Mar 082019
 

It’s been a minute since I regaled this bleak corner of the Internet with some Lunch Break Tales. To be fair, not much has been happening because it’s been fucking COLD in case you didn’t know, so I spend most of my time on the streets of PGH walking super fast to stay warm, or forcing Henry to talk to me on the phone because I am a lonely person, there I said it. Now that spring’s approaching, things should start to pick up out there, for example, Downtown Jesus should like, rise out from behind his tomb or whatever.

(Seriously, where has he been?! I haven’t seen him…since sometime right after his birthday/Christmas, I think!)

Anyway, let’s see what kind of janky recap I can construct from the last couple of garbage weeks.

  1. LUKE PERRY

I found out about Luke Perry dying while I was out gallivanting on my lunch break (obviously, otherwise this wouldn’t be here in LUNCH BREAK TALES). I got a CNN notification, or Washington Post, some kind of notification. This was right after Henry rudely cut me off mid-Seungri Scandal rant and said he’d “call me back” so I had no one to share my sorrow with and I NEEDED HUMAN INTERACTION RIGHT THEN. Come on, Luke Perry’s death had pretty much every broad in my age bracket shook that day. I started to run up to someone in a winter parka, the kind with the fur-lined hood, because I was sure it was my co-worker Regina, but then she lifted her head at the last second and I was just about to hysterically scream LUKE PERRY DIED but at the very last possible second I realized, AS WE MADE EYE CONTACT WITH MY MOUTH AGAPE, that it wasn’t Regina. Maybe could have been Regina’s mom and wow my eyes are really bad. So then I had to abruptly veer a different direction but it was so obvious.

(I take that back about “every broad in my age bracket” because later that day, Nate came over to my desk and was like LUKE PERRY and we commiserated over that for a bit. He was like, “REMEMBER ON 90210 WHEN HE WAS MARRIED TO THE NOXEMA GIRL AND SHE GOT SHOT” and I only vaguely remember that but I started freaking out because just over the weeken I made Chooch watch “I Know What You Did Last Summer”* and during that my mind started wandering into “other teen horror movies from the 90s” which made me think about “that one that Rebecca Gayheart was in” and I was so relieved when I was able to remember without the aid of Google that it was “Urban Legend” but the whole reason I’m even mentioning this is because who the hell has Rebecca Gayheart pop up twice in less than a week in 2019 aside from like, her mom, or, I dunno, the family of the person she vehicularly man-slaughtered?)

*(Chooch’s main takeaway from this movie was: “THEY HAD LAPTOPS IN 1997!?”)

2. GABRIEL, THE STREET FASHION REPORTER

OK, this is going back several weeks now, possibly even months so I can’t even be certain I’m remembering this bro’s name correctly, but I kept forgetting to write about. Although, I DID send a Postcard From Erin’s Lunch Break about it to my pal Valarie! But there was this one day when I was heading back to work when some young guy crossed the street in what seemed like a purposely attempt to intercept me.

He succeeded.

“I really like your jacket!” he began, and I was like, “Yeah I know, right?! It’s great!” I mean, it really is. It’s COW-PRINT, people.

“Did you buy it somewhere down here?” he asked.

“Oh god no, I bought it like…20 years ago probably at Contempo,” I laughed. (I think that’s where it’s from! I honestly can’t remember but I was definitely 20 when that purchase was made, probably using my corporate credit card that my mom paid, HAHAHAHAH no really, I’m crying because I miss those days.)

“Would you consider yourself someone who’s into fashion?” he pressed, and now I was getting paranoid. I mean, if you’re going to either sexually harass me or pick my pocket, let’s get this over with, boo. You know?

I just shrugged and mumbled something about how wearing clothes without stains or wrinkles was enough for me these days, and he went on to compliment me for mixing patterns.

“I really like when people mix patterns,” he said with a smile and now I was really wondering if he was stalling me while the kidnapper van found a spot to park. “I went to the Art Institute for fashion design,” he explained, so I guess that made a little more sense and I was less worried now about the chance of blood ruining my cow jacket post-kidney harvesting.

He introduced himself as Gabriel and we shook hands which is always weird yet exciting for me, touching another stranger on the street. For as anti-social and introverted I have become over the years, I am also curiously starved for human interaction at the same time.

Then he asked me if I was in a hurry to get somewhere and I was like YES, WORK and he was like, “Oh darn, well, maybe I’ll see you around again sometime, hopefully in another cool coat!” and then I became aware of the fact that all of the people on the sidewalk waiting for the bus were watching this strange not-really-flirtation and I walked away wondering wtf had just happened.

I mean, nice guy. Real nice guy. But way too interested in my clothes!?

3. SIDEWALK LAWS

I can’t remember if I’ve ever mentioned this on here but I hate when people walk down the sidewalk in a three or more person throng, so that they are occupying the entire girth of the damn sidewalk and then NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEM does the proper “fall back” when someone approaches from the opposite way. This happens nearly every time I walk through the Strip District and it fucking drives me mad. The one day, I super passively aggressively said, “No it’s fine, I’ll just STEP OUT ONTO THE ROAD so you guys don’t have to break up your yuppie huddle.”

God for-fucking-bid.

I flipped out the one day while walking through the Strip and decided that I’m going to run for Mayor and then when I win (obviously) I’m going to patrol the sidewalks of downtown Pittsburgh, issuing warrants for arrest for sidewalk hogs.

“You can’t do that,” Henry said, white knighting sidewalk slobs worldwide.

“I CAN AFTER I MAKE IT A LAW!” I cried.

It’s too bad I don’t already have power because I really have so much I would like to change. For instance, Pittsburgh needs to get on board with vending machine culture. Perhaps if I suggest a TERRIBLE TOWEL dispenser, that would get the attention of whoever is in charge of Pittsburgh.

Oh yeah, the actual mayor. Lol.

Well, I really think that’s all I have. In my head, so much more has happened on my walks, but “in my head” is the operative phrase there, I guess. I’d have so much more to write about if I lived in Korea, probably.

Jan 182019
 

Wow, I have been slacking with the lunch break tales! I still go outside for a walk everyday, in spite of the gross winter weather, but I have to speed-walk to stay warm and that makes me less observant to all the oddities transpiring around me.

However, human interaction happened 7 TIMES in the last week that have pulled me out of my winter bubble and I declared a revival of thee ol’ Lunch Break Tales positively necessary.

6 of those were on THE SAME DAY. So let’s start there.

The Day of 6 Human Interactions 

Alternately Titled: What Is This, 1954?

It was Friday of last week and I had just stepped out from the revolving door of the law firm and into FREEDOM when I saw an old lady sitting on the ground a few yards away. Immediately, I knew that this probably wasn’t good and the unfortunate part (I mean, aside from  the fact that someone’s grandma had taken a tumble) was that I appeared to be the only person around.

Falalalala-uck.

I fought my inner misanthrope and tiptoed over to assess the sitch. Thankfully, a man carrying groceries was approaching from another direction and together, we reenacted a scene from whatever episode of Sesame Street teaches you to put down your groceries and help your neighbor.  All I was capable of doing was holding out my phone and asking repeatedly if she needed me to call 911 while Grocery Man kept slowly asking, “MA’AM, YOU OK?” But Ma’am continued to sit on the ground with her legs outstretched, rubbing her thighs and not answering.

Now I was starting to wonder if this was a pick-pocketing ploy because that’s what I think everything is, a pick-pocketing ploy, until she slowly turned to look at us, and with ONE SINGLE TEAR FALLING DOWN HER CHEEK OMG, she whispered, “No, I’m OK…..I don’t know what happened. My knees just gave out…”

Grocery Man said he had heard her fall so I guess she screamed or something? I don’t know!

There are chairs inside the lobby of my building so I asked her if she wanted us to help her inside. At least she could sit down and get warm while deciding what she was going to do. She nodded, so Grocery Man and I each took one of her arms and lifted her up. The whole time I was whipping my head around, looking for the news crews, like, “I’M DOING IT! I’M DOING IT! LOOK AT ME!” in my head, because altruism is not a word in my limited and egocentric vocab.

We had just about got her to the doors of my building when some tall fucking white man in a nice suit and coat strode over with the shittiest shit-eating grin on his pudding face and asked, “Do you need help?” while basically TAKING THE OLD BROAD AWAY FROM US and escorting her into the building himself!!

WOW WAY TO COME IN AT THE TAIL END AND CLAIM ALL THE GLORY, JACKASS. Grocery Man was like, “That’s fine” because he wanted to get back to his groceries, which he left on the ground and we get all kinds of weirdos walking by, like Downtown Jesus may have meandered over and started digging in the bags for bread to turn into fish, or cigarettes, you don’t know.

I started to ask Briefcase Hero if he needed my assistance for anything, but then I was like, “Ah, fuck it” and I went about my merry way.

To….

Crazy Mocha, where I had the fourth human interaction of the day!

The barista was a new one, or new-to-me anyway, because it had been a few weeks since I went to this particular Crazy Mocha. She was young and running on all cylinders, the kind of person who was rearin’ to talk to ANY FUCKING BODY. She was taunting her co-worker about some picture she had taken of him, so then she decided to pull me into the convo and showed me the Polaroid.

“Oh, I keep Polaroids in my phone case!” I said, and showed her pictures of Chooch in the cemetery on Christmas. So then we chatted about Polaroids and she said she liked to surprise her co-workers with snap-attacks so that they wouldn’t have a chance to fake-pose, and I briefly imagined doing this at the law firm and I wonder how well that would go over since everyone knows my motives are questionable.

As the barista in the Polaroid made my chai latte, Polaroid Girl started singing EXTREMELY THEATRICALLY all up in the other barista’s face and he gave her zero reaction which was pretty weird, but then I was like, “Wow, this song sounds familiar…” and then I realized it was a song from Hamilton (“Satisfied”) and I was so proud of myself for knowing that considering that I have still NEVER LISTENED TO THE SOUNDTRACK even though I saw the show and loved it.

Side bar: A few weeks ago one of my co-workers admitted to me that she thought Hamilton was a president and I felt SO MUCH BETTER ABOUT MYSELF because yo, I thought that too, and she is actually way more educated me so I was like, “OK, it’s not just me. There are others. More of us. I am not alone.” But yeah, during Hamilton, I wondered several times, “So, when does he become President tho….”

Remember when I saved that broad’s life before I met Polaroid Girl? Well, the next interaction I had was when a traveler with suitcases approached me and asked me where the Megabus pickup is and so I told him and then realized I gave him the wrong directions, so I had to chase him down screaming, “Sir! Sir! I gave you the wrong directions!” so then I had him go a different way and I felt better about myself until on my way back from my walk when I saw that the Megabus was picking up people exactly right across from where we were standing when he asked me so it turns out BOTH OF MY DIRECTIONS WERE WRONG. Man, I saved a life and then maybe stranded a guy in Pittsburgh.

I’d call that a wash.

The final interaction of that walk was when a lady walked by me and yelled, “cute coat!”

YEAH IT IS!

Man, what a day! I talked to so many people! I REMEMBERED HOW TO TALK!

The Absinthe Anecdote (AND ANTIDOTE)

Tuesday was a terrible day. I mean, as far as work goes, that is. I had to go into the bathroom and stress-cry at one point, it was that kind of day. I had to sit at my desk and think of worse days that I have had just to bring the perspective, but then I started thinking about the time the church school moms found my blog and essentially met me in the parking lot with torches and pitchforks, and this just made me feel even more terrible so wow that strategy backfired.

Finally, I broke away and went outside for my walk because sometimes that is the only thing that gets me through the day – I need my hour walk, man. Get me away from my desk!

I usually don’t pre-plan my walks, I just walk in the opposite direction of where the derelicts seem to be when I step out the door. On this day, I headed toward the Strip District and then decided that I was going to Prestogeorge for a latte because I fucking needed a treat, OK?! My favorite barista Lori was working – we have had great convos about tattoos, kids not knowing what landlines are, and my awesome phone cases. I really like her a lot so even though I was having a shit day, when she asked me how it was going, I said it was going well and it felt like it was true! She just gives off good vibes, man.

As she was ringing me up, she paused and, with a lowered voice, asked, “Do you like absinthe?”

I said yes without hesitation, but then backtracked and said that while I wasn’t a big fan of the taste, I really appreciated the lore and culture behind it. She nodded and slid a book across the counter.

“I’m going to tell you a story while I made your latte, and you can take a look at this book.”

