Friday, March 30, 2012
The other day I hit a light pole with my car, and I was pissed, especially since I was trying to be safe by looking to my right to make sure no cars were coming down this one way driveway before I turned left to leave the parking lot. Little did I know that while I drove slowly looking right, ready to gun the engine and turn left, my car had drifted toward the light pole that I thought that I had cleared on my right. I stepped on the pedal and BAM! My left bumper hit the light pole.
It wasn’t a major accident. I couldn’t have been going more than 5-10 miles an hour, if that. My air bag didn’t deploy. I wasn’t hurt. I was more surprised than anything, and although I knew that I had scarred the bumper of my brand new car, I didn’t even bother to get out to see the damage. I figured that I’d look at it when I got home. It couldn’t be that bad. I was just hurt that my new car didn’t look new anymore.
As I had suspected, the paint was rubbed off of my bumper and there was a small gash above it. I figured that I could pay for the damage out of pocket and not contact my insurance company. It couldn’t be more than the $500 deductible that I’d have to pay anyway. Well, was I in for a surprise! By the time the estimate came back to me it was over $3,000. All I could do was laugh. Was this a joke? I discovered quickly that it was not.
What I found out was that the car that I was driving was the joke. It was explained to me that the cars these days were made out of plastic and the thing that I called a bumper really wasn’t a bumper. They don’t make many cars with bumpers anymore. Cars made out of steel were a thing of the past. The man at the
told me that: “Everything is plastic these days.” Collision Center
Later I thought about what he said and realized that he was absolutely right. I’ve lived long enough to be driving a plastic car, put my groceries in plastic shopping bags, drink my milk and juice out of plastic jugs, which I pour into plastic cups. I can eat off of plastic dishes, with plastic knives and forks. The toys that I buy for my great-grandchildren are all plastic and most of the purchases that I make are made with a plastic credit card. Just about everything around me these days that is manmade is made out of plastic and worst of all, every day I speak to plastic people who show no emotions for others, and things are not getting better.
Usually I try to get too serious in these little messages that I write, but I can’t find one thing amusing about what’s happened. As I watch my great-grandchildren and their friends sit before plastic computer screens every day for hours with little human interaction, I can only see things growing worse. Real is becoming a thing of the past, and pretty soon that will become a plastic memory. Lord am I grateful to have lived in that past, because you see a plastic world just is not for me. Now you can muse on that.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Hello, its Bea here and I have a question for you. Have you noticed that everything is smarter these days? There are smart houses, smart cars, and smart phones; just about everything is smarter. It seems that as inanimate things get smarter, people seem to get dumber by the minute. Somebody has to be inventing these things so there must be a small pocket of smart people out there. I think most of them are advertisers.
Take my cell phone, no really, I wish someone would take my cell phone. It constantly sends my text messages to the wrong contact people. It randomly dials numbers in my contact list. It cuts off calls—before I even dial! It purposely refuses to disconnect when I finish a call, causing me to be overheard saying unflattering things about people. Of course, I then have to pretend that I knew they were listening and the whole thing was a joke.
The other day I was thinking about a friend who lives in California. The phone dialed her! I hadn’t touched the phone. It was laying on the car seat beside me and I heard her voice saying hello.
This phone is very sensitive to touch. It was three months before I learned to control my breathing because, if I so much as breathed on an application, it connected me. Once the smart-ass phone connected me to the internet so many times that I needed to recharge after only one hour of use!
I’ve been using the telephone since I was five years old. The device is for talking to people who are not close at hand. I f I wanted to send a written message, I’d write a letter. If I wanted to get on the internet, I’d go to a computer where the screen is big enough that I don’t have to squint with one eye to see it. I have a perfectly good radio, so I don’t want to listen to music on my phone, or play games.
Now this is the part that shows how dumb people are getting. If all I wanted to do was talk, why didn’t I just get a plain dial-and-talk phone instead of a “smart” phone? Not likely. Everyone made me think I needed that phone. People told me that if I was driving alone and got lost, I could use the GPS; if I ran into trouble or just had a flat tire, I could call for help; and in case of an emergency I could reach 911. The list of reasons goes on and on. I had to have that phone! If not, I would be at the mercy of every calamity known to man and would be cut off from civilization without a life line. I became completely paranoid. I felt that I had no choice but to get the latest technology had to offer. The only thing is, I hate that phone!
