On Airports and Flying

ohare

I’ll cut straight to the chase:

I love airports.

I’m not sure what it is about them. The mall-like atmosphere. The crowds of people completely absorbed in what they’re doing, where they’re going. The moving sidewalks. The ability to go to the bar and not have to worry about driving afterward. The adrenaline knowing you’ll soon be flying. Any or all of these could be why. I just know I love them.

I discovered this when I was watching a movie some time ago. Obviously an airport played into it somehow. My best guess at the moment is Dogma. Regardless, watching the airport scene in whatever movie it happened to be made me nostalgic for the last trip I took in a plane.

I’ve flown a total of three times (round-trip) in my life. The first was to Florida before I was 5. I don’t remember any of it. The second was in fifth or sixth grade when I went with a classmate to Washington, D.C. I don’t remember the plane ride nor do I remember much of the trip aside from snippets and what we wrote in the trip journal. Finally, in September of 2007, my father, uncle and I flew to Pittsburgh to visit my grandmother on her birthday.

This one I remember.

To qualify, the Saginaw (MBS International) airport is kind of lame. It is a small airport after all. With this being the only one in recent memory (with wedding receptions being held there and participating in dropping people off/picking them up)  I didn’t have really any strong opinion of airports other than all that is ever said badly about them in bad sitcoms. However, once we hit DTW and spent a few hours in layover, I loved it. The plethora of activities to keep you occupied and the bustle of activity were initially overwhelming, but fun nonetheless.

I understand if one were on business and had other things occupying their mind, there might be less to enjoy. Likewise for someone with an excessive fear of flying. I, on the other hand, saw the positive. I was on a mini-vacation. My father and uncle were engrossed in philosophical conversations. I took to wandering. Camera and cash in hand, there was plenty to do.

I argued with a customer (not heatedly, but in a friendly manner) about this topic. He dislikes airports. They are strictly utilitarian. They accomplish a purpose. And he’s a photographer. So it’s not the artist in me; maybe it’s just me and my naivety. The rush of flying is still relatively new to me. There you are, in the sky, surrounded by the clouds. Opine it’s annoyances however you will, but the air travel experience is still romantic to me.

clouds

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On Shoes

shoes

I need a new pair of work shoes. Badly. Currently, the pair above are my sole pair (pun intended). They used to be one of my nicer pairs of dress shoes. Chocolate suede captoes purchased from either Penny’s or Kohl’s my sophomore year of college. I even lent them to a friend for a wedding as he had no dress shoes that went with his outfit. I maintained the suede nap with a suede brush and put shoe trees in them once I could afford to waste money on cedar shoe maintenance.

At some point, however, they were designated as work shoes. Perhaps at the beginning it was merely out of occasional necessity. I read on a forum that wearing the same pair of shoes more than one day in a row was a bad thing (can’t for the life of me remember why that is anymore). So these and my cheap tan boot-looking shoes (also formerly used as dress shoes) and a pair of black steel-toed low-top boots were in the work rotation. I think the reasoning for the style of them all was that, at the time, we were still required to wear “dressy” leatheresque shoes to work.

The suede made it into the rotation when I found a nicer pair of chocolate suede captoes at a thrift store for about a tenth of the cost of these. Hence, these were delegated solely as work shoes.

When I stopped wearing  black entirely for two years, the two pairs of brown shoes were the only two I’d use for work. Five or six days a week, for twenty hours a week I wore them. As these dark brown captoes were suede and considerably nicer, they were worn less often. Alas, and inevitably, the tan crappy ones eventually met their maker, becoming far too uncomfortable for even two hours at a time.

To say the least, that put a remarkable strain on those cap-toes. One could say, they had some big shoes to fill. No one should say that. Ever.

From the image, you can see that the suede factor is no longer an issue. the coffee, milk and salt stains are permanent. The lining: shot. Cushioning? Forget it. The numerous cracks and gouges in the leather are “character.” They need to be replaced.

Still, I can’t bear to get a new pair. Is it nostalgia? Now, we really haven’t been through any great experiences together. I am not enough of a girl to hold on to old shoes. I think it is a utilitarian thing. They still work. Though I wouldn’t wear them outside of work (read: in public) they look better than sneakers with the image I try to convey, even at the coffee shop.

The excuses I have for refusing (or at least hesitating) to get new shoes is two-fold. The first excuse, money, isn’t really a legitimate excuse. I can afford to buy new shoes. Sure, it leaves less money available for the things I actually want to buy, but it is very doable, and the things I want can wait another two weeks.

No, the real reason I cannot buy a new pair is more fear related. I am job-hunting. I just know that as soon as I buy a new pair, I will get a decent job and I can wear one of my 15 other pairs of shoes (pairs that I do not wish to get scuffed and otherwise fall into such a state of disrepair). However, there is the fear that if I do not buy a new pair, I may never find a new/better job.

Classic Catch-22.

It may seem superstitious, but it’s Murphy’s Law. Buy new crap shoes, get a new job. Don’t buy new beaters, stay with lousy job and have sore feet.

Maybe the money is worth being wasted.

