She was interested in so many issues, and she was always writing to congressmen and to organizations and to all kinds of advocates. She got herself on many mailing lists and newsletter subscriptions. My mom's internet was all paper. She never got on a computer, she distrusted them (she hated TV too).
After I was old enough to drive, she would often send me out the door with hands full of responses she had written to all of these organizations and officials. Sometimes I would forget to mail them, or I would get lazy about it. Then, we would decide to go somewhere, to eat or something, and she the letters still in the car, and she ...would be a little disappointed. We would drive straight to a mailbox (this was back when it was actually easy to find a mailbox somewhere).
My mom had beautiful handwriting. I love it when I find something she had written among the stuff from the old house. I actually have a bag full of correspondence that my mom and her sister were sending back and forth. I've never opened it though. My mom and her sister were in a major feud for years and years...too many years...and I'm not sure what is being written about in those letters.
It's an experience.
Soon enough, I'lll get back to the self doubt times of slow times, and have room in my schedule for second guessing and dealing with the second guessing. Right now though, anxiety seems like a waste of time that I can actually opt out of...like it is a setting, and I've unchecked it for now.
I've gone on a major blog exploration lately, and I'm glad this medium is as vibrant as it was when I started out (2002). I used to be hardcore with blogging, I had a pretty brain-dead job, so I was able to post a lot. I was able to read...I don't know how many different blogs out there. Now I have a pretty tough job, and blogging is a great shift from work stuff. I'm lucky that a lot of the people who were blogging a lot back when I was kind of blogging a lot - - glad to see how active they (you) still are. (trouble...wording...things...you know what me mean me hope)
I feel bad for them, but it made me think of the nature of the place.
The food they sold was very expensive. It was great food, but, it was not a place where poor people would go to get hooked up. I worked with really nice people there, but I felt kind of old. It was mostly college age hippie girls, and there was one 'alpha hippie' college dude who ran the store up front. He kept making me me sweep and mop the floor of the store, even when it wasn't really dirty. I got paranoid, and I started to think he was trying to gently push me out by giving me the crappy assignments all the time. The place seemed to be more about style than heart. The customers were folks in BMWs and Mercedes SUVs and all.
I don't know much about the farmers they got their food from. Maybe those guys and girls were seriously in a pinch and a hustle to get by and do something noble. 'Buy local' and 'farm local' and avoiding the 'thousand mile salad' are truly issues worth putting effort into, in my opinion. I didn't get the feeling that I was helping out anybody who really needed any help at this food co-op place...not like this other place where I volunteered one time, Second Harvest.
There was big money involved in Second Harvest too, but they were the donors. The food ended up going to people who really really needed it. I want to go back there and volunteer some more when work calms down a little.
*I usually don't write long blog posts! You don't have to read it all! Just scan through and pick an item and respond to it or don't. Or try back later for a shorter blog post. Or just say hi.
On some days, an ordinary decision can seem SO important, today for example:
Will i buy cigarettes this morning, (Sunday) or will i buy nicotine lozenges? Am I going to lick this smoking thing or what? I've made 'decisions' on this numerous times.
Will I buy coffee or will I buy an energy drink? (Caffeine is required. I will never quit caffeine. Too hot for coffee lately.)
Will I work all day or part of the day?
The context of these decisions is different on weekends, for sure.
I try to imagine the people who will be at the place I go, depending on which item I decide to buy. Starbucks for coffee? Racetrack for energy drink? I also need deodorant. I forgot it during yesterday's supply run. (I like forgetting stuff on supply runs...it gives me another chance to go out)
I think of the cashiers I am likely to run into and the likely customer demographic.
If I go get coffee, will I linger a while...and look at the paper...or sit outside at a table and smoke a cigarette (if I have cigarettes at that point).
All these decisions will be my own, it's not like there is someone going with me and I have to agree on each stop with a boo first.
This thing about having to work on a weekend: How hard will I work? Will I have Netflix on while I'm working? Will I just have music on? No music?
Will I work all day or just a few hours?
I act like I work so much, but I spend a lot of time just worrying about work and not working, or just kind of planning, I goof off a lot too - zero work getting done - committed to nonwork activities - OFTEN.
I get my share of down time, of leaving right at 5 and coming home and boobing out.
Right now is kind of a crunch time with work though.
Last night, on an Excel spreadsheet, I created a plan of attack for work stuff - it is a really good plan, and I was really glad I did it...the work is mapped out clearly, I know exactly what I can do at this point, and what I cannot do - and what I have to request from teammates before I can proceed into certain areas.
Right now, work stuff feels really good, and I'm pretty motivated.
It feels like a time when I should be writing too though.
