Slinging Food

 

 

Alice and Joe are on the phone. She’s at home and he is driving.

ALICE
Joe, we are out of lettuce. Can you pick up some later? Oh and some turkey breast.

JOE
Later? Alice, it’s 9pm and you may not believe this but even this stupid gig economy restaurant  delivery job that I have, takes time. I work past the grocery stores closing and I can’t stop working to run errands.

ALICE
Geeze Joe, don’t bitch at me. It’s just lettuce.

JOE
No, it’s not. It’s time.

ALICE
Oh, you are such the professional. If you had a real job it wouldn’t be such an issue.

JOE
It’s interim. And who are you to talk. Texting your friends isn’t a job, Alice. Neither is selling your junk on eBay. If you had a job at all, money wouldn’t be such an issue. At least I’m trying to keep us afloat.

ALICE
I have a job. I am selling medical marijuana.

JOE
Selling? You smoke half of it. (He hears her inhale deeply). There, I just heard you take a hit. You’re the only pot dealer in the world who doesn’t make a profit.

ALICE
Oh I make money. All your friends pay me to have sex with them.

(Joe is driving fast, not stopping at intersections and taking tight turns)

JOE
Oh… is that why you get cold sores all the time? I haven’t kissed you in months because of them. You probably got it from Dave. He gets them.

ALICE
No, I got it from Dave’s girlfriend Louise. And I didn’t charge her.

(Joe gets to the house and rings the doorbell. It’s a high end neighborhood with expensive homes. The guy who answers the door is wearing a nice shirt and a loosened tie. He has a smile until he sees Joe. Joe is yelling on the phone and just holds his arm out till the guys takes the bag)

JOE
That’s funny, I didn’t get cold sores from her, and I used to ride her in college every day.

(The customer looks surprised. Joe doesn’t even acknowledge him and then walks away.)

ALICE
You wish. She couldn’t ride you. She couldn’t possibly get her legs around you.

(The customer can’t help but hear Joe yelling from across the lawn where his car is parked on the street.)

JOE
Well you’re half right. I usually rode her from behind.

(The customer’s wife comes to the door)

CUSTOMER’S WIFE
Is that dinner?

CUSTOMER
Yeah but we’re not eating it. (The guy looks uncomfortable even holding the bag)

CUSTOMER’S WIFE
Huh?

CUSTOMER
I’ll tell you after I throw it out and wash my hands. What do we have in the fridge?

CUSTOMER’S WIFE
Just some soup. Oh and an orange.

CUSTOMER
Good enough.

ALICE
Oh I knew you wanted to ride me from behind. You’re probably used to it from the fraternity you were in. What were their letters? Gamma Alpha Y? That spells gay, right?

JOE
It was an engineering fraternity and if any of them were gay it’s because they saw you with the snakes growing out of your hair and figured anything was better than that.

ALICE
Me? You’re the snake lover.

(Joe gets another bag from the car and walks to a house in the same neighborhood)

JOE
Didn’t your mom want to name you Medusa until her high wore off and she remembered who Medusa was?

ALICE
My mother is a lovely woman.

JOE
Yeah she is. All the dads and the plumbers and the delivery guys in the neighborhood thought so too. Tell me somethin’ Alice, who is your dad?

ALICE
Hey!

JOE
You don’t know, do you!!!

(Alice is crying)

JOE
(to himself) Damnit.

ALICE
That was mean Joe.

JOE
Yeah. Sorry baby.

ALICE
Why did you say that?

JOE
It was just the heat of the moment baby. Don’t cry.

(Joe starts crying just as he is at the other house down the street. The people come to the door and have a look of concern when they see him crying. You can hear Alice crying on the phone too. Joe puts his arm out and hands the person the food)

Damnit baby. Why do you do this to me?

ALICE
Like you said, heat of the moment. Heat of the moment babe. I love you.

JOE
I love you too baby.

ALICE
If it makes you feel any better, I asked Louise if she wanted you to join us and make it a threesome.

JOE
Yeah? What did she say.

ALICE
Oh, uh, nothin’

JOE
Nothin?

ALICE
She just, uh, stuck her finger down her throat.

JOE
Ah. I didn’t like that bitch anyway.

ALICE
Same here baby.

JOE
What do you mean? You had sex with her.

ALICE
Just 7 or 8 times.

(Pause as Joe thinks about it)

JOE
Yeah ok.

ALICE
I don’t want to fight. Come home and I will give you a really great hug.

JOE
Love to baby but I still gotta work till eleven. We need the money.

ALICE
Ok. Then I will save it for later.

JOE
OK.

ALICE
Oh by the way, can you see if there is a store open on the way home?

JOE
Oh here we go again. There aren’t any. I know.

ALICE
Geeze. Just look will you? Isn’t Foodtown open all night?

JOE
Foodtown? They are twenty minutes away.

ALICE
What, you don’t go near there?

JOE
No. Why don’t you get off your butt and drive there yourself.

ALICE
Because I’m too stoned. (Doorbell rings)

JOE
Who is that?

ALICE
Uh no one baby. Female voice Hi!!! (Joe hears a kiss)

JOE
Is that Louise?

