My Horse is Bigger than Yours



We all do it. It’s like laughing at pictures of cats online or hitting the snooze button on the alarm. It’s human nature!

The situation:

Your friend, let’s call him Chuck, breaks his arm. He goes to the hospital, gets a cast, and meets you and the rest of your group at the pub a week later. You all want to know what happened to Chuck. How did he go the way of Tiny Tim? When will he be able to play the trombone again? What will come of his budding one-handed-pushup career? Anyways, the main question is about what happened to poor Chuck and how bad is his break?

Chuck starts to regale the exciting tale of having a been drinking a beer, hearing the door bell ring, and falling down the stairs as he rushed to answer. He hasn’t even gotten to the part where he realized his arm didn’t look right before everyone starts to jump in with tales of their own. You even consider bringing up the story of the great broken wrist of ’06. Chuck is just happy to be out with friends, but he is a little perturbed that he can’t have his moment to be in pain before somebody has to bring up a bad jellyfish sting or an unfortunate tennis game.

The important part:

Okay, if you’re still following then you probably understand what I’m talking about: the old “my horse is bigger than yours” part of human interaction. We always want to one-up our friends because we believe that we have suffered more. Our ordeals are worse than theirs.

Don’t get me wrong. It is somewhat cathartic to discuss our pain and suffering in this way. I do it. You probably do it. It’s totally okay. The important thing, as always, is to remember what situation you’re in. Are you and your friends all sitting around, eating nachos, and reminiscing about sucky times in your life? If yes, then go ahead and enjoy yourselves. Are you trying to offer support to a friend who is going through a hard time and suffering? If yes, then shut the heck up and offer a friendly, non-judgmental ear.

I don’t have much else to say on this topic because there isn’t much to say. Sometimes we just have to shut and listen. Deal with it.

If you have any stories about this kind of thing happening, feel free to share them in the comments. I always ask you to do that and no one ever does…whatever. I’ve had worse! Just kidding…but seriously.

Stay classy,




Talking on Your Phone

Most passengers on Japanese trains are either reading, sleeping or using their mobile phones for sending messages, browsing the web or playing games. Talking on mobile phones inside trains, however, is forbidden… (“Taking the Train”,

Okay, I feel like I’m having a cranky day, but I’m going to try very hard not to let that take over this post.

Do you know what makes me cranky, though?

Other than lack of sleep, getting soaked in the rain, having a bad hair day, and forgetting to eat breakfast…?

Listening to somebody’s entire phone conversation while riding on the train. 

If you’ve ever been to British Columbia and used one of the Lower Mainland’s Translink services (bus, Skytrain, sea bus, WCE, train bus, etc.), then I’m quite sure that you have seen the signs around stations and on the transportation itself that remind riders of common etiquette. These are all pretty innocuous things, like being careful not to wear too much perfume or cologne (so many people are allergic); giving up your seat for seniors, disabled people, and pregnant women; not littering, etc.. One of these little pieces of etiquette is to refrain from using your cellphone (at least loudly) while in transport. This suggestion is not because Translink is Big Brother and wants to tell riders what to do. No, this suggestion is stated because NOBODY WANTS TO LISTEN TO YOUR PHONE CONVERSATION!

cellphone on train etiquette


Sorry. Did I sound a little chippy?

But seriously. Do you have to talk on your phone for the entire thirty minute bus ride? Is that really necessary?

Today’s culprit of this bad behavior was a woman who I often see on the train as she tends to get onto the same car as me in the afternoons. I’ve noticed her before because of her phone use.

A few weeks ago, in fact, I was quickly calling my mom (before I left the downtown station) to let her know what time my train would be arriving to the station in my suburb when this same woman sits down across from me and proceeds to have a loud phone conversation. While I was just trying to make sure that my mom knew what time to pick me up, this woman was in it for the long haul. And did she have to sit directly across from me to start her conversation when she saw that I was still finishing mine quietly?

I digress.

Today, this talkative woman was already on the phone when she sat across the aisle from me (not facing me, but to my left). She was speaking loudly into her phone, switching between English and a language which I think might have been Arabic or Persian (my linguistic studies were mostly around Latin- and Germanic-based languages so I’m not totally sure). I don’t really care what language she was speaking,though ; it could have been English, Mandarin, French, Yiddish, Gaelic, or Pig Latin and it still would have been annoying because it was unnecessarily loud!

And I brought up the languages she was speaking for two reasons:

1. When one older woman gave this woman a look which seemed to say, “Your behavior is inappropriate”, the phone woman glared and said something to the person on the phone which sounded kind of hostile. It may have had nothing to do with the other woman, but because it was said in a different language and with a harsh tone and while looking angrily at the other woman, we have no way of knowing.

2. I’m guessing that the woman might have been discussing something personal or private because I know, for a fact, that she speaks fluent English as I had heard her speak it before. So maybe she chose to speak in a less common language in order to keep others from listening in. Is a full train the right place to be discussing something so private that you have to switch languages? I don’t think so.

I’m not saying that you have to sit silently while riding transit, but there should be a certain level of respect for your fellow riders. This is not the Skytrain home from a drunken Friday evening downtown; this is an early (somewhat expensive) train for commuters. Having woken up at 6 am (not even as early as others on the train, I’m sure), I, for one, had no interest in listening to this woman’s conversation. It would not have been a big deal if she was speaking at a reasonable volume, but she was using her outside voice inside.

Am I the only one who is bothered by this? I know that it was an extreme situation, but it represents this idea that what you have to say is so important that you don’t have to follow the rules. Pretty selfish, if you ask me.

Do you have any horror stories from transit? Have you heard things from other people’s phone conversations that you wish you didn’t? Drop a comment and let me know about it!

Thanks for reading!

Stay classy,



I’ve  given up email. Well, almost. At the weekend I set up one of those auto-reply  messages, informing my correspondents that I would no longer be checking my  emails, and that instead they might like to call or write, as we used to in the  olden days. (Tom Hodgkinson)

I hope that this title speaks for itself, but just in case it doesn’t: this post is about the most important etiquette involved in emails–ANSWERING THEM!

We’re busy; we have so many accounts and alerts; we’re always plugged in. I understand this. I’m busy, too. I have memorized a plethora of passwords for social media accounts as well as three different email addresses.

email rant pic

This is no excuse for not answering emails from friends, family, and colleagues. You don’t have to answer them right away (although, within 24 hours is polite), but you should at least acknowledge them. Even just quick reply stating you received the email and will take the time to reply when it is convenient. I also know a few people who list the times of day they are likely to reply to emails in their signatures. Any kind of acknowledgement is acceptable.

This seems more like a rant than a real post, but I do think that this is really important for keeping your email relationships healthy. I always wonder if people receive my emails and, after a day, I usually send a follow-up. I’m not trying to be annoying, but I do need a response. At the very least I need to know that my email was received by the right person. I don’t want to bug the people I’m emailing, I don’t, but when I email a teacher or colleague, there is usually an important reason. Otherwise, I would wait and talk to them the next time I see him or her.

My mom always says (I sound like Forest Gump, right?) that you wouldn’t leave your snail mail unopened so why would you leave you email unopened (or unanswered)? The comparison is pretty eye-opening. Email is communication. Communication is not a one-way street. Don’t disrespect your emailers (not a word, I know) by leaving them to communicate by themselves; that’s just rude.

Sorry to be disjointed, but this is a real pet peeve of mine.

As always, I encourage you to comment with your pet peeves–I’ll even blog about it!

Stay classy (and answer your emails),


Works Cited:

Picture from (I came across it in a Google search)