20

Flushed with Civic Pride

Because of the ongoing drought here in Texas, our little burg went to Stage 4 water restrictions a few weeks back.  That meant that folks are only allowed to water lawns and landscaping on certain designated days.

Those days are determined by the residents’ street addresses:  those ending in a 1 or a 2 have Mondays as their watering day, and so on through the week.

No one is allowed to water on the weekends and, no matter what your day, there is no watering between the hours of 10:00 am and 6:00 pm because with the temps. hovering at 100 degrees (or more), the water would just evaporate and be a complete waste of that precious resource.

People being what they are (“Don’t Tread on Me” douche nozzles) you can imagine that there have been a number of violations of this city ordinance.

Lawns in some areas have been suspiciously green.  So much for the honor system.

It was time to kick butt, so the city sent out their enforcers who started giving people citations for breaking the “What part of ‘no watering’ do you not understand?” law, to the tune of $250 per citation, with repeat offenders facing the possibility of having their water service cut off.

Suddenly, more lawns became brown and crispy.  The sign of a true patriot.

Or, someone who has to take a direct hit to his wallet in order to become a good citizen.

The other day I was at Walmart, my second home, and I felt nature calling.

Okay, I had to pee.  So I went to the restroom at the back of the store.  You have to walk along the faux flower aisle to get there and I saw that they have all the Fall decor out.  Everything was a rather loud array in shades of orange, brown and yellow.

Normally, I wouldn’t mind seeing that.  But since all of the countryside is already in hues of desiccated oranges, dried-up browns and parched yellows, this was not something I wanted to linger around and enjoy.

I headed straight to the bathroom, and upon opening the door I was immediately met with a loud whooshing sound.  In fact, I could hear it outside of the bathroom and from some distance.

At first I thought it was one of the wall mounted hand dryers that blast out a stream of air, since those things are pretty loud.

Get your hands dried and lose 25% of your hearing all at the same time.

Pretty quickly, though, I discovered that the sound was the continual flushing of the toilet in the handicapped stall.  I went to investigate and was somewhat amazed at the velocity and volume of water that was, literally, being flushed down the toilet in a wasteful fashion.

The toilets are the kind that have a sensor that detects (I’m assuming) when your hiney blocks out the light and then gives you so many seconds before the automatic flush kicks in.

There is also a little black button on the wall behind it so you can “do-it-yourself” if you’re so inclined.  So I pushed that a couple of times just to see if maybe that might reset the mechanism or something.

Nope.  Niagara was still churning away.

So upon leaving I snagged an employee who was walking to the storeroom area adjacent to the bathrooms.  She was taking off her name tag so she probably was done for the day.

To her credit, she only looked slightly annoyed when I stopped her.

I told her what was going on in the ladies’ bathroom and her expression changed right away to one of concern.  “We can’t have that!” she said and then she told me she would find someone who could take care of it.

Today we got our local paper which has been reporting the state of the water wells for the city every week.

This week’s amount of water being pumped on any given day was 3.6 million gallons.

We figure 550,000 gallons of that came from the ladies’ room handicapped toilet at WalMart.

18

Hold the Phone

A lot has been written about cellphone etiquette lately, but that’s not going to stop me from adding my two cents’ worth to the discussion.  It has become a pet peeve of mine, coming in a close second to people who like to rant about their pet peeves.

I’m not the only one who’s exasperated with the increase in “techno-rudeness” encountered every day by folks all across the social strata.

My daughter and her family were at a restaurant with their kids, aged 10 and almost 9.  When they go out as a family, they expect the occasion to be just that—a family one, where everyone is engaged with the other members of the group.  At the very least, eye contact is expected to occur at some point during the meal.  Conversation doesn’t have to be witty and sparkling, but actual utterances beyond the monosyllabic shouldn’t be the exception.

However, as my daughter told me later, they were taken aback by the family seated next to them; one that was quite similar in composition to theirs, with pre-teen kids and two parents.

