Wednesday, August 15, 2007

One Year Anniversary

So yesterday was my one-year anniversary of what my college friends call my “big girl job.” This in turn unleashed a flood of questions – Am I any better at my job after a year? Have I enjoyed the past year? Where the hell did all the time go? Why do I not have any money saved? I thought after breaking the minimum wage hurdle, I’d be rolling in the cash.

I then began to contemplate what I was doing a year ago today – working at a peach orchard. I loved that job. I learned how to drive a tractor and repair irrigation lines after the coyotes attacked.

The highlights from last summer – I got hit by a car, I saved a man’s life, I had an allergic reaction to my sunglasses, and I started a company newsletter (circulation four). The best part? I got paid in peaches. Jackpot, non taxable.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Final India Update

We have returned to Mumbai to wrap up our last days in India.

Ferry Racing

Towards the end of our hour-long ferry ride from Elephanta Island to Mumbai, we notice the ferry suspiciously close to us is racing us. Their passengers all stand up and move to the front of the ferry and begin taking pictures of us, hoping to overtake our noble vessel. Gordon and I will have none of this.

Other nearby passengers also grow worried about losing this impromptu race. Gordon yells to the ship "We need to lose some weight. Women and children overboard!" He then begins a slow chant "Hut! Hut! Hut!" - Hindi for "Move! Move! Move!" It's one of two phrases he knows.

As our ship speeds up and wins the race, a definite cheer emerges from our deck. Drenched in the briny filth characteristic of the Arabian Sea, Gordon told everyone he's never been so proud to be Indian.


Repulsed by the high cost of haircuts in New York, I decide to find a hair salon in Mumbai. Ah yes, Touch of Joy. It was recommended by the man on the street.

Waiting in the chair, I begin leafing through the fashion magazines to find the haircut I would like. Unfortunately, they only offered obscure Indian glamour publications featuring Bollywood stars. I realize I do not have long enough hair for a Bollywood bob and begin searching through my personal stash of reading materials. Unfortunately, all I brought was the July 7th issue of the Economist. Being it was the poverty issue, it wasn't too heavy on the hotties. I finally had to settle for page 84 - an ad for the Advanced Management Program at Wharton. It features a seasoned, business-savvy, Hillary Clinton look-alike. I hope it starts a trend.

India Update 4

2 the number of t-shirts Gordon packed for two weeks in India

10 the number of t-shirts Gordon has bought in India (6 of the Taj Mahal, 2 of Hatis (elephants), 1 from Hard Rock, and 1 that proclaims "Proud to be Indian"). This seals Gordon's "hopelessly a tourist" look.

Like Pushkar, Jaipur bans meat, alcohol, parties, and dancing. Our driver Lucky knew we were down about the lacking night life of Jaipur, so he drove around town blaring Hindi pop music with the windows down. Gordon and I actually knew all the words to the songs as it has been the only tape Lucky has played during our past six days together. So we spent our last night in Jaipur driving around town while other citizens stared at us singing along to the musical stylings of Aap Aar Suroor. It was like being in high school again and driving around Lake Eufaula in the summer.

