Things That Make You Go Hmmm…

I was at the grocery store today and marveled, once again, at a familiar scene. I was wheeling my cart down the aisle when I noticed a woman standing next to the jars of spaghetti sauce, reading the label on a product in her hand. As I approached, we made eye contact briefly, and then she went back to reading the label. So far so good, right? Well…as I grew even closer, I realized her cart blocked half the aisle, and she stood a foot or so away from the cart, which meant no one could pass without either the cart or her body moving out of the way.

I saw her sideways glance in my direction when my cart reached hers, but still she didn’t budge. Hummm… Even though I knew she had seen me, I still said, “Excuse me,” and smiled politely (sorta, kinda politely). Now here is where it gets interesting. She looked up from the jar in her hand, touched her chest as if I had just surprised the snot out of her, and she truly appeared to be surprised. Hum….Either this woman was an amazing actress, or she was one egg short of a dozen—you know what I mean? How could she not have seen me when we made eye contact? Did she really think I just magically appeared out of thin air? Even if she didn’t see me, she mostly would have heard me. My rickety cart was clinkin’ and clankin’ something fierce.

And how about people doing crazy (this is my nice way of saying stupid) things while driving? Granted, I’ve been known to do a stupid thing or two in my day, but at least I rarely do them all at the same time! A few days ago, traffic was congested on the express way, but then it finally opened up as I approached my exit. After it opened up, I was cruising along when a woman in a red little beater pulled in front of me. From where I sat, it looked like she was brushing her hair with one hand, and applying lip gloss with the other. Had she not have pulled in front of me and then decided to break for no apparent reason, I wouldn’t have noticed what she was doing. Why do people do that? If there had been a car in front of her that would have been one thing. But clearly, there was no one in front of her. No, this woman simply decided to ride her break all the way down the expressway. Hum…

Come on, people, I can’t be the only one who sees this stuff. What kind of crazy behavior have you witnessed lately?

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Golf Practice at the Driving Range

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This past weekend my husband and I spent Saturday afternoon at the driving range, working on our respective golf games…okay he worked on his golf game, while I, on the other hand, people watched. I tried to keep my mind focused on my swing, stance, and not moving my head, honest to goodness I did, but gosh darn it if the folks practicing next to me weren’t the oddest pair I’ve seen at the driving range in a loooooong time.

Usually when people go to the driving range, they tend to wear clothes that look kind of “golferish” (golf shirt, T-shirt, shorts, long pants). Not that the clothes matter, because they don’t, but it does help to wear clothing that doesn’t bind up and interfere with swing movements, thus the loose fitting shirt and pants. One of the first things I noticed about this couple was the man’s tight fitting, and rather short, cut-off jeans. As if the jeans weren’t interesting enough, he also wore a shirt with cut-off sleeves.

Truthfully, the clothing alone wasn’t a big deal. What started my mind wondering was his golf gear. Be honest, based on the description I just gave you, what kind of equipment would you have expected the man to have? Did a ratty golf bag come to mind? Maybe some mismatched golf clubs? Buzzzzz…wrong! This dude had some serious golf gear. I’m talkin’ new Titleist clubs (I’m pretty sure his fairway woods and irons were all Titleist), and a nice Adams golf bag (black with red trim).

And his wife was decked out with cool gear too—great looking Callaway clubs with an adorable baby blue golf bag. So then my mind really started spinning. The Sesame Street song, “One of These Things Doesn’t Belong Here” played in surround sound inside my head. I kept thinking, either these guys really have game or they know how to pick equipment that looks the part. Needless to say, I had to—HAD TO—see them hit the ball. There was no cotton-pickin’ way I was leaving that driving range without seeing for myself.

Rather than look like a gawker, I tried my best to focus on my own game—yeah right. Sadly, I couldn’t hit a decent shot to save my nosey life. So, back to the couple my eyes roved as I peeked here and there, trying not to look too obvious. The man was, um well…how should I say it? He was um hummmm really…uh…not very good—let’s just put it that way. His wife, on the other hand, had the most bizarre swing I had ever seen, but somehow she managed to hit the ball pretty straight and consistent.

