Friends Don’t Let Friends Play Tambourine

There are two folk singers upstairs from me who are singing and using a tambourine and I want to punch them in the face. Does that make me a bad person? Probably.


I kid. But I am finding that my ability to concentrate when there are extraneous noises going on around me, well it’s pretty….”Shut your pie hole with that crying! I’m trying to write about my feelings!” Where was I? Oh right, it’s pretty tough for me to concentrate.

I don’t know when I crossed the imaginary Ley Line from being a moderately productive person to a hyper obsessed -writing all my thoughts down-don’t bother me with your out of tempo jibber jabber- person- but it probably has something to do with my new found sense of urgency with life. Get shit done! Do the work! Get an answer! Move on! Declare your love! Cut your hair! Wear the slutty dress! Steal the baby! (Please be laughing at this and not attempting to call the authorities.)


These days my motivations all seem to be bronco riding on the arms of a ticking alarm clock. With every click, I feel compelled to push even faster in a forward direction before I fall off. So I guess there’s something to be said for being held at gunpoint. It ups your work output. Oh wait, what’s that you say? Did you just read about me being held at gunpoint? That’s a story for another day, but the important thing is, I’m more efficient with my time now! And also, I’m alive!

As an act of defiance and self preservation I recently deleted the Facebook application from my cell phone. It was one of the most liberating things I’ve done since I decided to stop wearing bras to bed. (When was that ever a good idea?) I don’t know about you gang, but I have become a slave to that little electronic box so much so that it has reshaped my right hand into the form of a Pop Tart. Somehow waking up at 7:30 am and then deciding to just take a second to check my feed, was sucking me into a time warp that ate through my morning and my self esteem. I was losing too much time to this addiction and I had to make a decision. From here on out, if I wanted to feel like crap about myself first thing in the morning by comparing myself to thinner, happier, more “successful” people in fancy pants and sneakers, I was going to have to read it in a good, old-fashion trashy magazine. This would require me to get out of bed, schlep to a store and purchase the nearest US Weekly if I wanted to read about how Angelina Jolie picks up her dog poop just like regular people do. (For reals, that’s a section in the magazine: they photograph celebrities doing “normal” day-to-day errands. Yes, that’s right, Salma Hayek buys toilet paper just like you do. Although I imagine her bottom is shaped like a magic unicorn.)

This conscious decision to step away from watching other people’s highlights reel, I’ve found to be an incredibly liberating experience. With the extra 40 minutes in the morning which used to evaporate into space, I can now read my comic books, write my stories, exercise my glutes (so that I can get a Selma unicorn booty), practice my French grammar (no joke I sat on the can this morning and read the first ten pages of “Grammaire Francaise”, it was awesome. Ou est il le stylo de la jeune fille?)

Morning Read
To be clear, this is a re-enactment. Which is, if I think about it, neither here, nor there.

Getting a whole lot more stuff accomplished in the course of the day helps me to feel empowered and happy. That said, I still find myself physically reaching for the tap, the scroll, the dopamine rush that comes from a message indicator, an image of a thumb pointing in an upwardly direction, or an emoji with hearts for eyes. I am still just as much a mouse itching for my next pellet as the person next to me. (Hi there buddy! Say, what are you doing in my living room?) But now that I am finally taking steps to use my time more wisely, I don’t want to be distracted by someone who can’t find the two or the four or the one or the three. (This is musician’s joke but if you are a person with ears, you have invariably heard someone play the tambourine badly.)

I still want to know how my friends and fans and strangers alike are making out in the world and send good thoughts along to those who need them. I’ve just made a conscious decision to do it slightly less often. Love it and hate it, social media is the feral cat lingering at the back door. She has tasted the chicken out of the garbage and will be hanging around indefinitely.

At least I know now that if I am more mindful about how I spend my time, I am more likely to spend the bulk of my day doing productive, life affirming things, instead of hanging out at the dumpster looking for my next fix.

Cute shoes.

13 thoughts on “Friends Don’t Let Friends Play Tambourine

  1. NINA, your comedic, awesome, heartfelt musings make me giggle out loud, while shaking inwardly. You are truly an artist on every level.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. I so much appreciate you taking time to read my stories and to boot that you think they are funny. Yippie Skippie! Wait till you read about my addiction to frosting.


  2. Each time I read a new “Strangely Optimistic” email, I seem to giggle uncontrollably.
    Fortunately, those around me have come to expect that sort of behaviour anyway. Perfect fit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers to making those around you suspect you are a nut job! Normal is best left to medical test results. Thank you for reading and for leaving a comment, you’re really upping my street cred. Yay!


    1. In theory the tambourine is such a superb idea. But like alcohol and thumb tacks, when not used responsibly, someone is bound to get stabbed in the butt. Thank you for tossing your tambourine. At least reading my story didn’t make you didn’t toss your lunch. 🙂


    1. I would like to say yes, but as anyone who knows me can vouch, I am smart enough to take off my shoes before dumpster diving. So this, in fact, is my neighbor who did me a solid by agreeing to be part of my “photo shoot”. I told her it would be seen by tens of people, so here’s to hoping she didn’t get a garbage facial for nothing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the writing, the humor and the humorous photography. The urgency is familiar and more serious. Between my wife’s health scare two years ago, turning 50 (!) abou the same time, and seeing my parents age, it’s becoming more clear there’s “less of it to waste.”

    Keep writing. It’s awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I really appreciate it! Yes, time is so precious and it’s so easy to get sucked into the minutiae. I appreciate the feedback, so please keep commenting and I’ll be posting a new story tomorrow! Cheers!


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