Monday, December 19, 2005

Sick-o and Lifetime Disappointment

I "get" most of the TV commercials in Israel. They want you to buy yogurt, newspapers, or a particular household product. I don't "get" (anymore) the ads here in the US. I forgot how annoying they are. I think that I am on the verge of buying a very expensive car if these guys on the radio will just stop yelling at me....plus I get a free cruise, satellite radio (a new must-have), and a shopping spree if I buy it before Christmas.

I have spent probably 30 minutes watching TV since I've been here. It's mainly been the news - weather report. But in that short time, I have been convinced that I need new medication for health conditions that I didn't even know that I had. I've seen ads for about 5 medications that are new to me since I was here in May.

In Israel folks learn about new medicine the old fashion way. Someone complains just once and then they get a flood of advice about what they should be doing to cure themselves. Most of these cures probably involve an etrog. Seems a lot more human than some unknown actor sharing with me about their over-active bladder.

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I went to lunch today with my grandmother at Bridges Barbeque Lodge in Shelby, NC. Afterwards, she suggested that we "walk it off" at the mall across the highway. She mentioned that she had a discount card for Waldenbooks and offered to buy me a book - "Whatever you want, honey." Well, we had fun looking. I selected a book and we went to the checkout. She put the book on the counter and reached for her wallet while telling the clerk, "I have a discount card. Wait just a minute." The clerk said, "I'm sorry but we don't take those cards anymore. They all expired and now we've merged with Borders." My grandmother looked at the clerk sweetly and said, "Even the lifetime cards?" The clerk nodded her head in the affirmative.

My grandmother didn't say anything. She just looked really disappointed. I wanted to yell at the clerk and her manager that was standing beside her: How can a lifetime card expire?! How could you not give my sweet grandmother notice that her card wouldn't be good anymore? Can't you DO something? Merry Christmas! Ha! Bah humbug!

My grandmother is 79 years old. She lived through the Depression. She can tell sad stories about hard times and find the kernel of beauty and joy in them - shaking her head and smiling at the same time. I guess that's the difference between a 28 year old me and a 79 year old her. She's learned to tell the difference between the things she can and cannot change. She naturally chooses to tell someone that just disappointed her, "Have a nice day!" - and really means it. Sure she could have saved 10% if she argued a little. She might have expressed her disappointment to the clerk and her manager. But the $1.30 she would have saved wasn't enough for her to even frown or give it a second thought - even though $1.30 to a Depression era grandma is still big money.

4 Comments:

At 12/19/2005 6:23 AM, Blogger Savtadotty said...

I so get what you're noticing on your visit. Those things make me appreciate HOME. And speaking of appreciation, your appreciation of your Grandmother is beautiful.

 
At 12/19/2005 2:43 PM, Blogger Sam said...

My mother taught me to choose my battles wisely when I was young. I should say "tried" to teach me. It didn't take until the past year or so. I still forget from time to time, but when I remember, my life is a lot more serene.

Glad you got to spend time with your grandmother. What book did you get?

 
At 12/19/2005 8:49 PM, Anonymous אביב said...

I assume you could have been a bit more Israeli there. Well, maybe arguing on every agora is a skill you learn over time if you live here.

 
At 12/20/2005 5:54 AM, Blogger Adam said...

I hate when shit like that happens!! Age does bring the wisdom of knowing the difference between what you can change and what you can't. I just cannot believe that someone could do that to a sweet old lady.

 

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