Thursday, June 01, 2006


Things I Don't Do

I’m leaving the wool suits at home this week, since it’s hot and humid and the a.c. in my office isn’t working. I don’t do wool when the a.c. isn’t working. It’s just one of the choices I’ve made in life. Since the misery index has been making me thoroughly cranky all week, I’ve had occasion to reflect on other cranky choices, other things I don’t do:

- Heat. Maybe it’s the Swede in me, maybe it’s the Northern Town upbringing, but I wilt in the heat. I’ll switch to hybrid cars, I’ll support mass transit, I’ll cut down on travel, but you can pry the central air conditioning from my cold, dead hands. I wonder if any Canadian colleges have openings?

- Botany. Never cared, never will. If you want to see my eyes glaze over, just drop the word “azalea” in my presence. (“rhododendron,” “peony,” or “vinca” will have the same effect.)

- Nascar. I don’t care how much flak we Northern liberals take for it, I just don’t get the appeal. It’s traffic, and I get enough of that without watching it on tv.

- Singalongs (other than ‘happy birthday’).

- “Team-Building Exercises.” The tyranny of extroversion in our culture reaches its shark-jumping moment here. I would rather visit the Evil Dentist than endure a team-building exercise. I once took out my contact lenses shortly after chopping jalapeno peppers; I would rather do that again than endure another team-building exercise. The worst part of team-building exercises is that you aren’t allowed to object to them. Be very suspicious of anything that can’t tolerate rational scrutiny, whether it’s the Bush administration or some cornflake trying to tell you that devoting a workday to a rope trick is the secret to success.

- “Get Psyched!” (also, “Get Pumped!”) See “Team-Building Exercises.” I manage my own emotions, thank you very much.

- Camp. I came to this revelation in my twenties, when I was *#$&#) poor. “Roughing it” is fun only if you aren’t roughing it in real life. No, thanks. If I want a real vacation, I’ll take several days in a nice hotel in a big city. The hotel will have central air. The city will have events. Life will be good.

- Chuck E. Cheese. ‘Nuff said.

- Watch tv on a cell phone. Are you *(#()$(@#%& kidding me? Is there such a shortage of tv that we’re reduced to watching it on one-inch screens in every spare moment? This is a solution in search of a problem.

- Anything involving Adam Sandler.

What don’t you do?

I'm with you on the camping - that's a big NO WAY.

I don't do loud. Loud music, loud tv, loud talking. Loud is bad.

I don't do hot. Which has been difficult this week as the air in our building has been out. The basement was a balmy 84 degrees and it was a minimum 5 degree increase for each floor. Counting ballots on the 4th floor at 5:00 yesterday after only 4 hours sleep the night before.. something else I'm adding to my 'don't do' list.

I don't do uncomfortable shoes. I don't care how cute they are, if I can't be comfortable they aren't for me. (Hence the several shoe boxes of new shoes in my closet.)
Oh, I love this post! I agree with your entire list (especially camping) except for a small Adam Sandler caveat: I loved "Punch Drunk Love."

I don't do flip-flops. No how, no way. Nor thongs (same principle). Nor Birkenstocks (because they remind me of camping). I also don't do ice cream that has bananas in it.
Oo.. I forgot about flipflops, and that other thing. I hate the sound flipflops make, and being a big woman I think that it would draw even more attention to my retreating figure!

I don't do sweatpants or pajama pants outside of the house.
I don't do hot -- (I really would love to move to Canada).

I also won't learn how to clean fish, because that would mean I would have to DO it -- and I don't clean fish.

I don't do uncomfortable shoes -- that is why I always wear Birkenstocks (and I like them because they remind me of camping... which I like, when it isn't hot...)
Nice entry.

I don't do bathroom cleaning, much to Lovely Wife's chagrin. I don't know why. I clean the kitchen in detail, dust, sweep, etc...but somehow I don't see the bathroom.

I don't do tents. Cabins are better.

I don't hunt, which is not a popular position in my small, rural town. I don't see the "thrill." It would be more attractive to me if I had to stalk the prey and fight it. Or if I were really hungry...both options, really, have no appeal to me. I would rather take a picture.

I don't do the heat well either. I grew up in Texas...spent a long summer in undergrad holed up in a small, upstairs garage apartment translating Greek and sweating with no AC. I would rather die than to return to that. In fact, after this hot weekend, I think I really would die. So, the AC was cranked, and I still had a fan on me.

I don't do small-talk well. I was incredibly shy as a kid, and I really am now only functionally conversant. Blah, blah, blah about the weather or such...I think I will poke myself in the eye, thank you.

I don't do jokes about my daughter dating very well. She is extremely cute (not just saying that). So, I get a lot of: "the boys are going to be all over her" or "she is going to be a little heartbreaker" or some other "funny" observation. I know what little boys think. I know I want to have a sexually liberated, strong feminist daughter...just not until she is...oh...out of college.

