Phantom Vibrations


I noticed it for the first time when I went to South America a couple of years ago. After 3 flights and nearly 24 hours of travel I had arrived in Santiago, Chile without my luggage. To kill time I took a walk around the city to start my day.

I was soaking up the sights and sounds when I felt my phone vibrate. I reached my hand into my pocket and… nothing. My phone hadn't vibrated because there was no phone. My phone didn't work internationally and there was no reason to have it with me so it was turned off and buried in the bottom of my backpack where it would remain until I returned to the states.

So if my phone wasn't in my pocket why did I feel this phantom ring?

It happened to me several more times that trip and it was weird, kind of spooky. Like I had a haunted thigh.

I was in South America for over two weeks and by the time I left the phantom vibrations had tapered off. I had very much realized that there was no phone in my pocket and the only vibrations were in my brain. But since that trip phantom vibrations happen to me regularly.

Part of it makes sense because I rarely have my phone on anything but vibrate. I used to have specialized ringtones for all of my friends but stopped doing that when I realized how much effort it was.

It's not saying that I don't love my friends and think they are all deserving of individual recognition... it's just that they are all equal in my eyes.

Ahem, moving on.

But what started as a coincidental observation in South America has turned into something more. I check my phone way too often. Sometimes it does vibrate but I don't feel it. I use this as a reason to justifying checking my phone every other minute. Perhaps it is not hyperbole to call it an addiction. What else do I do 20 or 30 or… 50 times a day?

It's the only activity that's normal to do that frequently. If I wanted to know if it was raining, I might check online, or look out the window. But if walked over to the window 30 times a day to see if it was raining, people would think I was a mental patient.

If my phone were a person, our conversations would go like this.

Hey do I have an email?
No.
Hey do I have a text?
No.
Hey did somebody tweet at me?
No.
What about an email?
No.
Are you sure?
Yes.
And still no texts?
No.
Do you want to check if I have any emails?
::punch::

Yes from time to time I do get some important emails. Perhaps my bank balance is low, or somebody needs a last minute favor, or a friend is unexpectedly in town, but on the whole as embarrassing as it is to say… my life isn't that important.

There aren't teams of people running around asking each other

What would Rich Boehmcke do? What does he think? We should email him immediately and find out.

And now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure I don't want teams of people wondering that.

Sometimes I will pull my phone out of my pocket and if the little green light in the upper right hand corner isn't blinking I will just put it back in my pocket. And in my head I will congratulate myself for resting the temptation to turn on the screen just to make sure.

Like this is some kind of great life accomplishment.

I pretty much did the same thing when I was down at my parents house this weekend. They live in a quiet part of South Carolina and going down there is absolutely relaxing. Their development is super quiet, nobody has anything to do, I just sit on the porch and chill.

I take this as an opportunity to not carry my phone around all the time. An added bonus of this is I no longer have a super hot nuclear generator toxic electro wave distribution power plant pressed up against my leg for much of the day. I am absolutely terrified of the as yet unknown effects of carrying a cell phone around all day so the chance to have it not pressed up against my flesh 2/3 of the day is a welcome relief.

But even when I take my phone out of my pocket and leave it in my room, throughout the day I will still walk past my phone and glance at it.

WHAT AM I EXPECTING TO SEE?

Even when I do have an email, 999 out of 1,000 times it is some unenlightening mailing list I subscribe to, or a bank update, or something else I don't even care about. But somehow that little frigging green light makes me feel validated. Like every time it blinks it says:

Richyouarespecial Richyouarespecial Richyouareloved

When I was in South America, or any of the other times I've left the country, I have had no problem leaving my phone in my luggage until I get back home. Because I WANT to unplug. I like stepping away from technology and connection. I like being off the grid for a while. I like taking the time to soak up things like conversations and scenery and ya know… life.

And when there is no chance of being contacted, I don't worry about what might being going on elsewhere. I went to Fiji earlier this year and not only did I not care about email or Facebook or texts, but I also couldn't stay awake for the entire day and I fell asleep every night by 10.

But for some reason, if there is even a remote possibility that somebody might potentially have a fraction of a reason to get in touch with me… man it is all I can do to avoid checking my phone every 90 seconds like I am about to get a text from Jesus.

What I really need to do is realize that if there IS actually something important about to happen, I can always just take out my phone and hold it in my hand, crank up the volume and wait for said event to occur.

But again, the chance of that happening is pretty slim. Considering there are no Victoria's Secret Models, Hollywood Producers, or Renaissance patrons of the arts who have my phone number.

So if there is a chance, a slim, fractional, remote chance that somebody… anybody, wonders what would Rich Boehmcke do?

Well, I'll answer them now. He'd probably just check his email.

In the Hood of Confusion

This is my raincoat.


It is brand new and yellow. I like it. But unfortunately, like several inanimate objects in my life, it appears to be smarter than me.

You see I bought this raincoat for many reasons. Some of them include
-It is yellow
-It is waterproof
-It has a stowable hood

And you might think to yourself, oh a stowable hood, what a great convenient idea that shouldn’t be difficult.

Well you know what? You should try it first before you start saying things with such an accusatory tone!

I was in the store, and I had already spent 15 minutes trying to figure out how to fold up the hood before I realized this wasn’t going to prevent me from purchasing the jacket. So I went up to the register to purchase it and I asked the kindly young woman ringing me up if she happened to know how to fold it up.

She did not.

She called her colleague over and asked him if he knew. He walked over slowly sucking air through his clenched teeth and said in halted speech:

That... is the big question.

Really? How to roll up a hood is the big question? What kind of society are these two living in that matters over hood stowage trump all others?

The guy went on to say that there was apparently only one person in the tri-state area that knew how to roll up the hood and he worked at the store in Garden City.

I responded by saying ohhhhh.

But really what I was thinking was: Are you kidding me? We are talking about a hood. A HOOD! It is fabric and string and a piece of Velcro. Sure I can’t figure it out, but this is my first date with the jacket. You two have been seeing each other for weeks, maybe months! And there’s like 5 of you in this store!

You honestly can’t figure it out? What kind of jacket nincompoop are you?!

But seeing as I wasn’t able to figure it out right away, I can’t really be too upset. After all, I am regularly flummoxed by seemingly simple objects that do not work the way I would like them to.

Like the first time I tried to twist open a Corona bottle. It was until there was no flesh left in the palm of my right hand that I realized… Corona tops don’t twist off. What made this even worse was the fact that this was a Coronita - A baby corona.

It reminded me of something called the Math Olympiads we did as kids in elementary school. There were these math brainteasers. Five or six of them and you'd have an hour or two to work them out. And you'd work so hard to figure it out and end up realizing the answer was so much easier than you'd thought.

