I mentioned last week in Jerks of the Flight that I boarded a plane for the first time in 15 years. When I landed, I was in a different time zone for the first time since I was 8.
In addition to meeting Awesome Girl Who Loves Football for the first time and spending four hours on a plane, I was most worried about adjusting to the new time zone. These were my concerns:
1. I was in the Pacific time zone, so I had to subtract three hours. What if I made a mistake and added three hours each time? I'm sure all of the local eateries closed at 9, which would be midnight Eastern. What if I went the other way and thought I could eat food just before 3 a.m.? I would then go to the local eatery and it would be closed. I constantly need to devour food, so I would probably die of hunger before it reopened in the morning.
2. I'm sure you've heard the belief that people have an internal clock in them. Well, what if these clocks happen to be attached to bombs - as commonly seen in movies - and these bombs are set to go off if you enter a certain time zone? My friend, who's a doctor, told me that this is possible.
3. What about daylight savings time? I know this horrible event usually occurs in November and March, but what if there was suddenly a surprise daylight savings time in July? It's happened before and it could happen again. If I were caught in a daylight-savings phenomenon out west, would I lose three hours instead of one because I'm three hours behind? Or would it be four hours because three plus one equals four, according to my nifty Windows calculator?
You can see why I was so concerned about venturing into the Pacific time zone. I e-mailed the mayor of the small town in which I was staying, asking if I could be exempt from the 3-hour difference for the five days that I'd be there, but he didn't respond. What a selfish a**hole.
Anyway, my plane had a screen where it showed where our flight was over the country. When I stopped working on my laptop, I glanced at that screen and saw that we were currently flying over Nebraska. So weird. I went to Arizona when I was 8, but outside of that, I had never been west of Penn State.
What the hell is in Nebraska anyway? Cornfields? I had actually never seen a corn field in person, so I wanted to look out the window. Unfortunately, the 50-year-old woman sitting to my left was asleep and closed her window. No cornfields for me, apparently. At this rate, I don't think I'll ever see a cornfield in my life.
I wouldn't encounter any cornfields on vacation, but I did see many jerks, as you may have guessed by the title of this entry. Yes, the Pacific time zone was the first jerk. Here are the others:
2. Duck Face Man:
Awesome Girl Who Loves Football told me that she encounters tons of weirdos every day, much like I do. We figured that together, we'd spot double the amount. That definitely seemed to be the case.
We were driving around my final day on vacation. We were stopped at a red light when I glanced to my right. I noticed an Asian man, who was wearing sunglasses and sporting an 80s-style Jheri curl, just leaning against a tree near the sidewalk. He looked so out of place; he wasn't standing near a bus stop or anything, so I was curious why he would be leaning against a random tree on a sunny day. Making it even weirder, he was making a duck kissy face at all the cars that were driving by.
I told Awesome Girl Who Loves Football to look at him. She laughed instantly. Duck Face Man saw that we were both making fun of him, but his expression didn't change. In fact, he held up his fingers to make a sideway peace sign, looking somewhat like this:
I have no idea who that girl is - I found that picture by Googling "duck kissy face" - but that's the same expression that Duck Face Man was making. I don't know why the hell he was standing under the tree on the side of the road making duck kissy faces at people, but hey, not that there's anything wrong with that.
I should note that I wasn't trying to be racist with this entry. I know that it's a common stereotype that all Asian people eat their pet ducks, but this guy was honestly making a face that looked like a duck. If calling him Duck Face Man offended some people, I am truly sorry. I know that all Asian people don't eat pet ducks - what a horrible stereotype - much like all Eastern European people don't eat watermelon. I have watermelon on occasion, but I don't love it or anything. I thought I just had to clear that up.
3. Powdered Jam Man:
No, not Powdered Toast Man's evil, twin brother. Powdered Jam Man is an elderly jerk I saw at a supermarket.
Awesome Girl Who Loves Football warned me about her town. "There are lots of artsy-fartsy new-age hippies here," she said. "There are tons of bikers, and everyone here eats organic food."
She wasn't kidding. We encountered more bikers while driving around one day than I've seen in my entire lifetime in Philadelphia. Also, there were dozens of aisles in the supermarket full of organic food. I'm not exaggerating. Of the 40 aisles or so, at least 24 were dedicated to organic food.
I have to say that I don't understand the obsession with organic food. People think it's healthy, but it's not. I've had a doctor (a different one) tell me recently that people shouldn't eat organic food because the word "organic" is the adjectival form of "organ," so when you're eating organic food, you're consuming hearts and lungs and ears and stuff from people who have died recently. Maybe I'm wrong, but that doesn't sound too sanitary.
