Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yadda Yadda Yadda

Today's topic is cell phones. At times I think they are the greatest invention of the modern world. What on earth did we do without them? We lost our friends and relations in warehouse clubs or the mall, we ran double the number of errands, we had people wondering if they should start calling the hospitals when we were merely stuck in traffic. And then there are the times, like today, when I curse cell phones and want to throw them all down a very big hole.

Just because you have a cell phone, that doesn't mean you have to use it constantly. Use a little restraint and common sense, people. Does everyone in the dentist's office waiting room need to know every little detail of your ugly family feud? The fact that your 13 year-old is shushing you and is totally mortified should have clued you in. Does the entire post office need to know the intimate details of your recent colonoscopy? Even your spouse probably doesn't want to know all of that.

Just because you have a cell phone and it rings, that doesn't mean you have to answer it. That's what voicemail is for. You can call back. Do I really need to know that you're in the bathroom? I can't help but picture (cringe) what you're doing with the hand that's not holding the phone.

If you must talk on the phone while driving (I know sometimes it is necessary), please use a headset or hang up while you're trying to parallel park. Or is it just me that needs two hands and complete and total focus for that?

Monday, June 29, 2009

I Probably Don't Want To Visit Your House

I've got to report a little peeve. Well a big one actually. In the past two weeks I've visited about 10 public bathrooms and all of them were disgusting. Not in the sense that management hadn't cleaned or maintained them. They were disgusting in the sense that patrons weren't using them correctly. It's pretty crowded in a restroom stall with two kids doing the potty dance and the space gets smaller when I've got to clean everything first before they can go. I'm trying to teach them to be neat and respectful of public spaces and the people whose job it is to clean them. That's difficult when they can see for themselves that no one else is bothering.

Come on people, I know your Mom taught you to flush! Yes, public restrooms have a high germ factor. But that's what the paper and the toilet seat covers are for. If there aren't any or you just can't bring yourself to sit, please wipe up the seat and the floor, so I don't have to. Go ahead, use all the paper you need. Use it all if you must. I always carry tissues but now I'm considering carrying Clorox wipes and the warehouse-club-size hand sanitizer too.

I'll bet you didn't wash your hands either.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Little Old Not-So-Crazy Neighbor Ladies

When I was a kid I used to sit outside and watch all the neighbor ladies sweeping. They swept their doorsteps. They swept their porches. They swept their stairs. They swept their sidewalks. They swept their driveways. Mrs. Correa even stood in the middle of the road and swept that! They swept like it was their personal mission to attack all dirt within a five-mile radius. When they swept it was like Charlie Brown's friend Pigpen walking by. And when they all got going at the same time, I had an idea of what the Dust Bowl might have been like. If I had known then what an anthropologist did, I'm sure I would have felt like I was studying an unknown culture's rituals.

I thought of all those neighbor ladies this morning as I swept my walk and driveway, tidying up after last night's lawn mowing. After I'd been responsible for a home of my own for awhile, I finally realized that all that sweeping outside made for less sweeping inside. I grew up with a mother who had a love affair with highly-starched curtains and thought the smell of ammonia and bleach mixed together was "lovely." In light of that fact, I think I can be forgiven for not necessarily placing housework high on my list of priorities. (Though my house isn't as grody as reading this blog regularly might lead you to believe. Honest!) But this morning as I got into the rhythm of sweeping and listened to the tchh-tchh-tchh of the broom on the concrete, I came to a new realization.

It's about more than cleanliness. It's neighborliness to the nth degree. It's about self-respect. It's about loving your family. It's about loving your neighborhood and the world at large. By showing that you care about your little corner of the world, you're also showing how much you care about everyone else's corners. Everyone in the world should have a corner of their own that's clean, well-swept and free of all manner of debris. Sadly, that's not a reality for many of our neighbors. But if we all do our best work, we can eventually help that come to pass. Some of us work to clean up the environment. Some of us work to make sure children grow to their fullest potential. Some of us provide food. Some of us serve and protect with their lives, be it in the military or as police officers and firefighters. Some of us bring joy through the arts. Some of us practice medicine. And some of us sweep. But no matter what job we're doing at any given moment, we're all doing the same job.

As I put the broom away, I said a little prayer and thanked all the neighbor ladies for showing me something so wonderfully important. Even if I didn't know it then.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

You Can Call Me Ingrid

My sister-in-law and I were joking the other day about how some women try on their wedding dress on each anniversary. It's a cute idea but we'd never go there. D. overheard us and very nicely said that I'm skinnier now than when we got married. I said he was nuts, he insisted, we looked at the wedding photos, we still disagreed, he got some brownie points and we moved on. I put these pants on the other day and to my surprise, they were a bit big. I stepped on the scale and somehow I lost 10 lbs. It's been a long time since I weighed less than my husband. I'm not sure how that happened, but I think my friend S. has to get some of the credit since she's been convincing me to go to the gym and then I've actually broken a sweat once we get there. So I've been trying on a few other things in my closet, just to see...

I may have mentioned a few times that my favorite movie of all time is Indiscreet starring Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant. In 198-I-can't remember-that-far-back-exactly, I bought The Dress at Loehmann's Back Room because It reminded me of this ensemble from the movie (and because it was an unbelievable $25!):

In reality The Dress looks nothing like a Dior. But It is a classic Little Black Dress: princess-seamed, knee-length with a keyhole back and made from a heavy black brocade. The matching coat is the same fabric in white with a simple black jet button closure. When I bought It I had absolutely nowhere to wear It. I still don't. I wore It once for about an hour to a family Christmas party until I dripped cocktail sauce on the coat. I ran screaming for the stain remover and my predictable and oh-so-washable reindeer sweater.

Over the years The Dress has hung in my closet as a talisman of possibilities, a tribute to romance, and a wink at my inner-Ingrid. When size 11/12 was a long ago memory, It went in the Goodwill pile during every closet reorganization, only to be snatched back at the last minute. When I was in the midst of crazy quilting obsession, It went into the cut-it-up pile, but I could never bring myself to do it. And there It remained, unworn but well-loved.

The suspense was killing me, I had to try It on last night. I wouldn't necessarily say It fit, but It did zip. I didn't try to sit down and wearing It outside the house would require serious scary-undergarment intervention. But. The glimmer of all manner of unseen possibilities re-emerged.

In actuality, I may never wear The Dress. But those glimmers make me unbelievably happy. What possibilities have been turning up in your life lately?