Freedom at the Pump

Standard

It seems the last few weeks I have nothing but company complaints in my mind. Sooo..you know that new commercial you see all the time on tv?  The one with the lady close to my age, actually, who gets out of a car with some kind of music blaring?  See, I know I’m supposed to look at it and go “she may be white, but she’s still hip!  I can be like her!”  Yeah.  I hate that commercial.

Every time I see that commercial, I start grinding my teeth.  Because they are trying to romanticize something I want to bitch slap her for.  Well, that commercial character and anyone else that makes me roll up my car window.

First of all, you don’t see if there’s a kid in the car, you just see a stuffed animal.  It’s not cool to have the music up if you’ve got kids, yo.  Busting your own ear drums is stupid as shit, but if there’s a kid present, you are irresponsible.  As in your kids are the ones who yell in every store because they have no hearing because they need hearing aids irresponsible.

Second, I dislike those stupid family stickers.  Except for the funny ones like these.

But bumper stickers in general are just weird to me.  Why advertise your politics or how many kids you have?  Are you looking to make life easier for stalkers?  I know some people have those stickers or “baby on board!” to advertise they have kids in order to make those around them more congenial on the highway, but, I don’t think you get a pass on cutting in front of me or driving like a jackhole just because you chose to push a baby out of your vagina.  I will still honk while I hit the brakes.

Honestly, this is all secondary to a more petty grievance in my mind.  You see, you might think pumping out the bass on your speakers is cool, but I think you are a raging dildo for it, because a) it makes my constant migraines instantly worse and b) it is, in fact, a noise violation, and c) I DON’T WANT TO LISTEN TO YOUR MUSIC.

So while I acknowledge the adolescent and quite transparent message of “be cool like her” in the commercial I will always reject due to my vehement distain for such crude, simple techniques, every time I see this commercial it actively makes me NOT want to have anything to do with the company.  Because blasting your music in the car, whether it’s mariachi music like my old neighbors cranked up in their p.o.s. cadillac, or rap to show how gangsta you are in the ‘burbs, it’s just rude.

First Week Back

Standard

I was listening to NPR yesterday, and there was an interesting discussion on introverts vs extroverts.  The idea was our idea of an introvert is someone shy, someone who doesn’t connect with others, for example. Most people, seeing that I am a professor that steps in front of huge groups of people on a regular basis and do a fairly good job of being confident, clear and comfortable when I speak, would assume I’m an extrovert.

I’m so fricking not.

It’s not that I’m not comfortable in front of people.  I can easily lecture, taking critical questions, for hours on end, be it in front of students, or peer reviews, a whole stadium of strangers.  But get me in a office cafeteria, or after class with a handful of strangers, and I cringe.  Because I hate small talk.  I hate that getting-to-know-you-and-actually-appear-interested dance people do.  I can happily go months without talking to anyone. And if I do have a conversation?  I’m more likely to step into the deep end of the pool with a in-depth, philosophical discussion or debate.  Apparently this is another trait of introverts–we DO like to talk, just deeply.

So I’m not shy, I’m just…a hermit.  Not needy for attention.  Not looking for social acceptance for self fulfilment.  Disenchanted with chit-chat.  Its not that I look down on any of it, or that I don’t see the value and how people can build meaningful contact that way…However I say it doesn’t sound good, but it’s like this; some people really love playing soccer.  They love the interaction, the feedback in the crowd, the team spirit, the rituals, the nicknames and pats on the back, the feeling of belonging to the group…

Then there are those who like martial arts.  It’s more solitary, but your competition is yourself–can you be better?  Can you hold that pose for a minute longer?  And while you’re doing this, you’re thinking about balance, and chi, and how to grapple with fact that your focus and stamina is for something essentially lethal, yet uses more restraint than you have when eating cookies.  And then you start thinking of the concept of restraint as a social construct, and where is that fine balance between Lord of the Flies and Little Women, all while by yourself in a dojo, juggling flaming nunchucks or something.

It’s like that.  Soccer may be great and I totally get that, but martial arts is just more my bag.

Which is why the first week of school KILLS me.  I’m not used to talking anymore, so my voice is cracked from all the speaking.  My head hurts from focusing on caring about a staff members holiday, or what their spouse thinks of sausages.  Sausages, for gods sake.  Or a student who doesn’t leave after class is dismissed, wanting to tell me all about this one funny video on youtube that they can’t quite remember…Why do we talk about this stuff?  Why ask me how I am and keep walking without listening to what I say?  Why ask, when you don’t really want to know?  Should I be honest, or should I be polite?  Do I have to answer at all?  Am I perceived as being bitchy because I didn’t answer when you were already 8 feet in the other direction?

The stress of it all just exhausts me.  I just need some time to settle back into the idea of community.  It’s not natural, but I can do it.  With some pain and suffering…

schoolsback

Parking Tickets

Standard

First let me say that everyone has been a parking asshole at one point or the other, without meaning to.  There are times when we all get so wrapped up in life that we aren’t as considerate as we should be.  Or circumstance makes us park like an asshole–like once I was in a parking lot where everyone for 10 cars were all parked offset because of someone long gone who had parked wrong.  So I parked over the line because I had to, as well, as it was the last space left.  I get it.  Dickhead maneuvers are sometimes unavoidable.

What I don’t get are douche canoes who clearly are either dumb as rocks or think they are too important to follow the rules.  Like the asshat who parked next to me this week.  See, we went to Six Flags for my birthday, and the WHOLE LOT was full.  We drove around for 40 minutes to find a single spot!  This was the only one there…and with my small car I was still able to juuust fit inside my line.  But this dickweed didn’t even try. It’s an amusement park with a small lot! In the summer, it’s a busy place, so this dipwad’s parking job is inexcusable.

parkingticketWe all know from past posts that I have road rage, although polite roadrage. Even when I’m walking on the sidewalk.  You’d think I’d blow my lid.  But I didn’t…because I had one of the best purchases I’ve ever made with me: a set of parking tickets.  I flipped through the book and found an appropriate one.  Now instead of getting pissed at these horrendous parking jobs, I actually enjoy them.  And I must say…I have never found one ripped up on the asphalt, so I think people are bemused enough to actually read them.

Insulting-Parking-Tickets-Booklet-640x300I need to buy a new set, because they do keep the blood pressure down.  I think they are funny, and if I got one, I’d find it pretty damned funny too.  But it got me to thinking…parking tickets are a way of educating the public that they are in violation of our rules, and therefore it is an education.  Now, I’m ALL about educating jackwagons everywhere in the world, and why shouldn’t you get the joy of passing parking tickets out, too?  Well, if you can find the ones I got at some tourist shop, good for you.  But I must say, they inspire NO fear since they aren’t parking ticket shaped.  So I decided to make my own…and to share it here with you.  Up close it won’t fool anyone, but at a distance it might make someone sweat, and that’s retribution enough, eh?

parkingticket1

I left the ticket offense blank so you could write in your own reasoning, but I also included a back page to print, in case you need help expressing your, uh, diplomatic edification.  I thought up the insults I most commonly give, for the infractions I find the most annoying: parking in 2 spaces, parking with INCHES next to my space or over the line, parking in a NON PARKING ZONE (jesus that one gets me), taking for-fucking-ever to turn the damned steering wheel into a spot (for either asshat behavior like holding “hands free” devices instead of the steering wheel, OR for simply teeny, tiny balls while driving a mammoth SUV), etc.  Feel free to leave a comment on the post with your own poetic barbs for someone to use. (Though if you’re here because you got one…suck it up.  It’s a joke.  And I’m not responsible for what someone else decides is ticket-worthy ass-hattery. If you really want to take it seriously and get pissed, first send me a check for $250 for the fine).

parkingticket2

If only I could find a way to give people driving tickets, too…

When There Are No Good Options, Job Hunt.

Standard

It doesn’t happen very often, but last week I avoided the blog.  I avoided pretty much EVERYTHING.  I needed a mental week off.  Because I’m really upset.

away

See, one of my peers is a bully.  This peer…let’s call him Jordan.  Jordan is best friends with our boss, and he’s been pushing extra work on me for a while, which I didn’ t know.  Because I’ve been doing my share if you compare projects…but since they aren’t the projects he’d like, they don’t count.  Which really isn’t up to him, btw.  I’ve been taking more ownership at the job, and that means making decisions about what should be done, where the future lies.  That kinda thing.  But Jordan has been whispering to people how I’m not pulling my weight…how I’m just trying to get a free paycheck…and then every email and text has had little jabs, insults, and mostly commands…

I’m a strong person.  But I’m also aware of politics.  I can’t go running to my boss, Jordan’s best friend, with complaints.  People higher up on the food chain are part of my review board, and complaining will, in fact, be seen negatively.  I was warned by my previous boss.  And we don’t have an HR department to go to… I’m stuck.   I’m stuck sharing a research space with someone who is hostile.  I defend myself, and calmly stand up to the allegations with proof of my work easily at hand, but I’m relatively new here–he’s got buddies all over the place.  The few things I’ve mentioned in confidence to the few people I trust have gotten into the gossip pool. I realize I can’t talk to anyone there, and the friends I thought I had are not so solid.

I feel isolated.  I wonder, like anyone, if I’m crazy.  Six months ago I read online info on bullying in the workplace, which has it’s own flavor.  I see over half the signs listed are things I can call up from memory. So I read the tips.  I am clear and unemotional in my responses.  No luck.  I suggest we talk it over.  A vehement denial, followed by guilt trips and more jabs.  Needing to talk to someone, I show my husband and my non-work friends the emails.  They agree, I’m not crazy.  Laying out the situation they also agree I don’t have any good options.  It’s insane being angry and upset and uber sensitive at the same time.

So why am I typing this up?  Because I can’t be alone.  I’m frustrated as hell, but I at least have some support of people at home who know me well and know how hard I work.  Not everyone has that luxury.  And not everyone can solve this problem.  I can’t, and I’ve done research.  Anything I do could very well tank my career, since these are the same people that will be called if I get another job, like I’ve been applying for.  And in an economy where jobs are slim indeed, I’m stuck.  I can handle it…for now.  I’m meditating, really taking weekends (well, Sundays) off instead of working as usual, trying to create some space from the issue.  But I know others have it worse.  Others don’t have support, or as much of a reserved personality as I do.  Not everyone has an assassin cat to make them feel better.  So I’m writing this so you know.  Know someone else is out there that feels your pain, that won’t give you some dumbass suggestion that won’t work.  Someone who will just say “Dude, that sucks.” Because right now, that’s all that makes me feel better.