Monday, January 30, 2012

Reginald Denny Would be So Bummed

You know what? I'm fucking tired of people. That's right. I said it.

People suck these days. There's no getting around it. Nobody has any regard for anyone any more. It's such a fucking bummer.

So today, I'm gonna talk about some of the things people do that I don't get. Some of it is just common courtesy. Like.. traffic stuff. Seriously... I'm seriously gonna bitch about traffic and other peoples' driving.

Some of it is more of a new kind of etiquette for a modern society. Fucking Facebook dickheads. You know? Like, this isn't a problem people had to handle 20 years ago, but even though there's no real established kind of decorum that Ms. Manners wrote a book about, I feel like there's just some common sense stuff that people generally seem to ignore on the interwebs, because I guess there's no danger of being punched in the fucking face. Anyway, I wish there was a "Punch in the Fucking Face" button right next to the "Like" button.

Let's start with the traffic bullshit.

I'm just gonna say it... It's fucking rude to take more time to park than is necessary to actually just park. If we're in a completely empty parking lot or whatever, fine... do what you have to do, but if it's the middle of the day, and you really think your time or convenience is so much more valuable than everyone elses that you feel the need to BACK IN to a space. I'm telling you right now, you're wrong. Even if I'm not personally being inconvenienced, or even if my time specifically is not at a premium at that moment, you don't fucking know me, so just pull into the space like a decent human being.

Allow me to provide you with a scenario... one that I briefly summarized on Facebook and started like a serious debate about patience and common courtesy or whatever. That's cool, and all good, and for the most part everyone was well behaved during said Facebook debate, so whatever, but I'm gonna break it down for everyone again.

It's 4:00 pm. I'm at Rookwood Pavilion in Cincinnati, circling an extremely crowded lot looking for a space to get my damned Starbucks. I am NOT in a rush, as I don't have anywhere to be for a full hour, so I'm just circling the lot with 2 people in front of me, waiting my turn.

Finally a spot opens up right by the front of the store, and the first person in line signals that they'll be taking it. Fine. Good.. That's what is supposed to happen. But then, for some reason, they pull past the space, swing wide and then SLOWLY start backing in to the spot. This is ridiculous for a couple of reasons.

1) It takes 4 times as long as parking regularly.
2) It completely blocks the rest of the people waiting to park, since they swung wide and then blocked the full lane with their giant car.

During this little parking scene, a spot on the other side of the lot opens up, and is immediately taken by a car just entering the lot that wasn't blocked by the parker.

Allow me to provide an illustration. And yes... this is the EXACT parking lot.

I'm sorry, but I don't think I'm being a jerk about this. The photo of the lot is actually pretty accurate to what it was like that day. No spots, the same direction of driving as the day in question.

So... The commenters on my Facebook came down on a couple of different sides.

1) Agreement
2) Devil's Advocate (they were all "what would YOU have done?")
3) Disagreement (I don't know that person's reasoning, so I shouldn't assume they were being a jerk)
4) Not only disagreeing, but saying that they would back in also, and if honked at they'd go slower (apparently daring someone to key their car).
5) Telling everyone who agrees with me that we all need to calm down because patience is a virtue or something.

Here's the thing. It's not at all about patience. It's not about personal histories of every driver on the road. My feeling is... I don't know you, you don't know me, so I'll assume you're a crazy person, and I expect the same.

I completely agree that if I know your full life story, I may concede the extra time it takes for you to pull in backward. I may also concede my own convenience if I like you, or if you're old, or you have a cute dog.

If you are neither old, or likeable, or have an adorable pet... Do us all a favor and be as efficient as possible, dude, because I don't fucking know you.

We live in a society. By definition, there are other people in a society. To assume or contend that your pain or convenience makes you better than me, well... I have news for you. You're not better than me, or anyone else.

You wanna know how I knew I was actually annoyed and not just traffic annoyed (a state I am in almost all the time)? I knew I was truly annoyed because I personally wasn't inconvenienced in any particular way. As I said earlier, I wasn't in a rush. I had nowhere to be. In fact, after I watched the 2nd golden spot get taken, I just left and went to another Starbucks.

I wasn't inconvenienced, so i knew it was bunk. BUNK.

Moving on.. Let's talk about Facebook for a minute.

