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Reflecting on my drive out west and back in the last couple of weeks and remembering a time when I used to laugh about stuff. Before a paper mask became a ridiculously polarizing choice of politics and values that one was judged on, I was a Snorfler. A giggler. A clown. A dry clown but a clown. Out of all the things I miss the most? Laughter. Humor. Jokers. Joke makers not the creepy clown face from Mr. Phoenix.
I also miss the time when a friend or a stranger and I could look at each other and shrug our shoulders and say, "Whatever..." and smile. (I could see their smile because they weren't muzzled.) So I guess I miss faces too. Smiling faces. Not the grim, sad, stern faces. But open alive breath taking faces and people with color in the cheeks. I think it's interesting to note that while we're all wandering around looking like we came from an Ebola ward (or the Psych ward, let's be honest) it's important to note that you probably don't have the virus right now. Most of us. Many of us. Are not sick. Have not been sick. Will not get sick (though no one can predict the future) and if we do get sick, we will get better. For those enamored by statistics, the good news is 99% of us will recover. But in the meantime can we still live our lives? Can we still experience joy? Happiness? Love? Embarrassment? Confusion? Laughter? Suddenly it's all rage and some love and light (albeit a little forced) and feigned positive slogans peppered in there. "We're all in this together..." but we actually are more separated than ever. I hate slogans. I remember when my 88 year old mother, in her death bed no less, said,
"I think I'd like some BLING, " and I cracked up. That was the saddest year of my life in 2015 and I laughed (inappropriately at times) more in a week than I have in this whole blighted year. But funny things happen! They still do! And I want to talk about them.
In Gallup, New Mexico a few days ago I stopped at a Red Roof Inn to sleep once to break up the 16 drive back home. I fantasize about laying on the dog beds in the back and will nap occasionally but toilet, shower, closing doors win. Red Roof is about as cheap and basic dog friendly that I'll go and nationwide, they have pretty good beds for $60 and the doors lock. (I've seen some things in other brands that are eye opening). New Mexico has been closed for months and now is having a New Wave of mandates for mask wearing (which I keep saying, if that's so successful at prevention why is there a New Wave?) The front desk clerk was covered in a polka dot face covering (homemade) and gloves. There was a plexiglass shield with no voice opening and so we couldn't hear each other. There were two ice buckets with liquid with hand written notes that said PUT KEYS. PUT PAPER. And smelled like alcohol. The credit card machine was blinking and blank and I waited for a total for the room before I signed and she yelled..."IT WON'T SHOW UP, THE HAND SANITIZER BLEW UP THE SCREEN" and I asked for a paper receipt as it's never a good plan to just sign a blank check. "THE PRINTER DOESN'T WORK BECAUSE WE PUT TOO MUCH SANITIZER ON IT AND IT SHORTED I'LL HAVE TO CALL CORPORATE AND GET IT FAXED BUT IT'S TOO LATE NOW"
Folks, I don't care what's going on. That's funny.
In my room out of all the things that were missing (soap, hand towels) there was a dog paw print on the middle of the sheet which I'm okay with but which makes one think that no one is doing a great job at laundry. Never mind "sanitizing" for the virus. And requiring low wage hospitality workers to suddenly be nurses is kind of like asking elementary school teachers to bear arms in the classroom.
There was a giant ironing board however and iron but no visible plug where one could use this ancient machine and I wondered who would need such a thing off of I-40 in the middle of the desert? I haven't used an iron in 20 years and most of America has indeed embraced the yoga pant. But that's what the Hotel Set Up Handbook says, and by golly, truckers may want to iron their tank tops. That cracked me up.
Speaking of truckers I saw some interesting outfits and mannerisms from them. They have to be the least bullshit having crew out there on the roads as they've been "essential" and working this entire time. I saw a guy with a BatMan head mask not covering his face holes who told the security guard at the door..."I'm wearing a mask. Technically." And walked inside. This also cracked me up.
I also saw a man drying his laundry on his balcony at my sort of posh boutique hotel in Sedona who was bottomless naked. This amused me.
The front desk clerk at that hotel in Sedona told me if I wanted to buy a coffee mug or get a drinking glass I'd have to drive 20 miles to the next town. There were 3 thrift stores across the road. I bought both for $1. That just made me roll my eyes.
The lady and her dog who yelled MORNING!!! while I was taking a photo of a tiny flower on my knees with my dog...which scared both of us and my dog barked at her dog and she said, "Gosh, SORRY..." and commented to her dog that my dog wasn't friendly. It sort of pushed me onto my side and I had to collect myself from my perch but it made me laugh. I hated her but it made me laugh.
I love to laugh more than anything. More than money. More than fancy food. More than sex. It is a pre-requisite to life on this earth and I think all of this is sad, maddening and ridiculous and maybe planned and we all may not make it out before we're herded into FEMA camps, but please try to find some humor in your daily. The lady with the mask on that she wrote THIS IS BULLSHIT also made me laugh and that is another thing we shouldn't forget. Compromise.