I don’t want to brag but when I graduated the sixth grade I had one of the highest scores for the Math Olympiads. Though I think it’s worth mentioning they never did ask us any questions about raincoats.

But my life is full of these little mini roadblocks. It’s kind like driving down an open road and then I see one tiny orange traffic cone in the middle. And I can for the life of me figure out what to do, so I make a u-turn and go back the way I came.

Or getting a piece of furniture you need to assemble by yourself. And so you open the whole package and all the tools and parts and after hours of effort it is done. But then realize you have like 4 random extra pieces left when you finish. What the hell am I missing here?!

The same thing applies to cooking. I think oh man 4 ingredients, 3 steps, how hard can this be? And it isn't until I am halfway into cutting into a carrot that I realize I don't have the capacity or the wherewithal to julienne a carrot. And it seems easy enough to try but 2 blisters and 9 carrots later all I have is a pile of non Julienned carrot parts and a feeling of self loathing brought on my skinny orange vegetable that I no longer even want.

But none of those others things bother me as much as this stupid hood. I start to question if it is even possible. Perhaps the idea was great but nobody tested the design. And it wasn’t until they had made the first 500 raincoats that they said....

Ohhh you know what? This doesn’t work.

Ahh screw it. Just put them on the rack and let the poor sons of bitches figure it out.

I can just see the designer now. Laughing himself into a tizzy at the great hilarious fraud he has pulled off or perpetrated at the expense of the non waterproofed populous.

But whether it is possible or not really doesn’t matter by the time I’ve asked for this explanation. Because now I have to watch this poor woman flop around in the same shallow poll of experimental stupidity that I just crawled out of while her coworker looks on knowing that he has nothing new to contribute.

I have exposed a weakness within this coat: it’s intelligence. A tragic flaw. These salespeople are incompetent. Much as I am. All I have learned is that I am now qualified to work at Eddie Bauer.

I get home and I try to Google the answer. Is this feat even possible.

No such luck. There are no answers to be found.

Alas it is weeks later now, and I remain a jacket nincompoop. But I still like it, ya know, because it’s yellow.

Interweb Confusion

Based on the kind of communication I’ve experienced I’ve come to the conclusion that the Internet is kind of like a bar. There are people from all different walks of life, it’s really too dark to see anybody’s face, and everybody is drunk.

There is no filter on the Internet, people can just say whatever they want. Add into the fact that there are tons of people spamming you; the confusion of tone in emails and typos, there is nothing but nonsense in store for you every single time you log on to the Internet. Sometimes it’s intentional, sometimes it’s not, but it’s almost always ridiculous.

I received one of my favorite spam emails recently. Not to brag but I regularly receive emails from women in other countries looking to start a relationship with me. I mean rumors of my charms have obviously spread far and wide over the web. Why else would I receive the following email?

Hello!

My name is Anastasia.
I want to search my love. I want to search the man for long relations. I want to have serious relations and the real love. Therefore if you do not want it that you should not answer my message. Maybe learning more about each other we can have real relations. I shall write more about myself and send you my photo if you will interest on my letter.

You can answer me to my address:peefoy@yahoo.com
Earlier I do not use dating service, therefore I want excuse for you if I have made it not good.

I hope to speak with you soon,
Anastasia.

I had to laugh because even though Anastasia was probably a robot, she still knew that what men really want is “long relations” whatever that means. It made me think of an email I got back when I still worked at the magazine.

I was a part of a small department that was not hiring at the time. We received a job application directly to our department from a young woman who lived in Georgia… the country. Granted this young woman wasn’t applying for a particular position, she just sent us an email unsolicited. It was quite a, let’s say “unique” approach.

The email included a resume that was a hodge podge of very confusing schooling and experience. Not only because all of her experience was from Georgia, but also because her English was beyond awful. It was like trying to decipher an Eastern European puzzle.

Oh and she included 2 pictures of herself.  In a bathing suit. Which made me believe she either didn’t know what we did, or, the job application process was extremely different in Georgia.

We might have ruled it out as a simple spam had she not applied 2 more times. We didn’t respond because, well, what do you say to a woman in a bikini from another country that doesn’t speak English?

Sorry, you don’t have 1 single qualification.

But sometimes our communication gets skewed because we try and pass it through one too many filters. My favorite example of this is my experience with Google Voice.

For those of you who don’t know, Google Voice is a free service that translates your voicemails and sends it to you in an email and/or a text message.

I admire Google’s advances in all things Internet. But I must say that their advances in speech recognition are slightly behind. Instead of helping me to understand what the voicemail actually says, it just makes me laugh. Here are a few examples of voicemails (according to Google Voice) that I have received.

Office attacks you back. I think like 2 minutes.

I’ve had bad days at work, but my entire office has never attacked me before. And I had never attacked it. This was a false alarm.

Hey Ricketts

Hands down the worst mispronunciation of my first name. Ever.

R. E. T. V I totally with the big grid from 1,008 9 Y contact with the kind of highly disappointments. It's like read something your time now. We have a fact. So I don't know if you have. Maybe later. My name is HI. Thank you, such. Okay, good to everybody Obviously, the speed about your What your area. I'm concerned, since I read about it. I don't talk to you. I hope you are internet possibly happened. And hey. Seriously, hope you have a great birthday. Her, Cleo soon. If I see.

The only thing I managed to gather from this lengthy email was that it was my birthday. Even though I’m not sure I even got this on my birthday.

A lot of wonderful please and fabulous trip lots of putty in your future.

Lots of putty in my future? That sounds like a fortune cookie from a first grader’s birthday party.

8 minutes of ceiling.

Oh… OK.

I know if you're still gonna be crazy in that. So I totally get that Shannon who. If you are now have a free time. Anyway, call me, feel free. Otherwise, you can just chat when you look after 10. Now I'm going to so excited for you and I can't wait to read your baby. So Arthur, I'm if for some reason you could give me if I get from now. I read it on my 3 on a flight on Thursday and hit the meaning of her the changes. I'm sure I can get the gist of it. So think about it. Consider it. I'm pretty. I'd like to. Thanks.

My baby? I don’t have a baby. Nor would I want someone to “read” it. And I am glad you are pretty. This is key to friendship.

I feel like I've had like 22 batteries in South.

Don’t we all.

It seems the longer the voicemail the more absolutely incomprehensible it gets. Its almost like the machine just says, oh screw it, there’s no way I’m going to get all of this. But I still use it, because it makes me laugh.

I think a voicemail I actually left for my friend actually sums it up best.

Friday refuse. I meet you. I'm trying to teach english well. There's a feeling. Pretty good.

I’m not sure what that feeling is but as long as it is pretty good, well, I’ll have no need for those long relations.

Unnecessary Upgrades

There are few things in this life greater than an unexpected bonus. You know what I’m talking about.

Buy one get one FREE!

