Who’s Zooming Who: When Being Polite Doesn’t Work In Your Favor

What is it with people lately?

You’re with a group of people and one woman, Queen Bee, starts to talk about her moral dilemma “blah blah blah” problem.  She wants everyone in the group to tell her what to do, that’s how distraught she claims to be.

You remain politely reserved saying nothing, thinking to yourself this isn’t a problem you crowdsource for a solution, while everyone else [oh. my. to. the. goodness. gracious.] tells Queen Bee what is wrong with her. And what she should do. And how she should do it.

Eventually all eyes fall on you so you go all Glinda the Good Witch.  You say something like you don’t need any help because you’ve always had the power within you to solve this problem.  Just put on your magic slippers, click your heels together, Dorothy Queen Bee, and you’ll find your way home solution.

Well a short time later you run into Queen Bee who tells you that she has no intention of following any of the advice from the group.  In fact she says that she only talked about her moral dilemma “blah blah blah” problem because she was testing everyone to see who was on her side.

Oh dear.

In a nanosecond you realize that Queen Bee now considers you a supportive friend.  You find yourself wondering how it is that being polite got you into this situation?  And how in the future you’ll be politely distancing yourself from Queen Bee?

Your new deceitful [I. don’t. think. so.] friend.

Shopping For Valentine’s Day Flowers, Chatting With A Fellow Shopper

Feeling the blues? Click on image above to go elsewhere to see and hear Little Milton & Bonnie Raitt sing Grits Ain’t Groceries.

A glimpse into my daily life demonstrating that random people talk to me– sometimes making me laugh out loud and to myself.

I’m in the floral department of the grocery store on Wednesday, late afternoon.

I’m shopping for a bouquet of flowers as one does when Valentine’s Day is on the horizon.

A random person, Observant Dude, a 40-something man walks into the floral department where I’m pushing my cart.  He looks at the displays and spies something I hadn’t noticed, being focused as I was on the price of mixed flower bouquets more than anything else.

Observant Dude stops in his tracks, looks amazed, then forsaking all other shoppers in the floral department he says to me: There’s cabbage in the floral department. Cabbage doesn’t belong with the flowers.

I look across the way to where he is pointing and see, nestled amongst the red roses, what appears to be bouquets of purple cabbage leaves wrapped in brown paper in a cone shape.

I start smiling because Observant Dude is correct. It looks like there’s cabbage in the Valentine’s Day flower display in the floral department in the grocery store.

Kind of quirky, but fun. On the surface of it.

• • •

At which point Observant Dude looks at me, totally baffled, and says in the most earnest voice I’ve heard in years: Who would get their loved ones a bouquet of cabbage? That wouldn’t be right.

I started laughing at Observant Dude’s sincere observation because you have to admit he had an excellent point.  Unless you’re a rabbit, bouquets of cabbage don’t generally express everlasting love.

True dat.

But here’s the thing, the kicker: what Observant Dude was looking at wasn’t cabbage at all.  Nope, it was a bouquet of hydrangeas, dark purple ones that he’d mistaken for cabbage, and while I could see what they really were, I didn’t feel it was my place to correct him.

Having just met and all.

So I nodded my head at Observant Dude and went on my way, smiling, because when you get down to it, who doesn’t like to hear an unsolicited heart-felt Valentine’s Day rant about something as mundane as cabbage, that wasn’t cabbage?

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, KIDS

~ ~ ❤️ ~ ~

A Character Study: Justifying Your Rationale About Doing A Tango With The Truth

~ INTRODUCTION ~

I NEVER INTENDED TO write about this person, she’s someone I knew a long time ago.  I’d guess that I haven’t been in touch with her for over a decade, maybe longer.

I got thinking of her because I found one of her business cards wedged in the back of my desk drawer.  I’m surprised I kept it, to be honest– but there it was and memories of her flooded into my brain.

So here’s a story, a character study if you will, of a pleasant someone who had her own unique way of rationalizing that which she said and felt no shame about telling, what were ostensibly, falsehoods.

• • •

ONCE UPON A TIME I knew a lovely woman who introduced me to a college acquaintance of hers;  I shall call this acquaintance Nedra.  The lovely women moved away but out of respect for her, Nedra and I still got together for coffee every few months.

