Monday, May 17, 2010

Tudor for Higher, Tooter Aveilible

Sometimes I have topics I hesitate to blog about because they might make me look petty, unkind, or whiney/complain-y. Usually what I do in that situation is write about the topic anyway.
Sometimes, blogging about a topic can help me to be more thoughtful and reflective, and I end up learning instead of just snarking. Other times, all I can manage is to try to figure out how to write about a topic in a way that does not make me look like a petty, unkind, or whiney person.

Since I'm trying to break back into blogging after two weeks off, I'm just going to go ahead and be petty here about two different topics because I don't have the energy for thoughtfulness and revelation. Forgive me please.

Topic #1
As a sometime-instructor of English, I have often been asked some version of this question: "So, are you checking my grammar right now?" With regard to conversation, the answer is almost always "No." With regard to print, the answer is almost always "Yes, but I can't help myself, and I'm trying not to judge." I've edited thousands of pages of my own writing and that of students (and siblings) over the years. I admit I notice errors and experience a pleasurable sense of control and satisfaction in understanding how to correct them (most of the time, NTB).
Outside (and at times inside) the classroom, I mostly keep these corrections to myself. I know that the majority of people know the difference between definitely and defiantly, there and their, and looser and loser. People rush and make mistakes. Fine.
I saw some particularly glaring errors the other day that I can't get over. The errors were on a bulletin board notice advertising a service as "benefical" and, even better (or worse), "convenyant."
B E N E F I C A L and C O N V E N Y A N T
You know where this is heading, right? What was advertised as "benefical" and "convenyant"?
Tutoring services. Tutoring services!!!! I just can't get over that. I took a copy of the notice, and I was going to scan and post it. That felt extra petty so you will just have to believe me that this notice exists in the world. I am just going to content myself with the hope that those seeking tutoring for their children will pause before hiring an instructor who cannot spell "benefical" or "convenyant" and, possibly worse, cannot be bothered to double-check advertising materials.
Topic #2
My new method for grocery shopping is working out pretty well for me, NTB. I secure a car cart and the boys sit side by side in it. I continue my longtime habit of giving them candy or donut holes (feel free to judge) as we shop to keep them from bothering each other and impeding my shopping progress. Because it's hard to maneuver a car cart without looking like you spent a little too much time in the wine aisle, I place Sweet P's infant carrier in the actual basket of the cart (instead of perched atop the front part--never seems like a secure spot to me). I try to keep the shopping trip smallish and place the groceries around the infant carrier (tricky business because the car cart's basket is smaller than that of a standard cart) and then on the shelf below the cart.* I bring a list to the store and move as quickly and efficiently as possible . . .
. . . until I get to the checkout line. The Jewel was light on help today and all the lanes were kind of long, except the ten self checkouts. I cannot manage the car cart, infant seat, and self check all at the same time so I assessed the various lines, placed my bet, and pulled up the cart. I spot a customer carrying about seven cans of something walking toward my checkout area. Sure, it looked tricky to be carrying seven cans with no basket, but no trickier than shopping with three kids, a car cart, and limited cart space. The woman in front of me in line says to the seven can woman, "You don't have many items, you can hop in before me." To be clear, the seven can woman was not already in our line just pondering which line to choose.
That nice gesture annoyed me because I am a small and petty person. A small and petty person who was also already in that line and who was eager to get through her so-far smooth shopping trip with no incidents. A small and petty person who thinks that the seven can customer could have grabbed a cart or a hand held basket when she entered the store instead of balancing seven cans in her arms. A small and petty person who thinks that an individual with only seven items and no human appendages might be better served in one of the store's ten no wait self-check lanes. A small and petty person who thought the seven can customer and her benefactor should have considered the entire line of customers before making/accepting this offer.
A small and petty person who is a bit ashamed to admit that she audibly sighed and then moved her cart to another checkout line. I am ashamed of that sigh, truly, but I just keenly felt the injustice (yes, I used the term "injustice"-- see how very petty I am!!!!) of the moment.
Judge away and please check this post for errors while you're at it! I'm sure I deserve it.

How petty are you? Please leave a comment to make me feel better.


*Side note: big beef with regard to my Target is that their carts have no lower shelf. Right now, I cannot attempt Target with all three children in tow. Silver lining: will save lots of money.

17 comments:

Merri Ann said...

1) I have to admit I'm a bit of a hypocrit myself. My parents drilled grammar in to my head at home ... verbally ... but I'm terrible at punctuation and I never check my spelling ... but signs like that drive me absolutely nuts. Along with "your" and "you're".

2) I always take my kids to the store hungry and give them a snack to munch on ... it ALWAYS gets me more time to complete my shopping.

3) I have 3 year old twins and a 4 year old ... shopping has always been a juggling act ... in Target I push two in the car with the car and one walks. They have to take turns in the seats.

But, when they were little the twins were in the stroller (I pushed that) and my older one was in the grocery cart (I pulled that).

I recommend that you put the two in the car and the baby seat in that basket and pull a larger basket along behind you ... it's worked for me for years ... and it's much easier than you think.

This was a fun post !!!
(so ... how many grammar errors did you find?? LOL)

CaraBee said...

I am terribly petty about grammar. I know mine is not perfect. I have an excessive fondness for exclamation points, run-on and incomplete sentences. But I'd like to think that my spelling is generally good and I rarely make there/their type mistakes. Although not never. I am constantly rereading my posts to find those little errors I might have missed. I am very critical of those mistakes when I see them. I try not to be so judgey but I can't help it.

I never let someone in front of me unless I am the only one in line. That WAS rude. You had every right to your sigh. I would have done it, too.

Heather said...

I think they should've let YOU in front of the line, with three little kids in tow, one a brand new baby...HELLO?

