My Week 27: Grammar Haters, Titus Goes Missing, and ‘Voice Threatening’ vs Ninjas

Monday: You can’t tell some people anything—especially people on Buy and Sell sites.

As you all know, I am a member of several Buy and Sell sites. I often get a kick out of the way that these people abuse each other for no particular reason, but normally I stay out of any comment thread and just use the sites to buy cool stuff like random pillars for the corner of my office or extra hoses for our central vacuum cleaner. Buy and Sell sites are like a microcosm of humanity—the part of humanity that is very stubborn and single-minded, even when faced with empirical evidence that they are wrong. And when you tell them they are wrong, they get a little pissy. Here are two examples:

1) On Sunday, I read a post from a woman who was selling a pair of black Pumas which she claimed were brand new, and size 9. I really liked them, so I contacted her, and made arrangements to try them on. When I got to her house, I was greeted by two dogs, a pug, which bit my hand, and a skittish collie cross which stood and growled at me the entire time I was there. “Don’t worry,” said the woman. “She won’t bite you.” I was having significant trouble believing this, as the dog kept advancing towards me menacingly, then backing away when I held out my hand for it to sniff. I couldn’t help but wonder at that point why anyone would have a dog that acted like that towards visitors that you had WELCOMED into your house. It seems simultaneously counter-intuitive and inhospitable. At any rate, I’m not afraid of dogs, so the woman brought out the shoes. I went to put one shoe on (having to bend over and have my head so close to both a bouncing pug and a growling collie was a feat of bravery in itself) and it became immediately apparent that there was no way in hell that shoe was going over my toes, let alone onto my foot.

Me: I can’t get in on my foot. Are you sure it’s a size 9?
Woman: Yes, it’s a size 9, that’s what my sister told me. I’m selling them for her.
Me (looking at the tag): The tag says size 6.
Woman: No, they’re a size 9. They must just fit small.
Me: Well. I take a size 9, and there’s no way they’ll go on my foot. Umm…are you sure you’re not looking at the tag upside down?
Woman (huffy): No, they’re definitely a size 9.
Me (putting my own shoe back on while avoiding being bitten by the still snarling colie): Ok, well thanks anyway.

2) On Monday, I was reading a post on a Buy and Sell site from someone who wanted a custom made sign for her house. Someone else replied that there was a wonderful local company who made one for her, and she posted a picture of it. It said “The Power’s”. Now, anyone with a working knowledge of punctuation knows this is wrong, so I stupidly posted the following comment: “If you get one made for you, make sure the apostrophe is in the right place.” Then someone else asked why The Power’s was wrong and I posted an explanation, thusly, “If it’s to indicate that more than one person named Power lives in the residence, then it’s plural and should say The Powers. If it’s to indicate that the residence belongs to a family named Power, then it’s plural possessive and should say The Powers’. You would only put the apostrophe before the s if there’s only 1 Power, but it wouldn’t make sense to refer to one person as The Power. Unless he was, like, a superhero or something.” Ok, I know it was longwinded, and in retrospect, probably a little superior, but I was trying to be HELPFUL. Well, within 10 minutes, there were a series of nasty comments directed at me, that I should mind my own business, that she LIKED the sign, that maybe they WANTED it that way, and a random comment that it was Power, not Powers. So I replied that it was a nice sign, and that I didn’t invent the rules of grammar. Then I remembered some of the other ‘debates’ that I had seen (and laughed at) on this Buy and Sell site, and realized that it wouldn’t be long before someone called me a slut, or commented on the quality of my lady parts. So I did the sensible thing, and deleted ALL my comments. What I really wanted to say was “If you want to pay good money for a sign which tells the world that you’re functionally illiterate, that’s your business.” But I didn’t do that, because like I said, you really can’t tell some people anything. Plus it was Monday, and after what happened LAST Monday, I didn’t want to take any chances.

Thursday: I get really tired and Titus goes missing.

