Tag: Humor

From the Age of Innocence to the Age of Invisibility

Once upon a time, very long ago, there was a girl with moonlight in her eyes. The little child lived with her mother, father, sister and fairy grandmother in a suburban Cape Cod-style castle in a land called Long Island. The people of the village thought the girl was bright and pretty and thought of her as their little princess.

Princess-Piano

She sang in a beautiful voice and the children of the hamlet would gather round and listen to her sing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” while they pretended to be in The Wizard of Oz. As she grew older, she learned to play the piano and her musical performances were applauded and complimented.

When she became a young woman, the beautiful princess turned heads with her long blond hair and slim figure. Handsome princes would gaze from afar and confident ones would approach her with offers of affection. Doors were easily opened and each day brought new opportunities and adventures. Her world was very sweet indeed.

Okay, so this is my exaggerated fairytale, but the point is that I didn’t appreciate the power of my youth until it was gone. Youth doesn’t disappear overnight, but in increments so small that you don’t even notice it’s leaving until someone else points it out. I’m carded at bars into my late twenties until one night, ID in hand, the bouncer looks at me and says he doesn’t need to see it, I can go right in. In my thirties, waiting at the cashier with my beer in hand, the clerk calls down the line to have my ID ready. When I get close enough for the young guy to get a good look at me, he says, “Oh, never mind.”

The age reminder incident in my forties was probably the most insulting. While driving to work one day, two dudes in a truck slow down, beep the horn, and wave, trying to get my attention. My first thought is that they’re signaling that something is wrong with my car. But the way they are ogling me, tells me they’ve noticed the long blond hair and the fact that I’m female. Now our vehicles are side by side as they come in for a closer look and I glance left in their direction. Their big dopey grins vanish as they realize I’m old enough to be their mother. Then, the one in the passenger seat motions a dismissive wave and mouths the word, “Sorry.” Yes, I’m officially over the hill and thank you very much for reminding me.

In my fifties, I’m travelling along the road to invisibility. But don’t feel sorry for me; I regard my invisibility as my superpower. I’m the cocktail ninja who can infiltrate a crowd of people in a bar with the stealth of a jaguar. What seems to be a casual night out is my covert mission is to gather intel for my next blog post. At this age, our hidden agendas are so different from the attempted guerilla pickups that assaulted my youth.

Ninja Old lady

At the bar, we meet our nonagenarian friend, Buddy, and wish him a belated happy birthday. He leans in and speaks quietly, letting us in on one of the pearls of wisdom only known by living to age 90. “You know, when you get to be my age, people give you things.” Buddy proceeds to tell us about his free helicopter excursion over the city and upcoming parasailing adventure, adding, “I asked them not to dip me, I would prefer to stay dry.”

buddy

A perfectly-timed free drink is handed to Buddy, a gift from other bar patrons validating his claim that people give him things. He nods to them in thanks. The Age of Innocence may be lost, but there is still much to be gained in the Age of Invisibility.

Ponder aging and pair your cocktail with Angel From Montgomery by Susan Tedeschi (written by John Prine, first well-known version by Bonnie Raitt):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JrJ1MjPYBo

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Evacuation

Jeff Parker / Florida Today

From this post’s title and the fact that I’ve already written about my colonoscopy you may be thinking I’m going there again. But this time I’m referring to the evacuation of Floridians due to Hurricane Irma. Having been victimized by New York area traffic jams since I first took the wheel in high school, the media coverage showing miles of traffic trying to move north, while the southbound lanes remain completely empty makes me wince.

My concern over Irma making landfall in Florida is more than simply as a compassionate observer. As sure as migrating birds flee from gray, snowy winters, my sister and her husband retired to the warm and sunny Gulf Coast a couple of years ago. Long before there was any specific weather-related threat, they fortified their new ‘nest’ with hurricane shutters and removed any tall trees that were within striking distance of the roof. As news of Irma in the Caribbean began to disseminate, they planned to “hunker down” (in quotes due to its nauseating overuse in storm coverage.)

