Archive for the 'cleveland' Category

what do you get when you cross a hedge fund trader and a longshoreman?

well, that depends on whom you ask, i guess.  but according to ronnie of carle place, long island, what you get is what i, apparently, need. 

cs lewis and i met at the beer garden for a drink after an especially painful stab therapy session.  as i’d suspected, cs lewis’d made friends by the time i arrived.  ronnie and ralphie, two mooks of the highest order (a sincere compliment in my book).  they were waiting for friends, too and had invited cs to sit with them whilst she waited for me.

i was in a foul mood.  work had been especially rough, i’d endured 6 hours, 2 cancelled flights and several delays at cleveland hopkins airport.  i’d had to meet corky st kurtz, the ‘creative’ head of my division in the president’s club and had a very awkward conversation.  you know when you know that someone just does not like you, especially for no good reason, but you have to have polite, civil, and hopefully productive conversations with them?  and then they condescend to you and tell you to remain there after they leave and have some drinks because they’re free?  did i mention that i’m pretty much the only person out of seventy plus in the division actually bringing in revenue? 

couple that with the painful therapy and the fact that i had to get up early the next morning for an mri, and i was so close to going home and burying my head in my pillow.  luckily, i kept my date with cs because these guys were hilarious. 

ralphie and ronnie were joined by mikey and val.  the former being a high school english teacher living in his parents long island basement with a prodigious early eighties porn collection and the latter being a french immigrant working in technology who thoroughly enjoyed all the racist slurs and gallic slander we could conjure up.  ronnie was married, waiting for his wife to get home from a girls night out so they could celebrate their first anniversary together.

i must tell you that a night out drinking with a quadrumvirate of ball-busting mooks is exactly what the doctor ordered.

they gave very helpful advice on men. mostly from ronnie, who told me i scare the shit out of the stronger sex and that’s why i’m single (yeah, ronnie, that’s what i tell myself).  other roundtable topics included favorite authors, the best lines from fight club, shaving/ hair preferences and personal styles, why, exactly, mikey still lived in the basement, the diamond trade and nifty blackberry tips.

i had intended on going home early so as to avoid being hungover for my MRI, but stayed out late because it was such a fun and relaxing evening. 

i also learned it’s possible to play wingman via text (good luck with frenchy, cs!).

we definitely have to hang out with those guys again.  and, yes, daphne, you’ll be there.

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turns out the world isn’t watching

abughraib.jpg

i got through security at laguardia pretty quickly this morning and headed to gate 4 for my 9:48 flight to the cleve for another day of marathon meetings.  i grabbed a couple of bananas and water at au bon pain and settled into my seat at the gate.i looked around and noticed that it wasn’t overly crowded, which isn’t exceptional, but i did see a rather large family traveling together- about 8 to 10 people in all, clearly muslim and clearly traditional.  now, i know what you might be thinking, but that isn’t where this going. 

also at the gate?  a soccer mom-esque forty-something with her yappy, yippy lap dog.  she laid a diaper and a toy or two on the floor, put her doggy down and held the leash down with her foot to keep the dog nearby. 

now, gate 4 in the continental terminal is not that big, not that that fact should have given license to soccermom to be so oblivious.  her dog was roaming about as dogs do- exploring, sniffing, nipping.  now, i don’t like lapdogs much, but this is nothing you can fault the dog for; it’s what they do. 

what can be faulted here is that this was making the family very, very uncomfortable.  a couple of the younger women quickly got up and moved as far away as possible within the confines of the gate, while the father sat quietly, if warily, across from me.  seeing that soccermom (let’s just shorten that to “sm.”) was not taking note of the fact that her dog was causing several people genuine distress, i clicked my tongue and snapped my fingers and called the dog over to me before she could reach dad.

i leaned over and got sm’s attention, hoping she’d raise her head and take some heed of her charge, and asked the puppy’s name.  “aria” she replied.  “very cute” i said and petted her white, nappy head.

now, i love dogs, but not yippy little poodles, and certainly not before i’ve had a cup of coffee.  but i was uncomfortable and facing a ridiculous dilemma.  does sm not know that letting aria roam about is inappropriate regardless of the deep religious objection of several of her fellow passengers?  do i stay out of it as it’s none of my business?  is it really not a big deal and i’m being overly culturally sensitive? 

not wanting to be a condescending jerk and assume that sm is ignorant and needs to have the situation explained to her and convinced that the family was sincerely uncomfortable, i encouraged aria to keep chewing on my laptop.  after a couple of minutes more, i leaned over to sm and said “excuse me.  i’m not sure if you know this, but dogs make muslims uncomfortable and there are several people in this gate that would probably appreciate it greatly if you kept aria a little closer to you.” 

she said “whaaaat?”  i replied “yes, in islam dogs are considered very unclean, somewhat like pigs in judiasm and your dog is making some people very uncomfortable.  i’m not sure where you’re sitting or if it matters, but it might be a good idea to rein in the leash a bit out of courtesy.” 

sm “oh, yes.  i had no idea.  thank you.”

a beat.

she puts her head back down, goes back to the paper and does nothing about anything.  i saw aria approaching the man across from me yet again, so i hooked her collar and pulled her over to me.  the man said to me “i’m sorry, but in my religion….”  i said “i know, i’m sorry.”  he said ” i saw you trying to have a conversation.” i said “yes, i understand how you feel and i tried to explain.  i’m sorry.  i’ll do what i can to keep her over here.”  he nodded and said “thank you,” both of us completely uncomfortable and neither of us sure why we felt weird for a situation that was neither of our doing.

finally, boarding was called and “mommy” gathered her baby up to board.

i’m no cultural guru and i’ve never read the koran.  but i know that dogs are anathema to islam.  i grew up with several muslims, but didn’t know this until the disgrace that was abu ghraib.  wasn’t everyone, regardless of their hawk-like outward disposition, at least fleetingly, momentarily, humanely and humanly embarassed by the events and photos that came of that iraqi prison?  even for a second?  did that not command attention, even away from britney (sp??) and k-fed’s divorce, or whatever other sensational nonsense was absorbing the lion’s share of the nation’s consciousness at the time? 

i hate being embarassed by my nationality.  liberal guilt is patronizing and ignorant.  but this hit something home: a lot of people are ignorant, selfish assholes. 

i like to think that’s a universal trait, rather than an arena in which america corners the market.  and deep down i know that to be so.  but some days it’s hard. really, really hard to believe. 

ah, the power of cheese

i don’t mean the literal foodstuff, cheese, though that clearly has it’s wonders and its merits.  no, kids, i refer to the sociological type of cheese.  and the creme de la creme of this cultural curd is, of course, B horror movies.

i have been traveling to and from cleveland almost non stop for the past three weeks, following a two week sojourn abroad for successive, long trade shows.  i have had almost no time to eat well, exercise or even relax.  i have been working my tail off (lo, only figuratively.  the midwest spread is apparently contagious).  i have been in back to back meetings whether in new york or the cleve.  spend most of my meal times in meetings or airports.  putting out fires, struggling with the inconsistencies and holes in communication flow that a new company has in spades.

the upshot is:  i’m exhausted.  drained.  knackered.  fried.  broke down. jacked up. sleepy, add your synonym here.

quick examples:

last week i excused myself to go to the restroom at a local , well-patronized bar and opened the door to the bathroom.  for a good twenty seconds i stood staring at the urinal, knowing it signaled that something was off, but unable to process what, exactly, the issue was.  as i slowly backed up, i noticed the ubiquitous stick figure representing the male of the species next to (oddly enough) the word “Mens.”  this prompted an epiphany to which the only response was to sidle five feet to the left and enter the more accomodating “Ladies” room.

i wrote a poll on my fantasy baseball team website in which i spelled the word “threw” as “t-h-r-o-u-g-h.”  for those you who know my fastidiousness when it comes to spelling and proper usage of english (including being seriously uptight about their, there and they’re as well as to, too, and two, you’re and your. it’s and its), you know this is not a favorable indicator of my personal mental health.

finally, i was offered the opportunity to be part of two things that would normally bring me untold joy: a subway series baseball game with best friends and a ricky gervais show with other close and wonderful friends.  i have bailed on both to lay in my bed, exhausted, in physical pain strong enough to make me cry, feeling quite sorry for myself.

there is only one thing that can take my mind off this pathetic personal failing:  a well spent $3.95 for a grisly,sufficiently acted, clever death scenes B horror movie.  My nirvana, my escape, my personal Calgon.

to which, friends, i must return as the peace it gives me is quickly fading. 

so please, don’t mock, but embrace the so-bad-it’s-good gen x philosophy; it is a salve to soothe the shattered soul.**

ok, that’s somewhat melodramatic, but i was going for alliteration and my options were limited

fleeing (to) the cleve

so, all of you 30 Rock fans out there- which should be all of you- must have loved the season finale, “Cleveland.”  it was typically hilarious and ridiculous and, as usual, has creepy parallels to rather specific things in my life.

like liz’s cell phone ring is wagner.  the cell goes off.  the english avian bone chick says “oh, you like vagner?”  and liz says “no, i like elmer fudd.”  and so, dawn turns to me and says “damn.  she is you.”  which i like, because I like to pretend i’m as successful, smart or funny as tina fey or liz lemon.  we do have a lot in common, though I do have the better name and am not pretending to vote for Barack Obama.

so then, the episode goes on to be all about cleveland and the excellence of ‘the cleve’ in relation to nyc.  and where would i be traveling to eight (EIGHT!) times in the next three weeks?  you get the gold star, kids!  the cleve. 

several of these fantastic trips filled with cash and prizes (read: marathon meetings and getting lost at HQ) involve the 6:30 am flight out of laguardia and coming back later that night.  next week, i’m actually coming home for 20 or so hours on wednesday, just to remind myself what my bed is like, and get my body a little un-twisted at the doc’s. 

yesterday’s first taste bodes well for the merry, merry month of may, as i sat on the runway at cleveland hopkins airport for hours because of thunderstorms.  not the ones that were actually happening in cleveland (as we were getting on the plane, i was watching lightning hit the runways), but the ones that might be happening in new york later.  might. be. happening.

the upside is that i do get to see a game at the jake (weather permitting), but as yet see no lunch with little richard at the r&r hall of fame on my itinerary.

also, there’s no alec baldwin involved.  i know, i know.  but he makes me laugh and has the best voice on the planet.  and trust me, my dad’s said way worse.  so get off my back.


truth

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

truth

Upon common theatres, indeed, the applause of the audience is of more importance to the actors than their own approbation. But upon the stage of life, while conscience claps, let the world hiss! On the contrary if conscience disapproves, the loudest applauses of the world are of little value - john adams
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from the man who taught me everything:

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”

bygones