With that added twist, my mind worked feverishly, trying to make what I was seeing compute. When nothing added up, I had no choice but to add eavesdropping to my list of the day’s bad behavior. I was shocked—stupefied—to listen to the man giving instructions to his wife. Moreover, she actually appeared to be listening for crying out loud! I was stumped by the whole display.

And then, as if things couldn’t get any stranger, the woman pulled out her driver and guess what? Darn if she didn’t smack the ball a good 200 yards. Two hundred cotton pickin’ yards!!! Goooood gravy, I’ve never seen anything like it. Unbelievable! What a great day at the driving range.

 

 

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A Youngster Who Knows What He Wants

Last week, I had lunch at the food court in the mall and witnessed a refreshing display of good child behavior. It truly was a site you don’t see every day. I was sitting at a table eating lunch, a few feet away from Chick-fil-A, and engaging in one of my favorite pastimes…people-watching. I noticed a well-dressed man, probably somewhere in his mid-thirties, holding the hand of a boy that I guessed to be between five and seven. The man, who I assume was the boy’s father, bent down to the child and spoke to him before it was time for them to order. When the woman behind the counter asked what they wanted, the man gently nudged the boy and the boy said, in a clear voice, exactly what he wanted to eat. When the boy finished his order, his face shone with pride and he smiled at his father.

Portrait of young boy

What was so amazing about the exchange was the father’s proactiveness in preparing the boy to respond to the question when asked. Usually, when children are encouraged by their parents to give the host their order, something completely unintelligible comes out, followed by a clipped discussion between the parent and child while they figure out what the child wants. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in line and witnessed a parent-child conversation that went something like this.

“May I have your order please?” the woman behind the counter said.

“Suzy, tell the nice lady what you want,” mom said.

Suzy wiggled, crossed her legs, and did a pee-pee go away dance. “I wanna pink pony.”

“Tell the lady what you want, Suzy.”

“I wanna pink…I want Daddy,” Suzy said, and stamped her foot.

“Daddy isn’t here. Do you want a happy meal?”

“Milkshake.”

“You want a milkshake with your happy meal?”

“I want Daddy.”

“I told you, Daddy isn’t here. How about chicken nuggets?”

“Pizza!”

“Sweetie, they don’t have pizza at McDonalds. Do you want a happy meal or chicken nuggets?

Suzy cried and wiped snot dripping from her nose. “Pizza!”

Customers in line behind them shifted to the next line. Eye-rolling and flame-throwing stares torched the mother and her resistant daughter while their conversation continued during peak restaurant hours.

Does this scenario sound remotely familiar to you all? I’ve seen some variation of this exchange many times. But the truth is there’s a fine line that a parent walks between teaching a child and taking charge when necessary. On the one hand, we know that our children need to learn to speak for themselves, but at the same time, the world is impatient while we struggle through the tedious process of teaching our children to communicate properly. I don’t know how the man at the mall managed to teach his son to respond so well, but I must say I was impressed.

 

 

 

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Ready For A New Fashion

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick to death of the whole droopy pants and boxer shorts trend.  Who in God’s green earth started this silly fashion? At first, I thought it would be here today and gone tomorrow like the baggy M.C. Hammer pants, but it has been years now and the stupid style hasn’t let up.

I was driving to the store the other day, and I saw a young kid with his pants sagging mid-way off his rump. Underneath his pants, a pair of Wile E. Coyote boxer shorts covered his backside. I think he was trying to run to the bus stop, but he could barely move and hold his britches at the same time. He must have had at least five inches of excess denim around his ankles, and if he had let go of his pants they would have fallen down. I don’t get it. Why would someone want to walk around all day holding their pants up? 

I see these kids wearing these pants all the time and I’m always tempted to say something, but it was my mother who actually called a young man out.  My mother is all of five feet tall, but she’s packed full of spiritual wisdom. I think of her as the Christian equivalent to Yoda. She ambled up to the young man and tugged on the hem of his t-shirt. “Excuse me, young man,” she said, and tugged until he turned around. “Do you know that your pants are hanging down and your behind is showing?” 

