Spirit Animals. 

While perusing the Book of Face this morning, I saw a photo of a beautiful horse that has been turned into the closest thing  to a real-life rainbow unicorn that you’re ever going to see. It’s magnificent!

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“Hey!” I said to my office buddy, who is always cheerful, positive and full of energy, “I found your spirit animal!”

I showed her the picture and explained,  “I’m sure your spirit animal is a rainbow unicorn!”

She laughed and then asked, “What do you think yours is?”

“Probably a pissed-off squirrel,” I answered.

Then we laughed, because we both knew I was right.

Illusions of familial bliss. 

Yesterday afternoon, I went to meet LMC at the corner as she was walking home from school. I needed to go to the supermarket, and I didn’t want her to walk all the way home when I was in town anyway. 

I waved as I saw her walking toward me, and she broke into a run.  Then she threw her arms around me and said happily, “Boy, am I glad to see you!”

Before she had a chance to explain why, two ladies who had just walked out of the bank and stopped nearby  both smiled at what they saw and heard. They probably thought I was her mum, and that she just loved me that much. 

One said, “Oh! How beautiful!” The other said, “That’s so nice to hear! Just lovely!”  

They both beamed at LMC and then at me, as if I had performed some kind of child-rearing miracle. 

As LMC and I walked away, she explained that she wanted to go to the supermarket, and she needed to work out what to wear for a disco-themed out-of-uniform day for school. And could she have something special for an after-school snack?  It wasn’t so much that she was happy to see me: it was rather that it suited her hopeful plans for me to be there at that time. 

Even so, I’m glad she didn’t blurt that out in front of those ladies. It would have been awful to shatter their illusions of our idyllic family life almost as quickly as they were created. 

Kia Ora and going the Extra Mile.

Tonight I’m on a trans-Pacific flight from LA to Melbourne via Auckland. There are kids on this flight who have been on a trip to Disneyland courtesy of the Koru Care charity which is sponsored by Air New Zealand.  To continue the Disneyland experience, the flight attendants have all dressed up in fancy dress to serve the kids and make their flight more fun.   

 
Dinner and drinks were served by Minnie Mouse and Tinkerbell, while coffee was served by a CHiPS police officer.  

 
I have to say that he did take it very well when I asked when the rest of the Village People were coming out.

I’m so impressed by the continual efforts of the staff to do everything to make the flight memorable and fun. It’s a great war to promote the charity, too. 

They’ve also been wonderful to me after a very long and emotionally exhausting day. After a painful and tearful farewell followed by extended flight delays and an international connection time that was whittled down from 6.5 hours to 47 minutes, in which I managed baggage claim, terminal transfer with all my luggage, check in and baggage drop, security checks and getting to the right gate before they closed the flight. When I realised I had made my flight, I burst into tears of relief. The attendants were just lovely and so supportive, and did everything they could to reassure and comfort me. 

I love flying with Air New Zealand and I love the way they treat their clients. They’ve won me. 

The Perils of Trampolining.

Watching Family Feud this afternoon, the question was “Name a part of your body that might hit you in the face when bouncing on a trampoline.” 

After the regular answers such as hand, arm, leg, knee, and fingers, there was just one answer left. 

One guy suggested “your butt”. Hysterical. Not surprisingly, though, it wasn’t on the list. 

The opposing team suggested that a man’s junk might hit him in the face. 

Then this conversation happened between the three of us watching together.

V: “Do you want to tell me how a man is going to get whacked in the face with that?”

J: “You mean that’s never happened to you?”

Me: “If men could work out how to make that happen, they’d never be bored again.”

Those ten seconds were more entertaining than the whole show.

Stop… in the name of Ontario…

It’s not unusual in Ontario to see a cross intersection with four-way stop signs. 

That’s right.

Everyone has to stop, look at each other, smile, and say, “After you…” before proceeding on their way.

The first car to arrive gets to drive off first. In the rare event that you arrive in a dead heat, the driver to the left gets to go first.  This makes me wonder, though… if the drivers are across the intersection from one another, are they not technically on each other’s left?  I can just picture an “Ontario Stand Off”.

Driver A: “After you…”

Driver B: “No, after you…”

Driver A: “No, really, after you…” and so on. 

In theory, this could continue for some time, given how nice and polite Canadians generally are. 
On reflection, I can see why this has not been attempted in Australia. 

Conversations You Definitely Would Not Hear in Australia 

“So, is your Glock your only registered weapon?”

“Yeah.” 

“What about the .22 you got from your brother?”

“That’s not registered.”

“Did you even manage to get bullets for it, though?”

“Yeah, but it sticks sometimes so it’s no good as a defensive weapon.”

“Was that why he gave it to you?”

“I don’t know. Maybe.”
I was left with just the one question: what exactly was his brother trying to achieve? 

Oh No, You Didnt!

For some time, LMC has been saying things she’s heard on American tween TV shows. 

One of her favourite phrases is “Oh no, you didn’t!” when someone says or something she doesn’t like. 

Today I was browsing in a shop when I heard stuff land on the floor and an employee say “Oh no, you didn’t!” in exactly the same way and with an accent that LMC had perfected far better than I had previously realised. 

It made me smile.
Even more than that, it made me miss my girl. 

Larry.

I just met a great guy named Larry who runs a store called Clothes Encounters in Farmington, a suburb of Detroit. 

I’ve met lots of friendly people here, but Larry is just that bit nicer, funnier, and sweeter than most. We chatted, talked about politics and the state of the world, we joked and laughed, and then I walked out of the store feeling great. I think Larry is the sort of guy who has a gift for making the day better for everyone he meets. 

If you’re ever in Detroit, pop down to Clothes Encounters in Farmington and tell Larry I sent you. Maybe we can make his day great, too. 

Why one should mind one’s own business in the supermarket. 

It had been a long, busy day at work following several days plagued by severe headaches. I headed to the supermarket to get some things for dinner and to stock up on Tim Tams for my family and friends in the U.S. and Canada, as I am heading back over there in a couple of weeks. 

I had ten packs of Tim Tams and a stack of other Aussie treats in my basket. A lady nearby looked into my basket and then looked at me, as though she were trying to shame me for my wilful flirtation with Type 2 Diabetes.  

I could have called her out on being a nosy cow who makes assumptions about strangers way too quickly but, instead, I looked her right in the eye with feigned innocence as I took the last box of Tee Vee Snacks from right in front of her and said, “What? I’m hungry, okay?”

She couldn’t look away fast enough. 

“There!” I said inside my head, “that will teach you to mind your own business.”

When I got to the checkout, the attendant was looking strangely at my stash and at me, but at least she tried to hide it. Once again, I looked at her and said, “Never can stop at just one, you know!” 

She tried to hide her reaction with a smile, but it was awkward.

“Not really,” I continued. “I’m going to America and Canada in a couple of weeks and they can’t get Tim Tams there. I’m performing a mission of mercy.”

That time, she really was horrified. 

“Those poor people!” she said. “Ten packets isn’t enough!”

“I know, right,” I said, “but I don’t want to be arrested for trafficking a drug of dependence.”

“Can they do that?”

“Yeah, twelve packs and I’d be a goner. They’d confiscate them all at the airport and arrest me. ”

Her eyes were wide and her mouth was open. 

Never mind how tired I had been just twenty minutes earlier. I walked out of that store feeling like an absolute legend.