Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pieces & Bits

Today was a beautiful day, and like most beautiful days, I decided I needed to go for a drive. The guilt of wasting gas weighs heavily, so I try to have a destination and purpose for such trips, and today I decided to visit a plant nursery up near Milwaukee.

While cruising comfortably with the windows down and the moonroof open, deepening the unbalanced tan on my right shoulder and arm, I noticed three motorcyclists in front of me and wished briefly that I was a biker chick. At least my arms would tan evenly while I enjoyed the wind in my hair.

A group of motorcyclists passed in the lane of oncoming traffic, and I noticed the three bikers in front of me all pointed to the ground with their left arms. Was this some kind of warning that there was oil on the pavement? I looked to where they pointed and nothing unusual was there. As the other bikers passed by, they too pointed down, and I realized they were exchanging a friendly acknowledgment of fellow bikers on the road.

Isn’t that nice?

Many years ago, a friend of mine had a ’69 Corvette, and whenever he passed other ‘Vettes on the road, he waved to them and they waved back.

Why don’t Matrix drivers do this?

Well, first because the front of a Matrix isn’t very distinguishable from other cars, so I’d be waving to everyone, then doing that uncomfortable wave renege that we do when we wave to someone we think we know, but it’s actually a stranger, awkwardly running our hand through our hair and looking skyward, or whatever it is you do.

Secondly, Matrix drivers are like I was until today, completely oblivious to the fact that there are strangers who wave just because they’re driving the same vehicle and acknowledging this shared membership in a club that has no organized meetings.

I want to be in a club like this! It’s the only one I can commit to and has no additional annual fees.

Strangers barely acknowledge each other’s presence anytime. I’ve walked through an entire grocery store and checked out, and not a single person made eye contact with me, including my checker and bagger. It’s far too easy to go through life without acknowledging anyone else. At work I’m compelled to make eye contact with everyone who walks into the library, nod/smile when they make eye contact back, and speak an actual greeting if they return a nod/smile. Outside of work, I myself am so into the zone of whatever I’m doing that I couldn’t identify a single trait of a single person I encounter on any given errand unless she looks inappropriate or he acts inappropriate, or vice versa. Everyone else is just a billboard I don’t even know is there except that it’s obstructing my view.

Maybe it’s time to start acknowledging people.

I’ll let you know how that goes.

* * *

I don’t know why, but this story makes me very sad. I really wanted Harry and Pepper to make it work.

* * *

Ever since I read this post on Neatorama, I have been fixated on wombats, the awesomeness of being so adorable, and having a pouch to boot! Whenever things happen in my life, or randomly in conversations, I will interject that I wish I had a wombat and then point out the applicable benefits of having a wombat who can carry things in its pocket for you as well as looking cute. For instance, B.E. was telling me a story last night about how dolphins have been trained to recognize objects, and you can tell these specially trained dolphins to find coins in the water, and they will dive down and look for coins on the ocean floor. I immediately pointed out how if that dolphin had a wombat for a sidekick (with an air tank), they could go on longer coin-diving expeditions because the wombat would be great company and could hold the coins in its pocket. In another conversation, I pointed out that if I had a wombat, it would not only be adorable, but it could hold my wallet while I walked it. What’s not to like about a wombat!?

* * *

This is my first week back at the gym after taking two weeks off. There were medical reasons I didn’t go, but part of my lack of motivation had to do with the fact that after 5 weeks of going multiple times a week, I managed only to lose inches in my boobs, and I lost a lot there, dropping a full bra size. What I mean is I went down a size, which is two inches around, and a cup size. That’s a lot of missing boobage! I find myself trying to send neurological messages to The Girls when I’m working out, letting them know that they don’t have to work so hard right now. Having large boobs has benefits, like they keep the lower part of my body dry in rain, and the seatbelt fits nicely between them so that it does not ride up and chafe my neck. Why have I lost nothing in my arms, waist, hips, thighs, etc., but it’s flying off my chest? Marina asked me if I want bigger boobs, which I surely do not, but I was just hopeful that I wouldn’t end up boobless before losing weight anywhere else. It’s just not fair.

* * *

While I’m talking about my boobs, it behooves me to mention that our new director decided that we should be wearing nametags, like people do who flip burgers. [Big sigh.] So, we now wear big, ugly, magnetic nametags.

Recently, one of my coworkers made a comment about not minding having to wear it, and I quickly chimed in and said I hate it. People are making me uncomfortable with how often they use my name.

“HV, would you look this book up for me? Thanks, HV. I really appreciate it, HV. HV, how long until my book comes in? HV, does the printer print in color, HV. HV! HV!” It makes me nuts. I’m starting to hate the sound of my own name. I don’t know their names! I don’t like them having something on me! It’s not right that they’re calling me by my first name like we’re friends, except that even people who know me do not use my name this much. I HATE IT! They’re rubbing my face in it and it’s cruel!

