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.

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.

Eggses…

Restaurants… breakfast food… conditioning.  And that’s what it really is is conditioning.  There’s no other logical reasoning.  Pro-tip for restaurants:  Not everybody likes eggs.

  • Go to McDonald’s (or almost any fast food restaurant) and almost all options include eggs of some sort.  McDonald’s even recently rolled out all-day breakfasts.  Why is it so hard to to have a burger option or two for the rest of us?  Doesn’t have to be the entire menu, but a couple basic options would be appreciated.
  • Go to almost any sit-down restaurant and pretty much every combo option involving pancakes or french toast also includes eggs.  And this is one area where they are loathe to consider substitutions.  Sure, I can order ala carte, but then I’m paying inordinately more for my meal.

Eggses, by themselves, are nasty!  The notion of cutting up a lone fried egg and eating it alone is nauseating to me.  Scrambled eggs, by themselves, need to be covered in ketchup… which says all that needs to be said regarding them.  Now, I’m not wholly anti-egg.  I will eat them in certain scenarios…

  • Omelettes:  Eggs in the form of an omelette are quite tasty.  Being combined with the other ingredients is what makes an omelette tasty.
  • Over-easy eggs mixed in with harsh brown potatoes:  Not “American fries”, but hash browns.  Put the over-easy eggs on top, and cut them up and mix them in.  (Mix in some link sausage, too, and it makes a nice meal.)  This is something my Dad learned in the Air Force in the 1950s, and was something he taught my sister and myself, and is the only way that I actually like over-easy eggs.  The whites must be trimmed away as much as possible, too.  Egg whites are tasteless.
  • Hard-fried egg sandwich:  This is kind of an exception.  A hard fried egg on toast.  With or without meat and cheese, depending on my mood.  Mayo is required.  Usually salt, too.  A scrambled egg makes a mice sandwich, too… no ketchup necessary.
  • Over-easy cut up on toast:  About once a year.
  • Oh, and poached as part of an Eggs Benedict is a nice change of pace, as well.  (A local restaurant here that I like stopped making poached and tries to pass off scrambled for Eggs Benedict.  Blasphemy!)

Those are about the only way I will do eggs.  Hard boiled/Deviled Eggs?  *Gag!!!*  Raw in a ‘healthy’ drink?  Do you really want to clean your shoes?  My list of what is acceptable doesn’t seem so bad, but if you have caught the common theme so far is that they must be “doctored” to some degree, and/or combined with something else, to be palatable.

Bottom line:  People only eat “breakfast foods” at breakfast because they’ve been conditioned to do so.  Someone told them that’s the way it’s supposed to be as a kid, and like a good little soldier fell into line and repeated that mantra for the rest of their life.  A good burger for breakfast is perfectly fine, quite tasty in fact, and restaurants especially need to suck less and do better to accommodate us non-egg people.

Rant: The “Dumb Run”

A few weeks ago I pontificated about running and jogging and the questionable mental capacity of the people who do this stuff BY CHOICE! That was a fun piece to write, and I enjoyed putting it together and especially choosing the photos, and there was some tongue-in-cheekiness to it. Some. Today, however, comes a rant involving not running per se but runners. Dumb runners.

Scenario: 6:15 am. It’s dark out, sunrise is still about a half hour away, though you can see some light juuuuuust starting to come over the horizon. Driving down a semi-rural road, no sidewalks, no street lights, lots of houses, but spaced apart and in a heavily wooded area. Aaaaaand, the runner.

Dressed in pretty much all black. Black shoes, black sweat pants, black hoodie pulled over his face because it’s also cold out. Running across the street. I could barely see the silhouette of the guy, literally. I dub thee “the dumb run”.

There’s another guy who runs this same route and time, but at least that guy wears a bright yellow safety vest with lots of reflective markings. Personally, I still think that’s kind of dumb as well, but not nearly as much as this other guy who seems to be impersonating a Sasquatch that doesn’t want to be seen.

See this image I included? That’s what this guy looks like to drivers. Clearly discernible… not! I think I’m pretty sure I speak for other drivers when I say that I don’t want to be part of his Darwin Award epitaph.

*grunt*

*grunt*

Seems reasonable to me. <shrug>

Them: “Good morning.” Usually including a cheery tone and a smile.

Really, what am I supposed to do with that? Is it a threat? Is it a command? A suggestion? A desperate plea of hope at the prospect of yet another mind-numbing day? What if it’s not a ‘good’ morning? What if it is a ‘good’ morning, but I just want to be left alone? Is that so bad? I, for example, am not a morning person. I may not have anything against you or the morning in particular or anything else, but as a non-morning person… combined with being an introvert… simply do not wish to interact with people beyond a minimally-required level until later in the morning after I have been awake for awhile and have eased into the day a bit. Yet, some people seem to think I’m some kind of grouchy pariah.

I have also observed that some people get very defensive about their morning greetings. They are put off, offended actually, if you do not respond in kind with the same level of chirpiness that they have graciously just offered you. (And, as I have found out the hard way, a sarcastic overly-bubbly “GOOD MORNING!!!”, complete with fake sunshine and rainbows and forced ear-to-ear grins, does not drive home the point and make them stop. Ugh!) Go figure.

Now, I suppose I could be the standard cookie-cutter curmudgeon and respond with, “What’s good about it?”, complete with faux gruff voice inflection, but that’s predictable and all wannabe-curmudgeons, the posers, say that. Those people… men, usually… are also viewed as cute and cuddly in their curmudgeoness. Curmudgeons are not cute and cuddly. (I am actually very cute and cuddly, but I hide it.)

Anyway, how I *want* to respond, and used to until the blowback became too annoying itself, was to just grunt.

Them: “Good morning.” Usually including a cheery tone and a smile.

Me: *grunt*

There. You got your acknowledgement. Go away. But, practical reality precludes me from doing this as often as I’d like. I am told that it is viewed as unsociable. Who knew?

My sister… a rare female curmudgeon, I am proud to say… and I have developed a standard response. And the best part is we developed it somewhat independent of each other. When people say “Good morning.”, we respond with, “Hello.”

What’s wrong with that? It’s a proper greeting. It’s short and simple and correct, we are offering a formal greeting. It’s polite and reasonably friendly. It’s not obscene or uncouth or insulting. Yet to see some people react you’d think you just bludgeoned a unicorn to death, or something. I know people who honestly get offended when I respond with “Hello”. C’mon, stop being uptight and demanding that people act and react how you want them to. Not everybody is happy and chipper when they first wake up. I gave you an honest and non-sarcastic response, accept it and be grateful.

Then go away and leave me alone.