Monthly Archives: September 2015

Perspective…It’s All In How You Look At It!

perspectiveMany years ago, when textbooks were written on stone tablets, my Philosophy Professor shared with us a story.

One brilliant professor decided to gather all of his colleagues from across the world for a symposium where they would pose a question and then share their wisdom, knowledge, intellect, and show the world why they were so brilliant.  So he issued invitations which included the question to be discussed: “If you found yourself stranded on an island, what single would you want?”

The Symposium began and each scholar was to present their conclusion to the premise and the others would discuss the answer in order to determine which would be the most brilliant answer to be presented to showcase the amassed intellect.  One professor boldly declared that he would need all of his books, in order to keep his mind occupied for the rest of his life.  Another shouted him down stating that he would need his wine collection in order to maintain some semblance of civilization.  While yet another proclaimed that the only possible answer would be endless delicacies, after all, one needs to eat and should be able to dine well.

Before long the discussion went from simple to ludicrous to bizarre to over-the-top extravagance in which only a mansion of purest polished marble with priceless furnishings and gardens with fountains and endless luxuries would be required in order to survive on this island.

During this Symposium, Wilhelm the Janitor, had been sweeping and emptying the trash in each room in the building.  The conference auditorium was the last one in the building so he waited patiently for these learned men to finish their discussion so he could clean up.  The hosting Professor, thinking to have a bit of fun, told Wilhelm that if he had a better answer than anyone else, then the Professors would do the cleaning for him for the rest of their lives.  Wilhelm agreed.

The professor could hardly contain his smirk, and the others chuckled none too quietly, as Wilhelm was asked the question: “If you found yourself stranded on an island, what single would you want?” Wilhelm, without batting an eye, answered: “To be rescued.”

You see, we tend to take that which is simple and complicate it by taking it to extremes it was never meant to experience.  Perspective is all in how you look at life.

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I’m NOT Dead? Well, Then…What Now?

not deadEach morning, I hear the birds chirping as they begin their busy day of bug hunting, nest building, and flitting from hither to yon.

Each morning, I smell the air through the open window.

Each morning, I taste the exquisite flavor of the juicing of that naughty bean we call “coffee.”

And each morning is a reminder that I am not yet dead!  My life is not yet over.  I still have opportunities and choices.  There are still people to annoy; books to read; stories to write; songs to sing badly;food to enjoy; beer to savor; family to…well y’know how family is.

Each morning is a reminder that we are ALIVE and we should not sit about wondering what to do (as if we’re surprised we’re not dead), we should be about the business of reminding ourselves and the rest of the world’s patrons that WE ARE ALIVE DAMMIT! 

Not get the hell away from my coffee!!!

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Fitness Fanatics, Servers, and Annoying Salespeople…A Rant!

Workout Creature

I get the fact that some people wish to work out and work out and work out and work out.  I get that all their working out apparently triggers a “piss everyone else off” synapse because they suddenly become like the Energizer Bunny with a volume and intensity that can be felt moment they step into the same building.  They puff and posture as they talk about their latest workout/fitness routine as they drink gallons of some concoction from their “shaker bottles.”  And THEN they start in on everyone else with such comments like: “You depressed? Don’t wuss out and talk about it, SWEAT IT OUT!” or “Why are you eating all that crap?” or “Crossfit/Basic/Powerlifting/etc. changed me into AWESOME!”

I get that they are proud of their accomplishment, yet I am curious as to whether they realize how much it will take to maintain their “AWESOME” for the rest of their lives.  I give as example my High School reunion of a number of years which we won’t discuss.  The beefy jocks had become more paunch than muscle…their beefcake had deteriorated into jerky…yet the jerk attitude remained.

And then I have people who constantly tout the latest multi-level marketing health and fitness company which has “the best products out today.”  More powders to mix in your shaker, more vitamins and supplements to ingest at specific times and an entire menu of raw foods which are to be eaten every two hours.  And all at a nice little price tag that is more than I earn in two-months. I admit that I was suckered into a few of these programs because the people who were selling it were friends and they were pretty and they said the right cheerleader type peptalk peppered with zen like wisdom, and I am basically just a big sucker for a pretty face.  But when I commented about how expensive this program was getting (to the point I was having to choose between putting fuel in my car to get to work to earn the money to buy their crap or live in a van down by the river so I can spend my unemployment check buying a small bit of their crap), and I was suddenly considered to be a “loser” and an “inconsequential.”

