Tag Archives: humor

Shock absorbers

My husband would never admit it but he is often a lot like me. We sometimes talk to one another for shock value, just to make sure the other is listening. It’s an effective way to measure our attention level.

My husband of 27 years entered the kitchen and stood next to where I was writing at the table. I looked up to see why he was standing still. His eyes met mine as he said, “I never thought it would come to this but I bought some marital aids.”

I put down my pen, turned toward him and said, “I’m listening.”

He took a step back, reached into his pocket and gave me a big smile.

What he produced forced me to turn my back toward him. I continued to write. He had put in a new set of orange ear plugs.

His shocking behavior had my attention. I have to admit, the joke was effective. Richie walked back outside to blow the leaves and I laughed my ass off, comforted by our sense of humor.

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Pug nightmare

Sometimes I write random sentences in my head. Many are orphan thoughts that don’t fit into a larger piece of work:

“I fart so much in the middle of the night, the local bubble factory asked me to work the night shift.”

The process helps me to deflate and fall back to sleep. They are purely hypothetical; I’m a piece of work.

Rail life update

I have a train friend that was born and educated in the Middle East. We know one another professionally and continue to learn about each other’s family and background.

My electrical engineer sometimes seat mate is married and has a new granddaughter.

On the flip side, he knows I have two daughters and grew up in the town where I board the train.

I explain that my husband grew up here too.

He had more questions and I answered:

“Yes, our families know one another; Richie and I went to grade school together.”

He concludes his thoughts and restarts our conversation on a new track, “Oh! So it was an arranged marriage? ”

Our two very different upbringings are translating across the miles.

Mad Dash

Public train transportation is the way to travel into the city if you want to ditch the traffic, read a book or fall asleep behind the wheel. Train commuting is a type of home away from home. The MBTA is not the way to travel if you desire consistently being on time, don’t like crowds or require privacy.

The 6:42 a.m. train was a unique scenario as we boarded the now 7:02 a.m. dark passenger cars in Shirley, MA. There was no battery power, lights or air conditioning. The passengers grumbled as they boarded their unreliable steel pool cars. One man in our boarding line read the riot act to the conductor. Said man was riding the rails to catch a 9:15 flight out of Logan. I think half of us were chuckling at the psychotic traveler; he wouldn’t have made that flight on a good day. He was already cutting it way too close for morning Uber traffic, and airport security checks, even if he did arrive in Boston by 8:00. The conductor told him the best bet was to wait for the next train. There were no guarantees and the crew was already hoping this engine would make it to North Station.

Reassured on every level, I made my way to the top of the double-decker.

We pulled into the next station braking with a jolt. Nobody on the train understood what that had to do with no battery. The Ayer passengers embarked complaining about both the lack of power and the man that ran in front of the train. Evidently, someone had crossed the tracks to get to their platform. When the man realized he dropped something, he ran back in front of the oncoming train to pick it up. Everyone waiting on the platform thought they were going to witness a fatal accident. As they boarded, the train was still dark but their trauma was visible. The situation added more time before we were underway again.

The next stop is right off the interstate, and the largest pick up. About 200 people boarded our moving cave and we were on our slow way again without incident.

We arrived at the next depot with incident. Passengers boarded and then the train stayed on the platform. We weren’t moving again. Everyone hedged their bets to either disembark and reboard the next train or wait it out and hope the situation improved. The experienced group I was sitting with knew better, got off the snail and lined up for the following train that would be pulling in any minute. About 300 people were back on the platform and headed to the crossover when the headlight of the the savior train appeared.

The crowd had words for each other as people tried to hurry in front of the next. Everyone jumbled together trying not to be last. The mayhem was railroad “musical chairs”, knowing not everyone would get a seat.

The rest of the ride was uneventful. We were already an hour behind schedule and so many people were standing up, the cars looked more like a subway. The situation could not possibly get worse but the earlier commuters remained visibly on edge.

This second train would arrive on time, so the last few standing passengers weren’t otherwise effected. They had lights and air conditioning. The commuters just outside the city had it made, they just didn’t know it. One woman, standing next to my seat, couldn’t understand the frenzy.

She remained positive, “The railroad does get us there.”

“Yes. This is still better than driving in traffic.” another Cambridge passenger agreed.

“Right? A few less seats does not make a difference.” declared the first.

A dangerous remark from someone that had just boarded in Belmont. I was already on the 2nd train, after the first arrived 20 minutes late, and was an hour behind schedule after offloading and reboarding with 300+ of my most intimate friends.

The morning commute included a bigger crowd, no privacy and I was late. Yes, I had avoided traffic and read a large part of my book. But no, I couldn’t fall asleep, even though it was so much like home. There had been a lot of excitement with the lights off.

Betrayed

Late Sunday morning my husband returned from taking his mother out to breakfast. With the day promising 80’s sunshine in mid-September, Richie said he’d be outside. He saw my heart was elsewhere, “I’ll be out in a bit. I’m writing.” He knows me too well, recognized that was an indeterminate amount of time, and took advantage of the situation. When I finally went out on the deck, I felt betrayed by him, her…and a fellow writer:

Semantique

Mon ami en vacances a Paris me connaissant pas un mot de francais.

