Ass-U-Me

I told myself when I started blogging, that I should stay away from politics and religion.  Politics isn’t too bad; folks in Australia or Indonesia don’t give much of a damn about Canadian Provincial government, but, as soon as I mention religion, everybody’s got a dog in the fight.

There are good things and bad things about all religions, including Christianity, the majority Canadian belief.  The good parts are the social support net for like-minded worshippers.  It’s always nice to know that you’re part of a group.  Churches visit shut-ins, send flowers and cards to people in the hospital, and have programs to feed the poor and homeless.

The bad parts are when the corporate/politically-styled upper management demand the sheep-like surrender of all individuality and cessation of any and all critical thinking by accepting mindless dogma to ensure their increased secular power, lavish lifestyle and job security.

Actually, I don’t even want to rant about any of that.  What truly irks me, are the unthinking assumptions that all or most of their beliefs are valid, and anyone with a contrary opinion is simply wrong.  What is important to the faithful is not important because it’s important.  It’s only important to them because they believe it’s important to them.

What set my teeth on edge was the fact that I heard two particular songs within an hour.  The first was Alannah Myles’, Black Velvet, with its line about “a new religion that’ll bring you to your knees.”  Why does any religion need to drive us to our knees??!  Why couldn’t we have a kind religion that will lift us up and support us and inspire us to soar into the sky?  It’s a nice goal to aspire to.  Not all of us would make it, but the few who did would make a better life for all those who didn’t.

The other song that set me off was Joan Osborne’s, One Of Us.  I’ll probably have the Copyright Police banging on my door tomorrow, but I’ve included the lyrics below.  Have a look at them, and I’ll jump back in at the bottom to resume my bitching.

One Of Us

If God had a name, what would it be?
And would you call it to his face?
If you were faced with Him in all his glory
What would you ask if you had just one question?
And yeah, yeah, God is great
Yeah, yeah, God is good
And yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah
What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on a bus
Tryin’ to make his way home?
If God had a face, what would it look like?
And would you want to see if, seeing meant
That you would have to believe in things like heaven
And in Jesus and the saints, and all the prophets?
And yeah, yeah, God is great
Yeah, yeah, God is good
And yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah
What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Tryin’ to make his way home?
Just tryin’ to make his way home
Like a holy rolling stone
Back up to heaven all alone
Just tryin’ to make his way home
Nobody callin’ on the phone
“Cept for the Pope maybe in Rome

Okay, I’m back!  What a stupid-ass piece of shit this song is.  Just how chemically-enhanced do you have to be to write all those Yeah, yeah, yeahs?  And the God is great, God is good, comes straight from the Islamic, Allehu Akbar.  It’s really nice that you feel all warm and cuddly with the opinions that God exists, and is great, and good, but they’re just opinions, and a lot of other people have greatly differing opinions which may be as valid as yours.

The grammar-Nazi in me insists that the line should be, What if God were one of us, to indicate possibility, not assumption again.  I suppose that she was trying to personalize God, and bring him closer to the masses.  They could relate better to a bum, or a blue-collar bus-rider, but the whole concept is ridiculous.  Nobody phones God, and if nobody but the Pope were phoning God, there’d be no Pope and no Pope-job, so he wouldn’t be phoning either.

What if God had a name?  Would you call it to his face, in all his glory?  You just said he’s a slob, a stranger on a bus, what glory?  What if God had a face?  It’s that slob on the bus thing again.  I’m pretty sure he’d have a face, and why would merely seeing his face force you to believe in Jesus and the saints, and all the prophets?  They can all be mutually exclusive.  And the question!?  If God really showed up in person, why would we be limited to one question?  Is this like a genie thing, but we didn’t rub the lamp hard enough?  The Weird Al Yankovic satire version, What If God Smoked Cannabis?, makes more sense than this.

