Welcome to Zombieland, Losing Our Collective Minds?, but I’m Enjoying the Quiet


Even when I was three years old, I knew the value of stink eye. I hate having my picture taken, and I loathed it even then.  I also knew the value of staying on an escape vehicle when my sadistic sisters were nearby.

I still remember that pant suit.  Grandma made it, and it would have been great had it been made of a soft, light knit instead of a very thick, almost cardboard like, scratchy, hot, hot, hot polyester.  I had total body heat rash at the end of that day. It was August and about a hundred degrees outside. I wonder whose bright idea it was to take pictures that day (there are a ton more of them, especially of my obnoxious older sisters) because it wasn’t my idea.  Avoiding getting my ass kicked- and not sweating to death outside or fleeing flying, stinging insect life- was my idea.

I can still remember the way that old time polyester chafed. The early 1970s are a fashion graveyard for a reason. I remember the shoes too- little black patent Mary Janes with the oh so slick plastic soles, worn with white lace socks with elastic so tight it would cut off the circulation. Try to run…and land square on your face. Both sisters were wearing identical get-ups (isn’t it just adorable to dress your children identically, so it’s harder to identify the ass-kicker from the ass-kickee) but they could run better in those shoes than I could.  Then again, anyone can run better in any shoes than I could have when I was three.  The physical therapy didn’t start until I was four, when my parents finally were resigned to the fact that my motor skills were not going to improve without some kind of intervention.

In this current crisis I freely admit that I don’t miss crowds.  I don’t miss working in a fishbowl where God and everybody is constantly in my grill. I am thankful as hell that I can work from home.  I am enjoying the quiet and the autonomy.  I am still getting things done, although we don’t have the volume we would normally right now.

I would like to think that there will be lessons learned from the stay at home orders, especially regarding personal autonomy, space and work-life balance (things I have never had much of) but I am a cynical person.   I am sure the gropers and huggers are going to expect me to be physically present as soon as possible and they will be right back in my face as soon as they are confident I won’t give them a disease.

As an introvert and a person that isn’t really keen on group groping and huggy-kissy-feely stuff it’s kind of a relief, not having to worry about eye contact and body language and all the other things that vex me about navigating out in the world. The only people I need to be around right now are people who know me and care about me and for who I don’t need to run the scripts. I can blissfully let my guard down.

I will probably have the opposite problem than most other people will have.  It will be hard for me to go back to the constant scrutiny and constant presence of others.  My stress level has actually gone down knowing that I am not as much under the microscope and I don’t have to do nearly as much scripting.  I don’t know how I am going to adjust back when I have to go back to all of that again.

I like my ivory tower very much, thank you.

I think for the first time in a long time I’ve actually had some time to decompress.  I have time to read, study, pray, and just be a bit of a vegetable. The last time I physically had time away from work was in 2009 when I had my hysterectomy, and even then I had to deal with Jerry and his drinking and tirades, and his constant demands for me to go shop, cook and clean against medical advice.   So that wasn’t much of a hiatus either. Begging the Costco employees to load the dog food into the car for me because I wasn’t allowed to lift more than ten pounds, also isn’t my idea of a good time.

By the providence of God I’ve managed to remain somewhat free of respiratory funks this year which is bizarre because almost everyone else around me got that really nasty bug that was circulating, but “tested negative for flu” back in January. Yes it makes me think. I’m usually the first one to get any kind of respiratory funk- especially upper respiratory and sinus infections- even though I get the flu and pneumonia shots.  It makes me think that the Plaquenil I’ve been on for the past six or seven years for arthritis might be doing more than just mitigating my arthritis flares.  Just a thought.










Twisted Ann Landers, (Why Are You Asking Me?) and Suffering Fools- Begrudgingly

Some days are meant just to catch up and ruminate – and others to indulge others’ laziness and/or stupidity. I thought this morning that today might be the first of those choices, (and I enjoy the rare delight of not being overly pestered or rushed,) but I am finding out very quickly that it’s going to be one of those days I spend thinking for and pointing out the obvious for others because they are unwilling to think for themselves, or are incapable of thinking, and/or of discerning the obvious for themselves. 

I’ve said it before.  I am certainly no rocket scientist.  I’m lucky to get out the door with all the crap I need for one day.  I forget things, misplace things, and I find that most of the time I am more reactive than proactive.  As far as examples go, everyone is an example of something, and for the most part my example is a cautionary tale of, “What Not to Do.”   As far as “What Not to Do” goes, I could write a book.  Maybe I should.

So who died and made me some sort of twisted Ann Landers, whose advice is sought in matters ranging from things automotive (while I am not the final authority by any means, at least I do have some experience and expertise in this field) to relationships (really good to ask advice on interpersonal relationships from someone with Asperger’s who borders on being both agoraphobic and antisocial) to (and this is the kicker) “Where the Hell Did I Put My Stuff?”  As far as relationships go, asking me advice would be about as effective as asking the guys who built the Titanic to engineer you an unsinkable boat.  I am not the right person to find anyone else’s stuff, either.  Half the time I can’t find my own.  I’m doing good to make it through the day without misplacing one of my three essentials- the cell phone, the Bluetooth, and the MP3 player.

One of my favorite tools when I am asked for advice is the Magic 8 Ball.  I have one.  They’re about $8 at Target- look in the toys and games.  I know, it’s a rather technologically primitive device  that dates back to the late 1940’s, but it is every bit as accurate as my advice on subjects outside the narrow areas of my expertise. 

