As I noted recently, I’ve been working the Census. But as the September 30 October 4 deadline approached, it became physically harder. The irony is that as my country needed me the most, I had to cut back. You can only do so much.
When the area I was covering was in my neighborhood, roughly Pine Hills for you Albanians, it was an easier process. I’d tool around on the bike for four hours. Then come home for a 30-minute lunch, while recharging my precious phone, then do another four hours. I’d be tired but it was manageable. One week I’d work Monday and Tuesday, take Wednesday off, then work Thursday through Saturday.
I always took Sunday off. From a purely monetary position. that made no sense. There was a bonus for working Sundays. And indeed for working up to 10 hours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as the deadline loomed. Back in 1990, when the decennial Census was my only source of income, I would have jumped on that. But I was thirty years fresher. Now a relative of mine is putting in a lot of weekend hours, but he’s a younger man than I.
It was an obsession, actually
My understanding wife realized I was a bit on a mission. My share of housecleaning collapsed, as did the yardwork. Writing this blog and volunteer work fell off. Speaking of falling, the Census folks were always pushing useful information such as don’t walk while texting, and using three points of contact when using the stairs.
As I started working further from home, it came more difficult to get back for lunch. That wasn’t that big a deal, actually. Charging the phone was an issue, though. And, TMI, finding a loo in the days of COVID is trickier. I was near the state museum once; nope, still closed.
So on the penultimate full week, I decided to work six five-hour days. Five hours is as long we can legally work without taking a break. The phone doesn’t need a recharge, and the shorter day was better for me.
Tell you what: you write the screenplay and I’ll send it off to Jada Pinkett Smith. Actually, if there WERE a screenplay, I’d probably send it to Nelson George – I backed one of his Kickstarter projects – and he could get it to Spike Lee, with whom he has collaborated.
Maybe it’s because I just saw my niece singing with him, but I was thinking El DeBarge, of that singing DeBarge family, or Prince. If you needed a younger actor, maybe Jussie Smollett from the show Empire, which I’ve never seen, or Drake.
Who is your favorite ex-president?
My first strong awareness of an ex-President was Herbert Hoover (1874-1964), who I was SHOCKED to discover that he was still alive by the time I first learned about The Great Depression. I must confess that I was entertained by Richard Nixon, who tried REALLY hard to be an Elder Statesmen of the Republican Party, writing books, and pontificating, hoping that we’d forget about that Watergate thing.
My second favorite ex-President has to be John Quincy Adams, who went back into the House of Representatives and argued the Amistad case before the Supreme Court.
But clearly, Jimmy Carter has set the standard for former Oval Office occupiers. If it was just for all the Habitat for Humanity houses he helped build, that would be impressive. But he has also worked vigorously on preventing and eradicating diseases in developing nations.
“A major accomplishment of The Carter Center has been the elimination of more than 99 percent of cases of Guinea worm disease, from an estimated 3.5 million cases in 1986 to 148 reported cases in 2013 to 23 in 2015.” He’s also been involved with peace negotiations and observing elections.
I recently turned 50, so I’ve been thinking a lot about aging and time and so on lately.
If you could go back in time and talk to your 20 year old self, what three pieces of advice would you give him to try to improve the decades he has ahead?
This is a tricky question. By my 20th birthday, I was already married, and two years later, I was separated. So:
Do I say to him what he ought to do in order to try to save the relationship OR assume those facts to be immutable. and advise him how to survive it better?
If it were the former, I might insist that we not allow boarders, who I didn’t even know, to live in the apartment. I might have been more willing to go with her to the Philadelphia Folk Festival in August 1974, and if I didn’t, to be more direct in finding out what happened hat led to her fortnightly treks out of town the next six weeks, something I don’t know to this day.
If it were the latter, I would suggest seeking counseling earlier, drinking less in 1974-75, save more money, do more exercise… But you know, and I’ve said this before, probably recently, all of those good and bad decisions made me who I am today, for better or worse. I’m not sure he’d believe what I’d say anyway. It’s like at the end of The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy realizes that she had to find out for herself.
Has it become harder to maintain any interest you have in football, as the head-injury thing becomes more and more clear?
I saw the movie Concussion, about a doctor (Will Smith) dealing with this very subject, CTE, in the National Football League a few months ago; it’s a good, not great, film. In the film, another person not from the United States explains to the doctor the sheer beauty of the sport.
So, not yet. Well, maybe, in that The Daughter thinks watching football is stupid, and a lot of that comes from the head injury debate. The Wife has never particularly enjoyed the sport. So it’s taken a hit in viewing in my household to those rare times that I have the TV home alone on a Sunday afternoon.
VERY seldom do I watch TV much after 9 p.m., including football, because it’s bad for my sleep cycle.
Now the league, in particular, could do more. The one game I watched at any length this past season was the New York Giants (my team in my childhood) against the Carolina Panthers (playing in the city my late parents moved to). The officials should have bounced Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for repeated helmet-smacking of cornerback Josh Norman, including a head-first attack.
Strawberry. My favorite yogurt is strawberry. My favorite ice cream is strawberry. My favorite sundae topping is strawberry. For a time, when we used to go to IHOP, I would order the Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity strawberry topping on my pancakes, in part because I liked saying “Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity.” As though one wouldn’t.
There’s a local convenience store chain around these parts called Stewart’s and they make decent ice cream. But they’ve ceased selling strawberry by itself, only with vanilla, or with vanilla and chocolate. One CAN get a hand-packed strawberry pint, though.
What’s inside your perfect taco? (And is the shell hard or soft?)
