Equal Time: Yes, Men Have Their Annoying Quirks, Too

I used to live in the downtown district of a very small town. Lived there for 15 years, as a matter of fact. Being that it was literally an old-fashioned small town downtown, I did not have a driveway or a garage. I had on-street parking in which I had to vie for a parking space every single day. I could usually get pretty close to home, but it was no guarantee. Simply put, I hated that.

What was especially not optimal was that I preferred to wash my own cars. I will now do a touch-less automatic car wash, but I do not do any automatic car wash that drags carpet across my vehicle or spins abrasive brushes against it. Washing one’s own car is the way to go, and gets the best results.

Whenever I could get a parking space right out front on a Friday or Saturday night, I would drag the hose and bucket and soap out the next morning and wash my car in the street. Just me and some shorts and a tank top and some sandals and a hose and a bucket and some soap, and… old men.

Ugh!

Just as women have that chemical imbalance that kicks in at middle age regarding their shopping rituals that I mentioned in my last post, men I think experience a similar brain chemical imbalance that kicks in right on their 60th birthday.

Obviously, because I was washing my car on the street, and it was downtown, people would often walk by. Pretty much everyone would look, some would point while whispering to their companion, probably wondering who the hell washes their own car anymore to begin with, but would never say anything. Except the old men.

Always, without fail, some old codger would sidle up to me, and smile in his charming my-dentures-are-about-to-fall-out kind of way, and say… and this is pretty much verbatim, it was like they all had the same script… “How about I pull mine in behind you and you can do mine next?”

😐

Oh, lordy, you’d swear they just made up the most uproariously hilarious and completely original, joke. Wow. I’d never heard that one before, by golly. They’d all get some version of a belly laugh as they wandered off feeling so satisfied with themselves. If they were strolling with their wife they’d re-tell it to them, usually while the wife was rolling her eyes.

And I single out old men for a reason. It was only them. Never kids. Never younger men. Never ever a woman, at all, ever. Just old men. I will strive to never be “that guy”.

By now you’re wondering, “What did Ken do?”

At first I did an eye-rolled laugh and quoted a price of $50 (a couple guys were actually offended by the price, go figure). Then after awhile I just said, “No thanks.” I eventually just gave them a blank stare and didn’t respond at all. That last one was the most satisfying to me, as they seemed to enjoy comebacks, and didn’t know what to do with no response at all.

Fast forward to today, and I have a driveway and a garage, and I used to still wash my own car in my own driveway… and loved it… but the last several years have been using automatic touch-less car washes, instead. I miss washing the car… really, I do… but I don’t miss getting dizzy every time I bent over that came with my own advancing age.

Buttons, and Zippers, and Snaps… Oh My!

Forgive me if I’m being sexist, or misogynist, or some other gender-related *ist, but I can’t help but notice differences between the sexes.  I’m sorry… not really, just being polite… but there ARE difference between the sexes.  It just is.

Younger women don’t do this, so there must be some chemical imbalance that kicks in in women at roughly the age of 35.  Maybe some sudden draining of estrogen, or something.  Beats me, I don’t always get women to begin with… and from what I’m told, neither do other women.  But I digress…

They start becoming obsessed with their pocketbooks.

I don’t mean about the pocketbook itself, necessarily, though they do fawn all over how cute it is.  No, I’m talking about the organizational aspect of the pocketbook.  Their favorites seem to be the pocketbooks with 75 little parallel compartments sized just right for cash, credit cards, and so on.  And it’s not simple like a man’s wallet.  No.  It’s all safely secured behind a mind-boggling series of buttons and zippers and snaps.  Carefully designed to thwart even the most tenacious thief, I’m thinking.  That has to be the mindset in even designing something like this.  Here’s what I observed just a few days ago…

…A 45-ish year old lady is at the checkout in front of me.  She waits until all her items are rung up and is told the total, THEN she decides to pull her pocketbook from her purse.  This delay in starting the process of paying is inconsiderate and bad enough, but then begins the money extracting ritual.  Just shoot me now, it’s gonna be a long one.

