Tag: You’ve Got Mail

Survivor 30 Being Annoyed and Abuse

Hey guys I thought I would share something I’ve been thinking about with the latest season of Survivor dubbed Survivor Worlds Apart.  In most ways this has been my least favorite season I’ve ever watched.  It’s just been so unpleasant with people behaving more like bitter real housewives or jilted love interests on The Bachelor than people playing a game. The one plus is it has gotten me thinking about human nature and the age old question- are we innately good or bad?

shirinMost of the drama has centered around a woman named Shirin Oskool who I met in NYC (or her cousin…) and was a delight. She is a an executive over at Yahoo and was put on the white collar tribe (castmates were divided based on their jobs this season).

Well, evidently Shirin is a little bit annoying.  It was never explained what exactly she did that was so annoying except she is a huge fangirl of the show and was always talking about it and she got naked at the beginning of the season so that her clothes could get cleaned.

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I’m sure the cast would list off a bunch of things she did which are annoying.  But I don’t think that actually matters.  Being annoying is a human trait and is the fault of the person being annoyed.  Yes we can reign it in but it’s not like lying or stealing.  It’s being annoying.  It’s not a human weakness or sin.

what about bob

Think about the movie What About Bob.  The whole point of that movie is that Bob is so annoying to the Richard Dryfus character but he is completely oblivious.  He has no idea he is being annoying.  Dryfus’ reaction is human but it is his problem not Bob’s that he is allowing another human being to get under his skin to such a degree.

Unfortunately human nature does not always exhibit self control.  It is perhaps when we are around someone who we find annoying that the worst of human nature comes out just like it did with the Dr and Bob.  I love how it is described by good old Joe Fox in one of my favorite movies You’ve Got Mail.

you've got mail

If you can’t read it here’s what he says ‘Have you ever become the worst version of yourself?  That a Pandora’s box of all the secret, hateful parts- your arrogance, your spite, your condescension – has sprung open?  Someone upsets you and instead of smiling and moving on you zing them. ‘ Hello, it’s Mr Nasty’…”

But the problem with this season’s Joe Fox characters is they used the fact they were annoyed to go beyond a zinger to a systematic belittlement of another human being.  The Pandora’s Box was opened and it apparently was never closed as their apologies have been weak at best.  They have and will claim villain edit but the scenes have been long and repeated so many times it is tough for me to feel they were overly manipulated.  The show no matter the edit cannot actually put words in your mouth.  They don’t change you saying another person has no soul or all women just want to be nodded too and some should be slapped.

survivor dan

Here’s some of the things that happened in the last few weeks.  Shirin was told by Dan that she deserved to be slapped.  That she was an idiot.  Another time he was completely demeaning to another female on the tribe Sierra saying “there are 2 ways to listen in the world.  You can listen like a guy or like a girl.  When you listen like a girl you empathize. You just nod your head and agree..”

Yes because all women want to be treated like dogs who are nodded at without any thought or consideration.

But if only it ended there.

Dan continued to be an extremely judgmental and insufferable character. Like I said he said Shirin should be slapped hard, which in my book is never ok ever even if you are joking. Dont make that joke especially on national tv.

S30_Will_503112_640x360But then we get to Will and boy did the Pandora’s Box spring open for him.  Evidently he had been concerned that Shirin is not religious and would frequently tell her she has ‘no soul’.  This is said by enough of the exit interviews to make me believe it.

On the show we hadn’t heard that much from Will and then there was a moment where at the auction he did not get his letter from home but he did get a supply of food only he would know about.  He stupidly decides to share the food with the camp.  3 of the tribe wonder if that’s all the food there was and Will starts out rightfully upset at people questioning his gift (even though it was a stupid move to make in the game).

But despite it being 3 people who questioned his gift he begins to rail on Shirin.  He says she has no soul and that nobody will ever love her and that she’s a terrible human being.

Now there have been blowups on Survivor.  Pandora’s Box has been opened many times you might say.  After all the most iconic moment of the first season was a woman comparing another woman to a rat and saying she would not help her if she was dying on the side of the road.

But this was one of the longest tirades we’ve had since Brandon Hantz flipped out at Phillip but even Brandon was upset about things in the game not accusing Phillip of being a terrible human being outside the game.

He really crossed a line for me when he said that Shirin brought the abuse of her past on herself and that she played the victim.  How do you play the victim when you are an actual victim? Her father is or was in jail for the domestic abuse.  It was that bad. A victim of domestic abuse is usually manipulated into believing they are responsible for how they are being treated. That’s why they often stay with the abuser.

And what was the excuse behind this kind of belittlement?  Well, the only thing I’ve heard is that she was annoying.  Again, being annoying is not a character failing.  If that was the case than we would all be terrible people.  Every one of us is annoying to another person.

Just the other day I was with a new group of people and this woman rubbed me the wrong way.  She wasn’t doing anything wrong but was just loud and fairly dominating in her opinions. The more I listened to her the more annoyed I got till I wanted to zing her but I didn’t. The thing is…

I WAS THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEM. 

She was just talking the ways she talks and I found it annoying.

The especially disturbing part of Will’s behavior is evidently he justified his behavior because Shirin is agnostic and ‘has no soul’.  That flies in the face of everything I know about Christianity.  Jesus after all spent time with gentiles, sinners and tax collectors.  People were shocked because ‘the whole have no need of a physician’.

The whole thing has been kind of upsetting but it has also caused me to think about my own life and when do I rationalize the poor treatment of others because I find them annoying.  I know it happens more than I would like to admit.  We all do it but hopefully we don’t lose control the way Will did.

I realize they are under extreme conditions on the show.  I can only relate it to my mission where I was surrounded by strangers and couldn’t contact home except for weekly letters.  I had one time where I was with a companion who I did not get along with.  Instead of getting angry like Will or patronizing like Dan I cried a lot and was so emotionally wrung out by the end of transfers one of the sisters pulled me aside and said ‘you look like you need a hug’.  I’m pretty sure I would be that way on Survivor.  I would be a lot like Dawn Mehan in Survivor Caramoan who cried a lot but played the best game she could.

survivor mike

The good thing in all of this is there was one person who stepped in and came to her defense.  Who didn’t let her being ‘annoying’ stand in the way of stopping bullying and attacks- Survivor Mike Holloway.

Shirin said “Shoutout to Jenn, Sierra, Hali — and Michael Anthony Loving Holloway, who showed me that real men and real human beings step in and help each other out when someone’s being attacked. Real people are loving and say, “Forget this game for a million dollars. I’m a human being. These people are human beings. We need to do the human thing in this situation.”

If you think back to What About Bob everyone else is completely charmed by Bob and I suppose that’s an important thing to remember.  For every Pandora’s Box that is opened with all the “hate spite and greed’ that is unleashed there are those like Mike who will do the right thing even to a person they find annoying.

It’s really made me think about how I use the ‘she’s annoying’ excuse in my own life and how I can do a better job at focusing on my spirit instead of how iritiating another person may or may not be. I don’t know if that makes sense but it is just something I’ve been thinking about.

In the end

IT IS NOT OK TO BULLY AND ABUSE ANNOYING WOMEN (or men or children or anybody else).

So this is why I love Survivor because even in a season that I hate with 2 terrible people and some who did nothing there is still something about human nature and behavior I can take from it and we’ll see who comes out on top.  It won’t be Shirin but crossing fingers for Mike.

Wouldn’t that be a happy ending.

Here’s Shirin’s thoughts on the game

And here she is talking about the blow up.

Nora Ephron

I am woefully late on my tribute of Nora Ephron, one of my favorite modern authors.  While she wasn’t really  a novelist her scripts and essays had a way of commenting on life in a funny and charming way.   Some people might claim her to be a soft writer, overly nostalgic and romantic but to me this is part of her charm.  She gave us something familiar, something to smile at and taught us a lesson along the way. She passed away from leukemia on June 26th. My condolences go out to her family and friends.  I loved her work.

For example, in You’ve Got Mail she taught us the different ways human beings absorb conflict:

One character, Joe Fox says,

“Have you ever become the worst version of yourself. That a pandora’s box of all the hateful things, your spite, your arrogance, your condescension has sprung open? Someone upsets you and instead of smiling and walking away… you zing them.”

While Kathleen Kelly says,

“No, I know what you mean, and I’m completely jealous. What happens to me when I’m provoked is that I get tongue-tied and my mind goes blank. Then, then I spend all night tossing and turning trying to figure out what I should have said. What should I have said, for example, to a bottom dweller who recently belittled my existence?”

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve related to both sentiments.  I’ve even said the lines over in my head while making an expression choice.

Another favorite from You’ve Got Mail that I have to share:

“Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around? I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void.”

And one more I’ve turned to again and again:

“People are always saying that change is a good thing. But all they’re really saying is that something you didn’t want to happen at all… has happened.”

