Archives for October 2010

Monday Dare: just in case

Every Monday, I’m picking from the List of Things to Try, Places to Go, Possible Acts that Help and Possible Fun to Have. It’s a list I made before The Project started and I’m still adding to it. If you have suggestions, please, feel free to throw them my way. I’m calling the list my Monday Dares, as I get overwhelmed just looking at the words “challenge” or “goal.”

This week: I will learn enough French to survive one weekend in a predominately French-speaking place.

A toilet attacked me in Paris two years ago. An elderly French gentleman tried to save me. His efforts proved to be futile, but I learned an invaluable lesson that day:

Practice selective thrift.

In this instance: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT try to finagle a free use from a pay-to-use outdoor pod restroom.

Don’t hang around a pod that is already occupied and wait for the door to open so that you can catch the sliding door before it shuts from the last “client’s” use. Let it shut! Here’s what happens when the door closes. Clever little spigots spray the interior with cleaners and disinfectants. If you jump in to save a few coins, guess who’s going to get cleansed and disinfected in an all-encompassing mist along with the toilet….YOU!

Bless you, Elderly Frenchman, wherever you are right now.

Elderly Frenchman did his best to warn me when I grabbed the sliding door, preventing it from shutting all the way and locking. He gave a rather long and animated explanation (with hand motions, even), pantomimed signs to let the door close, and made whirring noises while flailing his arms around. I didn’t understand a single word, so I smiled politely and threw in a “Merci” here and there for good measure.

He finally left, confident that he had schooled me thoroughly on pay-to-use toilets. He was wrong. I waited for him to turn the corner and slid inside. As soon as it closed, I understood what he was trying to say. A disinfecting is worth a thousand words….in any language.

That’s why I’m determined to learn (just barely) enough French to get around France. Or Canada. Or Djibouti.

I’m compiling a list of phrases to learn to avoid any future disasters. My list so far:

  • How much does this cost?
  • Can I have it for free?
  • Excuse me, sir, that is my buttocks. Please do not touch it.
  • Excuse me, ma’am, that is my buttocks. Please do not touch it.
  • You have an attractive face.
  • I am married.
  • No, I will never leave my husband. He is an excellent cook.

*Any suggestions for this list?

*Share your funny stories from travels elsewhere. If you don’t have one, then make one up; I’ll never know. Except, if I meet you one day in real life and I mention that time such and such happened, and you look at me with a blank stare. Then I’ll know you’re a liar. And we probably couldn’t be friends. You know what,  on second thought, don’t lie. If you don’t have an interesting story, just tell me a boring one. 

Seriously, this happened

Who can resist the charm of Sin City?

I give myself a little speech every time I visit, “Don’t spend too much. Don’t get crazy. Behave.” It never works out. I always spend more than I anticipated. Then, I feel guilty. Spend. Guilt. Spend. Guilt. Such a vicious cycle. Not enough to keep me away, but hey, I feel things, okay? I don’t have the restraint to behave in the midst of those bright lights. And their design is brilliant. You can never tell what time of night or day it is once you’re inside and the amazing assortment of distractions is too much for anyone to resist.

Yep, Target will get you every single time.

I haven’t been to Target since I started The Project. Why? Because my astute sensibility told me it would probably be a bad situation.

Then, I ran out of dental floss. I hate that I care about dental health so much. A need for dental floss + a dental wellness obsession + a predilection to buy all personal care items at Target: that’s really the perfect storm.

I took Harv and Cal for moral support. I got the brilliant idea to close my eyes to lessen temptation and avoid distractions in my favorite section (accessories). Can we just stop here for a minute so you can picture this? Seriously. Picture a man and a child, walking hand-in-hand, and a woman following closely behind with her eyes closed, one arm on the man’s shoulder and the other arm out as a “feeler guide.” Yeah, I know, how do they put up with me? They’re amazing.

Safely out of the “danger zone,” I opened my eyes right as we passed an office supply endcap.

Me: Whoa, whoa, hold on guys. I just need to take a closer look at this.

Harv: That’s not dental floss. Let’s just keep moving.

Me: WAIT! I need this. Everybody needs an accordion file folder.

During our little exchange, I’d managed to pick up the file folder and lovingly cradle it in the nook of my arm. Not unlike a mother carrying a child. As Harv protested further, I started to caress the folder. Not unlike a mother caressing her child.

I started to feel desperate. How could he be so dense? I needed this file folder. Surely, it didn’t count as shopping. How else was I going to organize my notes? I could keep coupons in some of the compartments. By spending money on this accordion file folder, I would actually be saving money by keeping my coupons accessible and organized. It was large enough to fit a stack of paper, yet small enough to throw into my purse, a veritable office on-the-go! In a pinch, I could even take out the paper and throw in a few party essentials and use it as an evening clutch!

Happiness was cradled in the crook of my arm. For a mere $12.99, it could be mine. All that was standing in my way was Harv. I had to get rid of him.
Sigh. I’m still thinking about that accordion file folder today. I made my choice- keep Harv, lose the file folder. It was a tough decision, but Harv is an excellent picture hanger. I need him around.

Have you ever lost you mind over something you thought you absolutely needed? Have your friends or family ever questioned your sanity after seeing the object of your affection? Tell me I’m right….everyone needs an accordion file folder, no?

p.s. Hello, I’m Elizabeth and I live in the Stone Age. I don’t have a Twitter account. Do you tweet? twit? twitterize? Is it addictive?

p.p.s. Drank the Kool-Aid. On Twitter as NoShoppingLiz. That’s not really a title, more like a command.