There are a lot of things that I consider to be difficult about having to go to work every day. Most of these things center around the fact that it’s just weird to be around a certain group of people all the time, for no other reason than that you all work toward goals that are somewhat the same, or in a bunch of interlocking positions. Otherwise it makes no earthly sense for you to be in a big room with those people all day. I really think those people who go to work and meet a bunch of really awesome people in their own age group with whom they want to be friends foreverrrr are lucky. Maybe it’s because I’m in a field that’s got a bit of an older demographic and is fucking FILLED with other awkward and aloney-on-my-owney introverts, but I have never really met anyone in my professional jobs who I’d call on the weekends or go to the movies with.
I guess that’s why it’s super weird to me when we celebrate each other’s weddings and baby showers, and even weirder when we show sympathy for family deaths and stuff. It’s not that I don’t feel happy for people when they have babies or get married (I mean, not SUPER happy, mostly I don’t care, especially if it’s a certain few). And it’s not like I don’t care when someone’s friend or family member dies. I just think it’s a more awkward part of working with groups of people. You’re bombing along, getting work-related stuff done, then a card for someone you’ve either met once or not at all and can’t even really picture in your head comes across your desk. “It’s Britney’s birthday!” “Subash is moving on!” And you’re supposed to sign it and cross your name off a list on the back of the giant manila envelope it’s concealed in (OH LIKE BRITNEY DOESN’T KNOW SHE’S GETTING A LAME CARD FROM ALL OF US) and the person who brought it in sneaks off into the next person’s office. And the cards are always really stupid, like sparkly rainbows or cartoon birds with briefcases, and they’re never funny, and I can never think of anything to write in them. Do you know how many times I’ve Googled stuff like “heartfelt phrase to write in stranger’s going away card”? Quick, Google! Get me something heartfelt! I have no fucking idea who Subash is.
Except for all the days when you showed up.
Google says this stuff:
“It’s been a pleasure. Keep in touch!”
“Wishing you all the best in your new pursuits.”
“It’s been great working with you!”
“Glad to have met you.”
What if none of that shit is true, Google? WHAT THEN. I guess you lie your face off. Also, what if everyone else has written the same thing? This is often the case. If you’ve ever noticed, people on Facebook CANNOT HELP but to basically copy and paste the post from the person who commented on that birth announcement just before they did. It ends up looking like this:
“OMG CONGRATS she is so stinking cute!”
“She is so STINKING CUTE omg congrats!”
“Congrats on the stinking cute BABY!!!”
“OMG stinking BABY Cute congrats Baby!”
And on and on and onnnnnnnnnnnnn like nobody in the history of time has ever said anything but “congrats” and “stinking cute” about a baby. (What is it with that “stinking cute” phrase anyway? I feel like women write that a lot about babies, and I imagine them scrunching up their noses like something actually smells bad, and pushing the baby away, like UGH too cute.)
I am thinking about this today because I think most of the things we say to each other are meaningless and bland, endlessly repetitive, and boring. I went looking for a sympathy card that was recently required for a coworker. I stood there in a sea of lukewarm sentiment and I think a dark spot settled into my brain from which all the dumb feelings will now come forth, forever. Lots of suns peeking from behind clouds, rainbows peeking from behind clouds, frowny cartoon clouds, basically lots of cumulonimbus porn going on. Well, then there’s the religion-focused ones about God with glittery crosses on the front. Like the one JESUS DIED ON!
When my grandpa died and everyone kept saying “So sorry for your loss so sorry for your loss sosorryforyourlosssss”, I asked my mom what people were supposed to be saying, since it was like being stuck on a carousel with a crowd of 1000 sad clones around you. She said in that kind of situation, you should think about what would be comforting to you and say that to the other person. Man, she was way off. Because usually the things I would appreciate are completely nsfw and totally offensive. Also, when I think about what I’d want work people to say to me if I lost someone I loved, it would be: nothing. Absolutely nothing. The last thing I’d want to do is open a $1.99 grocery store card from work people and read all their names and repeat phrases and think of them sitting at their desks Googling something thoughtful to say to me, the last thing I’d want to do is read the signatures of the ones I was pretty sure didn’t like me anyway. Who wants to think about that?
I started to think maybe I should write my own greeting cards for all occasions, which I will never give to anyone since they’d just make people want to jump off a bridge. Anyway, here they are:
Card 1: Illness
Front – Picture of a cartoon giraffe in a blazer with a briefcase
Inside – It’s too bad you’ve been out lately, I’ve been wearing some great outfits.
Card 2: Illness/Bereavement leave
Front – Illustrated to look like a notepad. Things You’ve Been Missing At Work…
Inside – Are you kidding? Nothing. Fucking nothing.
Card 3: Bereavement
Front – Sun peeking from behind some clouds. We Heard You’re Sad
Inside – We’ve all been sad before, too. Well, most of us. Not Pat. Pat is a fucking sociopath.
Card 4: Baby shower
Front – Cartoon baby buggy in muted pastels
Inside – You told us you were having a baby so here is a card for that.
Card 5: Birthday
Front – Two dopey cartoon birds and like a coffee cup or a water cooler or some shit
Inside – It’s a good thing there aren’t birds inside at work. That would be insane. Happy Birthday.
Card 6: Wedding
Front – Raised shiny gold interlocking rings
Inside – Is it the guy you brought to that one thing last fall, you know the thing where Crystal drank too much and flipped over that tray of chicken chimichangas? Hahaha! No but seriously is it that guy?
