Thursday, April 27, 2006

Here's My Card.

Shout Out to Sabrina Rae for her huge promotion at NYC Opera!!! Not only does she have crazy responsibility, she has an assistant, and the best job title I've ever heard. She is now 'Manager of Major Gifts.' Hi? How cool is that? So whenever anything comes into the opera with a giant bow, she decides what to do with it.
Actually, I have no idea what it means. I like to pretend I know how operas function, but all I can deduce is that they raise a lot of money to spend a lot of money to put on shows for like the same 100 people (using their money).
When she worked at Glimmerglass, I went to see a performance and sat right next to her boss, which I didn't realize until I had finished the whole, "These are broken, mine are broken" routine. She turned to me and said, "This isn't your first opera is it?" and I felt like an 8 year old, and I was like, "Well, it's my first opera today. We had a late start." Very smooth.
Anyway, congrats sister! Can't wait for your business card! It's going to say MAJOR GIFTS on it! oh the pressure, of a birthday present. Anyone who has your card is going to think they have to go in on a pony now. Or at least a really big stuffed pony. ...Pony. (funnier 3x)
But speaking of business cards, I think I'm the last person in the world not to have one. I was at my friend Mike's place the other night and he's an artist so there were a lot of artists there, and they all had cards. It didn't seem very artist-like to have a business card. It's like street performers who have their cd's for sale. I hate that. The pastry chef from work was there and even SHE had a card.
-Suzanne, you make brownies, why do you need a card?
-It's good for business, plus it's free.
It's true! You can get free business cards made.
So obviously I want to do this, but can't think of anything good to put on it. Nessa said it should read: F&B Needs Anticipator. I Know You Need Ketchup Before You Do.
But my real job would be ridiculous so I want something that is an exciting variation of the truth. Hmm, have to think.
Maybe, Jessica Martin
Sister of the Manager Of Major Gifts.
Including but in no way limited to ponies.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

This Could Save Your Life.

Just got a mass email from Michelle about a scam where people try to sell you perfume but it's really ether, and when you sniff it, they steal all your belongings. The same thing actually happened to me at the Saks perfume counter. And when I came to, I was naked and had to open an account to charge a new outfit just so I could walk out of the store.
Come on people!!!
If I receive one more mass fwd about how to protect myself from rapists, kidnappers, or identify theft, I'm going to attack someone--and chances are, if you have a ponytail, it will be you. What happened to the 'hey' email? Now it's all, 'Here are ways you could potentially die, thought you should know."
I have a feeling Karla has read a few too many of these emails. Whenever it's dark, she gets her keys out and puts the biggest one between her ring and middle finger. "This will let them know I mean business." Right. Key in the finger. I hear that's what all the insurgents in Iraq are using. The Ace Hardware In Baghdad is making a mint on copies alone.
I've said this before, but I really think the best self-defense can be learned from a precocious child. Not only is it most effective, it is also perhaps, the funniest thing in the world. We call it, Dead Weight.
I was reminded of said technique the other day on the train when a 5-year old was standing with her grandmother. In the stops leading up to theirs the grandma would say, "Almost our stop, get ready." But the child was enjoying the ride and made clear with shakes of the head that she had no intention of getting off.
When the doors opened at their stop, the old lady took the child's hand, made a move for the exit, and the child collapsed. The woman started yelling at the child in Chinese and now took both hands trying to lift her like a sack of potatoes. Nothing but a bobbing motion. The girl just lay there with a faint smile and her eyes closed as her grandmother tried dragging her off the train. It should be noted that closing one's eyes is imperative in that it gives the illusion of death.
The doors were beeping and realizing the urgency, the old lady tried running a little bit, still yelling, and dragging this child down the stairs, the heightened sound effect of lifeless feet hitting each one. When the train rolled away the little girl was lying on the street, eyes squeezed shut, with a huge grin.
Had it not been for the smile, this would have been textbook. If you're ever in trouble, just go deadweight. Your whole body as a boiled noodle. Fall to the ground and just flop around if people try to move you. Actually, this might not work for identity theft, but neither will a freakin key.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Best Text Ever?

