No Decency? No Problem!

I haven’t been writing as often as I would like, due to the last week being rather… different. But hey, it was full of things to write about, so here’s the most important and first thing to set it all off.

Years ago, I was working for a coffee place where I had been rapidly promoted after my trial period, and from then on it was smooth sailing. I was repeatedly called in for overtime to cover for missing workers, and the main duties of the manager fell to me daily. I pretty much ran the place, and nobody questioned it– I was good at it. We had been facing troubles with the upper management, and went through four in the time I worked there. By the last manager, I was worn out and getting sick from my later diagnosed Crohn’s. I ended up being so sick that I was hospitalized five times in three weeks, and had to take time off. I had never used vacation or personal days, so I didn’t see a problem. The new manager that randomly disliked me, however, did.

So, shortly after his arrival and while I was sick, he started sniping at my performance. I didn’t do anything right by his standards, even though I followed the books more than anyone. Slowly, he began eliminating workers to place people he knew in their positions. They didn’t follow the rules, but he didn’t care. They kissed his ass, and that was the important factor.

During my sick time, he began calling me daily to berate me for not being at work. The time had been approved by the district manager, so I decided not to add fuel to the fire and rat on the manager for harassing me. Our store had been through enough turmoil without me making it more difficult, and for love of my job, I kept my mouth shut.

Due to this, within a week of my return I was left with the choice of quitting or being fired due to “three strikes on the dress codes.” Apparently, if it’s hot and you roll up your sleeves to show a possibly offensive (a bird of paradise adorns both my wrists) you can be fired. But, if you’re the managers friend and have magic mushrooms and a tripping caterpillar on your leg for the world to see, it’s fine.

I quit that day and didn’t bother returning for my last of the week. I was fed up, still sick, and hurt. I had poured myself into that job, forgoing social life and personal. It was brought down by one man with a grudge, for no particular reason other than I happened to be there. I lost the last health insurance I have had, right before a double diagnoses of two very problematic illnesses.

These adorable kitties make this part less depressing.

Fast forward now to a week ago. I started to see the familiar signs all over again, but this time not with my job– a worker with a grudge, trying desperately to infuriate  my husband on a daily basis. He’d come home angry and exhausted over the constant verbal abuse from this guy, but for the sake of keeping the peace, never bothered to report him. He figured it would blow over, and I tried not to let it get to me. He worked his ass off daily only to be yelled for no particular reason.

 

Luckily, he was spared for two weeks and managed to work with another crew that enjoyed his company and work ethic. They constantly complimented his quick ability to learn, and how much he had already accomplished. They even shared a dislike for his other co-worker, as everyone had problems with the guy. He was all around not someone anybody wanted to bother with. Things seemed to be going well. As all good things tend to end, he was put back on shift with the wonderful man we’ll call Earl. So Earl keeps up with verbally assaulting him, badmouthing everyone (including the upper management) and being rather vague as to what he wanted my husband to do. Still, he did his job and worked as hard as he could.

Some might think I am biased. Truthfully, it could be my own mother doing a bad job and I’d still fire her. I don’t look at friends as friends when we’re working together. I have been in such a position, and despite my own like for the person, did what had to be done if they just refused to work. If I have to boss you around, I will. If you’re doing something wrong, I will correct you. Work is work, it’s not personal. With my husband, I’ve seen his work ethic and his abilities. I’ve personally watched an old boss beg him to stay because he was such a fine employee. So when he came home and let me know he was fired for not doing a good enough job, I called a big fat bullshit.

Apparently, Earl had been quietly going to the bosses and complaining about his laziness and inability to work, none of which anyone has ever seen before and probably never will. This was, in fact, a job he had hoped for. To go out of his way to screw it up would be a stupid move on his part, and stupidity isn’t something he’s good at.

Without speaking to my husband at any point or the other workers, he was let go, all thanks to one guy that likes to kiss some ass. Now, to make a point, he was the third guy this man has worked with that magically didn’t make the cut. Nobody bothered to notice this trend, apparently.

It’s practices like this that truly bother me. All it really takes is one person to come along and ruin someone else’s job record, financial situation and desire to do well. While we’re lucky this came during my work season, it still hits hard when we were just finally catching up.  There’s nothing good to come of losing your job in this economy– except now, there won’t be more constant berating and we can move on to better things without this holding him back.

My job, however, is still awesome.

As if by sheer luck, while I was thinking of writing this my husband turned to me as we exited the highway and pointed out the work truck and his ex co-worker driving back at about 6:30 pm, alone, and a long way from the warehouse. Obviously his productivity has gone up, being three hours behind already with another 40 minutes to go. Unlike this man, though, we’re not going to stay bitter over it all. It does solidify my distrust in people offering a stable job, and it absolutely reminds me that there’s always someone who can and will try to fuck you over.

For now, I’ll enjoy having him home with me more often until we can get things straightened out. When that time comes, if someone decides to be abusive at work, it’s getting reported. People like that don’t deserve to keep coasting along screwing up everyone else’s day just because they can.

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Faking the Voice

I’m not very special, but I hope to be one day.

Hunter S. Thompson was special. Ian McKellen is special. People that devote a lifetime to their work (and even lose that life for it) are amazing individuals. They deserve to be noticed, heard, and even praised. What have I done? I write in a blog seen by, tops, a thousand people. I write stories people don’t see. Does this make me amazing? Hardly. Should I ever take it as far as I’d like, perhaps. But that’s quite a long way off.

It’s that sort of knowledge that I hope to see out of the actors I meet, the dancers, musicians… there’s no denying they are talented… sometimes. Just because they’re in a play doesn’t make them a Broadway-worthy name. There are a lot of very gifted people there, though, and I respect them. Not all of them are egotistical, it’s only just enough to make you cringe.

You want to chase a dream, and that’s wonderful! Give everything you’ve got and run for it. But it’s not cute even in the greatest of stars to be a total dick, no matter what kind of draw you have. So when it’s a kid in an acting class sauntering up and treating everyone around them like an abused dog, there’s no way to take them seriously.

For real, bro.

There are others I’ve met in various situations (I hang out at coffee shops, where everyone is a future artist/writer) that seem to take on their air of importance before anyone even knows they exist. Do I know talented writers with aspirations? Oh, yes, and many other kinds of artists. They’re wonderful people with amazing works that ought to be seen. Then there are the others, the ones that magically haven’t written a word or painted one canvas, but damn it, that’s part of the process. You just don’t get it, man. Don’t tell me nobody gets it. Even serial killers will have some crazy guy “get” them. No, I get it. You need an excuse to wear a cool hat and smoke while brooding without ever holding down a job. HOW YOU GET SO COOL BRO?

Also, poets. Dear god, poets. Some are truly master wordsmiths. Some… look, I’ll reproduce your work right now.

She looked upon my suffering, unending and pure

I gazed into her empty soul

There was a moment of utter void until, I demurred 

“Did you replace the toilet paper roll?”

Now I’m a fuckin’ poet! Suck it, Robert Frost. Emily Dickenson. E. E. Cummings fuck it, I’ll say the Vogons, because the ones up there were actually good.

To my friends that neglect normalcy, forgo lives, stay up all night working on that piece or that put themselves on the line for a craft, good for you. Again– I stress this. There are millions of beautifully talented people out there, and I’m so glad to know many. Hell, there are folks I know where I just don’t get their work, but it’s theirs, and I respect that. It’s those bastards that don’t do a anything at all who ruin it for the rest of us legitimately trying to be heard. You’re faking it for an image you don’t even deserve, one that people don’t even like too much.

I want to believe that the truly talented will someday be noticed for what they are and worked for. It’s a nice idea, but with so many in existence it is even harder to be seen waving your arms above the crowd. It takes a true dedication to your work, and utter belief in yourself that you can get there.

To that dude three tables away from me at Starbucks rambling on about that screenplay he’ll totally write (if you’d send me some cash, ma, c’mon! I’m an artist!)  I kindly refer you to this bag of dicks you can enjoy eating.

I made this handy image on my phone, if you didn't know what a bag of dicks looks like.

Arguing into the void.

"These are the fucks I give about your lack of information."

Due to the current state of affairs around this place, a lot of debates and political discussions have bloomed (or festered) around the local haunts. Often enough I’ll hear some wonderful ideas, but sometimes there’s a moment that makes everyone stare in bewilderment. It’s at a time like this when I just want to cover the offending party with a blanket and hope they forget where they were, perhaps have a nice nap.

