Category Archives: Musings

A Foray Into S&M Otherwise Known As My Trip To The Chiropractor

20110915 Chiropractic Treatment Table

Photo credit: Degilbo on flickr)

I had had enough of lower back pain that would attack, without notice and render me useless for the rest of the day.  Upon closer observation, I realized that it occurred after long periods of time spent sitting and gazing at my laptop, something I’ve done a lot of lately.

The pleasure I sought was the relief of excruciating pain that seems to be getting worse with each episode I had.

I thought it was time that I did something about it and several co-workers recommended a “guy” and slipped me his number.  My thought process was:  get in, get an x-ray, see what’s going on there, see what my options are and get out.

I entered his lair, the smell of leather wafting up to me from the waiting room.  I was ushered into a dimly lit cell and questioned. Then he entered.  All 6 feet, 250 pounds of him. They called him The Chiropractor. He seemed to have enough strength to snap me in two and a chill went down my spine.  He seemed affable enough but moved in close.

He lured me in with promises of relief, range of motion and flexibility. He knew what he was doing and knew all the right things to say.  I could tell he had done this a long time and as his hands moved over my body with a certainty, a confidence , I began to relax.  He touched me in ways I’ve never been touched.  When I told him I was nervous he said “I’m going to enjoy working with you, I like a challenge.”  When he told me to go into another room filled with tables and curious machines, all I could think was yes, Master. His accomplice made me lie down and strapped things to me. They didn’t hurt but I was ordered not to leave until he came for me.

In what seemed like a flash, he darkened the door and summoned me back to the cell. He motioned for me to lie down on a table devised for his amusement. This time he was all business and the warmth I’d seen earlier was gone. He began to push me around, calling it an “adjustment” pushing into my back until I heard cracking and worse, a slow long crunch…..I screamed. I could tell he was enjoying this and about to really get into it, his hands deftly moving down my lower back to strike again when I said, no! Master no!  His hands stopped mid-air, twitching to make contact with my body again.  No, master, please, the pain!  “It’s ok, it’s ok, baby steps” he said and he retreated with a smirk.

His accomplice returned, she called herself Nurse and made me follow her to another dark cell. She placed me on a strange bed and began to bind me with a holster of sorts, pulling it tight until I could hardly breathe.  She connected me to a machine and dropped the table beneath me and ever so slowly the table began to move. With each shift of the table my spine stretched a bit more.  Because of my confinement I could only see the ceiling and either wall in my peripheral vision. I felt vulnerable and a little bit scared.  Had I angered him, would this machine be my punishment?  The accomplice was in my face telling me it would be another 13 minutes.  Why 13 I wondered. I took deep breaths and vowed that if I made it off the table I’d never return.  Seconds turned to minutes and finally the all clear sounded.  The table returned to its original position and I hurried off the second the accomplice unshackled me. I composed myself and hobbled to the reception desk, hands trembling.  “Same time tomorrow?” Uh…yeah, sounds great….yikes!

(all facts accurate however my perception may be a tad skewed!)

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Rude Awakening

Italiano: versione ombreggiata e ingrandita de...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This falls under the “is it just me?” category.  Is it just me or are other people annoyed, put off or offended by the lack of manners shown by those nearest and dearest when using social media? I am often surprised that people I consider close friends or family relinquish manners I know they once must have had. Surely I would have noticed before I allowed them into my virtual world via Facebook, Twitter, email and texts! I see this trend growing and need to address it…at once.

The bane of my existence is the ‘like’ button on Facebook. I know we are all busy people. But, if I take the time to read everyone’s posts and more time to respond by saying things like “Merry Christmas, hope you feel better, Happy Birthday, Happy New Year, congratulations on the promotion, hope you have a good day, have a great weekend, thank you….etc, I am quite affronted to receive a cursory ‘like’ in response! (In high pitched voice) I didn’t have to say anything at all, you know! The correct response for those who should know better is, in order: Merry Christmas, thank you, thank you, Happy New Year, thank you, thanks you too, thank you, hope you do as well and you’re welcome!

