Hello?

I’m beginning to think my phone number has made the rounds at an online pirating convention because I have been getting scam calls up the yin yang. I get a call a day from Amazon making sure I meant to make a purchase on my account (which I do not have). I do have to say, when having a stressful day, messing with some asshole trying to steal people’s credit card information is a perfect remedy. My conversation today went a little like this:

“This is Amazon verifying your purchase of $399.89. If you did not make this purchase, you can speak to an Amazon customer service manager by pressing 1.” And you better believe I pressed 1. So forcefully, in fact that I almost threw my phone across the room in the process.

Asshole: Thank you for choosing to speak to customer service today. This is Jerry. How may I help you?

Me: I’m not sure. You called me about a purchase.

Asshole: Yes ma’am. A purchase was made today using your Amazon account. Did you purchase an iPhone 11 for $399.89?

Me: Oh no. I didn’t. What do I do?

Asshole: Well ma’am, unfortunately the parcel has already been sent out so you will need to fill out a form to cancel the charge on your account. You can fill out the form online. Are you near a computer?

Me: Yes

Asshole: Okay, now you are on Google Chrome correct?

Me: How did you know that? Are you in my computer?

Asshole: No ma’am. No. Most computers have Google Chrome. So you can go to the search bar at the top, the white bar and type in U as in unicorn, L as in lima….. (and several more letters that I didn’t listen to, but I did hear ice cream at one point). Now, can you repeat what you typed in?

Me: Oh, I wasn’t typing. I thought you wanted me to write it down. Can you repeat that?

Asshole: Yes ma’am. U as in unicorn, L as in lima…

Me: Wait, did you say lima? Do you mean lemur? You didn’t send me lemurs instead of puppies did you? I ordered a box of puppies. That’s what I ordered from Amazon, not an iPhone.

Asshole: What are you talking about puppies? No ma’am. There are no puppies. Can you tell me the address you typed?

Me: I didn’t type anything. I was writing. Where am I supposed to be typing?

Asshole: On your keyboard ma’am.

Me: Oh, my keyboard… you want to hear me play on the keyboard. Hold on.

I then proceeded to bash on the piano for a full minute at which point my daughter started yelling from the other room wondering what the noise was.

Me: What do you think?

Asshole: Ma’am, what are you doing? Are you at your keyboard. I need you to type the address.

Me: I was at my keyboard. Did you like my playing? So, you said the parcel went out. Where are my puppies? Do you have my puppies? You better not have my puppies.

Asshole: Ma’am (now with a raised voice), I don’t know anything about any puppies. But I am going to need you to type the address on your computer to fill out the form. Are you at your computer?

I was not at my computer. I was actually trying to free my leg from my cat’s jaw as he chomped on my achilles tendon. I think he heard me talking about receiving a box of puppies and was feeling insecure and angry. Or my piano playing really set him off. It’s hard to tell.

Me: No. I’m at my keyboard. But I’m going to need that address again. I couldn’t understand you. 

Asshole: Ma’am, you need to be at your computer. Do you have a keyboard?

Me: Do they send you to special scammer training to learn how to deal with difficult calls? I mean in Bangladesh or wherever you are, do they teach you special skills to rip off little old ladies and get them to give you their credit card information?

Asshole: (finally catching on that I was being a dick) No, in Pakistan. We go to the Technological Institute.

Me: You must be really pathetic to do this for money. I bet your mom is super proud of you.

Apparently I hit a nerve because he got agitated at this point. He said something about hiding it from his mom and hung up on me shortly thereafter.

So, you’re welcome to whoever was next on the call list. I spent 15 minutes of this scumbag’s time and reduced my stress by at least 50%.

I should have just played this over the phone…

Dr. Feelgood

My daughter had her first wellness checkup in two years last week. We had switched pediatricians a few years ago after I got fed up with the snarky receptionist at the office we had been going to for the first seven years of my daughter’s life. We made it to her seven year wellness visit at the new office and haven’t gone back since. I’m not anti-doctor, but I view them the same way I view the police, only contact them when necessary. Since my kiddo has remained relatively healthy over the past few years, we really had no reason to visit our new doctor.

I was feeling pretty proud of myself for getting my daughter to her nine year visit an entire month before her ninth birthday. This would have been impossible if she had gone to her eight year visit, especially since insurance will only cover one visit in a twelve month period so we keep getting one more month behind. At some point I’m pretty sure our health insurance company will require that the doctor be seen at the hour of your birth annually to be covered. We pay a small fortune for coverage and they cover virtually nothing. My health insurance company has single-handedly made me defend socialism on more than one occasion. I am fairly certain I could break a bone per month and still not break even.

