Yet another example of why I don’t listen to the radio anymore, excepting NPR.

Apparently I am one of the last people on the Internet who 1) doesn't qualify for AARP membership, 2) doesn't use the search box in the top left right of the browser window, and 3) still defaults to the Yahoo! homepage to run my search queries. I use Google for mail, calendars, and even docs, but if I'm looking something up, I rely on the power of the Y!-bot to give me my answers. Some habits, like wild hearts, can't be broken.

So I'm on the Yahoo! homepage this morning, about to look up something arbitrary and entirely irrelevant to this anecdote at hand, and I see a little news item on how Kelly Clarkson's recent single has leapt from #97 to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 list. And I'm thinking, oh, good for her, and I'm remembering her from the days between her "Thankful" and "Breakaway" albums and when she was all sparkly and spunky and she had awesome hair and eye makeup, and I get so caught up in my nostalgic thrill that I'm motivated to trawl the Internet to listen to this wondrous gem of a hit song.

And then I find it, and I play it, and now I'm thinking, good god, is this for real?

Because– I mean– so, have you *heard* this song? Have you even heard *of* this song? It's called "My Life Would Suck Without You", for one thing, and yeah, everything a title like that suggests pretty much sums up the entire song. Well, no. Not the melody. The melody is actually pretty catchy, like most of her successful singles, but the lyrics– crumbling muffins and a bucket of holes, the lyrics are like something you'd expect from Avril Lavigne, only they're worse because you can totally imagine Avril Lavigne making a disgusted face at you, all like, "Are you kidding? I wouldn't be caught dead singing that song if my best damn comeback thing solely depended on it."

You don't believe me. Here. Here are the lyrics. Go read them, or try to. If you are not twelve or not permanently stuck in Angsty Teenage Angst of a Teenager Who is So Misunderstood and I Am a Unique and Original Unicorn and GOD Adults Just Do Not Get It mode, I dare you to follow the first verse with the chorus without wincing. I triple-dog dare you.

The gist of the song is, this chick blew up at her dude and he said some crappy things (like how he wanted anyone *but* her) and left, and then she felt all bad about picking a fight with him, but now he's on her doorstep and he wants to get back together and she is all baby we are two halves of a dysfunctional one!

Whatever. It's not an impossible, or improbable, even, premise. People have fights and say stupid things they don't actually mean, and then they come to their senses and have ferocious make-up sex and move forward with their relationship. Even the title, really, should be kind of commendable: her life would suck without him. Casual, brutal honesty, right? Her life would suck. Not end, not be ruined, not break into a million pieces that could never be put back together. It would suck– but she'd move on. It's not like she's saying she's nothing without him.

What's that? The last line of the second verse? Oh. Well. I guess she is.

That one line ruins the entire song for me. It makes her weak and melodramatic and codependent [1]. I think because I usually associate Kelly Clarkson with "Since U Been Gone", I envision her as this fiercely independent, strong, progressive type, all, "Woo girl power! We don't need a man to be awesome! Love yourself and you can stand on your own two feet without any assistance! Woo!" But then I started reading through the lyrics of some of her other songs (see specifically: "Addicted"), and it's pretty defeating. She's like the female pop version of Dashboard Confessional, except Dashboard is more impressive in terms of vocabulary and sentence structure.


In the end, what does this matter? Ten years from now, will people really remember this song? It's not worth being annoyed over, I know. But it's a crap hit song and it bugs me that there are pages of threads full of comments like "omg I toooootally agree with what shes saying!" and "lolz yeah this ROCKS the best part is when shes like i'm nothing without you ITS SOOOO TRUE".

No, sweetheart, it's not. You are, in fact, quite something without him. You are tooooootally something without him. Really.

Related/unrelated: This song agitates me every time I hear it. Actually, Beyonce just agitates me. Actually, a good percentage of contemporary radio hits agitates me. I would say, I'm not old, I just have excellent taste in music– except I get no end of delight from this song [2]. So maybe I'm just old.

[1] I am all for romance. I am not all for uttering self-deprecating, hyperbolic statements ("I'm nothing without you", "I would die without your love", etc.) in the name of romance. Dude. I'm no relationships guru, but shouldn't your partner be someone who enhances (as opposed to defines) your life?

[2] Also this translation of the song.


