The One About The Mutual Acquaintance With The *Maybe* Secret Life

FRIEND, WHO IS NOT A DRAMA QUEEN, is convinced that a mutual acquaintance of ours, let’s call her Maureen, has a secret life.

Friend, who lives closer to Maureen and communicates with her more frequently than I do, thinks that Maureen is up to something.  Something weird, that is.  Something that Maureen doesn’t want us to know about.

Friend, who enjoys ye olde Facebook, tells me that Maureen disappears for days, not responding to any form of contact and then when they do talk in person there are holes in the story– about who was there, when events happened.

EASY AS IT WOULD BE TO DISMISS Friend’s observations about Maureen, I’ve heard this story before, many years ago.  And in that situation, the suspicions turned out to be correct.

Back then, that mutual acquaintance was off doing some things in another town involving a new age-y cult-type group that mutual acquaintance didn’t want anyone to know about.

But eventually we did find out– and that was long before Facebook, a simple nosy way to lurk on the edges of someone’s life.  Which is, of course, what Friend is now doing as she tries to find out the truth about Maureen’s alleged secret life.

AND ME, WHAT AM I DOING ABOUT all of this?  Not one blessed thing except listening to Friend.

I figure that enough people tell me their secrets and concerns without any prompting, that I don’t need to go looking for more things to know about people than what they want to share with me directly.

Case in point… read the first sentence of this post.

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Question of the Day:
Have you ever wondered if a friend or acquaintance has a secret life?  And if so, did they?  Or do you still not know for sure?
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A Refreshing Conversation With An Older Gentleman Who Takes Life In Stride

“Sometimes you’re the windshield, Sometimes you’re the bug…” 

I was listening to an older acquaintance chuckle as he told me about a scam he’d gotten caught up in.  He understood what had happened and how it’d happened.

After some research and many phone calls, he’d extracted himself from the scam and was a few hundred dollars poorer because of it.

He told me that in retrospect he realized that the whole mess was less about him being stupid, than about the scam being slick and sophisticated, taking advantage of his trusting nature + his unfamiliarity with certain details.

No surprise there, eh?

But what struck me about this conversation, that was more like a monologue, was that this older gentleman telling me this story wasn’t bitter about what had happened.  There was not one ounce of “I’m a victim” or “I blame _____” going on with this guy.

Instead, he was telling his story as a cautionary tale.  All he needed was for someone to listen and understand his predicament– and for someone to tell him that he “done good” solving the problem himself.

All of which got me thinking…

When was the last time you were part of a conversation like this one?  SERIOUSLY, when did you last listen to someone who had been taken advantage of– and who wasn’t whining and emoting about the unfairness of it all?

Someone who was behaving like an adult who grasped the fact that in the rhythm of life not everything works out as planned– and that’s ok, too, because if you’re smart, you learn from it and move on.

Like this older gentleman did, in his quiet self-deprecating way.

Apparently You Cannot Motivate Me With One Written Word

To thine own self be true…

LATE LAST WINTER I STUMBLED on an article that was about how to be more productive.  I wasn’t looking for an article on that topic, but for some reason when I saw this particular article I stopped to read what it had to say.

The gist of this article, that I did not save the link to, told me that if anyone [who reads English, I’m assuming] sees the word ACHIEVE while working at any task, then that anyone will be more productive.

So being a curious open-minded person who happened to be bored on a winter afternoon, I wrote “Achieve” on a post-it note and put the post-it note where I’d see it when I sit at my desktop computer every day.

The premise of this idea seemed a little woo-woo to me, but I thought: Why not? I’ll keep the note where it is for spring and then when summer arrives I’ll evaluate what has happened.

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SUMMER IS HERE NOW SO it’s time for me to weigh in on the efficacy of this visual aid: that is, have I been inspired to new heights of productivity because I see the word ACHIEVE every day?

As much as I want to say “yes, this ezpz solution has helped me be more productive,” I’m going to be honest and tell you, my gentle readers, that I don’t think I’ve been any more or less productive since I put this post-it note in my line of sight.

I, of course, have no way of verifying my finding because I have no baseline level of productivity from which to start my study, so my conclusion is entirely subjective… rather like the idea in the article that prompted me to try this experiment.

But what I have learned about myself from this little foray into the land of inspirational signage is that for me the desire to do things has to come from within, and cannot be supplanted by one random word… no matter how clearly or often I see that word.

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

Do you find yourself motivated when you see an inspirational sign with one word on it?

OR

Do you find yourself to be motivation-resistant to one word signs like I am?

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Of Black Coffee, Morning Clouds, and Self-Expression

EARLY THE OTHER MORNING about 6:00 a.m. the clouds floating over our house were so pretty that I decided to sit on the deck, drink my mug of black coffee, and photograph the clouds as they drifted overhead.

AS I WATCHED CLOUDS morph into one shape after another, I remembered a recent interview I’d heard with Carly Simon.  She was on Here’s The Thing podcast with Alec Baldwin.  [Interview here.]

WHENEVER I THINK OF Carly Simon I think of the lyrics to You’re So Vain, specifically: “I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee, Clouds in my coffee.”  It seemed like the perfect thought for where I was sitting, what I was drinking while musing on clouds.

