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Posts Tagged ‘Humor’

Now I get it! My real connection to Steve Martin’s first movie, The Jerk.

So this was me today on a short shopping trip with a specific list. Checked first two off at grocery store, one at gas station. Good job. One item to go. On to Petco where rumor has it they carry safflower seed for wild birds. They did! And that was all I needed. That’s all—“except this catnip toy.”

So there I am an hour later walking through World Market, which happened to be right next door to Petco, saying, “This is all I need, this phony French wall clock — and this pack of brown rice. And that’s all I need. Oh, and this can of stuffed grape leaves, and that’s all I need. Oh, and this tea diffuser. Yes, that’s all I need.”

To my credit I wasn’t wearing a bath robe and shuffling along with my pants at my ankles. Image

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I rub the sleepy out of my eyes and stop making the bed. It’s wash day! I can skip this chore. After breakfast I turn on my favorite radio talk show to listen to while putting on my face. Ummm, he must not come on this early.

I can’t believe it! I missed both my pills yesterday, morning and evening! Better wash one down right now and how did they get in the wrong slot?

I get a better look at that object by my mailbox when I open the windows. It surely looks like a newspaper, but I don’t get the paper on Monday or Tuesday. Too bad the delivery guy made a mistake. That means I’ll have a slim Monday paper to read on this rainy day.

The drizzle is kind of pleasant, the air a little cool as I retrieve my illicit newspaper. Darn it’s heavy for a Monday. Ummmm I don’t remember getting the fat Sunday paper yesterday. Plop, it goes on the table. Darned if it isn’t Sunday’s edition. That guy must have forgotten and dropped it a day late.

What’s the date on that paper? Twenty-fourth. Let me check the wall calendar.

Uh oh! Sunday? Today is Sunday? Let me turn on CBS. There is that big yellow sun and the Sunday Morning show. You mean I don’t have to wash clothes, gather and take garbage, clean litter? Then I glance in the bedroom. There’s that unmade bed, just as rumpled as my mind.

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Fall was in the air as the temperatures dropped for the first time yesterday. Bonnie, Rebecca and I headed to the country, to Biggar Antiques in Lake Alfred, Florida. A relaxing afternoon at their Halloween festival was just what we needed.

But first, we were hungry. It was after 2 p.m. and none of us had eaten lunch. A quick bite, and we’d hit the road. Quick, but charming, Bonnie and I requested, with good menu choices, no fast foods, but food fast, because the antique store would close by 5 p.m. and the shop was an hour away. Mimi’s fit the bill. We grabbed a table outside in the breeze and shade and ordered drinks from a waifish waitress with a whispering French accent. When we ordered, Rebecca asked if the French fries were good.

“I don’t know,” the waitress whispered, “I don’t eat here.”

Okay.

We made our choices and waited, and talked. Rebecca’s friends called and asked us to come over to Elephant Bar up the street and eat with them. They would have drinks waiting. It was tempting. We could see Elephant Bar from the patio where we sat, but our food would be there any minute.

At some point we realized Rebecca was now in the sun and 45 minutes had passed. We hailed the young man who showed us to our table and asked for our waitress. Shortly she, silently appeared with her order pad.

“Hello, what I can get for you?”

“How about the food we ordered 45 minutes ago?” Bonnie said.

The waif in black whispered something unintelligible and smiled.

“No, forget it. We are leaving. We have to be somewhere,” Rebecca said as we gathered our things and got up. And she was suddenly gone. We go in to tell them we are leaving and someone came out of the kitchen with food and asked if we wanted it to go. NO! Then she explained she was the regional manager on site for “coaching.”

“No charge, just let us bag the food for you.” Which she began to do.

Now we have only food, so stop at Albertsons’s for bottled drinks, hit I-4 and get on our way. The food is cold, and Rebecca is trying to eat and drive.

“My crotch is vibrating,” Rebecca says, and grabs her phone. Now she is eating, texting and driving. But we make it to Lake Alfred about 45 minutes before closing, having no time to enjoy the country scene after we leave I-4.

