I’m terribly behind in my blog reading and just stumbled upon a prompt from WordPress’ Daily Post from 27 days ago. It’s about unintentional flubs that cause laughter.
Not many people know what spoonerisms are. Simply, spoonerism is when you take two words and swap the first letters. For (a bad) example, butterfly becomes flutterby. (Bad example because it’s technically one word. Whatever. You get the idea.)
When I was in my early teens, my little conservative, Christian family fell into a habit of spoonerizing, a lot. One evening we were all at home in the living room. I think we were about to leave to go out for dinner. My mother was in the process if scolding my eldest sibling for something. I have no idea what. In those days he did a lot to warrant such reprimands.
After my mother made some statement about his behavior, said sibling argued, “you make it sound like I’m a (insert complaint here.)”
“Well, if the shoe fits,” my mother replied.
Without missing a beat, my goodie-two-shoes sister, who had been trying to focus on homework throughout the exchange, without looking up from her textbook said, “or if the foo shits.”
No sooner had the words left her lips, before her head popped up, her jaw dropped, and her face was bright red. Given that she was not prone to such language to begin with, and the amount of spoonerizing that had been going on in the house already, she did not get into any trouble for this apparent slip. This did, however, let the wind out of my mothers sails, and the scolding session was over.
I wonder if the eldest sibling ever thanked my sister.
I’ve essentially been unemployed since last October. I work two very part-time jobs bartending with catering companies, but I never earn a lot with those jobs. It’s never enough to off set the unemployment money I’ve been collecting, it just makes that money stretch a little farther than it otherwise would.
My last cat, Mischa, died in October 2012. It was really hard on me and it took a long time for me to even be interested in animals. When I went to visit my sister and her family in April, 2013, I never once touched their very sweet and tolerant cat. This fact occurred to me only as I was on the plane flying home from my week-long visit. It was not like me not to want to touch and pet the cat as she passed by.
At some point during the year or so that followed, my pain at the loss of my best friend of over twenty years lessened and I began to consider having a new animal in my life. I was somewhat torn, however. I’ve always been a cat person. I really like them and I find them to be quite enjoyable. I feel that anyone who says that cats are assholes (and I’ve heard lots of people say that), simply do not understand cats personalities. Mischa was a fairly good mix of independent and loving. Like all cats, he groomed himself. I didn’t need to bathe him. When he was hungry he helped himself to his food bowl. When he was thirsty he got himself a drink. When it was time to potty, he took care of his own business with no assistance from me. My only responsibilities were to replenish his food and water bowls every morning and keep the litter box sifted.
But I like dogs too. Call me a cliché if you like, but I like Chihuahuas. I have a small apartment, so if I was going to have a dog, I was going to have to have a small one. Chihuahuas fit nicely in a lap while watching TV, they don’t try to bowl you over the minute you walk in the door, and they’re easy to pick up and carry around when the situation warrants it.
The problem is, Dogs require a lot of attention and work. They need to be bathed periodically. They need to be walked several times daily and often at inconvenient times. And they must be entertained, all. the. time. I liked the idea of having a dog. We had a family dog when I was a teenager. Well, I say she was a family dog. She was supposed to be a family dog. She ended up being my sister’s dog. Dogs are like that. They pick one person and the rest of the family can hang for all they care. (Really all animals are like that, but whatever.) Life with this dog was much simpler. Since my sister was her person, my sister “got” to do all the baths. Feeding and watering was a quick twice-daily activity once before school and once at dinner time. We lived in a suburban area, in a house with a back yard. When it was time for the dog to take care of her business, we just let her out the back door and that was that.
But see, I live in a more urban environment without a fenced-in yard to just let a critter run around in. Walking a dog, for me, would involve roaming the neighborhood side walks, carrying a plastic baggy to retrieve said business. I’m not a morning person, and when I’m working full-time, I’m often rushing to get out the door and get to work “on time”. I’m also a night owl who has a bad habit of staying up too late to “just finish one more show in my DVR backlog” and then wanting to go right to bed. Much of the time I have to really force myself just to brush my teeth and put in my retainers. Having a dog would mean having to go for a walk before I leave for work, no matter how late I’m running. It would mean having to go for a walk before I can go to bed, no matter how late I’ve stayed up, or how tired I am. So I was on the fence.
The only things I knew for sure were that I was not going to have another male animal, and I was not going to get another pet until I had a full-time job.
On Sunday, June 1st, at 9:40 am I received a text from my downstairs neighbor.
Found a stray kitten in the back yard. Can’t keep him. Interested in checking him out?
