Friday, September 13, 2013

As It Turns Out-- I Like Jess

The day after I posted my "Condescending Bitch" post about Jess and her campaign to raise monies to ride her Vespa halfway across the country to see Sedona, AZ... she emailed me.

stolen from Jesspa's blog... hopefully I figured out how to make it link back?
Actually, I got the email the next day, I think she actually emailed me the same day I posted.

Here's where I got impressed: Despite my rather harsh insight into who she might be, why she might be that person, and whether or not her entire generation is comprised of self-entitled slackers, she emailed me. Gave me answers to all the questions I posed in my post-- even the ones that don't really have any bearing on the issue, like what kind of car she had, and never once whined or bitched or cried "unfair" at my post.

I've spent a lot of time on the Internet. In addition to this little, personal corner of the cyberverse, I also maintain a website/blog for my business and I blog professionally for a major trade magazine serving my industry. I have dealt with my share of reactions from people on the Internet. MOST people would have written to me and said something along the lines of, "well, not that it's any of your business, but if you must know...." and, "I understand if you have questions, but why couldn't you just email me first before you went and blasted me all over the Internet?" or, "God, you are a hateful bitch. You're just jealous because you are old and fat and wasted your whole life working at some low-paying job rubbing rich peoples' feet instead of following your dreams and living your life on your terms. You should shut your fat mouth and get a LIFE instead of trashing other people for attempting to follow their heart!"

Yeah-- I actually get comments like that all the time. Which seems weird, since I spend most of my online time talking about how much I LOVE the life I'm living...but some people need to lash back at perceived persecutions.

So anyway-- Jess DID NOT say, or even intone, any of those things when she emailed me. She gave me nice, simple, real answers to all those questions that I really figured were just rhetorical. And she politely asked me why, in my opinion, her blog was presenting her poorly.

After a couple of emails, I have decided that I LIKE Jess.

she wants to go to Sedona,AZ

First off, she's got a job. Yup. Real work. She is supporting herself and her little dog in their own apartment. She's got a great boss that is letting her take off the time to make her dream trip, and then she will go back home to her dog and her apartment and her job. She has the means to make this trip happen without external support and is ready to go on her adventure, even if no one else helps out.

She has a mom and a dad and, apparently, a good relationship with them. They will be taking care of her dog while she travels.

They were also super smart parents who planned for their daughter's college education while she was still very young. Which I can't quite bring myself to think of as quite the same as "Daddy paid for college." They sound smart and responsible... and so does Jess.

FWIW: Her car was in need of serious mechanical repairs. She stood to make more money by selling it and buying the scooter than by fixing it. She loves her scooter-- I certainly am not going to fault her for owning her vehicle free and clear.

Now, I don't know if she really, truly, understands what she's in for here. I can't say whether she's fully prepared for what awaits on the road to Sedona-- and back. But welcome to Real Life, most of us aren't fully prepared for what awaits us, whether on the road to Sedona or on the road to cynical old codgerdom.

But she wants to go!

And she's 25. She's a GIRL. And she's going to ride a VESPA for 3500 MILES through places she's never been.

also stolen from Jess's blog: Her own Vespa-- "Ziggy"

And THAT I fully support.

Because women are fraidy cats. Not all-- but most. Believe me, I've been holding hands with fellow women for 21 years now. I know something about who we are and what we dream verses what we are willing to do... and what we regret later in life.

Too few of us are willing to take deep breaths and jump. Too few of us have ever made that epic road trip. Too few of us have ever dared to visit a different state alone, let alone a different country. Too few of us are comfortable even driving at night, or living alone.

So I say GO JESS GO!

In the long run, I don't really care if Jess is a spoiled princess or if she's wise beyond her years... I don't care if her trip goes off flawlessly or if it's fraught with mishaps.

I care that one more woman in this world takes the trip. I care that she is willing to go, into the world, all by herself. On a scooter, no less.

And if I can help her live her adventure, I help myself, I help my nieces, my clients, and all women who, deep inside, passionately want to not be afraid to do something just like this. Women who want to feel like it's possible for a woman to travel alone in this big, scary world. Women who want to see the desert, or the ocean, or Alaska, or India, but won't go. Because it's "scary," because it's "not safe," because their parents think it's a bad idea, because their boyfriends and husbands  think it's a bad idea, because their friends think it's a bad idea, because everything they see on the TV, in the news, on the Internet, fills their heads with visions of horror and danger and drives fear deeper into their psyches.

And all the women who are older now and looking back and thinking "I should have gone on that trip to India when I was younger, before I got married, before I had the kids, before my job wouldn't give me the time off...."

Also stolen from Jess's blog.

All those women who will never GO on their own journey. For all the excuses they make to not go.

So... ultimately, it's not about Jess or who she is today or why she wants to go see a desert or whether she's "earned" the "right" to ask for help funding her dream... it's about the fact that she's willing to go.

I can so totally get behind that. And I hope that I can convince a handful of other women (and men) to throw her a couple of bucks and advocate for her campaign in the name of the Big Picture for a future of stronger, braver, more self-confident women in this world.

And that's my rousing feminist propaganda soapbox post for the week. Go Jess Go!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I am a "Condescending Bitch..." but I still hope she takes the trip.

When the BF embarked on this "We are getting motorcycles" mission, became a part of our lives. I'm still making up my mind how I feel about ADV.

On one hand, it's a HUGE online community. Seriously HUGE. There's a thread there about everything... no, really, everything. If you haven't found it yet it's because you haven't looked hard enough. My head spins at the attempt to comprehend the breadth of the site.

On the other hand... it's largely populated by men who ride motorcycles. Any woman who has spent a healthy portion of her life being "one of the guys" either has no clue why a giant online community full of boys is an annoying, smelly, sophomoric place to hang out... or totally knows what I'm talking about.

Hey! I'm not talking smack... well, no more than the annoying, smelly, sophomoric boys do. I like annoying, smelly, sophomoric boys. I've spent a healthy part of my life hanging out with them. I knew what I was getting into when I registered as a member. I'm not pretending to be all sissy/prissy/princess baby. I'm not saying I'm offended by the smelly boys or that they ought to stop being smelly boys.

But that much online testosterone can get overwhelming. No lie.

Still, ADV remains my favorite online community for the motorcycle portion of my life. And even if the boys are sophomoric and smelly-- at least they're blunt and honest and you always know exactly where you stand with them.

Which is how I came to learn of the Jesspa project.

In the convoluted way that that Internet works; this guy started this thread on the ADV forums... the thread now resides in the "basement" forum "Jo Mamma" where the boys are extra smelly and most threads devolve into "show us your tits" posts.

Nevertheless, I found myself utterly unable to tear myself away from the thread. Then I found myself utterly fascinated by Jess's attempt at this so-called adventure.

The thing is, I absolutely, completely, 122% agree with the overwhelming attitude of the smelly boys:
Yeah, honey! Tell us about your JOB.

  • Are YOU earning any of the money toward this epic Vespa odyssey yourself?
  • Do you have parents
  • Do you have a relationship with them? 
  • You said you graduated college-- with a degree in what, exactly? 
  • You say you traded your car for the Vespa to "avoid going into debt." What kind of car was it? 
  • Did you use the rest of the money from the sale of the car to pay off debts?
  •  Do you have school loans? 
  • Do you have any debts now? 
  • Your expense break down includes "rent"-- for what? 
  • What are you going to do when you get back from Sedona?
The specs on the Vespa say it has a top speed of about 59 miles per hour, and gets 70-75 miles to the gallon... why do you need $500 for gas? My math says that's almost twice as much as you'll need.

View Larger Map

Oh yeah... I'm with the smelly boys. Sweetie, you are almost a quarter of a century old and you make no mention of working-- not for a living, not for your dreams-- and you are expecting strangers to give you money because why?

On the other hand-- I don't want to see your tits. And, I assure you, the smelly boys are no more likely to donate to your cause if you show them your tits, so don't do it. And I'm sincerely sorry you got introduced to the ADV community in this manner. It's kinda like when Q and introduced the Borg to humans much earlier than would have naturally occurred.

Yup... that's what it's like.

So anyway, on to my "on the other hand:"

Buried in the ADV thread, there are actually a few good thoughts that are far more philosophically enticing than whether Jess has a big nose or is "hot" or not.

Where she's headed.
The overwhelming part of Jess's blog-- if you can call it that-- is that she is perpetuating so many stereotypes about her generation. She comes off spoiled and entitled and isn't showing any inclination to work toward the realization of her own goals, no work ethic, no concept of earning her money. She sees herself as her product, and believes that all she should have to do is ask for handouts and people will give her money. She doesn't see her proposed journey as a "vacation" and doesn't seem to understand why so many people are inclined to see it as frivolous.

So why is it that there are so many "kids" out there who think that this is an entirely justified, respectable, normal way to "earn" money?

Well... the Internet, for one. People really do make money blogging. Or from their YouTube channels. I totally understand why some people would get it in their heads that all they have to do is create a blog and open a Pay Pal account, link them together and VOILA! Instant career!


grumpy old timers-- and smelly boys
Then a bunch of grumpy old timers come along and grumble about how that ain't workin. It ain't a real job. You ain't gonna make a living just writing stupid stories about your life or postin' vids of your dog climbing stairs.

Except for all the people who are doing it.

So it seems that, like many members of her generation, Jess sees herself as her product. She doesn't see what she's doing as begging or panhandling, because she honestly feels that she is offering a valuable product in exchange for your donations-- she's writing a blog. She's going to share her story with us. And, if you donate enough money, she'll send you a post card.

She hasn't yet learned that not everyone is going to think she's worth their hard-earned money just because she started a blog.

One ADVer in the thread brought up an interesting point relative to my perspective-- he pondered if this was what we get from raising a generation of children who "earn" money for their dance troop, soccer team, cheer program, by passing the hat-- asking for "donations."

I have really honed in on this point. I find it so relevant. We have brought up our children to view themselves as a "worthy cause" just by virtue of being involved in something. Just ask people for money and they'll be happy to help out.

Why would we expect them to think otherwise when they need to raise funds for something?

Jess claims that she plans on embarking on her ride whether she has reached her goal of $2,500 or not. THAT sparks my interest. I don't know if that means that she does, in fact, have a back up source of funding this trip? Or if it means she's actually open to the possibility of a true adventure and thus, learning experience.

I haven't donated any money to her cause yet. I haven't ruled out the possibility that I might. I haven't decided if she's a spoiled princess who expects others to support her, or if she's genuine in her efforts to earn sponsorship by virtue of her story and just presenting herself poorly.

I do know that if she wants to build a readership for her blog, she needs to write stuff that people want to read. Which, thus far, she hasn't. And all those "mid-week pick me up" pics are not keeping me riveted to my seat, anxiously awaiting the start of her journey. With a little less than a month left before GO time, I'm likely to wander off and forget her entirely if she doesn't get to writing more interesting stuff.

But that's the beauty of a free market-- if there's no demand for what she supplies, her business will fall on its ass. And hopefully, that will serve as a big learning experience for her that will help her future efforts prove more successful.

Decide for yourself: Jesspa