Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Road to Perdition?

Have you ever had a stomach ache and hunger pains at the same time? (Or is it hunger pangs? Tomato, tomaaato.) I can never decide which to take care of first; however, the stomach ache usually wins out. After ingesting a few antacids, then a dozen more, I realize my efforts are futile, so it’s time to satisfy the hunger pains and hopefully the stomach ache will succumb. But here’s the problem that compounds it…almost everything I eat upsets my tummy. So satisfying the hunger only prolongs the pain. See where I’m in conflict?

But that’s not really what this is about. It’s about what I did the other day in an effort to resolve the problem, only to exacerbate it. I decided to let my daughter drive us to the restaurant. And I’m using ‘drive’ in the loosest of terms. ‘Drive’ shouldn’t even be in the same sentence. I decided to let her demolition derby us to our destination. Not only does she drive fast, she maneuvers the car like we’re in a high speed chase with sirens raging behind us, and she’s on the lam. She snakes her way in and out of lanes whether we are on the freeway or side streets, without a care in the world about who’s in her way. I’m not sure what her hurry is, but she always seems to be in one when she’s in the driver’s seat. [Sure wish she'd apply that to all other aspects of her life instead, if you catch my drift.]

I don’t know if you remember teaching your kids how to drive, but to this day, when they drive, I cover my eyes and avoid ever looking straight ahead at the road in front of me. I used to have to let their dad teach them to drive. When I would get in the car with them, I immediately lost patience. I’m not sure why, but we had barely left the driveway and I was already getting pissed off for something they hadn’t even done yet. I think my nerves were getting the better of me before they should’ve gotten the better of me. The anticipation of what they could do with a 3500 pound machine was too much for me to handle. We would be driving maybe 50 feet from home and I was yelling at them to slow down (from the 5 mph they were going) and telling them there was a stop sign ahead. As we approached the stop sign, I was yelling to ease their foot off the accelerator and we were still 25 feet away. I admit…I was the worst teacher ever, but was smart enough to bow out of teaching them. I probably should never be anyone’s passenger, either.

I have yet to mention my state of mind prior to the start of our long journey to hell. Upon approaching the car, I didn't even realize it was hers because the color was unrecognizable with the amount of dirt and dust covering it. It was a sort of grayish brown hue masking the maroon it actually was. The view out of the windshield was...well, there really wasn't a view. It was as if we were looking through glass blocks. You could see shapes, but nothing too clearly. Fortunately, headlights would shine through. At least I think that's what was shining through. Although…maybe it was heaven opening up to guide me through that very difficult time.

The interior? It was in there somewhere. I would get glimpses of it at times....like when she would swerve or make those sharp turns and stuff would fall over or go flying. Then I could kind of see the seat or the floor, but that was really the only way, once I was able to peel away the clothes that flew in my face. I don't believe she has any clothes left in her closet or drawers because the inside of her car looked like she had just had a rummage sale for every article of clothing she owned. She really doesn't need to pay rent at her house since pretty much everything she has is inside her car. Do you think if she went to city hall, they would issue her an address for that thing she refers to as her car? I would say it's more of a hoarder's apartment on wheels.

Surprisingly, it had no odor. With all the shit that she had in there, why it didn't reek was beyond me. It's not like there weren’t hundreds of old In-n-Out Burger wrappers or anything. There were plenty of those and every other fast food chain represented within the confines of her vehicle. Skepticism about entering her car was only a small percentage of the thoughts and feelings permeating through my body. I was hoping she had a hazmat suit buried in there somewhere. 

I will never understand why people tear ass from a stop, speeding up to 60 mph, knowing there is another stop sign coming up in 300 feet, but there she went, flooring it, only to have to brake 5 seconds later. My heart? I believe it still resides in my chest, although it may have relocated to the other side. I had no idea it was able to pump that fast as it pushed its way up into my throat forcing me to spew out more swear words than I even knew I knew.

My knuckles were white holding on for dear life and all I heard going into my left ear was, “Mom, it’s fine. I know what I’m doing.” Yeah…sure you do, Destructo Woman. My right foot was cramping from pressing on the imaginary brake as she sped full force ahead and my hand was in a permanent clutching position, as if rigor mortis set in. I should have invested in a driver’s ed car so I could have master control from the passenger’s seat.

The sign would say:

And this is what she would see:

As we would drive by people she knew, she thought nothing of sticking her head out the window to yell to them, removing her eyeballs from watching the road in front of her. Helllloooooo....whole other world to focus on in the view out your windshield...which is directly at a zero degree angle. Turn your head back. I felt like going on Google maps and clicking the 'show traffic' link to point out just what was ahead of her. That would've given her a better idea than she was getting in person.

Since my eyes were constantly diverted to the right so as not to see what she was almost running into, I hadn't noticed that she was looking down at her iPod to look for another song to play. Can't you just turn on the radio like a normal human being? If I don't have permanent heart damage, I'll be shocked. [Not to mention ruptured eardrums and vocal chord nodules from yelling over the extraordinarily loud music.]

