The Bar is So Low

The Bar is So Low

I’m not looking for much.

Just someone that talks to me as much as he flirts with me. That wants me when I’m not there as much as he does when I am.

I’m really not looking for much.

I don’t need him to call me everyday. Or tell me about every person he plans to see.

Because I’m not looking for much.

I want him to care. To want to make me happy. To wonder what I think about something.

And I want to wonder what he thinks, too. To like more than being liked.

I don’t want much.

The bar is really very low.

For the stranger who comes along and tries.

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Relative Happiness

Yes, of course, happiness, like beauty, is all about the eye of the beholder and perception is objective, and blah blah blah. Tailor your expectations accordingly and the world is your oyster, or possibly  some other less slimy delicacy.

Not going to be blowing the lid off of that one today. Instead we are going to take a minute to discuss the happiness of your relatives. More importantly, how fickle and unimportant it is. Maybe don’t read this aloud at Thanksgiving.

Some of us have always been the type to try and make everyone around them happy. Some of us have been the type to make themselves happy and wait for everyone else to fall in line. With any luck both of these people grow up to realize that the people around you matter and should be treated with consideration, but no more or less than yourself. And now humanity is universally self-actualized. Or not.

 

Assuming a slim majority of us claw our way somewhere into the median spectrum, our work is not yet done. Even when we’ve determined how things should go the people closest to us always seem to present an exception. They aren’t ‘just anyone’. They deserve more time. Or you deserve more of theirs. Or they will forgive you because they have to. (This is not universally bad, and when your mother asks you for help, you do it.) When this throws the happiness scale out of balance its a problem, and its no way to treat people you care about.

Despite how tempting it can be to indulge our desires to control the feelings of loved ones we cannot take responsibility of anyone else’s happiness. That’s their job. We can try not to hurt them. We can empathize when someone else does. But sacrificing your own for theirs is only for married people. And sometimes your children (though their teachers would appreciate it if you told them no sometimes, just for the fun of it).

The pleasant shiny person you’re going to be when your happiness matters as much as everyone else’s will make them happier anyway. Maybe not right away. They’ll have got used to you being their emotional on call chef. But eventually, if they care about you too and see you truly happy, they will be happy too. And then you can skip and frolic and stuff.

You can take the girl out of the concert; but actually, you can’t.

While it’s surprising to everyone else when I go to intimate rock concerts by myself I couldn’t be more fine with it. I might go so far as to say it’s actually my thing. I haven’t been to a concert with another person since Jingle Ball 2004 with my dad (Jennifer Love Hewitt and Mariah Carey killed it). The truth is I do a whole lot of things on my own and tend to enjoy them more when I do.

I generally make friends with the bouncers and have a nice, cute and vulnerable vibe that has, more than once, resulted in a personal visit from band members (“Why yes, I’m fine, just don’t want to get caught up in the crowd” blink, blink “Yes I would like to hear your unreleased song in the green room”) Things didn’t go quite that swimmingly this evening, because of very silly responsible concerns like getting home safely, but I was compensated with a spontaneous Christmas jazz performance on the Northern Line. See previous post for further eruptions of Christmas spirit of this sort in London.

Unlike every other concert I’ve been to in my life this one was eighty percent grown men singing along like tweens to Taylor Swift which lended a unique and cool dynamic. And every one was extremely polite. No pushing, no yelling (except that which was encouraged by the band) and not one drink spilled by an unruly passerby. Oh, British people.

xcerts 2014

Everything about the concert was improved by the headliners, The Xcerts, being Scottish. They were also super engaged and grateful and happy to be there, which makes such a big difference. Taking the intimate show vibe one step further, the lead singer switched to an acoustic guitar and sang along with the audience with no mic. The adults shushed each other and we all had a little campfire moment.

Mirrored pillars in the venue lent some sexy mystery as you could covertly watch large beardy men singing along and bopping. Decently priced beer rounded things out nicely, but the highlight of the show was when, realizing everyone knew the words, the band said, “You sing, and I’ll be Tom Petty.” And we did.

Needless to say, I will be going to more concerts while I continue to live in a city. Maybe I’ll even let someone come with me.

Stuff Sick

Now that I am in the very throes of Autumn in London people have started to ask me if I’m homesick at all, if I miss where I came from. My first instinct, of course, is to look at them as if they have suddenly grown another head because we are standing in London when they ask me this. What is there to miss when you’re in the greatest city in the world?

But anytime you do something different and new there are always going to be things about what was old and the same that you do think might be nice to have from time to time. When I actually stopped to think about these things, for me, it really amounts to stuff. I miss the crap that wouldn’t fit in the suitcase. Not enough to fly home and get it. Or to even try to find a reasonable facsimile here, just enough for an “Aw, shucks” moment.

I’m in wild, passionate love with London and have no desire to be anywhere else, but these are the little things I kind of wish were here with me:

1. Mac and Cheese.

2. Driving. Not that I want to drive or park a car here, but the efficiency of tube, bus and feet will never be as much fun as driving.

3. In-N-Out burger and other food that is both delicious and genuinely cheap (damn you currency conversion)

burger

4. Mexican food. Made by Mexican people.

5. My jewelry box, and its contents, but mostly the box.

6. Having a living room. With a TV.

7.  My mommy (only sometimes) Umm, I mean, the beach, yeah, the beach is cool.

8. That one dress that I didn’t think I would need but would be totally perfect for this thing and is now uselessly sitting in a box 8,000 miles away.

9. Cake. And pie. And cookies. Brits think they know how to make these, but they are wrong.

10. Target. And really just the concept of going to one store to get all of your essentials. But, exercise is good, too, I hear.

Of course there are things that would make life just a bit more perfect, but that would be true no matter where I am. Also, I may or may not have chosen a few boxes of Mac and Cheese instead of that dress when it came to packing my suitcase, and that’s a decision I may or may not have to live with. And I can bake my own cookies and steal cars if I need to.