There’s one in every crowd

Sometimes I’m not very good in social situations.  I have a tendency to fill silences, which is a really bad impulse for a writer.  Silence is, after all, a useful tool.

One great thing about curling is it has socializing built in.  At broomstacking after a match you at least have the game to talk about.  It’s the same principle that applies to dates: always go to a movie and dinner that way at dinner you’ll at least have the movie as a topic of conversation.

At my curling club there’s this guy I’ll call T.  No matter what new thing you’ve discovered or what experience you’ve had, T. has already discovered that thing or had an experience that transcends yours.  Go skiing in Aspen over Christmas, T. has been dropped from a helicopter on to Mt. Everest and skied all the way down.  Whale watching trip in Hawaii?  T. got to actually touch a humpback whale while scuba diving in Tahiti.

One of the interesting things about leaving my job the way I did last spring is I’ve started to pay more attention to what’s around me, and one of the things I’ve realized is, there is a T. in every office.

At my last job it was my boss.  No matter what new thing I discovered, oh, he’d heard of it before and wow was it nothing special. In my new work situation, it is one of my team mates.

TGF and I have a friend whose brother-in-law is part owner of a minor league baseball team.  The brother-in-law took our friend to the winter baseball owners meeting. The surprise gift from this for TGF: an official 2016 World Series baseball.

This year for the winter vacation TGF and I are going to Mesa for some Cubs spring training games, and maybe for some autographs on that 2016 baseball.

In discussing my vacation request on our team check-in call last week I explained all this and my boss, also a Cubs fan, expressed her excitement for me and TGF about this trip.

And then the resident T. jumped in.  She’s going on vacation to Florida in February. When asked what she was going we were rewarded with a 5 minute story about where her parents live in The Villages.

If you haven’t heard of it, The Villages is a highly planned community in Central Florida.  Hyper conservative, reportedly totally promiscuous, and, apparently, semi-fascist about access to their property according to my co-worker. Yes, it’s going to be horrible to visit her parents but, duty calls, and she’s going to go anyway.

Never content to let someone else be in the spotlight, the T.’s of the world will always find a way to upstage you.





It was losing Carrie Fisher that did me in

Oh 2016…what a year you turned out to be.

I had to summon up the courage to walk away from my abusive boss and my job with no where to go in the Spring.  Yeah, I was unemployed for four months but I managed to find something more lucrative.

I did a lot of really intense professional development and have spent the last 10 months trying to pivot my career while studying and constantly applying for jobs putting myself through the application-interview-don’t call us/we won’t call you grist mill of self-promotion and epic rudeness.

Then there was the election which was less about the disappointment of not seeing the first woman President get elected and more about the abject fear of the slow slide into fascism picking up speed endangering me and my friends who diverge from Steve Bannon’s neo-Nazi ideal of the world.

After a certain amount of intellectualizing denial and lots of strategic research into gun ownership where I live, I found I could handle the election results. After all, I’m a Washington DC native; we’re used to living in occupied territory. I lived through the Reagan years and the Dubya years, how hard could the maybe 18 months of Donald Trump and the rest of the Pence administration be?

Uncharacteristically for me, I’ve been trying to look on the bright side.  I’ve been making an effort to see opportunities in challenges, to learn from negative experiences, and to let things go and move on when things don’t turn out the way I want them to.

So, for the last several weeks, I’ve been looking for some clever way to skewer the dumpster fire, shitshow of a year 2016 turned out to be.

Exchange I had with a friend who lives in the UK. My comments are in green. Little did we know.

And then Carrie Fisher died.

Author, actress, mental health advocate, all around loud-mouth unafraid to speak the truth about herself no matter how socially unacceptable it might be. She was a fearless feminist who stood up to the internet trollery. She was Princess Leia the most kick-ass woman in space ever…that Carrie Fisher.

Yeah, my brain said, she’s been living on bonus time since 1985. After all, is there any other way to view the time after you recover from a drug overdose except as a gift?  She made the most of moving between screen and page in a way that seemed effortless from outside but it was bonus time nonetheless.

But the rest of me reeled, gut punched.

Carrie fucking Fisher.

I want to write something clever about 2016 but the only thing I can come up with is inchoate rage and sadness.  It sounds something like this:


The thing of it is I can’t sit paralyzed.  If I sit by and keep letting life roll over me the bastards win.

Somewhere in the last four days I decided use 2016 as fuel, and oh was there so much fuel. So much rage, so much fear, so much shock.

If nothing else, Carrie Fisher dying is a kick in the ass for me. It made me realize I am tired of waiting for my life to start.  I am tired of not doing things because I’m afraid of being judged.

2017 is probably just the beginning of the coming debacle (Hello, January 20th and beyond) but I plan on burning brightly this year.  It won’t be easy but it’s the only thing I can think to do besides hide under my desk and stress eat chocolate.

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