People People

by Lisa Scottoline

I love people.

I’m what people used to call a people person.

As in, I hug you whether you want me to or not.

And lately, everybody wants to be my friend.

Normally this would make me happy, but not this way.

Let me explain.

Like everybody, I’m on various apps for various reasons. For example, I have a Peloton and when the weather’s too crummy to go outside, I hop on my Peloton bike and pedal away, listening to a twenty-year-old instructor yell “put on your crown, girl!”

Which I find surprisingly encouraging.

And the Peloton screen has so-called leaderboard that has a list of people in order of who’s working out the best.

I’m usually number 2038487392033.

I’m not exercising to compete.

I’m exercising to stay alive.

The only person I want to beat is the Grim Reaper.

Sometimes, somebody will give me a virtual high five, so I give a virtual high five back.

Peloton wants me to add this person as a friend but I don’t.

Because I don’t want to compete with a friend.

That would make me their enemy.

Duolingo is the same way.

Duolingo is an app I’m on to learn Italian, since I’m about to start a novel set in Tuscany, so I’m going there soon for research.

Nice work if you can get it.

And you can get it if you try.

I mean, if I can, anybody can.

Anyway, I’m learning Italian before the trip because it would be nice to be able to ask for the bathroom in Italian.

That’s all a middle-aged woman needs to know.

I don’t care about the train station anymore.

There’s only one room I’m interested in.

Il bagno.

I got on the Duolingo app because Daughter Francesca told me about it and she really loves it. She already speaks Italian and French, but got on Duolingo to learn Spanish, so right there, you know that mother and daughter are different.

If I knew Italian and French, I’d say, enough already.

I don’t need that many words.

I’m good with spaghetti, couch, and book.

Okay, dog, cat, and pony.

Plus bathroom.

Francesca added me as her friend on Duolingo, so I added her back as my friend, only because I actually gave birth to her.

They don’t have a section for that, but they should.

They could call it the C section.

I didn’t want to compete with her, because I love her.

Also, I knew I’d lose.

I raised her to be diligent and hardworking.

Unfortunately, she is.

Francesca’s on Duolingo practicing Spanish every single day. In fact, she’s currently on a 113-day streak.

My streak lasted 2 days.

It ended when I found out where the bathroom was.

But since I added Francesca as a friend, she can send me a virtual “nudge” to get back on the app.

Which I “ignore.”

I used to check on whether she was doing her homework.

Now she’s checking on whether I’m doing mine.

If that wasn’t bad enough, I’m getting email from Duolingo: “Hi Lisa! Keep your two-day Italian streak going!”

I didn’t answer, so they sent another email:

“Hi Lisa! Duo missed you yesterday!”

It took me a minute to realize who Duo was, then I realized it was the corporate owl.

He’s never going to be my friend.

I don’t give a virtual hoot.

Copyright 2023 Lisa Scottoline