Bill and I just read a story about a Starbucks employee in Tempe, Arizona who asked a group of police officers who were just starting their shift on the Fourth of July to leave the store. And why, you might ask, would some millennial barista choose to do such a thing?
Were the policemen being rowdy? No. Were they being obnoxious? No. Were they waving their guns around? No. They were simply working on the Fourth, away from their family and friends, and had stopped to get coffees before their shift began.
So, based on the obviously hostile and terrifying actions of ordering a half-dozen cups of coffee, a customer mentioned to the barista behind the counter that she didn’t feel safe in the presence of the law enforcement officers. So, instead of asking the woman to suck it up and take her mocha- latte-half-caf-iced coffee concoction to go, he asked the police to either get out of the customer’s line of sight or to leave. The officers chose to leave.
What is this country coming to?
I really hope this same woman is never involved in an auto accident or a home break-in or a mugging and actually needs the help of law enforcement. Obviously, calling 911 would traumatize her for life!
Bill and I took our first cruise in the fall of 2017. It was a quickie to see how we liked cruising, just four days, from Los Angeles to Ensenada, Mexico and back, but it was enough to get us hooked. A little over four months later we booked a seven-day Mexican Riviera cruise to celebrate my ‘landmark’ birthday. And no, I’m not saying which one because I’m still trying to ignore it.
Making our way through the cruise terminal and onto the ship, we felt like old pros. We knew they’d want to see our tickets, check ID, take our picture, issue us each a cruise card and take hours and hours to get the luggage to our room. We also knew that our prepaid drink package would automatically trigger with our first beverage order so we made our way to one of the two bars that were open on the Lido deck and began our vacation.
Hurricane in one hand and our carry-on in the other, we made our way to our room, which was also on the Lido deck. We opened the door and I walked into a happy birthday explosion.
Happy Birthday streamers, a platter of chocolate chip cookies and an 8 x 10 cruise-themed picture frame awaited. As I turned to hug Bill, he aimed his phone at me and snapped a quick picture. He turned the phone so he could check to see how it came out and proceeded to dump half of his slushy adult beverage all over his feet.
I broke out laughing, gave him a kiss and said, “Thanks sweetie. Best present ever!”
Bill and I were in the office when Mom got up from her second morning nap. After tooling all over the house, she finally landed back in front of the office door.
“Oh, hi there!” she said with a note of surprise.
“Hi,” I responded. “Did you have a nice nap?”
“I guess so. But I think you have termites.”
Bill and I looked at each other and, with a shrug, he returned to whatever he was doing on his computer.
“Why do you think we have termites?” I asked.
“Because they’re eating the paint off the walls,” she replied.
“First of all, I don’t think termites eat paint,” I said. “They eat wood. And second … “
“Well these termites are eating through the paint to get to the wood. See,” she said, pointing over her shoulder towards her bedroom.
“So you’re telling me there are termites in your bedroom?”
“Not yet. They’re in the hall, though, right outside my bedroom. Come and look.”
I slowly pushed up from my office chair and walked over to where she was parked in the doorway. “I’m afraid you’ll have to move if you want me to come out into the hall.”
“You don’t have to come out. You can see it right there,” she said, pointing toward the entry way into her bedroom. I glanced at the paint chips that were scattered on the floor.
“Mom, that’s damage from your wheelchair. Yesterday you scrapped the paint off all the way down to the flashing. We just haven’t vacuumed it up yet.”
“Oh, I don’t think I did that. I’m pretty sure it’s termites. You better call the bug guy.”
“I’m thinking maybe a wall repair guy would be better.”
“No, you have Bill for that, maybe when he gets back from his walk. But he doesn’t know about termites. Better get it checked out before the whole house falls down,” she ordered before driving away.
I glanced over at Bill, who was furiously pounding on his keyboard. “Honey, when you get back from your walk, you better call the bug guy,” I joked.
“Hmmmph,” he muttered. “How about I look on Angie’s List and find us a good general contractor. Or a good painter. Or, even better, a competent psychiatrist.”
“Or maybe a live-in bartender,” I offered with a grin.
Bill and I walked in the house at 8:45 the other morning after a couple of hours playing Pickleball. It’s only the middle of August, so we’re in the heart of monsoon season. The temperature had already reached 98, the humidity was in the high 40’s and we were completely sweat soaked. Mom greeted us with a wide-eyed stare as we trudged through the living room.
“Were you at the pool?” she asked, noting our saturated tee shirts.
“No, we were playing Pickleball,” I replied as I kept walking, hoping to beat Bill to the shower.
“Tell me again what Pickleball is,” she said, pulling me up short in the foyer. I heard Bill chuckle as he quickly passed me and made a beeline for the bathroom.
I turned and begrudgingly returned to the living room. “It’s sort of like tennis,” I explained for the 10th or 12th time, “but the court is smaller and you use a paddle instead of a racket, and a whiffle ball.”
