Monday, February 27, 2012

OF & The Pakistani

I'm really impatient and I hate waiting for pretty much anything.  Computer connectivity, or lack thereof, drives me crazy.  Since I live out in the sticks, I'm probably never going to have the speed of light connections that everyone else has.  I've called the local cable companies and digital network services but none of them service the area I live in.  The only option I have is a satellite connection...or dial up.  I can't even get DSL through the phone company here...and I'm not that far away from civilization.  There's lots of families in our area who would be thrilled to have the cable company run a line in our area but so far, no such luck.  Personally, I think they're missing the boat by not servicing our's not like there's no electricity. Heck, we have indoor plumbing and everything...

OF (Old Friend of undesirable snackage fame) lives at the opposite end of the town and had the same Internet connectivity problem...luckily for her, she was able to get one of those digital phone and Internet services out in her area.  Still she has some connectivity problems herself...and she's impatient as well...which leads her to make some poor choices...this is one of them...

Last weekend OF was trying to print some documents to give to a mortgage lender when lo and behold, she couldn't get her laptop to print.  OF usually does everything on her laptop in the living room in front of the TV so she can play online games and watch TV at the same time...we like to think of this as multi tasking. She keeps the "hearing impaired" captioning on the TV so she doesn't have to really listen.  After trying several times (and failing miserably) to get the printing done, she gives up and goes into her "office" where there's another computer hooked up directly to the printer. No wireless gadgetry involved....but this computer hasn't been used in awhile and is really going slow, when suddenly...a box appears on the screen that says "Is your computer running slow?"  "Click here.."  So she does....

Now OF finds herself transported, through the magic of the Internet, to the SpeedyPC website. After very little effort on their part which consisted of running some type of scam...I mean scan...on her computer showing over 4,000, count 'em, 4,000 things wrong with her computer, OF finds herself paying for and downloading software that's guaranteed to fix her computer and make it run faster.

Still unable to get the printing done and finally realizing she may have just been hornswoggled, OF decides to use my friend "Mr. Google" to see if SpeedyPC is a legitimate business.  She tries one of the links and finds a toll free number for customer she calls it and is greeted by a foreign sounding gentleman who I'll call "Pakistani Manny"...

Pakistani Manny:  "Hallow...hau mayee I help yew?" comes the pleasant, albeit, heavily accented voice. (Please note I'm trying to get the correct accent sound from the spelling but it may end up sounding a bit in Elmer...just use your imagination.)

OF:  "Where are you?" OF asks, having difficulty understanding him because of the accent.
Personally I think OF may be losing her ability to hear as a direct result of texting and hearing captioned TV.   Just sayin'... if you don't ever use your ears for anything except hanging jewelry don't be surprised if they don't work as good as they used to.

Pakistani Manny:  "I em en Pahkistahn miss."

OF:  Somewhat startled by this revelation she says "Well I downloaded this program and I still can't get it to work."

Pakistani Manny:  "Well miss eef you can allow mee I would like to connect to yur cohmputer ahn see eef I can help you."

OF:  "Ok" she says.   (I know, I was shocked that she said this too.)

Pakistani Manny:  After connecting to her computer remotely, Pakistani Manny says "Oh miss, yew have veddy minni problehms I em afraid."

At this point, I'm pretty sure Pakistani Manny and his buddies are having an absolute chucklefest that yet another idiot infidel has turned over their entire computer system to a complete stranger...There's probably seven or eight of 'em sitting around in the room just waiting when suddenly Pakistani Manny shakes his fist in the air to signal he's got a live one on the line. Then they all spring into action infecting OF's computer with worms, Trojan horses, and every kind of malware imaginable, all the while searching her files for pictures of unveiled women or some other equally deviant infidel stuff.

OF:  "I can't understand you" OF says "is this a legitimate business?" I really had a laugh about this...did she really think if it wasn't a "legitimate business" that he was gonna tell her???

Pakistani Manny:  "Of course miss" he shouts attempting to sound offended.

OF:  "You don't have to yell" she says "your accent is so heavy that I can't  understand what you're saying." "You know, I don't think I want this program"  she says.   I should point out here that OF is one of those people who's ALWAYS nice to everyone.  One of the Old Chix, Elmo, is one of the nicest people I've ever known and OF is, if not as nice, at least a close second...neither of them would ever think of being the least bit rude.

Pakistani Manny:  "Well miss" says the suddenly snippy Manny, "let me khanect you weeth one of our partner's ahn see ef they khan help you."

OF:  "NO"  she says "I don't want to be connected to anyone else."  "I don't want this...I want my money back."

