Thursday, March 21, 2013

I Need Lasik

Had to break up with my Optometrist today.  I've been going there for about 7 months to order contacts and every month the same thing happens:

NOTE: It’s all Russian workers with THICK Russian accents and the company has an old school manilla-folder filing system

SALES CLERK (Early 30s, female): Hello ‘Modern Optometry’ can I help you?

ME: Hi, I'd like to order another box of contacts please.  I’ve ordered with you guys before.

SALES CLERK: Yes, what is your name please?

ME: Nathan Firer, F as in Fox, I-R-E-R.  

SALES CLERK: What is first name again?

ME: Nathan.  N-A-T-H-A-N.  


ME: No, it's Nathan. N-A-T-H-A-N.


ME:  No, it’s Nathan, N-A-T-H-A-N.  N as in nonsense, nobody, nothing. Nathan, N-A-T-H-A-N.

SALES CLERK: Ok Mason, what is last name?

ME: It's NATHAN not Mason.  N as in negligee, neonatal, Narnia, none of your business, N-AT-H-A-N.  My last name is Firer.  F as in fox, I-R-E-R.

SALES CLERK:  Ok, sorry, Nathan what is last name?  

ME: My last name is Firer.  F as in fox, I-R-E-R.  

SALES CLERK:  Nathan Sear?

ME:  Firer.  F as in fox, I-R-E-R.  F as in fox, fish, fat, fornicate, fire as in your building is on fire unless you get my name right.

She totally doesn't get the joke.

SALES CLERK:  Ok Nathan hold one second please.

She puts me on hold for 20 seconds then returns.

SALES CLERK:  I cannot find your file have you been here before?

ME:  YES I'VE BEEN BUYING CONTACTS FROM YOU THE PAST 8 MONTHS AND THIS CONVERSATION HAPPENS EVERY TIME.  You've met me probably 7 or 8 times before.  I know what your jewelry looks like and that you have blonde hair and great teeth and the TV on the right side of the store is hung up on the wall and it’s always on the same channel and there are 4 chairs in the waiting room all with red covers.  Yes I’d be an amazing detective and YES I AM IN YOUR FILES.

SALES CLERK:  Ok hold one second please.

She keeps saying please but it matters less and less each time.   
She puts me on hold for 20 seconds then returns again.

SALES CLERK:  Are you sure you’ve been here before I cannot find file.  How do you spell last name again please?

ME: (laughing but annoyed) You’re very polite but the pleases aren’t helping find my files.  I’VE BEEN THERE BEFORE.  This might be my 9th time if you find my file.  My last name is…

Same routine above but more hysterical, with a feeling like I’m being recorded for an audio-version of Candid Camera. 

SALES CLERK: Ok hold one second please…

NOTE: There are 2 female Sales Clerks.  I’ve spoken with BOTH the past 7 or 8 times this happened, then eventually they find my file and order my contacts.  I go to the store days later, SHOW THEM MY NAME ON MY ORDER FORM, laughingly pointing to the name then to my face then again to my name then my face again.  It’s always a sweetly comical moment between us and they laugh and say sorry this won’t happen next time. 

Then today - this SAME conversation happened.  So I told her (nicely, laughing through my teeth) that I'd like to take my business elsewhere and can they fax over my prescription.  

The Owner got on the phone and this happened:

OWNER (Russian male, late 50s, thicker accent):  Hello who is this?

ME: Nathan Firer.

OWNER: What is your name we will find file?

Same condensed version of above conversation happens with first and last names.  Owner comes back on the phone 20 seconds after I’m on hold.

OWNER: We cannot find file.  How do you spell last name?  Have you been here before?

ME: Listen, no offense, but I’d like to take my business elsewhere.  Can you please fax over my prescription. 

OWNER:  It is not my fault you don’t know how to spell your last name.  How can I help you if you spell last name wrong.  You say S as in Sea but you should say F as in Fox. 

ME: So that means you DO KNOW my last name then?

OWNER: You spell with an F or an S?

ME: An F as in….can you just fax my prescription over please?

OWNER: Sure, no problem, you can take business elsewhere.  I will fax over.  Not my fault if you don’t know how to spell last name.  Life difficult if you can’t do that.  Good luck. 

Moments later I got my prescription faxed over. 
Sad thing is I’ll miss the hilarity, kinda.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lagerfeld Shmagerfeld

My fashion sense is for shit, which is strange because I lived in New York for years so you’d think some of that style would’ve sunk into me like the cool osmosis of a contact high.  I’m a jeans & t-shirt guy, or button-down to give me some sense of semi-accomplished man.  Sometimes I feel like an orthodox Jew who wears the same thing everyday with no sense of what decade we’re in.  Rumor has it that Einstein streamlined his wardrobe to free his mind to ponder the ponderous and not get weighed down in materialism.  Other than that, not much we have in common.  

I’m a deeply menacing 5’5” (5’6” with Jewfro) with an average build, yet shirts nor pants fit upon purchase.  Every item must be hemmed to fit my laughably non-standardized human body.   This makes shopping a challenge. 

I’ve usually stocked up on t-shirts at The Gap, mainly because the 3 for $20 is a bargain during unemployment stints.  Or perhaps because I clumsily rationalized that t-shirts “hand-crafted” in Asia, by Asians, are closer to Jew-size.  That was before American Apparel made shirts that feel dreamily akin to an afternoon on a floating Maldives cabana after making love with a beautiful fiancĂ© for the 9th time with the glow of her perfect infinite smile laced deep into my soul.   I’m single, can you tell?  

