Monday, August 10, 2009

Drama - a Top 13 List

Everyone is familiar with the term "drama" and what it tends to mean in our everyday lives. We all experience it in varying degrees...and with equally varying abilities to manage it. Some people seem to thrive on it...or you'd think so...the way they find it necessary to stir up crap all the time.

I have found that most of the people who cause drama in my life have not lasted very long. I tend to shy away from that particular force of nature the way that other people tend to stay away from boring people, depressed folks, and psychos. I just cannot manage the daily ups and downs because I am a born skeptic with minimal capacity for smoothing ruffled feathers. I used to consider this a problem, but I now believe that it is a defense mechanism as I am told that therapy is expensive

So, I started thinking what constituted drama and I have a top 13 list for you. Why 13? Because Letterman has perfected the Top 10 List...and I talk too much. So there.

Below are some of the most common "drama" inducers...and my personal take on them.

13. Finances

Well, now here's an easy one...don't you think? You want to go on vacation, and you SO deserve it, but you also have to make your house payment. What to do? Should I take my family to the Fair, or pay my car payment?

Seriously, this used to happen to me when I was Carolyn Nixon, Loan Collector. One lady even had the audacity to yell at one of the other collectors in her tube top and flip flops (as her kids climbed all over the office furniture) because he told her to pack up the stuff in her trailer because he was coming to repossess it.

I also used to love the people who would default on their student loans or owe back child support and then complain that they weren't getting their tax refund back and how unfair that was. Really?

Karen's solution? Either pay or no pay...there is no "try." (with thanks to Yoda).

12. Hormones/Midlife Crisis

Everyone has worked with someone who turns into something that resembles a raging pit bull for one week a month or who is so incredibly unpleasant that any interaction - no matter how tiny - is too big for words. I used to work at a bank that had a lady in charge of personnel who thought nothing of calling you to her office to sit and sit and sit and sit waiting for an audience. I think the longest I waited was four days. I just camped out in the Personnel Department and read magazines and dreamed of punching her in the face. Just when I was about to abandon all hope, she would show up, reassign me somewhere, and leave. The actual meeting time? Less than two minutes.

Equally dramatic is the individual who decides that they are not happy with their life, spouse, house, job, physical location, self, car and friends, and decides that they are ready to punt it all to live in a van down by the river.

My take: If you want to move on...PLEASE DO. We'll all be dancing the happy dance when you're gone.

11. Not knowing our limits with regard to alcoholic beverages

This particular brand of drama runs the gamut from teenagers to MeeMaws. Because I have never quite mastered this...and because I am raising kids and need my brain cells...I don't drink anymore. The only exceptions were before JV cheerleading tryouts, a mojito at my cousin's wedding, and the occasional sip (because I hate it and am therefore not tempted to partake too much) of wine.

Every year, some kid gets a DWI, a keg party is busted up by the local sheriff, some picture gets circulated via cellphone all over campus, or some fraternity loses its ability to exist because young people have to be moronic about alcohol intake. Arguments escalate over such earth shattering points such as which is better: Coke or Pepsi, what size shoe Uncle Fred wears, or who is the best Nascar driver. It is also bad when someone has to go "drive Daddy home" or "get Nana off the dance floor" after a wedding or other social occasion.

My take? If you can't stop at one...ya might better run. Just sayin'.

10. Failure to verify

Case in point: Morning of my wedding - July 1985. Big Dave is awakened by his father at 5:30 am to help him move chairs back from the site of the Rehearsal Dinner. Never mind that he had just gotten in at 3:30 am from his Bachelor Party. At 9:00 am...on a SUNDAY...with our wedding at 2:00 pm, Big Dave discoverd that the shoes he rented with the tux are WHITE. Had we not been saved by Mr. Billy opening his store...he would have stood at the altar looking like Chevy Chase in "Vacation." And for the record, I would have married him anyway.

9. People in love...with their problem

Having someone cry at work is tough. Having him/her cry at work every day because (s)/he is annoying. If you are unable to gauge by the 25 or so people who know what is going on, have told you what the problem is and how to fix it...let me tell you that YOU HAVE A PROBLEM. A bigger problem is going,"I know...." and then failing to do jack squat to fix it. For this failure...I have no sympathy...much like I have little sympathy for people who have five kids by the time they are 22 and can't figure out the source of this problem.

I know what it is like to be in love with your problem...I'm in love with food. I must be since I find it attractive and spend a lot of money on it. And, to be fair, I have about as much patience with myself as I do with other people who are making out in the corner with their problem, too.

My take: As quoted by my friend, Pam, today: "If you can't be a glowing example...then at least you can be a terrible warning." So true. And unfortunately, many of us are out there going "I know..." instead of working toward fixing our problems...and the smart ones are using us as a WARNING. (It is SO much more attractive to be an EXAMPLE, yes?)

8. Family issues

Dividing goods after a death in the family, deciding who is caring for those who need extra assistance, the aftermath after loser husband/wife leaves, or dealing with personal choices that are baffling are just the tip of the iceberg of this one.

I love how people who do things that are just boneheaded end up expecting the family to pick up the pieces. No, I'm lying...I don't love this at all...

My take: If you are big enough to do something that screws up your are big enough to deal with the fallout. If someone helps are blessed. If not, put on your big girl panties (or big boy boxers) and deal with it.

7. Ignorance/stupidity

Coaches who want to smoke in front of kids and think you are heinous for asking them to stop. Girls who dress like hookers and then wonder why they are treated as such. People who expect to do what they want to do and reap the benefits that go to those who follow the rules and scream and cry when they don't. Those who blame the economy/race/religion/gender/economic opportunity/geographic location/age for anything that is wrong with their lives. If you want a crash course in this particular version of drama, though, just turn on any given episode of "Repo Man." Enough said.

Lately, I feel that people who refuse to educate themselves on what is going on in the world in favor of watching "Dancing With the Stars" (sorry, Mom...I'm not talking about you)...and are not part of the process (except for the VOTING part) get on my last nerve.

6. Promotions

People believe that life is fair. They want it to be. It isn't. Promotions go to the people who do not deserve them as often as they do to those that do. I spent more time in my earlier working life being upset that I was not promoted as quickly as I thought I should have been. And although I was the grand scheme of things...who cares? I seriously no longer do.

5. Sorority Rush

If you want to see the theory of "natural selection" tested...this is a wonderful laboratory. How it is possible to mesh the following: grade point average, school activities, recommendation letters, reputation, location, alumnae support, name recognition, six days of parties, personality, background, beauty, legacy treatment, and exhaustion...into a pledge class that everyone is thrilled about is beyond me. But every happens.

Oh, there are tears, sackcloth and ashes, mean girls, overlooked gems, missing recommendation letters, too many from the same city or school, false rumors, and bad hair days that can cause the week of Recruitment to be...dramatic. And that's just the alums. (JUST kidding! :))

4. Inability to confront

Trying to work behind the scenes so that someone is not upset because we value the person but don't want to deal with the pouting/whining/tears is exhausting. More energy is expended figuring out how to not upset someone than it would be to actually go ahead and deal with whatever it is so that we can move on. Eggshells suck as a walking surface. You'll just have to trust me on this if you have a "bull in a china shop" mentality.

My take: If it affects your sleep, family, or your have to deal with it.

3. Schedules/Agendas

When I was a little girl, I used to plan Christmas programs for the family every year. I made out little agendas and would get excited. The problem? Nobody wanted to sing Christmas carols when I wanted them to...and I would get my little feelings hurt. Now, it is more that I need to plan ahead, and I deal with non-planners who think I'm being "pushy."

Frankly, in this life, there are "big picture people", "doers" and "problems." In any given situation, you are one of the three. Most of the time, you are one of these. Me? I'm a big picture person. This is great unless there is a ton of detail work to be done and then I am rendered mentally challenged. My husband is a doer...but can't plan his way to tomorrow. God put us together for a reason.

2. Teenagers/Children

I find it a cruel trick of nature that many of us are going through hormonal shifts at the same time we have people in our house that we are tempted to strangle (teenagers). This is one of the things that I have never understood.

Anything involving kids is going to involve drama...especially female children. Most of the time...the female children belong to someone else...but that doesn't make the drama any less intense.

1. Disorder

Can't find things in your house, car, closet, room, office, storage building, desk, classroom, locker, dorm room, drawer, or cell? Yeah. Most of us have too much "stuff" which translates to drama. How many of us have lost something important and then replaced it only to find it? How many times have we cleaned out the same pantry? Exactly.

Well, here's to having a whole lot less drama in your life. As for me...I'm going to bed earlier. I need the rest, less stress, and more clarity. But, I'm headed up to Tuscaloosa in the morning to "help" with Recruitment (Rush). Nah, no drama up there, right? Egad.

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