Woke up to a text message from my little sister. It read: "90 year old Dorothy got into the showcase with 40 cents."
Back story. Vanessa is maybe the most brilliant mind alive when it comes to guessing prices. Which comes as a constant surprise to me because I don't think she's ever bought anything on her own. Watching Price Is Right with her is just about the most entertaining thing one can do. Not only does she guess the price amounts almost perfectly every time, she guesses what games will be played and calls what products will be used with such clairvoyance you kind of get scared. And the prizes to get up onto the stage? The ones where some people guess a dollar? she ALWAYS knows the exact price. It blows me away.
"Um, how do you know the price for a keyboard and a set of knives."
"They've used that before."
When I watch it with her, tears roll down my face, it's honestly too funny. She has everything planned out for when she'll go on the show. Her run up to contestants row, whether or not she'll play the game, or just walk away, "If it's a grandfather clock, I wouldn't even bother playing. Just get me to the wheel and into the showcase." She's convinced that she would spin a dollar, and takes it personally when people get into the showcase with less than 80 cents.
And the Showcases! HA. If you ever see my little sister, ask her to announce a mock showcase showdown. It is perhaps one of the most brilliant things you will ever hear. She starts with a theme, as they always do, and then goes on to tell a ridiculous story about what happens to a barker beauty all the while including random prizes. She's a funny girl but this is hands down the most hilarious thing she does.
Um, right. Just had to share I guess.
Oh, and have your pets spayed or neutered.

Monday, April 17, 2006


So I've been sneaking into work a little later than usual to avoid seeing Laurentiu on his way out. Some might argue that this is immature. I'm simply trying to sidestep an undoubtedly awkward situation for us both. Like running into someone after a random hookup. It's just better for both parties and the elephant in the room if enough time passes so as to pretend it never happened. Particularly for me, so I don't say something like, "yup, we're were kind of engaged there for a second, huh?"
Avoidance and selective memory are the pinnacle of maturity. And also, carrying a check book. Who does that?

I was pleased upon entering to see only Fes. It was a first. Every other day I literally hide to avoid him. He's a mini-bar attendant (a miniature bartender, if you will) who insists on talking to me nonstop even though I can't understand a word he says. It's a mixture of soft-talking, mumbling, and non-English that leaves me screaming at him in my head while forcing a smile on my face. I thought I actually understood him say my name once. It turned out he was saying pasta. But I digress.
So Fes was talking about shoelaces, or cashews, or political reform, ( I like to think it was a combo of the three) and in walks Laurentiu. Shit. Ok, j, play it cool.
I was hoping to avoid you forever.
Don't say that.
We almost got married!
No, not that either.
"Hey." Nice.
"Hello, Jessica." Followed by 25 minutes of silence. Honestly. His shift was over at 3 and he stayed until 3:30 not saying anything.
Finally he says, "So, Jessica, do you not have maybe a friend who will marry me?"
What?! This kid has platinum balls!
"Oh man, kid. You have platinum balls."
LT: Sorry?
Me: Nothing.
Fes: You need wine glasses?
Me: What? No, I'm not talking to you Fes, thank you.
Fes: Cashews.
LT: You can think of no one?
Me: Um, no not really.

So with this he goes into the whole pitch--AGAIN. I thought this was over!! It's like a telemarketer pushing magazines who you've already said no to, shows up at your place of employment to sell you the thing you have no intention of buying. And I was doing everything in my power to avoid the metaphorical Cat Fancy subscription.
And that doesn't even make sense. I just wanted an excuse to say Cat Fancy.
(Note: domestic cats would only be cool if they wore pants and walked on their hind legs at all times. I think we can all agree on that. talk about fancy.) But I digress.
He went on to say, "I know you. They say, what this girl likes to wear? I say, the sneakers. They say, what this girl likes to eat? I say, the cereals."
I had to laugh. You know that scene in When Harry Met Sally when he rushes to find her on New Year's Eve to tell her all the things he loves about her? The was my own sad little Romanian version of that.
I love that you likes the converse! I love that you likes the corn pops! And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here today, because I was scheduled to work 7-3. But also, because when you realize your Visa has expired and you will be deported unless you spend the rest of your life with someone, (but really, 6-12 months, tops) you want to take fake relationship pictures and get married in Vegas and interviewed by INS, as soon as possible.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Preheat peeps at 325

Besides the obvious -- lack of baby pictures, mind blanks on your name during introductions, etc., you become aware very early of what it means to be a middle child.
For me, it came every Easter when we would search for baskets. We never did the egg thing, it was always a basket hunt. And mine was always in the oven. My sisters would search everywhere, my mom would often rearrange furniture to hide theirs. I always walked directly to the oven and pulled it out.
"Oh, Vicki you found it!"
"It's Jessica."
But if there are two universals about kids it's that they love to be timed--with anything--and they love to look for shit.
So the idea of a hunt for gifts carried over to all our birthdays. Our presents would be hidden in various places around the house to add to the fun. It was exciting to run around hunting for glimpses of wrapping paper, until it ceased to be, and we'd cry.
Realizing the whole house was too daunting, and all we really wanted was our stuff, the hiding places were narrowed down to 2 rooms, the living room and the kitchen. I think the kitchen was included solely for the purposes of my gifts.
This tradition continued as we grew up and the hiding spots could be listed with about as much effort as reciting the alphabet. It lasted through the eye-rolling angst of the preteens, "Oh, under the sofa cushion?! Good one mom--God!"
Through the high school, "No, I'm too old for that. But, ok, hide them. No--really, hide them."
And I tried to carry it to college but my freshman year roommate was not feeling it.
-have you seen my paper?
-no, seriously. I'm late for class and this is a huge deal.
-Then you better get to looking! cold, colder.
My parents sent me a package and it got here a few days ago. They called to say not to open it until tomorrow. Right. Who gets a package in the mail (maybe one of the best things in the world, right?) and just lets it sit there? If anyone has that much restraint I'd like to meet you. Wait, no I wouldn't. Because you're probably not fun at all.
So they sent a basket that included an incredibly scary bunny pez-dispenser that I can't really look at after dark.
The note attached said, "This was in the oven." Cute.
Followed by, "Happy Easter, Jennifer."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Get The Hell Out of Dodge.

A while back while running in golden gate park, a homeless man went out of his way to trip me. When I got up, i gave him this confused look of disappointment. Not so much anger, just more of a, "why would you do that to me?"
Laurentiu gave me the same look today when we met up and I told him I wouldn't marry him.
To be on the receiving end of that look is really hard. honestly, i felt terrible. If you've ever been lost or desperate in a foreign country, you know how hard it is to ask favors of people. You're kind of at their mercy. Granted, this was a huge favor, but still. If there was any other way that I could legally help him out, I would. Fraud just isn't for me. I can't fake laugh, how can I fake a marriage?
But he kept going on and made me feel so bad, I started to get pissed. I feel like I'm constantly apologizing. My whole job is to anticipate complaints, and when I fail to do so, say sorry like a million times. I'm so over it. I'm forever trying to find a universal truth and I think I've hit upon one. People are babies.
In the service industry, you're paid to apologize and smile when people do one or all of these things:
1) whine
2) Complain in hopes of getting free shit
3) Be babies.
And rich people are by far and away, the biggest most ridiculous babies. They're like those babies who wear glasses. Why does that child need corrective lenses? Will it be reading later, before it poops in it's pants? But I'm paid to listen to these people cry, often literally, over spilled milk.
Tonight a man called to yell at me because I "lied to him" about the grouper. The menu says grouper, we were substituting a halibut, he refused to hear it the 9 times I said it, so I just let him continue to say grouper. It's like when you're talking to someone and they keep calling you the wrong name, eventually you'll just start responding to 'Samantha.'
Anyway, it all hit me all at once that this is my life. This man, yelling at me on the phone over a piece of fish, this is what I do.
And I'm not sure if it was the combination of my failed marriage and the complaint. Or the weather, or the 'time to bake the donuts' routine I've been stuck in, but I'm so over it.
I'm in full-blown office space mode now people, I'm serious. I'm just looking for the most entertaining way to get fired, and then I think I'm packing up. It's late, I know, but you get flashes of clarity when a wealthy man is calling you a liar, and you say things like, "dude, I can't marry you," and feel guilty about it.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Coin toss.

As a child, i had a very hard time making decisions. Whenever we would go out to eat I would be overwhelmed by menus and choose instead, to order nothing. It was my little hunger strike to protest free will at Red Lobster. It became a problem, and thus was born one of a million Martin family sayings, "You can never go wrong with grilled cheese."
And to be honest, I still use this when out for lunch and unsure of what I want.
But my indecision with small things has pretty much disappeared and I've learned to jump on impulse for things like what to eat, buy, etc. But questions of life direction...forget about it. I'm 7 years old again with a billboard menu.
I was enjoying over the last few months, a relative calm in this department. Yes, I hate my job, but it's ok for now. Just living an easy, decision-free life, no worries, it was all very nice.
But then, someone comes along and hands you their future, and you're left to decide what to do with it.
Not to harp on it, but this marriage thing has been weighing on me. And what's ironic is that I'm so anti-wedding, I thought this would be something I'd never need to worry about. I was talking to my sisters about it and they agreed that besides being hilarious, it's actually a huge deal for this kid, because it's his life, and his chance to be successful in America (he was given a job with a bank which is dependent on his citizenship). gah, it's just a lot.
Nessa said he should pay off my student loan and then I should do it.
Brina said I shouldn't do it for less than $100,000.
And my mother, (who i KNEW i shouldn't have told) said i shouldn't do it because he might sell me into an underground sex trade. Right. He comes all the way to America, works for 8 months in room service, the whole time scouting me out as a potential sex slave, and then asks me to marry him in a way to get me to Romania where I will have no legal rights as his wife, and my story will be sold to CBS as the next installment of the mini-series, "Not Without My Daughter." Solid advice, mom, thanks for that.
But me and Raffi were laughing our heads off last night talking about the wedding. He's seriously the best roommate a girl could have. He's like, well, I'm totally there if you decide to do it, and we started brainstorming about possible wedding songs. He came up with the Harold Melvin classic, "If You Don't Know Me By Now." or ac/dc's "Highway to Hell." I appreciated his suggestions, but it's obvious if we were to get married the song would be, 'Shoop' by the prophetic Salt N Pepa. That's just a given.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Where Was I?

Oh right. I met a man in Room Service, and we're getting married. (name the reference, win a prize)

If I may, let's return to the proposal. (Trivia: This is not the first time I've been asked to marry someone. A few years ago in Morocco, a man offered me camels in exchange for my hand in marriage. I swear to you, that's 100% true)
Laurentiu had just proposed. On my end, it was a complete arrest of breath accompanied by what must have looked like an attempt to touch my eyebrows to my ponytail. I waited patiently for him to say he was kidding and bring up the drug mule thing--no dice.
But I don't know why I was floored. Of course this would happen. It makes perfect sense. You dress up in a little room service uniform, express that you have no interest in guys, and the Eastern European sitting on a case of water asks you to marry him. It's textbook.
So I listened to his speech about his expiring visa etc, the whole time picturing the situation being played out on a filmstrip like they used to show in elementary school. Grainy pictures, with naration coming from an old cassette player:

-The lesbian nods slowly with widened eyes as the foreigner pleads his case. Beep.
-In his broken English he explains it is a business deal in which they both will benefit. Beep.
-They will take trips together, as photographs are needed as evidence of their relationship. Beep.
-In a years time, they will be interviewed by a government official to determine if he can stay. Beep.
-The girl tries her best not to imagine the young man speaking as GĂ©rard Depardieu. Beep.

And this continued, until he left work, and then we met up last night to talk about it a little more. The thing is, after I stopped laughing, it didn't seem so crazy. Am I insane for even considering?? In a word--yes. But here are the pros:
1) Help out a friend in need.
2) The potential for the funniest wedding EVER in vegas with all my friends.
3) You only get one go in this life to collect as many kick-ass stories as you can, and this would qualify.

1)hi, do you really need them listed?
2) I just came out to my parents, now I'd have to tell them I'm getting married.
mmm yeah, that should go over well.
3) As michelle said, "You'll have a divorce on your record."
So if I get pulled over or apply for a job they'll know I've been convicted of divorce.

But people, I'm a student of reason. Honestly, at this point, it's 90% no. But 10% of me can't help but think that a ninja-theme ceremony at Caesar's Palace is like, the best idea I've ever had.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Oh. My. God.

Where do i EVEN begin?

Let me preface this by saying that the thread that weaves the events of my days together to form my life, is absurdity. Everyone who knows me, knows this. I am confounded, dumbfounded, and surrounded by absurd situations--all the time.

OK, with that said...
Go into work yesterday, chatting with this kid Laurentiu, hella-cool, wicked smart--speaks 5 languages, was an engineer in Italy, and now waits tables in America.
So we're talking, and he's like, "Jessica, I need to ask you something."
For the record: i HATE when people say things like that. It's like begging my imagination to run wild.
-ok, shoot.
-Well, I can't ask you now, at work.
-um, ok.
-But I'd like to ask you...well, when do you have time to talk?
-Hi? have we met? I have about 8 hours, starting now.
So he goes on to say that he's scared of HR and doesn't want to embarrass me and can't talk about it now, can we meet up later and talk. I should mention that there's a little bit of a language problem, and he kept saying things like, 'meet in public places' to, 'eat the foods, or drink the drinks.'
At this point I have an exaggerated look of confusion on my face and I'm thinking, ok, this kid is not trying to ask me out. But having no ability to repremand my inner child and needing to say things the moment i think them, i go, "sorry, you're not asking me out, right? Cuz I'm gay."
I waited a moment, and actually saw the successful translation in his facial expression, and he's like, "no shit? ok ok. ok, this is, uhhh, super."
So we start laughing even though I still have no idea what he's talking about and i'm like, so what's up?
-Well, it's about business.
-Room Service?
-Nonono, a business between you and me.
-We have a business?
-Well, yes. we could. and it could be very good for us both.
-ok, is this business legal?
-....well, yes.