She pulls the pocketbook from her purse… she lays it on the counter… she flips it over to the correct side… she unsnaps the little buckle-like snap on the outside… she opens the pocketbook… she flips the pocketbook over to the correct side (again)… she unzips a compartment, which exposes several smaller compartments… she fiddles and thumbs through what must have been ten little pockets… she extracts $10 from the cash compartment… the total is $10.72… she flips the pocketbook around… she unsnaps the coin area… she carefully counts out exactly 75 cents and hands it to the cashier… she then closes the pocketbook and pushed it away from her… (I’m watching all this in awe of the mind-numbing process that I’m sure happens in her life several times a day)… the cashier hands her 3 cents in change… she flips the pocketbook over to access it (at least she did reseal it)… she carefully puts the 3 cents in the coin area… she snaps the coin area shut… the cashier hands her the receipt…. she browses for another as yet untouched compartment… she carefully and precisely folds the receipt and places it in the new compartment… she then proceeds to do most of the same thing to close it all up (I’ll spare you the play-by-play on this one)… ALL WHILE STILL STANDING THERE WITH BOTH ME AND THE CASHIER STARING AT HER IN DISBELIEF!!!  And of course the pocketbook must be replaced in just the right place in the purse.

😐  I can’t.  I just can’t.  The cashier gives me an “I’m sorry.” look, but it’s not her fault.

And God forbid writing a check is involved.  It is also my observations in life that habitual check writing starts for women around age 35.  Not younger women.  Almost never men.  And generation seems to make no difference.  When younger women of any generation who never did this before reach a certain age, it kicks in, out comes the pocketbook and the checkbook.  Now, about a week ago, I did see an older man do something similar with his wallet and cash, but that was a an anomaly.  He was also looking around 70-ish.

It’s got to be a chemical imbalance, or something.

May the 4th Be With You…*facepalm*

May the 4th be with you.

😐

Really, it sounds like it was coined by a 7th grader who thinks he’s way more creative and pithy than he really is. And I specify “he” because, while women use it, women generally aren’t this juvenile to actually make it up. You’re not cute or funny.

People who say this deserve a throat punch. It’s one of those phrases that was mildly cute and earned a chuckle… if not an outright eye roll… the first time you heard it, but grows stale and lame after that.

Of course, these same people will, whenever an annoyance is expressed, purposely do said annoyance… I’m looking at you, Jill… which just adds to the vexation factor. And they know this, of course. That’s precisely why they do it.  People are so special.

lame
adjective

2(of an explanation or excuse) unconvincingly feeble.
‘the TV licensing teams hear a lot of lame excuses’

2.1 (of something intended to be entertaining) uninspiring and dull.
‘I found the programme pretty lame and not very informative’

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/lame

Look, it’s not original. Let it go. It’s been done to death. Let it die.

Ten Things That Should Be Against The Law

There’s not much to start with, because, well, the title kind of says it all.  So, here we go.

1) Auto-renew:  I can manage my payments quite nicely, thank you very much.  I don’t need your convenience, which is really you hoping I’ll forget and keep paying for your service long after I’ve stopped using it.

2) Terms of Service (TOS) without ways to negotiate or discuss:  You’re either with us or you’re against us.  That’s the attitude.  Accept our terms, or go away.  Raise your hand if you read the TOS on anything.  Yeah, I thought so.  I don’t either.  I already know pretty much what it’ll be… anything that could possibly go wrong will be in their favor, never mine.

3) Double standards in law enforcement: In some states police are allowed to use radar, but you’re not allowed to use a radar detector.  Should you ever find yourself in a police interrogation room… er, excuse me, interview room… the police and prosecutors are legally allowed to lie to you, but you are not legally allowed to lie to them.  No, fair is fair, level playing field and all that.

4) Credit reports and criteria about YOU that you are not allowed to see:  Your credit report virtually rules your life.  But do you know how it’s determined?  I bet ya don’t.  Oh, you have some vague idea, and of course if you pay your bills it’ll be better, but deep down hidden in the shadows you don’t know.  And you should.  Anything about you should be available to you.