India Update 2

A lot has definitely happened since the last email.
  1. We took an overnight train to Delhi. That's code for we endured 20 hours of people staring at us.
  2. We hired a travel company to plan a week for us and give us a driver.
  3. Gordon has been seen about town sporting his "Proud to Be Indian" t-shirt.
  4. To follow-up on the last email, Gordon went back to the scene of the crime and bought the Google book for a good chunk of change and gave the kid a little extra. The kid then began carressing Gordon and telling him he's "very handsome."
Our new driver and best friend is Lucky. Lucky informs us he has over 100 MySpace friends, which is a lot we think. Mr. Popular knows everybody everywhere. His catchphrase is "Everything is possible in India." Case in point, "Lucky, was that car going the wrong way on the highway?" Response "Everything is possible in India."
Last night we went to a Bollywood movie. During intermission, some kids our age walk by and start saying stuff to Gordon. Gordon yells out "Konichiwa" and people around us laugh. Lucky then informs us the kids are drug dealers and are inviting Gordon to join them outside. Lucky instructs us to ignore them when they come back because he doesn't want to have to defend us should a fight break. Gordon replies with "That's why you should have let me buy that dagger earlier today."
On our drive from Agra to see the Taj Mahal to Jaipur, we pull over to some sketchy hut. Lucky has run into a friend, who is driving a couple of kids from Holland about our age in his car. We talk to the Hollanders for quite a while. At one point, they tell us of a drink called a bhaang lassi -- a legal yogurt and marajuana drink. We get back in the car and ask Lucky "Is it true? Is there a drink called a bhaang lassi? Is it true that if you drink it, you'll pass out and find all your possessions stolen when you wake up?" He replied with "Yes, I promise to get you one in Pushkar." We ask "Is it legal?" Lucky responds, "Everything is possible in India."

India Update 1

After a seventeen hour flight was extended by 3 hours, Gordon and I arrived in Mumbai at 4 in the morning. Lindyn was going to meet us at the airport but had taken ill. So we decided to stay at a convent with this man we'd met back at London Heathrow.

Today on our cab ride into town, a kid was selling books on the street. While we're waiting in traffic he comes to the passenger window. Gordon inquires about a book in this hands -- Google something or other. The kid really wants to make a sale and tells Gordon it's in English. Gordon doubts the kid and says it's not in English and forces the child to open the plastic wrapper. His hands are too full to open the wrapper, so he hits it on his head to loosen the plastic. It is in English. Gordon pages through the book and decides he wants it. The kid says 450 rupees (about $11). At this point, the light has changed and the cars start moving. The cab drives away with Gordon holding the child's book. Gordon screams out "I'm never going to see you again." The driver grabs the book out of Gordon's hands and tosses it out the window, across the highway. Not only did Gordon doubt the kid and force him to open the book, but reneged on a sale and left the book across a highway. Great.

My Journey to Attain 60% Hep A Immunity

I'm going to India this afternoon, but the journey really started when I decided to get a Hepatitis Vaccination. Because I failed to get both shots in time for the trip, I am only 60% immune to hep A. None of these stories are exaggerations. They’re real.

Attempt 1 / in the middle of May / Doctor’s Office in Midtown
I waited in the office for two hours, the doctor took a blood test to see if I needed a vaccination. She never called me back, never returned my calls, her voicemail doesn’t even work. Never go to Isabel Souffrant.

Attempt 2 / last week / Department of Health in Harlem
It was listed online as a walk-in clinic to get free hepatitis vaccinations. It was really an STD clinic. I waited in the line marked FREE STD TESTING with high-schoolers and some old guy and watched cartoons about STDs only to find out they only gave hepatitis B vaccinations.

Attempt 3 / yesterday morning / Clinic in Flushing, Queens
As a last minute resort, a coworker gave me the number for a clinic open on Sundays. I made it out to Flushing, Queens at 9:45am yesterday (Sunday). I loved the doctor’s office. No one spoke English. I witnessed one woman pay with zucchini and another man pay with pirated DVDs.

They asked me if I wanted an EKG. I said okay. A woman motions for me to follow her out the clinic, down the street, around a KFC (Kenny’s Fried Chicken), up some back stairways in another building, into some other doctor’s office, and I don’t think I can type what went down in there.

When I did get the vaccine, I was in the waiting room. A nurse comes out, sits next to me, pulls up my sleeve, and gives me the shot right there in the waiting room. I didn’t even get a band-aid. It was awesome. I loved that office.

I feel awful. I started taking malaria pills. Bye.

While in the Elevator

Inspired by a chapter in the David Sedaris book Me Talk Pretty One Day, I discovered the joy in making embarrassing comments to coworkers while in public areas -- the cafeteria, the elevator, the restroom. Just say them in the elevator full of strangers and bask in the awkwardness.

