Tag Archives: rules

Tips to Keep YOU from looking like a Clueless Jackass

Now that we’re in the New Year and have suffered through another holiday season of visitors or visiting, I thought I’d post some handy tips for those of you raised in a barn.

When visiting someone’s home…

1.     Come bearing a gift. This, people, is called a HOSTESS GIFT. This does not mean you come bearing Hostess baked goods. I don’t mean Twinkies, Ho Hos, or Ding Dongs. I mean flowers, a bottle of wine, sea salt caramels, a book, whatever. A thoughtful gift for your host.

2.     With children – keep a tight rein on your brat, I mean child. Some people own breakables. Breakables which are precious to them and they put on high shelves on their armoire only to have some brat come along and smack them to the floor, thus breaking the head off the purple ceramic bunny their child made for them five years earlier. (*true story*) “Oh, no, don’t worry about it…” they’ll say with tears in their eyes. YES, worry about it. Contain your brats. Leash them if you must. Leashes can be found at the front door and can be purchased for $5. Please speak to your hostess once you’ve stowed your luggage.

3.     Offer assistance with preparations. This shows that you’re interested in the trouble they’re going through to feed you. If they decline, don’t argue. Just go have a seat like they asked. They’re being gracious, your job is to be grateful.

4.     Join in conversation, don’t dominate it. No one likes a monopolizer.

5.     Don’t bring up topics that are contentious. This could be politics, religion, or especially something your hosts are in disagreement about. If you bring up a topic with the intention of stirring the pot, you are a pot stirrer. People don’t like pot stirrers. They spit in your tea when you act like a jerkface.

6.    Take your dishes to the sink after meals. Rinse them and put them in the dishwasher. If this bothers your hostess or you get tutted away and told to sit, once again, do so.

7.     Clean up after yourselves. This is especially true when spending the night. Make your beds, tidy the bedroom and bathroom. If it’s your final day, remove sheets from the bed and towels from bathroom. Put in hamper or on washer. Ask for fresh linens to put out. I always use whatever cleaning products they have visible in bathroom and clean my way out. I like to leave the place as sparkling as it was when I first entered.

8.     Compliment your host on their food, home, taste, whatever. This shows you didn’t just fall off the turnip truck.

9.     When you’re staying multiple days, take the host out to a meal. PAY FOR SAID MEAL. This is another sign that you’re grateful for their hospitality.

10.    …I can’t say this enough…It bears repeating: CONTAIN YOUR CHILD. Don’t, for instance, let the child wander off to the bathroom and disappear for long periods of time without your watchful eye. When this happens, the hostess may pass by the bathroom a short while later only to find he’s used her good hand towel in place of toilet paper and wiped himself on it. (*true story*) Fecal matter is pretty much a deal breaker. Pack up and leave.

*** My original post yesterday failed to include the following 2 tips. You’re welcome. ***

11.    Keep to your host’s schedule. If they’re early risers, try not to sleep in until noon. If they go to bed early, don’t stay up all hours of the night blasting television or rap music.

12.    Once home, always, ALWAYS send a thank you note for them having hosted you.

Excuse me? Hi. Could you just back off?

I don’t understand people, I really don’t. Hello, readers, yes, this is the start of another rant. I can’t help it. There are some things that are just so plain annoying I have to bring them to your attention for two reasons: (1) to annoy you, and (2) to educate you.

Yes, that sounded pompous. Yes, I’m going to leave it just the way it is.

Let’s imagine for one minute you’re in the doctor’s office and you’re in the queue to check-in. Are you one of the people who stands inches away from the person in front of you? If you are, go stand in the corner right now. Seriously. Right this second. And don’t come out until I tell you that you can.

Why, oh, why do people stand so close to others in situations like that? Hello? Yes, it’s the doctor’s office, for crying out loud! The person in front of you is there for a reason. Did you really want to catch what they have? Alternatively, if you’re the one standing so close behind me that I can feel your breath on my neck, back off! What the hell’s the matter with you? Like I said, go stand in the corner. Just go. You’ve pissed me off.

