Lyrical Laughs

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Dear Classmates.com: You're lying

Every so often I get an e-mail from one of those websites that allegedly connects you with former classmates. They will try to lure me into upgrading my free membership for a fee by announcing that someone remembers me. I can tell they're lying right off the bat when they claim someone recalls me as ambitious.

Honestly, my high school years were not my best years. Not that I hated my classes or that I was a slouch - it was just four years of finding myself and not really fitting in. I was definitely not part of an entourage of girls walking the halls to class together, and I didn't go out of my way to get others to like me. Most of my friends were from a Christian youth group I was involved with in a neighboring town, and the only kids from school who even knew about it were the few I invited.

The other thing that didn't endear me to the "ambitious" crowd was that I took the business major route instead of college prep. My folks were working class people who were not sold on the value of a college education. Take typing, they said, so I'd always have something to fall back on. I'm pretty sure they were thinking steady office job but hey, it has come in handy as a writer.

Being a business major way back in the 1970s meant there was a clear separation from those who were on the pathway to college. These days high school course catalogs are designed with the appeal of a slick glamour magazine, chock-full of options with minimum recognition of the fact that many students are geared toward something other than college. There was none of that when I was in school, no wide variety of classes to choose from, no concern about whether I was emotionally connected to the allure of a catalog. They saved a whole lot of money on design back then.

The most fun I had in high school was being a part of stage crew, where we often had the chance to see the inner workings of productions brought into the school. Now, that was a bunch of quirky people. As bizarre as the behavior of the performers might be (and as entertaining as that was), those of us involved in lugging sets around and running out to MacDonald's for lunch enjoyed a temporary elevated status just by being associated with a production team. There was also that chance, when everyone else had left the area and I volunteered to lock up, to belt out a number and be a star in the sanctity of a silent stage.

So I got through high school and did all right for myself. But seriously, website people, I was not memorable and didn't strive to be at the time. I just wanted to be on to the next thing - taking part-time college classes for a while, singing in a band, and... oh yeah, that desk job.

If these sites like Classmates.com want to be more realistic, they should consider something like... "Hey, someone remembered you as kind of weird and a little boring, but basically a nice person."

Then I would believe them. I still wouldn't pay to find out who thought of me that way, but at least there's hope that it is an actual memory.

I missed the last class reunion, my 20th. Another one is in the works for fall even though this is an odd year (37). I'm pretty sure those involved in the planning are thinking we're not getting any younger. This means I have three months to become a famous author or win the lottery. If I'm there maybe someone will come up to me and ask if I was the girl they remember as ambitious. The answer will be no...

But if you recall someone who was kind of weird, a little boring but basically nice - thanks for the memories!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Sunny and 75... in his dreams

My husband is seeing another woman. More than one, actually. They show up shortly after his post-shower nap (how anyone can nap after a shower is beyond me) and while I am in my shower, which is convenient for him. That way I have virtually no say about who he’s spending time with for at least 15 minutes in the morning. But I know where I’ll find him.

Every. Time.

He’s in front of the television watching the morning news. He sits there on the sofa with his breakfast, taking in the newscasters’ perfectly coiffed hair and smart little suits. He listens intently to their every word, even though he can’t remember for the life of him what the weather will be for the day when I ask minutes later.

I’ve had it up to here with those dang female morning news anchors and meteorologists…. meteorologistesses – whatever they are. They show up on our television screen with their perky smiles looking all happy and ready to start their day. I bet they’re slurping straight out of the Box o’ Joe hidden under their cheery little desk during commercial breaks.

Spouse will occasionally comment on a new hairstyle or standout ensemble Lexie or Amanda might have that morning. I point out that Jeff’s tie is especially dapper. He barely grunts.

Every so often they will whip out sparkling cookware and utensils and make a fabulous breakfast item like the ultimate breakfast burrito, just to show they can not only feed the mind, but the stomach as well. Showoffs.

Now, I’m not jealous, mind you. It’s not like Spouse has some kind of serious crush. And I’m not concerned that he’s going to text me one day that he’s running away with Courtney and he can’t tell me where, but the weather will be sunny and temps will be in the mid 70s all week.

