Oh, a Blog… and Other Stories

Another online date out of the way, and more time spent with people who haven’t seen me in awhile brings me to my least favorite line of questions: “So, Beth… tell me about yourself. What do you do?” If there is one question that is like hitting the clear button on my brain, that’s it. You ask it, and not only have I forgotten what I recently had for lunch, I’m not entirely certain where I actually live. It’s a house, I think? Likely in Texas? We’re in Texas, right? (Hrmm… seems I didn’t travel far or, y’know, Texas far.) I have a cat! (Wait, I do have a cat, right? Maybe a dog? Maybe not… Tricksy questions.) Err… how about you? (Whew. Solid ground again. They probably didn’t notice the floundering.)

I’m about 97% certain I bored the recent date so much with my lack of ability to point to anything I did that he basically faked a reason to escape. (This worked out quite well, because I “really” had to go to powder my nose, and he’d told the staff it was ok to go ahead and lock up. We’d be good sitting on the patio drinking tea with no access to facilities. Also, what kind of mad coffee house closes at 5pm???? That’s not a thing!)

Ok, the fact that I may have been bent on boring him on purpose
after he popped his index finger into his nose for the THIRD time is not important to the story. I just wanted to share that bit, because OMG a grown man, a pastor, put his finger in his nose multiple times. Just kept it there, too. Like you do when you’re meeting someone for the first time.

Anyway… I digress from the point, which is discussing the question I hate. “What do you do?” Here’s how that conversation typically goes, with very little variation:

Person: What do you do for fun? (Keep up, I can’t believe I had to type that again.)

Me: I write.

Person (eyes light up as their thought bubble excitedly explodes with, “Ooo! A novelist! Definitely a novelist – probably in a writing group… literary… smart… look at the glasses, the brown hair, she sits tall… all signs of great intelligence): What do you write?

Me: I have a blog.

Person (barely contained disappointment – not a real writer) …what kind of blog?

Me: Mostly anecdotes about my life. (Seeing the disappointment, I offer…) It’s sometimes funny???

Person: Well… isn’t that something. Oh hey, I think I just saw Alice and Mario walk in. Let me just go say hi. (They flee never to be heard from again.)

Honestly, I would get a much better reaction if I said matter-of-factly, “I lick paint,’ or if I started to peel and eat crayons in front of the person.

Y’know, it reminds me of a schoolmate’s husband. “What does Tim do?” “Oh, he’s a magician… at a strip club.” I mean, who doesn’t go to those places just for the magic show and the cheap steak?

As I type these words, I realize that analogy is spot on – to call what I do “writing” is a bit like saying I’m a magician at a strip club. Or I guess it’s more truly akin to claiming I paint, and producing a Paint by Numbers kit. “It’s Christina’s World! They give you like three different kinds of beige. Isn’t it awesome? I plan on framing it when I’m finished.”

Or, you know, like going to a “Painting with a Twist” class and showing off my lopsided Eiffel Tower, and calling it art.

I really should take up drinking one day.

Anyway… all of that to say I’ve been asked about my hobbies a lot lately (the online date guy, Dad’s birthday), and each time, I drew a gigantic blank, no memory of anything I did in the past or do currently, then blurted out, “I write a blog!!” with a goofy smile because I’d remembered something. It was like I’d just announced, “I LIKE PONIES!!!” (In all fairness, who doesn’t like ponies?? I mean in theory, actual ponies are kind of assholes.)

Dad’s friends exchanged sad looks as they realized that the poor man only has the one child. “Bless her little heart. She tries. At least she’s able to feed herself on her own. Or… maybe not. I can’t even look right now.”

This reminds me that I’m still trying new things this year (that I’ll forget to mention when asked what I do).

This is the “and other stories” promised in the title. As you know, I tried painting (February). In March, Anna and I live-streamed our attempt at yoga, and I discovered a new gallery Ao5 (Art on 5th) c/o my nephew, which was fantastic. In April my plan is to sign-up for beginning rowing. And as always, I’ll write about it, or write about it (in italics, since this isn’t real writing from what I gather based on everyone’s reaction).

Oh, and by the way, this is about the same reaction I receive when I announce I “go to the gym,” but that’s another post for another day.

6 thoughts on “Oh, a Blog… and Other Stories

  1. (Ponies are obnoxious – they’ve cranky because they are short – and tubby…genetic grudge…)
    Hey – you like Tudors – fascinators – art galleries
    That ought to get a picture ( if he ducks out – absolutely no loss there HAHA)
    Always wanted to try rowing – there used to be a club around here somewhere ( but the seemed to have glided off once they heard we had relocated….)
    Funny, the cool people are interested in veteran bloggers (but smile when you say there’s no money in it)

    • Beth says:

      This is absolutely true, from angry ponies with genetic Napoleon complexes to the love of the Tudors/Windsors/Stewarts, fascinators and art galleries! (Have I mentioned what a fantastic day you gave me by mentioning that was out there? We even discovered a really cool little restaurant whose name escapes me now. An all around great day!)

      You should definitely try rowing! I’m anxious to see how it goes. I’ve been on the rower at the gym now for awhile, and I want to see how it feels to be on real water with oars in hand. (I mostly hope I don’t run into the brush along the shore, drown, or in general hurt myself/others in my attempts. Maybe they’ll just kindly start us off on shore – that would be a good idea, I’m thinking.)

      I’ll just keep plugging away at all my little things, and hope for the occasional soft head pat. 🙂

      • Oh just go for the main stream…white water ahead HAHA
        There’s a cool sculpture show (https://www.mfah.org/exhibitions/odyssey-jack-whitten-sculpture) and massive Van Gogh open now ( reviews of those before long…after spring break crowds gone)
        Row row row onward! (outside beats gym anytime)
        RC recommence mosquito hawk chasing right now….great for the waist line she says…not hers in need, of course. A paw wave in encouragement from her

      • Beth says:

        I greatly look forward to those reviews, including RC’s on getting in touch with her primal roots as she hunts her mosquito-hawk prey. I can already hear Marlin Perkins narrating the action as poor Jim Fowler heads out to get a closer view, trying not to disturb RC’s hunt. I’ll also be letting my honorary niece and nephew know of the exhibits since she’s now at UofH and both she and her brother love museums.

        Huge thanks to RC for all of the outdoor encouragement!

        On Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 8:32 PM The Big Blue Mess wrote:


  2. Don’t know if you read the recent interview of Terry Gross, but I hated this answer:

    In a subsequent chat, our roles reversed, Ms. Gross offered her thoughts on how to have a good conversation.

    “Tell me about yourself,”
    a.k.a the only icebreaker
    you’ll ever need

    Horrid. I expect better from her.

    • Beth says:

      Terry Gross is fantastic at interviews, and pulling out information that is usually interesting, sometimes educational or entertaining. That said though, I just don’t see her advice applying always well to casual conversations. On her show, you have someone who definitely wants to talk about themselves – they know why they’re there, and it’s usual with a specific purpose/goal. I like your suggestion of “What do you do for fun?” To me that’s a much better questions. It’s something that almost everyone can easily wrap their brains around and talk about.

      I do agree with her other points about paying attention to body language, etc.

      Anyway, more rambling thoughts post our text exchange. Thank you or sharing that article.

      On Tue, Mar 26, 2019 at 2:19 PM The Big Blue Mess wrote:


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