I have always been told that when you receive flowers from a man for no apparent reason, it’s a sign that he is cheating on you. I don’t exactly agree with this theory, but I do find the whole flower-giving thing fascinating.
I remember being younger and always wanting a nice boy to give me flowers. Not some crummy bunch of roses or, even worse, a single rose, but a pretty, well-planned and thoughtful bunch of flowers, which may or may not feature lilies or something similar.
But the flowers I envisaged and the flowers I actually got back then were vastly different. The lilies were replaced by god-awful weed-like flowers and the beautiful, ribbon-bound box was replaced by clear and white flowery glad-wrap that screamed of having been bought in a hospital foyer or stolen from a cemetery.
As I got a bit older, I completely lost interest in flowers. I never expected them and never really got them, but when I was about 25, I started to notice that they were making a comeback. Gone were the days, however, of flowers bringing joy and happiness.
First, there was the bunch that arrived with the statement ‘I might have an STD…’ (please note that the might turned out to be a definitely did not) and then there were the ones that came shriveled up after being hidden behind the heater in the lounge room for an indeterminate period of time, resulting in me arriving late for work after being ordered to go to the florist to exchange them…
Yep, flowers weren’t so glamorous anymore. They brought disease scares, anger and embarrassing encounters with florists. But I am a girl and don’t we all, deep down, dream of one day receiving flowers from a secret admirer declaring their undying love for us?
What we don’t realise though, is that this is actually the behavior of sociopaths and serial killers… and holiday crashers… yep, holiday crashers!
I mean, if you really think about it, if a person has the ability to interact with people, hold a conversation and enter into a real-life relationship, why wouldn’t they just mosey on over and ask you out? Alas, hindsight is a wonderful thing…
Back in 2009, I was a few months into my current (recently resigned from) job. Part of my role back then was to do presentations to young people about living and working overseas. Me being me, this involved lots of goofiness, many bad jokes and technical disasters.
My main problem with these presentations was that if I told a joke or a story that should get a laugh didn’t, I would just keep on pushing… bad joke after bad joke… higher pitch… faster talking… and it would start getting just plain awkward.
For example, I was once talking about San Francisco and started telling the story about riding a bike over the Golden Gate Bridge, taking a wrong turn (can you even take a wrong turn?) and ending up going overland to Sausalito all the while turning right involuntarily because I get balance issues when riding in the wind…
Alas, after being met by dead silence, this story led to the one about getting lost on a ‘quick drive’ before returning the hire car, the one about accidentally offending a group of dutch backpackers after telling one that his friend smelt like cabbage and finally wrapping it up with a declaration that I love San Fran because the hills made me feel like I was in Full House…
You know, FULL HOUSE?
It must be my lisp, audience does not comprehend… Cue terrible attempt at singing the Full House theme song:
Everywhere you look… everywhere you go (there’s a heart)… There’s a heart, a hand to hold onto.
Silence… crickets chirping… tumble weeds rolling through the room… you get the idea.
To this day I tell myself the crowd were just too young. They clearly didn’t know Mary-Kate and Ashley when they were knee-high to a grasshopper!
But back to my story, I was having one of these HORRIBLE evenings where the crowd was giving me absolutely nothing. No number of cheesy jokes, funny stories or even crowd interaction was saving it and besides one over enthusiastic guy in the second row, whose fake laugh was way too elaborate to be genuine, the audience were having none of it.
So you can imagine my complete shock when a massive bunch of roses turned up at my office two days later with a card that read:
I saw your presentation the other night and have been thinking about you ever since. Do you want to go for a drink sometime?
My colleagues and I tried to think of who it could be, with one suggesting it was ‘probably that one person who was laughing at your jokes!’ and after some crafty investigation, I had a full name and an email address.
Looking back, I should have read between the lines, seen the unwritten references to kidney stealing and paid attention to the music that started repeating in my head.
But really, the guy had made a pretty big effort and as someone who cannot even remember having asked anyone on a date before, who was I to reject someone without even meeting them?
So, I went on a date with him and despite there being no chemistry whatsoever and him judging me for liking Simon and Garfunkel while saying his favourite type of music was ‘anything they play on Triple J’… I didn’t regret it. I told him I wasn’t interested, we agreed we would be friends, added each other on Facebook and caught up a few more times before he went overseas.
