Not sharp enough to know I was supposed to be humiliated

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Ok, so I thought this was an odd title for an online article:

“How not to feel humiliated when dining alone”

Um. Why would I? I rather enjoy eating out alone.

Given the photo of the sad lonely brunette (she HAD to be a brunette, right?) that accompanies the article, I think reading between the lines, the title of the article is more like:

“You sad lonely dried up old maid. How terrible that you have to eat alone.”

Because *clearly* the target audience for this story isn’t guys. I don’t know that most guys would feel humiliated dining alone. They’d pull up a chair to the bar, order a beer and dive in. Isn’t all this fuss and kerfuffle a girl thing?

The story goes on to offer several suggestions for how that lonely gal can make it through such a harrowing experience as having to dine alone like reading a book or staring into her mobile device.

Please. Eating out alone is great. You don’t have to share your dessert, you can drink too many glasses of wine if you want, and you can burp at the table. What’s not to love about this experience?

And oh the people watching. So much to take in!

Plus, plenty of couples look miserable dining together. But they are not “humiliated” because they are not alone, so it’s ok? Bah!

I guess I sort of thought we were past the days when someone eating alone in a restaurant was a weird thing. So many people travel for business or just choose to spend time alone. In my book this is no longer odd.

And the conventional wisdom used to be that as a solo diner the wait staff wouldn’t serve you as well (one person means smaller tab means smaller tip) but I have found the opposite to be true. I think wait staff rather enjoy the ease of just one person at the table. No question where the entrée goes!

I’ve not ever felt slighted or mistreated when dining alone. It works just fine.

Sure, I’d rather have The Good Man there because, mainly, he makes any thing I do a lot more fun (he could make going to the dentist for a root canal a worthwhile adventure!). But if I’m away from him and I’m hungry, well, a girl’s gotta eat!

Honestly most of my girlfriends are the same way. Eating alone in a restaurant is no biggie.

Most girls half my age are twice as bold as me, so I don’t think they have issues either.

Who is this story really aimed at? As I read the comments, most of the ladies chiming in seem to agree with my point of view on this.

And seems most agree that the title of the article is just plain terrible.

I guess my message to the author is to simply quote the comment left by a reader named Melissa:

“Thanks for bashing my confidence in eating alone. I guess now when I take myself out to lunch to be awesome I have to feel HUMILIATED instead.”

So there!

Top Five Tough Jobs Made Doubly Sucky In This Storm

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The wind is howling (tornado warnings in San Jose) and we’re getting 1-2 inches of rain each day and it’s *cold*.

In other words, it’s winter in the Bay Area.

During a brief break in the storm, I headed out today to run a couple errands.

While out and about I saw a CalTrans guy (called the highway department to the rest of the world) in full head to toe bright yellow heavy weather gear.

He was out there yanking leaves and branches out of the storm drains.

See, here in the Bay Area, we feature a lot of eucalyptus trees. They have these tree trunks that peel off long strips. We also have plenty of palm trees that will drop a huge frond at the slightest breeze.

Add some pine needles from all the redwoods, a heap of your garden variety debris, and you got yourself clogged storm drains that then back water up onto the streets. Hello flooding!

As I watched the guy wade into rushing water and pull out another tree branch, I thought…now that’s a sucky gig!

Further down the road I saw the trash guy doing his job, also wearing full bright yellow storm gear against the rain.

And I thought, wow, also sucky.

So I mentally put together my list…top five jobs that are already very tough to do, but are made, like, eleventy billion times worse in this crazy storm.

Here we go:

1. As mentioned…CalTrans employee. Especially the people who work out on the major highways unclogging drains, placing pylons around huge potholes, trying to drain flooded low spots on the highway, etc. You get the idea. Ugh.

2. Trash collector. Look, on a good day this is a rough gig. Now put stinky trash in the rain and with flooded roads and people not driving safely and hoo boy, isn’t THAT a nice day at work?

