An Earth Day Story Written by a Bug

IMG_20140421_110311_025A quick note from The Nothing Expert before we get to the Earth Day Story Written by a Bug

My late younger brother was a practical joker, and he reserved his best jokes for me.  For example, there was the time we all went camping.

My brother knew I loved nature, and he knew I loved taking kids on nature walks. So, with everyone else in on the joke, he placed a big black rubber snake under a rock on the trail.

“Rose, he said, “why don’t you take the kids on a nature walk.”

“Great idea,” I said,  “Come on kids. Remember, use all of your senses.”

“Why don’t you lift up the rock,” my brother suggested.

Ha! Ha!  Everyone is still talking about that day!

Tuesday, April 22 is Earth Day. I am dedicating this Earth Day post to my brother, Joel.

At the wonderful Hudson Valley Writers’ Center( http://writerscenter.org/), we were asked to write something from someone else’s point of view. Here’s what I wrote about the creatures whose lives were changed by my rock turning.

An Earth Day Story Written by a Bug

Strong of back and stomach, the Rock Turner is a home wrecker. It could be a perfect Tuesday morning; everybody’s eating and working and moving around prey. Then, the evil Rock Turner, in one heave, slices away the bonds between soil and stone that we hold sacred. Some of us cling desperately to the undersurface as we are ripped from our homes and thrown aside. Others remain behind, exposed and naked. It’s every man for himself when the Rock Turner rolls in. Even our grubs are up for grabs. After the initial shock, the tearing apart of our homes and the feel of the hot sun on our backs, we run for our lives, at least those of us who are not yet pupae. There’s nowhere to hide. Our gullies and ditches and secrets are open. Our way of life is up for scrutiny, and we may not measure up to expectations.

The Rock Turner’s compulsion has decimated us. Does he know how many years it takes to get started, to settle in and build a home? Does he care? Last Saturday, the buzz was out that he must have had a reconsideration. A reconsideration, that saved the gang under the large quartz and granite flat top on mossy hill.

“Don’t look at the bright light,” adults called to their nymphs. “You will be blinded. Look away. It is the apocalypse.” Some of them, more religious than others, followed the bright light. For them, the uncovering was divine. The reconsideration ended all that. The Rock Turner replaced the large quartz and granite flat top on mossy hill and life went on, although it was never quite the same again.

The End.

Setting Up a New Laptop—Can this Marriage Survive?

depositphotos.com/JD Hancock

depositphotos.com/JD Hancock

True Story: I  knew a lady who was convinced there were little green men in her computer. She was certain they were watching her and laughing at her.  Then the lady went “away,” and took lots of new medicines. Vouchers for affordable psychiatric care should be included in all computer start up packages. Thank you, and please allow me to continue.

So I bring home my new laptop from the store. It’s been pre-loaded with all sorts of good stuff, and I’ve been told it’s ready to use. I open the box, and take out the laptop, its cord and some pieces of paper with receipts. There is nothing else in the box. I shake out the box (yes, like they do on TV), and nothing else drops out.

My heart sinks. “There’s no instruction book?” I say to Jerome, the Great and Good, who is sitting in the other room realizing that he is not going to be having a fun day.

“Rose, it’s all done online these days,” he says gently, assuming his usual position of cradling his shaking head in his hands. “You’ll find help online.”

“Waddyamean I’ll find help online?” I wail. “Help from whom? Toshiba? Microsoft Windows? Windows 8?  Optimum Cable? The Little Green Men? I need help to get online— to get help online? Where are the tutorials?”

He makes the mistake of saying, “Tutorials for what?”

“If I knew what I needed the tutorials for, I wouldn’t need the tutorials,” I hiss.

“Rose, just turn it on and start,” Jerome, the Great and Good speaks gently. “You can’t break it.”

“I will if I throw it out the window,” I mumble.

I didn’t throw it out the window because I was afraid of the Little Green Men who were watching me.

Buying a Laptop Together—Can this Marriage Survive?

Your laptop crashes.  Literally it hits the hard floor with a bang.  You find out that the hard drive can be transferred but, alas, the motherboard is dead.  You need a new laptop.

You go to a store, buy a new laptop, get help transferring your files from the old laptop, take your laptop home, do the quick start up, and go about the business of your life, with a sense of competence and peacefulness. Perhaps you whistle while you work.

I am not you. I am The Nothing Expert, and I never whistle when it comes to technology.

I snarl.

“I want to do this quickly,” I spit at my husband, Jerome the Great and Good. Jerome is an expert on buying anything and getting the most for his money. Unlike me, Jerome would never refer to the broken laptop’s Mother Board as the Mother-F—ker Board.

“I don’t want any hassles with this new laptop, ” I say. “ I want them to set everything up, teach me what I need to know, and let me hit the ground running.  Also, this time, I do not want to cry a lot and throw things.”

And so Jerome and I went forth and shopped; it seemed like forty days and forty nights. We went to Best Buy…to Staples….online …and then back to Staples and so on until we found the Store with the best price.

And finally we bought a laptop, and a service contract package, and a virus package, and a cloud package, and Microsoft Office 365 Package because now we were going to use Windows 8. The Store assured us that we would receive lots of help from them.

