It's frustrating, yet it's understandable. Rolling out the vaccine was always going to be a serious challenge.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Our mom is 93-years-old but don't let that number fool you, she's probably more "with it" than most people you'll ever meet. She also likes to ask lots of questions (Black obviously inherited that trait from her) and definitely takes her time making decisions, which often frustrates people around her. Especially when it's about unimportant decisions. But it was totally understandable in terms of whether to get the COIVD-19 vaccine.

Unfortunately, by the time she decided that she was willing to be vaccinated, all the local registration systems were already closed until further doses became available. So, Red (who lives near our mom) went out on her electronic neighborhood bulletin board and asked if anyone had suggestions on how to get our mom vaccinated. The replies soon came flooding in, which was not only amazing and extremely helpful, but also showed the genuine goodness of people and the desire to help other each, including a total stranger.

As a result, Red soon realized that finding the vaccine providers and locations, as well as reviewing the procedures for signing up, yet alone actually getting an appointment (or even getting on a waiting list) was a major project. How could anyone, yet alone a 93-year-old woman who didn't have a computer or a smart phone, navigate this maze?

Red shared all this information with Black, mostly to keep her updated, but also in case she might have some additional suggestions or thoughts. Black knew of various people who had already been vaccinated, but their health providers had reached out to them given existing medical conditions that put them at high risk, and each had jumped at the chance to get vaccinated. Yet, at the same time, Black knew of people who somehow just seemed to have gotten "very lucky" and been vaccinated very early and easily.

At the time of this post, our mom has had her first vaccine shot, and although relieved, Red thinks it's a scavenger hunt for most people.Even for those who have priority. Black thinks it's more like a treasure hunt, a "serious" treasure hunt …

This is no game.Unlike the search for toilet paper, for some people, this could be life or death.

Want good customer service? Good behavior is a good start.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: We grew up hearing the expression "the customer is always right," and Red certainly agreed with it; and while Black understood the customer service aspect of it, she did question its impact on employees (why would you "automatically" side with a customer over an employee without knowing the details). And that was before the pandemic changed everything, but especially customer behavior.

Until recently, Red didn't think much about why the customer was "always right," but it reminded her of years ago when Black shared her amusing (or, at least, to Red) version of the Golden Rule, "He who has the gold, rules. "So, wouldn't that also apply to customers? Wouldn't a happy customer be a loyal customer?

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Normally, you shred important papers before trashing them … not expensive art after selling it.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Red will admit that she's never been into art, except for the Tudor paintings section of the National Portrait Gallery in London, but that's because she loves Tudor history. And although she's been to plenty of art museums, they were more to "tick off" places on her tourist "to do" list than a genuine desire to see the art. That even includes the Mona Lisa at The Louvre in Paris! (When in Paris, Black was content to go to the Louvre-Rivoli Metro station as the platforms themselves were decorated with art replicas found inside the Louvre Museum.)

Black can't remember when she first became interested in contemporary art, although it went to a whole new level when her second husband asked her to acquire an investment-quality collection. In typical Black fashion, she not only researched the art market and worked with an art consultant, but became friends with several leading artists with whom she shared a mutual passion … cars and racing.

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Take one famous actor, a brilliant billionaire, and mix in space travel. Sound like the start of a sci-fi movie or an example of how truth can be stranger than fiction?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: When Red recently learned that the actor William Shatner was going to be on board the second Blue Origin's space mission (now delayed until tomorrow due to weather), she admitted that she's more interested in history than current events, so compared it to the historic initial launch on July 20, which included 82-year-old Wally Funk. However, at 90-years-old, Shatner will become the oldest person ever to take a trip to space. (Talk about two great role models of inspiration and passion not having age limits.)

Meanwhile, at the risk of alienating (pun intended) Star Trek fans, Red's only seen a few of the movies, and Black has seen none, but we both have fond memories of watching the original TV show with our dad, who loved the show. So, we can't resist (like everyone else) quoting the opening monologue and its proclamation "to boldly go where no man has gone before."

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