Tuesday, May 3, 2011

If only this was the end

The death of Osama bin Laden. As always with these things, it’s not easy to process when you’re a peace loving pragmatist. I wish we could have handled this as a country with quiet dignity. I understand why some could not. I can say I don’t feel safer. Do you?

I do feel like, given the Pakistanis remarkable ability to play both sides against the middle, that we should seriously re-think any aid money that is in that new budget we just wrote. If they can’t back us in a bar fight, it’s time to stop picking up their tab. Mean spirited, yes. Did I mention that I’m a little conflicted about this?

Was it about vengeance? Justice? The future safety of the billions of people worldwide who are threatened by the effects of radical terrorism? Finally being able to end a war effort that has floundered too long and killed too many? Maybe a little of each of the first three. I’m failing to even hope for the last.

I’m not glad he’s dead. I’m not sorry either. Really, I’m just sorry that we don’t live in a better world than this.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Wild Kingdom: Cougars and Drunk Lions

So, Saturday at the Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers show at Gruene Hall (and yes, I do realize I’m one lucky girl that I get to throw off phrases like that as casual as can be), I kind of realized why the whole cougar thing works.

I was at the show with Mo and T, enjoying the music, feeling good, grooving the scene. And from our vantage point on the edge of the crowd, we see this young guy working the crowd. There were at least 4 bachelorette parties, and he was working really hard to hook up with somebody, or apparently anybody. He’d float from group to group, making his play. And getting denied pretty much at every turn. Being inebriated, while probably loosening him up in making his move, was not helping him when it came to sealing the deal. You’d just see the girls in each group getting a little spooked every time he came near them. Like a herd of okapi scenting a lion on the wind. A really, really drunk lion.

And it was during “Green and Dumb”, when I locked arms with Mo to sway and sing along (it’s that kind of song; strangers become friends, friends become soul sisters and brothers from another mother under the light of a neon beer sign), I suddenly recognized Drunk Simba. Two years ago at an RCPM show (http://firephrase.blogspot.com/2009/05/good.html) at the House of Blues, he had been the one swaying with me, and finished the song off with a full-body hug. A bit fresh on 3 and a half minutes acquaintance, but not out of line. Firm yet gentle, I’d recommend him to a friend.

Anyway, Mo and I had apparently had the same thought when we saw the bachelorette girls getting all spooked about Simba. “Unclench, girls. He’s going to be carried to the car by his friends tonight. Being nice to him won’t kill you.” And that’s the advantage of being over 40. You don’t think that you’re going to marry, or even end up in a semi-committed one night stand with, every guy you smile at in a bar. Sometimes you can just play for the love of the game. And you also have enough confidence to know that if you start something and it turns into more than you were looking for, you can tell the guy to back off. Gently, or in no uncertain terms. It’s not a big deal. And believe me, I understand chicks before d***s (it’s my girl power version of bros before hos), and sometimes you just want to hang out with your girls. But honestly, it wouldn’t kill you to just be nice to the poor drunk guy. Karma has a way of coming around. Yeah, he wanted to hook up. But he'd probably have settled for a smile and a sing-along.

So, to all those young girls who sit in bars wondering aloud, as I’ve occasionally heard them do, why all the young guys are over talking to older women and not you – it’s pretty simple. We talk back.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Excuse the hell out of me

I just had the most amazing revelation about "kids these days". It kind of explains so much for me. They only apologize for social errors if they think you're going to get mad.

I was sitting in the hotel lobby finishing my coffee in an armchair. A teenage girl was moving a dining chair over to another table to sit with her friends. She banged her chair into the arm of mine, accidentally. Not me, the arm of my chair, hard enough to startle me. She stopped and looked at my face, and when she figured out that the blank look on my face was being stunned, rather than an overture to getting angry, she just went about her business. Somebody behind me asked if she was going to say anything; her reply was "Oh, no she's not mad." And that was that. No apology. No pardon. No excuse me.

And I was NOT going to get angry. It was a simple mistake that anyone could have made. No real harm. But it did, I don't know, disturb me. Interrupted my train of thought. Gave me a moment. So, in my day, you'd have said something. Just to acknowledge that your world bumped into mine. Regardless of whether someone was going to get mad or not. The "sorry" wasn't there to avoid a fight (most of the time), it was just polite.

I think she looked at the situation as there being nothing that she was going to get out of that second of saying "sorry" and just decided to save herself the effort. And I think that happens all the time. Those moments when I think young people are rude and don't know why. They don't use social skills unless they're going to get something out of it, avoid a fight or curry favor. But if they bump into you in the hall and you don't immediately start to yell at them, they're just going to truck on down the hall.

I'm trying to avoid the automatic judgement of "they're so lazy/rude/anti-social". It could be just the new way that people interact, and I'm behind the times. But geez. My knee jerk reaction is that it scares the crap out of me. This is the world we're going to be living in?

TIME: Quotes of the Day