On Friends

friends

A conjecture was recently made to me that I questioned and pondered. You can be one of three kinds of friends.

  1. You are the friend that is called when someone has boy/girl issues and needs an understanding and caring ear.
  2. I don’t remember this one
  3. You will be the kind of friend someone calls to tell they had a shitty day and will respond with “let’s go get drunk”.

Actually, those might have really been the only two she said. She claimed to be in the latter category, though it is not always crass. She isn’t the “touchy-feely” type who will talk about feelings. Sure, she’ll listen if you have a problem, but there had better be beer involved, because there won’t be any crying. Commiserating sure, but not crying. That made me wonder what kind of friend I am. I’ll go out for a beer if someone is having a bad day. Then again, I’ll also lend an ear and a shoulder to cry on if need be.

Then I got to thinking. Can we be a different friend to different people? Do different friends require different methods of consolation? And if so, and you modify your behaviour based on the friend you’re around, to whom do you turn when you have your own issues?

(sorry. My Name is Earl this week inspired me to do a Bradshaw-esque aside)

Joking questions aside, what kind of person are you when you change your methods based on your current company? Do you change who you talk to based on the situation you are going through? There are certain people I will moan about a bad day to, but few (if any) I would discuss very personal issues with. That may be the guy in me, but I do truly tend to keep my personal problems to myself.

What about you? Do you discuss personal issues with friends? If so, are they different friends than those you drown your faux sorrows in beer with?

What Happens when your iPhone gets Stolen | Chris Pirillo

THIS would not have helped me. I got hopeful when I saw the headline. Upone reading it, however, I realize I should’ve called the cops. Wait, on what phone…

Actually, my first thought was “lock those bastards out of it!” So I used Karla’s phone to call AT&T to report it lost or stolen. (and I felt a little dumb…I didn’t know how to make a phone call without the iPhone. Well, to be honest, I didn’t know how to find out what number to call to get AT&T. No internets=I am stranded. Maybe I rely on technology too much?)

The thought of calling the cops came to me too, but I didn’t get my car stolen. I figured I would just get laughed at or told that it was my fault for leaving it sitting on the table. And on that, they might’ve been right.

Still, it sucked.

Not Easy

Scraps

Let me start out by saying that this post has gone in an entirely different direction that I first anticipated. I had set off to fill it with researched facts and figures about the unemployment rate in Michigan and the rates of college graduates who landed full time jobs right out of graduation. I wanted to use clever anecdotes and vignettes from various people I’ve spoken to about the topic lately.

However, as I actually set about writing it, the facts all stopped mattering to me. Like most of my writing that is not dictated by a real rubric of any kind, I started just ranting and letting my fingers do the thinking so to speak. I had paragraphs upon paragraphs lamenting the difficulties of job hunting and why I should feel sorry for myself.

As you see from the image, this idea was scrapped. Yesterday actually. All these paragraphs were small ideas that I really couldn’t back up with anything other than self-pity and hyperbole. So instead, like any good writer (with some exceptions, of course) I developed a draft. A thesis rather. Any time my writing strays from this, it ceases to have a point and becomes incoherent rambling. Such is the writing I am prone to, sadly.

So, here’s what I have for you: holding a part-time job hampers a job hunt, but not so significantly as a full-time one would.

Hell of a thesis. Seems like I’m stating the obvious, but please bear with me. In my “research” for this topic, I discovered that my original premise was flawed. I was basing this on a quote from a friend stating that (paraphrasing here) it is difficult to look for a job when you are currently working. I did not assess the fact that she was referring to looking for full-time work when you dislike your current full-time position. This would most definitely be true.

Looking for work when you hold a part-time job holds different challenges, for me at least. It doesn’t make it any harder than, say, taking 12+ college credits and having a part-time job though. Lord knows that is doable. My particular challenges stem from elsewhere; the job itself, the frustration stemming from that and a stagnant (nice word Christi) job market and the challenge of mixing things up a bit.

On the first point: the job I currently hold is not challenging but things are frustrating. Anyone who has worked retail knows the stress and frustration involved. For those who don’t, I can assure you, it gets old quickly. Couple that with your days seeming to be perpetual déjà vu and throw on a dash of doing it for five years running and it can easily become a headache. The easiest thing to do, it would seem, is quit. But as one with debt and college loans etc. to pay, not having that relatively stable source of income is terrifyingly unwise.

My second point is closely related to the first in that working said job Ad nauseum gets quite frustrating. The daily dealings with cranky old ladies who never get anything exactly how they want it and coworkers who care less than you do and convey it in their work ethic pushes one such as myself to the point of going postal almost weekly. Trying to escape seems futile as there have been multiple job applications submitted from adults. This is the type of job high schoolers and college students look for as a transition into the work force. The fact that there are grown men and women looking to get in give me a grim outlook on the market outside coffee shops.

And that brings me to the third challenge; that of a new leaf. I may be to blame for the fact that I still live with my parents. I chose to go to school close to home and live there rather than pay to live on campus. So as it happens, I’ve stayed within that comfort zone for twenty-four years. Also, I’ve worked within walking distance of my home since I entered the job market eight years ago. Mixing up what is familiar and jumping into something completely different is a bit off-putting if not downright stressful.

