Wednesday, August 22, 2012

No Holds Barred - Stop It!

By Blair Sabol

I know I am not alone. Recently, everyone is complaining of having a bad summer or at best having "no summer." The devastating heat in the East, the burn-out in the Midwest and now we in the West are on our 11th day of over 110 degrees. Hell has arrived and everyone is in some level of meltdown. And get ready ... the heat is predicted to go way past October. Talk about THE long hot summer.

This is beyond the usual "dog days/daze of August." I hear astrologers predict daily financial wipe outs (the Jamie Dimon descent was just the beginning). Everyone is going up in smoke. There are no "happy days are here again." For many we are in a global denial ... and that's EXHAUSTING!!!. And that is THE word I hear everywhere.

Everyone is feeling spent. Look at the political situation. Talk about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. No one can get it up to care about this race. I think the over amped election of Obama in 2008 and the disappointment of that outcome has truly exhausted many. Two months ago I started feeling dizzy and extremely tired. My doctor insisted it was all "stress related" (what isn't nowadays) and told me to get by the ocean for a few days.

Better than medication I chose my favorite five star resort. The Laguna Ritz Carlton (my foolproof getaway "shrine") did their traditional best to get me the best ocean front suite. I felt safe and sound and cared for until I realized I had chosen to come on one of THE summer "family weekends." Talk about "my bad."

Streams of parents walked around strapped to Lexus SUV sized baby carriages dripping with status shopping bags and baby gear. Others carried their screaming infants in elaborate Kangaroo pouch/sling across their chests and even jogged this way on the beach. The sound of baby wailings pierced through the Pacific Ocean's thunderous waves.

I was awash in the hysteria of a kind of 24/7 Romper Room. I room-serviced all meals to avoid juvenile food fight madness in the coffee shops or restaurant. I was working on filling up "my emotional and physical gas tank" in spite of this scene. Yes, I am a childless, intolerant old bag. So what. I walked down the hotel's pristine hallways and peeked in the rooms and suites and it looked like Al Qaeda had scud-bombed every accommodation. Dirty baby backpacks, sandy boogie boards, and tons of wet cargo pants and sports bras draped the hotel furniture and hung over every balcony.

I felt so badly for the maids and bellmen who were seen cleaning and schlepping barges of belongings about from 6 AM to 10 PM. You talk about exhausted!!! The hotel magically survived this invasion. They always do. After all "Families" are their pricey summer "market" (along with weddings and corporate gatherings). Baby carriage gridlock (8 deep) is the new front desk lineup. Recession? Not here.

At one point I got on an elevator with three 8-year-olds, their nervous systems fresh from the beach, and so they were bouncing rubber balls and flinging Frisbees from the floor to elevator ceiling. I looked longingly at the parents (all actively tuning this out while thumbing their iPhones) and started to say "Could you please handle this" when one of the fathers looked back at me with bleary eyes and a ravaged face and said (before I got to finish my rant) "Please ... we are all so exhausted." What could I I say. Well, I could have said, "So is the world. Mind your damn kids."

But I was too exhausted. Where is Countess Louise J. Esterhazy (dear John Fairchild's character) when you need her. I wished I could have channeled the Countess's "missile mouth" and let them all have it in between floors. Instead I fled like a coward fearful that I would be accused of child abuse. (By the way The Laguna Ritz now welcomes all dogs as guests ... and they have their regular hugely popular "Yappy Hour." The dogs were better behaved and cleaner than anyone.)

My girl friend New York Times writer Susin Fair, who lives in Brooklyn (now "the new Paris"), was so tired of her neighborhood's current hipness that she vacated to Jenkintown for a spell.

Jenkintown? How desperate. Or is it? She happily discovered TJ Maxx was better than Target and I listened to her tell me of her current malaise; "the problem with this kind of heat 'n' fatigue is that it has left me not wanting to shop." Shopping would always snap us out of any ailment or depression. Lately no one I know feels the retail "calling." And it isn't just the "pre-Fall blues." Although all those families I saw at Laguna Beach with babies were shopping up a storm. I noticed the baby carriages were really shopping carts. Somehow "babies and buying" go together. Maybe they even bought their babies. In many cases the kids were buried under the heap of merchandise packed in the carriage.

By the time I returned from my "peaceful getaway" (by the way — I rebooked at The laguna Ritz on Rosh Hashanah week, which the staff assured me would be relatively "kid-free and quiet"), I started to bore all my friends with my daily down 'n' out symptoms from dizzy to heart attack to shingles to atom immune disease to death. You name it and I had it.

One therapist told me I was "physically reflecting the world situation ... you have porous borders." A nice way of saying I was having a nervous breakdown. My best friend sent me a hilarious Bob Newhart YouTube skit. It's a scene where he (as a therapist) tell his psychiatric patient (who tells him of her most ridiculous issue) that she can cure herself with one thought ... and he shouts this line: "STOP IT !" He goes further ... "STOP IT OR ELSE!!"

Why couldn't I have used that line on those kids in the elevator ... and their parents. By the way, well traveled friends of mine insist that in Europe kids are so well mannered and polite. Only in the the USA have parents lost most control and let the kids run amok. Because the parents feel so overwhelmed? Really? (Could this end up being the reason we are becoming a third rate nation? We can't handle ourselves and our families? And we don't care). And believe me, I have tried yelling "STOP IT" to myself when I start compulsively cork screwing into the floor with all my ailments. But let me tell you ... it is even more exhausting putting a positive spin on a mental downhill landslide. Honestly, I am trying to stay upbeat and believe in the power of positive thinking while getting blood workups ... I'm just a bit weary and leery.

Ironically I was thrilled to see the great Gore Vidal ended his life with these final words: "STOP IT." Grant it he said it to his nurse who was stretching (!!!!???) his leg. But I think Gore was saying a lot more than that. I believe he left us with THE mantra of THE moment. Now ... I dare you to use it ...
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