What is “Essential”?

Minnesota’s Governor, Tim Walz, issued an executive “STAY AT HOME” order Wednesday that goes into effect Friday night.  All non-essential businesses will temporarily close.  I’m sending love to all the service-industry workers, the tattoo artists, the flower shop employees, the servers, the administrative assistants, the assembly line workers who find themselves suddenly without employment.  May you find the help you need quickly and with the least amount of economic and emotional pain.

In Walz’s plan, liquor stores are allowed to remain open.  We can’t have folks withdrawing from alcohol and taking up hospital beds.  This is the actual truth.

Let’s talk about essential.  I slurp down maybe four alcoholic beverages per year.  NOT essential FOR ME.

Join me while I take a break from crowd-sourcing my husband’s Personal Protective Equipment to generate a list of “non-essential” businesses that I’ll miss during hibernation:

1) Old School by Steeple People:  My favorite thrift store.  I’m a donor, customer, volunteer, and Board member.  We closed voluntarily nearly two weeks ago to enable social distancing.  I miss the store almost desperately.  Just being in the space, interacting with neighborhood customers, brings me much joy.  Over the past forty years, we’ve donated our modest profits to local charities.  Our store will likely be needed more than ever after COVID-19 rattles through our community.

2) Flying Pig Thrift:  My other favorite local thrift store.  This shop is relatively new on the scene.  It’s cute.  It’s little.  Look for it on the other side.

3) The Hamline library:  I love this petite library, all cozy in one big room.  Thank goodness I stopped in just before the libraries closed.  I snagged a huge pile of Romance novels.  And now they aren’t due for basically ever.

4) The Goodwill Outlet on Fairview and University:  Are you seeing a trend in this data?  (I threw the library in #3 just to screw up your theories.)  A colorful cohort of resellers populates this store, many of them every single day.  I love buying books (19 cents per inch) for our Little Free Library.  When I’m feeling adventurous, I free range out into the fray, picking up a sweater or a lamp or a handful of elastic.

5) Gerten’s Garden Center:  I could live at Gerten’s.  I’d set up my hammock under the gazebo amongst the stylish porch furniture and cook my meals on the display grills.  During the winter, I’d snuggle down with the houseplants or curl up under the twinkle-lit Christmas trees.  Acres and acres of plants.  Nirvana.

6) Cake:  Any blessed place that sells cake.  Cafe Latte would top the list for their chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting between layers and pink decadence on top with a chocolate strizzle. Technically, I might be able to get take-out cake.  But if we’re really trying to abide by the “stay home” order, I’m forced to confess that cake isn’t essential?  (silently weeping)

7) South High Community Band:  Sigh.  I’m afraid our band season may be over for this school year.  I love hanging out with this talented group of musicians.  We’re a great bunch of alums, current students, parents of students, and community members.  There is nothing quite like the pleasure of making music in-person with other folks.

8) Bachman’s Garden Center:  Gerten’s is the Tesla Model S of an outdoor plant experience.  Bachman’s is more like the Toyota Corolla: compact, reliable, comfortable.  But the indoor experience at Bachman’s is tres groovy, with home decorating, humid greenhouses, and koi ponds.  I’ll live at Gerten’s during the summer and Bachman’s during the winter.

That’s kind of it for my essentials.  I don’t get out much beyond the above.  What will you miss during your hibernation?  (Ace stated unequivocally, “I’m leaving liquor stores on the list.”)

Musical Moment

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Pussy Prerogative

Dear JLo:

I hate football.  I never watch the Super Bowl.  Teenage Me once watched the Rose Bowl because I was dating a boy who watched the Rose Bowl with his extended family.  He tried diligently to explain the game.  I did not listen with rapt attention, fascinated as I was with his grandmother’s incredible braids.

Football is our enlightened equivalent of gladiatorial fighting in the Colosseum.   Teams, comprised primarily of African-American men, are generally “owned” by White men.  Now, the warriors only fight to the Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or the Total Destruction of the Knee instead of to the Death.

I’m off my soapbox.  Thx 4 listening.

Back to you.  Almost.  As I mentioned, I don’t watch the Super Bowl.  Occasionally, I’ll catch the half-time show in real time if Ace is watching.  More often, I check out the act after-the-fact.  A quick trip down memory lane (with the help of Google) shows us that half-time shows historically relied heavily on Up With People and marching bands.  The world shifted in 1993.

