Saturday, December 29, 2012

10 Ways to make a Brian Smile

So you want to make Brian smile and/or laugh. You long for the sunshine thrown forth from his radiant smile. You yearn to hear the melodious laughter that could only have been composed by angels. You just want to see his soulful blue eyes squint up, his nose crinkle, and his hands fly up to modestly cover his laughter. Here are a few easy ways to elicit the pure and simple joy my brother exudes when he's happily laughing.

1.) Sing to him. No, not like a lullaby; that will only produce a polite and gentle smile. Sing your heart out to him. Sing really loudly. But most importantly, replace disyllabic nouns with his name. For example, "Firework" by Katy Perry (I know...) is a surefire way to make him grin. Instead of saying "Baby you're a firework", you say, with all confidence, "Brian you're a firework!". Or, another good one, "The Way You Are" by Bruno Mars; instead of "because you're amazing just the way you are", you sing "cuz Brian's amazing, just the way he is". This is obviously a more complex lyrical re-structuring, but I'm sure you can figure something out. The best place to engage in singing to make him smile is in highly public places.

2.) Make a scene. Be tactful about this; Brian doesn't enjoy attention, but he does get amused when you involve him in funny stunts in public where YOU are the focus and are simply including him in your shenanigans. For instance, one of my favorites to enact in semi-public places: Brian typically will walk behind you. While having long legs, he enjoys taking his time, and will NEVER be caught rushing. When he's walking behind you, turn around a few times, looking nervously at him. (this in itself will make him laugh). Then, say in a voice loud enough to be heard, "Stop following me.". He'll laugh at this. Turn around again while still walking, and say "This is not a laughing matter, sir. You need to STOP following me". After a few more steps, stop walking, turn around, and say very firmly "STOP IT, ESTEBAN! I DON'T LOVE YOU ANYMORE! GO HOME, LEAVE ME ALONE!!!" At this point, he'll be in riotous laughter. You should stop the stunt now and go give him a bear hug in order to reassure the people standing by listening to this madness that you do, indeed, not only know him, but also love him very much.

3.) Walk up to him and tell him you love him. But don't be sentimental about it. Walk up to him in a businesslike manner, as if you're about to engage him in a serious conversation. Look him in the eyes, and firmly say "Hey". He'll most likely giggle and avert his eyes. Tell him "Look at me." More laughter. "No, look at me. Look at my face". At this point, he'll be giving you eye contact, and trying to contain his laughter. "I need you to know something". He'll nod his head and continue stifling his laughter. "No, LISTEN to me. This is serious. This isn't a laughing matter." He'll be basically crying with laughter now. "I need you to know that I love you. No, pay attention. Brian, I love you. Don't you DARE ever forget that". Now you smile and act like none of that just happened. He'll be cracking up, and he'll quietly say that he loves you too. Now give him a bear hug.

4.) No matter what day it is, tell him "happy birthday!". Even if it isn't his birthday (there's a large chance that it won't be) he'll smile and say "thank you". While this doesn't elicit laughter, it will amuse him, and it's especially good if you follow it up with "JK I know it's not your birthday. But I still love you". Always tell him that you love him; he's a precious treasure and deserves to be constantly reminded of it.

5.) Sing with him. This is different than #3, although you can still incorporate the element of the disyllabic noun replacement. Turn on a song he likes, turn it on loud. Proceed to sing loudly, like a maniac. Look at him while singing loudly, he'll likely laugh, then join in with you. He may even play air guitar if you get into it enough.

6.) Show him pictures of pugs. He simply adores pugs. Pugs wearing clothes, pugs at pug parties, pugs with their tongues out, old pugs, baby pugs, white pugs, black pugs, sleeping pugs, pugs doing stunts, any kind of pug; show it to him. He'll grin really big, and probably laugh. He loves pugs.

7.) Tell him to calm down. There's never really a moment when Brian ISN'T calm, so that's why this is hilarious to him. When he's sitting there, quietly watching TV and doing nothing, say firmly "hey, you need to calm down, sir." He'll laugh. Take it up a notch "hey, you're out of control. You need to get a hold of yourself. Calm down." More laughter. End with firmly saying to him "Sir, you need to check yourself before you wreck yourself! CALM. DOWN." He'll be cracking up, and at this point you should smile and laugh with him, because that was pretty funny.

