Because neurotic is the new black....

Ann Nichols

Ann Nichols
East Lansing, Michigan,
December 31
I write, I read, I clean up after people and I worry about things. I have a chronic insufficiency of ironic detachment. My birthday isn't really December 31; it's March 22 but it won't let me change it.


Ann Nichols's Links

FEBRUARY 29, 2012 9:29AM


Rate: 19 Flag

It’s funny, really; I was as excited as a kid about this whole Leap Day thing. It was going to be this great, bonus day to be filled with reading, thinking thinky things and (to be honest) hanging around on Pinterest letting myself get distracted by bright shiny pictures. It was also supposed to be a Snow Day; there was supposed to be close to an inch of treacherous ice forming in the wee hours of the morning that would make the Superintendent shake his un-combed head, and reach with his pajama’ed arm for the phone to make the call, and give us a day off.  I have grown cautious about believing in predicted weather events this winter; so far we have had only one Snow Day, which is highly unusual for this part of the world. Predictions have come and gone, but this one…this one seemed to be confirmed in advance by NOA and The Weather Channel and all manner of maps with blue and red arrows with a smattering of important looking “H”s and “C”s. Both my brother and my son explained, patiently, what it all meant: there would be an icy mess this morning and no one was likely to be going anywhere.

Instead of ice, I woke up to grey skies, rain, and just another day of business as usual. Ordinarily this would just be a kind of “buck up” situation – I would tell myself that the day could still be special, it would just be special in some way that included going to work, getting the boy to school, and getting into actual clothing at some point. As I said, this is not my first time at the Snow Day Disappointment Rodeo, and I am far too old to believe that the world will come to a grinding halt and the air will fill with all manner of fairies and glitter because the earth has turned a certain number of times and discombobulated the calendar.

Here’s the thing, though: I hit a life bump yesterday that severely displaced my buoyancy and joie de vivre. I was wounded, dropped on my head from a second story window, and desperately in need of some R & R, dreaming, napping, and maybe even loud music and angry thoughts. It would do me a world of good, right about now, to play “Hollaback Girl,” selected Pink, and all of the Alanis Morrisette I can find, maybe throwing a few feints and making a terrifying face as I listened and muttered to myself.  I guess I can still do that, but it isn’t the same when you do it at work with headphones on, or you try to fit it in between scheduled activities. It is an activity that requires time, space, and privacy, particularly if one is a frustration-weeper. I am a frustration-weeper.

The bump, in case you are wondering, involved an unpleasant, political-related scuffle on Facebook. I will not go into details because my sparring partner (who is not a person I know in my actual life) scares me. Suffice it to say that my usual life on Facebook is kind of like a combination of a cocktail party and a sewing circle; I try to be funny, I try to be kind, and I try to avoid anything serious, political, controversial or otherwise likely to turn my source of lighthearted fun, crowdsourcing and local news-gathering into one more source of stress. I have political opinions, lots of them, and I respect the fact that many people use Facebook as a forum for such things. I choose not to for reasons both personal and sound.

Yesterday I blundered into a political argument, made the grave error of challenging someone who dislikes being challenged, and found myself frantic, wretched, and (for me) very, very angry at the same time I was trying to decipher my mother’s handwriting at the unfamiliar grocery store my parents prefer. I was on an errand of mercy, stocking them up for the predicted Icepocalypse, looking for the right kind of creamer, talking to the butcher, and reading Facebook messages in my Inbox that made me flush a hot red and shake, just a little.

I will confess, now, the part of the episode that really, really upset me. I hate confrontation. I want everybody to like me, I want peace, conciliation, and harmony at any cost. Also, and this is hard to admit, I had a strong sense that my Personal Importance had been missed, disrespected and trampled in the unpleasant exchange. Didn’t this person know that I was Special, a Good Person, a Nice Girl, a Good Friend, someone who will ask about your sick kitty or your mother-in-law’s visit and really, actually care about your answer? In the course of four-comment exchange, the bright, floral balloon of my Facebook Persona was shot full of the greyest and deadliest of buckshot. I deflated, I sunk, I was really nothing to write home about after all.

And so I find myself, not celebrating this Leap Day but quivering with existential dread as I look out the window at what has now turned into a steady downpour of rain. I am saying to myself that it’s good for the plants forming under the cold and sodden soil, and cajoling myself like a child who didn’t make the team: if you get dressed and go to work you can try out your new body lotion. That will make you feel better! Have a muffin, the carbs will calm you down. Wear something cozy, do that thing with the eyeliner that makes you look a little bit like a “Pan Am” stewardess, listen to “Hollaback Girl” in the car and scream the lyrics as you go.

This is life, real life, and it isn’t a floral balloon. The buckshot is always out there, filling some unseen muzzle,  ready to fly through the air and pierce our pitifully thin protective covering. This shit is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s. And so it goes.





Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
How does `Ann Nichols & Mary Ann Sorrinto @ Salon (sp?) find the time to write with no grammar errors? You never spiel bad and mess stuff up.
I guess Facebook has bumps too.
'Hunan House' . . .
counting the menu's errors
in grammar usage
(apology to Robert H, Deluty)
Deluty has got me hooked on:

'Fat Tire' Beer has great hops
It's brewed Fort Belgium, CO.
I sip two for better sleep habit.
If I have any more children girls?
I'll open a Jewish store and do ads.
I'm respecting . . .
the jeweler
introducing his daughters
Iris, Lily, Rose
People go Bananas. heehaw.
No fall off a Ox plow mule.
Banana attract 'fruit flies'
Place rotten banana on keys.
That's a way to break blogs.
Bad habits can make cranky.
Ah, we are such sensitive souls. Distressed to be dissed by some creep you could care less about. In fact, it's no doubt a *positive* to be attacked by this character.

