A PRIMcess misstep

 

 

Hello gentle reader,

You might think that, because I write about etiquette and manners, I am above making mistakes that might revolve around those two subjects.

Not so much.

Part of manners is recognizing tone.  Tone can change the whole meaning of a message.

My example.  I have a podcast I listen to religiously. It has a current events/sports bend, and last week the host told a story about being hung up on by his local gas company.   As it happens, I used to work in a call center when I was a starving student, and have some funny stories from the “other side” as it were.

So I sent an email, my first ever, to this podcast, brief and witty, sharing my experiences.  And joy of joys, it got read “on air”–super thrilling!!!

But in reality, it was MORTIFYING!  The funny anecdotes about my call center days came off, in someone else’s voice, as shockingly vindictive.  Ack!!!  I went back and listened again.  Am I being sensitive?  Am I imagining things?  No, my tone, instead of being inclusive “I’ve been there with you from the other side” came off as something completely, negatively, different.

I listened a third time, this time with an ear of what I should have written.  Then went back to the email in my Send folder.  Literally, three different words, in three different sentences, would have changed the tone of my communication to what I truly meant.

A live and learn moment.  And a lesson that manners is not just in the actions, but sometimes in the minutia.

 

We are in this together…

A slight departure from the regular tone of this site, though perhaps not.

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives.  That is true everyday, but here in the States, today has a little more gravitas than usual.  Because yesterday, one of the most divisive election cycles finally came to an end with the inauguration of Donald J Trump as President of the United States.

Say what you want about the outgoing commander-in-chief, but he and his family were shining examples of class and elegance.

And say what you want about President Trump, but civility and decorum are two words even his most aligned allies will never say about him.  But I digress…

I am an American.

Above most other things really. I am a woman, true to myself.  I am a wife and a mother, and a friend. And by a lucky accident of birth, I am an American, instead of Polish, or Kenyan, or Russian. I feel a tremendous amount of pride when I hear the Star-Spangled Banner. The story of our founding father speaks to me and though I know we are not a perfect union, we strive….

I think that America is a grand and beautiful experiment that is unique, and wonderful and greater than the sum of its parts.  Yes, we have failed.  So many times on so many fronts.  We will fail again, and again.  But we will also try again, and slowly but surely we as a united people form a better nation.  So #notmypresident, while I understand the spirit, for me is not true.  Because I am American, he is my president.  We are in this together.

We are the same you and I, fellow Americans. It doesn’t matter if your brown and I’m white. It doesn’t matter that you’re a man and I’m a woman. It doesn’t matter that you arrived here last week and my family arrived in 1637. It doesn’t matter that you voted for Trump and I voted for Hilary. It doesn’t matter. We are in this together.

The funny thing?  The stereotypical white guy Trump voter in the “Make America Great Again” baseball hat and the newly arrived Muslim Syrian refugee have more in common than not. We all want this country to thrive and prosper. We want to be safe. We all want basic needs, for ourselves and hopefully to have enough grace to hope the same for our neighbors.  We want to leave a better world for our children (we want to leave a world for our children).  We want our taxes to mean something, and not fall into a black hole of fiscal irresponsibility.  We want a job we can take pride in.

When you consider that the majority of our life goals are the same, the name calling and vitriol seems a bit silly, on the face of it. When we label our neighbors as confused, or uneducated, or worse, it does us all a disservice. As Americans, it is time to come together. What is a libetard?  Your neighbor who supports the ACA because cancer runs in their family and she is scared to death of lifetime insurance caps?  Perhaps that perspective is what is needed, the hearing of our individual stories, so that you, gentle reader, can overcome your distaste of said neighbor’s “I’m With Her” bumpersticker.

I can’t believe that President Trump and his rhetoric represents America. I know that it doesn’t represent me. Do we really hate each other as much as Trump, and the media, say we do?.  Our government represents us, the people.  Make your voice heard.  Ditch the labels.  Think independently. Heck, color outside your party lines.  Democratic leaning citizens can want fiscal conservatism.  Republican leaners can support healthcare for all. We are complex beings living in a complex world.  Rarely does one perspective represent a person completely.

Show what is important to you.  And, I am fine with whatever is important to you being something that I am against.  Please show me the same courtesy. It is not a lost cause. We need to see an outpouring of activism, of being involved in the choices that are happening in Washington, at the state level, at the local level.  The world is big enough for all of us to passionate and involved, without stooping to racism and name calling.

Over half of registered voters in the US didn’t vote in this very contentious and very important election. Say what??!? For God’s sake, now is the time! Whatever you are passionate about, get involved.  Volunteer time. Write a check.  Make a sign. Talk to someone at your local level in government. Attend a school board meeting.  Support the Alderman’s race or the city council.  Find out what your local arts commission needs and spread the word.

We are in this together. We always have been, and by the luck of birth or by the sweat of your brow you are now in this country and part of this vast and wonderful experiment.  So, let’s act like we are in this together.  Everyone deserves respect and a voice.

We are in this together.  United we stand.  Let’s unite.

Monday Manners Quote :

“You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.”

-Indira Gandhi

Can we let this sink in a bit?  In this new year, we, as citizens of the world at large need to work together, and put aside political parties, skin color, religious and sexual differences and come together as one.  One people, one race, one global community.

Happy New Year.  My wish to you, gentle readers, is that every day you do something small to change YOUR world.

