Ask Ty...December 13

Q: Dear Ty.

I need your opinion because people around here are making me feel bitter, mean, and old.

Yesterday on the elevator at work -- had just purchased lunch and had my iPod® on, loud. I'm clearly listening to music, loudly. I wanted to listen to music. That's why I had my iPod® on and it was on loud. Got it?

Woman gets on the elevator, I'm holding my lunch (and listening to my iPod®, loud). This is my private moment.

This woman fucking starts talking to me. Since obviously I couldn't hear her I had to take off my earphones to hear her stupid ass question. Turns out, she was asking me where I got my salad.

It woulda been different if she was asking me a worthwhile elevator question like:
"Excuse me, do you happen to know what floor X is on?"
Or, an I-need-assistance question:

"Sorry for interrupting, because of my infant and her medicine my hands are full, would you mind pressing 10 for me?"

Or, if it was the I'm the cool trailblazer kind of question:

"That music is incredible! Could you please tell me who it is? Can I have your autograph?"

or if it was an emergency situation:

"Oh sweet Jesus, I'm having a heart attack - dial 911! Please for the love of God save me!"
But interrupting me, when I am clearly giving an obviously social clue that I don't want to talk to anyone including you? I think that her behavior was simply rude, not to mention incredibly annoying.

Anyway, I come back and join the work “lunch gang” and I bitch about it to the work lunch gang members. One work lunch gang member whom I’ll call “Billy" was all like, "She was just trying to reach out to you person to person - I don't think that's rude at all. In fact, she was probably trying to make a new social connection for herself and for you. You should consider moments like that as precious in today's greedy, individualistic, me-first culture."

I was all like (in my mind) “Dude, you are way too fucking positive and happy for me. Go away and finish another self-help book you started on “positive self-image” or “loving everyone for who they are as you love yourself,” or go back to your incense-burning cult therapy sessions and tell everyone how much you "appreciate" them, or go *****EDITED BY REQUEST*****. Or, better yet, go fucking blog about it."

So, what's your take?

- Annoyed Worker in Maryland

Ty: Good question and an even better observation.

Hummm.... We do live in an information dense and interaction thin society. This makes for confusion and sometimes desperation. People sometimes work up just enough energy to reach out to find common bonds; common likes and common interests. It seems that elevator woman was simply trying to be more like you if not be you. There was interest in you and in your salad. Perhaps the salad was merely symbolic.

Or maybe that woman was simply retarded. IQ of 77 or some shit. WTF? lady.

Jesus! Do you have to wear a fucking sign now a days that actually says, "LEAVE ME ALONE!!"

Of course she shouldn't have asked you anything. She should not have even trespassed into your space let alone look at your food. That's your food, right? And for her to ask you about your food? What is she looking for? A beatdown? A cap in her ass?!

But, to ignore convention, to trample on norms? To start talking to someone who is blasting loud music with earbuds on? That is inexcusable. Simply unjust. That's ignorant. That is wrong.

Yes, had there been an emergency (heart attack or aneurysm) or if she even needed a bit of assistance (like floor button or information). Only then should this creepy dame have attempted any interaction.

The appropriate response to this woman after you took your 'phones out of your ears would have been to say, in perfect English, "I'm sorry I don't speak English." Then put your 'phones back in and rock out!

Now for your friend "Billy." What can I say? He's probably the type to ignore all the modern social signs, trample on norms and start talking to you when you're stuck on the tarmac at O'Hare International for three hours while you're sitting the middle seat of a 737 en route to a family funeral. Middle of a ice storm. The funeral is in China. Everyone can hear Brutal Truth leaking out of your Bose® noise canceling headphones and you're wearing a sweatshirt that reads, "LEAVE ME ALONE!!"

Billy grin and ask, "Did you get peanuts or almonds?" Because he's "reaching out."

You'd miss your flight because you, several other passengers, the flight attendant, and the pilot would beat the shit out of that guy for being too overly positive.

Listen. You are right. The elevator woman is wrong. Billy is wrong. You are right. I agree with you. That's my take.

Or, your just bitter, mean, and old...like me.

Just a guess.