October 8 12

On Sunday morning I found myself at the gym for 45 minutes on the elliptical. I knew it was going to be my last chance to get a good workout in before my trip to Ireland (I’M GOING TO IRELAND FOR EIGHT DAYS!!) and I foresee much beer drinking and starch-eating while in the land of wonderful accents, and coming off of several weeks fo Jewish holidays filled with copious amounts of delicious Jewish food, the extra five pounds I’m carrying right now needed to be on that elliptical. It was the least I could do.

Imagine my surprise that amidst a sea of ipods and mp3 players, the exerciser beside me was elipticizing to the tunes on his discman, circa 1993. He had his device strapped to his person using a belt.

In a moment of “WOW! I can’t remember the last time I saw one of those! It was probably back in the days when I watched Beverly Hills, 90210. But, you know, during the good years. Probably during that year that they all repeated their sophomore years.”

So, obviously, I tweeted about it.

The responses I got were mostly unsurprising. People wondering if said person was geriatric, if he was using it ironically, if I had taken a picture. Unfortunately, not everyone thought that this moment needed to be shared through social media. And, well, no only was the moment not meant to be shared, but it was quite SHALLOW of me to discuss said discman with other people?

I’m not immune to having moments of possibly shallow and somewhat superficial. I have done it before—I have judged people who wear leggings as pants, and red carpet gown choices, and people who wear black undergarments under white bottoms, and celebrity haircuts, and teens who wear pajama pants to school. So, I’d never say that I don’t have my judge-y moments. Is there anyone who would say they have never? But I do not talk about weight. I do not talk about things a person cannot control—how a person IS is very different than how a person behaves, and the choices a person makes in musical workout equipment.

So, no, I don’t consider myself to be a shallow person. Funny? Sometimes, mostly by accident. Sarcastic? You bet. But shallow, not particularly.

And I didn’t actually think that the tweet in question was really all that shallow.

Which is why I was slightly surprised by the reaction I got within minutes of shooting out my tweet.

My reason for posting this is not to call this particular person out. She has unfollowed me, I have unfollowed her, and her tweets to me, it seems, have been removed. I am assuming this is the case, since I can no longer find them online. My reason is that as soon as this whole thing began, I started to think and wonder about the things we share in this space. I began to wonder if this person—had she been on the elliptical to the left of me—would have turned to me and said, “Wow Ali! I think you’re really shallow!”

Cher, in Clueless: Would you call me shallow?

Dion: No. Not to your face.

And I might be wrong, but I’m thinking that she wouldn’t. She might *think* it. And that’s totally fair. She’s allowed. But doesn’t it seem like something you’d keep to yourself? She could think it and unfollow me and go about her business. But instead, she chose a public forum to call me out and tell me that not only am I shallow, but I need to take a few minutes to internalize the life lesson she had bestowed on me and not run away.

But…isn’t calling someone out on Twitter in this way worse than my actual original tweet? Wouldn’t it have been more appropriate to *not* tweet that out? Maybe a DM or an email would be more considerate, less rude. Or maybe no response at all is necessary here. Just maybe.

Now, the tweets are gone, deleted, wiped off Twitter. As if they never happened.

But they did happen.

And then it got me thinking about the whole deleting concept as a whole. I have seen it many times—tweets, replies, comments, conversations, sometimes even entire posts get deleted.

But is it actually possible to take something back once it has been put out there?

My daughter once did a Hebrew book report on a book that revolved around this concept that once you say something about someone, you can never take it back, even if you apologize. The children in the story were asked by their teacher to write down the mean thing they had said and then rip it up into tiny shreds and then toss them out of the window on a windy day. The pieces of paper were scattered near and far. The teacher then asked the children to go and pick up all of the pieces of paper. “It’s impossible!” the children responded. “Exactly,” said the teacher. Exactly. They cannot all be picked up—they are flying around, out there, forever.

The same can be said for what we write online.

We can say things in the heat of the moment and regret them—and then delete, delete, delete. But the damage has already been done, especially since things can be cached, things can be screenshot-ed. Aren’t we better off owning up to our words and admitting that YES! We said those things and in the moment we thought they needed to be said, but we are sorry. We have learned from it. We will do better next time.

I don’t know. I don’t know if this is the right answer. I don’t know if there *is* a right answer here.

But I do know that I wish she hadn’t called me out so publicly on Twitter.

I do know that I wish she had kept her thoughts to herself and quietly unfollowed me—after all, I’m obviously not the type of person she wants to follow on Twitter, and that’s okay. Different strokes, yanno?

And if she felt she needed to say something, a DM or an email would have been way more appropriate than a public calling-out. Because then we could have had a conversation, we could have kept it private.

And I do know that her going in and deleting all the tweets, pretending that it never happened, made me feel even worse.

And I do not know that I wish the dude with the discman had wiped down his elliptical machine after he was done using it, because I have zero tolerance for that behavior. Gross.

