And Other Total Crap

Photo by Gabriella Clare Marino on Unsplash

My Pixel phone figured out how old I am.

A few weeks ago, it suddenly began sending me ads about cemetery plots. My personal data are fed into the algorithms that drive advertisements — whoever programmed the algorithms think funerary arrangements are click bait for 57-year-olds.

Clearly these people aren’t anywhere near 50. And they can’t possibly know that the women in my family live to their 90s. My great-grandmother was 97 when she died, my grandmother was 94 upon her death, and my mother is currently going strong at 86.

I guarantee you, Google, I…


Stop Trying So Hard

Onto my cabin-sized tent, a form of precipitation is falling that I cannot identify. Not hail, not snow, but something in between.

The hail-snow splats, forming larger clumps that merge and then slide down the tent’s gently sloping roof. The weight of the combined splats makes a soft whumping on the grass below. I listen, not moving my head, which aches from either the elevation or the overexertion of yesterday’s epic hike. Or both.

After each whump are several minutes of silent expectancy. I wait, eyes closed, for the next whump.

Is that how I live as well? Waiting for…


Is your mother more Medea than Marmee?

Photo by Ludovic Migneault on Unsplash

You’d think that Valentine’s Day might be the worst day of the year for a single person. But it’s not.

I’ve never had a relationship that wasn’t disastrous, so I repeatedly and earnestly thank my lucky stars for my singledom.

Loving single-hood is kind of like lactose intolerance. My 11-year-old nephew found out that milk makes me sick, and he looked at me, stricken — “Don’t you miss ice cream?” he asked.

“No!” I laughed, “The terrible stomach ache I get when I eat dairy makes it impossible for me to even think…


Said the YouTube Commenter

Image by Siamlian Ngaihte from Pixabay

I’m hooked on YouTube replays of University Challenge, the British quiz bowl where student teams compete for a largely meaningless title.

Each show begins with the moderator introducing two of the teams, describing their university’s origin, the most famous alumni and then, bizarrely, stating the average age of the team (usually 21 or 22).

The Open University of the UK always fields a team that is older than average. Makes sense — this university was established for the purpose of allowing people who are working and raising families to attend university either online or in person.


It’s Not the Knee Wrinkles

From Carolyn V on Unsplash

A man from my home town died yesterday, from COVID-19. He was 57, the news report said. Sort of old, I thought. It took me a moment to remember.

That’s how old I am.

I could be that man, the one that others think, eh, well, he lived a good amount of his life.

But, no! I have 30 years left, at least, right? Good, happy years.

I want to buy a sailboat and live on it. Not when I retire, but soon. I love yoga. And kayaking. I travel full time and work remotely…


Here’s the Valuable Lesson It Taught Me

Photo by Nojan Namdar on Unsplash

When did you last encounter a person so attractive, so gorgeous, you could not look away?

The last time I did the staring-at-beauty thing, was many years ago, at a meeting of infectious disease experts. Dr Richard Besser was presenting. Perhaps you remember seeing him when he was a medical editor for ABC news.

I have zero memory of Dr Besser’s presentation topic. Vividly, though, I recall that as he spoke in front of the room, gesturing to the gigantic projection of his research results, a female acquaintance of mine who was sitting…


What I recall most from the hot, East Texas summers of my childhood is my weekly trip to the Carnegie Library. I loved the way the limestone stairs to the front door were worn down by years of feet, small and large.

I loved the library not just because the air conditioning was an icy welcome from the steamy weather. Books were my Netflix, my lifeline, silent friends waiting to whisper their secrets.

I didn’t turn to books because I was deprived. We had plenty to amuse ourselves on our five acres. An abundance of trees good for climbing. A…

Sophia Rose

Full time wanderer, part time writer.

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