What it Means to be a Bear

Call me Ishmael. Wait! That’s a different story. Let me try that again.

Welcome back into the world of the Bear Team! There, that’s better.

For anyone out there who has ever wondered what it is like to be me (as I’m sure tens of people have), I now present the following anecdote:

On this past Tuesday night, I cooked some chicken on our little charcoal grill. That night Dena and I enjoyed a meal of marinated grilled chicken, grilled corn on the cob, and sauteed greens. After dinner, I put two leftover grilled chicken breasts in a tupperware bowl to be eaten later.

The next day, I could all but taste the delicious sandwich I would make with the leftover chicken. When lunch time rolled around, I put two pieces of bread in the toaster, and then went to the fridge for the chicken. I immediately encountered a problem: the chicken wasn’t there.

I looked on every shelf; behind every bottle; in the door; nothing. I closed the door for a moment, and then opened it again quickly, as if the chicken might suddenly pop into existence only to disappear again if I wasn’t fast enough to catch it. But still, nothing.

I experienced a long moment of indecision (which is not an uncommon state for me). I asked Dena if she had any idea where it might be. She suggested that I try the cabinet. I couldn’t help  but smile. Sure I can be a bit absent-minded at times, but I certainly wouldn’t have put leftover food into the cabinet. I opened the door and immediately realized that I’d put leftover food in the cabinet.

The bowl was there, with the chicken still inside. When I saw it I was struck by another realization: I’d moved that same bowl earlier that day! That’s right. Not only did I put a bowl containing leftover food into the cabinet, but having noticed that it was in a precarious position, I’d actually picked the bowl up and moved it while somehow failing to realize that it wasn’t empty. The incident reminded me of the time I put an empty container in the fridge while throwing food into the garbage. But that is another story for another day.

I went to the DMV on Thursday. Please try to control your overwhelming jealousy. Normally a trip to this lovely institution is not the highlight of a given day. In fact, every time I go I’m reminded that the events of September 11, 2001 absolutely could not have been an “inside job” as so many conspiracy therorists would have us believe. They are giving our government way to much credit. They can barely issue a driver’s license, much less pull off a secret operation of that magnitude.

I will say, however, that this trip was the least annoying I’ve had in years. I made an appointment at the San Diego branch in Hillcrest for 11:20 A.M. Now normally, an appointment with the DMV doesn’t mean the same thing it does anywhere else in the world. In most offices, your appointment time is reasonably close to the time when you are actually seen by the person you came to see.

At the DMV, the only thing an appointment means is that you go to a different window to take a number than people who simply walk in. You still have to wait. The wait may be a little shorter, but not by much.

But this time was different. I walked in and got my number, which was A077. Within a few minutes A075 was called, so my wait would not be long. I found a seat among the unwashed masses and began reading “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” by Stephen King. Soon after A076 was called. Things were going well. I was actually fairly content, except for one little thing.

The young boy in the seat beside me had a bottle of water, which in and of itself wouldn’t have been a problem. But every time he took a sip, he would tip his head back and gargle before swallowing. This was bearable the first eight hundred times he did it, but after that it began to become a bit tiresome. Just as I was about to “accidently” swat the bottle onto the floor, my number was called. For all I know the boy is still there: sipping and gargling for all eternity.

My business with the government concluded, and my wallet considerably lighter, I headed for work, where I proceeded to nearly knock myself unconcious. It happened like this:

I was searching a countertop for something I needed to complete a task. Not finding it, I decided to look behind some items which were lined up against the wall. I leaned forward, completely forgetting about the plastic shelf which jutted out at approximately eye level. The shelf and my forehead then arrived at the same point in time and space.

I staggered a few steps back, clasping one hand to my head. I stood that way for a moment, my legs wobbling like Liu Kang at the “Finish Him!” portion of a Mortal Kombat game. When I had my senses about me again, I took my hand away from my head and found my fingers stained with red. I headed to the bathroom, blood dribbling down my forehead. Yo Adrian! I did something stupid!

Speaking of stupid, the following conversation between a clerk and a customer actually took place while I waited in line at Albertsons. The customer was an Asian man who was purchasing a monthly bus pass, and the clerk was attempting to explain to him how one type of pass differed from the other:

Clerk: You can use this one now.

Customer: I want to use it now.

Clerk: You can use this one now, but the other one starts next month.

Customer: I can use it now?

Clerk: Yes, you can use it now.

Customer: Next month?

Clerk: That one starts next month, but you can use this one now.

Cutomer: I need to use it now.

Clerk: You can you this one now.

Customer: I can use it now?

Clerk: Yes, now. This one starts now.

Customer: Next month?

Clerk: That one begins next month, but you can use this one now.

Customer: I want to use it now.

And on. And on. And on and on and on. Have you ever wanted to grab someone and shake them until they understand what you’re saying? Sure you have. By the time I made it to the front of the line I didn’t even want to buy anything anymore. I just wanted to murder someone. At least I could’ve done it then. Not next month, right then!

That about does it for now. Time has grown short on this Saturday night, and I am due at work in a few short hours. As always, thanks for reading. We’ll meet again soon. In the meantime, if you see the illustrious mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner, do us all a favor and kick him in the nuts. Then again, he’d probably enjoy it if you did. Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow!

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