Monday, August 29, 2011

Summer Hibernation

Okay, so I know just a few weeks ago I posted in anger about Austinites challenging me over the weather (however, I continue to stand behind what I wrote) but I must take a few moments of your time to write about the current heat wave here in Austin.

Not that it sucks, because this is a given, but because it has turned on my hibernation mode that once only peeked out during the coldest month of winter. Currently I only go outside to get to my car or to another air-conditioned building, much like my summer life in Kuwait. When I am not at work I am at home, where recently all I want to do is sleep. Right after I publish this post I am going to have a little lie-down despite the fact I left bed only three hours ago. I want to be productive, perhaps even active, but more than anything I want a damn nap. I think the temperature is supposed to dip down into the 90s later this week. Maybe then I'll wake up from my long summer's nap and brave the 100-meter walk to the mailbox. Until then, I will pull my covers over my eyes and pretend it's 30F outside - though, at this point, I'd accept 80.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

That's So Racist! Isn't It?

David Sedaris has a new article out in the Guardian; naturally, someone is offended.

In his article, Sedaris recounts a recent trip to China, a trip he admits he did not look forward to as China, and all its wonders, never held much appeal for him. This applies especially to the food, which even Americanized Chinese restaurants barely managed to raise above the level of disgust. Fair enough - it is only necessary to love, or love experimenting with, a cuisine if you are a chef and/or food writer. David Sedaris is neither, yet Jeff Yang over at originalspin takes particular offense at the article's criticisms. How dare Sedaris criticize authentic Chinese cuisine when American Southerners (Sedaris is from North Carolina) eat things like muskrat and chitlins (emphasis from original)? And sure, there may be a saying that "Chinese will eat anything with its back to the sky", but these are Chinese sayings. It is unnecessary and venomous for a Westerner to come over and point out the obvious.

Which makes me wonder if Jeff actually read Sedaris' article. Yes, he was grossed out by much of the food merely because it was different, but at the same time questioned why he reacted the way he did. For instance, when offered a soup made of rooster intestines it was not the intestines that put him off but rather the addition of the cock's comb. Why, he asked himself, am I comfortable eating "the thing that filters out toxins but not the thing that sits on top of the head, doing nothing?" Sedaris also notes his boyfriend, Hugh, and his visceral objection to eating seahorses in China because "they are friendly and never did anyone any harm," as opposed to the vicious and ornery lamb they regularly eat back home. From here Sedaris also delves lightly in to the meat choices of Americans (and the English, I suppose), noting the preference for grazing herbivores such as cattle and sheep, yet drawing the line at horse which is eaten in some parts of Europe and, apparently, is delicious.  I admit there is little depth given to these musings on the arbitrary nature of cuisine. However, I also recognize that I am reading an article for a paper and not an essay in a book.

Friday, August 12, 2011

To Austinites re: the weather

Shut the fuck up.

No, really: I am tired of you trying to one-up me on the badassness of the heat. If you ask me how I'm handling the heat and I respond, Well, it's hot, but I lived in Kuwait and LA before this so, you know, I'm used to it, I am not trying to undersell the reality that yes, it is hot here. I am merely letting you know that Austin, and Texas, has not defeated me with the summer heat - the job market has been much more successful in murdering my hopes and dreams.

You, dear Austinite, do not have to give me reasons why here is so much worse than there. For example, me: "I lived in Kuwait before Austin, so I got used to the heat." You: "Oh . . . yeah, well, there you don't have the humidity."

Ah, how little you know, because I have swum through the air in Kuwait and Dubai and, in order to be completely honest, have experienced humidity in Maryland that far exceeds anything Austin has thrown my way. One summer, years ago, my sister and I were at a minor league baseball game and, being it was baseball, we bought cotton candy - which then proceeded to melt merely because of contact with the air. The butter-thick, humid-ass air. A few years a college friend of mine bemoaned the loss of the tomatoes in her garden: they had rotted, you see, on the vine because the humidity was so thick. That's what I consider uncomfortably humid, but I don't bother to mention this to anyone here because, again just being honest, I don't care.

I don't care that it's hot or that it's humid or that life sucks so badly for five months out of the year, because I didn't pick Austin for the weather. Hell, I don't even know what I am doing here but it is certainly not because I was faced with the reality of leaving Kuwait and thought, I just can't get enough of this desert-y feeling! I don't like it, but I don't believe you particularly enjoy it, either, considering we deal with the heat exactly the same: stay indoors with the A/C running and do not venture outside until well-past dusk.

So unless baiting me with talk about the weather will miraculously make rain fall or a cold front move in, shut the fuck up. Or I will slap you in the face with a breakfast burrito. A delicious breakfast burrito, locally made and as hot as the Texas sun: lukewarm.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Are You Planning on Being Direct Today?

There is a problem running rampant at my job: half the employees are passive-aggressive. I don't know why, but I think that the store somehow attracts people who do not know how to effectively interact with others and, as such, do not know how to disagree or even manage others without sounding "bossy" or "demanding" - even if that is what they should be. So they try to be non-confrontational, which unfortunately results in them being douchebags. For example:

I have a to wear a green vest at work. Everyone has to wear a green vest at work (except stockers or managers/supervisors.) These vests, aside from being visually hideous and poor quality, are oppressively hot. I often work customer service and for the past week have not worn my vest (gasp!) I have it with me, just not on because I feel it's pretty obvious I am an employee since I am the one behind the counter. Regardless, I know not wearing the stupid vest is against the rules or dress code or what-the-fuck-ever and as soon as someone would say, "Wear your vest," I'd put it back on. This happened yesterday, but being as I work in the passive-aggressive zone, what my supervisor actually said was, "Are you planning on wearing your vest today?"

I had to pause and laugh because I never realized I had an option, which, of course, I don't. Why suggest one, then? What if I had said, "No" or, "Are you planning on speaking to me like an adult?" Really, though, the most important question I asked myself as I shrugged into my green shame was, "Why haven't I left this job yet?"