Plunging at Midnight

No this is not the latest drinking fad, a description of my emotional state going into another work week or a reference to the neckline of some starlet’s dress at a post Oscar party. Instead a stopped up toilet in our upstairs bathroom. Far be it for my son to let me know that there was a problem. So after staying up too late and needing to get up early I pull out my trusty low tech toilet tool.

Fortunately for me, since I have little ability to fix things beyond a burnt out light bulb, a plunger is all I need 90% of the time for bathroom emergencies. Just not the thing I wanted to tackle at 12 am on a Sunday night.

Something in my universe is a little out of sync when one of the highlights of my weekend was the sound of a pure flush.

My Wife is at the Oscars — Really!

Is this cool or what! My wife and her two sisters have spent the day in the bleachers next to the red carpet at the Academy Awards. I have few details right now though I know that my wife D has been interviewed by MTV, some local LA show and the Montreal press. She did this last one in French– of course.

The weather has been good, she is having the time of her life and to top it off they are going to the Ellen DeGeneres show on Monday.

Am I a little envious? YES! It has been cold and stormy all weekend in Chi-town. Oh well.

I am also thrilled for her and famous by association two weeks in a row. More details as I hear them.

People Watching on a Sunday Morning

Last Sunday I was at O’Hare to take the first leg of a week of flying. Got there early, by 7 for a 9 am flight. Several hours later when the plane was rescheduled for 11:30, I knew that it was time to find another flight. This required that I give up the luxury of the Red Carpet club and join the masses waiting by the gate.

It turned out to be a gift. Once secured on another flight but with quite awhile to wait, I began to roam around. I was not paying attention too much to anything in particular. A thirty something mom with a baby in a stroller, a guy in the ugliest white and brown striped sport coat I had ever seen, and just lots of people.

Then Jesse Jackson strolls by. He is in a long dark coat and a dark, gray hat with a wide brim. He nods to individuals making eye contact with him, sometimes murmuring “good morning”. No one was trying to shake his hand or interrupt his journey. Conversely he was not playing the politician or trying to be noticed. No body guards or handlers. Just walking down the concourse.

I may be the only one who feels something in the air when in the presence of someone famous. Though I never spoke to him, I felt as if by being near someone well known I was special by association.

I began to notice more detail of my surroundings. My next sighting was a man on crutches. Quickly followed by the observation that he had lost a leg. I felt sympathy immediately though I realized that I had no idea how this happened to him or if he was or was not a person deserving of sympathy. Next, a young African-American boy maybe 3 years old in the company of a Caucasian couple in their forties. There was a man wearing only underwear as a shirt. Two very cute, little, blonde girls sitting next to their mother each holding a teddy bear. At first I thought they might be twins but one was clearly younger than the other. The younger sister was singing to herself and entertaining the crowd around her.

There were lots of persons of all ages and sizes. Next thing I knew we were boarding. It was a very good start to a very long week.

P.S. The little singing girl sat behind me on the plane; lucky for me. Part of the ride were quite bumpy and though I am a veteran traveler, I was beginning to feel a little nervous. That is until I heard the squeals of joy from behind me every time the plane bounced around. I figured if she thought this was fun so would I.

Being an Introvert in an Extrovert World

On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is sit in your room never talk to anyone introverted and 10 is the guy from Thank You for Smoking extroverted, I am a 3 or 4. I love small groups of friends. Hate large parties where I hardly know anyone. Small talk is my kryptonite. People who are not friends think I am particularly quiet not too friendly. My friends find me funny, talkative and interesting — I think. They are also willing to let me be quiet without it having any particular connotation.

Unfortunately my job is best done by someone that is a 6 or 7. I work with senior level business executives. Sometimes one on one and other times in small groups. I also give speeches from time to time. In my line of work one needs to be “on” much of the time. I usually can gear up enough to do what I do well but when the meeting is over I am exhausted.  I suspect that one of the reasons I used to run and now bike for long periods of time by myself is that it lets me have some quiet time, some time to be reflective.

All other things being equal, I think that the world or maybe just US/European society is easier for extroverts. Making impressions quickly drives alot of what people think of you and how they react to you. We are a society that likes its stars. Very few of them come across as shrinking violets.

There is nothing inherently bad about being introverted. I have a group of good friends who know I care about them. Extreme extroverts can come across as shallow. I do feel though that so much happens in the moment that I would have missed out on less if I were more willing to get in the mix of things. Working on that part.

Maybe I will start a business. Club Introvert. CIs will become the resort destinations of choice for those that want a little more time to get to know the people around them. Activities will be geared to having people slightly push their comfort levels in getting to know new people and doing new things. There would also be areas reserved for quiet time where CIPs (Club Introvert People) can get away when they have had all they can take. No small talk allowed.

My wife is in the travel business. Maybe I can partner with her. She can sell. She’s an extrovert.

Real Facts. Straight from Snapple

The principle reasons I buy a particular brand of soft drink are taste and price. Yet surprises will also build my brand loyalty. After not drinking Snapple for years I recently tried their ice tea. Good taste. Good value –when on sale. And Snapple Real Facts.

Half the joy in opening my Snapple is the anticipation of the fact for the day. Not all SRFs catch my attention but Real Fact 154 did. In 1985, the fastest bicyclist was clocked at 154 mph. WOW.

I bike. I go far but not particularly fast. Sustaining 20 mph is hard for me. I average 15-16.

Two thoughts after reading Real Fact 154. How can anyone go that fast? I have never even driven that speed. Why in 21 years has no one broken that record?

I Can’t Remember Because I Am Fat?

Recall has never been one of my strong points. Over the years my memory seems to be getting worse Is this a natural result of aging? Sure. The big question is whether there something that can stem the tide or even improve memory? I have tried several of the herbs that are supposed to help with no noticeable impact. (Don’t ask me which herbs, I cannot remember. (I am incapable from letting any bad joke go by.))

Hear is something else to consider According to that definitive medical source Realage, being overweight makes memory worse. I am at a very high weight for me. The extra ponds started showing up around Halloween, their cousins moved in at Thanksgiving leading to a full family reunion by New Year’s. They haven’t left yet.

I am 10 pounds above the weight I promised myself years ago that I would not go over. That weight is at least 7 pounds above an ideal weight. Do the math — it is not pretty. It is amazing how aggressive eating and little exercise can add up.

So now, starting today February 3, I will eat less and exercise more — if I remember.