It’s Tuesday & The Topic Of The Day Is Pettiness

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I WAS LISTENING to this episode, Confessions of a Late-Blooming Gen-X Weirdo, on a podcast for women over 40 called, Everything is Fine.

The hosts, Kim [her blog here] & Jennifer, got off on a tangent, which I believe is where the best stuff is on podcasts, and started discussing how petty they were.

I was charmed because it was funny.

But I was also flummoxed because for the life of me I couldn’t decide if I was petty, at least occasionally. Seems like I’ve the potential to be petty, focusing on details like I do and having preferences, but I’D NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT IT BEFORE.

Weird, huh?

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SO I DID what I do when I don’t understand something, I researched the topic. I first referred to the dictionary and got meself a definition of *petty* [an adjective] which is related to *pettiness* [a noun].

I also did cursory research on the concept of pettiness and learned that it has nothing in particular to do with intelligence, but is often correlated with people who are argumentative, inflexible, or lacking impulse control.

To be petty means you want people to do things the way you do things and you’ll judge someone negatively if they don’t, vowing to remember what you’d describe as a transgression.

Resentment and vindication can nudge someone to be petty. Plus being petty might not be good for your immortal soul.  So there’s that to consider.

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HOWEVER DESPITE MY research I still don’t seem to be able to nail down what it really means to be petty.

➡️ Is pettiness an instance of taking the saying “this is the hill I’ll die on” to an extreme wherein you assert the moral high ground because you know you’re right?

➡️ Or is pettiness more like the embodiment of the passive-aggressive Southern saying “well bless your heart” wherein you voice your disapproval while pretending to be cordial?

➡️ Or is pettiness more like admitting you’re “a stick in the mud”about something that is out-of-date yet your crotchety old self refuses to bow to modernity?

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QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Do you consider yourself to be petty? Have you thought about this? Care to share an example of when you were petty?  

Do you think I’m petty and just don’t know it or have forgotten about it? I’m human so I must be petty, right?

When stumbling over something you don’t understand do you, like me, turn to the the dictionary to begin your research?

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SOURCES:

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A Conversation About Curly Hair With The UPS Delivery Man

Our new front sidewalk, pristine and perfect.

THE Scene

I heard the UPS truck pull up in front of the house, mid-morning. I looked out the study window and saw the UPS delivery man step off the truck carrying a thin squishy envelope package for me [a t-shirt from Lands’ End].

He’s a nice guy, handsome, a regular in our neighborhood, and I’m a nice person so I walked out the front door and started walking down the sidewalk to meet him halfway.

Save him a few steps in the intense summer heat, ‘ya know.

Welp, I smiled and said “hello” while extending my left hand to grab the thin squishy envelope package, figuring he’d hand it to me. But instead he froze in place about four feet in front of me and just stared at me.

I followed his gaze and realized I had MY HAIR TIED UP on top of my head in what probably seemed to him to be an UNUSUAL style. I was wrong about that assumption.

THE CURLY HAIR BACKSTORY

When I can, like on days when I’m staying home, after I wash my hair I don’t use a hairdryer;  instead I pull my wet curly hair into a topknot held in place with an elastic.

Then I twist bandana around it in such a way as to tie up my hair. This way my hair dries off my neck AND it forms groovy, beachy curls in the process.

It’s AN OLD-FASHIONED WAY of styling your hair that back then involved clean rags, but now as an affluent suburbanite I use A BANDANA purchased at Walmart for $1.98.

THE CONVERSATION BEGINS

Curly hair, he said.

Yes, said I while trying to reach over to grab the package from his hand, but to no avail.

You do that when it’s wet, he said. It wasn’t a question, it was a statement.

Yes, said I whilst staring intently at the package in his hand, hoping he’d remember why he was here.

Huh, he replied.

A LONG PAUSE during which time I began to notice how hot it was outside standing on the sidewalk in bare feet in the direct sunshine. DAMNED HOT.

THE CONVERSATION CONTINUES

My wife does that with our daughter’s hair, he explained.

Yes, said I nodding my head in what I hoped was a conversation-ending gesture of understanding.

I thought she was pulling my leg when she said it’s what you do with curly hair. I had two sisters but they had straight hair, he continued.

Yes, said I.

They never did that, he confided.

Hmmm, said I wondering where this conversation was going to go next.

After another LONG PAUSE, during which time he further scrutinized my hair like I WAS A SCIENCE PROJECT, he handed me the package.

THE UNEXPECTED COMPLIMENT

The bandana is a nice touch. My wife doesn’t use one of those but it looks cute on you, he said.

Thank you, said I whilst pondering how out of kilter the Universe must be that I, a gray-haired woman of a certain age, had just been told my hairstyle was “cute” by a handsome 30-something man.

