Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pointless Paper

If you want to hear me rave endlessly about something, bring up the topic of junk mail. Not the penis-pill-money-scam-other-random-bullshit variety in your inbox. The stuff that goes thump in your mailbox. It actually angers me how many times I've had to fill my recycling can with this pointless crud, and grieves me to think that trees are a-fallin' so that some scamtacular company can attempt to sell their wares to little ol' me, a totally uninterested audience. I know I'm not alone in this. There should really be a law. A well-written, airtight one.

When I lived at my prior address, I signed up for a service that helps stop junk mail. It kind of worked. But since moving to my new place the junk has located me again. For every piece of legitimate mail I receive, I get ten leaflets for some crummy pizza chain or fake psychology graduate school.

Take for example, yesterday, when I finally picked up the keys for the new mail box in our fully renovated lobby (details later) The neighbor handed me some of my overflow mail and this included a Glamour magazine with my address on it. I have never subscribed to Glamour in my life. How did they find out about me? Did I fill out a card for a discount at the grocery store five years ago that placed me squarely into some sad beauty magazine demographic? Have they been tracking me ever since? Did my old hotmail address start selling my inbox contents to some scabby online marketing pirate? If I'm going to read a fluffy beauty rag it'll be Lucky all the way, thankyouverymuch.

So, I spent the last 10 minutes on the web jungle of glamour.com trying to wade through made-up statistics about sex and chirpy articles about celebrities and their luscious hair until I finally figured out how to cancel a subscription I never signed up for in the first place.

I know it's rough out there trying to market sub-par products to a world full of brokeass people, but could you stop felling forests and please stick to spamming me with laughable emails and blingy Facebook adverts instead?


Update: Turns out my sister signed me up for Glamour as a gift. Foot, mouth, you are already pretty well-acquainted...

Updated Update: My sister did not sign me up for Glamour; she subscribed me to the glorious Domino, which unexpectedly folded---Glamour was the substitution that was offered. I think she would have preferred a refund.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The best laid plans should really go get laid.

There comes a week in every girl's month where she envisions herself as a more perfected specimen. This week is flanked by other weeks where remembering to run the dishwasher and actually disposing of the umpteenth "low-cost dental care" flyer lining the mailbox is sufficient. But during this particular week, it's all about ambition.

I love to talk a big talk to myself. Sometimes quite literally. I imagine myself being interviewed about how I finally kicked some of my bad habits or assembled the perfect work wardrobe entirely from secondhand clothes, or the perfect apartment decor from objects found on street corners. My fantasy responses would sound something like this:

"Well, yes, I just eventually forced myself to go to bed at 9 on the dot, so it became much easier to wake up at 6:00 AM. If I hadn't developed this habit, I would never have had the time to earn that black belt."

"I just stuck to my guns about eating lunch and dinner in every day until I saved up enough for my new vacation home in Belize."

"Oh, you like my dress? Thanks! I recently took up a sewing apprenticeship in my spare time."

"This arm definition is from my 2-hour long daily home yoga practice."

"Actually, I made this table myself out of reclaimed wine barrels."

And so on.

To kick off my monthly week of lofty goal-setting, I decided that I would get to bed early on Sunday (and for the rest of the week) and wake up extra early for a morning jog. Never mind that I haven't ever gotten up at 6AM for anything but a flight, even when I was a cross-country runner in high school. I was going to be one of those people who prance over dew-covered grass and smile beatifically as they pass still-darkened windows fueled by the glow of inner peace and unshakeable confidence.

So I settled into bed with a book at 10PM, about an hour before I'll usually even think about sleeping. I read until I was drowsy, then switched off the light.

La la la.

Around 10:30 I switched on the light and picked up my book.

11:30. I started getting nervous about that alarm that I'd set for 6AM. No way of achieving the coveted 8 hours at this point.

A few minutes past midnight. I tapped the little button on my alarm that dims the light so I couldn't see how badly I was failing at the very first step in my quest for perfection.

Who knows what time it is now. Dear god what was that noise??????

(Tried to decide whether or not to investigate the noise. On went the bedside lamp.)

4:30 AM, must've finally dozed off at some point, having officially wussed out on the whole potential burglar/serial killer/stalker noise investigation idea. Whoops, left the lamp on. Hence sudden disruption of (now) desperately needed sleep.

I did eventually wake up and do some yoga. And I did make a delicious breakfast that would've done the Lake Merritt Farmer's Market proud. But I had to laugh a little. I rarely have trouble sleeping these days. I'm lucky if I get five pages further along in my book. That whole idea of perfection was like the psychological equivalent of an ice cold bucket of water to the groin.

I kept thinking about the people I serve and how many of them have an all-or-nothing mentality about success and failure. One of my favorite questions is "So, how's that working for you?"

So how's that working for you?

"Well, let's see. Since I officially decided to stop translating my fantasies about ultimate perfection literally, I've found that I can pick up one or two small things at a time and practice getting really good at them instead. I vacuumed every week this month. I went out late on Friday and spent a little money, but I also made a delicious dinner from a new recipe last night. Oh, and I happen to sleep like a 10 year old kid on vacation in Hawaii."