micromanaging travel people stories.

I have not edited or revised my story Emmaline. I don't know why; maybe it's the cheesy ending. Maybe it's the fact I can't get out of my day job until 5:00 pm at the earliest. Which is about an hour and a half better than last year--maybe next year I'll be able to leave by 4:00. Big plans, small steps.

I am writing right now: sitting at a computer, typing. Which means I *could* be revising Emmaline instead of typing randomly into the silent blogosphere. It is on my to-do list for today (revising Emmaline--typing randomly into the silent blogosphere was not). Along with meal menu planning, grocery store shopping, laundry and folding two baskets of laundry that have been sitting in my closet for 4 months. No, seriously. Four months, because laundry has been too much for me to handle (what hasn't been? Please add cleaning the kitchen, dusting, vacuuming, and toilets to this list. Of these five, toilets are the worst. I'm very tempted to go back to outhouses, and please know I type that with a very grave, serious face. Outhouses were a smelly but brilliant concept, and really only undoable in the dead of winter during a blizzard, which is when chamber pots came in handy) (I would not be able to handle chamber pots, by the way).

Really, I'm just here to write so I can keep my writing muscles conditioned, so if you have something to do (i.e., laundry to fold and put away, toilets to clean), may I gently urge you to click off this web page, shut down your computer, and go do it? Nothing worthwhile is about to happen here, and also I'm not feeling creative today so I really just have another list of random thoughts to share:

1-I can't imagine anything better in Life than people watching. Have you tried it? I like to watch people and try to figure out how they got from point A (babyhood) to point B (wherever I am watching them). Why does that old lady have a full arm sleeve of tattoos? When did she get them and why? Why is that lovely young couple sitting at the table across from me just staring sadly at their plates, not saying a word to each other? What happened? Where is that lady without pants on going with that big animal trap cage and long white blanket? Oh, there she is again! Where did the trap and blanket go? And where did she get the big maroon umbrella from? What just happened? Are the animals okay?!?

Story is everywhere.

I recently discovered this Facebook page: humans of new york. I think every city should have one (actually, there may be copy cat versions of this page for different cities worldwide all over Facebook, and I've just been too lazy to look for them). So many stories, and so many sweet human beings. And sad ones. It's my suspicion that even our most hardened criminals may have some sweet, sad life stories to tell. Even my 4 year old, who hasn't lived on the planet for long at all, has at least 4 sweet, sad life stories to tell (and she will tell them all to you, if you promise to take her on an outing to the park or somewhere).

2-I would like to take a trip. A Big Trip. I have never traveled outside the USA (Bahamas and Mexico don't count; they are too close), and I think it's incredibly important to travel outside of our confines and cultural comfort zones. Americans in particular, because we're such a huge country with so many travel-within-the-USA options--if you think about it, we really have a lot here: deserts, mountains (both rocky and green), beaches (tropical and rocky), many different kinds of forests, swamps, frozen tundra...I could go on. And we have 50 different states, each with their own sub-culture and personality. You could spend a lifetime just getting to know and see America.

But the planet is so vast, with so many different ways of life that are drastically different from the over-arcing common one we share here, and I would like to go see it; I think Minnesota would be a vastly different experience than what I'm used to here in Georgia, yet I wouldn't really be stretching my cultural comfort zone by going to Minnesota, would I? I could find a Starbucks there. And about 100 Wal-Marts, too (sadly).

I would like to visit somewhere in the world that has no idea what a Wal-Mart is. Or at least sit in a coffee shop in Mumbai and do some people watching. Or try to figure out someone's story in a restaurant in Italy. Or wonder about pants-less people wandering the streets of Argentina carrying animal traps around. Because I think humans all over the world are very similar at our core, but the why's may be vastly different, and I like that. Also, one of my big writer dreams is to write irreverent, off beat travel articles and I can't exactly do that if I just stick to one country (or, I suppose I can, but then I'm not stretching my cultural comfort zones and that's my point).

So, in typical insulated American style, of course I've decided to dip my toes into the world oceans by starting in the UK. They speak English there (mostly--sometimes I do need subtitles, and maybe a slang dictionary reference), and of course they have Prince Harry (thank you thank you, England!). My great great grandmother came from Wales, and I'd like to go there. And Scotland, because maybe I'll run into Gerard Butler or James McAvoy, and of course they have men in kilts there. Sometimes. And Ireland makes the best cheese and butter and stout beer ever.

What I'm saying is I'd like to stretch my cultural comfort zones, but in baby steps. I think Europe is a good place to start and then I'll be ready to stretch big and wide, with the intentions to end big--somewhere ancient and dangerous, like the the pyramids of Egypt. I hear it's dangerous in that part of the world now, and my prayer for them is that they are able to sort themselves out and my prayer for us is that we let them do that without forcing unsolicited advice or help onto them, because usually when America tries to sort other countries out without asking, "Hey, would you guys like a little help?" and then respecting them if they say, "Thanks, but no. We'd like to do it ourselves," they seem to end up hating us and it turns into just a big ol' mess and eventually some terrorist group forms and does something atrocious. In fact, I'm sure one reason the Middle East has to sort themselves out right now is because of our inability to not micromanage.

3-Micromanagers. Why? WHY??? I think if you feel the need to micromanage things or people, you've already lost the war. Forget the battle: you're drunk on power, and it's cost you the war. You're drunk, go home.

I need to fold and put away laundry and add food to the house (we have no food). And grade papers. Go deal with Emmaline's cheesy ending. Figure out how to budget for a trip overseas. Go find some interesting people to wonder about.

I'm so busy, yet I waste so much time. I should hire a micromanager to fix me, shouldn't I?

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