Three things that made me laugh– a lot– yesterday

1. The Hubes is on Twitter in classic Hubes fashion.

2. Ramit Sethi has (had?) a rant site:

Anyone who–while hanging out with friends and paying back some money
they owe to one of them–hands it over and coyly says "This is for last
night." Is that even supposed to be funny anymore? It's been used
59,901 times since we were kids. Also, I don't think prostitutes take
IOUs. (full post)

And regarding how to find freelance work:

I avoid Elance because everybody tries to undercut everyone else (but I LOVE it when I’m hiring). By contrast, you should definitely look at Craigslist
since (1) there’s an incredible amount of buyers and (2) everyone else
is so horrible that if you can write a half-decent sentence and
restrain yourself from including a picture of your penis, you can
almost certainly get a freelance gig. (full post)

3. This update from verymystery.

The State of the Lorasaur

A female sheep (3 letters): _____
Beverage made from steeping herbs and/or leaves in hot water, typically served hot (3 letters): _____
A pirate's affirmative (3 letters): _____

Currently, I'm at least out of the "RAGING" neck of the woods. The absolute worst part has probably been being stuck on the inside of two people on a plane experiencing so much turbulence that the flight attendants weren't even allowed to be up and about, and then a half-hour later when we finally landed, having to trek five minutes in heels to find the nearest bathroom only to have it be closed off for maintenance. Yeah, that sucked.


Refrigerator Experimentation Q&A Time!

Q: How long can you keep store-bought packaged cookie dough in the refrigerator before it goes bad?
A: Not two months, apparently.


I've always liked the fact that I don't write for anyone (or for anything (read: money)) because it makes it easier to shrug off the guilt for not writing very often (or for not writing particularly interesting things) in times like these, when I'm only posting once a week, if even that, and when I do it's probably something crap (see previous).

Except now I actually do feel more pressure to write, with more frequency and quality– I was going to say, because I've been getting more traffic thanks to his sending everyone he knows in this direction (so much so that he bought an easier-to-remember domain for me– [firstname][lastname].com– and redirected it here), but really, it's not even for them. It's just him.

He likes my writing and supports my (currently dormant) writing ambitions; he claims that my writing is what initially hooked him, what made me stand out in his memory over these past two or three years even though he meets a staggering number of new people every month (every week, even). He doesn't ask me to write more, but I get the feeling that when the intervals run as long as they have been, he's wondering what's up. Or maybe I'm just projecting– *I* get antsy when *he* doesn't update after two days, which is made even more ridiculous by the fact that his updates are purely recaps of what he's been doing, so it's nothing I don't already know. Either way, it's… different, now. But maybe in a good way? We'll see.

Notes saved on my phone [two]

Gym shoes == traction. Dance shoes != traction. Dance shoes + elliptical + high incline == really crap idea, last resort or not.

Rice milk: no. Sweetened rice milk: no. Sweetened flavored rice milk: no. Horchata: yes.

My class is being taught by Cooper Nielson!!

Traffic sign: "Thanks for your patience / during rehab of I-80"

Who invents the design for "new and improved!" pens? And what's the career path for someone like that?

Must find "A Goofy Movie"

spring rolls = asian burritos

I hate shopping, so now I'm un-American?

Wallace Broecker: "Climate is an angry beast and we are poking at it with sticks."

If my feet could talk right now, they would be making sailors blush.

Scooby Dooby Doooooooo!

see also: [one]

Why I will never go to Hair Masters again

I’m not a high-maintenance girl by most standards: I don’t get manicures or pedicures (or facials or waxing), I don’t buy expensive shoes or clothes (I actually rarely buy clothes, period) or jewelry, I don’t buy a lot of hair crap or accessories or makeup or other beauty products. The car I drive now is the car I’ve been driving for the last nine years, and I will likely continue to keep driving it until every last replaceable part can no longer be replaced. Most of the items on my credit card bills are devoted to household things and food (more grocery than dining, because I prefer to cook than to eat out).

This is less because I’m cheap and more because I’m practical. I don’t do manicures or pedicures because the way I go about my life, they would last a day, maybe two at most. I don’t care about fashion and as far as shoes are concerned, I only need five pairs: gym/running shoes, dance shoes, knee-high boots, dressy heels and flip-flops (confession: I do have a lot of dance shoes and flip-flops, but only because they’re inexpensive and this way I can keep a pair in my car, in my travel bag, etc.– just in case). I tend to lose jewelry like it’s nobody’s business so I stopped buying it, plus I rarely remember to wear the rings I do still own, the only necklace I’ll wear is the one I’ve been wearing since I was 12, and I don’t care much for bracelets. And I simply can’t bear to give up my car (okay, so this is more sentimental than practical).