I had no intention of taking in a new pet. I still don’t have a full-time job. I don’t need the expense of getting a new kitten all up to date with medical stuff. I was in the process of saying as much in a reply text when this came through.
My neighbor is evil.
I went down to talk to her. I wanted to know more about the situation. I had actually heard kitten meows from my bathroom window and I really thought there were a couple of them out there. It turned out what I was hearing was this poor little guy in their bathroom where they had closed him up to keep him away from their other two cats. But here’s the thing, while I was in my neighbors bathroom with her and the kitten and talking about the situation, she kept calling him “Blue Eyes” for obvious reasons. Every time she called him that, I thought of Frank Sinatra and his nick name “Ol Blue Eyes”. Then I thought “Frank Sinatra would be a cute name for him.”
Here’s a little pro tip for you. If you have no intention of adopting an animal, DON’T NAME IT.
This is “Frank Sinatra”, but his friends call him “Frankie”. Frankie is currently about ten weeks old, which according to most conversion charts is the equivalent of about three to three and a half years old. In other words, he’s a bit of a holy terror right about now. But he’s a pretty darn cute holy terror.
There were two significant events in my young life that lead to my fear of swimming. Oddly, I only have specific memories of one, though I know the other to be true as well.
When I was in the neighborhood of three years old, my father and his wife took the three of us, my brother, sister and me, on a trip to the Northeast. I can’t honestly say for certain now, whether we were in New York City or Atlantic City. I feel as though we went to both places on this trip. No matter. I remember, surprisingly vividly, walking along the beach one evening. It was dark, or nearly so. We all had our shoes off and we walked in the surf, feeling the cold Atlantic waters pressing against our legs as they washed over our feet and rolled back out again. I was small, as we tend to be at that age. The waters came a little bit higher on me than on everyone else, and I remember feeling in equal amounts fear from the pounding pressure that knocked against me, pushing me out of my steps, and joy at the experience of being at the beach, near the ocean, wet feet squishing into the sand as we walked. Given that I was smaller than everyone else, it was no surprise when the unexpectedly large wave came along and knocked me right to the ground. Nor was it a surprise when the wave washed fully over me and began to drag me back out as it made its hasty retreat. It seemed like an eternity passed to my young, scared, oxygen deprived mind. But before I knew it, I felt a strong hand on my back followed by the force against my body as the waves continued to pull and the drenched t-shirt I was wearing became the handle by which my father pulled me back to shore, out of the water, and to safety. Immediately, I was in tears and I was coughing and sputtering as I sobbed the words, “The ocean tried to kill me.” (Yes, I’ve been prone to over-dramatization since I was a wee young lad.) Of course there was some truth that claim. As we all know, tides are unpredictable, and if my father hadn’t pulled me out of the waves when he did, I could easily have been dragged out to sea and might never have been seen alive again.
At some point probably not long after that experience, I was at my father’s apartment complex during one of our week-end visits. Apparently, we were out by the pool in his complex (when I say “we” I’m not certain what that really means. I do not know if my siblings were around. I do not know if my father’s wife was around. I do not even know why we were near the pool.), and somehow I fell into the water. I could not have been more than four or five years old. Once again, my father was right there, and immediately pulled me to safety.
By then the damage was done. For many years, I was afraid of water. Period. I was even afraid of the water in the bathtub. After some time, and some forced bathing requirements, my fears began to subside somewhat. I stopped fearing the water entirely. I came into possession of a life support vest and I spent some time in swimming pools. Always with he life vest on. Always staying on the shallow end. I learned to like the water, the sensation of the liquid surrounding the body, offering some support, cooling the skin on a hot day. But still, I always felt I was missing out on something. Everyone else felt free to roam the pool. They swam to the deep end. They played games and ducked under the water. They enjoyed themselves. And all I could do was hang out in the shallow end, with my life vest giving me a wasted sense of security, and watch as everyone else had fun.
Over the years in my adult life, I’ve had conversations with people which have eventually lead to a revelation that I did not know how to swim. People were always surprised and astounded that at my ripe old age of (whatever age it was at the time) I did not know how to swim. Repeatedly, I’ve been told that I “need” to learn how to swim. Yes, I live in California, and yes the beach is only a few miles away, but I don’t live there. I live on dry ground. Why did I need to learn to swim? But they were right.
Last summer, I spent the Fourth of July at the house of a friend who lives in the central valley of Northern California. The average temperature in the summer where he lives is about one meelleeon degrees (should be read in Doctor Evil’s voice with a pinky at the corner of your lips). Pools are common back yard fixtures and welcomed!
