Ask A Little Blind Girl

Old woman at desk, 1967

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Every so often, I’ll get people who ask me questions about what they should do in certain situations.  Why they think I’ll know is a question I’ve never gotten around to asking, because anyone who knows me knows that I’ll take any excuse to talk about anything at all, whether or not I know anything about it.  To that end, I’m launching what I hope will become a regular feature, Ask A Little Blind Girl.  Leave your question in the comments section of any post, and I’ll answer it in a future entry.  I’m starting out with some of the most common:

Dear Little Blind Girl:  I have the worst memory for faces.  Do you have any tips on how to have a conversation with someone who obviously recognizes you when you have no idea who they are?

–Clear Vision But Hazy Memory

Dear CVBHM:  I have this problem all the time, not because I can’t remember their faces, but because I can’t see them in the first place.  Over time, I’ll learn to recognize voices and other indicators, but in the meantime I’ve learned a few tips for carrying on a conversation with an apparantly close friend you can’t remember at all.

First, remember that people love to talk about themselves.  We so rarely get the chance to go on and on about ourselves that a simple “How are things going for you?” will get the person started on a long and hopefully rambling response that will give you more clues about who they are and, with luck, how they know you.

Lakhovsky: The Convesation; oil on panel (Бесе...

If you still haven’t placed the person by the time you’re called upon for a response, take the last thing the person said, reword it, and agree with it.  “That’s so true, a warm spell does always follow a cold snap.”  This will keep things going without actually requiring any substantive input from you.  Phrases like, “Tell me more about that,” and “I never knew that–how interesting” can keep the conversation going for a long time.

If they ask you about yourself, try to pick up on the phrasing of the question for clues on the connection you supposedly have.  “How is the meth lab disposal business going?” indicates that the person knows you through work.  “Did your nephews survive the separation surgery?” shows that the person knows you through your family.  If all else fails, just ask them what was going on the last time the two of you talked.  “Gosh, I’m not sure, were you around for the quadruple bypass?”  I’ve had successful lengthy conversations with people I still can’t place, and I’ve developed a reputation as a witty conversationalist to boot.

No matter what, if you say it with a smile, you’ll probably be fine.

Dear Little Blind Girl:  I’m interested in asking a member of the sex to which I’m attracted on a date.  Problem is, this person can’t see very well.  What should I do to make him/her/them more comfortable?  Does this mean they won’t notice if I don’t wear a tie/pantyhose/uncomfortable shoes?

–Short-Sighted Would-Be Suitor

Dear SSWBS:  First of all, it’s always a positive step that you’ve asked.  One of the best things you can do is simply be aware of the situation and pay attention.  If your date has bad vision and is about to walk into a glass door, you’ll score major points by heading off a major injury.  Don’t assume your blind date knows there are steps coming up if she’s actually blind.  Among other things, doing so will put a quick end to the date, and to any chance of future dates, especially if it’s a lengthy set of stairs.

English: A bunch of flowers Français : Un bouq...

I recommend not taking a date with vision problems on the traditional dinner and a movie.  That translates to dinner and a migraine, which means that you will forever be associated in your date’s mind with a headache–not something that’s going to play well for you later on down the line.  Try an outdoor concert or a wine tasting.  If you insist on a movie, art gallery, or other visually oriented date activity, be prepared to provide two to three hours of descriptive analysis mixed with insightful commentary and stand-up comedy.  I recommend the outdoor concert; it’s much less work.

Also, your date will know if you don’t put effort into your appearance.  That uncomfortable, stilted speech that you find in the beginning of a relationship comes from a tie you’re not used to wearing, heels that are a little higher than you’re used to, and so on.  It’s not fun, but it shows you care, and if you’re wearing your pajamas to a dinner date, your date will be able to tell even if he or she can’t see it, I promise you.

Always remember, just because your date is blind doesn’t mean all his or her senses are on the fritz:  flowers still smell pretty, chocolates still taste wonderful, wine still gets us drunk.  Happy hunting!  Er, dating.

Dear Little Blind Girl:  If you can’t see, how come you think Johnny Depp is hot?

–Skeptical In Schenectady

Dear SIS:  There is a hotness that transcends the merely visual.  It emanates from his being.  It is the aura of an aura, the glow of greatness, the sense that this person has been kissed by the gods.  Also, when I was younger and I could see, I fell instantly in love and then was blinded by his glory so that no rival could ever take his place.  My love for Johnny Depp is true and eternal.  Mock it at your peril.

