Men Hate the “What are you thinking about?” Question

Men Hate the “What are you thinking about?” Question

Men hate the “What are you thinking about?” question. It is the ultimate battle of the sexes question. Having experienced the last 38 years as one belonging to the male gender, let’s just say I’ve picked up a few things about how my mind works and assume that that is how other male minds work as well . . . usually.

Men hate the “What are you thinking about?” question because we know it’s a test, and even if we’re implicitly told that it is not a test, we still know it’s a test. Sometimes we’ll attempt to confirm that we are thinking about the person who asked us that question. Sadly, we aren’t always believed when we give this answer. The thing is that this is literally the truth, due to how our brains have a tendency to work.

When men are asked, “What are you thinking about?” we instantly begin, regardless of what we were thinking about the second before, to think about the question itself and wonder why you are asking us that question.

See, we are thinking about you.

The question women really mean to ask is, “What were you thinking about just then?” because that would mean you want to know what we were thinking about prior to you asking the question. We figure this is what you probably mean, but we are a little more literal minded and chances are we’ll ruin the mood if we answer that question the way you intended it.

It’s not that we are thinking disgusting things, angry things, inappropriate things, things that make us smirk, or naughty things, well sometimes we are on those last two, but most of the time we not thinking of anything to evoke mushy feelings in that exact moment. Instead we are thinking of a very random topic that is vaguely related to the moment.

Here’s what I mean:

The other night after, you know, my sweetie-baby-cutie-pie-wifey-pooh and I were cuddling and she asked what I was thinking about. Of course my reply was her, but what I was really thinking about was playing basketball in the shower.

How is this possibly related to our prior activity? Simple, I was a little sweaty, which got me thinking about getting up and taking a shower after we cuddled a little longer. The thought of the shower got me thinking standing in the tub, the very tub that our two and a half year old nephew uses to take baths when he stays with us. We have all these toys that frequent the tub as a result and one of them is a little hoop with suction cups that you can stick on the wall. The hoop comes with three balls that float in the water and can be used to shoot into the hoop. It was a toy that I would have loved as a kid, but would still probably get a kick out of playing while taking a shower. And THAT is how I ended up thinking about playing basketball in the shower when my dear wife got around to asking me what I was thinking about.

You can see how the mood might have altered if I had answered that question honestly. And chances are most men are thinking of something as equally random as that when they are asked “THE” question. You can now see why we almost always choose not to answer the question honestly.

Most men know that women want a feeling/emotion filled answer. The trouble is that most men rarely think that way. We would love nothing more than to listen while the woman talks about their feelings and leave us to our obscurely connected thoughts about a seemingly random topic instead of being slapped out of thoughts by a question about what we are thinking, which you really don’t want us to answer honestly.

As much as men would love for the “What are you thinking about?” question to never be asked again, we know it’s just not going to happen. I would, however, ask that you don’t question us when we give you a loaded answer; because even if it sounds loaded or rehearsed, it’s going to be sweeter, more endearing, and a hell of a lot less random than the truth.

Note: Should you ask a man “What are you thinking about?” and he responds with, “Nothing” or “I don’t know” please do not pursue it. Chances are they were so caught off guard that you sprained their brain a little and they need a little while to reboot. Just take the lead and tell them what you were thinking about and ask if they agree. Changes are they will and they will love you that much more for not publicly calling them on it and just letting it go.

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: man rolling eyes, what are you thinking about, couple in bed, and man shrugging shoulders.

Copyright © 2012 Richard Timothy

3 Easy Steps to Accidentally Becoming a Facebook Stalker

3 Easy Steps to Accidentally Becoming a Facebook Stalker

Just like no one expects the Spanish Inquisition, no one really expects to find themselves in the middle of a Facebook stalking session until, “whala”, there you are. Here is my latest “accidental stalking” moment thanks to Facebook. Someone sent me a nice little message concerning my birthday. I was touched and flattered that this person, who had been reading my Smirks, took the time to send me a birthday message. Being that the message came via Facebook, there was a little link sitting there, taunting me to learn more about this person. So I took the plunge…

They were from the UK, in a relationship, and I was able to learn the names of all their siblings… I learned were they worked and soon I was clicking though photo’s of some birthday party they went to earlier this past year… it was like I was there. I even thought about commenting or liking some of the pictures… and that’s when it hit me… was I cyber stalking? I think I might have been, although I’m not exactly 100% sure what that means. So instead I opted to send them a message back and actually strike up a real conversation with them, instead of going around the middle person to obtain a bunch of information about, well, the middle person. Searching someone’s Facebook page to learn something about them sometimes seems a little like rummaging through someone’s garbage to learn things about them. Either way, they have no idea you are checking up on them.

