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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or Search by State

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Contact The Media
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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, October 22, 2011  
Well now. Here's something I didn't see coming.

Phone rings.

"Hiya [friend I haven't heard from in over a year], long time no hear, how's it going?!"

"Hi Trill," said my [erstwhile] friend in a very flat, trying very hard to be unemotional tone, "I presume no news is bad news? Still no job?"

Wow. Okay. I'm very matter-of-fact and I've always appreciated that quality in this friend, but, I mean, wow, "Hi Trill, I presume no news is bad news? Still no job?" Geeze, let's just cut to the chase and go straight for the jugular. I felt like she was saying, "Hi Trill, still a complete failure at life? Still sucking at everything you endeavor?" Okay, maybe I'm being too sensitive and projecting my own issues onto my friend, but, c'mon. I don't hear from this woman for over a year and her opening gambit is, "Hi Trill, I presume no news is good news? Still no job?" I don't like to beat around the bush, and I don't like to be handled with kid gloves, but that's a bit, um, hasty.

"Erm, yeah, no news is bad news. No job."

Audible sigh. And not a sigh of consolation and empathy. A sigh of frustration and exasperation.

"Have you tried Target or Walgreen's or something?" I didn't have to sense anything in her tone because her tone was openly verging on hostility. She obviously feels I'm not trying hard enough to find a job, any job.

"Yeah, I'm kinda hoping something might break for the holiday retail season."

"Okay, well, good luck with that. Any port in the storm. And. About the holidays."

"Yeahessss?" ah, here we go, the true motive for her sudden communique is about to be revealed and it has something to do with the holidays.

"You remember my wedding was New Year's Eve, right?"

"Yes, I remember. I was there. Remember?" I was there. Wearing an extremely expensive bridesmaid dress that was made from special order imported fabric in a bizarre shade of blue-red-purple and of such odd fabric composition that I (and the other three bridesmaids) broke out in a rash that started during the nuptials and lasted a full 10 days after the wedding.

"Yes. That's why I'm calling."

Oh crap. I have a feeling I'm not going to like where this is going.

"What's up?"

"We're going to renew our vows and we want to do an updated version of our wedding. Get everyone together and celebrate our marriage and have a fun party, everyone can catch up and just have a good time."

I'm pretty sure for a few minutes I was the victim of demonic possession because what I heard myself saying shocked even me. I said something I'm 99% certain I've never even thought about saying.

"Oh Jesus H. Christ on a Cross."

Silence.

Silence.

Silence.

Silence.

Realization that I said that out loud. To my friend. About her vow renewal.

I'm pretty sure once the "Jesus H. Christ on a cross" reaction statement is made it's impossible to pretend retract it and convince anyone you're filled with anything other than disdain, loathing and contempt and a wish to be crucified.

But I tried. "I mean, I'm sorry, it's just...this is a difficult time...that's a lovely idea..." I desperately tried to steer the conversation away from a really awkward place to a "gee, this is going to be a swell party!" place.

"I know, Trill, I know. That's kind of why I've been out of touch. I didn't know how to approach you with this. We'd love to have you there and if I didn't ask you I thought you'd be offended but I know it's the last thing you want to deal with right now so I didn't know what to do and time is running out for making plans...and I have no idea what's the right thing to do in this situation."

"I'm sorry I put you in this awkward position." Once again, I was apologizing for being such a failure and making my friends and family feel awkward around me. And making this awful situation worse, I started to cry and my voice cracked when I said "awkward position."

Great. In less than two minutes I 1) used the son of God's name in vain; 1a) sarcastically; 2) offended my Jesus loving friend; 3) made my Jesus loving friend feel bad about my failures in life; 4) cried. Great. That's all just fantastic. I'm thinking now would be the time to start exploring the self-destructive behavior of drinking booze. Lots of booze.Yes. Booze would be good right now.

My friend tried to affect a conciliatory tone, it was clearly forced but she did make the attempt, "No, no, don't apologize, you didn't do anything wrong. It's just...you know."

