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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dragonfly Thoughts Drifting

After a burst of exuberance, and I've had one, I sometimes retreat to a quiet place and let my thoughts flit lazily across my consciousness. I want to consider what's happened, what I wrote, what I read and what anyone had to say about it. Spring came, literally overnight. Business picked up, literally overnight. My personal life became better, more fulfilling, almost overnight. Except for a rude little medical annoyance that required attention and kept me up most of Monday night, I'm in a good place. Loved. Appreciated. Hopeful. Coming out of the heart of darkness.

I went off on a woman this morning. She was difficult. Not a pleasant communicator. She talked over the top of me and her own utterances were short and clipped. I prefer customers who will interact fully with me ~ I can give them a more accurate estimate which makes a better transaction for everyone. But I kept my cool. Until I didn't keep it any more. She called in about having a rug cleaned. She knew its dimensions, which puts her ahead of many. I asked if the rug was synthetic or a natural fiber like cotton or wool. I need to know that. The pricing is widely disparate and one doesn't want to set the homes up for any surprises at the door. She didn't know, so I asked her to look under the corners of the rug to see if there was a label. "Well, it was made in China." "Does it say what it was made from in China?" We finally landed on cotton and I quoted. She was OK with the price. She said she would like to have the rug cleaned and then have us put it down in a room and put all the furniture on it. We don't do that. They're carpet cleaners, not furniture movers. We try to be reasonable, but a roomful of furniture is a big order. Times have been rough, however, so I tried something. I decided to find out what the furniture was. If it was anything less than a grand piano or a massive entertainment center, I was going to go for it and charge her for it. Homes wouldn't love it, but I don't turn jobs away. "Can you give me a list of the items of furniture?" That seemed to put her over the top. She was done with me. "You know, you're really a big hassle. I think I'll call Stanley Steemer. They won't ask all these questions." That seemed to put me over the top. I was done with her. Undoubtedly, the fact that I had a dose of pain medication in my system was a factor. In a very calm and level voice, I said, "Madam, I do apologize for being such a pain in your ass this morning. Do call Stanley Steemer and have them over to *#@+ up your Chinese cotton rug." It felt pretty good. David grinned from ear to ear. It's been a long time since I had the luxury of being able to go off on an unpleasant customer.

I was reviewing Monday's post, and I got to feeling a little sensitive about something. I feel compelled to say something about it. I learned a long time ago that many things can be taken out of context when observed as typed text on a monitor, no face to read, no voice to hear. So I was going on about being a website designer, saleswoman, scheduler/dispatcher, bean counter, small claims extorter and most desired employee to ever arrive from my home planet of Gobazz. Today it made me blush and think, "Well, aren't you special?" I believe this is the first time I've ever felt compelled to explain myself on my blog, but I do. I'm not bragging when I say things like that. You see, I don't have the biggest ego in the world. For much of life I have felt inadequate or unappreciated. So when I say that David badly wanted to hire me, I'm saying, "Lookie here - there is someone who wants me to come to work because he thinks I have something going on. Imagine!" When I say I'm a great saleswoman, I should accompany that with "and I never had the confidence that I could do such a thing." When I talk about crunching the numbers, I should include the fact that numbers have always scared me and now, after a lot of hard work, I am comfortable with them. There is no logical reason that I should be able to create and maintain websites, but I stuck out my jaw, played with the software, asked lots of questions of a mentor, and it all fell into place for me. I use a label on my blog quite frequently - "learning new things". I am awed by the power and energy generated by learning new things. I am grateful that I can still do that - learn new things and do them well. I love the challenge of delving into something new and learning all the elements of it. I've learned things about myself that I didn't know before this job. Because for major parts of my life I have been pretty convinced that I am a loser. I hope that deflects any notions the reader may have entertained that I have one huge head and how in the world would I be able to fit it through the door! My last words on the subject are these: having and expressing confidence is new to me, and it's damned heady stuff.