Then I happen to have to deal with the salespeople who, I realize, work on commission and are so very eager to make a sale quick so they can move on to the next sale.  I actually had one overly excited young man start trying to finish my sentences for me when I was trying to tell him what I was looking for.  I could tell he was getting irritated with my questions when he began scanning the people walking through behind me and his eyes teared up.  Let me be extremely clear here: There is a reason I came to your establishment, and if you want me to spend MY money in your establishment, then give me the courtesy of your attention and make the experience such that I will not only want to come back, but I will want to recommend to others.

pushy salesperson

Finally, I would like to discuss bartenders and servers.  Yes, I know you work for LESS THAN MINIMUM WAGE, so I don’t need to be told that every time I come in.  Yes, I know gratuities are your bread and butter.  Yes, I realize that I am not a hot hunk of eye candy.  But YOU need to understand that when I come to your establishment (especially if you know I am a regular whether I am your regular or not) I will be spending my money.  I CHOSE to come to your establishment to spend my money.  And when I have chosen to spend my money at your establishment, I have factored in a HUGE gratuity often in the 75-90%.  But you see, the gratuity YOU will receive depends entirely on YOU!

wild-wing-cafeThere was an restaurant I had been frequenting for the last 10 years.  I was friends with many of the staff and the staff made it clear that they WANTED me to sit in their section.  They would smile, some would even hug me, they remembered my name, and even seemed to be glad I had come in.  Slowly, over time, as life is wont to do, these staff members went on to further their educations or had taken another job or simply found something else to do with their lives.  So, the staff who was left, knowing that I had been a good regular customer because they had witnessed it, ignored me when I came in.  The last time I went in to get a beer, not only did the bartender no even acknowledge my presence, but none of the staff even smiled at me.  They were ALL huddled in the corner of the bar area, with the “pretty people” (who leave no gratuity) laughing about something that had been posted on Facebook.  After 30 minutes of this (and I was one of only four people sitting at the bar), I left.  I am a advocate of: “If you want good customer service, BE a good customer.”  But I am also an advocate of: “If you want a good gratuity, BE a good server.”

Okay, rant over and I am off to find a new place to spend my money!

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So What If I Act Like A Hermit Crab?

hermit crabI like quiet!

I like not talking!

I like thinking!

I like observing!

I like reading!

I like working alone!

I like my alone time!

NO, I am NOT a leper!  NO, this is not “just a phase.” NO, I am not anti-social!  NO, I am not unhappy!  NO, crowds will NOT bring me “out of that shell”, matter of fact, crowds make me withdraw deeper into my shell.  NO, I am not avoiding you….well, perhaps I am but only if you are being loud and pushy.

Hear me very carefully…I’m an INTROVERT!  That just means I process internally (and quietly).  I have no need or desire to be gregarious.  I cringe at the thought of being expected to be the center of attention or life of the party.  In fact, MY idea of a great party is a gathering of my few closest friends (and I do NOT make friends easily), in a quiet setting.  I don’t require a horde of loud whooping Barbarians trying to yawp louder than the rest.  The friends I have are friends for life. For you see, I take friendship quite seriously.

In my youth, I was that one person everyone liked to have around because I would listen.  However, having been branded as that “Sweet Guy” or, worse, “That Nice Guy” pretty much doomed any role for me other than that of listener.  I admit that I was bitter and angry about having been shoved into that role, but time has passed and those who shoved me into that role still tend to seek me out to listen.  But the people who thought me to be that “Nice Guy” failed to understand (or take the time to inquire) that I am an Introvert and, though I am quiet and withdrawn, I have feelings.

I have come to accept my Introversion and have found my niche.  I am an observer of human interactions. Not in that Ice Cream Truck Pervy kind of way, rather I sit on the fringe of the group or party and observe how humans interact with each other.  Not much escapes my notice and I have found that humans have the same habits and interactions as Simians.

