communication, modern problems, social media

Compassion fatigued woman writes, “I don’t give a hoot about you…”

This morning, I happened to read an article in The New York Times about how the recent Gridiron dinner turned into a COVID-19 “superspreader” event. The annual “A-list” event, is held for journalists and politicians by The Gridiron Club and Foundation. Last week, many famous and powerful people, including Judge Merrick Garland and President Biden’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens, were in attendance at the dinner. One week later, over 50 people who attended the dinner, most of whom mingled maskless for hours, sipping cocktails, enjoying food, and watching skits, tested positive for COVID-19. Fortunately, no serious illnesses have been reported. Everyone who attended had to prove that they were fully vaccinated, although they were not required to present negative COVID test results.

I checked out the comment section. Sure enough, I found the usual reactions. Lots of people had obviously commented without reading. There were some political statements made. Many people were smugly informing the masses of their personal practices regarding COVID prevention, while simultaneously lecturing everybody else on what they should be doing. Some people were derisive, while others were insisting that COVID is no worse than a cold or flu. All I could do was shake my head.

Just as I was about to move on from the article, I noticed a particularly interesting exchange. It reminded me of my “fuckery” with Mary last week, when she left me a nasty comment because I wrote the word “ridiculous” in a comment section. These three women– total strangers– butted heads. And one of them wrote, “I don’t give a hoot about you.” Wow… that comment made me recall the old Woodsy Owl PSAs about and not polluting. “Give a hoot! Don’t pollute!”

Who says “I don’t give a hoot” anymore?

So, looking at this discussion, it involved three women. One tried to be empathic, even as she corrected the hostile woman’s use of “affect” vs. “effect”. The other was somewhat “nice” at first, then seemed to get angry and told the hostile one to “f off”. And the hostile one wrote what, I think, a lot of people are feeling right now. She’s “over” the pandemic crap. She’s got compassion fatigue. I can relate to that, even though I don’t think I’m as mean as she seems to be.

I think the hostile woman is tired of caring about COVID, like a lot of us are. It takes energy to be worried, and a lot of us don’t have energy to spare. A lot of us are tired of preachy comments from people like the first commenter, telling everyone to “wear masks”, “socially distant” [sic] (funny how she corrects the hostile woman but doesn’t correct her own mistake), and “get vaccinated”. I know people are frustrated, but I wonder if the folks who feel the need to preach have ever actually changed anyone’s minds when they order people around in comment sections. Why would a stranger in a comment section heed your unsolicited advice about COVID? Hostile lady who says she “doesn’t give a hoot” is being brutally honest about the state of things and how she feels about it. And she obviously doesn’t want to be convinced otherwise. If she hasn’t listened to the experts, why would she listen to a random commenter on Facebook? It’s baffling.

I don’t agree with the hostile poster’s opinions that the vaccines don’t work. They obviously do help people stay out of hospitals. I also don’t think her other opinions about people being “lazy” are accurate, either. Some people are lazy, but not all of them are. To me, she just sounds like someone who’s over the whole thing. I can’t blame her for that.

However, as someone who has lived the last two years in a country where masking never went away, I don’t believe that masks are all that effective. They might have helped in the very beginning, when we had no vaccines or anything, but their current effectiveness is probably pretty marginal. Here in Germany, we’ve been forced to wear the godawful FFP2 masks for awhile now, and yet COVID cases continue to rise. I suspect it might be because while we all have had to wear masks, we haven’t been forced to cover our eyes. The virus can also infect people through that conduit. Also, the masks come off for certain activities, plus people don’t wear them properly or replace them as often as they should. So, in my opinion, mask wearing is largely theater. I also think that we’re all eventually going to get infected, no matter what we do. That’s not to say that I think people shouldn’t try to avoid getting sick. It’s just that it’s probably inevitable… and as another poster wrote, there are a lot of other problems in the world that we need to pay some attention to at this point.

As for the Gridiron dinner, it sounds like the COVID infections are a bit of a non-issue. A week later, over 50 people got the virus, but they’ve all reported mild symptoms, because they were all vaccinated. Pretty soon, COVID spread could turn out to be a lot less newsworthy, since it’s going to spread. That’s what viruses do. So, it’s probably time for us to find ways to either clean the air, block the virus, or treat the symptoms effectively.

