Thursday, December 29, 2011

Arcade Ragamuffins

I went mini-golfing yesterday, and it was fabulous as mini-golf tends to be. After the main event, we stuck around to play games at the castle-themed arcade (sidebar, why are mini-golf places always shaped like castles? Did they used to play mini-golf in medieval times? Were knights lining up to put brightly colored balls into holes in astroturf?). I was never big on video games, but I loves me some skeeball. Skeeball is, as they say, The Shit.

Castles and mini-golf. What's the connection?

But the point of this story is not to recount our nostalgic evening trying recapture our childhood. I bring this up because I witnessed something very disturbing at Sherman Oaks Castle Park. Not one child, but TWO children came up to us and asked us for spare tokens! Like friggin' orphans from Oliver Twist all strung out on Dance Dance Revolution and Cruisin' USA (that's a thing, right?). "Please sir, I'd like some more...tokens!!!!" The nerve of these children! One of which couldn't have been more than five or six. Who taught him that it was ok to go up to total strangers, looking all cute and pathetic and panhandle for another round of Buckshot Something-or-Other?

Ya greedy bastard!

My first thought was, where are their parents? Did they just dump them off at the arcade so they could go have grown-up time (meaning intravenous drug abuse and unprotected sex?) But then it occurred to me that if they had such parents, these children were probably never taught that it was wrong to beg. I just wanted to shake this poor little boy and say, "You want tokens? Get a job and buy your own damn tokens! Because this is Amer'ca, goddammit!" But then I would be the one kicked out and not this charming little vagrant.

I just really love skeeball.

One kid even tried to get into our good graces by offering color commentary as we played a very confusing safari game consisting of shooting at giant spiders and flies (for no particular reason). I was like, dude, occupado! After the game was over, he asked for spare tokens again! This just went against everything I stood for! Especially because those tokens were not cheap. (Even though we got a half-off coupon...)

So the point is, this could potentially be an epidemic! Are America's youth being taught that if you bat your eyes and stick out your lower lip, people will just drop hours of free video game play in your lap? I say NO! Not in my backyard!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Without Hope or Agenda

The day before Christmas Eve, a vase full of beautiful red roses was delivered to my office. For a brief moment, I entertained the fantasy that they were for me (because I’m a girl and couldn’t help it). Sadly, the envelope was addressed to one of our residents. I dutifully notified her via phone and e-mail of her special delivery. We would be closing early on Christmas Eve, so I wanted to make sure that she received them before the holiday.

These particular roses cost $115. What a waste.
A very beautiful, heart-rending waste.

But the resident never came. The flowers were still sitting on the table when I returned from my mini-vacation four days later. By then they were all wilted and sad looking. I’ve always thought that in theory, flowers are a terrible gift. They inevitably die (plus they’re way overpriced and I don’t believe in wasting money). I still love getting them, though! It’s the thought that counts more than anything, right?


When the roses died for real, the office housekeeper threw them away and washed out the vase. She put the card on my desk to give to the resident if she ever came to pick it up. It turns out that the resident had called to see who they were from. She authorized my co-worker to open the card and read it over the phone.

This is what it said:

“_____ Just wanted to say, without hope or agenda, just because it’s Christmas (and at Christmas you tell the truth), to me, you are perfect. Thinking of you and wishing you a Merry Christmas : ) _____”

My cold, crusty heart just melted at that! And if you are a complete loon and didn’t recognize the reference, this guy was quoting a famously heartbreaking scene from the greatest Christmas movie/romantic comedy/anytime movie ever, Love, Actually. I was shocked, SHOCKED I TELL YOU, that none of my co-workers were familiar with it. Once I explained the significance (it basically means that this poor sod is in love with a girl he knows he can never have, but still feels compelled to spill his ever-loving guts out to in one of the sweetest ways possible), they nearly died from estrogen-overload as well! The girl's response to this note was, and I quote, "Oh." Could she be less enthused?

The notoriously frustrating yet sweet scene in question.

The fact that this biznatch must have totally shot him down got me all up in arms. I mean, I don't know this girl or her situation. Maybe she's also married to the guy's best friend like in Love, Actually. Maybe she's a lesbian. Or perhaps she really just doesn't have those feelings for him no matter how much she wishes she did. I also don't particularly care if the guy is a screamingly hideous, soul-sucking bastard (though I highly doubt it if he's willing to quote an uber-chick flick and send roses). All I know is, if I had received those flowers, I would have bolted past airport security with sweeping, epic string music in the background and a crowd of Portuguese townsfolk following me, only to bang on the window of the gate where the guy (who inevitably looks like Sexy Jesus) is getting on the last plane out to America, and start belting, "All I want for Christmas is you!"

Unintentionally stole this from my friend Jess.
The other most frustrating scene in Love, Actually.

Who knows if the resident will ever stop by to claim her empty vase and love note. On second thought, she better not. Otherwise she'll get a punch on the nose from me, having imagined this grand and tragic love story that never was.