Note: I watched 'Maria Full of Grace' the other night, so at this point i'm pretty sure he wants to use me as a drug mule to ship cocaine to and from Latin America. But he's from Romania, so that didn't make much sense.

So for 45 minutes this back and fourth continued.
All aboard the Vague-Train!! We'll be making certain destinations...I guess...
Finally I'm like, OK, you're killing me--what are we talking about?!

And with this my friends,
He sits down on a box of Large Evians,
looks up at me and says,
Jessica, I'd like to ask you to marry me.

I'll give you a second with that.
To be continued...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Rainy Days and The Attack of Sloth Girl.

Hey, guess what?? It's raining out! you know what's better than a rainy day? A month of consecutive rainy days!!! It does wonders for the morale!
You know those people who go out in public with sweat suits on, and you stop to wonder, now is that really appropriate? Well, I'm that person...and yes, yes it is. Because nothing is more uncomfortable than wet denim and it's my day off and I will wear a sweat suit everywhere today. and when I come indoors I will switch it out for the fresh fuzzy hooded goodness of another one.
It's seriously SO wet outside. You know swimming?? that's dryer. I woke up early with delusions of grandeur thinking I'd take a jog on the beach, but it was pouring, so pancakes and my tivo list sounded much more appropriate. And that's what I've done. It's 130 in the afternoon, a shower is nowhere on my schedule and even typing 'pancake' is making me sick due to the amount of batter i've ingested.
Staying indoors for extended periods of time is not healthy. The effects are apparent. I was watching The Apprentice this morning, without the volume, making up the voices for everyone. If you've seen this season, there's a guy on it with a British accent, so it was particularly enjoyable to do his voice-over. This is a HIGHLY entertaining game and I completely recommend it to anyone who wants to feel bad about their life. When you're sitting alone in a jog-suit watching TV on mute, essentially talking to yourself and laughing til you cry, it's time to evaluate where you are.
OK, well I gotta get out of here. Thinking of going to the SFMOMA and i've bet myself a dollar that I won't go in sweat pants. I see that bet! and raise you!

Monday, April 03, 2006

I'm not well

So I'm a horrible hypochondriac. It's bad. As soon as people mention illness, my eyes get itchy and I start to feel sick. I'd like to think it's because I'm so sympathetic, but, let's be real.
Without going into too much detail, there was a time I was almost positive I had contracted AIDS from a hot fudge sundae. Me and Nessa were on a road trip and stopped at a McDonalds in Georgia (if you can avoid it, never eat McDonalds. And unless life depends on it, never stop in Georgia). Long story short, we had been driving through the night, little sleep is no good for my imagination, and I thought my sundae had AIDS.
As we were driving out of Georgia and i was still freaking out Nessa goes, "Fine. Tomorrow we'll go to Planned Parenthood and when they ask you why you want an AIDS test just say it's very likely you contracted it from a hot fudge sundae."
That was enough to snap me back to reality,
But now that she's all med-school it's bad news bears for my craziness. I'll call with the most random questions and she'll calmly explain why it's not possible for me to have testicular cancer and I'll hang up relieved.
From our conversation the other day:
-hey, what's lymphoma?
-You don't have lymphoma.
-Well, what it is? Cuz I've heard if you have it you start to swell up and your ankles like fold over you feet.
-stop. stop. did you watch True Life?

And there it was. She caught me. There was a TrueLife MTV doc about weight gain, 'True Life: I weigh a lot' or something and i saw it recently. Every time they showed this woman who had lymphoma my eyes darted to my ankles to make sure they were OK. Her poor ankles, ooooh man. Not good. they had honestly swelled like 15times the normal size. and she kept putting socks on. All i could do was yell at the TV, "could you please not put the socks on!"
If you've seen it, you know.
Um, yeah.
On a semi-related note, recently posted a memo from the casting director of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The memo, distributed to ABC affiliates, basically asked to look for very specific diseases that would add to the emotional factor of the show. One of them included a rare disorder where children cannot feel pain.
um, what?
I looked it up, and it's true.
It's called CIPA and it disrupts nerve fibers so that kids can't feel pain.
Sorry, but just because little jonny can fall down a flight of stairs and not know it hurts, doesn't really mean he should get a pool and a 60inch plasma. We should be doing something to get ankles some new Kenmore appliances. Or maybe a new sectional for that poor girl who got herpes from her 99cent Jr. Frosty.