To the new pediatrician’s credit, she didn’t even mention that we skipped over a year of office visits. Instead, she asked my daughter a whole slew of questions about her lifestyle. Not surprisingly, my daughter revealed that she listens to a lot of punk rock music in the car and hears all kinds of swearing and that her mom lets her do unlimited dangerous things. When asked if she enjoyed her hip-hop dance class she actually went into a 10 minute dissertation about how the other girls wanted to hear terrible music like “dance monkey” (whatever the hell that is) and she would prefer to hear some heavier music for warm-up. My child is an almost nine year old music snob. Part of me was incredibly proud while part of me was horrified knowing I would be on the receiving end of this filibuster in the not too distant future. She talked about her friends and how she really likes the new girl because “she lets her freak flag fly” and explained a game they play at recess in great detail. Her doctor listened to every word and took notes. I can only imagine what she was writing but “call Social Services” or “send referral for therapist” were probably just a few of the pieces of chicken scratch. My kid had this entire conversation while sitting casually on a leather couch. I watched as she became more comfortable and her feet spread further apart. At one point she had her elbows on her knees, leaning completely in to the conversation. It was like watching a mini Hunter S. Thompson talking about politics, simultaneously relaxed and intense.

The pediatrician ended the visit by asking my daughter if she had any questions. I’m surprised my inquisitive and thorough child didn’t ask to make another appointment just to gather her list. Instead she asked a series of questions all about the doctor’s family. Within 5 minutes my daughter learned more about her pediatrician than I know about most of my friends. Before leaving my daughter requested that on her next visit she be placed in the Harry Potter themed room. She actually asked if we could move the exam into that room about halfway through the appointment and was told that she could be there next time, so apparently it was a high priority. In the car on the ride home my daughter said “that was fun. Why don’t we do that more often?” I think I am going to have her call the insurance company to have this conversation. If I can’t get my money’s worth out of them through services, I can certainly get it through time and entertainment.

*I wrote this blog while listening to The Misfits. It has been a nice change of pace since the wee one has been blaring the Zombies 2 soundtrack for the last three weeks…

The Girl at the Rock Show

My daughter’s first concert was at an outdoor venue a few months after her 3rd birthday. My husband and I took her to see Vampire Weekend since they were one of her favorite bands. She still likes them and walks around the house howling along to White Sky fairly often.

Tour dates were just announced for the 2020 Vampire Weekend tour so I thought she may like to see them again. When I asked her if she wanted to go she had several questions including if it was at an indoor or outdoor venue, what time they would take the stage and if the seats were up close. After much deliberation her final answer was a firm “maybe.”

The conversation closed with thoughts from my daughter that perfectly sum up how she thinks. She said concerts are fun but would be a lot cooler if there was a way to lie down and relax while listening and watching the band. This is not surprising considering her favorite way to eat dinner is lounging on the couch with a tray on her chest. I can see her now – “Excuse me, guys, can you move the mosh pit over there, I’m just trying to relax here.” or “Can you people stop singing along so loudly, I’m trying to hear the band.”

She is a little old lady in a child’s body. Concerts are fun but having to put pants on to go out is just too much effort sometimes. She loves live music, but she would never survive a packed punk show with sweaty shirtless guys in close proximity without throwing up. The last concert we were at had seating in the back so she was content but I doubt she would have stood for three hours without complaint. Luckily there was no line in the bathroom or she would have started a riot. She also gets hungry for dinner before 4 so it makes sense.

I don’t think I have ever wanted to lie down and take a quick nap while at a concert, but I am usually too busy shaking my butt. I’m also usually just excited to be out after dark. I guess I should just be happy that my daughter has always wanted to go out to concerts and that she likes the same music that I do (for the most part. I could live without Taylor Swift.) My poor Mom had to sit through more new wave than Gary Numan. I could be suffering through mind-numbing pop concerts or worse yet, hip-hop. I am lucky that my kid has good taste in music. Now I just need to toughen her up a little in preparation for three days of punk music all day and all night in Las Vegas this May. I have been begging my family to come with me to Punk Rock Bowling for years now and I think this year may finally be the year. I’ll have to check to see if we can get some couches to lounge on in between sets. From what I have heard, pants are totally optional.