So, the question remains…how do people grab and go when a compliment or greeting is laid before them?  They don’t reciprocate but then don’t even thank the benefactor for their very thoughtful and caring greeting. How can this be?  Is it anonymity or laziness that leads people to slough off years of engrained manners in favor of a click of the mouse, risking loss of friendships, grudges and horror of horrors being unfriended? I think I should start a PSA declaring the dangers of the FB ‘like’ button!

It is as annoying to me as people who walk through a door when you are opening it for yourself without so much as a thank you and cashiers, waiters and any other person to whom I give money and my custom, hello, who do not thank me for doing so. And while we are on the subject, if I reach out and post that I’ve had one of the worst days of my life, ‘liking’ that cry for attention is like pouring salt in a wound. You’re killing me people! I’m sorry, that is blatant misuse of a Facebook widget and should be taken away to avoid future transgressions. Is it just me or have the “like” boundaries been blurred? Liking a video of a puppy that can’t roll over? Yes. Hitting the like button when someone says they just got laid off?  Not so much.

Etiquette and manners form a fragile thread that holds us together.  They force us to look beyond our self-absorption and egocentrism (default settings) to acknowledge others and encourage a baseline of compassion and connection. Those of us who were forced to practice good etiquette and manners (ie, say thank you, say I’m sorry, what do say when Grandma gives you a gift…) were instilled with this responsibility to fellow human beings for a reason.  Is it that young people are not being taught manners any more?  Are manner as outdated as a Walkmans, floppy disks or VCRs? I’d love to play the old lady card  (in my day people actually said “thank you and you’re welcome) but I’m noticing this trend with young and old alike!  The Facebook like button isn’t cool and it wasn’t meant to eschew being socially competent. If you can’t use it responsibly, please refrain.  Thank you.

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A Word About Words

I’m not a linguist but I  sometimes wish I was.  I often feel like the word police and really must restrain myself from correcting people, lest I be ostracized and ignored by those around me. I hear a siren in my head when I hear certain words used and abused. I’m not saying I know all the rules of grammar however some faux pas just really irritate me.  I am fascinated by etymology and where clichés and phrases come from as well and try to broaden my vocabulary if I can.

There is so much confusion about the English language. It would have been much easier if it remained the English language during and after its voyage to the new world.  I can only assume that the introduction of other languages and vernacular caused the problems we have today. Sometimes it’s a matter of education but how does that explain George Bush, who despite being surrounded by other very educated people and having had a stellar education himself, continues to say nucular instead of nuclear-which drives me crazy every time I hear it. His use of language is beyond the scope of this post.

English Language

English Language (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Were we to travel to the birthplace of the English language, yes, England, we would not be at home as one would expect as our languages are very different indeed. I lived in England for a time and found that when I needed to speak more English-English,  I  used my mouth and tongue more. We Americans have lazy mouths! Who knew? It actually takes work to pronounce words correctly. Here is an example of the words that caused me confusion and embarrassment at times:

Garter belt is suspenders, suspenders are called braces, pants are trousers and underwear is pants.  A vest is a waistcoat, an undershirt is a vest!  Vagina is fanny and a fanny is your butt. Your butt is a bum there (I’m not being crude, this needs to be known because when you go around England with your “fanny pack” you will know why Brits break out in laughter-you’re welcome!).  See what I mean?  Very confusing.  I have actually logged hundreds of words that differed from the ones that I used as I needed to understand it to be able to function in society. There were several times I was very embarrassed (see my blog Have I Got News For You). I used the word toss at work and everyone started laughing. I was finally told it means that someone is pleasuring themselves.  If I went into a store to buy something and said to the cashier, “I have a tweny”, the response would be “Sorry? I didn’t understand.”  That’s because we Americans do not use our Ts. Why don’t we say twenTy?  No idea.  I also told someone I was self-sufficient which brought tears and laughter to my husband who told me later that I had announced that I grow my own vegetables and live off the land!

Then there are abused words that time and oceans can not be blamed for. Take the humble coupon (Koo-pon).  People seem able to say coupe as in a car with 2 doors, so why the confusion?  One need only drop an e and add the o n.  They don’t say cyoup do they?  Where on earth did Qupon/Queuepon/Q-pon come from?  It sounds like half Q-Tip and half tampon to me.   Other words begin similarly such as couple and couplet so one would reason that the mispronunciation would take the form of cup-on but this is not the case.

My personal favorite is the misuse of the word caramel.  As there is an a in the middle of the word, I would think this would be quite easy to pronounce. Did people eat so many car-a-mels that that they felt one more syllable was just too much to take? “My mouth is just too tired, can I have a car-mel please?”

Any word that has a silent letter in it and is pronounced drives me crazy as well. Almonds are Ahmonds and calm, for goodness sake, is cahm. What about height? Why do people say heighth?  It’s as if they got a running start with length and width and just kept on going!

Roof? Seems the simplest of words right?  No. Ruff. Ruff? There are two Os people!!

The question that causes my skin to crawl is “Where are you at?” This one has become an epidemic! If  “where are you?” asks the question, why would one add at which is a preposition? And, although rules have softened on the preposition at the end of sentence, this is just plain wrong.  I have no words for “where you at,” no words.

I’ve gotten into trouble for being too “flowery” by using actual words such as innocuous and telephonic as some people  didn’t think a) they were real words and b) that if they were I should actually use them.  One of the biggest annoyances when it comes to language and communicating is when someone doesn’t know a word and won’t just ask what it means so we can move on with the conversation. I’ve had the bizarre experience though of people questioning me and even having the gall to make fun of me when I use a large word (there you go again using your $5 words!). It’s really all I can do to keep from laughing and it makes me feel like I’m in the twilight zone. Mind you I don’t even think I have a large vocabulary. I often feel like Marilyn in the Munsters tv show if anyone remembers that. Try to gain knowledge and use it and others see you as a freak!

Funnier still is when people email or text asking me what a certain word meant. If you can email you can look it up online people. Parting advice for anyone too lazy to crack open a dictionary, take 3 seconds to type it into Google. Geesh!

Which words drive you crazy? I know we all have them.

Disclaimer: Consult your Linguist if you experience headaches, annoyances, exasperation or total outrage from others incorrect use of language.  Side effects of actually looking words up to understand their correct definitions in order to use them correctly includes but is not limited to the following: personal growth, better grammar, better vocabulary and a general sense of confidence and wellbeing.

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Men and Food

Photo by: vmabney

Is it me or do men seem to get very grouchy if they are not permitted to eat at expected times?  While we love them dearly and think that they are generally interesting to be around, I must say, they do not seem able to tolerate wild changes in eating habits. I learned this when I was newly married and still used to my single days and ways.

Knowing that I had a million chores to do on a Saturday, or in preparation for a houseful of guests, I would jump out of bed, into the shower and then into the car to be able to get things done.  My husband would say, “what! and not eat?” Sighhhhhh. Now I’m no stranger to food believe me, but sometimes you just have to get moving and if you don’t you find that the day has gone.  Whenever I acquiesced to his need to stop everything and have a full breakfast, I’d find that we were delayed by hours-you know, it takes time to sip coffee and mop up egg yolks with toast! I would have preferred to hit the mall, get what I had to get then stop at a diner, comfortable in the knowledge that my mission was accomplished.

I notice that if a meal is postponed for whatever reason, men get irritable and almost panicky.  It’s as if they worry they will never eat again; despite having cabinets and pantries full of food, not to mention supermarkets and restaurants down the street.  This is a man who is actually a good cook and likes to cook, mind you.  I wonder if this is a throwback to the primative brain.  Does an alarm go off signaling impending starvation or something?” Men help me out here.