Anyway, today's plan: Will I go for a walk with my neighbor (he's married, and suddenly very Catholic, not a good quote unquote wingman), going for walks with him and his dog has been my usual routine for a couple years now. Will I text him back and say nah man too busy..
Will my friend who's an hour away call me? That dude really likes to talk. Will I answer?
Maybe I'll work all day until late, and then go get a late night beer somewhere, wherever is open.
Will I take a break and hit the pool? That will be a quick trip. Twenty minutes in the Florida sun is about all a person should do. It gets burny after that (unless you got a boo to apply sunblock on ya).
And, yeah, what about this other thing that single guys are supposed to be worried about that is most prevalent on all their minds... how will I fit in some time/effort towards that...or not. The decision I make about where to get caffeine - that could play a major role in today's effort toward that (but probably not). I could continue to ignore that effort altogether. It is working out.
Getting back to my morning run for caffeine, nicoteine, chance encounter, deodorant: THIS MIGHT BE MY ONLY HUMAN CONTACT ALL DAY...telling the cashier whether it's debit or credit...two or three words while holding the door or if somebody else holds the door for me...the rare, random, awkward comment to whoever...who is standing where ever...that is likely to be ignored....
There are two bars right up the street, I always end up talking to somebody at one of those places (when I go...which is about once every two months)...if I drink enough...and stay long enough...and get a little drunk...I always end up talking to somebody...if they're drunk enough to talk back...
If I go in this place often enough, people will start to recognize me. I probably would make friends there. But if I went in there that often, I would become an alcoholic.
There was also the day planning decision about whether I would write a blog post or not: I guess that decision was made and fulfilled. I dictated all this into the android voice recognition thingy and came home and did some edits. The voice recognition thingy made a weird error. I don't know how it got this from what I was saying, but this is what it thought I said: "will have to write a blog post or will i not afraid of love" --I swear, it typed that. Weird. I should speak more clearly into voice recognition...and turn off the music while using it.
Today might be pretty productive!
A guy I've known for two years: I recently realized that he's missing the tip of his pinky.
I am more disconnected from people than I should be.
My cat, when she eats, she sticks one paw in the bowl and pulls out a piece of food and eats it off the floor, she looks away like she's bored or the food is boring.
Things wouldn't be so jarring so often if I used my brains a little better.
I max out my brains daily. DAILY.
Wild, imagined scenarios: Only the wild imaginer can be blamed.
There is so much work to do in all areas, and I should probably stop fuckin around.
Selective honesty can go suck a crate of curled monkey dicks.
I have zero leverage, but I don't like the idea of leverage.
The important thing continues to be the learning.
Say three words, "Everything is okay."
I'll take what I can get! If it's not much, that's okay! If it's nothing, that's okay too! If you'd rather take than give, that's okay too!
One thing I'll brag about is that I'm a good case study.
I complained and rejoiced about a particular behavior I witnessed...and I even did the thing too: and felt guilty and felt good too.
When they seem to disagree for the sake of disagreeing, even when there might be a few specks of validity to what you're saying (or more), it's like they're disagreeing with how you are as a person, making it easier to distance themselves by invalidating you fully.
I touch my phone too much lately. When I touch it too much, this stuff comes out of it.
No good can come from the following but still I do them: smokin, listening to The Smiths, lookin at ladies, avoidin lookin at ladies, binging on spiritual videos, getting frustrated, many other activities...
I'm going to give everybody a break.
I worry that a friend is going down a dumb path I went down. Saying so could get sketchy.
Another friend is on a path that I have never been down, but which seems dumb. Saying so could get sketchy.
I sweated up my work clothes by kicking my soccer ball into the air over and over in front of me. It was as though I could have kept it from hitting the surface all night long.
I wish I could find my old bloggin buddy who turned me on to writing lists.
The humans continue to confuse me.
I almost made a friend spit his drink out with a crazy story I was telling.
I love a good crazy, personal, dramatic story; and I've heard a few lately that have made my top ten.
I tried to take the tension out of a tense situation with an odd ball, nonspecific apology for a situation where nobody was to blame maybe.
I was going to do a magic trick and wow somebody. I set up everything, but then I worried that the person might get mad, so I undid the stuff: Take five scraps of paper. Write the following on each: "I knew you'd guess number 1." "I knew you'd guess number 2." "I knew you'd guess number 3." ...and so on. Put each scrap of paper under a different item on a table. Remember which number is under which item. When the person walks in, tell them to say any number from one to five. When they say the number, tell them to pick up the item that has that number under it. Then they be like, dam...magic. I saw that trick on an old Colombo episode.
More attention than usual has been paid to me lately.
My situation declined.
My situation improved.
Troubling news from home. Various family members in various states of trouble. Last time a big thing came up, I learned about it at 1:30 am, and I got in the car and drove 13 hours, straight to the hospital. Things turned out okay...well...the worst outcome did not come about. There was a point when we were waiting for a critical piece of information, and we were made to wait. My brother-in-law, who I had never seen cry - he cried - and it was hard to see that. I sat next to him and put my arm around him and told him everything was alright and he was doing all he could as a father and a husband, and I told him that he was a good man, and I reminded him that he was my brother, my true brother. He just let it all out.
I feel guilty for not making it back up north (norther) to see sisters and niece and nephews and great niece and great nephews. How the hell did I end up in stupid, plastic Florida. Following some lady, that's how.
I talked to a new guy at work, and he ended up following a lady too, so we kind of laughed and 'bonded' I guess on that. Another guy I work with, well used to, but still do - like remotely, or through skype or whatever - he followed his lady out of town to her new gig across the country.
We end up where we end up...away from 'home' - - we make new homes...where ever. We follow ladies or men and we end up away from our people. We (I) got really isolated in my relationship with 'her'... So I'm down here in paradise Florida...sprouting some roots, I guess, but thinking of uprooting, now and then, the thought comes to just pick up and move again. For whatever reason. For no good reason. Just to go. Just to not be bound to a place or a job.
I will conclude with my usual question or summation: Who cares. No. Who the HELL cares. I don't mean 'who cares' in a disrespectful way...I mean it in more of a 'why care' or 'who cares in the big scheme of things' or 'I care and lie and say I don't care' kind of way or 'this isn't the right thing to care about so why care about it' way or 'I care more about other stuff' ...but lately it seems important that I adjust what it is I care about...and it seems like caring about others is paramount, particularly family and friends and people I spend time with and work with...so my own little troubles, who cares.
Feeling gross with all the nicotine and caffeine and jangley nerves and bad food. I'm pushing myself so hard for work (hard for me anyway), that everything else is slacking.
I go in spurts with everything: smoking, bad eating, sleep deprivation... But I also get on good health kicks. All of this leads to one big question: Who cares?
I care when I care...when there's time. I'm just on a work kick lately because it feels like work is going pretty well. My life balance is a teeter totter, but I never fall off. some day I'll drop dead off of the teeter totter I guess. Most everybody does that.
I found a nice shady spot during lunch to type this post and look around at the trees and the people and stuff. Pretty soon the shade will shift because the Sun will move and this shady spot won't be shady anymore. Again, so what.
A cop pulls into the parking lot while I'm outside smoking a cigarette. He's just looking for a place to chill. He takes a shady spot way in the back, and he sits there idling.
Everyone from the company is at a function offsite. I skip these functions a lot.
It's so hot. It's a little hard to breathe. There's a bird in a bush rasping in a way I'm not sure I've ever heard before. The lot is mostly empty.
There's so much work to do. With many of the folks at the function - I owe them some data. But. Who cares.
It's one o'clock. A couple other people skipped the party too. They're doing whatever at their desks. My neighbor is actually working.
It might have been a good opportunity to see some coworkers get drunk. Maybe I'll get a text message or two, "Hey! We're all at blah blah pub drinking blah blah shooters. Get here quick!" The 'after party.' There is too much nonthinking to do to have time for that. There are more interesting things online anyway.
Sometimes when I hear the way some people talk to their people on the phone, I think: no way you'd talk to me like that. It'd be out of there.
That's some people's normal though.
Being this picky about how I let people treat me has not done wonders for my social circles.
I know there must be a balance. I haven't found it yet, and it's probably too late.
I'm all out of whack. I will overcompensate and let people pull all kinds of crazy shit on me. Or I will flee like a frightened deer at the first sign of animosity or strain.
I haven't found that middle path yet.
Or I haven't found the right people yet.
I'm like a raw nerve walking around out there.
This last time, nine months ago, the problem was that I smelled a clove cigarette being smoked out back on somebody's patio. I had to have one. I drove to the store that minute, the minute of that craving, and I bought a pack of Djarums. I opened the pack outside the store and lit one up. It was heavenly. I walked across the parking lot to my car dizzy as a mu..fu..
I told myself I would only do this one little tobacco thing, and only occasionally. Then I had a special friend, who also is weak in regards to tobacco. She wanted one of these cloves. And then she wanted another and another and so on. She was sucking them down like they were regular cigarettes, so I said what are you crazy, that's fifty times stronger than a cigarette, and you're smoking it down like it's a regular old cigarette. She wanted tobacco bad. One drunk night (she was ten times drunker than I was), she demanded cigarettes. I said no no no. She said if I didn't go get us some dam cigarettes, she'd drive her drunk ass up there herself and get em. So I went. I got regular old Marlboro Lights. I came home and we smoked and smoked and smoked.