8.) Tell him you love him. But be hyperbolic about it. Brian is literally most likely the last person in the universe that actually appreciates the perfection of hyperbolic speech.  Honestly, he would so much more appreciate a good hyperbolic complement than if someone were to hand him a billion dollars. Assure him that he's the best person to ever live. Ever. Tell him that his eyes are the most gorgeous and luminous jewels in the world. Tell him that his smile is the most perfect and wonderful smile of all time, and that it's literally better than all the puppies and kittens in the world. Go ahead and use the word "literally" liberally; that's the beauty of hyperbole. This sort of goings-on will not only evoke a warm smile and laugh, but occasionally, if you do it exactly perfectly enough, you may get his cheeks to turn red.

9.) Dance. Dance with him, dance around him, dance while walking in front of him. If you make any sort of a scene like this, it makes him happy. He doesn't like to dance, though. But he likes to watch YOU dance and make a fool out of yourself. So do that. He'll enjoy it, and laugh immensely.

10.) Tell him you're going on some banal errand that he'll have no interest in going with you. But make him come with you, even though he won't be getting anything out of it, tell him you just want to spend some "quality time" with him. He'll usually comply; he'll take his sweet time getting ready to go, but he'll go with you. Get in the car, tell him the errand you're running. i.e. "We're going to Von's. We simply don't have enough cans of green beans in the house, we need to pick up some more." He'll agree to that, somewhat bewildered, but he'll go along with your bizarre errand to obtain even more cans of green beans. DON'T ACTUALLY GO TO VONS TO GET GREEN BEANS. Don't go to Von's at all. That is not the point of this whole scheme. Make sure you drive PAST Vons, though. As you drive past Von's, he'll be concerned, and gently tell you "oh, you missed it... Von's is back there..." He won't be annoyed or frustrated by your apparent lack of navigational skills. He won't be amused. He'll want to help you get back on course. But no, say nothing. Drive on, on past Von's. Let him come to his own conclusions. "Oh, I guess we'll just go to Ralph's, then. That's okay." Say nothing. Pull into a parking lot for any fast food restaurant, at this point, he gets it. Excitement is mounting within him. He says, "wait... WE'RE GOING TO MCDONALD'S?!?!?!?!" To which you simply reply: "I thought it would be a nice time for us to spend together. I missed you a lot, and I want to catch up. Let's sit down, eat your favorite food, and just be together. ::smile:: " Delighted clapping and laughter will follow this. He will come up and hug you very tight. For a moment, though, a dark cloud appears on his brow. You ask "What's wrong, love?" He'll tell you he has no money to pay for us. You say "This one's on me, sweetcakes. My treat. You deserve it!" Here he will employ a bear hug and then go back to clapping. Tell him you love him, straight up just tell him that you love him, and are grateful to have him in your life. He'll very genuinely return the sentiment.

:::::note::::: Unless you are me, these techniques will most likely disturb him, or he'll ask you "how much did my sister pay you to do this?" So, the ultimate warning: DO NOT ATTEMPT UNLESS YOU ARE HIS KRISTIN :)

I love making my brother smile, so much. That smile is priceless to me, his laughter is like music to my ears. His happiness is my eternal joy. I would die a thousand deaths just to ensure that his life would always be healthy and happy.(And that's not me being hyperbolic!) It is my hope and desire that I can bring happiness and laughter into his life at least once a day. Most importantly, I truly do need him to know how much I love and appreciate him. Every day, I grab him, hold him close, and tell him I love him. Flattered, he will blush and smile, and then, best of all, he embarassedly mumbles back "" I then pull his head close, and kiss his forehead, fringed by his dark blonde hair, pull him back, and simply say "good. I'm glad" and smile. He'll smile back, and we'll go about our day. But a day seems incomplete without that tender transaction of words between a brother and his biggest fan in the world, the person that loves him the most, the girl that loves her brother more than she loves herself; a sister so utterly and completely humbled to be blessed with this amazing young man for her brother, a sister that would do anything just to see this brother smile, a sister that cannot imagine a day without her Brian in her life; a day is not complete before the sister tells the brother "hey, I love you, and I thank God every single day that you're alive, and that you're my baby brother. I'm so honored and blessed to be able to be your big sister. But I love you so much, and I will do my best to always love and protect you, no matter what happens. And don't you dare forget it". Not until that transaction has transpired can it be called a day. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Paul Simon

