Posts Tagged 'Humans'

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) – 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!

Thank You (Now Get Out) – 6/29/10

Sunset By Albany

Tonight, as soon as I get home from work, I took my shoes off and collapsed in the living room for a good ten minutes.  Just the idea of putting my feet up made all the difference.  Physically, standing for eight hours is tiring.  But that’s not why I’m tired.  I have spent the last four days being squelched.  Squelched- it’s that thing you do to mosquitoes sitting on your living room window.  You take a tissue and squish them until they’re two-demensional, then you squished them a little more, wrap them up in sixteen more tissues, and flush the package down the toilet.  These last few days, ladies and gentlemen, I was the mosquito.  People have been a very special level of rude and selfish lately, for reasons that I cannot pinpoint.  Let me give you a few examples of the worst of the worst:

I Can Yell If I Want To
I had a lady a few days ago who was unfamiliar with the copier, and she loudly stated this while I was on the phone with another customer and couldn’t get to her to help.  Out of the goodness of her own heart, another lady went to help her, and when things didn’t go exactly the way she wanted (or more importantly, the price she wanted) the irate novice unleashed her wrath on the good-hearted tutor.  I apologised fervently to the tutor (after being ripped apart by the novice myself) but the damage had already been done.

Cleansliness is Next to Godliness
Strawberry Sorbet (one of last week’s angel’s) had the misfortune of dealing with this lady.  She was making large sized copies for a customer, and because they are so big, occasionally one may tumble to the ground.  We do our best to prevent this from happening, but we are only human.  Sorbet tried to catch the copy, but to no avail.  Cleansliness was appalled and informed Sorbet that under no circumstances would she accept the tumbled one.  I understand apprehension, she doesn’t know how clean our floor is (very, we vacuum several times daily) but she did not politely ask for an unsoiled copy.  She made it clear that she thought the entire place was a cesspool and that Sorbet was incompetent.

Can’t Be Bothered With Children
This is another one of Sorbet’s customers.  She wanted three-dimensional lamination done, which Sorbet made clear wasn’t possible.  After struggled “negotiations” she hands Sorbet an item about an eight of an inch thick and will not take “this will only ruin your original” for an answer.  Meanwhile, as Sorbet does her best with the impossibility, one of Can’t Be Bothered’s children pulls on her sleeve and asks quietly for a trinket (as children will).  Can’t Be Bothered turns and screams at her child… and well, it just escalated from there.

F-The-World
F-The-World made an appearance a couple weeks ago, but he’s back this week.  This week, he had pencils to return.  He hated them, he wanted me to know that “he was going to be nice to me because I’ve been more respectful then many others in this dump, but the company should be ashamed to sell these.  The cashier who rung them out should be fired, the salesman who presented them should be fired, the manager should be fired, and the general manager, and the president of the company that manufactures the product”.  He went on to tell me all the flaws of his 99-cent pencils (most notable of which was that the lead breaks if you push down really hard, which in my eyes is human error, not product malfunction) for about fifteen minutes.  When he finally found the receipt for the item, he realised he had purchased them elsewhere.  Embarrassed, he switched his complaint to a different item.

1-800-Cell-Phone
This evening, I met a gentleman who wanted my time and attention, but didn’t want to give me his. Apparently, he wanted me to be psychic. He came to my counter, slammed a bunch of stuff down, pointed to my copier, then called someone on his cell phone, opening with the line “Hey, I’m not busy right now, what are you up to?” He proceeded to talk on the phone, pausing only twice to wish my manager and one of my male co-workers good evening. When I finished his job, he hung up, paid, and as he was leaving, called what I think was the same person, and said “sorry, I can’t remember my pin number when I’m on the phone.” He completely ignored me, expect to point at my machine, no matter what I said to him.

Strawberry Sorbet
She’s back this week as my one and only extraordinary angel.  She deals with all these insufferable people, and still smiles.  She doesn’t complain, and makes the most of it.  Honestly, I thought that Can’t Be Bothered With Children and Cleanliness is Next to Godliness were some of the most remarkably unfortunate human beings I have encountered in a long time, and she handled it all very professionally.  She has also been incredibly nice to me these last two week, and I’m a lot more relaxed around her because of it, because it makes all the difference in stressful environments.  I’m looking forward to going to an amusement park with her sometime this summer!

