The Fool-Proof Guide to Failing with Flair

Everything you need to know about getting it wrong.

Well Hello Again

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OK, so I have ignored my blog long enough! I’ve given up berating myself about things like this though. Life happens. Halloween, pre-Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving have come and gone. Christmas is about to descend like a bat outta hell. Things have been hectic, a little overwhelming at times, and fun too. There have been 3 holidays, 2 funerals, one trip to NYC, lots of wine, lots of friends, a little whiskey, a couple of nights of dancing, and more than one night of staying out until last call. I have worked on other writing projects, but I have neglected this baby. So I’m back. Lucky you.

For no particular reason, it’s been an emotional day. I watched the last two episodes of The Voice while I cleaned, crying through every song and every chore. Now, I hate cleaning, but really? I have company coming this weekend, and I am intimidated, but not enough to cry about my bathtub ring. Pathetic!

This friend of mine has a house so immaculate you’d think Mary Poppins and a horde of magic elves with OCD cleaned the place every hour, on the hour. I’m serious. I have never seen a house like that before. Everything is in place. No piles of any kind, anywhere. It’s a very nice house, with a comfortable vibe, but I am unused to such, well, extreme tidiness. In case you didn’t already know, I am not a neat freak. (Understatement of the millennium.) I have a tiny, cluttered apartment that I clean mostly when I feel like it. Which is close to never. I’m not a disgusting pig. The dishes get done almost every day (most of the time), I clean the bathroom at least twice a month, but I have a problem with clutter, piles, putting away laundry, oh, and taking out the recycling. We won’t talk about cleaning the fridge or vacuuming. I feel like I’m about to go in front of the Saint of Clean Houses for judgment. I’m hoping that bacon and whiskey will placate and/or confuse SCH enough to pardon my sins.

Obviously, I am going to Hell.

I know I won’t be alone though. If clutter and chaos earn me a piping hot seat in the Southern Ever After, Moniker (aka J, aka, Dirty Girl) will be joining me there–along with a few others. I have traveled a bit with Ms Moniker, and I have seen her closets. I think it’s safe to say she and I will be sweating it out together. (In case she gets upset about that statement, let me say that she is MUCH better about general household cleanliness than I am. And really, Moniker, won’t it be more fun with me–and pretty much everyone else you know–in the netherworld?)

Enough dilly dallying! Time to go back to cleaning and attempting to mitigate the fate of my dusty-house soul, or at least trying to delay my departure to a warmer climate. It’s been a lovely break from that toasty-warm hand basket I’ve been traveling in, and I’m really quite thankful to have finally gotten pushed back over the edge into blog-insanity. Funny how cleaning and procrastination gets me back to my writing. I’ve missed you, blog and blog readers. I’m pretty sure they have wifi in House Cleaner Hell, so I’ll post again soon!
 

an open letter to nice guys

This is the first time I have re-blogged another person’s writing. This post made me laugh. All the posts I have read here so far made me laugh. You should laugh too, unless you are struggling with being a nice guy. If that is you, then you should take this a little more seriously. It’s some damn good advice. Wish I had thought of it. If you are at the opposite end of the spectrum-a total jerk-you should take this, and yourself, far less seriously. Read, laugh, learn, enjoy!

 

an open letter to nice guys.

Let’s Talk About Sex

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Yesterday I watched a movie on Showtime that some friends recommended. It was more of a documentary, or as Patrick Moote puts it, a cockumentary. That’s right. It’s all about his small penis and it’s called Unhung Hero. It was amusing, enlightening, and a little bit sad.

Patrick is a stand-up comedian and actor from LA who proposed to his girlfriend on TV. She ran off camera directly following his proposal and apparently gave “small penis” as one of the reasons she would not marry the poor bastard. This fueled an epic bout of insecurity for Patrick who then bravely filmed his quest to find out if his dick was, in fact, too small, and his travels around the world in search of ways to make it bigger.

I won’t bother telling you all that happened in the film because, whether you are male or female, you need to watch it.  It is not in any way pornographic, though Patrick does talk to some porn stars, and there are some pretty graphic scenes. His honesty is stunning and his insecurity is hard to watch at times, but he is so genuine that his journey might just leave you with some new insights about body image, sexuality, and relationships. I know it did for me.

