With Sandy's abrupt and intense arrival early this week, it has taken me several days to put a name to what it is I've had lately. Then I remembered: I believe it's called down time. After working more hours than I can count since the start of September, I was surprised at how quickly I adjusted to working from home in my pajamas. There's really nothing quite like it, and the rest of corporate America could take a cue from the drawstring pajama pant.
The fact that I'm writing a blog post at all signifies just how remarkably lucky I am to have power, Internet, an un-flooded apartment and all of my belongings. Lucky, blessed, protected - you name it, I'm an example of it. Despite a few moments of flickering power during the storm, my roommates, friends and I sat laughing and talking during one of the worst storms New York has ever seen. Sure my visiting friend, Kristi, got stuck here for a few days past her intended departure date, but it was nothing that a quick drive to Philadelphia couldn't fix. She was happy to get home to her family, and I was happy I didn't wreck the rental car on my way back into Brooklyn. I could write a really, really long post about the devastation being covered on the news or the debate over whether or not the marathon should still take place, but as many of you know, I get awkward during serious moments and confrontation. Tragedy makes me laugh nervously (remind me to tell the story of a man explaining how he tragically lost his hand and my subsequent grin). On the same token, any form of debate leads me to suddenly find my nail beds super interesting while I inch toward the nearest exit. Because I'm awkward, allow me to move onto other topics. Please know that in my heart of hearts, I am deeply thankful to be safe and pray for a quick recovery for all affected by (that bitch) Sandy.
This all brings me to discuss some really important things: stuff that annoys me. With down time comes reflection - personal reflection (should I volunteer? should I get more layers? why are my jeans so tight?), reflection on things that make me happy (kids in costume, New York in the fall, Kristi's extended stay), and the type of reflection that takes up most of my time: stuff I just don't understand. The list of things I don't get is really extensive - those tiny annoyances that make you look around bewildered, wondering if you're the only person who sees the 5-month-old baby inside Walmart at 1:00 am (without socks on). People get annoyed by different things, which I realize. For example, I know a few people who are devastated when they are seated at a table instead of a booth. This holds no bearing over my emotional life, but I've seen it rip other people apart in a matter of minutes. So as I list the things I don't understand, feel free to disagree with me. Or better yet, feel free to explain them to me. I will gladly accept your input, but I can't promise that I won't be further annoyed by it.
Do they work or don't they? Are they worth the $14.00 I'm about to spend on them? What happens if I take one marketed toward men? Why are there so many types? WHAT'S IN THEM? Kami White-Waden recently coerced me into purchasing several healthy things, one of which was a bottle of multivitamins. I had not purchased such a thing since becoming an adult after an unfortunate vitamin overdose I experienced as a 12-year-old. I don't think anyone doubts that kids do stupid things, and I was no different or better than other kids. My dad, being the holistic advocate that he is, has forever kept 1,293 types of vitamins in his bathroom. Wanting to head into puberty as healthy as possible, I utilized a Sunday afternoon to take one of everything I saw in that cabinet. Yes I was an idiot, but I never fully recovered and therefore have considered all vitamins to be the devil's tablets ever since. I'm nauseated thinking about it. But I like life enough to prolong it with moderate health, so I am willing to try multivitamins as an adult. Have any of you googled "what multivitamin should I take as a girl?" because it only leads to heartache. The healthy people of the world seem to be immersed in an ongoing debate over whether or not vitamins work at all, and a few fanatics (kale eaters, flax seed snorters) get really heated. All of my research has led to further confusion, and for now I'm content to simply eat a vegetable every now and again.
