And, She Stood Up

I held the canister steady while she aimed and poured in the fine powder from a plastic bag. We were in a dark, old-world hotel room in the Waldorf Astoria in Chicago. In the dimness of that room, with its heavy drapes and poor lighting, we handled Sammy’s ashes delicately. I knew such a finely ground powder would have residue that would land on our clothes, in our hair and even in our mouths. The ashes left a coating on the counter, too. We looked at each other and knew we’d ingested some. We laughed. She touched the ashes and moved them around. She spoke to them: “I love you.” She bent down and licked them. I looked at her, then reached my own hand in the powder. I licked it off my finger. She said, “Now you have Sammy’s DNA in you.” I said, “Good, I’m glad,” then added, “How about we roll up a fifty and snort some?” We laughed again. She was surprised by how I was seemingly unfazed by what we just did. Unfazed? I was honored to be so trusted by her that she asked for my help with such an intimate and precious moment in this journey of her grief.  

I have lit memorial candles, cried in bed, texted, called, Zoomed, visited and even cuddled with her in that hotel room. I am only one in a group of women she calls her soul sisters. We are unconditional. We are her home team. We are her family. She thanked us through tears on that beach. We felt her sincerity and felt grateful, because she allowed herself to receive our love, energy and everything spiritual that was floated her way. This was not easy for her, as she was born a maternal soul. Being in need is almost foreign to her. She was my best friend in college, but, surprisingly, she also had the role of a matriarch for me. Whenever I was uncertain, she guided me. I like to jokingly say that she raised me from 1986-1990. She did the same for her own mother and countless other people I’m sure.

The ceremony for Sammy was the next morning. She had flown with his ashes in her carry-on, so she could sprinkle them under a tree on a Lake Michigan beachfront. She raised her boys in Chicago and somehow knew this particular tree was where Sammy could rest. Only 16, he was poisoned by Fentanyl when he swallowed a pill he thought was a Xanax or Percocet. Never an addict, he was experimenting with a drug he had just bought from a dealer on Snapchat. And, just like that, a boy was found lifeless on his bedroom floor, and my beautiful friend’s life would unravel. She was thrown into a universe whose residents didn’t want to be there. On February 7th, 2021 she chose to reach into the deepest parts of her conscious and unconscious minds to do something most of us take for granted, which is just simply function and survive. She had no other choice, because, when her other two sons asked if she would kill herself now that Sammy was gone, she said, “No” with certainty. 

I watched her get down on her knees

and smear his ashes into the sand…

She is gifted with an intuition, where she can sense people’s vulnerabilities and frailties. If she loves you, she strokes these soft spots without you even realizing she’s doing it. Now, she’s learning to stroke and swaddle herself. We are trained to “cry and get it over with” and “put on a brave face.” FUCK THAT. She lets herself cry for long periods and really feel it in her being. If she wants to stay in bed, she does. And, she dances her ass off on videos posted online, not caring what she looks like. Mothers who’ve lost children tell her that her naked honesty and dancing have helped them get out of their own beds. All I can say about that is, “Wow.”

The day she scattered Sammy’s ashes was a day I’ll remember always. I watched her get down on her knees and smear his ashes into the sand at the base of that tree. Both of her hands were moving in unison, and I’m sure she didn’t even realize that. There was the sound of women stifling cries and sniffling. Her oldest son was standing next to her, having shaken the last of the ashes on the ground. Six months after his death, it was the final moment of Sammy’s physical odyssey on earth. As tragic as it was to watch, there was a lot of beauty in it.

The ceremony ended with us blowing bubbles and eating bagels. Then later that night, she and I were back in our dark hotel room. We lied in bed in our bathrobes and ordered a bottle of wine up to the room. Uber Eats delivered some Asian food—vegetarian for her and meat-laden for me, of course. We rented a movie, which absolutely sucked, so we rented another movie. That one sucked even worse. We laughed and drifted off to sleep. 

Four days later, I received these texts from her: “Woke up at 4:15 am Mon night and never went back to sleep. Then yesterday got this message from [her medium, psychic, healer friend]: ‘Sammy left the house at 4:27 am this morning! He has crossed! He will be sending signs he said…but from the other side…not a [ghost anymore].’” She explained to me that once we let him go at the beach, he was finally ready to cross over. I was so happy for her, because I could feel her relief and pure joy in the text. Then last night, she told me that a lamp in her house would flicker and dim constantly the week that Sammy died. She’d whisper, “Sammy, stop it!” She checked the wires and tried tightening the bulb, which was actually a new bulb. Then last night, she turned on the light, and it shone bright and steady. She sent me a picture to prove it. “He’s keeping his promise,” I wrote. 

I dedicate this blog to my friend and all of the other mothers who have lost children to Fentanyl poisoning. I can’t pretend to understand your pain and trauma, but I can certainly lend my support and compassion. You are the bravest people. 

**Tap on the FOLLOW button at the bottom of your phone or computer. (Move your finger or mouse around, and FOLLOW will appear if it’s hidden.) You have to open the email the site sends you to complete the FOLLOW process. Thank you from this woman and her popped cork.

Posted in confessions, death, family, friendship, memories, sentimental | 10 Comments

The Third Installment of House Arrest without an Ankle Monitor

Just when I thought there was nothing much more to say about life in this pandemic, the Door Dawg shows up on my feed. My last blog was a bit heavy. I’m sorry about that, because who needs more serious material when our real life is like a Stephen King novel right now? So, here I go with number three in the “House Arrest” series, where I continue to write about things I’ve realized during the lockdown.

My kids’ idea of six feet apart is different than mine. In trying to make sense of this, I try to remember how good judgment and the rational part of the brain aren’t fully developed until age 25. That explains these three impaired measurements by my kids: When they tell me they’ll “be there” in ten minutes, it’s always 30. When they say they only had a couple of beers before they got sick, it was really a six-pack. And, when they claim the beach rental after prom can sleep 30, there’s room for only ten. If you’re quick, you see that every scenario is three times more than their assessment. And, that’s why—to them—six feet is really only two feet in their skewed view of social distancing. 

Trump has a valet. We all learned this because his valet just tested positive for Covid-19. But, huh? Don’t valets only exist at Windsor Castle and Downton Abbey? Am I gonna learn that the FLOTUS has ladies-in-waiting, too? Oh, yeah, she does, actually. Those are the ones who fuck her husband, while she looks the other way in her 18k sunglasses. Historically, the job of a valet consists of handling his employer’s clothes, running his bath and shaving him (not sure where). Thinking of Trump, that description has me feeling a bit queasy. That guy better have a “yuge” salary. 

Someone needs to invent a sensor for falling asleep while bingeing a series. The stats for Netflix-watching are off the charts while we are all at home, so I can’t be the only person who dozes off during a critical scene. As you sleep, the show just keeps running from one episode to the next. When you eventually put the series back on, the heroine is nine months pregnant or in a psych ward, and you’re like, “Wtf is going on here?” We need a head band kind of contraption with dangling wires that sense head bobs and brain activity before we are in deep REM. The wires would connect to the TV remote and would send a signal that stops the episode. Lemme go check Amazon. Maybe this already exists. 