Special thanks to Whitney and Gordon for their contributions.
  1. So, are you getting refunded for your Kelly Clarkson concert tickets?
  2. So, if you go to the strip club, is it weird seeing your mom performing?
  3. No, I think 16 is the age of consent, so you are safe.
  4. Don’t worry, I’m sure lots of people get rejected from American Idol twice
  5. Okay, so which Build-A-Bear are you having your birthday party at?
  6. So, are your shirts looser now without your back hair?
  7. Get pregnant. It will keep him from leaving you.
  8. You didn’t even know his name? What time did he leave this morning?
  9. If I were you, I would just go to a free clinic. VDs wait for no one.
  10. How’s your “Free Paris Hilton” campaign going?
  11. Wait, so why aren’t you allowed back in the Netherlands?
  12. No, your milkshake doesn't bring the boys to the yard.
  13. Tell us about the time you blacked out again.
  14. No, drinking tea doesn't stop the're screwed.
  15. Can you finally wear sandals now? Or is the growth still there?
  16. Being hairy is considered erotic in many cultures. I'm sure no one will mind.
  17. No, I don't think that act can be considered sex.
  18. I'm so proud of you. The first male waiter at hooters. That's some sort of milestone eh?
  19. Don't worry; I don't think your kids will inherit that.
  20. So, do you know of anyone else besides you who still collects Beanie Babies?
  21. Oh, I’m sure you aren’t the only one who actually thought Mary Magdalene was entombed under the Louvre.
  22. Yeah, it’s good you are only sharing needles with people you know.
  23. How many vacation days do you have left? I know you took that impromptu personal day back in February when Anna Nicole Smith died.
  24. You have a drug test in a few days right? Well, you better keep gulping that water.
  25. Oh, so YOU’RE the one who broke the electric stapler on the 15th floor...(Insert whatever electronic is broken on whatever floor you are on)
  26. I definitely think you’ll get more transgendered responses on Match than on eHarmony.
  27. So you’ve been using your ex’s social security number?
  28. Yeah, I think giving your boss less than two weeks notice will really teach them a lesson.
  29. It was really great at karaoke the other night when you sang “I Touch Myself”
  30. Wait, so you’ve stopped washing your hands in order to build your immune system?
  31. No, I think it’s really nice that you sent Dustin Diamond money to help out with his bankruptcy.
  32. It’s just petty cash. No one will notice its missing.

Compensation Call

We had a compensation conference call for the firm. About 200 or so people dialed in to learn about the raises for the next year. At the end they had a Q&A section; I compiled a list of my questions to ask.
  1. Is it true I can opt out of receiving currency and instead get paid in Precious Moments figurines, and receive my compensation tax free?
  2. My manager told me I could receive a bonus for pulling all-nighters at his house. Can you confirm or deny?
  3. What is this CPA Exam you keep referring to? I've never heard of it.
  4. If - not me but my friend - failed his drug test numerous times, will that impact my, er his, compensation?
  5. I notice on my pay stub, you keep taking money out for something called "taxes." Could you please explain?
  6. Wait, people are getting paid for showing up to work? How can I enroll in that program?
  7. I've been investing my paychecks into typewriter futures. I'd recommend you all do the same; you shouldn't rely on Social Security.
  8. Is it true you moved this call back to 8:30 am, so you could catch Whoopi's debut on The View?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Open Letter to my Neighbor on Flight 776

Dear Mr. 28C,

Airplane rides are fantastic. They take you to a new, exciting place. Don't you love new destinations? Don't you hate those cramped seats? I know you do. When I saw you and all your rotundity barreling down the center aisle at the last minute, I knew you were destined to sit next to me.

You didn't think twice when you told me in your broken English to switch you seats because you prefer the aisle. Who doesn't? It's quite bizarre. You tell me to switch you seats so you can have more space, but I don't understand why your elbow was in my ribcage for most of the flight.

You also didn't think twice about wearing deodorant. Hell, you didn't even think once about wearing it. Even before you reached up to adjust the light above my head, I could tell there was one item that TSA must have confiscated from your carry-on.