If we were at a family gathering and I made the mistake of saying that we’d be eating “soon” that word would start an invisible stopwatch in his head. Tick tock tick tock…I would continue to chit chat and not long after the conversation would begin:

“I thought you said we were going to eat”

We are.

“When?”

um, I don’t know, soon

“Well no one’s cooking”

We’re going to order from someplace

“How long is that going to be?”

I’d get a menu for him to peruse which would settle him down for the time being but the dye had been cast and dinner had better be coming soon before his stomach rumblings got the better of him.

The suggestion of food can stave them off for a bit.  “I’m just going to stop at my mother’s house for like a half hour, then I’m making a nice Baked Ziti for dinner when I get home.” Oh! Ok! comes the response.  But don’t wait too long or you will be faced with a crestfallen look and the pout of a 5 year old boy, with a temper to match!

It’s always when I’m fully engrossed in a book or movie that I’ll hear, “what are we going to eat.” Sighhhhh.  One “trick” that has worked wonders is to put a pot on the stove and place some food on the counter when I’ve been delayed in getting to dinner that he is now expecting.  Even though I haven’t chopped or sauteed a thing, seeing the pot brings hope and reassurance and me some time.

By now I’m sounding horrible aren’t I?  It’s not that I don’t like to cook or that I don’t like to make him happy.  It’s just that if I’m busy, I don’t care if I eat at 5pm or 7pm. I know it’s going to happen!

I learned quickly that I could not eschew my husband’s need to eat promptly because like a puppy that refuses to walk one more little padded step, he would balk at going shopping or helping out in the house before breakfast. It’s all in the delivery. If I say, “can we go to Home Depot now?” or “can you put your dirty clothes in the hamper?”  The answer will invariably be no.  If I say “can we get a few things done then go to a restaurant for a nice brunch, you know that place where you like the sausages?”  (Never underestimate the power of pork ladies) What a transformation! He would then move heaven and earth, taking out the garbage, putting tools away, gladly driving me to several shops that he hates to go to…you get the picture.  And like that same puppy, he would look at me with all the eagerness and trust his eyes could hold when he knew that our jobs were done and the time had come.  When I got back in the car  and said yes when he asked if we could get something to eat now,  the tension could just be felt slipping away. The aforementioned irritability dissolved with each forkful of food he took and after his belly was nice and full he would be much more cheerful.  I could almost make out the movement of a contentedly wagging tail.

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Happy Easter

Easter eggs Deutsch: Osterreier im gepflochten...

Easter eggs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was so excited to have Good Friday off yesterday.  The spirit of the season was at hand and I had the bright idea of going into town to buy plants, mulch and other springy things.  Lowes was jam-packed with lines in all directions. Obviously I wasn’t the only one thinking SPRING.  The feeling of rebirth and renewal was in the air.

The funny thing was, when I tried to pull my car around for a Lowes employee to put bags of mulch in my car, no one would let me in to get there. This was after I was practically run over by someone with one of those industrial sized carts with not so much as an “I’m sorry,” and had someone cut in front of me in the 20 minute line I was on.  Trying to go anywhere was a nightmare. Every store was packed. And best of all, as I drove around a tight curve, I inadvertently went over the yellow line a bit.  A man coming in my direction, and no I was not in jeopardy of hitting him, actually yelled out in a heavy Southern drawl, “you’re over the line, bitch!” Bitch? Are you kidding me?  That was a bit harsh, no?  I could not believe my ears and felt assaulted.  On the eve of one of the holiest holidays, on Good Friday itself, I was shocked to see how many people were NOT peaceful, were NOT charitable and were NOT showing any signs of brotherly love!  Are these the same people who will be sitting in church in their finest clothes on Sunday?

Usually around Christmas and other holidays there is a softening, an “oh go ahead of me we’re all in this together” sort of atmosphere. But not yesterday, no way!