I did find it interesting that the first commenter– the one who demanded that people go back to following the rules– felt the need to tell the hostile woman that she’s a “nice” person and doesn’t want to spread COVID. The hostile woman made it very clear that she doesn’t care. She doesn’t give a hoot. She’s like a lot of people right now– totally over the whole thing. So why was the “nice” person trying to engage with her? The other lady who commented– the one who wrote that she worked two jobs and got a college degree– was correct in realizing that the woman who didn’t give a hoot doesn’t care. She told her to “f off”. And yet she still tried to engage with hostile lady. LOL… I don’t know why ANY of them bothered commenting. What a waste of time. But at least it gave me something to write about besides Ex.

I think, when it comes to COVID-19, I’m pretty much middle of the road. Even though the mask mandates were supposedly lifted in Germany last weekend, I haven’t rushed to go out into the world again. It’s not because I’m necessarily “afraid” of the virus. To be honest, watching how things are deteriorating in the world these days, I don’t think it would be such a bad thing to be beamed up, although I would rather that experience not be painful. But I don’t want to deal with the mask bullshit. We aren’t legally required to wear them anymore in most places, but there’s still the whole social pressure crap to deal with and silent judgment from other people who probably ought to be minding their own business. I do think the vaccines are worth getting, and I think they are more effective than the masks are. Like I said– Germans have never stopped wearing them, but people are still getting sick. And I doubt people are going to appreciate being told to wear safety goggles in public. What does work is staying away from other people.

Anyway… at the end of the month, we will be taking a trip to three different countries. Hopefully, we won’t get sick. But if we do get sick, at least that particular cherry will be popped. Hopefully, we will survive. I do feel for the hostile lady. She probably isn’t really as mean as she seems. She’s just tired of this shit, as are we all, and being ordered to be “nice”, “kind”, and “compassionate” by a sanctimonious stranger is annoying. She probably just wants to be left alone, yet wants to communicate that to the masses, who feel compelled to respond to her. And I feel for the other ladies who are concerned and want to be helpers– or influencers– or whatever. However, they probably ought to get clued in on the fact that most people really don’t give a hoot anymore. Being empathic and kind is good… but don’t expect to change hearts and minds that are resolutely made up… and fed up.

condescending twatbags, Duggars, true crime

No “joshing” matter… Josh Duggar is in the slammer!

This morning, a couple of friends tagged me in the latest news about “sex pest” Josh Duggar. He is currently behind bars having been arrested in Arkansas yesterday. According to People Magazine, Josh was nabbed by Homeland Security. He is being held without bond, although so far, we don’t know what the charges are. He will supposedly go before a judge sometime today. This news comes just a few days since Josh and his long suffering wife, Anna, announced that they are expecting their seventh child, another girl.

Oh dear.

I do remember that in November 2019, it was in the news that Josh’s office at the car dealership where he was working was raided by the feds. Back then, the Duggars claimed that it wasn’t true that any member of the Duggar family was the target of an investigation of any kind. Clearly, they were lying, which is a violation of one of the Ten Commandments. But, as Josh correctly pointed out back in 2015, when he was at the pinnacle of his sex pest scandal, he has been the biggest hypocrite ever. It’s not a surprise that Josh and members of his family lied about his legal issues in 2019.

Yikes. What a weird smirk.

The Duggars are definitely a family a lot of us love to hate. I remember first hearing about them in 2004, when Jim Boob and Michelle Duggar were featured in a Discovery Health special. At the time, I believe Michelle was pregnant with her fourteenth child– Jackson, I believe. After that, the Duggars determined that having more kids was a way to make the fame and money train roll. They popped out five more, with the youngest, Josie, being born extremely premature. There would have been one more girl, but Michelle miscarried her 20th child in 2011. However, they are now raising Michelle’s grandnephew, Tyler, so I guess in a manner of speaking, they got their 20th kid, after all.

Their reality show, 19 Kids and Counting, aired on TLC until May 2015, when the sex scandal came to light. It turned out that Josh Duggar had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter back in 2002 or so. The Duggars hid this information for years, and when it did finally get exposed, they downplayed what Josh did. Later that year, Josh was also outed for having an Ashley Madison account and cheating on his wife. At the time, she was pregnant with their fourth child, Meredith. Josh had been working for the Family Research Council in the Washington, DC area, but he was forced to resign in the wake of the many scandals that plagued him. In November of 2015, Josh was also sued by a porn star named Danica Dillon, who claimed he had assaulted her.

I thought things were calming down a bit in the wake of the scandals. I hadn’t heard of any other issues relating to his issues with pornography, objectifying women, or molesting girls. But I had heard about him being sued for real estate fraud back around 2019, and many people were horrified that he and Anna were still making so many kids. Josh evidently lost the lawsuit because he missed the court date.

It will be interesting to find out why Josh is in trouble this time. It sounds like he did something pretty serious. However, when I look at his mug shot, I notice he has kind of a weird smirk on his face and looks like he might be on something.

Maybe I shouldn’t feel sorry for Anna, but I do. It’s hard to wrap my head around why she continues to support Josh and stay in the marriage. But, I’m sure that Anna has significant barriers to getting divorced. Besides the fact that divorce is something fundie Christians don’t tend to do, she would be hard pressed to be able to support her huge family on her own. And based on the way Jim Boob Duggar treats his own children — ahem, Jill Dillard– it’s likely that if she ever stepped out of line, he would cut her off and do whatever he could to take the children from her. Now… whether or not he would be successful, I don’t know. But when you are abused, it’s hard to see beyond your own perceptions. That’s why so many people in abusive relationships never manage to break away until tragedy strikes or they are somehow forced out of the situation. Sadly, some people never escape.

Anyway… I hope that the marshals who arrested Josh didn’t do it in front of his children. I know a lot of people think Josh deserves the humiliation of having his kids witness seeing him in handcuffs, but I think that would be very traumatizing, especially for the youngest ones. And Josh’s kids may have a shithead for a father, but they are completely innocent and have no doubt been through enough already.

I guess this could be why two of Josh’s brothers so suddenly got married. They probably had an inkling that Josh was about to be busted and didn’t want the weddings ruined by Josh’s latest scandal Either that, or they wanted to draw attention away from it. Same thing goes for Anna’s pregnancy announcement, which came a week ago. They had to do a reveal, since they might have known Josh was going up the river.

Moving on…

I have to write a short COVID-19 related rant. Yesterday, I woke up to read a news story about a couple whose son died of COVID-19 shortly after they arrived in Hawaii on vacation. The couple were vaccinated and had tested negative for COVID-19; but their son, who was under age 11 and had an underlying health condition, was not vaccinated and clearly wasn’t tested. He developed symptoms of illness just hours after landing.

Given that the boy got sick so soon after arrival in Hawaii, I can only surmise that he picked up the virus at home. Officials are still trying to figure out how and where the boy was exposed to the virus. But that didn’t stop a lot of people on Facebook from berating the couple for traveling. Some people wondered why the parents were tested, but the boy wasn’t. I’m not sure about that myself.

After reading one too many awful comments about how this couple deserved to lose their son to COVID-19 because they dared to travel, I had to say something. I don’t understand how people can be so utterly shitty to each other. These parents LOST A CHILD, for God’s sake! Even if they had been completely irresponsible, and they clearly weren’t, it still would have been tragic for them to lose their son. Would most people be laughing and pointing fingers at them if their son had, say, died in a car accident? What if he’d contracted the flu or pneumonia? Would they blame the parents for that? What good does it do to laugh and judge these parents now? Their son is gone. I think they’ve suffered enough already.

COVID-19 is caused by a tiny virus. Plenty of people have gotten sick, even after doing all the “right” things. The sad truth is, it’s a very sneaky and insidious virus. And no matter what, this child was innocent, and was clearly destined to be sick, since he must have picked up the virus somewhere at home. The fact that he was in Hawaii on vacation when he died is immaterial.

I took one lady to task for being such a judgmental twat. She came back with a lengthy response about why it’s okay for her to have no sympathy for parents who lost an unvaccinated child, simply because they dared to go on vacation. I am so sick of people who have no empathy for other people, simply because they disagree with their choices. My response to her was, “Have a nice life. You are beyond hope.” She thought that was funny. Well, fuck her.

I have an appointment to get the first Moderna shot on Wednesday. Bill says I might be able to get the “one and done” J&J shot on Monday, if I want it. Although the idea of blood clots is a little scary, I would like to be vaccinated and have it behind me as soon as possible, especially since Bill has to go away on business Wednesday. Anyway… the upshot is, I’ll be getting a shot of some sort next week.


