Tag Archives: life

Far-flung friends.

A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?

–Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)

Last year was my Year of Letting Go, in which I slowly but surely let go of friendships and work relationships that were bringing more stress and negativity into my life than joy or mutual support, or that had simply run their course. It’s not always easy to let go or fade out, but time and energy that you devote to relationships that aren’t working are time and energy you could be devoting to relationships that will. In some ways, the heart is like a hard drive: It has only so much space, and you need to watch out for resource hogs.

While looking for a suitable quote to post with a photo of the Kahlil Gibran Memorial on my Instagram, I came upon the snippet above, and it got me thinking of how I let a few local friendships go in favor of friendships with people who live far away. Part of this is because a few friends in distant places have had access to my personal, private online journal for many years (some going back to 2003), and vice versa. We’ve been with each other through births, deaths, marriages, divorces, remarriages, trauma, illness, healing, job loss, moves, natural disasters, you name it. I’ve met many of them in person, spoken to quite a few of them on the phone, and have had visits and taken trips with several of them. Getting to know each other was effortless, and we get along so well because we had something solid in common from the start—values, life experiences, politics, how we see the world and handle what life throws at us, etc. Hey, if you don’t take a shine to what you read in someone’s journal, there’s no sense in sticking around and forging a rapport.

This is one reason why I pretty much never post photos of myself on the Internet or social media. I prefer to have a meeting of the minds because that’s what’s most important to me in any friendship I form, and for better or worse, pictures lead to presumptions. I’d rather not introduce a prejudice if I don’t have to. Then there are the guys who see a photo of a woman and decide to say something inappropriate. Yeah, no thanks.

Part of the Kahlil Gibran Memorial in Washington, D.C. He would not approve of lewd comments.

Kahlil Gibran wouldn’t post lewd comments. Be like Kahlil Gibran.

But anyway, finding that quote made me think of my faraway friends who know me better than some who lived in a 5-mile radius of me, and better than anyone in my own family ever did. That’s the wonder of the Internet. It has its risks and its flaws, but it enables you to find your people if you use it right. I firmly believe you get two families: The one you’re born with and the one you craft for yourself by filling your sphere with people you love simply because they are who they are, and who love you in return simply because you are you. Distance, like DNA, is a matter of chance.

So here’s to my blog buddies and my fellow MySpace survivors from back in the day, and here’s to my more recent acquaintances and all the possibilities. Now if someone would just invent a teleporter, we could raise a glass.

P.S. Speaking of the Internet, for the love of all that is holy, it’s Kahlil, not “Khalil.”

Holidailies 2016!

Okay, so Horrordailies didn’t work out so well for me. I feel guilt. I feel shame. I hang my head low and sigh.

*sigh*

But Holidailies? It’s on.

And already I’m stealing an idea from a fellow blogger, Mary of the Red Nose, and doing a general introduction with 10 things about me, glorious me! (“Mary of the Red Nose.” Sounds saintly, heh!)

1. I’m a writer. A freelance journalist to be exact. Health, because basically I didn’t do so well in biochemistry in high school so med school was out.

2. I have a bird. Look at this sweet face.

Inigo the Nanner King

Inigo the Nanner King

Do not let him fool you. He can be a little devil.

Handsome little devil, eh?

Handsome, if soggy, little devil, eh?

Don’t mind the watermark. That’s his Instagram handle.

3. I’m a vegetarian. I guess technically you could call me a lacto-ovo-pescatarian, but I’m doing my best to work dairy and eggs out of my diet and seafood is generally my “going out” food if none of the meat-free options on the menu look appealing. Even then, I try to keep the environment in mind. I don’t keep milk, eggs, butter, or mayonnaise in my fridge, and I recently bought some vegan “cheese,” which is kind of bland, and Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy Chocolate Fudge Brownie, which tastes nothing like the original ice cream and requires me to reframe it as its own thing instead of as a substitute. It’s not bad. It’s just not uber-chocolatey. I’ve given up on trying to find an alternative to milk, as every one I’ve tried made me gag, so I just don’t have cereal anymore.

4. I’m an atheist. This, with 12 years of Catholic school behind me. Oops. Once upon a time I was a Unitarian-Universalist, having converted away from Catholicism, but I don’t claim a religion anymore.

5. Oh, as long as we’re getting all of “those” things out of the way, I do HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts, but not Cross-Fit, so I’m not too obnoxious, I hope. Hey, I’ve seen the memes.

avcf

6. I’m ambiverted, but if push comes to shove I will claim introversion and the Myers-Briggs indicator of INTJ. Some call this type The Architect. Others call it The Mastermind. In terms of characters with the INTJ personality, I tend to identify with Jean-Luc Picard and not Dexter Morgan. Usually. (There’s actually a dearth of female INTJ characters. The most famous one is Clarice Starling. Hannibal Lecter is an INTJ, too.)

