Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sometimes you have enough

About eight years ago, Wife and I heard that Carole King would be performing at the Orpheum Theater in Memphis, which is about a three-hour drive from here.

Carole King is one of those artists we would definitely drive three hours (or longer), and pay a substantial amount of money (which we did), to see. She is a classic and one of my all-time favorites. At the time of this performance, although we had both been fans for years, we had never seen her in person. (A few years later we would see her right here in Nashville with another favorite, James Taylor).

Anyway, we made the trek over to Memphis to see Carole and we were pumped. We had great seats -- front and center about ten rows back. As expected, the performance was incredible. It was just Carole at the piano and a couple of guitarists.

I could have easily sung along with her on just about every song. I had long ago worn out the Tapestry album. I restrained myself, however, because I knew that audience members had paid to come hear Carole King -- not me.

A lady in front of us did in fact sing along with Carole.  Every song. Every line. She also danced and raised her hands. I could deal with that but I just couldn't take the singing.

A few minutes before intermission, after her singing became more than I could take, I leaned forward and said, "I paid a lot of money to come hear Carole King, not you."

You have to understand this was huge for me. I am conflict-avoidant to a fault. But I had just had all I could take.

It was not received well. She and her friend glared at me the remainder of the concert. She did stop singing though. At the end of the show, as I was trying to make a quick exit, her friend grabbed me and said she was sorry about her friend but her husband had died about a year ago and she was just getting out again.

I told her I was sorry to hear that but it didn't change the fact that I had come to hear Carole King, not her friend.

Since that time, I have observed that people are more and more rude in public.

In church, people sit in front of me and talk in a normal voice, whether it's during singing, announcements or the message. In addition, couples in church are way too liberal with PDA.

Don't even get me started on cell phones and the ubiquitous texting that goes on anywhere, anytime -- all the time.

This past weekend Wife and I went to a movie. Three middle-aged ladies sat in front of us. They talked non-stop, in a normal voice, from the start until the credits. They also texted.

Wife, who is becoming more bold as she gets older, kicked the chair of one of the ladies. It made no impression on her. When she was engaged in a long texting exchange, with the bright light of her phone shining in our faces, Wife had had enough.

Sensing what she was about to do, I put my arm across her as she was leaning forward, much like my mother used to do to me in the front seat of the car when she had to stop suddenly.

I then leaned forward myself and said, "TURN OFF YOUR PHONE!"

She did. She continued to talk to her friends but at least we got something.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Reading, etc.

I enjoyed Quid's recent post regarding her top eight books of 2012.  She said she set out to do a "Top Ten" but could only put eight in the "top" category.

I didn't list top books as I have done in previous years. My reading was a lot less in volume last year and toward the end of the year I got to a place where I just wasn't finding anything of the "can't put this down" type. The last thing I read in 2012 was John Grisham's The Racketeer which I really enjoyed, as I do all of his books. I finished it in late November, though, and didn't pick start anything new until New Year's Day when we left for Mexico.

I started the year with a nearly 1000-page tome by Ken Follett, The Pillars of the Earth, set in the 1100s and interweaving the building of some of the great European cathedrals with a really enjoyable story. It was a good vacation read but for the first time I kind of wished for an electronic reader because it was so big it got a bit cumbersome to hold at times. I still, however, love the look and feel of a real book I hold in my hands. I even love the smell.

As usual, I keep track of the books I read on my "Shelfari" shelf on the right side of my blog page. I won't do a "Top" list but will tell you my favorite fiction reads in 2012 were The Lost Wife, City of Tranquil Light and The Book Thief.  My far-and-away top non-fiction was Love Does and if I could make you read it, I would. And you would thank me.

I am now in the middle of Bonhoeffer, a really interesting biography of German dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  I love biographies and this one was recommended to me by a couple of friends. So far I am really enjoying it. Two of the three fiction books mentioned above are set during the holocaust, so it's enlightening to read a true-life account of someone who eventually gave up his life for opposing the atrocities that took place under Hitler.


For the second straight day we awoke to snow. It's almost 8 a.m. I got up a little more than an hour ago to walk Ralph the Dog and it was coming down pretty hard but it's tapered off now and there's probably not more than half an inch on the ground. It's not as cold as it was yesterday (high of 29 degrees) and it's expected to get above freezing later this morning. We have had a much colder winter than last year.

It just dawned on me that it's Groundhog Day and if he got up and looked for his shadow here this morning, he definitely didn't see it, so I guess he's out there strutting around waiting for spring to come.


Speaking of Ralph, it is exactly one year ago that Wife and I were told to take him home and enjoy the "few weeks" we had left with him. That would be 52 weeks, friends, and judging from his walk in the snow this morning, he doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

He doesn't see or hear well and it's not uncommon to trip over him.  His days are spent lounging in some of his favorite spots -- the playroom sofa, Wife's and my bed, Daughter's bed, a blanket on the floor in Daughter's room (where he sleeps at night) or any spot on a rug where he can get direct sunlight.

We pamper him quite a bit these days and after crate-training him only three years ago, no longer require his confinement there when we leave the house.

I hope for the same privileges when I'm older.