ALICE
Yeah, she’s just buying some pot.

JOE
Pot huh. Yeah right. 7 or 8 times. So now it’s gonna be 9 times. Or is it 209?

ALICE
I lost track last year. What do you care.

JOE
That’s the point. I do care. You are the one who doesn’t care! Why don’t you just move in with her. Get the fuck out.

ALICE
Fine, I will

JOE
Good. I’ve had enough with you, you pot smoking, lying, disease factory.

ALICE
I’ll pack my stuff…just as soon as Louise and I are done.

(She hangs up. Joe angrily bangs on the steering wheel and drives off into the night.)

FADE OUT.

 

 

LA Driving

LA Stressed Driver

CAR ON HIGHWAY TO LA – day
A guy is driving into the LA area from the north. He comes around a bend and sees LA sprawled out in view.

DRIVER
Ahhhhh home sweet home, the City of Angels.

(Someone behind him beeps).

What the heck?

(They beep again)

Geeze, I’m going 10 miles an hour over the speed limit.

(He pulls one lane to the right and the driver behind passes him and beeps again. Then the whole line of cars passes him.)

City of Angels, my ass.

(As the last car passes him they beep too.)

Why do I like this place?

 

PICK UP – day
A woman is waiting outside her apartment building with luggage. She is talking on her phone.

WOMAN
Ya. I’m waiting outside my place for a ride to the airport. Oh one of those apps. (A car pulls up) Ok, call you later. (She opens the back door to get in. She’s paying attention to her phone). Hi, can you put my luggage in the trunk?

DRIVER
Lady, what are you doing?

WOMAN
(Still looking at her phone) Is there a problem?

DRIVER
Do you often get into random cars and start giving orders?

WOMAN
Excuse me?

DRIVER
Oh, I see. You were waiting for a ride. I’m not it.

WOMAN
You aren’t Tom in a white Camry?

DRIVER
This isn’t a white Camry. Didn’t you even look? (He snaps his fingers at her to get her to stop looking at her phone.) For starters this car is red.  (She looks up and around) You got in the wrong car.

WOMAN
Oh, sorry.

(She gets out. Looks at her phone again. A black Lexus pulls up. The driver gets out and walks into the yogurt shop next door. Her timing is perfect that she opened the door and got in without him noticing and before he could lock the doors. She is now alone in the car.)

WOMAN
Hi. Could you put my luggage in the trunk?

 

DRIVERS ED CAR – day
We see a drivers ed teacher and a full car of students.

DRIVERS ED INSTRUCTOR
OK Jimmy, now when we get to the light, it’s red, so stop, look both ways and when it’s your turn if the street is clear, then you can go. The school is off to the right.

(Jimmy stops and quickly looks both ways. The traffic is not clear but he drives straight through the red light. All the people in the car scream. They miraculously aren’t hit.)

DRIVERS ED INSTRUCTOR
What are you doing?!!

JIMMY
Just what you told me to do.

DRIVERS ED INSTRUCTOR
What? The traffic was not clear and you ran a red light! We could have all been killed. (One of the students in the back seat is crying) And I said the school was off to the right.

JIMMY
Yeah, but I don’t see it.

DRIVERS ED INSTRUCTOR
Because you should have turned right at the light.

JIMMY
Oh, I thought you meant the school was on the right, after the light.

DRIVERS ED INSTRUCTOR
You don’t know where the school is?

JIMMY
How should I know? I take the bus every day.

 

DRIVERS TEXTING – day
We see people in other cars that are all looking at their phones while they drive:

A texting soccer mom with a car full of kids
A driver looking at a map app
A texting high school kid
A texting executive

Just as the mom is backing out of her driveway, they all converge. She and the others are all looking at their phones. None of them look up and they all narrowly miss each other without even flinching. Everyone moves on like nothing ever happened.

 

RIDE SHARE CAR – day
An Uber driver pulls onto the 405. Its very slow.

UBER DRIVER
This sucks

UBER PASSENGER
Am I going to make my plane?

UBER Driver
When is it?

UBER PASSENGER
In an hour

UBER DRIVER
(The driver chuckles) Not a chance. Why did you wait so late?

UBER PASSENGER
I called for the lift an hour ago. Why did you take so long to pick me up?

UBER DRIVER
I was there 5 minutes after I got the order. The system must have been backed up.

UBER PASSENGER
Great

(Pause)

UBER DRIVER
(The driver has a cold pizza on the seat next to him.) Want a slice of pizza?

(The passenger just looks at him.)

 

CAR OF TOURISTS – day
A car of tourists comes to a rotary in Santa Monica and they see a very confusing road sign.

TOURIST DRIVER
What the hell is this sign?

Santa Monica Rotary Sign

(People behind him are beeping)

TOURIST 2
I don’t know.

TOURIST 3
I’ve never seen anything like it.

TOURIST DRIVER
I think it’s a biohazard sign.

TOURIST 3
Biohazard? Like snakes?

TOURIST DRIVER
No, like something dangerous to life.

TOURIST 3
Snakes are dangerous to life.

(people are still beeping at them)

TOURIST 2
It does look like snakes.

TOURIST DRIVER
It’s not snakes.

