Archive for May, 2006

You know what I’m talking about… leave a message and the person never calls you back. There are also the derivatives: the people who always call when they think it will go to voicemail, and the people who send a text message instead of calling. There are also varying reasons… “I owe the person money” or the “I hate that person now” or the old standby “What a dork!”. But today I want to talk about the “non-caller backers who mean to call back and have nothing particular against you” since they are more of a mystery. Why don’t they call??

I used to ALWAYS call people back. I used to always do alot of things though, and didn’t find myself any better off for it.

So what drives these people to not call back? They like you. They presumably want to talk to you. Maybe they don’t like me though? Hmm….that is a possibility. Certainly it is nothing personal? They can’t possibly know how seldom I shower through the phone. I don’t think I’ve offended them. My deodorant can usually covers that up anyway.

I think alot of it has to do with what I call “life maintenance” activities. After work and eating and traffic and stopping by Target to get extra socks and underwear….then sitting for 10 minutes to rest….then zoning out for an hour, then cleaning up a little, then ironing maybe….then getting tired……well, they just never get around to it. They mean to….and they mean to every single day…and they even feel guilty sometimes when they have a moment, but they don’t generally do it. When they have a “free” moment, they generally just take it, instead of calling another person which is essentially just another thing to do.

So I guess I am just not a high priority for these people? Maybe not. I figure everyone has their “short list”, those people they call back immediately. It may be their immediate family and like two friends from high school or something. The “short list” gets a lot shorter when you have more to do…in fact it may dwindle to no one.

The problem is, even if you want to call these good friends back, the longer you go without talking to them the more time it will take to catch up…..and time is exactly what you don’t have…why you didn’t call them in the first place.

Perhaps we all should all have “briefings” ready, so that we can interact more quickly and thus avoid this problem?? Well, that’s bullshit…..I don’t believe in quality time, more so in quantity time. I only wish we could spend a few crucial moments with people and make the relationship deep and meaningful.

So we all know that I do not like to “hate” on shit. My premise is that if enough people do it, then there is usually (though not always) a good reason for it.

In an ideal world you call back the people you care about in a short, reasonable amount of time… exceptions. Unfortunately we do not live in a world without exceptions. In fact, exceptions drive most of our days.

So if so many people do not call back or do not show up on time….then perhaps my expectations are just off. After all, it is far easier to shift my expectations of the world, than it is shift the world to meet my expectations.

Bottom line: It does no good to hate what is so prevalent. It just makes you hate everything and then you waste your emotional effort….which could be used loving something instead.

So what is the impetus (<-- SAT word) of this post? Grant, where the fuck are you? Can you possibly be so busy that it takes you 8 months or so to call me back? I bet I call you a dozen times before I finally get a reply. Not that I am hating. I still think you’re the best. I know you’ll call me one day. Remember taking the baseball bat to my MIBS desk? Remember spooning Matt in Guadalajara?? Viva Los Arcos!!! Viva Grant!!

P.S. You better make up a really good excuse for not calling me back. WTF??!!??!!?!?

Comments from the peanut gallery? What do you guys think about “people who don’t call people back”?

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I love this shit. I think I’m addicted. This is a interesting article and I will be reading the book.

I like this quote most, as “the good ol’ days” effect is annoying and false….because these days, my friends, are the good ol’ days:

“Even in a technologically sophisticated society, some people retain the romantic notion that human unhappiness results from the loss of our primal innocence. I think that’s nonsense. Every generation has the illusion that things were easier and better in a simpler past, but the fact is that things are easier and better today than at any time in human history.”

On another note, I love that website (

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I know I haven’t posted anything in two weeks…..which I think is the longest I’ve ever gone since I’ve had the website.

I will get to it in the next few days. I think I’m going to Asheville this weekend. I played a local version of the Amazing Race last weekend (we won).

Can’t really say I do/say/read/know much of interest these days. Since I don’t watch TV, I don’t have the slightest idea about current events, or movies (which makes me very boring). I read all business books and science magazines (which most people aren’t interested in). I do the same shit everyone else does…not that it is bad….just that it is the same, which means I do nothing most of the time, or life maintenance activites, or whatever you want to call it. Most of what I would probably comment on I have promised someone I wouldn’t so I can’t really say anything about that.

I measure most things by personal growth and it has been a strange year or so in that respect. I can’t figure out if I’m better, worse, just realized I was worse than I thought before, or perhaps I am just sure of what I am capable of and not bothered about the rest.