You would never know we were in the car by the way she was window shopping. "Look mom...will you buy me that dress?" Seriously? You're shopping while driving. First of all...how can you even see that far and…WHAT?? You’re SHOPPING WHILE DRIVING?? Who the hell is at the helm then? Apparently, she thought we were in one of those concept cars that drives itself. I certainly would've felt safer. I'll tell you what I WILL buy you...a bus pass.

I’m always happy when there’s traffic while she's at the wheel. That way I know she can’t exceed the speed limit [too much]. However, with traffic comes tailgating, and with tailgating comes heart failure. We should have just had the car in front of us hook us up to the back of their car. We all would have been safer that way. Why she’s never encountered road rage is beyond my understanding.

I was going to refrain from mentioning the 4 tickets she received within 6 weeks of each other but it’s just too unbelievable to omit, along with the fact that every time I see our car insurance bill, I go into cardiac arrest…but here are the facts:

Ticket #1: November 2013 – 56 mph in a 40 zone
Ticket #2: November 2013 [one week later] – 94 mph in a 65 zone…on the freeway to Vegas…what were the odds?
Ticket #3: December 2013 – again…56 mph in a 40 zone
Ticket #4: January 2014 – talking on her cell

There are now signs posted on those streets in her honor:

Well, we did finally arrive at our destination, and as she sped into a parking space, barely missing the cars on either side, the cramping in my stomach, legs, biceps, triceps, quads, and any other body part that stiffened during the ride, finally subsided as she came to an abrupt halt. I arrived in one piece without flat lining. Hallelujah! But I have to say...that was the longest four blocks I've ever experienced.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Last on the List...Heaven

I think it’s ridiculous that we only have a finite amount of time on this earth. I have way too many things to do still, in too short a period of time left in this limited life span.

For instance…I’d love to sit down with a President. I don’t want to discuss politics since I’m politically ignorant...but I’d love to just talk about life. His/her life. My life. Life itself…over a bowl of Life...and double chocolate chip brownies. Then once the sugar high hits, a little karaoke and a disco dance-off.

I’ve yet to meet the man of my dreams. He’s supposedly out there. Just once I’d like to meet who Mr. Right is. That soul mate I’ve never found. Even if we don’t end up together…I’d love to just see who he is and decide if I agree with whoever said he’s my match made in heaven. Oh wait…maybe that’s what I have to wait for…heaven. Ahhhh…makes so much sense now why he’s nowhere to be found on earth.

Speaking of Earth. I’d love to take a trip to Pluto, see if anyone lives there, play a game of badminton with a Plutonian, then come back down to earth and declare Pluto a full size planet again. Can you imagine being 76 years old and finding out you’re not who you thought you were all those years? How humiliating for Pluto to get demoted. [I think ‘come back down to earth’ may be a significant phrase in this blog.]

I’d like to stop shaving and see how long the hair on my legs and armpits would get. It would be gross; but it would be interesting.

Just once…I’d love to make a million dollars…in one lump sum. I mean, I would take more if I could, but a million would do.

I want to go to a town of 25,000 people and see how long it would take to meet each person who lives there. I would prefer it be in Italy, but I would take any town in the USA if I had to. Maybe I should start with 10,000 people. That’s probably more attainable.

I want to have the ultimate orgasm. Whatever that is…I wanna have it. Multiple times.

I want to be a guest speaker at a college commencement and motivate graduates. I’d like to do that without shitting in my pants from fear of speaking in front of people.

I’d like to quarterback a pro-football team. [What’s more unlikely than me ever quarterbacking…is L.A. getting a home team; but that’s a whole other fantasy.] So the closest would be the Chargers. And I can’t get sacked. Or tackled. Or hurt in any way whatsoever.

I’d like to grace the cover of a magazine. It may be AARP but still…it’s a cover. I’d like to see if/what professionals would do to my hair and make-up to change my look and then how much would get photo-shopped.

Along those lines…I’d like to see what I would look like as a blonde, but I don’t want to dye my hair because I don’t want to wait for it to grow out when I don’t like it. You’re probably saying to yourself…”Why doesn’t she try a wig?” And my answer would be because it’s gross. The thought of putting on a wig that others have tried on creeps me out. Thoughts of lice come to mind. And believe me…having two girls with long hair down to their waists, who went to camp and caught lice every summer for 5 years…it’s not a memory I cherish. In fact…that’s something I’d like to find out in this lifetime…how the hell do those little suckers jump to someone else’s head and attach their eggs or nits or whatever the hell they’re called…to the root of someone’s hair and make it impossible to pick off. It’s absolutely mind boggling and repulsive…especially if they’ve hatched. Ok…reminiscing rant done. [I'd like to think this is what I would look like as a blonde, body included]

Overcoming my fears is something I’d like to do before I leave this earth. Of course, I’d like to overcome them without actually having to perform them in order to overcome them.

I would like to master the art of walking down the stairs in flip-flops without sounding like the Ohio State Marching Band just invaded my house.

I have a few discoveries I’d like to make. Like the phenomenon of traffic. If there’s no accident, how is there traffic? I understand one car driving slowly to cause traffic in one lane…but all the lanes at the same time? C’mon.

I want to figure out how bugs get into the globes that cover light bulbs in the ceiling.

