Monday, July 30, 2012

Snipp, Snapp and Snurr

Two Fridays ago, I went to see my mental health professional, and felt distinctly worse afterward. During our session, she mentioned the need to set a boundary. “What’s a boundary?” I asked politely. Assuming I was joking, she laughed, but offered some examples. You have to start by figuring out what you need and want. “What’s the point?” I asked. “You’re either going to get whatever it is or you aren’t; even if someone promises a certain thing, that doesn’t mean they won’t change their mind.” She said that doesn’t matter: it’s about knowing what is acceptable or not and expressing it. Ah, so.

I walked home along Dolores St.—such a brilliantly sunny day—brooding about how I tend to surrender immediately when there is a hint of conflict, and, correspondingly, aim low in many situations. Anything to avoid trying, and anything to avoid being perceived to have a need or a want. (This definitely has some bearing on the job hunt.)

I also tend to be compulsively generous, as if I don’t have the right to withhold something if I possess it and someone else wants it. I was lately asked by a friend for the loan of a rather staggering sum of money, and then another friend asked for money, and someone else asked for something else fairly substantial, and the other day, I walked into a bookstore and saw an acquaintance at the counter who said she’d been thinking of looking me up: she wants to borrow a piece of electronic equipment! Deborah pointed out that this is quite a confluence of events: “Everyone wants your stuff.”

Now, it is quite true (I think) that if you say, “I insist on such-and-such, and if it isn’t that way, I’m going to be very upset!” you should prepare to be very upset. The fewer things necessary for one’s happiness, the happier one will be. However, I also see that I’ve used that generally solid philosophy to skip over knowing about some things I feel.

There is some work to be done here, because these habits are not helping me. I’m going to have to practice at least knowing what I want, whether I express it or not, and I also need to say “no” more often, while bearing in mind that it’s genuinely a good thing to be generous.

The next day, Saturday, I went to see my hospice visitee, and then had a burrito at Papalote. It was a very warm, sultry day. After Papalote, I was able to get the extremely comfortable chair in the front window at Borderlands Café, and sat there reading and drinking rooibos tea until the guy near me fanned himself for the tenth time, when it dawned on me that it actually was warmer in there than outside, so then I came home.

Sunday was grocery shopping at Rainbow followed by cooking, and last Monday featured a wonderful bike ride to the beach. On Tuesday evening, N. and I had burritos at La Cumbre Tuesday evening and went on to Howie’s. On Wednesday I did seven loads of laundry, and then Tom and his girlfriend and I took BART to Daly City to see The Dark Knight Rises.

Thursday was C.’s birthday, so I got a City CarShare car and treated him to lunch at Toast in Novato. We sat outside in the sun and had a very excellent time.

This past Saturday, Tom and I went in a City CarShare car to visit Mac at a care center in Carmichael, east of Sacramento. We arrived just as Ann and one of Mac’s sons were leaving, so we had him to ourselves for a time. I sat by his beside for two hours and held his hand off and on, and tried to be relaxed and happy, which is my practice when visiting hospice patients. It is possible we won’t see Mac again, so I was glad to have the chance to hold his hand, kiss his forehead, and tell him I love him, which I do, very much.

I got a letter from the Employment Development Department saying I’ve been selected to attend a workshop on job hunting a couple of weeks from now, across town at 8:30 in the morning. Fortunately, at the bottom it said that if you’re already receiving such services (which I am; the problem is the complete inability to put them into practice), just call this number. Unfortunately, it’s that same number that is never, ever answered by a human being.

I have to say, the EDD is incredibly efficient. I applied for unemployment benefits online and it seemed as if only seconds passed before I got further instructions in the mail. Really, they are remarkable and I’m very impressed. However, the reason they can get so much done is that they don’t chitchat with every—or any—Flicka, Ricka and Dicka on the phone. (Nor every or any Snipp, Snapp and Snurr.) (These are characters in books for children.)

Back in the 1960s, some of us liked to intone, “Snipp, Snapp and Snurr,” and attempt to produce an explosion of flatulence timed to the final syllable, delighting and/or dismaying siblings within range.
Post a Comment