Friday, October 22, 2010

How Hamlet Starts My Weekend.

I think almost every other blog I follow posted today, so obviously I cannot be left behind in the pre-weekend dust. So a short, pre-happy hour Friday night post inspired by Hamlet.

There is a line in Shakespeare's Hamlet that goes like this:

"...for there is nothing either good or
bad, but thinking makes it so..." Act II, scene 2, lines 250-251.

This is one of my favorite Shakespeare quotes ever. Nothing is good or bad, it is what we think of it that makes it so. For instance, I see a McDonald's cheeseburger and I hear the theme from Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" in my mind, whereas another person says "Oooo yay! I hope that's on the Dollar Menu!" Anyway, though the melancholy Dane did have some decision-making and Oedipal issues, among others, he was definitely on to something here.

The other day I was hanging out with a friend of mine who told me she thought my apartment was cute, but delightfully average. This ruffled my proverbial feathers. I love that apartment and everything in it (except the bills). I even got throw pillows to warm up the space, I mean really...there's only so much I can do. But then I started thinking.

It's not that my friend did not like the apartment, it's just that it is not what SHE would want in an apartment. "Delightfully average" is just the way she thinks of it in comparison to her own expectations, desires, etc. And that's alright because I think it is a breath of fresh real estate and exactly what I need.

As I proceed into my weekend, I realize that I might meet some people who think my outfit is delightfully average (I, in turn, will realize that these people have personalities that I find delightfully below average hehe), but it does not matter because ultimately, everyone has friends (or a cat) who think they are just great. No one is really average, below average, or delightful....only thinking makes it so. :)

So on your various adventures this weekend I encourage you to remember that no matter what you think is bad, someone can find something good about it; no one's opinion is the be-all-end-all. A good time will always be had in the presence of good company (and good wine [at least I "think so"]), no matter what anyone thinks.

I leave you with this: No matter what "thinking makes so," a weekend is pretty much always a good thing. But if you end up using Hamlet to justify a weekend-esque decision, you didn't see it here. Have a good one! :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

When In Phone...

Who talks on the phone anymore these days? With the advent of texting, e-mailing, mass facebook messaging, etc. the art of a phone conversation (and perhaps artfully crafted smoke signals, no offense Vatican) has been lost. So the other day when my friend told me she talked to the guy she is seeing for 13 minutes on the phone and they don't text in between dates...I was shocked! And then I was shocked that I was shocked! I mean, the only person I really talk to on the phone for longer than 35 seconds is my mother, who is epically technologically inept. Most of the other people in my life I either text, facebook, or see on a regular basis. It is crazy to think that calling someone used to be the primary mode of communication.

Think about it. If you text someone, you immediately give them an opportunity to take their time responding to you. A text says "It's not immediate that I speak to you, but when you have a chance..". An e-mail does the same thing except it expands the time-frame exponentially. If you respond to a text within 12 hours, that's good. If you respond to an e-mail within 12 days, if at all, that's fine. But if you don't CALL someone back, particularly if they leave a voicemail, you are most definitely purposely ignoring them.

On top of this, talking to someone on the phone, face to face as it were, leaves no room to think about what you're going to say. You have to be on the spot. You can't be like "Let me call you back when I think of a witty response." Meanwhile, how many of us have been texting with someone while hanging out with friends and said "What should I say back??" Then the friends play Cyrano de Bergerac and we all get some witty or brilliant response ideas. E-mail? Even better! You can read the entire thing and respond to each section in sequence!

As I continued to talk to my friend about her relational progression with this boy who does not text she told me she actually found it liberating to be on "the slow train." She said there is no pressure to be in contact or not, and when they do talk it is always good conversation. I mean, 13 minutes is way long enough to talk about how your days were, how your weeks were, and to get into legitimate subject matter.

It struck me that in general, when we like someone, we begin texting, we hang out, we text...we are in constant contact with the person. And the instant they begin to have less contact with us, we see it as rejection. In the case of my friend, I'd venture to say she may be onto something here.

Another friend of mine recently consolidated her cell phone plan and eliminated texting. The first 3 days of this were torture for me. In fact I believe I told her that her textual liberation was my prison. But as I adapt to the adjustment, I realize it is actually kind of nice. And it is certainly easier and more interesting to debrief about a weekend while talking instead of arthritically texting long sagas.

I draw three conclusions from this discussion:

Number 1:
By eliminating "talk-time" we also get closer to eliminating the risk of sounding stupid. Case in point: cute boy calls me. Conversation goes like this:

Boy: Hey what's up?
Me: Good, how are you? I mean nothing
[in my mind: IDIOT IDIOT IDIOT]

If this were a text however, I would have had time to think. And respond with something terribly clever.

Number 2:
The idea of talking on the phone is not so is the idea of being able to CALL someone whenever you want that is intimidating. If you talk to someone on the phone regularly, it means that you can both call each other whenever. Many friendships do not function this way so much anymore. This does not mean that people are any less friends because they don't talk on the phone for hours, it is just a different type of relationship than we have seen in times past. Not to mention, where would we be without

Number 3:
The thing is, especially in the United States, we are anti-taking-our-time. To spend time on the phone means we have to be involved in the conversation, we need to be focused on someone other than ourselves. Weird?

In conclusion, don't get me wrong. I'm pretty sure I will text until my thumbs fall off, or until they come up with some new-fangled device that renders text-messaging obsolete. And by no means do I think that texting or emailing are illegitimate or impersonal. They are, in fact, my primary means of communication. It is more that lately I have been thinking the pace of my life is so darn fast. To take the time to call someone and just talk as opposed to "dropping a line," is almost as liberating as walking slowly in killer heels (see "Stilettos: A Weekend Debriefing Story). Not to mention it is nice to hear people laugh at my hilarious jokes instead of just reading "lol,".........

Have a great week everyone! :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stilettos--A Weekend Debriefing Story

This past weekend was one of the best I have ever had. Full of music, friends, food, dancing, and most importantly--kick-ass shoes (excuse my French, but if the shoe fits..). I have recently had the privilege of discovering my dormant desire to wear high heels. Of course there are the usual benefits of making your legs look longer, dressing up an outfit, giving you some swagger if you will, but I propose there are some other more philosophical pro's in wearing killer shoes.

I have always been self-conscious about my height. I'm not freakishly tall, but the average height of many of my friends is circa 5' 4", so my towering 5' 7" is quite prominent in my mind. But recently I have felt that by only wearing flats, some of my confidence was going flat as well. I needed to shake things up, so this weekend, I decided to own my inner stiletto.

I began the weekend sauntering onto a stage in these fantastic 4"-heeled booties to perform Brahms at the Fine Arts Festival (the homecoming weekend concert at my alma mater). The perk? I walked tall, did not fall, and the performance went decently well (let's face it though..even if it didn't the shoes would have been awesome regardless). The not-so-perk? My leg was almost too high to fit under the piano to pedal...don't worry I made it work. After the performance I swapped out the 4" booties for some 3" cuties (oyster colored...LOVE), and went to a local place with live music where I danced for a long while. The perk? My jeans fit perfectly over the shoes and I was out with two gentlemen of the tall variety. The not-so-perk? My feet were KILLING me by the end of the night...literally! I almost died on the way to the car.

The next day, a little the worse for the wearing, I proceeded to have a lovely brunch with some of my girlfriends from school...and of course I chose to re-rock the oyster stilettos, because they really dress up my staple weekend-chill-cardigan-ensemble. So my friends and I talked, stalked (via Facebook), ate, and laughed. I spent the afternoon with another one of my college buds, my sister, and cleaning my insanely messy apartment. Saturday night I met back up with my brunch peeps rocking some heeled boots with skinny jeans and a sweet sweater. We did our dance thing and ended the night with the most amazing pizza EVER (is there any pizza that isn't amazing at 2am? I mean really). If there is anything more amazing than strutting around in heels and dancing with the most amazing friends ever I demand to know about it.

Sunday I admit I wore flats. My feet were totally shot. But all was not lost because, as if the weekend could get better, I babysat the kids I work for overnight Sunday-Monday so the parents could get away for their anniversary and made back all the moola I spent over the weekend. SWEET.

So how does all this relate to my shoes?

The word "stiletto" comes from the Latin word "stylus" which is a pin or stalk. It is also a medieval dagger used for stabbing, but for the sake of this post, let's stick with the former. Either way, a stiletto is sharp. And by wearing them this past weekend I gained a few things. One is being in complete awe of Kelly Ripa and Sarah Jessica Parker who live in stilettos. Another is a KILLER workout for your calves, hamstrings, and gluts (which are still recovering). The last is that sometimes to keep our brains sharp we need to shake up our balance. While some might find a more drastic way of doing this, I found a way simply by changing up my footwear.

When I wear stilettos, my consciousness of my height is completely acknowledged yet simultaneously dismissed. I am no longer self-conscious, but self-aware. I am more in tune with my body because I have to keep my balance, and I am more in tune with everything else because I have to TAKE MY TIME when walking or climbing stairs. Rather than just rushing through everything as I am prone to do, heels give me cause for pause, and I am digging the slower pace. Regardless, if I DO try to hurry while wearing stilettos I face certain death.