I’m going to suggest she get some bandanas for our daughter’s hair, he told me.

Good idea, said I.

And with that he FINALLY handed me the package and said “goodbye” as he walked back to his truck, SHAKING HIS HEAD IN AMAZEMENT, mumbling about how he couldn’t believe his wife hadn’t been joshing him all along.

~ THE END ~

PLEASE NOTE: I’m having difficulties leaving comments on some blogs and it’s incredibly frustrating.

I don’t know if the problem is in my browser or if it’s another example of gremlins in WordPress. The problem seems random. Rivergirl, yes. Nicole, no. Kate, sometimes. And so it goes…

Also, on random blogs I’m not consistently receiving an indication that there’s been a reply to my comment when there has been one. Another gremlin?

You Decide: Behaving Hypocritically Or Showing Sound Judgment

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I CAN SEE WHAT HAPPENED FROM TWO PERSPECTIVES 

On the one hand I believe people can change and that’s a defining characteristic of humanity.  As we gain experience and knowledge we are able to change, preferably for the better, as we go along.

But on the other hand I like to keep my distance from people who have demonstrated they’re irony-impaired and don’t have the sense God gave a goose, regardless of whether they may have changed or not.

Judge me as you will.

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I WAS ON INSTAGRAM WHEN IT MADE A SUGGESTION ABOUT WHO I SHOULD FOLLOW  

When I saw the name I recognized it immediately and shouted “HELL NO.”

Literally.

Shouted those words out loud.

Then I started laughing because I hadn’t thought about this woman, Zelda, in years.

I met Zelda, an author wannabe, through a mutual acquaintance who knew that Zelda was creating her author’s platform which was to include a personal blog.

Our mutual acquaintance thought that I might be able to answer some of Zelda’s questions about writing a personal blog. And I did.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

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YOU SEE, ZELDA WAS GOING TO WRITE HER MEMOIR

It was to be about what she’d learned about how to get along with people while living on four continents.

She had stories to tell about her experiences while overcoming language barriers and adapting to the idiosyncrasies of the cultures around her.

There was a charming Kum Ba Yah hippy vibe to her thinking and Zelda was a wordy girl, of that I have no doubt.  She could talk up a storm about the book she had yet to write.

The thesis statement for her proposed memoir was something to the effect of: by taking time to listen and understand people you can connect on a deeper level regardless of your background. It just takes effort.

Being proactive, she’d started a blog for her author’s platform.

Oh yes she had.

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BUT THERE WAS A PROBLEM

She couldn’t figure out how to attract readers.  She knew that as an author-to-be she’d need to be able prove to a literary agent that she had a loyal online following.

This was something that had not happened despite the time she was pouring into her blog;  she was clueless as to why this was so.

In an attempt to get to gain perspective on her problem I asked her which blogs she followed and commented on. She seemed baffled, genuinely confused.

She replied, you mean I’m supposed to pay attention to other blogs?  

I said, yes, that’s the deal. That’s how you connect in the blogosphere. You pay attention to other bloggers, leave thoughtful comments, then those people become your readers. 

To which she said, why would I do that? I don’t care about those people. All I want is for them to pay attention to me so I can sell my book.

And therein was the crux of the problem for this author wannabe/newbie blogger who wanted to tell YOU what to do, but had no intention of making any effort to do so herself.

Go figure, huh?

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NOW I GRANT YOU ZELDA COULD HAVE CHANGED

It’s been years since I met her, but looking at her IG account I saw no evidence that she’d written her memoir or that she had a public personal blog.

Instead I saw an Instagram feed with selfies– and not much else.

Knowing what you do now, would you want to follow her on social media? Hmmm? 

Am I being hypocritical by not allowing her the opportunity to show me that she has changed OR am I protecting my personal boundaries/sanity by not following her?

Discuss.

The Tale Of A Kind Young Doctor Who Was As Lost As I Was

I HAD AN APPOINTMENT FOR MY annual checkup with an eye doctor who’s part of a group practice. I’ve gone to him for at least 15 years. His office is in a building called The Clinic that is part of a large university hospital complex.

A week before the appointment I received a letter* from his office telling me that the free parking garage nearest The Clinic was closed. The letter explained in words where I should go for free parking.

I didn’t bother to double-check the directions online because I’m familiar with the area. The directions made perfect sense to me and they were spot on.

I got to the parking garage, no problem.

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WITH LETTER IN HAND I DID as it said and exited the parking garage through the green doors, putting me at the intersection of two busy streets. At this point I was told to look for a particular building, presumably made possible by the generous donation of some rich people.

