Sunday, October 28, 2018


Events of this past week cause me to feel I must add this unplanned preface.....

I so long for the day when circumstances in our country, if not the world, reflect a predominance of news related to appreciation of sameness and tolerance, even acceptance, of differences among people as we once seemed closer to striving toward – even just two years ago.   

The tragedy, again, of lives lost -- perhaps the perpetrators of such atrocities believing they've been given license to act so by inciting rhetoric from government leaders who claim they desire unity.  These government leaders  – whose actions and words demonstrate togetherness is only for those who agree with them – continue undermining our nation’s democracy, humanity and freedom in the world.  

Consult Fourth Estate sources documenting truth. civility in government in 2018, 2020 in the U.S.!

Strive for freedoms, and humanitarian values throughout the world.  


At what point in our lives do we begin to think of individuals we employ to provide us a service as becoming friends?    I received a phone call recently from a younger gal I’d known as someone who provides a service I’ve used regularly for many years. 

She had begun coping with a medical condition a few years earlier, then suddenly reached a status resulting in her immediately having to cease what had become only part time work.  Ultimately, after a year or so, she and her previously retired husband recently moved to another state closer to one of their adult children.   She had long shared with me her hope to do so in their retirement years when each had been healthier. 

They both had to retire earlier than either of them anticipated.   Premature retirement -- as my husband needed to take, then prompting my move to part time earlier in our lives than I planned -- can confront us as a consequence of unexpected circumstances.  I’m always reminded that “life is what happens when we’re making other plans” as they experienced, too.

With her call these years later, the Service Provider friend and I talked for a very long time.  We caught up on all the medical, and some of the more recent adjustments she and her husband were making – the move from their long time home here -- into a retirement community in another State -- at a living level most appropriate for them at this time.  Assessments as to a living setting are determined in such organizational settings but may not be what we anticipated.  

They are finally getting settled, unpacking, determining what items they might need.  Discovering what other items they might have relinquished that they wished now they possessed, or weren't sure whether or not they might still have them.   They also learned packing and shipping resulted in some items accidentally being missent to a different family member. 

Cooking facilities are present in their living quarters, but they can also eat at various on site dining arrangements.   Dressing less casually than we might for meal times at home can be more prevalent in certain facility group dining areas they noted.    Exploring familiar and different interest groups, seeking new social contacts and making new friends attracts their attention now, having left behind all those from their lifetime here. 

During our time together all those years we probably talked about many topics.    We delved into some personal family issues in which we observed having similar experiences.  She said she didn’t enjoy reading books and may have read only one in her life, quite my opposite in that regard, as I overflow with books. 

After once saying she didn’t bother to vote, she did tell me, two national elections ago, that my encouragement had prompted her to vote.  Prior to that she said she counted on her husband to apprise her of political particulars, but I don’t know if that view continued.  I didn’t ask – she didn’t say – but I have a feeling her vote cancelled mine, given what I know about her views.   On the other hand, who knows what may have transpired in the privacy of the voting booth, or on the mail-in ballot.  

Even though our points of view didn’t always agree on numerous topics, especially select social and political issues, our language did not descend into vitriolic rejection, debase into demonizing and/or ragingly condemning each other’s views with disgusting name calling.  Neither did we avoid each other, clinging to discussion with only like-minded people.  Consequently, we were able to engage in freer civil discussion, proving that can occur if allowed and conducted in a reasonable manner.   We also did not cease or inhibit either our business relationship or the developing of this particular type of friendship.     

I also recall my service provider/friend once told me the story of a long time customer with whom she shared some common interests.  They both belonged to individual, but different, social clubs that engaged in a popular sport, though they weren’t competitors.   Given their shared interests her invitation to this customer to join her for one such of her club's events unsurprisingly was accepted.  Later there was an opportunity for that invitation to be reciprocated at the customer's club, but it wasn’t.   Instead, the customer casually mentioned to the service provider, “I make it a rule to never socialize with anyone I employ.” 

Was it a social hierarchy situation prompting this attitude I privately wondered when she puzzled about it later?     The customer also was always very demanding that her appointment schedule's time be rigidly followed.  She would become angry, lecturing at even the slightest time infraction of only a very few minutes.  I’ve since wondered if the customer had a specific unrevealed reason that might explain why she behaved in this manner. 
The customer continued to use her services at that same business for several months after that event.  Eventually, the customer did abruptly terminate the service -- a sudden phone call one night to the service provider, saying that “All business arrangements have a time that they must end and so this one has”, with no further explanation offered.

I did, coincidentally, encounter her customer, more of just an acquaintance of mine, at a grocery months later, but we exchanged only hurried greetings in passing.   In the past we often had laughed with, joked and teased our shared service provider.   Many months after that, the sixties-aged customer/woman’s obituary revealing cancer, appeared in our local newspaper.   Perhaps her health situation at the time explains her earlier attitude. 

