Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?


"50 First Dates"






Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
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Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)

Quasar
Hyperbole
Amenable
Taciturn
Ennui
Prophetic
Tawdry
Hubris
Ethereal
Syzygy
Umbrageous
Twerp
Sluice
Omnipotent
Sanctuary
Malevolent
Maelstrom
Luddite
Subterfuge
Akimbo
Hoosegow
Dodecahedron
Visceral
Soupçon
Truculent
Vitriol
Mercurial
Kerfuffle
Sangfroid




























 







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Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue

Slanglish

It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"


















 
Mail Trillian here





Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.



Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.





Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"







Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


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Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains





























Life(?) of Trillian
Single/Zero

 
Saturday, February 02, 2008  
It's Groundhog Day. Yipppeeee!! I love Groundhog Day.

You're sitting there thinking, "Huh? I mean, I know Trill's got some funny quirks but this is kind of a weird one, even for her. And aren't there animal rights implications to Groundhog Day?"

Hear me out on this. I'm not superstitious or a farmer or whatever you'd call the whole Groundhog Day thing.

1) The groundhogs they use for the "official" proclamation are treated pretty darned well and have a better life expectancy than groundhogs living in the wild. Am I okay with "taming" and exploiting wild animals? No, not really. But. Given the choice between giving some groundhogs a really cushy comfy life v. the thousands of groundhogs who are killed in roadside accidents, well, I'd have to go with the perspective that "taming" and exploiting few is saving a few who would otherwise have a life expectancy of about 2 years at most.

2) There's one huge red downer of a non-holiday holiday that gets all the attention in February. Since February 14th is a stupid, overmarketed, depressing (to some of us) day, I love to revel in the oft overlooked non-holiday holiday in February: Groundhog Day. While people are getting all hopped up high in anticipation of Valentine's Day, I'm all hopped up high, too, but in anticipation of Groundhog Day. The disturbing and telling fact that I'm all hopped up high on a chubby rodent called upon to forecast the fate of weather while other people are hopped up high on a cute little cherub bringing romance does not escape me. Given the state of my lovelife a chubby weather predicting rodent is the most excitement I'll be getting in February.

3) I have an annual tradition on February 2.

I watch Groundhog Day. The Bill Murray movie. Sometimes I even throw a little party. This year is a party year. I'm making rodent and weather related treats. He saw his shadow this year, so I'll be making snowflake cookies and mitten shaped brownies this afternoon. There will be warm libations like peppermint schnapps in hot chocolate and hot buttered rum. I've got fuzzy socks, mittens and Chapstick® as party favors. If Phil hadn't seen his shadow I'd be whipping up sunshine cookies and flower shaped brownies, serving margaritas and Hurricanes and sending people home with beach balls, rattan beach mats and suntan lotion. Yeah, that's the down side of a Groundhog Day party, you have to be prepared for either prediction. Still, after you do a few of these parties you get the drill down to a science.

There are two types of people in this world: Those who hate Groundhog Day and those who think it's layered and brilliant. I'm in the latter group. It's one of my all time favorite movies.

Oh sure, the first time I saw it the obvious comedic aspects were great. Time passed, I got a little older, a little wiser, a little more aware and depressed about the monotony of life, feeling stuck in a place where you don't really fit in, where you're accepted on the surface levels and manage to get along, but inside you know something's wrong, something's weird, something's not right. You're not alone but you're lonely because, well, really you are alone because you can't make anyone, not even one special person understand what's happening to you. Every day feels the same, you do everything you can to change it, and yet you can't quite escape the monotony. So you try everything you can think of to deal with it. You try to mock it. You try to accept it. You try to end it. And yet, sure as I've Got You Babe is one of the all time chirpiest guilty pleasure camp songs ever recorded, you wake up the next morning and face it all over again.

