He had me at "Hello"

I Saw the Sign!

Today's post is about signs. Not road signs, mind you, but SIGNS, as is metaphysical, or spiritual, or from the universe or courtesy of M. Night Shyamalan. You know . . . signs.

But first, I think I need to clarify something about my last post. It was not meant to be any sort of slam or put down of Bonnie, Sandy or their rich and wonderful non-TV-centric lives. My blog posts are about me. ME, ME, ME, ME, ME! I was making fun of myself and my scary-obsessive addiction to TV. I cannot even have a conversation with two friends without quoting something from television, and I cannot even illustrate my point (sadly) without yet another television reference.

Courtesy of The Big Bang Theory:

LESLIE: I'm Leslie Winkle, the answer to "Who made Sheldon Cooper cry like a little girl?"

SHELDON: Yes, well I'm polymerized tree sap, and you are an inorganic adhesive, so whatever verbal projectile you launch in my direction is reflected off of me and returns on its original trajectory and adheres to you!

LESLIE: Oh, ouch!

So call me Sheldon. He lives in his world of physics, genius IQ's and Batman cookie jars to the point that it skews even his ability to say "I'm rubber and you're glue . . ." He speaks "smart-ese" in the same way that I speak "TV-ese" and his friends generally despise him for it.

Let me say it another way:

SANDY: I read that coffee grounds are good for your nasturtiums.

BONNIE: Really? I'll have to try that. How was that hike you took last weekend?

SANDY: Excellent. I got some great shots of wild geese flying low over the lake.

BONNIE: I'd love to see them. I need you to show me those settings again on my camera. Say, did you ever finish that book I lent you?

SANDY: Did I! I couldn't put it down. Did you ever read her first novel?

BONNIE: I started it, but my volunteer work at Tyler's school keeps me so busy.

ME: And feline AIDS is the #1 killer of cats! Whaa whaaa.

BONNIE & SANDY: (polite stares)

ME: Mensa called - they want their conversation back! Ba-da-bing!

BONNIE: (ignoring me) I found the best training guide for new puppies. It's working great on Bella.

SANDY: I'd love to know the name of it. Did you try that puppy shampoo I recommended? It's . . .


Desperation ain't just a river in Egypt, yo!

When those two start talking about all the awesome stuff they do while I'm watching TV, I'm completely lost. (Oooh, speaking of Lost - did anyone else freak when that dude shot Ben's daughter?)

So to Bonnie and Sandy - I apologize. If you felt made fun of, please know that I think you're completely awesome and my intent was only to pale in comparison. Don't ever change.

And now to the real subject of my post - signs.

When I was in St. Louis earlier this month I saw a hilarious commercial. A man was walking through a cell phone superstore with the saleslady and the convo went something like this:

CUSTOMER: Wow. It looks like you have every cell phone ever made. It's really overwhelming!

SALESLADY: Yes, sir, we pretty much carry them all.

CUSTOMER: I just wish I could get some sort of sign. Something to help me know which phone I should buy.

And right then a cell phone plinked off of one of those little platforms and fell into his open hand! He looked down at the cell phone for a second while the saleslady just gaped with a fish mouth. Then he carefully returned the cell phone to the little platform and said:

CUSTOMER: I mean, just anything - some sort of sign . . .

I laughed and I laughed and I laughed.

It was the next morning that I discovered the gray hairs on my head. I knew that I wanted to blog about my shocking discovery, but I needed more substance. I was mentally going over the possible angles as I left the hotel and got into my rental car. "This is really the perfect time to tell the mouse story," I thought, "because I could do something like 'they don't come in ones'. But then, I'm just not sure if I want to admit to the whole vermin thing. Hmmm, what to do? If only I could get some sort of sign that I should blog about it. . . "

And right then, I kid you not, I had to swerve around some roadkill and it was . . . A GRAY RABBIT!

I told the story to John and he said "OK, so? It wasn't a mouse - what's your point?"

To which I replied "IT WAS A GRAY HARE!"

He just laughed at me, but it was a sign, people, a SIGN!

I don't ignore the signs.

Which is why, with apologies to a certain bank teller, I cannot ignore all the signs that are compelling me to tell this following story. And to you readers; yes, I know that this post is already getting long, so you may want to get a snack. Go ahead - I'll wait.

My nearest banking location is inside an Albertsons, which conveniently also houses a Starbucks, which inconveniently is manned (or rather "womanned") by one person, who must be both barista and cashier, rendering her too overworked to tell me my change in "hundreds of pennies" like the asshats at the Starbucks stores. And this has nothing to do with the bank other than if you're hoping to make a deposit AND score coffee, you must decide which line is likely to move faster and, if possible, order your latte and then make a deposit while waiting for the milk to froth. It's a carefully orchestrated dance, you see.

The morning we were leaving for Phoenix I needed to make a bank deposit and get coffee before picking up Bonnie. I got to Albertsons just before 9 am and was surprised to see the bank teller sitting in the dark behind the counter. There's no glass or anything - they just have to sit in the dark until 9 am, when they turn on the lights, which indicates that they are open for business. I'm assuming that the grocery-store banks are rather like the grocery-store Starbucks: farm teams for the brick-and-mortar stores. The minor leagues. A chance to prove yourself and hopefully get promoted to the majors, where you don't have to sit in the dark or make change with one hand while trying to put a hot cup into a cardboard sleeve with the other. Where you can gather at the water cooler and make fun of the Bankloser intently jumping on the automatic door pad before the bank opens. Where you can try to sell a customer some pumpkin spice bread and a Yanni CD while calling out "half-caf, double-shot, extra whip, vanilla skim macchiato!" to the buff blue-eyed barista who undresses you with his eyes and gives you a playful snap of his hand towel before tucking it back into the waist tie of his tight Starbucks apron and repeating the order with emphasis on "whip" in an uber-sexy way that makes you hope the next five customers think dieting is for pansies. Ah the buff blue-eyed barista. *sigh* HIS name should be Blaze.

But instead, that name belongs to the grocery store bank teller sitting in the dark at 8:58 am on a Wednesday morning, watching Debbie deftly make a mocha with her feet.

Blaze was very slow processing my deposit. Ironically slow, given his name.

Blaze is a thirty-something clean cut white guy, with a conservative haircut, no tats, a nice smile, and is one of the slowest bank tellers known to man. He gives "Blaze" a bad name.

And in the process of waiting for Blaze to sloth his way through my deposit, three more people got in line at Starbucks, which meant Debbie rushed my latte and I was late to pick up Bonnie.

I vented about it.

BONNIE: I think there's a blog post in there somewhere.

ME: Yeah, I know, but don't you think I should change his name? I mean, if he were to Google himself and "Albertsons" he may come across the post and then I'd have to change banks! Could I call him "Flame"? How about "Lightning"?

And then it promptly slipped my mind completely, because we were heading out on an adventure and Blaze was not invited.

I tried to ignore the first sign. We were in Phoenix at Target getting a few snacks for the booth and generally just goofing off like three friends away from their lives and TV's when I decided that I needed a book to read. None of the choices were grabbing me until I noticed an eye-catching cover on the bottom shelf. It was a Richard Bachman (aka Steven King) and although I've read a few Kings over years, I generally stay away from horror because it haunts me.

But signs have a way of interlacing, yo. The last book I read was Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill, and I absolutely LOVED IT. It would be considered a horror book, I suppose, but I cried way more than jumped, and yes, it haunted me, but in a "someone's squeezing my heart" way, moreso than a "someone's eating my heart" way. Or whatever. You know what I mean.

And so I gave this Richard Bachman novel a second look and was taken aback by the title: BLAZE.

I bought the book, but still I resisted the blog post.

Until today. Signs have a way of clubbing you over the head, yo.

This time it was lunch, so there was no danger of Blaze sitting in the dark and I really didn't want coffee, so Debbie's line was irrelevant to me. But I *was* hungry and there *is* a Subway right next to Albertsons. I wanted to get in, get deposited, and get out.

A lady got in line in front of me and chose the other teller, not Blaze. Obviously his reputation is legendary. I started towards Blaze when I noticed that he had a sign in front of his spot that said "next teller please". Blaze and the other teller were chatting happily with the customer, who hauled out an enormous stack of checks to deposit. I tapped my foot. They talked about her grandchildren. I TAPPED MY FOOT! They ignored me.

Finally with a pointed look of exasperation at Blaze, who obviously had nothing better to do and could have helped me, albeit very slowly, I walked huffily to the ATM to make my deposit. I probably should have just done that on Phoenix day, too, but the ATM's volume is set to deafening and when it returns your card it emits these super-loud beeps that, set to words, would cry; "SHE HAS MONEY!! SHE HAS MONEY!!!!!!" I mean, really?!

And so it is with great satisfaction that I finally set Blaze on fire with a snarky blog post. See what I did there?

You need another snack? Potty break? Go ahead. I'll wait.

I don't need a snack because my belly is still full of yummy Subway.

SUBWAY EMPLOYEE: Welcome to Subway. What would you like?

ME: Yes, can I get a 6" teriyaki chicken on Parmesan oregano, please?

SE: Sure. What kind of cheese?

ME: Umm . . . cheddar.

SE: (starts to reach and then stops) Oh, I'm sorry - we're out of cheddar.

ME: Provolone would be lovely!

SE: Oh thank you for being so nice about it!

And this, as you can imagine, cracked me up completely. Because what other choice did I have but to be "nice about it"? Did they expect something more like this:

ME: What do you mean "we're out of cheddar"?! Are you a freaking IDIOT?! Wisconsin called - they're NOT running out of cheddar! Now get your head out of your ass and find me some CHEDDAR or so help me I will CUT YOU!

Obviously Blaze orders from Subway a lot. Can I get an "Oh snap!"?

RKQOTD (Me: Emma, you need to get your note cards ready for your speech. Now I want you to turn off that TV and work on it. Emma: Yes, Mom. Me: And don't turn that TV back on until all your cards are finished. Emma: OK. Hey Mom? Me: Yes? Emma: Why do you always have to be so "mom-ish"?)