Learned or innate?

It is no secret that I am a ‘caretaker’ which is really not the right word. Yes, I do take care of everyone in my orbit, but as I sit here and write this I think “It’s an egotistical position” – I do everything for everyone because somewhere in my head I’m thinking “If I don’t, who will?” and “I can do this better than they can.” – That’s ego.

The question is – was this learned or innate? Am I naturally a person who does or was I forced to at a young age and it just became hard-wired?

I was 7 when my brother was born and the mother gave him minimal care and attention therefore it fell to me, a 7 year old, to pick up the slack. I can’t honestly say how that evolved but I do remember when my brother was around 3 he was outside on his little bike and fell and one of the other kids yelled for the mother, she went out and I was right behind her. She picked up my brother, still crying and yelling for Mommy and when he saw me he reached out his arms. Yeah, the kid was 3 and thought I was his mother. So there you go.

There is nothing unusual for a child to take care of a child; or for a child to take on the mundane running of a household – cooking, cleaning, laundry etc. – in large families that’s pretty much how it works out. Except – I don’t come from a large family, I just come from a family where the mother checked out after her first child was born and the second and third were unwanted and pretty much uncared for.

By the time I was a teenager I was pretty much in charge of everything. I don’t think I ever thought twice about it – tho I did question, to myself, why I was left out of some of the big decisions because, hell, I was going to be the one who had to implement and oversee them.

Even my jobs – I was always the assistant to a top executive and not only did I take care of business I took care of their personal lives as well. When I started to work for small companies, instead of large corporations, I was often called the ‘Office Manager” or as I called myself, the ‘Office Mommy’ – I was taking care of everybody not just the owner of the company.

Same position I had in the family. Same position I have had in all my personal relationships.

My husband has become more disabled since his fall last Summer, and in the last 2 months his physical stability has deteriorated greatly. His balance is shit, his hand tremors are ridiculous and whatever he contributed to the running of our little household before, he can no longer do. So everything is on my plate. And I’m tired – physically and mentally and emotionally tired. I’m just trying to keep one old man and 2 old cats alive and well cared for.

My question is why – Did I learn to be this way or was I born this way?

I really do have to laugh at myself

because I simply don’t understand decor, themes, traditions and collections. Every time of read about such things I wonder to myself “Why? Why the hell would anyone do that?”  And of course the answer is – because it makes them happy. They enjoy it. I simply can’t fathom why.

All of that is so alien to me.  People put so much effort and thought and creativity in decor, themes, traditions and collections. I admire that. I wonder where they got the ideas for all of that. What does it mean to them.

And then I have to wonder, and laugh, why do I care? And I don’t really care so much as wonder why I find it so alien.

And are other people different from me, or am I different from other people? I tend to feel like I’m the different one – the rest of the world is in sync with each other and I am the odd one out.

I can admire something without wanting it. I mean, you just appreciate something for what it is. Or you recognize the work and the talent and the creativity that went into something without liking it per se. You just recognize the effort. Ya know?

People have skills that I am in awe of, yet, I have no desire to acquire those skills. I value their skills without valuing what those skills result in. Does that make any sense?

And it’s not simply a matter or like or dislike – I like chocolate ice cream but I don’t like ice cream with chunks of chocolate in it. I don’t think there is much to understand about that, it’s pretty straight forward, nothing there to understand, or not.

I don’t understand me more than than I don’t understand other people. I do not understand why I find the whole decor, themes, traditions, collection alien and weird.

It is just me, isn’t it?shrug

Of course you have!

Have you ever gotten enmeshed in a book series and somewhere along the line start casting the movie? Of course you have. I just DNF a Jonathan Kellerman “Alex Delaware” book  and, after all this time reading this series, it crossed my mind who might play the character Milo Sturgis. No one came to mind, Milo is such a well defined character as to physical appearance and personality that I can’t imagine anyone but him playing him LOL The character Alex Delaware, not so interesting, kinda blah, could be anyone.

And speaking of book series, early on rabid fans of the “Stephanie Plum” series by Janet Evanovich, were all excitedly casting the movie version of the books. I think we all agreed that Sandra Bullock would have made a fabulous Stephanie and I personally was rooting for Benjamin Bratt as Ranger. I could never come up with a good Joe Morelli but Estelle Getty would have been the definitive Grandma Mazur.  They did actually make  a movie  of the first book and the casting was totally meh.

There have been 26 Stephanie Plum books and quite frankly they began to pall by the 10th one. Even before maybe. But the first 5 or so – hysterically funny.

So do you have a favorite book series character? And if they made a movie who would you cast in the part? Or is the image in your head all you need and want?

Miscellaneous Mishegoss

~ The one thing we have learned from this lock-down is grocery shopping on Senior Discount Thursdays isn’t worth the 5% discount. When we first moved here we shopped on Tuesday and never had a complaint or problem. Then the cashiers kept hocking us to shop on Thursday for the discount. And that’s when grocery went to hell in a handbasket. Thursdays the store is out of everything – week after week (year after year). The first 3 weeks of the lock-down the lack of  EVERYTHING on Thursday was insane. Then – we switched back to shopping on Tuesdays – what a revelation – milk and bread! Yay! Once the supply train gets back on track we will maintain our Tuesday shopping schedule.

~ But it does have us discombobulated a bit as to “What day of the week is it?” The day after grocery shopping is Friday, nope, it is Wednesday. I grant you being retired and living in social isolation as our normal, we often got a little fuzzy about the exact day of the week, now with the shopping switch it’s a little worse but hardly the end of the world and we will adapt.  First world problems, people.

~ Yesterday in my instagram video I shared my fun fact that in New York City people stand ON line whereas in the rest of the world people stand IN line. If I have occasion to use the phrase ‘stand on line’ when I am writing, I write it that way, I’ve never use the phrase ‘stand IN line” It sounds as weird to me as ‘stand ON line” sounds to everyone else. We NY’ers, we talk funny. (Remember  this post?)

~ Thanks to the generosity of a blogging friend we got masks 2 weeks ago. I had ordered masks from an Etsy store 3 1/2 weeks ago and finally got them today. I think complaining to Etsy did the trick. As soon as I filed a resolution request, Bingo, all of a sudden my order was at the post office. Who knew Etsy’s complaint resolution department first of all even exists and secondly, it works!. I’ve never had a problem with shopping on Etsy but it’s nice to know that going forward, if I ever do, they have effective procedures in place.

~ And then, the best for last – a friend posted on FB a DIY face mask video that is hilarious. I was watching and thinking “Hoo-boy, this woman is a disaster” and it took a minute or two for me to tip that the video was SUPPOSED to be funny.  You will laugh, I guarantee it (and who doesn’t need a good laugh these days?)

Been on my mind these few days

Over the weekend I read about the death of  Glenna Goodacre who was the sculptor of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. I visited that memorial back in 1996 along with the Vietnam War Memorial (The Wall). Reading about her death and without referencing photos of the memorial the feelings I felt when I first encountered it came flooding back.

It is the most evocative piece of sculpture I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot. Even more than The Wall, which I had personal connections to (so many of my friend’s names are on it) this work of art and emotion blew me away and literally brought me to my knees. I didn’t cry at The Wall, I cried at this memorial. Words can’t describe it, photos don’t do it justice.

If by some chance you ever find yourself in Washington, D.C. you must really visit the Vietnam Women’s Memorial – for the love of the art and for the love and bravery and sacrifice of these extraordinary women…