Driving Monitor

Watching your parents age is tough. Those people who loomed larger than life, who seemed to be able to solve all of life’s problems, are no longer what they once were. There is neither bad nor good to this: it’s just life. Aging sucks.

But what about your elder parents and driving?

I don’t think any of our four parents should be driving as they once did.

There. I said it.

I don’t think any of the parents should be on highways or driving at night.

I’m guessing this would be an unpopular opinion for anyone who might be older than me, but really

  1. slower reflexes
  2. eyesight not quite as good
  3. thinking they can make turns and merge the same way they were once able

I’m not being mean, or petty, I’m just stating the facts. I’ve been in cars with them. I will no longer get in a car with any of them driving. Period.

So this leads me to my next point:

I understand that it is not feasible to have people over a certain age take driving tests. Plus, I get the whole age discrimination thing…

but…

Should people over the age of 75 be required to have some sort of dashboard monitor or app to monitor their driving?

While I get that accidents happen to everyone of every age, and that those between the ages of 16 and 20 are most likely to get into accidents, there is a case to be made that older drivers do get involved in more accidents than those who are younger (meaning 50s and 60s)

I’m aware that you can anonymously send a complaint to DMV stating that someone should not be driving, and that DMV will ask for a retest, but is that the best way to handle the issue?

What do you think about people over 75 driving? Do you think there should be retests after a certain time? Do you think drivers over 75 should be required to have a driving monitor?

Discuss

Satire

I wrote a post on Friday https://wakinguponthewrongsideof50.com/2023/01/20/anything-can-happen-friday-unlikable-female-protagonist/ that talked about a trigger warning in the Hulu streamed film Not Okay. After one of my blog friends pointed out that the film was supposed to be a satire, (which I disagree with completely) there was discussion that the trigger warning was satirical. So lets talk about this.

WARNING- THERE WILL BE SPOILER SO IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW PARTICULARS ABOUT NOT OKAY, READ NO FURTHER. I’LL FORGIVE YOU

What is SATIRE?

Per New Oxford American Dictionarythe use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize stupidity or vices

Does Not Okay fit that definition of satire?

I don’t think so. I think the opening scene does show an ignorant character. She does say some stupid things. However, I did not view it as the filmmakers being satirical- I found it to be a judgement more than anything else, more of a mock than a satire.

What is to mock?

Per New Oxford American Dictionarytease or laugh at in a scornful or contemptuous manner

Is there a difference between mock and satire?

I think to satirize is to exaggerate something so people can see how ridiculous something is- I don’t necessarily think it is done with spite or malice. I think mocking is mean spirited and passive aggressive nasty.

Why do I think the movie is not a satire?

The character says stupid things and is ignorant of many things, including her own privilege. You do chuckle at her in the beginning, but her behavior after that is more contemptuous. You don’t like her and it’s no longer funny- it’s just not a character that you want to like. Not liking a character because she makes poor life choices and decisions is not satire.

If a movie is a satire, does the theme need to carry through from start to finish?

When I think of Dr. Strangelove or more recently Don’t Look Up or The Menu, the theme is carried through from start to finish. There is no doubt what you are watching is satire, and at least in the case of Dr., hilariously funny. The movies end in the most ridiculous ways possible. In Not Okay, the ending is sad. There is no funny or satirical overtone- it is straight up contempt for the main character, the unlikable female protagonist. Can it be a satire if it doesn’t end satirically?

If the content warning was supposed to be a joke, should they have included TRAUMA in the warning?

This is why I think it was done intentionally: trauma is something that would be put in a content advisory, because there are people who really want to know this. If the unlikable protagonist was supposed to be funny, wouldn’t it have been in bad taste to include them in the warning together?

Your turn:

  1. How do you define satire?
  2. What are the best satires you’ve seen/read?
  3. Do you think because someone says that something is satire, that it really is satire, or does it have to pass the smell test?

Virtual

My local gym used to have a ton of classes: spin and body conditioning and yoga, etc. Then pandemic, and gyms shut down for a bit. When they reopened, my local gym had very few classes on the roster. This was a problem for me as I am a big fan of classes. I need motivation to work out. Period. This is neither good nor bad, it’s just me. While I can and do go to the gym and jump on the elliptical five times a week, I love a class.

