Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dreams Coming True: Good Vs. Bad

In movies whenever a character is having a bad day it's pretty much an unspoken rule that it has to be raining and eventually a car will drive past, through a puddle, and splash the aforementioned character causing him/her to be soaked. This of course is usually hilarious and the person is first shocked and then usually pretty angry about it.

It's been raining lately and I love driving through puddles. I will go out of my way to drive through puddles multiple times if I must. I love this. As I was splashing and laughing maniacally as I often do (it feels right) I got to thinking. If there was a person there I'd very obviously notice, and I would never splash someone on purpose. That's a level of horrible that even I wouldn't cross.

On that note, does that even happen in real life? I've never seen someone get a huge splash from a car. That's when I realized - this is my new dream (I have a lot, a whole list)! I want to get splashed by a car driving past me! That would be so awesome right? It doesn't matter where you're going because when you show up you suddenly have an awesome story to tell!

Boss: Why are you soaking wet?

E : A car drove by me and I got splashed by a huge puddle!!

Boss: Awesome!!!

Okay, so maybe boss wouldn't think it's awesome, probably more likely that I would get sent home to change but at least it's interesting right?

I've also always wanted to meet my very own Dwight Schrute from The Office. I always believed I would have so much fun with a character like that!

So a few weekends ago I was at a speech tournament. Another competitor/friend of mine that I have nicknamed Puppy (If you knew him, you would totally understand) had to go off campus to have a smoke since the college that was hosting doesn't allow smoking. At all. It was pretty ridiculous.

So we were standing on the edge of the very small side road, just past a speed bump. Suddenly this Mitsubishi blares past us, flying over the speed bump and the front of the car slams onto the road and directly into a puddle. The splash hit us with the accompanying crunch of the bumper against asphalt. I was in shock for a moment.

Puppy goes on about they were idiots and they got karma and pointed out that they slowed down substantially for the next speed bump fifty feet up. I look at him with what I imagine to be wonder and joy in my eyes.

E : We totally got splashed!!!

Puppy: Wut? (In my head he talks like this)

E : I thought this only happened in movies! I've been wanting this to happen to me! Sure it wasn't a huge splash but dude!!! This is awesome!!!

I was very excited. I think some of it rubbed off on Puppy because he wasn't in as bad a mood and seemed at least amused by my happiness. So it may not have been the gigantic theatrical tidal wave but the lower half of my body got adequately soaked and I feel like I can accept that.

On that note, another dream of mine came true. I went to Joe J. Johnson II's family Thanksgiving this year since my family lives out of state and I can't afford to go visit them. I was very happy to be invited. His Aunt has adopted a couple of kids. The story is quite sad actually, as the one in particular I will be mentioning is literally a drug baby, now 16-years-old.

He was sitting in a chair working on some wires. A small child goes up and comments on the wires "smelling weird". The 16-year-old makes a face, smells the wires and states that the wires have no smell. The child continues insisting that they smell weird and the older one keeps responding that there's no smell.

To dispel the situation I, being a know-it-all and enjoying sharing interesting information, pipe up.

E : Actually, the young one may just be able to smell better than we can. As we grow older neurons die off in our nose, just like they do in taste buds. This means that just like he has a more sensitive sense of taste than we do, he's also got a more sensitive sense of smell. So while he can smell a faint strange odor, we may just be too old to catch it.

There is a moment of silence while the young one toddles off and the older kid looks at me before he speaks up to say a single word.

Dwight: False.

(See what I did there? Named him Dwight, get it?)

At that point I am both crushed and enraged. This was my dream coming true. I wanted to meet a Dwight and here he is. Unfortunately he's a drug baby so I can't mess with him without feeling guilty about taking advantage of a kid who has little to no control over his abilities. I end up grumbling something about my college anatomy class and then disappearing into another room with other folk to play Pokemon Ruby.

It's not fair.

At the end of the day, I think it's pretty worth it though - having dreams. Sure they may not all be what I expect them to but the joy I got from being splashed outweighs any temporary crossness I may come across when they aren't quite what I expect.

I hope it rains again soon!


Monday, November 29, 2010

The Plan: Raising Awareness

I was watching the news the other day and there was a local fundraiser that was being covered. Some of you may be surprised that I keep up on the news and current events. Yes, I do. If you really want to be scared, know that I vote. Hah.

So this fundraiser... as I was watching it was announced that the local group was raising money for Global Warming Awareness. I couldn't help but question the "awareness" part of that equation. Think about it, by now, who isn't aware of global warming. Whether you believe in it or not you've at least heard the phrase and know what it's all about.

