Friday, April 30, 2010

Have you got a minute to talk about homeless refugee animals? With disabilities?

Charities do a lot of good, I’m not about to deny that. I only have one request: Please stop harassing me on the street.

You can spot these people from a mile away, what with their brightly coloured shirts, lanyards, clipboards, and general lack of a soul. This advanced warning is usually quite helpful, as it gives you a chance to cross the street. Some days, what should be a simple 10 minute walk in a straight line can end up taking three times as long and involve a few small trips down some slightly suspicious back alleys.

Sadly, on some occasions, there just isn’t a safe place to cross. This leaves you with no choice but to walk past, and have an awkward encounter with these people. There are a few tactics for dealing with this:

  1. Attempt to catch up to and walk behind someone who looks like they have more money than you (eg. a man in a suit, a lady with nice shoes, the queen).
  2. Pretend you’re talking to someone on your phone, and pray to the god/higher power of your choice that it doesn’t ring while you’re doing so.
  3. Pretend you don’t speak English
  4. Pretend you’re deaf
  5. Pretend to be an asshole who’s too busy to stop
  6. Actually be an asshole who’s too busy to stop
There will be circumstances, however, when none of these are successful. Mostly, this situation will arise when the person is incredibly attractive and has a sexy foreign accent. You will stop. You will be flirted with. You will flirt back. You will hear them out. You will give them a fake name/address/credit card number.

The other time you will become stuck listening to their spiel is when they’ve decided to set up their shady operation at the traffic lights. A dirty, dirty tactic used by dirty, dirty people. While you’re waiting to cross the street, there’s no escape, as these people have never learned life’s golden rule: no means no. You begin to wonder if you should just cross the street anyway. Would getting hit by a truck be more, or less painful than what you’re currently experiencing?

Here's the deal, and it's non negotiable: I’ll give money to the homeless when they promise to stop freaking me out at the train station.

Friday, April 23, 2010

An open letter to Bert & Ernie

Dear Bert and Ernie,

I know what you’re thinking, and I promise you that’s not what this letter is about. Despite popular belief, I have never been one to buy into those rumours. You know the ones, all that ‘Rubber Ducky has two daddies’ business. My question is of a slightly different nature: are you guys kids, or what?

I’ve never really been able to grasp the concept of what exactly the deal is with the two of you. You do kids things constantly, and you’re always learning like children, what with the playing and the counting everything and such. So… why do you live together and where are your parents? And why is Bert always cooking oatmeal? Kids shouldn’t be using the stove.

But hey, you probably are old enough to take care of yourselves. I mean, you have your own apartment. In a basement. Not anyone’s number one choice, but maybe it was the best you could find within your financial constraints back in 1969. This would also explain why you have to share a bedroom. However, since the show has been running for 41 years and made you into television legends, maybe it’s time to move upstairs? Sunlight? Yeah? Get some sunlight? Technically this would make you guys 41 plus however old you were to begin with. But then again, Elmo has been going strong for a while now and he's still only 3 and a half. Clearly, something very wrong is going down on that street. Maybe that’s why no one can ever tell us how to get there. It’s not effing Narnia for God’s sake. Or is it? OH MY GOD, IS IT???

The other option is that you might be one of each. Ernie is generally doing kids stuff, while Bert is reading and collecting bottle caps like a grown up. A really dull grown up, but still a grown up. So Bert, my friend, if you're an adult and Ernie’s a child, and you’re such good 'friends,' then that’s just effing weird.

As you can see, this is an extremely confusing matter, and I hope to hear from you soon. Not just for the answer to my question, but to find out if letters can make it through the portal to Narnia.

Yours sincerely,
A confused fan.

P.S: Bert, I like your eyebrow. Is it alive?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Are you there God? It’s me, Lauren.

‘Hi God, it’s Lauren. Just wanted to check in with you, it’s been a while. I realise I’ve been a little self centred since, you know, forever. So we can do whatever YOU want to do this time. Maybe we could get a drink? Go bowling? Put an end to the dinosaurs? You're into that kind of stuff, yeah? Anyway, let me know.’

‘Hey dude, didn’t hear back from you the other day. I guess you’re really busy, what with running the entire universe and all. And giving celebrities awards. And helping people win reality TV shows. But if you get a minute, we should definitely catch up. Call me! Oh yeah, it’s Lauren.’

‘Hellooooo. Lauren again. Quick question: I heard an old man call wireless internet “the devil’s work.” Should I go back to broadband?’

‘What up, G-dog? Still haven’t heard from you. I’m having a barbeque this Saturday, you should totally come. And if the second coming happens before then, bring Jesus with you. It would be awesome to see him. He’ll probably be fashionably late though, as always. Am I right? Am I right? Haha nah, I’m messing with ya. Peace out! It’s Lauren, by the way.’