And I'm right there with you on the spelling/grammar pet peeve. Is there any chance at all they were just trying to be funny? 'Cause that would make it a little better, dontcha think?

I heard just the other day that Target's stocks were down...related to your absence, methinks :)

Amy said...

When Jay Leno hosted "The Tonight Show" the first time around he had a segment on Monday nights with grammar/spelling errors people would send in from newspapers, magazines, etc. It was hysterical. Maybe you should find out if he still does that and send them in.

As for the shopping, you were nicer than I would have been. I would have "accidentally" run my cart into the woman in front of me. Ooops!

Anonymous said...

A sigh was a restrained response. I hate when a new line opens ans the people in the way back of the line then get to be the first in line. Have they no shame?

When I worked in the business world, I was shocked by how many people sent emails or memos using your/you're and there/their incorrectly. I remember thinking one time, "oh, he's not really as smart as he thinks he is". Perhaps the petty judging runs in the family. I can completely overlook petty errors from people I like, yet when they come from someone who rubs me the wrong way then I do tend to judge.

I do admit to being more error prone when using my itouch

LAP

Anonymous said...

For proof of my last line, see "ans" where I clearly meant "and". If it wasn't a pain to fix, I would have capitalized my "Oh" too:). LAP

Nap Warden said...

Shopping with three kiddos...at Target...GAHHHHH!!!!

E... said...

You KNOW I am not above pettiness, in lots of situations. In fact, I'm constantly admiring your ability to keep trying to rise above and stay positive, as I find myself so much more likely to just be snarky, cynical and annoyed.
My own pettiness currently revolves around my neighbors, as you know, and I'm really trying to get beyond it, but fail most days. Luckily, I can blame a good bit of it on hormones. (and so can you!)
I really do not get annoyed with grammar as much as one would expect (sharing similar backgrounds as we do). In fact, I'm pretty fuzzy on many of the actual rules and terms for grammar. Ask me to define past conditional, or explain a dangling modifier, not so much. But errors in published print, such as you mention? Really? Is there no one to proofread?
Oh, and I've been known to nearly come to blows in Michael's -- cash register line offender central -- when they open up a new line and the person BEHIND me jumps over there.

UncleBoo said...

As a horrible speller with below average grammar, I have have had a number of papers "edited" by MEP.

I have always appreciated the help, as I am sure the little ones will as they begin school.

dusty earth mother said...

I.cannot.believe.that was a notice for TUTORING! How is that possible?!

Thanks for making me laugh. So happy you're back! (incomplete sentence)

Regan said...

"[W]hiney/complain-y"? I know of nothing in Strunk and White that would justify the slash or the (fascinating) hyphen. At least it's not an m-dash.

That type of punctuation is the lazy tool of a weak mind. Do you feel better now, as though you have somehow atoned?

I'll go Funk my Wagnalls.

msh said...

hilarious post. i love that you changed lines, and i hope the line jumper and her accomplice heard your sigh and realized that they were the cause of it.
here's my grocery store pettiness: i get extremely annoyed when the baggers do not bag my items the way i think they should be bagged. i actually carefully send my items down the runway in the order i would like them to be bagged--all the frozen foods go down together, all the boxed items, all the produce, etc. and i praise the smart baggers who get what i am going for here. but when one comes along who puts my meat in with my produce, and then drop one can in a bag all by itself (do they not understand that by bringing my own bags into the grocery store i am actually trying to avoid using their crappy plastic ones?), i can hardly contain my frustration or my sighs. one time the guy said to me, "you're pregnant, so i didn't want to make the bags heavy." so it was better that i had 38 bags to carry into my house instead of 7? (not to mention, being pregnant does not make me unable to carry a few grocery bags.) so don't feel bad. (i actually should feel quite bad. these poor baggers are just trying to do their job. and just trying to be nice to a pregnant lady, and all i can do is not-so-subtly roll my eyes.)

and here's the weird thing about me and grammar: i actually think i have quite solid grammar skills (oh, how i love mrs. vido), and i can be quite quick to judge. but i actually choose to defy certain rules. (i.e. not sure what i have against capital letters, but i refuse to use them.) it's like some inane creative license i choose to take for absolutely no reason.

and i apologize for the length of this response! but i feel better after venting my bagger frustration. thanx. (more creative license on the spelling there.)

Anonymous said...

now that's just keeping it real :) rita

east coast bro said...

A calculated move on behalf of target to increase profit. The lower shelf on a cart is a perfect way to get out of a store with a few freebies. My wifes grandpa (god rest his soul) figured out that a case of beer fit pefectly on that shelf!

Also, there were few more painful words growing up than "Make sure MEP reads that paper before you turn it in".

The Empress said...

HI! How are you??

Please stop over, I have an award up for you!

cake said...

cosmo's pre-school is housed inside of a church. for the entire month of april, a number of signs, written in some sort of "street lingo," advertising upcoming sermons, were posted on a bulletin board in the lobby area. this one was our favorite:

"Straight Up: Christ descends to Heaven"

Sue and Randy said...

Where to start...
I don't like abbreviations in texting, I know that defeats the purpose of short communications, but I actually feel superior by spelling everything out and using proper puncutation. It's "you're" not "ur"--stop the insanity!!!

I'm generally appalled at grammar/spelling by young people I thought were educated, especially on Facebook. I know, I need to loosen up.

Finally, living in Texas, I'm mortified to see a colleague actually type "y'all" in an email message. Yes...licensed attorneys use the word "y'all" and type it out, even when corresponding with other lawyers in the north. I just want to tell them what a bad impression it makes on anyone outside (or even inside) the state. On a related note, enough with cowboy boots with a suit, get some freaking loafers.

I'll stop now, but I do feel better! Wish there was spell check on this. Glad you're back!

 
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