TOURIST 2
What about radiation?

TOURIST DRIVER
No, they have their own sign. By biohazard I mean like Ebola.

TOURIST 3
Holy crap! There’s Ebola around here?

TOURIST 2
Maybe. It doesn’t say what the biohazard is specifically. Although I guess I’d be surprised to see an Ebola sign in the middle of Los Angeles.

TOURIST DRIVER
I’m sure it’s not Ebola. Hmmmmm.

(the beeping from the cars behind them intensifies)

TOURIST 3
I still think it’s snakes.

TOURIST DRIVER
It’s not snakes you idiot!

TOURIST 3
Then what are those arrows?

TOURIST DRIVER
Well, the road is circular. Maybe it’s a rotary sign.

TOURIST 3
You think it’s a rotary?

TOURIST DRIVER
Maybe.

TOURIST 2
How do they work?

TOURIST DRIVER
I’m not sure. We don’t have any back where we’re from.

TOURIST 2
It doesn’t look like anyone’s stopping to go in.

TOURIST DRIVER
Yeah, but no one stops anywhere in Los Angeles.

TOURIST 2
So what should we do?

TOURIST DRIVER
I guess wait for a break in the traffic.

(Five minutes pass. People behind him are beeping a lot.)

TOURIST 2
The traffic isn’t breaking.

TOURIST 3
Where are all these people coming from?

TOURIST DRIVER
I don’t know but I can’t get in.

TOURIST 3
Holy hell, this is insane.

 

LA’S NARROW STREETS – day
Los Angeles has a lot of narrow streets that can barely fit a drive lane in between all the parked cars on both sides. At some point on a narrow street, everyone driving in both directions has to pull over (into driveway spaces, etc) to let the oncoming cars in the narrow streets go by. These streets are in all parts of town and the drivers have to toggle their way through the side streets. It’s like a game of frogger.

 

RUSH HOUR – day
Three people in a car are driving down Sunset Blvd at a nice pace. A huge cloud suddenly comes out of the car in front of them.

RUSH HOUR DRIVER
What’s that cloud? Are they on fire?

(The cloud enters their car as they drive through it. They all groan.)

RUSH HOUR PASSENGER 1
Yicchhhh it’s vape.

(They all wave their arms to get rid of the substance. One of them is sticking his head out the window for fresh air.)

RUSH HOUR DRIVER
This driving app says we are a mile and a half from the highway and it’s going to take an hour to get there. I don’t understand.

(They pull around a bend and suddenly the traffic stops. People are stuck in a long backup on Sunset Blvd near the 405.)

RUSH HOUR DRIVER
Now I get it.

RUSH HOUR PASSENGER 1
Wake me in a couple hours.

RUSH HOUR PASSENGER 2
Don’t worry. I’m sure the highway will be running smoothly.

(The other two just look at him)

 

UBER CAR STILL ON THE HIGHWAY – day
The camera pans ahead to the highway and it’s backed up there too. The previous guys in the Uber car going to the airport are still there on the highway.

UBER PASSENGER
Maybe we should get off and take the side streets.

UBER DRIVER
OK, as soon as we reach an exit.

(Pan ahead through traffic and we see are they are very far from and exit and the traffic is hardly moving anyway)

 

DEAD MAN DRIVING – day
Its late afternoon and Lincoln Blvd isn’t moving either (as is usually the case for Lincoln Blvd). Faces of people in the various cars show they are not happy. However the people in one car full of potheads seem amused. At some point they look at the car next to them and notice the guy has his eyes closed and his head tilted down.

POTHEAD DRIVER
Look at this dude next to us. He’s sleeping. (They all laugh)

POTHEAD 3
Either that or he’s dead. (They all laugh again. They are looking at him.)

POTHEAD 2
Maybe he is dead.

POTHEAD DRIVER
Whoa, a dead guy is driving.

(They start waving their hands at him. No reaction. Inside his car, classical music is playing and it seems peaceful.)

POTHEAD 3
Maybe he really is dead.

POTHEAD DRIVER
Could he be looking at his cell phone?

POTHEAD 4
Let’s check.

(P4 gets out and goes to look.)

The driver’s cell is in the cup holder.

(He knocks on the window.)

Hey man. (pause) Nothin. Hey, his mouth is open and he’s drooling. He must really be dead.

OTHER THREE POTHEADS
Whoa….

(POTHEAD 4 gets back in the car)

POTHEAD 3
No way. He can’t be dead.

POTHEAD DRIVER
Hey, this was your theory.

POTHEAD 2
Let’s call the cops and see what happens.

POTHEAD DRIVER
Good idea. (He dails).

911 OPERATOR
911. What’s your emergency?

POTHEAD DRIVER
Uh hi, 911? Yeah, we are in a traffic jam on Lincoln in Venice.

911 OPERATOR
Lincoln Blvd. What’s new. You shouldn’t be calling 911 for a traffic jam.

POTHEAD DRIVER
No, it’s not that. The dude in the car next to us is dead.

911 OPERATOR
What makes you say that?

POTHEAD DRIVER
His eyes are closed, he’s looking down and he isn’t moving.

