Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Flippin' granny

It was one of those things that is so odd it's funny.
I was driving down the street a while back when a little old lady in a silver car pulled out in front of me and I had to slam on the brakes to avoid some up-close-and-personal interaction with granny.
I managed to slow down and swerve to the point where the collision was avoided. You could say I was a little annoyed at the almost accident, until I noticed it was a kindly, little old lady behind the wheel.
That changed my attitude rather quickly because who could possibly be mad at Granny. And besides, stuff happens and no one is perfect and I was sure she simply did not see me. No biggie.
I gave Granny a couple of little toots on the horn just to let her know I was there and we almost got to exchange phone numbers and insurance information.
This sweet, kindly, granny-looking little old lady, peered into her rearview mirror and proceeded to flip me the bird.
I must admit, that was probably the last thing I expected a little old lady to do. Granny is not supposed to do that. Shouldn't you be at home baking cookies for the grandchildren, or knitting something instead of making an obscene gesture? Especially when you consider it was Grandma Dynamite who was at fault in the first place.
And this was not a quick flip of the driving finger, this was a prolonged hey-butthead-behind-me-I-got-your-granny-greeting-right-here kind of gesture.
It took a couple of seconds before I fully realized what was going on. At first, I thought she was waving to say sorry for almost causing our insurance rates to go up, but most people use all five fingers to do that.
I stared for the duration of the salute and sure enough Granny was giving me the what for with a certain finger reserved for non-verbal communication of the unpleasant kind.
So I did what any other driver would do, I got in close, hit her car from behind and spun her into the on-coming lane where she was creamed by a dump truck.
I'm kidding of course. It was a cement truck.
In reality, all I could do was look on in a mild state of shock at what I was witnessing.
I pulled up beside the car to make sure it really was a granny and not a teen wearing an old people costume, but sure enough, this was a full-fledged grandma-type driver.
I tell you, seniors are getting harder and harder to raise these days.
Once the initial surprise wore off, I had to chuckle at granny for not taking any crap from one of those young whippersnappers.
Now, I have never snapped a whipper in my life, but according to Hostile Hilda in the Honda, I was just some punk kid with an attitude. A punk kid who, at the time, was in his mid 30s.
What is the protocol in that situation? I couldn't give her the finger in return. Flipping Granny the bird would be too strange and just seemed plain wrong.
Two wrongs do not make a right, no matter how good that second wrong feels.
Eventually, Granny went her way and I went mine, both with stories to tell.
Hers was of some jerk in a little red car who was harassing her with his horn.
Mine was of a member of the blue hair crowd who gave me hope that when I become a senior, I won't have to take any guff from some punk on the street.
You go granny.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Too many teens

What's one more? Or two? Or even five?
A lot of noise and stress that's what.
The ever-increasing number refers to the extra kids that invaded my home for spring break.
Two of the scalawags used to live here, moved to The Coast last fall and came back for a visit. No point in just stopping by over night, so these fine young lads stayed for a week.
A whole freaking week. I mean, oh joy and blessings, a whole week.
And because those two stayed, three other friends of my son decided they had best hang around as well, so they too were in my basement for a whole week. A whole freaking week. I mean oh joy...
In case you lost count that is at least six teenage boys staying at my humble abode for the first week of spring break, and only one of them is mine.
Thank God for work. It is nice to come to the office and shed the stress of being at home. It is also so much quieter at my work desk. Mind you a heavy metal concert would likely be quieter than my home is.
They are good boys every one of them. They are not into drugs or booze or any debauchery worth mentioning, but teenage boys are loud. When you get that many together ñ one evening I had eight of them in the basement because a couple more popped in to say hi ñ they are going to be loud. It is as simple as that.
Making all that noise must burn up a lot of energy because they eat more than the Moldavian navy.
Dinosaurs did not eat as much as this crew. I bet that's what really happened to the dinosaurs. It wasn't a meteorite or any other natural cataclysm that eradicated the humongous beasts from the earth.
Nope, it was a herd of Neanderthal teens in a feeding frenzy.
And all those dino bones the scientists keep finding were where their Neanderthal moms told them to clean their plates.
But back to the chaos that is my home. Why, you may be asking, have I opened my doors to such an invasion?
Simple: the boys are having a great time, the ones who moved away are thrilled to be back in town for a whole (freaking) week, and besides, my wife made me.
That last one carried a lot of weight.
OK, I'll admit it is kind of cool to have them all at my home and I enjoy the energy they brought into our lives (my wife made me say that).
But like I said, they are good kids, or they are good at not getting caught. Either way, at the end of the day it is pretty much the same thing. As long as the police do not show up at my door, it's all good.
My oldest boy was smart and he bailed for the week. He called in a few favours from friends to stay at their house and when that ran out, it was Grandma to the rescue with a hot supper and a spare bed.
Smart kid.
But for those of us who cannot run and hide, we must face the hungry hoard of hooligans head on ñ usually with a food offering in hand.
Was it stressful having all those hyper, loud, active teenage boys ripping around my house for a whole freaking week? You better believe it.
Was it worth the expense, the loss of so many farm animals who gave their lives upon my barbecue so we might live and the lack of sleep just to provide these kids with some good memories they will talk about for years to come? You better believe it.

