It’s a beautiful, cool, rainy morning here in Breckenheim. Seriously… it’s GREAT to have some rain at last. It’s been many weeks since we’ve had the kind of soaking rain that is going on right now. The topsoil in our backyard is parched; the grass is dead; and there’s an actual fissure in the ground, thanks to the drought we’ve had. I love to see the rain in September, because it means relief from hot temperatures. There’s a change in mood, too. People seem to want to get down to business again, probably because September is when a lot of young people go back to school.
I hope the rain lasts all day. It will match my mood, which is a bit cranky this morning. Why? Because I’m still “restricted” on Facebook for an infraction that happened in August, and the punishment was only supposed to last a few days. I typed a forbidden three word comment regarding Donald Trump on a friend’s post, and within a couple of minutes, the bots descended upon me with a nastygram and my “punishment”. It was SUPPOSED to be 48 hours restriction from posting in groups. I got my ability to post in groups sooner than I expected, but I still had the red badge of shame, as unbeknownst to me, Facebook bots had decided to give me thirty days of lower ranked posts in groups. I should be done with that “punishment” on September 16th.
I won’t be surprised, though, if I still have the stupid red badge of shame a month from now for a comment I posted yesterday. A friend from my hometown posted about how it annoys him that people post whatever they want on Facebook and he never comments, but when he posts something controversial, people get pissed off. I got curious, and soon found a video he posted…
My honest response to the above Tik Tok video was, “I think I’d probably kick him in the nuts.” It was a joke, of course. I’ve long since outgrown indulging my urges to kick people in their private parts. The point is, I don’t think I’d appreciate someone telling me to “Shut up” as they insisted on “loving” me, especially since I don’t know what “love” entails to someone so bold. Does it mean loving from afar, or a more physical kind of love that involves the risk of pregnancy (for someone younger, anyway)? A previous commenter posted a vomiting emoji. I wonder if I would have still gotten in trouble if I had posted something like this…
People post all kinds of offensive crap all the time, but Facebook never does anything about it. Twice, I’ve complained about someone ripping off my profile and pretending to be me. They don’t do anything about it. I post a figure of speech and the bots descend on me like flies on shit! I get accused of inciting violence, hate speech, etc. They ask me if I want to agree with their decision. I have found out from experience that disagreeing doesn’t do anything, as no live person will ever look at the context of the offending post. So I just accept the “punishment”, which has nothing to do with the infraction and simply makes Facebook more annoying and harder to use. I run a couple of groups, neither of which have any issues. Yet Facebook bans me from participating in groups because I posted a forbidden comment on a friend’s post. That doesn’t make sense. And it’s not like I’d learn anything, either, because you never know what will set off the bots. This crap makes me glad I disabled the official Facebook page for this blog.
Common sense would tell me that the right thing to do is to close my account and go back to living the way I did prior to August 2008, when a former friend convinced me to join Facebook. But now, everything is so tied up in social media that I feel like leaving the platform would make things complicated on several levels. So maybe the better thing to do is just spend less time on Facebook, and more time on other platforms. I just recently discovered Twitter and arranged my settings so I don’t get comments from toxic people… or really, anyone, anymore. However, I think Twitter is also pretty toxic, and just reading some of the hatred that gets spewed there is hard on my mental health. I know that sounds “snowflakey”, but life is tough enough without some of the rude, snarky, mean spirited shit people post.
Though I know some people might say the comments that got me in trouble were also mean, neither were personal insults toward anyone who would actually read and be hurt or insulted by them. They were joking comments made to friends. Meanwhile, people can be as sarcastic, nasty, and vulgar as they want to be in any newspaper’s comment section, and nothing will get done.
Is this really what the powers that be at Facebook want? To drive people away with draconian bots and their nonsensical policing of people’s innocuous comments, constantly taken out of context? I feel stupid allowing bots to discipline me, and I’m tired of being Mark Zuckerberg’s ass monkey. So maybe it’s time I spent more time reading books and watching videos than engaging on Facebook. I’d like to travel more, too… for as long as we’re able to, before the next pandemic or having to move somewhere else.
Anyway… it’s a minor complaint. Bill will be home tomorrow. He’ll take Arran to the vet to see if he needs hormonal help or anything else. Arran is a bit perkier this week, but I still want to see if he can use some meds. We’ll have a wine fest, which I can’t post about in my wine group until Saturday, thanks to this asinine “sanction” placed on me by a bot. I’m glad I don’t use Facebook for business purposes. It’s utterly useless for that.
Time to wrap up this post and get on with the day… which will consist of vacuuming, practicing guitar, maybe making a new video, and walking the dogs, if the rain lets up.
