October 24, 2012

Mental

I have been feeling a little thinner lately, and wondered if I was slimming down a bit without realizing. I started working it a little, even, feeling extra cute and doing a little more sashaying. I finally checked the scale yesterday morning, and I'm up five pounds. Now I feel plumper. I've had the opposite experience, too: feeling really dumpy, SURE I've gained at LEAST five pounds---and then I weigh, and I'm actually down five pounds, and then I feel like I can DEFINITELY tell I'm thinner.

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We rearranged our kitchen a bit, and now we have a little more counter space but also my coffee maker is more difficult to get to. This morning I was wondering why I have felt SO tired and draggy and motivationless recently---and then I realized I haven't had coffee for three or four days, not since we rearranged things. That slight change in coffee pot location made me (1) stop drinking coffee and (2) not realize it.

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I have made a mental note: if I am ever in charge of a group of volunteers, I am not going to spin the volunteer tasks as "FUN!!!" and "EXCITING!!" It gives me flashbacks to teachers in school instructing us to "Have FUN" with an assignment. "Just PLAY with it! Have FUN with it!" No. This is not fun. Let's add the word fun with our vocabulary list, since not all of us here seem to understand the definition. And yet I find myself tempted to say the same thing when helping one of the kids with an assignment: "Just PLAY with it a little! Make it more FUN! Don't make it into such a GRUELING TASK!" Nice. That'll work.

A more recent example is a volunteer "opportunity" I am participating in. I signed up for this on purpose; I am glad to help out for free with the work that needs to be done. But it is WORK. It is NOT FUN. It is CERTAINLY not "The Great [Type of Work] Adventure of 2012!!!" as the PTA officer is currently referring to it, in what I always assume is a voice that could be described as "chirpy." It's all email, so I don't know for sure. Maybe she's using more of a Daria voice. Maybe I could READ it in a Daria voice to improve it.

Acting as if the work is fun diminishes the contribution people are making. I am doing WORK, and I want CREDIT for doing work. I don't want anyone pretending that this is a PARTY and that we are ENJOYING ourselves. I find elements of it satisfying or else I wouldn't do it, but I would never, ever, ever do this for fun. I do this to be HELPFUL and to DO MY SHARE. I am not PLAYING, I am BEING A GOOD CITIZEN.

Acting as if it's fun seems to be intended to make it fun, or to lighten the attitude. Instead, it becrappens the attitude: if someone tells me what a grand fun adventure this is, I find myself noticing how non-fun it in fact is, and wanting to point that out to them. If someone instead thanks me fervently for all this hard work I'm doing, I would find myself saying no, no, I didn't mind at all! It was fun! See? Attitude improvement! ...And kind of an argumentative personality, apparently, but WHATEVER. No more chirping about how work is fun, is the point here.

26 comments:

Melissa R. said...

Oh my yes! This is a HUGE deal to me! I am a dog walker. No, it's not "FUN"--it's a job! Like any other job. It has it's perks and ups and downs. I do about 7 walks a day, back to back. Timed and within certain hours of the day which don't always match up with where houses are located. So, yes, even dog walking can be stressful.
ANYWAY--my point is that there is one house where the owner always says to me (and don't even get me started on why I'm walking the dog and the owner is home and yes, I get that is not my place to complain about that)..."HAVE FUN on your walk!!!"
What I want to say is---this is my job. It really isn't "fun." This is my 5th walk of the day. I have 2 more after this. A job.

Sorry, a tad grouchy today.

I feel compelled to add that I do take great care of my dogs and we have nice walks but some days, I'm tired and the dogs have diarrhea and are out of control. So, "have fun!" really ticks me off.

K said...

I have definitely experienced that scale thing, like, "Gee, my pants fit great today, I bet I lost weight! *weighs self* Awesome, I am up 5 pounds and these pants are stretched out"
"Becrappens" is a great word, I want to use it in a sentence today

shin ae said...

I tend to read most things with the assumption that they are written with a certain amount of sarcasm. That way, I enjoy them more. However, I often feel disillusioned when I finally talk to people and find that they have far less of a sense of humor than I attributed to them.

el-e-e said...

BECRAPPENS!!!

Also add to the vocab list!

Charleen said...

Reading the email in a Daria voice is pretty much guaranteed to make it better.

Anne said...

I think you should read it in the voice of Ben Stein from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Thick with bored sarcasam.
(Is becrappens really a word? I want it to be. If I start using it will that make it a real word?)

Melospiza said...