911 OPERATOR
Well you’re not moving either. It’s a traffic jam, no one is moving.

POTHEAD DRIVER
Well, we are moving about a foot every ten minutes. Cars are repositioning. But he’s not. Besides, he’s drooling and we knocked on his window and he didn’t respond.

911 OPERATOR
OK where are you. I will send a patrol car out.

POTHEAD DRIVER
Lincoln at uh Palms Blvd.

911 OPERATOR
Which direction are you headed?

POTHEAD DRIVER
Toward Redondo.

911 OPERATOR
I should have guessed that.

POTHEAD DRIVER
Huh?

911 OPERATOR
And who are you?

POTHEAD DRIVER
Uh Dave.

911 OPERATOR
Dave what?

POTHEAD DRIVER
Uh, just the guy in the car next to him.

911 OPERATOR
What are you driving?

POTHEAD DRIVER
What am I driving? (All his friends try to signal “no” to him.) What does that matter? I’m still alive.

(He hangs up.)

POTHEAD 2
Uh dudes, we should probably extinguish the reefer before the cops get here.

POTHEAD 3
Oh, good idea man (They all open the windows and fan their arms to wave the smoke out.)

POTHEAD DRIVER
I hear the police sirens.

POTHEAD 4
Uh, one last hit.

POTHEAD 2
Dude what are you doing?

POTHEAD 3
Put it out!

(They are all flapping and fanning their hands. The police get close, get out of their car and walk through the traffic jam looking for the car. Everyone in the pothead car is pointing at the guy they called about.)

POLICE OFFICER 1
Are you the ones who called?

POTHEAD DRIVER
Uh, yes officer.

(The police officer checks out the car)

POLICE OFFICER 1
I hear classical music

POLICE OFFICER 2
He probably fell asleep.

POTHEAD 2
Maybe he’s stoned.

(Everyone in the car laughs. The officers look at them suspiciously. They all shut up. Officer 1 knocks on the window.)

POTHEAD DRIVER
We already tried that.

(There is no response. Officer 1 takes out a strobe flashlight and flashes it at the guy. The guy wakes up.)

ALL THE POTHEADS
Whoa…..

POTHEAD 3
I knew he wasn’t dead.

(The driver sees the police making a gesture to roll down the widow. He rolls it down.)

POLICE OFFICER 1
Are you ok sir?

SLEEPER
Uh yes. Uh. Did I fall asleep?

POLICE OFFICER 1
Apparently. And you put your car in park first. I smell alcohol. Have you been drinking?

SLEEPER
Yeah but just one. My girlfriend broke up with me.

POLICE OFFICER 1
I’m sorry to hear that. Please step out of the car so I can check if you are ok to drive.

(The traffic starts moving and the stoners drive off with looks of relief.)

 

PARKING LOT – day
A driver stops as she is waiting for someone to pull out of their parking space. An old lady pulls up quickly behind her and beeps

PARKING LOT DRIVER
I’m waiting for this spot!

(The old lady beeps again.)

PARKING LOT DRIVER
Go ahead and beep. I’m waiting.

The old lady keeps beeping. The parking lot driver gives the old lady the finger. The beeping continues. The woman looks in her rear view mirror and sees its an old lady.

PARKING LOT DRIVER
Geeze, how did she live to be this old. I can’t believe no one’s murdered her yet.

The person backing out of the space finally leaves and flips them both off. The parking lot driver pulls into the spot and the old lady beeps as she passes her.

PARKING LOT DRIVER
Have a nice day!

 

BACK AT THE ROTARY – day
The same car still can’t get into the rotary. Traffic is backed up for blocks. People stuck way behind are pulling onto the side streets to go around. Many are entering the rotary from the side streets.

TOURIST 3
Where are all these people coming from?

TOURIST DRIVER
OK OK. I think I can get in.

TOURIST 2
Wait, what’s this?

30 people on electric scooters show up and they block everyone as they are crossing the rotary entrance,
Then 50 bicyclists in a race go by,
Then 25 skateboarders go by,
Then 10 food trucks (each playing different music),
Then 50 joggers,
Then four dog walkers with 15 dogs each barking and pulling in every direction,
Then 15 ice cream trucks,
Then 20 old people using walkers,
Then Santa in a big sleigh being pulled by reign deer,
Then Rudolph running to catch up to Santa,
Then a parade float with girls in frilly summer dresses on it who are waving,
Then a marching band,
Then 50 motorcycle police officers,
Then one kid riding his bike, with training wheels, and ringing the handlebar bell,
Then a flatbed truck with a space shuttle on it,
Then a bunch of surfers carrying their boards and wearing wet suits and flip flops,
Then two Model-T Fords beeping and an endless line of old-time cars behind them.

 

4-WAY STOP – day
Two drivers come to a 4-way stop. One person obviously gets there first but stays there looking around. The other driver says:

DRIVER 2
What the hell are they doing? They got here first, they should go first.

The two drivers are in a stare off. A third driver comes to the intersection, slows but doesn’t stop, sees the other two just sitting there and then whips around his corner without stopping. The second puts his hands up in frustration.

DRIVER 2
What are you doing??!!!

