Flowers in California

Flowers in California

Thursday, December 13, 2012

On Sometimes Being Humourous

Some weeks I notice a listing in a city magazine for a group within the city called "Wit & Writing for Women" and I wonder about going to their meetings.  I'm not sure that it's a good idea.  I will try to explain why.

Occasionally I write or say a funny thing.  And that's nice.  But I am not always in a humourous frame of mind.  I'm also good at cranky and depressive/ing states.  And I'm not always (or even often) bold and outgoing.  I can still be the person who sits silently in a group situation staring at my hands until someone says "I wonder why Joanne didn't show up" and then people realize I did.   If I go to one of these meetings on a night when I'm kind of quiet and keeping to myself, how can I show people that I belong in a group where people display their wit?  I can just imagine me sitting there, quiet and defensive, and someone kindly offering me tea.  I'll blurt out that I like coffee better, sympathy will turn to dislike, and pretty soon their drop-in fee for visitors will become their refunded fee for people they never want to see again.  I wouldn't find that a very humourous experience.

I wonder how this group typically welcomes new members.  Don't a lot of people feel nervous when they go somewhere for the first time?  How does one become comfortable enough to be funny in such a situation?  Maybe they give people time before they have the big "funny" test.  Six months might be good.  If they supply enough resource materials, I could probably pass.

I will keep thinking about going to one of these meetings.  I don't think I'm ready right now for all the things that could go wrong.  My discomfort might provide some entertainment for the members though.  That's one way I could make them laugh.


Selective Laziness - With a Side of Danger

As I prepared to leave the gym yesterday, I had to decide which way to walk home.  There was the icy way through alleyways; I suspected it would be especially slippery yesterday as it was quite cold.  There was the other way, a sunny route along a pleasant street with clear sidewalks.  It seemed an easy choice until I considered one factor - the pleasant walk would talk a little longer.  Realizing that, I made my decision and headed to the slippery alleys.

I find this decision curious although I would probably make the same one again.  Why is it that I will exercise at the gym but refuse to take a route home that might add 3 minutes of time?  I'm afraid of falling but I will take the risk.

In addition to the very real possibility of falling on the very real ice, the alleyways present other potential perils.  I try not to think about any nasty human element and comfort myself that there always people nearby should that ever be a problem.  But there are coyotes in the neighbourhood.  Apparently they're not much of a danger to adult humans but I don't want to encounter one that's in a bad mood.  Everyone has off days.  Unleashed dogs are another concern.  I'm terrified of them and it doesn't help when people say they can sense my fear.  That makes me more afraid.  And let us not forget the neighbourhood rabbits.  No one really knows what havoc they can wreak.  I've seen 6 or more together at a time; I don't know what they're planning.

Walking along a street doesn't necessarily protect one from all dangers but being in plain view of drivers and pedestrians could be helpful when one is attacked by mean-spirited rabbits or unable to get up after a spectacular and injurious fall.  I am reconsidering my choices but I doubt that they'll change.  I seem pretty much set on saving that little bit of time.

I guess we all do cost/benefit analyses in our heads as we go through our days.  What will save time, how much energy are we willing to expend, how dangerous would that action really be?  To us, the decisions we make as a result of these analyses make sense.  To others, they may seem strange.

I didn't fall the other day and the wildlife stayed a safe distance away.  I did get home faster and that enabled me to regale my family sooner with tales of my athletic feats (or, in my case, whimper and complain about the discomforts and pain I had caused myself at the gym).  For me, on that day, that decision was right.  I hope that we all keep making decisions that turn out to be right for us.  And that no one encounters any dangerous wildlife anytime soon.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Putting a Coat in A Closet. So Simple - And Yet

I was at a place today where I would have liked to look smart.  I suppose I'd like to look smart in a lot of places but I'm realistic.

While at this place, I needed to put my coat in a closet.  If I had given this activity much thought before I commenced it, I would have expected to perform it well and perhaps even gracefully.  I've put coats in closets.  There can be problems with items sliding off hangers, scarves falling on the floor, and struggles to find room for bulky winter clothes but these things are expected.  Today, though, this activity presented new challenges.  In trying to meet them, I couldn't have looked too smart.

Perhaps I have fallen behind in my understanding of modern closet door technology.  I was unfamiliar with the "things" (handles?/knobs?/mystical, magical buttons?) which were embedded in the doors and which appeared in some way to lead their opening.  Should these items be pushed?  Should I try to slide one in some way?  If I simply touched one, would a door burst open, eager to welcome my outerwear?  It was a puzzle and it was not one I could easily solve.

In situations like this one, and I do encounter them, I like it when someone says something like "Those doors are tricky, aren't they?  Everyone has trouble with them." I don't need to know that no one else has ever had a problem and they're secretly questioning what on earth is wrong with me.  I would prefer, of course, if they handed me a detailed instruction manual but a few kind words would help.  In this situation, no one said anything.  Perhaps I should be grateful that no one pointed and laughed but I could have used a little more assistance.

With fumbling determination, I worked on the door until it finally opened.  Another person came into the facility while I was there and didn't even attempt to use the closet.  Perhaps she had been warned of its dangers.  I decided, on the way out, to risk further humiliation and retrieve my coat.  It's quite a nice coat.  Again, I had some trouble but I managed to get it open.  There were no other coats in the closet at that time.  I can see why.

As awkward as we (or maybe it's just me but I'll tell myself it happens to others too) feel when we encounter situations like this, they make life a little more interesting.  Opening a door gave my mind a chance to travel in new directions and I had a little fun figuring out a challenge.  It's good to keep figuring out and learning new things.  I will try to remember these cheerful thoughts the next time I find myself in a baffling and/or awkward situation.  The good thing is, I probably won't have to wait too long.