Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

20 Minutes on IM #4: With Jana

Tonight, on Facebook messenger, with Jana of Jana’s Thinking Place.

Neil
Ok, you ready?

Jana
Ready ::clears throat::

Neil
Ok, preamble… this will all go on record…. unless you politely tell me to strike something….

Jana
OK.

Neil
We will go on 20 minutes. You don’t have to be interesting.

Jana
pfft

Neil
Very few read this anyway.

Jana
Ha. Do it.

Neil
OK. Let’s start. Hi, Jana.

Jana
Hi, Neil. Thanks for inviting me to talk.

Neil
I know I am supposed to be making believe that I am talking to you without the others listening in, but I should put some context into this — you just started a new job. So now I’m gonna ask, how’s the new job? Oh, crap. Re-do. I didn’t have to break the fourth wall. I could have just said, how is the new job and people would have understood.

Jana
OK, so just erase that?

Neil
No. Just go on. I am nervous doing this with you.

Jana
I did start a new job!  And I’m loving it. Although I gotta tell you, it kinda feels like i’m just sitting around playing on the internet all day and getting paid for it.

Neil
Hey, that’s what I do but I don’t get paid!

Jana
Which technically, I am. But I feel like a social media hooker.

Neil
Hmmm. So, can we follow you in your biz account? Are you on twitter hawking Georgia products?

Jana
But i think the job’s going to be a good fit for me. I mean, i’m not a hooker and never have been. This isn’t what you’re looking for, huh?

Neil
You may be fired from your new job now for calling yourself a hooker because that makes your boss a pimp.

Jana
All the research I’ve been doing, and cooking summer stuff, has led me to a question for YOU.

Neil
Oh, shit. I knew you were going to ask me a question. You have the guts to turn this around and put me in the hot seat. Ok, ask.

Jana
Ok, so I was shucking some corn the other night and thought to myself, knowing I was going to talk to you tonight, “When Neil goes to the grocery store and buys corn on the cob, “Is it already shucked? Or does he have to shuck it himself?”

Neil
Your question is about corn on the cob?

Jana
Because i can’t imagine you shucking corn. Or even that your grocery store in NYC would have corn that needed to be shucked.

Neil
I thought you were going to be about my sex life or something interesting.

Jana
Nope. Corn.

Neil
Actually, the shucking is a pet peeve of mine.

Jana
Why?

Neil
They usually have a garbage bag hanging by the corn in the supermarket, and people peel the corn and kinda throw the shucking all over the place, and it is gross.

Jana
Same here. It is kinda gross. and then all the silk? It’s messy.

Neil
Sometimes I just take the whole corn and do the shucking at home.

Jana
But you pay more when you do that.

Neil
Do you?

Jana
They weigh all the stuff you should shuck off. You’re paying too much!

Neil
I think they usually charge by each individual corn cob.

Jana
SHUCK THE CORN IN THE STORE, NEIL.

Neil
Wow, I have been doing it wrong. I have been a sucker. I do take the stems from tomatoes, though.

Jana
Oh, well, if they do it that way, you’re good. Depends on the time of year for that here. Sometimes it’s weight. Sometimes it’s by the ear.

Neil
Why pay for stem?

Jana
Tomato stems are extra weight too.

Neil
Although I read it keeps the tomato fresher longer.

Jana
Do you always test a grape?

Neil
No. I don’t want to eat chemicals. Needs to be washed first.

Jana
Me neither. I figure if they’re bad, it’s just closer to being wine.

Neil
Sophia did show me how to buy a watermelon by hitting it. One thing I learned in marriage.

Jana
Eh, i’m not worried about chemicals. I used to sit out back under the crop duster and i’m not dead yet. Something’s gonna get me. Knowing how to buy watermelon is a huge life skill to know.

Neil
Let’s get personal.

Jana
Ooh.

Neil
We have chatted on IM about nonsense quit a bit over the last few months, not just tonight. Maybe we are even friends by now — no?

Jana
Sure. I’d say we’re definitely friends. And yes, we have chatted about a lot of nonsense.

Neil
You worried we are going to start gossip?

Jana
I just know my mama’s gonna read it.

Neil
I was just trying to say that the internet is cool because I wonder if we lived in same city whether if we would be running in different circles and never meet.

Jana
Interesting. I don’t know. I mean, maybe we would?

Neil
The internet allows you to interact with people who are seemingly different. Like I learned all about college football and grits and the Waffle House from you, but then you find out that people are basically the same everywhere.

