The Cow-ardly Approach

Walks help me make sense of the world that I live in.  There happens to be a dairy farm roughly a mile away.  It resides at the top of a hill, providing the passersby with a view of mountaintops, blue skies, and panoramic sunsets.

IMG_1378 (800x513)The dairy also has cows.  Cows make sense to me.  They spend large amounts of time outdoors, they are not fazed by much, and they like to be surrounded by grass.  Look at that one.  Does it seem troubled or disturbed?  I argue, no.  It chews and minds its business.

That is about how I handle protests and social unrest.  I fear I am too wired to sin by silence.  I tried protesting once and did not really see the point.

I am the stoic one.  The cow at the side of the road.  Others get worked up and take to the streets.  I keep my head level and hope that people will treat each other with kindness.

There is also the exact opposite approach.  Some attempt to make vandalism and IMG_1372 (605x800)destruction win the day.  On Friday night, people grabbed trash can lids and such and threw them through our store windows.

I do not see the point.  Our store is not linked to the police.  We will sell groceries to anyone that picks them off the shelves.  If they are trying to draw attention to their cause, it could be argued that they succeeded.  Though it hardly ranks with setting municipal buildings on fire.  People from the neighborhood were taking pictures.  Does that make the protests the talk of the town?

For all I know, it could have been those with no agenda other than mayhem.  They hear of unrest, they rush out into the world, and they wreak havoc.  “Some people just want to watch the world burn.”  There are people that want to be angry without aiming for social change.  This could have been them.

I am a pacifist.  I have never gotten into a physical fight.  I have smacked a coworker upside the head, but I maintain that it was in an instructive manner.  (I was also consumed with guilt afterwards.)  I do not believe that they who leave the most marks on their opponents are the victor.

IMG_1373 (524x800)However, a very wise woman told me something in college.  “There is a difference between being a pacifist and being pacified.”  If I see bad things happen, I should … what?  How should I respond?  That is my question.

I like first responders.  I appreciate those that are willing to put themselves between us and harm’s way.  However I do not want anyone shot on my account.  I certainly do not want anyone to restrict a suspect’s breathing until they die from suffocation.

I believe that God created everyone; that God loves everyone.  I should do the same.  Treating a race or group poorly goes against that.  So no, I do not think that black people should be roughed up by police officers.  At the same time, I do not think that police officers are all violent dirt bags.

I pray for peace a lot.  Mostly it is on a national scale.  Whoever is President, I pray for them to find peace.  That our country will embrace peace.  That other countries caught in constant conflict might embrace peace and cease their warring.  I am not searching for a winner, I am hoping for an end to the conflict.

I do not have the same life experiences that others do.  I have seen testimonies where people leave their homes and spend the day trying not to draw attention to themselves.  If they are not noticed, they will not be arrested.  There are classrooms where teachers have to instruct their charges how to leave police interactions.  “Comply with them.  Then ask if you are free to go.”

All this is coming from a white person with a comfortable existence.  I am middle class, my town is quiet, and I have yet to be pulled over.  I understand that others do not get off this easily.  I also understand that clicking an emoticon on someone’s suffering or cause does not fix things.  I know that bringing attention to injustice is a start, but that action is still needed.

The current instances leave me feeling inept.  I could contact my representatives, but the incidents are outside of their jurisdiction.  And the acts are already illegal.  One does not get to kill someone who is complying with a search.  One does not get to murder a suspect.  We should all agree that those charged to “serve and protect” must not abuse and murder.

IMG_1380 (800x666)Cows lick themselves like a cat.  I had no idea.  Yet, that is what I saw.  One cow, irritated by its hindquarters; licking away.  That is how I feel.  Like I am tending only to my own needs while important things are going on.  The crows are cawing angrily, the rabbits are running back and forth, but the cows and I are slow to react.  Ironic that, “having a cow” is linked to herd animals that are not easily spurred to action.  They only react when tipped over; when their own way of life is encroached upon.

I have no cud to chew, so I bite my tongue.  I bide my time.  I stand on the sidelines and assess.  I wait to see if there is a clear action I should take.  I worry that my inaction is making things worse while believing that leaping in without understanding is the worst choice of all.  I keep praying for peace.  I tell my coworkers of all races and backgrounds that I love them.  I wonder if instead of going on walks, I should go on marches.  I see the rage, feel the betrayal, and hope that no one calls for us to angrily stampede.

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That Netflix Need

20200526_044026 (800x761)I am the last patron to the Netflix table.  I have a rather large DVD collection and I work in a movie theater.  Why pay for more viewing options that I do not need?

Well, I had all this extra time this month…

Remember back in the Blockbuster days?  They would sell you this fancy pass where you could rent as many titles as you wanted for a week.  You could check out several movies at a time.  If I had a break from school, I would take advantage.  I would catch up on all the movies.  Twenty years later, I embraced the same notion.

These numbers are a bit much, but the truth is the truth.  Seven comedy specials.  Twenty-four movies.  One hundred and seventy episodes.  Yeah, I know.  I consume a fair chunk of television in my normal life.  And I still manage to read comics and go through my usual book a week.  However this was an awful lot of tablet screen time.

Making a Murderer paired with Dead to Me were far too depressing.  I felt my mood plummet after each installment.  Happily, I had Conan without Borders to make me laugh.  Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee was funny until you watch enough episodes and realize that there are a lot of things in the world they do not like.

It does not appear Netflix imposes time limits on their movies.  Bird Box stretched on a bit.  The Two Popes was great but you could feel the run time.  And The Irishman?  So very long.

400px-Michelle_Obama_official_portraitNetflix really wanted me to watch Becoming.  I try not to be political, so I was in go great rush.  I had not read Michelle Obama’s book.  Still, the e-mail and screen prompts were prevalent.

Then I saw that Romney had his own documentary.  So, in an effort to be fair, I watched both.  (I called it Becoming Mitt.)

320px-Mitt_Romney_official_US_Senate_portraitWhat struck me was how they are combatants, but they have almost everything in common.  They have the audacity to think that they can set the country right.  They have spouses that do everything to get elected.  Mitt Romney’s wife has M.S.  So did Michelle Obama’s dad.  Both want their families to try to be normal.  Romney picked up trash with his kids and Obama made sure her kids cleaned up their rooms.  Both were seen praying and talking to God.  He was labeled as a flip-flopper.  She was seen as a terrorist.  More things unite them than separates them.  They should sit down together and watch My Fellow Americans and Wag the Dog together.  Neither of which are on Netflix.

Honestly, that was the biggest letdown for me.  There were not that many movies I wanted to see.  Oh, they have hundreds of movies.  I can spend months watching their movies.  But movies I would have a date night around?  Movies that I would add to my collection?  No.

That is the trouble with these platforms.  I had Amazon Prime for a bit and ran into the same trap.  It is far too easy to watch, “something”.  Not something you want, not something you have been waiting for; just any old thing.  Before you know it you have spent ten hours a week watching movies that you could not care less about.  Then we wonder how our week flew by so fast and why we do not have more free time.

time-clockSeven hours of comedy stand-up sessions.  Forty-eight hours of movies.  Episodes can be any length they want, but if we round to about thirty minutes each, that puts me at eighty-five hours.  Almost four days watching episodes alone.  I gave Netflix seven days; all in less than a month.  Oy.

Now, without spending any more months or money invested in all this, I can walk away clean.  I can once again allocate time to movies I know I will enjoy.  I can say that I tried Netflix and went on with my life.

We only have so many hours in our lives.  Scrolling through lists of movies available?  That is not how I want to spend that time.

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The Beginning of the High-Five

Hey, man!  That was some hunting you did yesterday!

Oh, thanks.

Oh, c’mon.  You really killed it!  C’mere!

What are you doing?!

What?  C’mon man.

What did I do?

I’m just trying to congratulate you.

By slapping me?

I’m not going to slap you.  Don’t be dumb.

Your hand is raised by your head.  You made a move that I had to duck to avoid.  How is that not a slap?

high-five-silhouetteThis is the new idea I had this morning.  When someone rises above my expectations, I try to smack all five of their fingers.  You know, a “High-Five”!

