Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Character flaws: It's not you, it's totally me, Part 3

I'm a scaredy cat.

Not, I'm 'afraid of heights/afraid of getting hit by a car while crossing the street/afraid of germs' kind of scaredy cat. I'm scared of people.

Okay, so I'm not scared of people on the whole. I'm scared of random people. The disheveled (likely homeless) person on the street shuffling down the sidewalk, the person shouting angrily (either at someone, or just into the air), the weird person who gets on the elevator with me and talks to be about seemingly random things. I'm afraid of those people.

Really, I think what I'm afraid of is unpredictability. What is that person going to say or do? Are they going to lash out violently? Are they going to make a sexist or racist comment? I may also be afraid of myself and whether or not I'd be able to respond appropriately, or in a way in which I can hold my head up afterward.

Here's the other thing, I'm not sure what I should recommend to myself to do to try to over come this flaw. Part of what is scary about unpredictability is that it could lead to bodily harm. For example, if two people are having an argument on a street, a concerned passer-by might try to step in and see if they can help diffuse the situation, but it might also get them stabbed with a previously concealed knife. I'm not saying it will happen, just that it could.

I suppose a good start is recognition of my flaw. I think part of tackling it may also be linked back to my earlier post about being a Darcy-pants. I don't think that I need to necessary strike up conversations with homeless people, or weird people in elevators, but I can at least try to be polite (Sorry, I don't have any change) rather than completely mute.

Any other suggestions?

Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.
~John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men


Thursday, February 21, 2013

I'm 32 years old and I don't know what I want to do when I grow up, Part 2

I was going to continue on my 'work' series of posts with an explanation of what I do now, then I thought I might want to describe what I've done in the past to put some perspective on things. I've had a number of different jobs and surprisingly I remember most of them; therefore, before I move forward, I'm going to go back.

1) I sorted the mail at the Embro post office every day after school. This job may not have been legit, but it's too late for that. I started sometime late in Grade 8, and kept it up for two years.

2) I was a gas station attendant at one of the full-serve Essos in Woodstock. The shifts were primarily on weekends and it helped pay for my first year in University, but that's about all I can say for it. I didn't really get along with many of the people I worked with, it sucked in the winter (cold and slushy), and it was hot the summer.

3) The summer after high school was my first stint as a factory worker. My dad got me a job in the factory of the company he worked for. It was hot and loud and boring, but it paid and it meant I didn't have to sink into debt in my first year away from home.

4) After my failed year of biology at the University of Waterloo I had an empty bank account, and returned to the company my dad worked for but, instead of the factory I went into the office. I answered phones and did some other secretarial sort of things, but that ended half way through the summer as I was only filling in for someone on medical leave. Then I went to work in the office of a trucking company in Woodstock, which was even less exciting then the first half of my summer. The only bonus there was that I could sometimes take my lunch down at the Woodstock cow where one of my friends worked.

5) I spent two summers in a foundry that made brake routers. That job really sucked (even hotter and louder than the first factory), but it paid shockingly well for what I did--often standing and watching routers pass by on a conveyor belt. I also got my most interesting scar from this job (in a place I can't show anyone) from a stray fleck of molten iron.

6) The last summer before I graduated with my mostly useless nursing degree I worked as a personal support worker in a nursing home. I've often commented that due to this job, I'll have to change the diapers of more than one child to overbalance the ratio of adult to infant diapers I've changed in my life. 'Nuff said.

7) After graduating from nursing I took on a variety of small jobs such as officer worker (back in my dad's office), retail employee, waitress, and theatre usher. None of these were particularly meaningful, although I suppose none of them were terrible either.

8) Finally, I came to work at my current place of employ, first as research assistant and now as a librarian, but I'll get to that.

That's it. Those are the jobs I've had in my life. I tend to stay in one place for a while, a combination of laziness and loyalty, I suppose.

"You'll be old and you never lived, and you kind of feel silly to lie down and die and to never have lived, to have been a job chaser and never have lived."
~Gertrude Stein


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Character flaws: It's not you, it's totally me, Part 2

I can be jealous.

Not-'You better run for your life if you can little girl,
hide your head in the sand little girl,
catch you with another man,
that's the end, little girl' (Run for your Life, Rubber Soul)-jealous.*

I'm pretty un-jealous when it comes to other women interacting with Andrew. I'm sure many scorned women have said so before, but I know my husband and I'm not worried. Goodness gracious, some of the conversations that go on with our friends at aerials, they can be... ...interesting, and only okay among friends you're comfortable with. Jealousy in love is not my problem.

I get jealous over abilities, achievements, and opportunities. Does that make sense? Let me explain.

1) Someone shows up with a skill or ability similar to my own, but can do something better, or knows an extra trick, I feel jealous. This could be in aerials, cake decorating, music, writing, etc.

2) Someone wins some sort of award or recognition for something similar to what I do, I feel jealous. In high school the local paper reported on the one act plays put on by the various schools. They acknowledge a student from another school who wrote, directed and acted in their own play. I had done the same that year, but received no recognition, I was pretty jealous at the time.

3) Someone is given the opportunity to go to a conference, workshop, or even just to go on trip, and I do not, I feel jealous. This could be related to my work, or just amongst friends and family, etc.

So, what can I do about this? It's a bit hard to practice away jealousy, but I suppose what I can practice is tolerance and acceptance. I don't want to rain on anyone's parade when they have a reason to celebrate, or are deserving of praise. Perhaps what I can try to do make an conscious effort to congratulate, or engage in discussion about the thing I am jealous about (as a way of showing interest).

You can only be jealous of someone who has something you think you ought to have yourself.
~Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale


*Andrew HATES that song and always asks me to skip it if Rubber Soul is playing--I can't say it's my favourite Beatles tune, either.)

Friday, February 15, 2013

I'm 32 years old and I don't know what I want to do when I grow up, Part 1

Okay. I won't actually be 32 until April.

And I guess I know what I want to do when I grow up, what I don't know is what I want to do to in order to pay the bills as I continue to age.

What I want to do is write (If this comes as a shock, you've probably never read my blog before, and you probably don't know me at all, in which case...please, read my blog. If you're an agent or editor, and aren't a figment of my imagination, please contact me, I have manuscripts to sell). The problem with writing of course, is that unless your JK Rowling, or Neil Gaiman, or Margaret Atwood, or some other notable figure, you probably can't make a living off your work.

The other problem is, I like having clean, safe housing, a healthy bank account, RRSPs, health benefits, insurance, etc.

If I could do without the latter I might be able to indulge/humor myself by working some quirky part time job that pays little, but give me lots of time to write. But I can't. My father was an accountant. Apparently my parents paid off their first house in 4 years, the second (much larger) in 12 years, and they haven't even begun to dip into my Dad's RRSP, even though he retired...3, 4 years ago? Therefore, I have a few grains of financial responsibility deeply seeded inside me, and my desire for financial stability supersedes the desire to have unlimited writing time.

As of late, with Andrew nearing the completion of his PhD, I've been thinking more about what I actually want to do for work. I've yet to come up with a clear answer. So, interspersed with my posts on discussing my character flaws, I will also investigate work. What I want to do, what I could do, and maybe what I will do.

In the meantime I will float something (without further explanation): Pain a la Panier.

“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
~Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)