"Yeah, I know."

I know, all right. I know. I know that she hasn't worked a paying job in over 10 years. I know that she went from agnosticism to converting to Catholicism so that she and her husband could enroll their kids into an elite Catholic pre-school. (And yes, thanks to her I know there are elite pre-schools, elite Catholic pre-schools.) I know that she and her husband are not effected (and quite possibly unaware of) the issues with the job market and housing market and the economy in general. I know that the rest of the women in her bridal party are all married and have children and don't work. I know that our friendship was waning and in the last two years it's been nonexistent. I know that we have almost nothing in common. I know that even if I figure out a way to participate in her nuptial renewal I will have nothing in common with anyone there and will spend the evening looking at photos of kids and listening to stories about those kids and trying to care about suburban mom issues like finding time to fit in yoga and manicures before getting the kids to dance and karate classes.

Even if I had a job and wasn't losing my home it would be an awful evening spent with former friends who have evolved on life's normal path while I...have not. Lots of "still single, are you, Trill?" and "I believe there's someone for everyone, you just haven't met him yet, you will," and "I admire you for staying so true to yourself but you know, a career and independence isn't everything, Trill, you might want to think about settling down" comments and conversations. Good times.

My friend, singularly focused on her vows renewal, continued. "[her husband] has air miles, we'll get your plane ticket. [other friends, married] are getting a suite and they said you could stay with them, [their two children] can bunk together and you can use one of the spare beds in the kids' part of the suite. We can certainly feed you for a couple days. So, it's really just a matter of whether or not you think you can still fit into your dress?!"

I kind of zoned out for a minute while my friend was talking. Ah, yes, it's all so simple, isn't it? Merely a matter of flying 2,000 miles, staying in the kids' portion of a hotel suite and putting on a dress I no longer own. So simple. So very simple.

My friend was still talking, "Liz and Jen pulled theirs' out and said they can make it work, Jen had hers cut shorter and Liz has lost some weight since back then so she had it taken in, but Michelle, you know, since she had the twins her tummy just won't cooperate, don't say anything, but she's going to have lypo but not until after the holidays so I don't think she'll be squeezing into that dress. She's thinking of having it altered, cutting it in two and just wearing the skirt part with a pretty top. I'm not hung up on having it all matchy matchy, you know, and you're so creative I'm sure if it no longer fits you'll come up with a clever way to reconstruct it and update it for now."

Wow.

Wow.

Um.

Okay. Wow.

A) The other women kept those awful, itchy, rash-inducing dresses?
B) They're willing to wear them again?
C) Two of the three other women involved openly hated those dresses more than I did. 
D) They kept them?
E) Oh crap.

That particular bridesmaid dress was so awful that I didn't even wear it to an "awful bridesmaid dress" party several years ago.*  The mere thought of spending even 10 minutes in the ugly colored, rash-inducing (albeit imported special order) fabric makes me itchy and kind of nauseous. I did keep it for a couple years, I'm not sure why, but I did keep it for a few years. I probably kept it because it cost me what at the time was almost month's net salary and throwing it away felt like throwing away money. But then in a Spring cleaning frenzy I got rid of it, rid myself of the ugly, itchy, rash-inducing reminder of the money I wasted in the name of friendship, decided that having it hanging around was causing some subtle resentment toward that friend and not wanting that sort of negativity in the air I gave it to charity (which still fills me with pangs of guilt, they don't deserve that kind of "charity," no one deserves that kind of charity). And I haven't thought of it since.

Let's just say, for the sake of this conversation, that I attend this vows renewal party. I'm going to have to come clean about no longer owning the dress. Probably easier to just not attend the party. The party I don't want to go to anyway.

But. This is a friend's vow renewal...and I was in the original bridal party...does the bridesmaid obligation extend to vow renewals? Does a couple have the right to just spring this on their bridal party at any point in their marriage? Isn't there some sort of statute of limitations on bridesmaid obligations? Haven't we suffered enough? This is why I steadfastly believe there should be legally binding contractual agreements between brides and their wedding party.