We met them. He was Bill, the Tech Guy, whose daily hours were something like 4 p.m. to 4:17 p.m.  For another hundred dollars, Bill was going to transfer all of the stuff from the old laptop to the new laptop and explain all of the new Windows stuff to us.

“Bill, when will I have my laptop loaded up and ready to go?” I asked. I wanted to add the word, “sweetie,” but I refrained.

“In a day or two,” said Bill.

Jerome and I were delighted that Bill could transfer files from our old laptop to our new one.  We left both laptops in Bill’s loving care. Jerry and I might have even left the Store holding hands.

The next day Bill did not come in to work. He was ill.

In the Store where we bought our laptop, there were many, many people who were proficient at selling laptops. There were no people, other than Bill, who were good at fixing laptops. And so, our eager new laptop sat right next to our sad old laptop, on their shelf, in the Store, untouched.

Then Bill had family trouble.

I stopped talking to Jerome, the Great and Good. I started using more bad words whenever the subject of the new laptop came up. Jerome put his head in his hands, and he was sad.

After an eternity, Bill came back. He handed over the new fully loaded laptop, and after spending about 51 seconds explaining its new features to us, he moved on to his other chores.

As Jerome drove me and our new laptop home, I swaddled it in my arms and cooed to it.  I promised to take care of it and not drop it on the floor, like I did to its predecessor.

I didn’t drop my new laptop.  All I did was try to use it.  Will this marriage survive? Is there any connection between motherboards and waterboards? Tune in to my next post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the Sidewalks of New York

As The Nothing Expert, I pride myself on doing nothing well. But sometimes doing nothing may be the wrong solution to life’s ethical dilemmas. This is a true story.

On the corner of East 34th. Street and Park Avenue in New York City, a very tired older lady walks to her bus stop. She worries that she might fall and break her hip, so she is careful where she places her feet. Thusly, just as she reaches her bus stop, she narrowly sidesteps a humungous pile of excrement lying in the middle of the sidewalk. The excrement was definitely deposited there by a very large mammal, perhaps an elephant.

The old lady’s bus always comes late, and, so she stands at her bus stop waiting, and watching. She is the only one standing still on the busy sidewalk, near the pile of excrement.

She can tell the tourists because they are all looking up at the Empire State Building and they wear white sneakers. She can tell the regulars because they are not looking up, nor are they looking at the ground.  Most are doing something with their phones which the old lady has never been able to master while walking, or even sitting. Some of the walkers are students from the nearby high schools, who are having fun, shoving, smacking, and smooching with each other. Some of the walkers are shoppers, laden with shopping bags. Some of the walkers are being helped by caregivers. Some of the walkers look mean and angry.

The older woman watches the walkers approaching the pile in the middle of the sidewalk. They do not see it. What is her duty (ahem) to them? Should she help? Or should she turn away? What would you do? What would you say?

Nuts on a Plane

Photo Credit: faungg's photo via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: faungg’s photo via Compfight cc

Nuts are soothing to eat, especially on a plane, during turbulence. Next time you fly through turbulence, look around. If you see a passenger resembling a deranged beaver gnashing savagely on her peanuts,  share your own measly pack of peanuts with her. Chomping those nuts with ferocity might just calm her enough to keep her in her seat and save all of you from the sight of her running through the plane, ripping off her clothes, and screaming, “I wanna get out.”

Gnashing nuts is definitely better than being nuts. As I am quite capable of both gnashing and being nuts on a plane, I read lots of stuff about my fear of flying. Once I even spoke to a pilot about my fears of turbulence. He suggested that I think of the plane (with me in it) as a grape sitting on a bed of Jell-O (the air).

“The grape,” he said,  “might get jostled but it will never fall through the Jell-O.”

I embraced this grape comparison as a compliment because in the past, I had always been likened to a pear, particularly when buying clothes.  If given a choice of being a grape and sitting on a bed of Jell-O, or being a pear and sitting in the middle seat on an airplane, while playing the “keep my thigh from rubbing your  thigh” game with the window and aisle passengers, I’d definitely opt to be the grape.

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Photo Credit: Mez Love via Compfight cc

Let’s go back to the nuts. I used to buy a whole bag of them at the airport concession stands before I got on my flights. It was worth paying a price almost as high as my plane ticket to have my little crunchy comforts in my seat pocket. Then, hurrah!  I flew Southwest! The peanuts and snacks at Southwest are freeeeeeeeeeeee! Yippee! On my last flight, the flight attendants came through the cabin on their first pass  and they tried very hard to make eye contact when they handed us our snacks. On their second pass, however, our keepers, oops, flight attendants  tossed our snack packs at us, and some of us, so happy to be fed for free, were leaping in the air to catch our little feed packs.

It’s all good, however. Gnashing nuts is a much better way to reduce flying anxiety than being tackled by six burly passengers, and then being restrained in my seat by their neckties, belts and shoe laces.  And, remember! On Southwest, the nuts are free!

Photo Credit: N00/4775842363/”>faungg’s photo via Compfight cc