Rambling Thoughts About That Which I Spot

{ By Ingrid Chang Via Join The UpRoar }

ON SUNDAY WHILE READING COMMENTS on tweets about the White House Correspondents’ Dinner with the mean lady who said the bad things [either Michelle Wolf or Sarah Huckabee Sanders depending on your point of view], I saw a comment that said: You spot it, you’ve got it.

I had no idea what this meant so I googled it and after a cursory investigation discovered that this is a way of saying that: if you notice someone’s hurtful behavior and it annoys you greatly, then you’re aware of this behavior and feel the way you do because you do the same thing.

The meaning of this new-to-me phrase was a surprise.

I thought it was going to mean that if you’re aware enough to notice that another person is behaving in a bad way [spot it], then you’ve got the situation covered so that this person won’t negatively affect you [got it].

I’VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT THIS phrase all week.  There’s a truth to it, no doubt.  But I dunno, here’s the thing.

Is it not possible that you notice hurtful behavior in other people because you’re an observant person who watches how other people behave and misbehave, thereby giving you insight into what makes someone else tick?

Just because I can spot what’s going on with someone else, doesn’t mean that I’m like that.  I’d say it means that I’m perceptive and empathetic and tuned-in to the people around me.

I’ve no pithy conclusion here, other than to say that my assumed interpretation of this phrase was wrong.

And now I know better.

• • •

Questions of the Day:

Anyone ever hear this phrase before? Use it in polite conversation or in comments? How far out of the mainstream am I to not know what this means?

In Which A Forgotten Friend Sends Ms. Bean An Email

The following experience is not how I do things, but there’s an odd sweetness & humor to this story. Plus, you can’t take things like this personally. You gotta laugh.

• • •

Hosta starting to grow in the stones underneath the deck, early spring.

I got an email from someone, let’s call her Pebbles, who I last heard from when I was in my 20s.

Pebbles had gotten my email address from someone on FB who knew where I was. I’m not on FB, but Pebbles was looking for me because, as she explained in her email, she wanted to re-connect with me.

To be my friend again.

Pebbles’s email was filled to the brim with newsy tidbits about her blessed life as the wife of a successful businessman and her role as a granny of a parcel of fabulous little ones and her passion, which was either going to the beach or playing golf.

I can’t remember which.

Surprised, but happy to engage, I replied to Pebbles’s email asking a few questions about that which she had told me and sharing a few details about what was going in our lives now.

• • •

The other day I got a reply to my reply to Pebbles’s email.

In it she answered my questions about her life and commented on my life.  Like a friend might do, right?

But here’s the thing that makes this communication exchange odd– and like none other that I have had.

Pebbles replied back to me, using the email that she’d initially sent to me and I’d replied back to her on; that’s normal enough. HOWEVER, her response came five years after I wrote back to her.

Yes, I said years.

Not five months. Not five weeks. Not five days. Not five hours.

Five years.

• • •

Knowing me as you do, my gentle readers, you can imagine that my inner Nancy Drew is curious.

Questions abound: where the frostbite has Pebbles been for five years? Do I want to know?

And why did she keep my response email for five years? If she wanted to get back in touch again, why didn’t she start a new email to me– like, you know, people do?

And what prompted her to think of me to begin with? I’d really like to know the answer to that question.

• • •

Nut shells discarded by squirrels on the stones, late winter.

So here’s my plan.

I’ll follow Pebbles’s lead and reply back to her recent email… in five years. I’ll ask the above questions.

Then when she responds back to me, presumably in another five years, I’ll tell you what she says in answer to the above questions. In fact, you, my gentle readers, will be the first to know after me.

Because I have no doubt that ten years hence we’ll all still be here reading and commenting on each other’s blogs. We bloggers are a reliable group of people who tend to live in the moment. We like to keep things current.

But as Pebbles has shown me, not everyone does.

Throwing It Out There In A Kick-ass Kind Of Way

  FOR A PROJECT I was working on I looked up the meaning of kick-ass*.  I found the following words used to describe kick-ass:

impressive • powerful • cool • effective • hip • vigorous • interesting • extremely good • forceful

In the process of this research I also discovered that kick-ass is sometimes considered vulgar slang.

