Category: Weird

Who Guards the Guardians?

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”
– Juvenal

Several times a week, background investigators come into the office to collect information on former students who have applied for government or high profile jobs.  Most of the investigators are pretty normal and businesslike, but one or two of them make my eyebrows climb.

Perhaps. But not quite yet, it would seem.

One of the, according to the police grapevine, once had a normal 9-5 job and seemed perfectly ordinary, until the day he had a “divine revelation” that there was going to be a massive earthquake that would destroy everything – or something to that effect.  I misremember if this was supposed to be connected to an end-times scenario.  Anyway, based on this “revelation” he quit his job, packed up his wife, food, and probably guns and moved to a cabin in the mountains.  (Sidenote – the mountains?  Usually located on fault lines of tectonic plates?  Really?)  Sadly the appointed day for this catastrophic event came…and went.  Years ago.  So, chalking it up to experience, he moved back to civilization.  He’s a very nice man, very professional, and privately I consider him a harmless sort of lunatic.

Slightly more creepy is Fetish Guy.  One day, wanting to look grown up, I piled my hair on my head and threw on a pearl set me father gave me and felt very country gentry and pretty…until a regular background investigator came in for a check.  He handed me the paperwork and, catching a full look at me, stopped in his tracks.

Um, ok. Back here in reality...

“You’re wearing pearls,” he said slowly.
“Uh, yes,” I said, a bit stupidly.
“I love it when women wear those.”
“Oh.  Thank you.”  Backed away slowly.
Now, every time he comes in he always gives me an uncomfortable glance over and asks where my pearls are because he “really likes seeing me wear them.”


Who, exactly, did the background check on the background checkers?

Freudian Slip

“Demosthenes overcame and rendered more distinct his inarticulate and stammering pronunciation by speaking with pebbles in his mouth.”
– Plutarch

Our supplier’s secretary would have done well to copy the ancient orator.  Quoth her voicemail message: 

Pictured: a testicle handcuff key


“Hey this is [name] with [supplier], just calling to let you know your testicle handcuff keys are ready to ship, please let me know when you’d like me to proceed.” 

Susie called Wise, Hennessy, and I all in to consult and figure out what on earth she was talking about (amidst some mock horror, “Susie!  What did you order?”) but we finally managed to deduce she meant tactical handcuffs.  Which isn’t nearly as intriguing.

A Slice of J.

“I love being married.  It’s so great to find that one person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.”
– Rita Rudner

The other day, J. came to my office earlier than usual and so he went to the break room to study for a while before my lunch break.  A bunch of the student officers congregate there between shifts or to eat so there was a group of them there at the time.

Helper, a notoriously unobservant young man, was among them. 

Helper is an interesting kid.  He spent several months trying to flirt with me, mostly by slinking up to my desk, lurking behind me for a while, and then informing me of what I was doing quite suddenly.
“You’re reading CNN.”
“Where’d you come from?!  Um…yes.  I am.”
The weirdest thing he did was hover silently one day while I went online to my bank account to pay my credit card bill.
“You use [name of bank]?” he drawled.
I jumped, as I’d had no idea he was there, and demanded why the hell he was looking!
“No reason.  Is that your email too?”
I shut my windows and pointedly asked him if he was on duty.
“Heh, yeah,” he gave me a ‘I-get-it-we’ll-talk-later’ look and meandered off.

This was two months after I’d gotten engaged and had this nice rock sitting pretty on my left hand that was supposed to protect me from the over-amorous attentions of clueless men. 

It never registered.  It wasn’t until a couple months after that he must have figured out I was getting married in the near future because he came to me while I was reconciling a report, lurked behind me for a couple minutes, and finally muttered, “So, you’re engaged.”
“For about five months, yes.”
“I see.”  He sat looking at me for a few more seconds before sighing and murmuring, “I won’t bother you anymore.”

He wandered off while I sat with my jaw slack, wondering where he had pulled this supposed relationship out of.  I don’t think he’s spoken to me since, though I have caught him glaring furtively before he whisks himself around a corner.   And once I overheard him once complaining to a co-worker that I had flirted with him, and the ensuing guffaws.
“Are you kidding?  She’s married, and she was dating the guy before she ever worked here.  Besides, she thinks you’re creepy.”

The reason for this back story?  Well, there J. was sitting in the break room for quite a while before Helper realized he had no idea who J. was and enquired.
“I’m J., C.’s husband.”
“C.?” Helper asked nonchalantly, “Who’s that?”
“You know,” Lexie said, “she works at the front desk.  Dark hair, green eyes, pretty?”
“Short?” offered J.

I still much prefer him to Helper.

Facebook: The End of Law Enforcement As We Know It

-Lt. South

Accessory to creepiness.
Accessory to creepiness.

