I really hate Busybodies

Gladys

Abner! There’s something strange going on over there.

There’s a whole lot of folks that won’t get that reference.

For those of you that do… Well, we’re probably of a similar age.

Anyhoo, I’m heading into the laundry room (Locked by the way, so I have my key.) and this old woman comes out onto her little patio to tell me that I’m not allowed to use the laundry room.

“Is it out of order,” I ask.

“No you can’t use it because it’s for residents only.”

“I’m a resident.”

“You can’t be, you’re not old enough, so don’t lie to me. I’m calling the manager.”

“Call away! I pay my rent on time and cause no-one any trouble. Let’s see how this plays out with Michelle.”

Laundry Room

I walk into the laundry room and go on about my business. She on the other hand does not go about her business. Apparently, Now I’m her business.

“I’m not calling the apartment management, If you keep putting your clothes in the washers I will unplug them when you’re gone,” She yells from the safety of her patio.

“Look ‘Gladys’ that would be a mistake on your part, I’m a resident here and have been for a year and a half,” I say loudly.

I’m calling the cops!”

I think, “OH for Fucks sake.” 

I go back to the door of the laundry room, “Really? You honestly think that this is a matter for the police?”

“Yes, I’m afraid!”

I on the other hand am PISSED. All I wanted to do was get my laundry in the washer, go back to my apartment, have another cup of coffee, some breakfast, and then come back to put my stuff in the dryer.

“Afraid of WHAT? Its broad daylight, there are people all over the place, what could you possibly think is going to happen? You’d be better served by minding your own business, instead of trying to provoke a conflict. If you think something is amiss after observing a situation for a few minutes, then call the cops.”

“You’re wearing a ball cap, and you look too young to be here. You’re up to no good.”

I take off my baseball cap, just to check and make sure it’s not a confederate flag, or an American flag, or NRA logo or a Swastika. It’s not. It says, “Dive” with a small little divers flag. 

“Look you old crone, profile much? Is the white in my beard not enough for you? The crows feet around my eyes don’t tell you I’m old enough? Who the hell died and made you die Führer? Where exactly do you get off calling someone a liar to their face? What would it take, you want to see the gray hair on my balls? Would that do it? ”

Gladys2

Crossed a line there… I know. The stunned look on her face was damn funny… and totally worth it.

Just as I delivered that line, Michelle, the apartment manager was rounding the corner. She laughed out loud.

I turned towards the sound.

“Oh hey Michelle, sorry about that, would you explain to this person that I’m a resident?”

Michelle in her usual calm way said, “Sure, Happy to do it.”

“Thanks”

I went back into the laundry room, and went about my business. I could hear the wannabe Gladys Kravitz saying, “How was I to know?”

Michelle responded, “Because he had a key to the laundry room.”

“Well, he was rude to me.”

“From what I heard, it sounded like you provoked him. He’s one of our best tenants, quiet, generally nice, pays his rent, makes good suggestions, takes action when it’s warranted, but mostly keeps to himself.” 

Laundry started, I locked and closed the door to the laundry room, then went back to the relative solitude of my own apartment.

Over my next cup of coffee a bunch of things that went through my mind.

Trump

Why was that lady afraid? What prompts fear that makes you treat complete strangers as if they’re out to get you?

I’ll grant you, the chaos of our nation isn’t easy to deal with.  I wonder if unreasoning fear is part of what’s driving the chaos.

Yeah, Trump may not be your guy or even the guy, but he’s only the most recent in a long line of Presidents, and he’s not a dictator. Well, not yet anyway.

Nixon

I mean, you could say that the quality of Presidents, while always hit & miss, has perhaps been more miss than hit since the Nixon administration.

Perhaps longer, but I came of age the day Nixon left office under a cloud of corruption and scandal.

I can’t comment too much on Presidents up to the Nixon era because I was blissfully ignorant & uncaring of anything except my next little league game.

