Verbal-Foo Skillz…I has them

: cue the wavy lines and smoke :

Yes, we’re in the wayback machine, set to “semi-wayback”

Lo, these many years ago when I’d first moved to California, I started dating a guy who was (and is) a musician.

A blues musician, which means he played a lot of dark and, well let’s go with “gritty,” bars in the San Francisco and greater Bay Area.

So, being young and a fairly naïve rube from New Mexico, I used to get all dressed up in cute clothes and impossibly high heels, then head out, by myself, to these bars and clubs to see if I could get the musician to notice me.

So being a young, naïve girl all gussied up to go out, it stands to reason that I used to get hit on by the other patrons of the bars I attended.

A lot.

I mean, *a lot*.

Not because I’m exceptionally pretty, though I’m not a mud fence either. But mainly because I was a girl. Alone. In a bar.

Sort of a siren call for the drunk and lonely.

I have pretty much heard every pickup line in the book. And some from books that no one has written and never should.

Oh yes, I’ve heard ’em all…twice.

When I was feeling convivial, I’d play with the drunk, slurring sportos like a cat plays with a dying mouse. I’d bat them around a little bit before slamming down the paw.

If I wasn’t feeling convivial, I’d get out my acid tongue, a genetic gift from a rather acerbic aunt in my family tree, and burn them on the spot.

One of my favorites is still a late night when all the lights had come up in the bar. The guy I was dating was through working and before he began packing up his stuff, he came over to hang out with me for a minute.

Some very drunk fellow, sensing that the lights were up, began scrambling around to find a warm body, ANY body, to take home.

And of course, since I’m the freak magnet (it’s true, been observed by many a friend and even a family member or two), the slobbering drunk made a beeline for me.

His opening gamble was something slurred and incoherent. Honestly, I don’t remember what he said. I do remember his glassy eyed look as he slurred out something and waggled his eyebrows at me.

Weary with a night of fending off such fellows, I looked him square in the eye and asked, loudly, “Are you hitting on me?”

He slurred in return…”um…well, yes. Is it working?”

I replied, “Let me get this straight…you are hitting on me. And *that’s* your opening line? That’s the best you can do?”

Not to be deterred, he nodded and asked again, “It is working?”

“No,” I said very caustically, “And have you met my boyfriend?” who had been standing next to me the whole time.

Thankfully the very large and take-no-prisoners bartender then placed a beefy hand roughly on the drunk’s shoulder and shouted, “Get out!”

I relate all of this to place a context on the story that follows. So that you understand that, basically, I have learned how to handle myself.


I stopped going to those sorts of clubs and bars a very, very long time ago. And I don’t miss them, honestly. Well, I miss the amazing music that the San Francisco blues musicians pump out, because there is some amazing untapped talent in that City.

But the clubs…I don’t miss them.

Which means, in my now suburban lifestyle, I don’t really get hit on like that anymore.

And you’d think my skills in handling the weirdos might have slipped.

Turns out, I still got it.

So there I was…down on Fremont street in Las Vegas with my trusty camera and the goal to shoot many of the restored old Vegas signs that the Neon Museum installed in the area.

It was about 10:00 in the morning, so that was probably my first mistake. Second, I was alone. Third, I was behind the camera and really in creative head.

All of this mixed together meant the moths came dashing over to knock themselves against my flame…so to speak.

At 10:00 in the morning, the tourists aren’t really out, so it was me and the, ahem, locals.

I got a lot of “heeey…wanna take *my* picture?”

Um, no.

“Heeey, what’s *your* name?” (my least fave opening line, btw)

But the best interaction went like this….

“Hey! Hey? HEY!?!?”

And so I finally turned to see who was bellowing at me.

“You are a big girl! I saw you walking by and I said to myself, I said, you know, big girls need loving too…”

Yep. That was his opening line. He called me fat and then decided I was so lonely cuz I’m such a big girl that I needed his, what would it be…pity? Charity? Selfless giving?

I said, “Uh huh.”

“Say baby, what’s your name?” he said, turning on ALL the charm.

“Lucy,” I replied (using my Nom de Bebida) followed by, “And my husband’s name is David.”

My suitor then sharply spun on one heel and walked away.

The rest of the morning was not just photography, but a continual improv show in which I was the only performer.

I was Lucy, I was a photography student at UNLV, my teacher had given me the assignment to shoot the signs, and ONLY the signs (in answer to the continual request to “take my picture!”), I was a local, I lived with an aunt and uncle, I’d been living here for a while, no I don’t have any spare change and by god I have a husband and don’t need your affections.

It was exhausting.

The final straw was the guy smoking a spliff who came up carrying a Wal-Mart plastic bag which he held out to me. “Wanna buy a Coach purse?” he offered.

And with that, I was done. I caught a cab back to my hotel and stayed inside the rest of the day.

I still got it, but mostly, I just don’t want to have to use it anymore.

Oh, here we go again

So the weather has turned a little frosty here in the Bay Area.

And I really do mean frosty, temps dipped into the low 30’s overnight (unusual for us). We had some freezing rain and snow as low as 500 feet.

Fer crimeny’s sakes, you’d think it was winter or something!

Oh. Nevermind.

