#38 – Buying Something REALLY Expensive (That You Want)

76555a_lgI put the qualifier in there because buying new tires isn’t exactly fun.

Also, before we get started here, a bit of a programming note: you may have noticed that we’re finally going in numerical order. That’s because the first 200+ feelings are done and we’re now down to, essentially, the remaining top 40. From here on out, we’ll be plugging in the holes in the list until we get to number one.

OK, so here’s the story for this one:

When I was younger, all I wanted for Hannukah/Christmas/my birthday this one year was an Antoine Walker authentic jersey. For those of you not in the know, here’s a few basic facts about that previous statement:

  1. Growing up, we celebrated both as my mom and dad’s sides of the family were Jewish and Catholic respectively.
  2. Antoine Walker was a player for the Boston Celtics.
  3. I am not a fan of the Boston Celtics.
  4. Antoine Walker shot an inordinate amount of three pointers and often did eccentric shimmy-like dances on the court after making some of those shots.
  5. He was a wildly inefficient player and there is no real reason why I should’ve ever been a fan of his, on any level.
  6. Authentic jerseys, as opposed to the replicas or swingmans, cost about $150-200.

My parents outright refused to buy me this jersey. There literally was no discussion about it. For the longest time, I hoped against all odds that they were playing possum and that one of those wrapped boxes would actually contain an Antoine Walker jersey.

Their reason was that it was simply too much money to spend on one item, specifically a player’s jersey. In retrospect, they were right to some degree–no 11-year old needs a $150 jersey he’ll wear, max, 7 times. It was completely out of whack. But of course, I didn’t understand that. I tried to reason with them, saying they didn’t need to get me anything else. They weren’t having it.

I mention all this because growing up in this household, I was sort of indoctrinated not to be buying frivolous shit for myself that was unnecessarily expensive. I should note here, the total amount of money my parents would spend on gifts for me was far greater than $150… it wasn’t the total they objected to, but rather the amount for the individual item.

Now, as a semi-adult with semi-adult money and semi-discretional spending powers, I sometimes find myself in the rare but fun area of getting to buy myself something I really want that’s pretty expensive.

Of course, this doesn’t happen often because I generally tend to like plain clothes, plain shit and normal food. However, when I get around to buying a new computer to replace my current one (it’s still soldiering on, basically rock solid since 2009), I know I’ll get that feeling again.

First it starts out with a bit of dread… the nerves of childhood kicking in that I’m spending over a thousand dollars on something. Quickly though, it’s replaced by that feeling of shiny newness that washes over you when you take the thing home.

Like so many feelings from here on out, it’s only great because it’s rare. I suppose the richer you become and more accustomed to buying expensive shit, the less fun and more mundane it becomes.

Seeing as how that future likely isn’t mine, I’ll continue to enjoy it when I get it.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: Seeing your credit card statement the next month.

 

#39 – Smashing A Piece of Electronic Equipment

lego-iphone-breakJust a few days ago, walking around Brooklyn while listening to music and navigating my way to a pizza place to meet a friend for a quick slice, my phone decided it had had enough.

From 51% to 24% to dead battery in a matter of 15 to 20 minutes. No warning, no explanation. Just dead.

One minute you’re listening to a song, the next it sort of slowly fades out and your phone has passed away.

Now, beyond the obvious annoyances of this happening, I actually did need my phone that night (or so I thought at the time) because I was attending an event for which my ticket was electronically stored on my phone.

As this all happened, I was crossing the street. The music slowed down and went off and having had this happen to me a number of times recently, I knew what was going down.

I took the phone out of my pocket to confirm my suspicions and with little recourse, muttered a few curse words and continued on my way.

HERE is where I’d loved to have been able to smash my phone into a million fucking pieces. I wanted to hurl it as hard as I could into the gutter, stomp on it with my boot, hope a truck backed over it a million times in the middle of the road. There was no shortage of joy I’d have felt had I been able to destroy that piece of fucking trash.

