Category: Humor

Sex, Sundries, and Saturday Night

Being single is definitely fun when you’re 20. But when you’re essentially 50, it’s kind of a mixed lot. Most of us at this age are single for a reason, and it usually isn’t a meaningless reason. It is hard to meet people. It’s never a good idea to date coworkers, dating website profiles bear as much truth as your average supermaket tabloid, and the meat market bars… Well, no one wants to buy old meat. The rules have changed from when we first learned to date. Passing flirtatious notes rarely works when they are passed with your license and registration; and it’s hard to pass them under any other circumstance. You run out of places to meet people. Unless you are a flitting socialite, you are reduced to church or affiliations, mass transit, or the grocery. (Incidentally, i once asked advice on how to approach my handsome butcher… You can imagine the suggestions…) It just isn’t the chick-flick or comedy that Hollywood makes it out to be. It’s more like a lame cover of Eleanor Rigby.

I had always hoped that when i got “older” (In quotation marks because the meaning has been somewhat fluid over the years) , i would find a balance. Maybe even find a way to have the best of both worlds. But the older i get, the less i am sure of what the best of both worlds would be. I mean, obviously there are potential partners who don’t care what brand of toothpaste i buy, or get put off if i eat an entire head of roasted garlic while watching a movie. But it is physically impossible to bask in the glow of waking up next to someone without sharing the bed. To be honest, i’m so unused to sharing a bed now, that i can’t do it without staying awake to make sure that i didn’t hog covers, or sprawl, or snore my way to being single again. And how many nights can i stay awake to keep such things in check before i give in to my own fatigue?

For the most part, i accept the fact that i will likely be single from now on. I don’t really miss pulling a man’s tighty-whiteys out of his jeans so i could separate them for the wash. I don’t miss cleaning beard hair out of the sink. I don’t miss having to pow-wow before deciding on dinner. But i DO miss having someone to walk / play cards / watch tv  with after supper. I miss curling up together on the sofa. I miss long, thoughtful, late night discussions. And i miss regular sex (And before you say that you don’t have to be in a couple to have sex, i will point out that for most single people, finding empty sex is easy – especially close to closing time. But finding good and meaningful sex is harder than finding someone who folds the towels the same way you do.)

What would be perfect would be to have someone who only lived with you when you wanted them to, and vice versa. Solidarity when you needed it, and solitude when you needed that. Well, i suppose, really perfect would be to find someone who was exactly everything you liked and lived exactly how you wanted, but i am old enough and wise enough to know that what i like and want isn’t always consistent and would be an impossible role to fill. In any case, both of those things are very selfish.

Yes, i admit it. I am selfish. And my acceptance of this fact is why i have resigned myself to spinsterhood.

Mind you, i have no intention of becoming a dried up old prune who warns younger women of the dangers and evils of men. On the contrary, i intend to be the garishly stylish old broad who flirts indiscriminately and squashes her ducks against the salsa instructor at the Senior Center. I will travel alone to exotic places and have Roman Candle affairs with intriguing gentlemen who admire my chutzpah. I will show my legs and my cleavage until i have to search to find them. I will keep my own hours and sensibilities and habits. And i will throw my head back and laugh at the fact that i worried about being single at 50.

But until then, i will work my way thru this muddle; slightly disappointed at not having found, or been perfection to, someone in the second half of life, and yet slightly proud that i have found comfort in my own skin and with my own self. I will still keep an eye out for someone who makes me swoon, but i won’t lose any sleep when i don’t find them. I will feel pathetic sometimes, and then i will remember what i have had before, and what i have now, with others and with myself, and i will be thankful. I will wake myself snoring, and then remember that no one is complaining. (Thank God/Goddess/Universe that my dog doesn’t speak!) And if i visit the meat market (I will lie and tell myself that it’s just to people-watch), i will not buy anything unless it is well worth the price.

That last paragraph is a whole lot of wishful thinking.

But like most of life, it’s a “fake it til you make it” kind of thing. I will make these affirmations to myself over and over again until i am imbued with them and they become truth. Because realistically, having had both good marriages and bad, i know without a doubt that the one thing worse than being alone and lonely, is being a spouse and being lonely. And my selfish, spinster, sex-i-fied and sex-deprived self says screw that! I can have fun all by myself.

