Snapchat Hypocrite

A few months ago you may recall a piece I wrote titled, “Obligatory Selfie” where I poked fun at people taking selfies as a part of an everyday mundane practice that has currently become socially acceptable.

I recant this piece.  Although I compare the obligatory selfie to yoga pants being accepted as full fledged pants, I have seen the worthiness of an appropriately timed selfie.

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Steven Tyler eat your heart out!

Sure, at first I was smug.  Why would a 36-ish something like myself want to have a phone full of pictures of myself?  Who would want them?

Then came an evening spent with my in-laws and niece.  When my sister-in-law and husband stepped outside for a moment, my niece came back into the room with a blanket, we snuggled up together on a bench and she showed me this “new” thing called “Snapchat”.  She snapped a picture and showed me how you can transform yourself into a dog.  Once finding out she and my other nieces were using this app, I immediately signed up to stay in touch with them.

On the way home I was researching how to work snapchat, how to use filters and how in general to “Snapchat”.  Do I take 5 seconds in public by myself to pucker my lips and pose for the camera?  No.  However I do wait till’ I’m on lunch break at work or at home and snap a few selfies to catch up with my nieces, cousins, sister-in-laws and friends.  Only once has anyone been in the break room with me when this was going on, but he was completely aware of what was happening.  I didn’t leave my behaviors an unknown mystery to him like our customers have done in the past.

There is no joy greater than being able to send the ugliest selfie possible to those you love to receive one equally as horrible back.  In fact, there was a fun competition my niece and I had one night.  If you are ever down or feeling blue, this is the best thing ever.  Try to make the goofiest face possible and just hit send.  It is the greatest feeling not caring what you look like because the worse, the better.

Here is an example of one I sent, it’s like Steve Martin meets Frankenstein’s monster.

 

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Or the selfie aptly titled, “I woke up like this…”

 

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However, you want your family and friends to remember you in a good light.  Not to get too dark but one of my worst fears is something bad will happen and they will have to submit a photo to the news for a story. Ensuring it won’t be driver’s license photo, or worse an outdated glamour shot you occasionally have to send them one of you as a butterfly queen. This way the recipients remember you are a real person and won’t be shocked (or disappointed) you don’t have 3 mouths in your face the next time they see you.

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What is your favorite “Snapchat” lens or filter?  Why do you gravitate toward that one?

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Marriage and friendships

One day, my husband and I before we were married, were on a date in the park.  We were sitting on the jungle gym when suddenly he noticed I was paying attention to our direct right.  There was a group of young teenage boys talking about Batman and arguing over why he was the best or worst and what super powers other heroes had that could beat him.

My husband curiously asked, “What are you thinking about?”

I replied, “I’m just wondering if the friendships we form earlier in life, are the relationships that prepare us for marriage later in life.”

“That is a lot deeper than what I was expecting…”

On that note, it is something I’ve continued to ponder the almost 4 years we’ve been together and married.  Often times I think back to my best friends who I met in high school and how they helped form and shape my ideas.  What is cool, what isn’t cool, and why it is okay to not agree with them.  Whether we realize it or not, often times it is those we associate with early in life that help form our personality.  Often times I was the weirdo in our group of friends and everyone was okay with that.  They knew better than to expect normalcy and complacency out of me.  They helped me realize how a person should be respected.  Which is why it puzzled them when I would date someone who didn’t, even later in life.

These friends are the ones you introduce to your college comrades.  If they click, you know you’ve got a keeper for a new friend.  They ultimately share the same values.

When my husband and I got married, we were originally introduced by a mutual best friend.  We knew if we were in line with this person and her values the other must be pretty cool too.  Needless to say the first date was a success and three months later we were married.

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None of my friends from high school had met him yet, (except for one who invited us to her church), none of my extended family had met him, just our best friend from St. Louis and a few of my old co-workers he knew from checking out at our store.  We had been married for quite some time when one of my college friends announced she was getting married.  This meant another best friend and her husband coming to town for the wedding since she was going to be a bridesmaid.

She and her husband were the second set of friends to meet him. We had gone to the wedding, exhausted, she, her husband and I decided to go get coffee.  My husband was going to be off work in a few minutes so I texted him where to meet us.  She then pointed out, they had never met him.  when you’re married for a while and a lothappens, you tend to lose track of who has met whom, especially when keeping up through facebook or text. That is when I realized none of my close friends outside of my St. Louis friend had known who he was either.  When he arrived, he surprised me sneaking up behind me.  They laughed, we all talked and had a great time.  After he left, she said, “I really like him.”  I knew she and her husband would, after all, they helped shape my idea of what an ideal partner should be like.

