Saturday, July 24, 2010

Five Favorite Things that are Bad For Me

Today's list is a variation on a theme offered by Christopher Bea — he had suggested favorite foods and drinks that are bad for me, but that's too narrow. My life is full of self-destructive self-indulgences, and since I plan to spend August trying to reform my ways, I'll name a few of them here.

What's not on this list? Caffeine: I need it, I love it, I have the equivalent of three cups a day (a triple-shot skim latte, first thing in the morning), and I refuse to believe it is bad for me. Alcohol: I don't drink every day, and rarely have more than two drinks in an evening, and all the research says it's good for me. Chocolate: don't care much about it, and too much of it gives me a terrible headache. Leave your own favorite vices in the comments section.

1. Solitude. People ask all the time why I moved from Los Angeles to Gardiner, and I say that it's because they don't actually let you be an anchoress any more. The truth is that I enjoy my own company very much, and socializing with others requires energy and accountability. Catholic mythology aside, nothing is virtuous about solitude. Solitude lets you get away with stuff society would never put up with, and solitude increases productivity only if you're working to deadlines. I spend too much time by myself, it's not good for me, and it needs to change.

2. Procrastination. Related to but separate from #1. Sometimes it's laziness, sometimes it's distraction, very often it's fear, but there's no reason in the world I should procrastinate as much as I do, unless it's a secret addiction to the adrenalin rush of having to get it all done at the last minute. Oh, wait. I may have just stumbled onto an essential secret truth about my life . . . is it possible that I am addicted to that hunted feeling? Not only possible, but likely. Sigh.

3. Jumbo gum drops. Random, but every couple of months I have an overwhelming craving for those big gum drops. The smaller spice drops do nothing for me; it's about texture as much as the artificial "fruit" flavors. The ones in the shape of orange slices don't work, either; they have to be the big domes.

4. Cheese curls. Puffed, not crunchy. Cheez Doodles are the original and best. I can't have them in the apartment, because once the bag's open, they're gone.

5. "House" reruns. My latest addiction. The many wonders of Hugh Laurie aside, the message of "House" is that it's okay to be a terrible human being if you're really smart and good at your job. This is NOT a message I need fed to me ten times a week. (Seriously; if I wanted to, I could probably watch more than a dozen episodes of "House" a week. And sometimes, I really, really want to.)


Karen Olson said...

I beg to disagree about Solitude, although as a person who has very little of it, I crave it and am envious of people who have more of it. So I guess my bad thing is Envious of Solitary People.

I totally agree about cheese puffs.

I have never watched House, but am addicted to Hell's Kitchen, which makes me want to take a shower afterward but I cannot stop watching.

I also enjoy Gossip. I have Googled Jon and Kate to see what they're up to. I'm not proud of that, but I'm not so ashamed so I'll stop.

Laura Benedict said...

Couldn't resist this one--but how can I limit it to five?!

1. Fear of failure--Probably the #1 thing that plagues me way too many times a day. But I must love it because I won't let go.

2. Staying up way too late--I got this from my mother. We just don't want the day to end.

3. Gossip--Oh, this one is hard. I don't indulge very often, and I feel terrible afterward, but it's tough to resist.

4. Reading celebrity non-news--Related to #4. Talk about a time-waster.

5. Sugar--Totally addicted. Give me a genuine praline or a bar of Ghirardelli 70% over booze, television, jewelry or fabulous shoes any day. I will probably die in a sugar coma.

So, August? Remember that it takes 3 weeks to break one habit. (Oh, did I mention that I like to give people advice?) xo

AnswerGirl said...

Only three weeks? I thought 28 days was some kind of magic number . . . at any rate, if that's all it takes to short-circuit years of bad habits, it doesn't seem like a bad deal. When Malcolm Gladwell starts talking about 10,000 hours to become an expert, I feel intimidated.

Of course, by that standard, I probably AM an expert at gossip. I don't feel as bad about that as I should, either. The thing is, I'm a professional communicator and information is my business. That is not just a rationalization; it's my whole purpose on this earth. If you ask me to keep a secret, I will — and my secret-keeping abilities are formidable — but this actually goes back to issue #1, Solitude. We don't live in a vacuum, we shouldn't expect our public behavior to go unnoticed or uncommented upon, and it's wrong to ask friends or community members to conspire to keep our shameful secrets.

That said, I HAVE managed to give up the celebrity websites, mainly because I just don't know who most of those people are anymore.

AnswerGirl said...

Oh, and I should add to the above comment that I have a great deal of experience with being the target of unkind gossip (most of it completely deserved), and found the best way to deal with it was to be as open as possible about the stuff people were gossiping about. People only talk about the things they haven't seen for themselves.

Anonymous said...

1. Sloth
2-4. Refer back to #1

-- Ed

SarahLea said...

I think my worst habit is self-flagellation, which then leads to more bad habits, including procrastination. As hard as I try, I can't seem to cut myself a break.

delux2222 said...

Instead of Jumbo Gum Drops, I crave Girl Scout Cookie Thin Mint Blizzards; and instead of House reruns, I go for Criminal Minds reruns, I have a crush on Spencer Reid, I can't resist a skinny nerd. Frank