Month: October 2014

The Wave

I’m a big fan of The Wave.  Not of sporting event fame, but rather, that moment when you’re driving and a friend sees you and waves. I have a friend who is terrible at this.  Truly.  There are only like TWO THINGS my friend Sarah can’t do, and spotting friends in vehicles is one of them. For me, there’s great pride associated with spotting a vehicle in motion and identifying the driver. In my small town, it’s a quick way to keep up on life.

“Mark must have had a good winter. New truck, new letters, new boat.”

“Wow. Guess she got everything in the divorce- he’s STILL driving that Explorer. ”

“You-know-who is back in town. THAT can’t be good.”

“Randy’s home from vacation.”

That kind of stuff. The idle gossip of small-town people.

There are different kinds of waves. There’s the town tight-ass who’s wave looks more like  Nazi salute. There’s the town flirt who’s wave is just as flirtatious as he is- all his fingers kind of tickle the air between him and his windshield. There’s the genuinely happy to see you wave of our local politician. There’s the half wave of  the “I’m so busy being busy I can’t take my full hand off the wheel” local business owner. Regardless of style, with each wave, you have a connection.

For me, The Wave is an essential way to gauge the state of your relationships. A while ago my former best friend stopped waving at me.  This was YEARS after we stopped being friends, but we were still civil- at least on the roadway. When he stopped waving at me, it was as devastating as our friend-breakup. What had I done? Why can’t he see me?  I have the same car! Insert Lifetime Movie worthy obsessing here.  He later upped his game and would turn his head to face the opposite direction when we passed. [Side note: That’s a dangerous kind of “FUCK YOU.”] Turns out, he just doesn’t care about civility anymore.

This morning a different friend of mine didn’t wave. It gave me pause: did he not see me? Was he so focused on his day that my car fell into his myopia? Maybe he just wasn’t aware of me because it was so early- I’m notoriously NOT a morning person. I spent quite a bit of my drive to work mulling over all the possible scenarios, because that’s just how I roll. As I walked to my office, I laughed at myself:
IT DOESN’T MATTER.

 

Besides, Joe always waves.  That’s all I need.

 

 

 

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Wasting Time?

I love lists.  You can tell just by poking around “The Great’s Escape,” I love all lists. So many of us love that sense of accomplishment when we cross something off a “To-Do” list, manage to get everything on the grocery list, and possess more than half of a “Most Desirable Attributes in a Human Being” list.  Thank you for that, BuzzNews. (This is not real. Don’t email me.)

This list worried me. You know from a previous entry that I have been catching myself in horrifying moments of shallowness, meanness, and bitterness.  The last time I was on this downward spiral, I attributed it to a heartbreak.  (Shocking news, I’m sure, to you regular readers.) This time around, these bouts of ugliness are not continual- they are moments that roll in like thunder clouds, scare me, and blow away just as suddenly.  I wonder if I set about actively rejecting these ten items, could I pull myself away from these moments and stop the spiral? They seem to be not only time wasters, but a recipe for lifelong misery.

Inc. posted Geoffrey James’s “10 Huge Time Wasting Mental Habits” online. His list (without his comments…you can read the whole thing here) is:

 

1. Wondering what other people are thinking.

2. Speculating how life would be different if only you had …

3. Imagining the worst that could happen.

4. Worrying about the economy.

5. Getting angry at other drivers.

6. Blaming your mother for who you are now.

7. Astrology.

8. Complaining about things outside your control.

9. Expecting anything to be perfect.

10. Arguing with strangers.

 

Numbers one, two, and ten stopped me in my tracks.  (Well, they stopped me in my clicks because I was reading my Facebook Newsfeed at the time.) I am so incredibly guilty of these things! I try to imagine what others are thinking all the time. When I’m interested in justifying it, I will conclude that it helps me empathize. It helps me sympathize. It helps me temper my own reactions as I wonder how a situation would be interpreted and acted upon by someone else. Number two is how it happens that I have so many “Drafts” of blog posts. I am fascinated with how one moment in time, one quick decision will alter the rest of your life. Sometimes I am able to marvel joyously at those instances – job interviews, Joe, so many moments with the kids. The flip side to the marveling, is the lamenting. Enter: every “ghost”of my past. Number ten hit close to home because just recently I got in an argument (online, no less), with a total stranger. It was dumb. I needled her deliberately. Neither one of us was going to back down. It was stupid- BEYOND stupid.  This item on the list I get and I need to be more aware of my reactions, particularly in virtual settings.

What do you think of these habits? Are you guilty of any of them?

 

I am better than you.

Not you.  You’re my friend.  But I am better than “HER.”

 

There are times you just need to feel superior.  Here’s a really good time to feel superior:

When an ex has a new love.  Not girlfriend.  Not hook up.  LOVE.  And not just any old ex.  A love.  A GREAT LOVE.  Yeah.

 

My “grown-up” sensibilities of wanting this man to be happy are often overruled by my hormones and emotions. I want him to be happy with ME. I want him to want ME. I want him to love only ME. Mature, I know. Evolved, I know. Selfless, I know. The very darkest part of me slips into a mean girl abyss when I think of them, the happy couple. I’m not proud of this. I am very grateful that having travelled to their proximity twice in six months, I will not be back there for at least a year. That will help- I hope. As I take three deep breaths and try to convince myself that I really do want him to be happy, I wonder how the hell that will happen with this girlfriend? I know they have been seeing each other for a while. I know they live together. I know there’s talk of a baby (salt, wound). But she just isn’t good enough for him.

So, in the spirit of my catharsis, in the spirit of recognizing that this is not a particularly unique reaction, and in the spirit of not annoying my friends with my ridiculous laments of, “What If… ” and petty nastiness:

 

Hey, Chippy!  I’m better than you.  Here is the short list of why:

1-  You’re not aging well.  Seriously.  I’ll sell you some Mary Kay products if you promise to use them and break up with him.

2- You seem to be very focused on cheap beer and hot tubs. That’s great. I prefer to have my theatre life, hobbies, civic involvement, culture, continuing education, AND some party time. While I absolutely enjoy a quiet night on the screen porch or in the hot tub, I love exploring and traveling. I love adventure and learning, dreaming and achieving. Perhaps that is not for everyone; I get it- small town life, small time job, and freshly-filled acrylic nails are all you need.

3- You have terrible fashion.  Really, really dreadful. I can help you, but I don’t want to. Keep wearing mom jeans, white capris in October, and perms with straight bangs.

4- Honey.  Oh, honey. You looked way better as a brunette. If you must indulge in blonde, please go to a salon. “Brassy” isn’t a good look on anyone.

5- He looks awful. When we were together, he was fit, well-dressed, and professional looking. Now, I have actually seen him in a camo ball cap. He’s puffy. He’s the heaviest he has EVER been. He’s red-faced all the time. There is such a thing as too much cheap beer in that aforementioned hot tub. And did you buy him those ridiculous dress shoes?  His job is not on Wall Street circa 1985.

6- I’m hotter. And for sure better in bed.

7- I’m smarter.  WAY smarter.

8- We were a power couple. Granted, I’ve moved since then, but we were spectacular. I am confident that we still know every person in that southern zip code and could easily dominate the political and social scenes. And I’m fun.  SUPER fun.

9- I’m a strong independent woman with opinions that I’m not afraid to offer. I like to be challenged, I like to banter, I like to speak up. I’m sure of myself, I like myself, and I stand by the decisions I make. Sometimes I pity you a little because you’re such a weathervane, blowing in whatever direction the wind decides.

10- I genuinely want to participate in the world around me and make it better. I love idle gossip and zoning out at the bar watching football as much as the next gal, but I cannot fathom that being my full-time preoccupation.

Ultimately, I do want my ex/your current to be happy. If that’s with you, so be it. I am going to try and be nice. Starting now. At very least I am going to try and ignore. I will always keep him in my heart and I hope part of his heart is reserved for me, too. I don’t want your boyfriend, I promise. I just want validation that I (and our relationship) was important in his life. For ten years and counting, I have been desperately in love with a wonderful man – a man who thinks I’m better than you, too.

 

Ok…..trying to be nice is starting NOW.