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5 Ways Not to Be a Weirdo

strangeI guarantee you that someone, somewhere, thinks you’re a weirdo.

“Why the hell are people so freaking weird?!”I ask myself this question a lot. Like, a-lot-a-lot.

Anyone who has to get up, go to work, or interact with another human being during the day thinks the same way.

Mostly weirdness comes into play if you are an ignorant stunner when you’re dealing with  people. Not a stunner like the Hope Diamond. Just stunned. I suspect most weirdos are so ignorant of their surroundings that they think they’re perfectly normal.

Most people who make me think they’re from another planet are the ones who are just on the edge of rude-enough-to-make-me-do-a-double-take, but not so rude as to warrant one of my very calm, but forward diplomatic chats.

Recently, with eyeballs as big as a saucer after walking away from a real weirdo, I realized that most weirdos are likely just victims of our time. Most  have unreal expectations about what is humanly possible based on our instant-access-to-information world. Either they expect you to snap your fingers and so-mote-it-be, or they don’t realize that you can do things as quickly as you can.

Most annoying of course are the people who think you can pull bunnies, doves and miracles out of your ass. Kind of like someone in line for an extra-hot-non-fat-no-whip-double-shot-venti-with-a-carmel-pump getting frustrated with the wait at their favourite coffee shop. Some things obviously take time. Use your new millenium meditation skills and deal with it weirdo. Try to actually think something through.

Now more than ever we live in a world where people have no concept of face-to-face etiquette. As consumers we feel entitled, and as workers we feel stretched. Nobody’s happy.  Weird.

5 Ways To Not Be A Weirdo

  1. When attending appointments, dates or get-togethers, please try to adhere to the same time-space continuum as everyone else in your time zone. In plain-speak- show up on time.
  2. Don’t carry food and drink with you everywhere. This goes for parents with kids. You know they need to eat, it’s not a new development in our evolution.  Plan for it. You know you have to eat. Plan for it. And no, you will not die if you don’t have a paper cup filled with joe or bottle of water attached to your hand.
  3. Be aware of personal space and appropriate length of eye contact. As a matter of fact, make sure you also blink. Non-blinkers are ultra-weird.
  4. Practice the art of conversation, especially the listening portion. Making someone repeat themselves for any other reason than a hearing issue is just strange. Get out of your own little weirdo, narcissistic head and l.i.s.t.e.n. and then act appropriately.
  5. Which brings me to magic #5….be aware and considerate of your surroundings…..weirdo.

 

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Christmas is: Grinches Saving Christmas

theatre assSit down and shut up.

Yes. Please. And shove your phone somewhere I can’t see it.

During the holidays, a lot of people make a special effort to connect with loved ones…in public.  Holiday dinners, shows, concerts and events keep us all hopping, and happy. Trust me, you are not more important than anyone else in your row, room or venue.

Lately, I’ve met a lot of people who think that they are extraordinary, and they have no regard for anyone around them. Sit down and shut up.

Recently at a Christmas performance, the line-up to sit down after the lights went up was so long and so noisy, I really had to wonder about the entire process of going to the theatre at all. People do not know how to interact any more. Civilization is on the brink of disaster because everyone is the centre of their own universe.

The whole world has turned inward. No one has any idea of the shrapnel that their ill behaviour shoots into innocent bystanders. This is not what the season is about. The season is about connection and joy. There’s nothing that destroys a sense of connection and joy like someone oblivious to the fact that they share space with other people.

Look around you Ellen. We’re at the threshold of hell!

Christmas Vacation

I immediately fall in love with the first person to lose their mind. That is, if you lean in and ask the idiot to please be quiet, turn their phone off, or simply please sit on your ass instead of leaning over your friend to have a conversation, you are immediately my hero. We share a common good-manners-grinchness that makes me feel cozy and warm on the inside just like a warm cup of cocoa spiked with peppermint vodka.

Remember the good old days when people had enough self control that they didn’t have to slurp a beverage, or light up the room videotaping an entire performance so that every single person behind them suffered through their arrogance? I remember, and I miss it.

I understand why people snap. And I admire a thorough snapping. It makes my jingle-bits tingle.

Living in the GTA, the excuse is always; traffic was terrible! Or, my personal favourite – the subway was delayed. Traffic is always terrible, and there’s always a transit delay. Get over yourself and get there. And when you do, shut your phone off, and shut up.

