Phone Misconduct

Okay, so have you ever been walking down the sidewalk, minding your own business, enjoying a nice hot caramel soy latte? The sidewalk is clearly wide enough for two, three, even four people to pass by each other without bumping shoulders. Yet, it happens. Or almost happens. Someone comes amazingly close to running directly into you and as you dance a side-step to get out of the way, your latte ends up decorating your shirt.

And why? Because the person who caused this coffee disaster (and the reason why you have to keep explaining the stain on your chest for the rest of the day) was looking down at their phone, mindlessly poking at the screen instead of watching where they were going.

This is something I’ve seen happening more and more lately and quite frankly it’s frustrating as hell. Not so much the near collisions that would send my latte flying to the ground, but rather the lack of awareness many people have for those around them. Since when did the person or email or text or game on the phone gain priority over the flesh and blood human right in front of you?

Without noticing the presence of others, without that silent communication that exists when you spot someone else on the street or sidewalk or aisle, there’s only going to be more crashes and basic overall breakdowns in a smooth-running society.

Or how about this… you’re in the check out line at a store. It ought to be going quickly, no-one in front of you is buying anything of substance and the cashier’s on her game. But there’s always that one. That one who can’t put down their phone long enough to deal with the issue at hand, namely, putting their groceries up on the conveyor belt or paying attention to the cashier who’s trying to explain that the coupon they just handed to her expired three years ago.  Oh, okay, yeah, let’s all wait for the ten minutes it takes you to find your bank card because you only have one hand to dig through that cavernous purse of yours because the conversation about your coworker’s drunken fling at last week’s convention being the talk of the office is just that Earth shattering and you wouldn’t dream of setting down the phone for ten seconds. Ugh. Here we go. That’s a chip on your card… insert don’t swipe. No, it’s a chip.  It’s. A. Chip. Putting in that pin and talking can be quite the feat, yeah, I know… chewing gum and walking has the same effect on you, I bet. There you go, you got it. A great deal slower cause you’re distracted, but you got there in the end. Oh, okay. We’re going to do the whole slo-mo thing with placing your bags in the cart are we? Oh sure, offering your phone mate advice on holiday menu plans takes precedence… I mean, of course it does. Silly me. And off they go, with no concern whatsoever for the cashier just trying to do her job or the people they’ve held up in line, because they’re in their own little world still chatting away on the phone.

More interesting than the people utterly engrossed with their phones are the people who have no sense of privacy when they’re speaking on the phone. I’m talking about the people who yell into their phone while on the bus or subway or walking down the grocery aisle so that everyone within 20 feet knows exactly what happened to Rhonda at the foot doctor last week.  And trust me.  We’d rather not know. They open up their personal stories to the public which can become a little embarrassing to the people eavesdropping who don’t really want to be eavesdropping.   I sit there and think, “Wow, I really wish I wasn’t able to hear this right now.” At least that’s the cleaned-up version of what I sit there and think.

Alas, sometimes you’re stuck next to a person who has absolutely no sense of propriety or the concept of low voices. Thus, you’re getting all the details on how Kevin’s dog’s surgery went (the lump was removed successfully I’m happy to say!) and how bad of a kisser Mr. OKCupid was even after four Long Island Ice Teas (how truly awful for you, Judy!).

Inside voices people, inside voices!  And remember — you’re in public. Not only do we not want to be subjected to the gruesome horror story of your facial wart removal, but other people depend on you so they can get where they need to go without incident — so please try to keep those eyes up as you’re strolling along and for god’s sake, when interacting with others, put the damn phone down.

Thank you for listening. I can text this to you as well if you’d like.

Greatness Among Us

You know, I didn’t realize it, but we have royalty among us commoners at my humble abode.  Although, if I had been paying attention, I would have noticed sooner. I mean the evidence has been there, right under my nose and on my clothes, this entire time. It became evident the other day though as I was vacuuming said evidence off my couch.

May I present for your worship and adoration, ‘Shaylee the First, Her Royal Highness of Savagery and Grace, Defender of Her Realm, Queen of the Pillow Mountain and Surrounding Territories.’

royalty, in the flesh. bow down, peasant! you’re making an awful lot of noise with the vacuum cleaner, you know. i can’t really nap with all of the racket going on.

 

peasant! what are you doing, peasant!? more importantly, where are the treats!? i’m royalty after all. you’re still vacuuming? what the hell, peasant!? i want treats!

 

royalty is boring. i’m bored now. the peasant has failed to keep me entertained.

Not so Neighborly Neighbors

As you may remember, I moved to a new condo over the summer.  Adjusting to my last place was a bit of a challenge as there was never a moment of peace or quiet. Imagine if Grand Central Station and Hell had babies. Yes, plural. The paper-thin walls (practically curtains, really), and endless noise made me wish I could crawl into a soundproof box and go to sleep. I drew up plans for an underground soundproof bunker, but I couldn’t get the permit; apparently you have to actually own the property you want to enhance. So stupid.

After I moved, all was right with the world again, except for occasionally hearing my new neighbor’s ummm… boisterous… patio phone calls. If her conversations are any indication, both her ex and her vent buddy are on speed dial. In general, though, quiet reigned supreme.  We’re only a few months in, but I guess the gods that be thought I was just a little too snug in my surroundings and they wanted to shake things up a bit, as they are wont to do when things are going well.

You know the saying, “you never know what you have until it’s gone”? Yeah, well, what I had were two perfect elderly neighbors with a perfectly well-behaved labradoodle who was just as polite and laid back as his owners. Maybe you can see where this is going.

They moved. I know, right!?

When I saw their boxes being loaded in the moving truck, I didn’t realize at the time, but the boxes may as well have been labeled “Peace,” “Quiet,” and “Sanity” because when they left, they took all of those things with them.

Let me introduce you to my new neighbors.

There is a mom, a dad, two young hell spawn children, and a beloved family dog who weighs roughly 500 pounds.

They moved in right above me where the two perfect neighbors with their perfect dog once resided, and I believe their hobbies include:

Crying simultaneously, dropping bowling balls, marathon training in the living room, vacuuming after midnight, jumping from furniture, wailing “Old McDonald” at odd hours of the night, and so much more!

Also, I think they wear concrete blocks on their feet. Or else, they have a raging elephant infestation.

I’d blame it on the hell spawn, but it’s the whole family. The parents get it on the noise game too. On any given night, it sounds like they could be playing basketball, woodworking, amateur clogging, or quite possibly murdering someone.

And the dog doesn’t seem to like his crate, I’ll tell you that right now. It has apparently occurred to the Loud Family as well because they’ve taken to locking him in the bathroom. And while my heart truly goes out to this obviously lonely dog, the other night it sounded like he escaped — taking what I think was the bathroom door with him, and possibly ate someone, I couldn’t tell. The mind is groggy at 3 AM.

Oh, wait! I forgot the best part… the smallest hell spawn (just guessing from the loudness and intensity of the footfalls), runs from one end of the condo to the other at very weird times of the evening. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that Chucky or the kid from Pet Semetary was up there running around when everyone’s asleep, it’s that freakin’ creepy.

I think about my perfect elderly neighbors and their perfect labradoodle often… and I have questions. Where did they go? Is it peaceful there? I wonder if I could join them. Do you think they would mind? I don’t take up much room and I’m quiet, oh so quiet.

It’s desperate thoughts like these that go through my mind at 1 AM, when I’m lying in bed listening to what sounds like yet another reenactment of a battle scene from the movie Braveheart. They may take our peace and quiet… but they won’t take our sanity!

 

 

On the Topic of Value

Scrolling through Facebook recently, I saw a post where a young girl’s value was compared to that of an iPad. Oh yes. You read that correctly. It wasn’t an original message and wasn’t even written by the guy who posted it (though it did appear as if he was trying to pass it off as his)… whatever the case, he must have been in complete agreement, hence his posting it. The gist of the post was a father ostensibly helping a young girl see her value and worth and I know that in this day and age some people treat their electronics as children, some even spending more time with their phones than their children, but comparing a young girl to an iPad? Give me a break. Using my best Chandler Bing voice: Can this guy be any more shallow?

What makes all of this worse, is this guy apparently stole someone else’s photo to include in his post… a shot of two young women dressed as though they’re going out, standing in (presumably) their own backyard. So, while spewing his archaic and misogynistic views, he’s also exploiting and harassing two very real young women who were doing nothing more than existing. I blurred out the image because I refuse to perpetuate the harassment.

It wasn’t surprising to see that this * cough cough * gentleman and I were at odds in other respects as well… he’s an avid trophy hunter who thinks that there isn’t enough science behind Greta Thunberg’s climate change argument.

Needless to say, I saw red. You all know me. My reaction shouldn’t come as a shock. The fact that this guy is comparing his daughter to a literal object is incredibly inappropriate to say the least and I find it hard to address that particular issue without digging deep into my repertoire of colorful adjectives. The idea that there are people like this out there, raising families, and perpetuating this behavior by passing it down to the next generations is infuriating. He and others of his ilk are teaching their daughters (and sons) that women are “less than” and on par with a fucking iPad.

Let’s just be clear here… value isn’t determined by what a person decides to wear. Oh sure, you probably don’t want to show up to a Fortune 500 board meeting wearing your pajamas, but should one decide to do so, it’s NOT a sign of their intrinsic value, or lack thereof.

I love the quote, “Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.” – Unknown

Or how about this one, “Don’t bury the treasure of your life under the opinions and expectations of strangers.” – Lisa Bevere

I’ll go you one better… don’t bury the treasure of your life under the opinions and expectations of ANYONE.

There is no question that women and girls seem to bear the brunt of the equation appearance equals value or worth. School dress codes are gender-biased and inherently put more importance on a boy’s education than a girl’s. Passers-by wouldn’t even bat an eye at something as simple as a man wearing dirty sweats and a ratty old t-shirt to the grocery store (cause you know, he’s getting shit done!) yet I wonder how many of those same strangers would automatically, albeit internally, criticize the woman’s choices while inventing a not-so-complimentary backstory should they see a woman wearing the same thing (oh my god, can you imagine what her home and kids look like!? what was she thinking? her life is just one big mess!).

One could argue that to dress conservatively protects a woman from rape or harassment or cat calls, that young women shouldn’t be so sexualized. And trust me, those agreeing with this guy’s post were saying exactly that. To this I say, HA! Yeah, right. This is so far from the truth, it’s scary. To me, this is one of those expressions of anti-feminism disguised as a pro-woman statement. How women are dressed will not stop rape or misogyny and it does not in any way illustrate her value as a person. Cause you know, women ARE in fact people.  Whether they wear a little black dress or opt for a niqab, women of all ages have worth. Say it with me, folks. Women. Have. Worth. And it’s NOT contingent on their wardrobe.

Imagine if we started to teach what real worth is? Society as a whole would improve because when people aren’t made to feel ashamed and worthless, and they see their true value, then they feel free to pursue and accomplish their goals and dreams.

But you know what would happen then? The patriarchy would crumble. And we can’t have that, can we?