Coffee Table Declarations
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
I could not watch this movie without fixating on Jennifer Aniston's hair. Especially because I just got my hair cut and of course, I was going for the long layers like she has but it never looks the same and I feel like maybe I'm just not explaining myself carefully enough to my hairdresser because I'm a little embarrassed in 2004 to ask for "the Rachel". Is it still in vogue? Do hairdressers still know how to do it? Or would that be like asking for "the Dorothy Hamil"?
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
On Saturday I posted an ad in search of a new roommate. I specifically said that I wanted a female roommate in her late twenties to early thirties. I got an email from someone named Bruce with the subject line "Let's start a dialogue". His email said he was in his forties, likes Szechuan cooking, swimming and biking and that he has a good deal of furniture as well as a "high end entertainment center" he's willing to share.

I wrote back to good old Bruce thanking him for his interest but as I said in my posting, I'm looking for a female roommate in her late twenties or early thirties but best of luck finding something. Over the past two days I have gotten the same email from Bruce two more times. I mean the exact same email as if he's just sending it out to everyone without regard for circumstance or repetition. I'm afraid this is just plain bad roommate hunting etiquitte. I keep deleting Bruce's email but I'm sure I'll be hearing from him again.

I'm beginning to wonder if there's a special type of spam sent to people who post apartment ads because I have to say, Bruce is driving me crazy with his same old email with the corny subject line and his eating and activity preferences. Are you a real person Bruce? No one could possibly like Szechuan, swimming, biking, AND high end entertainment. After your 27th email maybe I'll decide you are the right roommate for me after all.
Monday, June 28, 2004
Good news - my roommate told me on Friday that she is moving out! She said it had nothing to do with our recent air conditioning spat, but that she has a friend who wants to get an apartment with her. Fine by me! Now I am looking into three options 1. find a new roommate, 2. find a new apartment with a different roommate, possibly cheaper rent, or 3. find my very own apartment. I'll keep you all posted.

* * * * *

Friday night we went out for dinner and while we were inside it started pouring out. I saw a guy come in wearing a pink shirt, suit pants, and black flip flops carrying a fold-up umbrella. At least someone was prepared. We had parked a couple blocks away but as we were on a main road, we were able to dash between store awnings. Under one particular awning a man and a little girl were doing the same. The little girl was holding a small plastic baby seat and strapped into it was a baby doll. The little girl was about five and she was clutching tightly to the baby seat as the lighting flashed and the rain poured down. As they got ready to dash off she was saying something about being scared and the dad said, "are you scared or is Benny scared?" I heard her say "both" as they ran out into the rain.
Thursday, June 24, 2004
I apologize for being unable to write a real entry today due to the fact that I have been online all day looking for a new apartment. Yes, it's that bad.
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
I waited all day and in fact, all week. Finally at three o'clock today, the ice cream truck pulled up outside our building. We had planned to have it come and if there is enough interest, it will come all summer long, every Wednesday at three. I felt like a little kid as I rushed outside to see the pictures on the side of the truck and make my selection. There must have been a thousand choices, toasted almond, sprinkles, choco-taco, Nestles Crunch, Spongebob, whoever else is the leading cartoon of the moment, and every size and shape of popsicle you can imagine. I almost wanted to get more than one because they all looked so yummy.

I remember when I was little and the ice cream truck would come down the street, bell ringing. I'd hear that bell all the way down the street and I would gasp with the giddy excitement that you can only feel when the ice cream truck is the fulfillment of all of your worldly dreams. I would dig through pockets and look under furniture, scraping together dimes, quarters, handfuls of change, and run outside to the truck. I would look longingly at all the pictures and inevitably I would settle on something that was most likely blue with gumball eyes, sometimes shaped like a ghost if I recall correctly, and sometimes not, but always melty and sweet and resulting in an inevitable blue tounge.

Today, though I paid with actual paper money and selected a more subdued black rasberry ice cream with chocolate coating, I still felt that Pavlovian rush of excitement from the ringing bell as I hurried outside to the ice cream truck.
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Arranging travel for coworkers is not without it's perks. Here is a list of actual, honest-to-goodness airlines someplace in the world that I bet you've never heard of and may not ever have heard of if it weren't for me:

Air 2000
Air Sunshine
Aklak Air
Angel Airlines
Bearskin Airline
Calm Air
City Bird
Eagle Airlines
Forty Mile Air
Go Fly
Hex Air
Hooters Air
Impulse Airlines
Love Air
Teddy Air

Who is flying on these airlines anyway?? My favorites are Hex Air because it sounds a little spooky, and Sunflower. What are yours?
Friday, June 18, 2004
I always find it a little strange when an interview candidate asks to use the bathroom immediately upon arriving. I know, I know, maybe they drank a big coffee on the way over. Maybe they want to check their hair. Maybe they're nervous and want a moment to collect themselves. These are all very valid and believe me, I can relate. However I don't think I have ever gone to a company for a job interview and asked to use the bathroom. To me, it just says unpreparedness. My first and only concern is making a good impression. Something about asking to use the bathroom is just too casual.