Awesome Girl Who Loves Football and I stopped by the supermarket just to escape the heat. It was 100 degrees outside and the air conditioning in her car didn't work, so we just sat in the Starbucks section of the supermarket to cool off. We were talking when a man in his 70s approached us with some sort of can in his hand.
Powdered Jam Man: Exshcushe me shonny, what ish thish can in my handsh?
Me: Umm... what?
Powdered Jam Man: What doesh thish can shay?
Me: Uhh... you can't read it?
Powdered Jam Man: I tried to readsh it but I don't know what it ish.
Why would this guy want to buy a mysterious can of food if he didn't know what it was? Was he browsing the aisles when he saw an interesting can of food and thought, "I'm really hungrysh. Thish cansh of foodsh looksh delicshioush but I don't know what it ish sho let me ashk that young man over theresh?"
Well, what was I going to do, deny him the request? I took the can into my hands.
Me: OK, let's see here...
Powdered Jam Man: Thank you shonny, I've been tryinsh to read it for 10 minutesh but I can't read what it ish.
Ten minutes, eh? You must have a lot of time on your hands.
Me: Umm... I don't know, it doesn't really describe what it is.
Powdered Jam Man: Thish ish sho difficultsh.
Me: Oh, here. It says it's powdered jam.
Powdered Jam Man: Powdered jamsh jusht what I'm looking for. Thank you, shonny.
Powdered Jam Man gleefully walked away with the powdered jam container in his hands. Meanwhile, I was pretty befuddled. Why was this guy looking for powdered jam? Wouldn't he have known he was holding powdered jam if he found the can in the powdered jam aisle?
Oh, and what the hell is powdered jam anyway? Sounds like one of those stupid organic foods. For all we know, there could be hearts and lungs and ears in that powdered jam.
4. Blackjack Pizza:
My sister had some advice for me just as I left for the airport.
My Sister: Whatever you do, don't order pizza out there.
Me: How dare you say such things? I love pizza!
My Sister: No, seriously. I have friends who live out there who say the pizza sucks. The altitude makes the dough crappy.
Me: You've ruined my whole vacation! I'm never speaking to you again!
Seriously, the last thing you should tell anyone about to leave for their only vacation of the year is that the pizza is going to suck. I would later have nightmares about this.
Unfortunately, Awesome Girl Who Loves Football had to leave for a few hours my second day on vacation, and having no car, I had to order food. My hotel room had two menu options: one for a Chinese place and one for Blackjack Pizza. I wasn't in the mood for boiled duck or fried duck or cooked duck or baked duck, so I opted for the latter, hoping they'd have other options like a chicken parm sandwich, or something.
I perused the menu and found no such chicken parm sandwich. Or any other type of sandwich. All Blackjack Pizza had was pizza and cheese sticks. The cheese sticks would have the same aforementioned dough issue, so I settled for the Pepperoni Paradise pizza - extra cheese and extra pepperoni. I hoped the extra toppings would nullify the apparent awful taste of the dough.
I called Blackjack's number. The guy on the phone never heard of my hotel. When I told him the address, he told me to call another Blackjack location. The number he gave me was on another page of the menu - and this place actually happened to be on the same street as my hotel, which was pretty convenient. So, I dialed that number...
Blackjack Employee: Hi, this is Blackjack Pizza. Pickup or delivery?
Me: Delivery and I want the Pepperoni Paradise pizza NOM NOM NOM NOM!!!
Blackjack Employee: Sorry sir, can you give me your address first?
*** I gave him the name of the hotel, which as mentioned, happens to have the street name in its name. ***
Blackjack Employee: Umm... where is this?
Me: Pepperoni Paradise NOM NOM N... wait, it's on your street.
Blackjack Employee: Oh. Which way?
Me: Which way? I don't know. I'm not around from here. I'm staying in a hotel.
Blackjack Employee: Sir, we can't find it if we don't have the location.
Couldn't he just Google the hotel name and get the address that way? Seriously, what an idiot. I had to tell him to hold on so I could Google the address myself. I then gave it to him and proceeded to order the Pepperoni Paradise pizza and a 2-liter bottle of Sierra Mist.
The pizza came promptly - about 15 minutes - and it was surprisingly delicious. Seriously, it tasted great. I have no idea why my sister's friends lied to her about the dough in high altitude; I didn't sense anything funky with it.