     Everyone remembers their first CD. Or cassette, or beta, or LP, or what have you. I remember my first CD. Someone from my dad's work had given me a walkman CD player at the tender age of 5. I had nothing to put in the player, so I looked through the few CD's my mom had. Billy Raye Cyrus. No. Phantom of the Opera soundtrack. No. Beauty and the Beast soundtrack. No. Sandi Patti. No. Random CD of piano music. Ehhhh. Paul Simon. HECK YES. I listened to the entire CD (Graceland) countless times on that walkman. I loved everything about it. Mom eventually "gave" me the CD, and I had my first album. Paul Simon's "Graceland".

     Now, I love all the tracks on that album (even still today), but one of my favorites has always been "You Can Call Me Al". Something about the intro, something about that bass, something about the lyrics, something about that SONG has always just drawn me in. I love it. Always have, always will. The chorus still gets stuck in my head, sometimes. "If you'll be my bodyguard, I can be your long lost pal! I can call you Betty, and Betty when you call me, you can call me Al!" (I still remember singing this at the top of my lungs as a young child. [I still sing this at the top of my lungs to this current day]).

     One day, several years ago, I was working at my place of employment. It was an extremely, excruciatingly slow day, I recall. The only people working were my boss, one of my coworkers, and myself. I was working the register, my coworker was off stocking shelves in the back of the store, and my boss was working in the back office. Since I was stuck at the register, I really couldn't do too much. I had already cleaned the surrounding area, organized the drawers, cleaned the workstations, etc. My boss had delegated the most asinine task of cleaning the register keyboards. Not just taking a cloth and wiping them down, mind you. He instructed me to pry up all the individual keys, clean the lint from under them, and scrub each and every key in a bucket of water until they were clean. Not having anything else particularly better to do, I did what he requested. I must have been too busy scrubbing the keys to notice when a customer walked in, because when he got to the register, it completely took me of guard and I nearly jumped out of my skin. (Note: I only cleaned one key at a time; I'm not so daft as to take the entire lot of keys off of the keyboard; I'd never remember the correct order to replace them in. Just thought I'd mention that).

     At the time of the customer's arrival, I remember I was scrubbing the "B" key. It was particularly darkened with gray sludge, as I recall. As the customer began putting his things on the counter, I replaced the now-clean "B" key back on the keyboard, where it got stuck and promptly caused a line of "bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb" to appear on the little screen until I could pry it up again. While I was busy with all of that nonsense, the customer finished putting his things on the counter. After I had finished fixing the keyboard, I looked up and apologized to him for the delay. He met my gaze, laughed, and assured me that it was quite alright.

     Normally, I would be incredibly timid with male customers my own age. (At the time I believe I was 18 or 19). But something about this guy made me feel at ease. He had dirty blonde hair, dark rimmed glasses, and a very friendly smile. He had quite a laid-back, yet fun-loving, aura to him. The closest thing I can compare him to is the character Tombo from "Kiki's Delivery Service", pictured below. He had a striking resemblance to him, both in personality and appearance. Momentarily I pondered if this guy had modeled himself after Tombo. 

Tombo, from Kiki's Delivery Service   
Definitely not the sort of guy that girls would be chasing after, but he was adorable in an awkward sort of way.

