Monthly Archives: September 2010

When did ‘nice’ become such an oddity?

Twice in the past week someone has turned to me and said, “that’s so nice of you,” in such a tone as if they were genuinely surprised.  I, as a reaction, am genuinely surprised.

When did it become the norm for people to “feel bad” asking a friend for assistance?  I, personally, know I do not ask anyone for anything, just about ever. (I’ve been making exceptions for Stefan, because he makes it rather apparent that he actually likes doing things for me).  I rarely even call on people to talk out my issues (which could be leading to my downfall).  But really, when I hear, “I feel bad, you’re …,” I think, Really?  You feel bad for my doing something nice for you? Sure, it leads to their feeling grateful and appreciative, but would it be so bad if we were, as a society, decent to one another?  Okay, fine, I explained myself as, “good to the people I know, but terrible to the people I don’t,” but I never said I agreed with the logistics of it.  I also noted to Christina today that I probably flip her off on my way to school, unknowingly, since I don’t have everyone’s cars committed to memory just yet.  And that’s happened to me a lot–I’ll be ranting my head off about a driver in a car near me, and then I’ll realize it’s the same make/model as someone I know, and that I’d be terribly embarrassed if it actually was them.

Why we do this, I haven’t the slightest, but it’s difficult to have hope when even the smallest acts of kindness are met with such shock.  No wonder Obama-haters call him a communist and/or socialist–they don’t understand that they’re not wholly bad political philosophies, and they certainly wouldn’t know how to live and act under such a socially-demanding regime.

If I could make myself more cognizant of the times I am a douchebag to people I’ve never met, and actively seek to change that behavior, I would (and I will).  I’m often just so busy with other cognitive resources, that I never allocate the space or the energy to mull it over.  However, when someone needs a ride, or a friend to walk them somewhere, or a book returned to the library you live a block away from (I’m not specifically referring to you, Stefan, it’s just a good example), offer to be that person there for them.  Not because you expect something in return, or you want to feel like you’ve done your mitzvah for the year/month/week/day, but because the person you’re helping will be grateful and will feel like someone cares.  Everyone could use a little more of that.

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Oh, Philly!

This was a question I received on a coffee survey I took online today:

* Which of the following things would you be willing to do to make sure you continue to have your morning cup of coffee. Rank each on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1= “No way” and 5= “Absolutely”
·       Dress up in period clothing for a day and ring the Liberty Bell every hour
·       Run the Philadelphia Marathon
·       Wear an Eli Manning jersey to an Eagles home game
·       Go to the Mummer’s Day Parade in shorts and a tee
·       Highjack the old sailors boat at Penn’s Landing
·       Swim across the Schuylkill River at Boathouse Row
·       Tell anyone you hate Will Smith
·       Sprint up the Philadelphia Art Museum steps like Rocky

Well played, survey people.  Well played.

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this insomnia has got to stop.

Today I woke up at 9:30.  I was supposed to be at a meeting at school at 9:30.  You see the conflict here.

This is unacceptable.  Ever since the night before the Cog presentation two weeks ago, I haven’t been able to sleep before 4 a.m., regardless of how tired I am.  So this morning, I either inadvertently turned my alarm off, or my phone did something weird (it looks like it rebooted itself, but that should have little effect on the alarm clock).  I guess I’m back to setting the microwave alarm/reminder, which is the only way I’ve been able to assure that I’ll get up when I need to.

I’m so disappointed in myself.  Yes, I kind of knew this not being able to sleep thing was going to come back and kick me in the ass at some point, but this was not really the form I was expecting it to take.  I don’t like to miss things, especially when missing said things demonstrates a level of irresponsibility, which I cannot afford to have at this stage in my life.  I’m 28 years old; I can’t be missing 9:30 a.m. meetings ’cause I overslept or my alarm potentially malfunctioned.  So you see: unacceptable.

New Christina at the speech office suggested some OTC melatonin, which I’m now considering.  I know the right answer is to deal with the stress, but I don’t have any actual way to do that sans health insurance, money and my own pro-bono therapist.  And it’s wayyyy too expensive to fly Stefan in every night so I can fall asleep at a normal hour and then fly him back to NY for work the next day.  But that’s the only time I sleep like a normal human (or, to be more politically correct: a “typical” human).