The difference, though, was that everyone, including the kids, was on an iPhone busily texting or otherwise absorbed in their own electronic world.  No one looked up at the other family members gathered around the table.

No warm smiles, no shared laughter.  Nada.  Zip.  Bupkus.

This is what we have come to.

No man is an island, but you can certainly tune out any intimate contact with people and go there on your iPhone when it’s convenient.

The other thing about cellphones that makes me “peevish” is the sheer obliviousness by chronic users of this technology to their own rudeness.

I was at WalMart the other day (they’re going to set up a cot for me in the back since I’m there so often) because I had to return a toy I’d bought for my grandson.

It was a Ben 10 Ultimate Alien “Ultimatrix,” and unless you are up on the stuff 10-year-old boys covet, I won’t go into the details beyond saying that he’s desperately wanted one since last August when all the Christmas toys first made their appearance at WalMart.

At that time it cost twenty dollars, which is a lot of money for some plastic, but the toy manufacturers know what they’re doing and have us all by the habichuelas, so what’re you gonna do?

Last week they marked down the toy to just seven dollars.  What a deal!  My grandson had four dollars saved and I told him he could do some chores around the house and easily earn the other three dollars.  The fly in the ointment here is that Mom and Dad have been trying to discourage rampant consumerism in their kids and have been keeping the lid down on toy consumption lately.

But, Memaw saw a way around that.  I went back to WalMart the next day and bought the toy before it disappeared from the sale rack with the idea that I would hold it in safe keeping until my grandson could earn the dough to pay for it.

It turns out, the next day my grandson phoned me and in an excited voice told me he’d done a lot of yard work for his folks and earned the money for his prize, which he had purchased himself.  I was happy for him and didn’t tell him or his parents that I’d done an end run around them and had bought one too.

Everybody wins!

So, I found myself at the returns desk at WalMart behind the most obnoxious woman who was loudly talking on her cellphone while she was trying to conduct a transaction with the patient woman behind the counter.

I mean, she was jabbering into the phone while she was looking straight at the WalMart lady, Rosa, an Hispanic woman in her fifties.

But it was like Rosa was invisible!

To her credit, Rosa just kept a neutral expression on her face and carried out what she had to do for the bitch, occasionally trying to get a word in edgewise to complete the deal.  Unbelievable.

When it was my turn, I thought Rosa deserved to be treated like a human being, so when she asked for the reason for the return I briefly told her the story of my grandson earning the money himself without any help from me.

Rosa smiled a warm smile and told me that when her son was five, her sister had a house cleaning company and had offered him a job of picking up fruit off the ground at one of the houses.  She paid him $20 for his work and he was very proud of the money he made.

Then, he did something extraordinary for a five-year-old.  He told his mother he was going to take her out to dinner with the money.  And he did, proudly squiring his mother at the restaurant.

Rosa went on to say that now he’s 28, a Marine, college educated and on his way to obtaining a doctorate degree.  Eventually he wants to work for the CIA.  She is so proud of him and I told her she has every right to be.

It was a wonderful story and the woman who had been standing behind us said she couldn’t help overhear it and it had given her goosebumps.

I left feeling really good for my grandson, for Rosa and her terrific grown son, and for the human connection I’d unexpectedly made that day.

And all because I chose to treat someone with the respect they deserve.

As the old phone ads used to say:  “Reach out and touch someone.”

6

Attention Walmart Flossers…

When I got out of my car at Walmart today, a used flosspick was on the pavement next to my parking spot:

 

 

Question of the day:  If there are people who go to Walmart who actually use flosspicks, why are so many of them missing teeth?
Would these products do more to encourage Walmart shoppers to floss?

 

Somehow, I don’t think this next one would be popular:

Or, we could resort to our baser natures and go for the dog butt floss dispenser:

                             

Why do I notice stuff like used flosspicks?
You can take the girl out of dental hygiene, but you can’t take the dental hygienist out of the girl.  
Or something.