Thursday, January 03, 2008

Things That Annoy Me, that No Doubt Make Me a Bad Person. A series.

Yesterday sucked.
Not in any catastrophic sense, it was just a series of small weirdnesses and grating annoyances that dragged on for many hours.
My first appointment of the day insisted on seeing me at 9am. This is a very civilized time, unless the customer in question happens to live 96 miles away, and you wake up to driving snow and inpenetrable dark. I make it to the office and the vehicle I'm supposed to use is not there.
No problem, the borrower of it turns up in 15 minutes and away I go. I stop for gas and quickly put a giant road salt/dirt swipe on my new coat. The weather improves/gets worse, alternately, all the way to Ithaca. I get on the road I'm supposed to be on and I cant find the #$%^&$%^! street. Can't find it to save my life. I call the guy, he gives me directions that would have been fabulous if I'd been coming from the other direction, and I end up calling him a second time. Now he sounds snippy. Because I am 9 minutes late.
I punch into his unplowed, unshoveled driveway and crunch through the snow to his garage, where he waits with Pepper, his Australian Cattleherding Dog. I know she's an Australian Cattle Herding Dog and her name is Pepper because 1) I mention she looks like an Australian because of her color, and remark that a friend had one with blue eyes, and he corrects me and advises that only SHEPHERDS have blue eyes, and his is a CATTLE HERDING DOG. Still an Australian though, so I'm not a complete idiot. 2) I know her name, because it is said approximately 500 times during the 30 minutes I am there.
Let me ask you a question, gentle reader. Do you talk like a babbling idiot to your pets? Do they have 59 nicknames? Admit it. I know I do. But I don't do it IN FRONT OF STRANGERS. Pepper, Peppy, Miss Pepps, Sweetybutt, Sweetbabycakes is apparently being trained not to bark and jump on people by being spoken to in a manner approximately 9.75 times as annoying as whatever she is doing. Each bark was met with 'PEPPY PEPPY! YOU may STOP it NOW!' while the fur bearing moron lunged at her leash like a rabid, retarded dingo. This continued for the duration of the visit. I was instructed to offer her 'kibbles, with an open hand' to win her favor, as I obediently received a handful of dog pellets. I'm not sure what that was supposed to do; the barking continued, but I guess I was 'her friend'. I'm sure she thought I was; after the customer instructed me to remove my shoes, he said, 'these should fit you' and kicked off his slippers. Yes, the ones on his feet. Which I was obligated to put on. And wear. Still warm from his feet. It was almost, yet not quite, as unsettling as the time I had breakfast with a Russian aid worker who scraped leftover bacon from her plate onto mine for me to eat because 'she hated to waste food'. My streak of unwelcome familiarity with strangers is thus unbroken.
We went upstairs, and the dog turned around as I was coming up and put her paws on my shoulders. I looked in her eyes and tried to telepathically convey how she would go down the steps as a doggie boogie board with my hands firmly clasped on her collar should I lose my balance.
All I wanted to do is get out of there, in my own shoes. Our business concluded, I jumped back in the van, chewed snow down his driveway, and headed back to town. My coffee cup was empty so I swung into a large grocery store for a refill.
I don't think anyone in Ithaca actually works. At 10:15 on a Wednesday morning after a holiday the parking lot was absolutely packed. I looked for a spot close to the 'Market Cafe' where the coffee shop is. I saw a few open spots that wouldn't require I waste a lot of time traversing the lot (because after all, I was working) and went to park. Then I saw the sign.
"Parking for Parents with Children".
Actually, I saw the signs, there were more than a dozen. Plus a special covered corral of carts. Four or five of these spots were empty. At first, I planned to go on by and look for something beyond them, but I was overcome with something I can only describe as 'resentment of entitlement'. (Note that I am NOT talking about handicapped parking, so don't go there. They need it and if you park there without a placard or a plate you deserve a ticket commensurate with your idiocy.)
I slammed on the brakes. Screw it. It was not raining, or snowing, or otherwise hurling potentially infant-damaging meteorological nastiness or any kind. (Okay, it was cold, but if you are going to raise kids in New York State they'd better suck it up; they'll be standing outside waiting for the school bus in it for about twelve years.) I swung the van into an available spot and didn't feel one bit sorry about it. When I was a kid, we rode to the grocery store in the front seat after getting our chins caught in the metal zipper of our winter coats, sat in the cart with no seatbelt or plush quilted liner, and threw Count Chocula in the basket while our mother's backs were turned. I started thinking about other special parking I'd like to see.
  • Parking for Those Grappling with Certain Existential Realities
  • Parking for the Damned (I maintain that this exists in certain airports. I'd just like to see who would willingly park there.)
  • Parking for Scary Cat Ladies (Hey. You ever hauled three 26 pound buckets of Tidy Cat out of a cart?)
  • Parking for Those Shopping for Dinner for People They Really Don't Want to Entertain

