I was waiting for the bus not long ago, and I had a series of nearly blog-worthy moments come to me in rapid succession. I don’t know if it was just that kind of day, or I’ve gotten immune to the human shenanigans on the train, which I usually take. Or maybe I’m getting to the age where I’m picking up the habits of the elderly, sitting and watching stuff and murmuring gently to myself.
Whatever the reason, now you get to read about it — lucky you.
It started while I was at the bus stop. I noticed this enormous black and brown dog, perhaps of Doberman lineage, up in a 5th floor window across the street, staring intently at some unknown point. Or maybe it was that “middle distance” stare of many fictional characters who experience a mid-life disappointment. I don’t really like dogs as I’m generally against public pooping, but am willing to get to know them on a case-by-case basis. As a cat person, I find dogs’ general overdone exuberance disturbing. Can a person showing up on your door step every day really be that life-changing and mind blowing? Every single day? Apparently so, because this dog’s entire being was trained on whoever it was waiting for.
Then I blinked and he was gone from the window. What happened? Did master/mommy/daddy come home? Or was is just the sound of kibble falling into his bowl? A sound that dogs get just as excited about as their people showing up. Really, have some self-respect.
Once the dog was gone, I tuned into the music being piped in by the pizza joint next to the bus stop. It was an 80s song by Genesis, “Misunderstanding,” which is about a guy trying to see his girlfriend (or a woman he’s dating) and she blows off their date (“I waited in the rain for hours”) and she won’t answer the phone, and when he goes to her house, he sees she’s just leaving.
With a sudden insight that perhaps only can happen while waiting for a bus, I thought, “80s ghosting.” Ain’t nothing new under the sun, except a hiptydo name. Of course, you really had to work at it back in those days. You couldn’t sit on your couch and just stop texting. No, you had to ignore an actual ringing phone — perhaps multiple times because there was no way of knowing if you dialed the wrong number. So you had to listen to 2 maybe 3 calls in quick succession. Then you had to ignore any message that was left. If they came to your house, you had to hide behind furniture to make it seem like no one was home or pay off your sibling/roommate to lie for you. Parents rarely would unless they didn’t like the person either. Even though it was still a crappy thing to do to a person, we learned some useful life skills in the process. How to ignore annoying sounds, how to hide, how to persuade people to lie for you. All you ghosters learn now is how to sit on your couch and be rude the lazy way.
The bus still wasn’t coming, so my next random thought popped up: “Why does everything have to have its own name?” Why does ghosting even need a name? Or “catfishing” or “benching” or “Twitter.” I came across a person proudly calling themselves “first gen,” and they meant first generation to go to college, which is great. But I’m 30 years older and I’m one too, and so are a lot of of us, but we didn’t have a special name for it. We just said, “We’re the first generation to go to college.” It’s not a new thing, people. I understand wanting to shorten the phrase, but this incessant desire to label everything seems rather indiscriminate. For example, I read an article about a woman and her “comfort animal,” Um. That would be your pet, right? Service animal, yes. That name gives access to people who need it. But comfort animal? Is that to distinguish it from a nasty, uncomfortable pet? Sorry, not a thing.
The bus finally came, but the magic of my wandering mind continued. I moved to the middle of the bus and sat down. My attention was immediately drawn to the smell of peanut butter. The lady in front of me had just unsheathed a Reese’s, but it was peanut butter swathed in . . . white chocolate. I recoiled in horror. That is all kinds of wrong. I wanted lean over and whisper “That’s not chocolate.”
For the record, white chocolate is not chocolate. It’s white candy. Why can’t people make up a new name for that candy travesty? Like whiclate. Then I would ghost the whiclate while avoiding nasty, uncomfortable comfort animals.