A person should be able to copyright them self so that if anyone wants to do anything at all with your information they have to get your permission, agree to your TOS, and pay you a fee.

5) Buy 2 for $2.00, or 1 at regular price ($1.69):  I don’t want two hamburgers.  I’m only hungry for one hamburger.  I’m in a no-win situation with these “deals”.  I feel like I’m being screwed either way.  If I get two, I feel guilty for wasting food.  If I get one, I’m being price gouged.  They’ve already stated they’re willing to take a dollar for their burger, so just sell me one for a buck and otherwise leave me alone.

6) “Convenience” fees:  It’s bad enough that you have to pay a fee to your financial institution to pay online, like you’re getting a mother’s note for permission to give them money, but we’ll go for the big enchilada here… concert tickets.  Ticketmaster seems to be the worst.  They keep adding them on.  “Convenience fee”, “facility fee”, “service fee”, fees to print your own tickets, or a fee to have it mailed to you via snail mail.  These fees tend to be so overtly bogus that they can’t even think up good names to justify them.

And for your continued entertainment pleasure, here’s a couple blog posts by others specifically about this topic: How do I avoid TicketMaster fees? and Ticketmaster’s new blog: ‘We get it — you don’t like service fees’

7) Celebrating “firsts”:  Ok, we get it, something “historical” has happened that we will all promptly forget because it’s really not important.  All the truly historical “first” have already happened.  Let it go.

8) Companies having websites then making it virtually impossible to contact them or cancel:  You get suckered into violating rule #1 above, you agree to auto-deduction from your account.  Time passes and you decide you want to cancel, or maybe you just want to give them some feedback, so you go to their website, the same place you signed up, and… wait, where do I find the cancel button?  Oh, they hid it from you.

9) Not answering the question:  I don’t know what’s worse, the person who won’t answer the question, or the reporter who lets them get away with it by not pressing the issue.  Example…

Reporter:  “Senator Blowmoney, was that you we saw driving 90 mph on the freeway last night?”

Senator Blowmoney:  “Let me reiterate my full admiration and support for our fine law enforcement officers.  Theirs is a very difficult job, and I know that each and every one enforces the law fairly and with integrity.

Reporter:  <goes onto another topic>

😐

Is it just me?  Senator Blowmoney didn’t answer the question.  And not only didn’t you press the issue, you completely ignored that he didn’t answer the question.  What kind of a reporter are you anyway?

10) Thoughts and prayers:  Oh do shut up!  We get it, you got nothin’ in the way of actual help or solutions or even meaningful sympathy.  Spare me.

Now, of course, I am speaking tongue-in cheek. Maybe.  As a more-or-less free market advocate, I do not believe these things should literally be against the law, but they are bogus in concept and should end. I live strongly by the “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” ideal.

Tipping: Part 2

It’s been roughly six months since installment number one, but here we go.  As always, since so many people have the impressive ability to take a moderate statement and see only the most extreme (and incorrect) interpretation, let me reiterate that I have no issue with the concept of tipping… in general.  Leaving something extra for people for providing good service is a good thing.  That being said, tipping has gone too far.  It’s no longer viewed as an earned reward, it’s viewed as an entitlement… to the point that many people admit to giving a pre-emptive tip just so they won’t get screwed… even in occupations that aren’t legally paid less than minimum wage.  With that being said, let’s cover a couple more subtopics…

Tip Jars:  😐  Really, who thought this up?  Worse yet, why do so many people fall for it?  I suspect this may be one of those subjects that most people will claim they never do it, like shopping at Walmart or eating at McDonald’s, yet just as those businesses are hugely successful (somebody’s shopping/eating there!), you see tip jars almost always full.  And there’s a social peer pressure in tipping, especially if the tip is somehow going to be known to people around you.  Almost being held hostage for your change, or a public shaming, if you will.

I think the worst example of a tip jar that I have ever seen is one on a shelf outside a fast food drive-thru window.

Nothing is absolute, I get that, and there are a few situations where a tip jar is totally legit.  A piano player in a bar, for example.  That’s a simple matter of practicality, the player’s hands are busy and you don’t want loose bills falling to the floor getting scattered around.  But the idea has grown absurdly since the smoke-filled piano bars of the 1960s.  Now tip jars are ubiquitous.  They’re everywhere.  Go to Dairy Queen for a cone?  There’s a tip jar.  Pick up your dry cleaning?  There’s a tip jar.  Grab a soda… 100% self serve, no less… at the local convenience store?  Damn, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting another tip jar.

Tip jars are essentially a passive form of begging.  Somebody has to take a stand, and I guess it’s me.

Tip sharing:  Let me be up front, I have never worked as a server.  I have never worked a job that depended on tips.  But, I do have a lot of restaurant experience from my younger days and casually chatted often with servers, and I was married to someone who labeled herself a “professional server”, and *our* income was tip dependent to some degree.

That being said, I am not a fan of tip sharing, where the server “tips out” other employees.  The other employees are certainly important to the success of the operation, but in most states they also get minimum wage where the servers do not.  I’ve seen places where the servers were expected to tip out the bartenders for drinks, as the bartender was crucial to the server’s success was the reasoning, but the bartender was not expected to tip out the server for people who ate at the bar and the server had to deliver the food.  How is that fair?

Plus, it’s really not fair to me as the customer.  The server is the face of the transaction, the person I dealt with and the person who made the impression that influenced how much I tip.  That’s the person I’m tipping.  Furthering this concept, there’s a national steakhouse chain where you get a server who takes your order and gets your initial drinks, then other people actually serve your food (usually having no idea who gets what, I still don’t understand this).  Other people get drink refills here and there.  You never see your server again until it’s time to deliver the check and pitch dessert.  Who am I tipping?

Bottom line:  I want my tip money to go to the person I think it should go to, and I don’t feel unreasonable in expecting it to be for something more than the basic job description.

Annoyed At Not Being Annoyed

First world problem, I know. (I love that phrase!) It’s been almost a month since my last post. That’s outrageous! I mean, there have been lots of little things that have been annoying of late, so all hope is not lost, but nothing really pen-worthy. For example: I’m eating as I write this and I spilled something on my shirt. Damn that’s annoying, but I already wrote about that. See what I mean?

Overall in life things aren’t going as superdupolous as they could be, but neither are they horrifically bad, either. Just cruisin’ along, in the middle lane, wondering when it’ll hit the fan again.

Here’s an annoyance: We’re going to see Alice Cooper next week. His new CD is awesome. Only two songs I don’t care for. I looked at his current setlist yesterday and noticed he’s playing only two songs from the new CD… and one of them is one of the two that I don’t like. 😐

Still going to be a good show, though. He has lots of great material.

Another phrase I like, and from Alice Cooper:
“I ain’t evil,
I’m just good lookin'”
Opening lyrics from “Feed My Frankenstein”

Perfect example. Yes, there is an annoying aspect there, but there’s also an awesome counterbalance. What’s a grump to do?  <shrug>

Do You Hate Your Kids?

Oh, I know. You want little precious to be unique. To stand out from the crowd. They should have their own identity and a special personality, and all that. At least that’s what you say when explaining it. Not sure I buy it, though.

Made-up ridiculous names are bad enough. You’ve already sentenced your child to a lifetime of saying, “Do you want fries with that?” But what’s really evil and insidious is burdening your kid with one of those absurd spellings of a common name. That’s completely uncalled for. For example… It’s not Kelleigh, it’s Kelly. Or, Kelli, which was the extent of silly creativity when I was a kid (get off my lawn!). Is it Heather, or Heathyr? Abigail, or Abiagael? Quinn, or Kwynn? Channyn is not Shannon. (I looked all these up, seriously.)

You must hate your kids. That’s the only logical explanation.  You must have a sadistic side that relishes watching them correct people and spell their names to everybody for their entire freakin’ lives. I mean, really, why else would you do that to them?

I read an announcement recently introducing Jaci.  I thought, “Jaci, like Macy, or Casey.”  Then I read further and saw the disclaimer, “(Pronounced Jackie.)”  Ummm… if you have to pre-emptively explain it, you’re doing it wrong.