     Do you think friendships help shape our ideals of marriage?  Why or why not?

 

 

You’re not Peggy

At work I bumped into an old friend of mine. We were formerly co-workers in the paint department at Sears in my early years of college. We would spend days, hours in the summertime waiting for someone to purchase something, anything from us. In between being bored we would paint the paint shakers, we would paint examples of faux finishes and we would talk about the most random of things. She even kindly laughed at my dumb jokes with a pained look in her eye, but laughed anyway out of politeness. We got to know each other well enough that we became roommates for a little over a year. We would host parties (well she would). We would do late night runs to Wal-mart together while we were stalked by “security” in the toy aisle. Eventually she would introduce me to many movies I needed to know, one of them being The Breakfast Club.

      Judging from everything you have just read dear readers, you’ve probably come to understand Peggy’s face would be one that is hard to forget for this Quirky Girl. As we were talking in the aspirin aisle, I saw the same familiar smile, the same warm laughter and everything picked up as if we had stayed in touch. We talked for a bit about our adventures in education, but I had to get back to stocking the aisles and she had to get back to her new roommate and their shenanigans. She left smiling saying we will catch up again.

  

  
     A few days later I was surprised to see her so soon. This time she had a new roommate; or girlfriend. At first I thought this was the news she wanted to catch up on. The store was getting full but Peggy hadn’t yet noticed me. My register was open and I was desperately trying to get her attention to save her time by ringing her out. I shouted, “I can help the next person here!” Hoping she and her new girlfriend would turn around. Nobody was taking my offer. So I saw her walking with this new girl toward the crowded front register, I said, “Peggy!?” Peggy and the woman turned around. Peggy had the same, friendly, pained expression on her face, just like we did when we lived together and I said something really ridiculous. She stood frozen, with one foot forward waiting for me to say something else. I reiterated I could get them at another register, and I said again, “Peggy?”  

      “Nooo…”, she said with an uncomfortable grin.

    In my head I’m thinking someone kidnapped Peggy, there must have been an invasion of body snatchers that new her dialect, syntax and facial expressions. They even knew how she stood when she was surprised. Since this is not possible, I had to come to terms that this wasn’t Peggy.

     Instead of another pleasant conversation with an old friend, this one quickly dissolved into awkward bumbling and me trying to explain to a couple that I mistook one of them for my college roommate.

     Peggy, if you’ve just read this, I hope you’re laughing.

     When have you mistaken someone for an old friend? How did it play out? Did they understand or think you were weird?

    

Emojis & Millenials

The other day one of my best friends sent a group text letting us know her phone was back up and working.  Naturally I was elated, my knee jerk reaction was to text back all caps and multiple exclamation marks celebrating her return to the technology world.  The only problem is, I too just got a new phone, and am not as adept with technology.

I clicked on her message, typed in “YAAAAAAAY!!!” and hesitated to send.  I realized, it was probably best to stop there and not get too personal seeing as I might accidentally send this to all of her friends.  So I followed it with this Emoji…

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At least that is what I thought I did.  Apparently on my new phone there are several kissing emojis.  What I thought was an innocent emoticon doing a “cheek kiss” behavior wound up being something completely different.

Over the next couple of minutes I received messages saying, “Who is this?”  This only confirmed I made the right decision in not making the text too personal. 

Then today I received a text saying, “I see I got a kiss, whose number is this?”

Crap. 

Now not only had I pushed the wrong “kissy” emoji to my friend, now one of her friends was accidentally catfished by my emoji and the false intention set out by it’s puckered lips.

What do you do next in this situation?  Do you let it lie and let the person on the other end wonder forever who sent  them a “lovely” text?  Do you text back and potentially break their heart? 

I did what I would want in that situation and told the truth.  I told them they were  a victim of a Gen-Xer trying to keep up with Millenials in the best way she knew how but failed to check the emoji dictionary.  Well; in fewer words I told this person that. 

They thankfully texted back with an, “Oh, Ok” followed by an LOL.  That is one of the many things I love about Millenials, they are so understanding of us old folks.  Even if we’re only older by a few years.

What flare ups have you had with technology and communication?  What technology still eludes you?😚

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Let’s put a pin in it…

As I’ve come to look back and analyze my life in a series of vignettes, I realize there might be some valuable information in these stories for future generations. Some might even label them modern day parables. (O.K. maybe I’m just calling them that.)

Regardless of what you want to call it I’ve been called out by a fellow blogger for ruminating on the past. I see it less like that and more like I’m doing the world a favor by offering young people a warning.

When you begin to navigate the waters of dating, please don’t start out like I did. I didn’t start with a bang, but rather a silent acknowledgement of mutual like, followed by a concerned talk with parents needing clarification of modern “dating” lingo, only to end in agony two days later. The agony was very real, and not in a lovelorn way, but in a rather small, but violent way.

A bit of back story…

It was 1991, living in small town America there had been growing concerns of the Gulf War and how it would affect the future of not just our nation but the world. Operation Desert Storm ended quickly in February with a surplus of American flag pins. Everyone had one in their pocket, or in my case, in the pencil holder of my desk.

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By the end of March my childhood concerns of recycling, rainforest deforestation, pollution and war were quickly dashed by surging teenage hormones. A new boy had come to town, and lucky me the new seating arrangement in class forced him to sit within reaching distance to my right.

As you can imagine, as some of you have seen my 7th grade picture, my self-esteem was not very high. 6th grade wasn’t much better. This was the year of V-cut bangs, which when tackled with a hot iron looked like a neatly curled tumbleweed resting on top of your head.

All of the girls in class reminded me of how lucky I was to be sitting next to the new boy. All I remember is sitting there nervously in a shirt that I thought looked Hawaiian and cultured, but really it was just covered in red and purple fruit.

One sunny recess, as I was playing tetherball a classmate walked up with a note in hand exclaiming, “Special delivery!” The note appeared to be a hand scrawled voting ballot. It read, “Will you go out with me?” with specially drawn boxes for checking yes or no. I was nervous and not old enough to vote, but this process was much easier leaving little room for rigging.

We had library after recess, again the girls in class reminded me of my good fortune. One girl even walked up whispering with elation, “Go for the gold!” When we got back to class, I don’t remember what I did after happily marking the box yes and passing the note back to him. All I remember was when the bell rang at the end of the day on Friday I had my first boyfriend. Next came the hard part.

When I got home I had to tell my parents. I told them I was “going out” with a boy. Their alarm and concern immediately made me wonder what was wrong. They sat me down and asked me to define “going out”. I explained innocently it is when a boy and girl decide they want to stand next to each other in line at the water fountain, talk during recess, maybe sit on the swings near each other and possibly hold hands in line. Honestly I wasn’t sure, I was going by what other classmates told me what “going out” was. An immediate sign of relief was displayed on my parents faces, they returned back to being happy and at dinner time dad made sure to tease me about having a boyfriend.

By Saturday night, the pressure was too much. I couldn’t handle the rigors of having a boyfriend at 11 years old. I was too young and had a whole life ahead of me, I didn’t want the responsibility of being tied down. What if I wanted to work for Green Peace? What if I went to Africa to help other starving 11 year olds? What if I went sailing with Jacques Cousteau to save the whales? I didn’t expect him to sit at home waiting for me to come back with tales of the world. Sunday night I settled into bed with the mindset of conclusion and finality in this relationship.

After the first recess on Monday it was done. We had officially broken up.

This sounds pretty cut and dry doesn’t it? It wasn’t. Apparently a few days after we broke up he already had a new girlfriend. Not only was she new, but she was also very pretty. Something ugly began surging in my body. Suddenly I didn’t feel like I was the special “chosen” one, but very vengeful and jealous. Like maybe our whole weekend of “going out” (which was me sitting in my parents house by myself thinking) didn’t mean anything to him.

When the teacher had to excuse herself from the classroom, I decided to make a move. It was a move of revenge, not just for me, but to do something for all of the wronged vengeful American women and teen-agers. I looked no further than my pencil holder and found my American flag pin.

Back in the 40’s there were Archie comics where they talked about wearing someone’s pin. If a gal decided to wear a fellow’s pin, then they were dating. I had a very different interpretation on “pinning”.

While the teacher was out I waited for my former boyfriend to get up out of his seat. He of course got up to do something mischievous as the teacher was out of the room. Before he sat down I jokingly placed the pin in his chair where he would see it. Which he quickly handed it back to me smiling as the class watched. Just as he was in mid-air about to sit on his chair I thrust the pin where I knew his rear-end would make contact with it.

Bear in mind, I watched a lot of cartoons. Not only did I think this sophomoric stunt would be funny, but I thought even through my weird jealousy which I wasn’t old enough to understand, he would find it funny too.

As he shot up out of his chair, the teacher entered the room to find him bent over, stumbling to her desk while he was fondling his backside trying to find what became stuck through his blue jeans. He was in so much pain he couldn’t really make a sound but the entire time his mouth was open. The class was stunned and immediately I felt guilty when a classmate ratted me out.

However, the former boyfriend didn’t say a word. He was being the better person in all of this. I never got in trouble from the teacher, something tells me maybe she had enough of the mischievousness too.

The important lesson in this modern day parable is this; when you think someone is doing you wrong, never “stick” it to them. Happiness and self-worth is an inside job, don’t allow someone else be in control of yours. Follow your own bliss, don’t feel guilty about it and never wait 24 years to passively aggressively tell someone you’re sorry for your patriotic weirdness you inflicted upon them.

What silly guilt have you carried for a long time? Have you worked up the nerve to tell them you’re sorry?

A Danny Glover moment

Everyone has a Murtaugh list by the time they reach thirty.  By this I am loosely referencing a How I Met Your Mother episode and a few blogs I have read listing all the things they are now officially “too old for”.

For those who are not familiar with the Lethal Weapon reference or movies, I will fill you in.  Basically there comes a point in the movie where Danny Glover’s character Roger Murtaugh is faced with doing something he is too tired to do anymore.  However he relents and performs said task saying, “I’m too old for this…” followed by an expletive.

When will he be sure he is too old?

When will he be sure he is too old?

Bear in mind I had not kept up with the series of How I Met Your Mother at the time I made the following joke.

In 2011 as you know I moved into an apartment on my own without cable, a luxury I loved but could live without.  Not having cable led to a friendship with a co-worker.  We had been working on the registers and we found out each other were big Dr. Who fans.  When he found out I hadn’t had the opportunity to keep up with the series we made it a ritual every Saturday night (for two Saturdays at least) to buy appetizers, bake them and eat during the Dr. Who festivities. (After word got around work we were watching T.V. and baking food, soon we were unable to hear the T.V. over a sizable group of people on a Saturday night.)

He and I had established a good rapport. When you spend enough time working with someone you can almost read their thoughts.  In return, if you’re lucky, they will understand your humor.

While we were at the registers we observed a twenty something (possibly younger) doing something with so much zest and zeal, it didn’t look worth the effort to us.  Our logic was why work harder when you can work smarter?

I looked to my left to observe him eyeing this person trying to keep a straight face.  Calmly and in a low voice I asked, “Are you having a Danny Glover moment?”

His face contorted, eyebrows drawn quizzically across his face and his eyes squinted when suddenly a slow rumbling chuckle made it’s way out of his epiglottis.  The slow rumbling chuckle then turned into to full blown laughter echoing through out the store.

“Yes, yes I am having a Danny Glover moment.” he said with a smile.

If you have a moment where you start contemplating, “When did I get so old?” just remember, if you are over thirty, you are entitled to a Danny Glover moment. Take back your age with dignity and proclaim you have earned the right to be too old to engage in certain activities.

Your friends want to ride push carts through the grocery store?  “No thanks, I’m having a Danny Glover moment.

Your friends are urging you into a soda chugging contest which you know will end with the foamy results coming out of your nose?  “I’m having a Danny Glover moment.

Are your friends wanting you to do those impersonations you once did in high school of all of your favorite comedians?  “No thanks, I’m having a Danny Glover moment.

Everyday anymore is a Danny Glover moment for me.  My Facebook news wall is filled with joyous twenty somethings doing things I once did.  Everyday on campus is a Danny Glover moment for me when I see students skateboarding to class, and girls talking about how complicated their life is when the answer is so simple and right there in front of them.  For once, I am not fearing being in a permanent state of Danny Glover-ness.  I have earned it.  I have earned my stripes, albeit they are gray and in my hair, but I have earned them.  For now I will sit back, drink my tea and sit knowing when exactly my Danny Glover moment began with my friend three years ago, and relish it.

What are you too old for?  What do you wish you weren’t too old for?  What do you miss? 

10 Books

Recently I was challenged by a friend to list the top 10 books that have had a major impact on my life.  Because I’m a verbose person and take challenges seriously, I couldn’t just answer his request with a few blanketed answers. Here they are in no particular order with their explanations:

     The Outsiders is a book you get something out of at different stages of your life.  Recently for a class we re-read the classic, it was mind blowing to find out it was written by a 16 year old.  

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     Eat Pray Love.  This is a great book for any one who has ever experienced divorce and tried to make sense of it.  This book made me want to travel, get lost, make new friends and then write about it.  It taught me how to put some of my past behind me and work though some life lessons.

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     If you ever want to impress a literature professor, drop the name Rex Stout.  When I finally resided alone in my apartment in St. Louis I knew I would be restless at night. The answer to listlessness was found in a fabulous mystery The Sound of Murder.  It was originally written in the early 40’s at the dawn of industrial espionage.  With quirky characters and a foresight of an upcoming industry in a new material called plastic, the setting Mr. Stout paints in so surreal yet believable.

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     The first book I remember falling in love with is, I Mean It Stanley.  This is the book my parents started reading to me and by the age of two, I had it memorized page for page.  Every night I asked them to read it to me before bed, each word drilling it’s way into my brain.  When my Grandparents came down for a visit, my Parents suggested to my Grandma she should read me a book that night.  So I retrieved this book, sat in her lap and as she turned the pages I started reciting the text.  My Grandmother was a lot like me, she was a former teacher and had a sense of wonder.  She thought I was reading the book.  She didn’t know my parents tirelessly read this to get me in the habit of a sleep routine.  She looked in amazement at my parents thinking I might be a genius.  Then my Dad cracked a smile and the gig was up.

And I Mean It Stanley

     Everyone needs a good Doctor in their life.  Mine had the last name of Seuss.  My first grade teacher asked everyone in class to pick their favorite book to bring to class and read.  I poured over my selection at home. It was between Fox in Socks and 101 Dalmatians.  In the end I chose Fox in Socks, mainly because in the beginning of the book, Dr. Seuss goads the reader with this graphic:  Fox in Socks     How could you resist?  At the young age of six I wasn’t willing to back down from a challenge and for once settled who won the tweedle beetle battle with paddles on poodles eating noodles.

     If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I doing in the Pits? This book I read because it had been sitting in the drawer of my Parents’ end tables and was begging to be read.  The cover wreaked of late 70’s artwork and humor.  I was 17 when I first picked it up, read it on a Journalism class trip to Chicago and for the first time in a long time was caught laughing out loud to a joke no one could hear.  This book appealed to me because I felt displaced, and Erma Bombeck made sense of everything.  Life is a bowl of cherries

Batman a Death in the Family was my first experience with a gritty plot only capable of taking place in between the pages of (at the time) my favorite Super Hero’s life.  Little did I know in comic books characters can perish at the hand of a madman armed with a crow bar.  Until then I was only exposed to characters who died of natural causes.  This may have been when I learned the word bludgeoned250px-Batman_Death_In_The_Family_TPB_cover

     Any Archie comic EVER.  In the 80‘s and early 90‘s Archie was all I ever read during the summer, sometimes in between Garfield books I checked out at the library.  I devoured these wishing I could be Betty Cooper. Unfortunately, one of my best friends growing up had blonde hair, where I learned the ugly truth, only she could be Betty because she had the correct hair color.  These books taught me blondes had more fun and brunettes were snooty, confusing my idea of what a woman should be.  Eventually along the way I realized these were just characters and nobody should have to be compartmentalized into either image.  Instead I developed a crush on Jughead and a love for art by trying to re-draw the images.  Archie comics also helped to forge the way for me in a literary sense.  The featured cover below is the one they published an interview I did of my Aunt. Archie Comic

     When my parents realized comic books were no longer just a hobby but something that could cause my two loves to collide they wanted to help.  They purchased two books by Will Eisner in which he states the best scenario for comic book writing is when the artist and the writer are the same person.  If this isn’t the case, he goes on to illustrate what can happen when people get their ideas mixed up.  Even if you aren’t into comics, it’s a wonderful book explaining the process with beautiful illustrations.Will Eisner

     The next book is something everyone needs to read to understand how to become a better writer, even if it only pertains to correspondence.  The Groucho Letters is a book of letters exchanged between Groucho Marx, some of his colleagues and son.  This was a gem I discovered at my parents house.  It probably belonged to my Grandma and one of my Aunts at one point.  One specific part in the book stuck out to me.  Groucho had built a rapport with a fellow funny person who was at the time living in Maine.  By the third letter of catching up, the friend wrote to Groucho, “The town is so boring the tide went out and never came back.”  This book goes to show how friendship can bring you unexpected things, like the gift of laughter or witty writing.

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     To my friend, hopefully this answers your challenge. To my readers…what are some of your favorite books and which ones have influenced you the most?

 

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