Finding the Last Nerve

I’m not sure why, but there are some people that seem to have been put here to find your last nerve. 

This was one hell of a week for people that fall into that category.  I really started questioning, why it seems that there are people walking this earth with no sense of where the line is – no sense of when they’re approaching the line – and when they are dangerously close to crossing it.

But, perhaps that’s the game that they are playing…they are trying you, nudging, shoving – attempting to chip away at you until you are so worked up that you are ready to spin off into a dip and tell them EXACTLY what you think about them.

Well, let’s just say, at some point this week, I was almost mid pirouette when I checked my email, and low and behold my girlfriend had the following signature on her email:

“But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,”  Timothy 2:23-25 (NKJV)

DS Download:  I admit to not knowing the bible as well as I should, but it’s nice when a verse comes out of nowhere to speak to what you’re experiencing.  For the record, my dispute was not ignorant – it was well founded BUT my takeaway from the word, was to keep on keepin on and to not allow someone’s petty actions to take me to far back.  I think that’s a message we can all use.

The next time someone ticks you off to the point that you feel the need to spin off into a praise dance, and fall on that altar and call on Jesus – start your dance…he just might answer you in the form of an email signature!

Persistence

The Pooch

The Pooch

I got home from work last Friday and started thinking about persistence – and the award that waits on the other side of persistence….

Friday was a trying day.  The assistant called in sick and my group project was hitting some snags and I had had enough.  I started thinking that at the moment, I was sick of the concept of being persistent.  

Persistence to do my work so I can finish grad school, persistence to do my best at this job, while I stay optimistic that the next opportunity is right around the corner.   

I was discouraged, and I was sick of the persistence and perseverance that life was demanding…

So I went home, and decided to prepare myself a quick bite to eat before hitting the streets.  I went into the kitchen, and of course, my dog Riley was right at my heals – waiting persistently for something/ANYTHING to drop. 

Riley’s persistence is something I never REALLY got until Friday.  I never understood why Riley followed me around, knowing that I had no intention of giving him table food.  I would just look at him and think that he was wasting his time – and then, it happened.  I was warming up my chicken, and dipping my hand in the Tostitos bag for the next lime flavored chip, when one small chip fell through the grips of my fingers and hit the ground.  Riley devoured it and he paused, and looked at me with a look of sheer satisfaction on his face – as if to say do you understand now?

DS Download:  The look of pure bliss on my dog’s face was the payoff on the other side of his persistence.  Although he eats lamb food EVERY day, his determination and persistence tells him, that if he just stays right underneath my heal, one day, something will drop.  And Friday, my dog got to experience the sheer loveliness of a lime flavored Tostito.  I can only imagine the joy that bought to his heretofore limited taste buds.

Now, I get it.

Of course, wonderful things have dropped for all of us before – but as of late, many of us have been waiting for the next wonderful thing to drop.  We need our own version of a lime flavored Tostito to fall out of the sky and bless us with a totally different flavor.  And it will happen, we just can’t forget the persistence that’s required of us to never stop believing that it will happen!

Unsubscribe

While walking my dog on Wednesday, in the pouring rain, waiting for him to relieve himself I seriously started thinking about the Unsubscribe button.

I love the Unsubscribe button.  With one click I can tell a company that I no longer want to be contacted with free offers and special promotions – I can put my foot down and say NO MORE…and with the exception of Moveon.org, Unsubscribe really seems to work.  I know that it’s always going to be there, and I can go straight for it…if only it were that easy to unsubscribe from real life situations.  

I’m sure there are phone calls that you would like to unsubscribe from (but no, you have to pay an extra fee for that), and there are certain situations that you probably find yourself in that you would love to Unsubscribe from – it would just be so nice, if you always knew there was that button to push.   

I would like to advocate for an Unsubscribe button for life – there would be so many things that I would Unsubscribe from.

–  Standing in the rain waiting for my dog to relieve himself

–  Meetings that start at 4:30pm

–  Emails that start off as a mass note and turn into a back and forth conversation throughout the whole day between all that were originally copied

–  Going to the grocery store

–  Washing clothes

–  Being in the airport and sitting near someone who’s screaming into their cell phone

–  Getting a call from the front desk, saying I have a package, only to go downstairs and find out it’s my third solicitation from Easter Seals in one month

Yes – I would like to follow the SafeUnsubscribe instructions for all of those situations…and when asked for what reason, I would say agitation.  Of course, there wouldn’t really be a button – but perhaps, if we really started saying “Unsubscribe” people would immediately get it.  People often think when you say “no” that you can be convinced otherwise – but if you actually said “Unsubscribe” you would be saying, with certainty, that you never wanted to be bothered again.

DS Download:  If there are situations that you would like to Unsubscribe from, take this weekend to do just that.  In fact, if you’re confronted with something that you don’t want to do, or asked to go somewhere you don’t want to, just say “Unsubscribe.”

Have a fun weekend, unsubscribing, and doing whatever you want to do – if you can!

Taking the Haze

If I had my own reality television show, this week’s episode would be called “Taking the Haze”….why, you say?  Because this week, I’m back in the grips of that dreaded activity called group work. 

You remember group work – many of you still have scars from group work;  being stuck doing all the work, showing up for meetings that everyone else seemed to miss, arguing with that one person in your group that didn’t have a CLUE….ahhh group work.

