I had just finished writing the column scheduled for today. All it took was a review or two, then it was sent with the push of a button to “Long-Suffering,” my nickname for my old editor, Corey. So what stopped me? Yuri Gagarin and a group of women drinking martinis in a bar in East Greenwich.
The latter first. A few weeks ago, we switched from winter time to summer time, which we have been doing regularly every six months for over a hundred years. It used to be routine, but now it’s all the more reason to turn on the computer, turn on your phones, and find yourself in this great American cesspool we call “social media.” The place to complain. The place to moan. The place where once normal, strong people turned into wimps…and why? Because of one hour only! Sixty minutes reduced many to whiners. Witness this: I was in East Greenwich on Changeover Sunday and decided to visit a small golf course restaurant. As I parked, I noticed a group of young middle-aged baby boomers heading towards their cars carrying very fancy balloon bouquets. Clearly, some celebration of some kind had just occurred. I took a seat at the bar and seeing other celebrants coming out of the private room in front of me, I asked the bartender what was going on. “Oh my. It was a surprise 60th birthday party. Nice, I thought. Very nice. I looked around trying to figure out who the winner was, but was deterred by an annoying moan .
“Omigod, this summer time has really changed me. I can’t live without it. I’m so, so tired! Then she ordered an Appletini with a big dollop of whipped cream while her friend went to get an oversized chocolate martini with double whipped cream, and another “exhausted” baby boomer managed to swallow a Classic Double.All the while, these ladies moaned and groaned about their headaches, their inability to make whatever, and how were they going to pull themselves together for work in the morning?I wondered how they were going to manage to get their bodies and their vodka-infused balloons back to their cars, and then get home safely.
Daylight saving time actually started in 1918 as a way to save energy during World War I following similar action by Britain and Germany. In 1974, Richard Nixon enacted permanent daylight saving time for 16 months during the gasoline crisis, but then we reverted to what it is now. But I’ve never heard people complain so bitterly until this year, and not just the gourmet martini trio in East Greenwich. Over the next week, I heard perfectly sane people complaining, “My whole schedule is messed up because of the time change. What if they had flown 22 hours to Australia? When did we become such wimps for moving a lousy hour?
Moving on, a few days ago I heard that the Space Foundation, an American non-profit organization, had renamed its annual tribute fundraiser which had always been named in honor of Yuri Gagarin , the Soviet pilot and cosmonaut who was the first to travel in space; yes, even fight us in the Space Race. The man died in 1968, so he has absolutely nothing to do with Putin and the war in Ukraine. His only “crime” was being born Russian. But that’s what we’re doing here. We skip things, we condemn, we react quickly, and much of what we do is just plain stupid. There is no other word that describes these actions.
The bar ladies in East Greenwich didn’t seem to care what kind of vodka their martinis were loaded with; Nobody asked. I can certainly understand the economic sanction of Russian products, but please do your homework, Do you know that there are actually restaurants in Rhode Island that will no longer offer Russian dressing, so Reuben sandwiches have been removed from their menus. In truth and in fact, Russian dressing was invented in Nashua, NH, just up the highway, and the Reuben was named after Arnold Reuben, a German Jew who owned a grocery store in New York.
Aren’t there more important things we can worry about these days? Don’t we have bigger fish to fry?
Unless, of course, the fish is sturgeon. It’s Russian, you know.
Rona Mann has been a freelance writer for The Sun for 20 years, including her “In Their Shoes” articles. She can be reached at [email protected] or 401-539-7762.