I got my coffee and was out and away in four minutes, having done no discernible injustice to any Wegman's-bound children or their parents. At the end of the day I called another client (80 miles in the other direction) to book an appointment and the first thing he said was "I'm sorry but I will have to have you come right at the beginning of the day if possible."

I hope he doesn't have a dog.


Jonny's Mommy said...

Why do you have to have parking close to the store for children and parents? Wouldn't it be better to have longer to walk so parents can lecture their children endlessly on how they should behave themselves and not throw Count Chocula into the basket when the parents aren't looking? Only in Ithaca. Liberal freaks. :-) *sniff* *sniff* I smell blog drama coming on!

Jonny's Mommy said...

Oh gosh and I love the idea of "Parking for the Damned..." and where did you find that sign at the top? It is hilarious.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

Jonny's Mommy sent me . . . Y'know, I'm all for those parking spaces for pregnant ladies 'cuz waddling four miles with a gallon of milk and 38 pounds of kitty litter is no picnic. But for the life of me I see no reason why people with kids can't handle the hike. You've got kids to help you carry the kitty litter, after all.

Also, it's a good thing there aren't any special purpose parking space police. I'd be up to my eyeballs in tickets.

Potty Mummy said...

And breathe, breeaathe. Shoulders down. Relax.

(But, OMG - HIS SLIPPERS? Yeuch!)

BTW - Jonny's mummy sent me too...

AnnaKat said...

Oh, Honey! It was just one of those days for you wasn't it?! I would express my sympathy for you...if I wasn't so busy laughing!
(Umm, the laughter would be with you not at you. Of course you may not be laughing...)

Diesel said...

Ok, here's the deal. I'll come back and read this, but you have to put some paragraph breaks in it. Just hit enter an extra time every few lines. It's like magic. Please?

Shieldmaiden96 said...

I did my best...I even hit return twice between each paragraph...and when I viewed it, it was all condensed again.

Tricia said...

Found you off a comment from 15 minute lunch. :) I was cracking up! As someone who grew up standing in the cold waiting for the bus during upstate NY winters I can relate to your plight.

And what on earth do you do that has you going to peoples homes and being forced to wear their slippers? I was shuddering at the thought of putting on shoes that some stranger had just taken off their feet. GAG!

And yes I do have many nicknames for my dog and cats and I do speak to them in baby talk voices - but you are correct, never in front of visitors, even my family, doggie talk is private! LOL

Keep up the great blog!

the frogster said...

Oh, man! I would totally park at all the signed spots you mention. Um, except the "cat lady" one, but that's only because my mom's car would already be there.

Kathy said...

Oh my god. Freaking hilarious story. I knew immediately it was a Wegmans. We have seven thousand parking spaces for people with children, too. I've violated that rule on several occasions. Didn't care. Sue me.

And wearing your client's warm slippers? I can't count the way that that disgusts me. You are a better person than me.

Shieldmaiden96 said...

I am a surveyor for a moving company. So I get to walk into a stranger's house and, with their permission, look in every closet and cupboard in every room. It is like a dream for someone who used to peek in people's medicine cabinets as a child. I have concluded that just about everyone on the planet (with a few amazing exceptions) has nicer furniture than me.