The more years that pass since the first time I saw Groundhog Day, the more I identify with it. It's still funny to me, and that's the crucial aspect of the movie. It would be a horrendous downer, brilliant, but a downer, like Eternal Sunshine... And therein lies one of the great aspects of the revisions to the original screenplay and Bill Murray. This situation, real or metaphoric, sucks. Bad. It really sucks. Suicidally bad. But. If you squint hard enough at it, there is a humorous aspect to it. Schadenfreude except you're not laughing at the misfortune of others, you're laughing at your own misfortune and misery. Maybe that's not a healthy psychological technique, but, it can lighten the load enough to keep the lure of an overdose of pills and alcohol under control. So, clinically healthy or not, seeing the funny side of your own misery can save your life. Bill Murray was perfect casting for this. He's funny, but not over the top funny. He's charming, but not sugary, dull charming. He's got bite, he gets it. He can be annoying, cynically mean, and doesn't suffer fools lightly, but, he's funny. And he does have it in him to be less annoying. We know that from the get-go. We see that he's a jerk, but there's depth to him and his character, there is a possibility for redemption and maybe even salvation. And he's funny. I mean, his lines and his delivery of those lines is funny. Quietly, intelligently, darkly, deeply funny. (Yes, as we know, I'm a huge Bill Murray fan and he and I had quite a little thing going there for a while. But still. He's fantastic in this movie. Oh, and, I've decided to use blog labels where appropriate. So instead of linking to previous Bill Murray posts, if you're interested in my history with Bill Murray, you just go to the end of this post, click on the "Bill Murray" link and all my previous Bill Murray posts will magically appear before you. It's better than "search this blog" because the I've chosen which posts are relevant, whereas search will bring you every post where the words are written. In this case of Bill Murray, for instance, only the posts about Groundhog Day or my history with Bill Murray will appear when you click on the label link. If you search Bill Murray you'll get all those and other random posts where he's mentioned offhand and not really relevant. (Though you could argue in this case, given my bizarre psychology with Bill Murray, all references to Bill Murray could be relevant.) Anyway, I've jumped on the label bandwagon. I ♥ tags. I ♥ the internet. Al Gore, The Future owes you so much, things we can't even dream of right now, we owe you everything for inventing the internet.)

The end, the theme of change and redemption triumphing and love conquering all, well, yeah, I mean, that's Hollywood for you. And this isn't alternative indie theatre Eternal Sunshine..., after all. It's mainstream '90s cineplex Groundhog Day. The isolation and depression themes are pretty heavy for the cineplex, so a chirpy little ending was required to keep viewing audiences from going home, examining the drudgery of their lives and killing themselves. And I never get the impression that Bill/Phil is going to live a life of kittens and rainbows even after he wakes up on February 3rd with Andie MacDowell. He may live a life less alone and with more personal insight, but there's no indication that poof! he's now going to live every day in a high-on-life giddiness. He's elated, of course, and life will never be the same, but, let's face it, even with deeper understanding and a special someone, life is still life and we are who we are. A little less loneliness and isolation can go a long way to assuaging the pain of solitary existence, but, better than average perception of life leads to cynical insight, no matter how fulfilled you are on a personal level.

And as for the "sweet" predictable ending, well, really, even the loneliest and most cynical among us want Bill/Phil to realize he was a pompous jerk with a bad attitude about women. We want him to realize that he needed to learn a few lessons about himself, "grow as a person." We want him to want Andie MacDowell for the right reasons. And we figure, hey, if it can happen to Bill/Phil, maybe, just maybe, if we keep trying, keep growing, one day the monotony and loneliness of our own life will ease. Maybe we'll find a way to be understood and accepted, at least by one special person and then we won't feel so isolated and lonely. If Bill/Phil can learn and grow and eventually succeed and escape, albeit with a lot of trial and error, certainly we can, too.

So. Happy Groundhog Day. If you haven't seen the movie in a while, I recommend it. Give it another viewing now that you're a little older and wiser than the last time you saw it. There's a 15th anniversary DVD out this year. (I know, 15 years?!! Really??? It's been 15 years??? Crap, talk about the monotony of life dragging on and on and on...) Oh, and, on the DVD there's great commentary by Harold Ramis and the original screenplay, "The Weight of Time." (Which is more dark and plays on the themes of loneliness and isolation.)

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9:25 AM

Thursday, January 31, 2008  
I openly admit I watch Lost. It came along at a time when (un)reality TV was at it’s peak of raging its war on American intelligence. It was different. Clever. Thought was given to the words in the script. Thought was given to the plot. Obvious thought was given to the characters…the casting…set…the camera angles…the production technique. And even the acting showed signs of actual trained actors with true talent. At the time of its debut those were rare qualities in a television show. Especially on network television.

ABC! ABC for crying out loud! Why I watched it and why I’ve hung in there (even through the abysmal and heavily repeated second season) is as much about supporting the creative effort involved as it is about my interest in the actual show.