Michael Jackson, the King of the Crotch Grab (his own and others’),  did absolutely nothing for the first 77 seconds after he hit center stage.  He did absolutely nothing and people went completely ballistic.  After a minute and seven seconds, he turned his head.  Pandemonium ensued.  He went on to grab his crotch.  A lot.  In fact, his crotch is the entire beat of “Billie Jean.”  Without it, there simply would be no tune.  He ended the show surrounded by children, with a babe in his arms, singing “We Are the World.”

Bono didn’t grab his crotch in 2002.  Neither did he lip sync.  In 2004, as you recall, there was a bit of a kerfluffle with Janet Jackson.  The kerfluffle participants, JJ and JT, have gone on to relative obscurity and relative royalty, respectively.  The woman of color is the one who was shunned.  Shocking.  In retrospect, the way out of this situation would’ve been to borrow a baby from the crowd and breastfeed her/him on national TV.  Texas, believe it or not, passed a law in 1995 stating that mothers could breastfeed anywhere in the state, public or private.

2007 brought the man who requested “Can u make it rain harder?”  Prince.  His guitar fingerboard became a gigantic erect penis and he wasn’t barred from subsequent Grammy Awards ceremonies.

Beyonce didn’t grab her crotch in 2013.  More remarkably, she didn’t break her ankle whilst dancing in wicked heels.  I think of Bruno as a crotch-grabber.  The 2014 TV crew must’ve censored.  Red Hot Chili Pepper’s front man Anthony Kiedis (who in the world thought RHCP + Bruno was a marriage made in heaven?) managed a grab moment.  In 2017, Lady Gaga’s crotch definitely got some closeup airtime but no grabbing.

Which brings us back to you.  Culturally, we aren’t used to seeing women grab their own crotch.  Women’s crotches/butts/breasts are grabbed all the time.  By other people.  Without explicit consent.  I just heard Peggy Orenstein speak about her new book Boys & Sex.  In her conversations with young people, she found that men are disconnected from their feelings while women are disconnected from their bodies.

I read your performance as ironic – the juxtaposition of your incredible feats of athleticism  (“I dare you to try that horizontal pole situation, gentlemen.”) and then your hard stare combined with a crotchgrab (“We all know you can do this, boys.”).  You are not disconnected from your body.  Your body is strong and beautiful and powerful.  I wish you had written “MINE” across your belly with a Sharpie and an arrow pointing down.

The only person who can grab your pussy is YOU.  (“Take that, Mr. President.”)

Sincerely,

Anne, three weeks your junior, threw-out-my-back-on-Monday-with-a-sneeze

PS: Don’t forget to get your colonoscopy.  You’re fifty.

 

Musical Moment #1

Musical Moment #2

 

 

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Notes from the Third Circle

Greetings from the Third Circle of Hell, formerly known as Gluttony.  Now simply called The Kitchen.

If time spent in the garden is gold, time spent in the kitchen is that nasty base metal (that turns your skin sickly green) in mercury-laced trinkets made by child laborers.  I learned another hard lesson recently and because I’m feeling Oh so generous, I thought I’d share it with you.

I grew up with “sloppy joes.”  Ace suckled at the teat of “s*%t on a shingle” in the backwoods of Northern MN.  Regardless, nothing says Make America Great Again like a good old vat of pink slime simmered in a packet of something and then dumped on a squishy bun that turns to pure glucose by the time it hits your soft palate.

The palates in our domicile are a bit particular so I actually used a recipe.  I’ve made it before and it’s good.  Here it is.  I generally follow recipes, even mostly exactly.  The first seventeen times I made this, I followed the recipe exactly.  Except I substituted some ground pork and ground turkey for the beef, used garlic-infused olive oil instead of avocado oil, ditched the green pepper in favor of red, slopped on whatever mustard I could find in the fridge, and utilized an unlabeled red substance I dug out of the freezer in place of “7 oz organic tomato paste.”

For whatever reason (Jupiter in retrograde, cruel fate, or Satan smirking from the Ninth Circle), I paused to consider Ace’s handwritten note on the recipe.  ”If uis one – no veed % matle BBQ savle 5epanite.”  I put it through Google Translate Ace –> English and got “If this one – no need to make BBQ sauce separate.”  Oh.  Great!

I dumped everything into our cast iron beauty: three pounds of ground meat, peppers and celery, spices, and a boatload of water.

Which brings me to today’s hard lesson: Always brown the meat first.  Even if your spouse’s illegible scrawl implies one-pot all-at-once cookery, always brown the meat first.