At a party for example, there is immediately a “sizing up” of the new arrivals.  The males of the group begin their puffing up and posturing, which is followed up by the exaggerated sports talk at a loud volume, which includes lots of alcohol consumption complete with belching, scratching, and the none-too-subtle “checking out” of the female attendees (And, of course, every female who is deemed desirable or attractive “wants me).  The loud sports talk includes such physical displays as pantomiming a particular sports play considered to have been outstanding. At some point the sports talk will drift into the “who’s got the coolest job” puffery.

The female attendees are not much better in their activities.  They immediately “size up” the new arrivals to judge them on their couture, make-up, hair, jewelry, and general physical appearance.  Yes, even the females judge each other by the size and perkiness of the bosoms, with such statements as: “Those CAN’T be real!” or “Someone’s bought a new set” or “That poor dear couldn’t nourish a mosquito, much less attract a REAL man.”  And, yes, though the females may hide (or think they are hiding) they scratch, pick, and adjust just like the males.

While I realize that these observations reveal stereotypes, the human works very hard trying to make other humans think they are not human.  I chuckle quietly to myself knowing that some other Introvert is most likely observing me.

But think of Introversion this way: “It is the rain that nourishes the grass, not the thunder!”  – Rumi

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You Are Weird! So Wave Your Flag Proudly!

Weird Flag

Don’t know about you, but I am one of those people who doesn’t seem to truly “fit in” with any particular group or clique. My childhood was spent feeling awkward and out of place.  And to a large extent those same feelings continue today, but the difference is that now, I really just don’t care if I fit in or not.

I was taught that everyone was unique.  Similar, perhaps, but unique.  Cliques were nothing more than a gaggle of folks who want so much to be like their leader that they live false lives.  They live this facade until they even begin to believe their masks are real, which is the true tragedy because the world needs individuals working together in harmony to create that unique situation called “community.”

Imagine life with no masks, where we are real (as frightening as that may seem), where we are more concerned for others than for ourselves because we know others are doing the same.  Yeah, Utopian Ideology.  But my mind can wander through that dream can’t it?

So raise your Weird Banner and wave it proudly with me!  “To thine ownself be true and it must follow, as the night the day, that thou canst not then be false to any man” – Bill Shakespeare.  Methinks Ol’ Bill got it right!

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Who? Did WHAT?

what

I am a curious sort and, as a result, many questions flow through my brain seeking answers or, at least, clues to answers.

  •  Whilst printing an email this morning, my mind wandered off to pose the question: Who decided the standard size of paper to be 8.5″x11″?
  •  I then read an article about the MOST EXPENSIVE coffee in the world…kopi luwak from Sumatra.  Apparently, the Civet Cat eats the coffee cherries and then poops out the beans.  Now…..I have an addiction to coffee.  I love coffee!  I drink lots of coffee.  But the voices in my head united as one to ask the question: “The most expensive coffee in the world is found in cat poop?” Who was the person who figured this out?  I can’t speak for anyone else, but as much as I love coffee, digging through cat crap to get a cup of coffee will most definitely cure my addiction post haste!
  • Next I saw an advert for Fiji Water which claims to be bottled at the source without being touched by human hands.  How does water flow from the source, into pipes (made by human hands or machinery made by human hands), and then into PLASTIC bottles (made by human hands or machinery made by human hands), and then into the stores?  How do we know this isn’t the result of some guy with a garden hose mucking about in his garden filling up plastic bottles and laughing himself silly as his bank account just grows and grows?
  • Next came an advert for the Fiat 500.  This minuscule auto is not much larger than a golf cart and was intended to be the competition for the Mini Cooper and the Smart Car.  Yet, according to the advert, if you “accidentally” drop a Viagra tablet into the fuel tank, the docile Fiat 500 becomes all bulked up into a bit of a rager.  So should your Fiat 500 remain in this bulked up state for more than 4 hours, should one consult their local garage?

Other miscellaneous ponderings include such issues as:

  • Who decided how much water it would take to make poop disappear down the pipes?
  • Who decided a red light meant STOP, unless you are in a brothel quarter and then it has a completely different meaning.
  • Why does a scantily clad woman become offended when the Average Joe looks are her displayed wares?
  • If we are all so much alike, why do I like quiet while others prefer loud?
  • Why do we never see human heads stuffed and mounted on the walls of animal homes?
  • Who was the one who got to decide that scratching where it actually itches in “inappropriate”?
  • Why do the “Standard Size” windows seem to change when I need to have one replaced or re-glassed?
  • Why do women wear brasseries that “Lift and Separate” but when the lifted and separated are noticed by men, the men are told “eyes up here”?

