Taunts & Tears: In Which I Wonder About Humanity Whilst Shopping

“Do you want $13.47?”

That’s the first thing she said to me.

I told her “no” and explained that I had money.

I was in Best Buy in an upscale part of town and after a long wait in line I’d finally made it to the cashier, a pleasant efficient girl, a bit on the plain Jane side, probably college age– totally confused about what to do next.

“But what do I do with it?” 

She was holding the change from the transaction that had just taken place in front of me when two Kardashian-esque high school kids had purchased some candy with a twenty-dollar bill– and refused to take their change.

“I tried to give them the $13.47 back, but they wouldn’t take it.  They told me to keep the change.  But it’s theirs, not mine.”

I’d been watching and listening to these kids directly in front of me while standing in line.  I knew them for what they were.  Troublemakers.  Snotty rich kids wasting Daddy’s money.  Pointing at the cashier, snickering about her looks.

“But what do I do with the money? It’s not mine.”

As if on cue, we heard a car engine outside the front window of the store and turned to see the two high school kids in a convertible Mercedes, top down, driving by the window laughing and waving at us.

With that my cashier began to cry.  Somehow being mocked by these two had really gotten to her.

So there I stood, waiting for the tears to stop and for her to look at me.  When she did, still sniffling, I answered her question about what she should do.  I said:

You’re ok.  You did everything right.  This is not your fault, no one is going to blame you.  After your shift when you turn in your till tonight you explain that there’s $13.47 too much in there because some rich idiotic spoiled kids wouldn’t take their change.  You’re ok.  This is not your fault, no one is going to blame you.

And you know what?  My words calmed her down so that she stopped sniffling, rang up my sale– and was back to her cheerful self quietly saying her newfound mantra.

“I’m ok.  This is not my fault.  No one’s going to blame me.”

In Which I Listen With The Intent Of Exiting The Scene As Soon As Possible

I HAPPENED TO SEE AN ACQUAINTANCE WHO, after a polite “hello,” launched into a long story about something in her life.

Acquaintance, who is living in the River of Denial, started the conversation, which was really more of a soliloquy, with the words “I’m not a _________, but…” and then went on to tell me about her thoughts and actions that from an objective point of view would say that she is a _________.

“Ain’t it the truth? Ain’t it the truth?”

WHILE I ENJOYED THE THEATRICAL UNHINGED WAY in which she rationalized her behavior, I began to ponder, if given the opportunity, what I was going to say to this woman who, without getting into any of the specifics, I’ll describe as a wackadoodle who needs to see a therapist.

However, being the grown-up that I am I chose to say nothing and remain quiet, listening to her and nodding my head in a supportive way, like an extra on stage behind the lead actor.

As one does, even.

EVENTUALLY ACQUAINTANCE FINISHED TELLING ME HER STORY, and me being me, I said the first thing that floated into my mind.  I let her know that I understood what she’d been yammering on about by saying Snagglepuss‘s immortal catchphrase: “Heavens to Murgatroyd!”

And that, kids, seemed to be all that she needed to hear me say to her, thus giving me my opportunity to gracefully walk away from this absurd conversation.

“Exit, stage left.”

What To Do When The Gift Of Your Attention Is Thrown Away

[Subtitled: When Expectations & Reality Do Not Align In Interpersonal Communication Exchanges]

[Sub-subtitled: People Suck, Don’t Take It Personally]

A CONVERSATION WITH a genuinely nice friend who is snitified about, of all things, Christmas cards.  Sending of said. Receipt of said. Subsequent action taken [or not taken] as result of receipt of said.

The conversation covered the following points:

  1. sending a card is optional;
  2. sending a card is giving the recipient the gift of your attention;
  3. sending a card does not obligate the recipient to send one back to you, but it’s delightful if they do;
  4. discovering that recipient has sent cards to other people, but not you, is your cue to ______ ?

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-1-37-41-pmWHILE THE SPECIFICS of this conversation were about Christmas cards, as we talked I realized that this gift of attention scenario plays out in other areas of our lives.

For instance, what do you make of someone, a friend &/or family member, who you send friendly texts to, but they never include you in the texting and photo sharing that they do with everyone else in your group?