It’s more striking to me here in the South when there is such a focus on Jesus and bible teachings.  Many churches here even act out the scenes and hundreds come to view a ‘living bible’. One would think then that the teachings of Jesus would be foremost in people’s minds here if anywhere right?  I’m not bashing people from the South or their religions, I know a lot of good people here and it doesn’t just happen in the South. And I know that many people do practice what they preach.  But it’s so funny to me that all the ideas of love, acceptance and forgiveness, those ideals we hold dearest in our hearts and nod to as we are reminded of them by a minster or priest, just go out the window by Monday morning or when we happen to have a lot of Spring shopping to do! Why don’t we look into each others eyes and hug each other Monday morning instead of mumbling “morning, I need coffee.”  Why don’t we take out our wallet when the person in front of us at a store has to put items back because he doesn’t have enough money to pay for them?  Why do people with money just buy more things instead of giving it to people who don’t have it to put food on the table or clothes on their backs?  And, why don’t we let impatient Italians into a stopped line of traffic when we can’t go anywhere anyway?  Why aren’t we living the ideals, that millions of Christians are celebrating this weekend, every single day?

And people wonder why I’m not religious! But…. I do believe in the truths and ideals that all religions believe in, specifically the ones mentioned above.  If we lived these daily we wouldn’t need drugs or material possessions.  If we lived these daily we wouldn’t have crimes and we wouldn’t hate. There wouldn’t be us and them.  I believe if we lived the principles of Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness, there would be peace on earth and I think someone tried to show us that.   Happy Easter!

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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My Year In A Cubicle

An image of a lot of cubicles that seem to go ...

An image of a lot of cubicles that seem to go on forever (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was reminded of my year in a cubicle this week as I’m moving from an office back to cubicle life again.  I was less than fortunate to work in a tiny cubicle in 2005, for over a year.  Provence it was not. I’m not sure if people realize it but cubicle life has a subversive subculture all its own.  Ok that may be extreme but it does have strange quirks that are funny and beg to be written about.  My personal definition of cubicle:/kyoobikel. n. The vealization of previously free range human beings.  Vealize: v. To stuff or cram into a small space, to ensure efficiency and or tenderness.  The cubicle is a small space that, like torture implements of days gone by, can be made smaller and smaller and smaller as cheap companies try to squeeze more bodies into an existing space instead of obtaining larger offices.

On my first day of work I was brought into the office and there before me, stretched out like a sea of grey on a rainy day, were dozens and dozens of nondescript cubicles. To quote Eddie Izzard, they were interesting in an extraordinarily boring way.  I wondered how I would make it back to my own cubicle after lunch and wished I’d brought a sandwich from which I could at least make a bread trail.

The funny thing about cubes as they are affectionately referred to is that although one is mere feet or inches from their co-worker, people block out or pretend not to see or hear what their co-workers say and do. This is good form and good cubie etiquette. So, you can have a situation where a colleague is fighting with her boyfriend for an hour, neglecting her work all the while; cursing, tears streaming down her face complete with hushed hysterics.  She gets off the phone and turns to you saying “can you believe that!?!”  And, the correct answer is, “Oh sorry, what?  Sorry I wasn’t paying attention.”  The hysterical one, also knowing cubicle etiquette, yet knowing there is no way on earth you hadn’t heard, relates the episode in its entirety so as to maintain delicate cubie balance.

On the other hand, it is not uncommon for cube-mates, again inches away from each other, to call each other or email things they don’t want overheard. The walls do have ears my friends.

Adjusting to cubicle life was very difficult indeed. Difficult and dangerous!  During my first few weeks I nearly killed my co-workers.  Once when crossing my legs, my foot hit a metal bar, which capped off the end of the cubicle lovely I might add, which flew down and almost decapitated someone.  Another time I opened my overhead file cabinet only to knock another colleague in the head!  To avoid injury, I quickly learned that I could only move my chair up and down, not backwards and forwards, as rolling about could be hazardous. To be fair, I must explain that the cubicle I had consisted of the following: cubicle wall, about 10 inches to the back of my chair, about 10 inches to the edge of the desk and the desk backed up to the other cubicle wall.

