The Power of Artificial Constraints

The Power of Artificial Constraints

Two short stories and a lesson.

Story One. I like to drink coffee in the morning, and I like it hot, hotter than the coffee maker makes it. So, I put my mug in the microwave for an additional 20 second blast and then I race to grab as much silverware as I can out of the dish drain and try to put it all away before the buzzer goes off. If I’m not holding it when I hear the sound I win and if I am still holding it, I lose. Despite the absence of stakes, I feel a little upset if I don’t get it done in time. Functional!

Story Two. Sometime before 3rd grade I lived in a very hilly neighborhood with winding roads. I liked to tell myself I could only use the breaks on my bike two times while coming home. This ultimately resulted in a total wipe out that ruined my bike and left me bloody and limping. Commitment!

Lesson. Create artificial restraints in your art practice. Make some rules. The thing about rules is they have to be clear as day and non-negotiable. They do not have to make sense or be good. Even if they make no sense they will work. The other thing about rules is they have to be fun. Fun to YOU! Not a rule you wanted or hoped would be fun. No, that’s Monopoly, a long and stupid game that you don’t want to play. The rules absolutely, positively have to be FUN! Make a piece of art, you win.

If you make up weird little rules for yourself, please share. I would love to know I am not the only weirdo.

Sidewalk Face 784

Everything is Stupid and I Hate It. Coffee Edition.

Everything is Stupid and I Hate It. Coffee Edition.

Husband is in charge of coffee. He does a bang up job and can head the department for life as far as the board of my directors is concerned. Until a few days ago we never had a single complaint filed. But. Pandemic.

We had a lot of coffee on hand when it started but of course we guzzled through it. Is it just us or do you also find that no amount of coffee seems to make this go away?

The problem is we have a very narrow range of what we like which is precisely one coffee product. Cost Plus’s french roast. We buy it in 24 oz bags which last about 2 weeks. Cost is $9.99.

Husband had been trying all week to order more online and it seemed to be doable but the final place order button just wouldn’t activate. Argh! Eventually he did it through his phone. All good except 12 days for delivery but only 1 day of good coffee left in house.

You know how annoying it is to get suggestions on how to do your job from someone who doesn’t know jack shit? Well that’s me and my Clean Floors Department thinking we know dick all about coffee purchasing. I suggest he buy a small bag from the fancy coffee shop down the street to tide us over. I hard sell it thusly: No one in shop, no disease catching and for sweetener, supporting local business!

So Husband goes to deserted coffee shop and for $21 comes back with 2 cups of beans. Two cups! A third of our normal bag, at six times the price. Well at least it’s going to be the most awesome heirloom coffee of our lives, right?

We hated it!

Capital H Hated it! Talked about it for two hours hated it. Close inspection of the package read, notes: blueberry, lemon, redston fruite, chocolate. Husband said I am buying coffee, not fruit salad. This wasn’t flavored coffee guys, this is the expensive hipster best seller! I don’t get it! Maybe the problem is medium roast. I like my coffee to resemble tar in both color and consistancy.

We went back to drinking some Ikea coffee that had previously been considered trash and now seems pretty tasty. Counting the days until Cost Plus delivers.

Just in case you don’t know me and this isn’t obvious, these aren’t real problems and I’m not really upset about them. We are so lucky in so many ways. I am using humor to cope with my fear and dismay about the ongoing tragedy around us. Please stay as safe as you can and be kind to others.