Welcome to Thatz Not Okay, a regular column in which I school inquiring readers on what is and is not okay. Please send your questions (max: 200 words) to email@example.com with the subject "Thatz Not Okay."
The other day my fiancé and I were cleaning out the closet. As we were sorting clothes into piles, he pointed out a pile he was making for the T-shirt quilt.
My T-shirt quilt.
I have a box of pieces of ancient, yet beloved, T-shirts that I will one day, during my retirement, make into a quilt. I was totally taken aback. My pieces are from shirts too worn to wear anymore but have meaning to me.
I meant to say "WTF, no" but it came out as "Uhhhhh." I dutifully cut out his company logos but still feel pissed. I just don’t think his I-spent-1-hour-at-this-and-all-I-got-was-this T-shirt holds a lighter to my cracked glitter suicidal buffalo U2 concert shirt that I wore proudly for YEARS and have carefully maintained until it can have its rightful place on a future treasured blanket.
At the time, he explained that since we'd be together for the next 60 years, the quilt should have both our shirts on it. Is that okay?
You need to chill out about the damn T-shirt quilt.
It’s not like your fiancé was trying to insert himself into the AIDS Memorial Quilt. He’s just trying to carve out a little space in a quilt made out of old T-shirts. That doesn’t even exist yet. That won’t exist for several more decades. Is it really going to destroy the integrity of your elegant blanket made of tattered garments to have his blue “Procter & Gamble” embroidered polo next to your airbrushed Spring Break '98 tanktop?
“You wouldn’t tell Rodin how to sculpt! You wouldn’t tell Rembrandt how to paint! So how dare you tell ME how to make a T-SHIRT QUILT?”
The key to a successful partnership is picking your battles, so ask yourself: Is it absolutely vital that you share your life and your bank account but UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES YOUR T-SHIRT QUILT with this man?
Put another way: Are the memories associated with his random scraps of fabric less valid than the memories associated with your random scraps of fabric?
Maybe they are. Maybe this pie-in-the-sky T-shirt quilt is the only thing in your life that you feel truly belongs to you. If that’s the case, you could offer to help your fiancé make his own beautiful T-shirt quilt of many colors. You could explain to him that making a quilt out of your own T-shirts is kind of your “thing,” just as his “thing” is violently inserting himself into your hobbies and ruining them.
Or you could lie.
Since you plan on devoting your retirement to finally getting to work on that heirloom T-shirt quilt you’ve been planning all these years ("I'd like to see Europe and maybe the Grand Canyon but mostly I just want to make a T-shirt quilt!”) why not just tell your fiancé “Great, idea honey!” and then never get around stitching in his shirts? As a man, he’ll probably die before you do, a thought that will no doubt bring you comfort as you stare down a future in which he is forever shoehorning himself into your country crafts. (“Sweetie, is there room inside the overturned tractor tire garden for these daffodils I bought?” “Sweetie, can I borrow one of those googly eyes to glue on this rock I found so we can have two Cyclopses instead of just one rock with two googly eyes?” etc.)
Wait for him to shuffle off his mortal coil—every night after he falls asleep, hold a mirror under his nose and pray, pray that tonight is the night the glass stops fogging—then get rid of all his stupid T-shirts. Replace the duvet on your marriage bed with a monument to your life, in blanket form. Luxuriate in your moth-eaten memories. Cast his T-shirts into the fireplace and then douse the flames with water because the only thing you need to keep you warm is a great big rectangle made out of the clothes you wore in high school.
(Stipulate in your will that, if you die first, you wish to buried in your "unfinished"—ha!—T-shirt quilt.)
One caution: If you are comfortable to committing you your fiance in sickness and in health but not in the co-creation of a novelty quilt, perhaps you two should put the marriage plans on permanent hold. Then you don’t even have to bother lying to him. Just toss all his T-shirts out the second-story window and watch them flutter gently onto the lawn, landing sleeve to sleeve as if guided by an unseen hand. From your perch in the windowsill, take a look at the big picture. Consider, for a moment, this makeshift t-shirt quilt. Does it really does look as cool as you thought it would?
I am a construction manager currently doing a project at a large hospital. While on my way down the hall to get breakfast this morning, I got caught behind an old lady walking with a cane. No big deal, but when she arrived at the elevator bank, she used the end of her cane (the end that touches the filthy, dirty, disgusting ground) to push the call button that most people typically use their fingers to push. While personally disgusted, I said nothing and went on my way. Both of her arms and hands appeared to be working OK otherwise. I think it's safe to say that using ones' filth/disease/shit-ended cane to push buttons other people touch with their hands is "not okay,” but in retrospect, I wish I had VERBALLY pile-driven this disgusting heathen into the ground over her lazy/selfish/unsanitary behavior. Is that okay?
Thatz not okay.
First of all, you generally make very little profit when you harangue the elderly.
Imagine looking through a window and seeing some guy in a hardhat screaming in the face of a trembling old lady who walks with a cane. She’s at the hospital pretty early; arrived first thing this morning—right at the start of visiting hours—to squeeze in as much time as possible with the love of her life who is currently dying in a sterile hospital bed so far away from their little yellow house on Myrtle Avenue. He just sent her out to get herself a banana from the cafeteria—“I’ll be here when you get back! And if I’m not: seventy-one years not enough for you, Helen?” Oh, Saul!—and now some maniac is screaming at her about hygiene. That guy is a monster, right? You need to tell him to back off, and learn some basic human decency. You start to approach the guy, but he catches sight of you coming and starts walking toward you. Then you bump into one another. It’s a mirror! You’re the monster! The camera pans out and the hospital is contained inside a snow globe held in the hands of an autistic child! He dreamed the whole thing up! You storm up to him and grab the snow globe out of his hands because it’s fragile and he’s smudging it.
If you want to give someone a lesson about manners, a bad way to do it is by VERBALLY pile-driving them into the wall while you howl “DON’T YOU HAVE ANY MANNEEEEEEERS?!”
One could say that, were you to have screamed at the little old lady for being a disgusting, lazy, selfish, unsanitary heathen, it would have been you who was in the wrong, even though she touched a button incorrectly.
Which brings us to point to point two: Elevator door buttons are filthy. They’re filthy because, over the course of their button-lifetimes, they are touched, punched, and pressed by thousands of people. Some of those people don’t wash their hands when they leave the bathroom. Some of those people
have had boogers in their noses. Some of those people are children who, OH GOD, have the dirtiest hands of all (remember the smudgy snow globe?).
Is her using the cane to press the button contributing to the filth? Certainly. Is it making the button appreciably filthier, moreso than her fingers? Debatable. You have to know, going in, that the elevator button is going to be dirty. Lucky for you, modern hospitals have Purell dispensers mounted on the walls every 10 feet. Press and clean.
By the way, since it sounds like you’re going to be haunting the halls of this hospital for a while, calling old women filthy, nasty sluts (or whatever) until your construction project is complete, a word of advice: people you encounter in the hospital generally aren’t having the time of their lives in there. Be kind to everyone.