Things I Don’t Understand – A Very Abbreviated List


I don’t understand the people who use their horn to vent non-specific frustration with traffic at the expense of their fellow urbanites.

I literally don’t understand people who willfully misuse the word “literally.”

I don’t understand the use of abbreviations for the already short names (see: Sophia to Soph, Kathy to Kath, Lisa to Lis, Jason to Jas, Connie to Conn, and those were just a few amongst the most glaring examples and solely from the two syllable names truncated to a single.)

I don’t understand the people who prefer drip coffee to french press.

I don’t understand the guy who just walked by my coffeeshop table; either he’s a late 30something who willfully wears skinny jeans or he’s an appropriately aged hipster who’s just done so much blow that he looks really old… or he’s auditioning costumes for the next holiday. Whatever it is, I don’t understand it.

Speaking of Halloween, let me get started on bashing this poor excuse for women to indulge their inner [choose whatever appropriate and dismissive word that won’t get me in trouble.] I don’t understand why perfectly reasonable women use that evening to simultaneously exercise so little imagination (really, throw the word sexy before any common/proper noun and call it a costume?) and leave so little to the imagination.

I don’t understand why Josh choose Donna over Amy.

I don’t understand why television producers can’t at least put some water in those empty Starbucks cups that their characters routinely carry in a way that lets everyone know that this detail is unimportant.

I don’t understand the people who spend hours listening to political talk radio but don’t vote.

I don’t understand the gravitational pull of reality television, but I really don’t understand why the shows set in DC seem to represent the worst in class (yes, I’m looking at you Real Word, Top Chef, and Housewives.)

I don’t understand the people who pay a premium to drive a convertible yet leave their top up on gorgeous days like today.

I don’t understand the people who proclaim (to anyone within earshot) their disdain for DC yet never leave their tiny and provincial comfort zones, or go to museums.

I don’t understand the nearly universal human desire to pick at wounds both physical and emotional.

I don’t understand how I can think myself so good with words yet be such a poor communicator when it comes to certain people.

There are many things of which a wise man would wish to be ignorant” Mr. Emerson once wrote; I don’t understand why I am so bad at making those choices.

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7 Responses to Things I Don’t Understand – A Very Abbreviated List

  1. I’ll plead guilty on obsessive name-shortening. Yes, even for two-syllable names. In the least credible rebuttal since the Twinkie Defense, I’m playing the writer card on this one: dude, I create the world around me by forging language for it! How could I possibly resist the urge to supplant someone’s given name with my own nickname?!

    Some people claim writers have God complexes, but I have an Adam complex: I just want to name some stuff, hang out naked, and eventually own a piece of the biggest book deal in history.

    Also, absurd hubris aside, I couldn’t agree more with not understanding about emotional wound-picking. Despite the fact that I might be indulging in a heavy dose of it this evening. Sigh. I should probably focus on naked book deals instead, eh?

    I see your point, though I would argue that most people who are prone to excessive and uninvited abbreviation do as a result of linguistic laziness. I will, of course, make exceptions for all writers, hubris possessed Adam complexes or not.

  2. kitty says:

    I think my favorite of these is “literally”… no, you were not literally dying… because you are telling this story right now! Also, you should check out Covert Affairs — not reality tv, but they play with DC geography in an amusing way. And there are fight scenes. And Piper Perabou runs in Louboutins.

    I am a fan of Covert Affairs – I enjoy it on the Hulu Machine – though I will admit that it requires more suspension of disbelief than I would like… and for the record, it’s filmed in Toronto with only a few set shots to establish DC.

  3. I don’t understand more than I do understand, but, for the record, I totally get why Josh picked Donna. Because sometimes, what is most obvious and understandable and right is sitting right in front of us—if we just got out of our own way.

    Most philosophers would argue that any self-aware human would have to understand less than s/he does not. I am in the same boat. We already had our side discussion of the Josh-Amy-Donna triangle. I appreciate your thoughts on the matter, but respectfully disagree. I still think that Josh purposefully failed with Amy (more than actively chose Donna) because of an inherent insecurity with women who are his equal and in some ways his intellectual superior.

  4. Gilahi says:

    Funny, I was just thinking about a few of these last night:

    I don’t understand how legalizing gay marriage in any way undermines the institution of straight marriage. Is anyone really going to think, “Oh my God, my marriage is less legitimate because those two gay people got married”?

    I don’t understand why tiny communist Cuba is so evil that it’s a felony to even go there, but huge communist China is a most-favored trading partner.

    I don’t understand how burning a Koran is “taking a stand against Islamic terrorism.” If I wanted to take a stand against right-wing fundamentalist Christian fringe nuts, should I burn a Bible? Yeah, that’d show ’em. No doubt they’d back down and change their ways.

    As I generally try to refrain from talking politics here (yes, there have been a couple of exceptions,) I refrained from listing any of the multitude of political inconsistencies that defy understanding by the rational brain. So glad that you did the heavy lifting for me.

  5. L A Cochran says:

    Clear, economical writing. Hemingway would be proud.

    There are .00001 percent of the population that can effectively wear skinny jeans because they are sticks. I say, let them have the skinny jean look because they don’t seem capable of carrying off any other look. Everyone else should stay the heck away from them.

    I would argue that there is no good application of skinny jeans, but then again, my stylistic sensibilities are rooted in a long ago time.

  6. Lemon Gloria says:

    As a Lisa, and with a good friend named Kathy, I like the intimacy implied by the shortening. I’d never have a nickname without the syllable knocked off.

    The empty coffee cup thing drives me crazy. Crazy. I don’t understand it at all.

    I don’t understand the wound picking, particularly when I’m the one doing it.

  7. Grace says:

    You have my heart when it comes to fashion. Skinny jeans are always a no. Halloween costumes are pointless if they are not creative.

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