Patsy Porco

Disorderly Conduct

In Humor on September 17, 2016 at 10:42 pm

bed-1299479_960_720Of all my disorders, the one I’m willing to discuss publicly is my sleep problem.

I went to the doctor recently and he asked, “How are you sleeping?” I don’t think he really cared, though, because he didn’t even bother to look up from my patient file as he asked the question. I thought that was odd since he didn’t look like he was actually reading it, just staring at it.

I said, “Sleeping is a big problem for me.”

“You’re not alone,” he said, continuing to pretend to read my file. “All I hear from my patients is that they don’t get enough sleep, and that they’re tired all the time.”

“That’s not my problem,” I said. “I sleep too much.”

My doctor finally looked up. “Really?” He smiled. “How much do you sleep?”

“Well,” I said, “If I don’t have to be anywhere and I don’t set an alarm, I can sleep for 15 or 16 straight hours without waking up.”

He stared at me, his mouth gaping. “Really?” he repeated.

“Yes,” I said. “I cannot get up. I just sleep and sleep. And my dreams get weirder and weirder the longer I sleep.”

He then burst out laughing, which made me feel a little better. I had been worried that he would call for a gurney and have me immediately transported to a sleep-study room.

He tried to compose his face while looking back at my file. “Are you depressed?” he asked. “We could try an antidepressant.”

“Not anymore,” I said. “You’ll see in my file that I’m already being treated for that.” I knew it! My suspicion that he was only staring at my file was confirmed. I didn’t know whether to feel gratified or irritated.

“Oh, yeah, right. Hmmm,” he said, still smiling from his laughing fit. “Well, maybe you should set an alarm every day and get up after eight or nine hours,” he suggested.

I just looked at him. Did he not know about “snooze” buttons? I could, and have, hit mine for hours.

He closed my file and said, “Well, your physical results came out fine. See you in a year.” He held open the door.

“Aren’t you concerned about my ability to sleep away most of a day?” I asked.

The corners of his mouth began to turn up ominously. “We should all have such problems,” he said, ushering me out.

Crockpots and Crackpots

In Humor, tag sales on September 12, 2016 at 1:27 am

If you’ve ever had a tag sale, aka a garage sale, you know how much work goes into preparing for it, and you probably swore that you’d never have another one after it was over, due to the hagglers.

People rarely want to pay the price you marked on an item. During my one tag sale, people haggled with me over dollar items. I know a woman who had a tag sale and, by the end of the day, she had gotten so frustrated with people requesting a better deal that she told one person, “I’d rather throw it away than give it to you for fifty cents.”

That’s probably why online tag sale sites are so popular. My city, Norwalk, CT, and every surrounding town has at least one site, but usually two or three, or more, and I belong to several.

tag-sale-siteThe upside to these sites is that you can charge more for what you’re selling than if you were selling the same item or items on your front lawn. It turns out that people are willing to pay more if they’re relaxing at home, browsing online, and something strikes their fancy … or if they’re drunk. They’re especially willing if other people have expressed interest in what you’re offering.

You also get people who want to be the first to make an offer. That’s because these sites operate on a first come, first served basis. Whoever types “interested” first is the first in line for the item. The negotiations then go on during private messages and if the first person decides to pass, or neglects to show up when he or she agreed to show up, then the item moves on to the next person. Sometimes the next person is still interested, and sometimes not, so it’s best if you close the deal with the first person, if possible.

The downside to these virtual sites is that they’re arranged with the most recent post on the top of the page. As others post, your listing moves down and becomes less visible. Within a day or so, people will probably not even see your listing unless they have a lot of time to scroll, or unless they type in a specific item that you’re selling in the search bar. You can only “bump” once a week, which means that your post goes to the top again. In theory. I don’t think it really works.

I had a very profitable day today using an online tag-sale site. We’re downsizing, so I rounded up a bunch of things I could part with, including a cute metal and mosaic-tile bistro set, a new crockpot that I had bought at a tag sale and never used, a Papasan chair frame older than my son, and other items, and posted them online last night. Within five minutes, I had an offer on the bistro set, the crockpot, and the chair frame. What was surprising was that I had posted the items after midnight and I received immediate responses.

