Archive for the ‘People Say Weird Things to Me’ Category

  • While we’re on the subject of creepsters…

    3

    I refer you to yesterday’s gripe about dudes. And yes, I know that not all dudes are bad. As Rahul happily pointed out, these creepsters are just making the rest of you look good! Right?

    Anyway, in light of my gripe yesterday, I thought I should let you all know (as though you’re interested) what happened TODAY:

    I went to Subway, where I ate lunch. Then as I was walking back to the office, across the parking lot, this dude behind me said, “Excuse me, ma’am?”

    So I turned around and said, “Yes?”

    And he said, “Are you single?”

    I rolled my eyes and said, “NO.”

    “Are you in a relationship?” (Because I suppose it’s possible to be both not single and not in a relationship?)

    At this point, I had just turned around and started walking away, but I was almost to my office. I said, “Yeah.”

    He said, “Excuse me?”

    I said, “YEAH.”

    He said, “Well, your husband or whatever is lucky because that is one fine ass you got on you.”

    I mean, not that I don’t appreciate the compliment to my ass, I guess. But c’mon. REALLY? And now that asshat knows where I work.

  • Seriously dudes, this is not okay.

    7

    Dear MEN,

    No, I’m not talking to all of you. But it seemed rude to start it “Dear Creepsters.” In fact, if you’re reading this blog, you probably never do this. I hope. Well, Travis might.

    Kidding, Trav, I just know how you like to be linked.

    Anyway, some of you men clearly need to be told that it’s not okay to stop a woman in the street to tell her how sexy her neck is, while licking your lips at her as though you might just throw her down and rip her clothes off right then and there.

    It’s not cool. I won’t claim to speak for all women. I’m sure there are some who like this kind of attention, but I can tell you that most of us don’t. To be on the safe side, you should all just stop it.

    And when I keep walking, because I’m not going to stop and have a conversation with you about the sexiness of my neck and risk getting raped or murdered, don’t yell “Bitch” at my back. I’m not required to respond to your creepiness. It freaks me out, and it’s really the last thing I need at 8am, on my way to work.

    I know, you “nice guys” are out there rolling your eyes, saying, “Man, you can’t say anything to women these days.” But that’s not true. Honestly, there’s a way to compliment someone without making that person uncomfortable. I do it all the time.

    But we also need to address the issue of receptivity. If a woman is not receptive to your attention, she’s probably going to find you “creepy.” Which, at this point, is as nebulous a term as “douchebag.” I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it. And everyone’s definition is probably a little bit different.

    Yeah, it’s as much a bummer for you “nice guys” as the floating definition of “bitch” or “slut” is for us ladies. Welcome to the club.

    Obviously, sexy neck spottings are not the only thing that I believe should be off limits. It’s mostly a class thing. You know, like you should have some. It’s usually easy to tell when someone is being sincere, and “Man, I’d like to put my dick in your mouth” just ain’t it.

    So let’s all take a lesson in class and consideration for our fellow humans. That means no more honking and yelling filthy things from your vehicle, no more lewd talk to strangers on the street, and having some respect for everyone’s space bubble. It’s not so hard; more than half of us do it all day everyday. Give it a try, I’m sure you’ll like it.

    Love (around the space bubble),
    Shine

  • The Joys (and Sorrows) of Public Transportation

    0

    Photo Courtesy of DART.org

    Just recently, I read a post on Zen Habits (one of my favorite blogs) about the lessons to be learned from riding mass transit.

    I’ve been without a car myself for nearly six months, and I wanted to write about this anyway, but Leo has given me a good excuse. And that is: I disagree. Not completely, but on several points.

    If you haven’t read the post, you can find it here.

    So far, there has been only one day in which I literally threw my hands up in the air, used an expletive, and wished (fervently) for a car. No car magically appeared in front of me, so I’m still car free. Also, I’m just learning about exactly how hot it is in Dallas in the summer. Our fair city has had several days over 100 degrees already, which I’m pretty sure is unusual. Thanks, global climate change.

    I gave up my car, officially, on December 23, 2010. Mostly because it broke and the repairs were going to cost more than the car itself. Since I had been working on making some changes in my life anyway, I decided to see what life would be like in Dallas, Texas without my own vehicle.

    My parents still think I’m nuts.

    I live near enough to a train station (about 1.5 miles), and there are several bus stops near my apartment. Our office recently moved, and now, instead of being a mile from a train station, we are across the street from one.

