Don’t Feed the Animals

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I used to really love kids and I miss that. During the “dark days” at the movie theatre, I learned to hate them. But how could you blame me?

There was your regular run of the mill nonsense that went on. A mother entertaining a child’s tantrum at the concession counter because he wanted sour patch kids and she didn’t want to buy it. Instead of having any kind of control at all over her demon, she would sit there, letting him scream bloody murder for what seemed like hours, holding up the 15 customers in line behind them.

The kicker to the whole story is after letting the kid demonstrate to the whole lobby what a generation without discipline has spawned…she would ALWAYS give in and buy the candy. The kid would immediately cease his wailing and go on his way. Remembering the key to getting anything he wants is by screaming and flailing like an animal in the middle of a public place.

Then there were the parents who let the clumsy 2-year old with a head too big for his body carry the 54 oz. cup of blue raspberry icee. #SpoilerAlert the kid dropped it…he always dropped it…and more often than not after dropping and spilling it everywhere, he would slip and bang his big head on the tile floor. And of course it’d be our fault for having drinks that were too big. It was always our fault.

Ugh but cleaning the theatre of any kids movie was what really deterred me from children. No matter how few tickets we sold, these little feckers always managed to make it look like a zombie apocalypse had just taken place…and us employees were always on the losing side of that battle.

You would ask yourself, “how could 4 little runts spill crap under Every. Single. Seat. In Every. Single. Aisle.” But those questions would soon cease to exist after a few months in hell…I mean the theatre.

It’s because their useless parents never taught them sticking their slobber-filled, half-eaten lollipop on the seat wasn’t acceptable movie theatre decorum. OOh how I longed to scoop up every last kernel from the floor and serve it to the next batch of demons. They would end up getting more on the floor than in the holes in their faces anyways…so how sick could they really get?

I never mentioned that idea to the health inspector…probably for the best.

But what really grinded my gears was when parents lost their kids. That always sucked. And while we were running around like madmen searching for their missing children, they’d be chasing after us yelling things like “you should have better security protocols in place; It’s your fault for having a crowded theatre; why don’t you have enough employees to stand guard at every single door!” Or my personal favorite, “If my child is kidnapped, I’m holding YOU personally responsible!”

#LOL These bitches lose THEIR kids…and while they’re yelling about how it’s not THEIR fault that THEY lost THEIR kid, they want to hold ME “personally responsible” and they tell me this while I’m searching for their kid; obviously caring more about finding the child than them.

So I guess it’s parents I really have a gripe with. Kids aren’t so bad. I’m cured!

Spilt Milk

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February 2013
It’s a busy opening night and I’m in the lobby herding the animals (customers).

LADY: “Hey You!”

Obviously I’m the “you” that the demon (customer) is referring to. I turn around to face the demon (customer).

ME: “Hi, how can I help you?”
LADY: “You can start by wiping that grin off your face!”

At that moment, I wonder if shoving my head in the popper will get me workers comp. Surely the third degree burns and singed flesh is better than the encounter I’m about to have.

ME: “What can I help you with?”
I make sure to suppress any hint of a kind smile.

She sits there, her eyes burning a hole into my flesh. She says nothing, just slowly tilts her head down and stares at her brown suede moccasins. I call them moccasins because it’s the closest word I can think of to sort of describe the abysmal contraptions on her feet.
I don’t speak “angry silent glare” so I look at her quizzically.

LADY: “Well look what you did!” She points to her shoes.
ME: (confused) “I’m sorry ma’am. I don’t understand. What happened?”
LADY: “ARE YOU BLIND?! My shoes are ruined! You’ve ruined my shoes!”

Relief floods over me. Thank God, she didn’t buy them this ugly.

ME: “What happened?”
LADY: “I’ll tell ya what happened!” (She slams her tub of popcorn into my chest.) “You put butter on this popcorn and when I went to sit down on your LOW seats, I fell too quickly and spilled popcorn all over my shoes!”
ME: “Did you not want butter on the popcorn?”
LADY: “YES! Of course I wanted butter on the popcorn but NOT on my shoes!”
ME: “So you spilled popcorn on your shoes? Did you trip on something on the floor?”
LADY: “No. I didn’t trip. While I sat down the bucket tipped. Your seats are much too low. I doubt they’re up to code.”

I make a mental note to have the chair inspector come in tomorrow to measure the distance from floor to seat to make sure we are indeed, “up to code.” I look down again at her shoes. The shoes look soaked.

ME: “That’s butter on your shoes?”
LADY: “No I put water on them to clean off the butter. They’re not supposed to get wet. Now they’re ruined!”

