+

“Hey, my name is Pen. I’ve been traveling around the Bay Area asking people what makes them mad and what they’re doing to fix it. May I interview you?”

I recited this phrase, or some variation thereof, so many times on Wednesday Nov. 11, 2015, it started to lose meaning. Twelve hours of riding around on public transportation asking the same question to people — and even more time asking it to myself. It reminded me of that one day I said the word "spoon" a million times and ended up thinking: Why in the hell did they call it that in the first place? What does it really mean? What does it all really mean!?!

At one point, I got mad at the question. At another point, I got angry with the premise of the project I was working on.


These are some of the folks I met. All photos by Pen Harshaw, used with permission.

The distance traveled pissed me off. The time it took to conduct the interviews annoyed me. The technology I was using made me frustrated a couple of times. And the people who wouldn’t speak to me — especially those who shut me down before I could fully state the aforementioned phrase — gave me the greatest inspiration to be mad.

This project started out of genuine curiosity. I wanted to know what makes people mad and what could be done to fix it?

Prior to pestering people on public transportation, I posed a question to myself.

I don’t like injustice, police brutality, lack of resources in "third world countries," the term "third world country," student loans — oh man, do I despise those! I don’t like when people put recycling in the trash, I hate prisons, and I’m disgusted by slavery. The line at the DMV perturbs me. Speaking of lines: my receding hairline? I’m not a fan. Oh, and when the toilet seat doesn’t stay up as I’m taking a piss — it makes me want to shake my fist at the sky.

I hate it when people are mean to each other for no reason at all. C’mon, we already have to deal with systems of oppression and glitchy technology, and then you run into a rude person on the subway who just needs to let their anger out on someone — and you happen to be that someone. That’s uncalled for.

These are all things that could make me mad, but I choose not to let them. I’ve read articles about happiness being a choice, and I believe that anger is a choice as well. Instead of getting mad, I get motivated. I choose to take that energy and use it to change the situation. If I can’t change it, I don’t trip.

So, that line at the DMV, the glitchy technology, and that vanishing hairline — I let those be. But the institution of prison, student loans, and the rude person on the train — I fight those with my words.

After gaining this understanding about myself, though, I wanted to know: What makes other people angry? I wanted to travel Bay Area public transportation for 12 hours interviewing people about human concerns and resolutions. I wanted to listen to them.

So that's what I did.

At the end of the daylong experiment, I sat in the Chipotle up the block from the Ferry Building on Market Street in San Francisco, filing my final interviews.

The results:

A 15-year-old African-American boy blew my mind when he said that some black people make him mad — “the ghetto ones.”

A cab driver from Pittsburgh caught me off guard when he candidly let me know that self-medicating was the solution to his anger.

Tom, the cab driver, told me: "I try not to get too mad lately. I try to think positive, stay positive, and have good thoughts. Sometimes I still get mad, but I try not to focus on it. If do get mad, it’s at pain; my body hurts a lot, but it’s getting better."

A 79-year-old French woman waiting at a bus stop in Richmond explained that she lives by herself and doesn’t get mad at herself; hence, she is happy. And I believe her.

And then there was 26-year-old Tommy Cross who explained, on his way to work, that the lack of opportunities for those who need them most is what pisses him off.

Tommy works in education, he told me, where he combats this struggle every day.

In the end, I conducted 28 interviews on the record, and many others off the record.

But the folks I spoke to in person were only part of the story. People all over the world also responded to my initial Medium post with vivid, sometimes emotional, accounts of what makes them mad, from drivers failing to stop for the disabled to the ugly fissures in Silicon Valley.

Some wrote about feeling powerless; others condemned senseless acts of violence. One woman opened up about the danger she faces taking public transportation at night.

There were a lot that I did not see coming: war in Yemen and pigeons in the Mission.

Two teens named Hoods and Jetz told me that pebbles in the street make them mad; they can deal with the unwarranted filming and scooter kids, but the pebbles — there’s nothing they can do about those.

Adyson is 16. What makes him mad? "When they say stuff without thinking and when they want attention! It’s aggravating. It gets me really mad. C’mon man, you’re embarrassing yourself!"

I was humbled by Reese, a 31-year-old musician and audio engineer, who told me that he gets upset when people aren’t chasing their true purpose, their dream — a selfless concern if I’ve ever heard one.

I laughed at the fact that just about every person between the ages of 15 and 32 said they don’t like liars, posers, misconceptions of the truth, or stereotypes.

I laughed because that’s the “digital native” generation — a group that has seen massive amounts of lies and misinformation from individuals and institutions come across their computer screens, phones, and televisions since they were born.

William, age 37, told me that liars made him mad. "Just a bunch of liars  —  lying. I don’t like it."

Being a product of that generation, I understand. When I turned their responses around, asking them if they ever lie or cheat, every single person admitted to the same offenses.

I understand this too. I tell a lie every now and then. I’m not proud of it, but I’m human.

And in the end, that’s what this project brought to light: We’re all human. With human concerns. And human reactions.

While approaching people at random, I noticed something: Most people’s first instinct was to acknowledge the anger caused by the actions of other humans. This was surprising — I had expected people to name some of the bigger, overarching problems facing our society today: income inequality, San Francisco’s tech bubble, police brutality, public transportation, the city’s housing crisis.

But instead, a large majority of folks commented on their relationships, their emotions, and their feelings. More often than not, people told me about being lied to or betrayed by a trusted “friend.” A number of people in customer service roles discussed “how to deal with people.”

There was the woman who didn’t like when people litter.

There was the guy who didn’t like people talking behind his back.

There was Kathy, who gets annoyed by the homeless folks who camp out in her coffee shop:

And Carlos, who gets mad when people ask him where the bathroom is.

The skater kids were mad at the scooter kids; other teens were frustrated by people who don’t listen, people who don’t pay attention, fake people.

The common thread was that we get angry about how people treat people.

People. That’s the root of other people’s anger. So what are people going to do about it? That’s a question for all of us.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

Keep ReadingShow less
Education

All-female flight crews known as 'Night Witches' bombed the crap out of Nazi targets in WWII

The Germans were terrified of these pilots whose silent planes swooped in like ghosts.

The Night Witches were feared by the Germans for their stealth bombing runs.

If you like stories of amazing women, buckle up, because this one is a wild ride.

During WWII, the Soviet Air Force's 588th Night Bomber Regiment flew incredibly harrowing missions, bombing Germans with rudimentary biplanes in the dead of night. The Germans called them Nachthexen—"Night Witches"—because the only warning they had before the bombs hit was an ominous whooshing sound akin to a witch's broom.

The "whoosh" sound was due to the fact that the women would cut the planes' engines as they approached, gliding in stealthily before dropping their bombs. And the Night Witches moniker was fitting, considering the fact that the 588th was an all-female regiment.

Their missions were incredibly dangerous, especially considering how the women were equipped. Most of the recruits were in their late teens to mid-20s, and crew members had to learn how to pilot, navigate and maintain the aircraft so they could serve the regiment in any capacity. They underwent an intensive year of training to learn what usually took several years to master.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on July 2, 2019


Sadly, a lot of men go out of their way to avoid learning anything about a woman's period.

(That could be why throughout most of the United States — where the majority of lawmakers are men — feminine hygiene products are subject to sales tax.)

So we should give some love to the guys who make an effort to learn a bit about the menstrual cycle so they can help their family members when they're in desperate need of feminine hygiene products.

Keep ReadingShow less