Friday, May 31, 2013

968. War of the Elbows

I was scrunched in my middle seat, saying futile prayers to The Gods of Travel that nobody would sit in the aisle seat.   

The Window Person gets the window, they get all the power, right?  Shade up, shade down.  View, no view.  Blinding sunlight ruining the movie, or complete darkness combined with a burnt-out reading light when you have a brand-new book.  The Window People are a menace. 
And those damn Aisle People.  They jump up and go to the bathroom anytime.  Right after take-off, right before meal service, during the movie, whenever.  They have more power than the Window People.  They practically own the plane. 

This power goes to their heads.  They suddenly think they have rights to both armrests.  Theirs and mine.  Isn’t it enough that they have one armrest on the outside and that they can get up whenever they want?  And if the plane crashes, they are getting out to safety 15 seconds before me?  By laws of adverse possession, they claim the middle armrest.      
The Middle Loser (me) is clearly not a planner.  By the time the Middle Loser got around to buying a ticket, all the good seats were taken.  The Middle Loser deserves to sit folded over like a broken umbrella for five hours. 

I stage a coup.  When Aisle Person gets up to stretch, I pounce.  I adhere my elbow to the armrest like a very strong magnet.   
Now I notice Aisle Person is holding two full glasses of white wine.  He must be an alcoholic.  Drinking while flying, stretching his legs, hogging up armrests.  How did this freak get through security?  He has absolutely no consideration for—

“Excuse me, miss?  I brought you some wine.” 
He hands me a glass. 

“For … me?”
He nods.  “Middle seats suck.  You deserve a free glass of wine.” 

I smile and thank him.  I accidentally lift my elbow for a second when I take a sip.    
Just long enough for him to regain access of the armrest. 


trifecta writing challenge/ I shortened and edited a piece I wrote a few days ago/ exactly 333 words/ required word is "freak"

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

964. Open Letter to a Loyal Shirt

Dear Loyal Shirt,

I remember when we first met, at the mall of all places.  You beckoned me over from a metal rack where you were hanging out with your colorful comrades. 

I noticed you right away—your basic black hue, your stunning embroidered neckline, and your flattering boxy cut. 

You were different somehow, longer.  You offered more coverage than is typical, obscuring not just the tumucular region, but even offering a respite from the viewing of the hips.     
I knew I had to have you, and when I found out you were on sale (!), well, that was just the proverbial cherry on the whipped cream of my shopping expedition sundae. 

I got you home and for years you behaved even better than expected.  You had no qualms about accompanying me to work, school functions, even doctors’ appointments.  You could be counted on for holidays, vacations, sporting events, or trips to the grocery store.  You unilaterally embraced every climate; every raindrop or snowflake or ray of blazing sunshine was your pal.  You were flexible and could be paired with virtually anything in my closet:  denim jeans, floral print skirts, cotton khakis, plaid shorts, striped capris, even a formal interview suit.  You made numerous appearances in several family photos.   
You were my silent workhorse, my prized clothing chameleon. 


There’s always an “until,” isn’t there? 
You know what I am talking about.  Don't pretend you don't.  The Husband made the grave miscalculation to …

No.  It’s too painful.  I can’t talk about it yet. 
… he made the grave miscalculation to put you in … the washer … and then … the dryer. ON HIGH HEAT. 

Has he never had a wardrobe component like you, Loyal Shirt?  I always dry cleaned you.  In fact, I know for a fact, factually speaking, that The Husband had accompanied you to the dry cleaner (for drop off AND pick up) on several occasions.  I have witnesses!  Gray Skirt and Navy Linen Dress had seen you there.  Red Cashmere Sweater Made In England told me you two stopped and had lunch.  Even Black Work Jacket had cozied up to you in the very same plastic bag. 
So what is one tumble in the dryer between friends, hmm?  After all we have been through together?  Why would you insist on shrinking up like that?  Why?  I always did treat you well, before this one isolated incident, I swear.  And you know it was not my fault anyway!  So why punish me?  Isn’t that like blaming the victim? 

