In 2008, we moved into our home. We were friendly and optimistic and went to introduce ourselves to our neighbors on both sides, as well as down the street because .. that’s what you do, right? At our old house, a lady flat out came inside as we were moving to introduce herself .. and to ask if we still needed that throw pillow, cause she really liked it and could use it. See, even if your neighbors are crazy, you still should be kind. Because they’re your neighbors.
And in reality, that’s the best part of neighborhoods. You each have your own space. You meet on common ground, or you invite eachother over, but you have your own little territory that’s yours. (Granted, we learned that we could not leave anything outside in the front yard or our same crazy neighbor would take it and sell it.)(She was AWESOME.)
So, our new house. We met our neighbors.
In October of 2008, we put out a yard sign for the presidential candidate we were voting for. It was Barack Obama. No house around ours had any signs for any candidates. But our neighbors, while never truly friendly before, turned COLD. At Halloween, families literally turned on their heels and left our driveway when they saw the Obama sign. THEY TURNED DOWN FREE CANDY BECAUSE WERE DEMOCRATS. WHILE TONY AND I WATCHED THEM FROM LAWNCHAIRS. It was the most rude thing I’ve ever seen.
Since then, our neighbors on one side have openly and verbally forbid their granddaughter (who is only a month older than Tony) from even SPEAKING to him. THEY ARE CHILDREN. But she is not allowed to play with him. They tell her this. WHERE WE CAN HEAR THEM. Bullying is not just for kids.
A local beautician did a fantastic job of coloring a local business-0wner’s hair in a rainbow of colors. It wasn’t a surprise to the owner, as she was there and volunteered for it. And she did an amazing job of it. It’s gorgeous. Healthy, vibrant, and amazing. Seriously, if my hair was still long, I would totally do that. (Seriously, go look!)
The comments on the article (I KNOW: SARAH, QUIT READING THE COMMENTS ON NEWS SITES!) are mind-numbing. They criticize her work, mock her industry, and (most hilariously) blame the current administration for this. Yes, they think the White House is to blame for this woman wanting her hair colored this way. The comments are below-the-belt and awful and I just want to hug the beautician, because WHY ARE PEOPLE BULLYING HER? She is just a grown adult, DOING HER JOB AND DOING IT WELL.
There was a hugely awful Twitter kerfluffle last week between two respected, high-traffic bloggers. The entire thing was disgusting, turning awful in a matter of 140 characters. Quite frankly, I’ve only seen behavior that low on episodes of Intervention, when an addict is finally called on the carpet about their indiscretions.
Remember when blogging was just about writing and reading? I wrote a friend as this was unraveling. Remember when we just wrote to know that someone out there connected with us? And also to barrage the unknowing public with stories of our babies’ diaper contents? REMEMBER?
That same day, a comment was posted elsewhere on a post discussing sizing discrepancies at a store, and how it’s difficult for a girl with curves to shop there as a result. The comment basically said, “Look, I’m skinny and that sucks too, so your opinion doesn’t matter.” Which, why post that? It took far longer for me to sit there and analyze than the point was worth: because THERE WAS NO POINT IN THAT COMMENT.
My main thought is this: we live in a gigantic world. The internet is just as vast. Both the world and the internet are roomy enough that we can all have our own opinions. And you’re allowed to respectfully disagree, because that is also the right of the sidewalk in a neighborhood. On a sidewalk, you’re allowed to playfully discuss politics. You’re allowed to freely talk. But in our private little worlds, in our own territory, isn’t it enough to just politely nod? Say, Wow, I disagree, but maybe this isn’t the place to vent that.
It’s a big, big world out there, and there are all kinds of people with all kinds of viewpoints. Some of us are curvy, and some of us have rainbow-colored hair. Some of us fly around the world to do charity work, and some of us stay in our own backyards. Some of us are Democratic, some are Republican, and some are The Rent is Too Damn High Party.
So before you go wanting to piss on someone else’s yard, take a moment. Take a breath. And do what I suggested that awful night on Twitter: stop and tell someone (uninvolved) what’s going on. Chances are, you’ll feel like it’s such a stupid, stupid idea once the words leave your lips that you’ll realize it’s not worth the keystrokes.