3. PG&E field response. Yeah, when the power goes out due to high winds, these are the people that strap on, once again, the bright yellow high weather gear. Then they get to climb a frapping ladder and hope that one, they don’t fall off, and two, that all the water doesn’t conduct a little extra electricity their way. And the yo-yo’s in all the warm houses get all pissed off when they have no power, so there’s some abuse in this job too. Truly, a thankless gig.

4. Bridge toll taker. Ok, so there you are in the storm of the year, inside a box roughly as big as an old fashioned phone booth attached to a suspension bridge that is engineered to sway. Riiight. The bridge is swaying there over the frosty waters of this inlet from the Pacific with no wind break. And oh by the way, you have to leave that big window open on the tool booth and reach your hand out there once every half minute to take money out of people’s hands. No freaking thank you.

Finally, bar none…

5. Tow truck driver. Sure, this weather makes them a lot of money, but they also have to deal with all manner of idiots. Ever hear of a “solo spin out”? I hadn’t until I moved here. This means one person losing control of their car and whipping around, usually ending up off the pavement (and hopefully not down an embankment).

When it goes right, it’s a “solo” problem. When it doesn’t go right, it’s a horrible, traffic clogging accident. And the tow truck guy has gotta strap on the bright yellow gear and then yank all those cars out of the way while the stopped traffic curses at him, the car owners harass him and the dispatch is calling him begging for his help at another spot.

Gah.

Just, really. Gah.

I can say I’m not man enough for that job. Oh but I love to hear stories from tow truck drivers. Those people have seen some stuff…whoooieee.

Anyhow, as I bunker down with the heat running and a warm cup of tea in hand, here’s a huge thanks to the CalTrans employees, trash collectors, PG&E technicians, toll collectors and tow truck drivers on this crazy blustery day.

Oh, and also the police and fire rescue who are working non-stop in this mess. And the EMT’s in all the emergency rooms, too.

Thank you for doing a mostly thankless job.

(clearly this guy only has to model and never has to use this gear because he is WAY too chipper in that outfit. I’ve never seen a grin like that on someone who really had to use that gear)

Blame it on the rain…

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So under deeply dark gray skies and a relentless rain, I drove this morning down highway 101.

I had on the local country station because that’s the kind of music I’m listening to these days.

That fairly dated song by Tim McGraw “Live Like You Were Dying” came on.

You know the one, goes something like this:

“I went sky diving/I went rocky mountain climbing/I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu
And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter/And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying
Some day, I hope you get the chance/To live like you were dyin’.”

This song always did bug me. Dunno, I’m not the hugest Tim McGraw fan anyway.

But back in 2004, I really got a whole other view. I can’t hear the song without remembering.

I have this very dear friend, let’s call her Jane (it’s her Nom de Bebida).

Jane is about 90 pounds soaking wet and bouncy like a golden retriever. She is intensely athletic, too. I mean, despite being tiny, her body is finely hewn with long muscles and power. In other words, the exact opposite of my own rig. Which may be why we get along so well.

I once quipped that she has spin class for breakfast, power yoga for lunch and windsurfing for dinner.

And it’s true. That’s an actual day from her life.

Back in 2004 she went on a windsurfing trip to an island with a name I can’t recall. I believe it is part of the Canary Islands.

While there, she caught a particularly nasty parasite.

The side effects of this hitchhiker looked an awful lot like meningitis, meaning very painful headaches as the lining of the brain swells, utter fatigue, and more.

She went into the hospital and the doctors could not figure out what the heck was wrong with her.

For weeks she suffered. Huge doses of painkillers, doctors trying everything and still she didn’t improve.

At one point, they were unsure if they were going to be able to help her. Meaning…they weren’t sure if she would survive. They had a long talk with her boyfriend about options.

Finally after what must have felt like forever to our Janie girl, someone figured out the problem. With some meds and her own body’s immune system, everything kicked into gear and she started to improve, but recovery was very slow.

