Decent or Douchey. Totally Your Call.

I feel like the world needs a lesson in being decent vs. being douchey. Maybe it’s because Rudolph is inexplicably on TV before Thanksgiving and I’ve always thought Santa was douchey in that show, but mostly it’s probably because of the following story.

I get home tonight and of course there is a series of parking fails on the block resulting in several half-spaces and none full, so I circle around and start to head into the alley to park behind my house. I get a car-length in and there are two guys in my headlights with a two-wheeled trailer – not a huge thing, probably five, six feet long. It’s blocking the alley. So I stop, thinking the guys will move it – perhaps to the half-pad that’s to my right.

They appear to chat a bit, and then they look at me and kind of shrug. And I shake my head and gesture in the universal sign for Move That. The one guy walks through his gate (I’ve never met this guy), holds it to let the other guy in, and they both walk into the back “yard” (which is walled in with cement block, so I can’t see them).

So I wait, because I figure they’re strategizing or something, because obviously they’re not going to be that dickish. But one minute turns to three and then to four and I finally accept that they’ve actually gone into the house.

Really? That’s how you’re going to play this? I mean okay…

I debate approaches because clearly these guys are douchebags, but since at least one of them is apparently my neighbor, I decide to kill them with kindness. I turn off the motor, leave the lights on, get out of the car in the alley in the freezing rain and walk through the still-open fence to knock on the back door. (There are windows in the door and no curtains, so they really can’t ignore me or anything.) They have popped open some beers—how nice!—but they come to the door. I’m smiling.

“Oh, hey,” the one guy says.

“Hi.”

“You need to get down the alley?”

“Yeah…” (smiling)

“Oh, really?” he says flatly.

“Yeah, that’s why I’m sitting there.” (Smiling. Possibly a tiny bit passive-aggressive but I’ve kind of earned that, haven’t I?)

“Oh, really?”

Seriously, dude? Are you stoned? Is that what’s happening?

“Yeah…”

“Oh, okay.”

“Um, so…”

“You want me to move that thing?”

“Yeah. Oh! It IS yours, right?” I mean of course it’s yours, but for right now let’s pretend I’m not making safe assumptions and I’ll be generous enough to let you own up.

“Yeah. Well I mean it’s his but…”

“Oh, hi, yeah, that’s actually mine, but…” says the other guy.

“Hi. Yeah…” (I think I’m still smiling, but there are amorphous blobs of ice-rain landing on my head, so I’m not 100% sure.)

“You need to get, like, what, all the way down?” the one guy wants to know.

“No, um… like halfway down.” (Smiling and fully aware that he wants to challenge why I didn’t just drive down the block behind us instead of the alley between us and it… yet not willing to tell him exactly where I live in case he decides that my requirement that he be decent warrants a tire-slashing party later tonight. His house is clean and he doesn’t seem to have criminal tendencies—he’s just a regular douchebag—but you never know.)

“Oh, okay. Can you back out and we’ll move it?”

“Um… well I’ll back out as far as I can, but… I can’t see into the street and I don’t want to back into the street, so…” Which is why I didn’t already back out, but you guys are A) douchey; and 2) kind of bad at context clues.

“Oh, yeah, okay, well…”

“Oh, actually, if you can just back up a little bit we can roll it into that half-pad right there,” says the other guy, who’s apparently the brains of this particular operation.

“Great!” If only someone had thought of this before, when you were both looking at me and I was making the universal gesture for Move That and then you WALKED AWAY AND LEFT ME THERE.

So they both come back out, into the freezing rain, and I back up and they easily move the thing into the half-pad. And I gesture at them to go ahead and walk back inside out of the rain before I drive by, but they wave me through. So I roll down my window and thank them and wish them a happy Thanksgiving and then silently plot to set their house on fire.

Moral of the story: if you have a choice between being a decent human being and being douchey… don’t be douchey. It makes people want to set your house on fire. (Hashtag DBD)

But honestly, why feel the need to be jerks in situations where you are clearly in the wrong? Not only were you blocking me from getting through the alley to my parking pad, but you were also illegally blocking the alley itself. Why stubbornly insist on doing something that could land you in hot water with the fuzz? If they drive by and see your contraption blocking the path of hypothetical emergency response, you’re going to get cited for it. And it would be a shame if, say, your house was on fire, and the emergency personnel couldn’t access the burning area.

I mean I’m just trying to help you out, here.

Hopefully the upshot of this mild neighborly battle of wills is that these guys feel kind of guilty for being dickish to the nice lady who was all dressed up and had to climb out of her car in the alley in the freezing rain because they were dickish for really no reason at all except laziness and an apparent forgetfulness of having had mothers who would be disappointed in them right now. This is why I’m always telling Gaybor Steve not to go all sassy on people right from jump. If you get bitchy at step one, you make the other guy feel justified in his initial behavior, and you’re at the added disadvantage of having nowhere to go from there. If you start out with civility and a smile, you get to be the bigger person and you have wiggle room for possibly escalating behavior.

Also? #DBD.

 

Advertisements

Anti-Social Network

I can’t decide if Facebook is particularly annoying today or if I hate all people in general.

Which is the kind of thing I’d rather like to post as a status, but I can’t. For obvious reasons.

Seriously, though:
1. (disappointment emoticon followed by FB explanation that we’re looking at a disappointment emoticon, which, to me, indicates Facebook’s failure to design sufficiently emotive emoticons) “What an unbelievable day at work. Not appropriate for Facebook discussion but I just had to vent for a minute.”

^Okay, you know what? This is not a valid status update.^

Also? You just got that job. Stop complaining about it.

2. A. Night. With. NOTHING. Feeling so happy. 

That last part was actually spelled out. No emoticon with accompanying emoticon explanation. Also no interesting content whatsoever. Nor am I interested when this person tells me what she’s doing on all the other nights.

3. Time for some more work after a lovely evening. 🙂

That was a plain old smiley face, no explanation needed. And I know this guy, and I know what “a lovely evening” means, and it’s to do with the guy he may or may not be dating. He wants someone to ask what he did. I’m not doing it. I’m not.

Throw in the usual baiting (today it’s about George Zimmerman and Toronto’s charming mayor); today’s selfies from the same people who posted selfies yesterday; excessive use of exclamation points; some Map My Run shit from a few people who apparently think the rest of FacebookLand gives a flying flaming turd about them going for a run, taking a particular route and running a particular distance in a particular time; an occasional fitness system sales pitch from someone who hasn’t been able to talk about anything but her weight loss since some time in 2011; and a snarky person-to-person-for-everyone-to-see oblique attack on another person with whom they’re no longer friends (but I am) and you have a day on the social network.

And then there are the grammar horrors.

recognize the irony in a blogger deciding that social media “status sharing” is the lowest form of self-serving narcissism, and I realize that I can’t exactly impose my personal Facebook rules (make people laugh or make people think – do not, repeat, do not complain or seek attention – that’s what the blog is for) to everyone on my news feed. I also recognize that the logical reader might, at this point, suggest that I remove myself from Facebook, or remove these particular friends from my list of personal contacts. Well, I can’t remove myself from Facebook because it’s like Communist Russia; you either go along with it or you die a lonely death in cold, cold isolation with nothing but a quarter-loaf of stale bread. And I can’t remove these folks from my list because sometimes they do offer something amusing or useful or interesting and I would feel bad ignoring it. One of them may or may not be my sister. Who may or may not often post things from Map My Run or summaries of funerals she’s been to that day. But often shows me my nephews doing something adorable. Oh, I’m torn.

Wouldn’t it be great if, instead of apparently un-self-explanatory emoticons, Facebook had an algorithm that would allow it to filter stuff you just don’t have the time or emotional energy to see? Maybe you could set it daily. The first time you take a look at the feed each day (if you’re a frequent FBer), you answer a quick series of questions designed to protect you from the people you know and love:

1. What is your mood today?
A. Fine, why?
B. I’m great!
C. Meh.
D. None of your goddamned business, asshole.

And Facebook would note that, if the answer is D, you should not see any posts like this:

FB post 3

 

 

 

(Granted, you might appreciate the comment. But the narcissism of the person who took a screen shot of their own comment would probably cancel that out.)