Slowly my gym has begun adding more classes. But a few months ago they started having virtual spinning classes in the facility (as opposed to the Peloton model where you can do the classes at home).

I was not happy about these virtual classes. I like doing things in person with a live instructor. However, a virtual instructor was better than no class, so I began attending two spin classes a week.

I hate to admit this, but I loved it.

The teacher was teaching live at a studio, and there were four other gyms taking part in the same class, and we all participated by watching a huge TV in the cycling rooms at our own particular location. We could see the instructor, but she couldn’t see us. However, the instructors were able to monitor our bikes, and our progress, from the studio where they were filming. The class was set up so that my gym would be “competing” against the other gyms. Throughout the class, our stats would flash up on the monitor: how on pace we were with how the instructor was telling us to go, and how much power we were using. (FYI- I was awesome at pacing but really lousy at power)

My competitive nature clearly came out, as did the competitive nature of the others in the class. As we were cheering ourselves over “beating” the other teams, we would be laughing at ourselves for how all out we would go for this meaningless tribute.

I was working out and having fun. I really enjoyed the class.

You may have noticed that I was sort of speaking in the past tense. About six weeks ago the gym decided it wasn’t going to do virtual classes anymore. We don’t know why they stopped because we get absolutely no communication about what is and isn’t happening. But I was a little sad that virtual spin was over.

Luckily, my gym added some live, in person instructors so that there are now a few more spin classes. In fact, I was sitting on bike 19 at 6am today.

When I scheduled this post a few months ago, I thought I would be telling you about how virtual spin class was awesome- but instead I’m giving you its obituary. In a blink of an eye, things change. I guess that’s the lesson of today’s post…enjoy things while you can because nothing lasts forever.

Positive Outcome

If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.

Orson Welles

When doing five minutes of research, I realized that I probably shouldn’t title my post happy endings, but essentially my thoughts and queries revolve around the term happy ending as it applies to books, movies, and life.

How do you define the words happy ending or positive outcome?

Much of fiction ends “happy”. Good guy wins out, the couple fall in love, the moral dilemma is resolved. But just because things end where the audience thinks they should, does it necessarily mean that it’s happy?

I’m going to give you a spoiler alert about Friends- the on again off again relationship between Ross and Rachel appears to be on for good as the show takes its final bow. There are many that think this is the ultimate relationship and this is the ending they wanted all along. However, Rachel gives up a dream job in Paris to stay with Ross. Is it happy or settling?

I recently watched a TV movie with my daughter- one of those Netflix things about a twenty something that does something stupid. What made this movie different was that many people would not consider it to conclude on a positive note. While some of the things said are a step forward, the viewer is left wondering how the protagonist will fare in the future. Of course, the warning label before the movie said “drug use, sexual situations and unlikeable female character” so apparently the American public needs to know when it might not be happy ever after and they need to be prepared… (I guess I could write a whole blog just about that phenomena…)

How do you define happy ending/positive outcome?

Can you give an example about an ending that was positive that you thought was good?

Can you give an example of an ending that was not “happy” and why it did or did not work?

What do you think of the Welles quote?

Happy ending: Yes or No?

Anything Can Happen Friday- The Scam

So my Mother called me the other day…

She received an email from one of her neighbors. The email said that this particular neighbor was having a rough go and needed my Mom to get her a gift cardfor either Amazon or Apple.

Now, I know most of you are thinking the same thing as I thought about this email…

But my Mom…

My Mom can be a very trusting and helpful sort of person. If someone is in trouble she will try to help. She has a sort of Capraesque view of the world, where good wins out over evil and all the other stuff. She assumes that people are good, and that no one tries to take advantage of another.

In theory I guess it would be nice to be that trusting. But you know…I’m a realist not an idealist…so most of the time I’m looking for the angle.

Is this real?

Can I trust this?

What’s the possible downside?

My mother emails back, asking how she can help. She gives her “friend” her phone numbers in case her “friend” can’t find them. And then she proceeds to try to figure out how to buy the gift card.

Now this is a time when I am glad that my Mother is not tech savvy. She couldn’t figure out how to buy the gift cards.

My Mother then calls her friend, to tell her that she can’t buy the cards…

You probably know that the friend’s email account was hacked.

