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?

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,


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?

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45 thoughts on “I Am NOT a Useless Waste!”

  1. It makes me sad to think anyone who brings such grace and humour to a world full of garbage could be hurt like you were. (My initial reaction would have been to say to predetermined DB, “I am not your mother” but of course that equals the hurt you received. So I take that back)

    Yes the world is more rude. Sadly a world that screams tolerance (for lifestyles, sexuality, race, differently abled people) have some believe we are supposed to tolerate those that chose a lifestyle of trolling and bullying.

    Insert rolling eyes emoji here.

    Keep faith V, there is more awesomeness out there than not. Keep us posted.

  2. I don’t think you are crochety, but i don’t necessarily agree people weren’t rude before. I think the problem on the internet is that people put rudeness on display. Some of my friends may react rudely and regret it, but now we all saw it. Also people feel anonymity on websites and think they can say whatever they want. But it’s easy for me to remember horrible things said by adults where i lived as a kid. But you’re right that the internet is getting out of hand. And I am sorry that guy yelled at you. I hate when something like that happens.

  3. Please, Understand this question coming from a veteran road-walker. OK? Were you walking WITH traffic or AGAINST it? Now, nothing whatsoever can excuse the rude cyclist’s uncaring choice of words, but if, as I suspect, that you were breaking the law and walking with traffic, I’d like to posit something that hasn’t been previously mentioned: That cyclists (even even in sweet little towns with high tax bases) are verbally abused by motorists seemingly daily. You may have simply been the victim of a kind man who reached his breaking point a mile back. And like the wife that kicks the son because the husband kicked her, it really does little to no good for the son who proceeds promptly to find the dog to kick to try and comprehend the reason why ANY of them do what they do, especially if he never sees his mother get kicked! I encourage you to look outside the box and now that you are far enough away from the situation and aware enough to worry if you’re coming across as old and crotchety, learn from this and try to turn a negative initial reaction into something fortifying and a way to continue growing in your self-awareness. Thanks for reading and especially for the comprehensive blog. You’ve given me some great conversation starters to help understand my empty-nesters back at home!

  4. I don’t think you are a crochety old lady. (I’m older than you and I’m NOT!!) I truly believe there are more rude people around than before. Not sure why they didn’t get the ‘be kind and mind your manners’ memo…but that’s how it is anymore. It also has to do with the times we live in!

  5. I am always shocked and frustrated but am becoming more numb and not surprised by the rude and callous comments that we receive on our blog – or the junk that is typed that has no reference or tie to the blog article. Since we retired and grown children are out of the house, we started a travel blog and home based agency to give us an outlet and nourishment for our love of traveling. We still love our home and it’s always great to come home after an adventure, but we do enjoy traveling favorite haunts and creating new ones. Really enjoyed reading your blog articles and comments and think you have a cute layout on your site.

    1. The anonymity of the internet seems to make some people think they can say anything no matter how rude. It seems some of them carry that attitude into their outside lives as well. Thanks for the kind words.

  6. I think a lot depends on the weather and the time of year…along with what part of a state you are in…referencing political bends, if you get my drift. That would be an interesting study. Red or blue which are friendliest. City or country folk, which are friendliest. hmmm

  7. We feel that people in general have become less tolerant of others AND each of those in our own family or social circle. Our amazement comes with Facebook! We read some terrible posts directed at others, political rants and general hate speak but then are shocked when we see that it is a family member or close friend doing the posting! We have a dear? aunt who posts some of the worst invectives because others don’t share her extreme political views. This woman is 83 years old! No, she has no signs of dementia……….
    I think it is the age we live in, not the age of the poster.

    1. Absolutely. Facebook is really hard to stomach during the political season especially. Folks that we can have clear, polite discussions with sometimes really surprise us when expressing themselves from the keyboard.

  8. It’s everywhere; I see more rudeness, less respect for one another and I wonder if it could be technology taking over and less face-to-face time have bankrupted our brains.

    1. I honestly think that the “anonymity” of our techie world is partially responsible for the rudeness. It is so easy to be rude online. And there are no appropriate consequences. So I believe that carries over to people’s behavior in other places. Movies, for instance.

  9. I agree that people in general have become less courteous. The anonymity of online blasting allows people to put any kind of garbage they want in print with no regard for how it might impact the people reading it. Sadly that transfers to face to face all too often. Good for you for reminding your son. I know for a fact he was raised better than that. I have had to remind my youngest at times as well that what he says is reflection of the person he is. A little civility goes a long way.

  10. When I read what he called you it felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. Respect not just for elders but for all of society is sadly disappearing. Some people are more rude, but speaking for myself on the brink of 60 in a few months….I’m a teeny bit crotchety myself . 🙁

    1. The thing that really got me was the fact that he couldn’t have known who I was or was kind of burden I might be carrying. I was more upset – not because it was hurled at me – but who I MIGHT have been. And my inaction. I’m not good at the return jab in those situations. Forces me to take the high road, I guess. 😉

  11. Reminds me of that joke: Guy driving along a very twisty road. Woman driving the other way yells, “Pig!” He yells back, “B***h!” and goes around the corner and hits a pig.