What happened to live and let live? Why would someone feel it’s necessary to try to reach out and control the actions of a complete stranger, especially when there is nothing to gain and the likelihood you’ll start a conflict?

It makes no sense to me. 

NAZI SS

Maybe I’m the odd man out. I just want to get through my day unmolested and without molesting anyone else. I’m seeking peace and simplicity, not angst and conflict (conflict leading to complication).

To put it simply, I just want to be left the hell alone.

I care nothing for politics. I care nothing for grandiose protests or demonstrations. Largely, these acts of theater don’t bring change.

I sure as hell don’t believe in vandalism of anyone’s property (state or private) whether I agree with them or not.

There is a better way, a peaceful way. It’s the way of listening and speaking with calm and logic, not violence and cruelty.

If someone isn’t going to listen to rational conversation, they’re not going to listen to riots. They’ll take action, usually draconian, but they will not have heard what you were trying to say.

ISIL

Granted, I didn’t practice what I preach this morning. So sue me, I hadn’t had my second cup of coffee yet.

In retrospect, perhaps I could see why the lady was afraid. If all she’s been seeing is CNN and Fox News. Perhaps she’s concluded that anyone wearing a dark colored hat is ANTIFA and she’s afraid of what that means. 

ANTIFA

I know I find myself looking at the ANTIFA crowd and thinking that they behave a lot more like fascists, and look more like the Symbionese Liberation Army, or ISIS than the historical depictions of the NAZI SS.

At least the SS was neatly dressed and you typically saw their faces, instead of looking like the depictions of traditional roadside bandits, or bank robbers.

My Grandmother once said, “If you’re doing something where you feel you need to cover your face, it’s probably something you shouldn’t be doing.

She had a point. Protesting in the open where people can see your face says two things. 1) You’re not ashamed of your position. 2) You want to stand up and be counted and recognize there may be consequences. 

I have respect for anyone who is open and unafraid to speak their mind. I don’t have to agree, but I do have to respect their dedication and position.

I wonder if the need to control other’s actions is a reflection of just basic insecurity.

The world is too big to control and there are too many moving parts so people try to control the local things; don’t Smoke, don’t drink, don’t let your children walk home or ride the bus. Don’t eat fatty foods, don’t get fat, don’t be too thin.

Does insecurity inevitably lead to imposition of measures to control everyone else? 

If that assertion is true, it leads to a simple equation. You must be an elite pulling the strings, or else you’re one of the people being led around.

So you’re right back to fear being the root cause of a lot of the problems we see today.

My friends, its time to step into the light. Go forth into your day and your community being unafraid. Choose to see the better in people and understand that we all have the same basic needs, wants, and desires.

Speak your mind, listen to others, and really hear them. You don’t have to agree, just acknowledge that other peoples opinions and beliefs matter too. Recognize that you’re not necessarily right, and treat others with respect. Instead of running to tell a cop someone dropped trash somewhere, bend over and pick it up. Set a good example, and pay no attention to the people acting badly.

Hopefully, in time, the world will become a better place because we choose to lead by example, not by force.

That’s not to say force is off the table. But it should always be a last resort.

Time to put the clothes in the dryer…

So this is funny, in a really sad way.

I talk to people all day long.  I help them figure out what’s wrong with their machines and there’s the added factor that these machines are part of life monitoring. 

Sometimes we replace parts, and we ask for the broken parts to be sent back so that they can be analyzed.  To facilitate this, we send all the packaging necessary for the client to send the broken bits back. Yes, we pay the shipping to their homes, and then pay to have the units shipped back to us. 

That’s the system anyway.

Sometimes the return label gets lost, or misplaced. 

This leads to the client calling us to request a replacement label.

Our usual procedure is to email the replacement label to the client and have them print it locally on their printer. This is fast efficient and cheap.

Which leads me to the funny, sad part of it.

I actually spoke with someone today who’d lost or never gotten their label.

I said, “No problem, I’ll email it to you and you can print it out.”

They said, “No, I shouldn’t have to waste my paper printing out your label. You must mail it to me.”

