Friday, October 3, 2003

The third installment in the two-part story of internet dating.

Where were we? Oh, yes. Things were getting ugly. The more messages left, the angrier he got that I wasn't returning his calls. Then I sent him this email:

"Hi Branden,

"I haven't been ignoring you -- I've just been at a loss for time to be able to call you back. Things have been crazy busy around here, but I think they're finally beginning to slow down. Or maybe I'm just getting used to the pace and have a minute to breathe. At any rate....

"I was actually in Riverside on Saturday night, with some friends to see a show at the community college, and felt guilty that I hadn't called you. The good news is, the show was so good that we're going to try to get tickets to see it again this Saturday. Would you be interested in going? It's a musical called "Once On This Island," and I've loved the music from it for years, but have never been able to find a production of it. It was fabulous and we all loved it. I know how you feel about Austin Powers and Night at the Roxbury and all manner of things related to SNL, but am not sure if this is something that would appeal to you.

"Whaddya think? Interested?

"Other than all of that, I hope things are going well for you and that you're surviving and having fun. Talk to you soon!"


This is nice, right? I was trying to not offend while offering up excuses that he would HAVE to accept. Right? RIGHT? Maybe those rules would apply for a normal person, but not for Branden.

Hang onto them hats and glasses -- Norman's in the house.

"Excuses, excuses, excuses. If anybody is really worth hanging onto, you would have called them, left a voice message during a bathroom break at work. You have to make time for ones you are interested in and in your self centered world, you are the center and nobody else is probably interested. I don't buy it, I am not flattered by this, I have been too busy to call you back this week so I am writing you my farewell to you. I am dating somebody else right now, and she treats me alot better than you. Simple decision for me. I thought I had a good time with you and it was a no-brainer for you to go out with me again. I doubt you will find anybody as good as me. But the deal is, you DID NOT treat me with respect, and I therefore have lost a lot of respect for you, and then you admitted you had been rude, which proves this is a premeditated crime. I am sure you can understand and respect this per your note below.

"There is no point in me dating somebody I don't respect. I can never have any respect for you now that I know how you operate. When you are interested and when you need a date to a concert, and when it is convenient for you to go to Riverside, then you finally call me after 4 attempts? I don't trust you and I am sure if we ever dated this would get worse. I hope you remember how you blew it with this tall good looking guy and that is part of the reason you will remain in single hell forever. You sound like a fallen criminal, "I accept full responsibility". Too much too little too late Laura. Ha Ha."


Stunned silence.

Then ... What? Really? Did he just banish me to singles' hell? As long as he's not there, it can't be that hellish. What an ego! Obviously he's forgotten that this "tall good looking guy" is 48 and never been married. Hmmmm. Where do we really think the problem lies?

Speaking of egos, I couldn't just let him blast me like this without trying to take him down a notch. I deleted my first draft, because for as scathingly delicious as it was, he's too dense to be able to get it, so I went for the guilt trip route:

"Wow. I really wish I knew where all of this flippancy is coming from.

"How could I even know you were interested, when I didn't hear from you for a week after our date? I actually thought you weren't interested, and was wondering what I had done wrong, [Yeah, right. But nice touch, don't you think?] so it came somewhat as a shock when you suddenly started calling me again. Then, that next week, layoffs started at my company, so I've literally been through three weeks of hell with dealing with trying to find a new job. I've also been dealing with family crises with my dad's health, and other family things. With all of that happening, I didn't think it fair to burden someone I had just met with all of my life issues. I wasn't in much of a position to do anything more than keep my head above water.

"It hurts me that you would call me selfish, when all I was trying to do was get things off between us on the right foot.


"It's times like these you can tell who your true friends are. [Like the ones who know when they need medication.]

"I'm sorry that you feel like you have to be so sarcastic and mean just to say goodbye.

"I wish you the best of luck in life, Branden." [Good riddance, jerkface.]


Sadly, he just didn't know when to quit. And he always has to have the last word. Which was:

"I don't think one date demands a call back the next morning saying "I still respect you darling" when we didn't even kiss." [Thank goodness! I'd have cooties if we had!] "All you have to tell me in the future is 'hey Branden, got your call, I am kind of busy with work right now, can you call me tomorrow?' Not calling a woman 2 or 3 weeks after a first date is not the end of the world if you aren't going steady or aren't engaged and it was your first date. [But apparently, a woman not calling an ego-inflated jerk within minutes of getting his call is disrepectful. Right.] I could have called you the next day and you may have said you were busy, I certainly don't want to rush things. [I just want to guilt you into liking me.] I was starting to date someone else at the same time so I needed a week to evaluate. That is better than going full bore with 2 women and hurting them both, isn't it. [Ooooh! I guess he showed me, didn't he?]

"My father is ill and I have been layed off from IBM in 1993 so I understand about job crisis things. I don't feel guilty that you have those problems and I called, I was calling to share time with you, thank you for sharing them now, that is better than keeping someone guessing about why they don't return calls from me.

"I like the fact you are from Burbank and I used to live there and I am sure we can work out a date again, but you need to stay in touch. Messages on voice recorders can hold over until we talk, but I don't want to keep calling somebody and then get an email telling they have in fact been getting the calls but don't have time to call back. Think about it. IF too much damage is done, then good-bye.

"If you want to try again, try calling me back next time when I call and stay in touch. that forms the basis of a good foundation for a friendship. Friendships can lead to other things. Maybe you are inexperienced from dating, but I am sure of one thing, constant communication and returning emails and voice mails and phone calls shows somebody you care." [Can you see how much he cares? Can you feel the love? Clearly, I have much to learn from about communication and inter-personal skills from this fine bastion of society. Jerk.]


Don't judge me too harshly. But. I just couldn't let it end there. No, I'm not a glutton for punishment, I just knew I was right and he was wrong, and I needed to prove it to him. Even knowing he wouldn't listen, I wanted to guilt him into realizing he was wrong.

So I called him.

Thankfully, he wasn't home, so I left a very terse message.

When he did call back, I had just gotten back from having to work at 3:00 on a Saturday morning, so I wasn't really in the mood to be charitable. I was just in the mood to get him as far away from me as possible. Our conversation went something like this:

Branden: [rehash everything already said in the emails. You're a big meanie for not returning my calls.] "Even if you are having a hard time at work and worried about your dad's health, you should have returned my calls."

Laura: (Incredulously thinking, did he really just say I should have been focused on him? Really?) "Wow, Branden, that was really unsympathetic. I guess you've said everything you felt you nee.."

Branden: [click.]

Laura: (turns to friends) "He just hung up on me."

And that was that. I put him out of my mind, except for those times when I needed a good, "Oh yeah? Let me tell you about this guy I met..." story.


Last week. (Really, I'm not making this up. You can't write fiction this good.)

I get another email from him: "Laura, why did you give up on us?"

I had no hesitation in replying, "Your question implies that there's blame to be placed, specifically on me. I will not play that game. You said what you chose to say, and hung up on me without giving either of us a fair shot. So, to answer your question, ask yourself the same thing. Let me know what you come up with."

Pretty good, huh? Aren't you proud of me? I thought that would shut him up for good. But I forgot who I was dealing with. Stupid Branden. Stupid, psycho, dense, self-focused Branden.

"Laura, I think you are a bit uptight about this whole thing. My issue was you didn't call me back after 2 or 3 attempts on my part over a week or two period and I began to wonder how anybody can function in a relationship where people don't return calls. [Easy. If the other person in the relationship is you, then that's the ONLY way to function. Avoidance.] Then suddenly you started calling me to invite me some where, and that was a little bit weird on my part because I had given up on you, written you off. [As evidenced by the four voicemails in two days. Yes, clearly, my dear disillusioned boy, you had given up on me. That would also explain, I suppose, your renewed interest in me.]

"So when I called your residence, you appeared angry at me and I just thought by hanging up I would beat you to it, because I thought that is where the conversation was headed. You said I was rude, etc. and I thought you were rude for not returning my original calls. It seems like you never accepted blame for that part.[And yet, didn't we all see the part where I clearly accepted responsibility for it? Words fail me. I don't see how he can really and truly be so thick-headed.] It seems like you were angered that I didn't call you back right after the date, but once I did, it seems you had to make me wait awhile vs just calling me back.

"I think you probably would hold a grudge against me forever, but I didn't do anything that bad. I can forgive you, can you forgive me and let it go? I think you were hurt by the fact I took so long to call you, but I did wait a little period of time, and it wasn't rude to wait a little while. What appears to be rude is when someone tries to contact you and then you ignore him."


I did not respond to this. Yay, Laura! And just when I think he's finally getting it, I get this:

"May we talk on the phone sometime?"


Really? He can't be serious. So I asked him very simply, "Why?" To which he responded:

"There was a misunderstanding, we may be able to get on track. I can forget it. We did go out and I had a good time. You are a nice person, I am a nice person, can you let it drop? If not that is ok. I would like to try to talk to you.

"Did you find another job? Are you able to stay in your Company if you move or are you looking at other companies? Do you still live in the same place?



That's it. For reals.

Now what? I don't know. But I welcome your advise and input. My initial reaction, just so you know, is, "When there's ice skating in hell." I think that my girl friends would agree with me. But if there are any men out there, I welcome your insight. Maybe there's some sort of male chromosome driving all of this that I just don't get.

For the time being, I'm trying to keep Ego in check while letting Self Esteem exercise control.

Psycho, Part Deux

There are many who prefer the internet dating route because they feel it allows them to get to know people before actually putting themselves "out there." I am not of that camp. It is time-consuming, tiring and way too much effort when the yay/nay decision can be made relatively easy with a face to face meeting. The catch 22 is that you can't have a face to face meeting until you have decided if the person is worth meeting. It's just too much. But safe. I can understand the attraction to this method, but I have a hard time giving into it. I grow bored with it too easily and would prefer knowing right away if this is a person I want to develop a relationship with.

