Sunday, July 9, 2006

Miserable, Negative Punks R Us? Email Catfight

People never cease to amaze me. I started this blog a week ago not knowing if it would work for me or if people would give two cents about me, my life, or my opinions. Honestly, I'm still not sure which direction I want to go, but I'm having fun trying it and figuring something out. Primarily because I'd been spending a whole lot of my time posting on the forums at Nappturality.com, I noticed that I'd been writing a lot and that most of my posts were quite lengthy. I figured if I had that much to say then maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to have my own place to say it. In fact, my first post on this blog was taken from the World Cup thread on that site. The thing is since that site has a distinct purpose which is encouraging black woman to love and learn how to work with the natural texture of their hair, a lot of what I had to say was just too off the radar. Plus, I don't really like having to explain myself over and over or engage in the thread wars, trolls, and other weirdness that happens on forums. Blogging means that only people who are truly interested will read it rather than people who are just going to reply because well, they're bored and they're waiting for their Lean Cuisine meal to heat up in the microwave. Forums are loads of fun at times, but I was getting tired of the forum dynamic as my primary way to communicate on the net.

Therefore, I went through the motions of finally setting up a blog. I'd been a member of Blogger.com for a couple of years, so it was the logical place to start. I'd even had a personal webpage site that was provided through my former ISP Earthlink. When I finally ended my Earthlink service my personal webpage was the feature that I missed the most. In fact, I saved the HTML code to those pages in the hopes that one day I'd start up something else again.

Anyway, that background information leads to the inspiration for this post. I figured it would be good to send out an email to people I knew, and, in reply, I received an amazing email exchange. I decided I'd send the link out to people I knew either as family, friends, classmates, coworkers or people whom I'd met while just wandering through life. I wrote a short message and then went through my 1,000 address plus email list making sure to only click the emails of only people I wanted to keep in touch with or who I wanted to be aware that I was blogging. This is the email I sent out word for word:

Happy 4th of July to friends and family celebrating in the States and elsewhere.

I'm sending this out to let you all know I've started a blog.

This is the link: http://expatjane.blogspot.com It's best to view it with Internet Explorer (and I never thought I'd ever promote IE).

Please take a moment to check it out. Like my Yahoo! 360 page, it's a way to keep in touch with friends, family, co-workers, classmates and other folks who I've met along the way.

I've also put the link in my signature, so, for future reference, you can always email me to get the link if you need it.

I hope you're all having a great summer!

Take care.

Tame, no? Anyway, most people replied positively which is good because I truly only try to attract positive people in my life. However, I got one email that shocked me with how rude it was. Here it is:

At the end of the day it is the height of impudence to assume that anyone is interested in one - I am sure no-one is interetsed in me - and for good reason.

Okay, cool buddy, I got it. You’re not interested, and are actually bothered that I alerted you about my blog. In addition, you also assume that no one gives a rat’s ass about you. Too bad, but okay. This is where I should have just deleted the email and gone on about my business. However, I’m a little hot under the collar at this point as I’m thinking “dude, just delete it if you don’t care. I’ll get the message when I don’t hear from you.” So first, I delete this contact from my email list, but then I foolishly reply and briefly say:

Well, that's nice (name deleted), but I thought it would be nice to let folks I know (and liked) about my blog.

If you're not interested in it, then just don't bother clicking on the link and it would have been nice of you not to reply.

Take care.

So this person not possibly not realizing I’m really pissed but trying to be civil answers with this steaming warm loaf of bullcrap:

Oh I don't mean you to take offence...Americans are so "out there" they sometimes don't appreciate the anomalies or subtlties in life. It is just bizarre that since a) we are not best friends and b) I haven't seen or heard from you since (event in common deleted), that you would suddenly think I was interested in your life. I suspect it is your "minimum effort" approach bearing fruit -just blog everyone in your list, no matter who they are and without any regard to your relationship (which you obviously do not pay regard to). Please pay me the courtesy of removing me from your email list.

At this point, I’m like “okay, you don’t want me to take offense but you write this shit to me?” I'm "out there", "I don't appreciate subtleties". Come on, Sunshine, this "insult the person while feigning civility" approach does not work with me. If you're going to dish it out, be ready because this American who doesn't recognize subtle is going to be damn civil yet exacting. This doesn't reflect a lack of subtlety. It shows that I didn't write you off as a full blown nutter when everyone else we worked with pretty much had.

So, foolishly, I reply again because now I most definitely annoyed with what he chose to say to me:

No, actually, I went through my list and checked people off one by one. I thought "I haven't heard from him and I liked him, so I'll include him".

