Well, That Was Unexpected

Real life is stranger than fiction...depending on which authors you read, of course.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thwarting the feral tampon, the cruncher, and James Bond

Well, I'm happy to report that New Orleans hasn't been a total shit sandwich.

Speaking of food, actually, apparently, unnoticed by me, one of my trainees eats constantly. As in, so constantly that the woman sitting next to her moved seats because she couldn't pay attention with all that crunching next to her. I didn't know why the first woman had moved; I assumed she was under the AC vent. Anyway, crunching lady didn't know the real reason the first woman had moved was her loud munching, and the next day, she too had moved to the back, to the row in front of her former seatmate. At lunch I was filled in that no one in the back had been able to concentrate because of this woman's deafening crunching. So I started paying attention, and it is absolutely true. Yesterday it was pork rinds and candy, today a huge bag of cookies and cheese puffs. In fact, her book rests on unopened treasures of snacks. This whole saga is providing no end of amusement, most vividly today when I was helping the poor woman who can't escape the cruncher, and the cruncher brushed some cheese puff unawaredly onto my shoe and I was laughing so hard I could barely compose myself. I have to say, I'm kind of in awe of the cruncher. I mean, she is surely rotting from the inside out and we all probably have contact-high cholesterol just from being near her, but girlfriend isn't even plus-sized. and she's like 60, so way to go her.

Speaking of lady stuff and my training class, Monday I was talking to the woman in charge of my band of young recruits and I meant to pull out a pen and instead pulled out a feral tampon! My eyes widened to the size of that crazy dreadlocked guy who got kicked off of Top Chef DC on the 1st episode. Luckily, I think she was looking away. But this led me to round up the rest of them in an attempt to thwart their feralness from embarrassing me again. It's not just that it's unsavory to be grasping tampons in one's purse, but also that those suckers are like gold. They're expensive! They're coveted. Just ask expats in developing countries. So I have a new commitment to herding up and removing tampons as soon as they are unneeded and before they can double thwart me with embarrassment and financial penalty.

In LAX as I was waiting for my plane to come out here to NOLA, the terminal was playing You Only Live Twice, the intrumental version. This reminded me of the many family vacations we took in which the James Bond themes, instrumental and with lyrics, were some of the only CDs we agreed on. James Bond, Roxette, and Rebecca St. James. Classic. Anyway, I feel that my encyclopedic knowledge of James Bond themes should come in handy, as a way to lull intruders, heal infants in intensive care, or at least win some pub trivia. This might be the brainwashing talking (or the minor chords), but I think listening to them more would make my life seem more exciting. Having Daniel Craig come on all my business trips would also make life more exciting. But I digress.

I wonder how James Bond would deal with the massive discrepancy in education standards around the country? I've become frustratedly enraged about this problem again. Because good, competent people with perfectly functioning brains are graduating with diplomas that are worth crap. Example: I have a wonderfully engaging man in my class. He is sweet, articulate, smart, he has a high position, and I may have a teensy weensy crush on him...but we get to the math-related portion of the class and all comprehension is out the window. The sparkle in the eye is gone, fear and hopelessness reign, I feel like he watched me shoot his favorite puppy. The authority he had has vanished. All I'm asking is for him to follow instructions and do some division. Argh, how does one even get in this fight? Law school? I've been thinking of law school. Can I sue the whole country? It's not just that empirically I know my students from the South by-and-large have poorer test scores and comprehension skills. It's the feeling...knowing that they will find the test harder than their coastal counterparts. The discrepancy makes me feel like I'm in India where 5 star hotels are next to people living in slums with no clean water. I know I am asking them to do comprehension tasks that they haven't been prepared to do, but which the laziest dunkin donuts coffee slinger in Vermont could do while texting and taking a nap. and I can't go back and start them from 3rd grade. There's class issues involved, there're racial issues. ugh. I love the idea of the meritocracy of the US and that mythology...maybe I'm a big communist, but I really wish there was a more level playing field to jump off from.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

OCD, white nectarines, and New Orleans

It's a telltale sign that I must be in the office when I suddenly become obsessed with ridding my hair of split ends. Almost every time my office mate has left the room today I have had the scissors in hand, dissecting out the offensive ends of my hair. Question: Is this disgusting? I have a feeling it is. I also feel that somehow my office environment is to blame for this unexpected descent into OCD.

Speaking of psychological issues, I think I must have been hypnotized at some time in my life regarding white nectarines. You know how serial killers have to buy Catcher in the Rye? (or at least Mel Gibson's character did in that movie Conspiracy Theory, which brings me to the frightening question: am I going to evolve into a crazy conspiracy theorist, or worse...Mel Gibson?) I have that same compulsion with white nectarines. If I see them, I have to buy at least one. I may or may not eat it, but it's like I get twitchy if I don't. I don't even really sit and debate it, I just buy it, like it's inevitable. I usually eat them, but sometimes I don't, and that's okay, because I'm just happy they're around. I mean, sweet God, they taste like what good peaches are supposed to taste like, but never do. I've finally just eaten the ones I bought 3 days ago, all is right with the world, sort of.

By "sort of" I refer to the fact that, of course, I will now have to buy more nectarines, natch, and also that yesterday I was given a class in New Orleans for which I have to fly out on Sunday. This coming Sunday. This makes me want to clench my fists and throw a childish tantrum. This is going to take some emotional steeling. Partly because I expected to be home for another week and I know no one in New Orleans, which is a crappy place to not know anyone, and partly because the New Orleans vibe is so forceful and emotionally taxing. Even the ubiquitous drive-thru Daiquiri stands, which make a rather forceful libation, do not soothe enough. I want to crawl in bed and make Brad Pitt go for me.

Oh well, as a parting pep up for the Julie, I will give a gift to bless us all. My friend, Devika, gifted me with two amazing videos I felt needed sharing because they should at least make you laugh, if not feel mindblown. Both feed, in their own special ways, into my Russophilia. The first is Rasputin, by Boney M, which features a man with an Afro and his genie-clad backup singers discoing it up about, who else?, Rasputin

The second is a German song by Dschingis Khan about Moscow, spelled, Moskau, with some crazy awesome outfits and dancing.

Friday, September 03, 2010

I'm a little secret service teapot

When I was in Taiwan I used to teach English to the Taiwanese equivalent of the secret service. Highly trained professionals who could kill me at any moment. One of my best friends was the woman who led the detail for all wives of visiting world leaders. But, and this really could explain much of Taiwan, they were also some of the sweetest, cutest people ever. And they liked me to teach them songs. One of their favorites was "I'm a little teapot." I guess it has something to do with their love of tea, gestures, and anything we would consider "cute". Anyway, I'm facebook friends with the man who was the leader of the group. And he just posted a video of me performing "I'm a little teapot" at a tea plantation. It's pretty embarrassing, but knowing the audience really makes the thing worthwhile. I perform children's songs for trained killers.

In other news, I've been reading Brain Candy by Garth Sundem, and it really is a wealth of interesting information. Some of my favorite tidbits: 1. July is Mad Pride Month. Mad, as in, insane. So, find your favorite person with a mental disability and go to town next July. The possibilities here are really endless. I just wonder how one would organize a parade for this sort of thing....2. It is possible that cat lovers have actually ingested a parasite, toxoplasma gondii, that lives in cat guts, and if they have, the parasite basically makes them sexually attracted to cats. I really like this explanation because it gives a reason for the madness and I have a newfound pity for my cat loving friends.