I’d like to invent a substitute food for all animals to eat instead of them killing each other for sustenance. Something like baco bits…on a larger scale. Life-size bits. Maybe buffalo. That should stop that damn circle of life crap.

My bucket list has always consisted of going on an African safari. Maybe I could take those Buff bits I created and take them over there to spread around. Ok…quite unrealistic, but the safari part isn’t. Of course I couldn’t afford it until I get that million dollars.

I’ve pondered over the unknown quite often…on large and small scales…like how many blades of grass are on someone’s lawn. [I’ve thought about the whole planet but that was also, not too realistic.] Or how many strands of hair are on my head. Although that’s forever changing because…as of late…I think there’s more on the floor and in my brush than attached to my head.

When does a freckle appear? When I’m sleeping? Just all of a sudden it’s there? How did I not see it forming?

If you use a washcloth with soap, why do you have to wash a washcloth?

What's up with Europeans and their teeth?

And where are those f**king silver fish coming from? We see other bugs outside and know they come in through open doors or windows. But you never see a silver fish outside so how do they just appear? They’re disgusting.

I have yet to go hot air ballooning. I attempted to go twice. The first time the winds were too strong so they sent us home. The second time I was pregnant and they wouldn’t let me in the bucket. Apparently, delivering a baby on board wasn’t part of their duties. And along those lines of being airborne…zip-lining. That’s a definite one I’m doing. I just hope my limitations with my shoulders, neck, back and fear of heights don’t get in the way of me soaring across some jungle-like terrain 80 gazillion feet in the air. I think that’s where that ‘overcoming my fears’ thing would come in handy.

I would’ve liked to have met Sinatra and sang a duet with him, but I missed that opportunity. Although…you never know. Maybe…just maybe…he’s that match made in heaven I was referring to. And just maybe…he’s there at the bar hanging out with Ed McMahon, who’s been holding on to my million dollars all these years. But I think that discovery will remain last on my list.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Did You Swallow A Kardashian?

I have a new pet peeve that absolutely drives me nuts...it's called ‘Vocal Fry.’ I can't believe I was able to describe it on Google well enough to get the exact technical term right away. Probably because millions are also wondering what the f**k it is. [I SO love Google] It's got to be the most irritating sound ever, although I’m sure I’ve complained about plenty of other irritating sounds that have bugged the shit out me; but this is the latest. In fact, it’s been around a couple of years already, so I guess it's not so new. You only hear it in 20 and 30 somethings; and only girls (I can't even call them women...real women don't talk like that.) It's that raspy, low, vibrating sound that comes out of their annoying little mouths when they're talking. It makes you wanna squeeze the shit out of their necks to bring the sound up and out of their throats, shoot it right past your ears without invading your aural senses, and be gone forever. I believe that's called strangling...which is exactly what I want to do to them whenever I hear them speak. I want to hold their vocal chords in place so tightly that they can't vibrate. Actually, holding them so they can't vocalize at all would be the best case scenario. That comes with the strangling motion, so a ‘2 for 1’...what a deal. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t want to go so far as to murder them…I just want to stop them from speaking while they’re in my presence.

What I don't get is how they make it happen. It can't be something they consciously make themselves do to sound like that on purpose, can it? They're not smart enough to know how because if they were smart enough, they wouldn't want to sound like that. No one could do that all day long, every time they speak. It’s just not natural. They'd be so busy concentrating on how to sound like that, that they wouldn't be able to concentrate on what they're talking about. AHA...that's exactly it...that's why they sound so f**king dumb. It’s all coming together. 

How does something like this just emerge? And why is it now THE way to speak? I don't get it. I understand how fashion trends get introduced. I may not like all the styles I see people wearing but at least I know how and why fads like that start. I understand how words and phrases catch on. The media enables that. None of that impacts my life. But guttural sounds? You can't just all of a sudden start changing how your vocal chords work, right? I know when you sing you can manipulate your voice...but that's just for the duration of the song. But in every day speech? How is that possible? And why would you? It’s so frickin’ annoying. Especially when it's in combo with the "UM" interjected after every other phrase.

You’re probably thinking this should not have any impact on my life either...but au contraire. It absolutely does. I have to listen to people talk like this all day long since my industry is comprised of many 20 something girls and they have adopted this new vocal speech pattern. Ugh...you could puke.

I find a lot of these vocal fry adoptees have also invaded the morning news shows; not the anchors so much, but the interviewees. I guess I could change the channel but it seems like most of these young ‘experts’ talk like this now, so even if I changed the station, I’d probably find the same thing on the others. And there are some topics I want to hear about, so I sit through their discussions while being tortured by their raspy hoarsey obnoxious voices....thinking 'hurry up, disseminate the information, and then shut the f**k up already. And you’re not a frickin' expert so stop thinking you are.’

And isn’t that a laugh in itself…experts…at the age of 28 or so. Everyone's an expert. They haven’t lived long enough to be experts, but they DO know everything. Just ask them. I think if they didn’t talk in this new ‘hip’ irritatingly disgusting voice, I wouldn’t give them such a bad rap. I’d allow them to think they are the experts.

