Thursday, August 29, 2013

Things that Shock and Horrify Me

So earlier in the week, Miley Cyrus shocked the free world with her lewd and crude performance at the VMA awards.

I don’t regularly watch awards shows, but the photo published ‘round the world of a horrified Will Smith and his children as they watched the Miley wreck made me want to satisfy my curiosity.  Once I did, I was actually more sad than horrified. 

But, believe it or not, this is not a blog about Miley. Or not entirely, anyway.  I’ve read plenty about her in the past few days and my two cents isn’t really going to change anything. 

Let’s just say that I hope Miley grows up sometime soon and learns that there are better ways to keep the fame train running than by her feeble attempt at titillation.  Like by working on her craft. I never saw Hannah Montana and don’t really know if Miley Cyrus has talent or not, but if she does, she should continually strive for improvement. And if she doesn’t, she should thank her lucky stars for the run she’s had and she should move on. 

Garnering publicity - especially if it's it's in a negative context - really shouldn’t be a goal.  Yet I'm still shocked when it is.

I don’t know why. I mean, it’s not like I’m young and naïve anymore. But I guess I’m not yet completely old and jaded either.  Because people still have the ability to shock and horrify me.

Take last week, for example. There I was, walking from the parking lot toward the entrance to Sam’s Club. I was happy that I hadn’t waited until the weekend when the wholesale club is beyond packed. And I was mentally going over the list of purchases I needed to make so I could get in and out quickly.

Sometimes Vince and I see someone who has just finished stowing their purchases in their car – and we’ll offer to take their empty cart. We figure we’re performing a minor act of kindness by saving the shopper the minute or two it would take them to wheel the cart to the designated cart return. 

Now before you think I'm trying to place shiny halos over our heads, let me also confess that it's convenient for us as well. We can unload my purse and the reusable shopping bags into the cart so we aren't trying to juggle them while digging for our membership card.     

Nevertheless, on this day I saw an older woman who had just finished putting the last of her purchases in her trunk and I was thinking I’d ask her if she’d like me to take the empty cart off her hands.  But she did something so completely repulsive, I got the shivers.  First, she hocked up a big loogie and spit it on the ground in front of her.

Yeah, I know.  Pretty disgusting, right?  I apologize for putting that mental image in your head, but no other phrase could possibly work in this instance.

I was so shocked I stopped completely in my tracks and, with my mouth hanging open, had to reboot my brain.  I went from preparing to get the words, “Would you like me to take that cart…” out of my mouth, to keeping the words, “Oh, GROSS!” from escaping my lips.

But that wasn’t all. Right in front of me, she held her finger over one nostril and blew out the other.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I could not imagine doing that in the privacy of my own home – let alone standing in a public parking lot surrounded by people.  All I could think was thank goodness I hadn’t gotten close enough to get any overspray on my shoes.

But my mouth was still hanging open and I was shaking my head back and forth in denial of what I’d just seen as I rushed past her and hurried into the store. And, of course, I immediately revised my list of purchases to include a big bottle of antibacterial hand sanitizer.

Perhaps she is an elderly “Nell”-type character who earlier in life raised herself in some remote woodland cabin and still isn’t familiar with etiquette or the rules of common courtesy. Or maybe grew up right here in Columbus, Ohio, and she simply doesn’t care.  Either way, it was just plain disgusting – and I still haven’t gotten that image out of my head.

Yeah, I’m probably scarred for life.

I was going to come up with a third example of something that shocked and horrified me, but, frankly, after describing that last thing, I lost my appetite and don’t think I can come up with anything else today. But, never fear, I’m sure my arsenal of things that shock and horrify me will be replenished soon enough. 

I’ll bet you can’t wait ‘til I share, eh?!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I’ve Seen the Future and It Ain’t Pretty

Pardon me for taking such a long break between blogs. I’ve been busy aging. 

And let me tell you, it hasn’t been much fun.  My hand has started to permanently attach itself to my lower back whenever I get up from sitting too long.  And by “too long” I mean ten minutes, tops.  And that loud cracking sound? Yeah, that was my neck.  It does that sometimes.  Don’t let it scare you.

Worse yet, I think my internal thermostat is permanently broken.  Air conditioners, cold packs and ceiling fans have become my new best friends.  In our home, running out of ice is about as big a sin as it used to be to run out of chocolate.  Well, about once every 28 days or so, anyway.