And let's talk about renewing vows, shall we? I'm not really down with the whole big party for vows renewals thing. It's great if a couple wants to renew, update, append, their commitment to each other. Whatever two consenting adults choose to do within the privacy of their own vacation to Maui is their business. Frankie and Benjie has a really sweet tradition where, on their anniversary, they go somewhere special to them and tell their vows to each other, reaffirm their feelings and commitment to each other and their marriage. But it's very private, just them, because it's about them and their marriage. That's a nice thing. I respect them for making the effort to do that. If I were married I think I'd like to do something like that. But not a big party, a wedding redux, with all the trimmings.

And yes, festive parties for milestone anniversaries can be nice, I've been to a few fun anniversary parties for couples celebrating 25, 40, 50 years of marriage. They were fun little get-togethers and the couples said a few words to each other about how they'd do it all again and can't wait to see what happens in the next 25, 40 or 50 years, and then they thank their guests for helping share in their celebration, a few cute toasts are made, cake and champagne are ingested, some dancing and socializing takes place and that's it. No big deal for the guests: They show up and bring a card and eat some cake.

But the vow renewal thing? I've been to four of them and they felt like lame attempts to either a) have the wedding the bride really wanted or b) convince themselves that the marriage is working and they don't need counseling or divorce lawyers. And I know that sounds harsh, and bitter, and jaded, and cynical. But of the four vow renewal "parties" I've attended, two of the couples went on to divorce within a year of the vows renewal. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for vows renewal ceremonies.

Because I'm so out of touch with my friend who wants to renew her marriage vows, I'm completely clueless as to the state of her marriage. Given that she apparently wants to recreate the original wedding, not a do-over to correct the mistakes made in the first one (like putting her friends in astronomically expensive, horrifically colored, rash-inducing dresses) I'm concerned that she falls into the latter category: they're trying to convince themselves that their marriage is working.

I'm not going to say I've had suspicions, but, I have been confused by their marriage. When they dated and got married my friend was a hyper-motivated professional with a fast-tracking career that she love, love, loved. She truly loved her career - or, well, she loved the power she had in her career. And she was doing something worthwhile, and making a ton of money doing it. And her boyfriend liked that about her. He had a fast-tracking career, too, and he wanted to date/marry someone who had her own career and interests, he said, repeatedly, that he didn't like clingy, dependent women with no career ambitions.

Two years into their marriage they got pregnant and my friend quit her job and hasn't worked since, and is very vocal about never wanting to work again. Yes. She changed. A lot. And I'm confused about how she could go from such a devoted career professional to never wanting to work again. And, I've been really confused about how her husband deals with this: He married a devoted career professional because he liked independent, ambitious, career-minded women and didn't like clingy, dependent, ambition-less women...and two years into their marriage his wife turned into a clingy, dependent, ambition-less woman. I dunno. I don't get it. But. This is exactly what has happened to most of my friends. I'm not judging, I'm just confused. Don't their husbands feel duped? They married successful, ambitious, intelligent, career-focused women who held integral roles in important industries...and then poof! the women quit their jobs and suddenly their lives and conversations revolve around shopping, having lunch, and planning expensive vacations. I dunno. I don't understand it. But. I'm not married. And I'm unemployed. So. I have an unusual perspective.

Anyway.

I realized I'd been silent for a bit too long.

"That's a lot of information to process, erm, yeah, I mean, I dunno. I was kind of planning to spend all of the holidays with my mother, you know, since my dad died the holidays really difficult for her, and, your offer for airfare and food is all really nice and generous of course I'd love to be there, but..."

"Come on, Trill, it would be good for you to get away for a few days. Don't worry about the expense. Just see if the dress fits and if not, don't worry, just cut it up and wear it like a shawl or scarf or something. I want to re-create the wedding but it doesn't have to be exact. We've all changed, but our commitment stays strong. That's the theme."

Oh great.

There's a theme.

Change. The theme is change. Lovely. Especially since I actually have not changed that much since the wedding. When this marriage happened all four of us bridesmaids were single. One was seriously dating the man she married, but we were all single, all living in small apartments in large cities, and all very focused on our careers. And now they're all married and don't work and live in McMansions in posh suburbs. I don't "mind" being "that" girl, the failure, the spinster, the loser, the one who hasn't evolved, I've come to accept it. But. Along with that acceptance came the resolution, the right, to not feel obligated to attend events where I will be the only unmarried, childless person in attendance.

"Thanks, [friend], I just, I don't know. I can't commit to anything right now, I'm in a weird state of limbo and I don't want to make a commitment that there's a good chance I won't be able to fulfill."

"Oh, come on, Trill, what are you going to have come up that will interfere with New Year's Eve? When was the last time you did anything on New Year's Eve?"

Oh yes, she went there. Gauntlet thrown.

Okay, granted, my New Year's Eves haven't exactly been the stuff of legends the past few - okay, several - years. But, that's by choice. I could have done a lot of things on a lot of New Year's Eves but chose to not partake because I'm not really much of a New Year's Eve person. Let's put it this way, I've had options. Lots of options. The only limits were my imagination and my finances. This friend, on the other hand, has limitations like her husband's work schedule, their children's school schedules, her "Mothers' Meditation" group schedule...her marriage...I could/can go out in the street and kiss strangers with reckless, inconsequential abandon. Heck, if I could get someone to have sex with me I could have sex with reckless, inconsequential abandon. Any night, not just New Year's Eve. Well. You know what I mean.

My friend? Not so much.

Wanted to say, "When was the last time you did anything on New Year's Eve? Your wedding? Yeah. Thought so."

Instead, I took the high road and said, "Yeah, well, you know I'm not much of a New Year's Eve person."

"Exactly. That's why you should make plans and come to our vows renewal."

I tried to remember what I've read about how to politely assert my feelings in these situations and not feel obligated and get pushed into doing something I really don't want to do. 

"I dunno, [friend], I know this is important to you and I respect your enthusiasm, and I'm sure it will be a fun party, but this is just a really bad time for me." (I know, very good job on the diplomacy, there, Trill. Thank you, I thought so, too.)

"You're in our wedding photos. You're in our wedding video. You were there. You were part of it. And this is a renewal, a recreation, the theme is that we've changed but our commitment remains. Get it? Commitment in spite of change? Trill? Commitment?" Her tone was tinged with sarcasm and not-so-subtle-unspoken innuendo my lack of commitment.

Holy schoolyard bully!!! My friend, my erstwhile friend who I haven't heard from in over a year, has the balls - oh yes, this takes balls, apparently she's grown a set - and was playing the emotional blackmail card as a device to bully me into attending her wedding re-creation. Until she played that card I was teetering on the edge of accepting out of a sense of obligation, but when she intoned that I was lacking commitment by hedging on my bridesmaid duty, well, two can play that juvenile game, sister.

You wanna talk commitment? Where has your commitment to me been for the past year? You have a friend, and not just some casual acquaintance, a friend who you wanted in your wedding, a friend who paid an insane amount of money for an ugly, rash-inducing dress and flew thousands of miles and spent a ton of money to attend three, count 'em, pre-wedding parties including lavish showers and a drunken bachelorette party. A friend who endured being paired up with the creepy pervy cousin of the groom at the wedding. A friend who also racked up thousands of air miles to plan and attend two baby showers and christenings. A friend who did all of that with a smile and not one word of complaint. Yeah, that friend. And that friend is going through a truly devastating situation and is struggling, badly, in every way possible. Where's your commitment to that friend been in the past year? Cripes, the past 5 years, for that matter.

Serenity now.

Once again, I tried to remember what I've read about how to politely assert my feelings in these situations and not feel obligated and get pushed into doing something I really don't want to do.

Trying really hard to keep an even, unemotional tone, I said, "I get it, [friend], I do, and I'm so happy for you and your husband and it's so nice that you are still so much in love that you want to renew your vows. That's a really lovely thing. And if it gets closer to the big event and I can make it there, I'll do what I can to get there. But right now, in mid-October, I can't commit to anything, especially New Year's Eve plans. I hope you understand that."

