Coffee Table Declarations
Thursday, April 29, 2004
Common sense is apparently not so common.

Example #1: Our company told the nightly cleaners to clean out the fridge and throw everything away except the milk. They accidentally forgot to tell the cleaners not to throw out the expensive, unopened bags of gourmet flavored coffee in the freezer. These bags had only been delivered the day before. Now they are gone and I have to drink French Roast every morning.

Common sense reaction: Let's weigh this shall we? O.K., you've been told to throw out everything but you see 6 or 7 full bags of coffee that look brand new. Yes, perhaps there is something wrong with them and they should be thrown out. On the other hand, maybe they didn't mean you should throw out the coffee. Which is worse - throwing out the coffee when you shouldn't or not throwing it out when you should? Why don't you leave a note saying "did you mean for me to trash the coffee? I left it just in case." Then if it should be thrown out, an employee can do it with little to no trouble and the cleaners will be thought the better of for being concerned about our coffee needs.

Example #2: Yesterday we had an interview candidate who was nonstop trouble from the moment he arrived to the moment he left. (The remaining examples of a lack of common sense will involve him.) He was a candidate for one of our offices in another location so we flew him here for the day. We arranged a very reliable car service to pick him up at the airport and then we emailed him the confirmation detailing where to meet the car, and including the phone number for the car company, just in case. He calls half an hour after he was supposed to be picked up and says "didn't you arrange for a car to pick me up? They never showed up. I'm in a cab and we're lost." He claimed he never got the email. I called the car company who informed me that the car was still there waiting and we would be charged anyway.

Common sense reaction: If you were told that your prospective new employer arranged for a car for you and due to some unforeseen snafu you did not recieve a confirmation email, wouldn't you at least call said prospective new employer BEFORE getting into a cab so that you might find out for sure where to meet the car?

Example #3: In between meetings with different people, he stood here in the lobby and had a highly personal and highly inappropriate conversation on his cell phone. He was obviously trying to get a date and he made some highly suggestive comments which I was embarrassed to have to bear witness to.

Common sense reaction: Do not assume that the receptionist is too stupid or too unimportant to matter. Nine times out of ten I am solicited for input on prospective candidates and nine times out of ten they either listen to me or say "we should've listened to you" when it all goes awry. So if you can't get through the day without making a suggestive phone call, inform the receptionist you are stepping outside to make a call and that way no one has to know if it's business or personal.

Example #4: He proceeds to grill people on subjects that make them uncomfortable, he makes repeated reference to sex during several meetings with different people, and then asks point blank if he's going to get the job.

Common sense reaction: Discretion is paramount.

And finally... Example #5: When left alone in the lobby waiting for a ride back to the airport, he took the liberty of entering an empty HR office, used the computer, and then announced it to the office owner when he returned as if it was a perfectly acceptable thing to do.

Common sense reaction: I don't even think I can justify this ridiculousness with a common sense reaction. Let's just say I don't think we'll be welcoming this guy aboard and this last thing out of everything else is what cinched the deal.
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
I can't help but feel secretly disappointed that "everything went fine" at work while I was out the last couple days. I guess I wanted people to say, "oh thank goodness you're back, I don't know how we got by without you!" But um... they didn't.
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Please excuse my extended absence. I took a couple days off from work and have been pretty much avoiding the computer. Now I am typing this from my home computer where every two seconds a pop up ad pops up in front of everything. These pop up ads say things like, "come check out my site, I think you'll enjoy it, wink wink" and "you too can have an extra large penis!" and "I have my webcam on right now and I'm naked" I don't know how my computer became a target for these pop ups, especially because I am using a pop up blocker.

Anyway, I went for lunch at a Mexican place yesterday where the food was delicious and extrordinarily spicy. I have a very high tolerance for spice because I eat Mexican food a lot. Therefore when my dining companion offered me to try some sort of hot pepper I casually picked up the small piece he had put on my plate and touched it to my tounge, not wanting to look like a wimp. Instantly my tounge felt like it was on fire. Needless to say, I did not attempt to try it after that. However, I forgot I had picked it up with my fingers and later I accidentally rubbed my eye which was then struck by burning hot pain. Today, even though I have showered twice and spent an hour in a pool since picking up the pepper, my thumb still hurts as though I burned it on an iron or something.

Last night I looked up different kinds of peppers in my Mexican cook book which advises to use gloves when preparing peppers and never ever touch your eyes afterwards. Why would anyone want to eat these things if they're so dangerous? I don't really understand. I do know that an episode of Fear Factor featured people having to eat the hottest peppers known to humanity. I can't even fathom that since I know the pepper from yesterday was not even close. And I swear, I don't watch Fear Factor. But I do know someone who admitted he would rather eat a live worm sausage than an onion.
Thursday, April 22, 2004
What the hell is gmail? Anyone?