Now there's two sides of the same coin. (Image: Orion Pictures)

Now there’s two sides of the same coin. (Image: Orion Pictures)

7. My favorite color is purple. Just saying.

8. I’m straight, but could not possibly care less what anyone else is. Well, unless I’m interested in dating a guy. Then it kind of matters which way he swings.

9. I’m originally from Long Island but consider the D.C. area home, namely the Virginia side of the river. I toy with the idea of moving to the Maryland side, but I’m a Virginian in mindset in many ways. I kid people that I’m the next best thing to a socialist, but there are moderate, or even somewhat conservative, things about the Commonwealth that appeal to me, things that just scream “VIRGINIA,” as in, we don’t do parole. Also, up to 70% of Internet traffic flows through northern Virginia. Be nice to us, especially you there, in Silicon Valley. Also, Shenandoah National Park. You need to see Skyline Drive to believe it. And peanuts. And the Virginia Reel. And Thomas Jefferson. Did I mention Thomas Jefferson? Hamilton can suck a peanut, that authoritarian cur.

10. I have a crush on France and Finland. If you put me in France or a French-speaking area for a few months, a lot of my French would come back to me, and I could get by. If you put me in Finland for a few months I would still only be able to order a beer and insult people, maybe even at the same time. Have you ever taken a good look at Finnish?

A famous Polandball comic, as seen on Reddit.

A famous Polandball comic, as seen on Reddit.

Perkele.

Don’t I know you?

Today’s Holidailies luck of the click: Meeting people in cyberspace.

I take this to mean either meeting your cyberbuddies in the flesh or running into people in cyberspace you already know in person. I’ve done both, and while the former is wonderful and I’ve made some very dear “real-life” friends that way, the latter can be downright hilarious, especially when karma is involved.

Take Ken, for instance. I worked for Ken in a consulting firm that handled publications for small trade associations. He pulled a huge bait-and-switch in that his expectations and demands were about 50 times more intense and burdensome than he let on in the interview.

Those who have ever worked in publishing of any kind will nod their heads in agreement when I say that it’s just a wee bit much to expect an editor to edit, lay out, write columns, solicit articles, sell advertising space, and handle circulation all for the same publication. No-no, we have word people, we have graphic people, we have ad people, and we have circulation people. Word people and graphic people often work together, and word people are wise to know the programs the graphic people use in case they have to go into a layout and tweak a typo or something at the last minute. But by and large, those are four different aspects of publishing, something I knew at the ripe old age of 28, having spent four years and a lot of money to learn. Ken seemed to know this, too, and went on about how this person at the firm handled layout and the other person handled ads, and everyone just kind of pitched in and updated the system when subscribers changed their addresses, etc.

Well, in my first two weeks there, he expected me to do all of that for not one, but two 48-page publications. But wait, there’s more! The first weekend on the job I had to fly to a conference to man the registration booth with other staff members. That sucked up Friday through Monday, and of course no one took a day off when we came back, so my first week on the job lasted 12 days.

The following Monday, Ken requested to see the completed layouts.

Of course I had not completed them.

And Ken was displeased.

In fact, Ken was so displeased that I still hadn’t pulled both of these publications out of my arse by the end of my third week that he fired me.

Fast forward eleven years and one divorce later. Newly single, I had no idea where or how to start dating again, so I signed up for a little service you may have heard of, Match.com.

You know where this is going.

Ken winked.

Ken wrote.

Ken wrote again.

Oh, my profile was just lovely. I was witty. I was intelligent. I was attractive and vivacious, and we had many, many interests and hobbies in common. “Would a woman such as yourself consider meeting for a drink?”

Why, no. No, a woman such as I would not consider meeting for a drink. A woman such as I wound up temping for six months and maxing out her credit cards to pay her rent after a man such as he let it be known that he didn’t know his butt from his elbow when it came to publishing and fired a woman such as I, and therefore if a man such as he spontaneously burst into flames and no one else was around but we two, a woman such as I wouldn’t pee on a man such as he to put it out.

Write, proofread, and…

smite

Ah, that felt good. (Image: No idea. It’s around.)

Odd, but on Match I ran into a few guys I had previously met in real life and didn’t like. One was a former coworker of my ex-husband’s. “Wait, aren’t you that jerk who made that awful crack about Mexican women at [colleague of his and my ex-hub]’s party when you saw that [colleague’s wife] was Mexican? Something about green cards and being elevated from cleaning lady to full-time servant?”

Another was someone I had a disaster date with in college, the kind of guy who thinks you’re supposed to sleep with him if he buys you dinner.

Needless to say, I wasn’t on Match for very long. That was right around the time MySpace started taking off, and I figured if I was going to fend off jerks through my computer, I could do that on there instead, for free—but that’s something for another entry.