How I Learned to Appreciate the Fine Art of Humming

I hate people. I think I’ve mentioned this before. And admittedly, I’m a cynic. I’m a people-hating cynic, there… I’ve said it. I guess the silver lining, if there is a silver lining to being a people-hating cynic, is that I’m aware of it. I don’t live in denial. However, in recent years, I’ve been trying to temper my negative thought process. An incident that happened just this weekend brought this aspiration to the fore, and while I failed – utterly – in the moment, it did serve to enlighten me in moving forward.

Oh, it wasn’t anything dramatic. I was out grocery shopping, as is the norm in our consumer-based society, and besides, I was hungry… when I made a couple of observations about some people I came across in my quest for snacks.

The first was a young girl who was with her family in the cereal aisle. With a smile on her face, she was pushing the shopping cart in front of her and humming. Can you believe it? Humming! Happily, it seemed. And indeed, whatever song she was humming was bright and cheerful. What is she, I thought to myself, some carefree young kid?

Well, yes. That’s exactly what she was. My cynic’s mind put it down to her naivety about the world and continued with my shopping.

A while later, I passed an elderly gentleman. He was also happily humming to himself, albeit much more loudly. I thought it very strange. Two people humming in a supermarket in one day! What are the odds? Aren’t they annoyed by all the people crowding into the aisles, fighting for all the food!? Or that lady on her phone walking soooo slowly through the store and getting in everyone’s way? What about the thought of standing in the massive line at the single open check-out lane? I mean, come on! Who in their right mind would be humming when faced with such aggravations?

The girl I could kind of understand. She was a kid and kids can often see the brighter side of life that the rest of us miss. The man confused me though. He was older – maybe 80, and surely had experienced enough in life that he should be miserable, you know, as one does. How come he has the energy and enthusiasm to hum and send out positive vibes when doing something as mundane as grocery shopping? I’m only 50 and I was well on my way to losing it in aisle 9.

It was around this point that my train of thought derailed, and I realized that maybe, possibly, humming wasn’t that out of the ordinary. Being happy, even in public, could, in fact, be considered quite normal. I know, I know, but bear with me here, there’s more.

It wasn’t those people and their very public apparent happiness that was the problem. It was me. You’re shocked at this revelation, I know. I was too. It’s not that I don’t hum or sing the odd lyric under my breath, it’s just that, quite frankly, I would rather die than draw attention to myself. Sober, that is. And if I’m being honest, I still can’t fathom someone – let alone two someones – being so perky and upbeat in a grocery store, amid gads of people no less, that their happiness burst forth in song.

But just because I’m a curmudgeon doesn’t mean that other people are odd for simply being joyful. Let them spread a little bit of cheer, I say. Goodness knows, we’re all the better for it. Negativity is a vicious circle; it’s so easy to spread around that sometimes I think if it were a fatal disease, we’d all be dead in a matter of weeks.

The best course of action to keep negativity at bay?  Hum at the grocery store. Trust me. It works.

Exit… Stage Left

So. According to my daughter, my writing has never been a paragon of dignity. Okay, I’ll give her that one. After all, she’s not wrong.

With that said, thanks to my children (yes, I’m blaming my kids), my ability to hold back my…  ummm… oh, who cares, I’ll just say it. My ability to hold back my pee is nearly nonexistent. When I have to go, I have to go. And my body, being the asshole that it is, when it senses I’m near a bathroom, it upgrades the urinary crisis to a breaking point. Why is that? Does anyone else experience that? The closer you get to a bathroom, the more urgent the need becomes, to the point of … hey, I’m right here, but I still might not make it?

Sometimes, I tempt fate and wait almost too long to start the trek to the restroom. Who has time for constant bathroom breaks? I don’t. I’ve got better things to do. I’d put an end to bodily functions altogether, if it were up to me. And why do they call it a restroom, anyway? It’s not like we take a nap in there. I mean, I wish!

Anyway, I was at work today and threw caution to the wind in order to finish the marketing project I was working on. Oh, I made it, but barely.

And as I headed back to my office, once again unencumbered, however so briefly, by a needful bladder, I got to thinking.  What happens if that fateful day should arrive when I don’t make it in time?  Well, I’ll tell you, and this I know for certain.