That, ladies and gents, was the worst of the worst this week.  I wish words could adequately show you how inappropriately the negative people acted, and encourage the world not to be that person.  As for me, I’m going to bed, and here’s hoping that next week turns around!

Got any remarkable stories about people since last Tuesday?  Someone you wanted to punch in the face, but didn’t?  Someone who brightened your day?  I’d love to hear about it!

mv77@kent.ac.uk

Thank You (Now Get Out) – 06/22/10

Heather covered in frosting at Caitlyn's sweet sixteen.


If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” ~ Dalai Lama


So.  I have some good news!  This week was really sunshiney!  The only negatives I have had this week were today: It’s You (who didn’t understand there was nothing on the drive) and Actually, I Don’t Want to Talk to You (who figured he could climb up the ladder and get someone else to create his thing while I waited.  When I left 45 minutes later, he was a happy camper).  But rather than go into detail about their ignorance, I’m going to let the angels sit in the spotlight:

Iguana Man
I was walking down the street on Wednesday and I walked past a man with an iguana or other reptilian creature wrapped around his neck.  It made me giggle.

Miss Jinx
Not to be confused with a Pokemon, Miss Jinx is a character who I am friends with, but see rarely.  She is eccentric but talented and her energy and quirks are really uplifting.  Basically?  She rocks.  I got to spend a little time with her on Thursday.  I learned that she is one of the few humans I know who approves of Hawaiian pizza.  My love for Miss Jinx has grown because of that fact.

Lil’ Miss Gaga
Named for the fact that she idolises Lady Gaga, Lil Miss Gaga is technically one of my students, but she presented me with a music CD on Friday that has been brightening my days ever since.  She introduced me to several new artists as well as reintroducing me to new songs I haven’t heard in ages.  The only down is that I’ve had Ballroom Blitz stuck in my head for days.  But nonetheless, Lil Miss Gaga is also someone who comes off as being in complete control of her life, and I don’t worry around her.

HappyPC
HappyPC is a character who will probably show up a lot.  He’s a bundle of smiles and always, always lifts my spirits when I’m frazzled.  He sure did on Saturday!  Thanks a bunch!

Hey, ‘Sup.
Hey, ‘Sup is one of the people I work with, and whenever he’s not in a bad mood, he’s a lot of fun.  Great personality, and always helpful.  Sunday, he gave me a while into which I could escape, which is always nice at work, when I’m getting overwhelmed.  And the conversation is distracting in a good way; it’s helps me hit reset on his brain.  Hanging out with him on Sunday was tops.  Also, he gets my Captain Courteous award this week, because he always opens doors and lets me pass first, picks up stuff when I drop it (unless I get to it first).  He’s a gentleman in the old-fashioned sense.

Master Chief
Ah, Master Chief.  He came in to look around and say hello in Sunday and he was also a wonderful distraction.  Master Chief is a wonderful human being, though.  He’s a very patient, understanding type of guy, and a great listener.  A pleasure to have as a friend.

Inconceivable!
Inconceivable is an old friend of mine.  In a sense, we’ve been through everything together.  We’ve known each other for about half my life, and I know he’s got my back.  He was one on the ones that went with me to the drive-in Sunday night, and he made me laugh through everything.  I’m so blessed to know him, because he’s just one of those people that I could go a year without seeing, and we’d pick our last conversation up right where we left off.  Seeing him is always a blast.  I get that nagging reminder sometimes that we are moving in different directions with our lives, but it’s coupled with the knowledge that neither of us mind taking a couple steps back and having a good chat.

It’s A Beautiful Day
When doing calls for some of our customers, I try not to be too robotic, and I happened to mention to one customer that it was a beautiful day and I hoped he was at the beach.  He came into the store just to tell me that it made him smile, and he appreciated my perky personality and customer service.  I blushed.  Totally appreciated.

Strawberry Sorbet
Strawberry Sorbet is one of the girls I work with.  I generally get along with her fairly well.  She was particularly nice to me on Monday, maybe she was in a good mood, I don’t know.  But that isn’t what struck me.  What stuck me was that she did a job for a customer who she knows from outside of work, and coming back for the job would be an inconvenience, so she told him she’d bring it to him on her own time in the evening.  He lives about a 40 minute round trip from her.  I thought that was a really nice, selfless thing to do.

Th-th-that’s all folks!  Come around for more next week!  Got anything to add… good, bad, or ugly?  Post it in the comments below!

It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).

Oil-covered sea-turtle

“Save yourself, serve yourself. World serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed. Tell me with the rapture and the reverent in the right – right. You vitriolic, patriotic, slam, fight, bright light, feeling pretty psyched.” ~ from It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) by R.E.M.

I’ve noticed a not-so-surprising correlation in my statistics here on WordPress.  The less I post, the fewer views I get.  Remedy?  Post more.

I actually didn’t know what I was going to post until I wrote in the title.  The title inspires me to write about two things – the oil spill, and Facebook.  Two such different, unrelated things.  And they are going to stay different and unrelated (I have no conspiracy theories about how Facebook may have been an indirect cause of the oil spill in the Gulf).

Oil in one of the waves.The first- the oil spill.  Wow.  Everyone’s been talking about it.  Of course they have been- it’s big news!  It has even come up in our improv group (in a light-hearted, respectful manner).  Serious news almost never comes up there, unless it’s directly related to our lives.  Since it’s a group of teenagers in New England who aren’t going to the Carribbean or anywhere else adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico any time soon… you know that it’s pretty big news.  But what do we do?  Do we boycott BP, do we just scold them?  In the end, was it really their fault or was it a disaster waiting to happen?  I think everyone has to make their own decisions on the matter.  It’s a question of environmentalism, of ethics, and of rationality.  In the end, nobody will truly have a correct answer.  I think the real answer to the question of the oil spill isn’t finding a place to point fingers (Obama, BP, none of this is productive).  I think it is in finding a solution.

Everybody and their mom is mad at someone for this tragedy.  In the end, it’s hard not to be.  We’re human beings- we need to find someone to point fingers at because once we have someone to blame, we can lift the responsibility off our shoulders and on to theirs.  If we need someone to blame, there’s no one person we should be blaming- it is all of us.  Why are we drilling so much oil anyway?  Because the public demands it.  We use oil in plastic, and we use plastic in, well, everything.  So if you’re concerned about the oil spill, why are still getting plastic bags when you’re shopping?  In Washing ashore in Louisianathe end, that’s made of oil.  BP and other companies wouldn’t be drilling it if they didn’t think they could make money off of it.  Food for thought.

But anyways.  I mentioned a solution.  Every since attempt to completely stop the flow of oil has failed.  I think a lot of the pictures I’m using speak for themselves as to the tragedy of this event.  All the pictures of the spill, by the way, are from Huffington Post, and there are hundreds of them, just in Louisiana.  If you feel like getting your heart broken, go take a peek at them.  I digress (again).  I’ve found that a lot of people out there who are enraged at the oil spill have no idea about Kevin Costner.  Pshaw, Kevin Costner, he’s that actor, right?  Who did Dances with Wolves?  Yeah, that guy.  And I didn’t like that movie, but I do appreciate what he has been doing to help out with the oil spill.  Yeah, so he’s profiting from it, but the point is, he’s doing something.

What is he doing?  Excellent question!  There are news articles all over the web to this effect, from NY Daily News to this CNN video to, of all things, StumbleUpon.com!  In short, if you’re too lazy to click those links, Kevin Costner has been working on a machine for upwards of Oil-covered birdsfifteen years that will separate oil from water.  He was inspired by the last huge oil spill, and this time, his machine may be essential to saving our environment.  As you can see from the pictures embedded into this entry (and elsewhere on the web), the oil is devastating the ecosystem in and around the Gulf of Mexico.  BP has purchased 32 machines from Costner and is planning to use them to remove the oil from the Gulf and all surrounding areas.  It’s not going to be an overnight process, that is for certain, but it’s a start, and that’s better than nothing.  Now we can see why we idolise movie stars!  Every once and awhile, we find one who’s a real hero.