I think men and women, in general, tend to focus more on the female body and it’s “imperfections”. Media uses mostly images of women that already fall into the 1% for physique. Then the pictures get photo-shopped and airbrushed to take those women a few extra steps away from “normal”. This breeds rampant insecurity in women and unrealistic expectations in men. Unless you’re watching porn, you don’t exactly get to see lots of cock in the media. Sure, there are subtle (and not so subtle) image manipulations designed to give the impression that male models and celebrities are well endowed, but less physically fit famous men do not come under the same crushing body-scrutiny that their female counterparts do. Perhaps being a woman, I am more focused on the objectification of women in the media and it’s impact on female self-esteem, than I am on masculine body image troubles, but Patrick Moote’s film made me realize that the pressures on men in modern American society can be just as debilitating. I didn’t really need him to open my eyes. I have sons. One has an eating disorder. And, if I think about it, at least a couple of the lovers in my life have expressed pretty serious body-dissatisfaction. I guess Pat just gave the issue a public face for me.

Like many girls, I have been known to snicker to myself about guys with small peckers who feel insecure about their junk. It has seemed only fair that they should experience some of the same sort of pain and helplessness we ladies endure. After watching poor Patrick obsess and go to extreme lengths over just a single (albeit important) appendage, I feel somewhat ashamed of my private cruelty. I’ve never ridiculed any man to his face or broken off a relationship because a guy wasn’t well hung, but I have lampooned the unfortunate few behind their backs once the relationship was over. It was mostly out of spite at being scorned though, as opposed to any real problem I had with their family jewels. If I like someone well enough to want to get naked with them and engage in sex, I am generally just pleased if the feeling is reciprocal. Chemistry, generosity, and skill in the bedroom are much more important than how long or thick a guy might be. At least for me that is true. There have even been times where chemistry alone was enough to keep me coming back for more. Of course, without more than chemical compatibility, anything lasting is doomed, but a guy with a small dick who is fun, creative, giving, and intelligent will always be more attractive to me than a clumsy Neanderthal packing 10 inches. Just now the issue is moot, and likely to remain so into the foreseeable future, but I’m not becoming a nun. I still like men. And their boy-parts.

I’ve never been overly concerned about penis size, but then again, I don’t own one. I have seen a few over the years, and they haven’t all been above average, but I’ve only ever been disappointed with what sometimes comes attached to them: assholes. If you’re a man, no matter what size your penis is, remember, it’s usually the whole package someone else is interested in. If you’re unfortunate enough, like Mr. Moote, to have some heartless woman sell you out over the size of your dick, remember, she’s the one with the problem, not you. Just don’t be a selfish prick.

 

It’s All Fun and Games Until . . .

Image found on cheezburger.com by superfightpanda

Image found on cheezburger.com by superfightpanda

 

Some people turn vicious when they get drunk. It’s as if the alcohol floats venom to the top of their personalities resulting in bitchiness, nastiness and/or violence. I am generally a congenial and socially acceptable drinker. My anger floats to the top via technology. And men. But men are not today’s topic. Printer/copier/fax machines, cable companies, and phone service providers are my poisons du jour.

I have an anything-computerized-curse. And a Titan sized anger management problem to go with it. I have spent most of the last two days engaged in a tech-fueled hissy fit. I have sworn my way through multiple calls to my internet service provider (several that mysteriously dropped–go figure), thrown lots of heavy objects around my apartment, and contemplated chucking everything wired and wireless out of my second story window à la David Letterman. My affliction also seems to include a compulsion to use French idioms in my writing. Merde!

It’s not possible to live conveniently in today’s world without computerized gadgets and internet access, but the idea of living off the grid in the backwoods of Montana looks more and more appealing every time I encounter a glitch. Which is frequently. The only thing holding me back is starvation, because I can’t keep a single plant alive, much less a whole garden full, and I’m sure as heck not going to take up hunting. Maybe if I just get a cow, a few goats and some chickens I can live off of eggs, butter and cheese? Perhaps there’s a nice commune or cult somewhere that needs a writer to keep a group memoir in exchange for food? These are the kinds of things I sincerely consider at times like this.