It was a worn book of absinthe recipes, and her story was about how she met a professional magician in San Francisco some time ago, and it turned out he was one of the authors of this absinthe book but she didn’t find out until afterward and was bummed that she missed her chance at getting the book signed. Apparently, she and her friends have thrown many parties around this absinthe book so it’s very special to her and all I kept thinking was, “How do I ingratiate myself into her circle of friends?!”

Anyway, her story was captivating and culminated in the fact that her realtor friend called her up and said, “You’ll never guess who I sold a house to” and it was THE MAGICIAN – he’s moving to Pittsburgh and bought some huge house on the north side, and so the realtor friend invited Lori to lunch with him and he signed Lori’s book; she showed it to me and it said, “Let’s throw a party” so she is freaking throwing a party in his mansion and I can’t remember the last time I was this stoked for someone I barely know!

There isn’t an actual date yet but I told her I’m going to troll Prestogeorge’s until it finally happens so she can tell me all about it! I love hearing about people obsessing over obscure things and then getting starstruck over something that most people would think nothing of. This is how I felt when PAUL EUGENE the Gospel Aerobics guru emailed me a Valentine and yes I realize it was just because I signed up for his newsletter, but maybe I’m the only one he sent it to! LEAVE ME TO MY DREAMS!

I walked out with my cinnamon latte and realized that the tightness in my chest was gone. Maybe human interaction is actually….THE KEY?! Ugh.

 

Jan 142019
 

Saturday night, Wendy and I (fine, and Henry too) went to a going-away party for our friend and former co-worker Amber aka AG1, the Original Amber of the Law Firm. Aside from the horrible service at Bubba’s Gourmet Burgers (owned by one of the long-time local radio personalities here and I have HALF A MIND -shut up – to call his dumb radio show and tell him that his restaurant sucks; he was actually there that night too and I was not even the slightest bit excited to see him), it was really nice to see Amber for what might be the last time in a while since she is moving to ALABAMA.

The last time I checked, ALABAMA AND PENNSYLVANIA ARE NOT THAT CLOSE TO EACH OTHER!

I started to tear up immediately when I saw Amber because I am a weak human being even though I’m all, “ROAR ROAR ROAR I HATE PEOPLE.” It’s called a defense mechanism, OK!? But then Amber pointed out that she and her husband are only going to be 4 hours away from DOLLYWOOD so now the plan is to MEET THEM IN PIGEON FORGE AND HAVE ALL OF THE FUN. I told her husband this when we were leaving.

“We’re going to Dollywood!” I cried, and then I realized he thought I meant just me and Henry so then I explained that WE ARE ALL GOING TO DOLLYWOOD and he was like, “Wow…”

He was excited, I think.

Anyway, I thought it was funny that Amber referenced the two memories I wrote about in my card to her before she even opened the card, so I guess they really were solid memories! Usually I am the only one who latches on to a moment and then the other party is like, “I sort of remember that?” and it is crushing. CRUSHING. One of those memories was the time we had a Chinese Auction in the department in 2015 and you know what, I like this memory so much that I am going to reshare it here and not just because I’m looking for a cop-out because designing and marketing new Valentine cards has me mentally drained except that’s 90% why.

So here you go, a blast from the blogging past, from my archives to your eyeballs.

***********

 

See also: Waffle Whining

****

In order to raise some extra money for the food drive that the Law Firm is currently embroiled in, our department had a Chinese Auction yesterday. I don’t normally pay attention to these things because most of the items donated always seem to be things I wouldn’t ever use, like spatulas and laundry baskets. (These are standard Chinese Auction things, right? I honestly never look!)

I can tell you for sure that I didn’t bother to participate the last time this happened because I was still in my old position here and pouting literally every day. I remember hearing sounds of mirth and camaraderie coming from my work friends on the Other Side as they admired all of the wares and bought tickets, which made me slump in my chair and cross my arms over my chest. It was Dark Days back then, friends.

And honestly, I probably still wouldn’t have given a shit this time around either, except that I accidentally noticed it.

The best prize in all of the land.

A waffle maker.

I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED A WAFFLE MAKER! Henry is always “eh” about it when it comes up because he knows that I’ll be having him make some lavender fig chia seed monstrosity stuffed with some out of season exotic fruit that needs to be special ordered from a treetop garden in Tasmania.

And not that it comes up a lot, but I do read some bohemian lifestyle blogs for some reason even though I am neither Bohemian nor lifestyle, and they sometimes post photos of post-night, ante meridiem recipes (also known as: breakfast) for their fancy waffle maker sisterwives to say things like “amaze” and “so much yum” to on Instagram. Waffles are the shit. Waffles over pancakes any day. (Only because pancakes often make me sick, though.)

Our new admin person, Carrie, was the point person for the Chinese auction, so after digging out a crumbled dollar bill from my jacket pocket, I strutted to her desk and proudly thrust it at her in exchange for a ticket. Glenn, having heard my cries of waffle ecstasy, bought FIVE TICKETS and said he was going to put them all in the waffle maker raffle bag! AND THEN APPROXIMATELY EVERY OTHER PERSON IN THE DEPARTMENT DID THE SAME.

AND THEN GLENN BOUGHT FIVE MORE TICKETS!

This waffle maker was a hot commodity. I felt a little relief knowing that there were two of them being auctioned off, at least. Two winners. MAYBE I WOULD BE ONE.

But then something terrible happened. Amber AG1 declared that she too wanted to win the waffle maker. This could ruin our friendship, I thought to myself nervously.

And then LOU bought some tickets from Carrie and I overheard him tell her that he wanted the waffle maker and I got so enraged. He’s already my least favorite analyst! (Don’t worry, he knows. I told him.)

“They’re both broken,” I shouted, trying to deter him. He just laughed and walked away with his Cheater Tickets and I was 100% wringing my hands at this point. Literally everyone wanted the waffle maker. Who even knows what else was over there! WAFFLE MAKER.

Glenn spent the rest of the day taunting me mercilessly. He said if he won, he was going to sell it, just not to me. Meanwhile, Amber was way more upbeat about her desire to win and was over at her desk practically singing “I want the waffle maker” to the tune of New Kids On the Block. This was in stark contrast to how  I was expressing myself, which was by moping, whining, and panicking about my odds all day.

I just knew I was going to lose. I never win these things!

Stop pouting, I told myself. Maybe out loud, even. The drawing hadn’t even started yet and I already had myself losing. I went outside for a walk to cool off a little, and I called Henry.

“Never mind,” I said with a big sigh as soon as he said hello.

“Never mind what?” he asked tentatively.

“Just forget it,” I sighed Eeyore-ishly.

“WHAT DID YOU DO?” he asked.

“IfIwonawafflemakerwouldyouuseit?” I blurted out in an auctioneer’s cadence.

“I mean, I guess,” Henry slowly answered, waiting for the other shoe to fall. And then I started gushing about the day’s events, and how I remembered that I actually brought my wallet that day and I had FIVE MORE DOLLARS to buy more tickets, and then Wendy felt so much pity for me that she put a ticket in the waffle maker bag too, even though she has a scar on her arm from a hotel waffle iron and basically never wants to look at one again, and then I begged Gayle to put in a ticket for me, too, and she originally said no but then I was like GAAAAAAYLE!!! and so she did it and OMG I’M GOING TO LOSE AREN’T I?!

Henry didn’t have much to say about this. Apparently, when I call him at work, he’s actually working, and doesn’t have “time” to care about my “problems.”

Back in the office, Carrie sent out an email saying that the first drawing was going to happen at 2:30. Glenn was all Glennish about this because he leaves at 2:30 everyday. I could barely hear his bitching overtop of my own pitiful wails of, “I WANT THAT WAFFLE MAKER SO BAD! I’M GOING TO PEE MY PANTS! OMG MY STOMACH HURTS.”

“Oh Jesus Christ, if I win the waffle maker, you can have it,” Glenn mumbled, slapping his tickets on my desk on his way out.

“SERIOUSLY?!” I cried.

“Yeah. I don’t want to have to hear about it if you lose,” he grumbled. I wonder what he put his other tickets in for. Probably this old army lunch box thing that someone donated.

At 2:31, Sue came over with two bags and had Carrie and Allison pick a ticket out of each one.

One of them was for the first waffle maker.

I was bouncing from foot to foot in anticipation, clutching all of my tickets in my hands. (The winning number for each item was emailed to the whole department, so no one but me bothered to actually go over and watch this happen.)

Allison drew in her breath and turned away from me a little.

“What?” I asked nervously.

Then Carrie looked at the ticket that Allison drew and she made a strangulated noise as well.

“WHAT? IS IT MINE?!” I yelled, knowing that it probably wasn’t because they didn’t know what numbers I had. So it must have been someone who wrote their name on the back. OH GOD PLEASE BE GLENN! I prayed. And then I felt gross for rooting for Glenn.

“It’s Amber,” Carrie said quietly.

DON’T BE A SORE LOSER, ERIN. GO SIT DOWN AND BE A GROWN-UP, ERIN. THERE IS STILL ANOTHER WAFFLE MAKER, ERIN.

Amber was so happy that she won, and I wanted to be happy for her too! I really did! When she walked past me to claim her prize, she stopped cheering and said, “Aw, but I feel bad!”

“IT’S FINE,” I tried to say in a happy, supportive tone but it came out through gritted teeth because OMG WHY AM I SUCH A BRAT. “I never win anything anyway, so I’m used to it,” I added just in case I hadn’t already come off as an industrial-sized, leaking douchebag.

WHY AM I SUCH A CRYBABY. There were no less than 87 moments that day when I floated outside of my body and looked down upon myself, frowning in disappointment. I guess, at least I’m aware?

A few minutes later, I went to get something off the printer and ran into Carrie, who was making copies. “Hey,” she said. “If you don’t win the other one, I’ll bring one in for you. I have one in my kitchen that I never use, and I swear you can have it. It’s not as fancy as this one, but it’s still good.”

And at this moment, I realized that I needed to stop thinking of Carrie as “Barb’s Replacement” because she is an awesome lady in her own right and has seamlessly fit right into our department in less than two weeks. CARRIE, YOU CAN STAY.

Seriously, that was a really touching moment. Until you remember that this was all over A WAFFLE MAKER.

A.WAFFLE.MAKER.

I mean, waffles are the motherfucking jam, but are they worth this much drama? Probably not. But I was already up to my neck in it. Now I had to see this through. I shouldn’t have let myself drift off into all of the daydreams about opening a waffle stand in my front yard, mass-producing edible Frisbees (Waffbees? Frisfles?), costing Henry an arm and a leg in upscale waffle ingredients and a camera upgrade because you can’t eat fancy waffles without photographing it on a stained pallet surrounded by baby’s breath and monogrammed-stamped baby forks.

I was really getting ahead of myself. Goddammit.

Throughout the afternoon, more drawings took place, but there was so much time in between each one that it felt like when you’re taking a test in school and all you can hear is the methodic, amplified ticking of the clock.

Wendy ended up winning the weird army lunch box thing, and I have no idea why she even put in any tickets for that. It was probably just her against Glenn. And then Patrick basically won everything else because he’s a baller and bought like an entire spool of tickets.

Todd came back from lunch before the final waffle maker was won, and he asked me with faux-interest if anyone had won them yet.

It was hard to push the words out around my big, pouty bottom lip, but I somehow mustered the strength to tell him that Amber had won the first one.

“All that was missing was the trumpets,” I said melodramatically, and Todd started laughing. And then he said something along the lines of, “There, there. You still have one more chance.”

Right before the end of the day, Sue walked over to Amber’s desk with the waffle maker ticket bag and told her since she won the first one, she had to draw the ticket for the second.

“Oh no, Erin’s fate is in my hands!” she said, and I was so nervous that I got up and walked around. I DIDN’T EVEN WANT TO KNOW, YOU GUYS.

Sue gave the drawn ticket to Carrie, who in turn sent out the email to the department. I figured it was going to be Patrick, since he had a billion tickets in each bag.

And then I heard, “OMG I WON THE SECOND ONE TOO!”

My first reaction was: WAH!

My second reaction was: OMG CAN I HAVE IT!!!???

“Can I give it to Erin?” Amber asked Carrie, who shrugged and said she didn’t give a basic fuck.

“SERIOUSLY?!?!?!” I screamed as Amber passed it off to me like the goddamn Olympic torch.

“Yeah, I don’t need two!” she laughed. “Now we can both have one!”

AND THAT IS HOW WE WERE ABLE TO LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

Allison was just like, “Wow. What a relief.” I keep forgetting that she is still relatively new. We must look like a gang of fucking imbeciles to her.