And the marketing, o glorious happy day, the marketing. It’s genius. Truly brilliant. Sure, they’re using some of the oldest tricks in the book, but they’re putting their wacky Lost spin on them. Bravo, boys, bravo. Take that and shove up your phony faux reality formulaic formatted musical diarrhea ass, American Idol. One of the things I love about Lost is their “product placement.” They use the gimmick of product placement as clues, but I think, I hope, it’s also a bit of a joke. A wink wink joke about the overbranding so ubiquitous on “reality” television. I could make Orwellian parallels about the societal message behind the Dharma products and their placement shots all over The Island(s). The cult/communistic overtones of the Dharma products (Dharma food, Dharma shampoo, Dharma jumpsuits for the drones…) shown in reality television product placement format could be seen as a warning. It makes us flinch when we see it on Lost, we don’t know who or what this whole Dharma thing is, exactly, but we know it can’t be good. It has serious cult/communism benchmarks. But yet when we see Coca-Cola logo-ed cups strategically placed in front of the judges on American Idol most people don’t flinch. Scarier to me is that a lot of people don’t even “notice” the cups, or that the Coca-Cola logo on all the cups is always, always completely visible. It’s hardly subliminal, but it’s become such a normal and accepted occurrence that a lot of people don’t notice. Which is sad. They’re being accosted with marketing and they’re unaware, at least on a conscious level. Is it subversive? No. But it’s invasive. And it’s expensive. If even a small percentage of the money Coca-Cola has spent on making sure Simon, Randy and even Paula’s liquor spiked cups are front and center were given to charity the world would be a better place. I’d like to teach the world to sing that song. That’s the real thing.

But if I go off all "Lost is deep, socially significant, smart and relevant," that makes me one of Them. The people who spend a lot of time thinking and speculating about the show. The people who spend as much time as they can poring over every detail, freeze framing each second of every episode, and spending time on Lost themed message boards, blogs and chat rooms. You know, Lost geeks.

I’m not one of Them.

I’m just along for the ride. I tune in every week. Well. When possible. I admit, I’ve missed a few episodes, I’m not among the faithful who arrange their social and professional lives around Lost or any other television show for that matter. (Well, except for Flight of the Conchords equally brilliant for entirely different reasons.) I’ve only randomly looked at online forums, and then only because a reader or friend sends me a link to something I might find humorous or interesting. I like the parodies and jokes as much as I love the actual show. (Jim Meddick did a great Monty series, culminating with the Lost island being Gilligan’s Island. I think he was the first to make this joke. If not the first, certainly the best I’ve seen. Sorry, I can't find that particular story thread online. But in general Monty is pretty darned funny.)

And sure, the eye candy for the women is certainly a draw. Finally someone in casting realized nerdy girls like men, too. Sawyer, Desmond, Jin and lately, Sayid, have been “doing it” for me. I’m not hot for Jack or Charlie. Though, I was very sad to see Charlie (presumably) die. I liked his character and I thought Dominic Monaghan did a bang up acting job in making Charlie, the heroine addicted rock star has been desperately wanting a come-back, stupid enough to provide comic relief, smart enough to know he has some redemption to do (read: Liam Gallagher) believable. Shy of actually getting Liam Gallagher to "act" that role, Dominic Monaghan did the best job possible to make Charlie's character ring true. Yes, okay? Yes! It’s a weekly visual feast for us geeky girls whose libidos engage when our brains are tickled. Make us keep up and think about what’s happening on screen and throw in some really good looking men, and, well. It’s must see TV for us lonely single dork girls who can’t find dates or anything better to do with our evenings. And the chicks aren’t bad, either. The same nerd mentality applies to the men in the audience. There’s something for everyone.

I digress. My mind wanders a lot lately. Typically it wanders to men. Pent up frustration and loneliness for $500, please.

Right. So. The long awaited return of Lost is coming up and I’m glad. Not excited, not anxious, not in rapt anticipation, but glad. Glad to have a diversion from my weary life, glad to have an hour of watching a truly creative process. Glad that in spite of the writer’s strike several episodes will offer a respite from the ho hum tediousness and insult of “reality” television. (Seriously, do we really care about Brett Michaels "choosing" a date from a group of skanky women half his age? Really? Wasn't one round of this bad enough? Did we really need Rock of Love II? Haven't we suffered enough?) Do I expect to find out who’s in the coffin? No. Do I care? No. The thing with Lost is that almost everything means something, and eventually it becomes apparent. Tune in next week, or the week after, eventually a hint or clue becomes apparent. We will find out who’s in the coffin. Probably not in the first episode, probably not next week, and probably not even in this season. Does that bother me? No. It does not. Do I spend that time speculating about it? No, not really. Maybe a little when I’m watching the show, but not much of my cognitive time is spent on Lost when it’s not actually playing on the television screen in front of me.

