They do exist!

1 Jul

Ladies and gentlemen, we are pleased to present to you proof that the men in Penny’s mind do exist. She and Circe met a vest-wearing specimen this weekend – in a bar of all places.

Exhibit A, texts from Saturday night.

Penny: It was nice meeting you! Thanks for coming to [BAR] with us, despite the lack of DJ.
Vest: It was nice meeting you. Maybe we can get together soon and have a drink.
Penny: Love to! Hope you find your friends… Sorry we had to leave.
Vest: Yea I’m with them now.
Vest: We can discuss game theory over a gin and tonic… or some other intellectual conversation. It’s so rare to find a woman who is attractive but not dull…
Penny: Funny you should say that. I was just thinking the same about men.
Vest: Agreed. The average “modern” man is troglodyte.
Penny: And the women merely Paleolithic?
Vest: No. Just misinformed, I suppose. I can only speak for myself, but I’m into a different type of woman than most guys.
Penny: Good.
Vest and Penny have a date for Tuesday night. We’ll keep you updated!

He does exist. They DO exist! *mutual swooning*

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The letter I’ll never send

27 Jun

Dearest loved ones,

Yesterday I took a day off of work to recover from a non-serious malady that certainly didn’t need to keep me from sitting at a desk and typing. It was probably more of a mental health day than an immune system health day, but regardless, instead of being at my desk I found myself at Trader Joe’s looking at the selection of hummus. As I decided on roasted garlic and red pepper and placed it in my cart, a fellow shopper told me to get the edamame  hummus. He stood there waiting for me to add it to my cart until I complied. It was his favorite, you see. So for fear of disappointing this stranger, I bought an extra hummus I didn’t want or need.

Say it with me now! “Nooooo.”

I do this thing to myself where I say “yes” until I can’t anymore and my soul shuts down. Can you stay at work late to make sure this sensitive material gets sent out? I’m really stressed, do you have time to talk? Will you come to X, X, X, and X this weekend? It should be really fun!

This past weekend, the only time I had alone was when I was in the shower. Thanks to work politics I’ve been at the end of my stress rope for a few weeks, but instead of carving out time to myself to get a handle on things, I committed myself to just about everyone in geographical proximity. It’s not that I don’t like people. People are great. Especially the people I love. But people don’t relax me, they exhaust me. Which isn’t to say that on most occasions the exhaustion isn’t worth the effort! But while being “on” and charismatic and cheerful and pleasant isn’t unnatural, it isn’t easy to maintain for that long either. And at 11:00pm on Sunday night, after a weekend filled with pleasing people to whom I felt irrationally obligated, I shut down. I couldn’t keep it up anymore. And I felt certain that if the people breathing the oxygen in my car didn’t &%$#*% stop talking I would have an aneurism.

It isn’t a new pattern. In college I would get so bogged down in jobs, clubs, family drama, that I would have to take a day off of classes just to do my work for those classes. I overextend myself until I need to turn off and restart. I feel so badly telling someone “no” that I can’t manage to have any sort of balance in my life.

Is it “can’t”? No. It’s “won’t”. I won’t have balance in my life. As much as I complain and as much as I know it’s an unhealthy way to live, there is a part of me that worries if I’m not the giving friend who will always answer her phone and always be there when you’re having a tough time and always bounce around to seven different social gatherings just so I don’t have to turn anyone down, then what is it about me that’s remarkable? My defining characteristic is being a caring sister, friend, daughter, etc. who will drop everything to pick up whoever is down. And if I say “I’m sorry, I really can’t tonight,” is there anything worthwhile about me? Will I have any reasons to be loved? And is that THE WORST reason to be a giving friend in the history of everything?

This one’s on me. I need to figure out my own boundaries and limits. I don’t want you to stop coming to me when you need a friend because I always want to be that friend. I just can’t promise to be that friend 24/7.

On the bright side, the edamame hummus was actually really tasty. How are you? Are you ok?

Sincerely,

Polly

Scylla and Charbydis

7 Jun

As I get older, I find myself more and more frequently trapped between larger and larger rocks and harder and harder places. Or, as we called Rocks’ and Hard Places’ more aquatic cousins back in the day, Scylla and Charbydis. I don’t know if the problems are just getting bigger (they are), if I’m less-equipped for dealing with them than I thought I’d be (I am), or if I’m somehow subconsciously setting myself up for anxiety-inducing decisions and situations (possible… we haven’t gotten that far in therapy). But the result’s the same: it’s a real struggle to convince myself to shower before bed (showering, you understand, being unspoken acknowledgement that I am going to work in the morning in a more real way than packing a lunch that I could just take on a picnic down to the water ever could be) ((don’t worry, I showered)).

Sometimes Scylla and Charbydis are definite problems, other times they’re more metaphorical and existential. Then there are the times when I find myself facing the perfect storm of definite and metaphorical. This is one of those times, and I’m not sure my boat is so leak-proof.

About three months ago I turned down my top choice graduate program because I am practical and they didn’t offer me enough money. Then I inadvertently found out that my employers were reclassifying my position, requiring me to reapply for the job I’ve been in for the past year and go through the whole months-long process of hiring by search committee. Cue Alanis and her black flies in Chardonnay. So, I started looking around for other jobs and allowed myself to dream of leaving, thinking that I would stay until I found something. I’ve found lots of other jobs. They just haven’t called back. Then yesterday, during my final interview for the position I already have, my boss threw this at me: “This isn’t really an interview so much as a conversation to find out how you feel about the position, because while you are doing a fantastic job and we want you to stay, we don’t want to give the position to someone who is going to leave next week.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I lied through my teeth and sold another little portion of my soul. Of course I want to stay, Boss. I just love that I spend my days actively avoiding making coffee for old men (and some not-so-old men) who seem to think that my function in the office is to be a decorative fixture whose youth makes it almost certain she knows something about computers. (Which, to be fair, I do know quite a bit about computers.)

My immediate boss is wonderful (above statement aside). I honestly could not ask for a better place to work in terms of my boss and the other administrative staff, not to mention the salary and benefits. But now I feel trapped. The opportunities for advancement are unclear and, quite frankly, even if they were a little more defined, I wouldn’t want them. Maybe it’s the hubris of my generation, but I graduated summa cum laude and am a member of Phi Beta Kappa. I am creative while still being able to think logically and analytically. The reason things run so smoothly at work, Boss, is because it takes very little effort or brain power for me to complete my tasks. Even the conferences I organize only take part of my brain, if all of my time. I should be more than this; I am more than this.

But then the cycle of guilt starts. Who am I to look down on a full time position that so many people would be grateful to have? Alternatively, who am I to take this full time position away from someone else who wants it more than I do, someone who would put in more effort and not mind showering before work?

I don’t know. I just honestly don’t know.

Justifications and such

6 Jun

The other day my coworker brought in a radish, cheese, spring onion and avocado sandwich. I, of course, immediately needed (not wanted, needed) radishes for my planned egg and avocado sandwich the next day.

I’d just been to the grocery store the night before.

But radishes…

So, I did the unthinkable. I went to Whole Foods. And it was completely justified, despite the sundry unneeded items that also ended up in my cart, because I walked.

Yup. That’s right I burned calories, not gas.

Justified.

Perhaps a more significant milestone.

22 May

Life operates in cycles. Sometimes for whatever reasons you just find yourself in a slumpy place and eventually you have to come out of it. (Allie Brosh can describe it all in a much more amusing way than I will here. With illustrations. She’s amazing. I bow.)

Anyway! The other week I checked in on my progress with New Year’s resolutions, and my marks weren’t terribly high. But, no offense meant to the minds behind the Gregorian and Roman calendars, January 1st is rather arbitrary.

Two years and one day ago today the world didn’t end and Penny and I graduated from college. Without any concrete plans, I decided to defer my acceptance to a screenwriting program with the hopes of finding a fulfilling job before getting trapped in the grad school debt vortex.

Image courtesy pegasusics.com

Image courtesy pegasusics.com

Since then I:

  • Was unemployed for a month and a half and lost my mind
  • Worked as a hoity-toity golf club bartender
  • Quit bartending to take an internship at a fancypants Store
  • Left that internship for an entry-level dream job
  • Officially declined the screenwriting MFA program
  • Moved out of my parent’s house
  • Ended a mostly dysfunctional relationship
  • Co-founded this blog which has done more for my sanity than any amount of collegiate counseling center talk therapy ever could.
  • Moved again (No Craigslist roommates from Hades! Woo!)
  • Entered a mostly functional relationship that brings me great happiness
  • Repaid loan debts to the Federal Parent Union

I could write more often. I could take on more projects. I could eat more healthily. I could try to work up to a half marathon. I could be the kind of responsible adult who throws out underwear when there is a hole in it and buys a new pair. But I can also recognize the great things going on.

Tonight I’m going to the crew wrap party for the second feature film I’ve been a part of since graduation. Maybe I’m not doing all that I can by New Year’s resolution standards to ensure the longevity of my mental and physical health, but it’s important to remember how good I’ve got it and how grateful I am.

And to end on the cheesiest of notes:

Thoughts on Gatsby: A definition of the word “adaptation”

8 May

According to the OED (that bastion of all things English language) an adaptation (n) is “the application of something to a particular end or purpose; the action of applying one thing to another or of bringing two things together so as to effect a change in the nature of the objects”.

Let’s get that one more time, shall we?

“The application of something to a particular end or purpose; the action of applying one thing to another or of bringing two things together so as to effect a change in the nature of the objects.”

Now for your Wednesday morning philosophical coffee break: if an adaptation is supposed to effect change in the nature of the objects, can there be such a thing as a faithful adaptation? And if there cannot, logically, be a faithful adaptation because then no change to either object would be effected, is it not reasonable to conclude that book-to-film adaptations are by their very definition precluded from being “faithful”, consequently leaving the disaffected English majors currently spewing their Baz Luhrmann-fueled vitriol all over the Interwebs floundering in bottomless pits of their own meaningless literary criticism? (As a former English person, myself, I say this with the greatest possible affection.)

Hate Gatsby. Love Gatsby. But do it as a film critic, not a literary critic. Because guess what? Gatsby isn’t a book! It’s a movie! With a pretty rockin’ and inventive soundtrack, flashy costumes and interesting cinematography.

I have tickets to see Gatsby at 7 pm on Friday evening, and I cannot wait. In the meantime I am avoiding all reviews and leave you with this observation: if you didn’t like Romeo + Juliet, you should probably go see Iron Man 5000 instead.

Cheers, to that.

Warner Bros. / YouTube Screen Capture

Pupfessors and unnecessary politeness

1 May

Have we established that I work with a bunch of old men scientists? Well, I do. It’s a lot like being Penny in the Big Bang Theory (hahhahha no, I only wish I looked like Kaley Cuoco), except instead of working at the Cheesecake Factory I actually work at the university and, instead of being an aspiring actress without a degree, I’m actually an aspiring communications professional with a rather good degree. The Sheldons and Kripkes? They don’t care because anything that isn’t science doesn’t impinge on their consciousnesses (hence why I have a job). But they do like my snappy fashion choices and lustrous brown curls, which my inner-feminist mostly only minds on alternate days or when unnecessarily provoked.

Friday I was just about to escape out the double doors and into the stairwell when… “Good evening, Ms. Lincoln.”

I turned around to see the source of the voice I knew all-too-well. (Why did I turn around? I turned around because I am polite. This politeness often gets me into awkward conversations at work. Keep reading.)

“Have a good weekend, Middle-Aged Male Coworker! I like the hair cut!” (Zeus damn it all to Hades. What possessed me to say that? Ah, right. Polite. I am polite. But, then again, wasn’t that unnecessarily polite and bordering on…. shudders …friendly?)

“You do?!” he made a bounding step in my direction. I shrank against the door, seeing my escape escape me. “Because most people don’t, they think it’s too short. But I like short hair for summer, you know? Do you really like it?? Do you?”

“I wouldn’t have said so otherwise (yes, yes I would), and it’s what you like that counts. Bye!”

You see, what they don’t tell you on the Big Bang Theory is that they created characters by exaggerating the individual personality quirks of the overall science research professor archetype. In real life, they each embody a little Leonard, a little Sheldon, a little Raj, a little Howard, etc. I call the characteristic exhibited above the Pupfessor, eager for praise in any area not his specialization.

“Good boy, don’t you look nice after your trip to the groomer?”

You like my hair? You do?! Source: post.barkbox.com

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