Superstition…with apologies to Stevie Wonder

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Okay, so today I took $35. worth of chances on my parish’s drawing for $4,000. Now, $4,000. in the old days (pre-divorce) would cover, oh, say, a couple of parties at my house. $4,000. now? It covers the mortgage, taxes, the utilities, some groceries and my nails. (Priorities here, folks.)

I did a silly thing while filling out the name part of the tickets. I usually use a sticker so I don’t have to fill out all those blanks. Well, I looked in my cache of unsolicited return mail labels and there was one from a Saint whose charity I always contribute to, so I used those. I know. Tacky at best. But…maybe he’ll pull through for me. I could use the four grand.

It got me to thinking about superstitions. My 90 year old Dad, whom I love to quote even though I don’t think he really likes when I do, used to say “Superstition is the religion of the feeble-minded.” (See, Dad, I really did listen to you, even though you didn’t think I did.) Well, friends and blog groupies. I am definitely feeble minded.

My lucky number is eight. I use it any way, any where I can.

I never walk down the gangway to a plane without making the sign of the cross. I don’t care who’s watching. I have a friend who flies constantly on business who never gets on a plane without knocking twice on the fuselage as he “crosses over” and then, only with his right foot. My late mother-in-law used to tell me when I was pregnant if I were craving something, not to touch my face because it would mark the baby. Thankfully, this one didn’t prove true or I would have three children with shrimp with lobster sauce, eggplant parmigiana and pizza as birthmarks on their bodies.

My second-to-youngest granddaughter, age two, has been introduced to “step on a crack, break your mother’s back”…although, truth be told, I didn’t tell her it was that. I told her if she stepped on a crack, she’d lose. At two, she’s highly competitive and I didn’t want to scar her mother/daughter relationship.

I actually am a fan of superstition. I always look for four leaf clovers, although now that I live in California, I don’t know if there are any clovers. I haven’t seen any, but then again, I live at the beach. I never walk under a ladder. I have a coronary if a black cat walks in front of me or my car. Recently, while out in Black Beauty with the top down, I stopped at an intersection that was overhung with trees. A bird pooped on my passenger seat. One of my dearest friends emailed me to tell me that was good luck after I posted it on Facebook. I emailed back that the only good luck involved was that it didn’t poop on my head.

So, friends of OC Active Senior’s out there in the ethernet, are you as feeble-minded as I am? what do you do that you think will protect you or advance your good luck?

“I Got Nuthin’”

That’s an expression I hear more often these days and it’s usually as a response to something someone says to which there really is no response. For example, “I ate 43 worms yesterday just for the heck of it.” The partner in the conversations says, “I got nuthin’!”

Or, “I have gotten my law degree, medical degree and passed both the bar and the medical boards and I’m just 21.” Response: “I got nuthin’!”

Sometimes it’s accompanied by a shrug and a tossing up of the hands. Very Italian.

I’m feeling a little like that myself today with material for the blog. I spent the last week with six of the eight grandchildren, all of whom are under 8 years old and all live in NJ. I am 60 years old. I know why God sends you kids when you’re young. Any of us who have grandchildren know exactly why God sends us kids when we are young. Between trying to keep up with their sometimes chaotic lifestyle, I also had to amble this aging body onto a plane and fly back and forth across the country on two of the seven days I was gone. The first leg involved my getting up at 4:00 a.m. for the flight and the return found me praying for an upgrade to first class. My prayers were answered but my moving up to the front of the plane was not accompanied without the usual OC Active Senior’s embarrassing moments.

Continental automatically wait lists their OnePass Elite members for an upgrade standby. I am the lowest level of elite, silver, and therefore really don’t get much priority. Those in this level fly a minimum of 25,0o0 miles which I do easily with the trips back and forth to visit my girls. I have lucked out on occasion and gotten bumped up (generally if I fly on an actual holiday, like Christmas or Easter) but for the most part I get passed by. No big deal.

I was so tired this trip I was really hoping they’d move me. I was excited when I saw that I was number 1 on the upgrade standby list, but First Class (all 12 seats) were fully booked. To make a long story short, I was in my original seat when the gate agent came on board to get me and said they had a spot for me up front. I was ecstatic. A big wide leather seat, incredible leg room, free wine and booze, a menu to choose a meal from (so it wouldn’t be the cheeseburger/hot beef sandwich with cheese/Philly cheese steak, all of which are the same thing, that I would have gotten in economy.) In my hurry to gather my belongings I bumped an old lady who was trying to get to her seat and she slid sideways into the aisle across from me and nearly went down. I apologized profusely. I’d already settled into 9D, putting my book, water bottle, noise-canceling head phones andwool poncho a/k/a blanket into the pouch and on the seat and my computer bag in the overhead. My purse was under the seat in front of me. As you know, I do NOT travel light. I have to entertain myself for the nearly six hours in the air or I will go mad. I am still trying to find a portable Wii I can take on the trip with me to keep me busy.

Then began the swim upstream. I had to go ten rows while 172 people were going the other way to 27 rows. Lots of “excuse me’s,” “so sorry’s” and “oops! I didn’t see that trunk you are wheeling down the aisle to put in the overhead.” I made it and of course, First Class was filled with business men in suits with laptops out on the trays, working until the last possible moment when they close the hatch. I had drawn the window seat, next to the only woman in first class. At least she’d understand why I had to get up to go to the bathroom three or four times. In my hurry to not block the aisle, I started tossing things onto the seat across her. Of course, everything bounced off the cushion and landed on the floor. She juggled her computer to pick up my stuff while I shoved my laptop case into the overhead. When I finally got settled I realized that two of the five or six pieces of cheese I’d taken with me from the President’s club for an after dinner snack had fallen out of my purse and she’d put them on the seat with my book and bookmark and water bottle. I was off to a great start.

I chose the grilled chicken with Cajun sauce for my entree. It arrived hot, tasty and slippery: as I was cutting a bite, it flew off the plate onto my tray, splattering my seatmate’s arm. I wasn’t sure what the protocol was but in my hurry to assist her in cleaning up the spots I knocked over my ice water and it spilled on her pants. At least it was just water. Now she was stained and wet. In our small talk before take-off she mentioned that she was only going to California for an overnight. I hoped that she had more than this outfit to wear. Or that she was making a presentation to a bunch of Foodies.

Things were calm for a little while, then I decided to get out my laptop.

You know how they always tell you to be careful because things shift in the overhead bins during flight? They aren’t kidding. I popped open the hatch and out flew some man’s large brown manila envelope, which he hadn’t closed securely and papers went everywhere. Since my laptop case was in mid-stage retrieval, I attempted to swing it down quickly so I could help pick up the papers. It narrowly missed my poor companion’s head as it slipped from my panicked hands. If looks could kill, any air marshal on board would have been out of his seat and CO787 would have been diverted and I’d be on the evening news.

In retrospect, I think I would have attracted less attention had I been the one attempting to set my underwear on fire. I’m just hoping that my ill-fated upgrade hasn’t moved me onto the “no-fly list.” I have no doubt that I am already on the “no upgrade” list.

How do you like flying? are you a white-knuckler or a napper?

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