Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tiny Bits of Nonsense: April 2014

Here is the April 2014 edition of "Tiny Bits of Nonsense," featuring 10 of my tweets from the past 30 days:

In case you missed it, the first edition of "Tiny Bits of Nonsense" was published in March 2014.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"Gesundheit!" A Conversation In The Park

"Gesundheit!" I said as I sat next to her on the park bench. I had waited for the right moment to initiate a conversation with her, and when she raised her left hand toward her mouth for what I assumed was an oncoming sneeze, I saw an opportunity.

I had spotted her from 30 yards away, during my daily walk. I became smitten with her immediately. She had piercing blue eyes, windswept brown hair and an infectious smile. And she obviously enjoyed the park as much as I do.

I wanted to approach her, but I wasn't sure how. What would I say to her? I had my answer as soon as she lined up her hand underneath her nose: "Gesundheit!" Never underestimate the power of a well-timed sneeze.

I walked very quickly in her direction. I knew I had only seconds to wish her good health in German before the moment passed. Ten seconds, max. After that, it would have just been awkward.

I reached the bench with approximately 0.7 seconds to spare. "Gesundheit!" Her response: "Excuse me?" "Gesundheit!" I repeated. "I didn't sneeze," she claimed.

I inspected her left hand, which remained close to her mouth. No sneeze germs. She was right. She was clutching a cellphone in her hand, though. My curiosity was piqued.

"What are you doing?" I asked. "Having a conversation," she said, with a hint of irritation in her voice, though I couldn't discern whether she was irritated with me or irritated with the person on the other end of the phone line.

"Why are you speaking into the phone with your hand in front of your mouth?" I inquired. "Because the conversation is private," she answered, after finally lowering her hand. Her infectious smile was missing, but maybe the person with whom she was speaking on the phone had made a comment that had upset her.

"It couldn't have been that private. You're in a public park right now. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of people here at this very moment. Any one of them could have sat down on this bench next to you as you were chatting on the phone.

"I bet they would have been able to make out every word you were saying, too. Sure, your hand would have made the conversation less audible, but not by much. Sound travels through hand, you know.

"Or were you worried about someone reading your lips? That shouldn't be a concern of yours. Even the best lip readers can only interpret 30 to 40 percent of spoken English. It's a scientific fact.

"Listen, if you truly wanted the call to be private, perhaps you could have had it before you came here. Or you could have waited until you returned home. Your choice. Out here, you really run the risk of someone eavesdropping on your conversation, or interrupting it.

"If you must have a conversation in a public location, you ought to text instead. Or exchange messages on Facebook. Or tweet. There are so many ways to communicate now, aren't there? It never ceases to amaze me. What a fascinating world we live in, right?"

She stood up and began to walk away. "I have to go now."

I yelled out to her, "Can I call you sometime?" Without breaking stride, she turned her head, held her hand to her mouth, said something, and continued on her way. I think she said yes, but I'm not sure.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

I Want To Hold Your Hand On A Reality TV Show

I am single. I've been single for a long time. I haven't even had a date in the past 12 months. Keep all this in mind as you read the following story.

I shared a tender moment with a reality show contestant the other night. It was really sweet. I have a grin on my face as I write this, that's how sweet a moment it was.

I discovered A.J. on a singing competition I happened to stumble upon as I was flipping through the channels. She was introduced to me via a pre-recorded vignette that explained her journey as an "indie artist." Here's what I learned about A.J.: She is 26; hails from a small town in Kentucky I've never heard of; battled a serious case of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder when she was a pre-teen; and had been the frontwoman for a folk-rock trio before going solo.

Oh, and there's one more tidbit about A.J. that was not explicitly mentioned in the vignette, but needs to be noted here: She is cute.

Young, talented, attractive, could I (or anyone else) not root for A.J.? It would be silly not to. So I was stunned when I found out that A.J. and a seemingly unremarkable 21-year-old man named Sam had received the fewest number of viewers' votes this week. One of them would be eliminated in a matter of minutes.

As A.J. stood there, awaiting word of her fate, I remarked to no one in particular, she deserves better than this. Based on what I was told in the vignette, she had such a bright future ahead of her. It was too soon for her journey to end. She overcame ADHD, dang it. I wanted a satisfying payoff to that story line.

I noticed that A.J. and Sam were holding hands, a gesture of support between two contestants who were bonded by their experience on the show. I thought, if Sam is eliminated, this is not a bad way for him to go out: holding hands with the lovely A.J. Eventually he'll return to his hometown and tell his friends that this was the highlight of his time on the show. And they'll say, "Dude, I can't believe you got to hold her hand. You are so lucky."

I fantasized about what it would be like to be in Sam's position at that moment. To hold hands with a woman like A.J., who had so much going for her. I would wish her luck. I would whisper encouraging thoughts to her -- thoughts that the host, the judges, the studio audience and the viewers wouldn't be able to hear. I would even softly sing for her a few lines from The Beatles song "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and that would get a smile and a chuckle out of her, because a) I was already holding her hand, and b) we were on a singing show.

Sweet, right? I think it's sweet.

I said to myself, it would be a dream come true to be on a reality show like this one. To have the opportunity to compete in front of millions of viewers, and to have the opportunity to hold the hand of a nice woman like A.J. just before I'm eliminated, in front of millions of viewers.

Like I wrote earlier, I've been single for a long time.