Friday, January 24, 2014

Substitution, Mass Confusion

I’ve been replacing intangible things all morning and now my hands smell like bleach.

(Yes, I am well aware that I’ve fallen into a pattern of beginning each post with an enigmatic statement without a shred of context. Thank you for noticing. The system works dammit and I’m not fixing it.)

It started when I replaced next Tuesday with next Wednesday. That was easily done, though there will be ramifications. Next, I replaced this morning, Friday morning, with Monday morning.

That’s why my hands smell like bleach. I was going to do the big cleaning on Monday.

Gotcha! You probably thought that your philosopher Auntie meant significant intangibles. Granted, the bleach was a bit of foreshadowing.

Nobody ever ended up smelling like bleach after contemplating a significant intangible.

Well, nobody except me.

I don’t iPod or mp3 or podcast or anything. I just scrub and think. So I end up contemplating significant intangibles when I run out of insignificant ones. This is what I came up with:

Intangible #1: A new tweet, one I rather liked. It’s been retweeted twice already, so at least two other people liked it too.

Intangible #2: A new plan.

Daunting as it is, Auntie has decided to go back to doing jokes-a-day. It’s been more than a year. It’s time.

So, like I always do, I’m telling you all of this to force me to follow through.

But this is a post about substitution. And the last thing I substituted was doing this post instead of the jokes.

I’d blame the clouds inside my head but that would make it too easy to identify the song whence came the title quote.

Bye, bye love. I’m off to try to be funny.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Loose Change

Scene: A long shadowy corridor. A monitor flickers in the distance. Begin V.O.

Times change. People change. And by “change” I mean “move on.”

Relationships often come with a natural sell-by date that’s nobody’s fault. Maybe everyone graduated, or somebody left the company or the city. Children can make a difference, as can sobriety or the lack thereof. New relationships can choke out the old.

The point is that people, for whatever reason, move on.

Intro over. Lights up. Cue Facebook theme song for foreshadowing & background music.

In ye olden days, there were visible signs that yes, the times had changed and someone had been cut loose.

First there would be a delay in returning phone calls (this was pre-texting, my darling children) Invitations would be declined and later ignored. Birthday and Christmas cards would stop appearing.

That much is the same now. The difference is that back then we didn’t have Facebook.

Music cue: Old time-y organ pounding out da da DAAAAH!

Montage: Your own FB TL. Yes, yours.

Take a good look. When was the last time you saw some of these people?

If you happened to be visiting their town, would you arrange to hang out? Would they call you if they were going to be nearby?


Then why the hell do you know so much about their lives?

That’s rhetorical. Facebook, obviously. This is what it’s for.

In my case, Facebook is for finding out that someone who cut me loose has had a catastrophic personal tragedy. She moved on, so I have to respect that and not offer sympathy, support or even soup. No matter what the protocol is, I can’t bring myself to “like” a sad status.

In case you were wondering why I avoid Facebook, this is just another example.

Cue Oingo Boingo: “Goodbye-Goodbye”

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Digression From Nothing

Let’s try this again.

Don’t ask me “try what?” because I’m about to tell you. That was just my way of jumping into the middle of an idea to make all this seem more active and interesting.

Yes, yes, yes I know. It would have had to already be interesting in order for it to seem more interesting and when I only said “Let’s try this again” that wasn’t at all interesting so I’ve already obviated that second (ersatz expository) paragraph.

What was I saying? Oh. Right.

Absolutely nothing.

But I was about to apologize for the long post-less stretches of nothing.

The nothing keeps happening because enough of you have kindly contacted me about old posts to make me self-conscious about coming up with new ones.

Actually, the “new” part is the problem. I just found out that I’ve been on Twitter for exactly five years yesterday, which means that I’ve been doing this blog for five years plus a few days.

Let’s not speculate on how long it took me to start to repeat myself, ok? At least give me some points for trying not to.

So when I said “Let’s try this again” I was really thinking out loud after having read through the bits and pieces of formulaic drivel that are in this Word™ file.

Sure, there are a couple of clever things, but the humor is of a pattern an elephant would recognize if that elephant had read three or four of these posts.

While I’m not above repeating myself, and I’m really not above repeating myself har har, I don’t want to go to the well too often. I feel like I’ve been doing that lately.

Then again, this post right here breaks the pattern, even more so because I’m not trying to be funny. We’re having a conversation, you and I. Well, I’m having a conversation with you and until you send your half to the address above ( or leave a comment in the comments section, then my half will have to suffice.

What a great word that is. “Suffice.” We should say it more often. But I digress.

Is it possible to digress from nothing? Well, I just did so never mind.

I’m going to go look for a new (ha! Let’s say new-ish) idea. Wish me luck.

In the meantime, behave yourself accordingly. And if you can't, feel free to Ask Auntie how.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Going To A Goal-Goal

Well, it’s been January for almost two weeks now. That’s enough time to have the test results back on your resolutions. Sit down – oh right, you’re already sitting down.

Let’s have a look, shall we?

Those of you who are still plugging away deserve applause. Auntie is clapping and smiling and very proud of you. All the darlings in this group can go back to flossing your teeth or exercising or reading Serious Literature or not biting your nails or whatever it was you resolved to do. Congratulations, and keep up the good work.

This is for the rest of you.

Auntie gets it. Change is hard. That deserved an exclamation point but instead I’m going to emphasize it by reminding you that change is so hard that Auntie doesn’t resolve to do it no matter how much she may need to.

(Viz., it’s been ten days since my last post.)

You made a resolution, or more than one, to change something you don’t like about yourself and/or your circumstances. This is huge.

(Unless you’re one of those superfit people who claim to need to lose weight. That’s just annoying. But who am I kidding? They’re over in the health and fitness section of the blogosphere. Never mind.)

Where was I? Oh, right. You took a long look at yourself and figured out what needed to be fixed in order for you to get closer to happiness. In a sense, that’s an end in itself. Understanding the problem is half the battle. (Yo, Joe!)

If it had been a little thing, you would have just done it like a snap of the fingers. No, this was something big.

In fact, it was something so big that you needed the symbolic push of a New Year.

Okay, so you missed perfection. The inertia of a bad habit or the difficulty of a new goal was too much to overcome right off the bat. Of course that’s discouraging. But it’s still a New Year, and you can try again. Please try again.

I believe in you.

I’m going to floss my teeth now.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hear, Hear, New Year

There’s a saying, “The opposite of talking isn’t listening; the opposite of talking is waiting.”

Oh, you don’t do that. You listen. But you’d probably agree that most people don’t. Most people just wait for their turn to speak, or only hear what they expect to hear. Then they argue with what they thought they heard even if it wasn’t what you said, but never mind that.

I suspect that an optimist would hear what s/he wants (not expects) to hear, but I don’t know any optimists so I can’t ask.

We value listening --- well, we value it when people listen to us. We like people who listen to us. It means they’re paying attention to us.

Think about that for a sec.

They’re “paying” attention. We’re being compensated. But compensated for what?

Relax. Auntie isn’t giving a pop quiz today. That was rhetorical.

We’re being compensated for our affection, or if not affection, at the very least our good will. That’s why politicians and telemarketers and Hi-I’m-Kevin-your-waiter all seem so solicitous. They profit from our good will so they try to buy it with attention.

Before you say anything, sincerity isn’t on the table right now. Not even the table in Kevin-your-waiter’s section.

Anyhow, we’re talking about listening.

A cynic might say that we like it when people listen to us because we think that if they’re not interrupting us, then they’re agreeing with us.

I know lots of cynics. I could ask one of them, but I might not hear the answer I want.

That’s a joke. It’s true, but it’s a joke.

Most of us think we’re good listeners. Some of you are. I don’t know if I am.

How can we tell? We can measure listening by understanding, as in how much and how well the listener understood what was said.

Most of us think we’re good understanders. Some of you are. I try to be.

That would be a good New Year’s resolution, to try to understand better, or at the very least, to listen better.

Then again, maybe I’m being optimistic. I'll just try to wait more patiently while you're talking instead.