I’m having issues coming up with a compelling topic today, so here’s a repost from the original Overeducated Housewife blog. It was posted April 25, 2018, and appears here mostly as/is.
Back in the 70s and 80s, AT&T had a very successful ad campaign, complete with a memorable jingle. It was called “reach out and touch someone.” If you were around during that time, you’d hear lots of cultural references to that campaign. For instance, I remember in the 1985 film, National Lampoon’s European Vacation, the character Audrey misses her boyfriend in the States. She tearfully sings, “Reach out, reach out and touch someone. Reach out, call up and just say ‘hi’…”
For some reason, that ad campaign was on my mind this morning. I actually went looking for the ad that was on the brain. I didn’t find the one I was looking for, but I did find one from 1984 that I had long ago forgotten.
It wasn’t so long ago that communicating with people who didn’t live near you meant sending a letter or calling them long distance. We had no email, Facebook, Skype, or cell phones. Sometimes, I think I’m lucky I got to live in a world without those modern conveniences. Hell, sometimes I feel lucky that I experienced what it’s like not to have electricity or hot water. I won’t say it was the most pleasant thing in the world, especially since I don’t actually enjoy roughing it. I will say that I know I can survive it.
Sometimes, I think all of the conveniences we have for communication have actually made communication more difficult. I spend a lot more time alone today than I used to before the Internet. I don’t have to go out to see anyone. I can sit at home and type on my computer, post on my blog, put pictures on Facebook… and get into some really ridiculous arguments that are ultimately pointless and aggravating.
On the other hand, if it weren’t for social media, I would have less reason to write. I get inspired by it almost every day. Maybe instead of writing blogs, I might be doing something else with my time.
Speaking of reaching out and touching someone… yesterday, someone shared the below post.
This post reminded me a lot of a story I read in one of the local Facebook groups. A father was upset because his daughter was being harassed by a man as she was trying to walk home on post. Most everyone was supportive of the man’s anger. But there was one guy who questioned the father’s story and gave him a hard time about it.
Later, I noticed the guy, who had been so unsympathetic to the man who was posting about his daughter’s harassment, had a very disdainful attitude toward women. I had a run in with him myself. I almost wonder if he’s the type of man who hangs out on message boards like the one above. I noticed a lot of the guy’s posts gave off a misogynistic vibe. He’s probably the kind of guy who enjoys scaring women as they’re trying to walk home.
I almost wonder if there is an “instinct” in some people– males especially. They enjoy stalking and hunting animals. Maybe some feel the same about women, for whatever reason. They like unnerving them; it gives them a charge. Some people enjoy the feeling of power they get intimidating other people, even innocent people who are just going on about their lives. At least now, people who are stalking and harassing others run the risk of being photographed, videoed, or having the police called on them. So maybe for that reason, the advent of cell phones and the Internet was a good thing.
I guess the moral of this post is… “Reach out and touch someone… but only with your words.” Otherwise, you might be labeled a creeper. Unfortunately, Facebook is full of people who are a little off kilter. In fact, a college friend told me last night that one of my Facebook friends, a guy I don’t know offline, was “stalking” her. The guy does have a habit of excessive PMing that is very annoying. He mostly leaves me alone now and my friend has him blocked. But it does make me wonder about some people. The Internet makes it easier for everyone to reach out and touch someone… and sometimes in places they don’t want to be touched.
ETA:The guy who was harassing my friend in 2018 eventually got pissed off and blocked me, because I unfriended him during the pandemic (2020). He kept sharing inflammatory political bullshit that I found upsetting. If he’d been an actual friend, he would have understood that the constant stream of politics was causing distress. Instead, he just got really mad and hit the block button. Suits me fine. I don’t miss him, or his off kilter behavior.
Yesterday, I read an advice column by Carolyn Hax of the Washington Post. The first subject came from a woman who described herself as in her mid 50s and obese. Her question was adapted from an online conversation. Below is what Hax put in her column:
Hi, Carolyn: Will you give me a Pap smear or a pep talk? I am dreading my yearly OB/GYN appointment. My doctor, while very personable, continues to care more about my weight than any other issues. I am in my mid-50s and obese, but I am working out two to three times a week with a professional trainer. Those sessions are quite strenuous.
