Tag Archives: bitch/moan

The Bread Loaf of Time

Dealing with time is one of my biggest struggles. Dave once told me about an experiment that showed the passage of time is actually slower if moving than if not by comparing two atomic clocks. As someone used to obtaining a non-treated counterfactual through random assignment of fairly large numbers of units, taking a difference of two clocks didn’t work for me.

I spat out a string of questions about the design of the study. “How did they actually measure elapsed time?” “What is the normal accuracy of these clocks?” “Did they repeat this more than once?” “Why didn’t they use several clocks in each location?” Since Dave didn’t really know, I sort of won an argument about physics against a physicist, which was fun but left me without an understanding of time.

The Fabric of the Cosmos: The Illusion of Time

Given my desire to understand time, I didn’t beg for the remote when I found Dave watching an episode of PBS’ NOVA called “The Illusion of Time.” This was part of a four-hour series based on a book by physicist Brian Greene, or as I like to call him, annoying string theory guy.

Annoying string theory guy has become a bit of a celebrity; he’s even been on Letterman. So he’s pleased with himself, is what I’m saying. He wears a leather jacket and a swagger during this show, but he wasn’t fooling me. If you are going to be a geek turned famous scientist, at least be lovable like Carl Sagan, who sounded like Kermit the Frog and seemed credible. When annoying string theory guy speaks, I feel like he’s trying to sell me a stolen car.

Five minutes into the show, one of the scientists interviewed, Max Tegmark, had this to say: “There’s basically no aspect of time which I feel we really fully understand.”

Great! Can’t wait to hear about it for an hour then.

Throughout the hour, I got the distinct impression physicists just make things up. I freely admit I don’t understand physics. Physics was an elective and I elected not to study it. I definitely think physicists are smarter than I am. But I also suspect they don’t really understand this stuff either, they are just smart enough to fake it.

Einstein = Genius

It was cute to see the man crushes these physicists have for Einstein. The first half of the program explained how Einstein overthrew “the common-sense idea that time ticks the same for everyone.” According to David Kaiser: “It’s mind-blowing that you and I will not agree on measurements of time…Why should my measurement of time depend on how I am moving, or how you’re moving? That, that doesn’t make any sense.” So far we agree, that doesn’t make any sense!

Apparently, there’s a link between space and time. Annoying string theory guy explained the clock experiment. The 1971 experiment compared elapsed time for an atomic clock flown around the world with the elapsed time of a clock on the ground. At the end of the experiment, the two clocks differed “by a few hundred billionths of a second.” I couldn’t believe measurement error was smaller than that difference, but Dave insisted there are atomic clocks accurate enough to detect an effect that small.

“In 1971?!?”


I’m supposed to believe we had technology that accurate forty years ago, but today I have to wait 20 minutes for PDF files to spool to my work printer? Can’t Microsoft hire these clock people?

Einstein’s genius didn’t extend to creative names. Annoying string theory guy explained that Einstein fused together space and time “in what came to be called…” …wait for it… “spacetime.” You don’t say? Even though the show contained no point more clear, they needed a second scientist to explain it. Max Tegmark explained it again, only even more slowly and with arm motions and an earnest look, just to be sure we were all clear.

SPACE + TIME = (say it with me) SPACETIME

Annoying string theory guy turned a visual of “spacetime” into a loaf of bread to illustrate. I found this both condescending and, grudgingly, helpful as I’m not a theoretical learner. He showed how slices of “now” can angle toward the past or to the future depending on the movement of aliens 10-billion light years away. So just as all of space exists, all of time exists as well, or so Einstein said and Einstein can’t be wrong.

Or as Sean Carroll said: “If you believe the laws of physics, there’s just as much reality to the future and the past as there is to the present moment.”

I don’t believe in physics, I just believe in me. Yoko and me.

The Arrow of Time

So 30 minutes in, I got it. Past, present, and future are an illusion. I didn’t see any practical application to care much about, as the aliens who can see our future are too far away to tell us about it before we’ve experienced it too, but I got it. Then the only woman in this telecast, Janna Levin, said: “Our entire experience of time is constantly in the present. And all we ever grasp is that instant moment.” Then I got confused again because I remember the past, how about you?

They spent the next few minutes discussing time travel, because otherwise most people will stop being interested in a show about science. Then the last 20 minutes painstakingly tore down all of the limited understanding I built during the first 30.

