In Which Ms. Bean Contemplates Human Nature: Do You Play Up?

A marble in a martini glass because, I ask you, why not?

Everyone plays up.

An acquaintance said that after going to a party for the parents of middle school boys who play basketball.  She was making an observation about the group as a whole.

I got what she meant, having been to a few social events myself wherein people missed no opportunity to #humblebrag about their blessed lives, posing as someone more important than they might really be.

Acquaintance, who like me is an introvert with an extroverted personality when necessary, admitted that she’d played up in her own way.  That is, she’d bought a new dress for this party, but one that she’d be wearing to other events.

I’m not sure I’d say that is playing up per se, but I got her point.  She’d done something to make herself look better in the eyes of other people.

The conversation was short & lighthearted, but got me contemplating the ways in which we all play up depending on, I suppose, your need for external validation in a particular situation.

In my observation, and perhaps yours too, some people seem to need to belong to a group, any group, and will say or do anything to remain a part of it, fearing, I guess, the possibility of being alone.

I’m reminded of the old adage that there are makers, takers, and fakers.  If I’m entirely honest, in various situations and at different points in my life, I’ve been each of these to some degree and that seems normal to me.

Anyhoo, getting to something that resembles a point here, all of the foregoing got me thinking about this idea of playing up.  Here are my questions:

Does everyone play up? Is that a fact of human nature?

 And if so, does that mean you’re a maker, making something of yourself by playing up? OR are you a faker by playing up? I can see both sides to this.  What say ye?  

~ ~ • ~ ~

One-Liner Wednesday: A Mantra Courtesy Of A Three Year Old Girl

I was in Costco on Friday afternoon.  I ducked into the women’s restroom and while in there saw a cute little girl, about three years old, with her mother.

The little girl was wearing black leggings, a bright blue t-shirt, sturdy white sneakers embellished with cartoon characters, and a sparkly pink tutu.  She was a vision of free-spirited sartorial confidence that made me smile.

Oh, to be so sure of yourself!

The duo was standing by the sink in the restroom and the mother was starting to turn on the water at the sink in order for the little girl to wash her hands.  However, as we all know, toddlers like to do for themselves that which they believe they are capable of doing by themselves.

And they are often loud and dramatic in the process.

This little girl was no different than her independently-minded peers, thus she said for all to hear the following phrase that I think, as an example of positive self-talk, might be the perfect succinct mantra for anyone who momentarily loses their confidence while negotiating the ups and downs of life:

“I. CAN. ME.”

~ ~ ~ ~

This is the brainchild of Linda G. Hill. Click on the badge to learn more & to connect with other bloggers who are doing #1LinerWeds this week.

Thoughts On The Differences Between A Friend & A Follower

Why I Asked + What You Answered

A FEW WEEKS AGO I asked you to answer two poll questions.  I did this because a friend in real life who is a social media virgin asked me these questions.  She was curious about the terminology bloggers use when talking about blogging and I had no definitive answers for her.

The clear winner to the question “Blogs Are Found In…” was The Blogosphere.  78% preferred that term, with another 10% opting for Blogland which I think is a charming word.

The answers to the question “People Who Read Your Blog Are…” showed an interesting bell curve of preferred terms.  40% preferred the term Readers, while 23% chose Friends and 21% chose Followers.

I often refer to y’all as my gentle readers, so the top answer based on literal thinking makes sense to me, but that’s not where I see the story here.

Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Friend?

WHAT SURPRISED ME WAS THE relatively even distribution between the second and third answers, Friends and Followers.  Both are great terms but to my way of thinking these terms presuppose two different types of relationships that create different expectations about how someone will behave.

And as we all know, when expectations are not met disappointment ensues.

Friends implies connections based on equal power that are made on an even playing field.  I take an interest in you, I support you– and you do the same things for me.  When it comes to blogging this means I read + comment on your blog while you read + comment on my blog.

In a word, reciprocity. [Kindness?]

Followers, on the other hand, is a term that implies there is a leader with more power, who proceeds ahead while the less dominate people come after him or her.  This is not an even playing field from the git-go.

In blogging terms this means that as the leader I may or may not take the time to read + comment on what my followers write in their blogs.  By virtue of the way in which I envision our relationship, I’ll think I have no obligation to comment on other people’s blogs because I’m in charge here.

