Where’d all the People go?

February 18, 2009

Driving around town, I noticed that in every car, behind each passing window, pacing in all back seats were grinning, panting, licking, lovable canines.

I can say with all certainty that I would take a dog over a human any day. They’re eternally happy, loving, non-complaining (unless you count the barking), easy to please. Certainly the most easy-going passenger that will ever grace my automobile.

However, I admit, I never realized how many other people felt the same.

This has been a long time comin for dogs and cats alike. From the farmhouse days of stalking mice in the barn and traipsing through the woods in the evenings with hopes of food and companionship once daylight appears. Dogs and cats have earned and endured their way into our hearts. Nowadays, it’s quite a foreign thought to leave animals outside at night. Almost considered animal abuse, depending on who you talk to.

No, dogs and cats are now formidable members of the human family. Just ask most animal owners. You get them talking about their pet–it won’t be long before you hear phrases like “he prefers to eat when I eat” and “she always sleeps with me.”

What is it about our pets that tug at our heart strings? Is it that they are everything we wish we could be? Or everything we wish we could find in another person? Loyal, caring, unconcerned with faults, good listeners, always in a good mood, always ready to play, never holding grudges. They are that constant companion who greets us at the door. The reliable friend who waits up after a late work night.

What we all wouldn’t give for human companions like that.


How are you?

February 10, 2009

When did how are you become the stand in for hi? Don’t get me wrong; I understand the reasoning behind it. It instills a feeling of neighborliness and concern. And I’m all about that. But I’m even more about meaning it if you’re going to say it. How many times has this happened to you: you pass an acquaintance in the hallway, he asks how you’re doing and before you can respond, he’s on to the next person.  Why did he ask? Why do any of us ask?

To feign interest? To appear polite? To align ourselves with societal norms? Or maybe so as to not hurt anyone’s feelings?

Have you noticed any of these characteristics in your brief conversations at work, school or the local coffeehouse: Lack of eye contact when asking how are you. Picking up the phone or walking away before you answer. Impatient eye, hand and feet shifting. Interrupting.

If so, then you may be another victim of the insincere how are you. What can be done to stop this? Let’s consider some replacement phrases:

The reliable standbys—Hello. Good morning.

Or specialized statements—I just saw the greatest movie. Have you seen any lately? How did your daughter’s court case turn out last week? Has your puppy gotten house trained yet? Did you see The Office yesterday?

Use caution with those last questions. A prior knowledge of the person is key to asking any question. But remember, we can only start digging beneath the surface one person at a time. And so that is the challenge I lay upon you. Dig! Probe! Ask! Reach for your neighbor’s inner person. It all starts with you.

Now what was your name again?


February 7, 2009

So I just signed up for this blog. Not really sure how to use it . . . But I am a journalist. I have a four-year degree in it. I have worked for a newspaper, written feature stories, press releases, brochures and newsletters. Does that mean I can really call myself a Journalist?

I don’t feel like a journalist. I still get nervous before I sit down to write. I think, what am I gonna say THIS time? I have major doubts about my abilities. So what better reason to have a blog!, I say to myself. This way I am forced to continue growing in my writing. I gain practice and, therefore, experience. And I’ll have to be more careful about word usage, content, etc., than I would be if I were simply writing in my journal at home. Where no one can see it . . . no one can read it . . . no one can ju . . . d . . . g . e . . it . . . ? What the?! . . . maybe I didn’t think this through enough. I was rather quick on the uptake here. A friend of mine–and fellow journalist–mentioned the blog idea to me two days ago. She talked about how easy it was and how there’s so many web sites to choose from. So I found wordpress today, and I thought, why not?! Well, here goes nothin!

So how am I doin so far? Remember not to be too harsh please. I am a first-timer. And this post is quite short notice, I might remind you. My writing ideas have not yet had a chance to ferment and reach their full potential. But I’m slowly getting there. I can already feel the fibers in my brain start to work and strain, pulling on each other to extract the good and interesting thoughts that are floating inside my head like dust particles (insert much more intelligent word picture here).

Well, before I get too lost in my thoughts, I think I will bid my sole loyal reader adeiu (Bye Mom!), and leave you hankering for more. And to give my brain fibers more time to work. In the mean time, I will be watching the new chick flick He’s Just Not That Into You. Which promises to be a storyline both vapid and tired. Pretty people sauntering around pretending to be luckless in love but in the end always finding that perfect someone to live happily ever after with. I’m sure it will be box office gold.

Adeiu for now.