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Share Your World – 2014 Week 37

List three pet peeves.

Slow drivers.

Voice mail with so many selections I can’t remember the beginning of the list by the time I get to the middle.

CustServCartoon

Customer service voice mail robots designed to prevent you from ever speaking with a live human being.

Live customer service representatives who know less than I do about their product.

Death cust serv

Junk mail faxes and texts.

People who make pronouncements when they know nothing about the subject under discussion.

Have I listed too many? Oops.

96-Waiting-Worcester

What makes you unique?

We are all unique. I’m no more unique than anyone else. Except, of course, those of you who are one of a pair (or more) of identical siblings. I suppose that would reduce your uniqueness. Otherwise? To be human is (usually) to be unique.

Would be your ideal birthday present, and why?

A surprise vacation to someplace I’ve always wanted to go. Prepaid with all the arrangements taken care of. I mean all arrangements. Nothing left for me to do but enjoy! Okay, I’ll settle for dinner out at a really great restaurant. Maybe with some good friends. I’m easy. I just want to do something fun in which I get to be the guest — not the organizer, cleanup crew, schedule manager, or any role beyond that of pampered guest.

Which way does the toilet paper roll go? Over or under?

Over. Absolutely over. And out.

THE DAY THE MACHINES WENT DOWN

Thursday, September 11, 2014.

Dateline: Uxbridge, Massachusetts 

It was an ordinary day. Early September in southern New England. Cool. Almost crisp. Some leaves had already changed and they shone bright yellow, signalling the rapid approach of Autumn.

An average kind of day — except, as it turned out, we had run out of half-and-half.

In many — perhaps most —  homes, this would be no big deal. Certainly not an emergency requiring an immediate voyage into town. But. This is a household of addicted coffee aficionados. There was no way we could get through 24 hours without half-and-half for our coffee.

No. Regular milk is not the same. Someone — okay, Garry — would have to go to the store to buy half-and-half.

The nearest shop — the deli — sells only tiny containers and sometimes, doesn’t have any. So it was off to Hannaford’s.

75-MidtownGA-NK-27

Hannaford’s, the grocery store we patronize, is not the biggest or fanciest. Au contraire, it’s the smallest and least impressive of the local supermarkets, part of a small Maine-based chain. We like it because the prices are not bad, the produce is fresh and often locally grown. You don’t need a special card to get the discounts and they give a 5% discount to Senior Citizens every Tuesday. Most important, they are easy to get to and have ample parking.

I was in the middle of a book — I usually am — so I didn’t pay a lot of attention as Garry went out. Not a big deal. Just the aforementioned half-and-half and maybe pick up something for dinner, too. He came back a couple of hours later. Which was a bit longer than such errands usually take. Garry looked amused.

“There is shock and confusion in downtown Uxbridge, today,” he announced.

“Shock and confusion?”

“Yes,” Garry said. “I thought it might be delayed PTSD because of it being 9/11 and all. Everyone in Hannaford’s looked stunned.”

“Because?” I questioned.

“The credit card readers were down. You couldn’t pay with your bank or credit card. Everyone had to pay cash or use a check. They looked shell-shocked. Thousand-yard stares. Stumbling, vacant-eyed around the store.”

“Holy mackerel,” I said. “I can only imagine.”

“You could see them mumbling to themselves. They kept saying ‘cash!’ … but I could tell they were confused and were not sure what to do.”

“Wow,” I said. “Oh cruel fate! How awful! What did you do?” I asked. Garry seemed to have survived with his sense of humor intact and brought home the half-and-half.

“Oh, I paid with cash. I had enough on me.”

He went off to the kitchen chuckling to himself. I hoped everyone would be okay back in town. A shock like that can haunt people for a long time. Cash. Imagine that.

Everyone will be talking about this for weeks. The day the machines went down at Hannaford’s. That’s huge.


Weekly Writing Challenge: That’s Absurd

THE ALL-KNOWING DOME OF DOOM

As Under The Dome ended last week, the dome was shrinking. For no particular reason, at the start of this week’s episode, it stopped shrinking. But — the girl who came back from the dead started dying all over again and anyway, the dome stopped shrinking for almost the whole episode. Why did it start shrinking? Why did it stop? Why did it get so cold? Why did it warm up again?

Only The Dome Knows. Garry calls it the Holy Dome, All-Knowing Dome. “Praise The Dome,” said Garry. I nodded. The Dome is clearly God, all-knowing, all-powerful, entirely irrational. Bloodthirsty. The qualities every deity needs.

She's dying. No, wait, she's miraculously saved. Oops, dead again.

She’s dying. No, wait, she’s miraculously saved. Oops, dead again.

Anyway, the Chosen of The Dome join hands to save Melanie (the previously dead but resurrected girl) and — A MIRACLE! She comes back to life. Again! From the dead she rises one more time. Dang, but these Mainers are hard to kill.

“It’s so beautiful,” she says (I’m assuming she means the world is beautiful) … but before the words have entirely left her lovely lips, a whirlpool-like vortex appears. Poor dead-resurrected-dead-resurrected Melanie is sucked into it. Dead again. Swallowed by a vortex. Where are the alligators when you need them?

What? “What’s happening?” they cry. “We don’t understand!” Someone says something about quantum physics and Garry says “WHAT????”

I’m laughing too hard to answer and anyway, I have no idea what’s going on. Commercial break, news promo. Sometimes reality and fantasy are weirdly similar.

