...and "Dastardly Bad Guys" (or "Dastardly Bad Ladies" if you will....)
...and also a complicated, "Rip-Roaring Good Story".
(Pay no attention to that infernal clock. I know it's in the wrong place---I only stuck it there to keep it out of the way while I worked on other areas of the apartment. It will be moved to a hallway shortly.) Too many crappy movies these days remind me of video games--- where all the characters look alike and are wearing designer clothes while they either shoot each other a zillion times, blow up buildings, crash cars or trains, and/or perform acrobatic martial arts---and you're left wondering what in the hell the whole point of it was because the story line was so dumb and unbelievable that it was complete crap. Give me a good ole movie where the Wholesome Good Guys in light-colored clothing are trying to Do Something Noble while the Dastardly Bad Guys in dark clothing are trying to Take Over the World and kill the Wholesome Good Guys--- and there's such an extremely intelligent, complicated story line that you become riveted to your chair, staring at the screen, while shouting comments like: "No, it's not like that at all, Han Solo! Princess Leia is really Luke's SISTER, for God's sakes!" It's also great if the good ole movie's Wholesome Good Guys have Loveable Sidekicks who do funny stuff and help them thwart the Dastardly Bad Guys: I love to cheer on and root for the Wholesome Good Guy (or Wholesome Chickens, as in the case of the movie "Chicken Run"). And what's even better is if there's a CHOICE of Wholesome Good Guys to root for...and ..er..admire. (Like Han Solo instead of Luke Skywalker, for instance.)
(Okay, I admit it---I like Han Solo because I have "issues" and....uh....tend to like the "bad boys"---but let's not go into my psychological problems right now...) (No, I didn't put a picture of him here because I was too busy slobbering over the TV screen whenever his scenes played, drat...)
Anyway, so there I was watching movies while I unpacked the apartment this weekend. But I should have known that I wouldn't get a completely phone-free weekend. Because the cell phone started ringing Friday night, shortly after I tore into my first box. Of course it was Belinda, who wanted to finish telling me the saga of how she finally quit her Road Nurse Company. She's been trying to get up the courage to quit ever since I quit the same company last summer. And let me tell you, I wasn't surprised that Belinda ignored my desire to be free-from-the-cell-phone for two days. Belinda will call me ANYWHERE at ANY TIME. It doesn't matter where I am or what I am doing, Belinda will call me on the cell phone.
I have answered cell phone calls from Belinda while shopping in Walmart, while sitting in traffic, while dropping off clothes at the cleaners, while sitting nekkid in a doctor's examing room, while peeing in the bathroom, while taking a patient's temperature, while picking cow pies out of the tread of my Road Nurse shoes on a ranch, while running for my life from a Ranch Dog, while ordering an ice cream cone at the Dairy Queen Drive-Thru Window, while waiting to deposit my paycheck at the bank's Drive-Thru Window, and even once while I was herding cows with Bonnie (remember the Rickenbocker Ranch!?!....)
But the good thing about Belinda is that she completely understands today's Cell Phone Etiquette, which is much less strict than the regular phone etiquette of the olden days when we didn't have cell phones.
Remember the days when there were no cell phones? In those days, when someone called you, you HAD to listen to them for a "decent" length of time. Phoning someone was such a social occasion that you just couldn't bring yourself to be rude and tell the caller that you couldn't talk right then. Getting off the phone used to be such a tricky issue. I used to have a whole list of plausible get-off-the-phone excuses that I could use to help me get off the phone, things like "I've gotta go---I'm bleaching my roots right now and it's been 23 minutes" or "I've gotta go---there's somebody at the door and I think it's the UPS Man". But it was a hassle because you'd always have to remember your lies in case you ever saw that person and they looked at your roots or asked you what you got from UPS. You never wanted to hurt someone's feelings.
But cell phones have changed all that. These days you don't have to worry about it anymore, because either party can get off the phone INSTANTLY without offending the caller or callee, not only because the get-off-the-phone-excuses are better, but because they're REALLY TRUE. And also, since everybody carries their cell phone with them at all times, a caller can simply call the person back 45 minutes later whenever they finish whatever they're doing. Because nobody could ever get their feelings hurt over the following get-off-the-phone-excuses:
"I've got to go--- I'm in the McDonald's Drive-Thru and it's my turn to order."
"I've got to go--- my call-waiting just beeped and it's my boss."
"I've got to go--- I'm done peeing and there's three people waiting in the toilet line."
"I've got to go----I'm almost at my Interstate Exit and I need both hands to steer."
"I've got to go--- there's a cop behind me."
