Don't believe the rumors

This is inspired by my friend Chuck's recent post about his near-death experience... Mine was definitely less horrific!

Nearly 10 years ago, I developed gall stones. After my second attack, Thing One said that he would insist that I go to the doctor if I had a third. Well, the third happened at 2am one Tuesday morning. I was in incredible pain (another friend gave birth a couple of months before her gallstone attack and confirmed the rumor that the latter is more painful than the former). Of course, being me, I went online and checked some medical books and said "hmmm... I think this is gallstones" rather than waking Thing One up and going to the doctor.

By 4:30 I decided that he should know that I was up, and in pain. It took him the next half hour to convince me that I should go to the hospital (I did win the ambulance v. walking argument). When I got there, my blood pressure, temperature and pulse were dangerously high - my doctor later informed me that had I waited to go to her office, I'd not have survived.

So there I am, in the ER of our local hospital, and they've got me hooked up to an IV of something. Then they decided to give me Dilaudid. BIG mistake. Thing One reports that my eyes rolled back in my head and the doctor/intern/ER guy immediately ripped that line out of the IV thing. So now I know I'm allergic to Dilaudid. They finally found something to kill the pain, which I appreciated (they were already using antibiotics to get the infection down).

At this point, I was pretty drugged out and more than a little loopy. Thing One stepped out to call his work and a couple of people I'd made plans with. And then it happened. The nurse comes over and tells me my mother-in-law is on the phone.

My mother-in-law was calling? A woman I'd never met, who'd died over a decade earlier was on the phone, wanting to talk to me. Me. I wasn't worthy of St. Peter and the Big Book at the Pearly Gates?? I get a phone call? Seriously??? This is how I'm being welcomed to... where ever I was going?

Imagine my relief when I realized that the voice on the other end of the call was my mother - very much alive and kicking. The nurse had made an understandable mistake, assuming that Thing One and I shared a last name. We didn't. We don't. We never will. My parents and I, on the other hand...

Still, there's a part of me that thinks that maybe St. Peter's moving on, technology-wise. Maybe the next time, I'll get a text or dm. Depends on how good the drugs are. I think.


You're my obession (not)

One thing I've learned - and tried to come to grips with - is that I seem to have an obsessive streak.  While that's not altogether a bad thing, in the spirit of decluttering I'm trying to get over it. 

For example, there are any number of blogs in my RSS feeder that I either no longer care about, or haven't been posted to in quite some time.  Luckily, Google Reader has this nifty chart that shows me the "infrequent fliers", and I can weed those out (I don't need any nifty charts for the ones I don't care about!).  It's Spring Break and as part of my Spring e-Cleaning I'm going to go through all my saved/favorited items and either read/delete or act on them.

I'm also going through a Netflix queue purge.  A friend recommended a series - someone whose taste I'm usually in sync with - yet the first disc did nothing for me.  Now, the obsessive me would insist on watching the entire series, because sometimes shows take time to gel.  Instead I just deleted the rest of the discs from my queue.  I'm also getting rid of series that I thought I'd want to see future seasons/episodes of, but, well, not so much any more on both my DVR To Be Recorded and my Netflix.

One of the things I've been pondering is the whole minimalist movement (and while I don't think it's lifestyle porn, I think this post has some great points about how to make that work in my life).  So another part of my Spring Break is going to be going through my closet and getting rid of things I like, but just never seem to want to wear - I already have a box o'stuff ready to be donated. 

Then there are, deep breath, the books.  Yes, The Collection is under attack.  Even though I've weaned myself off of being a Full Plate Reader, I still keep those No Good Very Bad Horrible books on my shelves.  Why?  I honestly have no idea except that's what I've always done.  Well, no longer.  If I wouldn't re-read (if I had time and no Mt. Bookpile) or lend, it's off the shelves.  I've already stopped collecting books by authors that no longer make me squee when they publish a new book (example?  Carolyn Hart's Death on Demand series, which  served a purpose years ago but I've since stopped loving Annie Darling and the hijinks she gets involved with so the books are coming off the shelves and heading for a new home).  Don't worry, I won't be left with bare shelves.  Just slightly less cramped ones.  I hope.