I am not normally at a loss for words, but my mild pushback during the last physical resulted in an irritated doctor, pushing additional “suggestions” — which usually entail signing up for a commercial weight-loss program, visiting a colleague who is not in my network, tummy tucks, etc. I generally reserve those topics for my yearly visits with my general practitioner and prefer she concentrate on my “woman parts.” Yet I know the first thing out of her mouth during the next visit will be, once again: “You still need to lose weight. Are you still exercising?”
— At a Loss for Words
I agreed with Carolyn Hax’s advice, which was this:
A pep talk, then: Get another doctor. If that’s not practical, then state clearly to this one that you are working with your primary doctor on the weight and will not discuss it in this appointment. It’s your appointment, your care. You say what and when. If you lose your nerve in situations like this, then write it down and hand the note over.
I left a very short comment on the Facebook post for this column. I wrote “Get another doctor or, do what I do and avoid going. ;)”
Now… maybe I shouldn’t have have “joked” about not going to the doctor, since that’s not exactly a health promoting suggestion. I actually wasn’t joking, though, in spite of the winky smilie. I don’t go to doctors unless I’m really sick. I know some people think that’s crazy. In fact, given my educational background, it’s probably very surprising that I don’t visit doctors and get screenings. But if you know my history, it’s a lot less surprising. I had a really bad experience with a gynecologist who traumatized me. I also have kind of a bad attitude about life, most of the time. It’s getting worse by the day.
However… I do think the first part of my comment was sound. I do think that if your doctor isn’t a good fit for you, you should find another one. Doctors aren’t gods. They make mistakes sometimes. And if you’re going to one who upsets and alienates you so much that you don’t want to go see them, that’s a sign that you need to find a new doctor, even if they’re not wrong about advising you to lose weight, or change, or eliminate, some other aspect of your lifestyle.
OB-GYNs, in particular, are examining a very intimate part of the body, and that requires great trust in them. I am a firm believer that any doctor who is putting their hands in orifices where the sun doesn’t shine needs to be very professional and sensitive to their patient’s needs. I feel that way because of that first (and only) OB-GYN doctor I saw, who treated me like a slab of meat, insulted me, and physically hurt me. Then she basically told me to shut up while she continued her exam.
Afterwards, that doctor blamed me for the fact that she wasn’t as thorough as she’d wanted to be, because I wasn’t “relaxed”. As if I, as a virgin on whom she’d just used a large, metal speculum that hurt like hell, could easily relax, under those circumstances. She abused my trust. I left her office in tears, feeling like I had just been sexually assaulted, and knowing that technically, I’d only just had my first pelvic exam. That experience still made me feel extremely violated. Now, I don’t trust most doctors at all. Intellectually, I know it’s irrational to think that all doctors will do what that woman did to me. I’ve even had some good experiences with doctors since that incident. I still find it terrifying to see most physicians… even the ones who don’t require me to get undressed for them.
The doctor in the above scenario sounds like she’s basically competent, but she’s pushing “solutions” that aren’t feasible for the patient and are wasting precious time in an appointment that is probably already too short. So, I don’t think it’s wrong if the patient decides to try another doctor in that case. She may find, after trying another doctor, that she likes the first doctor more, or she may find that the second or third doctor she tries is better for her needs. If she has the flexibility to try different practitioners, I think she should. It’s her body, and her healthcare… and ultimately, it is her LIFE.
I got some likes for my very short comment, on which I didn’t elaborate. One person left me a “sad” smiley. But then, I got a comment from someone calling herself “Winnie Jay”. Winnie Jay decided to blast me and another commenter, then chastised me for “joking” about such a serious matter. She then ended her diatribe by calling me “girl”.
I know it sounds crazy, but Winnie’s comment really infuriated me. Especially, since she called me “girl”, which is a very diminishing and disrespectful thing to do. I mean, she’s not wrong to write that obesity isn’t healthy and is correlated with chronic diseases, and people often lie about what they’re actually doing to protect their health. But does she really expect people to take her seriously when she’s so confrontational and rude? My first instinct, honestly, was to tell her to go fuck herself.
However, instead of firing back at Winnie, who unceremoniously “pooh poohed” on my brief and basically innocuous comment, I wrote “Thanks for your input, girl.” And I left it at that. I didn’t even use a “reaction” or an eye roll smiley. If she has a brain, the fact that I reciprocated by calling her “girl” won’t be lost on her. If you want people to take you seriously and hear what you have to say, you shouldn’t go out of your way to alienate them… which is exactly my point about the doctor described in Carolyn Hax’s column. Fortunately, Winnie didn’t come back, nor did I get any other comments. As of this morning, Winnie is now on my block list; so we won’t run into each other again.
