30 November 2013

Yesterday it seemed like the Intertoobs were all a-twitter over some reality show producer who live-tweeted someone else’s meltdown on an airplane he was suck in. And the general consensus iseems to be that the guy, Eli Langer, is some sort of heroic figure and damned funny to boot, having put that person in her place.

I enjoy reading Teh Funny, so I followed the link everyone was sharing and prepared to laugh my ass off.

I didn’t.

I didn’t even chuckle.

Instead, I spent some time trying to figure out what was so amusing about a guy taking to Twitter in order to show what a giant douche he can be. Because in the end, that’s all I saw. Someone who finds joy in picking on other people.

That’s what he did, folks. He wasn’t some champion of the Airplane Oppressed. He acted like a prepubescent troll, and offered it up live for mass consumption. And for God knows what reason, people found it funny.

Here’s the link [clicky here]. Go take a look. Laugh if you want to, but then really soak in what you’re reading.

The first few tweets are, I admit, a little interesting. They’re just over the top enough to wonder if he’s making it all up, but real enough to not care. Some woman is having a meltdown; all she wants is to get to her family for Thanksgiving, the flight is delayed, and she’s obviously a dozen kinds of upset and taking it out on the crew and everyone around her.

I was on his side (but not finding it funny) right up until the picture of the wine and first note he sent her. After that…you’re a jerk, mister. You had the chance to be nice, be the better person, to offer her the wine and a note that, while sympathetic, also let her know that enough was enough.

You can do stuff like that with kindness, you know. Instead he told her “Hopefully if you drink it, you won’t be able to use your mouth to talk.”

Real classy there.

He follows it up with two bottles of vodka. Sure, it pisses her off, and he thinks that’s just fine and dandy. She sends him a note telling him what she thinks, and for him, “this means war.”

And this is wear we learn a little bit about the woman. Her name is Diane, and she’s wearing a medical mask over her “idiot face.”

The medical mask wasn’t a clue? Like perhaps she’s got more crap going on than the stress of holiday travel? Like this trip wasn’t just important but important and that’s why she’s melting down?

So hey, let’s send her another note! Only this time, tell her “I hate you very much. Eat my dick.”

Let it go at that?

Of course not. Keep poking the bear. And make another dick-eating comment, because the first one was so mature.

I don’t see the humor in any of it. What I see is some guy bullying a woman who really can’t fight back.

Is she a douche, too?

Probably. The thing with this is we don’t get to know her side of the story. We get a narrow, one-sided look at a woman taking out her Very Bad Day on people who don’t deserve it.

And truly no one in that plane deserved it.

But that doesn’t mean it’s all right to bully her, and it’s really not all right to let the rest of the world pile on.

People like Diane are irritating. No one wants to be stuck where she is, complaining like she is, and it’s easy to say she got what she deserved.

We all think about doing just what Elan did, giving her a taste of her own medicine.

The problem with that? It’s mean. It makes us no better than the person at whom we’re poking back.

Elan Langer isn’t a hero.

He’s a jerk and a bully.

Picture yourself having a horrible, awful day; a soul crushing, can’t-get-much-worse-day. And you slip up, have a few minutes of a selfish, tantrum-tinged meltdown because you've hit your breaking point. Then someone like him comes along…

It’s not funny anymore, is it?


22 November 2013

From a friend, no context, no explanation, but worth sharing (and done so with permission...)

…in all those warnings from so-called friends about the “gay lifestyle” and how it meant drugs and promiscuity and heartache, I always wondered why, and how did their kids fall into that. Not being gay, but that “lifestyle.” But then my 14 year old son brought home his first boyfriend, and I realized something: he had no fear because he’s known his entire life that whomever he had a crush on, whomever he dated, whomever he fell in love with, we not only would accept it, we would cherish the person who cared that much about him. Our expectations, the things we’ve taught our children, are of respect, kindness, and family. Do I worry? Yes, I worry he’ll get his heart broken, even though I realistically know that will happen a time or two. But I don’t worry about that “lifestyle” because he knows the love he has here isn’t conditional; he knows he is free to be himself, love whom he loves, and we won’t bat an eye. He’s been raised to believe in commitment and family, but he’s also been raised to know that we don’t have the right or the will to define for him how that future family takes shape. We hold him to the same rules as his siblings: the curfew, the meeting of friends’ and potential dates families, the not sneaking around, the general obeying of the rules of the house. And the first rule of this house is that we love first, ask questions later, and the end result is, I hope, that there will be no drugs, no promiscuity, and the only heartache will come from the pains of growing up and having crushes and first loves. It won’t be because he’s gay…


21 November 2013

Wherein I was about as rude as I care to get...

I thought I wanted a change from sitting in Starbucks as a place to pretend to work, so I went back to McDonald's. I bought a soft drink, caved into the aroma of fresh fries, and sat at a tiny table near the door. There were larger tables available, and I prefer them, but the lines were long and I didn't want to take up any more space than I felt I was more or less entitled to take.

I wanted to read for a bit while I nommed the fries, before pulling out the laptop to type my afternoon (or an hour or two) away. And as I read, a woman in her 30s, maybe early 40s, sauntered in, and promptly dropped her sunglasses.

The noise of them hitting the flood made me look up, and before I could think, "Hey, she might want to pick those up" she looked at me and said "Pick those up for me."

Not a request, not even the least bit polite. It was an order. Pick them up.

