Meaningless irksome things –

I live in Northern Virginia, therefore my ‘hometown’ newspaper is The Washington Post. I get it delivered to my door every day. Yes, fancy that, a real paper newspaper delivered everyday, to be read with breakfast.   I pay approximately $58 a month for this indulgence but it does include all-access to the digital version as well. I have no idea how much an issue of The Post would cost if you bought it at a store or how much the Sunday Edition is , it’s more because you get more ‘stuff’ and they use more paper.

At any rate I just got an email that said I will be getting a special expanded edition on Wednesday, August 12 and I will be charged the Sunday edition price. The expanded edition will contain special sections that I have zero interest in. The email included a link in case I had any questions. Using that link, I went to my account and it said I could opt out of the expanded edition. Well, I clicked that puppy right quick and then this notice popped up; “You opted out of the August 12 expanded edition As a valued Washington Post Subscriber, you will still receive the expanded edition, but you won’t be charged for it.”  I must say that is nice of them. I won’t get charged extra for something I don’t want and didn’t ask for but they will give it to me anyway.

I wonder how many home delivery subscribers are opting out? I wonder how many subscribers actually know how much they pay every two months and whether they will notice that their next bill will be a bit more.

Staying on the subject of where I live – Northern Virginia and the part of Maryland that abuts Washington DC are referred to as “suburbs of Washington DC” or “Washington DC Metro Area”.  I have always resented that. These are 3 separate areas – and I see no reason why DC should take precedence over Virginia or Maryland.  They appropriated bits of Virginia and Maryland to create DC and, if memory serves me right, a few years ago some folks in Alexandria, VA made noises about taking their part of DC back. Quite frankly I don’t know why anyone would want ANY part of DC – aside from the Lincoln Memorial and the Viet Nam memorials, I never found anything there remotely attractive and it most certainly not an attractive place to live. (Yeah, please don’t tell me about the Smithsonian museums or the National Zoo – )

Moving on to other meaningless irksome things –

I’m still a little irked, and maybe confused, that my niece hasn’t made any effort to contact me since she is the one who initiated contact.  I try to be a “shit or get off the pot” sort of person, if you go to all the trouble of tracking someone down, exchanging all means of communication (phone numbers, email addresses, yadda, yadda, yadda) then just blank – why bother in the first place.

So – are my feelings hurt a little, yeah, kinda. Is it a big deal? No, not really. She has played this game before. I don’t like games. I can understand where she is coming from, to some extent, but damn, the woman is 46 – time to grow up and shit or get off the pot.

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Responsibility and Freedom

I had a conversation just the other day about my caretaker/responsibility personality – whether it is innate or learned; whether I acquired it because I had to or I was born to it.

Glossing over all the details, I was forced to be ‘responsible’ and a caretaker at the age of 7, that’s when my younger brother was born. There are lots of children who take on adult responsibilities at a very young age, it isn’t all that unusual in the world. Perhaps in your world it might seem unusual but in the great big wide world it isn’t.

The older I got the more responsibilities I had.  My parents didn’t care what I did, where I went as long as my ‘responsibilities’ were taken care of.  By the time I was in 6th grade I was forging my parent’s signatures on all my school paperwork including my report cards. They never knew because they never asked – never asked about reports cards. Never asked about school trips. Never asked about me.

By the time I was 14 I knew how to write  a check, pay bills, make bank deposits. I had been doing all the cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing for several years already.

Back in my day, where I lived, high schools had 3 programs, academic for those who wanted to go to college, business/secretarial for those who didn’t and general for those deemed incapable of the other two.  Parent’s got to choose which program their kid went in and had to sign off on the paperwork. My parents never saw that paperwork. I signed myself up for the academic program because I wanted to go to college. I was a junior in high school when my father finally tipped to the fact that I was not taking the secretarial course.

I was two people – the shy, quiet, mousy, compliant, responsible person they saw and the determined, competent, forward thinking, plotter and planner they never knew existed until the day I walked out the door.

Yes, as a child and a teenager I had a lot of freedom – to go wherever I wanted and do whatever I wanted. Nobody cared. And that was a good thing. Because I got to choose for myself who I was going to be.

And all those responsibilities – they were a good thing because I learned how to be an adult while I was still a child. So when the time came to exercise even more of my freedom I knew how.  Those responsibilities gave me the knowledge to navigate the practical world, to be able to take care of myself.

That was the war I fought within myself – those two people – always at odds.  The one who lived fancy free and the one who needed to be rooted and safe. The one who accepted no limits and the one who was afraid to truly test those limits.  The one who lived her life on her own terms and the one who accepted other people’s terms in the false hope of security.

Accepting other people’s terms never worked for me, never made me happy, never made me feel safe. Those times when I lived on MY terms, were the best, the happiest. I  might have made some choices that weren’t always the wisest but they caused me less pain than decisions made when living by someone else’s terms.

I haven’t been free in decades. I haven’t lived MY life, on MY terms in decades. I am mired in a swamp of responsibility that I don’t want and yet can’t walk away from.

I’ve sold myself for a false sense of security and safety. I’m living up to all the other’s expectations and to my responsibilities. And some people think I’m admirable but I’d rather be free.


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