I have a God’s face, God’s name, one question scenario that could blow hyper-Christians’ minds.  What if God had a face, and it was olive-skinned, hook-nosed, and half-covered with a scraggly beard and cheesy mustache, topped with a keffiyah?  What if your one question was, “Are you really God, and what is your name?”  What if the reply was, “Yes, yes, I am truly your one and only God.  You may call me Allah!  Look, I gave all this to a nice boy named Mohammed a little while ago.  He was supposed to write it all down so that the rest of you could study it.  Have you not been paying attention?”

I would assume that no *good Christian* would take my hypothetical situation seriously but, between U and Me, one of us may be an Ass.

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What Was I Saying?

I was saying that some people take being connected way too seriously.  I just read a post by a blogger who went to Disney World for a week, and didn’t take along his laptop.  He’s an early-morning person, and was awake each day shortly after 6 AM.  Despite being in the Mouse house, the rest of his family didn’t wake till 7:30 or 8:00 o’clock.  He bitched that he could have done most of his blogging and following before they woke up.

I thought, “What would you have done if you’d taken them camping, out in the woods?”  Then I read the paper.  There, in the tech section, was an article about this little metal fireplace.  This thing uses the heat from the fire to produce electricity with a heat exchange unit.  Then it uses the electricity to run a blower to get more heat from the fuel, and spread it around a campfire.  And finally, it does what every techie wants.  It pumps the excess power to a USB port, to be used to recharge cell phones, iPads and laptops.  Just what every camper’s wife wants.  He’s never away from the office.  And you can use the recharged phone to take a picture of the bear that ate you.

Grandpa was sitting on the porch, when Billy came out and headed towards his crappy little car.  Grandpa says, “Where ya goin’ Billy?”  Billy answers, “Gotta take the car to the garage to get it fixed.”  “Aw, you don’t need to take your car to a garage.  Why, in my day we just used some Scotch tape and baling wire.  Want me to fix it for you?”  “Sure Grandpa.  Go ahead!”  Grandpa swaggers over to the car and confidently throws open the hood, only to be faced with a confusing array of pipes and wires and tubes and cables.  He stares for a few seconds, slams the hood, and says, “Take it to the garage, Billy.”

After spending over $2000, at least my car starts, first time, every time.  But, if I back out into the street, and don’t straighten the wheels before moving forward, the traction control still growls at me.  I growl right back, but the wife is not impressed.  At least the anti-lock brakes don’t fail, or kick in unexpectedly.  I haven’t been locked out for a long while, but the speedometer has been falling asleep several times in the last week.  Even if Billy takes the car to a garage, there’s no guarantee that they can/will fix it.

A believable explanation for why the black guy was stabbed to death in the park by the white guy, has surfaced.  It brings to mind two related quotes.  The best-laid plans of mice and men, gang aft aglee, (often go wrong) and, Oh what a tangled web we weave, when others we practice to deceive.  It seems that the female involved, used to be involved with the black guy, but he was too sexist and controlling.  Apparently she dumped him and went on to find another boyfriend, who happened to be white.  They all run in the same circles and know the same people, so she made it known that she had a new white boyfriend, to keep the overly-possessive black from harassing her.

He and his ego did not take this well.  He spread the story that he was gonna “get the white guy”, and “get rid of him”, so he could have the girl back.  This was done as a scare tactic, but when it didn’t work, he thought he’d up the ante and threaten him with the fake gun.  The new boyfriend didn’t scare easily, and, to ensure his safety, and that of the female, he obtained and took to carrying a large knife.  When the black guy jumped out in front of them in the dark, waving a firearm, he immediately stabbed and ran.

The young woman will not be charged with anything.  She didn’t carry the fake gun, or try to scare somebody with it.  She didn’t obtain or carry the big knife for self-defence.  In fact she may not even have known it was present.  If either of these two geniuses had done their thinking with grey cells instead of hormones, one kid wouldn’t be dead, and the other mixed up with the law.