In a word, purpose. [Control?]

And Here Is Where The Misunderstandings Begin

TO WIT, IF I THINK you’re my Friend who will take an equal interest in me as I have taken in you, but you view me as a Follower who doesn’t necessarily deserve your time and attention, then we have a situation wherein feelings get hurt, confusion begins.

I’m expecting you, my friend, to care about what I write.  You’re baffled about why you would take any interest in me, your follower.  There is ambivalence, there is tension, there is cognitive dissonance.  No one is happy.

I’ve no marvelous insights into why certain bloggers prefer the terms that they do for the people who pay attention to them;  I just see how bloggers do what they do.

In fact, I’m only writing about this today because I found it interesting that I discerned this subtle yet significant divide in attitudes about blogging as a result of your answers to two simple questions I never thought to ask before.

Remarks, regrets, reconsiderations, anyone?  The comment section is yours.

Fun With Pedicures: Conning Mr. Man, If Only For A Moment

It’s not easy to pull the wool over Zen-Den’s eyes. He’s smart and lawyerly and hyper-aware of liars. But for a moment I had him going, so I have to share it here. For posterity. For snorts and giggles.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

I.  In the photo above the color of nail polish you see on my toenails is unusual for me.  I usually go clear/pale OR dark/bright.  I rarely wear halfway/medium colors like you see above.

II.  OPI nail polishes, which I prefer, are grouped into cleverly named collections.  For instance a pale pink called Bubble Bath might be found in the Always Bare For You Collection.  A bright pink red called California Raspberry might be found in the Fan Faves Collection.  [These particular colors are so old that they’re no longer featured in any collection, but I’m making a point here so please go with it.]

III.  After wearing Bubble Bath for a few weeks I decided it was too blah for me.  No character.  So on a whim as a way of zhooshing it up, I mixed a bit of California Raspberry with it.  I figured I’d create a new medium color.  And I did.  That’s what you see on my toenails in the photo.

THE CON *tee-hee*

Z-D came home from work the other night and noticed the pink color of my fresh pedicure.  He looked down at my feet and asked me if I had a rash on my toes.  I instantly realized that he thought my created shade of pink was calamine lotion.

So I told him: “No, that’s a new shade of nail polish.  It’s called Chicken Pox Pink, part of OPI’s new Childhood Illnesses Collection.”

He said nothing, just kept staring at my toes.

So I continued: “There are other colors in the collection, like Measles Mauve and Flu Shot Fuchsia.”

With a totally confused look on his face he said: “There’s a nail polish collection called Childhood Illnesses?”

I said: “Oh yes, there’s Bronchitis Burgundy and…”

He interrupted: “THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS THIS COLLECTION.”

But I kept going: “Boo-Boo Bunny Beige and…”

He said: “You’re making this up.”

I said: “Oh no, this is for real.  There’s Drippy Nose Rose and…”

At which point Zen-Den, shaking his head in disbelief and laughing, wandered away from the conversation, as if I might not be telling the truth.  Can you imagine that?

THE END

In Which I Listen Attentively Then Say “I Believe You” Because I Do

A pretty rose seen in a city park. Is it orangish yellow OR yellowish orange? You decide. I’ll believe you.

Who am I to stop a friend or acquaintance when they’re on a good rant?  

I MEAN, I may or may not agree with them but there are times when letting people vent is the best conversational gambit I know of.

And let me assure you that people in my life are getting quite rant-y.  Blame it on the hot weather or the current deluge of Trumpian noise or the alignment of the planets, but the peoples have things they want to say.

• 🔶 •

FOR EXAMPLE, one woman, a Boomer, spent a good 5 minutes monologuing about how all Millennials are lazy and useless and entitled and __________ [fill-in the blank]. I think she stopped because she’d run out of breath, not complaints.

Considering she has a child who is a Millennial I thought her rant was a bit odd, but maybe it was her passive-aggressive way of dealing with her frustration about her progeny’s choices.  

Beats me.

All I could think to say was “I believe you” because I do believe that from her point of view what she said is truthful to her.

I’m perceptive and empathetic, don’t you know?

