My Tribe Has A Motto. Do You Belong With Us?

“Everyone hates X.”

My friend said this to me.  I started to laugh out loud.

She was right, correct in her assessment of a mutual acquaintance, spot on to reality.

X is self-ish, judgmental, and politically extreme, with a mocking sense of humor.  Tedious, to a fault*.

Neither one of us has seen X in years, but my friend’s husband sees X once in a while.  It has to do with his work– and that he’s too nice.  Perhaps more of the latter, less of the former.

It’s through her husband that friend and I hear about what X is doing.  Not that we want to know, but her husband can’t help telling us.  It’s annoying because neither of us is a gossip, so we don’t care.

In fact I told my friend to tell her husband that he needed “to grow a pair of ovaries and woman up.”  Like we did, disengaging from a pointless relationship with X.

She burst out laughing, acknowledging that at this point in our lives, we’re wise woman who won’t put up with mean-spirited, negative people who bring nothing of value to the table.

Show up to the table with some insights &/or style &/or snark and you’re in, part of the tribe.  Welcome!  But try to dump any crap on us, and the offer of friendship is rescinded… until you get your act together and wise up… if you can.

My tribe, my vibe.

You in?

* While it might seem like I’m talking about The Donald here, I’m not.  Although if the unflattering description fits, then…

Just A Closer Walk: We Attended A Funeral Last Week

It’s been 2 weeks since my FIL passed away.

He was 89 years old, diabetic, and had Alzheimer’s, the long good-bye.

His funeral was a week ago Monday in the city where Zen-Den grew up, a 4 to 5 hour drive from here.  We drove there on Sunday and came back later in the week.

The funeral wasn’t a sad or maudlin affair because the person FIL had become was nothing like the person he’d been in his prime;  even then, in his better days he was a ‘hale fellow well met’ with some Archie Bunker thrown into the mix– stubbornly clinging to the past.

However, as is the way with people who suffer with Alzheimer’s, FIL deteriorated slowly, forgetting his resentments along the way.  He became physically weak, and seemingly ready to leave this world.

The best part of the funeral was FIL’s 3-year-old step-great-granddaughter who stole the show.  She was cheerful, of course.  Dressed in a sundress + straw hat.  Delightfully curious.  So much so that at one point during the memorial service she went up front, quietly, to join the pastor, sitting her little self down on a chair nearby him to watch.

Which was cute– and a visual reminder that life goes on.

And on that positive note I’ll end this post.  I’m not even sure why I’m telling you this, but some days, occasionally, I write here in a serious way as if this were my journal–  instead of a personal blog filled with flapdoodle and twaddle.

Today is one of those days.

Don’t Harsh My Mellow, I’m Only Doing What Mom Taught Me To Do

Mom was a proponent of a good lollygag and fritter.

To be clear she accomplished things in her life, but she also took the time to not be focused on her To Do List, allowing herself to let go of the need to accomplish things all hours of the day.

To wit, yesterday afternoon her daughter, moi, was out running important errands when it dawned on moi that spring had finally arrived.

The sky was medium blue with gorgeous white clouds floating across the it.  The trees were sporting bright green leaves again.  The temps were in the 70s so that I was wearing capris + sandals.

Thus, channeling my mother + remembering her admonishment to lollygag and fritter, I decided to toss my To Do List aside and stop at Home Depot to wander aimlessly through their garden nursery department.

I half-filled a shopping cart with herbs and annuals.  Nothing exotic, just tasty and pretty plants.  Then I went to pay for them at the checkout counter where the sales clerk, dispensing with your traditional “hello,” asked me:

Are you having a productive day?

And you know what, my gentle readers?  Her question about productivity, asked in that moment, peeved me in a way that surprised me.

She was, I believe, harshing my mellow.

Was I not, I ask you, paying tribute to my mother’s memory by lollygaging and frittering in the garden nursery department, not bothering a soul with my mellowness?

Why yes, Ally Bean, you were paying tribute to your mother’s memory by doing that which she taught you to do.

However, putting my snitification aside, I also believe that, knowing Mom’s sense of humor, she was laughing from heaven above about my irritation over a small thing in life on earth.

Yep, she was probably lollygaging and frittering on a beautiful white fluffy cloud– like the ones I could see floating overhead while I mumbled something to the sales clerk about being productive enough… for today.

In Which I Remember Why I Like To Shop Online

I saw a former neighbor when I was out shopping in the real world. I hadn’t seen her in years, which was fine by me.

I’m a person who believes that losing contact with some people along the way is healthy because we’re not meant to stay in touch with everyone we’ve ever known.

When former neighbor spotted me, there was nowhere to hide, so I smiled.  My smile was sincere, just not in the way that I imagine former neighbor thought it was.

You see, I was smiling because I knew I was about to find out a few things that were wrong with me.  This is because former neighbor knows everything.

Yes, she knows it all.  She is always right.

And me?

I’m sorry to tell you, my gentle readers, I am wrong.  About almost everything.  All the time.

‘Tis a miracle that I can hold my head up high when I walk out my front door. THAT’S HOW WRONG I AM.

And true to form, after a bit of “where do you live now?” chit-chat, she started rabbiting on, allowing me to learn that I am wrong about 3 specific things. They are: 1) the value of higher education;  2) what sterling silver really is;  and 3) that I’m getting my hair cut at the wrong place.

Fortunately the conversation ended there because she spotted someone else she knew– and needed to correct.  So I took the opportunity to walk away, saying “good-bye” as I scurried in the opposite direction from where she was standing.

