Saturday, October 31, 2009

Yikes (An Easy Scare)

When my sister Claire and I were roughly 3 and 5 years old, our parents took us on a one-day excursion to Disney World. It was our first and only visit to the park, and I have just one memory of the event: being escorted out of the Haunted Mansion via emergency exit. As I recall, we were still waiting in line for the ride itself--but when the rising ceiling trick started, I just couldn't take it anymore. It was too scary. 

In honor of my almost-favorite holiday, behold: my fourth annual list of Terrifying Things:

1. Space heaters. The next five months will be spent shivering/anxiously monitoring three plug-in devices for signs of smoke, sizzle or impending flames. 
2. The new digital price tags under every item at Whole Foods. I suspect this system makes it even easier for them to sneakily raise prices day by day--and beware, I'm watching. I know those Omega-3-enhanced eggs weren't $3.39 last week. 
3. Potholes. At 270k miles, Black Beauty is rattlier than ever. Yesterday, outside Jimmy John's, a piece of door handle fell off in my hand. Is total implosion imminent?
4. Halloween costume stores and all items for sale within. Only crazies think 100% polyester "Dominatrix Unicorn" getups are hot. Or figure-flattering, for that matter.  
5. A realization: my homemade Pocahontas outfit might resemble something off the sale rack at Chico's.
6. Chico's
7. Porch collapses (standing on porches at parties).
8. Pressing the "purchase" button after selecting an itinerary on an airline website, then frantically second-guessing whether I entered the correct dates for several chilling moments while the confirmation page loads. 
9. Getting laid off. It's been almost a year, and my feet still sweat when I think about it. 
10. This conversation: 

Me: Where's my black jean skirt?
Claire: You don't need to put on that black jean skirt. 
Me: But it's my thing, that skirt. I'm wearing it. 
Claire: You're no teenybopper. It's time to retire the skirt. Promise me you'll never wear it again. 
Me 2 Me: I love that skirt. I'll wear it until it disintegrates! Until the day I die! They can bury me in that skirt!


Monday, October 19, 2009

Hope There's An App for That

My BFF Jeff moved to New York over the summer, and since his iPhone is his sole mode of communication, most of our conversations now go something like this (ahem, AT&T): 

Ring, ring.
Me: Hey Jeff! What's crackin'?
Jeff: Oh, I'm just walking to work. Man, my feet hurt. CLICK.
Ring, ring. 
Me: Jeff? We got cut off.
Jeff: I know, sorry. This stupid phone. Anyway, what are you up to? 
Me: Well, yesterday, Kate and I went to a Big Buck Hunter tournament at a bar for five hours. Straight men from Texas everywhere. It was wild. CLICK.
Ring, ring. 
Jeff: Sorry. I hate this thing. 
Me: Geeeeez. That freaking phone. 
Jeff: So, what do you think about... SIRENS. HORNS. ENGINE NOISE. 
Me (to me): My God, is he hit?
Ring, ring. 
Me: Jeff? What in the world? 
Jeff: Oh my gosh, it's so loud here. Well, I'm at the office now. Guess I have to go. Talk to you later. 
Me: OK, bye. 

iPhones do not function well in New York. But they seem to work fine in most other places, and since close to 1 billion users have personally told me their iPhone changed their life for the better, I'm still considering getting one. It's not, however, a popular debate among my exclusively Sprint-bound family members. A frequent exchange with my brother unfolds as follows: 

Lee: Yo Emma. What's up? 
Me: I'm thinking of retiring the old flip phone. 
Lee: Come on. Not the iPhone talk again. We've been over this. If you give up Sprint to Sprint minutes, all the phone bills in the family will skyrocket. 
Me: But Lee! I'm a Mac user! I need an iPhone! 
Lee: Just hang on for, like, another 64 months. Then my Sprint contract will be up, and we can all switch at the same time. 

I might be forced to enter BlackBerry territory to appease the extended family, but I'm still developing an iPhone app from which I anticipate millions in profits. It's called "The Complainer." Day-to-day life provides so many opportunities to voice one's opinion, and this app would deposit recorded voicemails and texts directly into the phones of CEOs and elected officials across the country. No research, dialing, or holding necessary. For example: 

To CEO of Chipotle: I just passed a Chipotle billboard which reads: "Not drugs. But just as addicting." Sir, the word is "addictive," not "addicting." It's incorrect to use a transitive verb without a direct object. While this won't result in my reduced consumption of your delectable burritos, your company is now a little dumber in my eyes.

To Vi Daley, 43rd Ward Alderman: Hi, Vi. This is my third call about the 'no parking' signs in front of my building on Mohawk Street. The work on the house next door is complete. I even talked to the stucco guys about it face to face. So let's get these signs taken down now, OK? It's a waste of valuable parking spots. Oh, and holler me back when you get a chance. I have a few other things to discuss.

To president of Checker Cab: Greetings, King of Cabs. One of your drivers just schooled me yet again for using a credit card to pay the fare. He made me late to the opera with his intentionally prolonged swiping process, then advised me to go to an ATM next time. But I don't have an ATM at my apartment. That's where I catch cabs. So please, no more of this argument. Get with the times. Let's have those passenger-operated CC swipers installed STAT. 

Speaking of cabs, I hopped in one last Wednesday night only for the driver to ask: "So, when did you join the ranks of the upper class?" 

Here we go again, I thought. My posture--which I refined as a child in order to appear taller, and continued to hone during four years of perfectly perpendicular piccolo-holding while trilling off Sousa tunes as an Eastern High School Marching Eagle--often leads people to label me a supersnob (a debatable point). But my attempt to convince the driver of my down-to-earthiness led to a heated discussion about health care reform that left me completely overwrought for my press dinner. (Driver: The public option will never work! Never! Work! Me: Oh yeah? What's YOUR coverage like? Driver: Eh. Lost it when my wife divorced me.)

For heaven's sake. One minute you're watching MTV and still really, really wishing you could do Beyonce's "Single Ladies" dance, and the next minute you're on heart-attack alert over a public policy argument with a stranger. Oh, the stress of city living.