On a Crossroad, Again

Quo vadis viatorem?

Just when I thought I was settling into another mind-numbing rut, I suddenly found myself standing on another crossroad. Should I go left, or should I trust my gut instinct (which hasn’t worked all that well lately) and veer right?

I’m not sure exactly how I ended up in this situation again, because all I know is that — there I was, chugging along in my usual half-somnolent pace, when suddenly this chance to retrace my steps came up and I took it, all the while wondering what I would find. Had I been so much in a hurry in the past that I had failed to notice so many important things that could have materially changed my life? I’m still not sure about the answer to that question, but here I am again, contemplating which road to take.

So what brought this on? If I had to put a finger on it, I think this had something to do with that Craigslist writing job that I casually applied to last weekend. The job poster specifically asked for a native English speaker (NES) and asked for several writing samples. I didn’t think much of it then (I actually expected the poster to ignore my message for the most obvious reason — I’m not a native English speaker). So, imagine my surprise when I received a reply. Long story short, the poster said he couldn’t understand how an NES could write like I did. He ended up by asking how long ago I wrote those articles, which included several entries that I posted here at Treats & Treks.

After recovering from my surprise (followed by a string of mild oaths; yes, for some reason, his words felt like an insult wrapped in a compliment that didn’t even feel like one), I sent a polite noncommittal reply and added a short background for each of the blog articles that I had submitted. As exasperated as I was, I felt like I owed him that much at least. He eventually wrote back — without the snark this time — and gave me a link for the test and wished me luck. I supposed I could have completed that test, just to show him I could do the work, but by then I had lost all enthusiasm for the job. It also helped that I had an urgent deadline for three articles.

Another question that has been nagging me lately had something to do with this blog. I’ve been trying to make up my mind whether to pull the plug on Treats & Treks or keep it running for as long as I could. Let’s just say that this is where that backtracking has led me. I’m back on this crossroad, because this is one decision that I have put off long enough. Maybe it’s time for me to stop vacillating and look at those half-abandoned plans again. *fingers crossed*

I know. That sounds grand and awfully proactive, doesn’t it? But let’s wait and see where this leads. Stay tuned. 🙂

 

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Color Me Cranky

Sometimes a bizarre confluence of innocuous events can throw your day into disarray and turn you into a grouchy wet blanket. LOL! This happens to me occasionally; usually it doesn’t last that long and I tend to just laugh it off when the moment passes.

The slight drizzle was fast turning into a strong downpour when I finally managed to reach Starbucks (in the southern reaches of the metro). The dead weight that comprised my laptop and a small paper bag containing a number of purchases was beginning to feel like a punishment, so I was grateful for the chance to be relieved of my burden, and to sip something hot.

Today, Starbucks was a bit crowded than usual, so it took me a while to find a vacant table — the only one that was available, in fact. The bad news was, it was right smack in the middle (the most crowded part) of the joint, with barely enough room to squeeze through and was far from a convenience outlet. To top it all, my laptop’s batteries were badly in need of a recharge.

After claiming my order at the bar, I went back to my table. I kept glancing in all directions in hopes that somebody soon would (pretty please!) vacate a table within the vicinity of any electrical outlet — but my feeble hopes soon dried up. Nobody was budging from their seat! And with the rain outside, I was basically stuck where I was.

I don’t know exactly what it is about not finding the right table (when I really need it most) that turns me into a downright unreasonable, cranky malcontent. Pretty soon, I was eyeing the whole room with barely concealed hostility.

Darn it, why doesn’t anyone leave? Surely most of these people have been here long enough? It looks like most of them are already done with their drinks anyway, so why do they have to stay? Don’t they have somewhere else to go? (I grumpily coursed through this inward conversation, conveniently forgetting the fact that I do the same thing regularly and probably behave even worse without being aware of it. *snicker*)

It didn’t take long for my ire to find a convenient target: a couple of tables away was a group of five middle-aged guys who had dragged two tables together, and were talking and laughing loudly. And just behind them was an electrical outlet that no one could get to because they were decidedly in the way! I balefully noted that for all the racket they were making, only ONE of them had actually bothered to order a drink! And they are carrying on like they owned the place, I grumbled to myself.

About 20 minutes later, they stood up (halleluiah!) and headed for the door — but wait. Aaarrgh! I rejoiced too soon. One of them (the guy who ordered a drink) elected to stay behind. Deflated at this turn of  events, I settled down again. So what do I do next? Mentally heaping curses on my rotten luck, I tried mental telepathy on the guy (I figured, it just might work, you know?)

You need to go home. You must go home. HOME, you hear? Right this instant…

Proving his utter disregard for, and imperviousness to, my monumental efforts at telepathy, the guy yawned and continued reading his newspaper.

*sigh* So much for that superpower.

Wordplay

I love wordplay — you know, things like puns and witty punchlines and classic comebacks that wrench wry smiles and spontaneous laughter out of you.

Being hopelessly inept at it only highlights the fact that I am inordinately impressed whenever I hear somebody press home a point with a succinct, hit-the-nail-on-its-head idiomatic phrase. In gatherings or social affairs, you won’t be hard-pressed to find the life of the party or the social wit — more often than not, it’s the individual who rolls off clever remarks at a drop of a hat, and who leaves the audience chuckling, nodding in agreement, and inwardly wondering if they’ve somehow missed the point.

I am forever waiting for that opportune moment when I, too, could be blessed with such smooth, rapier-like timing and say something slick like, “The eleventh pun always gets a laugh, even if no pun in ten (10) did.” Or at least a just tiny fraction of Piers Anthony’s fertile punny concoctions for his Xanth novels (e.g., Centaur AisleAir Apparent, the perennially late character Justin Thyme).

Although it pains me to say it, I have to admit I just don’t have it. More often than not I’d be hampered by slow mental processes (umm, slow on the uptake?), sloppy timing, inarticulateness, and occasionally, consideration for certain people. Usually, by the time some sleek repartee comes to mind, the moment to make my point has already passed and everybody else has jumped on to a new topic. If ever I blurt out anything remotely clever and funny at the same time, it’s more of an accident than by design.

Sometimes it makes me wish I had Adam Sandler’s remote control (remember the movie Click?) to make time stop while I reach for my dictionary or scroll down a handy “List of Witty Things to Say for Every Occasion”. That sure would make things simpler, except that it could spoil the momentum of things (spontaneity?).

I guess that’s one reason why I take refuge in writing. Collecting witticisms and devising ways in which they can be delivered with perfect timing and the right amount of careless panache isn’t all that hard when you have full control of the situation and the characters. Moreover, when it’s your story, you can always rewrite or dispatch certain characters if you think they’re getting too big for their britches. Or too incoherent… or something.

While I’m floundering around for a nice clincher to round off this brief note (*thinking hard*) umm… uh, okay, I give up. I haven’t thought of anything yet, but I’ll get back to you on that as soon as I’ve come up with something subtle or sublimely witty.

 

Angling for a better look

I’m doing my best to spruce up the look of this blog (which hasn’t really changed much in the past 2 years), and as you can see I’m doing a piss poor job of it.

I’ve just tried using Canva (which allows you do this sort of thing for free, but it does come with a lot of restrictions). I’m still learning the ropes and I’m really not getting the hang of it yet (frankly, I don’t have much time or inclination to tinker with the controls for now). I did manage to create a header image (intended to look like the one shown below), which frankly leaves a lot to be desired (har de har har).

I know. My first reaction was “ugh!” followed by a heavy sigh.

Yup, this webpage is in serious need of major renovations, but I just don’t have the knack for this sort of thing — not while I’m half-asleep on my feet and wondering what day it is.

Still while I was trying to build my header, I accidentally made another copy. Since I wasn’t doing too well with my first attempt, I thought I’d make a few changes and see what comes out just for the heck of it (LOL).

With my current mood, this feels rather apt. Or it could have been more on point had this been posted around Thanksgiving