So, How’s YOUR Day Going?
Our little neighborhood in Oregon is a magnet for drama. To paraphrase the wonderful Alexander McCall Smith, “When people don’t have enough to do, they turn on their neighbors.”*
This community depends on its owners to run things, which might be ok if we weren’t a bunch of amateurs — some well-meaning; some self-serving. Many are retired executives who haven’t quite grasped that nobody here actually works for them. This leads to micromanagement, incompetence, and finger-pointing. Our motto should be “Once burned, twice shy” because we put a big bullseye on our backs the moment we volunteer. After doing your bit, who needs more aggravation unless you’re a certified martyr or control freak?
The problem is that we’re all part of an extended “family” living in close proximity but connected only by the circumstance of choosing to live in the same neighborhood and, otherwise, having little in common.
Were this a Regency play, the cast of characters might read as follows:
Sir Bluffalot: “Whenever I’m wrong, bullying has always worked for me.”
Mr. Bragalot: (Bluffalot’s illegitimate brother) The self-styled expert on everything, no matter how trivial.
Our Lady of Perpetual Discord: Creates conflict so she can swoop in to solve it, ignoring pesky facts that might contradict her cast-iron assumptions.
Saint Gossipus: Want everyone to know your dire financial situation? Tell Saint G.
Aunt Sweety: A beautiful soul who sees the good in everyone.
Cousin It’sTheirFault: She takes no responsibility for her part in events since it’s much easier to blame others.
Uncle High Dudgeon: No issue is too small to overreact.
Miss Representation: Loyal subject of Saint Gossipus, the truth is a pliable commodity.
The Twins, Pitiful Pearl and Timid Timmy: “Please, someone else, solve my problems for me.”
Lord Blinker: Storms into battle for the woman he loves, armed only with outrage.
Sister Sycophant: “I can’t be bothered to find out anything, so I’ll just mix up a big batch of Kool-Aid and pass out the straws.”
The Moral of the Story: Hire professional management. If that’s impossible, avoid all meetings, curl up with a good book, sleuth out some trustworthy friends, and enjoy a nice glass of wine.
*”If you don’t have things to keep you busy, you end up starting fights with your neighbours.” — The Second-Worst Restaurant in France
Guess who else is bored with COVID-19? Penguins!
It seems they’d been extra fidgety over at the Newquay Zoo in Cornwall, England until a donor came up with an ingenious solution: a bubble maker.
No mere entertainment, the CPC (chief penguin caretaker) explained that the bubbles also keep the penguins’ predatory reflexes sharp.
One wonders… could there be a tie-in between champagne and aggression in humans? Is this why some wedding celebrations turn into drunken brawls?
Perhaps the only upside to what I call the “pandammit” is that I’m not shopping like a drunken socialite, to quote my friend S. Which doesn’t mean I’ve stopped shopping altogether; it’s more that I’m buying different things.
Big-ticket items flew out the window as life got simpler and our activities remain close to home. Meanwhile, entire categories (hello, hand sanitizer) became essentials. What a topsy-turvy world! (Google reports that the expression “may be an adaptation of the medieval verb ‘tirve’, meaning ‘to turn or to topple over’. It has also been suggested that ‘turvy’ is an allusion to ‘turf’ and that ‘topsy-turvy’ means ‘with one’s head on the turf’.”)
- Amazon – miscellaneous household items, esp. hard to get stuff
- Whole Foods delivery in the early months
- Fresh fruits and veggies from farmers’ market and small specialty grocers
- Cooking gadgets
- Wine and booze – do you even have to ask why?
- TV streaming services
- Zoom membership
- Vitamins, supplements, acetaminophen PM
- Face masks — whoever predicted one would need a wardrobe of these?!
- Cute socks
- Cleaning supplies
- Fresh flowers to maintain sanity and illusion of elegant normalcy
- Makeup, especially lipstick – kind of pointless when wearing a mask, no?
- Hair salon – spreading out appointments and doing trimming/touch-ups myself until desperate
- Pedicures – My toes are not worth dying for
- New clothes – to go where, exactly?
- Cultural events/theatre/opera tix
- Massages and facials (see pedicure)
Yep, things are definitely tirving these days.
This image keeps cracking me up. Happy Sunday!
Not to encourage bad behavior, but wouldn’t this be a better-than-average time to be a bank robber? “I dunno, officer, he looked like everyone else.”
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.
Ever wished your partner would spend more time with you? How quaint! This is the universe’s way of testing our relationships. And if the data from China is any indication, we’ll be seeing a wave of divorces once people can get to their lawyers.
Not me, though; one nasty divorce was enough for a lifetime. But since 24-hour togetherness can strain any partnership, I’m trying to follow a few rules.
- Spend time apart. Encourage separate activities to create some alone time; for instance, I’ll bake or write while my husband paints or works on his computer. And if you live in a studio apartment, try to at least identify separate work spaces. With luck, this will give each of you something to talk about every evening besides the virus.
- Share a laugh: a book, video, joke, photo or film. We’ve just gone through all three Cage Aux Folles movies (note: the subtitled versions are funnier than the dubbed ones).
- Plan things to look forward to once life returns to normal — a trip, dinner at a special restaurant, going out with friends, etc. Fantasizing encouraged.
- Connect with others. We enjoyed a Zoom cocktail hour with two of our favorite couples the other night and are going to make this a regular routine. Cheers!
- Make a big bowl of popcorn and find something fun on TV. We’ve been watching old Nick and Nora movies from the ’30’s and adventure films such as the James Bond, Kingsman and Indiana Jones franchises. Pretty much anything that bears no resemblance to today’s world is a good choice.
- Stop obsessing over the news. It helps nothing and makes both parties depressed, which isn’t conducive to a happy home. Being informed is one thing; worrying about anything outside your own control is counterproductive.
- Go for a walk. It’s reassuring to see the flowers blooming and hear the birds chirping as if the whole world weren’t going to hell in a handbasket.
- Take deep breaths whenever your beloved is getting on your last nerve.
My mantra: “Whatever doesn’t make you want to kill your partner makes you stronger.”
OCD: Washing your hands more often than every 5 minutes. Every 6 minutes is normal.
Paranoia: Believing that COVID-19 was caused by aliens, when everyone knows it’s Obama’s fault.
Restaurant: A place to get take-out.
Intimacy: When people are within 4-6 feet of each other.
Books: The new version of movies.
Toilet paper: The protective layer between you and the known universe.
Kindergarten: When two or more politicians get together.
Vacation: Your alone time in the bathroom.
Fast Food: Getting in and out of the supermarket as quickly as possible.
They say laughter is the best medicine. (And possibly our only one until we get a reliable vaccine.) Luckily, this pandemic has some upsides. Let’s call them “coronadvantages”:
- Crime deterrent: Only a fool would break into a house without knowing if its inhabitants were infected. Plus, they’re probably home
- Ivanka’s shoes (made in China) might finally go out of business
- You now have the perfect excuse to avoid just about anything
- West Coasters have something to take our minds off worrying about The Big One
- There’s no shame in being a hypochodriac
- Terrorists may think twice: No large gatherings = no large targets
- Your neighbors will stop hosting loud parties
- Working in pajamas
- Alcohol kills germs; ergo, vodka surely has medicinal properties
- A new appreciation for canned goods
- It’s far less likely your significant other will cheat on you