Can’t Tell by Looking!

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Photo by Viktor Hanacek

 

When I was a kid my friends and I loved going to the ‘rich neighborhood’ to look at beautiful houses with large picture windows.  I recall peering through those windows and imagining cheerful wives preparing world class dinners for their handsome husbands.

In my mind, the families who lived there had no troubles or worries; just pounds and pounds of pleasure!

After admiring the houses in the ‘rich neighborhood,’ my friends and I would sometimes take a short-cut through ‘the hood’ to get home.

If you don’t know what ‘the hood’ is, go google ‘hood’ images and rejoin me after you have had time to review the results.

At any rate, ‘the hood’ that I am speaking of was exactly two left turns from the tony neighborhood with the big picture windows.

Uh oh, you seem surprised by the proximity of these two polar opposite realms?  Don’t be! Believe it or not, my friend Gloria swears that you can always find ‘the hood’ by taking two right turns from any wealthy district.

While I have no way of verifying that this is always the case, it was certainly the case in this story.

Anyway, let’s just say that ‘the hood’ was—DIFFERENT.  There I saw frazzled wives asking their dog-tired husbands for a dollar or two. Clearly, this scene was not at all like the one I imagined as I walked through the ‘rich neighborhood.’

Sorry, friends, it had not yet occurred to me that I was comparing real situations to imaginary scenarios. At any rate, in my childish mind, it was clear that in ‘the hood’ there was mostly trouble, big worries and nothing much to be pleased about.

Sadly, after years of conducting this side by side comparison of rich and not so rich, I had come to the misguided conclusion that if you wanted to be happy, ALL you needed was a lot of money and that was all there was to that!

Yeah, like many Americans, I bought into THAT delusion.

Anyhow, as fate would have it, several years later, I ended up attending a high school that had a very diverse socioeconomic population.

If you had surveyed our school’s student parking lot you would have found Jaguars, Mercedes, Buicks, Nissans, Hoopties and everything in between.

Of course, there were also students who came from families who had no car at all.

I used to joke that some of my friend’s parents owned the factory, some managed the factory, some worked at the factory and some couldn’t get hired at the factory!

Laugh if you want to, I am being very serious!

Getting back to the point, as a popular cheerleader, I easily made friends with folks from every economic class and, as a result, I soon learned that many of my ‘rich’ friend’s parents were drunk and fighting and my ‘poor’ friend’s parents were truly enjoying each other’s company (and vice versa).

In short, I learned that you cannot calculate the happiness factor of a family by looking at their bank statement (that’s if they have a bank) or by any other outward measure.

In addition, it finally dawned on me that the ‘cheerful wives’ that I imagined as a child in the rich neighborhood could have been dealing with bankruptcy and physical abuse while the ‘frazzled wives’ that I saw in the hood could have been enjoying relatively happy marital relationships.

So here is the takeaway:  Do not make judgments based on exteriors; people are much too complex for that.

Also, do not attach peace, happiness, joy, anger, sadness and pain to financial status. If you do, you will end up leading a very confused life.

Be aware that these feelings are always in a state of flux- and they will take turns grabbing hold of you from time to time regardless of your socioeconomic, ethnic, or educational background.

Your job is to enjoy the good times and find a healthy way to manage the hard times.

Now, detach thyself from all of that mess and go get thine life!

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Rushing To Do What?

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Not the actual offender, but a close approximation!

Have you ever wondered where the nut that almost hit your car after speeding in and out of interstate lanes is rushing to?  Surely, he or she needs to get someplace in short order-right?  I mean, maybe this person has received an extremely distressing telephone call.  Maybe he or she is a physician on the way to an emergency.  Maybe this person is trying to seek medical attention for himself or a family member.  Or maybe….NOT!

This weekend, I had the opportunity to get an up-close answer to these questions.  Do you wanna read about it? I am sure that you are now on the edge of your seat!  I’ll try not to disappoint— so here we go!

This past Saturday, while driving on a busy thoroughfare, I noticed a huge black tank of an SUV speeding up behind me.  This behemoth was moving so fast that I thought it was going to slam right into me.  Fortunately, the driver didn’t hit me, but he did tailgate me for a while before swerving left into the passing lane.  Needless to say, the motorist at the helm of that intimidating monstrosity continued barreling down the highway- darting in and out of traffic with very little room between cars to spare.  I thought to myself, surely something urgent must have happened.  Little did I know, I was about to witness the end result of all of this hurried insanity.

After traveling another mile or so, I exited the interstate in order to stop by my favorite bookstore to grab a cup of coffee and to look for a new book.  As I was parking, I noticed that the same black SUV that had nearly hit me on the interstate was parked in a nearby parking lot!  How do I know that it was the same truck?  Because this truck had several distinct decals, stickers of stick people, stick dogs, stick cats, memorial notices and ornate monograms plastered on the back window.  If you had seen it, I promise that you would have remembered it too.  Anyway, since I could see the driver’s shadow as he or she sat in the truck, I decided to wait a few minutes to spy.  Before too long, a very slender lady dressed in workout gear emerged from the truck and walked toward the bookstore where I had planned to go.  I ramped up my game of espionage by quietly following her.  After entering the store, I watched closely as she ordered a cup of coffee–savored it, browsed through a few magazines and lingered near a bookshelf.  My dearest friends, I can assure you that there was NOTHING hurried about this woman’s actions.  In fact, she looked quite relaxed.

Which brings me to this question, what was her rush? Why was she trying to mow down every car on the interstate?  I am asking you these questions because I got nothing!

After this little mini-drama ended, I decided to make a concerted effort to question myself whenever I start to rush.  I vow to ask myself questions like:  Why are you rushing?  Are you late for something?  Even if you are late, what is the worst that can happen?  By doing this, I hope to avoid creating a sense of urgency where there is none.  Sadly, it appears that the lady in the bookstore was rushing to relax; which seems sort of contradictory.  Don’t you think?

What are you rushing to do?

 

 

High Drama! Yassss!

Let me share a secret with you.  I absolutely LOVE anybody who has a flair for high drama, theatrics, style, and fabulousness!  I learned this about myself when I was quite young.  I distinctly remember the first time I saw Vincent Price, a horror film legend, rub his hands together and engage in a wonderfully evil guffaw.  Boy I was hooked!  That was it!  This was my kind of dude!

From that day forward, I became an instant fan of divas, gents and lovers of drama and the theatrical.  Don’t believe me?  Check out my list of favorites:

Vincent Price

Gary Cooper

Sylvester…Yes bitches a mononym! (if you don’t know what that means look it up!)

Eartha Kitt

Josephine Premise

Maurice Evans

Agnes Moorehead…

There is no particular order for this list and it is by no means exhaustive.  Frankly, I have too many favorites to name here.  By the way, if you are younger than 35 or have no idea who these people are I would suggest that you get to googling.  For those of you who really want to shift into high gear, you MUST watch Sylvester transform from a dashing young man into a full on Queen in his “Mighty Real” video (Did I mention that I love the Queens?).  Go ahead!  I’ll wait here until you come back.

Now that we are all on the same page, let me bring your attention to the fact that all of these folks have gone on to Glory (nod to my southern roots).  Sadly, it is with a heavy heart that I must add David Bowie to this list.  By now you have probably heard that Mr. Bowie passed away either sometime last night or early this morning.  Those of us who loved him will certainly know why I included him on this list (’nuff said).

Let me move on before I lose my composure.  I have to admit that I used to worry that my love of all things dapper and classy would die off with my generation.  Alas, there is hope!  If you have time, check out Janelle Monae and Jidenna!  It appears that the ‘kids’ are catching on!  In light of that, I am hopeful that I will be able to add some new names to my list…some live ones!

Do you like high drama? If so, who is on your list?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Like Millennials

Let me go ahead and get this straight up front, I am not trying to pander to Millennials.  In fact, they probably don’t need or want to read anything more about their generation. But, I do think that baby boomers and folks from generation x should at least take a quick gander at this post.

So let’s define the population.  Millennials are generally identified as people who were born between 1980 and the early aughts (“aught”…What a lovely old term for zero). Now that we’ve established the specifics, please note that everything that I am about to say is solely based on my own observations. Believe me, there is not one iota of science to be found here.

We all know that Millennials were the first generation to come of age during a time when they could readily access information of any shape, form or fashion.  Since their early teens they have been able to quickly find out the best way to do anything from baking a turkey to installing a bathtub.  This fact alone makes them quite unique-to say the least.  At any rate, not only do they have access to vast amounts of information, but I have found that they use this information wisely by ‘running the numbers’ as it were.  I can’t tell you how many times I have watched a Millennial press what appears to be two virtual buttons on their iPhone and immediately tell you what to do, where to go do it  and why you should or shouldn’t do it in the first place.  Granted, I’m not too shabby with an iPhone and other forms of technology but Millennials take it to that next level.

Pause….In the distant ethers of the internet I can sense someone arguing that all of this exposure to information is counterproductive, distracting, stress inducing…blah, blah, blah!  My response:  While that may be the case, it is not the focus of this post right here (nod to Katt Williams).

Moving on! I would submit that Millennials, by virtue of their access to information, often look at historical mistakes-big or small, learn from them and make more sensible choices.  On any given day, they can be found researching negative outcomes associated with, for example, overspending on a micro level and over consumption on a macro level (or vice versa ). To be honest, I envy this Millennial quality!

Technology aside, I find Millennials, as a whole, to be a witty, funny and thoughtful population.  In my mind, they seem to have taken on some of the more positive traits of prior generations and incorporated them into their own (Feel free to debate which traits Millennials might have taken from which generation on your own).  Just realize that in many cases Millennials are taking on the role of the sensible adults in the room 🙂 Prior generations would do well to get to know them.

 

 

Damn I wish I had a smartphone with Wi-Fi  connected to the inter-webs back in 1987!  What do you think?