Archive for the 'Humanity' Category

Black Ribbon

.: black ribbon:::ruban noir:.I noticed Google posted the Black Ribbon on its homepage today.  I didn’t know what it meant, and when they have ribbons they also usually have links, so I Google’d it.

Turns out, Google generally only posts the Black Ribbon after a devastating event.  Seems this time it was to commemorate 5 years since Katrina.  So, in the the last minute of the day, a moment of silence to respect the tragedy, to show homage to those who died, and to honour those who have rebuilt their lives.

A toast, mes amis, to New Orleans.

Thank You (Now Get Out) – 8/17/10

Now, keep in mind, last week, I promised comics, and not art.  Therefore, without any further ado… comics about people… good and bad (mostly good).  Now I know on a couple of these unless you have OMG-I-am-so-jealous-of-your vision, then you won’t be able to read the text.  Y’all know you can click on the pictures, if you’re so inclined, to get the big thing, right?

Superwoman ComicSo.  This one is Strawberry Sorbet in to save the day.  I walked in Saturday morning with a stomach ache, four hours of sleep, in a bad mood because of a fight with my parents over my broken bed, dejected because Bryan and I had a fail!date the day before… and loads of work, including a redo-job that would occupy exactly five and a half hours of my day.  No exaggeration.  We timed it.  So, anyways, my manager took the liberty of calling Strawberry Sorbet to see if she would come in early.  Bless her.

Stupid Blueprint Guy ComicRawr.  This guy made me wicked mad.  The Blueprint Arch-Nemesis came in twice before the scene above.  He wanted to copy at least 100 blueprints while he waited.  ‘Scuse me.  Shrink and copy.  I told him no the first time.  Kate told him no the second time.  The third time, Kate was on her way out and he said he only needed a couple done.  She said yes and left it for me.  Wanna know how many a couple is?  45.  It took over an hour.  And he was unhappy about it when it was done, because it was less quality than he expected.  Dah’ling.  You either get speed or quality, but you can’t have both.

Matt and the Ice Cream Comic

This one, clearly, was drawn at a different time in a different colour.  I was having an awful day and Happy PC brought me an oreo milkshake thing from Wendy’s.  He didn’t make and pomp and circumstance about it, he just left it on my desk and I noticed it at least twenty minutes later.  And even though it was a little melty, it still tasted good.  And it was the highlight of my day.  I’m telling you, guys.  Random acts of kindness, no matter how small, really do make a difference.

Those are the ones for this week, ladies and gents.  Apologies for the mediocre drawings… they really only took a couple of minutes each to draw, and I’m no cartoonist.  Most the people lately have been in the run-around back-to-school groove and therefore all rude, but only moderately so.  I think August makes people irritable.  It’s like March.  We’re done with this season, NEXT!  What do y’all think?

Thank You (Now Get Out) – 8/3/10

Sunset across the way.

So.  This week, instead of focussing on the individuals that bother me, I want to focus on some pet peevish traits that are consistent in all these individuals.  I find that having only one trait doesn’t qualify somebody for this weekly rant, but the combination of several certainly do.  Lets see if any of you agree with these.  They say six in the number of the Devil, so in reverse order:  the six most frustrating traits of people in a work-relationship today.

6. Grumpiness
This bothers me the least, because it’s often easily justified and sometimes, you can even help to remedy it.  Nonetheless, it’s difficult to work with someone you sense is on the edge of anger and disgruntlement.  One wrong word, and KAPOW! – you may be at the center of the storm of the century.  I know it’s hard to wear a smile when your dog just died, or you’re being sued, or your supervisor just called you up and told you that you have to work next Saturday.  However, it’s really important not to project the anger you hold for a specific individual at those around you.

5. Dishonesty
This goes hand-in-hand with saying “That doesn’t make sense” when you really mean “I don’t like what you just told me”.  Some people think that making up stories and lying will get them what they want.  Saying things like “I just talked to someone on the phone an hour ago and they said the price was 2-cents/copy”.  People tend to lie and exaggerate when they are outraged by something.  I think it’s because they believe that by making such claims, we’ll have to match it.  We need to start taking responsibility for our thoughts and be clear with each other.  We result to little white lies at times of accusation and similar distress; it’s no wonder our community is having difficulty communicating.

