Crossing the Border

A colleague of mine was recently on a road trip in Alabama. He was headed to a town north of Atlanta GA and stopped halfway for gas.

“Hey, you got a cat in there?” the guy next to him at the pump asked.

“Huh?” my colleague said.catintheengine

“There’s definitely a cat…open your hood,” the guy said.

Sure enough there was a kitten lying on top of the battery. It got up and scrambled into the engine somewhere. That’s when eight people tried for 45 minutes to rescue it, but it eluded them.

My colleague had a meeting he had to get to on time, so he closed the hood and kept driving.

Another 100 mcapturediles at 75-miles an hour he got to his hotel, and turned off the engine. He could hear the kitten crying. He drove to the local tire store where the guys spent a half hour taking the car apart, and after chasing a frantic kitten around the engine, they finally captured it.

That kitten deserves a medal for its bravery, tenacity and powerful will to live. One of the guys felt the same way. He took it home to his wife.

Calvin says, “Stupid cats. No dog in his right mind would travel like that.”  beagle

Oy!

“Are people on suicide watch where you are?” my friend asked me today, one day after the election. “Me? I stayed up all night drinking champagne.”

My colleagues at work are in a somber mood. Nobody dares talk about the election results fearing they will offend others or they are so depressed they don’t want to burst into tears and look silly. img_4349

I guess it comes down to this: everyone likes to win and in this case, they didn’t.

I’ve also noticed that people are afraid of what life will be like come January 20. In my opinion that’s attributing a lot of power to someone who’s never been in office before. What, as soon as he steps into the oval office he’s going to ruin everything? What if our new president turns out to be one of the best we’ve ever had? Nobody has offered that as a possibility. He stands the same chance of being reasonably good as a seasoned politico, perhaps better.  And why wouldn’t he? After all, aren’t we a country of new opportunities for everyone?

Calvin says, “Not this guy. He doesn’t even own a dog.”  beagle

 

 

 

The Neighborhood Whizzes By

Dogs are reigning in the neighborhood where I work. The weather has been so lovely this week I decided to take a walk. I met Leo, the magnificent British bulldog, Leslie, a four-month old Sheba Inu born in Japan, and Hildie, the Electus Parrot. She was breathtaking.

“Is she friendly?” I asked.

“Only with men,” her owner said.

So I kept my distance. She posed for me as a consolation prize. She never took her eye off of me. IMG_9842

People were out sunning themselves in the park, walking their dogs, chatting with friends, and of course drinking endless cups of trendy coffee at $3-$5 dollars a cup.

It was even warm enough for a ice cream cone from a pop-up, except they hadn’t opened up yet, but if they had, I would have ordered the brown sugar with cinnamon cookies, or maybe the cookie dough with pretzels and chocolate chips. Who thinks up these flavors?

I marvel at how quickly a neighborhood is gentrified. Ten years ago it was the homeless, the prostitutes, and the few people that lived here that dotted the landscape.

Today it’s brand new modern condos, trendy restaurants and fashion shops. More and more techies in packs roam the streets looking for food and coffee and are willing to pay top dollar for it. My favorite second-hand bookstore was forced out of business because the owner of the space was demanding double the rent. The Italian restaurant next door, a local hang-out with good food at reasonable prices, was kicked out, too.

The change-over has been at lightning speed. And ruthless.

I miss the old places because I knew the owners. Today I see strange faces behind a counter. And you know they’ll be gone tomorrow.

Calvin says, “Leo, huh? I’d have to weigh in on that one.”beagle

Online Dating Is Not For Wimps

Getting married used to be a simple thing. You lived in a village all your life, and when it was time to find a spouse, Aunt Sadie, the village matchmaker was only too happy to oblige.

The village is now the world.  Aunt Sadie is an online dating site that fulfills a similar role, but in a less quirky way. If you don’t like the looks and sounds of someone, you move on. After all he was only a photograph with a few descriptive lies, not a real person. I suppose the same happened back in the village, but in that instance you ran the risk of bumping into him the next day at the county hog races.

Finding a mate is not for the fainthearted. It takes finesse, timing, the right circumstances to come together, and plain sheer grit.

I asked a friend of mine, a perennial bachelor who continues to comb the online dating scene for hopefuls, what he does when he is hurt and in pain over not finding the right person. “I tell myself God loves me much more than all these losers,” he said with a laugh.

“Even at your age when you behave like a dejected 17-year old?” I asked.

“We’re all 17-years old inside. And it doesn’t get any better as you get older either,” he said.

And he ought to know. He’s been looking for a wife forever.

The truth is I know many couples who met online and they have happy marriages.

It’s the ones who are still hopeful that I feel for.

Sometimes the search is aggravating and unbearable.

Calvin says, “Do what I do. I dig up an old bone to re-acquaint myself with it. Then bury it under your pillow so I have something to keep me entertained while you search on your iPad.”

For Better or For Butter

My friend, Alice is the mother of an artist son. Not a graphic or computer artist, but a fine artist. The type that spends hours in a studio slapping paint on a canvas and brooding over it. No painting is ever finished. And he hates everything he does because it’s not perfect.

Alice invited her friend, Naomi to lunch recently to talk about this. Naomi is also the mother of a fine artist. Her daughter is an accomplished, well-known oil painter who makes a full-time living making art. Naomi has years on Alice in the patience department.

At a seaside restaurant, Alice asked Naomi, “If you tell me my son won’t be famous until he’s in his 40’s, then I need anti-depressants or alcohol.” Alice decided to start drinking then and there and ordered a glass of wine.

“Be happy for him. Life will eventually move him on, for better or for worse. We’re only mothers, not God,” Naomi said and ordered a dry martini with a twist.

That didn’t help much. Alice unfolded her napkin and stared out the window. The waves crashed against the rocks and spewed white foam in her direction. The waiter came with their drinks and a basket of bread sticks and a plate of butter balls piled high in a mound.

Naomi added, “Your son has decided to live his life as he sees fit and you need to let him.” She sipped her martini and bore into Alice with her eyes.

Alice snapped a bread stick in two and stabbed a butter ball with one of the halves. The butter ball rolled off the plate, onto the table, and kept rolling right into her lap. Naomi followed it as it made it’s journey off the table.

Alice was embarrassed. She couldn’t return it to the butter plate. She couldn’t leave it in her lap. And she couldn’t drop it on the floor because, knowing her luck, she would probably step on it as soon as she got up from the table.

Instead, she popped it into her mouth and washed it down with her wine. “Not bad. Needed a little garlic.”

“I see where your son gets his creativity from,” Naomi said as she took another sip of her martini.

“So what you’re saying is that I should forget the whole business and take on a hobby,” Alice said.

“Buy a dog. That will distract you,” Naomi said draining her martini.

“I’m over the pet thing, too much work,” Alice said. The waiter was back at their table waiting to take their lunch order.

“I’ll have another martini, this time with a pickled onion,” Naomi said.

“And I’ll have the escargot…skip the butter…I’ve had plenty,” Alice said.

Calvin says, “We don’t distract. We love you to distraction. Now how about rolling one of those butter balls in my direction? I’ll be under the table with my mouth open.”