GET THE PICTURE?
I want to slam January’s icy clutches in the door of an old Buick, punch its gloomy face with my frozen fists, and kick its windy, bone-chilling backside with steel-toed boots until my grumpiness goes away. And that may take a while.
The only thing I want from despicable, wretched January is one–just one!–HEAVY snow, the kind that drapes the woods in a blanket of stillness and embraces the moonlight in shimmering beauty, the kind that provides a few days of peaceful solitude before quickly melting in the blazing sunshine of a heat wave. And if I can’t have that one heavy snow (and every day it’s looking more and more like I can’t), then I want January to take its miserable self and march right on out of here.
And it doesn’t help my mood that my yearly physical falls in January, long before I’ve had a chance to rid myself of holiday excesses. Today, in fact, I am making the two-hour trek in order to pay a large sum of money for the opportunity of sitting in a germ-infested waiting room, followed by the pleasure of having blood drained from my arm and being told once again that I’m shorter than I thought I was and heavier than I really am. (Seriously, in this “high-tech” world in this “digital” age, is it too much to ask that the doctor offices finally start using digital scales to weigh us instead of relying on the good humor of an overworked nurse who, with one quick flick of her index finger, can slide that balance beam a few pounds to the right just for the heck of it?)
But that’s not the only thing stealing my sunshine this cold, gloomy January and turning me into a grumpy old woman whose withering stare could make even grumpy old men like Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathau melt into their ice fishing boots. I’m also fed up with the dry, itchy skin that crackles no matter how much lotion I apply, the bones that creak and joints that ache no matter how many Advil I swallow, and the nose that drips no matter how many times I sniffle or blow. And while I’m at it, I’ve had just about enough of the static that sends my hair strands shooting in 27 different directions while plastering my crumpled clothes to my electrified body in a most unflattering way.
And since I’m on a negativity roll, here are a few more little things currently grating on my nerves:
- Waiting in line behind people scratching off one lottery ticket after another at the convenience store counter. I realize if they win a couple bucks, they will want to immediately invest it in even more lottery tickets, but should the rest of us have to pretend patience while they litter the counter with silver shavings and prevent us from paying for our purchases and going on our merry way?
- Ordering water with a meal at a fast-food drive-up window and being told that water is not an option–or that it will cost more. Are we actually supposed to believe that you don’t have access to a water faucet–or is that a cup of water from the faucet is more expensive than a soft drink from the soda fountain–or that the two extra steps to the faucet is so much more labor intensive? Geesh.
- Witnessing messes left by lazy people for others to clean up. Yard sale signs left taped to the stop signs, political campaign signs left littering the roadsides, food left splattered on the inside of the microwave, trash dropped on the floor, left on the table or thrown from the car window, and cigarette butts dropped anywhere–is it really that hard to clean up our messes and find appropriate receptacles for our rubbish?
- Being too frequently confronted with the phrase, “Now that you’re retired, could you . . .?” Okay, I know that I should have more time on my hands now, but amazingly, I don’t, and even if I did, I seriously haven’t finished de-stressing yet. (Can’t you tell?) And I’m not bored yet, either, so please stop asking me to take on new challenges. I will someday . . . probably . . . but not now.
- Watching someone cough or sneeze into his hands right before offering one of them for me to shake. Really? Even if we weren’t smack dab in the middle of one of the worst flu seasons in recent memory, I would still be mortified.
- Banging my knee on the desk, stubbing my toe on the door frame, dropping the curling iron on my neck and biting the inside of my cheek. Yes, I am self-destructive (in oh-so-many ways).
- Being exposed to Hardees commercials that use scantily clad women, sexually provocative postures and dripping condiments to sell burgers. And yes, I know sex is a tried and true marketing ploy that works–but that doesn’t mean I have to like it, agree with it, or ever buy your burgers again. And yes, maybe I did become a Diet Coke addict years ago because a rippled, shirtless construction worker was gulping one repeatedly on my television screen–but that was years ago when I was younger and not wise to the wicked ways of marketing.
- Watching a colorized version of “The Andy Griffith Show.” Andy, Barney, Opie, Aunt Bea and all the rest of the gang visit my living room every weekday, sandwiched between the depressing noon news and an even more depressing afternoon soap opera. And even though I’ve probably already seen every episode (more than once), I still enjoy the silly humor and predictable plotlines, especially when the condescending city slickers are taught a lesson by the humble country folks of Mayberry. The show is a sweet remnant of a simpler time, and for some reason broadcasting it in color just doesn’t seem right.
Somewhere, buried deep within my grouchy, grumbling being, are two little rays of sunshine known as Spring and Summer. Their light may be faint and barely visible to the rest of the world right now, but I know from previous Januarys that they really are there, and one of these days they will glimmer through that gallbladder cesspool of bile and bitterness–and everything will be right again.
And yes, I know, I should be counting my blessings and reminding myself of all the goodness that exists in my life, today and every day–and normally I would. But today, I just don’t want to. Do you ever have days like that–days when you’re crabby, cantankerous, crotchety and cross, and you would rather wallow in your misery than exert the effort to claw your way out? Country music singer Terri Clark may have said it best years ago: “Please don’t make me smile, I just want to be mad for awhile.”
Hurry up, February.
A few things that normally make me smile . . .