I know it's killing me, and I've been worried about my health generally lately. I went to a doctor office this week, and they took my blood pressure, which is high, high-ish, 138 over 79. The nurse practitioner asked me how long I have smoked. It was hard for her to grasp the timeline. "Twelve and a half years ago I quit after having smoked for ten years and two and a half years ago I started back up again but quit quit again for three months and then started back up again and have now smoked this time for nine months."
I've joked around about how: I'm from Virginia, the 'Tobacco Colony,' I'm supposed to smoke. It's the whole basis of Virginia history, of America's history. Tobacco put us on the world map, on the trade route. But that's only a little bit funny.
I have to have a sense of humor about it because it is a deadly addiction that is slowly killing me, and I am willingly taking part in. My neighbor said it's slow suicide. He was/is/was a heavy heavy smoker. He got into 'vaping' ...and he's like a broken record with that shit now, "We gotta get you into vapin, man." He takes his dog on walks, or he hangs with me on the stairs, and he's always with the 'vaping device' around his neck, clear tube with lights on it and a button and intricate tiny components inside, strapped around his neck with lanyard; and he's steadily inhaling through it and puffing plumes of the latest vaping flavor vapors into the air, various scents: pumpkin cinnamon, perhaps, or mocha frappuccino or black licorice. He even mixes his own blends, and he wants to become an internet billionaire selling them. He told me some of the chemicals he had to purchase in order to get started, and I'm sure his name is now on an FBI list.
I know it's killing me. I have a weird attitude towards death ever since I became a brainwashed spiritual seeker. But the truth is we're all going to die. We don't know when. What are we going to do about it...etc etc.
When I first started back up smoking at my current workplace, it was embarrassing. The designated smoker spot is right near where everybody comes up out of the parking lot at the beginning of the day or lunchtime. Some people break my balls. Others pretend they don't notice. They'd never seen me smoke before. They must be thinking: "What in the world? He started smoking at age...whatever his age is (it's hard for people to tell my age)..." Answer: no, I have a history with it. So does America!
I come to know so much about this one individual. I can then make some pretty good guesses, some pretty good assumptions about what the other members of the population might be like. It's a good test for when you're trying to pull a list of individuals who fit some set of criteria. I get these sets of criteria from some manager or director or 'analyst' who thinks it is important. Maybe it is or maybe it isn't. These sets of criteria are often vague, not very well uninformed. I don't fault the requestor for that, though. They are neck deep in their business, just like I am single-nostril deep in mine. They don't have time to know what I know, just like I don't have time to know what they know.
Anyway, when I think I've got enough tables joined together to tell some 'story' to some analyst -- what events these subjects have been to, what kinds of memberships they have, how much they paid on their last invoice, what they subscribe to...blah blah, I'll take the filtering off of that one individual and pull in all the individuals who fit into this criteria and see what I get. I see commonalities. I see how all their data is joined.
An important thing that happens at this point is: I start to see individuals who definitely do not fit the criteria. I find ways to filter them out. You have to have a record in this one last table, or you don't make it into the set.
I don't really care at all about the one person I started with. I'm just trying to gain a bigger understanding of everybody's records in that whole population. Once I've pulled the full list of desired individuals, I don't even remember what that first person was all about. As a matter of fact, after reflection during the process, that first individual might not even make it into the final set! I might find one little detail about them that...causes them to be...an exclusion.
All of this doesn't have anything to do with anything -for me- except pulling data from relational databases at work. It doesn't seem like a good way to be -in real life- going around 'fact gathering' on people and eliminating them based on one or two data fields.
I was recently given a second monitor at work. I now have two huge monitors on my desk. This greatly alters my perspective of the world outside my window. Before, I could see some activity down in the parking lot below. Now, I can only see the top edges of the buildings, the tops of the trees, and the clouds in the sky.
The people below, out in the parking lot, who are walking up to the building; when they look up at my window, all they see is my crotch - and the backs of two big monitors.
I got grouchy today. These women opened their car doors, clunk, into my car... so I was looking at them ...and then I worried that they thought i was looking at them in some sort of winky kissy way. No! I have a nonflirting policy, currently, and it's important that they know this. I am preserving the order in my little awareness. I am worried about dents and scratches. I am speaking for the guy who usually keeps quiet. I'm trying to get out there in style. I am attuned to the slightest. I feel vibrations in the air with my special hairs. I might break out my skateboard and do things that way. I have been asked whether I have traveled lately and had to say no. I looked at some lady's butt. I moved data. I have weird pinching sensation under my skin. I listened to all the explanations. I had a period of supreme patience. I squirmed in my seat. I texted back and forth with my sister and made her worry. I realized that today was a bird theme.