Friday, April 17, 2009

Paula-Cole Cool

A moment in the life:

I was motoring down a busy stretch of road on Sunday morning. Nice, bright weather. A good dose of warm. I was on my way to buy a new motorcycle battery. Aine and I wanted to fire up the bike for the first ride of the season. Unfortunately, I blew Saturday trying to get the old battery to hold a charge.

The wind blew through my open window. Paula Cole was singing, "I don't wanna wait, for our lives to be over...." (Not with me in the car, mind you. On the radio.) I was into it. I was digging it. The auto store came up on the right, and I hit the signal and started into the turn.

But Paula was belting it out of the window a little too loudly.

I scrambled for the volume to dial it down.

Rolling into the parking lot, I breathed a sigh of relief. None of the dudes heard my chick tune. Whew, close one.

You see, despite being mechanically inclined and a part-time lumberjack, I don't exactly look the part. (Well, at least with the studious glasses on.*) I try to dirty myself up before going into auto stores. You know. To "blend in."

I got a good laugh at myself that morning. Funny how those issues of self image can still move you.

Next time, I'll let it go. Next time I won't diss Paula.

(Unless, of course, I can snag myself some Sweet Home, Alabama really quick.)

*You can stop laughing, Aine.


Aniket said...

Well I can smile all I want can't I?? :-)

This is so true Jason... the 'When in Rome do as the romans do' feeling.

If they saw me on The Preacherman's blog... they wont think am that nice a guy after all. :-D

We all do our bit to blend in...

And I don't see any harm in that unless you are doing something you despise for the sake of acknowledgement of others, which most certainly is not the case here. :-)

Now am off to listen to "Sweet Home Alabama" :-)

Little Girl Lost said...

:D :D a bespectacled lumberjack... nope, doesn't scan...
That sounds like me when i used to take off my nose-ring and wear a dorky cap over my wine-streaked hair before going into the book-readers' club.i've stopped doing that, but its still no fun to not blend in. :)
sweet home alabama, lord i'm coming home to you...

the walking man said... got it all backwards, the guy who walks into the auto parts store all greasy and dirty is the guy fighting his job...The guy who walks in clean, picks up everything he needs from the shelves before going to the counter, where he places a long and detailed list of every part he will require (extra points for doing it from memory) is the one who gets the counterman's attention and respect.

Any one who is bemused by your musical selection just send 'em my way. I blast Paula Cole all the time...and I have a 2" x 2 1/4" double ended hex wrench that will settle any dispute as to taste.

Margaret said...

Don't we all, at times, try to "blend in." Yeah our self image is important to us.

But it's good, if we can now and again, pluck up the courage to just "be ourselves." And not care two hoots about what others think.

Enjoy that first bike ride of the season with Aine.

Karen said...

Jason - As a child growing up in a rough place, I learned very quickly the importance of blending in. It was called survival. Those who couldn't master it, didn't survive very well. This skill (and that's what I think it really is) has helped me tremendously in my life. I no longer view it as being a phoney (which is what I thought when I was a kid), but as using my empathy to really connect with people. I hope that makes sense.

So, you don't need the dirt to blend in, just "feel" like they feel. :-)

Linda S. Socha said...

Ah Jason
The more I read what you write...whatever the subject...I smile and think...this is a neat,sensitive, intellectual and down to earth guy...(left over language from living in the "NORTH")
I felt as if I were riding with your...Love your approach.

Sarah Hina said...

Well, Paula IS telling you to embrace the moment, right? ;)

For some reason your first parenthetical really cracked me up. :D

On the gender flip side, I always feel like a bit of a pretender going into hair salons. Like all those girly-girl women are looking at my careless 'do (headbands probably aren't cool for a woman in her thirties, right?) and shaking their heads. Kind of the same thing in nice shoe stores, too.

We all want to protect an image, to a certain extent. Likely even in our online selves. But I liked your true self awareness here! :)

Anonymous said...

I do this all the time. Of course, I'm also driving around my wife's girly blue VW Beetle with the daisies in the bud vase. (my Element fits the two car seats, hers doesn't).

I find myself more often turning down the radio because of the cursing coming from the Comedy Channel on XM.


Catvibe said...

Funny, Paula Cole never did it for me so if you were driving up and I heard that I'd be like, ew. Sweet Home Alabama on the other hand, since I grew up in the 70's after all...Can't help it. I'd have to judge you. ;-)

Just kidding. I know what you mean, it is funny those things we do in relation to how we think we are being viewed. What's even funnier is that most people don't care either way! I'm finally getting that at almost 50. Of course if you went screaming by on your motorcycle at 100 miles an hour (and since you aren't an SP type, you probably wouldn't) then I'd be judgmental as hell and I'd curse you and put a pox on you and you would have no idea why green warts with 2 inch whiskers were suddenly appearing all over your torso. Heh heh. Pays to be a witch doctor INFP! HAH!

Aine said...

*my sides ache now...*:D

I'll never forget the "young", studious pre-med freshman sitting in my dorm room, nervously pushing his glasses back on his face (wearing dress slacks, mind you, not jeans...) and casually mentioning his love for riding his cycle on the back roads and hills. Scrrrittch! Wait, what? Back up. You. Ride?? What's your name, again?....

Aine said...

The truth is, all those other guys out there should be scrambling to blend in with you! A true, flesh & blood renaissance man. (Another term for which, according to wikipedia, is Homo universalis. LOL-- further proof that INTPs are not H. neanderthalensis)


Milly said...

I work in a hardware store and I see all kinds of guys. Don’t worry we don’t judge at all. ;-}
Well. . . except for the grown man that didn’t know how to change the toilet seat.

So crank up the chick music and be who you are.

Call if you need help changing your toilet seat.

Anonymous said...

I've heard of chick flicks ... but chick music??? Who knew!
We all try and blend in one way or another ... not a problem!
Of course, I hope you were wearing leather!

The Electric Orchid Hunter said...

People who like Sweet Home, Alabama have always made me feel really uncomfortable.

And I can change a toilet seat. And a tire on a car. Just so you know.

Anonymous said...

Aniket, wise words. Being able to move in differing circles is a great skill.

Little Girl Lost, I'd like to go to the book club with the folks with the nose rings and streaked hair!!

Walking Man, that's a really good point! Folks who've got it together go much easier on the salespeople. And maybe we can light lighters together to Paula Cole.... (Thanks for having my back with that hex wrench.)

Margaret, I'm glad that I'm pretty close to not bothering. Most of the time, we work against ourselves anyway. And the bike ride was great!

Karen, thank you for sharing that. I can feel an old, wary fear in your words. I can empathize somewhat. My life was certainly not in danger, but I took a good bit of razzing when I moved in 8th grade. My Buffalo accent didn't go over well in western Pennsylvania (like they know how to talk). I needed to make some major adjustments as soon as possible to to get myself out of that target category. Not a happy couple of years. But I did get it done.

Linda, such kind things to say! I'm very humbled. :)

Sarah, yeah, that's very similar. I think we're both getting better at hanging with Paula and seizing the moment and not working against ourselves so much. :)

Paul, yeah, I definitely would turn that down as you're rolling into daycare drop off.

Catvibe, sounds like the first judging would be good, but the second bad. ;) Don't worry. We don't ride like asses. We live on the edge of farmland. Close to Amish country, actually. The bike is very freeing out on those hidden, twisty roads.

Aine, oh yeah, I see the scene too. Gah. What the hell was I thinking to wear that stuff? My. Lord. But thank God for the motorcycle (and writing ;) ). Those two things seem to have really turned the tide. :)

Aine again, oh, and now we're moving onto compliments, I see! ;) Seriously, thank you. It's very heartwarming to hear that praise (and confirmation I'm not Neanderthal).

Milly, ha! I like this perspective! Thanks. :) Don't worry, I'm A-OK on how toilet seats are attached. No call needed. ;)

Aggie, yeah, leather makes all the difference!

EOH, it's not hard to "like" it, as in not purposefully turn it off. So no need to feel uncomfortable. And you've got two important changes covered there! Awesome. Probably one of the more ambitious things I did was rebuild the guts to our furnace water pump.

Chris Eldin said...

Cute story!!

My husband is a bit the same way. Our Lithuanian neighbor from our old neighborhood, a big burly man with years of construction and beer under his belt (he's 80 something now), used to chuckle when he saw my husband trying to do something "manly" like painting... I chuckled too. He was made for cerebral stuff.

Anonymous said...

Chris, the weird thing with me is that I do the stuff well. I just don't look like I should do the stuff well. ;)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Jason - I enjoyed the post and all the comments and comments to the comments! Ah, trying to blend in. We have all been there. Now, all I do is try to blend out. ;D

Anonymous said...

Kaye, well, you're doing a fantastic job as a poet, I can tell you that!

Geraldine said...

I think we can all relate to this post, one way or another. Aine, are you really laughing?

Hugs, G