Thursday, September 04, 2014
I remember years and years ago, my husband and I were going somewhere in the city (Philadelphia), I was driving, and someone cut me off on the Schuylkill Expressway. The fact that the Schuylkill (known locally as the "sure kill") Expressway was moving at all was a miracle. Anyway, he turned to me and said, "Are you going to let him get away with that?" I think I muttered something about, "No, dear, please reach into the back seat and hand me the grenade launcher, will you?" and then he was mad at me for the rest of the afternoon. The point was that a minor traffic discourtesy seemed to escalate to murderous proportions pretty rapidly.
This morning, being up at 5:30 and having nothing better to do for several hours, I decided to go to the grocery. I pulled out onto a main route, seeing that the next car was a good 1/4 mile away, and began going through the gears to get my fifteen year old Betsy (all cars are named Betsy) up to speed. The far-away car immediately appeared in my rear view mirror - meaning he had to be going at least 75 in a 55, because I go this way all the time and know relative speeds and distances - and the driver made a big show of swerving around to pass me, making very rude hand gestures all the while.
I'm usually a pretty easy going person (ignore reports to the contrary) but this time the devil that sits on my left shoulder said, "This clown wants to play? Let's play!" so I came up behind him, only slightly closer than one would normally (and nowhere near as close as he was to the driver ahead of him.) He started frantically making rude gestures and - this is the interesting part, to me - raised a half-filled water bottle out of his sun roof. I didn't even understand the threat - you're heading to the OK Corral armed with...half a water bottle? "I'll get you wet!!!" Oooookay. It made me laugh, and unfortunately he saw that, which made him all the madder. He gestured rudely with *both hands* - leaving him steering with....his knees? He took the top off his weapon on choice... and poured water all over his own car and probably his passenger and himself. I guess that showed me!
When we arrived at the grocery, I put on my turn signal in plenty of time for him to see that I was turning off and going about my business. He briefly turned on his signal as well, but then I suppose decided not to get into it with this obvious lunatic and went on to work, or wherever else one goes at 7:00 a.m.
Sure, I guess he could have thrown his water bottle at me and maybe, *maybe* broken my windshield, but I had his car description and his license number, so that wouldn't have ended well for him.
The part that bothered me was the idea that so many people have so much fury built up inside them that having an innocent middle-aged woman pull out in front of them, forcing them to slow from 75 to 55 mph, is sufficient cause for over-the-top anger and aggression. Really? Was it my impudence, his inchoate rage, his passenger saying, "Are you going to let her get away with that?"
I guess I think that life, no matter how long it may last, is too short to get so wound up about nothing. I did the man no damage, didn't even slow his progress to wherever his destination may have been. All I did was inadvertently raise his blood pressure to the exploding point. I honestly feel a little sorry for anyone who is so miserable, that such a teensy, unintentional gaffe instantly escalates to a potentially life-threatening incident.
What's wrong with us, as a society, that this is considered normal and acceptable behavior? No one holds doors anymore (not just for women, but for a man with arms full as well), no one happily waits in a line. Everyone seems to be so all-encompassingly self-oriented that when others fail to notice around whom the Universe obviously revolves, they are immediately ready to throw down the gauntlet.
I'm not longing for days gone by. Just read my summer's worth of Jane Austen, and people were forever throwing down gauntlets, real and imagined. I just wish we'd all simmer down little and be more willing to overlook things. We're not exactly perfect ourselves, you know? (And for the one person who might respond "Speak for yourself, missy!", I sincerely salute you.)
(NB: if someone ever does follow you in a threatening manner, do not go home or anywhere else. Drive directly to the nearest police station, laying on the horn. I guarantee your pursuer will get a well-deserved welcome there.)
Monday, September 01, 2014
I ran away from SP in the spring when I inexplicably gained weight. I've since learned that that's a silly thing. The next week I'd lost it again, whether by whim of weight or scale. We weigh what we weigh - it has as much to do with our overall happiness as our specific gravity.
So...lessons learned...friends aren't necessarily those that you've had the longest. I "broke up" with a friend of nearly 40 years because when I asked something of her, for another person in serious peril, she refused, and I realized that if we met today, we'd be acquaintances at best. I miss her daily, but I don't see the point going back.
After a five - maybe six - year break from landscaping, I discovered that I can still do the work. Not as fast as I could ten years ago, but every bit as well. And when some 30 year old boy said that I didn't do as much of the "heavy work" as others, I had the sense to call him on it - what kind of 30 year old man says a woman old enough to be his mother, maybe his grandmother, doesn't do the heavy lifting as well as he? I can still do it, just not as fast, and the only reason that lad has a job is because I know this.
I've also realized that I am...humbled to admit it...I am turning 60 this year (2015). None of the other "milestone" birthdays hit me this hard. I want to book a trip to Mexico or the Bahamas or someplace where my daughters and I can celebrate my croning, rather than being alone in my snow-belt home. At first I thought this was frivolous, but the more I think about it,the more appealing it becomes.
Ive considered remarrying, but realize that, for me, marriage, like childbearing and rearing, is a part of my life that I loved wholeheartedly, but that is over. If I remarry, it'll be for money, and that'll be upfront.
I've decided that rather than take some stupid minimum wage job, I'm going to spend the winter writing my book - or finishing one of the half-dozen I've started - and give it a decent chance to succeed. APPLEPIEAPPLE, I can't tell you how much joy your comment brought to me.
I've sold off a hunk of my farm in order to pay for insulating my house. Last winter I literally cried - and if you know me, you know that I'm not a weepy sort - when I was cold to the bone day after day after day. The dog's water bowl froze over in the dining room. I swore I wouldn't do it again, and I won't. If I decide to move in the spring, so be it, but I won't be chased away.
I guess the most important thing that I've finally learned is that *everyone's* life is full of trials - that's the point, or the commonality, of being human.
I've tried to reach out to family that was estranged when i didn't hold a "proper" funeral for my husband. I've also realized that if they don't accept the olive branch, it's not my story, but theirs.
Other than learning the difference between a cistern well and a "dug"well, I guess that's my summer.
I hope yours was lovely.
Please, bring me up to speed on my cherished (truly) friends here on SP.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
This is just stupid and inexplicable, but after ten days of landscaping six hours a day, drinking tons of water, eating salads and very little else, Ive gained seven pounds. I don't understand how this is possible, but it's same scale, same place, same everything except amount of fat I'm lugging around. It's not muscle and it's not water retention - I've played those mind games before.
So I'm bagging the whole SP thing for a little while. I'm extremely busy anyway, what with spring clean-ups during the week and elder care on weekends, but it's mostly that I don't see how I can support other people when I'm such an apparently dismal failure myself.
I'm not quitting entirely, but I've got to take stock of what's going on here.
Not feeling very competent at writing at the moment either, so you may choose the closing line:
1) Gen. Douglas MacArthur: "I shall return"
2) Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Terminator: "I'll be back"
Monday, April 21, 2014
My daughter, who is 23 years old, informed me this morning that she is building something called a cafe racer -apparently some sort of small, fast motorcycle. I was horrified, but that's beside the point. When I asked her (repeatedly) why she'd do something like that when surely there were other things yadayadayada, her reply was that it was on her Bucket List.
Ever since that annoyingly depressing movie came out, everyone I know has constructed a bucket list. So I thought I'd come up with my own.
The only thing I can think of is "get all the laundry washed, folded and put away." Maybe "organize the holiday decorations." Not thinking big enough? All right, how about "get all four sides of the house painted at the same time"?
I've had accomplishments in mind over the years. Once I decided to read the Bible from cover to cover, but bogged down somewhere in Leviticus. I did better with the dictionary, but kept getting off track by their, "See thus and so" instructions, so I never finished that either. There's no point in reading the encyclopedia (yes, children, I still have a set) because most of the information in it is no longer relevant and all the countries in Africa keep changing.
People have "Travel!" on their bucket lists. I've been from Newfoundland to Key West, although for some reason I've never been west of Cleveland. I've thought about wanting to drive across the country, but so much of it is flatness and corn and dirt and rocks...I mean, why would anyone want to drive across Iowa or Texas? So you can get to the other side of the country and meet people who are just like the ones you know at home, only tanner?
I used to want to take a cruise somewhere, but I developed an ear thing and now get seasick really easily (I used to be virtually immune to motion sickness) so now a cruise sounds like spending three days feeling dreadful so I can get to a place where rum is $50 a bottle.
I've done lots of outdoorsy stuff, driven a ton of miles, met plenty of semi- and for real famous people, eaten exotic food, learned a foreign language, written books, driven cars really fast, painted (very mediocre) paintings, completed 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles. Am I really that boring that I can't come up with any Must See or Must Do things? Heck, they don't even have to be legal - I'm flexible.
Sure, I suppose Nepal would be interesting, but the chances of successfully arranging (and paying for) a trip there are pretty far-fetched, and composing a Bucket List of things I'll likely never be able to do sounds pretty depressing and self-defeating.
How do you feel about Bucket Lists? Do you have one? And if you have any suggestions for me by all means, let's hear them (and remember, SP won't let you post naughty words.)
Monday, April 14, 2014
Apparently some folks are concerned that seeing a "blood moon"means the earth is going to end or something like that.While I have complete respect to anyone and everyone's religious beliefs, this time science can come to the rescue.
There is a full lunar eclipse tonight. This means that the moon, the Earth and the Sun are all lined up with the Earth in the middle - the moon is in the Earth's umbra, or shadow. The moon isn't completely invisible though - because of the angle at which the light from the sun passes through the Earth's atmosphere, the moon appears reddish. This is where the name "blood moon"comes from. There will be another total lunar eclipse sometime this autumn - I forget exactly when. There are between two and five lunar eclipses each year, although not all of them are full eclipses.
Sometimes the full moon in October is called the Blood Moon. This, like another traditional name, the Hunters Moon, is referring to the fact that October is when animals were slain to prepare for the long winter ahead.
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