Or to put it in blogging terms, how do you deal with someone who allows your comments to show up on their blog, then never bothers to respond to you, while publicly talking with all the other commenters on their blog?

To be fair, I truly don’t know if these people who throw away the gift of your attention are even aware that they are doing so.  They could be clueless.  They could be crazy.  Who know?

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-1-38-27-pmBUT THE THING is, people like my friend notice this sneaky ungrateful behavior, and it hurts them.

She’s a person who sincerely believes that you need to model the behavior you want to see in others, so that they may learn from your example.  This means that for her, when someone ignores her, she is flummoxed about how to react.

That is, in this specific case, should she continue to send the card because she is remaining true to her values by showing the recipient the way to live?

Or should she acknowledge that the recipient doesn’t care about their relationship, as shown by the recipient’s behavior– and give up on this person altogether?

I know what my answer is, but for some people this is a difficult decision to make.

Holidays In The Suburbs: Of Discord & Delivery Trucks & Discernment

WELP, considering what a year this has been…

it’s no surprise, really, that as we approach the end of December there is discord amongst the ± 3,000 suburbanites here in Mom Trails.

Some residents are not happy with what the HOA has done. This time.

The story of this holiday discord is set in our multi-acre hilly subdivision where, from what I can tell, no one shops in stores, everyone shops online.  From mid-November through December, UPS & FedEx deliver here almost daily from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

 

~ ~ ~ ~

“When I’m worried and cannot sleep, 

I count my blessings instead of sheep, 

And I fall asleep counting my blessings.”

~ ~  ~ ~

TO KEEP things simple… 

UPS & FedEx have put large plain storage units in the four flat pool parking lots.  These storage units have all been discretely placed away from the street, close to the pool houses where you barely notice them as you go by.

Then multiple times throughout the day the large delivery trucks, that we usually see on our curvy streets, go to these units where the drivers drop-off copious amounts of stuff, while door-to-door delivery people drive around the subdivision in cute energy-efficient golf carts delivering the stuff to each house.

~ ~  ~ ~

“When my bankroll is getting small, 

I think of when I had none at all, 

And I fall asleep counting my blessings.”

~ ~  ~ ~

I LOVE this idea because…

1) it keeps the large delivery trucks from blocking traffic on our streets during the day [safety];  and 2) these companies have paid the HOA for the right to put these storage units in the unused pool parking lots [cha-ching].

However, neighbors who do not know how to count their blessings are displeased to see the allegedly tacky storage units around the subdivision, and are trying to stop what the HOA has already contracted to do.

*shakes head at the stupid*

So it is with this little glimpse into my holiday suburban world, that I leave you, my gentle readers, with the following musical number that melodiously encapsulates my opinion on this latest HOA controversy.

 ~

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, EVERYONE

I’ll catch up with you in January. 

 ~

Holiday Conversations With An Orange Elephant In The Room

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I don’t know what to say.

And even though it’s awkward to say something, remaining quiet, somehow, seems wrong considering how not normal all of this is.

For me, an introvert, this holiday season is quickly morphing into, if not the worst one ever, high up there on the list.

I admit that it’s not like I adore this time of year to begin with, but I am, at least, trying to be social. Talking sense + spirit. Attempting to meet people halfway.

Not ranting about politics.

But after this presidential election, there’s an orange elephant named Donald in the room, and people are getting completely whacked, saying goofy things that do not put them in a good light.

ARE YOU FINDING THIS, TOO?

~ ~ • ~ ~

So far I’ve heard…

  1. Well, we couldn’t have a girl running the country, now could we? I had to vote for Trump.
  2. I finally got a gun so with Trump in office I’ll be prepared to shoot anyone [Nazis?] at the door.
  3. If you’ll only empathize with the Trumpsters and talk with them about the true meaning of democracy, I’m sure they’ll come around to a more moderate point of view.
  4. I’m glad Obama is out of office. He made me buy health insurance, that I was going to do anyhow, but I don’t want him [a black man?] telling me to do it.
  5. I hate, hate, hate to the nth degree anyone who voted for Trump. I can’t talk with them anymore. I just cannot.

