Revisited: Tidbits from a steaming summer weekend

Ever see that Temper-Pedic mattress commercial that demonstrates how you can have all kinds of action on one side of the bed while on the other side your partner sleeps soundly and unmoved?    

There’s a thirty-something couple, both wearing long-sleeved silk pajamas. While the man sits cross-legged on the left side of the bed, his wife is on the right, vigorously jumping up and down like a ten-year-old who just checked into a motel. Between them sits a glass of wine, standing rigid despite the woman’s spirited leaping.    

I’ve heard of some kinky peccadilloes before but this one is pretty unusual. What exactly is the climax? She eventually knocks the glass over? Somebody drinks the wine? He too joins in the jumping and they eventually chest-bump? They call the 800 number shown on the screen and ORDER NOW, taking advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee and 50%-off shipping charges?    

That would be really weird.    

+++    

I was accused recently of being “anti-bag” and it had nothing to do with Helen Thomas.    

The occasion was our weekly trip to the organic grocery store. We were running low on some socially conscious foods, and I was particularly interested in a piece of ecologically sustainable chocolate cake I had spied the day before.    

In the interest of environmental responsibility, this chain encourages customers to bring their own grocery bags. They’ll sell you a reasonably priced reusable “Envirobag” that looks like it’s made of plastic but can’t be because it has “enviro” in its name. They also keep a stash of boxes near the checkout to put your purchases in. They’ll provide you a paper grocery bag as a last option but you’ll be charged five cents for it, which is collected for a neglected children’s home. All good stuff.    

My wife and I have several of the Envirobags. She keeps hers in her car and I somehow always leave mine at home. I was driving this particular afternoon and as we walked across the parking lot, Beth asked the question that deep down inside she already knew the answer to. “Did you bring the bag?”    

No, I had to admit, I didn’t bring the bag.    

“Why are you so anti-bag?” she asked.    

“I’m not anti-bag,” I protested, trying to spin my position into a more positive context. “I’m pro-not-buying-more-than-I-can-carry-in-two-hands.”    

+++    

When we finished shopping, we stopped at the bloodmobile to make our regular donation of the gift of life.    

Beth has been donating blood ever since college, and was recently recognized by the Red Cross for giving enough to fill an oil tanker. She got me in the habit several years ago when I was discovered it was relatively painless, that I got to brag to a stranger about all the overseas destinations I’ve visited, and that there were free cookies involved.    

We were first in line this particular day, and were escorted off to separate private cubicles to answer all the embarrassing questions they need to screen out the large population of syphilitic lepers Rock Hill is known for. I haven’t done as much international travel as I did at one time, but it’s still been less than three years since I’ve been to Sri Lanka, so I wrote that down. The nurse came in to review my form.    

“You’ve been to St. Lanka?” she asked.    

“Sri Lanka,” I corrected. “I didn’t go outside the capital and last time I donated they said that was okay.”    

She reached up on a shelf above us and pulled down a large three-ring binder, filled with maps of every nation. The maps apparently show which areas are civilized, and which are disease-ridden hellholes, even worse than South Carolina.    

She leafed through the plastic-covered sheets and asked, “Did you say Panama?”    

Fortunately, it was another healthcare worker who took my blood, rather than this geography-challenged woman who might’ve attempted to tap God-knows-what for blood.    

We were soon done and out of the van, heading back to the car. I know that if I bleed out, get fully transfused and repeat the procedure a dozen times that I’ll never catch Beth in the amount of blood extracted from my veins. So I thought instead I’d engage her in a little friendly competition on the subject of the mini-physical they give you as part of the screening.    

She soundly beat me in blood pressure (I was 131/82 compared to her 120/80) and narrowly edged me in pulse, by a score of 75 to 77 (like golf, a low number is better). That left only two categories for me to achieve at least a draw. I won the hemoglobin/hematocrit competition (something to do with iron, I think) with a cool 16.7. This meant the body temperature would decide the championship.    

“Let’s see you beat 98.7,” I said confidently.    

“I was 97.7,” Beth said. “I always register a little lower than normal.”    

“Hah! It’s a tie then!” I crowed.    

Except that’s not how she saw it. Rather than counting closest-to-98.6 as the best score, Beth contended that the lower the temperature the better. Something to do with burning off calories more efficiently.    

