Explorations of Space

I ran across a doughy man wearing a NASA shirt beating the crap out of a parking meter this week. Is this what has become of our space program? I wondered if gravity was bringing this man down and pissing him off or if it really was the parking meter at the root of his rage. I could only guess, because asking him didn’t seem like a logical option at the time. I do see these reactions play out in public sometimes. Attacking a parking meter seems more reasonable than smacking the meter reader, I guess. I have been a victim or should I say perpetrator of this too. It wasn’t a parking meter, but many, many other objects that I am too embarrassed to mention.

Recently, I bought a home and I have been struggling with my reactive response to stuff that disappoint me. This could be the roof in my garage, my cabinet door that fell of it’s track, my fence and many other things I hope to fix. All these things are different and need various remedies to correct. I don’t have the “know how” and I will hire someone to help repair these assorted irritations. This isn’t important though. What is important is the emotional response they bring up when I encounter these breaking or broken fixtures in my house. The response is not anger or even frustration most of the time. To describe it correctly, I have to use the words of my co-worker who said one day that some “thing” hurt his feelings. I can’t remember exactly what “it” was. However, I completely understand this concept. As I stand under my leaky roof or in front or my drooping fence I realize that these things do totally hurt my feelings. My self esteem is completely affected the same way as if a school yard bully just pushed me down at recess.

I find myself, especially on weekends, standing before these house imperfections feeling woefully inadequate. I can totally understand feeling this way while staring at a new born, or when attempting to manage tasks from a new job. However, I should not feel personally assaulted by a dripping faucet. I understand these issues are the joys of home ownership and I am trying to radically accept all of this. In this present moment I am putting together a agenda of things that need to be addressed with my therapist. I will give this same list to my repair man too:)

People Watching Is For the Birds

Birding (bird watching) is a amazing popular outdoor recreational pastime that has some social perks for bird lovers. Some bird enthusiasts travel in search of a particular species, maybe. The Brits call this “twitching”. In North America it’s called “chasing”. This is a phenomena in well developed countries mostly. Some watchers don’t travel far and desire to just tend to their “local patch” of birds and others go great distances. Some are a bit scientific and want to study migration patters and other watchers just want to note what date the first Robin appears on their lawn this season. Why am I writing about this, well that is a very interesting question. Do you think the birds mind? Do you think they get self conscious when they see eyes on them? Maybe they nudge each other and quietly whisper, “Don’t look, but that creepy son of a bitch is back again.”

Again my mind wanders to people who have this birding urge, but not with birds in mind. This subject is super intriguing to me for several reasons and it gets me thinking about the fine line between what is considered to be a normal way to express fondness. Birders could be viewed as a type of stalker with no malicious intent, of course. They are just trying to appreciate or understand a winged creature. Well, what if a interested gent or gal is motivated to watching you? Consider him or her a “chaser” who is just merely “looking out” for you. Kind of like a guardian angel. Well, this is not heavenly, no. But it’s not harmful. No jumping out of the bushes with gun or knife in hand. No kidnapping, cutting, raping or boiling pets on the stove. I am speaking of a person who has you in his heart and  has some time on his hands. An unpaid and unsolicited volunteer of sorts.

This could be a person who rings your doorbell and disappears leaving you to find a bag on your porch filled with chicken soup and Ny-Quil, after seeing you sneeze at the gym earlier in the day. Or who leaves dog treats at your work with a note stating that even though she doesn’t see you (in person) anymore, she still thinks kindly of your hound. Or leaves a random book about past lives on your car, because he insists that you both were once married a hundred years ago.

Let’s of course keep the creep factor in this discussion, but let’s take away the movie drama out of it. Let’s assume that you might know this individual and don’t hate him or loath her existence. What if this person in question thinks an awful lot about you and feels at home across the street sitting warmly in his car when you’re at home. Maybe, she is not interested or care if you have someone at your house, but just feels better being close to you and likes watching TV with you through your window. This person might also love to hear you breathe while sleeping at night and finds his way into your home to stand in your room to listen for a bit in the middle of the night, hopefully during your REM sleep.

This person might think of your safety and find a way to spy during your weekend hikes, and can’t help to mention the path you chose today in the forest was a bit out of the way. Or she goes through your trash not to find answers that are missing, but perhaps she is only looking for ideas of what she wants to buy for dinner at the grocery store. Or quite possibly he is standing outside your house spraying his cologne on your door when you’re not home, excited with the possibility that you might be thinking about him tonight when you get home.

Is it really that bad? Or can you just consider these focused individuals to be people or person watchers? I think it totally depends on your outlook, and the birds don’t really seem to mind when enthusiasts sit quietly in their habitats spying with binoculars. Maybe it all has to do with your attitude. If you find that you have this type of admirer, instead of picking up the phone and dialing 911, maybe you should open up you door and say “thank you for caring, you are so dedicated!” Perhaps that’s what the birds are thinking.