Now with 20% more!

Same great formula, new low price!

And so on and so forth. It is our natural instinct as human beings to seek out more for our money. Value is king, and we seek the throne.

But recently I have noticed some products and advertisements of, shall we say, questionable value. I refer to those brands that use cunning creativity and clever messaging to make us think we are getting more than we paid for.

Example A.

Due to the dental trauma I have had in my past, I have become a prolific flosser.

Thus I floss. I keep floss in my backpack, the pockets of my coats, at my desk at work, everywhere. I am paranoid. I even throw some in my pocket if I’m heading out to something like a Corn on the Cob party… if such a thing exists.

I use some brands that have a flavor, and some that don’t. But I’m not generally picky. Though it wasn’t until I visited my sister’s apartment on Easter that I really began to question floss.


The picture is blurry but trust me, you are reading it right.

High Tech Dental Floss.

High Tech? Really?

What makes this dental floss high tech? Was it made by NASA? Is this the preferred floss of astronauts in the Apollo program? Do they regularly get together for Tang cocktails at the end of the day and make fun of the proletariat who subject themselves to regular floss?

Neil: So Buzz I was using some floss the other day.
Buzz: Woah woah woah Neil, regular floss? Hey Other Astronaut that nobody remembers the name of, Neil was using REGULAR floss. What an amateur move! I can’t believe he didn’t crash our ship into The Sea of Tranquility.

High tech dental floss? Really? I turned the package over to see if I could scope out the deets of what made this dental floss so fantastically high tech but I found nothing. If only I had seen the packaging I could find out why it had been called high tech in the first place. Because I have to admit, to me it looks a lot like A PIECE OF WAXY STRING. And if it were “regular tech” or “low tech” dental floss it would just be A PIECE OF STRING.

Unless of course you are referring to the fact that it has a mint flavor that makes it high tech? In which case my toothpaste is high tech, so is my favorite ice cream, and those odiferous markers we were all so keen on huffing in elementary school, which is why I’ve got so much goddamn brain damage.

High tech, psha. Yea. Whatever.

Example B.

I was out in my neighborhood recently, walking to the store when I passed a food cart which is regularly parked, on the sidewalk on the corner of my block. It is Halal food. It is usually made by one guy in a big metal wagon that can hitch to the back of a truck and be pulled away. They prepare things like chicken and lamb shwarma. Shaved meats served in a pita with lettuce and tomatoes and one of either “white” sauce or “Spicy” sauce.

Side note: I have been to many of these vendors around the city and I have never heard these called anything except “white” sauce and “spicy” sauce. Which leads me to believe, nobody has a clue what the hell is in these sauces. But I digress.

So anyway I was walking past it recently when I noticed this sign.


Hrm. Interesting.

Now for those of you who have never eaten from a truck such as this let me give you a little knowledge. I have never ordered anything from these guys that has taken longer than 90 seconds to prepare.

Whose life is so busy that they can't afford the 90 seconds to eat some shwarma, or as it is otherwise known; Street Meat?

Listen, this isn’t The French Laundry, this is not El Bulli, this is chicken on a stick, scraped off with a glorified Mach 3 by a guy in a truck and thrown into a pita with some extremely ambiguous sauce. What kind of lifestyle are you leading that you can’t spare the 90-second wait for that indigestion you are most certainly going to get?

I have thought long and hard about it and the only person I could think of is somebody mid marathon who is jonesing for some lamb. And that is fine. But if you are running a marathon and think eating street meat in the middle is a good idea might I suggest you save yourself some time and just start throwing up now.

The other feature, “we deliver”, made me wonder how he would deliver. Would he just book it from his truck and hope nobody stole it while he was out? Or would he just push his whole “restaurant” to the person’s house? Just move his wagon to their front door.

Hey honey there is a Halal restaurant in our yard. Do you know anything about this?
Why yes I do sweetheart! It’s our lunch!

I figure this guy has either made 0 or 1 delivery in his lifetime. Maybe it was just put up to scare the competition, not that this guy has any competition in my neighborhood. Unless of course you consider restaurants without wheels to be competition. In which case, yes, there is plenty of competition.

Example C.

I mean, really I just have to show the picture.

  
And really I don’t know what else to say here so let’s just go through the logic progression shall we? OK.

1.     I have some jewelry I no longer want and would like to sell. OK cool.
2.     I would like to find a place that will give me money for my gold and diamonds.
3.     Hey you know who might give me good money for my gold and diamonds? The guy who uses a scissor to cut my hair off for 10 dollars whose shop is in the entrance to the subway. Now THAT is a guy I want appraising my jewelry.

Oh and by the way. He also shines shoes and replaces watch batteries.

BONUS!

Can you imagine if there was a Halal truck that bought diamonds, cut hair, and sold high tech dental floss? Now that is a value add I can believe in!

How Stupid Do You Think I Am?

Ok don’t answer that.

I am aware that I don’t always make the best impression on people. It could be the reflection off my skin or the way I like to pretend strangers are my long time friends. I’m not sure what it is but I am used to getting a stare that says, “Are you stupid?”

But sometimes people have actually followed up with a question by actually asking,

“Are you stupid?”

OK, OK those things I can handle. But that’s just me. I think we as a society, and more specifically the people who are in control, are starting to think everybody else is stupid. And not just a little bit stupid… a lot bit stupid.

It’s not an aggressive assumption of stupidity; it’s a bit more subversive. You really only notice it if you are paying attention. And if you are stupid, you probably don’t pay attention, so you probably don’t realize that the people that think you are stupid are… well… thinking you are stupid!

The first time I noticed this was a couple of weeks ago when I had some friends stay with me. My friend was brushing her hair with a fine piece of hair management equipment.

I was quite impressed with it and picked it up to take a closer look when I noticed the handle was extremely squishy. It was quite a nice feeling. I am not one to brush my hair really, but this was a brush I would make an excuse to use so I could feel the squishiness of the handle. I took a closer look at the handle and noticed this:


Plasmium gel? What the hell is plasmium gel? I don’t even know if I am supposed to capitalize it, and in fact Microsoft Word is underlining it in red right now to let me know it too, has never heard of it.

Plasmium Gel? It sounds like something Astronauts rub on themselves so they don’t get a space rash.

Jim: Hey Connor my feet are itchy as hell, do you have space rash too?
Connor: Nope, I put 2 scoops of plasmium gel in my boots this morning.
Jim: You are so wise.

It’s not like hair brushes come wrapped in air tight containers where you can’t touch and feel what they are made of. The advancements in hairbrush technology have been quite limited over its lifespan. You don’t really need to oversell a hairbrush, which perhaps explains the ridiculousness of this marketing.

I have to wonder what kind of clientele they were expecting to lasso with that bit of marketing. It’s a hairbrush… not a rocket ship.

