Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I Like to Watch...and Complain

One thing I had time to do while doing the whole jury duty thing last month, was to sit and observe. Each morning I would arrive early and sit in this middle of this huge parking lot, in my car, and watch other people arrive then board the buses that would take them to the courthouse. Here are my observations:

[1] Men don't run when they're late. Out of the 3 weeks I sat there and watched, I noticed that 95% of the men, even if running late, did not/would not RUN to catch the bus. Women, however, DID on a regular basis.

[2] Straight Texas men over the age of 30 have a uniform: Polo-style short-sleeve shirt with collar (stripes were the most popular, while solids were a close second), khaki pants, belt with goldtone buckle (rarely saw silver on men over 30), sunglasses and cellphone clipped to the waist of their pants. This description applied to about 99% of the straight men observed, though 1% opted for a Hawaiian-style shirt in uncolorful/neutral patterns.

[3] Straight men make no apologies. I caught myself early on, saying 'sorry' waaaay too many times: If I bumped into someone, if I didn't let the seat down fast enough (so the others could get out of the back of the suburban), if I reached across someone to get my backpack, etc. Straight men are just not as self-conscious, I think.

Example A: I go to the bathroom while at the cafeteria one day during lunch. The bathroom was set up where the first door opens up into a foyer where the sinks/towels are, then that room has another door that goes into another room where the stalls/urinals are. I us the bathroom, flush the urinal (meanwhile another juror has come in and is at the urinal next to me as I'm leaving) and open the door to go into the foyer to wash my hands. No sooner does the door close behind me (the one where the urinals were) than I hear the other juror blow a fart that would rattle the ceiling tiles.

Example B: The juror room where all 14 of us are crammed is SMALL (*see diagram). One major drawback to this is that you can hear everyone pee. Every trickle, every splash. If broadcasting your bathroom progress is a phobia of yours, you're outta luck cuz outside of using the bathroom at whatever restaurant you happen to be having lunch at that day, it's your only resource.

That being said, I never imagined that anyone would have the audacity to take a dump in one of the bathrooms in the juror room. So, needless to say, I was flabbergasted that no just one, but 2 of the jurors (one man, one woman) DID, sans air-freshener, no less! And there was a full can in each bathroom!! I'm no prude but I personally found this appalling. My perspective is that under the circumstances (a small, enclosed space shared with multiple people) this is just something you do NOT do, not to mention not even having the common courtesy to use the air-freshener provided. One of my close friends disagrees with me saying that he doesn't see what the big deal is. I say "you had to be there."

[4] Straight Texas men do not like to carry anything with a strap when it comes to storage devices. It's a handle or nothing (i.e. briefcase). It's the whole "this ain't no purse!" mentality. The ultimate man-purse: something in leather, faux leather and no handle. Just carry under your arm...not purselike at all.

[5] People love to talk about their job, especially spewing forth hopefully impressive-sounding job titles. The bullshit was flying for days. You couldn't escape it the first week (while A LOT of them, men mostly, never got out of business-mode). It was the equivalent of dogs sniffing each other's assholes; everyone trying to out-success each other. I loved that one woman simply and unpretentiously said she was an apartment locator. Period. The end. I immediately liked/respected her for that. For me, there is nothing more bullshit that someone who tries to impress others with overblown titles.

Example: One man in particular made me chuckle (internally, of course) when he was asked what he did for a living. He said something like "I'm a floor consultant for a major corporation" (or some such shit). Naturally, the guy asks what that entails and the guy gives him a sketchy idea of what he does. Translation: He works at Home Depot (i.e. "major corporation") and helps customers find shit in the store (i.e. "floor consultant"). Why couldn't he have just said that to begin with?! That'd be like me telling people (if I installed cable TV boxes) that I was a "Optic recreation technician." Whatever. Who gives a fuck? I find it very depressing that so many people's self-worth and identity is wrapped up in their occupation. It's just a job. Ugh.

[6] The stereotype that men get hardons over sports (esp. golf) and electronics really is true. Toss in offspring, Jesus and income and you have the typical straight, married Texas man's conversation repertoire.

[7] And last, but not least, this is more of a commentary than an observation persay. Besides business, I've OD'ed on dinner conversation that involves healthy vs. unhealthy food choices, diet, carbs, saturated fats, sugar vs. sugar-free, protein shakes, etc. When I hear someone who weighs 99lbs exclaim "I gained 6lbs last week!" or "I have this great smoothie I make with fresh fruit and protein powder..." or "I do 4 hours of cardio...blah blah blah" I want to shit in my own hand and use them as target practice. Seriously. I am so fuckin' tired of hearing about it all! Are people really this fuckin' boring? I'd rather alphabetize my canned goods than listen to this boring, humorless prattle that's passing for 'conversation.'

Once, I interjected with "I just read an article where this woman had wrote in and said her parakeet suddenly died one morning while she was making scrambled eggs. As it turns out the pan she was using had a Teflon coating and apparently the fumes it gives off causes parakeet's brains to hemorrhage." A cricket chirps. Five people are looking at me like I just said "Who likes pussy?" After a few attempts not unlike this one, I finally stopped trying.


Blogger Cindi said...

I am assuming that is your first name. I discovered your blog a few months ago and I have to tell ya....you are a hoot! I love your sarcastic wit.

Loved this post. I also cracked up over your post a while back when you went back home to see your folks.

I hope you don't mind but I put you on my blogroll. I am a newbie in the blogosphere.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 2:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Cheryl said...

Just as a data point, your observations apply to straight men in PA also.

Beware the pod people! They are everwhere.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 10:14:00 AM  

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