A is for Acerbic -The Alphabet Series

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   The Alphabet Series is an approach bloggers use to infuse new life or creativity into their writing.

   “Acerbic” is the first post in my series “New Thoughts For Words”.

   “Acerbic” draws on personal experience and is published in FWA, Let’s Talk by Peppertree Press.

   The challenge for that Anthology was to use a dialogue format to present your short story.

   To tell you the conversation below is between two women in a doctor’s waiting room is cheating.

                                                                                                                                                                                         …just saying

Acerbic

“Unacceptable!  My time is of value, too.  Why aren’t you complaining?”

“I was told the doctor was running late when I signed in.”

“This is ridiculous.  I’ve been waiting more than twenty minutes.  My appointment was for nine fifteen.  What time was your appointment?”

“Well, I’m not sure; I think nine thirty, why?”

“It’s better if everyone is out of sorts.  I can complain for you, make something up, like your dog is in the car, sick and needs to be taken to the Vet.”

“Reading here is as enjoyable as anywhere.”

“Boy, you people are annoying, must you be so perky and pleasant?”

“You’re upset.  Why don’t you thumb through a magazine?  There’s a travel article about Hawaii in this one.  Have you been there?”

“You think looking at pretty pictures of places I can’t afford to travel to will help me… what?  Be happy I have to wait for a man, I pay to tell me I’m sick.  And looking at colorful advertisements won’t help either.  I’m Acerbic.  My parents and grandparents, on both sides, were Acerbic and proud of it.”

“Acerbic?  Is that … American or … a religion?”

“Acerbic is a way of life.  You got a problem with that?  Our dispositions are generally crabby.  We find fault in others quickly and enjoy being sarcastic.”

“Golly gee, everyone feels crabby from time to time.”

Golly gee?  Golly gee, we’ve been sitting here over a half hour.  Can’t you pretend you’re a little annoyed?  That wing back chair looks awful uncomfortable.  These doctors are all the same; think they’re better than the rest.”

“His nurse said the doctor had an emergency, it sounded serious.  Are you really Acerbic?”

“Our whole neighborhood is Acerbic.  We don’t like friendly.  People yell, ‘Don’t park in front of my house, jerk’ and threaten, ‘If your dog pees on my grass, I will call the police!’  Although things are changing.  Someone, I can’t find out who, moved my garbage pail out of the street on a windy day.”

“You don’t mind if I read my book?’

“Of course I mind.  I get it.  Why not say shut-up?  Add please if you have to.  It’s easy; watch my lips, ‘Will you please shut-up!’ ”

“No, tell me about your life.”

“Actually I had a great childhood.  We owned a small cabin not far from Route. 95 below the Georgia border.  Dad named it Acerbia.  It was a retreat where we could be sour and discontent on weekends and during vacations.  You know, say nasty things about neighbors and relatives.”

“Was that fun?”

“Are you kidding, of course, the best.  By the way, they call me Unfortunately.  I’m Unfortunately Fortunato.  What’s your name?  Not that I care.”

“Unfortunately is a first name?  And Fortunato your family…?”

“Mom wanted an Acerbic name, nothing cheerful or common like Hope, Joy or Grace.”

“That had to be a difficult name for a child.  Did she think it was a mistake?”

“No, Difficult and Mistake are my brothers.  Mother named them good, too, because Difficult is in prison and Mistake, chronically unemployed.”

“Was that a surprise?”

“They still haven’t called anyone.  All they do is talk on the phone.  Someone else has to complain.  You can do it.  I like your pink eyebrows.”

“My eyebrows are pink?”

“Yea, they match your lipstick, compliment that bluish tint in your hair, and look cool on a woman your age.”

“My hair isn’t blue! I’m not that old.”

“Isn’t that book you’re reading in large print?”

“It’s easier I don’t have to remember my glasses.”

“Most seniors get a little forgetful.  It’s normal, not a problem unless you can’t remember what glasses are.  You know glasses magnify things, right?”

“I know what glasses are for and I didn’t forget them.  I do not need them to read a large print book.”