With Branden, the hurdle that usually comes in the middle was already, um, hurdled, because of our meeting at the dance. The alarms that had been mildly jangling in the background at that meeting, however, led to a comfortable transition of more "getting to know you" games provided via the world wide web. (And what a web it is.) And so the emails began.

From Branden, the morning after the dance:

"Laura, Linda and I broke up last night at the dance. She said it was futile for us and that I should go back to you.

"Laura, will you take me back? [See? This is what I meant by not always knowing if he was serious or joking. This would be considered a joke by a normal person, but his delivery of stuff like this was said with such glass-eyed intensity, that you wondered if he really did think that he and Linda were an item during their five minute dance.]

"I too am a systems analyst and so you may understand me better. [Ah, yes. Young love. There's nothing like a common career to spark those flames of passion, is there?]I used to work for IBM, I now work for a County. [As an inmate? Picking up trash on the 91 freeway?] In Burbank I used to work for CADAM which became Altium, there was also a Catia company there. Do you work for any of them? Do you do UNIX or NT?


Despite my misgivings, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he was a great guy and there was no other woman on the face of the earth who could understand his magical sense of humor. [cough, cough.] My reply:

"Hi, Branden. I'm so sorry to hear about your breakup last night at the dance. I wonder about our future together though. Your relationship with Linda lasted, what? through three dances? Can I look forward to any longevity with you? I'd hate to get my sights set on you, again, only to have my hopes dashed to the ground and shattered in a million pieces. You've already dumped me once because of one simple misunderstanding. Can I trust that it will go further this time?

"I am a systems analyst at Company X in City Y. I design systems for our back-end office users -- mostly the planning and allocation people for the retail division. According to the Wall Street Journal this week though, we may be getting sold in the very near future.

"Which county do you work for? Riverside? What types of systems do you analyze?

"It was fun meeting you at the dance last night. I hope the rest of your weekend is fun. I'm going to Disneyland today to celebrate a friend's birthday, and I must somehow begin gathering the necessary energy for today.

"Have a great day!"


You can see I'm trying to start things off with the right mixture of humor and not taking myself too seriously, or him either. But I'm still not so sure about him, so I sent him this next missive:


"I was refreshing my memory by viewing your profile, and you may (or not) be interested in learning that according to the pre-sets that I have defined on the type of man I'm looking for, we are 83% compatible. Not too shabby, eh?

"Seriously, it looks like we have a lot in common. Hard to tell from your tone last night if you're a funny guy with a very sarcastic sense of humor, or someone with a taste for revenge (being as you broke up with two girls in one night [maybe more] and weren't interested in hearing any explanations). Hopefully it's the former, not the latter.

"Talk to you soon,"


His reply begins to argue favorably in his behalf that he's been terribly misunderstood in the past and I'm just the right person for him. Hello, Ego? Stop stepping all over Intuition.

"Hello Laura, I am still pretty shaken up about Linda. I don't know how long it should take to recover. Maybe by tomorrow I will be able to put her in the past? You can look forward to at least 6 dances with me or twice as long as Linda. You must trust, you must trust. [You have to admit, that's kinda funny. And quirky. Just the combination I usually go for. Make me laugh and have your way with me.]

"I work for San Bernardino County and do UNIX admin for them. I used to live in Burbank. So the Company you work for isn't doing so well? I don't read the Journal daily, but thanks for the stock tip. Will your job be affected? ; How recent are the pictures you posted?

"I am a funny guy with a very sarcastic sense of humor and I am full of revenge and vengeful.[Red Alert! Danger, Will Robinson!] You have to break up sometimes to move ahead.

"Do you want to talk on the phone?"


Why not, right? I mean, we've already met, we've got a lot of the formalities out of the way, we already know that we both look like our posted pictures. My response:

"That darn work thing keeps getting in the way of my social life! I wouldn't normally apologize for taking a whole day and a half to get back to you, but you've totally intimidated me into feeling obligated to write right away![Why, oh why can't I have some foresight? Why do I sound so pathetically eager?] After all, I don't want to be held responsible for the fragile state of your mind in delusionally thinking that all girls who don't respond must be out to get you. Or whatever. After all, I am looking forward to a prolonged relationship with you of 6 (or more, if I play my cards right!) dances with you in the future. [See me? I'm funny! I don't want to think you're psycho! Pick me! Pick me!]

"Seriously though, here's some answers to your questions:

"I don't know yet the impact of my job. It's been tenuous at best for the past few years, but that's the nature of retail in general, and specialty retail specifically, especially since 9-11 and whatever other stuff is going on that affects the economy. I haven't actually seen the Journal article, but everything is rather vague and speculative at best right now. Same as it has been.

"The pictures I've posted are recent -- last November was when they were taken. Just curious -- why do you ask? Did I look different on Saturday compared to the pics?

"Yes, I think I would be interested in talking on the phone. Time is an issue for me, at least until early morning seminary breaks for the summer in three weeks. What about you? What does your work/personal schedule allow for?

"Now for some of my own comments/questions: First of all, I'm glad to see that you are willing (after some initial stuborness) to realize that I really did have a good reason for not responding to your messages on (the singles site you thought I belonged to but didn't).

"How long ago did you live in Burbank? Did you like it here? Where are you originally from? What brought you to Riverside?

"Finally, if you liked my profile, how come you didn't ask me to dance? :)

"That's it for now -- it's quittin' time for me. I hope you're having a great day! Talk to you soon,"


So far, so good. His response:

"Laura, let's talk on the phone. I lived in Burbank from 1985 to 1987. I like it there. I didn't ask you to dance because I wasn't sure you liked me. After all, you never wrote back to me. Then when I met your friend, I asked her if you were really you. You don't look exactly like the pictures, your hair was lighter in them and is darker in person, although obviously I was able to recognize you. IBM brought me to Riverside.

"I like Riverside, been here 12 years. Ilook forward to hearing back from you. I can talk weeknights on the phone. Thanks,"


And since I believe this flows rather nicely and tells the story without any more interruption from me, my response:

"Ah, mystery solved. (about not dancing w/me, that is). The hair thing -- yes, I am forever trying to become a brunette, but it never "takes." Or at least, it never stays for very long. My most recent hair incarnation is pretty close to the darkest it's ever been, but in a couple more weeks, will be back to its dark blonde/strawberry blonde natural shade. No, I don't know why I appear to be the dichotomy of other women who are forever trying to get their hair lighter. So much me to psychoanalyze, so little time.

"I look forward to getting to know you better. Weeknights are generally good for me too, but I'm in bed by 9:30 - 10:00 these days. Summer hours are coming up!"


Seriously, am I stupid? Am I over eager? Well, no, not if you consider the pressure on me to date, have a boyfriend and eventually get married. To all of my married friends out there, this is your fault! Stop pressuring me!

Several phone conversations ensued, all of which entailed him talking in great detail and at great length about himself. So much so, that he repeated himself repeated himself pretty consistently. In the same converstaion. Often. I spent my time trying to figure out if he really was funny and forgetful or a sad and pathetic self-focused 48-year old loser with ADD.

Eventually, we made a date. To actually see each other. It went about the same as the phone conversations had -- him talking incessantly, me listening attentively (or pretending to) thinking, "I wish he would shut up once in a while." It really wasn't that great of a date. And I came to the conclusion that he wasn't really that great of a catch. No matter how much he tried to tell me he was.

At the end of the date, he walked me out to my car (we had met at a halfway point). I leaned in to give him a hug to thank him for buying me dinner ($7 chicken sandwich at Red Robin. Woo.), and he kept hugging me. He wanted a good night kiss, but I invoked my very flexible first-date rule of, "Are you kidding? On a first date?" and refused.

And....that was that.

He didn't call me for over a week, which frankly, was more than fine by me. I was hoping to take the non-confrontational way out by avoidance. Ladies and Gentlemen, please give it up for the return of Laura's Self-esteem and Awareness! They've been temporarily overstepped and undermined by Ego, but we hope they're back for good!

When he did call, I really had no desire to pursue things. I didn't want to tell him that; I just hoped he would get the hint. Sadly, he didn't. He called four times in a two week period. In my defense, my life really was crazy busy. My early-morning class was ending, work was busy, lay-offs were happening, and I really had no desire to make room for an unstable person in my life.

That's when things got ugly.

For Single Use Only

Here's the good news. Well, good for me; bad for any of you married people. After ingesting my healthy Jack in the Box breakfast this morning, I looked at the cup that my Diet Coke came in. "For Single Use Only," it read. I don't know what the Jack in the Box corporation has against you married people, but I just thought you should know. Set the soda down gently and no one will get hurt.

More for me, that way.

The problem with starting an entry off with a statement of good news implies that there is some bad news coming. There's not; don't worry. Unless you getting to laugh at my state of singleness and some of my recent forays into the world of internet dating [shudder] is bad news, that is. Hopefully you'll laugh. Maybe even sympathize a bit. If you have any advice, that'd be nice too. I can't guarantee I'll take it, but I'm definitely open to hearing what you think.

Here goes.

As a 36 year old straight woman who's never been married, I am a bit of a statistical oddball. (Take "statistical" out of that sentence, and that works too.) Before you ask, no, there's nothing wrong with me. I do tend to be a bit choosy, but that's not necessarily a character flaw. I have had my fair share of dates and boyfriends. The older I get, though, and the more I develop my life around me and my goals, the less important marriage has become in my life. No, that's not exactly true. The pursuit of marriage has become less of a priority, is probably better stated. Also, the chances of me finding a straight, normal (e.g. not a homicidal maniac. Obviously, my standards and expectations have dropped somewhat in the past decade) unattached (divorced, single, widowed), willing male who, preferably is a member of my church are about as good as me winning the lottery. Which is to say, nil. (I don't buy lottery tickets.) Parenthetical standards aside, some would say that even hoping for that much is a bit, well, much.