Fast-forward to early 2011 when I was planning a work trip to Canada, followed by a week of Tennizzlle-time in New York City on the way home. I was contacting a few business partners and customers who were over there to catch up, one of whom was this guy. He wasn’t going to be in the cities I was visiting in Canada, but was going to NY with some friends around that time. I sent him my dates and said we’d have a drink if we crossed paths.
A week before I left, he emailed saying he had great news, it turns out we were going to be in NYC at the same time, so we agreed to have a drink. It all seemed so normal…
We met at a bar downtown before dinner and had a quick beer. We had the quick catch up, how’s life, blah blah blah, and then I asked him ‘So, what are you even doing in New York?’
His response: ‘I came to New York to spend the week with you’
This guy had driven from Montreal to New York to holiday with me… without me knowing.
After a few deep breathes, I talked myself into it. I’m the queen of miscommunication and I probably misunderstood something along the way. I’m sure it’s fine, when he says SPEND the week with me, he doesn’t mean SPEND the week with me. Nervous laugh, nervous laugh…
That was Thursday night.
By Friday, it was clear that he did actually mean spend the entire week with me…. Every single second of it…
‘Oh, you want to go to Forever 21 and try on seventy dresses? I’ll come!’
‘Oh, you want to purchase outfits for your dogs? That sounds like great fun!’
‘Should we plan out all our evenings in advance and buy tickets to everything?’
‘Let’s go to the farmers market and buy some food to cook in the luxury Soho apartment I have rented for us to hang out in’
By Saturday, I had lost my shit. Somewhere between Canal Street and Union Square, after being dragged around by his know-it-all self all afternoon trying to find ‘the best coffee in New York’, I had had enough. I hadn’t spoken to him for at least an hour when I made my escape, yelling something along the lines of ‘Space! Tennizzlle time! Forever 21!’ before throwing myself into the midst of a crowd of fast moving locals and running for my life.
A few months later, I was at work one afternoon and received a text message from a US number.
‘Hey, are you free to catch up?’
Assuming it was someone from our US office, I responded ‘Yeah, sure, but I have no idea who this is!’
‘Oh, sorry, it’s Michelangelo*, I’m in Melbourne but still using my Canadian number’
These days, if I want flowers, I just go buy myself some damn flowers. They’ll always be tasteful, they won’t be on the verge of death, they won’t die overnight and I will be able to sleep soundly in the knowledge that my kidneys will still be attached when I wake up in the morning.
NB – In doing a little Google research for this post, I typed ‘Flowers from a man’ into the search bar. I love the predictions Google comes up with and where they lead you. This time, I got ‘flowers from a man who shot your cousin’… as you do!
Also, if you were thinking about sending me flowers, feel free! I like lilies (just in case you didn’t get that) and I will accept them graciously. Just don’t be expecting me to go on a date with you afterwards!
*names and numbers have been changed, though not very well
It’s so strange how our mind reminds us of a person. Often a smell, a song, a food or even just the weather can bring back the best memories of being around someone. I love those moments and the warmth and happiness they bring and I’ll often be reminded of something and proceed to start laughing (and often nose whistling) loudly at a totally unrelated moment in time.
One thing I have noticed is how clear the image in my mind is of many people in my life. If I’m on the phone or reading an email or message from them, I will have a mental image of them in my head, often of some totally random occasion which has stayed with me.
Sometimes my image of them is from a photo or just the last time I remember seeing them, but for the people I know well it’s a specific time and place which has remained in my subconscious.
The other day I thought about this so much in preparation for this blog, that I actually had some kind of fast forward stocktake of the people who have had an impact on my life, or my life as it currently is. It filled me with happiness and I actually had to stop for a moment to let myself take it all in.
It went something like this:
One of my best friends is sitting on the blue couch in the house we shared, putting a piece of sandwich in her mouth and nodding…
The other is dancing in the car as we drive to work.
Another friend is eating a cheeseburger at Oxford street McDonald’s and savoring every bite.
My ex-boyfriend is screaming obsenities at me as I walk a metre ahead of him in London.