This is very frustrating…and likely self-perpetuating.  GRRR.

ADDENDUM–Wait! I do know what happened! My alarm went off at 7:40, but I had planned for two snoozes so I went to hit “snooze” and it would do absolutely nothing.  I couldn’t shut the alarm noise off, no matter what buttons I pressed, so I finally just shut the whole phone off to make it stop.  The plan was to wait for it to turn back on, and re-set the alarm, but obviously by the time it came back on, I was out cold once more.

Well, that makes a little more sense, and makes me feel a little less helpless (knowing it was an actual phone problem that I just dealt with poorly).  I wouldn’t need the “snooze” though if I could get to bed at a normal hour!

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“It’s painful and disgusting…”

“…and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” I said a mere day ago.  But here we go, once again, on the roller coaster that is my post-parting process of emotional torture.  I keep telling myself to sleep, because I’ll wake up in a whole ‘nother mood, but sleep doesn’t come so readily anymore.  5 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. is no “night’s sleep,” but it’s starting to be the norm, and I’m sure that will take its toll on me soon enough.  So even after a whopping 3.5 hours of slumber, I wake up no more stable, and, if anything, slightly more disheveled.

So maybe, just maybe I’d trade it for something.  I don’t know what, because it’s an awfully good thing when it’s right there in front of me.  But when it’s not, it’s almost like I can’t completely remember (early onset Alzheimer’s?), and I think about the one or two things that make me crazy (probably because they have the ability to make me crazy), and then I wonder what life would be like if things were different.  I don’t get very far, because the part where I’m now rather emotionally dependent can’t even fathom it, but it rolls around up there nonetheless.  I’m almost certain my brain does this twisted defense mechanism of sorts (Intellectualization? Isolation? Reaction Formation?) that harps on those one or two things, convinces me that they’re important, and then prepares me for if they really are by making me want to be “hard” (as opposed to the ridiculous ball of “I can’t take being apart” bawling mess I displayed not 48 hours prior).

And then somehow, it goes away.  Don’t ask me how, or when, or why, because if I had any goddamn clue, I’d find a way to trigger it.  But it does, and it will, and I’ll go back to being in pain but disgustingly in love.*


*Not that I’m not always, just that I don’t always know how to keep that thought at the surface.  Or more likely it is always there, it just goes through a process of girl-crazy–that I can’t control, and therefore can’t fucking stand.

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Thank you, Thief.

I’d just like to take a moment to thank whomever needed to steal a $10 stopwatch from my doorstep that had been delivered on 9/17.  I get it; seeing that box on the doorstep for three days straight while I was in NY must have been such utter torture that you had to rescue it from its abandonment.  And, hey, a reward for your gallant behavior — a brand new stopwatch for you!  I only needed it for school and thought ordering it would get it to me faster than having time to get to the store.  But I truly hope it’s as crappy as the picture and description looked on Walmart.com and that it beeps at your conscience in your sleep like a tell-tale watch.  You are a jerk, and I am a poor grad student out ten bucks.

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Laundromats: confirming their own stereotypes

I ventured out to the first laundromat I could find today (Wash & Dry on Ridge Ave. in Roxborough), and having been a few years removed from laundromatting experiences, it re-confirmed all of the preconceived notions I had about them.

First, no A.C.  Duh. Running all those dryers, it would be fiscally stupid to pay for A/C on top of that.  However, today was one of the hottest Philly days like all summer.  Welcome to autumn, right?

Second, I absolutely cannot sit & read in a laundromat.  Why, I have no idea.  I brought a good hour’s worth of work, but what did I do instead?  Read for 15 minutes at the library (2 blocks away), buy a Christmas record in a thrift store and buy Halloween decorations (okay, AND dryer sheets) in the dollar store.  I was out an hour & a half, but I did 15 minutes worth of homework.  Bad Linda.

