Category Archives: QUIRKY

RUDE

RUDE

Bad behaviour

We find ourselves living at a time of incredible rudeness. Everyone needs to have an opinion, on everything, at all times, and this opinion must be delivered forcefully. We have been taught to celebrate meanness. In our country, the rise of a very rude man to a most powerful position has brought into sharp and terrifying focus just how dangerous one moment of rudeness might prove: it might lead us to nuclear apocalypse.

So, what does one do when confronted with rude behavior? Well, we can have the guts to call it out. It’s our duty. The only way to end rudeness is to make a conscious decision to do so. We should not have to put up with rude behavior.

The rage, injustice, and hurt we feel at the inexplicably rude behavior of someone leads us in directions that are uncomfortable and often wrong. For me, the trick to handling rudeness is to pause, take a breath, and ever so gently deliver a sentence as simple as “Just stop.” We can do it with grace. We can handle it well, by handling it without a trace of aggression and without being rude ourselves. Because once a rude person has had the looking glass held up to them and can see their actions through the eyes of others, they are far more likely to end that behavior themselves. This can be done by you, by me, by everyone. You and I choose to be civilized so we can expect others to be civil.

 

LYNYRD

IMG_0356LYNYRD’S WORLD

I like Lynyrd Skynyrd so

I named my cat Lynyrd

He likes to climb

Upon my desk

The right foot comes up

Then a

 big push of the back

On to the sill, he goes

Touching the window with his nose

To see the outer world

Still filled with many woes

He stretched and yawned

Then prepared for the leap

On to the bed for sleep

The spot he found

On a pillow that’s round

Was for Lynyrd quite fine

His world’s better than mine.

 

 

TO UBER

TO UBER

Uber is a new verb in the lexicon of Americans.  If you are in a city and you want to get from point A to point B, bring up the Uber app on your smartphone, tap the button and the screen asks where you are going.  You answer, the name of the driver, his/her picture pops up, and a map appears to show you where the driver is and how long it will take him to get to your location.  Amazing huh!

My friend Christine and I went to Baltimore to eat at Bo Brooks Seafood and

Bo Brooks

 

visit the National Aquarium.  Christine had visited Bo Books 45 years ago at around age 25 and remembered the crabs as tasty, bordering on spectacular.  Even though Bo moved the location to the Canton section of the city, the crabs were still good and the mallets were quite useful.

The National Aquarium was outstanding. We spent four hours at this wonderful facility.  We saw many varieties of fish, turtles, frogs, and nettles.  The main tank was so large that it took four scuba divers to feed the fish. We also saw a dolphin show that was very good and we needed a rest.

Dolphin

We stayed at a terrific place called The Hotel Indigo, a smallish boutique in downtown Baltimore.  We left our car in the garage for our entire stay and we ubered around the city.

Our first driver was Muhammed.  He took us on an adventure through several neighborhoods in Baltimore following the instructions of his GPS to Bo Brooks. There was Middle Eastern music playing on the MP3 player and the car was spotless. No money changed hands as everything was handled seamlessly via credit card on the app.

After having a wonderful dinner of fresh crabs seasoned with Old Bay and crab cakes, we left the restaurant and hailed Uber. Our ride was seven minutes away and we watched his route as he wound his way to us.  He called to tell us he had arrived and I told him we were at the other end of the parking area.  He came to us. Our driver’s name was Waqid and he drove a new Toyota mini-van. He talked all the way to our location. Very friendly!

The next morning, we were off to the Aquarium.  Our driver was a local named Gary—native of Baltimore.  He was like a tour director. He was quick to tell us about the good restaurants and local sights. When we arrived at the inner harbor, he pointed out all the good places to eat and shop.  Gary was the best driver of the six we had.

We were tired, the traffic was bad, and our next driver took eight minutes to arrive.  His professional name was Richard, but he preferred to be called Asher. He asked where we were from and Christine told him, Roanoke. He laughed and told us that he grew up in Roanoke. He went to Patrick Henry High where Christine taught.  Serendipity at work!!

About 7pm, we decided to go out to eat. For some unknown reason, we decided on Mexican.  I found a 4-star Taqueria on Eastern Avenue.  Our Uber driver, Raymond, took us to the exact location.  It was in a very seedy neighborhood and the place was closed.  He wouldn’t let us get out of the car. Instead, he took us 7 blocks in the opposite direction to a very trendy area and the James Joyce Pub and Restaurant.  Lamb stew and Shepherd’s Pie were just the thing and delicious. HOORAY for Raymond!