• 🔶 •

SOON THEREAFTER, one man, a Millennial, started into his monologue about how much debt he and his friends have and how Boomers never had any debt and that his suffering is the worst darned financial suffering that ever has been. Without any doubt.

Considering he lived at home rent-free [with a Boomer parent] while he was in college I thought his rant was a bit odd, but maybe it was his passive-aggressive way of dealing with his frustration about his job now that he wants to leave the nest.  

Beats me.

Again all I could think to say was “I believe you” because I do believe that based on his life experiences what he said is truthful to him.

I’m tuned-in to the people around me, don’t you know?

• 🔶 •

SO WITH the foregoing experiences fresh in my mind, and with the summer temps predicted to be in the 90s with humidity to match, I’ll end this post by suggesting that if you have a rant you’d like to express, I’m here to hear it.

I suspect I’ll be inside most of the weekend and from what I can tell my ability to listen is what the world needs right now.

Lay it on me. What’s been grinding your gears lately? What’s your sorry not sorry? I’m listening.

At The Grocery Store: You Say Potato, I Say Bosc Pear

A conversation in the checkout lane in which I once again educate the youth of today, a boy child, about the produce one finds in ye olde Kroger…

Cashier Kid: What are these?

Me: Pears.

Cashier Kid: They don’t look like pears.

Me: They’re pears. Bosc pears.

Cashier Kid: What’s that?

Me: Pears.

Cashier Kid: Really?

Me: Yes. Look them up on your list.

Cashier Kid: How do you spell it?

Me: Bosc with a B.

Cashier Kid: Huh, they’re here, BUT THEY DON’T LOOK LIKE THE PEARS MY MOM BUYS.

Me: Uh huh.

Cashier Kid: What do they taste like?

Me: Pears.

Cashier Kid: Why are they so brown like potatoes?

Me: Because, like apples, there are different types of pears. There are golden delicious apples and red gala apples and green granny smith apples, right? Well, there are different kinds of pears.

[Long pause while cashier kid glares at my bag of Bosc pears, presumably thinking about what I said. A learning experience?]

Cashier Kid: Hmmm…

[Second long pause while Cashier Kid stares at me as if he thinks I’m pulling some kind of con on him and the entire Kroger chain of grocery stores.]

Me: These are Bosc pears.

[Finally accepting my explanation of the pears in question, Cashier Kid weighs them so that I might be permitted to buy them.]

Cashier Kid: Bet my mom wouldn’t like these pears. She likes the green ones, THE REAL PEARS.

And so endeth the conversation about pears…

Unexpected Rudeness: She Tried To Yuck On My Yum

A short story from real life. Mine.

Wherein, while at lunch, an aquaintance, who I shall call Grumbly Gertrude, was rude to me for no discernible reason.

I don’t know why what I do makes Grumbly Gertrude unhappy, but it does.  I barely know the woman however I’m guessing I bring out her inner demons.

As they say.

Anyhoo here’s what happened: at lunch with many people sitting around a table Sam the Sincere asked me politely about how my blog was going.  I answered in a few sentences saying, in essence, it was going well.

Sam the Sincere turned to Grumbly Gertrude and asked her politely if she had a blog?

Sam the Sincere, for some reason, was under the impression that because Grumbly Gertrude and I were English majors in college at about the same time, that it’d follow that we both wrote personal blogs.

He was being a kind guy keeping the conversation going, you know?

Welp, Grumbly Gertrude seemed annoyed with Sam the Sincere’s question, choosing to glare at me while she answered the question by saying that she did not have time to have a blog because SHE. HAD. THINGS. TO. DO.

Unequivocalness? She had it. Politeness? Not so much.  A blog? No way.

Of course everyone at the table started looking at me, waiting to see what I’d say back to Grumbly Gertrude and her odd passive-aggressive response to Sam the Sincere’s innocent chit-chat question.

And do you, my gentle readers, know what I did? You’d be so proud of me.

I smiled. Like Mona Lisa.

A smile inscrutable in its meaning, polite, but hiding my real thoughts about what the heck is wrong with Grumbly Gertrude and her snarly answer.

And about how a delightful blog post story had just been handed to me while I did the things I had to do– in addition to writing my blog.  🙄