It’s fun to make birthday and graduation videos and do drive-by parties…once. ”Hi, family and friends. Suzy is celebrating her birthday during the quarantine. Can you make a short and funny video for her by tomorrow morning? Also, can you drive down our street in a caravan of cars on Tuesday, while Suzy sits on our front lawn atop a float we made for her out of Amazon boxes and old sheets and towels?” The first few times, we all thought, “Wow, this is so great, how special and creative.” Now, it’s like, “Another one of these fucking things, where I have to harass my kids to do it with me?” How about we start a new trend for these drive-by parades for people who really need it—those of us who are falling apart on a daily basis? Signs could say, “We love your robe!” “Keep hanging on to that thread!” “Drop the gun! We love you!”

Face masks are the new Crocs. Scroll down any social media site, and ads for face masks will be hurled at you. They’re tie-dyed, camouflaged and striped or have designer logos, team logos or animal snouts. You can have them monogrammed to match your luggage, too. Some have filters, and some don’t. Some have strings for a tighter fit, and some don’t. And, some are washable and some aren’t. Forget about sunglasses this year; it’s all about the face masks. I hear many Trumpers prefer invisible ones. 

Virtual doctor appointments aren’t only for the Jetsons. My shoulder has been hurting for six months, and I couldn’t wait any longer. The crazy thing is that I still needed a connection to get this orthopedic appointment. I logged in to the site and was told I’d be put in a waiting room, where the doctor would then come “get” me. Of course I still had to wait 20 minutes. When the doctor appeared on my screen, I could see that he was in his basement, yet he was wearing scrubs. I tried to maintain eye contact, even though I wanted to look around at the signs and dartboard on his walls. When I showed him how my arm movement was limited, I had to keep backing up so that my arm could remain on the screen while I lifted it. It was like, “Wait, you can’t see that, can you? Let me keep moving back until I walk through my French door and shatter the glass.” 

Canned laughter is an essential worker. I used to think canned laughter was a cheesy aid for unfunny jokes by talkshow hosts and bad sitcoms. But, when I watch the home tapings of Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon or SNL, the silence after the jokes makes me cringe. I need that guy with a headset to push the laughter button. I feel awkward and embarrassed on my own couch, as I try to avoid eye contact with Jimmy Kimmel’s big face on my flatscreen TV. I now wholeheartedly believe in the worth of laugh tracks and live studio audiences. 

I buy strange things during a pandemic. I just remembered that about six weeks ago, I bought a special kind of car wax from an infomercial at three a.m. I couldn’t tell you the name of the product, but I think it came with two shammy cloths. It’s very possible I didn’t finalize the order. It’s also very possible, I’ll receive it in October and text a picture of it to my kids asking who bought it and why. This brings me back to the Door Dawg I mentioned in the intro. The full name of that product is Door Dawg Hands-Free Keychain-Ready Hygienic No-Touch Door Opener & Keypad Stylus & Bottle Opener. Wait, is that like “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun?” The Dawg is a tool you can attach to your keychain that lets you do everything in its title without getting any cooties on your hands. What a great stocking stuffer it’ll be this pandemic Christmas season. 

Patience has finally become a virtue. Let me clarify that…I have become patient with package deliveries only. I still don’t like waiting for my kids to come down for dinner as my carefully-timed meal begins to congeal. As for the packages, Amazon’s Prime service used to take one to two days; it now takes about a week. Zappos used to come the next day, and now it takes about five business days. But, where am I going, and who am I seeing? Nowhere and no one. And, that’s why those boxes containing can openers, socks and privacy envelopes can show up whenever they’d like. It just doesn’t matter. Nothing really does anymore. (Perhaps I need one of those depression parades I mentioned.)

Trump is still tanning as the death toll climbs to 88K. He stands tall and freshly-oranged before the first lie flies out of his mouth at his press conferences, where he informs Americans about absolutely nothing. I’m really not sure if he’s using an Indian Earth kind of face bronzer that’s applied with a brush or a tanning cream or spray. I’ve heard rumblings about him having his own tanning bed, too. Who knows? But, the contrasting white skin around his beady eyes makes it pretty clear that he wears goggles when he beautifies himself. It’s just so inspiring that he carves out time to tan when he’s working tirelessly to get Americans the tests that he said were readily available.

My circadian rhythm is like, “‘Wtf?” I get into bed anywhere from 11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., and sometimes that’s after I fall asleep on the couch. I sleep in two-hour blocks, waking up all throughout the night to pee or to readjust my shoulder because of pain. I used to exercise at 8 a.m. every day, but now I go running at 1 pm. Since I don’t eat beforehand, I’m not eating until at least 2 p.m. The experts are all saying that maintaining a regular schedule during the lockdown will stave off anxiety and depression and could keep you from turning into a complete psycho. Oops, too late. That must be why I turned into Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction last week when I told my boyfriend I wasn’t “going to be ignored.” 

I dedicate this blog to the memory of two people who passed away from issues other than the Coronavirus. My cousin Sid Keller passed away last Friday. He made it to almost 91 and was a great grandfather. A long life doesn’t make the pain for his family any less, though. Debbie Gardner, the mother of one of my close friends, held on until 3:30 am the day after Mother’s Day. That is right on par for the devoted mother and grandmother she always was. May Sid and Debbie rest peacefully. 

**Tap on the FOLLOW button at the bottom of your phone or computer. (Move your finger or mouse around, and FOLLOW will appear if it’s hidden.) You have to open the email the site sends you to complete the FOLLOW process. Thank you from this woman and her popped cork.

Posted in community, confessions, day-to-day, disgust, environment, family, health, idiosyncracies, improvement, Judgment, medical, pet peeves, political, shame, social media, trends, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

A War of Words

I got into my first Facebook fight ever a couple of weeks back. I am mostly a voyeur on social media, swiping my index finger at a quick pace until I stop at something that looks just engaging or pathetic enough to read. On a rare occasion, I will click like or write a comment. So, I’m not really sure why I reacted so quickly when a friend texted me a screenshot of an offensive post. I felt a rage inside me immediately. It was as if I was about to turn green and double in size.

Let me give you some background first. The woman who wrote the post lives locally. It is crystal clear from her social media accounts that she is a Trump supporter and a staunch Republican. I had unfollowed her years ago, but not because of this—I actually find hardcore righters’ comments entertaining. It was because her page is like a backdrop for a Currier and Ives lithograph, everything seems just a little too perfect. Home-baked pies and nature views fill her wall. Yes, I know it’s her account, and she can decorate it how she likes. She exceeded my allotment of eye-rolls, though, so I exercised my FB powers and made her vanish by selecting UNFOLLOW. (That means that I stop seeing her posts but remain FB friends. She doesn’t know, and I can still see her page if I want.)

