Ruby Tuesday, again? (sigh) What can I do though? This is Long Island, land of chain restaurants and strip malls. I would prefer my unique hole-in-the-wall Thai joint but then most of the group will complain. "Thai food? Like, from Thai Land?" (sigh) And so Ruby Tuesday it is. It's the only place we'll agree on. I won't complain. A rack of spicy ribs always suits me fine and I'll do some serious damage at that salad bar. I've already hungrily spied a bucket of tri-color noodle salad.
An aloof, teen-aged hostess seats us and then we are greeted by "Marc with a C" who will be "taking care of us this evening". He pulls up a chair and giggles today's "featured items". That's annoying. Don't sit. Don't force your funny on me. Don't perk it up. Keep it simple and friendly. Just give me competent, prompt, professional service and I guarantee you I'm your best tip of the night. Lose the shtick. We send Marc-with-a-C off to fetch us some Oniony appetizers and two-for-one margaritas.
Uh oh. Something is happening in my gastrointestinal tract. Something bad. Is it my system protesting the vast amounts of grease I'm about to ingest? Or maybe it's the funky sushi I had for lunch. Whatever it is, it's going to need to be dealt with stat. I excuse myself and head to the head.
Discomfort builds as I trot toward the restroom. My pace quickens with each step. Pain is coming in waves now. Mentally, I'm timing the contractions and trying to avoid any other analogies to childbirth like "crowning" or worse: "my water broke".
I burst into the bathroom. Empty. Ah, excellent. I'm going to need privacy for this. In a frenzy, I dive into the farthest stall and quickly scope things out. Pretty damn clean in here. The toilet seat is uncharacteristically devoid of typical male splatter and other repugnancies. Smells nice, too. Good, good, good.
I start unraveling toilet paper by the foot. Once I have enough slack, I wrap it around my hand over and over and over again. I create a quilted cushiony catcher's mitt. I give the seat a quick wipe. Just in case.
Next, more TP. Hand over hand, I unroll about, oh, three mummies worth. I place it on the seat, covering all plastic. This is our "packed base". I'm working quickly now. Danger lingers. Disaster imminent. Then, a few paper toilet seat covers. Five, actually. Faster, faster. Feeling beads of sweat forming on my forehead, I crisscross the paper seat covers on top the TP base creating soft sanitary strata.
My body is READY. Let's do this! Hurry! Belt. Pants. Down. Sit!
Ahhh. Sweet release. WHEW. While I completely defile the throne, I am pleased that this was a freak incident and I'll be able to enjoy my meal without worry of a messy encore. Good. Noodle salad, here I come.
Then, I hear the door creak open. Damn it. I almost got out of here without -- wait a minute. I hear "clop, clop, clop" across the bathroom floor. Puzzled, I angle my head to get a closer look under the stall:
Please, oh PLEASE God let her have wandered into the wrong bathroom. Please, I swear that I'll never ask another -- The door creaks again. Is she leaving?? NO! Someone's coming in. Then I hear it: two women having a conversation.
I feel my face flush then I courtesy flush.
I'm in the bloody ladies room! At Ruby Tuesday! On Saturday night!
My world swirls before me as I try to stave off the panic welling up inside. Now there's a flurry of activity in the restroom. The clatter of ladies shoes on porcelain. They chatter about … well, I don't know. Lady things, I guess.
I quietly finish up my business and - wait.
The conversation disappears out the creaking door. Am I alone?
I stand completely still and listen.
Time to move.
I reach for the handle of my stall to unlock it, and then suddenly someone tugs from the other side! Crap!
"Hello?" asks an older lady's voice. "Is someone in there?"
WhatdoIdo? WhatdoIdo? WhatdoIdo?
I know! I flush again.
"Oh, sorry" she says and enters another stall. This is my moment. The eye of the storm.
I explode out of the stall and make for the door. I reach out for the handle - and freeze. I look to my right and sigh. I have to wash my hands. I don't WANT to. I *HAVE* to. Moments ago I fouled that toilet so badly that mid-evacuation I offered it an apology. I must wash.