A friend is sitting opposite me eating oysters in Galway, discussing my love life…
One is walking along a street wearing a backpack and bouncing on skinny legs…
Another is holding a glass of white wine as big as her head while eating dry roasted peanuts and laughing…
My best friend from primary school is walking next to me in the playground.
My best friend from high school is eating nutella and waving at me from her front door.
A traveling friend is laughing in bed as we recount the previous night’s chaos in Peru…
Another is wearing my pink and white skirt as we hit the town in Madrid.
My first crush is laughing with his mouth open and a booger hanging out of his nose.
My first boss is dancing in the lunch room.
My best boss is looking confused and nodding.
My older sister is 15 and wearing her school uniform, screaming and slamming the screen door in a moment of teen angst.
My mother is in the kitchen, bouncing around busting for the toilet…
My dad is taking my 10 year old self to the airshow and I’m worrying about my light up runners in the mud.
I could probably go on forever. There’s many more where I can’t pinpoint the time or place of the memory, but I can see the person clearly, most often looking happy or laughing.
I started writing this post as I decided to discuss other people instead of myself for a change and it ended up bringing me a lot of joy.
What do you see when you think of the people who have impacted your life?
And if you know me, how do you see me?
P.s. Apologies for the lack of my usual bad jokes and venting! Rest assured, they will be back in the next post!
1. Every year goes quicker than the last
If I had a dollar for every time in the past few months that I have said ‘I can’t believe this year is almost over’, I would be a very rich girl (by rich, I mean I could afford a coffee and muffin every morning for a week without scrounging around the floor of my car)! 2011 has literally flown, courtesy of four trips overseas, work chaos, the continued disaster that is my love life and just life running at full speed. I started the year having an unexpectedly big night at a pub in Warrnambool, which seemed to set the pace for the year.
When discussing this with a friend recently, they said to me, ‘it’s not that this year has gone fast, it’s just that every single year goes quicker than the last’… I’m torn as to whether I agree with this statement and as a result, I intend to make 2012 go as slowly as possible… Yes, I may be in denial, but I WILL slow down time, damn it!
2. Take compliments graciously and without hesitation
Me and tact do not have a relationship… it’s just not a skill I ever learnt. As a result, I don’t dish out compliments unless I mean them and the people around me know this. Having said this, I still encounter people who I give a compliment to and they insist on rejecting it.
My lack of social prompts means I’m never sure if they’re fishing for me to elaborate, think I’m mocking them (not an unreasonable assumption) or if they honesty think their uber-expensive shoes are actually not pretty at all. Seriously people, I don’t go dishing them out, take the compliment or you won’t be getting another one.
I actually learnt this lesson several years ago, but it came up many times in 2011. Compliments are easy to take and the more graciously you take them, the more often they’ll come. Now let’s practice:
Me: ‘Oooo, I love your dress!’
You: ‘Oh, thanks!’
3. If you like someone, tell them
Although this primarily goes for matters of the heart, it’s become my approach to everyone in my life. I would consider myself a fairly up-front person, but this year I learnt the value in just putting yourself out there.
If you think someone is awesome, tell them! If someone is kinda cute, tell them! If someone makes you laugh, tell them! And if someone makes your heart jump like it’s trying to leap out of your chest, tell them… chances are they feel the same. If not, you’ve lost nothing, you’ve saved yourself potentially months of wondering if they like you and above all, you will have most likely brightened their day with the compliment!
4. Babies are awesome
Okay, so I did already know this before 2011, however having not been around a new one for years and years, I had been kind of convinced that babies were maybe a little bit boring. It wasn’t until a good friend of mine had her first baby in the second half of the year that I realised that I am OBSESSED!
Despite living in a completely separate State to aforementioned baby, I have managed to buy her more clothes than I have bought myself this year… okay, slight exaggeration there, but definitely more than I have bought myself in the second half of the year! And equally as exciting – next year I will be an aunty for the first time! Yay!
5. Weddings are a big deal to some people – do not judge them
I would like to start off here by saying I LOVE weddings. I especially love when people I care about get engaged, married or even just happy, it warms my heart! However, in recent months I have realised that there is a fine line between a bride who is ‘excited’ and one who is ‘obsessed’ and that I am not to judge when it is crossed. Doing so will only end in awkward conversations… Even more awkward than those which you will be having with them once their all-consuming wedding has wrapped up.
