A Couple on the Public Bus

While I do appreciate having some access to public transportation and there is a lot of nonsense I will deal with in exchange for having a ride, I have had it up to here with some of the other riders.  On February 22nd (Monday) I was treated to snarky commentary by an older couple sitting in the seats right behind me.  It took everything in me to not turn around and tell them to shut their yaps.

One important thing for you all to know is that the electric sign on the front and side of the bus either doesn’t work at all or inaccurately displays where the bus is headed.  I prefer checking the bus website for tweets on where the bus is headed than trusting the signs on the bus.  A lot of our riders are non-resident students who don’t know that they can check the official bus website or they just want to ask the driver where he’s going for confirmation.  I can’t say I blame them; I have on occasion asked the driver where he was headed as well.  There is absolutely nothing wrong about getting confirmation.

This nasty couple wasn’t as open-minded. Some of the rider questions and their responses to the questions were:

  • Rider: “Are you the Grey Line?”  The Grey Line is a bus that travels from West Virginia to Pennsylvania, by the way.  Couple: “Can’t you read the sign?”
  • Rider: “Is this bus heading to the college campus?”  In fact, this bus is either going into town and by the downtown university or heading into the residential communities such as my neighborhood.  It honestly looks like it could go either direction when it’s stopped at the student dormatories.  Couple: “No, it’s headed to the middle of nowhere.”
  • Rider: “Is this bus going to the depot?” The bus depot is the headquarter for all of the busses.  It’s the best place to get off one bus and get on another. Couple: “No, it’ll keep going forever.”

I know how frustrating it can be as a regular bus rider to hear the same questions over and over, but that doesn’t give anyone the right to make fun of people who are genuinely asking for confirmation that they’re on the right bus.


My Dead Printer

My printer is dead.  It died last night around 11:00 (or 10:43ish, but I like a good whole number so 11:00 it is) when my dad insisted he use it for printing out his taxes.  That he couldn’t possibly print his taxes on my mom’s printer when she has all sorts of ink and paper available is another gripe for another time, but you need to know what he was doing when my printer died because then you know who to blame.  I joked that my printer committed suicide after it printed out my taxes, which is an appropriate inanimate object reaction to taxes.  While it cheered me up enough for me to call it a night and not panic too much about my dead printer, now I’m worried once again.

Let me share with you the documents I still need to print out.

  • One three or four page compare/contrast paper about two Shakespeare plays for Wednesday.
  • Eight copies of a dystopian novel and social justice unit pre-test for Thursday.
  • Eight copies of a dystopian novel and social justice unit post-test for Thursday.
  • Eight copies of a not-yet-written dystopian novel/social justice group outline assignment sheet for Thursday.

I can’t afford to have a dead printer right now.  Of course, since I’m cursed when it comes to technology, this is exactly the type of thing that would happen to me.

As a small comfort, my dad doesn’t fault me for this one.  There’s a story behind this statement, but for now what you need to know is that he gets extremely cranky when I break yet another piece of technology.  I can safely say that within five years I’ve managed to break at least five laptops, one tablet, one cellphone, and one MP3 player (although I can still use it because this particular breakage was more aesthetic than functional).  He said it actually died on him in the middle of printing his tax junk, which suggests maybe this one time it was in fact him that killed my printer. Even so, I’m not relieved like I probably should be.  I need my printer and it’s dead.


This Woman on the Public Bus

Normally I don’t single people out for blog posts unless they’ve done something extraordinary to hurt me, but there is this one woman on the public bus that drives me batty!  She was on the bus today and it was one of the not-so-bad days.  Even so, I was relieved when she got off at a few stops earlier than she normally does.  I only know where she normally gets off because I’m unfortunate enough to ride the bus with her often enough to see her get off.  Where am I going with this?  Well, right now I probably sound unfair and a little judgmental (which to be honest is kind of what I am) but let me tell you about this woman on the bus.  Maybe you’ll vaguely see why she drives me batty.