The line has moved, you’re up at the counter now, the person helping you is presumably employed because they have some sort of people skills and tact in these situations. Therefore, announcing why you’re there to everyone queued up or lounging around reading crusty old periodicals, is just plain inconsiderate and, frankly, stupid. If you’re one of those people who feels the need to announce why the patients are there, you go stand in the corner, too. You should be fired. I don’t need to hear that the dude in front of me has come in for polyps in his colon, thanks. Just shut up! Also? Don’t announce to the general public that the woman behind me needs to leave you with a urine sample. Seriously. Too much information.

There’s a lack of boundaries in these situations and it’s deplorable. I’m a great fan of personal space and of private information being kept private. It’s one of the reasons I’ve recently unfollowed some people on Twitter. Look, I don’t care to read about your showers or the sex you’ve just had. Get a grip on social decorum. It’s not dead. Really. Go sit in the corner until you can learn some manners.

Now, personal space and private information invasions aren’t just reserved for doctor’s offices, although lately I’ve experienced it in these places more and more. No, I’m sad to say I’ve also encountered these violations while waiting in line to pick up prescriptions at the pharmacy. It makes me want to scream. At our old pharmacy there used to be a sort of barricaded area where you stood until it was your turn. In this barricaded area, there was a stop sign. You were not to go past the stop sign unless there was a pharmacy clerk available to help you. I even think there were cut-out footprints on the floor with another stop sign printed on them. This barricaded area was many feet away from the individuals up at the counter speaking to the pharmacy staff. The reason for this was simple – you don’t need to know what they’re picking up and how it will help what they’re suffering from. The reason? It’s none of your damned business. If you want to know why the stooped little old man at the counter is here, you’re a nosy busybody and should go stand in the corner, too. Go.

Sadly that pharmacy with the stop sign was taken over by a new one. They’ve redone the whole store. Now when you wait in line to pick up your prescription, you have people standing immediately behind you as if they’re trying to conserve warmth. This is San Diego, dude, back off. It’s not 50 below outside. What the hell?

What I’ve found is people need the stop sign. People need rules. They need to be told, “STOP! WAIT HERE! DON’T GO FORWARD OR YOU RISK BEING AN ASSHOLE!” The world is, sadly, littered with clueless assholes.

Clearly the people who redesigned the pharmacy thought the stop sign and footprints were patronizing and they decided they’d make it a more open environment. Well, it’s more open all right. Unfortunately, the privacy dividers between each register at the pharmacy counter have also been taken away. Perhaps in a bid to make it seem more friendly, who knows? Now while you’re waiting to be rung up for your prescription, you get to hear all the side effects everyone around you will soon be suffering. Because of this I now know the prescriptions that Bentley, Porsche, Mercedes S Class, Honda Pilot, and Toyota Highlander are on. We all walked in together, we all lurked together, we all left together. I know that some of them can’t take any alcohol while on their prescriptions – that includes Listerine – and they now know I’m allergic to Penicillin. Where are the boundaries, people? For God’s sake!

I know you’ll think about this the next time you’ve got to take your kid to the pediatrician and the woman behind you with her nineteen coughing, snotting, wheezing children stand so close to your kid that he’ll develop new symptoms before you’ve even left the lobby. And, if you’re the mom with the nineteen snotting kids? You’re not cool!

Now, for those of you who have been stuffed in the corner for this post – you may come out now, go back up to the first paragraph, and read and re-read this post from the beginning. Do not click out of this window until you’ve realized what it is you did wrong and you can promise me and all the other defenders of personal space that you won’t do it again. There’s a line between you and me, let’s keep it that way.

The Post in Which I Tell You How to Walk Your Dog

Another week, another rant, or so it seems. However, this one was requested by one of my childhood friends, so I must deliver. (She knows things about me.)

This last weekend, over drinks at the pub, my friend Annie went into a dog diatribe. Really. I don’t remember how it happened. Or why. We were sitting quietly (no, not really) giggling about men, when all of a sudden she switched to dogs. No joke. (I will gloss over the train of thought and any comparisons out of respect for my readers.) She begins this story about walking her friendly juvenile pit bull through our beautiful green and winding streets of Olde Del Mar. (According to later accounts, her story was “continuously interrupted” by me “banging on the table” and pointing at the Sports Center replays, squawking, “I can’t believe we lost to the Mets. THE METS! Oh, the humiliation! We might as well be the Astros!”) Eventually she was able to weave the following tale of dog walking horror.