People, too, are getting a rethink.  I know one or two people who seem to think I'm obsessed with them in some way - that I either blog about them a lot or go out of my way to make their lives worse.  Uh, no.  I don't obsess in that manner, and honestly, who has time for that middle school stuff?   But there are some people on the periphery, people I'm "friends" with, rather than friends with (you know the difference, right?).  While I don't want to hurt their feelings, they may just find themselves, well, 'unfriended' (or is it 'defriended'?).  Of course, because human feelings are involved that needs to be dealt with tactfully.  I think. 

So that's my Spring Break plans: fewer obsessions, fewer possessions.  More time to be lazy.


Tyrranny of the Reply All

Today, going through my e-mail, I've noticed a marked increase in the number of Reply All messages.  It makes me wonder why...

There are definitely times when it's important, as it was when some friends and I were setting up times to talk about a presentation.  Then you want to make sure that everyone is seeing that you saw the previous posts and are able to make a decision based on previous information (rather than something in some side conversation).  And there are times when brainstorming or joking also builds on previous comments.

But most of the time, like if you're asked to participate in an event, or if a general query is thrown out to a large group, that it just becomes so much e-mail clutter.  It seems to happen most on e-lists, when several people will give the same (public) answer over the course of an afternoon - of course, many aren't reading the responses, just quickly trying to be helpful.  Still... e-mail clutter.  Sending a private message, with the assumption that some sort of round-up of responses will be forwarded to the larger group.

What most goes through my mine?  "Are you responding because it's important to the conversation, or because it's important that you are seen to be responding to the conversation"

Thus endeth today's rant.


Feeling nostalgic

Since leaving Brooklyn for the pleasures of upstate six years ago, I've been back to enjoy the pleasures of the Big City many times.  This week's visits have been trips down memory lane is unknown - why now?  Who knows.

Tuesday's meeting took place around the corner from the building I worked in as a naive college graduate (for the princely sum of $50/week) in the business office of Circle Repertory Company.  While much of the area has changed - Starbucks has invaded, as have upscale boutiques - the store on the ground floor has reverted to type: in 1984 it was a Janovic Plaza, in 2011 it's a Benjamin Moore store.  Walking from there to the Bleeker Street 6 stop increased that feeling of déjà new.

Friday was more of a mash-up tour: starting at a school in which I'd done a half-day library observation/interview for a grad school class... walking cross-town and passing the building in which I'd last held full-time non-librarian employment, then the building Thing One used to work in (anyone know how PINK manages to stay in business?  seriously expensive real estate, large stores, and I've never seen a customer inside), then past the building where Thing One and I met in 1987... and into the subway station on Lex and 51st where I once again headed downtown, just as I did for six years... to Astor Place, where I spent time both during my (brief) career in the world of Off-Broadway theatre and then again during graduate school.  Finally to a bar/restaurant, where I had the opportunity to hang out with one of my former students while listening to the older brother/friend of one of her friends (both siblings also former students).

Why this sudden attack of "remember when"s?  Who knows.  And today, in Brooklyn, in virtually the same neighborhood I lived in for 12 years, they've faded.  Still, it made for an interesting week!


A trainwreck

There's a guy I know, mid-late 40s, who hasn't grown up.  He lives his life pretty much as though he's in a frat house:  relationships are mostly about the sex and having fun, not sharing a life with someone.  He doesn't take care of himself, keeping odd hours and abusing his body.  As for work, that's a some-time thing, not necessarily a steady job (although he has had them in the past).  When he doesn't get his way, he throws what's akin to a tantrum.  His friends and family despair and worry, but never really call him on his behavior, probably because he can be a lot of fun to be with when he's "on".  A dose of tough love would do him wonders.

I'm guessing that you all know him, too.  He's been in the news a lot, ranting and raging.  It's sad that things got to this point, isn't it?  And of course one fears for the future - his and his family's. 

What gets me is that we're all enabling him and his delusions.  The amount of air time and ink expended on what's going on... not to mention all the "experts" (none of whom know him personally, but based on their professional training, are called on to tell us what's going on and how it will most probably end) making money off this spectacle.  Enough!  What he needs it to be ignored by the media, to not be given tacit permission to continue acting and carrying on.

Why is it that we're so eager to watch obvious trainwrecks, not recognizing that in doing so, we're responsible for the damage?