Of Turds and Creeps
I’m mad now because I got a mocha instead of regular coffee for the first time in like 100 years, only because I was looking for something that would jack me up and keep me from crying all morning over nothing like I did yesterday, and that thing was so ass nasty I wanted to scrape my tongue and the roof of my mouth. It tasted like someone sprayed the inside of my mouth with bug repellent that had been flavored like Now & Laters. It was gross. I wanted to go throw it back at the girl who made it. I am pretty sure she fucked with it because the last time I was in there she accused this guy of cutting in front of me in line, and snapped “The line starts back THERE, sir!” and even though people are ALWAYS cutting in front of me and nobody ever says shit about it, this one time the person wasn’t guilty. So I said “Oh, it’s OK he was here first, I’m not in a hurry.” She glared at me and begrudgingly took his order and he didn’t even say thank you and now I have drunk a coffee full of rat poison for no good reason.
I listened to something really disturbing on a podcast on the way home yesterday. It bothered the fuck out of me and it’s called Of Birds and Boundaries, it was on Love + Radio. I keep looking for more information about it, or something to tell me how to feel or what to think. There’s really so little available about it. It’s not that I don’t know what I think (I will tell you in a minute), it’s that I feel so mad and annoyed and disturbed by it that I almost don’t trust my reaction, and want to make sure there’s not something I missed or misunderstood. I don’t think there is. I mean, it’s still possible, and it’s entirely possible that there’s something cultural I’m missing or being insensitive about. It’s art or whatever, so I think you’re just supposed to take what you get from it. But I’m mad about it!!!
So. Basically, this girl places a Craigslist ad for a Hasidic Jewish person “for research.” She’s non-practicing Jewish and wants to talk to someone about what it’s like to live in a Hasidic community in Williamsburg. I think that’s interesting enough of a premise, but what happens is this guy keeps trying to turn the conversation towards getting into her pants. I guess it’s possible you could come away from it without getting that impression, but if anyone’s ever tried to get into your pants, you can’t see this as anything else.
First of all, he finds the ad on Craigslist. My creep radar went off immediately, just because Craigslist is like the basement of life where all the creepo cockroaches scurry around hiding from a naked bulb swinging on a wire. If you have to go down there, you fucking RUN to get back upstairs. Anyway, he starts talking about perusing other ads on the site, “you know, man for womannnn” stuff, but remarks that “most of that is like hookers or whores.” Ah. Right.
He drops references to make it clear that he wants to meet her, like how she should feel free to walk around the neighborhood and “maybe I’ll get to know you up close” and she says “Yeah maybe we can see a movie or something.” He asks her if she’s in a relationship, and he immediately asks how, “in the secular world”, is a man supposed to stay faithful to his wife when he meets someone who is “more hot.” He then talks about his arranged marriage and how his wife doesn’t dress pretty anymore and how he complained to his mother about her. What if he finds a girl that’s hotter?! “It’s hard for a man to stay with a woman.” She goes along with this, “Oh I’ve noticed this too!” So he gives himself the out that “men are like pigs” and generalizes with the example of Tiger Woods. Meanwhile my eyeballs are falling out and the eye holes are pouring blood because this guy just looks like a fucking predatory asshole. I’m sitting there remembering the time when my sister’s boss started complaining to her about his wife and telling her lots of personal things and then just straight up tried to fuck her. I just get annoyed with that approach, that “wuh wuh wuhhh I’m a man baby what am I supposed to do about my unhappy marriage OH I KNOW I WILL PUT MY DICK IN YOU.” Ugh, no. No. No.
So she shares her breakup story with “Marty” and it’s pretty sad and sounds like a rough time. The thing is, even while he’s consoling her and “oh wow must be heartbreaking,” I’m just thinking of his flat voice and how he’s probably got his hand on his dick the whole time. In the next portion, he wants to exchange pictures, she won’t, so he says “Oh well if you will please describe yourself.” She does, talking about her hair length and eye color. He says “What’s your body like, is your body like fit, orrr?” GROSS. STOPPPPPP.
He takes some video around Williamsburg for her, and wants to drop it off at her house. She has a friend go down to his car and get it from him. After that, there’s a segment where he asks her if she went on a date the day before. She says yes, and he replies “OK so I will probably not be talking to you in the future.”
This ended while I still had quite a bit of commuting left to do, but I just shut everything down. I couldn’t even stand to listen to any kind of palate cleanser, this bothered me so much. And I hate that there are people out there who would say “YAY ART YOU FELT SOMETHING” because I really just felt something I feel every day, which is that lots of men are creepy manipulative liars always on the hunt for poontang. I’ve been on the end of the creep stick (literally, you guys) and it’s awful. It’s predatory. I don’t ever again want to be in situations where men are talking to me like, “So why don’t we all take off our shirts and have a philosophical discussion about our favorite sex positions? Why don’t we just randomly start talking about the last time we had sex? If I make you jealous of another girl, will you describe your boobs to me?”
I guess it’s all part of some kind of grody sex dance that people do with each other, but I hate it. It’s full of shit and lies and bad intentions. That’s why this piece bothered me so much: this girl is looking for someone to talk to her about something specific and in walks this dude who basically passive-aggressively barfs his sexual needs all over her. It’s gross, it’s sad, it’s uncomfortable. And I hate that I really wanted to know what Hasidic life was like, and how the eruv worked, and where it was, and this guy fucked it all up by being gross. Now I’m just mad and I don’t care.