Friday, July 27, 2007

Ooooh that smell

My freshmen year in college the two guys who lived in the same suite as me smoked pot. A lot. On good days. On bad days. With friends. Alone. Oh yeah, these guys were potheads. Thing is, and I’m not proud of this, I had no clue for almost the entire year. I just thought they were abusers of pine-sol.

See, whenever they smoked pot, they’d dump about a pint of pine-sol in their room. And in the suite. On good days. On bad days. With friends. Alone. Oh yeah, these guys were serious pine-sol heads.

I couldn’t make sense of it. These were some of the dirtiest guys I’d ever been around. But by god, they loved for their room to smell lemony-fresh. By the time May rolled around I abhorred that fake lemon scent.

My nose recently reminded me of this memory while I was at work. Not the smell of pine-sol but of a half a can of air freshener that had been liberally sprayed throughout the office.

My Korean co-workers are nice folks. They know that their foreign fish dishes are not the most pleasing to Caucasian noses. So after marathon microwave sessions, they whip out the air freshener.

I’ve debated on whether to speak up. “I’d much rather smell rotten fish than drown my nasal cavities in lavender mountain breezes.” I don’t think they’d understand. And by the time I’d finished telling them about the pine-sol heads they’d probably regret hiring this jokkah.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I am happy (I've never said profound titles were my specialty)

I’m rather fortunate to have landed some freelance writing. Somehow I pulled the wool over a business contact’s eyes, and landed the opportunity to do some writing on the side for which I will actually be getting paid. It’s not like I’ve been a consistent blogger or anything, but if you see more drop off than usual, it’s because of this.

I’ve got a post or two already written that I didn’t consider to be quite up to snuff at the time, so maybe I’ll post those in the meantime with a warning that says “Not Across The River’s Best Stuff, but maybe you’ll enjoy, because hey it’s the summer and what else are you going to be doing with your time? Watching reality television? Working? Reading Harry Potter?”

Friday, July 13, 2007

Usually you have to buy me dinner

Can I just tell you, I have never been so politely felt up and searched as I was on Thursday at the Minneapolis airport.

“You’ve been selected for a more comprehensive search,” said the airport worker.

Gulp. What exactly does comprehensive mean? Horrible visions of Turkish prisons and full body cavity searches flashed through my mind.

A TSA agent came over, directed me towards the X-Ray machines and proceeded to strike up a friendly conversation with me. “Flying to Chicago I see, business I take it?”

Actually sir, I’m heading home to DC, Chicago’s just a layover.

“Oh, ok” he said with a smile. “If you wouldn’t mind stepping over here for “Officer_____”

Officer_____ proceeded to begin giving me an extensive patdown, while the first officer began taking apart my carryon.

The first patdown indicated that I was carrying a wallet and a number of folded pieces of paper.

Sorry about that officer.

“Oh, not a problem,” he said cheerfully as he got back to the feeling.

I smiled uneasily and waited for him to finish. After a few more uncomfortable seconds I was allowed to walk over to the table where the original officer was searching my bag. I proceeded to strike up a friendly conversation with him about a few souvenirs that I was taking back.

I walked away not exactly sure what to think. I was feeling a little bit uncomfortable, but at the same time I was impressed at the friendliness and professionalism that the TSA officers had shown me. As much as part of me was hoping that it would go horribly wrong, just so I’d have a good story to repeat and blog about, I found myself thinking, “Good for them, doing their jobs, efficiently and effectively.”

Friday, July 6, 2007

You’ve reached the blog mailbox of Across the River

I’m on a business trip and will be back in a week. Leave a message, a poem, an anecdote, an ad, a riddle, a photo, a short story, an analogy, a link, a song lyric, a missed encounter, a joke, a secret, a vow, a revelation…just leave one.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I’ll have a beer, and “The Final Countdown”

I’m a fan of cheese, and not the eatable, meltable, spreadable variety. I view B-movies with relish and listen to corny music with enthusiasm.

So a week ago when I was at my favorite bar in DC, I began grinning when Europe’s “The Final Countdown” came on the jukebox. As the chorus kicked in, our server jumped in front of the table and exclaimed “I’ve got some important news…It’s the final countdown!” We all had a hearty laugh and thought no more about it.

Until this weekend. We’re back at the bar. It’s the same server and he was getting our drinks. When he got to me I fixed him a serious look.

“Yes, I’ll have a beer…and The Final Countdown.”

The server apologized profusely. He had already played “The Final Countdown” an hour earlier, and would take flak from his co-workers if he were to play it again. I assured him it wasn’t a problem.

Two hours later, and a few beers later, the server came over and slipped a dollar in my hand. “Go over to the jukebox and play it, if my co-workers see me doing it, they’ll give me crap.”

Haha, so there would be “The Final Countdown” in all of its cheesy, 80’s goodness. I walked stumbled over to the jukebox. I inserted the dollar and selected the song. The jukebox then asked for another dollar. Son-of-bitch, it had eaten my dollar! I inserted another dollar and got the same message. It was then that it dawned on me, the jukebox was asking for another dollar to play another song. I had just cued "The Final Countdown." Twice. In-a-row.

A few minutes later the song began, and the server came over. “It’s ‘The Final Countdown’” he said.

“Well, here’s the thing,” I said. “I accidentally picked to play The Final Countdown. Twice. In- a-row.”

Many thoughts must have gone through our server’s mind at that point. Obviously he was a habitual “The Final Countdown” abuser, or else he wouldn’t be slipping dollars to patrons to play it. His co-workers had also obviously given him hell numerous times in the past for his propensity to play cheesy 80’s music.

“OH SHIT!” he exclaimed, and ran off.