Third, impatient parents yelling at their kids.  I don’t really need to elaborate, but this one particular instance made me mock-elbow this bitch in the back of the head (she was short, my elbow was there…damn I wish I had the balls to actually hit people).  She was putting the quarters in the dryer and her presumed son was pressing the button, albeit not fast enough.  Look lady, the dryer’s already going and the kid’s three years old.  Either tell him he can’t do it in the first place, or cut him some slack!  Telling your kid, “I don’t have the patience for this” will ensure he doesn’t wind up with a patience or anger management problem when he’s older, I’m sure.  I’m also certain he’ll be an excellent teenager.  Your daughter was exemplary, by the way, running up and down the length of the laundromat singing “Spiderman” while you periodically told her to stop and she blatantly ignored you.  Parenting at its finest.

Fourth, Phil.  The everyday chat-you-up-at-the-laundromat guy.  Slick to start, by the way, with “how long would you say is good for these dryers?”  The “So, you go to La Salle?” follow-up was pure gold though; excellent attention to detail (the only two words printed on my tank top).  I really hope those were some chick’s pink bicycle shorts though, or “same time next week” will never happen for you, bud.

Fifth, the Quarter Dropper.  It seems every time I’m ever in a laundromat, someone drops twelve quarters and I always scramble to pick up the ones that fell by me.  I don’t know why this is.  Are quarters that elusive?

And lastly, my clothes are dry!  Mostly.  One sock, a pair of pajama pants, and a shirt didn’t make the cut, but everything else did well.  I may have even shrunk a few things.  Oops.

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At Last.

It’s as though from the very beginning I have been thanking the up-and-coming love of my life close to every time I see him.  We haven’t been together four complete months, but he has done nothing but buy me things, make me things, fix things and be the most supportive person I have ever been with (sorry to those of you that might read this that I’ve been with; for some, his support towers above, for others the difference is less marginal).

Admittedly, I miss the midnight walks through the woods and the two-hour long coffee study-breaks, but even from 130 miles away, I maintain a level of happy with that boy that I never dreamed of.  He knows that my education is important (it’s a long-term gold-digging strategy of his), and so he minimizes the worry I have for him and us so that I can focus on what needs to be done.   He loves and takes care of his family, all of whom are incredibly warm and accepting, and prioritizes accordingly.  I joined the “Stefan made me a ring” club this weekend, now sporting a ring made out of a 1956 US quarter.  I’m sure more have been made, but the ones I am currently aware of are donned by himself, his brother and his sister (who wears hers less often).  It is remarkable some of the talents (he calls ’em hobbies, I call ’em talents-tomato tomato) he possesses, and I’m eternally grateful for everything he does for me.

Did I ever think I would find myself spending a Saturday morning at a gun range, firing a rifle and a shotgun?  In theory, yes.  In reality, no.  But there I was last weekend, scared out of my mind, but ultimately enjoying every second (and especially when those clay discs shattered mid-air).  Sleeping with a handgun under my pillow would have been easy; sleeping with a shotgun next to my bed is venerating.  (I hide the pink camouflage case though.)

I have a homemade pair of moccasins, a hidden fully restored c. 1900 Victorian flask full of whisky, a 20 ga. shotgun,  a handmade ring, a feeling of security and a heart full of happy.

By no means are any of the above physical items indicative of anything whatsoever.  The fact that I am doting on them is only due to my astonishment at their existence in the first place.  Not any single one of those tangible items have any bearing on how I feel.  It’s amazing that I can only see how uncomfortable I’ve always been now that I am so incredibly comfortable.  Stefan once mentioned that he thought our first trip to Philadelphia (the day I was originally looking at 2BR apartments for myself & Janelle) was slightly awkward, and I was truly taken aback by how awkward I hadn’t been.  It was the “Greatest Saturday Ever,”  and being awkward would have made it an “Awesome but not Greatest Saturday Ever” in my opinion.

But I digress.  I have a ridiculous amount of homework to do, so I best stop swooning and return to my studies (which, by the way, I was ecstatic to be able to do while at Stefan’s apartment last week–whether he remembers he said it or not, “as long as you’re in the room” is how I feel too).  Before I go, a thank you to him — thank you for being intelligent, for being (emotionally) strong, for being just affectionate enough, for thinking of me so often, for wanting to do things for me and with me, for keeping me laughing, for appreciating me and for fulfilling a 15-year-old girl’s crush.  Etta still says it best: At Last.

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