Gap t-shirts fit so well I dared extend my range to the jeans.  I asked this cute sales girl why the 31W / 28L combo is such a rarity?  Cute Sales Girl said I shouldn’t compare myself to others “because I was handsome and perfect for my size.”  The movie in my head took a twist and I thought if we fall in love I could piggyback on her 40% discount.  Then she said you should try Gap Kids – the boys jeans might fit better.  How I went from her bedroom to stroller in 3 seconds still astounds me. 

Adult male MANnequins at The Gap looked cool, put-together.  They knew how to layer and were always looking off into a vague nearby paradise.   But they glared at me like I snuck into the party.  The BOYequins in Gap Kids were friendly, adorable, like the perfect miniature husbands that wives and moms dream to have. 

In Gap Kids, I noticed my brain beseech the BOYequins for the sartorial counsel I was missing as a single guy without a lover.  I wanted to believe that moms shop there because they have enough control over their little boys to costume them the way they wish they could their husbands.

{Confession: I’m currently a single guy who has a list of childrens’ names in my wallet because everyday I dream of being a dad - but this story was a while ago when getting laid was higher priority.}

Like a non-dog-owner in a dog park, sometimes it got a bit weird.  
Most conversations with the Gap Kids moms started like this:

MOM: How old is your little boy?

ME: Um, I’m actually here for myself.

MOM: Really?  But you’re…

ME: An adult, I know. 

To smooth out the awkwardness I’d ask a question about layering, if denim really does match with everything, or with one mom this happened:

MOM: How old is your little boy?

ME: Um, I’m actually here for myself.

MOM: Really?  But you’re…

ME: An adult, I know.  (Beat)  How do you feel about zippers versus button-fly jeans?

Of course my innocent inquiry went misunderstood.  She felt ambushed, as if I was preying upon her in neutral territory like the innocent waterhole that is Gap Kids.  As much as my Youporn search terms might indicate I dig Milfs, on strict principle I never hit on married women.  

A million times worse, one mom bizarrely fretted over the specter of the criminally fucked up P-word (pedophilia).   Because I was in Gap Kids looking for boy-jeans?   I was mortified until an older saleswoman came to my rescue and told me that some of these moms are irrationally overprotective and she was surprised that that mom didn’t have one of those allegedly child-friendly leashes on her kid.  I don’t have any children (that I know of) but I’d instantly fire the putz that licensed the patent on those leashes.   

Yet a few moms pitied me because it was “cute” that I was in Gap Kids, as a grown man, trying on kids jeans.  A few even generously opined on how the jeans fit after I tried them on in those little dressing rooms built for little kids NOT GROWN MEN.

Overall, I felt like I Gary Coleman’ed myself in search of the perfect fit.   After two shopping sessions on separate days and many memorable conversations later, thankfully kids jeans don’t fit.  Gap Kids wasn’t the denim Shangri-La I dreamt of.   At 37, my jeans saga persists and I’m still stuck somewhere between any jeans store and the nearest tailor shop. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The k

So this happened at a party, again….

ME: How’s your night tonight?

STRANGER:  Good, I’m having fun but I can’t drink too much because I’m running a 5k in the morning. 

ME: That’s awesome, a 3.1 miler.  Wise choice, not drinking too much.

STRANGER:  Yea, it’s a 5k for charity.

ME: 3.1 miles for charity, very noble.  What’s the cause?

STRANGER: I’m running a 5k to raise $2,500 for children with brain cancer. 

ME: 3.1 miles for a great cause!  You’re one of the good ones.

STRANGER: Yea, lots of people running the 5k in the morning.

ME:  You mean lots of people running 3.1 miles in the morning.

STRANGER:  Yea, a 5k.

ME:  Like I said, 3.1 miles…

And this will continue ad barfeum until I somehow get that person to admit, confess, concede, that a 5k is 3.1 miles and a 10k is nothing more than 6.21371.

OCD, ADD, ASPD, there’s a casually clinical continuum of manageable madness we all possess beneath our skulls.  We’re all diagnosable in some way, of some thing, to some one in any moment in time.  In this circumstance, OCD.  ADD is another chapter I’ll hit soon enough if I don’t interrupt myself in this very sentence which I haven’t yet so far but I could so soon very soon very very very soon but I digress.... 

The K correction, this unstoppable Larry Davidesque reflex howls out no matter where I am or who I’m with.  I could be on a first date with my future wife, in a pitch meeting with the head of some network (years from now), or Skyping with God and still I can’t block the impulse.

GOD:  Nathan, listen, I’ve given you a great family, friends, women and opportunity, you have time on your hands, you’re a healthy guy, why not raise money for childrens’ leukemia and run a 10k?

ME: You mean a…

The K bothers me.  Perhaps it’s because people use the K to make it seem like they’re doing more than they are – especially when raising money for a noble cause.  Maybe there’s a valid sociological reason for it.  Maybe not.   

I ran 2 marathons (26.2 miles) yet never bragged about how the 41st kilometer near destroyed me.  I buy my milk in gallons, soda in liters, marijuana in ounces and cocaine in grams.  Ok, David Duchovny on Californication said the white horse rides in on grams.  Without doing a full report on the metric v. imperial system of measurement, I still think all those wonderful people raising money for charity are wise for drinking less at a party the night before a 3.1 miler.