...seeking moderation

…obsessively average

Dear me,
Beware. A quest for perfection promises lifelong dissatisfaction (along with encouraging compulsive behaviors, like sorting underwear drawers and Legos). Find temperance somewhere. T.

The life of moderation is a difficult and lonely road. It’s hard to glide along being happy about achieving the goal of good enough——to fly on the heels of that anxious stride for excellence.

I find that maintaining a mediocre lifestyle is draining, in part due to the lack of outside reinforcement. I have to fly solo on this as there are no clubs or support groups, no workshops or interventions for the zealously average and I’ve yet to find a pill to assist me in being hopelessly mundane. I have scoured the self-help shelves for books, or even articles on maintaining one’s imperfection, but there’s not one. No author aspires for a Pulitzer in pedestrian, or a Nobel prize for normalcy. There are no red-carpet award shows for the successfully average.

I look for my own average individual to emulate, and just when I think I’ve found it, I get to know her, and realize that she too is striving to be better … and pssffft there goes my vision and my quest goes on.

Dear me,
I’m going to be very disappointed (but curiously relieved) when the person I’ve picked and placed on my pedestal to admire and aspire to be like, trips and falls back to human. And it is particularly discomforting when that person is me.

Once in awhile, I wander over and check out my self-help shelf. If I’ve accumulated more books on striving for perfection than curing myself of it, then I know that once again, it’s time to get real. So in an effort to benefit all mankind, I’ll sacrifice and leave the laundry to mold, the dishes undone, and the bed unmade. I surrender! I’ll take shoes from closets and fling them haphazardly in the doorways to reassure everyone that I’m ordinarily average and absolutely, obsessively imperfect.

Now I just have to explain this to the husband.


Quirks and Foible


To me,
The husband is uncomfortable with my detailed revelations of all the family quirks and foibles. I told him not to worry; it’s not his reality, it’s mine and everyone already knows how messed up that is. T.

I write to make me more comfortable with me, and it’s like a nametag—I put it all out there for everyone to see right upfront. I ease the awkwardness of first meetings and help everyone decide well in advance, if they are obligated to make an exchange or do what they can to avoid contact entirely.

I read a recent article, or perhaps not so recent, from a newspaper, or perhaps it was a magazine about a man, or maybe it was a woman who decided to wear a name tag for a year. The article described the life changes brought about by breaking down the barrier of anonymity in society.
The article described what a positive experience it was and the individual decided that the experience was enlightening and that he/she may continue to wear the tag long after the experiment was over.

After this encounter, I was a little dubious about having one’s name front and center, but I see now that there are benefits. Take for example, one of those parties that are frequented by those who go to see and to be seen. For me to be seen, it takes most of a week to search and retrofit the outfit. Trashy to classy is a major overhaul these days and the ensemble had to blend perfectly with what every well-dressed man wears to an evening out, his everyday suit gussied up with a glitzy tie.

We get to the party, the husband and I with our teenage daughter, who has been asked to act as a coat check girl. We are offered nametags at the reception table, but I am ultra cautious as the outfit is decorated with teensy-tinsy beaded flowers on velvet and I worry about pulling the tag off later and leaving a barren rectangle. Rather than being left with no option but to leave the nametag on into perpetuity, I stand and ponder my options.

As I shift the tag from finger to finger, hand to hand, I glance around and notice that the husband and daughter have been greeted by the boss—the big boss and they are quickly ushered over to meet the wife and rub shoulder-to shoulder with the other to-be-seen crowd. I am relieved to see that they are welcomed.

Another wanderer stops beside me. It appears that he has bypassed the nametag table in favor of the open bar. We made small talk over his wine glass while I surreptitiously flap the tag to see if drying it some would weaken the glue’s grip. I again send up the sonar and detect the husband and daughter still with the “In” crowd and looking very convivial. The circle has grown and I can tell the husband is guiding her in formal introductions with his hand at her waist.

I am still trying to decide whether to fold the tag in half or slap it on when another couple completes their nametag drama and steps toward me. I’m relieved that it’s someone I know because I realize that the wine man is shortly going to introduce himself and it will be necessary for me to free a hand. I decide to stick the tag on, but then I am stumped by another quandary, left or right. I know the article stated explicitly which, based on hand-shaking procedure, but I can’t remember.

The other couple greet us by first name and it’s apparent that they are familiar with wine man as pleasantries are exchanged. He’s fine, the children are fine, the night is fine, and as the conversation dwindles, the wine man glances around and then comments, “Wow, look at what Dave brought with him! Is that his new wife?

The couple and I glance in the direction to which he is goggling and as the couple’s eyes take in the group, their eyes flash back to meet mine as his next words, “Wow, he’s traded up!” cause their stunned mouths to drop.

I am obligated to respond with, “That is Dave’s daughter and last I checked, I’m still his wife,” and I slap the name tag to my chest definitively.

Reality Bite: The latest psycho-survey says that adults laugh as a response to fear… fear that a situation may happen to them. This book should be hilarious!

[1] The daughter reminds me, “like Stalin.”


Valentine Sonata

Valentine Sonata '96

I spent the day in paper chaos
searching for the perfect card.
Striving for that phrase immortal
to impress you like the Bard.

A wealth of thought -- oh poems replete
some so sincere, some sickening sweet.
Of all the prose, none sparked the light
so not appropriate. Some lied outright!

My mind just tumbled o're with verses
Roses Are Red, or I Love You Because,
But nothing seemed to fit you perfect;
One so unique--it grants me pause.

You make my life just so complete
You’re one of a kind. Uniquely unique!
I should not, could not, have expected to find
A card to express what’s on my mind.

It seemed so hopeless. I felt despair.
At once I thought, “Get underwear!”
I rebuked myself, “Concede defeat?”
Not me! You know, I’ve such conceit!

A thought then struck. “A poem attempt.
I’ll write and express what’s evident!”

True poets don’t bother with rhyme or rhythm.
They say what they feel, and take criticism.
The truth be known it’s harder to rhyme
To send a message so sublime.

And yet, the true poem--it’s been defiled.
You’ll have to make do with an Oscar Wilde.

As I struggled and suffered to make the lines rhyme,
I was suddenly and rudely reminded, “The time!”
The children were starved. Dr. Seuss had just ended.
The dinner uncooked, the laundry resplendent.

The moment was lost, could not be recaptured.
My desolation complete. You would not be enraptured.

When suddenly, wonderfully, it came so inspired!
Personally, to angels, my life must be wired.
A revelation! An answer! A thought so sincere!

I’ll just resurrect the card you gave me from last year!