To all my older friends: NOW I understand.  It’s your turn to snicker.  Go ahead, I deserve it.

The worst part of all of this is my vision.  I’m seein’ the future, and it ain’t pretty. 

Ha ha ha.  No, really, when I started that line, I was literally talking about my vision, but then I segued.  Probably I should’ve stuck with my actual vision as the other part is just plain depressing.

But back to my vision.  I’ve long since moved to bifocals – so that’s not the issue.  Lately I’ve been dealing with dry eyes and blurry vision by the end of the day.  Talk about a buzzkill.  I go home wanting to take a nap just to give my peepers a rest instead of going out and socializing and having fun.

Part of the problem, I’m convinced, is the ever-increasing demands we make on our eyes.  I’m completely guilty.  I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is check my smart phone to see if it has gotten any smarter overnight.  And, okay, so I’m really just checking Facebook to see who was dealing with insomnia at 3 a.m. 

Besides me, of course.

And the rest of the day is no different. I stare at a computer all day long.  At lunchtime, instead of giving my eyes a break, I spend the time reading a book.  I’ve loved reading books ever since I sounded out the rhymes in Green Eggs and Ham all by myself.  Since it’s my story, let’s say I was reading Green Eggs and Ham as a 2-year-old.  (I want to pretend like I was a prodigy.)

But, anyway.  (See? Another problem. Lack of focus…)

For a while, I was reading books on my iPad, but that exacerbated the blurry vision problem so I went back to the old-fashioned kind I check out of the library.  And most of those books are in Large Print so I don’t have to squint too much. 

Plus, I’ve permanently changed the font size on my iPhone to 24 point.  Could I feel any older or more pathetic?  Well, yeah.  After all, there are several larger font sizes to go – all the way up to 56 point type. I should just turn in my iPhone when that day comes. I mean, do you know how big 56 point type is? That’s like one word per line. 

We might as well tattoo “Fossil” on my forehead and be done with it.

But, seriously.  Things like basic grooming are becoming more of a challenge.  Like, for example, I try to flat iron my hair – and my hand develops a cramp before I’ve even finished one side.  I try to tweeze those weird hairs that have begun sprouting on my chinny-chin-chin – but I can’t see them. I have to go by feel, which is sometimes a lesson in futility. And I have even once or twice left the house without applying makeup – gasp!  I know. Shocking, right? But I figure no one is looking at me anyway, so why bother?

Admittedly, these are not good signs. At this rate, I’ll soon be sporting a short, white poodle perm, wearing big tennis shoes with Velcro tabs, and younger folk are going to be tempted to braid the facial hair I’ll have given up trying to remove.

A few weeks ago I was visiting with a friend and during the course of the conversation I brought up my age. However, I inadvertently subtracted ten years. Temporary insanity?  Perhaps.  But I never realized anything was amiss until she shot me a look of utter disbelief.  When she called me on it, I said, “What age did I say I was?” I seriously had no clue.  It’s not like I was trying to lie to her. After all, she’s three months younger than I am, and I have a rule against lying to anyone who was born in the same year I was. I figure they are pretty much able to do the math. 

So it appears I’m now at the age where I really can’t remember how old I am.  That may be cute when you’re 3. Not so much when you’re getting solicitations in the mail from the AARP.

While I sometimes miss the vigor of youth, I am not planning to give in to old age either.  I mean, I’ve seen some seniors give up – they sit in their rockers and wait for people to visit and make their meals and take care of them.  Their lives can get very small.  But I’ve also known people who have traveled and socialized and enjoyed life well into their 80s and beyond. 

The latter scenario sounds way more fun.

Now I’m not discounting real physical illnesses can preclude traveling and socializing and, frankly, enjoying life.  So it’s not like I’m disparaging anyone here. “There but for the grace of God…” and all that.

But even though I know that age is catching up with me, I feel like I have a way to go before I’m ready for Assisted Living.  And I’m still young enough to want to know what the next chapter in this life brings. After all, you know what “they” say: getting older is better than the alternative. 

So to celebrate life, I may re-read some of those books that Jane, the child prodigy, read at age 2. (Yep, still my story…) 

Hey, I wonder if Green Eggs and Ham comes in Large Print?