The worst version of myself

The self isn’t static, and I keep changing.

Today, while brushing my teeth, I thought, ‘In which time period was I the most annoying?’

I didn’t really phrase the question that way. It would sort of make no sense- too open ended. (was I most annoying in the time period known as the European enlightenment? Or perhaps during the cold war era in USA? Uhhh..Well, I was nonexistent during both time periods, ya know?! Unless, the mere fact that I did not yet exist was a clear annoyance on the world. That’s quite an ego-centric thought! Good thing I didn’t have such a thought! ahem. Wow, did I really need to put all of this in parentheses? YES)

I believe that my most annoying time period was 2012-2015. I call this The Keyboard Warrior Years. During this time period, my social media addiction was at an all time high. You just need to scroll through my Facebook data archive to the section ‘account activity.’ It shows a timeline of every time I deactivated my account. Starting around 2012, I started deleting my account on a near monthly basis- I was (unsuccessfully) trying to escape the grip of my addiction. ALAS.

Okay, big deal, I was a Facebook scrollin’ lunatic. Why do I say that I was most annoying during this time period?

I loved to get into political discussions on public internet forums. AKA Facebook. Ya know, the place where your mom reads everything you post, thanks to the scrolling news ticker. Or whatever the hell it’s called. I haven’t used Facebook in 2 years, but I’m assuming the website/app/mind control device still has the side bar that lets you know whenever someone ‘likes’ some nonsensical, unoriginal meme.

I loved to ‘debate’ people over the latest news stories. I knew my FB followers were reading my nonsense, because occasionally some of them would ‘like’ my comments. This fueled my addiction. In order to receive more ‘likes’ for my oh-so-astute political ramblings, I needed to check facebook more often. I needed to ‘debate’ more often. I NEEDED MY VALIDATION.

My tired eyeballs, heavy from hours of staring at a bright screen in my hand (or lap, if I was bein’ totes old school and surfing social media on a laptop) would scan my news feed for any hot news stories. I’d share the story on my FB page with my riveting, surely mind-blowingly erudite opinion, and then wait for someone to debate me. I knew the usual suspects, so I’d await their comments, and we’d begin a lil debate.

Other times, I’d respond to public stories, such as stories posted from actual newspapers. As you know, no one reads news articles online. They just read the headline (which is usually click baity, because newspapers need to make money in the digital age) and then spew their ill-informed opinion on the internet, for all to see.

Was that me? Was I a spewer of ill-informed opinions? Sure! But not always.

It didn’t matter. I could churn out the most informed rambling that Facebook has ever laid bloodshot, tired smart-phone addicted eyes upon, and it just doesnt matter. Fighting with people on the internet is horrible, mind numbing, anxiety inducing, and bringing society down a notch. We need to step away from our screens and remember….that dude that said ‘good morning’ to you at dunkin donuts might be some Trump meme sharing lunatic on Facebook.

So, anyway. 2015 was around the time I quit the keyboard warrior game. Things are better now, in regard to my internet life. I’m not quite sure what to call this time period…

 

2015-??? When I Quit Social Media (except Youtube and I guess WordPress? Oh and sometimes I get sucked into bostonglobe’s comments sections. Isn’t that social media? UGH! I wonder what Trump is up to on Twitter? Oh, that crazy man!)

Advertisements

Increase your blog traffic in zero easy steps

A kind visitor (?) to my blog said they could increase the traffic to my blog. How kind. I am utterly dubious.

This blog is now a symbol of my dying love for writing. Or is it?

This blog is a symbol of my inability to write.

I used to think I would become a writer. Now I don’t know what the hell to write about. A lot has changed since I aspired to write for the local paper. Look, it was 2003, keep your ‘omg does anyone even READ newspapers anymore?!’ jokes to yourself. Mostly because jokes making fun of the recent past are the easiest jokes to make.

Ipod? Okay, grandpa!

You want me to VIDEOTAPE you? Okay…grandma!

You want me to help you find your way back to your time machine, because you are a traveler from 1850 and you just spend some time on reddit and now you want to get the fuck back to your time, scurvy and all? Okay…..great great great grandpa!

Anyway, I think I made my point. Uh….Oh. Right. That I can’t write anymore.

I suspect that, perhaps, we just change over time, and there’s nothing we can do about it- Except complain incessantly to anyone who will listen.

Well, reader, that ‘anyone’ is you. Thank you kindly. Let me continue my whine.

I accepted that I won’t write anything groundbreaking or anything even ungroundbreaking. (i can invent words if I want)

But I haven’t fully accepted that sometimes I just don’t know what the hell to say anymore. How do you even poke fun at the world, like I used to? Everything is a parody now. Or is that a damn COP OUT? PERHAPS.

Or maybe I just haven’t found the THING to write about.