Two stories from today’s paper.  A man had his driver’s licence seized when he was charged with drinking beer in a canoe while fishing on a small local lake.  What busybody called the cops?  I’m sure they weren’t just cruising past.  The drunken-boating charge was eventually dropped, but “The System” forgot to give him his licence back.

The second story, immediately underneath, concerns a young, female teacher who survived the tsunami in Japan.  The story says she plans to return to teaching English-as-a-second-language at the rebuilt village on Japan’s Pacific Coast.  The US has an Atlantic and a Pacific coast.  Canada has both of those, plus an Arctic Ocean coast, but, no matter how hard I look at the map of Japan, I don’t see anything except Pacific Coast.

I’ve ranted myself dizzy….no, wait, I came in that way!  I have to get some rest so that I can get up early (?) to take the daughter to the anti-violence fair in the park.  I’ll tell you all about it, in a very passive way.

Pick A Number

This will be a list with numbers, just not a numbered list.

We had two women start work at the auto-parts plant at the same time.  I don’t know how long they had known each other, possibly from high-school.  They had worked together at a cookie plant.  When times got tight, and they both got laid off there, they both got a job just outside the city, at a chicken processing/packing plant.  When that company had to cut back, they both came to work for us.

Like the Polish Contessa at the deli, they both came to work immaculately turned out.  They wore clothing to a vinyl-parts plant, better than I would wear to church, if I attended church, perfectly coiffed and full makeup, with gorgeous nails.  After about a year, one of them managed to swing a job in the office, as the general manager’s assistant.  About the same pay, but with office hours and better working conditions, if you didn’t mind being on your knees under the desk, looking for the cigar.

When the other one got transferred to my line, as the inspector/packer, I found how she kept the gorgeous nails.  She had most of the guys, excluding me, beguiled into doing a large portion of her work.  She suddenly started yelling at me one day.  “Don’t do that!  Oh, that’s horrible!  Don’t do it!”  I found out that I had yawned, and she saw the back of my throat.  Another day, she suddenly wailed, “Oh, that’s terrible!  I hate that! Why did that have to happen to me!??  Uck!”  It turned out that a drop of water, distilled from the muggy air had fallen on her from the mold-chiller pipe.  It doesn’t come much purer, especially in a manufacturing plant.  I often wondered how she had conceived and bore two children.  I did not wonder why she had an ex-husband.

The wife and I are not butterflies.  We have always planned long-term, and have done more so as we age.  In almost 45 years of marriage, we have lived only five places, the last three, 18 years, 13 years, and we’ve been in this house for 10 years and expect to go out feet-first.

Despite the work I’ve done on it, the back lawn gets more and more uneven from ant hills, worm castings and frost heave.  We have flower beds along the fences but have turned them more to shrubs and bushes.  The disabled wife loves to garden, but finds moving across the lawn increasingly difficult.  As a result, most of the flowers we have, are in pots, on or beside the back deck, or in planters, hanging from fence posts.  Since they’re not in the ground, they require daily watering.

To facilitate this, we have five 55 US gal. plastic barrels catching rain water.  One is at the front of the house, under the porch downspout.  Three more are at the side of the house, on concrete paving stones.  I diverted the rear downspout and ganged the three together with hoses.  When one fills, the overflow fills the other two.  There is one more, at the back of the property which I filled by hand, as a last resort against drought.  As the mobile mate, it is my daily job to take water from these barrels to the plants.

Early in the season, when the plants are few and small, it only requires one two gallon watering can to do them.  As the season progresses, and the wife pots more plants, and they all grow, the task grows with them.  We planted three tomato plants for home consumption, and those babies want water.  Soon I add a small long-spout waterer, then we include a larger long-spout for the hanging baskets.  Then it goes to two of the two gallon, plus the two smaller.  I think I’ve reached the max by now.  I now need to lug two of the small, two of the medium and five of the two-gallon.  Come on, weight-loss!