Of course, I didn’t. And we often don’t. Why? Because (and this is in lieu of the Polar Opposite) the immediate realization after the fun of smashing is that you now have to go through the living hell that is buying a new one.

But supposing we were all millionaires with personal assistants that could remedy that particular element of this situation, would you love to be able to smash your iPhone every time it pulled a fucking stunt like that?

I know I would.

#82 – First Day of a Short Work Week That Will End With Something Fun

7c8f07948cc4a47d9687eb57f97c7d43-work-week-three-daysSadly, today isn’t that day.

I mean, it is that day in that today is in fact the day you get to read about this feeling… but unfortunately, this particular Monday isn’t the beginning of a holiday or otherwise shortened week.

No, today is a regular Monday, yet another dull grind in the interminable vortex known as the work week.

But think, for a minute, about the next holiday that’s coming during good weather. Let’s say it’s Memorial Day. And let’s say that Memorial Day is somehow on a Friday this year and you have plans not only on that Friday, but for the whole weekend. You and (insert people you give a shit about here) are all going to (insert place you all would meet) to do (insert thing you and all these people like doing). Pretty wild, no?

Sure, the actual act of doing all these things, of even leaving that Friday for that place with those people to do those things… that’s an incredible feeling.

But what separates that feeling from this feeling is that most Fridays feel pretty damn good regardless, whether or not you’re leaving for such a specific trip like the one I’ve just outlined.

This feeling is SO much better than your typical Monday feeling it’s almost amazing you even still call it Monday. It takes your normal Monday and gives it a B-12 shot followed by a Red Bull vodka and two swift kicks in the ass.

You glide around your office as if you haven’t a care in the world, despite being at least 72 hours from your mini-vacation. The music in the car on the way to and from work is just a bit more enjoyable. The crappy cafeteria food doesn’t quite bother you as much as it usually does.

You, my friend, have a short work week.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: Not sure this exists for everyone, but when you are starting a run of either a long string of days in a row or several weekend shifts in a row.

 

#74 – Finding a Recipe Online (That Actually Works)

07indiajp7-articlelargeLet’s start with this: I like to cook. I am not a great cook, but I enjoy doing it principally because I enjoy eating and, more specifically, enjoy eating things exactly the way I like them.

To me, there’s two types of people that can cook: those that can cook off recipes and those in that Chopped subcategory, where they can take a few random ingredients in their pantry and make something out of nothing.

Outside of a few dishes, I’m decidedly in the former camp. It’s really just in the last few year that I’ve woken to the idea that I don’t need to be a slave to the exact specifications of the recipe. For years, I’d continually add in elements of a recipe that I either knew I wouldn’t like or actively hated–shit like okra to gumbo–and finally I woke up one day and said, “I fucking hate okra, I am making this gumbo literally for only myself… ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.”

Okra-beef aside, my point here is that even in my newly-freed state of mind I still will often go to a recipe when trying out a dish I’ve yet to make. Sure, it’s more of an outline now than it was a few years ago but it’s still a framework I’m following—someone else’s framework.

A lot of times (I’d argue, most of the time), if carried out even remotely properly the recipe will turn out pretty solid. Let’s be fair: most of the people putting recipes on the internet or in books are pretty good cooks. You might even say they’re professionals.

But, rare is the instance when it goes from good to great. When you make something that you expect to be good and it blows your doors off. This recipe for chicken tortilla soup is a perfect example of that. For whatever reason, this specific recipe really hit me in the right spot. I’ve made versions of this soup dozens of times, with a number of similar recipes. I can’t explain why… this one was way better than the rest.

If you cook even semi-regularly, you know exactly this feeling. Your day is nearing its end, you’ve found a recipe to make for dinner that night and you’re excited but in that way that’s more about the fact that you are happier about not having to eat leftovers than anything else. You get home with the ingredients, begin going through the steps and before you know it, the meal is ready to go. You’ve had a sneaking suspicion this might be better than you anticipated but you won’t know until that first bite.

Of course, suspicions confirmed.

Bonus Feeling: Finding a recipe for a thing you really like that a restaurant or store makes and now you can make a version of it at home. The hell with retail, son.

#71 – Staring At Good-Looking People At The Gym

Determined five people working out at exercise bike class in gymLet’s be fair… gyms are meat markets. Sure, places like Planet Fitness (where I’m a member, I’ll admit) and other similar setups purport to be judgement-free zones.

And while they are, to varying degrees, all gyms are dens of judgement.

You’re judging yourself, that’s why you’re there in the first place. You’re judging the person next to you, that’s how you motivate yourself.

The feeling I’m talking about is when you’re at the gym judging away and you happen to notice that girl or that guy cross your field of vision. Let’s say you’re on a treadmill and they happen to take up residence on a machine just far enough away that you can lazily stare but not close enough that what you’re doing is obvious.

And so you continue doing your reading or your TV-watching or your phone-surfing, all the while sprinkling in a few subtle stare sessions.

I don’t need to get into the specifics of why this is a fun thing to do, I think we all get it. I will say this, however, as a man with regards to women: I think, and I could be wrong, that a lot of women have the mistaken sense that they are at their least attractive at the gym. Workout clothes, sweaty, no makeup, hair up in a ponytail. I can’t speak for anyone outside of myself, but I can say for me, that’s perhaps the most attractive state.

So let’s not lie to one another: we’ve all played the game, without obviously staring. It’s a stealthy game with a far-higher risk than reward because getting caught is at minimum embarrassing and at worst a serious problem.

But we all trudge on, catching a glimpse of that girl or guy on the treadmill, lifting weights, doing whatever it is those machines do… and we move on with the rest of our day.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: Getting caught. For real. Total nightmare scenario. Best version of this feeling, the actual feeling, is taking a quick look, enjoying yourself for a sec and moving on. You don’t talk, you don’t engage, you just keep it moving. The opposite? It becomes a thing.

#203 – Watching A… Video… With The Sound On

This post will not have a picture for reasons that will become extremely apparent in a moment, if they haven’t already.

In the past, I’ve detailed a few of the very particular and less-than-obvious joys of watching, let’s call it “adult entertainment.”

This feeling is an extension of those previous feelings. Like so many things about handling your business that aren’t discussed or are dealt with in secrecy, we typically tend to watch these fine pieces of cinema with either limited or no sound.

The reasons are fairly obvious, right? First, it’s sort of embarrassing. Second, it’s really embarrassing. Third, there’s not often much you need to actually hear.

But, every so often we’re talking about one of those super-corny ones with some semblance of “dialogue” and “plot” that honestly just have to be heard. Is she going to get that A? Will the teacher show lenience? Without the sound, you’ll never know, would you?

Side note: someone is actually writing that dialogue, you know that right? It’s obviously not ad-libbed. There’s someone who pitches stories and writes lines for these people. That job… good lord. I could write a full… I could spend days discussing just that person’s job.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: Getting caught. Obvious, but so, so soul-crushingly true.

#230 – Remembering That Thing You Keep Forgetting To Get At The Grocery Store

grocery-store-e1484244767379

This happens to me, at least once or twice a month. I can’t imagine that with age it will get any better or easier.

There’s something I need to get that’s mildly important to my life but not essential to my day-to-day.

Here are some examples:

  • 9-volt batteries for my smoke detector
  • Salt and/or pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • Dish soap (I haven’t yet run out)
  • Toilet paper/Paper towels (Again, I haven’t yet run out)
  • Laundry detergent

You get the point. All of these things I know I’ll eventually need, but it’s easy as hell to make excuses in your mind that lower the priority of actually remembering.

  • Come on, who can’t smell or feel a fire coming?
  • First off, there has to be more pepper in that can. Second, I could stand to have less salt in my diet.
  • I have olive oil, who gives a shit?
  • I haven’t run out, and even when I do, I have hand soap.
  • I haven’t run out of both yet, but even when I do, I have the one I didn’t yet run out of.
  • I can just buy more clothing.