Français : Johnny Depp à l'avant-première de P...

Little blind icicle

No Kidding

Image by kuyman via Flickr

My heat went out.  In retrospect, I should have seen this coming.  Four day weekend with a cold snap coming, I should have put the work order in a week in advance.  I timidly suggested to my landlord that, what with the cold weather and all, perhaps a repair guy could come look at my heater that, while never spectacular, seemed to have died completely; she agreed, but warned me that she didn’t think anyone could get to me that day.  I said, oh, that’s OK, it’s not like I’m going to freeze to death.

I’ve lived to regret those words, but barely.

On the upside, I’m now the proud owner of two space heaters, a radiator, and an electric blanket.  Even so (and I can only use the blanket and one of the others at the same time, or I blow a fuse), I was so cold over the course of the weekend that my body actually shut down.  All I could do was sleep.  As long as I was in bed, with the blanket and the space heater, I was more or less all right, but as soon as I stepped foot onto my icy floor, my entire body went “AAAAHHHH!!!  Systems failing, systems failing, initiate emergency shut down procedures.”  I’m now very well rested, but I think my joints need to be oiled.

The heating guy, when he came earlier today, was the most beautiful man I have ever seen in my life.  He didn’t say much, just “Thermostat?” and “Breaker box?”, but he said it well.  My brain interpreted his questions as angelic pronouncements, complete with cherubic choir and divine golden shaft of light, which I now realize was probably just his flashlight.  When he had to leave for a bit to do something with the innards of my heating system, he actually asked me if I had some electric heaters to get me through until he got back.  That’s how cold it was.  He was only gone for an hour, but he was afraid I was going to turn into an icicle before he made it back.

But make it back he did.  He was my salvation and has brought warmth and joy into my life.  My home was not a home until he came and showed me the way.  I will be erecting a shrine in my utility closet to him, and it will consist of a baseball cap, a spare filter, an assortment of Phillips head screws, and a great huge thing of keys that go jingle every time I open the door.  I will light an electric candle in front of a picture of the heating repairman and think warm thoughts every day before I walk out the door, and again when I come home.  Without him, I was lost in the cold.

These moments come to all of us sometime in our lives; mine was today.  Thank you, heating repairman.  May your keys always open the door.

The Possessed Furby

English: Brick and flint walls Brick and flint...

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I love my apartment.  It’s got wood floors, brick walls, and insanely high ceilings.  It’s a converted warehouse of sorts, and I have lots and lots of windows and space.  On the downside, since it’s an old building, it gets pretty cold in the winter.  I sleep with a space heater going full blast pointing right at me, and persuading myself to take a shower is a lengthy process, especially since the water doesn’t get too much beyond warm.

This and a recent post by a fellow blogger, adamsdaughter, reminded me of the winter I got a Furby.  You remember Furbys?  They were those stuffed animal looking things that had electronics inside that let them speak.  They’d start out speaking Furbish, but you could teach them English somehow, in that magic way that toys have.  Even though I was in college, I had to have one.  I got a white one with blue eyes and named it, in my infinite creativity, Furby.

Furby driller

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I always imagined that Furby liked to look out of my dorm room window at the Big World, dreaming furbish dreams, so I would perch him on my windowsill.  Unfortunately for Furby, I forgot to take him off the windowsill over winter break that year.  They turned the heating off in the dorms once all the students were gone, and poor Furby froze for about a month before I came back.  To my horror, he didn’t respond to any of the usual ministrations, including turning him off and on.  I put Furby on my desk and sadly shook my head at my carelessness.  So many reasons why I shouldn’t be a mother.

Later that night, I was just dozing off when I heard a metal scritch scritch.  I thought for a moment that I was dreaming, so I turned the light on and looked around.  It was Furby, turning himself on!  I swear I had turned him off.  I still remember doing it.  But he turned himself back on and from his mouth issued the most evil, demonic electronic gibberish I have ever heard.  Apparently when you leave Furbys to fend for themselves in the winter, they become possessed by the henchmen of the netherworld.  I backed away in trepidation; surely, it would stop on its own when the battery ran down?  But the forces of evil are not defeated so easily.

