Category Archives: Observations

Small Town, Big Drama

bubble-2022390_640What is it with people who continually need to stir the pot? As one friend says about our coastal location with its dramatic cliffs and sweeping ocean views: “We live in paradise … what do we have to complain about?”

And yet.

I get it. We’re all stressed, stir crazy, and a little crazy-crazy. But oh, am I tired of people lashing out. We have a worldwide health crisis, rising unemployment, an unpredictable economy, and a significant lack of leadership. Do we really need to make things unpleasant in our own communities?

Let’s see.  We have one neighbor threatening to sue another because they had the audacity to build a home on the empty lot RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM. She couldn’t have predicted that this might happen eventually? Or that no design in the world would make her happy?

Meanwhile, “Joan” — who is in charge of a lot of things although not actually everything — has been lobbying to get “Margaret” on a committee that already has enough members, claiming that she’s wanted to join for months. Mind you, Margaret has never directly asked anyone ON the committee about participating. But Joan decides to tell her she’s “not welcome.” What could possibly have been accomplished by hurting her feelings?!

Last week, we had a neighborhood brouhaha about a request from one neighbor to have some branches trimmed from a tree that blocks their TV satellite reception. From one guy’s reaction (“I’m shocked, appalled, aghast!”), you’d have thought someone was suggesting butchering his firstborn child.

I like trees too. But I’d likely run screaming into the abyss if I didn’t have the distraction of a few good TV shows.  I wouldn’t wish “no TV” on my worst enemy.

The latest is “PooGate”. “Tim” complained to the president of our board of directors that there’s a pile of dog poop where “Phil’s” lot borders theirs — the implication being that it’s Phil’s dog’s fault. Sure, that’s unpleasant. But couldn’t Tim simply point it out privately to Phil? And maybe it’s not even dog poop, since who’s knowingly going to leave it sitting ON THEIR OWN PROPERTY?!?! After the entire neighborhood has been alerted to Phil’s “transgression”, it turns out that they were merely dirt clods from construction across the street, and the totally unrelated odor was wafting over from a nearby sewer plant.

Can’t anyone just calm down?

Sigh.

 

The Idiot and the Odyssey

People have long speculated that there might be intelligent life on other planets. The implication being there is intelligent life on THIS planet, something that is becoming increasingly difficult to demonstrate, especially in these so-called United States, which a moment ago I typed as the Untied States, which is a far more apt description.

Exhibit A:

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (hah) refused to regulate a chemical found in rocket fuel that can contaminate water and contribute to fetal damage. The policy acknowledges that exposure to high levels of perchlorate can cause I.Q. damage despite deciding not to regulate it.

Sounds as though these clowns have already been drinking gallons of the stuff.

Exhibit B:

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee (oxymoron alert) stepped down a day after F.B.I. agents seized his cellphone as part of an investigation into whether he sold hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of stocks using nonpublic information about the coronavirus.

Wait: He thought it was safe to discuss his stock buys on his cell phone??

Exhibit C:

I have to thank the brilliant Ellen Hawley (Notes from the U.K.) for calling this to my attention: London’s Transport Secretary is urging people to use public transport while admitting he wouldn’t use it himself. (Actually, that may be a sign of intelligence these days.) Moreover, maintaining the recommended social distancing on a bus would result in approximately enough room for six passengers plus the driver.

Which would require 10 times as many buses to service a normal rush hour.

Going out on a limb here, I’m guessing New York would face a similar dilemma. And exactly how is anyone planning to fund 10x as many buses?

Oh, they aren’t.  They’re going to let the folks who need to use public transportation rather than chauffeurs crowd on in and take their chances.  Heck, it’s the price you pay if you’re older/poorer/etc., isn’t it?

Back to the intelligent life part, which started me down this rabbit hole.  I was reading this morning — an important element of my daily procrastination schedule — that there might be life on one of Jupiter’s moons.

If they don’t have politicians, I’d say they’re ahead of the game.

photo of parking for aliens only signage

Photo by James Lee on Pexels.com

 

 

 

Time Keeps On Slipping

You’d think that with all this sheltering in place, time would be crawling by and every day would seem longer than the one before due to their rather dreary lack of variety.  And yet, each day finds its own rhythm.

Time is a shape shifter. It expands to fill a vacuum, and contracts when doing something pleasurable.  It lives on in memory, where events can be revisited and reimagined for years. It’s too short when we’re happy; too long when we’re impatient or bored.

Pandemic Time is a law unto itselfExcursions now take on mythic importance, to be remembered and savored because they’re so rare.  It can feel like “forever” before we can eat out or get our nails done, even if it’s only a matter of days or weeks. And although there are certainly enough hours to do all those chores I’ve been putting off, night inevitably drops the curtain on another day where they didn’t get done — because, well, there’s always tomorrow.

Mostly I’m grateful to have these days at all, when so many haven’t.  I read somewhere recently that “Good times become good memories.  Bad times become good lessons.” One can only hope.

inspirational quotes on a planner

Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

Sexual Politics

A heated Facebook exchange this weekend prompted me to revisit an older post about #MeToo and my own workplace experiences.

I think there’s a big difference between true harassment and unwanted or inappropriate behavior. Viewed through today’s lens, every decades-old compliment, hug or shoulder rub can seem nasty and predatory.  But it may have been no more serious than an ill-advised attempt to flirt, show warmth, or express appreciation.

It’s equally possible that a woman who had a crush on an attractive, charismatic man fantasized or misinterpreted a benign gesture.

So yes, let’s investigate the Bidens, Kavanaughs, and Trumps to see if they actually crossed the line. But let’s not automatically assume that every allegation has merit either.

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Wistful Thinking

There are so many things I miss these days, from the prosaic to the profound.  Among them:

  • Free samples at Costco and Trader Joe’s
  • Visiting with my kids
  • Dinner out with friends
  • Responsible government leadership
  • A proper haircut
  • A decent pedicure
  • My group exercise class
  • Anxiety-free sleep
  • News that’s actually news
  • Space to roam
  • My waistline

But perhaps the one thing I miss most of all is the anticipation of upcoming travel.  For those of us who love a change of scenery — whether exotic or familiar — there is something deeply satisfying about planning a trip down to the last detail, while leaving lots of room for unexpected developments. (The good kind, not the “oh s*** I’m suddenly quarantined in a foreign country” kind.)

I’m enjoying vicarious adventures through other bloggers’ posts, but we all know it’s hardly the same.  Having cancelled our London trip planned for March, and now deciding not to play “beat the odds” with the trip to France we’d scheduled for this summer, I feel a bit adrift.

And wondering… what do YOU miss most these days?

airplane window view of airplane wing and clouds

Photo by Chait Goli on Pexels.com

To Brie or Not to Brie

Armed with gloves, Purell and facemasks, we sallied forth this morning to explore the dangerous terrain of a grocery store.  Terra incognita for over a month, we’d finally caved to the need for items beyond Amazon’s ability to deliver.

First, a great deal of strategy was required.  The store needed to be overpriced and inconveniently located, so as to attract the fewest customers. The shopping list needed to be air tight, with no room for impulse buys or backtracking through aisles already traveled. All equipment needed to be checked in advance for pinholes through which sneaky microbes might invade. Sanitizer needed to be at the ready.  Ditto, credit card… no fumbling for cash.

Upon arrival, we spotted a few other intrepid souls, all great distances apart and moving cautiously.  We carefully stalked the produce section, standing well back to furtively scan the available items before plunging into the fray.  While no one seemed interested in artichokes, we did note a mysterious convergence in the imported cheese section.  Pasta was also dangerously populated and best avoided.

For approximately the price of a skydiving session, we completed our daring expedition and emerged triumphant with empty wallets and a full cart. I, for one, am exhausted by all this exertion and plan to take to my couch with the vapors.

As the famous Earl Nightingale quote has it: “Wherever there is danger, there lurks opportunity; whenever there is opportunity, there lurks danger.”  Hopefully, the crisis will be resolved soon.  There’s only so much excitement I can tolerate.

man standing on cliff

Photo by Juliano Ferreira on Pexels.com