Another sigh of frustration from my friend.

"I don't understand because I can't understand. I've never been laid off and single and unemployed. I'm sure it must suck. And I don't know what you're thinking or what you're going to do. You didn't paint yourself into this corner, but, you are painted into a corner. And I don't understand how you could let that happen. So. No, actually, I do not understand your situation and I don't understand why you won't take advantage of an opportunity for a free vacation. It's not as if we're trying to sell you a time-share, Trill, your only obligation is to show up to a party, Trill, a party. All expenses paid and all you have to do is go to a party. No. I do not 'understand.'"

Well. There it is. I've always liked her matter-of-fact direct approach, and, so, you know, there it is, all out in the open and I have to admire and respect her directness.

Sounds like we're breaking up, which, I kinda thought had already happened, we just drifted and didn't need to have the break-up conversation. It's not that I don't care about her, but...we have absolutely nothing in common.

Determined to not let this turn into a tit-for-tat argument (well, okay, more of a tit-for-tat argument), I said, "Welllll, I understand your party is important to you, and I understand that you want it to be an authentic replication of your wedding..."

My erstwhile friend interrupted me, "It's not about an 'authentic replication,' it's about recapturing the fun and joy of our wedding."

(Tomato-tomahto.) 

"Okay, sorry. Look, I understand you can't understand my situation. I'm glad you don't understand my situation because I wouldn't wish it on anyone. How about if we wait and see what happens, or not, in the next month or so, regardless of what transpires in my life I should be more able to figure out if going away for New Year's Eve is feasible in a month-ish."

I said nothing about the dress...the dress that I no longer have in my possession.

We left it at that. I asked about her kids, she spent 35 minutes talking about the lack of adequate lacrosse coaching for 4-year-olds in her area, and that was that.

I dunno. Maybe I should have just seized the opportunity for an argument and a nasty friend breakup, but I don't want that. Not really. I don't know what we have, it's not friendship, but it's not not friendship. I do care about her and her kids and all of that, and I think she cares about me. She wouldn't be so obviously frustrated with me and my lack of husband and employment if she didn't care. But, we're just very, very different people. We used to have a lot in common and now we don't. End of story. And maybe end of story does mean end of friendship.

But, I dunno. That doesn't seem right. I'm not big on vow renewals, and I'm not big on New Year's Eve, and I don't have the horrific bridesmaid dress she wants me to refashion into an outfit for her New Year's Eve vow renewal, but, it's important to her, and I was part of the wedding, and...

Yeah. I think we all know what I'll be doing New Year's Eve.



* That honor went to a satin mauve number that was supposed to invoke old Hollywood glamor but instead invoked a cheap Reno hooker in a low-budget '70s cop show aesthetic.

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11:24 AM

Thursday, October 20, 2011  
Can we talk about image and perception for a few minutes?

Apart from work, you know, professional realms, usually, mostly, I don't really care what other people think of me. Or, rather, I don't dwell on other peoples' opinions of me.

There are plenty of things I don't like about me, but, I'm "okay" with me. As long as I know I'm evolving and giving my best efforts, I accept myself - including my flaws. Doesn't mean I always like them, but I am very aware of them and I accept them.

Right.

Okay.

When it comes to my looks, appearance, when out and about outside of work-related arenas, I have made huge efforts in the past five years to do everything I can to just blend in. I want to be visually anonymous.

So, I don't get a lot of comments related to my image or whatever persona I might emit.


I have a lot of jewelry that I wasn't able to sell and I need to get rid of it and my nieces and a few friends have expressed interest in pawing through it. In an effort to make the pawing through of my jewelry more organized and easier, I wanted to put it in small, clear bags, like the kind they put extra buttons in on new shirts or suits. I had a few of those bags but not enough, so, I endeavored to procure some.