From then on, at completely random intervals, Furby would turn himself off or on and make sepulchral pronouncements in a crazed metallic voice in what I could only assume is the language of lesser demons.  I started to feel like a little kid who’s afraid of the dark, except that I knew I had good reason to be afraid.  I’d turn off the lights to go to bed, clutch the covers to my chin, and stare at the shadow of the Furby until I fell asleep, wondering as I did so if Furby was predicting the conquering of the mortal realm by the forces of evil or merely commenting on the fact that he had an itch he couldn’t reach.

Painting of Father General Saint Francis Borgi...

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Long about the fourth time he woke me up with his demonic prophecies, I had to give him to my Resident Assistant because I was convinced he was going to suck my soul out of my body one night while I was sleeping.  My RA was inclined to laugh at me–until she experienced first hand the wrath of the frozen, possessed Furby.  I don’t know if she took him to a priest for an exorcism or performed her own Rite of Ashtoreth over him or what, but I never heard from Furby again.  Though, now that I think of it, that particular Resident Assistant started acting a little odd not long after that.  I put it down to the after effects of a break up, but I wonder…

The creeping crud

"Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases - As ...

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You’re going about your normal day.  You get up, yawn, wash, brush your teeth, wonder what happened to your face overnight, get dressed, go into work…and all along, unbeknownst to you, it’s stalking you.  As you drive into work, hang up your coat, and turn on your lights, little by little it catches up.

As you go about your business at work, it’s slithering along behind you, sizing you up, waiting for the exact time to attack.  You’re copying a document and suddenly you hear your coworker start coughing.  But she doesn’t stop.  It just keeps getting louder and deeper and wetter, like that lung is finally on its way out.  Eventually she stops, sniffles, and gives a watery smile.  “I guess I’ve got what’s going around,” she says, as if it’s an adorable quirk and not a contagious disease she just spewed into the air.

Suddenly you realize:  you’ve been seeing and hearing it for a week.  People all around you sneezing, hacking, sweating, pale and tired.  You look around to see half the office grabbing for tissues.  You pour a cup of coffee and hear one person detailing to another the completely work-inappropriate disease-induced excretions she suffered a few days ago.  She smiles at you and says, “I hope you like the coffee.  I brewed it myself.”

At home that evening, you check your reflection closely.  Are you looking a little pale?  Is that a sheen of sweat?  You take your temperature:  it’s a little elevated.  ‘No,’ you think.  ‘This is not happening to me.’  But you wake up the next morning aching from your crown to your feet, temperature 101, wondering if last night’s dinner is about to make a repeat appearance:  beef stew, the sequel.  It’s only too true.  It’s caught up with you at last.

English: Public health poster from Spanish flu...

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In my family, we call it the creeping crud.  You can see the people around you getting sick, and no matter how many precautions you take, no matter how many times you use the Purell, no matter how much Vitamin C you take, it will catch you.  It takes its time, makes sure you can see it coming (hence the creeping), and it makes you feel like complete crap in ways that are extremely embarrassing to talk about (hence the crud).

Beware, my friends, for the crud may be creeping up on you even as we speak.  Was that a person sneezing you saw out of the corner of your eye?  Was that faint noise a hacking cough from down the hall?  There’s no use fighting it.  The creeping crud always wins.  Just do me a favor:  if you get it, stay home.  Spare the people around you.  Especially if you’re a waiter or handle food or drink in any capacity.  There’s nothing quite like getting halfway through a meal in a restaurant and then seeing your waiter blowing his nose as he goes through the kitchen doors.

Pain, pain, go away

High quality ostrich feather duster

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A friend of mine who is blogging about training to run a marathon posted about the pain she experienced the first time she and a friend tried Pilates.  I experienced similar pain when I first tried to do decline sit ups.  Those are the ones where you lie back on a bench tilted so that your head is down near the floor and your knees are at the top, and then you do sit ups.  They hurt like hell, but not until the next day.  No one warned me, so I did several dozen.  I went to bed that night feeling very pleased with myself.

The next day I tried to get out of bed and nearly blacked out from the pain.  I couldn’t move until later in the day, and only after I’d taken a handful of over the counter painkillers and stood under a hot shower for half an hour.  That evening, someone made me laugh and I punched them out.  Well, not really, but I wanted to.

