You know, like a TED Talk? But more...Googier. Mayhem is my word. "A very confused situation" is the definition of this word that I'm going with. I don't particularly enjoy confusion. I doubt many of us do. So to avoid confusion, we ignore things we find confusing. I already talked about this a little when I posted my YSM Mayhem page. I realize that some people, hearing that this is my word, will immediately think I intend to cause harm. This is NOT the case. I simply won't let you do harm to me. Already in 2012 there are a LOT of things that would like to cause mayhem in my life. I mentioned eBay sellers and a class I wasn't happy with and possibly bank fraud. There have been other incidents ALREADY. Another with my bank, and with my gas company (who lets me have HEAT in this beautiful Minnesota winter), and my water company, and my apartment building, and my neighbors. All have been handled and dealt with swiftly. The best was the gas company - the woman I spoke to was amazing. The worst? The bank. The idiots there have NO idea how to speak to a human being other than to spout words from a script.
I don't think of myself as a MEAN person. I think meanness has to do with intent and I do not intend to be mean. However, I am not all-accepting, either. I am not going to sit and listen to you spout nonsense because you're my friend's friend and I "have to" be polite. If you're not being polite, I'm not going to be. If I've paid for something and it's not what it was advertised to be, I don't just say "oh well" and toss it into the junk drawer. I dig the receipt out of the trash and take it back. I leave negative feedback for crappy eBay sellers and I don't feel like that's being MEAN - it's being HONEST. If 99% of people have an awesome experience and only 1% have a shitty one, that doesn't mean the one percent doesn't deserve to be heard. My husband and I are the only people who have complained about our ridiculously loud neighbors - I don't care that no one else is bothered by the noise. I'M BOTHERED. I refuse to just "take" things. I'm just not going to do it. Does it make me mean? Lots of people will say "Oh, no, you're not mean, you did exactly what you should have done." But most of them wouldn't have done it. Because they're nice and I'm not? I want my son to be a kind, gentle person. I want him to not litter and to be polite. But I also want him to be able to stand up, not just for himself, but for others when somethings's wrong and say "That's not right and I'm not going to go along with it."
I refused to sign the "bed bug addendum" that our new management tried to slip into our lease when we renewed. I've lived here for 3 years and not had bed bugs, if I get them at this point it's because someone else brought them into this building - why would I sign a paper absolving the apartment complex of responsibility? Does that make me mean? My husband was like "Oh, yeah. I didn't think about it like that." You can damn well be sure the management company did.
I had a boyfriend go with me once when I was getting a gym membership. The signup fee was ridiculous and it was one of those "clubs" where there are levels of membership and the "gold" membership had all these stupid options. When I told the man who was trying to sell me a load of bullshit that I knew exactly what I wanted in a gym membership and that I wasn't their disgusting jacuzzi where sweaty people soaked after a workout, he sold me the membership I wanted at the price I wanted and I took my little key-card thingy and walked out. My boyfriend (who I'd been dating for two years) was astonished. Same thing when I was buying a car and the idiots at the dealership hit some snag with the financials after I already had the car and they were telling my husband they would report it stolen. I called their sorry asses and told them to call the police. I had a copy of the ownership paperwork - how could they possibly think the police would agree with them? They don't - it's just a scare tactic. Trust me, they were the ones freaked out when I threw the keys and them and demanded my money back for them being assholes. They can't sell a "returned" car for anywhere close to what I'd paid for it because it's not "new" anymore. I got lifetime free oil changes out of it.
But lately - and by that I mean for the past five years or so - I've just been letting things slide. I'm often circling the drain of depression just waiting for it to suck me in and I don't have the energy to fight these battles. I sign the check, or the permission form or whatever just to make people get away from me. I retreat to the couch and eat Zingers and try to remember when I wasn't this person. I have a teacher once say "Don't waste time being who you are. Be who you want to be." I've tried to find out if it was a quote from someone, but I can't find it online so I honestly have no idea. Who I want to be is a confident person who isn't afraid of other people. Who doesn't get pushed around or railroaded, who stops and says "Hey, wait a minute. That doesn't make any sense." The kind of person who is OK with mayhem if the calm, glossy surface isn't the truth.