Archive for May, 2007

Thanks to my blessed genetics, I visited the dermatologist’s office this afternoon. As I settled into my chair and opened my book, I noticed something scratched into the arm of the chair. This is a pretty nice office, mind you. Plasma TV, a variety of magazines, furniture not prone to carving… It took me a minute to make it out, but I believe it said, “I love potatoes.”

That person must have been waiting for a really long time. To be made to wait long enough that one would make the conscious decision to scrach something into a varnished and coated armrest is rather disconcerting. But instead of an expected, “I hate waiting,” this person opted for positive vandalism. Well, I got the message loud and clear.

Wherever you are, optimistic property-destroyer, I empathize with you. I too love potatoes.

(But really, just potatoes all by themselves? I mean, you gotta have some butter or sour cream or bacon bits or something. You can’t just have plain potatoes… C’mon man, don’t just stop at a single food item—make your passions, hopes, and dreams clear and known or you’ll never achieve them!! By the way, you gonna pop that zit or should I?)

Maybe I’m the only one who notices this (that’s what I say when I’m about to make myself sound like a total jerk), but I’m getting really sick of dealing with businesses that try to make it sound like they’re doing their customers a special favor. These businesses don’t actually do anything beyond the call of duty, they’re just thinly veiling a commonplace action, and sometimes even a request, by transparently dressing up their language. I will cite three examples:

1. I received the two necklaces I ordered from Overstock.com last week. The invoice contained stickers that read, “Gift Wrapped for you by: TINA S” and “Gift picked for you by BRENDA B”. Aside from the fact that the items were not gift-wrapped and that BRENDA B did a shitty job of picking one of my necklaces (there’s a small dent in the pearl), the real issue here is that these are in no way gifts. My friend’s cleaning lady stole my favorite necklace (that’s a whole other post), so I went online and bought some replacements. That makes them purchases. If Overstock.com somehow figured out that I needed necklaces and sent me some without charging me, then they’d be gifts.

2. I was boarding a flight on United, or maybe it was Delta (regardless, they’re both awful). As I made my way to my seat, an overly enthusiastic flight attendant exclaimed, “What’s your seat number?” Since I find it difficult to ignore people in confined spaces, I responded. She then shrieked, “Well, we’ve saved that seat for you right over here!” Wrong. My 400 dollars and a flight reservation saved that seat for me and if it’s not ready to contain my ass for the next three hours, there’s going to be a problem. I understand that she was attempting to “go that extra mile” to make passengers feel welcome, but she just made herself sound like a jackass and annoyed me in the process.

3. Disrobing in a department store dressing room, I discovered this gem of a sign: “For your convenience, please return all garments neatly to their hangers before exiting the fitting room.” Let’s see, for your convenience, I certainly could do that. But for my convenience, I think I’ll leave them inside-out and strewn across the floor for having to read such a stupid sign.

Am I jerk for pointing this stuff out? You’re entitled to your opinion. The people who orchestrate this type of communication have only the most sincere, heartfelt intentions, I’m sure.

When I was in high school, I worked as a teller at a bank. Our group of tellers ranged from Gen-X slacker guy to prissy trophy-wife-in-waiting to clueless yes-man. But there was one employee who stopped the other cliche coworkers in their tracks: the angry, bitter, unmarried, old hag. And since I was the young, (cute?) ditzy girl, I was her natural enemy. She hated me and wished I was dead. I know this because one time she said, “Kat, I hate you and I wish you were dead.”

One night, we worked the late shift together, so it was just the two of us alone. Since most banks close at 5:00, most people were unaware that ours stayed open until 7:00, so business was always slow to non-existent. We were starting to balance our drawers o’ cash and per usual, I had fucked something up.

Angry, bitter, unmarried, old hag was losing her patience with me. She unleashed her fury upon me (this had happened before, no biggie), a fury which occurred little in her actions and even less in her voice, but in her face. Her mouth was taut, her forehead scrunched, and from her eyes shot invisible lasers that ricocheted off of every surface in the bank.

She was having her way with me for longer than my tiny attention span could allow me to pretend to keep listening, so my eyes began to wander. I looked at her distorted face, her bland, graying hairdo, her thrift-store polyester bow-collared shirt… and then my eyes wandered to her neck.

Out of her neck grew a hair. One. Long. Creepy. Hair. How could she not notice that? It was dark like a pube and at least three-quarters of an inch long. Good God! She obviously spent some amount of time in front of a mirror getting ready for her day. How could she not see it!? It was really driving me crazy that someone could let one long creepy hair just grow and grow and not do anything about it. Maybe the lighting in her bathroom was bad? Maybe she didn’t know? Maybe she wanted someone to tell her? I’d want someone to tell me. It’s like having spinach in your teeth or toilet paper stuck on your shoe. It’s embarrassing. I’d be glad if someone told me. I’d probably invest in a better mirror and well-lit environment. But angry, bitter, unmarried, old hag probably wouldn’t take it so well. She’d get even angrier… I shouldn’t tell her. Or should I?

