Dear Uptight Seattleite,I'm wandering around in a daze, fluttering from task to task, and unable to focus on anything.Downer Diana
Dear Diana,As so often is the case, yours is a simple problem of redefinition. Messed up? Time to get mythed up! Find a more evocative phrase to describe the problem to yourself. Instead of: "I, Diana, will never get anything done today. I, Diana, am a loser," think: "Forsooth doth composure elude me as prey never should one so named as I. What strange spell hath ensnared my spirit?" Now suddenly your day is taking place on a grander scale, with mysterious unseen forces at work. Magic is afoot! Sure, you might think this sounds dorky, but you've gotta admit it's a better approach than kicking yourself when you're down.Dear Uptight Seattleite,Since you are apparently a dog expert now, riddle me this: Is it OK to leave my dog tied up outside the store?Konscientious Karen
Dear Karen,Sure! So long as you don't mind abandoning him to an ocean of despair. Because there's no such thing as "I'll be right back" for a dog. There's only an eternal now of confusion and anxiety. "Where did the person go?" the dog wonders. "Why did the person leave me here alone? Will the person ever come back?" The dog can only make an eerie whining sound in his throat while staring hopelessly in the direction his person went, as if staring hard enough will enable him to see through store walls.I know, I know—there are times when even those sensitive to the inner lives of their companion animals must briefly leave them outside a store. There is a solution, though. Did you know your dog can be trained to understand hand gestures? Like how shepherds command their dogs from across a field? Develop your own set of signs with your dog. Only instead of imperiously demanding that sheep be rounded up, use your signs to give long-distance emotional reassurance. Rapidly shrugging your shoulders while tapping a fist against your forehead, for instance, can mean "You are loved." Flapping your arms and goose-stepping in place can mean "May all sentient beings be happy—that includes you, buddy! You're a sentient being! You're included in this deal! Yay!" Stand where your dog can see you through the store's front window and perform one of these gestures every four minutes or so. Proceed with your shopping wrapped in the warm feelings emanating from the wagging tail of your reassured companion. Disregard the stares of less-enlightened dog owners.Dear Uptight Seattleite,You recently discussed the benefits of wearing all-black, but how about the jeans-and-black T-shirt look?Lou Reed
Dear Lou,That's another classic look. Especially when you've reached a certain age and want to show that, while a man of substance, you are by no means a square. You stand tall, your own man in the swirling currents of changing styles. An architect with a rock-and-roll past, perhaps. If you're a little on the soft side, and the black T-shirt sharpens your figure up, that's purely incidental.But the power generated by this look is usually best held in reserve. Keep your use of it at sustainable levels. Your aura's supplies of sophistication and danger must be allowed to periodically replenish themselves. Save it for author readings, art openings, and third dates. And please note that the "Gentleman Rancher" variation, which combines this look with a jeans jacket, is also subject to restrictions.Dear Uptight Seattleite,You know how people like to say "the proverbial such-and-such"? Shouldn't it be a requirement that there is an actual proverb being referenced?Nit-Picky Nicole
Dear Nicole,I'm perhaps slightly more aware of words than most. This awareness is like a frolicsome little puppy in my brain. Sometimes it just has to come out to play. Word play, that is! That's when I reach for the proverbial "proverbial" to drop a little dry humor into an otherwise routine sentence. "I think I'll take the proverbial teriyaki combo number three," I'll say, or "Excuse me, but could you please direct me to the proverbial men's room?" If this kind of proverbiality bothers you, let's coin a proverb right now. A proverb about proverbs. A proverbial proverb. An uber-proverb you can imagine is being referenced whenever anyone utters an otherwise proverb-less "proverbial": Our remarks will be so droll/When we use this proverb for Nicole.Have a question for the Uptight Seattleite? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.