Sunday, September 9, 2012

There is much power in the art of being present

So last week, I got an e-mail from my cousin which said, “Thought this might make you laugh.” And it did. However, before I can tell you that part of the story, I have to tell you this part first… My cousin is an industrial hygienist. She is that person who works with or for the Environmental Protection Agency and ensures that buildings don’t have asbestos, wells don’t have arsenic, and people properly dispose of chemicals and bio-hazardous waste. She is, hands-down, one of the smartest, funniest, warmest human beings I have ever known – and I would love her to bits even if she weren’t my cousin… though I’m so very grateful that she is. But I digress.

The point is that, a few days ago, she got a call from someone who needed to throw away a great deal of electronics. Now, due to the havoc that batteries wreak on the environment, that type of equipment has to be disposed of properly, so she told the person, “Here is my address. When you get to my office, call me. I’ll come downstairs and take you to the facility best equipped to help you.” Sure enough, ten minutes later, she got a call… headed to the parking lot… saw the van… opened the passenger side door… picked a flier off the seat… sat down… buckled up… read the flier which said, “ASPIRE HIGHER,”… commented, “to what are we aspiring…” then looked up only to see an Amish woman in a bonnet staring at her… wondering what the hell my cousin was doing in her vehicle.

In the woman’s defense, my cousin attended John’s Hopkins and should know better than to simply climb into a stranger’s car and begin quizzing them... In my cousin’s defense, she and I have the exact same miserable luck. In fact, this summer, when she was in France for Bastille Day, she walked into a patisserie and said, “WOW, they have penis bread.” When everyone stopped their conversations and stared at her, she chose to clarify, “I don’t mean that it’s MADE of penises. I mean that the bread is shaped like penises. They look yummy. I’ll take two.

The saddest part of that whole story is that it’s true. Actually, scratch that. The saddest part of that story was my reply, which is also true. Here it goes, “Dear Cousin – Don’t feel bad. A while ago, I ran to one of the stores in town to get some stuff so I could work on my house. Of course I couldn’t just make it easy on myself and go to Wal-Mart. Nooooo. I hate Big Box stores. So, instead, I went ACROSS town to a small mom-and-pop shop that’s been in business for over fifty years. Granted, it’s not in the best district, but I genuinely believe it’s important to shop local and I really like the owners. Naturally, as soon as I got there, it began pouring rain and (as usual) I was madly texting my best friend. Anyway, after running through the rain while replying to messages, I got to the store, opened the door, shook myself off and loudly announced, “OH MY GOD I AM SOAKING WET,” only to look up and see A GIANT WALL OF FAKE PENISES.

Yes… they had built a porn store next to the other store. And no… because I wasn’t PAYING SHIT FOR ATTENTION, I actually didn’t notice and bee-lined into the wrong establishment. When I tried to explain that I had clearly made a mistake, the man behind the counter said, “It’s TOTALLY OK. Lots of middle-aged women shop here. They’re our biggest customers. That’s why we put the dicks right up front. So they can get in and out.” 

Not knowing whether to applaud his double entendre or scream in horror, I did the mature thing and simply RAN BACK TO MY CAR. After slathering my entire body with hand sanitizer, I called my best friend who said, “DO NOT LEAVE! We have to get a gag gift for so-and-so.” 

I assured her that I was not going back inside, and that if she wanted ME to help HER get smut, then we were going to do it the old fashioned way… with two bottles of wine, an anonymous  Visa gift card, and her husband’s Amazon account. You would not believe the, “If you like that, you’re going to love this” recommendations. I bought an inflatable sheep… because let’s be honest - you never know when you might need something like that and I’ve found that it’s way better to be prepared for an emergency that never happens than to not be prepared for one that does. Love you.”

The only thing my cousin replied was, “You win.” But if that’s the case, why doesn’t it really feel like victory?  Talk to you later.