And, finally, with a big old donkey laugh at myself . . in the last post I went on and on about the economy (sort of, at least more than one reader thought that's what I was writing about), to the extent that Kirk rethought his own good March 15th post and Kass asked me, in comments, if I was a fan of Keynesian Economics. Uh-oh. Reader, I am reminded that one wants to be cautious when using words. One wants to find the balance between the way something feels and making broad sweeping statements. I should have stated that I understand economics as it applies to my tiny little test tube-sized world and not one inch beyond it. Economics has always been very simple to me. Work really hard to make a lot of money so one can spend it on the things one loves. That said, however, one doesn't want to appear to be a complete dolt. I know how to Google. I know how to learn new things. So I noodled around and landed on this: Keynesian Economics advocates a mixed economy - private sector decisions balanced by public sector policy responses. Balance is the strongest theme of this theory, it seems to me, and I think balance is what we want, but currently lack in our U.S. economy. Keynesian Economics ruled in the last part of the Great Depression, World War II and during the post-war expansion. It began to go out of favor in the U.S. during the 1970s, since which time our entire economic structure has gone to hell in a handbasket and the American middle class has lost ground. Since the U.S. economic crisis beginning in 2007, the Keynesian theory is once again being embraced. Enough said for me! Yes, I am in favor of Keynesian Economics. And that will be my final statement about things as weighty as the economy. I much preferred the Keynes biography and the story of the love of his life, the pretty Russian ballerina. The charts and graphs about Keynesian Economics leave me cold. I'm all about people, not numbers.

And the reader may rest assured that economics will not be taken up again on this blog. Nor am I likely to feel the need to 'splain myself very frequently.

In my ears right now: What else? Coming Out of the Dark ~ Gloria Estefan.

Something that charmed me: Yesterday I set the alarm, locked the office and went down to my car. I was experiencing some pain. I'd not taken pain meds in the afternoon because I wanted to be clear-headed to drive home. I was kind of crabby. I turned the key in the ignition and my little chariot came to life. The display on the dashboard told me it was 76 degrees! I don't suppose the ambient temperature was 76 degrees, but down near the blacktop, where the sensor is located . . . I zipped down the window and hung my head out, gulping air like the family dog.


  1. Oh Leslie, Leslie Leslie. I do loves me some Leslie. I'm so tickled that you encouraged that woman to have the Steemers over to *#@+ up her Chinese cotton rug. It was the biggest laugh I've had in weeks. I'm a person who NEVER loses her temper. I like to tell people it takes about 12 years to piss me off. It's the number of years I was married twice and the number of years I had a relationship with The King Of Narcissism. - BUT - the other day, after enduring the stress of my mom's hospital stay and having her put in Hospice Care, I went off on someone. It felt SOooo good. I pulled up in the circular drive-way at 'The Home.' I unloaded the wheelchair from the trunk, wrenching my back slightly, I carefully accompanied Mom up to her room and got her settled. An administrator came to the room and said some man was laying on his horn because he wanted me to move my car. I had a right to be there. This elderly man was being unreasonable. I had determined I would ignore him, but when I got in the car, he decided he needed to lay on his horn again to let me know how irritated he was. I jumped out of the car and ran back to his window. I said, "I'm sorry if I'm in your way, but I just got my Mom out of the hospital. She may be dying. I'm hoping that getting this upset doesn't cause you to have a stroke. And by the way, if you couldn't manage to back out of this circular driveway, you shouldn't be driving." I know, I know, it doesn't seem like I lost my temper, but ordinarily I wouldn't even do this, but I had had it and the steam had to go somewhere.

    I'm no economics whiz either. I did the same thing as you when I heard about Keynesian Economics from the bailout. I googled it. That makes the 2 of us more knowledgeable than the general public.

    Please don't ever apologize again for being good at what you do. It doesn't come off braggerly. It suits you.

  2. @ Kass ~ I love you, Kass. You understand what I'm about and you treat me well anyway. Thank you.

    Good for you for going off on the old man! Although I've written a few times on the blog about going off, it should be understood that this is new behavior for me. I've had an uneasy relationship with anger all my life. Most of the time, like you, I'm very level. Not easy to anger. But when I blow, it is all out of proportion - I'd probably do better to pop off more frequently and let the steam off in smaller doses. Some day when I am very brave, I am going to write about what I did with anger for 30 years, how it shaped me then and how it shaped the person I am now.

