I Am Going to Offend You

While I’m sure expressing your feelings is great, and helpful and all granola and whatever, Its gone too far.  We need to just relax and dial back on the “feels”.

For the sake of brevity, I’m going to refine this to one example.

I recently saw a brilliant Heineken commercial.  Two strangers, two different beliefs, YouTube it.  It’s worth 5 minutes (or less) of your time.   It was only after I saw the commercial, that I noticed that it was a ‘response ad’ to a Pepsi commercial with one of the Kardashian/Jenner clan.  Now, I don’t live completely under a rock.  I had heard something about a Pepsi commercial that had everyone up in arms.  I just didn’t chose to seek it out.  Quite frankly, I don’t care that much.  The new commercial peaked my interest, so I watched the Pepsi commercial in question.  The one that, supposedly, was going to loose Pepsi millions of dollars, and put their whole company at risk.

Chill the fuck out.  I’ll say it again.  Chill. The fuck. Out.

Let’s look at what everyone is all up in arms about.  Big protest happening.  ‘Social medialite’ gives cop (who is there to keep the peace and make sure nothing is getting out of hand, it’s their job) a Pepsi.  He drinks it, the protestors see this as a win.

“They are downplaying a serious issue”.  Are they?  Did you expect a ground breaking and intelligent statement?  Look at who the heroine in the situation is.  Maybe instead of looking for a reason to be offended, you can look at the raw message.  Let’s even remove the group mentality of it.  Two people (seemingly with different views, we can argue that later) find common ground over a beverage.

What the hell is everyones issue?!

Lets just skip over the fact that these groups are just two different groups looking for the same outcome.  The police are not the villains in every situation; but that’s besides the point.

Let’s look at the Heineken commercial.  Two people, with opposing view points coming together over a common project and a beer.  They discuss differences in a calm, open manner.

Isn’t this just a more heartfelt, intelligent way of saying the same thing?  Find common ground, discuss your differences rationally.  Open up to someone else’s view point.  You don’t need to agree with everyone, just hear them out.

Sadly, this isn’t even the point of this rant.  My point is:  Society as whole is so fucking closed minded and so ready for a fight that mountains are being made of molehills.  Does anyone even listen to what someone is actually saying before being offended?!  In an age where nothing is spoken, everything is typed, the art of proper conversation is completely lost.

How about you take the time to listen to someones view point before just instantly waging war on them and being offended.  How about focusing on the things that are right with the world, how about taking some things at face value, how about seeking out the things you enjoy as opposed to finding everything so disgusting and offensive.  Here’s an idea.  Maybe you won’t be so fucking miserable.

I’m chubby?  My hair looks better straight?  I should wear something other than black?  I post too much about my dog?  So?  That’s your opinion.  You are one of a million people I will encounter in my life.  I refuse to get up at the crack of dawn to straighten my hair because that’s what some people think is best for me.  Besides… I’m too busy walking my dog.  And I sure as hell don’t give a shit what sort of stupid ass commercial Pepsi comes up with next.  It’s just a commercial.  Relax.  Stop overanalyzing.

It’s not just about the Hip, it’s about being Canadian

Ok, it’s been a while.  But I’m coming back.  And it’s all new.

Just when you thought I wouldn’t.  I’m going to.  Today is about the Hip.

For those of you who have lived under a rock since the 90’s, the Hip refers to The Tragically Hip, a band born and bred in Kingston, who have, in our eyes, made it big… at least in Canada.

Truth be told, I’m not a huge Hip fan.  I mean they have a handful of songs that I thoroughly enjoy and some that bring back some great memories, but I’m not a die-hard-Oatway kind of fan.  When I went away to college and people heard I was from Kingston, their first response was “Oh my god, like the Tragically Hip” and I cringed every time.

Wether or not you like his voice, Gord Downie is a poet.  His lyrics are beautiful.  They are inspiring, open to interpretation, and leave a mark on you.  Rob Baker is an incredible guitarist. Paul, Gord, Johnny and Davis all bring a unique presence to the stage/album/band that cannot be duplicated.

