Appetizer Window

January 4, 2008

I want to share with you an experience that I am going to call the “*Appetizer Window.” If you are unfamiliar with this term, then let me enlighten you, because I’m sure you’ve come in contact with it…

The “*Appetizer Window” is the small window of opportunity that you have with the waiter to order an appetizer and it arrive at your table with ample time to completely finish it BEFORE your meal arrives, thus satisfying its existence as a TRUE appetizer. This window can only be accessed the VERY FIRST time you meet your waiter. Not after he gets your drink orders, not after he “gives you a few minutes to look over the menu,” not after you receive your drinks….the VERY FIRST TIME he comes to the table and greets you, THAT’S your “Appetizer Window.”

If you do not order the appetizer within this frame of time, trust me, you will NOT, I repeat, NOT receive your appetizer with any time to eat it before your meal comes. I’m telling you, if you let the waiter go without ordering within the “window” and he walks 3 feet from you but then comes back and asks you if you want an appetizer, you can SURELY BET that it will arrive only a mere 3 seconds before your hot tasty meal rounds the corner and heads your way. There’s nothing worse than anxiously and feverishly-with-drool-running-down-your-mouth waiting for your food, with no appetizer in sight, and feeling that total relief when the food runner girl (a girl who’s too young to be a waitress but not quite “pretty” enough to be a hostess) rounds the corner with your tower-O-onion and immediately on her heels follows, a little too closely for my taste, your waiter with food in tow….

Trust me, this DOES exist. Try it out. Go out to eat, order your appetizer whenever you want, totally ignoring the “Ordering Rules,” and make a note of when your appetizer vs. your food arrives. You’ll think to yourself, “Man, Dan was right. I should have ordered my appetizer earlier when he told me to. Now I’ve got this awesome appetizer that did sound SOO appetizing before that’s now just a huge strain on my wallet and something else I’m going to have to figure in to calculate the tip (which, by the way, how hard is that?? Really, take the tax, DOUBLE IT! Better yet, whatever the total is, move the decimal 1 place to the left, and add a couple of bucks!! Come on now, you don’t need a calculator), BUT my meal is here, which is what I’m paying all the money for anyway and the REAL reason I even came out to eat. I can get onion rings anywhere. I can build my own ‘bloomin’ onion’ I don’t need to pay $6.75 for one.”

So, ladies and gentlemen, please, follow the restaurant rules and mind the appetizer window. You never know, it might save your life.

*this window also applies to salads


The Over-Sharer

November 20, 2007

I am currently taking a conversational Spanish night class once a week at the local community college to improve my Spanish. I am 1 of about 8 other adults in the class looking to improve or learn or hear for the first time Spanish. Let me tell you, there’s something about a night class at a community college that just brings out some of the most interesting people from the woodworks. I mean, the class alone, signing up for a beginning Spanish class at a local community college, is a little weird, so I get it.

I could write an entirely different post on the overall subset of people in my class, or in community college night classes in general, but for this entry, I’m going to constrain it to just the “Over-Sharer.” Do you know who the over-sharer is? I’m sure you do, it’s that person that feels the need to share too much information about themselves or their lives, though never really asked to do so. The information could make you feel uncomfortable, you know, if they share about their “time’s of the month” or how long they were in the bathroom today at work and WHY….it could be that over-sharer, but NO, in my class, I have the over-sharer-of-personal-details-when-asked-a-simple-question-that-can-be-answered-in-one-word person.

For example: Let’s say the teacher is going around the room asking about where we work.

My answer: “Valley View Productions in Grapevine, where I am a graphic designer.” (Good. Concise. Simple. To the point.)
Her answer: “Random Parts Company, it’s around the corner in Hurst. Just about 10 minutes from here I think. (small chuckle, which I assume she makes to show how close she is compared to everyone else) I’ve been there ’bout 10 years, doing the same thing: customer service. You know, I answer the phones when people call in ’bout broken stuff…..but we don’t sell the actual items, you know, just the parts. What was it the other day that guy wanted me to find? Do you remember Sylvia? (another small chuckle to herself, not sure if it was meant to be outloud) Oh well, I can’t remember.” (Long. Scattered. Complex. Where’s the point)

Wow! When working in pairs with her, she’ll make little comments here and there, that I have to turn and look at her and just smile and nod, because I couldn’t and didn’t understand what comment it was, because all I said was that I am tired….and then 5 minutes later, she’s looking at me with this look that says, “Right?! You know? I just shared a lot in reference to you just saying ‘you were tired’ and so I am looking for a facial approval that you heard me wax on for 5 minutes about ‘being tired.'”

