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When I purchased my first home, Lola came with it. She was my next door neighbor. She was an older woman who had cared for her frail husband until his passing. Even though I didn’t see her much outside her home, Lola seemed to be the communicator for our short street. If you wanted to know something, Lola was the person to ask.
It wasn’t too long after I moved into my home Lola started to call me daily to discuss various topics. She shared many very personal things about herself with me. I just listened and said “aha” and “I see” and so forth. We lived next to each other for a good 12 plus years before her passing and like clockwork, every evening Lola would call me because she was lonely. It wasn’t long before she was telling the other neighbors and family that I was her best friend.
Lola would call me with her concerns. When her heat went out one winter, a trip to Wal-Mart was made to get a self-contained oil heater to keep her warm until the repairman could come to fix the heat pump. Sometimes she would call me to get her a meal at KFC which was down the road. A couple of times Lola needed to be rushed to the hospital with a medical issue.
Several years later, a new neighbor moved in on the other side of Lola. The new owners were two young single men who were not very considerate. Each of men had extra-large shiny black pickup which was their pride and joy; however, they never parked in the garage because that area was piled with boxes and equipment.
Lola started to complain about their trucks. These men was always ding mechanical repairs or changing oil in their pickups. One of the men started to park his big truck on street between the small space between Lola house and mine. Even though the truck was on the street, this caused a problem for both Lola and me because it blocked our view to get out onto the street safely because the front-end and truck bed was about three inches over the edge of our driveways.
After several weeks of Lola calling me about that truck, I decided to do something about it. She was right. The situation was not safe for either of us. After we hung up, I went to my desk area and pulled out a hot pink post-it-note pad. I wrote the following: “You are parked between an old lady and a blonde; your chances of getting hit are pretty good.” I then stuck the note on the driver’s side of his front window. The next morning the truck was gone. He never parked in that spot again. Oh, the power of a little hot pink post-it-note.
Dizzy? I Wonder
I know of several people who are extremely afraid of heights. Heck, my wife and her brother are two examples of folks who are afraid of heights. As a result of this phobia they claim they get dizzy looking down from high elevations. When we took her brother to the Grand Canyon he wouldn’t go anywhere near the edge, and was extremely upset when other people were standing too close to the edge. Maybe the problem is genetic. In 1976 when we hiked the Grand Canyon and a mule train passed you on the trail, the hiker is supposed to stand on the outer edge. Not my wife Kay, she hugged the inner wall. On a hike near Sedona she came to a place, where the trail was very narrow, carved on the edge of a cliff. She literally could go no further, and she just sat down. She said she had an impulse to jump. Personally I am not afraid of heights. However, I am deathly afraid of falling.
No question about it there are many medications or even eye problems that can make you dizzy. The inner ear has little hairs that aid in maintaining balance. An infection in this area can result in a person becoming very dizzy. But, don’t forget alcohol. Yep, “Giggle Water” can affect a persons balance and cause them to become dizzy and stagger around.
Recently I heard a story about a man who left a bar at closing time stumbling around the parking lot. It was obvious he was having trouble finding his own car. He tried using his key to open several car doors and none worked. Meanwhile the patrons were leaving the parking lot as the number of cars dwindled he finally found his own vehicle. All this time a Policeman was watching the man and his drunken antics. He knew the minute the man started his car and started to drive away he would make an arrest. Finally after much effort and fumbling around the man started his car and exited the parking lot. At that moment the Police Officer stopped him and told the man to get out of his car. He was told to take a “Breathalyzer Test” and walk a straight line. The officer looked at the results of the test and was astonished that the results registered zero, nothing. The officer then told the man he would have to take him to the station house, because his Breathalyzer machine must be broken.
“No it isn’t.” the man answered as he straightened up and smiled. “You see I’m the designated decoy.”
BAM!…ZOOM!…POW! You’ve got my attention!
Whether it’s a soap opera, dramatic television series or suspenseful mystery movie, to name a few, we all faced with constant drama on a daily basis. Just look around and you can see it doesn’t have to be a movie to raise our blood pressure or incite our interest. Drama can be found in everything from soap commercials, junk mail, to presidential debates.
“Shock and Awe!” was a battle cry that kept us glued to the television for weeks! The thought that every one of those bombs could potentially end a human life was overshadowed by the commercially sold drama of visual stimuli. It was more like watching a Fourth of July fireworks celebration than an act of war! Murder and other unspeakable acts are continuously dramatized and irresponsibly broadcasted into our homes.
As writers and readers we are also purveyors’ of drama. Our characters are not satisfied with dancing all night and then going to bed. We want them to: twirl in a lovers embrace on the dance floor until dawn and then cuddle beneath the cool sheets in anticipation of their next burst of energy.
Why are we hooked on drama? Why does something have to shock, scare or surprise us before it becomes memorable? Why are we conditioned to pay attention to violence, bright colors and loud noises quicker than ever before, and why is everything being thrust into our faces at such a frenzied pace?
Our society rewards drama with attention. Even the youngest child who cries out will receive an extra hug of comfort or a swift swat on the butt. Either way the drama has been answered with attention. This drive for attention has permeated every aspect of our lives.
From birth to grave we are plunged into sensory overload. We are not content with allowing our newborns to lie in their crib and play with their fingers and toes. There is a whole industry devoted to stimulating our precious babies as they lay there. These gadgets are full of music, color and sound and are marketed as educational for the very young. No mention is made to the profitable returns to the seller.
Selling drama is a multibillion dollar business. Every industry in our world sells sensationalisms. You can’t just buy a hamburger it has to be Super Sized! Our toothpaste and laundry soap are both Ultra-cleaning. Speaking to friends is no longer what we do. Our commercialized world has us texting and Face booking so much that we have developed a whole new shorthand language to accompany the technology.
The human race is so fixated on sensationalism and drama that they are no longer aware of its effects. We have been desensitized to the point that even greater craziness and bolder drama are marketed to keep our attention.
Everyone is on the bandwagon, our beautiful summer days in Phoenix are sold by weather reports as scorching and blazingly hot and the 100 degrees days are counted off like some kind of curse. It seems with the increased sensationalism selling the weather that our summers have gotten a lot more unbearable than ever before.
Computers, I Phones, microwave ovens, to mention a few conveniences in our lives have completely derailed our need for patience. Instantaneously we can grasp our drama and go with it. Bread doesn’t rise in our kitchens anymore; we jump into our cars and grab a loaf at the local quick market. We crave a sugar filled diet to help us keep up with the pace.
So much drama in our lives has brought on another multibillion dollar business to help us cope. The drug industry, not necessarily the illegal kind of drugs, but the legal pushers of pills to help us calm our blood pressure, soothe our headaches, placate our nervousness, and eventually fall asleep, are really raking in on our addiction to drama. There is a pill for every symptom of our self induced sensationalism. If you desire they have also developed a little blue pill, if you crave more stimulation.
When and where will it end? There really is no escape from drama as long as someone is profiting from the sale of it.
Our only escape is to limit our exposure; try turning off electronics, talk to a friend in person or go for a walk. Try getting in touch with your inner thoughts and take a mental vacation from your dramatically stimulated life.
If you do try to leap off the roller coaster of sensual stimuli you might find yourself in a small cabin deserted in the mountains, with no electricity, running water, or neighbors. You might begin to think your escape is complete until God presents you with the most exquisite sunset or sunrise you have ever seen.
Well, maybe some drama is a good thing!