I have also learnt the following: Buying a charity goat for someone who has asked for gifts of cash is apparently socially unacceptable, having a gift registry for your kitchen tea is normal and asking your nearest and dearest to invest a month’s salary in honour of your celebration will not result in you losing friends.
So, in light of this new-found knowledge, when the time comes, I now plan to elope. Or at a maximum have 10 people on a beach with no shoes on, no presents and no stress. I hereby promise this to everyone in my life. Hold me to it.
6. Having good tone is not so vital in life
In addition to lacking any tact in my life, I also struggle with tone. I had never given it much thought until one of my staff got a look of complete fear in his face when I was complimenting him on his work. Apparently my facial expression, tone and words were all contradicting each other and as a result, instilling fear in the poor guy.
So I started asking the people close to me for their opinion on the issue and sure enough, my tone issues were widely acknowledged, unbeknownst to me. So I set out to correct it, emphasising various words and attempting to add an inflection to my sentences.
After several months of experimentation, I came to the conclusion that good tone is over-rated. Bad tone often results in hilarious miscommunication and is a great conversation starter. The simple solution is, if I’m conversing with someone and they start to look confused, I exclaim loudly ‘I have bad tone!’, everyone laughs and a friendship has begun!
7. The ability to be blunt is a virtue
My most recent realisation is that bluntness is not a bad trait, I even believe it to be a virtue. I have always thought that my tendency to cut straight to the point was something that had to be changed, and spent years chit-chatting and prancing around whatever topic needed to be discussed.
In my most recent employment, I speak to a wide range of people across numerous fields. In an industry where everyone is trying to win each other over and impress each other, I start to feel like I am suffocating in fake niceties. Earlier in the year, I accepted that this approach just wasn’t me, I’m blunt in my personal life and decided to try a similar approach in my professional life.
The result – if you’re up-front with people, they’ll be up-front with you, communication is open and issues are overcome. PLUS, once the topic is dealt with, there’s more time for getting to know the person you’re meeting and enjoying your time with them!
8. Never assume people care about the minute details of your private life, because most often, they don’t
Okay, so I know this one sounds a bit harsh, but it is an important lesson. We all spend so much time worrying about what other people think of us and missing out on opportunities for fear of being judged. I personally will go over a conversation a thousand times in my head if I think I have offended someone (unintentionally), or said something out of line or inappropriate (a common occurence).
But when I actually think about the people close to me and their behaviour, I realise it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re fun and happy and are making the most of life. I can barely remember the conversation I’m currently having with someone, let alone one that took place a week ago.
Stop mulling things over! If you have an opinion, share it! If you like someone, go for it! Don’t assume that everyone is focusing all their attention on you, because you’ll miss out on the opportunities that are presenting themselves to you.
9. Getting stuck in a snow storm is not such a bad thing
I am 100% a summer person and I absolutely hate the cold. Despite this, two friends and I went to Queenstown this past winter for a week spent learning to snowboard. It was a very fun and crazy week and we headed to the airport with heavy hearts, all not wanting to head home. Apparently Q’Town also didn’t want us to leave and after an epic snowstorm and many failed attempts to get out, our 7 day trip turned into a 12 day adventure.
Despite cabin fever setting in on about day 8 and each of us consuming our body weight in alcohol, our time there became one of the most memorable periods of 2011. By the time we had accepted our fate and let ourselves just enjoy the extended break, we had been lucky enough to see a once in a lifetime snow storm, eaten awesome food, met some fantastic people and become even closer friends for it.
10. See the humour in every situation
Being able to see the humour in every situation makes life bearable. This year so far I have had a staff member question my morals on Facebook (and get abruptly asked to resign), been delayed on numerous flights, had an immeasurable number of IT issues, had the entire work database and network die, be threatened by angry customers and had the most disastrous dating experiences, including on one occasion when I actually thought I was going to get my kidneys stolen…
At the time, what can you do? You can laugh about it, and remember the finer details so you can recount the story with accuracy next time you’re out drinking with your friends.
11. I will never learn to high-five
Ever. So please stop trying.