It’s impossible to open those damn produce bags!
“FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE TAKE ME OFF THIS THREAD ASAP. I CANNOT DO IT MYSELF AND NEED TO BE PERMANENTLY REMOVED. Thank you and happy new year.”
That is the first text I sent this year. It was 12:02am on January 1st, 2019. After receiving a flurry of ridiculous celebratory texts with exploding fireworks, streamers, and flashing metallic symbols, I simply snapped.
Texting can be useful. I am still young enough that I prefer to text than call via old fashioned cell phone. Texting is easier, less complicated, more to the point. I admit to being frustrated by folks who insist on a more “personal” approach and only respond to an actual voice a la old- timey Ma’ Bell telephone line. But come on, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
I joined my most recent group text because my good friend was undergoing back surgery in Phoenix and I wanted to be kept abreast of all surgery-related details. I fully understood how overwhelming it would be for her out-of-state brother to text all 35 of her BFFs with multiple and individual updates. I dutifully followed her as she prepped for surgery, went under the knife, and began her convalescence. That was two weeks ago.
I’ve been able to talk with her since, visit her in person, and gratefully acknowledge her slow and steady commencement towards recovery. So why am I still receiving 50 texts a day from her family and entourage? I know I sound mean. I sound selfish, nasty and uncaring. But I can’t take it.
I have a lot of people in my circle who require time, energy, attention, patience, bolstering, etc… I do my best to be there for those to whom I’ve promised those things. I also love meeting and inviting new people into my personal realm. But I did not choose all 35 of these newcomers and I don’t need to know how much “love and healing energy” every one of them is sending twelve times a day. I really don’t. Nor do I need to know who is making the CVS run at 2pm, who is “not really stepping up,” or who looks best in their NYE sparkle.
Plus I’m fairly annoyed by technology in general these days. 1. It works for everyone except me and only works for me when I don’t actually need it. This serves to piss me off on an hourly basis. 2. Nothing technological is intuitive to me. For a time-saving, revolutionary mode of communication, it takes me an absurd amount of time to accomplish the simplest tasks. The other day I spent 3 hours (literally) trying to figure out how to post a blog on my new website. (Luckily my 14 year old son heard me sobbing in a corner of my closet and accomplished this nearly impossible feat within seconds.) 3. Apple is evil.
I have a love/hate relationship with Apple. I love my MacBook pro, my iPhone 10, my awesome camera and video capabilities, and the ease of editing on iMovie. I hate that every few months all of my charger cords stop working, you constantly need to upgrade hardware and software with the newest and shiniest stuff, not because it offers you any improvement in performance whatsoever, but because the almighty Apple stock holders and executives need access to ever- growing revenue streams. Finally, I hate Apple because I cannot stop iTunes from randomly playing “Abba Dabba Dabba Said the Monkey to the Chimp.” every time I put my Fiat 500 into reverse. It’s weird. And creepy.
But now I have truly discovered their sick, twisted plot to drive us all insane. There is no way out of group texts! Oh sure you can find easy-to-follow instructions on line. They tell you to simply click here and here, then hit “leave this conversation,” and you’re free. But that only works if everyone on the flippin’ list is using iMessage. If there’s even one Android user, you’re screwed. I am not making this up! If it’s not a “pure race” of apple users, the best you can do is mute the ever-constant notification bings. But you can NEVER fully escape!
I am not a big “regulate the internet” advocate. I actually dig the whole wild west spirit of bold risk leading to bold rewards. But somehow we need to protect those of us who made the mistake of gently joining a thread of well meaning do-gooders, only to learn that they are eternally and inextricably bound to this gaggle of arbitrary strangers until death do us part.
Please, write to your senator or something. Or at least remove people from your thread efficiently, kindly and respectfully.
Don’t judge me. Just hear me out. Okay? Is it right to go into a store and buy one sweater but leave with two? Is it decent to pay for a meal and grab someone else’s dessert as you leave the restaurant? Do you object to “saving” a seat in a movie theatre and not moving your purse, jacket and Target bags even though the film’s sold out and someone bought the ticket next to you?
I cannot imagine that most people find these missteps of justice to be fair, reasonable or even acceptable in civil society. But the minute I tell you my story. You are going to get angry, accuse me of being a bigot, and insist that I lack compassion for humanity. None of those things are true. But I will lay out the facts and allow you to form your own decision.
My husband is currently working in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Our home life is bizarre at best. I’m here with two high schoolers, two dogs and a lot of personal and professional angst. I visited my husband last weekend in OKC and upon my return, I was feeling a bit stressed. Full disclosure, I was weeping in the airport terminal awaiting my flight back to Seattle. All the other travelers were kind. They pretended not to notice. But I knew my mascara stained cheeks, flowing nasal mucous, and heaving shoulders were not easily ignored.
I am excited for this flight home. it offers me a period of relaxation and peace. I have carefully crafted this opportunity for self pampering. I booked early, paid extra and arrived several hours ahead of time (just so I could sit calmly crying in front of 200 strangers.)
I board the plane, deeply looking forward to my 4 and a half hour flight home where I will stretch out, have a cocktail and watch a mindless movie that I wont be able to hear very well because my hearing isn’t great and the plane motor drowns out the voices of the actors.
I have secured my favorite seat: 6B. Row six is the first row behind first class. 6B is the only seat on the plane that doesn’t have a seat in front of it. Since I am unusually tall, acquiring this seat is a priority and I do pay extra for the privilege of extending my legs and feeling less claustrophobic than I would in some middle seat in the rear of the aircraft.
When I get to my seat, my seat mate (in 6A) has already settled into her window seat. I am stunned to see her there. She has lifted the arm rest between the seats and has spread her 400 pound frame across both seats. There is barely 6 inches left for me to squeeze my entire person into the premium seat that I purchased very purposely and for which I did in fact pay more.
I set down my purse and briefcase, smile, and casually walk back to the flight attendant at the plane entry door. “Excuse me,” I say, feeling terribly awkward and self conscious. “I have seat 6B. And…um…I can’t fit into it.” She looks at me with utter annoyance and says, “What are you talking about?” I ask her to calmly gaze over my shoulder to take in the situation at hand. She literally does a cartoon character neck stretch that draws everyone’s attention and she gasps upon comprehending my plight.
“There’s nothing I can do.” She says. I inquire about an upgrade. But first class is full. “But, um…isn’t there a weight limit on this airline? Isn’t there a point where someone has to purchase a second seat?” I ask in hushed decibels. “Yes, of course,” she reasons, “But it’s hard to enforce. It’s up to the individual to self assess.” I walk back to my seat. Tactless flight
attendant nipping at my heels. “There is a middle seat in the back row of the plane,” she bellows directly in front of my seat mate. “If you want to move, you can go there.”
Not only has this situation gone from uncomfortable to awkward, it has now traversed the path towards complete mortification. My seat mate is disgusted by me. She is obviously hurt. I’m guessing this is a rather frequent happening in her world. I am deeply sorry for causing her pain.
But I am also really upset. I would never shame another person for their race, religion, body size, gender, sexual identity, or anything else for that matter. I tried hard to keep this issue confidential. I know that people struggle with physical and mental challenges that are not always visible on the surface. I respect all people and whatever lifestyle they embrace.
But don’t I deserve the same level of deference? Just because you can’t see all of my issues and challenges, does not mean that I don’t deserve to take up my fair share of space in the world. Do you disagree?
I cannot stop contemplating this experience. I feel like a bad person for even raising the question. But I believe my seat mate is the person at fault in this equation. I paid for a full seat and got only a quarter of it. She paid for a single seat and took more than her share.
At some point, there is a matter of principle involved. If you can’t hold your baby on your lap, you have to pay for a seat. If you need to fly with your support bunny, you may struggle to find an amenable airline. If you weigh a certain amount and you cannot physically fit within the allotted seat capacity, you need to purchase more space.
OK, that’s it. I just needed to share. Feel free to tar, feather, stone, draw, quarter as you see fit. All I ask is that you look at this objectively and tell me what I’m missing.