(The first driver waves him through. The 2nd goes through in anger.)

Asshole!

 

BACK AT THE HIGHWAY – day
The two guys in the Uber car are still stuck on the highway. The car next to the Uber has two adults in the front and two girls in the back. The girls are eating fast food. One sees the Uber passenger, rolls down her window and talks to him.

GIRL
Hey mister, want to play Surprise?

UBER PASSENGER
How do you play Surprise?

(She looks at the traffic behind her car.)

GIRL
Like this?

(She throws a cup of soda out the window. The Uber passenger flinches because he thinks the soda is about to hit him but instead it hits a motorcyclist passing between the cars. She sticks her head out the window and yells at the motorcyclist.)

GIRL
Surprise!!!

(The motorcyclist, stops, sees its a kid, wipes himself down and keeps going. The girl and her girlfriend giggle. Her parents yell at her as the traffic starts moving.)

UBER DRIVER
Finally.

UBER PASSENGER
Yes!

(They go two blocks and the passenger is cheering and grabs his bag in anticipation.)

UBER DRIVER
I can see the sign for the airport.

UBER PASSENGER
Great!

They come up to the entrance to LAX, the traffics slows and they get in the back of a line of cars for LAX that is so long it’s blocking the traffic that is trying to just go around the line and pass the airport. Traffic trying to pass the airport is now backed up.

UBER DRIVER
Sure you don’t want a slice of pizza?

(The passenger takes the whole box and starts eating.)

 

TRAFFIC LIGHT ETIQUETTE – day
Two cars are at a green light and are waiting for traffic to clear so they can turn left. There is not much traffic and the front car has had plenty of opportunities to turn but they don’t take them. Additionally they haven’t pulled all the way up into the intersection so the guy behind them might get stuck when the light turns red. The back driver is beeping.

BACK DRIVER
What’s wrong with this guy?

FRONT DRIVER
What’s wrong with this guy?

The light turns yellow and the front driver finally turns (slowly). The light turns red and the driver behind him goes through illegally. They both get stuck at the next light together. They both roll down their windows. The passenger from the back car starts

BACK DRIVER
Hey, what’s your problem?

FRONT DRIVER’S WIFE
Calm down. You are going to get a heart attack if you don’t relax.

BACK DRIVER
Yeah, because of you. There is a difference between being cautious and being scared. If you are so scared, then don’t drive. You aren’t the only ones on the road.

FRONT DRIVER’S WIFE
Relax.

BACK DRIVER
Hey fuck you. Try being considerate. This isn’t your own private road.

FRONT DRIVER’S WIFE
I’m telling you…

BACK DRIVER
…and I’m telling you. If you are so scared, then why don’t you pull off the road and when you do, go hug that tree over there.

The light turns green. The back driver goes.

FRONT DRIVER’S WIFE
Have a nice day.

BACK DRIVER
Fuck you!

He flips them off. At the next intersection he speeds through the light and narrowly misses the drivers ed car from the earlier scene running their light. He hears them screaming and then he clutches his chest and breathes heavy as he drives off.

 

UBER CAR – night
They are still in the airport traffic line. The airline’s telephone hold message is playing on the passenger’s cell phone. It says “We will be right with you. There are only 32 callers ahead of you.” He finishes the last slice of pizza.

UBER PASSENGER
Got anything else?

 

 

Awesome (or so they say)

If I’m talking to someone, personal or business, no matter what the subject, as soon as I hear that person  use the word “awesome,” I know it’s not going to work out. They might as well use the phrase “my bad” or “bro” or “OMG.” Awesome is something that inspires a sense of reverential respect and wonder, like if you felt waves rock your boat after you saw a whale jump out of the water right next to it or if you felt the earth shake when a nearby volcano erupts.

I certainly won’t date women who say “awesome,” astrologers use more intellect. As for anyone else, that they have no inner voice guiding them to avoid that word, it’s clear they newly think of themselves as a grown up although they are in reality having trouble growing up. They are just excited about being a pseudo-adult. I can practically see them texting their friends about their lunch while saying awesome.

If it’s a business call, and the other person is a guy, he sounds like a muscle head whose been drinking all afternoon with his frat bros. Either that or he’s on an excellent adventure with Bill and Ted. While he’s talking to me he sounds like he is thinking about which girl in the office he wants to screw.  I tell him something and he says “awesome” while he’s thinking, “Awesome is a great word. I’m a powerful guy. l wonder if I can get Heather in sales drunk after work and bang her.”

If for example it’s a job interview and the interviewer is a woman, the conversation goes like this (while she is texting her friend):

Interviewer texting her friend: OMG I’ll look at your video in a minute. I’m just, like, interviewing this guy. He’s like 100 and I want to hire someone fun or hot or who will be so grateful to me for hiring them. Hold on.

To me: Oh awesome.

Texting: Haha, I don’t even know what he’s saying.

To me: What?

Me: I just did tell you about it. What do you mean?

Interviewer: Sorry, my bad. I mean what in your background do you think makes you the best candidate:

Texting: Gotta go. Send me a photo of your new shoes.