I like when Roger Ebert said “Ephron’s dialogue represents the way people would like to be able to talk. It’s witty and epigrammatic, and there are lots of lines to quote when you’re telling friends about the movie”.  That is so true.  I wish I could pontificate charmingly about books, romance, New York City etc. Perhaps Ephron sets the standard too high but isn’t that the job of writers to elevate the language of the masses?

Not all of Ephron’s dialogue was witty.  In fact, her description of grief in Sleepless in Seattle is one of the most touching passages I have ever read:

“Well, I’m gonna get out of bed every morning… breathe in and out all day long. Then, after a while I won’t have to remind myself to get out of bed every morning and breathe in and out… and, then after a while, I won’t have to think about how I had it great and perfect for a while”

He then goes on to describe an ideal love:

“Well, it was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together… and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home… only to no home I’d ever known… I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like… magic. ”

Who doesn’t yearn for such a relationship?  Perhaps it is unrealistic but that is the type of fantasy I enjoy. More than swords or mystical lands, a fantastical view of life and romance.

When Harry Met Sally is another favorite and most of the memorable  stretches of dialogue are too long to repeat here but they are just divine. Watch it again and you’ll remember how great the conversation is. Some  feel such pithy dialogue is inauthentic but I totally bought the characters.  Sure maybe nobody really talks like that but I don’t go to the movies for realism (or total fantasy for that matter).  I go to the movies for heightened or at least exaggerated realism.

WHMS is probably Ephron’s funniest script, helped greatly I’m sure by a great deal of ad-libbing by Billy Crystal.  Of course, there is the famous scene in the diner with the classic line ‘I’ll have what she’s having’ and the long introductory debate over the plausibility of male/female friendship, but my favorite line probably goes unnoticed by many but it makes me laugh every time I hear it:

Sally: No, no, no, I drove him away. AND, I’m gonna be forty.
Harry: When?
Sally: Someday.
Harry: In eight years.
Sally: But it’s there. It’s just sitting there, like some big dead end. And it’s not the same for men. Charlie Chaplin had kids when he was 73.

It is just sitting there like a big dead end  but at least with this line Ephron made me laugh about it!

I could spend this whole post listing quote after quote.  There are so many great movies.  I love what she did with Julie and Julia turning the insufferable book into a charming story by adding the life of Julia Child.  In that movie she  adapts from the wonderful memoir My Life in France by Julia Child, the most touching depiction of marriage I have seen in a movie:

Paul Child: You are the butter to my bread, you are the breath to my life.

How beautiful is that? It’s perfect.

Paul Child is the ideal marriage partner because he sacrificed his whole life to make Julia’s dreams come true.  An artist himself, he was satisfied to work as a bureaucrat for years so that she could publish her book.  I love this speech in the movie:

“I’m not kidding you; I’m not. Someone is going to publish your book. Someone is going to read your book, and realize what you’ve done. Because YOUR BOOK is amazing. YOUR BOOK is a work of genius. YOUR BOOK is going to change the world. ”

I wish I had someone in my life who believed in me that way.  What a beautiful portrayal captured by Ephron of a beautiful marriage.

In addition to screenplays Nora Eprhon is a fabulous essayist. My favorite is her book I Feel Bad About My Neck. I bought it years ago at an airport bookstore and loved it.  Nearly every essay rings true and is funny without being over-the-top.

“Maintenance is what you have to do just so you can walk out the door knowing that if you go to the market and bump into a guy who once rejected you, you won’t have to hide behind a stack of canned food…I dont mean to be too literal about this but the point is that I still think about them every time I’m tempted to leave the house without eyeliner”

But my favorite essay by far is on parenting.  I don’t have any kids but I still think it is brilliant:

“Back in the day when there were merely parents as opposed to people who were engaged in parenting, being a parents was fairly straightforward.  You didn’t need a book…You understood that your child had a personality. His very own personality.  He was born with it.  For a certain period this child would live with you and your personality and you would do your best to survive each other.”

She goes on:

…One day there was this thing called parenting.  Parenting was serious.  Parenting was fierce.  Parenting was solemn.  Parenting was a participle, like going and doing and crusading and worrying; it was active, it was energetic.  It was unrelenting.  Parenting meant playing Mozart cds while you were pregnant, doing without the epidural…Parenting began with the assumption that your baby was a lump of clay that could be molded into a perfect person who would be admitted into the college of your choice…

and concludes with this profound thought

“Meanwhile every so often, your children come to visit.  They are, amazingly, completely charming people.  You can’t believe you’re lucky enough to know them.  They make you laugh.  They make you proud.  You love them madly.  They survived you.  You survived them.  It crosses your mind that on some level you spent hours and days and months and years without laying a glove on them, but don’t dwell.  There’ s no point.  It’s over.  Except for the worrying.  The worrying is forever”

I’m not even a parent but I found this to be the most touching description of parental emotion I’ve ever read.  I think it is perfect.

