Lola’s Etiquette Rules: A Few Gentle Reminders

hints-on-etiquette

“Etiquette is the science of living. It embraces everything. It is ethics. It is honor.” ~ Emily Post

“We are born charming, fresh and spontaneous and must be civilized before we are fit to participate in society.” ~ Judith Martin, Miss Manners

1. Movie Etiquette

We went to the movies last night, and on the entrance to the theater the following sign was posted:

“No cell phone use. Please do not text message.”

cellphoneWhat I want to know is why people will spend the exorbitant amount a movie ticket costs (I’m sorry, but today’s ticket prices are just stupid), only to spend the time in the theater text messaging or talking on the phone? First of all, no one is that important. If you are that important, put your phone on vibrate, and leave the theater to take your call.

Second, it bespeaks so poorly of our society that we need a sign to ask us not to use our phones in a movie theater.

Trust me when I tell you that no one, and I mean no one cares what JJ said to you or why she said it. No one cares that you caught your baby daddy with BB or what you did to her hair.

And believe me when I tell you that you might be 17 and have great eyesight, but if you keep texting in the dark, your eyes are going to lock together and your thumbs will fall off. This is a mother’s curse, and it will work.

“When a society abandons its ideals just because most people can’t live up to them, behavior gets very ugly indeed.” ~ Miss Manners

2. Parking Etiquette

If a No Parking sign is clearly prominent on the pole in front of someone’s house, that does not mean that you cannot just park in front of the pole. Note the arrow on the sign pointing down the road. Note the fire hydrant in the yard.

I know that you really need to get to your son or daughter’s game so that you can belittle the opposing players and yell like the madman that you are at your child when he or she misses the ball. Forget about the fact that your child is five. Self-esteem isn’t important until oh, three or four or ten years later.

I know that your car is new and you don’t want to park in a parking lot like normal people because after all, you are special. And I realize that you have ESP, so you know that there will be no need to use the fire hydrant if one of the houses in the vicinity catches fire. Let them use their garden hoses. Man up.

But when you get the ticket that I warned you that you might get, don’t come up to me, red in the face with skyrocketing blood pressure and an impending aneurysm. I didn’t write the ticket. The police officer wrote the ticket because you were stupid enough to block a fire hydrant.

“Honesty has come to mean the privilege of insulting you to your face without expecting redress.” ~ Miss Manners 

3. Grocery Etiquette

Boy that cotton candy looked good on the way in. Didn’t it? Nice and sticky. And why use one of the conveniently placed trash cans when you can just throw your used, snotty tissues in the cart and leave them for the next person.

Did you know that because of this force called gravity, your toddler, who is currently hanging over the side of the shopping cart, is probably going to fall head first onto this industrial tile floor? But don’t worry, if he does, you can sue the store, sue the manufacturer’s of the shopping cart. Why you can even sue the people who made this floor so darn hard in the first place.

And by the way, did I thank you for the poopy diaper?

4. Bill Collecting Etiquette

I am soooo sorry that the money that I agreed to give you every  month isn’t enough to make a blip on your commission radar. But if someone is offering to pay something, isn’t getting that money better than your idea that it’s more or it’s nothing at all?

And does your mother know that you talk with that mouth?

Just wondering.

“One of the greatest victories you can gain over someone is to beat him at politeness.” ~ Josh Billings

5. Protest Etiquette

tea baggingPardon me, Mr. Teabagger. I know that you don’t like the idea of raising taxes because they’ll only go to help educate children and make health care available to the masses. But do you think that you could possibly pay your taxes before you protest about having to pay taxes?

P.S. Didn’t anyone explain the meaning of the term tea bagging?

P. P. S. Since I’m a liberal dem (as in the sign), does that mean that I’m teabagging you, and if so, would you explain how that is anatomically possible?

6. Nasty Commenting Etiquette

Thanks ever so much for dropping by the site. I always love to see those visitor statistics rise. Having you as a reader means more than I can say.

No really, more than I can say, because if I pointed out your grammatical errors, typos, and completely illogical fallacies, that would be saying too much, and gee, it might cause you not to come back again. Or even worse, you might decide to come back and give me more of your pseudo-logical word thrashing , which, to be painfully honest, would be about as welcome to me as an abscess.

Might I direct you to another blog that actually cares what you have to say?

“Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.” ~ Eric Hoffer

7. Everyone’s a Critic Etiquette

Just a word to the wise: If you want to use someone else’s words on your site, and you ask for permission to do so, it really doesn’t make sense to then ask the author to change those words to suit you. If she wanted the words to read the way you want them, why then she’d be . . . you!

Here’s a thought: Why don’t you go to another site that has words more to your liking? Say one in which you can do the writing.