Certain professions likely might best minimize personal friendships.  Other services might be more adaptable to them.  Customer’s and service provider’s personal relationship in any event can be complicated.  

What are your thoughts or experiences about service providers as friends, socializing, or even discussing opposing views about social and political issues with them?  

Sunday, October 21, 2018



Do you have your U.S. I.D. card yet?   You know, the one enabling you to board any of our airlines that will be required in 2020 – unless you want to carry your Passport.  I don’t know the situation in your State, but in So Cal I’m hearing that the closer we come to that effective year the busier our Dept. of Motor Vehicles (DMV) expects to be – that they are anticipating a last minute rush.  I don’t want to think about having to seek the I.D. card anytime during these next two years so am getting mine now.

Meanwhile, I’ve learned our DMV encountered nightmarishly long lines and waits from applicants already.  So, when my ordinary driver’s license needed to be renewed after five years I tried to make an appointment as recommended to avoid several hours waiting time. Lo and behold the earliest date I could get was a month after my driving license expired.

Concerned about the legality of my interim driving, I phoned the DMV office and had to hold over an hour in order to speak with someone.   The response avoided that legality point with the friendly agent’s suggestion a friend’s experience in one of my area offices on a Saturday morning had been that they weren’t busy at all – speculating people thought they’d be crowded so maybe they didn’t go there. 

As my driving license expiration date has been drawing closer, I finally decided to risk any lines and plan for long waiting hours.   Having had a bit of abdominal upset I was concerned about possible recurrence while on this task.  Arriving an hour before opening I encountered a long line already around the building’s corner.  A young woman reluctantly agreed to mark my place ahead of her in line so I could sit down since standing for an hour strains my endurance, especially if I’m not feeling at peak level.  I noted an older man in line perched on a sturdy three-legged cane-stool and made a mental note that perhaps I should obtain one for the future. 

I did have a cane I’ve carried since earlier this year as have been negligent starting an exercise regimen to boost my oomph.  A half-hour before opening DMV officers circulated outside and started a line for those with appointments and the disabled where they put me. A middle-aged woman with an appointment who was heading that line readily agreed to mark my place for me so I could sit down, then signaled to me later when the office opened.   
The whole process was shortened and very efficient, especially since I had completed my application on the internet days before.   I experienced a modicum of waiting, but could sit intermittently as I was called sequentially to four different windows – checking in, making further registration and payment before I was stymied with having one unaccepted document of the three required to obtain the I.D. card.   I was processed for my more limited regular renewal of my expiring driving license, passed my eye test, had my photo taken,  provided my thumb print several times, then moved on to the computer touch screen written test.  

Someone waiting in the test line thoughtfully told me I should go directly to the desk, which I did and was immediately directed to a soft cushioned seat to await availability of one of the touch screen computers with seating.  A staff person almost immediately came to confirm I was okay, then assure me I would be next to take the computerized driving test.

While waiting I observed the rest rooms conveniently located nearby, comfortingly in case I needed them.   (I don’t mean this as more information than you might wish to know, but in keeping with discussing aging as it is -- a matter of fact acknowledgement is that sometimes, especially when we get older, use of special insurance pads can be wise accessories in some situations.  Men and women have finally been able to readily purchase these potential little leakage protectors -- just in case ready access isn’t available to needed facilities as when traveling, or access is unknown.  We don’t have to feel shamed because of leaky valve weaknesses but might want to discuss with our doctor.)

Waiting to take my computer driving test I noticed some users seem to be quite unfamiliar with computers so were quite slow operating them.  The busy supervising assistant was constantly moving these novices along from screen page to page while darting off to keep the main waiting line rotating.    Finally taking my turn I passed my driving test as was confirmed with receipt of official temporary documents at the last DMV window.    I was told if I returned within 30 days with the additional different required document that they would issue me the I.D. card at no additional cost as had been my original quest.  
In all my wisdom, I thought promptness would be best, so after gathering the document from last year’s income tax form (to display my Social Security number in a manner they accepted), the next morning I returned to the DMV office.   This time I intentionally didn't arrive until about two hours after they opened.  I had noticed the previous day that by the time I left there was no line outside so correctly gambled that could be true other days, too.  

Unfortunately, on this next day visit after a short line wait to check in, then another brief wait, just as I thought I was on the home stretch, I was told since the regular driving license was in process that they could not issue the I.D. card.  I would have to wait until I received the limiting renewed driver's license in a week or two and come down again.   I was not pleased and could only wish they had told me this the previous day since these activities require more effort than when I was younger, so I do try to minimize my trips plus plan ahead.   I look forward to completing the final stage of this process and hope this new I.D. card’s duration is for many years. 

* * *

Our California DMV system is simultaneously registering all people to vote as they initiate issuing these new I.D. cards.   Only a week or so ago, in addition to horrendously long lines, they discovered thousands of people had been erroneously registered to vote who were not entitled to do so.  I don’t recall the specifics of all that situation, but reportedly the error has been corrected.