Greetings, y’all. Today has gotten off to an annoying start. First off, last night I got put in “Facebook Jail” for a comment I made on a friend’s post about Donald Trump. What I wrote was not too terrible, when you consider what people regularly post on Facebook. However, my comment tripped the super sensitive bots, and within a couple of minutes, it got “schwacked”, as Bill would put it. I had a nastygram on my iPad, telling me that I was in trouble for posting “hate speech”.
As usual, they gave me the pointless option to appeal, which I decided not to bother with this time. Then they handed down my punishment… two days of not being allowed to post in my groups. Since I run two groups, that’s kind of a pain in the ass. It also really annoys me that my online activity is being dictated by bots. I’ve been giving serious thought to deleting Facebook, mainly because this kind of crap pisses me off. I mean, people can post all sorts of hateful, homophobic, transphobic, racist, and sexist craziness, and nothing gets done. But I make a simple three word comment about Trump, and I immediately get “restricted” from posting in groups for two days. Granted, it’s not much of a punishment, but that’s not really the point. I don’t like feeling like Zuckerberg’s chump. He has way too much power, and he’s delegated it to bots who don’t understand nuances, and don’t get context. That is BULLSHIT. Way too many of us are tolerating it.
Anyway, this won’t be a big problem for me, even though I run a couple of groups. I do think, however, that Facebook shoots itself in the foot when it “punishes” people for minor crap like this, but ignores the really personal, toxic shit people post to each other all the time. Eventually, people will move on from Facebook, when someone comes up with something better. You know it will happen, too, because there was a time when people couldn’t live without MySpace. Look what happened to that quaint artifact from the early 2000s. Every time this happens, to me or to other people, I think Facebook sucks more.
I did succeed in making a music video yesterday. I can do it better, though… Bill came home unexpectedly while I was recording, so I wrapped up my session sooner than I would have. Anyway, if you’re curious, here it is. Keep in mind, I literally learned this song yesterday, and I do this strictly for fun and artistic purposes. I’m not a professional in any capacity of the word. 😉
The other annoying thing that has happened so far today is this… I happen to love Beth Nielsen Chapman’s music. I use Apple Music to organize my library. I’m sure there are better options, but I don’t have the time or inclination to look for them. Consequently, sometimes I try to manually maintain the library, especially when I get double entries for the same songs on the same albums. For some reason, when I tried to delete some duplicate tracks, Apple Music inexplicably deleted my whole BNC catalog.
I still had the songs on my computer, of course, but they weren’t being recognized by Apple Music. Moreover, when I went looking for the files, they were all listed individually, instead of in a big file. I ended up having to manually adding over 100 songs back to Apple Music. And I had to do that twice, because when I had the same problem after fixing it the first time, the same thing happened. The positive side of this, of course, is that I got to be reminded of what a great songwriter BNC is, and how many of her songs I love. I continue to improve my guitar skills, so maybe someday, I can tackle a couple of her songs that I can’t find backing tracks for.
One final event that will happen today is that I will be getting a new iPad. The one I’ve been using is getting hard to charge. At this point, it is possible to charge it, but it’s a pain to do it. I decided to go with an iPad Pro, because I use the iPad a lot when we travel, and want the better camera that comes with it. I have it on my phone, and it is superior to what comes with the lower models. I also got an Apple Pencil and a Smart Keyboard Folio, because as long as I was making the order, I figured “what the hell”.
The next big purchase I want to make somewhat soon is a new car… and I want that simply because my old car is 13 years old and has an obsolete stereo. 😉 But as I rarely drive, we can definitely wait on doing that.
Because I’m waiting on an expensive electronics device, I have to wait to walk the dogs, which I know will annoy them. But, at least we have some rain, at long last. It’s been so dry lately… I doubt we’ll get much rain today, but whatever falls will be much welcome, if only to cool things off.
And finally… just for my political friends, check out this ad for Ryann McEnany’s conservative dating app, “The Right Stuff”. Ryann is the sister of former Trump press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany. This kind of makes me want to puke… but I’m sure some people will love it.
This sounds like a bad idea for many reasons… I recommend listening to Farron Balanced’s video for reasons why this dating app potentially sucks. Generally speaking, I agree with the host’s comments about not necessarily cutting out people with different political leanings. On the other hand, politics has changed wildly in the Trump era.
I never thought I’d swear off voting for Republicans, but yet here I am. I heard Liz Cheney’s concession speech, as she was beaten in her primary race by a Trump devotee. I don’t like Liz’s politics, but she’s at least fair, decent, and sane. I hope she can make a comeback. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of her, especially as Trump goes down in flames. But for the time being, Liz Cheney’s dedication for not championing sociopathic wannabe dictators has cost her. Maybe she’ll run for president, though. So we’ll see.
Well, I think I’ll sign off now, and play some guitar. Hopefully, the new toy will get here soon, and I can get set up with my new iPad while I wait to be sprung from Facebook Jail… AGAIN.
It’s a beautiful spring day here in lovely Wiesbaden, Germany. The sun is shining and the air is fresh, crisp, and cool. I can see my neighbors’ trees heavy with flowers. Later, when I walk my dogs, I expect to see plenty of beautiful blooms in well-tended gardens. I probably should enjoy being outside more, especially since the weather in this part of the world isn’t always as nice as it is right now. It’s always so nice to see spring arrive in Germany, since the earliest months of the year are usually pretty crappy, when it comes to the weather. Making things even nicer is that on April 2, 2022, Germany finally lifted face mask requirements and vaccine checks in many venues, although they remain on public transportation.
Because masks are still required in airports and on public transportation in Germany, Bill and I will be driving to Italy next week. Actually, we might have decided to do that anyway, since we will probably be buying wine, cheese, and other groceries and it’s easier to transport that stuff in a car than on a plane. I like road trips, as a general rule. In my opinion, one of the best things about living in Europe is having the option to drive to so many beautiful places.
My countrymen aren’t so fortunate when it comes to traveling abroad. A person in the United States can’t drive to Europe, Africa, Australia, or Asia. In fact, it’s not so easy to get from coast to coast in the United States by car. It takes awhile to drive from, say, Virginia to California, and a lot of Americans prefer to fly, because vacation days are precious in the US and flying takes less time. So yesterday’s ruling, made with a stroke from federal Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle’s pen, has caused a big ruckus among Americans. Public reaction to her decision has been decisively split. Judge Mizelle’s ruling makes it okay to forgo face masks on domestic flights, although it’s my understanding that they are still required on planes that are flying to places where the masks are still required.
Many people are hailing Judge Mizelle for setting them free from face masks on public transportation. Others are cursing her and calling her “incompetent” for allowing people to suddenly take off their masks mid flight yesterday. The facts that she’s from Florida, is somewhat young and attractive, and was appointed by Donald Trump, don’t help some people’s negative impressions of her worthiness as a judge. Some public health and medical experts are very concerned about this restoration of facial freedom the judge has bestowed upon the public. And some people are feeling more emboldened than ever to shoot the finger at people they regard as sanctimonious virtue signalers.
If you read this blog regularly, you know that I’m liberal about a lot of things. But you may also know that I’m not a fan of face masks, even though I am a master’s level graduate of an accredited school of public health. I was never really in favor of them, even at the beginning of the pandemic. I don’t think a lot of people wear the masks properly. Here in Germany, we’ve been forced to wear heavy FFP2 masks (like N95s), but the infections continue, probably because no one is forced to cover their eyes. And so, I conclude that a lot of the masking is basically theater, although I can certainly understand why they are important in certain medical settings.
Two years ago, before we had vaccines and most people had zero immunity to the virus, I could see why they were initially necessary, even though the masks most people wore at the beginning of the pandemic were pretty useless. As the variants have become milder, and fewer people seem to be getting quite so sick and dying, I can see why the masks are being phased out. For the most part, I think it’s time. It’s been two years, and while I’m sure there are some people who would love to see everyone masked forever, that’s not a very realistic goal.
Many people legitimately hate the masks because they can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. They do cause legitimate problems for some people, particularly those who suffer from anxiety, are hard of hearing, or have sensory processing disorders. They aren’t a good long time solution, in my opinion, because they are so polarizing, and because they hinder communication. Even if face masks were the best idea ever, it would take some time for people to accept them as normal. I am old enough to remember when a lot of Americans didn’t voluntarily wear seatbelts in their cars. It wasn’t until I was a young adult that they became normal for most people. At least that was how it was in the United States. In most countries in Europe, mandatory use of seatbelts for all passengers has been the rule for a lot longer, and fines are pretty stiff for non-compliance. But even a lot of Europeans are over the masks.
I still live in Germany, where public health ministers are still wanting to limit freedoms and impose COVID restrictions. A lot of Germans seem to be fed up with the rules, too, although they do seem to be a lot more willing to submit to them than Americans are. What I like about Germany, though, is that people seem to be somewhat less insulting, whichever side of the mask debate they’re on. And Germans, as a rule, are more community minded about most things. Many people here are still wearing masks, even though they are no longer legally required to wear them. Those who don’t wear masks mostly don’t get harassed for not wearing them. Maybe they get the side eye from one or two people, but no one is getting belligerent or aggressive about it, and there’s a lot less violence all around. I doubt if the mask rules were relaxed in the middle of a Lufthansa flight, that people would be whooping and hollering like they reportedly were on US flights yesterday. But yes, there would probably be people gratefully removing them.
