Monthly Archives: June 2012

Dying For a Drink…of Coke

I’m trying to limit my caffeine intake, and it’s killing me. Using less caffeine is probably why I’m up at 1am blogging (and probably why I’ll regret it in the morning).

I developed a theory about why I haven’t felt well over about the past two weeks, and I’m trying to test it/eliminate the issue.

I’ve written a couple of times that I’ve been experiencing neck pain. It’s really just pain on the upper left side of my body, period, i.e. neck, shoulder, ear and headaches. This is not the first time I’ve had this issue, although I don’t really remember having neck pain to this extent–the problem was more so the earaches. I had pain in both ears, but mainly in the left ear. I have head pain often because I suffer from migraines, so that’s nothing new.

A couple of years ago, or maybe a year and a half ago, I went to a few doctors because of the earache. I was–apparently, incorrectly–diagnosed with having an ear infection. I received antibiotics, and the antibiotics seemed to help. But pretty soon after they were gone, I’d have ear pain again. I went to an ear specialist, and they ran all kinds of tests…only to tell me nothing was wrong with my ears and to give me no medication or answers. The specialist did throw out there that it might be TMJ and asked if I grind my teeth during my sleep, but he really seemed to have no idea.

Some time after that, I went to my dentist for a cleaning. At the end, the dentist asked if anything else was going on, which is unusual because the people there have never done that. I’d forgotten about what the ear specialist said until I was asked that, and I mentioned the ear pain. She had the dentist who owns the office come in. They did a quick test and told me it does sound like I have TMJ. The owner prescribed me a muscle relaxant–apparently what happens with me is I have muscle spasms and my ear muscles tighten up, and I know that I clench my teeth a lot when I’m awake–and he said if the problem continues to come see him for a night guard. I don’t think a night guard will help me, since I clench my teeth throughout the day and tense my muscles out of stress/anger. In short, if I have to work a job, I’m going to clench my teeth and tense my muscles. It’s not just during my sleep, if at all during my sleep.

The muscle relaxant seemed to help pretty quickly. I have had ear pain off and on since then, but not like what inspired me to go to the doctor. Until now. The problem is the muscle relaxant was prescribed for a one-time go. And I have exactly one pill left.

Like I wrote a couple of posts ago, I didn’t and don’t think the current neck pain is just from stress like it usually is. I realized that there’s a bit of a correlation, though, between all this crap starting up and my having more caffeine. I have been trying different things that will help me not feel dead for the first few hours I’m at work, and nothing was really helping. I had said that I didn’t want to go to anything that had caffeine in it, but it started to seem as if nothing else would work. So, I tried the Super C Energy berry mix, which has caffeine, a bunch of vitamins and a few other things in it. It actually does help me in the mornings, and it doesn’t make me sick like most other “energy” things with caffeine in it did.

But!

I’m not a coffee drinker, but I drink Coke and other sodas that have caffeine in them. I also swear by Excedrin for my migraines, which has caffeine in it. So, drinking Super C every weekday adds basically another full drink with caffeine to my days. I’m thinking that extra drink is one drink too many. My theory is all that caffeine is contributing to my having muscle spasms, which I’m starting to actually feel in other parts of my body, i.e. my feet and my face. But am I willing to go back to feeling like death every day at work for 3 or so hours? Uh, no. When I’m tired and can’t think, it makes my already-poor performance at work worse.

Instead, I’m drinking the Super C at work and not drinking sodas…which is torture. And, instead, I am even more tired when I get home. I basically took a five-hour “nap” after work, waking up after midnight (and I’m still tired). But so far, I’m not having the same level of pain. And I probably needed that nap to make me stop thinking about the Coke that I wanted. Unfortunately, now I am sitting in bed thinking about the Coke that I want. I’ve been drinking water in its place, which does nothing to curb my desire for Coke and other sodas. But it’s giving me the hydration that I probably need.

This is an issue I didn’t have at my last job, i.e. needing a lot of help to wake up mentally in the morning, because that job was far more active. The work I did woke me up. But at this job, I sit around waiting for phone calls, emails and staring at computer screens. At the job I had when I first experienced earaches, there was a lot of sitting around doing nothing. And it was overnight, so it wasn’t easy to stay awake, although it was better than my current job since I am naturally a night owl and not a morning person. They’re both jobs that allow me to sit around and drink caffeinated beverages at work whereas my last job wasn’t like that.

So, I’m going to give this a try for a while and see how it works. Thankfully, the weekend is coming, which means I can drink soda (not to mention I won’t have to go to work).

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Ever Think About How People Read You?

First of all, I know it has been about a week. But I haven’t felt that well. I mentioned in my last post that I was having neck issues, and I still am, among other issues. I think I have to find time to see a doctor.

So, there were a lot of problems today at work. Several people at work showed up today to find their email not working properly. Some of us were warned yesterday, so I knew it wouldn’t work unless I changed my email settings. I did that yesterday. There were still problems throughout the day, but at least I wasn’t blindsided like a lot of people were. It’s just another one of those examples of how maddeningly disorganized/un-communicative/fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants my place of employment is.

The female tech geek I work with and have been writing about works by herself for a while in the morning, so when she came in she didn’t know that about the email issues and couldn’t access her email. Apparently, she called our supervisor about it. Our supervisor asked me after FTG left work if FTG’s email was working by the time I got in. I told her, “I guess so.”

Our supervisor looked kind of surprised that was my response.

“She didn’t say anything to you about it?”

I responded, “[FTG] and I don’t talk to each other.” And I’m sure I sounded kind of…well, let’s put it this way: that I have my issues with her wasn’t hidden that well.

One of the guys responded that there’s too much estrogen in the room. But at various points, I have talked to each guy about FTG. Recently, I had spoken with the afternoon tech geek about how when I try to talk to FTG she usually either barely says anything or doesn’t say anything at all. So, I reminded him that we’d just talked about that and I let my supervisor know this. One of the field techs also recently talked about how he blocked FTG on IM because of how she IMs the guys there “yelling” at them about things, i.e. all caps and, I guess, just other clues that she’s not happy. I burst out laughing when he was talking about that, just thinking about what I wrote about in my last post. I didn’t tell the guys what happened between us, but we talked about how she IMs people. And I mentioned that to my supervisor as well, i.e. how she acts like she can’t speak to me and we can be the only people around but she’s IMing me.

My supervisor basically said the same thing a few other people have told me–FTG is like that with everyone. She even does something similar to the IM thing with our supervisor, apparently. And my supervisor said that sometimes it’s important that FTG communicate with other people there. Um, yeah–I know. Like I wrote before on this blog–I figured my supervisor pretty much already knows exactly what everyone there is like, what everyone does and what everyone doesn’t do, and I think this gave a certain level of validation to that idea.

But my supervisor also defended FTG…by saying she’s very shy.

Huh?

Is that true? It doesn’t always seem like that’s quite what the deal is. If I were shy, I can’t imagine that I’d essentially jump on almost every opportunity to solve client issues, which means interacting with those clients, i.e. answering the phone before everyone else has a chance to and stealing tickets right from other workers. That’s what she does. I also can’t imagine lasting in a job like ours for close to a decade being shy. I would be surprised if I am still working where I currently work a year from now because of the fact that I have to deal with so many people. I am not sure I totally see how she could be shy.

Look, I basically have social anxiety disorder. It’s not the same thing as being shy, but in many people who have it others mistake it for being shy. And some people with social anxiety disorder do allow it to make them act shy around other people. Recently, I have learned that social anxiety affects me in a variety of ways, but, no question, it only seriously affects me in two ways: 1) excessive perfectionism and 2) dating. And even then, the perfectionism aspect is the much bigger problem. Everything I do has to be right all the time, and I spend way too much time, thought, energy and feeling on that. Clearly, it is a big problem at work. I probably never would have noticed it otherwise, because I usually am very good at things I do. Up until the last four years, I was mainly in school, and I was always great at school. I had issues with perfectionism in school, but, except for some of my time in law school, it never made me unhappy anywhere near as much as it does now that I work because it’s far more of a struggle to be good at my jobs. I don’t like people to see me struggling or screwing shit up, and it causes me a lot of anxiety.

But dealing with people other than that, I think, is less about social anxiety and more about just flatout not liking people. It’s definitely not about being shy. I don’t feel shy around other people. I just usually have no desire to talk to them. I was shy when I was a kid, so I know the difference. It’s not the same feeling. Back then, I used to care if people didn’t talk to me or want to be friends with me. That stopped being an issue a long, long time ago. There are many people I know who are okay, but there are few I actually like. And even if I like someone, it takes two to make a friendship or a relationship. I have no real relationship with most people whom I like. I like two of the guys at work. I like my ex-girlfriend. But I hardly interact with these people. There are guys at work who say they hate people, but they have all these friends they hang out with, and one of them has a girlfriend. So, I can’t take them seriously. I genuinely leave people alone and want most of them to leave me alone.

I’m bringing all these things up for several reasons:

1) I said that being shy and having social anxiety disorder aren’t the same thing. And being shy and not liking people aren’t the same thing. But I don’t think most people understand that, in part because they can only go by the behavior they see. In a lot of ways, the behaviors are the same in all three of these kind of people. But I think shy people just don’t know how to talk to other people.

2) People who don’t talk to other people, regardless of the reason why, are judged negatively. I probably quit trying to talk to other people out of just being sick of people vs being shy back in junior high or high school. That’s when people started wanting to talk to me, especially in high school. That’s also when I started learning that people get ideas about you that don’t match reality. That happens to a certain extent with everyone, but with quiet people others almost never just read being quiet as someone being shy, liking to be alone, sick of bullshit or having something like social anxiety disorder. For years, I’ve gotten stuff like “quiet people cause the most trouble,” “I thought you were stuck up when I first met you” and different variations of just people thinking I’m racist, including towards my own race. Nowadays, I know that people are interpreting my lack of interaction as something other than what it is, and whenever it comes up I usually just flatout tell people that I don’t like people. It’s pretty much always guys who bring it up, and guys never seem to have a problem with my saying that.

3) Because people draw conclusions about other people based on interactions or lack of interactions and behavior–and those conclusions are wrong a lot of the time–it occurs to me that FTG could be shy and it just didn’t/doesn’t come off like that to me. I can be just like everyone else in terms of how they read shy people…although I think, for me, my issue is not that she doesn’t communicate but, rather, that she doesn’t communicate enough about the work when it’s necessary.

4) On that note…I mentioned some sentences ago that I, at some point, quit trying to talk to other people. Outside of important information needed to get our jobs done, I am perfectly fine if people there don’t want to communicate with me. I am also fine if people there are too shy to communicate with me. But just because someone is shy, that doesn’t mean I’m going to pick up the ball and go out of my way. That might sound mean, but, because of how I am, I can’t do that. If someone thinks that means I don’t like them…

5) I just think it’s funny how love works. I know I’m not the only person who sits around and wonders why some people are married and why others aren’t. I can’t understand how someone like FTG, shy or not, is married and how the two co-workers whom I said I like as people aren’t married, unless they just don’t want to be married. With FTG, I am just thinking more about logistics, i.e. the way she hardly speaks to anyone, for example. With my two male co-workers, it’s more like that annoying “you’re so great, so why are you still single” question a lot of people have the nerve to throw at others (I’ve definitely gotten that before–it’s irritating, never ask someone that). Being a lesbian, these are probably the only guys I’ve ever wondered that about. Neither of them are much to look at, but I think we’ve all seen repeatedly that this doesn’t really matter because we always see unattractive attached people. But they’re awesome guys, and if given the choice I’d rather marry one of them than FTG. So, what actually does matter to people? I think we’ve also all seen that people’s laundry lists don’t matter, either.

It’s just a trip to look around and see the types of people who have someone and the types of people who don’t. But that’s all based on how we read people we don’t even really know.

Girls Will Be Girls…I Guess…?

So, last night was a rough night, which means I was super tired this morning. I have also been having problems with my neck, which is usually stress-related. When I’m stressed out, I guess the tension goes to the left side of my neck and nothing helps it. In fact, I probably make it worse by trying to stretch my neck muscles and massage myself. It feels sore to the touch after I try to massage my neck (I have sensitive skin). Heat does nothing, and neither do pills. It could be poor posture, as well, just leaning over computers and laptops all day and all evening. I’m not sure I feel stressed enough to be having tension pain in my neck and shoulders from stress. Either way, I didn’t get a good night’s sleep. So, although I never want to deal with anything at work, this morning, in particular, I really didn’t want to deal with anything. I just wanted to go back to sleep.

Man, I get to work, and that female tech geek co-worker of mine starts IMing me about crap that happened yesterday, which I did not want to think, talk or write about. I got a difficult call yesterday, and the client called more than once. One of the times he called, he got FTG. So, she looked at my ticket, and, apparently, the issue was another one of those things that you’re supposed to pass off to someone else or get help with–apparently, I can’t just handle it myself, which is what I had been doing until she asked if I’d talked to one of the field techs. So, she told one of the guys I was supposed to involve in that issue that I needed help.

First of all, I was there when she told him, i.e. I could have told him myself. I didn’t tell him immediately because I was busy with something else. Either way, it was not for her to tell him. She takes over things that are not her issue all the time. So, yes, that aspect was irritating, and when I finally did get into the issue with that field tech I sounded annoyed, as I was. I also had the issue under control, although, eventually, I was going to need help with it because the client was making the issue worse by doing things he shouldn’t have been doing. So, it was also annoying because, to me, at least part of the reason for her telling the field tech that I needed help was an issue of my competence.

I’ve realized from this job that when tough shit happens at work, I need to let it go and stop thinking about it. I need to do that with everything tough. Women in general have a hard time letting shit go mentally and emotionally, and that’s actually one–for lack of a better word–rare way in which I am–again, lack of better phrasing–stereotypically feminine. I have reached a point with this job, though, where I am better able to move on from crap faster than I usually am with other things. And to be clear, with the job I’m talking about moving on from dwelling on not doing stuff exactly right at work, not thinking negatively about some co-workers. The former is the most important thing for me to move on from, and that’s what I am referring to when I say I’m getting better at moving on faster.

And so, I’d moved on.

But FTG brings it up first thing in the morning. Apparently, she hadn’t.

I’m a woman and everything, but I don’t really understand women. Do you know what I mean? My interactions with women have always felt awkward for me, if not for the other women all the time–definitely awkward for some of them. It’s not just FTG. I don’t know what it’s like for men when women are around, but it’s awkward for me when women are around. I almost want to say I don’t relate to women, but I have done some reading online and I know that a lot of women jump on statements like that. They respond with these, to me, politically correct comments about “how can you say you don’t relate to an entire sex” and “not all women are the same” and la-di-da. It might just be yet another matter of not knowing how to phrase the issue. All I can say is, for whatever reason, with most women there’s a tension there and a lack of commonality there that does not exist for me with men.

Another thing a lot of women would say is, “Well, that means the problem is you.” I say most of the time there actually is no problem either way, especially since I’m talking about something that has been the case ever since I was a little kid. Frankly, I don’t think it’s that different from how many people feel when they’re around someone of a different racial background than they are, except I’m like this with my own sex. Women have just always been something of a different “species” to me, and I don’t think it’s about sexuality because most women I’ve seen with similar stories as mine are heterosexual.

I’m bringing this up because my sense is that FTG didn’t say anything all afternoon yesterday, went home, probably dwelled on it and maybe even discussed it with other people. Not in the way that I do these things. I come home, blog and just react to something that someone said not in a hurt sense but just irritated, pissed off, “man, I can’t stand work,” “fuck people,” complain-y. I mean, I’m going to complain to myself and to the internet. But with her, my sense is stuff like someone getting pissed at her at work and some of the other shit that has happened between us hurts her feelings. I don’t know. I’m just wondering and kind of amazed. And I bring up “women” not to say that shit hurts women’s feelings, but, I think, more so to say that usually when I’m dealing with women they react to stuff in ways I don’t understand.

Basically, five minutes after I got to work, she just IMed me kind of telling me why she did what she did. First of all, I didn’t ask. Second of all, just got to work. Not what I want to be hit with first thing. For me, if something happens between someone and me or kind of between us, unless it’s someone I care about, I’m not approaching them about it to explain myself or anything. I’m moving on. I’ve had little dumb crap happen between me and some near-random female before, and the female comes back the next day wanting to address the issue. And on one hand, it’s cool. But on the other hand, as I said, I don’t know how necessary that is if it’s not a family member, romantic interest/partner or friend. Or maybe someone very important otherwise, like a boss. It’s like women just can’t stand for people to have an issue with them, or to think that someone has an issue with them. For me, the worry is people thinking I’m stupid, not people liking me or being mad at me. My default position is that most people don’t give a fuck about me, at best. I’m not going to try to change that; I’ll let it be.

So, I was just like, “ok”…and left it at that. That’s what I typed. And I thought and hoped it was over. But then, like, a few minutes later, she IMed me again and asked me to stop being mean to her. HAHAHAHA. Dude, how old are we? Yeah, she’s my age. We’re in our 30s. Two things for the record: 1) I’m not mean to her. I hardly speak to her. I hardly speak to anybody at work. 2) This IM is going on while it’s just me and her in the whole suite, let alone in the same room. I understand it can be awkward bringing up disagreements and things like that. I used to always write people letters when I was younger when I was dealing with stuff like this. But to me, always bringing stuff that makes you unhappy up in writing demonstrates a certain level of fear in even bringing up the issue, unless there’s no other way you can contact the person at the moment. If you’re afraid of someone’s reaction, I don’t think writing what you have to say is going to make their reaction any better. When you approach people vocally or in person, all you have to do is state things professionally, calmly, in a non-threatening way. If they get mad, they get mad. They’ll get mad in writing, too, probably, if they can’t handle you speaking to them in a harmless way.

Basically, if there were hurt feelings and fear (or nerves, however you see it) there, I don’t understand it–especially if there was half a day’s worth of that stuff. Like I said, the only people who will make me react like that at all are family, friends and romantic interests/partners. And because I really didn’t want this to continue to be a big deal to her, I told her in a very succinct manner what one of my main problems is with working at that place–that it irritates me that every time I turn around I have to get help with something. And that’s totally true, even still. After I wrote that, she was able to talk to me. She said that’s how it is there and that there’s a lot of stuff we’re not told how to do. In fact, they actually don’t want us to just jump in and handle issues ourselves a lot of the time. And I am basically seeing that’s true, i.e. that it’s not always taken as a shortcoming of mine but that it’s expected that we work together and rely on each other. Sorry, that’s just not my nature, i.e. to need other people’s help and to not know the answers. So, no, I don’t like that about working there, and, yes, it irritates me.

I’m also starting to see that FTG and I likely have some characteristics in common that probably result in why I have issues with her. For starters, I don’t think either of us are truly “team players.” I think we just like to take charge to get work done and be ace employees, and people who aren’t as good as we are eventually get on our nerves. I suspect we both would be perfectly happy at jobs where we were just left the fuck alone, as long as we were perfectly able to do those jobs. But I think we handle these things differently.

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Tired of DS-Hell and Comcrap

Internet hell.

Seems like every two years, I have to either switch from AT&T’s DSL to Comcast’s cable internet or from Comcast’s cable internet to AT&T’s DSL. Kind of sick of this dance. They both suck, but they’re freakin’ monopolies.

DSL is slow as fuck, depending on who you are and what you need. Can barely stream YouTube half the time without videos starting and stopping. And that’s with videos that are 10 minutes long, at the most. Imagine what happens when trying to watch a longer video. Uploading is far worse, though. If you get something cool like Slingbox or Hava Titanium in order to stream your TV remotely, the quality of the video is horrendous. Forget about watching sports remotely. You can’t see anybody or any ball, and the better you try to make the quality the more the video stutters.

Uploading was great with Comcast…um, when the cable modem actually freakin’ worked. Actually, with both services, you get to about a year and a half or two years and, bam, the service starts dropping and dropping until you really can’t even connect anymore. That’s the only reason I went from cable back to DSL, knowing DSL wasn’t going to be as fast. And now I’m having to come home from work almost daily and constantly get up out of my nice, relaxing bed after a workday of dealing with technical problems for clients to unplug/re-plug in a damn DSL modem that keeps dropping.

I work in IT, but this is coming not from my professional side but my personal opinion–AT&T is the worst service in the world. Pretty much all tech companies suck in their service in their own way to their own extent, whether it’s customer service, the actual technology or both, including my employer. And my employer sucks, in my opinion, because 1) with technology, nothing is ever going to work all the time, which is the desire and expectation of the customer who is paying a ridiculous amount for the service, and 2) um, they provide their internet to our clients through garbage companies like–no way around it, since they are, as I said, a monopoly–AT&T. AT&T, Comcast, DirecTV, Dish…they’re all crooks who need to drop dead. But none more so than AT&T.

See, these people have gotten to the point where they put you through an automated runaround, and then when you finally get to the point where you think you’re about to speak to somebody…you’re on hold, listening to smooth jazz, for, like, 20 minutes. Because my employer is forced to provide DSL to our clients through AT&T since no one does it here except AT&T (note: just because you find a different company name with DSL service doesn’t mean it’s not truly AT&T providing it), guess who gets the distinct pleasure of sitting through this complete nonsense? People like me. And because Comcast completely crapped out on me almost two years ago, forcing me to return to AT&T’s DSL in my home, do you know that one day last week I had that distinct pleasure of sitting with a phone glued to my ear for over 10 mins twice in one day–once at work, and once again when I got home and thought I finally was going to be able to relax?

Now, with other companies, you get automated bullshit. And with other companies, you do have to sit on hold for a customer service representative. But I have not run across a company that makes you sit and wait as long as AT&T does.

But what choice do I have? What’s better out there? 3G is no better than dialup, and 4G isn’t available everywhere. Fiber optic is too expensive (hell, DSL and Comcast are too expensive) and you can’t get that everywhere. I live in the South of the US, which means the weather is too bad to try to get internet through satellite. Hell, during most summers, we’re lucky our TV doesn’t go out every week because of the hard rain, thunderstorms, tornadoes and various hurricanes. I can live some days without TV during the summer, but I can’t do that with the internet.

What’s interesting to me is how, without fail, DSL works great when I first get it and Comcast works great when I first get it…and then they both hit a point where they just turn to shit. It’s not always the modem, either, and when it’s not the modem the people you reach at these companies don’t know what the hell it is. Working in IT, I’m more sympathetic to not always having the answers than I used to be. But still, I don’t want to call every week with the same problem. I don’t want to have people in my messy house that I have to clean up or rework my schedule because someone from Comcrap has to come into my house again. I don’t want to have an issue that, despite all the calling and all the guys coming out, is never resolved. But that’s exactly what happens with AT&T and Comcast. I only know so much myself. If the issue is with wiring, the phone line or stuff outside/in the ground, there’s nothing I can do about that.

Apparently, Apple needs to quit coming out with all these different iPhones and iPads that really don’t seem that different from each other, get into the networking industry and further revolutionize itself by becoming the first internet service provider that’s not completely full of shit. If anybody can do it, hey, I trust Apple with it. But I need and want more viable options than AT&T and Comcast in my area.

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Didn’t Get That IT Job

So, I did end up losing out on that IT position I applied for and had gotten called about because I couldn’t get in touch with the woman who left me a voice message fast enough. I still think their decision was made ridiculously fast, unless they were being dishonest with me. She had called me on a Thursday, and I called back the next day. When I called on Friday, I had to leave a message because the woman wasn’t there. I kind of assumed they wouldn’t be open on the weekend, and I called on Sunday just to see if anyone would pick up, which no one did.

Then I called on Monday and was told, I think, that the woman I asked for wasn’t there once again. Since I was making these calls during my lunch break and can’t really call any other time, I left it alone for Monday. So, I called again on Tuesday, and their excuse that day was she was on the phone. I asked what their hours are so I could see if there was any way I could speak with the woman after work, and they confirmed that they close at the same time I get off work. I waited a while and called back again to see if she was off the phone, and I was told she was still on the phone. So, I left another voice message. Finally, she called back and told me the position had been filled.

One of my philosophies is that there’s good and bad with everything. I don’t think I would have had the same kind of issues with this position that I have with my current position, but I also didn’t care for the times I’d have to be at work (I could have ended up working 10am-8pm, and I find either working overnight or working early in the morning and getting off earlier a lot better) and wasn’t sure if I’d have time to read and write about sports. The person who hired me at the sports site for which I’ll be writing has already asked me if I’m sure I’ll have time to contribute to their site. That kind of makes me wonder if other people there don’t work full time. He knows I work full time in IT.

The one thing that really makes me wish I’d fully gotten a shot at that position is that I know more days like the kind I wrote about a few posts ago are coming at my current job. The male tech geek will be off work the full 4th of July week, so, essentially, every day of that week will be, at best, uncomfortable for me. I almost want to ask my supervisor if they can ask a third person to come work in his place that whole week. Maybe they’re already planning to. But if I have to spend an entire week alone with the female tech geek and we have any days like we had Tuesday and Thursday, I am not sure I’ll make it through the week without quitting. Since I didn’t blog about Thursday, I will just say that it was as bad as or worse than Tuesday in terms of being busy, but it was far better than Tuesday just because  the MTG was there. It wasn’t even that he helps balance the load, because, for the most part, he doesn’t. It was just not being alone with the FTG and having someone there who is willing to help me if I need it. I can’t avoid needing help, either, because there are just some issues they won’t tell me how to resolve and only the tech geeks who have been there the longest handle those (including the FTG).

Man, I got a call I didn’t know how to handle while MTG was at lunch–another one of my big nightmares coming true–and…ugh. I can just never put FTG into words. I got so angry. She was just completely useless. So, I just decided to wait for MTG to get back, which I hate to do because I don’t want to keep clients waiting. Come to find out when he got back, FTG wasn’t telling me the correct information anyway. He immediately got everything straight with that client. And FTG was the one who told him I needed his assistance, and she laughed when she told him. And I’m just thinking, “Why the fuck is this bitch laughing?” Excuse my language, but seriously. Man, I just don’t think I can do an entire week of that.

The thing is if they bring someone else in for a week, it’s probably going to be another person who doesn’t know that much more than I do. The best thing to do would be to bring the guy whom I replaced when he got promoted back to work with us because he knows how to resolve pretty much every issue. I’m thinking about just asking him for help regardless during that week and just skipping FTG altogether, although it’s not his job to handle the kind of issues we handle any longer.

I almost want to just sit down with my supervisor and tell her I’m concerned about that week and tell her exactly why, but I feel as if that’s more so complaining about my co-worker or would be perceived that way. And FTG has been there way longer than I have, so whose side are they going to take? I don’t want to get anyone in trouble, either–which is one of the main reasons why it irritated me when FTG wrote in a ticket that “other people” weren’t answering the phones one day last week–and I don’t want my supervisor trying to make FTG help me. I have a feeling my supervisor already has everyone’s number anyway, i.e. she knows what everyone there is like. In other words, I think she knows the afternoon guy doesn’t do shit and is rude to clients, and she knows FTG isn’t the person you go to if you need something.

I would feel bad about quitting right before that week, knowing they will be shorthanded, but that’s exactly what I’d love to do after knowing how bad it can be without MTG there and being stuck with FTG. I don’t think I will be able to get another job before that week, though.

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The Big Kiss-Off

You know how when you break up with someone, there is almost always a song that fits? Maybe not perfectly, but it reminds you of your situation quite a bit?

This was not a breakup, really. Something like a breakup happened last year. A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that the last woman I was involved with told me we shouldn’t communicate for about a year or so after that breakup, and I had to decide if I really needed or wanted to try and be friends with her at some point. But telling me maybe we could be friends someday instead of being my friend now or never, I feel, just kept me on a string vs getting closure and moving on emotionally.

So today, I got closure. “Closure.” It has always sounded so fake and cheesy, hasn’t it? But sometimes you really do need it. It didn’t feel good at first, and there will probably be other times when it doesn’t feel good. But afterwards, I thought about it, and all of my thoughts are ones I’ve had before that now make me wonder why I didn’t go ahead and do what I already knew I needed to do sooner. Repeatedly, I’ve thought to myself about how I’m just in limbo unless I completely cut her off or get her back in my life in some active fashion. And repeatedly, I’ve thought about…well…the lyrics to the song “Someday” by Mariah Carey, basically.

I need to emphasize that I don’t mean what I’m about to write to come across as vindictive or bitter or anything else negative, although it probably does. I don’t have the best feelings in the world towards her, and I probably never will again. And this is not meant to be a message to her. I am writing what’s on my mind right now and, really, what’s been there for months–just wasn’t able to articulate it until today–and I hope someone else relates to it or realizes this is how he/she should look at a breakup.

Here it is:

Honestly, I just think she’s stupid. She’s incredibly intelligent, which is my one of my top two or three favorite things about her, but she’s just a damn moron when it comes to love and relationships. And I don’t mean “inexperienced”–I mean exactly what I just wrote.

When I hear songs like “Someday,” I normally can’t relate at all (I’ve never even particularly liked the song that much). I have just always thought it was crazy to sit there and talk about how great you are and assure someone that he or she will be sorry he/she ditched you. But that’s seriously how I feel. I am not into self-worth aggrandizement. “I will survive,” “big is beautiful,” “black power,” “we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it”–not for me. Typically, I’m the type of person who sits around trying to figure out what I did wrong and how I can fix it. So, that’s not the reason why I say she’ll be sorry. I just know me, I know her and I know lesbians. If she thinks she can find someone else better for her than me someday, good-freakin-luck. It’s gonna be hella hard.

She can say, for whatever reason, that she’ll never have a relationship with a woman or can’t have one any time soon, and I can say the same thing for the reason that I’m tired of crap like this happening. But I probably will have another relationship at some point, and so will she–official, unofficial, whatever. It’s too hard to avoid. Regardless of the point any of us is at in our lives or the circumstances or what we tell ourselves, it’s really beyond our control 99% of the time that we’ll meet someone and something will happen. So, when it happens again for her, I strongly believe that eventually she’ll realize that things she said and did…she had no idea what she was saying or doing, that it’s not always the way Hollywood and fairy tales portray it and she was wrong. She may or may not miss me now, but she will when she sees what else is out there and compares them to me. It has already happened a couple of times with her, and it will happen again. This is why I said she threw our friendship away. Truthfully, she threw more than friendship away. She’s going to have a hard time finding something and someone so valuable elsewhere.

Whether or not I turn out to be right is of no consequence to me. During my lunch break away from work, I just looked at the lyrics to the song and laughed.

I laughed.

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My Worst Fear Came True

That’s right–I finally was left alone at work with the other female tech.

I had been dreading that day, and it finally happened. The male tech geek who is always there during the mornings called in sick. Since he’s the one who is always helping me, this means I not only was left alone with the FTG but I also was as good as on my own working with clients.

Of course, it also had to be one of the busiest–if not the busiest–days I’ve ever had there. As soon as I got to work, the phone rang, and I knew. The phone usually doesn’t ring that early, but the phone rang right when I sat down and essentially didn’t stop all day.

I guess as far as being able to handle technical issues, it was okay. The problem was the fact that, as I’ve mentioned before here, it seems like almost everyone else who works at my place of employment can take off work whenever they get ready to. We got all these calls, and the best tech geek was not there, one of the owners was not there and one of the field techs was not there.

Also–and this is very important for people who call companies for support to understand/realize–if you’re calling early in the morning (or late at night/overnight), there’s probably no one where you’re calling who can really help you with a major issue. The people who answer the phone at 6 and 7am–if you even can get anyone to answer a phone–are there to babysit the phone and maybe deal with simple crap that you shouldn’t even be calling about at 6 or 7am, such as resetting your email password. They’re not there to problem-solve. I’ve mentioned here before that the way my job is, a lot of calls that come in are things I’m expected to hand off to someone else. I guess people don’t understand this, but there are tiers of support with any company like AT&T, Comcast, DirecTV…and, as I’ve mentioned here, the person you reach is probably the least important and least powerful person there–hence why you can reach that person. The more important and powerful people? They’re in bed at 6 and 7am.

I first started realizing this when I worked in a hotel and used to have to call the people who provided their internet service with problems. And there were always problems with their internet, and I say this as someone who worked overnight. There were problems overnight, and guests would complain overnight–you know, as opposed to sleeping (the one thing I could never figure out about working in a hotel is why on earth hotel guests don’t sleep at night). You know what I’d be told when I called overnight? “There won’t be anyone here who can do [XYZ] until [ABC time] in the morning.” Personally, I understand it. I used to say “ok” and call back at the designated time if I was still at work or would leave a message for the next worker to call back. I don’t expect people to be at my beck and call 24/7 just because my shit doesn’t work, regardless of when my shit doesn’t work. I guess other people don’t understand that.

So, given that people were calling as soon as I hit the door, I was dealing with these people who don’t understand that. But still, you know whom they complained about, right? Of course my supervisor got wind of it, and I heard about it and the afternoon tech heard about it (because I guess he had to deal with these people the previous night).

Another issue–related to what I wrote above about how everyone can take off work except the tech geeks: the most important people are the ones who are never there when you need them. They’ve either got other stuff to handle or they’re off work. They can take off every week if they want to. My supervisor seriously misses at least one day a week, and she calls in late at least one day a week. This is not the only job I’ve experienced this in, but this is probably the worst example of this fact that I’ve ever seen. Naturally, it’s these days when I get calls from clients wanting these people and expecting me to do something when these people aren’t around.

But I can’t take off. Hell, I can’t even find time in the day to just coordinate a phone call with a potential IT employer, and I have to spend entire lunch breaks on the phone with guys in the sports industry trying to hustle up one of those positions. I kind of came to the conclusion today during lunch when I could not, for the life of me, get in touch with the IT employer who called me last week in regards to my resume that I’m going to lose out on that position because I can’t take a phone call from her whenever she actually does have time to speak with me.

I might not be learning much in the way of technical skills working this job, unfortunately, but I have certainly learned other things. For one, I mentioned a while back that this job has taught me about myself that I do not like to work. But this job has also taught me that most people are spoiled brats. It’s interesting, because I actually did grow up spoiled. I got almost everything I wanted, and most stuff I wanted that I didn’t get–or maybe all of those things–I would say I just didn’t try hard enough. I still get the royal treatment from my parents, and that’s a big reason why I have extremely few issues with living at home with them as an adult that actually directly relate to them or our relationship. It’s more just having your space as an adult, being able to bring someone home (um, ahem, you know)–which is a huge reason why I just don’t even go hang out or try to meet people in the first place–and just the stigma of living at home with your parents in your 30s.

But the way that so many people act with other people every single day…these are just things I would never do or say. I don’t understand the “well, I pay you, so if I say to jump you need to ask how high” attitude, which…first of all–and I really wanted to respond this to someone–uh, no, ya don’t really pay me. You pay the company for which I work, to whom I have very little loyalty and which pays me relatively crappily. I am not the company. See, my co-workers complain about these things, but they also complain about clients not being tech-savvy. I’m completely fine with you not being tech-savvy, as long as you’re decent and respectful. Nobody respects anybody anymore.

Speaking of co-workers…really don’t know what to say about the FTG I work with. I just don’t know what her deal is. I guess she thought that because I was on my own today it would be a good idea for her to check up on if I’m doing my job correctly by looking through the tickets I was handling and then point out stuff (stuff that I was on top of)…? Wha..??? What about, “Hey, if you need any help, let me know” instead????

Maaaaan, I just want my own island somewhere with nobody else on it.

But yeah, this is about how my worst job-related nightmare went in my head, and it basically came to fruition. On the plus side, all of that and I still somehow managed to squeeze a blog post in on my college football blog. Damn I’m good.

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Thinking About Love, Friends and Careers

I’ve been busy this last week, but that’s not why I haven’t had any new posts. I got hired to write for a sports site, so I will have that and my college football blog in addition to my full-time job. I also got a call about one of the IT positions for which I applied. So, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. For one thing, I’m trying to figure out how I can schedule a job interview for that IT position when I work full time during the day at a place that is not that flexible about time off for people who do my position. I’m also thinking a lot of different things about sports writing, as well as constantly trying to come up with stuff to write about college football (a little challenging, given it’s the summer and not football season).

Of course, I’m also continuing to just take general inventory of my life and my career. Just as when I worked for my last employer, I question whether or not I really want to leave for another job. In many ways, things have gotten better at work. But I also feel that some people at work are really starting to show their true colors, i.e. my last post about my co-worker. Between that and some of the annoying clients I deal with, I feel more and more like I need a job where I hardly have to deal with people. This is something that makes writing appeal to me all the more. I have thought a little bit about just writing full time. If I were going to be a sports writer full time, I’m not sure it’d be stable enough for me at the moment. I could get on with several sites at a time and draw paychecks from several directions, but what if one of those sites goes under or stops doing as well as it’s doing right now? I also don’t necessarily want to stop working in IT, but I don’t want to freelance in IT.

My mother told me today that, with all the people who come out with books nowadays, she can’t believe that I still haven’t written a book yet. It’s hard to devote yourself to finishing a book when you work full time, especially when you work in a field that is not creative. I have started a couple of books since I graduated from graduate school, but I haven’t started the kind of book that makes me feel like I can’t wait to get off work so I can write another chapter. I haven’t had that feeling since one particular book I was writing while I was in college. I just haven’t found the right story or subject yet.

On top of all that, though, I have also been thinking a lot about my last romantic relationship for some reason. My ex-girlfriend, for lack of a better way to describe her, told me months ago that she didn’t think we should try to be friends or communicate with each other for at least a year. Well, this past week I’ve been thinking about whether or not I should ever try to be friends with her. On one hand, the friendship was incredibly valuable. She never seemed to understand why it was so valuable to me. But I am always around people with whom I have very little in common and very little to talk about, and it was refreshing to have someone in my life with whom I had a lot in common and an endless supply of things to discuss. It is just very hard for me to meet people who are like this.

