Annapalooza

A Brief History of My Pet Peeves (Part Two: Current Day) March 7, 2016

 

In yesterday’s blog I gave a brief history of my pet peeves, starting with Kindergarten and ending with my thirties. Not surprisingly, all of them continue to bug and haunt me in some way, and each one is probably as childish and petty as the next. (I guess that’s why they are called pet peeves and not actual problems.)

 

So in other words, my current pet peeves will definitely not show how I have evolved as a person. They continue to remain insignificant, struggle-bus, pesky little critters that drive me crazy. Here they are, in no particular order or level of maturity:

 

Uniqlo.  When I first visited Uniqlo in New York’s SoHo several years ago, I didn’t really understand the hype. As far as I was concerned, it was just the Japanese version of Gap.  I decided to give it another try this past fall when it finally opened in Chicago, and on opening weekend no less.  My excitement at receiving a free tote bag quickly dwindled when I actually started shopping and walking around. Apparently the Uniqlo people think it’s quirky and funny to have its employees stand in the middle of each department and continuously shout out a sales pitch. One such pitch may go something like this: “PEOPLE OF CHICAGO!! ARE YOU TIRED OF FREEZING YOUR BUNS OFF THE SECOND YOU STEP OUTSIDE YOUR DOORSTEP? LOOK NO FURTHER AS OUR SUPER WARM LONG UNDERWEAR WILL PROTECT YOU FROM THE STRONGEST GALES OF THE WINDY CITY!!!!”  Now this was charming perhaps the first two times I heard it, but after a while I wanted to curl up in the fetal position and cover myself with their mountains of cheap cashmere sweaters. Plus I couldn’t get away from the overly-enthusiastic salespeople who constantly wanted to help me. When I did actually manage to try on something, I ended up breaking a sweat as I contorted my body out of a sweater that was surely meant for a fourteen-year-old Japanese supermodel and not an American white lady with muscular upper arms. In the end I was running for the exits, dodging all the Japanese-Americans with gleefully smug looks on their faces.

 

“Top Ten List” Internet Articles.  These are all little useless nuggets of pop culture information that I absolutely must read about ASAP.  So I click on the link, and instead of giving me a nice little list I can scroll through, I get the list one at a time. In order to get to the next item on the list, I need to keep clicking on an arrow. Except there’s one teensy problem: the page contains about four different arrows and “next buttons”, all meant to confuse and trick me. Therefore if I choose wrong, I will be taken to some completely different page whose number one purpose is to distract and scam me . From there I am stuck in a death spiral, desperately trying to get out of the scam page and return to my article…because all I really wanted to do was find out which former child stars have grown up to be really (pick one) ugly/hot/bankrupt/friends of George Clooney.

 

Queue Drifters. There is a recent phenomenon happening in retail, and every time it happens to me I look around the store incredulously and want to ask other shoppers, “Did you see this? Is this really happening? Does this only happen to me? Or am I in some parallel retail universe?” Maybe I’ll actually try that next time.

 

But anyway,  here’s what happens:  I will innocently walk up to the line next to the cash register, only to have someone behind me (in a faraway voice) say, “Excuse me, I’m in line”. This person is nowhere near the register, and is just kind of hanging with their items in hand. This is not the case of two registers open at the same time where everyone just kind of waits in the middle until one of the registers opens up. There is one line and one line only, and apparently everyone else missed the memo that the line forms at the register. This isn’t an ATM, folks – I don’t need to give the people checking out that much privacy, even though I may seriously consider their fashion choices as the clerk rings up their sale. All I ask is if you are going to stand in line, then STAND IN LINE. Commit to it. Don’t be tangentially involved in the process. Thank you.

 

The Balsomra Commercial. I know you’ve all seen this commercial, otherwise known as the creepiest commercial known to mankind. If not, here’s the summary: Balsomra is a sleep medication. In order to illustrate to us how it helps you stay awake and fall asleep at the right times, it has created a little video of a woman  that includes the words “Sleep” and “Wake”…only the words are in the shape of furry cat-like critters. Word pets, if you will. So as the woman goes to bed, she cuddles up to the “Sleep” word pet and shoos away the “Wake” word pet. The only thing is, the word pets are some the most terrifying, creepy creatures I’ve ever seen. Who in their right mind would want to snuggle up with these things, or even hang out with the “Wake” word pet during the day? These are the things of my nightmares, folks.