For the record, gentlemen, ladies do not find most of your “awesome” exploits funny in the least.  Neither do the police.  If you simply must annoyingly display your affection, stick to pulling our pigtails.  Because finding an elk, recently deceased due to an unforeseen run in with a car, decapitating it, and leaving the head on a girl’s kitchen table (shades of The Godfather) does not inspire affection.  In fact, it’s considered alarming and creepy.

Also, if you decide to engage in this sort of behavior, don’t post pictures of your exploits on Facebook for the police to find.


Pregnancy. Scares.

“I myself prefer dogs.”
Catherine Called Birdy, by Karen Cushman

Ever since getting married (a grand total of a month and a half ago) I wait with baited breath for Mother Nature to confirm that I’m not pregnant every 28 days.  That’s right, I actively look forward to That Time of the Month to reassure myself that a Mini C./J. is not in the works.  In days leading up to it I get unbelievably tense and engage in ridiculous conversations that I’m guaranteed to regret 4-5 days later.
“Does this milk smell off?  …CRAP!  I’m pregnant!”
“No you’re not,” says J. with an irritated but still loving roll of the eyes.  “The milk’s bad.”
“Oh.”  (Goes back to pouring cereal)

While he's blithely  unaffected, I'm getting haunting visions of THIS!
While he's blithely unaffected, I'm getting haunting visions of THIS!

Occasionally I can border on the paranoid.  The first month after marriage I was “late,” which mean two whole days of angst that I think I hid well but during which I secretly gnawed my metaphoric nails to the wrist.
“What if I’m pregnant?” I demanded morbidly one night as we brushed our teeth.
“You’re not,” J. said (again, and just as irritated/patiently).
“But what if I am?!” 
“Well, that’ll certainly change things.”
How can you be so calm??!!” I hissed.
“About a purely hypothetical situation?” he countered.

I trust he would be a better father than this...
I trust he would be a better father than this...

See, even though it would “change things,” I don’t think J.’s world would be rocked to the core if the Fates decided to play this horrid, horrid joke on us.  But then again, he’s not the one who would have to host this alien parasite for nine months, forcibly expel it, and then still find a way to be the primary breadwinner for our family in addition to a full time parent.  I’m a tough girl, I can handle quite a bit, but the mere thought of that last scenario makes my knees knock in quivering terror. 

And I’m sorry, I don’t even find babies cute!  Anathema, I know…but just think about it!  They’ve got these big alien heads they can’t support, they don’t communicate (in any language I speak, or will until I do decide to breed), and if there is an opening in their body anywhere, something gross is coming out of it.  I like little kids better.  I’ll take the Terrible Two’s over the Irrevocably-Broken-If-I-Touch-It Infants any day of the week! 

Alas, even good DNA can go wrong...
Alas, even good DNA can go wrong...

Now, before I’m burned at the stake, I know I’m going to think my own children have been individually sprinkled with awesome dust.  I’ll probably even think they’re cute in spite of the many varieties of goo seeping out of them (my husband’s a fine piece of work, if I do say so myself, and I don’t look like a horse, so the odds are in our favor).   Just…not yet.  Not for a few years.  Not while he’s in school, not while I still have to work, and not while the idea still turns me into a catatonic mess. 

And even though deep down I can admit I look forward to having a family with J. (a long way down the road), I suspect in the meantime, every 28 days, I’ll be going through this same process of fear, soul searching, and grudging resignation.  At least I am assured of one ally.
“How long is this going to go on?” I whined to Venice after Scare #1.
She came back with a chipper, “12 times a year.  Enjoy!”

Trojan Horse

“I can always tell which is the front end of a horse, but beyond that, my art is not above ordinary.”
-Mark Twain

A new horror!  I go to the gym everyday and there’s a girl who works the front counter there.  Since we see a lot of each other we’ve struck up a sort of friendship: I tell her the dramatic goings on of a police department, she tells me the ridiculous tales of a gym.  The other day she asked me how far off the wedding was and when I told her, “Next week,” she got a dark look on her face and said, “Stay away from horses.”

The last thing you will ever see!
The last thing you will ever see!

“Why?” I asked intrigued.
“My family keeps horses and I’ve ridden all my life.  So I was out riding a couple of weeks before my wedding and when I was taking off its tack when I was done it kicked me in the head.”
My jaw dropped.
“I was in a coma for three months,” she continued, “and had to do months of physical therapy when I woke up.  We got married after all that, though.”

Completely at a loss for what to say to that (“Crikey?”  “Good on ‘ya?” “Congratulations on being currently upright?”) I just mumbled, “Wow…”   She waved me off to the weight room cheerfully, “I’m sure that won’t happen to you!  See you tomorrow!”

