If I ever have the time and the inclination, one of the things I think I could make a pretty kickass stab at writing is a hard-hitting dissertation examining the opening statements made by each and every one of the women in the Real Housewives franchise.
You know what I'm talking about, right? Why must Heather from New York, for example, append "holla!" to the otherwise fairly inoffensive line "My success is built on making women look and feel their best"? Does "I call the shots in my life now—and I have good aim" even make sense, Tamra from Orange County? And how many ways can Kathy from New Jersey's "We're old school. We believe in RESPECT!" be used in everyday conversation when you want to make fun of something else? Many ways, that's how many. Why, just the other day, Sean noticed a CD I was holding and said "wow, that's old school." "Yes," I replied. "It believes in respect."
Another hard-hitting dissertation I'd like to write would be centered around the naming of sports bars in corporate hotels across America. I collect the names of these bars the way normal people collect air miles or Pokemon—do people still collect Pokemon? Or is that too old school (believes in respect)?—and a couple of days ago, I'm pretty sure I found the best one yet.
Now, sports bars in corporate hotels across America are typically dull and sanitized places, home to jetlagged business travelers poking disconsolately at overbreaded onion rings because the Yelp app couldn't find anything better within a 3-mile radius and hey, this way they don't have to worry about taking the rental car out and tipping the valet guy again. I am used to the sports bars in corporate hotels across America having wannabe-tough names like Spike's and Gamers and Slam Dunk, but the sports bar in the airport hotel I went to for a conference on Monday has taken it up a notch. It is called Knuckles.
Should I repeat that for you? KNUCKLES. Knuckles the Sports Bar. Can't you just imagine the conversation between a group of beleagured businessman right after they've checked in? Hey fellas, want to grab a drink? Sure thing, buddy, I'll meet you in the lobby in fifteen. Let me just grab a bag of peanuts from the minibar, watch a little Pay-Per-View, write one of the postcards from the in-room stationery kit, and stuff a .45 down my pants. That is one tough sounding bar, man. Can't be too careful.
Speaking of the airport—which we were, kind of, in a roundabout airport hotel sort of way—I caught an early flight on Saturday to see my parents down in San Diego, and, horror of horrors, my carry-on bag was pulled aside for further questioning at the security checkpoint. Somehow, during the humiliating removal and subsequent inspection of each of my many lipglosses, the four magazines I'd packed for the weekend—I was aiming high, okay? I thought maybe I'd have a lot of free time—were taken out of my bag. And I only discovered that they hadn't been put back into my bag when I was settled into my seat for takeoff.
There are, of course, other things to do when you suddenly find yourself without reading material for your flight. You can run the numbers on how loudly you're going to lose it when you finally turn around and ask the person behind you to stop kicking your seat. You can go over the notes for your seminar entitled How To Get Up From Your Chair Without Grabbing The Front Of Mine: A Basic Primer. You can doodle a math problem that starts "If John is in Group B and has one carry-on bag and Jane is in Group C and has two carry-on bags, which one of them is going to take your spot and force you to check yours at the gate?"
But I did none of these things in the end. Instead, I watched the Kardashians. Eh, so sue me, the plane had those little TVs.
Arriving back at the San Francisco airport on Monday morning, I decided to stop back at the TSA checkpoint to see if, by any chance, they still had my magazines. The people at the TSA told me to call a special number, where the lady on the other end of that number told me that yes, the TSA did still have my magazines, and that I should go to the security checkpoint. Where I was already standing. Thanks for that Kafkaesque runaround, TSA, now give me back my Us Weeklys.
And—minor miracle!—there they were, each one wrapped in its own special plastic TSA folder, being carried towards me by a uniformed officer exiting one of those airport Rooms of Mystery that you never want to be pulled into. I waited rather sheepishly while he printed out four separate forms allowing the four separate magazines—actually two Us Weeklys, one Oprah, and one Real Simple, lest you think I'm a total neanderthal—to be released back to me, and then removed each one from its special plastic pouch.
On the pouch, I noticed, was a very official-looking label showing my name (it was printed on the front, thanks to my subscription), the date I'd left it there, and the approximate value of the item. And while I am very pleased and impressed that the TSA—with all the actual work they have to do—took it upon themselves to save and catalog my silly old magazines on the offchance I'd come back for them, what I really want to know is who was responsible for valuating the Us Weeklys at a dollar apiece. A dollar apiece? Come on! The cover story on one of them was WILD NIGHTS WITH HARRY! Like you can even put a price on that.