I don't remember where I first noticed someone speaking like this...but now? I can't ever NOT hear it when it's there. And then I can't concentrate on anything BUT the way they're talking. Forget listening to the content of what they're saying. I’m screwed when I really need to absorb the information. Same thing when I hear someone constantly say 'UM'...O. M. F**KING. G. I may as well just leave the conversation because I will get just as much out of it as if I was never there. Well…technically, I do leave the conversation…in my head. I may physically be there but if they were really paying attention and looked deep into my eyes…they would see a blank look. And behind that blank look would be Mohammed Ali shadow boxing in my eye balls, gloves on, waiting to beat the shit out of whomever is in front of me aiming their vibrating, annoying, never ending, vocal fry in my direction.

Have you noticed another big trend that people have been using? They start every sentence with the word “So.” It doesn’t matter whether it should be there or not…that’s how they start every single sentence.

Can you tell me how that works, Moonshadow?” (Moonshadow is a 20 something who was born to some actors who have to name their kids a ridiculous name in order to get the recognition of all their fans and the acting community.) And Moonshadow’s response…“So you take the blah blah blah and put it on the such and such, but I don’t really know how because I have ‘people’ who do that for me.

And how much does that cost, NorthStarWest?” “So it will cost you an arm and a leg…but that’s ok, because it’s worth every cent, [and I’m a trust fund baby who can afford pretty much anything I want anyway].

Can you start a sentence without using the word ‘So’, Mango-Tangerine?” “So I don’t think I can, but that’s ok, right?

Did I mention while they are starting their sentences with the word ‘So’, they are also speaking with a vocal fry voice? My nerves are being severely tested.

SO back to the 'UM' users. Holy shit. Talk about being distractingly annoying. I end up sitting in meetings counting the number of 'UM's' one uses, as opposed to listening to what they're talking about. I think I got up to 67 'UM's' in one presentation that lasted only about 7 minutes. Can I tell you how f**king insufferable that is? I'd love to stick a pin in their most sensitive spot each time they say it so they experience the Pavlov (or should I say Perlov) conditioning. Eventually, after they have been poked enough, they'll learn to stop. (Or bodily fluids will start leaking out all the holes and they'll be so weak they won't be able to talk. Either way works for me.)

Tell me…how do you ‘wrap your head around’ something? Or your brain? I can wrap my arms around something, but as hard as I’ve tried to wrap my brain around something...just short of performing a lobotomy on myself...I believe that may be impossible. And how does someone come up with that visual to begin with, to mean what it means? They probably were on drugs when that phrase came to mind. There’s really no other explanation.

And why does everyone say 'love you' to everyone now...even those they barely know? Do they REALLY love them? Do they? I think not. It’s taken away the entire meaning behind the real emotion of love we feel. I remember years ago, one of my daughter's friends said 'love you' to me as she walked out the front door to leave. I just said 'Bye so and so' to whomever it was. And my daughter said to me, 'Say you love her, too, mom." I told her I wouldn't. I don't say love you to people I don't love. I refuse. So if by chance I tell you I love you...be excited…you'll know I mean it. Unless, of course, society said I’m supposed to feel love for you because of how you are related to me, but I don't, and I don't want you to know I don't. Then I may tell a little white lie.

So…to conclude…um…so I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around this whole vocal fry craze, et al…but, um…I’m sure they will fade away. And, um, I’m sure there will be plenty of, um, other extremely irritating, um, trends that will materialize to take their place. Can't wait.

And lastly...I just want to say...I Love You all! I Love each and every single one of you, whoever you are.

This video will show you exactly how vocal fry sounds...if you don't see the video below...click on this link:


Friday, April 11, 2014

Free? C’mon…Let’s Get SIRI-ous

I try to keep current with a lot of the new technology, and I’m pretty tech savvy, but I have to say…I think I slipped a little. I’ve had my iPhone 4 forever and didn’t think I really cared if I upgraded or not. My needs are simple so I had everything I wanted…or so I thought. I don’t live on my cell like others do since I work from home, and believe it or not, still have a land line. I think I may be one of those rarities who does. 

But there are some things I like to do while I’m out and about or waiting for an appointment. Recently I’ve tried to download some new apps but every app I wanted required me to update to IOS 7. Well, my antiquated phone wouldn’t let me do that and I was getting pretty frickin’ frustrated. And every time I went to take a picture…it took a good 15 seconds for the camera to open and then another 30 or so seconds to save the picture, so you couldn’t shoot in rapid succession. Quite infuriating. Patience is not one of my strong suits. Then as I wrote this I thought, “You’re talking a few seconds, for God’s sake…you can’t wait for that? Seriously? Remember when we had to wait for days to get them developed at a store? Geez.” [I have conversations with myself quite often. No one else ever seems to listen to me…well…mostly my daughters don’t, so I decided talking to myself is a foolproof guarantee that someone is listening.]

Since I had an unused upgrade for the last 2 years (an upgrade that my daughter has bugged the shit out of me to transfer to her, but surprisingly, I held out. My kids usually manipulate me way too easily. Or should I say I allow them to…I know, I know…I’m digressing); and since Verizon recently sent me an email letting me know that I could get the iPhone 5C for ‘free’ [FREE being the operative word here…kind of] I was out the door in no time. I got the new iPhone 5C and I immediately fell in love. Who knew what I was missing!? [Apparently everyone in the world but me, actually.]