I asked my closet organizing friend if she had any, or access to any. She did not. But, upon consideration of my plan, she thought she could use some of those small bags, too, they'd come in handy in her closet organizing projects. We thought a craft store or office supply store would have them, and, she'd spring for the cost, so, off we went to try to find small zip lock bags.

We tried the craft store first. We looked in the areas we thought were the most obvious choices for small zip-lock bags. No luck.

My friend went off to look down yet another aisle while I hunted down a store employee. I finally found one who was putting yarn into sale bins. He was not the sort of person you'd expect to see working in a craft store stocking sale bins with yarn. College aged, hipster hair cut, expensive sneakers and jeans and a store smock with a name tag reading: "Lliam." Like llama or Lloyd.

"Excuse me, hi, I'm looking for small clear zip-lock bags, like the kind they put extra buttons in when you buy a new shirt."

Blank stare.

"Do you have anything like that?"

Lliam continued to look at me, thought for a minute and finally said, "How small? Like a dime bag?"


Okay.

As it happens, I know what a dime bag is. It doesn't matter why or how I know what a dime bag is, and, quite honestly, I don't remember how or when I came to learn about dime bags because I've never bought drugs. But, I estimate and place my knowledge of dime bags dating back to junior high school.

But. Is it now commonly accepted that everyone knows what a dime bag is? Would Lliam have said that to anyone inquiring about small zip-lock bags?

And let me remind you, we were in a craft store in the suburbs where a lot of suburban church lady mom and grandma types shop.

All of this was running through my head as I tried to think of the best way to respond. My initial reaction was, "Yes! Exactly! A dime bag!" But I caught myself before saying that out loud because it occurred to me that by acknowledging that I know the size of a dime bag I would be acknowledging that I know what a dime bag is and, ostensibly, that I have, um, "experience" with dime bags.

Okay, Lliam's a young hipster kid and maybe he just didn't think before he said "dime bag" or maybe he was having a little fun attempting to shock a patron in the suburban craft store or maybe he thought I looked like I would know what a dime bag is and would be "cool" about not getting uptight about tossing around drug culture vernacular.

So I just said, as dismissively and non-emotionally as possible, "Something like that."

Lliam quickly responded with, "Nah, we don't have anything that small."


Prior to Lliam's reference, the term or analogy to a dime bag evaded my conscience. It never occurred to me, never entered my mind, never thought about it. My only reference was the little bags they put spare buttons in when you buy a new shirt or suit.

But now all I could think was, "Dime bags. We're looking for dime bags." Which made me laugh. A lot. Because it was me, being, you know, me, and my friend who is a white suburban mother with a fledgling closet organizing business, out looking for dime bags at the local suburban craft store while suburban mothers and grandmothers and Sunday school teachers shopped for yarn and fake flower arrangements and construction paper and doll house decorating items. And the surreality of that held my humor attention for a long time.

I found my friend and burst out laughing the second I saw her. The surreality of us shopping for dime bags was even more obvious (and funny) when I saw my friend looking at cupcake decorations. My friend doesn't look like a suburban mother with a fledgling closet organizing business, but she doesn't exactly look like the stereotypical person who would be out shopping for drug dealing supplies, either. (I know, I know, all sorts of people are drug dealers, there is no stereotypical drug dealer, but, you know what I mean. The absurdity of my friend and I needing dime bags is obvious...and funny.)

Of course at this point my friend was oblivious to the conversation I had with Lliam and why I was bursting in a fit of giggles. And I knew if I told her, in my state of hysterics, I'd loudly blurt out "DIME BAGS!!!" for all the store to hear, so when she asked me what was so funny I giggled out, "I'll tell you later, they don't have the, heee heee hee, um, teee heee, um, bags."

My friend said, "Okay, I'm going to get these cupcake decorations and we'll hit the office supply store."

Something about her innocently saying "cupcake decorations" out loud put me in another fit of giggles which I tried to stifle. Which made me even more self-conscious about the fact that I know what dime bags are, that Lliam the yarn boy thought I was looking for dime bags and that my giggling behavior could be construed as, um, well, you know. Drug induced. (To be clear, my friend was buying cupcake decorations, not actual cupcakes. No snack foods or Doritos were involved.)

