Monday: I have a cold and it makes me stupid
Last weekend, I got a cold. Not a terrible cold, just one of those mild head colds that makes you more annoyed than anything. I was congested and my nose felt like someone was rubbing it with sandpaper, but other than that, I felt OK. The problem is that I have different reactions to being sick, depending on the severity of the illness. When I’m really sick, I get extremely grumpy, and have been known to yell at the TV or swear at random items in my medicine cabinet. But that’s OK, because when you’re really sick, you get to stay home in bed, and no one really knows how pissed off at the world you are. But when I’m just a little sick, I become significantly less intelligent than I usually am, and because I’m not sick enough to stay home in bed, EVERYONE knows how dumb I can be. Here are some examples of things that happened on Monday, which prove that colds make me stupid:
First thing on Monday morning, we were having a team meeting because we were going to be spending the next few days at our warehouse. One of my colleagues turned to me and said, “I’d really like to have my laptop with me tomorrow, but I rode my bike to work so I can’t take it home with me. Can I put it in your car?” This seems like a completely straightforward request now, but on Monday, I was having problems with pronouns apparently, because my response was “Um…my car’s a little small. You’ve seen my car—do you really think it will fit?” She looked at me with a mix of confusion and concern, and replied, “I’m pretty sure it will” to which I said, “Does it, like, fold down or something?” And bear in mind, we’re still in a meeting and at this point everyone else is listening to the conversation. When she answered, “Does my laptop fold down?” like she couldn’t believe I’d just asked that, I had a sudden revelation that the “it” in her request did not in fact refer to her bicycle, and that she wanted me to put her laptop in my car, NOT her bicycle. Which makes total sense in retrospect, because why the hell would she want her bicycle at the warehouse? We’re not even allowed to wear open-toed shoes there, so I’m guessing that riding your bike up and down the aisles is off-limits too. Anyway, all I could say was, “Oh wait–I’m so sorry! I thought we were talking about your bike. I’m having kind of a dumb moment. Of course I can put your laptop in my car today and take it to the warehouse for you tomorrow.” Then we all had a good laugh over what I thought was going to be a single occurrence of unintelligentness in a day full of shining smartness. Little did I know that I was going to being owning a lot of dumb moments that day.
Later that morning, my manager asked me if I was able to do something, and I said Yes, and explained what I thought was the process to her (because I’ve only been working there for a couple of months). She said, “Wow—you sound like you’ve worked here for two years already,” and without missing a beat, I said, “That’s because I’m really stuffed up right now.” She looked at me quizzically, smiled and said, “No, I meant that you sounded like you really know what you’re doing.” Then I was like, “Oh, thanks!” because she was complimenting me, but then later I realized that in her second statement she’d said SOUNDED, past tense, and that my bizarre response might very well have cancelled out the first statement.
Things got progressively worse in the afternoon, when we were told to change our voicemail greetings so people who called would know we were out of the office for a while. I’d never actually done this before, mostly because no one ever calls me. The only time my phone has ever rung was when an elderly gentleman pocket-dialed me. We did have a very nice conversation though—apparently this wasn’t the first time he had accidently butt-called someone and he was starting to think he should carry his cellphone in another pocket. Anyway, I asked a co-worker to show me how to change my greeting. I should let you know that I’m not very good at speaking under pressure, so I was already worried about the possibility of screwing up my greeting a couple of times before I got it right, and I needed to be very clear about the steps involved in case I had to do it more than once. We went over to my desk, and we were just about to try the phone when two terrible things happened. I felt an uncontrollable sneeze coming on, so I grabbed for a tissue, but my timing and my aim were off, and instead of sneezing into the Kleenex, I sneezed ON MY CO-WORKER. That was the first terrible thing. The second terrible thing was that, as I started apologizing, I began LAUGHING HYSTERICALLY. And while I WAS sincerely sorry, I think my sincerity was thrown into question by the tears of laughter streaming down my face. My co-worker went to wash off, then like a trooper, came back to help me with my phone. By this time, I had calmed down and realized that my reaction was pretty inappropriate, and that last week, when a random stranger sneezed on me at a conference centre, I didn’t find it very funny at all. In retrospect, I’m pretty sure as the sneez-er, I was laughing at the absurdity of the whole thing (in fact, I’m still snickering about it right now because I’m a terrible, terrible person), but as the sneez-ee, it’s just gross and pretty unfunny, and I totally get that. Luckily, I work with very forgiving people. Then, I tried to record my voicemail greeting, and it went something like this—“You have…This is…oh shit (sound of phone slamming down).” After two more tries, I told my co-worker that I should probably just do it on my own, and I think we were both happy that the ordeal, and the day, was finally over.
Thursday: I question people’s eating habits
When I was quite young, my family went overseas to visit my grandparents. We’d just gotten off the plane and we were tired, jet-lagged, and hungry. When my grandmother served us lunch, it looked really weird. I was a very picky kid, so I asked my mother what was on my plate. She gave it a funny look, but said, “Corned beef”. So I started eating it, but it tasted really gross. Turned out that it wasn’t corned beef—it was beef TONGUE. Which leads to the question—of all the parts of a cow that you could actually eat and enjoy, why the hell would you deliberately pick the tongue?! I mean DELIBERATELY? Like, I could see if you were starving and you’d already eaten the rest of the cow, and the only thing left was the tongue, and you were looking at it like, “This is going to kill me but I really don’t have a choice.” THAT I can understand. But to eat it on purpose? I don’t get that. The other night, I was out for dinner with friends to this new restaurant whose claim to fame is that all their food is burned. For example, on the appetizer list was Burnt Ends of Beef Brisket with Dipping Sauce. Hey, for $15 you can come to my house anytime and Ken can do that on the barbeque for you. (Without intending to, of course. He can also burn you a hot dog, a sausage, a steak, a grilled cheese sandwich, or a pizza, depending on what you’re craving. He makes excellent tacos and fajitas though, and he’s a great baker). Anyway, I had ordered the Pit-Fired Pork Tacos, but one of my dinner companions ordered this: Scallops and Veal Tongue. Now, I need to say up front that I am nowhere near being a vegetarian. I totally respect people who are, but personally, I love a diet complete with non-vegetable-y components. My favourite thing to eat is a filet mignon wrapped in bacon. To me, that’s the best of both meat worlds. But I draw the line at baby animals. I think they should at least get a chance to cavort a little in the fields before they end up on someone’s plate. So I don’t eat lamb, and I sure as hell don’t eat veal. And not only was this veal, but it was baby cow TONGUES. When it came, there were three on the plate, but my friend clarified for me that only one baby cow had been killed to make his dinner because it was three slices of the same tongue. Because that made it better. But then, I started to wonder how it came about that we eat certain things. Like, who was the first person who said, “You know guys, I feel like we’re really wasting some good food here by not eating this cow tongue.” Or how many times did someone try to eat rhubarb before people found out that you can eat the stalks but the leaves are poison? That’s what I call trial and error. Then there were the Elizabethans, who believed that tomatoes were poisonous, and they used them to throw at people instead of putting them in salad. Then again, they also believed that women who lived alone had to be witches, and to prove if someone was a witch, they would throw her in a lake. If she sank, she was innocent, and if she floated, she was demonic. So, drowned or burned at the stake, take your pick. But people have all kinds of weird food preferences. Me, I don’t eat gluten for a variety of reasons, and sometimes I get criticized for it, but as I always remind people, Wheat Is Murder. Anyway, the bottom line is this: don’t eat babies, and don’t eat things that lick other things. Words to live by, I’d say.