Which makes me wonder about some of them who use my name way too much in a conversation. Are they using my name as a cover for the fact that they’re staring at my boob? I noticed everyone wearing their nametag on their left upper chest, so I did as well, but my boobs are big and my cleavage goes almost up to my neck, so I basically wear my nametag on the top of my left boobie. Now people have a reason to stare at my left boob. Clearly I need to switch and start wearing it on the right side for a while so the right boob doesn’t feel unappreciated. Should I get one for each boob? Should I wear it in the middle? What if I snap one day and shout at that creepy guy, “HEY, my eyes are up here, bub!” and it turns out he’s just trying to read my nametag? I never thought I’d long for the old days (two directors ago) when we had to wear a plastic library card badge around our neck like a noose.

* * *

I’ve decided to become a Green Santa.

My quest to improve my health, fight the carcinogens in my immediate area, and increase the effort to save the environment, is very much unique among people I know. Some are concerned but less willing or able to make many of the changes necessary to clean up our personal worlds, and I understand that. Others don’t give a crap. For those who are concerned but for whatever reason aren’t as obsessed as I am, I have decided that with each paycheck, I’m going to purchase and bequeath to one unsuspecting loved one, a gift of greenness and a reduction in their chances of getting cancer.

I’ve already decided to give Ann an air-purifying plant (maybe a bamboo palm, or a Boston fern, or a peace lily) for her apartment, where she’s recently started trying to develop a green thumb. She has a few sparse plants that she treats like pets, and of course there’s Bob, the green bean sprout she carried around her neck as a bean until he sprouted and she could put him in dirt. (Yes, she named it Bob. I can’t extrude from her why.) But Ann is in Alaska this weekend, so I have someone else to give a green gift to, and I’ll get her later.

From my last paycheck, I purchased a chlorine filter for the showerhead in my house, and though it contradicts my water preserving desires, I have been taking long, luxurious, hot showers, enjoying my chlorine-free water. So, when I decided to be a Green Santa, I had to get a chlorine filter this week for someone, and it was challenging trying to decide who I should give it to, to jumpstart the beginning of their chlorine-free life. My best friend and her family have been talking about getting them for their showers, and I have faith that they will eventually. Besides, they make well over six figures a year (WELL over) and why should I spend $23 of my hard-earned money when they want to do it, can afford it, but have just been too lazy to go get them? Wait, Green Santa shouldn’t be bitter, right? No, but I definitely need to give it to someone who will use it and appreciate the effort, which she probably would not.

So, I picked a friend, someone I think will appreciate it and use it, and it will be an absolute honor to give it to her and her family. It feels unmistakably like I’m giving them the gift of better health, taking away cancer risks and reducing their chances of having heart disease, and I get a little giddy thinking about helping people live longer. Or something like that.

Before I’ve even given the first green gift, I’m already looking forward to next payday and what I’m going to get someone else as a green gift.

I really wish I had more money to be a bigger Green Santa. OH, the green gifts I would give!


Cielle said...

Visit West Virginia. You get waved at by EVERYBODY on the road. Your arm will get tired from all the responding.

And, he never said you had to wear the nametag on your shirt. Try it at the cuff of your pants.

Anonymous said...

Where can you get a chlorine filter for the shower for $23 dollars????

Happy Villain said...

They do that in Kentucky, too, and many people do it in Munising, MI, when I'm up there on vacation trying to escape humanity. Seems like the farther you get from urban settings, the more people do that

And the nametag on my pants is good. One day I wore it upside-down and no one told me for hours, so it could be my imagination.

OH! I don't know where you're from, but I've bought one at Home Depot ( (G.E - $21.99 + tax), which connects to the pipe that comes out of your wall, where the showerhead connects. Really easy to install. Also I have the one from Lowe's (Sprite - $21.47 + tax), which I really like and it was easy to install too, except that it's shiny chrome and I can see myself in it when I shower, which creeps me out a little. I asked at Menards, but they said only their "big" stores carry them. The replacement filters for both models I bought are only $10, and you replace every 6 months. If you're looking for the full showerhead built in, it's much more expensive, but my showerhead is fine. I just needed the filter. Good luck!

Kate P said...

Boob-staring. . . I feel for ya, sister. I was not blessed with much of a front porch, and even I get stared at when I work at the bookstore. We still make fun of the customer who asked how I pronounce my name. It's four freaking letters, you boob-starer. And the name over-users are just creepy.

I have a big magnetic nametag at the library, too. If I weren't wearing it, people would glare at me as I go sit at my desk in the YA area. (They have--it's computer/chair envy from the PC users.) That said, my title is completely misunderstood and they think "Young Adult Librarian" means I'm a trainee. Ugh.

Happy Villain said...

Young Adult Librarian being misunderstood surprises me, but I don't know why. I mean, I can't count how many times patrons reacted to Adult Services at my library in a way I'd really rather they did not. I just send them to the Adult Video section and recommend Die Hard.

Kate P said...

Hahahahahaha. That was great.

I just can't figure out why some people never noticed the bright yellow "YA" stickers (soon to be yellow and pink! Gross!) all over the materials the teenagers are reading. What did they think it stood for?