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  1. IMO you were not being shallow. It was merely an observation. Whereas the other person was being judgy and really not that nice. Deleting tweets is totally chicken, as is calling someone out publicly like that. If you have the courage to say it, then leave it there. I hope she likes it alone on her high horse. Also, not cleaning your machine is totally gross. But, maybe he hasn’t heard of antibacterial spray, living in the 80s and all.

    [Reply]

    Comment by mara on October 8, 2012
  2. I saw your tweet and I thought it was really funny. I think if you’re walking around with a diskman, you have to expect a certain amount of mocking. Even more so because they were pretty crummy to begin with. I had one back in the day, and it constantly skipped when I moved.

    I had a similar situation once. I was stopped at a red light and a guy crossed the street in front of me wearing hammerpants – the baggy ones with the super low crotch. I took a picture and I was about to tweet it, but then didn’t because it suddenly felt more mean than funny. That was a picture though. Yours was just an observation, and I can’t see any harm in that.

    I think if you tweet something, you need to stand by it. I agree, if she didn’t like your tweet, the unfollow option is always there. She didn’t have to make a big deal about it.

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    Comment by Danielle on October 8, 2012
  3. I would have tweeted that too (Thanksgiving or not)…because I honestly didn’t think anyone had one anymore. At least one that worked.
    Also, yeah you for Ireland. Very nice!

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    Comment by Amanda on October 8, 2012
  4. I read this when you tweeted it and laughed. I even tweeted back asking if it was yellow. That would have made the diskman that much more awesome

    Maybe the person who tweeted you needs a lesson on not taking everything so seriously. It was funny and that’s that.

    You’re right; we do have an unfollow button for a reason. Why call you out on something so trivial? I follow you because you’re funny and sarcastic, but you’re also down to earth and kindhearted. Her loss. She can go back to her perfect life where she has never tweeted out anything sarcastic or funny about another person.

    If she was so inclined to send you those tweets, she shouldn’t have deleted them. Is it possible that she blocked you? In that case, they would have disappeared from you finding them.

    Also, not wiping off your gym equipment is disgusting and have fun in Ireland. Leave this annoying situation here.

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    ali replied on

    Oh! I didn’t think that…you are probably right. She probably blocked me and that’s why they disappeared. I didn’t realize that that happened.

    And yes, that’s why I wrote about it…to leave it behind. Catharsis, or something. :)

    [Reply]

    Comment by Jen Banks on October 8, 2012
  5. I’m with Mara on this. Simply an observation. Move on with life and don’t sweat it (except on the elliptical, of course).

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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    ali replied on

    Happy Thanksgiving to you!

    Definitely not sweating it…writing about it, though, felt good for me..and led me to some thoughts about commenting, twitter, and deleting. :)

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    Comment by Steve on October 8, 2012
  6. Mother always said,”if you have nothing nice to tweet, don’t tweet at all”; and, “two wrongs don’t make a right”.

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    Comment by Linda on October 8, 2012
  7. Wait. She *judged* you as being shallow and condemned you for “judging” other people?!

    Um, hypocrite much? GAH.

    I’m so jealous of your trip, but so, so excited for you guys! xoxo

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    Comment by Meghan on October 8, 2012
  8. I have to agree with the previous poster…the first thing I thought was, “Wait a second…she’s essentially judging you for being judgy…oh the irony.” I wonder if that irony was lost on her. (HUGE EYE ROLL)

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    Comment by Sarah on October 8, 2012
  9. Who wears exercise clothes with a belt? How uncomfy must that be? But, consider the extra calories he was burning lugging that discman around. I wish I could have asked him about it- mine has been broken and in the basement for a while (a decade or two…) and would love to know if he had his manual so I could contact someone to repair mine. Oh, well.

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    Comment by Kristin on October 8, 2012
  10. I saw your tweet yesterday and failed to see anything that made it judge. It’s not like you were mocking him for being too poor for an mp3 player. You were just in awe that someone, especially working out at the gym, still used one. It’d be the same thing as me making an observation of a person using an old bulky car phone. Whatever. Everyone’s panties crawl up their crotch at some point.
    Have an amazing trip in Ireland!

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    Comment by Gamanda on October 8, 2012
  11. How weird. I saw your tweet and just thought it was funny. Just like when I made fun of the VHS tapes being sold at a roadside station on my last vacation. It’s something you almost never see anymore. Disc man. VHS. Actual tapes. Plain and simple Ali, I don’t think you were judging, I thought you were funny.

    WTF does it being Thanksgiving in Canada have to do with anything anyway?

    I have deleted tweets before but they are always because of a grammar mistake that I can’t handle leaving. I delete and re-say it correctly. I can’t imagine the point of deleting to delete. But that’s just me. I tend to actually think before I tweet and when I say something wrong (and I have) I just apologize or stand by my words, depending on the situation.