Don't be a bozo

The world would be a much better place if it wasn't for all the people in it.
The more I think about that statement, the more it makes sense.
There are many good people in the world, but there are also some real bozos.
Now, faithful readers of my column would expect me to throw in some sort of shot at our elected officials at this point, but I am not going to do that this time, because all you have to do is read the news and the bozos are identified on their own.
Anyway, getting back to the regular bozos among us, there are plenty to choose from so I am going to take a moment and vent my frustration at a choice few.
This first bozo knows full well who he or she is and they know full well what they have done. Bozo No. 1 is whoever drains the last drop of coffee from the office coffee maker and does not make another batch.
It really is not that complicated and I am sure even someone with an IQ slightly less than a turnip can figure out how to do it.
Here is a quick, step-by-step breakdown of making coffee: add filter, put coffee in filter, add water, close lid and push 'on' button.
Now sit back and rejoice at the fact that by taking those extra 28 seconds out of your life you have earned your way off the bozo list.
It will also dramatically decrease the bad things your co-workers are saying about you ñ well, when it comes to draining the black elixir anyway.
Bozo of the day No. 2 is the guy (or gal) who pulls out in front of you at the last moment, causing you to hit the brakes to avoid a vehicular interaction incident.
That in itself is annoying (not to mention dangerous), but then said bozo will drive 10 km/h below the speed limit.
Why would you do that? You cut me off like you are in a hurry to get somewhere, then act like you are part of a funeral precession until to get to your destination. I don't get it.
It is amazing how often this happens and even more amazing how many times it happens when there are no other cars behind me, and Mr. Go-slo can do just that to his (or her) heart's content.
The next bozo is one of the most annoying and one I am sure most people have encountered. This bozo is not going to the dogs, but he (or she) is in charge of them.
Bozo No. 3 is the meathead who does not clean up after Fido drops a little parting gift while being taken for a stroll.
There are these little devices called plastic bags that serve all sorts of useful purposes, including picking up your dog's droppings.
I do not need to be walking down a trail, or even a sidewalk and skid through a big (or even a little) pile of doggy doo-doo.
C'mon, take the extra 10 seconds out of your day and clean up after your pet.
ìWell it is kinda gross to pick that up.î
Kind of gross to pick it up, not nearly as gross as stepping in it and tracking doggy ploppings all over the place. That stuff gets stuck in the treads of shoes and you have to get a stick to clean it out and...well you know how it goes. Now that's gross.
Big dog, small dog, fat, skinny, smart, dumb ñ I don't care ñ if you mutt drops a doggy land mine, it is your job to defuse the situation.
So if you know anyone in any of these categories, let them know they are a bozo ñ especially the doggy doo-doo person.
There, that takes care of my rant for this week. Now if you will excuse me I have to go, but I will be sure to watch for someone drinking coffee who pulls out in front of me while taking their dog somewhere for a walk ñ without a baggy of course.