Your Grrrs: March 15, 2005
Sean in Cyber-Space on Martha: Finally, someone has written what needs to be written about Martha. She is a crook and liar, and like you said, a true Oblivion. Why does this fact seem to fly over everyone else's heads like a nice, sharp Ginsu thrown through the kitchen? Luckily, Strakalogue has hit the target on this.
Annie (wife of a doc) in Houston writes: I couldn't resist. BJ seems to think scheduling appointments is a breeze for doctors. Doctors have no idea how long each appointment will take. There is a basic timeline each tries to follow, but sometimes people call that morning begging to be seen by the doctor because their HMO doesn't pay for emergency room visits if it isn't an emergency. Many patients do not know if their heartburn is a "Mylanta moment" (a non-emergency paid by patient) or something more serious (paid for by the HMO) or if a rash is something to be concerned about. Even if a doctor limits how many of these spontaneous appointments he can accept, some of them end up taking more time than usual. So next time when BJ wakes up feverish and tries to get a same-day appointment, she needs to think about the others sitting around her taking time out of their work day just to be displaced by her non-emergency.
Frank in Atlanta with a typical Obliviot story: When caffeine calls, people do weird things. It is just an average cup of Joe, Oblivifolks. While we were at the order station in the drive-thru, we had a lady run across from the other side of the building to our car to yell at us for several minutes because “we cut her off from coming in to the drive thru." She then steamed into the Starbucks leaving her family in a vacation-packed station wagon in the middle of the parking lot and blocking a high-traffic set of lanes in the busy mall. After looking at my wife for a minute and comprehending the filth-enriched barrage we endured, we realized that she apparently overshot the tight turn into the order lane. Instead of circling in a calm manner back to the entrance, she wanted to reverse back into a high-occupancy six-lane road, and was angry that we easily turned off that road and into the order lane. We saw her reverse lights but she was 10 yards away (too far for us to have any affect on her), and it never occurred to us that she would back into traffic again to make the order lane. After picking up our order, we drove by the car still sitting in the middle of the lane. We noted the embarrassed husband in the passenger seat, grandma in the back and a set of blocked cars with irritated drivers. His wife had yet to return (apparently holding the only set of keys) and I am thinking her incremental caffeine fix was not going to enhance his afternoon.
Keith in Norfolk, Va.: My “Stupid lit’l Dreamer” award goes to the Spanish clerics who issued a fatwah against Bin Laden (an edict calling him an apostate and urging others to denounce him) for the terrible train bombings in Madrid. I applaud that they had the extreme courage and conviction to do so!!! My Grrr is why hasn’t the rest of the “Arab world” done so? The 1,500-plus American and Allied loss of life is certainly horrific, but pales in comparison to the ravages Al Qaeda and insurgents have had on Iraqi innocents!!! But, being part of the non-Arabic world, I may never understand it all, but I do feel a measure of faith now that these brave clerics have chosen a humane path.
Erin in Cyber-Space: I'd like to nominate the fans of the recently cancelled show, "Star Trek: Enterprise," for the Stupid Li'l Dreamer award. Whether they love the show or hate it, the fans really are loyal to their franchise and are banding together to raise money in an attempt to fund a fifth season of the show. Trek United (www.trekunited.com) has been raising funds for a fifth season since the news of cancellations was released. They've recently received large donations from supporters in the commercial space flight industry that total $3 million. It's nowhere near the budget necessary to keep the show in production, but they're not discouraged; in fact, they're heartened by the contributions. Raising money to fund a television show ... stupid? Yes. But they might just pull it off. And I'll definitely be there to watch it, if they do.
Jason in China: In your most recent post on FOXNews.com, you briefly defined Oblivions as people who "can park wherever they want. They don't have to wait in line at the grocery store or coffee shop. They eat noisily with their mouths open or scream into their speakerphones at the office. They change lanes without signaling and they board elevators and subway trains while others are trying to exit." I live in Shanghai, China, and this describes the city to perfection. In a city of over 20 million people, the niceties of neatly formed lines do not exist. Signals are optional. Getting on and off elevators, subways and el-trains is something that is done simultaneously ... by everyone. Many people chew with their mouths open and slurp their soups and noodles. They literally talk as loud as possible into their cellphones ... no matter the time or place. In my neighborhood, the car-owners park on the sidewalks. So, guess where everyone walks with their children! But I will say this: No one complains about it. It's just life. Everyone is an Oblivion. Even me.
Mark in Cyber-Space: I just came back from a certain country (it shall remain unnamed because I may need to return and wish to get visa approval), and I must tell you, we have it easy when it comes to Oblivions. Imagine, the gate to a flight opens and people crowd and crush to get on the plane first while waving their boarding passes to the one guy boarding us -- only to sit in the seat (or be forced to sit in that seat) which their ticket has them assigned to. On the same flight, after repeating the instruction to remain seated three times while taxiing to or from the runway, the attendants have to forcibly sit people down -- keep in mind, this is one of their own domestic airlines. Imagine, being the first at a check-in counter, and when it opens up someone casually, as though I or the people behind me did not exist, walks up to check in to the flight --and the attendant says nothing -- three or four times at the same check-in counter! At first I thought they might be first or business class, but nope, I could see them in economy. Imagine, the same thing happening at the store -- over and over and over again. I can't tell you how many times someone started shouting from behind me where he/she wanted to go to the lady I was buying a bus ticket from while throwing money at her!
I don't even want to remember the elevators, subways or traffic. I thought maybe it's because I'm a foreigner. However, I noticed that when I was not part of what was going on, the same stuff still happened. It got to the point where if I wanted to get anywhere or get anything bought, I had to resign to if you can't beat 'em, then join 'em. It seems to be the cultural norm to be an Oblivion! I will still get annoyed at little Oblivion occurrences here in the USA, but it will help knowing that we have it a whole lot easier here.
Martin G. on Martha: You designation of Martha Stewart as an "Oblivion," while accurate on one level, misses the key issue: She was convicted of something for which no one else would ever have been convicted. Sample a federal judge's criminal docket and you won't find this kind of case. She fell victim to a publicity-seeking prosecutor (check the speaking engagements for this prosecutor -- none of which would have been available but for the newfound renown of being the Martha prosecutor) and a weak judge. While I can live without the magazine and probably will never see the TV show, I care rather deeply about this trivializing of the American justice system.
Helen on Martha: Martha served her time, and now has to wear an ankle bracelet to monitor her movements. She is also is under house arrest -- while Lizzie Grubman served time that was “a piece of cake” for deliberately backing into and hurting people??? Why is it that crimes that involve money have harsher sentences than those committed against mere mortals??? Pedophiles and rapists don’t have to have to wear anything on their ankles, but dangerous Martha does. Makes absolute no sense to me.
Justin in Texas: You are right on the mark. "Oblivions" have been around a long time, but what you fail to mention is that they are more prevalent in some geographic locales. They stand in front of the elevator doors as you're trying to exit, they leave their vehicles parked at the gas pump while they go inside to pay, they stay in the left hand lane while you're trying to pass, and they let the door slam in you're face as they enter the 7-11. In Texas we call them "Yankees".
Mike Straka is the director of operations and special projects for FOXNews.com, and contributes as a features reporter on "FOX Magazine," and occasionally as a news cut-ins anchor on FOX News Channel. Read Mike's Bio.