Monday, March 21, 2011

Ice Skating Fail

Bummer about the cold weather in Northern California on the first day of spring.

I hate cold weather. I don’t do winter well. You wouldn’t think so though. I grew up in one of the New England states.

I preferred indoor activities, especially during the winter. I was the kid who sat in the corner with her nose stuck in a book or magazine. However, when I was eleven, I really liked ice skating. Trouble was I wasn’t able to like it enough.

My participation in that activity was usually limited to thirty minutes or less. And, yes, I did dress in layers. For starters, I pulled on every sweater I owned. The rest of my outfit included three pairs of knee socks, slacks, a snowsuit, boots, a scarf, a hat, and gloves and mittens.

Dressing in layers didn’t help a whole lot. Actually, wearing all that clothing made it harder to navigate the bumpy neighborhood ice rink (aka the frozen swamp). After enduring single digit temperatures for fifteen or twenty minutes, I shivered so much that I had trouble staying upright. I usually stumbled around for another five or ten minutes. By that time, I felt like I was turning into a Popsicle and gave up, but only for the day. I peeled off my skates, pulled on my boots, and plodded home, determined to stay longer next time.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Post from the Past

[Note: St. Patrick's Day will soon be here, so this week I’m recycling an entry that was originally posted in March 2006.]

Every year around St. Patrick’s Day, I think about a fellow I met when I was a junior in high school. He had an Irish last name, an Elvis haircut, and a whole lot of freckles. We dated for approximately four months when he was on the outs with the girl he had gone steady with since he was about thirteen.

“Jeremy” liked cars. He liked to see how fast they could go. He also liked to see how fast he they could stop. (Hey, former neighbors, now you know how all those skid marks got on the road in front of your houses.)

During one of the several times that he was stopped for speeding, he told the policeman that he was “just burning out the carbon.” That excuse failed to impress the policeman, and Jeremy ended up in court the next day.

The judge he appeared before had a reputation for being unsympathetic to teenage boys with a hot foot on the gas pedal. When Jeremy’s case was called, the judge told him, “Son, there are three rates of speed in this town, slow, medium, and good morning, Judge.”

Sunday, March 06, 2011

I Went Berserk in a Department Store

Last week at the mall, I noticed several new, life-sized, white fiberglass mannequins in a store window. The mannequins had both arms and legs. At the same time, I noticed that the mannequins in the window of a neighboring teen-oriented store had no arms. (Maybe armless mannequins are cheaper.) However, the mannequins in the teen store had heads and faces, and they looked like “real” people. The white fiberglass mannequins in the other store had only half heads. Yes, that’s right—half heads. They looked, well, sort of like aliens that had missed the turnoff to their own planet and ended up on Earth.

I wondered if the half-headed mannequins had freaked out any little kids.

They would have freaked out the two-year-old me.

When I was a toddler, my aunt worked as a combination salesclerk/bookkeeper at a department store. My mother shopped there frequently, and she preferred to shop alone. She took me with her only when she had no other choice.

On those days, Mom crossed her fingers and told me to stay close to her. She knew what would happen if the sales clerks were in the middle of changing the clothing displays. As soon as I spotted a mannequin with an arm or a leg, or better yet, a head, missing, I’d throw myself on the floor and scream like crazy.

Outside, pedestrians would forget where they were going and peek in the windows to see what all the fuss was about. If my aunt happened to be working on the floor, she would flee to the back office. That left my red-faced mother to explain my fear of dismembered dummies to anyone who seemed alarmed by my behavior.

As soon as the store owner thought he could keep a straight face, he’d emerge from his office, walk over to my mother, point a finger at me, and say, “Get her out of here. She’s ruining my business.”