I HAD ENJOYED LISTENING to the podcast as Carly explained her life, her music, her memoir. Her conclusions.  My impression was that she sees her past clearly, with a wit and wisdom that made me appreciate her struggles. And her triumphs.

AS I WATCHED THE CLOUDS, reflecting on what Carly Simon had said, I began to wonder about my own abilities to understand and describe myself to others.  Would I ever be able to explain my past, either in verbal or written form, as eloquently and truthfully as she had explained hers?

NOT THAT I HAVE an overwhelming desire to tell all to everyone, but should I feel the need to do so for some reason, would I be able to do it?  Would you?

Social Media: Rambling Thoughts About People Who Hate-Follow

It’s not that I’m a martyr to nice, but I don’t hate-follow anyone on social media.  It seems like more work than fun to me, but maybe I don’t know how to do it right.

I know it’s a thing to hate-follow other people.  I keep hearing about it from friends and family, sometimes in the context of harmless mischief, other times mentioned as, what I’d call, peremptory maliciousness.

They tell me who they follow, often a high school nemesis or a work frenemy or a disliked neighbor.

They tell me that doing this makes them feel good about themselves. That by keeping tabs on someone who they dislike, they come to understand themselves better &/or stay ahead of any trouble that might be brewing.

I don’t know if I totally buy into my friends and family’s reasoning behind the hate-following. To me their reasoning sounds more like rationalization about doing something kinda fun + almost amoral, than behavior contributing to a person’s good mental health.

But considering no one expects me to become a hate-follower, and no one seems to have upped his or her dosage of Zanax because of the hate-following, I figure what the heck?

I mean if nothing else, these friends and family do seem to have some fun, juicy stories to share about people– and you know me, I always love a good story, regardless of how someone learns about it.

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:

• Do you hate-follow anyone on social media? If so, how’s that working out for you? Details, please.

• Alternately, do you know anyone who hate-follows on social media? If so, do they have good stories to tell because of it? Or is it warping their brain to the dark side?

• Even more intriguing, do you think anyone is hate-following you? Hmmm?

The Beginning Of My Life As A Purposeful Procrastinator

screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-8-15-02-amTwenty years ago this month Zen-Den and I bought a dial-up modem that we used to connect our home computer to the World Wide Web– and our lives changed forever.

For a few years before this, we’d been using a home computer to keep track of finances and to make a recipe book– well, one of us was making a recipe book.  These uses of a home computer seemed modern enough to us, but with a snazzy new modem we had the luxury of the WWW in our home.  Imagine!

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I knew about email because in college I had an email address.  That was only because I was part of an early academic study on how strangers interact with each other on the World Wide Web.

[Back then, the answer would be formally, as if writing a letter and responding back to each other on a weekly basis.]

I also knew a little bit about getting information from the web, although my experience had been with college librarians who were the only people with direct access to computers that connected to the WWW.

[Back then I’d give my query of keywords, perfectly parsed a la Boolean logic, to a librarian who then input my query into a computer.  Hours later I’d get a printout of where to go in the bricks-and-mortar library to read whatever it was I was researching.]

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But what I didn’t know about the WWW was how much I’d fall in love with it, and its ability to provide information and conversation instantly.

Now, of course, it seems completely normal. Pedestrian.

But I tell ‘ya when we first went online at home in 1997, I never dreamed that the World Wide Web would be the making of me.  And that the screechy sound of our dial-up internet connection was heralding my quirky future as a purposeful procrastinator with a blog.

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Questions of the Day

When did you first get connected to the WWW in your home?

How has your life changed because of it?

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Because It’s Still February & I’m Bored: 10 Trivia Facts I Know

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{ photo by Alice Donovan Rouse via Unsplash }

I don’t know if the following list is an example of useful information OR humblebragging.

I mean on the one hand, knowing some trivia can be fun and fill-in those awkward pauses in social conversations.

But on the other hand creating a list like the one that follows is a bit egotistical.  I mean in essence I’m saying to you, here are things that I know and you probably don’t.  Woo-hoo!

However, I have nothing else to write about today because February, the longest short month on the calendar, is never going to end and I am bored with it.  So why not share some trivia?

Ten Trivia Facts That I Know
  1. I know that on the Jetsons, Astro’s name before he came to live with the Jetsons was Tralfaz.
  2. I know that Cosmic Latte is the name of the color of the universe.
  3. I know that at one time Jell-O came in a Celery flavor.
  4. I know that shoes used to be made with buttons on them, no laces or velcro;  and that you needed a button hook to get the button-hole over the button on your shoe, so it would stay on your foot.
  5. I know that a stoat is a kind of weasel that according to folklore, upon seeing one a person must say “hello” to it– or risk bad luck.
  6. I know that coffee, not tired eyeballs, is an ingredient in red-eye gravy.
  7. I know that baby squirrels in the nest chirp like baby birds.
  8. I know that at one time in the English language you put a backward question mark at the end of a sentence when the question in the sentence was rhetorical.
  9. I know that chromophobia is the word for the fear of color.
  10. I know that you can make a passable martini using chardonnay instead of vermouth.

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NOW IT’S YOUR TURN TO SHARE, MY GENTLE READERS. TELL ME SOMETHING TRIVIAL THAT YOU KNOW!

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