For those who live in areas that are currently being affected by the oil spill, or close enough to get to them… stop pointing fingers at Obama and BP and find out what you can do to help clean up this mess!  We can point fingers later.  Since I live in New Hampshire, a good while away from where the spill is (for now; we’ll see what hurricane season brings) and I have no means to travel to Florida and Louisiana, my goal is to stop buying plastic products and to absolutely stop using plastic bags.  I know that I’m only one person, but heck, if a quarter of the United States started doing it, maybe it will catch on.

And now, on a completely different subject- Facebook.  It is entirely irrelevant, but it makes me a little worried about Judgment Day, for those Facebookwho have had the (mis)fortune of being acquainted with the Terminator series.  Facebook has this kind of evil voodoo that attracts every computer saavy and some not person with an internet connection in the entire world to it.  I am such a victim.  Chances are, you are too.

I think almost everybody knows about the privacy issues that have been going around on Facebook.  While Facebook itself may not actually be snagging users information to use it in the great big wide world of spam, it allows other things to do so.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that does mean that when you buy Island Cash on Treasure Isle, you’re not only allowing Zynga Games to know your information and spam your email account, you’re also giving them the 16-digits to steal your soul.

And yet… not a lot of people are acting up, despite all the claims.  I’m one of those guilty people.  See, I don’t think I give Facebook enough information to steal my soul (i.e. I do not spend real money on that social networking site, kthx).  Only, despite my self-assurance, I probably do.  See, I have over fifty photo albums, and it’s hooked up to three email addresses (one doesn’t even exist anymore) and I regularly play Bejewled Blitz and Treasure Isle and FrontierVille and use the Bumper Stickers application.  All these things learn a little bit about me as a human being.  Ever since I “liked” Disney/Pixar, I’ve been getting offers from advertisements to go see Toy Story 3.  Um, more information than you need, A.I.!

Treasure Isle Loading ScreenBut the information that Facebook gets from me isn’t all I feel I need to be concerned about.  I feel like I have a pretty good feeling of what does and does not need to appear online.  There are things that you do not tell people face-to-face and they don’t want to know about it online, either.  Things like stalking and oh-my-gosh cyberbullying have become huge, huge issues, thanks to Facebook.  The internet creates a place where there are no boundaries and you don’t have to be yourself.  Inhibitions?  Totally gone.  Not always a good thing.

Annother huge issue I have with Facebook is a similar issue that comes up with blogging, or with chatrooms, or with LiveJournal or any other online system- there is no more personal contact.  You see your friend in real life and they go to tell you a story, but BAM!  Not so much, I read your Facebook status.  Oop, fail.  Suddenly you don’t need real friends, because you have Facebook friends, and being plugged in is so much more interesting than real life, because you can chat with your friends and play Farmville at the same time.

Yikes.  What is this world coming to?

Thank You (Now Get Out): 6/15/10

The ddrawings of two children at the end of a very long night at work.

“Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I’ve decided that in honor of my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad shift-block on Mondays/Tuesdays (16 hours of work in 27 hours) I’m going to start a regular feature on my blog that will (theoretically) air Tuesday nights every week.  This will be about the people of the week- the best of the best and the worst of the worst.  A note on this:  the worst may not always be evil human beings.  Simply remarkable ones in a negative way.  But my father always told me I should write a book about remarkable people.  So… this is a start.

The stars of this week begin appearing on Sunday and make their way to today.  Let’s find out who they are!:

Bagel Lady.