I’m not the only dummy who fell for all the hype. It started out with advertisers making business people think that they needed a mobile phone to keep them connected to their busy lives. Soon everyone wanted to look like the busy executive on the go but who was still taking care of business. Then they convinced everyone else of the “joy” of staying connected. What do we really have to say that is that important? The clincher was when pay phones began to disappear so that you felt you had no choice but to have a cell phone.
We dummies that let smart phones run our lives shouldn’t all feel bad. Sometimes we rebel. I know recently I refused to listen to my GPS when it tried to navigate me into a river. Why in the world would I keep going when the voice on the GPS said to turn right and I was looking at a large body of water? Unfortunately some people would follow that GPS voice into hell. That’s how bad it’s gotten.
What’s even worse, many of us dummies are posting all our personal business on social networking sites. Now we realize that thanks to smart web sites, we have no personal business. Now that’s something to muse on.
Friday, March 16, 2012
I’m Hattie Collier and if you’ve been reading these postings you know I usually have something to complain about. Today would be no exception except for one thing: I sat on my back porch today. Now if you’re thinking ‘so what’ I don’t blame you. But this is what happened.
I’ve been so busy for the past year that I can barely think. What with vacationing with my friends and keeping them out of trouble, starting a business of my own, learning to drive and so on, it has not been easy to take some time off for me. Today, the thought suddenly came to me that I had not sat on my porch in…well I don’t know when. It seems like a century ago I did things like that. So with a cup of tea and a good book, I sat on the porch and settled down.
For a second, I thought I remembered why I didn’t sit outside. I could hear the kids at a nearby school screaming and laughing at recess. I could hear the loud engines of trash trucks as they empty trash cans and the clatter and rolling cans when they were thrown back in the yards and I could hear the roar of car engines being gunned on a nearby street. I was determined to ignore the distractions and start reading. Well, after a few minutes something happened; there was this eerie quiet that made me look up from my book. It seemed like there was no one on earth but me.
Slowly, I did notice sounds. There was a consistent chirping sound. Then I noticed lots of birds in the yard. Well when I was in high school many moons ago, I used to study birds and could recognize quite a few. Like I said, that was many moons ago. I did notice robins, and red birds, and I think I saw a morning dove or two. Two black birds flew over my head—my Lord, I didn’t know there were so many birds in my back yard!
I was thinking about starting a garden, so I started plotting out where I would put it. Now, Hattie, I thought, let’s not get carried away. When I looked up I could swear that the tree buds had opened a little! Now before you start pitying the mutterings of an old fool, let me tell you that I am not crazy. I didn’t actually see the buds open but for a moment is was like I could see them.
Let me stop right now before somebody starts fitting me for a straight jack. I’m trying to make a point. I sat on that porch watching birds, and bees and grass and watching trees sway in the wind. At that moment I was thinking, yes, there is war, famine, hatred and disease all over the world and every day of the week; but for this brief moment in time I really connected with nature and recognized that samples of all the greatness and the goodness of the universe were there in my backyard!
Anyway, the kids are back outside and some fool in blasting his radio so loud I can hear it all the way back here. Times up! I’m just saying; don’t forget there is beauty out there. Take time to smell the roses. Now muse on it.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Now I’m not a part of the top 1% of the wealthy in the United States, but I’ve earned a couple of bucks with my business, Palmer Realty. People have often said to me “Connie you look like a million”, and I’ve taken the compliment in stride—who wouldn’t—but having a couple of million bucks and looking like you have it are two different things. I’d rather have it and so would most people I know. However, I’ll venture to say that the truly rich don’t have to flaunt their wealth, because its what’s in their bank account and not what’s on that backs that really matters.
You see, the rich are different, and we can stand around debating that statement until the end of time, but it’s a fact. The United State of America has never been without class divisions, and if you think that it ever has then I’ve got a gold mine in Manhattan that I’d like to sell to you. Shoot, the Founding Fathers weren’t a bunch of dirt farmers scratching to make a living. They were the nation’s elite. The vast majority had money and money means power. If I’m lying then somebody has got to prove it to me.