When I was making 450 Jeep parts a day, I thought of the old Tennessee Ernie Ford song, I Load Sixteen Tons.  I asked the Quality Control guy one day how much each part weighed.  The answer, the next day was, 18.2 pounds, times 450 parts/day equals 8200 pounds.  But wait, I had to lift that off one production table and place it on the press, and then remove the same weight in finished parts and place them on the inspection table, so I moved it twice, for a total of 16400 pounds a day.  No wonder I have to watch my weight, now that I’m retired.

With all the roofs and pavement and hard-packed lawns, the city has trouble dealing with storm-water runoff when it rains, so they’ve instituted a runoff levy to pay to upgrade the system.  If you catch, hold and slowly release 13,000 liters of water, you get the levy refunded.  Despite the fact that I’ve been doing this for years, my five barrels only total 10,000 liters.  There was a company selling rain barrels at the Cherry Festival, but even if I could squeeze in one more, it would only get me to 12,000.

Also for years, we have composted garden and kitchen scraps.  They disappear and come back as more top-soil the wife can use in her gardens.  We have four composters, two near the house, handy for kitchen waste, and two more at the back for garden scrap.  We also have one Green-Cone Digester.  As the name says, it’s a flat-topped green cone, almost as big as the composters.  Inside, with about a half-inch of air-space, is another black plastic cone.  These two trap and hold solar energy, so that this thing can break down stuff like meat and bones that can’t go in a regular composter.

My Depression-trained Scottish mother and relatively low income have taught us how to conserve and stretch our resources.  We were reducing our carbon footprint long before others had heard the words.

Goin’ South

Mom and Dad stayed, for several winters, with the Tylers, when they went to Florida to get away from the Southern Ontario winters.  Eventually, Bogey Tyler changed his crop schedule and needed his 55-foot trailers for migrant workers again.  My brother had lost a long-term job and got another in the grounds-crew of a local golf course.  This gave him eight to nine months of work, and then off for the winter.

After a couple of years, he got a better paying job with a small company that made commercial window and door awnings.  Sadly, the same eight to nine months of work still applied.  Nobody wants to purchase, or install outdoor awnings, in February.  Ineligible for unemployment insurance, he felt he might as well spend some time in the warm south, and joined the parents.  Recently divorced, he had to sell “their” house and split the money.  He was wondering what to do with his meager half, when the news came that they would have to find new quarters for the next winter.

The parents’ house came with a small upstairs apartment.  For years they rented to a local nurse, but eventually she moved on.  Then followed a series of worse and worse tenants, until finally Dad just said no more.  When the brother lost his house, the parents let him move in upstairs at no cost.  He was there to do yard work, run errands and keep an eye on them.  He decided to purchase a mobile home in a nearby Florida park so that they would all have a place to go in the winter.

The parents eventually reached a point where it was physically impossible for them to drive to Florida.  Mom and I used to correspond a letter a week.  One day I got a letter from her that said, “I had a heart attack.”  She hadn’t, but I almost did.  That is not the kind of information to convey in a letter, a middle-of-the-night phone call perhaps, but not a letter.  The next winter Dad thought he was having a heart attack, and my brother drove for three days to get him to a hospital in Windsor, because they could not get health insurance.

Just when they could no longer go south, my brother got a year-round job and had to stay north, both to work, and to take care of them.  He made arrangements with the park management to administer winter rental on the unit, but still had to make sure it was cleaned, the furnace worked and propane, water and electricity were supplied.  These were best done in person. His new employer was busy in the summer and slow at the end of year.  The first year they allowed him a week’s holiday near the first of December, and he called me to ask if I wanted to go on the trip with him.  I didn’t have to work as hard readying the trailer as I did at the plant, and I hadn’t been south of the Canada/US border in twenty years, so I jumped at the chance.  I had enough seniority that I could book the week off easily.

In his early retirement, Dad had driven to both Canadian coasts, but as they both aged, the long drive from Ontario to Florida became three short days of driving, and two nights in motels.  My brother however, loved to drive, and with only nine days to get a lot accomplished, saw no reason to waste valuable time or money.  I was warned that we would be driving straight through, and I was expected to spell him at the wheel.