And what happened then…?
Well… in the6ix they say
That the Grinch’s small heart
Grew three sizes that day! 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Go out. Enjoy your friends. By all means, if you’re going out for coffee or dinner, or wandering one of our cute little Christmas markets have a visit, giggle, laugh, take selfies. If you’re at an event where you’ve paid for a seat, and they ask you to turn off your phone, please, sit down,shut up and for the love of all that sparkles this time of year, try to be in the moment.

Should that not be the case, my wish is for everyone to be a little Grinchy and take away the offender’s joy for the sake of the greater good. Ask loudly for silence ( ironic, I know), throw a phone through the end of the aisle curtain, ask an usher to remove someone. Public humiliation is a great deterrent.

Get Grinchy my friends, and take back the season.

 

 

 

 

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Thanksgiving Public Etiquette Challenge

etiquette

“I said….YOU’RE A MISERABLE OLD BASTARD AND YOU DON’T GET TO SPEAK TO PEOPLE THAT WAY.”

Despite the all-caps, I did not yell that to the man across the grocery lines, I simply was repeating in a much louder voice what I’d just said to him, after he responded with, “What did you just say?”

I have to admit it wasn’t my most elegant reproach, but I think it was effective. I’m pretty sure the old coot who yelled at the cashier not once, but twice, will not behave like that in public again.

We had a bit of an exchange that included him telling me that in fact he wasn’t a sad lonely man like I guessed, and that he had a lovely wife. Whom, I responded, had to be a saint to put up with his shit, and was likely at home praying he didn’t return.

So that’s really where this ‘challenge’ is coming from. It’s my, ‘you don’t speak to people like that’ mantra. I mean, people do speak to other people like that, and that’s the problem. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with these idiots? Do they really believe that they can bleed attitude all over everyone and get treated with respect? Why yes, in fact they do, because most folks are polite enough not to make a scene. But that’s where we’ve gone wrong. That’s why there’s such an imbalance these days of entitled morons making the rest of us stressed. In public no less!

While we’re stuck in line exercising our patience on what is sure to be a busy week in grocery line ups and housewares shops, I challenge you to call out the people who make the world ugly. In a safe way of course. I’m not trying to incite violence or screaming matches. What I think the world needs now is a bit of stern mothering. A good look straight in the eye and a demand that they don’t trail around their seething bullshit everywhere. Package it up, and place it neatly back on their lap.

Trust me, misery loves company, but once it’s reprimanded, it tends to crawl back in it’s cave whenever it senses someone who isn’t afraid of it.

Start small if you have to, and then work your way up. That’s how we make the world a better place. Nice matters. A lot.

 

 

 

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Air Travel for the Commoner

AirTravel CaribbeanThere are few things better than being cramped in a flying-death-trap with a gaggle of strangers who lack common sense and manners.  A PAP test and  mammogram are much less uncomfortable, and take a fraction of the time.

Most recently I witnessed an individual wearing a, “WORK IS FOR PEOPLE WHO DON’T DIVE”, shirt waltz down the aisle of a package-vacation aircraft with every imaginable piece of kitchen survival clipped to their camo-pants. There was a phone, a travel mug, travel pillow and an assortment of acoutrements jangling. We were all coming from a beach vacation for crying out loud. Chill out MacGyver. Another person followed, travel pillow, purse, iPad, hat and carry on in tow. As she swung around looking for space in the overhead, she clobbered someone in the head with her purse.

This delicate ballet continued as people kept boarding. I was fascinated by the lack of decorum, and complete disregard for other passengers. This has become a typical experience when it comes to package vacation carriers.

As a teenager sitting in my boyfriend’s living room, his very proper Irish father reacted to a belch or some other such masculine roar by calmly telling us that as we aged, we would appreciate small manners that added up to civilized society. I’ve aged. I appreciate it.

During my last experience with a trans-atlantic flight, I experienced the most absurd rushing to board I have ever seen, with a line-up forming an hour prior to boarding. What resulted was an irritated mob of unorganized boarding-a lovely way to begin an eight hour forced confinement. I’m convinced it was because people were vying for overhead compartment space.

airplaneMy most recent experience with air travel have been interesting to say the least. No, I cannot boast surviving a terrifying emergency landing like a friend and colleague.  I have never been privileged enough to witness a mid-flight take down of an irate passenger, and on the other end of the spectrum, I have also have never been graciously upgraded because I’m an obedient, no fuss traveller.