They could have just written “Feel Good Squishy” and that would probably have been enough. I don’t know what plasmium gel is so I’m not sure I would want to touch it, but feel good squishy? Oh yea. Give it here.

Recently I was down visiting my parents in South Carolina and I was hanging out at the pool. I have already detailed some questionable poolside activities here before, but I was not expecting to run into it again.

I was lounging in a chair and soaking up the sun and trying to not burn my lily white skin to an unrecognizable crisp. I decided it was about time to cool off. So I sauntered over to the edge of the pool.

Now this particular pool had a graduated entrance. So basically there was a dry ramp for about 15 feet before the water started and then it went down slowly to about 5 feet.

I was just about to make my way down the ramp when I saw this sign.


Wow.

Who the hell is diving into no feet of no water? That doesn’t even qualify as a pool. I mean is this a risk that people face daily? Are there people around the world just jumping headfirst into pavement?

I mean, by that assumption we should start putting “no diving” signs in parking lots, grocery stores, and car dealerships.

I can even understand the no diving sign in the 1 foot of water because OK maybe your eyesight is bad and you think it is deeper than it looks. But 0 feet of water. I mean if you can’t tell there is no water there you either don’t understand the concept of swimming or you are blind. And if this sign were in fact intended for blind people, it would have been in Braille, but it was NOT in Braille. I checked.

So I was left with the conclusion that either somebody had dove headfirst into the no water before, or the management did not think the swimming public could be trusted to not dive into the no water.

Shortly thereafter I was about to open up a new toothbrush (yes I know, I enjoy good dental hygiene) and not really paying any specific attention to the packaging. It was a normal toothbrush. In fact I even took a picture of it.


I was struggling to open it (sometimes I have issues) when I noticed a tiny, tiny bit of writing in red right near the base of the toothbrush. And do you know what it said?

It said, in tiny nearly unreadable red lettering: “toothbrush.”

Ohhhhh OK. Thanks for that.

What idiot is turning this over in their hand wondering what it could be? Who is this writing for? Aliens? Distant tribes who just happen to speak English but don’t recognize toothbrushes? I can only imagine the conversation taking place in the grocery store.

Jeb: Hey ma, I wanna buy this here thing.
Ma: What all you got there?
Jeb: It’s like a stick, but it’s got like some bristly things at the end.
Ma: A bristly ended stick? Sounds like the devil’s work. Does it say anything on it?
Jeb: Don’t know, I can’t read good.
Ma: Give it here. OH OK, see here at the bottom it says, Toothbrush.
Jeb: Ohhhh… does it have a plasmium handle?

Or something like that.

The Magic Word

I was trying to buy Lady Gaga tickets last week (don’t judge me) and I noticed something.

The internet in confusing.

I’m not talking about how it is hard to keep up with your favorite Facebook and Twitter and YouTube videos and all that crap. No. I’m talking about how the internet is supposed to make things easier and yet I am spending more and more time doing one specific thing than I do anything else.

I am talking about verifying myself.

Back in the good old days of the internet (in like… 1996) everything was simple. There was AOL, there were websites, and there was chatting. Boom, end of story.

But most importantly, you could do anything and surf anywhere without verification. Now you need to verify that you are in fact a real live human and not some sort of droid or cyborg or… other bot type thing.

Even though it’s only a matter of time before scientists create a robot that can type in passwords they see on a screen. I mean just this week I saw a news blurb that scientists had built a robot that could balance a book on its head.

And it’s about damn time isn't it? For years I have been waiting for a robot to pass a posture class, and now, finally my dream has come true!

But I digress.

I appreciate websites beefing up protective measures for our safety; lord knows I am not looking to have my identity stolen. But the kinds of websites using this beefed up level of security doesn’t seem to make sense.

For example, I can go on my grocery delivery website, find all of my items, pick a delivery date, order, and confirm it, in less time than it takes me to actually figure out the security word on the ticket buying websites.

Before I even get the chance to purchase my tickets I have to figure this crap out.



What?! And also why? I’m not even sure the tickets you are going to show me are the ones I want. Just take me to the Lady Gaga tickets damn it. You are wasting valuable time! And yet you insist on making me try to figure out this nonsense to even have a chance at that.


Crayoned some? Crayoned? As in did you use your crayons today? Yes, I certainly crayoned today good sir.


Is this 600 or Goo? And one might think there would be a more rational pairing of words than goo and diaspora? Goo is more 5 year olds and diaspora is a bit more college diploma. So if I’m not a robot I’m either a toddler or an anthropologist.

It’s not jus the ticket buying websites, it’s also blogs. I might be opening a can of worms here but how come I can spend limitless amounts of money on my credit card without a verification word, but if I want to write “Ha, that was funny” on someone else’s blog I have to decode and rewrite a password. I feel like our prerogatives might be just the tiniest bit askew.

To me it’s like leaving the door to Fort Knox wide open while we have the Marines guard our Pogs.

I’m not sure how the people behind ticket vendors and blogs became the staunchest advocates of internet security but they are really taking their job seriously.

People talk about the “language of the internet” and I always thought it was ya know, a metaphor. Until I tried to buy these Lady Gaga (seriously, shut up) tickets.

At first I thought it was just another case of the internet being smarter than me. I thought these were words my average brain had not yet learned. But then I started looking them up and realized that wasn’t the case at all.

These words are MADE UP!

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve commented on this blog before you’ve noticed that the site gives you a word that you have to type in to make sure you are a real person.

I mean robots still must be getting through, because several weeks ago when I wrote about grooming myself I got this tasty comment.

Jimmy has left a new comment on your post "Second Puberty":

You have a nice blog. 
Nose hair clipper is in fact a personality grooming tool utilized to
trim down excess hairs in the ears and nostrils. You can get cheap 
nose hair clippers here
http://www.cheapnosehairclipper.com.


Thanks,
Chris - 
nose hair clipper 

Personality grooming tool you say? Hrmm, I never realized that.

Whatever.

But if the words aren’t made up than they must be words from somebody with poor knowledge of grammar or perhaps a speech impediment. And I guess by this knowledge, robots can’t have speech impediments so they can’t sound it out.

These words might not make sense to you. So I am trying to think of new ways to use them. What follows are actual words I have had to type in for verification purposes. And I have selected some of my favorite words and turned them into a glossary of sorts.

Abbeamin - As in when you walk out side and the sun is out and the sun is abbeamin!

Endazoo - As in when you want to go to the Aquarium endazoo.

Hydrove - As in when you are out of breath and you tell somebody, “Hoh my god! Hydrove all night to get here!

Inessect - As in you gotta meet me where da street inessect with da otha street.

Ovedder - As in whaddaya mean where do you get da free ice cream? It’s ovedder!

