Monday, February 11, 2019

Doesn't Grow on Trees

I don't know if this is about money, common sense, both, or more. I just had an exchange that boggles my mind, so I have to get it out of my system.

I'm at work. I'm working with a semi-tough customer. I'm in retail sales, so that's something I'm used to dealing with. Tough customers are just part of the job. I can handle that.

What I can't handle is solicitation. Not prostitute kind of solicitation, but coming in and asking for money. I don't care what it's for- profit, non-profit, or schools. We have a sign on the door that says, "No Solicitation", yet, it's always ignored.

Not to mention that it's never good to be coming in, ignoring the no solicitation sign, and ask for money while I'm working with a customer. We have glass windows and a glass door. Maybe see if we're working with someone and decide it's probably not a great time? Maybe that's just me. 

I get that people have a job to do, whether it's to sell sporting event tickets, get you to change to Verizon for phone and internet, or to advertise or give something for school events. In the for profit sector, I get that they're just going to go into any business, not considering the fact that they're going into small, most likely struggling businesses, to sell their stuff. The same way we're selling ours, they're selling theirs. I think it's the school thing that irks me more. There's some kind of assumption that we're made of money. They have to know with six public schools - four elementary, a middle and high school, a Catholic school, and numerous preschools, we get hit up for every tricky tray, casino night, graduation event, etc. That's without including neighboring town school events. Plus, sport events, like travel baseball and travel everything (which our kid doesn't even play). We're asked to either give gift certificates or advertise in some kind of program.

No one wants to be the jerk who doesn't support the schools. If we had tons of money, we'd support them all. Gift certificates and advertising for everyone! You get a gift card and YOU GET A GIFT CARD- you know, Oprah-style.

Today, I could tell the person who came in was offended. She said something under her breath as she walked out. While I had my customer here, she said something.

I'm going to partially blame this on B. I told her B wasn't here and he deals with this. She said she spoke to him and he told her that I deal with it. I totally get why he'd do that- neither of us want to deal with it. We DO feel bad having to decline. I got thrown by it, because I couldn't push it off on him, and I had to finish with my client. The person asking for money clearly only wanted to hear the word yes though, and I got annoyed that.

She was explaining what the cause was and how we'd be advertising within our town and a neighboring town. I was just looking at her. She stopped, I presume, waiting for me to say yes.

We have a very small advertising budget. We stopped most of our paid advertising because it's too expensive. The people who would be looking at this particular advertising are NOT OUR DEMOGRAPHIC. Not even close. If a senior (not in high school, but 65+), asked us for something that was going to go out to all seniors, a senior community, or a senior community center, we'd blow any money we had on those advertisements. THAT, is our demographic. These programs that go to K-12 parents do nothing for us. We might as well set the money on fire. I got a program at the high school play the other night and I didn't even look at what businesses advertised.

Go to kid-centric businesses if you have to hit up small businesses! If you want someone to advertise, use your head as to their demographic! We have more than one tutoring service in town. We have kid-centric activities businesses here. Their demographic is parents of elementary to college age children. Or just find a different way to raise money than asking small businesses to hand over money or items every other month. Does anyone consider how often we're getting asked?

We do have a kid. He's in fourth grade. We totally support anything we're asked for from his school. Luckily we haven't been asked often. I would just like it if people would think for a minute before asking local small businesses for money. Most of us would love to give, but contrary to popular belief, small business does not equate to rolling in extra cash. We work six days a week, with no sick days or vacation, to pay our own bills. If I won the lottery, I'd be clothing all the homeless in NYC and I'd just give each school a set amount of money to cover their advertising for the year. I just haven't won the lottery yet.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Didn't Get The Memo

How do you know when you're old? Not aches and pains old, but like, when you look more like you're going to do laps at Del Boca Vista, Phase 3 in your glitter sneakers versus going to the club?

I ask this because I had this thought last Saturday. I had like four hours to walk around NYC last Saturday. I had work stuff to do, but I also needed to go to Soho to It's Sugar, the candy store of my dreams. I've been out of my Island Punch Jelly Belly beans and I was craving them like a crackhead craves...crack. I don't usually go to Soho because it's far from where I need to go for all my work related items in the garment district. I took the subway though, which is another story, because I lost any knowledge of the NY subway system over the past ten years. I was just blindly hopping on.

