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That Time I Almost Killed Andy Summers

Today I read this post by Derek Powazek (via Schmutzie’s Five Star Friday).

Derek’s disappointment about his negative Twitter interaction with a “personal hero” really resonated with me, although I did find it ironic that part of the post was about his hero’s aversion to online commenting and after scrolling up and down and back again so I could comment about feeling his pain, I realized comments aren’t enabled on Derek’s blog. As a new blogger, I would love to have more comments and online discussion, but perhaps this is a case of being careful what I wish for?

So here is an expanded version of what I would have said in Derek’s comments.

My favorite band is the Police. A few months ago, Dave and I went to see the guitarist, Andy Summers, give a talk about his photography. Andy recounted a story about almost getting arrested on one of his photography trips. He was looking through a window when he felt a tap on the shoulder. It turned out to be a police officer tapping him, but Andy said his first thought was along the lines of “it’s probably a fan,” the word fan said in a tone indicating contempt, as if Andy felt like fans were a disease. When he said that, there was some laughter from the audience. Nervous laughter, the kind that involuntarily comes out when you realize that an unflattering remark resembles you.

At that moment, I was grateful I hadn’t tried to talk to him during my almost brush with greatness in 2007. I managed to snag front row seats to a Police reunion tour concert in Vancouver. Dave and I spent a week there, and in the days before the concert, I kept my eyes peeled. Maybe Sting, Stewart and Andy were already in Vancouver. Maybe we’d just bump into them. Maybe I’d win the lottery and be able to quit my job. Yeah, none of that happened.

In the days after the show, I was completely over the notion of running into members of the Police walking down the street. So when Andy Summers actually was walking down the street towards us, I did not notice. But Dave did notice and subtlety tried to point out that Andy Fucking Summers was walking towards us. I was being dense, so he ended up sort of forcibly turning my head to show me what the big deal was and I was so taken by surprise at Dave’s manhandling that I cried out in pain. Then I noticed Andy and it seemed to me he noticed us and our ruckus. As I turned around to watch him walk past, I saw him step into oncoming traffic trying to cross the street (presumably to get away from us). The person Andy was with had to pull him back so he didn’t get hit by a car.

There are probably people who are healthy enough not to assume Andy’s actions had anything to do with them and who still would have thought this encounter was a good opportunity to meet Andy Summers. I am not one of those people.

I did not get the sense Andy would have been pleasant. And I knew a negative interaction would have bothered me for a very long time. It’s possible that Andy is gracious with fans and that my instincts were wrong and that he didn’t even see me and Dave and didn’t cross against the light because of us. And a part of me will always regret how close I was to meeting him and not doing anything about it.

But just because I like someone’s work or think they are talented doesn’t mean they will be nice or want to talk to me. What if the people I admire are actually assholes? Do I really want to know that? To have to remember a negative interaction with a personal hero for the rest of my life? No, I do not.

Me In Six Words

I’ve never tried Mama Kat’s writing prompts before, but I’ve long been intrigued and intimidated by the six-word memoir, so this week I felt compelled to give it a whirl.

Like some of the other entries I’ve seen, I came up with more than one, but my favorite is:

Turning over a new leaf daily.

Here are some others:

Introvert born under the wrong sign.

 Suffer fools gladly? No fucking way.

 Still in search of my tribe.

 Restored by love of good husband.

 Owned by my fluffy dog Chuck.

Love my family of husband, dog.

 My life is an Excel spreadsheet.

Mama’s Losin’ It

My Name Is…

Dooce is running a contest to celebrate her 10th blogging anniversary and the topic is:  what is your nickname, and why?

My nickname is Satan. I think the why is rather obvious, but since almost everyone who has ever heard my nickname has been dumb enough to ask the why question, I guess you can ask too.

It’s because I am evil.

While it would be cheeky to leave it at that, there is obviously more to the story. In college, one of the first people I met on my hall was the guy who quickly let me know that I was from hell. He stopped by my suite and performed card tricks for me. The tricks really weren’t the mind-blowing feats of magic he had promised. And I told him so–repeatedly and rather obnoxiously. I teased him about it mercilessly, probably at least partially because I was trying to maintain some level of cool in the face of such adorableness. Strangely, even after so many years I still hesitate to share the fact of this unrequited love as if it’s a secret that was or is worth guarding. But that’s silly, because although I told no one of these feelings at the time, I’m sure there was no one who didn’t know, including the other guy I ended up dating the next semester. Awkward!

