Saturday, February 02, 2008

If It Hadn't Given Me A Decent Blogpost, I'd Have REALLY Gotten Irritated

This is an open letter to the woman standing in line behind us at Best Buy today as I waited for the Head Geek to finish trying to reassure us that we weren't getting screwed again as we sent out Jared's laptop for service for the third time. For the same problem. Under its one-year warranty. (It is a Toshiba, fyi.)

But I digress.

Dear Ms. X.--

Hi. You won't remember us, but we sure will remember you! It was actually hard to concentrate on what the computer technician was saying when all we could hear was your snapping, popping, and cracking behind us. I never knew that kind of volume could be produced from the human mouth and gum before. And you were keeping a discreet distance of a few feet behind us in line, too. As a high school teacher, I recognized the sound, and couldn't help but turn around, expecting to see a teenaged girl who could possibly be coaxed or embarrassed a bit into more courteous behavior by a rather curious stare. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw you. (For a couple of reasons, which I shall enumerate.)

You are clearly, at age 35-40something, old enough to behave better. When I caught a glimpse of your grinding maw, you were oblivious. You were staring off into space with the look of a somewhat contented bovine chewing its cud in a pasture somewhere, mouth hanging open, jaw working its wad, eyes glassy and fixed on something in the distance. About every third chew, you produced a snap worthy of a whipcrack, yet you registered nothing in your expression, not even a little self-congratulatory smirk. I was transfixed by your sophomorically rude behavior. That, and your tragic outfit.

Madam, no one--and let me be very clear here--no one should wear a baseball cap inside a building unless that building is a domed baseball stadium and one is a spectator at a baseball game. Or a player in said game. And you are far too mature in years to be wearing a "varsity-style" short jacket made of obviously fake "leather," even if said pleather is on the sleeves only. I suspect it was not even yours, but possibly one of your sons'. May I say that I even hope so. Plus, it made you look...stumpy. You are not a tall nor a...slim woman. Which leads me to your trouser selection. Ma'am, black polyester stretch is simply not a good look on most women, and a strange bellbottom that did not even meet the top of your sad, shabby (were they grey or just horrifically dirty?) tennis shoes did not improve this look on you. Certainly we are both fortunate that I did not look at your shirt/top choice. I shudder at the thought.

Finally, if you thought, Oh, I'm just running out to Best Buy to pick up the computer. Who will notice what I look like? then you shouldn't chew gum. Because you can't do so quietly and courteously and without drawing attention to yourself.

I noticed what you looked like. And I have a thing about rudeness and bad fashion.


  1. That was an awesome, truly awesome rant! I absolutely hate the gum crackers and I swear they are usually the 40+ set. My children get mad at me because, many times, I will loudly talk to them about how rude it is to crack one's gum. I will also speak loudly about people who run right over you when you open a door as if they are entitled. Of course, often times I run out in my P.J.'s, but I don't chew gum and *hope* I am an under the radar flyer. Oh..and I love, love, LOVE lilacs the best really too.They just don't last as long as those carnations.

  2. I HATE gum cracking!!!! I hope you gave her "the look". And yes, you have a "look".

  3. *currently rethinking my choice of attire for the grocery store run I'll be making later*

    Great post! :)

  4. My boyfriend had many troubles with his Toshiba when it was under one-year warranty as well. Makes me shy away from them!

    I see a lot of bad fashion at Max and Erma's. Too bad it would be rude of me to dish out fashion advice with someone's meal!

  5. The bovine factor convinced me to stop casual gum chewing back when I was in college. But, it is good to chew on when one is going to one's dentist and one has forgotten one's toothbrush.

  6. Anonymous5:03 AM

    T's not that people in Belgium dress spectacularly well, it's just that there's a definite absence of full blown fashion disaster and slovenliness. I'm going to miss that...

  7. v-grrrl--But what about singularly rude gum-chewing? Do the Belgies indulge in that?

    nancy in a2--Emergency Dentyne is understandable. but impersonating Elsie in public at a decibel level worthy of a cement mixer is not.

    jenomena--do not get me started on attire at "family" restaurants. personally, if i were in charge, i would ban all athletic wear from head to toe in public unless one is participating in an athletic contest. and dining does not count, despite the lack of table manners on display by some individuals.

    ck--oh my. the fact that you have to rethink makes me worry a little. may i recommend a nice, long trenchcoat and some pretty ballet flats for such runs? they can camouflage a myriad of "sins."

    nina--i like to think i save "the look" for those under the age of 20. sigh. control issues...

    laura--good heavens, please tell me that "PJs" does not stand for "pajamas", or I may become seriously ill. you need a good transitional outfit that has the comfort of pajamas but the dignity and acceptability of actual daywear. (and the transience of lilacs is sad, isn't it? they don't last more than a couple of hours, truly, inside a vase. it's like trying to make a wild animal a pet.)