Pedder - As in this cat really gets nasty when you try and pedder.

Wadvi - As in wadvi going to do tonight? (This appears to be more of a Russian accident than poor grammar, but for our current purposes it will stay)

Who is coming up with these words? Logic would say they are randomly generated by a computer, but they are just a little too close to actual words to count. I mean, they wouldn’t win you any points in scrabble that is for sure.

I could try and win with a word like "blegemb" but I have a feeling some jerk with a dictionary would call me out.

I suppose I’m just mad because by the time I could finally figure out the passwords on the concert ticket website, Lady Gaga had already sold out.

Frigging internet.

Textual Face Googling

The handoff, in American Football, is defined as a play in which the quarterback, who starts every play with the ball, literally hands the ball to another player on his own team, transferring responsibility for moving that ball to someone else.


I would like to propose a new definition.


The handoff, in American societal communication, shall from this point on, refer to the moment in time when a person uses one of the following phrases; "I'll text you later. Are you on Facebook?" or "Google it!" to transfer the responsibility for communication to someone else.


By using these phrases people are literally saying, they would rather take the chance of not speaking to you later, as opposed to definitely finishing your interaction now.





These 3 phrases have turned useful and fulfilling communication with other human beings into something delayed, hollow, and extremely ridiculous.


My sister dated a guy once that we all referred to as "The Texter." This individual, while seemingly normal enough in person, was apparently incapable of dialing and talking into a phone. His primary form of communication was text messages. If he was proposing a date, drinks , or just checking in, he did it all through text message.

He was, in essence, a 14 year old girl.


Now I will not deny the importance of text messaging. I do it all the time. In fact, I text so much that I recently had to increase the amount of text messages I am allowed every month as part of my plan.


My friends and I use the text message as a supplementary form of communication. Not as the form. But as time marches on, I see more and more people using texts as the sole way they interact with others.

This guy my sister dated was physically incapable of calling her to schedule plans. Perhaps it is because we have made typing so second nature that talking to people actually made him uncomfortable.

We are dividing ourselves out from the responsibility of face to face contact. In fact, I am pretty sure that within the next decade we will start seeing "Google it" popping up on people's tombstones.


Some time ago, when I still believed in the gym, I was there (getting huge obviously) and I overheard 2 people talking. It was a guy hitting on a girl who was obviously not interested. It was a painful situation. So painful in fact that I considered dropping a dumbbell on my own face so I wouldn't have to watch it anymore.

This guy is rambling on and on and I can't look away. It was like a really long, slow, car accident. He was completely oblivious to how much this girl didn't want to be talking to him.


In the span of 5 minutes this clown told this girl to "Google it" three times. Once about some band he liked, once about his tour guide from his trip to Israel, and by the third time he said it I didn't catch the reference. I was too busy eyeing a sizable weight to end my misery.


Google it? No. That girl didn't want to Google it. She's not taking notes. She's not a reporter OK? You are not hitting on Lois Lane. This is a conversation not a press conference.

Don't tell me to Google things because I am not going to. If I wanted to google it I would have Googled it before I left the house. I want you to tell me what it is. Now. That is the point of having a conversation. And if you don't know what it is, you shouldn't be talking about it in the first place. I will not Google it. I will not Wikipedia it. How dare you turn nouns into verbs on me? Why don't you go Google it and talk to me when you have some actual knowledge?


A hundred ago when somebody didn't know what something was, they didn't say;


Hey go dictionary it.

or

You should library it.


No. They just, of their own volition, got up and looked it up. I don't need you to tell me what knowledge I don't have. Go find your own knowledge.


Idiot.


But I think the ultimate slap in the face is the one that Facebook hath brought upon us.

Long ago in olden times, when people wanted to become friends or stay in touch with somebody they'd just met, they made their best efforts to do so. What started as, "May I stop by your home sometime?" eventually evolved to, "Can I get your number?" and has finally settled on, "Are you on Facebook?"


I remember the first time it happened to me. It was my last semester in college and I ran into somebody I wanted to keep in touch with. I was about to say "Hey give me your number and we can chat" but before I could say that I was hit with;

Are you on Facebook?

Oh. Oh I see how it is.


Facebook has become the consolation prize of friendship. Too lazy or uncaring to ask for a phone number, we offer up a half assed "Are you on Facebook?"


We do it so much so that it has practically become mandatory for all interactions.


So basically what you are saying is instead of spending 10 seconds putting 7 digits into your phone and pushing save, you are telling me you are going to go home, turn on your computer, get on the interweb, log on to Facebook, search for my name (pending you can spell it correctly) click the button that says "add as friend" and then wait for between 3 and 15 days while I make you sweat it out on whether or not I will accept your friendship so as not to make you think that I am a a loser with nothing else to do but sit on Facebook 23 hours a day and instantly respond to any and all requests that come my way.


And then, finally I will click "accept" so that instead of being a person of moderate relevance in your cellular phone, I can be added, and probably lost, amongst the hundreds of "friends" you are "connected to" on Facebook.


Yea, you are right. That is way better than pushing 8 buttons.


I suppose it's better than actually becoming friends. In fact, if you want to become friends with me, you should probably just go through my blog.


And if you don't know the address, well... just Google it.

Rich Boehmcke Might Be...

I’ve been questioning my identity as of late. Not so much about what I am doing with my life, but more so who I am. And it isn’t based on my personal insecurities. The factors are more external.

I subscribe to a lot of magazines. Some of these include GQ, Esquire, and Details. These are the kind of monthly publications that define masculinity.
Yay I'm a man. And because those magazines are published by large media conglomerates that publish other magazines, I sometimes get solicited to purchase subscriptions to those other magazines.

Usually I get solicited for other magazines in the same genre.

No big deal.

But then I got a letter from Out Magazine.


Out magazine, for those of you who do not know, and are incapable of deducing, is a gay men’s lifestyle magazine.

I have never read the magazine before. It could be good or it could be bad, I really have no idea. The existence of the magazine has no effect on my life. I really don’t care.
But I myself am not gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that), so why are they soliciting me?

I think 1 of 2 things happened. Either I was accidentally solicited for the magazine, or somebody took a look at the magazines I subscribe to and said, “Hrmmm, ya know… Rich Boehmcke might be gay.”

I kind of laughed it off. It was a funny story for around the water cooler or to tell my friends. I even held onto the envelope for a while so I could remember to laugh about it and tell other people.

I forgot about it. Life went on as usual. All was well and good.
That is, until I received a second solicitation from Out magazine.
It was like after they sent me the first one, they seemed concerned that I had not responded. And they said, “Really Rich? Are you sure you’re not gay?”

I had to sit and ponder. Were they really questioning my sexuality or was somebody there just screwing with me? I turned down my KD Lang CD so I could think about it for a while.