Hot Yoga Etiquette: For Beginners and Yogis Alike


dhyana-yoga-origin_copy

 

Talk about a specialty topic!!  Hot yoga is the practice of yoga in a heated room, usually between 95-104 degrees.  The heat aids in pain management and flexibility, and I have been a practitioner off and on for about four years.  Besides the physical exertion of the exercise, it is the meditation portion of the proceedings that help me feel sane in this insane world, and when I don’t attend for a stretch, I REALLY miss it!

That being said, there are a couple of things that hot yogis should keep in mind when attending class:

 

  • No strong odors!  Good or bad.  In the heat, smell travels.  Strong laundry detergent may affect your neighbor as much as stinky feet.
  • Allow room for your fellow yogis, both to allow you to do postures without intruding on each other’s personal space, and at the end of the session when you are exiting.  I am far from a germaphobe, but one of the grossest things I can think of is someone ELSE’S sweat dripping on me as they exit the hot yoga room because that someone else is taking a short cut and I am still in savasana.  Stop It.
  • Follow the rules of the room.  At our studio, there is no talking in the yoga room.  At all.  It seems a bit draconian, but the thing is, it is the ONLY place in my entire life that there is no talking, no computer, no cell phone, and I can’t explain how healing that is for the amount of time I have for that particular class.  Conversations with fellow practitioners at my studio bear this feeling out. When a new yogi, or an inconsiderate one, chats with their friend while waiting for class to begin, it is like fingernails on a chalkboard.
  • No electronics in the yoga room.  See above.
  • If you must leave in the middle of class, don’t make a big production out of it.  Quickly and quietly leave, between postures if at all possible, attend to whatever it is you need to attend to, and come back.  Hold the door so it doesn’t slam.  Also, if you think you need to leave because of the heat, try lying in savasana with your eyes open and concentrating on your breathing.  Close your mouth, nose breathing only. This becomes a mediation state, and really does work.
  • After class, clean the area around you according to your studio’s procedures.  My studio as a melaluca and water solution to spray the area with, as well as absorbent towels for really heavy sweaters.
  • Save questions about postures, etc. for before or after class.
  • Dress appropriately.  Because it is, frankly, hot as hell, most folks tend to go minimal.  Which is FINE!  What is less than okay is garments that show your ‘goodies’, shall we say, as you move through postures, clothing that becomes transparent when wet, or clothing that when wet with sweat, gaps in previously unrealized ways.  Closer fitting tops work better than oversized t-shirts, on a practical level, for women. Men, you lucky dogs, shirts are optional. Also, men and women, this is NOT the time to go commando, okay?  Just trust me on that one.  I’ve seen WAY more than I want to see of perfect strangers, and say a pray that I haven’t, in turn, provided the same show.

If you are thinking of trying hot yoga for this first time, these are easy, and mostly comment sense, ways to make the class enjoyable for all the participants.  For us ‘old hats’ this serves as a gentle reminder, and will help bring new converts into the practice we love!
Namaste

 

Is ‘guys’ an offensive form of address?

I live in Seattle, and the reputation that we are cooler, more casual, and less ‘obnoxious’ (unless we are talking football) than other areas of the country is sometimes well deserved.  However, as this little blurb that appeared today in the Seattle Times, the polar opposite is also true.

In the Rant and Rave column, this gentleman well, rants, over the behavior of his server in (apparently) more than one unnamed restaurant:

“To the wait staff in supposedly sophisticated restaurants who habitually address my wife and I as “guys” as we sit down to dine. I assume they’re not blind and this insulting address is part of Seattle’s legendary and puerile informality. How gauche! Next time this happens we’ll call out the fool and leave.”

First off, I want to thank this gentleman for today’s self improvement; I had to look up the word ‘puerile‘ to determine that this person considers informality ‘childish, silly and trivial.”  How Downton Abbey of him! But to the point, is using the word ‘guys’ really insulting?

Officially no.  According to Merriam-Webster, the word ‘guy’ used as described above is perfectly correct.  The actual definition: “used in plural to refer to the members of a group regardless of sex” fits this scenario. That being said, as a server, I have to admit I would probably not use the word, unless I was addressing a particular demographic, say 20-something males at a sports bar, casual dinner, or otherwise obviously just having a good time.  If it was the same 20-something men at a business or formal function, I would say gentlemen, and if it was a mixed group…this is where the northern climes of the United States have a distinct disadvantage compared to our southern cousins, as in: What is the northern equivalent of y’all? Or folks?  To say either of these words north of the Mason-Dixon line is to invite a query about your ancestry, and if you don’t have answer that includes southern heritage, some odd looks.

For the particular situation above, that so incensed this “ranter”, I would probably just use the collective you, as in, “What brings you in tonight?”  Said to the table, with eye contact to both individuals, shouldn’t cause any outrage.

All that being said, is “guys” really insulting?  Emphatically no.  It may be a bit lazy, socially speaking, and there may be situations where an alternative is definitively the better way to go, but guys (see what I did there), in today’s social and etiquette environment, guys is a more than acceptable stand-in for addressing a mixed group.

What are your thoughts on this?  Please start a conversation in the comments!

 

Monday Manners Quote: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices.

                                                                                             -Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Is  that what the issue is with actually having manners today?  No one is willing to sacrifice 10 seconds of their time to hold a door, to say please, or to show respect to an elder?