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Creating Karma

Last Sunday was D’s birthday, one of the Goodwill janitorial workers in the building where I work.  He was very excited about it the Friday beforehand and reminded me a bit of the way my son gets around his birthday, despite the fact that he’s at least a decade older than I.  He was giddy and all smiles, proudly walking the halls with a birthday balloon given to him by one of his coworkers.  D has a lot going on in his life and the lives of his children, enough to warrant a foul mood, but he manages to stay upbeat nearly all the time.  He’s drawn many pictures for my husband, my son and myself; various comic book and movie characters on large poster board.  He’s one of the few truly nice people you’ll meet in this building.

I wanted to do a little something for him but was pretty limited with a doctor appointment for my son coming up that I’m paying cash for, my son’s birthday, a concert, and a bucketload of bills.  I bought him a little birthday card and enclosed $5.  I taped the bottom of the card’s envelope to three mini notebooks and taped 2 clicky gel pens to the top of the envelope.  D can’t speak and relies on a pad of paper and a pen he carries around to communicate, so I figured he could definitely use them.  I know $5 isn’t much, but maybe he could buy himself lunch or something.  I thought something was better than nothing, but still felt like it was kind of a crummy gift.


I gave it to D during his round of emptying trash, so he had to take it with him and open it once he was completed.  Ten minutes later he came back into the office and wrote “Thank you so much, you are my best friend in this place!”  All smiles, bouncing around, and all over a few notepads, a couple of pens, and barely enough cash for a value meal.  It’s nice to give something to someone who appreciates the gesture and who is genuinely grateful for being thought of.  Something that seems so insignificant to me can be invaluable to someone else.  It’s a good feeling knowing that you were able to put a smile on someone’s face.

I often say karma is a bitch, but maybe karma can also be a friend.  I feel great for doing what I did for D, small as it may have been.  I’ve been doing my best since last Friday to create a peaceful vibe between me and my office nemesis, Paula Deen, which has allowed me to still keep my distance while not feeling uncomfortable around her or feel anger towards her; this small effort has greatly reduced my urge to punch her in the face and allows me to relax during the workday rather than be on edge all the time.  I bit my tongue in the car this morning, put a lid on the road rage and refrained from cussing at the buses that created a mess of traffic that made me 15 minutes late to work; when I arrived, I discovered that my boss was out for the day and obviously wouldn’t notice that I was late, so any anger I had this morning would have been for nothing.  They’re all small things, sure, but maybe these little positive things are creating a bit of positive karma for me and making things overall seem much better.

My husband tells me all the time that I need to calm down, I worry too much, I stress over things that shouldn’t be issues, and I’m going to give myself a heart attack.  He knows he’s usually right, so no need for me to say it.  I’ve found peace by letting people go or avoiding certain activities, but I’ve never been able to find peace around things I can’t avoid.  Or I suppose I should say, I’ve never been able to find it until now.  Glaring at the car ahead of me won’t make it go any faster, hating a person I’m forced to be around won’t make them more likable, stressing over money won’t put more in my wallet, and worrying about things I can’t change won’t allow me to magically make changes.  Maybe all I can do is try to make positives out of negatives, value my friends, and try to put a smile on a stranger’s face now and again, hoping that the good energy I put out there somehow makes it back to me.

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An Open Letter

Dear former friends, old acquaintances, people I used to tolerate for reasons unknown, and anyone who gets mad at me after reading this:

I’ve been on various news sites on and off today, killing time while I wait to leave my office and bring my poor car in for repairs.  There’s always a common theme on any news site of highlighting the misery of others, often doing so in such a way that it seems the general public enjoys seeing others suffer.  I’ve also noticed that more and more celebrity news is sneaking off of the Entertainment page and onto the main page, as if my main reason for visiting CNN.com is to hear about Kim Kardashian and her skin problems.  People are obsessed with the lives of other people, especially when those other people’s lives are full of unsavory things.