My rage is not always directed exclusively at electronic, inanimate objects. Trash cans and screen doors are also on my shit list, but mostly it’s computers and clueless customer service reps that end up on the receiving end of my frenzies of piqué. I once dropped my lap top on the floor, forcefully, and then told the accidental insurance people that the cat had knocked it off the counter. I did that because Microsoft Word kept quitting on me and I lost about 6 pages of a legal document I had been working on for hours. It was highly justified in my opinion. It wasn’t helpful or rational, but it did make me feel better for a few minutes, until I realized that I had scared my dog so badly she wouldn’t come out of the bathroom.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Microsoft, Comcast, AT&T, Brother and Apple are all out to “get me”. They are manipulative and deceitful. They seduce and entice with promises of faster downloading speeds and a more “connected”, happier and productive life. Then they become arbitrary and disconnected, like bad boyfriends, leaving me alone, frustrated, and wasting hours of my time trying to figure out just what went wrong and how I can make the relationship work again. I want to break up with them all, but there are no better options unless I go join that cult. And I am not religious or prone to easy brainwashing.

Or am I? I read somewhere that super-brands, like Apple, affect the brains of their devotees in the same way that religion affects fanatics’ brains. The same areas light up in response to stimuli of either Apple products or theistic imagery. I’m pretty sure that the sections in my brain related to violence and mayhem would light up if someone gave me an MRI and showed me pictures of iPhones and fax machines. The highly emotional sections of my brain would still react though, making it almost the same thing: obsession and devotion. My devotion is, of course, a devotion to technological animosity. I would call it a love-hate thing, but I only love gadgets because I hate to live without them. Thus my extreme reactions when they refuse to work properly.

I can’t do what I want to do without staying connected via the virtual world, and it will undoubtedly continue to piss me off, so I need to find more productive ways to manage my vexation. I will still probably swear at the useless boobs who pose as customer service reps and technicians because someone working at those companies needs to know they ruined my day, but throwing stuff has to stop. I have a large window in my living room. The copier manual I threw at it two days ago didn’t do any damage, but my iPhone would probably break it and winter is coming. That just won’t do. Maybe I should invest in some boxing gloves and see if my ceiling fan can support a heavy punching bag.

Au revoir for now. With any luck, this most recent episode of oft-interrupted internet service and fax machine Hell will be the last for a while. If you don’t hear from me again you can find me in Montana. You will need a horse and a bloodhound though.

Bacon Part Two

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I have definitely had one of those weeks where you just want to step outside, raise your fist at the sky and yell, “OK Universe, I get it already! You hate me!” It’s actually been a little more than a week but who’s counting? The last five years or so have made cursing at “the powers that be” a common occurrence in my life, for all the good it has done. I haven’t actually gone outside to curse the skies, but only because it’s likely to be a dangerous undertaking. I think I have gotten a total of 40 hours of sleep in the last 10 days. I have lit two cigarettes at the wrong end, poked myself in the eye with my mascara wand, eaten an entire tray of macaroni and cheese in one sitting, consumed 3 large chocolate bars, run out of coffee twice, and forgotten to take off my underwear before getting in the shower. Yet again. The most upsetting small tragedy, however, was missing a piece of plastic packaging on the tray when I tried to cook bacon in the oven today. I cried. Seriously.

On the bright side, I did keep up with the dishes and prep work/interviews for an article I’m writing, got laundry done, and today I went grocery shopping. I bought 2 pounds of bacon and have one left, so I guess not everything is looking down. I also managed to forget, for several days, that tomorrow is Halloween, which resulted in neglecting to purchase gigantic bags of candy for no one but myself. It all goes on sale Friday, but maybe I won’t want any more sugar by then. Maybe. The fact that I haven’t crawled back under a rock pleases me, but I’m not a fan of the stress-eating-disorder I seem to have developed. I guess 5 pounds regained is a somewhat acceptable price to pay for maintaining my grip on the sliver of sanity I’ve reclaimed. Despite my crappy week or so, it’s good to know that although I am fat, klutzy, tired, and forgetful, I am still OK.

This is my first post in a week. The ghouls from my past have been tromping around on my good humor, and picking on myself hasn’t seemed all that appealing. I was too distracted by carbohydrates, nicotine, and sugar anyway. There may have been some wine involved as well . . .

I think the worst is over for the moment. There are more storms to come but apathy and pathos are things of the past. It is possible I will still waste the occasional half-day zoning out to The Voice, or that a Candy Crush relapse looms on the horizon, but there is still bacon in the fridge, a chocolate bar in the pantry, and I put laundry detergent next to the shower. Next time I get so distracted that I forget to remove my panties, I can use it as an opportunity for another clean pair. Life is full of silver linings!

Come Back Bunny

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Image found on Pinterest, originally from todayiatearainbow.com

Halloween is just around the corner. Retail giants everywhere have begun their annual marketing ploys, aimed at getting us all excited about that Holiday extravaganza known as Black Friday, and inspiring some of us to act like fans at a 1979 Who concert.

I am not a humbug, but the Holidays often leave me a little flat. By January second I feel like a gypsy who got mugged by a bunch of CEOs, a pack of winos, and a group of small children. I’ve traveled halfway around New England and back at least 6 times, have a headache the size of Texas, a few bruises, and it’s nothing short of a miracle if I still have that $10 I tucked in my bra for a wine emergency.

My favorite day of the Holiday Season, by far, is pre-Thanksgiving. That’s the day my friend, The Meanest and her husband, Bad B, host their annual friends-version of Thanksgiving. Bad B has threatened to cancel the whole thing this year, but I am endeavoring to get him to change his mind by writing this blog post about the Holidays, and dedicating it to pre-Thanksgiving. I am going to use the threat of no broccoli casserole for him ever again, as a back-up tactic.

I am not ready for the Holidays. I have no idea what, if anything, I will be for Halloween. Costumes are not one of my creatives fortes. Pre-Thanksgiving is in dire jeopardy, Thanksgiving plans have not been solidified, and my Christmas shopping will undoubtedly all be done at the last possible moment. I’m not some kind of holiday overachiever. Getting things done ahead of time goes against my procrastinating nature. This holiday season will be no different in that respect but, under the threatened pain of lost dinner, I decided I should start thinking and writing about it now. Maybe this year I won’t be as far behind as usual.

Since my kids are all grown up and I live in a second-floor apartment with a locked main entrance, trick-or-treaters are none of my concern. Those gigantic bags of candy at the grocery store look mighty tempting though. No kids at home=no candy to purloin. I think one bag of mini chocolate bars ought to do it. And maybe a bag of candy corn just to assuage my sorrow over giving up Candy Crush. I can sit alone, giving myself cavities, and reminisce about the the first time I went to an event at The Meanest and Bad B’s. It was a Halloween party and costumes were mandatory so I dressed up as the Easter Bunny. I borrowed my costume from my stepson’s Boy Scout troupe, so it was the real deal: a furry white suit with mittens, foot coverings, and a hood with ears. I rocked that bunny suit but I forgot the address of the party. All I could remember was the street name and the number 97. When my husband and I got to #97 (on the correct street), we could tell there was a party going on, so we parked and started to walk towards the back of the house where we could see guests. We were half-way down the walk when I realized nobody else was wearing a costume and we were not at the right house. As we were turning to walk away, someone saw us and yelled, “Come back bunny!” I didn’t go back, and we did eventually find the correct party, but at his time of year I always wonder if the guy who saw me and yelled ever thinks about the night the Easter Bunny got lost.

On to Pre-Thanksgiving, which I am hoping Bad B has now decided to reinstate. I did give him the option to pick his own pseudonym but he declined. If he objects to the one I have assigned, I will expedite the review process this once and assign a new name before the middle of November. If Pre-Thanksgiving is back on the calendar, I will make my broccoli casserole. It is mostly a concoction of cheese and Ritz crackers, with a little broccoli thrown in just for kicks, but it is still upsetting to The Man in Tights that I insist on making it every year. He objects vehemently to having any cruciferous vegetables in close proximity to his person, and is typically on the list of dinner attendees. I suppose he might not be there but, if he is, it will really be a double win for me. Either way is fine though, because neither possibility affects my share of broccoli casserole.