 

*In honor of the upcoming 2020 Punk Rock Bowling, I wrote this while listening to the Circle Jerks

That’s Your Opinion

I attended a charity fashion show last month where there was a purse auction. My mom, daughter and I all bid on purses in between sipping tea and scarfing down tiny cucumber sandwiches. Right before the end of the auction my mom actually outbid me on the purse I wanted just so she could buy it for me. She knew I wanted it, so she wanted to give me a gift. That, or she is just super competitive or has a bit of a spending problem. I’m not going to analyze her motivations, I got a great bag out of the deal.

When we came home my daughter was excited to tell her dad about the event. She was going on and on about how we “won” purses. As she was showing him the bags I butted in and said “actually, I didn’t win my purse, my mom outbid me and bought it for me!” to which he replied “You mean you PAID for that purse?!” I told him that technically my mom did, but yes, money was exchanged. He just shook his head as he turned the bag in circles, looking at it from every angle. He has since named it my Fraggle Rock purse. Apparently he thinks it’s ugly and reminds him of a cartoon character from his childhood.

I have now had this purse for about six weeks and have received no less than 20 compliments on it. Every time someone is on an elevator with me or passes me in the grocery store and compliments the bag I immediately text or call my husband to let him know. He asks things like “was it a blind woman?” “was she wearing crocs?” and “was it in that way that people tell parents with ugly babies how cute they are?” He clearly does not appreciate my purse. I have had a librarian call me back inside as I was exiting the library to tell me how pretty my bag is. I have also had a woman drive out of her way down an aisle in a shopping plaza to compliment my Mokey Fraggle. I couldn’t see either of their feet to check for crocs but they appeared normal enough. None of these women have been blind, elderly or wearing hospital gowns. One was even sporting the same Louis Vuitton purse I was carrying before swapping it out for Gobo. I know that my taste can be a little iffy, but in this case I now have scores of women agreeing that this is the cutest purse on the block.

My husband has more fun than he probably should teasing me about my choice of attire. I’ll admit I often dress like a teenage boy in sleeveless band t-shirts and ripped jeans. I also have a certain affection for plaid and anything with a hood. But most of my clothing is some shade of black, so the sheer amount of colors included in this handbag should have been call for celebration for my husband. I am not going to remind him of his ill-advised soul patch of the early part of the 21st century or his facial hair in general during our early courtship. I will also not point out that he wore only white socks for years. I am saving up all of my jabs for when he is elderly and wearing the same white socks with sandals or pajamas bottoms as pants. I am waiting until the day he buys a pair of loafers or a double breasted suit coat and then I am going to remind him of how he teased me about the work of art I carried on my arm. I’ll probably also be wearing pajama pants in public and possibly crocs by then so my words won’t mean much but I’ll be ready.

People Who Died

Dead Legends

I was listening to the radio this morning as I was getting dressed and a cover of the Jim Carroll song “People Who Died” came on. Somehow I was quickly singing along. I had no idea that I knew the words to that song. As I was listening I was thinking that he had a pretty diverse group of people that he knew. I mean, if I were the one writing that song it would go: overdose, cancer, suicide, cancer, cancer, car crash, overdose, aneurysm, car crash, cancer, old age. I don’t know anyone who took a bullet while robbing a store or anyone who was offed by a biker gang. When I was in my early 20s I was in a bar when two guys shoved their way through the front door and started shooting. One of the bouncers was killed and another wounded, but I didn’t technically know them. The closest I got to this tragedy was helping my friend wipe blood off his shoes later that night. That wouldn’t make for a great song, or even a great story for that matter. A haiku would be about the max I could get out of that experience.

As I was singing along, a few thoughts were going through my brain. First, I was thinking that of course the same guy who wrote “The Basketball Diaries”  knew a lot of people who died, even before he was old enough to drink legally. My other thought was that he knew a lot of guys named Bobby and they all seemed to be dead. I wonder if he had any friends named Bobby still living. I also wonder if he had any friends named Bob and if they were still living. Maybe adding that “by” was, in fact, bad luck for all the Bobs out there. Maybe there is a direct correlation between mortality and dropping the “i” or “y” from your name. I was a Jenni for years before I became a Jen. I just considered this name shortening as a right of passage into so-called adulthood. I never thought it may have hypothetically saved my life.

