This page consists of a list of things for which no apology will be forthcoming. I list them here because experience has taught me that, despite the obvious fact that each of these behaviors is perfectly rational and in no way offensive, people keep getting upset about them.
1. I am an inveterate “brisk-leaver.”
When it is time to go, one gets up, says goodbye, and leaves. This is appropriate (and preferable) regardless of setting. Visiting parents? Say goodbye and then leave. At a funeral? Say goodbye and then leave. Heading out of town for six months? Say goodbye and then leave. Closing a once-in-a-lifetime audience with the pope? Say goodbye and then leave. A Generalized Goodbye (hereinafter referred to as “GG”) is sufficient. It is not necessary to seek out each individual at the function and say goodbye while commanding the attention of all four eyes and ears.
The only exception is the deathbed. The reason the deathbed is the only exception is because, after a lifetime of unapologetically brisk GGs, a Lingering Individualized Goodbye (or “LIG”) will have the sought-after effect of conveying the depths of one’s emotion. If you spent a lifetime crying for twelve minutes every time you departed the family Christmas, your deathbed LIG will suffer from the law of diminishing returns and be essentially meaningless.
2. I do not ever say “that’s just my opinion.”
This is because, unless I am intentionally lying to your face, every position I take in an argument is “just my opinion.” And so is yours. The test is not who has the stronger opinion, but whose opinion is best supported by the facts. I have yet to find myself in the middle of a heated discussion while thinking, “You know, I’m arguing something I really don’t believe at all.”
3. Everyone thinks they’re always right.
I think anyone who says “You always think you’re right” has a potbellied pig in the cavity most people use to store their brains. All of us always think we’re right. Show me the person who walks through life attempting to intentionally take incorrect stances on matters of great importance.
“You always think you’re right” is code. It means “I don’t want you to be right, but I can’t defeat your logic, so I will cling to my uninformed, poorly reasoned opinion while accusing you of arrogance.” Alternatively, sometimes it means “I consent to your rightness, but disapprove of the fact that you’re self-referentially aware of it. I wish you would be accidentally right like the rest of us, clinging piecemeal to a hodgepodge of poorly reasoned folk wisdom we inherited from our parents.”
4. I expect my children to do what I tell them.
…and I have precious little respect for anyone who doesn’t. Do not begin telling me about his ADD or his ADHD or his “rough week.” And OH MY GOSH don’t be near me while you let the child talk to you as if you’re somehow beneath him. I’m not going to say anything, but I’m going to think TERRIBLE things, then I’m going to make snarky tweets about you.
5. I like not having my kids around.
This is not logically equivalent to “I don’t love my kids,” so quit acting like it. I’m an adult. I like to do things kids can’t do, watch things kids can’t watch, and talk about things kids aren’t ready to discuss yet. Quit competing with me in the “I’m a good parent” contest. You win. And when your children leave, and you’re a hollow shell because you’ve forgotten what being a human adult consists of, I’ll be over here, not lagging 18 years behind culture.
6. I understand the consequences of entropy.
Things break. Shoes wear out. Rooms get dirty. A sterile, ordered existence is possible, sure, but only in fits and starts. The compulsion to present a perfectly clean facade in your home / apparel / behavior / children is fine, as long as you understand it means you will spend all of your time arranging your life and none of your time living it. Everything is a tradeoff. Having a job means not having infinite free time. Having plenty of free time means not having plenty of money. Don’t be a whiny person who wonders why you can’t have everything you want. No one does.
7. I am a Licensed Staunch Defender of Public Space
Your house belongs to you (or someone who loves you and lets you live there). My house belongs to me. In our respective homes we can dress, speak, move, breakdance, scream as we please. But this is the grocery store. Stop shrieking, pack of teenage girls. Speak to your child rather than scream, angry single parent. Turn your music down in the parking lot, gentleman with tinted windows. This is the library. Do not speak out loud at all, troglodyte freshman. Dancing is not appropriate here, sorority sister. Turn off the youtube video volume, uncivilized lout. This is the sidewalk. Get off the skateboard, future bodybag. Break up your Red Rover line that forces me off the sidewalk, doubledating teenagers. See how that works?
More to follow. Or chuck yours into the comments.