“Wait. There’s something I have to do,” I said, and I walked over to Lou’s office with my waffle maker. “I just wanted you to see what I looked like holding the waffle maker,” I gloated, and he kind of hung his head a little and told me I’m mean.

SORE LOSER AND SORE WINNER. That’s me.

But don’t feel too bad for Lou, because the last drawing of the day was for the biggest prize of all: a hug from Ethan, who absolutely hates hugs. And Lou won! He seemed happier with that than he would have been with a waffle maker. Me? I preferred the waffle maker because I, too, hate hugs.

IMG_4250.JPG

Here’s a picture of my reflection while waiting for the elevator, with my WAFFLE MAKER IN MY ARMS! Amber, you are the best! We should have a waffle party!

****

When I got into the car after work, Henry did one of his patented mirthless-laughs and shook his head. “Great,” he mumbled.

I quickly relayed the day’s events to him and he said, “Were you a sore loser? Why am I asking. I know you were.”

Later that night, Henry, upon realizing that he had never even heard of the brand, googled the company’s name and discovered that it doesn’t even exist outside of eBay.

Buy It Now: $6.95.

I bought $6 worth of tickets, and I probably would have had to also pay for shipping, so all in all it’s still a deal if you ask me.

“It’s probably going to burn down the house,” Henry mumbled.

I’m going to use the FUCK out of this thing. And by that, I mean that I’m going to search the FUCK out of the Internet for waffle recipes to send to Henry.

****

In case you were wondering how the winning hug played out, here’s a video! A group of us gathered around noon and formed a big circle around Lou and Ethan, so it was like they were inside of a hug while hugging. It was fucking precious.

Apologies to all of my co-workers who probably have a waffle aversion after all of this. It escalated pretty quickly.

I can only imagine how disgruntled this waffle ordeal would have made the other Amber if this happened before she went on maternity leave. I can practically hear her saying, “Oh for God’s sake!”

Dec 212018
 

Not even going to front, this is going to be a quickie because I was terrorized by Friday Night Late Shift and then immediately after I made the poor choice of going grocery shopping with Henry and he dragged me to not one BUT TWO different stores and I feel emotionally battered right now.

Anyway, I meant to share these pictures earlier in the week because it was part of my “Convince Yourself You’re Into Xmas” exercise. Christmas decorations really do get me going, though.

These trees are what greets you as soon as you get off the elevator on our floor. Our director Sue decorates every year and these trees have been in her winter holiday arsenal for at least as long as I’ve worked there, but she usually would just set them out around the department in clusters of three. This year though she put them in military formation and I actually felt attacked when I came to work the day they made their debut.

Everyone had something to say about them, from Melania Trump comparisons to musing that they multiplied (seriously, did someone spill water on them?!)

One of the guys from Accounting moved two of them ever so slightly just to screw with her and then the next day, a bunch of us gathered in the elevator bank to take a clandestine group photo amidst the trees that I later turned into a Christmas card from all of us to Sue because she seriously spoils us and we thought it would be cute to surprise her with something personal like that. But it turned into A Thing because she was supposed to leave the floor for a meeting at the time I told everyone to meet in the elevator bank, but then she ended up staying in her office to take a call, and her office is like RIGHT NEAR THIS AREA so we were definitely running on borrowed time.

We had the trees all over the place and tried our best to put them back in place (Regina said someone had three red trees next to each other and she was like, “Come on, Sue would never let that happen!” lol!) but the next day, Nate said he was getting out of the elevator with Sue and said, “Looks like Andrew was messing with the trees again. I’m just gonna let him do his thing.” LOL!

Anyway, here is what the card ended up looking like. I whited out the faces of most people because I said I wouldn’t share this on the Internet so I’m mostly honest!

Wendy wasn’t there the day we took the picture so I had her text me a picture of herself waving and I stuck her back there by a tree, and Lauren was actually the one who took the picture but I made her send me a picture of her head so I could stick her in there too. The inside says “we’d be lost in the woods without you” lol gag but it’s so true! One of my coworkers asked me where I had it made and I was like, “….I made it?” because hello I have made cards for work-purposes before and she was like, “OMG you could make money off this! You should be on Etsy!” and I was like, “….I am…?” Lol, I GUESS YOU HAD TO BE THERE but it was pretty funny.

In my head.

Meanwhile, SOMEONE put a creepy vintage Santa in one of the trees and guess who keeps accused?

YEAH, ME.

It’s not me, though! But I know who it is…

Meanwhile, back outside, this huge ass tree goes up every year but I love it because the ornaments are so 1950s-ish and I bet Christmas was cool back then, before kids cried about wanting V-Bucks for Fortnite and whined about BB guns instead, or whatever, and moms wore aprons and used actual butter dishes.

(I had to ask Henry, “What do you call those dishes people put butter on? Butter dishes?”)

This big tree in in front of some big building. The county building or something?

ONE OF THOSE ORNAMENTS SAYS BROOKLINE. I live in Brookline.

Anyway, that’s my holiday picture post. Now I have to go back to watching Winner videos on YouTube.

 

Dec 062018
 

It’s that time of year again when everyone is stressed to the max about Christmas hoohaw so why not add in some additional holiday stress at work too!? I was thinking about what my team should get Boss Amber this year and instead of just being normal and buying a card at the store and stuffing it with a giftcard or something, I decided to make her work for it.

LET ME BACK UP.

This past year, we started using Docusign in our department and my group acts as the backup for the people who usually send shit through it. Since we use it so irregularly, it’s a pain in the ass for us and we are all very vocal and crybabyish about it. It’s just one of those things, you know? Every job has one! Anyway, Boss Amber is always annoyed with it too whenever she has to use it so I thought, “WHY DON’T WE SEND HER XMAS CARD THROUGH DOCUSIGN” and my work friends were like WHY ARE YOU SUCH A JERK, BUT YES LET’S….WAIT, HOW. Don’t worry – I made it work and then I forced them pose for a totally cringey picture (my original idea was to buy a nice frame and put a giant picture of us in it for Amber’s desk but that was meant with a a barricade of frowns) which we we planned to send her today before our holiday lunch, along with a gift card, through Docusign.

Glenn’s wife Amanda took this for us! Glenn was actually on his way out for the day because he was sick but here I am, forcing the guy to tangle himself up in garland in the cold weather first. Anyway, I wasn’t satisfied with how the garland looked in this so I demanded a do-over.

Lauren was like, “Should we be….touching each other?” Amanda was like, “I mean, do you want to?” We all just looked at each other, like, “Nah” and continued standing together like strangers. Look, we have boundaries, OK.

This was the final version, a motherfuckin’ Cringemas miracle. Carrie was like, “Did you come up with that? I thought so” – lol. I photoshopped that Jethro Tull record into Glenn’s hand because one time he sent me Jethro Tull videos and said, “This is what real music is” and I have been making offhand comments about it ever since, in fact, I just made one last week and he told me that I should really consider letting it go.

Never.

My thought bubble says that because it’s what I’m always saying on Monday except not just in my head, but out loud to everyone who will listen. One time Amber was off on a Monday so our meeting was canceled and I was so happy BUT THEN SHE RESCHEDULED IT FOR THE NEXT DAY.

Now I’m questioning why I put together this Xmas gift for her!!

Anyway, I added the picture of us to a word doc and put something like “We hope you have a great Christmas __________” so that when Amber electronically signed it, it would complete the sentence with her Docusign signature.

We all signed it (via Docusign, so our signatures are all weird and formal) and then once that was complete, we all ran outside of Amber’s office and waited for her to get her notification. When I heard her say, “What the hell is this?” I knew the game had started!

So now we were all crowded around her office, laughing at our brilliant idea, and I noticed that she HADN’T SIGNED IT YET because she was too busy smiling at the picture so I had to force her to complete the process and she was just like, “WOW.”

Yes, Amber. WOW. I did that.

We also “spruced” up (OH HO HO HO) Dead-Again Bob Ross and used this as the picture for the Amazon gift e-card.

God, we’re such great minions.

Then today was our holiday lunch (which Todd didn’t know about until Amber sent an email telling us when to meet at the elevator bank, lol) and I was so excited because we went to the Yard and they have the Impossible Burger now and I have been dying to try that except  I guess not that urgently because I’ve known for a while now the various places around town that has it on the menu but am super lazy and ambivalent when it comes to food.

Clearly.

Anyway: worth it!

And after that, we went over to Santa’s House to have our now-traditional picture taken with the Big Guy! Everyone thought they were off the hook since we did this last year, but Cathy moved back to Pittsburgh from Harrisburg since then so we had to get an updated picture with her in it!

Everyone was grumbly about it but brought out their best (forced) smiles when it was time for the picture. Amber and Cathy were not thrilled about having to sit on Santa’s knees but the “photographer” was like, “I can’t fit everyone in the shot” and it’s like, “Maybe….turn the camera then?” They kept telling me to lean in and now that I’m looking at this, I don’t understand why I had to lean in.

Anyway, it’s awkward and cute and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Nov 082018
 

It’s been a minute since I regaled this cobwebbed corner of the internet with stories from my dumb lunch break walks, but autumn has officially blanketed the city so I felt inspired to get snap-happy.

The blue skies have been very welcome after the dreariness we’ve been experiencing here in Pittsburgh, and I’m not just talking about the weather. Anyone here who says that Synagogue hasn’t affected the city clearly never leaves their house because the atmosphere downtown last week was solemn and at times just straight up electric with anger.

I witnessed two men verbally arguing about Trump, in front of the August Wilson Center, to the point where one of the men was chest-butting the other guy and screaming, “COME AT ME.”

The next evening, I was walking through Market Square after work and stumbled right smack in the middle of an argument about profiling between a small crowd of strangers. One of them screamed, “I’M A JEW!” and another one spat back, “SO AM I!” while the Christmas Market was being assembled several yards away.

‘Tis the fucking season.

Another day, I was walking back to work when I was approached by a middle-aged man. I saw it coming, he had that look of desperation and I have the look of GULLIBILITY, so I wasn’t shocked when he veered toward me.

“Excuse me, ma’am, can you do me a favor?” he asked.

My reflexes are so terrible in these situations because I always feel like I’m damned if I do, etc etc. Of course I always want to ignore these solicitors but at the same time, I’m afraid of angering the wrong person, so I generally at least pretend to be nice for a few seconds.

I figured he was just going to ask for money, because that’s what it always is if it isn’t the extremely rare request for my phone number from someone who is clearly blind. So I figured I would save him his whiskey-breath by shrugging and saying, “I’m sorry, I don’t have anything.”

Usually this works! But not on this day. As I turned to walk away, this ballsy man said, “Come here” as he grabbed me by the sleeve of my coat and attempted to pull me toward him!? OH BITCH HELL NO DO I NEED TO GET SCRAPPY?!

I wrenched my arm back until the fabric slipped from his fingers and, still trying to be SOMEWHAT POLITE because GOD FORBID A WOMAN DENIES A MAN SOMETHING, I said I was late for work an proceeded to walk backward because I was afraid to take my eyes off him. Women get stabbed for shit like this everyday, you never know what you’re dealing with out there!

He just kept talking, too! I think he even said he liked my leg warmers?! Like them all you want, just NEVER TOUCH ME AGAIN, GOOD LORD.

I came back to work and was SHOOK. I went straight to Lauren’s desk and told what happened and only then did I realize that it  had upset me so much that I was near tears. I just kept thinking about all the ways that could have taken a turn for the worse.

However! Yesterday, I had quite the opposite experience. I was walking across one of them there bridges, headed back toward the office, when a man about my age stopped before passing me.

“Excuse me, are you from here?” he asked.

HOO BOY, HERE WE GO.

Like a moron, I said yes. For someone who hates people, I sure fucking engage with them willingly. #ContraryMary

“What’s the white building over there?” he said, pointing at something across the river. I braced myself but when I saw what he was pointing at, I was like YES I KNOW THIS. I KNOW THIS!!

“Oh, that’s um, the uh…convention center,” I said with zero conviction because I couldn’t remember the name of the convention center but at least I knew that it was a shelter for conventions!!! It’s also the biggest eyesore in downtown Pittsburgh, if you ask me, but no one ever does.

“Oh, that makes sense,” he said. “And what about that?” Now he was pointing a different direction, toward Mt. Washington.

Shit.

“Um, I think those are just condos?” I said, my tone the verbal embodiment of a shrug.

“And there’s a casino here, right?” he asked, like I was wearing some ASK ME ABOUT PGH sandwich board.

Now I felt like I was on some hidden camera quiz show.

I knew the general direction of the casino, so I felt like I was doing well, a lot better than the time the in-a-hurry businessman from NYC stopped to ask me where to catch a cab.