Anyway, Belinda started calling me on Friday night and I had to answer it. I was in the middle of unpacking a huge box while slobbering over a gorgeous Han Solo on the television screen, wishing he'd fly me away somewhere in the Millenium Falcon space ship. "What are you up to?" I asked her, noting that I heard the clink of margarita glasses in the background. That meant she was drowning her sorrows at the Mexican Restaurant. "Okay, I did it. I finally did it. I quit that damn company," she reported, taking a big swig of her margarita. "Remember I told you yesterday that I was going to give my two-week notice today? Well I did, but they wouldn't allow me to work the rest of the two weeks. They told me to just go ahead and clean out my desk and leave at 4pm."
"You know they always do that when Road Nurses quit," I told her. "They don't want you to spend the next two weeks blabbing about how you're leaving to go work for Company X in case those patients who really like you decide to switch companies in order to follow you to the new Road Nurse Company." "I know, I know," she said, taking another gulp. "But I think they're jerks for doing that. I think they ought to have to pay me for that two weeks. I have SOOOOOO had it with their crap."
And even though she had already told me all the reasons she was quitting the company, she told me all over again--- the whole story again about the things that made her angry enough to finally quit the company. "First they announced that they were going to "crack down" on what they call "excessive absenteeism". But the only time I've called in sick myself was when my child was in the hospital. I mean, I couldn't help my child being hospitalized for an allergic reaction, for God's sakes!"
"I know, but you know how they are," I told her for the one zillionth time since I've known her. "You know very well that they're so cold blooded that they wouldn't care if your entire family was lined up in matching coffins at the funeral home and the preacher was in the middle of the Eulogy---they'd STILL expect you to miss the funeral and come into work, come hell or high water."
Belinda continued her ranting. I think she was frothing at the mouth. (Or it might have been the salt from the margarita.)
"And THEN the boss called me into her office and formally wrote me up for those absences. You have no idea how much I wanted to tell that....that HORSE'S PATOOT to stuff her Absence Report right up her....her PATOOT!" "Why didn't you?" I asked her. "I would have." "I believe you would have," she replied. "In fact, everybody over there STILL remembers the day you quit, when you told them---if I remember correctly---that they were all a bunch of 'goddang, slave-driving yay-hoos who were all destined to go to Medicare Hell'".
"But it's the truth," I replied. "They ARE a bunch of goddang slave-driving yay-hoos. Remember that time I was half-nekkid in a gown at the doctor's office and the boss called me on the cell phone to remind me to tell the doctor that we needed three more patients to meet our monthly quota?"
"Yes, I remember," she sighed. "She called me for the same dang thing when I was at my child's bedside in the hospital."
"There you go, then," I stated with a degree of finality, hoping that she was finished ranting. Because I was getting interested in the TV screen--because Han Solo was about to kiss Princess Leia... and I wanted to imagine that I was Princess Leia, only I wouldn't be coy like she was--- I would throw myself into Han's arms and tell him that I'd be his loving Princess Road Nurse forever, and that we could just leave silly ole Luke Skywalker and the rest of the yay-hoos behind on the Death Star, and we could fly away together in the Millenium Falcon to a nice little planet where there was a nice little Space-House with a Two-Spaceship-Garage, and I could go shopping for groceries at an Interstellar Walmart down the street, and me and Han could go bowling every Friday night with the gang....
Where was I? Oh yes, listening to Belinda. I thought she was finished but she wasn't. Because then she told me the clincher.
"The absolute last straw was that....that MEMO!" she declared in a controlled whisper.
"What memo?" I asked impatiently.
"THE memo. They put it in our paycheck envelopes and made us open them during Case Conference--and we absolutely couldn't believe what the memo said...."
"Yes?" I urged, holding my breath in anticipation.... "So what on earth did it say?"
"Well first it listed a whole bunch of budget cuts they were making and how they wanted us to cut costs. They said that we would no longer receive free employee insurance and that we'd have to pay for it in the future. Then they said we shouldn't call 'Information' for phone numbers we couldn't find, and that we'd have to look up the numbers on the internet instead. Then they said they weren't going to pay for our uniforms to be cleaned and pressed anymore. None of this stuff was all that bad, you know? But then... right at the end of the memo... they said the last and worst thing.....which is that our office has been going through too much toilet tissue and that they want people to cut down on the amount of TOILET PAPER they use!!!"
Although this is pretty unbelievable, it was absolutely true. And I cracked up laughing when I heard it, as did the rest of the town once the story was leaked. In fact, once all the other local Road Nurse Companies heard this news about my old company's attempted cost-cutting measures via limiting the employees' toilet tissue--- that company's management instantly became a virtual laughing-stock. HAH! Because whoever heard of the NERVE? An employer trying to tell a bunch of nurses exactly how much toilet paper to use?!