Hopefully real Thanksgiving will be spent with my sister and her family. They are mostly vegetarian, bordering on vegan, in their eating habits. There is a tragic deficit of bacon in their lives. Thankfully they usually celebrate with her in-laws, who insist on having real turkey along with the lentil loaf. I don’t think I would like lentil loaf even if it was covered in an entire pig’s worth of bacon. Despite not eating things like real cheese, butter and Ritz crackers for the rest of the year, my sister will enjoy it if I bring broccoli casserole to that meal as well. That means the whole Thanksgiving holiday is looking like a potential triple win so far. Throw in the fact that a childhood friend, who now lives far away, will be home for three weeks, and Thanksgiving gets even sweeter. Halloween can definitely suck it.

That just leaves Christmas and New Years for consideration. I suppose I could throw in Hanukkah and Kwanza too, but I don’t celebrate those holidays personally. I could rethink my celebratory practices and squeeze in something extra this year, but that would require planning and research, or at least hitting up one of my Jewish friends for eight nights of dinner and gift exchanges. I can’t get myself organized enough to plan well for one night of dinner and presents, so that won’t work. And I don’t know anyone who celebrates Kwanza or what the particulars of that holiday require, so that’s out too.

Back to Christmas then.

I’m considering some decorations this year. I don’t really have space I’m willing to give up for a tree. Plus there’s the whole planning thing, getting stuff out of storage, and maneuvering a long, heavy object up my twisty stairs. I don’t even want to think about my black thumb. Live Christmas trees are going to shed needles in any event. Mine would be bare in a matter of hours. Yes, I could get a fake tree or a really small tree but I think a few strands of popcorn and some lights tacked up along the walls should be sufficient. If I leave the lights on all night I will be able to see where the popcorn is when I’m hungry.

New Years is a completely different animal. I’m working on myself already. I don’t need Father Time to coerce me into making some resolution I have no intention of keeping. I’m sure as heck not going to give up drinking. It would be too late to stop for the New Year anyway, as soon as I make that champagne (beer, wine, or whiskey) toast at midnight. I’m hardly going to drink all night, take a sip of champagne at the stroke of “Where the Hell did last year run off to in such a hurry?”, put my glass down and go home. And if I haven’t kicked my nasty smoking habit before then I’m even less likely to do it drunk, in the middle of the night. For all you relaxed, “it’s not really January first until you wake up” people, you are mistaken. It is January first as soon as the last second of December 31 scuttles off somewhere to conspire with my sobriety on how to best punish the night’s excesses. Some hair of the old dog may be the best way to bite back. It may be that the best I can do for New Years is to just come up with a list of new vices to explore.

Well, that’s my Holiday Season in a nutshell. Hopefully Pre-Thanksgiving is back on, and since I’ve gotten a mental jump on the coming chaos, perhaps the Holidays will all be winners. Hopefully yours will be too!

 

Out to Lunch

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For the record, I have never claimed to be mentally balanced. However, someone else’s lack of imagination does not disprove my sanity. Anyone inclined to hurl insults at me should be aware that I have honed the skill of cutting remarks to a fine edge. Calling me “crazy” simply demonstrates the dull wits of those who might attempt to cast aspersions. Even an effort to come up with a bad “your mama” put-down might suggest a bit of verbal inventiveness.

I’m not talking about anyone who laughingly refers to my thoughts and scribblings as “cracked”. I take those comments as compliments. I’m not shooting for intellectual dry-rot. And I don’t think most of you who read my deranged ramblings on a regular basis are inclined to be hateful about my mental health status. This post is not directed at you. I may be nuts, and prone to tart retorts when provoked, but I am not trying to berate or threaten my loyal audience. I love you guys. You put the light in my lexical day and the flourish in my fantasy.

I have a “campaign” with a search engine optimization company that, theoretically, is supposed to provide me with a wider audience. My site stats show me that I am getting lots of “hits” but I’m not sure this SEO has increased regular viewership. Yesterday I considered dropping my account after getting a nasty comment from someone who had obviously been reaped from my advertising efforts. It was only one comment out of thousands of views though, which makes the odds of receiving a lot more spiteful commentary pretty low, so I decided not to pull the plug. I couldn’t figure out how to respond to the comment without posting the thread, but I really did want to give this moron a piece of my mind since he doesn’t have much of one of his own. I don’t know if he will come back to troll my site for a response or if he decided I was too nuts for fruitcake, so this post might offer my only opportunity to quench my retaliative urges.

One of my flaws is getting easily riled by cruelty and stupidity. It’s something I need to work on. A lot. Because sometimes I’m just in a defensive mood for no good reason. I suppose I should welcome the less-flattering comments because it gives me the opportunity to work my natural frustrations out on strangers instead of people I would prefer to keep as friends. Rage therapy of a sort. I should take up yoga again or learn to meditate though, so I don’t let it bleed over into my personal life more than it already does.

Ohm.

A Thousand Words

Quote by Hunter S. Thompson

Quote by Hunter S. Thompson

 

You know that saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”? Well, I disagree. A picture can convey a lot of meaning but comparing pictures to words is a bit like the old “apples to oranges” idiom. Different people relate to the world in different ways. Some people prefer pictures as a method of communication and interpretation. Some people prefer words. Some people prefer other methods, but I’m not writing about any of those today. Words and pictures together often create a harmony of communication, but if I had to choose only one, I would go with words. I suppose that’s a bit like saying I would prefer to be blind as opposed to deaf. I don’t really want to be either of those things and I feel blessed that all my senses work. It may be open to debate how well I use them, but medically speaking, I am fully operational. I have noticed that some people with functional senses and measurable intelligence don’t favor any method of complex communication. This phenomenon baffles me. The ability to communicate in multiple ways is as essential to being human as having opposable thumbs. Why would anyone choose to remain an enigma of humanity?

I like words. I am a writer.

You may be thinking to yourself, “Well, duh. State the obvious much? I’m reading her blog. I know she’s a writer.”

Yes, sometimes I find it comforting to state the obvious. I also like to state the obscure and absurd. And I like to write. Lots of words and frequently. I love that this form of communication is, to the best of my knowledge, uniquely human. I’ve always thought that if I could write the perfect sentence, crafted in the perfect way, whomever I was trying to communicate with would be able to understand the totality of my intent and therefore, be able to understand the totality of me. Unfortunately, most of the time, I can’t even say I understand the smallest part of myself terribly well. It makes for a bit of a conundrum.

I have always been a writer. That is to say, I have always been partial to communicating by the written word. I grew up in a time before email, and text messages, and before shorthand, terse communication was all the rage. I feel like those things have become an excuse for people to be lazy with not only writing, but with conveying thoughts and intentions completely, in any way. I don’t tend to write short texts with abbreviations in place of words, and I have been known, when emotion prevails, to write long, manifesto-type emails. My penchant for communication via the written word seems to make me a dinosaur of sorts, and I think it annoys some people. Writing, reading and speaking thoughtfully, fully and deliberately, is a lost art and most people are too busy to be bothered. I miss phone conversations, which are also a rare commodity these days, but mostly I miss sending and receiving letters.

When I was a kid there was only one phone company, Ma Bell (colloquial-speak for the Bell Telephone Company, for those of you too young to remember). The entire central and eastern part of Massachusetts, where I grew up,  had the same area code (617). Any call outside that area code was long distance, and long distance was expensive. If I had a friend living outside of 617, we communicated through letters. At the end of first grade, a friend I had known since I was 3 moved out-of-state. I missed her so I wrote to her. We kept writing back and forth until we were both in college. We’ve lost touch over the last 20 odd years but she was my first pen pal. She was far from the last. When friends moved away or went on vacation, I wrote to them and they wrote to me. When we all went to college we wrote to each other. When I made friends at camp or traveling, we wrote. I wrote to cousins I barely knew who lived out of state. We wrote real letters with paper and stamps. We sent each other small, silly gifts and drew pictures on the envelopes. It used to be exciting to go to a stationary store. (Do those still exist?) It used to be exciting to go to the mailbox.

