Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Conditioned Response.

That title was actually something I wanted to use the other day when I broke that bottle of olive oil,  but I somehow couldn’t seem to make it work,  so I tucked it away over there in the little column that says, “Drafts” with the hope of maybe using it some day.  It might work today.

And by the way,  someone mentioned cleaning up the olive oil with a liberal application of flower … flour. Kind of like using saw dust or cat litter to clean up motor oil?  As near as I can imagine,  I think that’s a pretty good idea.  I’d just as soon never find out though. 

Hope that’s OK?


See,  the “conditioned response”  in my waking hours of the last fifty years or so when doing something stupid like breaking a bottle,  would be to do a certain amount of cursing and swearing.  I think it’s referred to in certain circles as “pitching a fit”.

Who me?

Yes,  I know.  Surprising.


The thing is,  it has been pointed out to me on more than one occasion that these sorts of episodes are more evidence to support the contention that I am indeed turning into my father. 

From a biological point of view,  I suppose that would be reassuring at least,  but from a behavioural point of view?  Not so much so.

He’d be out in the barn,  smashing and banging things,  and TALKING TO SOMEBODY.   But there was nobody out there but him!   If you listened in on the conversation,  which wasn’t all that difficult considering that type of “loud whispering” that he’d do,  the gist of it was that someone had slighted him somehow,  and he wasn’t too happy about it!

A couple times there I made the mistake of asking,  “Who ya talkin’ to?”  

Oops.   Not clever.


I was the youngest,  and he had vented most of his wrath on my older brothers.  So I think I just got lucky there.

I’m still here. 

And I got all my teeth.



Now,  in a number of occupations that I’ve had over the last several decades,  I suppose you could say that a few of them have been in some sort of “position of authority”?  

I put that in quotation marks,  since it wasn’t like I had a gun and a badge or anything,  but just the same,  I recall teachers coming to me and asking if I’d come to their classroom and read the riot act,  since their kids had been acting like idiots.  And on the more public end of things,  I’ve issued parking tickets,  trespass letters,  that kind of thing.  Head Caretakers in our system could find themselves quite often in a position to do those things. 

We all have differing personalities when it comes to doing that kind of job and some of my former associates would be just as content to sit in the corner and hope nothing bad happened.  My attitude was,  “You need to behave yourself in my building and on our property”. 

So,  I guess that,  in light of that type of experience,  my “conditioned response”  when someone is about to do something that they shouldn’t,  is that I just might pipe up and have something to say?  It depends on where I am of course,  and most times since having left that job, I’m just as content to “walk on by”.   (a Youtube link for some back ground music if you’d like)


I hope that more or less gives you a glimmer into the workings of my pea brain.



So now,  back to the Opera:

For Tuesday night’s performance,  Nan and I were on the subway sometime not long after 6:00 p.m., since the opera was due to start at seven.  


We know that from last week.  Ahem.

So we had lots of time to spare,  which was a good chance to make a pit stop before showing our tickets and going into the main hall.

I can’t seem to find anything on line showing the entire floor plan of the whole building,  but you can get quite a ways into the building without ever having to show a ticket.  The ticket is only necessary when you need to get into the inner part to go to your seat.   So….just about anyone can walk in off the street.  Right?

I didn’t need to make the aforementioned pit stop,  so I was dutifully waiting off to one side of the hallway that takes you to the “parkett rechts” seats,  just watching the usual gate type of activities,  most of which involved the ticket taker telling people that they were at the wrong entry point.  (read the signs people!)  She was showing way more patience than I ever could have,  but that’s besides the point.

Now,  don’t forget that I said I was off to one side?  So it was therefore quite noticeable when, as a few people were approaching the entranceway, this particular “lady” came past me just a little too close for my liking.   It was almost as if she was glued to the woman in front of her.  They happened to be of the same stature, so at first I briefly thought that maybe they were together and that perhaps she was sticking close to her caregiver or something?  You know,  the way someone who is perhaps a little “disadvantaged”  might be led along by the hand?

You have to realise that what happened next took place in a quicker fashion than it takes for me to describe it,  but right after this person brushed in front of me,  (which I really only noticed because it was rather annoying)  I happened to glance to my right,  and noticed a man just standing there in the centre of the hallway.  That seemed odd,  because everyone else was moving.  He wasn’t.

I then looked back in the direction of this annoying “lady”,  to discover that the reason that she was glued to the lady in front of her,  was that she HAD HER HAND IN THAT WOMAN’S PURSE!  


Well, son of a bitch!


Now,  I think if I were in my own country,  I would have put her on the ground.  However,  in that instance I also realised that HE was her look-out.  So instead,  in no uncertain terms, I basically (in German)  asked her what the hell she thought she was going, called her a “Langfinger”  (a colloquial German term for a pickpocket)   and that she’d better make herself scarce RIGHT QUICK.   This all happened so fast that the near victim didn’t even realise what was going on,  nor that she had come very close to losing her wallet from her NOW OPEN purse.

She was in the midst of presenting her ticket (distracted of course)  and simply proceeded into the main hallway.

Blissfully unaware.


*I’m getting a tad pissed off now just thinking about it*.


The thing is too,  they always have a shawl or scarf over their own bag,  so as to immediately hide whatever it is that they’ve just lifted,  so when I caught her red handed,  she made like she was adjusting her scarf or whatever.   Right.

She and her accomplice  made a hasty retreat,  and I made sure to tell the ticket taker that there needed to be some vigilance in them there parts.   Coincidently there was one of Vienna’s finest patrolling not long afterwards.  I guess maybe someone took the hint? 

Really and truly though,  they need to have a couple undercover guys hanging around,  since a cop in full uniform certainly isn’t going to blend in.   And no,  I have no interest in hanging around the Opera every night to catch pickpockets either,  so I won’t be taking along any zip ties on our next outing.

I just happened to be there.


Isn’t city life just the cat’s ass??


Keep those sticks on the ice there people.  And your purse closed up and in front of you.


Thanks for stopping by.





  1. I think we all talk to ourselves in some's called blogging!!..some days we even get a response..

  2. Too bad that lady doesn't know how much she has you to thank. I'm so unobservant, I'd probably not notice a thing. And I also find myself doing things like my Mom - but that's a good thing because she was a great lady. Now when I'm like my Dad, I worry.

  3. and there you go again my friend.."caretaking"...kudos to you!!!

  4. got that just right...Mr Caretaker!


Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.