8. Vice Presidential Etiquette

Presidential terms run for four years. Presidents are allowed two terms. Using the arithmetic that Mrs. Adams taught me in 4th grade, the totals eight years. As yet, no bill has been passed that allows for more than two terms in office. The vice president is elected to the office with the president. Hence, when the president’s term is over, the vice president’s term is also over. At exactly the same time.

It does not continue indefinitely until the former vice president decides that he’s done, no matter how ugly and out of shape his mouth is, nor how big his hat is.

I’m sorry. I didn’t make up these rules. A bunch of guys before me made up these rules. Would someone please let the former vice president know that his time is up and he needs to go now?

“You do not have to do everything disagreeable that you have a right to do.” ~ Miss Manners

9. Radio Host Etiquette

You say that you didn’t get your degree at Harvard? You weren’t president of the Harvard Law Review?

Oh, that’s right. You dropped out after two semesters at Southeast Missouri State University because you flunked everything, even ballroom dancing.

That’s all right. You’re a U.S. Veteran, right? So that makes your opinion on our service men and women valuable. Wait, not a veteran?Balloon Head Rush Limbaugh

Oh forgive me. I forgot that your draft status kept you from serving because of a football injury? Or was it that polinodal cyst, you know the ones you usually get on your butt from an ingrown hair?

But you’re still qualified to tell a political party how to do its job, right? Is that the oxycontin talking? I apologize. You kicked that habit and went to work for a very short stint at ESPN as a sports commentator.

You don’t do that any more? Oh yes. The racist comment.

But still, you support your country no matter what because it’s the greatest country in the world, and it allows you to open your huge mouth on a daily basis and say whatever you want to say. Right?

Oops. Obama. Fail. Forgot.

“Ideological differences are no excuse for rudeness.” ~ Miss Manners

10. Bad Day Etiquette

When you are having a bad day that is coupled with a bad hair day, it is usually not a wise idea to lock the bathroom door, drape a towel around your shoulders, and begin to cut your hair.

Just saying, you might want to reconsider doing this and have a hot fudge sundae instead.

I know. Sometimes I don’t follow my own rules.

There now. Use your hand sanitizer. Don’t you feel better now that you are plum full of Lola’s Words of Wisdom?

I thought you would be. More later. Peace.

Everything Old is New Again

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Kitty Hawk Sunset (L. Liwag)

The Water of Life

“Eternity begins and ends with the ocean’s tides” (anonymous)

I’ve lived near the ocean for most of my life, so of course, I tend to take it for granted. I remember when I was in graduate school at Virginia Tech, I brought my office mate home with me. She was from Wisconsin and had never seen the ocean, so we made a point of driving her to Virginia Beach to see the coastline. I remember how amazed she was to see the vast expanse of water, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, the shoreline, even the seagulls and the sandpipers darting in and out of the water. It was nice for me to see something that I took for granted through the newness of her eyes.

Another time, a friend of mine came into town and wanted to see the Navy ships in person. She had been working on Navy contracts for years, but had never actually seen a real ship. We went on the Naval base and drove by the ships. She was amazed by their size, and fortunately, one of the carriers was in port. Again, living near Naval bases, I have always taken these behemoths for granted. They are quite amazing when seen up close, and she was very impressed to see something that she had only seen in pictures on the contracts for which she had been working for several years.

by-the-sea
By the Sea (L. Liwag)

Nothing ever makes you look at your surroundings better than when you have the chance to introduce them to someone new. I remember the first time that I took Corey to the Outer Banks with the boys when they were much younger. We climbed the big dune and watched people hang gliding. Even though I had been there before, it was a new experience because I was there with Corey and the boys, and it was really wonderful. It was one of the first trips that we took together, the four of us, and we had such a terrific time. The Outer Banks are only about an hour and a half from Norfolk (depending upon traffic), so it makes for an easy day trip.

On the way to Kitty Hawk and Hatteras, there are several farmer’s markets, which makes the trip even better, especially if it’s the season for ripe peaches. Once in Kitty Hawk, visitors can go to the Wright Brothers Memorial, which is what we did on that first trip together. We also visited the Hatteras Lighthouse. It’s nice to be a tourist once in a while, because I had never visited these places before, so it was brand new for me too. Corey, the boys and I made several more day trips to the Outer Banks on the spur of the moment, and we always enjoyed ourselves immensely.

I remember another trip that I took to the Outer Banks in October, a long time ago, and it was an Indian summer weekend, absolutely beautiful—high 70’s during the day, mid 50’s at night, beautiful sunsets. I was having one of those bad falls, and the trip really rejuvenated me. There were no tourists around, so we pretty much had the beach to ourselves. Nothing is more calming than the beach in the fall and winter. It’s my favorite time to walk on the beach because hardly anyone is around. If you get up around dawn, the sunrises are spectacular, and the only sounds you hear are the birds.