I’ve said that my brother is an early morning person.  Excitement may have prevented a lot of sleep after finishing work Friday night, but at least he finished at 5 PM.  I had an afternoon shift, and wasn’t home till after eleven.  I don’t know what time he was up, but he told me he left home at five.  From his place, straight to the border was almost four hours.  The run to pick me up was two hours, and we were still almost four hours from Windsor.  I climbed in his van at 7 AM, and the race was on.

The connection from the bridge at Detroit to I-75 is two miles and seven stop lights.  The back-up at customs was relatively light.  Once we were on I-75, it’s a straight run to within fifteen miles of his camp in Florida.  I saw Michigan, Ohio and the beginning of Kentucky before it got dark.  After that, I knew we were in the mountains, because I could look out the window and doowwnn, and see lights, but entirely missed the vistas.

The sun came up again when we were just north of Atlanta, Georgia.  Just in time to catch the morning rush.  Down the hill into town, over a little flat spot, and down again, and traffic came to a complete stop for no apparent reason.  All except the guy in the next lane.  Screeeech, bang!  I didn’t witness anything, keep moving!  Nothing against Georgia but, unlike the beautiful mountain scenery I’d missed up north, in the dark, Georgia is flat, and orange.  People say the soil is red.  It’s prison jumpsuit orange.  I’ve seen roadside billboards, but this was the first trip I’d seen them on top of fifty, or hundred-foot steel poles.  Hotels?  Okay!  Restaurants?  Okay!  Boiled peanuts at every exit?  It was several years before I got a chance to try them.

We drove on into Florida, slid off I-75 onto the Florida Turnpike, slid off again onto a smaller highway, and climbed out of the van in front of the trailer at about nine AM.  We napped (?) until mid-afternoon and went looking for supper.  This, the first year I went down, we went to Daytona Beach and I swam, for the first time in the Atlantic.  My brother does not swim, and begrudged me the time.  Then we went back to Daytona, where he wasted an hour at the museum, while I explored the stands at the Freeway.

This was a strange, rushed way to travel, but it did leave time for me to see and experience some pleasant and interesting things.  Some day, when you’ve all had lots of sleep, I’ll tell you all about them.

 

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Candle In The Windy Park

I didn’t look far enough ahead, and my, blog-every-two-days schedule, fell on its ass again.  We couldn’t wait till Saturday to go to the Mennonite market, because the daughter and I were busy, so we went on Thursday.  I might have tried to get a post ready on Friday, but the wife and I were busy getting ready for Saturday.  If you’re confused and whirled in circles by that paragraph, you have some idea what I felt like.

Another couple of blocks past the daughter’s place from the big park where the Multicultural Festival was held, is another, smaller, neighborhood park.  Since the smallest, pedestrian-only entrance is off Cherry Street, some bureaucrat named it Cherry Park.  It’s been two weeks since the big festival, and cherries are just coming into season, so the neighborhood association schedules a local cherry-festival get-together at this time each year.

There are things for adults and kids, but again, commerce is the unifying force.  There are two or three food suppliers, bouncy castles, a Latin-American band, and a municipal employee handing out information about seniors’ services available from the city.  Beyond that, there are a couple of dozen purveyors’ booths.  There were two offering temporary tattoos, one with roses made from wood, a palm reader, and a woman knitting and selling all her knitted items.

The daughter and one of her friends like to attend.  Between them and the wife they put out a mixed offering.  The daughter has her artisanal yarns, and shawls, scarves and crocheted cat-toy mice, made from them.  She takes along her spinning wheel to give demonstrations and entice customers.  She and the girlfriend make up cell-phone charms, bracelets, necklaces and earrings from beads, wire and yarn.  The wife makes the same kind of thing but puts the beads at the ends of fancy yarn to make bookmarks she calls book-thongs.  Lay it in a paperback, with the beads at each end, and close the book.  The grandson still has a few pieces of primitive pottery, from his course last year.