Apparently nickname-giver couldn’t accept the lack of impression his card tricks made on me, because “everyone had always been amazed by them in the past.” So he told me I was from hell, which eventually led to being called Satan. My entire freshman year (and occasionally beyond) the people I knew from the hall would introduce me to others as Satan. It was both a blessing (ha!) and a curse (ha-ha!). While it got a little old to have everyone think of me as evil (although I think they were kidding!), the nickname was quite the conversation starter. Don’t underestimate the power of a good conversation starter.

Somehow this all morphed into the pseudo-biblical EZ Cheese saga. My lovable hallmates (I believe I called them bastards at the time, see entry #6) decided it would be fun to spray EZ Cheese all over my door and while I thought it was funny I went batshit crazy on them and demanded that they clean it up. Shortly after, the EZ Cheese was replaced with this:

Some of the entries were more clever than others. I particularly liked #2 and #6, which is actually related to the original EZ Cheese incident.

Quite frankly the one that ended up making me laugh the hardest was the following entry, provided by the born again Christian who lived at the end of the hall. Her real concern for me given  the blasphemy of having fake bible passages on my door cracked my shit up. I don’t know God personally, but I can’t imagine he would concern himself with this kind of thing, but her concern was really rather sweet. The other authors wanted to take it down, but I insisted that it remain. The completely earnest addition of the authentic bible passage made the whole thing so much more amusing.

I cannot tell you how many times I heard “Enjoy these days, they will be the best of your life,” before I went off to college. I cannot tell you how many times I rolled my eyes and said, “yeah whatever” in response. I didn’t really understand then, but do now. While life is pretty great right now, there’s something about that first taste of freedom, coupled with a glorious lack of responsibility, that can never be duplicated.

Finally, there’s the Will It Blend EZ Cheese episode, which I can’t resist sharing.

2010: Year In Review

With just a couple of days left in 2010, I thought I’d summarize my year. I found this year-end quiz years ago at Linda’s and have enjoyed reading her recaps ever since. This is the first year I’m filling out the quiz myself–it seems like a good way to reflect on the past year and kick off the new year.

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

I ran a 10-mile race and came in within my time goal. I finally ran a half marathon after many aborted attempts (most ending without even completing the Couch to 5K first step!). In 2009, I completed all but the final two weeks of training for a half marathon in my hometown (had a flight booked and everything) before injuring my knee and having to bail on running the race. I was devastated. The disappointment colored everything for the last half of 2009. Being able to start running again and complete the race in 2010 was a huge accomplishment and a big relief, quite frankly. The constant paranoia and nagging worry about every little twinge was getting exhausting.

I also started wearing my gorgeous engagement ring regularly after stupidly letting it sit in a drawer for 11 years.

I also started this blog, which was something I’ve wanted to do for a while.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Yes, I usually make resolutions. For the first time last year, I set some specific goals rather than more vague resolutions. Here are the goals I set for 2010, along with my assessment of how well I did.

2010 Resolutions

Get back into running without injury

This one is a resounding yes, thank jug of milk. In addition to the two races mentioned above, I also ran a 5K in September (missing my 30 minute time goal by less than 30 seconds) and the 10K associated with the Marine Corps Marathon in October. I’m also pretty proud of running throughout the year, even in some pretty horrific winter weather. The winter running group I joined helped motivate me to get those long runs in during January through March, when I really just wanted to burrow into my bed and hibernate.