I have always said that if I had the money and the opportunity, I would have two houses: one in the mountains and one at the beach. I would not necessarily spend time at the beach house in the summer. More than likely, I would spend more time at the beach house in the spring and fall when fewer people are around, when the beach is still home to locals, walking their dogs, and strolling in the surf at sunrise and sundown.

adirondack-chairs2
Adirondack Chairs (L. Liwag)

The beach in the winter has always struck me as the perfect place in which to write, but never having had a house on the beach, I wouldn’t know. I think that looking out on the water would provide a glorious backdrop for creative thinking. I have a few CD’s that have sounds of the ocean that I have used for meditation before, and they are very relaxing. In those two hankie movies, it seems that the setting is always a beach house with empty Adirondack chairs. I wonder why . . .

I still have dreams of moving to the islands one day and keeping a home in the mountains. I know that with the economy the way that it is, the probability of this ever happening is growing more remote with every passing day. Besides, what would I do in the islands anyway?

I had originally thought that I might like to open a book shop. After all, there really aren’t very many book stores in the islands. I think that Grand Cayman got a book store, but a small shop near where the cruise ships dock would probably do fairly well, but the more I thought about it, the more that it seemed like work. I still like the idea of opening a small bar right on the beach. Since I don’t drink, this would probably work out for me.

I could sell cold cervezas from a bucket to tourists. It wouldn’t be hard work, and I could sit under an umbrella. More than likely, though, if I ever do make it to the islands, I would just sit under an umbrella with a laptop and write, which sounds like a much better idea. I have no grand designs. Corey can work out of just about any port. The boys will be in college. I don’t think that the dogs will mind where we go. Tillie will like the beach and the water. The polar bear might not be agreeable to it, though.

Who knows? Landscapes change. The ways in which we view them change as well. We see them with different eyes each time we look at them anew, depending upon the circumstances. I just know that I am no longer anxious to spend my life in a place in which people drive Hummers through the suburbs, trample people to death in Wal Marts, shoot each other in Toys R Us, market Botox for women in their 30’s, think nothing of talking about trillions of dollars as if it were Monopoly money, promote DVDs of young college aged females getting drunk and taking off their clothes while obviously too impaired to know what they are doing, and on and on and on and on.

Sorry, don’t let me rain on your parade, but my Obama Hope high has worn off, and I’m deep into my What’s Wrong With These People phase, precipitated by the madness of a Utah state senator wanting to mandate that stores say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays” because “this is a Christian nation,” let’s not even begin to discuss just the Jewish population that he is ignoring not to mention every other religion, the horror of Black Friday, and the inflatable lawn ornaments that have sprung up all over my neighborhood.

I think that I need to go lie down with a good book. More later. Peace.

Seen, Heard, and Read

I Couldn’t Make This Stuff Up

What The Governator Has Been Saying Lately:

Today on the Rush Limbaugh Show:

Rush: “Are they giving you pretty much free rein to attack this campaign as you wish?”
Palin: “Rush, I’ve got nothing to lose in this . . .”

Um, what about an election on November 4th?

On Troopergate:

“Well, I’m very very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing,” Palin said, “any hint of any kind of unethical activity there. Very pleased to be cleared of any of that.”

Was she reading the same report?

What They’re Saying About Her:

“And the only public events that have so far featured his absurd choice of running mate have shown her to be a deceiving and unscrupulous woman utterly unversed in any of the needful political discourses but easily trained to utter preposterous lies and to appeal to the basest element of her audience.” from Christopher Hitchens in Slate.

“Palin’s reaction to the Legislature’s Troopergate report is an embarrassment to Alaskans and the nation. She claims the report ‘vindicates’ her. She said that the investigation found ‘no unlawful or unethical activity on my part.’ Her response is either astoundingly ignorant or downright Orwellian.” from The Anchorage Daily News.

A Man of Many Words:

From Bold New Stump Speech (10/13/08):

“Fight for the ideals and character of a free people. Fight for our children’s future. Fight for justice and opportunity for all. Stand up to defend our country from its enemies. Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. America is worth fighting for.

Nothing is inevitable here. We never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.”

From RNC Acceptance speech:

“Fight with me. Fight with me.

Fight for what’s right for our country.

Fight for the ideals and character of a free people.

Fight for our children’s future.

Fight for justice and opportunity for all.

Stand up to defend our country from its enemies.

Stand up for each other; for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America.

Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. Nothing is inevitable here. We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.”

Spacing and design are everything.

Who is John McCain?

“John McCain has changed. He said, famously, apropos the Republican debacle post-1994, “We came to Washington to change it, and Washington changed us.” This campaign has changed John McCain. It has made him inauthentic. A once-first class temperament has become irascible and snarly; his positions change, and lack coherence.” This from Chris Buckley, son of noted conservative William F. Buckley, founder of The National Review, which just accepted his son’s resignation because of this posting, “Sorry, Dad, I’m Voting for Obama.”

“But the difference in character and temperament has become plainer by the day, and there is no decent way of avoiding the fact. Last week’s so-called town-hall event showed Sen. John McCain to be someone suffering from an increasingly obvious and embarrassing deficit, both cognitive and physical.” also from Christopher Hitchens in Slate.

And the Unkindest Cut of All:

Governor Charlie Crist of Florida, once a McCain supporter, skipped a weekend rally to go to Disney World, apparently because he is uncomfortable with the negative timbre of the campaign: “When I have time to help, I’ll try,” he said. “Everybody runs their campaign the way they think is the best. It is what it is.”

My mother’s daughter

My Mom
My Mom

Just so you don’t think that I’m laying the blame for everything at my mother’s feet, I’ll try to spend some print time on her for a change. I love my mother, I really do. But it is a love that comes at a steep price. My mother once went almost four months without speaking to me, and to this day, I’m not really sure which sin I committed. I called her during this time, and left messages on her answering machine, but she would never pick up. Actually, I hadn’t committed the sin, my eldest son had, if memory serves me correctly, but somehow, the entire situation grew to enormous proportions, and everyone in my house became persona non grata, even my youngest son, and he had no idea as to why. And then the cold war was over just as suddenly as it had begun, and no mention was made of the offense or the treaty. My son had called and apologized, just as he had done in the beginning. But apparently, this apology was better than the first, and so we could all move on. This is how my mother operates.

As she gets older, she becomes offended more easily; however, I do not know what offends her, so it is always prickly. For example, she pulled my Obama 08 yard sign up and threw it off to the side in my front yard several months ago, and then pretended that she had no idea as to who would do such a terrible thing. I pretended that I did not know that it was her. We pretend a lot.

I have gotten used to her method of conversing, which can best be described as non sequiturs in action. For example, start of conversation:

Mom: Well I told him about it. (pronouns have no antecedents; actually they do, but the antecedents were mentioned days before).

Me: Told who about what?

Mom: You know (exasperated at my ignorance). Bill, (names made up for privacy), Mary’s nephew. You remember him. I told him about the door.

Me: (at this point I can either pretend to remember Bill and Mary, neither of whom I have ever met in my life, and the conversation will progress more smoothly, or I can be honest. Which way I go is based on how much time and patience I have). Which door?

Mom: The storm door. Remember I told you that it needs to be replaced/painted/fixed?

Me: I thought that you had decided to buy a new one from Home Depot (conversation we had on Saturday)

Mom: I never said that.

Me: Oh.

Now other people might be frustrated at starting in the middle of a conversation discussing people you are supposed to know, but after years of doing this, I’m pretty much used to it. I will admit, though, that at times it drives the ever-loving bejeezus out of me and I start rebelling by saying that I’ve never met this person or heard of that person, and then we begin to have a stalemate.

This is not to say that my mother does not have her good points. She is very generous with most people, and she loves her grandchildren unconditionally but not uncritically. But she doesn’t have an internal censor button. For example, when I was pregnant with Eamonn, she actually said to me, “I knew that you weren’t carrying a girl because you weren’t pretty like you were when you were carrying the girls…” Let’s talk about the roots of my self-esteem problem, shall we? And then she does love to point out to me that I have put on weight, or ask me things like, “What in god’s name are you wearing?” because I obviously got dressed without a mirror or a clue.

I have tried many times to unravel the mystery that is my mother. She was the baby of 12 children—eight boys and 4 girls—a child of the great depression. At one time, her family was fairly well-to-do, but her father drank most of it away. She lost her own mother when she was just eight years old, and that had to affect her own ability to mother. Her father was a stern man. She grew up in a small town in North Carolina, but ended up traveling all over the world as a result of marrying a sailor. She had to have some rebellion in her; after all, she married a Filipino man when it was still considered an interracial marriage. She has lived through hurricanes and monsoons. She has lived without much at all, and she has dined at embassies. She is a walking contradiction, my mother. That’s probably why I really don’t understand her.

But I suppose that I am not unlike most adult women. We love our mothers, but we wonder why they continue to tax us and demand so much of us. Will we ever get to a point at which we feel adequate in their eyes? Or is this just me? I don’t think so, not after talking to my friends. Is this one of those puzzles in life that is never meant to be answered? The more you ponder it, the more confused you become by it? Is it the mother enigma, the holy grail for daughters, the real answer to the riddle of the Sphinx: Can any daughter truly please her mother during her mother’s lifetime without going mad in the trying?

Uh, that would be a no.