As usual, I took a look at the comments on the news articles. It didn’t surprise me that a lot of people were whining about their fears regarding this decision, while others were being really offensively belligerent about their “freedoms”. I suspect that if the mask mandates are reinstated in the United States, there will be even more of an uproar and possibly, more violence. I have noticed, as many have, that since the mask mandates were in place, the behavior of people on planes was more violent and unruly than it’s ever been. After all, flights in economy class are uncomfortable enough as it is. The masks made them even less pleasant for a large number of people, even though some people don’t mind the masks and never found wearing them “onerous”.
One thing that I’ve noticed and don’t really like from either side of this issue, is that people aren’t willing to compromise or concede. Why can’t the pro-maskers, for instance, understand why people hate wearing masks? Why do they feel it necessary to insult, belittle, and berate people for their valid opinions? Being nasty and sanctimonious to people does not inspire their cooperation. Moreover, I don’t find it very convincing when a person in a mask brags about “caring for other people” as they verbally abuse those who don’t share their opinions and dare to express themselves. I’ve seen more than one comment by a supposed “concerned mask wearing humanitarian” indicating that they think anyone who disagrees with them deserves to die. That’s not a very caring and kind attitude, in my opinion, and it doesn’t necessarily make me want to wear a mask for the sake of others. In fact, I think it’s the height of hypocrisy.
Conversely, I also think it’s awful that there are so many anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers out there who feel the need to laugh, gloat, and insult people who are genuinely afraid of getting very sick from the virus. I happen to agree that masking should be a choice, even though given a choice, many people won’t choose to wear a mask. Having the right to choose is part of living in a free society. But I also empathize with people who are afraid of COVID, or are concerned that they will spread it to vulnerable loved ones. Unfortunately, this was a problem even before COVID, and it will continue to be a problem. Forced mask wearing is not going to make the basic challenges faced by immunocompromised people go away, even if they appear to make things safer. I do agree, however, that we could all stand to be kinder and more considerate about this problem.
I read an op-ed on the Washington Post this morning about the relaxed rules. Robin Givhan, who wrote the opinion piece, demonstrated the attitude that, personally, I’ve found very off-putting throughout the pandemic. Her piece, titled “Whoops of selfish delight”, lamented that people were cheering about the suddenly dropped mask mandates. The mood of her opinion was that people were behaving badly for being visibly happy to be rid of the masks. This was Givhan’s sarcastic comment about the midflight announcement:
“They reveled in the knowledge that while they might be required to buckle their seat belt, turn off their cellphone, put their seat backs in the upright position and refrain from smoking on their grueling one-hour-and-20-minute flight, the one thing they would not have to do was wear a mask. The long, torturous nightmare of government overreach, which is how so many aggrieved passengers viewed the mandate effecting public transportation, has come to an end.”
I just want to ask her what the hell she was expecting. Of course people in their tight airplane seats with no leg room, strapped in and masked up, while their neighbors eye them suspiciously and with hostility, are going to be delighted with the prospect of being free to breathe unmasked. A lot of people– and I’m sure many in the travel industry, especially– are thrilled not to have to wear masks or enforce the wearing of masks, temporary as it may end up being.
Now, maybe it was rude to “whoop” about it, if only because yelling can spread viruses faster, and there are people who are legitimately terrified of being around maskless people. But I don’t think people are being selfish when they’re happy to be allowed to unmask. It’s perfectly natural, especially after two years of this weird, dystopian, plague we’ve been enduring. And if the mask mandates are reimposed, be prepared for backlash. I suspect it could be even worse after people have gotten a taste of freedom. No amount of shaming, virtue signaling, and berating is going to cow certain people into compliance. I just hope there won’t be more violence.
Anyway… count me among those who are for putting away the face masks, although I probably won’t be flying or taking transportation anytime soon. I never liked the masks, and I’m not going to submit to peer pressure to be a cheerleader for them. I’ll wear a mask if I’m asked to, but I certainly don’t want to do it. Not wearing a mask doesn’t make me a shitty person, especially since I don’t hang around people much, anyway. I also don’t care if other people wear masks. They can wear as many as they want to. It’s their choice, and I respect that. It would be nice if we could respect each other’s choices, since we all have to breathe. When it comes down to it, COVID is just another one of the many, many risks we face on a daily basis. Over the past two years, I’ve lost several people in my life, all of whom died years before perhaps they should have. Not a single one of them died of COVID… most of them had cancer or another chronic disease that might not have been adequately addressed, partly thanks to this virus. One died of suicide, and another was killed in a hit and run. I think that’s something to consider.
