These eyedrops taste terrible...

I've been saving this most excellent post because I just had to be sure that my dream was real. I had LASIK last Thursday, and for the past 4 days, I've been able to see without contacts or glasses. It's just amazing!

I knew a while ago I wanted to have LASIK. My vision was not absolutely terrible, about -3.5 and one eye and -4.5 in the other, but it was bad enough that I couldn't drive without glasses, see the alarm clock in the morning, or read shampoo ingredients. It was also particularly embarrassing trying to balance on the bathroom scale while squatting low enough to read the weight.

Putting in contacts was such a hassle, and from what I understand, contacts also run a relatively high risk of complications (eye infections, etc.) as compared to glasses. They also dry out at night well before you're ready to take them out, so you do this awkward one-eyed wink like a lounge singer with Tourette's.

Since I hate glasses too (I hate how they fog up every time I walk into the gym from the cold outdoors or when I open the dishwasher), I decided that LASIK would be the way to go. It's not quite cost effective from a purely economic standpoint, as I usually spend about 60-100 dollars per year on the eye doctor and contacts/glasses -- while LASIK was about 20 times that amount, and it's unlikely that my LASIK will remain effective for 20 years. Even so, it was worth every penny. Even if I didn't have a health care cafeteria plan through work, I think I would have done it.

The procedure itself wasn't a big deal; I was "under the knife" (or laser, as the case may be) for less than 2 minutes, all told. I was in the operating room for maybe 15 minutes. That said, if I were to describe the whole procedure step by step, you might think it was some alien torture scene out of the X-Files. (I just had a vision of a drill going into an eye ). But thankfully, it was NOTHING like that ... as long as you don't think about it too hard.

My only gripe so far, and this is a very minor thing, is that one of my eye drops taste terrible. No, I have not been drinking my eye drops. You just have to remember that your tear ducts are connected to your sinuses, which empty into the back of your throat. I don't know what it is about these antibiotic drops, but they're very bitter. Taking a drink just serves to swish the taste around even more. Blech. You'd think a hundred dollar tiny bottle of anti-biotic could at least taste better than tire sidewall.

Oh, and in case you missed it, I can see now! You know what I noticed first? That I need to vacuum.


I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!!!

So, it's 1:00 AM, and Roommate's ex-friend just rung the doorbell twice and is persistently knocking. If I wasn't such a night owl and this situation so hilariously far-fetched, I would be unbelievably pissed off right now. Apparently he let her in, because I can hear them talking right now, and it looks like it's going to be a long night for Roommate!

What I want to know is what causes this utter collapse in adult behavior in a seemingly well balanced person? Besides the obvious mental health reasons that might cause such things, it does seem that we all occasionally engage in irrational behaviors, even against our own better judgment. I assume it is just such an situation that is likely afflicting Roommate's friend.

I can't be too judgmental, because I must admit that I also engage in periods of insanity. For example, I am normally incapable of waking up before 8:00 AM on my best days. but I have been known on Saturday, that day that we all worship for the blessed opportunity it affords of sleeping in, to wake up at 6:00 (even after only 4 hours sleep if I've been out late), don my snowboarding clothes, and then pay upwards of 50 dollars to groggily freeze my ass off on a chairlift in search of snow. To many people, I imagine, that would seem largely irrational.

Another example if my own insanity is that, I will, despite all known medical and nutritional advice, eat a Crown/Apollo/Astro burger -- topped with pastrami and cheese -- as well as an accompanying order of onion rings and a milk shake (preferably of the candy bar variety). The total caloric count of such a meal is probably somewhere in the low to high 3000s. Am I aware of the health effects of such a meal? Yes. Does it really taste all that good? Not by the end of it. Am I aware of the self-loathing that I will endure for consuming such a meal? Marginally. But do I eat it anyway? Yes.

I would consider myself a rational person, of perhaps average intelligence, but given the evidence of my own bouts of insanity, I must wonder if it is a necessary part of the human condition that we occasionally exercise whatever craziness lies dormant in us. Who knows what triggers it's release? I'm not really sure. I do, however, believe that such insanity should at least be exercised with at least a modicum of decorum, so as to NOT keep people up at 1:30 AM.

So, I think we should all pledge to let our crazy out very carefully. That way, the people around us know if we're really hurting, or if we are just having a moment. I say that because I'm pretty sure that attention getting behavior like Roommate's friend is mostly a request for a little extra attention.


A Break Up

When I came home from work today, my roommate was huddled in his hoodie on the upstairs couch. With the drawstrings pulled tight, he looked like a frightened turtle. I heard voices, well, one voice, actually. He was being addressed by a friend of his, who happened to be a girl. She seemed somewhat perturbed, while he seemed, frankly, indifferent. Trying to be polite, I rushed through the living room. I felt awkward enough being sweaty and smelly from the gym, and intervening in a squabble was not part of my plan.

I lazily showered, somewhat interested to hear what was going one between Roommate and his friend. But when I emerged, she was still going at it. Not one to be held hostage in my own home, I went ahead into the kitchen to fix some dinner, and tried not to listen too much to their conversation. Though it wasn't much of a conversation, as it seemed largely one sided; as far as I could tell, Roommate was hardly talking. And, I was unable to discern, what, if any, point she was trying to make.

Finally there was a lull when she stopped to answer the phone. Anyway, I went into the living room, where Roommate was draped on the couch, like someone had poured him there. He was in essentially the same position as when I had arrived nearly one hour previous. His eyes looked glazed over; his face was expressionless. I wondered if perhaps he was stoned and that's why she was lecturing him. But after I asked a few basic questions from him and got lucid answers, I quickly realized that he was not being lectured about being stoned, but he had gotten stoned off of the lecture.

His was a victim of verbal overload -- or, as Eliot from Scrubs calls it, "spewing molten crazy."

I don't mean to stereotype, but this typically happens when women have something terribly important to say to men, but feel they need to provide the emotional basis for whatever it is they want to say. It's kind of like explaining why it is that you're hungry, as if you needed to prove that you are, indeed, hungry. The typical response to verbal overload is much like Roommate's: disinterest, lack of expression, fewer than normal blinks, and in severe cases, drooling and general catatonia.

Unfortunately, this catatonic state does not go unnoticed by the speaking party, who frequently assumes it means that the speaker finds the argument less than compelling. In reality, though, the listener is just waiting for the speaker to get to the point, and any further effort to restate or explain some ancillary fact to strengthen the case will simply cause the listener to slide deeper into the verbal abyss. This explains why I was able to listen to bits and pieces of this conversation for over an hour and still have no idea what they were talking about.

So what's the bottom line? Get to the point. When you see his eyes roll back into his head and his tongue drooping, know that you've lost him. Don't take it personally. It's not that he doesn't care about what you think, but you've probably overloaded the language centers of his brain.

That's pretty much what happened to Roommate. He was talked into the submission. At this point, you may be wondering what this was all about. Basically, the three hour discussion revolved around the fact that Roommate didn't call the friend when he got back into town from a recent vacation. (No, they're not dating, the relationship is entirely platonic.) Apparently, this omission by Roommate was the proverbial straw, so there's no choice but to "break up."

Discussing this all later, roommate and I decided that we don't know exactly how friends "break up". That said, I have to conjecture that if breaking up means that Roommate won't have to endure any more 3 hour long conversations like tonight's, then it might not be a bad thing.


Trolley Square

I just came down to grab something to snack on. (Restless, I guess). That's when I saw the blue-ish glow from my laptop. I have a feeling that it's going to take a while to get to sleep tonight.

I started writing two different e-mails to friends, but I'm not sure that either of them would appreciate my esoteric ramblings at midnight.

You might have heard that there was a random act of violence at Trolley Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, which is essentially the metropolitan area where I live. Apparently an armed man walked into the mall and targeted innocent passers by. He was killed, but only after he killed and wounded several. (check sltrib.com or other SLC media outlets for the specifics)

Like most people, I feel that Salt Lake City is essentially safe. Of course, there are places I wouldn't go at certain times, but for the most part, crime is low and life continues unfettered by the violence which plagues so much of the world.

I'm not sure what it is about these shootings that is so disturbing. Perhaps it's the randomness of it all. At some point in the future, we may learn about motives ... but what happened was essentially an irrational act -- something so reprehensible to most of us that we would never even acknowledge it as possible, as if our brains lack the ability to even comprehend such insanity or such evil, whichever it is that afflicted the attacker.

But strangely enough, we have to acknowledge that part of him that did such despicable things is also part of us. He is human, after all. No matter the extent to which we are "normal" and "balanced", we must recognize that we are also primal and instinctive. Thousands of years of the experiment we call society has, in reality, done little to separate our carnal selves from what we believe are our more elevated sensibilities.

I suppose that is why my first reactions to this random shooting were disbelief and morbid curiosity. Looking at the events, my mind simply cannot process them -- only in the most primitive centers of my brain do I understand ruthless violence. As my mind grapples to comprehend what would drive a young man to do something like this, I must face the reality that his actions cannot be comprehended. There is nothing to understand, no motive sufficient to explain such things -- they exist well beyond the realm of my rational framework. And, when I realize this, I feel pity and sorrow. I grieve for soul of a man that became so lost that he felt his only recourse was to take the lives of others.

This grief is, of course, greatly outweighed by my feelings for the victims. I grieve for the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and friends that were lost tonight. Their innocence makes their loss all the more poignant.

Rules, Rules, Rules...

Life is full of unspoken rules. Don't pass gas in an enclosed space. Don't call past 10:30. Don't use the silverware to pick at your teeth. And on, and on.

These rules pale in comparison to the unspoken rules about dating. I had a conversation with my mom the other day about this. It was one of the few times my mother and I have talked about dating and I didn't feel my eyes rolling back into my head. She said, in effect, "I don't know why you make dating so complicated." And, she's largely right. We have made dating too complicated. It seems like you have to have a degree in dating to feel comfortable. Which is unfortunate, because I don't really see why it matters to be "good" at dating. For many people, dating is a means to an end (i.e., marriage) but for others, it's mostly about having fun and getting out to meet new people. In either case, the rules seem to get in the way more than anything.

You know the rules that I'm talking about? I'm talking about things like this:

They say you shouldn't call too far in advance to plan a date, because then it's just weird. But, they also say that you shouldn't call with too little notice, because it seems, well, rude. So, what's a guy to do? If it's the day before, should I not call because it's too short of notice? Or, if I have these concert tickets I can buy, but it's 2 or 3 weeks in advance, can I still ask a person out without having to feel like I have to do things with them in the intervening time?

See what I mean about complicated? And, the "call or not call" is a pretty simple one. I haven't even started in on all the rest. Do you pick up the girl at her house? Or, is it okay to meet somewhere? After how many dates do you try for a doorstep kiss? What does the doorstep "hug" mean? When a date is on a weekend, does it have to go until midnight?

All these questions can be paralyzing. I think, instead, we should aim for stress free dating. If you're not having fun, then you're doing it wrong.

I went on a great date last week, and I broke probably half of the rules that I had read in my attempt brush up on first-date-iquette. So there you go... It's more about chemistry than anything, anyway.

The biggest tragedy of the whole situation, I think, is that people might sit home because of all the stupid rules. I mean, who really cares?