HOAs can be heartless…

Fifteen year old Collin Clabaugh has had a rough time of things lately. In late December 2018, at 14 years old, he was forced to move from his home in California to his grandparents’ home in Prescott, Arizona. His mother was very ill and hospitalized and his father was busy trying to take care of her. Then, in February of 2019, Collin’s mom, Bonnie, succumbed to organ failure due to medications she was taking. Two weeks after that, Collin’s father, Clay, killed himself. He couldn’t bear to go on without his wife. Collin has been living with his grandmother, Melodie Passmore, and her husband, Randy, at The Gardens at Willow Creek ever since.

Now, Collin and his grandmother are the subject of worldwide news coverage because the members of the homeowner’s association at The Gardens at Willow Creek have demanded that Collin move out by June 30, 2020. Why? Because Collin is under 19, the minimum age to reside in the senior living community where his grandparents had bought their home four years ago. The Gardens at Willow Creek is an age restricted community for people over age 55. Someone complained about Collin’s presence, prompting the HOA board to send Mrs. Passmore a strongly worded legal letter.

I dunno… sometimes rules are meant to be broken.

I hosted a lively Facebook discussion about this situation yesterday. A couple of people pointed out that legal documents must have teeth, otherwise they can be violated. I fully appreciate that point, although I also think there are extraordinary situations in which rules should be bent. Personally, I think a teenager who has nowhere else to go other than foster care after losing both parents to early death is in an extraordinary situation. There’s no way the Passmores could have foreseen that their grandson would be orphaned when they purchased their home. According to Mrs. Passmore’s Facebook post about this incident, they bought there because they could afford the house and liked it, not because they necessarily cared about living in a childfree community.

I did read in an article yesterday, that thanks to all of the furore over this situation, the HOA seems to want to try to reach a workable solution with the Passmores. I hope they do come to a resolution, since moving would be a true hardship for this family. The Passmores are in their 70s and no doubt expected that this would be the last home they’d ever need to buy. They’ve also spent a lot of money fixing up their home to their liking. Unfortunately, I suspect they’ll end up having to move, but maybe they’ll find a better place with conditions they can live with. Sometimes moving to a new home can be a blessing. It certainly has been for us on multiple occasions.

I hope that when Bill and I finally end our global adventures, we are able to buy a home in a rural area without having to deal with a homeowner’s association full of busybodies. I do understand why some people like them. They want to make sure their neighbors have to respect their rights and can’t do things that affect property values. But why purchase a home if you have a group of people telling you who can live there, how many pets you can have, what you can grow in your yard, and what color you can paint the shutters? If you don’t obey the covenants, which are sometimes enforced in an arbitrary manner, you can end up getting fined, in legal trouble, or even find yourself in foreclosure. In that situation, I would rather rent. That way, if the HOA or the landlord get too uppity, intrusive, or controlling, moving is much easier to do.

Of course, there are downsides to not living with a HOA. You might have neighbors who have no respect for other people and tell you to fuck off when you ask them to turn down their music or quit putting their dilapidated cars on cinder blocks in the front yard. But then, a lot of times, you can call the police if the neighbors are violating the law. I think Bill and I were happiest with our living situations when we were in homes that were out in the country. Neighbors were some distance away, and we had lots of trees around us for privacy. In Georgia, we lived in a house way back in the woods. In the summer, we couldn’t even see our neighbors’ houses. The only people who ever rang our doorbell were Jehovah’s Witnesses. Our house in North Carolina was somewhat similar, in that it was rural and quiet, although the neighbors were closer. My idea of hell is living in a subdivision with zero lots… or in a condo or apartment where I have to share walls with three or four other families. I hope we never have to live that way again, although I would never say “never”.

I don’t know where we’ll be going after we’re done in Wiesbaden, but I hope it’s a place where people have hearts that still beat. Anyway, I wish Mrs. Passmore and her grandson, Collin, luck. Hopefully, they have a sharp lawyer who can help them out with this problem. Barring that, I hope their house sells quickly and they can move somewhere where people aren’t so compassion challenged.

poor judgment

A fatal mistake…

22 year old Sydney Monfries was just a month from her graduation from Fordham University in New York, when she and some friends decided to make the forbidden climb up the bell tower that overlooks Fordham’s Rose Hill campus. It was a rite of passage for many students at Fordham University to ascend the steep, spiral stairs and look out over the Bronx, often while drinking alcohol, who reportedly would steal up the stairs in the wee hours of the morning. Sadly, that forbidden climb up the tower in Keating Hall would be Sydney’s last mistake. She fell through an opening in a landing and plummeted to the ground, where she was seriously injured. Police found her unconscious at about 3:00am. Monfries was rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital, where she died Sunday evening.

