Sunday, April 22, 2012

Laundry Lament

I have an irrational fear of doing laundry. To be clear, this is completely separate from my complete and utter revulsion towards doing laundry. I will discuss both here.

I initially use the term "irrational" to describe my fear of laundry because I don't think society would deem any fear of laundry rational. However, seeing as I have no desire to appease society any time soon, I submit it is a reasonable apprehension.

The following are my justifications:

1) I am horrified of a hidden red sock turning all my white stuff pink. First of all, let me just say that the chemistry behind what causes this to happen completely eludes me. I often wash completely white items with items that are mostly white but also contain colors, and no problems result. How can a completely red item ruin an entire wardrobe, but a red stripe on a white shirt be harmless? Surely they don't make different reds for different articles of clothing with this problem in mind! Thus I'm fairly certain this disaster never happens in real life. Plus, who owns red socks? And of those who do, who wears them?? However, seeing as this debacle occurs in the movies all the time, it must be real. The thought of at once losing about half of all the clothing I own scares my socks off, so to speak. Really, you'd pretty much have to go shopping immediately - white is the principle color of most clothing essentials! I daresay that every single person puts on at least one white article every morning when they get dressed, whether it be underwear or over-wear. What if you lost all of that in one fell swoop?! It's a frightening scenario that's solution of possibly temporarily sporting pink undies is one I'm not prepared to cope with.

2) Unlike unwelcome pink undies, shrinkage is a more bona fide concern when doing laundry. I often stand staring at the dial on the washing machine for minutes on end, trying to determine if the cold water option I am about to select to avoid shrinkage (this is confusing in and of itself, as the other kind of shrinkage only happens in cold water...) is really going to clean anything. There's no feeling much worse than trying on a great shirt at the store, finding it fits perfectly, purchasing it, wearing it one time, then pulling it out of the wash a child's small. And by the way, whenever an employee tells you it won't shrink, that's a lie. It will. No matter if it's 100% cotton, 50% polyester, 20% silk, 28% hydrogen, 17% oxygen, WHATEVER. There is always a washing condition out there that has the capability to shrink.

3) The diversity of washing instructions you find on clothing are so assorted that if everyone really followed them order by order, they would be forced to wash all of their items individually per different washer/dryer conditions. However, I can't help but worry when my favorite "tumble dry low" - labelled jeans are being violently tossed about in the regular cycle. When they come out unharmed, I find myself wanting to whisper to them, "I'm sorry. I will always wear you."

Resulting only from the hygienic need to have clean clothes, I am regularly capable of getting over these trepidations. Unfortunately, thoughts of fear are soon replaced by thoughts of "g- dammit.... I need to do laundry today."

The following are a few of many laundry-day annoyances:

1) More annoying than the act of washing clothes itself is putting them away after they're clean. It seems such an unnecessarily monotonous and recurring event...There must be conversations on laundry day between the tacky gift-items in your closet that you have never worn: a striped turtleneck says to a size xl turquoise t-shirt with "Mexico" plastered on the front,
                       "Hey, check this out. That blue Tommy Hilfiger polo shirt is back again."
                       "Again. Where do you think he goes every week?"
                       "I don't know, but he always smells good when he comes back."
Every once awhile, when I'm feeling particularly lazy, a pile of clean clothes travels around my room over several consecutive days. It stays on my bed until I need to sleep, then on my desk chair until I need to sit, then ends up on the floor before making it into my closet when I finally convince myself those clothes are on the brink of being dirtier now than they were when they went into the wash. I also seem to always be teetering on the edge of not owning enough hangars to occupy everything I want to hang up. I currently have a pile of "probably will never wear" clothes stowed away in a drawer, because in order to produce more hangars for important items I had to make sacrifices. Most likely, my collection of demoted clothing will grow before I ever purchase more hangars, partly because I have no idea where to buy hangars, but mostly because it just seems silly to spend money on such a thing.

2) Everyone has experienced the disappearing sock. Some like me hold on to a disturbingly large collection of singles, emptily hoping that their matches will someday reappear. How such a commonplace occurrence can remain such a mystery is fascinating. There has to be a sock colony somewhere, where runaways gather to recount their tales of escape, and where they hope to find a new partner who will forever wrap up in a ball with them, never to be forced onto a stinky foot again.

3) On laundry day, I usually dress like a hobo. This is because, to make sure I only have to do laundry once and only once a week, I refuse to dirty clothing that I might feel like wearing later that week. In fact, I have a laundry day outfit, consisting of a pair of shorts and shirt I would never wear in public. And when my laundry day outfit gets so greasy I have no other choice but to wash it along with the rest? Well, let's just say I make sure my roommate is out of the house on that day. Everyone has one outfit they can never take off...

My laundry cycle usually ends up coming full circle on Sundays, after frantically scrounging around my clean underwear drawer to no avail. It's then that I know I'm going to have to spend my day dejectedly wandering back and forth between laundry room and bedroom, lugging piles of clean and dirty clothing, wondering what's the worst that could happen if I delayed these activities past the wearing of my last clean pair of underwear...damn my hygienic ways.