“Kat. KAT! Are you listening to me? Do you understand what I’m saying? Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Um—I uh… I was…,” I stammered. My eyes grew really wide like someone was giving me an enema. Then I quickly regained my composure and said in a rapid, high voice, “I wasn’t looking at you like anything. Hair.”

Her face relaxed slightly and she looked at me strangely for a second. But before I could yell out, “YOU HAVE A FUCKING PUBE GROWIN’ OUT THE SIDE OF YER NECK!” the bell sounded, alerting us that a customer had entered the drive-thru, and she rushed to assist him.

I never did tell her, and that’s probably why I’m still alive right now.

N.H. Town Fires Four Workers For Gossiping

I can see both sides of the coin, but some people really don’t know when to quit when it comes to gossiping at work. Sure, people should be able to talk casually with their coworkers, and of course that can involve talking about other people sometimes. But as someone who has seen it get out of hand before, I’m happy to see someone taking action to stop it. It’s annoying, unproductive, and worst of all, very contagious.

Two of my previous bosses had an absurd gossip habit. It’s really hard to ignore when you are a subordinate who is just trying to get her work done.

I thought it was especially funny when one of the bosses in question once mentioned that people from other groups were always suspiciously looking over at our section as they walked by our bank of four cubes, eyeing the “lab” computer that no one’s using. I wanted to tell her what they were really looking at were her and another coworker, sitting in a corner whispering like teenagers. If you have so many important secrets that you feel you must spend several hours a day whispering about them, let them out after work over a beer and some curly fries, or at least get a conference room so you don’t bother the rest of us.

Boss #2 liked to talk about people after they set sail. Suddenly, when he lost two of our trainers, they were uncouth and underqualified anyway. Or when he found he couldn’t keep someone on the team because he had an arrest record, he told the rest of us over lunch. During my annual review, he talked smack about someone else in comparison to my performance. I just hope when I left, he had some ridiculously bizarre epic saga about my great misdeeds, appearing highly unbelievable but likely very true.

So anyway, it is contagious. As a child copies a mother’s actions in the home, an employee copies a boss’s actions in the workplace. Yeah, I’m an adult and should know better, but there isn’t one person who can honestly say they haven’t fallen into the gossip trap. So I’m openly admitting it. I fell hard, and I fell deep. And I want to stop the habit dead in its tracks so it never happens again. I guess when you’re forced to make conversation with people you have little in common with other than each other, it’s inevitable.

But still bad.

Talking about people can really bring out your inner ugly, so I welcome anything being done to quell the urge so common in us normal folks. Sorry about your pensions ladies, consider it an expensive reminder to keep the workplace beautiful.

I wish that every banana I peeled open didn’t look like it was beat to shit.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8MDNFaGfT4]

(That’s right, I’m bringing back “Peanut Butter Jelly Time”… ’cause misery loves company.)

More to file under PlatKat’s Retail Bitchin’…

Payless Shoe Source is lying to us all. Payless is not a source of shoes, but a dealer of cheap, uncomfortable footwear no different from its higher quality competitors. If it were truly a source of shoes, its brick-and-mortar spaces would be filled with machines and conveyor belts churning out cookie-cutter shoes while sad, tired people watched over them. Or maybe they’d be lined with cobblers, hard at work constructing one-of-a-kind items that would last a lifetime while sad, tired slave-drivers ensured them they were indeed still in China and their 12-cents-an-hour pay rate is absolutely legal. (Whoops, I was thinking about Nike for a second there.) But no, nothing truthful or interesting takes place in these edifices—just long lines of tall shelves housing rows of boxes containing already manufactured cookie-cutter shoes while sad, tired people try to sell them.

Payless, get your act together. You’re a store like everyone else. The only thing special about you is the lack of cushion in the soles of your products, causing them to wear out, fall apart, and cause blisters and bunyons throughout the whole process.

I have a new reason to hate Old Navy. Besides selling cheap, boring clothes for humans, they’ve now extended their crappy fashion line to outfit small dogs.

If dogs could talk, the first thing they’d say is, “Feed me.” The second thing they’d say is, “Don’t put clothes on me.”

DOGS DON’T WEAR CLOTHES!

It’s one of the few advantages of being a dog, right up there with being allowed to pee wherever you want and having the freedom to sleep all day. Let’s not ruin it for them.

