anonymous letters, challenges, travel

The Saga Continues

Thee delivery of bags arrived from Southwest delivery service. I wasn’t home when it arrived but the shipment was short! Three out of four bags made it. Where is the fourth and largest bag? Why is it not with the others? 9 days I waited patiently. I guess I will need to hold online with Southwest for many more hours to find out what the problem is. I will also need to verify all contents are intact in the bags that made it to me.

1 hour 40 minutes on hold yields a human, but I get nowhere. I need to call another number and submit a request online again. Big sigh. Take a few deep breaths. Computer issues again after getting a human on the phone so she can’t help me. She was pleasant but unable to assist. Seems like the sad story is consistent since my initial delay. Southwest has technical issues causing rippling effects in all aspects of their deliverables.

Sorry for the delay. I get it. It’s the 3 of 3 bags that I have a problem with. No notice about missing the fourth bag which is what is associated with my trip. I will just be hanging out in a limbo phase until Southwest declares my bag officially lost or delivers it. I just can’t make up this craziness.

No calls. No emails. No updates. The days pile up. The hope dwindles. Then I see a call on my phone from Salt Lake City, Utah. I decide to answer what I would normally consider spam. Why it’s Southwest calling. I think a human is finally calling me back. Nope. It’s a baggage clerk that has my fourth bag. Why is it in Salt Lake City? Did it ever leave there? Did they send it from Denver there? I will never know. The clerk doesn’t even know I have a claim for the bag. Just weird all around.

Day 12 Fedex will deliver my final suitcase. It will take 12 days to get my belongings to me. Fedex can get it to me in 1 day but Southwest takes 12. This is the craziest thing I have ever experienced. I will hold my breath until Fedex delivers since they don’t provide a tracking number. I can only imagine how much Southwest is spending to get suitcases from one end of the country to another.

Everyone has that one friend, right? The one that dares you to do stuff. My special friend wanted a social media post. It looked something like the note below:

This will conclude my Southwest baggage series. Hopefully they make good on my reimbursements or that will be another blog series.

anonymous letters

Shhh

Shush.

Be quiet.

Mind your business.

Don’t ask any questions.

Shhh.

Why is it that people want to put you in the corner? They want to leave you alone. They want to see you but don’t want to hear you. Who wants to be shushed as an adult. Not this girl.

Freedom of speech, didn’t anyone ever teach you that as a kid? If I want to sigh in a business meeting when when somebody says something ridiculous, it shouldn’t be a big deal. When I play tennis and make a sound as I connect my racquet to the ball to emphasize the power of my stroke naturally, I should be able to. When I want to make a new friend and ask their name, it should be no big deal. If my bestie wants to sing her favorite song as she walks in the Walmart parking lot, it shouldn’t cause a commotion.

If there was a car wreck in my path, I would want to stop to see if everyone is okay. I’d stop and ask a question. I’d use my voice. If I had a coworker, I would inquire about their family. Not to be nosy, rather to be genuine. To genuinely get to know the person next to you. I’d be overall curiously engaged. Somehow today this message seems lost to many. So many folks want to mind their business and want you to mind yours. No conversation. No nothing that makes one stand out or command attention. I’m sure I can make my presence known without my words, but that’s not the point of this rant.

Maybe it’s spiraled out of control post-corona: don’t sit close to somebody at work. Don’t make friends at church, watch from home away from others. Don’t talk to strangers? I get that for kids but to me nobody is a stranger as an adult. Don’t even smile with your eyes. Don’t pry into somebody’s personal business. Don’t even make a peep on the tennis court, it’s distracting. Don’t sigh its not polite. Certainly don’t sing like you have your own concert in the parking lot. Nobody invited you to sing. How about screw you!

I will talk to who I want. When I want. I’ll make friends with who I want. I will certainly ignore who I don’t want to go talk to. I will always check in on others. Whether it be for mental health, support, cheerleading , among other valid reasons like checking my daily group chat to see who is the smarty of the day for completing Wordle. I’m a people person. Singing is an outlet for many as is music. Should we not allow music to nourish one’s soul. I don’t deal well with anyone who wants to shush another. It’s barbaric. 

I’m a people person tried and true. You can’t shhh me. You can’t put me in a corner. You can’t tell me don’t. The word don’t insinuates to do in my dictionary. Do it again. Do it many times for flair and reinforcement. I might even be relentless if I know what you told me not to do is talk to others or use my voice. Body language can speak just as loud as words but as long as freedoms exist for speech, don’t try to surpass or shush somebody.

Today’s rant is dedicated to the nice old lady who attempted to shhh me. She should go fly off on her broomstick and shhh herself. Her shhh attempt silenced me for a short time as I was caught off guard. Why would she be so blunt and rude? Oh because she is just that. Blunt and rude.

