My first attempts at wielding Market Research were with my Dad.

"I got a 76 on my Math test, but the average was a 70!" or "Come onnnn, my friends are allowed to drive even though it snowed!" or "But her parents let her stay out late at a Superbowl party!"

He was a brick wall, impermeable and research-resistant. "Jen-o, I'm not that kid's Dad. I'm your Dad. And I'm telling you that I don't want you driving in the snow." Or "Jen-o, I don't care how the other people did. Did you do your best?"

It was never about me in comparison with anyone else; it was always about me in comparison to myself.

It's funny how you live your life and then suddenly you end up at a certain latitude and longitude on a day during your 28th year, remembering these moments with your Dad, these moments that shaped who you became. You think about how often you reach inside to find those parental lessons again, how much you struggle to focus on your own relationship instead of other people's or your own professional destiny instead of the latest hot shot writer. When I think about what John Keats accomplished in 25 years of life, I want to throw in the pen. When I read about people who made their first millions before they could legally drink, it's easy to ask myself: "Why haven't you done what they have?"

But then, that's not the point, is it? That's really quite the opposite of the point.

Truth be told, these grandiose themes of success have never served as benchmarks for me. The ability to stay focused on a day-to-day basis, to know when to tuck myself up and steamroll ahead towards my own successes despite my surroundings, that's more applicable. And much harder.


This morning I woke up to a bunch of tiny ant carcasses in the shower. We've had periodic visits by these springtime ants and the landlord exterminated yesterday.

"Look, Oscar," I said sleepily as I turned on the shower. "All the ants are gone now."

It was a little sad; they were really only doing their ant thing, but I suppose they were doing it in the wrong location. And I never really minded except when they got out of hand, except when they were in Oscar's food bowl, except when my morning routine became squishing and flushing insects.

In his usual way, Oscar never noticed them. At first I thought this was a hilarious character trait, like the absentminded professor or the oblivious scientist. But maybe they were too small for cat eyes or maybe Oscar just doesn't worry himself about sharing a bowl with a pack of ants. He might be more focused on getting his food in the first place and I suppose I can live with that.


Spring is technically here, but boy is she taking her sweet time. A few days in the 60s and then yesterday it snowed, not enough to stick, but enough to pull you back into the dumps. Last night I ran a few errands after work and ended up on one of my usual weighed-down trips home with bags and boxes and sore biceps by the end. My walk home from the L with my metric ton of crap was miserable and I even cursed the daffodils that had grown, only to be greeted by a chilly wind.

"What is the POINT of flowers if it's not even warm outside!" I thought, illogically and stupidly because of my mood.

That's alright, Spring, you come on out when you're ready. I'll push through another couple of weeks with the same damn sweaters and boots. We're ready when you are.

1 comment:

Erica said...

brrrrr i had to run in a fleece because it was 35F (2C) with the windchill !!

see you next week ... Damien and I arrive in NYC on thursday. I know the whole gang would love to see you too (esp KELLY)!