Archives for September 2010

the dark side

I stole a coupon this week.
I’m not going to lie- I was amazing. So smooth, so stealth, you’d think I pilfered regularly. I yearned to brag about my prize, but decided against it. I have to draw the decency line somewhere and my line happens between stealing a coupon and actually telling people about it over cocktails….so I’m doing it here.
I practice a respectable level of laziness, which is why I refuse to get on my hands and knees with rags to clean my stone floor every time we spill something. I like shortcuts. The best shortcut is not doing it myself, but 10-year-old Cal insists on going to school Monday through Friday, and I just don’t have the heart to add floor duty to her list of chores (she did a stellar job of preparing my taxes this year) .
I researched hard surface floor cleaners. Each one presented a new shortcoming-too heavy, too weak, too unstable, too complicated and one was just too ugly. I like to clean a spill in style. After a week of back and forth, I finally threw my hands up and decided, “Forget this. I am too cool for emotional upheaval over a floor cleaner. I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me. I’m a worthy human being.” Thank you, Stuart Smalley.
You really don’t realize how much you love need someone something until it’s gone….like a Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon. Yes, it was my own purely preventable fault that after eight years of throwing away their mailings, Bed, Bath & Beyond got tired of me, Mrs. Ungrateful, and decided to stop wasting a coupon and postage on me. Oh, Hindsight, you unforgiving, malevolent devil.
So, I stole one.
At the eye doctor’s office.
From an interior design magazine.
It took me almost three minutes to tear it out, carefully and soundlessly, so the receptionist wouldn’t catch on.
Don’t judge me. You can judge me all you want. I’ll be too busy rolling around in the thirty dollars I saved. I had the bank change it into pennies. It doesn’t feel very comfortable, but it sure feels satisfying.

do it the right way: live by a series of threats & rewards

I was rude for nothing today. What a waste.

I like to save up all my anger and aggression for people who really deserve it, like the burly men who bump into my daughter, Cal (petite and easy to miss), and continue to walk away without apologizing or even slowing down. And the mailman who stuffed my fashion magazine carelessly into my mailbox, leaving pages 18-34 crinkled and torn? Stink eye…a really menacing stink eye. Not to his face, unfortunately, since I’ve never bumped into him, but you can bet that when I did it in the privacy and security of my own home, it was still just as scary.

Even after living in Los Angeles for eight years, I’m still surprised when I encounter traffic and I rarely plan for extra driving time to accommodate the pockets of congestion. Like today. I wanted to get home quickly. I needed to get home quickly. Stuck on a tiny road near the Skirball, I exercised my adroit driving skills and switched into a less populous lane. A less populous, closed lane. With no other choice but to inch back into the space that I just left, I signaled and moved back to claim my spot.

It’s a shame the Honda didn’t think that spot belonged to me anymore. I waved bashfully, hoping to catch his attention, praying I wouldn’t hit the cones in the closed lane. The Honda driver clearly intended to ignore me. I waved again. No luck. Frustrated, I lost my patience. Of course, he chose that very moment to notice me. It’s a special day when you’re zoning out on your drive home from work and you catch a woman waving her fists at you and calling you an “asshole,” with an ugly scowl on her face.

I could tell from his startled expression that he had no idea I had been trying to edge into his lane. He graciously slowed down and let me switch. I smiled brightly and waved as I drove off.