It was while we were all hanging out in the pool, most of us sitting on the expansive steps, but a few lounging on floats, that I had a turning point. I won’t bore you with too many unnecessary details (first time for everything) but at one point I made my way from the steps to one of the people on a float. Just as I was reaching her location, I felt my right foot slide over the edge where the pool floor began its downward slant to the “deep end”, which I have since learned is only six feet.
I contained my anxiety and acted like everything was normal, but the truth is, as my foot slid over that edge, I felt my heart rate speed up and my chest tightened to the point of restricting my breath. I was over come with fear at the prospect of getting into a section of the water in which I could not control my circumstances. I finished my business and casually made my way back to the step where I stayed seated until we were ready to leave the pool and go inside. I decided that weekend, it was time to do something about my weakness.
I couldn’t do it on my own though. I needed help. I needed a guiding hand. I needed someone who already knew how to swim, to help me learn to swim as well. I perused the local community college course catalog and I found a beginning swimming class for adults. Somewhat unexpectedly, I even recruited a friend to take the class with me. It was nerve-wracking to be sure, but I learned to swim. Of course the pool was only 4’6″ in the “deep end”, so it was comforting to know that anytime I was in trouble all I had to do was put my feet down and stand up… Until the last week of the class when our instructor informed us that the pool we had been using for months was closed and we would be having class in what we all referred to as “the big pool”. The big pool is where all the experienced swimmers swam. The big pool is split into twelve lanes, not three. The big pool is 6’9″ ON THE SHALLOW END. It wasn’t easy climbing into that pool the first time, but I did it. On the last night of class, our “final exam” was to jump from the diving board (roughly three feet from the surface of the water) into the pool, and swim to the side. Once I was in and able to tread water and swim the length of the lane, it was not so bad. I even jumped from the diving board… once. But getting into that water felt like I might as well be hurling myself off of a cliff. For the first time in my life, I was in water I could not stand up in… And I lived to tell the tale.
As children we have innumerable experiences that shape our lives. We learn many lessons, both spoken and unspoken, deliberate and incidental. In general, I feel that people do not give enough consideration to that fact, and because they don’t, children learn and internalize many things they would be better off never learning.
A while back, I wrote a post in which I admitted to a significant fear. The fear was, in large part, due to lessons I learned as a young boy and on through my teenage years. It’s the kind of fear that just compounds the longer it’s allowed to go unaddressed. It’s the kind of thing which, if discussed with other people, would result in exclamations of “You’re 38 years old and you’ve never…” “You need to…” And I did needto. But I lacked the skills and the resources to resolve the situation and over come the fear. There were no courses in the community college course catalog for that particular skill. I needed to be a bit more creative. More recently, I wrote another, very cryptic post in which I alluded to seeking guidance and assistance in over-coming my fear. And then I’ve been virtually silent since as I pondered my actions and deliberated the likely responses I would get in sharing those actions. It was all I could think about, really. What should I share? How much should I share? How specific should I be? And as all those thoughts went round and round in my head over and over again, my fingers fell silent. The blog was quiet.
For various reasons, I’ve decided not to share the details of my experience, at least not at this time. Somethings might slip in here and there along the way. I may come completely clean at some point in the future. I may keep it all to myself for the rest of time. But for now, all you need to know is that I found an instructor. I went to class. I over-came my fear of the water, and swam the length of the lanes. I even jumped off the diving board and swam in the big pool… And I lived to tell the tale.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, today’s Fat Mum Slim Photo-A-Day prompt is “upside-down”. And as I mentioned, I could easily take any old picture and use iPhoto to turn it upside down and meet today’s objective. But that’s too easy and would really mean nothing in the grand scheme of things.
But the truth is, “upside-down” is a good prompt. It’s not a great photo prompt, but it’s a good prompt. You see, it’s more applicable to my life. My life is upside-down right now.
Don’t worry. This is not a “woe is me,” “I’m so depressed” kind of post. I’m really not, which, honestly, probably ought to worry me. It’s more of an introspective, “wow my life is… ‘upside down'” kind of post.
You see, I’ve been “underemployed” since mid-October. Honestly? It’s been lovely! I absolutely love not having to get up at 6:30 in the morning to go to work! I love not having to listen to people snivel about the temperature in the building, because honestly? I’m hard pressed to give a damn that you’re cold, while you’re wearing Capri pants, sandals, and a silk, sleeveless shirt during winter and you’re the only person around who’s cold. You expect me to turn up the heat? Why don’t you try putting on a fucking sweater! And don’t give me a song and dance about it being too cold and that’s why you need an illegal space heater, which you just happened to think was best placed on top of a bunch of cardboard boxes!!!