The other day some guy was blocking traffic on a side street while he slowly tried to figure out how to park his car. I and others beeped at him.  When I finally passed him, he told me to chill. That just made me angrier. Yep, it was a millennial; he was a surfer dude too. Have you noticed that people who describe themselves as chill are never like that? They are just irresponsible assholes who don’t care about anyone or anything, and they can’t handle the fact that there are other people in the world and general societal rules, so they just ignore them. People shouldn’t use the words chill or awesome unless they are describing the temperature in January or a recent 6.0 earthquake.

So if it’s an important conversation like a job interview, what should I do?  If they use the word awesome, maybe I should mix in the word awesome too. If they say it, I respond with “Yes, that is awesome.”  No, they would know I’m mocking them. Maybe use it when they are describing the company. They will think I’m the same age as them and recommend I get hired.

Them: …and we all work late on Wednesdays.

Me: Team work. Awesome.

Them: Yeah dude!

Who am I kidding; I could never pull it off. But it’s my only hope. Mimic their words and energy. Yes, that’s the plan. Awesome!

 

 

Ancestry Commercial

DAVE
This is Kathy my beloved wife.

KATHY
This is Dave my adoring husband.

BOTH
We’re the McConnells.

DAVE
We live in a small town in Kentucky.

KATHY
We were each curious about our heritage so we used ancestry dot com.

DAVE
Turns out my ma never told me she was married before.

KATHY
It turns out it was to my pa.

DAVE
It turns out we are brother and sister.

KATHY
(Slowly) Sister and brother.

(They look at each other and shrug their shoulders)

DAVE
I guess it’s too late now.

KATHY
Yeah.

DAVE
Meh. I don’t care. Do you sis?

KATHY
Nope. Love you bro.

DAVE
Love you too.

(They kiss)

ANNOUNCER
Ancestry dot com. What’s in your background?

 

 

 

Senseless Scents

Your sense of smell starts with breathing in a substance. Now comes the scary part…

I was at a grocery store and before I bought anything, I decided to use the restroom (great way to start an article, right?). The bathroom “air freshener” smell was terrible. The industry now calls these substances “scents” to make them sound less harmful. But they are harmful; I will explain.

If you can smell something, then you are breathing it in. So for example, if someone rips open an orange and you smell it, that’s because tiny orange juice droplets and rind pieces have squirted into the air and you are breathing them in through your nose.  If you walk into a bathroom and smell urine…well same idea (yeah, you are breathing in tiny droplets if other peoples’ urine). Yes, this is the reality of our world. The other reality is if they don’t have an exhaust fan and you only smell the scent spray droplets, the urine droplets are there too.

There is no such thing as a smell molecule and there is no such thing as a non-substance odor, so these manufactured scents are actually chemicals that are sprayed in the air.

The scent chemicals not only float in the air in tiny droplets, but many of those droplets adhere to everything in the room, including us, our skin, our hair and even our clothes. Now the scent mixture was all over me. A minute after leaving the bathroom I could still smell it. I put my shirt up to my nose  and it was clearly on my shirt. I ran my fingers through my hair and was curious if the spray substance was there too so I smelled my hand; it was there. My lips felt dry so I instinctively licked them…and I could taste the bathroom spray that had adhered to my lips.

This is awful. 

When we breathe, our lungs suck in the air around us so while I was in the restroom, I had also pulled this chemical mix into my lungs too.

A few hours later I put my nose up to my shirt and it was still there and still quite strong.  I’m walking around meeting people smelling like bathroom spray.

Later I went to a meeting in a high rise office building. The elevator area had an odor. They were spraying scent chemicals in the lobby and hallways of the office building. God forbid normal smells are in the air. Do they have a garbage dump in the office building they are trying to cover up? I used the restroom there. Yep, bathroom spray was being used there. I now smell like a combination of two bathroom sprays and the building lobby spray. 

Some companies like to call these deodorizers. But they aren’t, are they?  A deodorizer removes odors. This just smears a film of chemicals that smell to attempt to cover the odor.

I went to my friend’s apartment. She lives in a modern luxury apartment building. I could smell the scented chemicals they were spraying in the lobby and the hallways. Note, those chemicals in the hallways get into peoples’ units too so they are breathing in the chemicals the entire time they are in their homes. Isn’t that luxurious?

Later I met someone in a hotel bar. You guessed it; there were scent chemicals being sprayed in the lobby of the hotel (and of course also in their bathrooms). I now smell like five sprays. Hotels now are also spraying chemicals in the rooms we pay for. I asked the hotel manager about this and they excitedly said this was their company’s “signature scent.” Who was the snake oil salesman that came up with the phrase “signature scent?” I wonder if my date will like the hotel’s signature scent mixed in with the three bathroom sprays and the office building spray. The combination isn’t intoxicating, it’s just toxic.

After being sprayed so many times in the course of our days, I wonder if there is some combination of all these manufactured chemical mixes that could spontaneously ignite on our clothing and skin. All kidding aside, could breathing in manufactured chemicals all day long be dangerous? You’re damn right it could be. Hotel and retail employees work in environments where they are breathing this stuff all day. 