Monday, April 9, 2012

LDM part 3: handshake horror

I need to know. I need to know who the first person was to deviate. I need to know so I can write them an angry letter. We had a perfectly easy, acceptable, traditional custom in place - you put your hand around someone else's, look them in the eye, and shake. Everyone knew it, everyone did it - it was conventional. Now: utter complexity. What the hell? Why not leave good enough alone!

Thanks to - someone - the hand shake is now another daily source of anxiety. I know I have to look terrified when someone approaches me for a greeting. My brain is completely consumed with trying to predict what kind of hand gymnastics I will need to perform. Will it be the fist bump? Will I extend an open hand only to attempt awkwardly slamming it closed at the last second when I realize the desire for knuckle-to-knuckle contact? Maybe I won't be able to close in time, and I will get a soft punch to the palm. Now I'm firmly grasping someone else's closed fist. That's embarrassing for me. But really, it should be embarrassing for them. Shake my hand like a normal person. If I wanted to punch you it wouldn't be softly and I surely wouldn't aim for your fist.

Then there's the high-five shake n' bump. You wind your arm back like you are going for a high-five, and when contact is made you slide your hand back before recoiling for a fist bump to end the maneuver. Most of the time, I'm again embarrassed as I grab the hand that is trying to slide away. How can I be blamed when I want to just shake someone's hand, then go on with my life? It's really not my fault you're still standing there knuckles out. The handshake isn't a multi-component system. I don't know how many times I've left a lonely fist in the dust, but guess what, I don't feel bad about it.

The newest trend is to is to do the high-five wind up, but instead of hand to hand contact it is a finger to finger grasping maneuver followed by a quick up-and-down pump and rapid pull-back. Yeah that makes sense. Something meant to be so inherently simple should not be so hard to describe. Herein lies the problem.

And then, of course, only slightly related but universally experienced is that delightfully graceful moment when one party expects a hug, and the other expects a shake. This screws up the rest of the interaction between the two, because one is now feeling under-appreciated, the other under-exuberant. How can the relationship go on? Seeing as hugging is just as conventional as shaking, I can't fathom any solutions, except establishing more clear relationship bounds with a person before ever attempting to greet them.

I'm realizing something interesting now, after writing all this. It seems that those who have experienced the phenomena I have (so very excruciatingly) detailed are part of a specific demographic. First of all, they are sex-limited. No, I'm not suggesting they need to go on more dates (or am I?), but that these hand shake alterations seem to be exclusively male-derived and practiced. The reason this baffles me is quite simple, but in the spirit of this post, I'll present it in a very complicated way: ask yourself which of the sexes is generally more complex, generating irrelevant and unnecessary figments often resulting in over-complication of downright simplicity. After thinking long and hard, see if your answer corresponds to the sex that has invented handshake horror. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't, depending on where your biases lie. But if it doesn't, you are correct.

These nonsensical greeting exercises also seem to be limited to younger generations. This gives me hope that whoever started the trends is still alive and out there somewhere, somewhere where postage can deliver my angry letters. I haven't seen too many grandpas running around fist bumping people, although I have started to notice some of these trends showing up in older communities. Literally everyone is starting to catch on, and it's horrible.

It's ridiculous that I am able to write so much about this LDM, so I am going to stop. I'll conclude with something that pertains to the ladies, since they didn't get much love in this post: if your gynecologist ever goes for a fist bump, get the hell out of there.

Sorry mom.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The best pie is humble

I consider myself a casual musician. I enjoy this role immensely, because I love music, and I love creating it. Plain and simple.

I am constantly inspired by people who are better than me. Here are some of those people, and a short description of why they are better.

                            As far as technicality goes, this guy is king. I dare you to try and find a mistake 
                            in this song. You won't, because Antoine Dufour does not make them. There must 
                            be something magical in that bandanna that makes him better than me.

                          Kyle Landry is just your average youtube phenom. He has uploaded 314 piano
                          videos, which is 313 more than I have. Does that make him 313x better than me?
                          At least. Don't let the fact he dresses like a homeless person fool you - this guy is

                          Not only is South Korea's Sungha Jung better than me now (as a 15 year old), 
                          but he has been better than me for awhile now. This young tyke already has two
                          full-length albums, has composed more than 20 original pieces, and tours

                           Tommy Emmanuel's abilities are beyond description. He is is arguably 
                           the best acoustic guitarist in the world. At least I can feel good about
                           the fact that he is better than every other person too, not just me.

                         Another man who gained his fame via youtube, Ronald Jenkees is a creative
                         maniac. Of course, it isn't hard these days to make music electronically, but
                         when someone does it like this they deserve credit. Ronald is better than me 
                         on keys, as well as on hat styles.

                         This is Andy Mckee, playing a Don Ross song. These men are both much 
                         better than me, and incidentally they both look eerily similar to my third 
                         grade bus driver. It's beyond the point, but necessary.