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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Stupid Old Man Tricks

There have been some goings-on under the Bill roof lately that have me a little bit disturbed. I don’t know if I am pre-Alzheimers, just old, or just not paying attention to things.

A few months ago I made reservations to go see Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, also known as dudes in tutus. It’s an all-male ballet troupe, and the ballerinas are men. I saw them about 30 years ago and thought it would be fun to see their hilarious rendition of “Swan Lake” once more.

So we got to the will-call window, and they couldn’t find tickets under my name. They checked the credit card. That didn’t help. Apparently when I bought the on-line tickets I neglected to click the “Buy” button. The show was one night only and sold out, so after miraculously getting our parking fee back, the Bills drove back home with their tails between their legs and ate ice cream and watched part of a DVD before falling asleep on the couch.

My next theatrical gaffe took place in Miami. This time I made sure I had actual tickets in my hand to take with me. We parked the car, got a bite to eat, and when the theater doors swung open, we waited in line to get our tickets’ barcodes validated. Somewhere, a buzzer sounded, and we were rejected. It turned out that our reservations for our seats were not good until the following night.

That may sound disappointing, but at least we were early instead of 24 hours too late. And even though the next day’s date was clearly printed on the ticket, in a bold font, no less, I hadn’t bothered to read it. My mind is such a steel trap these days. Not galvanized or stainless; more like corroded and rusty. Fortunately, a trip to the box office got us, for $20 more, seats for that night that were in a better location. So that was good, because in Miami, I know we wouldn’t have gotten our parking refunded. We enjoyed seeing Spring Awakening for the third time, because apparently it is the only show that we like. And we’ll probably go see it next year as well, hopefully on the right day. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but thinking before the curtain rose, “What the hell is wrong with me?”

And it’s not just harmless little boo-boos that are making me question my sanity. Some of these things are very costly.

For instance, our back lawn was being ravaged by sod webworms. Millions of little white moths flying around meant they had larvae digesting the roots of the grass. I sprayed them once, but they came back. So it was time to spray it again.

When I went to reach for the pump sprayer, there was about a quarter of a tank left of insecticide, or so I thought. I didn’t dump it out, but merely mixed the new bug killer with the old bug killer. In less than two days I discovered the quarter of the tank left in the sprayer was not pesticide, but instead, herbicide. So, okay, the good news is that the sod webworms are gone. The bad news is: so is the back lawn. The front yard is lush and green. The back yard looks and sounds, when you step on it, like shredded wheat. This will no doubt require tilling and re-sodding unless we decide that paving is more practical, which it is. You need a jackhammer to destroy cement, not just a garden sprayer. And that would take more effort than I have the strength to give.

Another costly mistake was made earlier this year. I purchased non-refundable airline tickets to San Francisco, and, oddly enough, made non-refundable hotel reservations for the week before we were to arrive. We got it straightened out, for a fee, of course. I have no explanation for this. I can’t even make up something that would make someone say, “Oh, well, that’s an easy mistake to make.” It’s not. It’s something a bald-headed Stooge would do. It was a stupid mistake that makes it look like I am content sabotaging my own well being.

It’s scary to think about what the future holds for me. Will I buy 40-pound bags of Jello, thinking they are pool salt? I can see me diving into a red-colored pool, only to bounce back onto the pavement. Will I get quick-drying cement mixed up with the Drano? Sometimes I feel like I’ve been dropped into the middle of a Road Runner cartoon. It’s a small wonder one of my many nicknames is “Wiley Coyote.”

Countless have been the times that I incur late fees just because I forget to pay a bill on time. I’ve even started racking up fines at the library for forgetting I checked out books that I didn’t have time to read. During times of drought, I’ve tossed the hose in the pool and left it running until the pool overflowed. I once nearly destroyed Other Bill’s car after failing to tighten the oil filter after I changed the oil.

A lot of people dread getting older and forgetful, and I am certainly a member of that club. But for my own physical safety and financial protection, assisted living can’t come soon enough.

Creative Commons License by Bill Wiley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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