You gotta have witnesses

self-flowersI saw the film Valentine’s Day the other night. It’s been in my Amazon Watchlist forever, and I thought it was time.

I had to scramble for the remote and hit the “pause” button when this line was delivered by George Lopez:

“To some people, love doesn’t exist unless you acknowledge it in front of other people.”

This is exactly what was up with all those 1-800-BOUQUET vans parked around the office buildings on Valentine’s Day, back when I worked in Manhattan. It was about validation. It was about esteem. It felt like it was about showing off, really – “Hey, I got a boyfriend, I got a boyfriend, and you don’t have one, that makes me better, nah nah nah NAH nah!”. It was like little kids boasting about having ice cream, a la an Eddie Murphy routine from long ago. The girls know the game is being played on them. The guys know they are expected to be complicit in the game, or they ain’t gettin’ any tonight. Hence the massive delivery of tributes to the office, where everyone is sure to notice that “somebody loves me”.

The game used to bother me. That was back when the idea persisted, despite having grown up in the “fish without a bicycle” era, that my worth was measured by whether or not a man wanted me, and how much or little he was willing to declare himself before the populace.

Nowadays, a tree falls in the woods and I don’t really care if there are witnesses. I need no external validation of the noise it makes. OF COURSE, it makes a noise! If I want flowers, then I just buy them myself and call it a day. And I don’t even wait for Valentine’s Day. That’s right, it’s complete anarchy here at Tinkerville. LOL!

Sometimes, though, I’ll send a picture of the flowers to Facebook. Just to let everyone know that I love me. ;)

Vignette from a stop light

SingleRiderI stop for a red light, and glance in the rear view mirror. A well-coiffed couple pulls up behind me in a Mercedes. He’s got the wheel in one hand, and his head in the other. She’s got a map in one hand and nothing in the other, but both hands jab the air as she talks animatedly at him. I can almost see a spray of spittle from where I sit. He rolls his eyes. She drops the map, turns on him, and talks more emphatically than before. He covers his eyes with his hand; I’m pretty sure they’re still rolling back there behind his palm. She starts making air quotes. Like, a LOT of air quotes.

I look at the wheel, here in my own hands, then turn my gaze toward the passenger side, where my purse, the groceries, a pair of binoculars, and a collection of cloth shopping bags litter the seat. The light turns green. I smile and drive on.

You look mahvelous



You look mahvelous, originally uploaded by The Single Rider.

I saw this on Facebook and it made me laugh. And then, I realized that I don’t have a mirror.

The majority of women I know live with someone, typically a partner or else their kids. There is always someone in the house to help zip them up the back, fasten a bracelet, or provide a response to " How do I look?".

Me, I get to do all of that myself, and answer my own "How do I look?" type questions. I always respond a la Billy Crystal’s Fernando – "You look mahvelous, dahling!"

Actually, even if I did have a "mirror" living here with me, I am not sure that I would ever ask him how I look. I mean, what’s the poor guy going to say? "OMG, you look like shit and I don’t want to be seen with you"? Way to never get laid again as long as you live LOL ;). I would not pick a stupid guy, so he’d ALWAYS say "You look fine", which is a safe answer that gives me absolutely no useful information. They say "fine" because it is neither "like shit" nor "awesome, let’s skip the party", which is actually something that is said well before "How do I look?", if it’s true.

No, I don’t think I would ever ask. I’d wait to be invited to skip the party. If no such in invitation is forthcoming, I’d just assume that I look "fine" and leave it at that.

A singular mystery: whodunnit?

SingleRiderThe thing about living alone is, if something gets lost or broken or relocated or otherwise altered, there is no one else to blame. It has to have been me whodunnit.

Within the last week, two pieces of strangeness have occurred:

1. There is a lamp on each nightstand in my bedroom and I noticed one of the bulbs was burnt out. So I went to replace the bulb, but it actually wasn’t burnt out – it was unscrewed. Not a little bit, but a LOT. It disturbed me, but I tightened it and put the new bulb back in the closet.

The mystery of the cobalt plate2. I have a cobalt and sunflower “set” of FiestaWare. Four cobalt cups, four sunflower cups. Four cobalt cake plates, four sunflower cake plates. Etc. I am anal enough to stack them in the cupboard in alternating order, and also in the dishwasher, so they come out in alternating order. So the other day, I noticed that I used two yellow dinner plates in a row. I noticed because I went to put it in the dishwasher, and there was no blue one to alternate it with. I went to investigate and there are only three cobalt plates. I have turned the house upside down. Only three cobalt plates.

Did I break a plate and forget? That’s not really likely – I’d be out of here like a shot to get a new cobalt plate (Old Tyme Pottery to the rescue!). Did I loosen the bulb myself – for what reason, I couldn’t tell ya – ? Will I find the plate during my upcoming/ongoing decluttering project, squirreled away in some odd spot for some really, really good but forgotten reason? Is this the beginning of Alzheimers? Am I sleepwalking? Or do I have an invisible roomate? I have not had any guests here in quite a while – all of my friends live either on Sanibel or else much closer to it than I do. They all want to be on the island, not out in Lehigh.