That being said: since April of 2007, I’ve been dropping between $60-80 on haircuts, which I suppose isn’t entirely unreasonable (compared to, say, $200) until you consider I used to only get my hair cut twice a year for like twelve bucks. But that was when my hair was long and I only got the ends trimmed, so it was really hard for that to get screwed up but even if somehow it did, I could curl my hair or tie it back until the disaster grew itself out.

But then I cut it all off, and since I neither care to wear hats nor look particularly appealing in them, it suddenly became crucial that my hair be cut in a not-unappealing style that required little more than my wash-and-go tendencies in order to look okay. The woman who initially took my hair from shoulder-length (it was mid-back-length a week before this) to an inch-and-a-half long, Elena, did such a fantastic job that I continued to go back to her every three months for touch-ups/re-styles. And for me, the price was totally worth it. I trusted her completely– often, I’d just go to her and tell her where I wanted it taken up, and she decided everything else– and she took her time, from the time at the sink to the time at the chair (cutting, blow-drying, styling). Hair appointments with her took an hour at least, sometimes an hour-and-a-half.

The last time I had my hair cut, though, was back in September, in D.C., with a woman at Celadon. The whole affair took nearly two hours and was $90, pre-tip, but she styled it so well and was extremely pleasant and enjoyable, and over time, the price justified itself more and more (because of how she cut it, the style grew out nicely).

Cut to: recently. I’d been aching for a hair cut since late December, but I either wasn’t home or I was preoccupied with other things and never got around to scheduling an appointment with Elena. Plus, I’d received this thing in the mail from Hair Masters for $5 off any service, and having just paid for my semester tuition and books, a $10 haircut was suddenly sounding very tempting. Plus, it wasn’t like I was going to get anything fancy done; I just needed the hair in the back taken up.

So I went. I called and made an appointment for late this afternoon, and I went and the woman who was going to cut my hair was at the register taking care of her previous client customer (an, um, elderly lady) and she smiled and said she’d be just a second and told me how cute my boots are and how she’s been looking for a good pair of boots like mine. About five minutes later, she took me to her station and asked what I was looking to do.

I explained to her, I just needed the back taken up, then angled down to the front (the winged bob look, which is more or less how I’ve had it cut the last couple of times). I didn’t have a picture handy because I never take pictures to Elena and I didn’t take one to the woman in D.C., and that’s never been a problem because they usually understand where I’m trying to go with my descriptions, and if they don’t, either I end up liking what they’ve done instead so much that I don’t care, or they happily get their scisscors out again to give me the style I was originally aiming for.

But, whatever. I tell this woman what I want done, she says okay, let’s get you shampooed first. I say, actually, I just washed my hair a few hours ago, so– she says, well, I’ll at least need to spray your hair wet because there’s too much of it to cut dry. I say that’s fine (I would be skeptical if she did try to cut my hair dry, anyway).

She spritzes me like a prized plant and combs the water through, firmly arranges my head into place, then begins cutting. Snip snip here, turn my head, snip snip there, turn my head, etc. She comments, a few snips in, how she can’t stand how my hair was cut before, and at this, my heart skips a beat and I suddenly feel my hackles rising because however unintentionally, she is offending the woman in D.C., and I really liked that woman in D.C. She continues to make little comments about how pooly my hair was cut the last time, then: have you ever been here before? she asks. Oh, once, I think, maybe a few years ago[1], I respond. And five, maybe ten minutes later, she hands me the mirror. Well, that’s all fixed now. What do you think?

I look and can’t see much of a difference. It’s certainly not anything close to what I wanted. I ask, politely, could you take it up a little more in the back? and I show her with my hand about how high I want it. She replies, with entirely false cheer and forced laughter: well, I don’t want to, but I can!

She starts cutting again. I get the feeling that she’s irritated and I honestly can’t understand why. Was she offended because she felt like my post-trim request was an insult to her vision? But she’s starting to move my head into place using a little more pressure and she’s definitely not talking to me anymore, and even her snip!s sound a little angry. She pauses at one point and says, take a look at this and tell me what you think before I continue on to the other side.