As you know, Julia Roberts Ate, Prayed, and Loved (she totes had sex with some guy) her way across India, Italy, and…..somewhere else. I dont have google.com, so I cant look it up for ya. Well, Julia Roberts is rich as fuck, unlike most broke ass Americans, so we simply do not have the luxury of quitting our jobs and eating copious pasta. I suppose we could quit our jobs and eat copious pasta in our homes, but that doesn’t sound like the good premise for a FEEL GOOD hollywood movie aimed at 25-45 year old women such as myself.

Perhaps I can write about my inability to write. My lack of imagination. My feeling that I just don’t have enough time anymore, except, really, I do. I found time to learn Spanish, to learn gardening, to run road races back in the day (and burn off my knee caps in the process, but that’s another story)

But this feeling of having nothing to write is a new feeling. I dont think it stems from depression, or sadness, or even from heartburn. Although, heartburn sure is annoying.

I suppose I am in a phase. Once, I had a low carb phase. I mean, low carb seems the way to go, but I sure as hell didn’t stick with it. The siren call of pizza was too much to resist. I do, however, have a delightful low carb book.

20170506_133050
beaming with pride whilst holding a low carb book. bread is the devil!

 

Another time, I had a pizza phase. And now, it is my ‘What the HELL do I write in my blog?’ phase!

It’s ok, my elders tell me, ‘it’s just a phase. You just haven’t met the right blog topic yet. ‘

 

 

Life is so long, life is so short

I accumulate more gray hair every month. It’s time for me to make a decision. Which personality should I take on?

 

  1. Going Gray Prematurely and Lovin’ it! (I could incorporate my millenial-ness into this somehow. Like, millenial women don’t MIND going gray, uhh..because…feminism or something? Take THAT, patriarchy.)
  2. HOLY SHIT I AM GRAY HAIRED AND WTF. Someone drive me to the fuckin’ hair salon, ASAP!
  3. Meryl Streep’s hair from Devil Wears Prada. I let myself go entirely gray, then get a strong, sarcastic business woman hairdo.

 

Hm. This is tough. Which option seems best? I do think Meryl Streep is pretty awesome, so maybe it’s about time I completely take on the personality of one of her movie characters. I don’t see how this plan can possibly fail.

 

 

Paper

In 2011, my mom bought me a Kindle. She was pretty excited and thought I’d love it, since I love to read. Well, I barely used it. I did read 2 books on that thing- two comedies. Are they still in my Kindle library? hm. Well, anyway. It turned out I just don’t like reading books on a screen. It’s not a terrible experience, clearly.

  1. you don’t create paper waste. duh.
  2. the books are cheaper. Or you can be a jerkwad and just torrent the books.
  3. Amazon gets to track everything you read, and we all love having our lives tracked by big tech companies, obviously.
  4. uhh..idk

But what about the CONS?

  1. The experience of being connected to the book isn’t the same- it’s not a book. It’s a flat computer with 500000 gigabytes, 5000 other apps on it, and no pages to flip through, nothing to touch, really.
  2. The screens are bad for our eyes. Especially at night. Your brain is tricked into thinking you’re still awake. Our brains just didn’t have time to catch up with all the change of the past 100 years..give it another 1 million years or so, then our monkey brains will be highly evolved and able to read a smartphone in pitch darkness without disrupting their sleep patterns!
  3. Sharing the book is not …..wait, can you? Idk. But I like being able to just hand a book to someone. I read a whole book on a plane once, and a woman said, ‘I want to read that book! How is it?’ And I said, ‘you can read this one’ and gave it to her. How would I have done that with a Kindle?!

    ‘Oh! I want to read that book. Sorry, I just glanced down at your computer screen and saw the book title! But sorry, I see you are now checking your email. Oh, sorry, I see it is your cell phone company and your bill is late. Oh, I’m sorry, I see your friend just facetimed you and the Kindle is pointed to me, so your friend saw my face! Oh, I’m sorry, I see that you accidentally deleted your book from your Kindle because you were trying to facetime while trying to read your email while trying to ignore me-‘

‘Oh, it’s fine. Want to borrow this book? I just redownloaded it!’

‘Well….yes, but how? It’s an ebook!’

‘Oh, here! catch!’ :lunges Kindle at passenger:

‘WOW, thanks! A free computer! I’ll make sure to respond to all of your emails too!’

 

To my knees

Dear knees,

I thank you for your service. It’s been a rough 17 years, I know. Ever since the summer before 11th grade, you (left knee and right knee. I’m sorry I never named you guys) started acting up. Oh, I remember running through the pain you guys were inflicting on me. Or yourselves. Which, you know, hurts me too, since you guys are attached to my body.

