Thursday, January 26, 2012

Here Come Da Judge

I started jury duty last week. Well...I started the process of jury duty. I just assumed I would sit there for the 8 hours required; read or be on the computer for the entire time, without being called in to go through voir dire, then leave and be done for a year. Boy was I wrong.

Prior to going to the courthouse, I made sure I had nothing in my purse or on my being that would set off any bells or sirens when going through the security check. I’m not sure why, but I did a survey of everything as if I would be flying the friendly skies. You would think I was leaving for a month with all the stuff I packed into my purse: water, protein bars, crackers, 5 hour energy drinks, [because for sure, I was going to need a few of those]; an extra sweater, magazines, a book. It appeared as if I was going on some expedition to the North Pole, because my bag was filled with the entire contents of my house. But I made sure I didn’t have any liquids over 3 ounces, nothing sharp, clean socks on my feet, my prescription drugs in the correct bottles, etc, etc. Then I remembered that it wasn’t necessary. I didn’t have to strip down, and I was allowed to bring in my coffee mug, a bottle of water, food, blah blah blah. The superior court is much less stringent then the airlines. Go figure. But for some reason, I went into panic mode going into a government building. It’s a good thing I don’t work there because I would need to take a valium to go into my office every day. I feel like you have to be on your best behavior so as not to get arrested for something. I was just going for jury duty yet I felt like I was going to be patted down, questioned for murder and sent off to prison; so I took my tweezers out of my make up bag.

I have received a summons for jury duty every year for the last 15 or so years. Whenever I go, I never run into anyone I know and by the 6th hour of sitting there alone, I'm ready to jump out of my skin from boredom, whether I’m reading a good book or not. The plastic squeaking chairs they provide are about as comfortable as lying naked on a bed of nails. By the time I leave, I walk out of there hunched over like a 90 year old woman; unless my numb, cramped legs give out on me first.
But this time I was looking forward to being alone. I was excited about having a day off work, starting a great book, listening to my iPod, writing my blog, and relaxing at the courthouse, comfortable or not. All alone in a sea of strangers and happy as a little clam. But as soon as I had gotten into the room with all the prospective jurors, signed in, and started walking to a seat isolated in the back of the room, I heard someone call my name. You have got to be kidding me. And it wasn't just some acquaintance I could say my hellos to and walk away; it was a friend of my daughters, who never lets a second go by without having diarrhea of the mouth. She called me over and asked me to sit with her. Really? Do I have to? Please NO (I whined to myself). And the minute I sat down, off we went on a never ending roller coaster of conversation. You know how those 20 somethings talk...‘like, um, ya know’ over and over and over. I was so happy when they called my name to report to a courtroom. My eardrums would get a chance to stop banging. I’d rather sit in the courtroom listening to the attorneys and judge than chatting it up with Napoleon Dynamite 

You know how I said I was looking forward to being alone in a sea of strangers? And you know how I said I never have run into anyone I know in the 15 plus years of jury duty? And you know how there are some days you're just not in a chatty mood? Well...forget all that. As soon as I entered the room where the jury would be selected, there were 3 more people I knew. Possible jury members on the same trial I would not be sitting in on. [Because I always get dismissed but have to sit through the process anyway, unfortunately.] So much for my time of introspection and solitude. Unknowingly, I had sat down next to one of those people I knew, and then discovered we were acquaintances. And once she realized who I was, she didn't shut up through the entire interrogation of the 18 people being questioned at the time. She kept commenting on all the questions the attorney was asking of them. It was like sitting in a movie theater where someone behind you keeps blabbing and narrating through the whole thing. "Will you please shut the f**k up, for crying out loud." I didn’t really say that but I can't tell you how much I wanted to turn to her and grab her lips shut. You would think my ignoring her would be a small hint. Uh uh. Nope. Not at all. She just kept blabbing away. I was quite embarrassed [embarrassment through association, I guess] because everyone kept looking back to see who it was. "It's not me, it's not me. Honest."

One of the other prospective jurors was my orthopedic surgeon. He was excused because he was needed in surgery the following week. Pshaw...what kind of excuse is that? Physician shit. I was thinking I could just ask the judge to discuss my issues with the doctor so he could vouch that the pain in my neck and back was good enough for me to get out of sitting on the jury. “Um, Judge…sidebar please? In your chambers?” But I didn't think that would go over too well in a court of law.

