Michelle's Blog My life is almost as interesting as this theme.

September 20, 2012

Scavenger Hunt 9/21

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michelle @ 1:45 am

For my personal scavenger hunt, I had to creep on people and find someone who had physical quirks and movements that struck my interests. For the sake of anonymity, I am not going to disclose a name or the exact place where I witnessed this person.

I was sitting in an English class the day I was presented with the assignment, and I noticed that the male student seated next to me was fidgeting. I started to pay attention to his spastic movements throughout the class.

He sat in his chair slightly hunched over. While he was twirling his pen between his finger, I noticed that his fingers shook a little. It made me wonder if he had some kind of disorder or something that makes his hands shake.

His legs jutted out awkwardly from under his desk, and his knees were sharply bent so that his feet were propped up against the chair legs. He bounced his right leg up and down rhythmically. Every once in awhile, he would place his hands flat on his desk and push himself backward. Overall, his position seemed very fidgety and nervous.

He almost reminded me of a stationary squirrel, if that is possible to imagine. Squirrels have sudden and speedy movements, much like the subject of my creeping. His shifting in his seat was completely out of the blue and quick. It was kind of fun to pay attention to how weird and quirkely (?) people move to make me feel better about my awkward self.

September 13, 2012

Happy Howloween

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michelle @ 5:49 am

“Please tell me you didn’t sell out of the “Pink Ladies” dog dresses.”

I’m jerked out of my work-induced coma to a middle-aged woman with bubblegum pink hair, black and rhinestone glasses, a hot pink sweater, and mom jeans.

“Um, I’m not sure. But we can go check.”

“Oh gosh, I hope not. I think it would look just darling on my pug. I saw the outfits online and drove down here immediately. Would it be weird if I bought a pink shirt and bedazzled ‘Pink Ladies’ on it to match her?”

Taking in this woman’s appearance, I try to speculate what she would consider weird. She seemed like the type to stuff her dog after it died, so I figured it would take a lot to really shock her.

“Weird? Not at all! It sounds adorable!” I said in my mock-friendly, over-the-top sales associate voice, hoping I didn’t come off as sarcastic.

“Great! Oh, I love Halloween. Buttons just loves it when we match costumes.”

I smile back at her, thinking about how much Buttons probably just hates this large, childlike woman and all of her uncomfortable costumes.

It’s no secret that some dogs have better lives than a large population of earth. Working at a pet store for almost 4 years, I can attest to this. However, the time of year when this is most prominent is Halloween. Some people’s pure dedication to going all out for their pets’ Halloween outfits can be considered no less than obsession.

“They’re psychotic!” exclaimed my manager one night, looking at the Bret Michaels section of our vast Halloween collection. “Anyone who buys this costume—“ she holds up a costume of a padded doggy bra and skirt (complete with blonde wig) “—is psychotic. Seriously, this is just slutty. I would not let my dog leave the house looking like this.”

I wholeheartedly agreed until I realized my dog is naked all the time anyway.

It is estimated that this year Americans will spend $52.9 billion dollars on their pets. Just to put that in a numerical perspective, that is about $52,900,000,000. It doesn’t take a mathematician to realize that that is a enormous number. According to the American Pet Products Association, Halloween costumes for dogs were listed as major trend in 2011, and one that can only increase in the year 2012. And if you were curious about the most popular choices for dog Halloween costumes, the pumpkin is the number one choice among pet owners.

I asked my manager one day about how the layout for our Halloween section has changed over the years.

“Well, when I started like 6 years ago, we probably had an endcap, maybe two. Then, it went to an 8 foot section in our leash and collar aisle. Now, we’re up to an entire 12 foot long gridrack right in our drive aisle. Gosh, watch next year we just dedicate an entire aisle to pet Halloween!” she joked.

One day, whilst wasting my life away at register one, a woman came up to my register with garden gnome costumes in three different sizes.

“Did your lawn ornaments lose their clothes? Needed some replacements?” I joked, immediately wanting to punch myself in the face for making the most pathetic joke ever. Then, I realized I was at work, and this woman didn’t even know me. I suddenly gave zero fucks.

