Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We're Gonna Smoke 'em Out

Cigarettes. You're, all, 'Oh, God -- I knew THIS ONE was coming.'

I used to smoke. I wasn't a chain-smoker by any means. But after 1 or 2 or 13 cocktails, a cigarette always seemed to make it's way between my fingertips - like that teleportation sound on "Bewitched."

Since taking up running, cigarettes were the first thing to go. Make that the second. The first thing to go was the size XL clothes. Honestly. I hid my size well.

That being said, I honestly don't mind the smoke all that much. the only time it really, really bothers me is when I'm eating or when I'm walking BEHIND a smoker. I hate that. And, yes, I will run ahead of you like a lunatic so that your smoke trail doesn't make me cough up a lung.

But smoking IS a nasty habit. Ask anyone. And don't get all defensive because you, smoker, are the FIRST one to admit - when confronted by a friend or family member, or just you and me talkin' - that you wish you could quit.

I once sat @ Yerba Buena Gardens to eat my lunch an this goth chick sat down right next to me, lit up and started blowing that smoke right into my face.

When I axed her - very nicely, mind you (I always ask nicely-!) - to put it out, she stuck out her pierced, black lipstick'd lips and snarled, "You can move."

I said, "Yes, that would be lovely EXCEPT THAT I WAS HERE FIRST-!"

Honestly, I wanted to snatch that ugly think out of her mouth and stomp on it. In fact, I almost did. But there's nothing more embarrassing than being arrested by a public park rent-a-cop.

Instead I turned away from her mumbling about Exene and "The Decline of the Western Civilization" and how no one has any manners anymore and other stuff way over her head.

How come even when you ask people nicely to put out their cigarette or move away from you when they're smoking they get SO angry? What is it about the... entitlement people feel about smoking? Is it 'cause they KNOW it's bad for them? Is it because they KNOW it causes cancer, etc...? Guilt? Wow-! If it makes you feel guilty... and you bite someone's head off for asking... maybe it's not so good for you after all-!?!

It would be one thing if the smoke was contained to just the person smoking. But it's not. Note to self: invent self-contained smoker suit so only the smoker has to endure the smoke from their own filthy habit.

Next time someone asks you to put your cigarette out or at least to move away from them a bit, don't get all defensive and nasty. Just do it. And when you say to yourself or a friend 'I REALLY need to quit,' do that, too. I'll help-! Every time you want to smoke I'll... hand ya a "Jolly Rancher." I heard that works. But do it. You'll feel better.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stop It-!


If ablog exists and you don't tell anyone about it, does it really exist?

I'm the first one to admit when I make a mistake. Okay... maybe the second. I truly have no business giving others advice. I'm all about the 'observation.'

And the things I observe...

Oh boy-!

Whatever happened to courtesy and manners? This guy SHOVED passed me to get off the train this a.m. and then stood on the 'saunter-y' side of the esca-ma-lator. What was the big hurry, buddy?

And just the other day as I was walking up the 'I'm-in-a-hurry' left side of the esca-ma-lator, this older gentleman (and I use the term VERY loosely-!) on the 'saunter-y' right side reached the street level at the same time I did and he suddenly turned to the left and crashed right into me. And do you know what he said to me?

"Watch where you're going you young fuck-!"

I was aghast (to use an old word with dramatic purpose). I replied, "YOU bumped into ME, asshole-!"

My first thought, of course was, "He called me YOUNG-!" but then I realised that people no longer give a thought to anyone else. All they (we) think about is ourselves. And it seems worse to me every day.

You know why Oprah is so popular? Because she has the 'common sense' thing DOWN-! On her show she reminds folks to 'always try and do something nice to someone else EVERY DAY.'

No, I don't think Oprah is our century's messiah. And I really only like the make-over shows. In my mind, she is he woman who ate the planet Earth. But I do, however, think she gives some very sage advice sometimes.

The fact that we have to be REMINDED - by Oprah of all people - to do nice things to others (without expecting anything else in return) IS SAD TO ME.

For example: the other day as I was walking home, I saw one of my neighbours - a older African-American man - struggling up the street ahead of me with these gi-normous bags of food. It was much too much for a guy his age to be carrying by himself. So... I offered to help him. I took the large potato sack of a bag from him and we walked down the street to his building. These guys who are ALWAYS sitting on the corner (of Fillmore/Oak) noticed and gave the old guy some shit - teasing him a little. We all see each other all the time. But THEY SAW ME as I helped him up his stairs. And then the nicest thing happened: he offered me some of his food as an offering for helping him. I said 'no worries. you don't have to give me anything' and I continued on to my building.

When I got into my apartment I'd realised I'd needed something from the store so I ran out to Walgreen's on Fillmore to get it. And as I was walking BACK home, I saw one of the guys who'd been sitting on the steps earlier - one of the guys who had been teasing the old guy I'd helped - helping ANOTHER person - an older, African-Amrican woman - with HER bags.

Even if we come into someone's life for just an instant, our lives have been changed a little bit.

Do something nice for someone else every day. Sage advice. Thanks, Oprah.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


As this is my very first 'Common Sense World Tour' posting, I thought I'd start with the first thing that's on my mind: commuting to work on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. More specifically, the underground trains (for those of you unclear on the concept, that's the J, K, L, M, N, and T lines).

Here are a few tips to make your trip - and your fellow riders - more enjoyable:

1.) When boarding the train, MOVE ALL THE WAY into the train. Don't hang out by the doors. People still need to get in and out. I can't even tell you how many times I've had to shove past fellow riders to get to the empty space in the aisles because everyone crowds the doors. And if I have to shove past you, DON'T SHOVE BACK -- MOVE-! I'm not being rude, you are-!

2.) When underground, there is no reason why you need to pull the stop cord. The trains AUTOMATICALLY stop at Forest Hill, Castro, Church, Van Ness, Powell, Montgomery and Embarcadero stations. If a train skips one of these stations and breezes right thru to the next, I'LL PAY YOUR NEXT MUNI FARE-!!!

3.) It is considered proper etiquette to take your backpacks off when boarding the train. The last thing fellow riders (a.k.a. ME) want is to be smacked in the head or about the facial region by your big, bulky, heavy, filled-with-SF-Public-Library books backpack. Or satchel. Or messenger bag. Take it off and hold it down near the floor.

4.) When exiting the train, the right side of the esca-ma-lator is for folks who are in no hurry and want to saunter up to the street level. The left side is for folks who are in more of a hurry. Don't mix the two.

5.) While we're on the subject, when walking on the sidewalk, ALWAYS WALK TO THE RIGHT. This is especially important when you are turning a corner. If everyone walks to the left, there'll be collisions. And don't get all control freak on me and NOT move when you're walking on the left side. I'll bump into you.

In closing, it's not that I'm not a people person, it's that I'm not a stupid people person.