I read Sydney Monfries’ tragic story in The New York Times this morning while enjoying a bowl of ripe berries and fresh coffee prepared for me by my loving husband and safety geek, Bill. I was telling him about Monfries’ decision to trespass in the bell tower, which led to her death. Then, I read the comments. As usual, they were interesting.

The first one I read was something along the lines of “play stupid games, win stupid prizes.” After a few wholly sympathetic comments, someone left this one: “It’s hard to feel bad for someone who needed a better view of NYC for an Instagram photo. Stupidity has its harsh rewards.”

Naturally, that comment, while technically correct, provoked a number of angry responses. The author of the “insensitive” comment was defensive. An interesting discussion ensued.

Apparently, the commenter who had no sympathy for Sydney Monfries, has “issues” of her own.

Sydney Monfries was a beautiful young woman, full of promise and clearly not lacking in loved ones. She had her whole life ahead of her, and it looked like it was slated to be a good one. Unfortunately, she made a grave mistake and it cost her her life. Does this mean that her grieving loved ones don’t deserve compassion? I don’t think so. I’m sure that Ms. Monfries has many friends and family members who are absolutely horrified and devastated by her sudden departure. Monfries and her friends made an error in judgment. People do that. Even the smartest people mess up sometimes. I’m sure they were all just looking for a wonderful time and a story they could pass to their grandchildren someday.

On the other hand, I can sort of see the point of those who are saying things like “play stupid games, win stupid prizes.” I wouldn’t put it that way myself, but the way I see it, climbing the tower, when it’s clear that the tower is off limits, was a foolish thing to do. It’s not unlike walking along railroad tracks or trying to do unauthorized photo shoots in dangerous places. Sometimes, you are rewarded with stunning pictures and memorable stories. Sometimes, you wind up seriously injured or killed. Sydney Monfries took a risk that cost her her life. I only hope people pay attention and learn from it… and perhaps Fordham University does more to make sure other students don’t try the same thing, even if it is a rite of passage. Obviously, it’s not safe. Sydney Monfries has proven it.

Sydney Monfries no longer cares about what people will say or think about her. She’s gone now. The people who need comfort are those who are left behind. I do hope they refrain from reading the comments on news articles or social media. I even hope they don’t read this blog post if it will cause them more pain.

A 2013 article in the Fordam Ram, Fordham University’s newspaper, explains the allure of the forbidden tower, which is usually locked. When the door to the tower is left slightly ajar, it tempts daring students who want to have this ultimate, epic experience afforded to few people. I think, even in the wake of this horrible accident, university officials are going to have to be vigilant. People are always tempted by forbidden fruit. Fordham also has “forbidden tunnels” that students have tried to access with varying degrees of success. The tunnels, no doubt like the tower, are off limits for insurance reasons. Supposedly, getting caught in either place leads to expulsion if you’re lucky, death if you’re not.

This was so much fun! I’d love to do it again, even though it could be dangerous for the stupid…

One thing I’ve noticed and appreciated in Europe is that most people are expected to have good sense. There are fewer barriers here. A few years ago, Bill and I visited the Starkenberger beer pool in Austria, where, for five hours, we were allowed to rent a former fermenting vat filled with hot beer wort. We were turned loose, with no one supervising us as we swam in the beery water, completely naked with access to all the beer we wanted. There was water and alcohol involved, but we had no minders or lifeguards on duty. It was awesome, and we had a blast! That would never happen in the United States because the liability would be too much. I’m sure anyplace in the USA that tried to offer an unsupervised “beer pool” would never get insurance coverage. But it’s doable here. People are pretty “sue happy” over here, but common sense is still expected.

I can understand why people want to get an “amazing view” of campus, but there’s a reason why the tower is locked. Still, even the morning after that horrible accident, a young man and his father who were touring the campus were spotted tugging on the locked door of the tower. They had no doubt heard about Sydney Monfries’ accident, but they were still tempted by that tower. Some people just never get it.