Monday, November 4, 2013

The bar is a battlefield.....this is for the guys.

No one said meeting new people was easy. Let me take that back, meeting new people is actually relatively easy and painless. We meet new people each and every day, especially if you are relatively outgoing and not a total asshole. No one said that meeting new people to date was easy, and it's not. The last place you want to find a mate is at the bar. But, then you think to yourself...I'm relatively normal (maybe not ME, but you probably are), I'm relatively attractive, I  have my shit relatively together...and I am here. Why wouldn't other "relatively normal" people be here, also?  They are...and they would most likely be more "relatively" reasonable if they didn't take advice from dumb books and even dumber friends.

There have been countless books written, one of the most notable, "The Game", by Neil Strauss, and thousands of articles in Mens Health, Maxim, GQ, and Playboy. For every article out there that tells women what to eat, what to wear, how to talk, how to have sex, and how to think, there is an article for men that explains how to get that woman. The more I go out and get approached, the more I realize that these articles are really doing men a disservice.

I'm not going to begin to pretend that I am a dating expert. I actually HATE going on dates. Yes, I said that. But I do love meeting new people and I think I'm fairly good at that.  I will give a quick run down on what NOT to do. Guys, you can make your own solutions based on deductive reasoning.

1. Approach a group of girls and then immediately ask them a "pretend" question:

"Ladies, can I ask you a question". Was that a statement or an actual question, guy? If that was a question, you just did and we're now done with this conversation. You can't ask a question with another question. Idiot.

"My friend and I have a bet...". Just stop right there. Unless you're in Vegas or have $50 on the game, what "bet" do you have? Who bets at the bar? No one that I want to talk to.

Look, approaching women is NOT easy. I actually feel bad for guys-it has to be pretty intimidating to approach a group of women who will immediately judge you as soon as you are within 10 feet of them. Chances are, they were judging you before you even noticed them. Harsh, I know. Why put yourself in a position where the group can say no? Roll their eyes. Scowl. Grab their brooms. I mean, sure, statistically you have a chance. Group of 3 may be interested. But, then you have to entertain her friends...and we can be a tough crowd. We will immediately think that your boys were too "shy" to approach us with one wants the "others" who have no confidence. We want the front man, but there has GOT to be another way to be the front man rather than "may I ask you a question". (quivers....)

2. Liquid Courage will mask social cues.

So you have a few brewskis in ya and you're ready to approach that hot girl playing with the straw in her vodka cranberry. Good for you. Having a motive is always a good thing...but make sure you have a plan. I was out with 3 of my girlfriends on Saturday. We were clearly in a deep discussion, sitting at a high top table upstairs, away from the dj and music in the basement of the restaurant. If we wanted to dance, then we would be downstairs. If we wanted to be approached, we wouldn't be sitting in a quiet corner. If we wanted you to come up to us, we would have been giving you non-verbal hints....yeah, we didn't.

Without saying "excuse me", a guy sitting at the table next to us looked at me and said.."do you know my friend, Mike", and pointed to a VERY drunk man sitting across the table. He could barely keep his head up.
I said, "yeah, I went to high school with him. Too bad he was never able to make the football team like his brother". "OHHHHHHHHHHHHH DAMN!", screamed the guy. "you all know eachother?!", he asked again.

"um, I have never seen him in my life", and I turned around. Apparently, my not so subtle insult to his friend was not a big enough hint, so he decided to get up and actually come stand at our table. Awesome.
My friends and I were in the middle of an enjoyable discussion, but once the guy was up in our face, we had no choice but to stop talking and look at him. He was not a bad looking guy, actually. He was dressed fairly well. Nice teeth. Smelled pleasant. So why was I turned off?

He was saying "Hey, do you know my friend" to every single girl who walked past him and his friend. He literally hit on every girl who walked by. Every. Single. One. Really? Listen, I was never a strong math student and I definitely never completed a statistics course. However, at what point did these guys think that their cat calls to EVERY SINGLE GIRL would be successful? We were sitting ducks, waiting for our tab, so we couldn't walk away from them. Otherwise, we would have. Don't insult the girls who you are trying to hit on by hollering on every other thing that walks by. Doesn't seem to genuine to me. Not like bar pick-up lines are ever genuine, but don't be so obviously desperate. Gross. I don't know your friend. I don't know you. I don't want to know either one of you. Next.

3. Hey, want to do a shot?

 I'm at a bar. Why wouldn't I want to do a shot? Only problem is, I have absolutely no idea who you are and you have absolutely no idea who I am. Unless this is a "pay it forward" scenario because you felt compelled to "give back" after watching some feel good episode of The View (and if you're a guy, you shouldn't be watching The View), then why would you want to spend your money on a complete stranger? UNLESS of course, you want to have sex with her. Then, well, you are suggesting an exchange. Our culture would classify this as "prostitution". You pay me money or give me a tangible good (hiccup, thanks for the shot), and I give you sex? Is that how this works?

Offering a stranger a shot or cocktail without even knowing her name implies you don't have the confidence to roll without incentives. Are you confident in what you have going on? Then you don't need any toys or "freebies" to gain a fan. Right? Are the first 10 girls that talk to you going to receive a limited edition bobble head? Most girls, again, MOST girls who are respectable, independent, self-stable, and mature will turn down a drink from a complete stranger. If they don't....well, you got what you are looking for. A prostitute.

4. My friend is shy.

Okay, so then what are you? Wing men should be seen as co-pilots, NOT kamikazes. So, your buddy is shy but thinks someone in my group is pretty? Do you feel the same way? Are you just the messenger?  Since when is "my buddy is shy" considered to be a top selling point of said 'buddy'? Why not, "my buddy just broke up with his girlfriend, is TOTALLY messed up in the head, just needs to get laid, and forgot how to approach women". That would be way more respectable and believable than "my buddy is shy". Why? Because I have seen that "shy" man turn "un-shy" in a matter of moments when you start talking to him. Shy isn't a mood, it's a characteristic. Next time a guy approaches me and says that, I will turn to whoever is closest to me and say, "My friend is a whore".  It's a is the line "my buddy is shy, but thinks you are cute". He may think I'm cute, but he certainly is not shy.

5. Grab a girl when she walks by.

Certain ethnic groups seem to think this is more acceptable than others, but not touch me or my friends. Never. Who does that? Unless you are notifying us that we dropped our phone or scarf, hands off. A lot of men gather near the bathrooms because they know women are vulnerable when they need to pee. We are in heels. We likely have to wait in a huge line because girls don't know how to pee and usually roam in packs. The LAST thing we want is to be delayed when hustling to the bathroom. It's gross. It's desperate. It's not cool.

6. Ownership

Just because a girl talks to you for a few moments, does not mean she wants to talk to you for the rest of the night. (see #3. Buying her a drink will NOT make her like you more. Ever).  Don't take it personally. Don't get all defensive. Don't be a dick to the other guys she does want to talk to. That said, do not make personal slams against her. "OH, okay, I see how it is. Whatever, you're not that hot anyway". Yes I am. I know that I am.  Sorry you couldn't pick up on the non-verbal body language I was giving you and especially the verbal ones:  "I need to find my friends", "I think I know her", "I feel like I'm going to throw up", "I need to take my medication", "I think I just started my period".  Take a hint. Please. We don't want to be bitches, so please don't bring it out of us by being completely clueless.

Again, the bar scene can be brutal and expensive. Don't go out to meet girls...go out to have a good time. If you meet girls, cool. If you don't, cool. When you validate a night's success based on if you meet a girl or not, then your definition of "success" needs some brushing up on. Hopefully this tips of what NOT to do helped ya out....I'm not entirely sure what does work, but I certainly know what doesn't work. #1-6 never work.


You're welcome.

Friday, September 7, 2012

why you should write in ryan gosling on the 2012 presidential ballot

While the Democrats are talking about "hope and change", and the Republicans count their money as the rest of us sit back and watch, I have decided to take on the role of Ryan Gosling's campaign manager for the 2012 election (he may or may not have approved this endeavour). In 2008, the American people voted for a man that they knew virtually nothing about. That man became President of the United States of America. Most Americans actually know more about Ryan Gosling than they currently know about our very own president. Here are 12 reasons why you ought to write in Ryan Gosling on your ballot this November.
***The following message has been approved by every single woman and roughly 47% of men in The United States of America***

 1. Housing for the homeless. We could throw money at programs such as Habitat for Humanity and Section 8, but there is really no need if your president can build homes himself. Start hammering, Ryan.

2. The Arts. While most politicians are forced to cut budgets for the arts, especially in our schools, we need a leader that can teach our future how to dance, sing, and generally be awesome. Take it away, 14 year old Ryan...




Take it away (again), adult Ryan.











3. Economic Prodigy. At a young age, Ryan Gosling was destined to tackle our economic challenges.

4. THIS.

5. aaaaaand, THIS.

6. Automotive Bailouts. He is a long time supporter of automotive bailouts. He loves to drive, then bail. These bailouts saved the Big Three.

7. Animal Rights. Do I actually need to explain this?

Actually, this picture looks like it needs an explanation. Kind of weird now that I look at it. The one below is much better.

8.  Foreign Policy. Ryan Gosling is a huge humanitarian with a lot of international experience.

9. Reproductive Rights. Thank God, right?

10. He's one of us. He once said, "Ich bin ein Berliner". Wait-no he didn't. He actually said " If you're a bird, I'm a bird". Mr. Gosling, I will be whatever you want me to be. Ask not what you can do for lost my train of thought.

11. He's Canadian. Enough said, eh?

12. Equal Opportunity Advocate. He will fight for equal treatment and rights for ALL Americans. Take this doll, for example. He's reading to her.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Man in the Purple Shirt

A police officer was busy writing down a statement from 3 women as I marched through the door. Each of the women gripped a white and green cup, one frequently took a sip. I glanced around the space, looking for blood, weapons, or a candlestick....nothing. Everything looked fairly normal, actually. 4 men in the corner were leaning into a laptop, which displayed several graphs. A student with ear buds was busy flipping through an anatomy book, while a young woman, highlighter in mouth, was busy shuffling through pages in a notebook.

"What did I miss?", I asked the barista that was ready to take my order.

"Some guys stole some one's iPhone. Right off the table. Right in front of everyone!", she explained, seemingly pleased that I inquired.

"Well, wow!", I said, and proceeded with my order for an overpriced latte.

Caffeine in hand, I began looking for a table to set up camp for my 2pm call. I found an open chair, nestled in front of the inactive fireplace, with access to 4 outlets. Incredible.

After my call, I quietly worked. That was until the man in the purple shirt sat next to me, in the other brown leather chair. I gave him the customary coffee shop glance. If you frequent coffee joints, even the national chains, you KNOW the glance I'm referring to. I was about to break my stare as the man's bottom started it's descent down to the chair. As he was mid squat, he pushed the cup he was holding up to his lips and slurped. The kind of slurp a child would make as they held a plastic bowl up to their face, enjoying the milk left from their Cocoa Puffs cereal...chocolate.

He slurped again.

And again.

He sat down.

Ah, he probably didn't want to spill his drink, so he was taking off the top first half inch prior to sitting down. Then I realized there was a lid on the cup. My next conclusion, being the most obvious, was OCD. I mean, right?

This was quickly confirmed when he spent 4 minutes 'centering' his cup on the stone ledge that sat before him. Moments later, he began to slurp. Hard, often, and nothing less of obnoxious.

Bodily noises have and will always creep me out. When people try to get something out of their teeth by reverse whistling-gross. When people crack their knuckles-please don't. When people have flem in their throat while they talk-CLEAR YOUR THROAT! I mean, right?

Slurping was no different. The man continued to habitually slurp for the next few minutes. I seriously considered moving to another location. That was until, he picked up his phone.

He leaned back into his chair, far exceeding "comfort", and arguably going into the "inappropriate" zone. His legs were spread too far open, in my opinion. He quickly brushed his hand through his hair, which was oily and receding, and proceeded to dial.

"Hey......I was thinking about you so I thought I would call you. I'm glad you picked up", he said.

He was speaking loud, I guess he wanted to intentionally interrupt those that sat around him so they would listen. He took 3 more quick slurps of coffee. He was intently listening to the person on his phone.

"I took a hot shower. A long, hot shower. Got dressed, and now I'm at the coffee shop. I'm sitting in a very comfortable leather chair, and I'm thinking about you".

He began moving his open legs quickly from side to side-swaying in his chair.

"So how is your condition", he asked, just as loud as he was speaking before. He stopped swaying his legs.

I read and answered a few emails, and very quietly took a sip of my pumpkin spiced latte with skim milk. 2 minutes later, the man in the purple shirt became even more weird.

"So, I've been thinking.....two people should have chemistry, right? Do you think we have it? (there was a long pause) great, do I. I was hoping you would say that. OF COURSE you're have an excellent vocabulary. Does your mother like me?"

He said this so quickly that I'm not so sure the person on the other end even had time to respond.

I put my cup up to my mouth, to cover a big smile that I could not hide. This was so funny to me. It wasn't like I was being the creepy one here. He was talking so loud, it was nearly impossible to not hear him.

" are what I would call a 'plain Jane'. Remember that top you wore yesterday? Let me ask you this, do you like the way you look when you are sun kissed? When you have a tan, do you look Greek? Do you look Middle Eastern?", he went to pick up his cup, but instead, rubbed his ankle and leaned back in the chair.

I wonder if they ever met? The way this man was speaking to the woman on the phone, suggested they had only exchanged pictures. Wouldn't he know what she looked like when her skin was tanned?

"Polish? I could see that. When is the last time your hair was natural and not colored? Really? Do you have a picture...if I looked at your roots, I would see a light brown or a medium brown? Don't take this the wrong way, I like the way you look, BUT maybe not this decade, but the next decade...hopefully women won't color their hair", he went on to say. He was looking down at his feet, rubbing his hands through his Beethoven hair. A greasy masterpiece, indeed.

"Okay, I will call you later. Bye". Giving very little warning, he ended his conversation with the woman on the other end.

I picked up my cup, and sadly realized that I was out of java. I looked around me, the 3 tables that were once occupied, were now completely vacant. A few napkins and a straw were scattered across one. Did the man in the purple shirt scare everyone away? I was the person that was closest to him-only one small black coffee table sat between his chair and mine. Was I the weirdo for not leaving, too?

The man in the purple shirt picked up his cup, slurped 3 times, and got up from the chair. He had a newspaper with him, which I did not realize when he first sat down. He rolled it up, placed it under his armpit, and walked out the door.

As I slowly started packing up my things, again noticing the empty tables around me, I immediately began to feel self conscious. Was I the weird person for not leaving, too? Clearly the man in the purple shirt's behavior was beyond odd and his bizarre telephone conversation apparently offended all of the strangers that sat around us. Everyone but me.....

I must be the weird one, then. I mean, right?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Excuse me-there is a hair in my food...

"May I have the Internet code, please?", I asked as I put my debit card back into my wallet. The girl behind the counter said, "Sure-here you go". She printed off a receipt and at the bottom was a series of letters and numbers. I was prepping for a conference call that was to start in 3 minutes. "Jenny will hook you up with some water for the tea", stated the girl behind the counter.

Okay-great, I thought. There was a large rack on the counter that displayed nearly two dozen metal canisters of tea. Orange blossom, honey-mint, Earl grey, and lemon-green tea to name a few. 2 minutes before my conference call...

The girl that was making drinks-a "barista"?, was busy crafting a coffee drink and chatting with the older man that was patiently waiting. Without any direction, and because the labels were facing me and easily accessible...well, I decided to take a tea pod out of the lemon-green tea canister.

When the barista was done making the man's coffee drink, she was about to go into the backroom when I asked, "Excuse me. Hi (and smiled), could I please get a cup of hot water for my tea?"

"Sure", she said. She grabbed a foam cup from the stack, and as she was filling it up with hot water turned her head to speak to me. "You know, you were not supposed to take your own tea. We have tongs for that. We don't like customers touching all of the bags-people get weird about that".

One minute before my conference call. "Oh-okay. I apologize. Yeah, I didn't like put my paws over ALL of the bags. I just shook the canister until a pod fell into my hand."

"well, here is your water". She placed the filled foam cup on the counter and walked into the back room. I dialed into my conference call and marched over to the table that housed the sugar, honey, napkins, and other coffee 'condiments'.

As I grabbed a handful of honey packets (I'm obsessed), I noticed a bunch of loose brown plastic coffee straws, totally unwrapped and exposed for anyone to grab, touch, or slobber on. I grabbed one from the top, like I was playing Jenga, but still touched the four or five straws that directly surrounded the chosen one. This could not be avoided.

I was not grossed out by this, but was a bit upset with the 18 year old that just chewed me out. So let me get this straight, people would be weirded out by someone dumping a tea pod from a canister into their hand, BUT have no issue with people (all day long), touching a plastic straw that WILL make it's way into your cup or mouth? Double standard-I mean, right?

I waited tables all through college at several different establishments ranging from smelly bars to upscale dining. I always thought it was REALLY funny when guests would say, "there is a spot on my spoon". It's a water spot-an inconsistency in the dish washer. Maybe a bit of residue from soap, maybe it didn't dry. Who the hell knows-it's not bodily fluid, poison, or anything else to freak out about. The same person that complains about a spot on their spoon ought to be more concerned about the fact that one of the line cooks has been coughing all day, or that the menus are touched all day, everyday, by dozens of people. You touch the menu and then help yourself to a piece of bread from the basket, which may or may not be clean, on your table.

Then you help yourself to some ketchup for your fries. Ketchup in a glass bottle that people have access to all day. People that may or may not place the tip of their knife into the jar, after they may or may not have licked the butter off moments before. Gross.....

I mean, right? People are so funny like that....

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

German Shepards and African Americans

German Shepards and African Americans. French Bulldogs and Asian Americans. Disclaimer: By no means am I comparing humans to dogs. Just hear me out...

German Shepards don't understand German (unless you train them in German). African Americans don't speak "African" languages unless they are taught. French Bulldogs do not sip lattes at outdoor cafes...I mean, right?

Breeds of dogs are given distinct names and labels based on their physical attributes and bloodline. The temperment of a Lab is going to be much different from that of a Poodle. The energy level of a Vizsla (my dog, by the way), is going to be SO much higher than that of a Pug. Regardless of where the dog is born or raised, the characteristics of each breed, for the most part, are going to stay relatively consistant.

When it comes to people, this concept goes against everything we are taught. We are all created "equal"-the same. No "race" has an advantage when it comes to intellectual capacity, for example. This is what we are taught and encouraged to believe, anyway. We label dogs because, well, they are dogs. Imagine if someone asked you, "what kind of dog do you have?". "Oh, I have a Beagle named Charlie". How often would you say, "I have a very nice yellow dog". Probably never, I mean right? You give your dog special food that caters to the specific needs of that breed. You identify with other dog lovers that own the same breed. "Oh! You are a Boxer person? I love Boxers!" Certain breeds of dogs are more prone to different illnesses, just like people. "African Americans" are more prone to heart diease. But, what if you are "white", born in Africa, and now live in the US. You are, by definition, an "African American", are you not? You WERE born in Africa, right? Does that mean you are at a higher risk of heart diesase? No. If you are black, regardless of your nationality, you ARE at higher risk.

I have several black friends and all of them were born in the United States. They are no more "African" than I am "French". Actually, I am probably more French than they are African because of where my Great Grandpa was born. (which was French Canada, which technically isn't really even French). I have several Asian friends, too. (wow-aren't I cultured?). Some are "Chinese", one is "Japanense", and another is "Vietnamese", yet most of them will just say, "Asian". Really? You are okay with that? If someone asks about my heritage, I'm not going to say "European"...there's like 100 countries in Europe (or something). I mean, right?

Look, people...if you want to continue down this road of CRAZY labels and being politically correct, and holding hands, and saving the world, etc. Cool-you have fun with that. Just note, the more we label ourselves...the more we TRY to be "individualistic", the less understanding we will have with one another. If you were born in Royal Oak, Michigan guess what? YOU ARE AMERICAN! Yes, even if you are black, purple, or green. You are AMERICAN! If you are white and born in Cambodia, guess what? YOU ARE CAMBODIAN! Isn't this a CRAZY concept?

Don't even start to tell how it's a "cultural" thing, because it's not. Asian American, like I mentioned above, can speak to MANY different countries and cultures. Japanese food is VERY different from Chinese. The language is different. The customs are different. It's a different country! So if it's not a cultural thing, is it a physical thing? If you are black, you are actually "African American". That's the PC term, right? So what if you are black and were born in France? Are you "African American French?" Are you "African French". No. You are simply French.

I am American. There, I said it. Sure I have TONS of family in Quebec, and like a thousand second cousins in Austria and Romania, but I learned how to ride my bike in my driveway in Troy. I was born at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. I get ripped off when I'm in Europe. Dude, I'm American! (I said "Dude", dude). So what's with the labels? Is anyone else completely over treating people like data charts? When is the last time you filled out a job application? "Ethnicity: African American, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Hispanic, Native American, WHITE". I always wanted to ask someone in HR...excuse me, I don't see "my" label on here. Am I just, "white"?

Actually, yeah. Well, I'm usually a bit flushed. So, you could say I'm like medium? My Bobby Brown (not the rapper) concealer says I'm "Sand Natural". Sand? Okay, I like the beach. That's cool. I mean, right?

If someone asks for your nationality: if you were born in the US, you say "AMERICAN". If someone asks your ethnicity: you can call out your lineage. Your "breed". If someone asks what color you are, you say what color you are: black, brown, white, tan, pink, green (you may want to see a doctor), etc. I'm just over people looking at me weird when I say, "he was black", instead of "he was African American". I don't know that he is...he may have been born in Royal Oak, just like me. I know he's more than a color, though.

I mean, right?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

3 Days Left

There are many trends that I have fought hard to avoid in the past but eventually gave into, and in some cases, embraced. A few are listed below:

1. Uggs: The best thing to come from Down Under since Keith Urban. I made fun of them until I tried a pair on. I now have five styles. (In China, I slept in one pair for a whole week because my hotel was so cold).

2. Jeggings: For the record, I believe I was the first person in Michigan to own a pair. I bought them in Cambridge back in spring 2008...however, I didn't really wear them out until they became "cool".

3. DMB: I thought most people that listened to Dave Matthews were REALLY annoying (I went to high school with a lot of them). You know, the "Birmingham Hippies": drive BMW's, wear $200 jeans, but intentionally don't bathe or wash their hair in order to feel more connected with homeless people. Well, freshmen year of college changed all of that-I was exposed to The Lilywhite Sessions. Bonfires-drinking games-snowboarding...good times. I love DMB. There, I said it.

4. Skinny Jeans: Don't knock them until you try on a pair. I'm just sorry I waited so long. I didn't want to wear them when I was actually "skinny", and now...well...(sigh).

5. Fancy Coffee Drinks: This has been a recent thing for me. I could not STAND coffee until I had no choice while I was on the road. Literally a few hundred dollars later, I'm HOOKED on lattes. Hooked. Actually, I want one right now....I've been a user for only 2 months. Please tell me this gets easier. I mean, right?

Though I have given into a lot of trends in the past, there is one current technology that I absolutely refuse to use: electronic books. I was recently in Indy for NCAA Women's Final Four Basketball. There was a Borders Bookstore that was in it's last days of business (last 3 days, to be exact). For 3 days, I walked in front of the tall glass windows that exposed the empty shelves and displayed over-sized yellow posters that reminded readers, "3 Days Left!" I looked away, sad. I was witnessing the death of books-the experience of reading as we know it. Are we 'okay' with this?, I thought to myself.