I don't do well with thoughts of teenage years: my own, my daughter's, etc.

I have never done nuts. Can't stand em. Not any of the nut family. Yuck.
Each school year begins with "College Days," in which Dean Florsheim reserves a "retreat facility" at the B-school for all depts in the college. It is full of esteem-building, team-growing, trust-developing, egregiously ineffective motivational hooey.

We all sit around and mumble about finishing our copying, prepping for the first week, etc. I feel like Virgil dropped me off at the wrong place, or maybe the right one.

It is the most godawful three days of my year.
Three came immediately to mind for me:
1. Makeup
2. Pantyhose/Nylons/Whatever
3. run after buses
Heh, Maggie. I don't do ANYTHING that has bananas in it. Blech.
Of course you can object to team-building exercises. When I was younger, I went on an offsite to the St. Michael's Inn on the Chesapeake Bay (wonderful crabcakes). The first day started with a team-building exercise where one had to visit the corners of the room (I forget why). I sat in my seat, waiting for it to finish. I was asked why I wasn't joining in. I said I thought it silly. End of conversation.
I love hot! Criminy, when you live in the Upper Midwest, hot is a precious commodity.

What I don't do is games. I'm not talking Clue or Monopoly here, but the games people play--head games. When I discover someone is playing games with me, then it's all over. They cease to exist as far as I am concerned, and they know it, and they know why. If they need their existence back, they have to earn it--and I'll let them earn it. I'm not an unforgiving sort. But the price is no more games.

I started this strategy as a child, thanks to certain social practices within my extended family, and continued it through 15 years in the private sector and now several years into academia. It always works, perhaps because gameplayers are fundamentally cowards, and easily intimidated. I think that's why they play games in the first place--they don't have the self-confidence to operate in the open.
Alcohol, in all forms. Hate, hate, hate the taste, although I can put up with spiked punch and the very occasional Kahlua.

Any hot drinks (even hot chocolate). I'll occasionally drink an iced coffee.

High heels. Ow.

Then again, flip-flops.

Skintight clothing (I enjoy breathing, thanks) and miniskirts (give me long, swishy skirts any day).
beer. coffee (with the notable exception of mochas & egg nog lattes, because anything is good with chocolate or eggnog). ice cream with peanut butter. bell peppers.

crowds! except in very small doses.

and the ever-unpopular hot. (is everybody's air on the fritz this week?!)

my mother has been known to say that if she wanted to spend a week washing dishes and making beds, she'd stay home instead of going camping. :) I don't have much strong feeling about it one way or the other...then again, I've gone camping just a handful of times in the last 10 years.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
• peanut butter or peanuts
&bull flame people online or otherwise
&bull watch the news
&bull stalk - am currently on the other end of this. if someone doesn't vibe with me i "get it"... and leave them alone; i don't start a blog (or two) documenting my hatred for them or my obsessions with their every thought...
&bull fruit in ice cream (ouch)
&bull make films of my pet with objects on her, or doing embarrassing things, and post them online
&bull cheap shoes
&bull tent camp (but cabins are wonderful!)
&bull hang with people who are off their meds (see stalking comment above)
&bull litter
&bull sing
&bull war (see flame comment above)
&bull jogging (ouch!)
&bull lastly, cell phones. just don't get it.
I don't post grades before the end of final's week. Did it once 7 years ago - never again.

I don't sign any important degree/related academic-progress form without it passing through the hands of my trustworthy program administrator. He knows the minutia bureacracy rules better than me, and he needs a copy of all those forms. Students desperate to graduate and submit something by a deadline don't like it when I tell them this (I direct a graduate program).

I don't watch TV, except when I'm trapped in a hotel room.

I don't do flat geography. The midwest will never see me.

I don't do fancy hotels or restaurants. Not against it - I just don't appreciate it.
How's your French? We're likely to be looking for a new dean for humanities in another year and if you're comfortably bilingual or are willing to spend a summer in a crash course, I'd love to see someone like you apply!

I'm with you on much of your list. Heat's intolerable. Botany? Let's just say I'm rather bad at it. NASCAR? I like my horsepower to come with hooves, please!
I don't (and won't)-

- watch American Idol
- eat hot dogs - any food that is made by basically squeegee-ing up whatever is left on the slaughterhouse floor is a big no-no with me.
- drink alcohol in the hot sun
- iron
- give in and buy a minivan just because I have 2 kids
- turn my husband's shirts the right way when I wash them because he has thrown them in the hamper inside out. He gets them back the way he's put them in, except they're clean.
- empty the Diaper Genie
- be courteous to a cashier who is not courteous to me
I'm with you on the camping - only did it once and bailed after 3 days.