I am a gmail user. I love gmail. One of the more unique features of gmail is the smart ads that appear in a bar at the top of the page. These ads are customizable. But for the most part they solicit you with advertisements from large corporations based on the subjects or content of your emails.

Lets say you are doing a lot of emailing about apartments, you might see an add at the top of the page for “SCOTTSDALE APARTMENTS STARTING 149K.”

That makes sense. Once in a while I’ll click on the ads. I don’t always pay attention to them though. But recently one caught my eye.

ColonCleansingDiaries.com - Read The Reviews On Dual Action Cleanse Before…

My eyebrow raised and I did a double take. I wasn’t really sure what to think. I stared at the advertisement for a moment. I then scanned the 30 or so emails in my inbox to see if I could uncover the reason for the solicitation.

Had someone sent me a poop joke? Did I tell someone I was having a crappy week? Had I mentioned I use a #2 pencil?

No. Nothing. I had no emails of the sort in my inbox. I was left to believe that based on my emailing and internet searching tendencies, somebody at Google was left to think, “Hrmmm, ya know… Rich Boehmcke might be constipated.”

But my relief turned quickly to confusion. What kind of entity found it necessary to put information about colon cleansing into diary form?

Was this somehow more comforting for some people? I can imagine the conversations.

Wife: Hunny come read this.
Husband: Ew I don’t want to read about Colon Cleansing.
Wife: Oh sweetie, you know you’re backed up.
Husband: That’s true.
Wife: And besides, it’s written in diary form. It’s private and discreet and honest.
Husband: Oh alright, if it’s in diary form.

No way dude. Noooo way. I am not clicking on that link.

And then I got piece of spam (it was spam right? Right?) with an offer for a FREE COLON CLEANSE.

Sigh.

I understand that internet spam hooks some people. Trial Viagra, free laptops, and fifty seven million dollars from an African prince seem like great offers.

But why would anyone, based on an email, that came to them out of nowhere, go somewhere and let someone do… THAT to them. I would love to see the response rate for that email. I’m sure the number would shock me.

I also have an email I use just for junk. You know, the kind of email you use for signing up for contests, joining online newsletters, or subscribing to mailing lists for weekly coupon updates.

There was one department store I like that I figured was worth signing up for the coupons. They have great sales and I figured it would be good to get regular coupon updates from them. So I put in my information and I immediately started getting weekly emails.

They were all well and good until I got one with a particularly disturbing headline.

SPANX.

For those unfamiliar (this blog is so informational) Spanx makes "body shaping" undergarments designed to give the wearer a slim and shapely appearance. Many famous people wear them. People like Oprah.

Again I was confused. Hadn’t I checked off my preferences for the email? Coupons for men’s items only! Even if they were soliciting me to buy this as a gift for someone, has any man ever bought a woman control top panty hose? Ever?

But once again I was left with only one possible solution. Based on my shopping and searching, somebody at this department store was probably saying to themselves…“Hrmmm, ya know… Rich Boehmcke might need some body shaping undergarments.”

It has taken me some months now to become comfortable with the fact that I am NOT a constipated homosexual with weight issues.

That is until I check my email again. The sad thing is, I don't even know what I get to be insecure about next.

Airports Part 2 - Depression

My favorite thing about visiting my parents at “the resort” is the fact that I have an entire wardrobe and nearly all my necessary toiletries down there, so I don’t need to pack much to go. I just grab a backpack and I’m off.

I though this would simplify the entire process thereby eliminating things that could go wrong during travel.

Incorrect.

My 6 am flight from Savannah was due to arrive in New York at 8 am. But due to inclement weather we were forced into a holding pattern.

After 30 minutes of essentially flying in circles the pilot came on the speaker and basically said, “We’re about to run out of fuel so we’re going to go ahead and land in Baltimore.”

This began my 12 hour delay.

On this particular flight there was an especially annoying individual wearing a Bluetooth headset the whole time. I will refer to this gentleman as a WMD or Weapon of Mega Dooshdum.

I’m almost sure he would have been sitting in first class had our plane been larger than a hot pocket.

After we landed in Baltimore, everyone was worried about whether or not would be taking off in this plane again or getting on a new plane. This is when the WMD spoke up and said, “I just got off the phone with the platinum desk, this plane isn’t going anywhere.”

Ooo you got off the phone with the platinum desk? Everyone come and listen, Ezekiel is back with tales from the Platinum desk!

What else did the platinum desk tell you? How to solve the sub prime lending crisis? The name of the next American Idol? When Jesus would return?

I would have continued to focus my hate on him but of course, the woman sitting behind me was screaming in Spanish into her phone. The plane was completely still, no engine noise, there was no crisis and no need for yelling. But she apparently felt her speaking voice Spanish was not appropriate and instead was using her tornado warning Spanish.

I then realized what I don’t like about flying.

It’s the people. They are everywhere. Being weird. Being abnormal. Being creepy. I would not be bothered by flying as much if I got to do it, say, in my own plane, by myself.

I hung out in the airport for a couple of hours while angry passengers yelled at unsuspecting gate agents who were doing their damndest to help them. One woman was yelling at this particular gate agent about how this was the 3rd time this happened to her and blah blah blah.

She kept yapping until I said;

“SHUT THE HELL UP AND GO LAY ON THE TARMAC!”

Well not quite but I did tell her to leave the poor gate agent alone. I am so very brave.

If you take a look around an airport you realize this is no longer the golden age of travel. People don’t travel in suits and elegant leisurewear. They travel in whatever they found on the floor when they woke up that morning. I saw a man in a purple t-shirt whose belly was so big I thought he was wearing a prosthetic.

Perhaps he had some sort of silicone belly implant? There was no way one belly could stick out so far. It was only for the fact that his shirt stuck out so far I could see his bare flesh exposed underneath it that I realized this was no prosthetic. It was like a belly penthouse.

Beautiful.

I found out I had 7 hours until my new flight to New York, so I decided to take a shuttle bus to a train into D.C. to go see the Cherry Blossoms. I figured this would get me away from the crazies and the hideousity.

Incorrect.

In the fully packed Amtrak waiting room I came across another prized individual.

This gentleman sat across from me (also with a belly penthouse), directly in front of a brightly lit vending machine. He sat there cross eyed and absolutely transfixed by the colorful offerings available inside that magical glass box. I thought he was going to try and make a withdrawal from one of the many shelves when he made another decision.

You know how sometimes you cough up a little bit of phlegm, but you just deal with it because you are not in a place where you can get rid of it?

The gentleman sitting not 4 feet across from me in the Amtrak station waiting room did not think this was one of those places. So I watched him, cough, gag, and then let loose a horrific dribble of phlegm that fell like an autumn leaf and landed between his feet on the floor.

Beautiful.