He looked down at my sweet little momma and then at his friends who were laughing at him, and he pulled his pants up. “Yes, ma’am.”  

“Do you want me to see your behind?” 

“No, ma’am.” 

“Well pull your pants up then.” 

“Yes, ma’am.” 

Now if I had tried that. I would be dead, stuffed in a bag, and tossed somewhere along the Chattahoochee River. I think when you reach a certain age you officially receive a “say any doggone thing you want to say” free pass. Doesn’t it seem like that? And with my mom there is no fear. She’ll just say what’s on her mind and keep moving. I want one of those passes.

 

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The Most Unusual Hairstyle

A few weekends ago, my husband and I were out and about running errands when we stopped for a quick bite to eat at Subway.  While we talked and enjoyed each other’s company, I noticed his gaze shift from looking at me to looking at something behind me.  “That’s different,” he said. 

I was about to steal a glance over my shoulder when he stopped me. “Don’t turn around. You’ll see what I’m talking about in a second.” 

I put my sandwich down, scanned my peripheral vision, and waited to see what had distracted my husband so powerfully.  

Then I saw her. Good jiminy cricket!  A woman strolled by with her hair sticking up in spikes all over her dadgum head. Even as I type this post I can hardly describe it. Imagine someone with shoulder-length hair like mine, taking one-inch sections, strengthening them into spikes, and then hair spraying the spikes so that they don’t move. Actually, I don’t think hairspray would have held it. She would almost have needed shellac or some kind of hair glue to make the spikes stay straight. I guess someone must have considered the possibility that a poke in the eye from one of the spikes could put an eye out, because the tips of each spike were curled into little O’s.  

I could tell by the fresh shiny look of her hair and her, “I’m too beautiful for words sashaying walk,” that this woman had just come from the hair salon. Why on God’s green earth would someone pay to have their hair done like that? Did the lady bring in a picture of a porcupine, show it to the hairstylist, and proudly proclaim, “I think this would look great on me.” porcupine-xsmall4

All sorts of questions popped into my mind as I watched her pass. Most of all, I wondered how she’d sleep at night. I still can’t envision how lying down would be possible. What would make someone sacrifice precious sleep for porcupine hair? I just don’t get it.   

What’s the most unusual hairstyle you’ve ever seen?

 

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Go Ahead and Look Already

If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts about my quirky life-observations, you’ll know that I love people-watching. It’s a good thing that I’m a writer because much of what I see I use to sketch characters. One of my favorite things to observe as we move into summer, are the number of men who try to causally check out women without getting busted. Heck, some of them don’t care who’s watching, but it’s funny anyway.  

I was at the mall doing a little shopping and stopped at the food court to grab a bite to eat. As I stood in line at Chick-fil-A, I noticed a man subtly trying to check out a young woman in the line next to him, but a few people ahead. I saw the moment the young woman caught his eye. When she moved, and someone blocked his line-of-sight, he leaned forward so that he could still get a glimpse of her. If she moved her head in his direction he quickly turned away or looked down at his shoes. If she advanced in the line, he’d scrootch as close to the person ahead of him as he could. At one point, the man teetered forward, and bonked his noggin on the back of the kid in front of him. “Oh, uh, sorry,” he said, and glanced over to see if the young woman saw the commotion. She didn’t. And you know why she didn’t? Because the man had to be at least 55 years old and the young woman couldn’t have been more than 25. Let’s face it. That man had a better chance of winning the lottery than having that pretty young girl notice him. To her, he was invisible. It’s not like the guy was bad looking either. Back in the day, I bet he could have turned a few heads. Back in the day 

I didn’t want to be unkind, but I wanted so much to tell him, “Go ahead and get a good look.”  Standing in line next to that pretty young woman was the closest legal way that he’d be able to be near her.  

Okay it’s your turn – time to play reporter. What kind of funny things have you witnessed while people-watching?

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