I have a colleague who I’d dare call friend. Let’s call him the jeev. Cause he’s one of two twin brothers, both of whom have a name that end in -jeev. So this’s like, anonymous. Mmhm.
“Jeev” is a ovo-lacto-pescatarian. And heads up, this write nothing to do with diet – except that I think people who restrict themselves from eating meat are probably nicer or more sensitive on some level than those who don’t. Or they have a different ethical tick. What’s sure as hell, is they’re nicer than me. I honestly love biting down on a big burger more than I do thinking than the cow that goes moo is cute.
Ok, so maybe that is the entire point of this entry: that in the end I like being a bigger asshole than ethically nice people. We can all probly stop reading now.
Wait isn’t it kind of a give-away to label an ovo-lacto-pescatarian who’s one of two twins? Oops.
Well it’s a good thing I am . . . inspired by this guy a bit??? – to the point that I have nothing but nice things to say about him. I like him. I love him even!!!! Like really, it’s refreshing to know that man, the world is a much better place cause guys like this Jeev exists. But I also wanna pick on a difference, because, Jeev has a fashion. About life. And it kind of gives him style or a personal flair. And I’m not sure I could ever do it.
(Sidenote: Something to appreciate about writers of old – how many of them probably put pen to paper in a colder, fucking house.)
Jeev is probably one of the nicer persons I’ve seen. In attitude. As a team player he is selfless, and I think that is both a personal choice and a cultural compulsion for him. And that’s just a great trait I wanna expect from people (and don’t – it’s just that Jeev is a breath of fresh air, he will help you with tasks that aren’t his at work, and takes responsibility to be an asset.) Nope, all people who’re smart won’t abuse guys like the Jeev’s willingness to help them do best in life, and won’t let it happen too. That’s what I say.
But Jeev also takes his nice to another level. Not only is it out of character for him to attack anyone’s achievements (quite the opposite, Jeev’ll actually praise their virtues instead) – he just manages to slip in a bunch of subtle, but good decisions that show Jeev is a mature person with his priorities straight and head on his shoulder. The Jeev is a hardworking man where it makes your heart feel warm and fuzzy to know he’s also a cool dad.
I’ve been working with the Jeev for a little while now, to the point where his version of nice fascinates me a lil. And I don’t think he’s just surface level nice at work. I’ve been fascinated by other nice folks before and then over a long period of time learned that they have an (excusably) high level of inner douche that was just masked by outward niceness and isolation – their judgements were still very cynical and douchey. Y’know, like mine.
But here’s a thing I noticed, and it’s a thing that I think fuels the Jeev’s niceness. It’s just a theory. I’m not super sure. But here’s my theory: optimism.
Long story short, but after my home got invaded by family and my cat got out of the house – just straight up missing – I went public about it at work. Cause I wanted to be canvasing streets looking for the warm fuzzy mammal who, till-missing, has always been a loyal companion. The Jeev went so nice as to text in off time to ask if she’s come back yet, and when I said no, and as I was texting back my “yeah I think she’s gone” I got another text from the Jeev, which shows me his fingers were working with more certainty and faster than mine cause I was responding on the prompt, and it went something like: don’t worry Eric I’m sure she’s hidden some place warm and safe and will be back soon.
That interrupted my “well, it’s been 13 days man, she probably lost her kitty trail cause it’s been raining and cold (forcing her into hide n survive under something that doesn’t kill me mode) and for all I know she tried to run back to the last house she was at, and there’s no way in hell she could find her way through nyc and beyond that far. I don’t think so.” <– I was gonna say something like that.
And the difference in this attitudes made me pause and say thanks. Not because I believe he’s an expert on where my cat probably is, but because I appreciated the gesture. He added no negative energy to this exchange and inquiry on a negative topic – if anything I had to force myself to be the negative one to acknowledge reality: that my cat was probably not coming back.
More on this in a second: there’s a major point.
Yesterday, when I got news that someone who’s existence I preferred was in a car impact with enough velocity to tear up metal and spin tires in the wrong direction, I didn’t really want to be at work. I said it on my face, and with my face. You could tell because I closed up real professional and quick-like with my current tasks (work was largely done anyway) and then marched over to people who keep track and told ’em I had an emergency and had to head home early and if I could make up the time tomorrow – today. (See? I said it with my face.)
Here’s my reaction to finding out about car crash – because it’s 2015 so I get it in a text message at my desk in social feed form.
Text: “My car’s totalled I’m in the hospital and for all you know I’m like stephen hawking and only able to text now” (It went something like that.)
And I guess I’m not the sort to make too many urgent dumbfounded “Uuh” noises (I’m really not. Uuh is usually a moment of pause before I figure out how hard I have to escalate things in terms of “well shit” and I usually know that right away.) The Jeev immediately went what’s wrong, so I just showed him the text before closing everything and leaving (me wanted details immediately, me no can’t be worried about doing that on company time) and he texted me about it
“Eric is your friend alright?
Me: “Car’s totalled she’s in hospital now I think she’s physically ok”
And then Jeev did it again – he followed the optimistic MO. “Don’t worry Eric I’m sure she will be fine rest up.” I guess maybe it showed I was tireder all day yesterday. (Cause I woke up at the same time I did today. Yey.)
Now the good advice in that is yes, rest up. Because it’s kind of weird to sit around in a negative rut franticking. Which is now a word. Don’t do that because at least that energy should be used for going into a situation where you can take action. But, realistically, you’re still primed for calculating the best option possible when you’re still evaluating the situation, which also means paying attention to it, and educating yourself on likelyhoods.
So (Yes this is the part where I show the difference between the optimistic MO and my way)
Here’s something about that optomistic MO: it concludes with judgement. And while it’s sweet tasting, here’s what I wanted to say before.
When my cat was gone for 13 days, and my mind was all “walp Shit she’s probly gone pal.” And my heart was all like “Shaddap! I wanna look under every car and in every dark alley in brooklyn cause I’m sure she’s just cold and scared and waiting in the street for the stranger to find her to be me!” My brain goes “No, sorry brah, but rlly. She’s prooobably gone. Here’s a list of reasons. I tough luhyoo. *rationalizes pie* Ooh, let’s also do every single last-ditch thing a sane person would do in closing out this situation.” One of these involves going to the animal shelter and doing a check to see if they picked her up. Because, I just don’t think she’s gonna be under that next car, or walk home after 17 days. (And she didn’t.)
And on my trip to the super packed brooklyn shelter with like 200 cats max, where I met this bugger.
And to be honest, she’s awesome. She’s a sweetheart. So awesome I came back in a couple of days after determining she proobly wasn’t Felicia (so damn similar) and fill out some paperwork that let her leave her lil box and to THEN prove she’s the awesomest lap-cat of all time. Who does this.
As far as I can tell, Felicia never came back. Never would’ve come back. As far as I could tell Felicia was dead and run-over in the street. And if I trusted good old optimism the first time, I would’ve stayed home and hopeful that she’d be like many other cats who didn’t get hit by cars or chased/frightened away away by local strays and walk back home, and all I’d have to do is be around for her. And I wouldn’t have found this dear old animal in the shelter who definitely needed a home and was as adorable.
Moreover, paying attention to a situation in the way that my style says it deserves let’s one read between the lines. Cause a converse (not opposite) of optimism can be said to be cynicism. (The opposite is obviously pessimism.) And cynicism demands that some nasty parts of reality that you’ve learned to expect are disproven before you expect they don’t happen. Yes, cynicism can be demanding. But there’s a reason people are cynics.
I won’t go into it now, or here, this rant is way too long. But yes obviously the Jeev is right. I should’ve gone to get some rest. She was fine. The point for here though is, I don’t have it in me to be as optimistic. I want to say that my preference is more for prefering action-based anticipation in a way that you’re left with options more than hope. I know, that sounds pompous – but with the cat example it applies. I like having a mind that doesn’t leave me with false hopes. I like being the authority on what I believe, rather than trusting one of the sweetest, most well meaning personalities you could find. Because we don’t live in a world of fairies and twinkerbells that’ll be alive and simply exist if you believe hard enough. I live in a city full of heavy traffic and people who need to get places and drive like assholes. Yes, while I fully acknowledge and hope that my Felicia manipulated her way into some other family’s home (she’s got the instinct for it) the truth is she may not have, and I don’t know and that’s what I believe. I believe I don’t know.
And that’s the difference between a good realist, a cynic, a pessimist, and an optimist. The optimist believes in the best case scenario and allowing the situation to resolve while applying the smart mind (I do respect this! I really do – these are sweet souled people and Earth needs more of them. It’s just that Butters also falls into this category.) The pessimist expects and braces for the worst (but everyone wants them to shut up, and their negative expectations are the worst and draining if stubborn.) The cynic has learned to be disillusioned and is a home-grown pessimist. Let’s just leave it at that. (Also, buy novella Cynicism from amazon kindle by some asshole named Eric, it’s awesome.) And lastly, the realist understands that realistically, the world presents enough options that they simply don’t know what’s happening or what is the deal.
I like that because realistically, it presents the most options. Realism ought to be another option not to mean “I’m secretly a pessimist” but to mean, realistically, there’s not always reason to look on the peachy side of expectations. Sometimes it leads to expectations that plug into the world better.
And also, kittens.