Not So Sweet

I was using an ATM today when two teenage girls walked past, heading out of a Starbucks. They looked to be high school aged, and this is what they were talking about:

Girl 1: “And my boyfriend asked me if girls even s*** because, like, they don’t ever fart or anything.”

Girl 2: *giggle* “Oh my G**, what did you say?”

Girl 1: “I said, ‘Yeah, of course they do.’ He said I was a real woman and he liked that about me.”

Girl 2: “Oh my G**, that is so sweet.”

Am I wrong or is that, um, the opposite of sweet? I’m fairly certain that even in whatever adolescent love-drunk haze I might have found myself as a teen, I would never have found that sweet. I might have even broken up with said boy simply for asking me that question, because it’s a fairly coarse question and even as a youngin’ I believed I deserved better treatment than that.

I’m hoping the teen and her beau are outliers and not the rule, because otherwise acceptable behavior protocols for high school boyfriends have gone miserably downhill and I’m going to have to take a vow of silence when my daughter comes of an age to date.

I mean, I know the supposedly sweet thing he said wasn’t about bowel movements per se, but should he have even been demanding a response to that question in the first place? Shouldn’t he be treating her like a lady, letting her keep whatever mystery she cares to cultivate?

I know we’re a long way from Victorian ladies these days, but I am absolutely certain my sweet daughter will deserve more consideration from her boyfriend someday. And should he happen to disagree? Well, I’m sure her big, burly, wonderfully protective father and I will have some things to say to him.

Despite All My Rage

Wes and I have been discussing game theory a lot lately, specifically as it applies to online communities like Reddit. Basically put, scientists have noticed that when a person submits an article to something like Reddit, their dopamine levels spike similar to when someone gambles because it’s the same sort of output-with-hope-of-reward type action.

What’s funny is, the number of times the action results in no reward at all doesn’t seem to matter. It’s that dangling carrot that keeps people submitting posts and yanking on slots handles and doubling down at the race track. All they have to do is either experience success once (even if it’s small success) or watch someone else succeed and BAM. Goners.

When Wes and I discussed this in regards to Reddit submission behavior, I was inclined to scoff because I’m inclined to dislike Reddit on general principles. When my book first came out, there were some Reddit community members who were mean to me and now I’m soured on the whole thing, much to my husband’s frustration.

So yeah, I looked down my nose at the people who submit stuff to Reddit all day just hoping for a big upvote payday. I thought of them in my head as helpless lab rats chasing a dopamine spike, comforting myself with my own supposed superiority.

Until I thought about what I was doing at ten o’clock last night. I thought back to how I reorganized our closet, sorting, folding, and putting everything in perfect order. And then I thought about afterward, when everything was in place, how I stood there admiring my handiwork, reveling in the dopamine high that comes from taking satisfaction in your work.

That was when I realized it: Despite all my rage (against the people who were mean to me on Reddit), I’m still just a rat in a cage.

And I laughed. I laughed, and laughed, and laughed, because it’s just so dang funny when a false sense of superiority comes back to bite you on the tuchus, isn’t it?

Whoa

I’m currently a little over 35 weeks pregnant and was feeling pretty smug about how organized I was until a whole bunch of stuff I’d loaned to other families all came back at once. Car seats, swings, baby bathtubs, an activity center, it all came back last night.

It was while I contemplated the massive heap of baby supplies in my front entryway that I just had to laugh. Egads, babies need a lot of stuff!

Sure, sure, you could make an efficient argument that babies don’t need that much stuff. I mean surely cavewomen raised babies just fine without a vibrating bouncy seat, swing, and rockable bassinet, yes?

Wes asked me whether I wanted to get rid of some of the stuff and the eternal neat freak that takes up most of my brain was tempted to say yes. I can’t stow everything away neatly in a closet, therefore it must go. I can’t have baby stuff cluttering up my pristine domicile!

But then I took a minute to remember Aidan’s infancy, and what it’s like to have a fussy baby, and I realized it would be sheer folly to get rid of anything at this point. Maybe I’d get rid of the vibrating bouncy chair (which Aidan never liked much) and that would prove to be the one thing on Earth Little Girl likes enough to sleep in.

Right there in that moment I resigned myself to the clutter. And in so doing, I broke through the denial that’s kept me company for the last few weeks. Looking at the baby swing in the corner of my kitchen, I feel myself coming to terms that I really will be doing the newborn rodeo again. The good, the bad, the gory, it’s all coming my way in less than five weeks.

Whoa.

Quid Pro Quo

My mother gave me an Amazon gift certificate for my birthday and I decided to use it to buy a couple board games I’ve had my eye on for awhile. Wes detests board games normally, but there are a couple he actually doesn’t mind too much and I figured it was time we bought them.

The first one is called Settlers of Catan. It’s a strategy game involving the strategic placement of settlements and roads and gathering of resources which you can then use to purchase more settlements and/or roads. It’s great fun with a group of four people, so now we just need another couple to unwittingly volunteer to play with us by coming over.

The second game was a cribbage board. In case you’ve never played, cribbage is a card game and the points are tracked on a board, whoever gets to the end of the board first wins.

I played the game a lot with my Dad. In fact, one of my very favorite memories ever is the time I enjoyed a cold bottle of beer with my Dad on the beach while we passed the time playing cribbage together. It’s the perfect game for relaxing together, with a lovely rhythm and just enough strategy and luck of the draw to keep things fun.

Anyway, I asked Wes to please, please, please play with me because I love the game and don’t get to play it with my Dad anymore and he acquiesced…On one condition. A quid pro quo: A game of cribbage in exchange for a game of Starcraft.

Even though I wrote an entire book about people who play Starcraft, I’ve only played one game. It’s tough! In the book I likened it to military chess played in space, and I hold to that. I’m miserable at chess, and Wes had been playing Starcraft for years.

Still, you can’t get something for nothing so I guess I’ll be having my you-know-what handed to me soon enough on the Starcraft battlefield. I’m thinking my screen name should be HelplessN00B.