Not to mention, if you're just raising awareness about a subject, what do you need that much money for? It's not like a charity where money goes toward people in need (an obvious problem that obviously requires money). Couldn't you just spend twenty bucks on a megaphone and scream about it until more people are aware of it? Or even for free just write a few letters to the editor until you get published somewhere. Isn't just having a fundraiser raising awareness? This spreads by word of mouth best of all! So what are they really raising money for?

That's when it struck me - these people are obviously secret geniuses and I want in.

I'm going to hold my own fundraiser to raise awareness. My fundraiser will raise awareness about cough drops, volcanoes in Antarctica or even disappearing bees. Then, when the fundraiser is over I can pocket all that money and call it a day. Think about it, I did my job. I raised awareness so much people were willing to hand me money. I can keep doing that and keep doing that and eventually millions of people will be paying attention and I'll be turning a profit and no one will be the wiser and everyone will be aware.

What else am I supposed to do? Write a check to "awareness"? That would only work if I changed my name.


Solved: Global Warming

A few weeks ago I was watching TV and I found out what the true cause of global warming is.

We're so concerned with the sun melting the polar ice caps because of a deteriorating ozone layer, but there's an even more serious threat that's much closer to home.

Did you know there are many active Volcanoes in Antarctica?!

Lava beats ice, people.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Don't Take My Turkey Day

Today while I was finishing up some dip for dinner later today I sent out a mass text wishing everyone a "Happy Turkey Day!" I felt this was a good cheerful way to start off the morning. Until I got back about three text messages wishing me a happy "Indian Genocide Day" or some alteration of this.

This is annoying, and I have a few responses to it.

1) If we're going to play the politically correct game, it's "Native American" not "Indian".

2) The very first Thanksgiving was about living peacefully together, it wasn't a blind slaughter where the Pilgrims murdered every Native American that showed their face. This means, even the first Thanksgiving was a celebration of love and peace. What may have transpired later by different colonists is not what this day is about.

3) I know you think you're "culturally aware" by mentioning genocide on a holiday about love, but really this just makes you look like a dick. You're taking a holiday where people get together with family and friends and are just generally happy and you're turning it into something ugly, just to bring other people down, just because you took some Native American studies class so you have to show off how much you "know".

4) You may want to celebrate the genocide of a people (you monster!), but I like to celebrate coming together, the feast, and the chance to share with people I don't normally see throughout the year how appreciative I am for them.

5) Quit living in the past. I'm a pagan, people with my beliefs were practically wiped out when Christianity took over and I still live with encountering the prejudice in this day and age. I don't dwell on it though, it's not worth it. If we did nothing but be sad about things that happened to our ancestors, nothing would get done! I am an individual and just as I am not burdened by the prejudice of the past I will not feel guilty for perpetuating a negativity that I, personally, had nothing to do with. I'm all about moving forward, yo.

6) If you really can't get over Thanksgiving, then instead of shoving your negativity down peoples throats, do something private or with other people you believe like you do. Frankly, that's just rude and borderline oppressive. Maybe you can start thinking up ways to ruin Christmas for everyone else too?

For the rest of you? Happy Turkey Day! Get stuffed! Be Merry!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Internet Dating Adventure Fail Example #2

I unfortunately did not save the messages from this next internet dating site failure. However, the experience was so unique I remember quite clearly what happened. So most of this will be from memory and in a different format than the last one. Also, a friend of mine (Joe J Johnson II) who I had a skype conversation with about this guy happened to save some of the messaging back and forth.

It started off when I logged in to find a message where the guy didn't even make a pretense at getting to know me. All he offered was that he was interested and then went on to invite me to go over to his house for pizza and a movie.

If you remember from my earlier post, I'm already nervous about meeting people from the internet in a public place, let alone going over to some strange guys house. I sent him a message telling him that I was uncomfortable with his plan.

His response perplexed me. He said that he wished he could take me out somewhere fancy or to the movies or something else equally awesome but that he couldn't. Filled with curiosity at this dramatic statement I had to ask him why none of these things could happen, what could make him resort to pizza and a movie? I thought maybe he was unemployed or had a phobia of public places. His answer was both shocking and cliche.

Turns out he's under house arrest because he was going over 155 miles per hour and didn't pull over when the cops tried to stop him. He said he didn't get a DUI or anything and he didn't do anything wrong it was just a mistake. Apparently in his world, going more than twice the speed limit is not doing anything wrong...

I sent him a message back

E: I'm going to be honest with you.

Even if you weren't under house arrest I wouldn't meet you at your house on the first meeting. I have no way of knowing your intentions and assuring me otherwise far from makes me feel comfortable with that idea.