LOL, IN PITTSBURGH? Good luck.

Anyway, turns out this dude’s name is Adam and he came here from Vancouver for the dumb Steelers game which is tonight I guess, and I only know that because I accidentally walked to the dumb Heinz Field and got trapped in a mess of tents, some dumb THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL stage being set up, and people being excited about dumb football. This was actually where I was walking back from when I ran into Adam.

His friend’s flight wasn’t until later that afternoon, so he was killing some time by walking around the ‘Burgh when he ran into the city’s worst tour guide. He said that Pittsburgh was bigger than he thought (it’s small, you guys) and he thought it was “very nice.”

I did tell him about the incline on Mt. Washington though, because I do think that’s a thing that all visitors should do when they come here because who doesn’t like a good view of a city, you know? It’s our version of a sky tower, I guess. But Adam kept wanting to think  that the track I was pointing to was steps, so he was like, “Oh OK and so you can walk up that hill…” and I was like, “NO IT IS LIKE A FUNNICULAR, ADAM, YOU RIDE ON IT, PLEASE TRY TO KEEP UP.”

It was almost as bad as the firsts time Bill & Jessi visited and Bill was 110% convinced that the Incline was literally someone’s house that drove up and down a hill all day long. I think he’s the one that I also had convinced was going to go super fast like a rollercoaster whenever we were about to board.

I might not be a verified tour guide, but I am a verified motherfucker.

Adam and I shook hands and I was starting to walk away when he called my name with urgency.

SHIT, PLEASE DON’T ASK ME THE NAMES OF THE RIVERS. PLEASE DON’T ASK ME THE NAMES OF THE RIVERS. I’LL HAVE TO PHONE A FRIEND AND THEN THEY’LL THINK SOMEONE DIED BECAUSE I NEVER PHONE A FRIEND.

“What’s that sandwich place that everyone here likes…?” he asked, and I laughed to myself because I was literally just telling my friend Kyoung from Korea about this that morning in our Kakao chat when we were talking about food that our cities are known for.

(Of course, his town is known for legit dishes and I’m like, “I dunno…a sandwich that comes topped with fries and coleslaw?”)

“Oh, Primanti’s,” I laughed knowingly, like it was some inside Yinzer joke but it’s not because Primanti’s has expanded to like, dumb Ohio so it’s not exactly a secret.

Of course then he wanted to know how to get there and I wasn’t sure if there is one in Heinz Field because I have never been there because I don’t like football or anything else that would ever happen there unless it’s like, The Cure or a Kpop festival which will likely never happen. So I gave him weird arm-twisty directions to the one in the Strip because I think that’s like, the original?

And then he asked me what I get when I go and I started cracking up big time because this guy has no idea what a half-assed Pittsburgher I am, man.

“Well, I don’t eat meat, so I would just get cheese. But other people, um, get ones with lots of meat, I think,” was my super convincing answer. And actually, I have only gone to Primanti’s twice in probably 20 years because it does nothing for me.

I came back from my walk and went straight to tell Todd about my encounter because he loves listening to stories about me awkwardly interacting with strangers, and I knew he would think it was even more special that the conversation was about Pittsburgh Things.

“Well, if you were really on a game show and the question was ‘Most Popular Primanti’s Sandwich,’ you’d probably want to say pastrami,” Todd said and honestly it’s been so long since I was in the meat game that I can’t even think of what pastrami is so that’s what Henry and I talked about last night when he picked me up from work: how pastrami is not Pâté  (literally I was picturing a Primanti’s pâté  sandwich and couldn’t understand why that would be the most popular?!) and how Adam picked the wrong motherfucker to get insider tourist tips.

*******************

Bonus “reporting from work” fodder:

I went to visit my old area today for some Chatty Time.

“I was thinking earlier about how Glenn used to choke all the time for attention. Does he still do that?” I asked, since I don’t sit over there anymore to keep track and also Glenn was gone for the day so I couldn’t ask him to his face.

“Yeah, but I don’t think he’s doing it for attention,” Todd said, in full White Knight regalia. “In fact, he was actually choking earlier and I thought to myself, at what point do I step in?”

“That’s because he eats peanuts!” I cried, not willing to give up any pity. “Look, he has a huge industrial-sized jar on his desk right now!”

“Are you talking about how Glenn is going to choke to death someday and I’m not going to know?” Lauren said, pivoting in her chair.

“Ugh, he totally fakes it!” I cried, and Todd was behind me shaking his head at the camera. “Remember that one time I asked him if I could NOT get him a glass of water?” I asked. CLASSIC ERIN.

“I always feel really bad when it happens!” Lauren said, because she is a good person.

“One time, I told him to stop because it was annoying me,” I said with a shrug, and Lauren was like, “ERIN OMG!” Hahaha, I’m the best.

They totally miss me sitting over there.

Sep 052018
 

Wow it’s been a while. Truth be told, if I don’t have my stupid reusable straw with me, I just won’t stop for coffee, and that’s nearly every day so that’s really saving me some money.

I was super excited last week when I stopped in Prestogeorge’s and saw that their special flavor was maple because maple is my favorite latte flavor, do you even know me. It always makes me thinks of going to Parker’s Maple Barn in New Hampshire with Alyson, where I learned that maple coffee existed and my life has never been the same. It’s my ultimate go-to fall flavor!

Every time I visit Presto, I am sucked right into the most comfortable small talk and generally, I am allergic to that shit, but those people there are so nice and not pretentious coffee dicks like at some places. So on this day, Laurie, the barista on duty, started talking to me about my apple tattoo and I was so happy that someone actually asked me what it was all about so I got to talk about being a bad apple, and she told me that she named her daughter Lilith and I felt like we really forging a bond here. I love talking about tattoos!

So as she was making my wonderful maple latte, some other broad came over to the register and was talking about how she’s so sick of young people being so obsessed with THINGS and all they want are THINGS and she kept saying THINGS with such disgust and contempt, and I started thinking about Chooch and his stupid Fortnite THINGS and felt myself getting all fired up like a typical old lady and then we started talking about how we want to bring back regular house phones and then IN THE AIR TONIGHT came on and motherfucker, I wanted to just pull up a chair and stay there for the rest of the day.

(Or at least until 4pm when they close.)

I went back yesterday and was excited because Laurie was working again but then CHER came over and yelled, “LAURIE GO TAKE YOUR BREAK” but Laurie was still making someone else’s drink so she was still hanging out while CHER made my latte and CHER was just not thrilled about anything that Laurie was doing, especially when she handed me my receipt and there was NO PEN at the register for me to sign BECAUSE LAURIE had moved it and I was like, “Look CHER I know that blush velour cold-shoulder top you have on is giving you all of the confidence right now, but can we lay off on Laurie because she’s cool as fuck” and also I didn’t really say that but I was thinking to myself that she looked like Matt Groenig had drawn her – her hair was pulled back into such a tight ponytail!

Her latte wasn’t as good as Laurie’s so that was my first mediocre experience there.

It was bound to happen.

Then last Friday, I swung by Crazy Mocha and there were different people in there than usual so I had major ordering anxiety for some reason and instead of the chai that I had intended on ordering, my eyes glanced at the pumpkin latte sign and I blurted it out and the guy who rung me up, a really sweet guy. started spouting off loudly about how I was their first pumpkin latte order of the season and do I really like pumpkin a lot, I must be so excited for pumpkin season, and I kept trying to interrupt to say that it was OK but kind of tired, you know, but it was too late because the sirens were going off and flood lights were swirling all around me while an overhead announcement was on repeat about how THIS BITCH IS BASIC. THIS BITCH IS BASIC. THIS BITCH IS BASIC. and the go behind the counter was going on and on about how soon they’ll have pumpkin biscooooooottttti, and pumpkin breeeeeeaaaad, and um, pumpkin mufffffffins and then the other guy was like HERE IS YOUR PUMPKIN LATTE, FIRST OF THE SEASON and I was like, “Thank you would you stfu please omg” and almost threw it straight into the garbage because my palate is now averse to pumpkin.

Then I had to walk past the weird urban campsite that was set up a block away – the strangest thing! A mixed bag of people were sitting in a semi-circle of wooden lawn chairs fitted with really old and dirty cushions, soda bottles all strewn about, and someone was in the middle of it all, sleeping on a mattress that looked like it had been pulled straight from a garbage truck.

“Maybe they’re protesting something,” Henry said when I described the scene to him.

“Uh, yeah, they didn’t look that ambitious,” I scoffed. It was so weird, they were taking up half the sidewalk right outside of a jewelry store, just lounging under a cloud of pot smoke.

They weren’t there yesterday so maybe a shop owner finally chased them away with a broom, who knows.

Today I went to Gasoline St. because I saw on their Instagram that the barista I didn’t like (he was like interacting with a potato and just really rubbed me the wrong way) left five days ago so I was like, “BYYYYYYYE ALEX” and then walked my ass over there because I have been crazing one of their foamy iced lattes. The girl who was working was super pleasant so now I’m excited to go here more often because anyplace that has cardamom lattes is a place for me.

Some older broad was there blowing her nose aggressively and started asking me questions about what I got and then had to walk over and look at the menu behind the counter because I guess she didn’t believe me?

“Oh yeah, there it is,” she said, satisfied with the results of her research.

She was still talking to me, but I was already walking out the door. I only do small talk at Presto.

And that’s the end of this pointless edition of lunch break coffee tales.

p.s. obviously:

Jul 022018
 

Boy, is this going to be an interesting blog post. It’s about SNACKS (three separate snack-related stories!) and WATER as the title suggests. Am I doing this blog-thing right or what?

  1. Birthday Snacks

We have one birthday celebration every month here in my department which is mostly just an excuse to get a sugar high while pretending to like each other. (J/K we’re all friends here.) I’m one of the birthday babies for this month so the new admin lady, Margie, emailed me and the two other people I’m forced to share the limelight with this month to see if we have any preferences for birthday treats. One of the other recipients on this email is GLENN because he had the audacity to be born in July too (he’s not cool enough to be a Leo like me, though), so I replied and said that I like cookies and brownies, and that Glenn doesn’t get an opinion. Margie thanked me profusely for teaching her something new (that Glenn doesn’t count). I’m sure he will eat the cookies and brownies and like it.

I’m always happy to help a new co-worker learn the ropes.

2. You Can’t Sit At Our Snack Table

One of the many great things about the head of our department is that she spoils us, and I mean totally pampers us, with a snack table. Now, I’m not talking about pretzel sticks and Saltines, OK. She makes us feel like royalty with a spread that may include fancy Cheez-Its (those Duo things that have two flavors in each bag!), Fig Bars (like the hipster, Whole Foods version of Fig Newtons and so insanely good), good granola bars, fruit cups, single-serving bags of Chips Ahoy and Teddy Grahams, etc. Legit snacks. Snacks that serve as status symbols in elementary school lunch boxes.

All of the snacks sit on a table by the door to our department, and facing that table is Debby, who has taken on the role of Snack Sentry because this table sits right outside of a conference room that anyone from the firm can use, so we often have “visitors” on our floor. (See also: the guys that come down from other departments to poop in our mens room.)

Remember when that guy came down here and thieved a bagel and I was like HE IS SO LUCKY THAT DEBBY WASN’T HERE TO SEE THAT? Well, last week, another guy came down and wasn’t so lucky.

Allegedly, he had come to our floor to see someone who was not in their office at the moment, so on his way back out, he hovered over the snack table and treated it like a buffet, taking AT LEAST TWO THINGS.

“Oh hello, who are you?” Debby asked sweetly, but I have been working here for 8 years and knew that she was currently weaving a web with that honey dripping from her mouth.

“Blank from Blippity-Boo,” the man answered. (LET’S NOT GET FIRED, ERIN.)

“Oh hello, Blank from Blippity-Boo. Just so you know, those snacks are just for our department,” Debby answered, calm and calculated.

Now Blank was approaching her. Where was this going to go!?

“I was just down here to see [someone],” Blank said.

“OK, but those snacks are still just for our department,” Debby reiterated.

By this point, our whole quadrant was pin-droppingly silent, hands pulled back from keyboards, waiting with bated breath. I was half-slid under my desk in case this guy pulled out a potato gun or something, who knows. He may have been down this snack-standoff road before.

And then, completely unpredictably, HE ASKED HER IF SHE WANTED HIM TO PAY FOR THE SNACKS.

This guy REALLY wanted those snacks.

“No, I just want you to put them back,” Debby said calmly, which is where we differ because I would have taken the money. Also, I would have definitely just let him take the snacks and then told on him later.