Making plans during a hurricane is like trying hit a moving target. Plan A included ordering a camp stove from Amazon (with overnight delivery) and stocking up on Dinty Moore Hearty Meals. My sister and I both tend to be rule-followers, so when the recommendation to evacuate was given, the idea of riding it out was changed to Plan B, an impromptu trip to Atlanta. As my sister went online to book accommodations, options for hotel rooms were disappearing by the minute. But, being the resourceful one, she reserved a room for a somewhat reasonable rate.

weatherman

While all-day news coverage of Irma is creating panic over the intensity of the storm and destruction in the Caribbean, the station’s weather reporter stands in a street in Puerto Rico with torrents of rain soaking his waterproof suit and bracing against the wind to keep from being blown away. Scenes like this instill enough fear to develop Plan C: LEAVE NOW! A hotel room at a halfway point is hastily booked and car packed. It’s time to batten down the hatches (AKA hurricane shutters) and go.

What should have been an eight-hour trip, becomes a fifteen-hour ordeal. They arrive safely in Atlanta only to learn that Irma will be following them there in a few days’ time. Having never been to Atlanta, my optimistic sister considered taking in the sights, but worrying about the storm, stoked by media attention, put a damper on having fun. After several days, Irma, now a tropical storm, has passed and they are eager to return home. Wait, not so fast! You must endure the same torturous fifteen-hour traffic-congested road trip because the same million people that evacuated are now trying to get home too!

Tiny yet insidious germs lurk among the hundreds of hotel guests, trying to make you “it” in their game of tag. They sneak up on you, starting with an occasional cough and soreness in the throat. Before you know it, the nose faucet is running full blast accompanied by sneezing, aching, and general malaise. My poor sis brings home colds and infections the way some folks bring home souvenirs. In the throes of head cold misery, she swears that next time, if there is one, they will stay put. In her words, “I’d rather risk death than go through another evacuation.”

Our House Has Abandonment Issues

Moving

At about the turn of the millennium, we had job opportunities in a different state and began talking about the possibility of moving. In making our house a home, we put a lot of love and care into it and it made me sad to think about leaving it. But the more we talked about a new house and looked at real estate listings, or property for new construction, the more my sadness about the idea of moving turned to excitement.

We weighed the pros and cons of various communities such as property taxes, traffic and commute time. Where is the nearest supermarket? Does the area have good doctors and hospitals? What style house we want? How many bedrooms do we need? Do we want a pool? We aren’t the quick and easy decision-making types. I’ll admit that sometimes we even have trouble deciding what to drink for cocktail hour. So choosing a new house required long hours of research and deliberation.

Through the months of conversations about moving, we are unaware that our plans are being overheard. In the kitchen, and laundry room, and basement, they’ve been listening. They become angry that they will be left behind, abandoned after years of faithful service. They concoct a scheme to retaliate. One by one they will refuse to work and punish us for leaving them. Major household appliances unite and plan to strike!

Appliances1 Illustration by Bob RichCredit: Bob Rich

My first encounter with the major household appliance strike begins one morning in the laundry room as I drop a load of wash on top of the dryer. Did I just hear a ghostly snicker with sinister intent? Cue the cartoon animated angry machines accompanied by spooky music.

As the washing machine begins the wash cycle, I notice something doesn’t seem right. The agitator is clunking, followed by the spin cycle throwing everything to one side. Inside the machine are chunks of gray debris that look like the accumulation of 10 years of liquid detergent and lint. Maybe all that’s needed is to give the washer a good cleaning with hot water and white vinegar. Unfortunately, the cleaning cycle only leads to more wreckage.

It’s time to call in the big guns for his expert opinion. After a couple of hours of trouble-shooting, the laundry room floor is littered with machine parts and tools. My husband seldom admits defeat, but in this case, the better option is to replace the washer rather than repair it. We’ll have to buy a new one to use for six months until we sell the house. Revenge of the major appliances has begun.

Angered by the abandonment of our eventual move, one-by-one they quit on us. In the months after replacing the washer, the refrigerator and the hot water heater follow suit. All we can hope for is that we sell the house before summer so we won’t need to buy an air conditioner, too.

More than 15 years have passed and we’ve started to talk about moving again. We had forgotten about the appliance rebellion so many years ago and so we haven’t been cautious about discussing the move in front of “them”. Ironically, the washing machine is the first to revolt. A few months later the side-by-side, water and ice-dispensing refrigerator/freezer quits in protest. I wonder which one of them will be next?