Gossip is everywhere.  TMZ, Perez Hilton, E! News, most of the magazines by the cash registers in supermarkets, online, offline, anywhere you look and listen you can find someone dishing the dirt about someone else.  None of us can honestly say we don’t do this at all.  Obviously I talk about people, as can be seen on my blog, but I do have a measure of respect for people’s privacy and I don’t put anyone’s name in anything I discuss, the exception being those who don’t mind, like my husband.  I would never post anyone’s real name or contact information (twitter feeds, blogs, etc) because I have no desire to call attention to myself or put attention on those I discuss.  As I’ve said before, this blog is written for me and me alone as an outlet to vent my various frustrations so I don’t annoy my husband with it.  I also don’t bullshit around.  I don’t embellish a story to make it sound better or rewrite history and add events that simply aren’t true.  Sure, I talk shit, but it’s all factual.

Upon cleaning out a portion of my page that had saved old links to blogs belonging to former friends, I let my curiosity get the better of me and clicked on one of the links prior to deleting it.  This person, I’ll call them F*cker, took a blow to their ego after a ridiculous fight between my husband and I.  We’re not big on holding back and while we weren’t outwardly mean, our words were harsh.  Most important though, our words were 100% true.  F*cker, apparently having nothing of substance to reply with, invented a horrible lie and put it out there in three different internet mediums (possibly 4, but not being a Facebook junkie, I wouldn’t know if anything turned up there).  This story can only be described as a desperate measure from F*cker to save face.  While I’m not idiot enough to put any credibility into F*cker’s story, it is pretty disgusting that this person would sink so low as to say those types of things AND to publicly post those lies on places like Twitter and a blogging site.  It reminds me of the trashy gossip magazines that usually have stories about one person cheating on their spouse while doing lines of coke with underage friends after stealing a car.  Sometimes the truth is boring.  Sensationalism always sells.  When someone wants attention bad enough, be it an individual or a media outlet, the easiest route is to rewrite the story for the maximum WOW factor.  The only problem there is that it’s pathetic and if you do it to someone important enough, it’s an easy way to get sued.

Additionally a friend of mine informed me that someone I used to associate with had mockingly reposted a blog of mine on Facebook where obviously I can’t see it.  The material that was reposted was also targeted directly on my page by a friend of the group I discussed in said blog.  What struck me as funny was why these people were on my page in the first place.  It’s been a year since our falling out.  Had they been checking in on me regularly?  Reading my twitter feeds?  It’s not a matter of privacy (if it was I would protect my tweets and wouldn’t blog at all) but it is pretty damn creepy.  It reminds me of people on Facebook who befriend people they may not necessarily like just so they can check in on their page now and again and mock their pictures or updates, chuckling about how fat or ugly they have gotten, how gross their significant other is, or how stupid their updates are.  It’s the reason there are so many celebrity gossip website clogging up cyberspace.  Sure, it’s great to hear about Jessica Alba having another baby, but let’s get to Lindsay Lohan acting like a drunk idiot or Ashton Kutcher possibly cheating on Demi Moore!  Those sites will be read over and over by people hoping to find details on the misery and failings of others.  If they can’t find it, they’ll speculate, but they stalk those pages until they find something they can harp on and obsess over.

This is why, past friends of mine, I forgive you for your lies, your attempts to mock, and your hope that I will fall on my face while in your full view.  It’s simply part of human nature for most people.  Something is lacking in your life so you seek to find fault in mine.  If it’s not there, you’ll happily create it.  I can’t say that I’m thrilled about the lying part, but I have faith that my true friends and family are intelligent enough to smell your bullshit from a mile away.  Pointing out someone’s failures gives the pointer a feeling of self worth, the thought that while things may be bad personally, they’re a lot better than this other guy.  Seeing a fat person and thinking “Well hell, I thought I was getting a bit chubby, but at least I’m not that guy!”  Reading a news story about someone being arrested and wondering how they could be so stupid, doing something that you would never do, or at least not be caught doing.  I suppose it’s good for an ego boost now and again, but it seems like a horrible way to live.

