The Year Got Rung

I woke up the morning of January 1, thrilled to be on this beautiful earth, and so grateful that 2017 was a fine year and looking forward to 2018 being the best year yet. Happily I was having my coffee, looking out onto the frigid yet beautiful view from where I write…musing…”God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world!…” You’d think, right?

Well, it was true until a couple of people in my life, not necessarily close people, but people I must deal with, started to infiltrate my euphoria…the buzz kill was about to begin. And, in the time in which we now find ourselves, always plugged in, the invasion is that much harder to stave off. Do I have to end up like the guy in The Omen who shuts off his electricity, wallpapers his apartment with newspaper clippings, and seals himself in?

I don’t know, maybe it’s the full moon. But part of the day was vexing. Inconsiderate behavior — one of my least favorite things. By early afternoon I had put the matter in the proper perspective, and pretty much didn’t care anymore. Blithely, I went about the remainder of my day.

Until about 9:15 the next morning. It’s all minor stuff, but I’m territorial when it comes to my peace being disturbed. I was contacted by email by same persons. When I tried to call them: unreachable, can’t talk, in meetings all day, yada, yada, yada. Sure. I consulted a friend who gave me good input, and moved on to other things. Later, I realized I hadn’t addressed the issue. So I started to compose an email that would be fair, polite, balanced – whatever, because God forbid anyone’s feelings gets hurt! I found myself agonizing over word choice and I stopped. I thought,  “Why do I even care about this?” I hopped over to here – Phantom Noise –  and slammed this out. My inclination is to not do anything, which is usually the best course of inaction. I am fairly sure I’m never going to be right with these people anyway.

That’s it. The big drama. A friend of mine says, “The smaller the stakes, the bigger the drama.” How true. So instead of thinking this is the tone of 2018, I’m decreeing it was annoying, and if that’s the worst – then I’ll take it and we got it out of the way.

Happy 2018! For real.

Clare Irwin

The Cessation of Smoking and Other Proposed Resolutions

First off Happy New Year everyone! May it be healthy, prosperous and joyous. I hope all of you enjoyed the festivities. Where I live the roads and stores were unusually quiet today. People must be sleeping in, recovering from too much fun, watching football, etc. I’m not big on resolutions, but I do like some variations on the theme. My church has a service on New Year’s Eve where we right down the things we wish to let go of and the slips of paper are placed in a burning bowl. I also find appealing the idea of intention, thinking and visualizing a happier year, a happier tomorrow.

I have been toying with the idea of stopping smoking. I know! It’s bad! Terrible and no one should do it! Ever! I don’t smoke much at all, one really can’t since there aren’t many places that it’s allowed. I stop and start. In the past I haven’t had any trouble quitting. This last stint started when I was spending time overseas in a country where it’s allowed everywhere — even that’s changing. Now it’s time to quit again, but I’m not sure why this time around I feel a mild trepidation. I’m probably overthinking it. One friend, who was never a smoker, and I think privately sees herself as a bit of a psychology expert, asked me in a super serious hushed tone, “Why do you think you smoke?” Because I like it.

It’s that simple! Even Freud said sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. I’ve been given an assortment of advice from former smokers: chew nicotine gum (revolting), stop cold turkey, stop gradually (impossible), take Chantix (the side effects are alarming), and so on. Once again my friend Will offers some amusing advice. We were talking about it, and I have to admit that my first reason for quitting was monetary. I calculated how much it costs if I average out how many packs I purchase in a year. I mean it’s a lot of money! Will nodded understandingly and said, “The main reason I stopped smoking was because I could afford to drink more.” (!) His advice was to stop. Just stop. He also suggested getting Trader Joe’s tea tree toothpicks in cinnamon flavor and chew on those. It sounds like a good idea, but how is that going to look? Do I have to do that in private? Otherwise I look like some old guy in a movie about the Mafia. Will’s other advice: crème brulee lattes from Dunkin Donuts. I had one and it was delicious, but it wound me up for hours. My favorite parting words of wisdom from Will were, “You may want to stay away from people for the first few days.”

Clare Irwin