So if I do something really well… your response is to strike me?

Sure.  But in a good sort of way!

I need my hands.  And half the time I’m carrying my weapons.  Can’t you, I don’t know, bump my elbow as we brush past?

No, that’s no good.  See, I was practicing this morning—

Practicing?

Yeah, with my hand.  By myself.

Man, I don’t want to hear this.

Yes you do!  See, if you strike two hands together, it makes a really satisfying noise.

Yeah, Mike invented that last week.  He called it “clapping”.

Ugh.  Don’t get me started on Mike.  What a Neanderthal.

I think you’re jealous.

The basic concept of a “clap” is fine.  But it needs something more.  Pizzaz.  We need to really celebrate an excellent achievement.  A “clap” is when you think somebody did well.  But the “High Five” is the best of all greetings!  It shows not only respect, but conveys just how cool you really are.

You’re saying weird things.  Are you sure you cooked your meat last night?  I know you like it raw, but sometimes you get… um, kinda off.  Like when Joe sleeps outside on top of the hill.  And he gets ants all in his clothes.  And you see him muttering to himself, going all feral.  Scratching himself with his legs while picking at sores with his fingers and talking in that low voice about his loyal compatriots…

Joe’s a few sticks short of a fire.

Right.  I know.   This is what I’m talking about.  Don’t be like Joe.

You really should try it, man!  We could walk up to each other, and without stopping, smack each other’s hand!  It makes a loud noise and we would look so cool!  All the other guys would be jealous.

Couldn’t you smack somewhere with more padding?  You seem way too excited about this.  I think you’ll break my aiming hand.  Maybe just hit my butt?

Man.  That’s weird.

Weirder than hitting my hand?

Yes.

Why?

I know where you sit.  And I’ve seen those berries you love so much.  I know the effect they have on you.

Then refrain from touching me.  I won’t be offended.  I promise.

C’mon!  It’s fun!  Don’t make me go back to wrapping my arm around your neck, pushing you down, and rubbing my knuckle into the top of your skull.

My scalp’s still sore from that.  Last week was a real low point for your, “innovations”.

Hey man, Noogie thought it was a great idea.  He can’t stop doing it.

noogies-dad-16371825And nobody shares their meal with Noogie.

Just think.  If we do it right, we can “High-Five”, swing our arms down and do it upside down, and then squeak out one last “High-Five”!  Three satisfying whacks in quick succession!  And the best part–   

Oh boy.

–We do it all without stopping!  We keep walking the whole time!  Maybe we slow down our pace a little; I haven’t worked it all out, but think of it!  The fluid motion!  The excitement!  The awe from the onlookers!  Smack-smack-smack!

This whole talk is making me want to smack you.

Yes!

No, I mean, in the face.  Repeatedly.  A plain, old-fashioned, non-cool, SMACK.  Maybe with a pole.

I don’t get you, man.  You hated “Noogies”.  You won’t “High-Five”.  You didn’t even give my last suggestion a chance—

The “Chest-Bump”?  Stop.  That was the worst of the worst.  Taking your whole body and throwing it at each other?  All that forceful contact… and it was supposed to be fun?  That was a complete and utter step backwards in our development as a species.  Only Dude liked that gesture.  The rest of us were ready to tie you up and throw you off a cliff.

Wait, what?

Or use you as bait.  Tie you to a tree or something.  Wait to see what animals might come out to eat you.

You’d rather use me as a hunting lure than give me a “Chest-Bump”?

Yes.  Very much yes.  Dude used to only throw himself at the ladies.  Now he throws himself at everyone.  Really thrusts up against everyone he meets.  He keeps knocking over the kids and falling on them.

He’s not doing it right.  The guy’s not real civilized yet.  You only “Chest-Bump” your peers.

How about you keep to your personal space and I’ll keep to mine.

Man, don’t leave me hanging!

What is that supposed to mean?

See my hand up here?  Waiting for a proper “High-Five”?

Yeah…

If you don’t reciprocate, then you’re leaving me hanging.