I do believe words are powerful. I do think writing is therapeutic. I think putting my emotions out into the web shows vulnerability and humility. I also think the variety of topics we cover can lead others to uncover who they are or where they are  going through our virtual voice. Right here on this blog.

Life is full of experiences. Some good. Some not so good. Many I know are up against odds as we speak, but they push through their obstacles. At the same time others stare at obstacles as if they were cement road blocks. A wall that can’t be climbed. A surface that is impenetrable. An invisible wall preventing oneself from being amazing. This is fear. 

Fear of the unknown. Fear of losing. Fear of gaining: fear of experience. Fear of trying. Fear of being good. Fear of losing a job. Fear of hurting somebody’s feelings. Just fear in all aspects.

Todays rant is simple. I was pissed off. I decided to write about it. This is what diarrhea of the mouth or should I say pen or maybe keyboard since this is what our writing looks like. Unfiltered. Just like the murky water of your toilet when you have legit diarrhea. On that visual I will sign off for the evening as I have now began chuckling in my bed as I just wrapped up this post. Laughing now ensures I will sleep well without a wandering mind. No chasing the shhh monster in my sleep tonight. 

Oh how my editor is going to cringe when I say post this bitch uncensored and unedited! I’m sure she will get past the initial shock of it but this pic below probably describes her face as she reaches this point in the post. Do I laugh? Do I cry? Do I say OMG? Do I almost want to barf? Probably all of the above and this pic depicts the oh shit face of tomorrow when this bad boy is read by my team. It will definitely be an oh shit moment or two that I can’t wait for.

Good night to all. Let the your mind rest as you sleep away the woes of today to be fiercely dedicated to making tomorrow awesome. Remember to use your voice. Talk to others. And sing that anthem you love in the public bathroom because you can. Listen with curiosity. And don’t shh or shush anyone. If you shh me, I am not your fan girl at all.

anonymous letters

Just One

I had somebody start a conversation with me recently regarding social media. It was an out of the blue conversation to say the least. However that simple banter made me think about just one picture. How many may view just one picture online and form a conclusion. Make an assumption. Cast doubt. React in haste. Just one picture online could do just that. Wreak havoc. Whether fact or fiction. Online viewers decide without questioning the source most often.

I see pictures as an entry way to story telling. An opportunity to share a lived experience. The photo can be a reminder or a simple visual cue. However my story includes words and a picture to create a story. I’m sure you know how one picture could be presumed to be one way when it was really another without context. Or maybe the picture was just staged for arousal. So many what ifs in the social media media world. For those who watch from afar or surf your friends list to see what’s up in their life online, you may or may not be getting the whole picture. Only a glimpse. Meaning there is more to the story.

Some may post happiness. Others may post sadness. Some may just post for attention. There are even some who post for their family far away to watch their kids grow. The list could go on and on. The point is one picture isn’t life. It’s a moment in time. A story that will fade until the next new story hits.

My coffee cup above is a story in itself. It’s my favorite coffee shop in a little mountain town of Blairsville, Georgia. Sitting on prime real estate on the city square. I guess you wouldn’t know that from the picture alone if you saw this photo on my social media. However, it’s a great spot to visit should you be in the area.

The decor inside is rustic with local flair. T-shirts are sold for extra revenue and advertising by the front counter. Parking isn’t the best but it’s manageable. The staff isn’t always the quickest, but they do things on mountain time which is generally slower than most visitors expect. It closes early thus you won’t find your coffee fix in the evening. A small menu is available for soup, sammies and other breakfast items. The muffins look good but definitely not the most delicious ever as I’m sure they are made offsite. Just a tidbit.

There is always a mix of people in the shop. From those on laptops maybe trying to get a signal while staying in a remote mountain cabin. There are always some locals. The tourist crowd. The passers by. Sometimes you might catch the motorcycle group stopping in for a pit stop. I guess I’d be a regular on an extremely part time basis.

My coffee is to go but as you can see from the picture it’s over flowing with sorghum whipped cream, a local specialty in the fall. Chocolate and caramel drizzle of course. No skimping on the frills at this place. Maybe that’s part of why I like it. A local coffee shop isn’t fixed on fill 3/4 full and put the cover on. Here it’s let them have a few sips before they hit the road. Enjoy the ambiance. That’s exactly what I did. I enjoyed some then hit the road.

I didn’t post this picture on social media rather I wrote this quick story about one of my guilty pleasures in life. A warm cup of coffee. Some fluffy whipped toppings. A little mountain town. A pit stop from life. I am also a huge sucker for those who put messages on cups. This message may be generic but it’s still a good reminder to have fun.

This cute little coffee cup photo story was just meant to show you there was more beyond the picture. It’s still not all encompassing because I never said who I was with, if anyone. I never disclosed when I was present. I never said if I finished the drink or scalded myself before making it to the car. Keeping this in mind unless you actually lived the experience behind the photo you don’t know the whole story. 

