Monday, October 28, 2013

How to Attend a Conference

I am a member of an organization that, among other things, holds conferences regularly thoughout the year at various places. Although they're mostly attended by people in the area, they're open to everyone. These conferences are run by volunteers. That means that the person you're yelling at probably doesn't have any real incentive to fix your problem if you're screaming like an asshole.

Anyway, lots of things happen at these conferences. Some people socialize. Some people attend speakers, some play games. Some people leave the conference and go explore the city. A lot of people drink. Some don't. It's all good. Whatever you want to do is OK (within the available options). The appropriate way to attend the conference is to pay your fee, show up, and not be an asshole to anyone.

The inappropriate way? Start screaming and throwing a fit a week in advance because an event that someone else volunteered to provide at the conference allowed people who drink alcohol to attend, as long as they're not drinking in the room.

Also inappropriate? Go into the event that is for 21+ and start screaming at the caterer (the CATERER?) about why she should not provide delicious food inside the event. Tell her that she instead needs to put the food where people who don't drink aren't required to walk near alcohol to provide it.* The caterer, who makes the food she is paid to make and puts it where she is paid to put it. The caterer who is also a volunteer and gets paid little on top of the cost of her time/materials. The caterer who has no control whatsoever over where to serve her food and who doesn't care at all about whatever your issues with drinkers are.

If you are so very, very sensitive to the idea of other people drinking alcohol in the same hotel as you, or of people you might know drinking in a separate room, then you really probably should stay home. In any hotel, there's a chance that you might encounter that terrifying thing known as alcohol.

Now, if you have a problem and you're seeking help, that's great. Good for you. But maybe you should consider a way to structure your activities in a way that you're not tempted, instead of insisting that the rest of the conference structure their activities around you. Unless the sole reason for the conference is that it's your birthday party (and you're paying for it), you're just not that special.

Also inappropriate? Showing up in the areas where food is being prepared and insisting that they allow you to come in with your dog. Yes, legitimate service animals are not subject to the same general restrictions as other pets. (Of course, we all know that this isn't really a service animal.) But there's no reason that you, a random attendee to the conference, needs to be in the food production area at all. If it is impossible for you to enter the food preparation area without your dog, we don't want you there. Even dog lovers (and I truly do love dogs - it's people I don't lie) don't want your dog food in their food.

So, to avoid being an asshole, please, please, please, do not impose your personal issues on every other person attending a conference that is hosting hundreds of people.

* By near, I mean "in the same room." It's not like the table of delicious food was set up on the other side of a pool of gin that took up the entire room, forcing people to swim across if they wanted to eat.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Don't Screw Your Ex Over

Wait, what? Now see, at first, you were making some sense. But now you're just talking nonsense. I can't screw over my ex? But we broke up! HE/SHE NEEDS TO SUFFER!!

See, now, that's just crazy talk. Generally, when a relationship ends, it is not 100% the fault of either person involved. Even when one person cheats, it's usually because the relationship was already not working. (Also, if you're one of those supreme assholes who cheats on someone and then tries to ruin their lives, then go ahead and stop reading now. I can't help you. You probably also think that McDonald's made you get fat because you had to eat there every day. No, seriously, stop reading. I don't want to talk to you.)

Now, it's true that some people could really use a lesson in how to end a relationship without being a total dick about it. If people want those lessons, I'm happy to give them. Anyway, still - be the bigger person. Don't seek revenge. Don't call them 50 times a day and drive by the house regularly (if your end goal is to get slapped with a restraining order and possibly stalking charges, OK. But it will hurt your future job prospects). Don't pretend to be pregnant so you can then ask for the money for an abortion and spend it on a vacation (that's also called "stealing," in some cultures - like all of them).

And if you're married or own a house together, don't scream and cry and throw fits so you can keep living in the house, then refuse to make mortgage payments for the sole satisfaction of ruining your ex's credit. That's not a fitting "punishment" for a relationship that didn't work out. Plus, you're only hurting yourself - especially if your name is on the loan, too. Why would you want to destroy your own credit to hurt someone else? That's just silly.

When a relationship ends, be the bigger person. You want to scream and cry and rant to your friends, that's OK. When you start talking about burning her house down or making up crazy plans to ruin his life, that's just crazy and vindictive. Don't do it. Go see a therapist. And find ways to heal that do not require you to be an asshole.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Emotional Support Animals are Horseshit

Your teacup poodle/cat/iguana/elephant/snake/cockroaches are not service animals. There is no such thing as an "emotional support animal." You are not special. You do not have a disability. (Wait - is an over-inflated sense of entitlement a disability? I hope not.) Service animals are for people who are actually disabled, you asshole. People who cannot see need dogs to help them walk around without running into things or getting run over by cars. These are trained working animals, not pets. By claiming that you have a "condition" that requires that you take your precious Fluffy everywhere, you're cheapening the ADA for those who need it. The boy who cried ADA means that, in the future, any time someone actually needs assistance, people will just roll their eyes and whisper about "special privileges." Stop it. Be a grown-ass adult and deal with the fact that pets aren't supposed to go everywhere people go.

Did you ever stop to consider that there are people who are so highly allergic to dogs that you are physically endangering them by taking your dog into a restaurant? Of course you didn't - that would imply that you had stopped to think about someone else. Maybe if you have so much anxiety that you can't leave the house without your cat, you should take Valium, like everyone else. Your narcissistic selfishness should not be the rest of the world's problem.

I'm so glad that the ADA finally caught on and updated their definition of service animal to stop self-entitled assholes from being able to parade any animal they can manage to attach to a leash everywhere they want to go. A service animal must be a dog. But that doesn't stop those with breeds that could not possibly be providing any assistance from trying to pretend they're disabled.

