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All posts for the month August, 2013

Stop ‘Being Connected’, and Connect!

Published August 30, 2013 by mindfulofchatter

phonewithcordcut

August is rolling to a close and September is just bursting around the corner. While my own children are long grown and gone, I am still happy to see school beginning again. All the kids here at the apartment complex will be heading off, and once again calm and quiet will reign supreme. No more late night ‘HEY JIMMY! COME HOME NOW!’, or ‘KEVIN! GET IN HERE NOW!’ will waft gently along the courtyard at 10 o’clock at night. Or 11. Sometimes midnight (honestly, where the heck are the parents? These kids are about 10 years old).

Well, quiet and calm will mostly reign supreme. There will still be the idiots, um dumb-asses, er, inconsiderate adults who think it’s okay to stand outside at 4 AM and talk in loud voices. Next summer, I’m getting a water cannon. Wake me up on a work night, risk getting a good soaking (silence is golden, but duct tape is silver). At least I’m not thinking of shooting t-shirts . Those hurt.

My own summer has been rather quiet. My attempts to date have been by in large been a failure (although I am still seeing Mr. Square Dance). At some point, humans have forgotten how to talk to humans and care about, well, anything. Except themselves. The selfishness I see is sometimes amazing. Heads up out of your phones, unplug those stupid headphones, look up and SEE the world. Guess what? You are not the only one! I know! It’s amazing what happens when you stop obsessing over ‘being connected’ and actually connect!

A few tips:

Driving. You are in vehicle that requires YOU to pay attention to it and the world around it. Put your stupid phone down. Stop texting. Stop READING texts. Stop making and taking calls. Drive. The. Car. It will all still be there when you stop driving. Try being in the moment, watching traffic, paying attention to the outside world. Believe it or not, I can see you picking your nose at the stoplight. Being in your car does not make you invisible. Or invincible. You crash that puppy, you will still get hurt or die. That text message or e-mail will not save you.

Eating out with other humans: Put your stupid phone down. Stop texting. Stop READING texts. Silence your ringer. Pay attention to your friend/spouse/significant other/date sitting across from you. You just may find you actually like that guy/girl if you TALK TO THEM. Julian Lennon (yes, THAT Julian Lennon) and his friends stack all their phones on the table when they go out and eat. The one who picks up their phone during the meal, pays for everyone’s meal.  Try that.

Talking to other humans: Put the stupid phone down. Stop texting. Stop READING texts. Stop taking calls. You are in a conversation already. So be IN that conversation. It’s rude, extremely rude, to interrupt someone to answer a call. Or text. Or send a text. As my daughter put it ‘If I am taking to you. If words are coming out of my mouth in your direction. DO NOT interrupt me to answer your phone to say ‘hi’ to your stupid boyfriend.’ Okay, she was pissed off when she said that, but you get the idea.

Honestly, it’s not that difficult. Way back in the dark ages, we had phones that were attached to the wall. We didn’t carry them with us. The phones stayed at home sitting on desks and tables, or hung on walls. We didn’t have voice mail or answering machines. If someone rang and you weren’t home, they simply rang again later. If it was important, or an emergency, someone went out and found you. We talked to each other face to face. Meals went uninterrupted by bleeps, blurps and annoying ringtones.

What this boils down to is this; You can’t be connected by being connected to your device. You have to look up and actually talk to other humans face to face. You can’t find love or make a marriage work via your mobile. You can’t work on a troubled relationship (this includes friends and family) by being withdrawn into your phone or computer. You have to be in the moment, face to face, voice to voice, emotion to emotion.

And stop giving mobiles to your kids. Good god. Who thought it was a good idea to give an eight year old a mobile? At the very least, don’t let them take the stupid ass thing to school. They don’t need a phone at school. They may actually make friends if they can’t spend lunchtime playing games on their phones. Need to get a message to your kid? Guess what? The school office can do that!

This covers you workaholics too. You can’t really help a client while you are driving. And you certainly can’t help a client when you drive into a ditch or wrap your car around a tree. So take breath. Pull over. Make or answer your call. Oh, and I can see you picking your nose at the stoplight too. Still not invisible.

Look up. See the sky. The birds. The clouds. Take breath and connect to real life. And those things that look sorta like you? Those are other humans. Try talking to them.

It’s a trip.

Mr. Square Dance Partner

Published August 22, 2013 by mindfulofchatter

square dancers

As most of you know, I am on a couple of dating sites. I also peruse Craigslist from time to time. Mostly I look at Craigslist and wonder how and why people post the personal ads they do. There are a lot of married men looking for a ‘discreet’ relationship. I know that women will (and do) cheat, but I find very sad that so many men are looking to cheat on their spouses. Not to mention that they admit it openly.