2. How do you feel about insert today’s political phenomenon?
A. Brilliant!
B. Horrible.
C. So horrible it’s brilliant!
D. I don’t even know what you’re talking about, but I vote.

And Facebook would note that, if the answer is D, you should not see any posts like this:

fb post 2

 

 

 

 

 

3. Which characteristic are you likely to exhibit today?
A. Relatively even tolerance.
B. Hysterical laughter at satire/irony/stuff about horrible things happening to people.
C. Rage.
D. I love Jesus!

And Facebook would note that, if the answer is C, you should not see any posts like this:

fb post 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Rate the strength of your opinion on the following statement: A user’s status updates should contain that user’s original thoughts most of the time.
A. Strongly disagree
B. Somewhat disagree
C. Neither agree nor disagree
D. Somewhat agree
E. Strongly Agree

And Facebook would note that, if the answer is D or E, you should not see any posts like this from that guy who always, always posts things like this, like, five times a day, for crying out loud:

FB post 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Of the following people, who will probably piss you off/annoy you the most today?
A. Your mother, who really should not be on Facebook anyway and definitely should stop Liking all these anti-government pages
B. Your ex, who probably shouldn’t be your FB friend but we’re not going to go there right now because clearly you’re still sensitive about it
C. Your boss, who probably shouldn’t be your FB friend but he asked you and what… you were going to say no?
D. Your kid, who, despite the attention you’ve paid to his/her education, still doesn’t seem to understand that “OK” is not spelled with seven Ks
E. That friend who posts totally senseless stuff that nobody ever clicks Like about, but she still hasn’t taken the hint

And Facebook would filter your news feed appropriately.

6. What is most likely to set you off on an uncontrollable tirade today?
A. Poor grammar and/or punctuation
B. Willful ignorance
C. Self-serving pith
D. Public displays of affection
E. Someone else’s total lack of self-awareness
F. Stuff that, I swear to God, doesn’t even make any fucking sense.

And you’d be spared the worst of possible provocation.

BIL 2 once summarized FB etiquette/non-annoyingness like this: Don’t post anything you wouldn’t literally yell in a room full of people numbering the same as the number of FB friends you have.

Sometimes, though, it’s a pretty great way to spread the word about a pretty great thing. Here’s my favorite of the last few days. I’d be more than happy to shout that one from the rooftops.

 

Prom Night

It’s prom night! I’m doing my nails! I know what I’m doing with my hair and everything!

Tonight is the fundraising semi-formal gala for the neighborhood association. We call it the prom, but really it’s just another neighborhood party in a different location for which we get to dress up instead of come-as-you-are. There’s dancing. It’s just like high school, except with Spanx and an open bar (wine and beer) and a silent auction, a pre-event dose of ibuprofen so my back can handle the night, and an instant spray-on tan from a can instead of weeks of seven-minute increments in a tanning bed. And nobody sneaks off to get high afterward.

That last part might not be true.

I’ve been mentally preparing for The Colombian to be there with Lydia for a month, so it’ll be totally fine. It’s nice to be able to go to prom and not feel like I have to have a date, or feel like a loser for not having one. (I did have dates to my proms.) So why was it a tiny little poke in the gut when Rick, who never posts on FB, posted about his gallery showing yesterday and thanked his girlfriend for making it so special?

That’s awesome, by the way. I’m glad they’re doing well. I’m just a little jealous that nobody says such sweet things about me.

While electro-chatting with Angie about the upcoming evening, a text came through. Javier, from whom I haven’t heard in two weeks (when I was in the mountains and he simply asked if I was in town and then not another peep). “Pre-drinks, my house, 7pm. Bring bubbly but not required.”

Well, hell. You’ve gone ahead and invited me over (I’m not the only invite—an hour later, Gaybor Steve told me without prompting that he’ll be there) and even beaten me to the “what can I bring?” punch by telling me. If my former coworker had been able to bring me my latest wine shipment, I’d have bubbly at home, but that hasn’t happened yet, which means now I have to go to the store.

