Why I’m boycotting boycotting (and why I don’t care if you do or don’t).

Judging by one of Twitter’s trending hashtags this morning, today we’re boycotting Indiana.  I regret to inform you that my understanding of the underlying issue is intentionally uninformed. While I am sure I should care deeply and passionately, and it is my duty to whomever is offended by whatever it is that Indiana lawmakers have done, I have my own struggles to deal with: winter weight gain, inter-season wardrobe problems, a social engagement that I’d completely forgotten about.

Things are tough. Needless to say, I’m maxed out on righteous indignation. So, I’m just going to go with the understanding that Indiana is on Twitter’s bad side this morning — and btw, India, you’re on Twitter’s less literate bad side (I saw #BoycottIndia and — I am sorry — laughed out loud).

I can tell you that  I vow not to visit Indiana today, or for that matter India. In the interest of full disclosure, this is not an expression of solidarity, although I am sure, based on  the apparently unanimous outrage, that solidarity is called for. It’s just that I have this thing this evening that I’d forgotten about and so there’s no time for me to do anything Indiana (or India) related. I don’t have a thing to wear that fits and that says, “Yes, it’s Spring, but it’s FREEZING.”

Still, I am sure it is the American thing to do to take a stand with whomever is offended by the hell that Indiana hath wrought because that’s what the masses tell me is the cool thing to do. Judging by the clever Photoshop memes and the fact that even poor spellers are offended, it is bad. So shame on you, all of Indiana. Every single one of you. From now until the next trending boycott hashtag, I shall not visit Indiana.

As an aside, it took years for me to get over a boycott of that subset of Indiana known as Indianapolis. Eventually, and not without great personal turmoil and struggle, not to mention that my sainted father had shuffled off this mortal coil, it was Peyton Manning who (unwittingly) coaxed me into cheering for the Colts, albeit only in games where the Ravens had no stake.  Wouldn’t you know that it was also Peyton who allowed me to move on from a nearly lifelong boycott of all things Denver? (See Irsay v. Anyone Who Grew Up Loving the Baltimore Colts and Elway v. Anyone From Baltimore, et al.,  U.S. Court of  Rather Unfavorable Public Opinion).  What Peyton Manning has taught me, other than that Nationwide is on my side, is that eventually you have to let go of someone else’s grudge. It was freeing. This is my way of saying this: That Peyton Manning. Isn’t he adorable? But I digress. . . 

Learning to look at this picture without cringing has been part of My Journey. Thank you, Peyton. (Photo: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports)

Learning to look at this picture without cringing has been part of My Journey. Thank you, Peyton. (Photo: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports)

Earlier this week, or maybe it was last week, Elton John told us all  to boycott Dolce & Gabbana because Dolce, or maybe Gabbana, or maybe a guy named Hervé in Accounting, said something offensive. It is, of course, wrong to say something offensive, unless you’re arguing in favor of freedom of speech, in which case, it’s perfectly American to say something offensive, unless you’re Elton John, in which case, I’m completely lost inside this argument. Let’s just go with this: Elton right, Hervé wrong.

For the duration of that tiff, I am proud to admit that I did not buy a Dolce & Gabbana gown, not even off the rack. It would have been un-American not to join in solidarity with Sir Elton. The man didn’t write “Philadelphia Freedom” — not to mention  invade our brains with “Crocodile Rock” — only to be completely ignored by us Yankees in his time of need.

Also in the interest of full disclosure, my favorite perfume happens to be Dolce & Gabbana. It’s the only perfume that doesn’t give me a headache, except for when someone around me bathes herself in it and we’re stuck in an elevator together. When I found out Hervé had offended Sir Elton, I was a bit distraught. I can proudly tell you that I did not wear it for the duration of the boycott hashtag. Mostly because I was running late in the mornings this week and just pretty much forgot it. But please don’t tell Elton, or for that matter, Hervé. This thing is for them and their Twitter followers to hash  out.

