Blow hard, Gasbag.

I tell the cautionary tale of the too many over-told tales…
When I was younger (okay, and sometimes now when I lose all sense of self-awareness and what’s interesting), I thought it was appropriate to tell everyone the full tedious story of my personal life (now I do it in a limited number of characters for what I hope is the entertainment and/or horror of others on FB). I know of a person that needs a personality intervention where an assembly of his family and friends tell him to cease the long-winded, ego-driven stories in hopes that he finally realizes to everyone’s relief that being a narcissistic douche can be overcome. After knowing this ultimate candidate for a “painful character traits” intervention for over a year, I have realized how incredibly unflattering it is to insert yourself into every situation. Ah, thank you to life lessons learned in the least expected places.

The only reason this person asks where someone is from is so he can somehow relate it to the time he’s been there, no matter how insignificant… “Where you from?” he asks. The unsuspecting waiter, bartender or receptionist replies, “Milwaukee.” (I wish for once someone said Uranus, but then his colonoscopy story would undoubtedly ensue.) Him: “I was stuck in a long layover in the Milwaukee airport once.” I’m sarcastically thinking: how exciting, what a unique experience, tell us more… did you peruse a Hudson News, belly up to the bar at a Chili’s Express, wait in line on a badly timed trip to the bathroom near a gate that just de-planed, or meet someone as equally self-absorbed as your insufferable, clueless self while waiting to board and have them suffocate you with their gasbagging? Instead, I furtively roll my eyes to no one and count down the minutes until I can go swab the blood from my ears.

No one asks, but unsolicited one hears him tell how he’s lost 26 lbs – “with 10 more to go”. If he weren’t such a bulldozer and let someone somehow notice it and inquire, this would not annoy me as it does. If you look closely, you can see that he looks like he is now in his second trimester instead of his third. Then you hear for the 20th time in a day how he’s done it with cross fit and kettlebell training. Sadly, there is always one in the crowd that doesn’t know what kettlebells are, and this sadist encourages him by asking. All I can think in his presence is life would be more fully lived with “less kettlebell”. What should be shouted is, “how about kudos for the rest of us that didn’t allow ourselves to gain 36 lbs in the first place?”

I work out a lot but I don’t go on and on about it. I don’t really want people to know that I strive to look this mediocre, but regardless, I am very aware that this topic along with your diet and ailments are interesting only to the teller. It’s deadly boring for someone to tell you about every twist, turn and fart they made during their workout. Are you really going to stand before us with a digital map displayed on your cell and recount the complete path of the 9,000 tedious steps you took to run 6 miles this morning? Actually, thank you for sharing this, because I’ll know where to run you over with my car on your next jaunt.

One hears the same stories each time they see him. My problem is that I have no memory so I say, “no, I don’t think I heard that one.” Two words in, I realize I’ve heard it more times than the pledge of allegiance, which I try to tell him, but once a rampant blowhard has started, they think they are so entertaining that they can regale you again (unaware that they’ve actually never “regaled” anyone).

The unnecessary details in these stories abound. This is standard procedure for someone that incorrectly perceives themselves as an enchanting weaver of tales. Example: “So I pick up the phone on Monday afternoon about 3pm — no wait, it was Tuesday. I dial the phone and I say hi”. I have already fallen asleep with my eyes open at this point which means I’ll be subject to the re-telling of this story because I’m mentally no longer in the room. When it comes up next, I’ll again think I haven’t heard it — because I tried so hard no to, and thus, the cycle of inane repetition perpetuates.

The worst part is being regularly subjected to this mind-numbing tedium can have you checking out when the information is actually pertinent. “Sharon, look out for that car!” gets blocked out just like “Sharon, look at that tricked out car. Why does anyone drive that here (in HI)? They can only do 60 mph on one freeway.” This would come up every time he’d see a Jag, Lamborghini or the like, as though it was a new revelation. Sometimes for my own entertainment, I’d point it out to provoke the predictable Pavlovian response and like any person with their head so thoroughly lodged in their own butt, he’d never realize he was taking the bait.

Each time we’d drive by Ala Wai golf course, he’d say again how it was the most boring course ever played. How appropriate for the most boring sport ever talked about. His going on about golf would be like my going on at length about make-up to construction workers. When talking about pars, greens and birdies to me, I always thought I should rally with primers, mascaras and concealers to give him a taste of such pure disinterest and unrelatability.

I was also periodically treated to name drops falling on my head. I don’t know how anyone of fame or infamy would actually befriend this person. I imagine an equally self-important person talking at him while at the same time, he talks back and thus, the love of their own voices echoing off deaf ears seals the perceived friendship.

There was also no awareness during business meetings of the telltale signs that someone has had enough of this bombast either. Pens and notebooks are put away, watches are checked, pending engagements are mentioned, climbing out of skin at epic heights is achieved and somehow he is still telling the story of his St. Andrews golf game to a client that will surely never bring up their Scottish origins in his presence again.

I am unsure how his wife was not a deaf, burned-out shell of a woman from the daily bombardments of hot air blasted in her direction.

Ultimately, being astounded by this person’s behavior proved valuable because a mirror was held up and I realized I needed to stamp out any semblance of myself in it. Please always tell me when I am boring you homicidal or repeating myself, I promise to heed the warning.

May all our long stories be short — or at least interesting.


Giving Thanks for White Lies & Falling Skies

Pictured: Polynesian Petunias

Thanksgiving Day found me with a full day of obligations – more so than my average unemployed day. I delivered Meals on Wheels in the morning. I am by no means a wonderful, valiant person for doing this. I did it last year because a friend asked if I was interested, then MOW contacted me to do it again this year. To reiterate, I didn’t do anything deserving, they came to me.

I had 4 deliveries, all to women, so I decided to get them each a petunia plant. My roommate has a ton of flowers — and has repeatedly consoled herself with how they only cost a dollar when I am left to attend them and my gangrene thumb sends them into the abyss. So, what’s $4 to bring some semi-lasting beauty to the day?

The recipient of my third delivery’s name is Yuriko. When I hand Yuriko the petunia plant and say, “this is just from me” before giving her the bag with the meal, she urgently says, “hold on” and off she goes while the screen door slams in my face. I hear her slippered feet quickly padding through her house and back. She reappears with a frosty bottle of water and says, “ice cold for you, you look so hot” (thank you ever-present under boob sweat for the give away). I think she had to give me something for giving her something. The sweetness of this gesture warms my heart (and my tit sweat shadow expands).

She asks if I am having turkey dinner today. To avoid this question, I tell her I am running a wine tasting at the local grocery store for a few hours. We briefly discuss the merits of getting paid. She then says “so you have turkey after”? I finally lie and say, “yes, I meet family later for turkey” (I’m suddenly talking in Hawaiian pidgin because it is being spoken to me – mongoose hear, mongoose do.)

She tells me her son is coming over with his family later bringing turkey, but she likes this meal better. As much as she wants to believe I am having turkey with family later, I need to believe that she is spending the afternoon basking in the happy glow of her caring ohana while eating a second-rate turkey dinner. I cannot bear the thought of her sitting alone all day and she couldn’t abide my lone afternoon lounging in a movie theater with James Bond, a bag of popcorn and a smuggled-in vodka then heading home to a solo night of grilling salmon and in-demanding the Mindy Projects I’ve missed. I’m thankful we can successfully white lie to each other today.

I get to the wine tasting which I figure will be a bust, but I’m in public with contacts in, make up on and hair blown dry, so it’s a holiday miracle all ready. I’m thinking, who is going to want to taste wine from 11:30am-2:30pm on Thanksgiving in a store where a piece of cheese is $27? As it turned out, many people, so what do I know.

A few people feel compelled to mention how I am working on Thanksgiving Day. They ask what time I get off and seem relieved that it’s early enough for me to still go spend it with family (ah, the white lies continue… I’m almost starting to believe my long-suffering husband, our 2 grown gay children and 3 dogs – a Lab, a pit and an English bulldog actually exist and lovingly await my hard-working shirt stains arriving home to them). One guy says, “how they’d get you to work today?” I say, “well, I don’t work any of the other days, so what the hell!” He thinks I’m kidding – but believes me about the imaginary family. Hmmm, the magic of the holidays.

Somehow I sell 11 bottles of over-priced wine and many wedges of $19.99 /lb cheese whose samples festoon my table. It took me a while to try the cheese (not so long to try the wine), but after I did, I insisted everyone try it. It was a parmesan-gouda-crack blend that a lab rat would uncontrollably eat until it died. I could’ve easily set up (fat) camp at that table and swilled the whole bottle of Cotes Du Rhone while wedging that wedge into my cheese hole until it was no more — like performance art of Thanksgiving gluttony (or my average Saturday night).

I ran out of wine early and had to close up shop — which was fine as I’d already bought the ticket to Skyfall (an old habit from NYC where the theaters are sold-out on T-giving). In Hawaii, it really is all about the ohana on the holidays, so the turn out at the theater is minimal.  I settle into the movie with my contraband cocktail and small popcorn (what restraint! Even on this one day where I could justify stuffing more buttery maize in my maw like a piggish pilgrim).

Chase scenes, Daniel Craig’s pursed lips, Judi Dench’s eyelid hoods and Javier Bardem’s skilled flouncing flash before my eyes repeatedly while popcorn and vodka are inhaled. I opt to hit the ladies when they drive the Aston Martin to Skyfall. I arrive back as they are preparing to defend Skyfall. Apparently, James Bond’s whole, never-before-told back story is relayed in that bit — perfect timing on the releasing of the vodka. Oh well, what I don’t know, can’t bore me. I was just thrilled I didn’t miss the homoerotic scene with the amazing Javier and rigor mortis lips. Overall, I thought the movie was mediocre (just like Daniel Craig – would the sky fall if he brought a smidgen of humor to the role?!), but Javier Bardem swished me entertained.

I headed home to grill salmon and share it with my orange-striped ingrate while playing the role of Demanda with the TV and watching missed primetime shows.  My roommate had invited me to the neighbors for turkey, but she didn’t tell me their address (does that count as an invite then?). Instead, I gave thanks for cheap petunias, a bottle of water, sympathetic white lies, cheese crack, imaginary families, movie snacks, main stream homoerotica and salmon-induced purring. I am sincerely thankful… but still hungry.