Good advice from Wife M

We were waiting for dinner with my parents and I was standing next to two young women while Wife M talked to my parents.  The way the line worked, I was facing right the women, who were two feet away from me.  Silence bothers me, so I asked one of the women what her drink was since it looked cool, and that started a conversation, which I quickly brought in Wife M (it turnd out the second woman happened to be standing with that woman but was with another group).  A minute or two later, the woman’s male partner returned, and I said, “Hi there, I was just asking…”  At that moment, I paused, not wanting to offend them.  Was it his girlfriend?  WIfe?  Friend?  Life partner?  WHo knew?  As I thought through this, I decided to say, “she” so then finished with, “what she was drinking.”  That launched another conversation in which I again made sure I was including the guy plus Wife M.  Soon, it was time to go into the restaurant and the conversation ended.

Later, Wife M said, “You have to be careful talking to people.  They thought you were hitting on her?”

“Are you kidding?” I said.  “She was half my age and I am with you.”

“First of all, you look young for your age, and second of all, that doesn’t stop a lot of men,” Wife M said.  “THey realized eventually that you weren’t hitting on her, but it was awkward at first.”  We realized at that point that my hesitation made it seem like I was thinking of an excuse to cover up that I was hitting on his partner/friend/wife/girflriend.

“Just be aware of that,” she said.  “You don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable.”

Since then, I’ve been really careful, and appreicate that Wife M told me that.  It is also a little discouraging – I’ve been appreciating that in middle age that women don’t approach me anymore (it has been 6 years since a woman approached me, something that used to happen semi-regularly when I was young, which was hard since I had to risk hurting someone’s feelings by telling them I was happily married), but also appreciating that I could talk to women withouth them thiking I aws hitting on them (I am friendly, and a lot of women used to mistake that for flirting, which always annoyed the sh*t out of me since I was happily married).  Turns out, I was only half right, that women still might think I am hitting on them when starting innocent conversation, and Wife M is right – there are a lot of creeps out there willing to approach women who are young enough to be there daughter.  I am not one of them, but women who don’t know me have no way of knowing that.

Sigh.  The creeps out there make it harder for the rest of us.

Good advice from Wife M

Loved”Hell or High Water”

Wife M and I watched “Hell or High Water.”  I loved it.

On its own, it was an attention-holding story.  I worried about the two boys (whether they’d get caught when they were trying to take care of their family), the two rangers (when the one was just a few months from retiring I had a suspicious there would be a potentially-tragic showdown) and the people along the way.  I was rooting for the boys to pull themselves out of debt, but also for the likable police officers (who reminded me of the two DEA agents in “Breaking Bad” and/or the two Sheriffs in “No Country For Old Men”).

It also had many great social comments.  It mentions poverty (“like a disease”) and small towns dying and humans being controlled by the bank.  There was definitely a point that a bank could take advantage of an impoverished old woman and that is legal, but two men robbing that same bank to protect the old woman’s land was not.  Or that it was humorous for the Ranger that the waitress was upset she’d lost her $200 tip to evidence, even after she’d made the comment she was trying to keep a roof over her family’s heads.  Also, in old Westerns you got the sense that American towns were on the path towards growth and prosperity, but in this “modern western” you got the sense that American towns were decrepit and dying.

We live in an age where exploding wage inequality will mean the vast majority of Americans will not have the money to cover illness and old age, and so will do things like take reverse mortgages for pennies on the dollar to cover those costs, which means the wealthy (who give the money for these reverse mortgages) will continue to take a larger share of the pie (e.g. houses for pennies on the dollar) all the while justifying this.  (This was actually one of the root causes of The French Revolution – the wealthy were foreclosing on the poor, who were struggling to cover the rising costs).  It’s not fair and is a huge flaw in the system, and the movie points all this out very well.

I’d love to watch this movie again.  I was too busy enjoying the story and noticing the social commentary to look for other things (symbols, etc.).

 

Loved”Hell or High Water”

Thankfully I wasn’t tested that way…

I have to admit that when the US attacked Iraq in 1991, my friends and I had a burst of patriotic pride and talked about enlisting.  I was in my senior year of college, but my friend Bill and I talked about that if the war wasn’t going well and we were needed, we might need to enlist.  Luckily, the war was quick and we were never put to the test as to whether we would enlist…  Anyway, in our modern age, so few young people who are benefiting the most from our society — the upper classes — are the ones who do the fighting. It is the wealthy who benefit most from war, but the days of the warrior kings are long past.  As much as anyone I know of, Dick Cheney and Haliburton (and Boeing) benefited most from the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet I have a feeling that there are no last names ending in “Bush,” “McNerney” (the sociopathic Boeing ex-CEO) and similar names on the enrollment list, at least not ones directly related to such families…  So in many ways I am glad I did not enlist in 1991 (not to take any of my gratitude to those who did), and I do wish that Americans would insist that anyone and everyone — regardless of wealth — had to put in a mandatory time in the services so everyone was doing equal time and duty.

Thankfully I wasn’t tested that way…

Gloomy entry alert: If (literally) an army of soldiers rushed by my house, the last thing I would do is pull out a gun and shoot.

I have not been in battle (knock on wood) so have limited credibility, but it seems to me that for every war hero who does something fanatical (like charging a machine gun nest) and survives, there are a thousand would-be heroes who are flat out killed, but we only hear about the one survivor (partially due to propaganda).  So the last thing I would ever do if an army of soldiers was passing by my house is race out with a gun and fire at said army (being part of a militia might be one thing, but an individual and overt act is quite another).  Yet, here is a German soldier’s diary excerpt from the Battle of the Frontiers in World War I, compliments of history.com: “Nothing more terrible could be imagined….We advanced much too fast—a civilian fired at us—he was immediately shot—we were ordered to attack the enemy flank in a forest of beeches—we lost our direction—the men were done for—the enemy opened fire—shells came down on us like hail.”  I truly wonder what that unfortunate civilian was thinking.  Had he given up hope?  Was he suicidal anyway?  Did he have a fleeting moment of invincibility?  A burst of desperation?  One of my favorite lines about war is from The Civil War (Ken Burns), who quoted someone: “War is all hell.”  I can’t think of a worse human instinct than war, especially since it is so often “a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight.”

Gloomy entry alert: If (literally) an army of soldiers rushed by my house, the last thing I would do is pull out a gun and shoot.

Weight problem: the skinny version

Yesterday I ate a protein bar I didn’t really want.  I had a second helping of bean soup that I didn’t really want.  I added extra beans to my tortilla so that it was overflowing and messy.  And I went to the store to get a tub of peanut butter when I really wanted to sit at home, then layered that peanut butter on my food when I didn’t really want the peanut butter on my food.  This was on top of my normal 3-4 meals.  I also went to the gym to lift weights when I am battling Shingles and just wanted to rest.  All told, I ate an extra 1000 healthy calories on top of a high calorie day (I eat about 4000 healthy/boring calories a day) and spent 45 minutes lifting relatively heavy weights (200 pound bench press, 130 pound bicep press, 215 pound lat pull down, 350 leg press).  Despite all the food I eat that I don’t want to eat, I am almost always hungry – I feel hungry almost every waking minute, even 30 minutes after eating a pizza.  Despite all this, this morning I woke up, weighed myself, and weighted 1 pound *less* than yesterday — 155 pounds at 5’11.  Ugh.  And people always tell me how “lucky” I am, and occassionally will comment that I look too thin.

Having grown up with a parent and her family who battles weight the other way, I know how much work and blood/sweat/tears goes into losing weight.  It is hard, and often thankless and endless and downright frustrating.  I also know from my own experience it works both ways – keeping weight on for some people is hard and thankless and relentless and occassionally frustrating work.  And because I like to stay healthy, it is not like I get to gorge on cookies and ice cream and sausage pizza – I watch my intake of those just like a weight watcher would.  But no one —  not even my wife, who lives with me and who encourages me to eat more calories but comments how lucky I am – gets that.  It is a lonely thing, fighting weight the “other” way.

Anyway, that is my version 🙂  

Weight problem: the skinny version

Managing Chronic Illness is a full-time job at times – I am in the midst of that time…

Every 6-12 months I have to go through a cycle of tests to make sure everything is stable.  They found some inflammation in my lungs, lymph nodes and muscles so I am in the midst of an endless number of tests and doctors visits right now to make sure all is okay and to determine the best course of treatment.  Tomorrow is another half day at the doctor, while squeezing in work before and after that…  It is exhausting trying to work full-time but also spending 10-20 hours a week in doctor’s offices.  On the other hand, it is nice to have healthcare available to me to manage chronic illness – most people in the world aren’t that lucky and would love to have my problem!

Managing Chronic Illness is a full-time job at times – I am in the midst of that time…

What happened to veterans day?

It used to be that Veterans Day was a holiday for everyone.  It was supposed to honor the veterans, but regardless it was a day off for most non-service employees.  Now most companies are open, which means a third of the employees skip the day to care for their kids (who are off), a third make it an easy work day, and a third put in a normal day.  Which all results in essentially an unproductive day where no one is rested.  Americans (Corporate America) have forgotten the value in rest days, in the meaning work hard and play hard.  It is another way that modern day Corporate America — for all its talk on efficiency — is not efficient at all.  Wouldn’t it be better to tell everyone to take the day off, rest or honor the veterans, and come back feeling fresh the day after?  

Our office was open, and I spent much of the day trying unsuccessfully to keep things moving.  I got home at 6 PM thinking what a wasted day it had been 🙂

What happened to veterans day?