Still others look at me aghast, in disbelief that I can be happy as a single person. Don't even get me started on that annoying opinion. Needless to say, there is a certain social, cultural and personal pressure to regard life as not fully complete, regardless of my personal state of happiness and fulfillment, until I have entered into vows of holy matrimony.

Thus begins the pursuit. Not chase, just. . . pursuit. Experience has taught me that Prince Charming, or even Mr. Almost will not come to my front door. I'm not listed, for one thing, so how can he even know where the girl of his dreams lives? This means that I must make a concerted effort to get out of my comfort zone. I am of the general opinion that I should go to places that I like or that interest me to meet people with similar interests. Sadly, I have yet to be approached by any potential bachelors in the libraries of book stores I frequent. Movie theaters -- too dark, not really the correct venue to meet new people, and are the playgrounds for those who already have significant others.

This leaves very few options. The two obvious ones are internet dating services or church-sponsored dances (I'm not a bar fly either).

Don't get me wrong -- I don't mind dancing; in fact, I quite enjoy it. What I don't enjoy is the meat market aspect of going to a dance obstensibly to meet single men in my age range, but is really no more than putting oneself on parade to be dismissed immediately on the grounds that I am not a fashion model. Neither is 98% of the rest of the population, but this doesn't seem to stop men (fickle creatures) from making those unfair comparisons.

No matter how much fun I have dancing, I generally do not come away having enjoyed myself, because expectations are never met. It's a complex mental game, made even more difficult by the mental gymnastics before even leaving the house. I must first pick a hip outfit that will somehow convey the message, "I'm cool and have a great wardrobe and am sexy but not so sexy that I'm easy." Right. Try this. Go to your closet and pick an outfit that sends those conflicting messages.

Can't do it, right? Yet the female mind intuits that this is the correct way to begin. I'm not even up to bat yet, and I have one strike against me.

Once at the dance, the mindset must be one of "I'm only here to have a good time. I will dance, enjoy the music and not have any expectations of meeting that perfect someone. This is about just meeting new people." Meanwhile, the REAL internal dialogue is more along these lines: "I didn't get all gussied up for nuttin', so there better be someone there worth my time and effort. Oh, who am I kidding? There's only going to be a bunch of mindless guys who think that if I'm not Christina Aguilera than I'm not good enough. Who do I think I am even coming here? The wall and I will be best friends, the music will suck, and only losers will ask me to dance."

Again with the conflicting messages. I don't know how we as a gender function under constant co-existing opposite trains of thoughts. You men think we are wily and mysterious, when really our thoughts are trains hurtling towards each other on the same track. A wreck waiting to happen.

The stage is set. A dramedy waiting to happen. But wait! In true reality tv show style, let's add the additional layer of conflicted girl going to the dance who has signed up for an internet dating service. The same internet dating service that many of these people who will be at the dance also use. Nothing has come of it, other than reconnecting with an old friend from high school who now lives in Idaho and is engaged, so this is not in the forefront of the girl's mind.

Ready? Action!

The last dance I went to, a guy asked Linda to dance. As they were going through the painful initial introductions all while trying to make a good first impression while sizing the other person up, Linda got the distinct impression that there was something a bit off about this one. It was hard to tell if he had a really dry sense of humor or if he was serious. Her woman's intuition is telling her something's wrong, but her female ego is flattered that she's dancing with someone who's not ugly. I won't go into all the details about why alarms were going off in her head -- you'll just have to trust me. And maybe later you'll see why.

Branden, for that is the man's name, eventually asks her if the friend she's with (me) belongs to the [datingservice].com, and if so, is her name EllJayPea? Linda answers in the affirmative to both questions. Then he wants to know why I never wrote him back.

They weave their way through the dance floor to come talk to me. Linda's bemused because he wants to talk to me after asking HER to dance, and he just looks bugged. He gets in my face and wants to know why I never wrote him back. I give him the blank look of non-comprehension, because I've never seen this guy before tonight. Come to find out, he had written me through one of the services that I hadn't paid the pirate fees for, so I hadn't ever been able to retrieve any emails. I am finally able to communicate to him through all of his bluster that I didn't actually belong to THAT dating service, but another one, and I'm deeply sorry, but seriously. Dude? Don't you think you're being a little too intense and taking this all a little bit personally? This is not a personal affront, and you're kind of beginning to scare me.

But I am woman, hear me roar. Rather, here my ego say, "Pick me! Pick me! Shut UP, instinct." I go with it. I promise to write him back on the service that have actually subscribed to. That very night. Oy. Am I pathetic, or what?

So begins the saga of Branden the psycho. Wait -- I shouldn't label him yet -- I should let you decide for yourselves. Don't let that skew your opinion of him.


---To be continued ...

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Random Part Whatever

I regularly read a couple of other on-line journals because I've stumbled across them as I find out more about the people who contribute articles for (TWoP for short, my favorite web site). I like their writing styles, and many of them are professional writers of varying degrees, so as I read recaps of my favorite shows, it's fun to find out more about these people who make me think about the mindless entertainment that TV can be, but isn't with these guys, so I follow the links to their own sites, lurk and learn.

They're cool. I mean that in the Fonzie way. Really. They know things about pop culture, they write really well, they reference things that have only a vague meaning to me because I'm so out of it. Whenever I read their sites, I'm painfully reminded of how very un-cool I am. Then I think, what's the point, really, of me even trying to come close to what they do on their on-line journals? I can't compete, so I might as well not even try. (I believe I've referenced this issue of mine in the past.)

So you just have to know that I'm not cool. Read this, learn about my life and how boring it can be, and the little things that bring me joy and happiness, but know that I'm not cool.

What? You're wondering why I'm just now figuring this out about myself? That you knew all along? Well, thanks. A lot.

Just for that, you now have to put up with the drudgery of:

Random Things On My Mind

I have found the perfect 7-11. They have caffeine-free Diet Coke in the fountain. I love getting soft drinks from the fountain -- they're generally the perfect mixture of fizz and taste, and I love it poured over ice. It can almost be duplicated by pouring it out of a can onto ice, but not quite. It's too carbonated and tickly and metallic tasting immediately out of the can. Sure, you can let it sit for a bit, but then it goes flat way too easily. And I love drinking it from a straw, ice cold, which I won't/don't do at home. It freezes my throat just the perfect amount, especially when it's been sitting on the ice for awhile. Here's the coup d' grace with this 7-11 -- you can put flavor squirts in the Big Gulp -- vanilla, lemon or cherry. I don't even feel the need to wrap this paragraph up; it's sufficient to just lean back, take a sip and say, "Ahhhhhh."


The girls at work (that's how I think of them -- they're the gaggle of girls whose cubicles are on the other side of my wall) are now obsessed with diets. More so than usual. Mind you, none of them are over 30, or maybe even 26, they're all fit, youthful, fashionable, healthy looking girls, and they constantly obsess about food. This week's topic -- the "fasting" diet. The ringleader, Kelley, (you just knew she had to have a cutesy name. There's also a Tiffany. I don't have anything against these names, but they go a long way towards describing them, don't you think? Like Pinky Tuscadero. Oh! That's it! They're the Pinkettes! Is that copyrighted? How about the Gagglettes? Gaggettes, more like it.) is advocating drinking water with lemon in it for 10 days. This is supposed to help her not only lose weight, (I'll say. Plate of Ghandi, anyone?) but cleanse her bowels (yuck. Her words, not mine), and help her to stop smoking. Yes, she won't be doing any smoking while she's passed out from hunger. So far, I haven't heard about any actual FOOD intake. They're forgetting the truism of Calories = Energy.

Lemon water * 10 days = Less productivity than usual.


My boss informed me this morning that 90% of my job is social. This came at the tail end of him telling me that he wants me to start taking people out to lunch. He hasn't seen any expense reports come across his desk yet, and he will approve a lunch a week. That should be my goal.

My thought as he's saying this to me: " ."

Seriously. My job requirement is to now take people to lunch, to schmooze, ask about their kids, make small talk -- all in an effort to build relationships of trust so I can figure out how to save costs.

This is the most backwards place I've ever worked in.


But I'm not complaining. I have a job, and I'm good at it. I don't know what I do, but I'm good at it.


I happened across a news story today about a guy in the UK who calls himself Angle-Grinder Man, the U.K.’s first wheel-clamp and speed camera vigilante cum subversive superhero philanthropist entertainer type personage. In a nutshell, he's a self-proclaimed super hero who saws through parking boots that have been placed on illegally parked cars. Check out his website:


I told my two best friends the other day that I just want to be told I'm funny. "If you tell me I'm funny, then I'm happy," I believe were my exact words.

What a mistake that was. I didn't live it down for the next two days. Everytime I said something, they said, "Laura, you're so funny."

Me: There's a hairball on the carpet.

Two Best Friends: Laura, you're so funny.

Me: Stop! Red Light!

TBF: You're so funny.

Me: Let me tell you about the funniest thing I saw today. I was driving along and blah blah proceed to tell funny story-cakes here.

TBF: " " accompanied by blank stares.

Is it me? Am I really not funny? I know that I think funny things, but I guess I'm not so good at translating those into actual words. That, or I have the world's most unique sense of humor.


I don't know why I'm saving the thing that matters the most to me til last. Probably because I'm not sure that it's of general interest (read "Cheaper by the Dozen" to get that reference), but then I remind myself that I'm not cool so it doesn't matter.

Seminary started last week. For those of you not familiar with this, I teach an early morning scripture-study class for high school-aged students before they go to their "regular" classes. We start at 5:55 and end at 6:45. Did I mention a.m.? This is my fifth year of doing it here in Burbank; I did it for two years previously in northern California a lifetime ago.

I love it.