The other person I knew was a trainer at my gym. Well, she USED to be. And if you had seen her you would understand when I say USED to be. I don't think she's seen the inside of a gym in about 10 years. She’s definitely seen the inside of every candy wrapper though. I can’t imagine she’s still in that line of work.  And if she is, she may want to re-think her career choice along with thinking about practicing what she was preaching. Geesh.
So there I sat, listening to the attorneys voir diring (not sure that’s really the correct usage) the prospective jurors. All day Friday and again on Monday morning until finally they decided who they were keeping and who they were dismissing. To my amazement…they kept people I thought for sure were out the door. One was an ex-drug addict with prior arrests and jail time. You think he doesn’t have a small, little, teensy, weensy bias against the peace officers and the people of the court? I know he said he doesn’t…but seriously?

Once they had weeded out the rejects, they needed only one more person as the alternate. So they called up three more prospects. And there it was… “Will Jaime Perlov please have a seat up front?” HOLY SHIT! ME? Really? I’ve mentioned in previous blogs how petrified I am to speak in front of people. I mentioned in this blog how petrified I was to be in a government building for fear of getting accused of some major crime. Can you imagine how f**king mortified I was when they called me up? My worst fears coming true. I know, with no doubt in my mind, that you could see my pulse bulging out of my neck like some alien, and the bright, beet red blush on my cheeks. I’m surprised they didn’t have to scrape me off the floor. I could barely speak when I had to recite my name, where I was from, occupation, etc. They couldn’t have picked from the other sixty f**king people sitting there waiting?

I had memorized what I would say if I was called upon, so I gave my reasons, albeit with my voice jittering like someone was violently shaking me, but not one sentence came out of my mouth the way I had planned. And although my intentions came across the way I wanted, the defense attorney did everything she could to get me to say I would be able to give a fair verdict for the defendant. Well........NO I CAN’T. She asked me the same question worded 5 different ways and she got the same answer from me. “I can NOT be fair in my judgment.” I won’t go into my reasons for fear of offending some people and hurting others, but I used to be married to a cop. Enough said.
Every year that I am called for jury duty I give the same reasons and they dismiss me. So wouldn’t it make sense to not summons me back anymore? Wouldn’t it save everyone time and money? Aside from the fact that my attention span is the size of gnat’s brain cell? I know I wouldn’t want me on a jury if I was accused of some crime. The other jurors would have to recite everyone’s testimonies to me 18 times for me to absorb one tenth of them. So hopefully, not having me on the jury, and having the ex-drug addict who has no biases towards anybody (wink, wink), along with some other extremely unqualified, not very well educated jurors, the accused will get a fair trial. I’m so glad my life doesn’t rely upon others to judge. Although in our everyday life…aren’t we constantly being judged by some-one for some-thing?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

You Are Getting Sleepy....................

During the daytime, I have trouble staying awake. (zzzzzzzzzzzzz…oh sorry…I dozed off there for a second.) Years ago I had mono and ever since then, a couple of times each year, (zzzzzzzzzzzzzz…oops). So, as I was saying…a couple of times a year, I go through a two week period where I am tired all the time. But this last time, that two week period turned into a 10 month period. And the one time a day I would need a nap has turned into about 4 times a day. I think that’s kinda not normal. For the last few years I can’t concentrate on anything. And I mean nothing. I thought maybe I was just hanging around some extremely uninteresting people recently who couldn’t hold my attention, but they are the same people I’ve been hanging around with for many years, so I ruled that out. Unless, of course, they’ve always been boring and I just never noticed, and just maybe, as I’m getting older and wiser, I’m realizing I have some pretty f**king brain dead friends. But we can diagnose that at a later date.

I decided it was time to talk to the doctor to see what he thinks [not about my friends; about my sleepiness.] I had various prognoses in my mind as to what it could be. What I didn’t consider was something a petite, somewhat health conscious, exercise fanatic of the female persuasion would ever have. Sleep apnea. Doesn’t that belong to overweight, fast-food eating, non-exercising people of the hairy XY gender?

My doctor wants me to do a sleep study because he thinks I’m tired from not sleeping well [Ya think? Brilliant deduction on his part, I must say] and to determine if it is, in fact, sleep apnea. I told him sometimes I wake myself up because I stop breathing. I have a feeling that’s not really a good thing. And as he pointed out, very indicative of sleep apnea.   
Here’s the thing though…I just can’t see myself going to some lab, in an 8’x10’ room, with monitors hooked up all over me; crawling into a strange bed, dressed in…I don’t know what? My PJ’s? And have 5 or more strangers staring at me for 8 hours? I don’t think so. If I couldn’t sleep soundly before, I definitely wouldn’t drop my lids in that situation. They would have to heavily drug me and I would think that may just throw off the whole study. If I have a problem sleeping under normal circumstances, how could they possibly think I could snooze with an audience?

