Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A thought or two or three..

I was at the mall the day after Thanksgiving and I had a thought or two or three....y'all.

I’m standing in a long line at one of my favorite department stores at 6:20 AM on the day after Thanksgiving just thinking. Yesterday, I saw a stand up comedian on television joking about how women think all the time; she said our brains never stop working and I thought, "That’s not true!" I’m sure all women have long periods of silence in their minds when they’re not thinking about anything at all, they’re just -well…maybe she has a point because I usually am pondering one puzzle or another unless I’m listening to someone speak in which case I’m thinking about what I’m going to say when it’s my turn to talk. I know that I can listen and think because - I cannot believe that woman just tried to cut in this long line by pretending that her friend was holding her place. Does she not know what time it is and how little patience all of us bed head, no lipstick wearing women have for rude people who don’t want to pay their dues? We don’t even want to pay regular prices or we wouldn’t be up at the crack of dawn shivering outside locked doors waiting for someone to let us in so we can get a free snow globe that’s probably worth about a dollar along with the coveted extra ten percent savings off the sale prices. Geez, the nerve of some people. I’m glad that woman told her where the line ends or I would’ve had to say something because I have ninety-seven more stores to go to before the early bird sales end at 10:00 AM and I cannot stay in here all day. I only wanted the free globe but they had these cute sweaters for half price next to the globe giving people and... I wonder how much those employees are paid to pass out globes at 6:00 in the morning? That’s all they’re doing, standing there giving little green boxes to folks who are so excited you’d think that’s all they’re getting for Christmas. One man got two globes and I thought they had a limit of one per person but I only need one for my collection, which is a tribute to my insanity of doing this every year. No one ever comes over during the Christmas season and says, “Oh look at these lovely little globes with the year written in gold ink on the side. Did you risk being trampled to get this?” Oh well, some people have trophies and plaques, but I have glass balls filled with water and Disney characters. I worked hard for them and I’m proud of them.
Thank goodness, I’m checked out and on my way to store number two and I feel hungry I think, but I ate so much yesterday that I shouldn’t be hungry for a week or at least several hours. Hmmm, let me think, yes I’m definitely hungry but if I don’t go to store two they’ll run out of my size on those velour warm ups and I’ll have to keep wearing the rayon ones that make so much noise when I walk which reminds me I must work out today. Right. But I have those great leftovers. Okay. I’ll start working out next week or after Christmas. I shouldn’t waste food - oh no, look at all these people in here. I cannot believe the crowd. This place has a sale every week like they’re going out of business so I don’t know why we're clogging the aisles today except that George Foreman Grill is now at the lowest price of the season. Are they all here for that grill? No, that woman has a vacuum cleaner that I just saw for ten dollars less at the other store. I should tell her. No, she’ll think I’m strange and maybe she’s going to apply for a credit card and get an additional price break. In any case, it’s none of my business I just came here for the grill. How am going to get all this stuff to my car? I really need to get that right speaker in my car checked because I hate that hissing sound it makes whenever I play my Aretha Franklin CD but since that’s the only time I hear it, maybe it’s Aretha, she is getting older, so is the CD but Re Re ain‘t no spring chicken. Gladys Knight has a strong voice. Strong like good coffee and boy, could I use a cup right now. That’s what they should give away to early bird shoppers since they don’t have enough globes ’cause I’d love a cup of Joe and maybe a croissant with eggs and ham. That’s customer service, we don’t get good - did this girl start working here today or what? She is so slow and that’s the fifth time she’s had to ask the other cashier for help. I should have gotten in the other line. This is just like the grocery store; no matter which line I choose, I end up in the slow lane. My knees are cold…

You know, that comedian may be right. I’ll have to think about it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dreading the Holidaze!

