The Red Octagon
Today I went to the DMV to renew my license. Even though my license does not expire until July, I wanted to get it over with while I had the time.
I arrived at the DMV at about 2:30 PM. I filled out the renew license form and grabbed my ticket (#C321). I watched the ticker above the windows: “Now serving #C312 at window 8.” Dammit! I sat and waited for about 40 minutes.
#C318… #D101… D? Who cares about D? No one! #C319… Not here, ha!… #C320… Almost there, almost there, hurry up you idiots… #C321-- Success!
I gave the lady at number eight my paperwork and two forms of identification. (Passport and social security card.)
“I’m here for a renewal.”
“That will be twenty dollars.” She said mechanically. I handed her a sweet Jackson. “Oh, wait… You’ve had more than two tickets in the last couple of years so you have to re-take the driver’s test.”
“Are you kidding me?” I asked.
“Didn’t I just take that thing when I got my damn license? What happens if I fail?”
“Then you have to take it again.”
Damn you lady, damn you!
She led me over to test station one; a standing height touch-screen computer. I started the test.
Which of the following is your name?
A. Maria Nunez
B. Barbara Green
C. Jessica Mae Stover
D. Lana Bricken
I went with C. Stupid test. The screen informed me: " CORRECT! Now you are ready to take the test.” Oh, goody.
The first ten questions are road signs. The computer shows you a photo of a road sign and you select the corresponding multiple-choice answer. You cannot miss any of these questions or you fail and are shamed for life.
B. Slippery When Wet… C. No Left Turn… This is easy. A. Pedestrian Crossing… Almost done… My vast knowledge of road signs is rather impressive— Wait a minute. WTF is that?
I had reached question 10: A red octagon with no words on it.
That can’t be a stop sign… it doesn’t say "STOP"… What the hell, is there some red octagon sign I’ve never seen before? Some sign that means something similar to a stop sign?
Answers C and D didn’t make sense, so I disregarded them.
A. Come to a complete stop.
B. Stop only if there is oncoming traffic.
Well it’s not a stop sign… so it can’t be A…
I touched B.
Idiot! They probably removed “STOP” so that it didn’t give away the answer! Shit—
Just then the screen flashed: “INCORRECT! You have been disqualified from this test.”
It was a stop sign. And I am an idiot.
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The Hokey Pukey
Hey you said you would tell us a really good story after you didn’t have a cold anymore. What are you still sick or something? – Grayer
Yes I did promise and no I’m not sick and yes I did forget. So, sassy boy, following is the first story that comes to mind.
When I first moved to LA, I went to the lounge at The Standard on Sunset way more than I should have been allowed. As I waited for my furniture to be delivered so that I would actually have stuff in my apartment, I went out quite a lot, actually. Especially since “the scene” in the city was a new thrill and I was able to get into all the places with the difficult door rules. (Here they don’t ID at most places. “Difficult” means you have to be or know “somebody.”)
The Standard Lounge is small and intimate. (Not to be confused with the lobby lounges, which any smuck can wander into.) To one side of the lounge sits a bar and a hallway with bathrooms. There is a tiny space for dancing next to the DJ. The rest of the lounge is filled with low, deep-set couch-like booths and tables of a matching height. The walls are actually lines of beads hung from the ceiling and backlit with a purple light. When you touch them, they move.
To snag a booth or table at most places like The Standard, and The Standard is no exception, you have to buy a table and usually there’s a two bottle minimum as well. However, if no one has reserved a table or if the reserved party has not yet arrived, anyone may use the table. The bouncer simply asks you to get up once the patron who has the table enters the lounge. Since tables cost hundreds of dollars, we usually didn’t buy.
One particular Wednesday a group of my Hollywood girlfriends and I had claimed one of the larger circular booths. We hadn’t bought it, but usually, at The Standard, this was not a problem. They had taught me well. Since all of the girls were out and it was a rather Celeb-filled Wednesday, those that drink only water when out were drinking vodka tonics, and those who usually only had one or two drinks had six.
Among the vodka six-drink chicks was my pretty German friend Trish. After two hours or so I looked over at Trish and she was chillin’ rather slack in the corner of the booth. And, she had ordered water.
That can’t be good, I thought to myself. I asked her, “Are you OK?”
“Oh yes, I’m fine.”
I decided to further the test, “Want something else to drink?”
“Just this water is good,” she answered faintly.
I kept my eye on her from the other side of our large booth. The next time I looked over, I saw her lean a little toward the corner with her bottle of water under her mouth. I quickly grabbed our other German girlfriend and had her whisk Trish off to the ladies room.
