Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Zero to obsessed . . . when will I learn?

Sometimes I'm surprised by how little I know myself. I mean, I know the important things like what music I like (country), my favorite ice cream (Blue Bell Cookies 'N Cream), and how I'd like to die (overdose on Swiss Cake Rolls). But sometimes I make up my mind about something and declare that I don't like it or want nothing to do with it, only to be proven dreadfully wrong in the end when I go from zero interest to obsessed in 10 seconds flat. And it's in those moments that I realize that I really don't know myself at all.

Like the time my sister Erin wanted me to like a new group called The New Kids on the Block and I just rolled my eyes because they were NOT my type. You know how that one ended - a few months later I was signing all my notes in school as Mrs. Joe McIntyre and had decided that I wanted "Please Don't Girl" played at my funeral, should I meet an untimely end. Don't laugh - it would have been a poignant song in that setting . . .

And the same thing happened when Erin tried to get me to read the Twilight books. I made endless fun of her and told her I had no interest in reading stories about teenage vampire because, you know - I'M AN ADULT. I was so convinced that I would NOT like those books back then. But now? TEAM EDWARD, BABY!!

Then there's also the time my sister Tammy was taking Spanish in high school and she tried to teach me a few words of it. I was in 5th grade and could NOT be bothered with it - I had NO interest in learning Spanish at all. I mean, I knew Pig Latin and, as far as I was concerned, that was the only foreign language I needed. BUT then I got to high school and discovered that I loved Spanish, ended up majoring in it in college, and now I have a crush on my yard guy. Well, the last part doesn't really have anything to do with learning Spanish but at least now I know how to translate things like "It's hot out here - feel free to take your shirt off."

Unfortunately, I haven't gained better insight into myself as an adult. When I started trying to cook more, my friend Tracy told me I should get a Barefoot Contessa cookbook and I made a "does something stink in here?" face and told her that I had NO interest in a Barefoot Contessa book. She asked me why and I gave her my very reasonable and well-thought-out response: "I don't like the name Barefoot Contessa." I followed that with a very mature explanation: "I think it's stupid." Tracy, knowing me much better than I know myself, rolled her eyes at me and forced - yes, FORCED - me to get the Barefoot Contessa cookbook. I took it home against my will, protesting the whole time. Aaaaaaaaaaand now I own every one of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and EVEN have one with Ina Garten's autograph . . . love that lady.

Of course, Tracy had already experienced my lack of insight first-hand at an office party. She and I used to work together and she made cakes for folks who were celebrating birthdays. We had LOTS of people who had been born in October so we combined their parties and just had one big October birthday party. Tracy made 5 different cakes and one of them was a homemade fresh strawberry one. I had only ever had box strawberry cakes and I wasn't a fan. So at the party, I sampled the other four cakes (don't you judge me - they were small pieces) but steered clear of the strawberry one. Tracy asked me if I had tried that one and I said "No, I don't care for strawberry cake." She rolled her eyes at me and said "Well, did you at least TRY it?" So I just repeated myself: "No, I don't care for strawberry cake." That's when she forced me - yes, FORCED me - to try a piece of it. And it was probably the best cake I've ever had. I even found myself in the office kitchen at the end of the day trying to figure out how to smuggle a big piece home in my purse.

So you would think that, with all these examples and experiences, I would have learned by now. But I haven't. I just keep misjudging my own likes and dislikes, wants and needs. I still don't have a bit of insight into myself. In fact, just this month . . .

It seems like everyone I know is into Netflix these days and they all tell me that I should join, too. I'm sure you all know what Netflix is but, just in case you don't, I'll explain it to you. It's basically an online DVD rental company. You search their online directory and select DVDs that you want delivered to your house. When you select the DVD, it goes into your "queue" and then they send you a DVD in a little red envelope, you watch it, return it in a pre-paid envelope, and then they send you the next one in your queue. It's really a great idea. Anyway, so many people in my life are Netflixers and they love it so they're always telling me to do it. But I have no interest. The conversations are always the same and I always end up saying something like "Well, I'm not really a big movie rental person so it would just be a waste of money for me." And, honestly, that's how I feel. But I started thinking the other day that there are a few television shows that I never followed that might be fun to watch. I thought it would be fun to order an entire series on DVD and watch it from start to finish. And since they have lots of different television series to choose from, I decided to take the Netflix plunge two weeks ago. I signed up, thinking that I might find a show or two that I'd like to order. No big deal. Just one or two . . .

As of tonight, I have 321 discs in my Netflix queue. Three hundred and twenty freakin' one. And every day I come home so excited to check my mailbox for my next red envelope - it has just about become the reason for my existence. I get positively giddy when I see the envelope and I marvel at how fast they got it to me. Plus, someone mentioned that you can actually have friends on Netflix and that allows you to see their queues, leave them comments about their selections, and recommend movies or shows to them. So now I'm sending friend requests to people, which means that I basically went from quietly abstaining from Netflix to STALKING people on there. It's crazy.

It's seriously one of the best ideas of the century - I want to kiss the person who came up with it. I want them to show up to my house in a red envelope so I can kiss them and make them a Barefoot Contessa dinner and a strawberry cake.

[deep breath]

I need help.