See? That wasn’t so hard. You can forget anything you put your mind to.

Now, it should be noted that as a single man, I tend to grocery shop based on need and not with a regular frequency. Some times I’ll go and pick up three items, other times I’ll spend over $100. It really varies.

When I’m in one of those ruts where I keep forgetting about that thing, I typically remember when I’m somewhere between half and three-quarters of the way home from the supermarket. I then vow to totally, definitely, no-questions-asked remember it for next time.

And then I forget again next time. And the time after that.

But suddenly, I’m walking through a random aisle and–boom!–it hits me. I need 9-volt batteries!

That ah-ha! moment is what I’m talking about here.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: Remembering to get whatever it is, but the place you’re at not having it.

#182 – The First Sunny Day

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It is 47 degrees out.

You know exactly what the fuck I’m talking about here.

It’s been ungodly cold over the last few days, weeks, whatever. Perhaps it’s snowed a lot. Maybe you haven’t seen more than a few passing hours of the sun in days. Whatever the specifics are, you’re ready for it to end.

You don’t need it to be balmy or, hell, even over 55 degrees. In fact, that’s sort of the humorous beauty of it, no?

When you get that first sunny, good-weather day after a depressing avalanche of shitty, brutally cold days it doesn’t matter what the actual temperature is. It could only reach 52 degrees and it feels like the Fourth of July.

When I was at Syracuse, the first sunny day was accompanied by girls in bathing suits in the quad, everyone wearing shorts, day drinking and grilling. In the midst of all this joyous revelry, we all sort of agreed to forget that it had barely cracked 50 degrees.

That’s the point, though.

The temperature itself is irrelevant. It’s the feeling you get, the contrast from what you previously endured to what is in your present.

It’s hopeful, it’s uplifting, it’s pleasant.

Plus, who doesn’t like a girl in a bikini.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: Mid-to-late March, you think you’re in the clear… and there’s one more big snowstorm that comes out of fucking nowhere.

#217 – Making a Plan

ui-minority-report-desk

This is the desk I want to make plans at.

About four and a half years ago, specifically in July 2013, I had a plan.

It was to start this fucking list and finish it at some point before I passed away.

The good news? I have yet to pass away.

The bad news? I have yet to complete my plan.

However, as was indicated by the fact that this feeling is over 100 spots lower, you can clearly infer that completion is far more satisfying than initiation insofar as planning is concerned.

Still though, let’s not take anything away from the seeds of the idea. There’s something sort of magical, sort of dreamy and fun and hopeful about the beginning. You haven’t actually begun to do any real work, you haven’t encountered any pitfalls or problems. It’s just open road and fresh ideas all laid out in front of you, stretching as far as your mind’s eye will allow.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: Where I’m at currently, four years into this fucking thing and still, despite the insane increase in productivity, at least 6 weeks away from finishing. This will never end.

#206 – Sleeping in a Freshly Made Bed

cb4ccd78242fa76c93accd8d58f17dbf-clean-sheets-happy-saturdayI’ll be honest… I don’t wash my sheets as often as I probably should. These people who do it every weekend are insane and while I’ll never get into that habit, I could likely stand to throw them in for a cycle with a little more frequency.

To be fair, it’s almost exclusively just me in between those sheets so what does it really matter?

Either way, just because I don’t partake as often as others, doesn’t mean I don’t get the appeal.

I’ve seen, in cruising around the web for an image for this post, a number of memes that echoed the sentiment of this feeling.

One that particularly caught my attention was the following:

a-perfect-night-is-shaving-putting-on-lace-panties-and-24002273

Man, does that resonate. Sure, I don’t shave my legs, I don’t even own a single thing with any lace, I rarely wash my sheets, I don’t really like ice cream and I use someone else’s Netflix account… but outside of those specifics, this meme hits it right on the head for me.

Just because I can’t dunk, doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate how awesome it is. Same for this feeling.

The scent, the softness, the enveloping freshness. It’s pretty sweet.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling?: Having someone new in your bed and they make a comment about the scent.