My friend and fellow writer, Margo, has nominated me for another blogging award that-
Hey, wait a minute. Stop running for the door, with terror in your eyes and a determination to take down anybody who gets in your way. Just relax. Yes, this is one of those blogger things where you are supposed to nominate other bloggers but I am not going to do that. I’m going to subvert the proceedings and simply make it all about me, which I’m very good at doing. All you have to do is your normal routine of scrolling through my latest meanderings, possibly leave a comment or two that will help justify my chosen purpose in life, and then rush off to convince 400 of your closest friends to follow my blog. (That last bit came from the part of my brain that still believes in hope and the kindness of strangers. It’s known as the Pollyanna Lobe.)
Firstly, I would like to thank Margo at That Little Voice for nominating me for this illustrious award. (I recently nominated Margo for a Liebster, so you may have already done the clicking bit, but if not, please visit her site. She’s quite lovely, and she makes me smile.) I had never heard of the “Room 101 Award” before now, but I’m sure it has a stellar reputation, and I actually like one of the concepts behind it, making things a bit different from the other awards out there. You get to banish people for bad behavior. Yay! (In the award rules, you are only supposed to banish 5 types of people. This is not a satisfying regulation. I will be expanding and expounding beyond that limit.)
Secondly, some possibly tedious background: “Banished to Room 101” is a plot point from George Orwell’s futuristic novel “1984”, published in 1949. (I will do my best to refrain from pointing out the things occurring in modern society that would necessitate the term “futuristic novel” be updated to “documentary”, at least when it comes to Orwell’s vision. I will not refrain from saying that letting willfully-ignorant people attain positions of power is never a good thing.)
See? All about me.
Back to the quasi-narrative. In Orwell’s fiction/nonfiction, misbehaving people (at least according to the bureaucratic government) were sent to Room 101 to reflect upon their poor attitude and/or face their greatest fears. It was an extreme time-out, an experience that would not inspire Judy Collins to sing about how she can look at clouds from both sides now. Still, at least in regards to this blogger award, the opportunity to banish people who annoy me is like ice cream for breakfast. Here we go…
People Who Should Be Banished to Room 101
1. The shoppers at grocery stores who have clearly pulled a package of something off the shelves, consumed the contents, and then tossed the remaining debris into their shopping cart without paying for the item. This means that the next person who grabs your cart of negligence and sin at the front of the store now has to deal with the fallout of your misdeed.
2. The clerks at grocery stores who gather up the shopping carts left willy-nilly in the parking lot. You couldn’t take two seconds to clean up the aftermath of the previous temporary owner of the cart? Grab whatever it is and throw it in the trashcan before you unceremoniously cram the violated contraption back into the chain-gang of available carts.
3. The cashiers who don’t even bother to grunt during the entire check-out process, shoving a receipt at you and glaring balefully if you don’t run away immediately. Sweetie, I’ve had your job before. And when I had that job, I was nice to people no matter how my personal day might be going. You’ll get over this. And P.S.: “Hello” and “Thank you” are not that hard to say. I’d pull the stick out of your ass, but something tells me you like it there. Have you given it a name?
4. The people at gas stations who don’t pull through to the farthest pump. So that’s how you roll, huh? You got what you wanted, so screw everybody else waiting behind you? Let me guess: You thought Dick Cheney was the best president who was never really a president.
5. The employees at gas stations who don’t take the time to refill the receipt tape at the gas pumps. “Your receipt is waiting inside.” I don’t want to go inside. That’s why I used my credit card out here, so I wouldn’t have to deal with other people, especially those who don’t want to do their job. (And don’t even get started with the “well, maybe the receipt tape just ran out”. It’s clear from the dust on the gas pump that no one has serviced this thing since Sacajawea said to Lewis and Clark “Maybe we should go west.”)
6. The people who zip into handicapped parking spaces and then nimbly hop out of the car and race into whatever establishment, and yet there’s no one else in the vehicle who might need special access. I don’t care if you have the little dangly sign on your review mirror. You clearly don’t need it, you obviously couldn’t care less about making life harder for people with mobility challenges by usurping real estate that doesn’t belong to you, and you suck as an example of humanity. Yet you have the gall to sport a “Jesus is My Co-Pilot” bumper sticker.
7. The people behind you who honk the exact second that the light turns green at an intersection. You really thought it was okay to go there? If you are that self-involved, then you are in obvious need of medication. Perhaps you should adjust your GPS device so that it takes you to the nearest therapist. And when you get there, I hope other people honk at you as you walk across the parking lot and you wet yourself a little. Because, karma.
8. The people who cannot participate in a conversation in real time. Topic A has been discussed, and we have proceeded to Topic B. Topic A is firmly in the archives at this point. Yet you’ve been sitting there, formulating the perfect response to Topic A in your head while the rest of the world moves on. You suddenly spout out some bit of babble that does not pertain to the current flow of dialogue, forcing everyone else at the table to pause and wonder what the hell you’re talking about. This is known as discoursus interruptus, and it is not a good thing. If you miss the window, you miss the window. Life is too short for do-overs.