The shop is lovely as ever in the old downtown building. The gifts and antiques are tasteful and beautifully displayed. Best of all, the owner, Mrs. Biggar and her daughter-in-law Karen are there with Karen’s infant son, the one they waited ten years for. He was adorable.  We learned chaos preceded us. Mrs. Biggar had cut her arm and was bleeding badly. Karen shed her Halloween costume to take her to the hospital. They were back when we arrived and doing fine, but feeling a bit harried.

Bonnie found a LOT of stuff and I found the most beautifully crafted silver bracelet I could not leave there. Did I say their prices are unbelievably reasonable for such quality and good design whatever the product?

We decide to look for a coffee shop as we leave because that’s just what we need to relax us. We would have to hit I-4 to find one. Rebecca is talking to a friend on the phone when Bonnie points to the sky.

A “J,” she says, gazing into the sky. “E” . . . “S” . . . “U”. . . Bonnie recites as the miles tick on. Bonnie doesn’t take her eyes off the sky. Then she begins singing “Jesus Loves Me.” We join in. Rebecca’s friend on the phone asks if we have been drinking. If only.

Grandma, do you still have the tin full of buttons I used to play with when I was little?” Rebecca had her grandmother in South Dakota on the phone. Bonnie continued to watch the fading Jesus. The antique buttons in the store had brought back memories. The buttons Rebecca remembered would be waiting for her on Grandma’s demise, Grandma promised. They had a charming conversation over the next few miles.

“We’ve got to find a gas station,” Rebecca says.

“Got to be Shell or Mobile,” Bonnie said.

“Is the light about to come on?” I asked. I had missed earlier conversation due to road noise and sitting in the back.

“It’s been on since before Bonnie started seeing Jesus in the sky,” Rebecca said, “She wouldn’t pay attention to me. Now it’s almost to the end of the red.”

Jesus is fading.

I-4 is packed, no proper service station appears. I volunteer to buy gas at ANY station, but Rebecca decides we can make it to Altamonte exit. Did I mention Bonnie and I now have very queasy stomachs? We are car sick or have food poisoning from the restaurant, so a Coke and motion sickness pill (just in case) become as important as gas.

We arrived at the station on fumes, grab Cokes and head to drug store for motion sickness pills for Bonnie. A more normal feeling began to creep in our tummies after a few swigs of Coke and we made it home.

I wouldn’t take the world for my relaxing day in the country. I like the “things” in my life to have purpose or memories. Every time I look at my beautiful silver bracelet our incredible day will all come back to me and I mean “incredible” in the most literal way.

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Forget Match.com or eHarmony.com. It’s time to create a new website to connect with a compatible mate. Forget those “walks on the beach.” Tell us what magazines you have in your bathroom (or by the bed). This could tell us more than your answers to a personality quiz.

This thought came about at the lunch table with my son and his employee. I mentioned that I tried to cut back on magazine subscriptions, but my mail box is still choked with them: Wired, Writers Digest, Oxford American, Garden & Gun, Prevention, First Line, The Florida Writer and NRA magazine, to name a few.

My son says, “Well, I have Playboy, Maxim and several biking magazines.” His employee named ESPN, some hockey magazine and another cycle magazine. I happen to know my other son reads Wired and NRA magazine because he takes mine. My daughter has her nose buried in one book after the other and I don’t think reads a lot of magazines. Her books run the gamut from action thrillers (her favorite) to literary books.

Reading choices don’t tell you everything. You still can’t know what wonderful fathers my sons are from their reading material, or what a strong, lovable person my daughter is, but you can certainly get an idea of interests they invest their time in.

Perhaps my view is skewered by the past. When I met my husband he worked as a librarian at the Navy base in our town. He read every history book he could get his hands on. In later years he added action thrillers, reading at least two novels a month. OK I do still have a stack of Playboys he saved over the years along with general aviation magazines–all telling something about his personality and experiences.

So, go to your online dating sites, if you must, but when you meet, ask him/her what they read. Of course, if they look twenty years older than their picture and four inches shorter or taller, ask to see the subscriptions.

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I urge you to read the Five Days of Christmas Prayers from a favorite blogger. If these don’t capture your feelings, you are out of the mainstream.  Prayer #4 brings you down to earth, while #5 puts it all in prospective. (I realize there are two #4’s. I am referring to the one on Dec. 25th.)

http://cheles.wordpress.com/

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SCAT

Apparently this connotation of “scat” is so new it is not yet in the online dictionary, so I’ll play Webster.

Scat – adj. Writing genre in which every word is a sound used to get an idea across.

I had lunch with a couple of writers from our recent conference yesterday and the subject of scat came up. One of the writers even gave a vivid demonstration of scat right there in Panera Bread, huffing and chugging like a train. Shortly after he went to the men’s room and came back laughing so hard he could barely get his story out.

An old friend of his was coming out of the men’s room as he entered. The guy was fuming. He was sure the world was going to hell in a hand basket. As he stood at the urinal talking to his wife on the cell a gentleman in the stall had the nerve to make bodily sounds that his wife could hear. “Is there no civility in our society any more?” he asked.

Yeah, we all said what you are thinking. This guy expects a public bathroom to be hallowed territory for his phone calls? So now we are all laughing, but I have an idea. Did my friend not just experience fertile ground so to speak for an entertaining (or not) foray into scat?  My guess is we won’t hear it soon, and that will be soon enough.

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At some point into the Florida Writers Association Conference last weekend in Lake Mary, FL, I began to feel like a talent scout. That young man working on his mystery would be heard from. I was sure of it. A short story writer whose first publication is in the FWA collections book would soon break through that tough publishing wall. You just know it sometimes. The beautiful young woman I pegged in the parking lot on the first day as a writer made top ten in Collections. Later her elevator pitch to me of her first novel was concise and intriguing. An agent at the conference thought so, too, and asked for the manuscript.

One of my short stories made its way to “Slices of Life,” FWA’s collection book for 2010. I got to play like a real author and sign books for people. There are things you don’t know your first time. I soon learned my signature was not always enough. Some wanted something more personal. Here’s where quick thinking and creativity comes in handy even when in shock. I wonder if published authors go to their graves feeling like a fraud or will the feeling pass?

I will let you know soon when “Slices of Live” will be available for order for just $14.95 at www.amazon.com.   If you love short stories and real life characters you will treasure this book.

My friend Joan Levy and I were finalists in the Royal Palm Literary Awards contest. We met last year when I asked to sit by her at the awards banquet and felt like old friends by the time they called her name for a second prize tie in her category. This time both our stories were up for Creative Non-fiction Unpublished awards. I realized I would feel badly if I won and Joan didn’t and she felt the same. We held cold, shaky hands at times, rung our hands at others, praying for a tie between us at any level. The presenter had announced there were more ties than usual. We saw this as a good omen. We only talked of a tie. Someone must have heard us. We did come out even. Neither of us won. Relief came before our feelings of rejection, so I guess that’s good. There is always next year. Perhaps we’ll try for different categories, though, and we do have the satisfaction of knowing we both made it to the top layer.

The workshops were first class with lots of “take aways,” but for real value, meeting other people who relish sitting at a computer rearranging 26 characters into ideas and word pictures for hours is always the high point. I’ll never forget pausing at the door as I entered my first mini-conference a few years ago. I immediately stepped outside and called my husband to say, “There’s a room full of people just like me!”

My only regret was that I chose at one point to attend a serious, well-attended workshop in the huge ball room instead of “Let’s Talk About Sex” in a smaller venue with speaker Laura Parker Castoro I learned later she had them rolling in the aisles. No, not like that. She presented with humor. All in all, I’d rather have had Sex in the Orchid Room.

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