Friday Five

This is going to be a quick post because…

1. My company is the only one I know of that has a blow-out Halloween party. Work will stop at 1:00 today. Costumes, mandatory. Drinking, highly recommended. Last year there was a woman dressed like a Starbucks barista, then I realized she was the barista from the Starbucks downstairs. Each department decorates their area, usually along some theme incorporating elaborate costumes and skits. It can be anything from a take on current events to a spoof on office life to a blast from the past.  I work with creatives, so they never fail to impress.  There’s a group who turn one of the conference rooms into a bar with a theme. Last year: Wild West saloon, including swinging doors. The year before: South Pacific tiki hut complete with thatched roof and the wreckage of a kamikaze plane. It’s usually the place to hang and knock back a few. I’ll be there.

2. My hair is out of control. I don’t know why. I get it cut regularly, try to use decent styling products and take pains to blow dry in the morning. I even bought a new flat iron recently thinking that my old one was on the fritz. Despite all of this, and despite having lived with my hair for thirty-some-odd years, I still can’t seem to get it to look nice for more than five minutes. As soon as I go outside to walk my dog, boom! It’s like I’ve stuck my finger in an electrical socket. Ever since Farah Fawcett, I just wanted thick, straight hair. My mother always told me that people paid good money to salons because they wanted their hair to look like mine. (Thanks Mom.) But why they would do that I could never figure out.

3. Under the “Why Didn’t I Think of That” category. This family of four has thought of an ingenious way to make extra cash. They are The Billboard Family – “a REAL family of 4 (with one on the way) who wears YOUR COMPANY SHIRTS all day long, taking loads of photos and videos. We then promote your company online on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and our Website, as well as to all of the many people who ask us why we are all wearing the same shirts.” Buying your space is only a few dollars a day now, but rates are set to go through the roof during 2011. The way I see it, people are already wearing “Juicy” on their derrierre. Why not wear a logo on a t-shirt? Call me. I’m happy to sell out.

4. I am the proud owner of a power planer. Although I have done a few simple DIY projects around my apartment, me and power tools don’t mix. But I finally got fed up with a closet door that won’t close by about 5 inches. I guess over the years my pre-war building settled and the door frame went out of plumb. (Like how I just threw that handyperson word in there as if I knew what I was talking about?) So *all* I need to do is shave off a few centimeters of wood from the top of the door and voila! I’ll have a smoothly closing door again. When I asked the extremely dispassionate salesperson, who was more interested in his Blackberry than helping me, on which aisle I could find power planers, he looked up from the screen momentarily and said, “You know most people use a hand planer for that.” Does anyone sense pending doom?

5. When I driving from Las Vegas to Utah last week , I was pulled over by a cop. It was dark and late on a secondary road, but I wasn’t speeding.  Anyone who has driven with me will attest that I drive slower than your grandmother. The blue and red lights went on and for a moment I wondered if it was me. It had to be because mine was the only car for miles. I think I was a good 20 miles from the nearest town in any direction. When I relayed this to my mom later, she immediately said, “You didn’t pull over, did you?” Of course I had.  I had no intention of pulling an OJ-style slow speed chase. After decades of working in law enforcement my mom said never pull over on an isolated road unless I knew for sure it was an officer, and I could have called 4-1-1 on my cell phone to be connected to the local police station to verify. “You know how easy it is to buy those red lights?” (Well now you tell me!) But here was a chink in the plan: this road was so isolated, my cell phone had no signal. “Then you should have put your hazards on and slowed down so the officer knew you knew he was there and continue to the next town, even if it was 20 miles away.” 

Paranoid? Perhaps. But this brought back a memory of something that happened to me in college.  Maybe it will get you thinking if you’re in this situation. I was again driving down a lonely road in a sleepy Southern town. (This was B.C.P. – before cell phones.) It was dusk. There was no one around. I approached a stop sign and slowed down. Suddenly in my rear view mirror was a pick-up truck with two guys inside – I could see their silhouettes against the setting sun – where just moments before there had been no one. The truck wasn’t slowing down fast enough and hit my bumper. Not too hard to cause injury, but hard enough that I’d normally want to get out and check for damage. I looked again in my rear view mirror and the driver’s side door and the passenger’s side door opened, but neither got out. My Spidey senses went a-tingling. I don’t know if I could have verbalized it then but it didn’t make sense to me why both would need get out of the car.  Normally I could rationalize this away. There could have been any number of valid reasons. I might have gotten out of the car and everything would have been fine, as it was that night in Utah. But smething just didn’t feel right. I didn’t worry about my car or getting their license plate. I put my blinker on and drove away.

As it turned out, that cop in Utah pulled me over because my brake light was out (#gotnothingbettertodo). I told him it was a rental and he wrote me a warning slip to give to the car company. But it’s good to be reminded to trust your instincts, something which I think we often (especially us women) tend to ignore so as not to appear flaky or weak.

I leave you with that and hopefully many more treats than tricks. Have a happy and safe Halloween everyone!


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