So this woman is older, which might explain some of her…weirdness.  Maybe she no longer has a filter or doesn’t care to activate it.  I honestly don’t care what explains her weirdness because it wouldn’t drive me any less batty.

First of all, she talks loudly in a shrill voice.  Far be it from me to judge annoying voices since I sound a lot like I’m sucking helium continually (and not in the adorable Kristin Chenoweth way), but she has a naturally shrill voice and when I say it’s loud, I mean LOUD.  She could be in the back of the bus and everyone including the bus driver can hear her.  To be fair to her, she’s often talking to the bus driver and maybe needs to talk a little louder to be heard over the roar of the bus.  Even so, it is the most annoying voice I’ve ever heard!

Second of all, when I said she has no filter, I mean she has NO filter.  One day I was on the bus with her and she was talking in that loud, shrill voice about all the medical disasters she was going to the doctor for.  No, I do not want to hear about your continual diarrhea!  No, I do not want to hear about your pneumonia!  No, I most certainly do not want to hear about the day you vomited profusely!  Keep them to yourself and if you can’t do that because god forbid you have some respect for people who get easily nauseated, at least for the love of all that is good and holy, keep it to your personal blog where I don’t have to hear it or see it!

Third of all, she is the most judgmental person I’ve met, and that’s saying a lot since I’m unbelievably judgmental (as you have learned reading this blog post)!  One day she was talking in her loud, shrill voice to a 20-something man about his life choices.  He’d made some mistakes in his life that he was trying to recover from, which is commendable.  I’d be proud of him for realizing he didn’t like the way his life was turning out and making positive changes.  She lectured him on all the mistakes and probably made him regret his life once again.  Technically anyone you don’t know asking you personal questions can be told to bug off and mind their own business, but unfortunately in the US we have this idea that older people deserve our attention and answers because of their age (or something like that).  Also, most people don’t want to be rude to people they’ve just met.  Even so, she had no right to ask prying personal questions of someone she just met on the bus (!) and even less right to judge them for their answers!

While I’m human enough to not wish actual harm on her, someone needs to stand up to her and tell her to shut her yap.


I Hate Winter!: The Grocery Store Edition

Go Away Winter!There’s nothing like the worst grocery store trip to make you loathe winter from the depths of your soul!  So I went to the grocery store today as mentioned in the previous sentence and oh my god!  If you even hint about a winter blizzard everyone insists on rushing out to the grocery store and clogging the aisles with their needlessly gigantic shopping carts (which is probably more of the store’s fault, but still).  I swear every aisle had between five and ten people, all be3nding over to get stuff from the bottom shelves or standing on their tip toes to get stuff from the very top shelves.  It was like you sometimes couldn’t even get through the aisle because everyone was stuffing it up.  Oh, and don’t get me started on the people who were aimlessly wandering around, making the aisle clogs even worse!  At least when I did it, I was looking for my folks!  I swear, even though it snows really bad every single year, everyone acts like it’s the apocalypse!  You’ll have to excuse me; I’m still seething from one incident where I was trying to get through an already-crowded aisle and this woman who came after me in the aisle pushed through first.  Excuse me?  Is she asking for a good hard punch in the face?

To be fair, the snow was a little unexpected.  West Virginia is one of those states where if the weather report says “Snow between one to three inches” you either get zero snow and a sunny day or more like one to three feet of snow.  When you get snow, it’s not so much that there’s a lot of it as it can fall really fast.  That’s why it’s called a blizzard, but sometimes it’s not the kind of blizzard you expect.

On the other hand, there is no excuse for bad behavior when shopping at a grocery store before or during blizzard conditions!  Let’s review what not to do, shall we?

  • Do not clog an aisle when it’s not absolutely necessarily.  When you get your stuff from one aisle, move on to the next aisle.
  • Do not cut in front of people who are trying to get through an aisle when they were there first.
  • Do not walk around aimlessly.  I can’t stress this enough!
  • Bonus: Do not let your offspring wail at the top of their lungs in a crowded aisle.  It’s irritating on a good day.  Don’t do it on a bad day.  Just don’t.


Technology Hates Me!

Today I have no idea why my technology is acting like a butt, just that it is.  Now, this could be my daily refrain for all the technology woes I experience on a day-to-day basis.  If my laptop doesn’t keep blacking out on me, then my cellphone battery dies within five hours (when it shouldn’t die for at least a full 24 hours).  If my cellphone battery doesn’t die within five hours, then my tablet is plugged in (or so I think) but never charges.  If my tablet isn’t having charging problems, then something technological is dying on me.  I swear all technology in the world made a pact to ruin my day!

Today I have no idea what got into my cellphone.  It’s usually a well-behaved cellphone minus the battery dying within five hours and requiring yet another recharge.  Today it was fine in all those respects as of three hours into the battery dying or not, but there was something wrong with the email function.  I had this really neat picture of a hangman game my mom and I played one day that I wanted to send to my laptop for publication on a blog, so I did the cropping and sending via email on my cellphone like normal.  In theory, you should be able to send email without being plugged into wi-fi or feeding from a nearby AT&T tower.  I’m not 100% sure on this anymore, but I believe I’ve been able to do this in the past.  Today was really weird, then.  I finished cropping my picture and sent it out for email the first time, and when I checked my Comcast (another awesome gripe for another time!) I didn’t get the emailed image.  I didn’t think much of it at first.  Sometimes I get so excited about sending a picture to my email that I forget to send the picture.  I re-sent the picture, and still nothing.  I tried three more times, and still nothing.  I was not happy, but before slamming my cellphone down in frustration, I tried to hold it together while trying one little tweak.  So what I did was I went into my internet, signed up for use on Panera’s wi-fi, got approved, and checked out a website just to make sure I was connected.  I resent my picture a sixth time and low and behold, it worked!  Not only did that one work, but I got three other emails with the same picture that I had sent earlier!

When I’m in a more clear-headed, logical state, I know that my technology isn’t really plotting against me (or at least I’m 75% sure).  When my cellphone doesn’t send a picture and my email doesn’t receive the picture and I’m about ready to explode, I have other thoughts.  I don’t care that maybe the key was being logged onto the internet with my cellphone and that was partially my own ineptitude.  I am going to blame technology anyway.

You Can Stop the Guilt Tripping Any Time

Today I had plans.  I woke up early so I could catch a 7:56 bus and head out to the downtown university campus and the college Panera.  I planned on writing another round of substantial blog posts and I wanted to have a flat surface, such as a restaurant table, for assistance in feeling productive.  I can write while I’m stretched out on my bed, but it’s so much easier to be tempted into sleep from all the comfort.  Plus, you know what they say.  The bed is for two activities, none of which included substantial blogging.  I knew that if I was in a cozy environment but sitting at a table, I would be more productive.  Turns out, my plans changed.  I had forgotten that my college Panera sets their own closing times and apparently they like to close on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  I took it in stride regardless.  I went to the downtown university library and took a rest (which I know is the complete opposite of being productive but I needed that rest!) and then I caught a bus to McDonalds.  I know it’s not as healthy as Panera’s food, but I’m happy to get some French fries and if I need a veggie later there’s chili at the house.  I think I handled things well.  My gripe has nothing to do with the change of plans.

Now, I knew things wouldn’t go entirely well when I said “Bye!  See you this afternoon!” to my mom.  I had no idea it would go so irritatingly as it did.  So I wished her a good morning and was about to leave when she mumbled “Where are you going?”  I said “Panera to get some writing done” which would seem a little discordant except that she knows I like writing at Panera.  She said “Sometime on your break you need to clean the house.”  I’m thinking Oh go away! but I assure her that I do help clean the house.  She said “You do small stuff here and there.”  Then she thought about it a little and said “Have a good day” in this weird grudging way.  I left fuming, of course.

First of all, I do help clean the house.  Over my break I have done things to clean up my own bedroom (laundry, throwing away garbage and putting recyclables in my room in our recyclable container outside, cleaning up cat vomit in or near my bedroom) and clean up the general living space (washing dishes, Swiffering the floors, cleaning bathroom fixtures).  I don’t do everything all the time, but that’s because not everything needs done all the time.  Dishes are the only thing that might need cleaned up on a daily or nightly basis.  I think that given the necessary cleaning that either me and/or her do when it’s necessary, it’s not like we have to make a plan for a full day of house cleaning.

I swear she’s trying to guilt trip me for developing independence!  When I was in high school, she would say the opposite.  She’d be like “Why don’t you get out of the house, take a bus, spend time away from us?”  Now that I’m following through on all that and realizing that I enjoy it, she’s not okay with it.  Doesn’t she realize that I’m an adult and I should get to make my own decisions?  I am happy to help out around the house as well, and I’ll even have time to do something small later this afternoon.  I don’t mind being useful once in a while.  On the other hand, I am 24 and I should get to make these decisions about whether I go out for the day on my own.  I shouldn’t be guilt tripped for it!

Bad Parenting on Full Display

So, I know that if I were a parent, I would be the worst parent in the world.  I am not kidding.  I don’t get the appeal of offspring.  I don’t find them cute (unless they’re doing something nice for a cat and it’s not really them that I find cute) and I don’t understand what exactly you do with them.  I must’ve missed out on that maternal “I want offspring!” gene or whatever because I promise I don’t have it.  That said, I know I’d be worlds better of a parent than this one parent I saw today and that I keep seeing.  Is it like you suddenly lose common sense when you become a parent, because I do not understand this epidemic of bad parenting.

This epidemic of bad parenting in question is the one where parents take their very young offspring shopping, let them toddle around and do whatever they do, and then threaten to leave their offspring in the store complete with walking away action.

Today there was this mother and I’m guessing her two-ish year old daughter shopping at one of my favorite department stores that will remain nameless in an effort to protect the not-so-innocent.  This little girl was named Anastasia, which is a) the most unfortunately long name I’ve heard for a real-life girl and b) likely inspired by the most godawful trilogy of books imaginable.  I have a bunch of problems with this name, but that’s a different story.  Maybe you’ll get to hear it later.  Anyway, Anastasia was an explorer.  She was so short she couldn’t see anything of interest, but that didn’t stop her from walking around displays in the middle of the aisles and checking out anything low-hanging.  Her mother was finished looking at jewelry and said “Anastasia.  Anastasia.  We’re leaving.”  Anastasia clearly didn’t care as she walked around the display once more.  Her mother got tired of waiting and said “Fine!  I’m leaving.  You can stay here.”  Yes, her mother said that.  To make it worse, she actually started walking away from the display like she intended to make good on her threat.  Anastasia started to wail and her mother returned.  This is rich; Her mother told her to stop crying as they walked to the check-out line.  You know what?  I would cry too!  If my mother said that to me back when I was little, I would’ve totally believed her.  Way to build trust with your offspring, mother!

Seriously, what is with parents and pulling this stunt?  I work retail myself and I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen a mother or father threaten to leave their offspring at the store and actually walk away.  You have got to be kidding me!  If parents aren’t creative enough to try methods that don’t border on actual abandonment, maybe they shouldn’t reproduce!

I know I’d be a terrible parent, but even I wouldn’t sink this low!


Attention All Customers!

Dear customers, I work at a party supply store.  No, it is not a continual party.  No, I do not get to use our items on a regular basis.  No, I do not get free party supplies.  It’s retail, it’s a job.  Granted, it’s a way for me to feel productive and like I’m more than a lazy bum sitting on my duff, but it’s still a job.  People seem to misunderstand that shopping at the store is like working at the store and vice versa.  Nope, it’s actually work.  Some nights are more work than others.  Last night for example, I felt like I was running a day care except the clients were adults.  By the time our doors officially closed, I was more than ready to call it a night.

  • First, I appreciate when you discipline your offspring.  If more parents did so, I swear half our problems in society would clear up.  Second, do you think you could maybe do it where I can’t see or hear it?  It’s kind of weird wishing you a good evening because I know it’s not.  In fact, I think a better term for it is awkward.
  •  Asking me five bajillion questions about products that I tell you I don’t know anything about but I’d be happy to direct you to our manager does not mean “Hey, keep asking me questions about the product.”  I know that every other store that sells kegs has knowledgeable employees who can answer all of your questions and promptly give you the goods, but believe it or not, our store doesn’t have that.  It wouldn’t kill you to wait for my manager.
  • If you make a phone call asking for a particular product, speak up.  It is one thing if you have a speech disorder (or whatever term we’re using now) and quite another if you’re drunkenly slurring your words.  In fact, if you’re drunkenly slurring your words, do not call asking about kegs.  You’ve had more than enough!
  •  If you are working with multiple employees, tell each employee what you want and if you need assistance with anything.  Believe it or not, we do not always pass along important customer service information to each other.
  •  Standing over us while we’re trying to blow up balloons and arrange them for you does not make us work any faster.  It is intimidating and not okay.
  •  If you have a latex allergy and you’re picking up an order of balloons, it’s only fair that you tell every employee who’s helping you up front.
  •  If you and three of your friends insist on coming into the store at 7:55, five minutes before we close, you’d better be looking for a specific product!
  • Bonus: Management, you like a clean bathroom.  I think we all do.  You are so lucky that you have a germophobe working for you because I will do an above-average job, especially where cleaning the toilets are involved.  If you insist on clean bathrooms every evening, I insist that you provide us with cleaning material.  It’s a little hard to spritz down the various fixtures without clean paper towels.




No, I Don’t Want to Visit My Relatives

Usually I take a snarky, lighter-ish approach to my gripes, but right now I need to talk about something serious that’s been bothering me for quite some time.  It concerns my relatives in Ohio.  Well, they’re not really my relatives.  I was adopted and these happen to be family members of my dad’s.  I don’t have any personal beef with them, but I don’t like Ohio very much (no offense to my readers who are from Ohio) and I loathe what visiting my Ohio relatives means.  There’s not much to it.  Literally it’s going to my aunt’s (my dad’s sister’s) house, sitting in the living room, and talking for god knows how long.  Ugh!  I wouldn’t mind it so much if we did an activity with them, but for some reason my dad says no to that so it’s a bunch of sitting.  That is not how I want to spend my time.

So anyway, what brought this up?  I don’t even know!  Last night I was sitting at a restaurant with my dad and we were talking about him retiring and I said I wanted him to enjoy himself before he gets too old and decrepit.  I kid about the last part, but I am dead serious about wanting him to enjoy himself for a change.  Suddenly, out of nowhere, he said “We need to get you to Ohio to see my family.”  Notice that he said his family, not my family.  Whatever.  I told him “If they’re so interested in seeing me, they can come up here.”  I know that West Virginia isn’t the most fun state in the US, but the area has grown since they last visited and I honestly think they’d enjoy themselves.  Plus, why should I travel to meet them when they are just as capable of traveling to meet me (if it’s so important to them)?  My dad got frustrated and snapped “If you don’t want to see them, just say you don’t want to see them.”  I was put out by that and said “Well I can’t say that!”  We were silent and then I said we needed to talk about this visiting Ohio relatives thing because it’s a sticking point.  I didn’t say it quite as bluntly, but that was definitely the intended sentiment.  He said “They’re my family!” like that would magically convince me to go. Today I asked my mom if they had been talking about going to Ohio and she said no, they hadn’t.  As such, this bullying came out of nowhere.

I call it bullying because this is not the first time my dad’s pulled this guilt trip on me.  He does this at least four times every year.  When we intend to go to Ohio (after trying to compromise on what activities we do there) and it gets canceled because life sucks like that, he blames me for it.  So yes, it is bullying.

The irony of all this is that I conducted an interview about Ohio family memories with him for the purpose of a communications studies class and one of the questions I asked him was how communication with his family has changed now that they live in different states and have good texting technology.  He said that’s his primary way of communicating with his sister.  I asked if he feels the need to physically visit his family if thy can just as easily text them on a day-to-day basis.  Not that he actually does text them that frequently, but the option is there.  He said he doesn’t feel the need to visit them so often.  I prompted him on the “why” of that, and he said “I just don’t feel the same need to stay in touch anymore.”  If he isn’t going to keep in touch with his own family, what makes him think I want to?

Hey dad, I know you’re not reading this because there’s a million better things you can do (like watching the TV like you’re in a trance) but I kind of wish you were.  I’m telling you exactly what I would tell you in real life if I had the guts.  I know it sucks hearing the truth, but no, I do not want to go to Ohio.  Now lay off!

I am the Queen of Nosebleeds!
This was my best friend today! Image from gad.net.

This was my best friend today!
Image from gad.net.

You all are going to get sick of me being sick eventually, I can promise you that right now!  Let’s see, you’ve already heard a lot about my phlegm woes at the beginning of this month.  They’re still there, but they’re more allergies than a cold now.  Unfortunately, they certainly don’t help me when I’m dealing with the nosebleed out of a horror movie.  Let me explain.  I should warn you, just in case you aren’t familiar with how I describe sickness, this is going to be gross and graphic.  You have been warned.

Today I posted a status update describing my “queen of nosebleeds” (not the same thing as me being the queen of nosebleeds).  I didn’t think much of it when I posted it, but on rereading it I realized how horrific it really sounded.  I reported that I had ten/fifteen minutes of true nosebleed woes and then fifteen/twenty minutes of back-of-the-throat bleeding.  To me that’s actually not a bad nosebleed (I’ve had worse) but then I considered that none of my other nosebleeds have been predominantly back-of-the-throat bleeds that have gone on continually (even after clotting occurred).  Yeah, I’m beginning to realize that it’s much more nightmarish reading it the second, third, and so on times.  Sorry you all, I don’t mean to make you feel all squeamish!  As long as I’m talking about it here, though, I’m going to keep on going.  I promise, these back-of-the-throat bleeds are gripe-worthy.

So there I am today trying to stop my nosebleed and eventually it works.  Although I took good care of washing the blood down the sink so it didn’t look like such a biohazard scene, you could tell something unusual (well, for someone who is lucky enough to never have nosebleeds) had happened.  And that was just the nosebleed part of it!  As the blood in my nose started to behave (Ha!) I began feeling something in my throat.  It’s hard to explain because it’s a lot like having globs of mucous but then…not.  They’re larger and more solid than mucous.  Also, the first few blobs that I hacked up were similar in color to that cranberry relish, like you might have as a Thanksgiving dinner side.  You’re welcome!  Anyway, eventually things settled down, but I’ve been battling the throat bleeds ever since.  Here’s the thing:  I still have that mucous/phlegm going on, so any remaining blood gets mixed in with that.  Yeah, it’s quite lovely.  Hey, you’re just reading about it.  Imagine seeing it!

Now then, since you’ve been thoroughly grossed out, I think I’ll let you off the hook.  Just hope you don’t say “I relate to this” because I would not wish this on my worst enemy!  One final thought: This particular event is new, but the general nosebleed/back-of-throat bleed happens every fall/winter.  I’m no longer surprised by it.




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