I suppose what took me by surprise the most was when I took a five-minute nap and awoke to you reading a magazine... my magazine. The Economist, that sensationalist rag will update you to all the celebrity dirt and gossip. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed traveling with you.

Grateful it was only a four-hour flight,

The Fake Bachelorette Party

So dear friend Whitney decided to celebrate her 23rd birthday with a fake bachelorette party. Why? Because it translates to free drinks and making out with guys and a whole new meaning to being the center of attention. As maid of honor, I began to compile a list of awkward comments I wanted to make throughout the night. Special thanks to Whitney, Gordon, and Steve for their contributions.

  1. It’s so timely that you’re getting married; now you won’t have to finish college.
  2. You told him you were pregnant just so he’d propose?
  3. He does realize he’s upgrading the ring in 5 years, right?
  4. Here’s to the next 5 years of matrimony, or 3 if you can get him to agree to your terms on the prenup.
  5. Wow, he proposed. I guess that means he doesn’t know about Cancun 2004.
  6. He knows you still sleep with your Furbies, right?
  7. You’re marrying him even though he killed your DigiPet? That’s love.
  8. Huh, I guess mail order brides really do work.
  9. So when are you quitting your job?
  10. So when do you start only “speaking when spoken to”?
  11. Hey, my aunt can make cakes that resemble American Idol contestants.
  12. Too bad you didn’t meet him earlier, then you wouldn’t have had to finish school.
  13. No, I think it’d be cute if your first dance was to Carrie Underwood’s “The Next Time He Cheats.”
  14. Are you inviting his first wife to the wedding since you two started dating when they were still married?
  15. Too bad your marriage will only be recognized in the state of Massachusetts.
  16. Really, you two can get married? Are cousins allowed to get married?
  17. You’re lucky to marry someone so wealthy. I guess the nose job is paying for itself.
  18. I’m sure a lot of people have their plastic surgeon walk them down the aisle.
  19. No, themed weddings could be classy. I mean, you really like Star Trek.
  20. Is Vera still upset you made her pull all nighters?
  21. When is the crew from Bridezillas coming?
  22. Don’t feel bad about making your parents re-mortgage the house to pay for the dress. It’s their job.
  23. That’s great he’s excited about the baby, but will he be upset when he realizes the kids looks nothing like him?
  24. It's a good thing you stopped picking up kitchen knives during your night terrors.
  25. Where did you hide your John Wayne Bobbit action figures?
  26. How did you hide your "I Support Lorena Bobbitt" tattoo on your lower back?
  27. The sex is bad? Oh right, I forgot he's rich. It's all good.
  28. Does he know about your plan to name the firstborn "2kool4skool"?
  29. Wait, the theme of your wedding is "America's got talent"?.
  30. Do you have to keep his other kids? Can't you get rid of them?
  31. I think it's great that he's a chip n dales dancer. Shows class.
  32. You didn’t sign the prenup? Good call.
  33. Will it be weird that his daughter is older than you are?
  34. Sure his family’s nice now, but will they contest the will five years from now?

My New IPod Cover

As many of you may already know, I enjoy music, but what many of you may not know is that there is this crazy new device from the future called an iPod (pronounced eye-pod).

I don’t know how successful it will end up being, but I do know that it can hold at least 50 songs in its voodoo black magic box.

I’ve actually had an iPod since I could walk and talk and actually auditioned for the role of hot pink silhouette of a dancer in iPod commercial 12. I failed at that, but I didn’t fail at making iPod covers.

Some of you may recall the iPod cover I concocted after winning Monmouth last year, but that is blown out of the water by the newest iPod cover I made at work this week.

Special thanks to my cubicle mate Gordon Hua for misdiagnosing his respiratory scabies as allergies and consequently purchasing and consuming all 24 pills of a Claritin knock-off. Without the box, I would have finished working on spreadsheets 15 minutes earlier, and that’s lame.