Monday, June 28, 2010

Not nice

I am not a nice person. There. I said it. I am not nice.

I am on a mission. One life. What, maybe 85 years with decreasing physical capability? This is serious business.

I want to maximize my time spent happy. That requires minimizing time spent on mundane aspects like subsistence and maintenance. Money buy convenience. Convenience yields time with each other to love, learn, communicate and interact. That makes me happy. So for a long time that was the whole of it - spend the time required to earn as much money as possible with my capabilities, and put systems in place to minimize the effort of household management to maximize time for happy. It was enough. Then we added two kids. And a career/life change. The household systems became more and more important. I became much more diligent and stringent.

It's easy to confuse me for a sloppy housekeeper, because my house is messy. I allow much of our household to deteriorate into low-level messiness, as long as the key cogs in my system are working. I like things the way I like them. I want things to run smoothly. I am particular.

Toys get put away with like toys, not just in any bin that's handy. Particular tools we use every day are put away in the same place. Keys on a hook at the front door. Respect for the order of the fridge and cupboards. Use the baskets provided for the various forms of detritus.

I'm not just particular about where things go. I am insistent on certain household standards and processes, as well. Tools are not toys. The milk bag is tied to the refrigerator door when we take out the last bag. The laundry on top of the dryer is clean and awaiting a basket. Clothes that are too small go on top of the dresser until I can give them away. Papers stay in piles by type, not bundled together randomly. Things on the right side of the stairs go up on the next trip. Certain dishes are always kept clean, not put in the dishwasher. Oh yes, it goes on.

I'm about as fun to live with as an efficient manager is fun to work for. But I can't care about that. Because this is how we maximize our time. I don't easily forgive anything that wastes my time.  Every second that I don't need to sell can be put to good use. 

When petty concerns muck up my systems, I feel really irritable. Now I need to spend some of my precious, precious time on fixing a mess, when it's not convenient, while figuring out how to balance everything else. My adrenaline rises.

I also, inevitably, have to let go of a hope, a long-shot at the tail end of the priority list that I might just be able to fit in if everything works the way it should. It's usually something I really, really want to do, like work out, or write. So I'm also grieving, scrambling to see if there's some way to save it today, and wishing, wishing that the system weren't broken so that I didn't have to grieve.

All that makes me mighty unpleasant. I am better at keeping a handle on it than I used to be, but I still have those feelings, very strongly, and I still have a strong desire to blame the situation on the person who created it. I feel that, and it takes me a few minutes to work it through even when I can see it. Seeing it actually makes me more frustrated by adding shame and embarrassment to the mix. I've found myself yelling, "I'm not mad at you, I'm just mad!" which isn't terrible, but I'd rather not be yelling.

I am just not nice. When I feel my time is wasted, I feel it keenly. I sometimes find myself behaving in ways I am not happy with, from freakouts to passive-aggressive comments.  Sometimes I can move past it fast, and others, I can't find it in me. There's a big part of me that feels fully justified in being upset, and isn't satisfied with just accepting the situation the way it is. I want to stop it from happening again, and that's when it's most important to be nice. Just when I'm least capable.

There are lots of other ways I'm not nice. I'll tell you about them when I can. Right now, time's a wasting.


  1. I know you as giving, and honest, and true. I think you are just particular. So am I. If that makes us not nice, so be it. I'm in great company-- with you.

  2. Ha! 2 of my favorite women are also not nice. That makes me very happy. Nice is a bland, gooey stupid word (can you tell I dislike it?) that usually makes me think of plain vanilla tapioca pudding. Yelg. The trick here I think is being particular, being efficient, being in charge while remaining sensitive and kind. I'm a lot older than you 2 and still trying to figure it out. Meanwhile, put the damn hammer back in the TOOL basket. Please.

  3. Life is too short not to be happy. That's my (new) motto. If that means we need to be specific about how we run our lives, so be it.

    Also, when I was in college people who didn't know me thought I was a bitch. One day I asked my roommates why they thought that was the case. They said, "It's just your face." !!

  4. dammit. i typed out this whole witty and wise comment, and now it's gone. poof. (and you know, i can say words like "witty" and "wise" on account of it's gone: poof.

    anyway, what i said was that i know you're not nice - i've said that about you all along.


    what i really said is that i'm not nice either . . . and honestly i get so damned tired of being the "bad" one. around here, fun-loving, laughing, camaraderie - the bon vivants are the "good" ones, and the ones who see that clothes are clean before anyone gets arrested for public indecency and trash is taken out before the air is toxic and food is readily available and the house is in some sanitary state and the bills are paid and filed - the person who does things like that (moi) is No Fun. i'm tired of it, i tell you. i may not be nice, but i'm pretty damn fun . . . if everybody does their part in keeping this ball of hilarity rolling, that is.

  5. First of all, I love that wholly jeanne can say 'bon vivant' as if it's nothing.

    Second of all, I think it's just all in how we define 'nice' anyway. Who says it is one thing or another really. To be sure, "niceness" is just another way to say "what makes our lives full". And I think as long as your life is fulfilling to you, then to hell with everything else.

    So there.

  6. It IS tough being a total bitch. Well, that's what I am. You're just "not nice." :)

    I do find that if I just focus on the basics (food, shelter, earrings), somehow I'm able to ignore the laundry. That mountain won't move itself, so I figure an extra day won't matter while I write my next blog post, right?

    The same can't be said for the children, of course, darn it. Having such high expectations of me really pisses me off most of the time. Yea, yea, I know it was my choice to have them and all. But they're just so bothersome. Hehe.

    Nice sucks!

  7. "There's a big part of me that feels fully justified in being upset, and isn't satisfied with just accepting the situation the way it is."

    This is my rationalization probably 8 times out of 10, that I am "fully justified in being upset." Even when I am mean to someone and later regret it, I will sincerely apologize, but a little voice in my head still says "but I was right" or "but it was true" or some such.

    I am also sexist. I think that since women almost always bear the lion's share of the burden in raising a family, everything that really matters to them SHOULD be done their way. Period.

    I think you're awesome, nice or not. ;-) *hugs*


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