He didn’t even try to hide it. His basic philosophy appeared to be, “I’m gross, everybody watch.”
So I took the train into Union Station in D.C. and in an effort to save money (I’m becoming cheaper by the day) I walked 45 minutes to the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms, and the sun came out and it was beautiful. I sat strolled and took pictures such as this one.




And then it started to pour on me. I didn’t have an umbrella. So I walked the 45 minutes back to Union Station where I bought an Amtrak ticket back to Baltimore, which I then immediately dropped on the floor and didn’t realize until I heard over the loud speaker;

“Would Mr…. Bo-em-key please pick up his ticket at the information desk.”

Damn it.

Back on the train to the shuttle bus to the airport where I checked in for my 6 o’clock flight, and went through security. I sat down in the waiting area for a while, and was walking to my gate when a woman ran up to me and said, “Sir! You dropped this!”

It was my plane ticket.

Double damn it.

I was starting to think maybe someone or something was trying to stop me from going home. But 14 hours later I made it. Which means it took me an hour LONGER to fly home than it would have to drive.

Forget airplanes. Forget travel. Next time I’m just going to stay home and grow a belly penthouse.

Airports Part 1 - Regression

Flying is getting progressively more horrendous. It never ceases to amaze me how normal, seemingly rational adults, turn into lying, rule breaking, little 7 year olds, when making the decision to travel by airplane.

Case and point: I traveled down to South Carolina this past weekend to visit my parents at, what I like to refer to as, “The Resort.” (They actually live in a normal house, but they pick me up from the airport, feed me, take me to do fun activities, and I don’t have to pay for any of it, so yea it’s pretty much a resort.)

First of all, this flight was chock a block with old people. You know those planes that go to places like Cancun or Miami during spring break that are packed with hot co-eds?

This was not one of those planes. My flight looked like a field trip to the Del Boca Vista Phase II retirement community. This was an elderly plane. The process does not move quickly with a gaggle of fogies.

In addition to this gaggle, there was a man on my flight with a foot cast. But instead of getting around on crutches like most people would, this guy had his knee propped up on a 3 wheeled push scooter complete with handlebars called the TLC; Turning Leg Caddy.

He was a lot like the kid in school who bumped his elbow on a desk but came into school the next day with his arm in a sling. Everyone knows it’s a sympathy ploy, but all the teachers go out of their way to accommodate him anyway.

Hey needy guy, instead of pissing off every one on the airplane, why not get yourself a pair of crutches and give your scooter to a 10 year old girl who actually needs it.

Boarding the airplane is a lot like getting ready to go outside for recess. When the attendant announces that “We are now boarding,” people start circling the gate like vultures.

And even though everyone has a ticket, and will get on the plane, people still push and shove towards the gate entrance like they are trying to buy the last mango in Pakistan.

Then the teacher has to get angry and say that only the good students who wait in the line can get through.

My particular flight I was flying direct from New York to Savannah (yes I know that’s in Georgia hot shot). The great/awful thing about this direct flight is that the plane is always pretty small so there is no first class.

Now I don’t really give a crap about first class because I can’t afford it. I can barely afford coach. In fact, the next time I visit my parents I’m pretty sure I’m just going to ship myself down there in a UPS box addressed to “Mommy.”

But the fact that there is no first class means that all of the upper crust of our society, the social elite, the captains of industry… have to sit with my sorry butt in a tiny ass plane that looks like an Airstream trailer with wings.

We are all equals now. Everyone is equally pathetic. Nobody is getting any special treatment. We are all in detention. Welcome to Air Detention.

Once the airline finally lets everybody on the plane it becomes a series of minor rule infractions, people trying desperately to hide their insubordination from the flight attendants.

But people really get indignant when they are told to turn off their cell phones.

“What? Me? Turn off my cellphone? You must be mad! I am awaiting a very important call from Prince Ali of Akrabah!”

I understand important calls need to be made, business transactions must occur, information must be exchanged. But just because you are in the middle of writing a text, that does not make you special.

On the trip down, the flight attendant made the announcement to turn off all electronic devices and then proceeded to walk down the aisle to make sure all of the students were abiding by the rules.

I then watched the man sitting next to me, the man with a wife and 2 kids at home with the flu (I was reading his texts) hide his cellphone under his leg mid-text as the attendant passed by, and then pull it back out to finish his message.

Really middle aged guy? You are an adult! You are not hiding Pixy Stix and Pez from the Nuns. You are a grown up. Act like it. You are texting about how your wife is pissed at you.

The only acceptable text would have been;

“IT’S THE GREEN WIRE! CUT THE GREEN WIRE!”

Texting during takeoff does not make you a rebel. You are not Cool Hand Luke. Put your cell phone away and mindlessly page through the Sky Mall magazine like the rest of us.

Eventually the plane landed and the dismissal bell rang causing everyone to flood the aisle and push and shove to get off the very plane they pushed and shoved to get onto.

And as I’d find out on my return trip, I should have shipped myself home UPS.

To be continued…

The Dating Manifesto - Part 2

So I started thinking about what my friends do to meet people. What were their tactics? What techniques did they use? How could I meet the pretty pretty ladies?

My generation, Generation Y, or the Google Generation, or whatever the heck we are, is not a generation that dates. We cut our teeth on Instant Messenger, and by the time we were old enough to start having actual relationships, we could do the whole thing via email. We are a generation more comfortable with sending text messages than sending flowers.

So it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that I have a couple of friends who went on Match.com. I’m not generally a fan of any kind of online space, book, or internet social networking in general. But I had one friend in particular who was encouraging me to give it a shot. She was really curious and wanted to have a buddy to try it with. So I did what any good friend would do.

I let her try it by herself.

And she was very disappointed with the results. I was sad for her. So for research purposes only, and to see what all the fuss was about, I did a little tooling around on Match.com.
Seriously, for research purposes only.

In order to create a profile, Match.com asks you some very specific questions about who you are, what you want, and the person you want to meet.

For instance, it asks you to check off your best physical feature. It has many options including, but not limited to, hands, eyes, feet, and belly button. Now while it may be humorous and cute to tell people your belly button is your best feature, can you imagine if your best physical feature used to be attached to an umbilical cord?

Picture introducing your future Match.com bride to your friends. She probably looks like the wrong end of a pork roast and the first time your friends see her they cringe.

“But oh no” you say, “Don’t judge her yet. Sweetie, show them your naval!”

It also asks you what your turn-ons are. It gives you a list of options and asks you to check off whether or not you think certain things are turn-ons. This includes 2 that I have issues with.
Skinny Dipping and Thunderstorms.

Skinny Dipping? Well let’s just think about this. The fundamental goal of any male since puberty has been to see women naked. So if someone you’re attracted to you says, “Hey honey, I was thinking about going swimming, should we wear clothes or no clothes?” Are you really going to respond with, “Oh sweetie, please please, clothes ON, we get too much naked time together.”