Take that any way you wish.

Sidewalk Preaching

So let me tell you about my son.

He is 13 years old with that “Puberty is almost here” roundness and stench. He has me dye his normally dark brown hair black with a green forelock. He is on the lego robotics team and writes most of their scripts for exhibitions. He gets astoundingly good grades in all his classes, except the two he doesn’t like, where he is in danger of failing. (Gifted, it seems, only when he enjoys a topic.) He is a sugar ‘ho and loves all things sweet: Soda, candy, slushies, ice cream, cake, even jello. He loves comic books, especially Ant Man. In fact, i think he’s a bit infatuated with Ant Man. He lives for computer games. He’s a devotee of Top Gear. He has memorized whole episodes of the Simpsons. He can fake battle with a lightsaber better than Mace Windu himself. He likes Panic at the Disco and FallOut Boy, but can also sing along to my corny music and an impressive array of show tunes. Like most other kids his age, he’s a mixed bag.

On one hand, he is intelligent, adorable, funny and sweet. He’s a seanachie since birth and can tell stories on a whim. Occasionally, the stories are true, but he’ll never tell you which ones aren’t. (For months, our apartment manager thought we were British, because he always spoke with a Brit accent when he went by the office.) He has a beautiful singing voice. A flair for acting. And the kid loves to perform. He can make you laugh without even trying. He’s just naturally funny. He has a great vocabulary and can converse with professors as easily as pre-schoolers. He usually does his chores without much reminding. He knows when and how to hug. He has no social fear, or at least never shows any. And he doesn’t give a flip about what other people think.

On the other hand, he’s messy. His bedroom smells like a long-forgotten gym locker. Every damned pair of pants he puts in the wash have exactly one leg inside out. He will sleep in clothes and wear them the next day. He doesn’t notice when he misses the bowl.  He peppers the apartment with dirty socks as if it’s a damned caeser salad. He scrapes the healthy part of dinner into the trash when i’m not looking. Fresh out of the bath, he still smells like pubescent boy hormones and sweat. He cops a rotten attitude, talks back, and has a terrible temper.

But i still think i did ok with him.

Every now and then he gives me a glimpse of the man he will become. The morals, the compass, the humor, and the love inside him. He shows kindness without thinking, he helps without asking. Or he quips at just the right time. At those moments, i know that, in spite of the anarchy and chaos that is my 13 year old boy, he will be ok in the end.

We had a moment like that the other day. We had a little thing to celebrate, and so went to the park, got ourselves some ice cream floats, and strolled. We came across a street preacher. He had his Bibled hand raised and was shouting fire and brimstone. We’re all going to hell! Homosexuals, inter-racial mixing, and liberal Democrats are paving the way to Hades! Turn away from the abominations! Now, we are not church-going people, but my son stopped as we got closer to the man and said, “You know, maybe i should be a preacher.”

“Son, you generally have to be religious to be a preacher.”

“I’m serious! I can be a preacher. I know what God wants.”

He shoves his float in my hand, says, “Watch this, ” and heads toward the sidewalk corner. Up on the edge he perches and raises his fist.

“Hey, everyone! Listen up! I have a message from God! Seriously! This is important! God wants to tell you something!”

The street preacher stops and stares. A couple passers-bye look up.

“Stop being assholes! Start being nice to each other! That is all.”

He climbs down and takes his float back. “See?” he says.

The street preacher, dumbfounded, departs. A couple people clap. I am speechless at first, but eventually reply, “I don’t know that i would word it quite that way, but i do think you’ve got the gist of it.”

We are both smiling as we walk and sip. Tho others may be horrified, i am swelling with pride. My stinky, messy, green-haired, selectively-gifted, bad-bathroom aiming boy gets it. He gets it. I must have done something right.

Yup, he’ll be just fine.

Stream of Consciousness

My therapist has taken to guiding me thru meditation. Because, you know, it’s too frigging difficult for me to figure out. Breathe in… Breathe out. Yah. WAY too difficult. Two flipping steps. Two flipping steps that I can’t manage to master.