This has happened more than once, on the rummaging through someone’s garbage, but the searching someone’s Facebook profile to learn about them without taking the time to connect with them so I can learn about them from them. Each time this happens I find myself thinking that Facebook is the Google of stalking, usually accidental stalking, but stalking none the less. I’m sure I’m not the only one and I’d bet most people never intended for any stalking to happen in the first place. I think it’s a bit inevitable though when your social media tool asks for certain information that is then displayed for all the world to see.

And they just keep coming up with tools and apps that make it easier and easier for people to accidentally find themselves participating in stalking activities, without realizing it until it’s too late… too late in the sense that when it happens you go, “Ohh, ick, I’m stalking.” Resulting in you running to the bathroom to take a shower and wash off that “suddenly stalking” feeling. So, I’ve taken a look at Facebook, and here are three steps that people do that can lead to unintentional Facebook stalking:

Step 1: Thinking “Interested In” means Anything
The “Interested In” information seems to confuse more people and give an overall wrong impression. It appears a lot of people use this as a sexuality meter. I’ve seen so many men who are married that will specify to the world that they are, in fact, interest in women, and vice versa with married women interested in only men.

If they really wanted to clear things up, why not make the options more specific about your interests in other people. What about “Interested In” options like:

  • Friendships with only people I already know
  • Friendships with strangers
  • Networking
  • Shagging with strangers
  • Shagging with people I wanted to shag in high school but never did
  • Swinging (and not in a playground kind of way)
  • Swinging (in the playground kind of way)

I think that would clear up a lot of confusion instead of simply giving you the option of men or women.

Step 2: Using the “Poke” Button
I have no idea what this button is for or why it exists. Does anyone know the point of this button? I mean apart from making adolescent teenage boys giggle every time they click on it. I will state that for the record, and to the best of my knowledge, I’ve never been a poker or pokie on Facebook.

Take away the adolescent giggly suggestive connotations associated with the word and let’s look at it from a literal perspective. When someone walks up to you and pokes you on the shoulder to get your attention. Does that bug you? It does me. I don’t like it and I don’t know anyone who does. I associate it with little kids trying to get my attention and they just keep poking me into annoyance. I mean it worked for me when I wanted attention as a little kid, it’s just that it turned out to be the wrong kind of attention.

Step 3: Blindly Clicking on the “(so and so) added new photos” Link from the News Feed
Statistically speaking, posting photos will get more views than anything else you can post on your wall, and thanks to the friendly little news feed, it tells all your friends every time you post a new photo. So how is this related to stalking?

Ok, so here’s what happened, I have an old college friend from years ago who is a Facebook friend, who I don’t think I’ve actually talked to yet since becoming friends on Facebook. Anyway, she went to the UK on holiday, which I had no idea of until I got a little news feed notice that she had posted photos of her trip. I’ve been to London and loved it, so I was a touch curious to see where she had gone. So, I clicked on the photos on my news feed… there were a few shots of her and her friends at Piccadilly Circus, a shot of her by the London Eye and one next to Big Ben. Now I don’t know about you, but I know that after visiting a place and returning home, when I see shows or photos of those places I always get excited and tell the person closest to me, “I’ve been there!” even if I don’t know that person.

I was saying that a lot to myself, since no one else was around. Eventually I went back to the friend’s page and noticed some new photos had been posted from the same trip. The first photo I clicked on turned out to be a “night out with the friends” picture. As the photos progressed so did the number of drinks on their table, but their smiles kept getting bigger even if their eyes began to disappear more and more behind closed lids. Then, as I clicked next, a picture came up of one of her friends on a beach in Spain. A few more clicks and I realized my friend was not in any of the Spain photos. That realization accompanied with the fact I was not terribly interested in seeing any more photos of men in Speedos on a beach in Spain moved me to click out of the photo album and back to the profile.