I pump a squirt of soap, flip the faucet and quickly wash. I spin on my heel toward freedom.
The door opens with that familiar creak and as I pass through, I hold it open for *another* lady walking in. She says "thank you" and eyes me suspiciously.
I NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE. NOW.
I take one step away from the Ladies Room and - BAM.
My brother Gino, standing before me.
He instantly recognizes the panic in my ashen face. I'm frozen in place. He considers me for a long, uncomfortable moment. Then he looks at the sign on the door behind me. Then back at me with a raised eyebrow.
"Again?" he asks.
I hang my head in shame and reply, "again".
At the behest of his misses (Her Lovely Self), Magazine Man was doing some basement cleaning. Rather than throw away his sweet swag, he decided to put the loot up for auction. But he wasn't looking for money. Oh no. In order to win an item, you had to do "something cool" with it. I assume he means have sex with it. Whatever.
Anyway, MM had a SWEET Han Solo Blaster water gun which we thought would be *perfect* for squirting the squirrel in my tree. As payment for the blaster, I had to make a video of myself soaking the little bastard.
Well, here it is. I'm paying it forward.
Fan mail to: ajgentile-at-gmail-dot-com
Hate mail: magazine.man-at-gmail-dot-com
UPDATED: Movie poster genius courtesy of Shane Nickerson. "This time, it's FURSONAL." You MUST enlarge it and read it. MM as the Voice of Reason made me spit out my coffee.
Using only my elbows, I push open the greasy doors of the Santa Monica Department of Motor Vehicles and suddenly hope that I have a few handi-wipes in my glove box. In the DMV lobby, I quickly spin in a half-circle, getting my bearings.
“Driver’s License appointment?”, I ask.
A disinterested drone grunts and gestures toward a different line. Obediently, I get in line. Another disinterested drone grunts and hands me a ticket which reads “F 0181”. He then tells me to sit down and wait for “F 0181” to be called.
If I had company, I would have said, “Look, my ticket says ‘Eff! Oh, I ate one!” But, alas, I was alone. And the woman sitting next to me was too involved with her gaggle of children to be interested. Besides, “Carumba! Yo comí uno!” has nothing to do with “F 0181” so the humor would probably have been lost on her.
From hidden speakers, a haunting female voice calls out letters and numbers. “C 1203”, “F 0175”, “H 3031”. Her voice is not quite robotic, not quite human. Somewhere in the recesses of my brain, I expect her to say “Capricorn 15’s. Last day. Capricorn 15's. Carousel begins.”
My number is called and I head to counter number 3. There waiting for me is the most polite DMV employee I’ve ever encountered. Though sporting a head of intimidating cornrows, he shocks and dazzles me with phrases like “please”, “sir”, “thank you” and “Mr. Gentile”. Truly a first. Cornrows and I chat for a bit, do some paperwork and then it’s time for my vision test.
Ala Vanna White, He waves a hand toward an eye chart hanging behind him.
“Mr. Gentile”, he says, “I’m going to cover your left eye. When you’re ready, please read line C-3.”
“Ok”, I take a deep breath and say, “E – A – T – M – E”
He squints at his answer key, puzzled. Then turns around and looks at the chart. Finally, he laughs.
“Aw, shoot! Ha ha!”, he calls over to Shelia at counter 2, “Sheila! Sheila, this guy just spelled Eat me! Ha ha!”
Sheila responds unimpressed, “Mmm hmm… y’all got yourself a funny one, huh?”
I guess Sheila’s already seen it all. Ah well.
goofing off, pass my eye exam and head over toward the final challenge. The
Written Exam: 36 multiple choice questions taken from the
Thanks to the Intarweb, preparing for the “Written” (as we say in the biz) is pretty easy. You watch a Flash tutorial, then take a few sample tests online. Most questions are common sense:
1) When a blind pedestrian is crossing the street in front of you, you should:
A) Drive around him
B) Wait for him to cross the street
C) Tell him it’s safe to cross
Seriously. I’m not being funny. Most questions are like that. There are a few “real” tidbits of information like knowing what a “red curb” is and what the legal blood-alcohol limit is, but mostly it’s just choosing the answer that *isn’t* ridiculous.