Upon briefly examining Trish’s side of the booth, we found that she had totally hurled in the corner. The bottle of water obviously couldn’t contain that amount of upchuck she spewed at the rate one spews upchuck. (That rate is 12 cubic zarconiums per second, if you were wondering.) I thought it was hilarious. Although, as friends took Trish home, I could tell she was mortified. Whatever. I have friends who have done worse at the age of 12. Although, not on the “LA scene.” Perhaps that’s why it was so humorous: The same awkward junk happens in the places where people front the cool-factor.
A few moments after Trish left, and we had scooted to the far side of the puke, the bouncer, “Doc,” came over.
“Hey lovely ladies, I’m sorry but someone has bought the table so you guys will have to move,” He said.
“No problem Doc!” I chirped. My friends looked at me, all of us ready to burst out laughing.
No problem because there’s puke in our booth, sucka!
Enter Mr. ... Actually, I'm going to make up a name that will conceal his identity. Enter Mr. May-or-may-not-have-been "the king of the world" to take his seat at his purchased table.
“Hey, how are ya,” I greeted him.
“Pretty good. Thanks.” He answered quietly.
Will he sit in the puke? I must watch.
He was dressed in a low cap and kept a low profile. He looked out of place. I found this odd, because I believe he owns a part of the lounge. (I’m too lazy to confirm as it is unimportant to the story of the puke.) One of my girlfriends chatted him up as we vacated the booth. She said he was “nice,” a compliment which means nothing in my world. If all you can say is “nice” about the person, you don’t have anything to say at all. Or something.
He is pleasant, though... And it is evil... But I must watch his fate unfold without intervening. It is in the hands of the Gods now.
Anyway, Mr. May-or-may-not-have-been-in Gangs of New York sat within reaching distance of said puke. I stood nearby the entire night, watched his every move and silently cheered him on.
Put your hand in the puke.
Just a little to the right, man, and you’ll have it.
Oh! So close!
You put your right hand in, you put your right hand out, you put your right hand in and you shake it all about. Wait, don’t shake it. That will make it fly on me. Stop talking to that other dude and slide on over to the right!
C’mon, C’mon… and you’re moving away from the puke. What? Do you have anti-puke radar, or something?
JUST PUT YOUR HAND IN THE PUKE ALREADY SO I CAN GO HOME!
“Hey Jessica, it’s one o’clock, didn’t you say you wanted to go then?” said a girlfriend.
What? No, I’m watching to see if this guy puts his hand in puke so that I can laugh at him.
“Yeah. I’m tired,” I replied, throwing in a gratuitous yawn.
Dammit! If he puts his hand in puke right after I leave I’m going to be so pissed!
When we left at one o’clock, Mr. May-or-may-not-have-been-in Catch Me if You Can had not yet thrust his right hand into the mess. Clearly the Gods are on his side.
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J.Sto Calling Mancha… J.Sto Calling Mancha...
Here is what happens when I call home:
Jessica: …Yeah, so then I said “that’s stupid” and he got all pissed off. But it was stupid--I need a new manager--
Mom: What is that?
Mom: That car in the driveway.
Jessica: Oh you mean that car? It’s a car. By the way, I can’t see it. I’m in California.
Mom: It’s a pizza guy. Honey, did you order a pizza?
The Grizz: (in b.g.) No?
Jessica: His name is The Grizz, fool.
Mom: What is he doing… He’s coming up to the door.
Sound of C.Sto coming downstairs.
Mom: What is he doing? What an idiot. What is he doing?
Jessica: Delivering a pizza.
Mom: He’s delivering a pizza here. Did you order a pizza?
The Grizz: (in b.g.) No.
C.Sto: (in b.g.) Yes.
Mom: Oh. Well it’s here. C.Sto ordered a pizza.
Jessica: And didn’t tell anyone? Wow, weird. I wonder what else she’s secretly ordered. It’s like she has this whole other life where she orders stuff and no one knows about it.
Mom: Shut up. You have a spelling error on your website, by the way.
Jessica: Now I want a pizza. If I log on to fix that error, I know I’ll end up ordering pizza on the Internet.
Mom: Don’t do that.
Jessica: I’m not.
Jessica: Well all right then. So we’re in agreement, I will order pizza on the Internet and charge it to your credit card.
Jessica: Then I will charge—
Mom: Wait, what?
Jessica: Other line. Gatta go, later Madre.
Jessica: Um, yeah. I was just talking to M.Sto on the Mancha line.
C.Sto: I know.
Jessica: OK. Just so long as you recognize the fact that you cut Mom off, we can proceed.
C.Sto: I ordered a pizza.
Jessica: Yes. I hear that's big news.
C.Sto: Hey I gatta go, someone's calling my other phone.
Why does C.Sto have two cell phones? Because she's a player. That's why.
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