SYW: On Unicorns, Apostrophes & Diversity

Melanie’s Share Your World questions this week come from her “partner in crime” called Evil Squirrel.

QUESTIONS

 When you just need to forget the world for a few hours, what helps you get away from it all? 

I read a good book or get engrossed in a movie or TV series that I really enjoy.

 If you woke up tomorrow with a unicorn horn extending from the top of your head, what would be the biggest advantage and disadvantage of your new appendage?

Disadvantages would be its weight and the inability for me to wear a hat, which I always do when the weather is cold. I can’t think of an advantage.

  What is the creepiest thing you’ve ever seen someone do, that you’d be willing to talk about, of course? 

Guys who grab or scratch their crotch multiple times in public, seemingly unaware – or not caring – that they are in full view of other people.

 What’s the silliest or pettiest thing that tends to really upset you?  

People’s abuse of the apostrophe. It seems as though they never learned that an apostrophe at the end of the word (or is followed by s) means POSSESSIVE. I have a friend who I care dearly about, but his emails are full of misplaced apostrophes (almost every plural word he writes has an apostrophe). This misused symbol should never used to denote a plural!! NEVER!

The weirdest apostrophe-used-for-a-plural mistake I saw was a few days ago. There was a sign up sheet for men’s and women’s breakfast at a restaurant. For women’s, the creator of the sign up sheet wrote LADIE’S. So she was combining two grammar/spelling mistakes: Changing the /y/ to an /ie/ when making a plural (she sort of got that right), and it seems she was confused about exactly how to make a possessive out of a word that is already plural. (There are two acceptable ways to do this: LADIES’ or LADIES’S, but the first one is preferable.)

An old writing buddy of mine published a book, a mystery set in Hawaii. Apparently she didn’t have it proofread, because every single word that ended in a vowel that was made into a plural (like the word “lei”), she added an apostrophe before the s. There were so many errors of this kind in the book that I deducted a star from my review on Amazon. How can someone publish a book and not have it proofread or edited? Obviously, since she is older than I am, she forgot this basic English spelling rule.

This may seem petty or silly to get upset about because there are many more important things that deserve one’s wrath, but it shows the decline in grammar/spelling education. It has to be this, because the misplaced apostrophe is such an ubiquitous mistake nowadays, but 20-30 years ago, it was fairly rare.

GRATITUDE SECTION (Always Optional)

How comfortable are you with meeting others who are very different from yourself? (no judgment implied.  Different in any way you’d like to think about – different cultures, different races, different mind set (opinions)? 

I like meeting people who are different from me, but I tend to be shy around strangers so I may appear to be uncomfortable. I am afraid to ask questions that might make them take offense; or I am afraid to speak to them in their native language when it is one I know (Spanish & Portuguese). I don’t know why this is – it’s silly really, but if I get to know the person or people enough to be comfortable around them, then I have no problem, unless their accent is so strong that I can’t understand them. In general, I like to be in places where a diversity of people surround me, where I hear a number of different languages being spoken, or I see unusual hairstyles, or the people are wearing non-Western but beautiful clothing. I’m also pretty open to trying new cuisines, although I do have my favorites.

So my gratitude is living in a country that has a lot of diversity – cultural, racial, ethnic, etc. I actually am looking forward to being in the minority (white, northern European origin). It’s a shame that many people feel threatened by our increasingly multicultural society.

SYW: A Depressed Dreamer Makes Someone Cry

Here are Melanie’s Share Your World Questions this week and my responses.

QUESTIONS

Would you rather be a super nice person and be depressed all your life, or be happy and a total *sshole?  (Credit goes to Cyranny for this question, aired on one of her “Cyranny’s Quickies” posts.)
I would like to rebel as some respondents have, and try to recombine these choices. But, having a loved one who suffers from depression and because I’m reading a book about the subject in order to understand it better (the cover of that book appears below), I do not see “depression” and “being nice” as a dichotomy. Yup, here I go, taking this questions perhaps WAY too seriously! But that’s what happens when I’m involved in something that is really a very complex question. So please forgive me for overthinking this seemingly binary choice!

I definitely would not want to be an a-hole in any condition and I doubt it would make me happy. Although I suppose there are plenty of happy people who are oblivious to the fact that they are cruel jerks – or they just don’t care. It wouldn’t be me, though. I have too strong a moral compass and always feel guilty when I treat someone badly.

That said, it is perfectly logical to be both nice and depressed. For one thing, very few people are depressed “all the time.” Depression comes and goes. When someone is in a deep depression, they often isolate themselves, cut themselves off from friends and family. People close to them see the warning signs and then may try to intervene.

When someone suffering from depression is NOT depressed, however, he or she seems like a completely different person! When they are not depressed, people who suffer from this mental illness are often quite nice people. Why, you may ask? It may seem like a contradiction, but actually it isn’t. Because there is such a contrast between the depressed and normal states, these people tend to appreciate life and other people more when they are feeling ‘normal’. They feel things acutely and tend to be very sensitive. They are often empathetic (that is, when they are not depressed). They know what it is like to suffer greatly, and know that during their normal state, they should enjoy life and accomplish as much as they can, because they also know that the darkness and isolation – the abyss – will return. The best time for them to seek help with their mental illness is when they are feeling good, because during depression, they can hardly get out of bed, much less do something constructive. When they are depressed and thus miss an event they looked forward to attending, they feel really bad about that, and know that most people at the event probably didn’t expect them to attend, but would have been pleasantly surprised if they had showed up. They live with a lot of guilt, but they usually take that out on themselves, not on other people. (It’s true that the suicide rates are much higher among depressives than non-depressives.) They do invariably hurt people, but usually unintentionally, so you can’t say they are fundamentally a-holes.

So if I had to choose, I would rather be nice and depressed. First of all, the depression doesn’t last forever, and nowadays there is plenty of help for depression, in the form of medications and therapy. New drugs are constantly being put on the market that improve on earlier ones, because medical understanding of depression constantly improves. If one medication doesn’t work, there are others, and different combinations, to try.

Believe me, I don’t desire to be depressed! I wouldn’t wish that on anybody! But as you have posed an either/or choice, this is my reasoning for choosing depression and being nice.

Have you ever made someone cry?
Of course – even though I’m nice and not an a-hole, I am not perfect! I’m sure I’ve made my son cry, but I can’t remember the last time that was.

Are you a dreamer or a go-getter?
I’m a dreamer and unfortunately, not a go-getter. It would be better to act on my dreams, and to some extent I have, but I am not one of those assertive, in-your-face types.

If you were in a band, what instrument would you play?
Probably the piano, because it’s the only instrument I have ever learned to play. But instruments don’t have to be external – I consider my voice an instrument, and so I would be the singer. I sing much better than I play the piano anyway.


GRATITUDE SECTION

Do you feel gratitude is necessary? 
Yes, or rather I feel it SHOULD be necessary. Everyone should feel gratitude about the good things in life, or the people who have touched them. It is necessary for ME, anyway, to feel gratitude. I try to stop and count my blessings or appreciate my life in some way every day.

I greatly appreciate the following song and am grateful that John Lennon gave us his talents until his tragic death in 1980.

“Recalculating…” – Maps vs. GPS

Truthful Tuesday

It’s Truthful Tuesday time again and the question this week is as follows:

When it comes to navigation in unfamiliar territory, do you shun technology, relying on traditional maps and written directions, or do you leave the atlas behind letting GPS and Google Maps guide the way?

We always have a road atlas on hand when we go on road trips to get an overall idea of the route, mileage, etc. When I plan trips (I do the planning, Dale does the driving!), I use a road map so I can map out where to go and how to get there. That way, we can wend our way through a state and see a number of things without having to backtrack. I use the Internet as well as guide books to plan where to go.

However, we use the car’s GPS system (in my car; in his car, we use Google maps on his phone) when we are on the road to make sure we don’t get lost.

This is good because Dale and I have had arguments in the past when we used paper maps – I would tell him to turn right but for whatever reason he turned left because he didn’t believe me. I WAS LOOKING AT THE DARN MAP!! And I was a good navigator too. But when walking, I tend to get mixed up using the GPS on my phone and am better off with a small paper map of the area. I’m thinking of the times we tried to find restaurants in Sao Paulo which were close to where we were staying but somehow the GPS disoriented us and we ended up going somewhere else we happened to find when we were lost getting to the place we were looking for. In Tel Aviv, we stood on a street corner with the phone GPS in hand, arguing about which way we were supposed to go to get back to our hotel after exploring a shopping mall.

I don’t have that problem with road maps or most of the time with the GPS in my car. However, we have gotten lost when the GPS didn’t know the way! Once we were going from Highland Park to Highwood, two north suburbs in the Chicago metro area very close to each other, but the GPS led us way out of the way and after driving for about 20 miles, I said, “I don’t think this is right.” My sister had said the restaurant where we were meeting was five minutes from the place we were coming from. It wasn’t a brand new street address, either, so I don’t know what “Jeanie” (which is what we named the GPS voice on my car) was thinking. The only other problem with GPS systems is that we may enter an address, the official address of the place, but we end up on a busy street with a wall next to us, and we know the place we are going is behind that wall, but where is the entrance?? The entrance is not always the same as the address.

Therefore, I recommend having a paper map if possible as well as the GPS. Locally, the GPS usually gets us where we need to go, even if sometimes Dale takes what he thinks is a shorter way (and turns out usually to be wrong). And imagine if something happens to the phone or the car and technology isn’t available? This can happen in remote areas when there is spotty Wifi service, and then the GPS may not work at all.

My favorite GPS system is Waze.

Wazeopedia - For the Community, By the Community

It’s a free app for your phone and works best when there are two people in the car – one to drive and the other to look at Waze. People can input problems they encounter on a road – police in vicinity, car on side of the road, traffic jams, etc. It also identifies red light cameras so you can follow the speed limit when you are near one! I recommend it for anyone who does a lot of city driving. You can earn points and eventually choose your own Waze avatar!

It’s much less nerve-wracking to have a GPS in the car one is driving than depending on a map and nowadays we can usually count on any rental car we get having one. The GPS in our rental in France was great, once we figured out how to use it – it was very counterintuitive and each time we got it right, we couldn’t remember what we did the next time we got into the car! That GPS voice was British and announced everything in meters and kilometers, of course, but I loved her – we dubbed her “Eleanor.”

SYW: On Trust, Grudges, and Controlling Emotions

M is for Monday and also for Melanie, who has a new set of questions for Share Your World!

SHAREYOURWORLDSTARHANDS

QUESTIONS:

Is it necessary to trust someone you like?  (friends, acquaintances or co-workers with whom you have no familial ties)
I don’t know if I could like someone really untrustworthy. On the other hand, there are people who are likeable and friendly, but they can’t keep a secret. Everyone has flaws, and some people just can’t keep their mouths shut! If I had a friend or acquaintance like that, I wouldn’t confide in them about anything important. Especially at and about work – office gossip can cause serious trouble! At work, there were a lot of people that I liked – that is, I had no problem with them and they were fun to talk to in the lunch room or whatever – but not enough to really be friends with, to share confidences with.

Do you hold grudges?   What do you do when someone really irritates you?

How to manage a grudge

I don’t like to hold grudges but in fact I do, and it’s so stupid because I will probably never see any of those people again. The two people I have the strongest grudge against stabbed me in the back, and for no good reason. Other people I knew had similar complaints about these particular two individuals – they were not popular, but they were people I depended on for good reviews going forward in my career. I should stop being resentful toward them; after all, most other people didn’t like them anyway! The only other person I have a “grudge” against is a girl in high school who didn’t give me the recognition I thought she should have. This is silly really. No one remembers or cares anymore, but it hurt me that after the work I did for her, she didn’t even acknowledge it.

I don’t like to get really angry or irritated, because I tend to lose my temper and say or do something I later regret. After this happening several times when I was younger, I learned to wait before acting, so that I could calm down. I tend to back off nowadays when an argument gets really heated. Let’s keep the peace!! It’s hard though, when someone I am around a lot irritates me. I try to put that into perspective: I really care about this person, so I shouldn’t blow up at him or her. I wonder how people who live in the same household are getting along during this pandemic, having to be around family members they love, but are not used to spending most of their time with. There are things, though, that I can’t tolerate – rudeness or lack of consideration for others are the things that really get me angry.

What’s the most sensible thing you’ve heard someone say?
I hate this kind of question because I have a poor memory and can’t think of that most sensible thing! But I guess it’s what my husband always says, “Don’t let the little things get to you.” (I cleaned this up, using the word ‘things’ instead of the word he actually uses! 😉 )

Cliché, maybe, but it’s good advice.

Is crying a sign of weakness or strength in adults? 
I don’t think crying is a sign of weakness in anyone. I never have, and have never judged men, for example, for crying. Because they’ve been taught that’s not what manly men do, many men are ashamed to cry. But I think crying shows someone’s sensitivity – whether it be at the end of a movie with a poignant ending, when the person feels regret, or cries tears of happiness, or just feels homesickness. I like sensitive people. I am one, so I understand others who are sensitive.

People used to laugh at John Boehner (former Speaker of the House) because he would cry sometimes. I was no fan of Boehner, but I thought those judgmental people were mean. If you want to criticize someone, find a better reason than that!

Why crying at work is good for your health and career - Insider
Even presidents cry sometimes.

GRATITUDE SECTION  (Always Optional)

What small things were you grateful for this week?
We were told last week that we will be getting our Covid vaccinations in February – first dose on Feb. 5, the second in late February. I am grateful for that!