I imagined starting off this post with all the reasons excuses I haven’t been writing. My computer broke. I’ve been crocheting. I have more. If you’re interested, just let me know. But I highly suspect you aren’t.
The truth is, I’m speechless. At a time when I feel like I should most find my voice, I’m embarrassingly mute. It’s not that I’m disconnected; quite the opposite. I’ve become a news junkie. I go to bed at night wearing wireless earbuds and wake up in the morning wondering what I missed after I fell asleep with them in. It’s that bad.
I’ve always maintained that I can’t change what goes on in the vast world, and so I’m just going to pay attention to those things that I can change. Someone’s day. My outlook. A corner of the garden. That worked for me because I believed, and still do, that the majority of people in the world are good. I believed things would all work out in the end because good conquers evil most of the time.
So now I’m a news junkie and I can’t claim blissful ignorance anymore. I understand that the good majority is poor, and that money buys the world. And what does one do when her voice is small and peaceful in a world that is screaming injustice at the top of its lungs?
I became speechless.
It’s not that I have nothing to say. It’s just that there are others saying it so well and so loud with all the best words. (That’s funny, right?) I can’t compete. Nor should I. Just because I have opinions on the news doesn’t mean I ought to write about it. That’s like somebody who admires and critiques art feeling guilty for not painting.
In the words of one of my favorite millenials, I need to do me. And if my voice is small and peaceful and speaks of wholeness, balance and love, there’s room for it. And maybe someone will hear it and smile. Because if all I do today is make someone smile, that’s enough.
I’ll never rid the world of injustice, prevail over all evil, or move millions to march. But I am enough. For that one person who just needed a hug or a smile or to be seen, I am enough.
So maybe you’ll be hearing more of me again. But you may need to take out your earbuds and listen closely over the roar of the protesters.
So proud of the women my daughters have become. They love deeply. They think critically. And on this day we became not just mother and daughters, but women standing as one with millions across the globe against injustice, fear, hatred, and bullshit.
Let’s investigate a well-known (albeit completely misunderstood) fact.
When men lose their crap, women know where to find it.
Two-hundred thousand years of Homo sapiens haven’t demystified this common phenomena. I’ll bet when Zog grunted that he had lost his hunting club, Unuk growled she last saw it next to the pounding stone. I’ve lived with three men in my life; a father, a husband, and now Bubba. So I speak from a fair amount of experience. Even on television — Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, Carol and Mike Brady, and Marge and Homer Simpson — it’s all the same. I don’t think much has changed since Zog and Unuk played house.
When we built a bar in the basement, everyone and their brother bought us different gadgets for opening bottles. We must own twenty different and unusual gadgets just for opening bottles. So when Bubba, thirsty for an old-fashioned cane-sugar Coca-Cola, went raging through the house roaring that he couldn’t find the bottle opener, I was perplexed. There are twenty-some behind the bar. Right?
Then it occurred to me that he wanted his favorite bottle opener designed like a butterfly knife.
“Check by the coffee pot.”
“Oh yeah! Hey, thanks, Babe!”
By the coffee pot. That’s where he left it. Not only did he leave it there, I knew where it was.
How you choose to explain this mystery depends upon your perspective.
The way women see it:
Men are like children. They never matured past having their mother tell them to pick up their things and put them back where they belong or there would be no dinner.
Men are incredibly unobservant. A woman can dye her hair blue and a man will walk in asking how was her day. They wouldn’t see their fork if it was sitting next to their plate.
Men are slobs. Of course they don’t know where anything is. It’s wherever they laid it down.
The way men see it:
Women have the memories of elephants. What else would explain them bringing up the time you drank too much at her mother’s Thanksgiving dinner again and again . . . and again? Of course they remember where you left something.
Women are control freaks. They are in control of where things go, why they should go there, and why they shouldn’t go where you want to put them. If something is not where they want it, they know where it is.
Women are psychic. If you don’t know where something is, and a woman can tell you just by asking her, why wouldn’t you put that shit to some good use?
The way I see it:
I just hate wasting time looking for my stuff. I want to put it back where I’m going to look for it. In fact, it isn’t unheard of for me to buy something I thought I had, but just can’t find. When I get home with it, I think, “Let’s see . . . where can I put this so that when I go looking for it I can find it?” And when I open that drawer? You guessed it. I found the one I thought I had.