Our sloppy joes have the consistency and appearance of Toddler Turd post ingestion of a pound of cherries, three cans of Fancy Feast, and a Miralax milkshake.  I’m sure they’ll be delicious.

Musical Moment - oops.  Got sidetracked by an orange Pomeranian.

Real Musical Mo-

(one hour later, after Hope For Paws doggie rescue video, watching an emu egg hatch, metal detecting in Hawaii, etc)

Musical Moment (The Mac Miller ((rip)) x Pharrell project entitled PINK SLIME wasn’t fit for familial consumption.)

Posted in Blog | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Creativity in the Face of Adversity

We just returned from several days at the in-laws lake shack.  The Big E dragged a friend up, also named E.  They’ve been friends since kindergarten.  We walked in the first day of kg with a class size of 18 kids and LO!  There was another boy named E.  Unbelievable.  But that’s not the story.

E Squared had a high old time driving the 1947 Farmall tractor, putt-ing around on the riding lawnmower, tromping through the wood picking up wood ticks, tossing each other off the floating swim mat, and fishing.

They demonstrated a valuable lesson that I want to share with you.  They were bass fishing off the end of the dock, tossing lures into the cattails in search of the big ones who like to lurk.  If you fish, you know it’s dicey to toss a lure into cattails.  Best case scenario, you catch a fish and the slippery caught fish guides you out of the weeds.  E & E tossed a lure in and got snagged.  In their efforts to disentangle, the rod snapped (remarkably) before the line.  They retrieved the pieces of the rod and kissed the lure goodbye.

Instead of hemming, hawing, swearing, complaining, or quitting, they immediately began strategizing a fix for the rod.  We arrived home and my Big E took to the basement.  He carved a wooden dowel, filed some stuff, and procured epoxy.  Fixed.  Permanently.

There you have it.  Creativity in the face of adversity.  Try it out, use that energy in a positive way.

Musical Moment

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Life Skills – Teenager Edition

My young teenager has big plans this summer.  He doesn’t know about them yet.  An underground network of mothers (including his) is currently conspiring to create an exhaustive list of LIFE SKILLS to be reinforced or learned this summer.

Here is the list so far with contributions from MANY.  Please tell me what to add!

 

1) cleaning: dusting, vacuuming, toilets, sinks, product use/avoidance

2) taking the bus/train: schedules, transfers, managing challenging situations

3) laundry: how to deal with grease, ironing, washing by hand

4) money management/budgeting

5) banking: credit/debit card, check writing

6) snail mail: where to put the stamp/addresses

7) cooking: meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, dishes

8) rudimentary childcare: changing a diaper, Heimlich Maneuver

9) condom application: cucumbers needed

10) driving: pumping gas, checking oil, checking tire pressure

11) grilling

12) firestarting

13) manners: holding doors, opening doors, looking people in the eye, smiling

14) typing

15) conversation: eye contact, asking questions

16) talking on the phone: hello/goodbye protocol, conversing, mute button

17) internet safety

18) “feminine hygiene products”: comfort around, identification

19) CPR

20) shopping: clothes, groceries, thrift

21) sewing: replacing a button, fixing sweater hole

22) home catastrophe management: how to break/jump out a window, turn off gas/water, call 911

23) occasion clothing: what to wear to a wedding/funeral/interview, how to tie a tie, polish shoes

24) cultural awareness: eye contact, head covering, shoe removal, what not to say

25) sex and legality: “age of consent,” state-specific rules

 

Musical Moment

Posted in Blog | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Enough Already!

Dear Weather:

Remember way back in January when I was super sad about the lack of snow?  I rhapsodized about how winter and cold and January are fine as long as we can have some decent snow.  I fell prey to nostalgia, harkening back to the halcyon days of my childhood when the drifts were higher than me and we snowshoed to school, uphill both ways, because it was more fun than sledding to school, downhill both ways.

Now it’s past February (technically it’s MARCH) and you, Weather, said Fine.  Here’s some snow.  Only you didn’t seem to have any plan.  You simply dumped big piles when you felt like it.  And then there was the time that you rained before dropping twenty degrees, making ice rinks of the roads.  You added a couple inches of snow on top just to lull us into a false sense of security.  The herd of Minnesota Subarus grew restless until their owners finally relented and opened the garage doors. “Awesome!  Playtime!”

