Thursday, May 21, 2009

Junk - Part 1 in a Series (possibly)

Today's flavor: Scrapple - a mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and flour. Scraps of meat left over from butchering, not used or sold elsewhere, made into "scrapple" to avoid waste. Scrapple is best known as a regional American food of the Mid-Atlantic states.

I've decided that I want to become a minimalist. No wait - don't dismiss this idea straight off. You see, my mind is so cluttered that I have no attention span. For a while, I self-diagnosed ADD - we can do that in the 21st century because having a disorder is a very acceptable answer for any question of imperfection in our lives. But then I realized that actually, as a grown-up, I do have a choice about being focused. On anything. For more than a minute. Where was I? Right. My mind is cluttered and all the junk my family has accumulated over the past decade is not helping. It's time to purge. Not in the bulimia way, but in the get rid of all this useless crap way. The husband suggests that we participate in the town-wide yard sale. Hmmm....I admit that I sometimes enjoy browsing through people's discards and have even been known to pick up a few odd bits from the neighbor's lawn. But as I haul a box full of tattered Barbies, outgrown skates, old curtain rods, and still-perfectly-functional VHS tapes, I wonder. Why the heck do I have all of this, and why do I think anybody else would want it? And what about the exercise of selling that formerly "must-have" $200 bread-maker set for $2.00? I mean what's the point? Imagine my husband standing out there for half a day engaging in such negotiations as the sale of a 10 year old cozycoupe for 5 bucks. On a weekday, he'll charge his clients an hourly rate that could keep me in Prada* but on this particular Saturday, for some reason, he'll high-five me about taking in $50 by lunch time. Can't we just dump it all somewhere? Oh, I know that's so un-green. But I reason it's balanced out by my choice of reusable shopping totes instead of paper or plastic. The point is, I used to have wild fantasies of sitting in the front row at Fashion Week, wearing Versace and waiting for my boyfriend, Tyson Beckford to walk. Now my wild fantasies look more like this:
So, I lay out the cabbage patch dolls, mismatched Duplo sets, threadbard area rugs, what-was-I-thinking pieces of wicker, and Tickle-Me Elmo's. As my basement floor becomes visible, I begin settling into that zen-feeling of letting go. It's so freeing to stop hanging on to stuff. It's so clean, so spacious, so open - so perfect for a home gym...and the kids would love an airhockey table, oooh, and if we got one of those projectors, that wall would be perfect for a home theater. My husband's right, getting rid of stuff is exactly what we need to do. First, I have to schedule a haircut - so that I don't have to worry about my getting my hair out of my face while I shop for the new stuff. You know how it's just impossible to concentrate when you don't feel good about how you look. Oh, that reminds me, I want to get this new flat iron...I better make a list - my head is just buzzing with ideas - or is that clutter?

*Hey, don't hate on that Prada comment. Ironically, now that we can actually afford it, I just can't get myself to buy an $800 skirt to wear to ShopRite.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Social Graceless

Today's flavor: cucumber sandwich - the preferred tasteless social food of the prim and proper.

So, the other day, I pick up my kids at school, and when I run into another mom with whom I'm barely acquainted, and I'm greeted with "Hi! How are you?" I say "I'm hungry and I wish I was sitting on my couch with the TV, a cozy blanket and a pint of Haagen Daz, but I'm here because I have to be responsible. But you don't actually care, so why are you asking? And I'm not going to ask how you are because I don't care and I really just want to get my kids and get out of here." It was so great...Well, in my mind, it was great, because my actual response came out more like: "Great, great. How are you?"
Crap. I have impeccable manners. Truly. I say please, thank you, excuse me, in all the right places. I don't liter, I hold doors open for who ever is behind me. I greet store clerks cordially and I don't snap at wait-staff, even when they suck. I even, heaven help me, say "have a nice day" on a regular basis. That's all good, right? Sometimes, I cringe at my own finely tuned social graces and tidy manners. Whenever I find myself engaging in small talk - or worse, when I initiate small talk - there's a part of me that's screaming or gagging. But on the outside all you see is a perfunctory smile nailed to my face, and possibly my head bobbing stupidly up and down.
It's not that I want to be mean or unfriendly - I just hate small talk and the banality inherent to presenting a civilized demeanor. As Elaine said on Seinfeld, "Why does everything have to have a social component?" then she pretended to be deaf in order to not have to make small talk with a car service driver. I totally get that. I'm sure I'd go to hell for pretending to be deaf - not that I would do such a thing (ummm, I probably wouldn't do it), but I get it.
Sadly, for aesthetic reasons, I can only wear my flair online.

sticky post: Hello, wonderful visitors!

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