Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Horizontal Pam

Today I was in a coffee shop, just minding my own business, looking for crazy shit to blog. I figure there are only so many things I can write about from home before I’ll find myself sleeping on the sidewalk. So today Larry gets a break.

I was sitting in the coffee shop, drinking my latte, when I noticed one of the coffee clerks outside with her boyfriend. This wasn’t Starbucks where are there nine clerks screaming out your double decaf mocha mist frappes. Personally, I like the neighborhood hole-in-the-walls where the staff is a little more bohemian. This place is one of my favorites.

Jammin’ Java is in Vienna, VA. It’s the jack-of-all-trade coffee places. It sells coffee obviously, but it also is a 100-person concert venue, serves lunch and gives music lessons.

Anyway, back to the lady with the boyfriend. To say they were kissing would be an understatement. His tongue was so far down her throat, he could have tied her shoelaces. She had this bottled blonde, shoulder-length hair that reaffirmed the need for professional hair care. But then again, she had a tongue in her throat and I had a latte, so who’s to criticize.

As she turned and walked back into the store, I did a double take. She looked exactly like one of my old roommates, Pam.

When I first moved to DC, I lived in a group house with six other people. My friend Chrissy had convinced me to give up my lucrative career at the Olive Garden and move to DC without a job. For two months, four of us packed into a two bedroom/den apartment in Alexandria until we could find better accommodations.

We found an amazing house in Arlington, but we needed a fifth roommate. “I know,” Chrissy said, “let’s ask my friend Pam.

Now the four of us knew each other from college. We all got along, except Mark, who would borrow our soap and steal the house’s toilet paper. (Yeah, we couldn’t figure out what he needed it for either.) Pam came over for a happy hour and we knew we should bring her aboard as a roommate.

Once we moved in, the weirdness began.

Pam had a full time boyfriend named Tim. She’d met Tim at her last job, but we discovered she’d been engaged to another from that job and broke it off to date Tim. I loved a good scandal and could really offer nothing shocking myself aside from the secret exhilaration of watching Cop Rock.

One day, the phone rang and Pam quickly answered it and hung up. This happened four more times until we finally inquired.

There’s this guy I met who thinks we are dating.” Pam explained.
Chrissy asked, “Why would he think that?
Well, it seems if you get drunk and totally do the business with someone and they are all needy and boyfriend-like.

But it didn't stop there.

On Valentine’s Day, we had a motor coach pull up to our house to deliver a dozen roses. A bus driver got out and handed them to Mark. “Tell Pam I stopped by.

(Secretly we prayed that relationship wouldn’t last since we lost all our parking spaces when he arrived.)

Upon returning from a trip to Boston, Pam collapsed in exhaustion on the couch. We knew she’d been visiting her friend Brian, who lived in the South End. I said, “Pam, why are you tired? We thought Brian was gay.

She sighed, “Well, he’s decided that he might be bi so he wants me to be his practice girlfriend.” (If you’re wondering, even Pam couldn’t overcome nature versus nurture.)

Instead of using our white board for messages, we kept a list of boyfriends and Pam would write out that day’s excuse in case they called. The cover-up was tiresome, but you do this for roommates.

In every situation, there eventually comes time for intervention. Ours came in the form of Mr. Su.

Pam worked at the Korean Embassy. There was a diplomat who became quite fond of her. All we knew was that he was a little weird. One day, Pam was on the phone and we overheard this conversation; “I’m not going to sleep with you again, Jennifer. It was fun, but I have to stay focused on my life.

We all stood up. Chrissy looked back and forth and finally blurted out the words we’d been dying to ask. “Pam, have you become a lesbian?

She pulled her hand through her long blond locks and sighed, “No. Mr. Su likes me to call him 'Jennifer' when we’re together.

Pilfering Mark just looked up and said, “Can you go back to seeing the bus driver?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Half in the Bag

Compulsive, retentive, organized; yes these are all words that describe me. I know my weaknesses and I embrace them. Sometimes you just have to accept the deck with you’ve been dealt and move on from there.

This past week, my company had their annual Christmas… sorry “Holiday” party. In addition to an afternoon of fun, each employee got a small gift. In the past, it’s been a fleece throw, a windbreaker, a foling camping chair, etc.. All of them were nice, but I’ve never really used any of them. OK, technically one member of the family does use an item. Our beagle LOVES the fleece throw.

This year: BONANZA, baby… and I’m not talking the all-you-can-eat meat with the sneeze guard salad bars restaurant chain.

Seriously, it was the mother load. Each person got a Leeds toiletry bag. How cool is that? OK, truth be told, not everyone was as excited as me. However, I think they were overcome with my exhilaration.

Upon walking to our desks and noticing the bag, my eyes widened with pleasure. Immediately, my friend Georgia called me.

OMG, you must be so happy; a portable container for you to put more thing into.

Not only that,” I said, “but it’s waterproof and has reinforced zippers and hooks.

There are few things that make a gay man happier. People might say I have baggage; the correct term my friend, is luggage!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Fairy Tales

We saw The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe this past weekend. Believe it or not, neither of us had read the book before seeing the movie, but we were pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoyed it.

As we always do after movies, we recounted our favorite scenes and talked about the characters. We both loved the special effects and thought the young actors did a fantastic job. My favorite line came from Larry as we got into the car.

“Is it just me or would that wardrobe look amazing as a TV cabinet in our family room?”

The importance of set dressing in folklore loses no meaning with people who appreciate antiques.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

First Snow of the Year

Last night I picked up my son from day care. He and his moms only live down the block so we just walk home together.

Picking your kid up from day care is the best experience; they are so excited to see you. He ran up, hugged me and said, “Hi Daddy. We go to Corey’s house and play outside.”

I told him that we had to get our jackets on first and walk home. He put on a light-weight warm up jacket and grabbed a pair of yellow snow boots. “OK, we go,” he says. I shook my head. “Sweetie, I’m sure your moms had you in a warmer coat. Where is it?”

With that I remember a new coat had been purchased and I hadn’t seen it yet. I frantically looked through each coat, trying to figure where his moms had put his name. Thinking smarter, I told him we’d play and game. “You yell ‘Yes' when daddy points to your coat.”

I point to a red one and he shouts, “Yes.” I grab and thought about how easy that had been. I reached over and asked, “How about this one?”

“Yes,” he said. CRAP, I thought. I walked over to the teachers with a handful of coats and said, “Corey has a new coat and I don’t know what it looks like. HELP!” They laughed hysterically and picked out a yellow & blue jacket, which I stuck on the kid and headed out the door.

As we walked home, Corey pointed out each snow pile. “I play with mommy in the snow today.” I nodded, “Yep mommies like snow. Daddies like the Caribbean.”

We walked toward the house and he continued to point out birds, stop signs and snow piles. Every five feet, he’d pick up a bit of snow, throw it and giggle. His little cheeks get rosy and his eyes just glowed of excitement. These are the moments every parent lives for.

“Can we play in the snow daddy?” he asks.

“Umm, we can’t little man. Daddy is wearing his suede shoes.”

I’m guessing Father of the Year is not going to be knocking on my door anytime soon.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

No need for a Thank You note

When I actually supervised a staff, the worst part of that job was doing interviews. Not that I didn’t like the people I met. I just can’t pay attention to the all that “qualified for the job” stuff. It’s like interviewing ADD. I’m too much a social person to be bogged down with all that information.

The benefit was that I had two managers, so I made them do all the prescreening and major interviewing. I’d tag team with them or better yet, would meet with the candidate afterwards and use big phrases like, “Well, let me tell you a little about the position” or “Was there anything said that needed more explanation.” Powerful non-committal statements are so great.

We had an open position last year. The two managers were prescreening some resumes and each selected their favorites. One manager picked a young woman who’d had a few years marketing experience. He definitely had a good eye for potential employees. The other manager, picked people he thought he’d have fun with or worked part-time at places that gave great discounts. He was gay and truly would make a better coffee hostess than a marketer. He was known more for his gossip than his abilities. (And no, I inherited him; I didn’t hire him.)

His latest submission was a young man who ran gym memberships at the YMCA. He was from South America, was incredibly handsome and easy on the eyes. His smile was captivating, but his knowledge of marketing could fill a thimble. It was all I could do to make conversation for the half hour meeting.

After an interview, we’d get together and discuss the candidate. My review of this particular gentleman was not too favorable, but I wanted to give the two managers their chance at learning to detect a person’s strengths and weakness.

Manager #1 said, “I think his overall marketing knowledge is a little below average but he shows abilities in networking and we’ve never thought about that in this role before.”

Manager #2 just looked up from his coffee and said, “I thought he was delicious.”

Decision made.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Paying the RENT

EBay never fascinates to amaze me. When I first began, I sold all our old VHS tapes and our CD’s. Let’s face it, anything wasn’t nailed down, got sold.

This past week, I sold another bunch of magazines. I do this every other month. All the old magazines in our house are collected and placed up for auction. As a rule, celebrity publications do best. I usually sell my old Entertainment Weekly and Advocate magazines.

This past week included The Advocate’s RENT issue. Now yes, RENT is hot right now. We saw the movie with in hours of it being released. Then again, we’re gay and didn’t have to host Thanksgiving dinner this year. But who knew how hot a 4-week old issue would be?

The magazine sold for $22.50 plus shipping. For the record, a year’s subscription to The Advocate is $15.99.

I love a free market society.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

What I know

Ok for some reason I just had to write about this word. The other day, I used this word in a sentence and it made me laugh. (btw, you try to incorporate that word into a sentence, it’s not easy.) Now, I realize this is a great medical exercise, but seriously, can you imagine the crap this family had to endure for their last name? I just like saying it. “Heimlich.” Yep, still makes me laugh.

I had made an educated guess that this chocking solution had been named after the guy who invented it. Sure enough after looking on Wikipedia, it gave credit to Henry Heimlich (giggle). The interesting part was that Hemilich’s colleague, Edward Patrick, is now trying to take credit for the move. The Patrick Maneuver doesn’t seem to have the same cache.

Wikipedia is the most amazing site. A friend of mine introduced me to it a few months ago. This is an online encyclopedia that can receive submission from users to enhance current entrees. Did you know the “WIKI” stands for “what I know is?” That’s what I should call our house; the “Wiki-House”, since let’s face it, Larry would probably tell you that’s what he deals with every day from me.

It’s hard to be the source of all things.