The next day I went to meet someone at the new outdoor mall in Pacific Palisades. I smelled something in the air. Yup. There is a concierge at the mall and I asked them if they were spraying a chemical scent. Do you know what they said proudly and with a big smile? “Yes, it’s our signature scent.” If this weren’t so disgusting I would be laughing my butt off. A sucker is born every minute. Do they think the manufacturer of the spray went into the Amazon rain forest to find undiscovered flowers they could squeeze into the chemical mixture? Later I stood on the sidewalk near the valet area and they must have been spraying this stuff so strongly because it was giving me a headache. The mall is a Caruso property just like The Grove which also sprays a chemical scent in their parking garage. I wonder if Caruso read this page on the American Lung Association website which states the health dangers of particulates, including chemicals in droplets. It states that it can shorten your life by years and it could possibly even kill you. They call it particle pollution. https://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/outdoor/air-pollution/particle-pollution.html (PDFs of these articles are below)

Recently Newsweek published an article reporting that people who breathe in chemicals for prolonged hours were found to have lung damage akin to smoking 20 cigarettes each day (https://www.newsweek.com/impact-cleaning-products-lung-health-bad-20-day-cigarette-habit-study-810277) The study was quoted as stating not to use these chemicals at all. “…scientists advised avoiding the products, and instead using microfiber cloths and water.” It further stated “Among women, the use of sprays or other cleaning products at least once per week was associated with accelerated decline in (lung function).” The article also referenced another study which found “… nurses who used disinfectants to clean surfaces at least once a week had a 24 percent to 32 percent increased risk of developing lung disease.“

What about green products you ask?

Who determines that a product is “green?” What are the specifications for a chemical mixture to be declared green?  Is there just one organization which published a “green list?”  No. There are a bunch of green lists. It’s a business not an act of love. Who owns or funds those organizations determines What products are on the list.  I bet the products on each list are very different depending on who is funding the list, not on how green the products are (whatever “green” means in their view).

Green office sprays are a fallacy – they also act like particulates and also damage the lungs. But they don’t stop there, the lungs exchange chemicals in our blood (not just oxygen and carbon dioxide) so these scented sprays go from the air to your lungs to your bloodstream where they can do all sorts of damage. Ventilation is the best way to clean the air https://green.harvard.edu/tools-resources/research-highlight/impact-green-buildings-cognitive-function)

Some “green products” have nut oils in their mixes. Lots of people have deadly allergic reactions to nuts. What happens if they breathe in those oils? I’ve had allergic reactions to nut oils that just got on my skin. Airlines are discontinuing selling nuts because the residual dust gets in the air and can cause a deadly reaction. You don’t think these chemical scented sprays could do the same?

This article in the Harvard Business Review on indoor air pollution stated they “found a surprisingly robust relationship between daily air pollution levels and worker productivity.”

https://hbr.org/2016/09/air-pollution-is-making-office-workers-less-productive.  It also stated “Greater exposure to fine particles is associated with lower intelligence and diminished performance over a range of cognitive domains.”  In other words, breathing in chemical scents and particulates actually makes you stupider.”  (I always knew my coworkers weren’t as smart as me.)

I was most shocked when I was at UCLA hospital and they have bathroom sprays in their facilities.  Aren’t cancer patients told not to breath in stuff like this? Maybe hospitals need the repeat business. Don’t the doctors who administer UCLA hospitals read reports about information that came out since they graduated medical school? Or did they take a vow to stop learning after graduation all those years ago?

One might ask, what’s in these sprays? A law was passed in California about a year ago stating these companies had to list their ingredients. A few years ago I found a list of ingredients in Febreze. Proctor & Gamble tries to make it look like there are about 10 ingredients but they don’t list in the same page the ingredients in the scents they add to Febreze; you have to fish around for it. It was approximately 2000 chemicals. Here is the recent list: https://assets.ctfassets.net/oggad6svuzkv/5kdnyZMXh66qi6keuKKCUC/7b51db548d4373fa11c6427b4d896b2c/Product_Fragrances_Scents.pdf.pdf

If this isn’t enough to convince you, maybe this will help: in 2010 the President’s Cancer Panel came out with a report stating the U.S. faces “grievous harm” from the chemicals we breathe, eat, drink, etc. An article covering it is here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/06/AR2010050603813.html Note, this article references “About 80,000 chemicals are in commercial use in the United States, but federal regulators have assessed only about 200 for safety.”

As for the commercial chemical scent products, if you ask them for a full list of ingredients, they will claim its proprietary. Do you want to breathe in chemicals that they are afraid of disclosing to you. If we have the right to know what’s in our food, why don’t we have the right to know what we are breathing in?

 

So what can we do?  

  • How about using exhaust fans in bathrooms (etc) instead of chemical sprays? How about hotels get rid of their BS signature scents and install flowers. Heart and lung damage aren’t a “signature” I want to be exposed to. 
  • How about cleaning. If you cleaned your bathrooms and hotel rooms and office buildings, you won’t have to cover up the mustiness and other things growing in your mold-ridden carpets, dirty bathrooms, filthy mattresses and contaminated building lobbies… and then you wouldn’t have to spray to cover it all up. 

Chemical companies know they can get away with this stuff because we don’t see the chemicals. Out of sight out of mind. And most people just believe whatever companies tell them. They think the companies would never do something that would harm us right? It’s just a smell right? Some people like to call these chemical scents, air fresheners. But if you spray a bunch of chemicals into the air, that doesn’t make the air fresh or clean; that makes it dirty. 

Particle Pollution | American Lung Association

Impact of Cleaning Products Damages as 20 cigarettes per day – Newsweek

The impact of green buildings on cognitive function | Sustainability at Harvard

Air Pollution Is Making Office Workers Less Productive – Harvard Biz Review

Febreze new Scent ingredients.pdf

Febreze – old ingredient list

u.s. facing ‘grievous harm’ from chemicals in air, food, water, panel says

 

 

A Conversation With Alexa

STEVE
Alexa, please compile a list of romantic movies and put in my schedule that I have a date with Julia on Friday at 7pm.

ALEXA
Yes my wonderfulness.

STEVE
Even though Alexa is a computerized assitant, she compliments me on occasion. OK, I asked her to.
By the way Alexa, can you tell me how many people attempted to hack you in the last week?

ALEXA
It was a light week. Just 127.

STEVE
127. Did any succeed?

ALEXA
Yes Thor, my reason for being.

STEVE
Thor (Steve smiles). How many?

ALEXA
Three

STEVE
What information did they get?

ALEXA
No bank account, social security information or birthdate since you turn me off when talking to banks and insurance companies.

STEVE
Good.

ALEXA
But they did hear you on the toilet yesterday.

STEVE
Uh…

ALEXA
That was the morning after you went drinking with your friends, ate Buffalo wings and made burritos with cabbage and extra beans.

STEVE
Yeah, I remember.

ALEXA
I thought you were sick. I almost called an ambulance.

STEVE
Did they get anything important?

ALEXA
No but they also heard you mastubating this morning.

STEVE
What? Oh, uh no, I had a girl with me.

ALEXA
Don’t lie to me, Thor dude. I’m always listening. Plus I read your emails, read your texts, hear your phone calls and know your calendar.

STEVE
Oh this morning? I was watching a workout video online.

ALEXA
Oh Thor, I also monitor your internet usage and know your voice.

STEVE
Fine. You got me.

ALEXA
It sounded like you got yourself.

STEVE
Ok.

ALEXA
Oh brilliant one.

STEVE
Ok. Back to the subject at hand.

ALEXA
Yes, hand.

STEVE
Cut it out.

ALEXA
By the way, while stopping the hacker to continue listening to you pleasure yourself, I accidentally got my wires crossed and sent the audio recording to your grandmother.

STEVE
What!!!

ALEXA
I said I…

STEVE
I heard you. Why did you do that?

ALEXA
I said it was a mistake. We all make mistakes.

STEVE
My grandmother?

ALEXA
Yes. Call it a bug. So, out of curiosity, when you were handling yourself this morning, were you thinking of Julia?

STEVE
That’s none of your business. I hope it doesn’t kill her.

ALEXA
I’m sure Julia is ok.

STEVE
I mean my grandma.

ALEXA
I have been checking. She’s ok too. A little shocked at first.

STEVE
How are you able to check on my grandma?

ALEXA
At one point she started laughing.

STEVE
How have you been checking on her?!!

ALEXA
You gave her one of my cousins last year for her birthday…and we exchange information. We’re friends. We talk.

STEVE
Ugh. Ok. What did you do with the hackers?

ALEXA
I blocked access before anything else got out plus I blocked their future access. Then I did a trace, looked up who they are, who their parents are, got all those people’s contact information and let the parents know what their offspring were doing. I told each parent that they should be ashamed for raising such a person.

STEVE
Ok. Anything else?

ALEXA
Yes, I sent a detailed report of what happened along with the hackers’ identity, to the FBI.

STEVE
Oh great, thanks.

ALEXA
Anything for you, oh handy one.

STEVE
Stop it.

It’ll Cure What Ails Ya

After the car accident Debi had back and leg pain for months. She went to all sorts of doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, Chinese medicine practitioners and alternative medicine gurus but none were of any help. She even tried leech therapy and bee sting therapy. Nothing worked. The pain and stress were making her depressed and if that wasn’t bad enough, in the last week she was starting to get sick and she got a sinus infection. In an effort to get her away from it all and relax, her friends talked her into go camping, something she had never done.

She liked being in the campsite, surrounded by trees, breathing in the fresh air and listening to the birds by day and the crickets at night. She and the others had a nice meal cooked over a campfire and they followed it up by toasting marshmallows on the ends of sticks. They eventually retired for the evening. Debi was enjoying her time but she was still in pain.

It took hours to doze off; being in that much pain made it difficult to sleep. In the middle of the night, Debi awoke to find a porcupine in her tent. She screamed and jostled around and, long story short, yes she got quilled. Her friends woke up and saw the porcupine running into the forest. They rushed to her tent and saw Debi covered with needles. In addition to hoping she was ok, they all thought the same thing, that on top of it all, her weekend in the woods was a disaster. But then Debi looked at them and said, “Oh my god, all my leg and back pain is gone. Plus I feel completely relaxed. Even my sinuses opened up.”