Friday, January 27, 2006

"I have a plan to keep from working." He pauses and the bubbling from the water pipe fills the vacuum.
"Oh yeah. What's that?"
"I'm gonna steal me a baby."
"How's that keeping you from working?"
"Listen, man. Then I'm gonna convince the missus that its hers." A crooked grin and a sideways glance is thrown my direction as he points the remote like a magic wand and switches channels. He continues, "Then while she's sleeping, I'll smear the baby in strawberry jam and put it down her pajamas. She'll wake up. And I'll start screaming about 'It's a miracle. You had a baby! I didn't even know you were pregnant.' It will be awesome. You know how chicks are. She might be dubious at first, but they all like babies. She'll have to continue working but I'll be the modern man and make the sacrifice and stay at home."
"Dude, you're full of shit."
"The best part is since it really isn't my kid I won't be too worried about taking care of it. Easy life, man." Then he laughed to himself as he watched the end of a car commercial.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

It is nice to carry with you a pocket change's worth of a foreign language when traveling. Although I think it polite to make an attempt to speak the language of the country, I am a devout monolinguist as is my American birthright. Luckily most interactions you face as a tourist are commerce based and thus require a limited and easily remembered vocabulary. Despite this I still find myself mentally rehearsing the dialogue as I watch the counter help or waiter make their way to greet me. When they arrive, I uncomfortably sputter my rehearsed line, and pray the native speaker sticks to the expected script otherwise I quickly run and hide behind the default error phrase, "Do you speak English?"

Scotland is nominally an English speaking country, and the speaker of Americanese can move through life here with only the slightest of hiccups. I remember my first cab ride here. The only thing I understood was at some point he talked about football and at another he made fun of the English. I have later learned that most cab rides result in discussions of football, English jokes, or listing the places in America the driver has been. For this reason, though I live in a foriegn country, I never have that foriegn country anxiety except for one situation. Fish and Chip shops. Ordering fish and chips requires knowing tacit and complicated series of protocol steps and code words that the natives understand from birth.

There are regional differences to the combination of sauces and condiments which you must navigate lest you offend the local customs. Edinburgudians take theirs with brown sauce and salt. Vinegar is for soft southerner poofs apparently. I think, I can't remember. Maybe I have that backwards. This is why I still get that foriegner anxiety when ordering. Sometimes I just sheepishly point and pretend to be mute. Small price tp pay for greased stained heaven.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The small pleasures truly do make life worth living. I bought grapefruit last night and as I fell asleep a child's christmas eve anticipation crept into my thoughts of having a grapefruit with honey for breakfast. My childhood homes always had fruit trees. I have wonderful memories of my mom slicing the sections of the fruit, drizzling it in honey, and serving the half fruit in a bowl with a spoon. Maybe it is those fond rememberances of motherly affection that made this morning's grapefruit that much nicer.

This reminds me that I tend to order food in restuarants that sound funny. In france, I always drink pamplemousse juice, and at falafal joints I always get baba ganoush.

Another tangent. "sur le trottoir" is my favourite french phrase, but its not very useful unless you are explaining where to find dog mess in Paris.

Friday, January 06, 2006

I unconsciously rubbed my freshly shaven head as my mother told me about the affliction of her favourite dog. The poor dumb creature was loosing its pretty black fur in golf divot sized clumps. A solution for her slap headed dog and a unique birthday gift for her came to mind. The mass of wavy five-inch jet hair looked like an animal nested at the bottom of the envelope. I also enclosed a glue stick and a note saying:

colour: Midnite Black

1)Apply glue stick liberally to affected area.
2)Press product to glue.
3)Leave to set.
4)Trim to desired length.


I sure hope she likes my present. I have a feeling she'll call me immediately after receiving it. :)

Monday, January 02, 2006

Postmen (mailman) are truly a benign force in the universe. I still get excited when I receive a hand-addressed letter, and there is a simple pleasure to packing and addressing a care package for someone. Stamps are nifty. Postcodes are clever. The global mail system that allows next day delivery is astounding, and postmen are nice people doing a nice thing for society. This is why it is inexplicable that I always have the urge to shout nonsensical abuse towards them. Especially from a speeding car as they walk their route. Zoom. Honk. Honk. “I’ll get you one day. Batman!” Well, it is not entirely inexplicable as the response from the postman is always humorous.

Postmen know they are good people. They aren’t like policemen for whom a certain segment of the population have rather negative opinions of their peacekeeping activities. Even criminals love getting mail. Since they are securely smug about their position as ‘one of the good guys’ they are ill equipped for abuse. Policemen expect a hassle or two and they know how to react when it is encountered. Posties1 can’t handle it. Their reaction is an inevitable look of confusion followed by an exaggerate frown. Imagining that poor postman’s description as he relates the story to his fellow workers after their shift makes me giggle.
“You won’t believe what happened today.” He’ll surely tell the story a few times about the strange man who yelled at him that day. Truthfully, I am doing them a service. It’s like an inoculation. It’s a small amount of abuse that will make them less susceptible to harsher forms of abuse they might be exposed to, and for this altruistic act I get a little chuckle and a pinch of evil joy.

1) ‘Postie’ is a great term of abuse, but make sure you spit it through clenched teeth and a sneer as if their occupation was grave robbing.