Monthly Archive: January 2005

Wasting postage

My mom has this skill where she picks up an envelope and can just tell whether it’s one ounce or two.  I am so jealous.

Buzzings from the hive

I’ve been spending time in Plaza One, whereas I usually work in Plaza Three. Although they are only a couple of hundred feet away, it is another world over there. There are a lot more suits and a lot fewer Indians. I like to think that I’ve time-traveled into the seventies when I go over there. All the executives have pompous nameplates with their title and last name only — “Mr. Slevenly.” They sit in these little rooms with glass front doors and a secretary guarding them. Sometimes the secretary’s nameplate will only have her first name on it. It’s so weird.

Elevator ettiquette is odd. It is all about chivalry over there, to the point where a man in the front of the elevator will usually manuever so that a woman in the back of the elevator can get off first. I have seen men, in an attempt not to exit first, actually block the woman’s path and make it harder for her to squeeze by. The other odd part of chivalry, which is like reverse-age-chivalry, is that I get those kindly smiles from older women all the time — you know, the kind that say, What a nice young man you are. (The cattle here in Plaza Three don’t do that, probably because I shove past them on my way out of the elevator.)

Also, because they are so much stodgier, Plaza One people make the corniest of elevator jokes. If you carry food on the elevator, you are bound to get someone looking over at you with exaggerated eyes saying, “Mmmmmm! That looks gooooood! Hey, Bob, don’t you think this guy should give us some of his rutabaga?” or “What a nice guy! Turnips are my favorite! Thank you!!!”  You could walk onto the elevator carrying a steaming bag of horse shit and they would say, “You bring enough for everyone???”

My dad warned me about these people, but I didn’t listen.

Cold urine update

Cold update: It is now 13 degrees. You people continue to scarf up like it’s the killer London great smog of 1952. Have you no shame?

Urine update: The sign has been removed, but oddly, the pen is still there. I am so close to starting a community gossip web site.

Processes of elimination

It’s, er, 9 degrees F out right now. And let me tell you — I expected to put up with a lot of crap when I moved downtown, OK? — but I ain’t never seen so much frozen urine in all my life. And unfortunately, most of it is human.

Speaking of #2, the big gossip in the etymologically orphaned ConneXtions Lofts right now is the big sign on the bulletin board that reads, “I LIVE IN 308! I HAVE A DOG! MY DOG DOES NOT SHIT OUTSIDE BY THE PARKING LOT DOOR! YOU ARE RUINING IT FOR THE OTHER DOG OWNERS!” This has a pen attached and six signatories, basically all saying, “We agree! #60x” and “Amen to that! #30x” (Me, I put up a five page info packet on the fact that a neighboring historic building may be bulldozed to build us a blank wall to look at, and I get one lonely e-mail.)

Berlin trip photos

Still continuing the monthlong extravaganza of returning from vacation. I actually think coming home and getting all those text messages and voice mails was more exciting than going on the trip! Happy new year to all y’all brothers and sisters, etc. (What song did they play at Axis at midnight???)

I finally got around to writing up descriptions for all the good photos from Berlin, which was only the first half of my trip. (I might do Amsterdam later, but let’s be honest, I wasn’t there as long and I didn’t take as many good pictures anyway. Also, I’m kind of busy all the time.) But, you’ll look at the Berlin pictures and you’ll like them!

It was such a fun time. Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of everything that happened, for example, visiting Cafe Maredo on the first day because my mother had discovered it the night before. (When I was in high school, we learned that Maredo was a kind of cheesy chain, and it was.) The hateful waiter put a bib on me solely out of spite, or else it was because Matt and I ordered the fajitas. I guess I actually do have this photo, but I’m not giving it to you. I also don’t have a picture of the little girl on the subway to whom, at the last second, my mom gave a euro because she felt sorry that the girl had to travel around with her mother and “that loser boyfriend.” (This was the unlikely Geschenk.)

In other news, if you get BBC America, I suggest you look for the ten-minute science filmstrip spoof “Look Around You.”

I wore a Buckeyes ballcap on vacation

Greetings from Amsterdam! We left Berlin after four lovely days and just got here today. It has been so good to get out of town, to relax, to perambulate among the narrow streets, and to use my German.(Unfortunately, I don’t speak any Dutch, and after only a few hours I am already feeling homesick for it.  So I withdrew 300 euros auf deutsch, and that made me feel a little better.)

There have been a lot of great stories, including one terrifying luggage tragedy where I thought our bags were lost, and a guy in Oompa-Loompa coveralls told me I would have to make a report. I thought you had to claim your luggage and then re-check it after Customs, like you do at home, when transferring to a domestic flight. (Wrong!) Many of my stories center around bossy Germans who assume I don’t speak their language. For example, on the flight from Munich to Berlin, the flight attendant didn’t like the way I’d stowed a bag, and snarled at me, “What do you think this is, a train?!” So, Germany is as I left it ten years ago, a land of bossy perfectionists who want you to know you’re wrong. (As in my other recent entry, no comments, bitte.)

The country made a much better impression on me than it did last time. Berlin seemed a comforting jumble of high classicism, banal modernity, GDR-era bomb shelters, and typical urban townhouses. It was possible to see new development cheek by jowl with scary socialist apartment blocks. But the people looked cool, the hangouts were great, and the food was good too.

I should get up to my room now and unwind, as it’s been a long day on the train and the cute conductor got off just as I’d advanced to the cafe car to make my move. Also, I was pretty ill last night, and as I memorably said today, “I’m sweating and I bear the stench of the sick.” I feel better, but do need some rest. When I have more time, I’ll tell you about Maredo, an unlikely Geschenk, the Sharon Stonewall Bar, and other fun stories.