Apr 16, 2010

Core attitudes and two arrogant people

As children we form our core attitudes based on what we see and experience around us. As we get older, learn more, are exposed to the world and society at large those attitudes expand and we adapt them. But still deep in our mind those first learned attitudes and values linger and all to often unconsciously rear their little heads.

My husband’s core attitudes are that he is smarter than everyone else; women should be seen and not heard and belong in the home; women are not as competent as men and certainly there is no woman who is smarter and more competent than he. As he grew up those attitudes did not serve him well and he adjusted and adapted – not a lot but enough.

Then he met me.

In the last two years both of us have had limited interaction with the world at large. My husband works from home and I don’t work at all, and not by choice. I prefer to work, as domesticity is not one of my core attitudes/values/aspirations.

Lately he has started to tell me how to do things that I taught him. What? Because he is not constantly reminded that there is a larger world he has to function in, he often, unconsciously, reverts to his first-learned perceptions of himself and his place in the world.

I have made him aware of this and he agrees. Good of him to agree – that is a plus in his favor. In the past when, on the rare occasion his arrogant, unsophisticated little boy made an appearance, all I had to do was raise an eyebrow. Today, I had to lay it out in no uncertain terms. We nearly had a heated argument but somehow I made us laugh and then the serious conversation ensued.

Which means, I have to find a job. As he said, I am not happy when I am not working and if I’m miserable then so is he. It’s like the old saying “If the Momma ain’t happy, then nobody’s happy” Well, I ain’t the Momma, but I sure as hell am unhappy, and my unhappiness is palpable.

It’s not healthy to define yourself by work but I do. And as long as I’m working my husband does not regress to his core attitudes as often. Unfortunately my disability is becoming more pronounced and where I live is not so amenable to the disabled – difficult to get around but I shall have to find a way...

Or I can just keep on smacking my husband up-side the head when he forgets who is dealing with.

Apr 13, 2010

I'm ready to join the dinosaurs

I can't ever imagine myself using an ebook reader. Kindles or schmindles or whatever. Newspapers are going out of business on a daily basis. Everything is miniaturized including language so it will all fit on a tiny hand held screen. I hate it. I am becoming a luddite. The whiz kid is reverting to dinosaur.

I simply can't imagine breakfast without my newspaper. Yeah sure I can read them on-line but I don't want to; it's not the same experience. I want it full size. I want to feel the paper in my hands. I want to fold the pages. I want to doodle in the margins. I want to rip out an interesting article and save it for later. And let's be frank here, I can't imagine taking these electronic reading devices into the bathroom.

I like books made of paper. What's the first thing you do when you get a new book? Smell it of course. You know you do; ah, the scent of fresh book - nothing like it. And books are portable; so are newspapers. You don't have to plug them in or worry about their batteries going dead. They are always ready when you are. Something about reading words on paper, it holds my attention. I can't read more than a few short paragraphs on the computer. I get impatient; I get annoyed. The print is too small, if I make the print bigger then you can't see whole sentences and the letters are distorted. I've been trying to read this blog post for days. The subject interests me but after a few paragraphs my eyes start to roll back in my head, I get bored and twitchy. I read an article in the NY Times recently on Tesla so this post was of interest, unless I print it out I'm never going to read the whole thing. Pity.

10 - 12 years ago I would have killed for a smart phone; now I have no need for such a thing. I just want my cell phone to make and receive phone calls. I use it so infrequently I might as well not even have one. I've got close to 5000 roll-over minutes in my account.

Remember 20 years ago when when AOL and dial-up was pretty much the only game in town? And you were billed by the hour. The internet was a more interesting place then I think. Elitist, yes. It required a certain amount of money to have a computer and an internet connection. I loved my chat rooms - filled with interesting people and interesting conversation. Intelligent conversation that over time degenerated to a/s/l.

I just don't have the stomach for the internet anymore. I'm over it. I'm over computers. I just can't excited about the next big small thing. 40 years of computers and the thrill is gone.

Apr 10, 2010

So I've been a little testy these past few days, so what.

I really haven't had much of a sense of humour these past few days. The only thing making me smile was cute baby animal pictures.

Many folks believe in the happy idiot/gratitude attitude - you know, slap a smile on your face no matter what; walk a mile in another person's shoes; be grateful for what you have; let go of all the negativity; find happiness in the little things - BULLSHIT!

Yeah, yeah - someone somewhere is living a horrible dreadful life - pain, poverty, hunger, homelessness, illiteracy (and those are just my neighbors) and I'm not. So? You think someone just handed everything over? No - I worked for everything I got and no, it's not enough. And yes I want more. And no, I'm not asking anyone to give to me (I can buy my own lottery tickets, thank you).

An old friend once said "Grace, you are always hot under the collar about something" Yes, yes I am. It keeps the blood flowing; keeps the little gray cells all fired up. Pissed off? Angry? You bet, and I'm real happy with it. Whiny - not so much. Whiny kinda annoys me - I get on my own nerves with my whiny crap. But whiny has a legitimate place in the emotional landscape. Just let's not make a career out of it.

And I don't understand why acceptance is positive and angry is negative. How do you think anything ever got achieved? Someone pissed off, angry and frustrated decided they were mad as hell and wasn't going to take it any more.

I grant you, the things you can't change or control need to be put on a back burner but that doesn't mean you accept them happily or you can't rail about them or against them. I don't see that as negative at all. I think a little heart felt, well founded negativity is a positive thing; an agent for change.

I think having a reason to get up in the morning is important but I don't think la-la-ing around and stopping to smell the roses is it.

Sunshine is nice but I do so love a good thunderstorm.

Apr 1, 2010

My husband and I are such snips

Thursday is trash/recycle pick-up day, so we put everything out on Wednesday night. We have 2 recycle bins because my husband drinks a lot of Diet Coke and we read a lot of newspapers, then there are the cat food cans, plastic milk bottles and other assorted bits and bobs. We learned very quickly that anything you put out on the sidewalk WILL be retrieved by someone, anyone, passing by. It has it's up-side. We managed to give away the old leather recliner but no one wanted the kitchen table. We put it out for trash and I don't think it lasted 20 minutes on the street - whoosh - Gone.

There is some guy who comes around on recycle day, really early in the morning, and takes all the soda cans - JUST the soda cans. Lately he has been taking the newspapers too. By the time he is finished we have two recycle bins with hardly anything in them so we go out and consolidate, leaving just one bin, before the truck comes by.

That's the back story.

All those books I said I was going to get rid of? Well the ones that were not donate-able went into the recycle bin. Some of them were hard cover biographies published over 40 years ago. After we put them out, we had the following conversation:

Husband: "Are books recycle-able?"
Me: "They're paper, so of course"
Husband: "Do you think someone will take them?"
Me: "Are you kidding? I don't think the people around here know who Gertrude Stein, George Sand, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Vita Sackville-West or Queen Elizabeth I, are."
Husband: Of course, you're assuming they even know how to read.

Oh snap!

And yes, the guy who takes the cans and newspapers was here early; left the books and the New York Times Book Review section of the paper.

I guess books just aren't all that popular in South Philly...