I looked at her again; I'm a good 10-15 years older than she and considerably heavier, but what the hell, technically from my seated position I was closer to the floor. So I shoved my tablet into my backpack--I'm not stupid, I wasn't leaving the table and leaving my tablet and backpack with my laptop just sitting there; I fully intended to keep control of my possessions--and started to get up with the intent of picking up her damned glasses. But that apparently was not the correct action in the Princess's eyes, as she blurted out, "Where are you going? I need you to pick up my sunglasses."

All right, maybe she did need me to. Maybe there's something wrong with her spine and she can't bend over. But ordering me the first time was wrong enough; berating me and presuming I was going to leave was just the thing to do to keep me from picking them up.

"Um, no,"

Her eyes went wide. "Pick.Them.Up."

Now I'm thinking there's something seriously wrong with this person and that everyone's day would go a little better if I picked them up, but instead of asking her why she NEEDED me to, I sneered and told her to frak off.

Except, you know, I didn't say "frak."

I really thought she was going to sling her purse at my head. Instead, she looked to the teenager just behind me and ordered him to pick them up.

And he did.

He got up from his table, picked up her sunglasses, took two steps beyond her, and shoved them into the trashcan.

It occurred to me as I laughed my way out the door and to my car that I might have just been royally punked, but the greater chance is that I just happened to be there when the Princess wandered in, and having a Very Bad Day, she lost all common sense and civility. It happens. I can't imagine taking my Very Bad Day out on anyone in quite that manner, but who knows? I can get unintentionally bitchy at times.

So I went back to Starbucks, where there was a shortish line and lots of people milling about, and where Pete the barista made my drink as I was ordering it, so I didn't have to wait more than 5 seconds to get it, and where one of my favorite tables was open. I even went to the restroom and it was still open when I came back out.

'Course, now it occurs to me that I left my fries sitting on the table at McD's, but I'll survive that disappointment. Though I kind of wish I'd stuck around to see the fallout from the sunglasses being shoved into the very full, post-lunch-rush trash can.

I bet she screamed.


20 November 2013

About this thing going around:

If you have ever gone out to eat on Thanksgiving—
Gone to a movie on Thanksgiving—
Run to the grocery store for that one dinner thing you forgot—
Gotten gas on your way to see family on Thanksgiving—
Stayed in a hotel on Thanksgiving—
Made a phone call on Thanksgiving—
Watched TV, listened to the radio, used the Internet on Thanksgiving—

If you’ve ever done any of that on Thanksgiving, then you kinda need to stop being so self-righteous about retail stores being open and grousing how you're protecting the holiday for other people and preserving their right to have the day with their families. Because if you’ve done any of those—or any of a plethora of other things—you’re a hypocrite. Every single one of those requires that someone else works on Thanksgiving.

Theaters don’t open and the movies don’t run on magic. Grocery and convenience stores and gas stations all have to be staffed by living, breathing people. All those entertainment things you use in your own home—your phone, your TV, your Internet, the electricity that powers them all—are all run by someone who is at work.

Here’s the thing about the holiday shopping season: it traditionally starts the day after Thanksgiving, with Black Friday insanity. The problem with that is this year, Thanksgiving is several days later than usual, which seriously cuts into revenue generated.

For a lot of businesses, the revenue made during the holiday shopping season is make-or-break; with fewer days to make those sales, they have fewer opportunities to make moneymoney that in turn funds the economy and keeps people working.

So yes, businesses are going to open on Thanksgiving this year because the season is so shortened, so that they have the chance to make the money that keeps people working. Is it greed? Partly. Largely, it's a business decision.

It’s not a crime. It’s not a mortal sin. It’s the reality of business, and the reality of what creates jobs.

And you can flip the whole thing over to look at the other side, too: not everyone wants to sit at home on Thanksgiving, dealing with relatives they don’t really like. Not everyone HAS family to spend the day with. Not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving. And a whole lot of people like working on it because it means holiday pay, 8-10 hours of pay and time and a half or better. For some it means much bigger tips than on other days. That holiday pay, the large tips, that might mean that their kids get more for Christmas than disappointment.

It’s not a cut and dried issue. Stay home if you want; go out if you want. But don’t pretend that it’s such a horrible thing if Macy’s is open and selling overpriced jeans or if Denny’s is open feeding people who don’t want to cook. Chances are, you’ve contributed to someone else working on Thanksgiving as it is…and the outcry is actually kind of absurd.


7 November 2013

This little shit...

...decided that my fingers tapping away on the keyboard was an invitation to jump in my lap and give writing a try of his own.

I don't know what he did, but Word opened a couple of extra windows...and closed out the one I was working in.

No horrible loss, I'd only tapped out about 1200 words and they were not great, so it was only an evening's worth of work. I poked his bony ass and made him move, closed out the extra windows, and opened the directory to where the manuscript is saved.

I opened the file...

...and nothing. Nothing since November 2nd.

Buddah managed to delete about 7,500 words worth of work. I was already behind on NaNo, now I'm really behind.

I was mad for about 15 seconds, and not at Buddah; he didn't do it on purpose, and I should have saved it to more than once source, like I did the first 1500 words, the ones I still have, in a cloud file.

Rather than throw the laptop across the room, I put it down, fed the cats 20 minutes early, eyed the booze in the fridge, and then decided the hell with it. What I'd written was nowhere near what I intended in the first place, and there are still 3 weeks left in NaNo. I've written a hell of a lot more than 50,000 words in less time before.

So it's a challenge.

I start over.