Up up and away

I love to travel. I also love to people watch. Flying gives me the opportunity to do both.

I’ve never been one to sleep on planes. I can’t relax enough. I get too keyed in to the noise around me….people talking and moving around in their seats, papers shuffling, rifling through bags, coughing, etc. Plus I get paranoid about people watching me or doing things to me. Hey, don’t judge.

Since I don’t sleep, I’ll usually read. Most of the time that’s enough to fill the time.

That wasn’t the case on my most recent flight though. I was on a flight from Omaha to Newark and it was about 3 hours. Not terribly long, but long enough. I read for about an hour. Closed my eyes for a few minutes but to no avail. A girl’s gotta try. So, that’s when the people watching kicks in. I watch and observe and put together stories in my mind as to what their lives are like.

First there was my seat mate. Here are the deets:

  • Early 30’s and married
  • Dress is casual but hip – dark wash jeans, salmon colored button up
  • Thin build with a shaved head.
  • He is reading a book on how to grow and stretch yourself on the job.
  • Old Timex watch
  • Unfriendly – never said a word to me the whole flight
  • Germaphobe. At one point, he bumped me with his elbow while getting his book out and immediately recoiled and wiped his elbow. A bit later, when handing the stewardess some trash, his arm grazed mine twice and he visibly shifted in his chair, wiped his arm, and I think he might have shuddered.
  • But, he has B.O.

Here’s the story I made up in my head about him.

His name is Ethan. He’s married to Alisha and they have 2 little kids. He has a job where he has to travel a lot, probably a consultant of some kind, and he’s trying to climb his way up the ladder. He wife buys his clothes because she wants him to be trendy and look good at work. He’s gotten used to it. The job requires him to interact with people to get sales. That doesn’t come naturally to him. He is introverted but forces himself to be extroverted at work. All that “show” is exhausting so he only does it when he has to. He doesn’t like all the travel but it’s necessary. Airplanes are full of germs. Hotels are full of germs. At least he gets a lot of Hyatt points. Also, flying makes him nervous… and a 3 hour flight? Deodorant failure waiting to happen. He senses that he’s a little ripe so he physically moves away from me on the plane. He’s embarrassed by it. Appearance and impressions are everything. Besides, what could he have in common with a tatted up chick? It’s best to keep reading until the flight is over.


On the flight home, I sat next to a lady who wanted to talk but was socially awkward. I tried to be nice and chat some but also give her hints that I wanted some space and not to be bothered. She did not get the hints.

  • Late 40s or early 50s, married with 2 older kids (she told me this)
  • Long blonde hair, partially pulled back. It’s starting to come loose though
  • She’s wearing peach pants and a matching cardigan, with a flowered shirt underneath
  • She has a half empty cup of ice in the seat pocket, a long with a big black binder and file folder
  • She’s looking at her phone but is turned so that she is leaning against the wall and holding the phone toward me me…almost like she is filming me with it
  • She squirms a lot

Here is her story:

Her name is Ellen. She works for a transportation company doing research. She travels around the country meeting with buyers. Her husband is an accountant and works a lot…all the travel has made them estranged. Her oldest is off to college and her youngest is starting high school. She has ADHD. It’s hard for her to sit still and concentrate, especially on a long flight. She tries to do some work but gets bored. She looks to see what I’m doing (which is reading) and turns so that she can read it too. She’s also very nosy. She’s curious about me so she starts asking random questions….how long have I been married? Do I have kids? Why am I traveling? Where do I work? When I turn back to my book, she shifts in her seat and tries to sleep. She’s tired from the week away but can’t quiet her mind. She thinks about home and her family. Her son will be working or out with friends when she gets home. Her daughter probably locked in her room watching TV. Her husband will be in his home office working. No one will even notice when she returns home. She’s lonely. She thinks about next week and how she’ll be traveling again. She needs a break. She turns to me and smiles a sad, tired smile and says she is glad to be home. It sounds forced and she knows it.


I wonder what stories people make up about me? Do they think I travel a lot? Do they wonder if I’m a badass because I have a tattoo on my wrist? Do they observe me reading and not talking and assume I am quiet and introverted? Do I look like a wife and mom? Do I look like someone in technology or in management?

I guess we never know what impressions we give off to others and how accurate their assumptions are. We’ll probably never know. And how easy it is to change those impressions by simply changing what you wear, what you do, what you eat, or how you act.

Who do you want to be on your next flight?

Advertisements

Night Crawler

There are many unspoken rules in life. Don’t interrupt people when they’re talking. Don’t ask a women if she’s pregnant when you’re not sure. Always answer the question, “Does this make me look fat?” by saying no.

There are also certain rules of etiquette that people just know. Especially when it comes to the gym.

Pick up after yourself.

Wipe down the equipment.

Use ear buds when listening to music.

Don’t count your reps out loud.

Don’t be a loud breather.

Did I mention pick up after yourself?

To me that’s the easiest and most basic of them all. When you get something out, put it away. Weights. Mats. Your ego. Whatever.

The gym I go to is at work. It’s an awesome perk we have and I feel very lucky that I have a convenient and cheap place to get a workout in. It’s also nice that they teach fitness classes in our gym, have personal trainers available, and have all the latest equipment. I’m spoiled and really have nothing to complain about.

Well, maybe one thing.

I arrive at the gym every morning around 5:30 am. Lately there has been a lot of stuff lying around or left behind. Monday I came in and found this waiting for me in the locker room.

Someone’s wet and gross dirty towel lying on the table. Sadly, this isn’t the first time I’ve found something left behind on my, er, this table.

[Sidenote: I’ve been working out and showering here nearly every morning for the last 5 years. I always use this table. Everyone knows that’s my spot and they all stay clear of it in the mornings. Kind of a sign of respect. I’m a creature of habit that way. When I establish something that works for me, I want to keep it. If someone else sets up camp there it just throws me all off but more on that in a later post.]

Anyway, I head out to the gym and in to the fitness room to find this:

3 pieces of equipment left out on the floor of the room. Perhaps this person was so wiped out after their workout that they simply had no energy left to put away the box and Bosu ball. Or maybe they tried to jump on that tall box and fell, hurting themselves so bad that they just couldn’t clean up.

Let’s fast forward through the week. Here is what I found in the locker room on Tuesday.

Towel is still there and now with the addition of a pair of socks. There are 2 problems here.

1. There are smelly used socks on my, er, the table. Next to the spot where I will be getting dressed and ready.

2. The fact that the towel is still there means that the cleaning lady left it behind. Which then leads me to wonder what else she didn’t clean in there. Its not like this is someone’s personal towel from home and she didn’t want to disturb it. Its clearly a gym towel because it’s white and cheap.

Sticking with the locker room, here’s Wednesday.

Dirty towel on the table? Yup.

Smelly socks? Check.

Oh whats this? A new addition! A second towel and on the floor!!

Thursday:

A water bottle! Also, items are now starting to migrate to my, er, this side of the table. Not a good trend.

The towel has now moved to the bench. Was this the sloppy persons doing or the cleaning lady. And again I wonder, if the cleaning lady can move it here, why can’t she move it to the hamper?

Oh, and what’s this? A half empty (or is it half full?) glass of water on the counter.

And finally, Friday.

Everything’s back on my, uh, the table and still on my side. This is getting ridiculous.

The gym was no better. Here’s what I walked in to each day of the week. I found it like this…

And this.

Oh, and this.

Here’s another one.

After weeks of this nonsense we have given the person who leaves stuff out in the gym a nickname – The Night Crawler. Why? Because obviously this person works out at night. And only a wormy sort of person wouldn’t pick up after themselves.

Let’s take a minute to psychoanalyze this person. First of all I think Night Crawler and Sloppy Locker Room Lady (SLRL) are the same person. Looking at the size of the weights left out (15 lb. steel bell, 15 lb. dumbbells, a light barbell) Night Crawler is likely a woman (or a really weak dude….but I’m going with a chick). My guess is a single woman who has the time and availability to exercise at night. Probably a millennial who either still lives at home with her parents or has a really messy apartment. Also likely is that Night Crawler has never belonged to another gym because I doubt other gyms that are staffed 24×7 would put up with this nonsense.

Is it stereotyping too much to predict Night Crawler is named Ella or Madison or something like that?

So now what? I could write an aggressive note on the mirror (“Pick up your stuff!”). Put a nice sign up (“Please be considerate of others and put away all equipment.”). I could come up with a fun poem (“Roses are red, violets are blue. If you can get it out, you can put it away too!”). I actually thought about reaching out to security and asking them to check the security camera recordings.

Or I could just deal. I don’t deal well when it comes to others being rude and disrespectful. That’s one of my biggest pet peeves. But it’s also not worth losing my serenity over.

So, I’ll continue to ignore and get ready around the crap left in the locker room, and put away the equipment left out in the gym. And I’ll hope that Ella or Madison learns the unspoken rules of life and the gym.

Because if I should run in to her someday and ask if this outfit makes me look fat, she better say no.

$#*! My British Friend Says – She’s Back!!