I didn’t just write to people who lived far away though. All through junior high and high school, my friends and I wrote notes. We passed them in the halls or stuck them in each others lockers. My sister and I wrote notes and letters to our next door neighbors. Sometimes we even wrote to each other. I still have boxes in storage that contain a portion of the letters I received during my younger and more prolific days. I go through them every so often, the same way I read old journals every few years. The letters, notes and journals are my history, all written down, like in the olden days. There are very few letters from the last 20 years and almost none from the last decade. How will my personal history be kept, and who will know and understand me for the rest of my life if there are no more letters? How will I understand myself? Email and texts are convenient, and a necessary part of life and business these days but they lack personality. They are disposable and temporary ways to communicate. I am guilty of losing motivation to communicate the long way around too, but it makes me sad that the art and emotion of telling our lives to loved ones through handwritten letters has become virtually (pun intended) defunct.

I suppose I have latched on to this blog-world of writing because it affords me the space to relate my thoughts without assaulting busy and less communication-driven friends with endless emails or texts. I have gotten out of the habit of making sure that I have physical addresses for everyone who lives out-of-state, never mind anyone who lives close by, and I rarely have stamps anyway. I have lots of email addresses and phone numbers (that I almost never call), and I can message people on Facebook, but the contacts made through those mediums almost always lack soul. It’s nice to be able to reach out or catch up almost instantly, but this new sound-bite-communication-world-order depresses me. And I hate sending texts or emails with information or queries and getting thoughtless, incomplete or one-word responses. It makes me feel like I wasn’t worth the time and effort. I can wait for a well-executed response. In fact, a thoughtfully written, longhand response, sent through the United States Postal Service would make for a nostalgic thrill. Of course no one has my home address either . . .

Crisp and Crunchy

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Crisp and crunchy
Red, gold and orange
Airy, earthy, light

Tangy morning
Sharp and clear
Coolness strays from night

Spice and sweetness
Knit and wool
Warmth and wings in flight

Nipping day
Green is brown
Yesterday I wish I might

Have more hours
Ocean’s roar
Off beyond my sight

Come a time
Around again
Everything’s all right

 

Yes, it’s Fall. Summer is gone. Tomorrow we celebrate Columbus’ bravery and poor navigation skills. No, this is not going to be another political post. I just couldn’t help myself. I’m pretty sure Columbus never even set foot on North American soil. I could be wrong. I’m not a historian, but I’m still fairly certain it was a different slew of European pilgrims who tried to claim these now United States for themselves, and who killed off the native population. Columbus mostly did his damage in South America.

Don’t get all upset with me. I’m not trying to take away your holiday or abuse poor Christopher’s memory too roughly. He was a bold and adventurous fellow, sailing without the benefit of satellite-enabled GPS. He had to make do with the stars, and sea-travel was a much riskier business in those days. Things might be quite different here if not for his daring and arrogance. There are pros and cons to that, like anything else. “Discovery”, however, is a relevant term. What I mean is that it matters only in relation to personal knowledge and experience. For instance, I was 20 before I “discovered” that I liked broccoli. Broccoli was around for ages and ages before I gave it a try. South America was around for more than a millennium before Columbus “found” it. Still, he discovered something new to him, and discovering new things should be encouraged. Just be careful not to run around causing chaos and genocide by claiming that you were the first. “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Yes, I just used a quote from the Bible, Ecclesiastes 1:9.)

I am willing to embrace Columbus’ legacy, but only insofar as it celebrates the spirit of discovery, and not the misconceptions and falsehoods we were taught in grammar school, or the murder of culture and people.

Although Fall is the season of nature’s twilight, it is also a season of new beginnings and often, the onset of journeys to self-discovery. The school year kicks off and fresh educational opportunities abound. I’m no longer a student in any academically official sense (and haven’t been for a long time), but this Fall feels like the New Year’s Eve of learning and self-discovery for me. I don’t have a list of resolutions (except maybe “keep all my teeth” just in case I ever want to date someone from Craigslist) but I am excited to sail the next ocean of my life, and to discover new intellectual continents. I promise not to kill any natives.

Must Have Teeth

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As human beings we are programmed, at the most basic level, to want to be part of a pair at some point in our lives. We are built to be social not solitary. Politics, science and religion can agree on this one fact, even if they are at odds over the why and how. Sociology, culture, nurture, nature and all else aside, most of us want to feel connected to other people. We want to love and be loved, both emotionally and physically. We want to find someone who satisfies the “other” in us, with whom we can share our life and experiences. After all, what’s the point of being here if we are forever alone?

