(this is annie)

Regrets? I've had a few.

For the most part, I regret things I didn't do more than things I did do. Looking back, there are so many things I wish I had tried while I had the chance. For instance, as a kid I loved to act. I was a huge ham who loved to sing and perform, and I envisioned a future in which I would become a famous star who'd inspire the world. Except it wasn't a dream as much as something I just assumed would happen. Destiny!

Slowly, though, I allowed doubts to chip away at my confidence. I didn't get a part in the high school play, so I never tried out for one again. Instead, I worked as an usher and watched other students belt out Julie Andrews tunes. In college, I wanted to try again, and I even spent 10 minutes looking at a sign-up sheet for tryouts before deciding that I'd probably embarrass myself. Looking back, I wish I'd just gone for it, because it is better to try and fail than to not try at all. Sometimes you even try and succeed.

The older I get, the more I try to learn from my failures, particularly the most spectacular ones (of which there are many). Part of this involves looking at my own behaviors and how they contributed to the success or failure of any given event. This isn't about flogging myself; it's about recognizing habits that are causing the same kinds of trouble over and over. Essentially, I feel the need to take responsibility for my action (or inaction) instead of being all woe-is-me. Don't get me wrong, sometimes me is woe. But if I don't identify my part in allowing said woe to develop, it will keep happening until I learn my lesson.

One thing I regret is all the time I wasted on people who do not give a rat's ass about me. Call it crapathy: a blend of lousy behavior and indifference. While it's not my fault that I initially got served that sort of shit sandwich, it is my fault that I kept asking for more, treating the crapathetic person like a Old Country Buffet of jerkiness. I need to learn how to send the sandwich back immediately and say, "Waiter? This is not what I ordered, and I will not be having it." (I know buffet places don't have waiters, but let me have my buffet joke.)

It is easy to spot obvious assclowns, which is why they don't wriggle into my life in the first place. The task is to become an expert at spotting stealth assclowns. New rule: Stealth assclowns don't get a pass, even if they don't mean to be awful. Because the end result is still me feeling bad because of their crapathy, and that makes them no better than obvious assclowns. Maybe it even makes them worse, because they don't even see what they're doing. My life is hereby declared an assclown-free zone. No exceptions! Now I just need to enforce that decree, which I'm sure will be just as simple as typing those words was.

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My Muni hero

After this past weekend's transit cutbacks, I should have known better than to count on a normal commute. In fact, I had an odd impulse telling me to take the more roundabout way to work. Instead, I took my usual route and paid for it in a couple of ways.

I waited for the train for about half an hour, which made my foot ache, which put me in a mildly crabby mood. (Also, when Muni makes me late, especially after I've made an effort to leave early, I worry that my boss is going to deem it a dog-ate-my-homework excuse.) Anyway, the train finally came. Boarding the train is embarrassing because I kinda have to pull myself aboard; the steps are too high for me to crawl aboard normally. Most of the time, people either politely pretend not to notice my graspy struggle, or they immediately offer assistance. Either is fine by me.

Because this morning's train was late, it was packed, and there were no seats. Nobody offered his or hers to me, so I thought, "Well, A, you're going to have to stand." A middle-aged man dressed in pricey wools and silks (Brooks Brothers?) and sporting a boring but expensive haircut sat in the seat directly in front of me. He looked like a wealthy businessman, and because of my irrational distrust of tweed, I imagined him to be the kind of person who donates to anti-choice political candidates. I was hoping to make eye contact and whip out some Guilt Face, but he was engrossed in The Economist. Oh well.

Next to me, standing: Youngish guy reading Martin Amis. About a minute into the ride, he crouched down to be closer to Mr. Economist.

"Excuse me, sir," he said politely.

Mr. Economist looked up at him slowly, without expression.

"I was wondering if you might give your seat to this woman," Martin Amis continued.

Slight eye movement toward me. Back to Amis with a blank stare.

"...because, see, she's in a cast..."

Cold glare at Amis, lips pressed together.

"...and perhaps it might be easier for her to sit?"

Mr. Economist simply gave an icy stare to Martin Amis and didn't say a word. The entire car was watching this tension unfold until a woman stood up. "Hon," she called to me. "You sit down." She insisted. So I sat and thanked her profusely, and I thanked Martin Amis for being so kind.

At that point, Mr. Economist's steely glare was reflected on him tenfold. "Aren't there any more gentlemen in the world?" one woman asked pointedly.

"Well, there's at least one on this train," I said. (MY HERO! Seriously, that dude could have picked up so many phone numbers on that train.)

During the rest of the ride, Mr. Economist stared at his magazine while the rest of us had a whole commuter-solidarity thing going on. The woman who'd given up her seat later regained it, and we had a pleasant conversation. Everyone smiled at Martin Amis, and you could tell he felt rewarded by his show of gallantry. Shortly before my stop, a different woman sat down and spilled her coffee. I held the half-empty cup and her purse while she cleaned herself off, and then we talked about broken bones. (She'd broken her collarbone last year.)

It was train camaraderie, us against the jackass. Ultimately, I felt sorry for that bitter little man. Because while he sat in his seat, he had to hear other passengers create connections. In the end, it all turned out well, even if I wound up late for work.

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say hello

    it's anniet at gmail.


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