Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My personal Soapbox (part II)

For part I, please refer to post April 14, 2008

General rules of etiquette (all behaviors and quotes were present at ‘Swan Lake’ presented by Ballet West):

1. There is such a thing as over-clapping. Clapping as the swans emerge from the dry ice, as the children successfully skip in a circle WHILE holding hands, when the bad guy flaps his wings…enough. I can appreciate the difficulty of 32 consecutive fouetté rond de jambe en tournant and a prominently placed lift. Clapping at those instances is deserved and expected. Being over-excited at the ballet is both distracting and weird…especially when it’s an adult man.

2. Sullen teens need to leave their attitudes at the door or not come in the first place. There is nothing so annoying as a whiney teen…except maybe the 2 whiney teens sitting next to me. 1. They are old enough to behave appropriately in public, 2. they should be capable of not texting for an evening, and 3. parents should have the guts to tell their teens to shut off their phones, ipods, and psp instead of trying to come to a compromise. These teens are the inspiration for this post.

3. Don’t resume your conversation during interludes. Just because the stage goes dark doesn’t mean it’s an intermission. When the music swells during a set change, don’t turn to your neighbor and ask if you ‘think the American ice dancing team will be any good this year.’ The ballet is still going, idiots!

4. Clap for performers. I am repeating this rule from my previous post. To my right were two sullen teens who didn’t know that they were expected to shut up let alone applaud. To my left was an obese lady so concerned with her Swedish fish and M&Ms that she couldn’t be bothered to clap AT ALL during the performance. Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

5. Don’t be rude. As simple as this rule might be, I was pretty floored by the sheer audacity that came from several y chromosomes that had to announce how much he didn’t want to be at the ballet. Dude. No one thinks less of you for being there. In fact, most of the other men are in the same boat. In addition, you don’t need to constantly grope your date to prove that you aren’t a homosexual; which leads me to #6:

6. If it isn’t appropriate with the lights on, it’s not appropriate with the lights off. I don’t feel that an explanation is needed for that one.

7. Don’t ask when it will be over 20 minutes into the performance. If you decide to go to a 3 hour ballet, you should probably know that it’s a 3 hour ballet. This rule is brought to you by one of the Negative Nancies sitting next to me. She also had a minor aneurism when an announcement told the audience to please refrain from texting during the show.

8. If you are afflicted with TB, Emphysema, or any other lung disorder which causes you to hack up a lung through act III, have the decency to get up and exit the theater. Your phlegm monster doesn’t really add anything to the dying swan.

9. Dragging little children to a 3+ hour ballet to teach them ‘culture’. Most of the parents trying to hold their toddlers down were having a hard enough time paying attention to the ballet. Maybe next time, try a kid-friendly ballet such as ‘Cinderella’ or ‘The Nutcracker.’ ‘Swan Lake’ was a poor choice on your part.

10. Stay in your seat. Unless you are under the age of 6 or have raging case of hemorrhoids, you can sit through a ballet. Seriously.

Rule of thumb: If you can’t sit through it, neither can your 7 year old.

Quotes of the evening:

‘Just hit me if my head starts nodding, heh, heh.’ Dear douche bag: you are not funny nor are you clever. In fact you just told me that you spent $150 so you and your two insufferable offspring can be miserable for three hours. Brilliant, douche.

“If this thing is going to be longer than an hour and a half, I am so out of here.” As spoken by one of the sullen teens. Her father didn’t feel the need to say anything as he probably agreed.

“It’s a shame my wife dragged me to this. I would rather be at the Elton John/Billy Joel concert!” Wow. Is the fact that you’d rather be at the Elton John/Billy Joel concert really supposed to prove your manhood? Missed the mark there, camper.

Interesting side note:
As I was jotting down the above rules in my trusty notebook, I heard the nodding douche-dad ask his daughters if they thought I worked for the newspaper (which is silly since I went CLOSING WEEKEND). He told his daughters that he bet I was from the Arts and Entertainment section for the Tribune.

An awkward moment passed.

The closest Negative Nancy turned to me and put her arm on my arm rest. “So,” she began with impressive wit, “do you work for a newspaper?”

Without making eye contact, I said “No,” adding in my head, I am complaining about you on paper.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dude not only looks like a lady, Dude is a lady.