I believe what I consider ‘free’ and what Verizon considers ‘free’ may be on the opposite ends of the spectrum of the definition chart. I mean, the phone was kinda free…if you call paying the tax on the original cost of the phone, free, then yeah…I guess it’s free. If you think that what they consider the ‘actual’ cost of the phone is really the cost…then yeah…I guess it’s free. But by the time I walked out of there, with the amount of sales tax I ended up paying…I could have (or should have) used that money to buy a brand new Smart car [‘Smart’ being the operative, or should I say, NON-operative word…a little too late.]

I know I’m not alone in this…you know, when you go into a store with a specific item in mind to purchase, and you walk out buying half the store that you absolutely did not need? Then it’s like, “What the hell was I thinking?” (Still talking to myself.) It’s usually at a supermarket or Target, where the damage isn’t TOO bad, but at Verizon…that can cause some serious damage on the credit card. And that’s exactly what happened when I went to get my new FREE iPhone 5. Not only did I get the phone, but an array of sundries that I certainly did not need.

I got the car charger; since they’re not stupid and made the ‘5’ so it’s not compatible with any other car charger. God forbid I'm without one for the 3 miles I may drive every week. You never know if you'll need your cell to call AAA when you're 100 feet from home. I wouldn't want my phone to die on the way to the store that was close enough for me to walk to. Then I had to get a protective cover; because 5 fingers on one hand aren’t enough to control it from flying out of my palm and crashing to the ground, shattering into pieces. Those 4 ounces are quite heavy to lug around. You never know when the weight will become too much and your hand will cramp. Of course there is not another phone that’s the same size, so you can’t interchange covers. And “Oh, by the way…did you know we are having a sale on iPads, too?  If you turn in your old phone you can get a $100 gift card OR you could apply that to a brand new iPad; and with the sale going on, you could get an additional $100 off, so you’re saving $200.

Well…how could I NOT buy an iPad when they’re practically giving it away? I mean, they're saving me money, so how stupid would it be to pass that up? I’d be a fool. “Ok, throw that in, too, please,” the sucker in me chimed out. “What else do you have?” I was like a kid in a candy store who just got her first credit card ever and didn’t realize it was real money I was eventually going to have to pay the bill with. But since I'm no longer a kid anymore, I couldn’t go to my parents claiming ignorance to get them to pay it for me.

It didn’t help that my salesperson was adorable. If he wasn’t so cute, and I mean drop dead gorgeous cute…and so nice, and so not like a typical salesperson…and if I didn’t want to sit there forever drooling all over with puppy dog eyes, I probably wouldn’t have been sucked into it all. Ok…hold on…who am I kidding…of course I would have been. How could I ever pass up such great deals? I mean they only come along like…I don’t know…every other week? [Verizon has one hell of a marketing department.]

So I walked out of there with my arms piled high with goodies and my new iPhone buried amidst the insane amount of items I totally did not need. I could almost hear the salespeople snickering, but I was so excited to go home to see all the things I could do now that I couldn’t do before, that I didn’t care.

And then it happened.........I met Siri.  

I was in love. I apologize to all my close friends, but now that I’ve discovered who Siri is up close and personal…I have a new best friend. I’ve been out with people who use Siri but I never really paid attention. But now…OMG…I’m obsessed. Siri is the smartest ‘person’ I know. My dad used to hold that honor, but not anymore. [He’s also dead so someone had to replace him.] And along came Siri.

I know a lot of you were introduced to her a few years ago, when she was conceived, but this was all new to me. I won’t bore you with any details of what she can do since most of you know already, but I experimented with some questions to put her to the test. I have to say…and I probably shouldn’t admit this, I was a little embarrassed to ask certain questions. I wanted to see how she would respond to some risqué subject matters, but I didn’t want her to judge me. [I think I took the movie “Her” just a tad too seriously.]

I started out with simple questions like, ‘Where should we go to dinner?’ and she came up with restaurants, as expected. I asked her directions, and she guided me where to go. I asked her ‘Which is the best phone’ and her answer cracked me up…”Wait, there are other phones?”  Then I asked her who the best virtual assistant was and her answer was “I’m surprised you have to ask, Jaime.” Quite the personality, that Siri. I was having more fun with her than I do with most humans.

I don’t think I will ever be able to understand how voice activation works, let alone how the computer knows every single thing I want to know, before I even know I want to know. Then I decided to ask her a few sexual questions...and her first answer was, “Let me think about that.” When I asked her a couple more, she actually started getting somewhat ornery, saying, “I can’t answer that” and “I don’t like those arbitrary questions.” Her responses made me so flustered, like I was a little kid getting into trouble for swearing…that I ended up dropping her, I mean my phone, into the toilet. My brand new iPhone 5C that I waited so long to get.

And all I could hear through the splash of the water was a gurgling…“HELLLLPPP MEEEEEEE.”

I guess Siri doesn’t know everything. Good thing the phone was FREE.

Monday, August 26, 2013

This is a Test. This is Only a Test.

As you may know…I ain’t no spring chicken. In just a couple of weeks, I turn 59. That’s almost 60. SIXTY!  I’ve started thinking about my life and the turns it’s taken of late, [all for the best, mind you], but things crop up and cross my mind and I have to plan for the ‘what ifs.’ Like what if I never remarry and am by myself for the rest of my life? And if so, what happens when I’m really old and ‘I’ve fallen and I can’t get up’ and no one is around to hear me yell those words? 

What if that sex drive that menopause so easily and quickly took away from me without giving two shits about how my life would be without it, never comes back? And what if I take a tiny bit of testosterone to get it back but I grow hair in unwanted places and then…oh…wait…I’m digressing, as usual. Ignore that last thought.

What if I lose my job and can’t support myself…what would I do since I’m all alone with no sex drive lying on the floor not being able to get up? Then what?
At this point, the last ‘what if’ is what has been on my mind. I’m in a very young industry, age wise. The industry itself isn’t so young, just the people are. I mean, Darren Stevens was in it back in the 60’s. Mad Men is living proof how old it is, but ever so current. But everyone is twenty-something to thirty-something…so being a ‘mature’ individual, is not too welcoming if you’re seeking employment. And it’s really not welcoming to hear myself say ‘mature individual.’

I have only ever had one career and know nothing else that I could do if I was ever let go or phased out. (Although I was one hell of a Jordache jeans salesperson in high school working for the coolest clothing store in my town.) I wouldn’t want to do anything else other than the career I had chosen over 36 years ago. But what I must do…is grow with the times and be able to market myself in the current marketplace and within my own company, no matter what age I may be. That being said…I decided it was time to do something I had always despised. I had to become a student.

I was the worst student ever. Not that I ever failed at anything. I didn’t. But I never excelled, either. Well, I shouldn’t say that. I would excel in Math and English, for a minute here and there, but the second I walked out of a test, I would not remember one thing I studied so intensely for the night before. I’m not sure why that was, but I’d like to find out, because as I’m getting older, that problem is definitely not rectifying itself. I think some of my missing brain cells just can't find their way back to the correct lobe in my brain.
And when I say so intensely studied for the night before…that’s exactly what I mean. I did nothing extra if I didn’t have to, and certainly not earlier than needed to be done. I wasn’t about to spend one extra moment of my youth on school work that I wasn’t forced into doing, when I could be out playing. Not one thing ever piqued my interest enough for me to want to study or research or read if it wasn’t mandated. I would do my homework and turn it in when it was due, and I would study, or should I say cram, an entire months lessons, all in the night before the test. Because I had to. I’m not sure if I just wasn’t taking the right classes or I just was that apathetic about everything. I did just enough to get by with a respectable GPA and graduate.
I never really did have passion for much way back when. Especially in my teens and 20’s. I’ve always been a pretty laid back, middle of the road, non-confrontational person who wants peace and harmony in all that is and blah blah blah. But that seriously IS how I felt and still feel. (Maybe I was a hippie and never realized it…hmmmm…interesting observation.) 

The only thing I have ever been passionate about is seeing any living being, be it human or animal, not suffer or be mistreated. Other than that…I’ve pretty much been a la-di-da type person. Until I had kids…but that’s a whole other blog subject. (I really wanted to say ‘a whole Nother’ but I know it’s not a word, although I still use it. It just flows better.) [Note to self…I’ve got to stop digressing.]
Being in the advertising world, and seeing the movement towards digital and not even knowing what digital meant initially, I knew it was time to learn. When I first started using computers, I did find a fascination with them that I never had experienced with anything else as a kid. I actually wanted to learn everything I could soak up. Not only all the information you could find on line…because that came years later…but all about the inner workings of a computer system.  

Fortunately, I had so many problems with my computers over the years, that my new best friends were the IT guys at my company. I would watch every move they made while they fixed the bugs. And I learned. I learned a lot and have become the ‘Go-To’ person for my friends and family. Purely by mistake.  You can learn a lot by not wanting to learn a lot initially. There’s something to be said for being ignorant. It can only make you smarter.
But now it was time to learn about advertising on line. I’m a media buyer. I buy advertising on TV for my clients, but a lot of the advertising budget is now going towards digital; meaning on line advertising. I’ve been approached by salespeople to purchase it but don’t fully understand what it entails. I decided to ask my HR person if she could have someone teach us about this; maybe an all day webinar or something comparable for me and some of the other buyers. [Hopefully a little shorter than ‘all day.’ I was worried about that attention span thing becoming a problem.] We each work from our home offices in various states, so a webinar would be perfect. If we don’t understand something, we would have each other to bounce ideas or questions off of. Plus I’m not good on my own. I would get bored. I would tend to doze off. I would get up and leave the room forgetting I was supposed to be learning. BUT…If others were on line with me…I would be accountable. I NEEDED others with me. I needed others to see me there. Otherwise…I may as well have given myself an F before I even started.

