Sunday, October 31, 2010

Car Hazing: Little Fella's Initiation to The City

Quote of the blog:

Gaby: I don't think we're taking that drive today, my radiator is missing.


Next April will mark my fifth year in New York City. My current roommate Gaby moved here just two weeks after I did. Even though we had never met before she moved the city Gaby knew my brother from college and we had a few other mutual friends that lived here. We hit it off as soon as we met. She had driven cross-country with her friend Brenda in her ’93 red Honda Civic, affectionately named Little Fella.

The weekend after she moved here the four of us, Gaby, Ty, Brenda and myself took a drive to Target in the Bronx to run some errands. It’s only a 20-minute drive but it was a nice drive, the afternoon was sunny and bright. There isn’t a Target on Manhattan (yet), so for now this is still the closest one to us. Little Fella was parked in the upper parking lot and we ran our errands. We were in Target for less than an hour but as we walked back to the car we saw something - someone had keyed the hood of Gaby’s car! In the middle of the day! We got closer, and what would have been exclamations of, “I can’t believe someone keyed your car!” Came out as “I can’t believe that someo---whaaa?” when we saw what was written.

In what started out as 4” letters that got smaller and smaller was the phrase FAF you. Huh? FAF you? What the what? We puzzled over it. What could it stand for? Did they misspell...? Was it a keyed typo? It seemed unlikely it was a random misspelling when they took the time to key out the word you. Hmmm. We were so curious. We pondered possible acronyms, misspellings, and slang options. When we got home we searched Google, looked on (search with caution!) and asked friends – and found…nothing. Note: there is an entry for FAF now but it wasn’t there four years ago and the definition doesn’t seem a likely fit. We were puzzled - although we did have fun giving it different connotations via tone and inflection.

That wasn’t the only City-car-hazing Little Fella went through: it was broken into multiple times (until Gaby moved it to a garage), was outrageously overcharged by a convincing mechanic, and perhaps worst of all, a homeless man peed on the passenger window– while Gaby was in the driver’s seat!

These experience could be viewed as a car’s rite of passage into city life. Sometimes we’ll see new cars: no dings, scratches, bumper guards, etc. and think, “it won’t look like that for long in the city.” And while we still don’t know the meaning of FAF you Little Fella became a City Car that day at Target (although he was henceforth known by some as Little FAF or Little FAF you).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Is Googleable a Verb?

Quote of the Blog:

K: Is it bad that I just Googled How to meet friends after college?


I woke up this morning at 4:30 am to a high-pitched whining by my ear. I panicked. I pulled the covers over my head and sat under them for a few moments. When I turned on my lamp I saw the culprit, a zancudos, a mosquito(!) loitering on the wall by my bed. I grabbed a little tissue and, well, let’s just say he’s not going to be bothering anyone ever again. BUT, he’s the third mosquito in a week we’ve killed in the apartment! And we live on the fifth floor! WHYYYYYYYYYYYY are they in my apartment nibbling on my ear at 4:30 am? There might be exceptions I’d make for a nibbling on my ear, but this is not one of them. I mean, it’s almost November? Shouldn’t they be DEAD without me to kill them? With these thoughts in my head I pulled my Macbook off the desk onto my lap. At 4:30 am I started researching mosquitoes.

I love looking up things on the Internet. I really do. I love that I can find answers to just about anything. If a topic, person, location, etc. comes up in conversation and I’m near a computer there's a good chance we're looking it up.

Earlier today my friend told me that he was going to maybe dress up as Michael Myers for Halloween. I was like, “Oh? Mike Meyers, that's funny.” His exasperated, yet amused answer was, “No. Dork. Michael Myers from Halloween.” Within a few moments I’d opened Google images. Oh man. Michael Myers is Scary! And looks NOTHING like Mike Meyers (except maybe for the hair).

There was a time, for almost six months, where every morning I read one item on (possibly one of my favorite websites). I read about loads of different topics: cell phones, car engines, lightning, lock picking, quicksand, MRIs, zippers, LEDs, snowflakes etc. I loved it. I still read them – but not every day. Now I spend more time listening to the "Radio Lab" podcast - which gives me my “how things work” fix.

Sometimes my phone gets phone envy because all it does is phone stuff like calls and texts. I can sympathize. It doesn’t get the internet – or the World Wide Web as my friend’s mother calls it. “Sweetie, the world wide web isn’t working. Can you help me get it back up?”

You can search just about anything on the WWW but you can’t always find the answer you’re looking for.

Friend: Lately my belly has been sweating.
Brook: I'm sorry, what?
Friend: It's true! I even tried to Google belly sweat. It's like the one thing you can't Google.

So, even though I can get 2,310,000 results in 0.32 seconds by typing in “mosquito in house” we’ve still got a ways to go…

Monday, October 11, 2010

Choose the What?

Quote of the Blog:

Justin: Brook, we're great friends. Think of how much better we'd be if you weren't so morally upstanding.
Brook: Or if you weren't so morally reprehensible.
(We both laugh)


In primary, at church, we used to get little adjustable rings with a green shield-shaped emblem on the top with the white letter “CTR.” CTR stood for “Choose the Right” and we wore our rings as reminders. Not too long ago my mom told me how El. Uchtdorf, one of the twelve apostles, had spoken at a regional conference and said that CTR can not only stand for Choose the Right but for Current Temple Recommend. I work at the LDS temple and loved that idea – a reminder adapted from childhood to a specific reminder to live a life worthy to enter the temple. I thought it was very clever.

