I’m suffering from multiple generation gaps, what you cannot get in Kentucky, and a few thoughts about unsurprising surprises, on sale this week only…
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The most influential person in the world, surefire questions for your next encounter at a cocktail party, and the rudest of the rude…all bubbling up in my cerebral cortex this week.
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I saw this guy I know with a woman who isn’t his wife and it was clearly a test of my decency. I flunked.
Minding my own business at lunch, I see a car pull up outside the window and an old friend got out. I had to look twice, because he lives so far away and the restaurant wasn’t exactly the kind of place he raves about on social media. Hah, what are the odds of a chance encounter like this?
Then he goes to the passenger door and opens it and this younger woman gets out of the car. Not his wife, not his daughter, maybe a business associate or a potential customer or a cousin or an in-law or…something else.
Because, let’s face it, I’m human and I watch TV and movies and I know what’s what in this world of ours. I jumped immediately to hanky, or panky, or both, because it couldn’t be that he was in a far-off location with a younger woman and it was completely innocent. I kept checking them out, from a distance, as they shared a meal. No hand holding, but there were no tablets and notepads on the table, either. Could be innocent, could be guilty, and I concluded that it 127% had to be the latter.
Which says more about me than him, really, since I have lunch with women who are not my wife and there’s nothing going on when I’m doing it. Of course, I secretly want people to suspect something, because it might mean I’ve got game, but the truth is always much less interesting. Apparently, I’m not exciting enough to be a suspect of any sort.
Actually, that’s not 100% accurate. Last year, my wife took a spill and hit her head. No major damage, luckily, but she ended up with a black eye for a couple of weeks. And every time we went to a restaurant, I could spot people checking out our table and thinking exactly what I would have thought—frequently have thought—when I’ve seen a purple bruise on the woman at a table for two. I’d have taken offense at their presumptions about me, except for that whole pot-and-kettle thing.
So I watched the couple at their table for a while, if they were a couple at all, and decided not to stop by and say hello. Maybe I was being discreet and maybe I was being rude. I’ll probably never know, which is fine. It’s none of my business really and I’m fine with not knowing the things I don’t have reason to know, even if I’m pretty sure I really know all of it.
Still, by the time I left the restaurant, I was feeling just a little bit less comfortable with myself. When did I make the leap from trusting to cynical? When did I conclude that I’m the only guy who can be trusted in this world? Whenever I crossed that line, I’m not completely sure I like the new me.
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Okay, that’s it. I need a purse. Not a man pouch or a murse or a fanny pack…an actual, bonafide, any-woman-would-use-it purse.
Because it’s time I face reality. There aren’t enough pockets for all the crap I have to carry around these days.
I can’t leave the apartment without my phone, of course, and my wallet is bulging with must-have entry cards, transit cards, store loyalty cards, credit cards and a few scraps of legal tender in case the system crashes at Dunkin’ Donuts. (Sorry, they just call it Dunkin’ now, because it would be branding heresy to actually mention the product.)
With all the member/loyalty/credit/debit/gift cards loaded in, my wallet is now four inches thick, even after I’ve tossed out the condoms I hid so hopefully in high school.
Then there’s the sunglasses, the comb and the handkerchief, because the mark of a true man is that he carries a hankie, plus the reading glasses I need now to see the text on my phone. And I’m a writer, so I always need to have a pen and some note cards handy, along with a little binder for the note cards and an extra pen, just in case. I live in a Blue State, so I need to carry a mask when I’m out of my apartment, and then there are the keys for the car, the apartment, the storage locker, the list goes on.
When I stuff it all into my pants and shirt pockets, I look like a prickly pear in bloom, or a really bad shoplifter. And it goes without saying that I’m bulging in all the wrong places.
For a while, office dress codes were my salvation. I had to wear a suit, and suits have a ton of extra pockets, so I found a way to spread the lumps so that I looked no more than 40 pounds overweight. On the plus side, I looked less rotund than people expected when I took off my jacket and I was getting great cardio carrying my supplies around all day.
But the days of suits are gone and I’m running out of tricks to get everything into place. Absolutely, I need a purse. Not just any purse, though. I need a manly purse, a leather bag with a bicycle chain for a strap, steel buckles and a clasp that looks like a deadbolt. I need a purse that’s too threatening to get through airport security, the kind that says, “I’m here, I’m cisgender, get used to it.”
Carrying a purse won’t be the toughest part of this adjustment to reality, though. Worse, I’m going to have to apologize to all the women I’ve mocked for carrying ridiculously large, overstuffed purses with enough supplies for a three-hour tour.
All in good fun, ladies, just kidding around, really laughing with you and not at you, you know. Now that I’m joining the sisterhood of traveling apothecaries, all is forgiven, right?
Hmm…maybe I should just buy some cargo shorts and a safari vest. Who knows? I might start a fashion trend.
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Now that we’re starting our third year of this thing, it’s time to revisit our mass delusions…
Who writes this stuff?
Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.