A collection of grievances, memories, occasional musings, and everyday happenings


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Beer Me a Popsicle

A few nights ago, my husband and I went to our first Oklahoma City RedHawks game of the summer.  We’ve wanted to go since the season began, but the heat has kept us far away from the stands until finally a nice 85 degree night presented itself.  Our seats were in the Club Level, putting us above home plate with a great view of the entire ballpark.  Not only was a very, very slow and defeating baseball game about to take place, but it was also Military Appreciation Night, presented by Devon Energy.  Music was blaring, fans were searching for their rightful seats, mascots were dancing (who okayed those guys??), and the players were tossing the ball around – the regular pre-game ritual.  

My husband and I took our seats and studied all the activities happening around us, talking and doing some obvious people watching.  The crowd quieted down for the singing of the National Anthem and then burst into loud cheers and hollers upon the Anthem’s completion, all in anticipation for the first pitch to be thrown.

The vendors began making their way through the crowds by this time, obnoxiously announcing their plentiful amounts of ice cold beer – as beer vendors tend to do.  Our section had a vendor too, only this vendor was more of a “broseph” than the usual gruff-looking tough guy type.  He wore his RedHawks cap backwards yet also sideways; he had his shades on and some “tatts” down the front of his arms; he was tall and lanky and carried himself as though he was getting his swag on in an attempt to make carrying an oversized box look all too cool.  And he wasn’t a beer vendor either, nor was he selling hotdogs.  He was the popsicle vendor.  He wandered around our section, casually suggesting that he had ice cold popsicles, but no one really took him up on his offer.  After shuffling about for a few minutes, he disappeared back inside with his popsicles, suffering from mild defeat.  

Excitement began to stir within the ballpark while 20 or so young men and women filed onto the field, all of them wearing jeans and gray Air Force shirts.  They were new Air Force recruits and could not have been any older than 18.  The recruits looked a little nervous as they stared back at the cheering crowd, and then suddenly at their commanding officer.  The officer was fully dressed in uniform, and announced to the crowd that these new recruits were seconds away from being sworn in to the United States Air Force.  The officer handed the microphone off, stood at attention, and began the swearing-in ceremony.  Since the officer no longer had the mic, it was very difficult to hear what was being said.  The entire crowd picked up on this almost at once and hushed down to silence in order to hear the recruits say their pledge.

Unfortunately for everyone, our popsicle vendor had no idea what was going on since he and his popsicles had left moments earlier.  But out he came, almost as if he had a renewing sense of purpose.  He stepped forth, grabbed his tray, and with a grand second wind yelled, “ICE! COLD! POP! SICLEEEEES!”

If he had yelled this at any other time, I’m sure many people from our section would have gladly bought from him.  But instead of a selling victory, he only received shocked stares – from everyone.

Not the time, broseph.  Not the time.

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The Treadmill Accident

There were the four of us: two boys, two girls.  It was actually hilariously ironic, and very movie-like for all of us to hang out with each other so frequently due to the fact that there was some complicated love mixed within the group.  Kathryn, my best friend at the time, liked John.  John liked me, and Brian liked both Kathryn and me.  I didn’t like anyone like that so I could’ve honestly cared less about the buzzing flirtatious dynamics.  I was, however, very much aware of how much Kathryn liked John, and like any best friend would do, I wanted to help bring them together.  Neither Kathryn or I were aware of John’s feelings towards me, at least I don’t think we were, but if we had been aware of it we both totally ignored it and focused on getting the two of them instead.

One Friday night, the four of us were hanging out at Brian’s super large house.  Brian lived in a fancy gated community, which meant his place was always the place of choice.  We for some reason decided it would be a good idea to work out.  I mean, why not?  The neighborhood clubhouse had a fully equipped gym – that’s how every High School junior would want to spend their Friday night, right?  We figured this to be true and headed over to the gym.