SoCal transplants emerged, blinking, from their early 1900s brick apartment buildings in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis.  They quickly realized several unfortunate facts: 1) their Dolce Vita Santo Booties weren’t gonna cut it 2) their Prius had been literally buried by the plows 3) they didn’t own a shovel and didn’t know how to use one even if they did.

Fortunately, winter brings out the best in Minnesotans.  We grab our shovels and pickups and chains and turkey gravel and cardboard and we dig each other out.  Minnesota babies learn the routine early.  Rock it, Rock it, Rock little baby.  Help your neighbor.  Push them out.  Please go easy on the gas, baby.  Help your neighbor.  Push and shout.

But Weather, enough already.  Really.  The stunt you pulled in southern Minnesota ten days ago with the ground blizzards?  Zero visibility?  Not cool.  (Admittedly, we made our own bed by clearcutting all the trees and draining the wetlands, but still…)  We had to call in the National Guard, a serious blow to our self-reliant Minnesota identity.  The hardy folk who actually live in SoMin scoffed; they had already arranged to send hotdish to the Torgersons, determined how to get the large-animal vet safely to her urgent appointment, and opened their VFWs, churches, and schools to the travelers stranded on the roads.

Don’t even get me started on the school closing situation.  Six snow/cold days in the past four weeks?  SIX?????  Oh, you’re claiming it was five.  Whatever.  Felt like six.  #togetherness.

Perhaps it’s because you’re an overachiever that you felt obligated to set some Low Temperature records on top of the snowvalanche?  March 3, 2019.  Minus 13 Fahrenheit.  Nice.   Minnesota Nice.

We’re there, Winter.  We’re at the point where not one thread in our closet brings us any joy whatsoever.  And the Land of Retail has decided it’s Spring?  Let me show you what Spring looks like around here.  (photos borrowed from Ken and Marit)

Snow 190302 6 Snow 190226 53764525_2510446825695878_765809122896510976_o

 

Musical Moment

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Yo, Normal Risk Fifty-year-olds

HI.  Are you a normal risk 50 or soon-to-be?  Did your doctor say to you last year, “Yeah, you might want to think about scheduling that screening colonoscopy.”?  The American Cancer Society upped the anal ante last year and decided to recommend starting routine screening at 45.  We’d blown through the high deductible on our health insurance so I’m like, fun, let’s do this in 2018.

The Prep.  Ace was traumatized by the prep to the point that he breaks out in hives whenever anyone so much as whispers, “Gatorade…”  I hate putting petroleum byproducts into my body anyhow and  I’d heard rumors that a person could use coconut water as the vehicle for the medication cesspool heretofore known as “Satan’s Wrath.”

I bought an experimental bottle of coconut water at Target.  I rejected the fancy foo foo expensive refrigerated version and opted for the budget shelf-stable box.  I called the GI clinic to make sure this substitution was copacetic.  The nurse said, nope.  I asked why.  She said coconut water doesn’t have the necessary nutrients to keep a person hydrated during the cleanse.  Sounded like a copout to me.

I sat down with a bottle of Gatorade and a jug of budget coconut water and pounded out the math.  Turns out coconut water has plenty of everything including a TON of potassium.  Potassium isn’t one of those eat-as-much-as-you-want substances.  Too much potassium can literally make your heart stop.  The Big E was like, “Wouldn’t it be funny if you died because you wouldn’t drink the Gatorade?” and I’m like, no, that wouldn’t be funny at all.  I chatted with a renal doc b/c the kidneys are responsible for dealing with electrolyte balance.  Is it okay to chug gallons of coconut water, the equivalent of a bajillion milliequivalents of potassium?  She said, well, there have been reports of blahblahblah and at that point I went back to Target, returned the three other bottles of coconut water, and bought me some infant Pedialyte (with no artificial whatevers).

If you’re still interested in the coconut water, perhaps just as a refreshing beverage, let me offer you my own personal recipe so you don’t have to spend the cash:

Ingredients: 1 goat, 1 garden hose (try to schedule your colonoscopy May-Oct to avoid frozen pipes), bucket

Directions: Procure one full-sized goat.  Set goat on water-permeable surface such as grass.  Hold goat’s left front hoof over bucket.  Procure one assistant.  Well, you really should’ve procured one assistant at the start of this mess.  Ask assistant to spray the goat’s left front hoof over the bucket.  If water begins to run clear, switch to a different hoof.  Return goat.  Take “coconut water” back inside and proceed with colon cleanse directions.