These are just a few of my mental wanderings.

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That “Relationship” Word…DUN, Dun, Daaaaaaaa…….

goofy

In my time on this water filled orb, I have had time to observe a number of things.  One of the things I have observed deals with that dreaded “R” word….RELATIONSHIPS!

Honestly, I have listened to complaints and whining on the subject from both sides of the aisle and it’s time to express some of the things gleaned from these observations:

* “I just want someone who will accept me for who I am.” Oh REALLY?  You want someone to accept YOU for who YOU are…I see.  So are you willing to accept them for who THEY are or are you expecting them to change in order to accept all your quirks, moods, habits.  Are you willing to accept their body hair in the shower drain because that’s just who they are?  Are you willing to tolerate their perspectives on politics, religion, child rearing, food choices, paint color schemes, toilet roll over or under, toothbrush bristle stiffness, clothing choices?  How about if they want to sleep naked?  How about if they would like for you to brush and rinse in the mornings before your dragon breath peels the paint from the neighbor’s wall?

* “I am all about my career!” I actually had a lovely young lady tell me this after our third date.  My response?  ‘I hope you and your career are very happy together.’ Last I heard, she had been fired from her first 7 “careers” and was an angry and bitter catlady.  I am not saying that you should neglect your career, but if your career is more important that the person you claim to love….you are a narcissist and should not subject society with your progeny!

* “My children are my world” (and all the variations on this theme: “my everything”, “my universe”, “my reason for breathing”) REALLY?  Your children are all this to you and yet you think you are going to have time for a relationship?  AND you want someone who will worship your little “darlings” as much as you do?  Again, this goes back to “where is your focus?”  NO, I am not advocating ignoring your children.  What I am saying is that if your children come before everything else in your life, you are not likely going to find someone who is going to want whatever little time, energy, and affection you have left after you have spent all you have worshiping your children.  No one wants “leftover lovin’”.

* “I want someone I can be myself with.”  So do I!  If I need to hold your hand, I want to be able to do that and you want me to hold your hand.  If you need me to pull your finger, I want to want to pull your finger.  It is vital that you are yourself, no masks, no acting, no pretending.

* “I want someone to share my deepest thoughts with.” This is not something you want to jump into straight away.  Take time to build the relationship before revealing your desire to shove ice cubes up their ass because you think it’s foreplay!  Talking and listening are two of the most important relationship builders.  How else are you to find that your partner likes your hair cut short or that your partner does not find your week old armpit hair attractive.

My observations have revealed that we have become SO busy with all our attempts to have it all, do it all, and then knock down barriers so we can do more that we have forgotten that relationships are WORK!!

  • Relationships require talking AND listening.
  • Relationships require take AND give.
  • Relationships require compromises.
  • Relationships require sacrifices!  And that might mean YOU have to make some of the sacrifices (not just your partner).
  • Relationships require understanding that neither party is storybook perfect!  Honestly, YOU take some getting used to.  That first time you walk into the lavatory and your partner is taking that shit they’ve held in all weekend trying to impress you….that’s a real eye opener.  That strained look on their face is quite frightening.
  • Relationships require TRUTH!  Be honest with each other!  When I come in from the gym and want to hug on my love, she needs to be comfortable enough with the relationship to playfully remind me that I am sweaty, smell, and am in need of a shower.  And if she’s feeling especially randy, she gives me time to clean up and then she will join me in the shower.
  • Relationships require that we stop believing that the “relationships” we see on television or in the movies or read about in our celebrity magazines are true and accurate!  People are flawed and imperfect.  If you are looking for, or expecting, perfection…good luck with your long and lonely life.
  • Relationships require TIME to develop.  We are so eager to go from “Hi” to hitting the sheets that we are lucky to learn the name of our bedmate!

If you want a true relationship…it won’t be easy.  It won’t be quick. YOU will have to make some changes.  But in the end, the investment will pay off with huge dividends!

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Life? Really?

no sportsI know many will hate me.  The Torch & Pitchfork Society may even go so far as to run rampant through the towns and villages raping, pillaging, burning, screaming, and causing lots of chaos and mayhem simply because I don’t like sports.  And before the exaggerated melodrama begins, I have never said that I am ANTI-SPORTS! I merely point out that I, personally, do not like sports.