Hanging what?  You’re not hanging from anything.  Nothing is hanging from your hand.  You’re just standing there with your arm fixed at a right angle.  Like a creepy wave that doesn’t move.  It sticks out and scares everyone away.  The slowest wave mankind has ever seen.

…What if I bump my fist into yours?

It’s too early for this.

366-mj-8222-fon-01-l_2It doesn’t make a satisfying sound.  Which is the worst part about it.  But the visual!

I haven’t even washed my beard yet.

Here, look!  One fist on top of the other.  Then they switch and do it again.  Then, then!  The best part of all!

I should show you my favorite rock.  Get it real up close to your face so you can see all the fine details.  I’ll even make it exciting and throw it at you.  Hard.

Boom!  We mash our fists together!  Knuckle to knuckle.  Ooh!  Ooh!  Idea!  What if we start off as a “Fist Bump”, but it turns into a “High Five”!  We could have it change with each person!  Custom refined for each pair!  The longer and more complicated we make the hand gestures, the cooler it’ll look!  We could wave our hands like fish in the river or do double-taps!  Do a high hand smack and a low hand smack!  It could go on for so long!  The “Fist Bump” could be the start of a revolution in cool greetings!  Or maybe it should start with us grasping hands, and the “Fist Bump” could be the quiet and restrained end to our explosion of coolness!  Yes?  No?  Where’re you going?  Man!  I’m trying to teach you something.  Come back!

Minutes later, he would encounter Joe and succeed in the first ever, two-person High-Five.  Joe soon became a fan because of how the interaction killed several of the pesky flies that were circling around him. 

And it continues on…

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The Death of Me

“We’re all gonna die!”

That is apparently the mentality that is supposed to consume me.  Death, after all, is the second greatest fear.  Public speaking is number one.  Yet neither of those worries me all that much.

I tend to take the approach to death that Lincoln took four years before he was assassinated.

If they kill me, I shall never die another death.

Folks do not wish to be put underground before their time either.  In the nineteenth century, a few new caskets were invented.  Their goal was to keep their residents from being buried alive.  Some would allow for the casket lid to be opened if the person regained their capacities and wanted out.   Other containers allowed for air to be cycled through while the encased called for help.

coffin-alarm-1At the simpler level, it has been said that rich people would have a bell attached to their coffin.  A hired hand would sit by the grave and wait for any signals.  If the bell rang, they went for help and would extricate their master.

Granted, there are internet videos to tell you how to escape if buried alive.  Yet I think we should hope to avoid that scenario altogether.  While I shirk most risks, I have still done a foolish thing or two.

A few years ago I decided to try out skydiving.  I was wondering if fear would kick in at the last moment.  I was going by myself.  There were no friends to pressure me with calls of, “Do it, Bro!  Take the plunge!  YOLO!

(My irritation at the phrase, “YOLO”, is shared with skydiving instructors.  “For a year, every single person was yelling that.  We get it.  You only live once.  Just… stop.”  Their annoyance only made me trust the folks with the parachutes that much more.)

I sat at the edge of the plane door.  I looked down at the miles and miles of sky between me and the ground.  “Well, too late to back out now.  If you die, you die.”  That was it.  That was my opportunity to fear for my life and it never really kicked in.

Pain is different.  I have a healthy respect for pain.  I had a bigger concern for breaking my legs than I did for dying.  I dislike dental work because I remember what the sharp tools have done to my exposed nerves.

I worry about Covid because I do not want to throw up.  The constricting of my muscles, the tightness; it all sounds quite terrible to me.  I vomit once every eight or so years (just like the Seinfeld episode).  Even that is more often than I would like.  Pain and agony I will do what I can to avoid.

coffin-alarm-2Death though; death is not something that bothers me.  I only have two goals I would like to achieve before I am done.  I would like to have some writings published in book form and I would like to be married.  The first goal is up to me.  I need to watch less television and do more typing.  That is my responsibility.  The second goal is more nebulous.  They claim that, “You Can’t Hurry Love”.  So I will not hold my breath.

“What about all the things you still want to do?”  “What about the places you could go?”  “Don’t you wish you could have forever to do anything you want?”