It’s just that these women make me feel like… well, like me. I mean - I am a morning person. It’s my best time of day and often my most productive. But I don’t have a team to get my hair and makeup down. The closest I get to a manicure most of the time is scrubbing my nails with an old toothbrush. At least I think it’s old.

I do have my own fascination with these people who wake up in the middle of the night just so I will be well informed first thing in the morning. They obviously don’t realize that I forget everything they said before I step out the door, unless it involves a puppy, a contest, or food. I can get news any time – all I want to know in the morning is whether I need an umbrella or sun block.  Okay, I already know I don’t need sun block because I work in an office all day, but sometimes it’s fun to pretend that I see the light of day before rush hour. Not that there is a rush hour in Portland during tourist season because they all walk across the road like it’s paved with molasses.

But I digress.

Back to the television where all good newscasters and weather people live until we leave for work at the obnoxious hour of 7 a.m. Yet, who am I to complain? The news team Spouse is staring at has, in all likelihood, been awake since 3. They probably go to bed hours before we do.  They have no life, they miss all the NCIS reruns, and they have to peel their makeup off before lunch. Those highly successful, popular, intelligent women are no match for me.

Unless they really can make the ultimate breakfast burrito.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Summer construction makes traffic (and me) snarl

It is July in Maine and we are smack in the middle of a multiple-week period even worse than winter and a close second to tourist season. It stops us in our tracks, makes us late for the start of our day as well as the end and causes us to wonder just how much of the city was falling apart without us noticing.

It is construction season.

I get that there is a very small window of opportunity for crews to be outside and not turn into a character from Frozen. But just how many streets can they repair at once? The answer is as many as it takes to make the area look like Godzilla came trouncing through.

At the moment the entire street leading to my office is ripped up in various stages of repair. There are giant yellow machines sticking out into the streets for drivers to maneuver around, towering hills of dirt, and carefully cut holes so cavernous they could easily swallow my Ford Fusion with me inside. Stop and Slow signs held by workers in yellow garb assault my view as I into my way into Portland each morning. How none of them have wound up flying through the air by a careening car is beyond me.

Then there is the obstacle course I like to call the sidewalk slalom. It’s great if you want to be entertained by pedestrians forming conga lines in the streets while trying not to get taken out by a taxi. It’s even more interesting if a tourist is attempting to read one of those colorful Portland maps and walk at the same time, searching out the best place for lunch. Honestly now, there is no lobster roll worth getting squashed by a Land and Sea Tour bus.

I am admittedly in more of a hurry to drive out of town at the end of the day, when people from away are crossing the street in front of me talking on their cell phones while sipping a Starbucks iced coffee. Compounded by the construction still in full swing when I leave, so far this summer I feel like I’ve been in my car more than I’ve been at home.

It’s not just where I work that construction haunts me. Because the season is so short, there’s a whole lot of drilling, digging and detouring going on in Maine. There is a particular local market I like to frequent for vegetables. This little store has been somewhat of a construction magnet for the past few months. Surrounding roads feel like razor stubble on Goliath’s face. Still, I have persisted and will continue to shop there as long as I don’t have to be home before dark.

The real problem with construction is that it causes traffic, and I have zero tolerance for sitting between other cars and not moving. I’ve been known to take ridiculous detours to avoid sitting still. Try this in the Saco-Biddeford area and you'll find yourself stuck on the side road of a side road leading right back to the actual traffic jam.

I suppose I need to learn more patience so that I’m not screaming inside (well, mostly inside) by the time I get to my destination. I could try meditating as I sit waiting for the traffic crew to flip the Stop sign over to the Slow side. I could attempt to enjoy the sights and sounds around me, like the harmonic melody of drills and hammers, or the various shades of yellow on various heavy equipment, especially the ones I get stuck behind when I have three minutes to get to work.

Or maybe next year I’ll smarten up and use some vacation time to avoid these traffic snarls... and my own.