The days of chunky Nokia cell phones and dial-up internet are long behind us and it takes just a few pushes of a button or a few passes across a touch screen in order to be connected to a network of friends and to have up-to-date internet access on anything and anyone.  I suspect that this will result in more news about Paris Hilton will end up on the main page of the Fox News website instead of on the entertainment page where it belongs (not that I consider Ms. Hilton entertainment, but where else can you stick her?)  It means privacy continues to diminish as more social networks connect with each other and phone applications gain access to your personal information.  It makes it so easy to digitally spy on people that it almost feels like it’s something you have an obligation to do.  The thing is, just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

What’s wrong with being content enough with your own life that you don’t have to bathe in the misery of other people?  What do you truly gain from acting like a Peeping Tom on someone’s social networking or blogging site?  How does reading about Tiger Woods and all the chicks he may have banged enrich your life?  And what, former buddies of mine, do you gain by making up stories about me and making fun of my blog behind my back?  Not that I advocate violent behavior, but I’d rather you challenge me to a fight after work than secretly whine about how mean I am.  At least a fight requires some courage, which is not needed at all for the actions you’ve been engaging in, plus it’s a great workout!  I may not like you anymore, old pals, but I am concerned about your quality of life.  I’d hate to see you end up as bitter old men and women, sitting in a nursing home, bitching and moaning about everything from the rattling air conditioner to the one nurse who smiles too much.  If we all take a step back for a minute and look at the things that get us worked up, we’d see that a lot of it comes from situations we put ourselves into and things we voluntarily expose ourselves too.  Call me crazy, but if there’s a shark in the water, doesn’t it make more sense to not go swimming than it does to jump in, lose a leg, and spend the next 20 years whining about your stump?

 

Lots of love,

Jamie

The Joke’s On You

Friday night was a blast!  My husband and a few friends met up at Houlihan’s, a restaurant and bar that used to be a place we’d be seen in at least twice a month, and enjoyed dinner and drinks followed by a trip to the theater to see Captain America.  On the drive up, I mentioned to my husband that it would be funny if we ended up seeing one of our former friends there that night; we doubted it would happen but both didn’t mind if it turned out he would be part of our group, as neither of us are bothered anymore about how our friendship fell out and we have a mutual friend that would be there.  So of course, as we’re waiting for a table, not only does he walk in, but he’s with the girl that we also fell out with that threw a hissy fit about the whole thing and ended up defriending multiple people.

I won’t lie, it was a bit awkward and I had a moment of immaturity where I had a good laugh at their expense.  We all did.  Sparing you the details, this girl looks like the very definition of a walking joke, the kind of person you wouldn’t want near you if you wanted to be taken seriously.  They were meeting people there for drinks as we were, and one of the people they were meeting is a person who has openly admitted committing statutory rape.  Whether the maybe-pedophile is joking or not when he says things about underage girls, the fact remains that he does so on a frequent basis, and lying about violating teenagers is just as bad as actually doing it in my book.  If Chris Hansen can get guys arrested just for talking about it, I would say that it’s serious.

Here’s where my husband and our group of friends differ greatly from our former friends:  we have moved on and we are no longer negatively affected by them.  We didn’t post nasty garbage on twitter, we didn’t waste time talking about them throughout the evening, and we weren’t uncomfortable about being there.  Hearing a loud remark about my maturity from their table as I walked to the bathroom didn’t hurt my feelings, it just made me chuckle.  Seeing them point over at our table while I was scanning the room for our waiter was just pathetic.  But most important, forgetting they existed and having a great time was an effortless thing for us to do.

