When in beautiful Vienna, Illinois

Be sure to visit Dolly's Place, a classic diner to its very core. Off the highway and an hour north of Paducah, Kentucky, Dolly's is nothing less than you would want it to be. Locals discussing hay bales, plastic laminate tables and waitresses being overly helpful making coffee rounds like it was an Olympic event. The eating part was great. No disappointment, no regrets.

The bathroom situation, however, left me uneasy.

Should I be expecting someone?I remember the last time I was in a bathroom with two toilets in the room. It was a Montessori preschool. I only mention that it was Montessori because maybe this is the exact situation they are trying to prepare children for later in life. You know, be free, be creative... and always pee with a friend.

I don't think/know if the Montessori school had an effect on how I turned out. I know that it must have given that I was there during my formative years, learning how to interact with people and learning how not to interact with people. Something very non-Montessori resulted: I like to go to the bathroom alone and furthermore, I don't like to share (more on the latter point later).

The doorknob was round and brass and had one of those twisty locks that just kept going round and round. I didn't want to check the door handle in fear that it would undo all of the important twisting I had just done, as though there were a secret padlock combination code that I had just happened to guess on the first try.

So I unzipped and sat down. I chose the toilet with the flowers because I would at least be closer to the door and have a better visual should a pee buddy enter. Also, you'll notice that the toilet on the left is a "handicap toilet." It's not higher and it even seems like the tank is narrower. But the bowl may be longer. I don't know. I guess it's just polite legally required to have a toilet with bars around it even if the toilet is the same. Anyway, I was on the flower toilet expecting a paraplegic to open the door at any moment.

[Building suspense.]

Anticlimactic is what this story is. Nothing happened. I finished my business, washed my hands and left.

But it was weird, right?

Happy New Year, Me!

It was my birthday last week. Everyone at work passed a card around and wrote co-worker happy birthday wishes in it. I hate being on the other side of that. Should I be funny? Wait, I am funny. But will they think I'm funny? Yes, their birthday becomes a dilemma for my personal insecurities. I should just start signing, "Happy Birthday! I hope you know I'm funny."They're so pointy Anyway, most people stick with "Happy Birthday," "Happy B-Day, "Have a good day," I hope it's a good one," etc. Someone let me know I share a birthday with Mahatma Ghandi; trivia is always welcomed with a smile. Some people put in inside jokes like, "I look forward to many awkward bathroom stares," prompting someone to write below it, "What? I don't want to know."

But someone wrote, "Happy New Year!" and that's right, motherfuckers. It's a new year. It's my new year. And for whatever reason, that gives me a boost of inspiration. I'm a sucker for inspiration. It's the wind beneath my wings. So what do people do at the mark of a new year? They write out their goals, call them resolutions, get excited for change for about 3 days and then fall off the wagon.

Too much pressure is put on the idea that the New Year will bring something completely different. Things don't change that drastically and even less so, people.

So, here I am all excited about being excited about something, but slightly discouraged because I feel like it's setting me up for failure.

So what can I change in my life that will be slight enough that it is achievable, but drastic enough to be a visible improvement down the line?

That's a great question if I do say so myself.

I'm setting weekly goals for myself. I've got a weekly calendar I carry around and inside it, I've created a list with check boxes. Obviously, if I achieve one of my goals, I get a check. Filling in check boxes gives me a great sense of satisfaction so that's just like a dorky bonus.

Things on my list for this week:

  • Exercise (5 times)
    • Ubiquitous resolution, but important to keep noted.
  • Write fiction for one hour (3 times)
    • It’s hard for me to stick to this. I get myself all worked up about the fact that I never write and it stunts my motivation even more. So I need to just do.
  • Do something new (5 times)
    • I thrive on routine and new things scare me. This resolution could just as easily be called, “Do something that scares you,” but that seems too scary a thing to commit to.
  • Tell a lie (3 times)
    • I’m not talking about stealing or killing or breaking any laws. I’m talking about exercising my ability to screw with people. This is an actual goal. I find myself feeling obligated to tell someone the truth and give them all the accurate information. Why? It doesn’t matter. So, for my own entertainment, or just because I’m bored, I’m going to lie.
  • Be brutally honest (daily)
    • Although it seems contradictory to the previous resolution, it is not. On the flip side of the honest coin, I know that I’m never as honest as I could be about my feelings in the moment. I bottle things up, creating issues for later. Fuck that. It’s exhausting. It’s keeping me from being me.

Yeah, that’s enough for one week. It’s all about keeping the goals achievable. I can’t realistically say, “And now, I will completely change and be the kind of person who speaks her mind, isn’t afraid of change and works out every day forever!”

Set yourself up for success. It needs to be fun, fresh and exciting. Otherwise how can someone be expected to care or stick with it?

They can’t be.

Also, I have absolutely no authority on the subject. I might fall off of this wagon even though I've gone and prematurely painted it.

But for today, maybe even this week, I've got inspiration on my side. In fact, I'm adding a new item to this week's list:

  • Be inspired (daily)
    • If I'm open enough, it shouldn't be a chore to let inspiration find me.

And now, I shall release a butterfly into the cosmos.