The thing the daughter believes draws the most customers, is the wife’s hand-made beeswax candles.  She concentrates on tea-lights, both in the plastic cup, and refills for those who already have enough cups, as well as votives.

There are two honey vendors at the farmers’ market.  We buy honey from one, but get beeswax from the other, to make candles from.  While the first has good honey, when he melts the wax down, he does so at too high a temperature, and *chars* the wax.

The grandson is allergic to all grasses.  Sugarcane is just an overgrown grass, and he is sensitive to cane sugar.  We used to be able to obtain reasonably cheap and available beet sugar in town, but a tariff changed several years ago.  Since then, we have used our trips to metro Detroit to stock up on white, brown and icing beet sugar.  Michigan has a large beet sugar industry.  Unless it says cane sugar, you know it’s beet.  Sugar beet growth and processing used to be big here in town a century ago, but times and crops change.

The grandson also sweetens some things with honey.  Both of the honey vendors offer honey sticks, like thin drinking straws filled with different types of honey, and sealed.  On our most recent trip, the better honey guy offered orange-blossom sticks.  There’s not a lot of citrus grown in southern Ontario.  The wife says he means from mock-orange bushes.  They have an orange smell and impart the taste.

As previously noted on one of my posts, when something creative is happening, my portion of it is usually getting things out, cleaning things up and putting things away.  While the wife poured about fifty candles, I ran down to the basement storeroom and back at least a dozen times.  If we don’t use our heads, I use my feet.  My diet is still lounging on the couch, but he gave me a big thumbs-up.

The wife had a nasty nasal infection about a year ago.  It affected nerves, and almost wiped out her sense of taste and smell.  They have come back a little bit, and we hope for more, but, for someone who relies on them for cooking, this is a devastating loss.  She used to be able to tell when pasta was cooked.  She now relies on me to smell or taste things.

We were well into the candle-making when I remarked the entire house had been imbued with the smell of honey.  “Oh really,” she said.  “I can’t smell any of it.”  The sweet smell of honey was so thick that I could have toasted a piece of bread, and just waved it though the air to pick up the taste.  It doesn’t last until the next day, but it does help make the work more pleasant.

While socially enjoyable, the daughter did not have a great commercial day.  A couple of people watched her spin, and took her card with her email address, saying that they would contact her about specialty yarn.  Of the few things that sold, the wife’s candles were at the top.

Next weekend the friend wants to have the daughter join her at a display at the anti-violence fair, back over at the big park.  Neither of us has ever been there, but I guess I get another day of set-up, take-down and schlepping.  First, a hundred-mile Tuesday round-trip, so the daughter can get her anti-pain med-infusion.  She should be in better shape to handle it.  If I find it interesting, I’ll post a story about it.  It’s been a big day.  Now that this blog is up, I need some rest.  Till then!

My Kingdom

A theme, a theme, my kingdom for a theme.

For want of a theme, a post was lost.  For want of a post….a number of readers escaped excruciating boredom.  Oh Hell, I’ll just do what other bloggers do.  If I can’t think of anything in particular, I’ll just write about the scraps rattling around at the bottom of the waste paper basket.

I got a postcard the other day!  I thought that the digital age had rendered them obsolete.  I shouldn’t have worried.  It was hand-delivered for a local Real Estate agent.  As a piece of advertising, I think it works well.  It’s glossy printed, front and back.  On the front is a picture of the lady, vertically at one end, and a photo of a local house, with a red banner proclaiming, *Sold In Three Weeks*.  The address is given and below it, the address also becomes the website, 80oprington.com.  Someone’s planning ahead.  In five years, when the new young owners want to sell and move on, that website can be reactivated.

On the back is every kind of contact information, office address, office phone, cell phone, VirginiasHomes.ca and the same as an email address.  Also, the card is a gift certificate for a free home staging consultation if you list with her. I’m impressed; of course that doesn’t take much.  I think she covered all the bases and got maximum value for the cost of these.

