Tag Archives: aging

Lame Adventure 346: The Old Bag is Dying

This is the right place for that idea.

Even though late at night and early in the morning, I have a cough that sounds like a death rattle and it currently feels like a colony of squirrels are performing the Gangnam Style dance inside my left knee, I am sticking around.  Now that it is October, and the weather in Gotham City is transitioning into real deal fall feel, I am savoring the final moments of tee shirt season as well as the magic hour clouds that almost appear to glow.

Magic hour cloud.

After I photographed this cloud above my Upper West Side neighborhood block, I turned my attention to the tree with the two bags tangled in its branches.

Tree with distinction of bagging today.

Same tree with hanging bags in March.

Last spring – halcyon days of tree bagging.

I can report with authority that one of the bags, the one in white plastic declaring, “thank you” — with an original purpose that was probably used in transporting a dinner delivery, entered the ether in September.  Together, lets pause and remember our departed tree bag-friend.

On that same September day in early fall, the Fairway grocery bag was continuing to hold its own.

Drunk with tree bagging power. “This tree is all mine!”

Therefore, it won Survivor: Tree Bagging.

Now, that it is October, it appears that after seven months of hang-time in that tree, nature is finally taking its toll on the surviving bag.

How the situation looked in September.

How things look in October.

It seems very possible that a drenching rainstorm coupled with the power of wicked wind, and this once hardy plastic bag that has been nestled in those branches since spring will be making its final exit.  Seasons change, leaves fall, and bags eventually disintegrate.  There you have it, the circle of tree-bag-life Lame Adventures-style.  This actually saddens me.

I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for this grocery store bag’s achievement.  The average bag likely ends up in a landfill within a week.  This bag not only survived its initial purpose, when it was used to carry groceries, but it survived the trash collector and made its escape into a tree, where it has resided since March.  It’s tackled seven months of outdoor elements.  That’s so remarkable.  What tenacity!  In bag-years, this bag is probably 90-years-old.  If a plastic bag could run for public office, this one would have made a formidable candidate.  Considering all that this heroic bag has seen from its perch, it might have been the one plastic grocery bag that could have served on the Supreme Court.  Alas, we’ll never know.  One can only wonder what this bag might say if it could talk, much less think.

“I will outlive you, bitch.”

Lame Adventure 299: Pointless Mysteries

Although I’m slightly less spiritual than a tube sock, as I was returning to my Upper West Side garret at Magic Hour after another productive day of clock watching on company time, I looked up at the sky and saw this holy card-style cloud formation.

Cloud porn.

It was the type of cloud-cluster that begs for a soprano singing choir soundtrack as a gigantic Supreme Being hand emerges with a pointed index finger.

This finger is pointing out what – the end is near, the end is far, the end has corporate sponsorship so now it’s negotiable and under contract?  Yet this being Manhattan, a more realistic soundtrack when those clouds part would be wailing sirens as that hand emerges, quickly upturns and flips the bird at the Jaded New Yorkers down below muttering in unison at the insult:

Jaded New Yorkers: Now I’ve seen everything!

After snapping my trademark crummy pictures of the mystical cloud formation, my thoughts drifted in the direction of my other recent encounters with life’s mysteries small and pointless.

Hand-free light shaft.

For example, every year, no matter what the holiday, my building has some pleasant reminder of the event.

Fragrant Easter lily.

This past Friday, I encountered my landlady in the subway station that’s three blocks south from my home base.  In a cheerful tone I declared:

Me:  That’s a lovely lily we have in the lobby!

She looked at me with an expression that translates as follows:

My Landlady:  Who the hell are you?

Then, she walked away.  I’ve been renting an apartment in her 18-unit brownstone for almost 30 years.  Possibly I’m being overly sensitive, but one would think there would be a glimmer of recognition that I’m her tenant by now.

My landlady’s inability to distinguish me from the Town Loon  aside, I’ve entered my annual spring funk.  My birthday is approaching soon and friends and family are frequently reminding me about it.  Over the weekend my father called and bleated enthusiastically:

My Father:  I can’t believe you’re gonna be (ickity) four!  How did that happen?

Me:  (Ickity) four happens next year!  Right now, this minute, I’m still (ickity) two!

[Insert awkward pause here.]

My Father:  At least you’ve never been fat.

That’s true but as my metabolism downshifts, I’m not feeling as svelte as I used to.  I’m developing a bit of a paunch and from certain angles in states of undress, I’m looking marsupial.  I know I need to exercise more and it would also behoove me to eat less crap and guzzle less beer.  Over the weekend, I wanted potato chips, but I decided to get the 40% reduced fat variety and limit myself to the recommended serving of just 20 chips, but who ever eats such a puny amount, much less buys the reduced fat version?