And so the guy returned the snacks to  the table (sadly, I never did see what his choices were) and then mumbled, “Please tell [person] I was here to see her” and then we all waited until we heard the ding of the elevator before laughing our faces off at our desks and then Debby was worried she was going to get in trouble for being snack-stingy but someone’s gotta put the smack down on snack scavengers from other floors, amirite?

Also I think this is hilarious because I used to be such a little freaking candy pilferer at one of my old jobs but at least I waited until all the daylight people went home before raiding other spaces.

Snack Table Epilogue: This morning, one of the IT guys was on our floor helping Debby with her laptop and then he went over to get some vittles from the that vixen of a snack table, and I braced myself because I like this IT guy a lot and didn’t want him to get yelled at, but Debby let it slide and told me later that she figured he’s been on our floor enough times that it was OK. I mean, he’s always down here fixing our computers so I would say he was a pack of peanut butter crackers, let the man eat, you know?

3. Snacks from the Sea

Before I left for KCON, I promised my work buddies that I would get some new K-snacks from the Pumpkin of International Horrors because we were going to stop at H-Mart on the way home. However, I forgot that H-Mart, of all Asian markets, is really lacking in the candy aisle. Most of the options were things that I have already brought in or things that were just too astronomically-priced (I have a price-cap on how much I’ll spend of that fucking pumpkin, OK).

One of the things I grabbed was what I thought was a bag of some sort of melon candy but then I got already back home to Pittsburgh and realized that I grabbed a bag that was in the wrong spot because what I actually bought was….

DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN.

Look, I love kelp. I love how it tightly bear-hugs rolls of kimbap. Dried laver sheets are my go-to snack. But the common factor here is: dried and savory. This kelp jelly was sweet and it’s not even that the flavor was horribly offensive, because it was very subtle (just a hint of sea, like the tag-line boasts up there), but it was the fact that the vehicle in which it was delivered was JELLY. It just felt wrong.

I brought them to work anyway and only told Lauren the secret flavor. She emailed me later and said she decided to try one and was OK until she got halfway through and couldn’t stop imagining that she was chewing on the ocean floor and had to spit it out.

I left one on Glenn’s desk while he was at lunch and the next day he was like, “THAT GREEN CANDY WAS DISGUSTING” except that it was less capslock-y and more monotone because Glenn’s volume doesn’t really ever vary.

So then I gave one to Todd but told him that it was one of the good chewy peanut things I also bought, and he was like, “But why is it green though” and I was like, “Because Korean, just eat it!” He was not a fan.

Lloyd loves them though! He said it reminds him of the kelp candy he used to eat as a kid where it was literally just dried kelp, already naturally salted, and then candied. The texture was brittle and dry, and THAT sounds like a kelp candy I could get down with it.

Speaking of Hmart, we grabbed some Korean pastries from the Tous les Jours bakery by the exit (basically a Korean twist on French pastries, cakes, macaron, etc and I miss those effing milk buns so much and all of the things stuffed with red bean, ugh) and G-Dragon was playing!

4. The Jug

Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows the struggle, especially when you’re doing so well and then you just plateau seemingly out of nowhere. For me, this almost always happens in summer, which is crazy because winter is so often associated with rich, hearty comfort foods, but what it boils down to for me is that I just don’t drink enough water. I always thought this was a myth when I was younger, like how important could water possibly be (there are still openings in my online nutrition classes, just Paypal me $1000).

But if I’m diligently logging the water I drink, I start to see results. However, I suck at that. For some reason, when we were coming home from Newark last week, I bought the biggest jug of water the gas station had in its cooler, in spite of Henry’s, “Really. REALLY?!”s and Chooch’s daring ribs of, “Lol, you’ll never drink all of that.”

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED MOTHERFUCKERS.

I did drink all of it, I’ll have you know. And then Saturday morning, I decided to try that again, because weekends are when I’m especially awful at drinking water, like I could go the whole day without drinking even a cup and would never notice until at the end of the night when I’m pissing for the first time and it’s dark orange.

So, Presidential Piss.

Yesterday, I was watching an episode of Why Not the Dancer when I started screaming because there was a scene where Taemin takes a break from working on his choreo and starts to chug-a-jug. “YOU GUYS IT’S JUST LIKE ME!” I cried and Henry was like, “That’s nice” and Chooch was seething because I had the audacity to lure him away from the computer just to show him that.

I MADE THIS:

Henry was like, “Oh wow, and it moves.”

Anyway, it’s in the 90s this week in Pittsburgh so I decided that I was going to take the jug to work with me because I need to stay hydrated. Henry was like, “Have fun with that, nerd” because I apparently look dumb lugging around this jug with me. As soon as I got to work, I was on the elevator with some girl from another floor. I could sense her side-eyeing me, judging me and my water jug that I had resting on my hip like a plastic gas station toddler, when she finally spoke.

“So, does that actually help you drink more water?” she asked, and at first I couldn’t tell if she was snarkin’ on my tactics, but it turns out she was genuinely curious and said, “Maybe I’ll try that, I really need to do SOMETHING” after we had a really nice convo about the Hydration Struggle. It was awesome! I texted Henry and he was like, “OMG.”

Here I am with my spirit animal Taemin in the background. #BigJugClub

Wendy saw the H2O vessel on my desk and yelled, “ARE YOU DRINKING OUT OF THAT?! I hate you.” And Sue seemed genuinely concerned that I might drown, to which I told her that becomes a real danger when I’m in the car and Henry is driving all jerkily.

Marlene and Debby caught me on my way back from my refill and Marlene was like, “THIRSTY MUCH” but then they were all GOOD FOR YOU without a shred of sarcasm when I explained what was going on and that was nice.

I was talking to Nate before I left for the day and he too commented on the size of my jug, which was back on my hip like I had just retrieved it from daycare. “How did you get anything done today!?” and the idea of wearing a diaper honestly did cross my mind at one point.

“I guess I didn’t think anyone would really notice,” I said to Henry after work.

“Really? You’re drinking out of  something that’s bigger than your head.”

I could tell that he literally meant my head, too, and not my ego.

Jun 212018
 

I have two lacerations (some might call them “just cuts”) on my right hand from a soju cap so that pretty much sums up my weekend. Anyway, that’s NEITHER HERE NOR THERE because today’s lowly anticipated blog post is about the latest exciting law firm happenings. I mean, the ones that I can share without getting fired, anyway.

THE LIGHTNING BUG

Debby found a lightning bug on her desk and I was like, “aw yay a lightning bug” and then she was like, “Should I take my shoe off and kill it?” and I cried, “NOOOOO!” but then thankfully Nate came out of his office, scooped the poor bug up into a napkin, and released it outside like a true superhero. I seriously had a heart-palp over this whole thing.

DOWN IN THE UNDERGROUND

(Huge bonus points to you if you heard David Bowie singing in your head when you read that.)

Before I went outside for my daily walk yesterday, I grabbed an umbrella from the Extra Umbrella Stash in a drawer behind Marlene’s desk. I just found out a year ago that this stash exists and then I got yelled at for telling other people without first making them do a Trust Fall, but all of the umbrellas are still accounted for, so I guess my work friends are trustworthy after all.

Even Todd!

Anyway, I grabbed an umbrella because according to my phone, it was probably going to rain at some point while I was out there, but the unfortunate part of the weather app is that it didn’t tell me that it wouldn’t matter if I had EIGHT umbrellas, it was going to be THAT kind of a rainfall.

And of course it started five minutes after I left the office. It came down so fast and hard, as though the sky literally split in half and God employing every industrial strength hose he could find in Heaven to give us a good tough reminder that he could flood us into extinction if WE DON’T STOP PUTTING KIDS IN CAGES.

I mean, it was raining hard, ya’ll.

I ducked into a parking garage for refuge and figured I’d just walk around in there for a bit to at least continue getting steps. I was on the phone with Henry during this, in case you need to check in and verify my story so far.

After about a minute, some older man in a red polo came over and asked me if I needed directions and I was like, “Nope, just hiding from the rain” and he was all “*hearty chuckle*” but then he asked me again, a few minutes later, if I needed help finding my car and I was like, “STILL NO, BUDDY” so I kept walking further underground to get away from him but then some guy was getting out of his car and following me and we were the only people down there on that level and I LOST CELL SERVICE–I thought for sure I was going to die, so I ran into the nearest stairwell and ran all the way back up to the first level where I bumped right into Red Polo Man again.

“Which building are you trying to get to?” he asked, so I told him and he frowned.

“Hmm, well, you can’t get all the way there underground, but you could get to the Gateway buildings across the street if you wanted to.”

“UNDERGROUND?!” I asked incredulously. I was totally perking up at this prospect.

“Yeah, if you go down a level, it’ll take you right under the street to those buildings over there,” he said, pointing out of the garage to the Gateway buildings across the street, which wasn’t getting me any closer to my office but hello, I wanted to walk underground, so I asked him for directions again and set off down the stairs and through a revolving door, which put me into this fucking creepy hallway:

There was some type of power fan that was on, filling the hallway with a loud blowing noise, and of course the only other people in there were questionable-looking men, so I thought for sure I was going to be on the news that night. Luckily, no one bothered me and I made it all the way through the winding walkway and through another set of doors, buy Red Polo Shirt’s directions didn’t go any further than “follow the hallway to the end” so I was like, “DOODOODOO WHICH WAY DO I GO, WHICH WAY DO I GO.” Every door had DANGER WARNING ALARM NOT FOR REGULAR PEOPLE written all over them and I was freaking the fuck out, man. Freaking the FUCK out.

Well, I’m a mole person, now. This is where I live, I thought to myself, shutting down and accepting defeat after 30 seconds because that’s my limit of resourcefulness.

But then some older lady in McDonald’s attire came from somewhere, a sewer maybe, I wasn’t watching, and I cried, “I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO GO.”

“You trying to go outside?” she asked in some type of European accent that I became obsessed with immediately. I nodded like a cartoon puppy being asked if he wants to go for a walk, and she said, “That’s where I’m going, gotta catch my bus, so you can follow me” and she put me onto an elevator WHICH I NEVER WOULD HAVE THOUGHT TO USE BECAUSE THERE WASN’T A SIGN THAT TOLD ME TO.

She pushed the button for the lobby and said, “They don’t make it easy to figure out how to get out of here,” and I wish I had recorded her saying that because no one is going to believe that this was so difficult.

The elevator dropped us off in the lobby of Gateway 3 and even then, I wouldn’t have known which way to go! Thank god for my new guardian.

By the time I got back to work, my clothes were soaked all the way through and I felt like shit for the rest of the afternoon.

But then Debby told me that she thinks you can also get to one of the trolley stations from under that parking garage so now I want to go back and explore this further.

#BAGELWATCH

Yesterday, Carrie ordered a bunch of bagels from Au Bon Pain and put them on the snack table. A little bit later, I emailed Glenn and Todd and told them that there were bagels there, because I wasn’t sure if they knew.

Todd replied and said he saw them but wasn’t sure if they were for a meeting or something, and I was like, “OK this is a valid quandary,” so I verified with Carrie that yes, they were there for the taking. She said she didn’t want to put them in the kitchen because then that left them vulnerable to non-departmental people who also use the kitchen on our floor.

Several other people started emailing me about the bagels because I apparently am The One Who Knows About the Bagels, and I was starting to think that maybe an email needed to be sent because the people on the other side of the floor might not ever see them, but just then, Debby suggested to Carrie that she should send an email so I was like OH THANK GOD because I hate sending departmental emails. One time, one of the ladies in another department on our floor came back from a meeting and brought extra sandwiches back with her and said, “Hey can you send out an email to your department and let them know these sandwiches are up for grabs?” and I re-wrote that fucking email for 15 minutes like it was a goddamn resignation letter and not just, “Hi Tracy says to help yourselves to the sandwiches by the kitchen.” By the time I was done, it basically just said “sandwiches. kitchen. get ’em.”

The first time I ever sent an email to the department was about the printer being down AND I SPELLED IT “PRINT” INSTEAD OF “PRINTER” IN THE SUBJECT LINE AND WANTED TO QUIT. Yes, that was 8 years ago and it still clearly keeps me up at night, FIGHT ME.

Anyway, Carrie was like, “Sue didn’t tell me to send an email but FINE I WILL SEND ONE” because she too knows the annoyances of sending all-department emails especially when you start getting snarky replies sent to you and it’s like ISN’T ‘DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER’ IMPLIED?!