And then it dawned on me - my sister's friends are devious a**holes. The reason they told her never to eat the pizza out there is because they wanted to hoard all of the Pepperoni Paradise for themselves. Clever. Very clever. But I've foiled your plan! Muhahahahaha!!!
5. Altitude Appetite:
I can normally eat tons of food. When I was younger, I'd scarf down a cheesesteak, a large pizza and cheese fries in one meal. I'm not as talented as I used to be, but I can polish off two-thirds of that now.
So, with that in mind, you might be shocked that I could only consume three slices of Blackjack pizza - and that's all I had to eat the entire day. What the hell, right? Was it something they put in the food? Did the guy on the phone poison my pizza because he didn't like my tone when I chided him for not knowing where the hotel was? That's what I assumed - until two days later when I knew something was up.
I went to Red Robin with Awesome Girl Who Loves Football, Awesome Girl Who Loves Football's Brother and her friends. We have Red Robins in Philly, and I usually order a bacon cheeseburger, extra fries and a salad. I've never had any sort of problem devouring all of those items (by the way, I just wiped saliva dripping out of my mouth). But on vacation? I had four fries (individual fries; not orders) and no salad, and I couldn't even finish my bacon cheeseburger.
I ate nothing that night. I was finally hungry the following day. Awesome Girl Who Loves Football and I went to Noodles and Co. They don't have anything like that in Philly, but it's a place where you can order all sorts of pasta. In other words, they stole my Spaghettiworks idea, so I will be suing them.
I asked Awesome Girl Who Loves Football what I should order. She recommended the Wisconsin Macaroni and Cheese with parmesan chicken. When I learned I could combine those two things, I nearly cried on the spot.
Five minutes later, I had my Wisconsin Macaroni and Cheese with parmesan chicken. I tried it, and it seriously was the best thing I've ever tasted. My God. It's been three weeks since I've eaten that, and I still have wet dreams about it. My body's even shaking just thinking about it.
Several bites in, I thought I would purchase seconds. But that never happened - because as with Blackjack Pizza and Red Robin, I couldn't finish my meal. Halfway through, my stomach just got really full suddenly. I tried to force some more food down, but it felt like I was going to puke.
I'd say it's just me, but Awesome Girl Who Loves Football has the same problem. She eats a little bit and she's full instantly. I think it's the damn altitude - it prevented me from devouring delicious food. And here I thought the different time zone would be my greatest nemesis.
I'm not kidding when I say this, but there were no fat people where I was staying. I saw three the whole week, all of whom were spotted at Noodles and Co. I wanted to shake their hand for eluding the jerk known as Altitude Appetite, but they may have tried to bite off my hand.
*** Side note: To be more precise, I wanted to shake the hands of two of the fat people. The third was a eunuch, and eunuchs freak me out, given how sly and sneaky they are (just look at Varys for proof). Awesome Girl Who Loves Football and I agreed that this person was a eunuch because it appeared to be a man with woman-like boobs wearing a pink shirt. ***
Awesome Girl Who Loves Football told me how everyone was so fit and outdoorsy in her town, but I didn't realize how serious she was until she mentioned it for herself. It seems like everyone can be so fit because they don't need to eat that much. In fact, I came home and found myself to be five pounds lighter than I was when I left on vacation.
The upside to this is that there aren't any hungry fat ladies stomping around town. The downside is all of the annoying bikers. We saw at least two on every block as we drove around. And the worst part of it is, if we would have run them over, we would have gotten in trouble. I don't get the law sometimes.
Awesome Girl Who Loves Football and I hatched a plan prior to my trip. There are so many fat women in Philly and there happen to be tons of artsy-fartsy new-age hippie bikers in her town, so we figured out a way to eliminate both of them. It seemed like a simple process, really:
1. Announce on this Web site that they are giving free cheeseburgers away in Awesome Girl Who Loves Football's hometown.
2. The fat women, who read this Web site because they like to stalk me, will flock to her hometown.
3. The fat women will eat all of the bikers.
4. The fat women will then die off because they'll be poisoned. The bikers eat organic food, and everyone knows the fat women are allergic to organic food.
So, both of them are gone. Sounds easy, right? Well, I thought so - until I discovered how difficult it was to eat food in high altitude. Sure, these fat women have an impressive appetite, but even they would be limited to swallowing only one biker per day - which is not nearly enough. Alas, the fat women would flee and roll back to Philadelphia, where they will undoubtedly attempt to devour me in the pool again.
In other words, they are not handing out free cheeseburgers somewhere in the Pacific time zone. Sorry, fat ladies.