It’s softshell – that’s easy. Guacamole, tomatoes, and lettuce. It has to have onions, and of course, cheese.
I don’t eat that much pork generally, so the taco is probably shredded pork, though chicken or beef are good too. But shredded. I’ve seen these things with solid meat, or fish, and they don’t say “taco” to me.
Just as get to the point that I don’t care, I have to figure out what someone else would consider a guilty pleasure.
In the HuffPo, Michelle Comb, who owns up to be 52, suggests there is an octet of things she’s too old for. “Time does change a person and I am finding that it is easier to accept these changes than to fight them.
“These are things for which the ship has sailed:”
1. Shutting up. There IS something about 50. I started this blog at 52, and I think people know that I have opinions, and I’m willing to share them. (Whereas some people who read my Times Union blog are willing to attribute to my thoughts that I did not express.)
My current feelings about politics and religion are rather clear, with the caveat that they can be changeable. However, writing about things sometimes codifies my thoughts, such as why Daylight Saving Time is stupid (doesn’t save energy, causes accidents, and heart attacks).
The librarian’s caveat is that I try not to go off half-cocked about an alleged injustice that is easily disproved in Snopes. There are a LOT of problems in this world, and I don’t have time for tilting at imaginary windmills.
2. Worrying how I look to others. For some reason, my receding hairline, or graying hair and beard has seldom been a source of distress.
I realized a long while back that I’m fat, and that fat people on bicycles are funny to some passersby.
3. Guilty Pleasures. Just as get to the point that I don’t care, I have to figure out what someone else would consider a guilty pleasure. Listening to ABBA? Nah.
Maybe it’s watching the TV show Grey’s Anatomy, still. I remember one summer, when my family was at his family’s house, when Fred Hembeck explained how he was loyal to shows, no matter how much off the rails they went. He was probably talking about Desperate Housewives. Well, Grey’s is my DH. It has an absurd number of regulars whose characters have been killed off
4. Uncomfortable shoes. Going back at least to 7th grade, my feet have always been a problem. I’d been wearing sneakers, usually Chuck Taylors, for years. If I had to wear something more formal, they’d still be Rockports. Now, at the Wife’s suggestion, I wear a couple of pair of Keen shoes (pictured), which are more like sandals.
5. Making excuses for my messy house. This is slightly trickier because my somewhat younger wife is still holding on to the notion that the house can be neat. And we have different senses of “neat”; her papers on the kitchen counter is clutter to me, while the pile of clothes in the corner of our bedroom is problematic to her.
6. Accumulating stuff I don’t need. This is definitely true. Except for books. And an annual Hess toy truck.
7. Spending unnecessary time with people I don’t like. This doesn’t seem to be an issue with me at present.
8. Finding the good in every person I know. Well, not EVERY person. But I DO see good in a lot of people with whom I vigorously disagree. I don’t think that is the issue.
One of my sisters was having an issue with someone, and this other person, ancillary to the primary conflict, started inserting himself in the conversation, attacking her on the phone and in email; I’ve seen the latter. Oh, yeah, he’s a “pastor” of some sort. And he’s a tool. I COULD say he’s being a friend to the other guy, but he’s just feeding him poison.
Ever walk into a room, stop halfway in, and wonder why you were there..in that room?
Sure you have.
Or forgotten a word for a few minutes? Even a whole phrase?!
These times are laughingly called “seniors moments” or “brain farts” and they happen to most older people. They are, however, damned annoying and embarrassing when they happen…
You begin to worry about dementia.. how long do you have left before one of your loving relatives calls your doctor and tries to have you committed to a “old folks home” or the funny farm? How long before you can’t remember what your name is?
The bottom line is that we of a “certain age” know so much, generally, more than younger people, “simply by virtue of having been around longer,” an older brain has to go through more stuff – suddenly, Black is Black by Los Bravos pops into my head from a K-Tel Records ad! – to retrieve information. Factor that in and “the aging ‘deficits’ largely disappeared.”
My wife was baking muffins and was out of baking soda and wanted to know what she could use instead. I have no idea, and in fact, have confused baking soda with baking powder. I do know, once upon a time, I used one instead of the other in making pancakes, took one bite of the bitter batter concoction and threw them out.
Found this website, Baking Soda Substitutes, which reads: “For each 1 teaspoon baking soda in the recipe, substitute 4 teaspoons of double acting baking powder.” It worked well!
But I still don’t have a deep understanding of what each of them does. And I suppose I don’t care enough to learn.
Sometimes I use words or phrases people don’t understand.
I wrote to one friend, “I namechecked you in my last blog post.” And I had to explain that namecheck merely meant that I mentioned her. “The Peter, Paul and Mary song I Dig Rock & Roll Music namechecks the Mamas & the Papas and the Beatles and Donovan.”
She, BTW, sent me a link to this Louis CK video, Older People are Smarter. Which they are, BTW, but younger people often don’t understand this. She was concerned I might find it profane. Interestingly, no. I wouldn’t USE the language, but hearing the language didn’t bother me (and it might bother you, or not.).
To another friend, I said something was a PITA, and she asked what THAT meant. I wrote back, “Pain In The Butt.”
There was this third example I can’t remember presently, and they all happened within a 24-hour period. The overriding point is that sometimes I think I’m being clear, yet I feel misunderstood. I suspect all of us feel that way some of the time.
I was telling a friend a story about an incident, and my friend interrupts, “Oh, you told that story.” Except that I hadn’t, because this iteration had a different (and more annoying) twist to it.