On Thursday afternoon, I finally got Ken to take our dog into the vet to get weighed. After being away in Toronto during the week, I would come home on the weekends, and it was becoming very apparent that Titus was gaining weight. Ken didn’t notice, of course, because he sees Titus every day, but I was worried that there might be something wrong with him. The dog, not Ken. I was driving home from Toronto when Ken called me from the parking lot to say that yes, he had gained weight but it was only 5 pounds so the vet figured it was from fewer walks in the winter and that he would be fine once he started getting more exercise and stopped eating random things around the house. The dog, not Ken. Then I picked K up from school, and we talked about a lot of things, including Titus being at the vet. A few minutes later, the phone rang, and it was my mother. Here’s how I know that I was really tired:

Mom: Honey, I don’t want to worry you, but we just came in to drop off the turkey for Easter dinner and… WE CAN’T FIND TITUS!
Me: What?! What do you mean, you can’t find Titus?!
Mom: We’ve looked all over the house, and he’s not in here! We looked around the yard and we can’t find him!
Me (freaking): Oh my god! Where could he be? Are you sure he’s not upstairs? Did you look behind the workshop? He’s got to be there somewhere!!
Mom: Try not to panic—I’m sure there’s a logical explanation. Is there any chance that Ken came home and took him somewhere?!
Me: (long pause): Sorry– Ken took him to the vet—I forget about that for a minute.
Mom (cheerfully): Well, that’s all right then. We’ll see you tomorrow.

When I told Ken, he got mad and said, “That’s a really mean trick to play on your mother, teasing her like that.” And then I had to admit that I genuinely forgot that he had Titus in the car, even though I had just talked to him 5 minutes before she called. Ken, not the dog.

Thursday Night: I’d rather have ninjas. Or Batman.

On Thursday night, Ken and I were watching the Weather Channel. Aside from very bizarre and entertaining closed captioning (like translating ‘Alberta Clipper’ into ‘Run Gaucho Dog’), it also features some crazy commercials, like this one from a home security company whose claim to fame is that, while some meth head is ransacking your house and scaring the crap out of you, they will use new interactive technology and actively “voice threaten” the intruder. What this means, from what I gleaned, is that they install a speaker system in your house that connects to their headquarters. When the alarm is tripped, or you call them because you heard weird noises downstairs, one of their ‘security technicians’ will address the potential criminal and threaten them verbally. So here’s the scenario. You hear someone in your house late at night. You call the security company. They advise you to hide in a closet, and then they use the speaker system to say things like, “Hey You! We know you’re in there. Put down the flatscreen and leave immediately! And don’t bother looking in the closets—NO ONE IS HOME!” Yep, that’s going to be really effective. Or how about, “We’ve got you surrounded—come out with your hands up!” There you are cowering behind a locked bathroom door, and some guy 5 kilometres away is PRETENDING to be a cop. What kind of idiot burglar is going to be fooled by this? All he has to do is look out the window to realize that it’s all a lie. If you really want to ‘voice threaten’ someone, I’d advise something more like “I’m a mercenary soldier and I did 5 tours of duty in ‘Nam. I hate the establishment and I own a lot of guns. If you don’t get the f—out of this house right now, I’m going to use the security camera footage to hunt you down and shoot out your kneecaps. And don’t bother looking in the bathroom—NO ONE IS HOME!”
Of course, the other thing that occurred to me is the legality of the whole operation. I mean, if you tell a criminal that the police are on their way and he needs to exit the premises immediately, aren’t you technically aiding and abetting a criminal? Like the police show up, the perp is long gone, and you tell the cops that your security technician TOLD the guy to book it cuz the popo were coming? I don’t think you should expect the police to EVER come to your house again. Plus, if I was the burglar, I’d keep breaking into the same place over and over again, just to see how much stuff I could steal before the security company gave me the heads up. Personally though, I would want a secret Ninja SWAT Team security system. No voice threatening, just a bunch of silent super-badass ninjas in SWAT gear swinging in through the windows and storming the place while I hid under the bed with my trusty baseball bat.
Realistically though, if you can’t have a really cool ninja squad to protect you, the next best thing is a dog. I know Titus would totally freak if someone broke into our house. And once, years ago, when Ken was away, a guy came to service our water heater and he was really creepy. He kept trying to get me to come down to the basement by saying things like, “Hey did you know you have an old cistern down here? You should come down and see it. Wow, it’s full of water–are you sure you don’t want to come down and look?” I was so creeped out that, when he came back upstairs, I made a big deal over how our dog at the time, who was the sweetest yellow lab on the planet, was actually “extremely vicious and protective if she thought anyone in the family might be in danger”, while she was running around excitedly and wagging her tail. I think he bought it though, because he left pretty quickly after that. That’s why no matter what Titus eats that he shouldn’t, I can never get really mad at him, because one day I might need his size and intimidating looks.

(On a side note, do you think that the security company has a yearly award for the most creative ‘voice threatening’? It would almost be worth it if I could hear the security technician spend the whole time voice threatening a burglar in a Batman voice, or driving them out of the house by singing Justin Bieber songs over and over again.)

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