Cut Offs

Last night I went to a concert. It was one I had been looking forward to. I am not going to be specific but it was a band that’s been around for about 12 or 13 years and is alternative rock maybe borderline punk. The front man is amazingly talented with a gifted set of pipes and a flamboyant stage presence. I love him.

I took my 15 year old son. I unfortunately made him dress up a little which was not IMG_8642 2really a good call on my part but I really enjoyed seeing him looking so put together and handsome. The problem was that everyone at this concert was so dressed down that they looked like they got their clothes from the dumpster in back of the Goodwill. My son made a comment that he was the only person wearing a color. Not one person had on any color except for the girls wrapped in gay pride flags. (Don’t get weird – it’s just true) That was the only color we saw anyone wearing! That and faded turquoise blue hair.

So the issue for me is this: Why do gorgeous people.. inside and out, make themselves look as grungy as possible? I could tell it was a deliberate look. What is the allure of faded unusual colored hair (for some reason I never see it bright), cut offs and  a crappy band tee shirt? How do people get to a point where they get dressed in rags rather than pretty fabrics and say yes, this is the perfect costume for me. IMG_8641It seemed like every person was wearing the same costume. We felt really out of place. I didn’t understand the fashion. I felt like a reverse rebel. People were looking at me and my son like “What are YOU doing here?” Well, I have a right to be there and I love the band as much as you! I just don’t feel comfortable in cut offs and a bra.

Every day when I drop my son off at the high school down the street, I see the girls in their “identity costumes”. We all dress the way we see ourselves. I know there is a dress code but it looks like the administration has given up since so many girls are wearing the shortest most shortest of the shortest short cut off pants in the world. It’s ….. well…… embarrassing. They are not covering their rears and barely the hoo ha. The girls are yanking and tugging on them as they ride up the cracks. I saw one the other day that literally made me laugh out loud as it looked like she did the cut early that morning while she was still a little sleepy. One leg shorter than the other and all jaggedy like. She was tugging and pulling and I could see the doubt in her eyes that she may not have made a good decision.

I know when I was a teenager we had our own wierdnesses. The pants we wore were so tight that none of us could breathe or sit, but we did get in trouble if we didn’t cover our body parts with some fabric. I remember hearing my mother say “those pants are too tight Annie”, as the door slammed behind me. I had not an ounce of fat on my 15 year old body so I really didn’t care. I had a bi-level hair cut or a drop perm and I often dressed in black tights and short boots while listening to the Go-Gos and Duran Duran on my cassette tape boom box. However, I could switch gears. I could also wear a cheerleading costume, or a sweater and cords or an AC/DC tee shirt and a pair of jeans. I tended to change my costumes as I had a diverse array of interests.

I find it interesting that many of us find one costume and that is the one we wear for life or for a very long season. It is one that says “this is me and I am in this box over here. You are wrong if you don’t like it”. I thought about trying to wear cut offs for a day or dying my hair turquoise just to try to figure out how that feels. I am content however to realize that everyone is just where they are at because of their own experiences and things that resonate with them. We observe from our own perspective and form opinions and sometimes judgements about others who differ from us. I am always grateful for my ability back when I was younger to move around in different groups rather then letting others label and pigeonhole me in to a limiting stereotype. I was a chameleon. I was a cheerleader, a drama geek, a nerd, a stoner, a rocker, a new waver, an artist, a student activist all rolled in to one. I also had a life that no one knew about outside of school. Maybe other people saw me as only one of those things but I was all of them. I still do this. I don’t want to be stereotyped. I don’t want to stereotype myself.

Everyone is coming from their own unique perspective. As long as your perspective isn’t violent or harming others, we can learn to tolerate each other, but we do appreciate it when you don’t cut your cut offs too short.

Driving Me Mad

road rage.jpg

Any time I get in my car, the very worst part of me comes out. It’s as if I get temporary Tourette syndrome. I mean no offense to anyone who suffers from this disorder but my behavior behind the wheel fully resembles it.

I’ve been making a conscious effort to improve my actions while I’m driving. I will admit I am guilty of applying make up, occasional sneak texting and constantly swearing at people I don’t know. I have realized that the way I sometimes act in my car is exactly the thing I despise about other drivers and are things I would never do anywhere else in the world or in any other situation.

Is it possible that people are so skilled at driving that all others must be punished who don’t understand the proper way to do it? You can feel the tension and aggression everywhere on the black top. As an intuitive person, I can only imagine what it must be like for a highly sensitive  person, an empath or a clairvoyant. I would think you would be wanting to pull over and cry at every stop. And then there’s the other side of the coin. The competitive and aggressive person who switches in to hyper-drive on the road. Instant video game behind the wheel.

In order to get out of my subdivision, I usually have to take a left turn across a two lane boulevard where the speed limit is 45. Most people are going 60 to 70 miles per hour. Each person has a unique “driver personality” which can be influenced by a person’s current mood and whether or not they are doing something else while driving. (talking, eating, dancing, picking their nose, spanking the kids, or the hundred other things that could be occurring.)

On the right side, the boulevard narrows to one lane right where my stop sign is since there isn’t a subdivision. It’s still a corn field. I love the field but it doesn’t afford a stop light at my intersection. I wait, looking right and left then right and left. If it’s 6pm, you are in for a real challenge. The lights are not synchronized and the hounds of hell are released at precisely 3 minute intervals from either side never leaving a window for us poor souls praying to make a left.  So when one side clears, the other is coming on strong. It’s prompted me to take a right on several occasions and go for the U-turn at the light down the road.

The other day I saw an opportunity but there was one truck coming fairly quickly from the right. I thought if I step on it I can make it, but he might need to slow down a little. Slowing down for some folks is an absolute NO. It infuriates people, and often times they will risk a near miss just to scare someone and punish them for the choice they made. If you make them slow down, you are the biggest piece of shit on the road and you must be taught a lesson. Many people feel that the use of their brakes is the biggest inconvenience in their lives. What is that about? Why are we so angry to have to yield to another human being in our 2000 lb. vehicle. Is life not sacred?

Well, this guy was REALLY mad. He didn’t even have to use his brakes but he did not feel I should have driven out in front of him and he wanted to be sure I understood that I had made a mistake coming in to his path. He stepped harder on the gas and I could feel his anger and heat as he pulled up to my bumper at 55 miles an hour.

I fantasized about slamming on my brakes. I of course didn’t act on that as I value my car as well as my life. There is no doubt in my mind that this happens all over the country every single day, and funny thing is that the rear-ender is always in the wrong. You are supposed to KEEP BACK like it says on the Firefighters shirt.

It’s interesting because you really can feel it. You can feel people’s energy in their cars from the way they care for them to the way they drive them. The construction guy in his truck, the family man in his Ford Taurus, the mid life crisis in the Corvette, the mom in the mini van, the teenager in the economy car, the struggling drifter in the garbage filled rusted car from the last century. These might sound like stereo types or cliches but you know you have seen them all. People make huge statements about who they are in their vehicles and also in how they drive them. Cars are like costumes.

There’s so much crazy behavior on the road. Some humorous, some terrifying. I came around the corner in my neighborhood one night and coming towards me was a guy on a quad. I was going about 25 which is the speed limit. He, on the other hand, had a small child who could not have been over the age of 3 on the front of the quad. No one had a helmet on and I am sure what he was doing was unbelievably illegal. However, he yelled at me. “Slow down!” he shouted. I was not speeding. He was right though, I should slow down when in the presence of stupidity. Oops. There it is. That darn syndrome.

Here is the thing that is interesting. We feel as if the actions we take in our car are separate from our real character. On the contrary, I think our behavior behind the wheel tells us much about what might be lurking in our subconscious mind. Could it be the key to what we think of our fellow man? Is it an indication of our ability to be forgiving and understanding or our aptitude for decision making? I think if more people became more conscious behind the wheel about the thoughts we are thinking and the words that come out of our mouths – the world might be a better place. We throw bad vibes at each other all day long from our seat belted pods. I started noticing that I was often calling people assholes from the safety of my little rolling bubble. Don’t judge. You know you do it. You know you’ve almost flipped off the pastor.