I’m currently smelly, sans makeup, greasy hair pulled back in a haphazard ponytail, and wearing entirely too much ironic fuscia velour in the form of yoga pants and a zip-up hoodie given to me by my Crazy Aunt for Christmas a few years ago. It’s what I wear when Honey Badger don’t give a shit. Now I either have to shower early and put on real clothes to go out in public or I have to go get the bubbly when I’m all gussied up.

Oh, wait! That gives me the chance to cruise by The Colombian’s house early and scope it for signs of Lydia’s car. Then, since I haven’t replied to the text, I can toss off going to the pre-party if I don’t like the look of things.

Jesus, it is just like high school. What the hell, me? Get it together. We are too old to care about this shit.

And we are going to look gooooood tonight. If we find the right Spanx. I have to find the full-body bust-to-thigh one so I don’t have to wear the other one, because the other one has a band at the waistline that’s totally discernable if someone puts a hand on my back. Of course, the full-body one has a tendency to cheat its way south at the top, which means I have to reach in and pull it back up over my boobs. I didn’t have these problems in high school. I weighed more then, actually, but I had less trunk jiggle and the shoulder-to-ankle royal blue sequins on my dress were good cover for any less-than-smooth bits I might have had.

I could just wear that dress. It would be my second ironic outfit of the day. I still have it and it still fits. In case you haven’t noticed, I apparently have trouble letting some things go. But in my defense, the reason I still have the prom dress is totally because I like occasionally slipping it on to confirm: *fist  pump*Still fits! I might do that anyway, just to bolster the confidence a little. And then when it no longer fits I can burn it and pretend I have no idea that I ever had a prom dress.

Maybe I should start drinking now.

 

 

 

Heaven-Sent, Direct To My Mailbox

Those of you who are lapsed or non-Catholics might not know that this is the time in the liturgical year when the readings at church focus on the Second Coming. I figure that’s what’s prompted the mail I’ve just received from my Crazy Aunt.

Actual mail. She’s that nuts.

For five and a half handwritten, photocopied pages addressed to me by name in fresh ink at the top, she detailed what we should do now that we’re in the End Times. Apparently we should stock up on non-perishables because when Satan comes to try to reclaim the souls of the recently converted, all literal hell will in actual fact break loose. Also we need to find some blessed salt so we can spread it across the thresholds of our doors (don’t open them during the unrest, though) to keep Satan at bay.

If I had known that all it took was some blessed salt, I wouldn’t need to go to confession right now as she urges.

Does it have to be kosher salt?

My aunt, you may recall, sent out checks for a thousand dollars to each of her nieces and nephews last Christmas because it was the money my grandfather had left her and she thought he would have wanted her to do it. I think my mother did get her to understand that, if he had wanted that, he would have left it to his grandchildren instead of her.  Her response was that she was just trying to do the right thing.

Which is true, really. My aunt is an untreated mentally ill person who my social worker sister says would probably be classified as a paranoid schizophrenic with religious preoccupation if she would ever be willing to be diagnosed as anything. But she has a heart full of goodness and love and she just wants everyone to be saved. I don’t begrudge her that. I don’t begrudge anyone that, when it comes from a place of love. And she’s not dangerous; most mentally ill people aren’t. It’s far more likely that she’ll be the person who gets hurt – though she’s pretty paranoid and afraid of a lot of things, so she might never be in a dangerous situation.

One of the things she’s afraid of, apparently, is the Affordable Care Act. more colloquially known as Obamacare.

After the five and a half pages of her letter, she tossed off another paragraph on different paper (no lines) about how the law is against Christianity because it “pushes abortion funding and the implantation of the chip under the skin, which is forbidden in the Bible.”

Where to begin, eh?

Aside from the fact that a lot of things are forbidden in the Bible, like footballs and cheeseburgers, the ACA does not push funding for abortion. It provides members of Congress and their staffers the option, if they choose to be part of the health care exchange rather than private insurance, to pay a premium for insurance in case of abortion. They don’t have to pay into the exchange at all if they don’t buy that particular feature of protection. It’s like a la carte.

