31 March 2010

The Flattest Guest I've Ever Had

Dang, has it been a month already? Holy cow. Oh well.

Hey, so one of my friends has this nephew, see, and he's in grade school in Canada somewheres. His class is participating in the Flat Stanley Project where they mail out a Flat Stanley (based on the children's book), a journal, and see where he winds up before being shipped back home. So far Stanley has visited California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Texas, and Maryland (at right is a picture of him driving through Baltimore). Within the next week I will take Stanley to D.C. and to Arlington, VA.

Now, if any of you are familiar with the Canadian postal system, you know it is on par with that of a third world country. In fact, I'm fairly sure the "postal system" involves Canadians standing outside in a long line and just passing letters and packages between them. Therefore, Stanley has only about one more destination to make after here before he needs to be mailed back to Canada by the end of May.

The question is, where should he go? Is there anyone out there who would like to have Stanley in their home for a week to show him around? It doesn't have to be spectacular. One person just raked leaves with him, another took him on a school field trip. My friend took him snow tubing, and I have taken him sightseeing. Whatever floats your boat. You just write a couple of sentences about your town in the journal, maybe include a photo or two of Stanley doing something with you, and you're done.

So, would anyone like to have him for a week?

01 March 2010

Like Two Ships, Passing in the Night

I hope that if there's one thing you've learned from faithfully reading my blog, it's that the only way to go grocery shopping is in an unkempt, unshowered state of disarray. You do this, of course, because you have raced out the door as early in the morning as you can to avoid seeing anyone you know at the store. This guarantees that you will see someone you know at the store. Now, if the person you see is a good friend, you can feel free to mock that person openly and perhaps start taking things from their cart and surreptitiously moving them into your own to lessen your walk-around time at the store. However, if you barely know this person--say, an acquaintance from church who you've only had normal, polite, and very brief conversations with, and half the time you can't even remember her name, this is the person you will run into in your unshowered and hair-sticking-out-one-side state. Because of this, she will be dressed perfectly with nary a hair out of place. When you get home, you will also note with despair that you've been walking around with mascara flakes on your cheeks all morning. Perfect! Now let's shop!

I will now outline how to deal with this type of person whilst in the store:

1) Aisle the first: since she will see you first and alarm you with her presence, you will be caught off-guard to the point of being unable to recall her name until long after you've left the store. So a politely awkward "Oh! Hello...there!" will do just fine. Smile brightly as you quickly move on from one another to continue your shopping.

2) Aisle the Second: you run into Lady X yet again, and you realize with growing horror that you both are at the beginning of your shopping experience, you both move at an equal pace, and you're both shopping in the same aisles at the store. You now know that you will be seeing her in every aisle for the rest of your shopping day.

3) Skip aisles three and four in an attempt to get in a different pattern from your new shopping mate, only to note later that she's had the same brilliant idea.

4) Race through the dairy section to get ahead of her, only to nearly run over her offspring upon exiting at the yogurt wall.

5) Aisle the Fifth: Quickly formulate a reason to speak to her since it's becoming obvious you cannot avoid her to save your life, i.e., think of something to say to her, stupid. Again smile brightly, act normal for once, and say, "Soooooo...is your husband in the Army?" She seems delighted that you've saved the day, however briefly, by stabbing at the engulfing awkwardness with some attempt at regular conversation. "No, Air Force." "Oh, I see." 30 seconds of silence ensue while you realize that you failed to think of any follow-up questions to your newly invented conversation. You ask a few more fool questions before both of you tire of the made-up attempt at being friendly and you just sort of aimlessly walk away from her as she gratefully runs in the other direction.

6) See her scoot down Aisle Six, and slyly move to Aisle Seven, hoping to backtrack after she's left. When you go to turn against traffic to go to Aisle Six, be sure to ram into her cart going in the opposite direction. Apologize profusely while she assures you she's fine. Be half grateful you managed to find another excuse to say something a normal person would say, despite the fact it's becoming increasingly obvious to this woman that you're anything but normal.

7) Run to Meats, turn to see her coming, and grab as many random packaged beef products you can before she overtakes you. Run away.

8) Confident that you're now ahead of her, take your merry time down the bread aisle and make for your getaway at check-out, but not before yet again, nearly running into her on your way out. Smile ever so briefly while making as little eye-contact as possible. Her own motivation to fake a smile has vanished, and she pretends she no longer knows you. Totally fine with you.

9) Check out and run to your car. Pray for death before next Sunday.