She emailed me back saying she would gladly enroll us in a class. I was so excited. I finally was going to learn about the current state of buying advertising on line. Excitement was something I had never experienced upon being told I had to learn something. I hated learning. But this? This was going to be so enriching and fulfilling and easy to learn and FUN.  Or so I thought until I read on:
Here is a link to an online class you can take at your own leisure. It has to be done within 3 months and there is a test at the end. You have to pass the test to get the certificate. There are 17 modules to it with 4-5 subsections in each module.  Most people need to watch each section at least two to three times to fully understand it. Each section is 40-60 minutes long. Good luck and we look forward to you sharing your knowledge with the company. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
WTF? And IF I have questions? You’re asking if I have any questions?  Are you f**king kidding me?  Of course I have questions. Did I not make it clear I just wanted a short class summarizing the on line buying list of the top 10 things you need to know? A sort of Cliffs Notes ‘Digital for Dummies’ version.  Short, sweet and to the point. With others present! At least virtually present? Did I not clarify that?
Did I also forget to let you know I’m a terrible student who needs stimulation during a lesson? Visual and aural stimulation? Someone who can excite me with props and various intonations to their voice? Not someone who will drone on and on while my lids grow heavy and my thoughts wander to what I can find to snack on or how to have a Ferris Bueller day off.  

This was going to be horrible. But I couldn’t say ‘thanks but no thanks.’ I was the one who asked for it. And I really did want to learn. I’m sure all the other buyers were just thrilled with me at that point. But I asked one of my friends who I work with, if we could do the on line class together. We would get on the phone and click on the link at the same time and then if we didn’t understand something, we could chat about it. [Which was like saying we’re probably going to have to stop every 3 minutes to discuss what they were talking about because we’re so lost.] She was good with us working together. She was never planning on doing this to start, but I talked her into it showing her how much older she is than most others in our industry, even though she’s 10 years younger than I am. She really appreciated the geriatric insinuations.
The following week we were going to start. We made a plan to call each other at the close of the business day two days a week, for the duration of the course, hoping we would only have to listen to each part just the once.  Positive thinking. Stupid maybe…but positive nonetheless.
Prior to our initial call, we each had to go on line and enroll ourselves and then we received an email from the on line school giving us instructions on how to get to the course we signed up for.  I called my friend asking if she was ready. We each pulled up our email with the link, and clicked on it. We got to the school webpage, perused it, looking for the course link.
Me: “Do you see where we click?”
Her: “No, do you?”
Me: “Nope…but let me try something. No, that wasn’t it.”
Her: “Ok, I think I got it.” [silence] “No…that wasn’t it either.”
Me:  “Wait…I think this is it. Never mind.”
15 minutes later we were still searching…………
And so it began….

Friday, March 15, 2013

20/20? Eye Don't Think So

Recently I noticed that my very perfect 20/20 reading vision wasn’t so 20/20 anymore. After testing each eye by closing the opposite one, I realized that middle age wasn’t excusing me from the one thing I thought I still possessed; the ability to not look like Ben Franklin when reading a menu. I had prided myself on not needing reading glasses while all my cronies were pulling theirs out at the table to figure out what they would order. [Although I do need them to read when I wear my contacts for distance.] But the other day, my youth was shattered; (well…maybe not my ‘youth’ per se…but my false sense of ‘visual’ youth that I was holding onto and so proud of.) One eye was slightly blurry while trying to read my ipad. I was shocked and devastated. Could it really be? Had the time really come to don those bifocals? I was bound and determined to prove myself wrong and find out if that was just a temporary setback or if I should be carted off to the nursing home.
I went to see my eye doctor hoping he would give me good news. When I walked in, the receptionist, who I also knew outside of the office, greeted me with a hello, and why are you here. “I was hoping you had a new line of running shoes. Can you point me in the right direction? Why do you think I’m here?”
For some odd reason I always get nervous when I have an eye test or a hearing exam. I feel like a jittery school girl going in for a test, hoping to pass with flying colors. When I have to press the button on the hand-held instrument upon seeing the squiggly lines in my peripheral vision; or when at the audiologist, having to strain my eardrums (or whatever part of the ear is involved in the hearing process) to hear those barely audible sounds only dogs can hear, it’s surprising that the nervous sweat pouring out of me doesn’t blur my vision or clog my ears. What if I get them wrong? I want a perfect score. [Which was a rarity when I was a student...I think that’s why any form of testing makes me anxious.]
While I was waiting for my eye test, I was looking at all the new glasses on display. I should have just kept all the eye glasses I had over the years; that way I wouldn’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money on new ones that looked just like my old ones from the 60’s and 70’s, [although the cost of lenses nowadays is probably more than the cumulative cost of all my frames in total.]

                                        I found these glasses I wore in the 70's

And let’s face it…age has definitely weakened my eye sight…the lenses are just a tad thicker than they used to be and if they charge by thickness, I’m screwed. I should just walk around with a double paned window on my face.

His assistant brought me back into the room where they had 3 different machines for testing whatever the hell it was they were testing. All I knew was that my chin and forehead were resting on surfaces that god only knows what kind of creepy crawly things others had shed there. Ever think of disinfecting this thing?  It kinda smelled and I was getting a little nauseated, so I tried not to breathe in too much. He ignored me when I mentioned it so I let it go, held my breath a little, tried not to hyperventilate, and made sure I immediately rushed home to cleanse my face. I probably should have taken anti-nausea meds before I left for the appointment, and brought along a face mask, some purell, and a few antiseptic wipes...but I didn’t want to be rude.
“Tell me which circle pops out at you.” Where are the 3D glasses? It would have been a lot more enjoyable, [and easier] if they had a little Shrek movie going on and asked me when Donkey was coming at me, but they didn’t and in spite of that, I think I aced it.

