Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How to be an annoying senior citizen


It is officially the holiday season. I am at wit's end trying to think of something useful to contribute to society in general.
My experience at the doctor's office a few weeks ago gave me an idea. On the entrance door to the office there is a large sign with large lettering that clearly says "Do not use cell phones in office". I thought that was pretty clear.
Within five minutes of my usual half hour wait somebody is calling or receiving calls on their phone. This is not a huge waiting room. Perhaps it is 12 by 12. But it has about 30 chairs. There are no magazines to speak of. A couple perhaps. I am not really interested in reading "Breastfeeder's Monthly" or the "Knitter's handbook".
I did scan through Breastfeeders Monthly. Mostly looking at pictures. Umm, but I digress.
The point is that it is a very confined space for people. Sick people! I was sick. When there are 6 or 7 people ignoring the sign in the door and start calling all over the world, I start getting annoyed.

My wife was having her yearly physical in about a week. I told her I would go with her.
I told her I would bring my GPS because there was a geocache very close to the doctor's office. I had a plan. Instead of being the "annoyee" I will henceforth be the "annoyer".
Be proactive, I say. It is a senior citizen right....actually it a duty to be annoying.

We get to the office and within 5 minutes someone cellphone rings. I leaped to my feet, grab my GPS (a Garmin, I might add), put it to my ear and said, "Hello, Hemlock here!".....Hello....Helllllooooooo!....Your going to have to speak louder. I can't hear you."
I turn to my wife and say, "wrong number." I sit back down.
A phone rings again.
I jump to my feet. I grab my GPS and say loudly, "Hemlock here!!!! Hello! Hello?....I can't hear you." I turn to my wife, shake my GPS a little and say. " It must be a dead zone in here....Oops, bad choice of words, a very sick zone, for sure." I sit back down.

Now people are looking at me. One woman is biting on her finger nails. Her phone is ringing and she doesn't know what to do. Others are putting their phones on vibrate. The room has a nice hum to it. I am looking wild eyed at my GPS.
The man sitting next to me says, " That's a GPS, Mister. That is not a phone."
I slowly turned to him and said, "I know. Phones aren't allowed in here. It says so..right there on the door. It doesn't say anything about GPS's."
I slowly put my GPS to my ear and say, "call me later."
After that everything went just fine at the doctor's office.

I get to my home and someone has let their pony (or St. Bernard) loose in the common area again. Their is nothing quite like the scent of dog feces or pony feces on your sneaker soles. Everyone knows how smooth sneaker soles are. I clean it up the poop, put it in a bag and start walking it towards the dumpster... yet again.
Wait a minute.....proactive. I get a nice bag. Something Christmasy.
I write the guilty party a note:

Dear Sir,
I noticed that your pony or St. Bernard has left us another gift in front of our "curb your dog" sign. I suspect you are doing this because you heard that in Ireland they have used cow chips as fuel. How very thoughtful.
I must tell you; I do not use the fireplace and I will not use your gift to barbecue and that is not cow chips. I have also gotten away from my Irish heritage So I rewrapped it and regifted it for you. I left you a book of matches so you could get it cooking in your fireplace.
Happy Holiday
Your neighbor.

I will be more proactive the next time. That is the key. It is the season. Give...don't take.
I can sleep tonight knowing I have done something for humanity.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Truffles, Trifles and Truth

Recently, a series of events has occurred that has profoundly affected my normal day to day life. Since this all happened in a period of two weeks, it took over my life.

First, I put off getting my flu shot. This gave me plenty of "down" time. I caught the flu.
The thing about the flu is; at first you are afraid you are going to die, after a couple days of it, you are afraid your not going to die.
The second week of the flu is not so bad. You have adjusted your life to being waited on for your every need. The fact is, you start to expect it.

The second event happen when I was lying on the couch with my laptop and my favorite blanket. (The faux fur throw). I had a message from someone on "Classmates" who remembered me from high school. I remembered this lady that we will call "Betty" since that was her name. She was a studious girl who wore the hoop skirts w/poodle and the frilly blouses. She was a very quiet girl and did not seem to be part of any clique.

The third event occurred while I was reading Ann Rule's book, "Heart Full of Lies."
It was about this woman who had numerous talents but her best talent seemed to be deceiving people. If she told her friends that she could fly, they would believe her. They would just take her word for it.
This got me thinking.

The fourth event was when I got a notification by email that my blog had been picked as a "Top Blog Award", which is pretty nifty. I actually got a gift certificate with it. I guess that makes me a "Professional" now.

The convergence of these events at the intersection of Happy Highway and Arrogance Avenue sent my down a strange and winding road until I got to that Cul de sac known as reality.

As I started to feel better I decided I would answer "Betty" using what I had learned about life in the last couple weeks.
The letter went something like this:

Hello Betty,

It was good to hear from you. (I barely remember you)
Much has changed in my life.
(Yeah, I got a lot older over the last fifty years.)
After graduation from high school I went to Connecticut and entered Yale.
(Every day I worked in the university billing department for 14 years, but you don't have to know that.)
After I left Yale, I headed to Germany, a lovely country.
(yes, The base the Army sent me wasn't all the gorgeous, I might add.) When I came back to the states, I came into some money.
(I won my lawsuit).
In recent years I have been writing, mostly fiction.
(In fact, this very minute I am writing fiction)
I am also an award winning writer.
(I have the $20 gift certificate to prove it.)
I have been interrupted, Betty. My manservant, Parker, has asked me if you iron the back of american money first, or the front. We don't want to burn Salmon P. Chase's whiskers, so I told him to google it.
(Hah!....should I mention my Red Mercedes convertible?...Naw. I don't want to be pretentious).
I have to go now, Betty. So cherish this because you will never hear from me again.
(I think she will buy into this!!!!)

Since I sent this to Betty, I have been a difficult person. I started to believe it myself.
The other day at the hardware I asked the clerk if she knew who I was? At that very moment my wife gave me a dirty look and a shot to the ribs with her elbow.
The clerk said, " You're the man with the broken ribs."

The other afternoon at a local restaurant I demanded truffles from France. The waitperson said they cost about $1500 a pound. "That's expensive chocolate." I said.
French Truffles are not chocolate, I was told. It is a fungus that certain pigs can smell.
Wow! A few years back I paid that much to get rid of a fungus. I cancelled my truffles order. I settled for a twinkie.

Well, fame is fleeting. This morning life was back to normal. me too! The first thing I did....which will ground you pretty quickly is...to clean up some type of feces on the common area front lawn. Everybody in the area was just kind of staring at it. almost everyone has pets but they are all very small. This thing was huge. We took a vote.
Everyone finally agreed with me. It had to be a pony or a Saint Bernard that did it.
Funny thing is no one saw either a pony or a Saint Bernard in the area.

Oh! Wait a minute. Fame may not be fleeting. The phone is ringing. It may be my publisher....Do I have a publisher?