Meanwhile, Todd was hashtagging this as #bagelwatch in his correspondence to me. He didn’t want to be the first one to get a bagel, and Carrie was like, “DON’T YOU DARE TAKE HIM ONE!” so instead I just emailed him and said, “COLLEEN JUST GOT A BAGEL. COLLEEN BROKE THE BAGEL SEAL. ALL CLEAR TO GET A BAGEL.”

By afternoon, the bagel situation had just about died down but then I happened to catch a glimpse of some STRANGER from another floor helping himself to one of our bagels! He even gave it a hearty smear of cream cheese like it ain’t no thang, like he wasn’t stealing the property of another department, like that wasn’t someone’s lunch he was scarfing, and then he took it into the conference room on our floor and ate it while talking on the phone and looking out the window!

I have no idea who that thief was but he is so freaking lucky that Debby wasn’t at her desk when that happened because she is the Guardian of the Snack Table and she has no qualms about telling passers-by to drop the Twinkie and back away from the table.

#bagelwatch indeed.

****

Well guys, that’s all for today. We leave tomorrow morning for KCON! It’s in Newark again (boo) but I’ll probably liveblog on the way there because I have been feeling so nostalgic for road trips lately!

P.S. Semi-work-related: Wendy and I had lunch at Villa Reale with BARB today and she said she’s impressed that I’m still obsessed with k-everything and that this might be the longest I’ve ever been obsessed with something and Wendy quickly interjected to say, “No–Jonny Craig” and then they both admitted that Taemin is super beautiful, the most gorgeous man in the whole world, even (well, second to Tom Jones, if you ask Barb).

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May 032018
 

*(I totally typed “Threats” at first which could easily be the case on any day.)

Three very important things happened today and I just couldn’t wait until the next bulletpoint post / word smorgasbord to tell you.

I mean, it’s not THAT great, but anytime anything even remotely exciting happens in my life, I’m pretty happy.

It all started last night when my favorite Pittsburgh ice cream joint posted on Instagram that, in honor of getting 10,000 followers, they were declaring today FREE CONE THURSDAY.

Just in their Market Square location!

Which happens to be right by my work!

I texted Amber and she was like YES so today we rallied our little group together and made a date for 2PM Free Ice Cream Cones. I emailed everyone the list of May flavors which Millie’s just released today and Glenn was like, “WHAT NO KIMCHI?!” I know, right?!

Anyway, I walked over to my old side of the floor at 1:58 to get everyone together and of course I was the only one ready! And then we had to wait for Amber to finish doing work stuff! Ugh! But eventually we all headed out together and everyone was so excited to be with me since I moved and now they don’t get to see my dumb face for 8 hours a day anymore.

And I was happy to be outside of work with real life people and hoped that some of the weirdos who are always slithering around out there would see and realize that I’m not just That Girl Who Walks In Circles Alone Downtown, but someone who actually has friends!

When we got to Millie’s, the line was out the door and down the sidewalk, which wasn’t surprising, but Amber was like, “Well, let’s just get in line and see how it goes” so we did and it actually moved pretty quickly! I mean, luckily for them, I was there to entertain them with my wildly riveting stories that they don’t get to hear everyday anymore.

I was so worried that people were going to cut in front of us and Amber and Lauren were like “You’re being silly” BUT THEN PEOPLE CUT IN FRONT OF US AND WHO IS THE SILLY ONE NOW?! I was so mad and I kept loudly saying, “Did those people cut?!” and Todd was like, “They sure did” and then Lauren was like, “Let’s distract Erin before she makes a shiv out of her plastic kpop keychains and stabs those poeple” so she started asking me questions about Mr. Small’s because she’s going to a concert there but I literally couldn’t stop staring at the people who cut and I was so afraid that they were going to get the last scoop of whatever flavor I wanted, and I didn’t even know what flavor I wanted yet.

“I FEEL LIKE I’M AT KENNYWOOD AND SOMEONE JUST LINE-JUMPED,” I seethed to Glenn and Todd who were both like, “It’s over now. Move on.”

But then we got inside Millie’s and Charlie Puth’s “We Don’t Talk Anymore” was on and I was like, “REMEMBER WHEN I SAW CHARLIE PUTH” and Lauren took this as her opportunity to make me forget about seeking revenge on the line-jumpers and said, “YES I DO! AND YOU WERE LIKE IN A SMALL ROOM WITH HIM TOO RIGHT” and then all was well. Thank god too, because I was almost as mad as I was the day before when I was on my lunch break walk and Henry mentioned something about golf on the phone and I flew off the handle about how golfers aren’t athletes.

“EXCEPT FOR ONE, AND YOU KNOW WHO I’M THINKING OF!” I cried.

“Phil Mickelson,” Henry sighed, because my Phil Mickelson obsession is something that he has been trying to figure out since like, 2004.

OMG, the rest of my day was pretty much ruined because of this. Thanks, Henry. Thanks, GOLF.

Um, back to Millie’s. Surprisingly, they still had all but one flavor left! I thought for sure we’d get there and they’d only have Golden Milk left, whatever that was. I kept wanting to call it Yellow Snow. But anyway, I got Yuzu Meringue, which was made with Asian citrus so it was the next best thing to Kimchi!

And it was sooooo good. There was a huge chunk of pie crust in it and you have no idea how much I love it when there is pie crust in ice cream.

Lol, I made them pose for this Team Building Ice Cream Cone picture and they were like, “For God’s sake, Erin.” BUT THEY DID IT.

Thank you, Millie’s, for having such amazing fan service! Or customer service. I keep forgetting that not everything is about Kpop.

Then later that afternoon, I was on my walk and saw Ovechkin, LOLOLOL:

In case you don’t know anything about hockey, he’s on the Capitals, and they are currently playing the Penguins in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He’s a huge rival of Sidney Crosby and Pittsburghers hate him.

AND THEN I CAME HOME AND KCON ANNOUNCED PENTAGON AS THE FINAL GROUP FOR KCON NEW YORK AND I STARTED CRYING!!!! They’re in my Top 3 favorite groups and I kept hoping they would be announced!!

However, if I’m able to get BTS tickets, there might be nothing left for KCON tickets. I mean, I guess I could always sell my plasma? Do people still do that? Being obsessed with things like I am makes life super stressful sometimes, haha.

This concludes my Three Thursday Treats blog post. I HOPE YOU ENJOYED IT.

Apr 122018
 

Guys. The weather is finally ripening, the downtown eccentrics are coming out of their hidey-holes, and I’m rearin’ to send off some postcards about them and whatever else might arise during my lunch break travels. So I’m bringing back Greetings From Erin’s Lunch Break! If you weren’t involved in this two years ago and now find yourself either itching to know what my handwriting looks like or maybe you want to remember what it feels like to get something in the mail that isn’t political propaganda or bills, then hit me the eff up with your home address, chingu!

butgavincantdance@gmail.com

Here are some examples of what you can expect (shit, there goes the mystique about what my lame handwriting looks like):

Maybe I’ll include a Korean word of the day! Maybe I’ll draw a picture of Glenn! YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU’LL GET because I’m a bored and pathetic girl with little else going on in life so I will put my all, my EVERYTHING, into a stupid postcard.

Also, coincidentally, I’m wearing the same thing today that I was wearing two years ago when some broad in a souvenir shop downtown took my picture and posted on her Pittsburgh Instagram about my project, lol:

DOESN’T THIS SOUND GREAT AND NOT AT ALL A WASTE OF A PERFECTLY GOOD POSTCARD AND STAMP? If so, send me your address and let’s get this postcard party started. I like leaving mail in the outgoing mail thingie at work because it makes me feel important.

And as always, if I have your address, I will probably send you a postcard whether you asked for one or not. Consider that a threat!

Mar 212018
 

This is likely going to be a super frenetic word slop because I’m leaving tomorrow morning for Korea and it’s really hard to focus on anything else. But I’ve been compiling some more downtown coffee joints to fake-review and I wanted to get this out there before I leave or else it will never happen and let me tell you, I struggled with some of these coffee shops! I DO NOT WANT MY PAIN TO BE IN VAIN.

I like to give myself missions when I’m on my daily walks. Sometimes I just need a purpose, whether it’s looking for my favorite homeless person, gagging at the river, exploring shady alleys. Sometimes it’ll be something like, “Take pictures of churches.” Anything to motivate me to get out of the office and walk, even on less luxurious-weathered days. Just a little pro-tip from me to you! Especially all you step-counters out there who need some motivation.

While it’s really tempting to just walk a block down the street and grab a latte at Crazy Mocha, I have been trying to see how many coffee joints are within a walkable distance for me, something close enough where I can get there, grab a quick coffee, and still make it back to work within an hour. So here are some recent options for anyone who works downtown Pittsburgh and maybe feels like ditching Starbucks for a day, god forbid.

  1. Fort Pitt Coffee

I’ve been here once before, after seeing people in the area walking around last summer with non-‘bucks coffee cups in their hands and I immediately opened up dreaded Yelp to see where the fuck they were coming from because lord knows I’m not going to JUST ASK SOMEONE. That’s what Chooch is for.

*[Side-note: the other night, I wanted to walk to the Payless that’s in the next town over from us. Henry and I had walked there the day before but one whole part of the front window had plywood over it and there was a sign taped to the door that said they were closed. I guess someone drove through the front of the store? I didn’t want to walk all the way there just to see they were still closed a day later, so I ACTUALLY LOOKED UP THE NUMBER AND CALLED. It’s a miracle, me using my phone to call someone other than Henry. I didn’t recognize the sound coming from the other end of the phone at first, and then I gradually realized that holy shit, it was a busy signal! It stayed busy for 30 minutes so I went upstairs and said to Chooch, “Hey Chooch, call Little Caesars (which is right next to Payless) and ask them, ‘Hey bro, how ’bout popping outside for a sec and letting me know if Payless is open?'” but Chooch said something like, “GOD NO I’M NOT DOING THAT!” So I took a chance and just walked there and lo and behold, it was open and I got a pair of shoes and one pair for free, too! I should have just went to Payless from the get-go instead of going through my Goldilocks shoe drama.]

(Oh, all of this was to say that sometimes Chooch says no when I ask him to ask someone about something.)

Anyway, I just got a plain ol’ latte and it was fine. The girl working wasn’t very memorable and then the owner came out to ring me up and he was pretty neutral as far as friendliness goes, which was funny to me because I follow this coffee place on Instagram and he acts like his coffee is God’s gift but he did nothing that day to assure that I’d be back again.

I mean, I probably will at some point, but if I was still doing Greetings From Erin’s Lunch Break, this would not make it into a postcard.

Although now that I see that iced raspberry chai on the menu….

2. Allegheny Coffee

This place is wonderful! I always thought it was too far out of reach for my hour-walks but I chanced it one day and still made it back to work with plenty of time to spare (I’m literally the only clock-watcher in that department. I’m sure I could go over my lunch break and no one would notice. BUT I WOULD NOTICE.). I’ve been there twice recently and the same girl was working both times – she was so friendly and made the whole experience more relaxed because if you’re like me, you get stressed to the max when trying to decide which particular coffee beverage you want at that particular moment.

Both times, I got seasonal specials: a King Cake Chai Latte, which had honey in it and it was DIVINE. I love chai lattes, it’s my go-to whenever I don’t feel like coffee. The second time, I was going to get that again because it was so wonderful, but then I saw a white chocolate strawberry latte and even though I rarely go for white chocolate or even mochas, the prospect of a strawberry latte was appealing to me because I don’t see them very often at my usual haunts. Oh, you guys, it was magic. It was like there was actual strawberry puree in there – it didn’t have that weird synthetic fruit taste that strawberry-flavored things sometimes carry. I had this Strawberry Shortcake doll when I was a kid, and if you squeezed her, she let out a puff of air that stunk of a laboratory strawberry, like a perfume for robots. Sometimes, strawberry-favored things taste like I’m eating that puff of fauxberry air.

The second time I went, the same girl was working and as I struggled to get my credit card out of my not-wallet, she was like, “OMG your wallet is so cute!” which was the perfect opportunity for me to tell her about how I had thought I lost it several days prior and how awkward it was to describe it to the receptionist at my work.

“I can’t believe you’re still telling people that story,” Henry sighed when I called him right after I left.

“She liked my story! She even laughed!” I yelled defensively. God, step off.

This place is definitely added to my list of “will return” coffee shops, which right now really only has Crazy Mocha on it because that place has such local flavor and rarely lets me down, no matter which location I go to, even though the coffee itself isn’t anything spectacular.

Oh, and there was a dog there one of the days I visited!

3. Colony Cafe

I have definitely mentioned this joint on here several times (and it’s one of the places I took Scott and Maya when they were visiting from Tennessee last October!) but it’s worth mentioning again because they saved my ass.

