Monday, May 23, 2016
As children, if someone* was saying something we didn't want to hear, we would stick our fingers in our ears. If that person continued to talk, we would call out "I can't HEAR you"... mostly to drown out what that person was saying. If we wanted to be even more clear, we would add 'lalalalalalalala', which also served to annoy the person who was trying to talk.
* Obviously this only applied to other children. It would have been very disrespectful to do this to parents or other adults... and the repercussions would likely have been severe!
This response was used at home against siblings, in schoolyards against classmates, and in many other locations, but the common denominator was that it was always done in person. After all, if someone sent you a letter and you didn't like what they were saying, it just wasn't very effective to send them a letter back that said 'I can't hear you', or even 'I didn't read your letter'. And besides, while the point of stating 'I can't hear you', especially with the added 'lalalalalala', was to annoy the other person, the major point of sticking your fingers in your ears was so that indeed, you couldn't hear what was being said. So sending a written response didn't meet either of these goals. You'd already read the letter, and sending a letter in response... was still a response, no matter what it said.
These days, we can choose from more methods of communication than ever. In addition to face-to- face discussions and telephone calls, we now have things like skype. In addition to letters, we now have emails, texts, and facebook. And interestingly enough, we now have variations on 'I can't hear you'. We can delete emails and text messages, of course.. either after, or even before we read them. And we can change our email settings so that emails from certain senders are automatically diverted to certain folders, or even trashed without having been read. We can block particular phone numbers in our text messages, and we can refuse skype requests.
And we can unfriend people on facebook.
Last week, someone unfriended me. Not just 'unfollowed' me, but actually unfriended me. If someone decides to quit following you, you never know. You go on your merry way, posting to your facebook page as usual, never knowing who is reading your posts - and who is not. But unfriending is a bit different. When you unfriend someone, they can no longer post on your page, and they can no longer see what you've posted on your own page. The person being unfriended doesn't get a message that you've unfriended them, but if they go to your page, they discover that they can't post and they can't see what is being posted by you.
Essentially, unfriending is the facebook version of sticking your fingers in your ears... although the other side doesn't know you can't hear them until they try to go on your page.
Now you might think I'd be a tad upset by this, but I have to tell you, quite sincerely, that I am not. I have long been a proponent of the notion that people should feel free to use their delete key on emails, and they should feel free to check caller ID and not take a phone call if they don't wish to speak to the caller. I like to think that I am consistent.. and so, being consistent, I take the position that people should feel free to unfriend people they don't want to hear from.
Frankly, unfriending someone is actually much more civilized than sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting "I can't hear you! (lalalalalalala)".
And before you start accusing me of ulterior motives, the person who unfriended me does not follow Teapot Musings, and I strongly doubt that they've ever read any of my postings. Nope, no ulterior motives. I'm just sitting here, rather amused by the 2016 version of sticking your fingers in your ears.
And of course the biggest problem with sticking your fingers in your ears, is that now you can't make a cup of tea. Fortunately, my fingers are nowhere near my ears, because I'm in the mood for a nice big mug.
Friday, May 13, 2016
Yes, I know.. it's a bit cliche to write a Friday the 13th post, on Friday the 13th... but I'm doing it anyway.
Frankly, I didn't realize until a short time ago (ie, well after lunchtime) that this WAS Friday the 13th. Oh sure.. when I make an appointment, I look at the date. But when I check my schedule for the day, my app automatically opens to the current date. And when I prepare a letter or some other document, I have the program set so that it automatically enters the current date. So I don't really pay attention to the calendar date, most of the time.
But this is Friday, May 13th.. and it seemed like that was worthy of a quick google and wiki check. And, as usual, I wanted to share what I found.
While 13 is considered unlucky in Hispanic and Greek cultures... the unlucky day there is Tuesday, not Friday. So today is not a big deal to them... but boy oh boy, watch out for Tuesday, September 13th, this year.
In Italy, the unlucky day is Friday, just as it is in the US...but the unlucky date is 17... so Italians will be biting their nails next month. Not only is the unlucky date #17.. but #13 is considered lucky, so the Italians are probably doing all sorts of dangerous things today, knowing that it's safe.
Beyond that, there's a lot of conflicting information. In Great Britain, it's been reported that there are more car accidents on Friday the 13th... but the Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics reports there are actually fewer accidents, which is attributed to the fact that people are extra-careful, since it is indeed Friday the 13th.
Interestingly enough, assuming that you're using the Gregorian calendar, there is actually a slightly greater chance of the 13th day of the month falling on a Friday, than on any other day. No, I don't understand why... but apparently it's true, although it's also very, very, very slight. For every 400 years, there are 684 Thursdays and 684 Saturdays that are the 13th day of the month, while there are 688 Fridays that are designated #13, and the other four days of the week fall somewhere in between 684 and 688.
All of which makes me wonder why there are 7 days in a week, instead of 8, as the Beatles suggested. Or 4, which is my favorite number. Or even 13 days a week. Then there would only be... oh wait... that would mean we might not have Fridays at all.
Never mind. It's clearly time for a cup of tea.