I love simplicity. Food, art, architecture, fashion: I love when they are seamless and with clean lines. I am, however, incapable of producing such things. I can’t just fry an egg. I have to glaze the pan with bacon grease first, dose it with smoked sea salt and freshly torn herbs from the garden, lay it on a plate with toast and frou-frou jam and perfectly cooked bacon. Even if you told me you only wanted an egg. I can’t help myself.

I tend to complicate things. As my son pointed out to me earlier in the week, I can’t even just say, “I’m sorry.” I have to apologize profusely and explain the screwed up reasoning that devoured my head and made me think that tossing the condiments in the jumble bin in your car console was a good idea. Even tho you don’t give a shit and have already moved on. I should have moved on with you.

I’m supposed to quiet my mind for 15 minutes a day. This is supposed to bring me one step closer to serenity. I need some serenity. Like, I REALLY need it. I’m wired and frazzled and buzzing with short circuits. Serenity seems about as likely for me as waking up next to Liam Neeson. But I know if I can manage to get some, things will get better. SO WHY THE HELL CAN’T I DO IT?????

I am a smart woman. A resourceful woman. Other than pie crust, I’ve been able to manage everything I’ve set my mind to, sooner or later. I can do and do and do and do. The only thing I can’t do is not do. Apparently, God/Goddess/Universe forgot to give me an “Off” button.

For a lot of my life, it hasn’t been much of a problem. I can multi-task like a champ. I am good with creating things on the fly. I awaken with all the ideas that rushed thru my head during sleep. It has served me well, for the most part. It’s only when I need to reboot that I realize I’m incapable of shutting down.

You know when you go to turn off your computer and it gives you that belligerent pop-up saying “Your Thesaurus program is still running and preventing you from shutting down…” ? Welcome to my head. Words, numbers, lyrics, jingles, memes, every mistake I’ve made that day, did I remember to lock the front door, the possibility that a spider will crawl in my window, into my ear, and lay a new colony, and the realization that there has never been a Weird Al tribute album…. All these things still cycling thru my mind. And the bitch is sitting there in her oversized easy chair telling me to “Breathe in…”

I apologize. She isn’t a bitch. She’s actually one of the better things in my life. She lets me vent and helps me distinguish between things I need to fix and things I need to suck up and walk over. She’s been with me a long time now and she’s kept me out of the bin for all this time. No small feat, I’m sure. So now all she has to do is help me find my power button so I can turn myself off.

“Feel your scalp relaxing… Your face… your neck…” I’m trying to do what she says, but instead I’m becoming acutely aware that NONE of these things is relaxed at all. It’s like straightening your leg when you’ve been sitting on it for an hour. Existential ponytail headache. She has already moved on to my shoulders, arms and fingers, and I’m still focused on the stiffness of my ears.

This isn’t working. I’m never going to be able to do this. I must be an idiot. All I have to do is breathe. WHY CAN’T I DO THIS??? Listen to her voice. Just her voice. Concentrate on that. ‘Breathe in… Breathe out…’ I wonder if this is the voice she uses with her daughter when she is upset? Does she use this voice with her husband? Oh, ick! Get that thought out of your head. Not supposed to be thinking about stuff like that. Supposed to be concentrating on breathing. My right nostril is a little stuffy. Must be the leaf mold. All that rain over the last few weeks. I wonder if it’s going to be a rainy fall. Maybe it will be a snowy winter. Remember that winter a few years back when we actually had snow on Christmas? That was really cool. ‘Feel your toes relaxing…’ Toes? What happened to hips and knees? Have I been talking to myself this whole time? God, I suck at this. “

Maybe I should just give up and accept the fact that my hard drive does NOT turn off. That the lags will get more and more and eventually I will crash. Wait. Bad analogy. Computers that have crashed get replaced. I’m not ready to be replaced. (How awesome it is to finally have reached the point where I don’t want to be replaced!) There must be a way. An emergency switch or something. Maybe she can hypnotize me and give me some magic word or something that will turn me off and reboot me. That might work. Because right now, she’s going “Breathe in…” and I’m thinking that I need to pick up mustard at the grocery.

