Unappreciated Aspects of Modern Life

The carpool. If there are gods and goddesses out there who are not overseeing the sheer brilliance of the carpool, I do not know who is. I thank my lucky stars for sharing the daily and weekly rides to activities and camps and appointments with all kinds of parents. Some I have never even met in person. I have been fortunate to be a part of several over this past year and the effort it takes to arrange and drive a carpool is so worth the saved time and driving. I bow down to the carpool gods and hope that they continue to bestow their quiet beneficence on me.

The soft serve ice cream cone. Dairy Queen does it best, but pick your brand. Anytime you hand me a soft serve (especially with a chocolate twist) ice cream you can be sure I will remember you in my will. You can have your mix-ins and your chunky ice creams with designer flavors (lemon basil –what is that?! Cardamom pecan—get away!)   I love soft serve on a hot summer day. We do not praise its name nearly enough. Go soft serve!!

Outdoor Dining. I love eating outdoors. I love breeze and sunshine and fireflies while I dine. I love patios with twinkly lights. I love being served a cold drink on a hot day at a shady table. There is something incredibly civilized about dining al fresco and I intend to keep up the practice. Keep in mind that outdoor dining is way different than picnicking. I like picnicking but it is way more work.

Prose Poetry. These days it seems you can write any old thing down on paper and call it a poem. This is as it should be. Words are poetic no matter what the form. Lace. Perpetuity. Ad infinitum. Popsicle. Roast Beef. Plausible. Barnacle. Fever. Wristwatch. See!

Podcasts. I love the ladies and gentleman who whisper stories, and fun facts and interesting bon mots in my ear when I walk or drive or do the laundry. It seems they can make these podcasts in their own kitchens or closets or the back seat of someone’s van. Email me for my favorites. Send me yours.Self check-out at the Library. No really. I order books at the library on-line portal. They email me

when they have pulled them. They wait on a special shelf with my name attached. I walk in during library hours and check them out myself. I walk out. What’s more, my library auto renews two times if there is no one else waiting for the book. That means I can pretend it is my book for as long as nine whole weeks. I sometimes gaze longingly at my hold list. Hopefully the old lady who used to check out my books has her feet up somewhere enjoying a Mai Thai and the latest from Malcolm Gladwell.

Open windows. Did you know that modern buildings all have sealed windows? It’s an environmental thing. Sealed windows are better for the environment. (This seems to fly in the face of all logic but there it is.) All new buildings or remodeled buildings have permanently closed windows. I have occupied them at my work now for more than 10 years. This means I cannot open a window at work on a spring day to feel the breeze come in, or on a summer day to hear a thunderstorm, or when the heat is working overtime and I need some cool air, or any one of a thousand reasons why someone might want to open a window to the atmosphere—the real live earth air that we rely on for our very sustenance. So when I am at a place where the windows actually open, I say a special thank you to the gods of the air and the open windows. I bless you for your beneficence.

Old friends keeping in touch via facebook. I am so happy I know what is going on with Ann’s children and Jim’s career and Gina’s job and move to Texas. I am gladdened (is that still a ward?) to see my high school friends kids are graduating from high school themselves and my old work-study students are having babies and getting married. I am happy that I found a person I used to work with at a retail store long ago and a woman who used to be my nemesis but with whom I now have a lot in common. I found a friend who has an adopted daughter from China like me, and we both know what red couch photos are. I like to know they bike ride and run marathons and quilt and travel and criticize their government and give to important charities. This social media abundance is worth every wasted moment. For thee I give thanks.

Landscapers. They toil away in the hot sun planting, digging, weeding, watering and mowing so that campuses and parks and median strips and hospital memory gardens can be beautiful and bring peace and tranquility to us mere mortals. Next time you pass a sweaty man or woman who is careful tilling the soil in the flower planter by your parking lot or an hourly working digging cigarette butts out of the rose garden walkway tell them thank you. What you do is a beautiful thing. We need more like you. Amen