In other news…
I got another “restriction” from Facebook yesterday. They claimed I posted “hate speech” for referring to “dumb Americans”. My “punishment” is having my group posts filtered to the bottom for a month. I’m annoyed by this new ding, but I guess I should have expected it. Facebook must have a quota of sanctioning people for posting “offensive” content. What I find especially stupid is that people can and do post all sorts of offensive stuff toward strangers, but I refer to Americans as “dumb” because they won’t allow a children’s author to read his book about unicorns, and I get accused of posting “hate speech”.
Just as I would like to ditch masks, I would also really like to ditch Facebook. I may end up doing that at some point, although it’s the best and easiest way to stay in touch with people. But I resent their stupid bots making false accusations about my posts that are taken out of context. The other day, someone referred to me as a “baby killer”, complete with vomiting emojis because I support the rights of people to get abortions. But that’s apparently okay– to call an individual stranger a “baby killer” as you react with puke emojis. Call Americans “dumb”, and your account gets restricted. It’s very aggravating. But, based on the comments from friends, at least I am in good company with these inane “punishments”. And at least this time, my offensive post was only a few days old, instead of four years old, as it was the last time I got slapped on the wrist. And this time, Facebook said I could appeal their decision. I don’t care enough about this particular issue to do that, though. I’ll just put up with another month of wearing a red badge of shame.
This isn’t a sunshine-y post, so if you don’t want to read something angry and depressing, please move on to your next Internet station.
This morning, I was looking at Facebook and noticed that one of my relatives posted. There was obviously supposed to be a photo attached to the post, but there wasn’t. My aunt pointed out that my cousin had forgotten part of his post. So he shared the photo in the comments.
There was a photo of several deer that had gathered in the snow under the window at my cousin’s father’s house. My cousin’s father is a RABID Trump supporter, and unfortunately, it showed in the photo, which included part of a baseball cap that appeared to read “Trump Won.”
In spite of the pretty scene my cousin obviously meant for us to comment on, I couldn’t help but notice the cap. So I asked if it was a “Trump Won” cap I could see in the corner. Someone else also asked. My cousin came back and basically chastised us both for not focusing on the deer.
Some people may be surprised that I’m legitimately really upset on many levels right now. I know that some people will find my being upset “silly”. If you are among those people, I will advise you to keep that thought to yourself. You may think my being upset is “silly”, but that’s only because you either don’t understand my perspective, or you haven’t taken a moment to consider why my cousin’s response to my question is upsetting.
I’ll put it in context, for those who are interested. My cousin’s dad and I used to have a loving relationship. He was an excellent uncle, most of the time, when I was growing up. I remember him taking me and many of my cousins fishing on the James River in Rockbridge County, Virginia. He was an uncle I could trade jokes with, and he was always friendly and fun. However, like my dad, he had a strong affinity for corporal punishment, and he is also one to get drunk and abusive. He’s now in his mid 80s. I don’t know what his mental or medical status is right now. For all I know, my uncle has dementia or something akin to that. Or maybe he’s finally pickled his brain. But he is really deep in the Trump insanity, and I don’t think he’s ever going to come out of it in his lifetime. So that makes me sad.
As he’s become elderly, my uncle developed a habit of sending political and religious emails to the whole family. A lot of his emails were offensive, but I mostly ignored them. One time, back in 2017, he sent me a pro-Trump/Pence email. I responded by writing back that I wasn’t impressed with either of them and looked forward to seeing them leave office. That’s pretty much literally what I wrote; I didn’t use profanity or hurl insults. I just wrote that I don’t support Trump or Pence. He responded with a lengthy diatribe that was extremely abusive and insulting, and he referred to me as a “liberal nut case”.
I can’t tell you how sad and upsetting it was for me to get that vitriolic response from a family member for whom I used to hold high regard. Moreover, his words brought on a “PTSD-like” response that made me see red. It reminded me of the many horrifying fights I had with my late father, who died in 2014. A lot of those fights led to violence and/or me hyperventilating as the abuse continued.
Anyway, after my uncle sent that email, I ended up responding in kind, used a lot of profanity, and warned my uncle to leave me alone. To his credit, my uncle eventually did leave me alone after showing me what a colossal asshole he really is. I know I’m not the only one who has been on the receiving end of one of his drunken screeds; however, I am no longer capable of tolerating that kind of abuse from anyone anymore. I try not to be verbally abusive when I speak to people, but sometimes old habits die hard when someone is unapologetically horrible.
So… seeing that “Trump Won” cap in the photo, even though it wasn’t the focus of the photo, was a reminder of what I feel like I’ve lost. I found it very triggering, as was my cousin’s castigating response, which he obviously felt wholly entitled to deliver to me. I don’t think I can go home again, and that makes me feel sad and angry. And then, my cousin basically chastised me for being triggered, and pretty much told me to shut up. He obviously also didn’t pick up on my sarcasm. Maybe that’s a good thing. I am actually really pissed off at him, and hurt, even though there’s a little voice in my head telling me I shouldn’t be. I want to tell that little voice, along with any other “toxic positivity” types, to go take a flying fuck.