It also says nothing about chips.

What we have here, I think, is a bit of confusion on my aunt’s part, because the only CHIP to which the ACA refers is the Children’s Health Insurance Program. And it is not implanted, it is implemented.

Oh.

See, now I definitely don’t believe the thing about the salt on the threshold.

There is one thing, though, that I find to favor my aunt’s way of looking at the world: the 4×6 envelope in which the letter arrived bore no sign of the postal service. The stamps were not cancelled and no meter mark was affixed. There’s no date of mailing. It appears never to have been touched. I’m sure this is a miracle of postal delivery. Deliverance. One of those.

Heaven-sent?

 

 

All Class

I went to a kind of fancy luncheon today to honor some amazing people who either give literally millions of dollars to truly worthy causes or else find ways to get other people to do it. Since I was there for work, I had to put on a nice dress and do my hair special and wear hose—pantyhose, you guys—and act like I know what I’m doing because I was around a lot of seriously important work people.

This was after I had to color my dress because I apparently spontaneously lactated bleach. Coupla little bleach spots on my still-paying-for-itself black wrap dress, smack on the right nipple. I don’t know how it happened because I don’t buy bleach for laundry and I don’t clean in my expensive black wrap dress. Sharpied that shit. Totally worked. I win.

Fortunately, I got to continue that classiness when I arrived at the luncheon. It was one thing when I had to pretend to be fine standing in a circle of deans and VPs and the president and the provost. Some of those folks are actually on my client list. I’m sure they were wondering why I was there, the answer to which is that our fundraiser folks are also on my client list. And the whole reason all of us were there is that some of the people being recognized were people whose efforts had, in one way or another, benefited our institution. So let’s eat!

Lunch was a lovely cold salmon filet with what a colleague kept calling “frizzy salad.” Also known as frisee salad. And in his defense, that stuff is hard to eat with any degree of grace. I know because of the number of times some of it wound up hanging out of my mouth when I tried to take a modest forkful. It didn’t seem to matter how many times I cut it up. I think frisee lettuce regenerates.

Also I kept slamming my knee into the table leg and disrupting everyone’s place settings. And I spilled my iced tea, which I don’t even drink. But that’s kind of okay because another colleague knocked over the whole little baby pitcher of coffee creamer.

You can’t take us anywhere.

I had to look around to see if it was acceptable for me to put my dessert plate on top of my lunch plate when I was ready to inhale my individually sized chocolate mousse cake with strawberry gelee. Somebody else did it, so that made it okay. I briefly entertained the notion of grabbing one of the cakes that was at an unoccupied seat at the table, but I managed to control myself at least that much.

I always feel like such an ass at these kinds of things. I’m supposed to appear sophisticated and worldly but most of the time I’m like, “Can anybody tell I Sharpied my boob?” and “Do I have frisee in my teeth?” It’s like I’m 12. Here I am all gussied up and working professionally for nearly two decades and whatnot, and I can’t seem to figure out how to not be an unimpressive jackass.

I managed to conduct myself with some degree of aplomb while I handled a few interviews after the event, though I did drop my phone/recording device twice. Also, do you ever have the problem where you’re at a thing and people are offering a hand to shake and you’re holding your sunglasses, phone, event program, pen and umbrella all in your right hand? And then you have to switch everything to your left hand just to be able to reciprocate the proper greeting? Why don’t I just learn to hold everything in my left hand? Why am I an unimpressive jackass?

Also? The people at this function are amazing. Ah. May. Zing. I welled up four times, and the only reason it wasn’t five is because I draw a line at crying about 17-year-old Girl Scouts because get on with your life, sweetheart. But with all the giving and all the selflessness (and I guess there’s an argument to be made that if you’re a gazillionaire you’re probably not entirely selfless but you’re still giving it away to refugee camps in Burma and the like), I felt super-inspired and super-uplifted and super-jerky. Again, obviously I’m not a gazillionare, but still. What do I do for the refugees in Burma? Nothing.

Also my underwear was on inside-out.

Again.