About carla

Writer, blogger, photographer, breast cancer survivor. I write about whatever strikes my fancy as I meander through life.

respecting personal space

Above you see the bank machine in the Giant on Boot Road in West Chester. It’s the Giant that locals say is in the Bermuda Triangle  of retirement homes (Hershey’s Mill, Bellingham, Wellington).

Anyway, it’s an interior bank machine next to a micro branch of PNC Bank. Sometimes it’s busy and when it’s busy you either wait your turn or come back later.

Today I was depositing a check at the bank machine, and I was literally endorsing the check over to the bank so I could pop it into the machine, when all of a sudden I felt someone right upon me and behind me.  That is a slightly disconcerting feeling let alone taking into consideration the fact I was standing at a bank machine with my wallet out.

So this older gent – I would say the late 60s early 70s – is literally right on top of me. Startled I turned and looked at him.  He was close enough that I could smell his breath.

“I’m in a hurry. You don’t mind if I jump ahead while you are doing that do you?” He says.

I think my mouth must’ve hung open first and I paused before I answered, and I looked at him and I said “Why yes , I do mind.”

He then says “Well  calm down sweetheart!”

Alrighty. I just turned my back to him and kept my mouth clamped firmly shot. I was honestly afraid of what might come out if I responded.

Let’s start with the fact that I’m not his sweetheart, and he’s completely ignorant.

The second thing is I patiently wait my turn whenever someone’s ahead of me at the bank machine, it’s what you do. And I don’t stand on top of them, I give them space and privacy because that’s what you’re supposed to do , it’s a banking transaction.

I don’t know what it is about people at interior location bank machines. But they seem to think normal rules don’t apply.

I think there should be signs at these interior machines like they have for pharmacy lines where they ask people to keep it respectful distance between the current customer and themselves.  

I have run into this problem before at this particular bank machine.  Last time it was a huffy and shouting woman who told me she was important and she was in a hurry and I should move over for her. Literally.

(You will note as to not embarrass this man’s family I did not post a picture of him. Just the bank machine so you could see the space.)

I sometimes wonder where basic manners have gone. And why people can’t respect the personal space of others when they expect you to respect their’s. 

The final thought is this had that man done that at a bank machine in Center City Philadelphia, I probably would have stepped on his foot and elbowed him in the stomach and asked questions later because I would’ve been even more concerned I was about to be mugged or something.

There is no accounting for rude behavior I suppose. At any age. if I had been feeling witty I probably would’ve turned him and said “Oh grandpa please!”

dressing up lancaster ave in paoli 

On the corner of South Valley and Lancaster Ave. have always sat these really cool 1920s store fronts. But for years they were kind of run down with apartments above.  When they were sold, people were naturally nervous because well, more tend to tear things down these days. They don’t often choose adaptive reuse.

But my friend from my living in Lower Merion Township days, Lauren Wylonis, had a vision and here we are: an absolutely stunning restoration and adaptive reuse…and an absolutely gorgeous retail store.

Kings Haven Design, another arm of her Kings Haven brand, which includes things like Kings Haven Properties as well.

The store is full of super beautiful and unusual things, a carefully curated collection.  This is a store that individuals just seeking that something special for their home and design professionals. As a matter of fact, you can read all about Kings Haven in the latest edition of my other friend Caroline O’Halloran’s Savvy Main Line!

What Lauren and her team have accomplished is extraordinary, and her taste is marvelous.

Lauren and I both made the move to Chester County from Lower Merion a few years ago at around the same time.  

“We have always shared a love of the cool old architecture of the Main Line and beyond, and Lauren parlayed that love plus her amazing taste and talent for finding the coolest pieces into the Kings Haven brands!

Check out her store! Adaptive reuse can be really really awesome!  I promise you will love, love, love the store!

Opens to the public December 10!

“netiquette” revisited


Yesterday I posted something in an online group that was never intended to be controversial or cause a hubbub, I was sharing information and personal experience. For doing that the comments I received were in two categories: very kind and polite, and mean and piling on. 

I had warned people to take it easy this year if they get the flu shot because I found it to be tougher than last year and I am home in bed sick.  The nurse in the chemo lounge where I got my shot after my oncology appointment warned me to take it easy, and I didn’t and well…here I am sitting in bed losing a day during the time deprived holiday season.

People reacted two ways: politely and often agreeing as they had similar reactions this year and the other reaction was just piling on. Saying things like they disagreed and I was “wrong”. Wrong? My experience was not something to either agree or disagree on, it happened to me, it just IS!  One person made some inane comment about how they got the flu shot and some other shot and would do it “100 times more” or something equally moronic.

All I was doing was passing along my experience and urging people if they did have to get one like I do, to take it easy on themselves. After all, I learned the hard way when I did not listen to the nurse warning me to take it easy. Trust me with a post -cancer compromised immune system, I wish I did not have to do things like get a flu shot, but I do. So I get it. But the reactions in an online community where hypothetically you are supposed to be able to share DID make me think about something overnight I feel is important: online behavior and this holiday season.

Sociologists and psychologists will tell you that the advent of online communities and social media has created behavior patterns that are very different ONline versus OFFline. In the real world face to face you might have a discussion that gets heated, but people don’t necessarily pile on in the same way they do online, which is a virtual experience.

Online in large groups, people pile on and can be very judgmental. It’s like their keyboards give them immunity from social norms and more acceptable patterns of behavior. Keyboard tigers, keyboard cowboys, keyboard killers – all the same thing and it is behavior that can be hurtful or offensive of others.

So I spend a lot of time often  just reading what people write in these groups  and NOT commenting. And what I see at times blows my mind because as human beings we can just be so darn mean to one and other.  Or they just post things that are so wholly inappropriate it confounds me.

It is the holiday season. We are not all the same, we are all individuals. Let’s try especially at this time of year to be respectful of each person’s individuality and opinion and NOT pile on.  Especially in online communities. When we pile on it is not right and is actually bullying, a behavior we teach our kids no matter what the age is wrong.

Opinions will be different from person to person and that is quite alright. If you disagree with someone’s opinion, that doesn’t make their opinion wrong, it just means yours is different.

Online communities were started in part so we could share information and be supportive of one and other; not tear each other down and be intolerant of differences.

Enjoy the magic this season has to offer to all ages. Think before you post online. Be more kind. Be the kind of adult you want your kids to be someday. If we can’t be kind and tolerant to one and other, how can we expect our kids to be that way?

Thanks

oakbourne at christmas


One of jewels of Chester County is located in Westtown Township – Oakbourne Mansion.  I was there for the first time early in the fall for Westtown Day – this extraordinary historic mansion is in the middle of their appropriately named Oakbourne Park. The park itself is quite beautiful and has walking trails, what looks like a community garden, and kids’ jungle gym equipment too.


The mansion has an iconic water tower which is actually part of the township logo I am told!


 The mansion is in remarkable condition given its age and is owned by Westtown Township.  It is in need of some maintenance like any house of its age but the place is just so gorgeous! 


The details inside are amazing! From woodwork to tile work and mosaics and the crazy beautiful stained glass windows, this place is magical.  Today it was hosting a Christmas festival kids’ fun day, and the event was hosted by Westtown’s Parks and Rec committee. Their Parks and Rec community volunteers really put together an amazing event – more committees in local municipalities should follow their lead! They are SO much more than playground equipment! And they love the park Oakbourne sits in which is so awesome to see!


Enjoy the photos. Hopefully someday Oakbourne will land on something like The National Register of Historic Places.  I wonder if the National Trust for Historic Preservation  knows this place exists? Do you know it exists? Everyone should check Oakbourne out- it really is so very beautiful! (If I was in charge of restoration work here, I would bring in Frens and Frens out of West Chester!)

dear santa can you help?


Dear Santa,

Hi there! Are you getting your letters from Chester County, PA?  I am sorry to ask  during this time of year, but you see parts of Chester County has an on again, off again mail problem.

You see, part of Chester County PA’s Mail sorts through another city and state. Yes, it’s true, part of Chester County’s mail sorts through Wilmington, Delaware!

Imagine, you send your next door neighbor a card and it takes not days , but weeks to arrive. Why? Because the mail sorts through Wilmington, Delaware!

Imagine you have an awesome local post office and equally terrific mail carriers. Imagine how awful they feel when they have to knock on your door and hand you damaged mail and damaged packages that sometimes look like the football after Monday Night Football! Why? Because the mail came to Chester County via Wilmington, Delaware!

Imagine you are waiting for a registered or priority package and you are tracking it on USPS.com and you watch it travel from pillar to post and then it just stalls for a couple of days…in Wilmington, Delaware. (with no explanation, ever.)

Santa, it is sad but true. When you complain the United States Postal Service doesn’t honor their “we deliver for you” they terrorize your local mail carriers and post office or they blow you off entirely. Heck maybe YOU can get them to respond to emails – because unless you are contacting the Office of The Inspector General, you stand a pretty good chance of being totally blown off.

Last time I went on a tirade against Chester County PA mail partially sorting through Wilmington, Delaware I was told off the record that the reason mail from Chester County sorts through another state entirely was Joe Biden and is this true?  So should I be writing to Joe Biden instead of you Santa Claus?

I have a theory and that is the postal workers in the sorting facility in Wilmington,  Delaware resent having to also sort Chester County, Pennsylvania mail.  And that is why I hypothesize why mail goes missing, has inexplicable delays, and gets damaged. And who can blame them?  Wouldn’t you be upset if some politicians just doubled your workloads because they thought that was the solution to some stupid political agenda? 

December 1, 2016 update: spoke to consumer affairs personnel in Washington, DC in the Postmaster General’s Office after getting blown off by Philadelphia Consumer Affairs and the office of the USPS OIG. Santa would you like to receive a priority package marked fragile that looks like this?

So Santa, if you can talk to USPS about the mail and ask them to do something about the Chester County, Pennsylvania mail partially sorting in Wilmington, Delaware that would be an awesome stocking stuffer this Christmas!