Wednesday, October 11, 2017


Every culture has things that others don't understand, and Korea is no exception. Luckily I have found that squat toilets are relatively rare, unlike mainland China, so no bathroom-related disasters have happened...yet.

But don't worry, their bathrooms aren't devoid of all strangeness. Weird thing number 1: often times there is no toilet paper in the bathroom. However, there IS toilet paper somewhere nearby - perhaps on the wall outside the bathrooms (between the men's and women's), or behind the counter at the cafe. This requires you to have a relatively good idea exactly how much TP you're actually going to need BEFORE you use the bathroom. Certain situations this isn't a problem. Others, well, we've all had those times when we've needed more TP than originally anticipated - which is MUCH EASIER to deal with if you have it right there with you, instead of making that agonizing decision before you have all the facts.

At school there's another small problem. I actually mean literally small. On each floor, there's a girls' and a boys' restroom, usually each containing two stalls. The first day at school I had to use the restroom, and one of the stalls was occupied. I walked in to the open stall and was horrified when I saw that I would have to pee in a tiny, child-sized toilet that was barely a foot off the ground and half as wide as my ass. There was no sign of the other stall becoming available, so I sucked it up and sat down on a comically small toilet, hoping to all that is holy that I wouldn't break a child's toilet on the first day of school.

The other problem was that there was no lock on the door. It closed, but I had no way to keep any random child from flinging the door open at any moment. Picture Will Ferrell in Elf sitting on an elf chair. Now switch that to a toilet, and have him desperately grasping the door handle with one hand, and you have my situation. Luckily the bathroom visit ended without incident, and I got out and washed my hands.

Weird thing number 2: the handwashing facilities are completely inadequate for one reason or another. The options are either a) no soap nor any place for soap to exist, b) soap, but no hand drying implement such as paper towels or a blow dryer, or c) neither soap NOR a hand dryer. I would say the majority of situations fall into category (b). Because not washing your hands is gross and unsanitary, I will often find myself with clean, dripping hands that I have to fling about wildly as I search for a place to dry them, eventually settling on my jeans as a towel replacement. Do Koreans  just wander around with wet hands all day? Or do their hands magically soak up water so that drying is unnecessary?

Another weird thing: THERE ARE NO TRASH CANS. ANYWHERE. EVER. This place is insanely clean. There is never litter or trash thrown about, and you only see a pile of trash on trash day by the curb. Such a clean system must be a result of many trash cans, right? WRONG. I can walk 5-6 blocks and not run past a single trash can the entire way. In a very urban part of the city, where anywhere else in the world there would be trash cans every 100 feet. So I'll get an iced tea, drink it as I walk, then be stuck holding the empty cup FOREVER because I cannot find a single appropriate place to throw it away. Restaurants have no trash cans. Office buildings, none. The gym, also none. Malls, NOPE. WHERE DO THEY PUT THEIR TRASH? WHY AM I THE ONLY PERSON WALKING AROUND HOLDING EMPTY CUPS ALL THE DAMN TIME??? If I die in Korea, I guarantee there will be an empty plastic cup in my hand when I do.

Final weird thing of the day: no napkins. I'm seeing a trend here about inadequate facilities for hand maintenance. When you go to a restaurant, you are lucky if they provide you with one single, small square cocktail napkin. You can't find napkins by the straws and silverware like most places. I keep wondering, do Koreans just not get their hands dirty? EVER? How do you not need to wipe your hands, mouth, chin, whatever while you're eating? How can an entire population NOT BE MESSY?

I got dinner tonight at a big food court in a department store. As I brought my (napkinless) tray to an empty seat, I noticed that all the tables were very clean with no trash or food particles on them. This wouldn't be surprising except for the complete and utter lack of people employed to clean tables. No one was walking around cleaning tables. So basically, Koreans eat ALL KINDS of food, spill nothing on the table or themselves, get nothing on their hands, and somehow leave the table spotless and immaculate WITHOUT THE HELP OF A NAPKIN. I am starting to feel like a giant slobby mess, because I can't eat noodles without getting sauce on my face, or eat certain things without getting something on my hands, or having a tiny crumb fall onto the table. I am the person who gets EXTRA napkins because I'm likely to make more of a mess than normal people, so now I'm super self conscious about eating in public for fear that napkins will not be made available and I'll have to walk out with red sauce all over my chin and curry on my hands.

