I've managed to go four months in the Queen City without a VIC card - er, the plastic keychain fob that boldly proclaims "special savings and benefits" with each visit to the Harris Teeter.
It's not that I don't love savings and benefits. (I do). It's just that I have a strategy of sorts. In order to avoid filling out the long application while holding up a queue full of impatient soccer moms and botox-ed cougs, I meticulously choose the checkout line with the friendliest looking cashier. When they ask me to hand over my VIC card, I give 'em a sweet little smile and the whole "I'm new to town and haven't gotten around to acquiring a one just yet" spiel. (Which is technically a lie. Because I've told it at least seven times. And I've lived here for months). But it never fails. The cashier smiles back, tells me not to worry, and types in the magic savings code. Voila.
Today was no different. I was feeling downright smug that I'd chosen not only the wide-open lane, but also the one with the kind-eyed grandma cashier at the helm. Cha-ching. Item by item. Scanned and bagged. When my total flashed on the screen, she popped the expected question. Gotcher VIC card? I gave my premeditated answer. But instead of savings and benefits, I got furrowed brows.
You don't have a VIC card?
(I shake my head no).
You got a friend with a VIC card?
(I shake my head no).
You don't got any friends?
(Okay lady, I was gesturing NO to the friend with a VIC card.
Not NO to friends in general. Way to make me feel like a social leper).
Well, you'd better getcher one if you plan on shopping here.
(A friend or a VIC card?)
To pour salt into the wound, Grandma Cashier leans across the register, pats my hand and hands me the receipt with a big, fat circle around what I could have saved... if only I had a VIC card.
Fed up with an inbox full of spam from the decrepit (if not archetypal) social networking site - yes, once upon a time I had a Myspace page - I decided to take care of long overdue business.All but ready to terminate my (so 2006) account with a swift click of the mouse, I have to admit, I had the compulsion to check my messages one.. last.. time. For posterity's sake and all that. And holy hilarious language barrier - best decision ever.
Remember once upon a time when I had a Myspace page? Well, once upon a time, I also had my 15 minutes (...way less if you're wondering, "who is Mr. Jay and what the hell is a smize??") People have asked what I took away from that experience... what was my favorite part... what will I always remember. Nearly five years later, I have the answer. I present to you FOREIGN FAN MAIL:
"I'm from Spain by Youtube = D! We send this message because I love your rap."
"Britney fans are praising you and call you brave here in Brazil. She said that you played very well in the photoshoot."
"How are you?? I on the television heard the American Texas has the tornado, wants to know you are whether safe? Because Taiwan does not have the tornado therefore I did not know the tornado fearfulness,: ( Good luck:) I may be the friend with you? Also hoped you may reply in writing:) Thanks thin :)"
"hello beauty woman. i like you very much."
"OMG. ur really broke."
"I AM PERUVIAN AND I DO NOT SPEAK VERY WELL ENGLISH.. But I want to write to you because I am your fan number 1."
"how r u? what are you doing!? OH...Im bored. I dont want to go to school. Taiwan is boring."
"My name is Kenneth!! I wait your modeling activity!! wait your reply!! haha"
"i am your russian fan. sorry for my english. its hard for me to speak. to my mind it will be interesting to talk with you. i wait your answer. FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE."
"i just wanna say hi. and i wanna tell you i'm a fan. in filipini, ang galing mo. haha. have a happy new year. manigong bagong taon. :> hope you reply on this."
And my personal favorite...
"hello? Brooke?? Me ' where is living from Korea; kenneth' As does. Is knowing about Korea? The viewer who difficulty A.N.T.M is passionate Oh!!! From difficulty board that place step [ass]! So becomes the difficulty your fan. Difficulty she likes. The friend the beggar to tie? And English to be incorrect and understand."