Just before New Year’s Eve I was standing outside the U.S. Post Office right next door to Stroker’s Deli – for those of you who do not live in Shrewsbury, New Jersey, please know that this exact spot is where one can be assured of meeting friends and neighbors from this close knit community at any hour of the day. Sundays are a bit slower but you do get a different crowd. You know, the gang that commutes to the city for work Monday through Friday.
I had come out of the post office and run right into a friend of many years who immediately said (no ‘hi, how are you?’), “So what’s up with that column you write for the PATCH? It’s been nothing but saccharin for several weeks now - all that sweet holiday stuff.”
I explained that it was, after all, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah and I had thought I would keep things light. We talked for about 20 minutes and he reminded me as we parted that he was looking forward to something with a ‘little meat’ in the columns as we got into 2012.
The definition of ‘grouse’ is - to grumble; to complain.
I have been accused of doing a bit of grousing in this column. I’d rather look at it as ‘pointing out things that could certainly be improved upon’.
With that goal in mind I’ll share with you some experiences and thoughts I have had leading up to and during the holiday season.
I called a local pharmacy. I asked the person who answered the phone if the store carried DVDs. A young man replied, “I don’t know, I work in the back of the store.” Hm. I asked to be transferred to someone in the FRONT of the store. A woman picked up: “How may I help you?” Told my question she said, “I think so but I’m at the register and I can’t walk over and see.” Okay. I asked, “Is there someone there who might be able to answer my inquiry?” Click. In a few seconds the line was picked up again and a male voice said, “Can I help you?”
My question placed once again, the male voice said,”Yes, we do carry DVDs.” “Great”, say I, “do you have The Brides Maids?” “Sorry, I’m in the back of the store, I have no idea.”
A few days later in a store that does photo processing (few and far between by the way) I inquired, “Can I get a Passport photo done here?” Response, “Yes.”
Smiling I exclaim, “Good, I’ll get it taken right now.” Response, “Oh, you can’t get it done today, the equipment is down.” I question, “When will the equipment be up again?”
Looking at me like I’m a crazy person the guy says, “Oh, well, I don’t know. You’ll have to ask the guy who does the processing.” “Okay, where can I find him?” “He’s not in today – the equipment is down.” Help!
It was reported on the news one night that New York Governor Cuomo proposed a bill that, if passed, would require all coaches to inform the police if they witness or suspect abuse. Duh! It has to be a law?
I’m still hearing and reading about organizations and schools that brought goodie bags; foods of all kinds; musical shows; goodwill and cheer to nursing homes, homeless shelters, shut-ins and others in need. Here’s a thought: what say we spread all this goodness out over the year. The hungry are hungry in May and June. I have a friend who can’t get out. I visit him when I can. Saw him last week. His apartment looks like a bakery. He kept shoving cookies and cakes at me proclaiming, “It’s going to go bad before I can possibly eat it all. Please, take something.”
Also, people, all people, me too, love to hear young voices lifted in song. It is just as joyous in February or September as in December. Just a thought.
How come the major networks won’t carry advertising for female sexual enhancement oils? If I see one more advertisement warning the user that an erection of over four hours might need to be remedied I’m going to scream. Woman unite – demand equal time.
Requests going out for prayers for the guy married to Mariah Carey. Some sort of kidney problem because he didn’t hydrate in a climate he was not used to while on vacation. I don’t know the man, I wish him no ill – my prayers of late have gone to friends who have buried loved ones; the woman in NYC who buried her 3 children and parents on the same day; the hungry and suffering of the world; all those without jobs now for 2, 3 years. Ah, gimme a break – dehydration! Said a prayer for the guy anyway – oh, that Catholic guilt.
On Monday next – Jan. 9 – CBS is premiering a new early morning show. It is said that it will be a true ‘news’ show as in days of old. No pimping for the network’s evening shows or daytime shows for that matter. No foo-foo at all. I’ll be watching – I’m honing my grousing skills as I think about it. I’ll let you know.
C.M. McLoughlin, a writer and editor from New Jersey and New York, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.