Hafiz took us back to our place. He got a little confused at a split intersection and we had to redirect. But he got us there without any problem.

Both Chris and I loved our Uber experience.  It is the only way to get around a city like Baltimore. We had x rides in total and spent $60.  Because I parked my car, I avoided a $60 valet fee and paid no parking fee. Balance is wonderful.

LIGHTNING ROCKS

Lightning is my granddaughter Emma’s dog, but he truly loves me.  Every time I go to Sarah and Keith’s house, I sit on the leather sofa because it is central, comfortable and I can protect myself as Lightning sprints through the door and takes a giant leap into my lap.  He proceeds to give me sloppy, wet kisses all over my face. And his tail is wagging so fast that it is a blur. He barks incessantly with his shrill tenor voice.  Sometimes he greets me with a little urine drip if he hasn’t been outside lately.  I don’t mind because I love this dog.

Lightning is a dachshund with a very large personality.  He is the larger dog in the picture above. The little fellow looking on is Mr. Jingles, Lightning’s running mate.  He is not as exuberant as Lightning and often seeks a safe haven in Sarah’s lap.  He’s not very fond of men in general.

If you notice in the picture, Lightning has what appears to be a rock in his mouth. It is a rock.  Every time Hattie goes to the trampoline, Lightning tags along.  The very first thing he does on arrival is to look for a mouth size rock.  He digs vigorously around the edges of the rock and uses his paws to dig it out of its resting place.  He then makes sure it is the correct size.  His rock is never just any rock–it has to be just right.

When satisfied, he throws the rock into the air and pounces on it.  He hits the rock with his nose, it rolls a few feet and he pounces on it again.  He then hits the rock with his right paw, then his left and dribbles the rock for 6 feet or so like a soccer player.  As Sarah and I sat watching Hattie do gymnastics on the trampoline, Lightning continued with his rock antics in the same order (mouth, nose, paws) for forty minutes.  AMAZING.  I have had lots of dogs, but never one that plays with rocks.  By the way, he brings his favorites into the house and keeps them in the playroom.

Dogs are wonderful participants in this life.

Shopping at The Mall OR The Delights of Having Granddaughters

I took my 14-year-old granddaughter, my 8-year-old granddaughter, and their 12-year-old cousin shopping.  We went to the mall—the big one.  The one with all the hip stores.

As we were nearing the parking area, I asked a question, “Where are we going first?”

The 12-year-old said, “Park near Macy’s. It’ll be more convenient to start from there.”

“Yeah, we have a list of the stores we want to go to.  They are in order, by location,” the 14-year-old added. “We looked at the mall map online.”

The first store was the “PINK” store or at least that’s what I thought it was called. It was very interesting—virtually every item had “PINK” written somewhere irrespective of the color of the clothing.  The sales clerks seemed more like waitresses. They were all dressed in black and were wearing a large belt with a holster holding an order pad.  A 45-year-old dad walked in and announced that it was his daughter’s birthday the next day.  This smallish girl-in-black pounced on him like a dog on a bone. She had dollar signs in her eyes.  It was expensive. My granddaughters got several items, all with “PINK” emblazoned somewhere. It was expensive.

The young girl at the cash register looked to be about 12.  She handed me the receipt and I was stunned.

“Girls are expensive,” she said. It wasn’t the amount of the bill, it was VICTORIA’S SECRET. I had taken my granddaughters and their cousin to Victoria’s Secret.  This is the store men go shopping for their thin wives or…well you know.  I should hide this receipt from my daughter, but everything has PINK emblazoned on it.

With extra care, we were on to the American Eagle Store. I announced that torn and ripped jeans were not allowed at Brandon Oaks and I was adhering to that policy.  Luckily, skinny jeans without holes were on sale.  Also, Tees were on sale—buy one get 2 free. This selection took 30 minutes and two trips to the dressing room.

A young female sales clerk was lurking nearby because she wanted her name on this sale. She was wearing black ripped jeans. I asked her what was so cool about ripped jeans.  “You noticed them’ didn’t you? I like to be noticed.” I am still thinking about that comment.

With three tees and some blue jeans plus a cute little charm bracelet for my 8-year-old, we set off for the Hollister store.  This store has everything that is current in California.  It used to take several years for fashion trends to move in from the coast, but now it is instantaneous thanks to globalization or something. Interestingly, this store had young guys as sales reps and were they polite. “Hello, sir.” “May I help you, sir.” The 14-year-old found a great pair of skinny jeans, but they had one hole in the knee.  The pleading began, but she had an ally—the guy was telling me how amazing it was that the jeans only had one hole.  I was outplayed and overwhelmed. My 8-year-old was mostly disinterested, but she sighted a shirt that she liked.  She felt like a big girl heading off to the dressing room.

