So this just happened. For real.

My colleague mentioned an article that came out on Slate.com today that harkened back to my post of yesterday about the state of political discourse dialog general abuse rampant in the US at the moment. 

I chose to post the article as a comment, without any added commentary, to the thread that had inspired my original post. This is the article.


The following immediately ensued.









Interestingly predictably the only thing that got “B” to stop was an insult. 

Not that this kind thing needs any further explanation, but I think it is worth pointing out that the original article I posted was not about Sanders v. Clinton and was not calling for “B”‘s ‘education’ and we were told that he would only stop posting if we did because he is “stubborn.” I don’t think I need to point out too much else, I did wish there was a shovel emoji to help him dig his own hole…

This is what my (girl)friends and I are having to deal with -regardless of the candidate we support- every single day. 

The Stand Up….

I do not get stood up often. In fact, with one notable exception (very fucking notable) I can honestly say that until the last couple of months I had never been stood up, except by Comcast, (because they are total fuckers and do not care one single iota for the happiness, satisfaction, or sanity of their “customers.” I get so pissed when they answer calls saying “Thank you for choosing Comcast!” like I had some sort of choice in this, you monopolistic jerk-offs? But I digress… as per usual. [Ironically, as I sit here writing this I am in fact waiting for the Comcast guy to show up in his guaranteed time window. It has never happened, but a girl can dream. As, Comcast has now made their “guarantee” window two hours rather than one, I guess the odds are better.])

The real truth of the matter is that I don’t generally get stood up for a two logical reasons:

  • I don’t really put myself in situations where this is any sort of possibility because I trust the people I choose to meet when I go out.
  • Everyone has a phone – so really, in this day and age… is there any possible reason to straight stand someone up? No. No, there is not.

I would like to think that I don’t get stood up because I am a pretty cool human, and what sort of fucknut does that sort of thing to any kind of human… but hey, who knows.

So, of the three times I have been stood up (excluding Comcast) how did they fall outside of those aforementioned logical reasons? Oh, yeah. They did not.

In order of impact – so I guess the severity of the standing up, or the logistics therein – they went like this:

1) “Yeah Yeah Yeah I Can’t Wait To See You!”

We will just say, I should have been suspicious based on the frequency of exclamation points and emoji, but I trusted in this one because this was someone I had met before. In fact, when we met, we really met, if you get my meaning. And we are (were?) in touch pretty regularly. Granted it ebbs and flows, but it is generally not like some weird shout in the dark when we talk to each other.

What made this stand up particularly curious, is that there was confirmation of the meet up happening a mere four hours prior to the stand up. We were in the same town. Plans had been rearranged to accommodate the meet up. Connections had been established. And then, at T minus nothing, we had total radio silence.

Now, that is just rude.

Fortunately for me, I did not have a lot vested in this situation, but seriously, to just ignore the arrangement and go totally dark? Lame. I was also easily able to make new plans and parlay the situation into something awesome, but seriously? Not even an “I’m a chicken shit” text message? Puh-leeze.

Before you think I am just cruel and like, maybe he got in a horrible traffic accident, no. He did not. He just chose to do something else, which is totally legit. But homeboy, MAKE A CALL.

The only explanation for not being grown up enough to cancel (save for some sort of catastrophe) is that you actually enjoy this feeling of making someone super uncomfortable (I mean really, after three texts that don’t get answered, it feels pretty ridiculous.) Maybe it is an ego thing. Maybe you are just busy hanging in mom’s basement. I don’t really know. But standing me up like that was pathetic.

Go sit down.

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2) “We Are Going To Be The Most Amazing Couple Ever.”

To be fair, this is a sort of abstract stand up – but stand up it was. I say abstract because this person stood me up in an unrealized way. I also knew this person. We had hung out together and then decided we wanted to do that again. And we did – in a totally cute, spontaneous, and sneaky way.

And then he started laying out all the plans for the future. Travel, Cohabitation. Dates, Meeting family. Blah blah fucking blah. Suffice it to say I was a very good listener in all of this, and truth be told, he wove fine tales.

But when he was first given the chance to pull the trigger (I found out way after the fact) he balked. When given a second chance he came through. When directly asked about the third chance, he back pedaled (none to gracefully), lied (never very graceful), and cowered a way like a very small, small person.

Again, he had every opportunity to just come out and say, “Yeah, this is not going to work for me.” But no. Apparently his phone(s) and computers no longer work. They sure did for a while there though. (Have you ever looked at the sushi emoji and the eggplant emoji juxtaposed with each other? I am not sure that is acceptable adult communication in hindsight.) After all that, I was not even worth a “thanks for the conversations” communiqué? Really? What a lame stand up.

Oh. go sit down.

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3) “I cannot wait to meet you in San Francisco.”