I looked at the responses on the Washington Post’s article itself, as opposed to its Facebook page. Quite a few people were pointing out that the doctor was right to aggressively harp on the woman’s weight at every visit. As a former student of public health, I agree that obesity isn’t healthy, and competent doctors should address it, or at least encourage healthy weight loss. However, physicians should do that with sensitivity and respect, as well as some situational awareness of the patient’s reality. Good people skills are important. Most folks don’t like to be lectured, especially if they’re adults. Chastising adults as if they are children is a good way to get fired.
I realize that asking doctors to have a little sensitivity might be a tall order when you only get about fifteen to twenty minutes for an appointment. But, if the doctor is spending some of that time promoting things like commercial weight loss programs, tummy tucks, or out of network doctors that the patient can’t, or won’t, access, that’s precious time wasted that could be used for coming up with a better, more effective solution, that will fit the patient’s reality and ultimately have more of a chance of success.
Medicine in the United States is a business. People can and do leave reviews for their doctor’s services. I don’t think that is a bad thing, either, because it helps people choose a practitioner who can give them the best care for THEMSELVES and THEIR OWN BODIES. Some people like authoritative doctors who tell them what to do; it gives them a sense of security. Other people prefer a more collaborative approach. Some people like doctors who are very relaxed and calm. Others feel like a doctor that is too calm isn’t doing anything to help them.
Fortunately, there are a lot of physicians in the United States, depending on where you live. Anyone living in the Washington, DC area will have a lot of options for receiving basically good care. So I think Carolyn Hax was right to tell the letter writer to look for another OB-GYN who is more in line with offering her care that is appropriate for her situation and preferences. After all, she’s paying for the doctor’s time and expertise. It might as well be time that is as pleasantly spent as possible, especially since she seems focused on improving her health and hanging around in this hellscape we’re in right now.
As for Winnie… I could have told her off, if I’d felt like it would have done some good. Winnie was likely looking for a fight, and she made some erroneous assumptions about me. She might be surprised to know why I responded the way I did, but instead of being respectful and kind, she decided it was more effective to be hostile and insulting to a stranger.
If I had decided to respond to her, I would tell Winnie that a person could be the BEST trained and most educated doctor in the world, who recommends all of the right treatments and medications and is very highly regarded and respected. None of that will do a single whit of good if a person feels so uncomfortable and alienated that they can’t bring themselves to make an appointment and go in to see the doctor.
Because of what happened to me when I saw a FEMALE OB-GYN, I have a really hard time seeing doctors today. Just the thought of calling one for an appointment fills me with dread and anxiety. I’m smart enough to know that not seeing a doctor is risky, especially at my age. But I also know that I don’t particularly want to grow old, anyway, and spending time talking to someone who is obnoxious, offensive, or oblivious isn’t my idea of a good time. Especially if I’m paying for it.
I also know that I am not the only one who feels this way… I’ve blogged about it before, with links to articles about people who have gone in for a specific medical problem, and the doctor remains hyper-fixated on their weight. That approach really can cause a person to feel like they don’t matter and their actual needs won’t be addressed; and it makes it that much harder for them to ask for medical attention when they really need it.
Again… just my thoughts, y’all. I have an issue that probably should be addressed by a doctor, but my choices here involve either going to a military doc (like the asshole OB-GYN who hurt me), or seeing a German doctor, who may go into lecture mode. Neither option is very appealing.
Be warned, y’all. I’m in the mood to rant. There will probably be some profanity, and yes, I’ll be spelling out all the words. I don’t like the practice of using asterisks in swear words. Fuck that noise. Proceed with caution.
Some time ago, I got tired of George Takei’s Facebook posts. I decided to unfollow him, because too often, I’d find myself having hostile interactions with his followers. A lot of Takei’s followers are of the left-wing variety. I’ve got no issues with that, until they try to ram their opinions down my throat. If a stranger responds to my comment with anger, I don’t usually bother to read what they say. Sometimes, I’ll even use my block button.
