Pots and Pans

18 Dec

I recently had a conversation with my girlfriend about what I wanted needed for Christmas.  My unofficial New Years resolution is to cook more for myself, so I  told her pots and pans was on my wish list.  She said “Did you ever think as a kid, that you’d be asking for pots and pans for Christmas instead of toys?”
I paused for a second.  “No I guess not,” I said to her.  I said to myself “Does this make me a boring adult?”

Later that night I was getting ready for bed and the thought of pots and pans continued.  I thought about how I bought the bed I was about to get in to, paid for rent on the apartment, for the light I was about to turn off, the electric bill that kept the light on, and the paint on walls.   All the things around me were things that I had earned myself, and it felt good.

The next morning as I went through my usual ritual of checking email, tweets, blogs, etc, the thought of pots and pans continued to clank around in my head.  This blog is starting to get a few regular readers, most of which I met online through one way or another.  I’ve made some really great connections with folks on Twitter that I’ve never met.  I have reading list of blogs I by people I’ve really come to know and admire through their writing.  Hell, I even have a job doing what I love online because I put a lot of effort this time last year into building a website and making sure my online resume was up to par.  The point I’m trying to make is that my online life/persona/personal brand/community/whatever you want to call it is the exact same as my room: made up of things I’ve earned for myself, one at a time.

Most people don’t think of their website or a blog being along the same lines as their bed.  You work, you save up money, you buy a bed, and you sleep comfortably in it (how comfortably depends on the price, and essentially, how much you worked to earn the money).  A blog you just create, most times for free.  But you have to work and pour your time and effort into a blog to make it anything worthwhile (something I’m learning the more I read and grow this blog myself; the pillows still need some fluffing).  The most comfortable, most rewarding things are the those that  you put the most amount of time and, sometimes, discomfort into obtaining. Online and off.

What’s something (real or virtual) that you’ve put a lot of work into/towards that you’re proud to say you earned yourself?  What’s something you own/enjoy that you shamelessly admit to getting without any effort?  Would you enjoy it more if you got it yourself?

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7 Responses to “Pots and Pans”

  1. nixonagnew December 18, 2009 at 3:57 pm #

    For the vast majority of my life, not much beyond necessities (food, shelter) was simply handed to me (and even as I got older, I had to pay for those/earn those too). I’ve had to work, by some means or another to obtain just about everything I’ve ever had.

    Unfortunately, I don’t share quite the level of optimism that you have about having to pay for everything I’m surrounded by… But that probably has something to do with the lousy jobs I’ve had to work to afford them. At the moment, my degree is pretty much useless (unless I want to move to New York City, where the real art world thrives- and I don’t), and the work I do is pretty much nothing at all relevant to my major or my interests.

    I imagine when I’m making more than minimum wage at a “real” job, I’ll start to feel that kind of pride about the things I own. But right now, the things I own are vastly disappointing given that the hard work I put into acquiring them was at a low-paying job which means I have trash-picked, second hand, flea market, yard sale, beat up, mismatching furniture- generic clothes with extensive hidden patch work and stitching to repair the damages they’ve incurred- used electronics which often don’t work properly or at all- etc.

    My one great pride is my webcomic- which I can’t show to bosses or put in a portfolio because I so strongly believe in anti-censorship, (where if any one thing isn’t okay to talk about, then nothing is okay to talk about) so profanity, and politically incorrect humor runs rampant throughout the strip.

    It’s great you have pride in the things you have. But it’s important too that you don’t automatically lump all people with second-hand belongings, or who have had to accept help/gifts/hand-me-downs in with people who just don’t work hard. Some people who have the least in the world are the hardest working. It’s all a matter of the situation that each person is in.

    • hellopresto February 23, 2010 at 11:38 pm #

      Thank you for the extremely thoughtful comment Nixon. Sorry my response is so delayed, the holiday season has a habit of pushing everything back into obscurity.

      But please don’t misunderstand; I absolutely don’t lump people with second-hand belongings in with people who don’t work hard. My lamp and desk are both second hand from family, my TV stand I found and refurbished, and my apartment was a mess of broken glass, busted in walls, and mess everywhere. Even if you work harder than hard and still don’t have that many belongings, you’re still doing what you can do.

      I’ve seen your webcomic grow from something humble to the lovely page that it is now, with guest posts, comment discussions, and even its own trolls on occasion. That’s something to be proud of, for sure.

  2. Mary Jo DiLonardo February 13, 2010 at 12:44 am #

    Preston, you need to write a play, movie, or novel, or short stories and get it published. I would help you on the publication of it “if” only you would do it! Don’t wait too long. Do it soon, so I can read it while I’m still on this earth. I love reading your blogs. The pots and pans one was very interesting how you went on from one thing you had gotten for yourself on to another, very interesting. You have an insite with such creativity!!

  3. Ted Leach February 23, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

    When I first moved to Boston to go to grad school, I had a 45-minute ride from one end of the Red Line to the other. It gave me just the chance you write about to put things in order. At the time I was mostly reading things for school, and my writing was an occasional thing that I did for school. Now, it’s morning when I get my writing done — before (usually) everyone else in the house gets up.

  4. Ted Leach February 23, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

    Or I could post the right comment on the right post. Hopefully Preston will edit appropriately.

    What I’m proud of? My work as a writer and a teacher of writing. I’ve worked hard — and continue to work hard — to improve my skills in these areas. I know there are better writers and teachers out there, but I also know that I can put my work out there in the general public without trepidation.

    Here’s a bit of a riff on your pots-and-pans analogy:

    1) Use the right tool for the job. Non-stick cookware is not for high-heat searing, and your aluminum All-Clad sauté pan is not meant to cook sole. Are blogs necessarily the best place for long-form journalism?

    2) Take care of your pots and pans. Paradoxically, non-stick pans should never be washed with soap — just wiped down. All the leftover stuff helps season the pan. Should we likewise keep our blogs perfectly clean?

    I could do more, but I’m getting off topic.

    • hellopresto February 23, 2010 at 11:34 pm #

      Being proud and happy about what you do is, in my opinion, more important than comparing your work to other “better” writers and teachers.

      Good analogies. 1) I think just a bit of informality is implied in the nature of a blog, or at least a healthy amount of personality. I’m not sure if long form journalism always belongs in this pot.

      2) Clean in design? I think so. Clean in content, maybe not so much. I’ve been noticing more and more bloggers saying “I’ve got shit to say,” and not being afraid to push the envelope a little more. Mind you I don’t thinking pushing the envelope just to push it is a good practice, but a blog is a place to be authentic. And sometimes, that’s not always squeeky clean.

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