That initial rush for I.D. cards, the hullabaloo, subsequent hue and cry over all the waiting lines, has resulted in the DMV being subjected to loud criticism all over the news, and by politicians.  I have decided, at least presently, the nightmare lines, bollixed-up operations must have been resolved and I’ve benefited.

However, if people around the U.S. (I don’t know about other countries, or if they have the I.D., too, in order to fly our airlines) are wise, within these next two years, not only with our critical U.S.  national election coming up in 2020, they will apply for the new I.D. card early. Check your State to determine what is happening for you to acquire your I.D. card, and any voting registration if you have questions.

In California residents will have the updated or new voter registration via DMV driver’s license registration completed long before our new earlier Presidential Primary Election date in March 2020, but it is important to be registered to vote then, and vote in November 2020.  More immediately we’re focusing on the upcoming 2018 election in a couple weeks. 

* * *
Driving always presents us with the challenge to consider whether or not we are at our best for safe driving our vehicle ... in whatever our condition ... whatever the condition of our vehicle ... whatever the weather conditions ... whatever our age ... from the time we receive our driver’s permit ... then our license ... ever after.

The latest International Road Safety Commission’s 2016 report of 31 countries reveals only one other country has more road accidents than the United States per 100,000 population on a graph in the above link.   

We would be wise to consider driving statistics – in the U.S. older adults are ranked second in number, only less than teenagers for being in the most automobile accidents.

This gives thought to thinking about when we might need to consider retiring from driving as I was reminded when reading the recent 10/19/18 conversation at "Nick Here and Now" 
in Ireland.

I think when to turn in my keys is a highly individual determination since we all age differently.  Some of us might best retire from driving earlier than others for a variety of issues that could be associated with our physical, medical, or mental condition we need to honestly and realistically consider.  Others may have to counsel with us as to what is best for our own safety and that of others, especially if we’re not always thinking clearly which can be challenging for all involved. 

Driving license renewal requirements vary from State to State though similar basics apply.

* * *

We’ve been given an official explanation for the disappearance of newsman Jamal Khashoggi by his Arab nation from their Consulate in Turkey.  He lived in the United States and wrote for The Washington Post newspaper.  What facts are really known about his now-admitted death? 

I am grieved ... beyond being appalled ... with the events surrounding the disappearance of this newsman ... disgusted with .....

 ... how our nation’s leaders have responded or not reacted since this story was first revealed

 ... how our humanity or lack of is portrayed

 ... how this nation’s values, morals, ethics are represented.

Then there is that all important question posed by one of our nation’s leader’s religious base supporters in light of $$$ and Arab’s arms sales:

Some might ask:   What would Jesus say?       

* * *

Coincidentally, Nick's comment introduced in my previous post the topic of uncontrollable laughter occurring in some people he’s encountered.  I said I would describe one of my rare experiences with someone exhibiting that behavior – Emotional Lability – a neurological issue that can occur due to numerous causes.

My only encounter with emotional lability was with a 40+ aged highly intelligent lady.  She had multiple medical problems including a shunt in her brain, necessary to drain excess accumulating fluids to lower brain pressure.  Her speech had been affected resulting in slow productions since she couldn’t move her articulators – tongue, lips, jaws, other, effectively  enough to produce quick sharp speech (a condition called dysarthria). 

Often individuals with a dysarthric speech pattern are erroneously assumed by others to be of lower level intelligence, then treated accordingly.  She was no exception, requiring constant education for everyone with whom she came in contact.  Often what she said might be ignored or she was unable to complete her message due to her slow speech, especially if staff just stuck their head in the room for a quick word or two.

I had to intervene occasionally while we were working on her speech when she made an unintentional speech error of a humorous nature.  She would see the humor in this and begin laughing, but then couldn’t readily stop.  When this laughter, or rare crying, emerged we focused on her using techniques to cue herself with a visual prompt to consciously stop her behavior.   

She spoke of fascinating life experiences, including having been in China for one such period of time, long before the country had established official diplomatic relations with the United States.  Her family, young adult children, seemed to be mostly estranged for whatever the reasons, possibly partly due to her permanent eventually worsening physical condition.

Unable to do much for herself, primarily confined to her bed, she was able to mostly maintain a positive attitude, had a sharp high level sense of humor when those getting to know her and interacting with her engaged so.  During all the time I worked with her and afterward I continued to educate frequent staff changes about her at every opportunity of which I became aware.

Eventually, I accepted a professional position elsewhere, then long afterward had occasion to return for a short time.  I learned after she had spent many years at this large facility where she was familiar she had been abruptly discharged to a new different place.  I never knew where she went or any other particulars, but she is another person whose subsequent quality of life I’ve sometimes wondered about.    

A Driver's I.D. Card, continuing issues swirling around how our nation's officials, especially our leader-in-chief, represent each of us in the world, and some complications that can occur in the human experience may offer a topic of interest to you, too.