And when do you arrive there? (To wherever ‘there’ is.) At like10AM? At 10PM? If you go early, do you get to eat meals and watch TV? Read? Party with the lab techs? What do you do the whole time you are waiting to go to sleep? Do they make you go to bed at a certain hour like a 5 year old? “Get into bed NOW.”  Or is it at my own leisure? I mean, I can’t go to sleep on command. And then if I wake up in the middle of the night, what if I can’t fall back asleep? Can I get up? How do I go to the bathroom if I’m hooked up to major machinery? Will the wires that I’m dragging with me fall into the toilet? So many questions. Don’t stop me now…I’m on a roll.

I’ve seen those contraptions sleep apnea people wear at night…you know…the ones that look like you’re protected enough to walk into a nuclear power plant because nothing will penetrate that face mask? THAT helps you sleep better? That cumbersome 20 pound mask heavily situated on your face enables you to sleep more soundly? You may as well ask an elephant to sit on my face…that’s about as comfortable as that looks. And forget turning in any direction other than facing up towards the ceiling. You’d take your nose off if you turned on your side. And do you wake up with indentations all over your face from the weight of the harness your head is locked into?

So say I did decide to go to a sleep lab. There’s no way they are going to witness what I look like when I get into my own bed. No make-up on, my pajama bottoms pulled up to my waist with the top tucked in and the bottoms tucked into my socks. I’m a real looker. A sort of Urkel type. (And I wonder why I don’t have a man lying next to me…aside from the fact that I snore like a truck driver.)

And what if they find I do have sleep apnea? I’m going to hook myself up to that mask and nuclear testing safety gear and attach myself to some tank every night? Yeah…sure I am. Well…if I don’t have a man now, I’m sure as hell never going to have one EVER. “Hey honey…kiss me good-night before I plaster Chernobyl to my face.” He would probably be happy to not have my very feminine snore-a-thon in his ear anymore, but not so sure he would love the pumping sound that would come from the air shooting into my nasal cavity. I think it may just interfere with some romantic spontaneity.

So, I’m in a quandary. To get tested or to not get tested. I’m just not so sure I actually want to know because I’m not even close to wanting to wear that shit on my face. I think drugs are the way to go. Hey…I’m a child of the 60’s and 70’s…of course drugs are the way to go. Duh. Drugs to help me sleep through the night and drugs to help keep me awake during the day. And if I do have sleep apnea and stop breathing in my sleep…what better way to go than that? Isn't that everyone's dream?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Suck It

Is having a gap between your two front teeth like having a built in straw?

What is the point of the straw? Is it to not get a liquid moustache when you drink? Why is it with some drinks we don’t use one but with others we do? I don’t use a straw when I drink water, yet I use one when I drink iced coffee. Why is that?

We always use one when we drink a milkshake yet it’s like trying to suck up a mattress through a pin hole. My head is ready to explode with all the attempted sucking I do to get one teensy drop into my mouth. Milkshakes are probably the one drink we should NOT use a straw for but we are never served one without. Most of the time I use the straw like a spoon; to scoop up little tastes of the shake and lick it off or suck out the bottom. If I just drink it straight from the cup, I inevitably end up with brain freeze. They may as well stick my head in a freezer with needles through my eyes and leave it there for an hour, because that's what it feels like.

I have yet to figure out how to correctly use the squirt bottle. A stream of liquid shooting into my mouth does not appeal to me. It never fails to go directly to the back of my throat and choke me. And if that doesn't happen, I always squirt way too much in so that my cheeks are puffed out like a chipmunk and half of it ends up coming out my nose. Very attractive.

I know that squirt bottles are probably the most sanitary way to drink because if used correctly, you shouldn't be touching any part with your lips; except in my case, where I cover the entire squirt part with my mouth and suck, since I can't figure out any other way. And when I push down the top to close it, I invariably end up pinching my finger or the fatty part of my palm. I actually don't like drinking out of bottles at all. I obviously have no clue how.

We drink soda with a straw. Is it so the bubbles burn the back of our throat instead of tickling our lips? I find carbonated drinks to be more painful then pleasurable, so I rarely drink them. I feel like a fire is ignited in my throat and I have swallowed a gallon of air tainted with acid; not to mention the variety of sounds and gurgles they stir up in our stomachs and the gasses that inevitably discharge through our asses. The negatives of carbonation so outweigh the positives that I don’t understand why they are so popular. [A little too much info?]

