Thursday, June 12, 2014
Sometimes I watch life go by and think, “Wow, I haven’t been surprised in a while.”
I’m pretty hard to startle because I believe life tends to be pretty random. And anyone is capable of anything: There is good even in the most hateful person, and bad in the most selfless one. It’s how we’re made.
Still, some things still raise my eyebrows. Which is fine—I’d hate to be so numb that nothing ever made me feel amazement. It’s probably good for the soul to trip out now and then.
Things That Make Me Trip
• When you walk into someone’s kitchen and they have one of those long magnetic strips on the wall holding what looks like 172 knives. This actually terrifies me, because when a band of roving hoodlums breaks into your house, they won’t have to look for weapons. They’re right there on the wall!! Shudder.
• I don’t know anyone named Edith or Alice. That’s a little sad.
• Teeny, tiny dogs. A few years ago I was visiting my mom and a neighbor lady rang the doorbell. “Your mother tells me you have several dogs and you clip their nails,” she said. She thrust something forward that looked—oh, God, it wasn’t a dog, it was an embryo. A tiny teacup Chihuahua with legs as frail as dandelion stems and eyes that bulged like wet grapes. I took the nail clippers she offered and managed to trim the dog’s long, translucent claws. I can still see that poor, deformed creature and hear her saying proudly, “… less than a pound!”
• The fact that I can live—happily!—in a house with no dishwasher. Who knew?
• People who take their phones into church. I don’t care if you put it on vibrate or in hibernation. Unless you’re a surgeon or firefighter, you can probably leave it in the car without the world ending.
• Visiting someone’s home and realizing they have no books. I don’t mean books displayed in bookshelves, I mean no books on view at all. Maybe some people keep their books in closets, but I doubt it.
• The crazy range of oatmeal you can buy in the grocery store. When I was a kid we had Old-Fashioned Quaker Oats (boil 10 minutes, or until consistency of library paste) and Quaker Quick-Cooking Oats (boil three minutes, or until consistency of library paste). Today we have instant oatmeal in 20 different flavors, not to mention steel-cut oats and Irish oats and oat bran. I just want to know if they all cook up like library paste.
• Drivers who pass me in a blur when I’m cruising at 89 mph on I-95.
• How anyone can eat veal without a qualm. Consider asking your server if it was crate-raised or pasture-raised. Then follow your conscience.
• People are still using tanning beds. I did fake ‘n’ bake for years as a young adult. Then my dad died of skin cancer. Then doctors started finding carcinomas on me and began cutting away pieces of my body, one chunk at a time. I have numerous scars from Mohs surgery that have healed nicely, but ask yourself: Which is worse, pale skin or scarred skin? Any dermatologist will tell you tanning beds are unsafe. Know what is safe? Sunless tanning cream. The cheap stuff works great.
• How awesome it is that my husband doesn’t care if I cook. Actually, he’d prefer me not to. Okay, he insists on it. Start one little stove fire and everyone’s a critic.
Julie R. Smith, who is more amazed than she admits, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.