Confused are you? Yes, well let’s recap what we’ve learned so far shall we?

This dumb biddy ordered a tub of popcorn with butter, paid for a tub of popcorn with butter and was handed a tub of popcorn with butter. She then proceeded to walk into her theatre, tripping/slipping on nothing but while going to sit, she spills her popcorn on her ugly shoes. She then proceeds to walk into the bathroom with her shoes that “can’t get wet” and soaks them in water. After water-logging those puppies, she finds me and here we are. Knowing that none of this is possibly the theatre’s fault, I act oblivious to the whole situation. She doesn’t like that. Not. One. Bit.

ME: “Oh Ok. Sorry to hear that. I can refill this for you now and we’ll get an usher into your theatre to clean up all the popcorn you spilled on the floor. Which theatre were you in?”
LADY: “I DO NOT WANT A REFILL! YOU NEED TO PAY FOR MY SHOOOOES!!!!”
ME: “Huh?”
LADY: “My shoes are ruined! Get behind that counter. Open up the register and give me the $145 I paid for these shoes!!!”

Now to this day I still can’t decide which part of this story is more ridiculous. The fact that this lady wanted me to pay for the shoes she spilt popcorn on and then “ruined” with water, or the fact that she paid $145 for burlap sacks shaped as slippers.

ME: “I can’t take $145 out of the register to give you.”
LADY: “Well you get paid to work here right?”
ME: I nod yes. I’ll entertain her. I’m curious to see how far she’ll take this.
LADY: “Well then you’ll have to give me the $145! Somebody is paying for my shoes!”

#LOL

ME: “Ma’am. I can’t replace the shoes you ruined with butter and water.”
HER: “But YOU put butter on the popcorn!”
ME: “Which you asked for.”
HER: “But not on my shoes!”
ME: “I can refill the tub for you but I’m not going into the register, or my wallet, to give you $145 for shoes you ruined.”
HER: “Well then, lucky for me my husband’s best friends with the police commissioner. You’ll be hearing from me soon.”

She just sits there staring at me.

ME: “Is there anything else I can help you with?”
HER: “Ya. Refill my fuckin’ popcorn.”

I take a deep breath in, my hands shaking as the adrenaline courses through my veins. I walk back to concession and refill the popcorn and place it on the counter in front of her.

HER: “You forgot the butter.”

I don’t remember what happened next because my brain exploded. It took weeks for the concessionists to scrape my cerebral cortex off the counters.

My Prowess in the Kitchen

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A couple of weeks ago my friend had a Potluck. I have never been one to dabble in the culinary arts myself, so when there’s cooking to be done, there’s a mom for that. Not just any mom. My mom.

One of her signature dishes? The baked ziti. So what did I bring to the potluck? Baked ziti.
As soon as I walk into my friends house with the tray, everyone asks me who made the ziti because “of course I didn’t make it, I couldn’t cook a dish to save my life.”

That statement and others like it have been said to me for as far back as I can remember and I take up serious issue with the sentiment.

First of all. I think of myself as a very versatile young lass, quick on her feet with a noggin full o’ common sense and wit. So if encountered with a life-threatening situation that required me to perform some task to live…I’d like to think I would rise to the occasion, fight through the adversity and the pressure and pass with flying colors.

Second. Tis true that I don’t know what “julianning” something is or the difference between al dente and…not al dente. The oven is not my friend. In fact the last time I used it I couldn’t figure out how to shut the thing off (When the hell did they get rid of the on/off buttons??!) But does that mean I am legally brain dead when it comes to culinary expertise?

Many in the world would say yes. I however defend myself because although I may not have cooked through Julia Child’s cookbook or even really know what beef bourgignone (sp?) is… by God I am one hell of a Microwaver!

Ahh the microwave. What once was seen as a magical box full of wonder and mystery, has overtime been downgraded to something you nuke food in, resulting in a less edible heated up version of what once was a delicious meal.

But when I look at a microwave I see a one stop shop for all my cooking needs in one convenient spot. When there’s a fire and you’re all grabbing your iPods, family albums, pets and babies…I’ll be grabbing the microwave.

Of course there will be nay-sayers. Hot shots with their deep fryers and fancy oven mitts will say a microwave is no way to prepare your food. But I say hogwash. My microwave can do anything your oven can do faster and more efficiently while never burning down the kitchen.

Let me ask you this. Have you ever burnt popcorn in a microwave? Have you heated up those pork chops that sent a shiver down your spine when you got to the cold center?

Well what I say to all of you is…amateurs. Popcorn setting? HA what do I look like a rookie?! This ain’t my first rodeo and those factory settings are child’s play. Alls I need to do is eyeball it.

