Hats Off

Disclaimer: This is a bit of a rant.

(Well, not really a rant. Perhaps more of a wistful call to arms.)

Remember the time when people only wore hats outside? Yes, I am dating myself. So I’m dating myself…

I was at a table read for a new play last month, and at a certain point, I looked around, and noted that 6 of the 11 people there had hats on.

Yes, it is a play written by a millennial and mainly contains of characters who are millennials, so it made sense that there were mainly millennial actors reading. And they were the ones wearing the hats.

You know the kind of hat I am talking about. Wool. Sort of a slouchy skull cap.

I just do not get it.

I have been in plays, in classes, in restaurants, and see people wearing their wool hats inside. Men, women. And not just millennial-aged adults. (Yikes. A 40-something-year-old man wearing a skull cap as fashion. Really?)

When did this become such an acceptable thing? Did it happen sometime after people started wearing their actual pajamas on airplanes? I still cannot believe that shift in social etiquette.

And going down to breakfast at hotels in your pjs and slippers. Is that really a thing? (I have seen it. So have others.) I mean, maybe for the toddlers and infants. But I am seeing teenagers and young adults.

Am I becoming and old f–t?

Sigh. I still dress up for the theatre. To go on an airplane. I don’t put my feet up on the backs of movie theater chairs. I hold doors open for people who are older than me.

Maybe I am just holding on to antiquated ways.

What are you wanting us as a society to hold on to? Any pet peeves you are carrying around in your bosom?

I do have a wool hat that I wear when it is cold, but I take that off when I get inside.

And I always will.

 

I share my posts here.

 

Starbucks Surrender

That’s perfectly fine.

I’m in no rush.

Go ahead and finish your conversation.

I mean, I’m just a customer in need of service.

There’s four of you behind that counter.

None of you are doing anything job-related.

Does Starbucks employ managers?

I think not.

Unless one of you is one of them.

Wow.

That’s a depressing thought.

I’ll just wait.

Send that Snapchat.

Read that text.

No need to bother yourself.

No need at all.

I’ll just work myself up into a lather,

And when you finally come over to me

And I let all hell loose on you,

You will treat me like I am the problem.

Maybe you’ll even report me to the manager-if-they-do-exist-at-all.

Not worth it.

I’m leaving and I won’t be back.

(Until next time.)

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: rush

Gone Fishing

I was so relaxed yesterday here in a beautiful old house on the shores of Cape Cod that I forgot to blog!

I slipped! Oops!

But instead of beating myself up, I choose to celebrate this little break from my drive to “get it all done,” this break from my goal of a blog a day, this break from perfectionism.

Just as it feels good to show up for my drive, it also feels good to show up for my need to “be.”

The Urban Dictionary defines “gone fishing” as:

Gone Fishing

1. To checkout from reality. To be unaware of what’s going on.

2. To drop the duties of daily life and go do something else, something nice.

I hadn’t intended to do that, I always blog no matter what. But you know what, it was nice to “slip.” I think I have always feared relaxing my grip, my drive — that if I do so once, I will slide into some kind of lethargy. Lose all will.

Yet here I am, right back on schedule. Happy to write.

May you give yourself a little break today – some change in your regularly disciplined routine, some shift in your thoughts.

It really is OK. The sun will rise again.

It did this morning.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

It is a fact: I am not a big fan of selfie-taking. I wish to put this disclaimer right out there at the forefront. (See my previous post “On Selfies and Vulnerability.”)

Nonetheless, I recognize that it has become a part of the fabric of our culture today, and I have tried to make my peace with it since it is clearly here to stay.

However, can we please, as a society, draw some lines, people?

Today, after my run at the gym, I was half-naked, air drying, when I noticed a fellow gym member taking a multitudes of selfies in the dressing room.

Now I know that people, for whatever reason, have come to believe that bathrooms are the ideal place for self-taking. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I even took one myself, which I never posted as it just seemed absurd to me.) It is a standard selfie location nowadays.

But, seriously, the dressing room at the gym?

I wondered as I watched her taking photos in front of the mirror – both aiming in to the mirror and also with the camera flipped standing in front of it – which meant that there was the possibility that I, in my half-nakedness, stood a chance of being in the background of aforesaid selfies, either in the reflection of the mirror directly behind her.

I have to say that I immediately felt my privacy had been invaded.

As calmly as possible, I walked over to her after I dressed and said I’d noticed he’d been taking selfies and that I was concerned that I may have inadvertently been in some of the shots topless. I was going to ask her to delete and retake if so, out of courtesy to my right to privacy.

Well, you would have thought I had demanded her phone and then smashed it.

She quickly swiped through the 8 shots she’d taken, none of which I could properly see because she as going so fast, though I did see that the top I’d been holding was in the background of 1 or 2, as it was a very colorful print.

She starting yelling at me then, telling me that she wasn’t taking pictures of me. I said I didn’t think she was taking pictures of me, but I feared my naked torso was in the background, caught accidentally.

She got even louder and angrier, and told me I was crazy. I asked to see the pictures again, she refused and continued to yell at me.

Someone intervened and asked us to stop yelling. She also tried to explain to the lady what I was concerned about, to no avail.

I went down to speak to the manager, who wanted to go find the lady, but while I was waiting to talk to her, the woman left through the side door. (I know this because when we went to look for her, another woman came forward and said she had seen her leave.)

All I really wanted from the manager was perhaps a sign to go up in the dressing room that selfies were not allowed in respect to the privacy of other members.

(Of course, as I asked for this, a part of me wondered if anyone really takes anything a middle-aged white lady says with a grain of salt. It is embarrassing to bring up in a world where so many are fighting for equality, but I will say it: women over 45 are, for the most part, invisible and/or treated like we are crazy much of the time. I am not saying we need a movement like many other much more maligned parts of society; I recognize the advantages and the privilege that my being a white, American, middle-class woman have afforded me. Still. Just saying. But I digress.)

To her credit, she listened and gave my concerns attention.

What I wish to propose here is that we, as a culture, recognize/remember that there are still places where photography is not legally welcome. Even in the Age of the Selfie.

Don’t believe me? While it is legal to take pictures just about anywhere, there is a line drawn. “Basically, anyone can be photographed without their consent except when they have secluded themselves in places where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy such as dressing rooms, restrooms, medical facilities, and inside their homes.”*

*Reference below.

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I think that a dressing room is a place where I can reasonably expect privacy, am I right?

Yes, legally I am. I am not just another crazy middle-aged lady ranting, it is illegal.

Now, I know this lady had no desire to take a pic of me. I have no fear that she is now circulating the photos on the Internet! (This has actually been a big thing and prompted Congress to address the issue of privacy by enacting the Video Voyeurism Prevention Act of 2004.

According to the West Virginia State Privacy Office website: “The Video Voyeurism Prevention Act prohibits the photographing or videotaping of a naked person without his or her permission in a gym, tanning salon, dressing room or anywhere else where one expects a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” Violators can expect fines of up to $100,000 and/or up to a year in prison. This doesn’t necessarily make it illegal for someone to snap your photo without your permission though. For instance, if you’re just walking down the street and someone takes a picture, they’re well within their rights no matter how violated you might feel. If you see someone taking your photo without your permission, it’s your right to ask him or her to stop. Never take photos of people without their permission, and try to be aware of your surroundings.”)

So I do have the right to not be those photos, and I could (and perhaps should) have called the police. Now, not if she had been willing to have a discourse with me. But as she felt no social obligation towards my concerns or privacy whatsoever – perhaps.

After all, we are all living on this big ball together, right? We do have to work together to some degree, don’t we?

How about this: I’ll put up with your self-taking everywhere else if you respect my privacy in restrooms, dressing rooms, medical facilities and inside my own home. If you just HAVE to get that shot of yourself in one of these places, just make sure that no one else is in your background, okay?

Sound good?

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word prompt: fact

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Game Day

I grew up in a household where football reigned supreme.

My family, it is said, bleeds burnt orange blood – the color of the University of Texas Longhorns.

(All but me, that is. I was the only one of my family (immediate and beyond) to NOT got to UT.)

Games ruled our lives. I am not kidding. A few points of proof:

My Dad long-referenced the day of my birth as being “a dark day, the day the Longhorns lost to Oklahoma” in some bowl or other.

My grandmother’s funeral: afterwards, all retired to my grandfather’s house, and yes, a UT game was watched.

Everyone had a plethora of UT clothing and hats, and other paraphernalia, all of which came out at game time.

Social and family events revolved around annual season tickets.

I never got “it.” I mean, I went to games growing up. I was in Texas, after all, and so football was enmeshed into our social culture. I was on the pep team, and we faithfully baked cakes and toilet-papered the houses of the football team members before every game. (But this, I would argue, was merely an excuse to try to get myself noticed by one of the cute players — it had zero to do with being a real fan of the game.)

I hated the TV being on for those hours, and the loud yelling at the screen. It felt like noise pollution to my introvert ears.

Looking back, it is no accident that I went to a college that had no football team and then to a university known for its tennis team. I wanted no more to do with football and happily moved out of Texas and away from the Longhorn stampede that I had been running from my whole life.

Fast-forward decades. I meet and marry an Irish American man. Once again, it seems to be no accident. He had no idea what American football They have a whole other game over there that they call football! I’ve ensured my escape from the drone of football on the TV and yelled expletives during games.

It is not that I do not enjoy professional sports. I do. I love an occasional baseball, basketball, even football game IN PERSON. But on TV? Nah.

Then it happened. Somehow, in getting to know my father, my husband and I were invited along to a Longhorn game. He started being curious about the sport and the team and I suppose it was an easy subject for him to broach with any member of my family.

But this interest, which at first seemed harmless and sort of sweet (and smart,) in time ballooned into a full-fledged passion.

His interest in football also turned into an interest in all American sports. And not just interest. He really loves them.

The TV now usually has some game or another (or those incessant hosts talking about games or players) on most of the time.

At first, this really disturbed me. I mean, it felt like I was right back at my childhood home again, trapped, held hostage to the sports on the TV and those who just had to watch them.

But I soon realized that my husband works from home a lot and likes to have it on in the background. He really enjoys it. Life is too short not to do those things that give one pleasure, right? And so I have learned to let it go.

I am grateful for a second TV. I am grateful for earplugs. I am grateful for earphones and music and podcasts and audiobooks. They are my friends.

And on big game days, like today, the Super Bowl, I really give in and even join him to watch. I may be looking at my email a lot, or knitting, but I sit with him, because, well, he likes me there sometimes.

And that, I can do. It is the little things, after all.

 

 

 

Soul Echoes

Who’s there, yearning, in pain

In the dark of my past

I look behind and see

The silhouettes of the many

From whose dreams I was born

I feel their unrealized needs

In the needs of my present

What they have not let go of

Holds me now, outside of my life

I see you, I say

I’m sorry, I say

This is yours, I say

I lay their burdens at their feet

Look them deeply in their eyes

Thank you for dreaming my life

I’ve got it from here

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt silhouette

Wasteland

What you did to me

The position you put me in

Contaminated my insides

Deposited sludge in my veins

Dark, thick and foul

Could not be contained

A pollutant infesting my waters

Every time I think I’m clean

I feel the slime come again

It catches in the corners

The nooks and crannies of me

And heaviness sets into my bones

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: sludge