Coffee Table Declarations
Friday, January 30, 2004
Sometimes being a grown up is hard.
Thursday, January 29, 2004
My head feels fuzzy but not in a way I can explain. It's buzzing somehow. I have my review today. 2:30 pm Eastern Standard Time, if anyone is wondering. Here's hoping for accolades, recognition, and a truck load more money. But I'm nervous. The woman doing my review hasn't been here long. She comes from a more structured corporate environment. She has already mentioned to me that I should try harder to find work to do. She doesn't understand there is nothing to do and they really don't care if I read a book or go online. For months and months I had no supervisor. No one cared what I did and no one said a word about my performance, good or bad aside from "thanks for your help with this." Now what standards am I going to be judged by? Surely something out of place for this environment. And I start getting all riled up when I think, I have a college degree for Pete's sake. A monkey could do my job. Well, a particularly smart and friendly monkey with a zest for coffee and a flair for the written word. I'll leave you now with these compelling questions: Will I get a good review? Will I be replaced by a monkey? And will my head ever feel normal again?
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
I heard a story today of an old man who dropped dead in a hallway. Just now I was going through some old paperwork and found an invoice signed by one of the people who died here. All of a sudden I felt a jolt of realization in regard to my post yesterday. I knew that something felt wrong with saying "oh, I'll give it a year." One day you could just go to work like you always do and that would be that. Everything could be gone in an instant.

I'll admit it, I am famous for procrastination. There are so many things I want to do and to try and for some reason I just never do. I want to write a book but I'm scared and so I don't even start. I want to take classes and learn and try things and meet new people, and figure out what I'm supposed to do with my life. But I don't do any of that and I don't even know why. Maybe I'm afraid I won't like something or something won't like me, or who knows what. I have always been this way saying, "oh someday I'll do this." Well when exactly is that?
I am so sick of spam. The latest stupidity is for spam to show up in your inbox with a random name so that you will "think" that it's "a real person". What's funny about this is that they seem to randomly generate a name not based on actual names, but on words. Here is a list of actual spam names found in my spam folder this morning, exactly as they appeared. I have changed nothing. Look at how many I get and how ridiculous they are:

Flatbed J. Strawed
Shrank S. Perpendiculars
Amulets V. Gullah
Englishwoman G. Inordinate
Aloof C. Chink
Elevator P. Affairs
Drowns E. Microbiologist
Brad Pitt

That last one was pretty funny. Am I supposed to think that Brad Pitt sent me a personal email? Oh wow! Obviously it's something important he needs to tell me because the subject line is "best looking male celebs". I also think that the name Elevator P. Affairs is my favorite. It kind of makes me giggle and I guess that if it's going to show up unwelcome in my inbox, it may as well give me a laugh. Is anyone else getting randomly named spam like this or is it just me?
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

This morning as I opened the fridge to get cream for my coffee, someone's lunch came careening out toward my feet. Now who would perch their lunch so precariously onto an overstuffed shelf in just such a way that it would propel itself forward the instant the fridge was opened? Was it some kind of candid camera incident? Was there really a little man hiding in the fridge throwing lunches at unsuspecting people? And what did I do in response? I picked up the brown bag lunch and wedged it back into a tiny nook on the overstuffed shelf and quickly shut the door. I didn't hang around the kitchen, but I wouldn't be surprised if that lunch plunged forward onto the next person to open the fridge.

This afternoon the CFO was returning the calculator he borrowed from the CEO and he decided to leave it on her desk all wrapped in ribbon for no apparent reason. Was he trying to trick her into thinking it was a brand new calculator? Whatever his point was, he was getting a big laugh out of his own whimsy. "Um, it sure looks pretty" I said as he giggled maniacally... "with the curly ribbons and all..." and snuck off to leave it on her desk.

And for the record, today is my one year anniversary of working here. When I started I told myself I'd give it a year. And now here it is - a year. Isn't that a funny thing to say? As if we have a year here and there to casually spend trying something out.
Monday, January 26, 2004
Yesterday I went to Walmart for the first time in my life just to see if it really does compare to Target. (Wow that sounded funny. I don't think I've ever used that exact string of words in a sentence before!) My most worthwhile investment? A mood ring for less than $3. It's been attracting compliments all day. It's an entire band not just a ring with a round stone in it and every time I look it's a different color. How cool is that?
Friday, January 23, 2004
It's not even 9am and I have a headache. I had it last night and then I woke up with it. I hate that. Yesterday was nonstop busy which is sometimes exhilirating and sometimes overwhelming. This morning on my way to work, by the side of the highway but set back from the road, a blob of orange caught my eye. I looked and there, standing up and facing the road, was one of those plastic trick-or-treating pumpkins with a grinning face. I thought, "now how in the world did you get there?" I also came in to find a personalized spam in my inbox asking me "Katie, do you want three more inches in your pants?" Wow - how do they know my name? And three more inches of what, I wonder? Maybe they meant a three inch wad of cash in my pocket, I could deal with that. Happy Friday everyone!
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Things that made me laugh today:

1. I stopped to get a muffin on the way to work this morning and there was a sign outside that said in two separate, distinct sentences: "Parking for Customers. While Shopping in Store Only." I wonder if they've had some trouble in the past with people saying "But I AM a customer. No I wasn't in the store at the time, but I do go in on occasion."

2. A little girl called and said very politely, "Hi, I'd like to speak to my daddy please." Um... "O.K. Honey, what's your daddy's name?" to which she replied with his first name, Mike. As if we don't have a dozen Mikes here. How cute is that?

3. A case of mistaken identity - someone just called from our biggest client and one of my coworkers said excitedly, "oh, I'll talk to him!" I handed her the phone and she chatted animatedly for a couple of minutes ("hey, how are you doing? I thought of you this weekend when I saw the football game - did you go?" etc.) After she handed the phone back to me and I transferred the call, she looked at me in all seriousness and said, "Um, I have no idea who that was." Whoops!
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
In reference to my previous post, Paul brings up a very good question. He asks why I didn't realize Cafeteria Boy was interested in me. I think this is worth addressing.

There has long been confusion between the genders on what constitutes signals of interest, versus friendliness, versus flirtation, versus attraction. I have heard men complain because often times they are sure that a girl is giving them go-ahead signals and then he witnesses her acting the same way with other guys. In actuality, she thinks she is simply being friendly and (if she is not a manipulative girl with ulterior motives) has no idea how she is coming off.

Now, as far as girls interpreting guys behavior, I cannot speak for all girls. However, I personally would prefer to err on the side of not interested than be disappointed to realize that someone I had my heart set on and convinced myself felt the same way, was really not interested after all. I think this stems from an incident in Junior High which I swore I wouldn't let happen again. Therefore, even if I'm thinking that a guy might possibly be interested in me, I will try to push that thought from my mind. There is another reason for this as well. As soon as you think someone is looking at you in a different way, you become horribly self-conscious and awkward around this person. It is so much easier to interact under the assumption that they could care less. Of course, eventually there might be obvious signals (he asks you out, kisses you, etc.) and of course, if this is someone you're pursuing, it is important to take an open-minded approach that they could potentially be interested, but you need to keep this in check.

When a girl is not interested in a guy and a guy seems interested, it is very easy to say, "oh, he totally likes me", because (and I don't mean to sound awful, but it's true, we all do it) you are not interested for a reason. Obviously you think that you are out of this person's league, therefore, of course they like you. Why wouldn't they? However, there are instances when you'd prefer to believe that this is not the case. Take Cafeteria Boy for example. Were there times that it crossed my mind he might be interested? Sure. But I didn't want him to be. Here was someone I was not interested in and had to interact with on a daily basis. Also, knowing how guys can sometimes misinterpret a girl's friendliness, I didn't want to give him the wrong idea. Not only that, I witnessed him being friendly to everyone so I was more able to convince myself it was innocent. In fact, in that case, I even said to myself something like, "Don't be silly, Katie, not everyone likes you. There are a few guys out there who might be able to resist your charm." Yes, I'm kidding - sort of. In other words, I really wanted it not to be true.

With all of these mixed signals flying back and forth it's a wonder people ever get together at all! Thoughts?
Friday, January 16, 2004
My coworkers definately have my back. This morning one of them met me at the mechanic so I wouldn't have to walk to work in the cold (after dropping off my car). I was also lent someone's extra sweater today and spotted a couple bucks for lunch.

The best part however, came just a few minutes ago. The guy who used to work in our cafeteria and had a big crush on me, just stopped by. For months I thought he was just friendly, even though he would remember what I liked and didn't like, and make special sandwiches for me or tell me I looked nice that day. It wasn't until two of my friends here pointed out that it was dead on obvious that I started, warily to believe it. After that I felt awkward going to the cafeteria and was not terribly upset when it closed.

That was months ago. But suddenly, he just showed up today, saying he had to drop something off to someone else in the building. He was friendly, as usual, but he makes me slightly uncomfortable. He knows that I am less than available so why is he so persistant?

When he went upstairs I told my nearest neighbor what was going on. Because she can see me from her desk, she started calling me when he came back downstairs "to say goodbye" to me. She recruited two of the girls from down the hall in the accounting office and suddenly my phone was ringing off the hook. I was trying to keep a straight face as they asked me to transfer them to themselves and each other or said things like, "you know, we can do this all afternoon." Finally he got the idea. I said, "these phones are going crazy, I really should get back to work." Once he left I was able to thank the girls for their phone call campaign. It just feels good knowing there are people looking out for me.
Thursday, January 15, 2004
To add insult to injury, now I'm all stuffed up with a bit of a sore throat. I was just sick before Christmas! I can't possibly be getting sick again? Can extremely cold weather make you feel like this perhaps? I hate this week! I can't wait for tomorrow evening so it will be the weekend and I can curl up and watch my two favorite shows... Joan of Arcadia and Boston Public.

Car update: I braved the frigid parking garage this afternoon in order to add power steering fluid and I did it all by myself! I feel proud!!

Also, my car is being fixed tomorrow. I know I don't say this (or think it) very often, but I have to stop and acknowledge that I have the absolute best parents. They're lending me money until payday so I can fix my car!
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
It figures - during the coldest week of the year, I'm having car troubles. It started Monday morning on my way to work. My car was making a loud squealing noise that sounded terrible and got louder as I accelerated/turned the wheel. I called my mechanic who, as luck would have it, is located at the end of the street I work on. He told me to bring it by on my lunch break and he would take a listen. I was quite apprehensive considering that while I just got paid, practically my entire check went toward rent and I knew I wouldn't be able to get my car fixed for another two weeks.

He listened to my car, fiddled around under the hood for a minute, and miraculously the sound was gone! He explained that I have a power steering fluid leak and that he added some for me. He said it could wait a couple weeks to be fixed, and meanwhile, if it makes that sound again, I can just pour in some more fluid - really, as easy as adding oil. O.K., great, fine, I drove off. Everything was fine.

This morning however, I drag myself out of my cozy warm bed and bundle up for the trek to the parking lot in subzero temperatures. I heard on the news that any exposed skin can become frostbitten if I stay outside longer than 15 minutes. It's freezing, the wind is blustering, I am half running down the street to make it to the cold, but at least windless, interior of my car. It doesn't help that I am already running late and have no time to let my car warm up. I start it up, and wouldn't you know it? The loud squealing sound is back. The car sounds like how I feel, having gone from a cocoon of blankets to the bleak reaches of the artic in a matter of ten minutes. I whisper words of encouragement, teeth chattering, loud noise continuing, the entire way.

I arrive at work feeling truly depressed. Obviously the fact that I can't afford to get my car fixed yet means that I am going to be facing a daily ritual of standing in the bone-chilling wind, face and hands exposed to potential frost bite, with the goal of adding enough power steering fluid to get through the day. The thought is overwhelming.

Suddenly an idea occurred to me that would at least get me through today - I called the mechanic and asked him if I could "pop by" again today since I seem to have forgotten where the power steering fluid is supposed to go. I admit it, I played the dumb girl card. I had to! And he went for it. "You forgot already? O.K., come on by and I'll show you again." Yay! To hell with feminism - I wouldn't have to deal with my car in the cold, at least today.

When I got to the garage the mechanic motioned for me to drive inside, thankfully. It wasn't a sauna, but it certainly was a little warmer. I stepped out of my car and looked around. The garage was chilly (although it felt like Florida to me) and it was very dirty with grease and cigarette butts and tools everywhere. Still, it didn't seem like a bad place to work. I mean, if you wanted to fix cars for a living, which I never considered before, but I could technically learn - you know, if I don't get a good raise with my upcoming review.

My car went up on a crazy car-lifting contraption and with a flashlight, the mechanic showed me the underneath side of my car and where the leak was and everything! Just before he came out from underneath the car (but when I was safely a few feet away), the car-lifting contraption made a sound and the car kind of jumped just an almost imperceptable bit. The mechanic was startled and then looked at me and laughed nervously saying, "just a creak, that's all." Um... maybe I don't want to work in a garage.

Anyway, he once again topped off my power steering fluid and gave me a complimentary bottle of it so I guess now I have no excuse. But really, why did this have to happen during extreme cold when I have like, $20 until next Friday? Thank goodness he didn't charge me for the bottle of power steering fluid!
A new guy started today and he arrived with a box of donuts. I think he was trying to make friends and if that's the case, I say, way to go New Guy. He left the box here with me so that it has become my job to seduce unwitting passersby into taking a donut. When I tell them the reason for the donuts they say things like, "what is the new guy's name?" and "where is the new guy?" as they cheefully chomp on a donut. It looks as though his good-first-impression campaign is a smashing success. Note to self: when/if ever starting a new job, arrive on first day with culinary delights.
Monday, January 12, 2004
The freezing temperatures this weekend lended to my justification for hibernating. Friday night was a trip to our favorite Mexican restaurant for good food, good times, and sangria. We were going to go someplace afterwards but once out of the realm of warmth provided by the restaurant, we literally could think of nothing else but crawling into our respective beds. You know it's cold when it makes perfect sense to cancel plans just to minimize trips made to and from the car.

Saturday was spent dozing off and on, watching tv, and trying to stay warm (which actually isn't too difficult when you leave the temperature in the apartment on 72). I did brave the elements for a trip to the video store for this and this. Then I called for a sushi delivery and felt quite cultured eating my seaweed salad and drinking my bubble tea which I first heard about from a girl who always manages to be on the forefront of all that is hip and now.

I tuned in to a bit of the football game just to watch in awe as the players traversed the field in little more than short sleeve football jerseys. I was cold opening the door for the delivery guy. The door which, by the way, opens to a hall, not even to the outdoors. I just can't understand how it was physically possible to play football in such extreme cold, regardless of how much money they get paid.

After watching both movies, I have to say that I liked the first one very much and the second one was o.k. Maybe it was because that kid is adorable. As for the other, the shock value has kind of worn off and plus, half the cast was missing.

Sunday I finally made it to the grocery store... and so did everyone else. I was really frustrated trying to manuveur throught the produce section, and annoyed by the woman who, cart splayed out in a blatant lack of regard for anyone else, spent a full six minutes in front of the eggs - checking them for... what, salmanilla? But irritating does not begin to describe the person who accidentally rammed into the back of my ankle with her cart and muttered a quick apology when I yelped in pain and turned with my angriest expression plastered to my face. But speaking of pain, I also dropped a case of ginger ale on my finger and an obscenity burst forth from my mouth. I swear, I wasn't always so short tempered with people. Maybe my job has gotten to me. It's hard to be polite all the time.

Well, at least I don't cause reckless destruction. I forgot to mention that a couple weeks ago a certain someone was parked on my street and discovered the front window of his car broken, along with six other cars that happened to be parked in the wrong place at the wrong time. What kind of jerk would just thoughtlessly vandelize people's cars like that? What is wrong with people? And is it at all suspicious that a not-even-local auto glass company just happened to be driving by and left business cards on all the victims' windshields? Hmmmm...
Friday, January 09, 2004
I did not buy anything online today, even though I wanted to, even though it's Friday, even though it's payday, even though it's seems we're living within the arctic circle and I could use something to make me feel cheery and bright. I wanted to, but I didn't do it. I almost did. Sometimes I have amazing willpower. But that didn't stop me from indulging in my newest addiction .
Thursday, January 08, 2004
As yet another day draws to a close I have to muse about the fact that last week at this time I was probably curled up in bed with a good book, looking forward to fun and relaxation and a long weekend, and now I'm at work where not only did we had no internet connection all day and I was bored out of my mind, but also I now have to bundle up and brave impossibly cold temperatures before I can make it to the warmth of my bed and a book. When is summer coming?
Wednesday, January 07, 2004
The air is frought with tension as there is a tv crew here to interview our CEO. News crews are not new to me, nor should they be to anyone else here, but there is such a formal feeling and it's not comfortable. They have turned down the heat to accomodate the lights and equipment. Everyone is dressed up and speaking in hushed tones. I cheerfully greeted the mailman as I do every day and was quickly shushed by the PR person who hurried over to my desk, finger to her lips as if I were some sort of overly energetic child. My desk is sparkling clean and people keep coming by and saying how nice I look today. One guy asked me if the presence of a tv camera was the reason I was wearing make up. I told him I wear make up everyday, really. Personally I can't wait for the tv people to leave so we can go back to being our sloppy, rowdy, casual selves.
Tuesday, January 06, 2004
I had a really nice New Year's celebration (albeit a day late).

First, we discovered a Chinese restaurant with an almost comical atmosphere. By the way, if anyone can tell me the history behind the relationship of New Year's and Chinese food, you will get a fortune cookie from me.

Anyway, we were seeking ambiance - low lighting, good food, scorpion bowls. However, the place we haphazardly ended up had garishly bright lighting, a sports game blaring loudly from a tv in the corner, far too many burly men (including one pair who ordered a scorpion bowl to share), a friendly yet casual waitress decked out in sweatpants, and the most greasy Chinese food I have ever encountered. But it was absolutely perfect - good company makes all the difference.

And then there's my own personal much revered New Year's tradition of watching the annual Twilight Zone marathon on the SciFi channel. By the way, if anyone can tell me the history behind the relationship of New Year's and the Twilight Zone, you will get a fortune cookie from me.

Anyway, I love those old Twilight Zone episodes. I finally got to see the one with William Shatner on the plane. If you've never seen it, you can skip this part but here are my impressions: from a distance, the creature on the wing looked scary, but as he got closer, he just looked like a man in the bear suit. But then, when WS pulled the curtain back and the creature's face was pressed against the window, I almost jumped out of my skin. This all just proves that there is nothing like classic TZ episodes to enable you to suspend your disbelief, overlook the props of the day, and become completely wrapped up in a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. Besides, I find myself imagining weird, creepy things sometimes too. Doesn't everyone?
Monday, January 05, 2004
I'm back at work. Words cannot describe how little I want to be here right now. Especially because it was the perfect day for staying in bed - freezing rain, gloomy clouds... and our vacation of two 4-day weekends in a row is officially over. It's utterly depressing. The only thing keeping me going right now is a nice warm cup of French Vanilla coffee, and some kind, sympathetic soul who brought in a box of danishes to share.
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