(Side note: when did having a disability go from being something embarrassing and hidden to something people fake to get their way? Is this better?)

Now, if you actually are disabled, and you actually need assistance, that's fine. If you are blind, I hope your trained service dog is sitting next to you while you read this. But, for the love of god people, stop claiming made-up disorders because you really, really like a specific apartment and want to move in despite the no pets policy. Being an asshole is not a disability.

Friday, August 16, 2013

How to Yield to Pedestrians

The pedestrian always has the right of way. Allow me to repeat that. The pedestrian always has the right of way.

I know I used some big words in there (well, one big word, twice), so allow me to help you out. The pedestrian is the person walking. Sometimes, the pedestrian is also the person in this scenario that is freezing, getting rained on, or is hot and miserable. The pedestrian is not the person sitting comfortably in in his climate-controlled big "I have a tiny penis" truck, honking and swearing at the person that had the nerve to use sidewalks for their intended purpose. That person is the asshole.

Now, when I say "always" has the right of way, I actually mean that. If I walk in front of your car when you have a green light, it doesn't matter. I still have the right of way. I get to go. You can't hit me. You have to stop. Now, I'm not an asshole, so I don't do that. However, when I am walking in a crosswalk, with a green walk signal, I still have the right of way, you jackass! You're not allowed to drive around me. You're not allowed to try to hit me. And you're not allowed to honk at me as if I'm too stupid to see the giant truck breaking all traffic laws in an effort to try to bully me out of the way. The person turning left is required to yield both to incoming traffic and to pedestrians. Allow me to review all of the reasons you are wrong in this scenario:

  1. I am a pedestrian.
  2. You are not a pedestrian.
  3. I have a green signal, allowing me to walk.
  4. I am in a crosswalk.
  5. You are turning left.
  6. All of those things mean that you do not have the right of way.
So, what makes you think it's OK to honk and scream? Is it the fact that you're an asshole? Or did you want a lecture on traffic laws delivered by a small blonde woman at the top of her lungs in the middle of a busy intersection? Because then, you're just holding up traffic, asshole.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What It Means to Be a Tenant, Part 2

We've already talked about how, when your lease is up, you need to move out, especially if you're not paying rent. But apparently, some people don't really understand what moving out means, so let me help you.
  1. You take your stuff with you. It's not the landlord's responsibility to figure out what to do with your stuff, and it's a complete dick move to leave the landlord wondering if you've actually vacated. Do you really want to be both a dick and an asshole? You don't care? Do you want to pay whatever it costs the landlord to have all your shit removed? Ok, then. Take it with you.
  2. You clean the place so it looks as good as it did when you moved in. Did it look awful when you moved in? Was there trash in the corners? If not, the non-asshole thing to do is to take a couple of hours to fix it up (unless you don't care about having cleaning costs deducted from your deposit).
  3. You return the keys. This lets the landlord know that you've left and he can enter. It can also prevent the landlord from charging you to change the locks. And let's be honest - you know that you don't need the keys anymore, so you're keeping them for one of two reasons: Because you're so insanely lazy that you should be ashamed of yourself or because you're an asshole. Neither of those is a good reason.
  4. If you want your security deposit back, you leave a forwarding address.
Easy, right? I've done it 100 times. Now you try it.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Get a Job

Now, there are a lot of people out there who are looking very hard for a job and trying to find work, yet unable to do so. I'm not talking about you. There are also assholes out there who refuse to work and get a job because they think the world owes you a living. Being able to stay home and not have a job is a luxury. It's not your god-given right. It's also not something that you "earned" or deserve because you had a relationship that didn't work out. The other parent is required to support children from the relationship. They're not required to report a custodial parent that wants to live off child support because you think you somehow should get paid for a breakup. It's not OK to refuse to look for a job in order to squeeze a former partner dry. Say you managed to remarry. Great! Congratulations! Good for you! That doesn't mean you can quit your job, live off your new spouse, and simultaneously try to up your old spouse's support obligation so you can sit around eating bonbons and watching soap operas all day. Sure, it hurts your ex, which is clearly what you want to do. But it also hurts your children when they see how you're using them, and it just makes you an assholes.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Be a Good Neighbor (Or at Least, Not a Shitty One)

Your house is your castle. I get that.  You are king of your castle.  However, your rights to be happy and comfortable in your home end where they start infringing on someone else’s rights to enjoy living in their home.  Do you love watching TV late at night?  Great!  Turn down the volume.  Most places have noise ordinances, and if you only have an enormous television, there’s a good chance that watching it between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. is a violation of the law.  Make sure it’s low enough that people trying to sleep around you aren’t disturbed.

You want to smoke pot?  Well, OK, that’s illegal (and, really, kind of sad if you’re older than college-aged), but - whatever.  But when you smoke in your apartment, all of your neighbors are getting high, too, whether they want to or not.  Maybe buy an air purifier or something to keep the smoke from disturbing everyone else.  Some of us really can’t afford to get the munchies.

Other ways to be a good neighbor involve:
1.  Cutting trees that invade your neighbor's air space or grounds.
2.  Paying your share to maintain a joint fence.
3.  Not walking your dog on their lawn.
4.  Not allowing your pet to terrorize or attack their pets.
5.  Calling 911 if their house is on fire.

Ways to be a bad neighbor:
1.  Laugh when your dead tree falls on the neighbor's house (you'll stop laughing when you get the bill!)
2.  Refusing to contribute to the share of maintaining a joint fence while insisting that your neighbor replace it and refusing them to walk on your property to do so.
3.  Encouraging your dog to shit on their lawn, sidewalk, driveway, etc.
4. Laughing when your dog eats their cat and/or children.
5.  Setting the neighbor's house on fire just watch it burn.