Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

As we pulled out of the parking lot at the gymnastics centre, with my frayed nerves and cupcake-stained children, I silently vowed never to host another large children’s birthday party ever again.  Truly, I think we are now past the age where I can allow my kids to invite fourteen children and still expect to emerge from the party with my sanity still intact.  A group of fifteen kindergarteners, or fifteen first graders even, is much, much easier to deal with than a group of fifteen children ranging in ages from six to nine.  Apparently I don’t like children as much as I thought I did.  I stood impotently among the chaos of the party room, as sugar-addled children chased each other around the table, arms flailing, screaming at the very top of their lungs.  I was powerless to stop it.  At one point it felt like the room was vibrating.  One little girl sat on a chair, with her hands over her ears.  I gave her a goody bag, and announced that anyone who was as calm as she was would also receive a goody bag.  Eventually things settled down and parents arrived, only a few arriving after the specified pick-up time.  As God is my witness, I will never host another such birthday party again.

I am currently reading Anna Karenina, and I came across the following paragraph:

Between the Countess Nordston and Levin relations had
grown up such as are not infrequently met with in
Society, when two people outwardly remaining in friendly
relations despise each other to such an extent that
they cannot treat each other seriously, or even be offended with one another.
It occurred to me that this is the nineteenth-century Russian equivalent of passive-aggressiveness.  Oh, passive-aggressiveness, the ugliest of all negative character traits.  I feel this way, truly, but I find that I myself have taken on a very passive-aggressive attitude while shopping.
It’s the thing now for all stores, it seems, to ask for your email address every time a purchase is made, and that is something that threatens the remaining vestiges of my sanity.  My in-box is filled, constantly, with enthusiastically-worded newsletters from various corporations about there only being three! days! left! of whatever fabulous sale is going on right! now!  In a bid to control some of this raging-out-of-control in-box, I unsubscribed to all newsletters but am now in an awkward position whenever I am shopping.  At first, I tried a polite-but-firm tone with the salesperson, that no, I did not wish to leave my email address.  However, my polite-but-firm tone was overruled by the salesperson’s pleas, promises of good deals, and apparent need for demographic information; how that is obtained via email is beyond me but nevertheless I felt powerless to refuse.  I felt sorry for the salesperson who is just fulfilling their job requirements by asking customers for their emails.  And yet, I want no more emails. 
My solution to this problem is to give a false email address.  I feel a little skeevy about this practice, but yet, I have no better solution.  So I normally give a gmail address, usually with some variation of Nicole.  But then I started guiltily thinking about all the Nicoles on gmail who are, without their knowledge, being placed on various mailing lists.  I could just imagine some other Nicole opening up her in-box, thinking What the fuck, Old Navy?  I JUST unsubscribed from you!  Again!
I don’t know what to do.  Perhaps the next time I will use such monikers as onehotmama at hotmail, or babelicious at yahoo or maybe even milf at gmail.  Do you think they’ll be able to see through my ruse?


  1. Oh man, last month we (stupidly) allowed my son (9) to invite 13 friends to a Lazer tag party. I thought it would be fine since the location provided the food and they managed the laser tag games. I was wrong. Holy crap, there was SO. MUCH. ENERGY. in that room I felt like my head was going to explode. By pick up time, I was ready to kiss the parents who arrived early and vowed never to speak again to the two parents who arrived 30 minutes late. From now on, parties will be smaller. I can’t take that again!

    I have a yahoo mail account that I use for nothing but ordering stuff online and giving to stores in situations like you mention. I only check it about once every couple of weeks unless I’ve recently ordered something. Then I basically select all and delete the hell out of the mail. Since I never give that address to friends, family, school, or work I don’t worry that I’m missing something important in my massive deleting sprees. Once or twice I took the time to unsubscribe from a bunch of stuff, but I swear it made no difference. The number of emails never went down. Ridiculous!

    • That is a great idea – setting up an account – good karma! I wouldn’t have to be a LIAR, and yet, I wouldn’t get emails! THANK YOU!

  2. I love Anna Karenina and I also love Jane Austen who always has the spinster Aunt who makes passive aggressiveness an art form.
    I just tell them I don’t have email and then they don’t know what to say. Usually just a very confused “You don’t???????”
    Okay I do but I figure it’s a small lie and I’ll deal with that karma down the road.

  3. I just say “no” when asked for my email. If they beg & plead, I say “no” again. I get enough crap in my inbox, I don’t need to make it worse every time I go shopping.

    As for the birthday party, you’re a braver woman than I.

  4. I still do the giant birthday parties. They suck, but it’s only once a year now, since Angus doesn’t want them any more (four boys in the basement, hopped up on coke and telling fart jokes until 2 a.m. – MUCH BETTER). I pride myself on being cold as ice about rejecting pleas for money on the phone and pleas for email addresses in stores. And then the other day I answered the door and it was this incredibly sweet, sincere guy campaigning for Amnesty International and I folded like a house of cards. Sigh.

  5. Haha! I hate giving them my email. Hate. I’ve tried to say “Oh I’ve already given it to you”…and they’ll say something clever like”well just make sure your in our system”…gah…
    But I do find that passive aggressive behavior flourishes on Facebook. People can hide behind a screen and unleash the fury….not that I do that…psha.
    Anyways you are a saint for hosting the party. How much booze did you consume afterwards?

  6. I hate that they ask for emails all the time.

    Glad you survived the birthday party!

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