“She exceeded my allotment of eye-rolls…so I made her vanish…”

When the struggle to reopen the states began some weeks back—even when Covid-19 was still gaining ground at a rapid pace—people had their strong opinions as usual. Well, sure enough, she had hers. These were the words she wrote: “My poor boys are stuck in Michigan with Hitler as governor.” My inner voice, who also has her strong points of view, thought, “Hmmm, I don’t like that. I really don’t like that.” And, with a mind fueled by anger and disgust, I struck back: “This is highly offensive. Are your sons being ripped out of their homes and being sent to starve at concentration camps before they are gassed to death in a shower? How dare you use this analogy, whether it’s used historically or not. You have now officially joined the ranks of ignorance. Stick to showing off what you’ve baked and cooked.” I followed it up quickly with, “Let’s see if you leave my comment up here if you’re so sure your Hitler reference was ok to use.” (Please note that before I commented, another follower had questioned her comparison of Hitler, and she said something to the effect that it had been used throughout history, so she felt it was fine to use that reference.)

I’m guessing some of you are thinking I was I too harsh and aggressive and maybe even too sensitive. Maybe I was, but at the time, it felt right. Please let me explain the obvious undertones of her comment: I’m Jewish, so her comparison of a Democratic governor to Hitler, a man who tried to wipe out Jewish people and other ethnicities with torture and murder, does not sit well with me. But, I wrote this on behalf of every person with a moral conscience, not just Jews. I wrote this to protest ignorance and prejudice. I wrote this to try and put all people, like this woman, in their place and maybe enlighten them even just a little. I’ve never before had such a visceral reaction to a post. Anger was only part of the equation here: The lump in my throat proved I was much more than enraged. I wanted to cry as I strangled her verbally. 

She responded right away and said, “[Reggie], my boys are not complaining. I am. And you know me and know I meant no offense. This is a reference that even my Jewish friends have used. Sorry if you were hurt by this comment.” I give her credit for saying her sorry, but there it was—the some-of-my-best-friends-are-[insert any minority group here] excuse. After I challenged her to leave up my post, she typed: “I am. I am offended that you think I would do otherwise.” I found it interesting that she chose to use the word “offended,” after she just offended a massive amount of people. Her next comment was this: “Ok let me change it to dictator to better get my point across.” And, then she did change “Hitler” to “dictator” in an apparent act of mercy and compassion to massage her original prejudicial slur by using a title instead. Wow, bless her heart. A different FB friend of hers then made an “oh boy” kind of a comment, to which she responded, “Nothing like distorting what my intention was. People should know me better. I guess I have to choose my words wisely.” So, now I had distorted her intention, on top of offending her. Yep, I’m the bad guy here. She’s a hell of a lot craftier than I had thought. 

From there, a complete stranger attacked me by saying I was way over-the-top. Another of her friends said that there are other governors that act like Hitler. And, another said she stood by her and by “our president.” There was even mention of Larry David using the Hitler reference often. (Doesn’t that make it okay?) This woman kept defending herself throughout and was eating up the support she was receiving from her web of virtual friends. I checked back on the comments from time to time. I didn’t post another word, and I didn’t have to. This woman was seemingly falling apart for hours after my post. Without intending to, I had shot an arrow right through her aortic valve, and she was working hard to keep it from bleeding out all over the place. Unlike her acknowledgment of needing to choose her words wisely, I had chosen mine wisely. I insulted her but left out any mention of politics or religion. Rhetoric, implication and exaggeration were my friends here. I have my collective group of English and writing teachers to thank for this. 

The next morning, the friend who had sent me the post told me that the woman had taken down the entire exchange from her wall. When I went to look myself, I wasn’t surprised to find out she had unfriended me. So, not only did she delete the posts (though she had said she wouldn’t), she banished me for good. I can admit that I would have done the exact same thing. It was—for lack of a better word—a yucky experience. While I don’t regret my comments, I now know why I had never stood up to an offensive post. It’s just not worth it. I wanted to believe that my words would have somehow opened the eyes of at least one person. I know it didn’t, though. I’m not changing anyone’s deep-held beliefs or ignorance through a FB post. An eye-roll would have had the same effect here—none. Some of my friends said what I wrote was great and they were proud of me, but I only received one like, and it wasn’t even from the friend who alerted me. I don’t need applause, but a little real-time support would have felt good. 

I’d be a fool to think that this current atmosphere had nothing to do with my reaction, because of course it did. Our society is on edge, because we are filled with fear from not having a complete picture of what is going on now. Will there be mass testing or a vaccine? When will we be able to leave our homes, be with friends, go to a beach, travel or go to a restaurant? It hurts to watch our kids miss school, proms, sports, camp and the stuff of golden childhoods. I have to go weeks at at time without seeing my boyfriend, and that’s really upsetting, too. The political climate that flows right into how this pandemic is being handled is just too disheartening to bear sometimes. That’s why this woman’s words stung. This environment has made it okay for her to advertise her discrimination, no matter how she tries to veil it, and the hate felt palpable to me. I am sorry for how it all played out, but I’m not at all sorry for what I said. 

I dedicate this blog to my cousin Shirley, who is fighting Covid-19. She’s 85 and getting stronger. I love that she manages to still joke around and laugh. A fabulous baker, she used to send my family pastries every year. My father bit down on something really hard once. He called Shirley and said, “Are you missing a gold ring?” She laughed then, too. 

*Names have been changed.

**Tap on the FOLLOW button at the bottom of your phone or computer. (Move your finger or mouse around, and FOLLOW will appear if it’s hidden.) You have to open the email the site sends you to complete the FOLLOW process. Thank you from this woman and her popped cork.

Posted in community, confessions, confidence, day-to-day, disgust, environment, improvement, Judgment, political, social media | 4 Comments

The Sequel to House Arrest without an Ankle Monitor

Except for Godfather Part II, sequels normally suck. But, because I’ve gotten such a great response to my last blog, “House Arrest without an Ankle Monitor,” I’m going to continue my list of things I’ve learned from being on lockdown.  

Tom Hanks’ kitchen wasn’t that nice. We are all getting a look into the homes of celebrities, newscasters and politicians, since everything is being done from home now. If you caught SNL last week, Tom was hosting while standing in his kitchen. I was expecting some serious A-lister design. His cabinets were a disappointing, dark wood. Now, I’m sure this was only one of 75 homes for him, but it was a bit of a letdown. Gayle King’s yellow armchairs, that I can see when she hosts “CBS This Morning,” look cozy. Of course I’m wondering if she and Oprah sometimes sip wine in those chairs. And, as for Nancy Pelosi’s full-size Sub Zero fridge next to a full-size Sub Zero freezer, I love ‘em, no matter what her haters say.   

I’ve never had a desire to pose in a picture with a tiger. Does that make me weird? It seemed like the zoo visitors in “Tiger King” had fulfilled a lifetime dream, when they took a picture with any kind of big cat. I’ll admit I’d love a picture with Beyonce or Bono, but I’m okay with not draping my arm around a mane. 

I work out a lot harder when someone tells me what to do. Pre-pandemic, I went to Orange Theory, a class where a coach guides you through a rigorous total body workout. I’d feel like I had just pulled a Mack Truck with my teeth. These days, my runs outside are refreshing and head-clearing, but when, I’m done, most days it’s as if I’ve just finished “Sweatin’ to the Oldies.” I’m not even trying to beat my time from yesterday or do any intervals. I’m pretty much just focusing on what I’m gonna eat as soon as I make it back to my kitchen.

I still love Pat Benetar. On these runs, I listen to some of my old favorites. Yesterday, “Pat Benetar’s Greatest Hits” was what drove me to finish my regular route with a surprising energy. She rocks out and hits those high notes and holds them for longer than it takes me to shower. “Shadows of the Night” shot me out of my driveway. “Fire and Ice” pushed me up the biggest hill. And, “Hell is for Children” brought me home and made me want to beat the shit out of my kids, who were still sleeping. Aaaahh, I do love Pat. 

We all need to read wisely. As I scroll through Twitter and other time-sucking sites, I pause at a lot of the attention-grabbing headlines. I know it’s Big Brother, Alexa, Mark Zuckerberg and the algorithms that fill my feed with stuff they know will appeal to me. I came across an article called something like, “Our Kids’ Lives Will Never Be the Same Again.” Now, why the fuck would I want to read that? I couldn’t see with my own eyes that my daughter was holding back tears on the couch the day her prom came? Looking in the mirror and seeing the Bride of Frankenstein staring back at me is scary enough these days. Choosing denial over knowledge isn’t the answer, but for now, I’ll take a pass on reading, “Hugging Will Be a Thing of the Past.”

Mother Nature is being a bitch. She teased us with a couple of warm days during our shelter-in-place. It’s been cold, windy and rainy ever since. We’re all holding on by a thread here, lady. Can’t you grant us some weather that is at least typical for April here in NJ? The 60s is all I’m asking for, so I can sit on my patio. 

Drive-Thrus are not safe. I didn’t read this in a scientific journal. I read it in the Journal of the Obvious. The employee at the window all but reaches into your car. She is not the recommended six feet away from you. She is close enough that she could wipe the ketchup dripping down your face. 

DeBlasio is boring. I seem to catch his press conferences every day and not by choice, by chance. He barely has any intonation in his voice. If you close your eyes, it’s not a bad background for mediation. 

I still don’t know if Fauci is hoarse or has a raspy voice. As the leading scientific expert and spokesperson during the Covid-19 crisis, Dr. Fauci talks and talks and talks. He doesn’t get a break. Savannah Guthrie asked if he was okay, saying, “Your voice does not sound great.” He responded by saying he was physically fine. “All I do all day long is brief people. I just need to keep my mouth shut for a little while, and it will get better.” Though I’ve never heard him speak before this crazy time, I’m still wondering if his normal voice is a kind of gravelly one even in better days.  

—“Ozark” sucks. We are all trading binge-worthy shows, and “Ozark” is being thrown around a lot. I had already watched the first two seasons pre-shutdown. I went to watch the third season and just couldn’t do it. I understand that most shows are a bit of a stretch, but I can only buy into so much. I’m supposed to believe that a suburban Chicago couple with absolutely no background in crime gets mixed up with a drug cartel and the mob—and are immediately highly-skilled players? Sorry, stick to having affairs. 

I will never post my high school senior picture on FB. Those of you who’ve posted your puffed-up, spritzed, crispy hair are brave. Thank goodness I don’t have a high school senior graduating this year, so I get a pass. I could be nice and do it in honor of my niece, but, like I alluded to above, I’m struggling these days. Seeing and exposing myself with a curly bob with some kind of bangs and wearing an ugly mint-colored sweater would be a disservice to my already-frail psyche. 

I dedicate this to the high school and college students, three of whom I’m raising. It’s not easy to miss proms, study-abroad programs, graduations and even the simple things, like just hanging out with friends and doing nothing. I’m so sorry for you. I really am. 

**Tap on the FOLLOW button at the bottom of your phone or computer. (Move your finger or mouse around, and FOLLOW will appear if it’s hidden.) You have to open the email the site sends you to complete the FOLLOW process. Thank you from this woman and her popped cork.

Posted in aging, celebrities, community, confessions, day-to-day, disgust, environment, errands, exercise, family, friendship, health, idiosyncracies, Judgment, memories, pet peeves, political, sentimental, social media, trends | 12 Comments

House Arrest without an Ankle Monitor

I am guessing that, like me, you are reading too many heavy articles about the demise of our health and democracy. Another guess is that they sometimes leave you riddled with anxiety. So, here’s an easy read that won’t make you want to puke afterwards. It’s my list of things I’ve learned from being on house arrest.

Memes have a short shelf life. Remember about three to four weeks ago when you were being pelted with memes from every angle in texts and emails and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? You were actually laughing out loud and forwarding them with delight. Now, when you get one, you barely move your face. It has to be side-splitting for you to even exert the effort to touch the screen on your phone to forward or post it. 

Zoom, with more than a few other people, sucks. Have you tried Zooming with a bunch of people all trying to talk at once? It renders you either helpless or obnoxious. If you interject too much, you interrupt people. Yet, if you give up and try to just listen, you seem disinterested. You just can’t win. The only saving grace is that, if it’s a Zoom happy hour, you can just keep sipping quietly and catch a buzz. 

Pandemic bananas ripen freakishly fast. There’s not much to say about this other than it seems my bananas are green one day and have brown spots the next. I’ve made banana bread three times already since being on lockdown. 

Pedicures are not just for beauty. Let’s get right down to it; I clipped my own toenails and went way too low. Now my big toe hurts every time I accidentally make contact with anything harder than a cotton ball. And, as for looks, forget it. Imagine a bunch of pit bulls were snacking on your toenails. There, now you can picture my feet. 

Everyone looks better with her own eyelashes. No one shows up to pandemic video chats with a full face of makeup, so I’ve seen my friends as their most natural selves. I’ve come to realize that the fake-lash-lovers look so much better with their own lashes or even what’s left of them. I’m all for any efforts that help make you feel prettier, and I certainly don’t believe that after this ends, gray should be the new blonde. I just think that Tammy Faye Bakker never had a good look. (May she R.I.P.) 

You can find interesting things in the garage while looking for your Swiffer. All the way behind the boxes and outdoor end tables stood a tall, glass bong. I wonder if my cleaning woman saw it and knew what it was. Maybe she thought it was some kind of toilet bowl purifier. Is that why my bathroom smelled like bong water?

When the door chime goes off at 3 am, it’s not a burglar. My son and daughter have been living their best vampire lives during this shutdown. They stay up all night and sleep a lot of the day. I keep the extra Pop Tarts and Oreos on the shelves in the garage. That must be why I hear the door chime at odd hours. Then again, I bet it’s a combo trip for the Oreos and that other thing I just mentioned above. I don’t care enough to ask them. 

My cleaning woman is a lovely person, but I’m finding some bad shit. Once my Playtex gloves go on, I mean business. It’s really hard to get in between the part where the toilet seat cover meets the basin, but it is doable. I’m not sure my cleaning woman ever really got in there judging from the unidentifiable substance I was horrified to find. I also didn’t enjoy seeing the state of my naked pillows the first day I changed my sheets. 

Robot vacuums could change the world. I researched, I bought, I conquered. My Roomba has changed my life for the better, and the proof is in the dust bin. All with a touch of a button or voice command, I can start her cleaning, send her back to her base, put her on a cleaning schedule and train her as to which rooms I want cleaned. She starts vacuuming at 9 am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. She has completed the trifecta in my family of laziness, as she joins the ranks of my Nest and Alexa. The best part is that It’s all done with no backtalk.

Instacart crushes dreams. When I have the good fortune to lock in a delivery time (pretty impossible), I feel like the newly-crowned Miss America walking the catwalk with roses in her arm. I fill my order with Clorox wipes, all-purpose flour and tons of other optimistic items. I call a friend and tell her how lucky I feel and ask if she’d like to add anything to my fantasy shopping cart. I wait the ten days or so and wake up with a bounce in my step on delivery day. The bell rings, and my heart flutters. When, it’s “safe,” I open my front door and my heart—that had just fluttered—drops. It’s one plastic shopping bag. Yup, just one. I want to scream, but then I remember I’m being a spoiled brat. I go ahead and give my shopper a good rating anyway, because she’s out working and risking her health, while I’m in my robe and slippers.  

People are not friendly. I have been running outside pretty regularly. I pass lots of walkers, bikers and runners. I try to wave and smile. I mean, shit, we are all struggling these days. I would say that only 30 percent of people respond. Some don’t even make eye contact. Come on, couldn’t we all use a smile these days, even if it’s from a complete stranger?

Pajama pants will be a fashion Do. We are all sporting them, even driving around in them to pick up food or do an acceptable errand. So, maybe this will be a lasting trend. Designers may need to “cuten” them up a bit so that we can go out to lunch wearing pajamas post-apocalypse. I’m gonna need to ease back into life slowly. Zipping up jeans would feel like being pushed into a really cold pool. I need the kind of pool with a walk-in ramp like at a big hotel. Pajama pants worked in college, so I’m hoping for a cyclical movement. 

Besides the obvious, permanent dedication of late to all of the essential workers in healthcare, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, fulfillment companies, etc., I dedicate this to my boyfriend, who I’ve been apart from for almost three weeks. Last night, he appeared at my kitchen window. He held his phone horizontally up in the air, gripping it with his hands on either side. He was blasting “In Your Eyes.” How great is that? If you don’t understand the reference, we are no longer friends.

**Tap on the FOLLOW button at the bottom of your phone or computer. (Move your finger or mouse around, and FOLLOW will appear if it’s hidden.) You have to open the email the site sends you to complete the FOLLOW process. Thank you from this woman and her popped cork.

Posted in community, confessions, day-to-day, environment, errands, friendship, health, idiosyncracies, Judgment, medical, pet peeves, robes, social media, trends | 18 Comments

Confessions of an Imprisoned Housewife

To shave or not to shave? That is the question. That basically sums up the state of my personal hygiene these days. Two of my friends have great benchmarks for this. One said, “It was getting difficult to sleep.” The other said, “When I can see the hair without my glasses, that’s my cue.” For, me it’s when I go to scratch my leg and get pricked. But, who even has time to shave these days? I have so much time on my hands, yet I have no time at all. That’s the biggest phenomenon of this shelter-in-place lifestyle. When I finally get out of bed after reading tweets, news articles, useless Facebook posts and zoning in and out of whoever is gabbing on MSNBC, it’s about 10 am. Then somehow it’s already 4 pm. I really don’t know what the fuck I’m doing with my time. 

As for my attire, I haven’t put on a bra in days; I’m hoping my baggy sweatshirts camouflage the lower quadrants where my nipples actually make contact with the material. My daughter hasn’t screamed in horror yet, so I think it’s working. She’s the only other human I see, so no need to take out the underwire. I haven’t even attempted to get on the scale or put on pants with anything other than a drawstring or elastic waist. I just can’t go there now. This is one, long snowstorm, where carbs jump out from every cabinet, garage shelf and both fridges and freezers. Combine that with my nightly bottle of wine, and I’m sure to earn my Lane Bryant loyalist card soon. I’m so exhausted for no apparent reason that I couldn’t even finish my run today. If this pandemic ever ends, I’m ‘gonna need a big comeback tour, like Britney after she melted down and shaved her head. 

I haven’t put on a bra in days.

Appearance isn’t the only thing that has gone unchecked. My manners may be slipping a bit, too. I’m sure you have all been seeing and receiving the funny Corona-related memes. When I received the same ones at the beginning of this nightmare, I would pretend I hadn’t seen it before. Then, I started saying, “I saw that one. It’s so funny.” Now, I have no filter and write, “That one came out like two weeks ago. Where the fuck have you been?” I swear if I get the one of the Trump impersonator, the quarantini or the lady rolling out her flabby stomach with a rolling pin again, I may burn some rolls of my sacred toilet paper. Even my patience with my poor, quarantined son has been wearing thin. He’s been in his room for over a week, since he had signs of Corona—a low fever for a couple of days and no sense of taste. I bring him every meal on a tray. Just now he asked me for batteries, I almost screamed down the hall, “Get it your fucking self already.”

And joy of joys, today is the day I change my own sheets. I wish I had remembered that before I went running, because I’m basically working out twice today. Making up a king-size bed is no easy task. I need to put on a workout bra just to tuck the corners of my fitted sheet underneath my heavy, thick mattress. My bed has a footboard on it, so I can say goodbye to the skin on my knuckles as I tuck the sheets and blankets in there. My hands are so dry already from the constant washing. Add to that the lack of a manicure, and we’ve now just arrived at leper status. I’ve never appreciated my cleaning woman so much. That woman deserves a raise! If my net worth hadn’t just plummeted in the markets, she’d be getting one. (Okay, I’ll still give her one.) After the doctors, nurses, community leaders, and all the other frontliners, my gratitude is solidly placed in the housekeeper column. 

Well, I was just summoned to join a Zoom happy hour. Like I said, besides a 16-year-old begging me if she can see her love interest, it’s pretty much the only human interaction I have. For my sanity, I need to go do that. I bid you all a comfortable isolation with lots of deep breaths, sips of alcohol and chocolate. Stay safe. Oh, and please keep sending me memes. I was kidding! I’ll be nice!

My dedication is obvious. It goes out to all the doctors, nurses, and everyone else putting others’ safety in front of theirs. This is also for the families who have lost people they cherish from this crazy, rampant plague. I’m so very sorry. 

**Tap on the FOLLOW button at the bottom of your phone or computer. (Move your finger or mouse around, and FOLLOW will appear if it’s hidden.) You have to open the email the site sends you to complete the FOLLOW process. Thank you from this woman and her popped cork.

Posted in community, confessions, day-to-day, death, disgust, environment, exercise, family, friendship, health, idiosyncracies, Judgment, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Who Am I ???

So, I just gave away a Poland Spring 5-gallon jug of water. I don’t feel heroic, I don’t feel charitable, and I don’t feel awesome. You know how I feel? Fucking stingy!! I should have given two. I offered, and they said, “No.” I should have insisted. But, this Coronavirus panic is making me like a greedy, little Scrooge. I’d rather write people checks than hand out my emergency supplies of food, water and toilet paper. I went to the markets no less than seven times within three days and worked my ass off to amass this handsome stash of butchered meats, pasta in all different shapes and frozen delicacies, which I will grill, bake, boil and sauté. I have more bread—rolls, sliced, buns, even in the tube—than I’d use in a full year. I waited on lines that snaked their way through the store, beginning in the refrigerator aisle at the very end of my Shop Rite. We actually had a cop directing traffic, pointing shopping carts in the direction of different checkout lanes. I met some nice folks on those lines. I’m hoping to bump into them in the produce section in healthier times.

If they ask if a friend can stop by, I secretly assess the eating habits of that kid.

If I felt like a low-ranking soldier at Shop Rite, then I was a fucking Green Beret at Costco. Finding parking was like basic training, and it progressed from there. Costco has those mega shopping carts, so immediately the tone is set for you to fill that cart to maximum capacity. You know exactly what I’m talking about—you’re ‘gonna have to move your head to the sides of the cart just to see around the stacks of paper towels and laundry detergent piled high. It’s as if you need a special license just to steer it, especially when it gets weighted down and you have to maneuver around people dilly-dallying and stopping for the free nacho samples. Do these people not know that this is time to buckle-the-fuck down? This place is a nightmare on a normal day, so hurry up and grab your 4-pound-Fred-Flintstone block of cheddar and move it! The line to check out there also started at the back near the refrigerated foods, but this is no Shop Rite—Costcos are like aircraft hangars. I think I was in gridlock for about 30 minutes. (In the scheme of things, that doesn’t sound so bad.)

My kids are on strict instruction to not touch our supplies until we are truly locked down and can’t run out for or bring in food. If they ask if a friend can stop by, I secretly assess the eating habits of that kid. I think, “Does he eat a lot? Will he go for the Pop Tarts or the food housed in the fridge? Is he one of those kids from a healthy house, where his mom keeps the family away from chips and cookies, because it’s those kids who then annihilate my pantry?” Then, I move on to, “Well, he’s a male, so he will use less toilet paper.” Nowadays, when I pull off the last square of the toilet paper roll, I’m a mess, and I have 100 rolls in my garage. My friend told me she has 36 rolls of toilet paper, but she has four females in her house. That’s a lot of wiping per day. I feel worried for her but pretended she was well-stocked when she asked if I thought that was enough. I do realize how this sounds. I’m embarrassed and mortified that this whole pandemic has made me psycho, cheap and paranoid. I’m normally not anything like this Mommie Dearest skinflint I’ve become. “No. More. Frozen. Waffles!” ( I swear I entertain a ton and offer everything I have from top-shelf liquor to shrimp and good cuts of meat. )

I’ve been drinking every night and have been letting my underage daughter have a glass right along with me. She’s unusually nervous about this whole nightmare, so now’s as good a time as any to break the law in the privacy of our own home. These teens read all of this false information on social media and really believe it. Oh, how I miss the days of my youth, where if we were home, we were just home. If channels 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11 or 13 didn’t tell us, then we were happily oblivious and went back to writing in our Partridge Family diaries or calling our BFFs on our teenage landlines. Anyway, I’ve just learned that these kids believe a scenario just like in the movie The Purge is going to happen. “What the hell is that?” I thought. Here, I just ripped this synopsis off from the internet: In an America ravaged by crime and overcrowded prisons, the government sanctions an annual 12-hour period during which all criminal activity — including murder — is legal. So, these kids think during these days of quarantine, this will happen. I told my daughter that no way will that happen. We have an alarm, and we will lock our doors. And, all 5’2” of me will protect her. Somehow, I didn’t ease her fears. And, thank you very much, daughter, for scaring the living shit out of me now also. 

Well, I must now drive to the Jersey Shore to meet with the men who are repairing my water main line. Presently I have no water in the house. Why worry about this now? Because, when the murderers and robbers come get me during the imminent “purge,” I’ll need a place with running water to escape to very soon. I had to let the men in this morning without me being there to get the job started. They needed access to my basement. Wait!! That is where I store my extra toilet paper and Clorox wipes. What if they’ve taken it??!! See, I’m certifiable. Maybe I’ll try out for Fatal Attraction, the Sequel

I dedicate this blog to all of us, but especially to the people who are sick and to the people who are going to have trouble paying their bills. And, I hope with all of my hope strength that we get this orange fucker out of office, so we can get our country back on its feet. Still think COVID-19 is a hoax, asshole?

**Tap on the FOLLOW button at the bottom of your phone or computer. (Move your finger or mouse around, and FOLLOW will appear if it’s hidden.) You have to open the email the site sends you to complete the FOLLOW process. Thank you from this woman and her popped cork.

Posted in aging, community, confessions, day-to-day, environment, errands, family, health, idiosyncracies, Judgment, medical, political, shame, social media, trends | 7 Comments

Is There Anybody Out There?

So, when people write “lol,” do they really mean they are laughing out loud? I know my sister laughs on the inside, but she doesn’t make any sound. Her face is stone, but her eyes at least show a little bit of expression. When she is wearing sunglasses, though, I check for a pulse. I have at least two friends who always write “lol,” but I think they write it to shoo me away like a fly. They are probably in the middle of actually brokering some kind of deal in an office or are in a paper gown with their feet tucked into stirrups. They know if they give me too much encouragement, I’ll keep on running with whatever I thought was funny.

If you text with me, then you know I am a pretty quick text-responder, and I’ll send back a thoughtful reply. I want you to know that I have really read your text including your typos in all of their glory. I am skilled at speaking autocorrect, so I understood when my friend wrote “Bringing Judy just in case.” We have no mutual friends or people in our lives named Judy. Of course, I wrote back, “I didn’t know Judy was joining us. That’s lovely.” I obviously knew she meant to type “just” not “Judy.”

What I want to know is who you people are who barely—or don’t—respond to texts.

Please don’t take the fact that I text often as a sign I have nothing better to do. What you may not realize is that a lot of the time, I’m on my computer while your texts pop up on my screen. I answer them even faster than I can from my phone, because I’m using a keyboard. I was a teen of the 80s, so I took an actual typing class. I can kick ass on a standard keyboard. All of my ten fingers can hit their home keys and the neighboring ones in lightning speed. And, you should see my right thumb stroking that space bar. I am actually in about seven different text chains right now as I write this. Not exaggerating. 

What I want to know is who you people are who barely—or don’t—respond to texts. I just don’t understand you. My own mother barely answers, and, I’m talking about texts that should matter to her, like a picture of her granddaughter or details about her imminent flight. When I asked her about it, she said something like, “What do you mean? I read them and love seeing the pictures.” So, she appreciates them but doesn’t feel the need to acknowledge them. Wow, that makes tons of sense. “It must be a generational thing,” I thought. But, my pretend-mother-in-law, who is the same age, always responds. And, lo and behold, she even generates texts herself and knows how to include pictures. So, there went that theory. My aunt, who is 84, claims she doesn’t know how to text or even check them. I, myself, have walked her through it about seven times. (“Here’s the green box with the white, speech bubble inside. Simply touch it.”) Yet, miraculously, I will receive a picture via text from her every year or so. She once asked why my kids don’t answer their phones. I told her that she’s better off texting them, since they will respond immediately. She then said, “But, I haven’t got their email addresses.” I was done. 

Let’s get back to my contemporaries, who are non-responders or one-worders. If you are under age 70, wtf is wrong with you? Besides it being bad manners, are you really that busy or self-important? I think it’s more that you are just a textflake. (I just made up that word. I like it.) You are actually healthy in the fact that you are not attached to your phones, or you may be just going about your day, not caring about anything not deemed an emergency. But, don’t you understand that in 2020, we need immediate fulfillment? We can’t wait for anything anymore. I need to know if you can have dinner on the 20th; I need to know if I can pawn my kid off on you next week; and I need to know who your plumber is, damn it! And, isn’t my very current, pop-culture meme hilarious? Why aren’t you answering me???? It’s the newish friends that really baffle me. I’m more likely to answer a new person than an old friend, so where the hell are you? That’s not a very good text-impression you’re making.

I can’t forget about the text avoiders. You know who you are, and unfortunately for you, I know who you are, too. Sometimes in a group text, one of us needs a favor or says something a little controversial. Immediately one or two in the group go radio silent. We all know you’re still there. Duh. You avoiders are thinking, “Let me see if someone else will donate blood for our dying friend first.” So, you can keep doing that, but maybe next time just take the honest route: “You know guys, I think I’ll keep my plasma for now. I’d love to help another time.”

I’ll finish by saying that of course I sometimes receive texts and don’t respond, but 95% of the time, it’s because I am out at night. If it requires more than a quick answer, I can’t be rude while I’m with friends. I’ll make a mental note to respond the next day, and I always start by saying, “Sorry for the delayed response.” Then there have been times, where I have completely forgotten. That’s always because of those extra tequilas. I did this recently on a three-way text with a cousin (who I haven’t spoken to in a while) and a friend who had coincidentally met on a trip. The text came all the way from Israel, and it came on a night when I thought I was still 22. I felt so badly when the next text came a full week later: “I want to make sure you got this text. Betsy is awesome!” I apologized twice and texted upward and onward. 

It’s funny how my boyfriend seems to answer me quickly. He has a lot more to lose, I guess, even if it is an aging vagina. 

I dedicate this text to all of the good and fast responders in my life. I appreciate your time and humor. Keep making me laugh and giving it to me fast, like I like it! xoxo

**Tap on the FOLLOW button at the bottom of your phone or computer. (Move your finger or mouse around, and FOLLOW will appear if it’s hidden.) You have to open the email the site sends you to complete the FOLLOW process. Thank you from this woman and her popped cork.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

You Didn’t Hear This from Me

Can you keep a secret? I mean really keep a secret? “Oh, I only told my husband. Big deal!” Yeah, you’re right. It is a big deal. Telling your spouse, sibling or mother is not allowed in the rules of trust. I once confronted a friend who had betrayed me, and she said, “I thought telling family was okay.” Um, no, that may be overlooked behavior in nursery school, but once you know right from wrong, I’d say that’s pretty shitty. Think about the key players in your life right now. We know in our guts who shares too much and who locks up information so tightly that an overdose of truth serum couldn’t even make them talk. So, we have no one to blame but ourselves, when in a moment of emotional weakness (perhaps wine-induced), we tell the wrong person the wrong thing. No matter how lovingly that blabbermouth looks at us with the face of a concerned grandma, don’t spill the beans. Don’t do it! 

I loved that both mother and daughter knew I’d wire her money, take her to the gyno or pick her up from a frat house at 3 am if that’s what she needed.

I have to bring my mother into this. (Sorry, Mom). I have three kids and have had four pregnancies (no, one was not in high school or college). How many times do you think I told my own mother I was pregnant before the three-month mark? From my easy setup, I’m sure you were correct in guessing “zero.” She was just too darn excited to be a grandmother, and I knew in my heart she would tell her Siamese-like-sister, mother and close friends. I did feel badly about this, but I couldn’t risk having what was sacred to me shared without my blessing. I did her a favor, though, didn’t I? I mean, when it was safe, she could blab it all over the golf course and canasta table guilt-free. She could brag in all her glory, as she chipped, putted and melded.

I still smile to myself when I think of a young girl telling me this: “You’re my person. My mom told me that if I ever needed anything in the world, I could call you,” she said. I can’t remember exactly what I said back, since this happened years ago, but I know I told her I would of course be her person. I was honored she felt that I was up to the part. Mostly, I was touched to know that this teenager trusted me. Her mother assigned me the role of her daughter’s confidante and life preserver. She did this without ever asking me first. I loved that both mother and daughter knew I’d wire her money, take her to the gyno or pick her up from a frat house at 3 am if that’s what she needed. I have two daughters myself, and I never thought to appoint someone their person. I know both of them would be resourceful enough to find a trusted adult if they thought they needed to reach around their dad or me. I would be grateful to whomever they’d use their one phone call on if they were ever ever handcuffed with mascara smeared down their face and fresh ink on their ankle. (Please don’t let me have just jinxed myself.) 

Long ago, I was on the receiving end of an ask for help from another young person. She was pregnant and couldn’t face her mom, because she knew the disappointment would be too much to bear. She was crying and felt alone and scared. It was clear she was too young to be a mother and didn’t want this mistake to ruin all the good things she had coming her way. So, I did what any one of us pro-choice women would do. I offered to pay for her abortion and took her back to my house to sleep it off afterwards. My kids didn’t know she was ever at our house, and I have never told anyone. Though I’m talking about it here, I will never reveal her identity. Never. I know she thought I “saved” her, and I know I gave her the care and relief she needed. What she didn’t realize, though, is that she made me feel as good as I made her feel by trusting me. Actually, I think she made me feel even better. 