I don’t even do my own laundry for pete’s sake.

So although I tell myself I am seeking outside employment, I bet there is a part of me that isn’t really trying all that hard. Sure I hate my job and would love something that is more consistent (hour-wise) and pays a bit better. But that logic fights the fear of growing up. I have a tendency toward the juvenile, I can’t deny that.

Back to my “research,” since I began working on this entry, I’ve applied for over 20 jobs in under two weeks. That’s more than I had done all last summer. The New Year kind of gave me a kick in the ass and got me to see if maybe I can’t better my life. Sure, when I get done at work and have all that pent up frustration it can be easier to just crack open a beer and catch up on blogs and television shows.

However, if I really want to grow up and make something of myself, I’m going to need to at least put forth an honest effort. To those who already do, I vail you. (it is, after all, hat week)

The job market may not be in the best place right now, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try all the more diligently. I think that is a lesson that everyone can take to heart.

One month in.

It seems I again find myself in the proverbial “day late, dollar short” dilemma. Certainly, by following my budget, I have not truly been short on dollars, but my topic, though planned weeks in advance, is coming a bit after many similar articles. Still, it helps me to be personally introspective. If anyone happens to read this, I will ask you to do the same. How many Resolutions have we made? How many did we intend to keep? How many have we actually made progress on and/or stuck with thus far?

I’m having a harder time writing this than I thought I would. It may be because I don’t want to air resolutions for the world to see. They’re mine. My “demons” if you will. I cannot keep this concise without simply naming them off in succession, but I shall do my very best. I don’t want this to get too personal…

I’ve been keeping to them fairly well thus far. Sure, there are days I falter, but I’ve tried to balance that with doing positive things; ie. every time I break a resolution (or do something that deters me from achieving a long-term goal) I will write a blog entry or apply for a job or something else positive. It’s not a 1:1 ratio either; using joesgoals.com (mentioned previously) has allowed me to give more weight to more difficult achievements. A vague example being that easy things to accomplish/avoid get lower points and vice versa, so in order to make up for breaking a big one, I have to do something positive that takes a certain dedication of time and energy or a lot of small good things. Does that make sense? I feel like if you look at the sample on the site, it kind of explains itself.

So far, this method has been working for me. It is more of a daily checklist (and I do love my lists) than a few large goals (for example, losing 50 pounds – not a goal of mine) so I’m not sure how much it works as a resolution tracker. Perhaps I’ll call the site itself my resolution. Like “I resolve to use Joe’s goals daily.” I should probably even say “I need to have a score of +25 every month at least, with that value increasing by 5 each month.” That seems like a S.M. A. R. T. goal.

The main point of this entry was two-fold: (1) to take an introspective look at how I’ve been doing to hold myself accountable and actually do a self-assessment, (2) discuss a thought I had regarding vices, and (3) write a blog entry.
(ok, so that’s three. bah!)

So, on vices:

It’s a tough thing to do, giving up vices/habits. I myself can attest to that. It is difficult no to fall back into them. The fact that they’ve become habits attests to their strong power over us. But there must be a reason we wished to change these aspects of our personality last December 31. We realised that these were vices and without giving them up, we could not achieve the positive change we desire.

Though all this has been stated ad nauseum in other forms and places, I had a different thought the other week. Sometimes, is it possible that not giving up our vices, our flaws, our shortcomings, and instead embracing them can better us as people? What I mean to say is this;by recognising that which we wish to change when (or shortly after) we’ve faltered yet again, can we strengthen our resolve for next time? Can we discover the catalyst and replace the vice with something similar that is less negative?

Likewise, by recognizing said catalyst, can we find better alternatives to the vice? Instead of trying to change out bad habits, can we change the thing that makes us want to fall back into these habits? Can we go for a jog instead of watching tv and then drinking? Chew gum instead of smoking while driving? Go to a movie instead of the bar?

With a new day comes new resolve that is expent by evening. Why is that? The hangover reminds you that you shouldn’t rink so much, but in the heat of the moment, you remember why you suffer the hangover (extra weight, wheezing while jogging, etc.): you enjoy the vice. The habit is such because you enjoy it.

Now the question is, do you want the alternative enough to give up the bad habits to attain the end result?

I know not all of these ideas are novel in even the least, but they got me really thinking. I think a lot in the shower for some reason. Good place to zone. Really, I should have a pen and paper (or something..) in there sometimes. But back on track, personally, I am trying to make some better habits. One month in seems like a good time to take a cold hard look at this and maybe take a few more steps toward building a better you.

Forlorn and half-bearded

If I had a nickel for every time Trent looked this way, and I worked with him every day, and if he always matched clothes with anna and I with rick, and tom were to leave the state and run away with the traveling circus while leaving valerie in charge, I would have a long string of hypotheticals, wouldn’t I? I’d probably also win a run-on sentence award, if such a thing were to exist. Which it doesn’t.