Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Sensitive Issue

Feelings....nothing more than feelings....

I think the worst thing anyone could say to another human being is, "You shouldn't feel that way."  "You shouldn't act that way," "you shouldn't dress that way," and "you should get out of my way" are acceptable suggestions when the appropriate opportunity strikes; however, feelings are highly personal, and I think when you encourage someone to put the kibosh on hers, you could very well be contributing to her emotional downfall.  

It boils down to sensitivity - something our society seems to lack these days.

Think about it:  when we ask, "how are you?" we don't really expect a response. On the rare occasion we get one, we're caught off guard.  Personally, I never tell anyone how I'm really doing, mainly because I so seldom get the chance to do so, and besides I'm not one to open up too much.  They don't call me "Close to the Vest Newman" for nothing (nobody calls me that - I'm just making stuff up at this point).

Anyhow, I think the vast majority of us could do with some serious sensitivity training - all the 'do unto others' ideals we were taught in Sunday School yet have forgotten over time.  If we really paused before speaking and attempted to place ourselves in another's position, we'd a) avoid hurting someone, and b) avoid making a complete and utter ass out of ourselves.  Of course, with that being said, I think many of us have become highly sensitive to things that simply don't matter in the grand scheme of things.  They include but are not limited to:


As far as sensitivity goes, the only things we should be sensitive about are:
-children in need
-the ill and the old
-insuring everyone gets an equal chance no matter his race, culture, gender, or sexual orientation

Put yourself in someone else's shoes, Brother - you've no idea what they may be going through.  Think before you speak.  Listen more than you speak.  And if you're one of the quiet, sensitive ones who feels as if you may absolutely lose your shit at some point, do it and do it in a big way. Get it out. Make it one of the epic events of your life.  Make it so that generations to follow will tell stories of 'The time Aunt Sheila lost it and went off on everyone at Christmas'. I personally can't wait to reach the point in which I'll actually throw a drink in someone's face.  
All kidding aside, if you are one of the highly sensitive in a world of blundering oblivions, seek an outlet. I recommend some sort of spiritual counseling because it helps cover all the bases (at least it does for me). Go with what works best for you, though, and remember - what goes around comes around. The meek shall inherit the earth.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

One of the Worst

I won't say she's the worst person I've ever met, but she definitely falls into my Top Three.

It was through my brief stint working in retail several years ago that we met.  Hired as a manager for the store, I naturally assumed she knew what she was doing.  If thievery and stirring up trouble were prerequisites for the job, it's no surprise the Powers That Be saw something special in her.

At first, I simply found her annoying:  she wouldn't stop talking.  I'm not much for chit chat, but her stories of her alleged past as a salon owner, security officer, and being the ex-wife of an NFL player she refused to name intrigued me.  I'm pretty good at spotting BS; little did I know the S would get even deeper.

Her sneaky S snuck up on us initially in the form of bullying.  A colleague with some serious personal issues was having difficulty doing her job effectively.  Rather than reach out, contact HR, cut her a little slack (you know, the things  managers are supposed to do) our subject opted to report this woman as 'completely incompetent' and drove her point home by keying the woman's car.

I S you not.

She mocked a wheel-chair bound customer behind said customer's back. She flirted with every man who entered the shop, except the gay ones.  She didn't like homosexuals, and made no secret of it.  She told a Muslim woman to 'take the curtain' off her head.   She forced junior associates to buy her sodas and never paid them back. She parked in front of a neighboring store and threatened legal action when they asked her to stop.   She was a horrible speller, and her grammar was no picnic, either. 

You can't make this S up, Gentle Reader.

Then merchandise went missing.  Small things at first - earrings, stuff like that. And the gossip!  She went out of her way to tell any and all about insults from other employees (supposedly) hurled against each of us. Needless to say, morale hit bottom.   Some of us were asked by the Powers That Be to keep an eye on her and report back any suspicious or unprofessional behavior.  That's not my style, but I did as I was told.  My only offering was a report of her spending three hours on the phone with her cable company when she should have been on the sales floor.  We were the only two employees working at the time, so she easily figure out that I was the rat.  She accused me of being a lying, racist, anti-Christan goody-two-shoes, and promised to make my life miserable. That night I went home, typed up my letter of resignation, and plotted all the different places I could park my car within a two-mile radius of the store.  I didn't resign immediately, but I kept the letter in my purse, just in case.  After all that, the worst she did was ignore me - a welcome respite from her constant chatter, to be honest.