This is the thing that makes my day, that I plan for, that I look forward to, that I dread, that I spend all my time on. There is nothing so envigorating as teaching gospel truths to teenagers, seeing them grasp the concepts and principles and apply those truths in their own lives. It's my way of trying to improve my own corner of the world. By helping these kids recognize and accept truth, I know (hope) they will become responsible, law-abiding, fight-for-truth adults.

I have 35 enrolled students right now, and one who comes sporadically because he doesn't have any parental support. I got twelve new freshman, plus a couple of kids who have recently movede here, and only lost eight seniors, so my class is that much bigger than last year.

After the first day jitters of meeting everyone, memorizing names, doing expectations, and the 2nd day uneasiness of just wanting to find a rhythm and settle down, things are going really well. I hope it continues to be a good year. I feel more relaxed and like I've developed a lot of good teaching skills that I'm able to utilize without having to think about everything I say.

It makes me a better person too. Yes, I'm selfish.

I'm also sleep deprived, but so far, have resisted the urge to go on any postal worker-type violent benders.

I'm sure this will be something that I write about more as the year goes on, as it is simultaneously my greatest source of joy and frustration on any given day.


Excited about: Going to the Hollywood Bowl for the first time ever on Saturday. Indigo Girls concert on the 26th. A friend from my high school days using a free ticket to come see me next week. KZLA's Country Bash on October 11th. My life. I may not be cool, but it is.

Friday, September 5, 2003

Golf And How It's Not Cheating When You Cheat

I went golfing on Wednesday night with my golf buddy, Nancy. Two years ago, she invited me to take group lessons with some of her work cohorts. There were five of us when we started out; now it's just Nancy and me. I'm grateful she deigned to invite an outsider to join in on the fun; she's grateful she invited an outsider because I've been the only consistent one.

Golf was always something I wanted to try -- not because it looked fun but because I thought I might be good at it. I seem to have an affinity to not wanting to fail at things, so I choose activities at which I think I can succeed. I'm too much of a perfectionist for my own good. It seemed like a natural transition for me to make from the world of hitting a ball, plucking it out of the air while it's hurling towards me at 40 mph vs. hitting a stationary ball. Size would be different, yes, yes, but the smaller target wasn't moving, so how big of a challenge could it be, really? Angle of the swing you say? Big deal. Just adjust the club vs. bat downswing a teench, and I'd soon be hollering "FORE!" with the best of them.

Piece. Of. Cake. Or so I thought.

After some initial misgivings because I wasn't perfect right off the bat, er, I mean club, I am an addict. I still can't really watch it on TV, because seriously, this is the world's most boring sport, folks. As for it being an actual sport? I'm on the fence on that one. In fact, at the first lesson when the instructor was demonstrating the proper stance, he said, "Golf requires athleticism." I laughed in his face. There are no aerobics required for this! Workout? Pshaw. Elevated heart rate? Hardly.

But there is something about playing it that makes me want to inject it directly into my veins. Especially for those of us who think we really can be perfect. There is nothing more challenging than hitting a two-inch ball around hundreds of acres of green grass. And nothing more satisfying than the sound it makes when it plunks into the cup. Nirvana.

The key to all of this, though, is to have fun. For someone who takes herself way too seriously in life, even I realize the futility and senslessness of approaching golf in the same way. This is why I make sure to go with a good friend who also doesn't care how well she does, enjoy the great outdoors, and laugh at myself a lot.

It helps that I cheat.

Don't judge me!

Anyways, it's really not cheating. I don't actually write a different score on the card than what I got. I simply improve my score. It's quite simple, really, and I recommend it to anyone who has ever been frustrated at not being able to break 100 or get a good handicap or whatever the terminology is. (See what I mean? I don't even know all the real golf vocabulary yet. You just can't take this stuff too seriously and still have fun.)

Here are a few tips I recommend:

1) If you don't like the drive off the tee, hit it again. There is no stroke penalty to add to your score card -- this is called, "Oof. I-topped-it-and-know-I-can-do-better-so-I'm-hitting-another-one-don't-judge-me-okay?" Some people actually call this a mulligan, but that makes it sound like you know what you're doing. The key to creative scoring is to maintain your innocence to rules so that it's not actually cheating.

1a) Apply the same principle to chipping and putting. Simply change "topped it" to the applicable situation.

2) If you're actually brave enough to brave a "big-girls'" course with [gasp!] sand traps, give the sand wedge the ol' college try a maximum of two times. Any more and the frustration level rises. After that, it's time to break out the "hand wedge." With practice, this move can be perfected to look like you really are hitting it out of the trap with a club, not using your hand to toss it out.

3) Hit two balls on the same hole. Take the lower score.

4) Nancy and I came up with a new term the other night while she was applying suggestion #3. She got par on both of her balls. I got twice par on one of mine. She called hers double par; so did I. Woo! That's some good golfin'.

5) Round down. Always.

6) Fore! is more than a warning. It's a number, baby. Use it wisely.

7) Be creative. I am still working on more ways to "improve" my score, but I believe there are no limits to what you can do -- both as a golfer and a scorer.

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Not So New Job

In no particular order and because I feel slightly guilty that it's been so long since I've posted anything, here are some random thoughts about the new job (not so new anymore), life and a brief it's back-to-school-time essay on how-I-spent-my-summer-vacation. Also, maybe more randomness on my life as an LDS singleton in her mid-to-late 30s. Oh no! More "late" than "mid-to", really. On second thought, that entry may actually require a two-fer. It deserves its own plus a sequel. Actually, what really will get its own + part two is one of my latest forays into the world of internet dating. Sort of.

Enough procrastinating.

The job. All things considered, it is not bad. It's just so very different from what I've just come from that I believe I'm suffering from a bit of culture shock. My 8 to 5 life before was dictated by angry, selfish and basically stupid people who were driven by deadlines and their own insecurities which left them no alternative (to their small way of thinking) but to make me miserable also. They did this best by never acknowledging promptness, accuracy and intelligence; instead, hanging over my shoulder, criticizing and never trusting. I had daily headaches, neckaches and just you're-a-pain-in-my-butt aches.

My position now is newly created. Just for me. So new, in fact, that no one really knows what I'm supposed to be doing. There are no expectations. I have swung from one end of the pendulum to the other, and teetering on this new edge, am a bit unsure of myself. Is the pace here so much slower because that's just how things are? or is it because I really have no idea what I'm supposed to be doing? Let me be more accurate -- I have plenty of ideas as to what I'm supposed to be doing and how to succeed here, but this slower pace makes me feel very uncertain. It's a huge adjustment to just sssssllllllooooooooooowww dooooooowwwwwwwwwn.

Is this normal? Is this right? I don't know. From what I can tell from my new home here in cubicle-ville (that just means I get to eavesdrop on everyone's conversations; not because I want to but because I'd have to be deaf not to), everyone works at a different pace than what I'm used to. It's enough to make me feel a bit like I'm floundering -- not because I have too much to do, but because I don't have enough to do based on my old measuring standards.

Putting some serious thought into it all, I think the reason that the volume of work that is expected here is so much less than what I've been used to is because -- you just cannot get any work done. It's so DAMN NOISY in this cubicle farm. Even if I wanted to, even if I did have something to do, I wouldn't be able to because of everything going on constantly. Conversations, phone calls, people talking talking talking -- and this time I know they're not the voices in my head.

I mentioned something to my boss the other day about how I can hear everyone's conversations and that I'm not used to it. It's not actually impeding me or anything. Because there's nothing to impede me from.

There was an afternoon last week where all of us little cublicle gophers were ALL having a rowdy moment -- I was on a conference call trying to deal with an insurance company non-helpful lady, the next aisle over a there was a football betting discussion in progress, a guy from across the other aisle was on a conference call with my cubicle wall neighbor with one of the interns who just went back to school, stuff was going on in the aisle behind me, and it was just crazy, man.

Oh, and lots of "Man." "Okay, man." "Cool, man." "Dude, man." "Man, man."

All of these interns are so YOUNG and I'm so (apparently) OLD, it cracks me up listening to all their non-sequitirs and general immaturity. And I think, "I was never like that." Okay, I was, but not that I'd admit to anyone.

Mixed metaphors aside, everything is just fine, really. After I had been here for three weeks and still having no idea what the girl looks like who sits on the other side of my cube wall, I finally walked around the aisle to introduce myself to her. I figured it was about time, since I knew her social security number, home phone and address.

She went on vacation the next week.

I went on vacation the week after that.

Not a lot of opportunity for bonding there.

I think I may have also messed up further bonding moments when she was walking around the other morning offering candy bars to people. I called her "evil," "wicked" and "bad." I don't really see her as the devil incarnate, but really. Chocolate at ten in the morning? I don't need that kind of temptation that early in the day.

I might add that she's also as skinny as Ally McBeal. Sure, go ahead and offer us fat girls the chocolate. Nervy.

Other life news --

Yes, I took a vacation. Or a trip, if you want to qualify it that way. I drove up to Vancouver-ish, Washington, to go visit my sister and family in her new home. It was a lot of driving to get there (16 hours!), but well worth the trip.

I got to see parts of California that I've heard of but never seen. Driving through Shasta national forest and seeing the lake (ocean? it's huge!) and the actual mountain brought back memories from my childhood of church acquaintances saying they were going to Lake Shasta. I had no idea at the time what that really entailed. A boat was required, which I deduced from the word "lake," and that was a world I was never privvy to since my family didn't own a boat and never planned to (we were the "poor" family of our peers). What a drive! Beautiful, and long.

And now, having written this much, I remember that I actually did make a rather lame attempt at chronicling my vacation on my Palm, so will post the details separately.

It has taken me 1 hour and 20 minutes to write this much. How pathetic is that? Of course, I've been alternating the writing with playing solitaire (Three Shuffles and a Draw -- truly addictive and definitely not for the borderline OCD personalities, which I may be) and pretending to be working.

What a morning. Wow. So much accomplished. Very little of it having to do with the actualy weekly paycheck I draw. Ach, well. . .

