The 98% humorous musings of M. Lizabeth Currain

Month: October, 2008

Public Displays of Talent

or PDT’s as they will be referred to henceforth, I hate them. PDT’s should probably be filed under pet peeves, but since I was subjected to one today, I figured I would share it with you all. As most of you know, I work in a thrift store, where all the items are donated. Occasionally we get musical instruments, like guitars or PIANOS. First of all, pianos are loud; there’s not really a way to test them out quietly–I wish there was, because second point, pianos are obnoxious. I used to play the piano, but I gave it up. I wish I had some heart wrenching story about how I gave up playing piano because of long departed lover who taught me how to play and now every time I go near a piano it is too much for me to bear–but I don’t. I quit because I hated my piano teacher. She was a wench who spent most of her time hocking Melaleuca (also; melaleuca) products to my family. These products all smelled like tea tree oil, a lot of it. She also had enormous bunions. She always made me uncomfortable when she took off her shoes, yet grateful, because my feet did/do not look like that. To make a long story short, I don’t like it when people play piano, unless they are performing in a recital, because then it is appropriate.

So today; and pretty much every time we have a piano(s) in the store; people are constantly testing it out. There are probably four different categories that I can put these people in. The first is the person who can’t play at all. They just come in, tap a few keys to see what it sounds like and goes on their way. They don’t produce any melody, just a few notes. I like these people, because they know when to stop.

The second; and you’ll notice that as the categories progress, my hatred grows; are what I like to call “chopsticks”…because that is all they play. They think it’s amusing, entertaining, and/or cute. It’s not. It’s annoying. Chopsticks is only funny if you are Tom Hanks at FAO Schwartz (oddly enough, FAO is not as magical in person as it is in that movie) playing on a giant floor keyboard, in the movie BIG. You are not impressing anyone. You are not making anyone laugh. And you are not making anyone, i.e. me, like you. At all.

The third are the people that have no musical talent, but insist that they do, by forging through some piece of music that they can’t play. The song ruiner. This happens countless times a day. It’s almost kind of sad. You can tell they are trying really hard, and really want to impress us with their musical know-how, but it’s not working. Because they don’t know how to play–and what they are playing isn’t real music. One man once butchered a song to the point that one of my coworkers said, “I used to really like that song, until he started trying to play it.” This is probably what category I would fit into, if I was stupid enough to play a piano in public. But I’m not.

The fourth and final, and frankly the most frustrating and annoying, are the people that have talent, and play the piano like they are performing at Carnegie Hall. Also, I don’t want to stereotype and generalize here, but it’s almost always people of Asian decent. And for some reason Asian children. They are good at a lot of things; for example and also, and this (I love gymnastics! It’s another thing I quit. I also love quiting things, but that’s a whole other story) too. I think it’s most annoying when it’s children playing the piano at a freakishly high skill level. It’s like their parents are forcing them to play, to put on a show, and let people know how good they are. Stage parents are creepy–and so are their children (ed. note: HA!). However, when a teenager, or an adult comes in, and starts playing Mozart’s Piano Sonata no. 14 in C minor, and a crowd starts forming, and then they start clapping! It makes me want to be like, “Oh, Really?! Are You Serious?!” Are these people so starved for attention that they have to come into a thrift store to SHOW OFF? It’s like the people who post pictures on MySpace or Facebook and have captions like, “OMG, I am so ugly! Why am I so ugly?”, so people will leave comments like, “you are so not ugly, I wish I looked like you! Seriously, you are so pretty, I wish I had your hair. I hate you! J/K! I love you. But seriously, I wish I had your hair.” They want people to go up to them and tell them how good they are so they can be modest (false modesty by the way) and keep receiving accolades. It makes my blood boil. It happens a lot where I work and it always irritates me. I’ve always been this irritated by it. We had a piano in our house, and when people would come over, they couldn’t resist playing it. Starved for attention. This is why, when people start playing the piano at work, I say, “You bought it.” It makes them stop. If they bought it, that would mean they would have to take it home and the general public wouldn’t be able to awestruck with how talented they are.

This PDT also includes dancing. Three college aged kids came into the store one day, and I am not sure what music was playing, but they started showing each other dance moves in the back–like they were the coolest people ever. It was one girl with a couple of guys, so of course she was trying extra hard to be cool in front of them, by making herself look like a jackass.

These people don’t get it. No one is thinking about how cool or talented they are. We; i.e. me; are only thinking about how lame they are, and how much we want a lighting fixture to fall on their stupid face.

