As the end of the 2012 election season draws near (praise the Lord), I'm counting down to Nov. 6, when as many as 10 political ads per half-hour cease to bombard me during what little TV I actually watch. I've had to listen to so many ads this election I know who's running for Congress in other states and who would get my vote if I lived there. Where's the "Don't Like" button when I need it most.
It doesn't stop there. Retailers like Target are running Christmas ads and there's not even frost on the pumpkin.
Speaking of buttons, I consider myself quite technically literate, copying, pasting, downloading and uploading with the best of them. Although, there are times when the most obvious solutions escape me, like when my camera malfunctioned. Minutes before, all the bells and whistles were working just fine.
Suddenly error messages popped up right and left, and the viewfinder turned pitch-black. Fuming and fumbling over missing perfectly good photo ops, I was downright mystified. Flustered, I furiously tried to figure it out. Battery charged? Check. Camera on? Check. Flash on? Check. Correct menu modes? Check.
Not until I turned the lens toward me, did I realize the problem. The lens cap was on. Hel-lo-oh! Blushing over the obvious, my techy confidence balloon quickly burst big-time.
That same week, when my printer at the office failed, I automatically started troubleshooting. Default printer selected? Yes. Paper jam? No. Correct paper tray selected? Yes. Reboot? Yes.
When all else fails, call the Help Desk. When the tech asked if there was paper in the printer, I thought, what a silly question, of course, there is.
Yanking open that darn paper tray, what did I find? No paper. Terribly embarrassed, I was in no hurry to admit my oversight. Nevertheless, my trusty moral compass kicked in, and I fessed up. Definitely operator error.
In order for the printer to work, Paula, he said condescendingly, it has to have paper. Thanking him, I felt really, really stupid. No problem, he alluded, have a good day. I'll bet he's still chuckling.
Don't even ask about the time I generously helped my daughter's PC run faster by removing "unwanted" programs from the hard drive. Although well-intentioned, I completely iced it.
Speaking of misjudging things, I must confess I think truck drivers barreling down the road in their mega-thousand-pound rigs really don't care much about us little people in cars zipping down the highway. In a collision, we'd be toast.
That was until a lifelong friend who is a trucker said people don't realize truckers spend most of their time on the road watching out for people in cars. Elaborating, he went on, they don't have a clue how much it takes to maneuver let alone stop a semi. Plus, I'm way above them and can see everything. You wouldn't believe how many are texting while driving. Scary, he added with a worried look, very scary.
Sometimes, people misjudge me, too. For example, after my husband and I settled into our seats at a recent 50's and 60's rock concert, the gentlemen sitting next to me wryly asked, are you the type who dances and gets all crazy at shows like this? Because if you are, I want to know about it now.
Even though I've never gone crazy at a concert, surprisingly, I actually had to think about it. No, I reassured him. Thank goodness, he replied sheepishly.
During the encore, when all 2,000 of us in the audience were on our feet, I couldn't help but notice the 70-something man in front of us. Never would I suspect an old guy like him to, well, rock and roll. On his feet, swaying to the music elbows bent and raised his entire body became a playful teeter-totter, rocking from side to side. Slightly off beat to the Beatles' "Hey, Jude," he gingerly shifted his weight from left to right, right to left. Transported back in time, his arthritic bones no longer ached; his hair was no longer gray. He was young again.
That was until the last song ended, and the house lights illuminated every visible crease the years had etched in his face, neck and hands.
Yet, with an entire repertoire of Rock 'n Roll music running through his head, I pictured him twisting and shouting all the way home.
2012 © Copyright Paula Damon.
A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Bosco Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her writing has won first-place in competitions of the National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women. In the 2009, 2010 and 2011 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contests, her columns have earned eight first-place awards. To contact Paula, email boscodamon.paula@gmail, follow her blog at firstname.lastname@example.org and find her on FaceBook.