life

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A Girl Walks into a…

Published 29 July 2012 by Miss Dilly

I had commuted a long way to the industrial part of town for a job interview.  It was made up of glamorous freeway underpasses, dazzling cement as far as the eye can see and rusting machinery and run down factory buildings beckoning this young lady with a  ‘come hither look’.  I dressed well, if I do say so myself.  Wore a dress, Mary Janes, makeup- the whole shebang.  I took more than my usual 10 minute routine for this event and I was rewarded.  Not how I would have expected though. 

I finished the interview and am walking back to the bus stop.  The closest is about a 10 minute walk.  Construction is going on and there is a foreboding white and red sign on the stop’s pole.  Indeed, the stop is closed and it tells me arbitrary street names as if I’m supposed to have GPS in my brain.  On the ride there I noticed the bus went straight down the same street straight for several blocks so I figured I would walk down to the next one.  I set out on my walk.  I’ve learned that street blocks become longer and more desolate in industrial wastelands. There weren’t any turnoffs and no sidewalk really, so I walk off the street separated by a ‘cement fence’ (a precaution I took despite the lack of dangerous traffic).  I stop and look at some cool graffiti on the building along the street.  The side bar is getting smaller and smaller so I straddle the fence, which is no easy task in a dress might I add, and hop the rest of the way over.  I walk a few feet and in the distance I can see car coming towards me, it morphs into a cop car.  At the back of my mind I recall passing sign nailed down that said:

NO TRESPASSING.

NO UNAUTHORIZED MOTOR VEHICLES, MOTOR BIKES, MOPEDS, ETC.

VIOLATORS SHALL BE PROSECUTED PURSUANT TO THE PENAL LAW.

I hadn’t really registered that I was doing something wrong.  I still kind of figured he’d have more important things to do than hunt me down.  He slows down and gets out of the car, I stop.  He’s a middle aged man with a beer gut and a shining bald head. 

He says to me, “What are you doing Miss?”

Do you know that reaction where you just want to cry?  I don’t like to admit this and it doesn’t happen very often but, that was my first feeling.  So I slapped my emotions upside the head and didn’t shed a tear. 

Without hesitation I respond saying “I was looking for the next bus stop, the one back there was closed”. 

He asks what direction I’m going and a few other things, I answer as innocently as possible and expressing my lack of knowledge that I wasn’t supposed to be walking here.  He believed me, I believed me- which is good since it was the truth.  He mulls over my situation, while I’m standing there sweltering in the heat, my calves are dirty from the climb over, and I’m considering if at that point I should say that I do have a star trek transporter but I just wanted to walk for kicks.

Beam me up Scotty.

The policeman says he’ll drive me to the next bus stop.  At the back of my mind there’s a part of me that feels reluctant to get in the back of any car, no matter how safe a black and white ford with bars and locks appear to be.  But as the saying goes, I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.  I got in the back of the police car.  We don’t talk.  My knees are practically squished up to my chin and I am surprised at the cleanliness of the back seat.  Through the grates I watch his screen saver, pictures flick by of hunting, barbecues and sexy women.  Classic.  Thank god he didn’t have pictures of metaphysical symbols and people doing yoga- that would have completely shattered all my treasured stereotypes of policemen. 

The drive doesn’t take long at all.  He pulls up at the bus stop.  He says “these people are going to think you’re a hardened criminal”.  I laugh.  He has to open the door for me and says have a good day.  I apologize again and thank him.

I get out, observe the lovely 7 onlookers staring at me, walk over to benches as if this is a regular occurrence and stand at the bus stop.  I surely hope they thought I was a hardened criminal. 

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It is better to keep your mouth closed…

Published 6 May 2012 by Miss Dilly

“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt”

 – Mark Twain

Oh wise words, if only I had followed them for once.  I was on campus, exiting the ladies restrooms.  It was one of those awkward door opening moments where someone is standing right on the other side, and the awkwardness continued as we tried to figure out who was going where.  This was the first time I actually kind of looked at the person.  It was a guy! Young, somewhat effeminate with short hair, baggy jeans, sweatshirt and glasses.  In those brief moments I debated saying something, sometimes people just get confused and accidently go to the wrong side, but ‘No’, I think, ‘it could be a guy who identifies as a female and who am I to say anything..?’ We’re lucky, in the ladies room we have stalls so it doesn’t really matter anyways.  As I pass by and hold the door for him, he takes it, I walk a step he’s just holding the door to walk in. I open my mouth and remove all doubt of my being a fool.

