August 10, 2006
It is a beautiful summer day: perfect temperature, blue sky, and fluffy white clouds. At one point there were nine children in my backyard, give or take a few. Two of them belong to me; the rest apparently migrated in sometime after lunch. I noticed a new face, a dark haired little girl, maybe six years old or so. I call one of my kids over and this conversation ensues:
Me: “Who’s the little dark haired girl?”
Her: “Which one? Alexis?
Me: “No, the one I’ve never seen before, the little one.”
Her: “Oh, that’s Derby.” (I’m telling this like I heard it)
Me: “Derby? Does her parents’ car have a big number spray painted on the door?”
Me: “Nothing, forget it. Why is Derby pulling that suitcase around? Is she moving in?”
Her: “Oh, (giggle like this is the funniest thing ever), no, she just keeps stuff in that!”
Me: “Okay, but she knows she can’t live here right? Where does she live anyway? Which house?”
Her: “I don’t really know, she just comes over to Anthony’s house sometimes.”
Me: “Okay then. Well tell Derby her shoe is untied when you get back out there.”
Her: “Not Derby, it’s Kirby!”
Me: “That’s not what you said thirty seconds ago. Scratch the car thing, are her carpets really clean?”
Her: *blank stare*
Me: “Forget it, go play. Nobody moves in! Don’t forget!”
I’m seriously starting to wonder if there’s a sign up at all the local hangouts instructing people to send their kids to my house. If you see one at your local library, or post office, or grocery store, I trust you will destroy it. At the very least I expect you to change the address to that of Disney World.
My husband and I took a drive last week and ended up parking by the river to watch the freighters. There’s always a nice breeze coming in off the lake and it’s just a nice, peaceful place to sit. We usually just stay in the car, open all the windows and relax, read, what have you. This particular time, a car pulled in next to us and a little elderly man got out. He started throwing bread for the seagulls, which frankly is really annoying because once you start doing that the stupid birds won’t shut up, nor will they stop swooping around, threatening to come right in your window and grab that week-old french fry off the backseat. You’re not supposed to feed the birds, but I wasn’t really about to turn in an eighty-five year old man so instead I just enjoyed how annoying the whole thing was to the people sitting on the grass nearby, the same people that had two annoying little dogs with them that also would not shut up. So now the gulls are making a racket, the dogs are barking at the gulls and the little old man is just obliviously tossing bread around. I glance over at his car and notice he has a wife (assumedly). I also notice that she’s holding a baby doll. I didn’t pay much attention at first, she was messing around with the doll’s clothes and I didn’t think much of it. A few minutes later, I look over and the doll is sitting up, in sort of an upright burping position, staring at me. The lady is rubbing its back. At this point, I’m starting to realize that maybe things are a bit odd here, so I quietly tell my husband about it. The lady was completely unaware of us, focused solely on her “baby”. While I watched, she talked to it, she fussed with its clothes, she held it up and jiggled it around, etc. Quite obviously, it was a baby in her eyes. All the while, the man was tossing bread around, creating more and more chaos for everyone around.
He ran out of bread after a few minutes (and two trips back to the car for refills), and they sat a little longer in the car and then they left. The “baby” didn’t have a car seat; so I figure she’s raising it circa her own childbearing years. The whole thing left me feeling kind of sad, and I made the comment to my husband that I hope I never get to that point. He pointed out that they both seemed perfectly happy, so why not? He said that if it comes to the point where a plastic baby doll is what I need to be happy; he’ll definitely give me one. “I’ll buy you clothes for it, food for it, whatever. Whatever you need to be happy.” Seemed sweet at the time, though upon further reflection I’m wondering if he’s just considering that if I’m busy feeding my baby I won’t be as likely to screech at him about how it’s illegal to feed the birds, why did he park so close to the car next to us, and does he think he won’t get a sunburn like the rest of us humans? I guess that’d be a win/win. Maybe I’ll name the baby Dyson.
Now it’s time for a Sherry’s Public Service Announcement. We here in *everydamnstate*, North America, recently suffered a heat wave. Temperatures rose to the triple digits in many places, but of course it isn’t the heat, it’s the humidity! The humidity was of major sucktitude proportions and there were those individuals who did not believe they could withstand it. Some of those individuals did not have the benefit of air-conditioning. This was not their fault; they naively thought they had chosen geographical locations that wouldn’t require constant cooling processes.
For those of you that *do* have access to constant cooling processes, a few gentle reminders:
People without constant cooling processes (ccp) do not wish to hear how terribly hot it was for you while walking from your constantly cooled home to your constantly cooled car. Those 3 ˝ seconds (if you were fast, you could make it – those without ccp learn to move quickly when heading toward anything cold) mean little to someone who has not had a break from the heat in hours.
If you encounter the ccp challenged sitting in their air-conditioned vehicles in their driveways, eating dinner, sleeping, reading a book, or watching a movie, don’t act as though it’s difficult to fathom *why* they are doing that. It makes them feel like freaks.
Do not call someone without ccp and tell him or her you saw on television that you’re supposed to check on those without air-conditioning and make sure they’re doing okay. If they’re NOT okay, they probably won’t answer and if they are okay, they will not be comforted by your vigilance. If you truly feel you need to check on someone, show up at the door with an air conditioner, or don’t show up at all.
Do not assume that a person that just spent all night in a single room with a husband, two kids, two dogs, and six fans blowing 95 degree air around all night is going to be in the mood to have a “Hey, how are ya?” kind of phone conversation first thing in the morning.
If you have ccp, you are required by law to stay off the benches and chairs at malls, libraries, and grandma’s root cellar, along with every other public or private place that has air conditioning. These places will be reserved for the walking zombies suffering from lack of ccp. No exceptions. No charges will be brought against any walking zombie that enforces this law, though we don’t foresee a problem since people without ccp are usually unable to lift even a finger to do anything. They can, however, scream loudly so it’s just best you go home to your own A/C and leave these people alone.
If you decide you are brave enough to enter the home of the ccp challenged, we strongly advise you to ignore any homemade cooling contraptions you encounter. Inquiring as to the purpose of the pile of ice in the roasting pan in front of the fan, or the wet sheet hanging near the fan – not a good idea. Commenting on the nakedness of the person answering the door? Well, that’s just asking for trouble folks.
If you’re keeping cool, just be glad you are and work hard to hide it from the rest of us unless you’re willing to share. You want to keep us happy, you never know when the electricity will go out and then you’ll need our advice. Don’t think for a second that I’ve shared my best cooling secrets here either; I’m craftier than that. You will have to call and beg. ;)
Take care all!
Want More of Sherry's Work?