I’m satisfied with the story arc thus far. I’m content knowing I don’t know. They’ve established trust and I feel secure in the knowledge that they’ll let us know when they want us to know. This is careful storytelling. Let ‘em craft their plot on their terms and just sit back and let it unfold in front of us. This is entertainment, after all. Sit back and enjoy the show. Then resume your regularly scheduled life. We’ve been promised the end will in fact come in 2010. (More brilliant planning and marketing.) All will probably not be revealed in the show finale. And I’m okay with that, too. Not all stories are wrapped up in a tidy package in the last chapter. In fact many great stories leave you asking questions, pondering, putting the whole thing together in your own mind, using your own intelligence to sort out what’s meaningful or significant to you.

The writers of The Twilight Zone knew this theory and consequently Twilight Zone stands up to the test of time. We all have a favorite episode. We all come away with our own ideas, wisdom, insight and intrigue from each episode. Why? Because more often then not we're left kind of hanging on the precipice of conclusion. Our intelligence (and sometimes morality) was given enough respect that we were left to sort it out on our own. Presumably we could handle that responsibility.

Life doesn’t get wrapped up in a tidy package. It usually ends abruptly with characters left to sort out their situations and some unanswered questions. So in that sense, Lost is reality television. Thankfully most of us don’t survive horrific plane crashes only to be stranded on a creepy island with a cult of inbred freaks with weapons. (Though there are days my workplace parallels that scenario…minus the eye candy) But we’re all lost in respect to the fact that we don’t know what’s going to happen next. Sure, some of us lead predictable lives, routines and all that, our lives have a formulaic story arc, but all it takes is one deviation from what we expect to happen and blam! we’re as lost as the survivors of Oceanic flight 815.

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1:36 PM

Tuesday, January 29, 2008  
Hey! Here’s a reason to kick up the heels, or, well, heel, singular, and joyously exclaim life isn’t so bad, after all. In honor of the Heart Association’s Go Red day, I took the check-up. And guess what?! Ol’ Trill’s ticker is apparently in pretty good shape.

Or, as the results officially say: “Your estimated risk of having a heart attack or dying of coronary heart disease within 10 years is less than 1 percent.”

Apparently heartache and heartbreak are not factors in heart health. At least not by AHA standards, anyway. Well. I suppose it might factor in blood pressure in some people, but not in mine. So hey, at least I have less than 1% chance of having a heart attack. Yay me. All those apples, oatmeal, hours in the gym and non-smoking were worth it.

I don’t mean to be critical of the AHA. Keeping tabs on your heart health is very important. So do it. I highly recommend taking the AHA's check-up. If you don't know all your numbers the AHA gives you an easy to understand worksheet to print and take to your doctor. You just walk in to your appointment and say, "Doc, my heart is important to me. I would like to be tested for the numbers necessary on this AHA worksheet." It should be part of your yearly physical. Period.

I mean, I'm glad the next 10 years look to be coronary trouble free. I can't wait to get out there and shovel snow with impunity. It’s just kind of ironic that with all the beatings my metaphoric heart has taken my actual beating heart ranks in the heart healthy group.

And speaking of lonely misery, more research “proving” being single and lonely is not only physically unhealthy, it causes questionable emotional balance. Gee. Tell us singles something we didn’t already know.
"It's (loneliness) actually a greater risk for morbidity or mortality than cigarette smoking is. Being lonely is a bad thing for you."


For the non-link chasers, the overview of the research study is that lonely single people are more apt to be religious, believe in miracles, and/or anthropomorphize animals and inanimate objects than non-lonely, normally socialized (married/coupled) people.

Yes. We're nuts. Crazy. Insane. Koo koo for Coconuts. Overzealously passionate when it comes to religion, animals and staplers.

What would be really helpful is if these studies gave instructions on how to get the research grants for the studies. Why not give single, lonely people the money to spell out their lives, feelings and health? The results would be accurate and single lonely people would get something for their misery. Money doesn’t buy happiness but it would help buy groceries and pay the medical bills – the medical bills single lonely people pay more of because single lonely people have more physical ailments. Seems like the research grant people could throw us lonely single people a bone or two in the way of money for our real life research model.

