We learn early on in life that money can’t buy happiness. But it costs $97.50 to get into the Happiness Place on Earth. Does anyone else see the irony in that?
A friend of mine once commented that I did not have a sense of humor- just a finely tuned sense of the absurd. I’m not sure what she meant by not having a sense of humor, but I do think I understand what she meant by the sense of the absurd. I am easily amused by life’s odd, random moments. Especially the ones that are not intended to be funny. I think I might tend to be one of those people who are too busy watching life to actually participate in it. You know- one of those creepy people who just sit by the window and stare, observing life from a safe distance. It is much easier to watch, giggle, and analyze than it is to actually live. I have to make a conscious effort to come away from the window and go outside to play.
When I retired and moved across the country, the view out my metaphorical window changed considerably. It was an unexpected bonus- I have a whole new vision of the world’s ironies, inconsistencies, and absurdities to observe!
For instance, the other day I was driving down the turnpike and noticed one of those big electronic signs that usually either tell you how many minutes it will take to get to the next highway or advise you to look for a missing child. That day, I noticed it said “Distracted Driving Awareness Week. Keep Your Eyes On the Road.” Does anyone besides me think that it is sort of counter-productive to have a sign that tells you to keep your eyes on the road? Isn’t a “Distracted Driving Awareness Week” sign, well…. a distraction? This thought started me down a metaphysical discussion with myself. If I am reading the sign, am I not already distracted from the road? If I don’t read the sign, how am I to be aware that I shouldn’t drive distracted? Is having this mental dialogue another form of distracted driving? AAAARGHH!! Must stop thinking about it before my brain explodes. The worst part was I kind of had a perverse desire to text someone… anyone… to point out the logical conundrum of the situation.
Another example of one of life’s little ironies that I find so amusing are the names of towns around here. I think the people who name towns in central Florida might have delusions of grandeur. Florida is the flattest state in the union. The highest elevation in the state is 345 feet above sea level. To put this elevation in some perspective, local radio and television stations in Los Angeles, CA use towers on Mount Wilson to relay broadcast signals. Mount Wilson is in urban Los Angeles and is 5,712 feet above sea level. A couple of towns over from us here in Florida is a town called Mount Dora. Mount Dora is one of those quaint little historic towns that seem to manufacture bed and breakfasts as its principle industry. I know, from personal experience, that pushing a wheelchair around Mount Dora can maybe make it feel like a mountain. However, at an elevation of 184 feet above sea level, I don’t think Mount Dora qualifies as Mount anything. I am apparently not the only one who sees the humor in the situation. A number of touristy gift shops on the main street sell t-shirts that proudly proclaim “I Climbed Mount Dora.” Another nearby town is called Howey-in-the-Hills. I have been to Howey-in-the-Hills and, let me tell you, there is nary a hill in sight. I think you have to have a steeper grade than a parking garage ramp to call yourself a hill. I refer to the place as “Howey-in-the-Bumps.”
Another new absurdity I have found is the “town square” system in a nearby 55+ planned community. There are three of these little mixed use areas that serve the community. They have live entertainment, restaurants, bars, movies, shopping, and professional services. One common denominator for all three town squares is that drivers can access them only through a complex network of multiple roundabouts. Color me crazy. Does anyone else think it is a terrible idea to purposely build a transportation system based on what are essentially obstacle courses? Especially when you have a population of over 100,000 senior citizens navigating them? I don’t mean to malign older drivers (especially since I am one), but traffic circles just seem to be asking for trouble. After all, our peripheral vision is often one of the first things to deteriorate as we age. Do we really need to have a bunch of older drivers dodging incoming golf carts ever few feet?
The town squares are all elaborately themed. One of them looks like an eastern seaport resort community. I’m not sure, but they might even bus in the seagulls. Another showcases an old west motif, including life-sized bronze statues of a cattle drive. You really haven’t lived until you maneuver your way between giant bronze steers and cowpokes when you turn into a movie theater parking lot. It is a bit disturbing until you get used to it. The third town square’s theme emulates an old Mexican mission. It is called “Historic Spanish Springs.” It was built in 1994. I am pretty sure I have at least one pair of shoes that is more “historic” than that.
My latest adventure into the absurd happened today at Starbuck’s. I saw the local newspaper and happened to notice the headline- Sisters Dress Alike- Purely By Chance. Really? That’s news? What’s next? Grocery Stores Sell Tomatoes? The real irony is that I contacted the editor of this same newspaper a couple of months ago to ask if she would read and, perhaps, promote my blog. She never returned my call. Perhaps my sense of the absurd is not as sharp as I thought it was!
Have you encountered any amusing ironies of everyday life? I’m sure we’d all love to hear them! Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great day!