After several more attempts to change her mind Pakistani Manny eventually loses the battle and OF hangs up...cancels her PayPal payment...and decides to take her computer into a "real" shop to see if they can fix it...hopefully she won't be getting any visits from the Secret Service for unintentionally sending terrorist  threats to the Prez via some worm or virus implanted by Pakistani Manny & Pals.

When OF's telling me this story it's hysterical... I'm horrified that she would let some schmo from a third world country, who could be a terrorist, take control of her computer remotely and do whatever he wanted. But I get even more hysterical at the fact that throughout the whole story, she's holding her hand up to her ear pretending that she's talking on the phone...apparently thinking I need a visual interpretation to get the gist of everything she's saying.

I'm completely mortified because now that I think about it, I think I do the same thing...and I think I even cock my head to the side when I'm pretending to be on the phone.  In fact, I use my hands to dramatize pretty much everything when I'm talking to someone.  If something's big, my hands automatically rise like goal posts shoulder width apart.  If something's thumb and forefinger appear instantly about an inch apart held up in front of my face, with my head bowed a little forward...and if I'm being really honest, I think I actually squint my eyes for emphasis.  When I describe something stoopid I've done, my right hand goes limp wristed and I tap it on my chest.  Do I think simple verbal emphasis isn't enough to convey my thoughts?  Have I always been like this?

Does everybody do this?  At least I know OF does it so there's one other person.  Now I'm trying to think of everyone I know to see if I can visualize them talking to me and whether or not they use their hands.  I'll have to watch and see who does it...hopefully I'm not the only idiot who feels the need to play a personal game of charades while I speak.'s the stoopidist thing.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Crab Feed

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been forced to attend social functions that I normally wouldn’t think of attending (like ..never in a million years).. Okay I guess “forced” may be a little too strong a word, compelled may be a more appropriate word since nobody actually tied me up against my will and dragged me to these events. Here goes...

Numero Uno (Sometimes I like to try out my fantastic bi-lingual, dos, burrito, tostado...please don’t take offense, I’m just havin’ a little fun...tryin’ to brighten my otherwise cloudy day.)

The Steak and Crab Feed....

I’d never been to a crab feed so OF (Old Friend of undesirable snackage fame)asked me if I wanted to go. Since she went to The Play with me, it only seemed fair to reciprocate. Seems one of her co-workers had a kid in high school who was selling tickets to raise funds for one of the million clubs/groups that parents these days are always selling tickets for. The Husband and one of the Old Chix won’t buy tickets unless the actual kid does the selling...OF & I are much easier targets for the school kid parents to hit. And since neither OF or I have school aged kids we don’t even get a chance to retaliate and make the parents buy shit from us in return for our patronage of the rotten fruit of their loins.

I get hit nearly every weekend by some kid standing outside the grocery store and feel obligated to politely listen to their spiel about how they’re trying to raise money for summer camp, or band instruments, or Xmas presents...yes, Xmas presents...two teenage girls were selling mistletoe to raise money to buy Xmas presents. I just can’t say no...and I’m ashamed to admit I even got sucked into buying tree fungus (that would be mistletoe) at Xmas time wrapped in a little sandwich bag & tied with a purty little ribbon when I could go pick it off my trees at home.

The whole mistletoe thing is even more pathetic for someone my age because, really, who am I gonna go up to and hold mistletoe over their head beggin’ for a kiss??? The only ones who might actually be willing would be old farts with gray hair sprouting out of their ears and noses...and the thought of getting a horrified look from some old dude matching that description would be too much to bear...and that thought will forever keep from attempting such a foolhardy act...but I digress.

The crab feed was held in the gym of one of the local high schools. And it was shit...there were hundreds of people there...who knew that crab feeds were such big business??? Not me, that’s for sure...but then, I don’t get out much.

There were long cafeteria tables set up in the gym and we had to wait forever in the chow line, which conveniently took us past several tables filled with fabulous raffle me crazy, but I think they planned it that way...just a guess...I could be wrong. The kids then got to suck even more money out of us by selling tickets for all these fabulous prizes. They all had the same line “they’re a quarter apiece or five for a dollar”... just once I’d like to hear some kid say “they’re a quarter apiece or three for a dollar”. I can’t believe that there’s not some enterprising young person ready to make a buck off the crowd of unsuspecting oldsters...sadly, there wasn’t...I wonder how many they could have sold that way??? I bet most people wouldn’t even have noticed. It would have been fun to watch. I would have paid just to let them think they’d pulled the wool over my eyes.