Not too long ago a guy arrived for an interview, we'll just call him M. As M was signing in and I was handing him an application to be filled out, he asked if he could use the bathroom. After meeting with several people he was on his way out a couple hours later and he asked to use the bathroom again.

The next week my supervisor sent me an email saying that M was coming for a second interview, and in parantheses she wrote "(the bathroom candidate)". I almost fell off my chair laughing because that's the kind of supervisor I have.

Sure enough, M arrived as scheduled and like clockwork, the first thing he did was ask to use the bathroom. All in all though, he must've charmed the management because next thing you know, M was hired. Arriving for his first morning... can anyone guess where this is going? Anyone? Yes, he asked to use the bathroom.

I tried to put the whole bathroom candidate stigma out of my mind so I could give the guy a fair chance. But yesterday I just happened to be walking down the hall and suddenly the door to the men's room opened and out walked M, holding a newspaper. Wow, just make yourself right at home, Bathroom Candidate!
Thursday, June 17, 2004
A whole bunch of people just came into the lobby of the building and stared into our office. Some of them actually came right up to the glass and peered in. Um, hello? This is a place of business, not a fine art museum or a burlesque show. I stared right back with my meanest, dirtiest look. What is wrong with people? Do I have an exposed nipple or something? Is there an evil clown sneaking up behind me? I know the real reason people are curious, but you'd think they wouldn't be so darn obvious about it. Sheesh.

* * * * *

Actual things seen on my walk today: a black bikini top lying in the dirt by the side of the road, three big red flowers plucked from a nearby red flower bush and inserted amongst the branches of a small pine tree, one discarded latex glove. If this were an episode of CSI, I'm sure they would all tie together to form some diabolical, yet logical conclusion.
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
As it turns out, my roommate is a regular old soup-nazi when it comes to the air conditioning. First of all, we live in New England. I can count on one hand the number of days it's been 80 or above so far this year. It's not even officially summer yet, not to mention we had a record cold arctic winter which we shouldn't so soon forget. Two things you should know about me. 1. I'd rather be hot than cold and 2. I'm always cold. Don't get me wrong, some nice ac on a boiling hot summer day is a beautiful thing. And having an apartment with central air is a luxury. However, I do like to enjoy the summer just a little.

The first time it happened was sometime last week. I don't remember it being momentously hot, but maybe it was. Regardless, it was nothing a few open windows and maybe some ice cream couldn't cure. But sure enough, she comes in complaining about how hot it was and would I mind terribly if we turned on the air conditioner? What could I say? After having it on for a short while I was cold enough to pull blankets over myself as I lay in bed reading. Finally, I threw on a sweatshirt and went out to talk to her about turning it off. I immediately realized a problem. My room for some reason, was at least 10 degrees colder. The living room was pleasantly comfortable and I removed my sweatshirt. I don't know why my room would get much colder. All I can think is that the ac vent in my room is near the top of the wall opposite my bed so I can feel it shooting straight at me, whereas every other room has a vent in the ceiling and as we all know from seventh grade science class, heat rises. Wait... is that even relevant? I don't know, seventh grade was a long time ago.

This morning I woke up feeling a chill. I thought it was coming from my open window which was surprising because 80 plus degrees is in the forecast for today. I got up, got dressed, and went into the bathroom to put on my makeup. It was then that I heard the churning fan of the air conditioner. I couldn't believe it. My roommate came into the bathroom and I casually asked, "is it really really hot in here?" and she replied, "yes, you think so too??" I said no, I was asking because of the ac. She told me she woke up sweating and oh my gosh, how hot it is in her room. We were ready to leave at the same time but I had to grab my lunch so I said goodbye and have a good day to her. As I walked into the kitchen I saw her fiddling with the ac on her way out the door. I thought, thank goodness she's smart enough to at least turn it off when she's leaving for the day. I grabbed my lunch and headed for the door. I looked and the ac was on! I turned it off. We both leave the house at 8 and don't get home till 6 and I'll be a monkey's uncle if she thinks she can just leave it running in an empty apartment for 10 hours. We're going to have some major disputes this summer, I can tell.

Oh and by the way, happy birthday to my brother! Go on over and sign his guestbook or something.
Friday, June 11, 2004
This morning my supervisor, who happens to be in charge of HR, told me that they had to let someone go yesterday. Not because of anything negative on his part, we just simply didn't have the business in his area of expertise in order to justify continuing to keep him on. She told me he would be coming by later this afternoon to pick up his stuff.