“Did you hear that?  The receptionist called Ms. Fortunato.  That’s me, Unfortunately.  Doc’s ready for me.  Have a rotten, day”

“You too, and my eyebrows aren’t pink!”

P.S. I welcome your comments.

Ha Ha Baby Boomers

Aging & Attitude

Statistics show that as you age you laugh less. The elderly lose their sense of humor, no Shit Sherlock! What is there to laugh about?  We cannot see, cannot hear, and cannot remember.

A recent News Journal article informs us of the latest national disaster, sarcopinia, the wasting away of the elderly. Who needs a new word we cannot pronounce, and reminds us of things, we do not want to remember.  It is no surprise, the elderly feel depressed, and lose humor.

I heard that if you cannot get out of the car or off a chair, it is from muscle atrophy. So I started going to the gym, now have muscles and can get out of the car, couch or chair easily.  I just cannot straighten up once I am standing. I am stiff and cannot unbend.  I have termed the condition de-stiff-i-tiz-ing. It is not an official medical condition but most Baby Boomers suffer with it.

We were out to dinner, a table of ten, dear friends who shall remain nameless. After paying the bill, everyone stood to leave and a uniform moan ricocheted off the restaurant walls. A few of us were quick to laugh, covering the additional groans people spewed as they hung to the back of chairs, shook legs awake, and de-stiff-i-tized to reclaimed stature. There was no giggling.

Men actually laugh less and stop laughing sooner than woman, around fifty. (Mr. Wonderful sports a Grumpy tattoo, gotten on his fiftieth birthday.) That statistic may change once the numbers are in on Viagra, although after four hours a man could permanently lose all ability to chuckle.

The humiliation does not end.  A woman attending a wedding went outside to smoke, after extinguishing the cigarette with her foot, bent over to pick up the butt and toppled in her kitty cat heels. Fortunately, her dress did not blow over her head and no one was around.

This never happened to grandma. She could smoke indoors, did not worry about green and thought gym was a man’s name.

So here are my tips for Baby Boomers. (Will someone think of a better term, PLEASE)

  • Replace old toilets with new Hi-Boy’s(the taller  ones).
  • Park in the same spot at the mall everytime.
  • Write down the make, year, and plate number of both cars you own and keep the information in your wallet. (Forgetting where you parked is one thing, forgetting what you parked is another.)
  • Stop telling people you do not remember their name.  They do not remember yours either.
  • Do not smoke when wearing high heels.                                                                                             
                           …. Just saying

Betty Blasé and New Horizons

Aging & Attitude

“I’ve become blasé,” said a woman at the New Horizons Brunch for new members, ending our conversation that threatened to become passionate. She smiled, and took a step back to distance herself from me. She wore ‘big-girl’ shoes with a large fake rhinestone separating her first two toes.

“Blasé what a wonderful word,” I respond, but fail to keep her engaged. The crowded breakfast nook engulfs her lack of interest. Soft wrinkles languish her face, her tone aloof as she snaps her neck to suggest she was not always apathetic, it is an acquired skill.

She wears it well like a sophisticated article of clothing, dance attire.  I want to be blasé. Blasé could be  equivalent to Botox or Juvederm injections and cheaper.  Her skin glows.

My mind escapes to a fantasy world and I morph into Betty Blasé, a new and improved self.  When motorists drive in my trunk during the day, I flip the rearview mirror to ‘night-vision’, instead of yelling, “wrap yourself around a tree, see if I care,” and as they speed by, adjust the air conditioning, calmly.

I feel in control of my emotions and straighten my back to stand a little taller. The room is decorated in damask lined drapes hung high upon the wall and sparkling glass tables.

Surely, I can learn indifference when the Bagger in Publix double wraps my chicken in plastic after I hand him cloth and painstakingly explained the chicken gets naked next to my eggs and butter at home in our refrigerator.

Several New Horizon members drift towards the front door ready to leave.  I promise myself the next time a group of kids covered with tattoos and reeking of profanity pass by I will NOT mumble, “You kiss your mother with that mouth?”

