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➡️ Or is pettiness more like admitting you’re “a stick in the mud”about something that is out-of-date yet your crotchety old self refuses to bow to modernity?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

Parsing The Meaning Of A Sign + Completing My Photo Project

THE SIGN PART

I was on Instagram looking at photos of bathroom renovations.   Our bathrooms are still on schedule for renovations to begin in May.

As I was scrolling along, IG started showing me other photos, in this case ones of home offices.  [The algorithmic ways of Instagram are mysterious, I’ll say that for it.]

I stopped to look at one particular office because it was a good use of space and natural light.  In the office on the shelf above the desk was a sign that I believe was meant to be inspirational.  The sign said:

DO WHAT THEY THINK YOU CANNOT DO

I started laughing because this seemed like absurd advice to me.  For one thing, how do your know what THEY are thinking?  Are you a mind reader?  Or did THEY text/email/tell you that you cannot do something?

If so, why?

But beyond figuring out what THEY think, I was entertained by the idea that someone felt vengefulness would be an appropriate touchstone to use as a way of giving your spirit a boost.

What are you, a Klingon?

To cheerful little me the message on the sign seemed like an odd, somewhat spiteful, point of reference on which to focus your energy whilst pursuing a goal that may or may not be in your best interest, according to THEY.

But then maybe an ‘I’ll show them’ attitude is more motivating than I understand.  And perhaps, it is possible that THEY need someone to give them their comeuppance.  So who am I to say that this sign was bad advice?

Thoughts, anyone?

THE PHOTO PROJECT PART

Last April I started a one-year monthly photo project in which I stood in the same place on our deck and snapped a photo of the tree line.  The first installment is here.  The second installment is here.

These are the last two photo in this project.  I give myself props for following through on this project, but it’s over now.  I may do something like this project again, just not looking at these trees.

Suggestions, anyone?

FEBRUARY

MARCH

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True Confessions In A Snap: Some Photos You Dislike, Some Photos You Like

This is a photo of a blooming amaryllis that first bloomed in late December and has now re-bloomed in mid-February. Let’s give it up for this likable go-getter.

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I FIND PEOPLE FASCINATING, although I’ll admit that what people do is much less interesting than why people do what they do.

Therein is the start of many a good conversation. N’est-ce pas? 

You can tell me every stinking detail about WHAT you do in your life, but if I have no idea WHY you do what you do, I’m much less inclined to be interested in you.

To be clear I’m not here to fix people. I figure my job is to observe [what’s up] and understand [as best I can] and help [when asked] and report [in this blog] on them.

This brings me to the point of this post.

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FRIENDS HAVE TOLD ME the following three reasons WHY they dislike some photos their friends + family post on social media, but these friends will not tell their friends + family that they dislike the photos.

[And I sure as heck am not going to tell them.]

I’m not saying these are the most rational ideas, but they are enlightening and have made me smile as I listen politely, nod my head encouragingly, and murmur nondescript soothing sounds of understanding.

 Friend A dislikes photos of food.

This would be any food, either plated, for sale, or in the process of being made. Friend A feels these photos are something that could potentially make her fat because they trigger her to want to eat, which she is always trying not to do.

Friend A is thin.

She doesn’t like food photos so much that she won’t join IG where she feels too many people share photos of food, but does admit that she likes seeing people sitting around a table on which there is food.

 Friend B dislikes selfies.

She thinks they’re are an egotistical show of shallowness that distracts from any relationship. She wants to see what a person is looking at, not what the person looks like while they are looking at something.

Friend B is artistic.

Because of her firm conviction about the wrongness of selfies, she ignores them as best she can which means she’s ignoring a lot of people. This reality, she admits, gives her pause.

 Friend C dislikes photos of paths in the woods.

She says that all paths look the same, all woods surrounding a path look the same, and therefore if you’ve seen one path you’ve seen them all. Why anyone would bother to take these photos is beyond her.

Friend C is studious.

She extends this principle to photos taken of city sidewalks with buildings on either side, but seems less harsh with her criticism allowing that sometimes those photos are interesting.

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THUS HAVING SHARED THESE three character studies based on the truthful mutterings of generally kindhearted people with a need to vent, I’m reminded of Eeyore’s wise words: “We can’t all and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.”

This, of course, leads to me to asking you, my gentle readers, a few questions as catalysts for discussion about photos you see on social media.

Or as I like to think of the comment section here, it’s true confessions time!

When it comes to the photos your friends + family share, do you have a strongly held opinion about any one type of photo you dislike seeing?

Do your friends + family know that you dislike seeing that type of photo and WHY?

Or to put a positive spin on this conversation, do your friends + family know which photos you prefer to see and WHY?

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A Short Rant About Conversations With People Who Lack Self-awareness

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BEGIN [a don’t shoot the messenger] RANT

Let’s talk about something regarding people whose lack of self-awareness and conversational style is getting on my nerves this holiday season.

To wit, of late I have twice found myself chatting with a person who says something to the effect of: Here is what happened to me, it is an example of A.

I have then replied by saying: I believe you and agree with your assessment that this is an example of A.  I say this because this is what they’ve told me.

I am not twisting their words.

I am demonstrating understanding and EMPATHY.

At which point I’ve been told that I am wrong: that this situation is not an example of A, it is an example of B.  Why would I suggest otherwise?

Then they glare or snarl at me, she who has repeated back to them that which they said.  I have not embellished what they said nor have I dismissed it.

I have paid attention to them, been STRAIGHTFORWARD– and dare I say KIND to listen to their woes.

And what is my reward for being nice?  Criticism.  As if I am responsible for what happened to them, which I am not.

What I am guilty of, however, is being a mirror that has reflected back to them, in their own words, how they are viewing their reality. And for this, I am made to suffer their crabbiness, their querulousness, their low-level wrath.

[Yes, I just used the thesaurus. Can you tell?]

I’ve no idea about how to handle this kind of RIDICULOUS conversational style, but I do find that I am less inclined to ever want to speak with these people again.

And perhaps that is what they want, for me to go away taking my ACTIVE listening skills and my mirror of truth with me.

So be it, says the introvert.

END [a don’t shoot the messenger] RANT

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Questions of the Day

Thinking about the rant above, have you ever been sniped at for agreeing with, then repeating back, that which someone just said to you?

If so, how do you handle the conversation in the moment and your feelings about it? Does this make you feel peeved, for instance?

If this has not happened to you, can I be friends with you and your friends? Pretty please. 

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