- team building, never again these stupid touchy feely trust exercises

- also don't do touchy feeliness - no hugging unless we're in love (or you are my sister's two children) please

-Not big on the hot - but as I live in North Scotland, can't really grumble!

- I'm not keen on 'brainstorming exercises' - usually end up with a list of unrelated, unrealistic points that nobody does anything with
I don't do word-smithing in groups larger than three.

I hate 30 minute meetings that last 1.5 hours. Get in, get on, get out!

I don't do bureacracy. If a step can get skipped, I'll skip it just to piss someone off.

I don't kiss up to politicians just because they "may" give us money. If it isn't an election year, they don't care. If it is, you can't get close to 'em anyway.

I don't do whining. Not from my students, not from my staff, not from my kids, and especially not from faculty...but a little from my wife because she needs me to listen to her think out loud. ;-)
Ahh, GREAT idea!

My big one would be cold. I hate hate hate being cold. I can stand heat, especially dry heat, but cold, no! (Yeah, this makes no sense for where I live.)

Reality TV. I just don't get it.


Babies. I don't want to make them; I don't want to hold them; I don't want to change them. When they're fun to play games with, then give me a call.
One true love
people who think dressing up like stuffed animals is sexy
reality TV
bathing suits (although that might change in another 15 pounds)
lima beans
sneaky and conniving
camping unless there is no chance that I will hear electronics, generators, or engines
high places
x-treme sports
Tom Cruise
Mel Gibson after "Thunderdome"
Leonardo diCaprio
- I don't pretend to be interested in other women talking about their diet, or how "bad" their consumption was today, or how fat they are, or jokes about how "if you eat X while in/doing/taking Y, it doesn't have any calories", etc. It just saddens me.

- I don't pretend that I think being a stay-at-home parent is "the world's most important job" or "the hardest job a parent can have"

- Harry Potter
This is too fun. Here's my list of evils:

clothing bicyclists wear
small clothing in general (short skirts, shrunken-looking jackets, etc.)
hot weather (I fear global warming terribly.)
cell phones (though I finally caved and bought a pay-as-you-go for emergencies)
what don't I do?

Suits, for one. Sportcoats when absolutely necessary. Ties, usually, for another. A sabra friend once told me that the Knesset went downhill fast after they started wearing ties and coats.

Cell phones. I may reconsider in future as working public phones are increasingly rare and often surrounded by questioable retailers. for now, though, no cell and no walkie-talkies, either. Volitional isolation in the interest of quiet time is a priceless self-indulgence.

Anything that smells, tastes or feels of coconuts. Early-acquired aversion, alas.

American Idol, Survivor, Fox News or, for that matter, just about any television outside of Turner Classic Movies and PBS. With the exception of "Doctor Who." Okay, I'm a hypocrite. Sue me.

Harley-Davidsons. This is naked bigotry on my part; I started out with a Triumph, dallied with an odd Honda, then ended up with an elderly BMW. Harleys are handsome but their combination of price and the louche "faux biker" culture (with accessories) distances me.

Worry(much) about having not made cuts on tenure-track jobs over the years. I figured out, about a decade ago, that the pool of aspirant academics was full of much younger and more ambitious and active sharks than I. So, I work a non-teaching job in my original field, teach "recreationally" when a local school needs me and research at my own pace. Life could be worse; I might, after all, have to wear a woolen suit on a regular basis.
I DON'T DO ...
online lists. You know the kind where someone proposes a bizarre topic for a list in their blog and then readers offer their own lists as a comment.

... wait a second here !!!

Pantyhouse-- ugh, if I must, I wear stockings, then I'm not saddled with the horrible inevitable sensation of "sagging crotch syndrome".

Skirts that end mid-calf-- what have I got to hide?! My "virtue"? They're unflattering and too conservative. Besides, I'm a gym-rat/biker/jogger enthusiast I can't stand the restricting sensation of long, baggy clothing.

Tents-- you always wake up damp, cramped, chilly, and bug infested. That does not qualify as relaxing.

Visible Panty Lines-- just say no. I refuse to wear the same type of underwear that my mom picked out for me when I was 10. It's not sexy OR comfortable OR attractive. It looks cheap and slovenly. Say what you will about thongs, but at least the wedgie effect is ~90% less severe.

Junk food or Fast food-- I was raised better than that. It's gross and unhealthy and the most obvious sign of an unrefined palate. I personally believe that if you can't take of basic hygiene and health by the time you're say, in your mid-twenties, you have no right to call yourself an adult. (I'm 18 actually, but still!)

Political Pundit/Zealots-- What is the appeal? Gosh, Rush Limbaugh is NOT Jim Morrison, stop worshiping him already! They don't even hold public office!
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