I say “Do you know this is the ladies bathroom?”

He says “I know. I’m… “ and gestures to their chest and then kind of mumbles something that indicates that he is in fact a she.  I am mortified.  She could totally read it on my face.

She says “it’s okay, it’s probably my hair and stuff”

Me – “I’m so sorry”

Her – “it’s okay”

Me – “I’m sorry” and do a little head bow, to emphasize my sorry-ness.

I walked away, so embarrassed.  And as life normally does, I now see her around campus fairly regularly.

I Choose to Believe

Published 31 March 2012 by Miss Dilly

Every once and a while things happen that we’d all probably rather forget.  Now I love driving.  I don’t so much like getting where I’m going as much as the ride there. Looking out the window, watching other cars, listening to music, signing loudly and just the general act of driving- it all thrills me. Many of the lovely drivers who gesture rudely, yell profanities, go below the speed limit or cut you off and then brake here in the US surprisingly don’t really know how to drive roundabouts.  I don’t want to seem like I have a huge ego, but I know how use a roundabout (and if you think so anyway, don’t worry my actions should compensate for the audacity of my claiming to know how to drive in a roundabout).

So one afternoon I was driving a friend home, and we approach a roundabout.  We’re talking about Kirk and why he hadn’t called her back and I was enthusiastically spouting my theory that he probably actually had been abducted by Hannibal Lector, who was enjoying his brain at the moment (what little there was of it) with a nice Chianti. We had watched it recently and I couldn’t even walk her out to her car that night, so at the time it seemed like a possibility, I’m sorry.  Anyways, I slow down as I approach the roundabout, finishing up my theory, I didn’t see a car so I gas it, I feel the car sway a little as I make the tight turn.  There was an extra-long beat as I wait for her to reply.  I look over and her hands are in little fists, squeezed tightly and the expression on her face looks as if she’s just been accused of beastiality.  I look in my rearview mirror and there’s a little red car on my my tail so close that I can’t see their headlights with this girl driving who is rudely gesturing and making mean faces. 

I start to laugh, “where did you she come from?”  My friend wasn’t quite as amused, she doesn’t really say anything.  I say “they weren’t there when I pulled out were they?” She nods and looks at me like—as one would expect I suppose—I nearly killed her.  I shake my head and laugh a little uncertain this time.  I had been pretty sure there wasn’t anyone there, I wasn’t that into my silly story. 

I say “No, I don’t think they were.  Whatever, they weren’t.”

She recovered a little and laughed and shook her head saying, “Nooo I’m pretty sure they were”.  

I retort “I choose to believe that car was not there.” Case closed.  Now, we use that saying once and a while, try it sometime just say “I choose to believe…” and magically history uses a Pink Pearl eraser and gets rid of your life blemish.

So, apparently once and a while I am one of those drivers who don’t know how to use a roundabout, it was a sad day.  A scrape with death really wisens one, I learned how to make excuses and not take responsibility for my actions- it’s great. 

Aussie Rules Football Virgin

Published 25 March 2012 by Miss Dilly

Australian Rules Football is huge.  Every man, woman and child watch the Grand Final in Australia, except of course for those that don’t…regardless, it’s a big deal.  For those of you unfamiliar with the sport, it has some similarities to American Football, and absolutely no similarity to what most of the rest of the world considers football (aka soccer).  Aussie Rules is fast moving, chaos where they score points and it involves very muscular young men in tight, short, shorts running around.  It’s fantastic really.

So I was in Australia during the climax of this national sport.  The day of the Grand Final I’m walking around a in a suburb of Melbourne and I see a sign at a restaurant saying ‘help wanted- inquire within’.  I was just visiting, but I kind of wanted to find a job to make a little extra money.  I inquire within.  I spoke to a rather tall, large man of 30 or so years who asks what I’m doing that night.  I had to choose between making a few bucks and watching the Grand Final on TV.  In a panic (decisions!), I blurt “nothing”, crass money wins again.  So he says I can come in for a paid trial. It was just a sport, which I really knew nothing about, so might as well try to get a job.

