Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snippets of Life

1) Kristin worked as a receptionist for an insurance firm downtown on the eighth floor of the Henderson Bank Building.  Unbeknownst to everyone in the lobby who perhaps saw a geeky, bespectacled woman of moderate height, every time she passed through the revolving doors on the ground level and walked the long maroon carpet rug that directs visitors to the elevator lobby, she imagined herself a glamorous fashion model on an international runway in Monaco or Paris.

2) I never met a Norwegian I didn’t like, with the exception of Derek Olson, who is really just a Norwegian-American originally from Lansing. He never has a good word to say and he’s so full of himself. Even if he were gay and I was his lover, which I’m not, I’d still think he was an ass, and that fact that I was both attracted to him and thought he was an ass—in this imagined scenario, mind you—would make for a complicated relationship indeed.

3) I once knew a young couple that named their twins Vomit and Urine. I think this is so cruel. Yet I’m not sure what bothers me more: the disgusting names or the fact they’ve given these names to girls. Then again, why do I feel these names are more suitable for boys? I mean, “vomit” and “urine” are not gender-specific, are they?

4) Italian women and Kenyan men don’t usually hang out together. I don’t really have an opinion about it either way. If pressed, though, I’d say that they should hang out together, because it would go a long way in healing the racial divide. Otherwise, those Italian women would just be sitting around in the piazza slurping spaghetti noodles and those Kenyans would be throwing their spears around. At least they could unite and do something useful for humanity, you know?

5) I’ve always had an issue with the word “buttocks.” I mean, why is it plural? Ouch! That bicycle seat hurts my buttocks! Doesn’t that sound weird? We should just say butt, no? After all, I understand why we say buns, for we have two of those. It would be weird to see an attractive woman walking down the street in shorts and say, “Hey, sweetie, nice bun!”

6) Janice inadvertently made eye contact with Jordan at the office party and worried that he would read too much into it. Her worries were well founded. On Monday Jordan came up to her and tried to strike up a conversation. Fortunately, she had received a phone call on Saturday from Joyce, who relayed to her what Jerry had told her only moments after the “incident.” Jordan had confided in Jerry that he thought Janice “had the hots for me.” Already aware of Jordan’s interest, Joyce set up a ruse to ward off Jordan’s advances without directly turning him down. She asked Jack from shipping, with whom Janice enjoys a friendship, to pretend that he is interested. So when Jordan walked up to her on Monday to strike up a conversation, Jack, waiting in the wings by the Xerox machine, ambled over and winked at Joyce in such a way that Jordan would be blind not to notice it. Joyce responded favorably to Jack’s wink and was rather dismissive with Jordan. Jordan got the message.

7) Randy’s best friend married my wife’s cousin, but I don’t think that makes us blood relatives. Anyway, they divorced not long after the best friend returned from his second tour in Iraq.

8) Peter was more of a coffeehouse kind of guy, but he agreed to meet Joe at a local pub for a few brewskies. Joe’s girlfriend Sandy recently broke up with him and he needed some liquid solace and the good company of a trusted friend. Actually, Peter never considered Joe as a close friend, but he felt an obligation to offer a sympathetic set of ears for Joe’s lamentations and try to cheer him up. Though he preferred a cherry coke, Peter politely sipped the pint-sized lager that Joe had ordered for him. He listened attentively as Joe tried to drown his sorrows with virtually half the drink menu. “Forget her, Joe! She doesn’t deserve you. I’m not just trying to butter you up, but you have a lot to offer. Seriously. Think of the breakup as Sandy’s loss and an opportunity to get a fresh start. Plenty of fish in the sea, my friend, and with your personality and savoir-faire, you’ll easily find a wonderful woman, someone who recognizes your good attributes.”  Joe brought up his muscular forearms, presumably to complete the list.   Peter nodded.  “Besides, dude, you’ve been grumbling here and there about having little time to get out on that boat of yours. Take advantage of the extra time you now have. See it as a gift.” The smile on Joe's face gave Peter no small amount of satisfaction. Had thoughts of his upcoming date with Sandy at Applebee’s not distracted him, Peter, personable and fun when he wants to be, probably would have had Joe laughing like a school girl.

9) Just as the company commander was giving the final orders and imparting to his men some inspirational words of encouragement, he farted.  The flatulence was moderately loud, not earth-shattering loud, but occurring as it did during a dramatic pause in his speech, just after he had waxed eloquently about honor, glory and the fatherland, the sound seemed to rip through the solemnity of the moment.  Despite the artillery fire meant to soften up the enemy before a frontal charge, every soldier in the shellproof bunker heard the said fart.  At first the commander thought he had lost them, but he soon discovered to his pleasant surprise that his gaseous transgression had done more to rally the troops than any of those lofty words could have done.  As the men fixed their bayonets and waited for the whistle to blow, they couldn’t shake the giggles.  Once they got the signal, they climbed out of the trench and over the parapet into No Man’s Land, laughing their way to death.

10) It was always the same issue rearing its ugly head.  Sheila liked Greg.  Johann liked Greg.  Who wouldn’t like Greg?  He was a great guy, so much so that if he had known he was the source of so much friction between his two co-workers, he would have tried to resolve the situation.  To make matters worse, Sheila and Johann, friends and roommates for years, had recently graduated from mutual annoyance with one another over the “Greg issue” to outright hostility.  Little things would be blown out of proportion.  When Sheila failed to turn off the living room light, Johann gave her a scolding.  When Johann left her box of oat bran cereal on the counter one morning, Sheila sprinkled salt and pepper into it.  Admittedly, things turned sour when Greg and Johann scheduled their lunch at the same time so that they could meet up at the cafeteria and enjoy long discussions.   Sheila committed the unpardonable sin by informing the area supervisor of their chitchat on the company’s time, but Johann never found out that Sheila was the culprit.  Otherwise, they would have parted ways already, notwithstanding Greg dying of leukemia a month ago.  It's funny how animosity about an issue festers and causes permanent damage to a relationship even if the original source of the animosity is no longer an issue.

11) For the most part Thomas would concur with those who know her that Vanessa is a sweetheart.  He’s not denying her cutesy demeanor at both work and play, but he wondered if these people would at least qualify their view of her if they ever saw her behind the wheel of an automobile, as he did last week.   She has the case of road rage like nobody else he’d ever seen.  He asked her for a ride home because his car was in the shop getting the MacPherson struts replaced.  When a car swerved into her lane, Thomas saw Vanessa become so animated that he feared she would lose control over herself and flip the vehicle.  He had never known the English language was capable of such foul words and phrases, even as he made mental notes of them so he could impress his buddies with such colorful and imaginative cursing.