"What a bunch of goons!" I giggled. "You should have told them that you could go home to take a you-know-what but then they'd probably write you up for the absence!"
"Actually, Bonnie DID made a crack," she said, chuckling at the memory. "Bonnie piped up and asked them why they didn't just simply 'issue each Road Nurse a roll of toilet paper like they do the prisoners in the County Jail?'--and the boss almost had an apoplectic fit, calling us all 'uncooperative smart-alecks'. But Bonnie had a point, don't you think?"
Anyway, after talking to Belinda a little more and getting a great laugh about the Toilet Tissue Memo, I returned to my unpacking and movies, thinking that I'd for sure be able to get some peace and quiet now that she'd finally quit the old Road Nurse Company. Before she got off the phone she told me that she would start at a new Road Nurse company on Tuesday. We made plans to go to lunch together to celebrate her new job on Monday or Tuesday---anywhere except the Sonic, because Belinda says that she doesn't want me to knock any more pieces off their debit-card shelves. I told her that it was a one-time fluke, but we're going to avoid the Sonic all the same....
(Switching Road Nurse Companies doesn't make a dang bit of difference to either of our schedules as she'll still be working on the same dang Road that I'm working, in the same dang area that I'm working, doing the same dang thing that I'm doing....)
Saturday dawned pretty cold and I had to turn on the heater again. But I never stopped my relentless unpacking and movie-watching. I continued. I wanted to figure out where to hang my Toulouse-Lautrec pictures. I "practice-hung" them all over the apartment and couldn't figure out where they looked the best. That's probably because I don't have anything else that goes with Moulin-Rouge style, but that is besides the point. I love those dang pictures. I figure it's as close as I'm going to get to Paris any time soon.....
Oh, I forgot to mention a few other things that a good ole movie has got to have.
Besides having a Beautiful Heroine for the Wholesome Good Guy to kiss (and it's okay if that person is a fairy, like Tinkerbell or somebody), there has also got to be a Kindly Wise Man or Woman somewhere in the movie--someone older and kind of spiritual (like Obi-Wan-Kenobi or Glenda the Good Witch, for example)---who gives heartwarming and encouraging speeches to the Wholesome Good Guy and the Beautiful Heroine, to give them courage for their Quest. Which is another important ingredient---every good ole movie has got to have its "Quest"--which is the whole reason for what everybody in the movie is doing. You know, some sort of "terribly dangerous and difficult journey, filled with overwhelming obstacles and terrors" which the Wholesome Good Guy and the Beautiful Heroine must undertake in order to Save Everybody.
(And the Dastardly Bad Guy chases them all through the Quest--which, if it's a really good story, will have you spell-bound for the entire time, biting your nails, dropping your popcorn at the scary parts, and cheering out loud when the Wholesome Good Guy finally kills the Dastardly Bad Guy and Saves Everybody.)
(I'm going to admit here that when I saw the movie "Chicken Run" in a movie theater for the first time, I actually clapped my hands, stomped my feet, and cheered out loud when the Wholesome Good Chickens finally flew over the fence of the chicken farm in their home-made flying machine.)
(Okay, and I'm also going to admit that I had to dab my tear-filled eyes with a Kleenex after that because I had gotten so choked up about the whole thing---what with all that emotional worrying for two hours about just how those poor chickens were ever going to get free of the Evil Chicken Farm Owners and all---but I'm emotional like that about Happy Endings, okay?...)
(Most of the children in the movie theater looked at me like I was purely crazy when I did that---and I think I overheard some smart-aleck little creep saying something about "stupid idiots who cry at cartoons".)
(Okay, I am crazy but that's besides the point.)
(I wish the chickens on the chicken farms here in Greater Podunk could build a flying machine and fly out of their chicken farm pens.)
(But then, sigh.....there probably wouldn't even be a Greater Podunk if there were no Chicken Industry, would there?--Oh well.....)Anyhoo, speaking of good ole movies, I got to see the "real" Ruby Slippers this weekend, hot dang!
I know I'm probably boring you to tears, but I've just got to mention one thing. It's that there's one particular little thing I like about "The Wizard of Oz" ---- which is a little-noticed scene that probably nobody but me ever really notices. And maybe I notice it simply because I've watched this movie about 1,439 times. But have you ever noticed the "Egg Hatching Scene"? It's a scene in the part where they're singing "Ding Dong The Witch is Dead", dancing around Munchkin Land, and everybody's joyful because Dorothy's house landed on the Wicked Witch.
