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4:28 a.m. - 2003-05-08


Bob the Magnificent speaks and "American Idol" listens.

Marine Boy gets booted.

And Reuben takes the crown.


And learn.

Well, yesterday sucked massive amounts of whale poop.

The morning was going good. I was getting plenty of work done, the sun was shining, the birds were singing and everything was right with the world.

My boss comes to me at 11:30 and says "I'm hungry. Wanna go to Moe's?"

Since this is the first time anyone from work has asked me to accompany them to lunch, I lunged at the opportunity. One thing I've learned in my 25 years of workplace etiquette ... you're extended that first lunch invite at a new workplace, you accept it regardless of who's issuing the invite. It is important to have that lunchtime connection.

And for God's sakes ... don't blow it.

Like I did yesterday.

I invite this other girl who was trying to turn down the invite. She had a lot of work to do and is taking today and tomorrow off for her birthday.

"I'll buy your lunch as a birthday gift," I offered.

"Okay!" she squealed, shutting down her computer, grabbing her purse and rushing to catch up to me and the boss.

So we get to Moe's, get our food and sit down.

My boss starts talking about how the older sister of a friend of hers died of a heart attack last weekend.

It's sad. The girl was 38 years old.

Naturally, I try to add to the conversation because this is what you do when you have that all-important first lunch with the boss and co-worker.

So I decide to relay a thought that I had on Tuesday night while playing with Andrew.

"Yeah, I've been thinking about immortality a lot lately," I say between bites of my salad. "I was playing with my son last night and doing the math in my head and I realized that I'll probably be lucky to see him live to be 30. Because I figure I'll probably die around 70 or 72 years old and I was thinking how badly I want to see the entire life of my child but probably never will."

Dead silence at the table. Just complete dead silence.

"Yeah," I said, breaking the silence. "As you can tell, I'm a REAL fun guy to take to lunch."

Polite chuckles followed that omission and the conversation slowly worked its way out of the depressing deathtalk pit.

Anyway, we get back in the boss's vehicle and head back to the office when she gets a call on the cell phone from one of the ladies back at the office wondering if I had a 12:15 appointment.

It was 12:20.

"Nooo?" I said. "Not that I know of."

The boss relays my answer to the lady at the office, listens, and then says "You weren't supposed to meet with a journalist from London today??"

Holy shit.

Okay...I mentioned it here a while back...I was supposed to meet a journalist from London, take him to lunch and show him the city.

BUT...the person setting up this afternoon of fun and frivolity was SUPPOSED to call me back and confirm everything and never did.

So I'm sitting there in the boss' car saying "Well yeah, I was supposed to do that but I never got any confirmation on what day or when or where the guy wanted to go!"

So the boss is speeding through traffic to get us back to the office to meet up with this guy. Because when you have a journalist come to town, the rule of thumb is you KISS THEIR ASS as much as possible so that they will write a very positive story about their visit. Screw up one single thing and they will tear you apart in print.

I know this.

For I was once a travel writer.

I always praised the hell out of every place I traveled to because my ass was smooched so often and openly that I thought the least they deserved was a glowing review of their city.

So now, I'm feeling like a complete dumbass. Never mind that I had cast a dark shadow over the lunch with my ponderings on life and the fact that I'm going to die at an early age ... I felt I had totally let the organization down by dropping the ball on this meeting.

But I was swearing up and down that I was promised an itinerary and confirmation dates and never received them.

While racking my brain to remember if I ever received either of them.

We get to the office and the journalist is there.

He's dressed in shorts and a wrinkled golf shirt with a battered backpack. His hair hasn't been combed in weeks and I think he may have been slightly drunk.

I apologize for being late and explain to him that I wasn't aware that he would be visiting today.

"Well, I certainly don't want to bother you," he said in that British accent that makes us Americans melt. "I can get around town on my own with nary a problem."

"Oh noooo," I said. "Trust me, I don't have anything pressing today and I don't mind a bit showing you around the city. I just never received your itinerary and thus am not fully prepared for your visit. But we can still put a shrimp on the barbie and toot toot pipparoo or whatever the hell you people say."

The first order of business was...the man was hungry and needed some lunch.

So I asked him what he wanted to eat. He didn't care. I asked him if he wanted some authentic southern cuisine and he said that would be splendid.

I wanted to kiss him when he said "splendid". I'm not attracted to men...but British accents make me swoon.

No tongue. And probably no lips. Just a kiss on the cheek to let him know I appreciated his use of the word "splendid". know...I already had started off on the wrong foot by being late with the guy. The last thing I needed to do was kiss him on the cheek two minutes after meeting him.

So I think in my head, "I'm going to take him to this old house that had been refurbished by this woman who had suffered a nervous breakdown, was committed for several years, got out, opened a restaurant and has been a true success story in the community ever since."

You know...your typical Southern restaurant.

Trouble was ... I had only driven past it once and couldn't remember where exactly that it was.

Before I know it, I have this esteemed drunken journalist from England deeply entrenched in the crackhouse district of our city and I'm babbling that we're lost.

Yes. Me. Mr. "I Will Show You The Finer Points Of Our City" is cruising the crackhouse district and trying to find an old house that's now a restaurant.

We get to the restaurant finally and I can tell...the journalist is NOT impressed.

I think he was expecting something more elegant.

And this is ... well ... if you've never been in the south it's hard to explain. The house is old with wooden floors. Each room of the house has several tables to eat from. The menus are covered in some kind of crusty crud from someone else's fingertips and there's only two things to eat...liver and onions or fried chicken.

"I hear the fried chicken is good," I lied to the journalist. The only thing I had EVER heard about the place is that it was a hotspot for locals looking for a quick lunch at a good price.

The journalist ordered a chef salad.

I swallowed and tugged at my collar for air.

He finished his salad while I drank water since I was stuffed from Moe's.

We went to a museum and saw some historic sites around town.

He finally pushed the issue to the hilt that he wanted to be left alone to explore the city on his own.

I felt like a failure. I thought we were going to be buddies and I would kiss his butt for five hours straight.

But after three hours, he wanted to be left alone.

Then Wendigo reminded me that when I was a travel writer, that's how I was. I wanted to be left alone and be rid of the hyperbole that city hosts want to bombard me with.

So I bid him a fond adieu and hauled ass back to my office.

...Where my boss revealed that she had received the itinerary for this journalist...and had forgot to pass it on to me.


It wasn't my fault!!

I chastised her for making me look like an idiot and pretended I was going to hit her to make her flinch to show her that I'm the one that holds the power around here.

Or something.

I also paid my speeding ticket yesterday.

The one that I was all hyped about fighting in court?

It seems that after the passing of several months, I wasn't as keen about standing up for my rights in court like I was the day it happened.

Plus, today was the court date and I simply hadn't had time to prepare myself properly for my experience in court.

So it's paid.

I caved to da man.

I feel like just another schmuck who didn't fight for his rights.


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