I have spent my whole life having controlling men telling me what I can and can’t say, how I’m supposed to feel, and chastising me for not delivering the expected or approved response. It seems to me that he could have simply responded with a “yes” or “no”. Or, barring that, he could have cropped out the hat in the picture. He shouldn’t blame me for politely commenting on something that he put on social media, especially when it involves politics, and especially since I wasn’t aware of any rules about how I’m supposed to or allowed to comment. It would have been one thing if I had been salty or rude. All I did was ask a simple question.
I know that many people will think my feelings are invalid. I would say that those who don’t think my feelings are valid just don’t understand. I know my uncle isn’t the only Trump zealot in my family, so now I don’t feel like I can connect with a large number of family members or even some of my friends anymore. It’s like experiencing a bunch of deaths at once.
Add in the fact that Bill is leaving for a business trip tomorrow and he’ll be gone all week. I hate it when he travels. It’s part of his job, and I know it’s part of his job. I still hate it. I’m sick of this lifestyle, yet I know that I don’t have it as bad as a lot of people do. I’m tired of waiting for Bill to come home, and I’m tired of the pandemic and its ever changing restrictions and rules. And I’m wondering what the point of any of this is, to include writing posts like this one.
Even though I feel like I need to write out my feelings, I also know that just as I reacted to the “Trump Won” ball cap, some people will react to this and take things away from it that I wish they wouldn’t. On the other hand, as I’ve already pointed out, we can’t control what other people see in a posting, right? So in the interest of not being a hypocrite, I’ll try not to be upset if people think I’m being a whiny bitch. I can own that. But I am legitimately angry and hurt, and those feelings aren’t invalid, either.
I doubt anyone cares, anyway. And you know what? The critics are right that I’m whiny. But this is my place for a pity party, so I’m going to have one, and those who don’t like it can just leave. My cousin is lucky that I responded rather politely. My first instinct was to post something inappropriate and profane. Instead, I think I’ll just withdraw, and let him enjoy responses from people who post the predictable comments he obviously appreciates more.
It depresses me that so many people are wedded to a fucking criminal like Donald Trump to run the country. I worry that he, or someone worse, will get in power again and we’ll be doomed to more of Trump’s dumbfuckery. It makes me wish I were among the unvaccinated so I could get COVID and depart this miserable place. I’m tired of trying to engage with people, because I never seem to get it right, and I keep ending up feeling like shit for just being myself. And I am fed up with the pandemic.
There’s a lot more I could write about this… but I already feel like this post is going to be misunderstood, and I just don’t have it in me to try to explain it more today. So I’m going to end now, and go do something somewhat constructive.
On another note… a friend shared a post about gender fluidity yesterday. I was confused when she was praised for that by someone who referred to being insensitive to gender fluid people as “douchey”. I wonder if my friend’s friend has ever thought about how sexist and offensive the term “douche” is. 😉 But because I really don’t try to get into conflicts with people, even when I’m “triggered”, I decided to keep scrolling. I probably should keep my own wise counsel and just keep scrolling… right off the Internet. Most people simply aren’t worth the effort.
Well, it finally happened. I now have a topic to discuss today that isn’t about the Duggar family. Prepare for an epic rant.
Years ago, I was a big fan of Mad Magazine. Unfortunately, I was introduced to Mad by the neighborhood pervert, who had a son who was a few years older than me. I suspect the pervert’s son was the Mad Magazine fan. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. I’m just glad he gave me something to look at besides the men’s magazines he usually showed me back when I was a wee lass. Even though I can’t look at a copy of Mad without remembering the Home of the Whopper (as the neighborhood pervert occasionally referred to himself), the fact remains that it was a funny magazine, especially when I was an adolescent. And after all these years, I have managed to maintain my adolescent sense of humor.
Not that anyone really appreciates it…
Back in the early 1980s, Mad Magazine did a parody of public television telethons. I don’t remember exactly what the spoof was about, but I do remember that Big Bird was a participant. The clever cartoonist had drawn Big Bird as he would have been on Sesame Street, introducing the letter for the day. In that particular article, the letter for the day was “P”, and Big Bird introduced it by saying “P stands for ‘prance’ and ‘pad’ and ‘punch’ and ‘puss’ and ‘please’. As in, ‘I’m going to prance over to your pad and punch you in the puss if you don’t please give us money.'”
The eleven year old version of me thought that was just fucking hilarious. I remember laughing my ass off, mainly because I didn’t know that the word “puss” is not akin to the word “pussy”. I had a grand time picturing Big Bird prancing, let alone prancing over to someone’s “pad” and punching them. And of course, because I had never been exposed to the old fashioned word “puss”, and was picturing Big Bird punching someone in the pussy, I laughed even harder.