This was the first of the epic stand-ups. And really, I had this shit coming for sure. But still, at the time… it was awful. Like way worse than the other two that make this list because I was less prepared, more fragile, and I had flown 8,000 freaking miles to make it happen.

No lie.

I took a total chance here, and I guess I was in the mood for it. This person had found me via my blog (look at my ego grow just typing that) and was super smart (and super well-versed in internet wooing it turns out) so he always said just the right things. We talked on the phone for hours and messaged each other and wrote blogs laden with private jokes and personal references. It was clearly ridiculous.

Me, being me (as I was in both the above mentioned situations as well) was very much in the shit or get off the pot mode with this person. If we were going to b like this we needed to meet each other. He agreed. Enthusiastically.

We bought airline tickets and counted down days. It was all very romantic and exciting and the stupid shit that fiction is based on, because: FICTION.

The morning I was flying out he texted me – no call – to say, he was afraid he might miss his flight to SFO (he was flying from the southern US) because he had some sort of work emergency. *cough*bullshit*cough* But I was en route to a trans-pacific flight. Was I supposed to cancel? No, he said, he might still make it. What? Not even committing to the stand up? I should have told him to sit the fuck down right then.

So I flew the 12 hours to San Francisco and landed… And he was still telling me maybe he could come. How lucky for me (and him really) that I am from San Francisco and so I had friends to stay with and to visit. As I sat at the airport ready to return to Asia after my whirlwind weekend, he kept telling me how terrible he felt that he was unable to make it and thinking of me “so sad” was so hard for him. Huh. Well, you certainly could have done something about that. At that point I was sad, but I would eventually become enraged. He tried to become invisible, but it was a challenge for him. And I played him one final time in a sort of way that was truly hilarious and fodder for an entire different post. (Play with fire? I got you.)

In the end, I somehow reaped great benefits from this debacle of an adventure… it was when I first started getting upgraded at Cathay and they put me into Marco Polo, we still never worked out why – but really, why ask why? In an ironic twist, this little weasel now lives in the community where I work. And being that the Bay Area is such a small place, I am sure that someday, some way, the unfortunate circumstance of running into each other will unfold. And I will only have one thing to say:

Sit the fuck down.

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For what it’s worth, today the Comcast guy got here ahead of schedule and sorted his shit out clearly, amicably, and effectively.

So maybe there is hope after all.

How I suck at “Social Media” and how this allows me to use it prolifically.

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Let’s start with full disclosure: I blog (which is a poncy way to say ‘I have a blog’), I have a Facebook (again, a ridiculous way to say ‘I use Facebook’), I have an Instagram (I actually think this is how everyone says this), I have two Twitters (one is for work; my students use Twitter for current events via KQED and it is a good format, and I have a personal account which is my only truly locked down and private outlet within the social media sphere), I used to have Myspace (two of those too – one for me and one I allowed students on – I do not do this with Facebook now, I just say no until students are out of school, then if they still care, I will accept their friend requests), and I have a Google+ but I have no idea what it is – although it seems public. Oh, I have a YouTube account too, but I think if you use gmail you have this because of the pervasive trend towards conglomeratization. I do not have a Linkedin – and I wish people would stop inviting me because it is a totally useless concept in my field. I do not have Flickr, DeviantArt, Tumblr (although I had a school one for a year), a Bebo (don’t even know what that is), and god help me I do.not.SnapChat.

Basically, I have a fairly visible digital footprint. Regardless of this, I still suck at social media. And I am totally fine with this because I think it is why I am able to use social media so prolifically without becoming angry and insane.

Here’s why: I do it wrong.

It turns out, I am just not really that “social”

I have always known this about blogging. I like to blog (look at me go!) but I don’t really read other blogs. I do occasionally come across blogs that I read because I am looking for something specific – like research for work or personal interests, and then I will read them, but in general, in the same way I look at my blog as a way to be hugely self-indulgent, I am not that interested in reading other people’s self indulgences. Unless they are about me or something uniquely related to me. The blogs I write that get attention get it from small niche populations. Thus it is no surprise that a blog I wrote about my cat remains to this day the blog that got the most hits out of anything I have ever done in any internet capacity. When I write about friends from home, my friends from home read it. When I write about being a teacher, my teacher friends read it. When I write about events and adventures, the people who shared the experiences read them. And there are a few exceptions here and there, a clever tag that gets others over to the page or something, but really the audience is terribly limited. And I am okay with that. I don’t interact with commenters (oh, I will get to them in a minute) and I don’t comment. I do very little to engender interaction or interest in my blog. I harbor no illusions that I am telling stories or illuminating ideas that no one has ever considered. In fact, mostly I feel like I am just adding validity to the reality that our shared human experience is far more similar than it is unique most of the time. And in its own way that is kind of cool.

I use Twitter for news. I love it and scroll through it regularly, occasionally retweet things, favorite things I want to come back to, and mostly leave it at that. I originally got it as a way to text for free from overseas, but now I use it primarily for information and as a way to measure the social temperature around said information. I like Twitter and it is very handy for my students to use as well.

I use Facebook (which I keep private, although I do not consider private in the way my personal Twitter is because there are people on my Facebook that I would not share certain things with because it would be weird and inappropriate) a lot. Although, it is getting harder to use it the way I would like. But again, it turns out I am not that “social” on FB. I post a lot of things. Things *I* think are interesting, important, funny, relevant, whatever. Again, I am under no illusion that these things are “interesting, important, funny, relevant, whatever” to other people. I am not posting for other people. I am posting for me. That is why I put the stuff on my Facebook page. If it is interesting to other people, that is cool – and I generally can predict with nearly perfect accuracy who will respond/comment/reply to the things I post. That is a benefit of having people who you actually know on your Facebook.

But I don’t get really interactive on other people’s Facebook pages. There are several reasons for this. First – Facebook is making this harder and harder as they only automatically show you the stuff posted by people you “interact” with regularly so it is easy to see how that circle gets inadvertantly smaller and smaller. Another reason I am not super active on Facebook is that there is a lot of stuff that people I really like post that I don’t wanna see. This does not mean I like them less, or do not want to be their friend in real life, or on the internets, it just means I am not into seeing stuff like that and so I don’t look at it. Going to the page of a person, like my friend D.M., a guy I have known since the first grade, and really like in a ton of ways, is not fun for me because we hold diametrically oppositional views on politics and a lot of social issues. Telling him how I disagree would be stupid – or having the audacity to tell him he is wrong or should not be posting something because it bothers me is just inappropriate. He is not posting that stuff for me – he is posting for him, so why do I want to go there and get all fired up – or worse, get involved in some comment battle where I am trying to convince someone that their opinion is “wrong”. Opinions – like feelings – cannot be wrong. They can be in disagreement with my opinions, and certainly wrong for me (or you), but telling someone their opinion is wrong is a waste of time, and really offensive. So instead I leave comments and “likes” on his Instagram where we have much more common ground.

I do believe there are times and places to help someone perhaps see that their opinion does not match data/history/science/facts or something, but I would suggest that would be like in a teaching situation, or as a parent, or an actual conversation among friends. Not really apropos for “social media.” I mean, it’s like the rules that govern polite conversation at dinner parties. People used to say ‘do not talk about politics and religion in mixed company.’ And this was not because people didn’t think about that stuff, or should not hold different opinions – it was because it was a “social” situation and being a dick by telling someone that their opinion is wrong is not very social. Remember when we were taught that if you didn’t have anything nice to say to not say anything at all? If social media is as it claims to be [social] – maybe that is a good rule…. I mean treat other people’s pages as their dinner party and use your own home(page) to say what you have to say. If people don’t want to hear your opinion they don’t have to come to your dinner party.

Facebook in all its deficiencies does allow for a couple great ways to deal with this. First, you can straight hide someone’s posts from your news feed (either by unfollowing them or selecting certain posts.) I have done this. A lot. If someone whose posts you enjoy following generally posts something you cannot deal with, you can had that specific post. A friend in HK who is super active in animal rights posted a super awful photo of an elephant, which I assume was attached to a story about how disgusting people are to elephants, and I could’t take it so I hid it, but not her. I hide all the silly fantasy sports stuff one of my former students posts – it is clutter and useless, but I love hearing about him and his family. I posted a misogynist rant that came out around the Isla Vista shooting on my page and one of my really good friends in HK who I discuss almost everything with, was like, ‘I can’t take this, I’m hiding it from my feed.’ And I totally get that. She didn’t feel the need to tell me how my posting it was wrong or that it was somehow not appropriate – she just said, I don’t want to look. That is what I would call solid use of the comments section.

Which brings me to the commenters. OH.MY.GOD. There is a seemingly growing population of people on the planet that have infinite amounts of time to dedicate to some sort of personal calling to comment on internet activity. These are trolls. I have had a few trolls. I know who one of them was, and I think I have finally blocked him enough that he cannot comment on my blog and Instagram (my only public pages) and his deal was just that he was (is?) a weird little man who thought I rebuffed him inappropriately. But it was still really annoying to get shitty comments from him. Another one I had was a former coworker who was convinced I was subliminally writing about him in my blog, which I was not, but his misunderstanding was illuminating. I am always surprised at how bad the (poor grammar and spelling aside) words of a total stranger or someone I could really not give two shits about can make me feel when it shows up on my stuff. Do the trolls have their own pages? Agendas? I have no idea, but they freaking should because that would be the right place to vent. Venting on the pages/posts/comments of total strangers just to spread vitriol is so bizarre. And it is like they get a certain kind of joy from just being awful.

Says a lot about society.

While I cannot even begin to grok why you would spend this sort of energy being a dick (and far worse) to total strangers, I am even more mystified by people who would do this to people they know – unless they just don’t want to be friends anymore, which is fine, but “breaking up” on Facebook/Instagram/blog seems pretty lame.

I am grateful for the ability to see what my friends – from near and far – are up to in their lives. It is really fun to see who has gone somewhere amazing, had a new baby, got a new job, and be able to be a spectator. I realize email could do the same thing, but that is a much different interface. Do I want a whole email every time for all these events? I think I prefer being able to look through the “news” feed. It works for me. I also have a growing appreciation for the vastly divergent attitudes and opinions my friends hold around religion, politics, social issues, and life in general. That I am friends with such a diverse group I think says a lot about me and my friends. I don’t need them to change for me, that they are who they are is what I love about them. And I do like having conversations with my friends about our thoughts, feelings, and opinions, but this does not happen in the comments. This happens in a pub in Hong Kong, at a secret diner party in SF, poolside in Vegas, on a phone call from Paris, or in email exchanges from Dubai.

In the end “social” suggests being with people and so while social media does endeavor to so this – it is not them same.

And I am okay with this.

The way I choose to use social media works for me. And if it doesn’t work for you, then there are lots of ways to handle that…. (like why are you reading this?) But whatever you do, if you want to remain hopeful for humanity and maintain your sanity… trust me on this: NEVER READ THE COMMENTS.

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[First image from HuffPo, cartoon from unknown source.]

 

Coachella: New Rules (apologies to Bill Maher)

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Just back from the experience that is Coachella (my first visit since it has gone to the two weekend format – I think weekend 1 is probably best, if for no other reason than being 1st.) And it was…. as it should be. While we were there we did, however, determine that there are a few ‘new rules’ that need to be put into action. So, listen up Coachella… this is important stuff.

1. New Rule: No long chains of people holding hands to get through a crowd. You have a phone and a ridonkulous beacon (see #9) so you can make it on your own – unless you are complete amateurs.

[No photo because I was actually getting through the crowd – the correct way: with focus]

2. New Rule: No wearing of Indian head dresses. Particularly if you’re (blonde) white girls. You look derivative, and you’re years past the trend – as if that sort of cultural co-opting was ever okay (it wasn’t.)

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3. New Rule: No sitting in the crowd during the sets. You’re tired? It happens, I understand, I’m in my 40s. Go take a timeout on the sidelines like a pro (see photo above illustrating a double foul.)

4. New Rule: Consider just how ambitious you want to be in your fashion choices. Do it for me. Do it for you. Do if for all of us.

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5. New Rule: Know where you lay your head. And go there. It’s a win-win for everyone.

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6. New Rule: No amateurish line jumping. You hate lines? Guess what? So do I. If you’re gonna cut in front of me you better be hella impressive. Don’t be that trollish little twat who sing-songs to me: “Oh my gawd! I didn’t see you! I’m with them!” Really? Really really? I’m 5’10” and wearing white. So, either you are blind, which I’m guessing not based on the beeline you made to your other trollish friends, or you’re stupid. So, yeah: you are stupid.

[No photo because I was too busy contemplating the opportunity cost of dumping my $11 margarita on her head.]

7. New Rule: Don’t try to enter through the exit. There are around 90,000 people there and about 89,060 can distinguish these two words: EXIT – ENTRANCE. This is not the time to be different… You should have taken that opportunity with your personal stylings… where you were apparently happy to be EXACTLY like everyone else.

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8. New Rule: If you’re going to be tripping balls, have the courtesy to handle your scandal. Enough said.

[photo redacted]

9. New Rule: Don’t rock the bro step. There is just nothing about it that is not awkward.

[No photo because, can you just not… but hilarious link here – go to #9.]

10. New Rule: If you are going to use a giant placard, be it a head, a phallus of some sort, a Brazilian flag, or an inflatable unicorn, be wise and lower your shit when the set is happening (if your friends haven’t found you by now… Maybe they don’t want to?)

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[Though I do like this little tiny purple unicorn, so it is just there for that.]

11. New Rule: Know the legends. You don’t know who Bryan Ferry is? Shame on you. You don’t have to love said legends, but you need to know them.

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12. New Rule: Get the lay of the land, and be sure to let your geographically challenged friends know that there are ways to work around limited spatial understanding (those desert named tents are in alphabetical order!) And know your landmarks. But, seriously people: DO NOT MOVE THE ASTRONAUT.

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And as you can probably predict… I will be seeing you next year regardless.