What can I do? How do you behave around an over-sharer? Do you over-listen to their over-sharing? Do you over-analyze their over-sharing? Help me!

Laughable Word Usage

October 29, 2007

How many words do we have at our fingertips within the thesaurus? I’m going to go ahead and say there are about 70,000 words that sound and have similar meanings to about 70,000 other words, so, quick math tells me that there are about 1 MILLION words at our disposal. So, what makes a person deviate from this and use a word that, in one context means something totally understandable, but within another context means absolutely nothing, except for to say to everyone listening, “Yeah, that’s right, I used an ‘out-of-context’ word and you guys didn’t. I know vocabulary. I wrote the thesaurus. My last name is Dictionary.”

For example, you might casually joke around with someone about being pregnant and ask the question, “So, have you been impregnated yet?” And, although you might get a slap on the back of the head by a woman, the usage of the word “impregnated” is understandable; “to make pregnant; get with child or young.” We get that usage. We’ve heard it before in that context.

Now, have you ever heard someone use that same word, but within this context, “This book is so impregnated with facts that for you not to gain any knowledge from it is astounding”? No? I hadn’t either until last Friday when I was at a business seminar and the speaker used it in that exact way as stated above. What’s up with that?! Who does that?!

Listen, I know it makes logistical sense to use it, I get the meaning, but still, are you using it just for shock value? You know that everyone’s eyebrow will raise when they hear that and immediately think of a lady being pregnant, so, why do you use it in that context?? I just don’t get it.

So, from now on, leave words that belong in a certain context ALONE!!!!

Inappropriate Bathroom Usage

October 10, 2007

So, I’m here at work, and this lady asks if she could use our bathroom, and we politely show her where it is, silently wondering how long it will take before she passes out due to the smell that it’s embedded in the walls from a male-only work place, and when she is done, mind you, 5 minutes later, something happens that I’ve never experienced before…

SHE WENT #2!!! #2!!!!#2!!!!! No, that’s not my SHIFT key getting stuck, she dropped a bomb ladies and gentleman. How does that happen? When does that happen? I’ve been alive for 27 years and have never experienced that. Sure, my mom or my sister have used a bathroom or 2 at JcPenney’s or another department store, but never did they use a bathroom at a small, intimate business, completely run by men, where the slighest burp is heard and laughed at for hours and hours.

Seriously, when did women feel comfortable enough to do that? I mean, my wife will literally risk a hospital visit due to internal injuries before she ever steps foot into a bathroom, in public, with the intention of sitting there a while. And, I thought that’s how most women were. I mean, women go on and on and about cleanliness and being proper and sitcoms on a daily basis go through that “put the seat down when you’re done” routine, and yet, here’s a woman, who’s heard all of that, probably even said some of those things to her husband, probably has laughed at that sitcom-rant thinking to herself, “that’s right, see honey, I’m not the only one” and YET, she traverses the male jungle that is the throne room and plops down and lets out all her angst.

I don’t want to live in a world where that happens. Women are cute, they are beautiful, they are dainty, they wear dresses and perfume, they smell good, we like them to be that way, and in fact, I don’t even think women go #2 (I refuse to believe that they even fart) in my little “man-fantasy-world.” I live in my little tunnel, you live in yours.

Mine will smell better at least.
-Love you honey.

You ever noticed when you’re in the shower and something falls, shampoo, soap, facial cleanser, whatever, that you’re very slow to catch it from falling? Something always seems to fall in there, and it’s always such a huge hassle to pick it up, you know? And yet, when we’re out in public, with our phones, or ipods, drinks, food, etc., we react with the quickness of Flash Gordon to ensure nothing falls…why is that?

What about the shower causes us to just stare at falling objects in slow motion without any thought of catching it in mid-air? I mean, when my shampoo slips off the side of the tub, I’d rather take a master level college Calculus 4 test, blind while being beaten by a Russian soldier who is simultaneously tickling my feet with a feather, than bend over and pick up the bottle. It literally, and physically, can ruin my day, for some reason. Sure, if I spill a glass of soda on the floor, I’m not too happy about it, but I’ll pick it up and clean it and attend to the stain on the carpet, but if my soap falls 4 feet onto the slippery tub floor, I assume the fetal position and cry my eyes out. (hyperbole)

And by the way, did the shampoo bottle inventor and the bath tub inventor get together one day and decide it would be a great prank on the world to design a tub and shampoo bottle that could never coexist? Have you ever tried that bathroom-balancing act that goes on when you are trying to find a place to set the shampoo bottle down, while not trying to sting the crap out of your eyes as the Johnson & Johnson slips ever-so-slowly down, it doesn’t fit anywhere!! And even if you do get it to delicately balance, you spend the rest of the “shower experience” fearing bumping into any wall too hard because then it will fall, and then you’ll be back to what I was talking about above: the shower pickup.

Dear Companies,
Either make a skinnier shampoo bottle, or extend the edges of bathtubs so we, the consumers, don’t have to worry about picking up fallen shampoo/soap bottles.
The Consumers

To Honk or Not to Honk

July 11, 2007

What compels a person to honk on the road when someone has done something wrong to them? Where did that impulse come from? Were we taught that in drivers ed back in the day, or did our parents teach us?

I have to admit, I’m not writing this as a finger-pointer at everyone else, I too, am a road honker. So, say somebody cuts you off and nearly clips you or runs you off the road, what about hitting that horn tells this person how you truly feel? For some reason, that blaring sound doesn’t quite EVER convey the level of frustration that I currently have, which causes me to squeeze my steering wheel so hard and grit my teeth to the point of pain.

The horn doesn’t accurately say what I want to, “Thanks for almost killing me. I mean, heaven forbid, you actually slow down a SINGLE notch and wait until I pass so you can get out from behind the slow driver, that’s just not possible. If I had the ability, I would blow out one of your tires at this point and send you to “driving timeout” where you aren’t allowed to drive until you thought about what you just did.”

So, why do I honk? Does that sound automatically change the way the above stated driver is going to drive for the rest of his life? Am I thinking, “Ok, see, MY HORN is going to be the horn that changes his bad behavior. It’s going to be my horn and my shaking fist that sends this person into contemplation about his current driving skills. He’ll note the concerned “tone” in my horn and realize that he hurt me and he’ll enact some new standards which will change the world as we know it……”

I think we all think that at some point. Otherwise, why would we honk? If we didn’t think it was going to somehow AFFECT this driver, then we would just silently fume.

So, in the end, it’s POINTLESS to honk after you’ve been wronged on the road. Remember, you’ve probably been honked at before and did you change immediately and start lobbying in your local government for stricter driving education? Did you ponder your actions and sorrowfully mentally apologize to the person you made honk?

So, drivers, let’s all ban together and end this useless gesture. You never know, it might save your life.

Guestbook Monitor

June 1, 2007

I think the lowest you can get in the “Wedding-Totem pole” is the Guestbook Attendant. I mean, come on, why do you need someone attending to people just signing their names? Did I miss a class where they taught people how to REALLY sign their names, and so since I missed that class, I have to be watched and supervised while improperly signing my name?

Being a Guestbook Attendant is basically like being picked last on the basketball team in grade school PE class. It’s like leaving a penny tip to a really bad waiter, because if you leave nothing, then he thinks you forgot, but if you leave just a penny, it’s like the ultimate insult. I mean, if you aren’t in the wedding, AT LEAST you don’t have to awkwardly stand there when people come in and give you that look that says, “why are you watching me do this? Are you going to hold my hand while I sign?”But, by being asked to be the Attendant, it’s like them saying, “You know, you’re kind of a friend, but not family, kind of an acquaintance, but not an enemy, but I know if I don’t have you do something you’ll write about it on your MySpace, and I really don’t want to have to give you something to do that actually requires any of your personal interaction because you might mess it up…”

PEOPLE: Let’s end this tradition, this pattern, this worthless job!! If you’re asked to be the “Guestbook Attendant” reply with a riveting NO WAY and offer your services as a door opener instead. If you’re having a wedding, please, oh please, just put the book on the table with the pen….WE CAN FIGURE IT OUT FROM THERE!!