When I get home each day, or when I have the day off, I ask myself one question.  “Okay.  You can do anything you want.  What would you like to do?”

If I have true freedom, I go for a hike or a run.  Physical activity, trees, fresh air; all of what I really need is right there.  See some mountains, listen to frogs croaking; anything that helps me to embrace the outdoors.  When I only have the afternoon free, my choices are simpler.  I want to read or watch television and spend time with my cat.

I do not spend my days pining for the next time I can dress up and go out at night.  I have been exposed to countless tourists and different cultures.  I read and I run.  I will go see a play, I will visit with friends, and I will make time for loved ones.  But on an average day, there are only a few things I want.  A cat, a couch, and a quality read.

I will never run out of movies I still want to see or books I am eager to read.  If I lived forever, that list would never end.  If I live ten more years, that list will never end.  So I make do with the time I am given.  No eternal spells or death-defying serums for me.

Then there is the promise of the afterlife.  For all my beliefs, despite years of listening and reading, I cannot get myself to care about heaven.  I try to be a good person because my conscience will not shut up.  (My internal Jiminy Cricket refuses to clock off.)

I dislike cruelty and I like sleeping soundly.  I am motivated to act kindly and gently because that is what God wants.  If there is nothing after my body gives out I am fine with that.  If there is some ethereal realm that I float off to, I suppose that is fine too.  I really have no preference.  I am putting my time in now.  I cannot control after.

There are others that suffer much more than I do.  JFK had back pain for a large part of his existence.  I am sure he was anxious to be free of suffering.  For those that have lost their loved ones to tragedy, they yearn to see their families again.  I understand those feelings.  However I do not have them.  I will take what I am given and live it out to the end.

coffin-alarm-3After work today, I am quite fine sitting in my living room and watching a movie.  I revisited Elizabethtown last week.  In that movie, a man finds himself with a life he did not want and contemplates suicide.  Soon he is caught up in a trip that shows how beautiful life is and how mourning can have moments of humor.  In regards to death, they offer up a quote.  “If it wasn’t this, it’d be something else.”

Right now though, I am in bit more of a Meet Joe Black mentality.  Yes, having the female character fall in love with the embodiment of death is… odd.  However I take a lot from Anthony Hopkins.  His character lives a full life.  He gets to relish all the blessings and gifts that have been granted him.  And in a sweeping moment of heart and awe, he tells his friends, “I don’t want anything more.”

I will keep wearing a face mask and washing my hands.  No need to rush into this.  Our time will come soon enough.  And it will be sufficient.

We can relax.  Somebody else will do the eulogizing.  That is one fear we can cross out.

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Childhood Disdress

An upside of being in my forties is that I can tell embarrassing stories and not care anymore.  Also, I get to use the word, “youngster”.  For example, “This new generation is crazy.  Heh.  The things I’ve done…   Why, back when I was a youngster…”

My puberty stage hit me late.  I got to spend more time than most as a kid.  I do not remember having to shave until college.  My growth spurt held off its grand reveal until the second or third year of high school.  My last gym class was in tenth grade.   I was the weakest kid in that class.  The guys, the girls; they were all stronger than I was.  When challenged to see how much we could bench, I was unable to lift the forty-five pound bar by itself.  Hey, at least my voice did not crack often.

This story takes place before any of that.  I believe I was in junior high.  My summers were more or less the same.  I played LEGOs, read comics, and watched lots of television.  It was a simple life, I had a cat, and everything was fine.

My sister, on the other hand, liked to learn things.  Always up reading, that one.  Sometimes she would have a seven hundred-page book in her hand and stay up until four in the morning reading.  That was not enough for her.  Nope, she wanted to have a Russian exchange student stay for the summer.  She had an extra bed in her room.  I guess she felt like sharing.

800px-Sharp_VC-H982_VHS_VCR

We’ve talked about VCRs before.  Get your refresher over here.

We had a lot of Russian exposure for a few years.  My dad hosted a man for a few weeks.  We sent him home with VCRs that could be sold for a tidy profit.  The Goodwill Games were happening.  The U.S.S.R. was making things interesting.  And hey, let us not forget the eighties classic, “Russkies”.  An exchange student felt like one more detail on the ever-changing landscape.