Friday, July 25, 2003

A Day On the New Job

7:45 a.m. Arrive at work. Boss not in yet, or at least his door is closed. Not that it matters anyway – he is willing to leave me to my own devices. I’m not entirely sure yet if this is a good or a bad thing. Coming from an environment recently where I had to ask permission to blow my nose, I feel like a bit of seaweed – afloat yes, but also drifting rather aimlessly. My own devices up to this point have included trying to figure out what my day to day tasks should be. I have eliminated daily web shopping and bidding as an option since spending more online in the past 7 days than I have in several months via that venue. At any rate, it’s probably a bad habit to get into – that of checking boss’ office door for arrival times. It’s a leftover neurotic tendency from the old job where my only goal was to get in before my psychotic manager did, with the reasoning of creating the illusion of getting in before her so that I could leave before her and she would think that I had put in a full day’s work. This was complete foolishness on my behalf, though, because it never mattered what time I got in – she always left before me anyway. She was pretty strictly a 9 to 4, out the door kind of gal. With a two hour lunch thrown in for good measure.

7:46 Log onto email. Yay! Four new emails. Let’s see – one from the “word a day” daily mailer I subscribe to; one from my old job that I don’t need anymore, but open and read anyway to feel some sort of connectedness to people, because I certainly don’t here with the ice-water-in-veins group of people I work with; one from yesterday from a friend with updated web page info; and one from the VP of the entire division I work in with an invitation to a Town Hall meeting that I won’t be here for anyway.

7:47 Email checking complete, trek to kitchen to fill water bottle.

7:48 Return to desk. Check email again.

7:49 Nothing new on the email front, so open my web browser and settle in for a long day of on-line window shopping, TWoP reading and news updates.

7:54 In an effort to prolong each activity so that I can endure to the 4:45 mark (quittin’ time), begin interlacing web reading activities with giving myself a manicure. Inspect cuticles. File nails. Snip leftover bits of skin from cuticles not already removed from yesterday’s web browsing manicure activities.

8:10 Office mates begin arriving. I use the term “mate” very loosely – that would imply that I actually know and speak to these people. I don’t. There are two people who sit on the other side of my cubicle wall in the next aisle who I have not yet met. I know what one of them looks like, only because I’ve met her before, but haven’t been officially introduced to her since arriving at this location. It’s really unnecessary, at this point, to meet either one of them, as I know them already through their conversations with each other and on the phone. I also know what their office responsibilities are and who they interact with.

As sad as it is that I haven’t really had any serious interaction yet with these people who are part of my group, the eavesdropping on their lives reassures me that they’re just as not-busy at work as I am not. The majority of their time is spent on dealing with medical insurance issues, garage door opening issues, paying bills on the phone, and making vacation plans. It really is a good thing that I am not a malicious person by nature (only in my mind), because I now know their addresses, home phone numbers and social security numbers.

They really do need to do something about sound-proofing these cubicle walls. Or putting me back into solitary confinement. The bonus that solitary confinement offers is the ability to play internet games without feeling like my every move is being watched by the girl who sits kitty-corner behind me across the aisle, or anyone who walks down the aisle who can peer in and see my monitor. The way these cubes are configured, there is no good way to position my workstation to avoid prying eyes.

10:30 Begin to notice that I am ravenously hungry. Decide to finally do some real work to try and speed the time up until I can acceptably go to lunch.

10:35 Get sidetracked from doing real work by the ragged cuticle on my middle finger, left hand. Dutifully inspect other fingers for cuticles that need trimming.

10:40 Stomach growls. I notice the beginnings of a dim yet dull headache. Decide to take some ibuprofen, but wonder if that’s wise on what appears to be an empty stomach. Weigh options of headache vs. mild stomach upset, and opt for mild stomach upset. It can be remedied soon enough as I will leave for lunch as soon as possible.

10:58 Berate self for not doing any real work yet.

11:00 Bathroom break. Notice that while the heat-activated lightener I’ve put in my hair for the past three days has, indeed done a swell job of making my hair a lovely golden blonde, it has not done so much for the few gray hairs scattered throughout my pate. If anything, it has emphasized them. Or is it just me?

11:03 Really. I have got to settle down and get some work done. This is just getting ridiculous.

11:08 I have successfully written half of an outline for a proposed document layout change. Ah! This feels good! After a morning of unstimulating activity and zero brain waves being generated, I am now ready to dive in and finish this puppy. I have been unable to ignore the growling of my stomach, so will reward myself with lunch when I am done with this outline.

11:12 It’s amazing how the incentive of food fuels my energy level and typing speed. I am almost done with the outline and it’s even an almost decent time to be able to respectably go to lunch!

11:18 As excited as I am to finally be working, I must get something to eat. I must remember to evenly space out my work, and I’m sure that I’ll be able to do something productive with the next 20 minutes of work I have left to do – after lunch.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

New Job

Yesterday was the start of my new job. It's been a long haul in the other one -- 7 1/2 years, to be exact, so I was feeling a bit trepidatious alongside the excitement of getting out of the somewhat toxic environment I've been in. It's a luxury to be in the same job for that long -- I really learned all the limits of how much I can get away with, how to give myself administrative privileges on my computer, how many hours per day of internet games I can play while still producing above acceptable volumes of work.

It was with some misgivings that I accepted the new position, but the complacency in the old one was the only reason why. Every other sign in the Magic 8 ball of life pointed to, "YES! Take this job, you dolt! Run, get out while you can!"

Yesterday was the typical slow start to a new job, as they, well, we -- start to figure out exactly what my responsiblities will be. There's nothing concrete or set in stone, as it's a new position. They have a general idea, but as far as the specifics, those will evolve over time.

I spent the morning getting settled in -- carting boxes from my car and moving stuff into my new cube. I didn't have a new ID badge for parking and access to the building, which I needed. There's a lobby on my floor, and in order to get into the work area, you need an ID badge that this security system recognizes. That's all fine and good, but the bathrooms are outside of the locked area! Whenever I had to go, I had to call the admin assistant to buzz me back in. I felt like a fourth grader getting a bathroom pass.

My cube, though tastefully beige and taupe, as opposed to the dingy purple / gray that I've been in, is in the middle of a bunch of other cubes. My old one was rather isolated and off by itself, with a really loud air blower (not "conditioner," just "blower." That's all it did. Kind of. Well, not really. But it acted like it wanted to fulfill the measure if its creation!) above it that sounded like airplanes taking off and landing. It did a good job of tricking me into thinking that no one else could hear any of my conversations, it was so volumous. Being in the middle of an aisle, in the middle of a row of cubes, in the middle of the floor, I'm aware of every cough, sniffle and slurp that people make. I'm very self-conscious now of the noises I make, and am hyper-aware that my every word on the phone, etc., can be heard. I have to be very careful in my internet usage these days, as my trying-to-stifle-the-giggles giggle can sometimes come out sounding like a combination snore, amputated sneeze and a bad head cold all at once.

My new chair is very different than what I'm used to -- I have one of those meshy ones with a tall back. My old one was set such that I could lean over the back of it and crack my back, but with this one, I fear I will never be able to crack my back over the back of my chair again! And I can't figure out how to get my chair from leaning ALL the way back. I feel like I'm going to fall over! I see the levers, but they don't really do anything when I move them. As I tried to adjust them yesterday, I kept leaning back to see if the adjustment was doing anything. This chair leans so far back, that I felt as though it was going to pitch me out and into a back flip.

While amusing, the Russian judge did not think I was the epitome of grace and balance in my newfound sport of office gymnastics, and I only got a 7.54 from him. Tightwad. Probably helped the French ice skating judge in last year's winter olympics.

When I got in and found my cube, the first thing I noticed was the new chair. "Oh, goody!" I thought, as I tried it out. It wasn't two minutes later that my new boss walked by to make sure I had found my new digs. I felt a little foolish bouncing around as opposed to earnestly doing important things. "Oh, hi! Just bouncing around in my new chair! Look at me! I'm cool! I have a new job and bouncy chair!"

What a dork. But my life wouldn't be my life without a large degree of dorkiness thrown into the mix.

Thursday, June 5, 2003

June Gloom

Today's a bit odd.

Southern California is experiencing its autumnal weather that it gets in June, called June gloom. This basically means that it's foggy in the mornings and kind of hazily clears up in the afternoon. It's nice that we don't have full-blown summer heat yet. But today is a little more dark and dank than other June mornings. It was actually raining this morning, for one thing.

Okay, it was actually drizzling.

Who says I exaggerate? Okay, okay. It was damp. There. Are you happy now?

With the physical environment being anything but cheerful, the work environment here feels the need to rise to the occasion and match it. A little less than two weeks ago, the announcment was made to us that our parent company wants to sell us. In order to do so, we must appear to be profitable, or at least lean and mean. So they're closing a bunch of our stores and laying 25 - 30% of us off for cost reductions blah blah blah unemployment cakes.

Long story short, today's the day. It's been two weeks of suspense, and in my case, of walking around looking at people imagining them with their heads on chopping blocks, or seeing a big red X through their faces, or even mostly decapitated in some cases (depending on the depth of my dislike for them).

It's nice that we've had this much notice so we can adjust to the idea that we may not be employed after August, but do it already! Bring it on! Let's go!

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not eagerly anticipating not having a job, but I wish we could just find out already. We've suggested to the VP of our department that she should just call us all together for a meeting and point to people to let us know who's in and who's out.

She wasn't too keen on that idea. Something about HR and legal rights and blah blah blah lawsuits cakes. Whatever.

Failing that, I'm getting creative. Since we're a branch of Disney and synergy is such a big thing around here, I suggested that we do "The Bachelor: Special Layoffs Edition." Layoffs can be one big rose ceremony.

"Laura, you've been chosen to stay. Will you accept this rose?"

[announcer's voice]: "There are only 5 roses left and 15 employees. Who stays? Who's going? Don't miss The. Most. Dramatic. Rose Ceremony. Yet."

You get the idea.

This morning I ran into my vice president in the restroom. Poor thing. I know she can't run away fast enough, mentally or physically, when she sees me coming. I seem to have gained a reputation for asking questions everyone else is afraid to, which of course can be a little intimidating when you're the one who has to answer them -- her. Oh well. She's the one making the big bucks and driving a company car. Her blessing is her bane. Or something like that.

ANYway. I asked her if she thought I was dressed appropriately for a layoff. "I just never know what to wear to these things." She chuckled -- either because she's humoring me or downright afraid that I'll start a riot. Who knows? Maybe she even thinks I'm funny.

Or not.

She went with it. She's nothing if not game. (Two hunters are in the woods and they come across a naked lady. They looked at each other with raised eyebrows, looked at her, and said, "Are you game?" She shrugged. "I'm game if you're game." So they shot her.)

Laura: "I decided to take the more cheerful approach" (pointing to my brightly striped shirt) "as opposed to the 'black for mourning' route."

Diane: "Oh yes. Black is too depressing. You can see that I'm wearing beige," pointing to her outfit that was, indeed, beige.

Laura: "Yes. Very neutral tones to encourage us that you mean us no harm."

Laura & Diane. Laugh uncomfortably.

Laura: "Hey, so, if I'm on the list, will you please just call me down first so I can get it over with? Thanks." (I believe at this point I actually had my hands clasped together, kind of shaking them at her, to show my sincerity in an annoying pleading sort of way.)

Diane: Can't say anything because she can neither confirm nor deny anything. Laughs REALLY uncomfortably now and leaves.

So, this is my day today. Wondering if/when the call will come. Wondering who of my friends and co-workers will start working on their resumes in earnest today.

The good news is that I've already started interviewing for a job in another division. Early reviews are in and positive. Unofficially, I believe we're just waiting for HR to make the phone call with an offer. Darkness and despair do not yet reign. Gallows humor does, but you gotta do what you gotta do to deal, ya know?

See you at the guillotines!

Friday, May 16, 2003

If Ah-nuld Were President

If Arnold Schwarzanegger were president of the United States, how cool would that be? A few things would change around the White House, I’ll tell you that much. For the first time in history, the President and First Wife would be from two separate parties. Congress wouldn’t have very much to complain about anymore — both major parties would be fairly represented. A Kennedy would be back in office again. Not only that, but chances are pretty good that no one would want to assassinate this one.

Fat would not be allowed. Not fat on people or fat people, because then I would totally be an illegal and the INS would be after me, but fatty foods. No more doughnuts, which might not be such a great thing, but in the long run, couldn’t hurt. Exercise would be required. Not for distance or strength, just do your best. Be as fit as you can. Okay, maybe a little chocolate cake, but let’s balance it out with some MetRX.

Since he’s so wealthy, Arnold wouldn’t have to take money from third parties to represent their interests. Yes, like Reagan he’d be made fun of for some pretty bad movies (think “Last Action Hero,” or “Conan,” which might not really count since he wasn’t allowed to speak back then), but there’s some pretty good ones too. Instead of saluting him, you can say good bye with a simple, “Hasta la vista, baby.”

Or should that be, “Hasta la vista, Chief”? as in “Hail to the”?

The biggest question is, who would be his running mate? Things could certainly be shaken up if Maria were the vice-president. Is it even allowed to have the vice- and president be from different parties? Think of the money that could be saved for the conventions – instead of having two separate ones and having to worry about national security, just combine the two of them. Have it in Philadelphia, the original home of Brotherly Love.

That’d be cool. Not to mention the inherent coolness of having a woman vice-president.

Jesse Ventura would be put in charge of the CIA, for obvious reasons. I mean really, would you want to mess with that wacko? Saddam and Osama would really have something to fear then. Wouldn’t those muscles be intimidating to terrorists? And he wouldn’t just spy on you, but afterwards would pick you up and heft you over his head, twirl you around a few times, throw you to the ground and jump on you a couplla times.

What about Hulk Hogan, you ask? Would there be any place for him in the cabinet? Nah, I don’t think so. He’d insist on bringing along that annoying puppet Alf from those long-distance commercials, and that’d just be ugly.

Before spiraling too far down on the wrestling mat of what-ifs and losing all hope for the future White House and cabinet, let’s focus on a happier note. No more stuffy state dinners with boring appetizers and entrees. Remember Planet Hollywood? That themed restaurant that was oh-so-cool in the 90s? Arnold could bring his pals Bruce, Demi and, oh, who was that other guy? Oh right, Sly Stallone. Anyway, all those Hollywood has-beens (or never-weres) would experience a resurgence of popularity. Maybe they could be members of the cabinet in some capacity or other.

Ahh. Hollywood and the WWF take over Washington. Hasta la vista, politics. Let the good times roll.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Small Guilty Update

I have been far too lazy about this lately. It's a flaw of mine -- if I'm not feeling up to the witty, insightful prose standards required by my own insane (inane? Amazing what a difference a letter makes.) mind, then I choose to not write at all.

Or, I have too many things to write about, then get overwhelmed and choose to not write at all.

Either way, it's been too long.

I have been inspired to update because I got a new subscriber to my blog! (Note to self, find out what "blog" means. I keep seeing this on other on-line journal sites and know it's a term for "on-line journal," but am not sure why/how.)

(Answered note to self: "blog" is not an acronym, as I first suspected, but is short for "Weblog." Whew. Mystery solved. However, I must correct my earlier assumption that it only means on-line journal. This is from Yahoo: "Weblogs and online journals are often confused, and they can frequently overlap in content and style. But purists point out that a person writing in an online journal or diary is logging their life, not the Web. Weblogs still exist to log what's going on around the World Wide Web.")

Where was I? Oh, yes. Welcome to my new subscriber! This makes a grand total of two of you! Actually, I think it's probably just one, because the other one has never signed up for the updates; she just checks back to see when I've updated.

So much for being loved from afar.

Just to get the update going so I don't procrastinate anymore, here are some of the highlights from the last few weeks:

I have a new boss! Yay! Sadly, the old one hasn't left, but she now mercifully leaves me alone, even to the point of ignoring me. She may think she's proving a point of how she's moving on to other things, but the only point I think it proves is what an immature dolt she really is. At any rate, happiness now reigns at work as I report to a different person for the first time in 2 1/2 years. At first glance, he doesn't appear to be psychotic in any way, so we're already off to a great start. At second glance (not really, but you know what I mean) he's male, which is already offering up all sorts of different dynamics than what I've had to accustom myself to in dealing with my former boss. Everything's much less emotional on both sides, which is good. At work, at least.

I took a short vacation (because is any vacation ever long enough) during spring break. Linda and I spent a couple of days in Las Vegas for a friend's wedding, then we took our time driving up through southern Utah, stopping for the night at Zion National Park, then a few days further north to visit various family and friends. We were there to celebrate my dad's 85th birthday which isn't until June, but it was when all 6 of us siblings and some of the grandchildren could all be there. With that many people in the equation, you celebrate when you can, so we did. The next day, my dad had hip replacement surgery, which thankfully went very well, and I fully expect him to outlive all of us now.

I've spent the last school year in training to become a full-time teacher. I have been teaching an early-morning high school aged class on a voluntary basis for the past 4 years, and this past year has been spent fine tuning those skills, learning new ones, and being evaluated for full-time employment. The last stage of evaluations got canceled just recently, so my hopes of moving onto something new have been, if not dashed, definitely let down. The good news is that I haven't been outright rejected, merely rolled into the pool for next year. I'm still hopeful that it will work out eventually. I'm not looking forward to another school year full of waking up at

4:30 a.m.
and working all day long from there. But, I've done it this long, I don't think another year will kill me. It may turn me into a sleep-deprived raving lunatic, but that's already a fine line I walk.

I suppose that's it, for now. I'm boring myself, and it's my life, so I can only imagine what I'm doing to my faithful audience of two. But I won't apologize -- that would unfaithful to my primary pledge of doing this -- to be honest without considering audience expectations or my own boring life. Okay, I can apologize for the boredom.

Hey! Wake up!

Things I need to write about soon: Made-up words/phrases used inappropriately at work; the singles' dance I may/may not be attending tonight; the boy I had a crush on all throughout high school and how I'm meeting up with him in two weeks after not having seen him for 12 years; and how my friend Wendy keeps me regular.

Yes, I knew that last one would reel you in.

Friday, April 11, 2003

Thank You, Mr. Otis

Elevators. This is what's on my mind this week. I usually do not pay not that much attention to them. They're not unlike my stapler at work, or tape dispenser. They're a necessary part of work -- there if you need 'em, but secondary to my job performance.

The elevators at my office are more than a little annoying, but so's my stapler when it's empty. It doesn't destroy me. It's life. You deal with it and move on. I don't mean annoying in the "I need therapy" kind of way, just a sort of daily inconvenience. The office building I work in houses several restaurants: Olive Garden, CPK and Chevy's, to name the biggies. It also happens to be across the street from a fairly major mall, so people eat and shop while their cars stay in the parking garage. What this all amounts to is a rather large amount of people who don't know their way around the office building and frequently misuse the parking garage elevators while wasting my time. They try to go down with me to the "tenants monthly parking" area, when I know darn good and well that there's no way they're parked down there. The puzzled looks on their faces makes up for that inconvenience as they wander around the basement parking level looking for their cars.

No, I'm not really that mean. Sometimes I do take pity on them and tell them there's no possible way their car is where they think it is. Sometimes.

My other favorite thing that happens in the parking garage elevators is when I encounter a person who has obviously been riding the elevator up and down like it's an E ticket ride because they're looking for the 14th floor. Honey, do you see a number 14 anywhere on these buttons? No? Only P1 to P5? Well.....You deserve what you get, don'tcha?

Really! I'm not mean! I just wish people would take an extra 5 seconds out of their day and think.

Anyway, the "real" elevators -- the ones that go to the office floors -- are strange little animals. Elevators in general are strange little animals, really. I've been thinking about them this week, more than anyone, besides maybe Mr. Otis or Willy Wonka should be thinking about elevators, but there you have it. I'm bored at work this week. We willingly step into a small box measuring 8 x 8 x 10, sometimes with complete strangers! and expect it take us somewhere. It generally performs its function correctly. The doors close, we make a selection, make idle conversation with people crammed in there with us, not because we like them, but because what else do you do while staring at people you don't know but can't leave the room? The doors open, et voila! We have been transported to a new location. It's like magic.

The elevators where I work offer the standard options -- a button for each floor, the scary looking red EMERGENCY button, and the well-placed but meaningless Door Open and Door Close buttons. Door Open does its job just fine. When pressed, the doors obligingly open to admit the slacker who refused to run for the door but you feel obligated to wait for anyway.

Door Close -- that's a whole 'nother story. I wonder sometimes what would happen to me if I were in a Bruce Willis or Arnold Schwarzanegger movie and a bad guy was chasing after me. After a few minutes of running while being chased, I would have to run into the elevator with its yawning doors. (Probably more because I'm out of shape and can't run anymore than because it's the only place left for me to go, but I'll let the writers worry about that plot line.) So here I am, running for my life, dodging bullets. I see the elevator, and it's providence! It's waiting for me! Oh, blessed elevator! My friend. Let's go! Get me out of here! I quickly push the Door Close button, and it does nothing. Of course, I haven't yet made a floor selection. I do so, then press Door Close again. Nothing. Again, again, again. Quick! Bad Guy is coming! Finally, reluctanctly and oh so slowly, the doors close. Too late, though. Here come the grasping, reaching hands of Bad Guy, forcing the door open, and now I'm dead. Or wounded. Whatever. Either way, I'm now trapped in a small room with the Enemy.

Don't scoff! You may think I'm being melodramatic (my mother would), but think about it. We all have at least one Bad Guy or Enemy with whom we work that we wish we never had to associate with. Especially in a windowless and uncooperative moving box. He even has a name here: Art. Yes, it's one of life's great ironies. He is in no way, shape or form art or artistic. He is a scary man with bug eyes who was absent during the very important years of learning social skills at school. Bluntly, he scares me. He is creepy and gives me the creeps.

The elevator, in its evil gleeful way, senses this about me, because it makes me ride with him too frequently. It purposely holds its doors open and waits for him. Big meanie. What have I done to it, after all? I'm nice! I don't ask it to go very far -- only the 5th floor. I touch it every day. And this is the thanks I get!

Yesterday, however, the elevator did something that will forever absolve itself of all guilt and blame. It ate my boss. It could only hold her down for 45 minutes, but it was 45 minutes less in my day of having to deal with her, so who am I to complain that it spewed her back up like a turkey sandwich with mayo left out in the sun?

Thank you, elevator, my friend. Even if you couldn't keep her trapped all day, you hopefully took a few years off her life with that half-floor swooping drop you did. You have fueled my imagination with happy thoughts of how she kept herself occupied for three-quarters of an hour with no one to hear her blather on about her favorite topic -- herself. Most important, I wasn't there with her, for which I am eternally grateful.

May your pulley and gear system always be well-greased and the right people always push your buttons!

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Aphrodite's Temple

Linda decided last night that with the stress we're both under of uncertain job futures, we could benefit from throwing all caution to the wind and enjoy a relaxing evening. The goddess Aphrodite, with her promises of beauty and love beckoned from her temple in Sherman Oaks. You were thinking Paphos, maybe? Please. Although Greece may have been easier to get to versus the traffic in Los Angeles during rush hour, we opted for the location that would allow us to be home by 8:00 for Survivor.

We breezed in past the golden pillars and stunning displays of the Macy's men's department and forged ahead to the inner sanctuary of the Lancome counter. Black-clad acolytes awaited us with promises of beauty and youth contained in vials and bottles of unguents and oils.

The first offering we were required to make was a detailed listing of our skin issues and flaws, along with what we hoped to accomplish at the altars. Under the burning 200-watt torches, our faces were closely examined, analyzed and found wanting.

Mousse-y cleansers washed away impurities and dead skin. Toner firmed up our pores, and tinted moisturizer provided our faces with a healthy golden tone, while also delivering a necessary minimum SPF of 15 and necessary nutrients to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Next was a skin color scrutiny. My skin has slightly more pink-ish (read: Anglo-Saxon non-pigmented boring) tones to it than Linda’s, whose Teutonic ancestry provides her with warmer colors. Her blue eyes were enhanced with a lovely blend of bluish / purplish / brownish colors making them appear even more doe-like and inviting than before. Her beauty expert was very complimentary of each one of her features. “Your eyes have such a nice shape!” “Your cheekbones are perfect!” “Your lashes are so long and beautiful!” “Your pores are so delightfully small!”

Cynthia did not have much to gush about where I was concerned. Though never demeaning or rude, she made it clear through the tips she gave me where she thought my flaws were. They mostly seemed to deal with my eyes, which are apparently squinchier than I thought. “By applying mascara at the ROOT of your eyelashes, it forces your eyes OPEN and makes them look larger.” “This color combination nicely enhances your green eyes and really opens them up.” “Make sure to put a lighter color shadow on the top of your brow – that will really open your eyes UP.” It must be a large miracle that I can even see with all of the squinting I’m apparently doing.

After an hour at the altar, we were invited to gaze upon the images of the new women we had been transformed into. I believe I had more makeup on than I’ve worn in the past five years combined. I do have to admit, however, that my skin looked smoother than it’s looked in a long time. My only concern was the way the under-eye concealer appeared to bunch up the skin. I didn’t realize how wrinkly I was there, but that part of my face looked like it was 50 compared to the rest of the 36 year-old me. I was informed by both Eileen and Cynthia that if I sufficiently moisturize and exfoliate my face, particularly under my eyes, there won’t be any dead skin for the makeup to cling to. Hey, I moisturize! I guess it’s time to graduate from my cheap-o drug store brands to what real women use.

Cynthia began tallying how much my offering to the goddess of beauty was going to cost. One bottle each of foam cleanser, tinted moisturizer, exfoliator and heavy-duty eye cream were deemed as the absolute bare essentials of what my skin needs to not only retain its youth, but keep it there for awhile longer. I balked a little bit at the idea of spending $60 on the eye cream, but she assured me that not only would it diminish the baggy, wrinkly skin under my eyes, it would attract men. Wow! Aphrodite not only heard my spoken desire for beauty but my unspoken wish for love too.

Feeling reckless with the prospect of love waiting around the corner, I threw in a tube of lipstick. One hundred seventy-seven dollars lighter, I left the womb of Aphrodite’s haven with a new-found hope, contained in a Macy’s bag with many free samples thrown in. My beauty may be guaranteed, but I doubt love is. And anyway, I have to wait four to six weeks to find out (the amount of time that eye cream needs to really do its job. After all, Cynthia assures me that’s all I need to catch a man!) No amount of creams and promises of smooth skin can keep me from having my shirt on inside-out unawares for the better part of this morning. I might have the smoothest skin in the world, but until I get some other basic life skills figured out, my Prince Charming will remain just out of reach.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

California Native

I am a California native. Lest you get too far down the road of envisioning me romping on the beaches of Malibu and driving down Sunset Blvd in my convertible, I will qualify that statement by saying that I consider myself to be a northern Californian by birth and at heart.

I was born in Walnut Creek, a suburb of San Francisco. If you count living 33 miles away from The City and across the Bay Bridge a suburb, which I do. For years, I even had the same area code as San Francisco -- 415 -- the original Bay Area area code.

Growing up, the Dodgers, 70 degree winters and hobnobbing with celebrities were as foreign to me as to most of you. For me, it was the Giants, 49ers, rainy winters and foggy spring mornings.

However, for the past seven and a half years I have lived in southern California. I always knew that I would eventually end up here. I wasn't exactly clear on timing or motive, but the few times I would vacation or visit, there was a tug pulling me here. Not a yearning really, but a knowledge that this would someday be my home.

I believe I have adapted nicely to my new surroundings. The weirdness and weirdos are different, but unchanged, really. They just have different names. One has hippies on Haight and Ashbury, the other yuppies in Beverly Hills.

Being so familiar with both cultures has its advantages. I am just at home in one as the other. Best of all, it affords me the luxury of not being a slave to either or both. For instance, I don't have to be caught up in the narcisstic attitude of the southern half because I come from the more au natural environment of the north. Botox? Gah. I would never dream of doing that to myself and can unapologetically mock those who do. Driving? Surely you know we southerners invented the sport of what would to anyone else be an unsafe lane change at high speeds, but here is minimally required to survive.

I've had my fair share of reality check moments of needing to pinch and remind myself of where I am. Palm trees! Hollywood! Movie studios abound on every corner, not to mention stars. I can be just as star struck as the tourist from rural America given the right opportunity. And can act as though sightings of the rich and famous are just as mundane and ho-hum as all those palm trees.

For instance, on Thursday I was in Hollywood with Linda to see a preview at the El Capitan. Sounds cool, doesn't it? A preview in Hollywood. Aren't you impressed? (Okay, it was a preview showing of "Holes" for local educators. Since it's based on an award-winning children's book, they want to make sure that teachers will promote it in the classroom, etc.) We parked in the garage behind the Kodak Theater. Yes, where the Academy Awards will be broadcast from in two days. That block of

Hollywood Blvd.was blocked off to traffic since they were raising the catwalk, the 40-foot Oscar statue and a huge gold drape over the entrance to the theater that all the elite will enter in wearing their designer finery while fans and paparazzi ooh and aah over them on Sunday.