Brian went straight to the weights.  He had been working on his bod lately and was eager to show us girls how much he was able to lift.  Kathryn jumped on the hamstring machine.  This was no surprise to me because the girl. could. hamstring.  It was incredible, actually, how much she could lift.  John headed for the stretch machine so he could show off how serious he was about getting in shape for soccer practice on Monday.  I decided to be supremely boring and hopped on the treadmill since I didn’t have anyone to impress, and running was easy.  I turned the treadmill on and had the speed at 4.0 – a speed that was a little work, but not enough to really sweat over.  It was during this time that I decided to study the layout of what I called “the love”.  John was directly in front me on his stretch machine – his back to Kathryn (which he couldn’t necessarily help due to the positioning of the machine, so I forgave him).  Kathryn and Brian were both in a small but open room directly behind John.  I felt my conscience give a nod of approval to the whereabouts of “the love”, and began to conjure up a simple plan.  As I was pondering on how to transfer John’s attention from his burning calf muscles and onto Kathryn existence, I turned up my running speed to 6.5.  The speed made me work much harder, but it also helped me think harder so I left it alone.  Then I thought a thought of pure brilliance!  I would take notice to Kathryn and her intense hamstring lifting by saying something like, “Man!  Look at Kathryn’s hamstrings go!  It’s amazing how much she can lift!”  Then John would have to look back at her, thus noticing her and her hamstrings of steel, and in that instance he would fall in love with her and ask her to prom.  It couldn’t fail!

It totally failed.

The whole time I had been thinking, I had been looking down at my shoes.  I always, always look at my shoes while I run on treadmills because A) It helps me forget how tired I am, and B) I’m extremely pigeon-toed and have to make sure my feet don’t run into each other.  While I had looked up earlier to study the whereabouts of my friends, it had only been for a couple of seconds until I looked down at my feet again.  But for my special plan to work out, I needed more than seconds – I needed John’s attention.  So I looked up and over at Kathryn, and spoke my beginning line:

“MAN.  Look at Kathryn’s hamstrings go!”

*He’s turning…he’s turning…*

“It’s amazing how much she can li-“

BAM.  Holly down.

My toe-pigeoned feet were in no way considerate of what I was trying to do and stepped over each other, right in the middle of my last word!  The BAM everyone heard was my knees slamming onto the belt of the speeding treadmill, the curse word everyone heard came from John, and the zzzzzz-ing everyone heard was the treadmill belt speedily peeling the skin off my shins.  Luckily I had thrown my arms around the handlebars of the treadmill to at least keep me from falling on my face, and the way I saw it, I had two choices:

1) I could let go of the handles and be thrown into the wall mirror exactly 1 foot behind me which I probably would shatter and would then be caught in between the shattered mirror and still running treadmill.

or

2) I could continue to hang on, resulting in skinless legs.

I opted for Option 2.

I hung on and tried not to faint from thinking about how much skin I was losing while my friends scrambled to rescue me.  My wide and horrified eyes watched the racing belt the same way Hollywood actors watch the rapidly moving hot lava that’s only a few feet underneath them.  John made it to me first and Mortal Combat-punched the big red STOP button on the machine.  My arms were incredibly weak from holding myself up so naturally I crumpled onto the belt.  John kept blurting out curse words every time he and Brian tried to move me – obviously afraid my legs would literally fall off right there on the floor, and then the words really started flying when they viewed the actual damage done to my legs.  Kathryn was in a fit giggles – the kind where you keep picturing your friend take a hilarious fall but you of course feel terrible about what’s happened, but can’t stop laughing for reasons you don’t understand.  I felt like that was fair since I had accidentally yet very successfully turned ALL of the attention on me instead of her.  Touche, Kathryn.