Perhaps we should all realize we are driving a huge heavy piece of machinery that deserves respect and attention. I think we become numb after we escape death day after day exhibiting risky behavior. This is why people are inventing self driving cars. We are careless, risky and irresponsible in countless ways and don’t tell me you are the one good driver on the road. You are human. Humans make bad choices and mistakes and are also late for work occasionally.

happy young woman driving convertible car

I have been studying the Laws of the Universe and aiming at improving my life. I realized that in my car, I was hurling insults and cursing others like I would NEVER do in “real life”. I realized that we all on occasion act like driving is some game or alternate life but the truth is….  it is a microcosm and we should pay close attention to how we think, act and react in our vehicles. We might learn to be more tolerant of others in our daily lives. We might find we have a better day when we allow someone to cut us off without going nuts. We could find blessings by not tailgating someone on the freeway going 80 mph. Most of all, more of us might live to see another day.

I told my son and his friend that when someone does something strange or aggressive on the road, I make up a story about them. Perhaps their child is sick and they are going to get crucial medication for them or their husband is in the hospital and they are going to see him. Perhaps their girlfriend just broke up with them or they lost their job. A few days after I told them that, I was driving the boys home and someone cut me off and I said “What’s their problem?”… One of my son’s friends in his brilliance (apparently he was listening!) said, “maybe their going to get their kid some medicine”. We all laughed and that was that.

Drive safely everyone and give someone on the road a brake today. You may find it gives you a break too.

The Greeter at Walmart

Today I had to fill a prescription at Walmart. I used to avoid Walmart at all costs. I’m more of a Target lady. You know the “hundred dollar store”… I can never leave that joint without spending $100. Walmart is a different story, especially for prescriptions. $4 for generic medication like amoxicillin and ibuprofen. Plus, if you use the GoodRx app you get a discount on just about anything.

After I dropped off my prescription, I waited while it was filled and began milling around and looking at lotions and potions. I began listening to the greeter seated by the front door. She was an elderly African-American woman with a huge smile and a loud firm voice. She wasn’t quietly sitting in her chair saying hello as you walked past or flat out ignoring you like the little dude who sits there sometimes. She was making a statement. She was shouting things like “Hey there! Welcome to Walmart. You look beautiful today”. “I love your shirt!” “What a beautiful little girl!” “Your hair is so pretty” and “Have a great day now, enjoy the sunshine!” This woman changed the environment.

I was amazed by her. She came up with so many different ways to compliment people and say hello and goodbye. She was really good at her job. Truly what a greeter should be. It’s really not an essential job but it’s one of value. Value to her and value to others. Maybe there’s a little girl who someone told she was nothing and that greeter said “Hello beautiful, you look amazing today!” It could literally change the course of that child’s life. Or what if a person who was coming in to purchase materials to end their life and the greeter says “Hello, it’s wonderful to see you today.” and smiled ear to ear. That could cause a change of plans maybe. I know that’s an extreme example but it could happen!

This brings me to the point of my post. Our words are weapons. I know for a fact that I am guilty of using them improperly. I sometimes let newts and hop toads spill out in my moments of frustration but…. I’m working on it. If we could focus on the one good thing we can find about a person and then try to find a way to share that, we have done a great service.

There are days that I feel totally rejected. I have dug deep on this issue and know that this is one of the paradigms I have when people say certain things to me. I feel rejected even when it’s something that has nothing to do with me or a person’s acceptance of me. Perhaps it has to do with my acceptance of myself but it gets filed as rejection. I can see it when other people interpret my own words as rejection.

The fact of the matter is this: We can try to add bits of praise to our conversations. They can really change the tone of an interaction. They can change the course of a person’s day or perhaps even a life. I’m working on taking the negative judgments out of my life and not placing so much value on opinions when it comes to my self worth. One great way to improve our outlook is to seek the good in things. Harvest the Good! Sometimes it may seem impossible but you can harvest the good from the worst of things. The greeter at Walmart taught me that just making a positive statement about people, greeting them with a smile and a compliment can brighten their day AND yours. By the way, you look great today. Thanks for being you. Smile.