Archive for September, 2011

Him and her

I was talking to my mom on the phone while driving into work when something occurred to me and struck me as odd. We may refer to the “cleaning lady” or even the “nail lady,” but it’s always the “pool man” and “alarm guy.” Why do the women get the lofty and noble title of “lady” but it would sound absurd to mention the “pool lord”?

I ask this somewhat facetiously because I think I know the answer. The problem lies with my geographical region. I’ll explain: in other parts of the country, the male/female pairings are pretty easy. Boys and girls go together, as do men and women, and…guys and gals. We don’t use “gals” in Los Angeles, but we still need something that goes with “guys.” More often than not, people use “guys and girls,” opting for the lower age group (and probably giving plenty of Sociology majors something to write their theses about). “Guys and women” sounds pretty odd, but I think that’s just as off as using “girls” where “gals” rightfully belongs.

So when it comes to naming people who do jobs for others, we get confused by the missing female option. “Cleaning girl” or “cleaning boy” has a distinct air of child labor mixed with a bit of plantation owner.   “Woman” may have sounded odd when the person it was describing was more in “gal” range.  Somehow “lady” was an alternative that got added to the mix and stuck.  That’s my theory at least, based on nothing but my own west-coastian ruminations.  But for all I know, in rural Alabama a couple might refer to their “alarm viceroy.”

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The trade

I’ve been on this earth for a good number of years now, so when I do something new, it stands out and I like to share it with my 4-5 readers. Well, such a thing happened recently, so here I go.

With our twins nearing the 18-month mark, there are many things from their earlier months that are no longer needed. My lovely wife has taken to listing and selling many of those items on Craigslist, from Bumbo seats to a nursing pillow. (That led to a great line of mine, actually. The woman buying the pillow was nearing our place as I was directing her via cell phone, and I said, “I’ll be the guy standing in the street holding a nursing pillow.” Big laughs.)

In any case, my lovely wife had been corresponding with a woman over emails for days, and the sale of one of our carseat bases was finally about to happen. Her husband was going to come over and text me when he got there so I could meet him outside. At the last minute, she sent a text saying, “By the way, my husband’s a CHP officer and will driving there in his police car.” What an excellent heads-up!

At the designated time, I received a text message simply saying, “I’m outside.”  I grabbed the base and walked out front.  Sure enough, a cop car was parked outside.  I smiled and waved.  As he walked up to me, I noticed something besides the fact that he was a uniformed police officer: the dude was huge.  He must have been at least 6’5, and I can’t even begin to guess the weight.  As I later told my lovely wife, the only adjective that came to mind was “corn-fed.”  “I wouldn’t have been even one bit surprised if he said he played a little defensive tackle at Nebraska,” I told her.  He was that kind of big and strong.  He shook my hand, but I’m not even sure he could feel it in his giant mitt.  I handed him the base.  He took out his special police flashlight and illuminated the object.  After studying it for a second, he said, “Yep, this is the right one.  We install these down at the station, so I knew which model we needed for our seat.”  “Oh, do you have the Snugride 32?” I asked.  He said he did, and we bonded for half a second over how silly that interaction must have sounded.  He handed me some cash, thanked me, and was on his way.  I thought it would be rude to count it in front of him, ya know, since he’s the law and everything.

When I came back inside, another aspect of my meeting occurred to me: What would snooping neighbors think went down there?  They see a cop car pull up in the late evening and watch as the officer walks to meet me near our front porch.  He inspects something with his flashlight, hands me cash, and leaves.  How often do you see a cop hand cash to someone (let alone on a dark suburban street)?  I doubt I looked like a drug dealer, so maybe I could’ve been some kind of source/snitch getting paid for tipping off the cops when I heard things about to go down.  “There’s a shipment coming into Long Beach at 1am – twelve containers of these.  They look like normal carseat bases, but if you look right here, you can see where they stash the coke.  Now pay me before I change my mind, you corn-fed former defensive tackle at a prominent Midwest football school.”   But no, it was just two guys having a little chat while taking care of business.  One left with a carseat base for a new member of his family, and the other went back inside with some cash and a new experience to write about.  That, my friends, is a win-win.

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Truly frightening

Hello, friends. Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve last posted, but I’m sure my fellow bloggers kept you well-entertained during my absence. What’s that? Not a single post from any of them? Well then, looks like I have some serious catching up to do. I have a few ideas that (time permitting) I’ll put to e-paper and hopefully win your attention back. Here’s a quick one:

I was driving home last weekend from a trip to Home Depot when I passed a sign on the fence of a community college that read, “Fright Fair Haunt. Open Auditions for Actors.” My first thought was regarding how much I hate those things. Seriously, walking through a maze or a haunted house knowing that there are people around each corner or lurking in the shadows who are being paid to scare the shit out of me just isn’t my thing. I’d scream like a little girl if they jumped out at me, and that just wouldn’t be good for anyone. I don’t really understand my reaction; I mean, I know on a rational level that no one’s going to actually hurt me or anything while I’m there (even the guy with the hockey mask and chainsaw), but I still get tense and freaked out with those things.

That wasn’t my point though. The more interesting thing (to me at least) was my second thought: I should totally go and audition. Not in the normal way, mind you, but with my own personal touch. Here’s how I see it playing out:

I enter a small classroom and nod hello to the people sitting in the chairs a few feet away, waiting to judge me. I had just left the waiting room, where after signing in, I sat there with people decked out in all sorts of masks, costumes, and fake injuries. Me? I’m wearing a polo shirt tucked into some khakis.

Casting Agent: Hi, thanks for joining us. So you’re…”P-Dawg” it says.

Me: That’s right. Nice to meet all of you.

Agent: Ok, so what we’re going to ask you to do is show us a few of your own scary things that you would bring to the Fright Fair Haunt.

Me: Sure, are you ready?

Agent: Fire away.

(I crack my neck and get into character before looking up. Instead of making a monstrous face or anything like that, I look respectable and kind but with a little touch of sadness behind the eyes.)

Me: I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to lay you off.

Agent: What?

Me: We’ve had a rough year and just aren’t hitting our numbers. We need to cut some costs, and management has decided to downsize the personnel.  I can offer you a month’s pay and try helping you with job placement, but we just can’t keep you on here. And…scene.

Agent: Oh, well, ok. I guess…um, what else have you got?

(I shake out my arms and look up again, this time a little more business-like but with eyebrows slightly raised and lips a bit pursed to signify concerned understanding.)

Me: Yes, that is definitely herpes. And while there’s no cure for herpes, there are ways to keep the flare-ups at bay and lead a normal, active life.

Agent: Wow, ok. Wasn’t expecting that. (nervous laughter) Anything else?

(I pop up with a quick, frenzied look)

Me: Bachmann’s poll numbers are rising!

Agent: Alright, I think-

Me: You’re being audited.

Agent: That’s more than enough for-

Me: Lindsey Lohan’s your kid’s new bus driver.

Agent: Ok-

Me: There’s a wasp on your neck.

Agent: Thank you, P-Dawg.

Me: “Mad Men” got canceled.

Agent: Please leave or I’ll call security.

Me: And…scene. Thank you all for your time and I look forward to working with you.

Agent: Whatever.

A small part of me really wants to do this.  At the very least, I’d stand out, right?  And now I turn to you, loyal readers: what other lines could I have in my arsenal?  Comment away!

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