Once in my friend's car I blurted out the conversation I had with Lliam.

Her reaction was akin to mine. "Dime bags??!!! Dime bags?!"

(She knows what a dime bag is, too, and I guarantee she has never done anything stronger than codeine after her wisdom tooth extraction. She wouldn't even have an epidural when she birthed her children.)

"I know!!! Even if I looked like the sort of person who would need a lot of dime bags, how funny that he'd just be so matter of fact about it right there in the yarn aisle of the local craft store. But when you factor in that it's me, hee hee hee, it's just silly!!!"  And that's when the conversation took a weird turn. I was still in a fit of giggles and my friend was quieting down.

Then she said, "It's not that silly."
 
Huh? Was my friend implying that I could pass for a drug dealer, or someone in the market for a gross of dime bags? What the...??? I realize my appearance doesn't scream, "Suburban mom of two shopping for cupcake accoutrements in the local craft store," but I don't think, or, didn't think that my appearance screamed, "low life, low rent drug dealer looking for dime bags."

But maybe my friend did?

"What do you mean, not that silly? Do I look like a drug dealer?!" I didn't mean to be defensive, but, I wanted to know what she meant.

She quickly back peddled "No, no, but, well..."

"Well what?"

"You just seem like someone who knows what a dime bag is, that's all."

"I seem like someone who knows what a dime bag is," I repeated her "explanation" back to her.

"Yeah, there's nothing wrong with that. You just seem hip to stuff."

"'Hip to stuff.' Stuff like drugs?!" I said.

"Well, yeah, drugs and other stuff, just hip, in-the-know. Remember when I got that birthday card that said something about getting jiggy and I didn't have a clue what it meant? I asked you to explain it to me because I figured you'd know and wouldn't judge me for not knowing. It's like that."

That happened. Her brother-in-law gave her an innuendo-laden birthday card inviting her to get jiggy and she had no clue what jiggy meant (this was years ago) and I was her go-to source for pop-culture education. I chuckled, "Ha! I forgot about that. I still think it's weird that your brother-in-law gave you a card inviting you to get jiggy, by the way."

"No kidding, and can you imagine what could have happened if I'd asked someone other than you to explain 'jiggy' to me and why my brother-in-law gave me a card inviting me to do so? Things could have gotten really dicey, rumors could have flown. But you're trustworthy, nonjudgmental, and hip, so lucky me. You go to concerts and art shows and live in the city...you know...you're just more urban. That's all. You just seem like you know stuff like jiggy and dime bags."

She was desperately trying to put a positive spin on the dime bag issue.

Great.

So, yeah. Ouch. That hurt. Suddenly I was thinking more about my appearance, my image, than I have in the last five years.

Yes, except for job-related, job search-related occasions, I have been striving for anonymity in my appearance, but geeze, did I overreach and end up in drug dealer territory?

I mean, when I go out I'm clean, I shower and wash my hair and brush my teeth and wear clean clothes. Granted, the clothes are a couple years old because I don't have money for new clothes, and apart from some old concert and band t-shirts, they're very basic, generic clothes.

And yes, I've let my hair go a bit too long without a trim and color touch up (I only cut and color my hair when I have a job interview). I have a friend who's been great about doing it for me, gratis, but I don't like to overstep her generosity. So unless I have a job interview I don't trim or color my hair. So yes, my hair is a little too long and not exactly radiant and freshly colored, but it's not awful, either. I don't go out of the house with dirty, matted or dreadlocked mange.

And no, I don't wear a lot of makeup, but when I'm going out with friends or family I do put in the effort to wear makeup. MAF is great about supplying me with samples and discontinued makeup so, I  have and wear quite an impressive caliber of makeup, especially for someone who's been unemployed two years. (To say nothing of the fact that I have the benefit of a professional makeup artist as a close friend who has helped me perfect my application technique.)