Anyhoo, you’ll recall in February of this year, I was beset upon by menopausal coworker harpies screeching to me about my lack of a jacket.

This seems to be an *issue* for people. The fact that I don’t like to wear jackets.

So it cropped up again yesterday. Less screeching, less menopausal.

It was the kind concern of my husband. He wasn’t being a harpy, he was looking out for me, which I appreciate. However…

“Aren’t you cold?” he asked.

And then later.

“Really? You aren’t cold?”

Well, to be honest, yes, I was a skosh cold. For the aggregate of exactly two minutes we were not in the warm car and not yet inside an often too hot building.

For the remaining twenty-three hours and fifty eight minutes of my day, I was in a climate controlled environment with plenty of heaters to keep me toasty. Actually, way too toasty.

So, what I have here, feeling momentary cold, is but a small problem. The big problem, staying warm, is solved.

I can tolerate being cold for about two minutes. (it’s not like I live somewhere where it is SERIOUSLY cold like Canada or Alaska or Switzerland or something!)

I really, truly dislike being inside and dressed too warm and then I have to take layers off and then I’m schlepping around my stuff and worried about leaving a hat or scarf or something somewhere.

I’m forgetful enough with the stuff I do have to carry around, why add to my misery?

I guess I’m the kind of person that will focus on the 98% problem, not the 2% problem.

Or…in this case, two minutes equals .1% of a problem.

So I’m a 99.9% girl, I suppose.

I have no problem with others wearing jackets. I don’t ask people wearing a heavy coat on a summer day “aren’t you hot?”

I suppose if I’m dumb enough to get caught out without a jacket in a really cold situation…well, then my dad was right when he said (only sometimes, when I misbehaved) that I was too dumb to come in out of a rainstorm.

Then again, have you ever frolicked in a really nice New Mexico summer rainstorm? A bit of heaven, I assure you…

But I digress…..

Oh…and as a final thought…the radio stations last night were all warning about outdoor plants freezing and to take precautions. They talked about going to a garden center to buy plant coverings….

I’m sorry, have these people NOT heard of using your sheets and blankets and garbage bags? Do you *really* need to pay big bucks to buy a plant center approved “plant cover”???

What do I expect from a metropolitan area filled with people who will pay someone $100 to put chains on their car when they go skiing.

I believe if you aren’t smart enough to put chains on your car, you shouldn’t be driving in snow.

There. I said it.

This, from the girl who isn’t smart enough to come in out of the rain.

I have the powa!

Watch out for me. I am potent. I have powers even I don’t understand.

The power of mah mind.

Oh yes.

See, on Monday, I went for a walk over at the Stanford Dish, a pretty grueling up and down hilly walk that knocks the wind out of me and makes me sweat. Generally The Dish humbles me very much.

It’s hard for me to complete the Dish. It takes effort. A lot of effort.

On Monday, I had to stop five times during the journey to catch my breath. It’s embarrassing.

Exercising at The Dish is rather popular with the beautiful and healthy people of the surrounding Palo Alto area (home to Stanford University, rich AND smart people), so as I go schlumping along, I often encounter blond, beautiful and much more attractive than me-type people.

So, there I was on Monday, a nice day, walking along in my old faded yoga pants, a loose shirt and a grimace. I’d already wheezed up the first hill and made my first stop as my lungs were burning.

But damnit man, I was *doing* it.

As I continued to walk at an ok pace, I was passed by a young man wearing one of those shiny new tight, moisture wicking, Nike logo emblazoned shirts. He’d paired this with fancy running shorts, sparkling white shoes, fresh iPod strapped to his arm and the perfect runners stance. Hell, he didn’t even have the rictus you see on the face of most joggers.

No. He was a blond chiseled sample of running perfection. Elbows bent at the perfect angle, strides the right distance. All perfect. He passed me (wide, middle aged, out of shape) with a snotty air and as he cruised past me, he gave two dye job blondes with store bought boobies a long, meaningful look.

Ok, I’m not too proud to admit it. I got snarky. In my head.

“Loser! I hope you trip and fall! I hope you get a cramp in your leg! I hope you gas out on the next hill!” I thought to myself.

Then he was gone over the next rise and it was me and the Bee Gees on my iPod shuffle. And another hill to climb.

So I trudged along.

Fifteen minutes later, I caught up to the guy.

He’d gassed out. He was walking. Slowly. I passed him. I didn’t even look his way. I just kept walking. Smugly.

Later, I encountered a woman who was really pert and fit. She was walking ahead of me on a hill where I had to stop twice. She stopped not at all.

“Well aren’t YOU so fit!” I thought in my tacky brain. “Bite me! Just….oooh, I hope you get tired! Oh no, you are soooo healthy!”

And when I finally got to the top of the hill, guess who I found standing there, breathing hard?

She’d made it all the way up the hill, but then had to stop.

I passed her too.

Oh the mind power of a snarky out of shape girl with determination on her mind!

I smited them down!

Or…maybe…The Dish is just a really challenging route.

You know, I always thought that whole tortoise and the hare story was a bunch of bollocks. A story told to slow pokes like me to engender some sort of hope.

But maybe…just maybe, there is some truth to that fable?