Am I your Eyeore?

We all have That Friend - the one who can never find the good, who always seems to have a black cloud over their head.  No one loves them.  No one loved them.  No one will ever love them.  Bad things will always happen to them. They could get a promotion and raise, and somehow it's not a good thing.  You know, like Eyeore. You want to be a good friend, but seeing their name on your phone ID or in an email just makes you mentally cringe and you have to brace yourself before answering or reading.

The past few months have been challenging for me, both in terms of my health and in terms of a family medical crisis.  I've tried to keep a sense of humor about this, tried to make light of things and focus on the good (all those wonderful day trips planned over the summer? gone.  but I did get to read a lot and relax so...).  I really, really don't want to be That Friend. And yet.  And yet.

As many of my friends are, we're starting the school year.  When I've seen colleagues during the Opening Meetings, most haven't known what's happened all summer, and for a few I've told them.  Not because I want their sympathy, but because it's the truth: no, summer wasn't what I'd planned but it was ok and here's why.  Then I started to realize, I was Eyeore:  I had nearly three months off.  I saw Hamilton.  I read so many books (so many!).  I - in perhaps a first for me - finished my Summer To Do List.  I watched a lot of crap tv, political tv (yelled at that a lot, too), movies and episodes of Chopped (don't ask).  Plenty to be thankful for, right?

So, to those readers who have been following My Tale of Woe, I apologize.  I don't want to be That Friend, your Eyeore.  And to those friends who I see as being my Eyeore, I'll try to be more tolerant.


Digital Detritus

Once more, cleaning out the efiles and bookmarks...

Finally, I'm resolving to stop apologizing for these things.  Deal with it.


Notable Quotes

"I think of books in the currency of lattes," Wilcox said, pointing out students do buy fancy coffee.  "It's a three-latte book, and you have it forever and keep it on your shelf, while the latte you'll pee out in an hour.  Somehow, we value the latte and not the book."


Culture Vulturing, kind of ranty

Since moving two years ago, there have been a whole lot of non-work related cultural events I've attended (work related = concerts and plays that are not quite Must Attend but really kind of are).  A short list:

Dance: BoSoma Dance, Dorrance Dance, Pacific Northwest Ballet
Music: Coeur de Pirate, Cyndi Lauper/Boy George, Sybarite5, Bryan Ferry, Duran Duran, Jethro Tull Opera, Sinatra celebration, Bruno Mars
Plays: Hamilton, Elf, Once

Here's the problem: I hate audiences.  Terry has a great way to suggest to audiences that they put away their phones (which, duh) but it's not that - although seriously, people, stop.  That crappy video or photo can just wait.  Be in the moment, enjoy the show.

No, for me it's audience behavior.  Not when I'm at a show like Elf, which has a definite younger audience skew and is going to be filled with squealing children.  I accept that.  It's the older folks, the ones who should know better and who still, somehow, for some reason behave really badly.

Example?  The group of six friends (female) sitting in front of my row who did not stop talking and laughing throughout the concert.  There was no song they listened to, no moment they focused on, it was all talk and laughing all the time.  Until close to the end, when Thing One said "will you please just shut up for one song?" and they looked shocked.  Even more shocking, everyone in my row made it clear that yes, shutting up for a short while would be a very nice thing for the rest of us trying to enjoy a concert we'd paid money for.

Example?  The two women who insisted on standing and dancing during a concert, despite complaints from a wide swath of people who could not see the stage.  The ushers should have moved them but for whatever reason, they didn't (when approached, the women argued and refused to move).  By 30 minutes, everyone in that area was moving.  By intermission, it looked as though a huge number of seats hadn't been sold and people either were standing on the sides or leaving.  All because two people decided they were more important than everyone else's enjoyment.

Neither of those was a "those young'uns" moment.  They were all close to my age, if not older.

I don't have a ton of discretionary income.  But I do like going to things, I do like music and dance and theatre, and when selfish audience members interrupt that good time?  It makes me less likely to want to spend my money on those events.  It's ruining the enjoyment for younger people in addition to teaching them bad habits when in a public space.  Which, of course, feeds on itself.


Wrong adjective

When I first started driving back in the 70s, I didn't need a car because I was away at school (even when I was in college, because I got to borrow my father's car during class time).  Then I moved to NYC and never thought to buy because NYC.  Renting when needed was a far better option.  Then, 12 years ago, I moved out of NYC to the 'burbs and needed a car.

It was a great experience, finally feeling like an adult: I owned a car.  Shortly thereafter, I also bought a house.  Really racking up those adulting points, right?

Sadly, my car was totalled, so I had to buy a new one.  And because I worked over 30 miles from my home, leasing wasn't an option.  Then I moved to a new school, a new residence and didn't drive more than 10 miles a week (work being a 3.5 minute stroll from my front door), so suddenly leasing was an option.  And there was a sweet trade-in deal, so leasing, here I come.

That was three years ago and the lease was up.  So here I go, putting on my big girl pants and visiting the dealership looking to either buy out the car or lease a new one.  The best part was that the salesguy talked to me, not Thing One (who literally and metaphorically came along for the ride) and was quite helpful exploring options.

The worst part?  The 3.5 hours it took, between the schmoozing, the checking with the credit bureau, the schmoozing, the looking at the current car, etc..  And then came Mr. Business Manager, who schmoozed some more.  In fact, his opening question was, "are you excited?"

No.  I'm not.  I'm not a conspicuous consumption person.  I don't need the Next! New! Exciting! Upgrade!  and that "new car smell" makes me sick.  I need a basic car that will get me to and from work, to and from a few conferences, to and from family, and possibly a day trip or longer vacation.  All those surveys about "if your car were a person, what type of person would it be?" leave me in giggles.  It's a car, people.  It has no personality.  And my self worth is not now, has never been, nor will it ever be determined by the clothes I wear, the car I buy, the neighborhood in which I live, etc..

Was I excited? No.  I was tired.  I was eager to get this process done with.  I was pleased that I was being taken seriously as a customer.  I was annoyed by all the delay and schmoozing.

I get it, salesmen gotta sale.  But please, not around me.  Or if you absolutely must, don't ask if I'm excited.


Boxes, Boxes Everwhere

Many, many years ago, my BFF Karen and I used to play Barbies.  As I recall, we weren't particularly good at it, each vying for the fewest, cleanest (dare I say, minimalist?) lives for our gal.  This was in the Buy Everything 1970s, a time when Barbie came as one doll with thousands of potential outfits. 
Fun fact: the house Karen lived in was sold to author Grace Lin's family.  Cool, right?
Anyway, we didn't trade outfits or accessories, we pretty much decided which we had that we didn't want.  Not quite sure why, but we did. 

Flash forward several decades and once again, minimalism is a thing.  I've blogged about it before. This past week, I've been Home Alone and Getting Things Done, including re-weeding my books and looking through my closet and drawers for things to toss or give away.  Here's what's leaving the house as donations to local charity shops or school for sale:

I'm feeling pretty good about this!