I got down there, found the candy store, and was walking around a little. I wasn't exactly sure how to get back to a subway line that would take me where I needed to go. It wasn't the same one I took down there. I ended up by NYU and Washington Square Park. I saw all these college kids walking around, doing their thing, with friends, playing basketball, doing whatever. I remembered being in college and thinking how they look like they're having fun, even in the bitter cold. Then, I caught a glimpse of myself in a building window reflection.

I thought about how I didn't FEEL any different than they look. I looked at these kids and thought that I feel like one of them. I'm sure we could find some common ground of conversation, but I would be the mom. I'd leave and they'd probably be like, "How weird was it that mom was just hanging out? Right?! Maybe she was lonely? Or has dementia?". Ok. Maybe they wouldn't go as far as to wonder if I had dementia, but, I realized that at forty-four, I'm not just blending in with the kids.

E's swim coaches and former babysitters are college kids. I talk to them. Obviously I know I'm not twenty, but it feels like we're on the same level when we're chatting. But I'm still the mom. 

There's nothing wrong with being in my forties and a mom. I wouldn't WANT to literally go back to my twenties, unless, of course I could know then what I know now. It's just a really weird feeling to know that there have to be younger people who don't think of you as a peer. Not that it doesn't go both ways too- I mean, I have used the term "millennial" in not so glowing terms. I've started a sentence with "Kids these days...."

I'm really just talking about the FEELING though. Not feeling like the age you are. I can't be alone since a guy recently went to court, in another country, I think, to see if he could change his age to the one he feels, not the age on his birth certificate.

When I get dressed, I don't think that I'm too old to wear this or that. I was watching Jimmy Fallon last week and he was talking to someone, saying, he's feeling like he's too old to be wearing jeans. I was struck by this because I didn't know there would be someone who even thought there was an age limit to jeans. Jeans aren't crop tops and mini skirts. Not that *I* think there's an age cap on those things either- wear what makes you feel good. It just got me thinking about age and looks and how we feel.

I'm sure I've heard someone say they're too old to wear a bikini. Personally, that isn't about age for me. It's that I looked different after having a kid and I didn't want to be stretching & bending in a bikini all over town pool, in front of my neighbors, chasing a toddler. Old was never a reason. I do wonder though, when I think I've dressed cute for the day, do I look like Rita in her tube socks and denim fanny pack?

Granted, my mother admittedly was not a fashion plate. She wore that blue mascara and probably a tracksuit, to her funeral. I do remember what I thought about her fashion sense. It left a lot to be desired. She still, definitely, never looked or seemed old to me. I don't think she looked or seemed old to other people either. But there are other people her age who always seemed old, even when they weren't.

I'll never think there are rules to what people should wear based on age. Except, with the short shorts. I always say that it's a good thing I didn't have a girl. That would be an epic battle in my house, for sure. I'll say I don't think there's any fashion that's off-limits because someone is "too old". I just never stopped to think about other people's perception of ME, age-wise, since I don't feel any older than I was twenty years ago.

I guess that's how people who are happily married for fifty years feel too, when they say their spouse is just as beautiful now as the day they met. They still see them as fifty years younger and they really feel it.

I've been seeing those ten year challenges everywhere. People are putting up their first photo of themselves on social media next to the most current. In a lot of cases, the person looks better currently. Do they feel any different? Older? Or do they look at those photos and think about the memories from back in the day but not actually feel any different?

This is how someone ends up with the same hair style or same make-up for twenty years. Looking at you Lisa Rinna. Even she actually just changed up that hair-do she's so well known for. She grew it out and it probably took ten years off her appearance. The rest of us, we just go on, day after day, not feeling any older than when we started our routine. That routine still seems fresh because times moves faster than we feel.

I just know I had this hair at one time:

I still like it. If I had somewhere to go that required an up-do, I'd want to go old school with that Alicia Silverstone one you're seeing right there. If you believe you can get away with it, you can. That's what I'm telling myself, anyway....

And if I can get my hands on some glitter sneakers, bet your ass I'll be rocking those too. All the way to Del Boca Vista, Phase 3.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

See Something, Say Something

Dear New Milford High School, To Whom it May Concern, I would like to know where I can give back my diploma. I feel you failed an entire generation of people. Not just spelling and grammar related, which is generally atrocious, but in not doing your civic duty to produce a larger number of graduates who are, for lack of a better word, woke. 