 

Drive-Thru Window Ineptitude. Words alone cannot describe my irritating drive-thru experiences, so I will instead give a sampling of my typical experience:

 

 

Fast Food Restaurant Recorded Voice (FF): Hi, welcome to Fast Food Farm. Would you like to try our sloppy joe grande pot pie combo?

Me: No thank you. (Although that does sound tempting, I think.)

Silence.

More silence.

Uh…did the human get the microphone yet? Am I supposed to go ahead and order? Or do I wait until I hear another announcement? Normal conversation would dictate that the restaurant person should now speak and ask me for my order, since the first question was truly just asking me if I wanted to try their latest special, and I already said I didn’t. I’m so confused.

 

What seem like several minutes pass, and eventually I just give up and start talking.

 

Me: Okay I’d like a small burger meal with ketchup, pickles and mustard only. And that’s it.

FF: You want cheese on that?

Me: No, ketchup and pickles and mustard only. And that’s it.

FF: Okay did you want an ice cream cone too?

Me: No, that’s it.

FF: Oh and did you said the meal or just the sandwich?

Me: The meal.

FF: Anything else?

Me: (Shaking my head, ready to scream) No.

FF: (Several minutes later): Okay that will be $5.23. Please drive ahead.

 

I pull to the window to pay.

 

FF: Okay so you said no cheese, right?

 

The struggle continues to be real.

 

 

 

A Brief History of My Pet Peeves (Part One) March 6, 2016

Filed under: Humor,Uncategorized — aniederkorn @ 9:37 pm
Tags: , , ,

Author’s Note: This originally started out as one single blog post. However, I quickly discovered that I perhaps enjoy ranting about my pet peeves a bit a too much. Or at least to the degree that I had to split this blog into two separate entries because it got too damn long. Here is part one.

 

Kindergarten: I was hassled for being too shy/too quiet. That is, my kindergarten teacher constantly reminded me that I needed to play with others more and less by myself. What she didn’t understand was that a) I liked it that way, b) other kindergarteners could be quite annoying, and c) she of all people should know that a little ‘me’ time away from five-year-olds is not a bad thing. So I’m an introvert. Live with it. Oh and by the way I absolutely loved my kindergarten teacher. RIP Mrs. Berzloff!

 

Third Grade: Those girls who would try to make me miss while playing Double Dutch by purposely lifting the jump ropes up too high. Surely they were just jealous of my mad skills.

 

Seventh Grade: Hell…what didn’t bug me in seventh grade? Those were rough times. Next.

 

Tenth Grade: Gym class, especially the days we’d play softball and I’d hide in right field, praying to God the ball would come nowhere near me. I would do the same thing today. Oh wait no I wouldn’t…because I would NEVER voluntarily play softball. That is one of the awesome perks of being an adult, kids. No forced team sports or excessive socialization. See “Kindergarten” above.

 

College (All Four Years): Guys doing the ‘reverse head nod’. If you are not familiar with this move, then allow me to explain: It’s a quick, almost indistinguishable and 100% rude upwards flip of the head, used as a means of acknowledging another person.  It was most often used by certain douchebag guys whom I had just hung out with at a party the night before. I would inevitably run into them while walking to class, and all they would muster was the reverse head nod, as if they barely knew me.  Note to all these dudes:  No, I am not stalking you; I am just walking to class. Get over yourselves. And I don’t even like you that way anyway. I just thought maybe since we had fun I would say hello, but you can’t seem to muster that.

 

Ughdon’t you hate it when you’re twenty years too late telling people off?

 

My Twenties: Grown women (my co-workers) thirty-plus years my senior taking extra-long lunches, letting me answer all the phones  and telling vendors to order pizza with the works, knowing full well I am a cheese-and-meat-only kind of gal, so I couldn’t even enjoy the free lunches. (Everybody knows that once you add onions on a pizza, it’s over. You can pick them off but the pizza will still taste like f*cking onions.)

 

My Thirties: Retired and unemployed people going to the post office/grocery store/any urgent errand place between the hours of noon and 1:00, precisely when my work lunch hour was. Uh…you have all fricking day to run those errands, people. Between noon and 1:00 you need to stay the hell home and out of my way.