This weekend I wore sharp (literally and figuratively) shoes, was surrounded by sharp and sweet company, and the Brahms piece I played has a whole section in B Major (5 sharps!). It is safe to say that by sharpening my footwear (and being fortunate enough to have my best friends in town for the weekend) I have found a way to get some zest back into my routine. The thing is, sometimes the shoes make the outfit. But more often than not it is you who makes the shoe. If you put on something that makes you feel good and confident, it can totally change the course of your day; even if it does make you feel that some doorways should have a sign saying "Clearance 6' 4"" so you know to duck.

Thanks to my ladies, gents, and shoes for a fabulous weekend..have a good week everyone!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Let's Burn That Bridge When We Get To It...

Darn these rainy days and their affect on my melancholy temperament! Not to mention I have been practicing Brahms for a performance this weekend...he always puts me in a contemplative mood. So today I give you my thoughts on burning bridges.

NOTE: For those of you interested in listening, the Brahms piece is called Ballade, it is No. 3 in a set of six pieces, opus 118 (the Intermezzo that precedes it is also heart-wrenchingly beautiful). Feel free to check out the link! A little rubato for my taste, but it works.

Many of my friends have broken up with boys who have treated them like complete rubbish, and have stayed connected with them. Sometimes they get back together, other times they do not, but I am always in awe of people who can handle being friends with people in that way. I do not think I am friends with anyone I have previously dated. If I am, it is either somewhat strained and secretly I wish a bird would poop in their pasta or I feel SO badly about what I did to them I cannot bear to talk to them. In spite of these feelings, I seem to find I am the only person who thinks staying friends with ex-people out of the ordinary. I have to wonder if I am actually right (well, I always am...but still).

I have blogged before about that fact that in some capacity, we are all jerks. And I believe we spend the better part of our lives, both in the dating and in the general sense, trying to work ourselves out of this propensity. But when people are jerks to me over and over again, it becomes exceedingly difficult to really believe that anyone who does something mean is anything but a depraved scoundrel.

This is not weird right? If someone does something mean to you, especially in the dating realm, you are totally allowed to curse their name and never speak to them again right? I used to think so. And I used to tell all of my friends "Never speak to that hack again! What a loser!" and then I would proceed to list all of their crimes and why they would do better to befriend a rabid animal than come into my presence again. And I used to be astounded when they would say "Meg, I think you're being a little harsh." Key phrase: USED TO. And then something happened.

So this person, let's call him Fernando, did something really frustrating to my friend Lady Gaga. Without going into too much detail it made her question the way they related to each other, not to mention it amplified the doubts she already had in her mind. So after surviving the frustrating event, she told all of my friends what a poopface Fernando was, how he had no business ever speaking to her again, and that after this one radio hit they had to record together was over she would NEVER speak to him again. EVER. She promptly began the silent treatment and kept her shoulder refrigerated for extra coldness. And THEN....

He called to apologize!

This sent shock waves through my system. No one EVER apologizes. EVER. And he was obviously intimidated by Lady Gaga's lock-jaw treatment but he called anyway. What the heck! So I immediately went into survival mode, laughed it off, and told her to offer him a tissue because he was clearly on the verge of tears. But truthfully it really stuck with me and we discussed it at length.

So now I am all conflicted inside because part of me keeps saying "Jerk, no matter what." But part of me is thinking "but maybe...". Typical Megan move would be to burn the bridge PRONTO. I don't deal well with conflicting emotions, and certainly not when my M.O. is to hate this person for the rest of eternity. It appears that it is time to change my tune, especially having reviewed the case for Lady Gaga and Fernando.

My question then becomes when I burn a bridge, who am I actually burning? Usually, the other person never cares whether or not they ever speak to me again. Even if I curse the day they were born, they probably cry all the way to the bank about it. Is my pyro-mania with bridges preventing possible fruitful future ventures brought about by cautious friendship?If so, how many people have I spurned that could have hooked me up with free Regis and Kelly tickets or something? The prospect is very frightening.

My conclusion is this: burning a bridge is an attempt at the forgetting part of forgiving. The truth is there are always ashes and charred remnants, but it feels good to watch the fire burn. It does not feel as good to simply cross the bridge, acknowledge the passage, and move forward. If I approached things like this differently I might see I spend a lot of time looking back at the fire and not crossing the next bridge.

Curse my fatal flaws and their ability to inspire humility within me! But what better way to spend a dreary Monday morning than self-analysis and self-betterment? Who knows...maybe by not burning a bridge something really exciting might happen. I'll keep you "posted."