One of the preschools I went to was a giant room consisting of a bunch of different stations where you do random shit like color or play in sand or build stuff with blocks. I found one of the stations particularly puzzling—the bubble-blowing station. It wasn’t the traditional kind where you get a plastic bottle and wand. This station consisted of several large tubs filled with soap and water and the children were given straws with which to blow bubbles inside the tubs. I think nowadays, you couldn’t have a station like that because some dumb kid would unwittingly suck instead of blow and get a stomach ache, causing the mother to sue the preschool for millions of dollars in damages (because preschools are really cash cows that can easily cater to jerks with a sense of entitlement). The preschool would close, the baby-sitters, er—I mean teachers, would get fired and never be able to work in the US again. The building would remain abandoned for years, a foul, blistering scab in an otherwise beautiful neighborhood. Children would spend years in therapy, exploring their feelings regarding the sharp disruption in their formative education. Lives ruined, communities destroyed, the world tarnished… all because some dumb school can’t shell out the extra few dollars on plastic bottles and wands.

Last night, Gus and I went to the bar. It’s the official unofficial Bloomberg hangout, so we knew a bunch of people there. We sat down and consumed.

A couple of hours later, my consumption led to a need to relieve myself. I saw a girl sitting outside the one-stall bathroom, so I redirected my attention to Gus’s pool game, since waiting in a line like that just makes you have to go more. Five minutes later, I noticed the girl still waiting, and about 10 minutes later, I saw her give up and go back to her table.

Since I was now the only person in line, and had waited a considerable amount of time, I knocked on the door with the side of my fist. One might say I “pounded” on the door and I would concede. When you’re in a loud, crowded bar such as that one, nobody’s gonna do a damn thing about your dainty little knock.

But apparently, my loud, assertive knock wasn’t working either because several more minutes passed and the door had still not opened. I watched a guy from my group and two other guys enter and exit the men’s room in rapid succession. I knocked again in the same manner.

Several more minutes passed and a young woman about my age stood in the doorway.

“I’m sorry,” she said unapologetically. “Is there a problem?”

Clearly there was. “This isn’t the kind of place to take your mad long shit,” I replied and started to move past her. I had been waiting a long time, and did not care to discuss it further. Apparently she did and began to say something defiantly.

You know that phrase, “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out”? I sort of demonstrated to everyone what it looks like when you don’t pay heed to it.

I shut the door and that bitch flew. I wish I could have been on the other side of the door for just a moment to see what that looked like.

Generally, if you spend that much time in the bathroom, you don’t really care to discuss it once you’re finished. Most people I know would probably just mutter an apology (if anything) and flee the incident as quickly as possible. If she had said, “Sorry, I felt sick” or “Minor emergency” or something to that effect, I wouldn’t have been such an asshole. But don’t spend 20 minutes in a one-stall bathroom that must accomodate the entire female population of the bar, primping and preening just so you can look “sexy” enough to go make out with some nerd by the dartboard.

I was bigger and stronger than her, as I am compared to most women, so I don’t see where she saw the good in getting into an argument with me in a bar. She didn’t know me and certainly had no business giving me attitude. Almost all men understand that you don’t mess with someone bigger than you, why can’t women figure it out?

I pondered this as I took a long, satisfying piss. Then I washed my hands, exited the restroom, and returned to my group in less than three minutes.

I immediately saw her talking to one of the men in my group. I found this humorous because I know one of two things happened:

1) She saw that he was part of my group and started bitching to him about me, thinking that somehow she could get my people to turn on me in her defense. Ha!

2) He saw what happened and wanted to talk to her about it, making her wish she had taken off when she had the chance.

Either way, I saw it and laughed, but kept my distance (our people were taking up the whole back room, so this was easy). I wanted no part in further shenanigans, and I was glad that her visit was brief.

Incidentally, the girl who was originally waiting for the restroom returned, and we agreed that chicks like Miss Bathroom-Hog shouldn’t be allowed out of their cages.

Cell phones get smarter in more ways each year (wish I could say the same for their users), and now some phones have a tracking device that can help owners find their phones if lost or stolen. Some even have the option to emit a noise if the phone is not unlocked properly or if the user activites a separate device that was synced to the phone. I’m not sure if the technology is fine-tuned enough yet that we can choose what noise it makes, but when it is, I’m getting the newest, coolest phone in existence. Then, if someone steals it, it will play a continuous loop of a child screaming. It will also automatically disable the OFF button, so the only way to escape being pinpointed as a child molester is to get rid of it.

In addition, once the GPS tracking system on the phone found that it had been in the same place for more than 30 minutes (because the thief ditched it in a dumpster or something), I’d want the display to read, “Hello officer or good samaritan, some jackass stole my phone. Once inside a police station, the phone will shut off. Thanks!” And I want that message to be true.

Until this is possible, I’ll hang onto Gus’s old Nokia and rue the day I signed up with T-Mobile.