I ask her if cheating is allowed.
She replies, “Only if you get caught.”
I smile. I like her. I contemplate using my “Eff! Oh, I ate one!” joke on her, and then I think better of it. We leave each other wanting more.
“Take a number-two pencil and have seat”, she offers, “You can take as much time as you need.”
the can of number-two pencils with suspicion.
I grab a seat in the front like the good nerd that I am and crack my neck. It’s go time.
Immediately I see that the questions are EXACTLY the same as the questions online. Same questions. Same stupid answers. Same everything.
“C… C… B… A… B… Are you kidding me?”
I’m cruising now.
“C…, duh. A… B…. A… C…. ”
“Written”, I say to myself, “You are my bitch.”
I finish the test in LITERALLY four minutes. Most questions don’t even require reading fully because I’ve already studied them at home. My biggest concern is seeing if any of my answers spell “ABACAB”, my favorite song by Genesis.
I get up and head back to my witty proctor friend. I notice that the tall dude at the desk next to me is annoyed that I’ve finished so quickly. Ah, just like so many grammar school tests. I waggle my eyebrows at him.
As I return to the front desk, the attendant says, “Damn. You cheat fast.”
I really like her.
She takes my test, and holds it next to an answer key.
Check, check, check, check… all correct. 18 for 18. Of course.
She flips my test over to check the remaining 18.
“Oops, you missed one.” She places a red line through question 24. “35 out of 36. Best score today.”
She walks off to print out some paperwork as I stand there in stunned disbelief. Immediately I hope the tall dude didn’t hear that I missed a question. My rep, you know.
Astounded, I take a closer look at the answer key. Then at my test. Then at the key.
SHE MIS-MARKED IT.
I really got question 24 correct.
24) It’s night. The car coming toward you has its high beams on making it difficult to see. You should:
A) Look toward the left edge of the road
B) Look toward the right edge of the road
C) Look straight ahead in your lane
I chose “B”, the correct answer. She marked it wrong. I feel my face and ears flush.
I’ve got a dilemma. Here I am: the Teacher’s Pet and the Class Nerd with the high score of the day. I’ve aced this thing. But I am TORMENTED by that red blemish on my test. I need to say something. I need her to see that I got a perfect score. I need her to know that I got the best score of the day, the month, ever!
She returns with a slip of paper and says, “Here’s your temporary. Your real license will arrive in the mail in a week or two.” She takes my imperfect test away before I can say a word.
I reach a hand out. “Uh. Can I keep that? I want to put it on my fridge”. That red mark is like a sharp pebble in my shoe; driving me mad.
“Seriously? You want it?”
I paused for what seemed like a long time, then sighed and said, “Nah. You keep it. Put it on *your* fridge.”
She laughs. I laugh. I walk out with my new California State Driver’s License trying to shake off my neuroses.
I pass another group of unwashed/undocumented. Or were they same ones? I traverse the lobby and exit the slimy doors.
hits my face and salinated ocean air fills my lungs. I feel like I almost
belong here; like
I plop in my car, toss aside my stack of papers and immediately open the glove box.
Neuroses - 2, AJ – 0.
An IM conversation with Merujo this afternoon went something like this:
Merujo: Liked Shane's newest v-blog. AJ the uber-geek. Heh heh heh.
AJ: Good one?
Merujo: This time, yes. He mentions you and your amazing technical gifts. :-)
AJ: OH NO
Merujo: Oh yeah.
You know you've "arrived" as a blogger when you're mentioned on a high-profile, super-popular blog like Shane's. And to hear my name in his vlog (vuh-log? vee-log?) just makes me giddy. I have created a crappy-mation to celebrate this milestone in my blogging career.
But before you watch it, you should read the last few posts on Nickerblog and watch the vlog for context.