Tell The Husband you are mad, don’t take it out on me when I am getting ready to have a conference with my sons’ principal and need to match you up with Boat Print Skirt.  You know that White Rayon Sweater shows every bit of deodorant or cat fur, how dare you even mention such a substitution. 
What I am saying is:  It’s over.  It is.  I, for one, wish it could be different, we all do.  The kids do (who wants to see their mom with deodorant or cat fur at school conference day?).  I know that deep in my heart of hearts, even The Husband wishes things turned out differently. 

Why?  Because I took his credit card and I am headed to the mall. 
It won’t be easy to replace you, but I’ll try. 

Your Loving Friend,

Friday, May 10, 2013

958. My Kids Are Bionic

I never wore glasses.  I can usually hear when a bus is driving up behind me.  I am able to outrun elderly people any day of the week.

Sure, I consider myself gifted.      
But my children?  They’re bionic. 

PROOF:  They tell me when my cell phone rings.  We are in the living room.  I left the phone in the car.   
PROOF:  I go to get a step-stool to retrieve something on top of the refrigerator.  When I return, they have already scaled the refrigerator.  Like Spiderman. 

PROOF:  I sniff the milk to see if it has gone bad.  Short yells out, “Throw it away, Mommy!”  He is upstairs. 
PROOF:  I glance at a timeshare thing that just came in the mail.  My 3rd-grader, Tall, snatches it out of my hands and declares, “You don’t want to do this, Mom.  The fine print says 50K down and then an APR of 21%.  That’s highway robbery.”  Fine print?  Where?  That black squiggly design at the bottom of the postcard, is that what he’s referring to? 

It is humbling to be outdone by your peers, but more so your own children.
I used to watch Lindsay Wagner as the Bionic Woman, with various limbs made out of wires, and artificial eyeballs inserted into her head—eyeballs that could see 500 feet away.  I would watch the 6 Million Dollar Man and scoff at the audacity of those producers to give us such unrealistic garbage to watch.  He can run a mile in 2 minutes?  Yeah, right.

But now I know it was not fiction after all.  Someone in Hollywood was just writing about their kids. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

956. The "B" List

The first time I ever heard the concept of a “B” list was when I was planning my wedding.  My mom told me that we should keep the number of guests to a certain limit, but I was free to maintain a “B” list in case some people RSVP’d no.    

“Wait, what do you mean a ‘B’ list?” 
“You know, if the main people you are inviting can’t come, then you have extra people on a secondary list … people that you like, but not necessarily your first choice.” 

I was really puzzled by this, because in my mind, everyone I wanted to invite was my “A” list—there was no secondary list.  In fact, if pressed, the only people we didn’t really need at the wedding would be the guests my fiancĂ© wanted to invite.  I guess those were the “B” list people. 
Not surprisingly, my fiancĂ© was not real pleased to hear about that. 

“What do you mean, ‘B’ list?” 
Anyway, we somehow worked it all out without an “A” or “B” list after all.  We invited everyone we wanted, and did not worry too much about who could not attend.    

Fast forward 13 years and I find myself again in this conundrum with my own children.  But instead of me deciding who is on the “B” list, I learn that I am the one on the “B” list.  My kids have no desire to spend time with good ol’ mom if there exists someone born between 2001 and 2008 within a half mile radius.
Gone are the days when separation anxiety gripped my toddler like a tube of toothpaste being squeezed down the middle.  Goes are the days when my preschooler Velcro-ed himself to my leg every morning at drop-off.  Gone are the days when my kindergartner ran toward me with open arms after getting off the school bus, like a commercial for a cheesy Lifetime movie about a custody battle. 

I now fall squarely in the category of “people you like, but not necessarily your first choice.” 
The other day, I made the mistake of giving my sons the option of getting out of school early to take me to the airport or they could go to a full day of school and have a playdate with a neighbor friend. 

Guess which one they chose?
I, of course, was devastated.  I confided my situation to The Husband later that evening.    

“Sweetie, I am not longer on the ‘A’ list,” I lamented.    
He smiled and said something he thought might be reassuring, “Oh, MOV, don’t worry … you never were.”