* * * * *

I cannot wait to get outside today. It is beautiful. Welcome spring! Or since we really have only two seasons here in New England, welcome summer!

This past weekend was my parents' 33rd wedding anniversary. They took my sister and I out to dinner and I asked them to share remnicenses about their wedding day. My dad said it snowed that day, so there's your example of New England weather. It was probably summery the next week. Or perhaps the climitary changes over the past 33 years have resulted in warmer temperatures in April, who can say? They had more to say about the matrimonial event, but nothing interesting to anyone outside of my immediate family (things such as, getting ready, walking down the aisle, blah, blah, blah.)

Marriage to me is an amazing phenomenon. How can you possibly know how you will feel about someone in 20 years or even 5 years? I don't know about you, but it gives me the willies. Of course, I'd like to get married, someday. So hopefully I'll get over the willies before that day comes. Meanwhile I have to endure questions and commentary in parental settings such as "we can't wait to have grandchildren" and "when are you thinking of settling down?" However, nothing beats the statement made by my nineteen year old sister. I was remarking on how I seem to get along so well with middle aged ladies and she said, "but you're almost middle-aged aren't you?" Um... for the record, I am 28. Last I checked I was nowhere near middle-aged. But just to be safe, I've decided to simply stay 28. So on my birthday, I will be turning 28. Next year on my birthday, I will be the ripe old age of 28. You get the idea.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Last night I hurt my foot in the shower. Well, actually, I was innocently reaching for a towel, when I knocked a large jar of this directly onto my foot. The jar is glass and probably weighs about 20 pounds. I yelled loudly and peppered it with explatives. My roommate, who owns the offensive jar, was not at home. After getting out of the shower and getting dressed, I hobbled out of the bathroom, grabbed an ice pack, and propped my injured foot up on a pile of pillows. It was already starting to bruise and it hurt badly. Of course I called my parents for a little sympathy. Then I heard my roommate come home and I yelled to her. But she didn't care, she'd just leave me there to die if it were up to her. Her and her damn jar of bath product.
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
I wanted to write something a while ago but for the past half hour two young giggly college girls have been hovering near my desk. It turns out they are here with a college boy, whose father works here and the kids wanted to conduct some interviews with some of our employees for a class they are taking. Aw.

I hate to sound like I'm complaining, but something is wrong with my chair and I can't seem to fix it. You know how office chairs have all those fancy knobs and levers that do different things that can make the chair a perfect custom fit to your own personal ergonomic needs? Well all I can manage to do is make it go up and down. The problem I'm having is that my seat seems to be ever so slightly tipping forward so that all day I am sitting as though I might lunge head first toward my computer monitor at any moment. As you can imagine, this is unnerving, not to mention uncomfortable. The weird thing is, my chair was perfectly acceptable last week. Did someone come in and switch it over the weekend? Was someone sitting here messing with it? It's like that feeling when someone else has driven your car and the seat is in a different place and the rearview mirror is askew. It's things like this that can really throw you off.

This chair stuff is serious business. At my old company we were considering replacing all the office chairs which were old and worn out. A representative from a chair company came with a sample chair and gave a lengthy demonstration. I was one of his volunteers and I'm sure I sampled about 8000 potential chair positions. Not only that, but he showed us how to change everything. If you weren't taking notes, you were out of luck, there was no way you would remember it all. I need a chair specialist now.

I have one final thought for the day. Something weird happened on Sunday that was certainly not a mere coincidence, but doesn't make any sense. I was reading this book for the book club when I came to a line that said something about a friend named Alvin "but he preferred to be called Al". I was lying on my bed and at that exact moment I heard (as I often do) music playing in someone's car on the busy street below. It was loud and distinct and it gave me the chills. I'm not even making this up - the song playing was this. How often do you hear that song these days? What are the chances that I would hear that song at that exact moment? And what does it all mean?
Friday, April 16, 2004
Last night my roommate and I hosted a Body Shop party at our apartment. We had fourteen guests including our moms. My mom used to go to tupperware parties a long time ago when they were the only at home retail parties going. So I guess everything comes full circle.

The theme of our evening was "Foot Fun". First we got to soak our feet in nice warm water and then we got to use a tingly peppermint foot mask. My roommate's mom brought a lot of refreshments including shrimp cocktail, deviled eggs, and monkey bread. I apologize to Pinky who has already heard this story but I have to repeat it because it was really funny. As I was sitting with my feet soaking, someone handed me a plate of monkey bread to try. I tasted it and it was good that I said "MMmmmm, monkey bread!" to no one in particular. That was when the middle-aged lady next to me started to laugh and she said, "monkey bread and a foot soak! It doesn't get much better than this!" We shared a moment of laughter and I realized that there I was, fraternizing with middle-aged ladies again.

That same middle-aged lady was quite the character. When we were passing around some kind of lotion to smell, one girl said, "I think it smells like play dough." and the lady next to me replied, "Really? I thought it smelled like a baby's bottom." pause... "a clean baby's bottom that is!" which set me to laughing again.

A good time was had by all. A lot of money was spent by me. And I had to laugh when the consultant did her little pitch about "if anyone wants to become a consultant and do what I do, you can make a ton of money, blah blah blah." You see, I myself did a short stint as a Party Lite consultant. I think I spent more money than I made ever. Although it taught me something important about myself (I enjoy talking in front of groups, a fear I overcame and in fact started to embrace during this time) and I ended up with a ton of candles. And speaking of candles, last night we lit the aptly named Wheel of Fire for the very first time. It was a smashing success and did not (as my roommate had feared) set our wall aflame.
Thursday, April 15, 2004
I happened to read that yesterday was the 92nd anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Are there still any survivors alive, I wonder? Somewhere I read there are three, but who knows when that was actually written? Wouldn't there be some sort of big fanfare if there was only one left? And wouldn't you feel a lot of pressure if you were that one? After all, you would be somewhere in the realm of your 90's and therefore, might not remember... well, much of anything really, let alone something that happened when you were very little.

More fascinating still is this book. It was actually written fourteen years before the Titanic disaster, yet it features a similar boat (similarly named the Titan) with a similar fate. Coincidence? Or something supernatural at work? There have been other instances of that happening throughout history. In fact, the same author supposedly wrote a book about a futuristic war where planes were used to drop bombs... supposedly starting in the month of December and initiated by Japan. However, I don't have this on good authority, I couldn't even find it on Amazon. Still, the possibilities are thought provoking aren't they?
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
I did my taxes this morning. It took me all of 15 minutes. I will never again complain about the difficulty of doing taxes so long as I have a steady income with taxes taken out regularly throughout the year.

Last year was a nightmare. During 2002 I had worked for a political campaign and therefore was paid as a consultant - meaning no taxes were taken out of my income. I was advised to put money aside for taxes, but I had no extra money to put aside as I was getting paid such a miniscule amount. Needless to say, mid-April of '03 was a crazy time that I'd rather not even discuss.

So for some reason this year I owe the government 70 cents. That's it - no refund for me but on the other hand, no addition to my current debt (oh yes, I still owe a scary sum from my time on the campaign and am on a payment plan which may erase my debt in... I don't know, 40 years?)

Someone once gave me the analogy that if you work a standard Monday through Friday, nine to five week, you are not working for yourself until sometime on Wednesday. In other words, the first two plus days of the week, you are working and the government is collecting your salary. Does this actually make sense to anyone??
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
I have to confess something here. I don't understand why people think they are perfectly justified walking around naked in the locker room. And just so we're clear, I'm talking about the locker room at the YMCA, and I'm talking about the older, not necessarily svelt-figured women who swim there so nobody need get excited about it. It's quite disconcerting to be standing at the mirror, drying my hair, and then suddenly get an eyeful of middle-aged nakedness. Now, I am by no means a prude, and hey, if someone were to happen to catch a glimpse of me unclothed in the locker room, no big deal. But is there any reason to flaunt it? I'm not even talking about people quickly changing into or out of a bathing suit, I'm talking about, for example, this one woman strolling around wearing nothing but the towel on her head while she a. gathered up her clothes, b. examined herself in the mirror, and c. chatted with other people. I feel like saying, "um... maybe it's a little hard to tell due to the multiple toilet stalls, grungy wet tiles and, oh I don't know, the complete strangers milling around, but just in case you didn't know, this is not your home bathroom!" But hey, if you're not exactly a super model and you're not exactly a spring chicken, and you're still comfortable enough with your body to parade around naked amongst the company of unknown others, well, who am I to pass judgement?
Monday, April 12, 2004
At this very moment I am on hold with a travel agency. No, I'm not planning an exotic getaway, but I've recently become the travel guru here at work and I've been booking all kinds of business trips for colleagues and associates. Anyway, the hold-music at this travel agency is really beautiful. Everytime I call and am put on hold I find myself marveling at the simple, relaxing, beauty of the hold-music. We don't have hold-music. If we did, I'm sure our callers would be a lot more pleasant. It really is the little things that make a difference.

* * * * *

So Easter was another typical holiday with my family. It took place on Saturday, keeping with the philosophy of "no one wants to drive on holidays" which is firmly held by my mom and aunt, planners of all holiday gatherings. My dad answered the door in a brightly colored Hawaiian print shirt. It took only a few minutes for the tension in the air to thicken and the nerves to be set on edge. Not because of the brightly colored Hawaiian print shirt, but in spite of it.

My favorite parts were the fork festivities, the grasshopper we found in the dilapidated backyard, and what shall henceforth be known as "the ice cube incident". Every visit to a family gathering, especially with a guest, bears such strong resemblance to Seinfeld episodes that I am positive there must be someone out there who would find humor in the whole situation.
Friday, April 09, 2004
Yesterday on my walk, I passed an auto repair shop. Parked out front was a shiny, light green, nice looking, jeepish-SUV-type thing that someone mean had covered in white spray paint. One side had a girl's name on it and the other side had some Greek letters and a nasty word to call someone indicating they are... sexually promiscous, if you will. I assume the Greek letters symbolized a sorority. The hood of the car repeated the nasty word and I didn't bother to walk around to see the back. I instantly felt sorry for the girl, sexually promiscous or not. I envisioned how she must have felt to discover her car desecrated, and the shame she had to endure as she drove to the auto repair shop. I wondered what exactly had happened in her life to lead to that scarlet-letter-like incident. And then I walked on my way.
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
O.K., in my effort to meet new people my own age as well as pursue my interests, I have spent some time looking through a continuing education catalog. Now I need your help. Please vote for one or more of the following possible classes:

1. Watercolor
2. Healthy French Cooking
3. Vegetarian Cooking
4. Assertiveness Training
5. Handwriting Analysis
6. Past Life Regression
7. Self-Hypnosis for Relaxation
8. Acting Workshop for Beginners
9. Career Decisions Workshop
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Last Thursday evening, I rushed through the inclement weather (wind-driven, downpouring rain) to the bookstore across the street for my first time at the book club. The door to the bookstore is set back a bit from the sidewalk so you can traverse the walkway without getting wet. I saw a rather prim looking, well... bookish type, standing near the door smoking a cigarette. As I approached the door in my fluster of nervousness and rain, I suddenly tripped over one of those yellow "CAUTION" signs which was lying down in front of the door. I caught my balance but I felt a little silly. "Oh my goodness!" I said to the smoking book worm, "isn't that funny? The sign says caution and I tripped on it!" She gave a slight nod, but I had a good laugh.

Perhaps due to the weather, only three other people had shown up for the book club. They told me there were usually around eight, still not quite a crowd. They were all middle-aged women. It's ironic to me how people always say that getting involved in something you're interested in is a great way to meet new people and the very things I'm interested in are populated by middle-aged women (water aerobics and the book club). I have no problem with meeting middle-aged women, in fact, I usually get along with them just fine, but I really wouldn't mind making some new friends my age.

During the brief time we discussed the book, I found a kindred spirit in one particularly enthusiastic woman. She had loved the book just as I had and in fact, was the one that recommended it for the book club. We conversed with excitment over our concern for the characters and our love for the story.

The time not spent talking about the book was spent discussing a vast range of topics from rain flooded basements to the issue of gay marriage. Some of the topics I found a little too boring (flooded basements) and some a little too controversial (gay marriage) to be discussing with perfect strangers, let alone middle-aged women strangers. However, we also had a fascinating conversation about the implications of The DaVinci Code.

Toward the end of the hour it came time to select a book for next month. Apparently they take turns and asked if I wanted it to be my turn. I have read so many great books, but of course, couldn't think of a single one being put on the spot like that. (Suggestions are welcome) I get to pick the following month's book.

They all said they were glad I came. I felt that I had some fairly insightful things to say as well as a delightful cup of chai tea so I'm going to return next month and see how I like it. On the way out I stepped over the caution sign and, having forgotten about it, started laughing all over again.
Monday, April 05, 2004
I have the angry reds. It's Monday and I don't feel like being pleasant. Additionally, the theme song from The Facts of Life has been playing incessantly in my head and I have no idea why.

I forgot about the time change until Sunday afternoon. I walked over to CVS around 2, shopped around a little, and then stood in line and glanced up at the clock. It said 3:40 and I experienced an acute sense of disorientation for several seconds. Then I remembered and realized I had even less of my weekend left than I thought and I felt angry for wasting time at CVS.

The weather is like winter revisited. Snow, wind, etc. I am grouchy today!
Friday, April 02, 2004
There are 40 kids here right now for an office-wide Easter egg hunt. This place has gone from a rather calm and sedate environment, to a mad house. Sitting across from me at this moment, is an 8 foot tall inflatable rabbit. This morning someone walked by my desk and said "does anyone else see a giant rabbit?" and then someone else, with total deadpan delivery, replied, "what rabbit?" I can't even think straight right now but I will have a story soon about the book club last night so stay tuned...
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