[News to me.]

  I WAS SURPRISED BECAUSE: 1) I use the word in casual conversation– and as we all know I’m anything but vulgar;  and 2) I occasionally describe myself as kick-ass… because you know I am… in certain situations.

However, from the foregoing word research I’ve concluded that despite my good intentions and a desire to communicate clearly, in today’s world it doesn’t matter how I say something because someone will find a way to misconstrue what I have said.

Even when what I’m saying is truthful.

[Maybe especially when what I’m saying is truthful?]

  AND ON THAT OBVIOUS, yet annoying, note of writerly despair, I’ll end this post, my gentle readers, with what has become my latest favorite saying.

In fact, if you’ll forgive my vulgarity here, I’ll even suggest that this saying is a kick-ass way to add a bit of levity to your day– not that I’m suggesting that you should do this in your real life when your choice of word seems to get people all snitified.

But you could.

[But don’t.]

• • •

• • •

* Alternative spelling of kick-ass is kickass.  There does not seem to be agreement on how to spell it. 🙄 I went with Merriam-Webster’s spelling because I majored in English in undergrad and I have a fond spot in my heart for this dictionary.

In Which I Remember Why I Like To Shop Online

I saw a former neighbor when I was out shopping in the real world. I hadn’t seen her in years, which was fine by me.

I’m a person who believes that losing contact with some people along the way is healthy because we’re not meant to stay in touch with everyone we’ve ever known.

When former neighbor spotted me, there was nowhere to hide, so I smiled.  My smile was sincere, just not in the way that I imagine former neighbor thought it was.

You see, I was smiling because I knew I was about to find out a few things that were wrong with me.  This is because former neighbor knows everything.

Yes, she knows it all.  She is always right.

And me?

I’m sorry to tell you, my gentle readers, I am wrong.  About almost everything.  All the time.

‘Tis a miracle that I can hold my head up high when I walk out my front door. THAT’S HOW WRONG I AM.

And true to form, after a bit of “where do you live now?” chit-chat, she started rabbiting on, allowing me to learn that I am wrong about 3 specific things. They are: 1) the value of higher education;  2) what sterling silver really is;  and 3) that I’m getting my hair cut at the wrong place.

Fortunately the conversation ended there because she spotted someone else she knew– and needed to correct.  So I took the opportunity to walk away, saying “good-bye” as I scurried in the opposite direction from where she was standing.

But as I was doing so, in a moment of self-awareness, I realized that shopping online is easier and quieter, with fewer distractions– and less criticism.

Oh The Irony. White Paint, Please. And A Few Good Thoughts, If You Don’t Mind.

• • •

One of my all-time favorite quotes that makes me smile no matter what.

• • •

This past week has been a doozy.  Not in especially good ways, either.

I’d planned on, well– planning, then doing, during the week. Using my free time to go shopping at the mall for some spring clothes. To go for a walk outside. To be less here in the blogosphere, even.

But the Universe laughed at me.

Scoffed in fact.

“Ally Bean you shall stay at home, connecting with bloggers* by leaving comments** hither and yon***, whilst you await your next house calamity,” said the Universe.

“And your house calamity will manifest as your husband leaveth the house to drive 4 hours north in a snowstorm to check-on his 80-something ailing parents, one of whom is in the hospital.”

The Universe can be difficult at times, you know?

“And further, Ms. Bean,” the Universe said, “you shall be forced to look at said house calamity whilst your husband dealeth with his parents’ woes, because there will be nothing you can do to repair a roof, and subsequent ceiling damage, until the snow endeth and spring cometh for real.”

Oh yes, the Universe can be a trickster.

So this is where I find myself today.  Looking at water damage on the ceiling in the… [wait for it]… newly remodeled master bathroom.

Because, I guess, the Universe thinks that I need to stay home worrying, then waiting for various people to start traipsing around this house as they fix things.

Again.

• • •

Photo of ceiling damage [shown at a jaunty angle] that will need to be repaired inside the house after we have the roof repaired outside the house. Obviously.

• • •

* To be clear I enjoy connecting with bloggers and have used this week to organize my feeds.  All 70+ of them.

** I’ve also been systematic about leaving comments on all the blogs that I follow, because while “lurking” and “liking” are nice, as a blogger I believe that comments are wonderful.

*** If by chance I’ve left a comment on your blog, and you’re one of those bloggers who doesn’t like comments, then mea culpa.  Also if my comment made little sense to you, please forgive me;  my heart’s been in the right place this week but my mind’s been scattered.

To Me It Was The Grocery Store, To Dude It Was Noah’s Ark

THERE HE WAS LIKE A BAD OMEN.

SO I AM SHOPPING IN Kroger at a particularly busy time of day on a winter’s day when the weather is shifting from snow to rain.  Dude, a 40-something man with graying hair and expensive eyeglasses, is in my way.

Everywhere I go in the store, Dude, in his perfectly pressed dark blue jeans and black hoodie, is there in front of me.

  • In the foyer, Dude grabs the shopping cart I’m reaching for.
  • In the produce section he blocks me from grabbing a Vidalia onion… the mushrooms… a head of iceberg lettuce.
  • In the bakery department he stands indecisively by the rustic sesame seed bread that I want to buy.
  • In the meat department I try to reach for some boneless skinless chicken breasts, but he and his cart are in my way …again… as he ponders all things chicken.
UH HUH.

I LOSE TRACK OF DUDE while I’m shopping the interior aisles of the store.  I grab a jar of green olives stuffed with garlic and a box of Cheerios unhindered by his in-the-way-ness.

But he reappears in my life as I walk from the cheese department, where I’ve picked up some Swiss cheese, to the yogurt department where I want to buy one container of plain no-fat yogurt.

It is there, trapped behind this man once again …waiting… that I realize there’s writing on the back of his black hoodie.

NATURALLY I NEED TO KNOW WHAT IT SAYS.

I BEGIN TO STALK DUDE as he walks up and down the freezer case aisles, but he never stops to grab something from a freezer case when he’s under a bright overhead light so I’m unable to see the gibberish on the back of his hoodie.

Eventually we both end up in the refrigerated beverage section of the store where Dude reaches for a gallon of iced tea.  He’s standing under a light so I can read the pithinicity that’s written on the back of his hoodie.

Unsurprisingly, it says what I believe to be about the dumbest thing ever, while perfectly explaining Dude’s behavior while shopping in the grocery.  The writing on the hoodie said:

“If you’re going to fight, fight like you are the third monkey on the ramp to Noah’s Ark and brother it’s starting to rain.”

REALLY, DUDE? THAT’S YOUR MESSAGE. HOW VERY. 

Pondering A Neighbor: The Difference Between Gossip And Information

Dude, I’m not impressed with you. [Photo by Samuel Zeller via Unsplash]

~ ~ • ~ ~

WHILE ATTEMPTING TO MAKE A left-hand turn into our driveway I had to stop to allow a jogger, the neighborhood registered sex offender*, to run by before I could turn into our driveway.

He turned to look at me and snarled.  I looked at him and tipped my head, slightly, to acknowledge his presence.

I didn’t attempt to run over him with my car nor did I give him the finger.  Both options occurred to me as I sat there waiting for him to get out of my way but I realize that with some people indifferent is the best you can do.

I’D LOVE TO LEAVE THIS story at that, but here’s the thing– and it’s something that’s weighed on my mind since seeing this guy, a man who has served his prison time and is now merely listed on the state registered sex offender website.

In the last year, or two, this man has fathered a baby girl with his wife [girlfriend?].  They live down the street.  In this family neighborhood.

Uh huh.

Interestingly enough, it’s my understanding that soon, in the next year, he will be eligible to have his name removed from the sex offender website.  Meaning that only those of us neighbors who are here now will know about his past.

SO GETTING TO MY POINT, I’m left with three questions:

  1. would any parent knowingly allow their child to play with his daughter at his house?
  2. how unfair is it for this daughter to live her life under the shadow of his crime? and 
  3. when new neighbors move into the neighborhood, should someone tell them the rest of his story?

Discuss.

• • •

* UPDATED: This afternoon I got a chance to use the search function on The U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website.  The neighbor is no longer listed there.  HOWEVER, there were 13 other people listed as registered sex offenders who live within a 3 mile radius of my house.  I had no idea…

• • •