I had a moment of extra time on Sunday before work so I decided to brave Dunkin’ Donuts.  I rarely go to Dunks in the morning, but you know, a Strawberry Coolata sounded amazing.  I walk in and the place is packed.  I’m not too, too worried.  I only work across the street and I’m running about twenty minutes before I need to be there.  I get in line and the woman in front of me is jib-jabbering away on her cell phone, like most people do these days.  That’s Negative Point Number 1.  It’s so rude to talk on a cell phone when you’re waiting for service, because you hold everyone up when you get to the front of the line.  Bagel Lady gets to the front and finally (after five minutes) gets off her phone.  She orders three dozen bagels, toasted, with three packets of cream cheese on the side for each.  She also orders six Watermelon Coolatas.  After all this is taken in, the cashier reads it back to her, exactly like she said it.  There are three people running the shop, and seeing the size of the order, they hustle and bustle to finish it to keep the line moving.  Coolatas come up.  Bagel lady throws a fit because she wanted Strawberry Coolatas (even though she very clearly stated Watermelon).  She throws this flailing, yelling fit, completely embarrassing herself in front of everyone.  After she finishes, her phone rings very loudly.  She answers it and starts all over again.  I was a little embarrassed for her sake, but more pissed off at her for treating those people so terribly.  They’re doing their best.  Even if the mistake had been the associates’ mistake, she could’ve treated them like human beings instead of pack mules.

F-The-World.

We have a regular customer at work who is very congenial at all time as long as we bow down to him and bend all the rules to suit his fashion.  We close at 6pm on Sundays, and he likes to come at 6:20pm and bang on the door and swear fervently at us as we walk to our cars, because we need to reopen the store for him.  He’s not a very good customer – maybe a dollar in copies and a ream of paper every other week.  This Sunday, he walked into the store about fifteen minutes after opening, walked over to a product, swore fervently at it for ten minutes, and walked out.  Um, sorry, did someone do something wrong?

Chinese Counterfeiter.

I feel like this one needs a cautionary note:  I’m not generalising this to say that all Chinese people are counterfeiters.  This one, however, was, and that is how I think of her.  Not everyone with the same ethnic origins- just her.  Monday evening this woman came in with a bunch of two dollar bills.  I spent about ten minutes explaining as politely as I could that I could not replicate them for her.  I told her “legally, I can’t copy money.  My hands are tied.  I’m sorry I can’t help you.”  I wanted to tell her:  “what you’re asking me to do is illegal.  Replicating money for any purpose at all constitutes a very long prison sentence, and I want nothing to do with you.”  How can you tell people, without telling them they;re stupid, that they’re breaking a very simple, logical, rational law?

Cassie and Her Sister.

At the end of Monday night, after a trying day, I had a woman come in for a couple of quick copies with her two girls.  They were probably four and eight.  The girls were excited and eager to help their mother, and their enthusiasm was noted, but not particularly helpful.  I gave both the girls a piece of blank paper and a highlighter and pen (I don’t have any crayons of anything) so they could draw a picture.  To my surprise and delight, they both gave the pictures to me.  It was totally the girls’ idea.  The four year old – I caught that her name was Cassie – drew a marker, and her older sister drew a heart.  Their lovely pictures are featured at the top of this entry.

Just Breathe.

When it gets really hectic and busy, I get to running around at work.  I’m so focused on processing the lines and getting people settled that I probably look like a race horse.  At any rate, I had a customer on Monday, and when I asked him “What can I do for you?” the first thing he said was “Take a deep breath.”  I totally appreciated that.  A lot of people get upset when I tell them to stop a minute and keep breathing- I think they feel judged or looked-down-upon.  When people say it to me, though, I know I need it, and I appreciate it.  So thanks, whoever you were.

My Photographs are Holier Than Thou.

I had a deceptively sweet-looking old man Tuesday morning that wanted a couple of photographs enlarged.  They were both pictures of his house.  He did not, no way, uh-uh trust me.  I don’t know why.  Every time I brought the photographs to my copier behind the counter, he’d let himself in and start fiddling.  I tried to tell him politely that I needed him to 1.) Stay out; and 2.) not touch the machine, but he wasn’t keen on listening.  This was particularly bad because we were having some carpeting redone this morning, and there was paste on the floor where the carpet squares were going in, very close to my machine.

Repent, the End is Near.

I am Christian and I am not about to belittle the ideals of this woman- simply her behavior.  While I was at lunch, my co-worker had a customer come in that needed several copies of over fifty different sized documents, and since of course there was a line, she insisted on waiting for them and holding up the line.  My co-worker was able to talk her into coming back in an hour (it was a substantial amount of work, all stuff that was fragile papers and strange sizes and needed to be done by hand).  Every ten minutes or something, this woman would come back and become “politely upset” about her work not being done, as we were trying to process people in line.  My co-worker was able to finish her work before the hour was up, because she worked tirelessly on it, leaving me to the mess on customers.  When the job was finished, the woman held up my co-worker for fifteen minutes when the center was clearly busy to tell her to repent, because the end is near.  My poor co-worker, who is incredibly active in her own church, was just trying to tell the woman that she was well familiar with the Scripture being  quoted at her.  Apparently the woman didn’t believe her.

