Monthly Archives: April 2013
Like so many others yesterday, I watched the tragedy in Boston unfold on the news – standing with co-workers in the lunchroom, mouths covered in horror, heads shaking in disgust, eyes tearing up in sadness at yet more lives lost and damaged beyond repair. The act of one person ruining the lives and hopes and dreams of so many. What was supposed to be a triumphant celebration of achievement, a joyous occasion of accomplishment shattered by unspeakable violence. More questions of what can we do, more fear of where we can go, and more disgust at the actions of cowards. Our country mourns yet again; this time with another city, with another demographic, over another type of violence.
I think any writer with a modicum of a platform, no matter how small it may be, would be remiss in not addressing this attack on some level. The part I need to address is hope. Yes, hope. Since the advent of social media, anyone with access to the internet can voice their opinion publicly, can share their thoughts and feelings and words. And so very much of what I saw on Facebook and Twitter yesterday was, for the first time in a long time, simply support. From tweets simply reading, “My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved in the tragedy in Boston,” to statuses sharing from all over the world, “NY Loves Boston,” “Dublin’s Heart is With Boston,” to pictures of the Boston skyline, to entire articles depicting the emergency personnel and civilians alike running toward the injured instead of away from the chaos.
The helpers. The picture and words I saw the most yesterday were that of the beloved Mr. Rogers, who said this, “Always look for the helpers.” What phenomenal advice. Look for the helpers. Look for the ones who are doing what they can to make a horrible event bearable. There were so many yesterday. The exhausted runners who should have been celebrating the culmination of years of hard work with an ice bath and a chair continuing to move, to push wheelchairs and help people up and give blood. The people of the city of Boston opening their homes and hearts to those stranded in a strange city that had just been attacked, no questions asked. The restaurant owners giving out free meals without regard to their bottom line. Google setting up a site to help frantic family members find their loved ones. The emergency personnel; the doctors and nurses and fireman and police and EMT’s and servicemen who have dedicated their lives to helping being put to the ultimate test and stepping up once again. The list goes on and on.
Smartphones make it almost frighteningly easy to immediately share pictures and videos without censure; many of us saw some raw video footage of people with limbs blown off, puddles of blood, and tearful horror within minutes of the explosions. But so much of what I saw yesterday gave me hope. These videos were unscripted; this was real life and real reactions, and so much of it showed helpers. These are real people. This is the real world we live in. In the midst of explosions and terror and unknown, these were real people that did everything they could to help. And that is what our country is made up of. Helpers. We’ve shown it over and over and over again, in New York and Pennsylvania on that dark day in 2001, in Newtown just before Christmas, in Boston yesterday, and countless other times; there has always been more helpers than evil. There has always been more love than hate. We just need to remember it.
There’s many who will say I’m being naive, that I’m trying to find the rose-colored lenses for a pair of broken glasses. I’m okay with that. Because I’m right. I may not always remember it, but we’re surrounded by helpers. Try using my rose-colored glasses – you’ll see it too. Instead of the sadness of the homeless person on the corner, you’ll see the helper who drops a quarter in his cup. Instead of the frustration of a crowded bus, you’ll see the helper give up his seat for a tired mom. Instead of anger at being stuck in a long line, you’ll see the helper patiently counting out change for the elderly person at the front. And instead of pure evil in a time of terror, you’ll see the helper in not only the people in Boston that physically risked themselves, but in the millions of us around the world who did what little we could to show our support. To help.
Mr. Rogers was a smart man. Always, always look for the helpers. They’ll be there.
I’m not sure about all of you, but this whole rainy/wet/dreary/no sunshine all week weather we’re having is kind of making me want to take a hostage and make them fly me to anywhere that’s dry and bright. As I’m a fan of self-diagnosing disorders – every time I hurt, I’m pretty sure I have fibromyalgia – I’ve decided I have Seasonal Affective Disorder and require sunshine at least every 72 hours. Otherwise, normal, everyday irritations take on giant proportions. You know that feeling? You’re slightly irritated, then something else minor happens like your pen running out of ink and all of a sudden you’re like the fucking Hulk, wanting to smash everything in sight.
That being said, I decided a Friday Blast Off of things that made me crazy this week would probably be a little self serving and more than likely be an incoherent, profanity filled rant. Instead, I put together a small list of things I’ve learned this week. They’re nothing life-changing, but hopefully my experience will help to serve you well in the future.
- Don’t go to Sephora in a hoodie and jeans. The salespeople will either think you’re trying to rob the place or descend on you like vultures, assuming you are there for a life-changing makeover and your desperate ass will be grateful for their helpful tips. (Yes, I know I could use an eyebrow wax, thank you, Skyie. Is that seriously your name?? How do you say it?)
- Rain gear is never where you need it. I have boots, I have a raincoat, and I have an umbrella. (Well, I had a raincoat. My stupid Potato cat decided to take out his frustration with me buying cheap cat food by pissing on it, so now I’m down one piece of rain gear.) But Tuesday, I did have a raincoat. However, all of these things were snug and dry in my office, while I walked through a torrential downpour Wednesday morning in gym shoes and a cotton cardigan because it was the only thing I had with a hood. Lesson? Keep two sets of rain gear. One at work, one at home. When they both end up in the same place, BRING ONE SET HOME.