The gal, let us call her Nikki, was an odd one.  She liked to sleep in as late as possible and we were a family of eight a.m. risers.  She wanted to call me her little brother.  I just wanted to go back to reading “Calvin & Hobbes”.

Also, I was busy trying to figure things out.  My hormones were not in full swing.  But I was starting to see boys and girls acting differently.  Boys just walked.  Girls swayed.  Boys stomped.  Girls swished from side to side.  We made beelines.  They got from place to place with hip-gliding.  What was the deal?

According to my mom, she tried to give me, “The Talk.”  She claims that she attempted to have a serious conversation.  She also states that I covered my ears and refused to listen; that I was not ready to have that chat.  I believe her.

I started to wonder if the differences were due to the clothes.  Certainly there were differences.  My jeans were all blue.  My sister had a pair of pink jeans.  She also had floral print leggings.  My dad was not a fan of those .  He found them too revealing on his teenage daughter.  (Poppers would never survive being a parent of a teenager these days.  Never.)

The thing that made all the difference, the source of all the changes, seemed to be the swimsuits.  Some girls wore two-pieces.  Some wore a one-piece.  Bright colors, fancy designs, and changes in the way they were cut.  Was that what made them feel like girls?  Were clothes all that it took?

I decided to find out.

babchrst

I’m pretty sure she was busy with other activities.

I made a point of waiting to embark on my mission until the house was as empty as possible.  My parents were at work.  My sister was probably at choir.  My brother; who knows.  I was pretty sure I had the place to myself.  I did not enlist my cat.  I was going solo on this adventure.

I walked to the room next to mine as quietly as possible.  The door was shut, but that did not mean anything.  I knocked very quietly, not wanting to give myself away.  I opened the door.  The room was dark.  I looked at the bed on the right side of the room.  No sign of my sister.  I looked at the second bed.  Crumpled blankets; no exchange student in sight.  Perfect.

I shut the door behind me and left the lights off.  On the left side of the room was my sister’s dresser.  It was, of course, painted pink.  I knelt on the carpet and pulled open the bottom drawer.  There I found her swimsuit.

I took out the white and flowery fabric and put it on the floor.  I turned around to make sure that I was alone.  I looked to the gap between the carpet and the door.  No footsteps, no traffic, and no passersby.  I listened and heard no signs of activity.

Then I took off my shirt and pants.  I left my underwear on because I was not that curious.  Then I stepped into my sister’s swimsuit and put it on.  I turned.  I examined.  I assessed.

downloadAs I stood there in the dark, one single thought went through my brain.  The risk, the possibility of being caught up in an act of pure curiosity; it all resulted in one phrase.  “I don’t get it.”

My mission was a failure.  I had not acquired the privileged information I had risked discovery to attain.  I stood there in a girl’s swimsuit just as confused as before.

Which is exactly the moment when I heard a voice and movement.

In horror, I turned towards the sounds.  There, in what I had thought was a crumpled mess of blankets tossed aside for the day, was a body.  Nikki was still in the bed.  She groaned as she turned and readjusted to one side.  I could hear her on the verge of consciousness; I saw the blankets that threatened to cease covering her head.  I was precariously close to being found out.

I freaked out.  How am I going to get out of this?  One little twist of that blanket and I’m doomed!  I can’t go out into the hall wearing THIS!  Aaah!

Very quickly, and very, very quietly, I removed myself from the swimsuit.  I put my jeans and shirt back on with as much speed and stealth as a small teenage boy is capable of.  My clothes back on, I turned my attention to the dresser once more.

How was the swimsuit folded?  Could I put in down like a towel?  Was there an official folding protocol that girls went through with these things?  Had there been other clothes on top of this?  How could I put it back in a way that would not invite speculation?

opening-closet-doors-1989794

This space does not house one comfortably.  At all.

My desire to escape conflicted with my urge to hide in the closet.  I considered crawling commando-style on the floor.  Anything to avoid being found out by Nikki.  In a few seconds, the evidence had been returned, I had made it the few feet to the door, and I snuck back into the hallway.  I managed to let sleeping Soviets lie.  I do not believe that I was ever found out.  I certainly did not tell anyone.