I look. The side is angled right, but there’s still all this hair in the back. I explain that I want it gone. She stares at me reproachfully and snappishly informs me that what I’m describing is an entirely different style. I continue to silently and warily look at my reflection, passively resisting her. She goes on to tell me that this is an A-line something something, with layers something angled something to meet up with the sides, and so on. More passive resistance. I look at her, finally. I really don’t want that hair, I say. She huffs, says okay, and without any further words, digs through her drawer for an attachment for her electric razor, somewhat unkindly pushes my head down and begins having at the back of my neck.

And, I mean, she is *really* having at it. I suddenly envision those kids from my high school days who wore the long trenchcoats and massive army boots even when the temperatures got in the upper 90s, who shaved their heads from the neck up to the tops of their ears, but had long hair from there to the tops of their heads. I’m having heart palpitations and I’m aggressively fighting back tears because I’m so afraid that this woman is mutilating my hair, and I’m frantically making emergency mental notes to CALL ELENA as soon as I get to my car to schedule an appointment with her ASAP so she can fix me. Someone walks in– an (um) elderly guy (the other client customer in the chair next to me having her roots done is also of the elderly persuasion, so, whatever that means)– and she calls to him, I’ll be with you in just a bit, okay?, again with the false cheer, and also with a hint of exasperated apology (as though to really say: I didn’t think this chick would take so damn long). This woman, she is pissed. I watch the scene unfold in my head: she does something disastrous to me, and when I finally see it I begin weeping in horror and she spitefully sneers at me: well, that’s what you asked for. I continue to silently lose my shit as she continues to do things to my hair involving razors and scissors, and I’m afraid to look up until she is done and says: so?

I look. It’s– actually not bad. It’s actually kind of exactly what I asked her to do. I half-smile (half because I’m still unwinding from the panic attack) in approval, she cleans me off and takes me to the register, announcing to no one in particular: whew! that little girl wore me out! At the register: and that’s three haircuts for… $17. I’m still quiet, working Big Eyes and all sweet proper Asian girl politeness, and I give her the card that came in the mail, asking, do you still take this? (They do, and I know this, but I ask out of courtesy for whatever retarded reason.) More false cheer, more forced laughter: well, not for you! She takes it, applies it to the bill; I give her my card, she hands me back the card and receipt, and because I am a coward I actually apply a tip to my card charge, and then that’s that.

I leave. I check my phone. The total time I spent in her chair was under a half-hour, and it was the most stressful experience I’ve had in a hair salon in probably the last four years.

And so, I don’t care if Hair Masters offered me free haircuts for the rest of my life. I will not go back there, ever again. Even though I know that she is not the only hairstylist representing Hair Masters, that she may not be representative of overall Hair Masters customer service whatsoever. I don’t care. My hair is one of the very few things about which I am highly sensitive, and it is easily worth the $80 every three months [2] to not have to go through horrific experiences like this.

[1] Incidentally– that last time I had gone to Hair Masters some years back? I sat in the chair and (passively) argued with a woman (I don’t know if it was the same one; it very well might have been) about how the style I wanted required my hair to be parted on a different side, and according to the woman, it was not possible for me to change my part. (Fact: yes it is.)

[2] Even my mother, who is the Queen of Frugality [3], after I relayed this story to her, told me to go back to Elena and never do this again. (And fumed that the things this woman said were entirely unacceptable and she should be written up. Which I guess, in a way, she now has been.)

[3] Side note: Cheap versus frugal, written by a Stanford grad/author/really interesting guy.

Took a crash to get me to resurface? Sort of.

So. That plane crash from this morning. I don’t usually write about current events because I don’t honestly feel like I have anything unique or particularly insightful to contribute to the Internet cauldron of things millions of other people are already saying about them– but I was listening to NPR tonight and this female host was talking to some expert dude about how it looked like the plane malfunction was caused by a collision with a flock of geese, and as a matter of fact, Mr. Facts and Figures, isn’t it true that there have been approximately 200 (!) fatalities due to birds flying into plane engines?

Whereupon Mr. Facts and Figures was all, why yes! It’s true! But what’s more, birds cause over one-point-blah-blah-blah BILLION dollars EVERY YEAR in damage to the aircrafts!

And, okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating (or unintentionally fabricating) their levels of indignity and outrage, but the general feel of the conversation was along the lines of, how dare these birds be flying in our airspace! As if it’s their god-given right to be flapping their little wings and moving through the sky of their own accord and free will!

Birds have been responsible for 200 deaths. Human deaths. Two hundred deaths of individual members of the species that was responsible for the *extinction* [1] of the passenger pigeon and possibly four other bird species [2]. Or consider:

…On the morning of January 23, 1998… [Lapland longspurs] were easy to see in Syracuse, Kansas, because nearly 10,000 were lying frozen on the ground. During a storm the previous evening, a flock crashed into a cluster of radio-transmission towers. In the fog and blowing snow, the only things visible were red, blinking lights, and the longspurs apparently headed for them.

…By 2005, there were 175,000 of [the radio towers]. Their addition would raise the annual toll to half a billion dead birds– except that this number was still based on scant data and guesses, because scavengers get to most feathered victims before they’re found.

In separate studies, two U.S. federal agencies estimate that 60 to 80 million birds also annually end up in radiator grilles or as smears on windshields of vehicles racing down highways…

Klem’s 1990 estimate was 100 million annual bird necks broken from flying into glass [windows]. He now believes that 10 times that many– 1 billion in the United States alons– is probably too conservative. There are about 20 billion total birds in North America. With another 120 million taken each year by hunting… these numbers begin to add up.

("The World Without Us", Alan Weisman, pp. 246-250)

Which isn’t to say that a bird’s life is worth the same as a human’s life; that’s not the point I’m trying to make. It’s just that, before we get all up in arms over how much damage birds have done to us, consider the damage we’ve done to them. Consider, even, the fact that the birds who collide with these planes are only doing what birds do– that is, fly– whereas we-the-humans are doing what we were never born to do. We are bipeds, made for the earth. The only reason we find ourselves traveling through the sky or swimming through coral reefs is because of airplanes and scuba gear. And, again, I’m not knocking technology. I love technology and I whole-heartedly believe that the scientific achievements of man have made life more enjoyable and quite likely even more meaningful for us on a myriad of levels; however, much of our technology is an act of defiance against nature, so how can we be shocked to learn that our way of life is not congruous to the rest of the natural planet’s?

I just worry about what the reaction to today’s incident will be. Maybe there won’t be one at all, and it’ll just be a one-day headline– maybe today was an otherwise extremely slow day, and that’s why the news media were so obsessed with this particular story. But remember when the Crocodile dude died and people were suddenly all anti-stingrays? Kottke had a tongue-in-cheek update on Twitter about a "war on geese", but man. How surprised would I *not* be if today sparked an anti-avian revolution, with mass-genocide of birds in an attempt to keep our friendly skies free and clear of those feathery missles of death.

[1] Yes, I’m aware of the Darwinian something-something that states that all species eventually go extinct because it’s a natural progression/stage in evolution. But he was talking naturally. It is not a natural extinction when a species is overhunted by unnatural predators past the point of no return.

[2] I didn’t look into what caused the extinction of those other four species, though I could easily assume that human civilizations were responsible.

[edit: That NPR conversation was held between Melissa Block and Richard Harris. Also, according to this MetaFilter discussion, those 200 deaths were counted from 1988 and the figure for annual damage is $1.2 billion.]

Godiva clamshells would be my BFF.

In mid-December, a few days after finals had ended and I’d flown back to Oakland, I woke up one morning to be informed that we were going somewhere for breakfast, and– unsurprisingly– the destination was a surprise. We left the house a little after 10 a.m. and, if I recall correctly, the drive was short but pretty quiet, as I had yet to gather my bearings of the area and was engaged with staring out the passenger-side window. It wasn’t until we passed by the local tennis club and I saw its sign that I realized we were in Berkeley.

So we’re driving down this quiet little street in some Berkeley neighborhood, right? And even though he’s worried about being late, he’s pretty obedient to speed limit postings (unlike, uh, some other people (me)), so we’re cruising by houses and buildings slowly enough that I can continue silently devoting my attention to them. Suddenly, I notice an old brick building with the Scharffen Berger logo on it, and I finally muse out loud: "Oh, look! I didn’t know they were based out here. I’ve actually tried their chocolate before, but I don’t think I cared much for it."

And as the words are coming out of my mouth, he’s turning. Into the parking lot. The Scharffen Berger parking lot. He’s parking in the Scharffen Berger parking lot.


