Category Archives: thinking

In today’s news…

buzzfeed

From Buzzfeed.com


The Ambivalent Personification of Artistic Endeavors

My boyfriend works in an art gallery. Sometimes I feel like that gallery is “the other woman” trying to steal him away – calling all the time, making up excuses to see him when he’s not supposed to be there…

Part of me wants to make a scene about this. I could storm into the still quiet of the gallery in my best ass-kicking boots crying, “Aha! It’s you! You’re the one who’s been texting him at 1am!” (I might have to aim this at whichever particular staff member is around rather than the gallery as a whole so people don’t think I’m crazy right away. Woe betide any volunteer who tries to sell me a watercolour print when I’m in this mood.)

I could channel Katharine Hepburn’s haughty derision and make them feel tiny and insignificant. I could belittle their artistic integrity and their reliance on traditional styles rather than embracing innovative contemporary movements. I could mock their chipped paintwork and sagging furniture, although that’s getting a little personal.

The trouble is, this isn’t my fight. The Boy has to decide whether or not to break all ties or stick around and try to leave things better than he found them. This gallery, this “other woman” relying on him because it can, is kill or cure.


first impressions

I’ve got a business meeting this week with someone I’ve never met before but who could be hugely important, and yet again my social awkwardness has arrived to trip me up at the most inopportune time. I’ve spent years reading studies on human behavioural interaction to try and understand what seems to come naturally to other people, the kind of subconscious social cues that I feel I should have learnt by immersion rather than second hand.

I think it’s nerves more than anything make me second guess my behaviour now.

I remember being so conscious of everything I did or said when I had to talk to people in my teens – don’t fidget, don’t cross your arms, speak slowly and clearly, don’t avoid eye contact but don’t stare, mirror the person you’re speaking to but not too obviously, discuss the weather because it’s an inoffensive topic and not because you have any particular meteorological feelings, don’t tell people they’re stupid just because it takes them 3 times longer to reach your conclusion – but in the last few years much of that has become automatic.

I forget sometimes, when I’m around the people I’m used to, and then that uncertainty sneaks up on me out of nowhere. It can still sometimes seem like a lot all at once, trying to remember all the social cues as well as keeping up the flow of conversation. It’s become a lot easier to manage in recent years, and I think that is mainly down to my acceptance of it. With age comes perspective, and I realise now that stuttering through the odd sentence or forgetting the odd word or even having to explain something that seems remarkably simple to me (but not to the entire rest of the world, it seems) is not the disaster I once imagined.

That said, I have no idea how this meeting will go. It’s a genuine business meeting which is really important, so I have to make a good impression. I have to leave this man thinking that I’m capable, intelligent and responsible, and splitting my focus between explaining my business plan and remembering to make the appropriate amount of eye contact may be difficult.

This is why I hate first impressions – the physical image of a person will stay in your mind for years and could potentially taint your entire relationship. Not only that, but conversation in person is spontaneous. Emails, texts or even Facebook chat can offer a little time for contemplation, for the beloved edit and rewrite, but speaking is immediate. The words are out with little to no time for planning and if something goes wrong, the only option to correct the error is to continue talking. You must push the poor little conversational canary further into the condemned mineshaft of misunderstanding, at the same time hoping for the fresh air of mutual perspective while also dreading the moment the bird croaks on its own confusion and silence falls.

See what I mean? I could never have come up with that metaphor without time to think.

 


“Fall down seven times…”

“…stand up eight.” – Japanese proverb

 


Love.

You know what I realised today? I’m never going to fall in love.

Not because I’m the wicked witch of the story and social morality dictates that I’m not allowed to (or, at least, not as far as I know) but because I think about relationships in terms of cultural expectations, emotional engineering, social pressures and learned behaviour rather than puppies and rainbows and pixie dust.

One of my friends fell in love and got married in less than 2 years and it’s a beautiful story, she smiles every time she talks about it and she sounds absolutely sure of herself on every word. I know I’m never going to feel that because it would never occur to me that I was “falling in love”.

I’d recognise that 2 people could balance each other emotionally because they have similar personality traits, that making themselves mutually vulnerable could create a mutual attachment, that similar upbringings and familial relationships could lead to similar “romantic” expectations, that repeated positive reinforcement could spark endorphins every time they met.

I’d recognise that other people would watch a relationship like that develop and say these people were falling in love, but I wouldn’t say that myself.

I remember trying to find out what was going on in people’s heads when they thought they were falling in love because I couldn’t understand them, but maybe that’s the point. Maybe all that “love is madness” malarkey is an excuse to let go of your usual impulse control, to indulge the craving to escape the monotony of the every-day and to create a socially acceptable means of acting out.

It’s not often, but every once in a while I can’t help but want the puppies and rainbows and pixie dust. Unfortunately, I don’t think clapping my hands and wishing very, very hard will work in this situation.

 


Being Elmo

“If everybody else your age is doing something very different to what you’re doing, there’s always going to be someone saying that you might not succeed, that you might not make any money with that. All of those things will go away if you really focus on what makes you happy.” – Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo the monster

This is why I still love Sesame Street.

“When a puppet is true and good and meaningful, it’s the soul of the puppeteer that you’re seeing.”

 


G-Male

“Here at Google we consistently seek out new ways to improve the quality of your life…We delved deep into your personal life and found that something was missing.”