A son retour, il a proclame avec enthousiasme:

“I learned how to ask where the bathrooms are!”

“Ah. Bon. Ou est la salle de bains?”

No. No! “Ou se trouvent les toilettes?”

D’accord. Je ne pouvais pas discuter avec ca!

Up on the last day

On the way to your funeral, I wondered if there was more I could have done? We’d talked and had some nice moments these last few years but the adrenal cancer took you quickly. Did I do enough these final weeks? Were you in pain with that labored breathing? I was thinking too much as I drove. I turned on the radio to quiet my thoughts and help let you go.

A song started that I’d never heard before that moment. Kenny Chesney explained with Better Boat. I felt like I had some answers and started to cry.

I don’t even listen to country music though; why was my radio on that station?

I changed the setting back to soft rock and continued driving West. I smiled into my rear view as I listened to the lyrics of Stairway to Heaven. “There walks a lady who shines white light.” It did make me wonder…

Of course you bought your way to heaven. You were a sweet, compassionate woman. I knew you were headed to the pearly gates, despite any of those feisty teenage stories you shared. These were my thoughts as I recognized the new song. The Man, Portugal, was singing and I laughed out loud when I remembered you were a teenager in 1966. Feel It Still explained you were a “rebel just for kicks”. You and I sang our way into the Funeral Home parking lot.

Your sense of humor was alive and well as I went in to say goodbye.

Your brother and his family were all there. Your cousins were by your side, Diane greeted us and your co-workers lined the room, spanning your years of service. The priest spoke about the volunteering you did in your retirement. The service was sweet and full of camaraderie.

But I guess you knew all that, since you were there.

We went to our cars to await the drive to the cathedral and cemetery. I settled into my vehicle and turned the radio back on. Pretty Mama was the celebratory song while waiting in the line of cars. I hoped you would dance with your Daddy. God would take your hand now.

Enough was enough though. They carried you out and you were now in the vehicle in front of us. There was no DJ with a response to that.

I shut off the radio and pushed in one of my own CD’s to drown out where we were headed. I’d forgotten that my car CD was Rock-and-Roll – my KISS CD. Thinking it may not be appropriate, I almost pushed it back out. Almost. It was a very fitting solo. Paul Stanley sang Goodbye all the way to your final mass.

You were there, in your old neighborhood, that whole morning. I believe it. God speaks to us in so many ways.

I know now that there wasn’t more I could have done. I’d listened. That was enough. Thank you for letting me hear your final play list.

Elevator pitch

Among the Corporate hot topics of transparency and open concept design, is also my inability to keep a secret. I stepped onto the building elevator and saw a colleague from another glass floor having difficulty with her access badge. I just smiled, waited, helped and then told her it happens to all of us.

“You’re so patient and happy. Are you always like this when you go to work?”, she asked as the doors opened to my floor.

I laughed as I stepped off the elevator. I am usually one of the first to arrive, so despite not wanting anyone in my office to know, I looked back at her as the elevator started to close and yelled, “Actually, it’s my birthday today!”

Her surprised smile as the doors shut made my day. It also felt good to say out loud. I reached for my second access badge, opened the door and stepped into the work area. On this side of the tower is a bank management training program. To my chagrin, everyone was already there.

One of the young co-ed women looked at me with a clever smile and said, “Wow! It’s your birthday. Enjoy!”

This was followed by the two people in her group also chiming in to say, “Happy Birthday!”

I stopped in my tracks realizing I had unintentionally thrown my own party.

The rest of the group, about 30 in all, turned or swiveled in my direction and wished me a loud “Happy Birthday!” in unison. One guy even gave me a high five as I started to walk past the group. Others joined in as I thanked them all with an embarrassed laugh and continued to the other end of the floor.

I felt like I’d just won the biggest Corporate account or hit the winning basket for the company team. That moment was an embarrassingly fun way to jump start the day.

My own team wasn’t there yet, had no idea it was my birthday and didn’t see this happen. I signed onto my computer with a new secretly knowing grin on my face. With the open concept design, I was not only transparent, I had hit my own glass ceiling.

Team Valor #Pokemon

I am finally at a point in my life where I go to the gym every day. I don’t just show up either. I battle it out for the best result. On the days I arrive later than usual, and the gym is already full, I at least visit for a moment and share my fruit with other gym members. I am the ideal team player.

My loyalty is to my team, regardless of the benefit to me. How can I not support ‘Redbeard’? My husband has a beard and loves redheads, so it makes sense that he’s a teammate. I also had a cousin, Sonny we used to call him, that died young. This is why I consider gym mate ‘Zombie Sonny’ to be family. Then there are gym members I feel obligated to take under my wing like ‘Apathetic Bill’. He will be charged up with motivation when I finish with him.

Stop by the gym. I may be red in the face but I am there with my buddy every day. If you too are red, Team Valor, help me to show great courage in the face of danger. If you are the Rapidash of another color, maybe we can still become friends. I may just give you a gift. Every day, I am loyal to a fault.