Enjoy. (Flash, High-speed, High-volume required)
Remember my crow incident a couple of weeks ago? Well, Mother Nature and her creatures continue to conspire against me getting a good night’s sleep.
The past few mornings I have been woken up by our courtyard’s latest tenant: A LOUD ANGRY SQUIRREL.
He *screeches* for *hours*.
First of all, I have never, EVER heard a squirrel make a sound. Not ever. Is this something exclusive to Southern California? New York squirrels are quiet. I know that people here in SoCal like to call attention to themselves, but I didn’t think that also held true for the indigenous wildlife.
I have posted a clip of the very odd and very LOUD noises he makes. He reminds me of a pissed off Donald Duck. Remember how Donald would freak out and have his quacking conniption? This is what my squirrel sounds like.
Oh, how do I know he’s a “he”? Because this squirrel has a set of testicles on him that is the envy of every man, woman and beast in the courtyard. I don’t know how he maneuvers his tree carrying around that pouch of his. This boy is bottom heavy, yo. And tree bark has got to chafe like a mother effer.
Maybe he is the next step in evolution for squirrels? Spoken language and huge nads? I’m no evolutionologist, but there’s definitely some genetic mutation happening with this guy. Whatever it is, I’m adding “acorns” to my diet immediately.
After enduring over an hour of his racket this morning, I got up and tried to scare him away. (Of course I kept a sharp eye out for my PETA-Nazi neighbor) He doesn’t respond to noise: I have clapped at him, I’ve yelled at him. He just sits on his branch and stares at me.
What? Because he’s got huge genitals, he thinks he can push me around? I’ve got THUMBS, bitch. Game on.
I looked around the apartment for a bucket to fill with water. No dice. So I filled up, get this, my coffee cup. (This seemed like a good idea at the time.)
I carried my cup of water out to his tree. He sits on the lowest branch about fifteen feet in the air. I steady my weapon, take aim and let the water fly.
He blinked at me for a second, rolled his eyes (yes, I might have imagined that) and went back to his SCREECHING. (Louder)
If you take a 10 ounce cup of water and exert 50 pounds of force on it, what is the dispersal pattern of the liquid at 15 feet? Taking into consideration the force of negative 1g (as I am throwing it straight up) and a steady 5 knot crosswind. And given this dispersal pattern, how much water would hit a 12-inch, fuzzy, well-endowed target?
Put away your calculator, geek. Here’s the answer: NOT MUCH FREAKIN WATER AT ALL.
I think I ticked him with a couple of drops. He gets wetter when he sneezes. I relayed this story to my brother who reminded me that squirrels do indeed encounter rain from time to time so this strategy might be futile.
I was becoming furious. I need to shut this squirrel up, stat. He is driving me nuts (no pun intended). The chatter starts around 6 AM and goes all morning.
What is making him scream like this? He’s been doing it for days.
When I returned to the base of his tree, this time holding a Tupperware filled with water, I saw what was irritating him: a female squirrel.
So, he’s got a lady.
That explains everything.
I gently tossed the water onto the grass and went inside…
She probably nags him about acorn shells all over the place; complains that all they ever do is sit around their tree and never go anywhere; whines about how walnuts make her look fat.
I feel your pain… I’ve been there. But I respect the way you stand up to her.
You’ve got balls.
Tonight, I decide run out for a quick burrito from Baja Fresh. It's only 5 minutes away, but I immediately start strategizing the parking situation. There's a lot across from the Tar Pits Museum, which has closed for the evening. Yes. That will have spaces. That's my plan.
I hop in my car, within 5 minutes I'm at the parking lot. Wilshire Blvd. is deserted. The museums are closed. Businesses are shut. There are no pedestrians on the sidewalks. And yet: *THERE ARE NO PARKING SPOTS*. (sigh) Of course. I've lived here long enough to expect this.
Getting a choice parking spot right in front of your destination is like being that one sperm who gets through: you never thought you had a chance but you still circle the ovum-like lot in the hopes of being The One.
Tonight, I am not The One.
I am forced to ascend the iterative levels of a Mobius Cube Parking Garage adjacent to the lot. Level One. Level Two. Three. Four. Four. Or is it Five? How many levels are there?? All full?? Why? Sheesh.
Around and up. Around and up.
I finally find a space and park. Time elapsed: 30 minutes.
I run down, grab my grub, get my parking ticket validated (always) and head back out.
Keys in hand, I bounce off the curb toward the Seven Circles of Hell Parking Facility; the smells of steaky goodness wafting to my nose. I peek in my bag and notice that some casual flirting with the Counter Chica has earned me an extra scoop of warm tortilla chips. Sweet.
The woman stops. Her passenger window buzzes down. She leans over and asks me, "Are you leaving?"
I respond casually, "Yes, but I'm parked way up there." I point to the Escher Painting Parking Structure.
"Oh", she says.
Buzzzzzzzzz Window up.
To get to my car, I have to walk around the ground-level parking lot. Being lost in my jealousy of their premium parking spots, at first I don't I notice that, as I'm walking, the Mercedes is stalking me. Maintaining a consistent 15 feet distance. Is she following me?
I test my theory. I stop.
I walk faster. She follows, shadowing me.
I stop and turn to face her.
She pulls a bit closer. Buzzzzz. Window down. "You're not parked down here?"
"No. I'm parked up there", I gesture toward the Evil Edifice That We Have Come To Hate.
At this point I'm more amused than annoyed.
All that is about to change.
She asks, "Are you sure?"
Wha? Is she for serious?
"Am I sure of what, ma'am", my condescending tone ringing through.
"That you're not parked down here."
"I'm fairly certain ma'am."
At my annoyed replied: Window up. Buzzzzz.
BUT SHE DOESN'T MOVE.
Time for fun.
I *could* just run up to my car and go home and have my dinner. But NO, I have to screw around with this annoying, idiot of a person with an $80,000 luxury sedan.
I start to slowly saunter around the lot, keys jingling.
I pick a car: a Prius, and pretend to insert a key into the door.
On cue, the woman puts on her signal. She wants to be The One.
After a moment, I fake a puzzled look and walk around the ENTIRE parking lot with the Mercedes in tow. I glance around like a lost tourist. My expression is that of a strange man in a strange land.
I select a different vehicle. A pick-up this time. Nissan, I think. Keys extended. Her blinker goes on. She wants to be The One.
I take a long, dramatic beat and turn to her, "I don't remember if I'm up there or down here! Damn it! Let's keep looking."
She doesn't look at me. She stares STRAIGHT AHEAD. Chin up, eyes glazed. I am not a person to her. I am merely a parking space.
I stroll around a bit more. Mind you, it takes a good three minutes or so to walk around the lot. All this time, I am *amazed* that she continues to follow.
I go back to the first car, the Prius. I jingle the keys. Her blinker goes on. She really thinks she will be The One. Wow.
Dramatic pause, frustrated gesture, I say, "I don't think these are the right keys! Car won't open. Maybe the clicker's dead? Do you want to check my clicker?"
At this, she's fed up. Perhaps disgusted by my "clicker" offer. She punches the gas and spins around to the other side of the lot.
Satisfied, I take the elevator to my car.
Around, and around, and around… For 10 minutes, I corkscrew down through the lot and drive toward the exit.
Then, in the corner of my eye, I see it. Parked right in *front* of the Baja Fresh entrance. The silver Mercedes.
Well, I'll be damned. Turns out, she was The One after all.
Los Angeles, 7:30 AM
"Caw! Caw! Caw!"
Ugh. What the *hell* is that? I stir from my sangria-enhanced slumber.
"Caw! Caw! Caw!"
"Caw! Caw! Caw!"
Even with a pillow *wrapped* around my head, each "caw" cuts the air like a hatchet; and plants itself firmly in the base of my skull.
"Caw! Caw! Caw!"
It's now about 8 o'clock. Thirty minutes of "caw, caw, caw" is all my headache will stand.
Bleary-eyed, I stumble outside, stand next to the tree, look the bastard right in its beady little eye and: I clap as loudly as I can.
It flies off.
End of story.
Or so I thought.
I turn around to see a sweatsuit clad woman, about 40, plain, frumpy, wearing a pony-tail slightly askew on her head. She frowns at me, and folds her arms.
As I walk by her, I croak "Morning", my thoughts only of Advil, coffee and quiet.
Her reply, biting and sharp: "Don't you dare scare that bird away!"
At first I don't even know what she's saying. I didn't shoot the bird, or throw a rock, or do anything to harm it (wanted to, didn't). I simply wanted it to leave me in peace.
"All I did was clap", I said sounding puzzled.
She's angrier now: "I know. I saw you. It has a nest in that tree!"
The first thought that crosses my mind is that I should explain to her that I'm an animal person. Dogs, cats, fish, everything. In fact my cockatiel "Max" (pictured) was about the best pet I ever had. I would never harm *any* animal. I think that the penalties for people who hurt animals should be much more severe. Furthermore, this crow is welcome to have its nest in my tree. So long as it does so quietly. As I consider saying all of this:
DID SHE JUST THREATEN TO REPORT ME TO PETA??
Oh, that's it.
I'm in no mood.
"Look lady," I growl as I stab my finger at her, "If that crow comes back, I'm going to kill it, eat it and wear its feathers as a hat. Understand?"
She blinks and stares, stunned.
I keep my eyes fixed on her for a dramatic moment and then spin on my heels, heading toward sweet, caffeinated bliss.
As I open my door, she blurts: "You're a HORRIBLE person!"
Over my shoulder I say, "Yeah, I am. I'm also hungry and I look great in black."
I go inside and my screen door snaps shut with a *whap*.
She lingers on the sidewalk in front of my door for a minute or so more before she finally stomps off, mumbling.
Just to fuck with her.
When I say "dreams", I don't mean your hopes, ambitions or aspirations. I am talking about those things you have when you sleep.
It's not really that your dreams are dumb. They're not. They may be profound: TO YOU. But, they are so, *so* boring to the rest of us.
Let's all, as a society, agree that we will not tell each other about our dreams. I don't care that you were standing on a glimmering precipace made of quartz waving around a dead fish screaming the name of your ex-boyfriends. Don't ask me what it means. I don't know and I don't care. My day is already filled by trying to interpret my *own* dreams (and doodles), so leave me be.
Your dreams are boring. Really.
There are only TWO times where it's acceptable to tell someone about your dream. JUST TWO. They are:
1) If the person you're talking to was *in* the dream, it's perfectly acceptable to tell them about it. But remember that screenwriter saying about writing a scene: "Get in late; get out early." Meaning: just tell me the stuff about me and skip the rest.
2) Sex dreams are always fine to discuss. We'll listen to those. If there wasn't sex in your dream but you *must* tell someone about it: add some sex. Add lots of sex. Dirty, sticky, illegal sex. Do it. Sex sells.
TWO EXCEPTIONS. THAT'S IT. THAT'S ALL. NO MORE.
"But", Carol pleads, "I told this guy, Bob, at work about my dream and he thought it was *SO* interesting."
You were played, dear Carol. Played like a Scotsman's dress. Wait. That's "plaid." And it's not a dress, it's a "kilt." Whatever. Don't distract me, Carol: You were played.
Don't believe me? Let's roll the tape on it.
Ok, we're in the Coffee Room at work and there's Bob filling his Homer Simpson mug with the awful coffee that Marie from Marketing makes. Jesus, Marie, take it easy on the grinds will ya? Sheesh. Ok, Bob is putting in a Splenda, a little half-and-half. Now, here comes Carol...
Now, watch Bob's reaction when Carol from Accounting sighs and says, "Morning, Bob. I had the weirdest dream last night."
There! Freeze frame! Did you see Bob's reaction? Did you seem him pause for a second there? That pause was Bob thinking: "I really don't want to hear about Carol's lame dream but if I don't say 'really, what was it about?', she'll tell everyone in her department what a selfish prick I am and I'll never be able to get into that bookkeeper Sally's pants."
See? You ladies think that men are just "slow." Men are *not* slow. Men are careful. It's a chess match, dear. We plan our moves weeks and month's in advance.
So, Bob (being a man who has studied, since age 12 or 13, the Getontopov Gambit) forces a smile and asks "Really, Carol? What was it about?"
Now Bob just has to spend 5 or 6 minutes watching Carol's mouth move as he contemplates Sally's General Ledger. And Bob, always planning his next move, goes so far as to seem *interested* in Carol's dream! He nods in the right places and smiles on cue. (Men learn to do this without even having to hear the words. We. Just. Know.) Finally, Carol asks, "What do you think it means?" Bob simply has to say, "Gee, I don't know Carol. But you're right. That was weird." She nods. They laugh. Bob pauses skillfully, then: "Hey Carol? Is Sally in today?" Carol smiles and replies coyly, "Why yes, Bob, she is. You like her?" And Bob, boyishly, "Sure, she's really nice." Carol giggles, "I'll tell her you said hi."
Bob just *confided* in Carol after letting Carol blab on and on about her boring-ass dream.
Well plaid Bob. That nice-guy move will certainly get back to Sally. Well plaid indeed.
I repeat: Please don't tell us about your dream unless it follows rule #1 or rule #2. (A combination of said rules is extremely awesome, btw.)
One notable exception to my tirade:
You *may* blog about your dreams. Because your blog is YOURS, it's completely appropriate. We can choose to read it or not. In fact many of my favorite bloggers post about their dreams all the time. Which is great, I read each and every one of those dream posts...
...but I usually skim until I get to the sex.
I ordered Thai food tonight because frankly there is no good Chinese food in Los Angeles.
How can that be?? No good Chinese Food??
I'm 2,000 miles *closer* to China than I was in New York City. And yet, "New York Chinese" is far superior than "LA Chinese". It's frustrating really. What I wouldn't give for the Chicken w/ Broccoli from Grand Szechuan around the corner from my 34st apartment. (sigh) That place was the best, Jerry. The best.
See, I didn't expect to find decent Italian or pizza (I haven't, there isn't)*. But I really *did* think that any and all Asian would represent.
I was wrong.
The Viatnamese chow is good here. But I wasn't Pheeling the Pho, so I went with Thai tonight.
The delivery man arrives, The check is $14.50, I lay a $20 on him and tell him to keep it. Yeah, I'm a good tipper like that: (I'm a former service industry slave).
He smiles and NODS "thank you."
He nods. Make sure you get that. He NODS.
I smile and BOW "you're welcome."
I freakin' *BOWED* at this man.
It sorta... just... happened.
I'm such an idiot.
Why do I do that? (This is not an isolated incident)
As I bowed, I could hear that Chinese Gonnnnnnnnnng in the back of my mind. (Or maybe it was a Gong Show gong. Not sure.)
What am I doing? Why am I bowing to this stranger? We are not about to engage in Mortal Kombat: flying tree top to roof top locked in some battle of good versus delivery.
I'm not this man's grasshoppa. He is not my Mr. Miyagi.
But he's a nice, polite Asian gentleman. So what does he do? Naturally, he bows back.
So, completely mortified that I may offend him *further*, I bow in return.
And then he bows. Again. So here we are, in my doorway: he with a fistfull of cash, me with a fistfull of noodles: bowing, bowing, bowing at each other.
And I feel like an moron.
(But the noodles were great.)
I just hope, for my own sake, that they send a white guy next time. Then we can high-five or throw each other the goat or pound fists or do whatever-the-hell it is that we weiße Völker do. Anything. ANYTHING to keep me from making cross-culture ass out of myself yet again.
Or maybe I can just order Mexican.
* Before you tell me where the good LA Italian food is, please identify yourself as being BORN in New York or Chicago. Anyone else: With respect and gratitude, please move along as you know not of what you speak.I can test you on this.