- The floors at any CTA facility will be permanently wet and slippery as soon as the first raindrop falls. Proceed with caution. Very few things incite a panic attack than that split second when you slip atop the stairs, an image of your smiling face on the front page of the newspaper under the headline, “CLUMSY GIRL WIPES OUT COMMUTERS DURING FALL DOWN STAIRS,” flashing before your eyes.
- Speaking of the CTA, you’d be wise to remember that the bus drivers don’t care that you’re wet and trying to stay dry in the shelter. They will cruise through that puddle, splashing you head to toe with dirty, filthy water before they stop the bus. That’s why the busses smell so bad. Another note? The bus floors are also slippery. Grab hold of something immediately upon entering said bus if you’d like to keep your pants clean.
- Last but not least, if you make the copycat recipe of Red Lobster’s Cheddar Biscuits, keep in mind two things. 1) There’s a reason people go to Red Lobster. It’s the fucking biscuits. They’re amazing. If you are the type of person with little self control, having twelve of them within grabbin’ distance is probably a bad idea. 2) They have a lot of garlic. Your co-workers probably don’t want you to eat them for breakfast.
Happy Friday!! Everyone have a great weekend!!!
A friend of mine recently posted on her Facebook page, “Skydiving!!! One more thing to mark off the Bucket List!” and for some reason, it stuck with me. I love the whole idea of a Bucket List. Things to do before you die, things to strive for, places to go. It’s a great idea. It gives us a sense of purpose; it helps us give our lofty dreams some sort of structure. I started thinking, “Hmm, what would be on my Bucket List?” I did some Googling – is that a word? It should be – and stalked some other people’s lists and oh, holy baby Jesus, you people have some GOALS. Hiking Everest and ziplining in the Everglades and saving starving children and starting charities – amazing. My list? Not quite so lofty. And even as I wrote mine down, my mind immediately came up with 400 reasons of why that particular idea was the dumbest one I’d ever had.
But I’m not giving up. It’s my Bucket List and I can do with it what I want. So I still wrote out my list, and then let the rational part of my brain yell at the hopeful, creative side. The result is that now I think maybe not everyone needs to make a Bucket List and some of us should probably just be happy for every day that goes by in which we don’t get hit by a bus or shit on by a pigeon.
Courtney’s (Sort Of) Bucket List
Volunteer at an Animal Shelter
- Thought: I love cats! I have time! Ever since my stupid Potato cat went missing and I visited every shelter in the south suburbs looking for him, my heart breaking at these poor kitties in cages, I have wanted to volunteer and spend time loving on these neglected animals.
- Counter Thought: Are you even serious right now? First of all, at that one shelter you went to looking for that idiot cat, there was a fucking PIG there that had just had babies. Can you see yourself caring for a PIG, Courtney? Think about it. Also, remember that one time you went to the pet store when you had PMS and almost came home with an ugly dog, even though you don’t even like dogs all that much? Let me paint you a picture of how this ends – you, fourteen cats, and a piglet. Alone.
See the Northern Lights
- Thought: That would be so amazing to see. I hear Alaska is a great place to see them – I could kill two birds with one stone! I mean, who ever goes to see Alaska? Plus I’d see the amazing lights!
- Counter Thought: You know what else is in Alaska? A raging drinking problem. And darkness. Given your love of beer and the fact that not seeing sunlight for more than 48 hours makes you homicidal – this is not the place for you. Any lights you see are likely going to be hallucinations. Why don’t you try for an eclipse or super moon here in your home state, yeah? We’ll get you a telescope or something.
Live in a Continuously Organized, Orderly Space In Which the Corners of Baseboards are Always Clean
- Thought: This isn’t impossible. My mom does it. My sister does it. It’s likely just a simple system – a routine I need to get into. I bet if I do a complete overhaul, I can keep everything spic-and-span and never have a heart-stopping panic attack again when someone drops by unexpectedly!
- Counter Thought: Really? It’s just a routine you haven’t quite picked up in the past 20 years? Sure. I wasn’t going to do this, but let me remind you of what happened last week. Remember? DO YOU?? You got a new towel off of the shelf and then had to take a whole new shower after using it because it was covered in cat hair. Why don’t you concentrate on never, EVER letting that happen again before you start scrubbing baseboards with a toothbrush.
Do One of Those Walks/Bike Rides For Charity
- Thought: Why not? I could help people and get exercise all in one. It looks like such a rah-rah good time, and for such a good cause!
- Counter Thought: Are you even fucking kidding me right now? You bribe people on a weekly basis to go places for you so you don’t have to walk up your stairs more than twice a day. Also, not to be the bearer of bad news, but giving up cigarettes did not magically take 50 pounds off of your frame, give you the gift of balance, or shrink your giant head so that it will fit in a normal-sized bike helmet. This one’s a super nice idea, but let’s keep it on your level. Try a nice short walk at a local high school – I know you, you’re going to sign up for that 3 Day Walk and you know damn well you don’t like to do ANYTHING for more than 45 minutes at a time and you’re simply setting yourself up for disappointment.
There was more, but one can only imagine what my subconscious revolted with when the word “Skydiving” crossed my mind, so I had to stop because I was hurting my own feelings. Regardless, I still think it’s a good list and am standing by it. What’s on yours?