My Mother called me, worried that these scammers have her phone number, and she responded to the email. She was worried that accounts could be opened up in her name using her phone numbers. Honestly, I don’t know anymore what people can and can’t do with information, any information, so I told my Mom to watch her statements and she uses one of those companies that call you when an account is trying to be opened, so I told her to just monitor things…

After I got off the phone with her I heaved a big sigh. While I have got over scams with my daughter ad infinitum, I never thought I would have to go through this with my Mother. I assumed that my Mother would just know when something seems off…But now I really have to worry that she will think the Crown Prince of Nigeria really needs her help.

I love that my Mom is trusting and wants to help others, but now this is a new worry that I have to contend with. Realistically I know that I can’t protect my Mom, but it sort of crushes me that I can’t stop bad people, bad things from hurting her. This is the part about being a daughter that no one really talks about- when the child becomes the parent and the protector.

I sit and try to figure out where to go from here. Is there anything I can do to help my Mother than I hadn’t thought of? Is there any way to prepare? I have to remind myself that there’s not always a solution to things: that there are things that I can’t write as a list and check off the things I’ve done and look ahead to what comes next…

I realize that this is where I need hope: hope that things won’t be too bad, hope that I can fix whatever happens, hope that life will be pleasantly uneventful.

Hope. Sometimes it’s the best option.

What is Love? Ha Ha Ha

Love is the quality of attention we pay to things.

J. D. McClatchy, Love Speaks its Name as quoted in Conversations on Love by Natasha Lun

In her book, Lun states that sustaining of love is to create a space for simple moments and then to notice them. Seems so simple, right? But is it?

The incident Lun refers to is about cooking a meal with her partner- being present in the moment and just enjoying each others company. To be present with one’s partner…

What simple moments have you shared with a partner in the past? Do you recall those moments with a sense of peace? Are they pleasant memories?

It doesn’t have to be romantic love though. It can be love of a friend, love of a child. When I think about my closest friends, the thoughts that always pop into my mind are of simple moments of just being together, or talking about nothing. A few months ago we got into a day long text chain about staplers. One of my friends remarked that day that this is why she loved us: because we could spend an entire day talking about staplers. And now, when I see a stapler I think of my friends and the thoughts are happy- it’s about a silly conversation that just sort of captured all of us in a perfect moment of togetherness.

It’s your turn: Is love the quality of attention we pay to things?

Is love noticing the small moments that make up life?

Discuss:

What We Miss

My daughter is about to go back to college (for her final semester if you can believe that!!!) It’s always bittersweet when I give her a hug as she lugs her bags into the cab to take her to Penn Station to catch the Northeaster to Union Station… There are parts of me that will miss her, and their are parts… not so much.

I love having my daughter around because she is intelligent and we have great conversations. She is well versed in current events and culture, and has a mind of a sponge because she remembers things that were taught to her in years past. Yesterday we were at MOMA and as we looked at an exhibit she recalled things her 8th grade social studies teacher did as a lesson that correlated with the work we were looking at.

When she leaves I miss the conversations.

My husband doesn’t eat cheese. When I say this I mean that he doesn’t eat nachos or cheese fries or a charcuterie plate that includes cheese. While sharing cheesy tater tots isn’t an activity to base a marriage on, his not eating cheese and most things dairy can be difficult to plan meals around and takes away some small things that I find pleasurable. My daughter eats cheese.

When she leaves I will miss having someone to snack on cheese with.

My daughter will pretty much try anything cultural. Off beat play? She’s in. Weird art? She’s in. Foreign film? She’s in. Golden Girls themed dinner? She’s in.

I will miss having her around to see things and discuss things.

My daughter likes to stay out late. She doesn’t do this every night, but one or two nights a week she is out late. If she’s not home I don’t sleep well. Just can’t.

I will not miss being bleary eyed because my daughter was at a club till 3am, and then had pizza.

While my daughter is highly intelligent, she is also mainly book smart. She lacks life experience and a certain amount of maturity that only comes with the years. Because of this she can be righteous. Oh boy can she be righteous.

I will not miss the righteousness.