That is my tale.  I tried on clothes meant for a different gender and walked away feeling the same as I had before.  “The clothes make the man”, is not a phrase that rings true with me.

I will always prefer jeans and a t-shirt.  I tried something different and it was not for me.  If others like more excitement in their wardrobe, so be it.  (Though I did find out at an early age that hiding in a closet is no way to live.  It offers no practical escape whatsoever.)

Now my sister has three kids of her own.  Who knows what embarrassing mischief they are getting into?  There could be all sorts of shenanigans ensuing.  It is almost summer vacation after all…

Oh, those youngsters.

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Masking our Feelings

Americans have strong opinions.  We will march, we will argue, and we will yell out our beliefs from a passing car.

We have had arguments on slavery, sexuality, and guns.  We have made, and often ignored, laws about smoking, tailgating, and jaywalking.  My personal obsession is jaywalking.  If you were in a car and drove through a red light, people would think you were a terrible individual.  Walk through a red light? Not a big deal to most.

800px-Abbey_Road_Zebra

The Beatles followed proper street etiquette. We can too!  C’mon folks!

You are a person; they are a person in a car.  You walk around on soles of rubber; they drive on tires of rubber.  The law should apply to all so why do you not even scurry across as you flagrantly break the law?  If I were a police officer, I would hold a record for the number of jaywalking tickets handed out.

 

There you go.  We have our unyielding opinions.  We have our pet peeves.  Our causes.

The matter that is currently causing a stir is face masks.  Some people that wear them think that others are jerks.  Some people that like to do their own thing and not worry so much think the face-coverers are loony.

I was walking from the bus stop when an individual felt the need to express their viewpoint.  Having no soapbox or pulpit handy, he decided to address me from the window of his red SUV.

“You don’t need a mask!” he bellowed.

I kept walking.  I offered no signs of acknowledgement.

“Take off your mask!”

In all, three proclamations were thrust my way.  I let them fall unanswered.  I am the master of focusing on the horizon and heading towards it.  Though I did feel that his, “Take off your mask!” was a little too close to, “Take it off!”  Perv.

Is this what women go through when they walk down the street?  The stereotypical construction site or the drive-by cat-calls?  My experience was limited to this one guy.  Sara Bareilles has a point; who made him King of Anything?

I see where they are coming from.  I really do.  I miss my parks.  I get that unemployment is stressful.  I like for people to succeed and have food on the table.  Those in the no-mask side of the debate have their valid reasons.

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It doesn’t exactly say, “friendly”, does it?

I was slow to start wearing a mask.  I think it makes a person look paranoid.  It is uncomfortable.  Yet the mask is there keep me from spreading any disease.  Yes, I feel fine.  However if I can keep one person from getting sick?  Keep one person from catching a bug I did not know that I have?  Then I think it is worth the inconvenience.  That is my logic.

 

We all have our reasons.  When I do not understand someone; when a stranger gets on my nerves, I go to one thought.

We are all trying to do what is best for ourselves and those we love.

You steal because you want your kid to have food to eat.  You protest because you need your medications to be affordable.  You march because you want to marry who you want to marry.  It can all be traced back to taking care of those that we love.  And if your motivation is love, how can I get upset about that?

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Oh Grace Bedell; you trendsetter, you.

My concern is that we share our platforms respectfully.  That goes for global warming, faking the moon landings, religion, and one’s favorite sports team.  I saw a woman walk up to a complete stranger and declare, “You should wear a mask.”  (It came across as too bold.  Like the little girl who told Lincoln, “You should wear a beard.”)  Express yourself, yes.  Let us also use tact.

 

We are all going a little stir crazy.  I know I am watching too much television.  Depression and suicide are becoming bigger concerns.  We need to be nice to each other.  Even when we think the other is wrong.  It has been said before, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Hey, just my opinion.

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The Longest Journey

Grab your oxygen masks, buy a new pair of wool socks, make friends with a mule, and gird yourself for the mightiest journey.  Behold the walk from my couch to my bed.

