Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Leprosy in the Video Game Age

Pinkeye is the equivalent of leprosy in today's society. At least in the segment of the population that I find myself in:  the stay-at-home-moms, preschool and grade school teachers, or anyone who works with young kids. Yesterday, at my worst, I was shunned. I was asked to step outside a classroom. I was thanked for staying a playground's length away from a baby. My husband's co-worker followed HIM around with a can of Lysol. I found myself waiting for the horse and cart to come get me and take me away to my pinkeye colony.

Yes, pinkeye is highly contagious. But it is not airborne. I would have to touch my eye and then touch something and then have someone else touch that thing and then touch their eye to spread it. I, however, am wearing my glasses which provide a natural barrier for when my hand wants, of its own volition, goes to my eye. With said glasses, I have to make a conscious effort to touch my eye. Trust me, I'm not touching my eye. It freaks me out just as much as it freaks others out! If I want to wipe it, I use a cotton ball and then dispose of the hazardous waste right then. I have sprayed down doorknobs just in case. I am using hand sanitizer like it's aloe vera and my hands are sunburned. You ain't gettin' this stuff from me!

I can understand how people in my demographic would be scared. Pinkeye can go through a classroom like wildfire. If an infected kid comes to class of COURSE they are going to be rubbing their eye and then handling everything within a 40 yard radius. And I believe that it is a documented fact that as soon as a kid is contagious with something, that is the time that he/she is going to start practicing how to share their toys. I think it's the survival instinct of the bacteria/virus taking over the brain of the host organism in order to help them spread, spread, SPREAD!!!

The worst part about this whole pinkeye thing, though, isn't being a social outcast for 3 to 5 days. Nope. It's having to throw out all of my eye make-up and assorted make-up tools. Sigh. There goes my new mascara. Out with the eyeliner. Bye-bye eyeshadow duo. S'long eyelash curler. Au revoir eyeshadow brushes. I think I'll miss you the most. Luckily the only NEW thing in my drawer was the mascara - and I got that 40% off. And Clinique bonus time is in a couple of weeks! So, okay maybe throwing out my eye make-up isn't the worst thing. But it is annoying!

During this whole thing I remembered a pinkeye scare from when I was a kid. Someone from my school called Mom and warned her that pinkeye was going around the school. I remember Mom getting off of the phone and coming and checking my eyes. I asked what was wrong and what I remember her saying was, "Pinkeye is going around." This immediately conjured up an image of a ghostly eye of a pinkish cast floating down the street looking for some unsuspecting kid to land on while all the parents were locking their doors and shutting their blinds to the outside. When my doctor diagnosed me on Monday I felt like a target on a video game - my eye flashed yellow then white then a glowing pink while the Ghostly Pink Eye playing the video game laughed and collected its bonus points.

Hopefully my kids won't end up giving the GPE the high score.

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Lesson of the Lexus

Two years ago our wonderful neighbors - the ones with kids the same age as ours - sold their house to a young bartender named Tony. It's a five bedroom house. And yes, Tony took in roommates. I braced myself for sleepless nights of long parties, of beer cans in the yard and a steady flow of girls. But I've been very pleasantly surprised. They are quiet. Sometimes we go for weeks without seeing anyone. The cars (all new, flashy sportscars) come and go, but I never see anyone. For the most part, he's a great neighbor. There are only two things with which I have a problem.

First of all, Tony didn't mow the lawn all summer. Every week as I mowed our lawn I would grumble to myself. (And I always made sure that I mowed around 9:00 a.m. on a Saturday! A little passive aggression. Sorry.) Oh, our kids loved it! They would run to his yard and flop down and laugh as I called out, "Where's Buddy? I don't see Buddy! Is Princess in the house or did Tony's lawn eat her?" (The giggling always gave them away.) It was from one of these flops that I'm sure Princess picked up the tick. Tony finally mowed TWICE in one week during October. Just before the grass stopped growing. At least I know that he CAN mow now. He has no excuse this summer.

Another gripe lately has been the wrecked Lexus parked in the street in front of his house. He must have had it towed here. The passenger door is caved in and the window busted out (there is a big sheet of cardboard stuck in the door to shield it from the rain). The windshield has a huge spiderweb crack starting from the passenger side and looks like it could collapse any minute. The back two tires are almost completely shredded. It is embarrassing.

Princess and Buddy are fascinated by the car. At least once a week they ask to go look at "the wreck". For some reason, their fascination centers on the fact that it is so nice on the inside. They peer in and say, "Look at that! It's so pretty! Nothing's wrong on the inside!" I would mumble something about how Tony should get it fixed so that it would look nicer on the street and then we'd go back to our yard.

Tuesday brought such a wonderful day! After school the kids and I spent time in the front yard. I trimmed back my rose bushes and the kids ran up and down the street. Princess came spinning up to me. "Kate and I decided that we know why God let Tony keep his car like that."

"Oh?" I asked, wondering what God had to do with a beat-up Lexus.

"Yeah!" she chirped. "It's perfect on the inside, but it's yucky on the outside. God did that to remind us that it doesn't matter what we look like on the outside. He wants us to be pretty on the inside." And she danced away.

So often I look for God to send me messages written in calligraphy, wrapped in fine linen paper and sealed with a wax seal. Or, more often than not, I think that God only speaks to me directly through His words in the Bible. Princess found a message wrapped in crumpled steel and soggy cardboard. I am humbled. I am delighted. Once again, God has taught me a beautiful lesson through one of my children.

Thank you, God, for the broken down Lexus. And for the little eyes who saw the pristine leather interior.