About ten years ago, we were sitting, reading one evening, and suddenly all the lamps went out.  We have little nightlights in several outlets, and they remained on.  Strange, says I, along with several other, more colorful comments.  I went around the house, turning various things on and off.  Some worked, some didn’t. I turned the oven elements on, and all the lamps came back on, but dimly.  We called the emergency number for our local electricity provider, and about an hour later, we had a crew arrive.

The company says that they are responsible for everything up to the house.  After that, it’s my responsibility.  When I described what was happening, they headed for the electrical meter, and pulled it out.  Like an appliance plug, it just pushes in on four prongs.  Sure enough, one of the prongs had burned off.  The crew foreman said it was likely caused by vibration from traffic on the thoroughfare that runs behind my house.

Oh good, it’s their meter; it’s their problem.  Not so fast, grasshopper.  The meter didn’t fail.  When we plug it in, the prong is inside your house, and it was the prong that failed.  Ah yes, great bureaucrat master, I get to pay.  What a surprise!  Actually, the labor was covered, but I became the proud owner of one of the Province’s first, electronic, time-of-use meters.  The rest of the reporting/billing system didn’t go into effect for another eight years.

These are designed to bill higher for usage at peak times, and less in evenings and weekends, to encourage energy conservation.  There was a big rush to install them on any home in the Province without one, and finally, we were billed on a sliding scale.  Two years later, the power supplier to our twin city to the north is requesting the right to add $2/mo. to the bills, for thirty months, to recoup the capital outlay.  I paid for mine long ago.  You didn’t think the rest were going to get theirs for free, did you?

The company that provides to my city just quietly went ahead and added $1.49/mo. to cover their costs….except for customers who use less than 50KwH/mo.  Those they charge $1.99/mo.  If I ever think I understand the bureaucratic mind, you can expect me to run screaming from the building.  Wouldn’t total meter cost, divided by number of months, always equal $1.49, no matter how much power you use?  And charge more, to those who use less, that’ll teach you to conserve!

I scan through the items-for-sale ads each day, watching for a couple of items, for myself and others.  I got my daughter 30 balls of Angora yarn for a buck apiece, a couple of weeks ago.  I am amused and entertained by some of the ads.  Engagement ring for sale.  Never worn. Paid $3500. Will sell $1850.  Damn!  A guy with some money, and he was ready to commit, and she turned him down??  That relationship did not end well.

Ladies shorts and jeans, size 16.  Never worn.  Call xxx-xxxx, after six.  Great hopes and plans, but the diet just didn’t work out.  Jennie Craig will buy them.

The page begins with free articles.  Sometimes people want to get rid of something but don’t want it to go to the dump.  Reduce, reuse, recycle, the blue box program started in this city.  At least one of the *I’m too Duh-mb for my shirt*s works at the local paper.  Under free items; 50 paving stones.  You pick up.  Eight pcs. 2x4x8ft.  Call Bob.  Brown leather jacket size 36.  $50.  Black and Decker orbital sander.  $35.  Somebody doesn’t understand the concept of FREE.  Maybe that’s the file-clerk from my old office.

P. T. Barnum said, You’ll never go broke underestimating the stupidity of the general population, and I’d be a fool to doubt him.

What Time Is It?

Savor made me think about another basic difference between people, last night, when she remarked about me responding to a comment in the middle of the night.  Diurnal vs. Nocturnal.  There are day people, and there are night people.  The two don’t normally hang out in the same groups, but sometimes a day person marries a night person….and then the fun begins.

My parents and my younger brother were all day people, impatiently tapping their fingers, waiting for the sun to rise.  My sister and I were both night people.  Our parents, especially Mom, just never seemed to get it.  My sister married young and had five kids.  They learned early in life to get themselves fed and off to school.