And just FYI, the next time I went into the bathroom at school I saw that the occupied stall was in fact a full-sized toilet and I didn't need to use the kiddy potty at all... Whoopsie.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


So hey, what's up? I live in Korea now. I've been here for a whole week and three days. I'm practically a native. Lots of things have happened, but I'm unorganized so it's going to seem like a cat going all nimbly-bimbly from tree to tree.

First things first. My arm itches and therefore this issue is at the forefront of my mind. They have bugs here. Ones that bite you. I don't love this. I spent the last 7 years in a mosquito-free zone, so I'd kind of forgotten the joy that is being a bug buffet. I currently have 5 bites on my right arm, 3 on my left hand, and one ON MY FACE. It looks like a zit BUT IT'S NOT. Ugh.

In the day time I go to school. I teach kids from age 6 to 12. I only want to murder certain ones, which is a giant step for me. To be fair, the other teachers want to murder the same kids, so I'm not alone in my judgment. They're actually pretty cute - cute as in "children don't make me want to flee" but still not cute as in "I want my own." Giving them back is the best part about being a teacher.

One of my favorite things is the kids' English names. Just like when I was Juanita in Spanish class, or Gabrielle in French class, the kids have English names for English class. Their parents gave them the names, which is insanely hilarious. I personally have about 4 Elsas, one Sia, an Olaf and an Elvis. Even though those names are funny, nothing beats calling a 6-year-old Korean kid "Steve" like he's the guy at the watercooler at work.

I don't win the name game, though. My first week when I was watching people's classes, one of the other teachers had a kid who had decided the name his parents chose for English class wasn't going to cut it. The teachers let him pick a new name, and as all good children would when thinking of what they want to be called at school, he named himself "T Rex." This was only made better by the fact that he was acting up that day, so the teacher had to sternly say "T Rex" multiple times and I had to hide my face from laughter. T Rex was only matched by a kid in a different class who found himself in a similar dissatisfaction with his chosen name - but this one named himself Laser. I have to give him some cool points for that one.

Here some answers to questions you might have about the rest of my life in Korea:

- Yes, I do eat kimchi every day.
- I also don't wear shoes for 90% of the day. I found out that the "take off your shoes" thing extends at least to schools, perhaps other workplaces. So I bought a lot of cute socks.
- Koreans don't sweat. I am personally taking it upon myself to represent the sweat of every human in America so they are able to accurately imagine a country full of sweaty assholes.
- They have rain here. It's a thing.
- Yes, there are Korean beauty stores on every block, and yes I have bought many things from them.
- They play kpop in stores and restaurants and I finally feel like I've found people that understand me.
- My students occasionally call me "Kimchi Teacher"
- They also think that I chose a name for myself in Korean, since they have English names, and they keep asking me what my Korean name is. I tell them Kim. This is technically true.

If I raved about the Hong Kong and Singapore subways being beacons of cleanliness and modernity, I must take a step back and admit that HOLY SHIT I AM WRONG and Korea is the cleanest place on the planet. If someone dropped food on the subway, they could definitely pick it up off the ground and eat it - however, this would never happen because they wouldn't dare eat food on their clean subway for fear of soiling it.

My apartment has a hot water switch. This is not intuitive. The first day I stood in the shower for like 10 minutes waiting for the hot water to get to my damn showerhead. It never came, and I took a cold shower. Twice more I have decided to shower, forgotten the hot water switch, gotten completely undressed and into the shower, and just given up and taken a cold shower because that was easier than getting dressed in dirty clothes to walk across the place to turn on hot water I will use for 5 minutes. Yes, I am a nevernude, but currently I also live with two other humans in a three bedroom, so I can't just go running across the place in a towel. I get my own place in a couple of months.

If you'll excuse me, I must go now, because there's an insane thunderstorm and this a super fun new novelty for me.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


I live at the bottom of a well. When I think back, I can't remember how long I've been here, or how I got here in the first place. Did I fall in on my own? Was I pushed? Perhaps a little of both?

I have everything I need to physically live here in my well. Food, a warm bed. I'm able to see what's going on outside the well on my computer, but I myself cannot actually leave. There are no ropes or ladders to let me out, and the walls are too tall to climb without tools.

There are people right outside the well. There used to be a lot - I could yell up and someone would come sit on the edge of the well to talk. For a couple of hours, I'd forget I was in the well; I was just talking to my friend, being a normal person. I liked it when people would come to talk. At first I could yell and someone would almost always come, but now people have gone to other places, places where they can't hear me when I yell. If I'm lucky, and I yell loud enough and long enough, someone shows up. But sometimes no one comes at all.

