Stand back. Here comes one of my Great Pet Peeves Of Our Time.
And it’s not the phrase, “pet peeve.” I’m over that one. Finally.
LASTEST PET PEEVE: Pajama-Wearing Airline Passenger.
Why does this person think it’s OK to walk through an airport and onto a plane in their sleepwear?
OLDER PET PEEVE: Flip-flop-Wearing Airline Passenger.
While this is also a problem, I must admit, I have a foot issue. So that one may be on me.
Still, I know in my heart I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to see some guy’s funky, toes flopping around out there with crud under the nails and obvious, unaddressed fungus issues.
But back to the pajama peeve o’ the day. Here’s the explanation I’ve heard from people who try to justify their choice to wear pajamas in the airport and onboard. Ready?
“I just want to be comfortable.”
The “I’m comfortable” statement begs the question: How uncomfortable are your regular clothes?
What kind of stiffness-inducing mega starch are you using in your weekly laundry?
Do you insist on buying all your clothing two sizes too small?
Are you making sure that you’re inserting each of your legs into a separate pant leg?
Have you tried removing the hanger from your shirt before you putting it on?
How great a hardship would it be to wear, say, loose jeans and a soft, brushed-cotton shirt for those in-flight hours?
Somehow, you made it through all your school days and working days intact. There was no breaking into a biblical, Job-like full-body rash, no erupting in a festival of pustules and seeping wounds, no spontaneous bursting into flames.
Hmm. What about those remote work days?
Are too many people no longer working in a group setting? Could this burgeoning pajama problem be a COVID leftover? Did we get so used to lounging around the house all day that we just can’t go back to legit, respectable, adult clothing? Where athleisure wear and Jeggings just gateway drugs?
PROFESSIONAL DECORUM SIDEBAR: I’ve been a remote worker for years. Long before COVID, and I’ve been making it a point to get dressed for work every day. My one hard-and-fast rule: Never take a business call without a bra on. I say nothing to a client until the ladies are locked and loaded.
So, I’m calling bullshit.
I call bullshit on the “I work out of the house and live in my pajamas” excuse.
I’ve never seen people in PJs while out to dinner, at a concert, in an art gallery, going into a parent-teacher meeting, waiting to get a root canal…I could go on. But you get the picture.
Why have some people decided that air travel is a place where being respectful and respectable don’t matter? You’re spending several hours locked inside a tube with over a hundred of your fellow human beings and you say to yourself, “I know. Pajamas!” And yes, how you dress DOES reflect the respect you have for yourself and for those around you.
“But I don’t care what I look like.”
If you don’t care what you look like, why did you brush your hair, put on makeup, and make sure your little ducky travel pillow matches your little ducky slippers?
“But I don’t care what people think.”
Really? Then why do you get bent out of shape when someone makes a sour face at your “Goodnight Moon” getup?
“You’re judging me!”
Yes I am. And no one likes being judged. But it’s impossible to not make first-impression judgments. We all know we do it. And when you see people on the plane walking down the aisle towards your seat, aren’t there some folks you hope will just keep on walking?
You’re not basing those judgements on their inner self.
And just by the way, consider the professionals who are working on that plane. You don’t think they’re making judgments about you based on your pajama-jammy-jams? Think again. Would you like coffee, tea or disdain with that?
A few months back, my niece was flying out to visit us. She’s in her mid-twenties and, by all standards of measure, a great person. Two days before her flight, she asked if we’d be stopping anywhere between the airport and home.
Immediately, I knew what was coming.
“I was thinking of wearing my pajamas on the plane.”
My heart sank. This person was one of my own. You better believe Aunt Honey nipped that in the bud. At the time, I just said yes, we’d be stopping for lunch on the way home.
But when I had her on my own turf, there was a long talk. OK, fine. It was a lecture on how to present yourself in public.
And, I’m not talking about putting on the dog. (It’s an old expression. If you don’t know it, look it up.) But if you’re going to be with a group of people, it's nice to not look like you’re shuffling ever closer to performing all the private and anti-social functions one indulges in the privacy of their own bedroom and bathroom. (I’ll be careful-ish enough to not put them down in writing. You’re welcome.)
