Monday, March 23, 2009

Developing Normalcy?

Remember the first time you saw it? You're in a store and some woman who you don't know starts walking up to you. In a rather loud voice she exclaims "hi! How are you? I haven't seen you in ages! What's new?"

You look at her blankly, thinking to yourself something along the lines of "who in heavens name is this lady? Is my memory that bad?"

Then the lady goes on. "Oh, really? That's great! I'm so glad to hear that you are doing well! So when are you going to come visit again?" it's then that you realize that she can't be talking to you. A glance around you confirms that she isn't talking to anyone there either. (Remember, we are reminiscing about the days when you were unfamiliar with such occurrences.) At this point, being unfamiliar with Bluetooth headsets, you start to doubt the woman's sanity. A few days later, you hear someone mention this new shtick, a wireless headset for cellphones.

A light bulb goes off in your head. "Aha! The woman MAY have been sane after all!"
And then, as the invisible friend became more common, you made promises to yourself. "I will never be as obnoxious as those people."

Then, we backslide. Bluetooths are convenient. Bluetooths are cool. And best of all, bluetooths are cheap. So you go out. You buy a Bluetooth. First, you use it sparingly. Like when you're driving and you need to make an urgent phone call. Then you are driving distances and use your Bluetooth to catch up with an old friend, while using up a third of your monthly minutes allotment. Then, you start putting your Bluetooth on your ear every time you get behind the wheel.

As time progresses, and scenes such as I described earlier become everyday occurrences, your resolve slips. You find yourself wearing your Bluetooth when you "run into the store for a minute." and then it's not long before you are the one walking around stores, chatting loudly with your invisible friend about various things that you would never speak about in front of strangers.

Think for a minute. Is this activity really any more sane than it was the first time you saw it?Does more and more people succumbing to stupidity make the activity any less stupid? The other day I was in a restaurant with my sister. (Yes, MP and I went out to eat together, for some quality sister-time! [bows]) There was a couple at the next table that really disturbed me. They were both sitting there with Bluetooth headsets in their ears. I really can't tell you if they were on their phones, or simply talking to each other, as I am not THAT nosy, but either way, think. Is that a sign of a healthy relationship? I am obviously not an expert on inter-spousal relationships (I've never even been on a date!;) but that sight didn't sit well with me. Is that how much they value each other's company, that they can't disconnect from their headsets long enough to eat their penne al la vodka? (No I made that up. I don't think I noticed what they were eating.)

It's a scary thought though. Things get to be normal, just because people do it.
Remember your first glimpse of sushi? "I will never, ever, eat that." Now, it's impossible to get a hashgacha on a kosher food establishment without a sushi bar. (Or maybe it's just a matter of nobody wanting to attempt such a thing. Either way I've never seen one.)

I would say the same thing about certain styles. One style in particular bothers me to no end. The first time I saw it, I was horrified. "A frum girl dressed like that? What was is she thinking?" Now, this very same style has creeped into even the most chasidish of neighborhoods. Is it any less horrible looking than the first time I saw it? No, I am not refraining from this style because I am some frummy rebbetzin, (not to say I'm not one) but rather because I can't forget my first impression of that style, and because I know that the style is the same now as it was then. If anything changed, it's my perception of it.

Isn't it sad though, how so many things "become" normal? Wouldn't you say that if they didn't start out "normal" they never will be?

16 comments:

little sheep said...

well, you know what they say, SD!! normal is....?

tembow said...

i totally agree with you! i notice things all the time that at one time i thought were weird and then became "normal" in my eyes. like Uggs, for example. i thought they were sooooo ugly when they first came out. i still won't wear them but they're not as bad as when i first saw them. same with crocs :)

Inspired said...

So true!

We've come to a point where nothing is considered abnormal...

anon#1 said...

I totally agree. I see the same thing with music. Although at first I can't imagine listening to the stuff that comes out nowadays, after hearing it a little bit, it sort of grows on me.