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    Comment by Issa on October 8, 2012
  12. It was an observation – nothing more -nothing less. Now for my ‘shallow’ moment – you’re coming to my neck of the woods??!!!!! yay!! Just watching the weather forecast at the moment so as long as you have sunglasses and rain gear you’ll be grand! What do you have planned? I’m really looking forward to your unique take on my country (no pressure!)
    Bx

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    ali replied on

    It’s my DREAM trip. I have been wanting to go to Ireland ever since I was super wee. We are doing so much. It’s a culinary trip so lots of food-stuff…including being judges at a food festival! And, of course, a little trip to Blarney castle and stone. I’m so afraid that I won’t want to leave. I’m bringing a raincoat…and I assume I can buy an umbrella once I’m there..yes?

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    Comment by Breeda on October 8, 2012
  13. Plenty of umbrellas so don’t worry! Now excuse me while I go dust and clean and plump up Ireland’s metaphorical cushions!

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    Comment by Breeda on October 8, 2012
  14. Similar thing happened to me a year ago but on FB in comments to a post. Still bothers me that someone chose such a public forum to chastise me. And words read, cannot be unread. Keep moving forward seems to be the best solution.
    Happy for you on the Ireland trip. Enjoy!

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    Comment by Kevin on October 8, 2012
  15. You should get the man with the discman to come to my Spinning Class so he can sit next to the man who wears his squash goggles WHILE spinning…

    Sounds like Twitter lady needs a sense of humor. Maybe she was offended you called it discMAN and not discWOMAN..or discPERSON?

    Sorry, got carried away

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    Comment by Kelly on October 8, 2012
  16. OK I’m no teenager but I would wear PJ’s to work if I could get away with it. That said I agree with every other thing you said. I would have tweeted the same thing. And even if I thought someone said something shallow, I doubt I would unfollow them. Not unless it was hateful. Oh well. I also would have tweeted or FB if I saw someone with a walkman.

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    Comment by Corey Feldman on October 9, 2012
  17. There was nothing judgy about your tweet. It was an observation. One that most of us found funny because it’s such a blast from the past. I mean, shit, most people don’t even BUY CDs anymore, let alone have a discman. Totally worth an observational tweet.

    Have a great trip! I expect lots of photos and a long, long recap!!

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    Comment by Kristabella on October 9, 2012
  18. Ok, so until recently I used a Walkman regularly at the gym…I just preferred to listen to the radio and I actually did have an Ipod that had a tuner but I much preferred my trusty old Walkman. Since my iPhone has entered my life, the Walkman hasn’t seen the light of day. But I would totally understand if someone tweeted about my Walkman and I on the treadmill, just an observation, and you do barely see them anymore. And it wasn’t a judgment on your part, anyway, doesn’t everyone know that using some antiquated piece of electronics is pretty much the coolest hipster thing to do anyway. And I totally agree that even if the commenter thought your observation was condescending, she should not have tried to take you down on Twitter. Inappropriate. Anyway, I hope you have an amazing time in Ireland. A raincoat sounds like a great idea.

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    ali replied on

    More like…parka. It’s freezing. Like hat and gloves and coat and scarf weather. Totally worth it, of course.

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    Comment by Jen on October 9, 2012
  19. If Judgy McJudgerson thinks YOUR observation was shallow then she obviously has not paid a visit to http://www.thepeopleofwalmart.com

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    Comment by Tara on October 9, 2012
  20. Sorry http://www.peopleofwalmart.com

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    Comment by Tara on October 9, 2012
  21. I definitely don’t see how that could be considered shallow. And its definitely not mean…it’s is always interesting to see something blast from the past-ish and share. Heck I text my friends WAY worse comments about things I see people wearing and doing day to day (I work at a University and see some crazy outfits) I also agree that if she had a problem with you then she should have either sucked it up or messaged you directly. Obviously she doesn’t get your sense of humour so it leads me to wonder how long she was a follower and why she was bothering!? anyway, you’re lovely so I hope you don’t feel too bad.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Jules on October 10, 2012
  22. Wow! This post is the opposite of “a post about nothing”. Please note, I’m not saying that you write about nothing. Some people, myself included, can write about almost nothing and make a (sometimes well written) post. This post is about EVERYTHING!!

    You are going to Ireland! How wonderful! I wish you the best of trips.

    Discman – I read the tweet and wondered “It doesn’t skip”? Was it judgy? Irrelevant. I’m not really sure where I stand. It’s not that important. It’s just a tweet. People write tweets like that all the time.

    Nasty people online – far worse. And nothing new. Glad to see you’re putting it far, far behind you.

    Enjoy the Emerald Isle!

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    Comment by Heather on October 10, 2012
  23. I am late to the party, but have a great time in Ireland. We went last year for our anniversary. I ate potatoes at almost every meal.

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    Comment by Corey on October 12, 2012
  24. I saw someone with a discman recently and I totally called my husband to discuss it. Because when was the last time you have seen a discman?

    I guess I shouldn’t tell you I wear leggings as pants. All the time really.

    We all judge. We are all human. I think it is what we do with those judgments that make us good or bad people.

    [Reply]

    Comment by jodifur on October 16, 2012
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