Got any Grey Poupon?

Ok, session is up. I’ve failed again. Still no off button. Still no reboot. BUT I WANT SERENITY!!!!!!! Sigh. I’m going to make myself a cup of tea. That at least slows me down. It’s possible I am getting better at this meditation thing and just don’t realize it. Maybe I am actually calmer than I was. Maybe the planets will align, i’ll wake up with Liam Neeson, and he’ll hit me with some Valium. Maybe he’ll hit me with a hammer. It’s Hammer Time. Hit me with your best shot… Fire away…

Breathe in…. Breathe out.

Forget it. Where’s my tea?

Mums The Word

It slipped out.

I didn’t even know it was coming, and “Pop!”, there it was.

My daughter wrinkles her nose.

“Ma, did you fart?!”

“Damn! That is pungent! My eyes are watering!”

I am mortified. We are in her flower shop, fer gossakes, and I am overtaking the roses, carnations, and freesia combined. I can’t come up with anything to say as I watch her wipe tears from her eyes and back away. I mean, what COULD I say? I could apologize, but really, the damage is done, and I’m sure the color of my face conveys a heartfelt “mea culpa”.

She is waving herself with a palm frond.

I’m looking around for a can of Lysol, but, DUH, it’s a florist! I’m the only one who could need Lysol in a flower shop. There aren’t enough gardenias to cover my accidental fumigation. I’m pretty sure the lilies are wilting. The cooler fan sounds like it is coughing. Great. Just great.

This is as embarrassing as the day I broke the camera at the DMV.

Hold up… Two young guys headed toward the shop. Holy shit! Literally! Short of burning sage, I don’t see how the stench could be vanquished. Now I have tears, as I realize my tail pipe is about to be the talk of some trendy bar tonight. I am running around, fanning the room with two big, waxy leaves. I know they can see me thru the large plate glass window, but the discomposure of being seen doing such an awkward dance is still preferred to them whiffing my indiscretion.

My daughter is laughing at me as she pulls out the arrangement that she assumes they are coming for.

I drop my green fans as the door tinkles open.

I put on my best smiley face, hoping to God and everything magical that the Brick Wall of Sulfur had disintegrated before they entered. As we welcome them and talk about the flowers, I am acutely aware of their facial expressions. I search for wincing. I look for bared teeth. I peek fervently for their eyes to cut sideways with looks of horror or nausea. None appear.

The transaction complete, they turn for the door. As I exhale a sigh of relief, I hear the cork again. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

They turn. “Sorry. Did you say something?”

“Just have a good day!” I say with a smile. Now please hurry up and leave before it hits you! Please, please, PLEASE!!! In the name of everything Holy, go now!

As the door tinkles, I turn to my daughter. An explosive bark of laughter exits her mouth like an untied helium balloon. She runs for the flower cooler, yelling as she goes, “I’m not coming out til it’s gone!”

This sucks. I fan the room once more. Wave the door open and closed a few times. Toss around the aged flower heads in the trash bin. Then I head for the car, where I will be sure to open all the windows before driving off.

It’s true. Everybody farts. And sometimes you just can’t control when. But if you can’t hide one in a flower shop, then it’s the devil at work. Or the kielbasa. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.

Humor Me, My Child

Walking in Target today, my eldest weedling turns to me and says, “My teabag has burst.” In the context of can opener shopping, this didn’t make any sense, so i asked her to repeat it. “I’m pretty sure my teabag has burst.” Now i have to assume that this is slang, probably for something disgusting. I start to respond, “I……”, but i am at a loss for words as the possibilities of what this could mean zip thru my head like a squirrel on diet pills. Seeing my confusion, she proceeds to tell me that to keep her combat boots – her daily foot attire- from stinking, she placed an herbal teabag in each one that morning. Then proceeded to wear them.

I have no non-flippant response to this, so i move on.