That is when I realized that the set of photos I was looking at was a result of her friend tagging her in her friends set of “Trip to Europe” photos she had just posted. I had been perusing through the photo album of some lady I had never met and was not even friends with… and that was when I had that, “Eww, I’m stalking on Facebook” moment again. I didn’t mean too, it just sort of happened… stupid Facebook and its ploy (that I just made up) to turn the world into a race of virtual stalkers.

My (Not So) Honorable Mention: The Stalking Apps
Now this is not an app that allows you to tack up stalkings along a virtual fireplace… but I’m sure there is some kind of fireplace stalking decoration app for the iPhone somewhere in their store… and if there isn’t, there will be soon. No, what I am referring to is an app that a friend of mine showed me on his iPhone where you enter your location and it goes on Facebook and gives an update as to where you are and who is with you… allowing people to cross that line from accidental virtual stalker into an active real life stalker where you actually get out of the house, drive across town, and see the stalkie in person and you can even get a map to the stalking location simply by clicking on the link of the location that the app automatically puts on your Facebook page.

On the plus side, whenever I see a post like this on Facebook, I never have the urge to run out of the house and head to the location my friend is at so I can stage a surprise chance meeting. So, at least I have that going for me. I suppose the most important aspect of all of this is that it remains accidental. The concern begins when you go out of your way to stalk on purpose. Even if someone is in the limelight I think there is a very small yet distinct step between a fan and a stalker… I believe it’s called a restraining order.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on this. Have you noticed any additional accidental stalking options that Facebook recommends to its users? Please feel free to share.

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: Facebook stalking, interested in Facebook option, Facebook poke, Facebook news feed.

Where the Smirk have I Been?

Where the Smirk have I Been?

I’ve been getting a few messages here and there about my decline in the number of Smirks I’ve been releasing lately… have you ever had a conversation in your head where you explain what is going to be happening and then you think you already had that conversation with someone that needed to know the information, but in reality you never did? So yeah, my mistake… sorry about that.

It was a result of the conference I went to in DC, out of the days and days of jammed packed information they shared with everyone there, the one thing that I put in my pocket and brought home with me to make a change was, “make a decision, and then stick to it.” I have an ever growing list of things that I want to write about, or do, or both.

I had felt myself getting spread a little thin, a lot like butter on toast for someone on a cholesterol free diet. With everything I wanted to do I tried to do as much as possible, an hour on one project, a few hours on my writing and recording Smirks, working on the novel, trying to decide which novel to work on, researching ways to share my writing with more people, hours getting Smirks rewritten into stories for submissions, so one and so forth. The thing was I had a lot to do and was working like crazy, but was making little to no progress in anything at all.

So the “make a decision” statement, be it simple and obvious, struck me as quite profound because that was the one thing I hadn’t done. Making a decision to do everything essentially became making a decision to not get anything done, at least for me. So I refocused, what was the one thing I wanted most of all in 2011… my novel to be a reality that I could share with those interested in reading. Once I got home, that is the direction I began writing. I’ve had a few people review volume one of my series and gave me some brilliant feedback, which has been the direction I’ve been taking the book… I’d like to think that rewrite number five is the charm.

The thing is it’s time for me to be done with volume one so I can get working on volume 2, or some of the other stories I have already outlined, or compiling my Smirks into a 2009 and 2010 collections, or… well you get the point. So I chose to limit the time I spent on my Smirks, making the novel my first priority until it is complete. This explains why my Smirks have declined to once (maybe twice a week), and will probably remain that way for a bit longer.

I have no plans on stopping my Smirks, it is something that I love completely. I do have to say that when I initially started it was because I wanted to share something that would make others smile and possibly laugh out loud to themselves. The thing I received that I didn’t expect was the exchange that it has become, the comments that people leave either on the blog, or on Facebook, or messages that are sent to me, they are stories from readers who have their own story related to the topic I Smirked about. From these stories, I am getting the exact same thing in return that I wanted to accomplish with my stories… I am given stories that make me smile and even get me laughing out loud to myself.

So thanks for reading and more than that, thanks for sharing. It’s been absolutely brilliant.

I think that covers it, a fair explanation of why your weekly dosage of Smirks has dwindled a tad. No worries though, they are still around and will be grazing here at least once a week. Cheers!

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: string around finger, surrounded by work, and laughing at computer.

Oh for the love of… Us

Oh for the love of… Us

Today is one of my favorite days of the year, and it really only started three years ago. Granted, three years ago it was on a Saturday instead of a Wednesday, but it was a perfect morning. The sun was out fulfilling its autumn obligation to lightly cook the tree leaves from a vibrant spring green to an nice crunchy golden brown. The house was a flurry of activity that required me to leave the house so certain preparations could take place. Things like my sweetie-baby-cutie-pie putting on a dress… that I wasn’t allowed to see, until later that day. Yes the twenty-second of September is mine and Angela’s anniversary… mostly.

The thing about our anniversary is that it’s a two parter, since we got married one month after our 5th year anniversary of being together. So whenever I tell people it’s our anniversary I double digit it, as in, “Today is our 8/3 anniversary.” My view is that our first five years together are just as substantial and relationship defining as our three years married.

The one thing that our wedding did was give us a date that we could put on napkins and margarita glasses, which we gave to friends and family as a reminder of the day we invited them to be there while we proclaimed our commitment, love, and vows to each other to life, the universe and everything. See our anniversary prior to that was a little ambiguous. It was the month of August, as opposed to a specific day in that month. This was because pinpointing when we officially became official was officially different for each of us. I went with the early part of the month, because I had already made up my mind that I was committed to her… trouble is I never conveyed this in words. So when she asked me at the later portion of the month if we were officially exclusive and together, I gave her a loving ‘well duh’ look and explained I thought that’s what we had been doing the past few weeks.

I know people say that communication is a very important tool for staying together, which is true. However, I feel it is equally important to point out that it’s just as important tool in discovering if you are actually together or not in the first place.

Did getting married change anything? Yes and no. My perspective was that a wedding would in no way change, enhance, or alter my commitment, love, and devotion to her, and it didn’t. But I will say that apart from adding “wifey-pooh” to her pet name “sweetie-baby-cutie-pie” there was something that was there that wasn’t before. I couldn’t explain it… I still can’t, but there was something new, or maybe it was always there and I just didn’t notice it before. Angela noticed it too… truth is she noticed it first, but she usually does… it’s one of those Angela things.

And just so there is not confusion on the matter, yes, she was the one that proposed. It’s not that I was opposed to marriage, it just that… well ok, it was that actually. I had no plans, goals, or needs to go through a man made ceremony that religious people claims means something that it doesn’t. And that is also used by some to change that bright red ‘don’t have sex’ light that had been glowing in their mind as long as they can remember, to a bright (Al) Green colored light that magically turned that what was a sin the day before into an acceptable and highly recommended way to spend an evening… morning… brunch… lunch… afternoon tea… well, you get the point.

I knew it was something Angela wanted though. Know why? Because she communicated it me. (See, again with that communication thing. Very, very helpful.) So I thought about it and what it would mean to her (because I didn’t see it meaning anything to me). I just wanted her to be happy. I eventually told her that too. And then one day, after she had gotten home from a three day event in California, and listening to a majority of the other women there explaining how their husbands had ‘let’ them come to the event, she walked up to me, gave me a kiss and said, “I think it’s time we start looking for a ring.” To which I retorted, “Ok.” And that was it, we were engaged.

I know it’s not terribly romantic… come to think of it, it’s not romantic in any way, shape, or form, but I think it worked out the only way if could for us. Plus, I love being able to tell her, “Thank you for asking me to marry you.” If you are married and have not said this before, or said it in a while, try it out. Hopefully saying it will make you as happy as it makes me. Of course you can switch it up a bit in the event that you were the asker as opposed to the askee. Still, give it a try. I hope it fits.

As for the wedding, it was one of the best parties I’ve ever been to, let alone thrown. And all of the credit for that goes to Angela, except the wine selection. I helped a great deal putting that together. The decorations were perfect. She had spent over a year planning, creating, and purchasing things that were on sale that she knew she’d use for the wedding, even if she wasn’t exactly sure how at the time of purchase. I knew that even though it was our wedding, it was her day. The thing about a wedding is that it’s commonly a day for the bride, and the mom’s. The men of a wedding cast are really just cute little penguin suited lawn ornaments that get to toast those who were there celebrating with them and look pretty as they waddle around in their uncomfortable suit. Oh and you get to kiss the beautiful bride every time people start making dinging noises using some utensil to lightly tap on the side of their glass, which was pretty cool. I’m a big fan of kissing my wife.

Since today is our official anniversary day, I started looking into what gift I could get her… no I am not waiting until the last minute, not completely. For our anniversary we are actually heading to Maui for a week, but that isn’t until the first week in October, so even those we have an anniversary getaway planned, it is going to be a little over a week until we get there. She was kind enough to warn me that she did get me a little something, so in repercussion I looked up to see what commemorates your eight year anniversary.

Apparently there are two lists now, the Tradition Gift List and the Modern Gift List, and just for the record, the Traditional Gift List sucks. For year one you have paper, year five is wood, and year eight is bronze or pottery. The Modern Gift list seems a bit more rewarding. Year one is clocks, year five is silverware, and year eight is linens or lace. Ok so maybe I didn’t pick the best examples. But in the Traditional list you only get diamonds on your 60th anniversary. On the Modern list you get diamonds for your 10th, 30th, and 60th anniversary. I do feel it is important to point out that these are suggestions and you do not have to follow them like ducklings following their mother across a country road. But if you need a suggestion, I think more people are going to be supportive of a list that suggests you give them diamonds at least three times in 60 years as opposed to just once.

So as part of my gift to my sweetie-baby-cutie-pie-wifey-pooh on our anniversary it to proclaim to the world, but mainly those of you reading, of my complete and total adoration and love for my wife, Angela. (This next bit is for her, but you are more than welcome to keep reading.)

To my best friend, my love, my Angela,
I know it’s a cliché, but I figure since we both love wine a fermented analogy would be quite fitting. The longer we’re together, the better my life gets. Our lives are affected by our surroundings, our moods, our feelings, the trees, the seasons, the sun and moon, and with each passing year the flavor of our life together, becomes richer, fuller, and better than I could have ever imagined. I love your infectious laugh that fills our home. I love your ability to sing Bon Jovi at the top of your lungs while playing Rock Band with our friends. I love your melting smile and endless capacity to be just goofy enough so that our time together is full, true, and cheerful. I love that a day does not go by without us telling the other how much we love them. I love your drive and determination to change the world for the better, and to help remind others how to believe in themselves and dream again. I know I say this often, and it’s because it is always true and always there in front me… you make this world more beautiful simply by being a part of it. I wuv you. I love you. And I am so incredibly in love with you. Thank you for asking me. Happy Anniversary!

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: happy day, anniversary, woman proposing, pottery, and I love you.

Write, right? The Writing Workshop Weekend

Write, right? The Writing Workshop Weekend

I know there was been some anticipation in regards to the hearing about the weekend that was the “writing workshop”. What did I learn? Was it worth it? Did I dress up as my favorite Muppet and come some tea with a bunch of strangers? Let me answer that last question first… (insert me giving a blank stare here). Ok, now that that’s taken care of, let’s move on and begin with the basics at the beginning. The workshop was on a Saturday and Sunday and was about 8 hours long, each of those days. Which means it was about 9 to 10 hours long because of all the hugging, kissing, hand shaking and picture taking that happened at the end of each day.

The workshop had a title that equated to writing and speaking and making a lot of money doing that. My cutie-baby-sweetie-pie had gotten me a ticket, hoping it would be useful for my writing and enable me to get a few contacts while I was there. Plus, I love her lots and lots. So when the prospect of spending a weekend with her during a weekend she would be out of town was presented to me how could I say no to that? I jumped on the wagon, saddled up the horses, found the lost sheep, lead the cattle home, and a whole slew of additional old west cowboy jargon that people use instead of just saying, “Yes, I’d love to go with you.” Because we were driving I knew it was going to be a long trip, but fortunately for me I’m very proficient at sleeping in moving vehicles… or parked vehicles for that matter. I can sleep almost anywhere is what I’m eluding there here.

I did have my apprehensions though. I know, I know, shame on me for setting up expectations beforehand. It was just that I had a feeling that not everything at the workshop was going to apply all that well to me and my creative writing topics. The thing was, I was right. The workshop felt very geared towards writing a self help themed book and not creative fiction. I mean some of the writing exercises were quite useful, plus there was some information that will be very helpful for writing my book proposal for when I start shopping for publishers. It’s just that a workshop for writing my own self help book wasn’t quite the writing style I am focused on.

There were a few… bonding exercises? I think that’s what you could classify them as. I think I kept doing them wrong though. I mean I would participate and met some wonderful people, it’s just our experiences were a little different and I wasn’t sure how to relate. Some of the stories were incredibly personal and intense too. Stories about growing up in hard times, or being abandoned at the hospital after they were born a few months premature, or having their father walk out on them when and their mom after they were born, or the struggle of spending a lifetime wanting children and never being able to have any, or stories of either physical or mental abuse, or both. Still out of all of that hardship, these people have risen out of that darkness to make a good life for themselves. It was a weekend of people writing the outline for their own personal VH1 Behind the Music episode and it was quite the experience. I just didn’t really have anything like that to share. Well, nothing that would be appreciated or understood that is.

One thing about the weekend was that I was able to partake from the cup of minority… or cups depending on how you look at it. I was one of the few pasty people there. It was a very diverse group and most of the people there were women. So right there are two of the minority tags I had for the weekend. Then there was the last minority cup I drank from, and it was probably the one I was the most unprepared for. I’m not exactly sure how to put this… do bluntly put, I was one of the very few non “praise Jesus” people there.

The room was full of avid believers who were very vocal about their support of deity in a “Yes Lord” kind of way. It was a lot of fun to be around their energy, and the presenter definitely knew their audience. They started hyping up the whole god angle in their presentations and processes. I can’t say I blame them. Presenting to a group is about knowing your audience and when you get a surge of excitement, and audience interaction every time you mention the word “god” you are going to milk that word for all its worth. This resulted in the room being filled with vocal exclamations and phrases such as, “Yes!” “That’s right!” “Amen.” “Mmm.” “Yes Ma’am.” “Tell it sister!” “You go girl.” and even one, “We’re preaching now!”

There was even a reverend in the group and not a me kind of reverend, but the kind that actually preaches at services every Sunday. Oddly, this meant that the presenters did their best not to offend the clergy in the audience. In a weird way he became the buffer for acceptable topics, whether he wanted to be that judge and jury or not. There was even one point where a presenter made a bit of a joke in regards to sleeping with a wealthy man, and then retracted the joke instantly apologizing to the reverend and confirming to him that she was kidding and, “I really didn’t say that to him reverend.” It was too bad too, because I thought it was rather funny.

So based on all of that, and based on my perspective on the topic of religion, I spent as much time as possible smiling quietly and not saying a word. I couldn’t even share what my novel was about with any of them, because I was fairly certain that they would not only not get it, but express a lack of appreciation for me being there. I wasn’t concerned that they would beat me with sticks or anything like that. They were all very nice people. It’s just that, well, I think if I were on Survivor, that little bit of information would have easily been enough to have me be the first one voted off the island.

There was one thing that happened that did make me giggle though. There was a moment when people were sharing in front of the class and someone chose to use a religious reference to convey the point they were trying to make. They explained that, “… just as it says in the bible, give a man fish and you will feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and he can feed himself for a lifetime.” It was very fitting for the point they were trying to make, the problem was, as one of my road trip friends pointed out to me, that quote is nowhere in the bible. It’s actually a Chinese proverb. Yeah, I still smile when I think about that.

So, was I disappointed I went? No, not at all… mostly no… let’s say about 85 to 90% not disappointed. I did meet some amazing and beautiful people, and heard some true stories that I’d never believe were true had I not met the person sharing their story. I also saw some huge transformations happened for a few people there. There are some people there that will never be the same, but in a good way. I did have to do a lot of on the spot translation to work out if what they were sharing would apply to a satire novel. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t. Still, there were a few technical bits and shared information that were definitely useful once I get to that point.

I even wrote an outline for a book I may at some point in my life write. I had been playing with the idea for a book based on some personal experiences and perspectives I’ve accrued during my life. Turns out the original story idea could easily be split into two different books instead of just one. So I did get some clarity on that and a scattered outline for that distant time when I’m ready to write a new type of story. I do still have four or five books to either start and finish, or just finish, until I get there though. So, you know, at least I have that going for me. I guess that means I should probably stop writing so I can get writing. I’m a bit of a conundrum that way.

What are your thoughts on today’s Smirk?

Image Sources:
Google Images, key words: writing workshop, red wagon, diversity, man with fish, and book idea.