4. Rudeness
I genuinely believe that there are people out there that think that the meaner they are, the more likely they are to get their way.  I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but if someone is rude to me, my initial reaction is to be rude back.  If nothing else, I’ll stop trying to be friendly and be monotone, because I want to keep my job and if I’m rude to them, it’ll come back at me three-fold.  If they keep trying and pressing, yeah, they may make me feel like a waste of space and make me cry myself to sleep (okay, that was a little overdramatic), but they won’t necessarily get their way.  Being rude accomplishes nothing.

3. Impatience
Some things in life don’t go faster.  With the advance of technology we have photographs, movies, music, humans at the mere touch of our highly-advance cell phones.  From fast food to eBay, we’re used to instant gratification.  A lot of people have problems with the phrase “you’ll have to wait”.  Waiting is a word zoning out of our vocabulary.  We don’t have to wait for anything else.  Having to wait (impatience) often leads to rudeness and dishonesty and grumpiness.  “I have somewhere I needed to be ten minutes ago!”  My thoughts are – you walked into the store 3 minutes ago… you could have just skipped this stop if you’re so far behind.  Now, on the flip side, they may really have needed to be somewhere 10 minutes ago.  We as humans have a difficult time saying “no” (think Yes Man, but backwards) and we overfill our schedules.  If we’re not running around, stressed, and irritable.. something must be wrong, right?

2. Persistence
The phrases “you have to do me a favour” and “what do you mean, ‘you can’t'” fall into this category.  While in certain countries, haggling is the thing to do, in the United States, it’s generally frowned upon.  If you say “I want a turkey dinner with cranberry sauce, homemade mashed potatoes, gravy, and stuffing in five minutes” and I say “I’m sorry, I can’t do that” there’s really no way you can negotiate your way into getting it.  “Can’t” is one of those final words.  Taking no for an answer is one of those things we were supposed to be taught as a child.

1. Selfishness
I think it all boils down to this:  selfishness.  People who think that they are entitled to certain things.  Yes, we all have unalienable rights.  These rights do not include “getting something for free because we don’t want to pay” or “cutting everybody in line because we don’t want to wait.”  Confusion between the words “need” and “want” contributes to this problem.  If you can cite the section in the Bill of Rights that gives these allowance, you may sway my opinion.  Being unselfish also includes taking responsibility.  If Sally is running late because she didn’t plan her afternoon well, she needs to not blame every single person she meets for inconveniencing her.  If Joe wants a cheese burger and he forgets to say “no lettuce” he needs to not blame the restaurant (what are we, clairvoyant?).  And if Courtney decides to quit her job on the first day in because she finds the training videos boring, she probably shouldn’t yell at the manager, saying she didn’t need this job and the company isn’t doing her any favours by giving it to her.  Um, hun, why did you apply then?

Well, those are my six greatest pet peeves in humans today.  Do you have anything to add to the list?  Certain behaviours that you wish people would just realise are obnoxious?  Little things that make you want to scream at people, even though you know you shouldn’t?  Let me know!

Thank You (Now Get Out) – 7/20/10

Looking over the Ashuelot River

For a little bit of a change of pace, this week I am going to write notes to the people whom I have qualm (or not qualms) with.  There are always those people who define your experiences, whether you like it or not, and they must be recognized.

Road Rage
Believe it or not, I see you there in your car.  Sometimes, I am the one doing something wrong, but Rage… sometimes, it’s you.  How does it help either of us for you to lay on your horn and flip me off.  I see your mouth moving profusely… you probably had a few choice words for me.  Is there any point in saying “I’m sorry”?  Nobody got hurt, and I’m not angry that you decided to pass me in an illegal zone and get mad at me over it.  I don’t really see how you flailing at me is accomplishing anything.  You’re still mad, right?  And I now feel lousy because of a harmless error, maybe not even mine.  Next time, can you please focus on driving well, instead of lowering my self-esteem?

And the Moral of the Story Is…
If you come up to me and say “this is broken, fix it now” I’m going to be inclined just to get done what you need and worry about the details later.  Don’t insult my intelligence by claiming “start” means “stop” and “confirm” means “cancel”.  If you start flailing angrily at me and demanding I do something for you, I’m inclined to do it to make you stop flailing.  If you want to learn “how” to do it, don’t tell me I need to do it for you fast and then scold me for doing it wrong.  Oh, and for the record, I pressed “confirm” because the details entered were correct.  If you had given me half-a-second to speak instead of calling me ignorant and stupid, I’d’ve told you that.  As it was, I was inclined just to get rid of you.  If you’d been a little nicer, we’d’ve gotten on much better.