Later, when we are at the car, she removes her boot, and sure enough, a flurry of twigs and leaves flies out into the wind like an elvish  treasure. Then she plucks a pathetic looking bit of sticky paper, the teabag itself, from her sole and resets her boot. I am thinking that if i tried to explain this situation to one of my international friends, they would think it a mis-translation. I can’t help myself. I chuckle til i snort.

My weedlings make me laugh. Sometimes unintentionally, but most often not. They each have a wonderful sense of the absurd. The oldest has a talent for off-the-cuff song lyrics that can pull a giggle out of thin air. The middle is the master of the sarcastic response. The youngest is truly gifted with a pun. And when i say that our home is often filled with us singing, i mean it literally. My son and i do a fantastic version of the Underdog theme, complete with harmony. And under the tutelage of my oldest, we have a song and dance routine that mimics the insanity of navigating a crowded airplane aisle. We frequently go about our household chores quoting movie lines back and forth. And all the while, we are laughing.

Humor is an underrated virtue. In the face of sadness, of stress, of tragedy, and sickness; humor can bring relief, even if it isn’t socially acceptable. After tough days, sometimes all i need is to hear my son sing. On especially disastrous days, it may take watching Llamas With Hats with my daughters to get my breathing back to normal. But they never fail to bring about that improvement. Not just for me, but for everyone around them. After all, the best humor is universal.

Italians tell stories of passion. the Irish tell stories of laughter. Since we are both, my children and i can make you laugh with a passion. And we relish in it. We love to give that gift. To relieve the pressure. To render the darkness insignificant. We have that power. No, we are not alone in our ability… There are so many who possess the same superpower. But i’d put my weedlings up against any of them to run neck and neck. They have it. And they know how to use it.

My weedlings do a funny schtick that is an imitation of me trying to balance, unsuccessfully, a pitcher of water from a dinner half a year back. The next time you are feeling down, ask them to recount it. Or ask my middle daughter to do “The Evil Giraffe”. Or ask my oldest to tell you what lights up and blinks. Or, if it’s been the worst day ever, my son and i will sing “Underdog” for you. I promise it will make you feel better. And in the process of helping you, we will feel better, too. Because, really, what improves your day more than making someone else smile?

“Male” as a Foreign Language.

I have been married – and divorced – three times. Two of those marriages were of respectable length and maintain civility even now. I have a handful of male friends who are closer to me than most others. I have a son with whom i share a good relationship. And yet i am clueless as to how to deal with men. I can’t speak their language. I’m not even talking the fine art of being fluent in Male. I’m talking Male for tourists here. So much time amongst them, and i can barely ask for directions to the subway.

To make matters more complicated, just like the formal and informal “you” pronouns of most European languages, Male has two distinct dialects: “Romantic Interest” and “Friend”.  And tho you may long to be bestowed with romance, once you’re deemed worthy of the friendly informal, your chances at ever being more than their friend get tossed out the window with the formal language phrases like, “You are really amazing.” or “How did i get so lucky?” They are replaced by phrases that require you to lie with a straight face and agree that the woman who got the role you wanted is perfect. Faster than he can switch from “vous” to “tu”, your hopes are dashed, and not even your aching, begging eyes will change his mind.  Hell, not even a night of award-winning sex will change his mind. You are “tu”. To be anything more would go against the laws of testosterone

They say that there are some men who are bilingual and can speak both dialects at the same time, transitioning seamlessly from one to the other when speaking to a woman who is allowed both roles, but i have never met one personally. I think those men are like Sasquatch or Nessie… Real only to the few who believe to have seen them. Men, God bless them, are limited. One girl, one dialect. Friend or potential partner. Never both. That would be like a fruit that was both chip dip and hair treatment. (Incidentally, if you are reading this and you are male – Avocados are both. Duh)  Anyway, the point is, tho there are men who swear they married their best friend, those men are on the same list as unicorns and flattering bathing suits – on the “Shit I’ll Believe When I See It” list.

Not that i mind being the friend. It’s nice to have a man in your life that you don’t need to worry about impressing with your unceasing awesomeness and sexiness. Or, if you’re like me, giving the impression that you have those things. It means you can be yourself. You can be flawed. You can be real. And they will love you regardless. Just not the way you want them to.

