Sometimes, I just don't get people. I mean, we all share the same planet and that alone means we need to be aware of overlapping into the personal space of others, right? So with that in mind, I would like to call out a few folks who, to my way of thinking, broke some planet rules.
The guy who took advantage of the ambulance.
We all know to pull to the side of the road when an ambulance needs to pass, right? We pull over to the right one-by-one and then, after the ambulance passes, we all stay in line and merge back to the left one-by-one. Brain surgery, this isn't. So why is there always one driver who thinks the merge back is an opportunity to pass a couple of cars. Yeah Guy In The Black Mercedes, I'm talking to you.
The Cell Phone Talker walking down the street who can be heard from 50 yards away.
I was outside our Beverly Hills office the other day with our two summer interns, talking about how to write with "voice" when a loud CPT walked by us on the street. The interns actually couldn't hear me over her -- that's how loud she was. I hope she closes her deal, tells her mother-in-law what she really thinks of her interference, and I agree with her best friend that those pregnancy kits are worthless. (Note to interns: See the voice I just used?)
The ant exterminator.
In Southern California, this is ant season. Now in previous years, I would have argued that to hire an exterminator for ants was akin to using a Bazooka to shoot a gnat. This year is different. This year, ants have invaded not just our kitchens and bathrooms and kid's rooms where said child stashed their Halloween candy last October and then forgot about it, but the ants also have invaded our couches, our beds, and even the inside of our refrigerators.
Now you may be asking yourself, "Why haven't I heard about this major California ant invasion on the news?" The answer is simple: Property values. We in Southern California are obsessed with what our homes are currently worth (we check our Zestimates hourly) and ants are our dirty little secret. If word got out that homes in Los Angeles are built on a foundation of ants, people might not be willing to pay millions of dollars for them. So we hire ant exterminators who charge a small fortune to spend six minutes in our homes while we walk our dogs around the block in complete innocence and then we come back to an ant-free house. Don't judge me.
Why is my ant exterminator on my list of people who misbehave? Since you know we prefer to operate in secrecy, what's with the truck with the big bug logo?
Repairmen who blame the victim.
No, I did not use the "wrong" detergent in the washing machine that caused it to suffer a premature death. I also did not stand over the shower drain forcing my loose hair down it. Further, who actually ever cleans out the pipe behind the clothes dryer that vents it outside even though it can catch fire if clogged (because nobody ever cleans it)?
Blaming me is an unseemly response from someone to whom I am writing a large check. It is especially unseemly since I have a Yelp account and am not afraid to use it.
The woman who was seated behind me on Delta.
I am very sorry you were sick. I am also very sorry that you ran out of tissues mid-flight, spent the full five-hour flight coughing and sneezing and apparently don't believe in over-the-counter medications that relieve your symptoms for up to eight hours. I am also very sorry that you declined the little surgical mask I offered you (more on that later).
I understand that the airlines don't make it easy for us to change our plans. And I also understand that even if this woman could have delayed her flight, she may not have wanted to, figuring that whatever she had would pass in the next 48 hours and leave her the rest of the week to enjoy her stay in Los Angeles. But I would like to let her know that she managed to infect both my kids with her germs and probably about a dozen other people. Considerate? She wasn't.
I'd point out that the very next morning I visited a large medical building in Santa Monica that had a huge sign at the entrance asking anyone who was sick to please just turn around and go home. If all those doctors think that's a good idea, why not the airlines?
And on the face mask thing? Yes, I carry them with me on planes every time I fly precisely because the airlines don't.
Health was "extremely important" to happiness for 73 percent of respondents. People in "good or excellent" health are three times more likely to report being "very" happy. Interestingly, what may matter most is how healthy you think you are: The AARP found that the percentage of people reporting good health is relatively stable over the 35-80 age range, varying only seven percentage points. That's despite the fact that objectively, older people are in fact not as healthy: The number of people who report they are suffering two or more medical conditions increased 400 percent over the 35-80 age range. (People may be comparing their health to their peers who are in worse shape.)
Some 68 percent of respondents called relationships "extremely important" to happiness. Some 72 percent of people who were married or in a relationship called themselves "very happy" or "pretty happy" -- compared to 60 percent of singles. AARP asked respondents to rank the importance of certain activities to happiness, and many of those scoring at the top were relationship-related: 72 percent said "kissing or hugging someone you love"; 72 percent said "watching your children, grandchildren or close relative succeed in what they want to do"; 69 percent said "spending time with your family and friends such as a meal or social gathering'; and 64 percent said "experiencing a special moment with a child." However, relationships did have to be real: "connecting with friends or family on a social media site like Facebook" came in 37th out of 38 activities in contributing to happiness.
Nearly half (47 percent) of respondents said pleasure was "extremely important" to happiness. Among the simple pleasures that were most important to the happiness of people 50 to 80: enjoying natural beauty like a sunset or ocean (64 percent); having someone do something nice for you unexpectedly (56 percent); practicing religious or spiritual faith (50 percent); making progress on personal goals (47%); and being absorbed in a favorite hobby or interest (42 percent).
Four in ten of those surveyed called accomplishment "extremely important" to happiness.
Meaning and engagement were considered "extremely important" to happiness among 38 and 37 percent of respondents, respectively.
Some 31 percent of respondents said money was "extremely important" to happiness. Money was slightly more important to people who earned $25,000 or less. As psychologist and Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman has noted, beyond a household income of $75,000, experienced well-being no longer increases, although people's judgment of how satisfied they are with their lives does continue to increase. At the same time, severe poverty amplifies life's misfortunes, such as illness or divorce. The AARP study found similar results: Income and happiness were positively correlated; when comparing the percentage of those "Very Happy" by income ranges, the slope increases up to the $75,000 mark, then continued to rise even more dramatically. Asked how they would spend $100 on something to increase happiness, most respondents said they would spend it on their family or going out to dinner. This correlates with findings that show buying experiences makes people happier than buying things.
People who feel they are in control of their happiness report that they are 2.5 times happier than those who believe happiness is out of their control. A sense of control is linked to higher income, higher education, good health and not experiencing a major life event in the past year. This finding also mirrors decades of research suggesting autonomy -- the feeling that your actions are self-chosen and self-endorsed -- is a core psychological need. Studies have found people who lack a sense of control -- prisoners, nursing home residents, people living under totalitarian governments -- suffer lower morale and poor health, according to David Myers, a professor at Hope College in Michigan and author of "The Pursuit of Happiness." Interestingly, a sense of control over one's happiness rises with age -- with 69 percent of people age 75 to 80 feeling they have control over their happiness, versus about half of people age 40 to 54. It may be that with the wisdom of the years, people recognize that happiness is a choice.
Spending time with a pet can be a substantial way to contribute to one's happiness, the survey found, especially for older women: 81 percent of women age 66 to 80 who own pets said spending time with them contributes "a lot" to personal happiness. It was also important to two-thirds of singles.
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