To pass the time, I watch what's happening up there on my computer. I can see my friends and family, I know they're safe and happy. Sometimes I tell them what's going on in the well, just to let them know I'm still here, but living in a well doesn't create great stories or photos like the outside world does. I'd tell them more, but there isn't more to say. "Hey guys, still in the well. I'll see you soon, I hope."

Some people think it's my fault that I can't get out of the well. Regardless of how I got there, they can't see that I need help climbing out. They think I'm not trying hard enough, but that's because they've never seen the well from the inside. They don't understand why I can't simply climb the walls like Spiderman, or how a string of shoelaces tied together is a nice thought, but won't get me anywhere.

More than a couple of times I've been thrown ropes, thick ones with knots to help me climb - I'll get halfway up the wall and the rope will turn to sand, letting me fall back down. Sometimes it takes a few days to get over the pain from the fall. I've gotten almost all the way out a few times, only to have someone let go of the other end, dropping me back to where I started with a bunch of bruises.

Every couple of weeks, the guardian of the well comes to visit. He sits on the edge of the well for 50 minutes, EXACTLY 50 minutes, and we try to figure out new ways of getting me out. When he gets up to leave, I have a little renewed confidence that I can find a way out of the well. Then I go back to watching the outside world on the screen. I look up; it's so high, so far to the top. I look back at the screen, wishing I had that view.

It feels like I've tried everything to climb out. Making cracks in the wall for foot and hand-holds, using pieces of broken rope to make another, being so tired and delirious that I believe for a few hours that a popsicle-stick ladder will hold my weight. And then I have to deal with the people who tell me there's only one way up. If I don't go up this way, I'll never make it. But why can't I try this way? I mean, we're all working towards the same goal here. The fact that I use bedsheets instead of a well-made expensive gym rope shouldn't make a difference - if it gets me out, I'm OUT.

To the people that pass above and look down, I wave. I smile, exchange some small talk. Sometimes I make jokes. The passers-by don't notice how deep the well is. They just notice there's a nice girl who told them a funny story as they walked by. And I keep telling the stories, because I want them to walk by again, and again. They think I'm down here because I like it. They don't know I can't get out.

How long before I can get out? Who's going to throw me a rope that holds my weight until they can grab my hand and pull me the rest of the way out? I'm not asking for an elevator, or to be lifted out in a helicopter. I just want the tools to be able to climb out myself. Why won't anyone loan me their tools?

Thursday, May 25, 2017


I'm going to be real with you for a second. Most of you know that I am stupidly obsessed with k-dramas and k-pop, but if I've managed to keep the secret from you, now you know. I have the entertainment taste of a 14-year-old Asian girl.

I admit I've been watching k-dramas for a few years now. Sometime after I came back from Hong Kong I discovered one on channel 18 (for non-LA people, that's the Korean/Chinese/Vietnamese channel that rotates shows from those countries) when I was trying to fill the void in my heart left by my beautiful temporary homeland. Since it had subtitles, I ended up watching til the end - and I was like "HOLY CRAP THIS IS KIND OF AMAZING." Thanks to Netflix and their large library of foreign television and films I soon was able to watch them every minute of every day and dream of the magical life I'd have when I moved to Korea and had (at least) three guys fall for my nerdy, quirky charm.

K-pop is newer in my life. I honestly don't remember what got me into it, but it was only about two years ago and at first it was only one particular girl group - 2NE1. I'm pretty sure it was via music video on YouTube because sweet shit, Korea drops some wicked crazy budgets for music videos. I desperately wanted to uproot my life and become a k-pop backup dancer.
Minzy, Bom, CL and Dara

So maybe I listened to them on repeat in my car for months and know all the words to their songs (in Korean), and maybe I'd super geek out if I got to hang out with them. And just maybe I started following some blogs/websites that posted about k-pop and sometimes k-dramas.

Now here's where the difference between American culture and Korean culture comes into play. I may love Melissa McCarthy, and go see her movies and watch her when she's on talk shows, but I don't know her birthday, relationship history, home address and/or what she had for breakfast. If I saw her somewhere I might go up and say hi, because she seems like she'd be nice, but there would be no mob of people following her begging for her autograph. Even people who might want to do that with, say, Brad Pitt, wouldn't actually mob him for his autograph. Celebrities here (excluding the young ones who get into shit and have embarrassing photos taken in clubs) are generally respected and treated as normal people even if you're secretly geeking out so hard on the inside.