It's terrible, but this is the reality of the world we live in. Unless we lock ourselves up in a box, this is what we're exposed to.

G6 said...

OK, I love my bluetooth!
Not for the cool factor, but for the avoidance of the crick in my neck and the sweaty, makeup stained cellphone!

Regarding everything else... just watch hairstyles as the years fly by.... you won't BELIEVE what you once wore!!!

Bas~Melech said...

LOL remember when crocs started? I still think they're ugly, but I'm not ashamed to be seen in them...

Mikeinmidwood said...

ciggarettes are for losers i'll never smoke. three days later. cough... cough... cough... "so how long does it take to get used to these?"

Something Different said...

LS- you made me ROFL with that one... ;)

TB- uggs. Very suitably named. Don't get me started on crocs. Or on colorful galoshes.

Insp- sad, eh?

Anon- good point bout the music...

G6- so are you one of the ladies walking around the store chatting loudly on your rhinstoned Bluetooth. Oh, and btw, the hairstyles thing is positively frightening.

B~M: I have never purchased a pair of crocs, nor do I plan to. They are simply too ugly.

MIM: gosh. I'm very glad there is no peer pressure for that in my circles.

G6 said...

NO SD -
I'm the nut who's walking through the store talking to herself.
My discreet, small, PLAIN black bluetooth is completely covered by my hair......

Something Different said...

G6: and, um, your proud of this? :-p

halfshared said...

I still didn't get used to the blue-tooth.
Regarding styles, if the tznius aspect bothered you, then yes, it should bother you if you are now wearing it. However, if I always made firm decisions based on my first impressions of things, from the music I hear, to the guys I date, to the job I work at, I wouldn't get very far. It does take time for things to grow on you and it's normal for something that wasn't appealing to you at first, to eventually become something you tolerate or even like.

Something Different said...

HS- I am talking about things that make no sense to begin with. I can't see why its ok for someone to walk around the store talking to an invisible friend. Just doesn't make sense to me.
And yes, this particular style bothers me for tznius reasons. I won't go into it though because I don't want to get people mad and I am sure 95% of people reading this happily wear this style.

The Dreamer said...

my musical preferences haven't changed in 15 years.

I have never worn a bluetooth.

I have a pair of fake crocs, purchased for summer israel trip and yom kippur (they're more comfortable to stand in) would have gotten black, but didn't want to get mixed up with hubby, so i have blue ones.

My hair has been in similar styles since 9th grade.

Have never worn Uggs.

Never smoked (and can't be around smokers, either)

And though some modes of dress have grown on me, others have always remained out of bounds...

Something Different said...

Dreamer: Ha! I beat you! I never even bought fake crocs!!
(But good for you on remaining firm in your principles.:)

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

In the beginning that reminds me of a joke, (might be a not nice joke, I don't remember all of it) where a person is in a public bathroom and starts talking, and the person in the stall next door thinks the person is talking to them, when really their on the cell phone.

My mother recently got a bluetooth to use so she can use her phone while driving, and she wore at work too, and she didn't want anyone to know she had it, cause she's not the "tech" type, so it hides under her sheitel and you wouldn't know. Then recently we were in a store or something and my mother was using the bluetooth to speak to my father, and the sales guy thought she was asking the questions to him, so she had to manage 2 conversations at once, explaining to the guy that she was on the phone.

I agree with you, it doesn't look write for couples to wear it in each other's presence.

"....but rather because I can't forget my first impression of that style, and because I know that the style is the same now as it was then. If anything changed, it's my perception of it."

I agree with you 100% on this, I had the same reaction to certain styles and haven't gotten myself to wear it even though I see the frummest wearing it.

Something Different said...

JSB- there is a great YouTube video like that, I'll have to find a link and post it (thanks for the link on the other post btw). Yeah, I'd say your mom is the norm. That's how people are...