Then there’s the extreme edge of ludicrous. Not Jacob, but Gakub. I bet he got called ‘Gay Cub’ a lot in school. I know, you’re reading this shaking your head and thinking it can’t get any worse, right? But wait, there’s more. How about… wait for it… KVIIIlyn? It’s obvious, right? This can be explained, which is good because it needs to be explained. Spelling with numbers… think Roman numerals. Not K-8-lyn, but K-VIII-lyn, pronounced Kaitlyn. 😐 Those parents should be prosecuted for child abuse.

And if you don’t know how to spell what you want? Why, just guess, like this mother did…

One of my English teachers once had a student with a name listed as “Johnhatten”, and she pronounced it as “John-hat-in” For a very long time.

One day, Johnhatten approached my teacher and said, “My name isn’t actually John-hat-in. It’s actually Jonathan.”

Apparently his mom wanted to name him Jonathan, but she and the nurse who was writing the birth certificate didn’t know how to spell it.

Works every time.

I was in line at a local hardware store one day and the teen girl who was checking me out… No, not like that! Get your head out of the gutter. Sheez!… was named Baighleigh. It took me over thirty seconds looking at her name tag for me to properly decipher her freakin’ name. Bailey, btw.

As someone who has had to spell their surname since Day One I know full well that this is a major pain in the rear end, so why saddle that rear end pain on your kid on purpose?  When people ask me my last name I just start spelling it for them, because I know that 99% of the time they will ask. (Then I get the, “Oh, just like it sounds.” response. 😐 Yes, just like it sounds) But it’s a surname, you’re pretty much stuck with it. It’s not a chosen name that you foist on someone else against their will.

Here’s the bottom line. Don’t be mean to your kids. Some countries you have to actually choose from a limited list of approved names. We don’t need to go that far, but we also need to stop making our kid’s lives more difficult than they need to be.  They will have their own identity no matter what you do, and it’ll be from their own personalities, not incidental cutsie stuff.

Punctuation is Your Friend

Be nice to your friends.

Not real often, but often enough to be annoying, you will be reading something… usually a post of some sort on the internet… and the writer will use no punctuation whatsoever. (Nor capital letters where appropriate, either.) Some of these people I have known for a long time, even in so-called “real life”. I know their educational background. I know they’re not dolts, though you can’t tell that from their writing. Case in point: the question mark has become as elusive as Sasquatch. Shoot, there was one guy I knew from a message board who claimed to be a university professor, who did this all the time. No capitalization or punctuation. I’m sorry Mr Highfalootin University Professor, but if this is how you choose to present yourself, then I question the quality of the education you provide. (He once said he would mark students down if they used two spaces between a period and the next sentence. He demanded only one space. *smh* #hypocrisy.)

Moving on, of course you’re wondering if I can provide an example. You bet’cha, I am a full-service curmudgeon…

oh my god this is my dog he is so cute and cuddly we went to the park earlier today and he jumped around and chased other dogs and had a great time he was so happy i wish i could be a dog too that would be so much fun well maybe not the butt sniffing part but id have to be a poodle or something because im just cute like that dogs are better than cats kangaroos are better than dogs that pouch is so cool i want a pouch i like cheesecake but back to dogs hes so slobbery i laugh when he gives me kisses please let me know if you read this and understood it my dog is the bestest ever how come people dont have breeds like dogs do lol

😐 Did you get all that? What the hell am I supposed to do with that?!?

It makes you look uneducated. It makes you look dumb. It makes it likely that the reader will not get a thing you’re saying, especially if your post is a long “wall-o-text” type post. Not only that, it’s actually rude and inconsiderate to your reader. And phone texting is not an excuse, either. Especially if you have a smartphone with a keyboard and don’t have to manipulate numbers to form words. Why should I have to decipher what you’re trying to say as if it’s secret code?

If you do know better and are merely trying to fit in, just know that feigning ignorance and/or stupidity to fit in is uber dumb. Don’t be average, be better. So, unless you really are a dolt, stop trying to play one on tv.

Hey!!! I was reading that!