Before I go further, I would like to say that the group I met with the other night is an excellent group.  Everyone showed up on time, everyone contributed, and had ideas, and all of us are up for doing whatever it takes to get the paper done – but this is not typical.

I still have scars from a group project gone awry at Hampton University…I remember that day like it was yesterday – I’m standing in front of the “Norma B. and William R. Harvey Library”, waiting for my group member, and after 25-30min I start to get suspicious…so I call his cell phone – he tells me he’s 5 minutes from campus, I calm down a bit.  Twenty minutes later I see his roommate, and ask about my partner’s whereabouts, at which point I’m told “Walt was on the couch when I left the house 15 minutes ago”.  YIKES 

Nine years later (double yikes) I can laugh about this BUT the overarching point is that group work is a HAZE.  Having been out of school mode for so long – to come back – only to be confronted by the main activity that I so dreaded just makes me sigh.

I guess the toughest thing about group work is the time it sucks up, with total strangers – sure, sometimes you luck up and get a good group…I was a part of a group that invented the smart phone (senior year, HU, we called it the Denechris)… but many times that’s just not the case. 

Unfortunately, none of the new fangled means of communication can substitute for making the time to physically meet with your group.  I can’t tweet my part of the paper to my group, or use Facebook or Blackberry IM to get a stellar finished project – no….we’ve got to take it back to the old school way, meet at the library and have a real meeting of the minds.

DS Download:  Something about group work just seems un-American…when you think of the typical American story, you think of a small town guy or girl striking out on their own and making it big…there’s never anything about group work, meeting in libraries, compromising etc.  But I guess, behind every truly great thing there’s a group – right? 

Think about the group work that went into the constitution, a document that is THE foundation of our society today – a document that was finalized about 222 years ago still exists as this society’s glue…now that’s one hell of a group project….but, I digress. 

Groups expose you – they 100% test your medal….Are you going to pull your weight?  Do you have anything to contribute?  Do you have writing skills?  Are you going to do all the work?  And, if you’re forced to do all the work – are you going to have the balls to expose the freeloader to the teacher?  Yes…we may be in our 30’s, but we still might have to tell on someone!

We all have to take hazes, and for any of you that are considering going back to school, you need to be prepared to “get in the cut”.

A Motto for Life

I checked my email on Friday, and found the following message from my father:

“Today I have on two different shoes, color the same, and style close.  So far only one person has noticed and I am taking them to lunch.  So this is the future.  Have fun!”

After chuckling, I called him to find out how this could have happened, his answer was – “keep living.”

My grandfather used to say that to me all the time – two simple words that explained, very succinctly, that if you live long enough you’ll come to understand and experience things that you never thought you would.

While my father was definitely not thrilled at the fact that he had on two different brown shoes, his heart had to be warmed at all of the times his father told him to “keep living.”  Somewhere up there, I’m sure my Grandpa got a kick out of the whole thing! 

There are things about our elders that we often don’t get – why they always want to take the back roads instead of taking a faster highway route, why they don’t like to travel and definitely don’t like to be away from home for long periods of time, and why in general, they just seem stuck in their ways.  The beauty of it all is that, if we live long enough, we just might find out.

DS Download:  Keep living!

The Stanky Leg

I’ll start this post with the story of how last night ended.  I found myself at a lounge with my dearest friends trying to figure out how to do the new dance The Stanky Leg – one of my girlfriends had it down, the other sort of looked on in interest, and I remember taking in the moment and recounting how we’ve been there for each other through many variations of The Stanky Leg.

In the past, we’ve stumbled through The Soldier Boy, pumped the motorcycle to It’s Going Down, called out the story of the Overnight Scenario, danced side by side as we tried to learn the Cha-Cha Slide…you name the dance, and we’ve been out there cutting it up, together.

I promise that the night didn’t start off on a sentimental note – It started off at a local wine bar – two long time friends catching up on each other’s lives…and progressed to our favorite neighborhood spot, Evolve…It was in the cab, on the way to Evolve that sentiment kicked in.

The cab driver told us the story of taking his 17 year old son to VCU for college consideration, he then started asking us about our college experience – where we went to school, what we majored in, what we thought of our experience, etc.  As I set in the back seat of the cab with my roommate from college, and was on the way to meet another one of my close friends from college, I thought to myself – this is what college meant to us; the fact that 12 years later, we’re still enjoying each others company is a powerful thing, it speaks to the love we have for each other, and the experience we had at our Home by the Sea.

DS Download:  Aside from education, the biggest thing that my friends and I took away from college was friendship; friendships that haven’t always been easy, but that have withstood the test of time.

As I watched my girlfriends try to do The Stanky Leg, I thought to myself that it will be a privilege to see each other through whatever life brings – marriage, children, career changes, difficulties, triumphs…we will go through it together. 

Watching the seeds that were sown at Hampton bare fruit has been a blessing…because of those seeds I’ve become a godmother; because of those seeds I’ve had the honor of standing before god to support a friend in marriage; because of those seeds I understand that friendship is about being tested, and being there in good times and in bad.  I look forward to being there through it all.    

On this Good Friday, I propose that we thank God for the gift of friendship, the power that it holds, and the promise that it gives us to become better people.

Happy Easter!