I have no interest in dating a guy that's currently under house arrest. I am curious why you would possibly run from the cops if you had nothing to run from - because that's what it sounds like you are saying which to me seems deceptive. I don't think you're a bad guy, I think you did a stupid thing and now you're paying for it. Unfortunately that means that for now you miss out on dating me.

I was not expecting this as a response.

House Arrest Guy: and that's fine with me, because apparently you're extremely judgemental. you have no clue why i'm on house arrest and yet you think i'm being deceptive. no thanks. i'll find someone who isnt going to judge me before meeting me.

PS. i'm on house arrest because i ran from the cops in order to save the life of my ex-fiance. the judge didnt want to sentence me but his hands were tied. I got in trouble for doing the right thing, so sue me.

PSS. under no other circumstance would i ever ask you to meet me at my house, nor would i want you knowing where i live, however this is the only way i can meet new people.

have a great day.

No joke, he said that.

It terrified me, but being a know-it-all bint trumps my inherent paranoia so I had to get the last word in.

E: 1) If you were saving someone's life, maybe pulling over and telling the POLICE would have been a good idea, which is why I said it was a stupid thing to do.

2) I never said you were being deceptive, I said it seemed deceptive. If I thought you were outright lying I never would have bothered with responding but I was curious to give you a chance.

3) Yes, I'm judging you. Everyone does it. You said you were under house arrest and you were unclear as to why. However to assume that all judgments are wrong or negative is naive.

4) You already ASKED me to meet you at your place so don't get all high and mighty about it now. I understand this is the only way to meet new people and that's fine, but I like to go out and DO things which is why I said I wouldn't date you - no other reason. If you were paying attention you would have noticed that I said "FOR NOW". I never said I had no interest in continuing to talk with you.

So you've managed to be a complete hypocrite, jump to incorrect conclusions and throw a tantrum all in one message. Congratulations. I'm officially NOT interested in you in any way shape or form.

Then I blocked him.

I still hope he doesn't manage to e-stalk me and find me cause that guy is obviously crazy.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Adventures In The Bathroom

I think it's generally pretty silly when people refuse to use public toilets.

It's not that I don't understand the anxieties! On the contrary, using a toilet causes me much consternation. It's very uncomfortable. There are a few reasons for this.

1) I'm convinced everyone can hear me pee.
This is the worst in stall-type bathrooms. I have been informed that I pee loudly. This is because I don't like to waste time on the toilet, so rather than just relaxing and letting it dribble out (as I've been told is the proper way for a lady to go) I just... push it out. Ever since I was made aware of this particular fault of mine I'm always convinced that the person in the next stall is thinking "What the- who let the race horse in here?!".
The logical side of my brain tells me that there is no way this is the case. The crazy side of my brain screams and tries to run away. Of course it's too late. The habit has been formed since childhood. I have been unable to teach myself to "relax and dribble". This anxiety follows me to the one person bathrooms at work, my friends bathrooms and even my own if I have someone over or if my roommate is home. Also, the same multiplied goes for number twosies.

2) I don't think people actually wash their hands.
I walked out of a stall one night right as a girl turned the faucet on. She didn't notice me because it was a creepy mirror-less bathroom (don't get me started) and I was behind her. However, instead of washing her hands she texted on the phone. She then left while I was washing my hands, without ever washing hers. She either just likes ambiance for when she texts, or she turned the sink on to pretend to wash her hands so she wouldn't have to actually do it, but no one would think she hadn't.
Now I am paranoid about people not washing their hands. When someone walks out of a stall before me, or if I'm waiting outside the bathroom at work I can't help but strain to hear the sounds of hands under the water, disrupting the flow. I try and listen for the light thunk of soap being dispensed from the dispenser. This is intrusive, and I know this. That's why I always act like someone is listening and I'm as loud as I can be when I'm washing my hands.

3) I don't always go into a stall to go to the bathroom.
Sometimes, like when I'm at the gym, I go to a bathroom stall to change. This is because unlike other women in the locker room, I have no desire to bare my breasts and ass for all to see. I'm far more comfortable changing in privacy. This usually isn't a bit deal until I get all changed, leave the stall and go back into the locker room only to realize what it looks like.
All other people are probably noticing is some girl leaving a stall and then going to use public machines to work out. Since the toilet automatically flushes they don't know that I didn't use it! I've gotten glares, comments and whispered conversations. I'm just guilty by association. Sometimes I just wash my hands so people don't think anything of it, which is annoying because it's a waste of time.

4) I hate cheap toilet paper
This isn't always a problem, like at work or at home I don't have to worry. However whenever I'm at school, at a speech tournament or any place that has a high volume of people using the facilities the toilet paper is almost always really cheap. It might have to do with saving money, or being "green" by getting the single ply instead of the double. Of course that whole concept is idiotic. If someone needs to use 2-3 times the normal amount of TP to make sure it doesn't leak through, that's not saving anything.
I've always found that if I need to work really hard to get toilet paper, I'll find a really effective way to get enough and then usually it's even more than I need - but who's going to use leftover toilet paper? On that note, then I start getting concerned with the amount of TP being used. If I use too much, the toilet could get clogged and then I have a whole other issue.

This has happened to me about three times. Either it was clogged before and I didn't notice, or I used too much TP, or it was just a cheap toilet. Regardless of what happened, it means that if someone is out there waiting to use the bathroom I'm going to either have to sprint out, or admit to what I've done. There is sometimes the off chance that the timing is just right so I can pretend that I stumbled across it that way. Fear like this is why I'll sometimes flush halfway through and then again when I'm done.

Despite all of this, my need to go trumps my desire for comfort.

That's why I think it's silly for people to refuse to use public toilets.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Twinkies Are Filled With Cream!

I came into the office at my usual hour to see Handy Dandy Man from the warehouse and an accomplice painting the wall behind the reception desk. I decided to get some coffee and just come back when they finished in half an hour, as they promised.

By the time I came back up front they were almost finished and my co-receptionist (whom I will refer to as Sparkles) had arrived as well. I mentioned that I didn't think the paint matched the carpet (it doesn't). We began discussing our own preferences.

E : It doesn't match the carpet.

Handy Dandy Man: What color would you pick? Pink?

E : No, Sparkles would pick pink or purple. I would pick lime green and black.

Sparkles: That's because I'm a happy person!

E : What about lime green is not happy?

Sparkles: The black part.

E : That's for contrast. Color blocking. Color blocking is a fashion term. That means I know about fashion. Besides, I'm not unhappy, I'm just filled with rage.

And it's true (not the part about knowing fashion, that's a complete lie). For the most part I'm a very happy person. I smile a lot, I'm easily entertained, I laugh so much. The only problem is the contrast - it's as easy for me to rage out as it is for me to laugh. I could be laughing and joking with Sparkles one minute and then I answer a phone call, talk to a horrible customer and end up writing a blog raging about how people won't just leave a voicemail!

This is especially highlighted by my attitude when I'm driving.

I sing and bop along to music when I drive, grinning at pedestrians and waving at pelicans, just enjoying life in general. Suddenly someone does something stupid, that may not even affect me directly, and I'm cussing up a storm, screaming about how I want them to DIE FROM CANCER! Then the song changes to Lady Gaga and I start singing and bopping again.

This probably has something to do with anger and joy being the only two emotions that I can understand and manage. Any other emotion makes me uncomfortable so my brain has rerouted whatever else I may feel to one of those - or I just shut down completely. Afterall, as a robot there is only so much my circuits can handle.

So that's how you can be happy and still filled with rage. <3


Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Plan: Music Industry

I've been listening to a lot more rap/hip hop type music lately. I think I'm attracted to the mindlessness of it all. Sometimes when I need to just shut off my brain, depth is kinda hard to handle.

I've noticed a couple things that sometimes concern me.

Some of these songs are pretty thinly veiled advocates for (date) rape.

Seriously! Check out these lyrics directly from "DJ Got Us Falling In Love" by Usher
"She don't wrestle, but I got her in a headlock
Yabba dabba doo make her bed rock
Mami on fire, pss, red hot"

I can't be the only person to see rape in those lyrics. It doesn't help that throughout the whole song Usher is telling this girl to live like it's the last night of her life. To not worry and just keep drinking. Really Usher? You want me to keep drinking? Why do you want me drunk so badly? Why do I have to give up on tomorrow?

Another thing I noticed is that a lot of this type of music starts off with the artist hissing/whispering their own name. Sometimes it's in the middle or at the end of the song, but it's far more common at the beginning.

The only remotely logical explanation I can think of for doing something like this is a type of "watermark". But even that doesn't make sense. Of course if someone were to steal the song there are legal procedures in place that are far more effective. For example: Copyright law.

Obviously the real reason is because these creators think that their name, and by proxy themselves, is so amazing that they must utter it as often as possible. Maybe they consider it a kindness?

So I've decided that I'm going to be a popstar, just like Usher and Beyonce or whatever. I'm going to make a song that's nothing but me saying/hissing/whispering/screaming/shouting/suggesting/projecting/snapping and snarling my name over and over and over again. That'll be the whole song. I will say that I'm making a political statement. Or something like that. Celebrities do that all the time right?