The last part tried to reconcile why time appears to move only forward when the laws of physics don’t require time to have directionality. Annoying string theory guy implied entropy might help explain this “arrow of time.” I fell in love with the entropy guy, both because he has a cool bust of himself on his gravestone and because his work shows my inability to stay organized isn’t a character flaw, it’s a law of physics.

But no! Entropy can’t explain the arrow of time because the laws of physics say disorder should increase both toward the future and toward the past. Annoying string theory guy then said: “And that makes no sense.” As if everything said before that point had made sense.

Since they were having trouble reconciling Einstein’s theory of relativity with the arrow of time, they decided to blame the discrepancy on the Big Bang. Annoying string theory guy: “So our best understanding is that the Big Bang set the arrow of time on its path…the universe has been unwinding since the Big Bang, becoming ever more disordered.”

So basically, really intelligent physicists can’t explain time either. In the next episode, I look forward to not understanding, and also possibly debunking, quantum mechanics. 

Check out this uncomfortable yet endearing video which increased the strength of my crush on Max Tegmark. Hopefully a future episode of NOVA will explain the power physics geeks have over me.

Photo Friday: Panera Chai Tea Latte FAIL

I realize it’s technically Saturday, but I got home late and since I haven’t gone to bed yet, I’m counting it as Friday night. The universe toyed with me today by making Friday feel like Monday. Fridays aren’t supposed to be overcast and rainy. There aren’t supposed to be Friday morning meetings that require a lot of preparation and getting up extra early to finish in time.

My planned reward for these Friday injustices was a chai tea latte from Panera. I’d say I love chai, but I don’t want to mislead you. I’m nothing if not accurate. I love the chai tea latte from Panera. I have tried chai from other places and they don’t do it for me. The chai at Starbucks, for example, tastes like dirty water with a slight hint of spice and a drop of liquid smoke. The chai at the overpriced little café in my building is cloyingly sweet and grainy. Panera’s chai, on the other hand, is creamy and delicately balanced between spicy and sweet. The fragrance is floral and intoxicating to me.

Like I’ve done hundreds of times before, I picked up a chai on the way to work, carefully carrying it on my long commute like a treasured prize, switching hands when the heat got too uncomfortable, guarding it against spills. As I finished my preparations, I looked forward to reheating and then nursing that chai during the meeting.

Panera had other ideas. Here is a picture of the abomination they gave me this morning. In retrospect, the girl who made my chai this morning was someone I’d never seen before and I didn’t watch her pour it into the cup today. The weight of it didn’t feel right as I carried it either. O Precious Chai, my meeting felt extra long without you.

Panera FAIL

If My Mom Ate An Apple In The Forest, I Would Hear It

Mom called me at work on Friday all excited about something she’d seen on Regis and Kelly.

“I know what’s wrong with you,” she said.

You see, I’m extremely sensitive to noises, like those made by people eating (and breathing if we’re being honest here). We’ve spent years thinking I was just an intolerant bitch, but as it turns out, I have a disorder (Misophonia)!

And Kelly Ripa has it too! Maybe we could get together and bond over our common affliction. We could throw a big party, use her fabulous Electrolux kitchen appliances to cook up a feast, then be forced to leave in a huff when the guests insisted on actually eating the food. Damn people and their infernal chewing!

For those of you who don’t suffer from Misophonia, let me describe it for you. I already made reference to it in this post. But I wrote that before my diagnosis.

My Dad was always the worst offender. The sound he made while chewing, which I always referred to snottily as “chomping,” was absolutely unbearable to me. Once I made such a fuss about it at Elby’s Big Boy, he stormed out of the restaurant and walked home. If he thought my Mom and I would stop eating our meal to go after him, he didn’t know us very well. I was a little afraid of what he might do when we got home, but mostly I was relieved to eat in peace.

According to my Mom, Kelly Ripa has to leave the room when her husband eats a peach. Honey, join the club. When my Mom eats apples, I could cheerfully kill her. She likes to cut them in quarters and savor each piece to maximize my torture, because she’s sweet like that. The sound of the crunching and the smacking rattles a nerve inside my brain. If I can’t leave the room, I fixate completely on the noise and pray for it to stop.

