Stuff that bothers me

As I get older I’ve noticed that there are things that bother me enough to where I would just rather not do.

Running

Nope. I had to chase my dog the other day. I can still run. I have had to chase my kids down the street once in a while, and the dog learned just how fast an old man can be on a gravel road while wearing boots. But the next two days after that I could hardly walk. People who run or jog or do marathons voluntarily have my respect, but I think I’d rather walk to my car or bike and greet them at the finish line with a frosty beverage.

Getting my shoes wet

I went fishing yesterday with my son and the dog. They happily splashed around in creeks and rivers and me…I was happy to not have to bend over to take my shoes off, much less just wade in with them. Nothing irritates me more in middle-age than wet socks, or putting dirty, wet feet into dry socks. I just watched them and chucked the line into the river. You know? Fishing?

Talking to people on the phone

Texting has spoiled me. As a writer, I get to put my best method of communication to work in daily conversation (at least when autocorrect isn’t having its way with my words). There are about four people on this planet I don’t mind talking to on the phone. About half of them I actually like video chatting with. But I think years of customer service, tech support, and front desk work have burned me out on the phone. If you need me, text me. I’d rather decipher smoke signals than talk on the phone most days.

Commercials

I haven’t had cable TV in seven years. Whenever I’m at a friends house or at my parents’, I am invariably stuck in front of the TV at some point. For a 22 minute show, there are eight minutes of commercials scattered throughout. And somehow it’s always the same things. Medicine that won’t* give you gills. Laundry soap (by now, everyone should probably just pick from either Tide or whatever else is in the store). Cars nobody can afford. Cell phone plans (which are all the same, right now we are just going Team Lily or whoever else is shilling the same service). Or tortilla chips for some weird reason.

  • *same as sugar pill. Consult your doctor if a long, long list of side effects occur, in spite of the people in the commerical living their best lives.

Traffic

I just despise traffic. Stop lights. Train crossings. People who won’t turn right on a red. Left lane cruisers. Campers driving in long convoys at ten miles an hour under the speed limit because for some reason you have to have a full medical checkup, a Commercial Driver’s Licence, and hours of training to drive a truck or school bus but they will let just anybody buy a literal HOUSE on three axles and pull it behind a diesel pickup truck all over the country. These people are a danger to themselves and others. Also, they are too proud to pull over and let people pass for any reason. If the apocalypse comes, you can count on entire highways being choked to a standstill by these jackwaggons trying to have a pissing contest with each other on a three lane interstate as the radioactive ash blankets all of us just trying to get to safety.

Waiting on other people

A big reason I just go and do things myself is because most people are so wishy-washy about making plans. 9/10 people flake on everything. So, I just don’t ask anymore. If I want to do something, I just do it. No coordinating plans. None of that. I just freakin’ go.

Things that are bullsh*t

In my 45 years on this planet, I have learned that a large number of things I was told while I was growing up are simply not true. So, I decided to make a list.

Blood is thicker than water

Not true at all. Family are people you happened to be around more than other people. Probably because some of them just happened to be at the table when the food was getting passed around. A major clue people should have figured out on this is that everyone knows someone who is a complete asshole. There is a distinct certainty that this person is someone’s son, daughter, cousin, aunt, parent, etc. There’s a good chance they are an even bigger asshole to the people that are forced to pass them the gravy at dinner.

You can’t choose who you love

Actually, you can, and really you should. Truth be told, you do. You make a conscious decision every time you interact with that person whether or not to give them affection. If you aren’t, then you should consider contacting a witch or someone who can remove the spell that has been cast over you. Because if they are screwing someone else, disrespecting you, hurting you, or even flat out ignoring you, you are the one choosing to “love” them. The same applies to all relationships. Kids, parents, spouses, friends, or just anyone. Signs that you aren’t making this choice include small bottles containing nails, hair, urine, or other personal items that you randomly find under your bed or under your porch. Seek professional help.

It didn’t use to be like this

No, it wasn’t. Sometimes it was worse. Though the world is inundated with “woke” people, Karens demanding to see the manager, rabid conservatives, and social injustice at every turn, I have never seen someone lynched, I haven’t watched someone beat a mule to death in the street, the local warlord hasn’t rounded up the town virgins for prima nocte. There aren’t people impaled along the roadside and left to the carrion birds. And the story of the “Little Matchgirl” just sounds like a hyperbolic if not morbid Christmastime story, rather than current events. You aren’t suffering the same ways that people in the past have done. You are usually just inconvenienced.

Karma is going to bite them in the ass

No it won’t. That’s just you hoping bad people will get their just desserts. They won’t. Even if they did, they won’t see it that way. Truly awful people go around in this world reaping the benefits of other people’s misery. The villain is the hero of their own story. The only people “karma” affects are good people who thing they are being punished for something, when it really has nothing to do with anything other than shit luck. They work for a long time to pay pennance. The reality of it is that karma never works because the people deserving the shit end of the stick has no more concept of wrong doings that deserve cosmic punishment than a yellowjacket that stings you for wearing red.

You can only be loved as much as you love yourself

Not true. Sometimes people love us in spite of this. What we can all hope for is we realize we need to catch up before we miss out. Loving ourselves is a good way to make sure that we aren’t making those who love us miserable. And it’s a good way to not be an attention thirsty trainwreck incapable of reciprocating that love.

Deadlines and what it means to be Freelance

The other day, I visited my friendly local Starbucks.  Only because I was running late for work and didn’t have the half hour to drive to Dutch Bros.  There, I talked with Suzie the barista and caught up, since she hadn’t seen me in awhile.  She mentioned to one of the other baristas, a skinny college guy, that I was a writer and had my own travel blog.

I could tell from his reaction that he was an aspiring writer himself.  I offhandedly mentioned that I had five articles to write about boats, compasses, rigging, and PFDs.  Due on June 1st.  That’s today.

He said “I don’t write anything with deadlines.  I like to keep everything I do more freelance.”

Freelance.

You keep using this word, but I don’ think you know what this word means.

With his mindset, if that was how I wrote, the only thing true about “freelance” would be that I was writing everything for free.  Yes, I have written a book and many short stories that may as well have been for the love of writing.  But as a writer, as some point you might want to get paid doing what you love.  If you truly love it, then writing about clamps and pocketknives and boat rigging and asbestos testing won’t diminish your love of the craft.

It will get you out of a freaking office where everyone thinks you suck and one day you will die having nothing to show for it other than hemorrhoids and carpal tunnel syndrome.  At least as a writer, you get those, AND a sense of fulfillment.  You have created something.  That is rare in this world.

So, I just nodded and smiled because the kid is 20, maybe 21 and knows everything.  Just as I did at that age.  And it has taken me that much longer to understand that sometimes you don’t want to write the stuff that isn’t fun.  But when the checks come and you get to fly to London and dink around for nearly two weeks, it was worth all the stupid copy you had to write for companies.  It is an investment in getting to experience more of the world for the stories that matter.  Inspiring pieces that are beyond the scope of your imagination, which I gotta tell you, without inspiration from the outside, is pretty limited.

Anyway, enough procrastinating.  I have copy to write and maybe some stories.  Because that is what a freelancer really does.

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