Anywho….its way past my bedtime and I didn’t sleep much last night.

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I didn’t write that. C. S. Lewis did. But it well describes our daily lives.

I have given alot of thought lately to whether or not I am by nature a happy or a sad person. It is not always correct to divide mankind in half like that….but it is a powerful analogy.

In Plato’s Cave I accepted that the perception of my life is its reality….and that the truth is not always what will please us most.

I grant that my greatest gifts are also my greatest curses, from which I cannot separate myself. I search, it seems, mostly for happiness and contentment…..and only achievement inasmuch as it helps me content myself. I am restless anyway and talk about that alot.

I write about the harshness of work and the injustices of the economy, yet I work hard and defend the advantages of that life to those who question it, since most of them have scarcely seen or experienced the alternative.

I have expressed my fondness for alcohol, the importance of routine and ritual, and my internal rule against questioning reality too much lest I reduce it to nothing.

Everyone knows I don’t watch the news because I think it is all bad, and I read all science and business books/literature. I like all manner of movies, but like those best that end best.

I will usually even come to the defense of pop culture, saying that oversized SUVs are a matter of taste, Britney Spears is a great entertainer even if she is not a great musician, and that only time will tell if Bush is judged a good president even if it is plainly obvious he is a pig-headed dufus today.

I do this simply because the world is full of pop culture and regular people, otherwise it wouldn’t be popular and regular. It is simply unconstructive and serves no end whatsoever to “hate on” what is so prevalent. There is absolutely no effective difference between hating yourself and hating the world. Anyone who hates the world is simply reflecting a hatred of themself.

I do not care whether that last statement is “true” in an objective sense or not……as one that aims for a sliver of happiness and contentment, it doesn’t matter to me.

In essence, I voluntarily and consciously shield myself from naysaying and bad news. I go even a step further and shield myself from negative reality itself….whether it be “true” or not.

In a fit of narcissism I will quote myself, “You will never accidentally end up with more than you have dreamed.” You will never dream anything if you are surrounded by masked hatred. All you see are roadblocks.

So in the tiny, heartbreaking commonplace what do I see?

I see myself.

I see over a decade of fighting my nature, which is brooding, lethargic, and depressive. I see great strides and I see choices.

They say “people can’t change”. I say: You only need one example for something to be possible.

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I just wrote an entry called “My greatest talent”, which I am not going to post. As the title suggests, it talks about what I think I am best at. That shouldn’t be something too personal I guess, since there is no shame in being good at most things; however, if you are truly exceptional at something it is just as likely to be a curse as a gift.

It will serve you well in most instances, but since you are great at it you will not be able to turn it off (even though you many need to)……it is just a part of who you are.

Let’s say you’re a good salesman (which I am not). You would be good at making a wide variety of people feel instantly at ease, you would appear trustworthy, and you would likely be entertaining. Those are great gifts.

But if you got along with everyone people could accuse you of being fake, and never taking a stand (since no one could please everyone if they spoke up regularly when they disagreed). If you are in a bad mood or a little apathetic or tired, your signficant other could accuse you of treating your clients better than you treat him/her. If you are lighthearted and entertaining, you could be accused of a lack of seriousness, of making light of everything.

It is also very hard to step away from what you think you are good at…so that you can become chained to your assets even when they are holding you back. Take anyone who played competitive sports in high school/college. Once you become associated with/good at atheletics you are rewarded for it with friends and scholarships and social status. But then you just play sports and neglect other talents which you might also like. Sports nuts are accused of being one dimensional and sometimes it is a valid point. Good looks are the same way…..they can get in the way as much as they are helpful (luckily I don’t have to worry about that one).

Then there are the bad habits which you become good at and can’t get away from. Drinking for example. In college if you are associated with getting blasted out of your mind, then there is pressure to become even better at it. When you aren’t drunk, people ask if maybe you are just hungover from the night before and will go out later. People want to go out with you, it makes you popular and accepted…and so it is hard to stop. The success of your drinking can fail you out of college.

I used to be that way with depression. I thought when I was unhappy that I had some special insight into the world. I wallowed in my bad moods, like I was always on the cusp of some great revelation. To steal Tolstoy’s idea, “Every happy person is alike; every unhappy person is unhappy in their own way.” I thought it made me unique. But I was wrong. I wasn’t unique. I was just unhappy.

It is very strange to see talents that way because everytime I see someone sufficiently “successful” at something I wonder what mad impulses drove them to get there. Nothing comes without a price.

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