 

I’m going to pause now for a calm-inducing adult beverage. But please join me tomorrow as I post a brand new list of my current pet peeves. Here’s a hint: they include a Japanese chain store and a commercial for insomnia medication.

 

 

The 6 Types of House Hunters September 21, 2015

Filed under: Humor,Pop Culture — aniederkorn @ 9:20 pm
Tags: , ,

I love watching HGTV’s House Hunters. In my opinion it’s one of the most reliable television shows out there; I can always be assured that no matter what other crap is on one of my 200 other channels, House Hunters will always be there to entertain me.

However, if you watch a show long enough, it’s bound to start annoying you with all its idiosyncrasies, and House Hunters is certainly no exception. Over the years I’ve noticed that the most annoying home buyers often fall into certain categories, which I have lovingly outlined for you below. You’re welcome.

The 6 Different Types of House Hunters (totally unofficial and stereotypical, but astoundingly accurate)

  • The Overly-Cautious Parents. These are the parents who are convinced that most houses are death traps waiting to harm their offspring. No matter how innocuous a house seems, the parents will find some reason to find an obscure and often ridiculous safety hazard. Common quotes include: “Well I know that in-ground pool with deck, waterslide and spectacular landscaping is pretty cool, but what if the kids sleepwalk and fall into it?” Or, “Hmmm the slant on that hill is a bit steep. Too much of a risk when the kids are running around.” And then there is the ever popular, “The master is on the first floor and the kids’ rooms are on the second floor?” (Note: at this point I think to myself, “Perfect!”) But then the parents say: “Yeah…that is way too far away. We need to be next to the kids at all times in case something happens.” Cue my husband and me, trying to make pretend helicopter noises.

On a related note, these parents are also most likely to be huge germophobes who ironically let their cats roam freely          across kitchen countertops. And speaking of pets…

  • The Ones Who Care Most About the Dogs. These episodes start innocently enough. The couple seems very likeable and normal, they have good taste, and they both agree on what they want. As the narrator explains the things they are looking for (i.e. open concept, a modern kitchen, a large master suite), the words I dread are then delivered: “They’re also looking for a large yard for their two German Shepherds.”

As the couple starts to look at houses, my opinion of them changes very quickly. These are not just dog people;                  these are crazy-ass dog people ready to go all Parker Posey in Best in Show on you at any given moment. Not                    surprisingly, the housing decision is primarily based on the yard space for the dogs, fencing for the dogs, the proper            environment to walk the dogs, and proximity of a park to run the dogs. After looking at every house, the hunters                    mutter something like this: “Well it’s in our budget and in our desired neighborhood. Plus it’s got those stainless steel           appliances and open concept we love. Basically everything is absolutely perfect for us except the yard is a little too               small for Buster and Roscoe.” I then want to stick a fork in my eye as the couple ends up buying a fixer upper with               mustard yellow appliances and knotty pine walls.  But at least the yard is big enough for the damn dogs.

  • The Wealthy Empty-Nesters Who Are “Downsizing”. Usually he’s some corporate executive or Wall Street maverick, and she’s never had a job outside the home. Now that all their kids are gone, they decide that maybe the 8000 square foot mansion in Westchester is a bit too large for just the two of them. Their plan is to “downsize” to 3500 square feet. As soon as they begin the hunt, she will continue to complain that the houses are way too small, and he will be overly concerned with the price even though they already own condos in Palm Beach and Aspen. They settle on something around 5000 square feet, “for when the kids come to visit.”
  • The Couple with Polar Opposite Tastes. This one can be summed up pretty quickly. For example: His tastes are modern and she loves Victorian style. You know from the start that dude can kiss his chances of a minimalist, neutral palette goodbye. It’s going to be toile and lace for that poor guy for the rest of his life. The closing shot is a quote from the dejected husband who tries his best to smile and say, “Well, it was most important that she was happy.”
  • The Couple Who Want a House “In Their Current Neighborhood”. This couple is also commonly found on HGTV’s Love It or List It. It’s usually a family who has outgrown its current home due to all the kids’ crap: i.e., the dining room has been overtaken by giant plastic puzzles pieces, a pretend kitchen set, a fort, and several makeshift tunnels. The wish list for their new home is impossibly long, but it most likely contains the following: 1) A bedroom for each child, 2) A playroom for the kids, 3) a craft area for Mom, 4) a Man Cave for Dad, and 5) the location absolutely must be in their same neighborhood.