When we finally got seated the tables were placed in long rows so there were about twenty-five or so people sitting in each row. I had OF on my left, OF’s sister on my right...and complete strangers sitting across from me watching me eat. And let me tell you, these people were prepared. Unlike me, this wasn’t their first crab feed, no sir...they came prepared with proper pickin’ pieces, like handy little long sharp forks and shell crackers...and well, we did too...sort of...

See, this wasn’t OF’s first crab feed either...she came prepared too. Only her pickin’ pieces weren’t exactly proper. Instead of the pliers like crackers that all the properly prepared pickers possessed, OF brought a nut you’d crack a walnut with...and instead of the long slender thing with tines on one end to push or pull the meat out of the shell, OF brought corn cob holders, you know, the tiny little things that are shaped like a little yellow corn cob with two points on the end that you stick in ears of corn...

“Is there corn?” I said fearfully as she plunked down the nut cracker and corn cob holder in front of me. Because if there’s one thing I do’s you should never eat corn on the cob in me on’ll find yourself talking and smiling and when you go to the bathroom you’ll be mortified because you’ll have corn kernels all stuck between your teeth. Of course, you could be brave and test this theory...but if you do, please make sure I’m there as a witness...

“No” she said “you crack the shells with this” pointing to the nut cracker “and then you pick the meat out with this” pointing to the corn cob holder with the minuscule teeth on the end.

I have to admit, there was a brief moment when I thought I was being punked...but she was dead serious. The lady across from us with proper pickin’ pieces smiled at me and nodded her head...I could swear she was trying not to laugh. And let me tell you, this lady knew her business. She had a pile of crab meat sitting on her Chinette plate that was as big as my fist and she was still pickin’ more out.

Okay then...Everybody had on bibs so I dutifully put on my bib too still wondering if maybe I was being punked after all. Each plate had a little Styrofoam cup containing a few leaves of lettuce and a container of ranch dressing. Plastic bags were sitting at different spots on the table holding pieces of cold sliced French bread along with little bowls of individually wrapped cold butter cubes. Students and/or faculty members were assigned to each table serve us our steaks which, when they arrived, were about a quarter of an inch thick and looked like sliced liver. But the main feasting item at this dinner was inside disposable roasting pans in the middle of the tables. Each roasting pan was filled with crab legs so I reached in and grabbed one...and it was ice cold...I thought maybe it just hadn’t been cooked so I let go of the first leg and grabbed another but it was cold too...who knew there was all this fuss over cold crab??? Not me.

“Did you know it was going to be cold” I asked OF?

“It’s always cold” she said. “it’s okay, it’s supposed to be”.

So now I have to try to be a good sport because the only time I’d eaten crab before it had been cooked...and was hot...and I dipped it into hot melted butter...and it was good...and this was not what I’d expected.

I stick my hand back into the frozen food section of the meal and grab a humongous crab leg and start my pickin’ process...with my hobo’s ass tools. I quickly found that the reason for the pliers like cracking tools is so you can just go down the crab leg efficiently...not quite as efficient with a nut cracker. First I held the leg with my left hand, but I was holding the thin end of the leg leaving a bulbous protrusion at the other end which the nut cracker couldn’t get I tried to put the nut cracker over in the center of the leg, but then I had to let go while I tried to grab the ends from underneath and it rolled off onto my plate. The second time I tried I set the crab leg down and slid the nut cracker over the thin end of the leg and cracked my way up to the fat end. It worked better this way so at least then I had a plan of action. Once I thought I’d made enough cracks, I started digging out the meat...with my corn cob holder. Everybody else seemed to be getting bigger pieces of meat out of their shells than me. I kept getting tiny little shmooshed (just go with's a new word)  flakes of crab.

I hadn’t eaten much all day in anticipation of this night’s feasting so by this time I’m getting really hungry...and getting this crab out of the legs was very time seemed like I was picking crab for hours and had barely a teaspoon full on my plate. I’d already wolfed down the lettuce leaf and ate a slice of cold bread plain because when I tried to butter it, the butter was so cold it tore the bread. This annoys me at restaurants too...why do they serve cold butter with bread? Are they secretly try to keep you from eating more bread? But once it’s on your table, they can’t use it for other stuff can they? Maybe the stuff that’s left in the bread basket on your table is used to make bread pudding the next day...or stuffing for the roast turkey. There’s a creepy thought. Or maybe it’s just to make the bread course last longer so you’ll be really hungry and appreciate your food when it finally arrives. All I know is it bugs me.

By the time I finally get about a tablespoon of crab flakes on my plate a man shows up on the other side of the table with a platter of individual serving cups half containing melted butter, the other half containing cocktail sauce. He’s giving them to the people next to OF so, thinking he’s one of the servers she looks at him and says...

