Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

15 Minutes on IM #2: With Michele

Tonight, on Facebook messenger, with Michele of Midlyfemama.

Neil
Ok, we are going to try for 15 minutes.   I will tell you when we are starting.  Again, disclaimer… I will put everything online… unless horrible.

Michele
Define horrible. BORING?

Neil
Like we call each other racist names.

Michele
Ah. Let’s say we won’t.

Neil
OK, you ready…. putting on timer now.

Michele
OK. And you are not saying anything.

Neil
Ok. Begin. Hi, Michele.

Michele
HELLO!

Neil
Thanks for being the second victim.

Michele
My pleasure.

Neil
What do you think of this crazy idea…?

Michele
I love it. Speed blogging.

Neil
I like the fact that it is rather random and that I am not talking with you for any specific reason.

Michele
What do you want to talk about? I spent my day dealing with an annual audit. RIVETING

Neil
Facebook messenger is hard to copy and past these conversations into the blog. I will look for a better place next week. Are you worried about being boring?

Michele
Aren’t we all?

Neil
hmmm…. not really.

Michele
You worry about everything. But not about being boring?

Neil
We don’t know each other that well, but you are always so wise when you give me advice on my neurotic updates.  You have a degree in psychology, right? BA or MA?

Michele
Bachelors in science. BS. Appropriate. My masters in higher education administration and college student personnel.

Neil
hmmm… you are coming off more cynical and self deprecating than I expected. That is my shtick!

Michele
I was two classes away from a second major in student counseling. Decided to get a job instead.

Neil
So why do you think you have such good advice for me? Have you been in therapy yourself? People who study psychology tend to be a little weird themselves.

Michele
I understand where you are coming from. Been there done that. I think everyone should do therapy at least once. I have been called weird by more than one person.

Neil
So are you saying you didn’t need it?

Michele
I DID need it at that time.

Neil
And now? From what you read from my updates, is my therapy working at all? What is your unprofessional opinion? Should I change therapists?

Michele
These days I am pretty happy, confident, making good choices. But therapy is more than just solving problems. And yes, your efforts are working. I loved your updates today.

Neil
You know what I thought after that update… because the very positive one was shared like five times. People love the positive stuff…

Michele
I have no idea if you should change therapists. Do you feel you are making progress? It took you however old you are to get to this point. It is going to take more than a month of sessions to get through the gunk.

Neil
…and shy away from the negative… but I don’t think I would have come up with this positive update if I didn’t first think up with negative updates…

Michele
I find the negative stuff to usually a defensive effort to put off being real.

Neil
…so I respect the negative as well…

Michele
The negative is FUNNY.

Neil
Usually we think of the negative as the more real, not the positive. So you see the negative as defensive?

Michele
Most of the time. When you write it at least.

Neil
hmmm… I will think about that. I told you that you were insightful.

Michele
I see YOUR negative as being deflective and a way to keep yourself safe.

Neil
Do you advise students in your job? Yes, I like to keep myself safe. Is it financial stuff or career stuff?

Michele
I am not an academic adviser, but I am the one who hands out money so I end up talking to students about making good choices. I am the director of financial aid.

Neil
So that must give you insights into stuff. Choices such as…? Man, colleges are so expensive nowadays.

Michele
Hey, don’t use loan money to buy beer and hamburgers, get a job and don’t drop classes

Neil
Were you like that in college?

Michele
NO.

Neil
Do you follow any of your students on Facebook? Can they find you?

Michele
They can find me if they want, but I won’t friend them while they are students.
I avoid posting about specifics so no one thinks I am talking about them.

Neil
What do like writing online?

Michele
WHAT?

Neil
You have a blog. Do you live near Newton, MA?

Michele
I do have a blog. www.midlyfemama.com, but I haven’t been good about updating.  I work in Newton, live in Waltham.  Newton, for which Fig Newtons were named.

Neil
Really? I didn’t know that.

Michele
For real. Now I want to do the fig newton dance.

Neil
I know there is a big temple there where that famous rabbi worked…. the one who wrote that book…. “why do bad things happen…” There is a fig newton dance? I used to love fig newtons. Maybe I will go buy some later in your honor.

Michele
I am not up on Rabbinical writings and yes, there is a dance.

Neil
Can I find it on you tube?

Michele
I do NOT have any youtube stuff. Wait, yes, you can find the commercial, I am sure. It is old. A guy dressed in a fig newton costume.

Neil
OK, our time is running out. This was wonderful. The aim is not to be especially interesting, just to connect in a weird way…. and then put it on publicly. I don’t know why I love the idea.

Michele
I think it worked.

Neil
Maybe it just gives me an opportunity to talk to people…

Michele
I think it is a great idea. Keep doing it.

Neil
…by having a purpose. We probably wouldn’t have chatted otherwise. Although we have chatted in the past a couple of times.

Michele
I am always happy to chat with you.

Neil
OK, nice. Thanks…. and thank you. This conversation is officially over. 15 minutes is up.

Last Week’s Chat #1 with Kizz.

3 Comments

  1. I do love these. Funny that your first 2 subjects were New England ladies! (I’m originally from NH.) Super interesting.

    Nice to meet you Michele!

  2. I find these oddly riveting, although they also make me a little nervous. I feel the nervous energy of a new conversation between people who do not know each other well. I keep reading to see if the conversation is going to flow and where it’s going to go.

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