When I see something out-of-place, I make a note of it in my head. The note might be a checklist of things that should be put away. Or it might be a note that says, “If you’re looking for the butterfly bottle opener, this is where you’ll find it.” Then I take a picture and file it under “Stuff that isn’t in a logical place” in my brain. That file is found under “Stuff Bubba is likely to ask about.”
I don’t think Bubba has a file in his brain. He just has an overflowing inbox. When he wants to do something, he picks up whatever is on the top of the pile and does it. He asks me where the tools are to complete the task, proudly points to his accomplishment, and goes back to his inbox.
Yesterday the sun was shining, beckoning me, like most Minnesotans, out of my stuffy house into the fresh air. There was enough of an early spring wind to keep my hat pulled low over my ears. Yet, it was one of those days that reminds me spring is on its way.
As my car now doubles for a mobile office, I’d been hoping for a day such as this to give the old Neon a little spring cleaning. Salt and sand brought in from boots and dog lined the carpet, which now looked less like the floor of a car, and more like a beach. Grime collected in the crevices, and coffee (or was that ketchup?) spotted the seat.
Let’s face it, cars are designed by men. Men sell them to men, with women leaning seductively against the grill. If they ever placed a car ad with this guy waxing the front fender, I’d have to buy it. But they haven’t figured that out yet.
So when I pull out the toothbrushes, rags, shop vac, and steam cleaner to scour the inside of my automobile, it’s likely I’ll have a few sexist remarks to mutter under my breath.
I hate cleaning, and I usually tackle what bothers me the most first. That way, if I succumb to boredom, fatigue, frustration, or procrastination, at least I have made the biggest difference for my peace of mind. In this case it was the floor, so I hauled out the shop vac. Automobile carpeting is a pretty shallow nap. Yet, it never ceases to amaze me how much dirt it can hold. And not only does it hold a lot, it won’t let go. I took those floor mats out, raised them high above my head, and brought them slapping down to the driveway time and again. I kneeled on them to hold them in place while I vacuumed, little grains of sand bouncing around like it was some sort of disco rave. And vacuumed. And vacuumed.
That was when I remembered. It doesn’t matter how many times you slam them on the ground, beat them with a bat, or vacuum over the same spot. There will always be a little sand rave party going on inside the nap of the floor mats. You just have to get it good enough to look clean when you get in the car.
Then I started on the carpeted floor. Remember when we all got carpeting in our houses? It was so that we could get out of bed and not feel the cold hard floor beneath our toes. Somebody tell me why we started carpeting our cars. In my house, I can take off my shoes before dragging mud in on the carpet. Should I dedicate a little floor mat for muddy shoes in my car? Wouldn’t it make more sense if I could simply run a rag over a vinyl floor and be done? A woman would have designed it that way.
No, the floor has its own little dance party going on as I vacuum it, and something more. My long blonde hairs whip around when the windows are open and somehow fall out and weave themselves into the short nap. The shop vac can suck at that thing all day, but it’s not coming out. The rug acts like some sort of hair Velcro, which would be great if you wanted human hair carpeting. I developed a system which involves using the vacuum to lift up the end of the hair. I then pinch the hair against the vacuum hose while pulling back to draw the hair out of the carpeting. Once the hair is out, I let go of the pinched end and the hair sucks up the tube. Apparently a man would rather bitch about a woman’s hair falling out in his truck than design a vehicle with bare flooring.
Next I tackled the dash and center console. Mostly it’s just dust that gets wiped off, but then there are those crevices. The little cracks that give the car sophistication when it’s new, make great places for grime to collect as it’s used. This is where I start losing patience and fingernails. And believe me when I say I don’t have a lot of either to begin with.
If a woman had designed my car, she would have made the air vents removable. They would snap out, be dishwasher safe, and snap back in just as easily. The cup holders would do the same. Those things are never coming clean. I literally poured Windex in and let it soak before the coins came loose from the bottom.
The lid on my center console swings up and over to double as a cup holder for passengers in the back seat. It houses a mini tissue dispenser as well. It is the single best thing about my car right after the sunroof. I’m convinced some dude was given an ultimatum when he designed it.