By no means would I classify myself as an "avid" reader, but I still enjoy the "experience": thumbing through the pages, folding the front cover behind the back, reading the corny dedications, and the subtle smell of the ink and paper. Hell, I'll even take the paper cuts if it means not losing one of the most important objects in the history of civilization.

We will wake up one day and say, "Remember way back when, when books were on paper? When we didn't have to charge them over night in order to read them in the morning while eating breakfast? When we didn't have to "turn them off" during take off and landing on our flight from DTW to LGA? When we could put old books in a box and donate them to a local school or lend a book to a neighbor or friend? When bookshelves actually housed, well, books? When glares didn't matter, and neither did available storage space.

Nah-I think I will pass on all of that. You can find me at Caribou Coffee, sipping a sugar-free pumpkin spice latte with skim milk and light whip. I'll be chillin' in my Uggs, skinny jeans, and listening to DMB on my iPod...flipping through the pages of the latest issue of The Week.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Stop with the Baby Talk, People....

I tightly griped the little white ticket in my right hand-number 31.

Next to me stood a middle-aged man wearing Dockers and a white Oakland Hills Country Club polo. I was not sure what number he held. The woman to my left, was balancing a watermelon on her hip, and carefully eyeing the various pasta salads (as her 3 children pounded the bags that lined the deli case, filled with pita bread).

"What else may I get you, Ma'am", asked the older black woman behind the counter. She had kind eyes.

"Um....well...what is the difference between THAT pasta salad and THAT one?". The Mother pointed in the general direction of the pasta salads, as she began to round up her crazy children.

"This one has a very robust Italian dressing, while THIS one is a bit sweeter", said the woman behind the counter.

"I see...well, let me ask the kids". The Mother turned to her 3 brats, as they continued to pound the pita chips and bread, and in a slow, soft, and painfully annoying voice asked, "Guys.....what kind of salad to you want?"

I immediately looked at the man standing next to me, as he very deliberately shifted his weight from his left side to his right. He looked down at his ticket and let out a quick burst of air.

"I WANT DAT ONE", replied the youngest of the kids. She was maybe 4 years old-hair pulled back in a messy ponytail and wearing bright pink Crocs. The little girl pointed to the bowl with the rose colored fluffy stuff, garnished with marshmallows.
"Isabelle, Mommy is not going to get that for the picnic. That is only for dessert. What pasta salad to you want?"

"THE ONE WE HAD AT GRANDMA'S", yelled the middle child. He was probably 7 years old, but super tall. Tall enough to press his head on the glass and gaze DOWN at the selections.

The Mother, still cradling the watermelon, brushed her bangs from her eyes and said, "Okay...let's see....maybe let's do 1 lb of the sweeter salad?"

"Okay, sounds good", the woman behind the counter firmly stated.

I folded the white piece of paper, with my number, in my hand.

The third child was beating her tiny hands against the glass, "Mommy, I wanna go to the pool", she whined. The other two kids resumed their bread beating.

The woman behind the counter removed a clear plastic container from the top of the deli case, and began scooping out the sweeter pasta salad.

"You know what, I better have the kids try this to make sure it's the right one", the Mother thought out loud.

The woman behind the counter, mid-scoop, put down the serving spoon and glanced up at the Mother.

"Okay, no problem", she stated.

Oh, but there WAS a problem. At that moment, the man from the Country Club crossed his arms and placed them over his stomach, in one fast motion.

The woman behind the counter handed a small white plastic spoon over the counter to the Mother. "Here is the sweet one", she said.

"KIDS! Get over here...try this one...this is the one that Grandma has. I you like it?" The Mother's bangs had again fallen in her eyes.

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING, I thought. Memorial Day and this lady is acting like she's at Costco on a Sunday afternoon....grazing on all of the finger foods that tempt weekend warehouse shoppers.

"THIS IS BAD", proclaimed the youngest child. "YUCKY, YUCKY, YUCK-EEEEEE", and she continued pounding the bread bags.

"But honey, don't you like the salad that Grandma always gives you guys?".

"I WANT TO TRY IT", demanded the oldest child. She was quiet up until this point.

The woman behind the counter again reached into the glass case, and pulled out a small white plastic spoon. "And this is the robust one", she explained.

The oldest child, maybe 9 years old, loosly gripped the spoon allowing a few chopped peppers to fall to the ground. Without hesitation she placed all of the spoon's contents into her mouth. "THIS IS SPICY, MOM."

The man from the Country Club decided to browse the dairy aisle 10 feet away, picking up blocks of blue cheese and then putting them down again.

"Kids-which one do you want. Come on, we need to get to the pool", said the Mom in a desperate manner.

WE NEED TO GET TO THE POOL!? ARE YOU KIDDING, LADY!? Glad to think the world revolves around you and your annoying kids, but it doesn't! Sorry that you think the WHOLE store actually cares about what pasta salad Grandma keeps in her fridge. Since when is a 4 year old a pasta salad expert? Put it on their plate, if they are hungry they will eat it. If they don't, give them a juice box and Teddy Grahams and MOVE ON.

The Mother set the watermelon down on, you guessed it, the bags of pita bread. "Let's just do 1 lb of the sweet and 1 lb of the robust", she requested.

"Okay, then". The woman behind the counter agreed.

The man from the country club joined us again. He was clearly frustrated. The poor guy probably just wanted a lb of potato salad or spinach dip. He probably knew what he wanted before he approached the deli case. Hell, before he even left the house! He was most likely ONLY shopping on Memorial Day because his wife forgot to make a dish to pass, was busy shaving her legs for the first pool day of the season, and made her husband go shopping. "I'll be ready by the time you get home", were most likely her last words.

I knew what I wanted. I just wanted 2 lbs of spinach dip. From there, I would walk 4 aisles over to grab a case of beer. I hope they have Blue Light Lime.

The woman behind the counter placed 2 full containers of pasta salad on top of the deli counter. "Anything else today, Ma'am", she asked.

"No....", the Mother hesitated as she took one last look of the various pasta, fruit, and potato salads. "No, that's it. Thanks".

She picked up the watermelon, and stacked both containers in her left hand. "Let's go guys". Her children, who had completely destroyed all of the pita chips and wrinkled the top layer of bread bags, skipped behind her. Shortly after, they raced to the check out lines.

"Number 30, you're up, what can I get for you number 30".

The man from the country club stepped up to the case, "I'll have 3 lbs of the sweet coleslaw", he said. Direct and to the point. He slowly turned around to look at me, "Finally", he said.

"Are you sure that is what Grandma has?", I asked.

We both laughed, and shortly after I grabbed my 2 lbs of spinach dip and soon found myself next to the pool. Finally.

This whole ordeal was nothing new to me. What is it with parents that think it's cute or appropriate to BABY talk with their children OR consult them like professionals when it comes to decisions at the deli counter.

This happens a lot at bagel stores. One time a 30 something guy, with his 3 year old son, spent 10 minutes at Einstein's-ordering alone! "TELL THE NICE LADY WHAT YOU WANT, HONEY".

"I......I........I.....(9 minutes later)...I...WANT......CHOCOLATE MILK"

The Dad, clearly proud of his prodigy child for being able to form a sentence, giggles. The high school kid behind the counter awkwardly grins as the line behind the guy grows longer.

"Your total is $5.24, sir", says the manager at the register.

"Now, give the lady the money...."

As the toddler drops the money on the counter, coins falling over the edge, everyone else in line thinks you are annoying.

Your kid is not cute, and no one really has any interest in him unless he can be toasted and smeared with veggie cream cheese. I mean, right?

So parents of the world, PLEASE don't be THAT person. The American public understands your goals of educating and socializing your children. From money matters to cultivating taste buds, that is all great. Do it at home, because the people in the LONG line behind you simply don't care.