Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I just keep losing my beat

Highly structured people disturb me, but I have to admit that I have certain routines, definite patterns. They may not be as rigorous as some of your more Type A OCD folks out there; they are more of a fingerprint. It may seem like a mess of scribbling at first blush, but there is signal among all that noise. One nice thing about getting longer in the tooth is that you start to learn to recognize these patterns. You can even compensate to counteract them, if you are so inclined. Some of the time, I am. Other times, not so much.

Thing is, I have a tendency to befriend my foibles, perhaps because calling them foibles is disingenuous right from the start. I truly do believe that most of our faults are reversible. The bottleneck comes when we decide we actually like that which we are trying to change. What's with the vague, voice of experience nonsense? Sorry, my head was filled with hot air for a moment, obviously. I have a friend from NJ that used to say "What do you, have a mouse in your pocket?" whenever I said "Well, we thought ---."

Where was I? Cut me some slack. If I do not write something down for a few days, I forget how. That is one of my patterns. Another is my need to consume, quite literally, a bag of chocolate when I am studying. If I was not so against cancer sticks, I would probably take up smoking, because this is clearly some kind of nervous fixation sort of thing.

Yet another habit of mine is to treat a certain type of music the way some people treat macaroni cheese and mashed potatoes. Yes, I believe there is such a thing as comfort music. I do not mean soothing music; I am not thinking of something that is going to sound like a babbling brook, or is some sort of easy listening that plays in the background when the dentist is trying to make light of taking a drill to a tooth. I am talking about music that feels familiar but doesn't have a negative or positive memory associated with it. I am neither nostalgic, nor filled with melancholy. These types of songs mostly can be filed under classic rock in my case. Here are a few:
  • Somebody to Love by Queen
  • It's a long way to the top by AC/DC
  • American Girl by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
  • Down on the Corner by Creedence Clearwater Revival
... among many others- you get the general picture. By the way, if you don't like Queen, I really don't understand you.

Another one of my patterns is that stress in my life tends to amplify what usually annoys me only slightly. Because I have recognized this pattern, and because this is a particularly distasteful foible, I devised a counterstrategy over time. I find a quiet corner, and pull myself into it, a makeshift cocoon where I can do little damage. So, that's where I am right now, if anyone's looking. I will not come out a butterfly, but at least I will minimize the drama until I am ready to walk amongst the real world again.

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