Addicted to Life

DEAR CHARLOTTE: I am a thirtysomething woman with no acknowledged addictions or vices. I am of average weight and build and am in generally good physical condition. My mental health, though never professionally evaluated, is, if not normal, at a level that allows me to function adequately in normal society. However, recently, I’ve been exhibiting symptoms of withdrawal, such as anxiety, restlessness, poor concentration, sweating, muscle tension, etc.

These symptoms started suddenly, after binge-reading a blog that I had fallen behind on. This very funny and engaging blog is about a woman going through her mid-thirties, and earlier this week, I read all the posts in about two sittings on public transportation. There have been no new posts since, and I began experiencing my symptoms yesterday. What is happening to me? Is it possible to experience withdrawal after a binge, and not just from ending an addiction? What should I do to calm my symptoms? Please help. – ADDICTED TO LIFE

DEAR ADDICTED TO LIFE: First off, I am so glad you reached out to me. I know a thing or two about withdrawal – from sugar and flour, from caffeine, from “The Crown” – and yes, you can experience withdrawal after a binge. It’s worth noting that you may have been predisposed to such symptoms, being exceptionally fond of this woman and her blog, but you are normal and there is nothing to fear.

I have reached out to my good friend, the woman behind the amazingly funny and popular blog, “Tastes Like Onion,” and she shared the following with me. I hope it brings you comfort, eases your long-standing pain, and gives you hope for the future:

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Woman Wanted to Run Away from Friendly, but Possibly Serial Killer, Men

 

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(Los Angeles) Officials report that one woman recently reported on at least three occasions, strong feelings of wanting to run away from two friendly men with possible serial killer tendencies.

The report noted that these encounters occurred on a train, with one man a fellow commuter the woman sees frequently.

“This is not the first time I’ve seen [the first man],” the woman shared. “I take the train to and from work, and I see him sometimes when I have to look for a seat on the upper level.”

“But I want to run away every time I see [the first man].”

Close friends, who were with the woman during two recent encounters, confirmed the woman’s strong reaction.

“Her face looked like she saw a ghost,” laughed one friend, not realizing the danger they were all in. “She was definitely uncomfortable and weird.”

When prompted for an example, she shared: “Well, she kept laughing at odd moments during our conversation, and messaging us emojis of discomfort face… like, literally while he was sitting across the aisle from us.”

When asked why the woman wanted to run away, the report notes that the woman initially responded with a strangled cry and put her hands over her face. It goes on to cite that his favorite reading material is a gun aficionado magazine and his haircut makes him look like a serviceman. But most pointedly, the report mentions several times that he attempts to look at her and catch her eye to smile.

The report notes that nothing happens beyond smiling when they do make unfortunate eye contact.

The woman met the second potential serial killer while also riding the train. Taking an early train home, the report notes a near-empty car when a man, this time dressed in full military uniform, starts chatting with the woman about upcoming train stops before moving onto topics of profession, schooling, and personal interests.

The report describes the man as of Indian descent with a London accent, friendly demeanor and a weird nail injury. He’s also self-described as friendless, learning German, and is an aspiring cardiologist.

“It felt really easy to have a conversation with him,” the woman confided, “but I declined when he asked me to go see a movie with him because he just wants a ‘mate.'”

“I took that to mean in the British vernacular.”

The report goes on to note that as the station neared and they both detrained, they shook hands after he wiped his nose with his hand. He then mentioned the need to call a ride-sharing service.

“I felt so guilty that I declined on the movie, I thought about offering to drive him somewhere,” confessed the woman. “But then I remembered that I’m not supposed to offer rides to strangers – yes, I recently needed to be reminded – and so I didn’t say anything.”

“So I didn’t offer a ride to a stranger although he was serving our country, was kinda cute with an accent, and was lonely.”

“So, yeah… He could’ve been a serial killer.”

The report concludes that there was no evidence that these men may have been serial killers. They were, what the report authors dryly note, “two friendly guys.”

“But, maybe not,” countered the woman. “I almost died, you know…”

(image source)

Rock-Solid Ego

(Los Angeles) Scientists discover that people may just be self-absorbed balls of insecurity. This discovery came after an observational study of one woman over the course of a three-hour period.

Scientists were initially interested in studying the behaviors of prospective students in a social setting and how “peacocking” or the need to impress, manifests in these types of interactions. However, scientists discovered that the woman provided an unexpected alternative area of research.

“We were really excited with our initial findings,” the lead scientist noted, during a recent press conference. “The data suggested that prospective students are really full of themselves.”

When asked for examples, the lead scientist noted this could be seen in the reactions to questions on the graduate degree of interest, and the manner in which degree(s) were considered and rejected.

“When a prospective student responded that they were interested in a Doctoral program, another student said, ‘Whooooooo.’”