So why am I wasting time posting a blog if I’m over the whole thing?  Because it’s how I am; I talk a lot and if you know me, you know I can’t keep my mouth closed about anything, big or small.  The main reason is that I’m a little proud of myself.  I’m a strong person, but my exterior is sometimes weak and my feelings are often in danger of getting hurt.  The younger version of me would have had her night ruined when they walked through the door.  Young me would have dwelled on it all night, maybe even had words with them over the “maturity” comment they yelled as I walked by, or at least complained to my husband about it.  Of course, young me wouldn’t have put these idiots in their place like I did last year either.

This blog isn’t for them, it’s for me and my accomplishments, as little as they may be.  It’s for having the strength to erase people from my life that are good for nothing but bringing me down.  It’s for being the bigger person and not making the night out with friends into a bitch session where I brought the group down by whining about those people.  It’s for not even having the urge to post something on twitter, gesture in their direction, or in any way call attention to ourselves and highlight the fact that we no longer get along.  It’s for destroying the sarcastic maturity remark that was made by actually being a mature person, letting it slide off my shoulders, returning to my table and enjoying the company of my friends, a high class group of people who I’m proud to associate with.  It’s for having pride and acting in a fashion that yields zero regrets.

Move Along

Sometimes I get so upset or angry, I give myself a stomach ache.  My palms get sweaty, my core shakes, and the adrenaline flows through me.  It’s not the most pleasant sensation in the world and like any sane person, I wish to avoid this feeling whenever possible.  Totally impossible to do considering how many awful people I encounter from day to day.  My coworker, for example, embodies every horrible personality trait I can imagine, so it’s inevitable that she’ll end up ticking me off at some point during the eight hours I’m around her.  Some people simply have no tact and say horribly offensive things without a single thought of the repercussions.  To put it plainly, people suck.

I’m a confrontational person with a big mouth.  If not for the fact that I know how to behave in a socially acceptable manner, I would be in someone’s face at least once a day to fight an offense or a slight.  It’s not in my nature to allow someone to insult me or something I care about.  I also have a low tolerance for people with a lack of manners.  For me to let something go, I want to face it head on and crush it beneath my feet.  I want to feel like I conquered, I want to get the last word, and then I’m satisfied and can consider it done.

I don’t want to say I’m getting old, but I can say that I’m growing up.  I’m slowly but surely learning that not everything requires my response and not everyone needs to hear what I have to say.  It would feel great to tell my disgusting coworker exactly what kind of awful she truly is, but what would that really accomplish?  I’d enjoy a few moments of satisfaction, but I’d also be stuck with the long-term effects; discomfort in the work place following a blow up, possible disciplinary action if she whines to the right person, and looking like a regular anger monster to the other employees.  If I wasted my time giving my two cents to every person who chose to engage in a bit of shit talking aimed in my direction, I’d never have a moment of peace.

Censoring myself is something I have zero interest in learning how to do; I enjoy being able to say what I want around my husband and my friends and I appreciate that they know me well enough to not be angered or offended by anything.  The thing that does interest me is finding new ways to deal with the less than savory population.  Finding a way not to let the person with bad manners ruin a meal or a movie.  Not allowing a trash talking gossip at the office to get under my skin.  Taking a negative event and making it into something positive.  I feel that I’m on the right path.  The challenge now is not straying from it and not allowing a bit of dirt kicked in my face to break my stride.

No Kids Allowed In The Adult Pool

Due to my inability to keep my damn mouth shut, I need to comment a bit on some recent events before I am officially done with it.  This is not a passive aggressive attempt to get through to anyone because I’ll gladly speak directly about it if they so choose.

When I was 14 or 15, my best friend Chris got ticked off at me for some reason I can’t remember anymore and gave me the silent treatment for three days.  Three godawful days; he was and still is the king of silent treatments and it was as if I had vanished from the face of the Earth for those three days.  Obviously, we eventually made nice and I still pick on him about it once in a while and have a laugh.  It was an effective way to get a point across.  But we were kids.  We couldn’t even drive yet.  If he pulled that garbage now, I wouldn’t be laughing because it’s a pretty immature thing to do.

Friends fight, it’s a natural thing that’s bound to happen at least once during your friendship.  People disagree, take things the wrong way, offend each other, step on toes, and act like asses.  If you’re friends with a married or dating couple (or vice versa), you run the risk of angering one half of the couple or having your boy/girlfriend get upset and whine to you about some wrongdoing.  But that’s life.  People piss you off, you deal with it and you move on.  Explain to the offender that was they said or did wasn’t all right with you and either make peace or end the friendship.  Be an adult.  Don’t recruit someone to fight your battle for you and don’t resort to playground revenge tactics.

Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and now Google+ have provided us with a great way to stay in touch with people from afar and annoy our friends close by, but have also given the immature crowd a new way to slight others.  Last year, I told two former friends exactly what kind of douchebags they were due to their piss poor treatment of their friends, including myself.  They were so angry at me for it that they stopped following not only myself on Twitter, but my husband and 2 other friends who had exactly nothing to do with what I said to these people.  They also defriended them on Facebook.  I didn’t mind the friendship loss, but I still fail to see why they cut ties with three other people because of something I said.  These were people in their 20s and there they were, throwing a digital “I’m not talking to you anymore” fit.

I have a very small circle of friends and the reason for this is because I’m picky and I prefer quality over popularity.  I’m not going to waste my time with someone who doesn’t deserve it or someone who treats life as a 24 hour joke.  I’m 30 years old and while I still act like an immature idiot sometimes, I also have enough sense to know when and where to act my age.  My husband and I have great paying jobs and we’re in the process of getting to a very financially stable place (he’s a bit faster than me at this).  We go to concerts, movies, and on amazing vacations.  We’re in the process of doing somewhat of a remodel our home.  We have fun and act like retarded kids but we also have our shit together.  I’m never ashamed of anyone seeing where I live because we have a nice place.  My car is currently in need of a fuel pump, but it’s not an issue because we maintain 2 vehicles.  We’re not living the problem free life, but we’re damn sure living a good one.

If I piss you off and you don’t have the balls to say something to me about it, either get over it fast or learn to speak up.  How can you have a healthy friendship (or any relationship) if you can’t approach someone maturely and tell them they fucked up and you’re not having it or that something they did/are doing bothers you?  I’m a pretty reasonable person and I’m capable of having a rational conversation, so there is zero excuse for not manning up and letting me know what’s up.  If I’m not close to the person, I probably won’t give a rat’s ass if they decide to quit talking to me one day, but when someone who is a great friend to my husband and who I assumed was a friend to me does it, I’m at a loss.

What gets me about the current situation is that I was 100% uninvolved in the incident that set things off.  I don’t even understand why the anger is there in the first place; the offense wasn’t even offensive.  Still, my uninvolved self was shunned both on Twitter and Google+.  I initially thought that due to what looks like a new Twitter account, I was accidentally left out, but I don’t think I was accidentally deleted from the friend circle in Google+.  Am I guilty by association because my husband pissed you off?  Maybe I’m just a terrible person and they didn’t realize it until a couple of days ago?  Or maybe there is no good reason, it’s just the result of me getting caught in the crossfire of a temper tantrum thrown over something silly.

I have certain expectations from the people I consider friends and one of those is to act maturely when maturity is called for.  I want to surround myself with great people doing great things and I don’t see why I should ever settle for anything less.  There is absolutely no justification for an adult to give someone the silent treatment or the digital shun.  I’d much rather have someone screaming in my face than ignoring my phone calls, because at least the screamer has the decency to approach me and (loudly) tell me why they’re upset.  Since I didn’t get any communication in this situation, I’m venting here and I’m done with it.  I won’t be going out of my way to talk to anyone who wasn’t willing to speak with me and I’m not going to worry about the potential loss of a friend because I have an amazing husband and great people here locally.  All things considered, I come out a winner no matter what the future brings.

