01 January 2007

Smother me in a wet blanket

I watched the Tournament of Roses Parade with my parents. What a shameful spectacle. At least according to my mom.

"I heard one of these bands raised a million dollars to pay for the kids to come to the parade. They should have spent that on books."

"Look at those outfits. They just spend so much money on ridiculous things."

"I wonder how much those saddles cost. Too much. It's just too much."

My mom, bless her heart, has a talent for nosing out the negative in any situation. It is more of a habit than anything. Unfortunately, I see the same tendency in myself.

The whole meal goes wonderfully, but I tell everyone that the waitress forgot my side dish. The trip is a blast, but my story about it is that we had to wait 2 hours on the plane before takeoff. Waa waa waa.

The other side of this tendency is that, when I only say the good parts of what happened, I feel a bit like a fraud. Like I am leaving out something important.

In defense of the T of R parade (it is NOT the Rose Bowl parade - the parade came first! Sensitive? Yes.), I built a float for 2 years when I was in college. When I say "built a float," I don't mean "glued flowers on." I mean that we created designs, chose one, drew plans, cut and welded metal, did electrical wiring, plumbed hydraulic lines, raised money, made meals, grew flowers, affixed chicken wire, covered the chicken wire, painted, sourced and prepared plant materials and THEN glued flowers on.

In that process, I learned more than I did in any of my classes. It was the college experience that I will remember long after I have forgotten everything else.

Was it silly? Yes. Was it expensive? Yes.

But we can't anticipate which of our life experiences will serve us best. Sometimes the silly and the things that take us off our regular path are the things that teach us most.

I also believe that humans need spectacle, grandeur, crazy larger-than-life events to drag us away from the mundane and practical. Otherwise it is all mundane and practical, and who wants THAT life?

Opera. Theater. Parades. Fashion. Pageantry. Who needs it? I think we all do. I think it is a big part of what makes us human and I don't want to live a life without it.

There are new links over at Linkateria. I am also still asking for entries for True Employee Confessions. Past, present, just hit me with your best, funniest, most annoying employee stories. How about the best time you got fired or quit? Email them to snackishblogATyahoo(etc)

14 comments:

Suzanne said...

Happy New Year, Suebob! As always, I could not agree with you more.

I am so looking forward to another year of Red Stapler goodness. You have put a smile on my face many a days when I needed one very badly with your commentary. Please continue being yourself. I adore you for it!

jonniker said...

This was awesome. I tend to focus overly on the practical, and discount grandeur and expense (hence my bare bones, hilariously outdated wardrobe).

It's really nice to see this perspective, and one we forget all too often. Happy New Year!

Laura said...

Yes. Yes. Ditto from me as well. I really like this discussion. I tend to always be looking at the pricetag of things... instead of the big happy picture. I am much like your mother in that respect. I SO see myself bitching about the gold plated saddles.

I got to tour the parade floats in 1996 when Ohio State went to the Rose Bowl. I couldn't believe how much blood sweat and tears actually went into it. Wow. What a big commitment and wonderful life experience.

Holly Capote said...

Suzanne isn't the only one who adores you. I love that you're lousy with faults, but you're anything but lousy at displaying your faults. You serve up your faults like a sushi chef: cool and fresh.

Lady M said...

It is so cool that you built a float! I was just one of those helpers who showed up the last week to glue flowers. It was still fun (if sticky) though.

wordigirl said...

To be a part of something out of the ordinary that stimulates and educates is a wonderful thing. And because it goes beyond the everyday (where we become mired in the mundane), it's a huge treat. It would be great if all work and all school could be like what you had in planning/assembling the parade float. The fact that its not is what makes those rare experiences so special.

mamatulip said...

A very interesting perspective...one I tend to agree with.

Happy New Year!

-R- said...

It annoys me when my mom does the whole focus on the negative thing, and yet I find that I do exactly the same thing. Aargh. Definitely something to work on.

You made floats? That is so cool!

super des said...

I thought for some reason you mentioned something about not being able to live without pandas, with which I couldn't agree more. (Plus I just stole Suzanne's comment because she was first so it's next to the comment box here.)

lizgwiz said...

I always thought building a float sounded like so much fun! My personal parade experiences revolve solely around being in the marching band.

You're right--we do need spectacle sometimes, for contrast, if nothing else.

meno said...

"a talent for nosing out the negative in any situation"

Ouch, i recognize that in myself too. Other people just don't seem to appreciate me pointing it out either. Imagine that.

Happy New Year Suebob.

claire said...

ooh. do you have pictures of the floats that you built? that is so, so cool.

i completely agree that there needs to be something different and interesting that shakes up the constant mundane crap that life throws your way. Otherwise, everything loses its luster. And GAHHH, how boring.

Mommy off the Record said...

Interesting post! I recently found out that the New Year's Eve crystal ball that is dropped is worth $1 million. When I found out it was so expensive, I thought, "what an incredible waste of money." But then, this point is well taken too:

"I also believe that humans need spectacle, grandeur, crazy larger-than-life events to drag us away from the mundane and practical. Otherwise it is all mundane and practical, and who wants THAT life?"

I guess I'd like to see a crystal ball worth, say $50,000 dropped, and then I'd be more OK with it. Still grandiose but not disgustingly gradiose, kwim?

Hope you and your family have a fabulous 2007!!

mothergoosemouse said...

Yes! I completely agree - we need to make a big deal out of stuff now and then. And enjoy it without feeling guilty.

I had to giggle at your mom's comments about the parade though. When I was a senior in high school, our drill team performed in the Orange Bowl halftime show (and marched in the parade the night before). I didn't go - I didn't ask my parents for money like the rest of the team.

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