It was very cool to be walking on the same red carpet that the cast of Chicago will traverse. I would have enjoyed it more had we not been running a little bit on the cutting edge of lateness. There was no time to savor the moment. There were plenty of tourists, though, who not only were savoring but downright lollygagging and generally preventing me from moving as fast as I would have liked. I mean really. You'd think they've never seen Mann's Chinese Theater before and all those famous stars in the sidewalk. Okay, they probably haven't, but is that my fault? Move outta my way. Some of us are actually natives and have places to be!

See what a snob I can be with my dual citizenship status?

But I can't pretend that it's not a cool place to be. The first time I drove past the Walt Disney Studios with the huge sorcerer's hat marking the home of the animation building, and the seven dwarfs holding up the office building on the other side of the lot, well, I just thought it was the coolest thing evah.

One of my friends' and my favorite games to play is Mock Celebrity Sighting. You know -- pick a person out of a crowd who looks like someone famous. Playing that here nets the most interesting results. One night my friend Steve and I were outside the Ahmanson theater waiting to go inside. Steve said, "Look! It's Steve Allen." I looked, thought about it, and said, "Yeah, I guess I can see the resemblance."

Steve: "No, really. It's Steve Allen."

After I recovered from the whiplash the triple take had given me, I went up and asked for his autograph. He died three weeks later.

Other real star sightings I've had: Scott Bakula; Henry Winkler; Jay Leno driving one of his Harleys a block from my house, Penny Marshall; Jerry Springer (not really something to brag about) eating by himself in a booth at a 50s-style diner, trying to pretend he was a normal person, but getting mad when no one would acknowledge him; Brett Butler in the Macy's in Burbank; Bonnie Hunt; Kato Kaelin (in the elevator at my office building! Sure, I know he's more infamous than famous, but still...); and I can't remember who-all else right now.

Sure, I try to pretend it's an everyday occurrence, these occassional brushes with stardom, but it can be exciting. No matter how cool I think I am, I am not immune to the little shiver of delight that invariably runs down my spine in moments like these.

California. No matter which half you live in or which area code (did I mention I have one of the original southern California ones? 818. Yep, I'm cool.) you have, it's a good place to be.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Work. It Can Be Fun...Really!

Here’s some background on this. It’s really nothing more than an email exchange between me and a friend of mine who works for a mortgage/loan company. (Never having gone through the home-buying process, I’m a little unsure as to all the right lingo, so get off my back about it already!) Even in today’s world, in the new and enlightened century we live in, this company retains some very stodgy banking cultural attitudes that you wouldn’t necessarily find in similar places. Like the dress code. You know, stiff and formal. Even though they say they’re “business casual,” they really want you to be business professional. It’s a rough road to hoe, especially for my friend who is much more comfortable in jeans and tennis shoes than dress pants and frilly blouses. Anything less is a punishable offense. It probably wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for all the eggshells she feels like she’s walking on. She just never really knows if an action or pair of shoes will be acceptable or not.

One of the vice presidents has taken it upon herself to send motivating “thought of the day”s and friendly reminders about acceptable behavior, eating habits and dress standards. I don’t know how she got that job, but I’d like to know where to stand in line for it. How cool would it be to be the jerk who gets to tell everyone how to act and condescendingly tell them to enjoy their jobs!

Anyway, please note that I have not edited anything from the original messages. Really. You can’t make up stuff that’s this good.

-----Original Message-----

From: my_friend@thebank/


Wednesday, March 12, 2003

7:29 AM

To: me@work

Subject: ABCD Awards

Yet another heartfelt communication for our very own VP In Charge of Whatever:

VP In Charge of Whatever

To: all@thebank/

Subject: ABCD Awards

I just wanted to reiterate my statements on Friday regarding the purpose of the ABCD awards. As the acronym states, Above and Beyond the Call of Duty, these nominations/awards should be reserved for those individuals who have extended themselves beyond their normal work responsibilities. Individuals may be recognized for exceeding expectations, assisting someone else with a project, or taking on additional responsibility. Employees can receive a nomination for this award directly from management or from a peer.

Management wants to ensure that employees who receive an ABCD award are recognized based on the conditions above. Therefore, starting last month, a preliminary review of the nominations was conducted (prior to the presentation of awards) to ensure the worthy efforts would be acknowledged. Those nominations which did not stand out as exemplary nominations were removed from the ABCD selection process even though they were included in the honorable mentions. This process will continue going forward to ensure we are truly acknowledging employees who are going above and beyond their normal job responsibilities.

So, to ensure that your nomination is worthy, follow these simple requirements:

* Nominate a permanent Port Comm employee (full-time or part-time); and

* Make sure your summary identifies how this person exceeded your expectations,


* Include the specific project/task that the other person helped you with, or

* Identify the extra projects/tasks for which the individual took responsibility.

Test Yourself!

Select the write-up(s) below that would be worthy of an ABCD award:

a) I want to thank Jessica for always being there when I need her, especially last week.

b) I needed to get some volumes to my supervisor ASAP, but I had some challenges completing the necessary Access query. I called on Pam, and she dropped everything to help me out. She even created this neat report so I don't have to export the information to Excel.

c) Kathy's attention to detail really came in handy for me last week when I needed a second set of eyes to review a report I had prepared. She caught an important detail that I had left out.

d) Whenever I'm having a rough day, I know I can count on Eida to maintain a positive perspective. Thank you, Eida!

Applaud yourself if you selected "B" and "C". What makes them worthy? In "B", Pam dropped what she was doing to help and she went a step further by creating a report. In "C", first of all, Kathy was second set of eyes when she didn't have to be; and second, if Kathy hadn't caught that important detail, an incomplete report would have been submitted.

Please feel free to see me, your manager, or your team leader for any questions you may have regarding the recognition program.

If we diminish the overall

VP In Charge of Whatever

Portfolio Communications

-----Original Message-----



Wednesday, March 12, 2003

7:29 AM

To: my_friend@thebank/

Subject: ABCD Awards

Ooh! I have so many comments on this! First off, the infallible Karen Abrams did not, repeat, did NOT finish a sentence at the bottom of her email. Coincidence? Or was she knifed to death just as she was finishing it, and her killer hit the "send" button for her? Hmmm.. .

Also, I think that B & C are the correct answers, not because they demonstrate the willingness of Kathy and Pam to go above and beyond the call of duty, but because the person writing the nomination gave the more suck-up essay-type responses. For all we know, Jessica and Eida really *do*deserve the award, but the person nominating them is too lazy to actually acknowledge why.

Lastly, I nominate you. "C is a wonderful employee. She does more for less money than those other idiots who work in her group. She really took over a difficult situation last week and acted calmly under extreme pressure. She was under a rush job to get hundreds of reports printed out, and the old man in the print room, Pops, was having a little prostate trouble and feeling really grumpy. He lashed out at the first person who actually asked him to do his job. Sadly, it happened to be C. The way she reacted though, can be a lesson for us all. She did not yell back at him, stomp out or even wonder, 'Why me?' No, instead she listened to all of Pop's woes and troubles, called the pharmacist, picked up the medication, handled all the other print jobs that were in the queue, distributed all the reports, and STILL managed to meet her own horrific deadline.

"C is a star. Not only do I nominate her for the whatever-stupid-name-duty-calls award, but I think she should get a cut of all those fees that customers have to pay when they pay a loan over the phone.

"C is a supreme example of what we should all strive to be here at The Bank/Loan Place. She demonstrated kindness, integrity, calmness and patience, all while wearing restrictive bankers' clothes.”

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Hello, Cyberspace

Whoa. This is weird. I mean, this thing about sharing my thoughts and life with an unseen world. It's one thing to tell my best friend and roommate, Linda (I'm sure you'll be hearing more about her), the happenings of my day, and I have other friends that I talk to about my life, but since they're all different, they all get different versions, or things that I think matter to them. Linda's the only one who gets the whole unedited thing, and her I can trust. You? I'm not so sure about. It will help that I can't see you, I suppose. But I'm a natural-born pleaser. I want you to be happy with what I write. Even more, I want you to be impressed with my wit and style and literary prose. I also am aware of my literary puniness and know that if I can accomplish that even once it'll be a miracle.

I want you to respect me in the morning.

You, dear readers, pose a problem to me. I find myself in the same dilemma when I'm burning CD's for my friends and family. I like to make CD's of my favorite (then) music for people to listen to. I think it's a fun way for them to get to know me at that point in my life (that really makes me sound selfish, but that's not what it's about, promise!) because music means so much to me and expresses me so much better than I can sometimes, that it's easy to see what kinds of things I'm experiencing based on the songs that mean a lot to me right then.

Anyway, when I'm putting songs on them knowing that they'll be going to my family members and friends, I second-guess myself, which I hate. I think, "Ooh, she won't like that," or, "Oh, my dad will be disappointed with that selection," and I get on my own nerves. It ends up being more of an expression of what I think they think I should like rather than who I really am.

That is my fear with doing this. I want it to be an expression of me -- my thoughts and feelings (as dreary and mundane as they may be) -- without having to cater to anyone else.

Case in point: some of the things that I may want to write about are my friends and family members, but how do I do that honestly knowing that they may end up as "audience" members? Even some of my best friends can also be my archest enemies at times, and how can I be honest with myself if I'm censoring myself?

I prefer to be honest in a round-about way, really. Maybe I just won't tell them about this! Yet. Maybe later. I don't want them to be ashamed of me. I will continue delusionally hoping that total strangers will read this and love me. From afar. Maybe I need therapy.

Or not. This is cheaper. I can't see you and you can't see me, and I get to practice my writing too.

Here's to my thoughts then! {clink} No, wait. Here's to my edited thoughts! No, not quite. Here's to what my fingers end up translating what my brain thinks it's thinking. That's just stupid though. Here's to....

Me being me. {clink}