Why am I dreading the holidaze?
Like millions of Americans, I am a light sleeper. I mean a really, really light sleeper. I live 20 miles from the airport and I am often awakened by the sound of airplanes flying miles above my bed. I don’t sleep with lights on, or music, or the television. In fact, I hold my breath all night to avoid the sound of air rushing in and out of my nose. Okay, not really, but I need darkness and quiet in order to get a good night’s rest.
My sister is not a light sleeper. My sister could sleep through a war movie with surround sound at the highest volume on the world’s loudest speakers. She must go beyond REM sleep. She’s almost on COMA sleep.
Anyway, during the holidays we always go to my folks’ home to spend some quality time together, all six of us. Just like the old days except now I have two teenagers so Mom insists on cooking two pans of biscuits every morning.
I must be honest. I am dreading the holidays. Why? I’m glad you asked.
Here’s the problem. My folks have three bedrooms. That means I share a bed with my sister or sleep on a pallet—on the floor. The last time my sister and I shared a bed, she was four and I woke up with three toes in my mouth. Well, many moons have passed so last Christmas I thought, “This will be fun like a little slumber party. We’ll talk all night and really bond.”
What was I thinking? I suspected all along that the noise I heard the last time I spent the night at sissy’s home was not the icemaker or the air conditioner like she surmised. No, that noise was her. The woman snores like she’s being paid to do it. I’ve been to concerts that weren’t as loud. True, she had a cold and she was very tired but good grief. All of our bonding dissolved after about thirty minutes of her nocturnal bugle blowing.
I started out by shaking her gently. That didn’t work. Then I sort of tried to push her on her side. She rolled over and kept right on snoring. Next, I put two pillows over her head. They barely muffled the sound. In desperation, I punched her in her back as hard as I could. She didn’t freakin’ move. She didn’t even pause from snoring for a moment.
Exasperated, I sought refuge in the bedroom with my sons’. They were in a king- sized bed but I couldn’t find an inch of space between them. They were sprawled in every direction like they heard me coming. I just wanted a little room at the foot of the bed. Have you smelled the feet of any teenage boys’ lately?
I continued my pilgrimage to the den where a nice, big sofa awaited me. It was right next to the nice, big fish aquarium with the world’s loudest pump. I convinced myself that the fish could survive one night without carbonated water. I was about to pull the plug when I noticed one of the fish staring at me. He looked so mean. He opened and closed his little mouth. I swear he said, “I’ve got friends that walk. If anything happens to me, you’re history.”
So I took my little pillow and blanket to the living room where my mother showcases the world’s smallest couch. It’s very cute but it’s obviously designed for people with very small rear ends. The cushions are about ten inches wide. If I lay on my left side, my knees floated in the air; the extremely frigid “we turn the thermostat down at night” air. If I flipped to the right, my not so small rear end hung over the edge and it was hard to keep my balance, but at least the flashing Christmas lights outside the window didn’t seem so bright.
So I harnessed myself to a hook on the wall behind the sofa using the belt on my housecoat and spent the night dreaming I was falling off a cliff.
The next morning, I packed the car before anyone else arose. I packed everyone’s stuff. I told my kids to wear the clothes they tossed on the floor before going to bed . My sister refused to drive because she was sore. She didn’t know why and I didn’t tell her.
You know what? This year, I’m staying at a hotel all by my lonesome no matter what Mama says.

© Monica Frazier Anderson 2003-2007. All Rights Reserved

Monday, August 06, 2007

Cookie Monsters

I'm very angry and I don't get angry often. Well, not very often. I get upset, disgruntled, peeved, and agitated. Those are silent, seething, I-don't-want-to-get-punched-by-someone-angrier-and-larger-than-I emotions.
I'm angry because I was at Sam's this evening purchasing large quantities of paper products and eating my dinner. I had a sample of crackers for my grain group. I had a single cherry for my fruit group. One really nice employee gave me not one but two souffle cups of tilapia. Oooh. I think they'd sell more of that stuff if you actually got enough of the sample to taste the food. Like "Taste of Sam's." Anyway, it was time for dessert. I deserve a dessert. I work hard. All I wanted from that huge warehouse of canned goods was toilet tissue and a frickin' cookie.
I look forward to that cookie for the entire week! They have free cookies in the bakery and I feel no qualms about grabbing one at the end of my shopping/eating spree. I pay an annual fee for the privilege. I drive miles and flash my Sam's card with the hideous picture on it. (My hair was awful that day.) I walk on cold, concrete floors in harsh lighting for the right to eat those free cookies.
So, I was in line behind three people. There were four cookies left in the container. Four BIG cookies. The two little kids with the dirtiest hands I've ever seen, shuffled the cookies and selected one each. Normally, I'm a germ freak but I'm not aware of any outbreaks of E. Coli being traced back to cookies. Dessert does not kill. Not directly anyway. The guy in front of me was so excited his hand shook as he slowly reached into the cookie thing and took--yes the last two cookies! What the heck? I was practically standing on the heel of his shoes, breathing down his neck. I know he saw me. I was furious. I swear if he wasn't like 90-years-old, I would have lost it.
I opened my mouth to protest when the bakery lady came running over with more cookies. The greedy dude acted as if he were going to take more. How many cookies does a 100-lb man need? I love the elderly. I'm about to be one of them, but dang. It occurred to me that he might be on a fixed income and he needed the cookies. Then, I looked in his cart. He had steaks--several steaks. I had one five-buck rotisserie chicken for the week. Hmph. I reached over him and grabbed four cookies.
Now, I'm angry because my stomach hurts. What possessed me to eat four cookies on an empty stomach?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Begging For Ketchup