But to me the most fascinating person in this song is the bride of drano Bobby. I have to wonder about a woman who’s husband feels compelled to drink a bottle of poison the night he marries her. It took my husband at least three years before a thought like this occurred to him in an effort to escape me. Even then I think his thoughts were more geared toward feeding me drano, or arsenic. I wonder if she had a large life insurance policy on her new husband, or if he just really hated her and wanted to scar her for life. So many unanswered questions in this one line of a song. There should have been a b-side to this single or at least an album insert that gave the background on some of these people who died. Someone really needs to write a follow up to this. The world at large should be thanking their lucky stars right now that I am not a musician.

Loyalty

When I was in high school I got into a lot of trouble. I was young, immature, and doing stupid stuff all the time. I was in detention a lot, mostly for being out of uniform because I wore combat boots with my plaid uniform skirt and I always wore black socks instead of navy blue or my shirt was pulled out just a little too far so it could be considered untucked. I didn’t really mind detention because it was a place to get all of my homework done in peace and quiet. The one detention I am proud of was for throwing another girl up against the lockers. Now I know this is probably not something most people would be proud of, but to me, then, and now, it still is.

I threw that girl up against the lockers because she walked up to my friend after religion class where my friend had just asked us to pray for her cat who had been run over by a car and whispered in her ear “I ran over your cat”. To this day, I do not remember that bully’s name or why she would say something like this to my friend, but in that moment my reaction to someone hurting my friend was to throw her into the lockers. I served my detention for fighting in school. Sometimes people just need to be shaken and told that it’s not okay to say mean things to other people. 

Years later I still have this kind of loyalty to my friends. Years later I am also still the one a lot of people look at twice because I wear Doc Martens with my jeans or my sleeveless band t-shirts to the gym. And most importantly, years later I still don’t care what other people think about me. I like me. If other people like me, that’s great, but if they don’t, I’m okay with that too. Just keep it to yourself. It’s really not my business if you like me or not.

Last week a friend of mine shared a post on facebook of a picture collage of a bunch of famous people who have had mental health issues and died. It was to break the stigma attached to mental health and was a positive post. Some woman who she didn’t even know but was a friend of a friend of a friend asked her if she had mental health issues in a comment on this post. I read it and asked myself “who does that?”

I know who does that. It’s the same people who call me weird because they don’t understand why a middle aged woman still loves punk rock and wears doc martens with her jeans. It’s the same people who think that their worth as a person is based on how much money they make or what kind of car they drive. It’s the same people who are not okay enough with themselves to just be themselves, flaws and all. My favorite parts of people are their scars and their imperfections because that is what makes them truly unique.

My dad has a scar on his forehead where he went through the windshield of his car when he crashed racing to be at his friend’s side after his father died. I loved hearing that story growing up, not because my dad was hurt but because he was going to be with his friend who needed him. That story taught me how being loyal to a friend in need is important. I was driving to the hospital to see a friend who needed me over the weekend when my phone rang and my friend who posted the facebook post asked if I knew who this woman was who commented. Apparently the bully and I went to high school together. It would be really funny if it was the same bully who picked on my friend years ago, but it wasn’t. It was just another mean girl who grew up to be a mean woman and bully people on the internet. In that moment I did the same thing I did as a teenager, but instead of throwing a girl into the lockers I commented back to her on facebook and asked her if she had Asperger’s Syndrome. If she does I can totally understand why she asked the question and she would have gotten a pass. That wasn’t very nice of me either, but sometimes people need to be shaken and told that it’s not okay to be mean on the internet and attack people publicly. My husband has commented that it’s possible that both my father and I have Asperger’s Syndrome because we don’t pick up on social cues and focus on what we are interested in very intensely. Personally, I think we are both just sarcastic assholes who are loyal to our friends. She never responded and she deleted her comment so mine went away with it.

I’m not like a regular mom. I’m a cool mom…

I would consider myself a kind person. I try to put myself in other people’s shoes before I open my mouth and I know that everybody has their own stuff that they are going through but that woman just really needed someone to put her in her place and I don’t mind being that person every now and then. Yes I was being childish too, but sometimes my emotions get the best of me. I had just been in a situation the day before where some people were passing judgement on me for dressing like an angsty teenager when they don’t know me as a person at all. I am still sometimes an angsty teenager and that is what makes me unique.

I thought my days of detention were over years ago, but alas they are not. My husband put me in detention after I told him this story. I guess sometimes when you act like a teenager so much you better accept being treated like one sometimes. Hey at least I got some writing done in my detention!

**I wrote this story while drinking lots of coffee and listening to The Interrupters “Fight the Good Fight”

 

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