I’m not sure why I read these things. No, I don’t seek them, people, my friends and family, send me links, typically with a note saying something like, “Hey, Trill, you better find a man!” or “Wow! Trill, this sounds exactly like you!” I’m not sure why they do this. They know they don’t need to point out the obvious to me. They know I read. They know I know I’d be better off not single and not lonely. Maybe they send them to me because they’ve given up trying to help me find a man but still feel like they should do something to help me. So they send me research studies of all the things that go wrong to a person who can’t land a boy/girlfriend much less a stable, long term relationship. As if I didn’t know that I spent a lot of years anthropomorphizing a cat. (But he was really funny and very affectionate. You know. For the record. Human traits be damned, he was really funny and he did give me lots of affection when I needed it most. Maybe I was projecting those traits onto him because I was a lonely single person with no long term human companionship, but, he did make me, and other people laugh and he did give me a lot of cuddles when I was feeling down or ill.)

The flip-side, the dehumanization aspect of people who are socialized, intrigues me, though. How ironic that those of us who are lonely are more compassionate and considerate than our socially accepted and “satisfied” counterparts.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that since my friend sent me this research study. She’s very happily married, very involved with her husband’s work and her kids’ school. She’s so busy being socially interactive that she doesn’t have a lot of time for her friends, her old pal Trill, for instance.

We’ve known each other a long time. A very, very long time. She’s my oldest friend and I’m hers. We’ve been through a lot together. When her dad died I was the first person she called and sobbed for three hours on the phone and begged me to meet her at the airport on her journey to the funeral which required a stopover in Chicago. I not only met her there I flew with her from Chicago to the funeral. With her clinging to me and crying in a daze the entire trip. Of course I was there for her, of course I was. Didn’t think twice about it, never occurred to me to say no. It never entered my mind that this was an inconvenience for me or that for the past few years she can hardly return a phone call or email because she’s too busy being happy with her husband and kids and like-lifed friends to take time for her old single lonely friend: me.

But what did occur to me when I read this article is that I am and always have been more compassionate than she is. No doubt about it. She can be quite cut throat, in fact. Dispassionate if not even a bit dehumanizing. And yet she has tons of friends and a very solid, secure, happy marriage to a great guy.

Which came first, I wonder? The intrinsic personality traits or the husband and active social life?

I love her, I accept her, but, she’s always been, well, a little bitchy. A little selfish. A little too competitive. A little lacking in the empathy and compassion areas. A little subjective. A little critical. A little inconsiderate.

Are those negative qualities actually attractive to a potential mate? Did some deeply rooted struggle for survival gene kick in endorphines and testosterone when her husband met her? Did those genes tell him she was someone who, in a time of war, would be good to have on his side?

If so, it could be that lonely single people are born, not made. At least based on my real life case study. No, I don't believe in miracles or angels and religion and I don't always see eye to eye. But I do get excited about certain inanimate objects. I do love my iPod. I truly do. Not more than say, my parents, but more than certain people I call friends. Let's face it, sad as it is to admit, my iPod is more entertaining and more reliable than some of my friends. And I do love and respect the animal kingdom. And I’ve always been compassionate. Empathetic even to my own detriment. Considerate. Polite. Unselfishly supportive. Objective. Understanding. Sympathetic. Non-competitive and non-combative.

Not exactly the sort of person you want on your side in a battle zone. “I know they’re charging at us with uzies, bayonets and those spiky helmets, but you have to feel sorry for them, they didn’t have the opportunities we had, and just because they want to kill us isn’t any reason we should stoop to their level and shoot first. I don’t want to hurt them, I don’t want to hurt anyone…”

See what I mean? The question may not be one of lonely people developing into social outcasts in bad physical health, but of us being born, doomed by evolution, to be alone and consequently, lonely, because we're too considerate and empathetic.

If they were to use this research (ha! that’s a joke, do they ever actually use this kind of research?) if they did use this research, what would be the outcome? A different way of preparing children for adult life? A generation of selfish, dispassionate, subjective but highly socially successful and fulfilled people? Would it be worth it to put an end to loneliness for all but the renegades who are so compassionate they can’t conform?

See? This is what happens when you’re single and lonely. You think about this stuff. And therein probably lies the bigger research data. My friend is too busy, too wrapped up in her husband and kids, too socially involved to take the time think about anyone else or at least any other way of life. It's not that she doesn't care about atrocities happening to people (and animals) around the globe, but she’s too busy and too happy to be compassionate enough to think about lonely people and how they live their lives.

But fortunately for her and others like her, the second she needs compassion she has an empathetic lonely single friend there ready with a sturdy shoulder and understanding sympathy. Every now and then a little acknowledgment of the necessity of lonely single people and their compassion and consideration for others would be nice. A sort of consolation prize for not winning the romance game.