LET ME EXPLAIN.

It was one of the days I was working late shift, so I was out on my walk after 4pm. There was a new-ish place I wanted to try in the Strip call De Fer, and I even made sure to check their hours before heading in that direction. Their website said they’re open until 6 so I happily  (yeah right, I’m sure I was on the phone with Henry and scowling about something) set off to Smallman Street and got super excited when I found it because I suck at finding things. AND THEN I SAW THE SIGN ON THE DOOR.

It said they closed at 3 that day, SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE.

Too many of these signs have been inconveniencing me lately!

I knew if I walked up the street, Prima was there.

THEY TOO WERE CLOSED. I did the whole “tug on the door and involuntarily jerk back” movement because I wasn’t expecting it to be locked since the lights were on and someone was inside!

THE HORROR!

Allegheny Coffee was also a stone’s throw away, so I headed over there.

The door was locked.

ET TU, ALLEGHENE?

Now I was beginning to feel a bit crazed. PEOPLE STILL NEED COFFEE AFTER 4PM!

PrestoGeorge was a block away and I saw a gathering old men inside so I breathed a sigh of relief, but my confident door handle-tugging was met with resistance BECAUSE IT WAS LOCKED TOO.

This was clearly some kind of sick joke.

I needed coffee so badly at this point that I was in tears. Do I have a problem? YES BUT IT’S MINE NOT YOURS SO BACK OFF.

I mean, thanks for your concern.

But thank god, the last cafe on my way back out of the Strip was the Colony Cafe and I knew they would be open. God bless you, Colony. I don’t even mind too much that your small latte cost me more than a medium at Crazy Mocha, because I want to believe that some of that money is going to the cats.

Oh, did I forget to tell you that Colony is also a cat cafe? I’ve been there about 10 times but have never had the chance to play with cats because they’re in a separate loft area and you have to make a reservation. :(

Anyway, I also don’t mind paying more for coffee at this place because it’s damn good coffee and I have never had a sour experience with any of the baristas. All good eggs up in there!

4. De Fer

Which brings me back to De Fer. I was excited to try this place because their website was really spirited, full of mission statements and employee introductions. I like that. I walked in and immediately blanched at the strong yuppie vibes, but I shook it off because I’m trying to not let social groups deter me from enjoying a good coffee, you know?

And on this particular day, I definitely wanted coffee. Maybe a pour over? I wasn’t sure yet, but figured I’d just peruse the menu and see what struck me.

WELL I’LL TELL YOU WHAT STRUCK ME.

The “how dare you interrupt me from whatever busy-work I was doing behind the counter” glare that I got from the older gentleman barista. Wow, sorry to interrupt your Father John Misty fan letter-writing hour. Honestly, he couldn’t have sighed any louder while he loomed over me and rudely stared at me while I was trying to look at the menu. Sorry for being a first-time at your uppity cafe, motherfucker, but not ALL places have the same offerings! I wanted to ask him what they specialize in, or if there was something he recommended because I was feeling spontaneous, but he did not give off even a WHIFF of it being OK to speak to him further than placing an order.

So, I went with a fucking latte. I think it was actually lavender which is no big deal anymore because more often than not, a cafe has the syrup for that. But when I started to ask if they had soy, he cut me off and said, with 0 personality, “We don’t have soy. We have oat or almond.”

OAT. OAT? Are you fucking kidding me? I hate this place so hard. Go fuck yourself in a wash basin of oat milk, you pretentious milk-elitist.

The latte was expensive and only OK. I will probably not be back unless someone can guarantee that one of the avuncular-looking folk featured on the website will be there to take my order and/or hold my hand while I try something new.

Fucking oat milk.

(I ordered my latte with the oat milk.)

(I hate myself.)

5. Leaf & Bean

OK! My last cafe for this edition of Erin Drinks Too Much Coffee is Leaf & Bean, also in the Strip. It’s quite a ways away from my work, but it was worth nearly getting hit by a car in an alley as I flail-ran to get there in enough time.

The guy working also had zero personality/interest in smiling, however, I didn’t really expect much from him from the moment I walked in. He was like, if Henry was forced to be a barista. That’s the best way I can describe it. But, unlike the oat milk dick, this guy didn’t make me feel super small or like I wasn’t fancy enough to be there.

Besides, the aesthetics of this place totally negated the lack of rapport from the barista. The shop doubles as a cigar bar and it was like walking into some dark Havana boys’ club.

Reasonable prices, pretty standard offerings, but the ambiance is what made this place great. I’d like to go back sometime when I’m not on my lunch break and just hang out for a bit, not smoking a cigar.

Well, guys, that’s my latest cafe review for you. TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT. This ain’t Yelp.

Mar 122018
 

I don’t feel like writing an intro to this post about work but I guess I just did. LIFE IS FUNNY THAT WAY.

The Fig Bars

The department boss is way too good to us and keeps a table stocked full of delicious treats. She clearly knows that at the heart of it all, we are truly little children who can be comforted by snacks. It works, it really does. Usually she provides crackers, peanuts, little snack packs of cookies such as Oreos and Nutter Butters, granola bars…but lately, there have been these freaking delicious Fig Bars up in there too. They’re like hipster Fig Newtons, when I really think about it, but so damn good. I’m always complaining about how there need to be more in each package (THERE ARE ONLY TWO?!).

One day last week, Todd walked past my desk on his way back from shopping at the snack table. “These fig things are so good,” he said, which reminded me of their existence, so I felt that I needed to also get up and get one.

Imagine my horror when I rounded the corner to Snack World and the Fig Bar bowl was EMPTY. I didn’t want peanut butter crackers or a Twizzler! I wanted a FIG BAR and TODD took the LAST ONE!

Oh, there was hell to pay when I returned to my desk. I felt like he stabbed me in the back, like he was purposely planting that seed of WANT into my head, when I wasn’t even hungry now that I think about it!

The next day, Glenn was coming inside from lunch and mumbled that there were more Fig Bars out there, so Todd and I literally raced each other down the hall. I won, but the bowl was fully stocked so I don’t really know why we were racing.

Those things are just so delightful! Way better than Fig Newtons. The outer part is all grainy and nutricious-seeming.

I made sure to thank Sue on my way back to my desk because I want her to know that she should never stop providing them. Um, I think we all get more work done too whenever we eat them.

A few days later, I cut off Jeannie when we were both reaching for a Fig Bar at the same time, because I’m ruthless.

Hearing Loss

At our Monday meeting last week, Amber was telling us that our guest speaker wasn’t there that day because she had an ear infection.

“What?” Glenn asked.

After repeating herself, Amber jokingly asked, “Do you have an ear infection too?”

“No, but I honestly can’t hear out of my one ear,” Glenn explained, at which point I started bouncing in my chair, desperate to interrupt.

“IS IT BECAUSE YOU SAT TOO CLOSE TO THE STAGE AT WOODSTOCK!?” I squealed, dying with laughter.

“Oh my god,” Todd sighed, and then Amber had to explain to our co-worker, who was just put on speakerphone in the middle of my outburst, why I was choking to death on laughter. I don’t know why I thought this was so funny but I was doing everything short of patting myself on the back over it.

Later that night, I was trying to recreate the scene for Henry and I started crying because I was laughing so hard.

“It’s not even that funny, but still…” I wheezed.

“You’re right. It’s not that funny,” Henry agreed in that disapproving tone he reserves just for me and Chooch.

Confusing Calendar

A lot of people here hate my Korea countdown calendar because the numbers aren’t displayed in normal calendar fashion. My kpop friend on Instagram was like, “Who’s even looking at the number?!” and I was like, “GIRL YOU KNOW.” That’s not why we buy these things.

Amber asked me if I got the calendar inside Teen Beat and I said, “I wish, it would have been way cheaper that way!” God. Korea goes hard with their yearly planners, you guys. This SHINee one was like $50 or something, I can’t remember now, I always black out after buying something because I hate spending money.

Nate and Sandy were trying to make sense of it the other day but couldn’t. “This calendar is chaos,” Sandy spat, while Nate was half-way to a headstand trying to figure out how much longer until I leave.

It just makes me love it that much more!

Rumors

I realized suddenly after Cheryl sneezed last week that Glenn never says “bless you” after anyone sneezes. I waited until he walked away from his desk before lasso’ing Lauren into the theory quickly developing in my murky mind.

“Lauren,” I whispered hoarsely. “Have you ever noticed that Glenn never says ‘bless you’?”

She considered this for an entire second and then shook her head no. I know she felt bad about it too because she hates saying no to me.

“Well, he doesn’t….do you think he’s a Satanist?” I blurted.

“What? No!” she nervously laughed.

“I’m going to ask him.” And then when Glenn walked past me on his way back to his desk, I casually asked, “Glenn you never say bless you after someone sneezes is it because you’re a Satanist?”

“I can’t believe you just asked him that,” Lauren said, turning around so she wouldn’t have to be involved.

“Wow, that’s really what you came up with because of that?” Glenn asked. “You’re the one with the pentagram rug in your house! Are you recruiting?”

TOUCHÉ, GLENN.

This was better than the time everyone was supposed to wear a certain color to support women and Glenn missed the memo so I tried to spread the rumor that he hated women, but not as good as the time Barb tried to start a rumor for no reason that Glenn is a lesbian.

Speaking of Cheryl sneezing though, she was also choking one day last too and I stood up and shouted, “CHERYL ARE YOU OK” in the most fake-sincere tone I could muster. Cheryl played along and exaggeratedly thanked me for being so concerned about the status of her windpipe.

“Sickening,” Todd mumbled, while Glenn was suspiciously mute.

Finally, Glenn calmly said, “There’s so many things to say that I just froze up.”

THE LOST WALLET SAGA

I was having a pretty lowkey Friday morning when suddenly, I was nearly to work and realized that I didn’t have my work badge. So, already that’s a sucky feeling because it means you have to go to the security desk, hope they believe you when you say that you really are an employee and not just a recently-canned disgruntled employee back for revenge. But then you’re like, trapped within your department all day too, while trying to remember when you last saw it and if you should email Facilities now or later to report it lost and then be forced to pay for a new one, UGH.

But there was still hope that it was on my desk. I’ve done that many times, left my dumb badge-thing on my desk. But it wasn’t there!

So I went to the kitchen because I was on late shift the night before and I could vividly remember setting it on the table while I was washing my BIGBANG cup. BUT IT WAS NOT THERE.

Now panic was definitely setting in and here’s why: EVERYTHING IS IN THAT BADGE HOLDER. So much of my life is in there that I refer to it as my wallet but it’s not even meant to be a wallet, it’s a Pusheen ID holder and I shove all of my credit cards, my drivers license, my trolley ConnectCard….all of the shit I need everyday, in other words. And this was literally ONE DAY after I swore that I had to go back to using a real wallet after struggling to get my license out of it.

Well, good job Erin because now you’re going to have to get brand new cards to put in the wallet, I sadly thought to myself.

Todd works early on Friday so he was lucky to be there to watch my panic go from 0 to 60. And then Glenn arrived right when I was on a cleaning person-blaming tangent.

I couldn’t focus on anything. My ears were ringing and my face was flushed. Amber walked by and I blurted out that I lost my wallet.

“Oh, I’m sorry, that sucks!” she said.

“It’s OK,” I sighed, and then before she made it around the corner, I turned and shouted, “IT’S NOT OK!”

 

Cheryl told me to call Reception and see if anyone had turned it in. I was like “FUCK A PHONE CALL” and emailed instead, which got really fun when I reached the point of my email where I had to describe my wallet.

“It’s purple, soft, and shaped like a cat.”

It took AN HOUR for reception to email me back and say, “NO SORRY NOT YET.”

James the mailroom guy came around for the first mail delivery of the day. Before he even had a chance to say hello, I cut him off. “WHAT, DO YOU HAVE MY WALLET?”

“…..no?” he answered nervously. So then I had to fill him in and Glenn and Todd were behind me, making the same eyes at James that elderly patients probably made at Jack Kevorkian.

“Did you check your desk?” he asked, and I was like “Yes duh” even though I only checked one drawer, twice. I just knew it wasn’t in my desk, OK?

OMG why was this happening two weeks before we leave for Korea? Another thing to stress about!

Lori came over to chat about nothing in particular. I let her finish while nervously squirming in my seat, and then I shouted, “I LOST MY WALLET.”

I heard Glenn sigh behind me, but I still launched back into the same story, verbatim.

“And I thought maybe I left it on the table in the kitchen…”

Then I had a thought!