I belatedly realized this summer that excessive emphasis on the GREATNESS of an OPPORTUNITY being presented to my kids so directly correlates with a) extra expensiveness and b) way way WAY more work that it can be said without even using sarcasm that "really fantastic great opportunity" means "really an incredible amount of extra work which we will also charge you for doing."

The term "fun" must have a similar extra meaning.

Anonymous said...

"Becrappens" is an AWESOME word! So useful in current circumstances too. Thank you.

Maggie said...

Ugh emails, flyers, requests for volunteers that describe everything as fun irritate me as much as when people tell me I should smile. I'll be in charge of my own facial expressions and make my own decisions about what is fun thanks.

When I was a room parent a few years ago, I phrased all of my volunteer requests in terms of helping the teacher. No fun was promised or even suggested, just acknowledgement that the teacher could use some help and would appreciate it. Didn't deter people from volunteering in the least.

Jenny said...

As far as I'm concerned -- I wasn't going to mention this, because it seemed kind of personal, and after all it's only my opinion -- that extra five pounds makes you look much cuter. And puts a little something extra in your sashay. Especially your butt, maybe. Or your ankles? Anyway, you look great from here (Washington state.) :)

Swistle said...

Jenny- *flaunts* *poses with model-like scowl*

Auntie G said...

This post dovetails nicely with Jonna's from today, about being okay with being average -- they both make me think that we first world, particularly US, citizens MAKE OUR OWN CRAZY with these ridiculous expectations for what our lives should be and how we should feel about what we do all the damn time. Sometimes EVERYONE has WORK to do! And sometimes that work SUCKS and is NOT FUN! Hooray - you are a human person! This is the real f*cking world, and it's fine and OMG DEAL WITH IT!!!!!

Thank YOU for all the work you put into an entertaining blog...which I hope is also often FUN for you to write, but which (to do it as well as you do)also takes a lot of WORK and attention. :)

Nicole said...

OH MAN. I do so much volunteer work for the school, and I never find it particularly fun. Sometimes it is less worklike, but it is always WORK. I mean, is explaining how to count money to a child at the book fair "fun"? Is photocopying and distributing 410 pieces of paper "fun"? NO IT IS NOT.

Jess said...

BECRAPPENS! YES!

rockygrace said...

Completely agree on the volunteer thing. DO NOT tell me it's fun. DO tell me "thank you", sincerely, for all the work I did. Or I'll not volunteer for you again.

I'm convinced that the non-profits who can't attract new volunteers are in that position because they never bother to thank the ones they already have.

G said...

When my family went to Disney with my in-laws, my husband and I had a code phrase for when we were trying not to bite someone's head off. We would look at each other and say, "Wheee!" in a very enthusiastic voice. This would cause us both to laugh and lighten our tension. (We still do it. And we will never, ever, go to Disney with my in-laws again.)

I always read emails that try to tell me that volunteer work is fun in that same voice.

The work is not fun. Sometimes, seeing the kids react to the work is fun. Sometimes, seeing the teacher's delight at how the work has improved her work life is fun. But the work itself? Is never fun. And I'm on the PTA board. (It's not fun.)

Swistle said...

rockygrace- I think you're right. I've been thinking of sending a note to our PTA (which is DESPERATE for volunteers, and which has completely cheesed me off to the point of almost making me never volunteer again) suggesting that they send follow-up surveys to volunteers for feedback.

Gigi said...

First of all, people who talk (or type) in a "chirpy" voice - irritate the hell out of me.

Two, move your coffee pot back to where it belongs. That will help with the "chirpy" people - not much. But a little bit.

Three, sashay away - whether you've gained or lost five pounds; because I think I read somewhere that sashaying is a great calorie burner.

Four, Becrappens is officially my new favorite word.

willikat said...

I love this post for many reasons, but number one is your reference to Daria and number two is the word "becrappens." Thank you.

velocibadgergirl said...

Between th Daria reference and "becrappens," I am on love with this post.

Moomoo said...

"becrappens"
Love it.

Tracy said...

"... it becrappens the attitude." So true. So funny.

Anonymous said...

Re: weight: Yes! Me too! That happens to me all the time!
Re: coffee: No, not me. I emerge zombie like from my bed & coffee is the bright spot on the horizon. No way I could just forget it.
Re: becrappens: Awesome new word. It is mine now.

d e v a n said...

I do not forget coffee. EVER.
The "fun" thing is so true... let's just call a spade a spade!

Lippy said...

Becrappens! Seriously, that is the perfect word for it.

Erica said...

I am so susceptible to attitude-becrappening.