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Archive for the ‘Cultural differences’ Category

Dear City of Brookhaven Solicitor:

Despite the fact that I frequently flout the rules at the apartment complex pool, I am (generally) a law-abiding citizen. When I visited the Brookhaven Municipal Court yesterday to contest a parking ticket, I was reminded that many people are not.

I used to cover the cop and court system when I was a TV news reporter. Yesterday’s visit made me miss those days. Ah, the sordid lives of others are a nosy person’s catnip.

DUI? Check.
No proof of insurance? Check and check.
Driving without a valid license? Check, check and check.
Revocation of probation? Check, check, check and check.

One dude had been cited for running from the cops on two different occasions. He conveniently forgot about that second time. And that his girlfriend had been the one to call the cops on him.

Another had so many moving violations he had to be on house arrest for 90 days.

I counted more than $5,000 in fines from just five people.

How do people get themselves in these situations?

Maybe they were on Ambien.

I was almost embarrassed that I was just there to whine about a parking ticket — a ticket you dismissed. So thanks for that.

Anyway, it’s good to have a reminder that things can always be worse.

Lovely to meet you, but I hope I won’t see you again.
Beth

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Dear MTV Programming Honchos:

I was sick for days, but now I’m cured. You get the credit.

Without you, I moved slowly through the five stages of illness (yep, just like the stages of grief).

Denial
My throat is not sore. I’ve just been running my mouth too much.

Anger
I refuse to get sick.

Bargaining
Please, I can’t get sick right now. I have too much to do. I’ll take NyQuil tonight and be fine tomorrow.

Depression
Why now? Why me?

Acceptance
This is where you come in. I cancelled all plans and did what I should have done in the beginning: Curl up on the couch and binge-watch “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation.”

Yes, y’all: Almost 10 years since the debut of “Jersey Shore,” but some things haven’t changed (including Pauly D‘s hair).

I’m your target audience. If it’s reality TV, I’ll watch it. As you know.

In case you gave the green light but stopped paying attention (and shame on you, if you did), let me recap my favorite episode of the marathon:

Ronnie was grinding on slop tarts all night, but in a 2018 development, there is Instagram evidence. His girlfriend isn’t answering the phone. He assumes she is pissed off at him. He finally gets her on the duck.She hasn’t seen the photos/videos and isn’t upset. He instigates a fight. The rest of the guys can’t believe it.

Then they act it out in the interview room like The Roots do “The Bachelor.

I’m on the edge of the couch, phlegm forgotten: Will they work it out? We’ll see when she comes to visit.

In the next episode, Deena crashes guys’ night out, gets drunk and starts falling like she does. Best line from Vinny, who did not want her to come with them:

“She’s a drunk little meatball. You have to contain her or she’s going to roll off the plate.”

I love this show. So much.

Trish, who stayed with us this weekend, was mortified.

Trish: How can you still be smart when you watch crap like this?

Me: It’s because of crap like this. It’s a palate cleanser!

So thank you, MTV people. I wouldn’t say I’m mint, but I’m not jacked hideous.

Yours in neutral,
Beth

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Dear Handy Ladies Who Want Certain Spa Treatments at Home:

Interested in the unique services at Jeju Sauna but are strapped for cash? Here’s a low-cost way to set up shop in the privacy of your own home!

Things you will need:
Four hand towels
Two shower curtains
Card table
Dish sponge with pot-scrubber
Garden hose
Crock pot
Coffee table
Saw
A handful of grass, weeds and any herbs that have been in your spice cabinet for two years or more

Instructions for the “body shampoo” portion of your home sauna:

  • Set up the card table in your garage or back/side yard.
  • Place one shower curtain over the table.
  • Hook up the hose to the nearest sink that can deliver warm water.
  • Go to the grocery store and bring home with you the first 10 women you see. (You’ll have to spring for Uber XL.)
  • Once they get to your house, you and nine of them will disrobe and try desperately not to look at each other while you take a shower with the hose. The 10th will wait patiently fully clothed. (If you are a Never Nude, stop here, and go read something else. This won’t work with cutoffs.)
  • Put one hand towel across the room/yard. Hold onto the other one.
  • Get up on the card table while the other ladies watch you.
  • Instruct the 10th lady to rub you all over with the pot-scrubber side of the sponge. She is allowed to say only these words/phrases: Face down, face up, turn, hair wash.
  • Tell the lady to make sure she scrubs all of you (yes, every single scrap of exposed skin), contorting you as necessary to get those hard-to-reach places.
  • Explain to her that she needs to rinse you off occasionally by pointing the hose directly between your legs.
  • Place the hand towel over your face.
  • Weep quietly as the woman sands off your nipples.
  • Flip around so she can wash your hair on the other end of the table. Try not to slide off:

  • Make sure the lady shampoos your hair like Bugs Bunny washes Elmer Fudd in “Rabbit of Seville” (3:59 into the link if you don’t get that reference). Then she should drag a brush through it without regard to your pain threshold. It will remind you of your mom getting the ponytail-prep tangles out of your hair. She didn’t care about pain either.
  • When she is done, creep delicately while tingling and raw over to the second hand towel to dry off.
  • Ask the 10th lady to stay while you send the others home. You’ll tip her later.
  • Bask in a job well done while you lather lotion on your abrasions.