I laid flat on my back and stared at the security camera for at least ten minutes while all 3 of my friends ran back and forth to bathroom for more wet paper towels to dab my legs with.  The damage wasn’t as bad as I thought – there was definitely missing skin, but my legs weren’t raw and super gross like I’d imagined.  Bandages were a must, though.  I tried to get up myself but John insisted I lie there until someone pulled the car around, which meant Brian had to leave the scene to get it.  John and Kathryn waited with me on the floor until it was time to go, and John began to pick me up.  I shot Kathryn a look of utter panic, as this was not what I wanted at all.  He was supposed to be picking her up (you know, for romance sake), not me!  I suggested to John that maybe he didn’t have to carry me, but he shut me up with, “I GOT YOU.”  (He kind of had a temper).  I said ok.

Brian’s parents were a watching a movie when the four of us emerged from the garage.  They freaked out at the sight of legs, assuming I had been attacked by an angry raccoon or dragged around by a speeding car full of wild teenagers.  But all panic died down as I explained what really happened:

“No I um, I fell off a treadmill.”

“You what?”

“I fell off a treadmill.”

“……..”

“………..”

“So y’all were working out, and you were running, and then you fell off?”

“Well no not exactly.  I mean I fell down onto the treadmill but I hung onto the handles so that I wouldn’t fall off.”

“You hung on?”

“Yeah.”

“Because why?”

“Well because if I let go then I would have fallen on my face and shattered the mirror behind me so I figured I’d just stay on.”

“And you weren’t wearing the safety key?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“I didn’t think about it.”

“Uh huh… Well you need like, 11 bandages, so A+ achievement there.”

“I do what I can.”

“Holly.”

“Yes?”

“I can’t believe you fell off a treadmill.”

Brian’s parents absolutely lost it which made for a much longer bandaging process.  John, Brian, and Kathryn chimed in too, and everyone had a big laughing party while I counted all of my Band-Aids.

I drove my way towards the exit gate of the neighborhood.  I was very upset with myself, not only because I failed in helping Kathryn’s prom chances, but also for getting wicked injuries in the most uncool way possible.  I stopped my car and nodded to the security officers to open the exit gates.  There were two of them, and they both leaned out of the office window as if they needed to see who I was before they let me out.  I was very confused and moderately weirded out, so I just kind of smiled awkwardly and waved, hoping I wasn’t being mistaken for one of the neighborhood robbers or something.  I figured the officers got their close look when the both of them burst out laughing, each of them holding their stomachs as if their appendix would explode if they laughed any harder.  The gates opened, and I unhappily drove through, catching a glimpse of the officers in my rearview mirror, giving me a thumbs-up.

Darn you security camera…

The moral of my story is: Always wear your safety key, and don’t try to hook your friends up while operating machinery.


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Ashley

I was 10, annoyed, jealous, and misbehaving quite badly in the baseball aisle inside Sports Authority.  My mom and little brother stood a distance away from me picking out a new glove while I pouted and continuously demanded that we go home, unable to admit I wanted something new too.  I huffed and sighed heavily, completely wearing out my mother’s patience and ruining my chances of receiving a figurative “Get Out of Trouble Free” card once we got in the car.  After being told several times to be quiet and cut it out, I dismissed myself to the restroom so I could be freely unhappy with my terrible circumstances in peace.

There was no one in the restroom when I walked in.  I headed directly for the last stall, stepped inside it, locked the door, sat down, and sulked.  I was about a minute or so into my sulking when I heard the restroom door open.  Someone went into the stall next to me, and by the looks of her shoes, she was much older.  Whatever.  I’ve always been a rather selfish restroom customer, so the fact that this woman had the nerve of needing to visit the Ladies Room at the very same time as me frustrated me a little bit.  But not to worry – I figured she’d wash her hands and leave at any moment.

As I read the Sports Camp flier on my stall door, waiting for her to vamoose, I was taken aback by hearing the woman speak.  She said, “Ashley, can you hand me my purse?”  I assumed someone else was also in the bathroom so I went back to reading the flier.  She had asked nicely, and I waited for a reply, but no reply came.  I allowed my eyes to drift towards the floor of the next-door stall, expecting to perhaps see a pair of little feet belonging to a 2-year-old daughter, but there were none.

