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?  

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Talking To Myself: Evidence Of Impending Decrepitude Or Productivity Hack?

Oh the brain, she be tired and easily distracted.

Like the pre-old person I am.

You see, last week I was in a productive mood.  I was busy, but not overwhelmed.  Happy, but not dippy.  Energetic, but not the most organized I’ve ever been.

Thus it came to be at one point in the late afternoon, while I was whirling around the house, doing the things, thinking the important blogging thoughts, that I realized I’d forgotten what I was doing.

Completely forgot.

Just standing there in the middle of the room, immobile. Alone, no one else around to give me a prompt.

*Humph*

Thus as a way of getting myself back on track I said out loud to myself:

“Do the thing you were supposed to be doing when you realized that you hadn’t done the thing you were supposed to have done and stopped to do that thing.”

And guess what?

I listened to myself, did what I said I should do, and got back in the groove, because apparently when it comes to keeping the productivity choo-choo train on the track I need to use convoluted sentences to communicate with myself.

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Questions Of The Day

Had any good conversations with yourself lately? Did you listen to yourself? And how’d that work out for you?

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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.

As Autumn Begins: Saying Hello And Goodbye Up In The Sky

As the seasons change so does the early morning light, meaning that when I’m up early drinking my coffee out on the deck, I see things differently.

[Or is it that I see different things?]

Above is a photo in which you can see a jet plane, headed one direction, and the waning crescent moon headed the other direction.

[Look closely, they’re both there.]

To me this seems like they’re saying hello and goodbye as they pass each other, rather like the way in which summer and fall pass by each other on the calendar.

[Or something like that.]

I’m not a poet, nor do I profess to be profound.  Instead I notice things, photograph them, describe them, then allow my thoughts to meander.  Perhaps with no purpose.  Perhaps with a keen insight that I have yet to understand.

[Regardless, I think the above photo is cool.]

Happy Autumn, everyone.  I’m looking forward to it.  Whatcha got planned?  Spill the beans in the comments below.

Notes On Getting My TSA Known Traveler Number + Chitchat About Where I’ve Been

Let’s heAR it for Ms. Bean

This summer, after yabbling about doing this for years, I finally enrolled in the TSA PreCheck program.

The online application was easy.  The total cost was $85.00 for five years.  But it did require an interview with a real person at a TSA-approved IdentoGO office that happened to be nowhere close to where I live.

My interview appointment time, the soonest I could get, was 4 weeks from when I sent in my enrollment– and then it was 10 days after that before I got my official TSA Known Traveler Number [KTN].

For me this was not a fast process

Do I need this TSA PreCheck status?  I dunno.  But after some of my air travel experiences, most notably standing in the Las Vegas TSA line for 1 hour 45 minutes, I’ll do anything that *might* make the process less painful.

[Click HERE to read an article that helped me to better understand the program.]

And on that note, having talked about the practical side of travel, I’ll share the following fun and pretty stuff.

I created these images using the Visited Countries Project on Douwe Osinga’s website. You may already know about this because it’s been around for a long time.

Nonetheless here is where I’ve been
I’ve been to 9 countries which amounts to 4% of the world.

• • •

I’ve been to 34 US states which amounts to 68% of the country.

• • •

I’ve been to 3 Canadian provinces which amounts to 23% of the country.

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QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Are you in the TSA PreCheck program? If so, how has that worked out for you?

Where did you go for your favorite vacation ever? Where did you go for your worst vacation ever?  

Got any travel plans for the rest of this year?

• • •

Three Thoughts Thursday | Doing. Organizing. Watching.

This is when I tell you stuff and don’t make a story of it.  

• • •

ONE

I think that this month I’ll try Susannah Conway’s The August Break [#augustbreak2019] photo prompts on Instagram [also on Facebook if that’s your jam].

Janet at Janet’s Smiles made me aware of this challenge. No pressure, no hype– just a chance to do something creative and different than my usual lackadaisical approach to sharing pics over on my IG account [@thespectacledbean].

I’ve never tried anything like this before, so I anticipate some anxiety at first, but I imagine I can follow through and do this more or less daily.

TWO

I think that the idea of learning to batch your time is intriguing.

A friend mentioned this concept to me so I did some research.  According to a productivity hack from Brazen, batching: “allows you to take advantage of your full concentration by grouping a bunch of similar activities together and doing them all at the same time.” [More here and here.]

I’m sure I do this naturally in some areas of my life already, but I could apply this concept to how I blog.

THREE

I think that Dead to Me is a wonderful TV show that just goes to prove great TV is possible.

I watched the 10 episodes in a 2-day binge.  This show, starring Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini, is funny + sad + clever + outrageous.  I won’t go into the deets about the plot, the characters, the settings but I will say that I didn’t see the ending coming.  And I loved it.

There’s nothing better than being pleasantly surprised by something unexpectedly smart.

• • •

Questions of the Day

Have you ever tried a monthly photo challenge on your blog &/or on IG &/or in FB?  And if so, how’d it go?

What do you know about batching your time?  Do you do this?

Got a suggestion for another wonderful TV show that you’ve found to be amazeballs?

• • •

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.