I've tried to lessen my time on social media. Yet, when I do go on, I can't escape my fellow graduates posting things that reek of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and worse. Using the #metoo movement as a punchline and denouncing progressive teaching in our public schools.

This week, our NJ governor signed legislation requiring NJ public schools to teach LGBTQ history. 
Under the measure, public schools must include lessons about the political, economic and social contributions of individuals who are gay and transgender, starting in the 2020-21 school year. The bill also requires teaching about contributions of people who are disabled. 

What rational person couldn't see this as a positive? 

Of course there are conservative opponents who say this takes power away from parents and, "may encourage kids to question their sexuality". I wish I could insert a bewildered emoji here. May encourage kids to question their sexuality? Does learning about the Civil War promote kids to want to own slaves? Does learning about George Washington encourage kids to wear wigs or chop down a cherry tree?? I'm so flipping confused here. Have any of these presumably straight, conservative opponents ever questioned their sexuality because of learning about an accomplishment by a member of the LGBTQ community? That's literally one of the dumbest things I've ever read.

The fact that so many of my former classmates, people I grew up with, have even one negative thing to say about this legislation is mystifying and appalling to me. The hypocrisy of it all is downright sickening. I've had a pit in my stomach since I read my old friends and neighbors comments on Facebook on this topic. We had a vice principal who is gay. He wasn't out when he was our vice principal but, now, if there is "extra" out, then he's it. He's married to a man and even took that man's last name. On Facebook, not only is he friended on Facebook to all these people I grew up with, but they act like they LOVE him. When he posts personal stories of homophobia perpetrated on to him, they rally around him, offering sympathy and support. Yet, in the next breath, when this legislation came up for conversation, it was "horseshit". The addition to the curriculum was called horseshit.

I found myself angry, but also wanting to melt into my couch thinking that our ex-vice principal was going to see these comments. I was thinking about he was going to feel. Is he was going to be angry, sad, and disappointed? I know I felt all those things for him, so I could only imagine how he felt. I also couldn't fathom how these people weren't making that connection when it was a first thought for me.

It reminds me of B telling me how he was the only Jewish kid who played football for Emerson when he was in high school. He and his friends, his BEST friends, all non-Jews, were playing against an opposing team with one Jewish player. His friends started calling the opposing Jewish player a kike. B looked at them and said, "Come ON? REALLY?" or something to that effect. The answer from his friends? "Not you..." Right. Not you, just the kike on the OTHER team. You're our Jew friend! So, our old vice principal is okay in their book, but just not the rest of the LGBTQ population. We can't have our kids learning any of that horseshit like it's okay!

The actual post this asinine commentary came from was someone saying that they weren't cool with the LGBTQ curriculum until black history is taught. How about checking into that first before inciting the low hanging fruit of comments that would inevitably ensue? NJ already requires black history taught in public schools. It took me all of five seconds to find this link:

I actually had to block a MOM of former classmates, that I've known since I was in preschool, for her comments because this was the last straw for me. She had the audacity to post, "What LGBTQ history?!". Then, when someone listed some important LGBTQ history moments like the Stonewall Riots, she proceeded to say we should be teaching how to balance a checkbook. I was going to ask her if we couldn't teach both things concurrently. Then I was going to ask if are there still people even using checkbooks they need to balance. I can't tell you the last time I wrote a check. I use them so infrequently, they still say Commerce Bank. By the way, TD Bank acquired Commerce in 2007.

My issue isn't with her being so far out of touch to reference teaching check management, it's the grasping at straws to find a plausible reason why this shouldn't be part of the curriculum. It's being that against it, that you'll use any stupid reason you can come up with. Her comments in this instance were just the icing on a really anti-progressive cake she's been baking up on social media for quite some time now, only getting worse.

You hear about people being embarrassed about where they're from because of socioeconomic status, like being from the wrong side of the tracks, so to speak. Meanwhile, I'm embarrassed because I don't want to be lumped in with SO MANY bigots, and so much ignorance and raging hypocrisy.