I may be a bit jaded and gun-shy about intimate relationships just now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about them, or don’t want friends, or never want to have sex again.  I’ve already said that I don’t currently hold any relationship ideology for myself. I’ve got work to do on my own “house” before I even consider whether I want a new roommate. I know I’m a little broken and need some time on my own. Sometimes I need to entertain myself though.

Get your mind out of the gutter.

I don’t belong, and never have belonged, to any dating websites. I don’t want to try to establish romantic relationships via chat or text or email. I’m old enough to still think of stuff like that as the last resort of the needy, desperate, or socially repugnant. I know that isn’t the case so much these days but I have determined that my judgment skills for picking out appropriate partners are remedial enough face-to-face. How can I trust them to be accurate without being able to read body language, or seeing how another person functions in real social situations? I have friends that have profiles on dating sites and they are not ugly or sociopaths or otherwise socially impaired. They just don’t have lives that lend themselves to meeting a variety of available romantic partners. I get it. Maybe it will work for them. Maybe it already has. I just can’t bring myself to join in.

I do have a guilty pleasure though. I like to read personal ads. I have never answered any, or been even remotely tempted, until today, to do so, but I find them highly entertaining. Years ago, when I was bored or in need of a laugh, I would go through the personal ads in the local papers and magazines. Now I just go to Craigslist. It’s hilarious. There are the occasional well-written and seemingly sincere ads, and I feel sorry for those people, because I know most of the responses their ads generate will be from hookers, marketers and spam sites. I read the “men seeking women” section (now m4w) because I’m a heterosexual woman but I’m sure there are amusing ads in the other categories as well.

Today I was perusing the jobs section on Craigslist. The job listings on CL are mostly a crap-shoot but I check them out on occasion anyway. After frustrating myself there for a couple of hours I decided to take a break and click over to the personals. There were lots of poorly written ads. (I have to confess here that another reason I don’t want to start a relationship via email is because I am critical of people’s writing skills. If you can’t spell, form a complete sentence, or use punctuation properly, you have a BIG strike against you before I even meet you. In fact, I probably don’t want to meet you if that’s the case. Judgmental? Yup. Hypocritical? Quite likely.) There were a couple of sweet, well written ads but mostly there were ads from guys who said they were looking for women who have certain qualities: athletic, skinny, fat, sexy, big boobs, funny, “thrifty, brave and kind”, alive, etc. There was one requested quality that showed up on almost every one of those lists though: “Must have teeth.”

Huh? Who the heck have these guys been dating? I most definitely never want to meet any of those guys. Apparently their current dating pools are filled with dentally challenged women. That may offer some prurient advantage for the less-discerning male, but I guess these guys like to share a steak and a smile with their dates every now and again. They just haven’t had a lot of luck with it. On the plus side, if that’s their major romantic concern, as long as you’ve got a nice smile, they probably won’t care much if you just got out of prison, have 6 kids, or can’t spell your own name.

There was one ad today that set my mouth-full-of-teeth on edge. The ads that are just asking for sex, or written with desperation and clichés, or from married men looking for a little something extra on the side don’t bother me. They are honest, if not enticing. Most of the guys who have lists of preferred qualities also include self-descriptions, likes, and dislikes. Some even come with pictures. However, the ad that made me grind my teeth (and put me at risk of not meeting the standard for dental whole-ness) was just a list of “must haves” for a woman looking to receive romantic consideration. Yes, “teeth” was on the list. So was an IQ above 115 and showering at least once a day. The list was numbered and extensive. It was arrogant and offensive. It was so offensive that I had to stop myself from getting a new, anonymous email address so I could respond and tell this guy how arrogant he is. I stopped myself because it would have been a waste of my time and energy, but also because I realized this poor idiot must have had some pretty awful romantic experiences and didn’t need judgment and vitriol from some woman who had no intention of getting to know him. At least the ad wasn’t a grammatical nightmare. I guess he’s got that going for him.

I think I’m done with my personal ad fetish. I don’t want to be alone forever, but I won’t help myself get over my issues, or find a future partner by reading ads from men who need to specifically request that their dates have teeth. And I certainly don’t need to get myself all riled up over the jerks that lurk around those places.

So long Craigslist Personals. It’s been fun but I think we have different goals. I hope we can still be friends.

 

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