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The ‘Dumbing Down’ of America

I suppose that this probably puts me squarely in the “old lady” category, but I have to tell you this story. It is one of those ‘shaking your head’ in disbelief kind of stories and me and The Kid laughed about it solidly for like four hours on the day it happened and sporadically since it occurred.

My house is a computer connected sort of house. Routers – both wired and wireless -and computers and smart devices abound. I invested in a Nest thermostat about a year ago and have seen great reductions in the amount of heating and cooling we use in that time. I really like that I can make changes to the schedule and the temperature setting in the house without having to go to the hallway (where the thermostat resides) and can do it in the middle of the night with ease.

I had heard about some of the other devices being developed, so I opted to try another. I set me sights on the Nest Cam Outdoor, with installation at the front door. This is so that I can see who is there before having to try to get to the front door from my sewing room or bathroom or wherever I may be. You know, getting up and moving still takes a minute or two to get rolling ever since the bi-lateral knee surgeries.

While on one of my many trips for supplies, The Kid and I found ourselves at Home Depot. And they just happen to have a display for all of the Nest devices. Quite convenient if I do say so myself. So we take one of the purchase cards from the display and along with our other items, we head to check out.

img_3923Now, as you can read, you are supposed to take the card to the service desk and they ring it up and you pay for it… then they get the camera for you.

Well, this particular young lady took the card (and paint and glue etc) and rang the purchases. As she completes the sale via credit card, she places all the items a bag and hands it to us along with the receipt.

Let me reiterate: she places this 6 1/2″ piece of fiber board with some printing on it into a Home Depot bag and hands us it and a receipt that clearly shows that we bought a $200 camera. And then she turns to the next customer.

I’m not usually known for being tongue tied or at a loss for words, but this particular interaction caused me to be able to grasp exactly what she did. I am looking in the bag and then to my son and back again, trying to fit the pieces together in order that something makes sense!

I have to reach into the bag to retrieve the card and then assert myself back into a conversation with her. I have to have the look of befuddlement on my face as I hand her the card back to her and ask “…and you’re now going to actually give me the camera I bought, right?”.

Well, now it is her turn to be confused. She is looking at the card and then to me and back again. I ask her “you don’t think I just paid two hundred bucks for this piece of cardboard, do you?”.

I am shaking my head in disbelief. She tries to hand the card back to me. Even the generally-won’t-say-shit-even-if-he-had-a-mouthful quiet and shy young man looks at her and shaking his head says to her that she needs to get an actual box containing a camera. She turns to another clerk and holds out the card. I have no idea what she is thinking or how the hell she came to be standing behind a cash register in a store where tens of thousands of dollars must go through that store every day.

Her co-worker sort of shrugs and giggles at her and then looks at us and says that they will be right with us. They disappear behind a wall and I can her Clerk2 explaining to Clerk1 that she needs to find the box that corresponds with the code on the card. They are back there a while and I am thinking that they don’t have what we ordered and next comes that hassle that the charge she just rang up will take three days before the credit is applied when they come around the corner with the box.

And yes, I checked it and double checked the code on the box to make sure it is the right one and proceed to slice through the sticker to open the box… I want to make sure there actually is one inside! For some unexplained reason, I wasn’t sure that they didn’t know that there is actually supposed to be a product in exchange for the two hundred bucks and change! Clerk2 is watching me do this and does another sort of chortle kind of sound and make this gesture with her eyes to say ‘Clerk1 is kind of ditzy in a honest sort of way’.

Frankly, I am still shaking my head that this actually transpired! I mean, this isn’t a revolutionary new process for safeguarding expensive small items from sticky fingers… this is a time tested process. Any clue that Clerk1 now understands this is conspicuously absent from her face, but The Kid and I take the box and our bag and head towards the door. I look to my son and say, “Did that really just take place?”. He laughs.

We’re still laughing about it. It is steadfastly becoming part of our personal interaction – a “you had to be there” kind of inside joke. I’ve been wanting to write this story, but I had to go back and get one of those cards so I could take a photo for the post. This post. I’ pretty sure this will be one of those jokes that we keep between us for a long time. 🙂img_3922So, to end this post on a positive note, I wanted to show you my violets. I became the defacto owner of this plant when I took over a desk vacated by someone way  back in my job history. It has done so well that I had to separate it into two pots. The blooms this year are absolutely amazing… in this planter. The other one is barren so far.img_3921

MacCupcake

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Dare I Say It? (“Good ‘Ol Days”)

I’ve finally gotten around to getting my personal network set up for optimum viewing. Cables have been dropped into my sewing room, my son’s bedroom and into my master suite. It is absolute heaven not having to rely on wireless services anymore (although I do still have it for the remainder of the house for phone use).

So, I’ve been watching a lot of movies, such that I have figuratively run out of new movies to watch. So when I am sewing, I re-watch movies I haven’t seen in the past couple of years. Even some I haven’t seen in decades.

thegraduateToday’s movie was “The Graduate”. Dustin Hoffman is about twenty years old and I had forgotten just how handsome he was (I have always thought he was handsome, but there is just something so insanely adorable about that twenty year old face).graduate-dustin-hoffman-1967

And the movie is set in its own history, that is, it was contemporary when it came out. So, the clothing and the cars and the settings are as they were during that timeframe – mid- to late sixties. I don’t really remember those particular days, as I was just a toddler-ish, maybe five or six. But everything seems so clean (and this is Los Angeles) and fresh and green with plants. And just clean… like no graffiti and trash or congestion or smog.

And the music score is just as just as refreshing. In case you’re not familiar or have forgotten (as I had) is songs by Simon and Garfunkel. Peaceful, tranquil and calming, much as southern California can seem. Seem back then, anyway.

(There was just a scene where the male borders in the house where Hoffman’s character is living and some other residents appear… including a very very young Richard Dreyfus!)richard-dreyfuss-young-76408b40f2a229b21f90f607f8944d83

Anyway, it just struck me as I was talking along (or talking to) with the characters, just how differently people were. I mean, when the characters were angry with each other, the strongest language used were words like “filth” and “scum” and “degenerate”. And the two rooming house “managers” are about the ‘cleanest’ people you could ever know!

But what really strikes me are the “sex scenes”. Not only are there not really any (seems like the lights have to go out to suggest sex is occurring) but the talk about it, the harshest language was sex being referred to as “a piece” and then followed up with laughter and then “…of wedding cake!” was added.  Heck, I don’t even think there was any moaning or heavy breathing; even the kisses were rare. I think that this particular scene was the most risqué:risqueI’m not sure if it was better than now, but it certainly was more civil. And gentler. At least by this movie’s standards. I was trying to imagine what this movie would be like if it was remade to today’s standards. I don’t think it could.

Good or bad. I don’t know… I guess we live with what we have. Although I could use a little less vulgarity and profanity in my life.

MacCupcake

 

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A New Year

I guess I missed the first week of the new year. Actually, been a while since I posted at all.

I am nearing the “finish” line for my knee surgeries. That is, at the end of the month and first part of February, I will be “celebrating” one year since I went ‘under the knife’ and had bi-lateral knee replacement surgeries.

Its been a tough year.

First, I really believed that these surgeries would change my physical world. The pain and limitations from advanced arthritis prior was really reeking havoc on doing much of anything physical – including climbing the stairs to my sewing room. I had these grandiose plans of being able to hike down into the Grand Canyon or maybe even attempting part of the PCT trail in California, but in retrospect I was so unbelievably optimistic.

Honestly, I’ve not really had much more mobility compared to the ‘before’ levels. Everyone kept telling me, you have to wait for the healing to be complete to see the real results. Well, I’m here to tell you, either something is wrong or all those healthcare specialists are.

So, not only do I get the same restrictions on walking and stair climbing, but I have lost the ability to kneel and run. That I knew about in advance, but figured it would be worth it if I could walk effortlessly. I have this clicking noise with every step and it just doesn’t seem like it should do that.

Being on my feet is tiresome for more than an hour and stair climbing is still difficult if not downright painful. I can’t cross my legs and I can’t get anywhere near sitting cross-legged. And getting up from the floor… well, let’s just say that a small crane might be useful.

Even worse (if it can get worse) is the fact that I’ve gained quite a bit of weight. I was already overweight to begin with and hoping that the knee surgery would help allow me to be more physically active to combat that, well, let’s just say that I’ve been doing way more sitting than anything even remotely considered exercising. I had hoped to at least be walking more, but with the winter ice and snow, well… I don’t want to take the chance on slipping and falling. As it is, I have fallen three times in the past couple of months and of course, it always includes landing on one knee or the other. Or both. Sigh.

So, in a couple of weeks, I make the cross town trek to see my ortho doc. Maybe he will give me some news about why I seem to have the detrimental results of knee surgery.

MacCupcake

 

 

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