I exchange goodbyes with the host and mosey towards my car thinking, it is conceivable to yawn at newspaper stories debating those guilty of pet abuse; Obama, who ate dog or Romney, who transported Seamus, a pet, crated on a car roof.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Just Saying

 


Vintage Vanity

Aging & Attitude

I never wore an itsy bitsy teeny-weeny yellow polka dot bikini. I wore a one piece swimsuit with a zipper up the back that I could swim in. I loved that pink and white plaid bathing suit. A darker pink piping set off the waist, and it was fully lined. That was during my teenage years when we swam down at Puffy’s creek or at Jones beach on Long Island.

I never owned a Rabbit fur coat. I had a fake Leopard fur coat bought on sale in Macy’s department store. The large collar and hem trimmed in black fake fur.  This Bo Derek style outer wear was stored in a clothing closet and admired when I opened the closet door, too good too be worn.

I never owned a London Fog trench coat.  I wore a navy blue raincoat with an empire waist and hood, purchased at Lerner’s.  I had black patent leather go-go rain boots and kept dry with a bubble umbrella. I have a picture, taken at the Bronx Zoo, of myself wearing this outfit, and remember feeling quite pleased with my look including the shag wig, I wore.

I never wore jeans, stirrup pants were my favorite, and proud to be the first to wear bell-bottoms, in my dorm. These orange pants coordinated with a gold and orange box plaid mini-skirt and a matching gold crepe blouse. The blouse had flounce sleeves with military buttons on the cuffs, and a wrap around neck sash that tied in a bow. I can picture the outfit in Alexander’s store window on Fordham road in the Bronx and still smile.

I never avoided looking in a mirror, til now. The reflection is unrecognizable and I hear myself saying, “Why does that woman look so familiar?” aloud, and realizing it is me, worry about Alzheimer’s.

I never thought I’d wear elastic waist pants, funny hats or moan getting up from a chair.

I never thought myself good-looking, was never boastful, conceited, or big-headed, but loved those outfits and the way they made me feel.

Damn, I guess it is too late to be vain.

                                                                                      . . . Just Saying

Water Bagging

Aging & Attitude

 What is Water Bagging? Water Bagging is a newly coined phrased (by me) referencing an experience that can occur in public bathrooms. Water Bagging has a snappy ring, sounds like water boarding minus genuine torture. The similarity, other than the obvious H2O, is the incident left me feeling victimized and asking, “What can be done legally?”

My mission was to exchange an ink cartridge that went dry printing a few Sud0ku grids.

The customer service person at the local super store said, “Wthout a receipt or the packaging, I can only give you ink.”

“That’s fine.” I said. Did she think I wanted money?

“Go get a new one; you don’t have to wait in line again when you come back.”

Great, I hike to technology, grab a new HP cartridge and a second one, just in case, and skip line.  She checks me out with a reminder to save the receipt and off I go. Life is good.

I  see a restroom, do not ‘really’ have to go, but slip inside. All the stalls are in use. The handicap stall frees-up first and since not previously used by a handicap person and no handicap people are in line, I hurry in.

Thanks to an ABC story, “Your Purse Could be Making You Sick” about pseudomonia, straphylococcus aurews, EColi and salmonella invading our homes due to women putting handbags on the floor, I look to hang my bag on the back of the door. The hook is missing. My handbag is small with two handles and closes with a snap, but not snapped. I dump my bag on the edge of the sink and start to undo my slacks.  The bag slumps into the sink, no big deal, until with my pants down and a plastic grocery bag on my wrist notice that like Niagara Falls, water is pouring into my handbag. Tripping, I grab the handbag out of the sink and begin tossing the contents into the plastic bag strangling my wrist. Once the handbag is empty, I pour mega amounts of water out, puddle walk to the toilet, sit with the bags on my lap, and pee, studying my wet stuff.

The ink from the receipt is bleeding and threatens to blotch up several items.

