On Being a Frustrated Secular Evangelical

I have the solution for all your biggest problems!

There is nothing worse than being convinced that you have a solution to someone else’s problem and yet being incapable of convincing that person to try it your way. Is it arrogant to feel like that? Not if that same thing has worked for you! Surely not.

You’ll have to forgive me. Only recently has it dawned on me that when I serve up a piping hot plate of unsolicited advice, I sound exactly like the type of person whom I despise the most: an evangelical Christian. How dare anyone force their beliefs down the throats of others? The nerve.

But I hate standing by while people suffer when they might not have to. It makes me feel helpless. No. That’s not true. I have plenty of help. Oodles of help to give. For free. So maybe I feel “not helpful”. No, that’s wrong, too, because I’m chock full o’ help, if only people would avail themselves of said help. Step right up, folks! I have the solutions for all your biggest problems!

Maybe that’s why I blog. I can throw these “one size fits most” solutions out into cyberspace in the hopes that someone, somewhere, will pick one up, put it on, and be all the better for it. You’re welcome. Even if you didn’t ask.

The reason I get so frustrated in these instances is that I care. I care deeply. So when someone ignores my ham-handed advice, or, even worse, has a hostile reaction thereto, I become confused.

Can’t that person see I’m trying to save them? Can’t they tell that the advice is coming from a good place, from someone who means well? Why not?

The resulting befuddlement is pretty much my default state. At age 57, it’s about time that I seriously entertain the idea that everyone, including me, might be much better off if I shut my pie hole and minded my own beeswax. And that tells you everything you need to know about what it must be like to be loved by me.

Run. While you still can. My inability to live and let live can be a whole new problem that no one else should have to contend with.

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Snorkeling in Hawaii: Tips from My Experience

When I need to go to a happy place, I think of this experience.

Today is World Ocean Day, so I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you about snorkeling in Hawaii. It is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done in my life, in or out of the ocean. But before I tell you about my adventures, here are some tips that we learned about snorkeling, in no particular order.

  1. Bring your own equipment. Yes, you can most likely rent equipment in Hawaii, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a proper fit, and you won’t be sure what shape it’s in, or if it has been properly sanitized, or what outrageous amount of money you will be charged. Before our trip, we got some really nice, full-face snorkels. They cost about 90 bucks, but they had no leakage to speak of, and were quite comfortable. The same usually cannot be said of 30 dollar snorkels. We managed to find fins that were adjustable, and were right in that part of the rigid/flexible spectrum that made us feel content and confident as we swam. We also got some beach shoes with sturdy soles, because we knew we’d be walking over sharp rocks before and after the snorkeling.
  2. If possible, practice in a pool if you’ve never snorkeled before. Since we’re both relatively inexperienced, we had been preparing for our snorkeling adventures in Hawaii for months by using our equipment in our local YMCA pool. It’s a good thing, too, because using fins is really hard on your thighs, so I was grateful to have exercised those muscles prior to the trip. Swimming in an ocean full of waves while trying to avoid getting scraped up by coral is another level of endurance entirely. Being in shape for it is oh, so worth it!
  3. Use reef safe sunscreen. Regular suntan lotion washes off of you, leaves an oily, heat-producing sheen on the water’s surface, and causes toxic chemicals to permeate the reef. We assumed such lotions would be easy to find in Hawaii. In fact, we were shocked that any other types of sunscreen would be for sale in this state. But it turns out that reef safe lotion is hard to come by. My advice to you is to read this article, and order lotion in advance from its recommended products list, because the term “reef safe” isn’t regulated. Any lotion can use it. Read the ingredients. There are a lot of lotions that must be avoided if we want to maintain a living reef system worldwide. Yes, they may be more expensive, but it’s well worth it if it means you can enjoy your snorkel without worrying that you are helping to destroy the very thing you are marveling at.
  4. Use sunscreen, full stop. While snorkeling, your back is facing the sun, and since you’re in the water you don’t feel hot. I can’t tell you how many people I saw in Hawaii that were looking miserably lobster-red because they were hoping to get a nice tan while checking out the marine life. Being covered in blisters or sick as a dog from sun poisoning is a great way to ruin the rest of your vacation. (Been there. Done that, decades ago. I definitely don’t recommend it.)
  5. Never snorkel alone. You never know what might happen in a wild environment, so it’s prudent to have a snorkel buddy, and in fact, choose a beach where there are lifeguards. Some people who have ignored this tip are no longer around to tell the tale. At one point, I got so mesmerized while following a colorful school of fish that after they took off, I popped my head out of the water and saw… no one. It was one of those moments in life when I felt completely and utterly alone. I wasn’t in trouble, and I made it safely back to shore, but it really did wake me up to the potential risks.
  6. Don’t stand on coral. Much of it looks like rock, but it’s not, and any damage you do to it could take years to repair. You are entering a habitat. You wouldn’t walk into someone’s home and stand on their glass tabletop, would you? If you absolutely, positively have to stand, find a sandy spot. But even then, you might disturb something that is hiding under the sand, so proceed with caution.
  7. Even if there are trash cans on the beach, port out your garbage. Those cans can never be emptied often enough, and will overflow. No littering. Please. The world is not your dumpster. And garbage can be deadly to wildlife.
  8. If you’re going to use an underwater camera, practice with it in advance. I had high hopes of having a lot of gorgeous video to show you, dear reader, but we hadn’t thought to practice with the controls on our new Go Pro, and while we thought we were taking plenty of footage, in fact, we only got a minute or two. So now I just have to remember what it was like as I snorkel in my local pool, and I regret that no words can adequately convey to you the beauty I saw while snorkeling in Hawaii. I will post the “best of” our video below. But it’s kind of meh.(Fortunately we figured the go pro out prior to swimming with the manta rays. Read about that adventure here.)
  9. Keep your hands to yourself. Don’t try to feed the marine life. Don’t touch or harass any living creature. For their safety and yours, maintain a reasonable distance from wild animals who are just trying to go about their daily routine. Be pono. (Have respect.)
  10. Be aware of your surroundings. Snorkel in clear water, close to shore and within sight of a lifeguard. Yes, there are sharks. According to this hair-raising list of shark incidents that is maintained by the State of Hawaii, there have only been 6 human fatalities since 1995, which is practically nothing when you consider how many people go into the ocean in Hawaii on any given day, but if I counted correctly, there have been 127 other non-fatal incidents during that time-frame, and even a love nibble isn’t something that you want to experience from a shark. If you sort the list by activity type, you’ll find that the vast majority of snorkeling incidents were in deep, turgid waters. And by the way, there are other things that can hurt you, too, so use common sense, and enjoy the experience as safely as you can.
  11. Plan to snorkel toward the beginning of your trip. It is very important to be mindful of the weather, because it can change rapidly in Hawaii. If dark clouds are rushing toward you, or you hear thunder, or if the water looks like a washing machine, it’s not a good time to become one with nature. Even just windy days can cut down reef visibility quite a bit. We missed out on one of Hawaii’s most beautiful snorkeling sites, Pu-uhonua o Hanaunau (thank goodness it’s also called Two-Step) on the west coast of the big island, because the sky was turning black and we heard thunder. It will be one of the biggest travel regrets of my life that we had no time to reschedule. It is one of the best snorkel spots to encounter green turtles, dolphins and seals, and the thought that I missed that chance still brings tears to my eyes.

As I said, today is World Ocean Day, so let me tell you about my recent love affair with the Pacific Ocean, also known as our snorkeling adventures during a recent visit to Hawaii.

We had three amazing snorkeling experiences. The first two were on the island of Kauai. One was at Poipu Beach, on the south shore. A tour guide on another excursion told us that it was his favorite place to snorkel, so we had to check it out. The other was at Lydgate Park, on the east side of the island. On the big island, we went to Kahalu’u Beach on the Kona Coast.

Again, my apologies for not bringing back all the amazing footage I had hoped for. I’m sure you can google snorkeling at any one of these locations and find dozens of videos. It will be worth the effort.

But what was it like? I can only say that I have never been presented with so much dazzling color in my life. The fish, the sea urchins, the crabs, even the sea cucumbers were colorful. Under the water, it was very quiet. I felt like a peeping tom in a sacred place. And I also felt so very privileged. This was a gift. Mostly I floated along and watched the miracles unfold. At one point, I was surrounded by a school of Yellowfin Surgeonfish. It actually made me kind of emotional to be allowed among them. Here’s the footage.

Much of the coral close in was a surprising monochrome tan, but it was still full of vivid life. At one point I went into a hidden coral cove, and right in the center of it was a dome-shaped coral structure, about the size of a Volkswagen beetle, and it was a bright lime green on the sides and a rich lilac color on top. It made me gasp. I just floated there for about 10 minutes, burning this image on my retinas, while (unsuccessfully) recording it on my go pro. When I need to go to a happy place, I think of that moment, just me and this gigantic, gorgeous coral. It felt right. It felt good. I felt connected to the world in a way that I never have before.

Because we fell down on the job when it comes to capturing the images for this post, what you see below are pictures, pulled from the internet, of many of the types of fish I saw in Hawaii. I still can’t believe my luck. Get out there if you can, Dear Reader. There is still a bit of the planet left to enjoy. Don’t miss it.

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Ask her out, already!

Young people don’t realize how short life is.

I swim a lot at my local YMCA. Much of the staff there are high school and college students. They’re all amazing, and I’m really impressed by their desire to be able to pay for their education at a time when those costs are outrageous and unfair. But the bottom line is, they’re still young. This means I get to witness a lot of angst that I otherwise would have forgotten from my youth. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I just know that it’s a fact.

The other day a young man was our lifeguard. He sat perched high above us on his lifeguard chair, and ours was the closest lane to him. In the next lane out was a young woman who was swimming laps. Or pretending to. Actually, she was mostly treading water and talking to him. We were kind of stuck in the middle of their conversation whether we liked it or not.

Through their talk, I learned that she’s a swim instructor. So they have a lot in common. They clearly knew each other, too, because their conversation lasted the length of our half hour session.

She was acting like she wasn’t comfortable with certain swimming strokes, such as the butterfly. She said she’d be embarrassed to try them. But when she did, after much encouragement from him, she was obviously quite adept. I longed to tell her that acting stupid and incompetent does not, as a general rule, make you more attractive to others. It was quite clear she was attempting to attract our lifeguard.

She also giggled a lot, and blushed. She pulled compliments out of him, which he was more than happy to give. I remember pulling that crap when I was about 13. I look back at it with a certain level of mortification. Acting like a wounded bird doesn’t bring saviors out of the woodwork. Instead, it attracts predators.

For his part, he kept pulling off his mask so she could hear what he was saying in the large, echoing room. In the process, he was spraying us with his aerosol, which I didn’t appreciate. But who am I to stand in the way of true love? Thank God I’ve been vaccinated and had the ability to move further down my lane.

Watching them play their little courting game was both fascinating and irritating. Young people don’t realize just how short life really is. It took everything in me not to say to both of them, “Do you have a girlfriend? No? Do you have a boyfriend? No? She likes you. He likes you. Ask her out, already!”

But then I realized that these stupid games are practice for life. Hopefully someday they’ll both be able to move past them. And let’s face it, they didn’t ask me for my advice, and heaven knows nobody gave me any shortcuts at their age. So I just rolled my eyes in my mind and exercised on.

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“Don’t Stop Until You’re Proud.”

There’s a certain beauty in doing our best.

I wish I could tell you where I read this quote or who said it, because it’s really sage advice. It made quite an impression on me. I can’t get it out of my head. But the rest of the details seem not to have been filed away in the dusty attic of my mind. In fairness, I’m certain that this concept did not originate with me. I wish it had.

I also wish I had heard this earlier in my life, because I employ it only sporadically. There are some things that I’m extremely proud of, such as my marriage and the way that I take care of my dogs. I also think I’m a darned good bridgetender, I am quite proud of my little free library, and I’m very proud of this blog. But other things… not so much.

For example, even though my dogs are very well cared for, I’ve been a bit lax on the training. They behave well enough, most of the time, and that satisfies me, most of the time. I also have a “Life’s too short” attitude when it comes to organization. I’m not sure when I turned the corner on that. When I was younger I was very organized and on top of things.

I do often hear myself thinking, “Screw it. That’s good enough.” I tend to quit long before a perfectionist would. Because of that, I deprive myself of the opportunity to be proud. But then, perfectionists don’t ever seem to be satisfied, so I suspect they’re not in the proud zone very often, either.

None of us are perfect, but there’s a certain beauty in doing our best, seeing things through, and giving things our all. There’s dignity in it. It’s admirable. And it says, loud and clear, that we are here.

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The Elders and the Youngsters

Life is so precious and fragile.

I just saw an animation that brought tears to my eyes. It was the song Father and Son by Yusuf/Cat Stevens. Yusuf sings the father’s part and the younger version of himself, Cat Stevens, sings the son version, taken from a recording of himself from decades ago, obviously.

In the song, the father is trying to urge the son not to go off and do something impulsive that will potentially alter his entire life. (At the time he wrote it, he was imagining a boy who wanted to run off and join the Russian Revolution, but really any scenario will do.) The father says, basically, stop and think. Take it slow. You still have a lot to learn. Be calm. Think of the consequences. “For you will still be here tomorrow but your dreams may not.”

The son, on the other hand, says that he’s been ordered to listen his whole life, but he doesn’t feel like he’s been listened to. He says he knows himself, and that it’s time to make a change. His part is all about the frustration of not being heard and not being taken seriously, and the desire to make his own way.

The reason this animation struck me to the core is that I think, for the first time, it really hit me that I’m not young anymore. That’s a really hard pill to swallow. It took me long enough. I’m 55. (And I know the older readers will say that 55 isn’t that old. I get that. Everything is relative.)

I think everything is getting more poignant with me over time, because we are all on the cusp of radical, terrifying changes, and no one can predict what’s going to happen next. It feels as if the sand is shifting beneath our collective feet, and that’s unsettling at the best of times. It feels like things that used to be just slightly risky are now becoming a matter of life and death. I’m profoundly scared.

It’s really stressful, in particular, to watch the younger people in my life right now. (And by younger, in this case, I mean 40 and below.) So many of them are making crazy, impulsive decisions and not thinking about the long term impact. They are speculating based on a world that no longer exists. They’re risking their lives. They’re settling for relationships that aren’t the best for them. They’re tying themselves down to parts of the country that aren’t politically and/or economically and/or environmentally and/or socially feasible for the people that they are or will become.

I’m frustrated because I see so much potential in these people, and I know they are capable of so much more. I have to resign myself to the fact that their choices aren’t my business, really. I just see them making many mistakes that I have made, and I want to save them the agony that I know they’ll be going through. But in life, there are no shortcuts.

Add another layer onto the anxiety cake by realizing that I’ve had someone die quite expectedly on me in recent years. Poof! Gone. Just like that.

That changes you. It forever colors the way you look at the world. And it makes you realize that no one can fully understand your point of view until they’ve had that sort of experience themselves. People think they can imagine what it’s like. They haven’t a clue.

Life is so precious. It’s so fragile. It’s like a soap bubble. It can all be gone in a pop. Everyone knows this, but those of us who’ve seen that moment of pop are not allowed the luxury of forgetting it. And it truly is a luxury.

Yes, everyone has to make their own mistakes, and also have their own triumphs. But there are so many people that I’d like to shake (and hug) right now. And I can’t.

At the same time, to add complexity to the situation, I am really proud of some of the things the younger people are doing, attempting to make lemonade out of the lemons they’ve been handed. I’m impressed with their innovation and their ability to think outside the box and come up with something different. Even though they’re making a lot of mistakes, they’re also making progress. I just have to remember that the world will keep revolving and evolving, with or without me.

But I can’t say this enough: Life is a gift. It should never be squandered. It shouldn’t be risked. It shouldn’t be taken for granted. Especially now, in the midst of a pandemic with a heaping helping of political unrest.

Good God, am I becoming conservative? Please, no. Anything but that.

I think I’m just valuing things much more than I once did. It’s all so fleeting and final. It’s all so slippery and hard to grasp. Odds are extremely good that I won’t live until I’m 110, and I really don’t want to, if I’m honest. But that means I’m on the downhill slope. And as hard as I’d like to fight it, the slide is inevitable.

But, having climbed up the other side, I would very much like to show those who come behind me that there are easier trails. I want that with my whole heart. At the same time, I understand that blazing your own trail is the whole point. But until you get to the other side, you don’t quite realize that the hill is made up entirely of the consequences that are occurring because of your own actions and choices.

I carry with me a wealth of life experience, as does everyone on my side of the hill. And that experience includes both success and failure. But when you’re young you don’t see that as valuable. You’re too busy making the climb for yourself. It’s a waste and a shame to not learn from others, but everyone has their own hill to climb, and it’s time for me to accept that it’s high time to let go and focus on my next phase in life.

“Hey! You there! Watch out! That’s the exact spot where I tripped and broke my leg! Can’t you see that if you fall, it hurts me, too?”

Oh, never mind. You’ll figure it out.

It’s just all so damned bittersweet…

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“You Balance Me.”

We lean on each other when necessary.

I said that to my husband the other day as he was helping me down the stairs, and it’s true. We hold hands when we walk together, not only for affection, but also to keep each other from falling flat on our faces. I willingly admit that that is more likely to happen to me than to him. I get distracted and forget to look where I’m going. I trip on curbs more often than I’d care to admit. I miscalculate stairways. My depth perception is tenuous at best.

So we walk along, acting like a third dimension that gives structure and shape to what would otherwise be a flat, ineffectual plane. We lean on each other when necessary. We prop each other up.

And this extends to the emotional realm as well. It’s great when someone is willing to validate your thought processes. It’s nice to have a sounding board. It’s comforting to be able to give and receive advice. We each have different structural and emotional strengths and weaknesses. We allow each other those. We don’t cling or overwhelm. We supplement each other.

When seeking out a partner, it is important to have a lot in common. But don’t overlook the opposite qualities, either. If your ship lists to port and his or hers lists to starboard, you can meet in the middle and keep each other from sinking. It’s quite nice.


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An Advisory Thought Experiment

Maybe I should just focus on my driving.

If you read this blog regularly, you know that I occasionally come up with thought experiments to keep myself entertained during my long, boring commute to and from work. It’s either that or fall asleep at the wheel (very, very bad) or resort to road rage while witnessing the stupidity all around me (even worse). So here is a thought experiment that I came up with recently:

If all humanity, with its current knowledge, were about to disappear, and you could only leave one sentence behind to help the next humans get started, what would it be?

Would you say “Wear a mask and wash your hands if you want to stay alive”? Because, let’s face it, if anything is going to wipe us out, it’s going to be that.

Would it be developmental advice, such as how to start a fire or build a wheel?

Perhaps it should be something related to the environment, such as the fact that fossil fuels and plastics do much more harm than good.

Or maybe it should be something along the lines of Make Love Not War.

But frankly, if we’ve finally managed to wipe ourselves out completely, then we have a lot of nerve trying to give any advice at all. That and, humans being what they are, they’re probably not going to listen to it anyway.

So my advice would be, “You’ll figure it out.” Because they would. And maybe they’d do a better job of it than we have. Here’s hoping.

But of course, the one basic flaw in this exercise is that the people would have to somehow know how to speak and read English from the very start. So yeah, maybe I should just focus on my driving.


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Don’t Push

Statistics bear me out.

A friend of mine recently made a drastic life change for the better. Boom. Just like that.

I’d been wanting him to make this change for well over a decade. I’ve been worried about him. I’ve been watching his self-destruction and feeling absolutely helpless about it for so long that it had become part of my routine.

Yes, I had talked to him about the situation. He listened. He got angry. I didn’t want to turn into a nag and completely push him out of my life. But I had to make my opinion clear, and so I did. Case closed. Nothing changed.

He is a full grown adult, capable of making his own choices. He was hurting himself much more than he was hurting anyone else. Yes, it was painful to watch, but it wasn’t impactful, per se, on others. So on life went.

The hands-off approach was the best one in this instance, based on the carefully gathered statistics that I’ve accumulated over a lifetime:

  • Number of people whom I’ve convinced to take my advice for their overall betterment: 0.

  • Number of people whom I’ve been worried about who have made changes on their own: A miraculous quantity, slightly higher than 0.

And the hands-off approach turns out to have been much, much better for my own mental health, too. When all is said and done, I still have a friend. That’s definitely a plus.

Yes, I realize that this isn’t a one size fits all scenario. Your results may vary. Life and relationships and situations are way too complex to resolve within the confines of this little blog post.

Even so, I really think I’m on to something here. I may have to try applying it to other areas of my life. I think that if I shut my pie hole a little more often, the world will be a much better place. At least for me. Plant a seed with people, yes, but then back off and let them decide if it will take root or not.

Now, to keep from telling him “I told you so.” That’s a separate challenge entirely, but it pairs well with the shutting my pie hole plan. Wish me luck.

Letting go

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I’d Love Your Advice

You might be surprised at the results.

In recent years, with the benefit of age and life experience, I’ve come up with a strategy that has greatly increased the positive energy in my world. It will sound counterintuitive, but when I have a goal that I’m trying to reach, no matter how small it may seem, and even when I already know how I plan to reach it, I will ask for someone’s advice.

Have you ever seen the look on someone’s face when you tell them you’d like their opinion? Pure delight. You just gave them the highest compliment on earth. You value their insight. You respect them. You want to hear what they have to say.

Be sure to be genuine with your request. Even if your game plan is in place, by employing this strategy, you may be rewarded with some fabulous ideas that you hadn’t considered. It never hurts to get someone to look at your project from a different point of view.

And remember, you don’t necessarily have to take their advice. Either way, you’ve just made a huge deposit in someone else’s emotional bank account. They’ll remember that.

This approach will also keep you humble. It will remind you that you aren’t the only person with solutions in this world. Going it alone isn’t always the best way to get ahead.

I have never gotten anything but positive results from this tactic. Try it. Pick one person during the course of your day and say to them, “I’d love your advice.” Extra points for asking someone who rarely gets to give advice, like a young person or an elderly person.

See what happens. I think you’ll like it. I guarantee that the other person will.


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Let Me Solve Your Problem

Trying to learn that not everyone wants my advice.

I have this friend who is getting old and is convinced he’s going to die soon. He’s an artist, and he told me he wanted to distribute his art to the world before he makes his grand exit. He hates to think of it just sitting there, not being appreciated.

I instantly came up with an idea. I have been focused on my Little Free Library of late, and I’ve also blogged about Little Free Gardens. So, why not a Little Free Gallery? Construct a box, put it in an artsy/touristy part of town, fill it with your art, write on it, “Take some art, share some art” and away we go!

His art would be distributed, and other artists could put some of their stuff in as well. Even children could add their beautiful little scribbly contributions. Art for the common man. It sounds like a delightful idea to me! Visions of this really catching on and taking off.

Except I forgot who I was talking to. As much as I love this person, he doesn’t really want a solution. That would require action. He instantly threw up roadblocks, which I found easy to knock down.

Roadblock: I’m not really very sociable.

Solution: I could easily find you someone who would allow your little free gallery in front of their shop. Then all you’d have to do is put your art in there. You don’t have to sit by it.

Roadblock: I don’t need to get rich. I just need to spread my pictures to as many people as I can.

Solution: That’s why it’s called a Little FREE Gallery. You’d be giving your stuff away.

Roadblock: The library idea involves taking and putting back. A gallery wouldn’t be like that.

Solution: Who cares? But other artists could put their work in there too, if they wanted.

Roadblock: Still, it wouldn’t be sharing like a library is.

Solution: It would be sharing your artistic talent with the wider community. A lot of people love art, but most of us can’t afford it. This would be a great way to spread art to the world.

Roadblock: I like the idea of offering pictures at low prices without a store. Low price is important. Free stuff goes in the garbage can.

Frustrated response: Well, if there’s money involved, you’d need someone watching over it. And no one would give you a free space or a free box or contribute to it if it’s for money, so you’d have a much harder time.

Roadblock: I want someone who takes one of my pictures to take it seriously. If it’s a freebie, they can chuck it like a plastic bag.

Irritated response: You have to have faith. I also hope my library books actually get read, but there’s no guarantee. But if even one person reads something they wouldn’t have already read, I’m happy. Sometimes you just have to put positive energy out into the world and hope it makes an impact. You started off saying you just want to distribute your art to the world before you die. Now it sounds like you want to pursue profit. Those are different goals.

Roadblock: I’m an old guy who wants to get his work out in the world no matter what. I do not support schemes that have artists give out work for free. Artists need to make a living.

Resigned reponse: It’s not a scheme, it’s a public good. No artist would be forced to participate. It may be a fun way to put some small art works out there and get themselves some recognition. Oh, never mind.


I think what I need to take away from this conversation, the lesson that I need to learn (and will have to learn over and over and over again in my life), is that when someone presents me with a problem, they often aren’t really seeking advice. They’re just spewing words into the world with no real destination.The conversation should have gone like this:

Him: I want to get my art out into the world, no matter what.

Me: What a great idea. Good luck with that.

If I approached more conversations from that angle, I’d probably have fewer grey hairs and less acid reflux. But noooo…


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