“Either design this lid with functionality, or we’re going to my mother’s for the Super Bowl.”
But he could have gone further, and possibly secured his place in bed indefinitely. You see, the dog seems to think that console was made for her. She stands on it, sleeps on it, and uses it to reach the sunroof in the summer. I can see a lot of design options here. My favorite would be a piece that flips up to make a wall, blocking her to the back seat where she belongs. The second best option would be a dog-safe place to stand or lay that would keep her from flipping up into the front seat when I brake suddenly. Of course, the best option would be a boyfriend who wouldn’t have botched my attempts to train her to stay off of it in the first place.
As I clean the paw prints off of the console lid, I am reminded of how it all comes down to flaws in the working of the male mind.
Finally, I drag my steam cleaner out to the driveway, and heat up the water tank. The seats are thankfully black, and made of fabric which is neither too hot in summer nor too cold in winter. The length to which I would go for a clean ride surprised Bubba. He asked, “Next is my car?”
He’s so funny.
The liquid the steam cleaner pulled out of my seats was a putrid brown, like that of stale latte, becoming clearer the longer I worked. Eventually, the results of my efforts pleased me. I replaced the tools on shelves and in drawers. Wiping my feet before entering the car, I drove it into the garage. I filed the shredded edge of my nails to smooth nubs, and I took a wonderful hot shower.
Fully dressed for some errand running, we decided to take Bubba’s Pontiac because my seats were still damp. As I slid my foot through the open car door, I saw it. A banana peel lying next to an empty food container. “Oh my God! This is disgusting!” . . . This coming from the woman who just drew sewage-colored liquid from her car cushions.
I plucked the banana from the rubber floor mat and hauled it to the trash. After returning to settle myself into shotgun position, Bubba smiled at me.
I am playing some “catch up” on my Weekly Photo Challenges. I hope no one minds my tardiness . . .
It’s OK to have a little bit of curve.
I was looking through my South Dakota photos for a nice picture of a curve in the road and found this one from 2006. What? . . . Of course this is a picture of the curve in the road. What were you looking at? Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves / The Daily Post
This gender thing is so confusing, isn’t it? The last thing you need is one more person with another opinion. Yet, here I am. Let’s examine the simple act of opening a door.
I was walking with a gentleman and having a conversation. When we reached the door, what did I do? I opened the door. What did he do? He looked like I had just asked him to step over hot coals. He started, then almost tripped over his feet, looked at me, looked at the door, smiled, tried to usher me through . . . it was completely awkward.
Had I been with a woman, or he with a man, or if we had been each other’s gender, it would have been a smooth passage. Why? because this is what you do for another person when you are walking and talking. Except when you are a woman walking with a man.
There is a correct position to pull open the door for another person. That is, when you are on the side of the door with the hinge, you can do one of two things. You can walk through and hold the door behind you for your companion. This is the choice most women make when they are in the door-opening position and walking with a man. This enables them to avoid the awkward situation I encountered. The other choice is to open the door and hold it for your friend, which is much more efficient, comfortable and practical. Being a practical, efficient person, this is the choice I made.
There really are only a few things that men can do and women cannot. Yes, they can pee standing up. Listen guys, we can do that too, it’s just not a good idea. I’m talking about strength, here. I need someone to carry heavy things and turn stuck jar lids and crank on tight bolts. Typically, this is the nearest man. On my own, I can clear a plugged drain, change my own oil, and I can handle opening a door. So ability was not the issue.
Were we in a dating situation where he would want to act chivalrous? No. We were in professional roles at the time. So there was no need for me to be coy, feminine, or gentle. Nor was there a reason for him to think he was going to “get any” if he acted polite.
Do I let men open my doors? Of course! Do I think for a minute they feel stronger for doing it? Oh geeze, I hope not . . . in the same way that I don’t get offended when they do it. Would I let women open my door? All the time! It’s not gentlemanly, it’s courtesy!
I don’t understand what the big deal is with opening doors. It’s just about being nice. It isn’t a gender issue, and it sure isn’t something that should embarrass or offend!
A couple more posts to get you thinking about gender: