Friday, December 18, 2015

A Black Guy, a Hawaiian, and an Iraqi Walk Into a Bar......

So it's actually an office where the previous day's potluck leftovers have been sitting overnight.

Hawaiian: J, you want some potato salad?
Black Guy: No way, man.
Iraqi: There's some chicken.
BG: What are you trying to say? Is there watermelon too??
H: Yeah, there's probably some watermelon in the fruit salad.
BG: I know you didn't just say that. I'm the only person who knows you're Hawaiian.
I: You're Hawaiian?
BG: See? Nobody knows!!
H: Hey, I'm just trying to take care of my people.
BG: Your people? Like you got people?
H: Yeah man, my people.

If I got paid for laughing here, they couldn't afford me.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I Might Have a Problem. Just a Little One. Maybe.

I stream Kidd Kraddick in the Morning on my phone when I'm getting ready for and driving to work. I've been listening to them for more than a dozen years now so they're kind of family. Love them.


Today they talked about and showed a video of one of the kids they took on their Kidd's Kids trip to Disney World this year. Memphis developed meningitis and became a quadruple amputee as a result. He gets around quite well, seems well-adjusted, and had a great time on the trip with his dad. In the video Memphis meets Travis, a former army sergeant, who shares the same disability. Only he lost his limbs defending our country. He now works as a motivational speaker and supports veterans with disabilities.

Travis has some pretty cool prosthetics. They have robotic hands and other cool shit. Memphis also has prosthetics but doesn't like wearing them. His dad and doctors have struggled with this. Well, after playing with Travis' removable arm, Memphis declared he now wants an arm for Christmas. It was all very sweet and touching and inspirational.

Halfway through the video, which took place in a gym, I spotted something interesting. Something white and tailless. Something smooshy-faced. Holy-everything-wonderful-in-the-world, there is a fucking bulldog hanging out in that gym!!!!!

Oh my dog, oh my dog, oh my dog, show him again I have to see that wrinkly butt what is he doing does he work there is he there every day where is this gym how do I get a membership there and will this dog be my personal trainer?!?????!!?!???!!!

Yep, inspiration and feel-good messages were all lost on me at that point. I'm happy for Memphis and Travis is motivated to encourage those with disabilities and injuries that aren't only military and war-related. Awesome. But you guys!!!! There is a bulldog in the gym!! I spent the rest of the segment looking for that dog. At the end he was kissing Memphis. Because that's what bulldogs do.

Day. Made.

Monday, December 14, 2015

I Need Humanity to Come Back

This is going to sound weird, especially coming from me, especially to those who know me. Yesterday, as I was watching my dogs pee (I don't know why then, usually I do my best thinking in the shower) the word "service" came to mind. The odd part to me is that I usually equate this word with religious connotations. Church service. Servicing others. And I'm not a church person. I don't spontaneously combust when I enter one, it's just not a place I choose to visit regularly.

So I've been thinking about it and what it means to me.

I got an email at work about how we should all be prepared in today's world. Lock doors, wear badges, park in visible areas, etc. We live in a very scary time. And while I feel relatively safe at work, being out in the boonies a bit, I still have friends and family to worry about. I worry for people I don't know because there are so many uncertainties and the news is bad every day.

Between the events in the world at large and our own political debates and in-fighting at home, I feel lately that we have lost our humanity. There is no compassion for people who are different from us, we're bombarded with messages that we have to protect ourselves at all costs. I don't think this is true, but voicing it results in me being labeled a "bleeding heart."

And it's a struggle for me to remain calm and rational when I hear all the rhetoric being thrown around. My mother and I disagree on one particular presidential candidate who I believe to be one of the worst people to come on the scene for a while. He constantly spews hate and fear-mongering and I think my mother is smarter than that. That's when I realize I'm doing it too. Making judgments. Putting on labels. We have to be better than that.

Working back to service. It is said that you must first help yourself before you can help others. Maybe that's why this is coming up for me now. I've spent the last several years working to be someone I can be someone I like, who I can spend time with. And I do. Some of my favorite evenings are the ones I spend alone, with a cocktail, blogging or listening to music or watching TV with my dogs. I'm a pretty fun date for myself. So maybe I've opened up some room to be able to give back.

The problem is, I don't know how. I don't know what that looks like for me. Many of the consultants in Pure Romance talk about making a difference in the lives of women. And that might be one way. I have a customer whose husband only likes to have sex one way and it's pretty demeaning for her. Her own mother encourages her to submit because "He'll find it elsewhere if you don't." Her mother perpetuates the idea that her body doesn't belong to her, that she must sacrifice her personal boundaries in order to keep a man that doesn't respect them. There wasn't a lot I could tell her, but I hope my suggestions in some small way empowered her to start thinking about standing up for herself. Maybe a tiny seed was planted.

I try to advocate for animals. I celebrate when a dog is rescued and finds a new home. The only problem is, there are 25 more waiting behind him for their own families. I cheer when animal rights become something to fight for, to vote on even. And then I hear that their are only two of a rhino species left in the entire world and poachers are running rampant.

I don't know where to begin. I don't know where I'm needed. Do I start small by being kinder? Is this where a return to humanity is sparked? How does it spread? Do you know you're making a difference or is it like parenthood, where you're just in the trenches day after day and one day when she's able to reflect and sit in your shoes for a minute, your daughter tells you that she appreciates you and understands you've only tried your best?

If you practice being of service, what do you do? Do you give your time, your money, your home? How do you not flash with anger at the injustices in the world? Is there something that lasts longer than giving money to a homeless person or donating to a Gofundme for someone in need or buying a Christmas gift for a needy child at the office? How did you find where you fit to offer the most?

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

How My Job Might Ruin My Dating Life

When I moved to the south from Oregon, I expected that things would be different. There were some things I hoped would be different. Like the way people dress up for weddings. Also sweet tea and pimiento cheese being readily available.

Mostly I hoped for the men to be different. I'm going to generalize and say that men in the Pacific NW (and probably the entire west coast) are very self-involved. They're more concerned with their image and care far more about themselves to spend a modicum of effort on the women around them. The loves of their lives are inanimate - mountain bikes, snowboards, and craft beer. There is very little room left over for women or for doing things that women like. Such as being taken to dinner. Or even being paid a small compliment.

So yes, things are different in the south and I feel particularly so at my present job. I'm in a room with at least a dozen men and only two other women. A lot of the time I'm the only woman. And they treat me like one. They tell dirty jokes but then they apologize (because they don't know me very well). If I voice that I would like something, say an extra monitor on my desk, it's on my desk and hooked up before I finish my sentence. When I got my new docking station, three of them swarmed over to help me set it up. Nobody says anything when I take the last cookie.

The other men in the building are just as accommodating. They go out of their way to hold doors open, hold the elevator, let me off the elevator or through the door first. The guys I think who are too busy to really pay attention to me remember the single conversation we had and refer to the thing I told them. Guys I don't even know notice when I get my hair cut and compliment me. Even the security guys, who I think have the most boring job in the building, cheer me up on cloudy days.

I went to Pittsburgh for training three months after I started here. I mistakenly asked someone at the help desk if he had a power cord I could borrow for the week and he started at me blankly and then told me to go downstairs and find one. What?? You mean you're not going to stop what you're doing and clamber to get one for me???

Do you see the problem? I now can't date a guy who doesn't treat me at least as well as my co-workers. At my age, I've already learned to have higher standards. I am further being spoiled and (mis)led to believe I am some sort of actual lady.

Thus, my wish list has changed a bit. Future boyfriends must use ma'am on occasion. But only in a cute, charming way, not like in an I'm-an-old-lady way. They must open doors and let me through first. They must give up their seat and not just to me, but to pregnant women and the elderly, even when I'm not present. They must anticipate my needs and provide them before I've finished my sentence. As in, "I'd like some hot chocolate right about..... Oh, thank you!" They should probably assume I know nothing about electronics and insist on assembling things. Even if I can figure it out, I don't want to.

And they should always, always give me the last cookie.

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