These Are The Days My Friends… Don’t Think They’ll Ever End

Pam Pollock
August 2020

I think we are stuck in the movie, Groundhog Day.  You go to sleep, hoping the next day will find the Pandemic over, life can get back to the REAL NORMAL and all of the BS garbage will disappear from the mainstream and social media.  And then, when you open your eyes after a very restless night, bam – life is still pretty much sucking.

Somehow, I do manage to find some humor in this hot mess of a life that we are all experiencing, including the following incidences that have occurred within the past week:

I stopped in for a Pepsi Slushy (but of course the machine was down AGAIN) at our local Sheetz. I was irate and grumpy and decided to buy some Vitamin Water and the guys some BBQ chips. I almost collided with a young man, smiled at him and said, "Oops! Sorry about that - how's it going?" You know - the standard redneck Western PA greeting...

I start to get in line at the checkout but spy some nuts in the middle of the aisle. Of course, I have to go look at them. Why?  No clue, maybe it was the bright red packaging that drew me in.  The same young man comes up and stands back to the right of me. Now, I am not in line, because I made a detour at the nut kiosk.

I look up at him, smile and say, "Oh, I am not in line, go ahead. I just got distracted by all of these hot nuts."

This dude cannot be 30 years old. He totally loses it. The 40 year old man in front of him guffaws. I got a little flustered and stammered, "Oh man, I did not mean it like *THAT*!"

Young dude says, "Hey, it's cool. You can say that."

Me: "I am NOT a dirty old grandma! Honest!" (Shut up everyone, he does not know me...")

YD: "Age is just a number!" 

Me; "Well, my numbers are pretty high." 

YD: "I think you're cool. I'd be down to party with you tonight!" 

I am very flustered at this point so I scoop up 3 bags of HOT NUTS that I will not eat and say, "Well, I am really not a party person. I am more of a Oreos cookies and milk with a Paw Patrol DVD kind of Grandma."

YD: "Oh, that show is some of my kids' favorite show to watch! I have 4 kids - 2 boys, 2 girls ages 10, 5, 3.5 and 2."

Me: "I have 4 grandkids. They really wear my HUSBAND and me out!" I then awkwardly make sure that I am standing six behind him and stare at my nuts until he pays, and leaves and I can move forward.

I am NOT a cougar, folks. I just like to smile and greet people and shoot the breeze. ...    I must also confess that I don’t think he was attractive at all - but somehow, I ended up with 3 bags of nuts that are no longer HOT.

The next day my husband and I took the four grandkids to a local animal park as they have been asking for two weeks to go to this particular location.  I arrive to pick the kids up at 9:30 am.  It is already over 80º and the humidity is out of control.  Four grandkids, five meltdowns before we even pull out of their driveway.  (That’s right, five meltdowns, guess who the fifth person was…) After 3 miles of one child screaming at the top of his lungs that he does not like any of his shoes (and he was not wearing shoes at that point…), everyone settles down and it’s happy days again.

I hear a chorus of "We want to hold the snake for a photo!" on the entire drive to the park.  We arrive and make our way to the Animal Encounter Building.  I ask, “Are you sure that you will really hold a boa constrictor snake? Because I will not do this ever again!  (Last year, they said that they would hold the dang snake, backed out and  I (the person who is deathly afraid of snakes) held the $*&^%[email protected] snake for the photo.  

“We promise!  We will really hold the snake this time!” the little darlings reply.  
I pay for the photo – Grandkids immediately whimper and say: "No, I am too scared to hold it..." I look at my spouse and say, “No.  I am not getting near that snake!”

Pap to the rescue, he holds the snake.

The next stop is the Camel Pavilion.  The grandkids have been talking for weeks about how they want to ride a camel.  I dig in my purse for money for the ride.  I check, double check and trip check with the grandkids, “Will you ride this camel?!”  The 20 month old toddler emphatically shakes her head and flops her hands and yells, “Noooooo!”  The other three, however, all enthusiastically yell, “Yes!”

You know where this is going, right?  I pay for the ride; the kids bravely march up the steps and then they all freeze on the platform.  None of them will get on the camel.  The oldest child  marches back down the steps.  The other two waver back and forth and then decide that they will ride if Pap will go with them.  Pap is game for anything, so he bounds up the steps and jumps on Ernie the Camel.  They have a grand old time bouncing and jiggling on their ride.  

“Gaga,” says my oldest granddaughter.  “That looks like fun.  I will do that if YOU ride with me.”  Of course, I dig into my wallet and pay for another ride. I am concerned for poor old Ernie, however and ask the animal keeper if my weight will literally be the “straw” that breaks the camel’s back.  He assures me that Ernie can handle me.  I give Ernie some extra carrots and away we go.

The following day I go on a group bird walk with my friend.  We are walking in the woods at 8:00 am.  I am toting my enormous camera and wearing my husband’s rain jacket because the weather forecast says we may have some “light” rain showers.  It begins to downpour.  Our group is practicing social distancing and standing over 8 feet away from each other.  I take my mask off, because we are outdoors and I am not standing close to anyone and quite frankly, I am having a major hot flash.  I also take off my rain jacket and wrap my camera in it. I briefly see the butt of an Oriole fly by.  That’s it.  That’s the only bird that we see on an over 2 mile walk in the pouring rain.

We stop and the leader talks about birds and makes some bird calls and then says, “Do you hear that?  It’s a ______!”  And you know what, I have no freakin’ clue what he said because I am standing about 15 feet away from him, in the pouring rain and I am having a hot flash.  I did not hear any dang birds singing or calling.  All I can hear is the rain hitting the leaves and the squish, squash of our shoes as we hike up a muddy path.  My friend and I start to giggle and reminisce about all the fun we had when we used to work together.  We are at the back of the line and the other birds turn around and shoot us dirty glares.  Apparently, it’s bot proper bird protocol to talk if you aren’t yelling out, “Listen!  I just heard a yellow-bellied sapsucker!” My bad.

After two hours, the group decides to end the walk and go home.  I had parked my car in a different area than the other birders, which I guess, you weren’t supposed to do.  I am soaked to the skin and I’m huffing a little (ok, a lot) because my camera weighs about 15 or 20 pounds).  As we emerge from the trail, I turn to my friend and declare, “Ya know, I don’t think you and I are cut out to be part of a bird group.” And she agreed.  

I arrived back at my house in time to see a Hawk sitting in my driveway with a Tufted Titmouse (yeah, that’s really the name of the bird!) in its claws.  I startled the hawk and as it started to take flight, it dropped my little bird friend, who scurried away. “Not today, you jagoff,” I scream at the hawk, “not today!”  And I laughed.  The Hawk got it’s revenge on me yesterday, he flew up into my maple tree and absconded with one of my little birds. I chased it, along with some Blue Jays and other assorted birds, screaming and yelling and saying all kinds of bad words.

At least I still have those three bags of nuts…