Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Wept For Them

Friends, I went to dinner with my family and as soon as I walked through the door there was a group of waiters doing a line dance in front of our table. So we all had to wait for them to do the "grapevine" down the row so we could get to our table. It was like the people version of "Frogger". You would take two steps, and then the waiters would come dancing back, so you would have to take two steps to the side and then one giant step forward, and then finally we had to dive into our booth before they came down the isle again doing the "Cotton-eyed joe".

We finally got seated and I noticed one waiter who wasn't lovin' the line dance. I think he must have been new because he didn't know all the steps and he hung his head down because you know he felt a little stupid. I am sure he was thinking, "I wish I would have known I had to do a line dance as part of this job before I was hired. I just wanted to pay my way through college and now look at me dancing myself insane." Ah, bless him.


It has really got me thinking about all the times I have been to a restaurant and have felt so embarrassed for the employees when they have to dance or sing to the guests. I weep inside for them. Who are these employers that are making their employees do this? It makes everyone feel uncomfortable so why do it? If I wanted a song and a dance I would go see a musical or laugh at people at the local dance club. When I go out to eat I just want a meal and some quiet conversation not some idiot kickin' up a hoedown and screaming in my ear. Is that so wrong?

Am I the only one who feels this way? I don' think that I am. I am starting a campaign, every time I go to a restaurant where I see waiters singing or dancing, I am going to put a comment in their comment box. My comment will be this, it will simply says, "I weep for your help. Please stop torturing them by making them succumb to this mindless dancing and singing. I wish I could hold and rock each one and make them feel whole again. Please for their sake and mine, as Susan Powter said back the 80's, Stop this Insanity."

Let's do it friends. We can make restaurants a better place for ourselves and those good waiters. Stop unwanted dancing and singing. Together we can make a better dining experience for all men.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sweet Peaches


Who doesn't love a nice juicy peach? It is one of natures perfect fruits isn't it? There is nothing like a peach, not a peach from a store mind you, but one ripened on a tree. The ones from the store are usually crunchy and have no flavor.


This weekend my mother brought me some of the peaches she grew from her very own tree. I have to admit that it has been a while since I have had a good peach so I fully indulged myself. My first bite was an orgy of sweet, tart and juicy all rolled into one. Wow, I thought, this is like a little party in my mouth. So I had another and another and another, and well six peaches later I was so satisfied I almost had to have a cigarette out on the deck.


Just as it is in such stories of indulgence, pain inevitably follows. Around 2:00 a.m. I awoke to such terrible pain in my belly. My muscles were spazzing and convulsing that I had to assume the fetal position for about 10 counts. For a minute I thought I was experiencing premenstrual syndrome, also known as PMS, and I started a search for a Midol PM, but being a man I had none in stock. Needless, to say it was a long night.


When I came home from church a viel of forgetfulness came across my mind about the previous evenings angony and I indulged in another round of compulsive peach eating. Only to be followed by the same pain all over again.


You might on occasion ask yourself, "Rob why do this to yourself when you know that you will have such pain?" And I inevitably will say, "Because it is a peach, Wiotch!"

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Southern Utah

Well I got to attend my first away conference for work in St. George. I must admit it was fun to have someone pay for your hotel, food and pay you for being in a cool place like St. George.

Friends, I have to be honest I never have found the joy or beauty in St. George. Every time I go there I feel like I am melting into the concrete. How can anyone enjoy a place where it is so blasted hot? The last time I was there I thought it would be a good idea to lay out by the pool to avoid the sun but I spent most of the afternoon under my towel in the fetal position because I could feel my skin burning, frying I tell you. The desert is not my favorite. Looking over the vast expanse of nothing making me feel so lonely.

My stay this time was so very nice. The weather was cool, and for the first time I could see the beauty of the red rock. One night I didn't have access to a car so after our classes I just put on my tenni runners and walked the streets of old St. George. I ended up at the St. George temple. Have you all seen this temple? It is so beautiful. It is so different looking than the others. And it just pops off the red rock.

My last night there I stole my co-workers car keys while she was at dinner and headed to Tuachan. It was my first time there so I was excited to see what that was all about. I was running a bit late and arrived right when the show was starting. I ran to the ticket window and asked if I could hurry and get tickets and she just handed me a ticket and told me to enjoy the show. I didn't have to pay a dime! And my sit was 7 rows back in the center. Thank you sweet box office girl. The show was fantastic. How would it be to sing like that? To just open your mouth and let out a beautiful sound, to not feel limited by range or technical things but feel confident to sing your heart out into the audience.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Yuba Lake

So this weekend I went water skiing with some friends. I have been invited to go water skiing many times but, let's be honest, I am terrified of water deeper than my waist. I remember even when I was on the swim team in high school sometimes going to the deep end of the pool got me a little anxious because I couldn't see the bottom and I was certain some creature with tentacles, probably Ursula rom the Little Mermaid, lived underneath the water polo net.