What does wearing pajamas in public say?
“I don’t care. I put myself first. And I do so in the laziest way possible!”
Is that really what people want to project: “I’m lazy and self-absorbed”?
And yes, that was part of the lecture to my niece. That, along with sections on self-awareness, being intentional, and requiring more of one’s self.
Now, you may be reading this and thinking, “I had no idea Honey was so uptight. Has she not read her own books?”
The answer is, yes. And if you’ll notice, not one of my characters lives in their pajamas. Not even during COVID lockdown. I make all kinds of room in my life for quirky and even questionable behavior. But put on your damn pants.
I will now step down off my pet-peeve rant-o-matic soap box. But remember, when it comes to wearing pajamas to the airport, just say no.
(And pass on the flip-flops unless you’ve had a proper pedicure.)
Cheers and stay careful-ish,
What happened was...
Mr. Parker returned from the supermarket. Since he does the cooking in our home, he also likes to do the shopping. (Pretty great for me, right?!)
Looking for an excuse to leave my computer, I got up and helped him unload the groceries.
Then, not wanting to get right back to work, I decided I would take some time to give our new jar of peanut butter a good stir.
For peanut butter, we buy (and by “we,” I mean him) that kind of “natural” peanut butter (as opposed to all that other, unnatural peanut butter) that always comes with a layer of separated peanut oil on the top.
Mixing that oil in with a knife or spoon always seems to end with fingers and everything else slathered in peanut butter, and the oil is stirred in only halfway. That makes the top half of the peanut butter jar a delight, and the bottom half a fine substitute for spackle or grout.
But I was up for a good, productive session of procrastination. I grabbed a tablespoon and started gently folding the thinner oil into the thicker peanut butter. It quickly became a game. Could I create a perfectly blended product while not making any mess at all?
I was careful to get the spoon to the center of the jar, slowly turn it, then make my way to the bottom. As the oil rose to the top of the jar, I’d back off before letting it spill over the sides and onto the counter.
A longer spoon would have been ideal, but I was working with what I had and making decent progress. Plus, it was rather therapeutic until--
Mr. Parker leaned in and asked, “What are you doing?
It seemed plainly obvious to me. “Stirring the peanut butter.”
“Wait. Stop. There’s a better way.”
Couldn’t he see that I was doing a brilliant job? That the oil and the peanut butter were starting to play together nicely? That my hands were free of any and all nut butter residue?
The next thing I knew, he’d returned with a giant, cordless electric power drill.
Yes, I said “power drill.”
In place of a drill bit, he had inserted one of the metal beaters from a handheld electric mixer.
I backed away, watching my private therapy session devolve into a scene from This Old House meets Saw.
He inserted the metal beater into the jar of peanut butter. Judiciously pulsing the motor, then running it slowly, Mr. Parker powered the peanut butter smooth.
“See? Look how much better that is.”
I felt like I’d just been man-splained by demonstration. I wanted to be pissed, but then the sight of my guy happily power-drilling peanut butter was too wonderful and quirky to not enjoy.
I love people doing odd things as if they where completely natural. I thought, I could shove this piece of business into a book somewhere. Which of my new characters would get to Makita-Mix the Skippy?
Later, when I addressed the quirkiness of this act with him, he offered that lots of tools have uses they weren’t originally designed for. I thought about the twisted wire hanger I keep by the bed to retrieve items that fall behind the headboard.
But Mr. Parker’s case in point was so much darker. “Take hammers. A hammer is designed to pound nails. But people use them for all kinds of things. You can use a hammer to kill someone. Murder-by-hammer happens all the time.”
I went from thinking about how wonderfully quirky my guy can be to wondering if I was going to be the inspiration for the next season of White Lotus: Hammer Time On The Gulf Coast.
I now periodically check our hammers for bloody hair or animal matter.
So, what’s the strangest repurposing of a tool you’ve tried? (Please, share only those things that won’t result in arrest.)
