Monthly Archives: March 2013

What I am currently…

Reading: The Shipping News; longform.org; text messages regarding Boucher’s firing.

Listening to: Broken Bells; Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins; the goddamn motherfucking peacocks.

Watching; The Wire season three; the fog roll in; my bracket die.

Eating: SPAM and eggs; raw broccoli and homemade blue cheese dip (sour cream, mayo, blue cheese, Worcestershire and celery salt.)

Wearing: horsey pajama bottoms and a tore-up grey t-shirt.

Pondering: a bike ride, a jog, or a game of Wii golf.

Bemoaning: the destructive tendencies of my new Target shoes; my decision to play Wii golf instead of exercise.

Remembering: a dream about feeding pretty chickens; a dream about stepping off the dock into dark water.

Regretting: Drinking Mama Brown’s Bud Light “Platinum”; putting Gonzaga in my final four.

Yelling at: the peacocks; the squirrels; the cat; Wii golf.

Feeling: a humid-cool breeze;  a sandspur splinter in my foot; a dangerous craving for chicken parm.

Celebrating: an eagle on 18; a blog in the books; a foggy and unaccounted for Sunday afternoon.

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Trading Punches with Tuesday

This week and I have been going back and forth on the score cards. It keeps jabbing me—and occasionally pummeling me, but then I fight back and it turns around and tries to be all nice.

 

This week is giving me Stockholm syndrome.

 

McD and I have long considered Tuesday the most evil day of the week. My official theory is that people expect Monday to be so bad that everybody goes out of their way to try to make it better. Then Tuesday comes along, and all the bad shit comes avalanching downhill, hitting the fan, etc. (In actuality, the Tuesday-is-evil theory emerged around the same time we started having weekly department meetings on Tuesdays.)

 

So, first thing Tuesday, I accidentally dumped my toast over so that it landed—face down, of course—in the driver’s seat I was about to occupy. I commuted with jelly.

 

McD, having suffered an unfortunate incident with strawberries at about that same time, declared it a day of falling food—an observation fortified when I opened the breakroom refrigerator and sent someone’s ample salad leftovers a-sprawling on the floor. Dammit.

 

But with each new insult, I felt kind of triumphant at not having a meltdown (as is my wont). My awesome new Target shoes wore bloody holes in my heels; I fixed them with scotch tape. I started to feel crappy, so at lunch I backed my way half-heartedly to the gym and wound up attacking the stairmill for 30 minutes at a higher-than-normal level.

 

Afterwards, I got Jimmy John’s—extra onions, extra lettuce. I felt resilient.

 

After work I went to the gas station and Publix and spent too much money on booze and cheese. I could feel the Tuesdayness closing in. So I again took charge: Sitting at a traffic light, uncomfortably close to a relatively young guy asking for change, I decided to go against my natural instinct to avoid eye contact. Instead, I reached into my groceries and offered him a beer. He was amused; I was amused; the cop that drove by at that exact moment was, happily, oblivious. Good times.

 

As I drove off, a guy pulled up alongside me: “You’d think he at least could’ve closed your gas cap,” he shouted. Dammit.

 

I had to wait until I got to St. Armands and, for the first time ever, was excited when a large group of right-of-way pedestrians crossed in front of me. I threw the car in park, tore off my seatbelt and lunged out of the car to close the cap—feeling cool and balletic until I banged my shoulder and my ass as I dove back in, and managed to get the car back into drive even though my foot had spazzed in a cramp. Dammit.

 

The day still felt like kind of a win, and I wanted to write about it when I got home. But the wireless was down. Argh. At which point I gave up on Tuesday.

 

The real problem is that recently it seems like Wednesdays are becoming more Tuesday-like—like, because our time-measurement systems aren’t quite accurate to the universe, the evilness has drifted over into a different day. Like we need to cut a day out of the week to get it right again. Like Leap Year except…the opposite.