My laughter is distinctive, and some people find it irritating. My parents were among those who criticized me for the way I laugh. My dad especially hated it, and would tell me I sounded like a cackling witch.
Anyway, after I read that article in Mad, my mom asked me why I was laughing so hard, so I told her. Her response was to get annoyed with me and crankily inform me that the word “puss” refers to someone’s face– hence the expression “sour puss”. In fact, she had a distinctly sour puss as she edified me with that information. I still thought the mental image of Big Bird prancing to someone’s pad and punching someone in the pussy was hilarious, and continued to laugh like a banshee. Years later, I still think that mental image is funny, and I occasionally still laugh about it.
Of course, not everyone thinks the idea of Big Bird punching someone in the pussy is funny. I probably still annoy people, too, even when I’m doing something as innocent as laughing at a ridiculous mental image. For some reason, a lot of people seem to think I’m an asshole, even when I’m seriously not trying to be an asshole.
So what’s that story got to do with today’s title? Keep reading, and I think it will be clearer. Or maybe not. My mind works in strange, tangental ways.
My old friend, Jamie, posted a couple of pictures of himself yesterday. He currently has long hair. I’ve never known him to have long hair, because I haven’t seen him in person in many years. When I knew him offline, he had short, conservatively styled hair. But we have known each other since we were very young, having graduated from the same high school and worked at the same amusement park for a few summers. Naturally, neither of us still looks the way we did in the late 80s, early 90s.
Anyway, Jamie has long hair now, and he wanted to know if he should wear his hair up or down for the occasion of attending his son’s graduation. I’m assuming the young man has just finished college. I didn’t have an opinion on Jamie’s hair or how he should wear it, although I am impressed that he apparently still has so much of it at his age. Instead, I was struck by the rather dour expression on his face in his pictures. I didn’t remember him to be so somber looking when I knew him offline. So I posted, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile.” That’s a song from Annie, by the way, and it was intended as a lighthearted joke.
Some time later, a mutual friend of Jamie’s took me to task for making that comment. She might have been surprised to know that I actually hesitated before posting it, because as a woman, I don’t necessarily like it when someone suggests that I smile. But I figured Jamie and I have known each other for a long time and he wouldn’t be offended. It never crossed my mind that anyone other than him would raise an objection. I certainly never thought I was going to be confronted about COVID-19 when I posted it.
When Jamie’s other friend initially came at me, I figured it was because she’s apparently a woman, and like a lot of women, she doesn’t like to be ordered to smile. But no… somehow, she got the impression that I was making a statement about mask mandates and COVID-19. She left me a second comment about how she lives in New Mexico, where mask mandates have been reinstated, and is fully immunized and boosted and wears masks and yadda, yadda, yadda. I was initially confused by her laundry list of COVID-19 prevention tactics. Then I got a bit irritated.
I should add that it was late at night when I saw her comments. I was about to go to bed, having enjoyed dinner and libations. And I just didn’t get how she took my statement as being about the fucking pandemic, or why everything has to be about the goddamned pandemic. I never mentioned COVID, vaccines, masks, or anything. I just made a simple comment about Jamie’s joyless expression. It never even crossed my mind that his smile would eventually be covered by a face mask, although I’m certain it probably was. But somehow, this lady seemed to think I was making a statement about the pandemic when I was just reacting to pictures posted by an old friend.
So I responded to her that I live in Germany, am fully vaccinated, have an appointment to get a booster, and mask mandates never went away here. I also have a master’s degree in public health and another in social work. And I’ve known Jamie since I was about 17 years old, and was just kidding.
I didn’t add this, but I could have also told her that my comment had absolutely NOTHING whatsoever to do with COVID-19. And I don’t know how she conflated a comment about smiling to being about masks, especially since prior to my peevish response to her comment, she didn’t know a fucking thing about me. I also didn’t add that, given my background, of course I understand how serious the pandemic is. Of course, we’ve never met, so she wouldn’t have known before I told her. But my initial comment wasn’t even about the pandemic. She read a lot more into it than was really necessary.
She came back with “Good to know.”
WTF? I’m not the one who was being rude. She chose to engage me, by chiming in with an inappropriate and nonsensical comment. Why can’t I add a simple response on an old friend’s Facebook status without some stranger assuming the worst about me and putting words in my fingers? I don’t even know this person from Adam, and she doesn’t know me! She might as well have come up to me on the street and started talking about thermonuclear physics, or something equally as irrelevant.
