Gore Gawkers

There are many things people do that I just don’t get. Slowing down to get an eyeful of accidents on the freeway is one of them. Why on earth would you want to see that? Why? Why?? WHY???

Crumpled cars, blood, injuries, possibly dead bodies…don’t you get enough of that on the news?

Driving northbound on the freeway, traffic is backed up and barely moving. The reason for this? A gnarly accident on the southbound side. Move along, people, this does not concern you.

What is the fascination with in your face carnage? Is there not enough sadness and tragedy we can’t escape without craning your neck to add to your own personal tableau of horror? What is the appeal to these lurid lookie-loos? These are rhetorical questions. I don’t really want to know. I don’t understand it, but I don’t want to.

I have a serious aversion to blood and guts. I also have a terrible time dealing with the suffering of any living creature. I sure as fuck don’t slow down to gawk at it. When I worked at Licorice Pizza, we had a movie rental section. One day, Faces of Death arrived in our new product shipment. I slapped a “defective” sticker on it and shipped it right the fuck back out. Disgusting.

Not only is this all too disturbing with people going out of their way to see this gore, but, how about some dignity for those who suffer? How would you feel if people were stopping to gape at your mother, your sister or your son in his or her moment of pain and shock? How do you think these people and their loved ones feel when you whip out your cell phone and take pictures of them in intimate moments of suffering and plaster them all over the internet?

There is no doubt that these moments are intimate. It could be argued that moments of physical and/or emotional trauma are more intimate than sex. It is possible to keep up a front with all your defense mechanisms in place while having sex. Not so much during trauma.

Intruding on these moments is dehumanizing in the extreme and a major invasion of privacy.  Move along, please.

I Talk to People Who Aren’t There

Not imaginary friends, but real people I actually know. They just don’t happen to be present at that moment. I can be at home, or in the car, and I’m chatting away with someone who isn’t with me.
I typically whisper to myself whatever I am pretending to say to the person who isn’t there often without realizing it. That is fine unless I’m in the grocery store, say, or Target, and I suddenly come back to the moment and wonder if I’ve been whispering aloud. I glance around surreptitiously to see if my fellow shoppers are staring. I check the next aisle for men in white coats carrying odd jackets. So far, so good.
One of the reasons I love wireless technology is that now, if I’m whispering to myself in the car, anyone who sees me will assume I’m on the phone. I’ve even, on purpose and just for fun, continued these imaginary conversations at normal volume after I get out of the car. I talk, then I pause as if someone were responding to me. It cracks me up that no one knows I’m talking to air.
I talk to my friend Raquel every night on the way home from work, for real, on the phone. Sometimes we e-mail and IM as well. You would think I couldn’t possibly have anything else to say, yet I talk to her when she’s not there, too. If you know me, odds are good that I’ve had a whispered non-conversation with you at some point.
Not so much a conversation, really, as a monologue. The people who aren’t there rarely say anything back.  Since they’re not there, I have no qualms about refusing to let them get a word in.
I’ve had these unheard monologues my entire life. My guess is that I whisper them now because some well-meaning adult told me to STFU when I was little and chattering to no one. They probably congratulated themselves on curing me of conversing with the invisible. Ha! Little do they know, I just went underground, so to speak.

A Clean House is a Sign of a Wasted Life

I saw a woman on t.v., not an actor, who vacuumed her house three times a day.  Three times a day, every day.  It took me so long to wrap my head around that, I almost missed the part about how she wouldn’t let anyone, friend or foe, wear shoes inside her house.  They didn’t have any pets.  You have to wonder WTF she thought she was vacuuming up.

The vacuuming was only one aspect of her obsession with excessive cleanliness.  Cleaning, and terrorizing her family over it, was pretty much all she did.  She was very, very proud of her sterile environment. Me, I’m thinking this is not an accomplishment, it’s a freakin’ mental illness!  Her taxi came and was out in the street honking for her and she freaked out and had to vacuum one last time before she left.  While the taxi was in the driveway.  At the risk of missing her flight.

There she was, compulsively wearing out her carpet, day after day.  I wonder what kind of vacuum she uses and how often she has to replace it.  Once I got over my total disbelief that someone would spend her life like that, I just thought it was sad.  Nobody at the end of her life, on her deathbed, ever looks back and says, “Damn, I wish I had vacuumed more often.”

Miss Cleo

Remember Miss Cleo? The psychic network spokesperson with the (fake) Jamaican accent? I loved those commercials. They cracked me up. Never for a moment did I think they were real.

Imagine my surprise when Miss Cleo was sued, along with The Psychic Readers Network because of “deception.” Huh? People actually thought Miss Cleo was real and that if you called their hotline you could actually get a real reading from her? You gotta be kidding me.

Hello, commercial! Hello, actor! Do people think actors who do hemorrhoid commercials are real people who really have hemorrhoids? Do they think the “nausea, heartburn…” lady really has all that?

The reason Miss C. herself was named in a lawsuit is that, in Florida, the spokesperson can be sued as well as the the company she represents. The suit against her was later dropped.

I like to think that people can tell the difference between pretend and real life. Maybe not.

Is it Me?

Apparently, I see things differently from other people. At least, I’m constantly interpreting events and other peoples’ words in a way that doesn’t match the general consensus.  Do that often enough and you can start to wonder about yourself. Is it me?  Is it everyone else?  WTF?

I learned to keep my perceptions to myself unless there was a compelling reason to speak up.  My interpretations have been validated though, so I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not crazy.  Three psychologists have told me that I’m perceptive and insightful and that I’d make a good therapist.  Nice!

My two favorite vindication stories have to do with my understanding of works of art.  The first has to do with the Police song, “Every Breath You Take.”  I remember when that song came out and everyone thought it was this really romantic love song.  What?!?  People even played it at their weddings for the theme song, first dance tune, whatever that is.  I was flabbergasted.  I always thought it was a scary, stalker, crazy person song, but no one agreed with me, so I stopped talking about it. Years and years later, I heard Sting say the same things – that it was an obsessive jealousy song and that he didn’t understand why people thought it was a sweet love song.  See?  I told you all!

The other story is about Van Gogh paintings.  I could never understand why anyone would have a Van Gogh hanging in the living room.  I look at his work, and I see pain, pain, pain.  Why on earth would you want naked pain hanging in your house?  How can you stand to look at something so agonizing all the time?  Again, people thought I was crazy.  Then I discovered that Van Gogh himself had written, in a letter to his sister, “…the fact that my pictures are after all almost a cry of anguish…”

So, yeah, I have different interpretations and different ideas about things.  It will be interesting to see, assuming I get responses to this blog, what other people think.