The type of food, the amount, the type of plate all factor in. And of course there’s the microwave.

Are we dealing with a Whirlpool, LG or Hitatchi here. Maybe it’s a Panasonic (betchya didn’t know Panasonic made microwaves). I’m more partial to the Kenmores myself; the classic look is my thing but I can work with any brand you got.

How many watts is this bad boy spitting out and what’s the circumference of the turn table. What’s the CFM speed of the exhaust fan and does it have a heat deflector?

It all means nothing to you but these precise calculations are my life. They’re why I haven’t burned a bag of popcorn since 1996.

So the next time you see a microwave, don’t scoff at it or hold your nose up to it. And when you see me, don’t laugh that I probably don’t know how to turn on/off your oven (seriously none of these damn things have on/off buttons anymore!)

Look at me as an equal in the culinary world because I may not be able to marinate that Thanksgiving turkey, but I can heat up those leftovers better than anybody you’ll ever meet.

So back off and show this Microwaver some God damn respect.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

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Today I held the door for a woman walking behind me. She smiled at me and said “Thank You”. Normal right?
Not where I come from…

It’s the summer of 2010. One of those beautiful days where the sun is shining and a cool breeze is blowing. I jump in the whip, roll down the windows and hear Cher blaring from my stereo. I start my 5 minute commute to the theatre.

I roll into the parking lot and I’m not gonna lie…there’s a smile on my face as I hop out of the car, throw my string bag over my shoulder and start the walk to the town center doors.

Young, naive Margaret. You can’t even see what’s coming.

I get to the entrance (regular push/pull doors luckily. “I hate those revolving doors. One day somebody is gonna get hurt in one of those,” I think to myself). I see a man in a wheelchair struggling to open the doors. Seeing this I immediately go through the one next to him and start opening up his door from the other side.

Big Mistake. Big. Huge. (Name that movie)

“I DIDN’T HEAR MYSELF ASK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!”

Who said that and to whom, I wonder to myself. Surely it can’t be directed at me. I stand still with the door open.

“HELLO!? WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING? I DON’T NEED YOUR DAMN HELP!”

Now I see what’s going on. I see clearly. Its my punishment for being in a good mood. It’s what I get for walking in with a stupid smile on my stupid face. C’mon Marge you know better than that! #RookieMistake

“I’m sorry I was just trying to help—” I said it with true sincerity..but that kind of sincerity gets you know where at the theatre. “GET YOUR HAND OFF THAT DOOR! I CAN OPEN A DOOR!”

I let go of the door immediately, contemplating if a jump from the roof  could kill me…nope I’d break a leg at best…

I watch as the man gets through the door…eventually. I turn my head to see a nice little audience watching the show. With nothing coming to mind to say, I start heading towards the theatre. Thankfully there’s not far to go so I start walking…briskly…to safety.

“IT’S PEOPLE LIKE HER THAT TRY TO MAKE US INFERIOR TO THE REST OF YOU! THAT’S THE REASON WE’RE TREATED LIKE CHILDREN!! LOOK AT THAT DUMB BITCH! SHE WON’T EVEN FACE ME NOW! SHE KNOWS WHAT SHE DID!!!!”

The sound of his screams and profanities muffle away as I walk through the theatre doors. I’m safe.

I start thinking over what just happened. Did I really do something wrong? I didn’t huff and puff or roll my eyes about holding the door.
I had a residual smile on my face from my blissful car ride, so certainly I didn’t look aggravated..

But apparently in my act of opening a door for someone I was sticking my middle finger up at all people in wheelchairs, all across the land! Had it been an old lady, or a 30 year old handsome gentleman or an 8 year old bratty child walking in, I would have held the door open. It’s just what I was taught. It’s just how I was raised. So clearly there’s only one guilty party here.

Mother.

Thanks a lot mom for teaching me to hold doors for people and all about manners and saying stupid shit like “thank you”. Screw you ma for showing me to be nice to other people and to treat others how I’d like to be treated.

By your dumb logic I’m supposed to help someone in a wheelchair struggling to get through a door! You dumb biddy!! You haven’t prepared me for life and you certainly haven’t done your job. What else have you lied to me about?

You’re dead to me.

A Carousel From HELL

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Fear. It’s a small word, just 4 letters, but it encompasses so much. The word itself brings with it an uneasy feeling that everyone knows and recognizes immediately. We all have fears and sometimes just talking about them can be a very scary and intimate thing. But I aim for transparency with this blog so I’m going to share with you mine. Deep breath, here we go.