I arrive promptly at 5:00 at the restaurant. I’m led to the kitchen in the back, it’s kind of quiet.  A server told me to go in the back and look for the man I met earlier, we’ll call him George.  I walk into the blindly bright kitchen and ask for if George is around. A young man doing prep nods toward a hallway on the side and says he’s probably out there.  I start to walk down a dark hallway, I was about to put my hand up to the wall to sense where I was going, but there was just enough light to see the wall and I decided to risk tripping, bumping or squashing something in lieu of touching the wall.  Down the hall there was a store room and a door a jar, I open it.  I had just opened the door on quite the vignette; three men huddled around the small outside space.  The only thing making it seem less like a boy scouts meeting and more like a Godfather scene was the cigarettes hanging out of their mouths. As I opened the door the conversation stopped immediately, despite me feeling of uncomfortableness I say “I’m looking for George”. The guy I had met earlier got an expression on his face that looked like he picked the shortest straw and then realized it was worm.  I’d found my mark. He leads me back to the kitchen, I don’t know what it was about him, maybe his stature maybe the faint scent of smoke he emitted or maybe the snaggle tooth and eye patch (that he didn’t have, but based on his personality I think he could have worked the look pretty well) that made me uneasy.  He hands me over to another man who is person who will be giving me directions from now on. Apparently, I was already a handful.  I’d be washing dishes and doing prep work.

The Boys

The Boyscouts (if you can use your imagination to mix the two of these)

The grand final was being broadcasted on the radio.  There area few other younger guys in the back doing some prep work and then putting plates together.  We all listened in respectful silence to the match and no one could touch the radio except the main chef who was one of ‘the boys’. I felt very out of place amongst these guys, I looked around at the thought of returning to this kitchen and nearly put my head in the industrial dishwasher. Now you may be thinking I‘m exaggerating and was being introverted, and you would be right.  But cross my heart, it felt very much like I would need some sort of initiation involving candles and tall buildings before they would accept me being there and actually carry on a conversation.

I focused on working, the only thing that broke up the mundane work was listening to the game, it turned out be an exciting match.  I was rooting for the Geelong Cats.  I wasn’t quite familiar enough with game to picture what they were describing so most of what was being said sounded like something like this: “Mulligan runs around Randall for the kill, releves towards the backside of the queen and somersaults for the crowd, the crowd goes crazy he runs like a snake on a barbie and ends with a beautiful butterfly finish- two and three-quarters points for Geelong”.  It sounded like the appropriate time for me to ‘woo hoo’, so I did, quietly.  And I continued to listen and enjoy what few words I could manage to understand.

What I didn't get to see..

I was cutting up an assortment of herbs as the game was finishing up.  One of the servers, who stopped in to get a listen when he could, missed the end. He asked me who won and I told him Geelong. I asked which team he was barracking for and he seemed slightly surprised that I knew anything about Aussie rules football.  For a brief moment I thought maybe I could pull off being ‘one of the guys’, but that feeling quickly faded as a streak of panic crossed over me- I thought I may have told him the wrong team won. And as I went back to cutting my herbs I listened with the fine-tuned skill that many of us master in relationships- selective listening.  Who knew it would come in handy? But I listened intently for key words, luckily I told him the right team! If I hadn’t I think I probably would have been hoisted then and there right out of the restaurant, banned for life from the establishment anywhere within 25 feet.

So I got to spend my first experience with Australian Rules Football was in the back of a hot kitchen with a bunch of sweaty guys.  While it would have been nice to actually see the match, it was still the saving grace for a rather miserable evening. And by the way the restaurant never called me back, can’t say I was surprised- my herb cutting left a lot to be desired.