Activities of Daily Surviving

For those who know me understand that anxiety is my sweet spot. I begin each day immersed in it. And my days end with me lacing up my running shoes in an attempt to run it off or reduce it just enough so I can tread comfortably when I get tired of swimming in it. It isn’t as exhausting as I am making it sound, but maintaining a balance of acceptable neurosis takes some work. I spend a lot of time thinking and assessing many things, which include my happiness, health, home responsibilities, the size of my thighs,  and where I put the things that I can’t find. My house is only 750 square feet, that is it, so how is it possible to lose anything?

Presently, I cannot find my cutting board and this is baffling to me. Perhaps, I should stop looking for it in the kitchen and move to other areas of my house. I have recently lost my comb and I’m presently parting my hair with my tweezers. I know the comb will show up soon and having a straight part isn’t high on my priority list. Just last week, I put my car keys in my silverware drawer and attempted to start my car with my wine key. I have extreme organizational issues and my closets and cupboards are symptoms of this. I don’t think I’m in a present decline regarding my personal functioning, but I am open to this idea. I have always had difficulty multi-tasking my work and house responsibilities. My energy is spent first on my lovely daughter and all else can wait.

Grocery shopping is also an activity that causes me so much dread. Thinking of what I need, remembering what I have to buy, and writing a list is sometimes a insurmountable task. I almost signed up for Nutri- System in the past not for the need or want to lose weight, but for merely the convenience of having all three meals delivered. This is not too different from those who are relieved when they are locked up in jail, knowing that they will have a bed and three meals provided. This winter I’m gauging my mental well being on my ability to grocery shop. I wasted so much energy last year standing in my kitchen with the refrigerator door open, just staring at nothing and imagining what could be. I can’t put into words why I couldn’t bring myself to drive the half mile to the grocery store, but I couldn’t and didn’t. I could blame the gray Portland skies, but that would be too easy. I turned to Safeway during this three month period to do my grocery shopping online. In retrospect, I probably spent much more time sitting in front of my computer picking out one food item at a time and paying even more money for the delivery.

The online grocery shopping posed another set of issues. If I ran out of something I couldn’t online shop for just one item. I had to wait. I was only terrified of running out of toilet paper…nothing else. In spite of the added anxiety it created, I pushed on committed to my non-want of shoving a grocery cart down isles of just too many choices. Timing the order,placing the order, and waiting for the arrival of the order also created a whole other set of issues. All anxiety provoking in some sort of way. The payoff was grand though. The Safeway employer would show up at my home and the driver always seemed a little surprised that I wasn’t in my 90’s. He would carry all the bags to the door much more gracefully than I ever do. Then I would unload the bags and remember then one thing that I forgot to order.

This winter I am making it to the grocery store to do my shopping in person. I still think fondly about Nutri-System. It’s like having a personal chef who is militant about portion size that is affordable for the average middle class worker. I continue to be an organizational nightmare. I’m still okay with my hair having a crooked part for he time being, and I’m not certain when I will give up looking for my cutting board and purchase a new one. It might all hinge on my commitment to developing a love affair with prepared meals.

Consciously Avoidant

For the last month I have been perusing a dating site. Or maybe I should say apprehensively surveilling. Yes, that is much more like it. I have read many, many profiles of other singles out there looking. I have viewed men holding fish, men who try to hide that they are follically challenged with hats, men with inappropriate profile names, like 69Iheartanal69, men in their favorite sports jerseys, men with professional head shots, men in action: running, riding, skiing, snowboarding, biking, etc. It’s mind-boggling.

I have struck up conversations with a few men on this site, but have had much difficulty moving from the chat phase to meeting in person. I finally forced myself to meet up with a potential candidate the other day.  We did have a great conversation. Totally enjoyed every minute, but have zero urge to schedule a second date. The pressure of what will follow on the second, third, and fourth date is just too much for me to consider. I discussed this phenomena with my brilliant friend, Gina.  And she pointed out the obvious. She asked why I’m on a dating site when I’m actually looking for friendship? I have never considered this concept and therefore have reworked my profile.

Hi. My name is Amy and I am a forty-two year female who found myself on this dating site by accident. Since I have a week left on my membership I feel that I better get the best bang for my buck and list what I am looking for in the most authentic way I know. I am not looking for a husband, “the one”, or someone to complete me. My bar is set a bit lower. I am merely looking for someone to tolerate me for a few hours at a time. If you are looking to enjoy some food, good coffee or wine, and some cheeky conversation, by all means send me an email or chat request. However, before you start tapping away on your keyboard, you might want to read the rest.