Make no mistake, this isn't about politics either. Well, not specifically. It only is political in the way that from random comments I've seen, many of these people are Trump supporters as well. It isn't about politics in the traditional sense. I'm not unfriending and blocking people on social media because they've labeled themselves a Republican. It's not a debate about cutting pork from a budget. This, this open ignorance is a severe, deep seated character flaw that's a fundamental difference in values. You don't want anything about the gays mentioned? How about the Jews? The Mexicans? Are you chanting "Build the wall!" in your head? These are all marginalized, minority groups of people who have been treated as less than. Groups of people who have been discriminated against in the workplace/school/etc, attacked in the street, and more. Minorities are minorities. If you hate one  group of us, you hate us all.

The LGBTQ community exists. It's not a debate. It's not a question of existence. I guess some of these people could still believe it's a choice. I don't know how that's a possible belief since I never seem to get an answer to the question, "Did you choose to be straight?".

For arguments sake, even if it was a choice, this is a choice of ten whole percent of the population. A population where many have made a positive impact on society and have the history to prove it. Why do they need to be labeled as part of the LGBTQ community to discuss the accomplishments? Because they're a marginalized group, hated for no reason except that they way they live goes against other people's religious beliefs. Many of whom have made their legacy making the world a more inclusive place, where rights for all, is really supposed to MEAN THAT. Being part of the LGBT community is the reason they chose to be activists and fight for freedom, equality. and laws for protection. The LGBTQ part is the important part!

I know it was a different time, back when I was in public school from about 1979-1992. Seeing so many of the people I grew up next to spewing such ignorant garbage and proud of it, makes me sick.  I spend a lot of time just wondering if anything could've been done to prevent it. What could've been done in school? They didn't do anything when I was bullied so badly I had to take my study halls in the guidance office, so I don't think they were equipped in any way. Bullying stays with you. I'm 44 and can still name kids I remember being targets. That's why this new legislation now exists. The government is trying to find ways for the schools to HAVE to do better to educate. They need to educate not just on academics but on how to act towards our fellow humans. Obviously, the parents cannot be responsible to do it on their own.

There are just to many, from the same town, the same schools, with the same mindset to not place any of the blame on the school district. I don't care that it was a different time. I feel they were way too complacent in the ability to see the changes in the world coming down the pike, and adjusting the curriculum accordingly. Before it had to become law to do so. Now we have way too many that still think it's the 80's. It's not like seeing a random smattering of stupid comments spread around. Or if it was one or two people I could be like- yeah, they were always a moron, always crazy, always a dick. I shouldn't have to brace myself any time I see a post from someone I grew up with, knowing I'm going to be the the dissenting liberal snowflake.

It would be easy to excuse too- I LOVED some of these people. Some are people I thought of fondly over the years with warm fuzzy feelings toward! I'm DEVASTATED. I'm devastated that this is how they've thought all along and I had no idea. I feel duped, angry, bewildered, and sad. None of these topics ever came up because I lived in a white bubble in boring suburbia. Without social media I'd never even know. But once I DO know, I can't UN-KNOW. I really wish I could. Now, I feel like going to their parents and telling THEM what a piss-poor job they did raising their kids, and now their kids are raising kids with the same backwards thinking. The question always asked is- "You're okay losing 30-40 year friendships over politics?". The easy answer is yes. Why? I don't see it as losing friends over politics. We're not simply disagreeing over you telling me you're "for being fiscally responsible". It's losing friends over showing me their hearts and minds are comprised the most abhorrent "ists" in existence.

And it IS backwards. Mark my words. You are on the WRONG side of history, my friends, if you think this country is ever going back to the times where we had two black kids, a handful of Hindu, and Latin kid here or there. When everyone was white and Italian and Irish, and Catholic. Where kids who were a little different were called gay and basically abused. It's not going back that way. Whether you think the country is going in the wrong direction, which is your right, or not, doesn't make you correct or in control of it. What you are in control of, is what you teach your children. I will continue to hope against hope that you come to the realization quickly, that you want your kids to think differently than you were taught, and different than what you're currently putting out there.

If you don't like the progressive teachings in the public schools, you're free to home school...

These Trump years, of making it okay to discriminate and be openly bigoted are going to be a blight, yet a blip in our American history. Be the change you want to see in this world. 