How do people cope with such small, drab surroundings devoid of any sunlight, nature or interest of any kind?  I’m thinking of draping my new cubicle in fabric and putting down a rug. Some bring in candles, pictures, pretty lamps or a plant to simulate a homey atmosphere. Others attach wedding photos and children’s arts and craft projects to fuzzy cubicle walls. Still others light up a joint and who could blame them.

My very first cubie experience happened years ago.  I was doing temp work for a large, reputable publishing company in Manhattan.  My co-worker rose from her seat, came round to my cubie opening-there are no doors-knocked on the thin metal frame and asked if I minded if she smoked.  As this incident occurred in the late 1980s and there were no restrictions on smoking at that time (God I’m old), I said no. Of course I didn’t like it but didn’t feel I really had a choice. So there I sat, typing away in my little cube as the smoke rose and gently fell on my side of the “wall”.  I noticed that it wasn’t cigarette smoke I was smelling but marijuana. I believe I mouthed the words oh-my-God! As cubicles also do not have their own ceilings the smoke made its way out of the area and down the hall.  It was not long after that a manager visiting from Texas confronted my neighbor and promptly had her fired.

There is this weird schematic thing that happens in the cuber’s brain as it constructs walls, ceilings and doors where there are none. Cubicles more than 10 feet away are like separate continents.  Your group, your cubie family as it were, consists of those who work on the same account or project and whom you can hit with a paperclip with minimal exertion.  Paperclips are the cubie equivalent of emoticons with their tongues out or :P.  So, the comment “nice shoes, guess someone hopes to get lucky tonight” is met with  paperclip fire over the wall.

Then there is the interesting behavior that is created by the cubicle environment.  Some are as territorial as junk yard dogs. God help the cuber (cubite, cubiphile, cubilite, cubinilean?) who does not have a partition to delineate their space because there will always be someone to come around to challenge it and take it away. These hyenas of the working world are those passive aggressive among us who push the legal sized proverbial envelope when it comes to boundaries.  They are the ones who wear enough perfume to choke those within 100 foot radius (equivalent to approx 980 cubicles), play music LOUD, sing hymns to themselves, LOUDLY and open their folders and binders to ensure that at least a corner comes to rest on your countertop.  I had one person ask if she could “store” things in my overhead file (that’s when I bopped her! KIDDING!…or am I).  I had another person, who had the same amount of drawers and wall space, ask if she could hang flyers on my bulletin board!  WHY??  Oh they are slick my friends.

Other people, knowing full well that one need only whisper to be heard, TALK TO THEIR CLIENTS LIKE THIS AS IF THEY WERE HARD OF HEARING!!!  I worked with one person who did this and she managed to evade me for weeks because when I encountered her at other places like the copier or the kitchen, she spoke, not only quietly but I had to lean in to catch what she said. I would hear her start in with “MRS JONES HOW ARE YOU TODAY??? and I would drop my pen and run around to the other side of the cubicles to find out who it was.  I needed to know who was 1) annoying me but 2) breaking cardinal rule #1-to speak quietly at all times.  Because cubicles are so close together, I had a fairly good idea where the sound was coming from but was foiled every time she put the phone down. I would attempt to catch her out by going to the printer intermittently, but somehow like the Scarlet Pimpernel she would elude me.  I gave up trying altogether and then a cubie cousin saw me roll my eyes one day during a particularly piercing projection and said “that’s our Angie.”  Angie! AHA! It was her?  Big mouth by day, Little Voice by night.  It was as if putting the phone to her ear activated an unseen force in her vocal cords.  I wanted to scream over the cubicles LET THE ELECTRONICS WORK FOR YOU THAT IS WHAT THEY WERE MADE FOR!  I later found out that Angie had been made to move from her previous locale as she sat near the Vice President’s office who had his head done in by her eruptions-did I mention that cubie gossip dies hard?

We haven’t even touched on the gossip grapevine which exists in cubie life and is faster than the DSL I have at home!  When I decided to leave this job I walked about 30 feet to my supervisor’s office and by the time I walked back to my cubicle the entire office knew I was leaving.  I could actually hear my co-workers in other aisles saying “did you hear? Dana is leaving.”  But for those who have boyfriends in jail, pending foreclosures, recently suspended licenses and domestic disputes, life can be hell.  No matter how much people say they won’t tell or try to suppress, word spreads like butter.

Butter reminds me of the two worst smells one can endure in cubieland, fish and popcorn!  Lunch times were particularly taxing to the nostrils.  It seemed that the only time people ate at their desks was when they had fish for lunch and it would hit me like a punch in the face.  The smell of popcorn would commence about an hour after lunch and would hang over the cubes like a noxious cloud. If the cubicle was designed to ensure that people could focus on only that in front of them, it failed miserably because there were days when I just simply could not get any work done. Between the sounds of Angie the phone fanatic or the Jamaican hymns of save me Jesus Jessica and the combined smell of what I like to call fishcorn, my mind, like my crappy computer, would freeze! Ugh, they put you in a cube, then tell you to think outside the box!

It was always at these times that the office stalker would come around.  You know the one, every office has one-that person ready to pounce on you at the coffee machine or printer. If you don’t know someone like this but notice that you lose the will to live around someone?  That’s the one. You don’t know her but she somehow believes she is your good friend, or biggest fan-scary!  She attempts to elicit information about your private life and does not or chooses not to pick up on subtle cues such as when you turn around and leave her talking to herself or when you start stapling your own fingers together to avoid the pain of her conversation, gossip and insult to injury, bad breath.  She has an uncanny sixth sense and knows the perfectly worst time to come round and literally hangs off the side of your cubie like an office monkey.  “Hey, Dana, what’s wrong? (she frowns for me)”  Uh, nothing? ” Oh, I saw you just sitting there and I know you are always so busy.” Oh my God what the &#^% do you want now?  I say in my head.  Outwardly, blank stare. Blink. “Oh ok, well I’m going to lunch, talk to you later.”  Slow nod, big sigh.

Back to food though.  There is one word. One word that is magical in the cubicle world.  One word that turns the grey to all the colors of a kaleidoscope.  One thing that makes it all seem, habitable, manageable, at least for one brief shimmering moment………..cake. “Cake? Did someone say cake? Suzy, Joe, there’s cake in the conference room, hurry up!” And all round the office that little word is sprinkled over cubicles like fairy dust and one can see heads popping up faster than a whac-a-mole carnival game…ahh cubie cake, thank God, I can make it through another day.

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Bless You!

sneeze

Every time I sneeze in presence of other people, I think, I should write about this.  It’s so funny to me to see how people react and reactions seem to change based on the setting the sneeze takes place in.  Some people say “bless you” and others refuse.  I’ve noticed that religious and non religious people exercise their right to reserve a blessing.

I’ve heard the argument, why should I bless you?  I’m not God.  My answer to that is, do you really think the person you bestow a blessing upon confuses you with God, for Christ sake!  I jest.  And if you give a blessing to their ungrateful nose, they refuse to say thank you to prove that same point.  “I don’t need you to bless me, you’re not God!”

Some people say, why should I say God Bless you?  Who are you to me?  I might say it to my family, but I’m sure as hell not going to say it on the subway or while waiting online at the bank or worse in an elevator. Oh, they ignore you but they are speaking volumes!

And of course we have all been in one of those situations when it is very quiet and you can feel the surge rising up in you, and you think nooooooo not now.  It can not be controlled or suppressed. No! It’s coming whether you want it to or not. You feebly try the finger under the nose trick but no, it’s too late. Your sneeze enters the world to a deafening, pin dropping silence.  You think to yourself, my heart may have just stopped there, doesn’t anyone even care?   Would they really rather see me drop dead right here at the bank?  I could have the plague (the birthplace of the “bless you” apparently), well a cold then, is this any time for me to be benedictionally bereft?

Have you noticed that when someone does summon up the courage to offer a “bless you” in one of the above environments, historically hostile to the blessing, that it is said under the breath, murmured or whispered as if they are giving out the password of a master freemason or giving up the location of someone in the witness protection program?  A solitary bless you in a crowd of avoiders, refusers and ignorers is tantamount to heresy. It is the Anne Boleyn of expressions these days. If you say it in New York, you’re a religious freak.  If you say it in the South, you’re blasphemous.  Where are the mannered among us to go?

Then there are the people who are kind enough to say bless you however the recipient then does not say thank you!  The blesser is then left to ponder the incident.  Did I offend them?  Did they appreciate that I cared enough to bless them?  What sort of person is the Blessee?  Is this sniffling ingrate the same person who barges through a door you happen to be holding open for someone else or who won’t let you in when you’re leaving the gas station?  A nice gesture turns to resentment and head shaking, these people!

Then you have the international response, the most popular being Gesundheit! Why only German?  One never hears a response in Italian, Chinese or Swedish!  Since sneezing is part of the human condition, I am assuming that every culture addresses it in some way.  I wonder if they have the same issues Americans have; a snotty mountain made from a well meaning molehill.

Personally I don’t care what the reason for the sentiment is or whether it is accurate, religious or proper.  In a time of insular isolating communication, it is one of the last courtesies we can show fellow humans without needing a reason to do so.  It’s a chance to connect with a stranger and say hey! I care about you man. It’s a chance to live in a civilized society.  What’s that you may ask? Cast your memory back to when people said “thank you” not to mention the endangered “you’re welcome” ….it’s like that!

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Daylight Savings

Ohio Clock in the U.S. Capitol being turned fo...

Image via Wikipedia

Why must we lose an hour of our day on one of the two most cherished days of the week, a Sunday?  It has to be put into action on a desperately needed weekend right?

Would it not be better to lose an hour at say 4pm on a Friday afternoon, giving the good people of this country, except those of you from Arizona and Hawaii who were smart enough not to observe it in the first place, a jump start to the weekend?

While we are at it, why not just make it fun all round and take the hour we gain in the Autumn and place it squarely on a Monday morning.

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I don’t mind going back to daylight saving time. With inflation, the hour will be the only thing I’ve saved all year. — Victor Borge

Yes I’d like to report a crime! It seems that whilst I slept, some bastard broke in and stole an hour! –my friend Dave

Change the batteries in your smoke alarms.–my Grandmother

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Musing-Women and Tools

Men make fun of women because they either don’t own tools or don’t know how to use them.  I have been the recipient of the muffled male chuckle.  It is the laugh that both shows amusement (aw she’s cute) and reaffirms his manhood and ability at the same time.

We women do have tools and moreover we know how to use them.  Do we not have shoes? Shoe heels make good hammers and don’t leave pesky hammer marks.  And don’t we have tweezers and other implements?  They work just as well as any Phillips and flathead screwdrivers.  They may take more time but for someone with small hands like me they are easier to handle.

But men shake their heads thinking I’d be thrilled to receive a (box, container, bunch?) of tools (ok they wouldn’t say thrilled).  Every once in a while one of them gets the idea to give tools as a gift.  (squirming here…) Dearest men, how can I say this.  We appreciate that you care enough about us to take care of our, um, maintenance needs and yes we might even enjoy them if they came in a pretty pink carrying case, no one is disputing that.  We would even find it very sexy indeed if you showed us how to use them, who knows what that could lead to?  What you simply need to understand is that they just need to be accompanied by a diamond tennis bracelet or a nice handbag.

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