I’ve recently noticed that the Do Not Disturb signs in hotels almost always have the same message on both sides. The old signs, with a message on one side to the housekeeper that the room was ready for cleaning, are rare.
While this isn’t a change that’ll end the world, I feel somewhat responsible for the fact that it became necessary. I regret my part in causing it.
Yes, I flip other people’s “Do Not Disturb” signs to the “Please Make Up This Room” side.
It started when I was a kid. I’d noticed the sign in a hotel room my family shared. On the way to check out, I flipped my first sign. What could be funnier than some person having a hotel housekeeper walk in on them sleeping? I didn’t know, so I picked a door and changed its “do not disturb” to “make up this room right away.” It was an impulsive, childish thing to do.
Once we were on the road, I told my parents what I’d done. Perhaps it seems odd that I did that. There was some logic in my decision to tell on myself.
I think, as a rule, funny stuff isn’t funny unless you share it. I shared with my mom and dad. They did not see the humor in what I’d done. There are exceptions to every rule. Read the rest of this entry »
Dear Food Court Kid,
I’m in my fifties and I forget a lot of things. But you know, I remember being nineteen, just like you.
Yup, I remember picking up a third job during the summer to be able to pay for school. I recall working my butt off in college. In my free time, I did things I probably wouldn’t do now. And I remember how awkward it felt on that precipice between being a kid and an adult.
You’re Kind Of A Tool. Well, A Lot A Tool.
Well, maybe I wasn’t just like you. On my worst day, I wasn’t nearly the tool that you seem to be.
Being loud sometimes is part of being nineteen. But part of successfully navigating that precipice into adulthood is recognizing that there’s a difference between “loud sometimes” and being so loud that you can assure yourself that all around you can enjoy your wit. You see, there is a difference between someone hearing you and them enjoying what they hear. Read the rest of this entry »
I don’t write about religion. Folks believe what they believe.
My belief is that there are a lot of religious texts out there. Generally, they all agree that everything and everyone came from some God who wants us all to be good to one another. If you believe something different from that, I’m cool. Hurt feelings are the only thing that comes from debating people’s beliefs; arguments don’t win hearts and minds over to any side.
So I don’t write about religion, except for now.
Most faiths put importance on being in touch with the higher power to give praise and to seek blessings. That’s important, I’m all for it. I’m grateful for my life and I look to heaven to bless us all with peace.
I’ve heard that no prayer goes unheard or is too small. That’s probably so. But here is where I’m going to deviate a little. I know I’m doing this because I think like me and not like a deity. Read the rest of this entry »
I love music, but I’m not musical.
There’s always music playing at my place. I listen. I try to understand songs and how they’re put together. I’ve tried to write songs. I do well with lyrics for blues songs, and I write solid alma maters.
Most of my friends are like me. They love music, but aren’t musically gifted. Also like me, they don’t mind talking about things they know nothing about…like music. Our conversations usually touch on matters like the connection between Bob Marley and the 1970′s television show, The Banana Splits.
Something that limited my songwriting efforts, besides not understanding notes and rhythm, was an inability to express how I wanted my lyrics performed. Specifically, I wanted to know how writers communicated that they wanted a line or word growled. Read the rest of this entry »
My retirement from the police department becomes official on Tuesday.
I’ve been on leave for the better part of this month. I’ve spent the time doing important things like exercising, watching football, growing a beard and growing a beard while watching football. I guess you could say that I’ve been retired for a month, but the official date is Tuesday.
As it got closer to time for me to go, I thought a lot about leaving the career that I loved.
Was it really time to go? Everything about leaving made sense, given the course of my life. But I still got a lot out of the job and was able to get it done. I did have to admit that when I got it done it was a lot slower and much craftier than when I was in my twenties. Still, crafty is at least as effective as being swift. Often it’s more effective. But the question was still there, was I done?
I needed something. I needed a sign. A sign that said, “it’s time to go.”
Twenty-eight years of policing changed me. A lot of those changes were good; there are a few that I will fix.
The biggest change is that certain things just didn’t sound odd to me anymore. Sure, shady people in suspicious circumstances still got my attention. But some other stuff that really should have made me scratch my head, didn’t. I got my sign a little over a year ago.
This Actually Made Sense, To Them And To Me…
On a particularly busy Saturday afternoon, I was on the way to two calls – a robbery and a stabbing. As a sergeant, I was expected to show up at “major” calls like those to make sure we were getting the investigation off to a good start. As I drove, a third major call came out – a kidnapping.
The stabbing was the biggest problem, so I elected to go there first. I listened to the radio for information on the robbery and the kidnapping. While I got involved in the stabbing call, I heard that the robbery was a false alarm. That left the kidnapping.
A few minutes later, I heard my number called on the radio. I answered and an officer told me I wasn’t needed for the kidnapping call. “It was just a baby shower” was the only explanation I received. I acknowledged what he’d said then went back to work at the scene I was on.
As I went off to sleep that night, I started thinking.
At that moment, ten hours after it happened, it finally occurred to me to wonder how a baby shower could result in someone believing there was a kidnapping going on. And it hit me – I was so used to weird that it wasn’t even weird anymore.
…And THAT Was My Sign
The next morning, I spoke with the officer who’d handled the baby shower/non-kidnapping. He wasn’t really sure what happened either. All he could tell me that everyone was calm and happy when he arrived. The people who made the 911 call told him “we thought it was a kidnapping but it was a baby shower.”
I’ve been to kidnappings and I’ve been to a baby shower. The only thing that the two events have in common are that people are present for both sorts of events. There was no danger to anyone at the baby shower I went to. Gifts and silly games were not involved in any of the kidnappings I worked.
When I realized that I’d spent twenty-eight years in a world where people said stuff like “we thought it was a kidnapping, but it was a baby shower” every day and truly meant it, I also realized that I’d seen and given enough.
I can let go now. I’m at peace and ready for a new adventure.
My best wishes, respect and love to those who remain on the job. I miss you and The Rock already. I’d swap places with any and all of you if they’d let me get even one of you to safety sooner. Blessings upon all of you for getting me here.
Y’all be careful.
Some years ago, I got to explain where babies come from. I think I got the point across. Maybe I was able to handle the task because I knew what I was talking about. That class I took on the topic in sixth grade helped after all. Knowing what you’re talking about helps.
I’m happy that my son didn’t ask me where Oreo cookies come from. It turns out I didn’t know as much about the topic as I believed I did.
On a recent road trip, my car’s alternator gave up the ghost. I spent the night in an unfamiliar town, then walked back to the garage where I had the car towed and waited for the mechanic to finish the repair. Read the rest of this entry »
I recently read a reference to dropping a found drivers license in the mail to reunite it with its owner. If you wonder if this works, I can confirm that it does by recounting my mother’s brief stint as a murder suspect.
You might remember that I am not convinced my mom didn’t kill Reverend Sun Myung Moon. She had the motive, though perhaps not the opportunity. This is a different event. I am certain that she did not kill this guy.
Pretty certain. Yup.
Let’s go back in time. Way back. I was in second grade. My brother was in kindergarten. Depending on your age you might call that time period the Pleistocene Era or the early years of the Nixon administration. Our family had just moved from Hoboken, New Jersey to Charleston, West Virginia for my father’s first assignment in his new job.
One day, Mom decided to walk downtown and meet Dad for lunch. She walked down the hill, then crossed a bridge over the Kanawha River. During that crossing, Mom became a “person of interest”. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve written extensively, or perhaps twice, about an experience I had with a bad perfume. Because I don’t like when folks point out problems but never help with a solution, I will provide a simple and effective way to eradicate the issue of people who bathe themselves in scent.
My solution is simple and non-violent. There will be no need for legislation or protest marches. The problem demands unified action by all those affected by strong perfumes and aftershave. Read the rest of this entry »