Travel on a root canal.

The grocery is not a destination I choose willingly. I’d rather go to the dentist for a root canal. The dentist offers lidocaine, but there is nothing to numb the pain of grocery shopping.

Now, though, on-line shopping is coming to a grocery near me. Will I use it? I don’t know. There are passwords and IDs involved. I’ve pooh-poohed most modern day techno-advancements — dial telephones, electric typewriters, computers, cell phones, programmable appliances, smart phones…. I don’t take kindly to change, and I’m a real spaz with my phone.

Ordering groceries on-line is a new wrinkle in the old fabric of catalog and Amazon ordering: you make out an orderselect a pick-up timesomeone shops for you, you drive to the store at the designated time, your purchases are loaded into your car. But, you still have to unload at home, lug everything inside and  put it away.

Instead of scribbling your needs on the back of an old envelope the way your  mother did, you select them from what looks like a child’s picture-book page, and if you want something unusual, you type it in — black olives stuffed with crunchy peanut butter, for instance.

Many things I buy are spur o’moment, not really a good idea, I know. Will the assigned shoppers know I have a hankering for a bag of peanut M&M’s? Or a pomegranate? Or how about black rice? No, they will not. With this new scheme I’ll have to “pre-know” that I might want a pomegranate and put it on my list.

Leslie and her friend Kenna mentioned seeing people do their weekly shopping while consulting a list on their smart phones. They don’t, they said, and neither do I. I carry a printed list I devised, that groups items according to the way the store is organized: deli, produce, meat, dairy, and so on.

This new enterprise is almost ready to go locally, and now a large section of the store has been re-dedicated. They’ve reorganized merchandise, and shoved shelves closer. The aisles are way too narrow. I experienced a traffic jam in the pasta and other “foreign foods” lane last week. It took about four minutes to clear — four minutes longer than I wanted to spend in a place where I hate to go.





Turn the other cheek.

Electronic devices with beeps and blinking lights and cables baffle me.Screen shot 2015-04-28 at 11.41.38 AM Lead me to a cave. I’ll carve my messages on rocks.

Take my new smart phone, for instance. True, my ancient fliptop was beyond help, but did I really need a so-called “phone” that reports on the stock market, takes my pulse, lets me send texts, emails, and question an otherworldly woman who doesn’t know the answers either? I can take photos with this “phone,” read a book or a map, listen to music, play games, get a weather report and watch a movie. The “phone” part of the phone seems incidental.

No one calls me.

My technical advisors — family — insisted it was time. So I bought a phone that seldom rings, and when it does I’m not sure how to answer it. Son-in-law Martin called a few days ago. “Hello,” I said to no one there. Three more calls and we finally connected. Martin thought something was wrong since I never call him and I’d rung so many times. I said I was returning his calls.

He laughed. “Oh, must’ve been ‘butt dialing.'”

Ack, really‽

That same evening, our blank t.v. screen advised that our service was down. I’d figured that out because the screen was…um…blank. I called help and after intense questioning to identify myself and our equipment — think CIA interrogation — the young woman instructed, “Unplug the cable box from the power source.”

I followed the cable to the power strip. Done!

“Now, what is the bar code number on the back of the box?”

I couldn’t see a bar code. “Where would it be?” I asked.

“Upper right,” she said.

“Nope, nothing there.” I recited all the numbers I saw, but none was right.

I should say here, that the floor behind our t.v is a nest of cables that coil around each other in an incestuous stranglehold.  As I studied the entwined mess I realized I had not only unplugged the wrong box, but I was looking for numbers on the wrong box too.

I explained what I’d done. “Sorry,” I said, “but you should see what I’m dealing with here!” My laugh was hysteria-tinged because now I was wedged between wall and t.v., sitting in a nest of dust bunnies. Getting out would not be pretty.

She giggled. “No problem,” she said. “Let me know when you’ve found the bar code number.”

“Bingo,” I yelled.

“Now tell me what you see on your screen.,” she said.

“Hang on while I crawl around to the front.”

She explained the next steps as patiently as I hope she would explain to her own grandmother — service reconnecting, channels reloading, etc. “Wait fifteen minutes before trying to select a channel,” she reminded, then bid me good night.

Next day, Bill, my husband’s companion, arrived to take Peter and Nobby to their weekly therapy dog, nursing home visit. Bill and I chatted while we waited for Peter. Repetitive beeps came from behind Bill, but he wasn’t “pocket dialing,” no,  he was leaning against the stove’s set-timer button.

A while later — I knew it was only mid-afternoon — when I looked at the stove’s clock it read 6:15. Apparently Bill had “turned the other cheek” when he moved to the left, and in the doing had set the clock several hours ahead. This without a phone in his pocket! What a guy.

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© Johnson 6/12, UFS, Inc





Hostess gets the ‘ho ho’s’

There’s a first time for everything. Ah yes, I remember the days when, if you wanted a table in a busy restaurant, the hostess would write your name on a pad, tell you how many minutes you’d have to wait, and point you towards a comfortable sitting area.

Screen shot 2015-01-11 at 11.32.06 AMThen along came those annoying buzzer things to hold or stick in your pocket. They resemble something from “Star Wars.” Scare the bejesus out of you when they buzz.

Now there’s a newer twist. The technology that arrived with iPhones and iPads usurped buzzers. Where have I been you’ll ask? Hm, well, locked in my own little world still using a landline, and neither twittering, tweeting, nor texting. I do have a cellphone, but it’s only for emergencies, my emergencies. My immediate family and one or two friends have the number. Phone’s seldom turned on though.

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 12.15.29 PM

Even if an iPhone cost $3.50, I wouldn’t want one.

Recently we went to a new restaurant within walking distance from home. I gave the hostess our name, told her there would be four of us. She asked for my phone number. I considered lying since it was obviously a marketing ploy — get our number and hound us with phone calls. But I gave it to her and prepared to wait. Not minutes, mind you, but an hour — an hour until we were seated, and forty minutes until we got the pizza we’d ordered the instant we sat down. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

So, when Leslie and Martin arrived I mentioned I’d had to give our phone number. Leslie burst out laughing. “You gave them your home number, didn’t you, Mom?” Her laugh bounced off the high ceilings.

“Well, she asked for my phone number” I huffed. “I don’t give my cell number to just anyone, you know.”

My daughter knew without asking that I didn’t even have my cell phone with me. She explained restaurants nowadays want your cell number to alert you, especially when there are a lot of people waiting to be seated. By this time there were at least twenty-five people standing around, and as many more walked out when they heard how long the wait time would be.

“I’m standing right here. If she calls our name, I’ll hear her…” Leslie started to interrupt, with a comment about my hearing I was sure, so I amended my words to, “…I’ll read her lips.”

“What if you decide to go shopping down the street?”

“If I wanted to go shopping, I’d go shopping. I wouldn’t be standing in line here…” I spluttered. “And, no, I don’t want a smart phone so a hostess can call me to say my table is ready when I’m standing two feet away!” Oh yes, I was on a toot.

“Other people like the convenience,” my daughter argued.

“‘Convenience’ would be getting seated in a restaurant in a reasonable amount of time, without benefit of a phone call,” I grumbled.

“Sorry, Mom, but you’re out of touch.”

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At least I’m not as out of touch as my grandparents who refused to have a telephone at all. “If someone wants to talk to me,” Granddad said, “they can come to the door. We’ll set on the porch and we’ll talk.” 

My mother was as frustrated with her parents as my daughter is with me.

Fall back? Not again!

If Daylight Savings Time rings your chimes the way it does mine—loudly, annoyingly, abrasively—please click here to tell the politicians in Washington why youScreen shot 2014-10-23 at 9.40.00 AM want your clocks left alone year round.  We’re just a week away from the “fall back” date, and I hate it as much now as I have all the other times I’ve written about it.

Last year my friend Linda commented on my end-of-October post “Leave my blankie alone!”  She wrote, “After our Spring Forward time change, one of our students at the school where I taught, was an hour late for the next week. On the following Monday, I met the mother at her car and casually mentioned that we had changed the time for Daylight Saving. Her comment was, “Don’t tell me they are doing that again!”

I’ve linked this post to last year’s rant about time change (see above) because, well, I’ve run out of time!  So much to do before the evenings darken at the hour they’re supposed to and the sun wakes me at the “right time” once again.



Leave my blankie alone!

Only the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket. 
An Indian Chief’s observation when he heard about the government’s action on Daylight-Saving Time.

“Have you noticed how dark it is in the mornings?” my daughter asked Sunday afternoon.

“And next week it’ll be light again when you get up for work,” I said.

Her eyes were question marks.

“Time changes Sunday,” I reminded her, “lighter in the mornings…darker in the evenings…”

ACK! NO!  Is it that time already?”

Yup, it’s ti-i-i-me.

Nothing gets me wound up like pending time change. My mind has been made up long since about the foolishness of clocks “springing” ahead and “falling back.” If clocks were left alone there would be a gradual, natural change from daylight to dark, dark to daylight — an astrological dimmer switch, so to speak — not the mind-numbing jolt we get now.

A scholar once said, “Daylight-Saving Time effectively transfers an hour of little-used early morning light to evening.” Where, I wonder, did that “scholar” get his education?  Didn’t we all learn in fourth or fifth grade that early morning light comes from the east.  If an hour were truly “moved,” we’d have morning sun at dinnertime, wouldn’t we?

To the rationale, lose an hour’s sleep in the spring, gain it back in the fall, I say bollocks.  I have never met anyone who lolls around for months thinking, oooh, I can’t wait until I get back that hour’s sleep I lost. Saying time “springs forward” and “falls back” doesn’t make it so. And what are we saving daylight from?

Six years ago the Congress-approved Energy Policy Act went into effect.  One of the provisions added four more weeks of DST, changing the previous April/October dates established in 1966 to March/November.  Some have questioned whether daylight-saving results in net energy savings.  Really? Y’think?

One debatable reason for extending into November was that it would encourage greater voter participation because more people would go to the polls if it was still light when they returned home from work. The argument has some holes: not everyone leaves work at 5:00 p.m; some people work nights; some don’t have jobs to return home from; and others simply don’t vote because they can’t bring themselves to elect any of the candidates.

Frankly, I doubt that adding four weeks to Daylight-Saving Time has increased voter turn-out at all. Now, if they were to tack-on Congressional term limits, I’ll bet voters would knock down the doors to cast their ballots, especially this November!