The transgender used-to-be-man:
"You look nice today," said a gruff deep bass voice.
I slowly looked around the hall...I was the only one one around, other than a rough looking man. Something struck me as strange when I spotted the gentleman but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.
I made eye contact with him. "I'm sorry?" I asked.
"I said, you look nice today," repeated the same raspy low voice.
"Thank you. That's very kind." I figured it out! I knew what was weird about this guy. He had huge knockers! The dude must have been sporting at least a DDD. Also, he was wearing a jean skirt with a large slit up the front.
The man caught up with me.
"How is your day so far?" I looked at him to see if it was just a masculine woman but the man had a thick 5 o'clock shadow and a large Adam's apple. If that wasn't enough, the dude was obviously a man. He looked like an aging hair metal fan complete with gross stringy hair, cross and skull earrings, really hairy arms, and a beer belly.
Realizing he had asked me a question I replied, "Not so bad. How is your day?"
"Oh!" replied the man. "My day is great! My doctor finally thinks I'm ready to begin hormone replacements!"
"Wow," I said. "And that REALLY will make all the difference in the world," came out of my mouth before I turned on my filter.
"Honey, you have no idea," the new woman said proudly.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

No use crying over spilled yogurt

I get frustrated with people who go to the grocery store surrounded by their gaggle of offspring. This can be best observed any time of the day or night at your local Wal*Mart. You see the children running in circles who obviously missed a dose of their Ritalin, the children who are tired and therefore feel in necessary to make the entire store aware of the fact that they need a nap, and the children that are just brats and whine their way to obtain whatever they want (these kids are usually super fat). Usually, when one encounters this gaggle, one can’t help but notice the cloud of destruction they become. When this gaggle passes you, you immediately check all limbs and possessions to make sure there have been no casualties.

My shopping experience last night had nothing to do with the gaggle; although, I sincerely wish a gaggle had been present.

I proceeded through the various aisles, grabbing the necessary groceries here and there. I got the butter, milk, and eggs without incident. I grabbed 1, 2, 3, 4 yogurts without effort and then came the dreaded 5th yogurt mishap. As I moved it from the shelf to my cart, it wriggled free from my grasp and fell the 53 inches to the hard floor below. Slowly, I watched the yogurt plunge to its death and explode all over the grocery store floor.

After what seemed like forever, a wave of panic rushed over me. I was not a gaggle! This was expected from a gaggle!! I quickly looked around to see if anyone had witnessed my moment of idiocy. Sure enough, there was one woman who gave these words of comfort before she steered her cart away:

“I didn’t see it. Usually I blame things like this on my kids. I would probably just put it back on the shelf.”

Confirmed!! I did a quick sweep of the neighboring aisles to see if there was an employee I could tell… to no avail. I picked up the dead container of yogurt and placed it in a different corner of the shelf (so a careless shopper would not pick it up thinking it was a full carton of yogurt).

I quickly took my cart to the opposite corner of the store.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

“Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis.” Jack Handy

So, with a new job came a slew of testing (as is normal for all people in any type of Health Care setting). Since I didn’t have my immunization records (who does?) I had to go in for titers to check which antibodies are in my blood, get my tetanus updated, and have not one, but TWO consecutive TB tests.

First of all, the clinic for employees is one of the most incompetent clinics I’ve ever been to but that is another post for another day. Let’s just say, when someone puts a tourniquet on your arm and looks for a vein to administer a PPD, you know you’re in trouble.

This post is focusing on my TB tests.

I have never had a reaction. I have had four prior TB tests and have never had so much as a red spot.

So, my first TB test was administered way too deep by the technician (pretty par for the course at this clinic) which produced a large red rash on my arm. As someone who has never had a reaction (and can be a bit of a hypochondriac) I got very anxious and nervous to have the results read. Thankfully, the results came in at a 2 simply because I had a rash. A few days after I had the test read, my red spot turned into a welt. It became swollen, larger, and raised. I was instructed to meet with our Infectious disease nurse just to make sure it wasn’t an allergic reaction. When I met with the nurse she told me the reaction was a bruise. She told me that if the injection is administered too deep, it can bruise the skin. Fair enough. I bruise easily so, no big deal.

Two weeks later I went in for the second TB test. Since I still had a large bruise on my left arm, I offered the technician my right arm. She administered the test properly and a happy little bubble appeared on my right arm. I knew there wouldn’t be a reaction because this lady knew how to give the test.

Within a few hours I had developed another raised red rash on my arm. Thinking that I was just turning into a wuss, I shrugged it off as another bruise. When I went to have it read the tech asked if we could speak privately. He told me that he was grading the test at a 12 (>10 is positive) and that I should prepare myself to have a chest x-ray but he thought I was just fine.

I went to the nurse again and gave her my results. She began asking me questions about my overall health, where I’ve traveled, where my friends have traveled and scheduled me for a chest x-ray.

I returned to the clinic, took my chest x-ray (which, of course, was negative) and met with two doctors who started their line of questioning, not unlike the nurse. After a ridiculous amount of time they told me they wanted to start me on INH.

So there you have it. Apparently in this day and age, Tuberculosis is still an issue. Although I’m not sick, I am still considered as infected and am being treated as such.

For the next six months, I will have seven blood draws, 180 pills, no alcohol, and no Tylenol. All for the greater good, right?

On the bright side, INH costs $3 for a 90 day supply. Not too shabby.