Well, that’s a lot of writing but what better way is there to pay tribute to a favorite author.  I’m sincerely going to miss her voice and the way she made me smile.  Thanks Nora!

Comfort

Tonight my mood while writing this post can be summed up in one word- comfort.  Why is that you might ask? Well, there are a number of reasons.  First, I am watching one of my all-time favorite movies, You’ve Got Mail.  My regular readers will not be surprised by this- as it is the one of only two movies I have written entire posts on (See Open to Change).   It’s interesting because I wrote the post in May of last year when my life was going through many changes.  Now my life is once again changing and wouldn’t you know I turn to the same movie to provide escapism and comfort.  I know it is predictable and somewhat obvious, but I don’t care.  It makes me laugh, has lots to say about modern-day work,  captures my love of books and New York City,  and realizes  my fantasy of a romantic pen pal.  Plus, its themes of modernity and change are ones I continue to come back to again and again.  I will not bore you by re-posting my favorite quotes from the movie.  You can look at my original post for that.  Suffice it to say, it is a comfort movie in a time of change.  Do any of you have movies you watch repeatedly?  One of these days I am going to do a posting on my favorite movies.  I have started one several times but it is difficult to pare it down to a manageable list.

The second comforting aspect of tonight is the food I made.  I happened to have the ingredients to make one of my family’s favorite items- German potato salad.  If any of you haven’t enjoyed this dish, it is made with potatoes, bacon, vinegar, sugar, flour, celery seed, salt and onion.  It is one of those dishes that pulls off the delicious sweet/salty combination.  I have been trying to eat healthier in the last few weeks (lost 10 lbs in 5 weeks!) , so perhaps this choice was a bit of an indulgence but as a main course for dinner it wasn’t too bad.  We have a tradition in our family of eating a  German meal on Christmas Eve.  It sounds odd but it is delicious.  The main course is bratwurst sandwiches cooked on the griddle with rye bread, gooey swish cheese and my mom’s special sauerkraut.  Most people turn their noses up at sauerkraut but that is because they  haven’t tried my mom’s.  It is delicious.  She takes the sauerkraut, rinses it, and then boils it in fresh apple cider for hours until it is sweet/salty yummy!  It has won over even the most ardent sauerkraut haters.  As a side for the  meal we also have german potato salad.  I have tried to recreate the other aspects of the Christmas Eve meal but to no avail.  The two times I tried the sauerkraut it  didn’t turn out and the sandwiches are nothing without it.  The german potato salad I have succeeded in making, so I decided to tackle it tonight. It was delicious and comforting.

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The third comforting aspect of tonight is the satisfaction of hard work.  Is there anything better or more comforting than relaxing after working really hard? Ever since I got home from Hawaii I have felt a bit like  a chicken with its head cut off- running around frantically, working hard and not knowing what was happening next.  I can now see things coming into place but it’s been a bit overwhelming.  As with any change there is the fear of the unknown, the fear of being unhappy, the fear of picking the wrong path.  It has been hard and I think I’ve done a pretty good job keeping it all together.  Maybe part of it is I’ve been so busy there hasn’t been much time for moping around the house or worrying.  There were about 2 weeks when I allowed myself to stress out about the future, but now I am excited about the opportunities that are coming.  As I mentioned in my last post I have gone from worrying whether I had one job to now having the potential for four- vacation rentals, sales tax, Grabber events, and managing other people’s vacation rentals.  I have had to put the real estate school on the back burner for August but that will start up in September, which I am excited about (my renting 2 of the Suncrest houses as long-term rentals  should be a good sign for my future as a property manager!).  This week in particular I have been working all hours on the vacation rentals, the long-term rentals, getting trained on sales tax, working on Grabber events and more. Yesterday I was up at the houses from the morning until late in the afternoon working and forgot to drink enough water or eat lunch. Eventually I had to lie down because I started feeling faint.  I also had phone calls all day- by 2 pm I had received 25 incoming calls! It was exhausting.  Today I knew I needed to take a break from it all and that is what I have done.  I had my voice lesson this morning, which is always wonderful.  Then I came home worked on my computer for the afternoon, made dinner and am watching the movie.  It feels great to just enjoy my life!