Now… I’m not referring to someone I’ve directly addressed and pissed off in some way. What I mean is, if I’ve written a stand alone comment and a total stranger immediately responds to me with vitriol or mocking, I consider that offensive. Chances are good I won’t bother to read what they’ve written. Same thing goes for people who respond to me with condescension or derision. It’s poor communication, and I don’t have time for it. Gotta think about my blood pressure. Would rather clean the lint out of my belly button than read that.
Here’s my reasoning for this. I don’t wake up in the morning and deliberately decide to write something that is going to piss someone off. I’m a decent human being and I deserve basic respect. If I leave a comment, most of the time, I’m being serious. I’ve usually given thought to what I’ve posted. So, if your response is to “laugh” at me, or try to tell me off, I’m going to turn off your ability to interact with me. Ain’t nobody got the time for that bullshit. Go troll someone else.
Somehow, even though I had unfollowed George Takei some time ago, I ended up being resubscribed to his posts (which I suspect aren’t his posts anymore). Like a lot of other formerly good pages, lately George Takei’s Facebook posts now mostly consist of “Am I the Asshole” stories from Reddit. Some AITA posts are entertaining. Some are infuriating.
A couple of days ago, there was a post about a guy whose sister took his kids out and bought them a puppy without his permission. The guy didn’t want a dog and the sister knew it, but she bought the puppy anyway. The kids were delighted, of course, but their father was furious. He demanded that his sister take the dog back, but she refused. She claimed that her landlord wouldn’t let her have another dog. So the guy immediately took the innocent dog to the pound!
I just went looking for the post on my personal Facebook feed, but I couldn’t find it. My original comment for my “friends” is that taking a dog to the pound immediately makes the guy an asshole. But I also think his sister is an asshole for bringing the dog home and refusing to find it an appropriate home. So, in my opinion, they’re both assholes. Maybe it’s a genetic thing. Who knows?
On Takei’s post, I simply posted “Give the dog to a rescue!”
Now… I do understand that giving a dog to a rescue is not always that simple. Sometimes it takes time to arrange that. However, I was reacting to the AITA poster’s very profane and mean comments about the dog, a defenseless creature who was not at fault in that situation. The guy was saying things like “I don’t want a fucking dog.” and “No way are we keeping the fucking dog.” And, then, he didn’t care at all about potentially sentencing that poor creature to death by dumping it at the pound, hence my response that he (or his sister) should find a rescue. It was mainly a comment of disgust, more than anything else. I know the guy isn’t going to read my comment, and it’s too late, now, anyway. Most people are bright enough to understand that, right?
I wonder about the decency of people who dump dogs at the pound in places where they might be euthanized simply because they’re taking up space. In fact, I wondered, given that man’s insane and profane comments about the dog, if he was even a decent parent. He seemed abusive and cruel to me. But I do know that not everyone likes dogs. He was rightfully pissed that his sister had tried to dump a dog on him, so maybe cussing about it wasn’t totally wrong. It WAS wrong to just dump the dog at the pound, though… in my humblest of opinions, of course.
Anyway, a couple of days passed, and last night, I got this comment from some woman who, not knowing a single thing about me, decided I needed a good schoolin’. She left me this condescending lecture response about why contacting a rescue is the wrong thing to do. I didn’t bother to read beyond the first sentence or two, because she was insulting my intelligence, and that was offensive. I was in no mood for that shit, so I gave her the orange emoji and wrote “I know. I’ve rescued six dogs myself. Spare me the lectures.”
Her response to that was to employ the laugh reaction emoji. So I immediately blocked her. I figure, I don’t need to have anything to do with an asshole like that. Ain’t nobody got the time for that bullshit!
Maybe that seems like an extreme response to something insignificant. I know it’s an indication that I need to quit bothering to respond to most things, because there’s always a chance some idiot out there in Internetland is going to feel the need to engage me in a disrespectful way. Moreover, the vast majority of people you run into on Facebook are people you won’t ever again be having any other interaction with at all in life.
On a different day, I might have been more in the mood to politely engage with the woman. Yesterday, I wasn’t feeling up to it, and I didn’t appreciate her ignorant comment to me. If she knew me offline, she’d know that I’m really into my dogs. But she doesn’t know me, and yet she felt emboldened to try to school me. It’s a waste of time, and I definitely ain’t got the time for that.
I don’t know this woman from Adam. She might be the most wonderful person, ever. But I truly didn’t feel like having an interaction with her, because I honestly didn’t think my comment needed her “correction”, and her approach was patronizing and obnoxious. When I responded to her, I was clearly annoyed. Any idiot could see that, based on the orange reaction. Most normal people, when they’re offline, don’t feel the need to keep “poking the bear” when it’s clear the person they’re talking to is irritated. Especially when it’s a total stranger.