“So the healthiest person in the world, temperature-wise, are those frozen explorers who made a failed expedition to the South Pole?” I asked.    

Tired of me and my stupid games, she conceded the argument, giving me one point and an excellent chance to emerge from Group A if I can come up with a respectable effort against Serbia and Algeria.    

In addition to donating blood (right arm), I also had lab work done for my annual physical (left arm). I proudly wore the bandages for two days to garner all the sympathy I could. Panama, incidentally, is on my shirt in the center of the photo.

+++     

Despite the 90-degree heat we had last weekend, I still found time for a bit of my favorite yardwork — removing mushrooms.    

This is the one opportunity I have during the summer to combine sport with landscape maintenance. I break out the 9-iron, pretend that our city-issued refuse bin is the 18th hole at Pebble Beach, and lob shroom after shroom in a soaring arc, right into the can.    

At my age, I take my fun where I can find it.    

Fun with fungus

+++    

By the way, it’s not too late to suggest a name for the emu that escaped from a farm near here a few weeks back, and gave the local newspaper feature writer a much-needed topic for a slow news day.    

The unidentified emu cavorted on city streets for several hours before being corralled by its owner. Locals got a big kick, as well as a few nasty lacerations, trying to wrassle what they thought was a giant chicken into submission.    

Now, a month later, the emu is back at its home awaiting whatever fate this unusual type of farm animal is destined to face. (Do you eat ‘em? Wear ‘em? Melt ‘em down for fuel oil? Hell if I know). And the feature writer has decided he can squeeze another story out of the subject, so he’s staging a “Name that Emu!” competition.    

Go to heraldonline.com to place your vote. And no fair choosing Emily — that’s my submission.  

+++  

Looks like another “staycation” for me this summer. I’m taking a few days off in July to set up a lawn chair in the median strip of I-77 to watch the cars speed by, then in August I’ll be climbing into my dryer with a scented fabric softener to simulate a flight to Europe.   

+++  

Not that anybody needed confirmation, but you could really tell last night’s Tony’s were a second-rate awards show when they got to the who-died-last-year montage. While faces of press agents and last Ziegfeld girls flashed by to mournful music, the audience was, like, whuh? Finally a vaguely recognizable face like Rue McClanahan would appear and the crowd offered a smattering of applause, figuring that’s about the best it’s going to get.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , ,

2 Responses to “Revisited: Tidbits from a steaming summer weekend”

  1. Bill Says:

    Whatever happens on your August trip, don’t eat the peanuts.

  2. Paul Dixon Says:

    Totally random musings on your blog today:

    It’s interesting to see how fiercely competitive you and your wife are. My wife and I are exactly the same way. In fact, my Plasma Princess has been a devoted giver of blood for many years and she’s trying to get me interested also. The closest I’ve come to offering support on this is to wear the X-tra large tee-shirt that the blood bank gives out as my nightly, “hanging around the house” shirt. In fact, it even has the number ’56’ written prominently across the front, which savvy blood banker-wankers will recognize as the number of days one must wait before repeating the process. We patiently await the day when I will wake up simply dying to have someone stick a big needle in my arm…

    On being “anti-bag”: I wouldn’t sweat it, myself. I never drank the Kool-Aid on environmentalism, personally.

    Concerning the emu: reading this took me back to the time when we were in NYC, sitting in the audience of the David Letterman Show. It was a good night, as the guests were Julia Roberts and Pearl Jam. Julia told a long, funny story about an emu that had escaped from a neighbor’s emu ranch. The emu caused a lot of damage on its wild run for freedom, and Ms. Roberts was somehow responsible for it. (I think her dog startled and chased the poor emu.) Anyway-yadda-yadda-being Julia Roberts, she could have been discussing debt derivatives or quantum mechanics. I still would have been spellbound.

    Finally, I think your lounge chair in the highway median is a great idea for a staycation! I’d imagine that you’ll get bored after a while, so my suggestion would be to take a big placard out there with you saying, “Honk If You Love…” and then swap out various endings, such as “Jesus’, ’emus’, ‘Tim Pawlenty’, ‘Pizza Hut Deep-Dish pizza’, the ‘CIA’, etc, etc. You get the idea.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: