If I were to start this post with the played out definition of insanity that so many people love to quote, then I’d just be perpetuating the cray. Instead, I’d like to offer up an image that doesn’t resemble an OCD-like repetitive behavior. To me, insanity is best demonstrated by purposeful, illogical actions, sometimes repetitive, but never making sense.
Drunk dialing your ex is a great example:
1 week later…
*Ring Ring* …*Flip To Voicemail*
Drunk Dialer: “Haaaaayyy! It’s me. I just wanted to tell you that I had the DJ at Passions play our song and dedicate it to you. It was real slow at first, but then it came to that part about *singing badly* ‘You’re the only one I want forever’, and Bobby and Chrissy actually cried! Which was bad because then Bobby spilled his drink on some tool and they got into a big fight and I wound up yelling at the bouncer for telling Chrissy that…wait. Gary! Who am I calling? Are we ordering pizza?! Oh no, ok, I got this. Sooo…um, yeah, when I called you last Saturday night, it was all about me….I was all like, ‘I love you Boo…I miss you Baby’... *crying* So I’ve decided to be less selfish in our relationship and start thinking about what you might want too. *anger* Wait. What? Did the phone just cut me off again?? He’s not gonna get my message and he’s gonna sleep with that hoe Angela! *Phone hitting floor and exploding into a million pieces*….. *more crying* Gary! I forgot to get the extra topping!”
And so there lies the drunk dialer, drowning in a pool of vodka filled tears, wanting something she can’t have – the love of her life and a blouse that doesn’t smell of vomit.
We all have moments where the crazy takes over, but when we invite it in to stay, life becomes a little bit tricky.
My aunt has a reputation for being very religious. She doesn’t swear or drink, and going to Sunday Mass is very important. Yep. Aunt Mary prays with the rest of the congregation every week, front and center…on the couch, facing her TV.
About sixteen years ago, my grandmother got so sick that she was bedridden. She lived with my aunt, who took very good care of her, but eventually she slipped into a coma. It gave Aunt Mary the perfect excuse to basically never leave the house. She was always a homebody, but after a car accident that left her unable to commute to work, she retired and limited her outings even more.
Once my grandmother was unconscious, my aunt refused to leave her alone, except to go grocery shopping…and don’t get me started on that. If there was an Olympics for couponing, Aunt Mary would be a ten time gold medal winner. General Mills would put her on the Wheaties box covers, dressed like Bruce Jenner and photoshopped onto the orange background. Grinning and ripping through a ONE DAY SALE sign, she’d grip a stack of coupons in one hand, and her refund money in the other, while the limp bodies of worn out cashiers with carpal tunnel strewn across the aisles behind her would block the way of customers paying full price.
As devout as my aunt is, she decided that she could watch the Sunday Mass on cable TV in case her mom suddenly gained consciousness. And she’d turn the volume way up, so that my grandmother could hear it in the realm where the comatose go.
After she passed away, my aunt still preferred the TV masses to actual church. I believe it was partially the freedom to allow her agoraphobia to completely set in, but also because my mother, afflicted with the fear of getting anywhere on time, would drive her to the church just as the priest would be finishing up the sermon and they’d miss half of the service.
Just how religious or not religious are we anyway? And why is there so much competition? News-watchers listen to the media gleefully tally up the deaths of people caught in holy crossfire. Some scoff at the commotion, sure that there isn’t even a God at all, and complain that these people are killing themselves and others over nothing.
What if they’re all wrong?
Back in the early 80’s, Shirley Maclaine stood on a California beach with her arms outstretched yelling, “I am GOD!” Many sneered, and the late night hosts had new fodder for their opening monologues, but what if she’s been screaming the truth at the ocean all of these years, and we haven’t been listening? What if we’re all pieces of the whole and we’ve been wasting time fighting about the existence of ourselves?
All I know is, if I could wrap my head around the fact that “I am GOD”, I wouldn’t be worrying about what everyone else thinks. I’d be all like, “Hey Angels, go fetch me those Guess boots I saw on sale. There’s a lot of good I could do if I was wearing those. And while you’re at it, I’m feeling a little wiped. Order me a latte. Tell them it’s for GOD, so don’t skimp on the espresso.”
2. Spectator Sports
A few months ago, I wrote a post called “Things I Learned From My SoccerTeam”. It was very well received and I could feel heads nod in agreement as they read the opening line,
“When you step out onto the field to play, remember that the other team is not the enemy.”
I was proud because it seemed that I had reached so many with my heartfelt words about sportsmanship…and then soccer season began.
I no longer coach and I have to be honest. Sitting in the spectator section is a big switch.
Getting to the game early is important. I like a seat close to the half line, so that when the teams switch sides midway thru, I can still have a good view. Sometimes I am sitting next to parents from the opposing town, and that’s ok:
“When you step out onto the field to play, remember that the other team is not the enemy.”
About five minutes before half-time, my mother arrives, breathless, and interrupting my focus with no less than three items to blame for keeping her from seeing the game from the start. She stands there, listing things like…
1. “The directions to this place are all wrong.” <Mom, you live ten minutes away, have been here no less than twenty times, and everybody else made it here without a problem>
2. “The legs just didn’t want to work today.” <The legs?? Whose legs?? And you just left that poor person laying there unable to move so you could get to a soccer game that’s half over??>
3. “I can’t believe you didn’t <Drive here 40 minutes early, drop off your kid, and come all the way back to> pick me up! <There are worse things in the world than waiting for a half hour in my driveway while I get ready>And so what if we’re a little late? Someone will tell you <half describe the awesome moves she used> about your daughter’s goal. You’ll be all caught up!”
…before looking around for a full thirty seconds and declaring,
“Ya know, you’re sitting in enemy territory.”
It never gets old. She announces it at every game. Loudly. For the hearing impaired.
Then she opens her lawn chair and roots it firmly to a spot next to me, but just slightly behind, so that in ten minutes, when the second half begins, and I’m once more engrossed in the game, she’ll ask me, “Can you <stop watching the game you’re so into> move your chair back a little <get up and miss your daughter scoring again> so I can see? You’re right in front of me.”
<Because I did arrive twenty-five minutes late and purposely insult everyone around you before positioning myself here so I could further destroy the joy you feel when watching your kid play>
Mom shouldn’t be so critical of the other side. She doesn’t realize it, but she’s sort of one of them. Our audience has more in common than they know. There’s an unofficial, two part chorus that sings every time one of their players falls down. This group appears at almost every adolescent sporting event I’ve been at, not just my daughter’s soccer games. They are a loyal and busy bunch.
Yesterday, I was watching my kid play for the school team, and the choir was more turned on than usual. It was an aggressive game, and there was a lot of pushing, but sometimes the adrenaline rush kicks in and players may be pulled down by the momentum or their own feet. No matter, the singers do not discriminate or watch as carefully as they think they do.
Every baritone and soprano at perfect pitch and volume yells out, holding the notes for a full four counts, and lacing their melody with accusation. My mother leads the crowd. A player fell. It must’ve been because of a push.
And now, our players are no longer paying attention to the game. All eyes have turned to the seats because in actuality, the cries are so loud and painful that it seems as if one of our bystanders is hurt. The game continues and an opposing player breezes past, and the parents scream at the kids, “Pay attention!”
For the next 40-60 minutes, the cycle continues…and it makes me wonder, with all of that awareness and focused energy, why aren’t there more millionaires in the world?
Thanks to “A” for tweeting this little tidbit last week:
“FUCKING GIANT ROACH IN MY KITCHEN THAT I MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE KILLED WITH RAID ITT FELL BEHIND THE STOVE OH CHRIST”
In one hundred and thirteen characters, this Tweep was able to convey a level of terror known only to some… without punctuation. She was so concise that she not only had twenty-seven characters left if she had wanted to hashtag something like: #INeedToCleanMoreOften or #IKillBugsWhilePosting, but was able to insert an extra “T” in “IT”, no doubt to emphasize the enormity of her assailant…and/or possible cleaning problem.
Twitter, with its limited character usage and hashtag popularity, has forced us to become better writers. There’s no room for long drawn out scenarios like the time my mother was asked by her doctor, “How long has your leg been swollen like this?” and she took a full four minutes to explain how she’s had a problem with swelling almost all of her life and why she’s had it, when the answer was really “three weeks”. Postings have to be concise and entertaining or no one will read or retweet them.
The social media platform itself is so fed up with long talkers that the old alert: “Your tweet is too long. You’ll have to be more clever”, doesn’t even pop up anymore. Instead the offending characters are pink lined and the “tweet button” is deactivated. #TheBirdIsBurnt
Tweeting a few times a day seems to be a good writing exercise for those who aspire to pen the “Great American Novel”. Thirty thousand postings later, I push myself to post cleaner, wittier tweets, my only measure of success being how many followers I accumulate each day and how many times I am RT’d.
Unfortunately for my mom, writing a bestseller is not in her future. She is still struggling to send emails without the first sentence of her message magically appearing in the “subject” line. In ALL CAPS.
I never have to open them. When I see, “RE: CAN YOU PICK ME UP FOR THE SOCCER GAME TOMORROW?” I send it to trash and move on. I have her convinced that if you put the message anywhere except in the body, it automatically gets deleted.