This morning I was attempting to put together a list of classical music for an upcoming wedding using YouTube as the preview.  EVERY SINGLE video began with a commercial for Sportscenter!  EVERY SINGLE ONE!!!  It’s as if every single sporting event must be preceded by seemingly endless analysis and commentary about every single player and every single game they have played (regardless of how many decades ago it took place).  Then there is the game, which is crammed with lots of advertisements packed with sports euphemisms, followed by more commentary during this “brief break” in which OTHER sporting events are analyzed, then back to the game which is filled with more commentaries, replays, commentaries on the replays, replays of the replays, commentaries on the commentaries of the replays of replays…..and on and on and on and on.  All the while, rabid fans rage, spend untold gazillions of dollars (which could be used to actually HELP people, fix roads, repair schools, pay teachers, etc.), guzzle oceans of beer, eat tons of food that would kill an rampaging rhinoceros, followed by the mayhem of the winning team’s fans leaving destruction and havoc in their wake should their team win a coveted championship.  Heaven forbid if the Apocalypse occurs on “game day” because there will be zillions of really pissed off fans whose entire existence hinges on every game.

I am not a sports fan.  Plain and simple.  I will watch a game if it is on (with the exception of golf or figure skating which render me unconscious at the mere thought of being exposed to them), but I don’t track statistics in any way shape or form.  If the team I like wins….huzzah.  If it doesn’t…..better luck next time.  I am off to actually learn something useful, thank you very much. Please keep the noise and chaos to a dull roar.

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Did I Stumble Into The Ministry of Silly Walks?

Wax On Wax OffOdd thing happened yesterday…I was to meet a friend at a local Wild Wing eatery, which happened to be located in a strip mall.  Wild Wing being on the corner, with a Travel Agency to the left of it and a Waxing City to the left of the Travel Agency.  I surmised that the placement of the hair removal salon next to the travel agency was fortuitous being that one does want to have a smooth companion when one frolicks about the vacation locale.

On this particular day, I arrived a few minutes early (having parked at the curb near the Travel Agency) and was checking the messages on my phone whilst I awaited the arrival of my lunch appointment.  Whilst investigating the messages, I noticed a rather attractive and tanned young lady walk briskly into Wax City.  Thinking nothing more about it except that the movement had caught my eye.

My appointment arrived and lunch was delicious.  We talked, laughed and cut up. We shared tales and stories.  When it came time to leave, I walked back to my car and checked to see if anyone had called (on appointments my phone stays in the car), when I noticed the same young lady coming out of Wax City that I had seen entering this grooming salon.  However, this time the bold and purposeful stride was gone. You see, now this young lady moved as if she were walking slowly down the dusty old Main Street of Tombstone ready for a gunfight.  Her gunslinger’s bowlegged gait left little to my imagination as to her purpose for visiting Wax City.

Please don’t get me wrong, I do greatly enjoy the softness and smoothness.

smooth and silkyAND am very much appreciative of all it takes for a woman to achieve said softness and smoothness.  But I could not suppress and chuckle at the change in her stride.

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Trampling Is Okay….But Only For Some!

tramplingWe are quite a confusing society, I am learning slowly.  It would seem, to the observer, that one person’s “rights” are more valuable than the “rights” of someone else.  Take for example, I am stopped at a traffic signal with my windows rolled up enjoying the music of my choice at a level that can only be heard by my and the air particles within my car.  Next to me pulls up a driver whose music of choice thumps hard enough that my car vibrates in rhythm and I can no longer hear myself think because her windows are down and she is quite enthusiastic about forcing everyone to listen to her music.  On the other side of me arrives a driver whose windows are up, but whose music is also loud enough to be heard and felt long before his arrival at the intersection.  The drivers on either side of me then engage in a war of music to see who can drown out the other.

Therefore, my question is this: Since when do their “right” to force their music of choice upon me outweigh my “right” to listen to my music of choice?

While I completely understand that we don’t all like the same things.  If we did, what a dull existence we would have….dressing the same, thinking the same, eating the same, living the same, talking the same….BORING!  Yet why am I, a rather quiet introvert, apparently of less value than those who are loud?

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