12 November 2006

Public Service Announcements

We had a perfectly lovely party at Mr Stapler's house on Friday night. Good food, good company, lots of interesting international students from all over Europe. But am I going to blog about the fun and loveliness?

Don't you know me better than that? Don't you know that the motto on my escutcheon would read "If you don't have anything nice to say, come and sit by me"?

I am going to bitch about the woman who showed up sick as a dog and sneezed all over my beautiful hors d'oevures and sucked down all the red wine, including a $48 bottle of Dutch Henry Pinot Noir that Mr Stapler opened for her in a moment of drunken merriment. (Note: I do not normally purchase $48 wine. It was the result of a long day of wine tasting in Napa Valley, where my good judgement went out the window at about the 3rd winery.)

Honestly, people. I can see going to the grocery store when you are sick because you need Nyquil. I will even cut people some slack who go to work sick because they need to save their sick days to care for their children. But puh-leaze, if you are sick YOU DO NOT NEED TO GO TO PARTIES.

And if you are stupid enough and clueless enough go to a party, please do not hover over the food table with a wadded up kleenex clutched in your evil little claw.

And especially, do not swill down the expensive Pinot that Suebob will need to drink to recover from the thought of your disgusting microbes polluting her St. Andre Triple Cream brie plate. Go home, beyotch!


There is a way to bum money from me and and a way not to. Here are some helpful hints.

"Excuse me, miss, I was wondering if you could help me out. My sister just had a baby and she is real sick and I need to get $37 for a bus ticket to go help her out and I have $28 and I was wondering if you had any change to spare?"

Why this is good:
1. "Excuse me" - you may be a meth freak, but your mama raised you right.
2. "miss" - I am 45. I will take all the "miss" I can get.
3. "My sister just had a baby..." - I appreciate a good story. It may be total fiction but you at least know how to tug at the heartstrings. Good plotline.
4. "$28..." nice detail
5. "If you had any change to spare..." not presumptious.

"Excuse me. I was wondering if you had any spare change."

Why this is okay
See 1 and 5 above. Not too creative, though.

$1 or all the change in my pocket.
"Do you have a dollar?"

Why this is bad
No "excuse me." No backstory. No polite words at all. Just a presumption that I will give some random drunk in the parking lot at the do-it-ur-self car wash a dollar.

Not gonna happen, pal.


Lisa said...

You know awhile back my brother showed up to our housewarming party with a stomach virus. So yes, I feel you pain because I not only worried if I was going to catch it, but would the hubs and the boy too? Also, would my guests? And if so, would they be pissed at me.

You worked really hard and that dessert and wine sound fabby!

Anonymous said...

I had a guy at the grocery store ask me for $2 to get a coffee the other day.

I don't give money to bums. I'm certainly not going to give $2 to anyone.. and not for COFFEE, which really isn't a life-threatening deficiency.


super des said...

Sick people in public make me angry. Sick people at work make me angry too, but that's not their fault - we need a better employer sick time policy in this country. Luckily, I never get sick (knock on wood) but it still pisses me off and/or annoys me.

As for the bums, I get all kinds. "Do you have a dollar?" Yes, and you're not getting it!
I hate the ones that play a bad song or something, then expect me to pay for that experience.

Anonymous said...

A random panhandler is one thing, but a cheese sneezing tissue waving tart drinking all the wine is enough to piss off the Good Humor Man ™.

Lynnea said...

And to think, she probably couldn't even taste the wine right with all those germs clogging her up. Ugh. Pleh.
Sick party attending should be punishable by party banishment. Forever!

Anonymous said...

An apologetic smile helps, too. I almost always give people money when they ask, though. (Unless they're rude.) The way I see it, if they're down enough to have to beg for money, they can get some change from me...that type of desperation deserves it, IMO.

The most I've given at once was a guy who was probably going to drink it away by his looks, but he smiled...and he had very sad eyes. I gave him $5.

Anonymous said...

Sick people should NOT attend parties - you are correct! Grr. Nobody wants Typhoid Mary coughing on the apps.

Unknown said...

Sick people suck.

I give my money to bums all the damn time. I can't help it.

claire said...

i have to appreciate the scorecard you have for giving money to people. I think that's fantastic. When i visited Paris a bunch of years ago, i was so impressed with the stories that the beggars had. One was a girl with an index card with her story in a mess of languages so she could harrass you in your own language, "Hi, my name is____ and my baby and i are homeless and need money for food..." Usually, these people looked better dressed than me, so i didn't feel so bad walking past them. But i, too, appreciate a good, thought-out story, so sometimes i can be suckered.

meno said...

Going to a party while sick - foolish.
Sneezing on the food - disgusting.
Drinking all the good wine - unforgivable.

ByJane said...

There is nothing worse than a pushy panhandler who doesn't know his place! Even as I write that I realize how awful it sounds, but....I can't deny it.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I can't stand people who are sick and can't just stay home. What I get really aggravated about is people who save their sick time for themselves and take their sick kids to my babysitter to infect all the other kids.


As for her sneezing, I think I would have tried to sneeze in her wine glass before the night was over, but that's just me.

ecogrrl said...

I worked for a transitional housing center, so I have my own views on panhandling which I won't go into here...but I would totally send that germ factory an invoice for the wine.

SUEB0B said...

Meg, I would actually love to hear what you have to say about it, given that you have expertise in the area. I want to do the right thing, but I'm not always sure what it is.

MrsFortune said...

Well, "do you have a dollar" isn't even a request! It's just an inquiry into your financial state, which is totally irrelevant to the person asking the question. I agree with you on this. If someone said that to me I'd just say yes or no, depending on which was true, and keep walking.

Sounds like your parties need sneeze guards, like at a buffet. That brie plate sounds dee-lish, though.

Suzanne said...

I never give money to people who randomly ask me for it either, and I suspect it is for the same reasons that Meg has. (Working at an affordable housing agency will do that to you, too.) Or it could just be that I am stingy and mean.

As for sick people, that is very wrong. It is also wrong for your partner's co-worker to show up for a party and then get wasted and break your furniture. I think that makes me angrier than if she had sneezed on my food.

ecogrrl said...

Well, I know there are arguments both ways, but my agency usually advised against giving change. First, it is true that you don't know whether or not people are going to spend it on drugs and alcohol, but a lot of our own clients admitted that they would. So, pocket change risks perpetuating the cycle of homelessness instead of helping someone get out of it.

The advocates I knew would argue that it's more productive to buy someone a meal, a hot drink, or a sandwich from the grocery store -- which is what I took to doing ("Hey, I'm just running in here to get some groceries. Can I get you something for lunch?")...If you aren't comfortable buying food, you could save up your spare change and donate it to a transitional housing agency or shelter, or buy some much-needed supplies (toiletries, baby diapers and women's sanitary products are *always* running short), or buy a "Real Change" newspaper if they sell them in your communities.

It's a tough call, but the other thing to note is that it's important to acknowledge the person, even if it's a difficult thing to do. Yes, occasionally you'll be shouted at, but one of the biggest problems homeless people experience is the loss of humanity. Any acknowledgement of their existence -- a smile, a "not today," etc, -- is more than they get from 99% of people.

Just my two cents. Suzanne, did I miss anything?

Anonymous said...

One time, in Berkeley, I had some gutter punk come up to me, get right in my face, and scream "GOT AND FUCKING CHANGE!!!", spittle and all.

I, of course, replied that I in fact did not have any FUCKING change, just the regular kind.

Peevish said...

I opened the $45 bottle? Yikes! I'll make it up to you somehow.

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