“Oh, I want one of the cocktail sauces”. The guy smiles at her and OF must be really hungry and ready to eat too, because she says “you don’t have to serve it to me, just move the tray over and I’ll grab one off it.”

Which he obligingly does...then he sits down in the vacant spot at the table where he’d been sitting before he went and got condiments for he and his friends. It took about a minute for OF to realize this poor guy was another diner and not her personal waiter.  She was mortified...rightly so since she’d just forced a complete stranger to give her the  food off his plate...I on the other hand, was mightily amused. It was actually the highlight of my night.

Someone brought little cups of melted butter to my end of the table so finally I’m ready to take my first bite. I take the little plastic fork loaded with crab flakes and dip it into the cup of melted butter, only to have the flakes slip between the tines of the stoopid little plastic fork down to the bottom of the melted butter. Words cannot describe how disheartened I was. Here I’d worked so hard to get that piddly ass fork full of crab and now it was gone...I tried to scoop some pieces from the melted butter, but when I finally got some of them out it was like the butter had solidified on the cold crab flakes and turned the whole thing into a congealed mess. I ended up skipping the rest of the melted butter since the only crab meat I had was in teensie tiny flakes, thanks to the aforementioned hobo's ass corn cob pickin' piece, and ate a bite that was just plain cold crab meat. I kid you not...the next bite had a piece of shell in it...I was done. This is one of the reasons that I don’t like fish caught in a stream...there’s always tiny bones...I remember being a kid and my dad would go hunting for birds, doves, pheasants, quail, whatever...he’d be so proud of his hunting prowess and we’d always have to eat his what he brought home. Every time, there’d be a BB in a piece of meat that I’d end up biting down on.

So now when someone asks me if I've ever been to a crab feed I can say "why yes I have"...and when they ask if I'd like to go to one I can honestly say "no fucking way"...I will however buy a ticket because it's for a good cause...and I may donate it to some unsuspecting schmuck like me who I'm sure will attend as unprepared as I was.  I'll also make sure that he or she too is forced to suffer the indignities of using OF's hobo's ass pickin' pieces.   In the meantime, I'm still prayin' that there's no's the stoopidist thing.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Weekend Dining - The Play

I had to go to a play last weekend to watch the SIL (sister in law) take to the stage as the lead in a melodrama at her church. I dragged OF (Old Friend of undesirable snackage fame) with me...misery loves company...

The church is in a neighboring town where the SIL and MIL (mother in law) both live. It’s a retirement community for the most part and there are affectionate terms for the local citizenry...LOL(s), LOM, FOP, and last but not least...Blueheads. (For the uninformed, LOL=Little Old Lady, not Laugh Out Loud, LOM=Little Old Man, FOP= Fucking Old People...just in case you were wondering....Bluehead should be self explanatory...Unfortunately for me, I fall into the last category but thanks to Crazy D the hair guy, my locks appear to be a healthy shade of brownish red...that is until the roots start to grow which point I begin to look like Skunk Woman.)

When we walked in, we sat at a table near the back of the church but then we saw the SIL's husband, Gadget Man, who said there were seats saved for us right in front of the we moved.  While we waited, Gadget Man recounted the story of how he was driving around a few days earlier when he saw a white dog in the middle of a busy intersection.  The dog was acting really strange so he turned around and went back to see if he could get it out of the road.  When he got back, the dog had just laid down in the middle of the road.  So Gadget Man gets out of his Jeep,  and goes up to the dog, afraid he's going to get bitten, only to have the dog jump into his arms.  He puts the dog in his car & takes it to his vet to see if the dog has a micro chip, which it doesn't, but the vet tells Gadget Man that the dog is completely blind and partially wonder he was acting disoriented.  Gadget Man takes the dog home and now he and the SIL have a blind and deaf dog added to their pack of three Basset Hounds.  This simple act of kindness has elevated Gadget Man to the top of my list of favorite people.  I love a happy ending.

Pretty soon, the lights dimmed and the play started....with a forgotten line...everybody laughed.

It was good because nobody took the whole thing too seriously, and the cast wasn't afraid to laugh with the audience at little mistakes like forgotten fact most of them carried some kind of prop, like a book, to hide the script so they could look at it from time to time.  I would like to point out here that most of the cast members were in their early 60's...(there were a few exceptions) the SIL who is in her 60's... was playing a winsome lass in her twenties. The town floozie played by G (who has sort of a Betty White air about her) was also in her 60' was actually kinda comical to watch someone in their 60's act like they’re in their twenties, flirting, and acting all would be more along the pathetic lines if it were happening in real life, but in a play, at least this particular was fun.

