Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mea Culpa

We apologize for so much, yet we regret so little. Or is it the other way around? Try to count how many times a day you say “I’m sorry.” I say it instead of “excuse me” or when I’d like to hit a live-action backspace button and redo the last ten seconds or ten minutes.

Apologies are stock in trade. You can’t be mad at me because I apologized. That one is my bete noir. I resist accepting apologies because if I do, then I have to stop being annoyed or hurt or offended or whatever it was. If I’m not mad anymore, then no problem, I’ll accept your apology. If I’m still bothered, well then, parse what I said when you apologized. You might find (with the help of a semantics tutor if necessary) that I never exactly forgave anything.

Part of the reason is that people rarely regret causing offense. More often they regret having to deal with the offense that they caused. Honesty is no defense. We’re not talking about Truth, we’re talking about feelings and as you should know by now, Truth has no place in a discussion of feeling. Of course you meant what you said, that doesn’t make it okay to have said it. Or worse, if you didn’t mean it then you should have kept your mouth shut in the first place.

Can you tell where I’m going with all this? Of course you can. Sorry I was gone for so long. I’m back now, I think.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Tale Of The Invisible Friend (Ask Auntie)

Dear Aunt Scarycookies,

I have a friend who has the rather annoying (to me) habit of setting herself on "invisible" in chat programs and then starting conversations with me. Is there any guideline to the etiquette of such interactions? It's not like she's a movie star, or inordinately popular, or anything like that. Should I point out these facts to her, refuse to talk to her unless she is "visible," or what?

- Vexted in Vancouver

Dear “Vexted”,

An IM is the tech equivalent of tapping a person and saying, “Excuse me.” That’s not so bad, is it? But when you add the invisibility factor, everything changes.

Now the analogy has her on tippy-toes, silently sneaking up behind you. Then she jumps up and screams in your ear. No polite tap on the shoulder, no “Excuse me.” Just that little noise and the screen popping open in the middle of your work, or whatever you’re doing instead of work.

Some people might say that since you had the chat program open, you had ostensibly put out a welcome mat for IMs. Ignore those people. Your friend is violating chat program protocol. Etiquette requires visibility before messaging. Invisibility is for those who choose to shut up. She’s welcome to it only as long as she keeps her keyboard to herself.

Personally, I blame “call waiting”. That was technology’s kill shot to manners. But I digress.

How often do you let a phone call go straight to voice mail? Often enough, I bet. So you know how to ignore the IM until it’s a convenient time to answer it. And that answer might be, “Sorry, can’t chat. Really busy.”

Or, if she’s really annoying, tell her “My Aunt Scary says I’m not allowed to chat with you.” She can write her own letter when she feels neglected and abandoned.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Son of "Watch This Space"

You’re seeing a blog that teeters on whatever metaphor would cause a blog to teeter.

Auntie wants to continue with the letters because they’re fun. On the other hand, Auntie has only one letter left and it's about masturbation and the Lakers. (Yes, both.)

What to do, what to do. I could alternate: one week rant, one week not. There’s certainly plenty about which to rant, but you already know that hipsters are annoying. If I let my fingers loose on the keyboard right now, it would be an anti-hipster/anti-cool kid tour de force. Been there, done that. We all have.

Nah, I think I’ll let it ride for a bit, take a week off and see what piles up.

In the meantime, feel free to jump in. Or even if you just want to call my bluff: AuntScarycookies@aol.com