This and That

I pretty much dove into this blog with no preamble. My “About” page is all of two sentences. Since most of the folks who visit this corner of cyberspace are either people who know me in person or those who have read my “Bygone Blogs of Olden Days,” that really hasn’t mattered much.

But it snowed last night, and miracle of miracles, my employer is actually opening at noon rather than forcing us all out to do the rush hour slip-and-slide with the rest of the state. This would normally be a perfect opportunity to do some real writing. But because I am worse than any school kid when it comes to getting giddy about the possibility of snow days, I didn’t sleep much last night. So I have a little precious time on my hands but no brain with which to use that time in a real writerly way.

A true grownup would take the opportunity to make something up ahead of time for dinner or do some laundry or scrub a toilet. But I’m still fighting that whole “true grownup” thing tooth and nail, so I’m going to respond to a meme a friend posted a while back on Facebook instead. I figured I’d post it here rather than FB since it is the kind of stuff most bloggers get around to sharing on their pages eventually.

1.   What do people call you as a nick name?

 My friends and I sometimes greet each other with “hey, a-hole.” I don’t think much explanation is needed there. My ex-husband and I used to call each other “Tim-May.” As in Timmy of South Park fame. There’s probably some explanation needed there, but I really don’t have a good one.

Lee and I call each other “Booger.” Again, I’m sure an explanation would be nice, but other than noting that I obviously have a trend of coming up with warped nicknames in my relationships, I have none to offer.

2.   What surprises you most about yourself?

 Honestly, that I’ve been able to make it in the real world. On the surface, I am sometimes surprised by how much I like something I write or by an accomplishment at work that I’d never have thought would come from me. But deep down, I’ve always known those things were in me.

What consistently amazes me is that I haven’t been hit by a car crossing the street while lost in my own head, that I haven’t been tossed out of my house for not paying the mortgage even when there was money in the bank because I sometimes just can’t be bothered with details like sending off bills, that I haven’t starved or died of malnutrition because I can’t cook, and that I haven’t shown up at work wearing mismatched shoes. Oh, wait, scratch that. Did that once. But they were the same pair of pumps in different colors, and the dark blue ones looked soooo much like the black ones. And I was in my early 20’s and still adjusting to the whole “put real clothes on and go to work” thing after years of showing up for class or college jobs in jeans and tennis shoes.

In other words, I know I live far too much in my own head and that I suck at daily life details, and I’m surprised it hasn’t killed me or gotten me in trouble. I would have made an awesome absentminded professor.

3.  What do you think is your best accomplishment outside of family related accomplishments?

Not giving up on my dream of making a living as a fiction writer even though by 40, most of us realize we’re not gonna be the lead singer of a rock-n-roll band.  I don’t really want fame. Fortune would be nice, but I’d settle for paying the bills and living simply but comfortably and not having to show up at an office to do so.

One day I hope to be able to answer this question by saying I’ve made that dream come true. But for now, simply holding onto it is enough. Life does a pretty good job of giving adults dream laxatives and making them flush those kind of hopes down the toilet. I’ve had blips on the radar, but for the most part I’ve been able to spit out the daily dose of “forgeddaboutit” that life as a lower-middle-class working drone with a pathological hatred of dress codes tries to shove down your throat.

4.  What is the official title of your job?

 Associate Registrar and Project Lead (sounds pretty fancy schmancy for a girl who visits shot fairies and should have someone hold her hand to cross the street, huh?)

5.  What exactly do you really do at work?

 Implement and maintain information systems with a bunch of really talented peeps, work with the same bunch of talented peeps to keep said systems from crashing down around our ankles, listen to a bunch of frustrations, and in our spare time actually try to make things work better.

6.  What do you like about your job?

 Sometimes, I actually get to be innovative. And I really like most of the people I work with. Colleges attract creative, fun and quirky people as employees. Sometimes the routine and the fact that I’m writing development specs instead of short stories makes me want to rip my hair out, but not a day goes by that I don’t laugh with my co-workers about something.

7.  What do you hate about your job?

 Meetings. The ones where I’m truly working with others to get something done or solve a problem are fine. But the ones that happen the most – policy meetings and endless committee yap sessions – drive me bugshit.

Dress codes. I have never been the kind of person who would automatically rather be helped by someone in a suit or dressy outfit than a pair of jeans, so I don’t understand that mentality. There simply really aren’t any “professional” outfits that are truly me, so I always feel like I’m putting on a zombie uniform. When I come through the door after work, the first thing I do is race for my “me clothes.”

8.  What is your favorite kind of music?

 It all depends on my mood. My playlist includes Weezer, Toby Keith, Blink 182, Bob Dylan, The Gorillaz, The All American Rejects, Jimmy Buffet, The Eagles, Godsmack, Soul Asylum, Billy Joel, Rodney Atkins, Sugarland, Bowling for Soup, and just keeps going.

I’ve never liked rap or been much on dance music, but other than that, pretty much anything goes.

9.   What is something popular in the world that you can’t stand?

 I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I love that my cell phone lets me be wherever I want or need to be and still communicate with anyone. I hate that most people are always talking and texting so much that they don’t pay attention to the person or people they’re in the room with – or worse, the car they’re about to crash into.

I love that email and everything being online means that I can work from home. I hate that it also means that employers expect people to work round the clock.

I guess I think we were smart enough to invent things that made our lives much easier, but instead of appreciating that and using it to our advantage, we just revved up our expectations. Instead of freeing up our time, we made ourselves busier than ever.

10.  What is your health goal for the year?

To write, write, write. Sounds a little weird, but I honestly believe it is the best way to increase my longevity. People who look forward to what they do every day live longer because they want to. I don’t fool myself into thinking a writer’s life is stress free. But there are different kinds of stress – the kind you thrive on and the kind that sucks the life out of you like a vampire. For me, I think life as a writer falls into the first category, but to get there I have to pay the dues of writing like a fiend while still working my ass off in vampire land.


About hawleywood40

Writer, Steelers Fan in Baltimore, Frequent Visitor to the Shot Fairy
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