    In February of this year, around the time that Dallas was to host the Superbowl, we experienced some extreme weather. The temperature dropped drastically, with windchills into the single digits. I thought, then, “If I can get through THIS? I can get through anything.” I bundled up and braved the elements and I didn’t die.

    One important lesson: Hiking boots are not suitable for the concrete jungle. Even if it’s freezing and wet, running shoes are a better choice (traction on ice is maybe the only exception). I really messed up my calves using my hiking boots to keep my feet warm. The lady at Run-On! was not happy with me, and I’m still dealing with some of the effects.

    I’m here to tell you now that I was wrong. Three months of 100+ degree weather, plus humidity, is going to be far more difficult to get through than a week or two of really cold. I’m melting out here.

    And this is where I take issue with Leo’s lessons (I’m not arguing that his points don’t apply to him, just that they’re not universal). While yes, I believe there are some wonderful things about not having a car, Leo is in San Francisco. Home to some rather perfect weather, from what I hear. Having to deal with 100 degree swings in temperature is no small feat. And it certainly adds to the number of items of clothing I have to own.

    In Dallas, we always say that layers are the key to handling the sometimes 50 degree change in temperature on any given day. However, layers are more difficult when you don’t have your own vehicle. Who wants to be carrying around 5 extra layers of clothing when it gets hot?

    Leo’s first lesson:

    1. How to wait. Mass transit isn’t always on time (surprise!). But rather than look at that as a reason why riding buses and trains suck, we learn how to see that as an opportunity. My boys climb trees while I do pullups and (admittedly rudimentary) gymnastics from a low branch. We tell jokes and I swing the little kids around. We share things with each other, make each other laugh. It’s a good time.

    I think this is super…for him. But I’m not (yet) self-employed and there really aren’t any gymnastics trees near my bus or train stops. Not that I couldn’t benefit by doing any kind of pull-up, even the rudimentary variety. But that’s a story for another day. When my bus in the morning is late (as it almost always is) it makes me late for my train, which is often early anyway, and then I’m late for work. When I’m late for work, my boss isn’t happy. When my bus is early? The next one doesn’t come for 20 minutes, and it’s usually late, causing me to…you guessed it, be late for work. See above for frowny boss.

    I have a lot of patience for a lot of things, but this just isn’t one of them. And if I were talking about two or three minutes, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. At minimum, my bus is usually eight minutes late in the morning. The afternoon bus is often 15 minutes late or doesn’t show up at all. That is a sign of a failing system and DART needs to address it. Shorter bus routes, faster hydraulics on the handicap-person lift, whatever it may be. Fifteen minutes late on a 20 minute bus schedule is just ridiculous.

    Yes, I sit and read a book. Yes, I’m polite to the driver. Yes, I know that this will probably never change (unless I move to Japan where buses and trains actually run on schedule).

    The only other of Leo’s lessons that I take issue with is this one:

    3. How to deal with humanity. We’re often shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers, which is something you never experience with a car. We deal with smells, with annoying people, with those who talk loudly, with the mentally challenged, with plain crazy people. In other words, with people. And this is a great thing. We learn that we come in all shapes and sizes, that life isn’t the perfect picket fences you see on TV, that the world is real … and that that’s OK. We’re learning to celebrate differences.

    Ummm…riding public transportation is just making me hateful. I’m sorry to say it, but it’s true. I’m not saying that riding public transportation isn’t a huge diversity day lesson. It is. I’m just saying that I’m having a lot more trouble than Leo in this department. I’m having a hard time seeing the bright side of people who don’t shower. Men who won’t stop hitting on me. Women who want to borrow my chapstick. People who have no volume control. People who listen to their music without earbuds.

    You see my point?

    I’d love to just look at this as a bright, shiny lesson in humanity. Instead, I’d like for people to be taught manners and hygiene. And also for them to get out of my personal space.

    Maybe after a year without a car, I’ll feel differently?

    Having said all of that, I DO like not having a car. I like that I’m doing something good for the planet. It’s saving me a TON of money on maintenance and insurance. It’s a good excuse to actually be home more. I’m getting more exercise (which I’m pretty sure is just leading to eating more, as I haven’t lost a pound, but instead have gained about 10). I’m learning to be more patient (sort of).

    I can’t say it would work for everyone, but I feel really good about my decision. And you can watch this space for rants about late buses!

  • A little late and a little muddled.