Murphy’s Victim.

There’s a new tire place going in across the street.  I had the (mis)fortune of meeting the manager today (Tuesday) morning.  He was making some copies, and although cheery, was clearly flustered.  I asked him a couple of simple questions, and learned that everything has been going wrong for him moving into the new place.  He had to start paying the lease in early January, but the landlord broke his/her word, and they weren’t able to move in until late May; things are breaking and not getting fixed, et cetera.  I felt bad for him, I understood why he was frustrated.  Boy was his luck bad in this venture.  But what could I do?  I listened.

Carpet Man.

I wasn’t pleased that my carpet was being redone this morning, especially since I found out only a few minutes before it happened.  But the guy who came in to do it was helpful and charitable.  He worked quickly and never complained about me getting in his way, although I kept leaping over the space where he was working.  I was totally in his way, but he was congenial and understood that I needed to get work done, too.  Thank you for your patience, sir.  Really… thank you.

Captain Xerox!

We have a regular repairman we see all the time, because one of our machines is awful.  He is such a nice guy, always smiling, and he fixes things as quickly as he can.  It’s a relief to see him because it means that I’m getting my machine back, yes, but for some reason his professional demeanor and his complete calm is really reassuring.  We have a couple of other repairmen, but the one who came in Tuesday morning is more than just “that guy who fixes the machine”.  He acts like a human being, and he treats us like one, too.  You rock, Captain Xerox!

The Chivalrous Knight.

Chivalrous Knights come in all shapes and sizes.  Tuesday’s was a tiny, wrinkled little old man who held the door for me at Panera.  I smiled as big as I could and said thank you.  It’s always nice to see that chivalry isn’t dead.

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Well, that’s all folks!  Come back again next week for more stories of humans in the world- the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Feel free to contribute your own remarkables in the comments section!

Mankind’s Legacy

Chopped down trees, man's legacy begun.

“Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.” ~ Henry David Thoreau.

There are two things I notice immediately about my title.  One is that it isn’t politically correct.  Oh well.  The second is that today is Memorial Day, and hey, shouldn’t I be talking about wars or veterans in my family?  I suppose to be following procedure, I should be.  But I’m not from a military family.  In fact, I don’t think anyone in my family has been in the military since, I dunno, the Civil War or something.  I guess technically that’s not true.  My aunt Maureen was an army nurse, but naturally, it’s not the same thing as being a soldier.  So given my lack of ties to the military, I’m going to write about rape instead.

No.  Not sexual rape.  Land-rape.

I was out taking a walk this morning, which I never do.  I’m a lazy bum and I like to sit in front of my computer and be useless.  So the last time I Birch tree amidst destruction.took a walk around my neighborhood was probably one of those uncannily warm days in March.  Today, I was walking around looking for something interesting and new-ish to take a picture of for my Photo of the Day.  I took a route I don’t generally take and WHOMP!  I found the image to the left here.  A beautiful old birch tree (N’Amshir state tree, don’tchaknow?) absolutely surrounded by piles of dirt.  Not like… Oh look, a pile of dirt magically appeared due to flooding and erosion!  Like, “Me big landowner, om nom ground.”  It made me incredibly… disappointed, I guess I would say, for a couple of reasons.  One, I love birch trees, but you know, that one’s gonna go, too.  As I was technically trespassing, I didn’t get close enough to see if it’s marked, but chances are, it is.  And the second reason of course is that do we really need more houses and things?