9. The unsympathetic fools who automatically assume that poor people are poor because they made bad choices. Sometimes they made the best choice they could at the time, and it just didn’t work out.
10. The people at Chinese restaurants who cherry-pick all the good bits out of the offerings on the buffet line, leaving the rest of us to deal with Kung Pao Chicken that does not have any chicken in it.
11. The people who think that burdening our youth with the enormous cost of a college education, a debt that can take decades to pay off, is perfectly fine. Yet these same people didn’t even blink an eye when billions of taxpayer dollars went to the mega-banks that were “too big to fail”. Let’s put the money where it belongs, in the hands of students who are trying to better themselves, and not in the pockets of CEOs who tried to better themselves at the expense of others.
12. The people who still haven’t figured out what that turn-signal thing is on their car. (Here’s a tip: You’re supposed to use it.)
13. The people at happy hour who take one sip of a low-grade alcoholic beverage and then start scream-laughing at everything that is said at the table. You might not think so, but you are very annoying. You need to go back home and practice before you try this again. The proper and respectful consumption of alcohol in a public setting is an art that you have to learn. Perhaps you couldn’t afford the tuition fees? See above.
14. The people who never question the status quo. Progress only happens when people raise their hands. And keep them raised.
15. The executives in the music industry who have long since forgotten, or never knew, what good music really means. Of course, we have lots of blame to spread around here, with some of it shoved toward consumers who don’t think a song is any good unless the requisite accompanying video has plenty of blinking lights and whirling cameras to accentuate the plotless plot.
16. The people at drive-thru ATMS who have apparently never used an ATM before. What could you possibly be doing that is taking thirty minutes? It doesn’t matter how many buttons you push, if you don’t have any money in your account, then you are not going to get a magical gift from Jesus. Put your car in gear and get the hell out of here.
17. The people who are absolutely obsessed with insisting that a woman complete a pregnancy, but then they don’t give a single damn once that child is born, slashing welfare and medical coverage and educational opportunities, refusing to raise the minimum wage, chiseling away at maternity leave and then demonizing the mother when she asks for assistance with raising the child she was forced to carry because a political party is trying to win votes.
18. The people who make personal couture decisions based on what is trending on Twitter. Here’s a thought: How about you wear what you want, cut your hair the way you want, and simply live your life in a manner that makes you happy instead of trying to conform to what some hashtag says you should be? Unless the hashtag is #NoSocksWithSandals. You should share and click “like” on that one.
19. The people who still think “The Walking Dead” is some dumbass series about zombies. There’s more honesty and validation in every single episode than you can find in any of those “reality” shows that have usurped the airwaves. I don’t care if America thinks I can dance. I just want Carol on my side when it hits the fan.
20. The people who walk out of public restrooms, leaving the facility in a condition that looks like the sewage system fought back and you lost. If you are this nasty in public, what does your private bathroom look like? Let us pray.
21. The people who have garage sales every weekend. If your junk was actually worth anything, don’t you think people would have already bought it by now? Haul that mess to the dump and get a fresh start on life.
22. The non-military people who drive Hummers. There is absolutely no reason for this. None.
23. The people who demonize other cultures out of ignorance and fear.
24. The people at restaurants who demand to see the manager because the server didn’t read your mind and instead listened to what actually came out of your mouth. Own your mistakes; don’t point at other people when you get caught with your hand in the stupid jar.
25. The people who cannot open their mouths without belching dissatisfaction and negativity. You woke up this morning, and you are still alive. That’s a pretty good start in my book. Now get off your ass and go build something instead of trying to tear everything down.
26. The “writers” who produce really crappy e-books which clutter up the digital inventory, making it harder for a reader to find something of more substance. I’m not saying that there isn’t a special niche market for things like “Destiny Willowthigh Takes Her Mount to the Burly Blacksmith (Book 1 in the ‘Destiny Rides Everything in Sight’ Series)”. I’m sure Destiny is a very lovely person and her story needs to be told. But it’s a little unsettling to search for “philosophy” in the Amazon bookstore and get a return display where 19 of the book covers feature gauzily-dressed nymphets clinging to chesty men, straddling coal-black stallions, or peering seductively from behind an antique barn door. Meanwhile, down in the right corner of the display, where short-attention span shoppers never make it, we have a single cover featuring the works of Proust, the expression on his face making it clear that he does not relish the company he is currently keeping.
27. The people who cannot see what they have, only what they don’t have.
28. The people who didn’t make it this far in the list because there are more than 140 characters and there are no blinking lights.
Originally published in “Bonnywood Manor” on 02/17/16. Minimal changes made. Since this piece is two years old, the reference to Margo “nominating” me is antiquated, but I liked the flow and I didn’t want to jack with it. (You should still go visit Margo’s site if you haven’t had the pleasure; you’ll be glad you did.) Obvious attempt to jump-start the comments: Who would YOU banish to Room 101?