A Promise to Whine

Whiners are never welcome. Listeners often come across whiners, hypochondriacs and all forms of self-absorbed and self-obsessed folks regaling us with everything from their grandest achievements to their most painful bowel movements. Listeners listen politely, hemming and hawing at the right places through sheer practice but secretly wishing for a strong rope to hang themselves.

But sometimes listeners get the urge to whine. I want to whine and I have no ears to bend to this cause. I don’t want to send people mentally scurrying away in search of a noose! But this bit of cyber real estate is all mine so let me lay it all down here.

There’s a niggling twinge in my right shoulder; it goes away and then returns with a vengeance. It’s rather persistent and it gets worse every time my shoulder has to bear the burden of my large tote bag in which I carry my dressy shoes and laptop. This wouldn’t bother me one bit if I had door to door limousine service between my home and my place of work. But since this isn’t the case I get to bear the wintry ordeal of a thirty minute walk every morning with an aching shoulder.

Normally I am not a dressy shoes carrying person. I buy comfortable shoes so that a sneaker to shoes exchange isn’t necessary as soon as I get to my place of work. But winter is different and the streets and sidewalks are usually coated with slick black ice. I NEED to wear my heavy fleece lined snow boots with deep grooves in its sole for traction on ice. I can’t possibly keep them on all day with my dresses and slacks! The reason for carrying the laptop around is the same: the nasty winter. Sometimes, on days like today, the roads are pure ice, the car tires act like sleds (that’s when the car decides to move), schools are closed and I need to do my work from home using a remote connection.

This winter is one of extreme discontent for my poor clavicle.

But whining about pain is the worst sort of whining. What bothers me more is that both my purse and my large tote bag keep sliding off my damn shoulders every five minutes during the thirty minute walk. I keep adjusting the straps and edging them as close to the crook of my neck as possible so that the distance the straps have to travel before they slip off my broad shoulders is widened. But it doesn’t help!! It never helps, they continue their downward slide with a steady frequency. Last night this drove me insane. The twinge and then the slide. I might have let out a couple of rather audible “Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrghs” as I was walking. I was so wrapped up in my woes that I probably didn’t notice people staring and thinking, “What the heck is wrong with her!”

Then there’s the problem of the gloves. There are many tiny little bits of annoying logistics here. I probably can’t provide an adequate description of all the hassles I encounter here. Every time I need to hike my bags back on my shoulder the strap lands on my begloved hand. I can’t possibly leave my poor frozen fingers crushed under the straps so I make every effort to extricate them without sending the straps sliding again, but as I am doing this my glove sometimes stays stuck as my hand slips out of it…and then the whole glove-strap-shoulder dance starts again, accompanied by the emanation of more curious sound effects for my fellow pedestrians; all of whom seem so very comfortable in their skins.

The other problem with gloves is the tickle in the nose that’s caused by the stray fibers from the scarf around my neck. My face is usually buried up to my nose in the folds of the scarf, causing various itchy and ticklish fibers to crawl right up my nasal passages. A tickle or an itch caused by fine woolen fibers cannot possibly be relieved by a gloved hand. So now I need to pull off a glove, again engaging the ball and socket shoulder joint supporting the bags!

In other words, there is absolutely no end to my misery here. It is an interminable state of hellishness.

Now let’s compound all the elements of misery noted above with the necessity of carrying an umbrella. Now the left hand comes into play. It needs to hold up my golf course sized heavy umbrella.

If you’re reading this, if you’ve rather sadistically found my misery engaging somehow, you’re probably wondering why I need a golf course type umbrella. Ah! Well I’ll tell you!

For some reason I have never been able to befriend an umbrella. It always leaves one side of me drenched. Yes, I do carry it straight above my head, I am always checking to ensure that I am not shielding one side of me more than the other, but why I still manage to get drenched on one side remains a rather curious mystery. I thought perhaps this had to do with the size of my umbrella. I used to carry smaller ones – shoulder…twinge…load aversion…recall? So I switched to a bigger one. I continue to get drenched on one side.

The umbrella problem is a bigger one, a rather multi-faceted, multi-dimensional problem. You see, there are collisions now with other umbrellas. Sometimes I feel I should be considerate and courteous to my fellow pedestrians and I slant it the other way while waiting for the person to pass but then I hit someone on the other side. At other times I note that no one else showed any signs of similar courtesy and maybe it is acceptable to keep walking ahead, umbrella aloft, not worrying about the others on the road. But this often leads to some minor umbrella collisions, altercations involving bleepable words or some other form of overt animus. And then there are the ever present scaffoldings and awnings on the sidewalks, they offer a bit of a reprieve from the rain but I wonder what the umbrella etiquette is in these situations, does one collapse it for the duration of the scaffolding or does one keep it open in order to avoid the extra work of collapsing and unfurling within just a few seconds? Do people think of you as a jerk if you have an umbrella open while walking under an awning?

And just how do all those people stay dry on all sides, how??

It’s going to be a long winter and I am running out of ideas on how to go the distance growl and groan free. This seventh day of January is over but tomorrow morning I’ll be driving on ice to get to my wonderful Park & Ride. The bus will be waiting there, two minutes to go, while I circle the parking lot trying to find a place to park. I won’t find a place to park unless I ride up a minor snow hill and leave my car partly tilted and partly sticking out of the spot, in prime position to be ticketed or hit!

This parking lot is never really full and maybe the snow removal personnel were shrewd observers during the fall, perhaps they made a note of all the spots that were usually empty and now they dump huge mountains of snow on these spots…or at least that’s what it looks like they did. There are small hills of snow and ice in randomply selected spots all around the parking lot!

I have many other things to whine about but now there’s a part of me that’s begging me to stop, it’s threatening to go looking for that noose! So I better stop.

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