Monday, July 18, 2011

Mark Time, Mark Time, And...

I had a realization recently. And, like most of my epiphanies, it was rooted in a certain amount of...nerdery.

In the course of a conversation with someone who shall remain nameless (let's say that it's because I'm protecting anonymity and not because I'm not quite sure who I was speaking with, in the name of niceness, shall we?), a common lament popped up. The sentiment expressed was this--that said someone was tired of waiting, tired of marking time.

And then came the sudden jolt: waiting and marking time are not the same things to me. They haven't been for more than ten years now. (Ok, it's been eleven, but who's counting?) And if you're wondering how I can be so exact in how long the two have had a distinction for me, I have exactly two words: Marching Band.

Hey now, I told you this is an epiphany rooted in nerdery.

When you participate in a marching band, marking time isn't a matter of waiting. Marking time is, essentially, marching in place as you play those glorious songs to which you'll be marching... and you can't tell me it wasn't a little glorious to play the music from Sesame Street. Okay, so maybe glorious isn't exactly the word I wanted.

Anyway. Back to my point. Marking time allows someone to understand how their marching coordinates with the music. It helps people know the rhythm and pace of things before making them worry about direction, movement, and actual spacing.

In short, it's preparation.

So I've decided while it's absolutely true that I hate waiting, I rather hope that I'm always marking time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

If the Ghosts Kill Me, I'll Be Productive

So sometimes I go through bizarre phases wherein all decisions I make about prioritizing tasks while I'm at my house fall in the hands of... Pac-Man. You might think I jest, but I'm sorry to report it's the truth. I'm hoping that admitting to such sort into better behavior. (Then again, how much shame do I have if I'm admitting to it?)

Logic dictates that some things are more important than others: laundry; cleaning; writing; studying; cooking--these should trump, say, reading novels and watching television. Emphasis, of course, on should.

But lately I'm just lacking the motivation to do those most productive things and when I come home, my rationale works something like this: "If I can reach a score of 25,000 or more in Pac-Man, then I don't have to clean my room." Or do my laundry. Or cook a dinner. My expertise in keeping that little munchy man alive determines my responsibility level.

And then, when I'm in these moods, I feel entirely justified in saying that Pac-Man let me do whatever it is that I did. After all, if those things were truly important...wouldn't something intervene to harm my score?

It's silly, and I know it. But sometimes I like feeling as though my responsibility lies in the hands of something else. Even if it only last for a minute or two before I acknowledge that okay, after all, I am the master of my time. And it's probably not best spent playing Pac-Man.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I Judge You by the Company You Keep

And when I say that, I'm clearly not talking about people. I find that I tend to make snap judgments about people I don't know not really by who they surround themselves with. Rather, I find that I make snap judgments when I can see their reading material.

I'm not a flirt. And I rarely talk to men I don't know.

But. Sometimes I'm tempted to start talking to men when I see them reading.

I never do, because I've never quite figured out how to have that conversation: "Hi! Clearly, you read. And clearly, you have marvelous taste in books. I, too, read. And I also have wonderful taste in books." I mean where else can you take that sentence, except to: "So would you happen to have any good reading recommendations?"

The temptation arises any time I see a decent-looking guy holding an actual book. Sometimes the temptation falls away quickly. You're reading Clive Cussler? No, thank you. (Random confession: on my last--blind--date, when my date admitted to what he read, he listed a litany of nonfictional genres. Which was fine. But then I asked if he read fiction, and he said: "I enjoy Clive Cussler." At which point it's about 145% likely that I said something such as: "Well, I wasn't judging you based on your reading habits before. But I am now.")

But sometimes. Sometimes I see someone sitting at lunch in the Gateway, eating a sandwich and reading a book called The Art of Racing in the Rain. And I don't start talking because of that whole awkward-book-conversation thing, but also because I don't know the book. What if I make the wrong judgment?! (Incidentally, I looked the book up and it sounds pretty darned interesting. I guess that guy gave me a book recommendation without even knowing it.)

And other times. Other times, I see an attractive man a few Trax stops past mine getting on while reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and I want to do all of the following, in this order:

1. Tell him he's reading one of the best things I recently read.
2. Acknowledge this means he's got really great taste in books.
3. Let him know that he won't be sorry.
4. Ask him to marry me.

What I really do is try to bestow a look of gleaming approval--you know, the sort that might come from a cute and beatific librarianlike type of person? It's highly ineffective. But safe. And my books like that look just fine.