~ ~ • ~ ~

EACH ONE OF THESE PEOPLE IS NUTS IN A DIFFERENT WAY.

But the thing is that I’m not their therapist, so I can state an opinion.  I’m not their confessor, so I’m not required to forgive them.  And in many cases, I’m merely an acquaintance, so you’d think they’d keep their attitude to themselves.

But sadly they don’t.

I mean, on the one hand I don’t care how delusional people are as long as they’re no danger to me or society;  but I can’t help wondering if I don’t figure out a way to speak up consistently against politically based crazy, am I not contributing to the problem?

An orange problem named Donald Trump, that is.

And The Award For The Best Sales Pitch By A Kid At The Front Door Goes To…

LATE AFTERNOON ON A SUNDAY, the doorbell rang.

I answered the door to see a tall skinny kid, who probably eats 4,000 calories a day and is still hungry, standing on my stoop.

He was wearing his scout uniform with shorts, looked to be about 15, and was holding a clipboard horizontally [landscape style] in front of him.

In the metal clip on his clipboard he had put a pen so that the pen protruded toward me, allowing me easy access to the pen.  Clipped to the board itself was an official Boy Scouts of America order form.

He said nothing, but his brown eyes, made large by his glasses with farsighted-lenses, showed me that he was alert.

And clever.

# # #

OVER THE YEARS I’VE LEARNED that neighbor kids selling things will just stand there at the front door if I don’t get the conversation rolling, so I said: “hello.”

To which he said: “POPCORN.”

And that is all he said.

There was no involved introduction. There was no needless chatting. There was no coy sales banter.

There was just a kid, probably an introvert forced to sell something that he has no interest in selling, standing in front of me.

I immediately loved this kid and his direct sales approach, so guess what I did?

I said: “ok.”  And grabbed the pen and clipboard so that I could order popcorn.

Lots of it.

Because, as you my gentle readers will understand, I’m easily charmed by a no-nonsense man with knobby knees in a uniform.

# # #

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Disliked While Waiting In The Doctor’s Office

I dunno. This is a weird one…

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• • •

LATE LAST WEEK I WAS sitting in my PCP’s waiting room.  I was there for my annual check-up.

I had on my basic summer look: v-neck short sleeve t-shirt, bermuda shorts, leather sandals.  Curly hair pulled back with two barrettes. Hoop earrings. Recent pedicure. Nice purse. Rimless glasses.

And I was reading a book, a mystery.

Another patient, a conservatively dressed 40-something woman, checked-in at the reception desk, then walked by me to sit directly across from me.

As she went by I moved my feet under my seat so that she wouldn’t trip.  This movement, which people generally acknowledge with a tip of their head or a thank you, earned me a glare.

• • •

BUT IT DIDN’T END THERE.

After this woman, who had long straight hair and was wearing a long skirt, long-sleeved cotton blouse buttoned up to her neck and ballet flats got settled into her seat, she continued to glare at me, looking me up and down.

I began to wonder what she was seeing when she looked at me:

  • A wanton harlot with bright red toenail polish?
  • A stoned hippy wearing Birkenstocks?
  • A liberal feminist reading, of all things, a novel? 

I smiled back at her, as polite people do, then went back to reading my book.

• • •

SHORTLY THEREAFTER HER NAME WAS called, and because of the waiting room chair configuration, she had to walk by me again.

This time she glared + snorted derisively as she walked by me;  she needed for me to know that she didn’t approve of me.

For some reason. Nonspecific.

[Another patient across the way, a woman dressed about like I was, rolled her eyes and grinned at me as it happened.]

• • •

NOW OBVIOUSLY I’M NOT LOOKING for validation from strangers who I encounter in my daily life, but the fact that something about me really irritated this conservative woman fascinated me.

And truth be told, I was equally fascinated by the fact that I rather enjoyed the sense of power it gave me over her.

I mean, if I can bother someone by merely existing in their view, imagine what I can do when I decide to speak.  😉

• • •

Question of the Day: 

Have you ever found yourself on the receiving end of a stranger’s hateful stare for reasons you could not figure out? And if so, how did it make you feel?  

• • •