Things That Make You a Jerk When You’re on a Plane Listed in Order of Awfulness

1)  When you’re seated in row fifty-two or so and the plane is stopped at the end of the flight and then you get up and push past everyone sitting patiently in rows thirty on up because you can’t wait like the rest of us plebeians for the people ahead of you to exit in an orderly fashion.  Unless you have a connecting flight, this makes you a jerk.  You are not the Pope.  You are not Batman, needing to get back to Gotham to fight the Penguin.  Wait the extra twenty minutes like the rest of us. 

2) When you’re by the aisle or window and you use both of your armrests, disregarding the person in the middle. I just can’t even.

3)  When you’re openly impatient with screaming kids.  Dude: okay.  Listening to a child make sounds like a wookie with a sore throat is no one’s idea of a great time.  But it’s not like the kid’s like, “How can I inconvenience a group of grumpy strangers today?”  Unless the kid’s a criminal mastermind, and stranger things have happened.  They can’t even control their bowels in the cases of the younger ones, and none of them understand the philosophical intricacies of life.  Their ears are popping and hurting, they’re scared, they’re in a cramped area, and in the cases of the ones who understand they’re in a metal container hurtling through space… they’re in a metal container hurtling through space, and they can’t communicate their frustration/fear/pain in any other way.

I worked for a while on a metaphor about waking up in a tiny life support pod, in a space ship, with a bunch of aliens surrounding you in life support pods, and you feel like your head is being used to open jars the smashy, shattery way, and when you try to talk to the aliens they grimace and turn away from you because they can’t understand you and to their alien ears your voice is harsh and grating.  That seems basically equivalent to me.  Not perfect, but almost.

4)  Tuna.  Fish.  Sandwiches.

5)  In the airport, if someone (namely: me) is clumsy, have a little buffer zone of empathy.  Some people (namely: me) have bad eyesight and worse coordination, and if you’re walking too close to them (me) stumbly, bumping-into-you things may happen.  I will apologize profusely, but if you give me the stink eye, I am kind of judging you a little.  Of course, the buffer empathy extends both ways, and I get that you’re probably not having a great day, just… be aware: not everyone is a graceful swan on a placid lake.  Some people are me.

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Why I’m Not Ashamed of Playing with Dolls (Usually)

Babysitting.  I was sewing while he’s having his snack.  He asked me what I’m doing, and I said, “Sewing a doll dress.”

He said, “To give away.”

I said, “Nah, for one of my own dolls.”

He sort of sporfled over his animal crackers.  “That’s for four year olds!”  Now, this isn’t something new to me.  I hear that sort of thing a lot.

We had a really nice talk about how older kids play pretend, too.  How when he plays with Beyblades, he’s not thinking of them as plastic tops… that’s why some are more special to him than others, and why they all have the same names they have in the show.  How when he plays with trucks, he’s playing pretend.  Then I continued in on how grownups play with toys.  How cars are toys for adults, because they don’t need anything fancy to get from place to place but sometimes they get the newest, fanciest car in just the right color.  How smartphones are toys for adults.  Videogames are toys for both adults and kids, depending, and basically exactly like playing with dolls whenever you customize an avatar and make them run around and do things.

Dolls are art.  I get to paint them.  I’m tactile, so I like to be able to move them around, like to have something to do with my hands.  Keeping myself occupied with mundane things like sewing and moving things around and walking helps my writing process by getting my editing mind out of the way.

I don’t make them talk or talk to them or even name them (I do talk to/name my plants, but that’s a post for another day), not that there’s anything wrong with that.  I have some really neat action figures, too, from Edgar Allan Poe to Van Gogh to several Batmen.  I’m also building a dollhouse.  I don’t sink a lot of money into any of it… mostly because I’d rather spend my money on other things, and more than that I’d rather put it in the bank.

So yes, I play with dolls.  I just prefer to play with something with moving joints as opposed to a shining screen.

I hope I explained this in a way that doesn’t make me sound like I have a secret murder room.

My Tempermental Bike

My bike is a wreck.  It’s stuck between fourth and fifth gear (I don’t know what the gears mean, even), its front wheel is bent, it squeaks, when I push it there’s a weird dragging feeling every wheel rotation, the brakes on one side are broken (though I hadn’t noticed that until I was informed).  It says “Jeep” on it.  It’s scratched up and red.  It has two different systems of bike locks on it, a chain wrapped in neon green translucent plastic, and one of those u-shaped thingies made of metal, and I don’t know how to get either of them off of it.  I can hardly get the kickstand to work because it has more springs on it than a steampunk C3PO.

I love it.  I love it because it’s mine.  I love it because it’s not perfect.  Because it’s difficult and ornery and broken.

And as I’m composing a post in my mind, just as though an angel called him from heaven from this very purpose, a three-year-old sitting in the park that I passed while struggling to stay upright said, “Hey, you have a cool bike” and he showed me his Lego policeman (whose head spins around!)  Then, before I left, another three-year-old called me pizza-face, so, out of the mouths of babes, I guess.

Why I’m Wasting My Life

You’re right.  Everyone who wants to become a writer or an artist is a drain  on society and wasting their time. 

You should get into the car that you didn’t buy because there weren’t any advertisements for it, turn on the radio where there is no music, interviews, or news stories, and then remember that the car doesn’t exist at all because no one designed it.

You should walk into your home that looks like a brick box because wasn’t thought up by an architect and turn on the television that has no dramas, sit-coms, movies, documentaries, game shows, or news.  I know you’re thinking of reality television, but no, no one cut it together, edited it, or added moody background music (or wrote the script, because, let’s be real here).

Your shapeless gray shift looks fetching on you, or at least as fetching as it can with no one designing it or choosing the color.  At least it goes with your colorless, artless walls and cobbled-together furniture.

Of course, you could always read a book, a magazine, or the paper, but it’s a quick read since the pages and covers are completely and utterly blank. 

Money does not equal worth.  We may not be doctors, lawyers, or politicians, but we’re what entertains doctors, lawyers, and politicians.  There’s a reason that dystopians tend to go for a bland, colorless, artless world, from The Giver to 1984 to Brave New World, and that’s because a world lacking in creativity is a world not worth having.

Today I googled “how to not be lonely” because THAT isn’t sad at all.

The advice basically boiled down to:

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Which is fair enough advice, I suppose.  It isn’t that I haven’t been having meaningful social interactions, because I have been.  I’m a social bumblebee (don’t even get me started on social butterflies.  Bumblebees are way more social and not terrifying and important to the ecosystem).

It’s just that I feel out of alignment with what people my age are going through.  It’s not even just that they’re all getting married, etc, because I know I’m nowhere near there yet.  It’s that they’ve had relationships that lasted longer than several months, they’ve been with people who they seem perfect with (and then they’re broken up a couple years later).  It’s not just that I need a successful relationship… I’m behind on my serious failed relationships, too.  Which puts me getting married at age two-hundred in one of those ceremonies that gets put on the news because, aww, isn’t it sweet, and how did anyone get to be that old anyway?

I swear, I’m not sitting here feeling sorry for myself or anything, I know things’ll happen when they happen, whatever.  Blah blah blah feelings, blah.  I’ve memorized the platitudes, and they seem like reasonable, logical things to do.  That I need to stop looking.  That I need to stop being lonely and be awesome instead. And that’s what I’m doing.  But every once and a while, the loneliness shows up like a zombie bursting out of its grave or an alien bursting out of someone’s chest and I have to shoot it into submission.