My brain rebooted.

I’d looked at the order, we’d sent this person almost 2K worth of equipment (approximately half of it un-necessary but this person had raised a stink and got their way.)  FOR FREE. They were sitting right at the end of their warranty and were clearly milking another year of stuff out of us.

I said, “Excuse me?”

They reiterated, “I shouldn’t have to waste my paper or toner, on your crappy product.”

Sensing this was a trap. I said, “Sure thing.” Then printed the label, folded it placed it in an envelope and put it in the outgoing mail. 

What I wanted to say to this person was, ” If you’re not happy with the product, why the hell do you keep having us replace old stuff with new stuff?” I wanted to call this person out on their being an ass. 

To do that would have demonstrated that I can also be an ass. So I’m glad I restrained myself. I’m trying to be a better version of myself.

Humans!

Capable of unbelievable kindness, creativity, compassion, and accomplishments that rival some of the legends of gods.

But there is an element of humanity, a subspecies if you will, that make me wonder if eugenics based breeding should be mandatory.

Honestly, If it had been up to me I’d have terminated this person’s account. Billed them retail for all the equipment, then made sure that they were never able to purchase anything from us again. None of these actions would have been harmful. The person would have survived just fine they simply wouldn’t have had convienience anymore.

Alas, such things are not up to me. Perhaps that’s for the best. Had I done this, it wouldn’t have demonstrated much compassion on my part.

I did send the return label, postage due,  by 5 cents. That’s the approximate cost of the paper this person saved.

Someone in the mail dept caught the postal discrepancy. Probably for the best too, I’m sure that the person would have demanded another label be mailed.

But I tried!

Companies need to stay out of national politics.

Starbucks Logo

Credit Suisse – Is reporting that the Starbucks Pledge to hire 10,000 Muslim refugees is hurting the Starbucks brand and their sales.

There is no doubt there are people who are saying that this at its root is because Americans are racist. 

I tend to think not.

We have thousands of Americans still out of work. I think, as I always have, that Americans should be the priority when it comes to hiring in this country.

Starbucks recently posted a letter saying that they loved and would hire Veterans too, in a half hearted attempt to reassure the public that they are a equal opportunity employer.

Apparently, the public isn’t buying it.

As I scanned the Credit Suisse report a couple of other things came to mind.

Would a muslim refugee serve me, my cafe mocha and my double bacon egg & cheese breakfast sandwich?

What happens when you get a Veteran and a Muslim Refugee in the same shift, and they start arguing? 

In a way I’m dealing with the latter problem where I work. We have a guy who identifies as Persian and a guy who is Pakistani (I think) sitting near me. The Persian guy is quite adamant about doing business ONLY with other Persians, and daily, finds something bad to say about America or Americans. 

The Pakistani guy literally will not shut up about how awful it is that Trump was elected and that Hillary or Obama should be the president.

For him this is a daily crisis and he’s said that the military should take Trump out and put Hillary in. When another coworker pointed out that our Pakistani coworker is talking about a coup d’état and that’s not the way we do things in America, The Pakistani replies that perhaps America should do things that way.

Against the trials of dealing with pissed off customers, the constant bitching about Trump makes going to work a significantly less pleasant experience. I wouldn’t call it a “Hostile” work environment but I would say it’s moving that direction.

Add to that the Canadian customers taking pot shots on the phone, (Because they know we have to take it) and some days it’s really tough to maintain equilibrium. 

Fortunately I manage to ignore it most of the time but for those of my coworkers sitting closer to these two it’s far more difficult to ignore.

I can’t imagine going to a Starbucks to have a cup of coffee and just take a break, and having to listen to people behind the counter or at other tables having similar conversations,  because that isn’t taking a break, it’s exhausting.

Starbucks took a hit when they banned firearms from their premises. Some stores went so far as to refuse service to police officers. Which is why if you want a police officer you go to any other coffee shop.