When I do drink soda out of a can, I rarely fail to cut my lip on the aluminum. Just a little slit, but enough to tell me that a straw would have been the better alternative. And try getting that tab off the can...seriously? If your nail isn't in the shape of a paint scraper, expect to take a good hour trying to lift the tab away from the top of the can. Can they make it any harder to lift it up? I make sure I haven't had a manicure close to the time of trying to open a can of soda because half my nail breaks off with the attempt. They may as well put a combination lock on it and have us guess the code. I think I would have better luck. A stick of dynamite, maybe?

My daughter drinks coffee out of a straw. She does that so as to not stain her perfectly straight, white, glistening teeth. I thought it was a great idea so I tried it. I couldn't talk for three days waiting for the blisters on my tongue to go away and the hanging skin from the burnt roof of my mouth to fall off. I thpoke with a lithp and it wathn't very pleathant, ethpethially thinth I thpeak on the phone all day for work.

I guess there’s an art to drinking. My daughter always tells me I don’t know how to drink out of a regular water bottle. I didn’t realize there could be a wrong way unless, of course, you are slurping so loudly that others can’t hear anything else but the slurp. I put my entire mouth over the opening (like I do with the squirt bottle), but she tells me I should cover only half; that way there is no backwash and therefore she will then drink out of my bottle. Maybe subconsciously I do it just so she won’t drink mine because, more often than not, she finishes it and I have to get another. [Notice I said I have to get another? God forbid she would replace it for me.] I’m not really sure I understand how no matter how you drink out of a bottle, there’s no residual little particles of food mixed in the water anyway, IF you are eating and drinking simultaneously. If you aren’t eating at the same time, and there ARE particles of something in the water…you may want to check your mouth for…God only knows what. But I know I wouldn’t want to share a drink with you.

And speaking of my daughter telling me I don't know how to drink...if I didn't know myself better, according to my kids, it would appear that I am about 5 years old not knowing much of anything. I sometimes wonder how I managed without them for the first 34 years of my life. Yes, it's true I haven't mastered the art of drinking; something you learn the minute you are born. Others can pretty much guess what I've been drinking by the colors outlining my upper lip. I haven't quite perfected the lip lift and curl, so as not to leave evidence on my mouth. Next to my bed, or on my desk, or anywhere around the house, sits my 26 year old plastic Dairy Queen Blizzard water cup. Most of the logo is faded away, it's aged a bit, but it gives me great comfort. I drink it without caring if I get a water moustache or if I dribble it down my shirt. I don't need a straw. I don't have to squirt. I don't ever cut my lip. I never choke. Maybe I am like a 5 year old, in dire need of drinking lessons...but all I have to say to that is "Suck it."

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Swipe This

I know it's been discussed, many times before, amongst a varied group of people. I think people from all over the world have been questioning this for decades: scholars and scientists, doctors and mathematicians, politicians and laborers, great leaders of the world. It probably should be called the 8th (or is it 9th) Wonder of the World. No one seems to understand the phenomenon. At some point this mystery WILL be solved...but has anyone yet figured out why, under penalty of law, we can NOT remove the mattress tag? I mean, of all things to not remove...why the mattress tag? What, in God’s name, could possibly happen to this mattress if we remove its tag? Almost everyone has a mattress and is completely annoyed by this indestructible piece of unrelenting paper, yet, to this day I won't remove it. It's almost like we feel there's some hidden alert on the tag and someone will come arrest us if we do. I'm waiting for my bed to get really old and hopefully, it will fall off. But as everyone can't keep a bed too long because after a few years, they say all these little bugs and mites are probably lurking around under your sheets. Really makes you want to crawl right in between those cozy covers. I pull down my comforter and sheets every night before I get into bed to make sure there are no little critters waiting for me to spoon in the wee hours of the morning.

Why can't clothing labels be made that don't scratch the shit out of you? There are instances where I've forgotten to cut out some labels and the entire time I am wearing that item...all I can do is concentrate on how f**king annoyed I am that I am spending the whole day scratching my neck. Why must they make labels out of porcupine quills, with thread that is made of some torturous wiry shit? They may as well take brush bristles and just attach them to the neckline of all clothing.  If I do remember to cut out the label, sometimes I don't pull the whole thing off and leave the ends. Have you ever had the corners of labels left in your shirt, and they stab at you like daggers? Those little miniscule points, with the barbed wire thread piercing into your skin causing you to go to emergency for stitches. My skin is so raw from scratching by the end of the day; I can't wear anything around my neckline for a good week. Thank God for tank tops. Although I've had some tank tops with sharp nailed claws for labels that have put me in a tizzy because they fall at the center of my back where I can't reach. So I'm in my contortionist mode trying to get at the itch, pulling my shoulder and arms in ways they were not designed to move. Once I realize I'm going to fall short of reaching the itch by maybe a millimeter, I resort to corners of walls to rub up against, possibly looking like the biggest idiot anyone has ever seen.