Back on the show, everyone is saying “What’s going on? The Dome is shrinking again, but faster this time.” If they don’t understand, you can bet no one watching the show does either. By now, I am yelling at the television. I want giant alligators to come and eat the cast, but instead, Big Jim is beating the crap out of someone. I must have missed something

Music up full. A folk singer is howling “Turn, Turn, Turn” and Garry looks at me, one eyebrow raised.

“What could possibly happen next?” Garry asks. He’s kidding of course. Anything could happen. I’m still voting for alligators but someone told me last week it would probably be a giant spider. I don’t like spiders. Anything but spiders.

There’s only one more show this season. The coming attractions suggest they are planning a third season. That seems outlandish, but this entire season was absurd, so why not another 13 ridiculous episodes? I don’t remember if The Dome was still shrinking when they ran the credits, but there weren’t any alligators. Pity.

I AM PROGRAMMED TO RESPOND TO THE NAME ROBBY

It’s your 24th wedding anniversary and you want to get something for your spouse. What do you buy when you’ve been married such a long time and the only things either of you need are things you can’t afford?

Easy! You buy something no one needs, but which will make you laugh. Because fun is always with a few bucks!

I created his and hers Serendipity sweatshirts and they got here a few days ago. Cool. But weeks before I designed the sweatshirts, I had found Robby. Blame the Daily Prompt. While writing about Roomba, the vacuuming robot that couldn’t, I found a website on which someone was selling a near-mint 12″ original Robby the Robot. The one and only original toy robot who is a perfect miniature of Robby in Forbidden Planet.

Robby the Robot Forbidden Planet In box

He walks. Well, more like he stumbles, then falls over. He talks. His voice is the voice of Robby from the movie.

Note: The falling over is not from the movie, but seems to be unique to the miniature.

He says:

“How may I help you?”

“That is correct!”

“I am programmed to respond to the name Robby.”

Unlike modern robotic toys, he is wired to his remote control and what he does best, other than speak — he sounds like Walter Pidgeon — is to stand on the coffee table looking collectible.

Robby the Robot Forbidden Planet unboxed

I am, in case you haven’t noticed, very “into” collectibles. I not only have a lot of them, I used to have an online business selling them. A lot of dolls, but anything old and interesting. Lots of antique, cast-iron doorstops and bookends. I actually did pretty well for three years, until the economy crashed and that discretionary income people used to have disappeared … and my customers with it.

Today, Garry was introduced to Robby. Every time he walked and fell over backwards, we laughed. Now, standing proudly on the coffee table, he is a member of the household. We needed an entertaining, 20-year-old toy robot. Sometimes, a toy is exactly what we need. We are, after all, still children.

If a 12-inch reproduction doesn’t do it for you, you’ll be glad to know that Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is offering a full-size reproduction for $17,515.00. Shipping, at $990.00 is a bit pricey, but in for a penny, in for a pound.

robby-TCM

THE SHORT LIST

To-Do? Done!

Quickly list five things you’d like to change in your life. Now, write a post about a day in your life once all five have been crossed off your to-do list.


VeganWitches“What a world, what a world” cried the witch. “I’m melting, melting.” And she melted. Referring back to her previous statement, it is quite a world and certainly could use some adjusting. So, off the top of my early morning head, I’d like to say this about that.

1. Whichever dog is piddling on the rug in the morning, it isn’t going to get you more biscuits, better food, an upgraded position on the sofa, or your own laptop. If we ever find out which one(s) of you are doing it, a good thumping is more likely. Stop it before I catch you because … to quote another movie big shot: “You won’t like me when I’m angry.”

2. Our television is 13 years old. It works. But it’s falling behind technologically. If any of you WordPress pixies feel inclined to drop by during the night, take away the huge old one and replace it with a nice, sleek, shiny new one, I would certainly not object.

3. Surely at least one wish grantor at your headquarters is in charge of paving? Because our driveway is a disaster and winter is coming. New asphalt please?

4. Speaking of winter coming and driveways … emphasis on the “drive”  … we could really use some kind of SUV to deal with the bad weather. We can’t afford one, but now that you are so spectacularly successful, maybe you’ve got a spare vehicle lying around you might send our way? Swap you for our 2003 Sunfire. It’s a cute little thing, but useless in the winter. Only has 115,000 miles on it and it’s bright yellow.

5. A general bump in income would be appreciated. We worked hard. Combined, the two of us worked for more than 80 years. It’s sad finding ourselves in such straits. We don’t need to be rich, though we wouldn’t object … but not poor either would be nice. I’d like to have more money than month. A little spare. Some discretionary funds.

Thank you all very much. I’ll be getting back to my coffee now. You want a cup? Have a seat. I’ll go get it.

Oh, and please make sure all those “gifts” are tax-free.

EPILOGUE: The Day After Tomorrow

Monday morning, I will get up and pad out to my living room in my bare feet, I will not step in a cold pool of dog pee. I will turn on my brand-new television which will have much better sharpness and clarity than the current one. I will not have to clean my glasses because things are a bit fuzzy.

I will gaze contentedly out my picture window where my new SUV will be waiting for me on my smoothly paved driveway. All our stuff will be packed because as soon as we finish a quick breakfast, we’re going away for a couple of days … now that we can afford a night or two in a nice bed and breakfast on the Cape.

Thanks for everything. See you in a few days.