Instructions for the “hip bath” portion of your home sauna:

  • Cut a hole in the middle of the coffee table with the saw.
  • Ask the lady who stayed to fill up the crock pot with the yard clippings and other greenery.
  • Also ask her to add water from the garden hose.
  • Then she should plug in the crock pot, turn it up to high, and stick it under the hole.
  • Finally, she needs to place the remaining two hand towels around the opening in the coffee table.
  • Tip the lady and send her home.
  • Wrap the shower curtain around your naked body.
  • Sit over the hole. That’s right.
  • Make sure the shower curtain covers you and the coffee table to form an impenetrable seal. You, the table and crock pot will become one under the plastic tent.
  • Vaporize that vajayjay for at least 45 minutes while watching the news.
  • Lament the state of the world.
  • Sweat like a mofo and marvel at the 100-degree temperature difference between your head and your bits. Also wonder if it really will do the 12+ things it is reported to do.
  • Reflect that you didn’t need any of the outcomes; you were just curious.
  • Consider that this is not the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in your life.
  • Ask yourself why you are like this.
  • When your time is up, get off the pot, and hose off again.
  • Get dressed in the most comfortable clothes you own. Perhaps a Mrs. Roper-style muumuu.
  • Put away all the materials, and get ready for the next time. (Unless there won’t be a next time, of course.)

Hip bath setup: Fancy version

There you go!

A DIY dream. Ty Pennington would be proud. (Yes, he’s back.)

Best wishes to you and your freshly steamed cooter,
Beth

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Dear Sun,

I’m glad you exist, but we need to talk.

I spent a week at the beach but DELIBERATELY tried to avoid you. You may have noticed that I’m a white girl. Very white. Milky even. And I try to stay that way.

I’m married to and have birthed brown people. Go hang out with them. They love you and have no adverse effects.

I, however, am traumatized by my experiences with you.

Remember how you harassed me in the Dominican Republic when I tried so hard to escape you? I was in the shade of a building, wearing sunscreen, a one-piece bathing suit AND a cover up. Somehow I still got burned. On my stomach. (For real.)

There are two kinds of people who go to the beach: People who want to “lay out” to worship you and people like me, who enjoy the scenery and experience but need a cave.

Here are examples of the first:

And here’s my cave:

My chair is the one completely in the shade.

Here’s a lady who is in the second category but thinks she is in the first. (Lily White is going to be in so much pain.):

And here’s a velvet bikini, because I didn’t know such things existed:

Anyway, despite my best efforts, you attacked me again. My arms and chest are red. HOW? The only time I emerged from my shady haven was to visit the loo.

I probably should have set up camp UNDER the pavilion like these people:

Now I need aloe.

Thanks so much, friend.

Warm SPF 100 wishes,
Beth

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Dear Patrons of the Bar I Visited Friday Night:

You are the reason I don’t go out much (though there are other reasons too). I needed to do reconnaissance for a PR project, so I willed myself to exit my home, collect my friend René, and head to Metalsome Karaoke: karaoke backed by a live band.

René and I get ready to rock.

 

This was our view during the karaoke extravaganza.

The night started out great, but quickly went downhill. Why?

The Drunk Girl
I’m sorry (not sorry) I had to hip check you. René nicely asked you to stop flinging yourself against me. You would not stop. And then you took the stage, and we saw that you were way past the point of reason.

The Bouncer
This guy took himself very seriously. It was like he was guarding U2. “Come on, dude,” I thought. That is, until the above tried to rape the guitarist onstage. And then I understood why the bouncer was on high alert.

The Predator
The girl in front of you clearly wanted to watch the band and “singers.” She did not want you humping her. I promise.

After a badly botched rendition of “Bitch,” by a friend of Drunk Girl, René and I decided to leave the comfort of our Stage Left perch and explore the rest of the bar.

That was a mistake.

We waded through the beer soup on the ground floor up the stairs to find two more floors of sweaty bodies. All the guys were short, aging, puffy frat boys. Exhibit A:

Yet the women were Size Zero model wannabes. Exhibit B:

The men outnumbered the women three to one. And there were so many people! There had to have been fire code violations.

