I've just had a thought. Am I a Karen? Let me explain.
Rural living sometimes renders it inefficient to return home between preschool hours, so I frequent the public library. Warm, spacious and quiet, the library offers a few hours of uninterrupted work, Wi-Fi and clean bathrooms.
It's universally known that you are to be quiet and nowadays your phone is on silent. So how does one react when someone sits down, pulls out their phone, starts scrolling and audibly watching video clips? This has to rank as strong social unawareness.
I think about asking him to turn the volume off but my US tuned brain kicks in. You never know how someone will react to a request like that in the US. It's the reason we stay off the horn and never use offensive hand gestures while driving.
Before I can do anything, the offender has left, and I am alone with my thoughts. OMG, am I a Karen?
I decided to research this Karen situation. In New Zealand between 1957 and 1968, Karen jostled with Susan for top spot in the most popular baby name stakes. That means that there are an awful lot of Karens aged between 52 and 63 in this country. Facebook tells me I have three friends named Karen. One fits the age demographic, but none fit the definition. My Karens are funny, self-deprecating, hard-working and authentic.
Karen is a generic term used to describe a white woman of the above age who is angry, entitled and sometimes racist. She is said to weaponise her relative privilege against people of colour.
During this time of social unrest in the US, we are seeing more and more instances of Karens calling the police because someone walking their dog is deemed suspicious, not letting residents enter their own building because Karen doesn't think they live there, or worse. Long been replaced by Amelia, Willow, Harper and co, Karen doesn't register for 2019.
I honestly don't think I am a Karen; I'm too young, no choppy bob, I'm not angry, I don't direct my "speak to the manager" manner at anyone based on race and having worked in hospitality I certainly don't do it to belittle staff.
However, there have been times when I have justifiably asked to speak to the manager and surely that shouldn't make me a Karen. I once ordered a salad and there was a moth amongst my mesclun. My hatred for the moth only just surpassed my hatred for mesclun, which appears to still be New Zealand's salad du jour. I have been known to lean across my husband and proffer a pocket pack of tissues to continual sniffers.
There was that easyJet flight where a passenger went to the bathroom, and if ever there was a time to tell my husband I loved him, it was then. Emerging a few minutes later reeking of cigarette smoke, I took my umbrages to the back of the plane to the gaggle of flight attendants. They did nothing, we landed and lived another day.
Furthermore, I wake people up by roughly digging under the seat in front of me if they have spilled across my arm rest and I've had people woken up as their snoring reverberated through an otherwise peaceful airline lounge, the utmost assault on my senses.
Human nature is all different and our expectations and own behaviours differ so greatly from those of others. OMG hold on, someone has just fallen asleep in the Wi-Fi room and is snoring. Where is a librarian when you need them? "Excuse me…".