‘Yeah, Lauren here. Look, being mysterious and all that is one thing, but not getting back to someone is just rude. And if this is about that incident with the guy who knocked on my door the other morning, let’s get one thing straight. Just because I haven’t found Jesus, doesn’t mean I’m not sorry to hear that he’s missing. If anything, now, more than ever, is a good time for you to relax and have a drink. CALL ME.’

‘There’s a bearded guy at the train station claiming to be your son. You might want to look into that.’

‘FOR THE LOVE OF YOU. I don’t care how snowed under you are, I’m making an effort here. Everyone keeps telling me to look for a sign from you, but I haven’t seen any. The only signs I saw today were “Don’t drink and drive,” and “Lauren: Have you considered atheism? – God.” NOTHING! You know what? You’re not the only one who works in mysterious ways. So does… Spiderman. Yeah. I’m going to start the Church of Spiderman. Goodbye forever.’

“Hi. It’s Lauren. Just letting you know that last message was from me.’

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Any sugar in that one?

This week’s life lesson: Baristas are people too.

Yes, when I’m not busy bumming around calling myself a 'student,' this is what I do for a living. I don’t like to use the word ‘barista’ on account of how wanky it sounds. I prefer to call myself a coffee shop employee. A food handler. A person who is frequently abused regarding the temperature of milk.

Customer service probably wasn’t the best choice for me. I’ve been accused by co-workers of hating people. I don’t hate people, some of my best friends are people. It’s just that a large percentage of the rest of the population happen to be wankers. Like the elderly ladies who told me it was ‘misleading’ that our regular size coffee wasn’t the smallest size. You know what we call our small size? Small. Suck on that, old ladies.

And how hard is it to give someone your name to go with your order? We’re not using it to steal your identity, you won’t arrive home to find countless messages on your answering machine from your credit card company asking if you’ve recently purchased a small island, an army tank, and several monkeys. ‘What’s that? You told the kid at the coffee shop your name was Dave? Bloody hell, you’re a grown man, you should know better than that.’
It doesn’t even have to be your real name. One customer decided that instead of telling me, he’d go straight to spelling it. ‘G-O-D’ I began to laugh hysterically, thinking he was a legend, right up until he gave me an odd look and continued spelling. ‘W-I-N.’ Disappointing.
Another man thought about it for a minute, before answering ‘hmm, I feel like a Toby today.’ What you do on your own time is none of my business, sir. Now, your name, please?

Next up are the people who ask you what you have that’s gluten free. After you’ve talked them through it all, they turn up their nose and say “oh no, I don’t want any of that” and look at you as though you’ve just shot a puppy. Either take what we’ve got, or stop being allergic to wheat. It’s your call.

Last but not least, there's the creepy old men. The most memorable was an old Irish bloke who used the exact words “if you were Irish, and I were younger…” before letting out a disturbing groan and handing me some paraphernalia about Jesus. He made me promise him I’d read it. I didn’t. I don’t think Jesus would approve of such a racist and ageist comment.

In conclusion, it’s a thankless job. Except for when people thank you. But hey, I’m young, I need the money.

And what are the perks? Well, getting paid is pretty good.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The ghost of Easter past

I’m not a religious person. My parents seemed to have me baptised just for show, and on the rare occasions that I actually attended church or Sunday school, it wasn't of my own free will. Like many people, I’m only into Christianity for the holidays. If I can get off work because Jesus got in a fight with a giant rabbit and we celebrate his victory by eating the rabbit’s eggs before its offspring can hatch and reign terror upon us once more, then so be it.

From schoolchildren, to students, to the working class (i.e. ‘proper people’), we all love a public holiday. It’s even better when they’re stacked up against the weekend, making Good Friday and Easter Monday the ultimate in long weekend technology. However, over the years I’ve found myself asking this question: Is a four day weekend, perhaps, just maybe, too many days off at once? OK, so it’s nice to have Friday off and get an early start on the weekend, and you need Saturday off to recover from the ordeal that is the Good Friday fish ‘n’ chip shop queue, then you need Sunday free to slip into a chocolate induced coma. But what’s the Monday for?
Watched the entire first series of Blossom on Youtube
Gained four kilos
Sat with a puzzled expression on my face as Oprah tried to sell me some kind of miniature teapot that you pour up your nose
Taught myself to make balloon animals (this produced mixed results. Let’s just say that if you want anything more complex than a poodle, you and I are going to have a problem. If not, I’m available for children’s birthday parties).

One year, when I was about five, I was convinced I’d seen the Easter Bunny’s shadow. I woke during the night to see a large rabbit shaped silhouette, which morphed into a stegosaurus, then a clown. I thought I was on to something huge - not only had I seen the Easter Bunny in action, I’d also discovered that he was a shape shifter. At the time, this made perfect sense. It would make sneaking into people's houses so much easier if he could disguise himself. ‘But Lauren,’ you ask, because you totally would, ‘surely if the Easter Bunny had such abilities, he’d chose something a little more inconspicuous than a clown or a dinosaur?’ Maybe. I dunno, I've never met the guy. Quit your whining, everything looks bad if you apply logic to it. Now shut up and eat your damn eggs.