Fun With Glue

June 13, 2014

Ready for work! Grab my purse, keys & glasses, and…. Oh, hell. I split a nail. No problem. I just bought a new tube of superglue.

I’m late, so i run quick to the closet, reach inside my tool belt. TaDa! Rip open the package, drop the applicator cap on the floor (happens every time…), and rush to grab it before the dog does. Screw it together…

Holy crap! It’s oozing out like Momma BooBoo’s muffin top! I’m trying to catch it all so it doesn’t get on my new dress. Obviously, this isn’t very smart, and it only takes my fingers being stuck to the tube to figure it out. Where’s the acetone? Oh, in the bathroom, of course. Spin around… Well, kinda. A graceful turn except for my right toes which are now glued to the floor.

I don’t suppose i need to add that this is where i access my multi-lingual supply of curse words.

Plunk down before thinking that i may have just stuck my tookis to the floor. Grab a flat head from my toolbelt and start prying.

How will i explain this to my girls at the nail salon? My foot looks contagious.

Up i go. Thankfully, my dress and cheeks come with. Bathroom. Scrub with nail polish remover. My fingers are separate now, but the texture of day-old flakey pastry. So glad i spent half an hour painting my nails yesterday. I now have the hands of a well-kept leper.

Now i’m REALLY late. But at least my coworkers will get to start their day with a laugh.

Next time, i’ll just use Elmers.

The Little Brown Man

October 28, 2014 at 8:22pm

I kiss and hug my friend, Superman, at the rotunda and we each head down our respective concourses. I am exhausted. My feet hurt. My chest feels like it’s been filled with the stuff that makes fart noises when you pack it into its container. But i’m smiling. I’ve had a most awesome weekend, and i’m on my way home to my weedlings.

I stop at the Starbucks and order a tea-latte-formerly-known-as-London-Fog and a scone. Make my way to the gate. It’s pretty crowded, 30 minutes to boarding, but there’s a seat by the windows. I plunk my tired arse down, smile and nod to the other passengers around me, settle my bags and dig into my scone. It tastes good, but as scones are wont to be, it is rather dry. I start to cough. Take a sip of my TLFKALF, but it’s piping hot, so it doesn’t help. Still coughing. It sounds terrible, all wet and gunky and crumb spewing. It hurts even worse. People are staring. My abs, or what passes for them anyway, are clenching. It stops long enough for me to catch my breath and grab a pack of kleenex from my purse.

Then it begins again. My eyes are watering, my nose is running, and i think i may have wet my pants. This is the cough to end all coughs. I can’t see. I can’t breathe. I’m so hot that i’m certain my clothing has caught fire and my own sweat has put it out. My rib cage is ripping in half and my trachea is exploding. People are picking up their bags and moving away as i cough up Jimmy Hoffa. Pleasegodpleasegodpleasemakeitstop.

And it does. For about 15 seconds.

Then it’s a tsunami of force from my gut so hard that i nearly blow a hole in my sleeve where i have buried my face. All of my senses have deserted me, i most certainly have wet my pants, the other passengers are cowering in the corner no doubt thinking i have ebola, and the ticket agent is on the phone, i am certain, with the TSA. I cough until i there is so much negative pressure in my lungs that if i could breathe, i’d likely suck in the racks of chairs around me with my next breath. I desperately try my drink one more time. It helps. I sip again. it starts to wane. I wipe the snot from my face with my kleenex, stuff all the icky ones into my starbucks bag, wheeze in some blessed recycled airport air and slump down in my seat. Then i hear the voice.

With a backdrop of horrified passengers, a tiny man appears in front of me. Indian, Armenian, something short, dark, and kindly like that. And in his sweet, lilting voice, he says, “I think you need this.”

He drops a Ricola into my hand, smiles with genuine empathy, and backs away.

I am so stunned by the smallness, and yet hugeness, of the gesture that i am at a loss for words. I clasp the cough drop to my chest, look at him, smile and nod, and then gather my things. I will clean myself up, drink my tea, and the world will be right again. All because a little brown man gave me a piece of Swiss corn syrup.

It isn’t the medicine that heals, it is the kindness.