It doesn’t make sense that truly rich people would think the way that average income or poor people think. If you’re rich you don’t have to worry about where your next meal is coming from, or how to pay the light bill or how to keep the heat on in your house. You see, money gives you a freedom and independence that poverty does not, and with freedom comes privilege. You’re going to be treated different in society if you’re privileged. The rules that apply to those with money aren’t always the same as those that apply to those without it. If you’re rich and you steal some money that doesn’t belong to you then it's called “misappropriation of funds”. If you’re poor and you swipe the same money from the same people then it’s called “stealing” or "robbery". The rich can afford high priced lawyers who can get them off with a hand slap—a suspended sentence, maybe home detention or a fine. The poor get a public defender assigned to them and more often than not they will serve some jail time.
I even read an article on line with the following headline: Wealthy More Likely to Lie or Cheat. The headline implied that we were supposed to be surprised. The article reported that researchers had conducted experiments with hundreds of wealthy people, defined by the study as the “upper class”, and it was found that this class was “more likely to break the law while driving, take candy from children, lie in negotiations, cheat to increase their odds of winning a prize and endorse unethical behavior at work.” Okay, and?
It went on to say that with a few exceptions (i.e. Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates) “upper class individuals are more self-focused, they privilege themselves over others, and they engage in self-interested patterns of behavior.” That’s a lot of hot air simply to say that rich folks know that they’ve got it like that and they mean to keep it that way. I have no doubt that they will fight like hell if anybody tries to interfere.
Well, all of this doesn’t make rich folks look too good in general, but of course it’s not all bad. The wealthy contribute to a lot of good causes in this country. Their generosity can change a lot of lives. Money does make a difference and there’s no sense in denying it.
I don’t remember who said it but the quote went something like this: “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor and rich is much better.” So we can all muse on that!
Friday, March 2, 2012
The other day my great-grandson was at my house and I was helping him with his homework when suddenly he looked up at me and said “Granny, I don’t want to grow old.”
What he said didn’t take me by surprise. I’ve heard people say that before. What bothered me this time was that it was someone in my family speaking those words, and I took it as a personal insult because I’m old and proud of it.
I was curious about why the boy would say what he did, and asked him about it. Do you know what he told me? “If I grow old then I’m going to die.”
I couldn’t argue with that, but I had to give the little guy a reality check, so I told him: “If you don’t grow old, that means you’re going to die young.” That got his attention.
It’s a sentiment I use often when I hear folks talking about not wanting to grow old. It seems to me that anybody ought to be grateful if they reach “old age”, whatever that happens to be. Everyday somebody doesn’t’ make it. Every day, maybe every hour, somebody doesn’t wake up in the morning. Others don’t live to go to bed that night. I asked my great-grandson did he want to be one of those. Of course he said no, so I told him to stop that foolishness and be grateful for everyday that’s given to him walk the earth. We all ought to be grateful, but we live in a country that worships youth and looks at aging as something to fear instead of something to respect.
What’s wrong with this country anyway? It’s not like that in other countries that have been around much longer. Maybe the fact that the United States is a young country is the reason that it worships youth so much. Maybe it hasn’t been around long enough to have learned to respect age. Shoot, I live in a city that tore down its basketball arena because it was twenty-five years old. Yet, I bet the same folks that made that decision will travel across the ocean to take pictures of ancient monuments and that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. If folks can respect aged buildings, why not aged people?
You’ve got to be tough to grow old in America. It ain’t easy. Older folks are often treated like children, or too often we’re the object of ridicule and bad jokes. The contributions that we have made to this society can be overlooked or unappreciated. Still I ’m thank God that I’m old. I’m in my eighties now and a lot of my friends didn’t make it this far.
As we grow older we should gain more wisdom and more insight. I say should because unfortunately I’ve met some older folks who are as dumb as a box of rocks. I take that as being heredity. I guess nothing can help that. I don’t know about anyone else, but I do know that as I aged my confidence in myself increased. What used to be so important I discovered didn’t matter anymore and I certainly stopped trying to please others.
Yep, I’m enjoying this growing old thing. Of course, I’m still pretty healthy. I’m still mobile and independent. I might not feel his way if I wasn’t.
The day might come that all of these good things might not be so good anymore. Yet I can’t let what might happen tomorrow stop me from living the best life I can today. I’m an old lady and I’m loving it! Go muse on that.