Saturday, June 23, 2012

Donna Reed Days

You've lost that loving feeling. Yes, that's right, I'm talking to you America. What happened to your kindness, compassion and upbeat demeanor? Have you forgotten how to smile? Are you so miserable that you must go about life with a downward cast glance and an air of annoyance? This isn't the America we read about in history books or watch on old black and white TV shows. This isn't the land of joyful dreams and opportunities that it's all cracked up to be. Instead, it has turned into a bunch of stone-faced citizens trudging through life with caffine addiction and an eye watching the clock. People don't seem to be enjoying life. They seem to be resenting it.
All it takes is a trip to the grocery store to see the trouble with society. Everywhere, people are in a hurry and usually aggrivated. By the time you make it to the check out line there is usually someone tapping their foot in frustration from having to wait in line. Few people smile at each other and heaven forbid the employees act as if they've ever seen you before (even if they've been your cashier roughly one hundred times before).
Today I went to get my haircut and, once again, peeved America was in full swing. I went to one of those walk-in salons that abound across this great land. Every 1/4 mile on University Parkway in Sarasota you can stop and get a cut and style in under thirty minutes and well under thirty dollars. I had my pick between "Hair Cuttery", "My Salon", "Great Clips", and a whole host of others that I now forget because cute salon names only stick with me for so long. I decided on Great Clips because I didn't want my hair sawed off - clipped seemed safer. So in I went. As expected I was in and out in under twenty minutes and all for only $16.00 (including tip). Not too shabby. Except for my hairdressers attitude. Let's just say that her clips might be great but her mood was not. It was only 10:30 am but already this women was acting like she had been cutting hair for a twelve hours marathon and needed a break and possibly a martini. Or maybe this is just her normal?
She was annoyed with me because I didn't want to sign up for a mailing list. I'm sick of receiving paper in my mailbox, must you be irritated by that? Then I made the enormous mistake of telling her I wanted to start with just a slight trim on my bangs, and then maybe - just maybe - a bit more taken off. What was I thinking? She fired back with an attitudinal, "Why wouldn't I just cut it all off on the first try?" Umm, excuse me? Have you ever heard of the customer is always right? I refrained from stooping to her low level. Instead I jokingly said, "Well, I always figure you can cut more off but you can't tape more on." Who could argue with that logic? Not my hairdresser. She proceeded to cut my bangs then the rest of my hair. All I wanted was a trim of the dead ends and a little fixing of the layers that had gone arry. She completed the job quickly and didn't do a hack job. I have no complaints about the quality of her work, only the manor in which she did it. With ever snip of the scissors it seemed that her annoyance grew. She included some tell tail sighs that gave away her disdain for either her line of work, customer or life in general - who knows? All I know is that my hair looks healthier and shorter but not too short. And my bangs aren't in my eyes but don't hit in the middle of my forehead. Mission accomplished.
Yet, I am left wondering why Americans are so sour? When did this happen? I long for the days of "The Donna Reed Show" where every character seemed overly enthusiastic about life. They knew all their neighbors and the boy who delievered the milk. In the evenings Dad returned home with a smile and kiss for mom, not a slammed door and frustrated grunt. Kids ran out and played with their friends in the great outdoors and parents had parties filled with laughter and board games. But America has changed and with it has come the downfall of not only moral standards but positive attitudes. Now people don't play board games with a cheerful host making martinis, they do shots in the bar while ESPN blasts in the background. Kids don't run free between their neighbors yards, they play video games equipped with make believe guns. Good luck getting a friendly face at the grocery store, let alone milk delievered to your door in a glass bottle. Times have changed. With the breakdown of the good old days has come the break down of the attitudes that went along with that lifestyle. People are ornary. They aren't cheerful.
There is a sense of down and out, not rising up and accomplishing.
Conversation is filled with complains about the economy and the 24/7 news cycle only exacerbates that issue. It seems that the dark, depressing side of life has taken center stage and the uplifting has faded into the background. I would say that this is a problem only here in Sarasota but I've been around and I've seen that it isn't centralized to one area - it is sweeping the nation. What can we do about such an epidemic? How do we stop the negativity and restore our people to the optimistic bunch of settlers they started out as? Maybe they just need a reminder of how blessed we are!
Consider this - we have the freedom to turn on the TV or internet and go on any channel or website we so choose. We can walk down the street without fear of witnessing military and citizen violence. We can choose to worship God freely and openly - or believe he doesn't exist and live life as such. We can go to school, apply for college, take a risk on starting a business or apply for a job. We have the freedom to choose where we live and how we want our home to look. We can wear what we want and express ourselves through our appearance. If you want a tattoo you can get one. I wouldn't advise it, but it is your freedom to paint your body with ink or leave it all natural.
How about food? You have your pick of pretty much anything you can think up. Food is plentiful here. How about entertainment? Whether or not you are rolling in the money, there is tons to choose from. Our country is full of free entertainment as well as events that cost you an arm, leg, and first born child. The options in this country run the gammet. What do we have to be depressed about? Shouldn't we be smiling because of all the privilages and opportunities we have? Let's stop focusing on the negatives that surround us and focus on the abundance of positives. Sure, this country has its flaws and there is plenty of evil and trouble. But that's inevitable. If we only focus on what is wrong with life we miss what is right.
Here is my message to America: Stop being a negative Nancy! Embrace the positive Patty outlook on life. If you need a reminder of what that looks like I suggest a little one-on-one time with Donna Reed or Leave it to Beaver. Break out the pen and paper and take some notes, these old fashioned characters might teach you a thing or two.

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