And explain to me why ANY item would need that hard plastic wrapping that you need a blow torch to open? I can't tell you how many plastic cuts I've endured trying to open those. And those little slits in your fingers that look so innocent? They hurt like hell while leaving trails of blood all over the place. What could possibly be so precious that they need Ft. Knox protecting the merchandise? It can't be to deter theft. No one is going to spend time trying to open a stolen item inside the store...they will just take it home and spend four hours opening it at home. And if you don't have a super, duper hard core scissors to use...forget it. You're never getting that sucker open. Maybe if you have one of those huge paper slicers we used to have in Art Class...remember those...the ones that could cut through brick but we used it to cut one piece of paper? For THAT, we had the super deluxe guillotine. To cut through paper. But to cut these plastic protectors, we pull our hair out trying to figure out if there's some hidden secret that we just don't know about. And it's not only just for expensive items; it's for a variety of merchandise. Batteries, toys. Really? Toys? Why would they want children to have that hard plastic artillery? Maybe it's to keep them busy for hours on end trying to figure out how to get their toys out. Except it would probably backfire, because, like me, they probably start having tantrums. The whole thing is an enigma to me. WHY?? Someone please tell me WHY?

Does anyone understand the blob of cotton inside medicines and vitamins? Is it to hold the pills in place? Is it for absorption of whatever it should be absorbing? And if that's the case, then shouldn't we keep the cotton in all the time? It doesn't say that on the label. On the very flat, soft paper label that's on bottles. At least that label doesn't stab you. Although if it gets a little wet, it gets gooey from the glue that holds it on. But, back to the cotton. I have spent hours trying to pull cotton out of some bottles. They shove it in so tight in this huge ball that must have been cemented together. My fingers alone never have successfully freed it. I have tried pliers to tug it out only to pull out a small portion. I’ve pulled so hard my hand retracted back with such force, I hit myself in the face. And with each tug comes out this teensy little piece. I have tried my tweezers, thinking maybe doing it delicately will help and the cotton won't fight back so fiercely, but I got even smaller pieces with those. You think you have bought this huge bottle of vitamins only to find, after you finally get the bale of cotton out 2 hours later, that it's only filled up half way. I’ve worked that hard for 5 pills?

You know way back when we would actually purchase CD's rather than illegally download them for free from limewire or some other website we would rip off? Do you remember how long it would take to unwrap those frickin’ flattened out plastic boxes they came in? Just trying to find the elusive tab that was supposed to make it simple to open was a feat in itself. All you would have to do is unravel it by pulling on the ‘Where's Waldo’ tab. After 20 minutes of unsuccessfully searching, I would then try to peel off the cellophane from the folded over sides that were held together with industrial glue only to pull off nothing. So I would then try to bite the shit out of it spitting out all the little pieces of plastic wrap that were stuck to my tongue. Ptuey ptuey ptuey. And I didn't care where they landed because at that point the hammer was coming out. So as my naked toes are gathering little pieces of plastic between each one as I walk to where I have my ax to attempt to hack this half ounce piece of armor open...I look over and my dog had gotten hold of it and had the wrapping off within seconds. She misses no opportunity to turn any possession of mine into her plaything. Now that the wrapper was off it only took me another thirty minutes to get the little seal off that holds the cover together. You would think there was every government secret since WWI stored on my music CD because it was sealed so tightly, in so many different ways. Why could they possibly need a CD to be hermetically sealed? 

Everything should just be in a simple, environmentally safe, clear covering so that we don’t have to be Houdini to figure out the escape route for the article we have purchased. Labels should all be stamped into our clothing…not sewn using barbed wire. And all those tags that are attached with little plastic we really need 5 different tags for one item of clothing that pretty much tell the same story? I’ve practically ripped teeth from my gums trying to bite off that plastic when I didn’t have a scissors.  

I guess I will start wearing my clothes inside out and will purchase a complete set of power tools to open up all my items in their packages. I just hope I will be able to extricate my power tools from their own fortress. And now I’m sneaking out to cut the tag off of my mattress. If you don’t hear from me in the next few days…check the local jail.
(I’ll be the one scratching the back of my neck rubbing up against the wall.)