Friday, October 05, 2018

Petty grump list

This week in "Thanks, I hate it":  nothing so very big but it's Friday and I'm tired and feeling cranky and petty, so here goes:

- Because apparently Certain Individuals on my campus fell for phishing scams one too many times (I heard of someone who fell for Cryptolocker and allegedly had to have their hard drive reformatted), now EVERY incoming e-mail from an outside server will be stamped with "Caution: this e-mail originated from outside of the organization. Do not click links or open attachments unless you recognize the sender and know that the content is safe." 
So yeah, great. So I guess we get confronted with that every time. It's a small thing but it annoys me.

- Phone scammers that spoof numbers. The other day I got a call purporting to be from the local hospital and first I wondered "oh no, did that bloodwork I have done back in July get re-analyzed and something turned up that's bad?" or "Oh no, is someone from church there and they need my help, like to run over there and get their key and go to their house and get them clothes or something?"

So of course I picked up.

It was that stupid resort telemarketing scam. I screamed at the robot, not that it did any good, and slammed the phone down. (At least with a landline, you can still do that).

- Feeling invisible. I can't explain it, I just kind of do right now and it makes me sad. I think part of it is not having enough time for myself these days. Part of it is getting caught up in a spiral of Everyone Is Better Than I Am At Everything that I periodically get into.

- That I might have ticked off/repulsed someone I interact with a little bit and they may now be avoiding me, and I'm too chickenlivered to ask them up-front. (It would be over political disagreement. Politics poisons everything). 

And yeah, that brings up my sad inner kid, the one who tried to change herself so people would like her more, or who stayed shut up about her opinions for very many years in the interest of keeping friends, and my Inner Critic is going: "See? This is what happens when you voice an opinion. Just shut up and go along with what other people say even if you disagree." 

I had too many people around me when I was a kid who told me either "you're not entitled to your opinion" or "well, if that's what you think, we don't want to be your friend any more" and it seems like American culture in the 2010s has become a great flowering of that, and so, fine, whatever. Maybe I just post cat pictures forever. 

(ETA: Most likely it's that they're just busy based on something from this morning, but I hate that it's how my brain is that I always default to 'you did something wrong and you lost a friend')

- It is waaaaaaaaaaay too hot and too humid for nearly mid-October. it was in the low 90s here yesterday and beastly humid. It's humid again today and apparently the HVAC system in the faculty offices area is broken again because there is NO AIR MOVING and that makes me feel anxious and trapped. (For some reason, being in still humid air triggers my anxiety).

(Oh. Wait. I still have my tiny fan, and it's still plugged in, so at least that I can fix...)

- The next "oh hells, when do I do THIS" thing - I have to mow my lawn again and probably get out the weed whacker for the tall "king ranch bluestem" crap that's invaded and sent up flowering stalks all over the place, which make my lawn look horribly untidy, and I'm worried about the city sending me a nastygram again even though I have seen places in town that are far worse. 

Maybe I do it after piano tonight, I don't know. It's supposed to start raining tomorrow afternoon and not stop for, like, forever, so I don't know when else I'd do it. 


I dunno. Intellectually, yes, I know: things are fine. People around me like me - otherwise Mike would not have made the effort to catch me in the Wal-mart yesterday so he could give me a hug. But sometimes my emotional state and what my intellectual brain tell me I should be feeling do not match up.

I admit I'm tempted to spend my few minutes before class starts browsing Etsy or something, but I also want to tell myself also (a) you should not be spending more money and (b) buying stuff is not going to fix how you feel. But I don't really have a lot of other good "soothing" behaviors I can do at work. 

I could also have done with at least an hour more sleep today... 


Home for lunch and my stupid other neighbor mowed their stupid yard so I guess I bail on getting other stuff done early this afternoon and I mow and edge mine too so the city doesn't come after me for how untidy it is. 

it never stops. Every time lately when I think "whew, I have a few minutes to relax" there is SOME OTHER TASK I must attend to.