Okay. The bad weather during the growing season effected produce. Fruit and vegetables are more expensive and, in my opinion, not as flavorful. I don't like spinach, but it looks less tasty. Cause and effect. Supply and demand. Ben and Jerry. Got it. Why is it called produce anyway? Lettuce doesn't "produce" anything. Mine sits in the refrigerator missing spinach and waiting for me to make a salad. I hate cooking. It's boring. Of course, I may be doing it wrong. That's happened before. I'd be happy to observe you cooking anytime. That's the best way to learn.

Anyway, I can live with bland apples; America, we have a more pressing issue! Can anyone tell me the origin of the current condiment crisis? What in heck happened to the salt and pepper supply? Do we need to drill for ketchup? It's pandemic. (I never get to use that word. I don't even know what it means.)

Real Conversation:A garbled voice greets me through a weathered speaker.
"Hello, welcome to Burgerama. May I take your order?"
"Yes,I'd like a double cheeseburger, large fry, and a diet Pepsi. Oh, and a slice of chocolate pie. Hmmm, make that diet Pepsi a water instead."
"Okay, you want a chicken sandwich, onion rings, and lemonade."
"No, I said a double cheeseburger, large fry, chocolate pie, and cup of water."
There's a pause, static, then, "Okay. Your total is $19.95. Please drive to the second window."
I pull forward while digging 80 quarters from my ashtray. I sit at the window for 20 minutes while the employees giggle and do a very raunchy version of the Electric Slide by the shake machine. I pay the drive-through lady. She frowns at the coins, but seems comforted by the knowledge that I'm probably not an exotic dancer. While she slowly counts five pennies over and over, I examine my order. To my surprise, it's correct. The fries are cold but I console myself with the fact I wasn't given onion rings like last time.
"Ma'am, may I have some ketchup and salt and pepper?" I ask as she throws my change on the ground, missing my hand by two feet.
She frowns again and asks, "Are you going home?"
"Don't you have salt and pepper?"
"I do but it doesn't cost $40.00 per pound like this hamburger. I paid for minerals and liquid tomatoes. I want my salt, pepper, and ketchup."
"Fine. Here's one package of salt and one package of pepper. How many packets of ketchup do you want?"
"I have seven fries. I want seven packets of ketchup."
Burger lady trembles and whispers, "That's too many. I'll get fired if I give you more than two."
"Okay. Give me two ketchup, a napkin, and a straw."
"Straws are a dime each. I need a manager's approval for napkins. Will you pull forward? I'll send him to your car and you can ask him."
America. Stock up now. Soon, we'll be rationing relish.

Copyright 2007 Monica Frazier Anderson

Monday, May 28, 2007

How To Properly Pat His Behind

See, I have always envied athletes their freedom of expression. Where else but on a field of sport can you intentionally swat a well-toned rear end as a form of congratulations? Imagine the president of a university doing that as the valedictorian receives her diploma. Harassment right? In fact, I don't know anyone anywhere who can pull this off in public except athletes. I've studied their technique. It's fairly simple. The fingers must be fully extended, not curled. That's groping. Contact must be brief and to the right or left of the mid line. Also, the ideal spot is around the height of the convexity. Above or below and you risk being labeled a pervert. Finally, you have to say something profound like, "A'ight, baby." (Yeah, the men pat a friend's butt and call him "baby." Go figure. We really need more of this at home for good dish washing.) Oh, don't say something lame like, "Excellent work. I'm so proud of you." That's about it except don't linger afterwards. Trot away and don't look back.

I don't think it's fair that everyone can't share in this delightful pastime. So I decided to try it with this extremely cute guy at the grocery store. He successfully selected two vine ripened tomatoes and placed them in his shopping cart. From the expression on his face, I could see he was quite pleased with this accomplishment. There was no one to share his joy. I'm compassionate. I walked by, slapped his rear end, and said, "Good job."

Thankfully, security let me pay for my yogurt and Oreos before they escorted me to my car. The guy didn't complain--his wife did. She should make him wear a ring. He wasn't marked. He made eye contact. How was I to know?

I switched tactics. Instead of patting, I tried jumping into the air, chest first, to greet my neighbor. I've seen WNBA players do this. Warning: this only works if the other person jumps also. Thankfully, the police let me off with a psychiatric evaluation and a restraining order. Hmmm. Guess I need to take up a sport besides golf. I'm not even going to tell you what happened on the ninth hole yesterday.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Bootleg Books

I've gotten better about worrying. I don't mean that I worry more. I mean I worry less...Until today, that is.
I received a text from a friend in Atlanta marked urgent, "Call me, now!"
I excused myself from a meeting and found a quiet place to make the call. During that two minutes, several scenarios went through my head.
Potential horrid thing #1. Maybe something happened to my friend. (No, her husband would have called. He doesn't text. Well, maybe he does but he wouldn't text me.)
Potential horrid thing #2. Maybe something happened to my kids. (How would my friend in Atlanta know that?) Maybe they fell off the cover of my new book, I Stand Accused, and hurt themselves. Shameless plug and bragging. Sorry.
Potential horrid thing #3. I missed something good on Oprah. (No, it was only 2 pm. Thank goodness.)
I ran out of stuff after that. See, I bet you can think of a million more things to worry about. Anyway, I called her during off-peak hours which attest to our level of friendship and she said, "Guess what happened. You're never gonna believe this."
"Moe, aren't you going to guess?"
"Hmmm, no."
She huffed. "Remind me again why I'm friends with you."
"I dunno. I think you owe me money. You're using up my minutes. What's up?"
"I just bought your book for five dollars from a street vendor."
My legs buckled. "You what?! Tell me Barnes and Noble CNN Center has street vendors. Five dollars? Are you kidding me? I'm self-published. I can't take a hit like that."
(This really happened. I'm not making it up.)
"No," she said, laughing at my gasping sounds. "I got it from some guy wearing a Rocca Wear shirt. Your manuscript is printed on typing paper and bound up with one of those curly, black things. The guy has a lot of good books and all of Tyler Perry's DVD's. You're famous now, girlfriend. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
"No, I'm fine thank you."
"I'm talking to the security guard. He wanted to know why I was on the floor. Imitation my as--sets. Angel, tell me someone who is not related to me by blood is not selling bootleg copies of my debut novel on a street corner in Georgia."
"Yep. Five dollars. Two for eight."
Well, that explains why I have more enthusiastic emails from readers than royalties. The bootleggers must have been kind enough to include my website in the stolen property.
Now, I have a new worry.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Letter Y

A-E-I-O-U and sometimes Y.

When? It has come to my attention that the letter Y is randomly being excluded from the prestigious vowel club. Can't we all just get along? Isn't life difficult enough without another rule no one can remember? Quickly, when exactly is Y a vowel? No, don't get your style manual or handbook. Just tell me. You don't know do you? No one does except English teachers and the other vowels. We need the letter Y. It's a critical letter. I can get along without Q and Z, but imagine a world without Y. If Y wants to be a vowel ALL the time, let it.

This ridiculous rule makes me reflect on a little discussed bit of American History. In 1787, the Three-Fifths Clause proposed by Oliver Ellsworth established that slaves would be counted as 3/5 of a person for purposes of taxation and representation. What? Now, for purposes of picking cotton and plowing fields, slaves were considered 5/5 of a person. Admittedly, around April 15th of every year, I wouldn't mind being 1/4 of a taxpayer, but other than that I'm not in favor of fractional humanity.

But back to the letter Y. This consonant and/or vowel has become the ethnic "Other" of the alphabet. It is simply not fair to subject this letter to an identity crisis and the subsequent emotional trauma. Therefore, because I can, I am making an Official Constitutional Amendment for the letter of Y. I have no idea how many amendments have previously been made to the Constitution, and I don't have time to look it up. So this one goes at the end. Anyway, as of this moment, Y is always a vowel.

A-E-I-O-U-Y. So let it be written. So let it be done.