I’m fine with heights. The bigger and faster the roller coaster the better, I’ve even jumped out of an airplane once (kind of over-rated, I was expecting more). I’m told “young people” think they’re invincible and nothing can touch them. I guess I have a little bit of this sentiment when I walk down a dark alley or drive in a snowstorm. “U can’t touch this”.

But today I witnessed one of my worst fears unfold right before my very eyes.

I commute into Manhattan everyday during rush hour. The hustle and bustle of the city was glamorous and exciting during the first few months, but it’s quickly lost it’s magic. The music coming out of my headphones and the route to my destination are all that I am paying attention to…until today.

If you’ve been to Manhattan, and I’m sure any other big city, you’ve seen revolving doors. They’re a very common sight on pretty much every building. Now being a Westchester gal, I thought these kinds of doors were just for fancy hotels and movies. We have regular ol’ doors that you push/pull round these parts or the automatic sliding ones. Revolving doors? No, pish posh.

But Marge ain’t in Westchester no’ mo’ This is the big city, a place for big city livin’ and big city revolvin’ doors.

Now before this is seen as an attack article against revolving doors, I want to make it very clear that I personally have nothing against said revolving doors. They’re great; very handy. You don’t have to sit there holding the door open for people and suffer through those “in-between” moments where somebody is kinda far behind you but kinda not and you’re not sure if you’re obligated to stand there holding the door and wait for them or if you can just keep trucking along, pretending you didn’t see them.

With revolving doors, all your problems are solved! You just zip right in there and just as fast as you went in, you’re out. You’ve broken the barrier to the inside…or outside depending on which way you’re going, and you’re free to keep on trekking along your merry way without missing a beat. That’s what New Yorkers see.

However when I see these potential death traps the only things that go through my mind are those of horror. What if it gets jammed somehow and stuck? Crazier things have happened. Now you’re enclosed in this little tiny case with no room to move your arms or legs. Even if you can survive the overwhelming claustrophobia there’s no telling how long you’ll be stuck in there. A girl could starve to death in there waiting for a hero to come free her from the glass jail.

But the speed of their rotation is the real terror. It’s like a carasoul ride from hell (#namedrop). Some of these suckers top out at speeds of at least 100 mph if I had to guess. You walk up to one and it’s whippin’ around so fast, all you see is a big blur as your hair moves with the breeze the force of the spin is creating. You take a breath and hop in, your heart palpitating as you spin around that puppy and out. Phew, made it. Another game of Russian Roulette won.

You may say this fear is completely ludicrous and irrational, but today I saw first hand that I am in fact, fully validated in my fears.

I’m walking behind Mr. Businessman on the sidewalk. It’s just a regular morning. I’ve got the soundtrack to “Mamma Mia” in my ear and the sun is shining. All in all, it’s shaping up to be a pretty OK day. He turns right to enter my building. The revolving door is in front of him but it’s moving faster than usual. It’s got a little extra pep in its step today and Mr. Businessman isn’t factoring that into his plans.

I see him take that little run hop that I know means he’s gonna go for it. There’s nothing stopping him. The guy must think he’s invincible, there’s no way he’s gonna make it.

You know how when people describe near death experiences and they say the world just moved in slow motion. Well, I can now say, I know exactly what they mean. Everything slowed to a glacial pace. No sound. I look to my left; nobody is paying attention. I look to my right, it’s a brick wall…no help there.

The man is just inches away now. I open my mouth to scream, to warn him, to do something! But… it’s too late.

Mr. Businessman squeezes half of his body into the door…the other half isn’t so lucky. He’s SLAMMED into the beam. His glasses knocked off his face as his head hits the glass of the door. A single drop of blood falls from his forehead and he looks at me with pain in his eyes. The world is quiet. Surely this man has suffered permanent brain damage. His arm must have been chopped off, being held in only by the tied cuffs at the wrists of his shirt. He’s probably having a hard time breathing with the cracked ribs and the lung he just undoubtedly collapsed. But this guy’s a trooper…some may even say a hero.

Like any true New Yorker, he composes himself immediately. He swiftly picks up his glasses and gets in  the door, walking briskly around to the other side. He disappears into the building, and just as fast as it all happened…it was all over. I look around. Nobody has noticed a thing. I’m left there all by myself on the sidewalk; forced to replay over and over again what I just witnessed.

Mr. Businessman might have been able to shake off what happened in an instant. But I certainly wouldn’t.

And to be honest with you guys…I don’t know if I ever will.

I welcome you all to share your fears, whether about doors or not. Talking about them can help you conquer some of your demons. Don’t be shy. Let’s heal together.