Thursday, August 7, 2014

Birthday Blues

"Yesterday was my birthday; I hung one more year on the line..." (Paul Simon) The year and the birthday were my 66th, and it was a helluva beginning to the new year of being me:
  • I received a dumbphone I ordered through Amazon, a used Samsung Propel functionally identical to the one I was using until four buttons quit on it about a week ago. I'd have considered a smartphone, but peripheral neuropathy renders all those finger gestures for scrolling, paging and zooming very nearly impossible for me. Friend Catherine, by accident or by design, gave me an Amazon gift certificate of just about the amount I paid for the "historical instrument" from one of Amazon's many affiliate cell phone vendors. Then, because I hadn't recently backed up the old phone's memory to the SIM card and because that old phone's buttons weren't working, I had the privilege of staying up most of the night entering my personal contact list into the new one. It surely seems as if I end up doing that a lot...
  • At the crack of dawn, I picked up a few groceries for Stella, who can drive OK now but still has to get around on a rolling walker. When I got home and was easing a few inches at a time into my parking space, my foot slipped off the brake, jammed itself between brake and accelerator and rammed my car into the closed garage door, crunching it pretty thoroughly. That not being enough of Dog's little joke for the day, I found I was unable to remove my foot from where it was wedged between the pedals, sending the engine racing like crazy. I reached for the shift to put it in neutral. The cranky old transmission promptly reversed my action, putting itself right back into drive, ramming the garage door again at full power. I suppose I should have reached for the ignition key, but the whole thing took under 3 seconds, and my brain doesn't work at its best at 6:30AM... Now I have a crunched garage door (for which I will owe the landlord) and a thoroughly battered and scraped left front fender (which may be something I can live with; I haven't tried it yet).
  • Once I stopped shaking and determined that I personally was not injured at all (not even a scratch or a bruise), the rest of the birthday was pleasant enough. Stella and I went to Star Pizza, my usual choice for a birthday meal. Then we went to one of the Half Price Books™ stores which Stella was able to navigate even on her walker. I came home with two used CDs (yes, I still keep most of my music on those damned old things) and an assortment of fiction already found, bought and wrapped by the ever‑amazing Stella (every one was perfectly suited to my taste). At night I entered the aforementioned contact list. Somehow I felt really old...
  • One last detail, a perfect ending to an imperfect day: I received word from SSA that an award has been decided upon and I should receive notification by snail mail very soon. Whew!
Happy Birthday to any other early August-born bloggers. I hope yours went smoother than mine... <sigh />


  1. Happy birthday, Steve! And good you still enjoy Star Pizza!

  2. Happy birthday, Steve, even if it was an 'interesting time'.

  3. Whoops! It's a day late but Happy Birthday anyway.

    1. Thanks, friends!

      C, yes indeed, as long as they keep serving 'em, I'll keep eating them... it's not "health food," but it surely is satisfying!

      Bryan, now that I'm in a calmer frame of mind, I've looked at my car and I suspect it can be fixed enough to use (cosmetics be damned) and to pass inspection (I hope), so I may be able to keep using it. I think I'll probably look for some better solution using the brake and accelerator; by now, with my prosthesis familiar to me, I may be able to return to conventional driving technique. Where will I practice? I don't know. I learned to drive 50 years ago on the Rice Stadium parking lot, but Rice U. now prohibits that, and enforces their rule assiduously. I'll find someplace...

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. WHO is eating my comments? Anyway, I'm impressed with the way you celebrate your birthday, Steve!

    1. Thanks, ellroon. Yes, beginning a birthday with a car crash is really impressive...

      Your first comment has been replaced by "This comment has been removed by the author"; I have no idea how or by whom it was replaced. My best guess is that it was the NSA. (If there is an emoticon for a twisted grin or an ironic half‑smile, please insert it here... perhaps %-# )

  6. Happy birthday, Steve!!

    Mine too, it was the NSA!

    L'Enfant de la Haute Mer (

    1. Enfant, thank you! In many ways it turned out to be a good birthday, and as I imagined in my 30s and 40s that I would scarcely reach 50, I am delighted to have made it all the way to 66!

      I really do wonder just how much attention NSA pays to people like me. There are so many of us, and even tracking every word I type anywhere on the internet, multiplied by that number of troublemakers, is bound to strain even the limits of their technology and storage capacity... not to mention sanity; it is insane to track people for no better reason than that they are truly committed to democracy and terrified... terrorized... of the turns our American government has taken in the last decade or two. Will we make it to mid-century? I won't live to see it, but even worse is the possibility that America won't make it there, at least not as a representative democracy. Still, I'm crazy enough to hope...



• Click here to view existing comments.
• Or enter your new rhyme or reason
in the new comment box here.
• Or click the first Reply link below an existing
comment or reply and type in the
new reply box provided.
• Scrolling manually up and down the page
is also OK.

Static Pages (About, Quotes, etc.)

No Police Like H•lmes