Wednesday, September 26, 2012

to Melv

Adrian 'Melv' Melville at our wedding - always ready for a good time
I lost a dear friend of mine recently.
Melv was simply one of the kindest, gentlest, friendliest, most fun loving individuals I may ever know.
The loss of a friend like this can have two effects... it can help you appreciate every day and it can also make you question everything in your life. The period of mourning can be a time of great introspection. I have been able to reflect on the time I got to spend with Melv. I appreciate every day that I got to spend with him and I am so grateful for the life lessons I will take from his life. Stay positive and you can help make those around you more positive. Seek out your own happiness, not at the expense of your loved ones, but with their help and encouragement. Teach your children well by setting a solid example of how to behave, how to love, laugh and enjoy life.
Living each day in his honor is a beautiful tribute to him, but it is also quite difficult as I tend to slip very easily into my habitual behavior which was built around anger, not positivity. Re-teaching myself how to act and react is not easy, but it is something I am committed to. If I have one person think about me what every person that met Melv thought about him, I will have succeeded, not only in making my life better, but in honoring his life.
So, what do I make of this blog? It serves no greater purpose. It doesn't teach anything. It doesn't improve society or the world around me. It doesn't provide reference for people. In this introspective time, I could look at it as a giant waste of time and energy. But my purpose (in life, if not this blog) is to entertain. My marketable skills are few and far between, but I have always been able to make people laugh. I hope to do that here. I hope you see the anger as a bit tongue-in-cheek, though I will take this opportunity to admit that I actually put my tongue in my cheek every time I say that phrase to try and understand what it means, but I do not. Anyone?
If I can make people laugh, that makes me happy. So if you will please excuse my indulgence as I try to do that here... maybe not here in this particular post since I've gone all serious on you here, but here nonetheless. (Um, nonetheless? Another one I use too much for not having a full grasp on it's actual meaning).
I hope you knew Melv. If you did, you know that his death was a tragic loss to the world. We lost a beacon of positivity and happiness. A friend who always made us smile and feel special. If you didn't know Melv, I hope you know someone that does this for you. I hope you try to emulate that behaviour and be a good person. We lost a lot of good in this world and we all need to step up and fill that void. The emptiness in our hearts may always be there, but appreciating our lives and all we do is the best way to begin to heal.

Friday, September 7, 2012

You cannot be serious

Some things just boggle my mind... they both infuriate and confuse. Spencer and Heidi (remember them?) being famous is one example of my angry confusion. Why were they famous? Why did I care enough to hate them? Why was I so thankful when they just up and disappeared? Will everyone that is famous for no reason disappear like that eventually? Here are some other things that make me angry and confused.

Spitting: Spitting is just gross. I'm not sure how a civilized society such as ours has agreed to allow that type of behavior to go on. If you've ever been accidentally spit on, you'd probably sign the petition to repeal that allowance. Even if it's not flying towards you, who wants to step in someone else's spit? Ew! Why? I just don't get it. 
Don't even get me started on the old farmer's blow... walking down Sixth avenue no less. Really? I think the corn field is one acceptable place to cover one nostril and just blow it all  out, but walking down a crowded street? What? Did I miss some informal agreement we all made to try to gross each other out as much as possible? Yeah, I'm talking to you ass pickers. 

Littering: Another intolerable offense. The most satisfying way of dealing with a litterbug I actually discovered by accident. Thoughtful to a fault, I chased after this woman thinking she must not realize the crumpled up piece of paper she "dropped" had fallen from her possession onto the middle of the sidewalk. I thought I was helping out by giving her back this precious piece of paper. Her reaction lacked the gratitude or even faux embarrassment one would hope for. She looked at me and said, "no sweetie, I threw that away." As there were several trash receptacles on the block, but none within a few feet of her when she "dropped" it, I said, "really? on the street?" She rolled her eyes at me, huffed and grabbed the paper out of my hand as if I  single handedly had not only ruined her day, but was preaching some god awful rhetoric on the demise of humankind if civilized people can not walk 10 feet out of their way to actually deposit trash into the bin. To remind you, all I managed to say was, "really? on the street?" But I was quite satisfied with her reaction since I clearly managed to get my point across. 
That woman will no doubt litter again, and I will no doubt continue to run after people with receipts, tissues (dry, not wet... I mean, I'm not some sort of martyr), dry cleaning tags, etc. It makes me feel good to attempt to embarrass these people a bit.

Ramps: Now, I'll be honest, until I had a kid, ramps never really meant all that much to me. Frankly, when I am without my child, they still don't. But to see an otherwise healthy looking person walk six steps out of their way just to use one, to avoid lifting their leg an extra four inches to get up the regular curb is disturbing to say the least. Once you are one of the "wheeled" pedestrians for whom the cuts in the curbs are meant for, it elevates disturbing to frustrating. 
The people that have the right to the ramps: wheelchairs, rolling luggage, rolling carts, handcarts/delivery people, strollers, the blind, the elderly or infirm, dogs. 
People who do not have a right to the ramps: everyone else. 
Not that they must be avoided completely... Those fit individuals may use the ramps, but in the case of someone with a genuine claim coming, get out the way! It seems that more often than not, the people who shouldn't be using them not only use them, but use them and block the way of the aforementioned people. 
If I am in a wheelchair, pushing a trolley/cart, pulling luggage, wheeling a baby, old, blind, etc., the only people who should be fighting me for access to the ramp are the people who are also in a wheelchair, pushing a trolley/cart, etc. In that situation, normal stop sign rules apply... make eye contact, kinda wait a while, inching up slightly until you feel it's safe to proceed. 
Just so we're clear, overweight does not entitle you to the ramp... quite the contrary. Let's start with six inch leg lifts on each corner to help get you back to fighting weight quicker, Champ. And for those simply waiting to cross the street, please don't wait on the ramp, rendering it useless to others who may need it.  
Large groups: Large groups standing in the middle of the sidewalk make my head hurt. Should we refer to it as a sidestand for them? Why do they think their impromptu gathering takes precedence over those trying to utilize the sidewalk for it's purest use, going somewhere? 
But these block parties (see what I did there?) present imminent danger as they break up. These inconsiderates think it's ok to just leave and walk off in any given direction without checking the oncoming flow of walking traffic first. Seriously, I've seen it happen. As it is, we have to carefully navigate all the way around these literal clusterf#$ks. To also have to contend with random members of the group shooting off into our path isn't right. That sort of behavior will be rewarded with a throat clear, breath huff, scoff or some noise of disapproval. That they should taste my mild mannered wrath! 
Watch where you're going! In fact, no one anywhere should ever walk if they're not looking where they're going. I think everyone's parents teach them very early on to watch where they're going. This is a very important lesson. It's not one of those bullsh!t things parents say like "stay away from drugs." Think more along the lines of "do unto others"... this stuff is biblical.
I know how it happens, we've all been there... you run into someone that you feel obliged to do the stop and chat with, and then realize that you're stuck and don't know how to get away. Maybe if you just slowly start moving away, while this other person is still talking, they'll get the point and you'll be able to leave. Few problems with that theory. First, this person you're stuck talking to has your head so clouded that you've forgotten some very basic survival skills. In forgetting to watch where you're going, you are putting yourself, and more importantly, me, in danger. The danger of your body moving through space and time without full brain function, the danger of me walking into you, the danger of you not wholeheartedly apologizing  for your stupidity. Seems like a lot of risk for not so much reward.
Another problem with this theory is that this person possibly won't get the message of you inching away and will continue talking to you. Now you're fully committed to this conversation while moving in the opposite direction. What makes it all so offensive is that your entire head is still turned, partially engaged in some ridiculous anecdote from the same person you are trying to escape. You're obviously not a mean person or you'd be able to ditch this loser sans guilt. Do us all a huge favor won't you? Explain to this person exactly how boring they are and that you must now set off, back on your way, with your head facing forward. They will appreciate your honesty and who knows, maybe they will take that as a cue to be more interesting in the future. Worse case scenario, they are offended by what you said, but do you really care? You were trying to escape them in the first place! If you've offended them, you might not even have to stop next time you see them. And they still might take the cue to become a more interesting person, so there's that silver lining too. You know, aside from the one that has everyone walking while looking where they're going.
Leaving a building: If you are in a hurry and find yourself launching your body out of a building and onto the sidewalk, DO NOT be looking back into the building while you do so. You won't see the people on the sidewalk that you are about to get plowed into by and I cannot be held responsible.
Someone leaving a building, needing to cross the entire sidewalk to get to the street does not have the right to just do it. Nike be damned. Sidewalk traffic runs parallel to the street. Anyone walking perpendicular must proceed with caution. Remember Froggert? Look right, then left, then jump forward, sometimes jump sideways, and even backwards. The main point is, defer to the parallel walkers, don't just go.
Holding doors: Holding doors on the subway is a tricky task that can very often backfire. If the person you are holding the doors for (one ally) doesn't make it on, look around the subway car. You now have several enemies. Holding a door on and in buildings is a completely different thing. It is a common courtesy, one we should all practice.
I understand that some people in their infinite importance can't possibly spare the time to hold a door open for anyone else, but a far worse offense in my book are the people that believe that my purpose in life is to hold the door for them. Let's call them "sliders." In walking through a doorway, I have opened the door and am now dangling it behind me for the next person to grab. But the slider doesn't grab it. They slide through, leaving the burden of holding the door open on me, and in some unfortunate cases on the unsuspecting person behind the slider who I've just allowed the door to close on. It's rude, but more than that, it's amazing that some people truly believe they have the right to walk through doors unencumbered by the task of ever having to actually open or hold them. Amazing. If karma has it's way, the sliders make up the majority of people that walk into clear glass doors. If so, all is right in the world.
Swinging arms: Speed skaters would have us believe that those that swing their arms wildly manage to move themselves ahead faster. Walking around New York would prove, however, that some people simply lack spacial relations and value for personal space. I see nothing wrong with taking a far flung wrist in the gut in the interest of passing an arm swinger. But we will have a problem if this person feels I should apologize for their gross negligence of arm control. 
There is no reason to be swinging your arms while walking up stairs. If you need leverage, there are banisters to help hoist yourself up. The only reason to swing your arms while climbing a set of stairs is to punch the poor person behind you dead in the face. Seriously, it's the perfect height and all. Even better if they have a rolled up newspaper in their hand. I end up feeling like a very naughty puppy for trying to walk up the stairs behind you. Shame on me? No, shame on you.
Dealing with it all: Subheading: Throat clearing and its many uses. Clearing your throat is essentially the walker's equivalent of the car horn. Sometimes all you need is a light "ahem," just a reminder that I am here. Other times you need a lung clearing cough as warning that something bad was about to go down. 
Sometimes you have to give up on the small suggestive exertions of air and go full throttle with words. "Excuse me!," "Watch it," "Outta my way," or one of my personal faves "Are you serious?!" can always get the job done. But don't stop there. Get creative. Have fun with it. When blocked on the sidewalk by 20 teenage French students, I dug deep and delivered a very well timed and perfectly inflected "Merde!" Trying to get through the diamond district on a Friday afternoon? Go for an "Oy Vey!" Sure it's cliche, but the idea is to keep your sanity as well as get you where you need to go. Sometimes I like to switch it up and use a "Vamonos!" for a group of wily Asian ladies. Don't always go with the stereoptype. Switch it up, keep it interesting. It doesn't make some of this terrible behavior less infuriating or confusing, but maybe you get home not wanting to hurt someone, or worse, not wanting to start a blog to complain about it all. Oy Vey indeed.