December came and went like a flash and I never did get around to even thinking about what to post what with family home for the first time in a year and all the Holiday activities. And now it is January 2023, the Year of the Rabbit by the Asian zodiac. So no story but a series of happenings.
Insert Foot in Mouth and Bite Once Before Removing
On The Ground
“Well, why don’t you just look before you sit?” I said in response to my wife’s complaint after she sat down on the cold toilet bowl rim. I leave it to your imagination about the “conversation” that followed, but thereafter, I always put the seat down after using the toilet.
I bought a car battery at the auto shop at Penney’s Kahala Mall. (Yes, there once was a Penney’s where the theaters now are.) Shortly afterwards, setting off to go to work and to take the kids to school, there was an immediate loud BOOM from the Karmann Ghia’s engine compartment when I turned on the ignition. The battery had exploded.
In the meantime Penney’s had closed their auto shop in the Kahala store. So I drove out to their Pearlridge store the following Saturday and walked into the auto shop carrying the shattered battery in a cardboard box and plopped it on the counter. The two girls silently looked at it as I explained what had happened. One of the girls took it through a door to the back. We heard a man exclaim, “Holy shit, annada one!” The remaining girl looked off into space. I took the replacement battery that the other girl brought out and left.
I was checking out at Longs when the young cashier said, handing me my receipt, “You have beautiful white hair.” I was startled. No one had complemented me on my hair before, so I thanked her. But then she went on to say, “But I guess I’ll have to wait sixty years for mine.”
“You’ve got that right,” I replied.
You have to know when you’ve said enough.
In The Air
It was a UAL redeye to San Francisco, with an ETA of 0540. There must have been a really strong tailwind and towards the end of the flight, the lead cabin attendant announced that we would be arriving thirty-five minutes early. This meant that I would have a forty minute wait at the airport until my scheduled shuttle ride to Palo Alto arrived and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one with a pickup or transfer wait in an empty airport. Instead of just stopping after making the announcement, the attendant went on to conclude, “So the next time you fly United and there’s a delay, just consider it a wash.”
You have to know when you’ve said enough.
We were landing at Dresden in a Lufthansa Boeing 737. It had been an uneventful flight, and I could see the runway coming up to meet us as we set down. The engines suddenly roared and the plane lunged forward and began to climb rapidly until we leveled off again. The pilot came on the intercom and gave a lengthy explanation in German. He then said in English, “We had to go around again.” Clearly something was lost in translation.
The end of the same trip. We were returning to the States in a UAL Boeing 777, taking off from Heathrow. At that time you could listen to the communications between pilot and tower on the seat audio system, and I often did so out of curiosity. We were steadily climbing; below I could see the rooftops of London homes when there was a loud BOOM, the plane lurched to the left, and a whiff of smoke came into the cabin. The lead cabin attendant was German and she immediately came on to say “Don’t worry, the captain has everything under control.” But I could hear the pilot talking to the flight controllers, and while he wasn’t panicked, there was an urgency to his voice as he requested an immediate emergency return to the airport, explaining that the left engine had exploded. This was granted, the runway designated. We had now leveled off, and began a slow turn to return. The captain came on the intercom, now sounding calm, and explained in the easy drawl that pilots sometimes affect, that the plane had an engine problem and he had shut down the left engine but the plane could easily fly on just one engine. And by the way, that mist that we could see streaming past our windows wasn’t smoke, but fuel that was being dumped (over London!) to lighten the plane before landing. There were very loud cheers as we touched down.
In the Office.
The man looked to be in his seventies when he brought a young boy in for a routine check. They were new patients. After I introduced myself and took a history, I complimented the man on being such a caring grandfather that he brought his grandson to the doctor. “I’m his father,” the man said. (Guess you could see that coming.) “Oh, uh, well let’s go on with his exam.”
I had not seen her for a year when she brought her child in for an exam. “Your son is so lucky to have a new brother or sister soon,” I commented. “I’m not pregnant,” his mother replied. I think I just went on with the exam—how do you get your foot out of your mouth after something like that? Say sorry? That could be interpreted as I’m sorry you’re not pregnant, or I’m sorry you’ve gained so much weight, or I’m sorry I’m an ass for saying that.
And the diagnosis is Foot in Mouth Disease.