I know it sounds stupid but after seeing JAWS as a child I have never quit been the same. My first attempt at water skiing was when I was fourteen with the scouts. Brother Bennet took us out and said that he could get any one to water ski. I wanted to be brave so I hopped in the water and strapped on the big skis. I was skimming along the surface alright, but it was mostly face first with my mouth wide open. Each time I would fall into the water I remember the boat going what seemed to be a mile away to turn around to pick me up. As I sat in the water bobbing up and down there was always this very loud silence, and then I would start to imagine that first scene in JAWS where the girl is swimming and all you see is tug on her leg, and then a nudge, and the the next thing you know she is being jerked all over the water. I would then start to breathe hard and felt like I was having a panic attack. I would promptly ask to be taken out of the water never to explain that I was scared to death, and that I never, ever wanted to get near water again.

I had never been on a boat again until this weekend. I was still worried that I was going to experience the same fear that I did when I was 14. I was dreading getting in the water and almost felt sick as we drove further and further from shore. But as I lowered myself into the murky water I found that I wasn't scared at all. I enjoyed being in the water and felt confident in my ability to fight off a shark if the situation presented itself. (I have watched shark week and know how to poke them in the eye or hypnotize them by touching their snout.) I found it so relaxing just to lay back and look up at the sky.

I am happy to announce that after 28 tries I finally got out of the water. That's right friends, I water skied! It was one of the highlights of my life to skim across the water like a flat, slick rock. I felt like I overcame by boyhood fear and I crossed over into manhood. So great.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The State Fair



Friends, the fair is back in town and it always is a time of reflection isn't it?


As a child the fair was a highlight for me. The animals, the food, the endless cooking demonstrations going on. The sights and smells were intoxicating. I remember that our family, after seeing several demonstrations, walked out of the fair grounds with a basketball standard and a veg-i-matic. We were stopped outside the fair grounds because apparently they expect you to pay for these items before you leave the park. Who knew?


Last year I attended the Fair and had a very different experience. I tried to eat some funnel cake and go down the big blue slide in a gunny sack, but something just wasn't right. I think that it is due to the fact that I got my eyes full of a lot skin and tattoos. People who shouldn’t be wearing skimpy clothing are, and they are particularly handsy with each other. I don’t know if it is the smell of the animals or the smell of Navajo tacos, but something in that air has some sort of pheromone that makes people want to love each other in front of the sweet families who have just come to sample some sweet preserves. Why is that? Until these frisky people stop all the inappropriate loving, I am afraid the fair will never hold the magic it once did. Which is sad because I could really use a veg-i-matic right about now.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Auditioning

So last night I tried out for a play. Even though I had practiced my song for hours and weeks and felt I was as prepared as I could have been I was so stinkin' nervous. I met someone else who was as nervous as I was so it was kind of nice to have someone there to talk out mine fears with.
They took us into a small room and had us all sing our songs. I actually felt really good about my singing and they were very complimentary as well, so that was a relief.
They then asked a few of us to go and do some scenes together. This part, always seems so weird to me. You are up there with people you don't even know and then all of a sudden you are supposed to do an entire scene together. But for the first time I felt calm and I did OK.
The whole experience was so great. Sometimes, I have learned, that you have to over come your fears. There is so much triumph after you are done. For me my tendency is to play things too safe but every now and again I do something hard that I think is going to make me fall down on the floor and bawl. However, I am so surprised at how capable I am to face the challenge and not that I can just get through it but I can do it well. Sometimes I feel like I limit myself by being too afraid to try. Last night was a good reminder of the triumph of overcoming self and coming out victorious.

Fall


I love fall. Not late fall but early fall where the air is so crisp in the morning and the temperature is so mild that you really want to be outside and read or go for a bike ride. You can almost feel the whole city relax. I see that people aren't just beaten down by the heat and actually have a spring in their step.


It doesn't matter how old I get, when fall is here I always get a feeling like I should be going back to school. I get a dread feeling in my stomach when I see "back to school" sales or smell school supplies, isn't that weird? I love a line from You've Got Mail, Tom Hanks character says, " I love fall don't you? It makes me want to go buy school supplies. If I knew where you lived I would send you a bouquet a freshly sharpened pencils". That line seems to embody how I feel right now. If any one needs a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils let me know. I would be happy to oblige.