So Easy
Thank you so much for bringing a smile, and patience, too.  In a situation where most people would prefer to shoot me in the head for taking more than five minutes, you volunteered days and then were thrilled with the end result.  I’m so happy you were happy.  Really.  Hearing patience and appreciation means a lot.

It’s Nice to Be Nice
I heard about your day, and boy-oh-boy it sounds like you are ready to kick your feet up and read a good book for a while.  And even though I saw how frustrated you were on the phone with the third party, I also heard how nicely you were speaking too her.  When you explained to me that while the situation wasn’t ideal, the third party was doing the best they can and there’s no point in acting childish asking for more beyond someone’s means… that really struck me.  I hope your situation ended up resolving itself well, because I think after your humanitarian wishes, you deserve it.

But, It’s Free
Yes.  I see how much money you’re spending.  I am also aware of the coupon in your hand that would have given you a free camcorder if you had ordered this all online.  I’m really glad for your opportunity, but I’m not just being a jerk when I tell you I can’t give you that camcorder.  Outside of policy – not following which could get me fired – I simply don’t have that item here.  Honest.  I’m not hiding it in a dusty corner, squirrelling it away for myself.  I just don’t have it.  You can spend this money online instead, and get that camcorder, but no matter how nicely you ask or how many different ways you phrase it, it’s just not going to magically appear in my possession to give to you because you want it.  I’m sorry… it just isn’t.

Mister Grumpy Gills
Thank you so much for the blueberries yesterday!  They made me smile.  I ate some on my lunch break along with my Life cereal, and it was delicious.  You know, I see it all the time, inside, you’re not Mister Grumpy Gills at all.  You’re a very nice person who is tired of being walked all over.  I get that.  Believe me.  And just so you know, I enjoy working with you and joking around with you.  It’s a lot of fun, and don’t worry… I won’t tell anyone how much you smile.

To all the people out there, big and small, who made this week extraordinary and interesting in one way or another… I thank you.  I would love to hear stories about all those people that really stood out since last Tuesday!  Please share your experiences.  Every person leaves an imprint on our lives, and they deserve to be recognised.

Thank You (Now Get Out) – 7/13/10

So guys.  I’ve been a slacker this week and haven’t been keeping good notes, so everything this week is coming from memory.  Yikes!  So, what I remember of it (and if I don’t remember, it’s probably not worth my time, ja?)… the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Cruisin’ Through Confusion
Confusion comes in a few shapes; this last week, I saw it in two:  snobbery and panic.  Confusion tends to be rude because the answers are elusive, and it doesn’t have the patience to be confused.  Panic!Confusion was a woman who bustled into the store half and hour before closing, saying she needed UPS overnight.  There are a few problems with that, one simply being that our UPS wasn’t going to be picked up again until the next day’s afternoon… which wouldn’t fit in her schedule.  In explaining this to her, she said “I don’t understand” and “that doesn’t make sense” a lot.  I’m generally pretty good at explaining things, so after about seven tries, and me apologising that I couldn’t do her a favor… it’s not that I’m a terrible person, it’s that I can’t call up UPS central and tell them to send down an emergency truck, someone has to get something somewhere stat… after all that, she grumped off.  Snobbery!Confusion was similar in giving me angry/confused glares and interrupting in the middle of an explanation to declare “I don’t understand”.  There aren’t many ways I can explain that I can’t bleed off a page; the machines require a small margin and changing that is completely out of my control.  He stuck around to badger me long enough to hold three other people up in line and complain about the price (after I gave him a nice break).  Oh, and Snobbery!Confusion… don’t jump over my counter and grab stuff.  That’s really rude.  Honestly, though, I sometimes wonder if Confusion declares “I don’t understand” as a testier way of saying “I don’t like what I’m hearing.”

Sleaze
I received a phone call last night that went like this:

SLEAZE:  How much are your copies?
ME:  49-cents.
SLEAZE:  That’s outrageous.  That’s absolutely absurd.  That’s robbery, that’s what that is.
ME:  Well, sir, we can price match.
SLEAZE:  Excuse me?
ME:  Price-match.  Basically, if you find another brick and mortar store anywhere in the world that is making the same exact thing… same size, same materials… if you can get a photocopy or a print out of their price, we’ll match it for you.
SLEAZE:  What do you mean?  You mean you’ll match another store?
ME:  Yes, sir.  But it’s can’t be like, freecopiesonline.com, it has to be a brick-
SLEAZE:  That’s so sleazy.  You’re a sleazebag.
ME: I’m so-?
SLEAZE: *slams down phone*
ME: O.o

Yep.  Um, I’m not trying to sound cynical, I’m genuinely asking here… doesn’t every store in the world price-match?  I’m not just talking, like, copies.  I mean everything.  If WalMart has Joe’s Sausage for $4.99, but Price Chopper has that same package of Joe’s Sausage for $3.99… don’t they price match?  Is what we’re doing so evil?  …  Besides, we’re not telling you to ditch the other store.  And I don’t make the guidelines.  Sleaze really bummer me out last night.  I mind his name calling and accusations less than him hanging up in my ear, though.

Hey, ‘Sup?
This guy was featured week of June 22, but I’m bringing him back again, because I really want to underline his progress.  Recently, there was a lot of drama in this guy’s life.  He redefined the phrase “the shit hit the fan”.  Last night, he was practically giddy.  I don’t think he’d like me using that word, but it’s true.  He was smiling, laughing, helping, having good conversation.  Whatever high road he’s on, I hope that he stays there for a while.  It’s true that a smile rubs off, if you’re open to letting it.  It was sure nice to see him smile last night.

BFG
Unlike Roald Dahl’s BFG, this Big Friendly Giant lets  people see his “friendly” as infrequently as possible.  Granted, this may be because I generally see him in a situation where he is unhappy, so he’s more of a Big Grumpy Giant.  But I learned something about him a few days ago that touched me.  He’s getting married in the fall, and he’s selling his motorcycle to help pay for the honeymoon.  He loves that motorcycle, and I was touched by his gesture.  It seemed like a really selfless thing to do.

A Need for Public Phones
There’s this guy who comes in every once and a while.  He makes me really uncomfortable.  He’s just a really dirty person.  He smells, and he looks very obviously dirty and decrepit.  And no.  He’s not homeless.  He waves big bills around like crazy.  He decided to come in and use the telephone on our fax machine to make a personal call.  We usually don’t mind, as long as people make it quick, since it ties up the fax machine.  This time, though, he was using the phone for an hour.  And there was a line for the fax machine (of course, right?).  We were trying to thin out the line… when… shazaam!  Our incoming fax machine broke.  We fought with it for about half an hour before giving up and throwing it away.  Meanwhile, there’s a line of angry people who want their faxes sent.  Public Phones won’t get off the phone.  And we can’t ask him to leave, because technically he’s not doing anything wrong.  Even though he’s a non-paying customer holding up paying customers.  So we’re stuck.  Getting fussed at from the people waiting in line while we try to set up a new fax machine for incoming faxes.  Getting fussed at by Public Phones, who doesn’t like being rushed.  Yarr.  Sometimes, you can’t win.

That’ll be all of interest or consequence that I can remember.  Three really frustrating things in the last six-seven days, not too bad.  I hope everyone else has had a fabulous week, full of delightful people.  And hey, if you’ve got any shining angels, I’d love to hear about them!  Share your stories: good, bad, and ugly.

P.S.  I just learned the difference between motels and hotels.  Motels you enter your room from the outside, hotels from the inside.  Learn something new every day.

Taking Responsibility

Snow on the branches.

This entry begins in my car this morning.  You see, last night, I lent my car to my mother.  While in my car (besides using up my gas), she decides that she dislikes my music and wants to switch from CD to radio.  Instead of pressing the switch button, she instructs my brother to remove the CD.  Where he removed it to, evidently, was a pile of goo (God knows what it was; I certainly don’t).  I find my radio cover (on the floor of the driver’s seat) and my CD (thrown haphazardly in a nook by the dashboard.  CD is covered in gunk and is well scratched.  Mother blames brother.  Brother blames me and my mother.  All I know is that I donated something because I’m nice to have it disrespected and some of my property ruined.  I don’t care who did it (though I am of the opinion they are both at fault) but I do need someone to take responsibility and make up for the error.

And I think that’s a huge thing in the world right now.  I know that I am more inclined to point at someone else when I have done something wrong and let them take the fall for it.  It’s one of those things that I am trying to work on myself.  Taking responsibility is hard, but it’s one of those things that if we do, and we learn from our mistakes, we become better people for it.

One of my favourite cries is “oh, but he said….” and to try to pin the blame on someone else, thus twisting the situation.  Guess what, world (and myself as well)- that doesn’t change the facts.  Yes, he may have said that but you had no right to have said this.  Be the bigger person, foresee the possible issue, do everything you can in order to be sure that it’s out of your hands… if you had, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

My second favourite?  “It was an accident.”  Bollocks.  So you took Gramma’s expensive vase and put it on the counter where the cat knocked it over.  You may have not knocked it yourself, it was an accident, the cat did it, but guess what, peanut?  You were directly involved.  Take responsibility for your involvement.

I have a story about a time it was an accident, and someone took responsibility, and everyone was the better for it.  I lent Rent to a friend once, who lent it to someone else (whose name she didn’t know).  We tried and tried but we could not find the person she lent the movie to (this, by the way, is why I’m so anal about getting my movies back).  I was miffed, but I let it go.  What could I do, anyway?  A couple months later, the middle party – who had lost it accidentally and meant no harm – bought me a new copy because she said she felt responsible.  I was happy because I got my property back, and she felt better without carrying that burden on her shoulders.  She didn’t have to buy me a new copy.  I never asked for it.  But she did because she rightly understood that I had entrusted her with the film and she was responsible for its loss.

Granted, I suppose not everyone in the world has that guilt complex.  I know I do… but I’m also aware that my brother (jerk) doesn’t.  I spoke to him about the CD, and his response was “well, Mom didn’t like your crappy music and it’s not my fault that it got ruined.  I just took it out of the player and put it somewhere.  Get over it.”  Then he went back to munching his Pringles and turned up the tele a wee bit more.  I know this situation shouldn’t frustrate me so much… but it’s the principle of the thing.  It wasn’t a CD I purchased, but knowing that people care more about their own well being than for the sanctity of others’ property… well… the only person in my family I’m going to be lending my things to now is my father.

For those of you out there more interested in “not getting in trouble” than doing the right thing… … at the risk of sounding like a conservative mother… shame on you.

Thank You (Now Get Out) – 07/06/10

Nate in the Window

Due to the ungodly temperature of my bedroom and the burning sensation of my laptop on my lap, this week’s edition is going to be brief.  Although there were many I could nitpick at, I’m going to choose my two top, and my two most disappointing.  Ready?  Here goes:

Coach
I have talked to Coach twice this week and done work for him.  He has been very patient with me and listened to everything I said and been willing to compromise, especially on Independence Day when he came in with a large job for me to do.  I could definitely tell he saw me as a human, and not as a bumblebee, and I appreciated it.  He was also light-hearted and made our work together fun, instead of painful.

Your Fax Is Broken
You know, it’s really difficult to be on the phone and do anything.  So.  I’m not really sure you think you can send a fax while you’re talking on the phone line that it’s using.  I’m just saying, is all.  So for goodness sake, please don’t yell at me for the fax not going through- my machine is working just fine. Maybe you should hang up the phone?  Why are you on two phones at once, anyway?

Double Trouble
Saw him three times in the last two days and we can just banter back and forth.  It’s fun, and he comes into the store a lot, but I’ve never been able to just banter back and forth like that.  He expected a lot of me, but he expected it on my time, and not on his.  Again, I was recognised as a human being, which really earns top points in my book.  And I love how this guy knows my name, even though I rarely work with him.  Most people don’t take the time to get to know you.

Move Along
I’m sorry that the store is closing early today.  It’s a holiday, these things happen.  Me?  I’d like to be sitting by a pool or eating barbecue today.  I have warned you, nicely, that we are closing soon.  I’ve offered my own time and resources to help you get done what you need to get done.  Please don’t yell at me for being kind.  And please, don’t refuse to leave just to make me miserable for telling you the store is closing soon.  I didn’t make the rules.  As far as I’m concerned, you shouldn’t be making copies of your bank statements on a holiday anyway, you should be with your family.  Oh yeah.  And when I tell you we don’t stock something, I’m not lying, and I’m not hiding it from you.  You don’t have to ask everyone else you see.  It’s really not available.

Well.  That’s about it for me- I want to shut my laptop down and go have some Lucky Charms (dinner of champions, my friends).  Did you run into someone this week that made your day?  How about somebody who ruined it?  I’d love to hear all about it!


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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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