     I absentmindedly asked him if he had found everything alright as I began ringing up his purchases. The counter was covered in packages of Japanese candy. "A man after my own heart", I thought to myself, amused, and now hungry. He replied "Oh yes, I know exactly where you guys keep the good stuff!" and grinned broadly. I found myself enjoying this guy's company. Not in a "I'd like to be your girlfriend!" kind of way, but in a "Hey, you know what? You're alright by me. Let's be pals." kind of way. He seemed harmless, too. Very friendly, but not in the usual flirtatious way. Deciding to make small talk, I asked him what his favorite flavor of "Hello Panda" was, as he was buying 3 different flavors of it at the time. He told me he had a soft spot for the strawberry ones, but actually preferred "Koala's March" to "Hello Panda". My gosh, do I EVER share the same sentiment! Koala's March is infinitely better than Hello Panda, hands down. Alas, the store only sold Hello Panda, though. He asked if we ever carried KM, I told him "sadly, no; we only have Hello Panda. I just have to make do and eat this on my break" and smiled. Sensing my sincerity and understanding on this topic of Asian snacks, the conversation carried on for a while. Eventually, I had rung up all of his food, and the register prompted me to ask for his email address in order to register him in the mailing list system. I hated to ask him for it, I really did; he was such a nice boy, I hated to seem so impersonal as to ask him for permission for my company to spam his email with ads and offers. Nonetheless, I was a decent employee, and put work first, so I asked him. He told it to me, it was something along the lines of "". I said "so your name's Alan, huh?" just trying to make small talk. This guy amused me; he was easy to get along with, and it had been a long and dull day. I figured I should take the opportunity to enjoy human interaction while I still had it. He replied "Yeah, I'm Alan, but you can call me 'Al'". Without even thinking about this, for some reason, I said "Well, then. You can call me 'Betty'".
What on earth are the chances of any NORMAL person my age understanding that reference? I had just set myself up to look like a complete idiot, and probably having to explain the song I had just referenced.

     He smiled his broad grin, then looked a little confused. I saw his eyes dart towards my apron, then quizzically back up to my face. He said "But your name-tag says 'Kris'..." My face reddened, I took a breath, about to explain the reference, when his eyes lit up behind his dark-rimmed glasses. "Wait a sec! Did you just reference Paul Simon?!" He looked at me expectantly, almost urgently, awaiting my answer. I said "Yes, yes I did! I'm glad you got that reference!". We both smiled, then laughed for a while. He told me that he LOVED Paul Simon, and greatly respected him as an artist. I told him I felt the same way.

     The racket of the printer spitting out the receipt interrupted our blissful connection over Paul Simon, and our discussion of favorite tracks from "Graceland". I reluctantly tore it off, and handed it to him. He asked to borrow a pen for a second, I obliged him. He scribbled something on the bottom of the receipt, tore it off, then handed it to me. It was his phone number. I looked up at him, he just smiled, sideways, and just a tad coyly, and he said "In case you ever need a bodyguard", and winked. I laughed and laughed, and reciprocated with "I'm actually in the market for a long lost pal..." and winked back at him. He grinned jovially, and said "see ya later, Betty!" and I said "Take care of yourself, Al".


     I lost Al's number. Which is a shame, because I actually would have loved to get to know the guy beyond the few minutes we shared during his transaction. He came in one other time while I was working; we parted the same way as we did before. I never saw him again after that.  The second time, he referenced "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes". I asked him to take me dancing, he said we'd just end up sleeping in a doorway. I never saw him again after that.

     Al, if you're out there, I hope you know you're fantastic. And I fondly remember our short conversations and references to the genius that is Paul Simon. ^_^

Monday, December 10, 2012

Strange Boy

      As most of you probably know by now, I love taking the Los Angeles Subway. It's cheap, time-saving (usually), and you encounter so many different and interesting people. I know I've "showcased" a few of the more...colorful... types of people that I've encountered on here before, but this time I want to talk about an entirely different sort of experience I had. This one was different than any other I've ever had on the subway or metro... This was surreal, and entirely inexplicable, and it's worthy of a post on here.

     About a year or so ago, my younger brother and I were on the subway, en route to Little Tokyo for a bowl of ramen. Now, prior to taking the subway, we first have to arrive in North Hollywood, which we accomplish by taking the Orange Line. At the time this story occurred, the new stops in Chatsworth didn't exist yet, so we boarded the Orange Line at Warner Center, which was originally the first stop of the Orange Line. So that meant that we had spent about an hour on the Orange Line before arriving to the Subway. (Nothing of real interest occurred on the ride on the Orange Line this time around). So, we get to the Red Line (subway) at last. We board the train, but since we were a little late, we had to scramble on board. After nearly getting decapitated by a closing door (yes, this happens to me frequently on these excursions), we made it into the packed train car. Obviously, there were no seats to be had by this point, so we made our way to the center pole. I wrapped my arms around the pole and held myself close to it. My brother, who, although being 2.5 years younger than I am, is about 6ft tall, grasped the pole with one long arm above my head.
     At this point, I was sleepy. Subway rides are practically the equivalent to the Poppy Field in the "Wizard of Oz"; almost instantaneously upon setting foot in a train car, I begin to fall asleep. Now you can imagine that it's difficult to sleep in a standing position while clinging to a pole in a car full of people. Not to mention fear of pick-pockets. So I clung closely to the pole, with my brother standing behind me, arm over my head, standing in close proximity in order to protect me. I turned my head up to see his face, got his attention, and notified him of my intent to sleep on the pole, and instructed him to be on the lookout for any funny-business, and told him to watch my stuff if he could. He vehemently agreed, apparently honoured by his new position of being my "bodyguard". I knew I was in good hands, so I drifted off. We had a long ride ahead of us; our stop was the second to last on the Red Line, which meant I had ample time to sleep. I closed my eyes, and allowed myself to drift off as the telltale signs of the train taking off began to stir.
     First, there's this sort of exhaust sound. Presumably that's just the engines getting started or something of the like. Then the lights sort of flicker on. (This has little effect on the actual lighting situation; the lights are very dim and almost yellowishly dull). Then, a woman's voice comes on the intercom, pre-recorded of course. "Doors are now closing". A little bell dings twice, the doors shut, just as the robot woman warned us of. The car shudders, then starts up. It slowly lurches forward, the whirring of the motors and engines creating a sort of dull, mechanical lullaby, percussed by the buzz of the electric lighting. It was to this mundane, banal lullaby that I fell asleep for a while.
     About 2 or 3 stops in, the car slowly came to a stop. I'm not entirely sure why I awoke upon this arrival, but I looked up as the car pulled up to the stand, my eyes adjusting to the dull lights now contrasted with the fluorescent lights of the station itself. I noticed something strange, something almost surreal, as the car came to a full stop... A boy, or maybe a young man, seemingly ageless, standing on the platform.
     Now there are typically many many different boys, guys, men, etc., on any given platform at any given time. Never before had one stood out so starkly to me. This boy, this being, he had the kindest face of any person I have yet to encounter in my life. I glanced at him momentarily, not wanting to gawk. He smiled the gentlest, most sincere smile, and tipped his fedora-type hat to me. I blushed, put my head back down, and attempted to go back to sleep, figuring that he would board the train and take the single open seat that had just been vacated by the old lady who had been previously snoring.
     I rubbed my eyes with my left hand, while I continued to grasp the pole with my right. I let my left arm drop to my side, tired from clinging to the pole as I had been. I closed my eyes, fully intending to sleep again until our stop arrived. After about a minute or so, again, the robotic voice comes over the intercom "Doors closing!" ::ding ding:: "Next stop, such-and-such station". By this point, i was half asleep again, not paying attention to the next stop signal. After the train had begun its course again, about a minute in, I felt a warm hand slip into mine.
     I drowsily looked up, turned around to confront my brother on this uncharacteristic and bizarre display of affection. I was going to tell him "you're doing fine protecting me, but don't you think this is a bit much?". But before I could utter anything, I glanced at the hand so softly placed in my own, I followed the arm attached to the hand up... It didn't belong to my brother, which was somewhat of a relief. But what was this, what kind of forward stranger gets onto a train and holds hands with a sleeping girl?
     The slender arm was encased by a light blue long sleeve... The arm was attached to a shoulder, about level with my eyes. The shoulder led to a neck, and the neck to a face... What on earth. My heart leapt to my throat; the angelic boy from the platform, the arm, the shoulder, the neck, the face, and the warm, soft hand... All belonged to him.
     Our eyes met. I scanned his face, at a loss for words. He had the most lovely complexion I've ever seen; it was fair, but not pale, with the slightest misting of light freckles delicately arranged over the bridge of his nose and just cresting his rosy cheeks. His hair was the color of the golden straw that grows on the hills around here during summer. He wore a most interesting hat; it appeared to be some sort of straw fedora, which ordinarily I would find completely odd, but he wore it so well. The way his cheek bones were set made him appear so boyish, so kind... Even in the hideous lighting, this boy appeared radiant, almost glowing.
     After scanning his face for any sense of his intentions, my eyes met with his again. His eyes were perhaps the most intriguing. Dark brown, like the color of freshly ground coffee, but with almost a rust tinge to them... Perhaps the most adequate description of the color of his enigmatic eyes would be something akin to cherrywood, although entirely more full of life than that. I searched his eyes for some motive, some intention, but I could find none. He was looking deeply into my own eyes as well, but didn't seem concerned as I was with motives. He smiled ever so slightly at me, almost reassuringly. We held our gaze for much longer than I would with anyone. I have never seen such kind and honest eyes in anyone before. His eyes were devoid of deceit, greed, lust, violence, and every other form of malignant human intent. They were pure, they were innocent. They were very rare.
     After this searching of faces occurred, as he smiled ever so gently at me, I could find no words, no objection to this bizarre scenario. I smiled at him, my cheeks flushed with confusion and slight embarrassment, and I did something strange then.
     I lowered my head, which is typical response for me after prolonged periods of eye contact. But this time, it wasn't out of shame, confusion, or awkward self-awareness. This time, I lowered my head out of contentment. I grasped the pole with my right arm as the train continued on, and my left hand still contained the hand of my new companion.
     Silently, we traveled on through the corridors and tunnels, standing on the shuddering floor of the car. I shut my eyes and smiled, still holding the strange boy's hand.
     A few stops later, the train slowly came to a stop at another platform. I felt the slight hand slip out of our gentle grasp. I opened my eyes, and looked up just in time to see the strange boy departing. He exited the train, without saying a word. He turned back, smiled his gentle smile at me one last time, and slowly waved to me as the train lurched forward, embarking to its next stop. I smiled back at him, and returned his gesture. He doffed his cap, and bowed slightly, then looked up with his kind eyes gleaming, the apples of his cheeks flushed, his amber-coloured hair now slightly tousled. I just looked at him and smiled, waving goodbye, knowing I would never encounter this ethereal character again.
     My brother looked down at me and asked "what just happened..." and I looked back up at him and said "I'm not very sure... But it was nice". 
     To this day, I can't entirely explain this event. Normally, I wouldn't tolerate holding anyone's hand on a subway. I wouldn't tolerate someone looking deeply into my eyes, searching my soul like that; I would avert my eyes and try to avoid that person, awkwardly. And, if anyone tries that type of thing, I would normally say something to them.
     This entire encounter, not one word was shared between the strange boy and myself. Maybe that's what made it okay. Maybe that's what made it beautiful.
     I can't explain my connection with this strange boy, either. It certainly wasn't one of attraction; I had no notion of flirting with him, and neither did he with me. There was no real intent even, for friendship... No words were spoken, nothing about this experience was made complex by the use of the human language. There was no need involved, either. He didn't want money, he didn't want to hit on me, he didn't have any ulterior motives. And neither did I.
     In those moments, while we silently held hands and enjoyed the subway ride together, it's as though we transcended the social norms of humanity. Neither of us wanted or needed anything from the other. We simply and silently formed trust between us, and lived that moment in the most beautiful and comfortable silence I have ever experienced with a stranger. We enjoyed simple human companionship, perhaps as it's meant to be, and then parted ways, with no sadness, no regrets, only a beautiful and lovely memory of the simple and short time we spent together, enjoying our silent, simple companionship.

     This all sounds so odd, but truly, this is one memory that I will cherish forever. This is the standout memory I have with regards to the most silently salient experience with a stranger. And I will treasure it always.

     To my strange-boy with the straw coloured hair: if you're out there, I hope you're doing well. I hope your life is as beautiful as your soul is. And may you never stop giving people like me hope in the human race.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Arachnaphobia vs. Paranoia.

     What do most people think when they see a large spider while they're in the shower? Probably something along the lines of "OH MY GOSH KILL IT KILL IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Or, maybe they're a screamer, creating a scene rivaled only by that infamous one in "Psycho". Perhaps they just get down to business, and silently kill the thing in a rush of adrenaline-fueled terror. They could just throw water on it in hopes that a sudden deluge will cause the monster to reel in its foul appendages, curl into a ball of horrid arachno-meat, and simply wash down the drain.

     What do I think when I see a huge spider in the shower?
"I hope that's not one of those government-run arachno-cams..."

    Now you must be saying to yourself, "Chibi! I thought you were a semi-normal, reasonable person! Why on earth would you entertain that crazy notion that the government is watching everyone with cameras everywhere, especially with cameras hidden in the form of spiders?!" And the answer to that is that I don't totally believe the whole government-big-brother conspiracy theory. Not totally. Now, where would I get a silly notion such as the one mentioned above? I'll tell you.

     One time, on the subway (all crazy stories start like this, on the subway. That's how you know it'll be crazy, because it was on the subway.), I was sitting next to this homeless guy. That's fine, that kind of thing doesn't bother me. The guy then turns to me, though, and of course that's when things got interesting. He asked me what I thought of spiders. I told him ordinarily I'm not too concerned with them. To which he responded, quite enthusiastically, "But spiders are the things to watch out for! You can't take them too lightly!" At this point I assume he's an arachnophobe, and will warn me on the dangers of stepping on poisonous spiders and the like, and assumed he'd tell me how all humans swallow at least 8 spiders while sleeping in the course of a year. I told him "It's alright, I don't mind the non-poisonous ones, and I'm careful with the dangerous ones". His eyes widened, apparently incredulous to my naivety regarding the issue at hand.  He proceeds with "It's not poison-non-poison that you have to worry about! IT'S THE CAMERAS!!" Now whenever a transient-type mentions cameras, you can brace yourself for a deluge of paranoid talk about the government, occasionally spiced with tinges of racism. But this was a different twist; spiders? Really? Not knowing how to proceed, I just said "oh yeah... the cameras...", sort of hoping this would pacify him for a while. No dice. He piped up again, "YES THE CAMERAS! The government created the idea of spiders as a cover-up for their hidden camera program. ::it should be noted that here he told me the exact name of the program; however, I cannot recall it, as it was both a lengthy and ridiculous name::. All these years, the government's been telling us in schools that spiders are 8-legged creatures that eat pests, they help gardeners, yada yada yada. WELL THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS SPIDERS!!! The government only wants you to THINK there are so they can plant cameras in robo-arachnids everywhere to monitor the civillians!" ...This went on for quite some time in an alarming amount of detail. At first, I was incredibly amused as to this man's seemingly inane ramblings. But as his spiel progressed, I became more and more intrigued. The amount of thought and detail this guy put into his theory was fascinating, and, I found myself allowing my thoughts to entertain these crazy ideas for a while. If you sort of shut off part of your brain, it all sort of makes sense, it all seems entirely plausible. For a moment, I allowed myself to believe in this idea that there are, in fact, no spiders, just millions of little government-run robo-arachnids with little cameras attached, monitoring civilian life. Why they would want to watch civilians everywhere as they shower is beyond me; this is America, there are many people that you would NOT want to see in the showers. But what if...

Eventually, my stop arrived (last stop of the whole subway ride, as luck would have it). I said good-bye and disembarked from my delusional friend. I walked through Union Station, decided to have a drink and sit in those lovely, ancient chairs. As I slumped down into the chair, enjoying my complimentary ice-water, I looked to the chair next to me. In the bottom corner, right near the floor, one of those tiny little red "spiders" was weaving a web between chair and floor. I looked at it, watched it silently for a while as it spun it's "web" (most likely a surveillance network of tiny wires transmitting satellite signals, possibly doubling as a charging station. These robo-arachnids don't have unlimited energy, and they're not fueled on flies like the gov't would lead you to believe, you see.) The crazy-talk that I had just listened to for almost an hour on the train rolled around in my head as I watched the little thing, tottering around on the web it was making. I sipped my ice water, and decided to head out. As I walked out of Union Station, I laughed to myself at the absolutely complex insanity that the man had led himself to believe; I marveled at his misled genius. I dismissed what he said as just that, insanity.

But I suppose you could say that there would always be remnants of the cobwebs of the theories in my mind... Because every time I encounter a spider now, my immediate thought is "Oh gosh I hope that's not the government...".  Right after that thought leaves my mind, I laugh to myself, recalling the ridiculous incident on the subway, and find myself amused that I would fall into that paranoia, even for a second. I immediately kill the spider, though. Half because I don't want those things running around my house, robotic or carbon-based may they be. The other half is because if that guy was right, about the robo-arachnids, I don't want the government robo-spiders roaming my house and watching me shower.

Mostly, though, I kill them because whatever they are, they certainly don't belong in the shower.


Note: The above stories are completely true, I have not exaggerated the content, merely paraphrased where necessary due to failing memory.