Pocket Pal Goes to the Ballgame

14 Nov

I went through this period in my life when on Friday afternoons my friend, Sandra, and I could often be found installed on barstools drinking delicious $12 dirty martinis at Houston’s.  We worked really hard at our jobs and were depressed about the condition of our social lives and the lack of suitable men.  James, the best looking and most talented bartender in the United States of America, would tell us how charming and beautiful we were.  In that period of time I think I spent more money at Houston’s than on my mortgage.

Anyway, one afternoon I had the brilliant idea to take my tiny little boss with me – probably because I wanted to leave work early and it was the only way I could get out of there.  I had to be really careful since I referred to him as Pocket Pal to all my friends and if I get loaded I tended to slip up on nicknames.  So Pocket Pal gets all comfortable at the bar and he is immediately interested in making Sandra the new Mrs. Pocket Pal.  However, she thinks that is simply not possible as he is old, bald and the top of his head hits at about her navel.  So she excuses herself to attend a work party at the baseball park where she is responsible for organizing some big company function for all of their important customers.  Then she has a serious lapse in judgment.  When I suggested/begged that we come with her to continue the party she LET us.  She really must have fallen and bumped her head that day.

Pocket Pal drove a Lamborghini convertible and he was hot to show it off to his new love interest.  He puts the top down and there we went – me riding in the backseat like a beauty queen waving to my public all the way to the ball field.  Sandra was not even religious and she was asking Sweet Jesus to save her.  Apparently Pocket Pal learned to drive in a third world country because he was weaving in and out of traffic going 90mph.  He was driving like a bat out of hell in city traffic blowing through lights.  My hair was a giant rat’s nest when we arrived.  Sandra gave us strict instructions to pretend we were customers if anyone asked.  She assumed we would blend in with the crowd.

I do not know who was more full of shit that evening – Pocket Pal or me.  We talked about our home building enterprise in AFRICA (the untouched housing market) to anyone who would listen.  We soon drew a crowd who wanted in on our real estate deal – those jackals were all over us.  It was a beautiful evening of baseball on a rooftop in downtown Houston looking over the field.  The team mascot showed up – we were dead center in most of the photos.  I threw my sweater off the roof.  There was a hotdog bar and some lady was trying to talk to me while I was shoving hot dogs in my face.  Train wreck.  My arm was bruised from Sandra pinching me and telling me to shut up all evening.  The mascot even picked up Pocket Pal and held him like a baby at one point.  It was great fun!

So it’s time to leave and Sandra jerks the car keys out of Pocket Pal’s little hand and drives us back to the bar.  She was stone cold sober and m-a-d.  She practically dumped us out on the sidewalk.  Pocket Pal and my tornado hairdo were prominently featured in her company newsletter.


Hey, baby, you smell so good!

11 Nov

My friend, Amy, and I have been in fierce competition for years now.  We are both famous for being propositioned by the most unsuitable men on earth.  We have been known to drop everything when it happens so we can call the other to brag about our latest conquest.  I think I am way ahead of her right now in both quantity and quality.  I noticed early in life I had this skill.

I was at an ATM machine in Pearlington, Mississippi (population 145 plus 1 million gnats and mosquitoes) and a bonafide pirate wearing an eye patch and a peg leg hobbles up to the ATM machine and asks me to go sailing with him.  (Thanks to Mr. Johnny Depp in recent years pirates have resurfaced as a cool cultural phenomenon.  I understand there are even clubs where folks apply lots of eyeliner, go out drinking rum and pillage on the weekend all the while speaking in some fake pirate language.  This ATM pirate encounter was many years before all that shit came around.)  The sad thing was I went off with that pirate – although I would not call it sailing.  It was more like fishing the salt water flats in an aluminum boat with a headlight and a case of Dixie beer.  He made me shuck my own oysters and blew a whistle all night – but I did have fun and we caught a lot of fish.  It was just falling off the edge of a long slippery slope. 

Next time I was dancing at some trashy bar in Waveland with the entire Sheriff’s Department.  My dancing partner was really working up a sweat.  He excused himself and came back with raggedy pants legs where he had made shorts out of his double-knit uniform using his pocket knife.  I kept tripping up on all his nylon strings.  I never did get a ticket in that town.  My friend Carolyn and I laughed until we cried that night.