Monday, February 4, 2019

Much Ado About Nothing

I know it's going to be surprising that I'm addressing anything sporting related, but I do feel the need. No, I didn't actually WATCH the Superbowl. It was on around me, but my back was to the TV most of the time. Not in protest, or anything, but just because I don't care. At all. I only knew who was playing because I'm just so tired of hearing the name Tom Brady. Enough with that guy already. I just sat at my friend's kitchen island stuffing my face with Bon Chon wings and pigs in a blanket.

I don't ever even watch the Halftime Show either. Even though I like the acts, usually, because they're pop stars, I just don't need to see it. I can hear these people on the radio when I'm not listening to Howard Stern. I did watch Lady Gaga, because I wanted to see what she was going to do in the political climate of when she was performing. I also was going to watch Adam Levine this year for a few reasons. One, because he's pleasing to the eye. Two. because I wanted to see what he was going to do in light of all the controversy surrounding Maroon 5 accepting the invite to play. Honestly, I was mostly curious if Christina Aguilera was going to come out on a song. She was asked by Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live if she would be a surprise guest and she played coy.

I watched. Adam seemed a little nervous at first. He didn't sound great, but I don't think most sound great live and it was apparent he wasn't lip syncing so he got credit from me there.

Today, on social media, you'd think he just stood there quietly and read a book. It's just been endless mocking, hating, and trash talk. On the TV talk shows- same thing. I even heard a guy on the phone in Starbucks this morning talking to someone about how it was the most boring Halftime Show ever to happen. The joke is- we're all talking about it, but they actually got to DO it. If Adam has a bucket list and this was on, he got to make a check mark.

Adam Levine/Maroon 5's performance was doomed before it even happened. So many musicians wouldn't touch the invite with a ten foot pole because they didn't want the controversy. People think Adam should've boycotted in solidarity over Colin Kaepernick. Other people felt like Maroon 5 isn't "big" or exciting enough. Meanwhile, I bet most people knew every song he sang. No matter what he did though, he was going to get clobbered by the masses. Not to mention how easy it is to do online.

Someone was going to play music. It's foolish to believe that if Adam said no, that there would've been no show. Three Doors Down played Trump's inauguration. If all else failed, they could've been called. SOMEONE would play.

I think where Adam went wrong was alluding to the idea that he was planning some socially conscious move that would be meaningful to those waiting for that. I'm not sure what or where that message was, if there was one, but clearly then, whatever was done wasn't impactful at all.

Other than that- HE DID WHAT HE WAS HIRED TO DO. He's a pop star they hired to play music. He's not very political that I've heard. He's on Howard Stern a decent amount, and I don't think politics ever has come up with him. He talks about music, Jonah Hill, his wife, his kids, etc. He's safe. I guess that's his biggest crime. And his wardrobe is terrible. Anyone who watches The Voice already knew that.

I don't know what people were expecting honestly. He showed some titty, which got Janet Jackson in trouble, so there was that. I can't say I was upset he took his shirt off. It got me to turn around and watch the television. He LOOKS great. There's many a good reason he was voted Sexiest Man Alive.

I don't know Adam Levine. I don't really care about Adam Levine. Seems like he lives a nice life, he makes catchy pop tunes, and I'm sure it has to be a dream of most musicians to be asked to play the Superbowl and then to actually do it. What would saying no actually do? I'm someone who is all about activism and walking the walk but seriously- I think saying no actually would've been the "safe" thing to do. Adam saying no also would've been forgotten in a hot minute. It wouldn't have done anything.

They didn't ask a Bruce Springsteen or a Beyonce to play this year. If either of them had played a "safe" show, then I can see how people might be disappointed. They're clearly more political musicians, happy to make a statement. To assume Adam Levine was going to do more, politically, is just that- an assumption and a stretch, when he's never said or done anything to show that he's some kind of activist.

Maybe he should be an activist. Or he should've pretended to be one and just declined. Since, everyone's a critic and people make it a sport just to hate on whoever is playing/played. Playing the Superbowl doesn't make him an activist or not. It means nothing. I'm sure there have to be people who are happy he didn't do anything political. The same way I saw all the relieved social media comments about Lady Gaga when she didn't go political when she played the Superbowl. Adam Levine wasn't going to win either way. Apparently, like the Rams (I asked B who won).

Lookin' good!