Me trying to get out of the bar

When we finally made it through the press of bodies and landed outside on the sidewalk, I apologized to René. He looked over his glasses at me and said:

And that’s why I don’t go to straight bars.

Got it.

Still drying out my shoes,
Beth

* Reference for title

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Dear Brits,

I love you. You know I do. As I recently found out thanks to the results from the Ancestry DNA kit, I have at least 18 percent of you in my system (the geography nerd in me is a little confused by how Scotland and Wales are somehow marked separately from Great Britain, though). Look here:

Anyway, I’ve always been an anglophile, thanks to my burning desire for Adam Ant.

So when I needed time away to complete a project I’ve been procrastinating on for a year and a half, I chose your chilly, tea-soaked environs. Thankfully, I had a Delta voucher, vacation time available, and two long-time friends who live within 20 minutes of each other.

These are a few of my favorite things:

1. The pubs. Within a one-block radius in Uttoxeter, for example, I worked on my project at The Black Swan, The Old Swan, The Old Star, Ye Olde Talbot and The Vault. The Guinness was spectacular at all.

2. Coffee. I have no shits to give about tea (sorry), but you have proper coffee. I love that you feel free to order cappuccino at all times of the day.

3. Friendliness. You love Americans like mothers love their weird, wayward sons. I was a source of curiosity in every pub I visited to write. Many of you wanted to know what I thought about Donald Trump. (I try not to think about him.) Many of you were pleased at my beer of choice. Every pub played American music, which amused the crap out of me as I am the biggest fan of the Second British Invasion.

4. The TV. No one does television better than you. There is no way anyone else (except maybe the Dutch) would have given the world “Naked Attraction.” The promo line? “A daring dating series that starts where some good dates might end — naked.”

It’s not pixelated at 10 p.m. on a weeknight. I’m shocked. And hooked.

5. The language. I’m tickled at your phrases. The terms of endearment alone sold me (“Duck,” “Shug,” “Love”). I’m definitely “sorted” at the moment. I’m using “straightaway” instead of “now.” I’m in love with “posh” (the word, not the Spice Girl).

I could listen to you all day. And did:

“She wants a wee!” — said by Man One to Man Two as I was trying to slide past Man Two to get to the ladies room.

“We’ve replaced you with someone far more attractive. You weren’t doing your job, so we’ve sacked you.” — Man Three to Man Four as I was sitting in his seat at the pub.

6. Your bluntness. Take this sign, for example.

Harsh. I feel sorry for the Simon Howie haggis. They can dream, I guess.

Anyway, thank you for being you. I hope to see you again soon.

Tra!
Beth

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Dear Lacoste,

It’s going to be hard to say goodbye. You’ve meant so much to me over the past 10 weeks. And although we’ve had our differences — I like to walk normally, and you like to try to break my ankles with your cobblestone streets at 60-degree angles; I like to sleep, and you like to let the clock tower chime three times every hour — we’ve gotten along splendidly overall.

I regret the time I cheated on you with Paris. I admit that I felt dirty in the City of Light. Yes, the week of having access to world-class shopping, restaurants, landmarks, artwork and entertainment was wonderful, but I thought about you the whole time.

You know I also cheated on you with Apt almost every weekend; L’Isle Sur La Sorgue on a number of Sundays; Fontaine de Vaucluse and Bonnieux four times; Avignon, Ménerbes and Lumières three times; Gordes, Ménerbes, Oppede le Vieux and Roussillon twice; Cavaillon, Carpentras, Coustellet, Saignon, Lourmarin, Nîmes, Aix-en-Provence, Marseilles, Milan and Turin once. But they meant nothing to me. I always came back to you.

You are like sleep-away camp for grown-ups. I enjoyed being a camp counselor and didn’t even mind being on call all day every day. I may never again have the opportunity to discuss a grade on a paper while scooping potato balls onto my plate at dinner. Or hear students coming back from the Café de France at 4 a.m. I love your isolation that enables and requires close connections with others who are also enjoying your charms.

You are intense. You are immersive. You are insulated. You required me to work closely with other professors on a variety of projects and field trips. I might not have had that chance otherwise. You required me to practice my stick-shift driving skills in rickety nine-passenger transit vans on narrow, winding roads. Never before have I had to fold in my mirror so that I could safely pass a La Poste vehicle on a dirt road built for one car. You required me to rethink my idea of space and material goods. I lived quite happily in a small centuries-old apartment with few personal items and no television.

You are not the sleepy, hilltop village everyone thinks you are. You are a locus for plenty of activity — much of it mental — that results in a life-changing experience.

While I have to say goodbye — I was actually cheating on Savannah with you — I want you to know that I won’t forget you. Thank you for everything.

Love,

Beth

Things I will miss about you:

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