Where I used to live, we were practically in a hole in the woods.  Since we didn’t have a mailbox, almost everyone missed the driveway.  It was like we were invisible.  I loved it.  Even people dropped me off at eleven at night and I had to walk the eighth of a mile or whatever it was down the pitch-black driveway, I loved it.  On the far side of the driveway, there was this great big overgrown field.  Since we were just renting, we never really bothered with it.  But my brother and I used to wander around in there when we were kids, because lets face it- to children, all the world’s a stage.  There were a couple of saplings in there, and wild rose bushes.  Things like that.  the other side of the driveway was the same, but separated  from us with a line of trees, since it wasn’t our property.  Since we moved, both those fields have been torn apart to look like the typical American clean-cut front lawn.  Nothing special, nothing pretty, but the grass is all 1 3/4 inches tall.  On the land that wasn’t ours, a house was erected.  Well.  Isn’t that just divine?  A house in the front yard.  I preferred the fields, but maybe I’m just old fashioned.Tractor marks.

People from the city will never understand the beauty of the land out here.  A lot of people leave New Hampshire because it’s boring and there’s nothing here but trees.  These people want the busy ways of the city, the running and rambling streams of businessmen instead of the cool, sweet water streams.  People who have been born and raised in the city see beauty in the steel-lining of skyscrapers, appreciate artistic landscaping, but not the land.  I am a child of the country.  When I was a kid, I didn’t want to admit that, because quite frankly, everyone wanted to be somewhere else, so I did too!  But now I’m older, I don’t give a darn about my peers, and I have no desire to leave the northeast.  For me, the magic is in the mountains and the trees.  Seeing them plowed through like play-dough makes me sad.  Like a part of my childhood is being murdered.

There are three movies that I can think of that warn people, in one way or another, that we should take what we need from the world, but no more and we should be grateful for it.  Two of these, ironically, are Disney movies.  The first is Pocahontas.  Yes.  I know it’s not historically correct (I’m a history major- I’ve been over the story of Jamestown a couple times, thanks).  But there’s one song in the middle called “Colors of the Wind“.  Most people know it.  With lyrics like “You think you own whatever land you land on/the Earth is just a dead thing you can claimOm nom, land.” and “How high will the sycamore grow?/If you cut it down, then you’ll never know” it’s difficult to ignore the facts- human beings are slowly destroying the Earth.  We don’t have to be.  But everything needs to be bigger, taller, shiner, stronger, until there’s no more space.  We are obsessed with the idea of ownership, and isn’t land with a house on it more valuable than just land?

That kind of leads into the second movie, also Disney, the movie Wall-E.  Even in the theatrical trailer, you get a glimpse of what the world has become in this image of the future.  As the movie continues off the now uninhabitable (because lets face it- trees and other plants create oxygen, which is essential to our breathing) planet earth, you see what has become of the human race- fat and lazy.  The first time you see humans in Wall-E, you see two riding side by side in these huge chairs, talking to each other on a view-screen because they’re too lazy to turn their heads and talk to one another.  Really.  Why should they have to do anything, though?  They’ve built a world that allows them to be lazy.  Can’t help but to wonder, is that what we’re moving toward?

The third movie is, of course, Avatar.  I tried to find clips of the damage that the humans did to Pandora on YouTube, but because the moDirt-filled deer field.vie is so new and highly protected, I couldn’t find anything useful.  However, when I searched “Avatar mining” I found a true story similar to that of Pandora.  And in the thinking of Avatar, I remember Fern Gully, which is a direct relation to destruction of the rainforest.

My point, ladies and gentlemen, is that we’re too obsessed with the creation and acquisition of things, and in the meanwhile, we are, to quote a sentiment in the movie avatar “destroying our mother”.  Is it really worth it?  I walked past a field earlier today filled with piles of dirt (clearly preparing for some sort of construction) that was once a place where deer grazed (seriously.  I’ve seen them).  I’ve been woken up every morning for the last few weeks promptly at 7:30am by the sound of drills and hammering and power saws from next door.  I’m pretty sure they’re putting an addition on their house (but I can’t be sure, this is one of those neighbors that lives in a hole-in-the-forest and has angry dogs and tall gates, way in.  And he’d probably shoot me if I trespassed.  Even though his kids trespass over here all the time and leave toys and sleds and junk in the woods to rot).

Is this ever going to stop?  Um.  The Earth-raping, I mean.  Although the obnoxious neighbor is okay to stop, too.


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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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