Party On

College provides us with a wealth of knowledge, but none as important as life experience and exposure to true human nature.  My freshman year was typical; living on campus with a roommate I’d never met, full load of classes, no job, and fairly ignorant.  I made friends quickly and joined the marching band playing cymbals, an instrument requiring little talent in a school of that size.  I enjoyed the freedom of being away from my parents, no curfew, without penalty if I happened to miss a class or two.

Little did I know that my roommate/band buddy was a lazy, possibly bi-polar sex fiend.  The first incident was a movie night in our dorm room with a few friends from the building and from off-campus.  Partway into the flick, I look over and see my roommate with her head between some guy’s legs.  A guy she just met, no less!  The second was with a friend of one of my friends who came to visit me partway into the semester.  They had gotten a hotel room, since there was no way they were staying with me.  After they rented the room, they came back to campus to let me know their plans for the evening:  drinking.  I had an early day and opted to stay in, but my eavesdropping roommate got excited and went with them.  Come to find out later, she gave them both a “special” kiss downtown.  Lesson 1: Many freshman girls say “Hello, how are you” with their mouths.

A couple weeks later, my roomie stopped going to her 10am class.  She would sleep until 2 or 3 in the afternoon and rarely showered.  Her closet slowly began to migrate to a dirty moldering pile under her bed.  The stink was horrible.  Finally we got an explanation; cancer.  She explained to myself and our dorm-mates that she was diagnosed with cancer and the pain was so horrible she could barely get out of bed.  I pitied the poor girl, until coming back from class one day and catching a message on our answering machine from her mom about her kidney stones.  She confessed to the lie later.  Lesson 2: Kidney stones are synonymous with cancer and should be treated as, if not more, seriously.

Having no job in college caused me to rely heavily on my savings account.  My parents refused to allow me to have a job so I was forced to get creative.  A friend of mine sparked the idea by asking me if he could borrow a paper I wrote for the class he was taking.  I agreed, but only if I could rewrite it and change a few things so no one would be the wiser.  5 minutes of work earned me $20.  He told a few friends and before I knew it, I had requests pouring in with payment in both cash and 12 packs of beer.  Having the talent to bullshit an A paper in less than an hour earned me some good money during my sophomore year.  Lesson 3: Plagiarism and cheating do in fact pay, if done properly.

Living in dorms forces you to get up close and personal with people you don’t know for extended periods of time.  You get to see the good and the downright ugly from people whether they want you to or not.  During my sophomore year, I had a private bedroom with a shared common area and 2 shared bathrooms between 5 people.  Prior to moving in, the set up seemed ideal.  I had my privacy while still having that shared space to enjoy with my new roomies.  Turned out my roomies were a bit nuts.  I shared a wall with an obese female who insisted on having loud sex with her greasy boyfriend, another who created a bio hazard in the bathroom, and one who had her sex offender male “cousin” sharing her room with her.  With paper thin walls all around, I could hear everyone’s business.  I ended it by winning a war with sex-noise neighbor one night by putting a porn track on full blast.  Lesson 4: The Kinky CoEds soundtrack beats fat flabby sex every time.

Going from high school to the college world had my expectations up high.  I envisioned a whole new world with all sorts of new people, a life different from anything I had in high school.  When I finally settled down enough to look past the newfound freedom, it became clear that not much had changed at all.  Cliques were more present than ever, only now they got to have cool names in the form of Greek letters and they got to put people through a process of being their friend or being rejected, and THEN they charged you a monthly fee for friendship in the form of dues.  And if you weren’t lucky enough to sport these letters across your chest or on a tote bag, then you just weren’t worth the time of day.  They hosted events and spent money, ordered gear with their names ablaze, spending more money, and admitted new members here and there, charging them money.  Lesson 5: The need to be accepted and exclusive doesn’t fade with age, it just gets more expensive.

This guy has a bright future working at Gas America

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