Next a guy is going to make a song, about someone with my name. He'll sample bits of my song while singing about some person and using me uttering my own name every time the name comes up. Of course this will be a breach of copyright law because I would never have given the okay for my song to be used in such a way.

I would then sue him and it would be huge publicity for both of our songs.

No one would ever know that we were in cahoots the whole time and it was just a set up to get our music noticed.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Internet Dating Adventure Fail Example #1

I don't always think before I speak. Sometimes, even when I do think before I speak, I say horrible things without even intending to. What I consider to be impartial truth can really hurt peoples feelings.

Here's a bit of back and forth I had with a guy from OkCupid. I am not editing any spelling, just throwing in some commentary.

John: hi i'm john. I live in vista as well. currently attending school as a psych major. don't meet your reqs. but write back if interested. bye.

The "reqs" he was talking about were the requirements in a partner that I had put on my profile. Stuff like: local only, must be 21+, must not live with parents, must be employed, must be able to spell/type properly. After he sent me this message I checked his profile and indeed, he didn't meet any of my requirements. I remember he also spent a great deal of his profile bemoaning about how "boring" he is cause he never goes out or does anything other than daydream. He was probably trying to come across as artistic, but it didn't work.

E :
Are you a masochist?

I think that's a worthy inquiry. I really couldn't figure out why he was messaging me to begin with.

John: as a psych major i don't tend to the more depressing illnesses which plague people. that i find disappointing. its unfortunate. but in asking me if I am a masochist, i would respond no; i would not think of myself as one to derive pleasure from pain. : / perhaps my interest in creative types extends too far beyond what is feasible in a relationship for someone like me. that i shall one day learn...
hmm... perhaps i should be more honest...maybe your accusation of my being a masochist is not unfounded. as a picture of a woman with snake around her and dark hair is both mysterious and interesting, offering the glimpse into a woman who is both interesting yet possibly emotionally disturbed. don't take it personally, im just replying to your accusation. such interests perhaps are not meant to last anyways.

oh. and i don't mean to say you're emotionally disturbed! sry.

I secretly love it when people "talk" like this. Especially when the proper use of a shift key is never executed. They think using words like "perhaps" shows that they have an extensive vocabulary and obviously are very Merlin-like in their wisdom. It's delicious. My favorite part is when he uses a semicolon, but rarely an apostrophe.

E : You draw that conclusion from the idea that my love for snakes is based in morbidity, which isn't necessarily unfounded until you read my profile and see that I have great love for all animals. I don't consider myself mysterious because I am very open and honest. As far as whether or not I'm interesting I can't really be the judge of that because to me, I'm completely normal.

Seriously, I think I'm pretty normal. It's only when other people look at me like I'm a crazy person does it register in my mind that something might be off.

As far as emotionally disturbed there's nothing to base that sort of assumption on, so it comes across as though you're trying to sound deep, understanding and knowledgeable which makes me laugh. :)

Pertaining to my "accusation" that you seemed to take so personally (which wasn't an accusation, it was an honest question) I simply asked because we very obviously have little to nothing in common and have very conflicting personalities which is easy to glean from profiles and answered questions. You obviously knew this as you stated it in your first message to me, but therein lies the hint of masochism... you messaged me anyway. Which means you're either really desperate (which is unattractive) or you like being rejected/abused because it gives you that little bit of extra to make you seem interesting and you cling to it desperately so you don't feel quite so boring (which you mention several times in your profile).

Oh. And I didn't mean to say you were desperate! Sorry.

As you can see, one of my favorite parts about his last message was the disclaimer, which I joyfully mimicked in my response.

To be honest, I wasn't really mad or annoyed at this point. I was so very amused at the prospect of a person like this actually existing in the world. I also didn't realize how mean I was being. I had to come back later and a friend pointed out exactly which parts were "too harsh". Even then, if I could do it again I would probably write the same message.

Well at least you got the definition of masochism correct.
Our conclusions as to why I am a masochist are completely different!!! lol

At this point I couldn't tell if he genuinely thought he was attempting condescension or if he actually thought he was being funny. I went with the former, because it was so much more fun to respond to.

E : I made no comment on "why" you're a masochist, I simply explained my reasoning as to what made me ask if you were a masochist. These constant misunderstandings and assumptions have made me not only question your choice of a major, but also your grasp of the English language.

Good luck on your quest to find the right person for you. I am not her by a long shot. Boring is not my style.

P.S. Masochism is not a "depressing illness". According to dictionary.com
"1. Psychiatry . the condition in which sexual gratification depends on suffering, physical pain, and humiliation. "

It has nothing to do with depression or illness, it's simply an alternative preference. You aught to watch how judgmental you are if you actually plan on dealing with patients. You should also know what something actually is before condemning it.