Well, in Korea, likely because their number of true celebrities is much smaller than ours, they get stalky. I'd read maybe two articles about my lovely 2NE1 ladies before I knew that Bom and Dara were born in 1984, CL's birthday is the day before mine, and that Minzy owns a professional dance studio in Seoul. The articles on these sites would literally report on a celebrity being spotted at the airport and followed out by a giant mob of creepy fans who somehow knew they'd be there ahead of time. They'd report on what someone's instagram post meant. Whether because these two celebrities were with 4 feet of each other WERE THEY DATING?? Like it got ridiculous. But I bought into it ALLLLL.

Fast forward to a year and a half ago when CL started debuting solo songs in the US, via YouTube music video. I started watching other videos on YouTube, since it selects something "relevant" to play after your chosen video is done. I watched all the 2NE1 videos. ALL OF THEM. Multiple times. I started thinking, "man, I wish they'd come play here in LA, I know there are enough k-pop fans to fill an arena." THEN MY DREAMS CAME TRUE. In November of last year, CL did a solo tour and I bought tickets in ONE MINUTE, as well as a long sleeved T so everyone could see HOW BADASS I WAS. I went with a Korean coworker, who sat on the other side of the arena from me, but still, IT WAS SO AMAZING. I FANGIRLED SO HARD. I mean LOOK AT HER.

Sometime in this general time period, my Korean coworker went to Seoul and I told him to buy me something cheap and dumb. He came back with this:
I was blessed with this adorable pack of socks for the boy band, Big Bang. I'd never listened to them, but I knew they existed.

I figured I should get to know Big Bang since they were going to go with me on adventures via my sweaty feet, so I started looking up their music videos. I'd never really been into k-pop boy groups because they all seemed like tiny children and it made me feel like an old lady. But it turns out Big Bang has been around for 10 years. And even the least educated k-pop fan has heard of G-Dragon, the leader:
I mean, sweet shit, look at that jawline 😍

I basically decided to watch all their videos, because well, k-pop videos. I highly recommend you take a viewing of "Fantastic Baby" because the thing is practically fucking art. It's so colorful and fills me with such joy. After a binge-watch of a good handful of Big Bang videos, many of which were from the new album that came out in December, YouTube treated me to some random backstage footage of the boys. Then there was a clip of them on a variety show. Then more clips of them doing normal things. Like literally, these guys have cameras on them 24/7. Unlike American celebrities, you really feel like you know Korean pop stars - they're so accessible to the public that you honestly feel like you know them personally after watching a few shows.

I'm sure we are all aware of my lifelong love for Bradley Cooper, but even that creepiness doesn't begin to compete with the Korean celebrity creepiness. I have no idea when Bradley's birthday is. I think he lives in Venice and that's only because a friends saw him there. If I saw him in public I'd probably just drool until I was carted away. It's made very clear that Bradley and I are not going to marry.

Then, after watching a few videos, I take notice of one of the members. Hmm, he's pretty cute, I think. He also has a really low voice which is insanely attractive for some reason. He goes by TOP in the band, and we are going to get married.

Exhibit A
Exhibit B

WHO HAS CHEEKBONES LIKE THAT? I MEAN REALLY. JUST STOP. Then I watch the video "Bae Bae" (which was apparently banned on tv in Korea for excessive sexual innuendo...) and see this:

A purple suit, cane, weird contacts, goofy dancing - I fell desperately in love. Especially once I found out that each member had come up with their individual concept for this music video. He's so fucking weird and beautiful and he must be mine.

Now herein lies the problem - if he was an American celebrity I'd probably put him as my phone background (not saying I haven't anyway) and randomly find pics of him on Pinterest to post to my ever-growing board of hot guys. HOWEVER, these k-pop websites are dangerous. They want me to know more. There are literally stats pages, like height/weight/etc. Random girls out there know this guy's weight by heart. I don't understand kilos so I conveniently forgot. However, thanks to these websites (and the fact that I'm avoiding mainstream news), I've learned:
- his birthday is Nov 4 (he's a Scorpio, which generally means nothing to me except the fact that only two of the guys I've dated/had giant crushes on/etc in my entire life have NOT been Scorpios...)
- he's hilarious and ridiculous
- he loves MODERN DESIGN (OMG)
- as well as modern art
- he went into the Korean military, as is mandatory for all men, on February 9th and is working as a police officer at the Gangnam station for the next 21 months
***let me catch my breath here...police officer...😍😍***

Keep in mind that I did not seek out this information. It was literally all just posted as headlines on these sites. They even post when someone has a weird instagram update and people are confused. So of course I now follow them all on instagram. 
**scroll friend's pic scroll vacation pic scroll OH HEY WHAT'S GDRAGON UP TO TODAY?**
Well if you really want to know, he's here in LA filming a music video (location undetermined) BUT I do know he's staying in the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel and I got that just from a pic he took out his window - because I'm a fucking detective I was able to locate one of the street signs and a store in the pic and pinpoint the exact location. I WOULDN'T HAVE DONE THIS 3 MONTHS AGO. I AM NOT THIS PERSON. 

I'm the person that sits in Starbucks and watches Michael Cudlitz enjoy a latte on the patio multiple times because I think he's a badass but I'm also entirely too terrified to approach him. I don't have a clue where any celebrities live, other than "probably this general 5 mile radius." But for some reason I read articles that tell me where all these guys live in Seoul and I'm like WAIT WHY ARE YOU ENCOURAGING US? And to be fair I'm WAY less stalky than the people that live there. They actually go try to find these guys. 

BUT SEE NOW I CAN'T STOP. I got on the stalker boat and it's going too fast and I can't jump off. WHY HAVEN'T YOU POSTED ON INSTAGRAM IN 3 DAYS? ARE YOU OKAY? Someone took pictures of TOP in his police uniform visiting an elementary school? Hot shit, let me see that. CL THAT LOOKS LIKE LA IN THE BACKGROUND OF THAT POOL SHOT, WHERE ARE YOU AND CAN I BE YOUR BEST FRIEND? And then the most important question of all...

Do you like blondes who can speak a little Korean (which is probably so charming, with my silly American accent)? I mean, just checking...

Saturday, May 6, 2017


Welcome back. Just as I thought I had no more funny left in my life to blog about, it becomes Met Gala season. It's pretty much Hollywood Halloween, since the vast majority of things worn to the gala do not qualify as clothing but rather costumes.

I don't know half the people that went, either because I'm now 700 years old or I spend my waking hours watching Korean TV or serial killer documentaries. Regardless, I can still judge you - and judge I shall.

Ah, Solange. You don't seem to be into your sister's "pretty much naked with some rhinestones" look, but sweet merciful shit, it's spring and you're at a gala. I can see how this might be appropriate at the Minnesota Big Moose Ball, but not here. And I wonder...does this coat fit neatly into a tiny bag like the other puffy coats from Uniqlo?

Thandie Newton mistakenly believed that the theme of this year's gala was "Dia de los Muertos." And I'm pretty sure they sold that dress in Contempo Casuals in 1996.

Once again, Pharell looks like he's a 10-year-old dressed up by his mom, standing uncomfortably for pictures in clothes he's grown out of. But his wife. So many things to say. 1) THERE ARE NO ARM HOLES. HOW DOES ONE FUNCTION IN SUCH A THING?  2) Even if she were able to use her limbs, it would still look like she stole a Teletubby costume from some lost wardrobe closet at a movie studio.
Also, question. If you push her over, does she just roll around like a turtle until someone turns her over?

Rhianna was dressed today by a Project Runway contestant, where the challenge was "use anything and everything you find in your grandma's house." Grandma's gonna be pissed when she finds out she can't finish your Christmas socks because all her yarn was used to wrap up Rhianna's legs.

Claire, I really appreciate your dedication to showing up after escaping the basement dungeon in the woods. Sorry your shirt got all torn in the ensuing chase, but I'm sure someone from out of town has one of those hotel sewing kits in their bag to help you out.

Elizabeth Banks...your face is so pretty and your hair looks damn fine, but I'm not sure why you decided to wear a Magic Eye dress. If you squint your eyes and stare at it for a few seconds, you can see the image of Harambe.

I feel like Katy Perry is some sort of child bride attending her wedding ceremony somewhere in remote Mongolia, where she'll meet her 70-year-old husband for the first time as he takes off her red veil. They'll dance around a fire in her wedding costume, then she will be banished to a closet in her husband's home.

I know everyone wears Spanx at these things, but most people wear something OVER their Spanx. I mean, just a suggestion for next time.