- Honey Parker
When I was in my thirties, I had a pivotal life experience with regard to major appliances. I’d just bought a new dryer. The first time I shoved in my dirty gym clothes and ran it, I was overcome with joy: The machine was silent!
The joy was followed by dread. Realizing that I was now at an age where a quiet dryer was all it took to give me a wave of satisfaction made me worry my life was almost over. Or at least, the fun part of it was.
How wrong I was. I have since learned: a) There is still fun to be had; and b) There are many more disconcerting phases yet to come.
The appliance-joy phase left without warning—no mile markers, no starting bell. Instead, my life just slid right into the next phase: Bathroom obsession.
In this phase, virtually ever food decision I make has something to do with how the food in question might a) slow down the works or b) encourage good digestive behavior. The joy in this phase comes from doing what I had assumed all my life was just part of my birthright for walking the Earth.
But enough dancing around the toilet seat. Here’s the deal. In this phase, before eating anything, I’m forced to consider: Will this make me poop, or block me up for days?
And that latter part is the real issue. It seems now that any little misstep (including travel with or without food included) can completely shut things down for days.
Oh, yes. Days. I’ve gone four, five, six days without unleashing the kraken. During those times, the mind reels at the thought of what one is hauling around on hikes, in gym workouts, or at dinner parties. And yes, I do think about it. All my week’s meals, now packed inside me, refusing to leave. How is it possible that I’m presently stuffing Saturday night’s dinner in the hole, yet I’m still walking around with Friday dinner, Wednesday lunch, possibly even Tuesday’s breakfast still just hanging out? What are they doing in there, anyway? Working on world peace? Cold fusion? The designated hitter rule?
If this is all becoming too indelicate for your sensibilities, I get it. And maybe you’re lucky enough to not be so afflicted. But if you’re in your twenties or thirties and are thinking, This won’t happen to me. Pooping is choice. And I choose to poop every day. It will leave my body so effortlessly that wiping will merely be for show. Well, to you I say, give it time young Grasshopper. (And try to snatch this prune from my hand.)
But, if you’re reading this and nodding the nod of understanding that comes with, wisdom, age and too much cheese, then let me share what I’ve learned along the way.
The following is a list of Tissue Issue problems & solutions:
I know it’s the list is short-ish. But these are the things that come up most often in my world. Of everything there, the flax seed has been the regularity revelation.
Now you may be asking, “Where does alcohol fit in this equation?” That’s a question I try to avoid asking myself. Having to give up hooch would be a massive bummer (and that’s me down-playing it). But I will say this: If I’m feeling overfull after dinner, a bit of whiskey does help.
The following two practices also have a big effect on restroom success:
1) Working out at least four to five days a week. Anything helps, even walking. Stop moving, and you stop “moving.”
2) Avoiding opiates. Yes, I know. You’d hate to give up chasing the dragon. But seriously, if you’ve ever had surgery and chased it with a Percocet or a Vicodin, you already know. It’s a potent little recipe for never again seeing the inside of your water closet.
So, bottom line: eat your flax seed, work out, and don’t do drugs.
P.S. The Following is a list of phrases I thought about using in this post but didn’t, because I’m not twelve years old. Yet, the fact that I’m including them at all points a sincere problem in my mental development.
Lay pipe, pushing cotton, puppy nose, make spätzle, building a log cabin, hit the Hershey highway, cut a cigar, unload some timber, take the Browns to the Super Bowl, fish food, drop a duce, liquidate assets, take the kids to the pool, pinch a loaf, cop a squat, make room for lunch, finless brown trout, visit the announcer’s booth, baptize a Baby Ruth, log out
Okay. I think I got that out of my system ;)
Please, allow me to share my newest inspiration for night terrors.
Recently, I decided to try running again. Careful-ishly.
The new running regimen has been nothing crazy. Three miles, maybe four. And not with high frequency. More of an aging-knees-saving once or twice a week. It’s all part of my latest effort to (once again), get back in shape. I’m not sure how many “get back into shapes” there’ve been in my life. I’m not a statistician.
My outings had been a mix of road and treadmill running. Not at the same time. That would be silly.