But I digress.

In one of my forays on Craigslist, I came across an ad titled ‘Looking for a square dance partner’. Now, I know most of you are already snickering or rolling your eyes or thinking the ad was from some dude in his 80’s. But no. The age noted next to the ad said ’50’. Hmmmmm, thinks I. Now why would I find any of this interesting?

We all know I am a bit, um, nerdy/geeky/a tad off center/my lift may not go to the top floor/ etc.. I started square dancing when I was 12. By choice. The area I grew up in had a teen/young adult square dance club. I went through the classes and danced all the way through high school (this explains a lot about my high school years), then on and off in my late 20’s and into my 30’s.  Square dancing is fun. There is also round dancing and what became the phenomenon of line dancing. All this I learned in my pre-teen and teen years. That’s right folks, I was line dancing before it was cool (and called line dancing).

So seeing this ‘young man’ looking for a square dance partner intrigued me. And I dropped him a line. He wrote back and we met at a local restaurant for a tall glass of iced tea.  We had a nice visit at the restaurant. He told a little about himself and how he got started square dancing. At the end of our visit, he said he’d look at the flyers and let me know when the next dance was. I warned him I had not square danced in about 4 years, and the last time was a mainstream (super easy level) dance. That was fine with him.

Now Mr. Square Dance is about 6′ tall, brown hair with some grey. He is clean and well kept. He is well spoken. He’s a nice looking man, overall. He also very quiet. Heaven knows I am NOT quiet. So it made me wonder how well we would get on. I wasn’t sure if he was just a quiet guy, or shy guy. I wasn’t even sure if he’d actually contact me for a dance. I mean I am, well, me, after all.

(note: Those of you who expressed that I should ‘let it all hang out’/’show all the crazy’ would be proud. I held nothing back)

A few days later I got another e-mail from him. Would I like to go to a dance that Friday? He gave me the time and place. We agreed to meet there. He asked if me if he could please pay my cover charge. Okay. We had a really good time. Neither one of us messed up our squares. We chatted between tips (dance sets). He opened up a little more about himself and talked a bit more. He was a gentleman all evening. It was just a really fun night. He was fun and easy to be with.

Since then we have gone to another dance, a movie, short stage show, dinner, lunch and have made plans to do some other things.  He is still much quieter than I am, but my tendency to babble doesn’t seem to bother him. He smiles a lot and laughs a lot. We are still learning about each other. We have common interests. My love for Dr. Who and Cos-Play has not deterred him. He is interested in getting involved in Rendezvous (Mountain Man) enactment and possibly Civil war re-enacting (he said if he gets shoots a flintlock/black powder, he’s in). AND he can keep up with my sometimes abrupt changes of subject matter. Oh, we like the same weird movies. My dog even likes him, and she is kinda wary about men in general.

I think he snuck dating in when I wasn’t looking. Those quiet guys sure are sneaky.

Mr. Square Dance seems to be a genuinely nice man. I enjoy his company. He is not trying to push our relationship forward at a breakneck pace. He asks for, but does not demand, time with me. He plans ahead and has never once asked me to reschedule my life  to go out with him.  And catch this, boys and girls; his phone has never once made an appearance when we have been out together. He is a breath of fresh air in a very stale dating world.

I don’t know where this is going, but I think I stick around for the ride.

Heels Vs Wedges. Yes, I’m talking shoes.

Published August 17, 2013 by mindfulofchatter

A few days ago, one of the radio stations I listen to had a short segment about women’s shoes and what men think about them. Normally, I change the station when they hit the morning blah, blah, blah section. This time, I wanted to hear, out of curiosity,  what the survey said and the reactions of the on air hosts. Usually, I find the morning hosts on this station to be rather mindless and not worth my time. I didn’t really expect this to be any different. It’s rarely good to get your hopes up when dealing with on-air hosts of any kind.

The question was ‘Do men prefer heels or wedges on women’s shoes.’ For those of you who do not know what a wedge is, it’s the lady’s shoe with a solid heel and platform. There is no separate heel, the base is all one piece:

Wedge-Shoe

And a stiletto is, of course, the sexy shoes with tall, narrow heel:

stiletto-heels

They asked over 1,000 men this question. Now they never said what age range they asked. I would guess they asked the 20 – 35 crowd. Those seem to be the ones dating, and /or paying attention to women’s fashion. Wait. Did I just say men were paying attention to women’s fashion? Sorry. I don’t know what I thinking. My blood sugar must be low.