I could comment on Madonna's military surplus dress that's sold under the name "General Perversion" on Halloween websites, or I could comment on how much work she's had done to her face. Spending thousands of dollars to look 30 again is great, if anyone actually gave a shit about you anymore.

The Olsen twins only come out of their cave twice a year - fashion week and the Met Gala - yet they always look like homeless chicks who are wearing all their clothes at once because they have no place to store them. I don't think I've heard them speak since 1998. I feel this might be a hostage situation. Is that side eye some kind of secret code? Is she asking for help? WE CAN SAVE YOU IF YOU LET US.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Let me begin by saying that my time as a DA was probably the most important experiences I have ever had. I was around criminals every single day. Sometimes I would talk to them (and their lawyer, of course). But most of all, I basically got a crash course in behavioral psychology that has been invaluable since I left.

Tonight I was on the train (yes, LA does have a train) headed home after a lovely and fulfilling day of reviewing documents. I'm always aware of my surroundings, but at night, downtown, and on the train are places I'm specifically on my guard. I notice EVERYTHING.

In the six-months-worth of time I have taken the train, I've only noticed maybe two or three people ever that I could tell were looking for some kind of victim - an open purse, someone with headphones playing on a phone they could grab, basically an easy grab-and-go situation. I make sure my body language shows that I'm paying attention and that I'm probably not the person you want to try to mess with. Generally looking someone directly in their eyes is enough to have them change their mind about you. And fear - just like the movies, "they can smell fear." I never look afraid. I look like I know exactly where I'm going, what I'm doing, who's around me etc.

We were about three stops away from the end when the girl sitting next to me got off. Then a guy with wicked BO sat down next to me and I had to hold my breath, but for only one station. Luckily, he got off, but as I turned my head back towards the door and saw a guy come in. He was creepin'. I really don't have a better word for it. Walking kinda slowly, checking everybody out. Then he comes and sits right next to me. There was a completely empty seat in front of me, but he sat next to me.

He also didn't move. He didn't look at me, he didn't shift to get comfortable, he didn't look around. This was fucking suspicious as shit. I made sure that I didn't shirk away next to the window as though I was scared of him so perhaps he'd decide I wasn't the best target. My purse, as usual, was nicely secured on my arm in my lap. The way he was acting, I thought he might try to grab my purse and run out at the next station, but he didn't. Wouldn't have gotten it off my arm anyway.

Train gets to North Hollywood. Everyone exits. Despite having to exit before me since he physically had to for me to get out, he appeared a couple of feet behind me. I was still in a crowd of nearly a hundred people, so I wasn't creeped out yet. I walk faster to get in front of this crazy lady with a dog stroller.  Get on the second escalator. Hmm, still a couple of feet behind me. When we got outside where people are being picked up, I turn and begin walking towards my car - when I saw him in my periphery following me I decided to try something.

I walked over to a bench area where a guy was on his phone, and I stopped to get my keys out. Well whaddaya know, the stalker stopped too. Because there were so many people being picked up right there and my car was one row back, I decided to see if he'd go that far. He kept about 20 feet back, but he followed me the entire time, so I decided to walk in circles. Then I walked back to the station. Dude, I can fucking see you, are you kidding me? He was obviously a very bad criminal. So for a few minutes I walked around the crowded area to see if he'd give up. I thought he had, so I head back out towards my car. Turn around, guess who's there, 20 feet back, coming back to the parking lot.

When I get to my car, I just turned around and watched him. He wasn't stopping so I headed back to the pick up lane. This time he just sort of stood a few feet away from my car and lit a cigarette, thinking I'd come back while he was there (SERIOUSLY HOW STUPID ARE YOU?). I literally stand in a handicapped parking space next to a car with a man and his daughter waiting on someone for two minutes. I watched him. He was just waiting. Finally he seemed to give up and headed back to the station area, since I was too close to people.

After another couple of minutes, I thought he'd completely given up, so I headed back towards my car. I turned back and saw him speeding up behind me, since he'd given himself too much room and I might be able to get in and away before he could reach me. And then the beautiful sight of black and white passed my lane and I just sprinted towards the car, waving at the sheriffs to stop. I told them this guy had been following me for 10 minutes back and forth to my car, and we walk around the corner and there he is, just waiting.

