*Disclaimer: Before I begin this rant, I’d like to emphasize that this post is not about chivalry and its death, despite the fact that all of my “victims” are female. It is about rudeness in general and is not gender specificEnd scene.

Though one of my goals after reading The Happiness Project was to not sweat the small stuff, I’ve decided this is worthy of a post, since this stuff is not so small.  I’d like to file a complaint. This complaint is directed towards rudeness, a broad topic but one that seems to rear its ugly head whenever I, or others, have a suitcase in tow.  Allow me to explain.

Mr. Rude

I’m lucky enough to have a pretty simple commute for work. I walk a little over a half mile to the train, take said train, then walk 2 blocks to my building – reversed for the journey back home. While the commute certainly isn’t lengthened distance wise when I’m carrying luggage, it is a bit more difficult. (But not as difficult as it was prior to the purchase of a small, wheeled suitcase. Those are the things of the gods.) For example, it makes the two pretty long flights of stairs seem about twice as long. Yes, one of these stops has an elevator, but alas, I am stubborn.

What does my commute plus luggage have to do with rudeness? I’m not going to say that the people on the train are oozing with politeness on a regular day; however, I tend to be physically shoved out of the way or cut off when I’m traveling with a bag. I’ve been putting this post off because I didn’t want to come off as whiny, but I can bite my tongue no more. Just yesterday I opened a door, started walking through with my bag wheeling behind me, and an individual walked through the door as I was about one step in. This individual was not under the age of 10-years-old, so age was not an excuse. The same thing happens nearly every time in the same doorway and I don’t get it. I also not-so-secretly hope that he or she trips on my bag after doing so. Next time I may have to stick my foot out to speed the process along.

Unfortunately, I’m not the only victim here. About a year ago, an older woman was struggling with a bag nearly as large as she was on the stairs exiting the train stop. Other commuters chose to look at her, crowd the stairwell and inevitably bump into her on the way to the exit. Not exactly helpful when you’re already struggling with a bag. As soon as I got to her, I asked if she needed help and she thanked me, but said she did not. No one else offered. How do I know? I walked a bit slower in front of her to stall traffic. Karma, my poor mannered commuter friends.

Another time, I was on my way to the train yet again (Planes, Trains and Automobiles? No, just trains, thank you.) and saw a group of women trying to figure out how to carry a stroller, with a baby, down the stairs. The elevator was out of order at the time. They were standing at the top, discussing different options since they had a bunch of bags with them, too. I watched 5 able bodied individuals walk by, stare at them, and not at all slow down or contemplate asking if they needed help. Face palm to the human race. (Yes, I helped them.)

How rude

Recently, I also bumped into a young woman at another train station with a large suitcase, purse, and all the signs of a successful shopping trip in the city. She shouted to a group of 4 conductors and asked if they could help her carry her bag up the five or six steps to the train platform. They turned, looked at her, turned back to the group, and continued talking.  Because I have taken a stand against luggage rudeness, I asked her if I could help. This time, I was taken up on the offer…and that’s an understatement. She said yes, handed me everything but her purse and marched up the steps to wait for me. Without a thank you, she took everything out of my arms and went on her way. I’m not saying I needed a parade, but a thank you would have been nice. How ironic that I chose her to pity. I suppose rudeness is a two way street.

I won’t say that no one has offered to help me when I’ve been with cargo. I have had two offers for help while carrying a suitcase, but did not take either person up on it due to the aforementioned stubbornness.  I’d be lying if I said my bag didn’t feel lighter after that, though. Rant said, I encourage you to join my battle against rudeness, but I must warn you. When I say battle, I mean battle.

 

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That's not my job

The other day, I decided to write a post about the cringe worthy phrase, “that’s not my job” – which can also be read as “I don’t feel like it.”  Then, wouldn’t you know it, I said a derivation of that phrase at work this very morning. Not once, but twice! Color me ashamed. After I had spent a couple of days getting myself all worked up over the asinine phrase that is “that’s not my job,” I became my own worst enemy and stabbed myself in the back. You know what? It still hurts.

I wasn’t always out for blood when it came to this phrase.  In fact, I’m sure I’ve said it more than I realize. However, lately I’ve been surrounded by “that’s not my job-ers” on so many levels. Whether it be at work, on the train, out to dinner with friends…I can’t seem to escape it.  Only now have I started to question why.

