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Monday, October 30, 2006

Melina's Journal: Yes, but what can you DO?

In a recent post, I mocked an online-date for being useless - unable to screw in a lightbulb without calling a superintendent. Ma and I have been discussing this concept for some time now. I think it relates to our earlier discussions on the New Etiquette.

(Speaking of the new etiquette, which I have argued is the same as the old etiquette, one of my friends recently took the concept even further toward full-circle by hosting a 12-hour birthday party: she put on a lovely dress and sat in her living room with a pack of beer and some appetizers, and friends dropped by all afternoon to see her at their own convenience - what is this if not announcing her "visiting hours," Victorian style, by eVite?)

At any rate, in my over-developed city, people tend to evaluate themselves by what they consume rather than what they produce.

A gentleman weaver bird builds a nest to impress a lady weaver bird. A New York gentleman cannot do this as it is against zoning laws, and besides, everything already exists here that she might possibly desire. He doesn't need to weave it painstakingly out of straw. So how does the New York gentleman distinguish himself from the masses? By being an extremely discriminating consumer. He finds the best restaurants, the best music, the most fabulous and obscure hideaways. He looks down on the common entertainments, unless they are so delightfully declasse as to be cool again.

I'm not blaming the gentlemen - the ladies are just as bad. Let she who has been working on the masonry cast the first stone. Ma, who has strong Pennsylvania Dutch genes, already thinks I'm pretty worthless. (I once told her that the potato-hoeing gene was recessive and I didn't get it.) I sure didn't do any construction during my summers at home - I sat on the porch, drank orange juice, and read novels (while ogling the occasional construction worker).

I'm just saying in New York it's particularly bad - and that the people I most admire are those who leave the world different than they found it - who walk into a room, or a construction site, and create something that wasn't there before. I would also argue that these are the people who are most fulfilled in their lives.

Ma designed and built her own home, landscaped her own yard, arranged her own music, mixed her own CD, etc etc.

I tried to replace my own iPod battery and permanently destroyed my iPod in the process. But at least I tried, right?

So, what can you actually do?


At 12:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, I already told you... I deal with the customers so the engineers don't have to! I have people skills!!!

At 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a pizza disappearing act.

At 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful observation and a great question. My daughter worked in NYC during her summers while at college as an intern at a large bank, and then worked and lived there for several years after college . She moved away about a year ago, but she returns monthly on business. We could not believe it when she wanted to live in NYC. Like you, she has the Pa. Dutch genes and actually has picked corn ,but she prefers shopping and having cocktails at a quirky bar. I feel that living in the city has made her very independent, but we definitely have different perspectives on many things. Her sister is a teacher here, and she and her husband are remodeling an old home [very messy, timeconsuming , dirty work.] They are into hiking and bonfires.[Speaking of being able to actually DO things--When they first started dating , she told me that she liked him because, ''he can make a fire.'' To which, her father asked, ''Can he make a living?'' Luckily, the answer was ''Yes, he can.''] This daughter is probably your mother's younger self [same long, curly hair..but dark brown...however, her attempts at a musical career ended with a few disinterested lessons on the flute and piano. ] As for your question: your mother is a Renaissance woman...I would like to be one, but I'm not there yet. What CAN I DO? Well, I can teach spoken and written English . I can crochet. I can cook [if I have to]. I can draw a little, and I can paint a little, but not very well.~~~Susanlynn, wishing that she could DO more

At 10:07 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

My daughter labored in New york city throughout her summer season while at school being an intern in a large bank, after which labored and resided there for quite some time after college . She moved away about last year, but she returns monthly on business. We're able to not accept is mlb jerseys shop as true when she wanted to reside in New york city. As if you, she's the Pa. Nederlander genes and really has selected corn ,but she favors shopping and getting cocktails in a cool bar. Personally i think that residing in the town makes her very independent, but we certainly have different perspectives on a lot of things. Her sister is really a teacher here, nike jersey and she or he and her husband are remodeling a classic home [very untidy, timeconsuming , dirty work.] They're into hiking and bonfires.[Talking about having the ability to really DO things--Once they first began dating , she explained that they loved him because, ''he can produce a fire.''


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