Taking the Bus

Published 10 March 2012 by Miss Dilly

I enjoy taking the bus, it’s nothing less than live theatre, packed with action, drama, a few laughs and involves the audience. The entire bus experience starts with the walk to your bus stop.  On this occasion it was a Saturday morning in Seattle.  With my friend who was the one who knew the bus system we walked to the stop in crisp weather.  We had to side step a disheveled couple that appeared to be holding hands instead of strategically separating to make use all four arms to carry the weighty grocery bags. Some people like to live on the edge.  I also choose to believe they were holding hands as a front act like everything’s fine after just fighting over which can of peas his mother actually likes better (I’m sure she reminded him of the last Pea Incident, where they still have to tell their friends that the stain was from the dog which they don’t have any more for some reason unknown to their friends).  So we’re a couple minutes early to the stop, we’re waiting with a college looking guy with a classic literary book that he looks like he probably uses to hide his cellphone while he checks facebook in the library and an older woman going through her mammoth handbag looking for a bobby pin, I’m sure.

I get out my quarters, since I was only visiting Seattle for the weekend I had to pay the old fashion way, I’d even get a transfer that I’d have to keep track of for the entire day.  I was counting out my money and doing a little self pep talk because my last experience on the bus in Seattle went something like this:

I start putting in quarters, but am unsure how much it actually costs to ride the bus. My two friends with their savvy swipe cards had already walked to the back of the bus.  So I look up at the bus driver, he’s already annoyed that I am paying with quarters instead of swiping a card.  There is a shuffle of feet behind me and a middle aged man uncomfortably watching me from the front row seat.  It appears that he has a standing dibs on the spot and rides the bus from the first stop to the last.  I smile look friendly as possible and say “how much is a ticket? I’m a student?” When in doubt I always throw in the student bit, it’s some kind of apology to society. That I obviously just don’t know what I’m doing yet and probably just drink too much on the weekend thought it would be way hipster to pay with something called cash. And despite the blatant stereotyping, one can really get some attitude out in the world and by admitting to being a student you somehow admit that you’re not a full-fledged citizen yet, so it’s okay.  Obviously it’s a load of bull and maybe a slight exaggeration to the average joe, but I have had instances of success for claiming my student-ship and receive a knowing resolution expression on the face I tell.  So I can use the stereotype to my advantage, when need be. Unfortunately that was not the case for today, the bus driver literally said nothing to me.  He looked at me narrowed his eyes and gripped the steering wheel until he looked like he should start talking to someone named Marty, his liger copilot, instead he grunted and nodded towards the coin slot.  I put in all the quarters I had, took the transfer and dashed to the back of the bus.  I gave my friends dirty looks and said how could you ditch me back there, I was nearly mauled by his liger! I put in $2.25 and later I find out my ticket should have only been $1.25, as a student.  Okay a dollar may not seem like much, but to a poor, fake hipster, not actually drunk student who could use that dollar to actually buy a day old scone it was a big deal.  I was resolved not to let this happen again- I had considered going to the group therapy meeting for the victims of Seattle Bus Bullying held downtown once a week, but thought I’d brave the scene once more to right this wrong, like a true city rat.  And that’s where this fine Saturday morning bus ride comes in.

Yes, this is me as I boarded the bus

The bus pulls up. I do the first step right, hold my ground as some young bouncy women walks up and wants to get on in front of me.  Somehow (and by that I mean I actually didn’t really hold my ground against the pushy public) my friend and I get separated, she looks back and I reach out, but we’re just too many smelly bus-riders away from each other, she had to go on without me.  It was better this way, I had to complete my quest alone.  I step up to the plate.  I look at the coin feeder, don’t put any money, look up at the bus driver without smiling and attempt to have a look in my eye that says ‘I’ve battled your kind before and I’m not afraid’ (which may have come off more like ‘the crap doughnut I didn’t have this morning isn’t settling well with me’) and said how much is a ticket for a student? He replies with a frog in his throat ‘a dollar twenty-five’ and not a word more. I put in my quarters and started to walk to the back of the bus, in which I could only imagine was slow-motion, until the beautiful victory scene was broken by a grunt coming from my nemesis and I turn around quick (should never have your back to the enemy) and see my transfer waving like a truce flag.  Oops, I back up, bumping into the passenger trying to get on behind me. I didn’t want to be soft, the legendary stories don’t normally end with a smile and a thanks, but then again legends don’t normally have to get back on the next day and trust their lives in the hands of highly irritable middle aged men driving the population of tomorrow.