Once she came home from the hospital, she was told to rest. Rest, ha! You tell a golden retriever to rest? Are you kidding?

But she did rest as much as she could.

When she started to go a little stir crazy, I’d go get her and we’d go for short trips out to lunch or something. She’d fatigue so fast it was frightening to see.

Toward the end of summer of that year, Tim McGraw came to the Shoreline for a concert. Jane wanted to go, so I piled a lot of blankets and her tiny body into the Jeep and took her to the show. We sat on the lawn.

When the big finale came on and McGraw sang his top of the charts song, the crowd stood swaying and sang along. Janie and I sat on the ground and listened.

The first chorus rang out into the night air and my very down to earth, very blunt friend looked at me and said, “I don’t like that song.”

“Yeah, I don’t like it much either,” I replied. Then Jane startled me.

“I don’t want to live like I am dying. I want to live like I am living,” Jane said, pretty emphatically. “I’ve tried dying. I don’t like it.”

And I hugged her real tight that night, because she was right. I didn’t like her living so close to dying either.

So now whenever I hear that damn song, I remember my Janie girl demanding that she wanted to live like she was living!

By the way, just this year, at the age of 43, that girl got pregnant (naturally) with her first child and gave birth to the most delicate and beautiful baby girl.

Now if that ain’t livin’ like you wanna live, I don’t know what is.

And I smiled to remember my girl. She’s a ray of light on a rainy day.
_____

I believe this sudden serious turn on the blog is probably a surprise after the past several posts.

It came as sort of a surprise to me, too, when I wrote it in my head this morning.

Blame it on my melancholy mood and the relentless winter rain.

(iPhone photo taken moments ago)

So one day, you’re walking down Vegas Boulevard and…

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Oh man, I can’t *believe* I forgot to blog about this… I think I Tweeted, but 140 characters does this no justice.

So picture it if you will. Las Vegas Boulevard just a week or so ago.

I’m over at the Mirage because I was hungry and wanted the fare offered at the Carnegie Deli***.

I swear, I am a New York Jewish girl, because I gotta have their chopped liver salad. Just *gotta* have it!

So after finishing my meal and losing a few bucks to the slots, I decided to walk.

I always have to take some time to walk Vegas Blvd to see how it has changed. Plus, you get a whooole different view of The Strip at street level.

There I am walking north on the strip headed toward Fashion Show Mall with a destination of the Trump Hotel nestled in behind the mall, when I see a little alcove-like thing in the wall around the Mirage.

People are lined up there and I figure, well, it’s some Vegas thing, a mostly naked show girl, an “amazing double” dressed up as Michael Jackson (only I just saw him a couple hours ago back at the Bellagio) or a Three Card Monte game, who knows.

I was not prepared for what I saw.

Not. Prepared.

I come around the bend and see this lush green inset in the wall with a railing.

Ok, you know when you go to a cathedral or a really large Catholic church and they have the Virgin Mary Grotto? With the statue and the railing and the somber tones?

Yeah. It was like that.

Only the statue people were worshiping was this (click for full size):

If the imagery isn’t immediately clear to you, that’s a golden rendition of Sigfried and Roy and a white tiger, festooned with fakey shards of crystals shooting out of the cement moorings.

Oh man, everyone was snapping photos like the red carpet. They’d put the kids in front of this thing, or the lady would get in front and the guy would take the photo then the guy would get up there and the lady would snap away, and then the whole family would crowd in there.

People were beside themselves to get photos with this statue.

In a non-ironic way.

Well, I found a break in the crowd and grabbed a couple iPhone photos so I could show The Good Man and we could look at this later and ponder just WTF.

I have no answers.

Other than that’s Vegas, I suppose…

***Not intentionally, but we ended up having an “old home” week in Las Vegas. We went to Garduños to fulfill longing for the food of my youth, then later I took The Good Man, a Brooklyn boy, back to the Carnegie for a monster Reuben (corned beef, if you please).