When he arrived I had to buzz him in because of course his access card had been taken away. He looked like a lost puppy and I felt a strong sense of sadness twist into my gut. I've been there. I was laid off from a job once and it was devastating.

I went into my supervisor's office and pleaded with her not to make me ask him to sign in and wear a badge identifying him as a visitor. She gathered her seasoned HR wits about her and told me she would handle it. I returned to the lobby and told him she would be out momentarily. I didn't know what to say to him so I smiled in a way that I hoped conveyed sympathy and focused my attention firmly onto my computer screen. When my supervisor came out she reminded him that he had to sign in. What an awful feeling - to suddenly be an outsider at the place you, up until so recently, dedicated 40 plus hours a week to. Poor guy. Hopefully he will have a nice vacation. After I sobbed uncontrollably for 72 hours after being laid off, I started to enjoy unemployment. Especially because it was being subsidized by the federal government.
Thursday, June 10, 2004
Every Thursday this summer we are having pizza lunches at work. Although it wasn't my idea and I had no part in the planning, I am the money-collector/people-signer-upper because of my central location. By midafternoon yesterday only 4 people had signed up much to the chagrin of my supervisor and the event coordinator who came to ask me. So I asked them for names and I started cold calling coworkers. I managed to bring the list to a total of 10 and for the record if someone said they weren't coming, I did not call them a Dumbass. I maintained the utmost professionalism and politeness.

A good deal of people said they were opposed because they are on Atkins and South Beach and various other fad diets where you can only eat meat and eggs or fish and salad or chocolate and cheese or whatever. Is it me or has everyone's workplace become so health conscious?

At noon today the pizza arrived and though I usually take lunch at one, I had asked the person covering phones for me if she wouldn't mind coming at 12. Everyone else (all 9 of them) hurried down to the conference room where the food was set up. My supervisor passed me on her way and said, "Aren't you coming Katie?" but the minutes dragged by and the phone coverage girl never showed. I had the strong urge to sulk and feel sorry for myself for being tied to the damn phones. It was like there was an adult version of me in my head saying, "don't be silly, just call her, she probably got busy and forgot. You're making yourself feel worse" and a child version of myself was in there too, saying, "I want to eat my pizza! Where is she???" in a pouty, petulant tone of voice.

At 12:25 she came rushing down, apologizing profusely and told me she had forgotten and why didn't I call her? Then I joined the pizza lunchers who happily said, "hey, there she is!" and sat with me while I ate even though they were done. At the end one got up and said, "glad you made it" as she patted me on the shoulder. It was all very sweet and friendly and really, nothing to get sulky about after all.
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Today I got yet another of those copier scam calls. For the uninitiated, the copier scam is where a fake copier company calls at random and asks for the model number of the copier. If given to them, they send stuff you didn't order, like toner, and then produce a false invoice. Frankly, I'm surprised it's legal.

This is what happened:

Me: Good morning, (name of company)
Caller: Hi, how are you today?
Me: Good. (Thinking, this guy is obviously trying to sell me something because only salespeople start that way. Notice I didn't ask how he was in return.)
Caller: I'm calling about the copier.
Me: Uh-huh? (What about the copier?)
Caller: I was wondering if I could get the model number.
Me: Where are you calling from?
Caller: (mumbles somthing unintelligible)
Me in a calm and nonthreatening manner: If you were calling from our copier company, you would already know our model number.
Caller in an angry, hostile manner: Listen Dumbass, I didn't say I was calling from your copier company...
Me: (Hung up the phone)

Can you believe that guy? I wish we had one of those phones that you could slam down loudly for emphasis. Instead I just press a button labeled "release". Somehow it's not quite as satisfying.

I'm open to suggestion - any ideas for what I should say next time I get a call like this?
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
On election day, 1984, my fourth grade teacher decided to have a mock election in class. She wrote two names on the board, Walter Mondale, and Ronald Reagan. My parents being the die hard democrats they are, I was rooting for Mondale. (I mean come on, wouldn't it be cool to get a woman as a vice president, or dare I say, even president sometime??) I started to copy his name off the board when the boy sitting in front of me turned around and looked at my paper. "You're voting for Mondale?? Hey everyone, Katie's voting for Mondale!" he announced as if declaring that I had a highly contagious and unsightly rash. "Um... no I'm not, I just thought we had to write both names down." I replied sheepishly. I looked back down at my paper and after a momentary pause, crossed out Mondale and wrote "Reagan" in big letters.

When the teacher collected the votes and stated that it was a unanimous Reagan victory, I hung my head in shame. I couldn't believe that I had bowed to peer pressure and changed my answer. I have often thought of this moment as a childhood experience I wish I could go back and do over and say, "Yeah, I'm voting for Mondale, you got a problem with that buddy?"

It took me a long time to realize that my preference for Mondale was no more an example of my own opinion than my writing Reagan on my piece of paper. All I knew was that was the candidate my parents preferred. It wasn't until I got to know some very devoted Reagan fans later in life that I realized perhaps I was wrong to want Mondale at all. Maybe, maybe not, but at least I understood that I didn't have all the information.

But I mean, we were 9 years old for goodness sake. Who asks a bunch of 9 year olds who they want for president?
Monday, June 07, 2004
I had my monthly book club meeting last week. We had just finished reading the book I recommended. I was so relieved that everyone liked it.

There is some drama in the book club however. There is a new lady who doesn't quite fit in. She is very argumentative and dominating over the conversation. She was greatly offended over the fact that an adult in the book used a bad word to a 15 year old, as she told us about 80 thousand times. That's what she was offended about, nevermind anything else in the book which I won't reveal.

Not only that but she displayed two socially unacceptable behaviors. One was telling me I should come to her church and then going on about it for several minutes. That just raises a red flag for me. It vaguely reminds me of when I was leaving my job at the grocery store at the age of 16 and was approached in the dark parking lot by a random girl who asked if I wanted to come to her church and could she have my phone number as well? Yikes!

The second socially unacceptable behavior was that she actually took off her shoe and started rubbing her foot! At the table, right next to me! I was eating a sandwich at the time and I whole heartedly lost my appetite.

After the meeting she took off rather quickly and the rest of us gathered outside for some good old fashioned gossip. One lady said to me, since I am new to the group as well, "by the way, we really really like you Katie". Which I guess is the upside to having a socially inept member of any group - everyone else can't help but compare favorably.

Oh, and here is the book we're reading for next month.
Friday, June 04, 2004
I have three goals for today. One is to get out in the sunshine. Another is to do some reading. And the third is to write a newsletter article about our new contract with a nearby gym. As you may have guessed, that last one is work related, whereas the first two are not.

At jobs I have always tried to promote myself as a writer. The way I look at it, you just never know what opportunities might arise if you throw yourself out there. It can't hurt. At this particular job, the result of my "I'd like more opportunities to write!" campaign is the responsibility for writing the HR portion of the monthly internal newsletter. And believe me, until you've experienced it, you have no idea what a challenge it is to try to put your creative skills to use in the description of health insurance, job openings, and helpful reminders about under-used benefits.

The gym article was actually my idea. I was hoping to make our portion read like a glass of water instead of the rather dry material we'd been submitting. I suggested how I could go to the gym's website, talk about the facilities, tie the whole thing in to the popular concept of getting in shape for summer. I've had two weeks to work on this and I've avoided it like the plague. But I know that sometimes the best cure for writer's block is to just start writing (as is often evidenced here). So, by the end of the day there will be something written about the gym contract. It may not be refreshing and thirst quenching, but damn it, it will be written.

Back to the more fun topic of books. Both of the links above are to books I'm reading and they are both good. The first is light and fun and I highly recommend it. The second was loaned to me by my supervisor and since I am always up for a book recommendation, I dove right in to the 600 plus pages. I'm finding it to be addictive and adventurous. Which is distinctly not how anyone will likely describe my newsletter article.
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
My life is really starting to resemble one of those Zen puzzles. You know like, "what is the sound of one hand clapping?" or "if a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it does it make a sound?" I'm just trying to maintain calm in the face of chaos. Which is hard considering that nothing seems to make sense. The more I try to sort things out logically, the more and more confused I become.

And speaking of confusion, remember when I went to see the cows? Well, over the weekend, I finally dropped off the pictures to be developed. When I brought them home later that same day, I eagerly opened the package only to find... they weren't my pictures at all. The package was full of pictures of people I don't know holding anonymous babies or making funny faces at the camera. I was a little shocked to say the least. I went back the next day and explained the situation and luckily my cow pictures were found. The poor overworked photo lady said, "Oh dear, I can't believe this happened." I told her it was no big deal and everyone makes mistakes now and then. She thanked me for being so nice about it. Hopefully that's good work karma for me next time I make a mistake!

Another notable happenstance from the weekend: this woman I work with called me at home no less than five times. I didn't answer, thanks to my trusty caller i.d. and she didn't leave a message. She finally caught up with me this morning at 8:35. The big crisis? She wanted to talk about some guy she's been seeing. It's not like we're good friends, after all, she is 50 years old and lonely. She will talk to anyone who will listen. I feel sorry for her and I'm happy to listen to her tales but not on my vacation when the last thing I want to do is think about anything related to work.

Now it's almost time to go home and see my roommate as she debuts her new nose!
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