  8. Anonymous4:51 PM

    Hi Nance,

    One of my very favorite sports is to go to the boardwalk in Atlantic City, sit on a bench for a couple of hours and watch the outfits go by.You just know that as they were getting dressed they were thinking.........

    "Oh, what shall I wear to casino today? I know, my bright red polyester stretch pants that are two sizes too small, with the purple tube top that my boobs fall out of and the dirty tennis shoes.
    Yeah! That's the ticket. Wait, how about the oversized blue sun glasses with the silver stars? They'd look good with this outfit."

    "Got any gum???"

  9. I had to chuckle because as I read that, I was cracking my gum! I do that know, in private...I mean, well shit, I like the sound!

    But rest assured Nance...I will never do that while behind you in line at Best Buy!

  10. Ouch! I hope you never catch me when I'm running out quickly in my sweats! I don't think I crack my gum though.

  11. I stopped wearing sweats back in junior high or so. Never again. The closest I'll get is yoga pants or gym pants...and only for working out in.

  12. just so you know, for future reference of course, I'm going to be 30 in a few days.

    (I do believe I've gotten "the look" before)


  13. nina--lol. then you certainly must have deserved it. and haven't you heard? 30 is the new...oh, never mind. 30 is 30 and no big deal. wait till you're as old as i am.

    i.h.--thank goodness. i find no discernible difference btw "yoga pants" and "pajamas". really.

    anali--if you are really "running" out, i have no issue. and if that person had maintained civility, i'd probably not have noticed her egregious attire.

    tera--certainly you may make whatever bodily noises you wish within the confines of your home. i think we all do. but inflicting them upon others in public is when i take issue. what if i enjoy imitating al pacino's "hoo-ah!!" at the top of my voice, a la his "scent of a woman" character? wouldn't you find that objectionable when you are trying to find your ATM card in your purse at the grocery store? i think so. that's all i'm saying and i know you appreciate me.

    hi, nancy--actually, i doubt very seriously that some individuals are thinking at all.

  14. Pajamas are a distinct group of clothing - I think you could wear pajamas to work out in, but anything I'd call "yoga pants" would generally not be something I'd want to sleep in. Too heavy, maybe? I dunno.

  15. Tera is lying...she's a HUGE gum cracker and it drives me CRAZY!!!! I almost called her out on that in my first comment but decided to give her a chance to come clean about this nasty habit. Humph.

  16. Your footsteps are truly haunted by gum snappers and crackers! It's something I haven't heard since high school. Out in public is cruel and unusual punishment!

  17. Nina...I have a few choice words for you, but I respect Nance's blog too much to say them...give me a call tonight!

  18. AND for the record, I am not a HUGE gum cracker...admittedly I used to be until I realized how annoying it was and wanted to ask someone else to stop!!!

    Now I am just a take THAT Nina!

  19. That could have been me. Oops! I don't chew gum. Also, when wearing my "just-need-to-run-to-the-store-and-nobody-will-notice" look, I generally choose jeans and a nice flannel shirt that would work well for a lumberjack. Worn under a winter coat, unaccompanied by gum-smacking, I can almost travel incognito. ;-)

  20. ortizzle--so glad to see you come out to play, FINALLY!! and, please promise me that it is a NICE coat, and that the jeans are of the appropriate length and accompanied by good shoes. sigh...a flannel!?!?!? REALLY?

    tera--thanks for playing nice here at the Dept.

    j.--honestly! i can understand it from a teenager who is slightly under-evolved, but...!!

    nina--your restraint is appreciated.

    i.h.--i only sleep in one of rick's old teeshirts. bottoms bug me. i get all tangled up and can't turn around easily. yikes. TMI. sorry.

  21. No, I usually have to really be craving a bunch of grease to eat them! And I used to wear mascara up until I found myself to lazy and hating to romove that crap!


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