#66 – Kneading Dough

For me, this should be titled, “Mixing Up the Ingredients for Meatballs”, but I think more people will identify with the titular imagery. Either way, there’s something so relaxing, so fun, so… primitive? about just sinking your hands into a ball of gucky, gooey, sticky (whatever it happens to be).

Now, let it be said, that the whole process of kneading can get a little time consuming and annoying. I’m talking primarily about the hand-in-dough, mix-around, mush-it-up, squish-it-around parts.

You may be wondering, why is this so high on the list? I honestly don’t have a great answer for you aside from the fact that I know I have an unrivaled, unexplainable joy when I finally get to sink my hands into the bowl filled with ground meat, breadcrumbs, eggs (I don’t even beat them before hand), sauce, water and spices. The rest of the meatball-making process is sort of a bitch, but that first dive in with virginal hands is pure bliss.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: Trying to get all of that shit off your hands.

#160 – Making the Last Cup in Beer Pong

Call me a bro, if you like. You can say I’m holding on to that ole college feeling too long, that I’m an adult now and I need to move on. Say all you like, and it’s all probably true.

But that has nothing to do with the fact that making the last cup in beer pong is a glorious feeling. I’d even argue that as I’ve played the game less and less as I’ve gotten further from college*, the feeling has become greater and greater due to its infrequency.

I could honestly do a full post on beer pong, topics ranging from how absolutely fucking disgusting the game is (the water cup… really?) to how silly people get with the rules to that inevitable bunch of people that act like it’s a real fucking accomplishment to run a beer pong table.

But for now, let’s just settle on that feeling. You know that all you’ve got to do is throw that little ping pong ball into that red cup. It’s no more than 5 or 6 feet away, you feel like you could do it in your sleep. But, in the back of your mind, you remember those last six shots you took that barely hit the table (let alone anything resembling that final cup).

Off the ball goes, hurtling towards what your drunken brain guessed was where the cup was… and all you hear is that soft plopping sound of plastic on liquid.

Game over.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: Having someone bounce one into your team’s cups while you’re not looking because you’re too busy having fun instead of dedicating every second of your life to this game.

*A friend pointed out to me a little while ago that we’ve been out of college longer than we were in it. That was a real, “Oh, shit” moment.

#105 – Lifting More Than the Person Next to You at the Gym

By no means am I a meathead or muscle jock of any kind. In fact, quite the opposite. I’m an ardent supporter of the elliptical, I don’t even belong to a gym (shout out to my office for having a gym in the building, y’all!) and I probably actually lift weights once or twice a week max.

That said… and this is probably (although I’m ready to be proven wrong here, trust me) a male-centric viewpoint… I can’t help but look to see what other people are lifting. Now, most of the time, I’m going to come in second place in this little contest. There aren’t many men my age lifting less than what I’m putting up, so it’s not like I’m doing this because I’m such a tough guy. In fact, it’s mainly because I want to know where I stack up and if I’m really being as big of a pussy as I feel like.

Typically, the person I’m spying on is in my general vicinity weight-wise. However, every so often, I’ll either spy someone I’m totally outdoing or, better still, someone that has way bigger arms than I do (not a difficult feat to accomplish, I’ll remind) and is still lifting less (even if it’s only 5 lbs. less).

It’s a fleeting bit of superiority, but it exists. And it’s basically the only time I feel more than adequate about myself in that setting.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: When that hot girl you’ve been watching stretch for ten minutes comes over and easily lifts more weight than you do.

#216 – Seeing That Hot Girl’s Name Pop Up On Your AIM Buddy List

Not only am I dating myself with this one, but this feeling is just another example of how things have changed. As with so many other feelings listed before, this one is truly a reflection of getting older. The only reason it still ranks, frankly, is because when this feeling was in its prime, it was a fucking powerhouse.

For whatever reason, AOL Instant Messenger had a grip on my generation. After an entire day of school in which we spent nearly every waking second talking to one another, we’d rush home and sign on to AOL (back in the days when it wasn’t a guarantee that you were going to actually get on the internet every single time).

Slowly, the buddy list would populate. The various Backstreet Boys and N*Sync monikers, names spelled with random capital letters that made the person look like a serial killer, first names and birthdays, favorite players and favorite numbers… they’d all be there. But there was one that you’d always keep an eye out for.

For me, it was a girl I’d later go on to date in high school. Her screen name was something like DME1728 (her initials, and some combination of numbers that, I’m nearly positive was not her birthday… Though at this point, that wouldn’t matter because I have no idea what that date is anyway).

