Friday, February 24, 2012

Excessively Frugal? Excitement Impaired? This blog post might be for you.

Those that know me well know that I have strong opinions about how the world should be.  With that in mind, I try to listen as much as I talk as I’ve come to the conclusion that absorbing other people’s ideas and fusing them with your own is a great exercise in keeping your mind and heart open.  Getting set in your ways seems to be a part of getting older and I am actively fighting that shit like there’s no tomorrow.   In my worst possible future scenario nightmare, I am saying things like, “But that’s the way I’ve always done it!” and such.  This fast forwarded hellish hallucination also involves me being decked out in polyester and industrial shoes with my finger in someone’s face saying “ I KNOW you said Dr. Pepper, not Diet Coke!”  Hey, I told you it was worst case.  But back to the tried and true rules I consult when I feel the crochety confines of maturity creeping in.  I have but one mantra.

Don’t be cheap and don’t be boring.  When I make decisions based on these guidelines, I’m generally pleased with the results.

I feel the need to clarify some points with the mantra.  When I say cheap, it has nothing to do with how much  money you have at your disposal.  Being broke is not the same as being cheap.  It’s a matter of not being chintzy with what you do have.  I believe in making smart decisions with money, in having a savings/emergency account, and all those things that Suze Orman has been hitting us all over the head with.  I also believe in the Warholism that wasting money puts you in a real party mood, but I respect those that don’t get with that one.  But I checked the facts, no matter how hard you try, you can’t take it with you and dying with more of it doesn’t get you any big fucking prizes.  If you’re one of those people who tries to figure out how to make your life cheaper at other people’s expense (i.e. being a shitty tipper, complaining about things in hopes of a discount, conveniently forgetting that you owe money until you are reminded, going to the bathroom when the bill comes), I would urge you to look at your level of satisfaction with your life.  Being a active cheap ass takes energy and and often goes in tandem with being a drag to be around.   Having enough money to be comfortable is key, but more can’t get you more of what’s really important…friendship, affection, connection, self worth, on and on and on….  It can’t even buy you solid success with the financially obsessed GOP,  just ask Mittens Romney.

And as far as being boring, I’m not implying you must be hang gliding on acid or partying with celebrities or any other Hunter S. Thompson-esque pursuits.  I’m perfectly happy hearing about your adventures in making macrame potholders with kitty faces on them if you’re passionate about them.  Everyone has different activities that make them tick, find yours, and respect and appreciate what works for others.  Being boring in my definition involves endless bitching, living your life through other people, focusing on how everyone else has it better than you, what other people have that you don't or what they can do that you cannot.  A lot of folks feel comfortable in this cocoon, and nothing dies harder than a bad idea.  We all have our whiny moments, but if your identity is defined by them, it is never too late to make a change.   When I feel like life's buffet is serving all poop sandwiches, I recognize that lots of other people are struggling along in this life…that I am unique and special, JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.  Also boring, people who talk too much, regardless of the content and quality of their output.  Are you often met with a blank stare from those on the receiving end of your word bubble?  Do you interrupt people?  Are you always thinking of what you’re going to say next as opposed to really hearing what the other person is saying?  Check yourself, you may be on the nonstop to Blowhardville, population YOU. 

I am guilty of committing all of the above sins as I am human.  But being aware is helpful.  If you feel you may be in danger of being a tight ass and/or dull specimen, or are generally soaking in the agony of defeat, do yourself a favor.  Call someone RIGHT NOW and invite them to do something.  Take them out, have them over, doesn't have to be fancy.  Ask them what’s up with them, and really listen.  Pick up the check.  You might be surprised at how good it makes you feel.

Enough of my advice.  Things are turning around in the land of nonsense….I’m reading the Artist’s Way and taking steps to push my creativity into overdrive.  More soon.....

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Venus and Mars Meet the Overhead Bin

In the my last stretch of eight days of work, I came into contact with 1,925 people on the plane.  Yes, I actually added it up.  Ostensibly the airplane’s job is to get people from point A to point B, however, I prefer to consider it a giant social experiment put together for my amusement.  As I am obsessed with all things gender related, I focused on the difference between men and women when the quandry of the overhead bin rears its ugly head.

If you've been on a plane (or better yet, IN one, RIP George Carlin), you probably already get a notion of where I'm going with this.  Passenger brings bag, bag goes in bin.  Simple enough?  Not really.  Making a bunch of people's shit fit nicely in a confined storage space is sometimes akin to a cruel puzzle with too many pieces.  Every plane is different, every bin is different, you bought a new bag, you stuffed it full of crap on your journey, there are no rules that universally apply to this mess.  People are stacking up behind you, fool, put your bag away and get out of the aisle!  And here's what I've witnessed....

A good number of people when faced with overhead bin drama stop and look at the problem, they rearrange things, they look for other spaces, they solicit help from their fellow passengers or from me or one of my other bag wrangling pro co-workers. These folks give me faith in human kind.  But some people are not so logical or resourceful.  When one of our less evolved friends comes across this dilemma (note I refrained from using the term idiot, because I am CLASSY), I see a discernable difference in reaction between the genders.  

When He Man Master of the Universe cannot make it work, he often resorts to feats of strength to man handle that bin to bend to his will.  Clearly these dudes have not heard the funk anthem “If It Don’t Fit, Don’t Force It”.  There is slamming and cracking and damage to structural integrity and my central nervous system.  They will not stop when asked, they just have to prove to that bin WHO’S THE BOSS.

When Our Lady of Perpetual Confusion cannot make it work, she resorts to leaving the bag sticking out five inches over the edge, often verifying that it won’t close, and proceeds to sit down and read a magazine.  Basically, her mindset is, I don’t know what to do, therefore IT’S SOMEONE ELSE’S PROBLEM.

I’ve certainly seen guys walk away from the above scenario, but not with such shocking regularity.  And I honestly can’t remember any women trying to physically assault the overhead bin in my eleven year career.

So, I guess I’m asking….is the message we’re telling men is MIGHT MAKES RIGHT?  And are we telling women DON’T WORRY YOUR PRETTY HEAD, SOMEONE ELSE WILL DEAL WITH IT?  I have no answers, just more questions.  But I’ll retire the Caps Lock for now.

My writing is currently flatter than a coke addicted super model’s chest, but I refuse to be discouraged.  I’ve started to train for some upcoming runs in Chicago as the weather is improving….and running is where I have most of my writing inspirations.  If there was only an app that could transcribe what happens in my mind when I’m truly inspired that seems to fizzle when I stare at the blinking cursor…..

Ending on a high note, I'm very excited to start a new storytelling class in March. Spring is coming, people.  Can you feel it?