On the treadmill, I started running intervals: running for a minute, then fast walking for a minute, running, walking, running, walking. You get it.
The goal was simple: increasing my pace, which wouldn’t be difficult. On one road run, I was actually passed by butterflies. With my high-mileage knees, I felt that a pace of 10 minutes per mile was respectable. Let’s see a butterfly do that.
And great news: It was working. When I was running the road, I wasn’t walking at all. And my speed was increasing.
Then, for various reasons, I began spending more time in the gym. That meant more treadmill runs. I slowly upped the time of my running intervals. Three minutes running to every one minute walking.
Finally, it’s time to run outside again. Positive I’d do better, I was curious to see how much faster I could run my normal, four-mile route.
iPod? Check! Earbuds? Check! Insect repellent from head to toe? Check! (More on that last check in a moment.)
After loosening up by walking the first quarter mile, I begin running. As usual, it took a couple of minutes to relax into my breathing and find my stride.
After the initial exertion, my body kept wanting to slow down to its regular, butterfly pace. But I told myself, No! Break through that feeling! My mind now maintained a new cadence developed with the assistance of a Planet Fitness treadmill. I was focusing on form. Showing the people behind me the soles of my shoes! (There’s never anybody behind me.)
The run was an out and back. On the way out, I crushed it. With the caveat, ‘for me.’ I’d altered my stride for uphill verses downhill. My breathing was deep and even. All is seeming right with the world.
Turning back required a bit more talking to myself, reminding myself to stay relaxed in my faster pace.
On the next to last uphill, I felt my energy leaving me. But hearing a car coming up from behind, I did the thing we all do: speed up to look like a real runner while a stranger passed. After all, I might run into this stranger someday. I’d rather them say, “Hey, wasn’t that you running the other day on Mill Drive?” So much better than, “Wasn’t that you on Mill Drive hugging the road kill?”
The car passes as I made it up the hill. Descending the in a cloud of automotive exhaust, I continued increasing my stride. I started to feel like a rock star.
But pride cometh before a fall.
One of my earbuds had slipped out. I hadn’t noticed, but someone or something had. A buzzing and a fluttering as a bug the size of a military drone flew into my now available ear canal. “What the shit! Ah! Damn it!”
I carefully yet frantically reached a finger into the earhole, trying to get it out. “Crap! Shit! Mother f*cker!” I felt it. “Ah!” But it’s still in there fighting for its right to stay in my head.
Panic. Panic. Panic. No. Wait. Smart. Be smart. Do not squish. Scoop.
On the fourth or fifth try—SUCCESS! I got it out. But I keep slapping my ear. Why? Why am I slapping my ear?! I don’t know!
Did it bite me? Sting me? What the f*ck?! Did I get it out before it set up house and laid eggs?
But the bastard (yes, I turned that egg-laying bitch into a male) wasn’t done with me. He started circling. So I ran faster, trying to get away from it and get the hell out of there. “I used bug repellent. Repel!”
I was now fleeing and flailing my way past the thick and humid woods of a nature preserve packed with trees, bushes and, of course, a swamp.
At that point, I was running in full freak mode, flailing my arms, trying to outrun this enraged mini Satan, swatting at it and cursing at it. It tried to bite me twice. Was the little F-er mad at me for not letting it take up residence in my brain.
That image made me check my ear again. It was really out of there, right?
Once I finally cleared the damp wooded area, the demon seemed to have given up. But now, between sprinting, swatting, yelling and panicking, I was exhausted. I had to stop running and walk the rest of the way home, bested by something the size of my fingernail.
But that’s a huge bug, right?
As I’m typing this, I’m still checking to see if my ear canal is going to swell up or, worse, start buzzing. Should I flush it out? Do I have any Benadryl?
I know I won’t sleep well tonight. You?
Honey Parker has been writing, writing, writing for decades, decades, decades. In there, she has also been a standup comedian, a Hollywood screenwriter, a director, and a co-author of edgy business books. Careful-ish is her debut novel. It is the first in a trilogy. It is comedy-ish.