2. Three-dimensional sonogram pictures
I can already feel the push back on this one. "You're not a mom!" they'll say. And they are right. But I do have eyes, ladies, and the 3D sonogram photos just plain freak me out. I'm not going to get into the sonogram-photos-on-Facebook debate because that's an entirely different battle that I don't have the multivitamin-induced energy to fight. So I'm going to pretend that my experience with 3DSPs has nothing to do with Facebook at all. Are babies incredible? Yes. Are babies tiny miracles? Absolutely. I was a full-time infant teacher and am still a friend to babies the world over. But let's be honest. A baby's face smashed up against its host uterus is not Christmas card material. It's not even material at all - it's quite frightening. That image is for the mom, dad, grandma on the mom's side, and the sonogram technician. When I come up against a 3DSP, I can't help but think of Davey and Goliath, and no one wants that. In addition, my initial response to every image I've seen is total fear that something is wrong with the fetus. Everything looks pliable and bendy- just floating there in sepia-tinted placenta. Moms, I love you dearly. I think you and your baby are amazing. But when you show me your 3DSP, my smile will be fake.
3. Public speaking
Why can't everything be done over email? What ever happened to avoiding each other? And most importantly, why must I speak in front of groups, ever? Public speaking is to me what seagulls are to the town of Bodega Bay in The Birds. Something that I can't fully escape but quietly avoid by being really still. My job requires that I speak publicly to my students quite a bit, and I'm actually okay at it. It's what happens internally that concerns me on a more than regular basis. First, I can hear my heartbeat in my ears. This makes coherent thinking more difficult than usual. Second, I get super splotchy on my neck, chest and face. It's not just that I get flushed - it's that I get all pinky-red in weird places. It's like a map of the United States surfaces along my collar bones, but maybe only the swing states are visible from the back of the room. I stay splotchy for several hours after speaking, even if I'm not nervous at all prior to speaking. We're talking involuntary biology happening here, and I don't appreciate it. Thirdly, I have little to no control over my eye contact. For the most part, I avoid everyone and look awkwardly at inanimate objects in the room: A/C units, water bottles, windows. This is while I'm speaking. I'm looking out the window while I'm speaking. If I do somehow connect with an audience member, it's usually just that - one member. There's one poor soul that has to endure my unbroken gaze for my entire presentation. And to that person, I am very sorry.
4. Jamie Lee-Curtis
What is happening to Jamie Lee-Curtis? I mean, does anyone out there know why she is on my TV so much? I feel like I interact more with her than I do everyone that I care about combined. She's always there eating yogurt after yogurt. I know what she looks like when she rolls out of bed to eat yogurt. I know what she looks like when she eats her post-workout yogurt. I know what she looks like sitting in her kitchen eating yogurt. 1. No one eats 3 Activia yogurts per day. That seems wildly excessive, expensive and unnecessary. 2. Why is Jamie so passionate about it? This is a woman who has gone from A Fish Called Wanda to Christmas with the Kranks to openly discussing her digestion on TV. That career sequence marks a downward path, lateral at best. Is she that hard up for cash? 3. I can't take it anymore. She's everywhere, and I find it more concerning than the outcome of the election. Someone stop her.
5. People who immediately stand when the plane lands
Where are they going? Or more importantly, where do they think they are going? Every plane I have ever been on follows a predictable sequence: fly, land, taxi, stop, wait for the accordion door, wait inexplicably, allow people off. And every plane I have ever been on has a predictable population of travelers who stand with lightening speed the SECOND the plane touches ground. I'm always impressed with their quickness and watch with envy as these people undo their seat belt with just one hand. But my awe quickly turns to perplexity and then annoyance as I realize that the person who was just seated abnormally close to me is now standing abnormally close to me with their crotch in my face. Do they not realize that we have some waiting to do? Are they that desperate to exit the plane and run to baggage claim - where they will wait some more? The really fun people like to stand and then wrestle down their baggage while everyone is still smushed together. I've come dangerously close to the business end of a concussion when suitcases swing down around me, and it's almost enough to convert me into an insta-stander on my next flight. But then I remember that it is ridiculous, so I just sit back, relax, and close my eyes to all the crotches surrounding me.
There is plenty more where those came from, but I think that's enough for today! If anyone has answers to the topics above, please send them my way. I would love to put to rest the issue of Jamie Lee-Curtis. Until then, stay happy, warm and thankful you aren't the person I'm staring at while public speaking.