    Oh, Kass, YOU Googled it, too. I was suffering such angst, thinking, "Shit, I'm the only one who doesn't know this stuff." You know what? I think one reason we are not old ladies, despite our years, is that we continue to learn. We know how to find things out. I'm serious about this.

  3. You did fine with the it to the death. After reading you, it just occured to me that I might have assumed that the Cleveland economy also applied to the rest of the nation. So I applaud you for expanding my horizons.

    Some thoughts on Keynes. He believed you could jump start an economy through either government spending or tax cuts. Though conservatives disavowed Keynes throuhout the 1980s and beyond, they obviously cut taxes and increased goverment spending. Of course, it was tax cuts to the rich, which most people aren't, and military spending. Tax cuts to the rich just lets the rich get richer. Plus, for the past 30 years they've relied on the Social Security surplus to make up for the lost revenue, resulting in a massive transfer of wealth from the working-class and middle class to the very rich. Military spending would be a fine way to jump start the economy if we had a defense plant in every city like we did during World War II. But nowadays the defense industry is concentrated in just a few states. Of course, the congressmen from theose states are all hawks, as well they should be, as they benefit economically from a military buildup. But not the rest of us.

    15 years before he devised his famous theory, Keynes warned that the harsh reparations the victors of WWI had inflicted upon the Germans could destabilize the country and bring about a world depression. Guess what happened? Had they listened to Keynes then, Adolph Hitler might have remained a paper hanger.

  4. I love you both, too.
    Leslie we seem to be in sync somehow(see tomorrow's post). Two weeks ago I checked 2 books on economics though normally I'm not interested. Ron Paul's End the Fed and another, whose title I've forgotten already, about the crash two years ago and the Fed's part in it. I had heard of John Maynard Keynes but only as the name of a boat docked next to Slip F18, Bahia Mar, Fort Lauderdale FL. Home of the Busted Flush and another fine Irishman, Travis McGee.

  5. Les, that first sentence should be: "You did fine with the economics. I hope you do it again."

    After that, I wrote "My post is just something I dashed off quickly. I wouldn't defend it to the death."

    I think my comment was probably too long, and so the search engine or whatever decided to butcher the first paragraph.

  6. @ Tag ~ Sending that love right back in your direction - I always feel somehow connected with you, Tag. Kind of on the same wavelength and rhythm.

    I'm with you re: economics. It doesn't intrigue me, but I know I have to have some rudimentary understanding of it. And, boy howdy, I know how to learn stuff! ;~}

  7. @ Kirk ~ You are a study, Kirk. I've said it before and I'll say it now. Your grasp of things such as history and politics and, now, economics blows me away. If you were not so warm and human and endearing, I would be very intimidated by your superior knowledge. I a very glad to know you and to have you come here.

  8. OK, Les, I took an economics class when I was in high school, and I'm proud to say I got a C in it.

    Why does that fill me with pride?

    I was expecting an F.

    WV forta: What Laurence Welk built as a kid.

  9. @ Kirk ~ Ha, Kirk! See, you've got the goods. I told you that. Big Lawrence Welk fan, are you, my friend? I'd never have thought.

  10. Actually, I had a thing for the Lennon Sisters.

    See? We have something in common. We both like people with the last name Lennon (though the musical styles may differ a bit)

  11. @ Kirk ~ Love us some Lennons! Actually one of those four adorable girls would probably have appealed to any young boy.

  12. Lennons and Limes? Why am I not surprised. Cute as the ladies were I was a big fan of their Uncle Jimmy. Voice of the old Olympic Auditorium in LA where I became a of Wrestling star Mil Mascaras, while hating his nemesis Classiy Freddie Blassie. Ah the days of my youth. Squandered on wrestling and roller derby at the Olympic

  13. Roller Derby? Now there is a sport worth watching!

  14. Big fan, are you, Badge? I never knew.