I have worked in downtown Kingston, I have met a couple of these guys just out and about, dropping off photos, having a deli breakfast.  They are good people.  Genuine nice guys.  If you didn’t recognize them, you would never know they are “famous”.  They have 14 studio albums, two live albums, 1 EP, 54 singles.  Heck, nine of these alums have gone #1 in Canada and included in their list of Canadian music awards are 14 Juno awards.  Yes, I had to Google that.

Heres what today is to me.  It’s sad.  It’s always sad to know that something is coming to an end.  In this case, not just the end of a Canadian music empire.  But a mans life.  A father, a son, a husband, brother and friend.  A man, who like it or not, is loved by thousands of people.  Who’s music has both inspired and healed the hearts of its fans for decades.

I remember Sarah and I sitting in her bedroom, listening to Road Apples singing Long Time Running and Fiddlers Green at the tops of our lungs.  The Doc in the living room trying to watch his shows (or sleep) probably cursing us.  Bonfires/Field parties with Oatway, Leeman and “the boys” all HUGE Hip fans,  the guitars come out and so do the songs… bonding moments of my youth.  Solidifying that I am so glad I got to grow up with those guys.  In the country, where we just hung out, under age drank, and sang together.

Cancer is a terrible disease.  It has stolen so many people I love, before I was ready to let them go.  Sometimes they get to be themselves when they go, sometimes it makes them into people who at 19 inspired everyone around them to love and be happy and kind.  Sometimes, it steals their brains, takes over their bodies and twists them into people no one can recognize anymore.  Fuck you Cancer.  We will find a way to beat you, with the help of people like Gord, who chose to take their public life, shine light on the dark parts and raise huge amounts of money for care and research.  Not to save themselves, but to save those who come after them.

Tonight I will be watching the “final” concert, playing in their hometown.  With some of those same people who made me have a small soft spot for the band in the first place.  In a cul-de-sac, projected onto a bed sheet.  To me, this is the perfect way.  How much more Canadian could it get?

Tonight is not just celebrating the Hip, it’s about being Canadian.  It’s about Canadian music, how maybe we don’t always make it big around the world, but that’s ok.  It’s about how we connect, how we live, and how we love.  It’s about long-standing friends, and outdoor music, and being together.  It’s about music that isn’t electronic and lyrics that mean something different to everyone, and songs that find a place in your playlist regardless if you are a “fan” or not.

This makes me sad, that it’s ending, sad for the fans, sad for Gords family.  But so very proud.  Proud that I’m from the same hometown as these guys.  That I live in a country that people know for their innate goodness.  Make fun of me for being polite.  That’s ok by me.  Where I come from we have an overall sense of community, kindness, and inclusion.  Where the majority of a country is going to shut down, turn on their tvs, and gather together to celebrate a group of guys who got to make a living doing what they love, and touching the hearts of a nation with their music.

Hey Hip, tonight is not good-bye, it’s see you later, it’s thank you.  We can only repay you with our love and admiration.

“It’s been a long time running
It’s been a long time coming
It’s been a long, long, long time running
It’s well worth the wait…”

 

Communication without connection

Am I becoming a curmudgeon?  Is this a sign that I am getting ‘old’?  Let’s talk for a moment about ‘social’ media and today’s communication.

Want to completely miscommunicate an idea or feeling?  Want to dot your ‘Ts’ and cross your ‘Is’?  Then, by all means, text.  Text everyone.  Text every idea and every conversation that should be had in person.  I feel more and more lately that I want to text less and either actually pick up the phone or see someone in person.  Sit with me, talk, cry, laugh, for gods sake be angry and scream and yell, but do it to my face.

Don’t get me wrong.  Text is great, for a quick conversation.  For something that takes very little feed back.  “Want to hang out?”, “I’m doing X on Y day.. want to come?”, “Saw this ** the other day.. lol.. thought of you”…. Great!  A quick little text that tells me that you thought of me is amazing.  Possibly makes me whole day.  Continue on for my issue:

My brain works in a million directions at all times.  I’m everywhere and nowhere all at once.  I could text you to hang out or make plans and also text someone else about something or .. gasp.. be on the phone having a chat… which is going to take my tiny brain into another direction completely.  By the time you get to answering me, I could have had other thoughts relevant to you that I need to get out.. so I send them too… And there is no tone, inflection, anything that tells you how that thought is coming out. You just see it as all one conversation.. then you get mad.

No one says no in a text.  They just avoid that message all together.  You cannot avoid something when you are on the phone or in someones face.  It’s ok to tell people no, it’s ok to break plans, but commit to telling the other person what is going on.

This brings me to my next ‘issue’ Facebook.  Again, as a concept I love it.  I get to see what my friends and family are doing from not just across the country, but around the world.  It connects me with the people that I care about who I can’t just jump in the car and have tea with.  For that it’s great.

It has also removed me from everyone else.  I currently have 175 ‘friends’ on Facebook.  I can assure you this is the most people I have ever left on the account.  It was a bit of an experiment.

At one time I removed people that were not either related to me or directly involved in my life.  And I mean ‘directly’ in the most loose of it’s forms.  If you even ‘liked’ or commented on any of my Facebook photos or posts, you were left on as a ‘friend’.  The removal was taken personally.  But how?  I wonder how long it even took for people to notice they had been removed.  Why do we see Facebook as the be all end all of friendship?

I can tell you that with the most people on my Facebook account ever, at this moment in my life I have never been lonelier.  Just this morning I wondered if I moved out of the city and didn’t post it on Facebook or change my phone # how long would it take for people to notice I wasn’t in the city anymore?

This isn’t a woe is me post.  This is me trying to get you to look at how you interact with the people who matter to you.  Do they know they matter?  Do you know what is going on with them?  Are you basing these answers on what you have seen on Facebook?

 

The difference between having an opinion and being an asshole

It’s that time again kids.  Enter Rant mode:

I think Facebook can be a great tool.  I also think it’s become a great way for people to stalk others, and feed their own egos.

I’m all for having an opinion, don’t get me wrong.  I have a hard time keeping mine to myself, most of the time.  However, forcing your opinion on someone is an entirely different matter.  Let’s look a some case studies.

My friend Cathy posts on her Facebook… Dur… it’s sort of the point.  Cathy happens to be one of the lucky ones to have water frontage, including a dock, on her property.  Imagine the views.  Pure bliss.   Lately, there have been some fisher-people enjoying their ‘sport’ directly off the end of Cathy’s dock.  Now, legally, they have every right to be there.  Having said that, I grew up on the water, and there are unspoken boating ‘rules’.  You wave when you pass another boat, you slow down going by cottages even if there isn’t a ‘no wake zone’ sign up, and you don’t fish (or anchor) off the end of someones property.  I mean, to be fair, legally I can photograph you in your home, with or without clothes, as long as I can see you while I am standing on public property.  But I don’t.  Because that makes me a creep.  See the point?

The point is not even these people and their rude fishing habits that has gotten my goat.   Honestly.

Cathy has posted some photos of them (they are far enough away that you would never know how they are, before anyone gets into a huff about it), tagged them as #bassholes (dear lord, gets me every time) and made some commentary about them being so close to her dock/ property.  Then come the comments.  Todays set me off the edge.  One ‘friend’ of Cathy’s posted: “i’m sure you do not own the water and you made the choice to live on the water. so just sit and have a drink”.

Okay people:  It’s one thing to make a comment about someone else’s post.  It’s another to be a completely condescending C- word about it.  Oh, You bet I said it.  C-WORD.

Cathy recently made a comment about a screaming child in one of our largest “big box” stores.  One of those stores that sells everything in jumbo size and has way too many people and way to much crap that you didn’t know you needed until you saw it on the shelves at the low cost of:  whatever.   You know it.  She may or may not have said something about slapping the child.  Anyone who knows Cathy knows a few things;  She doesn’t really like children, she would never hit anyone (EVER) and she doesn’t like Christmas (this comes into play later, and no, she is not the anti-Christ).

This distaste for screaming children caused a comment thread, not unlike many I have seen on Cathy’s page, but unlike anything that happens on anyone else’s page.   People stuck up for the child and blames the mother, making me think that they are in fact, defending the poor behaviour of their children in public, and in fact just blaming themselves?  Regardless.  This is when Cathy did it.  She made the comment ‘apologizing’ for her comment.

Enter my two cents:  My Facebook is just that, MINE.  You have either asked me to be privy to what happens on it, or you have accepted my request, and knowingly opened yourself to whatever thoughts I want to share.  Sure, have an opinion, on your own damn page.  Sure, if you have something to say about a comment I make, say it.  Just don’t make me out to be the villain on my own page because I am expressing my feelings.  Make me a villain on your page, where I can promptly delete you.

Here’s how my system works.  Cathy makes super sour posts around Christmas time (making the anniversary of when she lost her Mom), so I block her (sorry Cat).  I love Cathy, I know why she dislikes the season, I completely understand that.  She can express her opinion until she is blue in the face, I just don’t want to see her grinchiness all the time, so I block it.  I check in with her page and see what’s up sometimes, and once the holidays are over… Cathy’s back in the news feed!  Easy peasy.  Don’t look at me like that, my own cousin blocked me because he doesn’t like how much I post about Tallulah.  That’s his call.

In conclusion,  don’t ever apologize for expressing your own opinion.  Absolutely comment on your friends posts, but don’t chastise them in their own space for the opinions they express.  There is a time and place for your self expression.  Freedom of speech is one thing, being a snarky biatch is another.

 

Put on some pants, I beg you

Consider this a public service announcement.  It is not a discussion and is not open for such, it is more of a reiteration of the rules of human decency.

I work in the mall.  My desk sits with a direct view of the stairs, so it happens that I get to see, not only the people who walk in front of the clinic, but also the people walking up the stairs and partially across the upstairs “hallway”.  This allows for my day dreaming during slow moments at work to be cut short rapidly by the visions of the general public that pass into my view.

So, here is comes.  The part that is not open for discussion.  Jogging pants. STOP wearing jogging pants.

I dislike all jogging pants.  This includes the infamous pyjama pants that were all the rage in the 90’s.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for these “comfy” pants, but the general public is not it.

No, I’m not done.  Yes, we are going to delve into this a little deeper.

Mens, light grey, elastic bottoms.  Those are the worst.  They almost bring out an anger from the pit of my stomach, it could also be nausea, but for now, let’s say it’s anger.  I could never figure it out, what about them bothered me so much.  Until one day a friend of mine at work said “it’s like a bag of baby mice”.  That’s it!  If it doesn’t dawn on you what that might be referring to, just stop thinking about it, it’s for the better.  Let’s leave a little to the imagination boys, even if it is “a little”.

So, where are jogging pants acceptable, you ask?  In your own home.  When you are sick and leaving the house to go to a) the hospital b) the clinic c) the drugstore.  I’ll even accept when skating, or walking in the woods, camping, summer cottage evenings.  You get the point right?

“But Natalie, what about people who can’t afford other pants and have those pants donated to them?”  I have a soul, I understand, but for the most part I think the general public should be able to put on pants, actual pants, before leaving the house.  Have no mirror?  Don’t know that you look like you have given up on life?  I don’t accept that as an excuse, for no makeup, or for your makeup looking like you put it on in the dark, sure, maybe.  You have no mirrors or reflective surfaces in your dwelling and are still trying to look like a functioning member of society, I congratulate you on your effort.  But no mirror is no excuse for no pants.  You can look down and see that you have a sorry excuse for pants on.

In short.  The way you dress and present yourself shows the world the level of respect you have for yourself.  I am all for being casual, but I think some of you have taken it a little too far.