Monthly Archives: June 2016

When Strangers Behave Offensively

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lectures on this subject are titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available at Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Offensive StrangerWhat happens when a stranger you encounter in public says something or behaves in a certain way toward you that you find uncomfortable or disagreeable? The stranger’s behavior may be so sudden and unexpected that it catches you off guard. That, along with knowing that your reaction will be on display for everyone nearby to observe, can be disconcerting and cause you to fumble and stumble in your response. The whole matter becomes embarrassing with the stranger seeming to win the day.

I’ve had that type of scenario happen to me many times, and it always upsets me since I didn’t invite nor desire to be placed in that position. Recently, I found myself in yet another such situation and was proud of myself for handling it on the spot rather than mulling over it and coming up with a good response several hours laterway too late, beating myself up with “I-should-have-said” thoughts.

I was in a restaurant with a group of people I didn’t know after we had all attended the same lecture. I sat down in a seat with no one on either side of me. Suddenly, a swaggering, blustery type of man entered, looked around the room, and announced in a loud voice for everyone to hear, “I think I’ll sit right here next to this nice young lady” as he plunked himself in the empty chair directly to my right. His line was condescending and sexist, especially considering that he had no idea whether I am nice, and I am certainly not a young lady. Yes, given his age, he was probably old school. You know the type: women are just objects to be available for the enhancement of men. To be clear, men can be the victims of offensive behavior from strangers, too.

These situations are frequently foisted upon us without warning and with no time to prepare. I managed to blurt out, “Oh, I probably will be moving my seat soon as I want to sit near the speaker when she arrives.” It was both the truth and a good, take-charge response.

Mr. Swagger, still playing to his audience, continued in his booming baritone, “Oh no, you sit right here next to me.” Having a history of feeling intimidated when confronted by strong personality types, my normal reaction would have been to just laugh politely, try not to attract any more attention, and follow his orders to stay where I was not knowing what else to do.

Instead, picturing the entire meal with this controlling bore sitting next to me, I said, “I came to this lunch for one reason, and that is to be able to converse with the speaker. I will sit where I choose when the speaker arrives.” Mr. S. never said another word to me as I guess I made him look foolish after his great pronouncements.

I was proud of taking care of myself and my needs and not letting someone else dictate how the occasion was going to progress for me. If a stranger, or anyone else for that matter, chooses to behave in a manner that sets up how things are going to go for you, you have a right to be just as obtuse and set them straight. This is difficult for more reserved types, especially if public display or rocking the boat are not your thing. However, you must take care of yourself folks. No one else will.

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Pet Peeves

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lectures on this subject are titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” Her memoir, available at Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Peeved Pets

Peeved Pets

We all have pet peeves, those things that irritate us as we go about the business of living. How do we weather them and decrease the stress they cause? Before we attack that question, I thought I’d list a few of my favorites:

  1.  Bar code stickers on fruit.  Many require you to cut with a knife or jam your fingernail into the fruit in order to peel the damn thing off.
  2. The driver in the left turn lane with a long line of cars behind him who creeps up just a few inches into the crosswalk when the signal turns green. He/she sits awaiting the oncoming traffic which never seems to end. When the light finally turns red, he/she moves fully into the intersection to make his/her turn which he/she should have done in the first place so I might have been able to creep up and be positioned to make a turn, thereby enabling two people to turn left instead of just one.
  3. Self-flushing toilets in public lavatories which wait until you put down the paper toilet seat cover and are about to enthrone yourself when it decides to flush and whip away the target just as you are descending.

I’m sure everyone has at least one to add to my list.  Feel free to do so by commenting to my post.  Yes, each of these incidents and so many more take just a few seconds off of our projected lifespans. The only way to cope in a beneficial manner is to try to turn your pique into humor.

Some years ago, I used this approach with yet another pet peeve. I love dogs but really hate when one leaves its bountiful deposit on my grass and the jerk on the other end of the leash fails to pick it up and dispose of it elsewhere. So, I put up a sign which said, “If your dog poops on my lawn, please pick it up. If you can’t bring yourself to do so, please leave me your address so I can bring it to your house and leave it on your lawn.” I don’t know that it cured the problem, but at least it gave everyone a laugh.

When pet peeves happen over and over again and you have no power to change them, turn them into something positive for yourself so that you’re the winner. It certainly is better than the alternative.

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Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, just contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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