She had three siblings and wasn’t able to monopolize the internet in her house the way I was, so her time was always brief. Sometimes the name would drop to the idle list and she never was a big fan of using away messages, so I wasn’t always sure when she was there.

But boy oh boy, did my heart skip a beat when that screen name would pop up. I’d get all excited, start thinking of things to say, my mind racing—and then I’d stop and wait.

And then wait some more.

I couldn’t be the guy that was messaging her the exact second she signed on. Didn’t want to make it seem too obvious I was clearly waiting for her.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: When you’d send an IM to someone (namely, a girl you had a crush on) and there was no response. Was she there? Did she see the message? Should I send something else? Maybe she’s in serious trouble? What if her entire house burnt down but the computer somehow withstood the tragedy?

#53 – Giving In To A Good Nap

Frankly, I’m fighting it right now. As I write this, I know I’m going to lay down for a little nap-a-roo in about 20 to 30 minutes time. And I also know that it’s going to be glorious. Of course, I’ll have to deal with the post-nap crankiness, the post-nap cloudy confusion and general malaise but that’s a price I’m willing to pay. It’s a price we’re all willing to pay.

The funny thing, to me, about naps is how far they’ve come in my life. When I was a little kid and a parent or adult of some kind would try to get me to take a nap during the day, I looked at it as punishment. Who would want take a nap when you could RUN AROUND AND PLAY!? All I wanted to do was not sleep. I was in a constant state of excitement and, for the life of me, could not figure out why anyone (mainly, these lazy adults) would want to not be doing something/anything and sleep instead.

Now, as one of those lazy adults, I realize the err of my ways. And, of course, how fucking annoying I probably was as a kid.

The best part of this feeling is that first minute when you realize you have the time to take that nap. The head-on-pillow, the stretch of the toes, the cool of the bed… these are all great elements of the nap, but the best part is when you know you can let go and just catch a few zzz’s.

Polar Opposite of This Feeling?: Realizing you need a nap… and you’ve got about 8 hours of work left.

Chronicles of the Single Man, Episode 11: Where It All Began… I Think

“I know what I’m doing,” I shouted at my mom (probably with a shitty, teenage know-it-all tone).

“All I’m saying is, if it’s meant to be, it’ll be. That’s all.”

It in this case was the relationship I had with my then-girlfriend in college. We were both going abroad to London that year—the only problem was that she had planned to go during the Fall and I had planned on going during the Spring.

My mother, who has been married to my father for over a quarter century, spoke to me as if she knew about relationships. Calmly, she explained that I shouldn’t feel any pressure to change everything and that not seeing her could make us grow closer. When I tried to explain that it would effectively be a year without us seeing one another (as if she couldn’t figure that out on her own), she simply gave me a polite smile and reasoned that it wasn’t as if we were going to be on different planets.

Of course, I knew more than she did (and still do, about everything) so I pushed ahead and made my decision.

I decided to completely change my plans. Re-arranged my course load, figured out where I’d live when I got back in the Spring and switched everything with the appropriate people in buildings with titles like “Registrar” and “Bursar”*.

What happened, or at least the series of things that happened, led me on the path to becoming the single man I am today. In fact, those events were the last time I was ever not-single, if that’s a thing.

#111 – A Good Rip of Songs on the Radio

Let’s be honest, most of us don’t really listen to the radio much anymore. Typically, if I’m listening to the radio for more than a brief scan it’s because one of a few things has likely occurred:

  • I’m totally bored with what’s on my iPod.
  • My iPod is broken or out of juice.
  • I left my iPod at home.

You get the point.

Part of the main reason I’ve grown tired of the radio is because A) there’s too many commercials, B) hip-hop DJs have a tendency to be obnoxious and C) I know what I want to hear more than they do.

So, as you’d imagine, when I do come around to actually listening to the radio, my expectations are very low. However, recently, a friend of mine went to pick up dinner while we were at work and when he got back, he admitted he was even more excited than usual to eat (he’s got a thing for Thai food, what can I say). When I inquired as to why that was the case, he explained that the radio was killing it during his brief drive. He got “Happy” by Pharrell, a Notorious BIG song (can’t recall which at this point, but does it really matter?) and Avicii’s “Hey Brother”. That’s about 9 to 10 minutes of straight head-bobbin’ music when you went in expecting absolutely nothing.

It’s precisely that difference in expectation level that makes this feeling so great. And what makes it different than this feeling is, honestly, that you’re (usually) not drunk when you’re driving your car and listening to the radio. Still, a pretty good feeling.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: When I tune in to hear Power 105.1 on the way in to work and get literally 8 minutes of commercials before I finally decide, “Fuck this.”