Patsy Porco

Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

Parallel Universes

In Humor on January 9, 2010 at 2:06 am

My sixteen-year-old son and I stopped at Walmart the other day. The video games weren’t working while we were there, so, for a lack of anything else to do, he appeared at my side in one of the aisles. Although I would have preferred to have shopped without a sighing, grumbling male next to me, I mostly ignored him and got my shopping done. The entire time, I thought that I was the one who was being inconvenienced by him. Boy, was I wrong.

Once we got into the car, I got an earful.

“You are so loud,” he said.

“I know. I’ve always been loud,” I laughed.

“And embarrassing.”

“I embarrassed you?” I asked, stunned. All I had done, I thought, was purchase supplies.

“Of course you embarrassed me. But you really embarrassed yourself.”

“I did? How?”

“With your loud talking! Do you think anyone cares if you have warts?”

I snorted.

“It’s not funny! Why did you have to announce you were looking for wart medicine? And, didn’t you realize that when you asked me if I could find the Cetaphil lotion and that woman told you where to find it, she only told you to get you out of the aisle?”

“She did not! She was being helpful.”

“No, she wanted to get rid of you. If you spoke in a normal voice, she wouldn’t have heard you ask me where it was.”

“She was standing right next to me! Of course she would have heard me.” I lowered my voice to a whisper, “Do you want me to start talking like this?”

“What’s wrong with you?” my son exploded. “There’s no middle ground for you. You’re either over-the-top or under-the-top!”

I made the mistake of laughing again.

What are you laughing about? It sure wasn’t funny when you asked, at the top of your lungs, if I needed a new deodorant.”

“Okay, I’m sorry about that. I wasn’t thinking,” I said.

“You NEVER think,” bellowed my son.

“Okay, who’s talking loudly, and rudely, now?” I asked.

“Well, at least I’m not talking in accents!”

“Accents?” I asked, in amazement.

“Yeah. When you said the housekeeper barked, ‘Tilex! Tilex!’ at you when she ran out of it, you used an accent! The woman behind you was Hispanic!”

“That was not a Hispanic accent I used,” I explained. “It’s my all-purpose accent. I don’t know how to speak with any real foreign accent.”

“Why would you use an accent EVER? Don’t you know how insulting that is?”

“Well, actually, to tell you the truth, no I don’t. I think society has taken this PC thing way too far. If you’re imitating someone, you imitate his or her voice, gestures, and accent. It shouldn’t be considered an insult, unless you’re being malicious.”

“It is NEVER okay to speak in accents,” he yelled. “Especially when you talk so loud.”

“Loudly,” I corrected.

“And then,” he continued, ignoring me, “when I tried to take the bags off the carousel, you told me to leave them there, because the cashier had a system and I was messing it up.”

“Well, he did have a system. He was trying to fill the bags equally, and you were interfering.”

He didn’t mind. In fact, he rolled his eyes at me in sympathy.”

“He did?” I feigned shock. “Well, then I’d better go back in there and have a chat with him.”

My son looked at me, to see if I was serious. I burst out laughing. He tried to stifle a smile.

“Why do you put up with me?” I asked.

“Because I love you … even though you’re embarrassing and talk loud.”

“Loudly,” I said. “And thank you. I love you, too.”


2010 and Counting

In Humor on January 2, 2010 at 4:34 pm
Happy 2010, Willing Subscribers!
Don’t you think that the New Year should begin in March, at the spring equinox? Spring is a more fitting season for fresh starts than winter is. I wonder how I can start a movement to change when the New Year starts? But first, I should probably look into how the calendar and the seasons work, so I don’t mess up the world; that might tick some people off. If the New Year is pushed ahead three months, will that make any difference in the scheme of things? The first year would be the only year affected, right? Let’s say we started this in 2011. So, 2010 would get an extra three months, but then things would sort themselves out after that. Something to think about. At least it would confuse the IRS.
My resolution this year is to get passports for my family. We missed two funerals for relatives in Canada last year because we weren’t allowed in their country. It upset us that we couldn’t go because we like our Canadian relatives a lot. If we didn’t, we could skip getting passports and keep using that excuse to not see them. Too bad you don’t need a passport to get into Kansas. We would be happy not to get passports if we could avoid those relatives.
Now that the holidays are over, it’s the blah season. Everyone looks and feels blah and the weather is blah and moods are blah. So if blah is an apt description of basically everything, why isn’t it an acceptable word in Scrabble? Speaking of Scrabble, I am addicted to the online Facebook version. I have games going with friends, acquaintances, cashiers at Walgreens, taxi drivers in New York, and one that I arranged between me and a fake email address using the name of Velda. In that game, I’m technically playing against myself, but you’d never know it. Velda is ruthless; she cuts me off at the knees in every game. I’m getting a little tired of playing with her.
I was laid off at the end of last year (2 days ago), so I’m going to have a lot of time on my hands. Naturally I’m going to be looking for work (in between Scrabble games), but looking for work now is so different from when I started out in the late 1970s. Today, most of the looking and applying is done online. Back in my youth, I took a year off between high school and college (very trendy in England; it’s called the “gap year”; in the U.S., it’s called the “get a job year”). I still lived with my parents, so every morning, my father would drag me out of bed and either deposit me at a bus stop at 5:30 a.m., or drive me almost into the center of Columbus, Ohio. He thought every experience should be a “character builder,” and “pounding the pavement,” as he called it, was meant to be taken literally. So, he would drop me at the fringe of downtown, usually right off the highway exit—at “Fourth and Nowhere,” as my brother (a later victim of my father’s character building exercises) named it. I don’t know why standing in the middle of exiting traffic was a character builder, but it was certainly an incentive to run fast. Cars in Columbus raced off the exits in those days. Thinking back, I have to wonder why they were in such a rush to get to work. Regardless, I’d be in downtown Columbus before offices and personnel offices (as they were called then) were open. So, McDonalds became my home away from home. It must have been a refuge for numerous pavement pounders, and loiterers, because they had a 20-minute limit on how long you could sit at a table to eat your meal. Fortunately there was a Wendy’s not far away, so after my 20 minutes, I would head over there. Eventually I would get myself over to an office building’s personnel department and take the typing, polygraph, and Breathalyzer tests, only to be told that they’d “be in touch.” Nowadays, you don’t have to leave your house to get rejected. In the old days, if you applied in person, you always received a response in the mail, even if it was a negative one. Today, it’s rare to even have your online application acknowledged. Maybe I’ll take to the pavement after all, and alarm Human Resource people by showing up in their departments unannounced. They probably don’t get that much. I do hope I find something soon, though. The Kansas relatives just found out that I have free time and they want to visit.
Happy 2010 everyone! By the way, are we calling it “Twenty-Ten” or “Two Thousand and Ten”? Any thoughts? Enjoy the new decade!
Chuck Smith, Virginia Author

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