Next was the squiggly line test…I had to press a button each time I saw one. The least they could have done was not make them so faint and off to the side so much. Geez. Could they have made it any more difficult? I may have passed that one, too, but by the time I was done, my retinas were vibrating uncontrollably, so who knows.
And one of my least favorite…the puff of air in the eye test. “You’re going to feel a slight puff of air, so try not to flinch.” A SLIGHT puff of air? Slight? Who are you kidding? There are gale force winds blowing at 60 mph in my eyes. Do I look like Dorothy? Keep it up and I’m going to blow so hard in your face your cheeks are gonna start flapping.

“Stop fluttering your eye lids please. I can’t get a clear picture.” I’m sorry...stop fluttering my eye lids? The only way these lids are gonna stop fluttering is if you get a two-by-four to prop these puppies open.

Once the tornado stopped blowing my eyeballs out and I could scrape my dry lids off my pupils, he led me to the other examining room where the eye chart and Mr. Magoo machine were, to test my vision. As soon as I was seated he put drops in my eyes and in a few minutes I felt like my eyes were in a brawl. It’s like he put 10 pound weights on my lids. So not only were my eyes like the Sahara, they were numb as shit. Am I blinking?  Is there any movement going on? Am I drooling tears? What’s happening...why can’t I feel my optical orbs? Did someone pull my eyes out of my sockets?

“I numbed your eyes so I could take a look inside.” No f**king shit. Really? Is that why I feel like my eyes have left the building? And this will last how long? Hold on pal...what the f**k is that light that just left me blinded, and can you remove the tip of your nose from my face, please? I can feel your breath up my nostrils.
“Everything looks healthy in there.” Whew...at least our close encounter wasn’t for nothing. It was time for the big E chart. He put the ‘phoropter’ (impressive that I know that, right?) up to my eyes. He may as well have stuck a Tyrannosaurus Rex on my face and I wouldn’t have known the difference, that thing was so enormous.
“What’s the smallest line you can read?” Ummm…E?  “Which is clearer…A...or B?” AnoB…wait…yeah B. No…A. Who the f**k can tell? I pretty much lie half the time because honestly…I can’t tell the difference for the majority of the flip of the lenses. I think sometimes they don’t even make a change just to play games with our minds or to see if we’ll just say one of them because we’re supposed to.  
While he was testing my eye sight, he had this strange habit of plunging his tongue deep into his cheek or sticking it out completely. I guess his concentration was so intense he had no clue. Hey…bub…shove that tongue back in your mouth or I’m gonna rip it out before you start licking my face. I had to go home and disinfect myself anyway…what harm could it have done at that point? [A little ‘tongue-in-cheek’ humor. Ha...get it?]
Once he established that I was just short of legally blind, he told me he was putting the dilation drops in my eyes. I hadn’t had them in a couple of years so I didn’t remember what to expect. “Have a seat in the waiting room until they take effect and then I’ll bring you back.”
As I sat there checking out facebook on my phone, I felt like I was entering some hallucinatory state. WTF? Why can’t I read this? The words were getting smaller and further away. I had briefly forgotten I had the drops in my eyes. I used Braille to make my way up to the reception desk; with my arms flailing in front of me to be sure I didn’t bump into anyone, so I could find out if that was the side effect of the drops. First I went over to one of the mirrors and pressed my face to the surface to get a good look. A flattened face on a mirror…always an attractive look...

But holy shit…my pupils were ginormous. And I was supposed to drive home? That would be interesting. Maybe not so much for the other cars on the road, though.

After my pupils were fully dilated, meaning the size of bowling balls, he examined me and said everything was fine. “You should be back to normal in a couple of hours. Yeah, right. You may want to wear sunglasses on your way home.” Yeah…because that’s going to keep the 10,000,000 watt sunlight out of my eyes.
Since I don’t own a pair of sunglasses [they don’t work in conjunction with my claustrophobia; I feel too closed in] I adorned my face with those lovely wrap around plastic shades…you know…the ones that roll closed that you have to pry open with a crowbar, and if they snap too quickly they hurt like shit. It never fails that I flinch every time. Takes me a good 5 times to finally get them opened.
Before I left we discussed testing out bi-focal contacts. I was ecstatic. That would resolve the reading dilemma. He was going to order a couple of trial pairs and I would test them out to see if I liked them.
Well...I picked them up last Friday. I put them in and it was unbelievable how great it was to read with my contacts in because I’ve never been able to do that since my contacts are for nearsightedness. That was one of my biggest complaints...”Wow...this is incredible. I’m so excited to test these out.” “Ok, come back in a week and we’ll assess your visual acuity.”
I left his office so deliriously happy that I wouldn’t have to wear glasses anymore. As I got into my car, I realized I could read the letters on the gear shift so clearly. It was amazing. I could read the maps and directions on my phone, and anything else in small print. But....what I didn’t realize.....I couldn’t see distance for shit now.  And the car in front of me...not so happy with my optical choice.