I was walking through the mall the other day, forced to go to the Genius Bar after the genius move of inadvertently leaving my iPhone in standing water, when I was accosted by the kiosk people. Vermin in Dockers and wrinkled poly/cotton button-downs, they're like locusts swarming, and no matter how I avoided eye contact, they prodded me with their antennae, stripping me of my will to be polite.

"Hello, ma'am. How about signing up with Sprint today?" and "This state-of-the-art ceramic flat iron's got infrared ionic heat that won't destroy your hair!" and "Would you like a neck massage?" and "Try our Mediterranean sea-salt hand lotion?"

When I left Target on Thursday, a wiry guy with a wiry beard and clipboard smiled and chirped, "Hello, ma'am. Do you support gay rights?" That same day at Vons, I was asked to sign a tattered petition. And still that same day, while getting my nails done at my dinky strip-mall neighborhood nail salon of all places, a dude walked in and started pitching perfume.

"Don't call me ma'am!" I warned when he got around to me. I held back from telling him exactly where he should stick his stank, but I imagined the standing ovation I'd have gotten if I hadn't.

The thing is, I support good hand lotion and a good massage. I support gay rights and gay parades and gay marriage and all definitions of the word "gay." I even support good perfume. (I don't support petitions.) But I resent being confronted by aggressive salespeople every time I have to endure what has become the loathsome experience of leaving my home. And to have to deal with it when I'm taking care of my lady business? Well, the totality of it makes me grumpy and antisocial. Which got me to thinking: My mental state might be improved if I focused for a minute on things that don't make me grumpy and antisocial. The yin to the yang, as it were.

So. Happy thoughts from here on out! Just give me a second to think.

I'm digging deep. Hold a moment—.

OK, fine. While I'm percolating on that, let me start with the obvious:

• My husband and child make me quite happy, especially when my husband isn't badgering me for sex and my child isn't badgering me with the finer points of why she doesn't have to __________ (fill in the blank). Wait. I just went negative again. Dammit.

• Saturday morning yoga class with the luscious Laxmi at Ginseng Yoga gets my chakras all straightened out, and I just love that. I never could have imagined that I'd be Om-ing in public—or ever, for that matter. I'm the type who would roll her eyes at the Om. But I do it loud and strong, right from my diaphragm, and I'm pretty sure the vibrations help me have more compassion for the world's kiosk people. We are all just spiritual beings having a human experience, after all.

• Teachers make me happy, especially the brave and awesome Chicago teachers who stood up for themselves and for all of our children. I do so love it when the little guy pushes back against the bully. Though they didn't get everything they wanted, the Chicago Teachers Union put "reformers" on notice and perhaps paved the way for other teachers unions to do the same thing when it's time. The only thing that would have made me happier about the strike is if I could have been on the picket line with them.

• I arrived home the other night to my husband making smothered chicken with cornbread and collard greens—my favorite home-cooked meal. When Sam makes that for me, he can have all the sex he wants. As long as I'm not PMSing, or am too tired, or __________________ (fill in the blank), which is most of the time.

• How about summer in September? I love the heat waves. Keep 'em coming, as far as I'm concerned. I'll happily wear linen and white pants right on into 2013. Though, it would be nice if my kid's classroom weren't in the triple digits. Also, when I really think about it, staving off a flat-iron-wielding woman with fake eyelashes and a clip-on ponytail is difficult to do kindly when I feel a single bead of boob sweat make its way to my kneecap.

• Car sex keeps the grump away. Yes! One cannot be in a foul mood when having car (or anywhere other-than-the-bed) sex. Plus it keeps you-know-who happy, too.

What else has made me positively giddy lately?

• Oh! Mathew Crawley and Lady Mary Crawley. The on-again, off-again, on-again unrequited love affair has got me all worked up. Why must we Americans wait until January for Season 3? Avoiding spoilers is no easy feat when I can't help but type "Downton Abbey, Season 3" into the Google.

• While waiting for January, Deadwood is filling my viewing space and hoo-boy, what a contrast to the proper English folk. I nearly fainted at Calamity Jane's first usage of the word "cunt." But it thrilled me, yes it did.

• The genius at the Genius Bar who wasn't so self-important that she couldn't help me with my new phone made me super-happy. It was the first time I didn't loathe the Apple Store, as it proved to be an actual reprieve from—rather than an extension of—the kiosk people. That made me smile

• And my new iPhone has Siri. I admit it was pretty exciting when I asked her for help and she said, "OK. I will get you the hell out of here."

Email Aaryn Belfer. Aaryn blogs at aarynbelfer.com and you can follow her on Twitter @aarynb.


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