Pet Peeves

I get peeved a lot. I’m not going to lie, I’m somewhat easily peeved–especially early in the morning or when I am tired. Now would be a poor time to try and back peddle and say that I am “easy-going; and let things roll off my back”, because I’ve already said that I get peeved easily. But those who know me, know that when I get peeved, I turn into a story, for all those around me to hear. I generally keep telling it, until everyone in my path has heard my story about how someone annoyed me on the subway, the sidewalk, work, or a store, etc. Most of the time, these stories are humorous, other times they fall short (we all have our off days, okay?!), and now I am about to share some of my pet peeves with all of you, my dear readers.

I was on the train yesterday, and there, across from me, were two things that bother me–all being done by one person. First of all, I don’t know who thought that these coats were a good idea; but they’re not. They’re terrible. They don’t flatter anyone, they are incredibly ugly, and I’m sure if I was ever unfortunate enough to get close to one, it would smell–like burnt rubber. Because that is what it looks like. It looks like someone has turned a tire into a jacket and then stamped in stupid designs–like an image of Scarface. Every time I see someone wearing one of these horrendous coats, it offends every sense that I have. It makes me hurt. It make me throw up in my mouth, at least 3 times. And this kid was wearing one. Not only was he wearing this jacket, but he was listening to music on his Sidekick, not only was he listening to music on his Sidekick, but so was I–because he wasn’t using headphones. Not everyone shares my taste in music, so I can only assume that not everyone shares his taste in music. The train is not your room, where you are free to play your music out in the open as loud as you would like–because there are other people around you! I don’t want to listen to R. Kelly on my way home from work, where I was just subjected to 8 hours of Madonna. Now you may be saying, “Why don’t you just listen to your own music?” and normally I would have put my Ipod on, but the battery was dead. That doesn’t make a difference to me, because I would still be annoyed even if I had my Ipod going. I would be annoyed for the people around me. The mere fact that I know that it’s going on, peeves me greatly, and that’s just the way it goes.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but when people come up to the cash register to pay and have their earphones in or are talking on their cell phones bother me on a personal and professional level. First of all, it’s disrespectful, if you are going to be interacting with another human being, regardless of what hat interaction is, you should take a minute to pause your music or pause your conversation. I especially hate it when I have to repeat myself, because they can’t hear me, and then after the fifth time that I’ve repeated myself, they take out their earphone or hang up their phone. Then by that time, I have no interest in being nice to them, so they get all offended when I get all attitude-y. I once had an encounter with a woman, who the whole time while I was talking to her, was listening to her Ipod and then had the audacity to get upset with me, when she hadn’t been hearing clearly what I had been explaining to her–like how our credit card machine wasn’t working, but I would hold the chairs that she wanted to purchase for an hour while she went to get cash–which she took to mean that the chairs were hers and she could come back in two days and get them when she wanted, WITHOUT PAYING. Which is ridiculous. Maybe if she had turned off her James Taylor, she wouldn’t have stalked off all angry.

Sometimes the trains are crowded and we are all crammed in there like Crayola’s in crayon box, but that’s not what this is about. This is about those special times, when the trains aren’t crowded…when there are plenty of seats available, yet someone comes over and and sits RIGHT NEXT TO YOU. This happened to me today, on my way to work. Practically the whole was empty and this lady sat right on top of me. I don’t get it. I really don’t. There is no logical explanation for it. Try to find an explanation for it, makes my mind hurt. Also, one time, I was sort of in a coma, on my way home work. I mean, completely peaced out (definition number 1). Then I hear this man saying excuse me, because he wanted to sit down. I guess the two people on either side of me had gotten off the train, so I was still in the middle seat. Well, I look up, and to try and put it nicely, was not the smallest person I have ever seen. He needed me to scoot over, so he could sit down comfortably. Now, I’m no twig, by any means, but I certainly don’t take up two seats on the subway–and I wouldn’t be waking anyone up for them to scoot over if I did. I hate it when people try to squeeze themselves in spaces where they won’t fit. I try to gauge whether or not I am going to be able to fit my decent sized ass in that seat between people–because frankly, I don’t want to be uncomfortable, sitting with my arms straight out in front of me to make more room. I have limits. Also, if anyone else gets irritated when someone brushes up against them during their morning commute, chock it up to being more sensitive to touch early in the morning. I can’t link you to anything, because I read it in Cosmo a while ago–and it had nothing to do with what I just mentioned, it was more along the lines of, “surprise your man with a hand-job in the morning because we are more sensitive to touch and he will be greatly aroused,” or something. Do that, and have a sore wrist to add to your list of things that will irritate you for the rest of the day. Thanks Cosmo.