Starbucks also took another hit when they changed their rewards program, and when they  discontinued their clever older style holiday cups, and again when their baristas started writing little political messages on your cup.

My point is that American companies, ALL American companies need to remember that their duty is to their customers, and shareholders. No company needs to, or should insert themselves into politics. They, like Hollywood need to shut up, sell their products, and take the money. That is all that is required of them.

Black Rifle Logo

I’ve been watching with amusement, the Black Rifle Coffee company’s website. They came out after Starbucks made their refugee announcement, saying they’d hire Vets. I don’t think they should’ve entered the political arena anymore than Starbucks should have, but I must admit it was a marketing coup on Black Rifle’s part.

Black Rifle is now in the enviable position of having a two or three week backorder on most of their products.

They were smart enough to capitalize on Starbucks missteps. Including having legal open carry at one of their flagship stores. Black Rifle is obviously more in tune with the sentiment of the “average” American than Starbucks. 

Since Starbucks has entered the political fray, I’ve found that it is easier to avoid them and their products. I’ll grant you it’s not really a conscious choice it’s just that between the noise, expense, hipsters, and Starbucks politics, I’m more likely to head to any of the myriad other coffee shops that provide faster service, and are easier to get into and out of.

Nike Logo

At 4:30 in the morning I’d rather head somewhere that I can exchange pleasantries with law enforcement, instead of wondering if I’m going to get mugged in an empty Starbucks parking lot while some hipster barista looks on wondering what to do.

I haven’t gotten to the point that I’m willing to give up my Starbucks card on my phone but that day may well be around the corner.

Microsoft Logo

It’s not an “Active” boycott on my part, and I suspect that it wouldn’t be active on the part of most other people I think it would just be the worst thing a company can face. A “Meh” whatever, “Silent” boycott.

Compaq logo

Silent Boycotts are much harder to deal with. If suddenly people simply stop seeking your products with no explanation, a company can beat themselves to death trying to find a cause.

WordPerfect Logo

Companies start thrashing around looking for the problem; Is it Quality, Merchandising, Advertisement, Price, Logos, Saturation of the market place, Brand differentiation, Relevance?

Wordstar Logo

Companies spend millions on each of these areas and if suddenly, nothing is working and they can’t gain or maintain market share then the company will fade into irrelevance. 

Palm Logo

Remember Compaq? WordStar? WordPerfect? Novell? Palm? Each of these companies faded for various reasons. But bottom line is that folks just stopped buying their products.

It’s like going on the third date and then the other person just stops responding to messages. You have no idea what you did wrong and you never will. You’ll also never have the opportunity to fix the problem because you have no idea where to start.

Novell

Apple faced this problem in the 90’s just before Steve Jobs returned to the helm and reenergized the company. I vaguely recall Apple stock trading for some ridiculously low price and considering maxing out my credit card to buy as much as I could. I wish now that I’d done it, but it was unclear if Jobs was going to be able to turn the company around and I deemed the risk was too great. Had I maxed out that card on Apple stock… I’d be lying naked on a beach somewhere.

Apple Logos

Starbucks, Apple, Microsoft, Nike, and other major corporations, should really take note, lest they find themselves on the receiving end of a similar “Silent” boycott. 

Meanwhile companies like Black Rifle Coffee, will be waiting in the wings to fill the void.

I Don’t think that word means what you think it means.

Mds82td

Just  read a series of articles detailing the latest report from The Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC report talks about “Hate” groups increasing in the past year.

BLM is not listed. Although I personally think they should be.

But other groups are… Groups that I’m not sure I’d qualify as “Hate” groups per se.

Obviously the KKK is listed (the SLPC report says their numbers are dropping)

Some of the groups listed are simply groups that oppose illegal immigration. Does that merit the designation “Hate Group”?

Just because you disagree with and protest or vocally oppose illegal immigration does not automatically make you a hate group. Just because you’re in favor of accountability and vetting doesn’t mean you hate.