For some reason I always feel kinda embarrassed to see an old lady flirting with some young guy... it doesn’t seem nearly as bad for an old guy to flirt with a younger seems kinda humorous...why is that? Why should it be any different? Everybody says men age better than women, but do they really? They get just as many wrinkles, get just as gray, and have just as much...if not more...girthage in their mid section. And the old men usually have gray hair sprouting from their ears...I’ve never seen an old woman with hair growing out of her ears...have you? Okay...we do get the weird inch long whiskers at random spots on our face and necks...which are only visible when we’re out in public where we can be mortified by the fact that we didn’t see them before we left the house where we had tweezers handy...been there.

Enough about that..

The showing of the play we attended was a “dinner” show. Keep in mind that this is, for the most part, an old folks church. Yes, OF and I dined on Shepherds’s Pie, Broccoli salad, and an applesauce cup. The Shepherd’s Pie was basically a hamburger soup with corn & peas, topped with mashed potatoes. By the time it got to the plate, there was a teensie tiny bit of mashed potatoes swirled into the slop...I mean soup (it actually looked like dog food...really, it did). If we'd stayed in our original seats, we would have been served first and may have gotten more mashed potatoes...but, such is life.  There were maybe two tablespoons of slop...I mean soup...on each plate. I’m not a big fan of hamburger unless, of course, it’s shaped into a nice, juicy, perfectly cooked patty, topped with perfectly melted cheese, and placed lovingly on a toasted I tried to sustain myself on the minuscule swirls of mashed potato that I could pick out of the slop...I mean soup. The broccoli salad was great...hard to believe I liked broccoli salad...but I did. Could be because I was starving and there were no more rolls in the basket on our table...or maybe my taste buds are changing as I age and I’m becoming more accustomed to old people’s food...but if that was the case, I would have liked the slop...I mean soup, wouldn’t I? I’m not really sure what the purpose of the applesauce cup was. Is applesauce something people really eat when they go out to a dinner?  Does anyone really "like" applesauce?  Or is it just something that's not really hated by anyone?   I suppose if you're old, really love apples, and your teeth are gone you might want to eat applesauce, but other than that, why wouldn't you just eat an apple?  I think they were just looking for something to make the plate not look so empty. Two tablespoons of slop...I mean soup, and a tablespoon of broccoli salad doesn’t really fill up a plate. I think the applesauce was an afterthought...I could be wrong. OF was even less thrilled with the feast than I was...we argued about who ate more. (Later she told me she thinks she got sick from it, but since she eats rotten food all the time I don’t see how this is possible...just sayin’'s kinda hard to believe that the Queen of Decaying Delicacies was made ill by a little hamburger slop...I mean soup.) I was overjoyed when they said there was apple cobbler for dessert. I thought the applesauce cup was the desert so imagine how happy I was when I heard we were going to get apple cobbler & ice cream. The ice cream was good even though it was vanilla and there was only half a tablespoon...and would have been better with a swirl of Hershey’s syrup on top...but the cobbler had mushy apples (OF thought they were from canned apple pie filling...I think she’s right.). All in all, it was more famine than feast for me & OF. 

After the play we said our goodbyes to the SIL

On the drive home I kept telling OF that something seemed a little off when I turned the car to the left. I was hearing and kind of feeling...something...a noise, but I couldn’t really tell what it was. Every time we went around a curve to the left, I’d say “there did you hear it”? OF would say “I didn’t hear anything.” This went on a few times and finally, we came to a long straight stretch of road with no traffic and in what proved to be a misguided effort to make her hear the same noise, I abruptly turned the car to the left...into the oncoming lane... “There, did you hear it?” I said... OF made some kind of a noise...but I couldn’t really tell if she was responding to my question or trying to muffle the scream welling up inside was kinda like “aaaaaahhhhhh”...that’s the best I can describe it. Not only did she not hear the noise, she apparently feared for her life in those brief seconds veering into the opposite lane. I was so intent on having her hear the “noise” that it really didn’t occur to me that what I was doing might actually scare her. Guess I should’ve warned her what I was going to do...hindsight’s always 20/20, isn’t it??? Well, anyway, we ended up in laughing so hard about my futile attempt to have her hear the “noise”, that my eyes were watering and I was actually afraid I might really run off the road...fortunately that didn't happen.  We made it home safe & sound ...God really does watch over children & fools... and I admittidly fall into the latter category...just for clarification. It's the stoopidist thing...