Sometimes she calls me while sucking on hard candy. I think she does this just to irritate me. She’ll be talking and all I can focus on is the sound of the sucking. When it’s my turn to speak, instead of responding to what she said, my response is usually, “What the hell are you eating?” And she’ll say, “fuck you.” The love runs deep.

Even my beloved husband is not immune to my Misophonic venom. He is the youngest of five boys and learned early that you eat quickly or you might not get enough food. I cannot reason this imprint out of him. I say, “there are only two of us and you’ve made enough food for six people!” But he is an eating machine. He often puts a new bite in his mouth before finishing his previous one. This creates a sound I can only compare to what I imagine it would sound like to swallow a live rat. Sometimes I have to wait to eat until he’s done so I can enjoy my dinner.

Once I knew I had a disorder, I looked it up on the internet. I knew I’d found my peeps when I read Lucy’s comment “It makes me sooooooo angry like I could shoot people in the face!” and laughed out loud. OMG, like me too! I was glad and somewhat disturbed to find so many others with this affliction. I was also glad Lucy mentioned she’s receiving therapy. Not surprisingly, not everyone found Lucy’s comment amusing. “Rugbyman,” who has a stepson with this affliction, apparently doesn’t think getting shot in the face is funny at all. Oh, dude! Don’t be so prickly, when we say we want to shoot you in the face, we are just kidding…sort of.

Along For The Ride

Do I miss my childhood? I miss four things about being a kid: my Gram, the close relationship I had with my older brother, summers being something special, and the excitement of Christmas. And maybe MTV playing music videos.

I’m not secretive about not being a kid person. Not a very popular opinion, I know, but at least I’m consistent. I didn’t like kids even when I was a kid. I didn’t like being a kid.

Kids have no control over most of what happens to them.

Other people made my choices. My room was painted pink. I hated pink. I wanted my hair long. My Mom insisted on keeping it short. I cried every time she had it cut.

My older brother would babysit me during the summers. Mike wanted to play tennis with his buddy one day. He wouldn’t let babysitting cramp his style. Guess who had to go with them?

I couldn’t think of anything less fun than walking two miles in the blazing sun to watch sub-amateur tennis. Mike suggested I ride my bike. Did I mention the route was uphill? Huffing and puffing within a few blocks, my little legs couldn’t keep the pedals turning. So I had to walk two miles uphill in the blazing sun while pushing my bike.

Once at the courts, guess whose job it was to retrieve every unforced error (and there were many)? We still talk about that little outing.

On the other hand, I couldn’t think of anything more fun than baking (and eating) cookies. I asked to bake all the time and Mom rarely agreed.

“Why not,” I would whine.

“Because I don’t want to make cookies,” she would say.

“But I’ll do it,” I would insist.

“No, you’re too little. I’d have to help you and I don’t feel like making cookies right now.” Mom clearly identified with Hillary Clinton on making cookies.

Even as a preteen, I still wasn’t allowed. Although, I did almost set our house on fire twice during high school, so maybe she was right to keep me away from the oven.

Kids are annoying.

Kids have no self-control. Maybe because they have no say in anything else, they figure they might as well make everyone else miserable too.

I remember refusing to go to bed one night for my Gram. I danced around, sang at the top of my lungs, jumped on the couch, and generally acted like an escaped mental patient. Gram’s look said, “I’m too old for this shit.” Although she probably thought it in Polish.

I felt exhilarated and terrified. You see, I knew I was tired. I could barely stand up. But I had wired crazy kid brain. My misbehavior felt like something I watched happen rather than something I chose to do. I felt sorry for my Gram and I actually annoyed myself. I was powerless.

I can look back on my childhood fondly now. But I don’t really miss it.

This little uplifting piece was inspired by the memoir writing prompt at Write on Edge. The prompt asked us to use the image of the crayon for inspiration and to begin the post with the words… “I miss my childhood…” I feel the need to point out I wouldn’t have colored in pink even if that crayon were the only one left in the box.

Is It Wrong For A Woman To Not Want Children?

Hopefully this post won’t make me sound too defensive, because I’m feeling a little defensive. It’s the Today Show’s fault.

Today @ChildfreeOnline tweeted about a woman’s childfree status starting a Facebook argument. The article was interesting, and I agree with the author, Lilit Marcus, that “it shouldn’t be important whether a woman has children or not.” But what really got me about the piece was the link to a video segment about Lilit’s decision to remain childfree from yesterday’s Today Show. The video was titled: Is it wrong for a woman to not want children?

