Monday, June 16, 2014

Bugging Out

  I'm a person who believes in being prepared. I make lists. And then I make lists of my lists. On index cards. You will always find an index card on my desk with various things to do. And I edit my list - if an item is only  partially-done, I make notes under the item. Sometimes I put items like "go to the bathroom" or "take a deep breath" on the list just so I have something to cross off. Or I'll add items I already did and cross them off to give myself a mental high-five. There is no greater pleasure in my life than the feeling of crossing the last item off of the list. Because then I get to tear it up and throw it in the recycling bin, thus completing the cycle. I know it sounds a little OCD, but we all have our thing. Or a couple of things. I also count stairs when I walk up them. Just up. Not down. I have no idea what that's all about. I tend to get flustered when I go "off list". The online dating system is all about having a list. When assessing a potential suitor, one tends to check the boxes on the mental list when deciding if it's worth taking the time to communicate. And as the process goes forward, more boxes are checked or the name gets scratched-off the list of potential candidates. And sometimes it feels great to tear up the list and toss it in the recycling bin.

  In a former life, aka my 20's, I spent a lot of time outdoors. I had a group of friends that went camping and hiking at least a few times each year. My organizational skills came in very handy - packing lists were vital when you were carrying on your back everything you needed for several days. You do not want to be stuck in the woods with no toilet paper. Trust me. And I never bought into the tulip-poplar-leaf-as-TP philosophy. Even when I had my packing routine down to a science, I still made and double-checked the list. As my outdoorsy friends will attest, it's easy to acquire a bunch of gear. Knowing what you will need and what to take becomes an art form. The really good ones don't take anything extra. I once led a group of teenagers on a short trek along the Appalachian Trail. The co-leader cut all of the tags out of his clothes to make room and lighten his pack. When you are walking 100's of miles, every ounce counts!

  I was contacted by a guy a few years ago who called himself "outdoorsy". This is actually a box in the positive column for me, since I have positive memories of my outdoor adventures over the years, and would like an excuse to venture out again from time-to-time. We messaged the standard pleasantries back and forth a few times. And then I get the message that made me grab my cross-off pen. He asked how I feel about "survivalist/doomsday prepping". Sigh. I know I'm a little biased from watching the doomsday-prep shows on cable, and I know it's not right to judge, but most of those people are what I like to call "whack-a-doos". I should have cut the line, but I decided to let it out to see where this fish was going. I got some amazing information before deciding to just throw the pole into the water. Things like the shelf-life of different kinds of ammunition. Or that if you coat eggs in mineral oil they will stay good for years. Years. Did you know a can of Crisco will burn for up to a week as a candle? Some friends and I actually tried it, and it does work. I had the idea to get the Crisco sticks and make tapers out of them - you know, for a romantic evening. It turns out I said the wrong thing and pushed one of his buttons by insinuating he might be a conspiracy-theorist. Oopsie. He responded by telling me that I was brainwashed by "the man" and that he would be laughing at me when he survived the impending apocalypse. He ended by stating that he gained his greatest satisfaction from knowing that he could survive ANYTHING. I feel the same way about online dating.

I can just hear it now, "I'm sorry, children. You can't color any more. Mommy didn't buy enough cans of Crisco for the end of the world."