Tuesday, May 17, 2011

the things-I-no-longer-do list

Two things coincided today, or maybe yesterday. I was talking to the father of my children, and in a moment of rare self-revelation, I exclaimed, "You, know — I never compromised, did I?"

"Never!" he exclaimed emphatically, like he'd actually known this all along. And I'm not sure that either of us had ever noticed way back when.

And so we had a conversation about that. And he talked about his being a push-over (for it seems he's in the same situation now as well).

"We're re-doing the attic," he said. "I'm just going to let her decide everything — that's how women are. They need that..." Something like that.

And I thought, WHAT? really loudly. Women compromise way too much, it seems to me. I mean, okay, I was never very good at it ... or maybe I really was. After all, there were tons of things that I'm willing to give in on. Surely there were tons.

"That's not compromise," said Rh. "That's stuff you don't care about. Compromise is when you actually care — and then you come to an accommodation."

So apparently I don't get credit even if I do give way. Bummer.

So. These conversations coincided with my bumping into my things-I-no-longer-do list.

Coffee was at the top of the list. LSD was at the bottom. Like an idiot, I broke my no coffee rule last week and took four sips of a half-shot latte (i.e. weak as could possibly be) and ended up in the ER with an atrial fibrilation event. So. Note to self: Keep coffee at the top of the no-longer-do list. Bad bad bad stuff. For me. Not for you.

Camping out was next. This one's not my fault. All my friends have bad backs or just look at me like I'm nuts that I'd 'still' like to go camping. And here I've got this great Marmot tent that's been with me across Europe and North Africa, and up to the High Sierra. And it's been at least 5 years since we've had an adventure together. So. I picked up the phone and called Big Sur. And suddenly a camping partner materialized as well. Cross camping out off the things-I-no-longer-do list.

Sex. Yup. The great boycott. At the time, I thought this was a good idea.

Eating Animals. This rule had a proviso in it that exempts Thanksgiving and Pesach, should I be so ritually inclined as to feel bird and lamb de rigeur. This one's still in place, although the exemption clause was a good idea, even if I don't use it.

Sleep through the night. This has been on the list since the summer of 1979. That was when I moved to North Africa. And got pregnant. And had children. And never slept through the night again. Oh well.

Compromise. Yah, it wasn't that high on the list, was it? This was just a fact I thought was funny. I didn't take it too seriously. But suddenly, compromise doesn't sound so awful. Time to take it off the list.

Marriage. Ditto.

Martial arts. Stays on the list.

Bleed. This one's a great pleasure. One of those pure life cycle events that changes you forever. After decades of meticulously keeping track on calendars, I was thrilled to put this one on the list.

Backpacking. Still on the list, though I can almost think about considering the possibility of thinking about thinking about taking it off. But no. Not a good idea. I think. So. Apparently I'm still very ambivalent about this one. Backpacking was always an exercise in organizational skills. I'm proudest of packing up for a month long trek from Tuolumne Meadows to Bishop — a distance of about 150 miles on the John Muir trail. Probably the greatest adventure of all. Just one foot in front of the other. An exercise in minimalism if there ever was one. Compared to camping out 7,000 miles diagonally through Africa, completely crossing the Sahara Desert and the Ituri rainforest of the Congo. Those required so much stuff (including visas and diplomatic skills for every time we got detained). Backpacking is all about paring things down to essentials. I do miss this one terribly.

Music. I think I've written enough already about my boycott of music. Learned my lesson. It's off the list. Permanently. I've learned a lot about music and musicians that I never knew before. I don't think it will ever trap me or trip me up again.

Humans. Yup. That really was on the things-I-no-longer-do list. It must have been a hard night the night I added that to the list. I seem to be doing humans fine, these days. Go figure.

Say yes. Another stupid idea.

Spicy food. It's still on the list, even if I cheat.

Indians. Too much like looking in the mirror, (it's those ethnocentric identity issues).

Alcohol. Still do my requisite few sips of wine for Pesach. Still put a few drops of (don't vomit) amaretto in my fruit salad. But I stopped drinking alcohol at 18 when at a party at my boyfriend's house. Too much red mountain burgundy got me sick as a dog. I remember someone with a friendly voice handing me a very strange pipe. It was brass, and had water in the bottom. "Smoke this," he said soothingly, "it'll make you feel better." And after that, why would I ever want alcohol again (except when pretending to be polite) (like at those analyst parties) (that I don't have to go to anymore).

Fall in love. What kind of moron would have this on the list? But there it is in black and white.

Acid. Yup. The familiar form is on the list, not the more formal appellation, LSD. I must say, it's been a little while since I've indulged my traditional drug-of-choice. But to tell the truth, I was an Owsley's chauvinist and wouldn't dream of anything less than that. On the other hand, at a certain point nobody needs any more acid.

So. Here I was with this very definitive things-I-no-longer-do list, only to find that well, gee — given all the changes, I actually do compromise really well, after all.

1 comment:

  1. My list:

    girl shoes
    bland food

    There's probably some more, but these are the non-negotiables.