Letter of complaint

Dear Dearest NaBloPoMo,

It’s just not the same the second time around, is it? Is it you? Is it me? Is it just us together, a pot of hot chemistry when we first met and now nothing but a tepid bowl of funk?

I think it’s me, mostly. I was working it to get that quiet, studious guy, NaNoWriMo, (You know, the one who looks a little like Harry Potter on steroids?) to take me on a monthlong odyssey. I mistook a friendly tip of the hat for an overture. When midnight struck, his white carriage was not waiting at my gate.

I felt stood up.

I think it might be you, too, Mr. Rebound Guy. We bumped into each other by the gate. You had room on the bus. I said yes.  We ran through the grass hand-in-hand for days before we looked each other in the face and jumped back in fright.

“Oh, it’s you.”

It’s like this: You keep me up way past my bedtime too many nights to count. My husband is getting steamed. He says that if I’m going to have you on the side for 30 days, I need to do it on my time, out of his sight.

You distract me on a daily basis, forcing me to evaluate every chance encounter, change in wind direction, twitch of a cat’s whisker, as a possible post. I’m forced to carry a big notebook and several pens with me everywhere I go, in the event of a word hemorrhage.

Sure, I knew what I was getting myself into with you. You’re insatiable, demanding and thankless. But you’re also a disciplinarian and you’ve helped me carve bouquets of flowers out of piles of dirt.

You have beaten me senseless, stripped me raw, stolen almost all my ideas and thoughts.

And yet, I can’t — won’t — quit you. We are in this thing together for another 13 days.

Promise me one thing? When this is over? Don’t kiss me. Don’t leave a note. Just go. We’ll pretend it never happened.

Love always,

Me

 

 

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What I haven’t done

Recently I conducted my first jump-start of a car using those confusing cables. Not that it was a successful attempt, but I’m patting myself on the back anyway for at least trying. Until now, I’ve always deferred to whomever was the fastest to act, usually whatever man was around. Dead batteries are one of those let’s-see-how-much-of-a-manly-man-you-are kind of moments. Who am I to get in the way of that? Except when there’s no one else around but you, your daughter’s car with the dead battery on the faraway subdivision street, and your very-much-alive car purring away behind you.  In the spirit of doing new things or of procrastinating on things that you don’t really want to do — ever —  and inspired by Suniverse’s post on the matter, I submit my top 10 ne’er-do-well  list:

1. Sang Karaoke. It’s so popular. Everyone loves to sing. Everyone has such a good singing voice. Not really, but if feels that way sometimes. I always feel like a party pooper when the equipment is pulled out and plugged in. Recently, I’ve decided I need to practice a go-to Karaoke song so that, if forced, I can fake my way through. How about  Meg White singing “In the Cold, Cold Night?”  Can’t mess that up too much, can I?

2. Skied down a big hill. Never made it off the bunny run. Childhood traumas are hard to overcome. It’s cross-country all the way for me.

3. Paid for a manicure or pedicure. But maybe I will someday. I used to think I never would, but after my first session with an esthetician as a birthday gift, I realized it’s really more than just a frivolous indulgence, it’s about taking care of your body. I have skin problems. This has kept me away from places where people might scrutinize it.

4. Had the good drugs at the dentist. The “laughing gas” was pooh-poohed by my mother and the post-surgery pain pills were always flushed down the toilet. “Those things will turn you into an addict,” she’d say as we watched the colorful dots swirl to their watery grave. For whatever reason, the dentists I’ve gone to as an adult don’t use laughing gas, or their shots don’t seem to work on me, or they’ve deemed my procedures below the need for the “good stuff.”  Dentistry = pain. What’s up with that? Am I on some list?

5. Dated a man outside my race. Not by choice.  I would have been open to it if it were the right guy. It just never happened. I was quasi-stalked by a guy of another race, but it was more of a family effort at matchmaking. Did I mention I was a sophomore in high school at the time?

6. Seriously played a drinking game. Even at the nadir — or would it be zenith? — of my youthful stupidity, I backed away from those games. I had a deep fear of projectile vomiting in public.

7. Mowed a lawn, used a weed-whacker or one of those loud, exhaust-spewing blowers. I feign ignorance around garden implements requiring gas and oil. I do what I can by hand and leave the rest to the experts.

8. Visited the tropics. I’ve been to the semi-tropical areas of Florida and the Mediterranean region, but never to a place with rain forests, bird-eating spiders, and sassy monkeys that jump out of the jungle and throw fruit. I’m not sure why it doesn’t appeal to me.

9. Walked a picket line, crossed a picket line (I should note that I was asked to do so but would not.) or engaged in a public protest. For many years, as a member of the media,  this was expressly prohibited. Now? I feel unless I’m on fire for a cause, I’d rather do good works (plant trees, pick up trash, tutor children, feed the homeless) that have tangible results.

10. Watched one episode of ‘Oprah’ except that time when I was called for jury duty and sat in that big room half the day waiting for my number to be called. ‘Oprah’ was on and I admit to peeking at the screen for a few minutes. Which reminds me, I’ve never served on a jury. I’ve been called three times and dismissed three times. I’m sure it’s because I never watched ‘Oprah.’

And because my list is so awesome it goes to eleven:

11. Participated in NaNoWriMo. Not that I didn’t entertain the idea for a few days, poll friends on Facebook, develop an outline and a chapter plan, set up an account on the site, name the book, and be struck with a great plot idea on Nov. 1, the first day.  LIfe, however, got in my way. In addition to many other things, our Internet went out yesterday. Not that it should stop me, but all my notes and plans were hidden online. When I considered packing up and going to a local coffee house, the school called to tell me one of my kids was sick and needed to come home. Later that evening, after a new Internet wireless router was purchased and installed, the words would not come. I was tired. I was beaten. I gave up. Not on the idea in some form, but on NaNoWriMo itself. Damn.

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