I will go to my office, grab my coat, and without a backward glance or a word to anyone, I will simply walk out, never to return.  I will head East (or North, or West, or South… I don’t know, I’m geographically challenged, people!) until I can go no further. I will take a new name, put down roots in a new town, with a new job, and new people who will never, ever know of “the incident” that plagues my past.

They might speak of me around my “old” office, after I’m gone. But in the context of “that crazy woman in marketing who just up and walked out one day,” and NOT “the woman in the corner office who peed herself last Wednesday.”

I’m good with crazy. Oh yes. Definitely, crazy.

Calling Dibs… Feline Style

Don’t ever let it be said that I won’t share… and when my cat sticks her face down into my glass of bubbly carbonated fruit juice, I’m like, eh, whatever, have at it. But to then have the audacity to SNEEZE in my drink!?

Oh sure, the bubbles got up your nose, so you say, but I’m sorry, that’s simply taking it one step too far. Back in the day, I used to lick the Oreos so my brother wouldn’t eat them… I know what you’re doing here, my feline friend.

don’t be fooled, cats understand boundaries perfectly well… they just don’t care.

Ghostly Domestics

How often have you been walking or driving through a rural area, be it the countryside or an old, overgrown lane and come across a house like this?

I know, right? Happens to me all the time.  It can be unnerving and yet… wouldn’t you want to explore?  A building so old and neglected that you can’t believe it’s still in one piece. Far from anyone else, hidden in a remote location, obviously teeming with creepy ambiance and that unshakable feeling that there is a presence peering through a window or around a corner, just out of your peripheral vision. You strive mightily to convince yourself it’s just your imagination because it can’t be a ghost. Although, really, this would be the perfect place for a ghost to take up residence. Which is silly because, I mean, ghosts don’t need to live anywhere.

But what if they did.

It’s a tough economy for everyone, including the dearly departed. Owning a house on your own, even one as dilapidated as this one, costs a hell of a lot of money, and I’m sorry, but ghosts are no exception to the rules of economy.

You know what that means. Roommates, baby! I for one would happily give up a little supernatural privacy to have a desolate waterfront mansion or a cottage getaway in a lonely wood.  It’d be a hell of a lot quieter than my current abode; I know that much.

Can you imagine sharing a house or apartment with a ghost? There’s no telling what they might get up to. You’d want to be careful as to what kind of spirit you get into a living arrangement with, though. Word that roommate ad meticulously, folks. You could get lucky and end up more on the Casper-the-Friendly-Ghost side of the spectrum, where you eventually become best buddies and have a rapport that could start a hit TV-show, or you could end up with one of those assholes from the “Paranormal Activity” films or “Insidious.”  In this instance you just know there would be no point in telling them to do their share of the dishes, as all they seem to know how to do is wreck the place and then expect you to clean it up. Sort of like flesh and blood roommates when you get down to it.

Having a spectre for a roomie could come in handy in some ways. No home invasion worries, for one thing. No need to be anxiety-ridden over trying to remember whether you locked the doors or not. If burglars decide they want to try anything, all you need to do is get your ghostly roommate to go and have a word with them, and even the most nefarious criminals would go running.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m fascinated with ghosties. Demons, not so much. But ghosties, they’re pretty cool. As a roommate, if they left me be, I’d leave them be. Except perhaps when I needed something, like revelations about the afterlife, or getting something down from a high shelf (short people problems).

Some folks aren’t so lucky and end up with more of an Exorcist-type deal, where they get a mean-spirited um… spirit… in their house whether they like it or not. I’ve heard stories of where people are so distressed with demonic goings-on that they call on priests and bishops to banish the paranormal pains-in-the-you-know-what.

Having already been married to hell on earth, I’m not all that impressed with bad behavior, even of the demonic variety. I just foresee the demon getting tired of one-upping his game to get a reaction other than a bored “this again, Balthazar? You have tough shoes to fill you know, and I’m just not feeling it.” And then, after discussing his grave irritation over an ethereal cocktail with his friends at the Brimstone Club, he’d follow their sage advice and move on to a more impressionable soul.

And me?  Well, while I wouldn’t mind a spooky housemate, my rules against chain rattling at odd hours of the night, not to mention my aversion to eerie noises – or rather, noises in general –  might just limit the applicant pool.