That's when he stopped talking to me.

I stumbled across his profile later and saw that he had changed his major from Psych to Liberal Arts. There was a little piece of me that was proud to have impacted someone's life so much. I prevent myself from feeling bad by remembering how horrible he was at psychology, I saved him from a life of failure by being brutally honest (mean).



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Internet Dating: Not My Thing

After I was dumped last December I figured I should do something to speed along the recovery process.

So I joined OkCupid.

At first it was pretty neat. The site itself was fun, setting goals like making your profile interesting, answering questions to determine your matches and even quizzes! Talking to people was utterly fascinating. The problems didn't arise until things got more personal.

First they wanted to know my real name. Often, it was requested in the first message which made me really uncomfortable. I found that I didn't like telling people my name until after we had established that we have good conversations and after I've decided that I don't hate them. Even then they're getting first name only.

Sometimes my IM username or my email address was requested. There are a few problems with this. The first being my concern that someone I didn't really know would have access to me whenever I logged in. This would become even more awkward if I decided later that I didn't like them but I would be too afraid to block them because stuff like my email/real name is attached to my IM and then they could go all stalker on me, find me and kill me. So I generally didn't give that out either.

A few people requested my phone number. If it was requested in the first message ever sent to me I had no problem saying no. However I felt more guilt for people that I had been speaking with for a while. I didn't have a set amount of back and forth messages before I was okay with giving out my phone number, it really varied based on how much I enjoyed their conversation and if I believed them to be a serial killer or not. This made any rejections very uncomfortable - I mean, is there a good way of saying, "I'm not giving you my phone number because I'm afraid you'll use it to track my address which you will then use to break into my house where you will then rape me and kill me"?

There were a few guys that I did give my number to. More often than not, this was a mistake. It meant that they could text and call me, even after I decided I didn't want to talk to them anymore. This became profoundly awkward as I struggled for a socially acceptable way to inform a (most likely) well-meaning individual that I no longer wanted to even feign interest. This was highlighted by the guy who pestered me for days asking "Why!?" and then spamming me with hate messages after I broke down and told him that I felt he was too obsessed with me in too short a time.

Then there were the blokes that wanted to meet up face to face. Again this was an easy response for people that had only sent one message. But as I wasted more and more of a guys time on messages back and forth it made saying "No" that much more problematic. The idea of meeting a stranger off of the internet terrified me. No amount of good experience I may have had made this prospect any less scary. Each new person was a statistical chance toward a sociopath rapist.

I did meet a few people in person after biting the bullet and telling myself that this was normal. People meet from the internet all the time. However as time went on a few of these events rarely turned out to be anything worth risking my life for. It got to be more than I could bear. Eventually I got so terrified of having to cancel dates or turn guys down that I just suspended my account before I lost my mind.

This might all seem very ranty and less than funny but I felt like I had to write this portion to introduce the idea. At the very least I got a few amazing stories from my experience with internet dating. Stories that I plan to share.

So.... be prepared I guess.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nice E Vs. Paranoid E

Sometimes I feel bad for people if they meet me drunk.

When I've been drinking I love the world. I think people are good and we should just all get along. I'm happy and carefree and don't worry about stuff like politics, welfare, taxes, rapists, pedophiles, money, or personal space. All I care about is that right now life is swell.

Now if those people only interact with me when I'm drinking I suppose that's fine, but since I don't drink very much anymore those chances are pretty low. This is a shame because the sober me is different. The sober me doesn't want to tell people what city I live in. The sober me carries a knife. The sober me gets itchy and anxious in crowds and has to restrain myself from reacting violently to minor infractions of personal space.

This is illustrated perfectly from a mental reaction I had a few days ago.

I was walking to my car after class. My classes don't end until it's dark out and even though it makes me anxious, I park off campus to get more exercise.

As I make my way through the large parking lot I, being constantly aware of my surroundings, notice a fellow behind me and to the right. He's normal looking enough but this doesn't make me feel any better because they pretty much always look normal. I keep an eye on him. My paranoid meter really lit up with I notice a man in front of me (and to the right) walking on crutches.

Instead of thinking "Aww, poor guy got hurt!" my mind goes immediately to "OMG TED BUNDY" and I start thinking up ways to avoid him in case he starts looking like he's struggling with his backpack or if he falls down (for those that don't know, Ted Bundy used to trick young women by pretending to be hurt and having them help him to his car which he would then push them in, kidnap them, rape them, torture them for days and finally kill them). My heart starts pounding, I start sweating even though it's freezing out and I'm walking as fast as I can short of breaking into a run because I don't want to draw any attention to myself that might let him know that I'm on to his evil plot.