Her schedule was much like mine is now, go to bed about four AM, crawl back out around noon, to feed the kids lunch.  Their family moved into a house across the corner from ours.  Mom said it was not unusual to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and see lights still on.  She bitched at my sister one time, “You should be up early, doing laundry, or scrubbing floors.”  My sister replied, “What do you think I’m doing at three AM, without the kids in the way?”

My dad got me a summer job, two successive years, at the plant where he worked.  Lord knows how early he got up.  He’d haul my ass out of bed at five-thirty.  I’d dress and have tea with him.  I couldn’t face food that early.  We started work at seven AM, and had a half-hour commute, but left around six, “just in case.”

He sometimes praised the glories and benefits of rising early, almost like a religious experience.  One Friday evening, after the standard five-thirty rousting, I got together with a bunch of my friends.  We hit the bowling alley, then a restaurant, had a swim in the harbor, hiked a couple of miles upriver, built a campfire, cooked some canned food, wandered back into town, and one friend and I went down to the beach for another, early swim.  The sun was just coming up.

I thought I might get a bit of sleep on the beach.  I knew I’d be awakened when the tourist hordes descended, but, it wasn’t to be, so I headed home.  I decided to fry myself some bacon and eggs for a final snack.  As I was doing this, my Dad came out of the bedroom.  “See what I told you about getting up in time to watch the sun rise?”  “I just saw it from the other end.  It happens every day, no big deal.  I’m going to bed now.  I’ll skip lunch.  Wake me about two, and I’ll mow the lawn.”  He did, and I did, and sunrise was never mentioned again.

As I’ve worked, I’ve had to put in a variety of scheduled shifts.  The first four years at the metal fab. shop, I was supposed to work from eight-thirty to five, with an hour for lunch, but my department was undermanned.  I came in at seven, and found that I actually got as much accomplished in the first hour and a half, before the rest of the office arrived, as I did the rest of the day.

My next job, as a purchasing agent, I worked under the plant manager, rather than the office manager.  The rest of the office came in at eight-thirty.  This nasty old square-head demanded that I start at eight.  Having put in the four years starting at seven, it was no big deal.  Usually I was there ten to fifteen minutes before eight.  I came in one day at twenty to eight, and found him just fuming.  “Where the hell have you been?  I want to place a rush order with XYZ Co.!”  “I don’t start till eight.  I’m here early, and it wouldn’t matter if I was here at six, XYZ’s sales desk doesn’t open till nine.”  Facts and logic do not trump emotion.  Despite asking four times, I left after 18 months without even the three-month probationary raise he’d promised.

I worked two years straight nights in security.  I’ve worked from four to twelve, four to twelve-thirty, four till one, and, at three places, including my retirement job, from four to one-thirty.  Two of those were supposed to be four night weeks, but one of them regularly scheduled a Friday night four to nine shift, at regular pay, of course.

I put in almost twenty years at the auto plant, rotating through successive weeks of midnights, afternoons, and days.  I could work them all, but afternoons was my favorite.  It was being half asleep on my motorcycle, going in for a day shift, that caused me to misgauge pulling in behind a bus for a turn, dropped me on the street and broke my shoulder.  Workers used to bitch about having to change shifts every week.  I brought it up with the union president one day, and suggested that we rotate every two weeks.  He told me that they had tried it before I arrived, and it failed, dismally.  It’s hard enough to change after one week.  After two weeks, it becomes ingrained and it’s almost impossible.

My last two years before retirement, I worked the four to one-thirty shift.  With the occasional need to finish a specific task, there was a bit of overtime.  Regular pay, of course, but a night or maybe two, per week, of leaving around two AM.  By the time I got home, had something to eat and drink, and wound down, it was often four in the morning.  That’s the schedule I’ve stuck with.

I don’t watch much TV, and morning shows bore and distress me.  We schedule medical appointments for late morning or afternoons.  My son is almost finished five years of straight midnights.  He sleeps from ten till six.  Our schedule meshes with his fairly well, so I’m going to keep going to bed and getting up late until I have to go to a retirement home.  By then, I hope I don’t care.