MARCH 25, 2009:
So I have been under the weather the last three days or so. With who knows what. Virus, infection, combination of ailments, bacterial thing. All I know is it sucks to be sick and I need to vent!
Between anti-bacterial soap, lysol, bad tv, lack of good movies, a dull in the NCAA tourney, I feel like a prisoner of sorts! Hence, I emerge from my cell with some random observations:
KERNEL 1 -- CVS
Beginning to rank with Starbucks on the "all-irritation store's" list. Does not matter when I go in there, or which store I visit, they are always understaffed by a factor of 2. The line for people to but toiletries, a paper, or small items, takes FOREVER. It is part of their charm I suppose. There could be 2 people on line, and only one person working register and it takes 15 minutes. The worst part is there are 3 other people in the store jabbering, hanging by the photo area which seemingly never has a customer. It has gotten so bad I try to pay for my non medicinal items back by the pharmacy. The problem with that is not that they aren't nice, they are; it's that they don't know what anything costs so they do the "need a price on toothpaste, boxers and cologne -- and Jimmy please hurry this guy obviously has a big night planned!"
Adding to my newfound focus on this oddity is that sometimes I go there to pick up diet soda. Like a 12-pack of diet A&W or caffeine free sodas like coke or sprite. Cool idea because unlike the CT supermarkets, they usally have the soda in CVS. The problem? Whichever soda I pick, in whichever store, the first box, is always torn like a rabid dog had just been let loose. So I am wondering can I buy a 12 pack of soda that looks like it has been in a junkyard dog streetfight? I mean even if the box is tampered with, its not like the evildoer actually poisoned my soda right? Right?
In short, CVS is the newest member of "AIS (my new acronym for "All Irritation Store".
KERNEL 2 -- YOU KNOW YOU ARE HAVING A DAY
So I decide enough is enough. I need fresh air. Its beautiful out, I have been cooped up for a few days. And I have some things I need to do, even if I have some yet-to-be-defined ailment whch requires fluids, rests and 200 family phone calls asking me how I am feeling and am I taking care of myself because you know its "brett's bar mitzvah Saturday." Yes, I didn;t know that, thanks for reminding me. Definitely would have missed that one but for everyone's calls.
Anyway, I go out to get a haircut. The place is 2 minutes from my house, opens at 10. And has a big inviting sign in the window that says "Walk-ins Welcome." I suppose "welcome" means different things to different people. I get there at 1010 am. The palce has just opened and the nice woman who has done my hair a few times, says somewhat annoyed -- "I am really busy today. Give me your cell and I will call you and you can come over." Presumptuous that (i) I have all day to wait for a haircut; (ii) I apparently don't have a job to her (she doesn't know I am off from work) and (iii) the sign is a lie. I say nicvely -- how about I pick a time this afternoon. She say's 3 o'clock. Now mind you, while we are having this conversation there is literally NO ONE else i nthe store and she likely could have been halfway done by the time we stopped chatting, she entered my new appoinemnt, etc. The old walk-ins bait and switch we will now call this.
Ah, but let's not pick solely on the haircut establishment. I go to the tiny little "shoe shine and shoe repair" store. It is located in a tiny little box in a corner of a strip mall next to our overproced supermarket not stop-n-shop, shaws (to its credit, it is a lovely well-organized store with excellent healthy food and easy to locate stuff). I go to walk in and the door is locked (kind of like the way a jewelry store with expensive stuff is -- you know they are in there but you need the special code and approvals to actually go in and look at stuff). I find it odd. Lights are on but literally no one in there. Sign says open. I check the hours. 930-5. Its 10:15 so I am in the wondow of opportunity. But underneath the "Open" shoe in the window (seriously) there is a scribbled note -- "be back in fifteen minutes." The guy has been open for under an hour and he is already making a Dunkin Donuts run? I am beginning to wonder if Dawn spraying me with Lysol and the anti-bacterial soap is the way to go.
But I press on -- to the Lab. Yes, the place where they draw your blood. The doctor yesterday who tested me for strep says if you don;t feel 100% in the morning to be safe go have blood drawn. He says "no harm in checking it all out." Says him! Anyway, since I havent felt 100% since I played high school basketball 25 years ago, I decided with a cruise coming up in April might as well confirm what I don't have! So since the haircut is now in the pm, I am not hungry and the shoe man is who know's where I will go. I get there and go to the window. A nice lady on some sort of mini scooter is at the window trying to fiure out the mistake they made with her blood. Very re-assuring. Anyway, of course only one person working the window, and this little exchange takes about 12-15 minutes. The woman could not be nicer even though the guy working is not much help. Anyway, I get to the window with my sheet from yesterday's doctor and he says -- "do you have an appointment?" I say, the DR yesterday said I should come in today. He says "ok, grab a number" and we will call you. There are about a dozen people in the wiating room. I am number 42. They are at 36. Ok. Passing the time I notice that the blood lab is a veritable melting pot of humanity -- 6 women, 6 men, 2 kids, 1 boy, 1 girl boty young. 2 elderly folks with a crutch of some sort, women with gray hair, colored hair. An asian man, a woman who says to someone else she and her daughter are from puerto rico, an african american. My mind taking note of nonsense while passing the time on my crackberry and reading the NY Times someone was kind enough to leave on a chair.
The minutes drip along like a faulty faucet. Finally, Number 42. Ah, but a false alarm. He wants my info, but then he will call my name. Close but yet so far. I kind you not, it takes them an hour to draw my blood. No real explanantion for the delay other than like CVS, only one person seems to be doing all the work. Walk-ins not really welcome here even though they say it too.
So despite going out at 10 am little accomplished in 2 hours. Now back tothe shoe man. He is quick and to the point. And of course, like most of the vendors with whom I have been dealing lately wants to be paid in cash -- up front. Wow, if lawyers could get paid like that . . . . Yes the man who is putting on a new heel and new sole with a shine needs to be paid in cash in advance.
Cash is definitely making a comeback. The Cow Deli -- cash only. The shoe man. The bar mitzvah vendors (s0me). The recent Italian restaurant we went to in the city (that was worth it though!).
The hihglight of the morning -- drive-through McDonalds for two plain grilled chicken sandwiches. Took under 3 minutes and was piping hot, and under 10 bucks.
KERNEL 3 -- YOU HAD TO BE THERE
So I get in car the other day with Dawn. On the floor in the passenger seat, are Dawn's knee pads. I go to put them in the back seat so I don't step on them. I say these do not really belong here (jokingly). Dawn without missingt a beat says something to the effect of -- "they belong there more than you do hon!" Truly a "you had to be there" moment. I will look for one of these a week.
KENREL 4 -- SOFTBALLS
I realize President Obama inherited hellish situation caused by the prior adminsitration and the Democratic Congress the last two years who did nothing but let things run amok (yes, it was not all President Bush's fault, and this Congress was not only asleep at the switch but aided and abetted this circumstance in too many ways to blog). I think he is well intentioned, principled, energized and smart. But isn't it time the media stopped asking him softballs and pressed for real answers? The President did not have his best night last night, and in fact has been a little off his game in recent appearances on Leno, 60 Minutes and during the questions and answers last night. Yet very few real questions were asked. The current budget he proposed does NOT reduce the deficit for generations to come. It explodes it further. It passes on trillions and trillions more in debt. And no real questions about how that gets reconciled. No follow up to the President's tap-dancing about how he now will not force a middle class tax cut or cap and trade. Huge campaign promises he made. Not one question asked last night (i.e. he didn't call on) any financial organizations (like Wall Street Jounral or NY Times even). Explain where all the money is coming from to pay for these programs with all the money committed to bail outs. What specifically is being "cut" from the line-by-line review of the $2t in "waste" etc. The President is doing his best. The media -- not even close. The love affair should be over now. Do your jobs.
KERNEL 5 -- AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO WONDERS?
Is bad sense of direction genetic? Isn't all food comfort food? Whether pills you take for strep, allergies, stomach aches, meet in your intestines and get confused on which one is supposed to do what? If The Mentalist has already jumped the shark? If they can re-do 90210 and Melrose Place, why not West Wing and Seinfeld? Especially Seinfeld where they could come back wothout missing a beat since show was about nothing. If Vice President Joe Biden is actually in the United States? If the NCAA tournament should be expanded to include 256 teams? If the best is yet to come or already happened? If there is anyone with the conviction to say stop -- we can't have a copycat of worst ever reality show True Beauty (check out Pretty Wicked on Oxygen now -- steals the premise -- contestants being judged on their "inner beauty" without them knowing it!)?
And please so weigh on on your favorite tv shows, favorite characters and own "had to be there moments."