But I Digress…

20190529_192827It’s been nearly a year since I posted to this blog. I have had a difficult time feeling comedic during that time, and it does not look like things are likely to improve any time soon. I’ve still been writing theater reviews and plays (which I will post soon), but it’s time to get back to the blog, novels, and short stories that have been building up in my brain. For my small number of fans, I thank you for your patience…and for the rest of you, my profound apologies.

It is a Tuesday morning here in the Triangle, and I am on my way from my home in Cary, NC, just outside of Raleigh, and headed for Durham, approximately 25 miles to the northwest. For those who are unaware of the local geography, the Triangle is the area bounded by Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, homes to NC State, Duke and UNC, respectively. The traffic here is nothing compared to my previous areas of residence in North Jersey and South Florida, but it can be bad at rush hour. It was also raining quite heavily.

You may wonder why an unemployed person would choose to travel in the rain or at rush hour, let alone both. In a nutshell, I’m trying to be a good uncle. My niece moved to Durham from New Mexico over the Summer to start a doctoral program at Duke University. She also is working full-time as a midwife after serving her country in Afghanistan as a translator in the Army. She is the daughter of my brother, and I hadn’t seen her for some 25 years. I figured I needed to make up for lost time.

Speaking of the art of being a midwife, I was mildly surprised to learn that the noun form for this practice is called midwifery. This makes sense, but the pronunciation may not. While midwife has a long “i”, as in “wife”, midwifery (mid-wahy-fuh-ree) is typically pronounced with a short “i” as in “whiff” (mid-wif-uh-ree). This just sounds funny to me as well as confusing and a bit pointless.

For those of you familiar with baseball jargon, you may be aware that the term “whiff” refers to a strikeout, specifically a swinging strikeout. Midwifery sounds as though it might refer to the midpoint of a whiff. This would be the point in time where the bat passes through the strike zone simultaneously with the pitch traveling unimpeded in the opposite direction. I suppose that since a strikeout requires three strikes, midwifery could also refer to the second strike, making it mid-whiff.

I actually did find one source that includes mid-wif-uh-ree as acceptable and also mid-wif-ree and mid-wahy-ree, both dropping the third syllable…but I digress…

My niece has a cat named TT and when she decided to take a well-deserved vacation to Hawaii after her semester ended, she asked me to drop in a few times to take care of TT. I am not an animal lover and have a particular disdain for cats. If you need any additional proof of my forthrightness, it is extremely unlikely that I will ever need the services of a midwife, nor need anything translated to or from Pashto, Farsi or Urdu.

When I arrived, I had a difficult time opening the apartment door with the electronic key fob. While I have never had a big problem using traditional keys, I am aware that technology continues to roll forward, crushing all senior citizens in its path.

Speaking of soul-crushing progress…have you been to the supermarket lately? A dozen or more registers sit idle while one is open. Five people with overfilled carts are waiting in line. There’s even a line at the self-checkout where one employee who clearly is incapable of handling a real register, is standing around while six people stare blankly at their screen trying to find rutabaga on the produce menu. Where are all the employees? They are in the aisles, picking orders for the millennials who are too busy to do their own shopping and are willing to pay an upcharge so they have more time to drink their $7 mochaccino-fucking-latte…but I digress…

While I am aware that every television detective or MacGyver wannabe, no matter how amateur, can pick any lock in less time than the average Geico ad, I’ve never met anyone who could actually do so. I haven’t even ever heard of anyone ever owning or using a set of lock picks. I have to vouch for the added security of this particular lock setup. I actually had the key fob, and it took me fifteen minutes to get in. The entire time, I can hear TT freaking out, expecting her mommy (my niece) instead of a curmudgeonly old cat-hater.

I fill TT’s food dish and top off her water. This oddball cat will only drink out of actual drinking glass. I then go to clean the litterbox. Something is not right. The amount of waste in this litterbox is well beyond what TT could have possibly produced in the two days since I had last cleaned it. I swear that it was more excrement that I could produce on day 3 of a cruise. I check for evidence that TT must have left some bones or entrails from a mouse or rat or badger. I found nothing. Could she have found the container of cat food? Unlikely, since it took me three minutes to open it. Is there a cat door that might allow eight or ten other cats to pop over for book club or a movie night?

Alas, some questions will never be answered. I sat and pet TT for an hour or so, and then headed for home. It only took me ten minutes to lock the door. I’ll have to be satisfied that I can be a good uncle. I’ve been away from the blog for a while, and I know this is a rambling post, but I hope to get more focused and start cranking out some regular stuff in the coming weeks and months.



© Robert O’Connell and http://www.thesmartestguyiknow.wordpress.com, 2011-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert O’Connell and http://www.thesmartestguyiknow.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



5 thoughts on “But I Digress…

  1. Very funny! I not only dislike cats, I am afraid of them. I lucked out last year when my good friend, who does me many favors, asked me to check on her cat daily while she (my friend) was in the hospital. With great trepidation, I approached the locked door, with key ready. I imagined that the cat would scoot out the door and disappear forever, and I would be responsible. I fumbled and fumbled with the key. It didn’t fit! I walked around to the patio door. The key didn’t fit there either!
    I went to my friend’s next-door neighbor, who raises greyhound dogs, of which I am also afraid.
    It turned out that I had been given the wrong key. The kind greyhound-raising neighbor had the right key and dismissed me from my assignment, saying that she would look after the cat. YAY!

  2. Hilarious! Is that pretty girl with you our niece Allison? Or is she a cheerleader? Love, Sherry P.S. see my comment


  3. Hi Bob! Jess shared your blog with me. We look forward to following your adventures from here! Big hugs from Denver! – Cristina

  4. I see/hear the humor. But otherwise, I’m fine.
    Alternate titles: “I Was BORN a Ramblin’ Man, “Cat’s Outta the Bag,” or “TT and All That Crap,” “Keys (not fobs) to Being a Good Uncle.” 🙂

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