I am not looking for someone who wants to hold my hand, or needs a meet up to fend off the fear of loneliness. If you live too far away, please don’t reply. If I could befriend someone in my neighborhood that would be optimal, driving is exhausting. Please make note of my zip code. If it was socially acceptable to put out fliers on the telephone pole outside my house and in the streets surrounding my neighborhood, I would have already done this. I’ve considered walking door to door like a solicitor of sorts, but the conversations would be awkward. If we do happen to make a connection I want you to know that I never really want you to come to my house, ever. It’s small and I have dogs that apparently have no boundaries, so I have been told.

I am not much of a cook and eat most of my meals standing over my kitchen sink, while my gas stove glares at me impatiently. If you like to cook and/or dine out then this is a plus. Also, I have to let you know that I work out daily and I might sometimes choose to workout over you. I like the mountains and fear the coast. I have a tremendous phobia of tsunamis and I plan my escape looking for higher ground every minute I am there. Sure, I still go to the coast, but I only go during the times I’m feeling a bit depressed and know I don’t have the will to run if an earthquake would occur. We can plan our trips during those times when I would rather just surrender to the big wave if you’d prefer.

If you do insist that I entertain you at my house (please see above) understand that I have dogs. I will do my best to have my house clean enough. If I can be completely frank, I will just assume that my house will make you uncomfortable and this then makes me uncomfortable. Therefore, you can never stay over, ever. I will not be able to sleep and I will resent you. No, on second thought scratch what I said above. Let’s just plan that you never come to my house.

If I can be comprehensibly straightforward, I am not interested in giving you my telephone number or scheduling a date at this time. I will, however, be at my local coffee shop every other Saturday between the hours of 9 to 11. If you are interested please stop by. I will be the one in the corner, dressed in 5 different shades of gray, clutching my coffee cup much like how the jaws of life grasps chunks of metal. If you approach me don’t be surprised if I deny that my name is Amy and that this profile belongs to me.

Decaffinated Angst

I thought I was having an existential crisis today while stuck in my car for 45 minutes, driving the 5 miles to my first meeting.  I do say out loud and often that there has got to be something more to life than THIS. I do sometimes ask what the Universe is trying to tell me.  I think we all struggle to find meaning in the world around us attempting to make sense of it all. It might be a common practice for some to attach too much relevance or potential to a little piece of paper stuck inside a fortune cookie. I tend to disregard these fortunes and put more importance on what my dogs are trying to spell out with the things they tend to tear into bits when I leave them home alone.  I think Jazzy is the better speller, but Rainy might be more environmentally conscious. I am convinced that she tried to communicate by attempting to write “organic?” with the sausage packaging after she counter-surfed it into her belly recently. Yes, I think she was asking a question. This is no more unbelievable than a cookie predicting your upcoming successes.

I can’t look for meaning or have faith in politics and religion at the moment, maybe someday. Until then I will force myself to vote in the elections and sharpen my horns on Sundays.  I did realize that my pondering mind today was not the result of any type of existential crisis at all. I noticed my missing coffee mug in my cup holder when I finally got to work. I must have left it on my kitchen counter in my rush to sit in traffic for almost an hour. My headache was not caused by over-thinking. Some scholars say that existential crises are just the mind coming to grips with bigger unmet needs. They might be right, it appears that my brain sets to “wandering mode” when it is deprived of its essential morning beverage.  I will let the existentialists contemplate the larger issues. I will explore the answers that I know are hiding at the bottom of my coffee mug.

Nice Snatch!

I say the acronym WOD way too much for my comfort level. Hey, do you know the WOD today? Hmm, I wonder what the WOD is today? For those of you who are not familiar with Crossfit, this means workout of the day. I am ashamed that I even say it to myself and out loud, but I do. I like the tough workouts, and I like having someone tell me what I am going to do for an hour at a time. I only wish the instructors yelled more and called me dirty names. I’ll put this in the suggestion box and hope for the best. Dirty talk would be a great addition to Crossfit considering the vocabulary they use throughout class. There is lots of talk about wallballs, clean and jerking, thrusting, and  boxes. I have finally stopped giggling when the instructor informs the class that will we working on “snatches”. When I started going to Crossfit with my friend Gina, I would go out of my way to compliment her snatch. Unfortunately, I changed to another Crossfit class closer to my house and I don’t really know anyone well enough to compliment their snatch without sounding creepy:)

Even though I do say the term “WOD” often. I will never be wearing a WODKILLER T-shirt. I will never be the first to finish. I try not to be last. I often stumble my way through class, typically walking out of class with brush- burns, bruises and sometimes bloody. I won’t be the one engaging in the Paleo discussions or any discussions for that matter. I try not to write my times, numbers or whatever is written on the white board after class. I am just not competitive enough to engage in such an event. I will never lift what is recommended by the instructors or complete the workouts in the manner that is recommended. However, I will be the one who is thinking deeply about my poor choice in underwear throughout my workout. I will be the one when I hear we are working our snatches today, will ask myself if I showered and shaved. I will be the one trying to hide in the back of class who is not drinking the Crossfit Kool-Aid yet but who is just merely sticking my finger in the powder.