Where was I……….Oh! Women’s shoes and what style men prefer.

The over whelming winner was the stiletto. For me, this was a ‘Well, Duh’ moment. I find the wedge to be little more than a brick attached to a woman’s leg. They look clunky and heavy. They ruin the line of your legs. I have never liked them. Of course, I am old and those horrible things were popular when I was in high school. Only we called them platforms. Kind of like we had bell bottoms, which you kids now call flares, and hip huggers which are now called low-rise jeans. I thought platforms were ugly then, and I find them ugly now. Call them what you may, they are ugly buggers.

But the women at the radio station were flabbergasted by the outcome. They couldn’t believe men disliked wedges and preferred the stiletto. The male host was darn near attacked when he agreed with the survey and stated that he, too, preferred the stiletto.

“Oh my god! But wedges are so cute! How could you not like them?”, one gal blurted.

“I know, right? I love my wedges. I think they made up the results”, claimed another.

Sure, because the survey takers got a kickback from the stiletto manufacturers. Really? I don’t think so. And now you see why I usually change the station.

“I can’t believe men don’t like wedges. You (meaning the male host) are just siding with them so your buddies don’t get on your case.”, said yet another female employee.

Um, yeah. I’m sure the male host was truly worried about what his buddies think about his taste in women’s shoes. Perhaps if he was wearing them on his off days. But as an observer? Please.

The male host went on the explain why he didn’t like wedges. What did he say? They look like bricks strapped to a woman’s foot. They ruined the line of her legs and her dress. They looked heavy and awkward.

It seems I have heard that before…….hmmmmmmmmm………

Oh yeah. That was what I said.  Over 30 years ago.

This Feels Like One of Those Nights…..

Published August 8, 2013 by mindfulofchatter

Even though it’s only Thursday, I feel the weekend coming up like  runaway train. For me, it will be another weekend of finding ways to fill the time with things I enjoy doing on my own.

Being single is one of those odd things. As Taylor Swifter wrote: We are happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time. It is amazing how true that is, not matter what your age.

I am not unhappy with being single. I am free to pursue the things I enjoy without having anyone tell me they are dumb, too expensive or boring. I am often confused as to why I can’t find one other (single) person who wishes to share these things with me. I know I may be a bit on the nerdy side, but so what? One would think I could find a suitable male humanoid with similar interests. I do get lonely. After a few years of doing things mostly alone, I’d like someone else to make fun of, er, talk to.

If I were in my 20’s in this situation, all of my girl friends would be setting up with some guy every weekend. And I’d be groaning at the thought of endless blinds dates. But at this point in my life, my girl friends are all married, or in new relationships, and no one knows anyone to set me up with. The men they know are married, or idiots (their words) or otherwise unsuitable for me in some way or another.

One of the problems/good things with being older and single, is the fact that you NOW have a better feel of who you are. You know what you will and won’t tolerate. You know your deal breakers are and will walk away without a second thought (Dr. Jekyll comes to mind). Most of us no longer have other distractions, such as children underfoot. This means our potential other has our full attention and that makes hiding things a wee bit tougher.

We are more picky. We pay more attention to the things that bug us. We listen to the words between the lines. We watch as actions speak louder than words. We notice when our date seems to be hung up on an ex. Or just a nutcase. Or weird in not a good way.

The good things at being over 50 and single?

We notice our date. We listen to what he has to say. We notice the way he draws with his fingertips on the table as he talks. That he is intelligent (or not). That he has an odd sense humor we enjoy (or no sense humor at all). That he can laugh at his past and appreciate our past screw-ups. That while he may be nervous, he is willing to stay and give things a try. Even if it’s only for an hour lunch date.

It’s almost scarier than dating in your 20’s when you were just happy the cute dude asked you out and now you’re so nervous you notice nothing (except that he is cute and with YOU on a date). *insert silly giggling here*

So I will sit and run through the things I may want to do this weekend. I’ll peruse the ‘net for local activities and see whats shakin’ in the outside world. There may be something going on I can attend alone and not look too odd. Well, any odder than usual. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get a decent ‘ping’ on one of the dating sites and have a date for something. I’ll cross my fingers, but I won’t hold my breath. I don’t look all that good with blue lips and a red face.

All in all, I’d like to be loved again. Like the English people love their spliffs and curry, like a kid loves money from the tooth fairy, like Chewbacca loves Han Solo.

Or something like that.