By Tom Cardella:
YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON
YOU BEEN AWAY FOR FAR TOO LONG…
YOU’RE OUT OF TOUCH, MY BABY
MY POOR OLD FASHIONED BABY
– Rolling Stones
Sometimes I feel like a stranger in a strange land. As Mick would sing, “You’re obsolete, my baby…” Where the hell do I fit in anymore? I’m not indulging in self-pity. Actually, I’m quite happy compared to most folks. But I confess I’m feeling very confused.
Let me give you a recent example of what’s going on with me. On the passing of Bush 41, I too honor his civility. Hey, the guy was a Republican and I voted for him! But I’m somewhere between being respectful to his memory and getting sentimental over his service dog, which was with him only six months.
OK, by now, you’re saying what’s the big deal? Look, I’m getting older. Reflecting on my life. But I’m starting to feel like an old Olivetti manual typewriter, while everyone else is an i-Pad. I’m still using my flip phone, for goodness sake. I just want to make phone calls, not play SEA OF THIEVES. I don’t drive because it took me four tries to pass the driver’s test; you don’t want me trying to pass you on a highway. Besides, instead of laughing at me, consider that I’ve given you a slightly better chance of finding a parking spot in my neighborhood. And the air is a little cleaner too.
Everywhere I turn, I find myself caught in the middle of a debate between two extremes. Yes, I think spirituality is the main reason for Christmas, but not to the exclusion of eggnog and office parties. If there IS a war on Christmas, the battlefront must be in a different neighborhood. I don’t think greeting folks with “Happy holidays” should alarm you. I know you may find this hard to believe, but there’s folks — you might even know some — for whom Christmas just means ordering Chinese food and seeing a movie. I’m not ready to join THE CRUSADES over that.
I’m all for using good grammar (confession: I need two buddies to proofread my stuff to keep me honest — and employed). But I don’t stay up nights trying to fit “ennui” into a sentence. Be forewarned though, I cringe when someone thinks it makes them South Philly by using “youse” as the plural of “you.”
If you’re feeling like a victim these days, I’m not. No, I don’t think things are perfect. But it’s not that I’m being singled out when they aren’t. If I become offended by something I see on TV, I change the channel. If you feel you must boycott the soap powder sponsor in response, be my guest. Me? I’m watching something else. I’m not writing a letter to the network trying to get Samantha Bee fired. Not posting a Facebook entry about it. Not tweeting for anyone to get fired (OK, maybe our current president).
I like the Eagles, but I’m not painting my face green. Jeffrey Lurie owns the Eagles. You don’t see him painting his face green. Besides, I would break out and be forced to make an appointment with my dermatologist.
I hate climate-change deniers. They should be shuttled to another planet. But if our government doesn’t enforce anti-pollution measures, my paying 4 cents more per kwh for a clean electrical energy supplier isn’t going to do much. Except increase my electric bill.
The #MeToo movement is something I support whole heartedly. I don’t believe Neil deGrasse Tyson when he says he reached into a woman’s dress because of his interest in the planet Pluto. But I do believe the accused should be heard, as well as the accuser, before we reach a conclusion. Now where the hell does that leave me in today’s public conversation?
Lots of folks criticize SEPTA bus drivers. I don’t. I find most of the bus drivers courteous and polite, despite their having to deal with some difficult situations. Yes, I would like the buses to run more frequently, but I’m usually able to get one when I need to. And as a senior, I ride free. We’re the only big city in America that lets seniors ride free. I think that’s a good thing about Philadelphia.
Maybe now you know why I feel out of place. A South Philly resident who likes his city. Don’t think it’s perfect. Too much crime. Too many homeless. But I just don’t understand our tendency to ignore the city like it’s the plague. Don’t get our infatuation with South Jersey when Philly is where it’s at. In every way. Culture. Food. Historic sites. Nothing prettier than to see the sun shining on the face of the Art Museum as you look down the Parkway. Some residents spend their entire lives here without ever visiting Independence Hall.
I’m somewhere between old-fashioned and new school. Somewhere between hip-hop and Celine Dion. Drifting between Quentin Tarantino and a Hallmark movie. Not laughing at Michelle Wolf or Dennis Miller. Believing that the two most overrated food choices are a cheesesteak and anything with shaved black truffles. Concerned that lots of good books are going unread because everyone is fooling with their iPhones. Not ready to stand in line for the latest gotta-have Apple device. No, I DON’T gotta have it.
Out of touch.