I live in the Midwest. It gets cold and snowy here. And apparently this winter, it’s getting cold and snowy in lots of unexpected places too. We call it winter. Others call it the end of the world.
I’m so tired of people talking, hearing, singing, texting, posting and praying about the weather. The way I see it, those that I see posting from their fancy iPhones or calling from their Bluetooth really don’t have much to complain about. I mean, not compared to people struggling to pay their heating bills or get food when pantries are closed. But that’s for another day; The day I talk about how people are so myopic they need to be reminded to be compassionate and grateful.
No, this missive today is about weather taunters. First, If I hear one more person at the grocery store smugly say “so much for global warming,” I’m going to personally ram Al Gore’s arm up their bung hole to remove their larynx. And THEN there are people that moved away from the Midwest to warmer climates. Why is there a need in social media or even via a birthday card through the good ole USPS, that people are compelled to gloat about their sunny weather– snapping pictures of their drinks on the pier, commenting on their sweaty hike at the park? Beach dwellers cannot fathom why someone would not want to live in an area with big spiders, waves or collapsing earth that swallows up houses, parades of silicon implants, fake spikey grass and fugitives hiding out in dirty motels or seaside trailer parks. But we exist. And many of us choose to stay in four seasons.
There is this classism element in their comments reminiscent of an aristocrat on the Titanic offering commentary on the elements of their steamer trunks to those of us staying below the deck, clothes packed in a potato sack.
“Natalie, while you’re shoveling snow, I’m doing this,” says a Facebook post with a photo of her sandy feet with the glistening ocean in the background. My response in my head: Sand spiders & melanoma, cool.
“Why I moved to L.A. #noblizzards #iamtoasty #chicksinbikinis365”. Attached is the temperature gauge in their cool car. Response in my head: Even if you were trapped in a lambo in 150-degree heat, chicks in bikinis wouldn’t save you, you douche.
I don’t say these things, aloud. Not yet. But now, the past week or so with the frigid temps sweeping the country, the taunters have become whiners. Now they have to find socks to wear because It’s 50 degrees. Cabin fever starts in on day 2. The liquor displays at all stores have been decimated. Gone are the stylized photos with filters. I hope they will survive.
On the other hand, we Midwesterners have hunkered down, amped up the fireplace, dug into our always ready supply of booze and have shipped the kids to the neighbors for a play date.
I gotta go, I need to instagram a pic of my fuzzy slippers in front of the fireplace, with my dog Sam sleeping peacefully nearby. Taunt this, whiners.
When you’re unemployed, scanning through hundreds of job postings can be humbling. But it can also be entertaining. Just think that a campus locksmith can earn more annually than the amusement ride and game inspector. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I know that having an expertly installed & functioning lock is critical, but I suspect that having a Scrambler ride that doesn’t malfunction is, in the least, equally important.
Some listings essentially ask candidates to be upright and capable of consuming air. This would be like my friend Jeanette’s requirements for dating. Except Jeanette does go a step beyond having a valid driver’s license; there must be something to drive as well. Then there is the other end of the spectrum – my friend Sheila. The list of requirements is long and somewhat whimsical, but dare not leave a question unanswered. Here is the job posting equivalent of Sheila. I did not make this up. And I’ll only post a portion of the very detailed listing.
The Door Attendant is responsible for providing exceptional hospitality services to guests in an attentive, friendly and efficient manner. The Door Attendant is responsible for opening doors for all guests entering and exiting the facility and assisting guests with transportation to off-site locations.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- Maintains pleasant, friendly and professional demeanor with all guests, co-workers, and clients
- Acknowledges and greets guests within five feet with a professional and friendly demeanor
- Uses guest last names during interactions
- Uses salutation of the day and welcomes guests to the location
- Opens all vehicle and hotel doors for guests
- Assists guests with directions, taxis, reservations and other inquiries
- Continually monitors and maintains cleanliness and order of guest services area
- Delivers messages, items and/or guest amenities as requested
OK, so this seems to be straight forward. I get the idea and basic sense of the job. But then it continues…
- Must be able to run at top speed, occasionally sit, climb or balance, stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl
- Must be able to stand during entire shift
- Must be able to regularly stand, walk, run, use hands to finger, handle, feel; reach with hands and arms and talk or hear
- Must be able to regularly lift up to 50 pounds frequently and up to 75 pounds occasionally
- Must be able to push and pull (on bell cart) 75 pounds frequently and 100 pounds occasionally
- Must be able to push and pull (on wheelchair) 100 to 350 pounds frequently over considerable distances
- Must have close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perceptions, and ability to adjust focus
And there you have it. Just like Sheila, this employer is looking for James Bond.
My wheel-chair bound mom & I had to venture out in the Northeast Ohio blizzard to get her to the doctor. Fun adventures involving a folding transport wheelchair, an 85-yr-old sight impaired stroke victim wearing a surgical mask to keep her coughing cooties from others & cold air out, tennis shoes and 2 feet of snow. Suffice it to say, it was Keystone Cops trying to get her in and out of the car mid thundering snow – much of which blew into the car. And the drive back home was slow, treacherous and involved a few whispered cuss words and quiet hyperventilating by me.
“Honey, I need to change my pants,” Mom said when we arrived home safe and sound. “Don’t get me wrong. It’s not because of your driving,” she assured me then with a dramatic pause, “I think I sat on a snow mound.”
Saturday I was helping my mom get gussied up for a family celebration: I poofed out her beauty parlor ‘do, added some rouge on her cheeks, and applied some pink lipstick. “Geez, Mom,” I joked. “I thought I had thin lips. You have NO lips. I don’t have anywhere to put the lipstick.”
She smacked her lipsticked lips together, reached for my arm and proclaimed, “Listen honey, 54 years and your father never had one complaint about kissing these thin lips!”
My dream last night: I was staying at Oprah’s guest house. I got in big trouble because I let her niece run around in Oprah’s wedding gown (I thought she had permission). In my come-to-Jesus with Oprah (a redundant phrase in the mind of some folks), I apologized and said “I didn’t even know you had a niece.” “That’s alright,” said Oprah. “I didn’t know I had a wedding dress.”
Helping my 85-year-old mom with a shower today, I was using one of those spa sponges, the kind on a stick, to scrub her back.
“I feel like I’m washing my car,” I joke.
Mom looks up at me and deadpans: “same size?”
Last night I was on my way into a dinner party held in the downtown farmer’s market building. I was meeting a small group of serious foodie friends to enjoy a private chef experience purchased at a silent auction fundraiser.
The building, at this time in the evening, is closed to the public, so we were to be met at the entrance by the chef’s husband. I’m running a tad late and making my way toward the building. Oh, I should note that it happens to be Groundhog’s Day. All day, there was news and posts about the Groundhog NOT seeing its shadow so we’d see an early Spring. Hooray! So, in celebration of the holiday, and in response to a cold snap & heavy snow, I wore my favorite Groundhog hat. What? You don’t have ANY Groundhog hats, let alone a favorite? Shame on you.
My hat, warm and full of charisma, has furry ear flaps and a mid-sized stuffed Groundhog perched right on top. Festive and practical, I say.
So, I’m rushing into the market. From a distance, I can see some people gathered not far from the entrance. But there was a hockey game too, so I just figured hockey fans parked in the lot and were gathering to make the walk to the arena. But as I got closer, I saw something so much more/different.
Facing the door, trying to gain access was, well what I can only describe as a cast member from Cats. An adult dressed as a cat. Full on get-up. I looked to the group nearby and realized that they too were in various states of fuzzy dress. One had on fuzzy blue pants – maybe the legs of Thundercat? Another held the costume head of some animal. Another was adjusting his tail.
Oh God, these are not hockey fans (well, I guess they could be hockey fans) – these were FURRIES! I felt pretty certain this was not a troupe of hockey mascots having a pre-game huddle. No, folks, these were Furries.
