Mz. Mannerz: The Cow in The Parking Lot

Oh man!  It’s time for another edition of Mz. Mannerz!  Drop that Crunchwrap Supreme, put on some pants for heaven’s sake, and let’s DO THIS THING!

One of the things I’ve come to terms with through my personal studies in anger management is that people rarely get out of bed in the morning and say, “What can I do to go out of my way to really annoy people today?”

That sort of malicious attitude is rare, unless we’re talking about Justin Bieber, Justin Bieber, or Justin Bieber’s face.

I try to live my life in a proactive manner, so I figure it’s better to read up on anger management before a court orders me to do so.  Some books are better than others, but I recently read a great book on the topic called The Cow in The Parking Lot by Leonard Scheff and Susan Edmiston.  It did a really great job of re-framing the annoying things people do – the things that make me nearly implode with rage every day.  I highly recommend it if you’re a pissy little so-and-so.  It’s completely changed my perspective.

I mean, I still get angry when someone makes me wait with my engine idling while they spend three minutes backing into a parking space when it would have taken ten seconds if they just parked front-in, but I don’t let it ruin my day anymore.

Most of the time.

It’s hard to live in a state of outrage your entire life and then just quit cold-turkey.

Most people are just bumming around, doing whatever they do and not even thinking about it.  Like cows in a parking lot.  If you saw a cow doing any of the annoying things that people do, you’d probably be tickled by it and say, “Oh man!  Check out that cow!  Isn’t that hilarious?”

People aren’t going out of their way to do things to personally annoy you.  They’re just doing them and not even really realizing it.

To that end, I’ve compiled the list below, outlining some of these annoying things that people may not “realize” that they’re doing.  You know, as a “courtesy”.  To let them “know”.

For”

“their”

“information”.

And please – feel free to add to it in the comments.  There are tons of things I left out.  Keep it light, you filthy beasts.  I have no desire to argue foreign policy.  As it is, for the past three years I haven’t been able to turn on the news without having to take a tranquilizer and breathe into a paper bag.

Here we go!

a.  Tapping your foot on a clackety floor, tapping a pencil on a desk, tapping your 80s acrylic porno nails on a counter, or tapping any other thing on a tappy surface.  I know a person who does this – sometimes for hours on-end – while I’m ten feet away trying to dissect complicated contracts, and it destroys my concentration and makes me want to scream and/or dig a hole and lie in it.  I have literally broken into a cold sweat and had to leave the room, it’s that disruptive.

b.  Bum-rushing an elevator door to get in the moment the door opens, and then acting surprised that someone is coming out of the elevator as you slam directly into them.  “Oh!  Sorry!”  Do you honestly think that there’s NO CHANCE somebody might be getting out of that elevator?

c.  Along those lines, walking down a crowded sidewalk, going at the same speed at everyone else, and then stopping dead in your tracks so that everyone behind you slams into each other.  Bonus points if you do this on a staircase in an airport or a subway, where people are also carrying large objects and trying to get somewhere in a timely fashion.

d.  Leaving someone a voicemail that says, “Oh!  Looks like I missed you.  I’ll try you back in a little while!”  Do you have any idea the amount of time and steps and button-pushing and secret codes and shit I have to dial into my phone in order to check my voicemail, only to receive a message that says you’ll try me again later?  The only voicemail worth leaving is, “The police know.  You need to pack up that chatty parrot of yours and leave town NOW.”

e.  Walking into a restroom with ten empty stalls, and then taking the one directly next to mine.  Don’t YOU enjoy personal space? I know I certainly do.  Choose ANY OTHER STALL besides the one directly next to a person – especially if there are ten open stalls.  It reminds me of every time I go to the beach and there’s nobody for miles, and right after I set my stuff up, the most irritating people on the planet come walking down the sand and plop their piles of stuff down six inches away from me.  Go sit ANYWHERE that’s not six inches away from me.  You have a mile of open beach, for god’s sake.

f.  The fact that I can’t go to the movies in 2019 without people talking at full volume in the theater is mind-boggling to me.  Mind-boggling.  I wish theaters would replace their polite “Please be respectful of others by not talking during the movie” with something waaaaay more blatant.  Something like, “If you talk in the movie – which has NEVER been an okay thing to do – it means you are a jerkface dillhole and everyone in here will hate your guts until the end of time, so shut up.  No, really, we’re not kidding here.  It’s two hours.  Watch the movie and SHUT UP.”

g.  Pushing a shopping cart in a forward motion while having your head turned completely the other way.  Do you think the store is so large, so vast, so vacant, that’s there’s no possibility that you’ll hit someone with your cart because you’re not watching where you’re going?  Same for rounding corners with your cart at 80mph and acting surprised that there’s someone on the other side when you almost mow them down.