Annie’s dog, as I’ve mentioned, is a juvenile pit bull. She’s still quite young and in that hyper stage all young dogs are prone to. In our tiny village, we have one area where all dogs can go without a leash. It’s across from the Del Mar Racetrack on the beach (Yes, Bing’s Del Mar: “Where the turf meets the surf.”) at Rivermouth. There you can let your dog run amok through surf and sand. It’s a doggie free for all and I adore driving down Highway 101 and seeing them bound through surf (usually in hot pursuit of some smaller, passive dog). It never fails to make me smile, and why wouldn’t it? Dogs are such joyful creatures. Where else in life do you see such pure elation from the simple act of butt-sniffing? Really. It’s a life lesson for us all. I’m humbled. But I digress.

As in other towns, your dog must be on a leash when out in public. Not just for its safety, but the safety of others. These are remedial Doggie Lessons 101, people. Now, I don’t do the dog walking in my family. I leave that to The Husband. Well, that and taking out the trash. But I do know the rules and they’re fairly simple. Leash your dog. Pick up its poo. It’s a no brainer. In our case, The Husband likes to take our dog out into a deserted section of coastal wetlands and up through canyon trails where he seldom runs into other people. This way he can let her off the leash to sniff everything ’til her heart’s content. Common courtesy dictates, however, that when you see another person (with or without a dog) you leash yours. Now our dog has an invisible sign on her that says, “Kick my ass.” She’s never met a dog that hasn’t done so. She’s very sad about this, as you can see.

To avoid conflict among dogs, you leash yours and rein it in. Again, common sense. Well, Annie has to go one better because she does have a pit bull. People see pit bulls and freak out. “Oh my God, will it bite my face off?” No. No it won’t. She may lick your face off, but that’s beside the point. Pit bulls aren’t evil, it’s the people who breed them for dog fighting that are. (Don’t get me started.) On this particular occasion, Annie was jogging up a hill with her baby when coming over the crest was a dog running off its leash on the right side of the road. It was unaccompanied. Moments later, two women appeared on the left side of the road. Being out of breath from said jog, Annie stopped and reined in. She cast a meaningful glance the way of the ladies but neither seemed particularly concerned that her dog was about to be accosted by a rogue butt-sniffer. As it drew closer, her dog was becoming more and more squirmy, she clearly felt defenseless and  unable to escape. Well, the inevitable happened, Rogue Butt-Sniffer got a few sniffs in, and then there was some nipping, barking, and frantic canine and human behavior involving leashes and shouting.

Eventually the two dizzy women approached and tutted (actually tutted) at Annie and her dog. This wasn’t acceptable, and Annie logically returned their stupidity with a tirade about dogs needing to be on leashes. Look, I’m sure Rogue Butt-Sniffer was a nice dog, if perhaps just a bit forward. The owners were clueless. In fact, I can honestly say I’ve only ever met one dog who wasn’t nice. He killed (and ate) an entire brood of baby squirrels at the local elementary school – in front of my ten-year-old son, who came home crying. Yes, I flew over there so fast it made the owner’s head spin. I don’t think I’ve ever screamed so loud in my life. “HEY, YOUR DOG IS AGGRESSIVE AND SHOULDN’T BE UNLEASHED ON SCHOOL GROUNDS!” The old woman (yes, old woman) claimed she didn’t speak any English, so I kindly led her over to the remains of squirrel guts spattered all over the play structure and said, “NO! BAD DOG! BAD! IF I EVER SEE THAT DOG OFF THE LEASH AGAIN ON SCHOOL GROUNDS, I’M CALLING ANIMAL CONTROL!” Then I walked around and gathered up the little bodies and buried them in my backyard. The parents stood nearby, in front of their now empty little squirrely domicile. It was tragic.

I know you’re now all wondering, “Did she do it again?” Yes, the dog’s been off the leash again, chasing my neighbor’s cat across our very busy road. A mini-van and a Volvo nearly hit them as they shot into my driveway. Slowly meandering my way was the owner. She greeted me with a look that can only be described as sheer terror, as if I were one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. That dog is bad. Period. But these incidents wouldn’t have happened if she knew her Doggie Lessons 101. There are only 2 rules, people! Say them with me: Leash your dog, pick up its poo. Easy peasy.

Oh, 3 rules. Pay attention to signage: