The life and times of an ethnically ambiguous little lady.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

B'scuse Me, Corporate Job?!

We interrupt any updates of my travels abroad (in case you care) to bring you this moment of B'scuse Me?! . . .

Let me preface this rant by telling you that I like my job. I like the fact that having a job enables me to eat regularly and have a place to live that is not made out of cardboard.

But sometimes I feel like God or "the man" is having a little fun at my expense. I specifically felt that way this morning, when I opened up my email to find a message from Human Resources:

Have you ever tried to make a balloon animal?
Come learn the art of balloon sculpting with Nick the Balloonatic.
Date:Thursday, August 30 at 1:30, 2nd floor conference room

Really? This what they're providing to help us blow off that corporate steam? And Nick is a balloon "sculptor"? That title is right up there with McDonalds' "crew member" and Toyota's "new vehicle advisor."

I'm just glad to know that my bonus is being used for a good cause. I'm also thinking maybe I should work in HR. They certainly seem to have a sense of humor.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Tales of the Trip

In the travels of the Epstein family, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the people in the Epstein family and the poor citizens of the country in which they are visiting who come across the Epsteins. These are their stories. [Cue Law & Order opening beats]

I just came back from a ten-day trip with my family to the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. (Do not insert a stupid “boy are my arms tired” joke here.) Usually we do the various tourist activities with my parents during the day—museums, breweries, visiting random statues that have been decapitated multiple times (and that was just in Denmark)—and Fred and I go off in search of a little local color at night. Now granted, I’m not out looking to sample all the local goods (if you know what I’m saying), but it has occurred to me that Fred and I make things difficult for each other when we go out together.

When we were in Bergen, Norway, a girl gestured to my brother to dance with her when we were at a club. I was sitting right next to him. I thought that made her a bit of a cheeky bitch.

“Why are you offended? I’m not dating you,” my brother said.

This is true. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

“Yeah, but maybe I don’t want you fraternizing with some girl who has no manners.”

And with that, Fred got up to dance with her. So much for taking my sisterly advice. Lucky for me her friends also found her move to be ballsy, so they motioned me over to figure out exactly what was going on.

But sometimes people really get the wrong idea about us. At a bar in Stockholm, Sweden we ended up talking to a very nice guy for a while. When last call came around, we said our good-byes and headed out. My brother went out first and I followed.

“Well, goodnight, Mrs.,” our new friend said.

“Oh, no…he’s my brother,” I said, slightly disgusted.

“Oh, sure. That’s what they all say,” he said, not convinced.

“No, he really is my brother. He’s a foot taller and we look nothing alike, but my parents swear it’s true.”

“Oh, really? Then kiss me,” he said, smiling.

“While my brother wouldn’t mind, I think my boyfriend might,” I said.

Maybe it’s my boyfriend cockblocking me and not my brother, after all.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

I'm Famous.

Okay. Maybe not. But I was recently interviewed by a comedy website about my exciting day and nightlife.

It's nothing like the time I was interviewed on Good Morning, America about my views on Tom Cruise, but at least this one is actually about comedy.

Read on, readers at:

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Seeing Red Peppers at 10,000 Feet

“Ah, excuse me, I ordered the vegetarian meal,” I said to the airline stewardess or flight attendant or air transit worker, or whatever they’re called nowadays.

“Not according to this list,” she said, smiling condescendingly. “But I’ll see what I can do.”

“Bless your heart. I appreciate it.” I replied, smiling back cartoonishly. A few friends and myself were on our way to Europe, first stop Amersterdam, for the customary find-myself-blow-any-savings-before-growing-up-get-some-culture-and-kiss-a-few-foreigners tour. It was an eight hour flight and I was going to be very hungry without a meal.

Eventually, the airplane waitress made her way back to my seat. “I had to fight for it, but here ya go,” she said.

“I’m sure you really had to wrestle for it,” I said smiling. “Put that meal in a half nelson, didn’t ya?” She laughed uncomfortably and I think she rolled her eyes. I’m sure it was just the way she had “wrestled for a single pillow for me at the beginning of the flight.” Doesn’t every seat get one? I’m not asking for the moon here. (Note to self: I think bitchiness rubs off. Kind of like meningitis.)

I looked down at my meal. An unassuming stuffed red pepper, probably filled with something impossible to determine, a phallic bread roll, a cookie that looked like it had been around since the Carter administration, and some long dead canned pears. Yes, this was worth fighting for.

I took a bite of my stuffed pepper. Although I couldn’t tell exactly what the substance was inside of it, it was definitely vegetarian. And it was then, roughly a minute and a half later, that I felt a little tingling of my lip. And then my throat.

“Shit,” I said, spitting the pepper into my napkin.

“I told you not to get the vegetarian, Emily,” Allie, my seatmate and one of my vacation partners in crime, said. “They’re gross. Even if you don’t eat meat. You should eat chicken. That’s not meat.”

“Ah, yeah. I think I have a problem,” I said, trying not to hyperventilate. “I think there might have been nuts in there.”

“Oh, shit,” Allie said.

“Fuck,” I exclaimed.

“Crap,” Allie continued.

“Mother fucking slut,” I said as the woman in the row across from me glared at me while covering her young daughter’s ears.

“The one time I don’t ask if there are nuts. I think this is going to be bad,” I said, both to Allie and apologetically to the woman who had overheard my outburst.

I am deathly allergic to nuts. Putting Superman near some kryptonite is exactly like forcing a macadamia nut cookie down my throat. The end result? There is no way we are fighting crime after that.

It all started when I was five years old at a wedding and decided to enjoy some delicious candy-covered nuts. Then there was the pesto incident of 1992. Or the time I learned the word for nuts so I could ask the waiters when I was in Brazil. When I asked, the waiter looked at me like I was crazy. Turns out porcas means nuts, but the nuts and bolts kind, not the food kind.

But back to the issue at hand. I called my favorite high altitude hussy over while trying to stay calm. “Ah, do you happen to know if there were nuts in the red pepper? I’m really allergic. There was actually a note about it in the order you guys lost.” (Passive aggressive? Maybe.)

“That’s a good question,” Susie Sunshine said. “John?” she said to the nearby manttendant.

“Any ideas? Seems our friend here has a little allergy.”

“No, I’m really not sure,” John said, shrugging.

“Okay,” I said, trying to stay calm. “Well, is there a doctor onboard because this ‘little allergy’ could get really bad.”

“Yeah, really not sure. But I’ll let you know if I find one,” she said, easing away from my area.

“Could you? Because I really don’t think you want to end up with a dead body on this plane,” I said, using all the angry sarcasm I could muster.

Oh god. This was bad. Maybe not Snakes on a Plane bad, but pretty awful for me. My throat was starting to get really scratchy and my stomach was becoming very angry. And it was getting hard to breathe. Stay calm. Stay calm. Try and watch Mel Gibson, pre-anti-semite in crappy movie “What Women Want” I muttered to myself in a mantra over and over.

Meanwhile, Allie was beginning to get concerned. “Don’t you have a what-do-you-call it? An Epsteinpen? An Emilymarker? Isn’t it called something like that?”

She was right. I had my Eppypen, my shot of epinephrine that was supposed to do the job. Only problem is that I am almost as afraid of needles as I am of nuts.

“Seriously, Em. Do you need me to stab you with it? In the heart, right?”

That helped me to stop panicking for a moment and focus. “Ah, no, Allie, it’s not Pulp Fiction.
You inject it into the thigh, but I don’t know…”

And my reasoning at this moment in time? Well, I only had one needle. What if something happened when I was traveling? Then I’d really be screwed.

(My mother later shared with me an important sidenote to this theory. “If you died on the plane, you wouldn’t need the needle later. Oh mothers. And another sidenote: how come you never hear about kids in third world countries having food allergies?)

So I came up with another plan. I would drink. I would drink and take Dramamine, the motion sickness pill, and if I had enough of both of those, I would either pass out or die, but somehow I’d soon feel sweet, sweet relief. So I called my favorite hostess with the mediocre mostest.

“So, how are you feeling,” she asked. At this point, I was starting to turn a nice shade of green.

“Not good. Did you find out if there were any doctors around?” I said, trying to stay calm.

“I totally forgot. It’s so busy around here, you know? Let me check.”

“No!” I exclaimed, grabbing her polyester-cuffed lapels, while trying to refrain from punching her in the face. “I have another idea. Can I have some of those little bottles of alcohol? I think that will really help. Like as many as you can give me.”

“Okay,” she said, probably more to get rid of me then anything, because I was starting to look a little wild-eyed.

God bless international flights. No laws there about getting liquored up. I began to drink. And took a few Dramamine. And then I’d go throw up as the nuts were fully in my system. And then I’d force down another drink. And a pill, and wheeze and heave and go throw up again. Wash, rinse, repeat. It got to the point that I looked so miserable, that the lines for the bathroom would part like Moses working his magic on the red sea. I even heard a mother trying to turn my plight into a counting lesson for son, “And how many times did the lady go to the bathroom? Let’s count. One, two, three, four, five! That’s right!” And then I’d go back to my seat and sweat, and wheeze, and cry a little, and drink some more.

In between, to try and stay calm, I’d ask Allie questions like, “is your inner ear itching or is it just me?” Or “listen, I think I can wheeze ‘Blister in the Sun” or “please tell my parents I love them.”

And finally, 7 hours into the flight, an hour before we landed, I passed out. I was drunk, I had enough Dramamine in me to kill a horse, and I had thrown up exactly 6 times. Allie looked like she wanted to throw me out of the plane, just to get some peace. But we landed in Amsterdam and I managed to both wake up and be alive, which was pretty impressive.

And then it was time to get stoned. So stoned that I didn’t remember my name or the experience I had just lived through. I was happy, our other friend seemed to fall in love with ‘how pretty the weed is. it’s so green! Who’s so green? (yes, she talked to the weed)’, and for some reason, Allie couldn’t stop writing postcards. Drugs do funny things. And then it was time for food. We all got chocolate covered waffles. I, of course, checked with the guy three times before taking a bite.

“This is delicious,” one of our friends exclaimed. “The chocolate tastes just like nutella.”

“What?” I said, spitting it out in my hand immediately. This was going to be a long trip.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Calling Masseur Feelgood

It's been an exhausting and stressful couple of weeks. And it's not that this is different from how my life normally goes, but it seems when you throw in 92 degrees with three million percent humidity I just want to curl up somewhere with air conditioning and sleep for a week. Well, that or fight people on the subway who sweat on me. Yeah, I may need a vacation.

What I could really use is a massage. I’m a big fan of massages, though I rarely get them. I think I like them as much as 50 Cent thinks fat kids like cake. So when I went to Thailand a few years ago, a place that is known for said pleasure for a fraction of the cost, I was thrilled. And after lugging myself around Bangkok for a few days with the similarly extreme heat and crowding that makes New York City look like uncharted territory, I was ready for a rubdown.

The thing was, I didn’t need all my muscles to be attended to. So my two friends and I began our mission to find an authentic Thai massage, free of happy endings. We were told if the place was legit, it wouldn’t be down a back alley. It ended up taking us three frustrating hours to find somewhere that would not leave us with the parting gift of an STD. Finally we were all led to a clean, good-sized room and told to strip down and put on our robes.

We lay down on our mats and three miniature Thai women entered, chatting away with each other. With little more then a smile in our direction, they got to work molding our backs to their whim, never stopping their discussion. And it was a good thing they kept talking because they drowned out our moans of happiness. When I was turned over on my back and the woman started walking to the very top of my inner thigh, I learned I was tense in places I hadn’t even thought about. It was intimate enough that I felt like we should share an after-massage cigarette and then maybe spoon.

By the time the women were done, the three of us were puddles of relaxation. It literally took everything we had to get dressed. And while the experience was a bit odd, it wasn’t nearly as strange as an Indian ayurvedic massage a friend told me about. Apparently for that experience you’re completely naked, they lube you up with so much baby oil that the person giving the massage hangs from a rope, and then they massage you with their feet. When the masseuse started massaging her breasts with her well-worn hooves, the girl slid right off the table and out the door faster then you can say Kamasutra.

I guess there’s something to be said for an authentic, foreign massage, but the cost of getting out there without being emotionally scarred? Well, that’s priceless.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Getting Ahead the Old-Fashioned Way

It makes me happy when people read my blog, especially if it makes them laugh. It doesn't matter what path gets them here, but sometimes it's a bit roundabout. Some things that people have searched and were led to this here bloggity blog:

* woman who thought she was an orange juice
* plaid tuxedo etiquette
* legally midget
* show me your fire crotch
* jews walk into a bar

But my favorite path so far? The one that is close to my heart (or rather below my collar bone)?Someone actually googled "how to use my breasts to get ahead." And I came up.

I'm not sure how I feel about this, but my rack is thrilled.

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