With three stores under our belt, it was time for a break. Universally, it was a vote for Chick-fil-A. It was the smallest check of the day.

Next ONE! Aeropostale! I felt a small surge of energy after some chicken and a restroom break. Basically, it was the same drill. Look at the tees and shirts. Grab two or three and head for the dressing room. It’s two for one so why not get four. While I was waiting one of the clerks gave me a lesson in the proper pronunciation of the store name.  “It is not the postal which means losing it in front of everyone—it’s more like pasta but not quite. You know.” “AEROPASTA!”  “That’s right, now put the L on it.”  She left with a sense of real accomplishment and left me as confused as ever.

My 8-year-old bought fake fingernails in Christy’s. What a store—how do they make it.

WE left the mall to find our car and head to Dick’s Sporting Goods. I had no idea why, but we headed in that direction.  At Dick’s, we ran into Kelli, my son-in-law’s sister. She has this wonderful habit of rescuing me on these adventures with my granddaughters and their cousin, who happens to be Kelli’s daughter.  The first time was at the trampoline park which was very dangerous for an old guy. This time it was exhaustion—we had been shopping for 4 hours. They all disappeared, including Kelli. I sat on a counter for 45 minutes

Kelli looks at me and says, “When are you going to learn?”

With my granddaughters, probably never, but I plan to enjoy it all.  It is so wonderful to love them without condition.

A BUTTERFLY

Yellow Butterfly

A few weeks ago, I encountered a caterpillar crossing a busy intersection at Brandon Oaks.  I remained with him until he made the trip and I talked to some of my neighbors about it.  It was a good experience in being interrelated to another creature in nature.

In mid-August, I went to the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. This is the monastery that Thomas Merton entered in 1941.  I wanted to immerse myself in his work.

As I was sitting on a bench in the larger garden, a black and yellow butterfly flew toward me and perched on my hand.  Words can’t come close to describing its beautiful wing span and color. I tried not to breathe or move.

“Hello there, traveler, I AM a butterfly.”

The two days of silence had finally broken me.  “Shhhhhh, this area is to be silent.”

“Not for me, I am a butterfly and a messenger. We talk when there is something to say. You probably didn’t know that.”

“No, I didn’t.  Who is the message for?”

“You, my dear friend.  You see Merton wants you to find your True Self and diminish that False Self.  That unkempt, ugly long hair is part of the mask. Get it cut no later than August 19.  This will keep you on the path. HE will teach you many truths.”

“So, you want me to believe that this message is from Merton or maybe God?”

“It’s from those that love you.”  He flew away.

 

THE CATERPILLAR

THIS CATERPILLAR

This caterpillar was crossing a roadway in my little retirement village.  He was simply beautiful.  I suppose I had always undervalued and underappreciated the caterpillar.  This fellow was yellow and black and was moving at a slow steady pace.  It seemed he had an objective to reach the other side.

I was fearful that he might be squashed by a passing automobile, so I stood around waiting for him to cross over.  Several of my friends came by, stopped their cars to speak, asked if I was okay and then inquired about my purpose in directing the traffic this day.  I told them I was protecting a caterpillar that was moving to the other side of the road.

One of them smiled and inquired, “As in relocating?”

“No,” I said, “He thinks the grass is greener.”  The window went up and a broad smile appeared.  Two bad jokes in a row.

This unusual dude had three pairs of legs and several leg-like appendages. He was also hairy in spots. He will be a butterfly soon.

Caterpillars are the larval stage members of the order Lepidoptera (the insect order comprising butterflies and moths).

As with most common names, the application of the word is arbitrary and the larvae of sawflies commonly are called caterpillars as well.

Caterpillars of most species are herbivorous, but not all; some (about 1%) like insects and may be cannibalistic. Some feed on other animal products; for example, clothes moths feed on wool, and hoof moths feed on the hooves and horns of dead cows, sheep and pigs.

Caterpillars as a rule are voracious feeders and many of them are among the most serious of agricultural pests. Many moths are best known in their caterpillar stages because of the damage they cause to fruits and other agricultural produce, whereas the moths are obscure and do no direct harm. Conversely, various species of caterpillar are valued as sources of silk, as human or animal food, or for biological control of pest plants.

Most likely, this was more than you wanted to know, but the caterpillar is one of God’s interesting and unusual creatures.