I recently had an exchange on Facebook where I'd posted a sincere comment on something (on my own page), and had multiple people decide they wanted to either argue or tell me I was stupid. It upset me, I'll admit. I was taken aback by the sort of aggressiveness of the comments. I deleted the first one, where they felt the need to disagree with my statement, and wrote  a new one. I said that there's always a time and a place to debate those things, but I'd rather people didn't use that particular comment. I even invited people to leave related comments on a new post on my page if they felt the need to. That request was summarily ignored by someone telling me my opinion was stupid.

It took me by surprise, because I don't really feel like I'm on those kinds of terms with either of those people. It could be said that by putting it on my page, I was opening myself up for whatever, but really? If someone goes to a poetry reading and does their thing, is it acceptable to heckle them? I mean... it's allowed, but am I wrong to think that it's not a cool thing to do?

So it struck me that people have this feeling that the screen and keyboard provides this magical free pass to say whatever they want. The Tofu Muchacha has experienced that kind of thing with her blog.  She's allowed anonymous commenting for a while, and there has been an increase in unconstructive, mean comments. It hurts me to hear it, because I hate to see her feelings hurt by a stranger. Especially one who doesn't have the courage to provide an identity.

The internet sucks sometimes.

So anyway, because of those feelings I had, let me make some suggestions as to how to behave toward your fellow humans on Facebook.

Consider the following "The Bible of Facebook Etiquette". Unless you don't believe in the bible, in which case, let's call it the "God Delusion of Facebook Etiquette" (please excuse the very specifically directed Richard Dawkins reference.... That was for you, Hombre.)

Rule 1: No Hijacking Other People's Posts
If I write:
"Man... I really love Disney"

There are many varieties of appropriate responses.
- You can simply "Like" it.
- You can be all "Yeah! Disney Roolz!",
- You can say "Disney's Whatevs, but Universal is WAY better" (you'd be wrong, obviously).
- Maybe "What's your favorite ride??"

Really any of those are cool. What's not cool?

"I don't give a crap about Disney. I care more about the presidential election."

By saying that, you're saying that what I care about is stupid (and yet... you are my Facebook friend). You're also saying that whatever thing you've got to talk about is more important. That's fine, but leave it on your own page. It is NOT okay to derail someone's Facebook post (assuming that post had nothing to do with you to begin with).

There's one other appropriate response. You can ignore it. What?!? You mean I don't HAVE to weigh in on literally every status update on my stream? I can simply, if I'm not feeling a particular post, NOT do anything?

That's right. You can just move on to the next one. And that's what you should do.

There is nothing more ridiculous, if you don't care what a person has to say, than taking the time to say you don't care. That's the beauty of Facebook. It's not directed at anyone in particular. You don't need to feel compelled to respond.

Rule 2: Don't Fight with People You Don't Know
Look... I'm all about a good debate.

When I'm commenting on my friend's post, there's always a chance I may disagree with something my friend's friend says.  A lot of times I've never met that person before. Because, they're one of those "You have 1 friend in common" people.

So when I say to that person "What are you, some kind of idiot?"... That's not cool.

It's no different than saying it to a complete stranger having a conversation at a restaurant. Oh, except that while telling a stranger at a restaurant they're an idiot when they're being an idiot might sound freaking awesome, it's not awesome to put your mutual friend in a weird position when that dude you told off is all "What the hell is wrong with your friend?" to that same mutual friend.

I know it's tempting. If you want to fight, fight on your own page with your own friends like a civilized person.

Oh... If they start it? Have at it.

Rule 3: C'mon Dude.... Read a Room.
There are occasions when the frivolity of Facebook gets all serious, and someone posts something that's actually sincere or important to them.

Please, for the love of Pete, let them be.

When your friend says "I have Lupus", it's not the time to say "Haha... Did you get diagnosed on "House"?  You probably have a third testicle instead".

When your friend says "My dad just died", it is not the time to say "Whatever dude, do you wanna watch
some college football this Saturday?"

When your friend says "Today's been a shitty day", it is not the time to say "I bet mine was worse."

There are times when people are upset, and they want to vent. There are times when people are feeling introspective or contemplative, and while I agree that perhaps Facebook isn't the most private way to have those feelings, it can be a very cathartic experience to post something on Facebook, and have 30 people "Like" your response.