“But Mz. Mannerz!  I didn’t know that was annoying!”

WELL NOW YOU DO.

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If you’re the kind of person who enjoys the warm feeling of superiority when someone gets a trivia question about The Love Boat wrong, have an ax to grind with people who describe themselves as “bubbly”, or are just looking for newer and better ways to pretend you’re working while you’re at work, click the “Follow” button on the side here and you’ll get an email any time I post something on this godforsaken blog, usually about once a week.  Sometimes it’s twice a week, but only when I’m feeling particularly sassy and/or have run out of chicken fingers dipping sauce options.

It’s one of my personal favorites and I’d like to dedicate it to a young man who doesn’t think he’s seen anything good today.” – Ferris Bueller

When Your Pants Shrink on The 250th Wash

“Don’t get on the scale.  Ever.  It’s just a number, and it doesn’t really correspond with your health or your fitness level.  So throw it out!  Never step on a scale again!”

I had an eight year period of my life where I embraced this philosophy.  After being fairly small for most of my life, I gave up the scale in my late 20s and what do you think happened?

Did I feel unchained from watching my figure?  Did I gain a newfound sense of confidence?

No.

I put on forty pounds.

I know what you’re thinking.  It was probably because I was putting on muscle!  Was I really fit under that doughy layer of marshmallow fluff?

For some people, I’m sure that’s the case, but it was most certainly not the case for me.  I personally chunked up for a few reasons, and none of them had anything to do with having too much muscle mass.

The first reason for My Own Personal Chunkening was that I ate anything I wanted, anytime I felt like it, until I felt uncomfortably full – and I mean packing it in.

Wendy’s Double Cheeseburger, fries, and a Frosty for lunch?  Thank you!  And not just as a treat.  Every day.  Then round off the workday afternoon with some cookies, maybe a bag of chips or two.

Dunkin’ Donuts sausage, egg, and cheese on a bagel as a midnight snack, after already having eaten three meals and two snacks that day?  Please pull forward and pay at the first window.

Brownie sundae at every restaurant meal?  I would order a brownie sundae and when the other person with me would say, “We’ll split it!” I had absolutely no qualms about giving them the look of death, saying, “No,” and then inhaling the sundae like it was my last day on Earth.

People loved this.  Any time I shoved an entire slice of pizza into my mouth, my cheeks expanding out to those of a hamster, they practically applauded.  People love to encourage bad behavior for some reason, I assume so they don’t feel so bad about their own?

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This is a good look and you know it.

The second reason was that I sat at a desk-job all day.  I did zero exercise.  Literally none.  I was so unfit, I was constantly out of breath even just walking fast, and my joints hurt all the time.  Knees, hip joints, even my finger joints.  I wasn’t even 35 and I hurt all over.

The third reason was that I was perpetually very stressed out and under-slept.  I was out playing shows with the band at night and still waking up at 6am for my 8-to-5 day job every morning.  I dragged myself into work in the morning on 2-3 hours sleep regularly, and I was all kinds of messed up and constantly sick.

I was so exhausted that I felt I had earned the right to stuff my face and slowly become one with the couch.  Hadn’t I suffered enough with my financial problems, stressful workload, and unsupportive boyfriend?  The least I deserved was fresh-baked cookies and an episode (or eight) of The Golden Girls.

And I tell ya what, my thick ol’ body onstage with the band?  People loved it, especially the women in the crowd.  They couldn’t believe the confidence I displayed onstage despite my yuuuuuuuuge ass.  They were encouraging, and sweet, and awesome, and always made me feel like a million bucks.  I was never actually as confident as I appeared to be, but I felt like I owed it to women to show them that they could be confident no matter what size they were.

The reality was that deep down, anytime I saw a picture of myself, I would get very upset, delete it, and spend the rest of the day freaking out about my double chin.  Clothes didn’t fit me unless I put on practically head-to-toe Spanx, and I had to wear biking shorts under my dresses so that my thighs didn’t rub together.  I sat down at my kitchen table one time, and snapped a leather belt I was wearing right in half at the back.

I knew I’d put on weight, but I didn’t think it was that much.  As someone who’s exceptionally skilled at living in denial, I made up every excuse in the book when I split a pair of pants that I’d had and worn on a weekly basis for ten years.  “Oh, the washer must have shrunk these!  On the 250th wash!”

I went to the doctor for the first time in a lot of years, and they made me get on a scale.  When the little metal slider thing clicked into place and the number was read aloud, I felt my knees go weak.  I could not believe how much I weighed.  I had estimated that I weighed about 30 pounds LESS than the number that was staring back at me on the scale.  Holy ballz.  I’m only 5’4″.  When you’re that short, every 5 pounds puts you up at least another dress size.

I had finally had enough of feeling like crap all the time, so I started working out, and kind of watching what I ate.  I lost about ten pounds, and I was really happy with it.  Then the ex-boyfriend dropped a nuclear bomb on my life and I lost ten more pounds in one week.  (Related – I don’t recommend grief-rage vomiting as a diet.)

Then I straightened my ass up, decided I needed to get healthy, and signed up for a paleo local food delivery service and lost another twenty-five pounds.  I started exercising just 15-20 minutes a day, six days a week.  (That paleo diet made me lose weight like crazy.  I literally could not stop losing weight on it, and eventually had to start adding stuff like bread and pasta back in to even maintain my weight.)

I wasn’t surprised at the people told me I looked great with the weight loss, but I was surprised at how many people were total dicks about it.  I mean, really, really surprised.  They would ask outright how much I weighed (something that would NOT have been cool when I was overweight), scrutinized my diet, accused me working out for hours every day, and there was even a rumor going around that I had developed an eating disorder.

When I was inhaling pizza and cheeseburgers until I was so full that it was physically painful and I could barely move, nobody accused me of having an eating disorder.  They cheered me on.  When I stopped eating pizza, people gossiped that I needed to go to a clinic.  It was really weird.

So don’t let random unsubstantiated tips like “Don’t get on the scale!” take over your life.  I get on the scale at least a few times a week so that I know when I need to tone it back on the pies, because it works for me.  Do what works for you.  Paleo worked for me, might not work for you.  Running 10 miles a day might work for you, doesn’t work for me.

And the washer totally shrunk those pants.  On the 250th wash!

Another Post Where I Make Fun of Musicians

Here’s how I pick a restaurant.  I walk up, see this sign…

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…and then I pick another restaurant.

If I’m out to dinner, I want to be able to chat.  I’d like to unwind and delight in some sparkling conversation.  I have really important things to discuss with my dinner companion, like how unfair it is that Eva Gabor was the most talented Gabor sister, yet Zsa Zsa is the one everybody remembers.

“But!  But!!  Green Acres!!”

Zsa Zsa Gabor was not on Green Acres.

Eva Gabor.  Eva Gabor was on Green Acres – and I’m sick and tired of having to snottily set people straight when they say otherwise.  It makes me look reeeally petty, especially when I pull out the charts and graphs, and pettier still when I make them wear a sign around their neck for the rest of the evening that says, “I should have stayed in my lane as a merely casual classic television watcher.”

So!  There are two issues I have with this live music at restaurants.  (I should note that bars and clubs are fine, so you don’t have to throw one of your classic hissy fits, Axl Rose.)

The main issue is that I am a musician.  I know many musicians.  Oh god, so many musicians.  Like a plague of locusts in tight jeans that have been raining down on my withered soul for decades.  Like a bucket of hot dogs being thrown at my face every time I walk out my front door.

And they’re all too goddamned loud.

When they’re so loud that it’s splitting your eardrums while you’re trying to enjoy your fish dip on the patio at Whale Dick Dave’s on The Wavez (your better Florida-style restaurants are named after midlife-crisis fishing boats), it’s because they think they are way, way more important than anything you’ve got going on at your table.

More important than your right to sit and have a pleasant dinner with someone at Whale Dick Dave’s on The Wavez.

More important than Whale Dick Dave’s on The Wavez losing business over how loud they are.

Your attention must be on them at all times, fish dip enjoyment be damned.  If you don’t pay attention to “local legend” Shreddin’ Steve up there wanking away at that cover song like he himself invented the guitar, then guess what?

Shreddin’ Steve
Would be just fine
To have you leave

^
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Poetry.

I can’t even tell you how many grown adult musicians I’ve known, who when they’re finally told to turn it down by the manager of the restaurant, unplug their gear in a huff and storm out the door, their straw fedora all rumpled and askew atop their Counting Crows chin-length faux-dreadlocks, the clanging of their thumb ring knocking against their guitar case as they borrow someone’s cellphone to call their mom to come pick them up.

Oh no!  Now I guess I’ll have to just hum Jimmy Buffett’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise” to myself since Phil Spector here has absconded with his magical talent machine!

Which brings me to my second issue:  Song selection.

I realize these things are regional, I am in South Florida after all, but I swear to god if I have to hear some guy in a Hawaiian shirt barf out “Margaritaville” at Ballz Deep-Seafishin’ Depot one more time, I’m driving straight to Jimmy Buffett’s house and bulldozing it – with a parrot on my shoulder the whole time – because I like poetic imagery and stuff.

Ohhh, Jimmy Buffett.

Look, I don’t have a problem with the man personally, not at all, but by the 818,000th time you’ve had to endure “local legend” Jammin’ Joey at the Flick The Beanz Café playing Dance to The Left with an acoustic guitar and a drum machine at 200 decibels while you’re just trying to eat a breakfast wrap and chat about last night’s episode of Green Acres, it takes everything you have to not want to go back in time like The Terminator and push a young Jimmy Buffett out of a tall coconut tree.

And as for the blues, let me tell you.  I am a blues fan.  Bury me in Memphis – please!  I’m not a blues snob, either.  I can admit when something “newer” is good.  It doesn’t have to have been recorded prior to 1950 for me to like it.  And for the record, blues snobs think anything recorded after Truman left office isn’t “real blues”.  < eyeroll >

That being said.

You would think, based solely on the live music that is played in South Florida at restaurants, that Stevie Ray Vaughan is the only blues artist who has ever existed.

And not just Stevie Ray Vaughan, who recorded like twenty albums.

Two songs by Stevie Ray Vaughan:

  • Pride and Joy
  • The Sky is Crying

That’s all you get.  Occasionally, you’ll get Cold Shot, and even though you’ve heard that one 56,000 times, it will seem like a breath of fresh air that it’s not Pride and Joy.

You will reach to the sky, arms extended, to thank the stars that it’s not Pride and Joy.

You will give all of your worldly possessions to charity to show your gratitude to the universe that it’s not Pride and Joy.

You will have a baby just so you can fly to Hawaii and chuck it into a volcano as a sacrifice and say, “Thank you, Pele, Goddess of Fire, for not making me sit through Pride and Joy again.”

Do I have a problem with Stevie Ray Vaughan as a person and musician?  Hell no!  Does hearing the beginning chords of “Pride and Joy” for the 2,654,925th time make me want to rip my own ears off and throw them at “local legend” Rockin’ Randy whose playing a $2,500 guitar but arrived at The Salty Dogbonerz Bistro on a borrowed BMX bicycle?

One time, I swear I melted out of a dining chair and rolled onto the floor when the first chords of Pride and Joy started – because it was the second time I’d heard it that day.  Then it turned out I was wrong, and it was actually The Sky is Crying, so I turned into booger slime and escaped from the restaurant like ooze down a storm drain, Rockin’ Randy crooning out “Can’t you see the tears rooooooolll down my noooose?” as a fitting soundtrack.

No.  No, I can’t see the tears roll down your nose, Rockin’ Randy.  Because I am in my car, speeding away from Mermaidz Tittiez Raw Bar like it’s on fire.

Also, none of this applies to my current band because we are awesome and don’t even know any Jimmy Buffett or Stevie Ray Vaughan songs.

It definitely applies to my previous band.  Times one trillion.