I totally get this. I’m much more productive in a noisy coffee shop than I am at my quiet home office. Ignoring the noise enhances my focus and concentration.
I presented my Festivus list of grievances to my beer buddies the other night. Although the grievances are supposed to be personal and about the people present, I had a general list, and I took a humorous, provocative approach.
One of my items that generated much discussion was the hacked butt plug. I know that I’m not part of the demographics of people that use butt plugs, so I don’t know much about them. I also didn’t know that they could be hacked, or why others would want to do that. Still, it’s part of a larger world that I don’t get, not because I’m over sixty, but because the shit people do is alien to what I think of as fun. Besides hacking butt plugs and other smart sex toys, a term called screwdriving (hah!), I don’t get people doxxing others, or eating Tide pods, or catfishing. Yes, I understand the intellectual reasons behind people doing things, just like people doing weird shit when I was a kid, but those things didn’t appeal to me then, either. Being a writer, though, is about trying to understand, looking into people, thinking about their motivation and the impact of what they do has on them and their lives. So, I explore…
While mentioning the butt plugs the other night, over half present reacted, “Why would you want to know more about butt plugs?” But others were like me, saying, “How can you not want to know more?”
You see there the sprawl of human differences. Some invent butt plugs. Others use them. Another group hacks them. Someone else shies away from knowing about them. Someone else writes about them, and others read and talk about them.
It’s a wild, wild life that’s teeming with diversity. It makes it a much more interesting world.
At least, to me.
Hey writers, hope you’re all doing well as this calendar year slides to the final days. Hope you remember that no matter what happened this year, you can go on and on and on, even when the days drag you down, people bury you for dead, and the routines become too much to endure. Have a mug of coffee, a cup of tea, a sip of wine, a quaff of beer, a piece of chocolate, meditate, read, exercise, walk, take deep breaths, do whatever you’ve found that helps you pick your ass up and put it down in a chair or bed or wherever you write, so you can stare down the blank space one more time, and let the words out. However you do it, you must do it, you must find the way to keep going, to keep trying, to write like crazy at least one more day. But whatever you do, and however you do it, always remember, if you’re using a computer, ensure you back up your work.
I love dipping. Not snuff. No. Tried it once, didn’t like it. I like dipping cookies, doughnuts, and toast into tea, hot chocolate, or chocolate milk, and coffee. I also dip buffalo wings into sauces, and chips and crackers into dips. I’ve dipped things in beer, like pretzels, but I’ve not been impressed with the results. That’s life. And of course, I’ve skinny-dipped. I really liked doing that, especially the time I did it in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Sicily.
Some materials are better for dipping into coffee or tea than others. Doughnuts make for damn fine dipping, IMO. Today’s cookie, a gluten-free, vegan, GMO-free, locally baked chocolate ship affair, is a little dry. Not ideal, because that dryness contributes to the dipping drawback. Dipping a cookie into my coffee, I’m aware that some is crumbling into the coffee. This produces a bottom situation called dipping dredge. That’s the soaked stuff that remains when the beverage is almost gone.
I’m not a fan of the dipping dredge. However, I’m not one to leave coffee behind. Thus, all I can do is suck it up.
I’ve noticed people doing this.
I’ve notice that I do it.
After completely something, say reading a few pages of a book, people take a deep breath, let it out, and say, “Okay.” Based on observations and personal experience, it’s a psychological preparatory step. They and I have been putting something off that we planned to do, something we’re not really happy about doing, I think. We keep telling ourselves that we’re going to do it. We’ve have the conversation with ourselves that we can’t put it off any longer, that we’ve stalled long enough, that we are going to do it, and we’re going to do it now.
I don’t know where this comes from, but I suspect that I’m mimicking someone in the past, or maybe my wife. I’ve heard bosses say it in this same way. I hear myself say it, and I hear my spouse. I hear people in stores say it to themselves while they’re stocking shelves, and I hear it from baristas in coffee shops as they turn away from the counter.
Deep breath. Release. (Sometimes a sigh.) “Okay,” so soft, it’s like they’re talking to themselves.
I’ve heard it from all age groups, including a young girl. She seemed like a six-year old by size and expression. She was standing about six feet from a car. I saw her take the breath. I heard her say, “Okay.” Then she turned and walked back to the car.
Okay seems like a uniquely American expression, even if some claims to its origins begin in Germany, Greek, Scotland, and Haiti, along with Puerto Rico and French Louisiana. I have heard it used in foreign television shows made in exotic places like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K. I don’t know if the residents of those lands use okay in this context, as a final acknowledgement to oneself, it is time.
Got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.
Where does everyone stand on blessing people when they sneeze? I mean, I say, “Excuse me,” when I sneeze. I notice many people don’t. I tell others, “Bless you,” when I’m near someone who sneezes, even though I’m agnostic, with tendencies that slide toward being an atheist. It’s something mom taught me to do. It was considered polite. That training, though, was almost sixty years ago. She could have been conning me, for all that I know. I was young and just learning the language.
Also, if someone is wearing headphones and can’t hear you, should you still say, “Bless you?”
Should I just drop the whole thing because it’s an outdated custom?
Saying good-bye on the phone has become interesting in America. I know some that say nothing when the call is due to end. They’re done, and, saying nothing, they hang up.
It’s weird when it’s experienced. “Hello?” I say. “Are you there?”
Then I listen.
No; they’re not there.
I hang up with the assumption, I guess the call was done, but they didn’t say good-bye. Maybe they were disconnected. Maybe they were nuked, or dropped their phone in the commode. Whichever and whatever it is, the lack of a formal good-bye, farewell, or so-long leaves me feeling that closure is missing.
Others are like me, saying, “Bye-bye.”
Bye-bye, like a child. Yeech. I don’t like saying that, but it seems my rote response. I don’t know where the hell I picked it up, but I even often used it in the military. “Yes, sir,” I’d say to the wing commander. “I’ll call you back when I have an update on the bomb threat.”
“Good. Thank you, sergeant.”
“You’re welcome, sir. Bye-bye.”
This came to mind today because of an early morning call. The stranger, who called to confirm a service, ended with, “Okay, thank you, see you later, bye.”
I guess they were trying to cover all the bases.
A velvet rain is falling. It’s a rain that makes the world feel cozier and more intimate, inviting deeper thoughts.
I’d planned to walk ten minutes but the rain soothed me, inviting me to keep going. I did, until two miles and an hour had passed.
The rain didn’t appear to soothe all. Some drivers took the rain as a sign to go, “Faster! Faster!”
The walking time allowed for solitude and writing time. I’d dropped into my personal trough the other day in the cycles of buoyancy and depression. Oh, lord, that darkness. Daunting, it drinks me up and swallows me down. The sighs are heavy, the thoughts are bitter, and the world looks grim. Even the cats’ attentions are infuriating irritations.
Perspective helps me survive. Writing, walking, and solitude help me grind out perspective. Alas, Schedules and events kept me from consistently achieving two of the three. But yeah, I survived.
Our new microwave and range were delivered and installed yesterday. They look so modern, I was surprised to realize how ancient the replaced ten-year-old units looked, and the difference it makes to the kitchen. To celebrate, we went out to lunch, and then to a movie.
The movie is part of our annual Oscar Quest. Friends throw a party, and we like to be able to think and talk intelligently about the movies and performances. We’ve only seen a few noms, so we’re behind. We saw “The Post” yesterday. That increases our total to four. We have work to do in our entertainment. None of the previews (“Love, Simon,” “Red Sparrow,” “7 Days in Entebbe,” and “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool”) didn’t inflame deep interest. Each struck me as something to stream and watch at home when it’s available through one of our subscriptions. Of the four, “Love, Simon,” sparked the most intrigue. I suppose I’m too picky and cynical.
As the lights dropped and the previews played, and then the movie opened, my writers emerged with scene ideas. When we returned home, I quietly sat down (quietly, so as to not attract the cats, who seemed determined to stop me from writing at home) at the laptop, opened the required doc, and wrote the scene and changes. Not interested in tempting fate (the cats! the cats!), I saved and closed the doc, but later, while eating, more writing visited me. I stole back into the document and added a few more pages. Best, it left me knowing exactly where to begin today.
It’s a fine feeling, to know what to write, to write it, and to look forward to writing more.
Liquid dripped onto the coffee shop table as I unpacked and set up. Rain or sweat? I don’t know; either were plausible. I suppose I could taste it, but it’s not a critical difference.
Tonight, Wednesday, is when I meet with my friends for conversation and beer. It’s a standing invitation. My attendance record is lackluster but the rain is whispering, “You should go.” I’m ambivalent, but contemplating it.
Meanwhile, the first gulps of hot, black coffee have scalded my lips and tongue. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.