Author: winter b

Midday Matinee – Scenes from a coffee shop

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. I am sitting in my favorite coffee shop sipping my four shots of espresso (guaranteed to amp me up enough that you could probably run a toaster by plugging it into my ear) when I hear a bit of an ado from the vicinity of the counter.  A woman, voice raised, is dumping bile all over the barista because, “I always get Earl Grey tea, this is not Earl Grey, and you messed up yesterday, too!”  The barista, looking like a deer in the headlights, apologizes profusely and pours a fresh tea. News flash: this coffee shop does not and never has brewed Earl Grey tea.  They make only two blends, one green and one black, and neither are Earl Grey.  But the poor barista can hardly tell her that. Things settle down, people come and go, ordering their preferences in nearly infinite variety.  It always amazes me that so few orders get screwed up.  The baristas know the regulars, greet them warmly, and if possible have even started to brew your drink before you get in the door. My four shots are almost gone and I think about going to get another four, but there’s a line now.  The lunch hour rush has begun to arrive.  Sixteen shots?  Did that guy actually say he wanted...

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Midday Matinee – Faithful, loyal, and rescued

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. I don’t know who you are, and I don’t know much about you. But I do know something very important: Your faithful, loyal friend was waiting for you right beside the road where you left him. He wasn’t looking very good. His ribs were sticking out enough that you could see them at 45 mph as you passed. It was obvious he hadn’t eaten in a long time, and just as obvious that he hadn’t been brushed in months. He stood there right on the shoulder, panting in the Florida heat, watching every car that approached. He was looking for you. Other people stopped and tried to help. But he darted away, because there was just one person he wanted. Hungry, lonely, but loyal, he was sure you were going to come back. You always did before. He stayed in the same place so you could find him. He wouldn’t let anyone else near because he didn’t want to fail you by being gone when you returned. He was drinking muddy pond water, and probably had worms. And he wasn’t eating, because, you see, he never learned to hunt. He was used to food coming in a bowl from your hand. He didn’t have the skills you just assumed...

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Midday Matinee – Monkids? Monkey Moms?

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. They call themselves Monkey Moms, and their “forever babies” Monkids. Cute? Maybe not. I understand the desire to have a pet. I understand the desire to have a baby. What I do not understand is why anyone in their right minds would think a monkey of any type would fit either bill. I am among the first to think monkeys are cute, especially the smaller species. And when they’re babies, they do indeed remind us of infants with their huge eyes and clinging behavior. But to take one of these animals in your home, raise it as a child, and think it will be your “forever baby” is abusive to the monkey, and stupid to the extreme. It makes no more sense than bringing a lion cub into your home and then wondering why you have problems when it’s no longer a cub. Monkeys are wild animals with needs and instincts, and most of those needs and instincts don’t match up with life indoors, sitting in a high chair and eating a human diet. As these “babies” grow, they become more aggressive, and when frustrated can do serious harm to humans, other pets, and your house. Seventy percent of monkeys being raised by humans develop diabetes. In the wild, no monkeys...

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Midday Matinee – A little help, please?

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. In a desert you can find more hospitality and human caring than you can find on most city streets. In a barren place which provides almost nothing for subsistence, you can find the greatest generosity. (More) I recently watched a TV show starring Dr. Zahi Hawass, the guy who runs the Egyptian Antiquities program. It’s sort of like Indiana Jones with attitude, and Dr. Hawass has plenty of attitude. But fundamentally, as tough and even temperamental as he can be, he shows at heart an instinctive kindness when someone is hurt, in danger, or in need. You kind of wonder where that comes from, given his difficult nature. Well, I think I found out, and it’s something we could all learn from. In the episode, Dr. Hawass, his archeological fellows and assistant, and a camera crew, had to take a detour because of military exercises. Dr. Hawass drove them out into the desert to an oasis where they could spend the night.  By the time they arrived, his assistant was seriously ill. At once the good doctor’s concern kicked in and he determined the man needed to eat, since they hadn’t had any food since leaving the city seven hours earlier. But the food they had brought with them had spoiled in...

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Furthermore! – Sisyphus and 9-1-1

Imagine you’re walking along a high ridge and you see a large boulder poised on the very lip. Amazingly, it’s been hanging there like that forever. Then you brush it by accident and it starts rolling. Not even Sisyphus could stop its fall. But he’ll try. We all think we’re familiar with what happens when someone calls 9-1-1. We’ve seen it countless times in movies, and we’ve even seen people make a call, discover they’ve made a mistake, and cancel the call. Well, that’s not quite true. You see, I dialed 9-1-1 by accident yesterday, and I subsequently watched an amazing, embarrassing, and ultimately astonishing boulder roll down a hill. And, like Sisyphus, I could push back against it, but it just kept rolling. I had dialed an insurance agent. I thought. Imagine my surprise when the voice that answered immediately was, “County 9-1-1. What is your emergency?” I caught my breath and answered, “I’m sorry. I don’t have an emergency. I must have misdialed.” Pleasant young man, hereafter “He”:  That’s quite all right, ma’am. Are you sure you’re all right?” Me:  “I’m fine, I just misdialed. I’m so sorry.” “No problem. It happens. But you’re sure you’re okay?” “Absolutely.” “Great. May I have your name and address please, so I can close out the call?” Now of course he had my address right off, it was on his screen. But I obligingly answered. “And you’re sure there’s no...

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