Hello, My Name Is…

“Identity is such a crucial affair that one should not rush into it.”
– David Quammen

Being bored at work can lead one into all kinds of mischief but one of the most deadly sort is Facebook quizzes, you can piddle away years of your life with those things!  I know people who believe in those things religiously and will say triumphantly, “Yes!  I knew I was that particular shade of the Personality/Color test!  This explains my bad luck with men,” or “If I were an animal I’d absolutely be a sheep.”  However, if my Facebook quiz results are to be believed, I’m a very contrary person:

identity_crisisYou are fashionable, fabulous and sharp witted.”  Well, I hope so.  “You most resemble Alexander the Great: you are an excellent leader, enjoy power, and are ambitious.”  Er, guilty about the power hungry bit…but that seems to clash with, “You are a natural homebody, you enjoy quiet and don’t like to take the lead.”  Then there was, “You are a sign of happiness in many peoples’ lives and bring hope to the masses,” which is immediately juxtaposed with, “You have no friends.  You get what you want and it doesn’t bother you to deceive others to get it.  People are intrigued by you but don’t trust you.”  Ouch!  “You are spunky with a dash of sass, but somewhat untouchable.”  That’s a lot nicer sort of intriguing than the You Have No Friends approach!  But…”You have a tendency to suck the life out of people, leaving them a tragic wreck of their former selves.”  Double ouch!  I’m then complimented by the outcome of, “You are very intelligent and always think before you act,” which is a flat out lie as proved by the next diagnosis, “You tend to have a temper and say things you wish you could take back,” which is unfortunately true.  “You’re a major klutz!”  Duh.

Of course, I’m also in the midst of quite another identity crisis: this is my last week of me having my name!  Which means that not only will my driver’s license (which took months to get an American one!), social security, passport, etc. change…but I have to figure out a new signature!  I’ve had mine for years, how on earth does one go about making a new one?  My future last name is all very nice, but it’s not my original last name so it still feel a bit uncomfortable when I try out my new one by writing it.  I’m sure I’ll adapt.  My mother hyphenated her last name (making her sound very English Country Gentry) but I don’t have that option because all the syllables together would just sound ridiculous.  I’m hyphenating my middle and maiden names (which incidental will create my mother’s aforementioned fabulous one) so I’ll keep them all, but it’s still seems bizarre to be tacking another onto the end of it. 

But actually pretty neat too!

A Humorous Vignette

“A bachelor’s life is no life for a single man.”
-Samuel Goldwyn

Sometimes I think J. keeps me around just for the pleasure of watching the constant stream of wacky, inexplicable, laughable things that seem to happen to me.  We were cuddling at his flat last night, watching the basketball game with some of his flatmates, when he ran his hand down my arm, paused, and laughed, “You’ve got goosebumps.”
“No,” I answered in confusion and felt along my bicep as well.  There were some little bumps, but they weren’t goosebumps.  Perplexed I felt again because, in spite of the lack of redness or anything, it felt like an allergic reaction.
“What have I touched?” I demanded, glancing around the bacherlor pad.
“Well…you did touch The Blanket.”

It should be explained at this point that The Blanket has maintained a residence on one of the boys’ three sofas for as long as J. and I have been dating, and to this day I’m not entirely sure who it belongs to (as I’ve heard two names put forward as the owner).  I’ve also never personally seen anyone sleep under it, wrap oneself in it, cuddle with it, or any of the other uses a blanket in such a position usually adopts.  Obviously, it is regarded with a degree of wary respect/fear by visitors.

For us?  Too kind!
For us? Too kind!

I bolted off the sofa and stared at The Blanket, which I now realized I had been leaning against while watching the game, oblivious to my danger.
“What’s in that thing,” I snapped in fear, scratching at my arm, “smallpox?!”

I still have no idea what happened.  But I have another item on the list of why I’m enjoying having a place to myself (as if I needed any more after the wretched Exploding Milk Incident, the memory of which persists and keeps me from buying more than half gallon jugs out of fear of a reprisal).

Lockdowns, Employment and Otherwise

“This having a baby and going right back to work has got to stop.  They may do it in Africa and Asia but here it makes the rest of us look bad!”  
-C. to Tink

I’m about to have a managerial divorce from my work wife Tink.  She’s going on maternity leave but due to family concerns, a recession-induced hiring freeze on the department, and our need for another dispatcher, she won’t be coming back.  Hennessy is moving over from our Appeals department and she’s going to be lots of fun to work with, but I will miss my work wife!

The majority of my nightmares now include some variation on this theme
The majority of my nightmares now include some variation on this theme

On an unrelated note, I am learning lots about driving in icy weather.  I got my original driver license on Guam where the temperature never dipped below 75 F on a cold day.  I never knew I’d have the experience to physically dig my car out of ice in a parking lot, nearly swerve off a road due to no fault of my own, or live in constant fear of killing a small child inadvertently.  However this morning I discovered a new perplexity: my locks froze!  I eventually got in the passenger’s side door and scooted over to drive to work, by which time that door was functional again, but honestly!