I panic even more when he picks up his crutches and starts walking normally (see, I bet up until this point you thought I was crazy and was panicking needlessly. Obviously I was right so there). I generally like to stay behind people that I'm being cautious about because strangers standing behind me make me nervous. Unfortunately I already have guy #1 behind me and since I've got a much better chance of outrunning two people than fighting them (if necessary) I decide that I'm going to pick up the pace and get in front of Bundy.

It gets even worse. For me. Suddenly guy #1 is also picking up the pace. In my mind this has to be intentional because I'm practically booking it at this point and since I'm already on edge about the crutches, obviously, this guy is also a serial killer as far I know. I take out my knife, concealing it in my hand under my sweater and try to hold my breath (to hear better) which is incredibly difficult because I'm hyperventilating at this point. He's gaining on me and crosses the street when I do and just as I'm readying myself to be attacked... he turns down another road and walks away from me.

I bolt to my car, make sure no one is hiding in it (I do this every time I get into my car), throw my things inside, jump in and lock the doors, turn on my car (just in case I have to take off quickly), and then finally I'm able to catch my breath and calm myself down.

Anyway, this is why I feel bad for people who meet me drunk. They think I'm cool and nice but in reality my crazy is as easy to ignore as a pile of matches soaked in lighter fluid.

I'm lucky that I look so normal.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Don't Hate The Playa, Hate The Game.

There's a sales guy at my place of work. I don't want to name names, so let's just call him Spanky.

Spanky and I butt heads sometimes. Over Halloween we bonded and I didn't mind him so much. We had a truce, as far as I was concerned.

Until yesterday. While he was out on a business trip, he called the front desk.

At this point you may need some background. Employee's are not allowed to call the front desk. A special back line has been set up specifically so that they may try the extension of the person they're trying to reach. If they don't happen to know the extension, there is a handy dandy directory where you can search by last name. It's pretty great.

The reason this back line was set up is because employee's were flooding the front desk with calls and random searches to track down other people. This made it difficult for us (my co-receptionist and I) to be available to actual customers and get other work done. So a bossman took pity on us and sent out an email to ALL employee's with a detailed email on proper back line procedure.

I'm pretty strict about enforcing this rule. When an employee calls the front desk I ask them why they aren't using the back line. Sometimes there are exceptions of course. If it's an emergency, or for some reason it doesn't work with extensions that are for remote employee's. There has been a situation where a person was very rude to me and instead of transferring him to the person he asked for, I transferred him to his boss and asked the manager to remind him about the back line and to ask him to please not be rude to me. There hasn't been a situation since then.

Until yesterday. Yes, I know I said that twice but it's very dramatic and I like it.

Spanky called the front desk, asking if his boss was in. I looked over and saw light in the office was on and the door was open. I told him I believed he was here but couldn't see if he was actually in his office. Because of our shaky truce I decided just this once I would try his extension when Spanky asked ever so nicely.

The manager did not answer his phone after about thirty seconds, so I tried to switch back over to let Spanky know, but he had disconnected. Annoying, but maybe it was an accident? I tried to stay positive. Less than a minute later Spanky called back, asking for another employee. I was somewhat annoyed but I figured it can't hurt to humor him one more time.

Unfortunately for me, the same thing happened. I tried the extension, no answer, and when I went back to inform him he had disconnected again which means the whole deal was a waste of time. I was not happy at this point.

So when he called in the third time asking for a tech I leaned back and asked, probably sounded more exasperated than I intended to, if there was a reason he wasn't using the back line. He got a very snippy attitude and responded that he didn't know the extensions. I told him I would be happy to email him an extension list, then tried the tech's extension only for him to not answer, not that it would have mattered because Spanky had disconnected for the third time.

I sent Spanky an email with the extension list attached and in the message wrote that there was also a directory on the back line to search by last name. Right after I sent the email the direct line for the other receptionist started ringing. She was at lunch so I got up and answered it only to discover, to my delight, that it was Spanky, trying to avoid me. He asked for Tech Guys cell phone number. I put him on hold as I went back to my desk to check the extension list and when I got back to him I found he had disconnected again.

I got this passive aggressive email shortly after:

"I will search the document as I drive 85 on the freeway....




Resisting the urge to make a snarky comeback about speeding I instead called up my friend (who works at the same company) and asked what kind of response I should make. Since his plan didn't involve stabbing I assumed it was better than mine.

I dug up the original email from bossman telling the employee's to use the back line forwarded it to Spanky with my own reminder -

"As you can see from the email below that I am forwarding from bossman, the phone issue is not my decision. Please do not get upset with me for enforcing rules.

If you have an issue with this, please feel free to bring it up with him.

Thank you!


