to vent spleen on customers in a way that seemed polite and everybody was happy.

A dapper Lithuanian was also part of this work crew. This Lithuanian spoke fluent English and was very intelligent, but he was still at risk for missing the subtleties and nuances of our culture and language. He was very taken with Wade's "ThanksCunt" habit and decided to try it himself.

So when the Lithuanian finished waiting on a woman and delivered a crisply enunciated "Thank You, Cunt," the woman's jaw dropped in shock and horror and she looked like Edvard Munch's The Scream. Derrick said he sustained internal injuries from laughing so hard.

ON THE FORBIDDENESS OF THE C WORD AND THE UNFORTUNATE NATURE OF HUMOR: Cunt is the last swear word that still has any real shock value. Twisty Faster over at I Blame The Patriarchy recently used a version of it and got into trouble with some of her readers - her blog examines feminist issues and her readers tend to be feminists. Some of them took offense to the use of such a demeaning term targeting females. Apparantly the outcry at her use of "cunt" was so bad, she developed Multiple Personality Disorder to deal with it.

Personally, I am repulsed by the use of "cunt" in coversation, but I have encountered females deserving of the term and was really glad it was available for me to use at those times. Much like Derrick, a gay man, once said when describing another man he didn't like: "I hate this term, but there's no other way to put it. He is a faggot." If a word's not forbidden and coated in nastiness, it's lost its efficacy as a swear word. Even motherfucker has lost a lot of its punch in this day and age. In 10-15 years, cunt won't sound so bad either and we'll have to make up new swear words or do without.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Five-Alarm Tick Warning

If you haven't been camping yet this year, take heed if you have plans to go. You may need to keep some plasma in a cooler just in case the ticks you will encounter bleed you almost dry. For some reason, this year there are enough hungry ticks out there to create a rioting stampede the minute a warm-blooded animal such as yourself sets foot in the grass or the woods.

During my recent camping trip, I found countless bloodsuckers crawling on me before they managed to attach, and had to remove five who did. Most of them were tiny seed ticks, and they are the worst. So small they're hard to grip with tweezers. Every time I returned to my tent, a member of the larger variety was waiting for me on the door. Somehow they got inside - I guess on me, and I started boycotting the woods and slept in my car. I started finding fewer of them, but I still found them on a daily basis.

I put my camping mattress in the dumpster before I left because I didn't want to ride home with a raft for ticks in the back seat. After I took down my camp site, I took a shower and did a thorough tick check. The next morning I found one stuck right above my ear.

When I got home I put all my dirty laundry in the basement. The camping stuff is still in the trunk of my car, which I am afraid to open. A day and half and two showers after I got home, I found another tick. Word to the ladies: the seed ticks like to attach under the breasts, where you will be less likely to see them. I'm afraid one has taken up residence at the bottom of my navel, but I don't know what I can do about that.

I've heard from friends who've been camping at various places in the Southeast and the story is much the same. Supposedly they detest Neem oil and it's said to be a good deterrent, but it's also hard to find. Deet works really well at keeping them away, but that's supposed to be bad for people too.

This situation has reminded me why I prefer to camp in the winter.