I did however witness the trio of women who swung their luggage around like a cat by the tail, spill red wine on themselves and the passengers behind them while laughing loud enough to keep everyone awake on the plane. Combined with the guy behind us who coughed up snot throughout the entire journey, it was a five hour exercise in patience.

Alas, I have been around long enough to witness the complete decline in etiquette and common sense when it comes to air travel. Perhaps it’s because the real estate inside aircraft has become more valuable. Overhead bins have become kind of like the condo market in Toronto – you know, people throwing money at 400 square feet like it’s an estate home on five acres. It’s all getting smaller and demand is exponentially rising.

Please, I beg of you, the next time you arrive at the gate, leave your ego behind, get in, sit down, and don’t be an asshole.

 

 

 

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Not Being In Love: The Truth From Someone Who’s Single

"Don't ever settle for a relationship that doesn't allow you to be yourself." ~Unkown~
“Don’t ever settle for a relationship that doesn’t allow you to be yourself.”
~Unkown~

When you’re not in love, life is a lot simpler.

That’s what my experience has been. When you are in love, your heart aches for that someone special, and you would twist yourself inside out to make their world a little brighter.

Being in love is ideal, and not being in love can be very liberating.

Not being in love allows you the freedom to be distracted from your real life and to be entertained. Flirting requires a cleverness that gets lost in relationships. Not being in love means not being attached. Not being attached means not being attached to any particular  outcome. Not being attached to outcome lends itself to a lighthearted freedom, and you know what Janis Joplin’s famous rendition of Me and Bobby McGee taught us about freedom;

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose

~Kris Kristofferson & Fred Foster~

One of the best parts of any great relationship that I have, whether it be romantic, or platonic, is that it was rooted in the deep muck of silliness, play and lack of inhibition.

Too many relationships have been about saving the other person. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like hanging around like that hideous orange and white life-preserver that dries out and cracks in the sun while everyone is having fun in the pool. I don’t want a needy partner looking to be saved. I want a relationship to be a place where we can both come to recharge our batteries, instead of sucking the energy from one another. It’s a fine balance my juicy little love-plums.

So if you’re not in love, the next best thing may be to be engaged in some sort of flirtatious shenanigans. These are the things that keep us young at heart, and there is nothing more deliciously sexy than someone who knows how to have fun. Wine doesn’t hurt either…but I digress.

Being in love can be safe, comfortable, and deeply satisfying. Not being in love often results in the singleton being told a plethora of platitudes from people who are only somewhat satisfied with their partners, some of the worst of which are; you’ll find someone when you’re not looking, don’t settle, and, have you tried on-line dating?

All the while, the singleton at the receiving end of this merciless load of poop is thinking, “Maybe you should try shutting up and going home to suffer in silence next to your boring partner who makes you feel mediocre at best.”

Not being in love does not offer the safety of two incomes. It does not offer an unconditional casual therapist. Not being in love leaves you free to choose when you want to wake up on your no-alarm clock days, and coming home to eat curry and drink beer in your undies after a long week at work. Not that I would personally ever do such a thing….

Not being in love also opens up a world of delight if only you can let yourself enjoy some harmless flirting. Which, has also been known to lead to falling head over heels into the sticky spider-web of love…proceed with caution my lovelies. Consider yourself warned.

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Boomer Etiquette

"Let me help you while you pollute everyone else's space with your annoying phone etiquette." ~Anonymous~
“Let me help you with your phone.”
~Anonymous~

I have a lot of respect for my friends and colleagues when it comes to wisdom gained through experience. They’ve been there and done that, way before I even drew a breath.

What I don’t respect are mindless boobs who assume manners and common courtesies are something owed to them, but no deserved by those who share the world with them.

Let me break it down for you;

Rules of the road. If there are three lanes and you are anywhere but in the far left lane and being passed by other vehicles, move over. Traffic sucks for all of us, please play kindly.

Movie theatres. Yes, I used to think that teenagers were the most rude, but it’s no, it’s the silver haired set. It’s allllllll you. Teenagers may be attached to their devices, but they aren’t invading our space with noise.

Yes, you are the only people who let your phone ring in waiting rooms, restaurants, theatres and other public places and then go ahead and answer it.  Even in appointments with professionals.  Nothing is as important as the present moment. Love yourself enough to be in that moment.

Turn off your ringer, and if you don’t know how to do that, please, for the love of everyone’s blood pressure, leave your damn phone in the car. You are THE ONLY generation who answers your phone while in the theatre. I think this may be because you don’t know how to text.  Ask for a lesson. That’s not sarcasm, it’s a sincere plea. I promise you, once you get the hang of it, you’ll love it.

Also, sit the hell down!  My son timed some grey-haired-piece-of-annoying-as-hell-skin who stood in front of us at the theatre while the previews played. A full minute he stood and talked to the people he came to the theatre with. The only reason I didn’t lose it was that I would have mortified my teenager. Sit down, shut the hell up, and let everyone enjoy the movie.

This morning I went out for breakfast. I found a nice quiet table and was enjoying my coffee and reading the Sunday paper when a couple sat down right next to me. As in, less than 30cm away. They continued to talk about their bedtime playtime last night, and then Mr. Viagralovin proceeded to cough and snot and make calls. Seriously, it’s like finding a secluded spot on a beach and then having the only other person on the planet plant their pasty white ass down right next to you.

It took three phone calls before I picked up my jacket, purse, plate of food, newspaper and coffee and moved tables. His wife looked at me like I was crazy.  I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of my breakfast in peace. I hope they on the other hand,  both get the shits.

What this all really boils down to is two things; first, I’m bitchy. I’ve been under the weather and had to be out to take the kiddo to practice, so I found the quietest, closest place I could and nestled in.  Second, people really need to learn how to respect one another’s space, especially as our population booms.

I try to keep to myself when I need quiet, like this morning. I try to be friendly when I meet someone on the street, hold a door, or push my cart through the store.

We are doing a lot of mindless living, multi-tasking not only tasks, but personal relationships.  We all deserve better.

Do the world a favour, when you see someone being rude, quietly address them, and if that doesn’t work, use your outside voice. Trust me, the rest of the world will thank you for policing the subtle things that make civilization civilized.

 

 

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Christmas Shopping Etiquette

santa etiquettI like to think that I live in a civilized city. I would say sophisticated, but the lady who licked her finger and then dipped it in the seasoning bin at the Bulk Barn today shattered that fantasy.

1) Use the tongs, the scoop and the sanitary utensils provided. I do not want your Christmas sniffles, the herpes you caught in grade 11, or any of your mucus on my french creams or snowballs.

2) If a line-up is so long that the line snakes outside, please don’t lean on the door to hold it open. Clearly the man who leaned on the door to the restaurant this morning for the weekly Sunday-breakfast crowd hasn’t read my blog.  Shut the door! Except…

3) …when you should hold it open for the person entering the doorway after you, the person pushing a baby stroller, or someone with their hands full.

4) This one goes out to the woman who takes her shoes and socks off and puts them on the leather chair at my local Starbucks while she manhandles every fashion magazine she can carry from the magazine rack to the chair;

People waiting for their shopping or coffee buddies in any café attached to a bookstore, please don’t pimp out the magazines, wiping your greasy-cranberry-scone-caramel-latte-fingers all over them so the bookstore takes a few-hundred dollar hit every freaking day. That loss-to-selfish-idiot-price is built into the cost of everything else in the store you selfish twit.

5)Thinking of relaxing at a movie? So was everyone else.  Arrive before the previews and shove your cell phone where the sun don’t shine; in your pocket or your purse.

6) You want to spend some quality time with a friend? Don’t just drop in. Call, set up a time, and don’t assume they want to have a visit with your significant other. If the invitation wasn’t extended to two, the host does probably mind (in your best whiny voice) ” if I bring……”.

7) If your love-dove-lady-friend is shopping for a little black dress, or anything else, keep your masculine self out of the women’s fitting room. I don’t care if you’re her father, brother, or paid escort. This is just creepy and perverted, and WE WILL TELL YOU.

8) Parking. Do not park with  your signal on so that the rest of the city traffic is backed up to the nearest country side-road. Drive to the end of the lot and park your freaking-car.

9) If your shopping cart is touching my sweet-patootie while we’re standing in line, something behind you  had better be on fire. Back the hell up.

10) Don’t be a Sunday driver Monday at 5pm. In other words, if you do not have to be out during the rush hour; at the grocery store, the big-box store, or any other store, just go at another time. Why get in the way of everyone who must work and use their precious after-work-before-home time to brave the holiday crowds for a bag of milk?

Please share this post so that the head-smack-needing-bulk-finger-lickers-and-treacherous-space-crowders read it too.