The scientist went on: “Then, there was also a conversation between two young men about having considered, and rejecting, a medical degree. The content of the discussion appeared civil but the exchange was reminiscent of ancient wrestling between olive oil-coated men.”

During the data collection process however, the scientists notably noted the woman’s demeanor when recounting such interactions.

“She was really annoyed, and kinda mean.”

“I was super annoyed,” the woman confirmed. “I started to talk about what happened, and I couldn’t help getting riled up about it.”

Yeah, you didn’t want to go to med school because you didn’t want to spend 20 years learning? Oh, your brother is a doctor? Oh, and yours is too?,” the woman went on, unprompted and in a sarcastic tone.

“As if the choice of not attending medical school was entirely up to that kid,” said the woman in her usual voice, rolling her eyes.

Scientists noted that shortly after, the woman shifted to statements that suggested guilt and remorse.

“We noted that after initial sarcasm,” scientists explained, “the woman’s neural and verbal processing changed. We noticed a spike in the use of tangents and qualifiers in her speech pattern, indicating that she wanted to remove herself existentially from her earlier behavior and statements.”

“I felt bad,” the woman confirmed. “They were just kids – what did they know anyway?”

After quick conference with other scientists, the study shifted to catalyst identification for the feelings of guilt and remorse observed in the woman. Scientists reviewed the woman’s prior transcripts and observational data, and discovered the key to such insights: the woman.

“I told them why I started to feel bad,” the woman recounted. “They are me.”

The scientists further explained: “[The woman] identified with these children, and the insecurities they expressed.”

“Her sarcasm was an indication of the self-loathing she was experiencing, and transference onto others,” the lead scientist went on, “not to discount the woman’s assessment of the situation.”

“They did seem really annoying.”

The study concluded that the root of the woman’s annoyance was self-identification with the source of such annoyance.

“I wanted to be thought of as smart and capable,” the woman shared. “I mean, I don’t want to be like that weirdo who said she’s been working on her application for three years. Something’s wrong with her.”

“But,” the woman course-corrected, chagrin look on her face, “I’m probably weird too. I want to do a good job, and have people like me.”

The study’s abstract notes that further study is needed to conclude, to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, that the theory applies to a broader population.

Such future studies can include a control study with psychopaths, or rocks.

(image source)

Don’t Worry Baby

(Los Angeles) One woman has started using Tinder without knowing what she was doing, according to official sources. She downloaded the popular dating app on November 10, 2017.

“Lots of people I know been using it,” remarked the woman, when asked why she chose Tinder. “Well, actually two… but one is now engaged!”

So with little instruction or wherewithal, the woman started using the app. Mishaps began immediately.

First the woman became confused with which direction to swipe.

“I was looking at the app upside down to get my friend’s opinion,” explained the woman. “But even then it was still confusing.”

“I would just look at her and ask, ‘What do you I do?’ She also did not know.”

After adapting to slow swiping in order to confirm the “Nope” or “Like,” the woman soon remembered that being on a dating app means needing to use the app.

“For some reason, the woman forgot she needed to be social,” reported one official who asked to remain anonymous. “How can someone forget that (they’re) on a dating app?”

The woman soon adapted to sending messages and responding in kind. Through use of the app however, she found that there were subcultures of which she was not even aware nor a part. These included:

– “420” as a reference to marijuana usage, not an area code;

– Selfie hotspots of bathroom, gym, and gearshift of vehicle;

– Vitamix; and

– Man toys, including cars, motorcycles, boats, etc.

“Men also apparently liked to begrudgingly claim that they are tall,” observed the woman. “They write, ‘I guess it’s a thing here,’ but it’s obvious they’re proud of their height.”

Officials have since confirmed that tall men do do this, through an industry term known as the “humblebrag.”

Despite many men posting multiple shirtless photos of themselves, the woman did connect with a few men and began exchanging messages. The official report notes that this was when the woman met M (name withheld for privacy purposes).

“M seemed cute,” recalled the woman, “he was Italian, and had an interesting job in government.”

Officials have reconstructed the following timeline:

– Messages were exchanged on Tinder on November 10, 11 and 12

– WhatsApp was then used for messaging starting November 13 and phone messaging on November 15, with messages including:

EXHIBIT A (11/13):

M: Hello dear

M: How are you doing

Woman: Hey M?!

M: How are you doing

Woman: How was your day?

M: Bright

M: Do you live alone

M: Please tell me more about yourself

M: I want to be more than a friend to you

 

EXHIBIT B (11/13):

Woman: Are you by chance up for talking on the phone sometime?

M: Yes

M: But I have a lot of Italian accent… I hope you can understand?

Woman: Would it be better if we met in person?

M: Yes sure… I will really like that

Woman: Great… How about Saturday [November 18]?

M: I will be at work then dear

Woman: Oh, ok… When could work for you?

M: 25th of November

Woman: Hahah, ok. That would work for me.

M: Oh really… It will?

M: How as your day?

M: Hi baby

M: Are you there

 

EXHIBIT C (11/16 on WhatsApp):

M: Did you sleep well last night?

Woman: Yeah, it was so nice! I should try harder to get more sleep.

M: Lol

M: Hope your job isn’t stressful?

Woman: My job can be stressful but not all the time… Is your job stressful?

M: Well not stressful, but I do travel in between my work

Woman: Oh, travel for work always seem fun. Do you like the travel part?

M: Yes I do

Woman: Ok I’m about to go into the subway so I’ll lose service. Hope you have a good day if I don’t get a chance to message!

M: Okay baby… But you can receive text messages from your phone number??

M: I can text you

Woman: Yes!… It’s just sometimes I’m too busy to get my messages or respond.

M: Okay baby

M: Hope your job pays you well… Coz you sleep a lot

 

EXHIBIT C (11/16 continued through phone message):

M: Honey I want to ask you a question

Woman: Oh, ok sure

M: Baby did you delete your tinder… I deleted mine coz I found you I want you to do the same

Woman: That is very sweet but we haven’t even talked or met yet?!…

M: Yes but I believe we have a lot of chemistry

M: Talk to me on what’s App

M: I want to share something with you

M: Please delete the tinder app tpo

M: Too*

 

EXHIBIT C (11/16 continued back through WhatsApp):

M: ????

M: Baby

Woman: Sorry I can’t keep up with the different apps!? You wanted to share something?

M: Yes baby

Link

Link

M: Are you there

M: Don’t you like????

Woman: Wow!? Thanks for sending me these. I have to get going but I hope you have a good night!

M: Don’t you want to talk to me?

Woman: Sorry! I have work to do tonight and I need to go to bed too!

M: Okay….

M: Are you interested in me?

– END OF EXHIBITS –

When officials recited the timeline for the woman’s concurrence, her response was noted as “Yeah…”

“Yeah…,” also responded an anonymous source close to this matter. “(We were) really rooting for the woman to have a good experience. But we still have hope (for her).”

“Everything will turn out alright.”

The Age of Old

(Los Angeles) Officials report that one woman is decidedly aging ungracefully.

“Based on what we know of her demeanor, we would have expected that she embrace aging with wisdom and humility,” says one official, who requested to remain anonymous.

“However, that is clearly not the case.”

Aging gracefully means taking steps to stay healthy, including remaining active. According to sources, watching too much television reduces life expectancy. For every hour of television watched, those over the age of 25 lose 22 minutes of life expectancy.

Upon discovering “The Crown,” “Victoria,” “The Good Place,” and “Mindhunter,” officials estimate the woman has lost 10 hours and 42.4 minutes*, not including the time she has lost to watching “Jeopardy!” while eating dinner.

“Whoa,” responded the woman, when informed of this calculation.

Aging gracefully also means having beauty routines, and then being discreet about them. The woman recently started coloring her gray because the combination of color and texture, as she puts it, “was horrible and wonky.” Soon after coloring her hair however, she blurted out to a group of relative strangers that she just colored her hair and then added nothing else. When officials inquired of her skincare routine, the woman sheepishly answered that she usually washes her face, and applies lotion and facial sunscreen.

“Sometimes I forget though,” the woman responded, defensively. “Or I do not feel like it.”

Aging gracefully can also mean being discreet about age. The woman is admittedly blessed with appearing much younger than her age, and is often asked about it in subtle ways.

“In work settings, people often ask me how long I have worked with my organization,” the woman shared. “I know that they are really asking how long in order to calculate my age, but just recently I blurted out ‘Almost 18 years!’ You can see the shock on their face, and see their lips moving as they calculate under their breath.”

“And then I remember I was not going to answer that question anymore.”

While adjusting to being 40 is a transition that many do everyday, this woman still finds it aging surprising in general.

“I did not really think that I would be this old,” confided the woman. “Not because I was living a reckless life, but because I was not consciously choosing it.”

“But as Helen Hayes once wisely said, ‘Age is not important unless you are a cheese.’”

(image source)

* Mathematical evidence of woman’s shortened life expectancy:

Season 1 of “The Crown”: 577 minutes

Season 1 of “Victoria”: 392 minutes

Season 1 of “The Good Place”: 287 minutes

Season 1 of “Mindhunter”: 496 minutes

Total viewing time: 1,752 minutes or 29 hours and 12 minutes

1 hour of TV viewing time = 22 minutes of life expectancy lost

So 29 hours and 12 minutes of viewing time = 642.4 minutes of life expectancy lost

642.4 minutes = 10 hours and 42.4 minutes