living underground in the real world

in which we change and grow, and all that shit.

Hilariously and tragically, I had this post written before the one below. Ah, instant karma. Or, “isn’t it ironic.” Or something that’s been in a popular song, I’m sure.

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I present to you: two stories of calming the fuck down and allowing the universe to make us better.

Or something like that.

ONE

Two years ago, my tour-managin’ sweetheart Jacob opened a case containing a pedal board* to find that one pedal was missing. He had just flown from somewhere to somewhere else, and since he didn’t notice that the pedal was missing at the show, and since the case had one of those TSA fliers inside saying that the Transportation Security Administration had rifled through it and read whatever diaries were inside or whatever, he figured an underpaid guitar shredder TSA drone had pocketed the pedal. Annoying, but life goes on.

Two weeks ago, one of the stagehands handed Jacob a package that had been thrown up on stage. He unwrapped it to find the pedal and a note:

mward

[Pause for “awww.”]

My god, my toes just curl with pleasure at the whole thing. Do you know what this story means? Someone in this wretched old world got better. Someone went to a show and got drunk and stole a pedal, but two years later decided they didn’t want to be a pedal stealing kind of person, so they made it all better. Wow. Wow! We change and grow. How wonderful.

Thinking about this story, I figured: if drunks can be all good and shit, so can I.

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TWO

On the welcome sheet I give to my new clients, I have all kinds of information about the service, including this little gem:

Included with each delivery is a menu sheet that lists how to heat the meals, ingredients, and tidbits we’re excited about. The menu sheet does not list microwave cooking instructions, because although we know it is sometimes necessary to use a microwave, we aren’t crazy about the idea of gamma rays exciting our organic molecules. If you do need to use a microwave, remember to add water if the dish looks dry, and to stir to ensure that it heats evenly. (Actually, those are good tips to remember when heating on the stovetop, too.)

“Gamma rays exciting our organic molecules”! I liked it. Six years ago I did 2 seconds of internet research before determining that I was accurately representing the science behind microwaves, and the line has been there since.

One of my clients recently emailed me about it. Let me paraphrase the conversation:

Client: Yo, you sound mad ridic with that microwaves “gamma rays exciting molecules” shit. Thing is, microwaves aren’t dangerous. [Insert fancy scientific talk, charts, links and graphs here which I can provide to any interested parties.] You talk all this fancy talk about nutrients and shizz, but when you don’t know your eighth grade science, it’s hard to take you seriously. Like, me and my husband, we’re like, super cautious about stuff to the point where we don’t even own cell phones even though my husband rides his bike everywhere and could get hit by a car at any minute and vitally need a cell phone, but better safe than sorry, you know? But we use microwaves, because: teh convenience. So, um, just FYI, we excite your organic molecules all over the place, and it’s always been fine. ‘Cause “excite” isn’t what it does.**

Me: WTF yo. Better safe than sorry, you know? Here’s my thing: microwaves don’t make your food good. Done. Argument over. I do feel deep in my bones (which is where all scientific theories are best tested, right?) that I want to stay away from microwaves, but also: I just can’t believe that luscious food can be microwaved food. [I didn’t say any of this to my client. I just thanked her for the info and moved right along. I am a stone cold professional, yo.] And? I always use my hands-free device when using my cell phone, so I’m, like, totes ahead of the game, no?

Client: Actually:

You’d think that a hands-free setup would protect you from a cell-phone’s microwaves — at least I thought so until I read the Wikipedia entry on possible cell phone hazards.  It’s at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_phone_radiation_and_health and has a lot of very good information.  It seems that although wireless headsets (i.e. Bluetooth [editor’s note: YOU MEAN BLUETOOTH DOUCHERS AREN’T GETTING CANCER AND DYING? DANG]) do indeed protect you, ironically some evidence suggests that wired hands-free setups do not.  Apparently the wires act as an antenna.  The electromagnetic wave travels up the outside surface of the wire, where it’s brought directly to your head!

Fortunately, it seems that you can prevent this by putting a magnetic ring called a ferrite bead around the wire.  I know this sounds bogus, but it’s quite legit — ferrite beads are commonly used in electronics for just this purpose: to prevent electromagnetic waves from propagating along the outside surfaces of wires, which causes electronic interference.  I’m looking at one right now — it’s built into the AC power supply wire for my laptop, for electronic noise suppression.  Here’s an article about using them with cell phones.

I hope these references are interesting and/or useful.

Hmm.

For some reason when my clients email me things I’m sort of predisposed to resist whatever it is they are telling me. Partially this is because sometimes it’s things like “So I read this article in Teen People about olive oil and how it will kill you and just FYI I can never eat olive oil again. Hope that won’t be a problem.”*** But probably it’s just because a client email is usually some sort of work for me to do, and like everyone else, I don’t want to do any more work than I’m already doing.

But! Instead of resisting the info as yet another set of things I had to do (change the welcome sheet, buy a ferrite bead, worry about getting cancer, be annoyed about not being able to be smug about not using microwaves and always using my hands-free thingie) and getting grumpy because there are twenty thousand things I want to do before I do the research to revise my feelings on microwaves, I just allowed the good vibes my client was trying to pass along pass into my body like, uh, an electromagnetic wave.

Knowledge is power, let’s make it better, whatever whatever. I’ll do it. I’ll learn and grow. I’ll take people’s good intentions to heart, and will listen to and learn from them. I won’t get a hideous microwave, mos def not, but I might not sneer the next time someone mentions using one. That’s progress, right?

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Incrementally, with two steps backward and one step forward, I’m becoming a better person, dammit.

(Tangentially, I am also becoming someone who wears ribbon bows in her hair. Tune in tomorrow for the full report!)

**A pedal board is an, um, board on which guitar effects pedals are affixed. At least, that’s how I understand it. It usually stands near the guitarist at the front of the stage so they can step on any pedal at any time.

**Why am I slandering my client as a crazy talker? She is actually very smart and a nice person too. She is crazy to the millionth power as well, but all my clients are. And yes, I know this is probably a reflection of myself, and I’m cool with it.

***In fairness, I don’t really get emails like this anymore, because most of my clients are good-crazy these days instead of crazy-crazy, like they used to be. I don’t know why or how the balance shifted, but it did, and it’s great.

6 Responses to “in which we change and grow, and all that shit.”

  1. brittany

    The crazy balance probably shifted because of the food.

    I am going to hit refresh on this page until ribbon bows appears.

    Tin foil hats also combat magnetic gamma radio cancer waves. Plus, they help keep the government from engaging in mind control, which is always a good thing. The question is, how will we fit them over our fabulous hair?

    Reply
  2. Kris

    While I respect and appreciate your achievement of changing and growing, I’m sticking with my hardline stance against microwaves. In addition to fear of gamma rays and such, I just think it is an incredibly disrespectful way to treat food. Food does so much for us…it gives us health, strength, energy, connection to the earth, excitement, pleasure, etc…that to me, sticking it in a small box appliance and nuking it for 30 seconds (or however long it takes) is just wrong. In a world where there is constant pressure to speed things up because we don’t have time to wait and to hell (if there was such a thing) with quality, this is a case where I have to say “no”.

    I spend a lot of time procuring and preparing food, but, of course, not nearly as much as you. For me to see or know of someone microwaving something I’ve put so much of myself into would make me crazy. Good food is all about bringing together the best ingredients, at the right time, at the perfect temperature, by the right person. You’re correct, microwaved food cannot be good. I like your menu sheet just the way it is! I guess I’ll just have to continue sneering alone…

    Reply
  3. lagusta

    Kris, I completely agree! I’ll probably fail at not sneering, in truth, so don’t feel too alone. And it’s not like I’m going to get one myself, ick.

    I love thinking about it as “an incredibly disrespectful way to treat food” –exactly. It brings out no new flavors, like searing or roasting can, and it just muddles up the flavors that are already there. Forget it.

    KT! Awesome!!

    Reply
  4. pete healey

    M. Ward- That’s the M. Ward with the hit tune “Never Had Nobody Like You”?
    I was singing that song(badly) to someone just the other day.

    Reply

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