Then one morning I am half asleep at work and this cross-eyed man sheepishly hands me an ice chest – a present just for me.  He had caught me a baby alligator in the ditch out in the work parking lot.  How sweet.  It gnawed on that ice chest lid all day long.  Those things can sure thrash around.  This same man brought me slow smoked raccoon meat.  I could not make up this mess.  He ended up getting fired when he went to jail for fishing with DYNAMITE and failed to show up for work due to incarceration. 

Then this man at work starts bumping into me.  I mean literally bumping into me and trying to knock me down.  He hurt me once shoving me into a doorway – and he was a very tiny man and I am a big old girl. I told his boss – hey, this nutcase that works for you keeps ramming into me.  He said, oh, let me guess – Kee.  He likes to ram women he is interested in.  We call him the Rammer.  Just knock the hell out of him the next time he does it and he will quit.  Luckily he was transferred to our Baton Rouge office before I had to put him down.  I bet some tough Coonass woman beat the hell out of him when he tried that crap.

And it never failed that if I risked my life and entered a convenience store in Houston (and it just so happened there was no armed robbery in progress) the newly immigrated store clerk would compliment me on my perfume or offer me a free hotdog as he cleaned the wiener roasting machine.  It got so where if I had a particularly bad day I would stop off and buy a lottery ticket just so someone would tell me I smelled good. 

One day I pulled into the Popeye’s Fried Chicken and after pulling up to the drive thru window to collect my two piece and a biscuit – this big Mexican practically climbed out of his small drive thru window and said – hey foxy lady in the sexy Volvo – take off those sunglasses and show me your eyes.  Who gets hit on at Popeye’s? I do. Just give me my chicken and shut up.  My child forevermore referred to my car as Sexy Volvo.

But the best ever was when I was in the Goodwill (a charity shop) looking at books and a tall Sikh wearing a turban asked me if I shopped there often. He invited me to go next door to the pawn shop and look at guns and then we could go have a coffee at the Starbucks.

I had to pass – I only had an hour for lunch.

Fire In the Light Socket

10 Nov

So I am laying face down on the massage table listening to the massage lady run off at the mouth.  I grunt occasionally to prove I am still awake but other than that I try to tune her out.  I think they give graduates of every lunatic asylum in Texas a scholarship to massage school since I have yet to meet one that is not certifiable.  It’s never a mystery either if they are crazy since none of them are capable of shutting up and leaving their lives a puzzle to the poor stranger who is paying them for RELAXATION.  This lady is pretty skilled though and I always ask for her because she can fix my neck.  She is the most popular therapist at that spa.  So I’m laying there and she has told me about her prior career as an itinerant Olan Mills portait taker in Amish country and how she is legally blind but DRIVES ANYWAY because she has a very acute sense of where the others cars are even if she can’t see them.  Her dog is her mother reincarnated and on and on. Bring it on, lady.  I have met many nuts in my time.

She pauses dramatically and asks me if I smell smoke.  I raise up off the table out of my daze and sniff around – nope, I don’t smell smoke, thank God.  A few minutes later she asks me again – I still don’t smell any smoke.  It’s time to flip over onto my back.  Then she says, hey, did you see that?  See what?  My eyes are closed.  Did you see that flash of fire?  What the hell?   Then she proceeds to tell me that the other world communicates with her through the light sockets (this is what we call electrical outlets in the South).   Of course I have to get all the details….who exactly is “the other world”?  Do they use appliances too or just the light sockets to communicate?  What do they have to say for themselves?  Honestly, though I have never looked at a light socket the same again.

So it’s time to go.  I  tip her and all I can really worry about is if I have enough time to buy groceries and get home before she is out on the road driving legally blind.

Serial Killer in the Workplace

9 Nov

Throughout the years I have worked with some premium weirdos. We had this guy show up last year and immediately the 3 women on our project were a little freaked out. This guy would lurk behind doors and actually spy on us. He would attempt to make conversation but always managed to make us feel a bit icky by commenting on our delicious skin or some other absurd remark. As we have a habit of nicknaming people we don’t like – he immediately became known as Serial Killer.

SK wears the same outfit every day – black pants, white shirt, white sock with black clunky shoes. He has no facial expression and speaks in a monotone. Drives a white station wagon – as close to a white van as you can get!!

He is a persistent fellow – asking us out for walks at lunch even though it is usually raining like hell and every single time I tell him “No, I think you might be a serial killer. Go away! I will never walk with you.” Some new girl walks with him at lunch now but we don’t like her so she’s on her own. When I run into him in the halls he drops to his knees in an old-fashioned bow. He lurks. He just gives us all the creeps! Surely, you think he must be so good at his job to stay on board despite being such a complete weirdo. No. He does not do much work at all and is known as an idiot who writes Unabomber documents about control panels and how our project is doomed.