We then began receiving surprise visits from the Head of Security for this particular store.  Big chain stores have those, you know, and they've got all this groovy equipment to not only track inventory but to track transactions as well.  I'd heard things about questionable sales and returns while under our subject's watch, but didn't think much about it until the day she broke her vow of silence against me.

"WHAT DID YOU TELL THEM THIS TIME, BETH?"  Typed in all caps because she yelled at me as the Security Head and another manager escorted her to the back room.  

They were in there for hours, and no one wanted to leave at the end of her shift. Too caught up in the drama, we made excuses to stick around.  

Finally, she emerged from the back, purse in hand, and yelling (again).  "I WILL OWN THIS COMPANY!  I'M CALLING MY LAWYER WHEN I GET HOME!  YOU ALL ARE TRYING TO CRUCIFY ME!  JUST BECAUSE I'M A WOMAN!" (that one didn't make any sense; the store was predominately female.) And with that, she left.

My shift was long over, so I went to the back to gather my things.  The Security Head asked me how to get to the nearest police department.  I told him, and he ran out the back door, violating store policy. No one was to enter or exit the back door. I'd learned my lesson about being a tattle-tale, though,  and I figured as Security Head he could come and go as he pleased.

We never heard nor saw from her again.  

I left the store a couple of months after the incident - nothing to do with her and everything to do with me not being cut out for retail.  God bless those who are.  It's a tough, thankless gig, and I admire anyone who can stick it out for longer than a few months.

Although it's been years since the incident, she still crosses my mind.  Curious, I did a little detective work recently and discovered that she had been punished accordingly for her misdeeds against the store. It's all a matter of public record.  Thank you, Internet, for showing me yet again that karma is real.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Trip Back

1987 called and he wants his look back.

Now don't get me wrong:  I adore vintage, but a fine line exists between retro and wrong-tro.  Every decade gone by has brought her fair share of glorious fashions, from the Roaring 20's Flapper to the New Look of the late 1950's/early 1960's (my personal favorite) to the fun frivolity of the 1970's (think Studio 54 and Halston, NOT the Brady Bunch).  The Great Gatsby, Mad Men, and even Downton Abbey with its own fabric line, prove that period pieces still turn heads and inspire trends.  Yet as far as the 1980's go, the jury's still out.  

A number of teens, I've noticed, have adopted the skinny pant and neon colors I wore in my youth, but I don't see many adults following their lead.  There's a reason for it:  some of those styles, in hindsight, were downright hideous, and what works for youngsters does not translate well for those of us old enough remember Magnum PI and Alexis Carrington.

The inspiration for this little musing stems from a recent reception I attended in which another reveler, approximately my age, sported a full-blown Miami Vice tribute, complete with whisker stubble and sockless shoes.  I'll give him credit, though - the lavender t-shirt he wore under his cobalt blue suit worked nicely.  Had we been at my senior prom (class of 88), I would have stood in a corner using my Jedi mind-trick powers willing him to dance with me (side note:  that never worked on straight boys back in my day, but I didn't care - the best boyfriends were the ones more interested in my wardrobe than in a love connection.  The fun we had devouring Seventeen Magazine each month!). Anyhow, I spent the evening wondering what in God's name possessed him to go for it in such a rad and totally tubular way.
Over time, I've lightened up in my role as judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to fashion. From what I've seen in restaurants, airports, and grocery stores, only a handful of people were listening to me anyway. Ye
t occasions such as running smack dab into Crockett and/or Tubbs in 2015 have me falling back into my old stylish snarkiness. So indulge me, Gentle Reader, for offering the following Gentle Reminders: 1. If you are old enough to have worn a trend when it was trendy, don't wear it now. Opt for modernized nods to your era of choice.  

2.  You can get away with an era that is older than you, but again, modernization is the key.

3.  If your children are wearing it, you really really really shouldn't.

4.  If you've never left a particular era, it's time.  Cyndi Lauper and Boy George have transitioned nicely into the modern age, and you can, too, Sweetie.

Fashion is a fabulous venue for self-expression.  If it feels good, do it, but proceed with caution when it comes to wearing vintage.  There's a difference between 'Hello, Darling!' to 'Hell No, Dummy!" so be careful.  Seek style gurus that resonate with YOU (loads of them on the Internet), and follow their lead.

And if you have specific questions (limit two per person, please, for I'm very busy and don't have much of an attention span these days), feel free to submit them via the comment box.  Cheers, Sweeties!