Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pavlov's Middle Finger

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a native of New Jersey. What this means is, we drive with one hand on the wheel and the middle finger of the other hand extended out the window. We will give the middle finger for anything and everything. Someone cuts us off, bam. Someone honks at us, bam. Someone doesn’t move quickly enough when the light turns green, honk and then bam.

This is not to say we are discourteous drivers. We do have roadway etiquette, but we also have a punishment system built-in when someone violates said etiquette.

So it was yesterday, on my way home. I entered an intersection just as the light turned yellow. Unfortunately, this was a busy section of highway that had another controlled intersection about a thousand feet ahead, and that light was red, thus we were stopped dead. I was at the tail end of the line of traffic. To make matters worse, those who were turning right (to go the same direction as I was going) from the street to my right couldn’t go anywhere even though they had the green…because of this same traffic backup. When I finally did get the green, and could move, I allowed the beer truck at the front of that line to cut in front of me (it turns out it was a Budweiser truck…..had I known this, I would’ve given him the middle finger and not let him in).

Because I had not only stopped (thus holding up traffic) and further delayed things by allowing a truck to cut in, the driver behind me honked her horn. Much like Pavlov ringing a bell, causing his dogs to look for food, I immediately extended my right arm and flipped off the person behind me. It was only after doing this that I bothered to check my rear-view mirror to see to whom I had given the digital “Fuck You.”

It was a 60-ish year old grandmother-type in a mini-van.

Awesome. I just gave the middle finger to an old woman. Somebody’s grandmother.

Of course, I was the one trying to extend courtesy to another driver, so while I certainly inconvenienced this woman and her race to go to water aerobics (or wherever it is women of her age go), there was certainly no call for her to be rude to me. By giving her the middle finger, I was performing a public service.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kindergarten Wit

Every Wednesday, I work from home. Thus, I take the opportunity to go to Thing 2’s school and have lunch with her. I figure in about 6-7 years, she will pretend to not know me when we’re out in public together, so I should take advantage now of the fact that it’s easy to spend time with her each week.

Lunch doesn’t actually consist of lunch for me. Thing 2’s Kindergarten class eats at 10:30AM each day, which is WAY too early for lunch. So, I instead go up and help out the teaching assistant (who has to cover 3 different classes during that same period, and is happy for the help), by opening up the kids’ milk or juice containers, opening up bananas, making sure the kids are sitting and eating, not fighting, etc. I only know about half the kids’ names, so I break the remaining group into two categories: Those that are wearing Silly Bandz, and those that aren’t. The ones that are wearing them, I simply call them “Silly Band.” Those that aren’t, I simply pretend I don’t know their names.

There’s one girl who, I swear, every week when I see her she’s eating a corn dog. And while corn dogs are gross about 110% of the time, school cafeteria corn dogs are even worse. The hot dog inside is grey, and they cornmeal covering the dog is some weird color of brown. She greets me by waving the corn dog at me. I think if the English had waved these corn dogs towards the Viking invaders, the Vikings would have sailed on to more pleasant-looking shores.

As I have to check in at the office, I am given a visitor’s sticker. It has a gigantic V on the beginning of visitor. I about fell out of my seat last week when one kid (his name is Silly Band) asked me, “how come everyone’s name begins with a V?” Of course, I found out later this brilliant 5 year old was really playing me, and he probably asked that same question 2-3 times per day.

Then there’s the sweet little Indian girl who must have Alzheimer’s. Every week, she reminds me that A, she’s Hindi, B, she’s eating Hindi food, and C, she’s a vegetarian (this same girl has been seen eating chicken nuggets in the cafeteria….I think America is starting to reach its claws around this girl’s family). Her lunch always looks gross, but I smile pleasantly and tell her it looks good. She rarely eats all of it, because it looks gross. I swear she was eating a grass sandwich last week.

And then there was the little girl I was helping out this week. I was applauding the boy next to her for eating all of his lunch, calling him a member of the Clean Plate Club. This girl turns to me and says, “I know what a club is.” I got quiet, and was immediately wondering what she meant by a club. A weapon? A delicious sandwich that consists of turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, etc? And while I was thinking, she leaned towards me and said, “a place where the pretty ladies dance.”

Needless to say, Thing 2 will not be having any play dates with this girl anytime soon.