I'm not about to get totally maudlin or anything, because this blog was about being pissed off at how rude people can be, but let me just say...

Facebook has a lot of power today. It's sad, maybe, but it's true. People are killing themselves, because they're being bullied. They're coming out of the closet. They're announcing their engagements, and babies, and losses, and grief, and triumphs. It's really one of the most incredible networks of social interaction in history. Maybe perhaps THE most incredible. There are a BILLION people on Facebook. That's a seventh of the world.

Anyone who's experienced a flood of birthday wishes on their wall can tell you that even that brief "Happy Birthday" can make you feel special. It's an awesome feeling when Facebook is cool. I've even grown closer to people in my family because of it, and while that may be sad in a way, I'm glad it's there. I will never say that it replaces real human contact, because it doesn't, and it can't, but it does have power.

People are too often forgetful that just because it's easy to post something off the cuff because the keyboard almost equals anonymity, you're not anonymous. It might be silly to care, but people care.

We live in a world where people feel like their relationships aren't official until people change statuses. Facebook is here. It's a thing. It's not a fad (at least the concept isn't). So, I guess what i'm saying is... be nice to people. Watch what you say. If you wouldn't say it in person, don't say it on Facebook. Be honest about that.

Kind of a disappointing rant.

My bad.


Annie said...

I would argue that posting that your day is shitty on Fbook (or equiv.) is just asking for other whiners to come out and try to one-up you. I cannot and will never understand why people feel the need to post personal things on there. Because that's what makes Facebook different than real life, you're choosing to tell hundreds of your "friends" about these things.

My personal goal this year is to not let the outside world effect me so much. I think that this Facebookery falls in with that pretty well. I mean, if people are being silly and arguing on your Fbook, you are perfectly able to just ignore it and think those people are being silly. That said, a Fbook hijacking and leaving anonymous mean comments on a Blog are two different things. And while I would be upset by and think it's warranted to be upset by that, at the same time, who is this person? I mean, it's obviously someone hateful, someone insecure, someone jealous. Why let such silliness effect us at all? Easier said than done, absolutely. But I think it's a worthy goal.

I've been known to open my big fat mouth on Fbook and say things I maybe shouldn't have said, but it seems that two things are always true: 1) I don't always regret having said things, even if I wouldn't say them in person. I sometimes wish I was as assertive about my feelings IRL as I am online. 2) People generally don't think it's a huge deal. I'll be tortured by something I said when I was drunk or something and run into my victim. I'm embarrassed and bring it up all apologetically. The person is usually just like, "Oh, that? I just figured you were drunk. I forgot all about that!"

Well, anyway. It's hard to have an opinion about everything. It's even harder to keep it to myself. It's even even even harder to try not to waste any energy worrying about things you can't control. But, in the end? Territory folks should stick together.

Jennie said...

"Like" on both counts, especially Facebook etiquette.

It will be interesting to see how Facebook and other social media shape our society. It might just be me, but it seems like people are becoming more rude and self centered these days. Back in the day, before the interwebs, people had to actually get along with each other face-to-face. This required lots of compromise and being nice to each other so that fist fights could be avoided. I think you're totally right that there isn't as much incentive to cooperate and play nicely when there's no danger of being punched in the face.

mary said...

I love your blog and totally agree with you on the people who back in to parking spots. One guy did it in front of me, almost causing me to get hit by traffic on the street because he prevented me from getting into the parking lot. I put my hands up in the air and he moved to another spot. I think his wife or girlfriend (sitting next to him) shamed him into it. And having worked for Disney for almost 9 years, I know what it's like to have to not use "Touchstone" words. You won't offend me either way!

Beefy Muchacho said...

Annie - I tend to agree that posting complaints about ones day is sort of (more than sort of) annoying, and there's a part of me that always wants to say something sarcastic in response to them, but... I don't. Facebook may not really matter, but I still for whatever reason refrain from being a dick.

Jennie- Thank you for your thoughts. I think you're right that the world itself is changing, and that people are just becoming worse in general due to the lack of "face-to-face" interaction.

Mary - A Disney Cast Member! Welcome, Mary! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

kelly said...


I am a loyal TM blog reader and occasionally check in with yours. I totally agree with you..when did the world become so uncivilized. Don't let them get to're awesome and your writing at times cracks me up (which is a great thing). The TM is lucky to have you and you her!