Sunday, July 25, 2021

Find a dollar, better hollar*?

Checking in at a hotel recently, there was a man in front of me who appeared to be homeless. He wore loose and dirty clothes. He had a knit cap and large jacket even though it was warm outside. Over his face, he wore a mask and glasses. All you could see of his features was his nose, the color of ash. His hair and beard were colorless with only hints of gray and both hung down to his jacket collar. 

He was treated with respect and professional courtesy by the staff behind the counter. They smiled and maintained eye contact. The man held a thick wallet from which he pulled a credit card to secure his room.

I wondered what his story was. Was he homeless or more of a hippy type? Either way, his appearance was incongruous within the context of the lobby of a downtown Hyatt.

The town was one of apparent and abundant wealth. People went about their business in very fast and expensive cars even though there was so much traffic there was nowhere to get out of second gear. All show, no flow.

My coffee was over $7. (I had splurged for a triple latte instead of a double but, still, a pint of beer was $8. Might was well have beer for breakfast.)

In that same town, I saw a folded dollar bill on the sidewalk. It wasn't crumpled, as from someone's pocket, and it wasn't folded in half like it came from a wallet. It was folded rather neatly in a square and it lay on the corner.

I laughed because I might have picked up a penny but I didn't pick up the dollar. Neither did anyone else that crossed that intersection in this town of milk and Tesla. I even pointed it out to a man who regarded me as someone crazy. Of course there are dollars bills in the street, his look seemed to be saying.

I thought of the man from the hotel lobby? Could have dropped it? Would he have picked it up?

Find a penny, pick it up ... 

* Hollar is now a defunct online dollar store. Maybe because all their dollars are on the sidewalk.

Monday, July 19, 2021

What is it you do, again?

We were seated first. It was a table at the back but perfectly comfortable. It was a Main Street kind of place (literally, it was on Main Street) that served the most amazing Italian food. 

Another couple was seated next to us. Attractive, younger, obviously successful.

We eventually struck up a conversation which led to the inevitable question of "What do you do?" I dislike this question because my job is boring to everyone but me.

The question passed from one to the next and seeing I'd be asked last, I wondered "What would be a more interesting answer than 'Tax Preparer'?"  Finally, the woman asked me while the men were engaged in their own conversation.  I told her, "I was going to tell you that I'm an Accountant but was trying to come up with something more interesting, like . . . "

Hubby suddenly chimed in, "It's great! She can work from anywhere. In fact, she worked this morning. From bed. In bed, drinking her coffee. I mean, how great is that?" 

Hubby hadn't heard my answer. I'd finished my answer with, I'm a Sex Worker. 

The timing of Hubby's comments was perfect. The woman and I practically spit out our wine with laughter. My glasses fogged up as I covered my mouth with my napkins. Tears threatened to squeeze out of my eyes.

He was bewildered by our response. "What did I say?" he asked.

"Nothing, honey, but next time I'll go with 'Ear Model'."

Sunday, July 11, 2021

If you have an HOA...

According to the Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) of our Homeowners Association, we must seek approval from our immediate neighbors whenever we plan to make changes to the outside of our homes. Even, it seems, if the change is to a fully enclosed, private backyard. I learned this when a neighbor requested my signature on a form for such a purpose. The neighbors, it seems, wish to install a pool.

In response to their cover letter, I responded:

Dear Neighbors!

Nice to "meet" you! We are also full-time residents and, like you, find our street lovely. Ah, the warm breezes, construction dust, roosters, and traffic noise. Soon, we shall also have street lamps to light our night skies. And to think, all of that at no extra charge!

If you would kindly schedule your construction while we are out of town, we would appreciate it. Otherwise, we may need to turn up the volume on our karaoke and, surely, you wouldn’t want that. 

We are feeling left out, however, as we may be the only ones on the street with no pool. You wouldn’t mind putting in a gate in our common wall, would you? We’ll bring the chips! (Also, you don’t mind if we swim naked, do you?)

We appreciate you letting us know about your backyard improvements as we were not aware that modifications to the backyard were subject to our HOA's robust CC&Rs. With that in mind, we must let you know that we are building a rocket. We will be very conscientious of the noise moving forward and will let you know when we start taking delivery of rocket fuel. While the rocket itself is only temporary (we hope to launch sometime in 2022), the launch pad itself could be considered permanent. Perhaps we can re-purpose it as a stage for live music. It’s certainly something to think about.

We are most happy to sign your form. If you have any concerns about the rocket, feel free to notify the architectural committee. (There’s no need to notify our other neighbor since they have moved, prompting us to wonder if they knew about the rocket.)

Your form is enclosed. Please feel free to disregard everything else. 


We have not heard from our neighbors since and have left town in case they have notified the authorities about the rocket.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Pinch me

I remember reading a year ago how adults were telling their senior parents to stay home, to stop getting together with other people, to be safe. But, no. They wanted to party.

Not me. I stayed home. I neither warned my parents to put away their party shoes, nor was I warned by my own kids. It seemed simple enough at the time. Stay home. 

And, so I did.

Then it was masks and social distancing for so long it verged on what I began to think of as normal. No big deal, right?

And then the masks came off which made me nervous. Can we hug people now? Do we shake hands or are we still twisting our arms around to bump elbows? It still felt natural to keep six feet of distance from the next guy in line for coffee or a register but I felt a little naked, at first, without the mask. The instinct to double check that I had one in my purse was real.

And, then, my first party in over a year. I am not talking about a genteel gathering. This was a full-blown party with a live band. People crowded together, leaning in with their drinks, faces mere inches apart so we could hear each other. We breathed the same air, each other's breaths. It was bizarre after so many months of near isolation.

That was a week of starved zombies coming out to feed: pool party, live-band party, karaoke party. We couldn't get enough.

Yes, karaoke. Yes, I sang. 

And, yes, we all shared the same microphone without wiping it off in between.

Have we all lost our minds or have we forgotten what normal looks like? Just yesterday, I sat at a bar and sat next to a dude. Did I mention:

A) at a bar?

B) next to some dude? Next. to. some. dude!

Maybe I'm not ready for all this.

Maybe it was all a bad dream.