True, there are times when “that’s not my job” is entirely applicable.  For example, should someone come up to me and request any type of financial report, he or she would get a response in the form of a two-part sequence. First, a deer in headlight look. I’m talking eyes bugged out, pupils dilated from fear, severe clutching of the chair’s arms and all the signs of a scream, but no sound to be heard. Next, after I came to my senses, I’d tell this individual that they must be mistaken as, gasp, this really, actually, truly is not my job.  And trust me, you don’t want me to do it.

It’s important to note, though, that the aforementioned phrase is typically not in good taste.  Each time I hear someone say it inappropriately, I have to bite my tongue to keep from firing out and asking where in their job description does it say that they will not be asked to do anything that is not strictly outlined there.  It oozes entitlement and says a lot about a person’s work ethic. I’m certainly not jumping on the bandwagon of hating my own generation, but when we say things like “that’s not my job” after a year or two in the work force, I can see where the feelings of contention come from. (Which is funny in itself since it’s not like this phrase has an age limit.)

Youths

Do yourself a favor and challenge yourself to listen to how often you hear “that’s not my job,” from friends, coworkers, innocent eavesdropping on the commute home, or while perusing a store.  I have a feeling it’s more often than you realize.

[Ironically listening to Bad Habit by The Kooks. #fate]

 


Strawberry Cake

Strawberry cake! Literally drooling.

I just had a birthday. On the Fourth of July, as a matter of fact. Before you say the following, I’ll go ahead and take the liberty to do so: yes, I get fireworks every year; no, they’re not just for me; yes, it’s such a fun birthday; and, yes, I know I’m a firecracker.  What was that? Yes, a firecracker with red hair at that. Moving on!

Another year older, another year…. That’s it. Another year. I may find myself to be another year wiser, what with a full 365 days worth of life experience tucked under my belt, but I have to laugh when I hear my generation panic at the onset of nothing more than another year.

I’m now 26 and you know what? I don’t feel old. There have been zero thoughts about how I would like to be 21 again, or back in high school, or God forbid, middle school. (I’m not going to say I’d rather jump into a pile of fresh lava than experience middle school again, but…I’ve heard Hawaii is pretty nice this time of year.) After the age of 23, it seemed that a lot of my friends stopped seeing birthdays as a time to celebrate with a birthday party, but instead a time to groan with a pity party. Things like “I don’t want to be [insert laughably young age here]” and “I can’t believe I’m [insert an age our parents would kill to be here] – that’s so old!” were flying out of my friends’ mouths at high speeds.

I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t put emphasis on an age before.  In years past, I thought certain ages seemed much more advanced than they truly were (sort of how your gradeschool teachers who were 40-years-old seemed like they had one foot in the grave). The closer I got to these aforementioned ages, the sillier I found my past thoughts to be.

When I hear people whine about their still very spry selves, I can’t help but quickly shoot back, “well, it beats the alternative!” Yes, you can count on me to interrupt your age pity party with a nice and straightforward reminder that you are not a corpse. How awkward is that? It’s okay; I agree with you. It’s pretty high up there on the awkward scale but really, what is whining about your age getting you? We have yet to invent time travel so we can’t really go back as an alternative. Truly, there isn’t an alternative aside from the awkward one I just mentioned.

Let’s move on again. A birthday merely signifies the onset of another year. You’re as old as you feel! Age is nothing but a number! (What other cliche line can I insert here?) So once your special day comes around, strap on your birthday pants and eat some cake. If you whine about your age, take a breath and just remember: you’re able to take that breath.


7.3.14 - Chicago

A little over two years ago, I moved from my comfortable parents’ house in suburbia to the city of Chicago.  Having grown up just 23 miles outside of the city, the transition was simple. That said, moving downtown hasn’t taught me anything crazy about myself, by any means.  If anything, I’ve learned a lot about other people and their inability to walk through a crowd.  I’ve also learned the following:

  1.  You aren’t just choosing a neighborhood or place to live. You’re choosing a stereotype. This says nothing about you, and a lot about the person who let the stereotype write itself all over his or her face when you utter a neighborhood name.
  2. You WILL get hit by a car at the corner of Wellington and Racine. It’s been 794 days since I moved to the city and I haven’t gotten hit, yet, but I’m assuming it’s coming soon to an emergency room near you. I once saw a car speed up to cut off an ambulance with lights on, blowing a stop sign in the process. The danger is imminent.
  3.  No one goes to Navy Pier. Yet, why do we tell relatives and friends to go there when visiting the city? Better question: why do we insist on taking them there ourselves during their visit? After a quick Google search, I discovered that it’s ranked #83 on Trip Advisor, so rest assured, the attraction is not all that jaw dropping.
  4. On the flip side…people actually do shop on Michigan Avenue. All the time, forever and ever, no matter the weather, especially on crappy days.
  5. Getting a seat on the CTA during rush hour is harder than winning the lottery – and I’ll bet it feels better, too. It can truly change a passenger’s mood in the morning or going home.
  6.  To go along with #5, people WILL shove you out of the way to get said seat. I’ve ended up in a stranger’s lap due to being shoved out of the way by a grown man who was a little too determined to get a seat. It’s a jungle out there, kids. Plant your feet firmly while standing and if you’re hoping for a seat…run.
  7.  Everyone, no matter how fancy he is, goes weak at the knees for Portillo’s. No, seriously. I dare you to ask the fanciest person you know.
  8.  BRUNCH. Learn it; live it; love it.
  9.  People legitimately argue over who sucks more: the White Sox or the Cubs. They both suck, can’t we just all get along? (ps: #gocubs)
  10.  The people of Chicago (or likely anywhere with crowds) are terrible walkers, especially when trying to play with their phones…which is all the time, and typically in the middle of a crosswalk.

Stay tuned…I’m sure there is more to be discovered tomorrow!


Since my last review, I’ve come to accept that being old enough to choose to write a book review on my own isn’t a terrible, horrible thing.  It’s actually kind of fun since I can write in any font and size I deem worthy.  But not Comic Sans. Never Comic Sans. (As an aside, when did people decide they hated Comic Sans? A kid in my gradeschool always used Comic Sans and now he’s…oh. I suppose I get it now.)

The Happiness Project

I’m not a firm believer in peer pressure, but after reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, I have decided it may be my duty in life to peer pressure anyone and everyone into reading this book.  Neither my mom nor my sister is a big reader, so instead of going on and on about the book, dropping not at all subtle hints with the hopes that they’d ever-so-kindly ask to borrow my copy, I headed to the mother ship (Amazon.com) and ordered and shipped it straight to them.  Both of them are smart, well-educated gals, but they just aren’t into reading – which is fine.  Except for my sister’s aversion is not fine. Her deal is that she has to be the one to decide to read a book, otherwise she won’t do it.  For example, knowing that she’d love the series, I tried to persuade her into reading The Hunger Games.  It took quite some time (you would have thought I was asking her to give me not only her movie collection, but also her first born) yet as soon as she started, she was hooked.  So much so that when we were on our family vacation, she had to find a book store and pick up the third book.  To my sister: you’re welcome.

To everyone else: it’s your turn to face my wrath.  I’d been meaning to pick up The Happiness Project for a couple of years now, but reading on the CTA in the city of Chicago is a bit more difficult now than it was to read on the commuter train when I lived in the burbs.  Life is hard; woe is me.

Realizing I could read – gasp! – in places other than the train, I gave myself a challenge to get back into reading but to do so with a goal: for every two fiction books I read, I must read one non-fiction.  (I learned pretty quickly into The Happiness Project that Rubin sets similar goals for herself. Like minded redheads, I suppose.)

The book is an entertaining, quick read about gaining control of your own happiness. No, it’s not a self-help book or one that has you confessing all of your perceived flaws over a bottle (or two) of wine. Rubin took the time to research various ways people have found happiness in the past, and she went ahead and gave them a try.  Did everything work for her? Absolutely not, and that’s what was refreshing. She got frustrated with her project at times because, well, she’s a human and not a smiley-faced bobble head.  For that I am grateful.  Why? Because I, too, am human and not a smiley-faced bobble head.  Here’s proof. While on vacation in sunny Punta Cana (this is not me bragging; this is something you need to know), I decided to try out what I had learned in chapter 11 and “keep a contented heart.” I’m aware that I can ruin my own happiness by focusing on the negative, and I can be easily influenced by those around me, in that respect. Simply put: I can easily get riled up. Well something, nothing major (according to me), happened on vacation that turned my boyfriend into what can only be described as a Negative Nancy.  So, I put on my very own Happiness Project front and did what I could to point out the positive because one of Rubin’s commandments is “act the way I want to feel.” I didn’t want to feel negative. So I went for it. We’re in Punta Cana! It’s so nice out! We can afford to take trips like this! Isn’t this restaurant the best one we’ve been to so far? Aren’t you so happy we’re here? ALERT! ALERT! I CHOSE THE WRONG TIME TO TEST THIS CHAPTER/THEORY/COMMANDMENT/OVERTLY HAPPY THOUGHTS OUT. I’d go into detail, but it’s still a small point of contention.  It lasted a couple of hours and all was well after that.  It seems I had forgotten what I had learned in chapter 4 (“acknowledge the reality of people’s feelings”) and just went ahead and jumped on it. Needless to say, I made an immediate mental note and realized I need to be better with the timing of trying out my very own newly learned tricks.

See? All is well now.

See? All is well now.

Rubin’s book has inspired me to clean out my closet, a task I have been avoiding for at least two years, to start looking into ways I can break out of a routine and revisit past hobbies, and quite a bit more – all in less than 300 pages.

Because it’s harder for me to peer pressure you over the Internet (unless we are Gchat buddies or real life buddies, in which case watch out), I’ll take a softer approach and make it easy for you to purchase the book here. Happy reading!

 

 


Hey! Me again.  I’ve stumbled across another song that deserves your attention. Yes, you. Right there. The one procrastinating at your desk right now.  Procrastinate for a few more minutes and allow me to introduce you to “Mercury” by Moon Taxi, an indie-progressive rock band from Nashville, Tennessee.

I stumbled across these guys when I tuned into a Google Hangout with Sam Palladio, a main character in ABC’s Nashville.  He was asked about some of his own favorite musicians and the musical discoveries he’s made while in Music City. Palladio very clearly had a musical crush on Moon Taxi. He gushed about not only how talented they are, but how genuine they are as people and artists. In an industry full of autotune and computer edits, naturally I gushed right along with him.

I will leave you to gush along with Palladio and I now to the song “Mercury.”  I know you have work to do. (Aside from falling in love with Moon Taxi, that is.)

PS: Is it just me or do these guys sound like a new, refreshing Kings of Leon?


Ah, Friday. You’re here! I’ve been anxiously awaiting your return since Sunday night.  I welcome you with open arms and a song that will surely put a pep in your step.  For those of you who know me, you know that I am a bit of a Michael Jackson junkie.  For those of you who don’t know me, hello! I’m a bit of a Michael Jackson junkie.  When my sister and I were growing up, one of our most played VHS tapes was a collection of Michael Jackson videos.  We don’t watch it anymore…because we now own it on DVD and, well, YouTube happened.  I remember exactly where I was standing when I got a text on June 25, 2009, saying that Michael Jackson had died and I remember that I cried big, fat tears while watching his memorial service on TV. (I’m sorry, if you didn’t cry during Usher’s rendition of Gone Too Soon you best check to make sure you have a soul ASAP.)

 

I had a bit of a Sybil-esque moment when I first heard that Xscape, a new Michael Jackson album, was being released.  Yes, another posthumous album by the King of Pop himself.  Part of me felt like a kid on Christmas Eve: giddy with anticipation and intoxicated by the urge to jump up and down while clapping with anyone who would join me.  I had a conflicting thought while mid-jump.  There’s a reason Michael Jackson didn’t choose to release these songs.  While I am not privy to the reason, I do know there must be one.  It’s not like the man was ever short on music.  And, how awful is it that the Jackson family is still trying to make money off of his death?  Surely his other albums still sell well, right?  Surely the movie “This Is It” helped the family financially.  Surely this, surely that – morally I don’t agree with it.

 

Yet still, curiosity got the best of me when the Michael Jackson Facebook page posted that a version of Love Never Felt So Good featuring both Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake had been released.  MJ and JT? My two favorite sets of initials together on one song? I had to check it out.  I’m  not going to say that I’m okay with the release of the song or the album as a whole, but  I will say that I’m bouncing around as I type this and I’m pretty upset I wasn’t asked to be a dancer in the video.  The song oozes pure joy.  Absolutely oozes it.  I’m talking Pharrell’s Happy level of happiness here.  I challenge even the grumpiest of grumps to watch this video and not feel the urge to smile.  Jackson and Timberlake compliment each other and approach the song with a matching level of enthusiasm. It’s contagious and a nice homage to vintage MJ, and the addition of Timberlake doesn’t hurt.  It’s a song with the King of Pop and his successor.

 

I certainly don’t think this is Jackson’s best work, but I would have to assume that even at his worst, the man would still come across as a musical genius and genuine artist.  That said, I’m not opposed to listening to this song on repeat if I ever need a pick me up or a quick dance session, but I won’t be purchasing the album, strictly due to my principles.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for the aforementioned quick dance session and inevitable mental battle over this song.




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