Showing posts with label snowbirds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label snowbirds. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

An Unidentified Sail on the Horizon

Today's homework is none other than an essay (about 30 pages long) that any fan of William James would include on his greatest hits album: "A Certain Blindness in Human Beings," contained in a larger book on Gutenberg.

Me and the boys were at Starbucks again, halfway through a bicycle ride. As usual the blarney spilled over the curb and flowed out to the shopping mall parking lot.

Then an older woman -- interrupting yet another shopping trip for yet another trinket, no doubt -- walked up to our table, and began to ask some questions. She appeared quizzical. Her reception was not unfriendly by our group. She seemed to think that a kaffee-klatsch of bald/grey/white heads in bicycle garb was so silly that only politeness kept her from laughing out loud. Perhaps it we presented ourselves well, her good nature would have granted us the status of licensed lunatics. I wasn't even going to try to please her. Instead, I seethed at the old crone's presumptuousness in even having an opinion on a group as admirable as ours.

Snowbird country is filled with people resembling her. You know the stereotype. How could she possibly appreciate what this group of older cyclists was capable of? Of course, I was just as blind to anything interesting, significant, or non-routine in her, because I had already reduced her to a demographic stereotype.

And in her defense, how could she know what road-cycling meant to me? Recall that I am rereading Patrick O'Brian's "Master and Commander" series of novels. It is doubtful that any of the cyclists at the table would have appreciated how pleasant it is to imagine cycling through the windy and flat lettuce fields of Yuma, AZ, while under the influence of these nautical novels. I hope to explain in the next episode. 

Frequently I decide to make a blog-post out of explaining some odd little experience or observation. 'Where there is smoke, there is fire,' is a useful old adage. Getting upset with the old crone when nobody else did, seemed like one of those minor things that could reveal something more important. We shall see.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Combat in a Snowbird Laundromat

People think of retirement and snowbirding as a low-stress lifestyle. Well it is in many ways, but not in all.

After shopping in the Walmart and putting the stuff away in my van, out in their parking lot, I threw a couple standard plastic bags full of household trash into the shopping cart, and started rolling the cart to one of the corrals in the middle of the parking lot, where I could throw the trash bags into the waste cans. But before I got ten feet, an old biddie started chewing me out, "That's not a garbage truck!", or something like that. I guess she thought I was going to just leave the trash in the cart, instead of throwing it in the trashcan at the cart corral. What gave her the right to assume the wrong thing?

But then I noticed the Old Biddie's license plate: B.C., Bolshevik Columbia. That explains that. Albertans, Saskatchewanners, and Manitobans are the nice Canadians, you know. You don't suppose that I'm displaying the longitudinal loyalties and prejudices of a typical snowbird, do you?

Then there is the little matter of using the laundromat, some of which are open 24 hours a day. I found a new one that didn't threaten me with cramped demolition derby parking; and that's good, because that's what you usually find inside a laundromat in snowbird country. Woe unto you if you grab a cart that one of the Old Biddies thinks is "hers": expect to get a tongue-lashing as bad as you might get if, say, you were to leave the toilet seat up at an Escapee campground.

It would help so much if the aisles were just wider at those dreadful laundromats. But luck was with me: many Yuma snowbirds fly home for a few days over the holidays, and many others don't even arrive in Yuma until after the holidays. So it was pretty relaxed in there this morning. If only the Old Biddie, who was using the dryer above mine, would move 18" so I could get into my dryer. Geez I hate bumping people all the time -- slow moving people who can't twist their necks, can't see, can't hear, can't...

Finally I put on a nice smile and said as pleasantly as I could that I just needed a little space to get into my dryer. (She had her cart parked right up against my dryer. Why not two feet away?) She got a little cross with me and replied that she needed more time to finish what she was doing.

Actually it's funny to see how uncomfortable bourgeois-snowbirdesses can be in a public laundromat. Just think: somebody else used that machine before they did! How insulting to their respectability! 

When I first showed up in Yuma this year, after a 6 year hiatus, it was fun to walk around the stores and feel so young compared to all the olde fossils. But then I noticed they were making eye contact with me as well as small talk, as if they were peers of mine. What an impertinence!

In that laundromat I noticed that one of the female customers -- a blue-haired one! -- looked sort of "interesting." Oh gawd has it come to this?!

A friend once suggested I read "Kabloona" (White Man), a book written by a French anthropologist who lived amongst the Esquimaux around World War II. Once he joked that he never seriously desired to have a harem of Eskimo women. At least, not at the beginning of his stay. But after a year or two, they  actually started to look good to him. Good heavens, is that happening to me in Yuma?

Believe it or not I enjoyed doing the laundry at this place. Yea, it was over-priced, but the machines were large, worked well, and the whole place was clean. A full time RVer sees so many dreadful laundromats that it feels just plain luxurious to be at a good one. The same feeling of celebration couldn't be gotten from many hours and a thousand dollars of Christmas shopping or presents.