sometimes my life feels like a sitcom

So, today, I was intending to go to the “Staff Circuit Training” class at the VUW gym at noon.  For some reason at 11:00 I decided to start baking some bread, and sewing a shirt.  Needless to say, I was running out the door, late for class, as per usual.

When I arrived at the gym (at 12’02!) I realised I had forgotten my water bottle on my desk.  I also forgot my water bottle the night before, and felt like a total moron, but whatever, it’s not the end of the world.  I have water and a cupboard full of glasses next to my office.

I went into the class, I began unbuttoning my coat… and then realized that I was actually wearing a bra over my t-shirt and sport-bra.  There was a reason for this.  Since I had been doing some sewing before I left my house, I intentionally put the bra on over my shirt so that I could get an accurate measurement of the size of my bust when wearing a regular bra, for the shirt I was making.  I guess I forgot to take it off in my rush to get out the door.  I debated leaving my coat on… and then somehow managed to unsnap my bra, and wriggle out of it under my coat, and take them both off at the same time, while the 4 men in the room looked at me, waiting for the teacher to arrive.

Then, I went to put on what I call “gym shoes” having grown up in the mid-west USA, but may also be referred to as trainers, runners, etc.  I looked in my bag, and guess what?  Oh, yeah, I forgot those too.  So I had to do burpees in high heels!  Ok, just kidding, I had some slip-on black flats… which were not good for exercising, but at least they weren’t high heels.  I already feel like a wuss because I can barely lift the 15 kg “strength training sack”, while the dudes are all tossing it around like a tennis ball.

Hopefully that is the end of my mishaps for today.  Though I am making dinner tonight… a number of things could go wrong.  I’m sure there are hundreds of sitcom episodes that centre around some kind of kitchen mix-up.  “I thought that jar of cayenne pepper was cinnamon!”

Last week I went to the gym, and after I took my tights off I realized I’d forgotten my shorts.  I was wearing a pencil skirt and tights… I couldn’t work out  in just tights, or just my undies, or the skirt.  I debated just going home and giving up for the evening.  Then, on top of the lockers, I spotted what looked like a pair of board shorts that had been left behind.  They were covered in dust, 2 sizes too small, and really really ugly, but I figured no one would mind, since it seemed like they had been there for ages, I decided they were the “community shorts”.  So, I put them on, and did my 30 minute jog on the treadmill.  After I was done… ok, I’ll admit it, I just threw them back up on top of the lockers! (And they’re still there.)

Anyway, if only the gym had communal showers.  Then I could get caught peeing in the shower, and my life really would be like a Seinfeld episode.  Alas, Vic’s gym has individual showers, so I will have to seek out different ways of emulating television situation comedies.

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some insights into lao culture

I witnessed/participated in a really funny conversation yesterday that I though provided some insight into the Lao culture and thought I should share with the rest of the world.

It began when the ladies told me that the dress I was wearing was very beautiful, and I told them that I had made it.  Then they pointed out that my shoes and my earrings also matched (yes, I did that on purpose.).  Around this time the director wandered over, and started talking about how his outfit matched too; his shoes, his pants, his belt, and his hair were all black!  Then some of the ladies said “What about your underwear?”, and suddenly everyone was trying to guess what color underwear the director was wearing.  He tried to change the subject by asking Mrs. Bounsalome what color underwear she was wearing, to which she replied “No underwear!”.

I thought this was really funny considering the fact that Laos scores quite high on the “power distance index” according to Dutch Sociologist Geert Hofstede; meaning that normally there is a very well defined hierarchy of authority which people tend to respect, and have very high expectations of “professional behaviour”, and are generally quite reserved and reluctant to talk about sex or other topics in a direct way.  But they also usually have a good sense of humor and like to tell dirty jokes!

One of the young guys I work with (Vay) was telling me about some other Lao jokes.  He told me that a lot of Lao jokes are about how all men don’t get along with their father-in-laws.  Kind of like the mother-in-law jokes in the rest of the world, right?  Anyway, he went on to to tell me this really long joke that was actually quite funny.

An old man visits a medicine man and buys some kind of spell that will make him invisible.  So, he goes back home, takes off all his clothes, and does the spell, and then comes out of his house and sees his son-in-law.  He says “Son in law!  I have a magic spell that has made me invisible.  Can you see me?”  Of course, the magic did not work and the son in law and clearly see the naked old man. But he says “Wow!  It’s amazing!  I can’t see you!  You really are invisible.”  Then the son-in-law says “Father, since you are invisible, you should go to the market and everyone will be very impressed.”  So, the father in law decides this is a good idea, and walks to the main road and then to the market, where everyone sees him naked and makes fun of him.

Anyway, I didn’t tell it as good as Vay, but hopefully you get the gist of the joke.  It involved being naked and being mean.

He also told me this strangely sexy joke about how to spell the word “error” in English.  At first I didn’t understand.  “E-R-R-O-R” I said.  And then he said “Eeeeeeeee, ahhhhr, ohhh ohh, ahhhhhhhhhr.”

I don’t know if that’s appropriate for a workplace but I feel quite comfortable and enjoy the occasional bawdy conversation.