Saturday, February 10, 2018

Dirty Klondry and other topics

APTAIN Midnight has returned from his overnight Klondike camping trip with the Boy Sprouts. Since this particular event is all about winter camping, he spent a lot of time next to the fire, trying to stay warm. As a result, pretty much everything that came home with him -- clothes, shoes, sleeping bag, tent, even the car -- smells strongly of campfire smoke. So it's Laundry Faerie time! I kept the washer open for the funky Klondike laundry (Klondry?) that I knew was coming, and have run a couple of batches already, using some brand-new (to me) laundry detergent that smells heavenly (especially when compared to the vaguely finnan-haddie scent the clothes had going in).

New detergent is a very small way of changing things up a bit. It's very easy to fall into a well-worn rut of doing the same things in the same way every day -- say, parking in the same stall in the lot at work, or taking a shower with the same brand of soap, or doing the household chores the same way. When I was a teenager I used to fear the banality of adult life would overwhelm me and swallow me whole, which it has not done for the most part because I have made the occasional effort to change things up -- parking a significant distance away and walking in, drawing a hot bath and sprinkling rose-scented powder into it, Benny-and-Jooning my chores so they're a little more fun to accomplish. These are small things, but they make surprisingly significant differences in the quality of one's day.

I've been thinking about a number of topics recently, including rejection. People handle being rejected in very different ways. My mother, for instance, doesn't usually take rejection sitting down. Her mother-in-law did not like her at first, and made no bones about expressing her feelings on the subject in a number of mean ways. So Mom worked for some 44 years to try to win her over. My grandma was a stubborn woman, but she eventually capitulated to Mom's campaign of love and patience. The way Mom figured, she was joining her mother-in-law's family, and family is forever, so she didn't just get to write off her in-laws as hopeless.

Me, I'm different from my mom, not anywhere near as tenacious. I've been rejected, often and sometimes in vigorously personal ways, over the course of my life -- everything from "I just don't think I like you" to "look, it's not your fault we have to dance together, but don't touch me" (a painful comment by my fifth-grade crush) to a number of people who have categorically rejected me over my weight. And I've come to the conclusion that it's not worth my time and effort to try to convince people to like me. If you make it clear that you enjoy spending time with me, I will deeply appreciate and happily reciprocate the attention. But if you show me by words and actions that you're not interested in being my friend, I will vanish completely from your life. (Hey, it's one of those things laundry faeries do.)

How do you handle rejection, especially if it feels personal?

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