“Ashley.  Can you hand me my purse?”

Again, there came no response.  This time I actually crouched slightly to see if I could find any other unfamiliar feet in the bathroom that had gone unnoticed, but there were none.  Who is Ashley and where was she?  I was baffled.

“ASHLEY.  I NEED my PURSE.”

I was immediately nervous.  The woman was becoming agitated, there was obviously no one named Ashley in the bathroom, the much-needed purse was also missing, and all of my feet searching had led me nowhere but to my own.  It occurred to me then that my stall neighbor must be talking to me, but there was no way I was going to try to have a stall-to-stall conversation with an angry stranger-woman.  I felt trapped, and slightly nauseous. 

“ASHLEY!  QUIT ACTING LIKE A CHILD AND GIVE ME MY PURSE RIGHT NOW!  I AM SERIOUSLY NOT KIDDING!”

Sweat started to produce on my forehead and palms.  I frantically searched the floor, hoping this Ashley person would appear and the bathroom nightmare would be over.  When no such luck came, I very calmly and very quietly managed to squeak, “Um.  A-a-are you t-talking t-to the stall ne-n-next to you?”

She didn’t even give me a chance to explain.

“YES I’M TALKING TO THE STALL NEXT TO ME!  AND YOU BETTER GIVE ME MY PURSE RIGHT THIS SECOND OR YOU ARE REALLY GOING TO BE IN SOME SERIOUS, SERIOUS TROUBLE – DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?  GIVE. ME. MY. PURSE!”

I said nothing.  She had frightened me into shutdown mode, which prevented me from both defending myself and running out of the bathroom screaming.  Where was Ashley when I needed her the most?  When I needed her to rescue me from the verbal grips of this tyrant of a mother?  Ashley!  Your mother needs her purse!  She NEEDS it!  ASHLEY!

The woman got colorful, which to my young and innocent ears, translated into nothing but the signals above numbers 1-8 on a keyboard.

“ASH-LEY!  I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOUR ^%$&*$ PROBLEM IS BUT YOU BETTER ^%$#$@ GET IT TOGETHER AND $#&%@* GIVE ME MY PURSE OR ELSE YOU’RE NOT GOING TO GET THAT @!$# BIKE YOU’VE BEEN WANTING!  DO YOU HEAR ME?  YOU WON’T GET IT!  NOW GIVE ME!!  MY PURSE!!

That did it.  I stood up so fast I accidentally slammed myself into the stall door before I was able to unlock it.  The stall door hit the wall with a fiercely loud bang, and my shaking legs carried me all the way to the restroom door.  I hesitated to open it as I looked back at the woman’s stall, expecting to see an oversized, longhaired red monster chasing after me.  My hesitation kept me in there long enough to hear one last, “ASHLEEEEYYYYY” boom from the cubicle, then I got out of there.  Once I was on the other side of the restroom door, I collected my emotions as best I could and prepared to run again, but stopped short.  There she was.  There was Ashley, chillin’ by the water fountain, looking curiously around the area as if something exciting was going on but wasn’t sure what, tightly gripping the straps of her mother’s purse, and scuffing the bottom of her Nike sandals out of boredom – the same exact Nike sandals I had on.  We were sandal twinkies!  In that moment, everything made so much more sense, but in no way excused the bathroom monster from her scariness.  I looked upon Ashley with pity, and so very badly wanted to tell her that the fate of her bicycle was in serious jeopardy.  I decided that hearing “You need to go to the bathroom or you won’t get your bike” would sound weird coming from a stranger, or really just weird in general, so I left Ashley there by the water fountain, ran back to the baseball aisle, and through tears explained to my mom that I now had a different and legitimate reason for going home.

I wonder if Ashley ever got her bicycle?