Girls who wear stupid accessories. I saw a girl on my way to work this morning wearing a really stupid hat. It was tiny, and she was wearing it at the front of her head and to the side–a cocktail hat. Like she was at a jazz club in Paris in the 30’s. All she needed was to be smoking a cigarette through one of those holders. I mean come on! It’s not like today was Halloween and it was 11 in the morning on a Wednesday, so I doubt she was heading to a costume party, plus, her hat didn’t really match the rest of her ensemble. She looked like a jack ass. I wanted to punch her in the face. Her tiny hat peeved me to the extreme for some reason.

I have a lot more pet peeves than this, but it is getting late and I have to work tomorrow. Perhaps I should turn my “Pet Peeves” into a weekly or monthly special. Anyone up for that? or should I just let this be it and move on? bottle up all my pet peeves until they finally bottle rocket out of me?

Be Weary

This is a cautionary tale of the subways and the subway stations–and possibly any sort of place where homeless people in NYC might dwell or stop by; like Barnes and Noble in Union Square. Seriously, I think a few might live in there.

Last night; after a delightful dinner at a Thai restaurant with Victor; I was waiting for the D train at Bryant Park. I was sitting on one of those benches reading, when this homeless man (I’m assuming this because of his lack of hygiene, dirty attire, and massive amounts of possessions in plastic bags) comes bounding over and sits next to me. He had this giant black puffy coat that he was carrying and it invaded my personal space–I felt as though he was sitting on me, which is uncomfortable, given his smell. The B train had just pulled up and he was asking me how to get to Dekalb Avenue in Brooklyn. I was trying not to look at him, as I told you before, I know better than to make eye contact with the cray-crays. He smelled something awful and then started shouting to the subway conductor (is that even the correct term?) about how he needs to get to Dekalb Ave. So the conductor said, “well you better get on this train”, then smelly homeless man said something along the lines of, “aw, shit.” grabbed his plastic bag belongings and jogged towards the remaining open door. As he was doing this, I made the mistake of looking. And that’s when I saw it: his ass. His dirty, homeless ass. I don’t say this to be crude or malicious–but to be descriptive, to paint a picture for you, my dear readers. I want to you experience things as I have experienced things. You all must suffer with me.

This is not the first time that I have seen dirty, homeless ass. Once before I saw it on the downtown 6 train platform at Grand Central. He was sitting on one of those benches, with his pants halfway down his thighs, and he was scratching at his dry, patchy, dirty skin while letting his bare posterior touch the bench. People were willing sitting next to him, which I found somewhat disturbing, because he had some of his body parts out, and Xenu only knows what sort of subway vermin had attached itself to him. I have not sat on a bench on the 6 platform since. I will now, most likely never sit on a bench in on the downtown platform at Bryant Park.

The orange line (B/D/F/V) creates a nice straight (somewhat) line of stations where you don’t want to sit or touch anything. They all stop at 34th st Herald Square, which is gross in general, so I don’t really need to delve further. West 4th always has someone sitting on the stairs or holed up somewhere. My favorite is Broadyway/Lafayette. There is always the same homeless guy, sitting or laying out in the same spot. A few times I’ve thought he was dead. I’ve never really seen him do anything, like get up and walk around. He smell is permanently wafting along the platform. It’s always entertaining to see the people who want to see down, but the only seat left is sort of next to him, or behind him. His head is always tilted back, so he usually takes up about 4 available seats. I’ve seen his head actually touch the hair of some girls. I don’t think you can understand how skeeved out, I get from just seeing that. Days/weeks/months of grime are living in his hair. On a particularly hot, humid, smelly day I thought I was going to throw up in my mouth because every time a train would go by, his smell would fly all up in my nostrils.

Also, once in May of 2007, I was getting off the shuttle train at Times Square (the most heinous place on Earth), well, as I was stepping off the shuttle, I see a man with one hand up on the side of the subway car with his head down. I was a little out of sorts, because I had been up for over a day finishing a project, and I was like, “ugh, is this guy sick or something?” So I look down to what he is looking at. It was his PENIS. He was peeing on the subway car. From what I remember, his peen was small and diseased looking, he might have had an enlarged prostate–as he seemed to be having trouble relieving himself–and totally ruined the rest of my day. It almost made me cry, seriously.

I hope the next time any of you are in one of the places that I have mentioned, that you remember this cautionary blog post. I know, I know, plenty of other people sit or touch or pee on things all the time, and you can’t control who sat on or touched something before you. But it’s really in your best interest to not sit on a bench in either a Grand Central or Bryant Park subway station. Just trust me on this one.

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