Unfortunately, the video wouldn’t load for me at work, so I worked myself into a tizzy before I got to see it. I know it’s the Today Show’s job to be provocative (good job, Today! I am provoked!), and admittedly, once I was finally able to watch the video, the actual piece was nicely done and never actually discussed that ridiculous title question. But seriously, why ask that question at all?

Please tell me y’all think that is a ridiculous question with only one correct answer right?

Just think about the following two wording changes for this question.

1.) Is it wrong for a woman to not want wine?

Here I go with the childfree food analogies again. I can’t stand wine. Tastes like poison to me. This might make me a bit unusual, and wine aficionados might want to answer “yes” to this question, but everyone knows the correct answer is “no.” Some people like wine, some people don’t. Some wine drinkers prefer white, others prefer red. None of these preferences signal a human character deficiency.

2.) Is it wrong for a man to not want children?

Doesn’t this question sound ridiculous? This is how ridiculous the original Today Show question sounds to me. I realize that there are many men who want children and who are deeply involved in raising their children. That’s fabulous. But it’s more fabulous that no one makes an issue (outside of their families I suppose) about whether or not men want kids. Men with children who didn’t want them are called deadbeats. Men without children who don’t want them are called men.

Why would we even question women who don’t want children?

As it turned out, The Today Show segment was fair. Sarah Brokaw, therapist and author of Fortytude, profiled Lilit Marcus and her decision not to have kids. After the profile, Ann Curry interviewed Sarah and Laura Scott, author of Two is Enough. And all three women did a nice job.

Sarah did start to lose me with all the talk of a “calling,” and I wish she hadn’t felt the need to end with a statement about how women can relate to children in ways other than motherhood.

It reminded me of the blog post on Sarah’s book website that one of the bloggers I read, Sara at Periwinkle Papillon, was kind enough to Tweet me last week.

It was an interesting post, and I’m curious to read Brokaw’s book now. Reading the post sensitized me to Brokaw’s proclivity for the word “calling,” which I came to find pushes my buttons. The focus of the blog post was on television personality, Rachael Ray, and her “different calling in life.”

Lately, it seems I’ve been hearing the “look at the celebrities who have chosen the childfree lifestyle” argument more and more. I appreciate these attempts to argue for the validity of the choice. I also understand why people point to Oprah or Rachael Ray or other celebrities to make the argument. They are well-known, respected, and admired women.

But they are also extraordinary.

So I’m not sure it sets the right tone. Choosing not to have kids is “OK” because Oprah’s not doing it either? Because Rachael Ray had another “calling?”

But I realized after the Today Show segment that the celebrity angle wasn’t really what was bothering me. It was the notion, even coming from someone who seemed sympathetic to the childfree choice, that the decision would leave a hole that needed to be filled with a calling.

I can’t help feeling a little resentment bubble up with the implication that it might be “OK” to choose a childfree lifestyle only if I’m extraordinarily productive or giving or successful. If I replace the calling of motherhood with a similarly deep and meaningful calling. If I find another way to “relate to children.”

That’s just not the way I look at it. I’m a regular person, who happens not to want children. There are a growing number of us, from me to Lilit Marcus to Oprah. No big whoop. I don’t see this as a calling, but rather as a preference, a choice.

I’m not doing what I do in lieu of being a mother. I’m just living my life and trying to have a reasonably enjoyable one.

I’m trying to be a loving wife to Dave; to be a good daughter to my Mom; to take good care of my dog; to be a productive and competent employee; to be a reasonably informed citizen; to be a better friend, sister, and aunt; to express myself through blog posts that hopefully might entertain a couple of people…all  while simultaneously trying to take decent care of myself, be a nice person, and carve out some time to just sit on my front porch and read a damn book already.

I feel like my hands are pretty full with that, so changing the world hasn’t made it onto my to-do list.

What is so wrong with this? Why would it upset anyone that some women might choose not to have children (or choose not to marry, or choose to marry another woman)? Why would anyone care whether or not I relate to children?

Could I be doing more with my life? Sure I could. We all could.

Could we start by dampening down the judgment a little? The expectations? I could certainly stand to do that too.

Let’s all do it. Let’s all care a wee bit less about how other people live their lives, OK?

What do you think? Am I just being too sensitive?

Law and Order: Birthday Party Unit

There should be a special place in hell for people who commit the especially heinous offense of ruining your birthday party.

My earliest birthday memory is the party during which my cousin Craig pushed me down our back stairs.

I don’t remember ever speaking to him again. Cousin Craig and his family moved away a few years later, so he crystallized in my memory as the little demon who pushed me down the stairs at my own birthday party. He is nothing more, nothing less.

My Mom sometimes tries to tell me what the adult cousin Craig is doing now, but adult, wife-marrying, kid-fathering cousin Craig is a phantom. Whenever she brings him up, I just say: “you mean, the kid who pushed me down the stairs at my birthday party?”

Then she argues with me about the veracity of my memory.

Mom may have said adult cousin Craig is a lawyer, but I can’t be sure since I don’t give a shit. But it figures he’d be a lawyer.

Because he’s a jerk.

Who pushes little girls down stairs.

At their own birthday parties.

My Mom claims ignorance of this incident. She might have a vague recollection of my falling down the stairs at one of my parties, clumsy me, but doesn’t remember that cousin Craig clearly “helped” me down to the hard concrete.

All I know is this:

One minute I was a step away from grabbing the back door handle to go inside, the next minute cousin Craig was crowding me on the stairs, and I ended up unceremoniously deposited onto the concrete slab three stairs down. Cousin Craig was smiling. Cousin Craig is the epitome of evil.

Open and shut case, he had means, motive and opportunity. He had been standing inches from me, trying to get to the same place I was going and pushing past me to get there first. And he was clearly jealous because it was my party.

But even with my sharp eye-witness testimony, and my brilliant summation of the facts, the perp got off scot-free.

What else happened at this party? Was this the year the “Dream Whip” frosting finally switched from a pink tint to my beloved green? What did I get? Hell if I know. What is burned into my brain is cousin Craig’s feigned innocence, his smug lack of remorse, the very literal pain in my ass, and the angry tears about crashing down the stairs to the pavement.

Just look at him…

Clearly a criminal master mind.

My Mom will likely have a cow when she read this. “What if he finds this?”

I say let him find it. This is my own brand of vigilante justice, just like the resolution of every episode of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” (elite squad my ass, they’re always letting the victim commit suicide or missing the clear signs that the victim or one of their loved ones is going to shoot the perp, often at the police station) in which they can’t get the bad guy.

Maybe he’ll apologize, the twerp.


I wrote this post in response to this week’s writing prompt from Studio 30 Plus, which was: “Your earliest memory of your own birthday party.”

I Got No Patience and I Hate Waiting

Yesterday, when my dog wouldn’t come downstairs right away after I called him for his evening walk (what the hell, Chuck?), I realized the world is conspiring to make me ADD. My time management skills need work, and it is pretty easy for me to get sidetracked, I’ll admit it. But my distractibility is not all my fault. And I swear I wasn’t always like this.

I hate waiting. If I have access to anything even remotely interesting (let’s say for the sake of argument, the internet) while I wait, then I go off task.

While I waited for Chuck to get his fluffy ass downstairs yesterday, I got the idea for this post. I found some paper and a pen and started to jot down my thoughts before I forgot them. In the middle of this, Prince Charles Fluffbatten-Windsor finally decided it was time to walk. I made him wait. Apparently he doesn’t like to wait either, so he left the room. Vicious cycle perpetuated.

The ungodly slowness of my work PC has filled my soul with rage. It hates waking up in the morning even more than me. Each morning when I log on, it’s all “WHOA! You again? Back so soon? Hold up, you’re interrupting my REM sleep. I’m dreaming about crashing Outlook when you try to send an email it took you half an hour to craft.”

I hate wasting time, so waiting for my computer to respond to my commands for more than 30 seconds makes me mental. I’ve started angrily muttering to myself like a crazy person. This is charming, No really, take your time, I really don’t have time for this shit, I’d like to take you outside and beat you with a baseball bat, oh hi, Boss!

I start a task, my computer inevitably hangs, tempting me to do something else while I wait. Next thing I know, it’s an hour and a half later and my chai is cold, I have 12 browser tabs open, my iPad on my lap, and a finally-opened window on my PC I can’t remember the purpose of opening.

I wonder how much efficiency is lost due to whatever in the hell gremlin causes technology to screw with us. I guess I could make more effort to stay focused on the task at hand, but I just don’t believe anyone should have to focus on waiting.  Plus, they pay me too much to stare at the hourglass on my PC and seeth.

My home computer is starting to behave like this too (Macs, they just work!), only instead of an hourglass I get the spinning beach ball of death. I worked from home today and the beach ball spun in Firefox for 30 minutes when I tried to check my work email.

Maybe my computers are trying to tell me something about work?

Fremont (OH) Is The Perfect Place To Fall In Love

I’m kidding about the title. I’m trying to catch up on my “Bachelorette” watching and since they are in the exotic travel portion of the show, I’m so sick of hearing them say “X and such is the perfect place to fall in love” I could spit.

This weekend, Dave and I went to Ohio for his nephew’s graduation party slash annual family reunion. Before I go any further, I have to point out Dave’s cookies were a huge hit.

My in-laws are wonderful people and I had fun, but it wounds me that driving 8.5 hours on Friday and 8.5 hours on Monday to spend two days with my in-laws counts as two days of “vacation” to my employer. We left the hotel this morning at 8:30AM, and didn’t get home from getting Chuck at the kennel until 6PM. We are exhausted and we have to work tomorrow. If only employers offered a few days of “visiting family leave” in addition to vacation and sick leave.

Dave’s brother lives in the country in a tiny little unincorporated “census-designated place,” whatever that is. All the hotels in the nearest city were booked by the time Dave called to make reservations which was baffling. So we stayed about 20 miles away in a slightly larger city. Even though we spent most of our time at my brother-in-law’s, we did have a chance to explore Fremont a little. The night we got in, we drove into Fremont’s downtown area in the hope of getting away from the strip mall chains near our hotel. After breakfast on Saturday, we scoped out the trail where I wanted to run on Sunday morning.

My verdict on Fremont, OH is that it’s a miniature version of my hometown (Erie, PA). I drove 440 miles to stay in Erie, only without a lake, without my family, and no Panera. Even though Fremont is about one-sixth the size of Erie, almost everywhere I went (in about a 4-5 mile radius) reminded me of a specific part of Erie. It started to get a little confusing actually.

We ended up eating at the 818 Club on Friday night. Once I saw they served fried perch, I knew what I was ordering. So the perch reminded me of Erie. As did the modest but pretty houses with manicured lawns, the run down downtown area near the river, the built up strip mall area near the thruway, the large number of bars, and the even larger number of churches. I lost count at five churches just driving the 2.5 miles from the hotel to the restaurant on Friday night. We drove by a Catholic school whose side entrance reminded me so much of the gym entrance to my grade school I got a chill.

Then there were the trains. The running trail I used was right next to railroad tracks. On Saturday, Dave and I had to wait for a train to pass through an intersection so we could cross to get to the trail. There are several intersections where you have to wait for trains in Erie too. I could hear trains at night from my bedroom in Erie and the sound is strangely soothing to me. I’ve never seen anything like that where I live now.

Saturday morning, we ate at a Bob Evans for the first time. I chose bacon for my breakfast and Dave got a good laugh over that. We managed to avoid the eight thousand calorie sausage biscuit bowl with sausage gravy, but Dave did put the “whipped butter blend spread” on his biscuits before I opened mine, smelled it, and reported that butter was the fourth ingredient.

I took almost 200 pictures over the weekend, mostly of Dave’s family. I didn’t have my camera when I explored Fremont and I’m disappointed. If we ever go back I want to get pictures of all the things that reminded me of Erie. Here is a picture I took on the way to my brother-in-law’s…GPS fail.

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.

Photo Friday: Master Butcher

Our dog Chuck is made almost entirely of fluff. The summer months here are horribly uncomfortable even for those of us in the family not coated in fur, so we get Chuck a summer cut each year. Every single year I am heartbroken by the result, as the fluffier Chuck gets, the happier I am. But the groomer really outdid himself this year. I had no idea how little Chuck there actually was without fur, nor did I want to find out. It took three full days before I could even look at him without wanting to cry. He looks like his fur has been inexpertly Photoshopped off.

I keep trying to get a picture that adequately portrays the butchering of the fluff, but Chuck isn’t cooperating. This picture isn’t great, but at least he looks appropriately miserable.