She asked me the other day if I missed her being younger- she said there’s been a lot of TikTok’s about how parents miss their kids when they were younger, when they had trouble walking in snowsuits and mispronounced words and just generally the things we find endearing about the not so fully formed humans. She asked if I ever wished she was five again…I told her that while I have many fond memories of her younger years, I have appreciated every stage of her life: but, I don’t wish she were younger or had stayed frozen at any point in time. I have enjoyed the journey of parenting her from being pregnant (ok- not morning sickness) to toddler to preschool, elementary to middle to high to college, and now as an adult. The memories are wonderful but I don’t want to live in the memory. I’m ready to close out the undergraduate years and look forward to watching her as she encounters the next step on her journey.

When you say you miss your kids, what is it that you actually miss? Do we really miss kids as they were, or is it just a little wistful to look back at time and see how fast it really goes when you’re not paying attention?

Anything Can Happen Friday: Enemy

Imagine if a Mom took her daughter to New York City to see the Rockettes Christmas Show at Radio City. This was a girl scout trip- so picture a bunch of little kids excited to see a holiday show.

Now imagine that a venue such as this uses facial recognition technology. What if the Mom worked for a law firm that is presently in a lawsuit against the parent company of the venue.

What if the Mom was denied access to Radio City because facial recognition flagged her as an enemy?

What if this wasn’t a science fiction story or dystopian movie?

https://www.nbcnewyork.com/investigations/face-recognition-tech-gets-girl-scout-mom-booted-from-rockettes-show-due-to-her-employer/4004677/

There’s all sorts of ways we can discuss this, but what’s YOUR take?

What do you think of facial recognition tools to keep out “enemies”?

Have we gone too far?

Am I a danger because I wrote this post?

Are you a danger because you read it?

Discuss

Does This Make Sense?

Scenario 1

A few months ago my husband went for pizza with his co-workers. They ordered two pizzas, different toppings on each. The server brought the pizza’s and people started taking slices.

I mean, this is what you do at a restaurant: you get served your food and you eat.

One person had taken a slice from pizza A. It turns out pizza A was made with something wrong.

No harm, no foul. Mistakes happen. Server quickly rectified the errant pizza situation.

What my Husband thought was bizarre about this encounter was that the restaurant took back the pizza that had been served incorrectly and was missing a slice.

Now, according to health and safety, that pizza can’t be served to anyone. So should the restaurant have just cut their losses and left the pizza there?

Scenario 2

I sometimes still have trouble finding hand soap, so occasionally I order from Amazon.

Recently I ordered a four pack of hand soap.

When the hand soap arrived, I only received one thing of soap. When I contacted Amazon about the issue, they said I had to send back the one soap, and they would send me a set of four.

Why wouldn’t they send me three additional soaps instead of me returning one?

FYI- after I returned the one soap, when they redelivered they again sent me one soap instead of four. My lesson was when I see soap in the store I buy multiples…

Question:

Have you ever had a weird experience when you’ve received the wrong thing? How did you handle it? Did it get resolved to your satisfaction?

Discuss

Friendship Envy and Honesty

Have you ever been envious of a friend?

It’s Ok if you have: I think there are times we see what someone else has, and we do get a little green at the thought of it. Maybe your friend has a great job, or a wonderful new relationship, or is pregnant- and you might really want these things, but at the present time it just isn’t there for you. Perhaps it makes it difficult to spend time with this friend, or maybe even be happy for them.

These are honest emotions, and you shouldn’t berate yourself for feeling them.

But…

Maybe you should have an open discussion with your friend about how you are feeling.

In Conversations on Love by Nathasha Lunn:

At times, that ongoing conversation might include sharing painful thing. Saying I’m proud you are achieving so much in your career, but sometimes that reminds me I’m struggling with mine…Because Susie made me realize that my envy was not only rooted in wanting what others had. Really it grew from a fear of being left behind , and of loneliness.

When you are envious of a friend, what is it really about? Is it really wanting their great job, or is it because you just aren’t in a good place at the moment and you feel scared and alone and afraid?

FYI- we all feel scared and alone and afraid sometimes. Really- we do. It might not look like that on social media, but there isn’t a person out there who hasn’t had moments of doubt and insecurity. But that’s why you need to talk to your friends about how you are feeling. They are your friends for a reason: share what you are going through. Chances are they will be scared of something too, just maybe not the same thing as you are.

Be honest with your friends about how you are feeling. Talk to them. Communicate. Having emotions is a part of being human- you just need to learn how to deal with them in a positive and healthy way.