This isn’t so much a rant about the clueless woman in New Mexico with a Ph.D. who works for the Army, as it is that trying to communicate on social media just sucks. People have lost the ability to be civilized. We all sit behind computer screens and deliver the snark first and ask questions later. I’m as guilty of it as anyone is, I guess. We all seem to read more into things than we should, or we make erroneous assumptions that someone is being rude. Or we put words in people’s fingers– make assumptions about points they never even made. We don’t simply take things at face value. I see it in comment sections all the time, which is why I try hard not to respond in them. Too often, making comments ends up being involved in a pissing match with a complete stranger. No thanks.
Communicating with someone online can sometimes be downright weird, especially when you compare it to talking to someone in person. Imagine having an in person chat with someone you know, and suddenly your friend’s mutual friend, a total stranger to you, suddenly butts in to your exchange with a completely irrelevant comment about socks or something. That’s what it’s sometimes like to communicate with an old friend online. But, of course, communicating online, especially on a public forum, is NOT like having an in person conversation, precisely because total strangers and outsiders to the conversation can butt in with something off topic.
Maybe I am perturbed right now because I really miss offline communications, and actually getting to know people. It annoys me that I wind up interacting with complete strangers just so I can exchange a few words with a legitimate old friend from back in the days before the Internet.
I suppose I could have simply ignored her. Maybe next time, I’ll just do that. Ignoring her doesn’t solve the issue that has so irritated me this morning, though. On the other hand, maybe if we have occasion to interact again, she might have a better understanding of who I am before she pops off with something completely useless and irrelevant. Or maybe not. My guess is that she’s already forgotten about me and our unpleasant exchange.
Adding to my moan this morning are a couple of other things. First off, I somehow managed to break the business end of the Type C thunderbolt cable for my iPad. I don’t know what happened, but the end managed to come loose and now it no longer works. So I had to order a new cable, and that cost me some euros. I ordered early in the morning and Amazon.de said the replacement would get to me today. But, I see that it will probably get here tomorrow, which sucks because Saturday is the one day of the week I might hope to get out of the house and do something fun. Sundays in Germany are often pretty dead… at least if one wants to do any shopping or anything. Delivery people here don’t always leave packages like they do in the States.
And then, another person– someone I don’t know offline, but “met” through Epinions– decided to add a rude comment to a discussion my friends and I had a couple of days ago about Josh Duggar. This dude felt the need to post “YAWWWNNN…” on that topic.
My response to him was to “keep scrolling.” I mean, if you have nothing of substance to add to a discussion on someone else’s Facebook page, and you think what they’ve posted is boring, why not just move on? There’s no need to leave a rude comment that does nothing more than irritate people. Again with the uncivilized behavior, right?
That guy has a tendency to be a grouch sometimes, but he’s not the worst offender. In fact, he rarely chimes in on things on my page. He probably has better things to do than hang out on social media. Given that, he doesn’t need to leave a random comment that he thinks my discussion is boring. But at least he’s not like …tom… Some of my regulars know all about …tom…
…tom… could not resist leaving insulting comments to any and all topics. He was another person I “met” on Epinions. I never liked him much, but decided to try to give him the benefit of the doubt. After awhile, when he would leave those kinds of rude and useless comments, I would respond with profanity. Usually, I would tell him to “fuck off” or “go play in traffic” or something like that. I will admit that’s not very civilized behavior, either. I mainly did it because he was such an insufferable jackass, and it was sometimes fun for me to be unabashedly profane when he asked for it. Remember, I wasn’t on his page; he was on mine.
One day, I finally got tired of the bullshit and kicked …tom… off my friends list. That was kind of sad for me, because he gave me a lot to blog about– or at least vent. On the other hand, trying to have a meaningful conversation with him was a complete waste of time. He would chime in on things, often without having the slightest notion of what the discussion was about. He would leave rude, critical, condescending comments. He had no respect for me, so trying to be friendly with him was not productive. And while cursing is something I do as if it’s my job, I don’t feel good about swearing at people. Not unless I know they enjoy it. I don’t know how …tom… felt about being asked to “fuck off”, but he once told me he wasn’t “unfriending”, even though he seemed to find my page so worthy of criticism. So I decided to take matters into my own hands.
Maybe that’s the solution. I should just tell people who annoy me to “fuck off” and use my block button. Not caring about how other people perceive me might even be the key to happiness. Another key to happiness is to stop trying to engage with strangers, especially those who make assumptions before they know any facts. And maybe someday, I’ll log off of social media altogether and simply read books, like I did in the days before I joined Facebook. It doesn’t sound like a bad idea.
And just to bring this topic back around to where it started before I seemed to go wildly off on a tangent, I’d like to announce the letters for today. Big Bird says, the letters for today are “F” and “U”. As in, “feeling fed up”… and of course you know what else. 😉
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