Yeah. It’s been a while since I had a full-time job. From a financial perspective, that’s not a good thing. I’m living on fumes. I just put in a request to liquidate my very meager retirement account just so I’ll have money to live on for the next six months or so. Of course I want to spend as little of that money as possible but the fact remains that unless I want to move back to a red state suburbia, I must find a way to support myself, even if I have to find a way to make myself comfortable in a less… comfortable lifestyle than that to which I am currently accustomed.
I still need to look for a full-time job in my chosen profession of Facility Management which will hopefully sustain my life and provide an opportunity for advancement that will result in more money and more of a comfortable lifestyle.
In the meantime I have to bring in some money, and so today I went to two separate restaurants, in two very separate parts of the bay area to apply for bar tending jobs. I happened across two posts yesterday on Craigslist for bartenders at specific locations of chain restaurants. One is seven miles from my house in the midst of a fairly business, but slightly residential area that might provide me with a decent opportunity to make money in tips and gain some convenient restaurant experience. The other is 30 miles from my house and is in the midst of an almost entirely business district. Naturally, at the close restaurant the hiring manager is on vacation until Monday. The hostess recommended that I call in the morning on Monday and then plan to come by around 2:30 in the afternoon to see the hiring manager for a potential interview. She even told me, “I think he’ll like you. You look a lot alike.
“Oh?” I said, smiling.
“Yeah,” she said, “he wears glasses. Has a shaved head…” I hoped she’d make a comment about how he was a snappy dresser, or maybe how I was exactly his type romantically… but whatever. I’ll call on Monday morning and hope I can interview with him on Monday afternoon. The problem is, restaurants tend to prefer to promote from within, for bar tenders and they like to hire servers with the potential hope of getting promoted to bar tenders. I’m not interested in serving. In fact, I really suck at it. I want to be a bar tender. That’s what I took a class to learn, and that’s why I respond to ads that say they’re hiring bar tenders, not “servers who might eventually become bar tenders.”
From there, I went to the second restaurant. It was 32 miles from the restaurant I had visited first, and at that time of day, 2:45 pm, it was supposed to take me 32 minutes to get there. That was about right. In keeping with the idea that my life is upside down right now, they seemed interested in hiring me. They really pushed the fact that it is “a long drive” from my house. And it is. It’s about 25 miles, which legitimately may be too far for me to drive for a shift that isn’t going to garner me nearly as much money as I had hoped for, but at least it gets my foot in the door for the industry. Hopefully by having a little restaurant experience under my belt I will be more attractive to places that I can expect to make better tip money, closer to home. They also made a big point of telling me that because they’re in a business district, their biggest days are end of the work week and not so much week-ends (as is the case in most restaurants) and they pushed the fact that they like to promote from within and are really looking for servers (even though their ad said, bartenders).
I spoke with the general manager today and she suggested that they could hire me as a “cocktail server” to work in the bar during happy hours and that depending on how quickly I learned and picked up on the “important details of their menu” I could move on to bar tender from there. I played along as though I understood that serving would be a necessary part of the job (and I really did, though I don’t like it) and the end result was that I will go back for a “final” interview on Thursday before a final decision was made, but based on the conversations with the two people I did talk with, they seemed interested, if I was. They just put a lot of emphasis on the desire for longevity. I told them I believe in keeping my commitments and so if something came up with one of my other employers when I was already scheduled with this restaurant, I would not ditch the restaurant for the job. I also told them I was looking for a full-time job in my “chosen career,” as the manager kept putting it, and so, of course, my availability would change depending on where and when I found full-time employment.
Meanwhile, the best prospect I’ve had, since before I got “released during probation” from my last full-time job, is offering me about three shifts a week, not behind a bar, at approximately $100 (or less) per shift in tips, and I’ll have to drive 25-30 miles each way, in my 18 miles to the gallon, gas guzzling, albeit sexy as hell, automobile to get there.
On the one hand, I’m excited at the prospect of being wanted for a job, anywhere at all. On the other hand, this job can’t possibly sustain me and I must keep looking. The question suddenly becomes, is it enough to put me off unemployment insurance, and is there anything to be gained by accepting a job that will reduce my available time to search for a job, while not making enough to eliminate the free money that is unemployment insurance…
What to do… What to do?
Anyway, just for the hell of it… Here. Mostly just ’cause I think it’s funny. A Cosmopolitan I made at home the other night, using Hanger One Mandarine Blossom Vodka, #upside-down.