    22

    So today, I was going to grace you with a post about atheism. I’m still going to relate to you something that happened to me last week, but first I want to direct you to a story I read in The Advocate. I just want to know if someone can help me to understand how something like this can happen. It’s short, but to summarize: A student at an Oklahoma high school has been kicked out, because the school administration found out that she’s living with her girlfriend (she’s 18) instead of her parents. They are refusing to let her graduate.

    Okay, on to the atheism. Feel free to skip it.

    Last week, I was at lunch at a restaurant near my job. I eat at the restaurant pretty frequently, because there aren’t many places nearby. I usually read a book while I’m eating, since I’m usually eating alone. Last week I was reading Atheism: The Case Against God by George H. Smith. An excellent book so far, by the way.

    Just to be clear, I was reading the book silently. I wasn’t shouting passages or reading aloud or preaching about atheism to the patrons around me. I was just sitting. Reading a book. Well, and eating a cheeseburger.

    This woman walked up to me and said, “You really shouldn’t be reading such offensive material in public. It’s inappropriate.”

    Blink blink. “Excuse me?”

    She repeated, “Your book. It’s inappropriate for public.”

    I was in shock, so my response was a little lame. I told her that I had the right to read anything I wanted in public and that if she is so easily offended, maybe she shouldn’t be looking at my book.

    I wish I had told her that she should stay home, if she’s so easily offended, but alas…it escaped me.

    Now, before anyone gets his or her panties in a twist, I’m not suggesting that this behavior is representative of all Christians or all religious people or any such thing. These were the actions of one person. I took them as such.

    What bothers me, though, is the idea that atheism is seen as “inappropriate” or “immoral” or whatever, in so much of our society (as this sort of thing has happened to me before and I’ve read about these sorts of things happening to others and I’ve seen much evidence of the intolerance of some or even many religious people). The idea that my reading a book about atheism in a restaurant could somehow be offensive to anyone just makes no sense to me.

    If I had walked up to a person reading a Bible in a restaurant and suggested it was offensive and inappropriate, I can almost guarantee that my actions would be seen as irrational and rude. Not to mention that I would probably be seen as representative of atheists, in general. Which would not be the case.

    Most atheists are just trying to live their lives. The constant and overwhelming “Christianity is the only good” message in this country is…trying, certainly. I didn’t say “religion is the only good,” because people in this country tend to believe that the Muslim religion is anything but good. Not all people, mind you, but it is (sadly) a pretty popular opinion.

    I think the negative opinion of atheism is based mostly in the fact that people don’t understand what atheism IS. So I thought I’d toss out a definition.

    Theism is defined as “the belief in god or gods.” As such, atheism is defined as “the lack of belief in god or gods.”

    Much like amoral is a lack of morals, but not immoral (violating moral principles). Atheism is simply the absence of belief in god or gods.

    It’s not a belief at all, which is why it cannot be a religion. It’s not a belief system. It’s not “I believe that god doesn’t exist,” it’s “I don’t believe in a god or gods.”

    That may seem like a subtle difference to you, but I can assure you it isn’t. Many atheists may assert that they believe that god doesn’t exist, but that’s not what atheism is. Atheism doesn’t make a positive assertion.

    Personally, I don’t like the supposed “new atheism” in which “converting” people is made a priority (I don’t know how real this is, but I’ve heard some talk). I would never try to “convert” someone (but I understand that some atheists are loud and abrasive…so are some Christians), but I will question the things people say and do (particularly if they claim out loud to be doing them in the name of some religious being). That isn’t my attempt to change someone’s mind, it’s simply my attempt to have a conversation or to understand; sometimes it’s an attempt to get the person to think about things from a different perspective. Likewise, I don’t get upset when friends or strangers ask me, in a polite and civil manner, why I’m an atheist. I’m happy to give you my thoughts and explain how I came to be an atheist.

    It absolutely angers me when I feel that people are trying to make their beliefs into legislation (e.g. discrimination of any kind, censorship, etc.), forcing us all to live by their rules. But that would likely anger me, even if I weren’t an atheist. Sure, there may be a few things we can all agree on. Murder is bad, stealing is probably bad, assault is almost always bad, lying is usually bad. But what of the rest of it?

    There are lots of people who say that beliefs should be private and no one should talk about them. There are still others who say that religion isn’t important. While these are nice thoughts (and both have been said to me by people who believe in god or gods in some form or fashion, not atheists), they just don’t represent the world in which we live. Until wars are no longer fought in the name of a god and people are no longer persecuted or discriminated against in the name of a god, these things ARE important. They affect all of us everyday.

    I’d also like to say, for the record, that just because someone takes issue with a religious person or group for something that’s been said or done, that doesn’t always mean they’re making an indictment of all religious people everywhere. Read carefully and completely before you jump to conclusions. There are many many many good and kind and smart and compassionate theists. Same goes for atheists. In both groups, there are also bad apples. I will always think it’s okay to call out bad behavior.

  • I’m just…not that kind of girl.

    18

    I’m sure plenty of you have read NTKOG’s blog. Last year, she challenged herself to do 250 things that were completely uncharacteristic, just to grow as a person and push herself out of her comfort zone. I have a lot of respect for her and I really love the project. I’m linking to it because, well, I’m going to talk about being “not that kind of girl.” I’m not, however, going to challenge myself to BE that kind of girl. Today. Actually, I will never challenge myself to be THIS kind of girl. But I may, in the future, take on a NTKOG-style challenge.

    NTKOG who: likes to participate in cliches and pleasantries, who asks “how was your day?” and says, “I miss you” and tells you to “have a good day” everyday.

    Instead, I abhor cliche. I’m not a huge fan of small talk or pleasantries. Not because I’m a cold-hearted bitch who doesn’t give a shit (although that may be part of it), but because those things don’t really mean anything any more.

    To me, “have a good day” (particularly when said everyday) means no more than asking “How are you?” and hearing the answer “Fine.” What has anyone accomplished there? Someone asked a question, probably without expecting a real answer and probably without even listening for an answer, and someone else answered it without saying anything at all. So now we’ve just wasted our time, because we’ve accomplished nothing.

    I don’t like to do things simply because they are “the things we do.” I prefer to think for myself. I prefer to ask questions to which I want to know the answers. I prefer to answer questions that have been asked with some actual curiosity.

    This is not to say that I don’t care how your day was. I’d just rather find out by other means. Asking other, more interesting questions. Obviously, sometimes I’m going to ask “how are you?” or “how was your day?” It happens. But I don’t like feeling forced into it. If someone says it to me all the time, I feel kind of bitchy for not saying it back. I recognize this is my problem, but I’ve faced the argument that I’m rude for not asking. It’s not fun.

    For instance, I don’t say “bless you” when someone sneezes. Not because I’m a rude and terrible and uncaring human being, but because I don’t actually think that part of your soul is escaping through your nose when you sneeze. Moreover, I’m an atheist, so I’m not sure whom I’m would be calling upon to bless you anyway. So I just don’t say it. Some people will sneeze and then look at me. I will smile back. They will say, “Uh, don’t you want to say ‘bless you’?”

    Why no, no I don’t. And I will nicely tell them so and the reasons why. Which is usually followed by an eye-roll from the sneezer.

    I just don’t participate in many things simply because “I’m supposed to” or “that’s the way it is.”

    In relationships, particularly, I find these pleasantries trying. Can we just stipulate that I care about you and you care about me and that pretty much everyday we both want the other person to have a good day? I’d rather say something meaningful than “have a good day” as a habit.

    Generally, I’m not much of a morning person. The last thing I want in the morning is to have a pointless conversation of pleasantries. It just makes me grumpy.

    I’m not saying all of this to accuse anyone else of saying things they don’t mean. I’m sure that every single time you say “have a good day” or “how are you?” or “fine” that’s exactly what you mean. Instead, I’m merely trying to suggest that those phrases have lost almost all meaning because we don’t think before we say them. We say them out of habit. That doesn’t mean we don’t mean “have a good day,” it means that it’s a habit to say it and a habit to hear it and that, as such, it doesn’t really mean anything any more.

    An example: My Nana is a very conservative, Christian woman. She doesn’t even like the word “crap.” If I were to call her tomorrow morning and say, “Fuck,” she would probably feel very offended and shocked. If I did that every morning for a month, though? She would probably still be offended, let’s face it. But it would no longer hold it’s shock value. She would be expecting it. In all likelihood, she probably wouldn’t even hear it any more.

    So why say things over and over until they lose their value? Why not express your love and care and such with a meaningful expression. “I love the way you eat potatoes” or “I smile when you do that thing where you lick your lips in a very specific fashion” or “I hope you make it to work without losing your shoes again.” Those things are special, because they’re about a specific person.

    Just something to ponder.

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