Month: October 2016

Quick, Fast & (Sort of) Satisfying

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This is me writing a post to get myself writing.  That’s it.  Do you need to be witness?  No.  Do I want a little accountability for myself?  Absolutely.

It’s 10 a.m. and I have to start getting ready for work at 10:30.  I have told myself I will write something – anything – every day, simply to keep my creativity treading water, at the very least.

I feel this is important.

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Creativity makes me feel good.  It sparks my mind, gets the juices flowing.  It inspires me.  When I am able to put all things aside, have my cup of coffee, and write…well, it provides hope that I will, someday, make my living as a writer.

But I don’t always feel like creating.  Sometimes I fall into the internet trap.  Sometimes Facebook turns me into a zombie and I just stare and scroll, stare and scroll.  Once in a while I’ll stop to watch a kitty video, or a laughing baby.  “Oh, I’ll write later.”  Later comes and I haven’t written a damn thing.

I’m the only one to blame for this.  I’m the only one to blame for a lot of things – laundry not getting done, not hitting the gym, bathroom looking like a bomb hit it – but at least I can accept these things.

Gosh, I just realized my attempt at having to write something turned into a self-lecture about why I don’t write as much as I should.

How about this?  Here’s a description of my workspace:

My Mac glows.  The Canon printer that has been inkless for a solid six months acts more as a space to keep junk mail and unread books than it does a machine used to provide copies of my work.  My snowman coffee mug is, at least, quite jovial (definitely a Frosty kind of guy, with a jaunty hat and frighteningly long scarf).  Next to it, a short work list I started for work, which reads two things: “putting together a ‘when it’s slow list,'” and “weekly, daily side work.”  I remember feeling strongly about this list when I started it, but not so much when I realize this list has been sitting here for a week, unmoved, laid on by my cat over a dozen times, I’m sure.  An old pair of headphones are bundled up in front of the printer (I rarely use these, and I’m lost on how long they’ve been sitting there).  Lastly, there’s my mouse pad with a portrait of two kittens on it, playing; how fitting that there are kittens on the mouse pad!  Yes, I’m a dork, so there.

Okay, that wasn’t so bad.  It sucks terribly that I can’t continue because, you know, day job.  On a Sunday, no less.  Sigh.  But it’s okay.  I did exactly what I set out to do, and that was to write something.

Granted, this won’t get me into the New Yorker, or even a BuzzFeed article, but at least it’s work.  And look, it’s 10:21 a.m., just in the nick of time!

Cheers!

http://www.seanpfarley.twitter.com

How to be a Proper Customer

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Being a customer is hard work.  It requires you to leave the sanctity of your home and actually go out into the world.  To procure things.  To buy things.  Things you might not even need.  But we do it because we’re gluttonous Americans and that’s who we are.

However, sometimes we lose sight of the Real MVPs – those who have to deal with us when we actually have to go somewhere like Target or Applebee’s.  Even sad places like the DMV.  I’ve compiled this short list to help us all be Better Customers

