Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Shenanigans Volume VII

The Night Before New Year’s Edition…

Well, New Year’s Eve is upon us again, and just like probably no one else, I’ll be off to my first New Year’s Eve wedding of all things. Believe it or not, I am looking forward to the festivities, mostly because of the couple getting married and it should be a great time. At first it definitely seemed a bit odd having a wedding on New Year's Eve, but, since 2008 has been such a nightmare, I would be happy picking up goat droppings at the local petting zoo, at the strike of midnight, if it means the end of this horrendous year. My peers however? Not quite buying the rationale as the last three weeks it has been a constant barrage - “What are you doing for New Year’s? A wedding? What! Are you serious? On New Years? That’s really weird.” Those were my thoughts as well when I initially received the invite, but then I thought back to last year… After a far-from-stellar evening at a Lake Tahoe restaurant, magically transformed into a twenty-dollar cover cheesy nightclub, I spent the remainder of my inebriated evening in the back of my Tacoma truck in seven-degree weather, packed in snuggly with my roommate Tony awaiting a tram that never arrived. So… ultimately what am I holding onto right? Even more exciting was the last three months of battles I had with my Mother who exclaimed I embarrassed our family when I asked if I could bring a date to the event. (She too will be in attendance). Apparently this is heavily frowned upon in the wedding world, but me being an ex-fraternity member, lowly peon and a sorry excuse for a mature and classy existence, had no idea. “They already have the hall reserved, you can’t bring anyone,” was her rationale. I guess she figured I’d be inviting a 390-pound manatee-like, beast of a female who wouldn’t be able to fit through the door, thus requiring the hall to be expanded to meet my date’s square- footage requirements. Needless to say I’ll be at a wedding alone on New Year’s Eve this year but at least my Mom will be available to take Tony’s place should the tram decide not to show this year…Wow, this just went from bad to worse…

And now to the blog…

As usual…some puns, tally-hoo and other nonsensical gibberish that should put you to sleep faster than a box of Nodoz…

I’m pretty sure I have a symptom that is common among many ex-Fraternity members, or even your average college student. It’s commonly known as PFS (Post Fraternity Syndrome). After a college career of frequent exchanges, parties and gatherings that were always set up with some sort of theme in mind, I am forever scarred for any rendezvous in the outside world and even six years later, I find myself in utter disarray. Symptoms include being unable to casually invite people over for a beer without a specific reason such as an 80’s night, a Wild West theme or a Dress like your favorite Boy Band member event. (I generally chose Lance Bass obviously). Every drinking juncture basically has to have some sort of theme or purpose, otherwise you are unable to enjoy the evening and end up becoming an inhospitable outcast pouting in the corner. If you too are noticing any of the aforementioned symptoms, you may also be suffering from PFS. I’d like to blissfully exclaim that there is a splendiferous elixir for this horrific condition, giving way to a gloriously jovial ending to this blog post, but alas, even with the greatest of scientists working around the clock, they have come up with nothing. Last weekend it got worse when my buddy invited me over for a barbeque…

“What’s the occasion? New Years isn’t for another week, so what are we talking here…?” I asked sheepishly.

“No occasion,” he responded. “Just a couple of burgers, chicken breasts, beers, you know, watch the game.”

“Great,” I replied. “I’ll wear my disco outfit, the same one I wore back in ’02 to winter formal. You have an ice luge right?”

“No, just come over, and why would I have an ice luge?” he responded completely bewildered.

“No reason…no problem, ok Steve, don’t panic, don’t panic, ok, got it - I’ll just wear my toga instead then, no worries, see you in twenty…”

And now to the streets of San Francisco… (Thought I’d throw a transition in these things, since now they feel like you’re trying to follow two teenage girls gossip about last Monday’s “The Hills,” episode, changing the subject faster than Paris Hilton coming out with new sex tapes)

...I drive by a bar every day on my way home from work called "Stud Bar." For some reason there is a giant gay flag on the roof to let people know it is a gay bar just in case the name of the bar (Stud Bar), and freshly painted purple exterior wasn't enough for all of us stupid straight guys out there to it figure out. Maybe a giant statue of a man in leather butt less chaps might be in order just in case the enormous flag and “Stud Bar” aren't enough for people to put two and two together...

...For any tourists visiting San Francisco, the trolley provides riveting excitement, a story to tell your Grandkids and the high percentage potential to lose one of your appendages. These slow moving vessels wind in, out, up, and down San Francisco streets as bewildered tourists hang on for dear life, with arms and legs flailing. For the local San Franciscan however, these insatiable travelers are no more enjoyable than your younger brother sticking his finger a centimeter from your arm while whining; "I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you,” after you told him to stop touching you. These riders, unaware of their surroundings, hop on and off like they are getting on and off “It’s A Small World,” at Disneyland. The only difference is an amiable Donald Duck jubilantly directing you to the exit is replaced by a surly, inebriated mendicant in a mayonnaise and whiskey stained tank top hitting you up for loose change. While some of the same rules as a Disney Land ride may apply (please keep hands and feet inside at all times, or in this case- don’t allow the homeless chap to drop his pants at the same moment your trolley slowly passes by), they are rarely enforced, creating difficulty for drivers trying to pass a trolley which is moving at about 1 mph by the way, without decapitating, maiming or removing a leg of an oblivious rider. Once the passengers actually get off the trolley, (usually about fifty minutes from when they jumped on, but yet just three blocks away due to the Trolley's snail pace), they hurriedly exit onto the street. With no Donald Duck pointing the way, somehow unaware that they are actually on a busy city street and not exiting Peter Pan’s “Never Never Land,” they quickly turn from curious tourists to Grand Theft Auto IV pedestrians, forced to toss their cameras and tour books into the air and dart frantically to the closest sidewalk or jump into the closest beggar’s arms for safety.

And my last observation of the blog…

…I’m really not sure how much longer I can put up with people wearing these Jesus Sandals. I think everyone knows the sandals I’m talking about – we’ve evolved thousands of years with millions of shoe and sandal styles becoming available but yet it there is always some douche bag that feels a pair of leather sandals constructed with seventeen or more straps is the perfect way to compliment his far-from-attractive outfit of khaki shorts and untucked dress shirt? Where are we the Roman Coliseum during a lion vs. man battle or at the last supper with the disciples? Buy some newer looking sandals already! The good news is that these sandals have to have been recycled, reused and resold all for thousands of years, I’m thinking from the same cow, which is great for the cow animal rights activists out there…

Til Next Time… Happy New Years…I’ll be busy dancing with the Mother at the wedding while the rest of you hussies and lads are partying it up at some Vegas nightclub. Pour out a fifteen dollar splash of cranberry and vodka for me…

Saturday, December 13, 2008

"Shenanigans Volume VI"

…Christmas is yet upon us once again. In past years I would look forward to basketballs, video games and Matchbox cars, but at some point that all changed. Now my Christmas list is made up of practical, and boring gift ideas, like spatulas, cuisinarts and most importantly boxer shorts. I don’t think I’ve bought a pair of boxers or socks for, well ever. Every year my Mom will ensure my socks and underwear collection gets replenished and if she doesn’t I’m essentially screwed, thus forced to wear the same pairs for another year. I’m not sure if I’m alone on this, since now that I think about it, my Mom buying my underwear is actually pretty disturbing…

…Why is it that I can play seven full court basketball games in the blazing hot sun and not be tired or crippled with aches and pains, but yet fifteen minutes shopping with a girlfriend and I’m ready to check myself into the closest convalescent home due to back pain, aching joints and major fatigue? I might break a decent sweat on the court, but at a mall after just several minutes I’m sweating like an antelope being chased by a cheetah and rashes start forming. I can literally go only ten minutes before fatigue sits in. At thirty minutes my body is a useless piece of jelly and I have no choice but to sit down and rest. I think it is built in men’s DNA to not be able to handle the strenuous act of shopping. In caveman times it was probably the same for men as they dreaded trudging through the forest with their woman stopping at every tree as the female browsed for the right bark for the inside of their cave…

…A few weeks ago I went to eat lobster at a local seafood eatery. There, at the restaurant’s entrance was a tank containing about twenty live lobsters, or as I like to call it - a death row tank housing the swimming dead. For these death row inmates however, there are no chances for appeals, no lobsters picketing outside their tank protesting their impending demise, or pardons from government officials. And unlike the walking dead, found on death row who receive either lethal injection, poisonous gas or death by electrocution, these unfortunate crustaceans receive their death sentence in the form of death by boiling thus creating a hysterical scream bellowing from the unsuspecting recipient upon entrance into the scalding water. I’m no animal rights activist or anything, but would it really ruin our lobster eating experience if we simply killed these lobsters, say five seconds before dipping them in scorching hot water causing an animal that previously makes absolutely no sounds to all of a sudden scream out in agonizing pain? Can’t we maybe slam a cuisinart on them, then throw them in the pot or something first to reduce their suffering? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to notice a difference in taste. I can’t recall a single time I’ve been out in a boat on the ocean and I heard a scream coming from the depths below only to hear my surly fishing buddy explain, “That son, is the sound of the lobster. If you listen closely you can hear their mating call - so beautiful you think you’re listening to Tony Bennett.” These are animals that make absolutely no sounds during their lifetime, then all of a sudden incur such horrific torture, that they grow a pair of vocal chords?

… It is always fun to get a haircut with a buddy because you always try and stick him with the overweight, smelly hairdresser or homosexual guy. Something very strange happened last week for me. I got stuck with a straight guy! I know what you’re thinking – much better than a gay guy right? The answer my friends, is no. I would actually prefer a gay guy than a straight guy. At least with the gay guy you know where he’s shooting from, but with a straight guy it’s like having fifteen minutes of accidentally seeing your straight friend naked in the locker room. Awkward to say the least. It is really awkward having a straight guy shampooing your hair then cutting your hair all the while trying to act cool and talk about how the Colts are going all the way this year. If you don’t believe me have your best straight buddy give you a neck massage for just five minutes then report back to me. Sure he’s not trying to get in your pants, but if he’s not trying to get in your pants why is he shampooing and cutting your hair? Straight guys can now handle getting hit on by gay guys but if there is one thing that is awkward is a gay guy pretending he’s straight and then hitting on you. You know what else is awkward? A straight guy shampooing your hair in case I didn’t mention that yet. If you’re gay pretending to be straight so you can stealthily unsuccessfully flirt with straight guys I’m pretty sure we are onto you. Talking about the last time you had your way with your girlfriend, talking one inch from my face while having one arm around me and one pressed on my left butt cheek does not convince me your straight…At first I was weirded out by gay guys hitting on me, but now I almost get offended when they don’t hit on me. What the hell, I think to myself, what’s wrong with me, why aren’t you hitting on me? I all of a sudden turn into a jealous schoolgirl. Oh yeah because I’m straight…

Monday, December 1, 2008

"You Have Nice Legs!" - A Tale of a Young Boy's Journey on S.F.'s Muni System

If you haven’t had the pleasure, or displeasure rather of taking a San Francisco Muni bus then you are truly missing out. The experience may parallel a trip from the courthouse after a guilty verdict to the local jailhouse, however a paltry entrance fee of $1.50 provides you enough entertainment to make a trip on Muni the best entertainment bargain in America.

The first thing I noticed as I entered the steel loony bin on wheels on Union street one fateful afternoon was the inscrutable stench of BO that seemed to be seeping through seats, metal and fabric creating a surround sound of odor. I think if I had been standing with a box of rotten eggs in a pile of cow manure I would have been able to breathe with more ease. I was one of only two people on the bus so I found it rather perplexing that a smell that would cause a rabid, outraged skunk to hold up the white flag and scamper to safety was still lingering. How bad does someone have to smell to have their stench emanate on a moving vehicle with open windows long after they’ve departed? Is there any sort of equation for the smelly madness? Say, for instance, if you don’t shower for three days, then your smell lingers for twenty minutes? Four days gets you thirty, and so on and so forth?

After a few stops a few more riders sauntered onto the bus with each character more eccentric than the next. I liked to think I was the most normal on the bus, but that was really only because I was the only one with at least thirty percent of my teeth.

Finally a rider got on with not only all of his teeth but he seemed to have an excessive amount of teeth. This guy had absolutely no upper lip and what appeared to be twice as many teeth as the standard human. His teeth had swallowed his upper lip somehow and it basically went from teeth directly to nose. Despite the man’s somewhat deformities I quickly realized it was a toss up between myself and him for most normal rider on the bus and again that was only because we had at least thirty percent of our teeth.

Just as I was planning my next move as lone supremacy on the bus the doors opened and gave way to what seemed like fifty Asian women, all over the age of ninety. I quickly gave up my seat to accommodate the Omaha beach-like surge of ladies, but not before I was lambasted up against the side of the handicap seat rendering my extremities useless for the impending take off. (My seat had been long overtaken like a swarm of ants overtaking a melting Sir Issac Lime Otter Popsicle on the street with not a single thank you from the cult of ladies). The bus took off and I went face first into the bus window as my hands finally were yanked free just not in time to cushion the blow. That was experience number one.

The second time I took Muni I was not only determined to keep my hands in a safe place, but I was actually excited. To most decent individuals the experience above would cause them to not only never take the bus again, but try to run every Muni bus off the road at every chance they got. Not me. I was excited to give it another go. Some might call it sick, others would call it…sick as well, but I thought it was hilarious.

This time the bus smelled a lot better than the first. Don’t take that the wrong way, it still smelled close to a couple of rotting yams left out in the sun, but anything was better than the BO from the first time. I took a seat near the front and instantly the pandemonium ensued. Down the row and across from me a young lad found a dirty battery on the bus floor. Instead of kicking it aside as any normal person would do he proceeded to pick it up, inspect it and then place it directly on his tongue and lick it. From there, apparently the chap felt it was a good score and passed it to his buddy next to him who proceeded to put it in his fanny pack for safe keeping. I knew from that moment this was going to be a monumental trip.

Just then the lady across from me struck up a conversation. Good…a normalton (normal person) I thought to myself, finally! After the normal pleasantries I let her know I was on my way to the Giants’ game and her response was that she doesn’t watch baseball because of the commercials. Here we go I thought, as my mental note taking record button was pressed for later recall. “That’s a new one,” I told her, trying to remain pleasant and not yell out exacerbated what are you talking about?!”

“I prefer watching the guys go play in the park,” she responded referring to the fifty-plus softball league in the marina who could barely hit the ball out of the infield. Lets see…professional baseball or a bunch of old geezers wearing knee braces who forgot that torn ACL comebacks are only for NFL running backs who are actually getting paid to play, and not for guys trying to relive their heroic little league days with dribblers back to the pitcher.

I tried desperately not to burst into insidious laughter being as this was one of the most ludicrous statements I had ever heard, but the lady was really nice and I’m not the type to rip on people to their face. (I choose to write a blog about it and post it all over the Internet instead and then not put my address anywhere on the site…it all checks out…)

“I prefer to shop,” she chimed in.

“Ah, now I see where this is going,” I responded thinking that the conversation was turning back to the side of normalcy.

“I don’t go downtown to shop though, because of the earthquakes,” she responded. (Keep in mind we were on a bus heading downtown).

“Of course,” I concluded. Downtown, earthquakes, 50-yr old softball player obsessions, it was all finally starting to come together – This lady was a nut job…

This time I offered my seat up to another older Asian women but she denied me. She was carrying three bags, a purse and a cane and she just turned away from me in disgust for some reason. I felt like the kid last picked for the fifth grade kickball team. Trust me, I’ve been rejected by plenty of girls and women in my day but when you get turned down by a ninety-year old Asian woman carrying about thirty pounds of groceries, it just downright hurts. Just as I was having my epiphany she motioned to her husband like a baseball manager calling to the bullpen for a pitching change and her groom did an Usain Bolt -sprint to claim my seat like a lion pouncing to claim his hunt in the wild. There was no thank you was sent in my direction. I felt like a street walker on the streets of Reno. I’m not a piece of seat giving meat, I thought to myself…I suddenly felt used and dirty…

The third time I took the bus ready for new adventures certain that they would again come my way and of course they did. I sat in my usual spot in the front where the action seemed to happen most. A woman, who was a city local, had struck up a conversation with a couple from Wisconsin as I struck up a conversation with three girls seating near me. These girls as well as the Wisconsin couple turned out to be the only normal people I’ve ever encountered on the bus and they were both from another state. (The girls ended up being from New York). The lady was giving the Wisconsin couple some ideas on San Francisco tourist spots when I noticed that the guy, not repulsive by any means was wearing the most hideous shorts that accentuated his absolutely pasty, un-athletic, horrid legs. They were also sparsely covered with hair. Good god, I thought to myself, that guy’s legs are absolutely grotesque. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t make it a habit of looking at the legs of over-the-hill tourists who are also male but these appendages stuck out like my Mom at a 50 Cent concert. These legs, with more crooks and twists than a mystery novel were some of the most disgusting things I’d ever seen and they made this perfectly respectable gentlemen look like a feeble hobbledehoy.

As these thoughts of disgust were emanating in my head, to my utter shock, I heard a “You have nice legs,” shoot out of the locals mouth in the direction of the Wisconsin man. (This was right in front of the man’s wife mind you). I literally almost spit out my coffee onto the floor as myself and the New York girls burst out into laughter. You would have thought the wife would have knocked some sense into that local who was hitting on her man, but quite possibly she was just in shock that those putrid legs were actually attractive to someone. She also probably assumed the woman was high on something they don’t have back in Wisconsin, so she figured it would be best just to let it slide in case the local was psychologically unstable and pugnacious.

On this trip I actually tried to give up my seat three times before anyone actually took it. First an old man crouched over like an NFL lineman getting ready for the snap wouldn’t even sit next to me in an open seat. Then I tried to give up my seat to an older woman who turned away – rejected again! This was really hitting my ego! Finally a third lady ignored me, but then motioned to her kids to take the seat. They did and then they proceeded to sit backwards on the seat and kick me in the knees repeatedly for the rest of the trip.

Once they got off I moved to the back of the bus to make a quick getaway when we hit my stop. To my chagrin at the next stop the bus driver started yelling “Back Door,” Back door!” I later learned it was because people sneak on for free through the back door, but as a straight guy living in San Francisco, hearing back door in any context is always a sign for alarm. There may have been no reason to panic at the moment, but like swimming in shark infested waters and a bloody squid is suddenly dropped in your area, you know trouble is on its way…

This fine looking specimen is not an escapee from a local zoo, former bearded lady in a traveling circus for the legally insane, or Britney Spears' new boyfriend as one might hypothesize, but rather is your average run of the mill Muni rider. This picture was taken shortly after the inebriated chap told my friend Elise she had a "luscious booty." Before any thank yous or pleasantries that you would normally exchange after a plastered and grotesque homeless guy who just made sexual comments about your rear could take place, the bus doors abruptly opened and the drunkard went stumbling out the open doors and onto the sidewalk outside, all the while speaking in a tongue formally known as drunken gibberish.

Unfortunately he could not be reached for comment following the incident, but can be sighted wherever luscious bootys are found.

Comment from Elise Jenkins...

I have to say, Steve, I'm delighted that you posted this blog. It's comforting to know that I'm not the only person being entertained, disgusted, and insulted by the odd and eccentric population of this great city. I have begun to refer to these experiences as my "San Francisco Bum/Muni Follies."

For the women out there reading this comment, I have to add a detail or two to the event corresponding to the picture. I was one of those people trying to get on the bus in the "Back Door! Back Door!" because the bus driver had stopped letting people on in the front - the bus was THAT crowded. Not only did I barely squeeze in past the fellow in the picture, my rear end - in all of its post-workout supa-tight stretch pants glory - was right in his line of sight.

This is when he began to make the scene. "My GOD that is a luscious booty!! Can I touch it? Oh pleeeease baby let me touch it. You know you want me to just grab it, jiggle it. I'd love you baby girl I'd LOOOOVE you!" At this point I'm the center of attention of a bus FULL of the 6:30pm Monday crowd. You know the one I'm referring to. It consists of the good looking suit-and-tie financial district metro-men and the Coach bag carrying, pantsuit wearing marketing girls, all of whom are laughing hysterically at the spectacle. Mind you, I'm the center of attention in a sweat soaked wife beater, my tightest, most unforgiving pair of running pants, no makeup, and dirty hair matted to my forehead. Of course this shit never happens when I'm wearing a sexy pencil skirt, having a great hair day, and my lips are freshly glossed. My only saving grace was when he fell, literally fell, out of the bus at the next stop. Elise 1, Bum 1. It's a draw.

Oddly enough, there were no posts the next day on Craigslist's "Missed Connections" for "dirty girl with luscious booty on the 38." hmm What can you do.

This, of course, all occurs the day after another bum incident. I was at the Safeway on Webster on Sunday night minding my own business, purchasing a delectable 1/2 lb of freshly sliced honey turkey at the deli counter when this homeless person approaches me and asks me for change. My initial reaction was one of bewilderment - how did a bum get into this fine establishment?! My second reaction was the same as my response to his request- "um, no." I went back to waiting on my deli turkey and typing away on my blackberry, thinking nothing more of the interaction.

Instead of saying "thank you" or grunting the typical bum-chatter "hoogly moogly" as they scuttle away to find more generous people to harass, he looks me dead in the eye and says "Why not? You got that nice teley-phone, and you got that meat. Why ain't you gots some change fo' me. Sure you got fiddy cents o sumptin."

Really? Ok. I guess he's allowed to express his opinion. It's a free country and all. So I decided I'd be best off to just ignore him. I had learned my lesson about provoking ghetto people the hard way after Saturday night's events, but that's another story. So I'm thinking "You can do it, Elise! Be the better person!"

It turns out the bum didn't take kindly to being ignored. So he proceeded to yell, yes - yell, the following: "HEY LADY! I'MA TALKIN AT CHOO!! GIMME SOME GODDAMN MONEY!!" Really?! Is this really happening to me? I'm looking around wondering why no one else was being harassed by this guy, and no one would look me in the eye. I was alone. Alone in a sea of delicious delicatessen meats and cheeses - but a storm was a-brewin and there was no turning back now. So I looked him right in the eye and told him to fuck off.

Oops. So that was definitely not the right thing to do. I looked around me - searching desperately for a lifeline. Anything! Anyone! Alas, nothing. Needless to say, this did not sit well with Sir Bum either. He looks back at me and says, and I quote, "No! No, nuh uh. F YOU white lady! F you! And you got a flat ass! Yeah dats right. You heard me b*tch. Flat. Ass."

My response? "I most certainly do NOT have a flat ass. And if I do, it's just because of these jeans. So f you, f your mom, and get the hell out of my way before I call security."

Ding ding! And we have a winner. Elise 2 - Bum 1. I yelled security, he called uncle. B*tch.

Now my only question is about my ass - is it flat or is it luscious? I guess I'll always have to wonder...