Something About Nothing by Julie Seedorf published week of February 16 in the Albert Lea Tribune
I once wrote a book for a friend. I called myself the city girl in the story, which of course, was a little far-fetched because I live in a small town in the country. Last week I became a city girl for a week, spending time with my kids and grandchildren. It was somewhat of a retreat because I had the house to myself for the day while the others were at school and work. I also had time to myself to flit around town whenever the urge for coffee and conversation would drive me out of the house.
I am out of the loop, very far out of the loop. Since making writing my business of choice, I hide away in my home, fast forward through commercials because I don’t watch live television, ignore the news and live in the fantasy of writing.
A look of amazement covers my face when I finally come out of hiding and visit the big city. I am a country bumpkin.
In earlier columns I mention being challenged by faucets on sinks, towel machines and flushing toilets when I am out and about in the big city and visit public restrooms. It hasn’t been long since I visited, perhaps November, but I wasn’t expecting any new challenges in the public restrooms. I did notice I was not the only one restroom challenged, as other women were swiping and waving, trying to get machines to work.
I always hold on to my cellphone tightly when using the bathroom in public restrooms. Those toilets flush the water right out from under you and a falling-out-of-the-pocket cellphone dropped in the water would flush faster than the average hand could move, but then, who would want to move that hand before the toilet flushed?
This time on my visit to a public restroom in a major department store I was ready to pay attention to the towel machine so I knew if I had to wave or swipe. I was ready for the automatic faucets which might require a dash underneath them to get them going. I encountered my problem before I dashed my hands underneath the faucet. I pumped the soap dispenser. It didn’t work. I looked for a button to push. There was no button. Just for kicks I dashed my hand underneath the soap machine and it dispensed soap. Very clever, now I have to watch out for soap machines too.
This public restroom made drying hands easy and fun. It doesn’t take a scientist to figure out you put your hands, pointed down, in the machine slots to dry your hands. I loved the hand machine as it felt like a massage on the hands. It doesn’t take much to make me happy.
I remember a time when the thought of the big city scared me because of all the crime. I was leery on my visits, checking out my surroundings all the time. Since I quit listening to the news that phobia has gone away. At least it did until I took time to watch the news while I visited the big city. The swat team was entering Byerly’s in St. Louis Park, and the hunt continued in Jordon which was not far from where I was. I listened as more dire things were reported. It scared me that the news didn’t scare me. The types of incidents I was hearing that were happening seem to be the way of life and normal. Nowhere are we safe, and we accept in 2015 this is part of our life.
I find the fact unacceptable and scary that I would accept news of that type as normal.
I have heard of the unfriendliness of people in big cities. I found that not to be true. I had people to chat with wherever I decided to go. I made a new friend over lamenting about weight gain over a rack of clothes. We exchanged numbers and will meet again. Perhaps it is my chatty nature. People from big cities seem to be getting a bad rap for being unfriendly.
Because I had a chance to spend time on a walking track at a large community center that is not available to me in my town, I decided to purchase some cheap walking shoes. I hadn’t planned on doing much walking since it was chilly and I am not a cold weather person, so I didn’t bring my walking shoes this trip. This is where I found I need to pay more attention to commercials.
I grew up in a shoe store. As an adult, I don’t care much about shoes. I don’t shop for shoes very often. Imagine my surprise when I found out that many brands of athletic shoes come with memory foam insoles. I have bad feet and when I tried the new memory sole shoes on I felt as if I was walking on a cloud. Do you suppose if we wore memory foam in our shoes our memory would improve? After all, our skin and feet are very absorbent. Vicks absorbs on the feet and stops a cough; maybe memory foam would do the same? I tried to talk myself into spending the money on the shoes that had memory rather than the cheap ones I had intended to purchase. I had perfectly good shoes at home. I couldn’t justify the purchase and I picked up the $15 rather than the $60 shoes.
The manager and I had a conversation earlier on and he was teasing me about my purchase when I brought it up to the counter. I told him my dilemma and he said, “They make insoles from memory foam and you can move them from shoe to shoe.”
I was shocked. I didn’t know. I don’t buy insoles. I don’t look at insoles and I don’t usually wear extra insoles in my shoes. Insoles were much cheaper than the $60 shoes. My new $15 walking shoes now have memory and so do I.
I am left with the memory of my week in the Cities. I am left with the realization I need to expand my horizons more so I can keep up with conversations of those younger than I am. I want to be a well-informed older person, not stagnating in my old age. Will I be able to broaden my horizons? Stay tuned.