It's casual Friday again already, so here are the pieces and parts for this week.
It's beeeeeeeeg! Yesterday I was sitting at the computer, frustrated because it wasn't working the way it was supposed to. Someone pounded on my door... once... twice... The dogs went wild but that didn't deter him. He knocked a third time. I looked out the peephole and saw a dirty smiling man of about thirty in a ball cap and coveralls. At the curb was a jalopy worthy of the Clampetts.
I went back to the computer. He began knocking again. The dogs were throwing their usual fits, and Pixie was furiously running circles on the rug in front of the door.
"I'm wondering if you want me to cut that oak tree," he said when I opened the door a crack and held the dogs at bay with my foot.
It's a huge beautiful tree, one of the tallest on the block, and it shades the whole front of the house. "Why would you want to cut that tree?" I asked.
"Well, it's BEEEEEEEEEEEG," he said.
I just stared at him for a moment, visualizing him driving his truck through the city toward the biggest trees he could find, then asking whoever was home if he could cut them down.
"I don't think so," I told him.
He looked so disappointed.
Janitors overheard. I heard our three janitors in the break room discussing the pros and cons of vampirism.
A: It would be great to be a vampire. You could live your life over and over again.
B: No! I'm too tired to have eternal life.
C: I guess it would be okay as long as you didn't have to work.
Mercury rising. When I was about nine years old, I broke a thermometer on the floor and picked up all the little balls and put them in a doll bottle. I played with that mercury whenever I'd think of it, and it took me a long time to grow tired of breaking the quarter-sized shimmer into BBs and then putting it back together. I eventually lost the bottle, or maybe it simply consumed itself.
Revenge. Never lie to your hair stylist about cutting your own hair. They resent it the way the cops on Cops get pissed when anyone lies to them. Okay, buddy. They take people to jail for lying.
If you break down and admit that you've been cutting on your own hair, your stylist may take pity on you and work with you to make it look as good as it can.
But if Bonnie Lee says, "Ummmm mmm mmmm... Who has been cuttin on this hair?"
And you say, "It's been awful dry. It's probably breakage..."
She will take her revenge by what stylists call "evening it up," which means cutting every hair on your head to match the shortest one you cut.
Speaking of hair. Growing older is like being in one of those fairy tale movies where nothing makes sense. Why can't I just keep the hair I like? I never had what I considered my fair share of hair already, and now it's disappearing in places I don't want to ask my friends about. And yet it continues to try to get a foothold in places it clearly has no business.
Strange beds. Usually when my parents went socializing, they took me along. I was well trained to be seen and not heard and to play games in my head and not call any attention to myself. If my parents stayed late, they would put me to bed in a strange bedroom with strange shadows and strange smells. That would give me the willies. I absolutely hated to lie there staring at whatever articles were on the night stand, trying not to breathe deep and almost wishing I'd fall asleep. And I hated to sleep.
Survey says. I hate surveys. I don't even know why. I guess because I feel inconvenienced for no return. I often lie if I can't get out of taking a survey. I got my one and only obscene phone call in the form of a phone survey.
My clinic sent me a survey. The letter accompanying it said that I'd been chosen to be in a small elite group of people who were asked their opinions on the clinic and its services. I didn't feel special, particularly when I saw that the survey was as long as the old grade school achievement tests. I threw it away.
Two weeks later I got the same survey booklet, and the accompanying letter was stern: explaining how the survey would only be valuable if everyone who had been chosen participated. I murmured something about how their survey wasn't going to be valuable then, and threw out the second mailing.
Two weeks later I received the third booklet, and the letter wasn't messing around: I was to return the enclosed survey in the accompanying addressed and postage paid envelope by such and such a date.
They reminded me at every turn of the process that it was completely anonymous. So... I did what I was told. I returned the survey booklet in the envelope provided. They didn't say anything about completing the survey, just returning. This petty little action made me feel better than it should have. I figure I wasted an hour dealing with the junk mail.
For at least a decade, Exley was scanning every purchase he made and transmitting it weekly by phone to some company gathering marketing data. He filled out surveys on products and services. He earned points that were worth prizes. I couldn't stand the thought of scanning every item I bought after I'd stood at the store watching someone scanning them all just a while before. Sometimes Exley would nag until I filled out some survey that was meant for the lady of the house. "Can't you just make up the answers?" I'd ask. Exley was like one of the Neilson families for shopping.
Just wondering. Real bad. How did Michael Jackson get white? Please don't make me read one of those thousand books that will be out next week. Someone must know the answer.