Wednesday, July 31, 2013

10 Travelers You Will See at the Airport

10 Travelers You Will See at the Airport

10. The Speedwalker:
Move that suitcase that you’re rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ to the gate or get steamrolled by the Speedwalker. Maybe they are overly excited to see whoever’s at the end of their Baggage Claimed Rainbow, but Speedwalkers are one second away from going all Super Mario hopped up on Star Power.

9. The Corporate Businessman:Has one or more of the following: Super Shiny Shoes (that get super-shined at the super shiny shoe booth); a Starbucks cup; a Blackberry used to echo Big Business Buzzwords like “strategic” and “connect later” or “engage offline.”

8. The College-Breakers:Usually in big groups during the months of December and March/April. Wears shirts that read RAGE or sweatpants that say PINK. Their sole purpose is to get drunk and make bad decisions because what happens in Vegas-Cabo-Cancun-Ft.Lauderdale stays there. Sure, it does. Sure. 

7. The Parent-and-Toddler Combo:
A sweet and Sour Patch-Kid mix of rebellion and anxiety, the toddler explores airport trash bins while the parent follows, scared his or her bundle of curious joy will be whisked away by a pedophile. Watch out for leashes on these kids, folks.

6.  The Person With A Thousand Things:Going through airport security can be stressful, but it’s an EXTRA LENGTHY, stressful process for Mr. or Mrs. Lots O’ Things. Not only do they need to take off their laced shoes, but their belts, their loads of jewelry, and unload the pockets, their laptop, the purse. There goes the liquids, then oops! they need the ID in the wallet in the pocket of the purse in that bin. Be patient, young grasshopper. Your time to take off your shoes will come.

5. The Fearful Flyer:
During take-off, the Fearful Flyers stare straight ahead or close their eyes to stop themselves from seeing the plane go up, up, and away because they are envisioning their lives spiraling down, down, down into flames. They can freak you out so much that you, too, will start to imagine your fiery, plane crash death. Watch out for white faces, sweaty palms, clenched arm rests.

4. The Talker:“What do you do?” “Are you from Oklahoma?” “Who are you visiting?” The Talker wants to know every aspect of your life and in turn, they can share a little bit too much of their own lives. Prepare yourself with headphones and a good fake-sleep strategy.

3. The Sleeper:The opposite of the Talker, the Sleeper is out cold before the plane even gets off the ground. Sleepers need to catch a few winks before conversing with the family they haven’t seen in 20 years in Nebraska. No complimentary pretzels or drinks for the Sleeper.

2. The Model:Get your cameras ready, because the Model believes the plane is not the only thing going down a runway. The Model struts down the airport terminal in six-inch heels and a mini skirt, wearing red lipstick that matches the color of the men’s faces as she walks by. Don’t trip on that moving sidewalk, girl. Werk.

1. The Sickee:
You hear The Sickees before you see them, all hacking cough and is-the-devil-coming-out-of-their-noses? sneezing. With their tissues and watery eyes, Sickees are probably a reason Howie Mandel won’t shake hands with people. Load up on vitamins ASAP after this flight. Orange juice is our friend.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Who's on First, What's on Second, and Lindsay is Angry at the Four-Way Stop

I got in a fight with an elderly man yesterday.

I’m not proud of it. But it happened.

To give the man credit, this fight had been brewing inside of me for a while.  An angry bear waiting to be poked. He just happened to be the one who poked the bear. “He” meaning the elderly man in the dark blue mini van at the four way stop on a Saturday afternoon.

I repeat: I’m not proud of it. But it happened.

It all started with a morning radio show. I was on my way to work and turned the radio on as I do, waiting to hear the weather and news amongst the too-many car dealership ads and catchy jingles (I do enjoy that Menards jingle, though. “Save big money at MENARRRRRRDS!”).

“You know what really gets under my skin?” the DJ said as I turned the radio volume up, settling in for the drive. “I get SO IRRITATED when people do that wave thing at four-way stops.”

“Wave thing?” his female co-host said, laughing.

“You know,” the DJ said, his voice booming. “The WAVE THING. The whole ‘You go first’ gesture. People always do that to me when I get stop after them, and it’s so annoying. It makes me mad.”

“Why would that make you mad?” the co-host asked. I swear she takes the other perspective just to keep the show going.  I guess that’s how radio shows must work.

“Because it messes up the whole system!” he shouted. “Don’t get to the stop sign after me, then just wave me along. There’s a law for a reason!”

That’s true, I thought, turning at a stoplight.

“Oh, come on,” the female DJ said. “They are being nice. I wave people along.”

“I get you are trying to be nice,” he continued, “but if you wave me ahead when you got there first, then how does ole Sally Stationwagon behind me know when SHE should go? It is a domino affect of confusion, not to mention you are increasing the chances of an accident.”

That is so true, I thought.

After the radio DJ’s rants, I began to notice the four-way stop wave happened to me, like, all the time. I would clearly get to a stop sign after a person, but yet they’d wave me ahead. I didn’t get it. Sometimes, I would do the wave back. But my wave was never insistent, more a half-hearted polite wave, a “No, it’s okay,” wave. So the driver would wave again, ignoring my gesture. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking, “They’re just trying to be nice and let me go first.” But as I drove on, I’d mutter, “I did not arrive there first.” The radio DJs comments had been burned into my brain.

And so, a new pet peeve was born.

This past week was the week of the wave ahead’s. Every time I approached a four-way stop, I was told to “go on,” either by nonverbal gesture or mouthed at me. One time as I was waved ahead, I was on the phone with my boyfriend. “I don’t get it,” I said, driving forward per the direction of a driver in a black Ford F-150. “Does my car look like it should just go first? Am I not assertive?”

My boyfriend laughed in response. “I know it. People do that to me all the time, too.”

The next time I am waved ahead when I shouldn’t be, I thought, I am going to wave back. I am going to be insistent. Yes. I will INSIST they go ahead.

 And that’s how I squared off with an elderly man in a blue van.

I was following a white truck on a back road. As he slowed to a stop, I followed suit behind him. Across from us, a man at the wheel of a blue van stopped shortly after the white truck in front me. He waved the white truck ahead.

Okay, I thought. Now he goes, then I go.

As the truck turned, I crawled towards the stop sign. The man sat idle, his glasses perched on his nose, his hand shaped like a claw as he waved for me to go on.

It’s time, I thought. Time to fight for my rights to go my rightful turn at the four-way stops within this state of Michigan. Fight for the DJs rants and my latest pet peeve and I WILL NO LONGER BE A NOT VERY ASSERTIVE DRIVER! So I stayed put.

He continued to wave. I felt awkward, like I was disobeying my grandfather. As his waves became more urgent, I thought, “No. He was here even a second before the GUY BEFORE ME.” I waved my hand slightly. The man shook his head no.

Insistent, Lindsay, I remembered. You must wave insistently. I sped up my wave, ignoring his own. I felt like freaking Clint Eastwood: “Draw!”  “No, you draw first!” and all that. White car vs. blue van.
Then I looked at my hand, moving rapidly as I continued to ignore this man. “What am I doing?” I realized how crazy this man and I must have looked, both waving each other ahead, neither of us moving forward.

“Oh, forget it,” I muttered. This is probably some giant life metaphor-lesson I can’t comprehend right now.

I reluctantly turned my car right, the blue van following behind me. As I drove, I thought to myself, “I just got in a fight with an elderly man about who’s turn it was to drive.” I shook my head. There are much bigger battles in this world to fight. I can stand on my Four-Way Stop Pedestal of Who Goes First, but fighting with an elderly man over it? That’s just a whole new low. Come ON.

I mean, I’m still down with the law and how to approach four-way stops. Then again, I get the kindness of a wave-ahead, too. I guess it isn’t black and white. But the next time I decide to stand my ground on something, I think it needs to be a bit more hardcore.

Plus that blue van man would never have backed down anyway.

Pick your battles, friends. Pick. Your. Battles. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Miscommunications at the Outback

My family likes to go to Outback Steakhouse. 

I think every family has one, that go-to restaurant for celebratory circumstances, like when your brother graduates high school or it’s your mom’s birthday or you just got your braces off and it’s all, NO MORE METAL MOUTH, heck yes, let’s eat steak and a fried onion shaped like a flower!

So my family believes what better way to celebrate any occasion—even if that occasion is basic hunger—then at a restaurant amongst boomerangs and entrees with Australian names? We will totally put a shrimp on that Barbie.

It was at the Outback Steakhouse where a conversation of Massive Miscommunication proportions occurred between my parents and I. We’re talking Total widening of the Age Gap between Parent and Daughter.  One of those moments where you truly believe your parents should have been on a sitcom or something.

The Incident occurred last summer. My mom deemed the day Too Hot and decided a family trip to our go-to steakhouse would do us all some good. The booths were sticky on the backs of my legs and the air conditioning felt cool on my face. The restaurant had dimmed the lights—I always love when they do that, like it’s this collective mood-changer signaling customers to begin their whispers and stolen glances. The server had just delivered our Bloomin’ Onion appetizer. No seasoning, though. Too spicy.

I took a bite of the onion, drenching the fried greasy splendor into the horseradish-y sauce of goodness.

“Sis,” my dad said, spreading a giant glob of butter on a piece of bread. “Let’s touch ‘er off.” He held up his tan forearm, horizontally even with the table. Grinning, he nodded towards me.

When I went through a let’s-go-to-the-tanning-bed-tons phase in high school, my dad found it amusing that he was still tanner than me. Now he plays this  “Who’s arm is more tan?” game all the time. He always “wins”, I always “lose” and it doesn’t really matter anyway.  Unless one of us gets skin cancer.

“Oh, come on, Dad,” I said, rolling my eyes. But I held up my own arm next to his, as I always did, my skin literally paling in comparison to his deep brown hue, like milk next to honey.

“Beat you,” he grinned.

 “Whatever, Dad,” I said, using sarcasm to hide my smile. “ Just roll up your T-Shirt sleeve a little higher and let that farmer’s tan poke through. Let’s compare shoulders. Or calves. Then there’ll be a different winner.”

“Lillllyyy,” Dad sung, ignoring me. “Lillllyyyy whiitteeeee.”

Mom and I laughed.

“Mom, do you want to go shopping with me this weekend?” I said. The server stood by the table, passing out side salads.

“I don’t know, honey,” she said, spearing her lettuce. “Maybe. What do you need to go shopping for?”
“I’m going to buy some new summer clothes at TJ Maxx,” I said. “I don’t have anything to keep me cool in this dang heat. Thought you’d want to come. Mother/Daughter shopping day-kinda thing.” I took a sip of my Coke.

“Sure, if I don’t have to work,” Mom said. “I’ll have to check.”
My dad, who had been focused on eating his salad covered in Tangy Tomato dressing, chewed, then paused.

“Thongs are on sale at Old Navy,” he said.

I sputtered on my drink. Did he just say what I think he said?

 We weren’t that kind of family, as in, my dad was not the kind of dad that bought my tampons or talked to me about my girl issues. Let along thong purchases.  It just wasn’t a topic of discussion,  and it felt even more silly to hear the word “THONG” come out of my blue-collared, tough guy-father’s mouth.

“What?” I asked.

“Thongs,” Dad said, taking another bite of salad. “On sale. Old Navy.” He chewed.

I looked over at Mom, my eyebrows raised in confusion. Sensing this, my mom turned to my dad, as if she was a translator.

“Jim, honey,” she said. “You have to call them FLIP FLOPS. Not thongs.”

My dad swallowed.  I stared.

“But thongs, that’s what we used to call them,” he said.

“I know, but that’s not what the kids call them now. You have to say flip flops. Or sandals.”

“Well, thongs, flip flops, whatever,” Dad said.

 “Wait a second,” I said, processing what my mom said. “Dad, you mean flip flops? FLIP FLOPS are on sale at Old Navy?” I started to smile, realizing what he meant, what I thought he meant, and the giant gap of misunderstanding that felt as large as Australia itself.  I started to laugh.

“Yeah, what the heck did you think I meant?”

Now I was really laughing. “Oh my God. “THONGS. I thought you mean, like, you know. THONGS.”

“She thought you meant underwear,” my mom said in a matter-of-fact tone. Always the bridge between us troubled waters.

“Oh geez, no,” Dad said. “Those things are like floss.”

“So there are no undergarments on sale at Old Navy,” I clarified, still laughing.

“I already told ya,” my dad said, now re-buttering another piece of bread. “Thongs—flip flops, whatever the dang things are called—they’re going to be on sale.”

“Ok, Dad,” I laughed. “Okay.”

Consequently, thongs were also on sale at Victoria’s Secret that weekend. So it was a twofer, win-win, thong/flip-flop type of weekend. And I guess my dad was right. Technically.


Happy summer, all.