The only thing that would make today more comforting is if I wasn’t alone.  However, maybe wishing for someone to watch You’ve Got Mail and eat german potato salad with is wishing for too much! Even if a man is unrealistic, it would be the icing on the cake to have a girlfriend or two with me.  There are so many who are far away, and I miss greatly- Melissa, Raelene, Emily and Stefanie to name a few.  I can also imagine this night with my sisters- all of us laughing and eating together.  Still, they are all only a phone call away, and they all love me.  As much as I would love their company, the knowledge of their love builds me and provides comfort.   I know whatever career path or life choice I make my friends and family will support and encourage me.  One of my most frequent prayers throughout my life has been one of gratitude to my Heavenly Father for all the love He has given me.

A couple of posts ago I wrote about needing increased faith for the months ahead.  It may have sounded trite or simplistic to some, but I don’t care.  Having faith means believing in something that is not seen.  At that moment I could not see what was in store for me.  I still have many unknowns but already I have seen new opportunities open- chances that will help me be a better, more interesting person.  This is perhaps the most comforting part about tonight- that I know everything will be ok.  My life is watched over.  As long as I work hard, believe in myself and trust in God then everything will turn out for the best.  This is a hard thing to believe when life is in chaos but it’s true.

Thank you for all your support during this crazy time.  Thank you for the comfort.

Open to Change

One of my favorite movies is You’ve Got Mail. I know it is a silly movie but I just enjoy it! It has so many memorable lines such as:

I *love* Patricia. Patricia makes COFFEE nervous.

Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life. Well, not small, but valuable. And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave?

So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around?

People always say that change is a good thing, but what it really means is that something that you didn’t want to happen, has happened.

I love daisies. They’re so friendly. Don’t you think daisies are the friendliest flower?

Have you ever become the worst version of yourself. That a pandora’s box of all the hateful things, your spite, your arrogance, your condecension has sprung open? Someone upsets you and instead of smiling and walking away… you zing them.

A HOTDOG is singing. You need quiet while a hotdog is singing?

Perfect. Keep those West-Side liberal nuts, psudo-intellectuals…
Readers, Dad. They’re called readers.
Don’t do that, son. Don’t romanticize them.

It happened in Spain. People do really stupid things in foreign countries.
Absolutely. They buy leather jackets for much more than they’re worth. But they don’t fall in love with fascist dictators!

When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.

You get the idea. I have been thinking a lot about the movie because it is all about change- even one of the quotes I have listed refers to change. Kathleen Kelly has her whole world tipped over and she must change her career, lifestyle, companionship etc. I am aware that in movie world there has to be a happy ending but I think her journey is a realistic one. She ends up growing from her sacrifice and realizing a whole new part of herself- a potential she would have never understood by staying in the store. She even has a higher capacity to love by the end of her change.

Like Kathleen Kelly I am being forced out of my comfort zone. I currently do not know where I will be permanently living, what I will be doing for a job, or who I will be living with. It’s just a vast unknown. I am starting to get an inkling that maybe running my own company isn’t such a crazy idea. I have also been keeping busy working on my dad’s rental properties and planning some events. Plus, I have that little thing called boxing up and moving all of my stuff…

Getting back to the movie, I wouldn’t be surprised if my journey is somewhat similar to Kathleen’s. In the movie she says “who would ever thought that I would write? I mean, if I hadn’t had all this time…” I feel the same way. Who would have ever thought I’d be where I am right now, an MBA grad experiencing these changes. Certainly not me. It’s actually kind of exciting! I always wanted to be someone that was brave and bold. Like the kind of girl I read about in my books- Joe March, Anne Shirley, and even Nancy Drew. How did such a girl wind up as an accounting clerk? I know that I still have the desire to do great things and this time of change may be just what I need to push me into becoming what I wanted to be as a child.

I have already experienced some of that change. Quiting my job taught me to trust my inner voice in a whole new way and that self awareness is part of the reason I have been so happy these last few months. I have a confidence that is no longer hindered by the opinions and feelings of others like it used to be. Sure I have my moments of discouragement and frustration (just as Kathleen does in the movie) but there is still an underlying confidence in my decision and my life that has not and will not change. I hope that as I continue to make changes I will grow even stronger. In the meantime thank heavens for wonderful friends, family and even movies or books that make me smile at life.

You’ve Got Mail once again describes the last 6 months for me and the time to come-

Last 6 months

I just want to say that all this nothing has meant more to me than so many somethings.

At least the next 6 months

You are a lone reed, standing tall, waving boldly in the corrupt sands of commerce.

Who knows maybe I will even find my Tom Hanks at the end of the journey!