Saturday, June 2, 2007

Crab Stabbing 101

Its amazing how your attitude really changes your view of the world- and of yourself. Its amazing how things can start out so great and then you get bamboozled by a Vietnamese hooker and it just all goes down the crapper.
I am, of course, referring to my day today. It started well and good despite the florida smoke burning my eyeballs and choking my soul... I was outside massaging strips of paper mache onto a balloon, like everyone workin' for a living when I noticed two men from the neighboring suite outside nearby, adding to the already smoky atmosphere. They were watching me paper mache my balloon and I thought to myself, its not every job that you get to make balloon planets and pirate maps. Sucks to be them going back to their boring computer monitors and staring at numbers all day. As Nelson from the Simpsons would say: "Ha Ha."My attitude began to slowly shift downhill as the day progressed. I went from feeling pretty positive to pretty damn worthless. My new mission was to locate three round paper lanterns of various sizes to replace the vetoed paper mache balloon idea. I visited about five random stores all of whom: "had them in stock... but they are out now." and I made a few calls via 411 to places like Pier One and Target and nothing panned out. Fortunately, I got the brilliant idea to go downtown to the Vietnamese section of, well, downtown. I got pretty much the same story at the handful of little shops I visited, until I went to Phat Ho. I mean... Ho Phat.
The store was hot and smelly, but it had a lot of cool things... I asked about the paper lanterns which were hanging all over and a very nice man assured me that he had some in the back. He told me to wait a minute and scurried off to a back room, leaving me standing next to an old woman stabbing live crabs in a wooden crate with a little spear. Seriously. As I tried not to watch this, I noticed the enormous metal "tongs" hanging on the edge of the fishtank, where large fish swam back and forth. For the life of me, I can't imagine picking one of those things up with "tongs" and carrying it to the checkout counter! Several dead fish were staring up at me from an ice chest. Five minutes went by. Then ten. I felt bad just leaving because I worried that this kindly, little old man was in the back room tearing through boxes of merchandise. I imagined him finally finding them and coming back out only to find me gone and an old lady stabbing his crabs. I waited. And waited. Fifteen minutes. Before the clock ticked over to twenty minutes I went to the counter and tried to describe the man that went to look for me. After about a minute of trying to explain who I was looking for and why, I was informed that he was in the bathroom.
I left.
At this point, it was getting ridiculous. I had been gone from work for almost two hours and had nothing to show for it. I figured I would try one more store and then go back.
There they were. In a box right there in the front window were the damn, freaking paper lanterns that I was looking for. I wanted to find them so bad, I couldn't bear to go back empty handed... especially after I had been gone for what felt like a million years. I pulled the door handle and it was locked. This freaking store was open everyday of the week. Except Thursday.
It began to rain a little and I looked up in the sky and imagined that I was screaming obscenities at the top of my lungs. It actually made me feel a little better. I decided to check ONE LAST store. Again. I stepped into a Vietnamese Anime shop, not expecting to find anything. They had porcelain cats and mini plates and TWO paper lanterns! Holy crap. They were both the same size, but I didn't care! I practically ran to the counter with them. It was great. Not exactly what I was looking for, but it was something.
I was feeling much better as I opened the door. The rain had already stopped. I looked back down the road in the direction where I had parked my car. That's when I realized that I had walked like three thousand miles. I couldn't even see the store where I parked. So I began my long trek back and only got side tracked once. As I passed a restaurant supply shop, I saw a giant budha and it occured to me that maybe THEY had paper lanterns. I walked in and spotted them immediately. They were in a big pile on the left side of the room. I glanced through them, admittedly, quickly. I didn't see a price anywhere. I grabbed a small one and a very large one and took them to the front to be rang up. This is where I met the Vietnamese hooker. Okay, she wasn't really a hooker. Infact, she was actually pretty nice. When she handed me the receipt, I looked at it as I shoved it into the bag and noticed that I had just forked over $80 for a stupid paper lamp. I asked her if I could return it and she starkly said no and offered to "follow me to my car" which I finally figured out meant: "Help you to your car," which I also didn't need. $80 back in my bank account would have been better.
So now, I had to go back to work with our entire budget plus some blown on a paper lamp. I wasn't expecting a hero's welcome. Everyone was nice about it, but I have to say that I can't remember the last time I have felt more like a giant baked ass. Fortunately someone suggested I look over the reciept again, and when I did, I realized that they infact DO allow returns if the package is unopened and if the return is within seven days. That's when I decided that the lady that rang me up was a Vietnamese hooker. She totally fucked me. So I'm going to go get my money back tomorrow!
Hopefully.As I finished up the day, still feeling pretty low, I went outside to finish cleaning up after our paper mache project. I was scraping the water and flour off the side of the bucket when I saw the Smokersteins from the neighboring suite again. This time I felt like they were laughing at me. Truth be told they probably didn't give two shits what I was doing, or even give it a second thought. Its just funny how quickly your outlook on life and on yourself changes. So I had a bad day. At least I got to see a good ol' fashioned crab stabbin'.

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