Sunday, October 28, 2012

Odds and Ends and Observations

1. My husband is quite happy to be a curmudgeonly stick in the mud, content in his way of the world. This is why God paired him with an Alaskan goth geek pilot - we are talking about the same sense of humor that made platypus, after all.

So this weekend, while at an Italian restaurant, I pushed him far, far outside his comfort zone. I pointed out that the Italians do not eat with their forks upside down like Brits do, and it'd be far better to try to eat Italian food the way Americans and Italians do.

After some thought, he flipped the fork over, and had the most endearingly awkward attempt to eat neatly with the fork held correctly. It would have worked better if he hadn't tried to pile two square inches of entree on each forkful, but the sheer determination when every fiber of his being was going "This isn't proper!" was quite endearing and amusing.

He gave up after two forkfuls.

On a related note, I now understand why the Brits are so attached to toast with everything, and eating everything with fork and knife. It's so they can cut a backstop at the end of the tines to try to hold food for long enough that it will reach their mouth, despite the utterly impractical notion that they should put the food on the backside of the fork.

Clearly, I need to get him to hold a fork correctly, as any proper American can, so he doesn't need or miss toast in the low-carb diet.

2. Never, ever, let a South African who knows his cheese loose near the Whole Foods cheese counter. Especially not when a very enthusiastic cheese-geek is manning the counter and eager to talk with someone else who knows "Continental" cheeses fairly unknown in the US. Most especially not when the person who is supposed to function as the control on the budget is hurting badly enough they're having trouble staying upright and conscious. We've spent less on a winery tour.

Oh, well, it's a very tasty haul. Diet? What's that?

3. One of the joys of registering Libertarian is that almost nobody bothered sending me their junkmail. (When I registered undecided, everybody sent political junkmail, trying to sway me. Libertarian, though, is so far from the current "moderate" that nobody figures I'm worth swaying by spamming. That's fine by me. I wonder if registering Green Party would do the same?)

4. A wonderful benefit of early voting: I now neither have to listen nor care until the votes are tallied. The whipped-up sound and fury of the whole monkey show is utterly ignorable, leaving more time for finding better things to do and think.

5. Stand up comics have a harder job than it seems. Facing down a sea of subordinates who are starting Another Work Day, informing them of updates and safety reminders, then motivating them is hard work. Strangely, it seems to go better when I wing it than when I'm handed lines to say.

Repeatedly telling them that I'd rather they ask questions than make assumptions, and that it's always okay to stop me and ask something, has led to a much higher than expected level of quality (expected for their point on the learning curve, to be precise). It also means doing a fifteen-minute job takes forty-five minutes, as people see me out on the floor and start flocking with questions. This is good. This is good. Keep repeating that and remain calm and cheery. Yaaaaargh!

6. I like military men. I can speak Army, and pidgin Air Force, but Marines, well, we'll have to resort to civilian for a mutual language. My company likes hiring vets and reserve, and I get on well with them. However, there's definitely been a few moments lately where the guys with plenty of gray in their clipped hair are turning a very sharp glare and tongue on the young guys with lots of...enthusiasm... and reminding them not-so-gently that I am a lady, not one of the guys, and that language is definitely never appropriate in the civilian workplace. It's relatively easy to reign in the subordinates, but it's harder when the, ah, enthusiastic language and stories are coming from higher up the chain.

7. When someone tries to complain about a boss's character and approach to life, apparently a blank look and "Well, of course. He's a helicopter pilot!" is not the expected response. Clearly, my subordinates need to know more helicopter pilots. After your first couple, it's a whole lot harder to get your feathers ruffled by 'em. (And you look on their antics with a fond grin, a wish to send them off on a motorcycle road trip to use up their reserve of mayhem, and to feed 'em grilled meat and beer by a bonfire. I mean, helicopter pilots. Of course they're crazy!)


  1. The PROPER way to use knife and fork is knife ALWAYS in the right hand, fork ALWAYS in the left hand, mostly held "upside down" (in your mine, it's right-side up...)
    Of course, I grew up in Germany...:D

  2. Give up on #1... Just sayin... and numbers 6 and 7; well, WHAT do you expect??? LOL

  3. I use my fork, knife and/or spoon in whichever hand. While nominally right-handed, I hold my pen in my right hand but in the left-handed manner; I'm left-footed; and I bat left.

    Must be the left-handed genes which came from my Dad, which he got from his mom (my grandmother), but, being that she was from the old country, her father insisted that she write with her right hand, thereby irretrievably breaking down her penmanship.

    As for helicopter pilots, my wife has a cousin who was a Medivac chopper pilot who re-upped for a 2nd tour of duty in Vietnam. He did make the transition to be a civilian airline pilot, but never forgot his helicopter background. Now that he is retired, he takes long roadtrips on his motorcycle.

    Watch out -- he may be riding into your town!

  4. What Old NFO said. But wonderful observations on life with vets in the workplace.