I have some advice for you. Go get yourself a British friend. I highly recommend it. They sound cool when they talk- regardless of what they say (and they say some weird things). They eat some gnarly shit but they know good tea and how to drink it. And they’re just downright awesome people.

Ok so I’m generalizing. I can’t vouch for every British person there is. But I can vouch for one – the Brit.

The Brit and I had dinner the other night and it was fun to spend time together again. It was like old times.

Here are a few highlights.

  • He’s F*ing rude! But good. Don’t forget good.
  • I love it when you order pudding. I like watching you eat.
  • [The waitress] “Do you want 6 or 9 ounces of wine?” The Brit holds up 9 fingers and says “6”.
  • Are you going to finish your chips? I love to eat them like a sandwich with coleslaw in the middle.

In other exciting news, The Brit and I are planning a trip back to the Annex to explore our old stomping grounds and see what adventure we can rustle up. Stay tuned!!

$#*! People Say – The Puzzler

Followers of old may remember a popular segment on the blog called “$#*! My British Friend Says” wherein I posted random quotes my dear friend from Britain would say that were totally random, usually inappropriate and always hilarious. Well, I am proud to say I have more friends that fall in to the category of saying random, inappropriate and hilarious things and I’m happy to share them with you here!

One of those people is The Puzzler (as always, names are changed to protect the innocent). Like The Brit, The Puzzler works with me (she actually works for me….she’s my HR nightmare as you’ll soon see). Unlike The Brit, The Puzzler says things without knowing or understanding that they’re inappropriate until someone explains it to her. Which we may or may not always do. Below are a few highlights – yes she actually said these things in a work environment and none were meant in any kind of sexual way. Also she’s a few years from retirement so she doesn’t really care either.

  • Do you lubricate before bed?
  • Oh no I like going down!
  • You can tell it’s not tight because I can move it.
  • I get off on that
  • Over break my boyfriend and I were playing Ring-a-round the Rosie and he gave me a black eye.
  • Can I have a dickle?
  • I have a tickler for that
  • Wow look at her box
  • Oh we can wait a minute, he’s coming…he’s coming…oh there he comes!

There will be plenty more to come, I can guarantee it.

Annexed Revisited

Ah the good old days of breathing in mold and running away from crazy men on Scooters.

Today I returned to Southroads for an afternoon career fair our company was holding. I’m not gonna lie – I was really excited to go back. As dumpy and creepy as that mall can be, it will always hold a special place in my heart.

IMG_1688 

Beautiful isn’t it? Don’t you wish this was your home away from home?

Yeah I didn’t think so.

Nothing has changed there. Walking in the doors was like entering a time warp.

IMG_1681

Albeit a blurry time warp (I took this pic kinda fast because there were people watching me and I felt silly).

I headed down the hallway, my mind set on where my first stop would be. On the way I noticed one new addition –

IMG_1687

Apparently the Greater Omaha Bowling Association has added this museum. However it doesn’t appear to be open for business yet.

I continued on my way down the hall and the escalators that don’t work to my main destination – John’s Grecian Delight

IMG_1683

John was there frantically serving up gyros and burgers (it was actually pretty busy). The food was just as good as I remembered it – greasy and full of love!

IMG_1684

I took it upstairs with me to eat in the “Food Court”. I had been in there no less than 5 minutes when who do I see but Scooter!! He was zipping through the room headed out the back to the creepy bathrooms. I tried to get a pic but wasn’t fast enough. I figured he’d be back through shortly so I kept eating my lunch. 10 minutes went by, then 15. Finally it got to be time for me to leave and Scooter hadn’t returned. He was either having a major bathroom moment or had escaped by way of the elevator. I decided to investigate.

I headed back there with the rouse that I was using the restrooms too, as if anyone was paying attention to me. I turned the corner and nearly walked right in to him. He was sitting on his scooter in the middle of the hallway. I said “hi” and then ducked in to the loo. I waited the appropriate amount of time and then came back out.

He was gone.

Damn!

I reversed my footsteps and went back through the cafeteria and out in to the mall. I saw him zooming away. I tried to get a decent pic but I was too far away. This was the best I could do.

IMG_1686

He’s the green blob just behind the short brown wall. See the orange flag attached to the back of the scooter? Also, notice that he is looking right at me? Yeah, he turned around just as I was snapping this pic.

Or is that the Loch Ness monster?

From there it was time to head in to the office and get to work. But just in case you were wondering…

IMG_1682

The t-shirt store is having an inventory reduction sale! Hurry before everything is gone!

Nothing too exciting today. No ceiling drips or fainting. Just another day at the Annex!