Valentine's Day is coming up in a few weeks. I hate Valentine's Day. And not just because I'm a single/zero. I hate it because it's marketing at its worst. People have been (literally) buying into this scam for years, cripes, centuries. I hate it because at its roots is the Catholic Church and their oppression and degradation of women. I hate it because no one should be forced, or need to be forced, to buy or show any emotion, especially on a specific day. Oh sure, there's a cute innocent side to it, I like those tooth breaking candy conversation hearts and cherry gummy heart candy, and there are some really cute cards, and heck, Cupid, as an icon, is funny and cute. Sure, I mean, I can get on board with it if it's good natured and innocent. But that's rare. There's usually a lot of perceived, or actual, pressure for men to shower their intended with gifts and I love yous and grand sweeping gestures of affection and the pressure is on women to reciprocate with uncomfortable tacky lingerie and her kinkiest bedroom antics. (oh, and, for the record. Guys, giving your sweetheart uncomfortable tacky lingerie does not count as a gift for her. That's a present to yourself. If instead of giving you the "I cannot believe you gave this to me" look and throwing it at you, she dons the garments: thank her, kiss the ground she walks on and consider yourself a lucky man to have such an obliging woman who is either stupid enough or so in love with you that she will play along with your scheme to get her into "sexy" lingerie. You owe her. Big time.)

Right. Valentine's Day is unavoidable. Most of us, single or coupled up, hate it. But it's unavoidable. Offices turn into over-ripe smelling flower shops as the bouquets march in to squeals of delights from all the coworkers with significant others, marriage engagements are made, heart shaped cards and candy accost us at the grocery and pharmacy, tacky underwear is flaunted at us...Valentine's Day is everywhere, a constant reminder to single people that we are: Single and alone. (Albeit presumably wearing more comfortable undies than coupled up people.)

A few years ago I went to an unValentine's Day party. That's one solution for single people weathering the storm of Valentine's Day on their own. Everyone unattached gets together on Valentine's Day for a party. I guess the idea is that there's safety in numbers. And it might be a great idea for some people. But it just made me feel more lonely, more singled out (literally), more down on romance. "I'm such a lonely pathetic loser I'm at an unValentine's Day party..." And for all the planning and effort on the hostess' part, let's just say the party was not exactly a huge lively success. Instead of embracing and reveling in our singleness everyone just faked smiles and laughter. The crowd thinned early. People just moped around because it was, after all, Valentine's Day, and we were all at a party for lonely single people trying to put a brave and defiant face on our lack of a romance. The very fact that we could (and did) go to such a party was depressing. If Valentine's Day were truly being mocked and/or ignored there wouldn't have been a party at all. It would have been just another evening, like February 13th or 15th. But it wasn't. The purpose was to band together in our loneliness and singleness on a day marketed to happy couples. So ultimately it just gave more attention and validation to Valentine's Day. It was counter productive. Turns out this is a case where misery doesn't love company.

But as long as there is marketing and a consumer economy, there will be Valentine's Day.

So I have a suggestion. You probably know someone like me. A single person who's lonely and without a significant other. Since Valentine's Day is a stupid non-holiday anyway instead of, or in addition to, showering your sweetheart with all your affections and gifts, how about sending a lonely friend or relative something they like. No flowers or pithy cards or anything heart related. Just let them know you realize that Valentine's Day can make a single person feel really lonely or at least very alone, or most likely, conspicuous by the absence of token gifts of affection from a sweetheart. And even though you can't do anything about their lack of romance or their conspicuousness, let them know they aren't alone, they have a friend who's thinking about them and cares enough about them to take the time to be understanding and compassionate about their loneliness.

That doesn't mean calling attention to their singleness or loneliness. Don't make them feel like a pathetic loser (trust me, they already feel like a pathetic loser) and don't flaunt your good deed like a badge of honor. Just send them an "I'm glad you're my friend" or funny friend card, or take them to lunch or dinner or send them a bottle of wine they like. Not your favorite, their favorite. Take the time to think about them and what they like. Be it a bottle of wine, a Star Wars action figure or lapidary supplies, make sure it's a personal gift. This will let them know you pay attention and that you do care about them. Even if they're suddenly turning overly religious, seeing the Virgin Mary in bridge underpases, taking in every stray animal in town, or spending a lot of time telling you how sincere, eager and cute their stapler is,let them know you still like them and care about them.

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2:39 PM

 
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