While I’m fully disclosing left and right, I should tell you that I’ve stopped going to Chic-Fil-A.  I wish I could tell you this is staunch support of my friends who are offended by the underlying religious nature of the corporate structure or the beliefs expressed by its owners or some guy named Harvey in Accounting, but to be entirely honest, for the duration of that boycott, I was desperately waiting for it all to be over so I could savor a #1 with waffle fries and a lemonade. I don’t go to Chic-Fil-A anymore for three reasons: (1) I saw Food, Inc. and I can’t get it out of my head when I’m approaching any fast food establishment; (2) dietary restrictions imposed by my doctor, who, I am ready to peevishly admit,  was spot on about what certain ingredients  were doing to my joints; and  (3) Chic-Fil-A cravings have always manifested on Sundays, proof that God wants me to listen to my doctor.

 So there you have it. I lack the passion and commitment and righteous indignation to join the boycotting bandwagon. About the only thing I’m fully committed to boycotting is the word ‘boycott,’ because, I mean, come on. How sexist can you get? Why can’t it be ‘girlcott’ or ‘personcott’ or ‘carbon-based-life-formcott’? Boycott? Really,  America? I’m offended.

You can join me in boycotting ‘boycott’ or not. I won’t will try not to judge. But if you do, we’ll be meeting up for a rally at a Chic-Fil-A in Indiana next week. Please wear Dolce & Gabbana. Number 18 optional.

U.S. Secret Service to build mock White House called “Dave’s Place.”

This week U.S. Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy presented the agency’s budget proposal to  the  House Appropriations Committee. Essentially, deleting a lot of “factual stuff” here,  he made the case that many of the agency’s recent blunders are due in part to inadequate training facilities and so, naturally, we should build a replica White House, you know,  for training purposes.

According to The New York Times, the budget also requests funds “to renovate a ‘live-fire shoot house’ and to repair and enhance a ‘tactical village’ training site that aims to recreate a city street environment.”

Presumably neither currently has a sufficiently appointed man-cave that also serves to impress the ladies. One wonders if the tactical village  renovation will include a replica of Cartagena, Colombia’s Hotel Caribe. Let’s face it: that whole thing was a major disaster that clearly demonstrates the need for better training. Lots of it. Am I right, fellas?

Bygones.

I borrowed this image from the Washingtonian because   my own image collection is inexplicably lacking in pictures of Colombian ladies of the night. It's an illustration by someone or something named "Gluekit." I don't know what that means.

I borrowed this image from the Washingtonian because my own image collection is inexplicably lacking in pictures of Colombian escorts. It’s an illustration by someone or something named “Gluekit.” I don’t know what that means.

Let’s get  back to the mock White House, shall we?

At first blush, $8 million seemed like a lot of pesos.* I was a bit taken aback, befuddled, you might even say, ‘aghast.’  Well, you might not say ‘aghast,’ but I would because it’s fun to say. Try it.

Anyway . . . $8 million? How many homeless children could this feed, and clothe, and teach to read and write?

It didn’t take me long to get on board with this idea, though. Here’s what I’m thinking:

For one thing, this is bound to attract those confused tourists who wander cluelessly around town, usually standing to the left on the Metro escalators—which, if you ask me, should be at least a misdemeanor—and who have been known to point at the U.S. Capitol and say to their charges, in all parental authority, “There’s the White House.” (I’m not making that up. I witnessed it myself. This is why I feel overly qualified to toss about the term “aghast,” all willy-nilly and such. I have no reasonable explanation for tossing about the terms “willy-nilly” or “and such,” other than it amuses me.)

Think about it: those people vote.

So all those people hop on a train, hop off near the faux White House,  inconveniencing no one as they block the escalators all willy-nilly and such, stopping at faux food trucks, picking up faux tee-shirts and other faux tchotchkes, and really, they’re none the wiser, unless they try to hop the fence during a live-shooting exercise. But you really shouldn’t do that anyway, so. . . .

Further, and along those same lines of thinking, since we’re putting  $ 20,596,261,778.49 COP into this live-action manly-man video game, there has to be some return on investment for the American people. To turn a profit, let’s make it a live-action video game for everyone: I’m thinking a bed-and-breakfast kind of thing.

If this is going to be an authentic and exact replica of the White House, it’s going to need people inside. I say we get a faux Commander-In-Chief to live there. I’m thinking  that guy who’s been seen around town who looks just like the President. We’ll call him Dave.

(I’m not entirely convinced it isn’t the President. It will not surprise me in the least when his memoirs come out and he writes about that day he ran into me on the street corner, because it’s kind of hard to keep such a momentous occasion a secret for too long.)

To avoid too much confusion, the faux White House should have a different name, something that appeals to middle America.

Something comfortable and cozy. Something man-cavey. I propose “Dave’s Place.”

For a reasonable rate that compares favorably to any downtown DC family establishment, and after you sign the proper personal injury release forms, Dave and the faux First Family will host you and your family to overnight lodging with complimentary continental breakfast, nightly tuck-in service, all the bells and whistles.  Also included in your package, ten minutes a day sitting behind the desk in the faux Oval Office, signing legislation or stamping vetoes or launching nuclear missiles for fun and games. The deluxe package will allow you to spend a luxury evening at a faux State dinner, where you’ll mingle with faux celebrities and faux world leaders. Choose your own, or allow Dave to choose for you, from Marilyn Monroe to Special Agent Elvis Presley. The Honeymoon Package will, of course, allow the special couple to stay in the faux Lincoln bedroom suite, because let’s face it, nothing says “romance” like Abe’s heart-shaped hot tub.

Kind of a little bit Disney, a little bit Sandals, but with the added adventure of federal agents shooting at you. I’m telling you, this could be big.

At first I was aghast, but now I am totally on board with this.  Please call your Congress-person** and have them vote thumbs-up for Dave’s Place.

White House South Lawn on  Friday at lunch hour.

Dave’s Place will look just like this.

*As I write this, 8 million USD equals 20,596,261,778.49 COP, or Colombian pesos. I knew you would be wondering, perhaps even enough to search for this footnote.

**If you’re not a U.S. resident, call any Congress-person. It won’t matter. You’ll get an intern who’s busy tweeting anyway.  

Random answers to unasked questions and thoughts about changing light bulbs.

Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief: your noble son is mad . . . .Polonius, Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. . . .Ferris Bueller

Laughter is the best medicine. . . . Abraham Lincoln

Ow, my arm hurts. . . .Hippie Cahier

I really wanted to spare you the melodrama, but the fact of the matter is that approximately every other one of these keystrokes is causing me pain. And yet here I am, tap-tap-tapping away, bless my heart, because — as is far too often the case — I feel compelled to explain myself. One entire side of my body hurts and my wrist is in a brace as a reminder that putting the slightest pressure on it is most uncomfortable indeed. This, combined with certain other realities, technical and otherwise, has led to short bursts of social media time, most of it by way of a 4 1/2″ by 2 1/2″ smartphone screen. Neither of those circumstances is conducive to extended reading or writing.

Hence what I expect to be a passing addiction to Twitter hashtag games, which have been a fun challenge to my own creative thinking and an opportunity to enjoy others’ creativity and humor.  I can pop in and out whenever time and WiFi access allow, say something, read something, and walk away.

You may have noticed that brevity doesn’t come naturally to me. Ask me what time it is and I’ll tell you the history of clocks. It’s ridiculous.  Training myself to abbreviate my thoughts is another challenge, one that I clearly have not yet mastered, as evidenced by the fact that we are now three paragraphs into this and I have still not arrived at my point.

So let’s get to that.

This week I started my own Twitter hashtag based on the oft-used theme “#Ask____”.   These hashtags usually start out as humorous and satirical, or maybe sometimes heartfelt questions for celebrities, and too often (d)evolve into something less than good-natured. I was pretty sure mine wouldn’t go that far, but I was willing to risk it anyway, and so #AskHippieCahier was born for no particular reason.

The idea came to me only partially formed on Monday morning. I figured I’d go for it and see what developed because –and it probably won’t surprise you to know this– I’m not getting paid for this. There’s no real measure of success or failure. For me it’s just a break from the real world. For anyone disappointed by the lack of depth or of any particular social value, I would offer that sometimes a person just needs to chill, especially a person whose wrist is currently experiencing excruciating pain. (Strike up the violins.)

