We haven’t had a Thursday Post about Nothing in a while. Thankfully I am now over it.
Last weekend I fell off the wagon into irritatingly vocal territory.
It may be that I had an incredibly busy day. I’d been up since 3am. That meant I felt wonky until I got a nap at 4pm. At 6pm my son woke me up by flashing the bedroom lights on and off which got a,”Hey!” from me and a,”Dad told me you were sleeping too long and to wake you up,” from him. Once up, I couldn’t stop coughing and realized I was probably sick.
I am a cranky person before I’ve had coffee, and when I am sick I am just a blast. Inside, I am all “nice person, sweetness and light” but ask me a question, especially if it involves getting up and making dinner or otherwise putting out my usual effort for healthy people, sadly what you will get is,”Mumble, mumble, bitch, bitch,” as I walk on by you.
I have tried to change this, to little avail. I can see me all over in one of my kids (thankfully, the other one is unfailingly cheerful). I now know what my parents were referring to when my Dad took a photo of me as a teenager sticking my tongue out at him while I was taking the garbage out and my Mom used to remind me of Thumper looking down at the ground and repeating after Mom,”If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”
When my husband came out and snapped at me three times in a row, I assumed it was in reaction to some grumpiness I was unknowingly (but typically) exuding, until he said something so outrageous that I knew it was him this time. So I stuck my tongue out at him.
Anyway, this led me to sit on my porch reading Facebook in somewhat of an I’m Sick Stupor eating Hershey’s Kisses until I saw it.
The local newspaper posted a Facebook article about a heinous crime and had a photo of the woman who pled guilty as the perpetrator. I took one look at her and thought,”She didn’t do it and pretty soon she’ll be recanting.”
Now I don’t actually think I’m right. That was just a pure, gut reaction to her photo where she was being taken away in handcuffs. Based on past experience, my initial gut reactions about people, photographs, or pretty much anything is generally correct, and I need to remember that because a moment later my brain kicks in and allows logic to tell me I am wrong. I have to “place a mental marker” on that initial reaction because as I say, it rarely fails me.
Maybe because I wasn’t feeling well and my defenses were down, or maybe it was because of the endless tirade of ignorant, mean and abusive comments from the peanut gallery that followed, I actually wrote a comment to the newspaper stating that I really did not want to see gruesome news on my Facebook feed. I said that I “liked” them to get local, emergency news only.
I know that’s not fair per se, but hey – it’s my honest opinion and I have to keep reminding myself I am just as entitled as anyone else to my opinion. I usually let the rest of the world go on with itself without my input, because I don’t need to wade in there with them and get a smack down. This was a bit much.
THEN I made it worse by commenting on a Dr. Laura posting. The post was about people acting without any sense of propriety or politeness anymore, and in particular it stated,”I often wonder if more girls were willing to be ladies, more guys would feel challenged to be gentlemen.”
Someone replied,”In today’s world, the term lady is rare, the term gentleman is unheard of.”
That made me crazy.
I replied: I run into gentlemen all of the time. Men still hold doors and are polite and courteous as a rule. I won’t come down on women but I will say that yesterday ONE woman cut my 6-year-old son and me in line at the hospital to go visit my Dad because she was with them (the people ahead of us in line). The male attendant tried to point this out to her but she would not hear of it. So I bent down to my son and whispered,”She was incredibly rude by cutting the line. You don’t do that, OK?” I plan to raise a man.
I watched the lady in the line. It was a quiet hospital entrance. No one but us chickens. I was in a rush because my Dad had gone in for an outpatient procedure the day before and they refused to let him go and admitted him. Now he was being released, and I had 40 minutes to pick up my other son from a birthday party where he had been for 6 hours. Like me, being kept somewhere and “stuck” a single moment longer than we need to be is against our law, so I really wanted to get my Dad jail broke. Naturally this lady, who was with three other ladies – probably sisters, in their 50s and 60s – cut right in front of us, and every one of them created some kind of minor delay.
The day before when I was in no rush it was no problem. The lady in front of me was trying to find out what happened to someone who came in through Emergency, and was told he was in ICU. I could feel the breath suck right out of her. It could have been anyone, but I had a feeling it was her Dad, and she looked ill, so I would have stood there for an hour if I had to just so she could do what she needed to do.
I am the super fastest person ever in a line. I listen to what people are told ahead of me, and I have my wallet and photo ID ready to go, I know what room I am going to, and I am in and out like lightning.
If the line cutter had just been courteous – which, at her age you would think she would, and you can’t tell me she wasn’t raised with those instructions because I know better – she would have been delayed somewhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute for me and the little guy to get through.
You could tell from the conversation that she and her group were not in a rush.
She was very nicely dressed and groomed and also all fidgety, looking from the corner of her eye but not looking. She knew she did the wrong thing by ignoring the attendant and the security guard who gestured for her to get to the back of the line and said,”There is a line.”
“No, it’s okay, I’m with them.”
It’s not okay, and she knew it. It was almost comical how each lady had to take out her license and get her picture taken and how very long it took, because she had to stand there under my smiling gaze which said,”You have made a mistake.”
My gaze is kind of like the judge and jury when it is in the mood.
Remember the person who gets grouchy, uncooperative, and sticks out her tongue to this day? She knows when she is wrong and she also knows when other people are wrong, and they can tell.
So all I did was wait (patiently, beatifically even, I swear) and whisper that message to my son – where she could not hear or even see what was being said.
It is just interesting when people look to be – or pretend to be – so polite and elegant when actually they are plain rude. Sometimes when I look at them I get a mental image of them in their current state (what I mean by that is they look ugly or like caricatures of themselves).
I don’t mind being all messy. We are humans and there is no such thing as perfection. It is such a misnomer. I would rather apologize when I screw up or am less polite than I could have been or than was deserved, not pretend I never did it.
Someone wrote me back on the news article. Just one person, not a deluge. There was no fight and no nasty exchanges. She just wrote something like,”You don’t have to read it just because it’s here.”
True, for some people. I can’t unsee a photo with a lot of energy in it (not to mention the handcuffs). If I see a train wreck I won’t slow the car down (it’s rude to other drivers) but I will glance over just to see that it’s a train wreck. It’s my own fault if I get my energy all up in it. Still, when I am driving by a train there’s a chance something might happen. When I am on Facebook I don’t expect or deserve train wrecks, in my opinion.
I have been enamored of Humans of New York lately, and Brandon did a TedTalk that I happened to see this morning. It said that the media just gives us what we want. The sexiest, most violent and sensational news – not the news he gets when he’s walking around the neighborhoods all day meeting people and asking if he can take their photo. We don’t get the sweet, nice stories of every day life because apparently most people want to see the shit.
I disagree. I think that a lot of people intentionally don’t seek out the news in the standard way because it feels like an assault to them. Sure, they’ll get informed, but they don’t need to be aware of every crime committed, every murder, every drug situation, every drowning, every tragedy.
It’s not easy, but I can happily get through my life with zero of that information entering my space. I intentionally set up Facebook so that it is full of friends, family, and incredibly funny and/or uplifting spiritual Pages. I had an old friend who posted every day about PETA and showed animal slaughter photos. I was out of there so fast her head would have spun if she’d known when and why. She didn’t miss me either, I am sure. Same thing with real life friends and relatives – you are entitled to be who you are but you are not entitled to do it in front of me or my kids if you bring the negative.
I don’t want to be Ignorant Bubble Girl, but I don’t want to be assaulted every day in an onslaught of crap I can’t do anything about, either. All day long I get the,”Did you hear about…” or the,”What did you think about…” so there are plenty of people filling me in on what’s relevant.
As far as The Palm Beach Post goes, I’m simply saying I don’t want it.