The automated paper towel dispenser is just beyond my reach, wiggling closer (my pants are still down) I manage to activate the release of brown paper by flapping my arms. I wipe things dry while standing.  A couple of deep knee bends later my pants are secured and nothing has touched the floor.

Leaving, I stop to use a noisy hand dryer hoping to preserve the needed HP ink cartridge receipt, conflicted about searching my handbag for ear plugs to prevent loss of hearing from these mother of devices.

Does Water Bagging happen to anyone else? What are the numbers?

Legislation may be need, definitely a grass roots movement, Women United Against Automatic Flush Toilets, Soap and Paper Towel on Demand Dispensers, and Hot & Cold Water Request Valves That Only Work When You Do Not Want Them To.

We could start a protest similar to Occupy Wall Street, but still pay taxes, babysit grandchildren and sleep in beds.                                                                                                             

                                                                                           ….Just Saying.

Got to Love Scotty McCreery

Got to Love Scotty

Age & Attitude

   Scotty McCreery, the deep throat apple pie American Idol winner, who stole my heart, released his debut album “Clear as Day” a week or so ago. Those eager blue eyes and barely old enough to shave face displayed on a super store kiosk spoke to my motherly instincts. I am not a Country Music kind of gal but impulse purchases could help him go gold. Mr. Wonderful* agreed and we made the buy smiling.

We were not disappointed. The album consists of twelve love songs. Chris Talbott writes in “Moving On”, an Associated Press article, “Each of the 12 songs comes from a youthful perspective or voice, and McCreery says they just naturally fell into categories of love – romantic love, family love, and love for the place you come from.”

That explains what happened to me listening to “I Love You This Big.”

My son’s first word was car, my daughter’s boat. Many days, after teaching at PS 72 in the Bronx, I would put them in the car and drive to look at the boats in the bay at College Point. I would park our orange 1973 Datsun (with a hole in the floorboard) and take their hands to walk the shoreline saying, “See the ocean, that’s how much I love you.” Their young minds could not grasp the concept of endless love, but it made me feel better.

Scotty’s vocals transform the words, ” This Big, I love you deeper than the ocean, I love you all the time. I’ll spend the rest of my life explaining what words cannot describe. I love you this big.” His music speaks to your heart.

It is probably better to listen to the album.

Scotty McCrerry, I love you now but I needed you then.                   

                                                                                                                  ….Just Saying.

*Mr. Wonderful is my husband of forty years.

 

“Overactive What?”

 Aging & Attitude

Overactive bladder is a scary phrase for someone my age.  According to Dr. Paul Donohue, there are several ways to wet your pants.  His daily column in the local News Journal Newspaper answered a reader’s concerns and the good news; you can retrain your bladder, and or take medicine.

Leakage or stress incontinence is the loss of urine that comes when swinging a golf club, laughing, and sneezing. Laughter and golf may not go well together. If you anticipate a good time golfing, tee up with pads, not knee, the other kind. Perhaps you have seen Whoopi Goldberg’s TV advertisements. Another option is to be a straight-faced golfer committed to not laughing.

Urge incontinence is the other overactive bladder condition. Early symptoms (in my non-medical opinion) are, fear that a bathroom is not readily available when needed, and using a bathroom when you do not really have to go resulting in bladder shrinkage.

Dr. Donohue states that the medicines Vesicaare, Enablex, Detrol, Ditropan, and Sanctura help control the urge resulting from bladder contractions. He suggests retraining the bladder by delaying going to the bathroom for five minutes for a full week and gradually increasing the time before “going” until you are “going” every two hours or more. This process may result in doing the pee-pee dance, but it does work.

He also recommends avoiding alcohol, carbonated beverages, milk, milk products, honey, sugar and artificial sweeteners during training periods. This man is no fun.

Dr. Donohue goes on to describe a more barbaric invasive procedure, called InterStim no one wants to talk about, although it does stimulate a nerve somewhere in the lower body.

Thank you Dr. Paul Donohue. It is comforting to know there are options. We can take medicine or give up wine, ice cream and going out to retrain our bladder. . . .just saying.