Monday, June 24, 2013

Manners, Courtesy, and the Like

I happened to watch this video late last week. 

Did you see it?  I know so many people laughed at the man or maybe even cheered him on.  Why?  I found what he did very rude and almost violent in his reaction.  The first thing that went through my mind was the fact that he obviously never worked in fast food otherwise he would never have done this.  People that work in those types of job know how the process works inside.  I’m always surprised that other people don’t get it.  Do people really not realize that the person that hands out your food to you didn’t actually make it?  In fact had no control over its production?  Do we want the people that handles our money to then paw through our food to make sure it’s made to your specifications?  I for one do not.  How many hand sinks have you seen at the drive through window?  Second, why would you take out your aggression over cheese on a young girl that is making minimum wage, just trying to get through their shift?  We all know what the appropriate action here should have been, right?  Right? 

This however brought to mind manners.  We (well most of us…okay some of us) try very hard to instill in our children good manners.  The time and effort that goes into the simple words of thank you and please and you’re welcome.  We work to teach our children to share and treat people with respect.  We work tirelessly on these skills. 

So my question is…once we reach adulthood, do we suddenly not have to use our manners anymore?  Is it a pass once we reach, oh twenty-three years of age or what?  How many people do you say thank you too?  How often do you add please to your requests?  Do you willingly share?  I try very hard to not have to interact with real people as often as I can because the answer to these questions is: No.  Most people, don’t use any type of manners or just plain common courtesy at all. 

I want….get me…do this…now.  I wait in line at my local Starbucks at least once a week (yes, okay, sometimes more) and I have a memorized line, “Venti, non-fat, light foam, caramel macchiato, please”.  No other “pleases” are heard while I wait.  I am handed my drink and I make eye contact and say thank you.  Every time.  What has me confused is the shear look of WTH on the face of the person handing me my drink at how to respond to my thank you.  They aren’t used to it.  Evidently.  They always give me a very lovely smile and then a surprised you’re welcome. 

At the bank, I don’t receive a “How can I help you?”  I have on a regular basis gotten a curt, “Yeah, come on up.”  It sets a very defensive tone immediately.  How do you respond to that?  All I am then able to do is set down my deposit and slide it across the window.  I still say thank you when I am tossed back my receipt, but I very rarely get a you’re welcome. 

Children I meet along the way are always so polite and sweet.  I get a smile, always.  I get a please and thank you every time necessary.  Why are children so mannered when adults who are taking the time to teach their children these very manners feel they should go without them?  I’m confused and a bit frustrated with the human race. 

Oh I know there are many adults out there that feel the same way, but I am not running into you and that is why this is so upsetting.  Where are the mannered and the courteous? It’s really sad and really no wonder I shy away from adults more often that not anymore.  Adults are mean and selfish and self absorbed.  I’ll take the children any day over the adults. 

Just in case you don’t know what the appropriate action to have taken in the drive through situation, here it is:  Go inside, ask to speak to the manager.  Tell your complaint to the manager, the one person that can actually do something about the situation.  For those that are saying why should they have to get out of the car? The dude above drove over to a parking spot, got out of his car, walked up to the drive through and then went on a several minute rant!  That got him nothing but face time on the internet.  Heck, at least with bringing your complaint to the manager, you might get free food for your next visit.  Woo Hoo!  

So be nice out there people.  I for one am taking notice.  Are you?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Writing Time and Word Counts

I don't know about everyone else, but I find it extremely hard to fit in all the things I want to do, within all the things that I have to do.  The have list is astounding:

1.  Wake up. (Yes, some days this is very hard for me the night owl)
2.  Work a full time job.  (No, I am not a full time writer...yet.  I'm working on it, but as of right now, nope)
3.  Children.  (I don't actually mind all the things I do for and with my children, this makes the list for time consumption only)
4.  Household chores.  (I am aware that these can be put on a back burner, but I am not one that can do that.  I have to pick up and straighten daily.  If I don't it rages continually through my brain and refuses to allow me any peace of mind. When I am fighting with myself over a load of laundry that needs done, I can't exactly think or complete anything else.)
5.  Outside chores.  (See number 4)
6.  Unexpected life events.  (We all have these.  Mom is sick.  Dog died.  Snake in the basement.  Regardless of the event, they tend to be time consuming)
7.  Etc. etc. etc.  (In fact I could go on and on with this list, but you get the idea)

Then you have the list of really want to do things which surprisingly is not all that large and yet, I struggle to fit them within my days.

1.  Write or work on my current projects.  (Just an hour is all I really want a day.  Just one measly hour.  Is that too much to ask?  Some days?  Heck yeah.)
2.  Read a book.  (I miss all the books I want to read.  I used to be able to squeeze in a book or two or five within a weeks time.  Yeah, not so much anymore.  I'm lucky to read a book a week)
3.  Lay out in the sunshine watching the bunnies or the birds or the butterflies flit around.  (I'm kinda like superman in that I need the sun to recharge.  When I get so busy that I can't get outside into the sun I get grouchy and sad.  Winters are hard for that very reason.)
4.  Watch TV.  (I don't watch much TV anymore.  I try to watch Dance Mom's on Tuesdays, but other than that, esp. right now in the mid June, I struggle to find veg-out time as much as I struggle to find writing time)
5.  Go for a walk.  (I try very hard to do this during my lunch breaks in the spring-fall.  It's not happening much anymore.  I'm working through lunch.  I'm running five thousand and one errands.  Who has time for a lovely summer walk?)

That's it.  Doesn't seem like all that much does it?  Maybe things will settle down.  Most likely they won't.  Until then, I will strive to get in a bit of me time as much as possible. I am a happier Courtney when I do.

What hits your lists, both must do and want to do.  Have you found ways to work out a decent balance?  Share...

Monday, June 10, 2013

First Drafts and Me

What’s on my mind?  Surprisingly I have a lot of things going on in my life right now.  Foremost is that I am almost finished with draft one of my next book in the Shadow Dancer series. This is the story of Leif.  I have had several people ask what happened to him and why he was the way he was.  Well, this book is the why and the how.  I have about 10,000 more words to get down for it to be done.  Maybe more.  I am working on the last two big scenes of the book.  Sometimes I get caught up in the action and it’s more words than I thought it would be.  That’s not a bad thing, actually.  As then when I have to go back and cut away all the useless stuff, there is still plenty of story left. 

I have never tried to write from a male perspective before.  I hope I am doing a decent job of it.  I will need to find a few beta readers to break it to me one way or another.  That’s still a bit far off though, as again, I’m only on the first draft.  That first draft is usually a mess by the time it’s written.  I will have to go back and really work on it page by page in order to fill it in and cut away and put together a more complete story.  I have found that my first draft is really only a shell of the story.  All the ideas and problems and people tossed around and stuffed in.  The first revision is killer.  I don’t know about some of the other writers, but the first revision for me is almost harder than writing the story to begin with.  No, it doesn’t take quite as long, but it’s still a job. 

Leif has been on my mind lately (I wonder why).  He is a lot more complex that even I knew.  He has had a hard life.  It’s no wonder he is a hard and cold man.  Yes, I do get attached to my characters.  I live their lives, their thoughts, their dreams while I am writing their stories.  It’s hard not to get attached. 

At any rate, that’s where I am right now.  His story is almost complete.  Will it have a happy ending?  I’m not certain.  He is going to have to decide that for himself. 

What’s on your mind this week?  Are you working on anything new and exciting?  This does not have to be writing related. This can be the new garden you put in, or the new book you are reading, or the new cabinets you are making for the kitchen.  Come on, share.  What are we all doing now that the warmth of summer has finally arrived?