Grumpy Cat is one of my favorite online memes. I feel a great affinity for that malcontent kitty cat. One meme reads; “B-E-F-O-R-E not B4. I speak English, not bingo.” Were it not for the striking differences in our species, I would think we are related.
Two weekends ago, I was looking for a jigsaw puzzle. I remember doing jigsaws as a child and having a love-hate relationship with them. For one thing, I liked watching the puzzle come together, on the other hand, those small pieces depicting foliage, in a puzzle made up predominantly of trees and underbrush, tended to be viewed with looks that could kill. If I had a fireplace, I would have sent some of those puzzle pieces straight to a fiery hell.
English: Puzzle Krypt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I’m older now. I’m a lot more content in my alone time, and I dislike other humans. Puzzles seem a wonderful way to while away time, without increasing the electricity bill.
So, I went in search of a puzzle suitable for adults. This ruled out the holographic 3D 50 piece puzzles that dominate the shelves. Are we trying to compensate for making ‘easy’ puzzles, by making them holographic? I’m fairly sure when I was younger, puzzles for children aged 8-12 were 100 to 200 pieces, standard. When did 50 pieces, each piece the size of my palm, become de rigueur?
Suffice to say, the search for a sufficiently challenging adult puzzle was not an easy one. Eventually, I settled for one of a geisha on a red-cloud-heavens backdrop. I wasn’t particularly interested in the puzzle, I can tell that all the red around her figure is going to infuriate me when it comes to putting the puzzle together, but I was sort of rushed into the decision.
As I was pondering whether or not I would see red at having to put together so much red, a familiar face walked into the store. I mean that quite literally, it was a familiar face, but I have no idea who this human is. I know I have met him before, my immediate reaction was that I did not like him when I met him, possibly because I found him lecherous. Having said that, my immediate reaction to most people is that I don’t like them. The Familiar One walked over to me with determination. Apparently, I was familiar to him too. Perhaps this mystery would be solved by his comments.
He is a few inches taller than me, with a face the shape, colour and texture of the surface of a sponge cake. Not mottled or pit marked, but not entirely smooth, as if there have been dimples and valleys pressed into his face by a child’s careless hands in play dough. His eyes were dark, like black olives, and he has a large dimple in the centre of his chin. It reminded me of those jewel pins found in cravats, just a hollow in his chin, at once fascinating and repulsive. He was also oily.
He stood too close to me, his chest, which extended outwards in almost comical proportions, pressing into my personal space. The aisle was small, I could not really move back, for fear of standing in painting supplies. We made small talk, and it was all that small talk could hope to be, pointless back and forth making of noises that are accepted as words and sentences. He similarly found my face familiar, but could not recall where he knew me from either. I suggested a few places we could have met, and he dismissed them, on the basis that he works all day, then he works out after work, and finally he goes home. Besides a few social engagements on the weekend, he doesn’t get out much, and therefore the places where we could have met dropped drastically.
Weight Lifting (Photo credit: mjzitek)
He said something unusual; “I’m focusing more on cardio now, and cutting down on weights, so I can trim down,” or something to that effect. I wondered about it then and I wonder about it now – why on earth would you say that to someone you don’t know? Why would I care if you do weights, or cardio? Was that some sort of social precursor to my asking; “What do you bench?”
It struck me as being phoney and a terrible attempt to flaunt one’s physical prowess. Frankly, I really don’t care. I am prejudiced in this regard, in case this wasn’t already obvious. Generally, I am a little wary of people who work out regularly and wax poetic about how their bodies are changing. This is how I think:
- Worst case scenario, they are working on their physique to compensate for a deficiency of personality or brains;
- They previously or continue to have body issues that are so deep that they need to work out and tell all and sundry, in intimate detail, about what they do at the gym, so that they can make peace with their inner demons; or,
- They are part of the new age movement of happy people who eat like rabbits, have one glass of wine a week, and live without really living. Their lives are full of ‘think positive’ anecdotes and post its, ideas gleaned off of Pinterest to be fit and happy. These particular people seem to be obsessed with cursive fonts telling them to breathe deeply and exhale the love of the Universe, as a front to run and hide from the reality that life is hard, painful, and beautifully tragic.
All in all, it is not wise, when you have just met me to tell me, for no reason whatsoever, what you do in a gym.
Moving along, he messaged me later, because I’m weak and gave this person my number, perhaps his Weights faux pas was a minor slip up in an initial impression. His first message; “when u free?”
Consider this, one message of 160 available characters costs a fixed amount. Whether you use all, none or one of these characters, it will charge you for the full 160 characters. I can overlook the spelling of ‘you’ as ‘u’ as that doesn’t bother me overly much. But what happened to ‘are’? For the sake of consistency, he could easily have typed; “when r u free?” that’s an additional 2 characters, at no extra cost. Consider how easy it is to type that particular message, one line, simple structure - how difficult is it to type the full question?!
Let’s play Devil’s advocate;
- He was busy or distracted at the time he sent the message. If that’s the case, I am evidently not worth the time needed to type a proper sentence, what else am I not worth in this person’s mind?
- It was an attempt at Lolspeak, or other modern text based communication, where it is known that the grammatical set up is wrong, but is acceptable because it is tongue in cheek. – The man is in his late thirties, early forties. Best foot forward, let’s speak English, not Engrish.
- That’s how he speaks in spoken conversations, and so he just typed as he speaks. Unless you have a reason for not speaking English at this basic level with a basic degree of proficiency, such as you don’t normally speak English, it isn’t your mother tongue, father tongue or any other blood relative tongue, you’re just being lazy.
And, if Dead Poet’s Society has taught us anything it is this; ”Language was invented for one reason, boys – to woo women – and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do.”