I mean, what the fuck is wrong with that person? I don’t owe anyone a polite conversation, particularly when I wasn’t responding to them in the first place. When I do address people, I try to be civilized, at least at first. Anyway, because the fellow Takei follower mocked me, she took her place with all the scammers, abusers, real life idiots, and MAGA trolls who currently populate my block list.
This morning, I got to use the block button again. This time, it was against someone I don’t know in person, but with whom I have had a few unfortunate past encounters on Facebook. He is a very conservative friend of someone with whom I went to high school. I don’t enjoy engaging with the guy, but because I sometimes comment on my old friend’s posts, I’ve occasionally run into him over the past couple of years. I’ve even blogged about his stupidity a few times. After today, I probably won’t do that anymore, because like the Takei post idiot, he’s now on my block list.
The interaction that caused me to use the block button involved politics. My old friend from school had posted about Mitch McConnell’s apparent “mini stroke”. Someone posted about Joe Biden being a “criminal”. I did not directly respond to that person, but I did leave a general comment that I hate it when people call Joe Biden a criminal when Donald Trump is so much worse. I mean, he just got indicted again yesterday. I’ve lost count of how many times Trump has been indicted by federal and state governments, and yet people still champion him and would love to see him return to power. Why put someone in power who has no respect for the law?!
Anyway, my friend’s conservative “$1.89 gas loving” friend laugh reacted at me. So I decided to use the block button. I ain’t got time for that shit. He wants to laugh at me when I’m being serious? That just shows he has no respect for others. I don’t want to waste time interacting with him. I don’t have time for it. He can stay in his echo chamber with the rest of the red hat wearing cult crowd. I’ll engage with people who still have actual brain activity.
To be clear, I don’t necessarily have a problem with conservatives. I have lots of conservative friends and family members, and for years, I identified as one myself. I value other people’s opinions, because that’s how a person can develop a well rounded approach to living. But a person who laughs at those with whom they disagree is disrespectful, lacks an open mind, and doesn’t value other viewpoints. I take that as a sign of someone with low intelligence. So why bother interacting with them? I figure I’ve already lived half my life. Time’s a wastin’. Don’t need to be trying to mesh with someone who feels the need to mock others.
I mention my school friend’s “friend” because I want to show that I generally don’t block people willy nilly. I’ve had a number of interactions with that guy when I was in less of a “mood”. I’ve repeatedly tolerated his stupid comments about how great Trump is because gas prices were lower when he was the president (presidents don’t control gas prices). I’ve repeatedly read his dogged attempts to sway people to his MAGA cult, yet I’ve really tried to maintain basic respect for his rights to his own opinions. I don’t try to argue with him about his deeply held beliefs. It would be a waste of time, not to mention disrespectful. Even after blocking him, I still believe he has the right to his opinions. I just don’t want to read them anymore. We are not going to be “friends”, so he might as well not exist in my world. 😉 May he go with God, and all… and enjoy a fulfilling, fruitful life… far away from my Facebook feed.
To the half dozen or so people I expect might read this, you might be wondering why I have these extreme reactions. Call it a “psychological sunburn”… or maybe it’s more like an allergic reaction. I’m allergic to people who don’t take me seriously. It probably comes from being the youngest child of four, with many years between me and my next sibling. For most of my life, people have treated me in a demeaning way because I’m younger than they are, or I giggle a lot, or I’m female, less conservative, have blonde hair, or some other dumbassed reason. They have failed to realize that I’m a responsible, basically intelligent person with feelings. I don’t deserve to be insulted or mocked, particularly by strangers.
Before the age of social media, I wouldn’t have anything to do with the vast majority of people who find their way to my sphere today. But, because of technology, and my choice to use it, here we are… dealing with idiots who don’t know how to behave with basic decorum. So I use the block button to protect my sanity. Honestly, I’ve gotten this way with my own family members, too. When they are blatantly disrespectful to me, I put more distance between us. Because fuck that. I’ve had my fill of disrespect, thanks.
I decided to write about this today, because I haven’t seen it addressed that much. I found one thread on Reddit by someone who wrote that he thinks people who use the block button are immature. He wrote that he thinks it’s better to just ignore them. But isn’t that what blocking does? If you block someone, you’re putting them on ignore, so you don’t have to be exposed to their bullshit. It’s like a vaccine against aggravation. Nobody owes anyone else access to them, or their sense of peace.
Besides… I doubt the vast majority of people in the world care about having communication with me, anyway. I seem to annoy most people simply by being alive. So I might as well spare them, and myself, the pain of an interaction. Some people think blocking people is weak and immature. I say, if blocking irritating people is wrong, I don’t want to be right. I’ve got enough issues. So, if you want to be an asshole, be one somewhere else. I’d rather go wash my hair.
I’m taking a break from my travel blogging to offer today’s regular blog post. It’s not a holiday in Germany, but Bill is home today, because it is a US holiday on post. He made us breakfast– what we usually eat on Saturdays– and walked Noyzi, who was just reunited with his collar last night.
When Bill picked up Noyzi on Sunday, he forgot to retrieve his collar, which the folks at the Hundepension had removed while he was staying there. I think Noyzi likes wearing his collar. Sometimes, he reminds me a lot of our first rescue, a blue eye beagle husky mix named CuCullain (CC), who also loved wearing his collar and hearing it jingle.
CC was very well behaved, and had a temperament much like Noyzi’s. Sweet, but slightly aloof at times, and more prey driven than pack oriented… And, just like CC, he hangs out with me all day, quietly lying at my feet, but rarely making any demands. Unfortunately, we only had CC for 16 months, as he contracted a very rare and fatal mycobacterial infection (Mycobacterium Avian). Sometimes, I think CC has come back through Noyzi, although Noyzi is also very much his own dog.
I sympathize. I don’t like listening to myself speak, either. And I earned minors in both speech and communications when I was in college, worked in radio broadcasting, and am a singer. I don’t even particularly enjoy my singing voice, although other people claim to like it. I don’t mind hearing myself as I talk or sing, because it sounds different when you’re listening to your voice in your own head. When you hear a recording of your voice, you hear yourself as others hear you, and it can be disorienting.
But in Bill’s case, it goes beyond that disorienting feeling of hearing a recording of his own voice. For as long as I’ve known him, Bill has said he doesn’t like the sound of his own voice. The first time I ever heard him speak was over the crackling connection of 2000 era VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). Back then, I didn’t think he had a particularly offensive voice, but I distinctly remember him confessing that he didn’t like hearing himself speak. He says he still feels the same way 23 years later.
As I got to know Bill better, I noticed I often had to ask him to speak up. He later told me it was because when he was a child, he was often encouraged to “use his indoor voice” and squelch that natural instinct children tend to have to be loud. I don’t mind a man who is conscious of being too loud in public. But sometimes, it pays to be assertive and speak up… and out. There are many reasons I think that learning this skill is a good thing.
First and foremost, speaking up is a way to bolster one’s own self-esteem. When you speak up, and speak clearly, you are letting people know that they should listen to you. Mumbling quietly may be less offensive to others, but it also has the potential to send the signal that you don’t think very highly of yourself. It might make some people think that you aren’t assertive and won’t stick up for your own interests. That’s how you end up rubbing elbows with people like Ex, Bill’s “war buddy” boss who was later very publicly fired for abusing troops, or our former landlady.
Secondly, speaking up and sounding more assertive makes other people, like bosses and colleagues, think you’re more competent. And that can lead to more success in the workplace, as long as you’re not too outspoken or obnoxious (like I tend to be). It’s not that I don’t think Bill is competent. He totally is, and his coworkers know it. But a slightly more confident and clear tone to his voice certainly wouldn’t hurt. I think it would also make him feel better about himself. He has a lot to say, and most of what he says is well worth hearing.
Bill has been working with a Jungian therapist for the past couple of years. It’s been a life changing experience for him as he learns new things and discovers truths about himself. So this morning, I suggested that maybe some speech therapy or even simple exercises– mindfulness– about his speech habits, might be another avenue for him to explore. It might be another way to grow. He might learn to like the sound of his own voice more, and that will lead to an improved self-image.
I also know from personal experience that public speaking is a great skill to have and, if you’re a bit of an exhibitionist, like I am, it’s also a lot of fun. Bill is not an exhibitionist, and does have to speak in public for his job sometimes. I know it’s not something he naturally enjoys. But– augmenting the voice and realizing that you have something valuable to say can lead to audience appreciation, which is a wonderful thing. I know. I’ve experienced it, and it can be like a drug. 😉
On a more selfish note, if Bill learned to speak up, and speak clearly, it would make it less necessary for me to ask him to repeat himself when he uses his “indoor voice”. I don’t think I need a hearing aid yet, but I often have to ask him to speak up when we talk to each other. It wouldn’t require much… just a slightly more confident air, and the psychological realization that in general, people DO want to communicate. And the more confident a person sounds, the easier it is to communicate effectively.
Most of all, I want him to erase those old destructive “tapes” that go through his head, telling him that he’s a bother to others, that he isn’t worth listening to, and that he shouldn’t be strong and assertive. I don’t think that was the original intent of the adults who told him when he was a child that he should pipe down… but I do think he somehow internalized the message that his natural proclivity to make noise was upsetting or displeasing to others. As he grew up, he never quite deleted the message that he shouldn’t speak up sometimes. Squelching one’s inclination to speak up isn’t useful to an adult (unless they’re on a luxury cruise ship complaining about their “bum” adult children for everyone else to hear 😀 ).
As we learned on our recent trip, most Americans don’t have a problem with speaking up and speaking out. Far too many of us are way too loud in public spaces. Bill is not one of those people. I love listening to him, and I want him to like hearing himself more. Of course, it’s up to him to decide if this idea is worth pursuing. I will always love him, either way. I just think he might find it an interesting and useful avenue to explore.
I also think learning to speak up is a great way to ward off narcissistic creeps who try to take advantage of “nice guys”. It’s not a bad thing to want to be liked by others, but sometimes that desire can be detrimental. Narcissists love people who are quiet, don’t rock the boat, and are reluctant to speak up and be heard. So, if anything, being less shy about speaking, and more comfortable turning up the volume a little, might be good for warding off the many assholes in our midst.
The featured photo is one of the presents I sent to Bill’s grandson. Just call me “pseudogranny”… 🙂
Before I get too cranked up with today’s post… a little musical interlude.
A few days ago, I vented quite a bit about a situation that developed between a relative by marriage and me. My relative by marriage read my rant (now at a whopping nine hits) and is now no longer my “friend”. I vented about that, too. For some reason, I’ve been thinking a lot about that situation, and how quick we are to cancel each other over things that are basically really trivial. Years ago, before we had social media, we had fewer chances to confront each other with our “ugly” sides. When the confrontations did come up, we either hashed them out and came to new understandings, or we just avoided each other. And we didn’t run into nearly as many people back then, so these kinds of disagreements were less common.
In 2023, it’s much easier to bump into people who will go nuclear at the drop of a hat. I’ll admit, I can be rather quick to block, too, however I mostly confine my blocking to strangers who are obvious scammers. Generally speaking, a person with whom I have a relationship really has to be offensive– and the off-putting behavior has to happen more than once or twice– before I’ll go nuclear with the block button. I really don’t like to block people on social media unless there’s a very good reason for it. And yet, I probably block several profiles a week belonging to strangers. I often block the “can you send me a friend request” types, or strangers who post really rude or offensive things that I know I don’t want to encounter again.
Other people have different thresholds, which is their right. I am amused, however, when people I don’t know block me because we have a difference of opinion. That’s what happened to me yesterday afternoon. A friend from Gloucester is a nurse, and she shared a meme that was sadly very relevant today. See below:
In Germany, when you are sick or injured, you are expected to rest. Doctors even prescribe spa treatments here. Granted, from what I’ve heard, German doctors are a lot less free with pain medications. Even getting something like aspirin requires a visit to the Apotheke and a conversation with the pharmacist. But if you need some time for recuperation, you can have it. Vacation time is a lot more plentiful here.
My nurse friend from back home wrote that she’s seen patients in intensive care on Zoom calls for work… or something like that. Some people really have a hard time clocking out. My husband, Bill, is definitely one of those people. He’s taking time off this week, and I told him this morning that he needs to clock out, as he continually frets about what’s going on at his workplace. It’s ridiculous.
One of my friend’s friends wrote that he had lived in Europe for a few years and still thinks the United States is the best place in the world. I can no longer access what he posted, but I think his reasoning had to do with money.
I posted that I totally disagreed with him, adding that I live in Europe now and much prefer it to the United States. I wasn’t rude in what I wrote. I just calmly expressed an opinion. The guy came back with a disagreement– I could kind of tell that he thought I was full of shit.
So, I calmly reiterated that I like living in Germany. I’ve been here almost nine years this time, and I’m in no hurry to leave. I have just about everything here that I had in the United States, plus I don’t worry about being shot when I go to the store or attend a concert. And I also don’t worry about going bankrupt if I get sick or injured. I don’t have to worry about abortion access anymore, but if I needed help with that, I know I could get it, and it would be private. I wrote that the United States is less appealing now, as extremist politicians are trying to deny rights to half the population, and when you go out somewhere nowadays, there’s a good chance you’ll run into an entitled asshole. If you’re really unlucky, the asshole will be unhinged and carrying a weapon. I didn’t even actually use the word “asshole”, because I try not to curse on other people’s pages.
Next thing I knew, the guy blocked me.
I don’t have a problem with this, per se. I don’t even know the guy. He doesn’t seem like someone I’d want to know, anyway, if he can’t handle a calm disagreement with another person who simply has a different viewpoint. I don’t enjoy hanging around people who prefer to be in echo chambers and are afraid of differing opinions. I like to hear other people’s thoughts on most topics, because it helps me understand where they’re coming from. I may not always agree with their opinions, but sometimes their views give me food for thought. It’s hard to learn anything when you don’t want to listen to other opinions. Of course, there are a few people I can’t abide listening to, like Donald Trump and his biggest supporters. However, even though I hate listening to Trump, it’s necessary to listen to him, because he has so much power. God help us if he becomes president again. I doubt it will happen, but I didn’t think it would happen the first time.
Bill tells me that one of the things he likes most about me is the fact that I don’t have so much of a problem with being disliked. I often say things he doesn’t have the nerve to say. He’s a people pleaser. I am not a people pleaser. Sometimes, it does feel bad to be “disliked” or unpopular, but as I mentioned earlier this week, I seem to have a hard time behaving in a popular way. I’m not a “go along to get along” type of person. I am open and honest with my opinions, sometimes to the extent of being offensive to others. I don’t mean to offend, but I seem to do it anyway.
I think I prefer to be the way I am, even though it causes people to think IATA. I have seen where too much “people pleasing” can lead people. In Bill’s case, it meant almost ten years of marriage to a woman who abused him in all ways and left him broke and ostracized from his family. I don’t tend to attract people who behave like Ex. They are “turned off” by my less agreeable nature. It means I have fewer “friends”, but the friends I do have tend to be genuine, and of a higher quality. “Friends” don’t last long in my realm, because invariably, I’m going to say something outrageous, offensive, or contrary.
I don’t like to offend people, but being willing to be offensive means that I don’t get love bombed by people like Ex. I flat out told her we wouldn’t be friends. I know that offended her, but it also spared us both a lot of wasted time and heartache. To be clear, I might have tried to be friends with her if she wasn’t such an abusive person. But her sweet act is 100 percent bullshit. I know it. And I know that she won’t ever change. So, I basically told her, in more polite terms, to fuck off and leave me alone. It was a good strategy.
Because I’m like that, Bill reaps some of the benefits. He tells me I am fiercely protective of him. I guess I am… although he doesn’t need my protection. It’s just that I don’t mind pissing people off as much as he does. We’re like good cop/bad cop.
Of course, I didn’t think my comments on the post about time off from work were that inflammatory. I like living in Germany. What’s wrong with that? Why are some Americans offended when fellow Americans disagree with the idea that our country is the best in the world? There’s a lot to dislike about the United States. I think when you live there, in the weird-o-rama culture, you don’t see it as plainly as you do when you leave it and live somewhere else for awhile. I can totally understand now why so many people who aren’t from the United States think Americans are entitled, insufferable, jerks. I didn’t necessarily feel that way when I lived in the USA, though… because it was all around me, and I was in it, too. Moving away helped me change my perspective, and my behavior. I can see why America seems amazing and awesome to a lot of people. I just don’t agree with that viewpoint myself, anymore.
Anyway… I know I could be writing about something more exciting. I need to wrap this up, though, because I think we might go do something interesting today… something outside of our village. So, I hope you enjoy your Friday and don’t alienate anyone. I am happy to report that Bill’s younger grandson is now one year old, and I managed to send him a birthday present that he likes. So, I guess I’m not 100 percent an asshole… 😉
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