Perhaps those around me don’t realize just how emotionally stunted I am, or maybe they ask my opinion because most of the time I make decisions based on practicality and utility- or expediency.  I have worked very hard my entire life to compensate for my weaknesses, but there are some areas in which I am just plain inept no matter how hard I try.  Anything involving gross motor coordination- forget it.  I do good to walk in a straight line without tripping or falling down.  As far as social interaction goes, I am always monitoring and second-guessing myself because I am not good at reading (or sending) non-verbals.  I can put on a good show if I need to, but it takes far too much conscious effort.  Imagine if you had to consciously think about and analyze your breathing.  This is the mental effort it takes for me in social situations.  The ability to socialize and converse face to face with people does not come naturally to me at all. 

So, by some strange twist of fate, who always seems to get elected to be the hospitality committee?  It’s like expecting the class midget to play center on the basketball team.

I’ve never seen myself as having anything but rudimentary (at best) social skills, but other people either don’t seem to notice or don’t seem to care.  Maybe I put on a better show than I thought.

Shakespeare said that “all the world’s a stage.”  The sad thing for me is that most of the time I want nothing more than to escape scrutiny and blend into the wall.  I seriously need to schedule a real vacation (root word: vacate, as in get out of Dodge) and get in some extreme ivory tower time before I start ripping people’s heads off.  Dealing with other people just plain wears me out.

I wouldn’t mind just camping out at home- sleeping, reading, writing, doing some cross-stitch, digging me some Tru-TV and jamming to some classic rock, except that I won’t be left alone to do those sorts of things.  I would end up being roped into errand-running, cleaning, and divers other activities that I don’t want to do.   I know I should put my foot down at times but I also  have to choose my battles.  As much as I hate to admit it, usually it’s easier to just do whatever so I don’t have to take the browbeating.

I have been challenged to refrain from making negative comments about Jerry for entire month of February.  I am sincerely going to try.  I admit, while he is challenging, I can be a rather harsh judge.  In some ways he deserves it, but I couldn’t be easy to live with either. 

Be Careful What You Wish For, Grinning Like the Cheshire Cat, and Take a Look Around

I swear I didn’t send yesterday’s list with Jerry to the Dr.’s office- the one with the line about scheduling a colonoscopy and prostate exam with Extreme Prejudice.  It was a tempting thought, but I restrained myself.  He still has to schedule the colonoscopy, but he got his prostate exam right there.  I had to assure Jerry that no, it’s not a full arm ordeal like what Mike Rowe had to do to cows on Dirty Jobs. It might feel like a full arm ordeal, but hey, it’s all about your health.  At least now we know that’s not where Jimmy Hoffa ended up.  Besides, look at what women are supposed to have done every year once they turn 21.  And guys whine because they have to have their nether parts inspected from time to time once they turn 50.  Get over it, boys.

I should try to find Jerry some of those full-arm veterinary gloves just in the name of humor.

I shouldn’t be grinning like the Cheshire Cat, but it’s sort of funny in a way.  Maybe that’s what the Cheshire Cat thought to be so funny- a sort of cosmic justification.  Now you see, grasshopper, a little bit of what the other side sees.

I can verify that the exam Jerry had yesterday involved probably only one finger if the illustration is correct.  Unless he was mistaken for a horse.  Then it’s back to the veterinary gloves.

I am glad that Monsoon season here in Central Ohio is at least giving way to warm temperatures with the rain.  It’s almost time for the dogwoods to bloom, and I look forward to that every year.

The rose bushes are actually getting leaves on them and hopefully they will be budding soon.  I gave them some of that rose food stuff last night.  Jerry was still hyper and all traumatized last night so I ended up doing various chores to shut him up.  I really hate that because I am dead tired in the evening, and the last thing I want to do is sweep up leaves and crap but he did clear out the front flower beds so I can get some annuals and some mulch to finish them off- when it stops raining for a few hours again.

So I will have to have a triple threat evening tonight- hair, face Nair, and nails.  Hopefully he will decide to leave me alone long enough to get these things done.  I would hate to have bushier eyebrows and a thicker beard than his.  I’ve done them all in the same night before.  It’s worth it not to overly frighten young children and dogs.  I would be afraid of some old geezer lady like myself too, especially when the facial hair and the Unibrow gets out of control.  Nasty.  Trust me on that one.

A good friend of mine once told me to be careful what I wish for.  I understand what he means by that- sometimes what we might think to be a blessing ends up being a curse.  Reality might not be what I wish for, but as Mick Jagger put it, “You can’t always get what you want/You can try sometimes/You just might find/You get what you need.”  Again, the pragmatic approach works here.  Take what you’re given and run with it and don’t spend a whole lot of time and energy lamenting the roads not traveled or the opportunities missed.  Sometimes what we thought we wanted wasn’t what we needed at all, and something we would have never wanted ends up being exactly what we needed. I’ll try to remember that little cosmic tidbit the next time Isabel decides to puke on the kitchen counter or some other completely inappropriate place.

Wish in one hand, shit in the other- which one fills up first?  And cat puke is universal.

I’m hoping for a quiet and peaceful weekend, and maybe a moment or two of solitude here and there.  I need some ivory tower time.  I’ve not gotten much of that lately and it shows.  Perhaps I will have more time to troll the National Archives website and look at pictures, if that doesn’t get shut down this weekend.  I just thought of that.  Then again, I will always find something to do in my solitude.  Drawing- I enjoy drawing, but hardly ever do it anymore, or cross-stitch, or perhaps revisiting one of the many books in my collection.  Who knows?  I enjoy the quiet and the autonomy more than anything.