Write, right? The Writing Workshop Weekend

Roads Trips, Both Fun and Educational

I’d like to say that this past weekend was a road trip, but I’m not sure it was, even though I spent 4 days on the road, and I don’t mean that in the Kerouacian way. It was fun. It was also very exhausting, a little uncomfortable, highly butt numbing, but still fun. I equate that to the company I was traveling with. You want some random relationship advice? When you meet someone you rather fancy and you are deciding on whether you want to take it to the next level or not, go on a road trip with them. The driving time should be a minimum of 10 hours to your destination and 10 hours back. If you still fancy them, or even mildly like them. It’s worth moving forward.

The reason I don’t really consider the trip a road trip is the adherence to a schedule and destination. I’ve always looked at road trips being 99% about the journey and 1% about the destination, which was not the case this past weekend. Our trip was predominantly about the destinations. Still there were a few things that did fall into the realm of the road trip.

I’m not sure why it is, but there are levels of trust and acceptance that happen on a trip of this caliber. These processes may seem insignificant, but there is something incredibly bonding about them. The first of these two steps happened maybe 6 to 8 hours into the trip. It was subtle and innocent and placed very properly at the end of a sentence. It was the first burp of trip.

Yeah, I don’t get it either. Being of the male persuasion, burping is a, well, a rite of manhood. Learning to burp the alphabet is how the team leader of kickball was decided during recess. He that could burp it the fastest got to pick first. I dare venture to say that this necessary function is viewed with a bit more reserve by your average woman.

It was impressive to notice the air lift in the car when the first burp accidentally escaped. It was that sigh of relief that the bond of friendship between everyone in the car had now reached the “burping is an acceptable activity to do around these people” step of road trip etiquette. Another thing I learned, in the confines of a small vehicle where the burp bonding portion of the trip is engaged, women find burping just as funny as men do. The key thing to point out is that these are unsolicited burps, meaning mostly accidental… which means people start drinking soda instead of water to make sure they have the opportunity to make their contribution to the burp bonding that is now in full stride. Cheers and congratulations are also implemented at this point. If a burp is expelled with purpose, volume, and vibrato the others, after the laughter has subsided, offer their verbal support with a “oh nice one”, “well done”, or “nice push.”

There is a natural progression to this venue of trust, openness, and bonding. There is something inherently accepting about arriving to that stage of comfort to allow your body to perform a very natural and necessary process of human existence. The pungent bodily produced aroma therapy designed for release and traditionally lit on fire by males ranging between 13 to 24 years of age is one of those defining moments in a relationship. Men commonly slip open first, but when a woman finally reaches that level where she can pass wind in front of a guy when she really has to let it out… let’s just say if you are not already living together, get ready to have that conversation.

Does that mean that windows were strategically rolled down and back up a minute later during our trip? Here’s what I can tell you about that… maybe. But, and this next bit is just for the guys, I did learn something about the female mind that I had no idea of until this trip. It’s a girl thing that I had never heard of before, but apparently, women are very conscious and weary about using your toilet early in the relationship. It‘s a very real relationship marker when a woman feels comfortable to finally use your lavatory. Who knew! Well obviously they did, but now we do too. It’s like finding out a secret that you were never supposed to know, like it was a Roswell aliens that were responsible for the assassination of JFK. Sure it’s a mute point to most men, but it’s also oddly fascinating.

I do have to say that the core road trip element of the entire trip occurred in Vegas, namely at Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s is the store that Whole Foods wishes it could be, but is just a little too posh and insincere to ever become. There is one key element concerning Trader Joe’s and it can be summed up in one word… wine. Cheap, yummy wine… ok so let’s make that three words.

Utah liquor laws are mostly silly, with a hint or two of mind lobotomizingly stupid. What does this mean? Easy, bootlegging! The art of smuggling alcohol across state lines to assist the never ending urge to completely fill your wine rack at home. I’m not sure why, but the true road trip framework always seems to have an illegal or walking the line of illegal element associated with it. Bootlegging wine from Nevada to Utah was our truly road trippian moment, and it was worth it! I had a glass of one tonight. Besides, it was only one case of wine. I very conservative run based on my bootlegging batting average.

The trip did result in me getting to know two friends a lot better. It was wonderful, and it left me loving my wife more that I did before we started the trip. But she’s one of those people that you can’t help but love more and more every day. So it really was a challenge or a surprise. All in all though, it was a grand and immensely successful trip.

Any road trip insights you care to share?

Image Sources:
Google Images, key words: road trips, burping, farting, and bootlegging.