(Image from The Huffington Post)
I was once a pretty decent shot (practiced as a kid in Russia), but I have a hard time writing on a whiteboard in a straight line. You’d think that after six full years of teaching college as an English instructor, I’d learn. Nope. I called students by the wrong name on a couple of occasions, lost track of time during some lectures and got upset when someone plagiarized.
Yes, I felt offended when a lacrosse-playing freshman in my Composition class turned in an expository essay about “bitches and hoes.” It was also a little bit alarming when a withdrawn teenager in my remedial English class at a San Francisco community college wrote, “Die, bitch” on the cover of his notebook, then turned it in. In fact, I was scared to walk back to my car that night and feared for the safety of other students. My thinking was irrational and unclear.
This essay was published by The Washington Post on Feb. 6, 2018. It was republished by The Philadelphia Inquirer on Feb. 6, 2018, by The Chicago Daily Herald and Omaha World-Herald on Feb. 11, 2018 and by The Toronto Star on Feb. 13, 2018.
Telecommuters used to get a bad rap, seen as folks who lounge by the pool with a trashy magazine and a margarita on a Tuesday afternoon.
But technology is making working from home a viable option for many industries. A Gallup poll found almost half of employed Americans, or 43 percent, spend some time working remotely. “Flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities play a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job,” the report said. Today, more than 60 percent of organizations allow some type of teleworking, compared with a mere 20 percent just two decades ago.
Not everyone is on board with telecommuting or even knows how to define it.
A company where I once interviewed touted a “very flexible work schedule.” When I asked if this meant employees sometimes worked from home, the hiring manager said no. “We’re all in the office before 8 a.m. and try to leave by 6 p.m. But if you need to go to a doctor’s appointment in the morning or something, we’ll let you, and you can make that time up later. We’re very flexible.”
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Although I entered my thirties with trepidation, it turned out getting older has its perks, beyond just reevaluating dating and career decisions and no longer being carded at grocery stores.
1. Picking Battles
The human brain keeps developing through adolescence and into our twenties, changing the way we react overtime. It’s not uncommon in our teens and twenties to blow up at the slightest emotional provocation and then regret it (so-called amygdala hijack).
I’ve certainly mellowed out in my thirties. For example, the other day, my neighbor who likes to wear a Make America Great Again hat and a t-shirt emblazoned with “U.S. Border Patrol,” left a note on my car threatening to tow it, because it was parked near his house. I took a deep breath and knocked on his door, my two children in tow. “Hello, neighbor,” I said, smiling. “Is this your note?”
“Yeah, sorry,” he mumbled. “I thought you were one of them soccer moms who park here.” I wondered if he’d personally observed these women’s children playing ball or seen them pushing soccer balls through their birth canals to warrant the “soccer mom” title. I would have asked, in my twenties. Instead, though, I wished the neighbor a good day and left.
Now we are besties who go shopping and get mani/pedis together. Just kidding. But at least we’re civil.
This essay was originally published by Brit + Co, titled “How an Internet Ad for Rebound Friends Saved Me after a Breakup” on May 3, 2017. It is set in 2005.
Waiting inside Tasti D-Lite that afternoon, Divya looked nothing like a cult follower or an aging Hello Kitty devotee. In fact, her very normalcy was alarming, given that we’d met on Craigslist.
A decidedly trivial thing was to blame for our meeting. Just a few weeks prior, a cab ushered me across the Hudson River a liberated woman who, for the first time in her life, was about to live on her own. That’s when the trivial thing appeared. It nodded a solemn hello on the Manhattan side of the Lincoln Tunnel. It made itself comfortable in my cab loaded with two suitcases, a couple of overstuffed shopping bags, a printer, and a new twin-size sheet set. It squeezed through the closing elevator doors and slipped into my temporary studio apartment. That thing was silence.
“Alright,” I finally said to the silence. “What do you want?”
“Oh, nothing,” the silence indicated. “Nothing at all.”
A version of this essay was originally published in ScaryMommy.com on Feb. 25, 2017
I see you, Mama, pacing from room to room, recalling what still needs to be packed for tomorrow. You pause by the sleeping baby’s crib, in awe of his eyelashes and his measured breathing, unsuspecting that tomorrow someone else will be reading him his favorite bunny story and putting him down for nap time.
You try to cook as much as possible to prepare for your upcoming 11-hour, perhaps 12-hour, absences. You bought a crockpot and bookmarked recipes online; you stocked up on groceries as if Armageddon is fast approaching, and now your freezer door won’t close.
Look, I know what you’re thinking: who in their right mind would apply makeup in a moving vehicle? It’s dangerous, plus people think car makeup looks like the aftermath of a baby playing with a tube of red lipstick.
Car makeup is something I admit to doing only once in a while, and only when vehicle is stationary. Sure, I wish I could be like those 20 year old YouTube superstars, who baste themselves with 180 eyeshadow colors using 35 eye makeup brushes for an hour, before moving on to contouring.
Life with two small children shortens the daily beauty ritual. Multitasking is key. So, um, hey guys, here are some tips.
Let’s face it, most of us have been there one way or another – because not everybody spends a day in February with Godiva chocolates and overpriced balloons.
1. Robert signed a Valentine’s Day card for Clarissa with a tentative “Love, Robert,” which forced them to confront the inauthenticity of their feelings, whereupon they broke up.
2. Jared flew across the county for a romantic weekend rendez vous with his long distance girlfriend, only to find her sick with the flu, the situation quickly deescalating from raunchy to viral.