Get more sleep

I’ve always had trouble falling asleep and there is no amount of sleep that satisfies me. I have the absolute wrong internal body clock for normal work schedules, to which my employer unfortunately expects me to adhere. Going to bed at a reasonable hour is something I have less willpower to do than abstaining from dessert (this is saying something). No matter how exhausted I am the next morning, I stay up late that night. This is some deep-seated shit–I resent the hell out of what I consider to be inadequate free time, particularly on weekday evenings, so I just take the free time from my sleep. You might think, just go to bed earlier, what the hell is your problem? I sort of agree, but since I’ve been unsuccessfully working on this for about 20 years, I have to acknowledge the depth of the issue. If I could wave a magic wand and change one thing about myself, it would be this. Because I am tired. Last year I had concrete plans for meeting my goal of getting to bed earlier and getting more sleep, which I won’t detail here because this is going to be long enough already and because I didn’t really successfully do any of them. I failed at this one pretty miserably.

Reduce time wasting activities

As I’ve written about in the explanation of this blog, I’d like to be more productive. I’ve done pretty well on this one, although there’s always room for improvement. Using the timer, which I’m sure sounds crazy to most people, has really been helpful for me. If I’m not very intentional about how I use my time, I can end up watching five hours of Law and Order reruns without blinking an eye.

Read a book per month

This one’s really embarrassing, especially given that the friend who gave me the final push and encouragement to start this blog is a voracious reader whose own blog is focused on books. In 2010, I read a grand total of four books. Oops.

Go off birth control

Birth control is certainly effective and convenient, but after 17 years it just felt like the right thing to take a break. Why it was so hard to commit to doing this is now a mystery to me. My doctor insisted it was fine to stay on and we bantered about it for several years. 2010 was finally the year I stopped listening to her and decided to just give stopping a go. While having more frequent (the key thing I miss about Seasonale was being gloriously period-free for 8 months out of the year) and less predictable periods is annoying, I can’t imagine going back now. This decision was a slam dunk.

2011 Resolutions

My goals for 2011 follow. With the exception of the critical sleep goal being first, they aren’t in any particular order.

-Get more sleep (no, seriously)

-Exercise in the morning rather than the evening

-Keep running:  run a 30 minute 5K, join winter running group, run the Cherry Blossom in April, run a 10K or longer race in fall

-Get stronger:  strength train at least twice per week, work up to Cathe Friedrich’s STS by September (and complete STS September through November)

-Be more productive: schedule someday tasks (like closet cleaning, photo organizing) for specific days, write blog posts twice a week, keep using the timer to stay on track and schedule daily tasks

-Become a better photographer: learn how to use my 6-year old camera already (rather than point and hope), finish culling and organizing digital photos, make prints and/or books of good shots, frame a good picture of each place I’ve lived

-Take a French class: I studied French all through high school, minored in it in college, and studied abroad in a French-speaking country, but have almost completely lost it. When we went to Belgium for our tenth anniversary in 2009, I couldn’t really communicate noticeably better than Dave (who studied Latin). So pissed at myself for letting this go.

-Be more social: I’ve been coasting friendship-wise for years and haven’t made much effort to meet new people or reach out to friends. This year, I plan to host at least a couple of get-togethers and just generally make more of an effort to reach out to people.

-Eat dinner in the dining room and not in front of the TV

-Walk Chuck in the evenings: it’s pretty lame that I have to make this an explicit goal, since this is actually supposed to be my job, but I’ve slipped to evening exercise recently and Dave’s been taking up the evening dog walk slack. It’s not fair to him.

-Fucking chill: don’t over schedule, make time for relaxation and Dave, take a real vacation with Dave (even if it’s just a long weekend), leave work on time, do not check work email from home, think/take deep breath before you react in anger

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My friend Erin had her second son about 6 months ago. He’s rolly polly and super cute. I hope I’m not forgetting anyone else, because that would be embarrassing.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
Holy crap, none.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
I’ve been scratching my head over this one long enough that I’m going to go with the only thing that keeps popping up–I’d like to have more peace and clarity of thought.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Snowpocalypse and the associated snow days in February,  running the Cherry Blossom in April (and being beaten by a juggler) and having brunch with Dave after, finally finishing the Presque Isle half marathon in July and seeing Dave, Chuck, and my nephews Ned and Sam at the finish line, Mom’s back surgery in July, getting all dressed up for our fancy anniversary dinner in October, the Rally to blah, blah, blah, and seeing Dave perform at his first gig (he’s not in any of the currently-posted videos) and the group “Wonderwall” sing-along.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Completing the half marathon

9. What was your biggest failure?
Allowing myself to be overtired all the damn time, and cranky behavior when tired, and/or frustrated, and/or overwhelmed.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Babied my knee all year like it was fine china, but didn’t re-injure it. No illnesses, not even a cold (knocking on wood as it’s not 2011 yet). I can’t recommend hand washing strongly enough.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My Garmin GPS running watch. I don’t have to spend runs trying to calculate my own pace anymore. The best thing someone else bought for me was the iPad.

