I love words. 

If I had the time and concentration, honing a wordsmith skill would be a small obsession.
The art of word placement is why I devoured Peggy Noonan's books and loved going to the ocean-side church during summer vacations to the beach, where the Pastor there had an amazing grasp on the English language, knowing how to make words pop and play nicely with each other in every sermon he gave. There are a few words that especially tickle my fancy, always delighting me with their presence in a sentence. Among them:

(verb) to bewilder; confound; confuse

Several things have always and a few things recently have come to mind that leave me flummoxed. I do not know why or how these things are the way they are, and it seems that it will never change. These things do not drive me to drink, or cause ranting and raving (for the most part), nor keep me up at night. I can live with these realities, but I am still befuddled by them. So here we go, in no particular order of seriousness or importance:

4 Findings that leave me Flummoxed:

1. Bathing Suit Dressing Rooms

To me, this first one is such a fixable flaw, I am baffled at the lack of invention. Let me just say that if I owned a clothing establishment that sold any women's apparal, but especially that of the swimwear variety, the dressing rooms in my store would be equipped with soft glowing sconces (no overhead lighting of any kind), second-hand circus mirrors (the narrowing sort) and a built-in speaker that softly utters "Crikey! You look amazing! I want to take you home" in a deep, male, Australian accent upon sensing the swim-suit clad customer staring at her reflection in the mirror. Can you imagine how that would revolutionize the way women perceive shopping for swimwear? Sales would be through. the. roof. (and then some) and the confidence of the wary swimsuit shopper would be on a remarkable upswing. Women would be lined up just to get INTO a dressing room! I cannot fathom why retailers stick with florescent lights and little shoe box rooms with no encouragement from their walls (or speakers).

2. Full on Love, Depleted of Sympathy

It occurred to me when her toe was run over by the cart I had repeatedly warned my daughter  (and her three siblings) NOT to jump on and off as I was trying to navigate the cavernous aisles of Costco yesterday, that it is positively flummoxing that the very same child I would run out in front of a steamroller to save is the same one I have not one teensy weensy shred of sympathy for as she is screaming in octaves that are bouncing off the warehouse ceiling. I had been increasingly frustrated at their lack of obedience by treating the cart like a jungle gym, as well as her insistence earlier to wear flip flops. When the effect resulted from the cause, all I could do was firmly grip her arm and tell her in repeated, whispered threats "Cry quietly! PLEASE, cry quietly!". (Her cries could be trademarked for horror movies).

It amazes me that some one who I love more than myself, can - in the "right" circumstance- leave me grappling for even the smallest condolence or shred of sympathy.

3. The Rarity of a Well-Placed Lollipop

This is, refreshingly, a sight I have seen with my own eyes. But only at one grocery store I have ever been at. Why would not ALL stores feature this inexpensive form of relief to mothers and happiness to their children? It's so easy, so brilliant...so rare!

4. Dinner for the Harried, Prepared by the Harried.

I need to be clear here: It is a JOY to be able to make a meal for a friend who has just had a baby, or is in a difficult place or whatever the reason. This particular 'flummoxing' musing has very little to do with any one personal experience, but more a general question that has always 'wondered me' (excuse my Pennsylvania Dutch).

 I hope when I am an 'older woman', I will remember back when I wondered why  the young women with children who struggle to get a meal on their own dinner table are the majority of meal-providers to those in need (with a new baby, or whatever the reason) and not the "older" women whose time is more her own and whose kitchen is more available for leisurely cooking than her younger counterparts. I hope when I am older and if I am physically able, I will not forget to start the club I have resolved to create someday. It will be a  club of equally older woman  who are the first to volunteer to teach the children of the young mama's on Sundays, babysit for a book club or help out at the yearly Vacation Bible School...they will gather together to cook meals for the young mama's when they are in need of one...or stop at their homes with flowers and a "You're gonna make it and by golly, you're doing an AWESOME work here"  word of encouragement. We will cheerfully support the women we once were while they do what we then will fully realize is one of the most important jobs in the world.

I know there are older women doing the above right now. I know some of them! But it is the exception. Not the rule. And I don't quite get it.  I will, however, continually to happily make a 'double batch' of whatever it is I am making to share with a sister in need whenever I get the nudge to do so!


 What about you? What is that something that leaves you abashed, addled, baffled, discombobulated, stumped or taken aback? Deep or shallow, it matters not. Perhaps you have an insight that would help set me straight and out of my flummoxed state. Your thoughts are always savored by me,

The Lady at the Coffee Cottage 



Popular Posts