Posts Tagged failure

Dancing slippage

I rarely feel as good when I dance as I used to. I’m clearly much less creative. Maybe I’ll regain that spark this weekend at Emerald City Blues, but if not, I’ll have to consider more drastic measures. Will it help if I take a break for a bit? It might give me time to practice guitar again after so long. Or maybe resuming regular lessons would help. All I know is, dancing is getting less fun.


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In which Leon is disappointed in himself and others

I’ve failed at democracy. There are 5 pages of ballot, and though I’ve worked my way through the state propositions, the state representatives, and most of the SF propositions, I have no idea what to do about the judges, or the school board members. I wish someone I could trust would just tell me which of them are worthwhile, because it’s not nearly as clear-cut as, say, the governorship. I might just not vote on things I don’t know about, but I feel bad about it. I am not the sort of educated public our great nation requires.

In other news, the Giants won the World Series. That was pretty nice, and it was good to see the city celebrating, but when they kept honking for 3 hours, and then broke bottles, burned mattresses, and generally disrupted the city. I mean, it wasn’t horrible, and was probably pretty tame compared to what could happen, but frankly I’m puzzled and disappointed in people. Why does celebration require destruction? What makes you want to ruin other people’s things? And how can you keep celebrating after, oh, 10 minutes or so? Doesn’t it get boring after a bit? How long can you wave an orange shirt in the street before thinking, “I need to figure out how to vote tomorrow!”

Also disappointing was the dancer tonight who said she went out and enjoyed the riot, and how nice it was to see some anarchy. She enjoyed the mattress-burning and the bus graffitiing. Does no one think of consequences? The same people who get worked up that bus fares are expensive and city taxes are high go around making the city worse?! Dammit, you are responsible for the effects of your actions.

The only good news of it is that maybe happy San Franciscans will vote tomorrow, and that’ll tip the scales for the causes I support, like “No on 23 and 26”, and “Yes on 19”, and “Make that Fiorina person shut up.”

The dance tonight had a definite shape. The beginning was pretty good, in the middle I sucked, and toward the end I was connecting with my partners pretty well. I hate every dance with a disappointed partner, though.

Okay, time to go finish working out my ballot. I’ll stay up as long as it takes, for tomorrow I vote!

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Car theft?

I think I just failed to stop a car theft.

I was on my way to the bus for work, when I heard a car alarm go off for about 2 seconds. I was on Market, and it was down Dolores a bit. I looked over, and there were two guys opening the doors of a car, but the windows looked like they were down (or broken). It was 50-100 feet away, but it looked like there might be some broken glass near the door.

The one got in the driver’s seat, and the other stood around talking to him. A pedestrian walked by, closer than I was, and didn’t react.

So I just stood there, and then I saw my bus come, so I went to my bus. Now, maybe someone’s car will be gone, or their stereo will, when they look for it this morning, and it’ll be my fault because I put too high a priority on making my bus.

Should I have been willing to miss my bus (meaning a 45-minute delay, when I got up at 6:15 just so I could go in early to swim)? Should I have disregarded any possible danger in interacting with thieves? I’ve got lots of possibly excuses as to why I didn’t check it out more closely, but I’m really worried I failed in a major social responsibility.

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Travel prevents giving blood

 I was all set to give blood this morning, but apparently my Argentinian travel makes me ineligible. Most of Argentina is fine, but Iguazu Falls and Corrientes (home of the capybaras) are at risk for malaria, so I need to wait a year.

I’m a bit disappointed. There goes my good deed for the day.

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Locks have small parts

Locks are a clever mechanical trick. Brilliant scientists are often able to figure out just how they work, even without seeing their innards.

Well, when my key stuck in a small lock in my possession, I ended up taking it apart to get the key out. Then, I tried to put it back together. After all, a clever engineer could do it, right?

The good news is that I figured out how it works and what all the bits do: I could put it back together!

The bad news is that I lost some parts, making reassembling it rather difficult.

The conclusion is that I’m a clever enough engineer, just a crappy technician.


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A little self-centered

My mom’s in the hospital with pneumonia and a 103-degree fever, which, given her chemo-weakened immune system, is serious. My sister turned 26 today. My uncle finished battling an infestation of bedbugs carried back from a hotel on his luggage. Two friends got engaged. Another friend may be on the path to a happier relationship. All this in the past few days.

But I keep getting hung up on, what failings of mine made me not worth dating? I don’t know how to be better.



A middle-school story

In 7th grade, I asked a girl out. I said, “Will you go out with me?”

She responded, “Where?” and laughed at my confusion. I had just wanted her to indicate an interest in me; the details of spending time together could be worked out later.

I still have that attitude, that disconnect from the way most others think of dating, to this day. I’m not so worried about finding someone to spend time with; my days already fill themselves. I just want attention, respect, love. Find that, and the rest will work out well enough.

In other news, I’m completely single again. Whee.

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Towns have moods

It’s a curious fact that here in Berkeley, I feel an aura of failure that was missing while I was home in Tennessee. There, I was skilled and clever and strong. Here, I’m merely mediocre. Whatever it is I do, there’s someone better at it than me–so much so that I can never hope to match them. I’m not a fan of being a small fish in a big pond, but I’d better get used to it, because unless I retreat to Smalltown, TN, that’s my fate. Not that I face it alone–almost everyone ends up being outshone. That still doesn’t mean I have to like it.

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Internet dates

13 internet first dates

  • 4: I rejected, or the rejection was mutual
  • 2: stopped responding to my messages after the first date
  • 2: I dated for some period of time
  • 2: told me they were too busy to date me
  • 2: told me I was nice but they weren’t romantically interested
  • 1: had started dating someone the day before, but went on a first date since I’d already bought tickets

That’s not counting the rejections that occurred before there was a first date, which were mostly split into the “I rejected”, “too busy,” and “stopped responding” categories.

The biggest thing I’ve learned from this is that I do after all have strength and standards, and I’m capable of rejecting people. It wasn’t previously obvious that was true–after all, I married the first woman who expressed an interest in me.

I also learned that I look good on paper. I also come off fairly well in person, but I think there’s something missing from what I project. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s something important that people are looking for romantically. Perhaps it’s a certain confidence or assertiveness; I know those to be some of my weak points.



Your Best Is Impossible, or Why You Are All Losers, or The Cake Is a Lie

We were all taught, as kids, that winning or losing wasn’t important–instead, success was defined by doing your best. But that’s actually a much tougher standard than simply winning. Indeed, you have never done your best. Neither have I, nor has anyone else you know.

You could always have worked a little harder, done a little better. You could have studied an extra minute, run a second faster, pushed yourself a little more. You could always have done just that little something extra. But you didn’t. You settled for doing pretty well, but you never quite measured up.

For instance, if you didn’t drop dead at the finish line of the race, you could have run faster. You might not have liked it or its consequences, but you still could have done better. Maybe you made that choice deliberately, but you can’t claim to have done as well as you could. That’s actually one thing the original Marathon messenger has over our wussy modern-day runners: at least he got closer to his best than most of us.

And by the metric of best, all of us are losers. We never did our best, so we never reached the bar of success. Maybe from this we should conclude that “doing your best” is the wrong goal, that this sort of defeatism isn’t what we should teach our kids. But “do reasonably well” and “do pretty close to your best” just don’t have the same ring.

Then again, maybe I’m just being perverse and deliberately misunderstanding. Maybe nobody ever meant to actually do my best, just to get close. But it sure didn’t sound that way. Seriously, I got worked up over this when I was a teenager; realizing that I would never succeed at doing my best was surprisingly painful.

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