  12. I think people’s rudeness is a reflection of them and not the person its directed at, but that’s really hard to remember as you’re being called a useless waste. BUT, in truth, he is the useless waste. 🙁 The more people put themselves on a pedestal, the bigger douchebag they become, the more they themselves become the true space wasters and oxygen thieves. Karma, madame GypsyNester. Karma. And you’re awesome, by the way. 🙂

  13. Can’t speak to the world in general, but online…yikes. Amazing how the most innocuous subjects can inspire the most hateful comments. Clearly the new credo is, “If you don’t have anything nice to say…post it on a comment thread.”

  14. Your belief is correct. The self respect of society at large has dumb down to none existing. It is normal to be vulgar now a days. The respect of ones’ self needs to be returned thereby showing respect to others will also return.

  15. more people in the world, more ways to display rudeness…. it helps to focus on the positive. Most people, like us, are kind, caring and saddened by the rude minority. I choose to think that even they are doing the best they can.

  16. I tend to agree. There seems to be a blatant, in your face disrespect with the younger generation. SAD.

    1. I’m not so sure it’s only the younger generation – I’ve had to stop reading comments on news stories because folks are so awful there. Imagine if we acted like that in real life – OUCH.

  17. I worked at a university for 10 years and I have been involved with social media for the past 10 or so — there IS a difference in behavior now. While at the university, there was one year that you could have just about marked your calendars by – suddenly, every student that we helped in our office was obnoxious, rude, cursed at us and most surprisingly at all, when we dealt with their parents by phone or in person THEY were just as horrible. From that year on, it seemed everyone had changed in how they behaved in public. Also I notice with social media and the internet, when early adaptors were the only ones online or when a new software comes out and only early adaptors are using it – things are civil and nice. As soon as the population at large jumps on board, comments and communication become horrible. People just troll the internet to comment how they hate something, why something or someone is so horrible, etc. It’s truly bizarre that someone would hang out on a website of someone they don’t like, or an organization they don’t support, just so they can post negative things. I think our society is in sad shape.

  18. Don't you wonder how this rude young man treated his own mother? I would have still been crying. In my opinion, there is much more rudeness in the world, especially the online world.

  19. Hi, I'm new here….I think people are the same…Being a artist I think I have learned to live with occasional unnecessary meanness.

    I remember when I was very pregnant with our third, a grown idiot in the grocery store hollered out "Cow" from down the isle.

    Maybe our changes with getting older make us a more visible target.

    A couple rules I live by.

    One out of ten is a as*h*le, just count – then let it go.

    Also try to be thick skinned and soft hearted.

    Thanks for this site, my empty nest is coming soon. Thanks for the twitter follow.

    Peace & Luv, Joyce (jgoden on twitter)

  20. Yes they seem to be more rude..i was just talking about this with my husband How teenagers and youth have no respect for the older people…people always seem in a rush and if your just a little slower than them they get very mad..

  21. Yes people have become very rude, very all about me and lets not forget judgemental….it scares me just how nasty it gets and so I pray every night that we learn to respect each other, even if we don't like one another.

  22. I'm not sure if people are/more people are ruder than in previous times. I'm inclined to think not, but our access to non-stop info and zillions more people makes it seem that way. Certainly the www gives the idiots/morons/bigots etc a voice they never had before! (and the ability to reach the rest of us who are just decent regular people) What I do agree with in your blog, is the way our kids use phrases/expressions without, seemingly, and understanding of the power of words to hurt. My own daughters do it – jokingly – within their friendship groups. They say things that make me gasp, and don't understand my reaction. They are good, thoughful and kind girls, but somewhere along the line the power of the word has got lost, and I don't understand what has happened.

  23. I agree about the rudeness and thoughtlessness. One of my [current] pet peeves is people practically snarling at my grandson. He is two years old and he loves to smile, wave and say 'hi' to people when we are out. You'd be amazed at how many people give him such nasty looks that he clings to my legs because he is scared. (And it's a good thing he's clinging to me or I'd probably go after them!!) Would it be so hard to at least be civil to each other?

  24. If you're a crotchety old lady, I'll just have to join your "club" because I would have reacted exactly the same way you did and also wouldn't have even had my jelly beans to console me. Unfortunately, (whether it's TV or computers or whatever) it does seem this next generation is fairly thoughtless and self centered (my own kids included, much to my dismay, they were certainly raised better than that!!!). I hate to even imagine how their own kids will act or things they will say. I think the distance inherent in TV and computer life have desensitized this next generation. Smiles, we AREN'T USELESS WASTE, by any means, how do they thing they got here in the first place??? Smiles

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