“Like a ping pong ball?”
“No. The ball is about the same size as a tennis ball but it’s plastic and has holes in it.”
“But you use paddles.”
“So you have to hit the ball with two hands?” she asked as I turned to go.
“No, just one hand,” I said, pausing on my way out of the room. “Why would you think it took two hands?”
“Well a paddle is pretty big and heavy. It seems like a stupid thing to use to hit a waffle ball with.”
“Whiffle, not waffle. And besides, what would you use it for?”
“To get around a lake.”
“Mom, it isn’t that kind of paddle. It isn’t like an oar. It’s like a ping pong paddle on steroids,” I replied.
“Aren’t those bad for you?”
“Steroids? Sometimes I guess, but not for paddles,” I said over my shoulder as I walked away.
“Well you be careful when you’re playing so you don’t catch any of those steroid balls,” she shouted after me. “Just paddle them, don’t touch them.”
“Okay, Mom,” I yelled from halfway down the hall. “No ball touching.”
“What?” Bill called out from the shower. “Whose balls are you touching?”
“Pickle balls,” I answered as I poked my head into the bathroom. “Steroid laden pickle balls.”
“Don’t tell me,” he moaned, sticking his head back under the running water. “I don’t even want to know!”
It was 6:00 and time for Mom’s dinner and the news had been providing non-stop coverage of the latest terrorist attack in Nice, France.
“Who are the French mad at?” Mom asked when I walked into the living room with her meal.
“What do you mean? Why do you think the French are mad at anyone?” I asked, setting her iced tea down on the end table and placing her Beef Stroganoff dinner on her lap tray.
“I heard it on the news. They’re not being nice and they’re wrecking a bunch of cars on the street,” she replied, pointing towards the TV with her fork. “I just figured they were mad at someone.”
“No Mom,” I sighed. “The French aren’t mad at anyone. It was in Nice and it was a truck driven by a crazy… “
“Well maybe the cars were German,” she inserted.
“German? Cars? What are you…?”
“The ones that the French were wrecking.”
“Mom, it was a terrorist, not… “
“You know they’ve never liked the Germans. Especially after that time.”
“Time? Are you talking about World War II? Do you mean that time?”
“Probably. Or maybe the other time. Anyway, they don’t like the Germans much so maybe they were wrecking German cars.”
I shook my head in resignation and turned to go. “Yup, you’re probably right,” I said over my shoulder. “They were targeting Volkswagens because they’re still pissed off about the war. Makes perfect sense.”
“I thought so too,” she replied through a mouthful of noodles and brown mystery gravy.
When Mom wakes up – whether in the morning after a full night’s sleep or after one of her many daily naps, she tools all over the house looking for signs of life. Most of the time we’re home working in the office but, for reasons I cannot fathom, instead of checking right across the hall as soon as she emerges from her bedroom, she follows a rather circuitous path throughout the house only to end up back at the office door, looking surprised to see us in there.
This also applies to her bathroom trips. When she wakes up from a nap, she immediately leaves her bedroom and motors all over the place, frequently stopping to gaze out the dining room window at the invisible bird, going into the Arizona Room to see if we’re there and to check out the view through the patio door, returning to the living room and pausing by her loveseat to peruse the TV guide, swinging through the kitchen to see if we left anything interesting on the counters or kitchen table, then chugging back to her bedroom and into the master bath. Why she doesn’t stop there before wandering aimlessly all over the house is beyond me. Personally, that is the absolute FIRST thing I want to do when I wake up.
I asked her about this habit of ignoring her bladder in favor to taking a grand tour of the house a half a dozen times a day. Her response was typical Mom.
“If I wanted to spent all my time in my bathroom I’d grow gills.”
I know, it doesn’t make any sense to me either.
“You know how, when you peel a banana, you just never know what you’re going to get?” Mom blurted out the other morning when I brought in her breakfast. “That’s kind of what life’s like.”
“You mean like it might have a brown spot?” I commented.
“No, not that. More like it might be green.”
“As in not ripe?”
“No, not that. More like it’s a weird banana. Some kind that you never had before.”
“Okay, so you peel this banana and under the yellow skin it’s green. How’s that like life?” I asked.
“Because you go along thinking that life is like a bowl of bananas and then you get a green one and it screws you all up.”
“A bowl of bananas screws you up?”
“No, just the green one.”
“Alrighty, so then what do you do?” I asked, waiting expectantly for a bit of Mama Gumpish insight.
“I don’t know,” she replied with a shrug. “I guess you take a bite and if it tastes bad you throw it in the trash.”
“No, the green banana.”
“Okay, but what does that have to do with life?”
“It just goes to show you; you never know what you’re going to get when you grab a banana out of the bowl.”
“So I guess you should live your life to the fullest, right?”
“No, you just shouldn’t eat a green banana. It’ll probably make you sick.”