So a while ago I was preparing to teach in Relief Society in church (the last hour of church when just the women meet). I wanted to incorporate El. Uchtdorf’s idea of CTR standing for Current Temple Recommend into my lesson and I thought it would be great to have the rings to pass out so I ordered fifty primary rings online. Since the post office closes the same time I get off work, I had them delivered to my work. A few days later the front desk handed them to me as my coworkers Allyson and Sunil and I were coming back from lunch. Sunil and Allyson wanted to know what the rings were for. We’d had quite a few conversations about church and so I opened the package and showed them the rings and told them about the lesson and Choose the Right.

Sunil was kind of looking at the rings so I asked if he wanted one. "Sure!" So I gave one to him and to Allyson. Sunil immediately put the ring on his gold necklace (no, he's not Italian or in the mafia). Allyson put hers on her pinky and wore it all next day. A couple days later Sunil came into the room where Allyson, Justin, me, and a few others worked. He said that his buddy had seen the ring on his necklace and asked what CTR stood for. Sunil couldn't remember. I told him it stood for Choose the Right and then quizzed him throughout the day. It was so funny. Every time I asked him he came up with a different answer: "Chosen True Righteous?" "Cah...Right?"

But Friday of that week was a different story. As you can probably tell from the quote of the blog there is generally quite a bit of teasing and joking that goes on in the office. We all got along really well and had a lot of fun (not all of us work here still). Justin and Sunil were talking with me and Allyson when Justin, smirked and said something sarcastic to Sunil – something like, "Oh right Sunil, like you would EVER be able to do that." Sunil made a face and I countered, "I believe in you Sunil! You can totally do it!" Sunil smiled at me sweetly and said nicely, "Thanks Brook" and then turned to Justin and said, "Yeah!! CHOOSE THE RIGHT! MOTHER F*****!"

I died laughing. It was the last thing I thought he was going to say. But at least he remembered what CTR stood for, right?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Police, Pachyderms, and a Pickup Truck

Quote of the blog:

Sabra, on the first day of a family vacation: “By the end of this week I’m going to stop chewing my nails and get a different laugh.”


My family is a family of storytellers. We love to tell and share stories and many of our friends are the same way - and my mom’s friend Candee was no exception. Mom met Candee the second time my parents were stationed at Beale Air Force Base (AFB) in the late 70’s. From the first time they met they knew they'd be great friends, and they were. When Candee moved to Colorado she and my mom kept in touch via letters.

One day my mom received a letter (that she kept for years) that told the story I'm about to share. I grew up on this story - it's been shared for years and years and will be shared for years to come. I’ve never heard the story anywhere else, but sometimes I wonder if it has evolved into an urban legend somewhere – just because the story is that amazing and it happened just over 25 years ago. Like my mom and Candee used to say, "you can't make this stuff up."

The story is about Candee’s friend. She and her husband were dealing with some stress and wanted to take a break and get away for a while. They decided to pack their camper (the kind that attaches to the back of a pickup truck) and go away for two or three days. They did a bit of research and found a safari park that had recently opened a few hours away from their home. So off they went. They left one morning, arrived at the park, and drove around to see the animals.

While they were driving around an elephant attacked their camper and dented the side of it. It was a charge and dent and run. The couple were fine and the camper was drivable. They went to the manager of the safari park and reported the incident. He took all of their information and encouraged them to go into town and meet with a representative from their insurance company. He said if they filled out the forms at the insurance company he would be able to support the claim. So the couple drove into town, met with the insurance agent, who called the park manager to verify the story, and they were on their way.

They decided to drive down the road and find a campground where they could spend that evening. Then they would decide how to spend the next day. They pulled onto the freeway and had only driven a few miles when they heard a lot of sirens. They dutifully pulled to the side of the road to get out of the way and much to their surprise four or five cop cars surrounded the camper. They were pulled out of the vehicle, frisked, arrested, and taken to jail.

Earlier that day, when the couple had met with the insurance company, a bank had been robbed in the city. The getaway vehicle was described as a camper with a dented side. After the police made a series of phone calls the couple was released.

By this time the couple felt this vacation was more stressful than staying home. The getaway they had envisioned wasn't the kind that involved the cops. They were done. They decided to drive home, close the blinds, unhook the phone and not answer the door. Before getting back on the road the wife told her husband she wanted to lie down so she got out of the truck, walked to the back, got in the camper and went to sleep.

On the way home the husband stopped for gas. As he went in to pay the wife woke up and, seeing they were at a service station, decided to use the gas station restroom. When she came out of the bathroom she saw, to her horror, that her husband and camper were gone. Her husband had paid, come back to the camper and, thinking his wife was asleep in the back, had driven off.

There was the wife, standing at the gas station with no purse, no wallet, and no way to reach her husband (years before cell phones) and still miles from home. She walked back into the gas station and told her situation to the cashier. A man standing nearby heard her story and offered to give her a ride with him and his family. He said it was just a little out of the way and they were happy to help her. They drove her to her home, but must have taken a different route or driven faster than her husband because they dropped her off before her husband was there. Knowing that her husband was on his way she sat down on the front step to wait for him.

She didn’t have to wait long before her husband turned onto their street and pulled into the driveway but when he saw his wife waiting on the front step he was so shocked he drove right through the garage door.

How is that for a stress free weekend?