It's a scene where some of the Munchkins are dancing up some stairs and there's a sweet little nest holding eggs---and then the eggs HATCH into cute little babies! You don't believe me? You've got to watch carefully for this scene because it's quick. Here's the scene---see the eggs?
And then here's the eggs hatching, Tah-Dah! See the little Munchkin babies coming out? I LOVE this scene. (Sorry, the picture's a little blurred):
Anyway, the whole dang good ole movie must be wrapped up at the end with The Happy Ending, which is even better if there is a Moral to the Story. Like at the end of the movie "Hook", when Robin Williams saves his children from Captain Hook, brings them back from Never Never Land, and promises to be a Good Father forever.
The only thing I don't like about "Hook" is their choice of Julia Roberts for the fairy Tinkerbell. She just doesn't strike me as very Tinkerbell-ish. She's too Pretty-Woman-ish or too Sleeping-With-the-Enemy-ish. I really think they should have picked somebody else---like Darryl Hannah or Winona Ryder or somebody---to play Tinkerbell, somebody more flighty or air-brained----well, more Tinkerbell-ish):
Right after the good ole movie "Hook" my cell phone rang again. This time it was my boss, Lu-Lu. She was moving into a new house over the weekend and had run out of gas while towing a trailer holding her new washer & dryer.
"Lu-Lu, you have GOT to be kidding me," I said in disbelief. "No Road Nurse in the history of the mankind has EVER run out of gas." "I did, I did!" she wailed into the cell phone. "And you've GOT to save me! You've got to come and bring me some gas!" I was dumbstruck. I simply could not fathom that she had run out of gas. "A Road Nurse running out of gas is simply NOT POSSIBLE!" I exclaimed. "It's....it's...it's just plain shameful, that's what it is! It's like a mail-man getting lost on the way to the Post Office. It's like the Walmart clerk not knowing where the Customer Service Desk is. It's like a doctor not having a stethoscope...." *
"Dr. Jenkins loses his damn stethoscope ALL THE TIME!" she hollered. "I know, because he used to steal mine all the time when I worked at the hospital. Now will you pleeeeeeeese just bring me some damn gasoline???" And just then, something else occurred to her.... "Oh my GOD....don't TELL anybody about this!" she whispered, stricken with fear and dread. "Nobody can EVER find out that I ran out of gas --- because it would positively RUIN ME in Road Nurse Legend and Lore!!!!" I could understand her dilemma. Lu-Lu is very scatterbrained and has definitely pulled some pretty crazy stunts, but running out of gas would be extremely embarassing to a well-known Road Nurse. And a well-known Road Nurse running out of gas during this particular week would be even more damaging to a reputation--- especially since everybody we know is busy enjoying the discomfort of our competitor's chagrin over the gossip about their Toilet Tissue Memo---and our own Road Nurse Company most certainly wouldn't want a story about our boss running out of gas overshadowing that company's honored place under the Ridicule Spotlight... And she was also right about Road Nurse Legend and Lore. Lu-Lu has definitely earned her place in the Road Nurse Hall of Fame through all of her adventures on the Road and also her sheer hard work and determination--and I'd certainly hate to see her hard-won reputation go down in flames over this little episode.
But I was still irked with her because I was trying to get my apartment organized and I certainly hadn't planned on gallavanting all over God's Creation to carry gasoline. But I told her I'd bring her the gas. (Actually, it's not entirely true that no Road Nurse in the history of mankind has ever run out of gas. There's an old story, whispered about around Road Nurse campfires, about a famous Texan Road Nurse in the 50's named Delilah-Dallas--- who once ran out of gas on her way home after a day of seeing patients in Ranch Country. As the story is told, she was also making a bootlegging run to a dry county and was carrying a bunch of moonshine in her vehicle's trunk. And it is said that when the ever-resourceful Delilah-Dallas ran out of gas, she simply poured some of the moonshine booze into her fuel tank and continued on her way--and that she was forever called "Smokey" after that. I don't know if this story is true or not, but those who tell the story swear it's the God's Honest Truth...) Where was I? Oh yes, talking to Lu-Lu on the cell phone....
"I'll come save you, but would you please tell me how in the hell you didn't know that you were running out of gas?" I griped, still peeved at having to leave my movies and unpacking. "It's cuz I'm in my boyfriend's Chevy pick-up truck," she explained breathlessly. "And his fuel guage is broken---and it ALWAYS says it's on empty. So of course I didn't pay any attention to it." This was partially believable but incomplete---so I just had to ask.....
"How long has it been since you filled your tank up?" "I don't know," she replied. "Maybe two days ago...." "Lord Jesus, Lu-Lu!" I screamed. "Any nincompoop knows that pick-up trucks are Gas Hogs! You're a damn Road Nurse, Lu-Lu----which means that you're supposed to know the precise gas mileage, dollar per dollar, on every known vehicle in God's Creation, ESPECIALLY FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE!" So I lectured awhile, all about how 4-wheel drive pick-up trucks are gas hogs and can suck up a huge tank of gas in no time flat, and how she should have filled up at least every other day, etc. etc., nag nag nag...but I finally wound down and told her I was going to shut up and bring her the gas. She was silent, so I thought I'd really made an impression on her. "I'm sorry, I had you on hold just now," she said, coming back onto the line. She'd had me on hold for my entire lecture! "I was talking to my mother," she chirped. "And hey, I'm thirsty. Could you get me a Pepsi while you're at the gas station?"
So I put on my favorite Deer Hunting Season sweat pants (they're Camouflage print and were on sale for $11.95 at Walmart), drove over to the gas station, and bought one of those "Emergency Gasoline Containers" they sell. It cost $6.95 and only held one measly gallon of gas. And I bet I spilled two gallons on me trying to fill the stupid thing up. Have you ever seen one of them? They're flat boxes--and you have to unfold them, stretch out the plastic bag on the inside, fill the thing with gasoline, and then attach the pour spout.
After I got the gas, I drove to where Lu-Lu was stranded, a spot about 14 miles out of town. She was sitting in the truck's cab, blasting an Alan Jackson CD on the stereo. "Santas Gonna Come in a Pick-Up Truck!" she sang as I climbed out of the Jeep, bringing the Emergency Gas Container and a cloud of gas fumes with me.
"This Santa is going to fling that CD across the road like a Frisbee if you don't help me with this dadgum gasoline!" I told her. "And God help us if anybody sees us here--- we'll be the laughing-stock of Greater Podunk!" *
"Oh, don't get your panties in a wad," she laughed, snapping her fingers to the beat of the tune. "Nobody's going to see us, Worry Wart."
"Whatever you do, just don't light a damn match," I moaned, feeling faint from the gas fumes. *
Together, we up-ended the flimsy gasoline container into the pick-up truck's tank, spilling even more of it all over both of us. About 348 vehicles passed us on the road while we were doing this---but neither of us looked up. We kept our heads down, hoping that nobody would recognize us and ruin our reputations in Road Nurse Legend and Lore for running out of gas. "This ought to be enough to get you to the gas station," I said when we finished. "But I'll bet that this one piddly little gallon won't last 15 minutes in this giant pick-up truck. It'll probably snort it all up as soon as you turn the ignition on. So just drive like hell to the nearest gas station, and whatever you do--- don't run the air conditioner!" She took off with a wave and I followed her all the way to the gas station to make sure she made it in one piece. Then....I FINALLY went home to return to my unpacking and phone-free weekend.
When I got home I peeled off my gasoline-soaked clothing, cursing Lu-Lu's ding-battiness, and threw the items into the washing machine. And since I was going to do a load of laundry, I decided to throw the rest of my stuff--my dirty Road Nurse uniforms--into the load....
And to my utter mortification, when the load of wash was finished and I opened the washing machine lid to take everything out for the dryer---EVERYTHING smelled like gasoline. AAAARGHHHHHH!!!!! I washed everything again. Opened the washing machine lid. Sniffed. Gasoline smell. I washed everything again. Opened the washing machine lid. Sniffed. Gasoline smell. I ranted and raved to myself awhile, all alone in the apartment, cursing the cosmos and cell phones in general....
But then I finally did something smart. I looked on the internet. And sure enough, there were lots of helpful websites instructing on "laundry remedies". And so, after reading the information on several such sites, I opted to try ALL the remedies at once (not wanting to waste any more time doing endless loads of laundry)---and so I dumped EVERYTHING that had been suggested into my next washing cycle: a box of Arm & Hammor Baking Soda, a bottle of gourmet rice vinegar, some Pine-Sol, and a bottle of Johnson's & Johnson's Baby Oil. And guess what? It worked.
And then..... at last.... and finally.... I was able to continue my unpacking and organizing of the apartment. And I ultimately decided to put the Toulouse-Lautrec prints over the stove.
I have no idea why I put them there except they just seem to "go". And so there they'll stay.
(What would really be great is if I could find a teapot that matches Moulin-Rouge theme while I'm shopping in Dallas......)
(I wonder if there IS such a thing as a Moulin-Rouge themed tea-pot?)
(Never mind, I don't care. What I really want to see in Dallas is the yarn stores, anyway.....)
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