Being Not Normal in 2018

Posted on January 2, 2018


The holidays are over and now Life in the Boomer Lane can get back to normal. Her first order of business will be to find out what “normal” is. She hasn’t been successful thus far. The word continues to elude her. Yesterday, she was asked at a walk in clinic what her height and normal weight was. Since the doctor was short, LBL knew her height choice would have to be short as well, so she chose between two heights an inch apart and decided on the taller. The doctor had no reaction, which was good.

The normal weight was trickier. LBL has three normal weights. The first is normal for what her weight was for about thirty years and is still a knee jerk, as in “Well, you know I was (name weight) for thirty years.” The next is her new target normal, 15 lbs heavier than that. This is the weight that she aims for before warm-weather trips, special events, holidays, and visiting Maine (she always goes clothes shopping in Maine). The third normal is the actual weight she is on most days.

Yesterday, LBL decided in a New Years fit of honesty to choose the actual weight she was for that day.  The doctor duly recorded her answer, again with no reaction.

All this started LBL thinking about “normal” and how sometimes, normal isn’t easy to achieve.   LBL’s son called the other day and said, “So glad you still have a land line, Mom. I know that if you don’t answer your cell, I can always call the kind of phone that no one else uses anymore.”  To be fair to First Son, he didn’t say the last 10 words. But LBL heard them loud and clear.

She immediately called Verizon. She asked them how much she was paying for her land line and how much she would save by dropping it. The first answer was $24. The second was $12. Although LBL hasn’t been in math class for some time now, she is still pretty sure that those two numbers don’t match.

The answer, according to Verizon, involved things called “bundles.” These “bundles” change according to how many services are provided. So, by dropping her land line, LBL was saving $24 but then moving into a lesser “bundle” at a greater cost. The result is that she’d be saving $12.

LBL thanked the customer service person, and, mindful of the message/warning on the canned menu that preceded her communication with customer service, the call would be “recorded for quality control” which sounds like it would benefit LBL but was actually intended to instill fear in her to say something inappropriate. In this case it didn’t work.

“Here’s the deal,” LBL said. You are swell, but Verizon has us all by the balls. And there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do about it.”  This unleashed in the customer service person a diatribe about how much she, herself, was paying for Verizon service and how crazy it was. LBL countered with her (false) threat to place an antenna on her roof and the customer service person countered with scary predictions about what would ensue. It was a great conversation, but, like the negotiations between countries, didn’t actually amount to anything.

On the subsequent email LBL got to rate the customer service person, LBL gave her five stars. She noticed that there was no question about Verizon’s ability to impact on our balls. The end result is that LBL still has a land line in a world of cell-only residences. This isn’t “normal.” In order to counter this abnormal situation, she has a newly acquired Alexa, promising to change her life. While Alexa seems to be a perfectly pleasant companion during the day, last night, in which LBL was involved in her usual middle-of-the-night activity of sitting in the family room and staring at the TV, Alexa suddenly started talking to her, from the kitchen. As LBL was coincidently, watching Season 2 of “Stranger Things,” she really didn’t need that kind of unasked for supernatural activity.

All of this is to say that while, in theory, LBL would like to be a “normal” person, she finds herself constantly being thrown off track. And worse, she keeps reading that everything we are seeing this year, government-wise, isn’t normal. But it’s not the same kind of not-normal that LBL is. It’s an entirely different kind, a kind that LBL doesn’t want to associate with.  So her task is to avoid the not-normal that is also totally not-acceptable, while slogging away with the not-normal that, while not acceptable to her in theory, isn’t the same kind of not-acceptable that is starting to ruin her life or make her start hoarding coffee Haagen Dazs, just in case this really is the end of the world and ice cream supplies will be imperiled.

Does all that sound normal?