This is strange. And I’m really annoyed about the plate, because now I have two yellows in a row. Dammit.

So. Who else has a mystery of this ilk to share? Please, share! Make me feel better! Like, I’m not going crazy, like my house is NOT possessed or worse! PLEASE SHARE!

You REALLY know you’re single when…

You have a cold aka "the plague", but you don’t know that you are well on your way to losing your voice until someone calls! I knew I was clearing my throat and coughing a bit, but I was also singing along with something this morning, so not being able to speak clearly by 6PM-ish was something of a shock. If other people lived here, I might have found out sooner. I am not sure of what value finding out sooner would have been.

I have lots of work travel the next three weeks and this is rather inconvenient. I think it might be a Memo From The Universe but that is a different post for a different blog… Pray for me!

Dear Deluded Wannabe

102320091313-WDW-DAK-Expedition-Everest-Single-RiderDear Deluded Wannabe:

I realize that you are not self-aware enough to understand how you come across to others. You can’t possibly be self-aware, for if you were, you would not be acting in ways that both alienate and elicit sympathy. Therefore, I’d like to school you about a few things, to wit –

1) Wife-and-motherhood are not empirically superior positions. – especially when they are the only positions you have ever known. It makes you feel good about yourself, I know, to insist that I’ve taken the position that I’ve taken because I am not a wife and I have furthermore never been a mother, and therefore I lack the depth to understand that my position is WRONG. Correction – I have myriad experience with the real world beyond the sheltering, insulating walls of the home, and the fact is, this makes my depth more than sufficient to drown you. You fear a good drowning, so you ha ha ha make jokes and laugh knowingly about how my childless state renders me inferior to you. OK, I’ll take the inferiority of childlessness over the the asinine and pathetic display of insecurity you’ve been exhibiting for the past 5 weeks that we’ve been working together. Whatever makes you feel better about yourself, relieves your anxiety, and gets you through the ordeal of having to deliver a project in partnership with a woman of the world.

2) Leadership is about much more than the desire and propensity to be bossy. Leadership is not defined as giving orders, making demands, forcing your will upon others. I realize that ordering, demanding and forcing are all verbs, but that’s about all they’ve got in common with leading. Leadership is when people follow you, not because they have to, but because they want to. And the reason they want to is because the leader was effective at inspiring them to do so, in motivating them all in the same direction. The leader models a behavior and those who follow imitate that behavior because it resonates, because they recognize it as behavior that will result in success, and they want to be a part of that success. Leadership is a skill. Bossiness is just selfishness in disguise, another attempt to feel better about one’s self through domination rather than persuasion. In the end, you don’t have admirers or friends – you have people who will avoid you next time because they don’t want to be bossed at all, much less by someone who gets it wrong most of the time. And the reason you get it wrong most of the time is because –

3)Listening is the most important yet under-rated skill of a good leader. A team’s diversity of experience is the most valuable asset a leader has. It makes a leader wealthy. What makes a leader wise is the ability to discern what each team member brings to the table, and then leveraging those skills as appropriate. You never found out what everyone was good at, because you never listened. You just blabbed and bossed. This is why you flopped, and why I was able to course-correct weeks of failure within 15 minutes. That whole time while you were blabbing and bossing, I was listening. This is not rocket science, and it’s not hard. You have weapons at your disposal; you just didn’t know it because you don’t reach out. You’re all about you, you, you, hungry little you. Gaining success by leveraging the skills of the team would have filled you up. Instead, you are pouting in the corner because you didn’t get your way.

And it’s all my big, bad fault. Shame on me. If only I’d had some children… *insert eye-roll here*

The “What Do I Want?” Litany

I read somewhere recently that you’re not supposed to use the word “want”, as it implies a state of lack.

want [wont, wawnt]
verb (used with object)
1.to feel a need or a desire for; wish for: to want one’s dinner; always wanting something new.
2.to wish, need, crave, demand, or desire (often followed by an infinitive): I want to see you. She wants to be notified.
3.to be without or be deficient in: to want judgment; to want knowledge.

See, when you’re manifesting, you’re supposed to “act as if” the object of your desire is already yours. Or something. So, instead of “want”, you’re supposed to say “desire”.

Here comes the litany…

I DESIRE income.

I DESIRE economic justice, for myself and for the rest of the world, too. How is it right that, through no fault of our own, many of us are unemployed or under-employed AND saddled with homes that are worth less than a third of what we paid for them and less than half of what we owe the bank? How is it right that those who can least afford to are responsible for paying the majority of taxes, which are used to pay for “services” from which we do not benefit, many of which we never wanted (SEE: WAR)? Talk about a lack of balance…

I DESIRE a strong, healthy body with which to sail through my next half-a-century.

I DESIRE a healthy planet, one that will be able to safely and easily house and nourish the life forms that depend upon her for survival.

I DESIRE intellectual and emotional stimulation.

I don’t want much, do I? ;)