So one day Serial Killer comes in my office and as I have learned to avoid eye contact and to discourage any type of conversation I just kept on typing. All of a sudden he is under my desk kissing my ankles. I do not know who screamed louder – me or my office mate, Sligo. I still do not know why Serial Killer did that but I think he will not do it again as I kick like a mule when startled.

So eventually the guys in the office – who take a little longer to catch on to obvious things going on around them – start commenting on what a strange fucker he is. One guy comes in and says, “hey, you ever talk to that German guy? I think he might be a serial killer!” Oh, really??

SK works for a complete moron who defended him by saying what a nice family guy he is. Turns out Serial Killer helped a girl escape from an unhappy home and is raising her as his own.  More evidence!  So we all joke and laugh, but no one walks very close to the white station wagon either.

One Monday SK comes in with a big rock and declares he has dug up a rock in his backyard with scientific evidence of the origins of life. Apparently the rock is a zillion years old and no such rock has ever been found in Europe before blah blah blah. All I can think of is why was he digging in his backyard?

Flu Shot

7 Nov

Me: What kind of flu shot is this?
Dr: It is for influenza
Me: I know, but what kind of influenza?
Dr: The kind no one wants to get. Perhaps the piglet kind.

Welcome to SimplyNotPossible!

6 Nov

I finally started a blog.  My obsession with Facebook is waning (as they will not stop making stupid changes), but I can’t imagine not using the internet for a lot of my daily entertainment/social interaction.  I am truly thankful that through FB I have reconnected with so many of the people I grew up with in Mississippi.  A lot of those friends have even visited me this year and I learned people do not change a lot – comforting! 

I was lucky to grow up in a safe rural community with a lot of really good people.  There was not a lot to do there except go to church and run the roads.  My grandmother, Julia (pronounced Jew-yer by the locals), owned the country store so I worked for her from the age of 9.  I also hung out with my granddad, Troy, a lot.  He was a character and raced thoroughbreds in New Orleans.  I started going to the track with him at a very young age.  He taught me to handicap a racing form and loved to show me off to his buddies.  To this day I have a soft spot for old dudes and characters.  The racetrack was like going to Life University.  In one visit I would be comparing bets with a mafioso bookmaker and in the next race talking to an ex-governor of Louisiana – at age 11.  I often drove us home.  It was nice to grow up thinking I could hold my own with anybody.

When I was a teenager I thought Caesar was the end of the earth and my goals in life were to get out of Mississippi and have air conditioning where I could turn it down as cold as I liked it.  Next time around I should reach a little higher since once I met those goals I did not make any more for 20 years.  I just let life happen and worked my butt trying to make a career in the energy business.

A few years ago Houston started to drag me down.  Living in such a big city was closing in on me.  My job was more stressful than it should have been.  I had survived a train wreck divorce and a major job transition.  I had no idea what to do next – I never planned on raising a little girl by myself.  I thought if I moved to a foreign locale then I could reboot my life.  It did not help that I watched the movie Under The Tuscan Sun with Diane Lane about 12 times so I had romantic notions of a European lifestyle. 

One night I was working late.  I had absolutely hit the wall with a project I had worked on for 5 years (with no end in sight).  It was close to 10pm and a colleague was browsing job openings and thought one she found in Holland might just be the ticket for me.  Without much thought I zipped off my resume.  45 days later we landed at Amsterdam Schipol airport on New Year’s Day.  I knew my new boss slightly, but other than that I did not know a single person in this country.  I did not speak the language.  I had never even been here on a business trip or vacation.  All I knew was that I had nothing to lose. 

So now it’s almost 2 years later and we have settled in.  Moving here was the dumbest, best and hardest thing I have ever done.

The name of my blog refers to an odd little quirk about living among the Dutch.  “It is simply not possible” is a common phrase here.  Some folks think “oh, the Dutch, they smoke a lot of weed and they are very laid back”.  Au contraire!!  They are not laid back.  They have a rule, a law and/or a tax for every aspect of daily life.  They have not embraced customer service.  They also like to eat cheese sandwiches.  They are a pragmatic bunch.  I think this phrase for me – Simply Not Possible – captures the essence of our daily lives in Holland.

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