Throughout the week I posted the answers to #AskHippieCahier: random answers to random questions that I invented myself.

I did get a few questions, notably from the girl in the glasses, “How many bloggers does it take to change a light bulb?”  

My immediate, abbreviated response, typed against the clock as a commuter train sped toward a tunnel and  lost WiFi connection, went along the lines of the answer depending on how much the light bulb is willing to change. The irony of entering the darkness of the tunnel was not lost on me.

Pondering the question for at least another five or six station stops, it occurred to me that it would take at least one uplifting blogger to encourage the light bulb in its journey, one informative blogger to share the scientific evolution of light bulbs from fluorescent to halogen and beyond, one literary blogger to explore the semiotics of light bulb change,  one home design blogger to offer DIY tips on ways to change your lighting, one foodie blogger to explain how to photograph arugula under different light bulb options, one emo blogger to remind the light bulb of the futility and despair inherent to any struggle with darkness, and one humor blogger to finish this paragraph because this is my train station (and the emo blogger does not appear to be amused).

Try as I might, I could not condense that to 140 characters.

I went back to posting random answers that occurred to me, based on real-life events, to questions no one really asked. Here’s what came of that.

Answer: “Testosterone, exchange-traded funds, and clowns.”
Question: “What are three things that, despite your best efforts, you will never comprehend?”

Answer: “Nellie Bly had a pet monkey (reportedly).”
Question: “What is something you know today that you didn’t know yesterday?”

Answer: “Backgammon.”
Question: ” “Have you ever excelled at something that you no longer know how to do?”

Answer: “Sunday television coverage of NASCAR.”
Question:“What, in your opinion, is the #1 reason that Monday morning has the highest number traffic accidents?” (fake statistic)

Answer: “The never-ending power struggle over how many spaces follow a period.”
Question: “What is most likely to one day cause you to snap, have a Norma Rae tantrum, & storm out of your office?”

Answer: “Dark Wednesday”
Question, posed by everyone’s favorite curmudgeon: “What do you call it when a science experiment goes wrong in the middle of the week?”
Question that inspired the answer: “No #AskHippieCahier tweets b/c I left my phone at home (on Wednesday). Social media blackout.” So, the curmudgeon was close.

Answer: “A nursing home where Saturday night entertainment is Megadeth and Insane Clown Posse cover bands.”
Question: “What is your greatest ‘irrational’ fear about the direction your life is headed?”

Answer: “Personalized stationery embossed with the signature, ‘Sassypants, Esq.’”
Question: “What are you planning to give your daughter for law school graduation?”

Answer: “The one with the blue uniform.”
Question: “Which team will win NCAA Division 1 Championship?”
(Answer elaborated: I don’t know much about college basketball. There’s a much longer story there. When I do get around to picking March Madness brackets, I tend to favor teams in blue, because it seems like the winner is always in blue.)

Answer: “Save the bees!”
Question, again the curmudgeon speaks: “What’s wrong with the 25-Letter Alphabet Movement?” (Funny guy.)
Question that inspired the answer but which is not as funny as the curmudgeon’s: “Of all the political pleas to Pres.Obama in Metro stations, which one tickles your fancy?”
(Answer elaborated: Billboards in DC’s Metro stations are often aimed at the attention of policymakers and others. They are often serious, frequently depressing, and usually urgent. I understand that the issue is all three of those (so please don’t write to school me on the facts), but juxtaposed with anti-Israel sentiments, for example, it just strikes me as humorous: “Dear President Obama – Please help save the bees.”)

Answer: The Swedish chef making salad.
Question: Favorite moment in Muppets history? Question: “Favorite moment in Muppets history?”
(Answer elaborated: Upon further thought, the chocolate mousse episode was pretty hilarious.)
Answer: Augustus Jackson
Question: Who is the most recent addition to your Imaginary Dinner Party guest list?

Answer: Ronald Reagan
Question: “Which PoTUS rides shotgun with you every day?”
(Answer elaborated: Somehow a Ronald Reagan calendar came into my possession and it is tucked into my work bag. I can keep track in important moments in Reagan history. It’s not penguins, but it’s fun.)
Answer:“Just that one time, but I am confident history will show it was justified.”
Question: “Have you ever wished your eyeballs had death rays that you could shoot at someone, instantly disintegrating them?”

Answer: “Maybe she’s trying to tell us she’s a selkie.”
Question: “Do you have a theory that can’t be reduced to 140 characters that explains Kim Kardashian?
(Answer elaborated: A certain hashtag game brought the movie The Secrets of Roan Inish to my mind, which in turn brought to mind the fact that you don’t see a lot of selkie selfies on the Internet (yet). Selfies made me think of Kim Kardashian, Queen of the Selfies. The thought of Kim Kardashian led to That Picture, which, if you think about it in the right light, which may in fact require you to change the bulb, resembles certain depictions of selkies. Maybe she confused the terms and she’s really Queen of the Selkies. It’s all a big . . . misunderstanding.)

And, finally, kindhearted reader Brickhouse Chick, probably sensing that the #AskHippieCahier needed some help, queried, “What makes Hippie, Hippie?”
I don’t know that there will ever be an acceptable answer for that, but I’m sure it has something to do with the type of brain that makes the quantum leap from The Secrets of Roan Inish to Kim Kardashian as Queen of the Selkies in considerably less time than it takes to change a light bulb.

The view from my window.

It’s an icy day here. The view from my window is lovely, if treacherous. To get pictures from the other side of the window screen, I ventured outside.

It’s cold . . . and icy, which brings me back to where I started.

It’s an icy day here.

 

The unexpected dangers of sleeping with your smartphone.

“She who goes to sleep with a smartphone at night allows the smartphone to control her life by morning.” ~~ Abraham Lincoln

This really happened. Or most of it did. I can’t speak to the facts vis-à-vis the coin toss. I wasn’t there, unless DNA counts.

Over the past several days, an informal détente seems to have settled into place and now that cooler heads prevail, it’s a good time to share the lesson I have learned, in the hope of helping even one lost soul understand the dangers of sleeping with one’s smartphone too close to the bed.

While I’m not what you’d call an “app” person, I do like my phone’s alarm clock as the solution to a lifelong aversion to the inhumanity of that early morning BUZZZZZ. Instead, I can awaken to pleasant musical tones of my choosing. So, I sleep with the phone on my nightstand. Therein lie certain social dangers.

And so my tale begins.

In an effort to remain relevant, I have adapted to new means of communicating — and therefore  validating my existence–  in the 21st century. I have a Twitter presence, a Facebook presence, and a LinkedIn account* that I remember to check every couple of months, usually after I get an email that “people are checking out (my) profile,” which, quite frankly, freaks me out. But it’s necessary. Because, you know, relevance and validation.

In addition, after a year and a half of learning how to text message, I realized that it might be the solution to another lifelong aversion: to telephone conversation. When I reached my goal of typing “Hell no, would you’re live kumquats four dime store?”  in under 30 minutes, I treated myself to a phone with a QWERTY keyboard, a so-called smartphone, in the hopes that I might eventually communicate, “Hello, would you like to come for dinner?” As we all know by the plethora of failed auto-corrects posted on the Internet, that was but a sod pipeline sad pipe dream.

Not if you use it while you sleep.

Not if you write it while you sleep.

Text-messaging isn’t always convenient, so I had every reason to believe that my new car’s BlueTooth would come in handy on occasion. Sadly, this is not the case.  BlueTooth and I (we’ll call her “Hedy,” for reasons that later become obvious) don’t have what you would call a “healthy” relationship.

While she doesn’t seem to care for me very much, Hedy does tend to favor one of my children.  Specifically, my son.  Often, but not all the time, I’ll say, “Call Daughter.” Hedy’s firm, no-nonsense, female voice confirms, “Calling Son.”

I say “Correction. Call Daughter.”

She says, “Calling Son.”

We argue like that until she says (in a huff, I might add),  “I’m sorry. I can’t understand your command.” Not only do I think she’s not really sorry, I think she can understand my command perfectly well.

Sometimes her judgmental passive-aggression is more succinct.  I say, “Call Chinese Takeout.” She says, “I’m sorry. I can’t understand your command.” Click.

I suppose maybe if you were reading her side of the story, she’d say that just once in a while she’d like Mexican.  Maybe if she had her way, we’d be chowing down on chimichangas and swilling margaritas on a regular basis, but only with my son, never my daughter.  Which might be why I do not have a Mexican takeout number in my contacts. I will not have her choosing favorites.

You might say things have been strained between us for a while.

Lately signs have surfaced that her passive-aggression has turned to outright aggression, with a sinister Single White Female vibe.  And my smartphone is her accomplice.  Whether this is by coercion or persuasion is as yet undetermined.

The first occasion was ok. Weird, but ok. Out of the blue, my son texted, “Hey, mom. Why don’t I come over Saturday and we can watch the game together. I’ll come early and we can go to the store for snacks. It’ll be fun.” Like I said: weird, but ok.

We were somewhere in the chip aisle when I couldn’t hold back my curiosity any longer. “So, did you lose a coin toss with your sister over who was going to watch the game with me?”

“Yeah, but it was also that bizarre text you sent us at 3:30 in the morning.  What was that all about?”

First, I might have been hurt, but honestly, I’m kind of proud that my son is twenty-something and does not know  how to lie to a woman.

Points me.

But then. . . .

“What text?”

“About how proud you are of us and how much you love us. . . .”

I remember dreaming that I was telling them that, but texting it?  Nope. However, evidence suggests that such texts were indeed sent . . .  from my phone . . . at about 3:30 a.m..

Hmmm. I haven’t figured out how, but I’m convinced Hedy is behind this.

Not long after that, Hedy went unhinged. Maybe we should’ve invited her to join us for nachos. Anyway.  First she refused to call anyone, not even my son, employing her flimsy pretense, “I’m (not really) sorry. I can’t understand your command. Please try again.”

I would try again. She would repeat herself.

I admit to eventually losing my own temper and shouting, “Oh . . . JUST. . . NEVER MIND!” Click.

After a few days of this, things went from bad to worse.

I’d start my car and Hedy would yell, “NO PHONE CONNECTED! YOU ALREADY HAVE FIVE PHONES CONNECTED. PLEASE DELETE A PHONE!”

(I do not have five phones. I have had a lifelong aversion to phones. Owning five would be a personal nightmare. But not my worst personal nightmare. That was yet to come.**)

I’d say, “Whatever,” and would just keep driving, but she kept repeating herself.  It was madness. Madness, I tell you.

Eventually, I turned off my phone whenever I drove and Hedy and I  stopped communicating altogether. It was sad, but these things happen. I was over it and I thought Hedy was, too.

Apparently, she wasn’t. I awoke one morning a few weeks ago to a troubling mix of pleasant musical tones and absolute panic.

Please let that be a dream. It was just a dream, right?  Just a dream. Please, please, PLEASE!!

I had dreamed, as I occasionally do, of a boy I dated in high school. But this time, instead of driving in his car or walking along the boardwalk, I was sending him a LinkedIn connection request. To my surprise, he accepted.

I rushed to my desktop and logged in, desperate for it to be just a dream.

It was not a dream.

“Name Deleted is now a connection.”

I — or “someone on my behalf”– sent a LinkedIn connection request to someone I haven’t seen or talked to in decades. . . .while I was sleeping.

Points Hedy.

* Real Me has a LinkedIn account. Hippie Cahier does not. Regretfully, Hippie Cahier cannot accept LinkedIn connection requests, because, like Relationship George and Independent George, Real Me and Hippie Cahier cannot co-exist. A hippie divided against herself cannot stand.

** Hey, foreshadowing!

*******************************

This video  is not at all funny. Au contraire. It is R-rated and raw, but it (a) provides some context for those who haven’t seen Birdman  and (b) demonstrates why Emma Stone deserved an Oscar: