Posts Tagged 'Patience'

Time for a Gibbs-Slap

Stop, or I'll Shoot!

While I can’t call myself an NCIS-fanatic, I do indulge in the television series.  Yes, I know.  I’m three seasons behind.  Yes, I have seen episodes of LA and I don’t think they’re as good.  My favourite characters are Abby and McGee, but if it weren’t for Ducky, I don’t think I could stomach the show.  His sense of humour keeps autopsy from being nauseating for a girl who still occasionally checks and makes sure zombies aren’t under her bed.

I have to agree with Everyone Else, though.  Without Gibbs, NCIS just wouldn’t be the same (and isn’t, thanks for proving our point, LA).  Gibbs is a great leader, and he always goes with his gut.  To Tony, Xiva, McGee, and Abby, he’s a definite father figure.  And when one of his children has (or is about to) go astray, he knocks some sense into them.  Literally.  So, here I am.  I bow my head down to the great master, because I deserve a Gibbs-slap.

Lately, I have been selfish.  I complain about my weight (yesyesIknowI’mnotfat… I’m just fatter than I wish I was) and how many hours I’m working (honey, a couple months ago you’d’ve killed for 40-hours/week) and my family (…at least they love me?) and my boyfriend (I know he loves me) and my friends (okay, only a couple of them).  I told myself I was going to be better.  That I was going to look at the little things and be appreciative.  And I haven’t been.

A couple days ago, my friend Matt bought me one of those Oreo-Milkshake-Things that they have at Wendy’s.  He didn’t flounce up to me and say “HEY!  I bought you ice cream!”  I found it sitting on my desk, frosty and chocolaty.  I knew right away it was Matt, because he’s the only one who knows I like those, and he’s at Wendy’s all the time.  But when I noticed the shake (it took me a while… I had been running around) he was already working with a customer and by the time I was able to thank him, I drank half of it.

For my job, I have to smile.  Even if something isn’t funny, even if I freaking-hate-your-guts.  But when I saw the shake, I looked at him, and smiled for real.  It was just a random act of kindness, and it meant a lot to me.  When I was able to thank him, he simply smiled and said “I thought you would like it,” and kept going.  I’ve been thinking about it ever sense, because even though it may have been a little thing to him, it was a big thing to me.

I wanted to share that, because I read this post on Freshly Pressed and I wanted to emphasise how important random acts of kindness are.  The more I think about what Matt did, the more I realise how quickly I let myself fall back into the sinking sand, and how I need to stop being selfish (which honestly is one of my greatest pet peeves in people) and start being more selfless.

I think that the last selfless thing I did was buy Reeses just to give them away to two people I work with, just because.  And that wasn’t very selfless.  It was more… “You are having a bad day.  Would you like a Reese?  Okay, here.”  Pretty pathetic, but I am going to do better.  IamIamIam.

What was the last random act of kindness you performed?  When you find yourself slipping into selfishness, what is the Gibbs-slap that wakes you up to reality?

Oh, and by the way, y’all are welcome to give me a good virtual Gibbs-slap.

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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.

What is Reality?

These last few days I have had an appropriate amount of domestic rural adventures, from driving in a thunderstorm to preventing a kitten from ripping my toes to shreds.  These things are all the little things that we often overlook as we let our lives consume us.  I am that person sometimes, too, but I work hard not to be.  I’ve had a few things on my mind, and seeing the film Inception last night keeps pushing thoughts about the little things forward more and more.

First, I’d like to talk about the movie.  I’m not going to go into too much depth because I don’t want to spoil it, but it does bring you to appreciate life and reality.  The things that are always there and the things that you can depend on.  The details.  For example, the movie itself- I’m sure a lot of people will be walking out of it thinking about the deeper meanings of it and how it is a reflection on the world and our perception of it, and so on and so forth.  I walked out of that movie thinking a few things.  One: “Holy crap, where did that thunderstorm come from?  Crap.  I have to drive in it.  And I left my windows down.  Craaaaap.” Two: “I don’t think I have a single bad thing to say about that film.  From the acting to the special effects to the plot… it was all really well done.” and Three: “What was the theme, anyway?  It’s supposed to be a deep thought movie like Momento, right?  So there must be a deeper theme….”

For those that are curious, I’ve decided that the theme was “what is reality?”  It’s kind of like The Matrix in that way.  Now, I’m sure there are others who derived a very different theme about it, and I would love to rationally discuss that theme (or those themes) as well.  But from my perception of the film, there were strong themes of “what is reality” and “what is dream” running through it.  And, in saying that, I don’t feel like I’m spoiling the film because dreams are a present theme in the commercials alone.

From the question “what is reality” we must ask ourselves… what is real?  What makes things believable?  For me, that is all the little things in the world.  The things that make our experiences our own.  We all may walk into a grocery store, but do you avoid walking through aisles packed with people (even if you desperately need something in that aisle) so you can stay out of peoples’ way?  Do you walk through the produce section and drool over all the berries and ultimately buy some, even though you know they’re out of season and they’ll be gone before you get home?  Do you hang out in the bakery for a few minutes just to smell the bread?  I do.  Things like that – little sights and smells and hopes and such – make the experience mine.

This week, I am going to try to stop and notice all the small things.  To stop and take a deep breath and appreciate the world as I run around.

Another thing that has inspired this thought process is a book I recently started reading.  It’s half for school, and half for research, since part of the reason I’m a History Major is to gather information about the world so I can use it in my writing.  The book is called Avengers of the New World by Laurent Dubois.  It tells the story of the Haitian Revolution and the world that led to it.  It’s for my Africans in the Colonial World class, basically a follow-up class to Atlantic History, which I took sophomore year.  Anyway.  I’m only 9o-pages into the book and there was a section all about culture and religion and the ways the Africans kept their customs alive in Saint-Dominique.  What do you do, when you’re lashed often for little to no reason, are not allowed to meet with other slaves… and even the free-coloureds kept having their rights lessened.  Heck, the thing that really annoys me is the “Liberty Tax” that white plantation owners had to pay when they freed a slave.  When you are in a position that most of the slaves (or any good person, really) where in, having their hands tied by the powerful few-and-far-between…the only thing you can do, once you’ve run out of options is to stop, see what there is for you in the world, and move forward.  Find the next path and renew yourself mentally, spiritually, and emotionally by the little things that have been driving you all along.

Today, a friend told me that whenever he hears “On The Dark Side” by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, he thinks of me, because I’m the only other person he’s ever met whose heard of the band.  It was a little thing, but it made me smile and lifted my spirits after six, seven hours of consistent photocopying, binding, and wanting to hit machines with a crowbar.  Has there been any little things in the world today that gave you the strength to move forward?  What are the things that you rely on daily to keep you grounded in this mad world?

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.

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

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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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