Since then I’ve been careful to warm up before exercising, patiently stretching and making sure I don’t push myself beyond what I should just because I’m not currently falling down.  I get a fair amount of exercise, though I wouldn’t run a marathon if you promised me a garden of daffodils and a pony at the end of it, and I feel sympathetic but gently superior when people complain about how much pain they’re in because they didn’t warm up properly or they had an overly bruising work out.

I did some spring cleaning this weekend.  I climbed on ladders to reach high places, I stood on kitchen counters to get to the tops of the cabinets, I got on my hands and knees to clean under the refrigerator, I moved furniture to clean under and around it, and I scrubbed the floor on my hands and knees.  It took the entire weekend.  I was exhausted at the end of it and was really, really grateful that it was done and I could go on about my normal life.

The next morning, I went to get out of bed and couldn’t move.  It was like I had done a hundred decline sit ups, run five miles, climbed a mountain, and carried a small buffalo, all without warming up.  I looked around my sparkling apartment and thought, you know, I’m legally blind.  It’s all a big blur to me anyway.  How clean do I really need it to be?

Sorry, Mom.  The dirt and I have decided to make it official.  To be honest, I’m surprised this hasn’t happened earlier.  I still don’t have full range of motion in my arms, and every time I sneeze (thanks for the cold, by the way, Unknown Waiter With Hacking Cough.  I want my tip back), I see stars.  And, would you believe it, after all that, I got my trash bags all lined up for a trip to the trash chute–and it’s backed up!  It’s just as well, really.  I don’t think I could have lifted the bags that high up, anyway.  So here’s to dirt and me:  from now on, my name is Mud.

Don’t ask, do tell

"Thumbs up" picture, mostly uploaded...

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It began so innocently.  I was at a party and someone suggested a drinking game.  Everyone was laughing and egging each other on, and I said, “Why?”  Questioning what everyone else accepted felt so good, I just wanted to keep doing it.  In the beginning, I would ask “why?” as a way to relax, to relieve some of the stress in my life.  I was a social questioner, only when I was with friends.  But then I started questioning more and more, and pretty soon it began to take over my life.

Before long, I was questioning things at work.  I knew that asking why was dangerous, and that questioning things on the job will lead to unemployment, but I couldn’t stop myself.  I would read my emails and think, just to myself, very quietly, “why?”  I would read politicians’ statements on the issues of the day and question the claims they made and the statistics they cited.  Democrats, Republicans, Tea Party, Green Party, I questioned them all.  I was out of control.

It spilled over into my personal life.  My boyfriend and I would be on a dinner date, having a wonderful time, and he would make some remark, and before I could help myself, I would ask, “Why?”  At first he laughed.  He thought I was cute when I was questioning.  But as time went on and it became clear that I was questioning all the time, the laughter stopped, and so did the dinner dates.

I tried to hide my questions, but then my boyfriend would find me in front of the television at 3 in the morning, watching infomercials and screaming questions at the smiling people on the screen.  When he finally left me, all I could do was ask God why.

At last, my boss called me in.  “You’re a great worker, and you know I like you,” he said, “but if you keep up all this questioning, I’m going to have to let you go.”  My mouth felt like it was on automatic pilot as it formed the syllable of my destruction.  I looked at my boss, unable to stop it from happening, and said “Why?”  I knew, as I was cleaning out my desk, that I had hit my lowest point.

But God works in mysterious ways.  Just as I hit rock bottom, I could see my situation clearly for the first time.  I would never find the answer through questioning.  On that day, I joined my local chapter of Questioners Anonymous and finally stopped asking “Why?”

Since then, I’ve never missed a Q/A meeting.  We read the newspaper and nod in agreement with every sentence.  We’ve attended rallies and political primaries across the state.  We’ve handed out pamphlets in front of debate halls and institutions of higher education, spreading the word to the unfortunate questioners still struggling with their addictions.  We speak to young people about the dangers of asking why, hoping to prevent it before it starts.  When someone asks us why we do this, we just smile and nod, and ignore the question.

If you find yourself questioning what you see on the news, read in the paper, or hear from Some Guy At The Bar, just remember: you don’t have to live like that.  Help is available for those who don’t ask.

I just can’t swallow this

Mountain DewImage by compujeramey via Flickr

I have a new worst fear.  No matter where you go or what you do, you’ll never be safe from…the dissolved mouse!