He did not respond.

I think that means I win.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Voicemail hate rant o' death

Many of you may know, currently I'm working as a receptionist.

I don't hate my job by any means, but there are certain... annoyances that develop over time when answering the phone so many times a day.

Right now? It's voicemail. It really shouldn't be such a chore, but it is. There are many reasons why. When I offer someone the option of voicemail, there are a few common responses.

1) It really shouldn't be so difficult to decide whether you want to leave a voicemail for someone. It's pretty straightforward.

"I'm sorry _______ is not available right now, would you like to leave him a voicemail?"

The proper answer options are "Yes" or "No". (Pleases and thank you's are optional, I'm pretty lenient there)

I should not have to hear

"Umm... hmmm... ermm... well...."

This does not require thought process. Do you want to leave someone a message asking them to call you back or just let them know something very briefly, or do you want to hang up and try again later? No moderately functional person should have to restart their brain to answer this question.

2) I should also not have to hear

"Well, can you give them a message for me?"

No, I won't. Do you know why? Because I'm a receptionist, I'm not their personal assistant. You should know this because I answer the phone with "Abtech, this is Me" not "Personal desk of ______ how can I help you?" If I were to take a message for you this involves steps like me writing it down, me leaving the desk to wander the office and find the person that you're too lazy to leave a simple voicemail for, potentially not find that person, potentially lose the message and I'm not going to do that for you because then somehow I would be liable for your poor choices in life.

Of course there's the odd person that thinks I should just email the message. Well guess what that leads into? That means if the person you're trying to reach doesn't check their email often/soon enough then you're not only going to be pissed at them for not getting back to you, but somehow it's going to be my fault and I'm not going to fall into that trap, I refuse.

So leave a voicemail. Or don't. You can also call back if you are that afraid of leaving an imprint of your voice on a mechanical recording device. I don't care.

3) "Well do you know when he'll be off the phone?"

No, I don't. Do you know WHY I don't know this? Because most customer calls, like your own, are not scheduled. Someone just happened to call in before you and frankly I don't have a sign-in sheet where I make sure to tell them that they only have fifteen minutes to talk because I magically know when you are going to call in and obviously that takes priority because life is all about when YOU decide to do everything.

The follow up to this is usually an equally annoying question like "When do you suggest I call back in?" There is no right answer to this because if I answer this and they call back and the person they're trying to reach is still on the other line, or stepped out for lunch, guess who's fault it is? Mine. Because I suggested when you should call in again. Do you know what the really easy solution to this problem is?

LEAVE A VOICEMAIL! That way they can simply call YOU back the moment they're available!

4) "Well maybe YOU can help me."

No. I can't help you. In fact, if I could help you, I wouldn't be answering phones and would probably be paid a lot more than what I get now. So since you have simply continued making noise with your speaking hole and not letting me answer with a glib "prolly not." I get to sit through you explaining a really convoluted, lengthy explanation about something which I don't understand at all and frankly at the end of this? All I'm going to say is, "Yeah, sounds like you need to talk to ______. Would you like to leave a voicemail for him?"

5) "But I just talked to him fifteen minutes ago"

Do you realize that once you hang up with someone they pretty much start doing something else? They don't think "Oh gee, maybe that person I just hung up with will call back so I'm going to wait thirty minutes by the phone and not accomplish anything else. It's not like I have other customers or and paperwork to do."

I honestly have no real good response to this without sounding disrespectful. Usually I just say, "Okay...." or "I'm sorry." then sit through an incredibly awkward silence that lasts about five seconds but feels like so much longer all because you can't seem to comprehend just what can be accomplished in fifteen minutes - like walking out of the door to take a lunch. Guess what? If you leave a voicemail, they can call you once they return.

6) "Can I hold?"

To be honest, sometimes this isn't a problem. However when the person they're trying to talk to said, "Tell them I'm on the other line, send them to voicemail" this means that you will simply be put on hold and every time it rings back I will pretend to have tried their line again only to offer you voicemail again. This usually lasts a few rounds before a) the person finally runs out of time and leaves a voicemail or b) the person just hangs up on their own after they realize being on hold sucks, it's bad enough when you're forced to do it, why would you subject yourself to that by request?

7) "Well if you just give me his cell number I can try that."

No. Idiot.

There are few exceptions to the "JUST LEAVE A VOICEMAIL" rule. Such as "You don't understand, his son is in the hospital bleeding from his eyes and a few other random orifices." Something like that I will impose upon anything else that salesperson is doing and make every effort to get a hold of him. Some question about paperwork simply is not on par. In that case just leave a voicemail. Or not. Either way stop talking to me.

Thank you and have a nice day.