Monday, October 31, 2011

HoneyBunch, Chapter Two

It took me two-three sessions on eHarmony’s website to answer all the questions.  I pushed the last button and went to bed thinking I’d wake up to find a long list of men dying to date me.
I had zilch.

I rechecked all the steps, and the website advised me to wait a few days – it was searching its entire pool.  Zilch, again. I prayed the mob trying to log on had crashed the website, but I knew better.

On the verge of pathetic, I went back in and readjusted my answers and expectations.

I enlarged the search area to include a fifty-mile radius outside of the metropolis. Obviously the many million inhabitants weren’t a large enough pool to find me one man.  I also extended the age range I was willing to consider. (I just needed him able to get around on his own.) I even lied. (What? I wasn’t applying for the Medal of Honor; I just wanted one date.)

Finally, I had nibbles. 

Most of the matches were sad; few of the men interested me, none enough to venture dating any of them. My membership was running out and I was still dateless.

In the end, I whittled the list down to three:  a widower who talked only about his late wife, a man who went on and on about his beautiful eyes, and a proud dad with a previous married life similar to mine.  

I deleted the widower - who wants to compete with the memory of a dear wife? The man who was so into his own looks probably never noticed that I was gone, so that left the lonely dad.

Swapping emails with him was like looking into a mirror, and I wanted something different, something new. He sounded too serious, but still, maybe we could continue chatting once my eHarmony membership expired. Maybe we could just be friends.

To be continued. . . .  

Monday, October 24, 2011

HoneyBunch, Chapter One

I met my husband on the Internet, eHarmony to be exact.  I joined the site to find a date, maybe some romance, but I ended up with something much better – a husband. I wasn’t looking for one, but I am not complaining either.

I had been single for several years and loved my independence. I dated often in the beginning. Friends set me up on blind dates, and others were old friends who asked me out themselves. I was never very good at this game, so my dating pool had dried up. I felt God had blessed me once with a husband and family, so I was in no hurry to date or get serious with anyone. If I got asked out, good; if not, okay. I embraced my singledom.

But then things started to change that made me rethink my attitude.

One, my wardrobe: I was slowly replacing my size 8's with elastic waistbands, comfy cardigans, and beltless dresses, and my sexy heels gathered dust while I wore out the sensible crepe soles. Two, I started naming my pillows. Yeah, they had names, so what? Three, I was eating Pop Tarts for dinner and chasing them down with a glass of Roscato.

I was slowly becoming that eccentric great-aunt who lives alone that everyone talks about at Thanksgiving (sans the cat - I don't like cats). 

When eHarmony showed up in my Spam and offered me three months for the price of one, I had nothing to lose. The worst possible scenario – nothing would happen, no dates. But my pillows and I would have something exciting to chat about in the wee hours of the night. The best possible scenario (I was shooting low here) – a date, one, something to write about in my old spinster diary.

So I paid my dues and took their long 29 Dimensions of Compatibility tests . . . .

To Be Continued.








Monday, October 17, 2011

A Love Story

Eight years ago my parents found themselves providing shelter for a young, pregnant woman.  Mom was 75; Dad was 82.  A few months after the baby boy was born, the unwed mother disappeared back into the streets, leaving the little one with my elderly folks.

After considering their options, they contacted CPS and asked to foster the abandoned child. As time went on, the baby’s future seemed unstable.  Someone had to take responsibility for him. My parents had fallen in love with the little man and decided to do something about it, so they became parents for the sixth time.  Mom was 77; dad was 83. 

On his second birthday, Mom invited us, his new older brothers and sisters, to his birthday party at Peter Piper Pizza.  The next youngest sibling had just turned 40; the oldest was in his late 50’s.  To offset the age discrepancy, some of us brought our grandchildren to the party, so that Baby Bro would have someone to play with.  (Even they were older than their newly-acquired uncle.) 

Mama is now 83; Dad would have been 90 on his next birthday, so one day our youngest sister will take over the care of our little brother, but he has all of us, his slightly older brothers and sisters, to remind him how much he was loved by his real parents, the mother and father who took responsibility for him and stepped up to claim him, regardless the odds.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Random Acts

Years ago as I entered a local Target store, I noticed a tall, elegantly dressed woman saunter out of the restroom with the whole back of her dress stuffed into her control tops.  Without thinking twice, I rushed up to her and covered her huge backside with my body and whispered sotto voce into her ear.  She jumped at first, frightened by my nearness, then peered down over her shoulder at me. When it dawned on her what was wrong, she hissed at me to back up.


We shuffled backwards, vaudevillian-style, until we reached the bathrooms, but the moment she was within feet of the door, she flung me aside and leaped for cover. The door slammed in my face as I struggled to regain my balance.

Another time, I was coming out of a McDonald's when a man started out of the parking lot in his car. On the roof of his sedan was a cardboard carrier with four sodas and two large bags of food. I stepped out into his path, pointing to the roof of his car like an airplane attendant does when parking a plane.

The man looked at me in horror and swerved around me, squealing his tires as he sped for the exit.  His sodas splashed onto the pavement; the bags of food went flying into the street. I bet he didn't discover his mistake until he reached home and the kids asked for their Happy Meals. He must have thought I was trying to solicit a ride, money, or - eek! - something else from him.   

In either case, I did not get the keys to the city or a citation for my citizenship.  I got nothing for risking my neck, other than horrified looks, but that is why it is called a random act of kindness.  It is not often that one attempts such an intrusion.  I succeeded in my efforts with the pantyhose mishap and failed in saving the family's dinner, and if I had to do it all over again - I would. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Warrior Balance

Back when I taught high school, I loved the honor student who opted not to take Advanced Placement and strutted into my “regular” English class thinking he would skate through, up his GPA, and maybe – just maybe – take part in class, gracing us with his superior intelligence.  I lived for the moment when he realized “regular” didn’t exactly mean below level or mediocre. 

I started back to the gym last month with the same arrogance.  Because of my bad knees, I joined a “gentle” yoga class where we use chairs instead of pretzeling ourselves on floor mats.  I strutted into that class, smirk on my face, and quickly assessed my fellow participants.  Some of those folks were older than my parents. 

Be it known – I had my arthritic butt whupped by a classroom full of limber octogenarians who can out-warrior and out-downward dog me every single time.

Last weekend I attended a writers’ conference. I guess I’m the kind of person who has to hit bottom repeatedly before learning humility. I heard all the same stuff I already knew: I should create intriguing, “real” characters; Every single word I put on paper should move the plot forward; Revision and self-editing are my best friends.

In yoga, the Warrior Three pose looks easy at first.  Your complete body, both arms, and one leg are parallel to the floor, while you balance seamlessly on the other leg for a good amount of time. You kind of look like Superman zooming to the rescue. When I actually attempt it, I look like a sick flamingo in baggy yoga pants, flapping desperately to stay in flight.

It is doing the work and balancing it all with some level of competence, not mediocrity, that proves one's mettle.