And thunderstorms? Oh for chrissakes if you put that in your profile you deserve to have every idiot in the city show up at your door in mid-august with his “sounds of the monsoon” CD and a copy of The Perfect Storm on DVD.

Does anyone else find it abnormal that we are advertising our turn-ons on the internet? What’s next? Scenarios that make you feel insecure? Foods that give you diarrhea?

Match.com also gives you the option to “wink” at somebody. Of course this isn’t a real wink, but a virtual wink. And someone can virtually “wink” back at you. Just in case emailing someone whom you already know everything about from the safety and comfort of your couch is too scary … you can just virtually greet them… like an 8th grader.

Which probably means you have virtually no ability to talk to the opposite sex, which is why your dating on the internet.

Creep.

It also asks you to check off whether or not you want kids. That makes sense to me. Why waste your time dating somebody who ultimately is looking for something completely different? But people specify how many kids they want. That intimidates me. What if I can’t provide you with 3 children? What if it turns out my boys can’t swim? Are you going to divorce me? God this is stressful.

And I think that’s my problem with Match.com. A lot of people find themselves on the website because they can’t meet a decent individual to begin with or they are just frustrated with the dating scene. And then once you get on the site, it enables you to be so incredibly specific on what you’re looking for and how you see yourself, that it almost makes it more difficult because you can be even more discerning.

It becomes too targeted. It’s like hunting. You’re hunting for a partner. Awww how cute.

When people put that much of themselves out there for others to see. It becomes too easy to judge. I know it’s something I’m guilty of. It almost takes all the fun out of getting to know somebody. I’d rather just repress all of the horrible weird things about myself and let somebody get to know me for 2 or 3 years before I become comfortable enough to reveal them.

But what I call fun, maybe others call stress. Perhaps when you know all the basics about somebody, you’re free to dig deeper and get to know them on a more intimate level beyond just turn on’s and favorite movies.
But for as flawed as Match.com may seem, can any of us really fault anybody for using it?

It didn’t come about for no reason. It can be so difficult to meet quality humans in this city, nay, any city. And as all of our socializing is marching towards an almost exclusively electronic medium, we are left with fewer real life options. We are posting, poking, and texting, to a complete and total social incompetence. It’s no wonder so many young attractive singles are left feeling jaded and lonely.

So I don’t fault Match.com, and I don’t fault the people who use it. In fact, I applaud them for the bravery and courage they show by putting themselves out there in front of millions and millions of weirdos, kooks, and other alumni of To Catch a Predator.

All I know is Match.com is not for me. And until they add eyelashes as a feature, or I get a better looking belly button, I will probably avoid it at all costs.

The Dating Manifesto - Part 1

Dating in New York City is a bit of an endangered species these days. The days of meeting someone, asking for their number, and then eventually engaging in courtship are mere memories. While I think the rest of the country is gradually saying goodbye to dating, the geography and lifestyle of New York City is sending dating as we know it to an accelerated death.

For anyone who has ever looked at a map of New York City it would seem that everyone who lives in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, or the Bronx (we don’t include Staten Island) would be within a short drive of dating each other. But in a city where over 50 percent of the people take public transportation and almost nobody owns a car, nobody is a short drive from anybody.

People in the city tend not to date anybody who lives more than 2 trains away. In other words, if you have to transfer trains more than once to see somebody, odds are you are not going to date that person.
And for people like me who live in Queens, I am considered G.U. Geographically Undesirable. It’s like Manhattanites think I was outcast to Queens because I’m a polygamist or I have the Mutaba virus. In a city of 8 million people you can understand why traveling more than 15 minutes to see somebody might seem unnecessary. 

Sometimes when I tell people I live in Queens I feel like I’m telling them I live in Kazakhstan. The facial expressions alone are priceless. Usually people jerk their head back a little bit and say something like, “Oh… How do you like it?” They say this because they don’t want to say “HOLY CRAP WHERE IS THAT?!”
And I’m fine with that, because I love my place. I don’t have a roommate, and I can walk around with no pants on whenever I so choose.

My place is awesome. It looks like a man lives there and I TOTALLY want to be a man one day. But I do live in Queens, and while I have been told owning an apartment makes me a “catch” it’s kind of hard to drop that into a conversation with someone the first time you meet them. Certainly you can’t just slide it in without seeming like a complete a-hole.

Girl: Hey I’m Carly
 Me: That reminds me of this time I was paying my mortgage.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Just meeting people is really the hardest part. Those outside the New York City area might not understand. They might think since there are so many people, you must meet people everyday. And you do, but those are one-off interactions. You are not making friends every time you bump into somebody on the street.

The social set-up is such that you can’t really hang out with anybody without spending money. Friends typically don’t just hang out at each other’s apartments. Probably because everybody lives in a different corner of the city, or they have 3 roommates they can’t stand or because their living room is the size of a Bran Muffin. Most hanging out takes place at a pub after work or at a bar on the weekend. And that gets expensive.

Sometimes a friend will say to me “Hey Rich do you want to go get a drink after work?” But because drinks are so expensive in Manhattan, what they are really saying to me is “Hey Rich do you hate money?”
My answer is almost always yes. It is a necessary evil of New York City, and I have come to accept that because I love my friends more than I love being fiscally sound.

If you take into account the fact that most hanging out is taking place at bars and add the common opinion that you don’t meet quality people at bars, then meeting quality people becomes a fundamental problem.
While the people you meet in bars seem normal enough and may even be attractive, there is always one question that triggers the nuclear bomb of crazy to get dropped. You might ask them what they do for a living and you find out they run a rescue shelter out of their van for gay cats. Ohhhh, ok, no thank you.
So where are the attractive quasi-normal people?

There are so many beautiful women in the city, but I rarely see them out in the places I enjoy hanging out. I see them walking past me on the street, at the lunch spot, or on the subway. They just never end up at the same place as me during free time. No, I only go to places where you can find school buses full of obnoxious troll women.

It just doesn’t make sense because Manhattan has beautiful women in droves. Actresses and models prance through this city like its their playground. How come I can’t find out where they are hanging out?
Sometimes when I pass the beautiful women on the street I want to stop them and ask them where they are going. Not because I want to follow them in some creepy way (I kind of do) but I just want to know where their people go out. Like that meatpacking plant full of models on Seinfeld.

And though I may see a beautiful woman on a bench, or on the subway, the only people who talk to strangers in this city are either homeless or clinically insane. I on the other hand try to conceal my crazy.
So what can we do? What options do we average folk have? If we are not trolls and not models, is there some last resort for meeting humans in a city of anonymity?

Surely there must be.

To Be Continued.