Now, I know that the Furry culture is multi-faceted. In basic terms, furries are people who either are fans of anthropomorphic characters – animals with human like features or tendencies (Fox McCloud, Sonic the Hedgehog, etc.). But my exposure & understanding of the culture has been mostly around the Furry obsession as a fetish. Yes, grown men and women, dressed like teddy bears and such, hooking up mission position and doggie style.
And here I am about to walk through a group of bears, cats and unknown plush characters, while wearing a plump rodent on my head.
I can only think they looked at me with either disdain at my novice approach or with a big-sister-kitten desire to mentor the silly newbie. Either way, I gave a smile & a nod (in essence the groundhog gave them a “hey” nod too) to the group and picked up my pace toward the door. I wasn’t judging them or afraid of them, but this rodent-clad sidekick didn’t have time to hang out with this fluffy gang. And honestly there was no way in hell I was going to be mocked…or hit on…by Peter Rabbit.
I hate that Charlie Daniels song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”. Not because I dislike Georgia, the fiddle or spurn the Devil (OK, if my pastor is reading, I do spurn the Devil). It’s more because it reminds me of a humilating time in Junior High.
The story: I used to go on vacation with my friend Shelly’s family – her Mom, her little brother, Shelly and me. We did several beach vacations and traveled well together. Once, in Myrtle Beach, Shelly and I, all of 12 or 13 years old, met two similarly-aged boys on the beach. This, mind you, was after Shelly and I picked some lovely sea oats as souveniers and packed them in our suitcase – only to learn that there were signs EVERYWHERE indicating that this was, indeed, a crime. In my mind, we wore Bogie hats and trench coats for a day as a disguise. Not true, but really amps up the memories.
These two boys, whose names have disappeared in the fog of years, approached us (read: Shelly) on the beach. There was a taller, thinner dark-haired boy, we will call Jake and another, rounder, red-headed boy, we will call Roy. I called him Mike, not his name, whatever it was, because he reminded me of this kid, Mike, from Zoom. Remember on Zoon, they’d play an intro video where they would say “I’m so-and-so” and do something clever? Mike played the picture, catcher and batter in his intro. Clever. Oh, and he was short, round and freckled. I digress.
We came up with some non-plan Plan to meet up later.
Here’s where things went wrong. Turns out both boys liked Shelly. I’m not sure they’d worked out their alpha male status before we met, so we had to witness some embarrassing, stunted jockeying when they arrived on the beach. Though not true, how I envision it is the two boys at Shelly’s feet and me lounging sullenly on a chair close by with Shelly shouting over to me to keep me engaged in the conversation. Yes, folks, I was the chubbyfunnysidekick here.
Jake eventually won alpha status and at some point he and Shelly decided to take a walk. Remember, this was before crazy people, so there were no red flags. “Sure, go ahead,” I said through my teeth. “Leave me with this freckled, rotund guy,” I said through my head. Guess what? She did leave me.
It all went further downhill after that. Roy was ticked. I was horribly shy and awkward. In a moment, I too was ticked. Roy talked incessantly about Shelly. Asking questions about Shelly. Making observations about Shelly. And then he just flat out said it. He went there “I wish I was with Shelly, right now. She’s so much prettier”.
I was dumbfounded. Then I was steaming mad. Suddenly, someone’s nearby radio starts playing The Devil Went Down To Georgia. Roy suddenly got animated and seemed to forget his rude comments. “I love this song. Don’t you?” He literally jumped up and started clogging in the sand. Really? And *I* am not worthy. Frickin’ Beach-Hill-Jack. He was singing at the top of his lungs. I was cringing. During the heavy fast instrumental portion, when he was air-fiddling with eyes closed, I sulked away quietly, punching the air, spitting and so sad. I ended up riding up and down in the elevator for an hour since I couldn’t go back to the room and Shelly’s mom without Shelly. Remember, this was pre-cellphone, so I just had to wait. This was also clearly an age when riding an elevator was entertainment.
Shelly returned with a smile and freshly kissed lips. “Soooo, how did it go for you,” she asked expectantly. “Oh me? Well, me and the Devil, well we apparently took our fiddles and went to Georgia.”