Jana
That’s exactly what i was about to say. We’re so different so i don’t think we would run in the same crowd in person.

Neil
While here, we can cut through the exteriors.

Jana
But now that i know you? We totally would.

Neil
That is different. But then of course it would be weird being real life friends unless I was also friends with your husband. Who sounds pretty cool. Cooler than you.

Jana
He is pretty cool. He used to be a DJ you know?

Neil
Maybe this conversation is going in a weird direction, talking about “can men and women be friends” thing. This whole conversation needs to be edited now doesn’t it? I mean we’re now talking about your husband in a public blog post.

Jana
We’ll work on that.

Neil
First this conversation will get you fired for calling your boss a pimp. Your mother will disown you for talking to me. And then your husband will want a divorce for gossiping about him online. This post is a disaster. Let’s talk about your son next.

Jana
OK.

Neil
And then maybe, your son will run away after reading this, the cherry on top.

Jana
Hahahaha. OK. Go.

Neil
What grade?

Jana
4th grade. And acts like a 13 year old who’s been given an EXTRA large dose of hormones. But he’s a cool kid.

Neil
hmmm…. maybe we might need to strike that too.

Jana
Gah.

Neil
Maybe we should do this over again next week.

Jana
We suck at this. The corn thing is good though. Save it.

Neil
The corn thing was terrible. But maybe I can edit things.

Jana
But this defeats the WHOLE point of the exercise.

Neil
Maybe I can salvage this by putting in… (deleted)… so people will understand

Jana
And then (deleted) would read it and start internet rumors about us

Neil
Oh great, let’s bring her into this so I get in trouble too. Why not ask me about (deleted) too?

Jana
Hey, if i’m going down, you are too, mister. Maybe you can just post the corn conversation. and then cut it off because I had to leave for some redneck emergency.

Neil
I’m not sure what you are talking about. This was my worst conversation. We just already know too much, so it felt phony. We’re just burning bridges with everyone. Hey, why don’t we badmouth Dooce while we are here?

Jana
(deleted)

Neil
Now, I have to delete that too. Ok, we are off record.

Jana
Hahahahaahahah. We’ve been off record, man.

Neil
Ok, time is up. This was terrible.

Jana
OK. we’ll make stuff up to make it better.

Neil
We can’t do that. But thank you, Jana. Let me read it through and see if I can salvage this. What kind of dumb question about corn?

Jana
It’s a good question.

Neil
Ok, later….

13 Comments

  1. Thanks for my smile tonight, Neil. I really do love these. The corn convo was classic!

  2. I liked the corn bit. And for the record, that’s the stuff that goes through my head too. To shuck, or not to shuck in the store; that is the question. You two are funny. And Jana – too cool that your husband was a DJ!

  3. You’re both CRAZY!! Speaking of corn, I just shucked 30 ears , having a couple at dinner & freezing the others in partial shucks for grilling later.

  4. I have never heard of shucking in the store. This was an important conversation for me even though I have my groceries delivered so have no shucking choice.

    • You are my hero. There is no such thing as grocery delivery out where I live, but I am working on “training” a young neighbor to help me in that way! Yesterday we started with ice, always need ice. I was shocked to find that people were shucking corn in my local grocery store, but there was the big trash can full of evidence, and there was the produce manager telling me that when they didn’t put out the trash can, people just left husks everywhere. Shocking shucking behavior, I tell you.

  5. Y’all are goody as hell.

  6. I saw corn at my store today and thought about buying some. I wouldn’t have thought to shuck it unless someone else was shucking it and I saw them. I would have paid more because I didn’t know! The corn question was totally legit! I learned something!

  7. I have never seen anyone shuck corn in the grocery store!

  8. I’ve never in my life heard of shucking corn in the store. At the farmers market, if they catch you peeling back the leaves to peek at the colour, the farmers’ll give you the evil eye. But they sell it by the dozen, not by weight, so there’s that.

    Fun convo.

  9. This was corny as hell.

    HAHAHAH

    Loved it.

  10. i can only handle shucking corn when i’m feeling emotionally stable. i’ve shucked too many with surprise worms — one’s heart can only handle so much! (also, unnecessary details are my favorite, so kudos to you both.)

  11. We do NOT shuck corn or anything else in the store. Here we’re mostly grow-your-own or buy 4 ears for $1 at a roadside stand. Of course, you can get 3 for $1 at the grocery store — but you still shuck it at home.

Leave a Reply