“I’m buying these for my dogs,” she said, seriously. I mentally noted that she ignored my comedy gold. “I have a lab, a cocker spaniel, and a teacup Chihuahua. Big gnome, medium gnome, little gnome!”  she laughed.

I laughed like Conan O’Brien walked into my store and gave me a personal monologue. I, then, died a little inside.

“Go gnome or go home!” I exclaimed. She felt bad this time and gave me a pity laugh; I’ll take what I can get. “So, do you always dress up your animals?”

“Well, not the lab. I’m not crazy!” she insisted, while placing a “Doggy on Board” bumper sticker on my register belt. “Sometimes the cocker, but it’s really the Chihuahua that’s my doll. She has, I think, 14 dresses now. Of course, I dress them all up every Halloween. Last year, they were pumpkins.”

“Well, sounds adorable.” I handed her the receipt. “Have a good rest of your day.”

I watched her walk away, the phrase “I’m not crazy” replaying in my head.

September 12, 2012

Assignment for 9/12

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michelle @ 1:38 am

For this assignment, I had to search around for a lead I liked. I knew I had struck gold with this story.

Basically, a woman dated a man ten years ago, and, after a life of petty crime, the man sneaked back and lived in her attic for two weeks. Somehow, he was undetected until the woman heard a noise from the attic. Thinking it was an animal, she sent her older sons up to deal with it. The man then came out of the attic and left the house, smiling the whole time.

The lead: “A Rock Hill, N.C., woman knew something was in her attic when she heard a thump and then saw some nails start popping out from her bedroom ceiling one night.”

Why it works/why I like it: This is a feature story so it works to have the lead be mysterious. There isn’t a lot of information in it, but it definitely makes the reader want to continue on. The title of the article “Woman finds ex boyfriend living in her attic” caught my eye, and the lead solidified the deal.

Rewrites: A Rock Hill, N.C. woman heard a thump from up above, but sorry kids, it wasn’t Santa.

You know when you break up with a guy and then ten years later he is secretly living in your attic?

Most people keep things in their attics they don’t need anymore. Old appliances, extension cords, and…ex-boyfriends?

September 2, 2012

Coke/Pepsi Story: An unusual portrait of American society

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michelle @ 7:54 pm

For a recent assignment in class, I was handed a 12-pack of Pepsi with the instructions to give it away and document the responses. Being the outrageously shy person that I am, I opted to place my 12-pack outside of the student cafeteria around 10:30am with a note that said “Free! Please take only 1!” I, then, set up camp a few feet away and did what I do best: creep.

For the first half an hour, it was completely dead. A few people walked by, but no one really noticed my social experiment or they looked at it like it was poisoned. One student, a large African American male, examined the box of pop, but much to my disappointment, walked away empty handed.

I was feeling discouraged and worried that I would have to find a new method of handing out the pop. Then, the doors to the caf opened and the action began.

The first pop was taken by a mystery student in the crowd. I was frustrated with myself for missing the first taken can because I only had one job, to watch my pop, and I already screwed that up.

Next, a male and a female coach, possibly cross country, walked up to the table together and looked at my display.

“Free, please take one. Why, yes I will!” she announced to the other coach. “I want to tweet that right now. It’s going to be a good day, just got a free can of Pepsi.”

Luckily, her impromptu advertisement caused other students to wander over to the pop.

Another large, African American male took a can and his friends, always looking out for a brother, warned him that someone probably shook them up. He simply replied, “I ‘don’ curr. Still dranks.” He, then, opened it and started drinking. He picked up the 12-pack, and it seemed like he was considering taking the whole thing, but he set it back down

The first large African American male who previously examined the pop but walked away, came out of the caf after what was sure to have been a hearty meal. Seeing a crowd of fellow large males surrounding my helpless pop, he made his way over again. This time, instead of just walking away, he stuffed his arms with four cans and laughed to his buds about his dangerous endeavor.

“Ha ha, boy you nuts!” exclaimed one of the men, surely on the Dean’s List, who surrounded my pop.

“No one’s gonna know! Shit, it’s not like they still hurr!” he replied, in eloquence.

Smirking to myself in the irony, I placed my computer back in my bag. I had seen enough. I wandered out of the building with a knowing smile on my face and an affirmation in my hatred of humanity.

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