Not On My Watch

This morning on the subway ride to work I called the police.

A while back I had the presence of mind to add the police number to my cell phone just in case I ever needed it.

Today was the day.

Three men staggered into my car. An African-American and two Caucasians. The Caucasians looked like wild mountain men with long, unwashed hair, and straggly beards. They came on smoking pot. They huddled in the back two rows. One of the mountain men pulled out a Sharpie pen and began doodling on the window. Every other word was the F word for everyone to hear. All three wore hoodies and jeans.

Not a single man on board pulled out his cell phone to call this in. Nobody got up to tell the conductor. Instead everybody stared straight ahead, enduring the tension with a passive resignation.  photo (20)

Well, I was going to have none of it.

I dialed the police.

A woman dispatcher answered. I told her the problem. I answered her questions including identifying the car number we were on. She told me she’d report it.

Meanwhile new passengers came on at the intervening stations, sat with the three men until they realized they were crazy, and one by one  got up and moved to the other end of the car.

At the third stop a policeman came on board and blocked the doorway. He motioned for all three to get up and leave. They obeyed him like docile school children. The officer continued to stand in the doorway and asked for the person who called in to identify himself.

I raised my hand.

“Do you want to come out and make a citizen’s arrest?” he asked.

I pondered it for a few seconds. I thought that sort of thing went out with typewriters and cassette tape recorders. It certainly would add to my list of adventures. I could tell my grandchildren, and even blog about it.

“You handle it,” I said.

It was cold and the problem was off the train.

Thank God for cell phones and no-nonsense police officers.

Calvin says, “Wow, what chutzpah. From now on I will hold you with new respect.” beagle

How Your Smart Phone Is Biting You Back

According to experts in Europe, the smart phone might be to blame for sagging cheeks and droopy facial skin. More and more face problems are showing up in plastic surgeons’ offices.

The people are showing up, too, not just the face. And it’s not a pretty sight.

Apparently we’re bending over our computers and talking into our cell phones too much. This is causing our jaws to sag, our cheeks to flop, and our chins to recede like a wave in the ocean.

Plastic surgeons are all too happy to fix the problem. The new darlings of facial fixes are chin implants, tucked up cheeks, and straightened out jaws.

Sounds like an aerobics class on steroids.

So not only are we at risk for brain tumors because our phones are radiating our ears, but now we have facial creep.

Is there a solution?

How about rotary phones? They could be mini-devices in different colors to match our tablets.

We could invest in carrier pigeons and send notes to our friends and family by air. But that gets messy. You need rooftop cages and lots of seed. The clean-up is not pretty. And where do you go for birds with GPS brains who know your relatives?

We could, of course, revert back to writing letters. You know, the yellow pad with that instrument called a pen. Oh, but wait. We’d have to learn grammar and punctuation all over again. Thanks to texting and tweeting we can’t write a full sentence anymore.

Calvin says, “You brought it on yourselves. Technology has a dark side. Take a lesson from us beagles. We bay and sniff and snort. That communication never goes out of style.”

What A Golden Chair Says About Reading

Everyday on my way home I walk past a cafe that has one gold chair in it. You can’t miss it. It’s one-of-a-kind shiny gold snakeskin faux leather.  It’s by the bookshelf spilling with pre-owned books that nobody reads. The other tables and chairs are functional and boring, and usually filled with customers. The gold chair stays empty.

“I find it odd that nobody sits in it,” I said to Jasmine, my friend at work.

“Oh, it’s because nobody reads anymore,” Jasmine said.

“Like nobody sits down anymore either?” I said.

“Not in that chair, they don’t. They’d be self-conscious.”

“You mean, reading is now a self-conscious behavior?”

“If you’re not reading on a tablet, or your smart phone, you’re dated,” Jasmine said. “Nobody wants to stand out like that.”

I love to read. Real books. The kind with lots of pages crammed with words.

The next day on my way home, I made a detour and went into the cafe. I ordered an espresso at the counter, paid for it, and walked over to the gold chair. I sat down. I looked around. The other customers were engrossed in their conversations. Nobody noticed me sitting there. While I sipped my espresso, I turned my attention to the book titles. One of them caught my attention.

The book was: Historical Rumps on the Gold Chair by Sir Robert Bottoms-Up.

I laughed out loud.

A few people stopped talking to look at me.

Then the chair began to vibrate. At first I thought it was an earthquake. Nobody else seemed alarmed. The vibrations got stronger to the tickling point. I laughed louder. This time more customers stared at me. I looked around me. I was the only one experiencing this. I had a choice. To enjoy the massage or bolt.

What would you do?

Calvin says, “Do you get a free goodie if you pass the 3-minute mark?”

Fabio Isn’t Fab

I overheard two girls talking in the corner coffee shop. One of them said, “Why settle for a good man when I have a great man?”

That’s the mantra among the single set. Nobody wants normal. The guys want the swimsuit model and the gals want Fabio with an attitude.

I have news. The swimsuit model doesn’t eat, she lives on liquids to keep her stomach flat.

With Fabio, there’s only one face in the mirror he wants to admire and it’s not yours.

The Fabios make lousy husbands.

The swimsuits have no room in their bikinis for anybody but themselves.

So what’s a single person to do?

I say look for the person with character. Now there’s an old fashioned word for you.

It refers to a person with a combination of outer and inner qualities that sets him or her apart from the crowd. Someone with substance, an individual, dare I say, different?

That person will not be Mr. Brawn or Ms. Sexy.

He will most likely be the last one to grab the spotlight at a party and the first one to wash the dishes when everybody else has gone home.

She’ll be more interested in your mind than in your muscles.

A person with character has staying power.

He won’t trade you in for the next image in stilettos. He actually wants a wife, a family, a home. That’s another old fashioned idea.

These men do exist, so look around. He’s not flipping through his smart phone, nor is he wearing ear buds. He’s the one behind the newspaper. He still reads.

Calvin says, “Quality stands out. I only go out with other beagles. Registered. AKC. Is that too snobby?”

A Network To You

There’s a new app people are downloading to their smart phones these days. It alerts you to busybodies, bully bosses, and ex-lovers who are in the same vicinity as you. Then you can decide to call them and meet for drinks. Or not.

Why, I wonder, are phones called smart? Were they dumb before? Everything on your phone you either installed yourself or somebody in a factory in China did. I’m waiting for the day when you speak into your phone and tell it to have the nachos and beer waiting when you get home. And if it can arrange for somebody to walk the dog and vacuum the rug, even better.

It seems there’s a new app coming out every week claiming a better social media experience. Since the dawn of the human race, people have wanted to connect. I get that. It used to be smoke signals at first, and now it’s texting. However, I think there was more of a story in a smoke signal than there is in a text message. Getting a few sound bytes from your friend in Finland does not make a meaningful conversation. Or maybe it does these days? You’ve reached out and touched someone, even if for a nano second, and that’s what it’s all about. Somebody thought about you, typed a few letters, and pressed “send.”

Calvin says, “That’s pathetic. A meaningful conversation is when you’re gnawing on a bone together with your best friend.”