The Finger

I got the finger from an 80 year old woman on my way to work this morning. No… not the finger you’re thinking of. This was worse. It was the angry, jabbing, pointing index finger instead. You know… the scolding you’re-being-a-bad-girl-and-you’d-better-behave-or-else-you’re-really-gonna-get-it finger that your mother gave you if you were taunting your sister while she cried or you so much as glanced at the cookie jar 30 minutes before dinner. The one that apparently STILL has the power to reduce an independent, 36 year old woman to a puddle of shame.

I guess she was cranky because … OK … maybe almost sort of pulled out in front of her this morning when turning off my road and heading to work. I wasn’t actually going to pull out in front of her. Of course I was going to stop. Or at the very least pause. Due to the disparity between parking spots and automobiles in my neighborhood, many people are forced to park on the side of the road, leaving a driver no other choice than to pull a little further out into the road in order to see around said vehicular visual obstructions. This is allI was doing—checking for traffic in the middle of the road—in order to proceed safely and merrily on my way.

And she freaked. And the finger came flying out with great gusto! At first I was shocked by the overt aggression in her appalling gesture… then a fraction of a second later extremelytempted to give her the index finger right back. But then I thought better of it, given that I most likely reside within a 2-block radius of this woman. If the saying goes that you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, then I would venture to go one step further and say that you ought to keep your neighbors right under your nose… and remain squarely in their good graces.

However… I would also say that this whole unpleasant situation could have been avoided if only she had stayed in her house and off the road until the regular morning commute was over. See, I have this theory. Do you want to hear it? If not, I suggest you stop reading this right now because of course you know I am going to share it.

Here goes: People who are (for lack of better words) retired and unable to drive at least the speed limit should NOT be on the roads between the hours of 7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. I feel this should be a law. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. they can have at it. As far as I’m concerned—the roads can belong to them. Here is my reasoning… many of these people aren’t fond of theI’m-in-a-hurry-and-need-to-get-where-I’m-going-NOW-because-my-5-yr-old-had-a-meltdown-this-morning OR the I’m-exhausted-from-cramming-my-non-work-life-into-4-hours-every-evening-so-I-overslept-this-morning-thus-causing-me-to-rush-around-to-get-to-work-on-time dilemmas that 8 to 5 commuters have. In fact, they often perceive the aforementioned rushed drivers to be “annoying” or “threatening” or “dangerous” or “insane” or “scary.” And it is because of this conflict that—when on the road at the same time—things can turn ugly in 0 to 60 seconds.

So to my neighbor and her guilt-wielding, road-raged appendage I say: Either stay off the road or I suggest you holster that finger. Because next time… I might just fire one right back at ya. Have a nice day.

Fending Off Crazy Cat Woman

I could feel the stranger’s eyes boring into the back of my skull and the heat from his stare on my neck. “Don’t judge me.” I thought to myself as I set the groceries on the conveyor and glanced over my shoulder at the man standing behind me with his filled-to-the-brim shopping cart.

I put the plastic divider in place after pulling the remaining items from the cart and reviewed my impending purchases… A quart of skim milk, two containers of flavored coffee creamer, a bottle of OJ, one box of cereal, a loaf of bread, a brick of cheddar, three Lean Cuisines and 10 cans of cat food.

My tiny bundle of staples barely covered a third of the checkout counter. And it occurred to me that the aforementioned items probably screamed: “CRAZY, SINGLE, CAT WOMAN!!” to anyone who cared to investigate what it was I was buying. I wondered if he felt pity toward me… “Poor woman.” He probably thought. “Mid-thirties. Obviously purchasing dinner for one. Clearly companioned by one or more cats. Poor thing. She’ll probably go home, microwave her dinner and watch Lifetime all by herself.”

It’s what I would have thought. I judge people based on what they buy at the grocery store all the time.

Sensing his judgment and pity I smoothed my skirt and stood a little taller trying to act all nonchalant, confident and indifferent as to what anyone thought of me and my two-cans-shy-of-a-dozen cat food collection. I interacted with the checkout girl by enthusiastically chatting her up about the weather and the upcoming weekend to illustrate that I do, indeed, have social skills and some semblance of a life. She rang me up, we bagged it up and I strutted out of the store like I owned it.

“I am not a crazy, sad, sorry, single, cat woman. I do have a boyfriend. I am a perfectly happy, successful, well-adjusted, strong woman. ” I said with my body language. “You don’t know me.”

Perhaps my affinity for TV shows that delve into the intricacies of the human psyche is to blame for my hyperactive-grocery-store-paranoia. Consistently watching CSI, Criminal Minds and House might be the reason I ask such questions as: What do these purchases say about me? What would an FBI profiler glean from the ratio of human to feline food in my pantry? If someone murdered me in my home while I slept, would the cops feel sorry for me when they processed the crime scene?

Then again… maybe I just watch too much TV… with my cat.

Thrisis Averted

Recently I read about something called a “Thrisis.” Apparently, it is a newly-invented term for that dreaded period of time when someone in their late-twenties freaks out because they find themselves staring straight down the barrel of the big 3-0.

Give me a break…

MUST we make up a name for EVERY single portion of the life cycle now? Apparently we must… because we do. Mid-life crisis has been around awhile… but now there are the tweens, the quarter-life crisis, kidults and thresholders—another fairly new word for 20-something men and women who delay adulthood, opting for perpetual adolescence instead.

Now, don’t get me wrong about the practice of creating new words. Language is a living thing, and I completely understand that making up new words is an important part of cultural evolution. I LOVE words. I can’t get enough of them. You can ask anyone. I SAY a lot of words, I WRITE a lot of words… just like now… I am typing these words just because I can.

Anyway… As a 36 year old, let me put the late-20-something-kids-in-thrisis at ease. Thirty is nothing. I welcomed 30 with open arms. I threw a freakin’ party for 30 when it arrived on my doorstep! It is a wonderful demographic in which to be a part of. No longer viewed a “child” by society… you achieve actual adult status, but the investment firms, insurance and pharmaceutical companies haven’t begun stalking you yet.

Now, 35 on the other hand has been a bit more interesting… And perhaps the term thrisis is MORE applicable here.

You see, at 35…

  • You find constant comfort in the fact that Jennifer Aniston and the rest of her “Friends” are older than you are.
  • You notice the lines linger long after the laughter has stopped.
  • You have entered a new bracket on just about everything… forms, various risk calculations, medical conditions, surveys, products, etc.
  • You are becoming acquainted with new vocabulary words such as: mammogram, vitamin deficiency, blood-sugar level, bone density, “good” cholesterol, “bad” cholesterol and triglyceride.
  • You encounter people who, upon hearing your age, start their next sentence with the words: “Well, you’re still not too old to… ” Then, upon realizing you’ve unwittingly become a victim of ageism, you ask yourself: What the #$@!?
  • You still prefer the look of the clothes and styles in the Junior’s Department, but can no longer shop there due to the fact that the Jr. garments do NOT have industrial-strength slimming, smoothing & supporting spandex cleverly-hidden in every nook and cranny.
  • You discover that putting “enough” lotion on your neck has suddenly become an obsession.
  • You realize that your hatred for Justin Bieber stems from the fact that he reminds you of the brat who tortured you while you babysat him WHEN YOU WERE 14.
  • You, yes YOU are now the target audience for Botox commercials.
  • You are no longer the “young” one on the job. You have actual co-workers who not only do not KNOW who Chris Farley, David Spade, Mike Myers, Matt Foley, Linda Richman or Jack Handy are… They don’t find them funny either.

So if you’re standing on the brink of the big 3-0… Fear not! ENJOY yourself… Because you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.