Don’t be a social media stalker. Don’t judge others for what they post or don’t post. Let others use social media as it fits their life. Enjoy the nibble you get if you want to look but don’t be that one that creates drama from social media. Remember there are those who use social media for therapy session, political rants and all kinds of other weird stuff.

anonymous letters

Speed Bumps

This post is definitely going to fall into the random category. I’m not sure what else I would classify speed bumps under, but for today I’m hoping you enjoy the random topic.

I suppose my speed bump story started about 9 months ago. A random black wire or cord was draped across the road near my home. Clueless me had no idea what it was but it did look like a power line draped across the road. I can’t recall who I mentioned it to but I was informed it was a speed survey. Low and behold there was a small sign the other way down the road that I never would have seen confirming the speed study.

I didn’t care too much about this event as there are plenty who speed down my road but I was just keeping to myself. Then a petition came. It was for approval of speed bumps, speed humps or speed tables. Again didn’t think much about it, but it was approved. There may be 20 houses on my street and only a percentage had to say yes.

Why is this a big deal? Taxes! Those twenty houses pay for the bill of installing and maintenance. Not the four neighborhoods with hundreds of homes that exit onto the street, just the 20 houses. The bill was $35,000.00 and the amount is spread out over time. Not such a big deal but I would have rather had the option to spend my extra money elsewhere. Such is life.

The installation was messy. It took several days this summer. The project was done as far as speed humps but the signage wasn’t up yet alerting drivers. Well, we had a car go in a ditch. We had motorcycles jumping the speed humps. The list goes on and on. The safety concerns created by the installation that was to make the roadway safe. 

A few of my favorite after installation fun facts are:

Everyone avoids the speed humps by driving around them into people’s yards leaving the most horrendous tire tracks. Oh how mad my neighbor was since he just sodded the area that butts up to the road.

The family that asked for the speed bumps is an older couple. They vacation in Florida 8-9 months out of the year. This means they haven’t even been in town to see the mess they created.

And my favorite is the husband and wife duo that holds their hand over horn while going over the speed humps every day. Every trip. Every time they go over the speed bumps. As if this does anything other than annoy the people who live there. 6 am the guy goes to work. How do I know? Every day like clockwork he holds his hand on the horn as my dogs try to enjoy their morning pee session. I shake my head every time thinking how miserable is this person?

Just a random topic. A rant for you to giggle at. An observation post. For some reason I never really thought about speed bumps until they ended up on my street. I didn’t know there was a process for installing them on your street. I didn’t know why humps or bumps or tables were chosen. I just didn’t notice because it never crossed my path or mattered to me.

Hoping safety prevails in the tale of the speed bumps. Hoping a motorcyclist doesn’t crash in my front lawn after jumping the bump. Hoping the guy and his wife picks up a new habit soon of honking their horn elsewhere.

In today’s crazy world I’m just adding the speed bump story to your day for shits and giggles I suppose.

anonymous letters

Feedback

Feedback is a general term. Feedback is all around us. It can be good or bad. It can be positive or negative. It can be insightful or misinformed. It can be valuable or trash.

As my dad would say, opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one and they all stink. But when someone is paying you or has power over you, their opinion holds greater weight. You can’t just dismiss it as meaningless, no matter how short sighted or bewildering it may be. I guess that’s when, for me, it goes beyond just random opinion and becomes feedback.

Everyone likes positive feedback. It’s great when people love you. But what about when it’s negative? I used to spin out over criticism. I took it personally. I would spend days hashing it over in my mind, maybe with a friend I trusted. I’d often want to take my ball and go home and not play in whatever arena it was anymore. Why play if I am not good at it?

Now I try to reframe criticism as feedback. I think to myself, this person is telling me what is important to them. If my boss is unhappy with things lying around my workplace? He is telling me that his priority is how things look. If he takes me out of meetings that are about teaching and learning, he is telling me my priorities should be elsewhere. If he gets excited about special events and pizza parties, that’s where my attention needs to be.

Same holds true in sales. If a customer doesn’t like what I am selling and they tell me, it’s an opportunity to listen and adjust. I can learn what a customer values by listening to their feedback.

I may see things differently. I can argue that I didn’t get into education and earn a PhD to spend hours on clerical work. I can tell them all the things I do to help teachers. I can explain to a customer all the subtleties and value that I believe they missed.

Maybe I’ll change their minds, maybe not. Maybe I care, maybe I don’t. It’s my choice to play in the sandbox or leave. I can adjust my energy and priorities to match what others want or I can do something else.

Deep down I am a people pleaser and I like gold stars. But I have learned that I can control the amount of importance I give to others’ feedback, whether it’s positive or negative or somewhere in between. I can shake my head and keep going and not let it pull me from my path. Take it for what it’s worth and know that it does not determine my personal worth. Full stop.