Is it just me, or isn’t it hard enough to simply find a house you love within your budget? What are the chances that                house is going to be in your same neighborhood?

“Little to none, you completely unreasonable hoarders”, I want to tell them.  As is the case with Love It or List It, once            a decorator bulldozes all their crap into a nearby storage unit, the couple realizes they are going to stay in their same          house.

  • The “Mystery Money” Couple. The intro goes something like this: Robin and Josh are twenty-something newlyweds looking for a starter home. Robin is a social worker while Josh is finishing up his graduate degree in Russian Literature. They both want a colonial within easy commuting distance to the university, while still staying within their budget of $450,000.

        Say what?

         In other words, mommy and daddy are fitting the bill, therefore delaying the couple’s entry in the “real world” until they          are well into their mid-thirties, if not longer.

At this point I usually turn the channel in disgust. The Simpsons have got to be on somewhere.

 

Parenting Fail: Mommy Has a Potty Mouth April 12, 2015

As a stepmom  Bonus Mom, I have to admit I am pretty darn lucky. Both of my stepkids are awesome, and I am so proud when I see what kind, smart and genuinely responsible young adults they have turned into at eighteen and fifteen-years-old. Most of the time I think I set a pretty good example for them; other times I know that I fail – pretty miserably. A good example of this would be about a month ago.

In order to understand what led to my horrible behavior, we need to go back to my tennis match, of all places. My doubles partner and I were playing two other women who had been ranked/rated above both of us for quite a while. At first we were both a little nervous, and they took an early lead. However, we fought back and ended up going to a third set. Now in this particular league, you don’t play a full third set; you instead play to ten points, and you have to win by two. We didn’t come close to winning the third set.

We quickly had a chance to redeem ourselves, however. After a quick break, we headed into match two of our doubleheader, playing the same two women. This time we quickly gained the lead but blew the second set, so yet again we were faced with a third set. Spoiler alert and sad face emoticons and emojis all around: we lost the third set again.

Ah, but all is not lost! A few weeks ago we had yet ANOTHER opportunity to beat these ladies. Long story short: We played two more matches, we went to three sets both matches, and we narrowly lost both the third sets. So if you’re keeping track at home, that’s FOUR matches lost in three sets to the same people. What in tarnation is wrong with us, right?

As soon as I got off the court, I checked my phone and found a chipper text waiting for me from my husband.

Hi Honey! How did your match go?

There are some moments in life when only certain words will do to describe how you feel. I had already mumbled quite of few of them under my breath and to my teammates as I anguished in the losses. And now I was about to use a few more choice words that would truly communicate just how I felt. They would also make me feel just a smidge better.

These words may or may not have rhymed with “brother chucker”.

Or to be more specific: BROTHER. CHUCKER.

The all-caps and period really added to the moment, don’t you think?

After some much-needed food and an even more needed adult beverage, I headed home. When I walked in the house, there was my husband and stepdaughter, Karissa, working together to clean the house and make cupcakes. They are awesome and sweet and…

“So…did you get my text?” I ask my husband.

“No…,” he replies. “But Karissa did.”

DOH!

He had her check his texts, and she reported that I had said…well, she never got past the first word, apparently.

What could I do? Well, all I could do was laugh. Laugh like a maniac. And apologize. My cover was blown. I was not the squeaky clean Bonus Mom I appeared to be. I was an imposter.

And so we all had a good laugh. When I think about it, the best reaction was probably laughter (shame-filled laughter, that is.)  I also know that Karissa is a smart girl fifteen-year-old, and I think she’s figured out that I’m definitely human. And sometimes a potty-mouth.

 

Dear John Hughes: Sentimental Fun for Gen-Xers March 8, 2015

Let’s face it: getting through Wisconsin winters is pretty rough. Most days I come home from work in the dark and cold and am in my pajamas by 6:00 sharp. That is, if I don’t lie down for a “little nap” first. I find my lottery ticket purchases skyrocketing, and I watch way too many episodes of House Hunters: Bargain Beachfront Bargain Hunt.

So when I saw that Dear John Hughes, a musical celebrating (what else?) the incredible music featured in John Hughes’ teen flicks of the mid 80’s was coming to Chicago, I jumped online and ordered tickets. What better way to pull me out of my winter funk than listening to the soothing sounds of Psychedelic Furs, Oingo Boingo and The Smiths? Truth be told, I had no idea if there was even a plot to this show, but it also starred Rumer Willis…and if there’s one thing I am, it’s a celebrity whore. Sold! (At about a hundred bucks a ticket – ouch!)

My fellow celebrity whore/pop culture-loving friend Becky and I took the train to Chicago, scarfed down a quick lunch, then high-tailed it to the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place. Despite the 2:00 pm start time, the crowd was already enjoying some pre-entertainment beers, which is always a good sign.

I immediately loved the pre-show music selection, featuring lots of new-wave and lesser-known 80’s music, along with some songs clearly from Hughes’ movies but not featured in the performance. So far so good.

So now – on to the details.

The set was simple: several risers with compartments/room for the live band, with one single “framework” piece along the top for different characters to pose in front of (for the whole silhouette effect). This particular theater also had two very high balconies on both side of the stage and two little mini platforms as well, which were well-used by the cast. Cast members also often used the aisles in the theater, which made it extra exciting when Rumor Willis was nearby (sorry – the whole celebrity whore thing again).

So basically the show is divided into five chapters: The Princess and the Athlete, A Criminal and a Basket Case, The Geek, Prom, and Detention.  Each chapter uses lines and characters from Hughes’ most-loved teenage films:  Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful, and Weird Science. (The latter is used the very least.) In order to maximize the use of the most classic Hughes’ movie lines, the themes may use a Sixteen Candles line one moment and then a Pretty in Pink line the next. I’ll admit it took a little getting used to, but in the end it just worked…largely because Hughes distinctly understood the different personas of the teenage world, and these movies all had recurring character types. You’ll see just how easily these characters could cross into each other’s worlds.

It was also difficult when a particular actor would deliver a line with a totally different inflection than the original Hughes’ movie actor. Let’s face it: When you’ve seen Sixteen Candles as many times as I have, you’re expecting Farmer Ted’s lines to be delivered just exactly like Anthony Michael Hall. One actor had the unenviable task of doing Stef from Pretty in Pink…and didn’t come close. But honestly, it’s pretty hard to top James Spader’s brilliant rich kid smarminess…because Spader is just so good.  The one notable exception to this was Ruby Lewis, who could do a very convincing Edie McClurg as Grace (“They think he’s a righteous dude”) as well as Annie Potts as Iona (“Applause. Applause. APPLAUSE.”) Lewis probably had the strongest voice in the bunch, but Michael Thomas Grant was a close second when he really did a fantastic Ducky singing Otis Redding’s Try a Little Tenderness.

As for Rumer Willis, I was pleasantly surprised that the girl can sing…and I liked her impressions of both Watts and Ally Sheedy’s “Basket Case” as well as Jeannie from Ferris Bueller. In fact, her biggest song of the show, Turn to the Sky by The March Violets, was one of my favorite moments. (By the way, this show just made me love the music of Some Kind of Wonderful even more – not to mention this movie was highly underrated and must be seen by more people. Please. Just do it. You won’t regret it.)

The show keeps a good balance of feel-good songs that everyone knows (Twist and Shout) along with some lesser-known ones that resonate with die-hard Hughes fans. I was particularly happy to hear Left of Center by Suzanne Vega, Young Americans by David Bowie, Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want by The Smiths, and We Are Not Alone by Nik Kershaw. If You Were Here by The Thompson Twins is also one of my all-time favorites (although there is another version of the song by Cary Brothers that just blows me away).

Overall, the show was fun and sentimental-packed. You’ll wish it was 1985 again and you were popping in that VHS tape of Breakfast Club that just came out. I know I am.

 

I Can’t Throw: An Update on Last Year’s New Year Resolution February 17, 2015

So if you follow my blog, you may recall that last year my resolution was to learn how to throw. Better late than never, right?

Spoiler alert: I still can’t throw.

Well, I take that back. I think my throwing motion has probably improved, but I really haven’t gotten to test it out much. Let’s just say that I haven’t been lining up to join any dodgeball tournaments lately, and I won’t be joining that spring softball league. Because not only can I not throw, but I have a huge fear of getting hit by balls, and I can’t bat either. So basically I’m the total package.

So the biggest impetus for learning to throw was because it was affecting my tennis serve. I needed to get that right “snapping” motion in order to get the most power. This was a huge hole in my game, and I was tired of opponents asking me how my shoulder surgery went. (This was of course a big rumor, and after a while I just decided to go with it and not correct anyone. I had already told people I was a big spaz and couldn’t throw, but for some reason they didn’t believe me and preferred to think I had a bum shoulder. Go figure.)

And so I took service lessons.

Now without the actual tennis ball, my service motion looked incredible. I practiced and practiced that motion and it looked beautiful. But put a tennis ball in my hand and ask me to now use that same motion while hitting the ball…well, it all fell to shit. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t combine the motion with the ball toss and put everything together. So now I’m back to my old reliable-yet-crappy serve. (I’m wondering what my next move should be: hypnotist, maybe? Obviously my problem is mental, right?)

But rather than focus on this sporting failure – which I’m pretty much used to – I will instead look back at those few shining moments of athletic glory in my younger life. They are, in no particular order:

  • Dart Goddess. Thanks to the questionable “dart unit” in high school gym class, I discovered that although I could not throw any type of ball, I could definitely throw small spears. And I could throw them well. Thanks to this tutelage and the dart machine in my college boyfriend’s house, I was a force to be reckoned with at the college bars.
  • Badminton Bad-Ass. Another one of the few gym units I excelled at, probably because I was hitting something over a net and there were no balls involved. Also, the one time I actually needed a shower after gym class.
  • Archery Annie. Apparently I am better with sharp objects. I once shot a perfect bulls-eye as all my fellow classmates watched. Suck it, basketball players!
  • Star Shooter. I can’t play basketball worth shit, but I can shoot. I once scored six points in a row in a gym class basketball game, which was enough for an opponent to yell at his teammates: “Get on her!” I was actually a threat. Now this was something new. I’ve been a threat at a lot of things in my life. Power shopping. Wheel of Fortune. Scrabble. Jeopardy. Rock Paper Scissors. Most naps in a day. Caddyshack and Sixteen Candles trivia. But a basketball threat? Now that was hilarious.
  • Dancing Diva. Dancing is not technically a sport, but then again darts weren’t either. But since they were both gym class units and involved physical skill, I’m counting them. The only time I got an ‘A’ in gym.
  • Jumping Jehosaphat. (I’m not quite sure what a Jehosaphat is, but anything that Yosemite Sam says is alright by me.) I’m also pretty sure I hold the jump roping and Double Dutch record at Lourdes grade school. And it was pretty cutthroat; beware little girls in jumpers who are bad rope twirlers and try to make you miss.

Thank goodness I learned to play two lifetime sports: golf and tennis. Because unlike a lot of people, my best athletic years are NOW (and even yet to come) – not when I was sixteen years old. And for that I am thankful.

 

Sport Flirting with Twentysomethings February 3, 2015

I’ve come to realize that I’ve only got a certain number of years before I’ll start to feel ridiculous going to dance clubs. The same can be said of the time I have left for flirting with guys much younger than I. Sure, I’m married and I love my husband very much (we are celebrating ten years this week – yay us!) but eventually I think it’s only natural to want attention from someone other than your partner. Who doesn’t enjoy a nice compliment, especially from someone much younger than you?  If you have no craving for that ever…well, I really don’t understand you at all, and you are probably lying to yourself. On the other hand, if you know what I mean, then by all means come sit by me and we’ll go shamelessly flirt with twentysomethings* for the sport of it. After all, we are still experienced, hot older chicks who don’t look nearly as old as we are. Let’s embrace this sweet time before we turn into totally inappropriate horny cougars that everyone just likes to humor.

