The Opinion of Strangers

We are funny ducks, we human beings.

We play games, thinking we are fooling the world. But the world couldn’t care less, and doesn’t even notice the lengths we go to in order to appear the way we wish we were but aren’t.

Examples abound:

imgresI love Maltesers—those malted milk balls from England that melt in your mouth (don’t judge me). My cousin Louise, who is British, loves them as much as I do. When she goes home, she brings back boxes of them and shares with me. The key is making sure I see her soon after her return—if too much time passes, she will have eaten them all. Anyway, if you can believe it, the local movie theater started carrying them a few months ago. Small bags of them. Oh happy day!

So now when I want them, I go see a movie. Sometimes it’s a movie I don’t wish to see, but if I want the Maltesers, I have to see a movie. Now, I could visit the candy counter without purchasing a ticket—it’s just inside the door before the ticket taker’s booth—but then the candy counter person would see me enter, buy the candy, and then leave. What would they think of me? On the other hand, no one serving me has ever actually looked at me when I’m ordering, so maybe they wouldn’t think anything at all.

So I see a movie I might not otherwise see, just so I can have my Maltesers. Now, I’m a smart girl, but this is not a smart strategy. If the bag has twenty pieces in it, that’s a lot. And the $6.00 cost of the bag has to be added to the $9.00 cost of the ticket, which means I’m eating a candy that takes ten seconds to chew and swallow at a cost of 75¢ per piece. Seriously?

Then there is the take-out Japanese place near my home, from which I order at least once every week. I don’t order a lot; usually one order of salmon don and miso eggplant. But when I go there to pick it up, every week they ask if I want one or two sets of chopsticks. I always say two.

I love living alone. I live alone by choice—I haven’t found that perfect person who raises me up so I can stand on mountains—and my own company actually pleases me. So why do I want them to think there is another person at my house waiting to eat half of a meal that really only serves one? I don’t know, but I do. I have a drawer full of leftover chopsticks to remind me of my silliness.

The truth is that the opinions of strangers matter to some of us, and the absurdity of it all changes nothing. Note to self: If I want Maltesers, just go into the theater and buy them.

Bernie Sanders Supporters

Much depends on Sanders’ supporters putting their big-boy pants on and throwing all that energy behind the fairly elected nominee, Hillary Clinton. If they do, and if a bridge can be made between their agenda and Hillary’s, then I think she can beat Trump in November.

I remember Hillary’s tears during the 2008 New Hampshire primary, when the sure win she thought she had began to slip away. Her fear came to pass, and the

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Considering Hillary

A note to women in their twenties and thirties.

Hillary. I am not a fan. Never have been. But truth be told, I don’t have to be a fan to vote for someone. I have to believe that they are capable of doing the job … and doing it better than the next ‘guy.’

I have spoken with a lot of young women in their late twenties and early thirties and they are not for

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Memorial Day Responsibility

I love my country’s holidays. Memorial Day. Fourth of July. Bob Hope’s Troop Specials in the late 60s. I love crying with pride and sadness over the sacrifices made by my fellow countrymen for the safety of our country’s citizens. I love reminding friends and family to vote on Election Day. I love the episode of The West Wing in which Crosby, Stills, and Nash sing My Country ‘Tis of Thee. I love my country.

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Saying What We Mean

I saw this picture on Lena Dunham’s Instagram recently. Her comment: “Thank you to the woman who taught me how to say both Thank You and Fuck You.” I copied it. Thought about it. A lot.

Here is the thing: I have spent much of my life saying both. At the same time. To the same person. When I should have just said “Fuck You.” Let’s take a look and see who’s with me.

“I’m

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Shonda Rhimes & My Sister

I have been reading Shonda Rhimes’ new book, Year of Yes. You know Shonda Rhimes, the creator and writer of the great Grey’s Anatomy. Great book. Game changing book. Merely one chapter into it, I realized that my sister Leslie is Shonda’s twin sister.

We moved a lot while I was growing up. Fifteen times by the time I was sixteen, or sixteen times by the time I was fifteen; who can remember? I was

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Reality T.V. Comes to Politics

Everyone’s talking about it. How did Trump defeat a lineup of seasoned politicians and emerge as the frontrunner, the close-to-certain presidential nominee for the Republican Party of the United States of America? Really? Seriously?

Pundits are saying that a disenfranchised group of Americans is receptive to Trump’s message, which seems to be that America isn’t great, but it will become great if we get rid of much of our nation including immigrants and

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The Donald, Facebook, and Producing the News

Santana or the Donald? We the people decide which we will have, not by our vote, but through our Facebook posts.

I have an old friend I haven’t seen in twenty years whom I follow on Facebook. Upper West Side of Manhattan guy who is passionate about right and wrong and politics, and those who have “friended” him on Facebook generally agree with his point of view—or if they do not, they do not challenge

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In the Name of…Taking Responsibility for Our Decisions

Just the other day I was asked to consider joining the board of directors of a non-profit that is doing amazing work keeping women from being trafficked in Third-World countries. Here was my response to their e-mail: “I have promised my team that I will not sit on any new boards. I am spread way too thin, but if it were up to me…”

And, then a few days later someone wanted to get together

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Who are You?

In my day job, I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently about personality styles and response traits. What makes one person respond one way and another a different way? Same circumstances. Different responses.

So, of course, I started to think about me and how I respond to things. A memory comes to me. I’m in the sixth grade and I’m eleven. It’s winter. I finished swim practice (Lake Erie Pepsi Cola Swim Team; freestyle,

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