Our relationship was superficial, but delightful at first.  Nedra and I had interests in common, reading and healthy eating.  She was dating at the time and had funny stories about her experiences.  I was remodeling the kitchen and had ridiculous stories about my experiences.

All would’ve been well IF I hadn’t come to realize that Nedra was making up stories about her love life. And her career. Stories that she told me, doing what I’d describe as, a tango with the truth.

• • •

I STUMBLED OVER THIS dance with reality while we were having coffee one day.  I hadn’t seen her in a while and I asked her about a guy she’d been on a date with, a date that she’d described in detail months before.

Well, she looked confused, baffled by my question– and told me I must be wrong about her, that she’d never been on a date like that.  Clearly I was mistaken.

Except I wasn’t. I’m not that addled-brained. I remembered quite specifically her conversation and joyfulness vis-à-vis this date. That hadn’t happened, but she said it had. Uh huh.

• • •

AS YOU CAN IMAGINE after that conversation I became more disinclined to believe what Nedra said to me, but I was intrigued because I’m a curious person who pays attention to people– and here was a character for me to watch.

Up close and in action, so to speak.

Time passed, like a year or so, and I was to a point where I didn’t want to meet Nedra for coffee anymore.  Beyond her propensity to make up stories, I no longer needed to be in her part of town on a regular basis so getting together with her was a chore.  On many levels.

Still, I wanted to know more about her reasoning for making up stories: why she did it and, you know, if she experienced any remorse about deviating from the truth. So I asked her, politely, tactfully, why she made up stories about her life and this is where it got really interesting.

• • •

NEDRA BELIEVED THAT BY making up stories about her life she was showing people how to make themselves whole.  She was, she felt, merely using her fictional tales to guide people to make better decisions about themselves.

She justified this by saying that when you think about it, scripted TV shows and movies were often fabricated stories that we accept as having a real impact on our minds, hearts, psyches.  We believe the stories and accept the messages contained within.

Therefore she was doing the same thing with her stories on a smaller, more personal, scale so that she could help people become more self-aware and feel empowered to do better. And as such she felt no guilt for what some of us might call lying.

• • •

Have you met anyone like Nedra who does a tango with the truth?

Do you think she has a point about scripted TV & movies being basically lies so why not do it too?

Was she naive or manipulative?

Have you found a business card from someone you lost touch with and got thinking about them, for better or for worse?

~ THE END ~

Home Sweet Home: A Simple Way To Explain Where You Live, Just Cuz

•  •  •

A rambling introduction then a simple question…

A friend and I were talking about where we each live now and how unexpected it’s been for us to find ourselves where we are.  In college we could never have imagined this.

She lives in an older home built in the ’40s in an affluent part of town in a community with a vibe that suggests social status.  It’s a desirable address, near a country club and fancy hospital and an upscale local grocery that’s all the rage.

Posh is the word for it.

I live in a 20 year old home in a quirky suburb with a bit of regional history that until a few years ago was considered to be the sticks by the people who live in affluent parts of town.  It’s an address that suggests good schools and unique local restaurants and outdoor activities.

Relaxed is the word for it.

To be clear, neither of us gives a flying fig through a donut hole about where the other one lives;  we’re not hung up on only befriending people who live exactly like we do.  Call us non-judgmental, I suppose.

Friendly, even.

No, the crux of our conversation was about how she’s ended up as an adult living close to where she grew up as a child while I’ve ended up as an adult living somewhere I knew nothing about as a child.

Without belaboring the point by getting pedantic with sociological terminology and geographic nuances, this is a simple | interesting | harmless way to divide people into two categories based on their subjective responses to the following question:

Do you consider where you live now to be your childhood hometown/region OR do you consider where you live now to be somewhere new you moved to along the way?

Discuss.

In Which Ms. Bean Contemplates Human Nature: Do You Play Up?

A marble in a martini glass because, I ask you, why not?

Everyone plays up.

An acquaintance said that after going to a party for the parents of middle school boys who play basketball.  She was making an observation about the group as a whole.

I got what she meant, having been to a few social events myself wherein people missed no opportunity to #humblebrag about their blessed lives, posing as someone more important than they might really be.