12. Where did most of your money go?
Our single biggest expense is and presumably always will be our mortgage. We also carpeted the stairs to make them easier for Chuck to navigate and put super cool iridescent green tiles in the kitchen.

13. What did you get really excited about?
Running, starting a blog

14. What song will always remind you of 2010?
Interpol’s Success and the Bed Intruder Song

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?  YES! I actually had changing moods this year. Given that my highs were pretty high, my lows (which were, uh, shall we say monthly) were a little more noticeable
b) thinner or fatter? frustratingly the same, on the bright side I’ve kept the weight I lost in 2009 off
c) richer or poorer? financially a little better off

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Read, go to movies, sit on my porch, sleep (I should be in bed right now.)

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying, getting bent out of shape, checking work email when not there

18. How did you spend Christmas?
We spent Christmas in Erie with my Mom.

19. What was your favorite TV program?
InfoMania, because it’s one of the few that Dave and I both enjoy watching. In terms of what I looked forward to most, I’d have to say In Treatment and Parenthood (I know, WTF, Tracy? I got sucked into watching the relationships among the adult siblings, not so much the parent/child stuff, but that’s actually kind of compelling too, go figure).

20. What were your favorite books of the year?
I guess I could list all four that I read? Quite frankly, I don’t think any of them really rise to favorite level. Happiness: the Science behind Your Smile was a pretty cool book. I can see how some people could find the research evidence on happiness depressing, but I actually found it helpful, in a ‘you just need to get a grip’ kind of way.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?
It’s been harder to discover new music that I like as I’ve gotten older. This year, we went to several shows and that was fun. I went with Dave to see some of his favorite bands, which is only fair given the number of times he had to go see the Police with me in 2007-8. I discovered that the Wedding Present (one of Dave’s favorite bands) was doing a ‘Bizarro’ anniversary tour. When I emailed Dave to tell him, his response was “What would I do without you?” Saving that email forever.

Dave’s never seen Rush before, so I got tickets for their show for his birthday. I didn’t get tickets earlier because I worried they’d play a lot of newer stuff, and I love Rush, but I don’t love them that much. Then I heard that they were playing Moving Pictures in its entirety on this tour and I felt like a moron for not getting tickets sooner because we were on the lawn.

We also saw Interpol. I don’t like to see shows when I’m not familiar with most of the songs. I thought I only liked a handful of Interpol songs. Surprisingly and happily, in preparing for the concert, I discovered that I like their music a lot. You have to let the songs sneak up on you.

We also saw Dave’s guitar teacher’s band, The Grand Candy, a couple of times. He encouraged us to flip him the bird during his song ‘Birds Are Not Free,” which was the most cathartic concert audience participation experience ever.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?
I have to say Inception since it was the only movie I saw in the theater. Dave and I watched Up on cable and thought it was pretty good, although we both pretty much cried throughout a good deal of it (hello, unwelcome look into my possible future).

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
We went out for a nice dinner and to see my one movie of the year (see above). Dave also made me Harvey Wallbanger cake from scratch this year and it turned out that the doctored-up box version is better. I turned 37.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More weekday free time

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
This question kills me. How about ‘not naked?’ Not sure what the question is getting at. Is ‘closet full of clothes that don’t fit right and no initiative to remedy it’ an appropriate answer? If so, then that.

26. What kept you sane?
Running and Dave (and by Dave, I mean sex)

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.
I sort of woke up a little this year. This is it, this is my life, and I’m only going to get out of it what I put in (cue ‘The End’). I have to own this thing and I don’t have to agree to do everything that people ask me to do.