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Archive for August, 2019

 

Dear DeKalb County:

I’m intrigued and impressed by your jury processing. I guess with a population of 752,088, you need to have your act together.

On Monday, I arrived at the courthouse as Juror 401 of 1,001 called. That’s a shocking number. In my experience in Chatham County, I had to call every night to see if my number was up the next day.

Not y’all.

You call everyone in.

Judges and attorneys get one day to make a decision to field a jury. And that’s genius because it puts pressure on people to settle.

While I waited to see if I was chosen (and by the way, I am NEVER chosen), I had the pleasure <sarcasm alert> of sitting between two of the kinds of people I hate: A guy watching videos with no headphones and a woman talking loudly on her phone.

Why, Sir? Why must you torture me?

The other people in the room were sitting quietly. But I was sandwiched between these two.

And the guy sat RIGHT NEXT TO ME, even though there were dozens of empty spaces all over the room. He was so close, I could smell his chicken-biscuit breath. I had to move down one chair.

It happens all the time. I can be in an empty movie theater, and the only other person will sit one seat over.

Why don’t people understand personal space?

[Insert deep cleansing breath.]

I’m not sure this is common practice, but it was surprising to me that one of the judges emerged to test out what he thought was a rousing stand-up routine.

It was, predictably, about civic duty and, unpredictably, the importance of driving under the speed limit.

At least my seat neighbors silenced themselves for the occasion.

A little while later, I was dismissed. My case was settled while I was seething.

But that part was not your fault, DeKalb County. You made the process as painless as possible.

See you in two years!
Beth

 

 

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Dear DJ Pauly D,

Thanks for a great night! The only thing that would have made it better is if you had brought your boyfriend and mine: Vinny.

As everyone who knows me and/or reads this blog is painfully aware, I love “Jersey Shore” and all the permutations. Your bromance with Vinny gives me life.

Knowing my jones for Jerzday, it should be no surprise that I HAD to go see you when you came to Atlanta.

I would have loved to take Gideon. We’re couch chooches. But it was a 21+ show, and he’s 13. Eddie was my lucky Plus One.

As I walked out the door, Gideon demanded photos and videos. Of course I obliged.

If only he had written, “Yeah, Buddy!”

Contrast that with my other son, aka Captain Crankypants.

He’s also punctuation challenged.

There was a lady in the loo who was challenged too — challenged by the soap dispenser. She kept banging on it and hollering, “I need soap! I need soap and Jesus!”

I’m not sure if she got either. I left to see the rest of your set.

It was everything I hoped it would be and more.

You spun for hours. I was impressed.

And even sported a Braves jersey!

Your other buddy was represented well too.

Thanks for putting on a fantastic show!

Love and fist pumps,
Beth

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Dear Students Taking My Public Speaking Course,

I just met you this week, and already I’m channeling Dug from “Up.”

This semester is going to be so much fun as I help you unlock your best self — capable of any kind of public speaking. Some of you may not be the next Aristotle, but you’ll be good. Or at least better than you are today.

In return, here are some (nonnegotiable) things I ask from you:

  1. Please use my proper title in email and in person. I’m even fine with “Dr. Beth,” “Dr. C.” or even “Doc Con.” “Miss C” and “Hey” are not acceptable. I worked hard for my doctorate. (Blog readers remember.) And as my teachers said in high school, “Hey” is for horses. (Yuk, yuk.)
  2. Turn in your work on time. That’s in the syllabus, but I’m putting it here too. You may have the best excuse anyone has ever had, but you also have known what is due and when well in advance thanks to that magical syllabus.
  3. Show up to class, and show up on time. You can’t learn anything if you aren’t in class. Again, I don’t want to hear excuses — especially about traffic. We are in Atlanta: You should know to budget an extra hour to get anywhere.
  4. If you do miss class, DO NOT ask me if you missed anything important. Dear God. That’s the WORST. What am I supposed to say? “No, we just sat around and mourned your absence.” Look at the syllabus, and figure it out. Or ask a classmate. Also, I’ve put all assignments online. SIGH.

In return for following these (really quite simple) rules, I promise to make class interesting. Here are some testimonials from your fellow students:

I love you all equally. It’s true; I promise! Read this.

And I can’t imagine my life without teaching — even if it is only one class per semester.

I’m looking forward to seeing you next week when you will deliver your first speech!

Don’t panic. You’ve got this. I’m here for you.

Sincerely,
Dr. Beth

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Dear Dudes,

When you hear “girls’ night out” or “ladies weekend,” what do you think goes on?

One of my friends said, “Hair braiding and pillow fights in lingerie.” He’s been watching too much … of a certain … uh … genre.

Another said, “Drinking and dragging guys. And dancing too.”

In my experience, the latter is more accurate. But perhaps I don’t get out enough. Or it’s that I have fairly tame friends.

Here’s a peek into what happened at a recent get-together with some female friends of mine. We’ve been friends since we bonded in some work trenches more than 15 years ago.

THE GOOD

1. Pedicures. No ladies weekend is complete without a trip to the nail salon.

2. Exercise. All of us got in a little exercise by walking and talking on the beach.

Goat Yoga Lisa went a little further (naturally): Pushups at 10 p.m. Aimee provided resistance. I provided Eddie via FaceTime so he could critique her form.

THE BAD

1. Junk food. This was not a time to be healthy.

 

Just look at the food and beverages visible in this photo. Note that Becky has thoughts on Oyster Bay: “It’s no Sutter Home.”

2. Adult beverages. Some people come prepared.

THE UGLY

1. Celebrity behavior. If the trashy magazines we purchased with the wine and junk food are any indication, you are not allowed to pull your bathing suit out of your butt. For shame, Britney! (Just kidding. That’s normal behavior for all of us.)

2. Everyone but us. This is the real story of ladies weekend: It’s a time to vent and commiserate. Stop, collaborate and listen.

Becky regaled us with stories of the Top Tier Type A moms at her children’s school who are wound up about pee on the seat in the bathrooms. Apparently Decatur and East Lake are filled with choice personalities who are EXTREMELY involved in a variety of aspects of community life. One of her friends is consumed with a street sign.

Aimee: Does she have a lot of time on her hands?
Becky: Well, she’s single and has no kids.
Lisa: That means yes.

And speaking of kids, yes, we tell those tales too. We’re trying hard not to scar them like we were scarred.

Aimee: When I was 12, my stepfather gave me a shirt from Hooters that said “More than a mouthful.”
The rest of us: <Loud groans of dismay>

The bottom line?

Yes, there was some drinking and dragging.

A couple of us did a few steps of “Single Ladies,” but I’m not sure I’d classify that little bit as dancing.

I did toss a throw pillow at Lisa, but we didn’t braid each other’s hair.

The sleepwear of choice was the T-shirt/pajama pants combo, not lingerie.

So, there you have it: A peek behind the ladies weekend curtain.

Probably not all that you thought it would be.

Sorry, not sorry.

They don’t exist to please you. In fact, you guys are more often than not the reason they exist.

🙂

Love you anyway,
Beth

 

 

* Thanks, Kool & The Gang!

 

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EPISODE 2: All’s Quiet on the Chlorine Front
Rated G for give a girl some space

EXT. APARTMENT COMPLEX POOL – LATE SUNDAY AFTERNOON.

Enter MOTHER and her 13-YEAR-OLD SON. (When asked if he wanted to go, her 14 YEAR OLD on his Xbox said, “I don’t know.” And that was that.)

Despite the fact that it is prime sunning hours, the pool is nearly deserted.

MOTHER notices a leathery GRANNY is in residence in the corner.

This is exactly where this woman has been every single time MOTHER has been to the pool this season. MOTHER wonders if she should be concerned. Perhaps this woman doesn’t have a home beyond the pool.

On a lounge chair a mere four feet away is a THIRTYSOMETHING WOMAN reading a book.

A MAN IN SHORT BATHING TRUNKS enters the pool area, and chooses a lounge chair in the same strip as the WOMAN.

MOTHER wonders why he has to be all up on her when there are dozens of other chairs.

Perhaps WOMAN thinks the same thing, as she quickly departs.

When she leaves, SHORT SUIT moves a chair within five feet of MOTHER.

MOTHER sighs. She is not a fan of people being too close to her.

MOTHER and SON and FATHER who has appeared in the interim decide they’ve had enough of the pool and people being too close and leave.

No drama. MOTHER didn’t want to start anything. (Sorry.)

END SCENE

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O Canada!

I’ve enjoyed my short time in your Ontario province’s capital city of Toronto. It’s like New York with nicer people.

For example, an elderly lady stopped me to tell me I have a great walk. (That’s a first.)

The food has been spectacular.

Just look at this noodle bowl full of hand-pulled noodles.

And before you suggest poutine, know this: I’ve tried poutine. I like poutine. I couldn’t find poutine in the restaurants in my hotel’s immediate vicinity. I’m still working on it!

I did find a moose, though.

On a break from my conference, I did do one important touristy thing: I went to the top of the CN Tower.

I love heights. I would have done the EdgeWalk, but I didn’t bring the right shoes. I did appreciate the glass floor.

But perhaps not as much as others.

Even if I hadn’t been wearing a dress, I’m not sure I would have rolled around on the floor like a baby on a play mat.

Anyway, I’ve had a great time. Thank you for your hospitality. Hope to see you again soon!

Yours,
Beth

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Dear Aggressive Fellow in Office Depot:

I’m not sure I adequately displayed my shock at your approach in the printer ink aisle.

I thought maybe you thought I worked there.

But then when you got very close and asked me if I had a husband or boyfriend, I knew I was wrong.

It was flattering, for sure. Especially as I had my hair piled on top of my head, didn’t have makeup on, and was wearing a Fishbone shirt and raggedy shorts.

But when I said, “Yes,” you were skeptical.

“Are you sure?”

I held up my left hand.

“Yes, I’m sure.”

“But I like you. Are you sure you don’t want to come home with me?”

“I’m sure. Thanks anyway.”

Then you dropped this line:

“I’m Guatemalan.”

OH! Well in THAT case!

But seriously, “a new man” was not on my shopping list.

And I don’t think the lady you were with would have appreciated your activity 10 feet away.

But you did give me a great story to tell, so thanks.

And you do have moxie.

Impressed,
Beth

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