From an article in The Atlantic:  Pepsi Co., facing a lawsuit from a man who claims to have found a mouse in his Mountain Dew can, has an especially creative, if disgusting, defense: their soda would have dissolved a dead mouse before the man could have found it. An Illinois man sued Pepsi in 2009 after he claims he “spat out the soda to reveal a dead mouse,” the Madison County Record reports. He claims he sent the mouse to Pepsi, which then “destroyed” the remains after he allowed them to test it, according to his complaint. Most shudder-worthy, however, is that Pepsi’s lawyers also found experts to testify, based on the state of the remains sent to them, that “the mouse would have dissolved in the soda had it been in the can from the time of its bottling until the day the plaintiff drank it,” according to the Record.

A friend of mine posted this on my Facebook wall, knowing my love of Mountain Dew.  Was it out of concern?  Was he teasing?  I’m not sure, but I definitely cringed while I was reading the article.  A mouse!  Drowned in the Mountain Dew!  How disgusting!  But what a way to go.

And is Pepsi seriously countering it by claiming that the mouse would have dissolved?  Imagine drinking a soda without realizing that you were drinking carbonated dissolved rodent.  How’s your drink today, little blind girl?  A little whiskery, thank you.  I smugly contemplated the jury having to listen to that argument as I took a swig of my soda…then stopped, and stared in horror at the bottle in my hands…

Did your soda taste a little off today?  High fructose corn syrup with a hint of rat and a soupçon of gerbil, perhaps?  If I were the plaintiff’s attorney, I would make sure that each member of the jury had a soda with their lunch.  I may never drink Mountain Dew again.  You never hear about this happening with a pint of milk.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to my vomiting.  It’s going to take a while before I stop thinking I can feel something scampering around in my stomach.

They start young these days

Rotating globe

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Melissa the Ragamuffin held her beloved niece close in her arms.  “Time to go to bed, Peanut,” she said softly.  Peanut frowned.  “Don’t want to go to bed,” she informed her aunt.

Melissa laughed.  “But if you don’t go to bed,” she told her niece, “you’ll never get your beauty sleep.”  “Don’t want to be beautiful,” insisted Peanut.  Melissa ruffled her niece’s hair and asked, “What do you want?”

Peanut’s tiny forehead wrinkled.  She looked around her room, and pointed to a globe on a shelf.  “Want ball!” she exclaimed.  Melissa smiled and said, “That’s not a ball, sweetheart, that’s a globe.”

Peanut looked puzzled.  “Globe?” she asked.  Melissa nodded.  “It’s like a picture of the world.”  Peanut looked triumphant.  Proudly, she announced, “Want world!”

Oh, sweetie, don’t we all!

Which character are you?

I admit, I love taking those quizzes in magazines:  Is your relationship solid?  Are you a summer or a winter?  What Twilight character are you?  (Rosalie, by the way; I’m vain and I think Bella’s annoying.)  So I thought I’d post one here.  It’s probably pretty insider-y, so I attached a few links as well.

Which Iliketheworldfuzzy character are you?

Have you ever read the little blind girl’s posts and wondered, where do I fit in?  Am I a whistling marmoset?  Am I a curly-haired friend?  Well, now you can find out.  Just answer the questions and tally your score:

A.  When confronted with an unfriendly storekeeper, you:

  1. Leave in a huff
  2. Make conversation until the storekeeper gives you a discount to get you to leave
  3. Plot elaborate revenge
  4. Crack jokes until the storekeeper finally smiles and agrees to go on a date
  5. Grin sexily and murmur, “Don’t worry, I was just leaving”

B.  When playing trivial pursuit, you have the most problems with:

  1. Science and nature; you’re better with stories and pop culture references
  2. Arts and entertainment; you’re just not down with the kids today
  3. History; you always remember things happening the way you would have done them
  4. People and places; you’re good with football games and museums, but you couldn’t answer a question about Central America if someone held a gun to your head–which, if they’re from Central America, they might…
  5. All of them; whatever answer you give, the question card just melts from your hotness

C.  When you sit down to blog, you:

  1. Spend an hour reading other peoples’ blogs searching desperately for inspiration and wishing yours could be as good as theirs
  2. Don’t.  You’re too afraid you’ll get one of those virus things.  You hear they’re nasty, and who has time for the doctor these days?
  3. Always make sure you’re well-stocked with Red Bull
  4. Make sure that whatever you write about will put others at ease and make them feel good about themselves
  5. Have to make sure you step back from the reflection of your blinding hotness in the computer screen