I do think there are certain moments when it’s okay to reveal a closely-held truth. Psychologists are allowed to do it if they think someone is in danger of hurting herself or being hurt. I agree with that sentiment, especially when it comes to teens. Since most people have big mouths, I hear a lot of gossip. I’ve heard that certain teens have an affinity for sucking on the penises of boys at parties. Unfortunately I’ve heard this about teens I know well. I choose not to tell their parents. Being a slut isn’t life threatening; it just ups your chances of finding your name written on a bathroom wall. If I heard they were driving drunk or hitchhiking, then I’d pick up the phone. But, hey, Rizzo was okay in the end.

If you think keeping secrets is easy, then I’d have to say you’re one of those people I wouldn’t trust. It’s tough stuff at times. If it were easy, then there wouldn’t be an overabundance of loose-lipped people in the world. It can be tempting to spill something, especially when you think it can help someone else. On the less respectable side, the “I know something you don’t know” feeling gives people a sense of superiority. The more insecure they are, the more they want to share their news with others to show just how “awesome” they are.

Tony Montana once said that all he has in this world are his balls and his word, and he “don’t break them for no one.” I may not have balls, but I do have my unbreakable word. I take that very seriously. Once that’s gone, it’s like a crashed hard drive. There’s not much you can do to get it back. And, this is why I will never reveal the identities of any of the people mentioned in this blog, so please don’t bother asking me who they are. My ability to keep a secret is one of the traits I’m most proud of about myself. Winning the arm hang competition in third grade was nothing compared to this. 

I dedicate this blog to my fellow vaults. I know who you are, and you know who you are. Enough said. 

**Tap on the FOLLOW button at the bottom of your phone or computer. (Move your finger or mouse around, and FOLLOW will appear if it’s hidden.) You have to open the email the site sends you to complete the FOLLOW process. Thank you from this woman and her popped cork.

Posted in community, confessions, confidence, day-to-day, friendship, improvement, Judgment, privacy, sentimental, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

Amazon, You Rock My World

I’m an Amazon junkie. I wouldn’t be surprised if I walked into a family holiday dinner, and a “long lost aunt” was planted on the couch to head up an intervention for me. My addiction doesn’t make me unique I know, since there are more than 145.2 million people using this app. Amazon offers around 120 million products and sells 4,000 items every minute. Now that’s some badass E-commerce. If I told my kids that Amazon started as a book-selling app—and I mean the old-fashioned hardcopy or paperback types—they’d tell me I was nuts and that my stories about writing out driving directions were made up, too. 

We all know why we turn to Amazon so quickly—because we are inherently lazy, and it makes our lives so much easier. How else can I check seven items off of my TO DO list in the time it takes me to drive to a mall? Plus, I don’t have to get out of my robe. I also don’t have to take the extra step of going to FedEx to ship some special mattress topper to my daughter in California. I can donate to a friend’s kid’s charity fundraiser with the click of a few buttons. And, I don’t have to make any calls to locate a hard-to-find protein bar my other daughter “needs.” Now, if Amazon could just put away my laundry and screw my boyfriend for me, too…

How else can I check seven items off of my TO DO list in the time it takes me to drive to a mall?

I get so much joy from sitting in front of my computer for hours scrolling through different types of napkin holders and garage hooks. I just last night purchased a window decal. I swear I actually needed this, since two people tried to walk through my porch storm door. One ended up with a bloody nose, and the other ended up with a nasty headache and had to lie down on my couch. The strangest thing I ever ordered on Amazon was a goldfish tank that was shaped like an ultramodern condominium. It looked so lovely on my counter until I noticed the fish floating on top one day.

Oh yes, the luxury of Amazon is so fulfilling. It’s like finding the perfect shape of Tupperware to fit your leftovers. But, just like with everything seemingly utopian, there is a dark side here, too. This site brings up some uncomfortable feelings for me. I’ll start with the guilt. I feel very wasteful and un-green because of the massive amounts of cardboard and packing materials they use for even the smallest orders. Why do I need those air-filled pieces of plastic to buffer a pack of printer paper? (Throwing those things away are a nightmare. I have to stab each air-puff with a scissor just to fit it into my garbage pail.) I also feel badly that Amazon is killing both mom-and-pop shops and big businesses. It partnered with Whole Foods and Nike, because these companies figured “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Since Amazon now delivers about a quarter of its own orders, UPS and FedEx must be shaking a bit. Basically, every time I shop their site, I’m contributing to this destruction.  

Another negative is that I’m actually spending more money than I would if I went shopping in a real store. It’s not because their prices are higher; it’s because of these three reasons—my son, and my two daughters. For them, it’s a store where everything is free when they log into my account, which is linked to my credit card and not theirs, right? When I went to check out the other day, I noticed face tattoos and bright wigs hanging out in my cart. Trust me, I didn’t put them in there. Then I’ll get the Amazon alerts letting me know that my fishnet stockings and dodgeball costume are about to arrive. Um, I didn’t order these either. The scary thing is that it wasn’t even Halloween season. I know you’re thinking I should just change my password. I do, and then they wiggle it out of me for some “emergency,” where their friends will all pay them back. “Oh, I’ll Venmo you the money, Mom.” And, then they’ll sell me some water at the river’s edge. 

Who knew an app could make me feel so insecure also? I will be shopping for a picture frame and find what I think is the perfect one for me. It even has that AMAZON’S CHOICE stamp on it. I then scroll down and read the reviews. I immediately become completely paralyzed. One person writes, ‘This is the best frame I ever bought. It is exactly how it appears in the pictures and is sturdy and well-made!” The next guy, Frank, writes, “What a complete piece of shit! I’d like to shove this broken and cheap frame up the seller’s ass. I want all my money back now!!” So, I continue reading, become even more confused, and the paralysis sets in further. That frame will now sit in my cart for days, until I eventually just hit PLACE YOUR ORDER and pray Frank was wrong.

I haven’t even gotten into Alexa, and how she’s taken me into a stratosphere of lazy that I didn’t even know existed. “Alexa, what’s the weather?” “Alexa, add tomatoes.” “Alexa, reorder my printer ink.” All this, and I don’t even have to rub a lamp. And, so it goes: I sit, I scroll, I click, I pay. I sit, I scroll, I click, I pay. I sit, I scroll, I click, I pay.

I dedicate this blog to the new 20s. You used to be roaring. This go around, I’ll take times that aren’t full of hate, racism and ignorance. Plus, I don’t want to wear beaded slipcover dresses and headbands wrapped around a bob haircut. I’m pretty sure I would have like the speakeasies, though.

Oh, and let me add a thank you to my friend who once sent me a gift from Amazon. Along with the gift came a leather bound journal. Yup, her kids had left it in her cart.

**Tap on the FOLLOW button at the bottom of your phone or computer. (Move your finger or mouse around, and FOLLOW will appear if it’s hidden.) You have to open the email the site sends you to complete the FOLLOW process. Thank you from this woman and her popped cork.

Posted in confessions, day-to-day, environment, errands, idiosyncracies, shame, trends | Tagged | 9 Comments