A good debate can be a wonderful way to hear differing viewpoints, and perhaps enrich your own or theirs. It’s always helpful, if you have a very strong stance on an issue, to ensure that you’re open to discussion or the ideas of others. If you don’t, you’ll end up looking like a rigid prick.

So you have a strong opinion and you’d like to share that with the world. Awesome! People like a strong willed individual that will stand up for themselves. That does not extend to a person that is adverse to accept anything else, even facts. Especially one that will refuse to even look into it.

Let’s take politics. Yeah, touchy damn subject. But if you’d like to express an opinion on it, knowing both sides to your argument is the best way to make a valid, intelligent point. Saying “Obama took my job and is a Muslim that watches my wife undress at night” better have some really good evidence to back it up. Stating that something has never occurred in history before, shortly before admitting you’ve never checked the history of it– then refusing to ever do so– is not the ticket to credibility. It’s a ticket to filthy, filthy communism, or something.

It’s like sitting down with an oncologist and insisting to him you can beat cancer with more cigarettes because uncle Frank smoked when he had cancer, and he totally lived. Maybe it was gas, not cancer, but that’s not the point. You’ll be fine. Maybe you read about it somewhere or heard it on the radio. Point is, it’s true, man, so shut up.

I once knew a wonderful teacher with wonderful ideas, and we had a lovely argument about a particular psychological study. In the end, after some very heated arm waving and a pack of smoked cigarettes, we realized we were basically arguing the same side. This is where wording is terribly important, and one double-negative can make everyone have a case of confused brain. I’ve seen this happen a lot, too, and I love being there to watch it happen. People get so wrapped up in the idea that the other person is wrong that they miss the point entirely.

I will never run around pretending to know everything. I’ll freely admit when I don’t, and ask for details so I can understand. Some folks try to argue with a half-formed idea, and get completely mixed up in the end. Solidity of thought is a key, so if you want to fight about a particular subject, know everything you can. 

Still valid.

“I read one article about the LHC and I think we’re going to die in a wormhole by 2012 ’cause time travelers.”vs.

“I was reading about the myriad of experiments conducted at the LHC and think…” blah blah science.

And yes, it’s true that a lot can be conjecture and theory. That’s fine too! But present it as such. If there are limited facts on a subject, just admit it. It’s alright, nobody will judge you. The theoretical existence of something is perfectly awesome for discussion. Hell, the panda was once a mystical creature, purely theoretical, and now look at them… not having sex in zoos. Cool.

Rationality is golden. It’s the difference between sounding like someone with a solid opinion based on good sources versus a raving lunatic. Christians are nice people, but once they go to an extreme there’s little to say to them. Same goes for atheists, conspiracy theorists, protesters and all the other well-known opinionated types. Being open to ideas and intelligent thought will take you very far. Of course, having a strong set of beliefs isn’t a bad thing. Believe in God? Good for you. Believe in evolution? Good! But dismissing everything else because nobody else can possibly be right about anything is a good way to be dismissed yourself. The more you do it, the less people will listen. Present yourself in a thoughtful, researched manner and you’ve got a good chance of being heard.

I like lists.

Look, an anhinga. I have no suitable pictures for this post...

So, I thought screw it, I’ll make another.

I had a mental one going in my head last night, noticing things that drive me nuts. I’m sure a few of these things might apply to others. Some may not make much sense to you, but we all have those little dislikes.

Chewing with not only your mouth open, but tongue action in there as well. It’s like you’re making out with a slice of pizza, hoping nobody will notice the pool of food forming at your feet. And it’s not the lack of manners or ability to function that bothers me. It’s the sound of it. I cannot fucking handle the sound of someone sloppily eating. It makes me lose my appetite for anything but blood and shame. Yes, really. I want to harm you.

Facebook posts accusing someone of being a dick, but never mentioning names. Sure, calling people out on their shitty ways in a public forum is unkind, depending on what they did. I’m sure that if they are a serial cat rapist, it’s best to let the world know not to let him babysit Mr. Fluffles. But if it’s a private matter, keep it private. Instead of freaking everyone out (“is it about me?!”) or just looking like a tool (“zomg ppl that talk shit beind ur back R DA WURST U KNO WHO U R”) just… talk to them. Give ’em a phone call? Or just be like everyone else and make your status “Today sucks.” then give no explanation.

“You look busy. Let me discuss this dust mote with you.” This just happened to me, and I am still perplexed. Granted, he wanted to discuss Android vs iPhone (don’t care) and Mac vs PC (don’t care) but prefacing your random conversation with exactly how it is you’re annoying a stranger probably isn’t the best way to go, it simply reinforces to me that you are well aware of how you’re bothering someone.

“Why don’t you smile more? You always look so EMO.” Just because you don’t have the concentration necessary to be familiar with the face of someone thinking doesn’t mean that person is “emo.” I just don’t need to smile maniacally while I mentally consider if I want a cigarette or not.

Asking someone how serious their relationship is when trying to woo them. It’s a wedding ring, so I’d say that’s somewhere in the serious scale between volcano and a very sudden need to poop. So, pretty serious.

Here's another useless picture.

People that spell chihuahua “chiwawa,” or shih tzu “shitsu.” That’s pretty obvious. If you own it, you ought to be able to spell it. If not, just get a cat. C-a-t.– “Why don’t you drive? That’s so weird.No, no it’s not weird. It’s a choice, for both my safety and other drivers. There’s public transportation, my legs, bicycles, and unsuspecting friends.– Trying to guilt or force introverted people to quit that shit. It’ll just scare them right back into that safe little hole they built before you started making them extremely self-conscious. Stop doing that.– Telling me to get off of my computer and interact with everyone. All of my friends are currently buried in iPads, laptops, smart phones or any other manner of electronic crack. We’ll talk on Facebook like real friends do, damn it.

When I get off my computer and do something else, ask why I’m not online. WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME PEOPLE?

Massive dumps of duckfaced bathroom photos or self-portraits with your cell phone. I’ve hidden your feeds. I give up.

Writing lists. I always feel like a douche writing lists, even though it’s fun.  I’m so sorry.

It has come to my attention…

… that it’s rarely ever anything but a homeless man that REALLY gives me a lot of trouble. I’ve had your average asshole hit on me at a bar (as most of us have) and random passersby deciding I need to have a chat with them about dating or drugs, perhaps some God or maybe even a smattering of why the government is beaming death rays into our skulls in order to keep the black man down. Anything remotely nutty, I’ve heard it.

But it’s the homeless men … the true lovers of that which is me … that seem to absolutely, without a doubt have a need to provide me with a reason for this blog. Granted, I’m sure other rants will slip in here from time to time (hospitals, pets, people … they all have a place here) but it’s events like the following that really get me:

So today, I decided to go meet with Travis for a cup of coffee. Seems innocent enough, yes?
… WRONG.
This requires me to trek through the badlands of Homeless Man territory. The hub of activity for those that seek cigarettes and beer money. So! The meeting was uneventful. Ran into an old friend, chatted for a while … nothing bad. Upon my departure, we said our goodbyes and went off to our respective buses at the terminal. Which, as you’ll notice, most of my problematic stories will stem from that singular location.

On the bus I go, wary already, having been “flagged down” by a very discontent looking individual with an obvious crack addict twitch. I decided to leap onto the bus as a means of escape. It worked. For a moment. Until *he* arrived.

He smelt of urine and something … foul. Even more foul than that which exists under the bed of a serial animal hoarder. More foul than a week old diaper. Something laced with Satan’s ass on a hot day in the middle of the sun.
He sat down behind me. Of course. Because this story would not be in existence if he kept a distance, oh no.

This is the BEST I can assume as to what he spoke of:
“Hey … hey. Fifty. Fifty. You. Fifty. You see … *mumblemumble* there… and it made … but if you’re not sure, honey. Well. Packages are for them. *mumblemumble* is made of it. You’re missing the point, honey. I mean it. Look at your hair … why *mumblemumble* it’s so pretty in here. Isn’t it dark? Oh, lord…”

This continued for a while until he said this nifty tidbit:
“I’ll kill you.”
The words every girl wants to hear whilst traveling alone on a dark bus.
So… drastic times call for cunning measures.
Not wanting to make a scene and possibly enrage my soon-to-be assailant, who was obviously mentally deficient enough in the first place, I made a move. I chose the darkest, nearest stop possible and pulled the cord. I gathered up my things and got ready to stand. As the bus pulled over, he rushed out the door and stood waiting. The doors closed. I sat back down.

To try and describe the look on his face is a bit beyond my capabilities. I’m not familiar enough with utter and complete insanity to make an attempt. Needless to say, it was … interesting.
Aside from a random car of asshats honking at me to “come ride the best cock in town,” which was soon offered to another woman down the road, I made it to Undergrounds without and rape/murder/beatings.

I don’t know why they choose me. I’m not the most attractive girl around, or the most flamboyant and dressy. I don’t even wear make-up, for fuck’s sake. There is just a thing, a something, that has caused this to happen from a very young age. Even at the age of seven, a homeless man attempted to stroke my hair on a city bus as my aunt stared in angered confusion.

Either way, it happens. It’s life. Tomorrow is a new day to do it all over again!

Ah, yesterday.

… was a very odd day. This entire MONTH has been full of bizarre, horrible and distressing occurrences. Between my lovely hospitalization and apparent near-death, Rob’s death, and so many other little bits and pieces of utter hell.

So yesterday, I decided to take my guitar out to get some new strings and a little bit of tuning, perhaps some picks and a book. I realized I was running out of time, so I could either do that or see the kids — obviously, I went to see the kids. … sadly, this meant that I happened to get on the same crowded bus as an apparent masturbatory fiend. He of course chose me to be his unwilling victim, which was … just wonderful. I got to sit on a bus for twenty minutes while WankMaster 2000 stared at my crotch. It was … special. So special.

So! I figured screw it, I’ll head downtown and get some good old chocolate and espresso. Always cheers me up a bit. All was mostly uneventful (aside from a guy insisting to me that I had to sell him some weed, which I did not have, nor do I *ever* have for that matter) and a homeless woman that tried to use my guitar as a seat. (“Hey! Don’t sit on that!” … “Oh, sorry, I thought it was a chair.”) When the time to go rolled around so I could go to a DIFFERENT coffee shop, as is the life of a non-drunk Fort Lauderdaleite, I had this wonderful exchange:

“Hey, lady! Hey!”
“Uh, hi.”
“Hey! You got a guitar in that case?”
“Yes?”
“Hey! Hey! You know why I like you?!”
“No. But you’re going to tell me.”
“Yup! I like you because you must be a serious BITCH to walk around town like that!”
“Hm. Alright. Bye, now.”
“No no no no no! Where you going? Don’t just walk off when—“
At this point, I put my headphones back on, because Front 242 does wonders to block out the rants of a man that smells of vodka, and continued to my bus. Apparently this was not good enough for him.
“HEY! Come back here! HEY!”
“I have a bus to catch, sir.”
“No you DON’T! WHAT BUS, HUH?” (Because, of course, I’m going to tell him where I’m going.)
“A bus. Goodbye.”
This has gone on for half a block, now, as he follows me down the road. Then this happy bit came. I was running late, I’ve had a BCD from hell (bad Crohn’s day, ahem) and I’m still recovering from the month’s general attitude of fuck you.
“You know what, bitch?! FUCK YOU. You’ll never GET ANYWHERE IN LIFE WITH AN ATTITUDE LIKE THAT!”
“Oh really?”
“YEAH!”
“So. Excuse me for being, oh, presumptuous, but you, a homeless man that reeks of vodka and just asked me for a cigarette, you that is sitting on a bench with your worldly belongings, you that is wearing mismatched shoes for lack of money … YOU are telling ME how to be a successful person?”
“NOW YOU JUST WAIT… THAT’S … THAT’S … NOW SEE THAT’S … HEY!”
“Uh huh. Have a nice day, sir.”
“Your fucking attitude SUCKS, BITCHWHORE!”

… And so, I continued my way to the bus. I almost wanted to feel bad, as someone that likes to be a Genuinely Nice Person™, but he was a true dick in the finest sense of the word. Maybe he was having a bad day too, but really — no need to do that sort of thing.
So. The bus terminal. This is not known for being a place of leisure and joy. You don’t have to be there long to extrapolate that fact. I got to dodge a pimp fight, some moody teenagers, a happy woman in a wheelchair that insisted she was Jesus’ lover (hey, at least she was nice, she earned a smile) and some other sundry individuals.

The bus ride there was decent enough … until I got OFF said bus. It was … hm. Let me just give this:
“Hiiiiiii, there, uh.”
“Hi?”
“Gotsa smoke?”
“Sure.”
“Gotsa light?”
“Sure.”
“Gotsa pussy?”
“Um…”
“It was worth a shot.”

So now I’m here getting coffee. And chainsmoking. And chainsmoking…