The Habit

It started after the doctors declared his death was probably less than six weeks away and recommended that he be placed in hospice. Family members were called, rushing home from around the world.

Their visits perked him up. The doctors reversed themselves after three months, returning the ninety-eight year old to a nursing home. That’s when he began his habit.

Every night at seven, he would prepare for bed by walking around his bed, straightening the blankets and pillows. Then he folded the blankets back, adjusted the pillows, and circled the bed, smoothing out the wrinkles. His process consumed about two hours.

Nobody complained. How could they? It was good for a man of his age to be active, even if his habits mystified everyone. After all, if they reached his age, who knew what their habits would be?

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Floofpectation

Floofpectation (floofinition) – a housepet’s strong belief that something will happen; an attempt, through behavior or sounds, to make something happen.

In use: “He had a sandwich. The animals crowded around with floofpectations. In exasperation, he said, “This is banana and peanut butter guys. You won’t like it.” But with floofpectations remaining high, the cats started purring and meowing and the dog emitted a little, “Woof”. Sighing, he held the sandwich out for their inspection.”

The Lesson

Hearing the sharp meow, thumps, and swearing, she knew what’d happened.

He came in seconds later. “That cat is so stupid. He’s black. He knows I can’t see him, but he still lays on the rug, and I almost step on him or kick him, and he gets upset. You’d think he’d learn.”

She answered, “He’s a cat. You know he’s not very smart. You’d think that you’d learn by now.”

He glared at her for several seconds before saying, “Sure, take the cat’s side,” and stalking out.

Two Cups

It began in December. With receding silver hair and a large, round head, he looks like he’s in his late sixties. Each day, he enters the coffee shop at around eleven thirty. He buys two cups of coffee to go. Going outside, he finds a seat at one of the patio tables. His location varies by weather. He puts one cup of coffee by one seat, and then sits down at another. Sipping coffee, he gazes at something that he only sees. When he finishes his coffee, he picks up the other cup and empties it on the ground. Both cups are thrown into the trash can, and then he walks down the street, alone.

Unchanged

She’d thought about using a computer but decided that she didn’t want to. That would have been cumbersome to learn, as would changing her phone. The green wall phone with its rotary dial and long cord was sufficient.

She kept her old color console television, bought from Sears in 1969, because it still worked, so why buy a new one? She had to buy new furniture in 1969 because the old stuff fell apart, but once the gold and green brocade stuff she bought started falling apart, she kept it, even though the fabric was torn and worn, stuffing was coming out, and the frames were coming apart.

Her hair-style was unchanged from 1968, which is also when she started dying her hair brown, so she looked much the same in this century as she did the last. She loved Campbell’s tomato soup and had it almost every day for lunch with a grilled cheese sandwich using Kraft American Cheese Singles, along with a Heinz dill pickle. Her breakfast was Quaker Oats followed by two cups of Maxwell House coffee that she made in her old percolator.

Days were spent reading Dick Francis, Nancy Drew mysteries, or Agatha Christie while watching Fox News. In the evenings, she watched The Family Feud and The Price is Right followed by Murder, She Wrote, The Andy Griffith Show, The Big Valley, and Perry Mason. Once in a while, she watched a movie, like The Sound of Music. For treats, she ate Little Debbie Cakes.

Not much had changed in her life, and that made her happy. Being happy, she saw no reason to change.

List of Grievances

I presented my Festivus list of grievances to my beer buddies the other night. Although the grievances are supposed to be personal and about the people present, I had a general list, and I took a humorous, provocative approach.

One of my items that generated much discussion was the hacked butt plug. I know that I’m not part of the demographics of people that use butt plugs, so I don’t know much about them. I also didn’t know that they could be hacked, or why others would want to do that. Still, it’s part of a larger world that I don’t get, not because I’m over sixty, but because the shit people do is alien to what I think of as fun. Besides hacking butt plugs and other smart sex toys, a term called screwdriving (hah!), I don’t get people doxxing others, or eating Tide pods, or catfishing. Yes, I understand the intellectual reasons behind people doing things, just like people doing weird shit when I was a kid, but those things didn’t appeal to me then, either. Being a writer, though, is about trying to understand, looking into people, thinking about their motivation and the impact of what they do has on them and their lives. So, I explore…

While mentioning the butt plugs the other night, over half present reacted, “Why would you want to know more about butt plugs?” But others were like me, saying, “How can you not want to know more?”

You see there the sprawl of human differences. Some invent butt plugs. Others use them. Another group hacks them. Someone else shies away from knowing about them. Someone else writes about them, and others read and talk about them.

It’s a wild, wild life that’s teeming with diversity. It makes it a much more interesting world.

At least, to me.

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