Friday, December 30, 2005


Here goes nothing...

I was talking to my grandmother Christmas Eve, and somehow we got on the subject of how much the world has changed since she was a child. I don’t mean just technologically, but people and our priorities also.

She told me that every morning her father would get up, light a fire in all of the fireplaces in the house (there was one in the kitchen, living area, and each bedroom) before going outside to milk the cows, gather eggs, and tend to the animals. After that, he would come in and help with breakfast before everyone got their day started. You know, the kids off for the twelve-mile, uphill both ways, barefoot death march in the snow to school, and the adults to do the rest of the farm work. I swear, the story about that trek to school gets worse with each telling. Does this morning routine sound familiar to anyone? Probably not, since the Amish don’t use computers.

While my parents didn’t have any milking or egg gathering to do, they did have the enviable chore of getting my sister out of bed in the morning (I was an angel…seriously, if you squinted and looked slightly to the left, you could almost see my halo if the light was right and there was no cross breeze). The breakfast fare wasn’t quite the same, but it was still there. Instead of bacon, eggs, sausage, grits, country ham, biscuits, and sixteen other varieties of pork and pork by-products, it was usually toast, oatmeal, or cereal (and in the long run, my circulatory system thanks them). This was assuming, of course, that, after getting my sister out of bed, she didn’t manage to sneak back in (she really was trouble). On a side note, how on earth do you eat that much breakfast and then go start your day?! If I eat a breakfast that size, I am immediately in need of a nap. Of course, most of the time when I eat like that, it’s 3 AM and the incredibly sobering yellow walls of Waffle House surround me. There may be other reasons for me wanting to go to sleep. But I digress. The point is, aside from my sister being evil incarnate, and me playing a harp in a heavenly band, that my parents made the time to get up and have all of this ready, morning after morning.

Let's take a peek at my "adult" life. I barely have enough time to put on pants before hopping into the batmobile and blazing down six lanes of concrete so that I can sit in front of a glowing box that is slowly eating my soul. Honestly, if I thought I could get away with putting my pants on after I got to the office, without being immediately shown the exit, I would sleep in for another five minutes, and make the commute sans pants (for those of you who actually know me, sorry about the visual). Breakfast? We don’t need no stinking breakfast! If I’m lucky, I managed to set the coffee pot correctly the night before, so I am in a semi-conscious state while exceeding the speed limit. Sadly, most of the time, I ignore that pesky AM/PM light and instead of coffee in the morning, I have a hot pot of coffee ready when I get home and want a cold beer or seven. Welcome to my life.

By the time I have children and they are old enough to participate in that which we so cruelly refer to as “The American Dream,” I suspect they will have even less of a morning. I think they will sleep in their jetcars, which have autopilot and drive them to work, still sleeping. When they arrive, they are fully dressed by robot butlers (I’m thinking probably robot monkey butlers, but I’m no Nostradamus,) and have an IV bag of future coffee hanging on their arm. My guess is that Starbucks will have the market cornered on coffee by this point, and be able to charge $1200 for a low-fat mocha-latte-frappe-licious-grande-el-guapo-a-diddly. Soy milk, if available.

My point is (seriously, bear with me, I will make one, unless something shiny distracts me first) that we need to slow down and enjoy each other more often. (Wow, this just took a sentimental, holiday type of turn) Every year, my grandmother says that she hopes she makes it to next Christmas. In reality, it could just as easily be any of us that misses next year.

I spend over an hour a day traveling at speeds that my grandmother’s parents never expected humans to go, and which I will not disclose fully, because I suspect my mother will read this (it’s 55, Mom, I promise.) Luckily, I gots mad driving skillz, yo, because there are some out there that don’t (or dizzon’t, as my homeboy Snoop would say). Let me take a minute to address my two least favorite types (I wasn’t expecting this to turn into a traffic safety diatribe, either. I’m as surprised as you are, honest!)

Hi, Crazy soccer mom in your tank-sized SUV of Doom – got a minute? How do you manage to talk on your cell phone, smoke a cigarette, apply makeup, knit a blanket, and direct air traffic over LaGuardia all at once? Seriously, is there any microscopic particle of your brain focused on the task at hand? Also, if you don’t have extra robotic arms, how are you steering? I can almost hear the females getting upset, so let me take a swing at my own gender also.

You know, the power-hungry, way more important than you guy wearing a suit he can’t afford while driving a car he can’t afford? Let it be noted: I see your Bluetooth headpiece in your ear. It is shiny, and I am duly impressed. It also makes you look like a bigger geek than those kids with Spock ears at the Trekkie conventions. I also see your fancy GPS system on your dash. Equally shiny, equally impressed. Is your office that hard to find, or are you that distracted by the fact that you are shaving while reading the newspaper in your car? Here’s a tip. Take the earpiece out, unless you're on the phone with P-Diddy, it can wait. Shave at home. Even I manage that most days. As for reading the news, do like the rest of America, and slack off at work to read it online.

There was some sort of point in there somewhere, I promise.

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