  1. When the all-too-happy customer service representative behind the counter salutes you with a vibrant “Hello,” the proper thing to do is to say hello back.  Saying hello to whoever calls you on your cell phone at that same moment doesn’t count.
  2. Money is filthy dirty.  It’s gross, covered with the hands of the thousands of people who had it before you.  People who blew their noses and wiped their butts.  Putting this money in your sweaty bra or even sweatier running shorts does not make the disgustingness go away.  No.  So why would you hand it over, folded in quarters, damp from your grossness, to the person ringing up your Quarter Pounder with extra cheese?
  3. Your children are children and you’re the adult.  Cassidy doesn’t know if she wants corn dogs or pizza?  A soda or juice?  Fine.  Don’t lean into her and coddle her insecurities.  Be a parent and make the damn decision for her.
  4. Family is a wonderful thing.  Spending time with them at a restaurant or bar is great! Your dogs are not part of this equation.  They belong at home, jumping on the sofa without your knowledge.  Tied to your chair while you chow down on a steak and baked potato is just cruel.  There are other people around you who might not be interested in watching your poodle wetly lick its asshole while they try to enjoy their dinner, so there’s that.
  5. When you’re upset about a product, and you call the customer service line, the person on the other end doesn’t give two shits about you, your problem, or how your life has been turned upside down because your new curling iron singed your delicate locks.  No.  The customer service rep is leaning back in his chair, covering the mouthpiece, and motioning toward his cubicle buddy and mouthing, “Another asshole,” and laughing at you.
  6. You are entitled to absolutely nothing and the world doesn’t owe you a damn thing.
  7. A food establishment is not your living room – put on some shoes, for Christ’s sake.
  8. Calling a restaurant at 8 p.m. on a Friday and asking, “Are you guys busy right now?” will garner you some of the biggest eye rolls in the history of eye rolls.
  9. “The other Starbucks doesn’t charge me for that.”  Great.  Hop back into your BMW and drive your ass over there.
  10. Finally, “It’s your job, isn’t it?” doesn’t often go over too well.  I have witnessed many a customer ask this of the person helping them.  Yes, it’s their job to be of convenience, but it’s your job to treat other human beings with dignity and respect, no matter what the job.

The Art of Self-Sabotage

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I have an affliction: I am very skilled at purposely producing failure.

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This is not a good thing.  I suppose, above everything else, it’s best that I recognize it and accept it.

I suppose, also, it’s fitting for me to write this while I’m drinking.  For good reason, I promise.  Why?  Well, I shouldn’t be drinking at all.  Because I know better.  No, no, it has nothing to do with alcoholism (though it runs in my DNA).  But it does fit highly into my incessant need to seek failure rather than success.

Ah, where to begin.  Drinking is my vice.  My lovely mistress.  I like alcohol, not because of the wonderful flavor, but also how it makes me feel – loose, carefree, and apparently a seer of all things the Universe has to offer.  It’s interesting all the answers I can come up with when I have the benefit of beer and spirits.

I’m good at forgetting pain.  I’m good at slicing my wrists and pretending it’s just a scratch.  I’m a pro at jumping off a bridge and expecting to land on my feet.  Because denial.

Recently I experienced ONE OF THE WORST instances of gout.  I won’t even explain what gout is – look it up if you’re unfamiliar.  It was…volcanic.  Incendiary.  Two weeks of being nearly incapacitated, missing work.  Four more weeks waiting for it to slowly dissipate.  A glacial pace.  Pure torture.

Gout is exacerbated by several issues, two major culprits being alcohol and meat.  My life’s blood, basically.  But this past experience…I made promises to myself.  I’d quit drinking forever.  I’d cut out meat completely.  And I did.  For almost two months I let them go, waving as those two wonderful parts of my life bid farewell.

I drank almond milk smoothies for days.  I ate vegetables like candy.  I could swim in the amount of water I consumed.  No meat, no booze.  The gym became my new friend.  Because of course I’d need to find an addiction to replace the booze, the horrible food.  Just one more thing to dive into.  I worked out, I lost weight.  My skin glowed.  I slept like a baby.  I had the energy of an adolescent.  I was, as they say, a new person.

But then, there it was, a glass of beer.  Why not one?  ONE can’t hurt.  Maybe two?  The gout flare-up had finally subsided.  I could walk without a limp, do my job with ease and success.  The gym had become as familiar as a comforting blanket.  So what could ONE DRINK hurt?

Even as I write this I have a minor gout flare-up in my knee.  What does it fucking take for me to learn?  I can actually picture myself crawling to the bathroom because that last flare up was so bad.  Yet I have no qualms about picking up another beer, simply because the pain – get this – has gone away.  My skills of denial put even Donald Trump to shame.

The failures I inflict on myself are multiple.  I work out, lose weight, and stop as soon as I see results.  I write vigorously for weeks, pleased with what I’ve created, only to set it aside because I “need a break.”  And this, the drinking.  Will it take another massive flare up of horrific pain for me to realize the joke I’m making of myself?

I write this because I need to hold myself accountable.  If no one reads this…at least I know it’s here.  I knew, realistically, I’d have a drink again.  I didn’t quit because I thought I couldn’t live without alcohol – I quit because of my health.  But dammit, even all the benefits – great skin, sleeping well, losing weight, being happy, enjoying work – don’t seem to be ENOUGH for me to recognize the failure booze induces!

Let’s see what tomorrow brings because, even at this rate, I’m not entirely sure.

Fingers crossed.

 

 

 

Election 2016: To Unfriend or Not to Unfriend

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This is turning out to be one very contentious election.  You have a buffoon in one corner, and polished liar in the other.  And boy, those two are going to fight until the end.

Though I have several concerns regarding this particular election (don’t get me started on Mike Pence, Mr. Conversion Therapy himself), a deep concern is how I’m to handle those on my Facebook Friends List who support the Donald.

It’s challenging.  During the last election, between Obama and Romney, I learned a friend of 20+ years is a Republican.  I was honestly floored at the revelation.  How I didn’t know this is beyond me.  But she’s a good friend, and we figured if we were able to be friends for the 20 years prior, then why not now?

But still, there’s something that needles me regardless.

This election has brought out the worst in all of us.  Democrats and Republicans alike.  I’m to blame as well.  I share and post anything and everything that displays what a complete asshat Donald Trump is, because DUH.  And my Republican friends bag on Hillary, because Fox News.  It’s just a giant shit show.

Still, there’s an underlying issue that makes me question everything.  Strike me and my fabulousness dead for saying it, but….

…it’s the gay thing.

At what point does “Let’s agree to disagree” become “You are completely spitting on who I am as a human being”?  The America that Trump and Pence hope to concoct don’t include people like me.  And that’s fucking frightening.  What does it say about my friends if they support a man who doesn’t think my partner and I deserve equality?  The right to marry?  What does it say if they agree that there should be more conservative judges in the Supreme Court, making decisions to halt the equality the LGBT community deserves?  It bothers me.

I’m reminded of the many people I’ve known over the years who have said, “Sean, I don’t agree with the homosexual lifestyle…but you’re okay!”  I’ve let go of several people in my life who have felt this way.  I recently unfriended a former colleague who I worked with in the education system.  She fit the description of the person I just described, “accepting” me for who I am because, well, I’m SEAN.  Every day, though, her posts were becoming thoroughly political, backing Trump 100 percent.  It unnerved me.

“You understand that supporting Trump means you don’t support who I am as a gay individual?” I asked her through messenger.

“I only agree with most of what Trump has to say.  He wants to change America!  Hillary will ruin it.”

“And what would you do,” I started, “if Trump was, in some way, able to reverse the same-sex marriage decision?  Or if everything the LGBT community has worked for was taken back 20 years because of Trump?”

“Sean,” she said, “I don’t want to argue.  I hate Hillary for about as many reasons you hate Trump.  But if you don’t like what I have to say, you can unfriend me.”

So I did.  And I felt better because of it.  It was amazing the difference it made not to see her posts.  But was I being unfair?  Didn’t she have a point?  Granted, I’m not 100% Hillary, but didn’t my unfriended friend have just as much a right to feel about Hillary the way I do about Trump?

But still, I feel like I’m disregarded as the friend of a Trump supporter simply because of what Trump stands for when it comes to the LGBT community.

After writing this, I still don’t know how to answer my own question.  Do I accept the fact that we all have different ideas, different beliefs?  Is it possible these friends agree with only most of what Trump purports, but not necessarily the LGBT issue?  Sure, it’s easy for them to feel that way, they’re straight, after all.  Straight people don’t have to worry about his or her rights being tossed away like trash.

Am I being a hypocrite?  Here I am judging friends for being able to support who they damn well please during this election.  What does that say about me?

So, until the election is over, I suppose I’ll have to tread water before I make any unfriending decisions.  Mind you, unfriending someone doesn’t mean I no longer like that individual.  Basically it means I’m making a decision to avoid ugliness, in all capacities.

Until November 8th.

– Sean