No need to instruct me to take you off my list as I took you off my list as soon as I got your rude response. I meant no offense. I knew who you were and included you purposefully. I don't randomly spam people. I surely wouldn't do it for a personal blog.

As for the insult to Americans, I could fire back with some choice observations about (his nationality deleted because I really don't want to bash a nation based on a handful of people I've met) too. It's rather unnecessary to insult a whole country over the actions of one person.

I still wish you a great day wherever you are, but you definitely won't have to worry about trying to keep in touch with you any further.

Okay, slam dunk in terms of stupid, negative, idiot, email exchange and one less person to ever deal with again.

However, clearly something is motivating me to write about it. Sadly, it could be just because I have no life, but finishing this is making me late for a dinner and conversation with a new friend, so I have some sort of life. I’d like to think it’s at least partly public sociological-psychological-philosophical introspection or something like that.

The person who sent this is an older man who I met while working at a Christian English camp here in Korea. I had a great experience at the camp because when I heard "Christian English camp" I was thinking a bunch of evangelical holy rollers who were going to be more annoying than a pleasure to work with. But it was a short-term job and I really needed the extra cash infusion to move up to Seoul. What I didn't realize was I'd find a group a people I really, really liked, and who softened my perspective on modern Christianity. This is much so that I made a couple of friends I'll keep for awhile, found people to connect with and eventually started going back to church (much to the relief of family members and some friends).

At this camp, the subject of this post has a reputation for being rude, but I didn't mind it much because rarely did it come my way. Also, I did admire him because he confronted me when I did something particularly stupid. Now in that situation most people would have just talked behind my back. I really had come to like him because he showed he had some nerve. Plus, after living in L.A. and San Francisco, I've met some characters who are just great people with big shells built around them for protection. I get it. For him, I thought it was nerve associated with good sense and not just a tendency to spout off at anything that rubbed him the wrong way, like an email. Well, clearly I was wrong.

Like he said, I hadn't been in touch with him since the end of the camp last summer, but thought it would be nice to hear from him and let him know about my blog because of exactly that. I’ve had one hell of a year since last summer. I’ve been busy with this international studies master's thing, I got a new job, I had medical issues as I’m an insulin dependent (Type I) diabetic and have a thyroid going haywire, I had personal issues, etc. I’ve been trying to figure out where I go from here because I need to find a new path. The choice for me comes down to more travel and education abroad or return home to San Francisco, hang my “ready to settle down” sign out and then go on a quest for that modern family to call my own, or a combination of both as finding someone with my wanderlust and love for education and culture would be best. Who knows? But that's all to say, it's been a year for soul searching and figuring stuff out.

What amazes me are his assumptions and behavior as they're just so negative. I mean if you don't know, ask. If I were on the other side and I had the same suspicions, I would have just asked and not gone off the way he did. He presumed I had just indiscriminately emailed everyone in my address book. The funny thing is I did skip a few people I met at the camp simply because we didn't click, or I didn't particularly care for them. Also, I think he doesn't understand what a blog is. You don't "blog" people, and he used it in that sense in his email to me. My understanding is blogging is a way for people to talk about not only themselves but about what they think whether that's news, culture, entertainment, politics or whatever. I'm also amazed at him seeming offended that I hadn't been more attentive to him over the last year. Had he asked I would have said pretty much what I said above: stuff has been happening with me and I’m so busy that if my mother were still alive she’d be begging for a phone call from me, it’s that crazy. However, now I'm on vacation for a few weeks, and I’m finding a way to channel my energy and thoughts. Simple, no?

Anyway, it's neither here nor there. It’s just sadly funny. What's weird is Korea attracts a lot of foreigners that behave like this. This isn't the first time I've had some random weirdness thrown at me, but as this is the latest "weird ass foreigner" story, I guess that's why it stands out and it worth writing about.

I just see it as a random event that really shows that a person’s perspective on life makes a huge difference in how they see things and how they chose to deal with people. If you assume that folks are just using you and could care less about you, then you're shocked and hostile when people try to engage you. Of course, that puts them off and it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m positive and, pretty much, happy even when the world is raining down trauma on me (there have been exceptions, hence why last year was just sheer madness). I’ve been known to smile and joke when telling sad stories. It’s just how I get through. Life is hard and either you get up and dust yourself off or you stay down and get crushed. I've noticed that those who look at what can be and who are thankful do the best in this game called life. Others however, have a different style. It’s just interesting when those styles clash.

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