An Introverts Holiday Season

The introverts in the world, Christmas and New Years is probably the worst time of year.  Trying to get away from all the noise and distraction is nearly impossible and normal tasks become stress inducing activities because of it.  I can’t speak for others, but having a quiet and ordered mind is key to being able to sit down and process.  The past week has been anything but quiet and ordered.  There was so much that needed to be done; cooking, cleaning, last-minute shopping, wrapping, organizing, decorating, etc.  After just over a week without any downtime to speak of, the annual holiday blow up was going to be inevitable.

After surprising myself by keeping it together for my workplace holiday party (Dec 16th) and the daughter’s birthday party (Dec 17th) with a week of prepping for the following weekend, all seemed tolerable.  A few things got ordered incorrectly and it was a scramble to work around it.  I ordered a few last-minute gifts on Monday (Dec 18th) and paid extra to have them in hand by Dec 23rd, but they didn’t show up.  I had two gifts for the wife that weren’t going to be under the tree because they were originally ordered wrong a few weeks back.  Turns out that there are shades to the color Brown.  Not having a color to work from, I picked the middle shade and it was the darkest shade she wanted.  Bah humbug, I took the hit on that.  Patiently waiting for the expedited shipment on Dec 23rd, that didn’t arrive, pissed me off.  Bah humbug, it’s not my fault this time, but it is because the first order was wrong.

All this non-processed stress and frustration reached a tipping point yesterday, Dec 26th, and I shut down to outside stimulus.  I didn’t attempt to do anything except watch TV and read some random IT news.  That obviously didn’t go over well with the family and I was all but pushed out the door to go to a movie with them, with more people around me, that I didn’t want to see.  Adding to all this, my wife decided to get buttered popcorn.  Butter and me don’t have a good relationship and I found myself leaning away from the popcorn bag through most of the movie.  This was interpreted as something other than just relief from the offending butter and made things worse.  Once we got home, I retreated to my basement office with my laptop and put on the noise cancelling headphones.  I spent over 3 hours in my office.

Despite resurfacing from my cave much calmer, the days damage was done and I quickly wished I hadn’t come up for dinner.  My wife has said in the past that she understands my need for processing time.  Based on what I experienced yesterday though, her actions say otherwise and she really doesn’t get it at all.  Multiple occasions I’ve tried to explain it to her, helped her understand what’s going on in my head, but I’m beginning to realize that a life long extrovert will never get it.  This season is the only time I find it difficult to find the time I need to stay grounded.  I’m not a Christmas person, never was, never will be.  My years of thinking boil down to the idea that people who act one way 11 months of the year and a different way 1 month of the year are fake and not worth my energy.  Family, friends, co-workers, doesn’t matter.  Holiday spirit is not an excuse to treat people nicely 1/12th of year and crappy 11/12th of the year.

I’m mentally preparing myself for New Years this week.  We’re doing the usual friends house with lots of food, but this year I’m not drinking.  I’ve lost my taste for alcohol in its many forms as I don’t like how it makes me feel, both during consumption and the day after.  This guy is waiting, impatiently, for January 2nd.  I’m looking forward to the end of this year’s holiday season so I can start preparing for 2018’s holiday season.  I’m ready to get started on next year already.

Have a new year….

I wrote this post a few days ago and scheduled it. I’ll most likely be at a party with friends I’d rather not see and do things I would prefer not to do. Any literary motivation would be sufficiently killed if I had sat down and published this on the day it actually was scheduled to post. That being said, I’ve reflected quite a bit on 2016 and the year that seemed to drag slower and slower the farther into it we got. There’s way too much to review in a post, and if I did review everything that impacted me, I would be writing this well into 2017 and probably never actually publish because it would have become too burdensome to proof it.

There were three things that really had an impact to the year that history will most likely judge harshly in the coming decades. Rather, three things that had an impact with me personally. Consider this a top three-year in review for w1nt3l. We all have our own top three, I’m sure, we might even share some, but I am so happy that this year is almost gone and really really hope that it doesn’t carry residuals into 2017. Well, here we go.

Windows 10 for Mobile, titanic shaft to loyal fans

My archives are littered with Windows 10 for Mobile (formerly Windows Phone) going back several years. I was a huge fan of Windows Phone (WP) and had three mobile devices that ran various versions of the mobile operating system. What I failed to realize with my last device is that HTC was going down the same path as Nokia and Blackberry getting complacent that they had their act together and no one could possibly take the top spot. Well, they were wrong, and HTC is in a bad situation right now losing ground to Samsung and Apple. A little known device that ran Windows Phone 8.1 failed to get upgraded by HTC to Windows 10 for Mobile. Multiple excuses were given as to why, there was even some finger-pointing between HTC and Microsoft, but in the end, it came down to the fact that hardly anyone actually purchased one making the user base statistically miniscule compared to the Android version of the same hardware. Windows 10 for Mobile was now a fail whale in my book and I decided to never own another device again. I switched to a cheap-o Android phone that I get frustrated with every time I pick it up; daily reboots, slow, locks up, apps crash, etc. Pure Android is awesome, it starts to suck hard as soon as a manufacturer thinks it can improve it, hence, the previous sentence rings true. 2016 was the death of Windows Mobile in my opinion.

Wasn’t the year of the third-party

I wrote off the Democrats months ago. I was never a Republican. This was the year I went independent and supported a third-party candidate for President. Despite Jill Stein having a really good platform and some ingenious ideas to help fix things, she never captured a lot of support from anywhere in the country. Gary Johnson had a real chance of at least getting to 5% of the popular vote to have a third-party receive national recognition, but one gaffe after another blew all the steam out of his sails. In an election where there was negative news on both Trump and Clinton, unfavorability for both Trump and Clinton and poor performances in debates from Trump and Clinton I would have thought that Americans would have sought an alternative. That was not the case, as Clinton-haters voted from Trump and Trump-haters voted for Clinton. I’m also convinced that a lot of people just didn’t vote because they didn’t like either of them. 2016 was not the year of the third-party candidate unfortunately.

War and terrorism

No one likes any of this. Show me a war or terrorist attack that actually had any positive impact. I made a comment on a post a few weeks back that listed the number of people who died in conflicts from the Civil War to the Vietnam War; ended up being hundreds of millions. Did we really need to let things get that far? Perhaps. Some conflict is just unavoidable when no one on either side is using so much energy for their mouth that they be come deaf and blind. I’m sorry, call me an apologist if you wish, but *I* think there is always a better way that doesn’t involve weapons, death or destruction. In recent weeks, I’ve discovered the true meaning behind “the pen is mightier than the sword” or a more modern version, “the keyboard is mightier than the AR15.” I’d ask when we lost the ability to listen and reason, but I don’t believe we ever had either of those mastered. I’ve chosen to try to make a difference, one person at a time, one reader at a time, until the knowledge pay-it-forward effect is perpetual. 2016 was not the year we chose something other than war.

Have a New Year

I didn’t mean for this to be a downer, but that is what it became. Blame 2016 for being such a year of suck that we’re all better off to have it in the rear-view mirror. The problem is that 2017 looks like a road under construction that is going to continue tearing at the under carriage of the United States and the rest of the world. Buckle your seatbelts, we’re in for some chop.