So while I'm striving for anonymous, I'm not unkempt or, you know, "weird."

Or, well, I didn't think so.

But my friend's inference about it not being "that silly" for me to be looking for dime bags jolted me into a review of my appearance.

Huh.

Wow.

Okay.

Well.

Huh.

Nah, it's nothing, I was just being sensitive.

So off we went to the office supply store to find small zip-lock bags like the kind they put spare buttons in when you buy a new shirt or suit.

There was a children's clothing store next door and my friend wanted to see if they had a few things for her kids, so while she did that I went to the office supply store.

I scoured the aisles and came up with nothing remotely resembling a bag of any kind. A helpful store employee finally approached me and asked if I needed assistance.

So.

I said, "Yes, I'm looking for small zip-lock bags, the kind they use to put the spare buttons in on new shirts and suits." With thoughts of dime bags dancing in my head, I made sure to smile brightly and act like this was an extra-normal thing to want to buy. I tried to affect the tone and demeanor one might use when saying, "Yes, I'm looking for toothpaste."

The middle-aged employee said, "Hmmmm, yeah, I think I know what you mean, like dime bags, right?"

Okay.

Apparently dime bag is common vernacular amongst a wide cross-section of people and used freely in conversations and has absolutely nothing to do with my appearance or persona.

Which kind of surprised me. Not because drug culture references are taboo or shouldn't be demystified, but, I mean, well, I dunno, when was the last time you used the term dime bag in conversation unrelated to drugs?

But, because two people, two very different people, referred to dime bags, I felt "better" about my appearance. It's not me, it's them.

Whew. I was relieved to learn I didn't radiate some "I'm selling drugs and need small bags in which to conveniently package them" vibe.


The store didn't have them so I met my friend in the children's store.

We were out of ideas for resources for small zip-lock bags. We decided to take our search online and voila, we found them.

But.

Even though I'm reasonably certain I don't look like a drug dealer/user, the fact remains that two complete strangers felt comfortable enough to use the term dime bag within seconds of meeting me. Which means they instantly felt comfortable using the term dime bag to me, hence a) acknowledging that they know what a dime bag is and b) assuming I know what a dime bag is and c) I'd be okay having a conversation about dime bags.

That says something about my persona or vibe or aura or demeanor. I'm glad people feel open and comfortable just blurting out drug references to me, I guess. But I'm pretty certain those guys wouldn't have been so cavalier with the dime bag reference to someone like my suburban mom friend, for instance.

Why? Because she has a more respectable vibe? Or a more uptight vibe? Or a more naive vibe?

This matters to me because I've gone on a lot of interviews and come very close to being offered jobs (always the second choice, almost always) and so I'm concerned that I'm unwittingly emitting some sort of too relaxed, too "hey, whatever, s'all cool" vibe. And I'm really concerned that I look or seem like someone who knows what a dime bag is.

Hiring managers might view candidates as either, "seems like she knows what a dime bag is" or "seems like she doesn't have a clue what a dime bag is." And if I fall clearly in the first category that can't be good for my job hunt.

And that's why I've been spending time bothering to think about how people view me. And dime bags. On the one hand it's good that people feel comfortable enough to approach me and talk to me about anything. But, maybe that's a bad thing. Maybe it speaks to a level of disrespect.

I dunno.

I don't like to think about this stuff, and I really don't like to overthink this kind of stuff. Especially when I've been striving to attain bland anonymity in my non-work-related life. But I have to turn every stone in everything about myself because of my work-related life. Because I need a job.

What do you think? Is too easy-going and non-judgmental a bad thing? I used to think that line of thinking is akin to thinking someone can be "too nice" or "love too much." Ridiculous and saying more about the accuser than the too nice or too loving person. But now I'm wondering if more uptight, judgmental people get more respect and consequently, more job offers.

I know, I know, I'm way overthinking this, but it maybe there's a valuable lesson in there.

How would you feel if someone like Lliam or the guy in the office supply store dropped a reference to dime bags within seconds of meeting you?

5:27 PM

 
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