4. Sprinkler Games
In Feng Shui, water is often related to finances. If you have a leak, the “masters” encourage you to repair it quickly, so that your money is not “washed away”. I’d love to know what they have to say about sprinklers.
The Sprinkler Games have many players. There are those who never water at all, those who have to notice that their grass and plants are parched before offering a bit of refreshment, and then there are the serious players. These are the people who water regularly, even going so far to set a timer so that the schedule is maintained.
The dedication shown is admirable and their determination is only matched by mail carriers. Those sprinklers go on and stay on for the entire allotted time…rain or shine. I’ve seen homeowners walking in and out of their house during a full on typhoon, avoiding the stream as they run to their cars or front doors, undeterred by the fact that we will accumulate four inches of rain by nightfall.
I have to say though, that I would never have noticed this particularly organized group if it wasn’t for the fact that they tend to use those trigger sprinklers, the ones that look like tiny guns and blast streams of water hard enough to take the arm off of a small child. My car has been pinged by the sharpshooters so many times that I’m not really sure the Sprinkler Games have anything to do with keeping your lawn and plants green. It’s my experience that ninety-five percent of the water being tossed around never touches a blade of grass or the tip of a leaf. Instead, the jets hit my car and the pavement. The houses and schools in my area have the cleanest walkways and streets I’ve ever seen.
My daughter gets very upset when she sees well watered cement. She is a practical girl and considers this silly habit to be wasteful.
She wants to write a letter to all of the offenders:
Dear Lawn Keeper,
I have to talk to you about your watering practices.
Whenever my car stops at the corner right in front of your house, I can’t help but notice that you have your sprinkler positioned perfectly. And by perfectly I mean that if you are trying to hit my brother in his left pupil, causing him to cry out in pain and seek medical help immediately, then I owe you one for that atomic wedgie he gave me last week. The accuracy you demonstrate when that first jet stream floods my mom’s back seat but misses every blade of grass on your lawn is downright astounding!
But if I may speak for my children, my grandchildren, and even my great-grandchildren, you are a big part of global warming. If this is how you water your lawn, then I’m sure your carbon footprint is huge, as in Sasquatch-huge, and although you super-size your food at Mickey D’s when you hit the drive-thru for your Weekly Sunday Dinner, in this case bigger is not better.
When it comes to the Sprinkler Games, my mother is the champ. Just when nobody expects it, she pulls out her superpower…blame...and then she wins the whole dang thing.
My Older Brother (the favorite because the rest of us didn’t want the attention): “Mom, what’s going on with your lawn? When was the last time you watered it? I can’t see any grass under the weeds and dry, brown hay!”
Mom: “We’re all on a lockdown schedule. I can’t believe they’re not letting us water the lawns more than every other day. My grass looks like crap because of it. I’m not going to even bother because it’s dying anyway.”
Older Brother puts his arm around her and they stand together, gazing out her front window. A leaf falls from the Asian Maple and drifts slowly to the ground…suddenly dissolving into a thousand pieces the moment it hits the barren wasteland Mom calls her front yard.
5. Language Barriers
I was in Target the other day looking at socks when a mother came by, pushing a small child in a shopping cart. As soon as the little girl saw the Barbie panties on the rack, she got very excited and started saying, “Underwears Mommy! I need underwears!”
The girl was about three or four years old and ripe for learning. Rather than correct her daughter, or at least lead by example, the mother frowned and replied in a stern tone, “No you don’t need any underwearS.” Then she repeated it. Twice.
As I type, a red swiggly line appears beneath “underwears“…even the computer doesn’t recognize it as a real word.
The list goes on and on. For example, how many times have you heard: ascared, drownded, excape…
I don’t even want to be in the room with the person that says, “My perscription prolly won’t be ready till Febyuary 2nd, so I’ll do my upmost to be patient, uncomplaining, excetera.”
For those of you who read that sentence without stuttering and then asked, “What’s the problem?”, please go join my mother at the back of the “never be a writer” line.
There are some that speak like that and then wonder why you are not in the list of top money makers like actors and lawyers. It’s probably because that is so painful to listen to that you’ve killed off several potential connections to fortune and fame.
If your doctor ever said, “Let me axe the nurse to bring me a needle for that vaccination”, you’d probably grab your kid and run. Needles are scary enough, and now you’re throwing axes into the mix??
It’s just plain crazy to think that setting up language barriers for yourself will work in your favor…unless you’re my mother. Not only does she feel the need to announce to everyone when she needs to tinkle, she does it loudly, with an English accent and several long, drawn out rolled R’s: “I have to go to the baaathrroom.” As if by sounding like some kind of medieval town crier it makes the event much more important and less gross?
Once she said it after serving me what she called a “rich man’s breakfast” of steak and eggs…on paper plates. Sometimes our hurdles are more than just verbage…