Bet you can't eat just 20.

To psyche myself into doing so, I reasoned that I must think as if I’m lost in the woods and I’m obligated to make these rations last to survive.

What 20 chips look like in a bowl with a sneaker.

What 20 chips look like in a bowl sans sneaker.

Then I thought:

Me (thinking):  Who am I kidding?  I’m in an apartment in the heart of Manhattan and I want to pound a high octane beer with these chips.

Yet, I practiced some restraint as I proceeded to inhale my 20 chips in one gulp like an anteater on steroids.  Thanks to my remarkable willpower combined with Mad Men being the only show worth watching on TV, I have yet to chow down the rest of the bag.

Last week at work, after finishing a 16-ounce tea chased with a 10-ounce cup of water, this flood of hydration nearly ruptured my bladder.

Chug a lug.

Fortunately, I could easily win Olympic gold if there was a competition for hightailing from my office to the bathroom in breaking the sound barrier time.  I switched on the light and saw an orchid, a gift to my boss, Elsbeth, soaking in the sink.

"Can a plant have some privacy around here?"

Tortured, I raced back to my office and announced to my superior:

Me:  Your orchid is soaking in the sink!

Elsbeth:  Oh!  I put it there!


Me (screaming inside my head):  Why are you doing this to me when I need to take a piss worthy of a herd of farm animals?

Me (speaking through gritted teeth):  I figured.

Remarkably, Elsbeth heard the earlier unasked question.  She moved the orchid quickly solving at least one more of my life’s pointless mysteries.  Now the orchid is sitting on the sink.

The bathroom orchid.

Lame Adventure 198: Same Old Me

One of the advantages of working a day job that is slightly less captivating than the study of the shape of gum stains on the sidewalk is that it gives one countless hours of opportunity to think, especially while doing mundane tasks such as removing 1,778 images from 889 sheet protectors.

889 sheet protectors at last count.

For example, one can think about wanting to take a nap, lunch, sex, what’s the name of that song playing on the radio, is that smell Windex or a terrible cologne, sex, my foot itches, I must remember to pick up mustard, sex, pigeons have it so easy, what’s the lifespan of a pigeon, sex, is this pain in my chest a heart attack or indigestion, am I going to drop dead here at my desk with my foot itching, sex, is it going to rain today, did I bring my umbrella?

My colleagues, in particular my sidekick, Greg, are also adept at voicing random thoughts aloud.  Recently, Greg pondered the question of how long does it take for us to completely replace every cell in our bodies.  He was unsure if it was seven or ten years.  One of the things I was sure of is that my most recent batches of cells whether they are seven or ten years old are not quite as robust as earlier versions.  Once home, while guzzling a bottle of Magic Hat Wacko beer to lubricate my thought process —

Wacko beer endorsed by Lame Adventures.

I went online and Google searched, “How long does it take to renew every cell in the human body?”

According to Ask a Naturalist.com:

“Recent research has confirmed that different tissues in the body replace cells at different rates, and some tissues never replace cells. So the statement that we replace every cell in the body every seven years or every ten years is wrong.”

Apparently, the number of brain cells you enter the world with are all you get.  When they die and they will, that’s it, you regress into an even bigger dolt.  They’re not replaced and their loss probably helps explain why I keep blanking on getting mustard, even though I recently looked directly at the mustard shelf while in the store, but then went to the meat department and picked up a steak, something I had not intended to purchase.  What is even more annoying is returning home, then recalling I still need mustard, going back to the store and momentarily suffering a brain freeze about why I have made this second trip.  Fortunately, the voice inside my head screamed:

Voice Inside My Head (screaming):  You need mustard you moron!

Ask a Naturalist.com also claims that fat cells are replaced at a rate of 10% per year in adults.  I find this rather ironic since those are the cells I most wish would go away and never return.  They also seem to be the ones that are quickest to multiply, especially in the vicinity of the abdomen and hips while parked at one’s desk pulling hundreds of images out of sheet protectors as the mind wanders.

Heart cells are also replaced at a reduced rate as a person ages, so basically over time, we go completely downhill, but there are always people out there that probably should be dead, but continue to carry on quite nicely like one of my favorite musicians, Keith Richards.  That I find encouraging.  Pigeons on the other hand live on average 3-5 years in the wild, but up to 35 years in captivity.  Maybe they don’t have it that easy after all.

New York City pigeon in Bryant Park in July 2010, possibly already a goner in June 2011.