I also have stupidly hurt feelings. I know they should not be hurt and I should not give the person the power to do this, but it's a sore spot for me.

Okay. Understand: many people in the conservation/environment allied fields live very simply and minimalistically. And that's fine, that's their choice. But a lot of them elevate it to a hugely moral issue.

Look, my aesthetic is not minimalist. My aesthetic is, to quote a Tumblr thing, "clutterb*tch." Or maybe to be nicer: clutterwitch.

I like having stuff around. I like my books (and I read slowly so checking stuff out of the library doesn't always work and also I tend to like weird books that public libraries tend not to have). And I like my fluffy pink Kittycorn blanket. And I like having a yarn stash to dig into and find new projects in. 

I don't "need" it in the same way that I need oxygen and water and food and a shelter from the elements, but if I gave all that up....well, I wouldn't be even as stable as I am now.

But some people do. And I had someone today proudly telling me how little they needed to have in order to live, and how little they bought, and it just made me feel bad. I didn't SAY anything (well, I did mutter something about "well, hoo-ray and a tiger for you, then" after they were out of earshot) but it did make me feel bad.

When I'm in a strong place, emotionally, I can see those kinds of things as "this person is justifying their life choices to themselves and I just happen to be in the way" but I'm not in a strong place right now.

(I have seen similar things with people asking me if I won't "regret" not having kids - and then, five minutes later they're either screaming at their kids to behave, or complaining about them)

But, yeah. 

A lot of that kind of stuff reminds me a bit of the story of Jesus and the Rich Young Man (or ruler, depending on the version and translation) . 

You know, the "sell everything you have and give it to the poor" thing. And while the familiar interpretation of it (and the one I tend to favor) is "Humans cannot be sufficiently good on their own to gain the Kingdom of Heaven," you do seem to see people falling into that mindset with all the "purity tests" regarding every behavior. (I have joked about "that celebrity you like? Oh, ho, haven't you heard...." and some horrible story is shared about them, and I can only assume the desire on the part of the speaker is to steal yet another tiny bit of life-happiness from you, or to imply you are an equally bad person).

And it does seem those with an environmental bent do that a lot. For example: "How dare you wear nail polish?"

Look. I could quit wearing all cosmetics. I could make my own soap out of wood ash and lard and only wash once a week. But the impact that's going to have on the environment compared to other things is tiny and minimal and for God's sake, painting my toenails is one of the little pleasures I have in life, and it makes me so sad for someone to tell me how "bad" I am for wanting that because of the chemicals or something. 

(Also the whole "ban drinking straws" thing - even though I really don't use straws - when something like 2/3 of the plastic garbage in the ocean is fishing nets from fishing trawlers and straws are less than 1%). 

But I dunno. Sometimes it feels to me like there are a lot of people who seem to take a lot of joy in making others feel bad for their choices in life. (I mean, if your "choice" is kicking puppies, yes, you should feel bad, but I'm talking about stuff like drinking soda or wearing nail polish or buying a got-dang book once in a while....)

I dunno. I wish I didn't have to listen to that kind of stuff but this is an imperfect world, and, as I said, some people make themselves feel good or justify their life choices that way. I know some people would say "You should shame the guy into not doing that" but again: it's an imperfect world and you can't have what you want. (I think of how someone I know and I were talking about all the "anti sexual harassment/assault" measures, the stuff like walking with your keys poking out through your fist when you walk alone at night, or being sure you are wearing shoes you can run in if you have to, or things like that, and how some feminists would say "but that should not be" and yes, I agree, but it's an imperfect world out there, and so I'm still gonna wear shoes that won't fall off my feet if I have to run... we shouldn't HAVE to, we shouldn't have to worry about those things, but the way the world works, we do.)

I dunno. I wish I could hole up in a blanket fort for a while but I have way too much to do:

mow the dang lawn
practice piano before my lesson
clean the house up a little before my lesson
grade the exam I gave today
write my Sunday school lesson for Sunday
go out and do fieldwork tomorrow if it's not raining.

and I am just so, so tired.

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