But as I was doing so, in a moment of self-awareness, I realized that shopping online is easier and quieter, with fewer distractions– and less criticism.

Parsing A Trending Word, Thinking About My Dad

IF I OFFEND YOU, my gentle readers, by mentioning this charmingly old-fashioned word, please forgive me.  But you see, “pissant” was one of my father’s favorite words.

Dad’s been a long time gone from my life, so I’d forgotten about his use of this word.  However when I saw  “pissant” listed as Trending Now on the Merriam-Webster website, I immediately remembered Dad using the word.

OF COURSE WHEN DADDY, a physician, used the word “pissant” it didn’t stand alone.  Oh, no, no, no.  He’d further explain that the “pissant” in question was EITHER “in need of a high colonic” OR “in need of a frontal lobotomy.”

The first phrase, with the enema reference, was for those people who didn’t tell the truth– full of sh!t, ‘ya know?

The second phrase, the brain surgery reference, was for those people who were speaking illogically, making no sense– perhaps crazy.

DAD HAD A WAY WITH WORDS, I’ll give him that.  And because he was never one to not opine about events, people, &/or ideas–  many of his words have stuck with me in one way or another.

Don’t quite know what more to tell you here, my gentle readers.  Just a passing thought, from a blogging wordsmith who came by her love of words + writing early in life.

Listening to her elders [one in particular] go on & on about things. 🙄

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Do you ever hear a word and immediately think of someone who uses, or used, that word because the person and the word are inextricably linked together in your mind?

If so, what’s the word and who’s the person? If not, what prompts you to recall someone? Photos? Music? Food? Scent? 

~

To Me It Was The Grocery Store, To Dude It Was Noah’s Ark

THERE HE WAS LIKE A BAD OMEN.

SO I AM SHOPPING IN Kroger at a particularly busy time of day on a winter’s day when the weather is shifting from snow to rain.  Dude, a 40-something man with graying hair and expensive eyeglasses, is in my way.

Everywhere I go in the store, Dude, in his perfectly pressed dark blue jeans and black hoodie, is there in front of me.

  • In the foyer, Dude grabs the shopping cart I’m reaching for.
  • In the produce section he blocks me from grabbing a Vidalia onion… the mushrooms… a head of iceberg lettuce.
  • In the bakery department he stands indecisively by the rustic sesame seed bread that I want to buy.
  • In the meat department I try to reach for some boneless skinless chicken breasts, but he and his cart are in my way …again… as he ponders all things chicken.
UH HUH.

I LOSE TRACK OF DUDE while I’m shopping the interior aisles of the store.  I grab a jar of green olives stuffed with garlic and a box of Cheerios unhindered by his in-the-way-ness.

But he reappears in my life as I walk from the cheese department, where I’ve picked up some Swiss cheese, to the yogurt department where I want to buy one container of plain no-fat yogurt.

It is there, trapped behind this man once again …waiting… that I realize there’s writing on the back of his black hoodie.

NATURALLY I NEED TO KNOW WHAT IT SAYS.

I BEGIN TO STALK DUDE as he walks up and down the freezer case aisles, but he never stops to grab something from a freezer case when he’s under a bright overhead light so I’m unable to see the gibberish on the back of his hoodie.

Eventually we both end up in the refrigerated beverage section of the store where Dude reaches for a gallon of iced tea.  He’s standing under a light so I can read the pithinicity that’s written on the back of his hoodie.

Unsurprisingly, it says what I believe to be about the dumbest thing ever, while perfectly explaining Dude’s behavior while shopping in the grocery.  The writing on the hoodie said:

“If you’re going to fight, fight like you are the third monkey on the ramp to Noah’s Ark and brother it’s starting to rain.”

REALLY, DUDE? THAT’S YOUR MESSAGE. HOW VERY. 

Pondering A Neighbor: The Difference Between Gossip And Information

Dude, I’m not impressed with you. [Photo by Samuel Zeller via Unsplash]

~ ~ • ~ ~

WHILE ATTEMPTING TO MAKE A left-hand turn into our driveway I had to stop to allow a jogger, the neighborhood registered sex offender*, to run by before I could turn into our driveway.

He turned to look at me and snarled.  I looked at him and tipped my head, slightly, to acknowledge his presence.

I didn’t attempt to run over him with my car nor did I give him the finger.  Both options occurred to me as I sat there waiting for him to get out of my way but I realize that with some people indifferent is the best you can do.

I’D LOVE TO LEAVE THIS story at that, but here’s the thing– and it’s something that’s weighed on my mind since seeing this guy, a man who has served his prison time and is now merely listed on the state registered sex offender website.

In the last year, or two, this man has fathered a baby girl with his wife [girlfriend?].  They live down the street.  In this family neighborhood.

Uh huh.

Interestingly enough, it’s my understanding that soon, in the next year, he will be eligible to have his name removed from the sex offender website.  Meaning that only those of us neighbors who are here now will know about his past.

SO GETTING TO MY POINT, I’m left with three questions:

  1. would any parent knowingly allow their child to play with his daughter at his house?
  2. how unfair is it for this daughter to live her life under the shadow of his crime? and 
  3. when new neighbors move into the neighborhood, should someone tell them the rest of his story?

Discuss.

• • •

* UPDATED: This afternoon I got a chance to use the search function on The U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website.  The neighbor is no longer listed there.  HOWEVER, there were 13 other people listed as registered sex offenders who live within a 3 mile radius of my house.  I had no idea…

• • •