It’s a fine, fine line.

A BIG Next Step


This is, of course, a HUGE time of transition for all of us as we figure out what the “new normal” is going to look like. Well, I started working on my new normal about a year and a half ago. It just so happens that my major adjustment is coinciding with massive societal upheaval.

I do love a pen and a notebook for note-taking. But, yes, I’m going to try using a stylus & tablet for a while. * Image by CQF-avocat from Pixabay

This weekend, I am transitioning out of being a bookstore owner and focusing on my preparation for my first year of law school. I will begin my legal education at the ripe old age of forty-one-and-a-half, and will graduate just after turning forty-four. So, yeah, I’m pretty excited about that!

#keeplearning * Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I’m not excited about letting go of the bookstore, but I know it’s the correct choice at this time. I had been contemplating all sorts of ways I could have kept it going through my three years as a full-time student, but all of them would have involved TRULY Not-Good Ideas. So, one small blessing to come from the government-mandated shutdown of non-essential businesses was that it gave me the kick in the pants I needed to just cut my losses and close the store down. <sigh>

Many, many customers (strangers, too) have been supportive of my decision to go to law school. Truly excited for me, even. Some others, though, have said the oddest things: “That’s going to be so hard!” Really? Why would anyone say that? That’s not 100% helpful. “How are you going to do that?” You want me to run through all the details of my finances and child care plans? Or do you think I haven’t thought through the many, many effects this will have on my family and life?

I know, I know. This is how these people are expressing their concern for me and my well-being. I get that. I think I’m uncomfortable with these questions because my responses to them are so far from the expected script that I’m then in the position of making the initial ask-er uncomfortable. However, I can’t just respond with “I know! Its going to be tough, but we’ll make it work.” That’s way too passive a response to expect from me. No way, man. So, my answers of “Probably not much harder than holding five jobs,” or “I’ve got it all worked out (followed by a blank stare indicating I’ve no intention of sharing details),” tend to lead to uncomfortable silences. Ah, well. I haven’t really followed the expected script since I graduated high school — ironically enough for someone who spent over a decade as a professional stage manager. C’est la vie.

I’m very excited to start school, though. There’s a little introductory, skills-building class online in three weeks. Then orientation begins in person in mid-August. And then we’re off to the races! I don’t really expect to come up for air until mid-October, and then again in December. But then I’ll have a solid six weeks for winter break. I don’t remember having THAT much time off between semesters in college, but I’ll take it! Maybe it’s a grad school thing… Anyway, that’s my latest big step. I don’t think it falls under the category of “Not Good Idea”, though. It’s certainly a large idea, a significant one. It will change everything. But, I honestly think it’s a Pretty Good Idea. Sometimes I have those, too. Sometimes. And sometimes they even work out as well as my Not Good Ideas do.

Reining It In

When does a Not Good Idea cross the line and become a Decidedly Bad Idea? When the actual, real-life consequences are potentially so much worse than the fun and adventure to be had. I’m willing to take some hits in order to gain experience and understanding of the world around me. That’s the whole theory behind my embracing of Not Good Ideas. BUT…sometimes the potential downside to my actions is just so potentially harmful that it breaks through my headlong rush into the unknown and brings me (momentarily) to my senses.

It helps, too, when I have a more attractive option — maybe even a Good Idea — to choose instead of the Decidedly Bad Idea. Because, knowing myself as I do, I know I’m more likely to choose a Decidedly Bad Idea over No Idea any day. And that’s Not a Good Idea.

A Brief Note on a Not-Good Idea: Relapse

You know how you’re not supposed to get drunk and text your ex? Yeah, well, you also shouldn’t get bored and text an ex-scammer. I have fallen off the wagon, and relapsed into contact with one of my latest targets. I tried to ghost him, but, you know what? He keeps coming back! I’m just too soft-hearted to be able to actually ghost someone, I guess. (Take heart, all future exes of mine.)

But, this also proves what I said before about the parallel between scammers and their targets: we’ve all got boundless optimism that clouds our critical judgement of what all of the evidence shows us to be true. This guy has more than enough reason to think that I’m having him on. But I’ve also given him enough almost-acceptable-explanations for the obstacles he’s faced for him to convince himself that I’m for real. THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS TO TARGETS!!! We want so badly for the scenario to be true that we can overlook inconsistencies and tells. I’m just saying: we’re not stupid to fall for a scam (or a counter-scam, for that matter). We’re just hopeful and optimistic, and desirous of something better (be it money or love).

Counter-Scam Post Script: I Won

I’ve got just one more observation about my recently abandoned hobby. There was one real benefit that I gained while role-playing to reel in some of my recent targets. For a couple of these guys, I really pushed the single mother aspect. I laid it on thick about working too hard to support my daughter and myself, that I’m tired and need a man to take care of us. To support and protect us. I mean, really thick. But this let me inhabit a mental space that I specifically avoid in reality.

Usually, I’m full-steam ahead, doing my own thing. I just do, right? I don’t let myself wallow (very much) in complaining about what has to be done, preferring instead to get it done. But for a couple weeks, I was able to play the damsel in distress in need of a rescuing knight. And it was kind of nice. It was freeing to let down the wall a little bit. Not to the point of actually emotionally needing to be rescued, but just typing the words did allow me to pretend for a little bit. I got to pretend that there was someone I could trust to have my back and help me carry the load, and they had to pretend that they would be there for me forever.

That’s what’s so attractive about romance scammers. They give you exactly what you want, with none of the downside of actually having to negotiate a relationship with another person. They give attention, support, and love at a level that is near impossible for a real person to sustain because a real person has his own life: a job, family, responsibilities. Scammers love you like it’s their job, because it is.

Being the recipient of that kind of devotion feels really good, but only as long as you can pretend it’s real. And, to me, pretending to be a damsel in distress feels much better than actually being a damsel in distress. It would be so uncomfortable for me to be that reliant on another person, to be that vulnerable. But pretending to be helpless can scratch that itch, without the stress of actually being helpless. It’s like a release valve. A very important release valve. Bad things happen when I have to be strong and stay focused on my responsibilities all the time.

“All work and no play” is what started this whole adventure in the first place, after all. In March, I had been so focused on working and caring for my daughter that I needed a break and a distraction. That’s why I started conversing in the first place with the man who would turn out to be My First Scammer©. But that’s a whole ‘nother story. And boy is it a doozy.

Better an Oops… — Cyranny’s Cove

“Sometimes in Life, you have to follow your heart.

People will try to convince you that it is not a good idea. They will bring you a hundred good reasons to act rationally, if only to look good in the end. Not to disappoint you, or just to argue with you, but generally because they want to save you from failure.

But failure isn’t always what it seems, and it isn’t necessarely a bad thing…”

Another fan of the potentially not-good idea. It’s better to know than to wonder!