The Uphill Slide

There is always something.

What Doesn’t Work?


Right now? Me.

You do mean work for a salary? Bring home a paycheck. That kind of work. You don’t mean all those things I do and did for others? Women. Always complaining that family is oblivious and blind to the things we do. Picking up the mail or scrubbing a stain or fixing the internet or preparing dinner (kinda’ went on strike there several years ago. Lost the passion in the joy of cooking. You ever heard the giveth then taketh away compliment? It’s gooood but….did you do something different?) And there’s babysitting. Love them to death and wouldn’t miss these years. But it’s still work. You can like your work.

Feeling (emoji would be perfecto in this space but still can’t figure out how to add them to WordPress) frustrated today. Drinking my coffee on my little porch and watching cars drive 55 mph in the pouring rain on a residential street. Am I just getting old when I want to scream, “Slow the fuck down!” Then again, I’m guilty of occasionally disobeying the speed limit.

I came back from dropping off my daughter and grandson frustrated. I didn’t leave that way so someone pissed me off. The car is making chain-like rattling noises and awesome squeaks in reverse. I call them the getting old noises. What’s wrong? If I knew that…I stopped at Honda to make an appointment with the squeaky clean appointment setter in the button-down shirt standing behind a podium. I describe my noises. Next appointment in two weeks. I can’t drive my grandson in a dangerous vehicle that long! I’ll see if the Honda dealer where we bought it can get me in sooner. Or maybe some local mechanic. Who to trust? And what if it’s still under warranty? And it’s Friday. It’s always Friday. No, it’s not always Friday. Just seems like that.

Now the phone is ringing, an 814 area code. I hesitantly said, “Hello?” She says, “Barb?” A friend. She’s rattling on about how hard I am to get hold of (I usually don’t answer the phone.) and talking about a grandchild. I can’t place her. Who is it? She’s put me off guard. Kudos. Now she’s launched into the spiel about breast cancer and the ladies. Does she mean women or is she talking about the boobies? “No,” I answer to her request. She’s not giving up. But neither am I. Can she please, please send just the small envelope for $15 so the ladies know I haven’t forgotten them. Is she going to tell them that Barb didn’t even give $15 ? Is she threatening to expose me as a selfish cheap skate? I feel the need to apologize and explain. Oh, they train those people so well to manipulate you into guilting yourself. But I still didn’t give the $15. I have a new way of thinking about charitable donations. She had no idea. A podcast or article speaker/writer said charity could get more bang for the buck if we would pour all our donation money into just one organization instead of splintering into little ($15) donations to dozens of organizations. That made sense. Think about where my $15 is really going. To pay her salary and for her phone and the phone line and maybe a room (or she’s deducting home office expenses and taking some money from the government) and the envelope and ink and stamp that I might just throw in the trash because I’ve had a few days to change my mind. Or maybe I say send it to shut her up and never send any money. If I do send it back, then someone gets paid to open it and account for it and distribute it. “Administrative costs” is where the money is. Those costs we forget about in investments and retirement accounts and earn companies millions. The cost of doing business or charity. So I did pick one organization but I’m not telling because someone will say that one isn’t worthy. And I still feel guilty to say no. I do care about eradicating breast cancer. And yes, I do still give that occasional $15 to a better sales pitch or on a day when I’m feeling just a bit more charitable.

Now I’m hurriedly typing this before my internet shuts down on my Surface Pro. I randomly get thrown off, no connection although my little quarter circle on the task bar shows we’re connected. Is it the computer or Verizon? They’ll try to pass the buck probably. That service call. That’s work! Unpaid work. And I have several of those calls to make. If only someone had got things right to start with, I’d have lots more leisure time.

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