Ernest Shackleton would not ask his descendants to make the same Antarctic trip that he did.  Lewis and Clark were fine leading the way for others.  The torment of that thirty-three-foot trail is a burden of my own making.

20200506_155321 (403x800)I spend my afternoons and evenings on the couch.  The cat likes it there.  I have my book reading station all set up.  Naturally, a few remote controls for the TV and DVD are right there.  With a blanket and a view of the trees outside, I see no reason to move.

Except that I do not sleep as well on the couch as I do in bed.  I have tried.  Repeatedly.

The bed is full sized.  Enough room to flop around without bonking my head on the wood frame.  The couch is not as accommodating.

For one, I have diagnosed the couch as having multiple-cushion syndrome.  For every cushion, there is a chasm to overcome.  I become vexed by each break in the flow of padding and fabric.  Right around the back and stomach area; I am sure you have faced a similar struggle.  Also, most couches confine their span to six feet in length.  I am six foot three.  You see where the suffering begins.  The couch is not wide enough to go fetal, nor is it lengthy enough to truly stretch out on.  (The last couch was a Hide-a-Bed.  Those have their own added bumps and quirks.  Oy.)

Yet the couch has one great advantage over the bed in the next room.  The bed is so far (sofa?) away.

I can travel the distance in less than fourteen steps.  How does one take less than fourteen steps?  Why not an even number?  Well, the maneuver that is rolling off the couch and onto my feet cannot properly be judged as a “step”.  Then, when I finally meet my old friend the bed, I do not walk up to it.  I let my legs buckle, I aim, and gravity takes over.  That last “step” is more of a tumble onto the mattress.

Halfway between the start and finish are a few impediments.  Number one is the bathroom.  Humanity acknowledges that the responsible thing to do before going to bed is brushing our teeth.  We all signed the pact and got on board.  (I think you might have been excused from the meeting.  You had to get your appendix out or something?  I forget, but you were missed.)

It takes an entire two minutes to brush my teeth.  Two!  Oh, agony!  Those two minutes could be spent drooling on myself.  I mull that over for a solid twenty-five minutes on the couch; dreading those two minutes.  Woe!

The second errand on this unyielding excursion is the closet right next to the bathroom.  That narrow and shallow space has many useful items harbored within.  Among the items are toilet paper, towels, and some Christmas decorations that excel at collecting dust.  And cat food.  Felines and their food; right?

20200506_155458 (667x800)Now, I could simply grab a handful of food, toss it in the bowl, brush my teeth, and go flop down on the bed.  Three minutes.  Done.  Bed, here I come.  A viable option; I am sure others embrace that lifestyle and I hope their choices suit them.  However, if I am going to feed that self-centered ball of fluff?  I want a reward.  There should be recognition of my efforts.

I sit down on the carpet, pull the cat close, and engage in scratching.  The cat.  Not me.  I demand some sort of forehead bumping.  I expect her chin to nudge up against my finger.  Purring ought to be quick to arrive and slow to leave.  I do not need their echo chamber to deafen me, yet I would like to hear that thrumming emanate from their torso.

Now, if you are on the carpet with a purring cat, why would you get up again?  Why not succumb to your lumpish ways, curl up on your side, and simply go to sleep right there?  Why travel the second half to your bed if the floor is good enough?

I can easily spend another twenty minutes with my cat.  That makes the whole trip, from couch to bed, a solid forty-two-minute endeavor.

When I finally get myself to bed, it is utterly worthwhile.  I have had the same comforter for years and it greets me like an old friend.  I look past the holes that my last cat gifted it.  The thick blanket does not complain about my feet.  We have a tacit understanding and we warm to each other quickly.

When I do nod off, it is a deep sleep.  A sleep as thick as cookie dough and just as sweet.

MDRUM_WW1_VICTORY_PARADE-2Every great adventurer must survive all their travel ordeals, the perils, and the forces of nature that threaten them.  And at the end of our trip is a grand homecoming.  We are worn out from the experience and want to be rewarded.

My version does not require parades, news coverage, or an adoring public.  I am quite fine being welcomed by a Batman and Robin pillow.

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