It turned out that "breakfast" was actually a chocolate tasting tour. On top of unwittingly lodging my foot in mouth with my passenger-seat commentary, I’d been on a few chocolate factory tours before, but I know how much thought he puts into our every expedition, so I resolved myself, determined to be a champion Scharffen Berger enthusiast by the end of the tour.

One hour and four or five samples later, however, and– not so much. The tour was interesting and more factory-comprehensive than my previous experiences, and the chocolate we tried was better than the lackluster piece I’d had a year ago, but all I could keep thinking, the entire time, was: "It’s not Bloomsberry."

Because that’s the thing of it. I’ve had Bloomsberry chocolate, and it’s subsequently ruined me for all other chocolates. It’s the farthest thing from fancy exotic chocolate– there are exactly two varieties, milk and dark bars– but it’s the only chocolate I crave, now. My palate is so attuned to it, in fact, that even when I’m actively un-craving chocolate as a whole, half of a Bloomsberry square is enough to goad me into eating the whole bar. And I know there are hundreds, thousands even, of other chocolate brands out there (I tried a significant number of them before I stumbled upon Bloomsberry), that I shouldn’t close myself off to all those possibilities because what if there’s something I’d like even more? But I don’t care. I don’t need to try new chocolate. I don’t even *want* to try new chocolate. Bloomsberry is all I want; I am left with nothing unsatisfied by Bloomsberry; I can’t see myself ever getting tired of or bored with Bloomsberry.

Which isn’t to say I would downright reject any and all other brands; when presented with such an offer, I politely accept (and eat, as well, also out of courtesy). But I could only be good friends with other chocolate; Bloomsberry is where my heart lies. In sickness, in health. To the death.

You can teach this dog new tricks, but damned if I can unlearn the old ones

I was (half-) joking with someone a few months ago about how I have a chameleon lifestyle, in that when I’m around normal people, I adopt normal-people living habits, mainly in terms of eating and sleeping. I eat meals, actual meals, at their respective socially-acceptable times, and I fall asleep and wake at (relatively) normal hours, and I do it like I’ve been doing it my whole life without pause and I’ve known no other way of existence.

I did this every time I went to D.C. (with the exception of eating breakfast; I think I might have skipped breakfast most days) and Austin, but then as soon as I came back home, left to my own devices, I immediately fell back into abnormal existence, where the literal breakfast (literal as in, the breaking of a fast, or the first meal of the day) wasn’t until 10-14 hours after having woken up, and probably god couldn’t even tell when that was going to be because there wasn’t a whole lot of waking up going on, mostly because there wasn’t a whole lot of falling asleep going on, what with the whole habit of not-sleeping or not-going-to-bed-until-dawn and so on.

But since mid-November, with the exception of eleven days (which constituted study and finals weeks, so even the normal people weren’t living normal hours), I’ve been co-habitating with a normal person, either here in Vegas or up in the Bay. That’s two-and-a-half months of normal living. Dude. That’s a really long time. To the point where earlier this week, the fact that we’d stayed up until 1 or 2 a.m. the night before was commented upon and I was asked if I keep those kinds of hours when I’m in Las Vegas, and I blinked and said, no, actually, it’s usually later when I’m at home, and I’ve been getting the most sleep I’ve had in a long time while I’ve been in Oakland. And as the words were leaving my mouth, my brain was thinking, is this right? are you sure you’re not exaggerating? because this feels like a lie.

Except, I got home tonight, right? No, that’s wrong, I’m sorry, it was yesterday because now it’s already Saturday and it’s been Saturday, technically, for well over five hours already; but since having arrived home, I’ve been unpacking and cleaning and organizing and cleaning more and fixing this and that and making list after list of Things That Need to Get Done and efficiently checking items off those lists, and yes, I’m still wired. Wired. For no reason other than– or so it would seem– I’ve reverted to solo mode. Two-and-a-half months of a sane, normal life, and my first day alone and I’m back to manic insomnia, and so easily, so fluidly, like I’ve been doing it my whole life without pause and I’ve known no other way of existence.

I can’t even sigh over this, I’m so accustomed to it– but there’s some reassurance in knowing I can still shrug over it. Nothing like a hearty shrug of good-natured exasperation. And anyway, at least I don’t work at a machine shop.