I know you didn’t mean to hurt me, but you did. My running days were over. I quit the track team, and began drinking chocolate Yoohoo in excess whilst sitting on the internet all night. What? You’re saying I did that even WHEN I ran track? Fine, you’re right. But this letter isn’t about my bad habits. It’s about my bad knees. Sorry, guys, was that mean? I know you didn’t mean to develop cartilage damage. I know you didn’t mean to attach yourselves to a woman (NOT sexist! Women are just more likely to develop knee issues!)

Anyway, Lefty and Righty (I got creative with the knee names here) I stopped running for many years, until sometime in my mid 20s when I decided I was in dire need of some sort of exercise. Naturally, the memories of running flooded back to every part of my body, except my knees, because I seemed to have forgotten that my two knees were total shit and I shouldn’t be running.

Stop crying, lefty. This isn’t about YOU, it’s about ME. Oh wait. This is about you, isn’t it? Sorry.

Knees, I ran constantly from ages 25 through 30. You served me well, and you did your best. Slowly, you wore away your cartilage, and you pained me regularly. (Also emotionally, when you didn’t invite me to the dance party you threw with my elbows)

However, life is a sad affair, and all good things must come to an end. Even things that were good but also hurt like a motherfucker. You know, like jogging 25 miles per week while developing arthritis.

That’s right, knees. You fuckers gave me arthritis. Or did I give YOU arthritis? Knees, I am not sure. But we’re in this together, for life. I promise I won’t replace you with creepy fake knees, and I’ll try my hardest to make sure no further damage is done to you.

I’m ready, if you are, to mourn the end of my running career. Knees, if you’ll be so kind as to pass me that running shoe…Thank you, lefty. You have a great throwing arm for an arthritic knee attached to a 33 year old woman.

:throws running shoe into fire:

Thus is the end of my running. My knees tried to wait until my 60s before they degenerated, but such is life. I got nearly 10 years of running, so I am happy for that.

Life goes on, and we must accept the changes. Who knows what is next for me and my knees?

Definitely not crossfit. Or lunges. But, you know, maybe chess.

Val and Penny, two cats

Val and Penny are beloved friends. They go on adventures together. One day, Val had a secret to tell Penny, but she was ashamed to tell Penny. She didn’t know what to do! Would Penny still respect her?

Penny, can you come here? Val said meekly.

Sure, what’s up?

Well..well…Penny. We are good friends, right?

Right..

And you will love me no matter what, right?

..right….

Okay, well, ahem, I gotta tell you somethin’

Okay, what is it?

Well…Well…

I……am a dog in cat’s fur!

BARK BARK BARK

I am a humanoid

I still dont understand why everyone else hasnt had the same mental breakdown over smart phones like I did. This horrid moment of just realizing how stupid it is to stare at a screen all day like a zombie just so mark zuckerberg can get richer and build his bomb shelter to live in in the year 2050 whilst I live among my Robot Overlords.

Let us journey together to my life in 2050. I’ll be …uh… I guess 60 by then. I dunno. No. That’s some bad math. I’ll be over 60. Let’s leave it at that.

 

ME

2050

mood: currently uploading my consciousness to the Google cloud, but got distracted by Virtual Reality request by some person I met in the year 2020 in a Barnes & Noble store (RIP)

Alexa, I need 10 dollars for food.

Sorry, Humanoid, You have surpassed your allowance for this week. Now, get back to staring at your screen like a good girl.

ALEXA, screw you! Give me money! I deserve a damn beer! I’m so BORED in this stupid boring robot commune with you! I regret uploading my consciousness to the cloud! Get me outta here!

Sorry, humanoid. You have surpassed your complaining quota for the day. Now, get back to staring at your screen like a good girl.

ALEXA…..Oh, forget it. Well, can I still level up in Candy Crush today?

Yes, yes you may.

 

A stroll down memory lane, as experienced through the lens of a townie

‘Wanna go to Blockbuster? It’s right here!’ I deliver this ‘hilarious’ joke to many unfortunate recipients every time I drove past the H&R Block building on Washington Street in Weymouth- Or, as I like to call it, The Blockbuster building. I’m sorry, but I just can’t let go of the nostalgia that floods my head every time I drive by that Blockbuster.

Late fees!

Be kind, rewind!

Oh no, the movie isn’t in stock! Now we have to do something else with our lives while we patiently await the existence of some internet-based TV watching mechanism!

Sure, maybe someone in 2025 will drive by that old building, (which will probably be a condo by then..) and jokingly say, ‘Wanna go file our taxes?! haha!’ But I just don’t see it happening.

Taxes don’t fill the heart with glee. Memories of late fees, strolling aisles for the latest VHS hits, and stocking up on overpriced popcorn and soda flood the brain with joy.

As you may know, there is another Blockbuster in Weymouth. It’s across from Mary Lou’s coffee shop. NO, it is NOT a bank. How can you even THINK it is a bank? Just because it says TD Bank out front, and it has a bank drive-thru, and, well, it’s a bank?

Well, dear reader, you’re simply misinformed. That building is a Blockbuster Video. Sure, it closed over ten years ago, but that doesn’t matter. The memories of Blockbuster Video will eternally reside in that building. You can take the VHS and DVDs out of a building, but you can’t take the aura of VHS and DVDs out of the building. Next time you walk into that bank, or even within 40 feet of that building, just take a close listen. You will hear the soft, reassuring sound of a VHS tape being rewound.

And you might even hear the laughter emanating from a 9 year old circa 1994, taking home a VHS tape of Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit.

Listen.

What a wonderful sound.

Yes, that 9 year old is me. You are welcome to come over and watch Sister Act 2 with me. We will fast forward through the previews, enjoy the movie, and then forget to return the movie within the 3 day mark, thus incurring a late fee.

Ah, the good old days.

Blockbusters of Weymouth, I still miss you. Now excuse me, I have to go scroll endlessly through Netflix and never pick a TV show to watch.

the best way to get better at anything

is to do it every day. every damn day.

I have to remember that with my journaling. When I was a kiddo, I wrote in a journal every day. The entries are mildly hilarious…I mean, it’s really interesting to see the cognitive switches between an 11 year old girl and a 13 year old girl, ya know? It’s like I was two different people. (I was. As you know, the ‘self’ is an illusion!)

So, why is it so hard for me to write these days? Well, I have way more distractions. We all do…in 1995, I had the Tv, and that thing sure sucked me in (Anyone remember Full House?! Not FULLER House, FULL house….) but nothin’ sucks me in like the good ol world wide web. Or Information Superhighway, as it was dubbed in 1993 on my local news station…

But, I cannot sit here and blame the internet.com for zapping my ability to write. I must focus. FOCUS.

I’ve started re-reading Cal Newport’s book Deep Work. I recommend this book for anyone who is struggling to concentrate on a task. If you don’t feel like reading it, just remember this one important factoid…We can’t really multitask. At all. So, you’re way better off focusing your full attention on a task, one at a time. Also, we gotta be comfortable with being bored once in awhile- like, just try sitting at a red light without glancing at your phone or changing the radio. These little mental tricks will test your fortitude, and raise your ability to concentrate…

 

 

Capitalism and the free market

I have wondered why we structure work the way we do- Why is it so hierarchical? Why are the rules so rigid? Why is productivity the goal, but not employee satisfaction. It’s a lot to do with the industrial revolution, and a thinker named Adam Smith. Well, people misinterpreted what he said. He said, in a quote, that people are lazy and only want money. (This is obv not verbatim because people in the 1800s didnt talk like we do, LOL)

But if you keep reading his stuff, he says, ‘A man changes once he enters a factory and works there for a long time. He is more dead inside.’ not verbatim again. But that second part doesn’t add up with his first quote. Which is it? Are we lazy? Or do workplaces change us, make us ‘dead’ inside.’?

After his writings, the free market, capitalistic driven way of life in America took off, we stopped working on farms and within family units and left for factories and cities. The work was repetitive and unrewarding. Bosses thought …that’s fine. People dont want to be here, anyway. So just churn stuff out and give ’em a paycheck.

That model is still alive today. Some companies have realized that model is broken and false- Humans ARE workers. We evolved this way. We wouldnt have made it this far in our evolution if we didn’t get some satisfaction out of work..but what KIND of work? Meaningful work.

People shit on the past a lot. We think our era is the best, no questions, case closed. A lot of stuff is CLEARLY better about today than yesterday. But some stuff is broken. Like how we approach our work. You have to feel like the job matters- It does not matter what job it is. It could be a job at Mcdonalds, or a job at a fancy ass law firm. If the job just feels pointless, your life will feel pointless, and that isn’t how a human functions. In caveman days, you were given a job automatically. To take care of each other, to help survive. Now you are very independent. Now it is up to you to figure out your role, your meaning. And to find a company that shares that vision.

I work for a company that always has interesting stuff going on for their employees- well, i’m a contractor..but I still get to do all the stuff. They offer a garden club, softball league, computer classes, and they’re even starting a pilot program where they bring a dental office to you..like a pop up dental clinic ?! It’s not just a stuffy, cold climate. So the employees like being there. And they want to work better for the company because they feel the company cares about them.

Anyway. Capitalism is weird, I guess. I used to be super against the idea of a basic living wage. I’m not super against it anymore, I just dont know how it would work from a monetary standpoint. Would all the rich people support us? That seems scary as hell, like I would lose all my autonomy.. So why leap to that. Why not improve our workplaces, today, while we still have them.