Acquaintance, who like me is an introvert with an extroverted personality when necessary, admitted that she’d played up in her own way.  That is, she’d bought a new dress for this party, but one that she’d be wearing to other events.

I’m not sure I’d say that is playing up per se, but I got her point.  She’d done something to make herself look better in the eyes of other people.

The conversation was short & lighthearted, but got me contemplating the ways in which we all play up depending on, I suppose, your need for external validation in a particular situation.

In my observation, and perhaps yours too, some people seem to need to belong to a group, any group, and will say or do anything to remain a part of it, fearing, I guess, the possibility of being alone.

I’m reminded of the old adage that there are makers, takers, and fakers.  If I’m entirely honest, in various situations and at different points in my life, I’ve been each of these to some degree and that seems normal to me.

Anyhoo, getting to something that resembles a point here, all of the foregoing got me thinking about this idea of playing up.  Here are my questions:

Does everyone play up? Is that a fact of human nature?

 And if so, does that mean you’re a maker, making something of yourself by playing up? OR are you a faker by playing up? I can see both sides to this.  What say ye?  

~ ~ • ~ ~

Voting With The Presbyterians: A Conversation About How To Get There

IN THE PAST

ONCE AGAIN OUR VOTING PRECINCT has been assigned to a different polling place. In the 20+ years we’ve lived in this community we’ve voted at:

  • the VFW Hall [smoke-filled with parking in a field used for their monthly turkey shoot];
  • the Country Club [time-consuming with parking at nearby Methodist Church, involved a shuttle bus taking us to the country club’s front door and then back to our cars];
  • the Elementary School [smelled like chicken sandwiches, had limited parking but nice landscaping to look at while waiting for a space];
  • the Non-denominational Christian Church [easy ingress and egress, adequate flat parking, short walk to front doors, only there one year];
  • the Greek Orthodox Church [difficult ingress and egress, limited parking on uneven sloped lot, many shiny gilded-gold objects inside building];  and
  • the Presbyterian Church [no deets yet].

BUT FOR TODAY

HIM: Where am I voting today?

ME: With the Presbyterians.

HIM: Which Presbyterians? The ones near us or the other ones?

ME: The ones near us. The ones who were hidden down the lane.

HIM: They’re not on the lane anymore?

ME: No, they’re in the same place on the lane but they’ve built a big driveway to the road, so that’s how you get to them now. They have a big welcome sign on the road.

HIM: How do I get there?

ME: Go down the road past the street that takes you to the United Methodists, but not so far as to make that sharp right turn into the Roman Catholics. And for goodness sake don’t go around the curve and make a right into the Bible Believers Baptist Church compound. Who knows what weirdness is behind the bunker they’ve built around that building.

HIM: OK. So where do I turn to get to the Presbyterians?

ME: It’s easy. When you see the big welcome sign on the left, turn left, and you’ll be in the right place.

HIM: Are you telling me directions to the polling place or voting advice?

ME: Both, I guess. Get on the road, go left, and you won’t go wrong! 😉

HAPPY ELECTION DAY

May you find your polling place without trouble. May you say *yes* to the school levies and mental health issues and support for the less fortunate. And for the love of all that is good and holy, I beg of you, may you dump the Trumpian chumps.

~ ~  🇺🇸 ~ ~

One-Liner Wednesday: A Mantra Courtesy Of A Three Year Old Girl

I was in Costco on Friday afternoon.  I ducked into the women’s restroom and while in there saw a cute little girl, about three years old, with her mother.

The little girl was wearing black leggings, a bright blue t-shirt, sturdy white sneakers embellished with cartoon characters, and a sparkly pink tutu.  She was a vision of free-spirited sartorial confidence that made me smile.

Oh, to be so sure of yourself!

The duo was standing by the sink in the restroom and the mother was starting to turn on the water at the sink in order for the little girl to wash her hands.  However, as we all know, toddlers like to do for themselves that which they believe they are capable of doing by themselves.

And they are often loud and dramatic in the process.

This little girl was no different than her independently-minded peers, thus she said for all to hear the following phrase that I think, as an example of positive self-talk, might be the perfect succinct mantra for anyone who momentarily loses their confidence while negotiating the ups and downs of life:

“I. CAN. ME.”

~ ~ ~ ~

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