I make playlists. Because I like lists and because I love music. I make playlists for friends because that’s my way of letting someone know: hey, you’re, like, really awesome, and, like, I thought you should know. I also love to find other people’s playlists in this wonderful, magic, attic-like place called the internet because it’s a fun way to discover new bands or realize that some random stranger on the other side of the world shares your taste in music. So, internet: you’re like, really awesome, too!
That being said, yesterday I sent a cool playlist I’d just discovered on a music blog to a friend as my way of letting him know: hey, I can’t send you a playlist that I put together myself for the moment but that doesn’t mean I don’t think you’re awesome, so here’s someone else’s cool playlist for now (and if you think that’s a lot to communicate through one little playlist – well, much much mucho mucho more is possible, you’d be surprised!).
To understand the rest of the story, you have to know this: I am a girl. Always keep this in mind. If you think a boy is telling you the story, you’ll get confused quickly as you read on (because you’re reading on, right? Right???). So again: I am a girl. Now, let’s continue.
Whenever I make a playlist for someone else, it’s, of course, mostly pure altruism (oh yes, baby, it is). Mostly. Yet (because I’m a girl, remember?), I do hope the playlist-receiver will get the message that comes with the list, be happy, and say something like: hey, like, cool! What an awesome playlist! And maybe something like: I really like song no. 5! That’s what I want in return. I’m a girl and I can’t help it.
Well, do I have to say things didn’t really turn out as planned (I know I don’t)? I had looked up the songs on my Spotify (you know what I’m talking about, right? If not: look it up, it will make you very happy!), created a playlist there and listened to it before sending it to my friend (a last quality check). Like with any social medium, though, other people that are logged in can see what you’re up to – and in my case: listen to the playlist as well. So as I sat and listened (being quite pleased with the song selection), my Spotify told me someone else was, in fact, listening to the playlist: this random guy I’d met three years ago during a month-long volunteer project who I hadn’t been a great fan of (watch out: euphemism alert). What? No! Why? I wanted to stop him, but obviously, I couldn’t just reach through my laptop screen and punch him or something (although I would have wanted to, kind of).
Here’s some more detailed information on my non-relationship with random-volunteer-project-guy: me and a friend of mine (also a girl, again: important side note) were sort of the other kids’ boss, which means: also his. And guess what? He hadn’t been a great fan of us, either. He and his (guy) friends had semi-big issues accepting that two girls were more or less telling them what to do (what has the world come to? A female as a boss? What?) or more accurately: what not to do (such as: don’t get drunk before or during work, don’t wreck the bus we use to drive to work every day in the middle of the night because you’re drunk, don’t bring random girls to the house we all have to share because you’re drunk…but if you really have to: at least, please, don’t get anyone pregnant!). Boys are stupid sometimes.
They never understood what we were trying to tell them or why we were upset all the time (other side note: this wasn’t a volunteer project in a big city where no one really cares what’s going on – this was in a small town where everyone knew everyone and cared very much). I don’t get angry very often but and when I do it’s got to be pretty bad. Well, he and his stupid friends had me yelling at them two weeks into the project, swearing like a sailor (I think, in fact, any New Yorker would have been very proud). Eventually, we worked out how to co-exist, kind of. At least, we managed not to kill each other – that’s something, isn’t it?!!
Needless to say (but I will say it still): never ever ever, like, never nevereverever would I take enough time and care and effort and sprinkles and positivity and glitter and whatnot to make a playlist for that guy. He wasn’t supposed/allowed to listen to the songs! They weren’t for him – not fair, not fair, not fair (yes, sometimes I’m five years old, judge me if you must)! If I was to make a playlist for him (because the existence of the world or my favorite band or all the chocolate on this earth depended upon it), it would be one that says something like: hey, like, you’re one of the most un-awesome people I’ve ever met and it’s about time someone told you that you need to pull your sh** together, seriously. But there he was: listening, possibly feeling quite awesome.
It doesn’t really help that the friend that was supposed to listen to the songs in the first place is being mean and hasn’t yet listened to them and thus, hasn’t yet said something like: hey, thanks, like, that’s awesome (ok, he probably hasn’t had time because there’s other important things in life, but because I’m a girl, I don’t care – try and reason with me, world! I’ll just curse at the wind: I’m a girl and I don’t care – unless you bribe me with chocolate)!
Oh, you wonderful, magic, attic-like place called the internet: people keep saying that you’re making the world smaller. You know what? I think you’re just making it weirder. I’m sorry, but I find you majorly weird today. You know what else? I still think you’re mainly awesome, but you’re not getting a playlist any time soon. Not because I want to punish you (ok, maybe I want to…just a little…remember: I’m a girl!). But seriously: who knows who ends up listening to it. Well, I guess one song won’t hurt:
Fact 1: The world itself is probably the least kids-oriented place that has ever existed.
It’s way too serious, especially when it comes to things that don’t need to be taken so seriously like, for example, how to make horrendous loads of money instead of just plain loads of money. At the same time, though, it neglects things that should be taken more seriously – such as kids. It’s way too hectic, too. There’s no time for the truly important things in life – yeah folks, I’m talking about naptime. That and trying to figure out whether the cloud on the far right of the oak tree looks more like a raccoon or a carrot after all.
Okay, to be fair: I don’t know of all the places that have ever existed. So the world is really just the least kids-oriented of all the places I know – I have no evidence whatsoever that proves the non-existence of a place that is even less kids-oriented somewhere in the universe (like adultplanet or serious-guys-talk-serious-business-world).
Fact 2: A tiny bit of kids-orientation in many places would most likely make the world a better place.
Imagine the Starbucks on your way to work sends you off into the day with your coffee in a cup with a smiley face, your favorite Sesame Street character or a note that says “you’re awesome, have an awesome day!” (all the a-letters replaced by shiny gold stars, of course; you know you’d love it) – wouldn’t that be a great way to start your morning?
Well, at least it would be a lot better than reaching for your regular coffee cup only to realize that even after being a loyal customer for almost two years the lady that’s been selling you your coffee ever since still thinks your name is Leslie instead of Lisa (that or she really needs to learn how to spell… or seriously improve her handwriting).
Imagine further that your boss rewards your great work with funny stickers! I know what you think: forget the stickers, I’d rather have a raise. Well, the truth is: on adultplanet you won’t get either so you might as well take the stickers and be happy. Who knows, you might even be able to trade in 10 stickers for a no-overtime-coupon! Wait…really?! (Yes, yes!) And guess what? It’s Jell-O day in the cafeteria, too. Admit it: this is bliss.
(These are just a few examples, too.)
Fact 3: Kids are simply awesome.
I am an almost-teacher who has done her fair share of student teaching and it’s just a fact: kids are truly awesome. I admit, they are also sticky, noisy, antsy and they wouldn’t notice irony or sarcasm if you dressed them up in sparkling superhero costumes specifically labeled “irony” and “sarcasm”, but they’re nice enough to laugh at your jokes even if they don’t really get them, so who cares.
Another big plus: even when you draw a picture that consists of nothing but stick figures or you play them a song that is really just one line and the same chord over and over again, they think you’re a great artist. That just makes them really awesome. You can’t argue with that now, can you?
(That’s a rhetorical question: you can’t. I’m serious: you cannot, I won’t allow it – I’ll write a note to your mom if you do…oh, wait: sorry. Maybe I’ll address your mom in your blog’s comment section, though. Ha!)
Fact 4: Kids are (mostly) willing to learn anything you are willing and (watch out: keyword coming up) motivated to teach them
– such as proper restaurant behavior. Kids are like tiny sponges. Not because they wear square pants, but because they have this incredible ability to soak up any piece of (interesting) information they are confronted with. If the information presenter aka parent/teacher/sports coach/you name it shows the least bit of enthusiasm for the matter that they are trying to present, they will most likely spark some interest. Yet beware: kids know when it’s fake, oh yes, they do.
Besides, they intuitively know how to follow your example: if Daddy tries (and successfully manages) to chew with his mouth closed – for a change – they will realize it’s not the worst idea to try and do the same. They think it’s fun to act all grown-up for a while, too (as long as they feel like they don’t have to).
Of course, there are limits. It just doesn’t make any sense to make them sit through a 7-course dinner: they simply can’t sit still for that long because it’s really boring. Why would anyone want to sit through a 7-course dinner anyways? They’re just really long and boring and at the end of all these hours of boredom, miraculously, you’re still hungry. Why are 7-course dinners popular again? Okay, I lost my train of thoughts just now and I’m feeling hungry…hm.
Fact 5: Kids can’t choose not to be around adults, either.
I’m sure they’d sometimes prefer to just get rid of us silly grown-ups, yet: they can’t. They depend on us silly grown-ups for a while (because the world is not only too adult-oriented but also full of crazy people and other crazy things). If they have to stick it out with us, I think it’s only fair if we do the same for them.
188 days and nothing has changed except for the colors – they’ve gotten deeper and darker.
It’s so early, you can’t even call it morning yet. I fumble about in the darkness trying to make my way from bedroom to kitchen without bumping into any sharp-edged pieces of furniture or slipping on and/or tripping over one of the not so well placed power cords.
The kitchen is kind of small but has a big window on one side that really makes you forget just how small it is. I open it and breathe in the cool morning air. I love the fall: the colors, the smell, Halloween, pumpkin soup – a breath of: candy apples, the first hints of chimney smoke, another deep breath: colorsthesmellcandyapplesjackolanterns. I gaze out the window for a while as I’m waiting for the water in the tea kettle to boil.
I hardly ever catch a sunrise in the morning. Today, however, I’m standing in the kitchen to watch the sky change color from a misty gray to a freakishly bright orange that sort of reminds me of Cheetos and also of pumpkin soup and Halloween (it’s mid-October already), sort of, and of a t-shirt you used to wear back when it was still summer and warm outside, sort of.
Roses are red, violets are blue, it says. But these days roses come in all sorts of different colors (ranging from yellow to universe black, striped, polka-dotted, leopard, zebra, whatever) and once September’s passed, flowers don’t have any color anymore. Not really, they freeze, that’s all, it’s not a secret. Roses are red, violets are blue. Blue and tacky.
And then another thing, red and blue (and violet in the end): at first, you can’t really see anything at all, it starts off slightly red. It turns blue quickly – and it stays like that for a while. In the end, though, it changes to a deep dark shade of violet, like grape jelly or Kool-Aid, maybe. Until, eventually, it heals. Eventually. Hopefully.
He (Daniel) is so small, it’s almost funny but mostly, he’s quite amazing. His little hands, with the little fingers, and the webbing between the second and third that makes him even more amazing. His eyes, though, are the best part: they’re enormous and bright and ink blue or lead grey depending on the time of day (maybe because the way the light changes or maybe depending on his mood because that’s how it works with a ring someone bought me a long time ago on a fair).
While my sister holds him, though, they are completely closed: he is asleep, finally. My sister’s face is all red. She’s been holding him for a while, a tiny cherry pit pillow on top of the two of them to calm down his nervous stomach. Her husband’s been looking at them the entire time. He’s been an engineer for a couple of years now but he’s never created anything quite like that before. His face is all red too. Red as the toy fire truck in the corner of the room.
It’s dark out. It gets dark so early these days. There’s always one day at the end of September or beginning of October when it suddenly hits me: the days are getting shorter, at the end of the day there’s more darkness than light – you should stock up on candles.
Candles to brighten the room (in case you should forget to pay your electricity bill), candles to stick into a carved out pumpkin and candles to put on a cake: it’s my birthday in fall and since this year, it’s my nephew’s too. It also used to be my grandmother’s birthseason, until last year. I suppose, though, it still is – birthdays don’t expire (think of Christmas, but that’s for another season). I light a candle for her on the 11th (I stocked up) – it’s blue. Like the day. But I hold the candle as it’s burning and it’s warm in my hand and it, sort of, reminds me of summer when it wasn’t so cold out yet, sort of.
188 days and nothing has changed except for the colors – they’ve gotten deeper and darker.