I’m delighted to report that the Pedialyte cleanse went just fine.  My best advice to you is PLAN TO DO NOTHING because you’ll be #MostlyPooping.  I selected a woman gastroenterologist (whose dad taught me pharmacology at the U), kissed Ace goodbye in the waiting room, lay on my left side, thought “Hm, it would’ve been nice if the nurse anesthetist had mentioned she was about to dose me with…  woah, that feels weird.”  And next thing I knew, I was lying in the recovery area.  I smiled at Ace and said, “Hi Adam!”

Colon = normal.  Good luck y’all.  Call if you want to complain about the prep.   xoxo.

Musical Moment

 

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Let Marie Kondo Bury Us Alive

I volunteer at Old School by Steeple People, a non-profit thrift store at 1901 Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis.  Ever since Tidying Up with Marie Kondo aired on Netflix, we’ve been swamped with donations.  Mostly clothing.  We’re anticipating a surge in book donations as people work through KonMari’s preferred order of tidying: clothing, books, papers, komono (misc), sentimental items.

Thank you.  Donations are our lifeblood.  We sort, tag, price, display, sell.  Then we donate all of our profits to local charitable organizations.

But here’s the deal.  We have to sell stuff in order to generate revenue.  So you’re gonna have to commit to the other side of the KonMari equation: get yourself some gently used joy!  You ditched your chipped, faded pasta bowl b/c it brought you no joy?  Awesome!  We have MANY suitable bowl-like joyful objects.  Personally, by the time January rolls around, none of my sweaters brings me any joy whatsoever.  I took myself to my favorite thrift store (that would be Old School) and purchased a lovely burnished bronze cashmere/silk cardigan for $6.  It brings me joy.  And warmth.  My moose-child is growing at a remarkable rate.  He outgrew his puffy feather coat.  I perused Old School and found several options that wouldn’t appeal to a teenager.  So I visited our colleagues at ARC’s Value Village.  Pro-tip: scan both the men’s and women’s departments if you’re looking for a specific item.  I found a perfect men’s puffy coat tucked into the women’s section.

Amazon might bring you exactly what you think you want within 48 hours of your insistent demand.  Immediate gratification isn’t synonymous with Kondo’s “joy.”  To assess whether an item brings joy, you must hold it in your hands and sometimes even talk to it.  A thrift store is the perfect environment in which to anthropomorphize.  No one will bat an eye if you stand in the book section with Nicholas Sparks’ Nights in Rodanthe, wondering aloud, “Do you bring me joy?”

So, by all means pile all your crap on your bed.  Pick up each item.  Determine what sparks joy.  Go in order, please.  Marie has her reasons.  We’re happy to donate the proceeds from the sale of your pristine vintage olive green fondue pot to worthy charities.

But for goodness sake, get into our store and make a purchase or two, preferably a clothing purchase.  Or books.  Or komono.  Man, do we have a lot of komono.  I guarantee, we can find at least one item that sparks joy just for you.

Get thee to a thrift store!

 

Old School by Steeple People (Sat/Sun 12-6; Wed-Fri 11-5; closed Mon/Tues)

1901 Nicollet Ave S

Minneapolis, MN  55403

612 871-8305

https://www.facebook.com/OldSchoolBySteeplePeople/

Instagram @oldschoolthrifty

 

Musical Moment  (swears alert)

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

If Sh!# Were Red…

A lovely story about McDonald’s and fecal material circulated on my Facebook feed a week ago.  Apparently, a researcher with London Metropolitan University swabbed the ordering touchscreens of eight McDonald’s in London and Birmingham.  The research team grew a whole host of bacteria, including a boatload of normal gut flora.  In other words, bacteria that live in our gastrointestinal tracts and help us maintain digestive and immune system functions, come out in our poop.  If we don’t wash our hands sufficiently, we transfer these organisms to objects.  Like McDonald’s touchscreens.

This isn’t news.  This isn’t specific to McDonald’s.  Although I’d like to say “never eat at McDonald’s,” my reasons have nothing to do with their living touchscreens.  If I swabbed your cellphone, I guarantee I’d be able to grow gut bacteria from it.

One of the finest quotes I acquired during my medical school training is: “If shit were red, the world would be pink.”

Let that one sink in.  And then go wash your hands.

For folks with functioning immune systems, the microbial smearage is, in general, no big deal.  Heaven forbid, if we forget to wash our hands before snarfing down our Big Mac and fries, at best our immune systems attack any bacteria they don’t like and we get the usual post-McD’s three days of nausea and diarrhea due to the excessive load of saturated fat.  (What?  That doesn’t happen to you?)  At worst, we contract norovirus (the researchers evidently weren’t interested in viral cultures) and miss a couple days of life/work/school due to the “stomach flu.”

For folks with non-intact immune systems (for example, people living with diabetes or HIV disease, and rheumatology patients on disease-modifying drugs), this “study” doesn’t add much except STRESS!  Wash your hands, people.  Wash after you go to the bathroom.  (and use a paper towel to turn off the water or open the door if you’re out in public)  Wash before you eat.  Wash before you touch your face.

The quotes in the article are terrible and misleading.  I don’t fault the researcher.  Missing information includes whether the cultured Staph aureus was antibiotic resistant or antibiotic sensitive.

The takeaway message is WASH YOUR HANDS not McDONALD’S IS A TEEMING CESSPOOL.  Although, it is.  But so is the grocery store and the bus and the bank and your kitchen sink.

 

Musical Moment

image = Shutterstock illustration ID 1042543318

 

 

 

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Beauty of Unavailability or A Love Letter to My Flip Phone

Ace, the Big E, and I travelled Up North for Thanksgiving.  Between us, we schlepped along two flip phones with only one charger (oops), an iPad with charger, and my laptop.  The boys ran around in the woods, unearthing deer skeletons and chopping down buckthorn.  They might’ve taken Ace’s phone along, powered off b/c of the no-charger situation.  I drove into town, about fifteen minutes away, to check on the in-laws.

I managed to visit three thrift stores and Mills Fleet Farm (twice) on Black Friday.  Black Friday in a town of 14K looks very different from Black Friday in the Twin Cities.  It was AWESOME.  One of the thrift stores randomly decided in the middle of my visit to make all clothing $1.50 except winter coats.  Okay, I can roll with that.  Ace got a real nice pair of Dickies overalls.  The Big E got some athletic pants that will fit him in a few months.  I left my phone in the car while I shopped.  I don’t have caller ID.  Or texting capability.  And I haven’t set up the message box.

I didn’t hear from my boys for six hours.  I called from Mills Fleet Farm to ask clarifying questions around an item they had requested.  Oh, btw, the Big E said, we tried to call you a bunch of times.  The beavers undermined part of the driveway and it collapsed.  Pop tried to cut down a tree with his knife and he stabbed his hand so I blasted the treetrunk with a shotgun then we stuck the tree in the hole in the driveway.

If I had answered the phone when they called the first time, things would not have gone well.  Pop stabbed his hand?  Is he still bleeding?  Does he need stitches?  You used a shotgun to do WHAT???  Are your toes still on your feet?  ACK!

This is the beauty of unavailability.  By the time we talked, Ace’s hand was bandaged (he requested Coban “self-adherent wrap” from Mills – it’s super cheap in the veterinary section), the tree stuck jauntily in the sinkhole, and I could proceed with my errands with a minimum of stress or anxiety.

(I recall one occasion Up North when I’m glad I had a charged phone at hand.  Ace called to announce that there was smoke coming out of the hood of the truck and seemed entirely too cavalier about the whole thing, but that is a #SoThisHappened story for another time…)

Up North, there is no internet.  We have electricity with baseboard heaters but no running water this time of year.  There is an outhouse perched on the edge of the woods.  (Remind me to tell you the Murder in the Outhouse story sometime.)  Ace, the Big E, and I gather at the table over our microwaved venison chili and stare at each other, talking with our mouths full, arguing, laughing.  No one surreptitiously checks their phone under the table.  No one reaches for their back pocket, Pavlovian, in response to a subtle “ding.”

The Big E is lobbying hard for a smart phone.  He saved his money and bought himself an iPad a couple years ago.  When we’re at home, he texts.  If I confiscate the iPad as a consequence for nefarious deeds done, the Big E complains bitterly that I’ve thrust him into a state of complete social isolation.  Pick up the phone, I say.  Nobody does that anymore, he replies.

Pop and I need to do more research, I say.  I’m putting him off.  He thinks that I think that smartphones cause depression, promote a false sense of community, fuel disagreements, and prevent people from engaging in an authentic manner.

The location of my flip phone is currently unknown.  If you want to talk to me, call my landline.  I don’t text.  I don’t have caller ID on the landline either.  You can try to surprise me, but my voice recognition is pretty good.  Hope to talk to you soon.  Call me once the bleeding stops.

 

Musical Moment

Posted in Blog | Tagged , | 6 Comments