There you are, in your local grocery store, wanting to get some Chinese take-out for dinner at home. You’re standing there perusing the menu board when… it changes! What the deuce, people?!? I was reading that! And it doesn’t even switch to more menu items, it switches to some mindless video of egg rolls and wontons being thrown in the air at each other like it’s a freakin’ combat badminton game.

*sigh* I now understand why old people act the way they do. All that kvetching is starting to make sense.

But I digress. Anyway, they’re called ‘digital menu boards’, and they’re flashy, and they’re trendy, and they make the restaurant look oh so cool and hip… and they’re completely infuriating and annoying. I, for one, am not impressed. I already know what an egg roll looks like, that’s why I’m there. I just want a list of options (with prices) so I can make my choice accordingly. It’s even worse when I’m asking a question about a certain menu item and… *facepalm*… it’s not there anymore. Never mind, now we both get to wait for the recycle. Don’t make me stand there waiting for the recycle. Maybe it’s me and my curmudgeoness, but I honestly don’t think that’s too much to ask.

I wrote recently about not being a Luddite. I welcome new ideas and chances and improvement and advancement. That’s fine. Just be honest and know that not all change is for the good.  Sometimes we overthink things.

Rant: Stupidity, defended

Being from the “big city”, there are things that are just not in my mindset.  Living in a more rural state has shown me there’s much trust out there.  Trust that I was raised to reject.  One is the naive lack of awareness of one’s surroundings.  Case in point:  In the winter people will leave their cars running and unattended while they go in the store.  It’s only a few minutes, right?  (They also openly count their money while still standing at the ATM, which drives my sister crazy.)

Where I come from your car would be gone in a heartbeat.  And guess what… it happens here, too, albeit not as often.  In fact, it happened here just last week.  This guy that I do not know personally, but am loosely acquainted with through a Facebook group, had his car stolen in this manner.  I’m copying portions of the story here…

http://www.kcrg.com/content/news/Marion-man-has-car-stolen-after-leaving-it-running-unattended-468390093.html

MARION, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) — A Marion man says he was just trying to keep his vehicle warm in sub zero weather when someone stole his SUV.

It happened on December 30th at Casey’s General Store at 680 Lindale Drive in Marion. <deleted> says he was running inside to get a cup of hot chocolate before work.

He had his spare key on him, and thought he locked up before going inside. A person at the nearby laundromat spotted the SUV and drove off with it. Police are still searching for the person who did it. <deleted> thinks the person is homeless, and stole his car to stay warm.

He adds, “Well I feel violated. And like I told the officer, the Marion Police officer. I told them, I said I would’ve given him a ride. You know, some place or a shelter, or wherever he wanted to go.”

…and…

The vehicle was found Monday in Cedar Rapids. Police will check it for evidence, then give it back to <deleted>. He says he will keep his doors locked from now on.

He adds, “I screwed up, you know. I don’t know how else to put it.”

(He wasn’t this contrite in the Facebook group.)  And he’s surprised it was stolen.  😐

Ok, now this news story does not include all the annoying details.  It also happens that this guy posted his plight on the previously mentioned Facebook page, expressing sadness and shock at being victimized.  And… this is what gets my goat more than the car theft itself… people lined up to defend him and his choices.  People slammed the thief, which was appropriate, but not a single person dared criticize him for the obvious.  They actually defended him and told him he bore no fault whatsoever.  It was all on the thief.  It was as if they were all enabling dumb decisions.  No one was willing to say what needed to be said… “But you left your car running, you idiot!  That was stupid!”

Now, don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t matter how ‘available’ something is, and no theft victim ever “deserves” it, there is never an excuse to steal.  But let’s get back to the real world, shall we?  In the real world there are dishonest people.  People who will steal, and it is incumbent on you to reasonably protect your stuff.  Locks were invented for a reason.  Leaving your vehicle available is not responsible.  Leaving your vehicle available is dumb, especially without remote start.  Even if the door is locked, if the key is in the ignition you’re asking for trouble.

Oh, and the best part:  In the Facebook group he said he will continue to do the same thing.