I take you back to such an opportunity, two Octobers ago. I was out and about with my college friends visiting our alma mater during Homecoming weekend.  Our first stop was at our favorite bar called “The Abbey”. Now back in our day (ugh did I really say ‘our day’?), this bar was really quite small and divey, which naturally made us love it even more.  But years later, thanks to some land negotiations with the college and some new money, our beloved dive bar was torn down and rebuilt into this shiny new sports bar down the street. Come to think of it, most of the really trashy party houses are gone now too. Sigh. Progress can really suck, AmIRight? Now the new bar is very nice, mind you, however I still find myself very nostalgic for the old familiar place where I could ask Carol what she’s got in the deep fryer. And then I could drink until midnight before hobbling down the street to the dance club and shuttin’ ‘er down.  (That would be both my shutting the place down at 2:15 a.m.ish, AND shuttin’ ‘er down on the dance floor with my dope moves. I was partial to the Beastie Boys’ Sabotage as well as Come Baby Come by K7. Swing batta batta batta batta batta…swing!!)

Ah…good memories.

So there we were, the seasoned alumni, still kind of wondering why we didn’t know too many people any more, even though it’s been nearly twenty years since we graduated. But really, in my mind, 1995 is what? About ten years ago, right? And so we stood around cranking our necks out for anyone who looked vaguely familiar from the mid-nineties.

And then I saw him, standing by the jukebox. Preppy, clean-cut boy wearing a red plaid shirt (Ralph Lauren, perhaps?) He was one of my two types, which happen to be pretty different. One is of course the said preppy look, and the second would be long wavy-haired alternative guy. Either way, they must both dress well.

I decided to make my move.

“I’m going in,” I proclaimed to my girlfriends, pointing out my target.

“Aw, he is adorable!” they all say in unison.

Normally doing something like this when I was twenty would have taken several beers. Now that I’m older and more confident… it still takes several beers. Shit.

Anyway, somehow I manage to strike up a conversation with Red Plaid Shirt, and he starts to tell me what he does for a living. He’s about five minutes into the explanation when I hold my hand out to him and tell him to please stop.

“So you’re a recruiter,” I tell him.

“Yeah! Yeah, that’s it!” he tells me. Wow. I think I just won on Jeopardy!

I try not to shake my head and tell him that I know what a recruiter is, that he didn’t have to launch into a diatribe for me, but clearly junior is pretty darn proud of his very first job, so I’m not going to ruin it for him. I mean it took me at least one year week out of college before I realized that my corporate job was sucking the life out of me. Who was I to blow the surprise for him?

The conversation does not get much easier from there.

Red Plaid Shirt is really into the jukebox, and for some reason he really likes playing bad 90’s, including Mariah Carey. I’m not sure if he’s trying to be ironic or funny or both, but I’m reminded of the dumb (but very hot) fireman that Samantha dated on Sex and the City. From afar, Red Plaid Shirt is fireman hot hot hot. But upon closer inspection, he is dumb, dumb, dumb.

“Isn’t this stuff great?” he exclaims after every song. Apparently he has poured about a kajillion bucks into that jukebox, because every motherchuckin’ song is his. He acts as if he just discovered music gold, much like the stoners in my day who acted like they were the only ones who truly appreciated The Doors. He is trying way too hard to be Ironically Hip Music Boy, and it starts to grate on my nerves. God, can’t I go back to the days when I knew someone would always play Anna Begins by the Counting Crows and I could take a sip of my Miller Lite and just know everything would be okay?

Thankfully my friend came over and joined me, perhaps sensing my distress, or perhaps just wanting to join in on the fun. She quickly picked up on the annoying/dumb vibe and gave me a knowing glance, which, loosely translated, meant: Must. Get. Away. Too. Dumb.

But then he gave us the perfect out.

“You know what?” he told us, acting as if he was letting us in on some big ancient secret. “So my parents told me that when they went to school here, this place used to be called ‘Ye Olde Abbey’. Isn’t that great?”

Friend and I look at each other. That’s what the bar was called when we went to school there.

If there was a mic around, we would have dropped it like we were Eminem in the final battle, Mom’s spaghetti on our sleeves.

“Okay, we’re outta here,” we say in unison.

Besides, if you are going to do old-school ironic, at least choose something actually cool like Come Baby Come by K7.

*Even though the younger men can be nice, don’t misunderstand me – I do not rule out the older gentlemen. Truth be told, when I’m on the treadmill at the Y and I look down onto the pick-up basketball games in the gym, it’s actually the older John Slattery lookalike with the gray chest hair I’m checking out. It’s never the twentysomething with the baggy shorts past his ankles. Because really? Ick.