A Ghost of Blogging Past

Full disclosure: I am not a fan of re-posting old posts. I accept that others do it, and I understand the reasoning behind re-posting old posts; however, I prefer to read and write new stuff.

That said, I linked to an old post of mine earlier this week, and I am getting ready to re-post something I wrote in February 2010.

Why am I re-posting a ghost from my blogging past? Because Kim did it. Seriously. Yesterday, Kim took part in a link-up, and she re-posted something she wrote last year. Frankly, I’m glad she re-posted it, because I didn’t catch it the first time, and the post is excellent. (You may access her post here.) Read more

A trip to the gas station

After I picked up some groceries, I drove to the gas station, located in the same parking lot. I love the convenience big chain grocery stores provide by also selling gas. When I pulled up, I noticed an older lady (around 78 yrs old) standing behind her car, while a younger ‘older’ man filled the car with gas. He was the gas station attendant, and he was helping this older woman.

I got out of my car, and I started filling my car with gas. I heard the dialogue between this man and woman. She was telling the man about the car, which she and her husband bought 10yrs ago, with the hope of taking it on long trips. Then she said, “But then, he had a stroke and that was it. He had his own business, too; and, it was doing really well.”¬† As I stood by the car, trying to be discreet with my eavesdropping, the woman said, “She can pump her own gas.” ACK! I was caught!

I smiled to the woman. Then I heard her to yell to someone across from me, “He’ll be with you in a minute. He’s helping me pump the gas.” I looked over in the direction she was speaking, and I noticed a guy, probably in his late 30s, waiting for the gas station attendant to return to the cashier window.

He smiled and said, “That’s fine. No problem.”

Then the woman looked at me and said, “My husband and my sons never let me fill the tank. They would always carry (yes, she said carry) the car to the gas station for me.”

Still smiling, I said “That was nice of them.” Then she said, “Well, yes but my husband died and the boys grew up, got married and moved away from home. They all left me.”

I chuckled a little and said, “How rude.” She smiled back and said, “Rude and hateful. Just hateful.” And, we both laughed.

The attendant finished filling the tank, and I watched the two walk over to the cashier’s window. “Thank you for your patience,” the woman said, as she approached the waiting customer. “Oh. No problem.” He said. And, as I got in the car to head home, I heard her say, “I suppose I could have filled the tank myself, if my life depended on it.”

I enjoy moments like the one I had at the gas station. And, I enjoy the friendliness and generosity of good-hearted people. There was a time when a gas station attendant would always greet a driver at the gas pump. Gradually, the full-service gas station went to the wayside, though not before giving the driver a choice between self-service and full-service.

I remember those days, and I am certain the guy waiting at the cashier window remembers those days. But, nowadays, I know there are more people that don’t recall the days of the gas station attendant. And, those younger folks would probably not be as patient or kind as the guy waiting for the attendant. I am glad the attendant was willing to come out of his ‘box’ and help this woman. I wish more people would come out of their ‘box’ and help others, too. Or, if people prefer to stay in their ‘box’, perhaps they could be patient and kind while someone else lends a hand.

A bit snarky

My word today is ‘Snarky’. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of Snarky is as follows: 1 : crotchety, snappish 2 : sarcastic, impertinent, or irreverent in tone or manner <snarky lyrics>. Snarky is a fitting word for today, as I continue my PMS battle. No worries, this is not going to be a rant about PMS. Instead, I am writing about the word snarky, because it is a word I hear with growing frequency. I don’t consider myself to be a snarky person. However, I am known to be sarcastic. And to me, there is a distinct line between sarcasm and snark. Be warned, I’m probably going to come across as a little sensitive in this post.

With social networks like Facebook and Twitter, friendly chit-chat can to turn to disrespectful rudeness pretty quickly. The word ‘friend’ has changed with these social networks, too. One can have over 500 Facebook friends, but what kinds of people make up the over 500 friends? Are they real friends? Are they friends that you go to great lengths to stay in touch with through the years, or are they merely friends you are curious about every now and again? And, if you are snarky to these friends, do they take it as innocent and playful sarcasm? Or, do you they find it to be irreverent and rude? Frankly, do you even care how they take your comments? Truth be told, the real friends you have are the ones you interact with the most, whether it be via Twitter, Facebook, telephones, gatherings or email. And, you can check out anyone’s “Wall” on Facebook to determine which friends are real friends versus the ‘social network’ friends.

I admit, I’ve had my feelings hurt by snarky ‘friends’ on Facebook. I don’t know that they meant harm; instead, I think the distinct line of snark vs. sarcasm is blurred in the world of social networks. I cannot believe everything that is said or typed on Facebook would really be said out loud to people. It’s just not how the world works. In my opinion, the reason these social¬† networks became so successful was due, in part, to the fact that people could pretty much say whatever they wanted or felt with little to no filtering or backlash. Blogging is another example of how filters seem to evaporate, as folks spill there guts while offering their take of the world. And please, pardon me while I spill my guts, as I am an active participant of the named social networks.

As a participant in social networks, I am not trying to sound judgmental. In fact, I believe a great deal of good comes from social networks. However, I worry about our filters, and I worry that our filters – which serve a respectful purpose – are evaporating at an alarming rate. Much like the Ozone layer is becoming smaller and the greenhouse house gasses are (allegedly) overcoming our Earth, our filter of respectfulness is also becoming smaller. My nieces and nephews are not aware of a world where people only communicated by corded telephones. My younger relatives are not aware of a time when you actually put forth an effort to have conversations face to face vs. the corded phone. They don’t even recall a world where you actually played outside and had to pretend to be a good guy, shooting a bad guy with the coolest stick you could find. They do not know of a world before XBox, Nintendo, etc. This younger generation doesn’t know what it is like to be patient – deliberate – thoughtful. With social networks and electronic mail, everything is instant – reactive – not filtered. And, when one is responding in an instant and without a filter, snark is sure to show itself. Sarcasm is everywhere, and sarcasm is in your face. Sarcasm is in daily face to face conversations, on television, at home with the family and online with friends. But snark? Snark seems to lurk in world where you can hide and have a sense of anonymity or carelessness. Snark is mean. Snark is personal. And, in my opinion, snark is ruining our conversation, even if the conversation is virtual.