Let’s call this building THE LOVEY & THURSTON HOWELL III MEDICAL CENTER.

Standing on the corner I looked up and down the streets and I saw nothing that said THE LOVEY & THURSTON HOWELL III MEDICAL CENTER.

I mean, nothing.

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I WAS ABOUT TO GRAB MY cell phone out of my purse when a kind young doctor crossed the street toward me and walked up to me. He asked me if I needed help finding something.

[That’s how lost I looked, a random doctor offered to help me.]

Waving the letter around I said, I’m looking for THE LOVEY & THURSTON HOWELL III MEDICAL CENTER.  

He said, the what?

I repeated myself.

We looked at each other. 

He politely asked, may I see the letter.

[I imagine he thought I was an older *confused* person.]

I said, yes and handed it to him.

He read the letter printed on official university hospital letterhead, looked up and down the streets, then said, huh.

We looked at each other. 

I shrugged.

He said, I’ve worked here 8 years and I’ve never heard of THE LOVEY & THURSTON HOWELL III MEDICAL CENTER.  

I said, I’ve gone to this eye doctor for longer than that and I’ve never heard of THE LOVEY & THURSTON HOWELL III MEDICAL CENTER.  

We looked at each other. 

[I’d stumped a doctor, which is kind of a memorable moment.]

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BEFORE I HAD TIME TO SAY another word the kind young doctor pulled out his cell phone and started researching where the heck this building might be. This took longer than you might expect.

I waited patiently.

Eventually he looked up, smiling, and said, THE LOVEY & THURSTON HOWELL III MEDICAL CENTER is the original name for The Clinic.

We looked at each other.

Then we burst out laughing, turning our heads in unison toward the building directly in front of us on the other side of the street. The building we knew as The Clinic.

We looked at each other. 

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I THANKED THE KIND YOUNG DOCTOR for figuring this out.

He said, your doctor is older, isn’t he?

I said, yes.

We looked at each other.

He said, I know him personally. The next time I see him I’ll suggest that for the sake of his patients, and other doctors,  he might want to NOT refer to The Clinic as THE LOVEY & THURSTON HOWELL III MEDICAL CENTER because no one knows it by that name anymore.   

I said, good idea. I’ll say something ** too. 

We looked at each other. 

And with a smile we went on our ways, better informed about the world around us.

~ THE END ~

* The doctor’s office had tried to email me but they had an out-of-date email address, so they sent a snail mail letter.

** I never said anything to my eye doctor because when I got to his office my mind wandered, distracted by two relaxed Federal prison inmates, in handcuffs + shackled ankles, surrounded by two stern guards. The foursome was sitting in the waiting area for appointments with some doctor in the group practice.

In Which I Grumble About A YUCKY Routine Medical Procedure

But first, yesterday BOSSSYBABE posted an interview with me for her ongoing monthly Blogger Spotlight Series. I was thrilled to be asked to participate. Go HERE to read the interview. ‘Tis more upbeat than the following, I can guarantee you that.

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FIRST FUN FACT: I had a routine colonoscopy last week. It was every bit as awful, loathsome, & dreadful as I remember them to be.

Corollary to first fun fact: It took me 40 days to get the doctor’s practice to call me back after my initial phone call to schedule the procedure, then four weeks after that call to have the procedure. I was a returning patient. I have insurance. YET they played phone tag with me until the magical mythical Brittany was ready to schedule me, a mere patient pawn in the Gastroenterological Version of Game of Thrones.

SECOND FUN FACT: I have puny weak sad little veins that when deprived of liquid, as happens when one does a colon cleanse prior to one’s colonoscopy, said veins become elusive. So much so that it took the nurse FIVE attempts to get the IV inserted into me.

Corollary to second fun fact: My right hand is sore. Almost the entire top of it is black & blue, as if someone used it as a pincushion.

THIRD FUN FACT: I did my colon cleanse on the night that Russia invaded Ukraine. Meaning that while *indisposed* in the bathroom I was also watching on my cell phone, that I never take into the bathroom except on that particular night, as the surreal international situation unfolded in real time.

Corollary to third fun fact: I probably heard about the Ukrainian woman with the sunflower seeds long before most people did. She was a passive-aggressive ray of light during my long night confined to the bathroom.

FOURTH FUN FACT: There’s nothing wrong with my colon so that is good news. HOWEVER after the procedure while I was in the post-op area the doctor told me that I have: “an extremely twisty colon.”

Corollary to fourth fun fact: I’m a polite articulate woman, but for the life of me I had no idea what to say in reply to what the doctor said. [Would you?] Should I have said something like ‘thank you’ or ‘oh dear’ in reply? I just said  a less than eloquent “huh” and continued to sip my Coke.

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