Today, a young couple showed up, paid $75 for the bistro set, and went on their way. I can guarantee that I never would have gotten anywhere near that amount if I had hosted a sale at my house. Anyway, they were very satisfied and even sent me a photo of the set on their deck.

The crockpot buyer and the chair-frame buyer were coming later in the day, so I asked my husband and son to make the sales for me, while I ran over to a craft fair. They were watching football all day at home, so they agreed to help out.

When I got home, nobody had come yet, so I took a nap. When I awoke, my son told me that the crockpot customer had arrived and said that I had listed the crockpot for $10. My husband said that no, I had said $15. She gave in and paid the $15 and left. My husband was annoyed, but not too much—probably because the transaction occurred during an NFL commercial break.

However, the Papasan chair-frame customer had him in fits. Apparently, the woman had come into our house, inspected the chair frame, approved it, and handed over $20. As soon as she got home, she called the house and said that it wasn’t in the shape she had thought it was in, so she wanted to return it. My husband said that he told her he wasn’t running a store and there were no returns. She said she didn’t want it and was going to put it on our front lawn. Within half an hour, she did exactly that.

I asked my husband and son if they had given her a refund and they said that they didn’t even know she had come back. She just dumped the chair and left. I checked my cell phone and saw, not surprisingly, that she had already called me. I called her back and said I’d like to return her money and she was back on my doorstep in 10 minutes.

All in all, despite the chair-on-the-lawn-thing, I made $90 with very little effort on my part. In the recent past, I’ve made several hundred dollars by selling other things on these sites. When I had a physical tag sale, I worked eight hours and made $66.

With today’s profits, I’m going to buy a Papasan pillow for the rejected chair frame and keep it. I think that was the Universe’s plan all along.

Foul-Weather People

In Humor on September 9, 2016 at 7:20 pm

Awhile ago, during the anthrax scare—when government officials were receiving anthrax-laced letters—there was a rush on hardware stores for duct tape and plastic sheeting, as well as backorders for gas masks.

My husband and I didn’t buy into the panic, figuring that if chemical gas grenades were dropped into our neighborhood, plastic sheeting around our windows and doors probably wouldn’t keep it out. And we weren’t really sure we wanted to survive. We’re not industrious enough to want to help rebuild our society.

A friend of mine, however, bought everything she could get her hands on, and ordered gas masks for her family. I asked her why she wanted to survive a civilization-ending attack. She asked me why I didn’t. She didn’t have an answer, other than she didn’t want to die. My answer involved my being too lazy to start over. I didn’t state the obvious—that we’re all going to die eventually—for obvious reasons.

Then my friend mentioned that she read that bomb shelters would be built by the government to house people during bombings. I told her that, even if this were true, she and I wouldn’t be among those chosen to live in them.

“Why not?” she demanded, quite affronted.

“Because we don’t have any special talents that a new civilization would need to begin again, and we can’t have children anymore. There is going to be a need for young women who can breed, and we’re not that.”

I think the conversation ended then. What could she say? What I said made sense to both of us; we couldn’t have kids, and a post-apocalyptic world would have little need for IT managers or proofreaders.

Years later, I’m rethinking my argument. I have a very special skill that might be needed. My face predicts the weather. When it’s very humid, the right side of my head explodes in pain. This happens right before the humidity appears, too, so my head could be used to predict storms or something.

I also have Reynaud’s disease, so when it’s very cold and damp, several of my fingers lose all circulation and turn dead-white. But, by the time that happens, it’s already apparent that it’s cold and damp, so I’m waffling on the usefulness of that particular talent.

One concern I have is that there are many people who have steel plates in their heads and others who have arthritis, and they can also predict the weather with some accuracy. Dogs are also great predictors of thunder, lightning, and rain, and they’re cheaper to feed than I am. I’d better start work on my marketing campaign about why my head is a better weather-indicator than joints, steel plates, and dogs.

Then again, like I said before, I don’t want to rebuild. It makes me tired just thinking of all the work that will need to be done.

I think I’ll just stick with my original plan and ignore what’s going on around me. If that leads to the end of me, well, that will be that.

They’ll just have to find somebody else with a barometer face.

barometer-1297523_960_720

 

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