Something About Nothing by Julie Seedorf – published April 21, 2014 Albert Lea Tribune
What happens when you take a country granny and put her in the middle of a big city? I don’t know about other grannies, but I know this granny had many laughs on a recent weekend visit to the Twin Cities.
I mention occasionally that those of us older folks who live in rural communities need to look for ways to expand our world. I feel if we don’t take the time to look beyond what we are comfortable with and familiar with, we might miss out on wonderful experiences.
However, I never thought of the tiny way the world is changing as being in the definition of those experiences. I feel I must highlight some of the changes that are taking place in larger communities. If we don’t take the time to learn those changes, we older folks might not be able to navigate society easily. They always say changes come to bigger communities before they appear in the rural area.
One of the things I have noticed happening even in some of our smaller communities, are changes taking place in the bathrooms of retail stores, gas stations, restaurants and schools. I would imagine the bathrooms in the new school that will be opening in the fall of 2014 in my community might have some of these features.
Many of us are used to flushing toilets. We push the lever, the toilet flushes. Imagine how scary it must be for some when the toilet ghost appears and flushes the toilet automatically as they are standing up, scaring them so much that the cellphone that people are always holding, even in the bathroom, drops out of their hand, falls into the toilet and follows the toilet ghost down the drain. Make sure when you visit the big city and use the restroom always check to see if there is a lever or an eye. Secure your cellphone tightly.
Another confusing place for this old grandma is finding how to dry your hands after washing them. It takes a clever eye to decide if you should swipe, roll, pull or tap the paper dispenser. It is fun to watch the number of people who have this problem. It would make a great “Funniest Home Video” and definitely it would be worth the $10,000 prize.
While visiting the Cities I attended a dance competition in a city high school. Another Grandma and I visited the restroom at the same time. We were the same age, and we couldn’t help but reminisce about our high school days as we saw the ad on the back of a door in the high school bathroom.
When we were in school, teachers weren’t allowed to talk about sex; parents didn’t talk about sex. Sex was a subject only high-schoolers talked about to each other, since parents and teachers didn’t seem to know much about it.
It was shocking for us oldies to find an ad giving five tips to avoid STDs. If you other older folks don’t know what that is, look it up. The high school set evidently knows. It used to be an abbreviation for standard in the olden days. Five tips to be standard? We have come a long way in society or not.
My next dilemma happened at a restaurant. They had a new pop machine. Usually you put your cup under the right flavor of drink and push your cup in on the lever and your drink is dispensed.
This time there were icons such as you have on your tablet computer. I looked at it and didn’t see any icon for water. I asked my granddaughter and with a swipe of her hand she moved to the next menu and the water icon was there. So if you are looking for a drink, remember you might have to swipe instead of push.
My daughter-in-law had to go through the drive-thru of her bank. I am used to a drive through with one lane. There were six lanes at the drive-thru. I couldn’t see anywhere that was enclosed to hold a cashier that could push out the drawer.
We pulled up next to a small screen with a tube that went into the sky. It reminded me of “The Jetsons” cartoon. The money went in, someone talked, it flew up the shoot, flew back down the shoot and had a grape sucker in the tube. I thought that was a great exchange. They say there is a sucker born every minute.
The real reason I was in the Cities was for a grandmother/mother/daughter tea. It is always a fun time.
I donned my extra conservative dress, my only dress that fit, I might add. Every year I am reminded there is a difference between how big-city grannies dress and rural grannies dress.
The big-city grannies had spiky high heels, and, yes, they were my age, short skirts, some tight-fitting skirts, some of the colors were flamboyant and most were today’s style. Many had long, flowing hair cut in a smart style, and they looked pretty darn good for someone who was my age. I might add that I love the way big-city grannies dress.
I always expect to experience something new when I go on a fun adventure to the Cities. I never thought the things that would make me smile would be toilets and how they flush, towel holders that need a quick eye to be able to wipe your hands, getting a drink becoming a learning experience, laughing because “The Jetsons” has come true and admiring the different fashions that are worn in different settings and communities.
I learned something from every experience. It might have been small but imagine what is out there for us, if we take the time to open our eyes and look beyond our back yard. It might be a world of wonder and joy.