That’s right, internets. Taking an inspiration from my creative and amazing husband Stephan Cox, who impressed us all with his 365 days of creativity in 2011 on www.thingadayproject.com (he’s actually doing Thing a Day again for 2013, focusing exclusively on poetry), and also gave us more than a year of self-dares with his Sh&t That Scares Me project, I am turning my attention this year to my poor neglected Funny Strange, committing to doing an actual post every single day. I should add that one of the reasons I haven’t been writing here is because I am experiencing something of a creative existential crisis, wherein every time I go to write something, something in my head goes “No one cares about this,” or “People expect you to be funny, so make sure to write something funny,” which eventually lead me to write nothing at all because I feel like I’m not coming from a genuine place, and like everything I write is contrived, and there is nothing I despise more than contrived funny, which just reminds me of alcoholic clowns.
Now is the time to break through all that, though, because (I’m told) with every day posting, you have to get right over that and just write whatever comes to mind, so that’s what I’ll be doing. Some of it might not be funny, I’m just warning you.
I would like to open by telling you about a wine store I went to recently—a wine store that had barely any wine and a cashier that was on the phone the whole time. This is one of the anecdotes that got shelved because I felt like too much time had passed and it wasn’t funny anymore, but now that I am challenging myself, I am going to give it my best shot. Here goes.
So, the other day I went into a wine store to buy some wine.
You’re like “How many directions can this story go? Why is she telling me this? What’s a wine store? This story is bad.”
First, let me clarify—
1. I started drinking wine a few years ago, because I am all grown up now. I don’t know why I waited until my thirties to start drinking. I actually have no good explanation for it. I think it was a combination of a fear that alcohol would make me throw up (because I have seen too many movies with high school parties in them?), a subtle fear that a drop of alcohol would activate my drunken Irish genes and I would end up a hobo (this is a real thing. Look it up.), and / or the fact that I grew up in California, where everyone mostly drives, and since I never started drinking, I ended up always being the designated driver. I am only up to wine now, I like a nice pinot noir, and I still kind of think hard alcohol is going to turn me into a hobo, so I’ve never had it. Don’t peer pressure me.
2. For some reason (I believe it has to do with antiquated laws), they don’t sell wine and hard alcohol in the grocery store in the east coast. This is one of the weirdest realizations to come to when you leave California—the fact that not every grocery store is like that Ralph’s on the corner of Wilshire and Bundy in LA, where there is a wine concierge and you can get Blue Label scotch. I am never going to get used to having to go to a “wine store.” I still think it is extremely silly, every time I do it.
Now that the context is set, I will tell you that I went into a wine store the other night, and it was so empty, so lacking in its very quantity of actual wine, that I was almost compelled to break into Monty Python’s “Cheese Shop” sketch.
That would go a little something like this--
“Do you have any…?”
“Well, this certainly is the cleanest wine shop I’ve ever seen.”
“How do you mean?”
“Certainly uncontaminated by wine.”
Adding to and compounding the absurdity was the fact that the guy working at the wine store was on a personal call the whole time I was there, and never even asked me if I wanted help, which is of course one of my biggest pet peeves. Maybe he knew by looking at me that I wasn’t going to be “get off the phone” worthy? This leads me to my next question/ speculation—WHAT. IS GOING ON. WITH THIS WINE STORE? Is it a front for the mob (I think everything is a front for the mob)? Is it a rich person’s attempt to give their kid a job? If this is the case, as I understand it, there are MANY less complicated endeavors than a wine store, which requires licensure and many regulations, and kind of a lot of your money trapped in inventory at any given time. I am baffled. Is this store going out of business? If so, where is the signage and the accompanying discount? It is absurd to me that this can just be going on with no plausible explanation.
To recap: this wine store has almost no wine. The sales guy is on the phone. I just want some wine, and now I am annoyed. If there were a closer wine store, I would certainly have left just on principle, but there seems to also be some kind of ordinance that you can’t have more than one of these stores within a certain square mile radius, so I am stuck giving my money to a guy who doesn’t give a crap, which in some way is telling him that this whole way of running his store is a-ok.
The other option is to just not buy wine, of this I am well aware. But—come on. Now I’m aggravated, and you know what makes me less aggravated?
Here’s how I solve this conundrum—I buy wine, and just as I’m done paying, I blurt out: “THIS IS A TERRIBLE WINE STORE, I AM NEVER COMING BACK HERE,” just loud enough to interrupt the guy’s conversation. Since I have just given him my money and now he thinks I have Tourette’s, and because he obviously doesn’t care about customer service, he reacts in the only way he can, which is a few moments of stunned silence, followed by a shrug, then a return to his phone conversation, the other participant of which is now like “Hello? Hello?”
As I’m walking out the door, I hear him reply “What? Oh, I don’t know--- some crazy woman who didn’t like our wine.”
I think I really got through to him, don’t you?
In case you’re scared, no, not all the posts this year are going to be this long. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t cop out on the very first day by just writing about writing, so THERE YOU GO, 2013.