Skip to content

Date archive for: January 2015

Remember Boredom?

When was the last time you stared hard at nothing? I mean really and truly focused your eyes on precisely zilch, tuned out the clamor and din of your immediate vicinity, followed your unpredictable mind down an unproductive path and just … fully … spaced?

I don’t remember the last time I did that. And I miss it.

My mind has no opportunity to wander anymore; when I find myself teetering on the scraggly edge of boredom — at the gas pump, in the checkout line, in the doctor’s waiting room, even (yes) at especially long stoplights — I gather up every shred of my frazzled attention and heave it at my iPhone screen to see if I can’t lose myself in a trivial text exchange, tumbling-puppy video, or chapter 37 of the audiobook-that-will-not-end.

I realize this is unhealthy behavior. Each time I catch myself doing it, I feel a queasy sort of shame, a sense that I’ve lost or am close to losing something essential and irreplaceable.

I promised myself I’d never become one of those old people who malign new technology as the devil’s work simply because it’s different than what I grew up with. But I’m already lamenting the things we’ve sacrificed to the Digital Age, the stuff smartphones have stolen from us: The ability to remember our best friend’s phone number. Or navigate our own way around a city. Or look something up alphabetically. Or sit and marvel at a sunset without feeling obliged to capture and share it. Or wait for five minutes. For anything. At all.

Continue reading Remember Boredom?

New Year's Resolutions for Laggers

Are you like me? Do you find yourself stranded in the middle of January without a single resolution for the New Year? Well, don’t panic. I have a plan for us both.

The reason I haven’t set any goals for 2015 is because it demands personal reflection, which is dreary, and accountability, which is yucky. So instead, I’m going to suggest terrific resolutions that you can make, dear reader. These will not only help you become a better human — they’ll make the world far more pleasant for me. Win-win!

Pick and choose your favorites, but get on it quick. I don’t want to see the old you ever again. This year, you will:

  • Stop checking your cell phone in a dark theater when there is a show going on. Or when you’re out with a friend, for god’s sake.
  • Break yourself of the ugly habit of darkening my doorstep with soul-saving literature of any sort.
  • Never again hawk a loogie where others can see it. Or (blech) hear it.
  • Realize that science is not, in fact, out to kill us, and vaccinate your damned children.
  • Refrain from saying “flushed out” when what you mean is “fleshed out.” You truly don’t want to flesh out anything that you would flush.

Any of these strike your fancy? No? That’s okay. I asked my friends to contribute some, too. They suggest that 2015 be the year you:

  • Learn how hashtags work or else leave them to the young.
  • Cover your mouth — with your arm, not your hand! eww! — when you sneeze or cough.
  • Stop tossing your cigarette butts out the window like the world is your ashtray, ashwipe.
  • Promise to get your next pet from a shelter.
  • Kindly quit using the phrases “I’m a chill dude” and “hit me up” on your online dating profile. You are not, and we will not.
  • Stop handing me receipts that are longer than my legs.
  • Quit inviting people to play games on Facebook. Any games. Just don’t.
  • Allow for the possibility that climate change is real and happening to you right this very minute.
  • Never again aim a camera at your food, no matter how picturesque. Your dinner is not the Grand Canyon.
  • Try really listening when someone is talking to you, rather than merely waiting for the moment you can jump in and talk about you again.
  • If you share a laundry room with others, clean out the dryer lint trap and remove your clothes shortly after they finish drying. Not the next day. Or the day after that. The dryer is not your personal bureau.
  • Resolve to stop pushing your lotion samples on us in your skeevy way at the mall.
  • Enough with the bacon thing. It’s over.
  • In the name of all that is holy, learn the difference between its and it’s, their and they’re, your and you’re, and to and too, and use them properly no matter where you are on the Internets. Get counseling if need be ( This ends now.
  • Gladly share the gym’s weight machines with women because you are a gentleman, not a puffed-up, ‘roid-raging sexist.
  • Board the plane only when your group is called, and do not walk down the aisle with a backpack the size of a yak knocking into everyone you pass.
  • Don’t be a douche and stop wherever you feel like it in the school parking lot, and do pull all the way over when you hear a siren. It’s just not that hard.
  • Promise never to park like an idiot. Anywhere. But especially in front of my friend Kate Schwab’s office. Thank you.
  • Never again pick up your phone while driving. If we see you in our rearview mirrors using your phone, we will slam on our brakes and give you the opportunity to explain yourself to the cops — and to get that ding on our rear bumpers fixed on your dime.

Continue reading New Year's Resolutions for Laggers