And hopefully nothing like this will happen again for the next four years!
I was pretty much disappointed too.
No snow here. The giddy TV talkers show us pictures of bare pavement.
Watch out!
Went to flip the calendar to get out of this month and it's 24 hours away.
It's going to be like ant steps in amber all day I think.
Oh i hate it when some asshat on FB takes up space in my brain that is better used on the things most important to me . . . this sounds like a day where you could use one of those conversations with someone completely unexpected that leaves you feeling bouyant for hours - so hope that happens for you today and if not Pink - the not safe for work version - at full blast in the car may help - So What - I'm a Rockstar - and you are too Ann
Every time I read about something like this happening on Facebook, I wonder why I let myself join. I hope the injury passes soon.
"I want....."

Gentle mention that this is on page one in the Book of Big Buddhist Bozo NoNos.

Hope today is going better ;-)
music is a healer. I remember the first time I realized people might not like me, even if they got to know me. It hit hard, but the alternative of living a life to make everyone like me would ultimately fail, because there would be people who hated me for that. I avoid using cliches, but all those cliches about being true to yourself are true...which is why they are cliches. Not that it matters, but I like and respect you.
Sounds like "stiff upper lip" time to me or maybe "roll with the punches."
My old man used to say,"Opinions are like a--holes, everybody's got at least one. It's no use arguing with anybody about their opinion because you're really arguing with an a--hole."
Well written- Don't let the bastards grind you down,
When someone intentionally hurts my feelings or creates an uncomfortable scenario, I go through a brooding process and then it becomes evident to me that I can always rely upon the kindness of strangers to shed something similarly startling.

Whether you're attacked online or in person, I hope you realize your options are open. I'm betting you've learned it's often better to fly away for fear can quickly manifest itself quickly into an exchange of word wars where ranting and raving ends with both sides becoming exhausted.
Well, I like you, Ann! I think you are nice!
So there - evil buckshot person on FB!! I f--t in your general direction, you bleaahhh person!
I hope this helps, Ann! :-)
Your writing is tight, but at the same time it moves with an internal speed. Clean and ferocious.
"my Personal Importance had been missed, disrespected and trampled": For me, that's a day ending in -y.

Just remember, when people are belligerently yelling at you, ESPECIALLY when they don't know you, that says something about them, not you.

And I've always resented Leap Year Day. I've always been happy that the last day of February was my birthday, but every four years this insensitive intruder barges in on my special day.
I try to avoid contentious discussions, too, mainly because I tend to get spitting mad when I realize I'm trying to converse with a tape loop, especially a mean-spirited tape loop, and I start getting snarky and disrespectful right back. Only after firing several broadsides at the asshat do I suddenly remember I'm a nice guy, a friendly sort, someone who will ask about your doggy or kitty cat or even your grumpy old uncle who once shot rock salt at me from his front porch. I've recently taken on a new personal improvement regimen that I'm hoping will wean me from my hysterics and enable me to dismantle ignorant proselytizers with good humor and a sort of mental jiu jitsu with which I immobilize and humiliate my opponent with his own words. My mastah in this discipline is none other than our own Tom Cordle, to which I, a lowly grasshoppah in this verbal martial art, do deeply bow.

Oh, and Happy Leap Day (that's tomorrow, isn't it?)
Isn't it ironic
That your Snow Day was just another Rainy Monday on Wednesday?

It's a jagged little pill to have to swallow
When you find yourself sucked into the maelstrom of someone else's insanity, thus revealing the cracks in your own facade. Ugh!

The rain is going to keep you inside, but not housebound. Let me see if I can offer a silver lining? Hey, it's rainy outside, might as well get paid to stay inside at work.

Hey, this isn't as easy as it looked at first, okay?

Great little story. You made me laugh and wince in one paragraph. Well done.

I can commiserate with you on this one. The same thing happened to me a few weeks ago on FB and it left me feeling completely off-tilt And, as in your case, it wasn't even someone who is one my friend list, it was someone my nephew knows (I hope my nephew knows now what an asshat his friend is!) I was disturbed by how much I let it get to me. It took me days to shake it off - literally.
Hope today was a better day for you and that your own personal asshat keeps his distance in the future
Yes life seems so much realer when it is posted here or on facebook.
............................. ­­­­­­­­.... . ¸.•´ ¸.•*´¨) ☆.(¯`•.•´¯)
.............................. . ҉ (.¸.•´ (¸.•` ☆ ¤..º.`•.¸.•´ ☆
.............................. .....*♥*...║║║║╔╗╔╗*♥*
.............................. .......*♥*.╠╣║║║╗╚╗... . . * ❤ *
.............................. ....*♥*....║║╚╝╚╝╚╝..* ♥ * 
Inspired by Linda S.
With the days gone by, I imagine you're over it. Heron and Cranky have two good takes on this. Can't see that more needs to be added. (Besides, if I added anything, I might be attacked . . ..)