Thursday, August 15, 2013

Keyless Nightmare

At one time, every key I needed was on one ring, including the key to my classroom.  This helped me avoid having to spend hours each day retracing my steps, looking for my keys. I could not start my car unless I had all my keys, so there was no chance any needed one would remain in a purse I used the previous day. If I had to get into my parents’ home and eventually my children’s, there was no chance the key wasn’t with me.

Throughout my teaching career, I had a spiral stretchy on my key ring. After I parked at work, I opened my belt—those were the days my tops were always tucked into my pants—and slipped it through the stretchy. I was able to open every door and file cabinet throughout the day without once having to search for my keys. Never were my keys left in the ladies’ room or in the teachers’ planning room. They did not come off of my belt until I returned home at the end of the work day.

The only snag to my plan for a stress-free life with respect to my keys was the whereabouts of them within my home. I had (and still haven’t) disciplined myself to put them in the same place when entering the house. Since this was an ongoing problem, like finding my car in the supermarket parking lot, I made sure the keys were on top of my purse before turning in for the night otherwise I risked being late for work.

I shed the stretchy when I retired for only one reason. Friends said it didn’t make a positive fashion statement. After I drove to my destination, the keys were tossed into my purse. When departing, it was not unusual for me to have to dump the contents of my bag to find my keys. However, once I realized that what goes in eventually must come out and provide me with the necessary tool to start my car, I no longer fretted about my keys.

Last year, we needed a new car. My husband insisted we purchase a keyless one which meant I would need a fob to start the car. As long as it is near the vehicle, it could to start. Hubby’s rationing was that this engineering was the wave of the future, and if we bought an old-fashioned car that used keys, it would have less resale value. Cars come under his domain in our home—cooking and laundry is mine—so I listened. Big mistake.

First, the fob feels like a one pound lead weight. When I did my daily power walk with it attached to my other keys, it felt like I was walking with a weight in one pocket. Obviously, it had to come off the ring. For the first time in the 53 years I am driving, my house keys and car “key” are no longer on one ring. I keep the fob in my purse, but this in itself causes a problem. I have lost count of how many times I have left the house, locked the door, got in the car and it would not start. Angrily, I had to retrace my steps and retrieve the purse I carried the day before where I would find the fob nestled in a pocket.

Reverse the above frustration. I drove to our community’s clubhouse only to discover my keys needed to open the locked door never made the trip. Things have gotten worse, not better.

The other day I went food shopping. When done, I exited the store and headed for my car. I placed my hand on the magic spot near the trunk and nothing happened. I stood in the blazing South Florida summer sun and searched my purse to no avail. I dumped the contents into one of the plastic shopping bags. How on earth was I able to drive here?  Then I remembered Hubby Dearest was standing next to the car when I started it and backed out of the garage…






Thursday, August 1, 2013

Words With Friends Friends

Words With Friends Friends

During my lifetime I have developed different categories of friends, as we all have. Like most people, I have family friends, social friends, work friends, organization friends, and neighborhood friends. There are inner circle friends—the ones on the wedding and special occasion celebration lists—and outer circle. They are people you like, but for a zillion reasons never you invited each other to dinner, but will send get well cards if needed.

During the last decade, I developed a totally new class of friends—social media friends. My Space was where I got my feet wet. On this site few folks used their real names for fear of the unknown. As my “friends” on this site fled to Facebook, our aliases were discarded. Clever folks found ways to circumvent the false names and eventually most of us “friended” each other on Facebook. These people became my core group of the newest category of friends, Facebook Friends. Not only did I have these fantastic literary friends to share with, but the best part of Facebook was allowing me to renew contact with relatives I otherwise would have lost touch with. Seeing their families as they grow, gives a new closeness that otherwise might never have developed. The highlight of my day is when my grandkids post pictures or are tagged in pictures. It gives Hubby and me the feeling that even though they are grown and miles away, we still actively share their lives.

About a year ago, Facebook introduced a new category of friends to me: Word With Friends friends. The scrabble-like game has become addicting. Even as I write this, I stop every few sentences because I am playing games with my Atlanta son and two of my friends. Luckily, none of us has a boss that can look over our shoulder.

Words With Friends has reunited me with a cousin’s ex, someone in a zillion years I would never even think of calling. (This cousin doesn’t read my blog, so cousin who does…it isn’t your ex J ) This gal is a Words With Friends “high scorer.” I’m getting there, but still have a bit to go. Anyway, I play Mah Jongg with another WWF high scorer. I handed her my cell phone—the one I bought so I could play WWF no matter where I am—and asked her to play against this person for me. She put in a 42 point word allowing me my first win. (But there have been others that I have won without cheating.)

I’ve also reconnected with friends from the past, some who were just acquaintances, others outer circle, but through this game, it seems like we were and still are BFF. What amazes me the most about this game is people who have no time to make phone calls, spend all night playing. I even sent an instant message to one friend during a game who I haven’t spoken with in months. “Time for a chat?” I wrote.

“Too busy,” she replied.

Facebook, which shows who is connected, showed me that this friend didn’t turn her lights out for hours. Communicating for her, like other loved ones, is best done by playing the game.

Last week it rained all Sunday, both here and I think Atlanta. For one hour back and forth I played WWF with my son, just as we once did on rainy days when he was a child—only then I had to pretend I “goofed” so he would win. Now when I win, I think he is pretending he didn’t see he opened a triple-word score for me.

Words With Friends has answered the question that has perplexed me about the younger generation since texting became the rage. How can we communicate without communication? (I know this is from Flower Drum Song) It’s a common complaint my generation has about the “texting generation.”  But now I know how—start a WWF game. When the player responds, you know he or she is alive and well. If not, if they are friends who have crossed over the border to phone friends, you can call and inquire about their health. Otherwise, assume the obvious—they played too well for you or you to well for them.

I would make a dinner party for all my WWF friends, but I’m not sure we would have much of a conversation now that we spend hours each night communicating with mainly two or three letter words, some even ending in “q.”