The officers detained him, searched him, and started asking him questions. I stood back and waited, knowing they'd want to talk to me. Eventually one of them came over and asked me what had happened, and I told him the whole thing. They said he had no weapons on him (whew) but had admitted to being arrested before. They sat him down on a curb while they went through all the shit he had in his pockets and got my information.

Since obviously he hadn't yet committed a crime, the sheriff told me they were going to run his record and "hopefully he has a warrant," but also said they'd keep him facing the other way if I wanted to get in my car and go so he didn't see which way I went. He was pretty dim, so the officers weren't too worried about him remembering my car. I thanked them and went on my way.  A+, LASD. There when I needed you.

But I noticed him because I know criminals. Most people don't. He didn't stand out in any way physically or by his clothes, but by his actions. Someone who didn't know what to look for likely would have been followed to their car and robbed. So be careful. Watch people's demeanor, and for the love of god look behind you at night. Walk in circles. Do what you need to do to make yourself know you're safe.

Sunday, December 4, 2016


Honest to goodness question: does ANYBODY actually like it when a store employee yells "hello!" or "Hi, how are you?" when you enter a store? Can we just get rid of that whole thing and have salespeople standing around visible in case you actually need to ask for help? PLEASE?

I have worked retail. I know both sides. I was once a person who was told by a manager to "greet everyone as they enter the store" and "make sure everyone knows your name." You know what? NO. Here's how shit works.

When I'd stand near the front of the store and someone would come in, they display certain behaviors. Option A - they look right at me and seem friendly. Option B - they don't look at me but also don't look like they'd eat me if I spoke to them. Option C - they intentionally keep their eyes off me and have a look that tells me they do not wish to be bothered. Option D - they not only don't look at me, but they notice my presence and enter as far away as possible and immediately get lost in the racks.

Despite being a socially anxious misanthrope, I read people very well. I can tell who is friendly and who is not, who is being friendly only because they want something, who is in a bad mood. They don't even have to speak. So when I was a retail employee, if option A or B entered the store, I would nicely tell them hello, and generally they would smile and say hi back. I knew instinctively not to bother C or D. How? Because they are me. That, and my manager would be around so I'd have to speak to them and they'd flat out ignore me, so my point was proven.

There seems to be a new trend of all the employees of a business yelling "HI WELCOME" the instant you walk in, as though they're in a race to see who can say it the fastest. It's bizarre and creepy. I know they were told to do that, but who on earth thought that was a good idea? "Hey, let's get five people to yell at this customer as she enters the store so she's bombarded by humans and also has no idea which one to respond to, if any."

First of all, "welcome" is fucking weird. It isn't a question, so it doesn't really require a response, but it also leaves you vaguely confused if just saying hi back is enough. Also, "welcome" is something you say to someone entering your home, because if they just walked in off the street that might not go over too well. Of course I'm fucking welcome at Subway, your sign says open and I'm about to give you my money. If you're welcoming someone to a place that is not your home, it better be as they go through customs at the airport or have stumbled upon your candy factory accidentally and it's followed by "go ahead and try anything you want."

Second, we both know you don't mean it. Don't look at me and try to convince me for one minute that you took that retail job because you ACTUALLY deeply wanted everyone to feel welcomed into this store that barely pays you enough to get by. I know you don't care how I am, and I'm super fine with that. I didn't care how anybody was when I was in retail, but I knew I had to say it. Unless you're working on commission, you don't even give a flying shit if I'm in the store at all, because you're making money by just standing there.

"Can I help you find anything?" Yeah, I was wondering where your kosher snacks are...? "Ma'am, this is Forever21." WELL THEN WHY DID YOU ASK??? Do people really come in and ask "I just want to know where the solid blue crop tops are, I'm in a hurry"? The most ironic part is that I hear this the most in small stores, yet where you would NEED to ask something like that would be in a large department store - "Can I help you find anything?" "MOTHER OF GOD I'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR THE RESTROOM FOR TEN MINUTES AND AM ABOUT TO PISS IN A LOUBOUTIN, WHERE THE HELL IS IT??"

"Are you looking for a specific size?"

"Shopping for Christmas gifts today?"
No, I'm bored out of my fucking mind and have nowhere to go in the day but the goddamned mall. Also are people like me really buying $400 purses for OTHER PEOPLE? Do I look famous?

"What can I help you with today?"

*at the register* "Did you find everything okay today?"

And I'll finish with an actual exchange I had a few years back in a clothing store:
"Are you shopping for Valentine's Day?"
"Do you sell boyfriends?"