D.  Your favorite date night activity is:

  1. Anything where you can wear flats
  2. Dating?  No one could pay you enough to go back on that scene
  3. The same thing you do every night:  try to take over the world
  4. Attending an exhibition on which someone has obviously worked very, very hard and mocking it mercilessly
  5. Jetting to France, where your sexiness has not yet been outlawed

E.  Your favorite pickup line is:

  1. Hi, my name is ___________.  What’s yours?
  2. When are we going to go somewhere and discuss the demise of Biggie Smalls?
  3. Mwa-ha-ha!  You cannot resist me!
  4. Hi, I’m cute, smart, funny and will eventually break your heart. Can I buy you a drink?
  5. My God, I’m sexy.  Haven’t you noticed?

Mostly 1’s:  You are the little blind girl!  You are straightforward, insecure, and love to hear yourself talk.  Since you have no idea what’s going on around you, your stories tend to be a little hard to follow, but you make up for it by telling a joke at every opportunity.

Mostly 2’s:  You are the Sainted Mother!  You may not be tops at the pop culture stuff, but you pull off the occasional stunner that will keep your children from getting too smug.  No storeowner is a match for your shopping skills, but these newfangled computer things sometimes make you worried.

Mostly 3’s:  You are the evil hamster!  Bent on world domination through blogging, you are rarely seen without a Red Bull and can be easily recognized by your megalomaniacal laugh and by the fact that you’re a hamster.

Mostly 4’s:  You are the Potential Boyfriend!  Devastatingly attractive, witty, and thoughtful, you can sweep any girl off her feet in a matter of minutes.  Beware of the dreaded blogger breakup, however, where your most intimate moments may be spread across the blogosphere for all to see.

Mostly 5’s:  You are Johnny Depp!  Pure sex appeal laced with brilliance and talent, women swoon for you and men grumble because they can’t just dismiss you as a pretty boy.  You have a restraining order against the little blind girl, yet strangely make a number of guest appearances on her blog.

So which one are you?  If you’re the Evil Hamster, I’m going to be worried.  Almost as worried as I was when I took the quiz and found out I was Johnny Depp.

A most alarming tale

Mid-City New Orleans: Middle-Eastern restauran...

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Back when it was warmer, some friends and I were sitting in the outdoor seating area at a restaurant.  It was a pleasant evening, the wine and the conversation both flowed smoothly, and I was beginning to relax.  A full work day in four inch heels is no joke, and it takes a while to (sorry about the pun) come down from it (sorry again).

Through the calm, warm air cut the screech screech screech of a car alarm.  My friends and I looked over at the parking lot beside the restaurant and saw a very harassed set of parents, the mother trying to shepherd their kids into a minivan while the father pointed his keys at the van and pressed a button over and over, to no avail.  The alarm just kept on going.   Conversation became nearly impossible, so the entire outdoor seating area watched the increasingly frantic attempts by the father to get the car alarm to shut off while the mother tried to keep the kids from running off despite the ear-splitting racket.  We were all rooting for the kids.

Do Somethin'

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Finally, the father got the car alarm turned off.  We all sighed with relief and returned to our conversations.  I’m sure we were having discussions of great weight and moment about world peace and the crisis in the Middle East, but alas, they had been irremediably disrupted.  So we fell back on discussions of Britney Spears and the crisis in Los Angeles, which to be honest is probably what we had been talking about in the first place.

Just when we were getting to the heart of the problem, that same car alarm started up again.  Apparantly, one of the children had tried to make a break for it and, after the parents had finally gotten the child back in the car, they set off the car alarm again when the parents tried to get in.  Another ten minutes of incessant clamor, another set of Mom’s daily exercises of chasing the kids and trying to get them to sit still.  Eventually, blessedly, at last, Dad managed to turn off the car alarm for his own vehicle and everyone got in to drive away–but not before the entire audience in outdoor seating broke into applause, led by the table at which sat yours truly, proposing a toast.  I love dinner theater.

It wasn’t until some fifteen minutes later that it occurred to us that they might have been breaking into someone else’s car and that that’s why they had so much trouble disabling the alarm.  You don’t think, do you?  It was awfully dark, and it really did take a surprisingly long time.  Imagine if they were a family of criminals, albeit fairly inept criminals, and we just gave them a rousing cheer when they finally finished committing their crime!  Oh, well, I suppose we all need a pat on the back sometime.