 

I again went reluctantly to the gym and again banged out a pretty heroic workout on the treadmill and the stairmill. I wanted to wallow in a pasta-and-mushroom-cream-sauce special for lunch, but I got a protein smoothie instead. I fought for my day.

 

Wednesday afternoon annoyance, but I worked through it. Then I started getting worked up instead. I got caught in the negativity (much of it, admittedly is of my own making). I obsessed. I whined. I discovered a particularly infuriating administrative snafu, at which point McD and I went for our usual mile-long walk, venting all the way, a parade of incredulity and arm waving.

 

When we got back to the office, Bode unloaded on us his own recent frustrations. Wednesday was a Tuesday for everybody.

 

I let myself get emotionally spent toward the end of the day, but felt some relieving catharsis afterwards. I again felt resilient when I made grilled cheese and tomato soup, and sat down to eat it on the porch, listening to a lovely steady rain outside and reading The Shipping News.

 

Then the Bolts lost, the negativity closed in and I lost momentum again.

 

So here we are on Thursday. Thursdays don’t have any kind of reputation (…yet). I had a quiet morning of decent productivity. But then I popped the button on my trousers, which makes me think this whole week is determined to be difficult. So I took a three-mile walk (although I stepped in a puddle). I ate a salad. I fought for it.

 

Right now I’m looking forward to stone crabs with the ‘rents this evening, and I’m happy I finally got a blog written—although it’s too long, pretty rambly, and I’m also currently annoyed that my damn phone won’t relinquish my photos. I am trying.

 

In reality, it’s nice to find the good times, but it’s really damn frustrating to go back and forth like this—to have a brain (not the day, the week, or the universe, really) that won’t sit still in a comfortable spot. But I guess it’s better than spending the whole time on the mat.

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Guilt Does Not Inspire

This is an awful attitude to have the day after a weeklong vacation, but: I don’t feel like doing shit.

Well, maybe that’s an obvious and common attitude, but there does seem to be a prevailing logic that vacations should be linked to productivity. That is, you work for so long that you build up a big desire to not work, and then on vacation you can get all your not-working out of your system so you can get back to working again.

Or something.

Unfortunately, it’s not like this impulse for not-working is unusual for me. I just feel guiltier than usual for having done so much not-working in the recent past, and still wanting to do more.

Really, when you factor in the fact that I spent much of the week prior to vacation “winding down” in preparation for all the not-working, it’s even worse.

And, perhaps worst of all, I’ve decided to go with it. It’s not like the guilt was motivating me, anyway.

In fact, I’m taking it a step further: I’m giving myself a pass on everything today. That means, in addition to not-working, I’m not going to anguish about calories and money, either. I bought a double-tall mocha from Starbucks. With whip. And a bag of popcorn. Buttered popcorn.

I don’t know what I’m doing for lunch yet, but I’m not wracking my brain for the cheapest salad in town. And I ain’t goin’ to the gym, either. I’m going to Target to get some Drano, bitches.

The point is, most of this stuff would happen anyway—I probably wouldn’t be very productive this morning, I definitely needed coffee, I didn’t plan ahead for lunch and my morning shower was in eight inches of bilge—and rising. Ship’s sailed. Milk’s spilled. Telling myself I’m a lazy, fat, soon-to-be-moneyless person won’t change my plans. It’ll just make me want ice cream, too.

Even if guilt did talk me out of whipped cream and into Subway, it’s not like I’d feel a swell of pride in purpose. I’d just feel like guilt made me go against my desires and impulses. I’d feel empty. It’d be a struggle. It’d be a whole internal conflict. And I hate conflict.

This way, I’m going with the flow while allowing for the possibility of naturally, positively, sincerely steering toward good things. Good things are even better when you arrive at them naturally and positively and sincerely instead of struggling toward them and depriving yourself and killing your soul.

And look, it seems to be working. I already got a whole blog written.

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Ms. BananaHammer Goes to Bradenton (Part 2)

And so, after the great grey hot dog debacle, I gave up and went back to the prospective juror holding pen. And I paced. I was done with sitting and reading.

The group of us who’d been summoned for the 1:30 trial included several middle-aged women, some denim-clad mustachioed men, a couple of girls who looked like they needed permission slips, and a guy who was sort of the lovechild of Craig T. Nelson and Jon Taffer.

We were led into a room that was both more and less formal than I’d expected. I know most modern-day courtrooms aren’t the ornate, wooden-veneered things of the movies, but this wasn’t just a church rec room, either.  The judge’s bench in the corner put him sufficiently higher than everyone else, and there were special benches and enclaves, all seemingly different for the various positions.

Not to overwhelm us with reverence, two uniformed bailiffs virtually reclined in their chairs, hands folded behind their heads, half-amused at the proceedings, half asleep.

It was a DUI trial. Two lawyers on each side, plus the defendant—a pretty young blonde girl. I felt embarrassed for her at first and then later kind annoyed with her for instigating all this contentiousness. Conflict bothers me.

The lead attorney for each side stood in front of the group and asked various questions regarding our experiences with DUIs. Whenever someone shared a story, the attorneys would nod, maybe ask a follow-up question, and then conclude with, “Do you feel like this would affect your ability to render an impartial verdict?” And inevitably, the person would say, “No, I don’t think so,” and they’d move on.

It was that clear-cut, and yet, Nerdy McTeacher’sPet that I am, I jumped at those questions that allowed me to raise my hand—“Well, I’m a journalist, and I did this story about DUIs, and there were sheriffs there and I got all these people drunk in my boss’s office.” Any excuse to tell that story, really.

Even when I knew every story was going to end the same, and I wasn’t going to suddenly realize, “Oh, wait, I can’t render an impartial verdict,” I couldn’t help raise my hand and share my stories. Lord. At least I came by my geekiness honestly.

Coach Bar Rescue next to me obviously knew what he was doing: He sat legs out, arms crossed or behind his head or propping up his chin. It wasn’t sincere indifference; his body posture screamed, “Nuh-uh. Not having it. I’ve got golf on Thursday.” He was the only person the whole time who was never asked a direct question, and never said a thing.

Eventually the attorneys started floundering for questions. They sounded like me trying to burn through an interview when I have no idea what I want the other person to say. But, as attorneys, they demonstrated this amazing ability to make a nonsensical inquiry with utter professional confidence.

I thought for sure they’d gotten to the end of the ridiculousness when the defense attorney busted out a hypothetical scenario: “Ok, say you’re throwing a Superbowl party at your house. And one person shows up with a six-pack of beer. Would any of you tell them to go home?”

I started to smirk into, “OK, ladies, I think your questions are getting silly,” when two people—TWO  people—in the front row raised their hands. Say…what now? You would turn away someone who brought a six-pack to your party? What…the hell?

They each explained something about not allowing alcohol in their houses…something something…I dunno; I didn’t hear much beyond my brain screaming incredulity. Of all experiences with this cross-section of humanity, this is the one that hammered it home: Man, some people really do live totally different lives.

Then a woman in the second row raised her hand: “I’m sorry,” she laughed apologetically. “But if someone showed up at my Superbowl party without beer, I would send them away to go get some.”

OK, is it against judicial ethics to make her my new best friend?

Anyway, they eventually finished up, let us loiter in the hall a bit before calling us back in and reading a list of seven people for the jury—including one of the teetotalers and one of the teenagers. But not me.

It’s not that I’m actually insulted. But I would give anything to know more about their reasoning—from both sides—and how they came to their consensus. That’s probably pretty straightforward to anyone with legal experience; I just don’t know anything about it. Obviously it’s not as straightforward as people’s answers—and really, that makes it even more interesting. If they were reading attitude, intelligence, body language, etc., what did they see—or not see—in me?

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