I Am NOT a Useless Waste!

Has it happened? Have I become a crotchety old lady? Do I abhor certain kinds of music because I’m too old to get it? Am I shocked at some of the things that “young people” wear these days?

Possibly so. But I’m dead certain of one thing – people are much more rude than they were when I was a young whippersnapper.

Because we have a website  I am painfully aware that there are those that don’t treat others with civility. I’ve quit reading the online comments on news stories – it’s horrific.

Then, out of nowhere, cyberspace-type incivility came crashing into Real Life. In a manner that I couldn’t ignore or justify… CONTINUE READING >>

Has it happened?

Have I become a crotchety old lady?

Do I abhor certain kinds of music because I’m too old to get it?

Do my eyebrows fly up at some of the things I see on TV?

Am I shocked at some of the things that “young people” wear these days?

Possibly so. But I’m dead certain of one thing – people are much more rude than they were when I was a young whippersnapper.

Because we have a website (and especially because we have a YouTube Channel) I am painfully aware that there are those that don’t treat others with civility. I’ve quit reading the online comments on news stories – it’s horrific.

The name calling and accusations and disrespect can quickly cause me to lose faith in humanity, to believe that everyone is inclined to be thoughtless toward one another.

After reading comment after despicable comment in BOLDFACE print, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that the great majority of people that David and I have met in this great big world are good.

Fortunately – though I do miss reading respectful debates – I can avoid that hooey online. And if anyone DARES to be nasty on my website – where I have delete button privileges – it’ll be gone faster than a jackrabbit with the squirts.

Don’t be skulking into my kitchen or on to my Facebook page talking that trash – you were raised better than that.

Like a lot of people, for better or worse, I’m becoming become numb to it all. After all – when it comes to visualizing who is behind the keyboard, I can easily conjure up a bored, unsupervised 15-year-old making the modern day equivalent of a prank phone call.

Or some homemade-brown-liquor drinkin’-Unabomber-type hell-bent on causing trouble.

Or a compulsive liar with sixty pet squirrels and a grotesque obsession with Vlad the Impaler issuing proclamations from a digital mountaintop. Heh. I lean toward the grandiose when I’m visualizing.

Then, out of nowhere, cyberspace-type incivility came crashing into Real Life. In a manner that I couldn’t ignore or justify:

Last weekend David and I were visiting The Boy at his Generic Midwestern Directional University (GMDU) town and took in a ball game. It was a beautiful spring day.

We stretched our legs in the warm sun and yelled “GO GMDU Wampus Cats!” We basked in each other’s’ company.

Halfway through the game I developed a jellybean jones that wouldn’t let go.

I could blame it on menopause, but the truth is that jellybeans are freakin’ delicious and I adore them. To relive my hankerin’ I trekked the half mile up the road toward a convenience store.

I was surprised that there was not a sidewalk, as the GMDU area is generally very pedestrian friendly. I had to walk along the curb in the gutter as I did as a kid – except I wasn’t dragging my trusty stick behind me.

I wasn’t in any danger, the lanes were wide, there was little weekend-in-a-college-town traffic and it was broad daylight. A nice pleasant walk on a nice pleasant day with delicious jellybeans at the end of it.

I must have jumped straight up when I heard – at full-husky-masculine voice – from twenty feet behind me,

“GET OUT OF THE ROAD YOU USELESS WASTE!”

I flinched as the bicycling douchebag (I realize that calling the gentleman a douchebag runs contrary to what I’ve said above, but the sorry fact remains – he’s a douchebag) sped past me.

I did what I always do when I’m in a weird situation. I froze. Damn.

As I made my way back to the stadium I was able to think of a million retorts – all of them clever and effective – but at the time, I just stood there like a, ahem, Useless Waste.

GMDU is in a sweet little college town with a high tax base and wonderful services for the handicapped (two more reasons for my sidewalk-less surprise).

What if I wasn’t just a jellybean seeking middle-aged woman, but a handicapped person – like my niece?

Or a college girl with low self esteem? Or a newly widowed lady lost in grief? Douchebag calling me Useless Waste took on an ugly reality.

The more I walked the more I seethed.

How could I just stand there? Why didn’t I come up with a snappy comeback that would have made Douchebag think twice about his actions?

Why couldn’t I run like the Bionic Woman, catch up to DB and give him what-for? And most importantly, why wasn’t I dragging that stick? I could have shoved it into Douchebag’s spokes.

Where was my delete button when I need it most?

I was nearly in tears, my go-to coping mechanism when I feel helpless. I had to force myself to let it go, no use ruining my visit with The Boy because a thoughtless person was rude.

Buck up Veronica – get back to your family and slap a smile on your face.

Back at the bleachers the guys asked why I was jellybeanless, so I recounted my tale.

When I got to the Useless Waste part, The Boy laughed. My neck snapped as my head turned to face him.

“Well, Mom, you’ve got to admit, that’s pretty funny.”

Before you judge, I’m going to come to his rescue, Recovering Helicopter Mommy style.

The Boy is not a heartless bastard. He was granted a high school scholarship for having the most community service hours in his graduating class. He has a big heart – he really does.

He is the first to point out something he perceives as unjust. He’s been known to rescue animals.

But, he does have a wicked sense of humor, something he comes by honestly, inherited from his parents. And he’s grown up in a crudity-anesthetized world.

Does this get him off the hook? Not by a long shot.

I burst into tears – I truly did – I wasn’t just messing with The Boy’s head. That got his attention. He doesn’t like to see his mother cry.

But it wasn’t until I asked him to think how his handicapped cousin would react to being called Useless Waste that he fully grasped the situation.

I’m not so naïve to think that my son is perfect and I am aware that I view him through Mommy colored glasses. But, still, I find it difficult to understand how he could have been so callous. He was raised better than that.

Have we begun to conduct ourselves so poorly as a society that this current generation can’t feel the weight of words?

Are they unable to think past their immediate desires to take another’s feelings into account before shouting/typing/hurling hurtful words?

Or have I become a crotchety old lady?

Veronica, GypsyNester.com

YOUR TURN: Are people more rude these days or am I truly a crotchety old lady?

Zany Park Signs

What’s Your Ology? Dislocated shoulders? God as security guard?

Our National Parks have a sense of humor too! Or do they mean to be this funny? Either way–we sure appreciate the effort! 

CLICK FOR THE PICS! >>

What’s Your Ology? Dislocated shoulders? God as security guard?

Our National Parks have a sense of humor too! Or do they mean to be this funny? Either way–we sure appreciate the effort! 

CLICK FOR THE PICS! >>

A Tale of Two Cities… Uh, Counties… No, States

Check this out: we’re on the border of Tennessee and Georgia. We find a community that is split down the middle with a blue line painted through the town.

It gets weirder (YAY!) — the blue line goes straight through buildings. Shops, a church, even a bar.

But wait, it gets weirder yet. The bar is also in two counties. And one of them is dry… CONTINUE READING >> 


The line that separates Copperhill, Tennessee and McCaysville, Georgia

Copperhill and McCaysville are really one town divided by a state line.

That’s not all that unusual, we’ve been to many cities that are separated into two different states by a river or a road. No, what’s unusual in this case is the lack of any landmark or street dissecting the town.

We drove into Copperhill, Tennessee watching our GPS like hawks, trying to figure out just where the state line was, but being up in the mountains our reading was somewhat less than accurate.

We really weren’t sure what state we were in — other than confusion — until we parked and got out.

That’s when we noticed the blue stripes painted diagonally across Ocoee Street, the sidewalk, and up the walls of buildings and houses.

The line that separates Copperhill, Tennessee and McCaysville, Georgia

The bridge where the river changes its name from Ocoee to Toccoa

It was pretty wacky, like standing on a giant map, with Tennessee printed on one side of the line and Georgia on the other.

And the zany antics didn’t stop there, at the state line both the main road and the nearby river change their names from Ocoee to Toccoa.

Even a church is split by the border, now that’s a new take on the separation of church and state(s).

Patrick's Pub & Grill, half the bar is in a dry county!

Assessing our position, we deduced that we were actually parked in Georgia. So stepping over the dotted line and back into The Volunteer State, we walked half a block up to Patrick’s Pub & Grill.

We had heard about this place, the famous bar in two states, in fact it was the main reason we found ourselves in the far southeast corner of Tennessee.

Patrick’s front door opens onto the main drag of Copperhill Tennessee, nothing out of the ordinary with that, but the kitchen and bathrooms are in McCaysville Georgia. Now that’s a little different. But it got a little stranger.

The bar in two states!

Veronica steps a toe over the line into the dry county at Patrick's!

We walked in and took a seat at the bar, and noticed that the dotted line had followed us inside.

Painted across the walls and floor of the hallway leading toward the back was that pesky state boundary again.

After quenching our thirsts while chatting with the bartender, we were informed that drinks could not be carried into the back area.

She explained that the Georgia county where the restrooms are — Fannin County — is dry.

Veronica nearly got herself in a heap-o-trouble by stepping one toe over the line, but luckily no local authorities happened to be present.

Adding to the oddity of Patrick’s, the State of Georgia claims that the border has been drawn in the wrong place and the whole bar should be in Georgia, which by our reckoning would make it no longer a bar.

Word from Tennessee officials is that ain’t gonna happen.

The line that separates Copperhill, Tennessee and McCaysville, Georgia

As unique as this state line situation may be, we got the impression while walking around that it isn’t necessarily the main attraction.

The tiny twin cities are served by two railroads that deliver tourists by the trainload (ba dum ching!) for a shopping and lunch stop during scenic tours of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The two lines come from opposite directions and end at the state line, which somehow seems fitting.

The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway makes its way up from Blue Ridge, Georgia along the Toccoa River, while The Hiwassee River Railroad comes down from Etowah, Tennessee through The Hiwassee River Gorge and over the famous Hiwassee Loop.

The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

The passengers looked to be more interested in the offerings of the antique and souvenir shops than the curiosities of jurisdictional demarcation.

Perhaps that makes sense, because when it comes to finding a rare historic relic, classic curio, or the perfect memento, does it really matter whether the GPS reads Georgia or Tennessee?

Not unless it involves booze.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

Picture This: The Christmas Market of Bratislava, Slovakia

Nearly everyone was warming themselves with varene vino, the local version of mulled wine, but in a twist we hadn’t seen before, hot white wine seemed just as popular as the red… CONTINUE READING >> 

The Christmas Market in front of Old Town Hall in Bratislava, Slovakia

The Hlavne namestie, main square, is filled with booths, mostly selling food and drink, and tables under small shelters where the purchases can be enjoyed

On Hlavne namestie, the main square of Bratislava, on a cold winter’s night, we found the Christmas Market.

The entire plaza in front of the Old Town Hall (Stará radnica) was filled with booths, most selling food and drink, and tables under small shelters where the purchases could be enjoyed.

A very social situation that we were more than happy to jump into the middle of.

Roland Fountain (Rolandova fontána), sometimes called the Maximilian fountain in Bratislava, Slovakia

At the center of it all is the Roland Fountain (Rolandova fontána), sometimes called the Maximilian Fountain because it was commissioned in 1527 by the Hungarian king Maximilian.

This makes it the oldest fountain in Bratislava. Max’s statue stands on top surveying the square.

Due to the temperatures, and the fact that it looks so downright festive, the water had been replaced by twinkling lights.

See more beautiful Bratislava!

Mulled wine at the Christmas Market in Bratislava, Slovakia

Nearly everyone was warming themselves with varene vino, the local version of mulled wine, but in a twist we hadn’t seen before, hot white wine seemed just as popular as the red. Had to give that a try.

Our verdict was that while delicious, it lacked the superior cockle-warming qualities of the red variety.

Perhaps the most popular vino vender was named “The Flinstones.” Yaba-daba-do (we think)!

We also gave zemiakové placky with cheese a try. This is a pancake made of shredded potatoes, crisp on the outside and chewy within, covered in a layer of tangy white sheep cheese.

We also gave zemiakové placky a try. This is a pancake made of shredded potatoes, crisp on the outside and chewy within. We chose to get ours covered in a layer of mild, yet tangy white sheep cheese.

Very tasty and stick-to-your-ribs on a chilly December evening.

Spinning hams at the Christmas Market in Bratislava, Slovakia

Most food offerings involved meat, lots and lots of meat.

It all looked (okay, almost all) good, but the potato-and-cheese bomb we had just devoured didn’t seem to want any company, so we spent the rest of the night checking out the wares.

Bread with crispy pork fat oil in Bratislava, Slovakia Mastny chlieb cibulou or Chlieb oskvarkovy

Bratislava, Slovakia

See all of our adventures in beautiful Bratislava!

See more about the history of Christmas markets and our explorations of these markets around the world!

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

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