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Are You a Peasant?

Last night, I went to a show at Jones Hall, a local performing arts theater. I feel like that previous phrase doesn’t do Jones Hall justice, but that’s the best I can write before I start sounding like I am even more clueless than I am.

I treated myself to an “affordable” seat since I, well, who cares why I bought a cheap seat, right? No one cares. What matters is I will NEVER buy a cheap seat again.

Here’s what you get when you buy a cheap seat:

  1. Close proximity to modern day peasants
  2. A headache from squinting for 2 hours to see the performers
  3. A slow migration to the exit doors
  4. A desire to be sitting closer

For the purpose of this post, let’s focus on item number one.

Look, I get it. I am one of the stuffiest, most rule abiding and thoughtful and classy and utterly amazing people in existence. I know that not everyone is like me, so in an effort to help others, I have put together a short list to help you determine if you are a peasant, or at least if you act like one in public. Read on and adjust your behavior accordingly.

Peasant Behavior 1: Being Glued to Your Phone

This goes for any show, whether it is at the movie theater (spelled -er) or the performance theatre (spelled -re). If you are one of those annoying, money wasting, rude, stupid ass people who cannot stop checking their phone during the show, then you are, in fact, a modern day peasant.

A proper lady or gentleman cares about the experience of those around and has enough respect to actually pay attention to the art that you paid good money to see. Do you know where you can check your phone FOR FREE? Yes, the parking lot. GTFOH.

 

Peasant Behavior 2: Video Recording During a Performance

I know it must be so exciting to see talented people do things that neither you nor I will ever be able to do. However, if you’re asked to NOT record during the performance, have some got damn dignity and don’t do it. Besides, your friends are only feigning interest when you show them the footage from half a football field away anyway.

 

Peasant Behavior 3: Not Promptly Sitting The F*&^ Down

If you must be a complete nuisance and exit your seat during the performance, do so with hurried grace. That means, quickly hop up, bend down like Quasimodo, quietly apologize, and get the f*&^ out of the way, with as little obstruction as possible. No one paid the equivalent of one day’s groceries from Whole Foods to look at your stupid ass face or silhouette.

 

Peasant Behavior 4: Being Anything Other Than Quiet

Do you have a drink that has noisy ass ice cubes in it? Wait until a rise in the action and noise to slurp it down like the peasant you are. Need to blow your nose? See previous instructions.

 

Peasant Behavior 5: Being Nasty in General

Speaking of blowing one’s nose, please lean down, put your head in between your legs, and blow. Cover your mouth when you cough. Suck on a hard candy or cough drop if you simply must cough. Better yet, STAY THE F*&^ HOME if your nasty ass is producing too much mucous or are contagious. GOSH!

 

Thanks for reading my list. I feel better.

Until next time, my friends…

Stranger Danger, Part 1

Let’s talk about interacting with strangers.

Interactions with strangers have provided some of the most interesting stories of my life. A friend once said to me, “If I were you, I wouldn’t even leave the house most days.” That is how often and how strange my stranger interactions are.

Stranger interactions are so common to me that nowadays, it takes a VERY strange interaction to get me to even think twice about it. Yesterday, I had such an interaction.

Yesterday, I was sitting outside of my local Barnes and Noble bookseller. One of my past times is to go to the bookstore and wander around. Sometimes I leave with $80 worth of books, but most days, I just wander around, enjoy the atmosphere, and if the guilt of “just looking” gets to me, I will purchase a copy of Psychology Today or some virtually unknown, paperback literary journal.

As I was sitting in my car, kind of fumbling around with my purse and finishing up an episode of “The Daily” podcast (my go-to source for short bursts of information and entertainment), a beggar approached my window.

I have pretty good intuition and I usually play it safe. I didn’t immediately feel threatened, and he stayed a bit back away from the car, silently waving, trying to get my attention.

He held up a quarter and made the universal hand motion for “spare a quarter?”

I waved him to the other side of the car, to the driver’s side, and rolled down the window.

“Hi there, ma’am, do you have even just a quarter you can spare? I think I can get a bus ride if I can just get a little bit more,” he started.

He was almost soft spoken, with a twangy Texan accent. He was short, probably around my own height of a little more than five feet tall. He had curiously bright blue eyes, dirty blond, long, stringy, greasy hair and the kind of dark, tanned skin that only comes from being exposed to lots and lots of outdoor elements. He was almost the shade of some parts of my own body, and I am a Black American.

I very quickly pick up on people’s natures, and even when I still give a person a chance to prove me wrong, my initial twinge of judgement about their nature has never once been wrong.

Regardless of this man’s past or present, I could sense that his nature was mellow, and perhaps kind.

Believe it or not, I have met lots and lots and lots of beggars. Regardless of what a person is doing, begging or running a Fortune 500 company, the nature of that person, at least to me, is almost immediately apparent, and I have learned to question my innate guidance less, having gone against my better judgement in the past and been proven dumb for having done so.

“Sure,” I said, and I began to clear the clutter from my dashboard cubbie to fish out some change.

“Yeah, you know, I have made some bad choices,” he confessed.

I didn’t ask what kind. One part of me didn’t care, but the greater part of me now operates from a place of peace and non-judgement that I happily live in. This place of peace does not have space for or interest in the the bad choices of other people.

“We all have made bad choices,” I reminded him, and smiled. His already curiously bright eyes lit up a little bit, and for a moment, I could kind of see the guy he could be, or perhaps he would be, when he decided to make different choices.

Disclaimer: Don’t worry, these are completely platonic, entirely asexual observations. This story does not end with me taking him home.

“You sure do have a pretty smile,” he said, seeming relaxed.

“Thank you,” I responded, still gathering together the coins, and wondering if this guy is going to make out like a bandit because I have approximately $87 worth of nickels and dimes in my car cubbie.

“I am getting all the change together,” I reassured him, wondering if he was thinking about how long it was taking me.

“Don’t worry, I don’t mind; I am just thankful that you didn’t shoo me away.”

At this point, I was digging my nails against the last few cents, and putting it all together in my hands.

“I can see God around you,” he continued. At this point, I am actually not having cynical thoughts. I am not thinking, “Dude, I am going to give you the money, no need to bring God into this” or “Dude, I am not going to give you dollar bills because you mentioned God.”

For a few moments, I was just having a purely pure interaction with a random, middle aged dude who was down on his luck.

I handed over the change (finally) and he took it, and thanked me genuinely. He put it away and took a step or two from the car, and came back.

I had not rolled up the window and I did not seem annoyed that he came back. That’s because I wasn’t annoyed.

“Hey, would you like to pray with me?” he asked.

“Sure,” I responded. Even though I am not much of a church going, Bible thumping, anything nowadays, the peace I currently live in also extends to any sort of religious beliefs that others have, including any that do not mirror the ones I was raised in.

“Ok,” he started with now an almost child-like, giddy energy in his voice, “you say the prayer. You lead it, and I will follow.”

This is kind of where this story gets weird, at least for me.

No one has ever asked me to pray for them aloud or to lead a prayer. In fact, in the church I was raised in, the misogynistic view of women in the pulpit or in any type of meaningful worship leadership, prevailed.

Although I do not subscribe to such horseshit now, and to be frank, I thought of it as horseshit as a kid, too, I was completely shocked, as a woman, to be asked to lead a prayer. A prayer for a stranger, in a bookstore parking lot.

“Oh, oh my goodness, no one has ever asked me to pray for them, errr, I mean, to, um, lead a prayer, I think,” I stumbled.

I was so shocked that I had put my right hand over my breast, in classic, southern lady shocked posture.

“It’s ok,” he assured me. “How bout this? You say a prayer for me, silently, and I will say a prayer for you, too. What’s your name?” he asked.

“Nicole,” I responded. “And yours?”

“Chris,” he replied.

I stuck my hand out of the window, heart full of both confusion and thankfulness, and opened my hand.

He seemed shocked. I am sure he is treated very poorly by most people, based on his appearance and current stage of life. He looked at my hand like it was an oddity, but quickly presented his own.

I squeezed his hand, smiled, and said, “Good luck, Chris.”

“Thank ya, miss,” he told me, turned away, and continued walking.

I believe that the universe (or God, or Yoda, or whatever you like to call it) is represented in all of us. Sometimes, I believe, the universe presents its strangest selves to us for us to see and experience the odd, yet beautiful.

What do you think?

Until tomorrow, my friends…

 

P.S.

I fell way off the wagon; I am afraid to count the number of days I haven’t written. Regardless of how my blog may now suffer from short term abandonment issues, I am back with something interesting to write about. Perhaps I should only write on days when I actually have something interesting to say?

The Return Of Spring

I have to admit that I am a lover of all things Fall and Winter.

I was born in winter; Christmas happens in winter. Many of my several people were born in winter.

And also, I live in the southern United States, so it is unbearably and miserably hot for most of Spring, all of Summer, most of Fall, and sometimes even in Winter.

I’m not a fan of the warm months that fashion magazines advertise as “so amazing” and “can’t wait for” them to come. I call horseshit.

But, there are about four days that are absolutely gorgeous in Spring, here in the South, before it is hot enough to fry eggs on the sidewalk.

And I am so lucky to have had time to go walk around in this beautiful weather this morning.

It’s about 64F , bright sun, and a little breeze. People are out cutting grass, and the scent of the chopped blades fragrance the breeze.

It’s the Spring (or is it still technically Winter?) day of my dreams.

These little purple wildflowers were not here a few weeks ago, but now, here they are, reminding passers by of the colors just waiting to burst from the ground, when Mother Nature gives the OK.

The sky is so beautiful! I could just look at it all day.

Do cherry blossoms grow in Texas? I have no idea what kind of tree this is; whatever it is, it’s gorgeous.

What is going on in your part of the world?

What beauty have you seen today?

Until tomorrow my friends…

Trying Something New

Do you cook meat a lot?

I don’t.

This evening, I decided to try to make a Cuban something or other pork shoulder.

I was pleasantly surprised by how great it turned out, especially since I did not at all follow the recipe and my meat thermometer didn’t work so I had to guess as to when the meat was done.

I got this piece of pork shoulder from Whole Foods. It wasn’t the cost of a pound of scallops aka super expensive, but it was definitely more costly than bone in chicken thighs.

I had this with a bit of rice and some corn succatash. I basically used all of my patience to make the pork, so I threw canned corn in a skillet and seasoned it and melted some butter and pow, good enough.

A slab of meat is nice to cook because there’s enough to eat tomorrow, too. I’m pleasantly surprised. I really feel like an oven master.

What’s the last new recipe you’ve tried?

Until tomorrow my friends…

Coffee House Chronicles

A dose of unnecessary foolishness, thanks to my local Starbucks.

Children are Horrible

There’s a teacher sitting at the bar, staring out the window in between slow clicks, as he pecks away at his laptop. He is grading papers.

Two of his students entered the coffee shop and he talked to him, with high energy and genuine enthusiasm about seeing them during Spring Break. The male child cringed and only gave two word answers. The female child looked confused and said nothing. When I was a teacher, kids used to like teachers. Modern children are awful! Ha! Poor guy!

Loud Talkers are Horrible

There was a young woman, taking a phone call, talking seemingly as loud as possible, in Spanish, holding the phone with one ear, a handheld mirror with one hand, and a mascara wand with the other hand. I secretly hope that her mascara melts off! GOSH lady! Lower your voice!

Extra Long Socks are Horrible

Guys wearing extra long socks with trainers. What is this? 1970? Who is this? Wilt Chamberlain? GOSH!

Wooden Chairs are Horrible

I have been here for about 3 hours. I guess the fact that my butt hurts is 100% my fault.

Until tomorrow, my friends…

People are Weird

I work as a training and development consultant. Today, I was at a client’s office, directing a training video and photography shoot. I needed to tell one of the employees to look at a screen, and I accidentally grabbed his arm to get his attention. I immediately apologized and he responded, rather gleefully, “I am a Latin man. We are not offended easily.”

I smiled kind of awkwardly and then he went on to say: “It’s International Women’s Day! Grab whatever you want!”

Hmmmm….

I knew exactly what he meant and I understood that he was just being friendly, and trying to make me feel more comfortable about my goof. I knew that he was not trying to be a creep or Harry Weinstein type.

But still, that was pretty hilarious. Perhaps I should have quoted the current American president and asked if I could grab him by the…well, of course I won’t quote the current American president.

Weird things seemingly always happen to me. It makes life pretty interesting though; I have to admit.

Until tomorrow my friends…