Henry drove me to work that morning. When we were walking out of the house, I noticed that Chooch left his backpack! Luckily his school is right up the street so I told Henry I’d just jump out and run it in. Except that Henry wouldn’t come to a complete stop and I practically had to drop and roll out of the car, and in doing so, I forgot that my purse was on my lap and it fell into the middle of the street! MAYBE MY WALLET FELL OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF PIONEER?!

THAT WOULD BE MY LUCK!

I started thinking about all of the times I found and returned things lost by others: someone’s debit card at an ATM, a wallet on the sidewalk which was luckily right outside the person’s house so I didn’t have to go far, Ross’s Blackberry (technically that was Henry, so me by extension), Jeannie’s work ID!! Maybe I had collected enough Karma for someone else to return my wallet to me!?

Later that morning, Henry had enough of my crazy lady texts, so he drove home on his break and TEXTED ME A PICTURE OF MY WALLET! It was at home that whole time! I had to immediately send an email to everyone in our department who suffered through my sob story and Glenn mumbled, “When’s the movie coming out?”

Then James came down later and I yelled over to him that I found it and he said he had said a prayer for it! MY WALLET IS SO LOVED. Wendy was walking by during this exchange and looked confused, and I realized that she didn’t know about my lost-not-lost wallet so now I had a reason to tell the story again! Todd and Glenn put their earbuds in.

Lauren was working late shift from home that day so she missed this whole thing. Luckily for her, she ended up having to come into the office that afternoon so I got to fill her in. She was like, “Wow. I’m sorry I missed that.”

Whatever. YOU HAD TO BE THERE.

Mar 052018
 

There was this short-lived sitcom on about ten years ago called Kath & Kim with Molly Shannon and Selma Blair; I think it was actually an American remake of an Australian show. Do you remember it PROBABLY NOT. Anyway, Selma Blair’s character would always say “rooned” instead of “ruined” and I still say that but because that show was such a flop, no one but Henry ever gets it.

I’m telling you this now so you’ll understand what I mean when I say that Henry ROONED my lunchtime walk last Monday by making me go with him to pick up our car from the shop and you better believe I acted like it was the end of the world. UGH, A WRENCH IN MY ROUTINE.

Never fear, I went on a walk the other four days of the work week and while nothing amazingly wild happened, I at least snapped some shots of Shittsburgh I mean Picsburgh no wait it’s Pittsburgh.

(Jk guys, I like my city a little bit.)

Most days, I’m on auto-pilot and head straight for the Strip District. This will change soon when the weather gets warmer because people always flock to this area, even on week days. Henry and I were just there on Sunday because there are several Asian markets in that area, and even though it was still chilly out, there were droves of slow-moving Sunday shoppers milling about, probably straight from some dumb brunch, gawking at Steelers shirts, street produce and whateverthefuck. I got really angry at one point and started mouthing off like I actually live there and haven’t just co-opted the area because of my lunch break walks. Henry was like, “Calm down” and I was like, “YOU CAN GO FUCK YOURSELF, TOO, PITTSBURGH TOURIST!”

Anyway, speaking of street produce. I like to walk through this market thing to get a daily dose of classic rock. One day, I think I mentioned this in a recent Lunch Break Tales, “Sara Smile” was playing and I pretended to be thoroughly invested in feeling up a basket of kiwi just so I could hear the whole song.

I didn’t feel like crossing the street to get a better picture of this mural, so I didn’t. MY BLOG MY RULES.

I always walk past Sunseri and think nothing of it and my caption was going to be “A store” but now that I’m looking at this, I wonder if THEY HAVE EXOTIC CANDY. I should check.

There actually is a candy store in the Strip but it’s just like novelty bullshit to appeal to Andy Griffith set. It’s OK, but not International Pumpkin of Candy worthy.

I just thought this looked cool, OK?

One day last week, I was waiting to cross the street with an older vagabond-type of broad who gave me a quick glimpse into my future: she was hollering at every car that flew past us, finding some awful offense with each one. “YEAH YOU RAN THAT RED LIGHT, ASSHOLE, I SAW!” And then when the light turned green and we stepped off the curb, she angrily wagged her finger at the bus turning our direction and barked, “DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT, HAMILTON” — because it was the Hamilton bus, GET IT?

(I have no idea what part of town Hamilton is but that’s where the bus was going I guess.)

(I don’t ride buses.)

There was one day last week where the sky was so goddamn blue and perfect that, even though it was still chilly, I felt infinitely happy to be alive. THE MAGIC OF THAT VITAMIN D, YO. I decided to walk a different direction for a change, so I made a right outside of my building, walked past a church, and then just kept going up and up and up toward Consol, or PPG Paints Arena, whatever we’re calling it now.

I walked past this church and then made a left and kept going until it started to look sketchy, and then I made a RIGHT….

…where I stopped to take a picture of this mural and then I kept going up a hill until eventually I was engulfed by the Duquesne University to the point where I feared I wouldn’t find a way out, and then I realized my FUCKING FITBIT WAS DEAD, fml.

Oh yeah, I just realized this must have been Friday because it was really windy and I was afraid that a stop sign would get uprooted and bisect my head.

These are some of the things about while meandering about on my lunch breaks: things that could fall from the sky and kill me (anvils, dead pigeon, uprooted stop sign), new serial killer card ideas, my ideal Korean boyfriend type, some random Days of Our Lives character. My mind is so fucking rife with thoughts.

Well guys (or “guts” as I originally typed), that’s all for this latest edition of Lunch Break Tales but the next one might be another coffee roundup, depending on how energetic I feel this week since it seems like everyone around me is ill and it’s only a matter of time until it’s my goddamn turn.

Feb 192018
 

With the most brutal bits of winter over (hopefully), Lunch Break Tales are starting to heat up! Soon, more freaks will be slithering out of the nooks and crannies of Pittsburgh, so my lunchtime walks should be getting more lively here soon.

Until then, here is a small collection from the last week of walks.

  1. St.Patrick

On one of my Strip District strolls, I felt the urge to get my church on, so I hung a right past the grocer playing “Sara Smile” and visited St. Patrick where I did some atonin’.

J/K, I was there just there for a minute to take pictures because I was bored.

Old as fuck.

St. Patrick, I guess.

He seems mean.

2. Callous Coat Compliments

Earlier last week, I was standing on a corner waiting to cross the street and talking to Henry on the phone because that’s what you can usually catch me doing while I’m outside around ‘town unless Henry is “busy” and doesn’t answer his phone no matter how many times I hang up and call right back. But on this particular day, I pinned him down and he was obediently listening to me yap about my day, when I vaguely heard a voice calling out to my left about a jacket. I didn’t think anything of it and kept right on jawing off to Henry and just as I was about to step out into the street, the voice grew louder and more forceful.

“I SAID I LIKE YOUR COAT!!!” yelled a very rough looking girl with a neck tattoo who looked like an extra from Orange Is the New Black. She was walking past me on the sidewalk, tugging on her own coat to illustrate her callous compliment.

I quickly gushed a thank you and prayed that I appeased her before she decided to shank me and bloody my damn coat that draws way too much attention.

Shockingly, from a lot of old men. It must remind them of an old beloved couch.

Henry asked, “What the hell was that?”

“Oh, just another fan of my dumb gold sofa coat.”

Random mural from another walk last week. I’m so close to being able to walk to my favorite Asian market but even if I made it, I wouldn’t have enough time left to go inside and buy anything UGH WHY CAN’T I HAVE A 90 MINUTE LUNCH BREAK.

3. Candy Cashola

On Valentine’s Day, I went to Crazy Mocha to treat myself. As I walked to the counter, I noticed a young guy sitting alone at a table, with two giant gift bags at his feet, numerous helium balloons tied to them (the bags, not his feet), and a heart-shaped box of chocolates opened on the table. At first glance, I thought this was a really sweet scene of a dude getting his Valentine gifts ready for his girlfriend or boyfriend. But then I noticed that he was methodically wrapping each bare-backed chocolate with CASH MONEY, DIRTY DIRTY CASH MONEY.

Oh I could have spit up a little in my dirty chai latte. What a poorly-executed idea.

But still….MORE THAN I GOT FROM HENRY.

4. CUTS

On Mondays, I have to take my break earlier than usual because my little group has a meeting at 2pm every week and that’s what time I usually take my walk. Do you know me? I am a creature of habit and Mondays always screw me up because I have to CHANGE MY ROUTINE.

AIGOO!

I was all ready to go out around 1 when I checked the weather (#responsible; see also: Glenn has been purposely steering me wrong lately). I saw that there was a chance of rain, so I went and borrowed an umbrella from the umbrella stash in a drawer behind Marlene.

I can’t remember now who told me about that stash but it has SAVED MY LIFE several times.

In the drawer, there three umbrellas: a black one, a blue one, and a red one. I almost took the blue one. I had my fingers wrapped around the handle and everything, but then I reached for the red because it’s the smallest one and I didn’t feel like lugging around a large ‘brella if it wasn’t raining out there.

I have reasons, OK? You wouldn’t understand.

So I went outside and it was not raining, hooray! I went and got a chai latte at Crazy Mocha with zero ordeal, totally low-key for once. Although I ordered a small chai latte and dude gave me a medium one but I was less annoyed as I could have been when I thought he charged me for a medium and was making me a small. So I left with the medium since that’s what I paid for and didn’t feel like arguing that I ordered a small, having him void the transaction, and start over from scratch. I have shit to do!

It’s some new guy. He’s OK. But he always asks, “What can I get y’all?” which always makes me toss a quick glance over my shoulder and wonder if he can actually see my imaginary friend!?

Anyway, this story is about a cut so let’s get back to it.

I finally got a hold of Henry after I left Crazy Mocha and he was trying to act all cool like he was so busy and couldn’t talk to me, so after about 10 minutes, I got fed up with his superiority complex and said, “I’m hanging up now” and then hung up before he could respond because I don’t time to be courteous, and also because it had started to rain so I needed to pocket my phone and deal with the Opening of the Umbrella, of which I have a storied history.

My relationship with umbrellas is torrid.

I was especially unfamiliar with the inner workings of this small red umbrella. It wasn’t the kind where you push a button to unleash the monster. I had to push it up on my own, and once it was completely extended, I had to push down on a metal thing to pop open the umbrella part.

But I didn’t push down hard enough so the top started to come back down and my thumb got pinched inside of it — I am having a super hard time illustrating with words what went down here because I’m not a verified Umbrella Expert and do not know the technical names of the parts of it, OK?

What I can tell you is that it fucking LACERATED the pad of my thumb and a big bubble of blood sprung forth immediately and I screamed out loud and started to panic because I was a twenty minute walk away from the office and BLEEDING. It was stinging so badly.

“Don’t cry don’t cry don’t cry,” I kept hoarsely whispering to myself. I knew that there was a fire station nearby, but it was in the opposite direction and I needed to head back to work. So I couldn’t cry to a fireman. For a fleeting moment, I also worried about the scent of my blood-bubble attracting local vampires or maybe a demogorgon, I don’t know what goes on beneath the city. Do you?

I looked across the street and saw Two Louie’s Market. I considered going in there and asking for a bandaid because surely they have a first aid kit for employees and if I had to buy a fucking beverage, then fine!

But I was afraid that if I stopped walking, I would pass out.

So I just walked back to work in blinding pain, rain pelting down on the umbrella, my non-umbrella-holding hand squeezing my thumb like a tourniquet to keep it from falling off.

Came back to work and started screaming about my injury while bandaging myself with blessedly-large Ikea bandages.

“LOOK AT HOW THE BLOOD IS SHOWING THROUGH!” I screamed to Glenn and Todd, who were trying to process what was happening so quickly around them.

Glenn mentioned something about our meeting being canceled and I was like, “ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?!” so I marched down the hall just as Amber was emerging from her office and, thrusting my wounded thumb at her, I said, “This is all your fault! If you would have canceled the meeting before I went out on my break, then I would have went out at my regular time AND THIS WOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED!”

“Wow. …sorry?” she shrugged, completely not caring.

Then Glenn or someone suggested that we call the meeting back on so I couldn’t talk about my cut and I quickly waved it off. “No no, it’s not that big of a deal.”

I really dislike meetings!

“Was it still raining out there when you came in?” Todd asked me.

“Yeah, raining blood,” Glenn deadpanned.

************

On my way home from work, I noticed that my entire hand hurts now, from my thumb down to my wrist.

“Oh my god, what if I have tetanus!?” I cried to Henry.

“Why would you have tetanus!? When were you last vaccinated for that?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” I shrugged. “When I was born?”

“No,” Henry sighed.