Several years ago, there was a song by Alanis Morissette called "Ironic" that was on the radio every fifteen minutes. I enjoyed Alanis' music, if truth be told, and found her angst to be singing to that part of me that really wants to say what I'm thinking but often don't trust myself enough to keep my cool. Oh, I'd rehash it in my mind eight hundred times...but I'd let the whole confrontation thing go.
As I've gotten older, I've totally gotten over that. As someone once told me, "there's more room outside than in..." and so I let it fly when it needs to go airborne. I've actually named this part of my personality "Towanda" after the character in "Fried Green Tomatoes" as "she" normally appears after I've tried desperately to hold it together...but cannot...because I've either been disrespected, ignored, or ripped off. Towanda has a tendency to tell off smart aleck girls with braids in the Publix deli, people working in the Customer (Dis)Service Department at FTD, and any number of people who can't seem to find the ability to do what I deem to be logical. Oh, I'm not perfect, but I do have a pretty keen idea when I am getting the "bohica" treatment.
And by the way, the person who I would most like to channel when I am in this mode is Dixie Carter as Julia Sugarbaker in the "Designing Women" television show. Julia was a lady, but she would reach a certain point where someone needed an adjustment of some kind. Usually it involved chewing someone a new one in a way that was clear and to the point...and left no confusion whatsoever as to what needed to be said. I'm no Julia...but I try. I'm more like a combination of Julia Sugarbaker and Rosanne Barr.
As you can well imagine...this is not always pretty.
Because if there is one thing that I know as I wade through the current economic minefield...it is that this attitude of "whatever" on the part of salespeople and customer service personnel that was so prevalent just a few short years ago...is seriously out of place. I used to tolerate it and seethe within...now I just keep talking to people until they make it right. I don't mean to be cranky...I'm just tired of people being stupid.
Good heavens...I sound more and more like Maxine (of Hallmark fame) every day.
Sadly, in spite of improvements to customer service that most companies have drilled into their front line people, there's still plenty to get all riled up about like I did tonight when I found that the English toffee pieces that were allegedly in my Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream were MIA. I sent an e-mail that covered my displeasure in great detail. I assume that someone will be having a "Happy Friday! over that one.
Here's Alanis, if you were in an alternate universe, had sworn off MTV, or were just simply sleep deprived during the 1990s. Actually, I was pretty much "all of the above." (Fun fact: Taylor Hawkins...the current drummer for FOO FIGHTERS was Alanis' drummer during her heyday.)
I have found that a lot of what happens to us...be it lousy customer service, wonderful surprises, or just stopping as I do a dozen times a day and think "Really? can most definitely be filed under the heading "ironic." We laugh...call it karma, coincidence, serendipity or God's sense of humor...but life does have some funny twists and turns sometimes.
I've been attempting to get with the program lately...and have kept the house neat since I've had great difficulty staying disciplined on any eating or in my pledge to keep my car vacuumed out. Right now, I do believe that I could improve my gas mileage by simply vacuuming. I'm so serious.
Anyway, I've found that when I start trying to improve in one area of my life, the rest of the areas take it as a personal challenge to see if they can drive me into a rage, despair, or facedown into a bag of mini Reese's peanut butter cups that I was saving for my sister who will be here next week but she'll never know because I have time to replace them. Whoops. Yeah.
The house is cleaner than usual...so Big Dave will find a reason to completely trash the garage. My clothes are clean and put away...so it will be a great time to change out my closet. I have finally cleaned off my scrapbooking table...so I'll be dragging it all out tomorrow to work on it.
Yes, ironic, isn't it?
Or just insane. I haven't decided which.
For the past week, one of my coworkers has called me to ask me for something positive that I can share that I'm happy about. This has actually been a lot of fun...because my reports have been as random as reporting that Big Dave sold the Ford Explorer that has sat in our driveway with a broken axle for the past two and a half years (for $200) to sharing that my laundry was done. Both were incredibly big deals to me. I'm a list person, you know.
Maybe that is the secret, though. Just being content with what "is" instead of "what should be if we had a live-in maid, cook, a decorator on speed dial, a metabolism that let us burn calories at the speed of light, enough money to do all that we want to do, and a personal secretary, shopper, and trainer." I mean - seriously - we can't all be Oprah.
I'm going to take it a little easier on myself in the coming months. Life can be difficult if we strive to make it perfect. It isn't meant to be, and all of our effort can be incredibly frustrating and empty if we focus on what isn't perfect. Like my dining room table, car floorboard, closet, and figure.
I think that is really the irony of life.
We know we only pass through once...unless we're Shirley MacLaine, of course...and we want to make the most of it. So we strive, busy ourselves, and try to move it forward...push it along. M.u.s.t. s.u.c.c.e.e.d. The real joy comes when we just accept where we are, find the really neat things that probably don't mean a thing to anyone else but us, and are just grateful for what we have. I realize that I talk about this an awful lot...but I suppose that one of the most important truths I know is that being grateful is not a natural state of being for most people.
Especially me. That's why I have to remind myself to be grateful every day that I draw breath.
So, enjoy the little things that make you laugh, roll your eyes, or do the happy dance. If you are doing any of these...you are keeping it real. Real is good. Very good.
Keep up with those little things and try to give yourself permission to let some of the things go that have been on your "to-do list" so long that you think they were originally written on the walls of a cave. Try not to drive yourself nuts.
And back away from the mini Reese's cups...slowly...