Saturday, January 7, 2012

Looong Post Including Book Review.......... I gots lots to say !

Hello There My Little Puppies !

How are you ?

Thanks for your kinds comments on my last post. I was asked to post pics of the retro jewelry my grandmother gave me, and I will once I get off my lazy ass to take pics. I own some special pieces of jewelry from both sides of the family. I am not a jewelry person. I have very small hands and thin wrists and nothing fits. Marilyn Monroe has got it twisted. Diamonds are not a girl's best friend. I could care less about them. If I found them on the street (like that is ever gonna happen) I would sell them immediately to fund a vacation. I am happier in costume jewelry so I don't lose my mind if it gets lost or I get mugged or robbed. It only takes one time of getting assaulted in a public parking lot in broad daylight to rethink what I wear out in public. And I was carrying a cheaply made Coach bag. (I thought it was real, but those bitches ripped it when they yanked it from me.)

I will care about jewelry is when I get an engagement ring followed by a wedding ring and THAT better not be fake. The other time I care is when I inherit jewelry from family members or receive them as gifts from family. The pieces I own are a special part of my family history, mainly coming from happy times in my family members' lives such as gifts of true love, vacation, custom jewelry made by a friend, or a purchase for a party.

So I was going to write more to follow my last post on my depression, but you know what ? It's not going away anytime soon so I will save it for another day because I would rather blog about a book I read so I don't forget.

It is called The Amazing Adventures of A Nobody by Leon Logothetis. Basically, this guy from England leaves behind his corporate job and comfortable yet disconnected life to travel from New York to Hollywood to touch the Hollywood sign.  He planned to travel with only five dollars a day and without a car or phone or anything else other than his backpack. To do this he had to depend on the kindness of strangers in a world where we are taught at a young age not to talk to strangers. He had his producer with him, and other staff members staying in hotels while he was doing this. He could have at anytime decided to bow out when things got hard and go back to his comfortable life. But he did stick it out 99%. And I give him credit for that. One can argue that he stuck it out 100%, but I disagree. I wasn't completely satisfied with the ending. And I don't want to spoil it for you in case you are interested. I think he has a TV series based on his experiences.

I looked up the reviews on Amazon. Basically all good reviews, people were "inspired". It was an interesting book, but I wasn't as inspired as everyone else. In fact, part of him annoyed the shit out of me. I understand being bored with life and wanting to travel the world. I have that feeling nagging at me all the time and I still feel like I haven't lived and traveled enough. I can sympathize with that and I admire him for acting on it. Many people don't and regret it. 

His "project" was to rely on the kindness of strangers to get from New York to California with $5 a day, no phone, car or credit cards. I did enjoy the book overall and I learned a lot as well. I enjoyed reading about his adventures, because when you are traveling down the path "less traveled" you have to be a little crazy, and I am as well. But I was still annoyed with him.

For example, while he was traveling he came across as mooching and I freaking hate mooching and people that mooch off me. And just because he really has money in real life doesn't make it anymore acceptable than when a homeless person mooches. It's like he thinks he is better and that he can prey on the kindness of others in the name of a project. Thank God he didn't ask for money or take it when people offered. I really would have gone mad.

When Leon was traveling he would get to his destinations by some of the following methods by: hitchhiking, asking for assistance at truck stops, asking for free rooms at hotels, free meals at restaurants. While he was doing this, he would preface his request by saying some of the following:

- "I have a story. Would you like to hear a story ?"

- " I am doing a project on traveling and the kindness of strangers. How would you like to do a good deed for today? You have an opportunity to do something kind for me. "

-When people would sometimes ask him why they should help him he would sometimes respond that they would get good karma from the deed.

I enjoyed some of the book because people did go out of their way to help him. It wasn't always easy, but he did get free places to stay, free food, free rides. It goes to show that people are nice and charitable in a hard world.

I consider myself to be a nice person, and I believe in paying it forward, as well as helping people out when I am in the position to do so. But I will only do it when I really believe the person needs it or is in trouble. Not because of some fucking project. I would be out of my mind to pick up hitchhikers, let strangers spend the night at my house or just hang out with them. Especially when they feed me bullshit lines mentioned above. You never know who you are dealing with.

Above all whenever anyone asks me if I want to hear their story and that they've got a story to tell, I am very suspicious. It's one thing when it comes from a classmate or someone I will be around for a while. It's completely different when it comes from a stranger. When strangers are trying to tell you all about them, it's usually because they have an agenda. They want something from you whether it's assistance, your money, your body or your admiration. And this guy wanted help in traveling, getting his bus tickets paid for, getting a place to stay.

And another thing..................

I understand that he was bored with his life and needed some diversion. But traveling with no money and mooching off others ? Really ? It pisses me off that he had a nice place in England, a job and a decent life in England and he did not appreciate it. He acted like it was a drag. Never did he express being grateful for having that and the means to travel and mooch off others. Why couldn't he appreciate his position in life ? Irritating.

In my life I have busted my ass to get where I am. I am a legal secretary. It may not seem like a huge feat. But I am over thirty, and took for-fucking-ever to get where I am, just to have a job with health benefits that I am incredibly grateful for. I realize that it could be taken from me at any moment, and I am grateful for having what I do. It took me going to school for my bachelors, my AA degree, busting my ass in a couple of free volunteer jobs, and working in retail for about 10 years before I got an office job. And I earned it. I worked hard and met the right people, none of it was handed to me. 

And this guy doesn't appreciate the fact that he doesn't have to wait tables, clean bathrooms, rent cars or get shat on by the general public like many others in the real world? Makes my teeth itch when people aren't grateful.

I was definitely most irritated when he mouthed off to a police officer. When he was cited for jay-walking he mouthed off to the cop who wrote him a ticket and asked him why he couldn't be focusing on the real criminals.

I lived in Barcelona for a year on my own with barely any help and I managed to do that in a country with a different language, and I still did not mooch off anyone. I met a lot of kind people. I also did not mouth off to officers, and when men were willing to help me out with food or a place to stay, I had to be very careful because nothing in life is ever really free.

When I was on vacation in Amsterdam, I was stranded for a day. I was completely lost. My friend was supposed to meet me at the airport, but didn't realize that he would really be in a day later than me. I trusted him to make all of the plans so I had no idea where I was staying or what to do.

I was lucky that I met a kind person at the hostel I was at to calm me down and get to the proper hostel. He stayed with me, calmed me down, hugged me and told me I would be okay, and looked out for me so that I was okay. But I really needed it. I wasn't out there looking for kindness, and telling random people my story so they would help me further my trip. 

Some other things to consider:

-He is a guy with a large build, there is less of a risk of getting robbed or fucked with. 

- When I needed assistance abroad, I really needed it. There was no team staying at a nearby hotel. I did not have a place to stay back at home, nor did I have any money. In Barcelona, there were times I did not know where I would stay the next month, sometimes I didn't know if I would have enough money to last for food, or a place to stay. And I ended up getting more money by getting a job under the table, something he never did. He never worked. Who is he fooling ? Yeah, I know he wanted a little adventure, but it does really change things when you have a stash of cash and a nice home back in your country. 

- There were times he put himself in dangerous positions and got confronted by questionable characters in rough neighborhoods. He didn't have to stick his neck out there like that. He could have made better choices and he is lucky he didn't get shot. Things don't always work out like that. People do get hurt.

- He traveled in a country that spoke the same language he did. C'mon now if you are bored with your cushy lifestyle and want adventure, go live in a non-english speaking country. See how far asking for help will get you and good luck explaining the concept of karma. 

So yeah, good book, it was interesting to see how it played out and how people reacted to him. I think I will stick to relying on myself when traveling. I would rather fund my own travels, meet people to get to know them and their cultures without asking for anything in return, and I would rather appreciate my office job and a place to stay. 

Okay, Imma step off the soap box and go eat and watch trash TV. I love weekends where I am not required to leave the house or answer to anybody.


Big Mark 243 said...

I agree with some of what you said, Sondra. It isn't the same when someone who is actually well-off and is simply 'bored with their life' goes off and does something like this, especially going to a country and a culture that is relatively the same as the one he is coming from. If he really wanted an adventure, he should have chosen one that did not speak English as a primary language.

As far as direct comparisons, for you, I do get that. But when I think of the good things that complete strangers have done for me, not only does it make me a kinder and more thoughtful person, I try to pay it forward as much as I can. I have been 'stuck' without money and far, far away from anyone I know, once, I was in as foreign a country as I could be, and people who I did not know bailed me out. Sure, I asked for help, but had I not, I'd have been in worse trouble.

I am glad that you liked the book and look forward to more book reviews out of you!!

LL Cool Joe said...

I agree with you about fake jewelery. I have no interest in wear real ice around my neck. Mind you I do find the fake shit I wears makes my neck go green.

Red Shoes said...

Hey, Sunshine.. Happy New Year to YOU!!!

I liked your personal interjections into your book review... I have discovered that when people ask me for assistance, a great deal of how I respond depends on my impression of them... if someone comes across as too smooth, I have no problem sending them on their way...

I hope 2012 brings you much Happiness and Joy!!!



Riot Kitty said...

Hey, I'm sorry you're still down. Winter is a tough time of year for me, too.

I think I'd have the same take as you did on this book - and mooching is one of the traits that pisses me off the most.

As for jewelry, also with you there. I like pieces that have sentimental value most of all and don't understand the hoopla about rocks. Our wedding rings are nice but not so expensive that we'd have to worry about replacing them if we lost them. I don't believe in spending tons of money on material stuff.

Scarlet said...

Sorry to hear you're still out of sorts, but your words and the way you express yourself still inspire me.

The book sounded interesting at first (the cover and concept) but your review makes me not like the guy already...for the reasons you stated and because you know he's making $$$ off the exploiting the kindness of strangers. It's like a pathetic version of Eat, Pray, Love. I like strong characters (or a good thriller) so I don't think I'd like this book, but thanks for the review, chica!

Here's hoping you have a good week, amiguita! xo

H said...

Amen sister! So his book is a recipy for being a fucking bum. Don't help yourself but wait for a stranger to pay for your shit. I believe our current adminstration has the same inclinations.

I believe in if everyone helped themselves you don't need strangers to take care of you. Why would you want a stanger to help you anyway, are you that much of a loser that you can't make it for NY to Hollywood on your own? Fuck get a bicyle you't be there in 15 days .... and you'd be in great shape.

good post! Oh and Senorita, keep your head up you have nothing to be down about, you strong independent sexy woman you.

Pesto Sauce said...

Would watch out for this book

I once did a spiritual course where we were told to go out in the sun in morning, work our ass off in any market or anywhere doing any shit job and only from that money earned, buy a lunch for ourselves else stay hungry. We did it for a day and enjoyed but we knew it was not for real

Just telling it like it is said...

Sounds like a great book, I totally get what your saying...but I have to admit it takes balls to ask for help..he should have done jobs like you it would have been more realistic but maybe his producers wanted it to be that way...girl your looking good!