Ku klux klan anonymous mayor

Having a dislike for something does not mean you hate it. I don’t like lima beans, but that doesn’t mean I hate them, it means that if there is an option, I’ll choose the option. That’s not hate, that’s a preference. If there’s nothing but lima beans, I’ll smile and eat them grateful for the meal.

I don’t like street signs in my country being written in a language that I don’t read or understand. That’s not hate or racism, that’s reasonable expectation that the signs be in the language generally spoken by the vast majority of the country.

After all, I wouldn’t go to Russia, China, or Saudi Arabia to live, and expect the signs to be in English. That doesn’t mean that those people hate me, it means I’m a visitor to their country and they shouldn’t have to make accommodation to me. Rather, I should do my best to learn the language.

Hate is very different from disagreement, or lack of accommodation.

2880379928 0d57facaeb z

Asking that someone wait in line to enter a restaurant, religious edifice,airport, plane, theater, or Country is not hate, it is maintaining order. Asking a stranger what their intentions are before allowing them into your house is common sense. Why do we cast these rules to the wind when we talk about allowing people into the country, (by extension our home)?

How do we equate asking questions or expressing our concerns, to hate?

My definition of hate is quite possibly different from yours. In my world hate is dark. It drives dark hideous deeds and it requires a lot of energy. You have to want to hate and you have to constantly feed hate to keep it alive.

Here’s my poor attempt at defining it:

Hate is unreasoning. It’s harsh, and comes from a place of darkness. Hate is violent and terrifying.

Hate is what creates people in masks, who riot, destroy property, burn buildings or kill other people who are just trying to get through their day.

Hate is “hurt or KILL X, Y, or Z” because they are X, Y, or Z. Hate is “Make them (whoever they may be) pay for who they are or what they believe”.

Hate is Poll Taxes, crucifixions, burning people alive trapped in a cage, beheadings, knock out games, vengeance rape, rape in general, “kill the fags”, Zyclon B, forcing people to dig their own mass grave, then shooting them, bombing school busses… shopping centers… night clubs, harming children, brutalizing anyone and throwing them off a building, or hanging someone in their own front lawn. These are hateful things born in the darkest parts of human nature.

These are acts that are so heinous that instinctively we know they are wrong; no religion or belief structures are needed, we know these acts are inherently wrong.

We look away in disgust, and a little spark of something lights in our souls because we viscerally react to people who are so… wrong. Not only wrong in their actions, but wrong on such a fundamental level that our instincts for self preservation of our species wake up, demanding we excise the sickness from the gene pool.

Is that feeling hate, or instinctive self preservation?

Longlines

I believe that someone not liking me, or a Country telling me that I may visit but cannot live there is not hate.

I’d probably like very much living in Fiji, but the odds of me being allowed to become a permanent citizen are pretty low. Fijians probably don’t hate me, but they do understand limited resources.

The same goes for Australia, even though I have some talents that could earn me a living. I don’t have enough working years left to pay enough into their tax system that I wouldn’t be a burden on their society in my later years.

These are reasoned decisions, not hatred.

For our country to be expected to make any less reasoned decisions shouldn’t be construed as hate.

The word hate is bandied about all too frequently and the definition is too fluid in our culture.

Fiji

Were I to go to Fiji and overstay my visa (i.e. permission to visit) I wouldn’t be at all surprised to have their equivalent of ICE arrest me and put me on the first plane home. Would they call me an immigrant or a criminal?

Probably the latter. The odds are, I’d be blacklisted from ever returning. Even that wouldn’t be “hate” that would be enlightened self interest on the part of the Fujian government. After all, I’ve demonstrated that I can’t be trusted to obey their laws and therefore I won’t be allowed back, and thus will not be their problem.

The fluid nature of our culture and language and the slow methodical coercion of the media has led us to a place where words no longer have any real meaning.

Immigrant – can now mean illegal visitors and legal citizens.

Hate – is now used to describe anyone who disagrees with the perceived (or peddled) correct opinion.

Racist – now only describes white people, (as I’ve mentioned before it’s the new “N” word.)

I think it’s high time that we got back to using real words with real definitions in a consistent way so that all of us have the same understanding of a situation.

I’d like to see the SPLC review their “Hate Group” list and reconsider the groups on it and the reasons those groups are classified as a Hate Group.

Moreover I’d really like words and terms like racism, racist, immigrant and illegal immigrant to actually mean what Webster’s says they do.

It’s unlikely that’s going to happen; that doesn’t mean anyone hates me.

No interest in Watching Superbowl…

Super Bowl 2017 Top Five Upsets Of All Time

First time in years I haven’t been interested.

For many years, I’ve settled in Superbowl Sunday with beer, junk food and watched, relaxing and enjoying the entertainment.

This year, zero interest. 

I’m not even sure why.

I’ve been wondering if it was all the controversy over standing (or not) for the National Anthem.

Or was it that last years commercials were boring and Politically Correct to the point that no-one remembered them? 

Or that the half-time show was largely forgettable. 

Last Years game doesn’t stand out in my mind either.

I’m wondering if it’s just that I’m tired of endless controversies.

What used to be a fun diversion, and entertaining escape for 4 hours has become mediocre in it’s conformity.

Rather than watch something that I used to really enjoy, and be sad that it’s not the fun it used to be, I’ll spare myself the sadness and read a book.

Can of worms…

I’ve been watching with some amusement, the bathroom wars.

Images

This morning I found myself pondering the question raised by our willingness to accept and give people privileges based on what they identify as.

A man identifies as a woman, and even though he has “boy parts” decides he needs to use the womens bathroom.

Okay. Fine!

What do we do when someone identifies as Klingon? Or a Vampire? Or a Werewolf? Or Predator? 

Werewolf

Do we afford these people special status?

What happens when someone who identifies as a Klingon, and lives a life of Klingon honor and follows a warrior code, is insulted by someone and decides to settle the matter in a very Klingon way? 

How about followers of the old Norse religions? Odin took a dim view of people who insulted him. 

Klaa

What about followers of Poseidon, or Ares, or Zeus?

Will “I identify as X, Y, or Z” stand up in court?

We seem to be somewhat willing to bury Islamic honor killings as “Cultural”.

What happens when someone who identifies as Klingon to the core of their being, takes someone’s head off with a Bat’leth because they were insulted? How will we deal with the children of people who identify as Klingon? Will we permit them to carry knives in school? 

Odin

Would a “Klingon” honor killing, or trial by combat also be justified as “Cultural”? How about a Klingon rite of passage where a 16 year old was repeatedly shocked with cattle prods instead of painsticks by the adults in his or her family? Would that be classified as abuse of a minor, or Cultural acceptance, welcoming the child into adulthood?

Batleth

Klingons may indeed be fictitious beings, but given that there is a complete Klingon language, code of behavior, code of honor, and the typically swift justice of a warrior race. Would someone who completely gave themselves over to the Klingon ideal, in fact be a Klingon or just nuts?

I could make an equally strong case that ALL world religions and cultures are as made up as Klingons. This begs the question why would one belief structure be more valid than the next? Why would one group’s identity be more respected than then next?

Predator cp

If someone decides they identify as a member of the Predator species and begins hunting in the forests of our nation, when they rip out someone’s spine are they guilty of murder or just following their cultural imperative?

I guess my point is, once we start allowing “Identify as“ to dictate what we’re willing to accept or worse yet willing to take into account during adjudication  then we open a Pandora’s box of effects that must inevitably lead to anarchy.

Let’s close Pandora’s box.

Blind justice

Let’s focus on the problems at hand in our society, close ranks, and define what we as a society are, and are not willing to accept. We cannot be all things to all people and we shouldn’t try.

Let’s once again blindfold justice and apply all the rules equally to all the people.

If someone from a foreign culture or religion doesn’t like the way we do things… well there’s a whole wide world of other countries in which they can choose to live, and planes leave most airports every hour.