On the other hand…I have a big problem with the fact that I’m in the position I’m in now, which I feel is not of my doing or my choice. It’s hard for me to forgive someone who has basically told me she can’t be friends with me or talk to me, or doesn’t want to right now, and she’ll let me know when it’s okay for her. I don’t really care about the reason. And I’m tired of all these relationships–both friendships and romantic–in which someone else calls most of the shots. There shouldn’t be such a lack of balance where so much is about the other person or on the other person’s terms. I have to think about me, what I need and what I want. For me, I need and want the type of friend I had before, and that person is not there for me when I need her. It’s not good enough, and all week I’ve felt that I can’t forgive that. I guess that I feel she has ruined and/or thrown away our friendship, and I can’t forgive that. Is it fair or accurate to say she has ruined it? I don’t know. Thrown away? I do think that’s, at least, accurate. I’m also just tired of caring about everything more than everyone else does, including our friendship.

Could I get something out of the friendship later? Yes, definitely. But I am not sure we can ever just be friends and have a normal friendship with nothing more there. Frankly, I don’t see how we could. We probably never would have been able to. And if I say that, then I think that’s the same as saying no one ruined our friendship. We just never could have been plain ole friends. I also don’t want to return to the position of relying on the friendship and then have it yanked from me again for the next reason, whatever it is. In short, I don’t want to be where I currently am again with her.

But just as with my jobs and my career, I never can stick with a decision on this. Next week or next month I might have a different perspective on this. But if I’m right that we never could just be friends, with no one deciding she doesn’t want to or can’t handle it or she has romantic feelings, then…boy, I hate the thought of that. Being more than friends is not really an option, so it’s either friendship or nothing. Part of me would rather that these weren’t my only two choices. But since this is what I’m stuck with, this is what has been on my mind–friendship or nothing.

I don’t know why I’m even thinking about it. Knowing her, she’ll probably make a decision for both of us. Maybe that’d be a good thing for a change.

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My Co-Worker Invents Problems

Or at least I’m starting to think this is the case.

I’ve mentioned my female co-worker before, the one other female tech geek where I work. When I first started the blog, I wrote about how she took a comment I made–which wasn’t even to her–as my having some sort of issue with her taking her full lunch break. For a while after that, I kind of wondered if I’d done something else that made her automatically defensive.

Shortly after that, though, one of the older women where I work–she is not a tech geek–asked if anyone wanted to join her outside while she smokes. That particular day, I decided it’d be nice to get out of the suite. I usually don’t like being around smokers, but I can’t remember what happened–maybe I was just overwhelmed by dealing with the phones while not being sufficiently trained. I saw an opportunity to get away from work for a while and took it.

As we were leaving the suite, the female tech geek was coming out, too. When the older woman and I were alone together, she said, “She’s weird.” And I knew about whom she was speaking, but I asked anyway because I wanted to hear her say it. She confirmed it was the FTG. And we talked about it a little bit, and I was telling the woman how I knew the time was coming when it’d be me and FTG alone together at work for a couple of hours and, basically, how I didn’t like that because I don’t feel comfortable asking her for help. The woman told me FTG is like that with everyone and it’s not me.

Now, you know I don’t trust people, so I partially wondered if the woman was just being nice to me because I was new.

But maybe a few weeks or a month ago, the chatty Cathy of our work place–who seems to have a good relationship with FTG and is the only person FTG really speaks with in a social way, for the most part–said the same thing, i.e. FTG is weird. And I was surprised she said it.

And then when I was told that I was being moved to the schedule that would have me working with FTG for a couple of hours, just the two of us, I told the guys that I do not want to be left alone with her. And I think they kind of understood where I was coming from. It’s been almost a month now, being on that schedule, and I still don’t like being alone with her in the mornings. I start to feel relieved when an hour has gone by and I know the other tech geek will show up any minute. It’s not a matter of feeling unsafe or feeling that there will be drama. But she and my supervisor both just make me uncomfortable in ways I can’t totally explain.

Sometimes I think it’s getting better, but I am starting to realize that she has almost a split personality. Everyone has good days and bad days. Everyone’s mood varies. But hers is…yeah, “weird” is a good word.

I’m mentioning all this because today is a decent example. Lately, I have been answering the phones less at work. One reason is because I don’t think I need to answer them as much as I used to since I have been exposed to a lot of the technical calls they receive by now, and the reason I was answering almost every call before was to get that exposure. Another reason is there are certain types of calls I’d rather avoid. I can’t really control that issue, though, but it does make me hesitate to answer the phone sometimes. But, truthfully, during the day time there are either three or four tech geeks working–depending on what time it is–and FTG and I answer the phones over 95% of the time. The guy who comes in the afternoon almost never answers the phone, and it has been like that at least since I started working there–probably before, as well. He answers if nobody else can. The guy who trained me does quite a bit of work and is very valuable to the business, but he just does not really answer the phone.

Usually, we’re not that busy at work, so it’s not a big deal as far as dividing up the calls. And I do think having four people there at any time is counterproductive, i.e. I think it’s similar to the bystander effect–the more people around, the less anyone is going to do because they think someone else will do it. Either way, as I mentioned in one of my first posts, you have to fight FTG to answer calls a good portion of the time. Sometimes, she acts as if she’s the only person who works there. Last week, there were definitely times I accepted and took advantage of that, especially since I was working on pieces for my college football blog.

But today was busy in spots, and in the afternoon it reached a point when the phone was nearly ringing off the hook. There was no way for us to sit there and only one person answer the phone because of this. Even the afternoon guy answered calls, because he really didn’t have much of a choice. I answered the phone quite a bit today, and there were at least two times when I had to put a client on hold to answer another call because everyone was busy on the phone.

So imagine my disbelief when I see a ticket in the system in which FTG wrote that “other people aren’t answering the phone.”

So, after she left for the day, I told the guy tech geeks what she wrote. The funny thing is we talked about FTG on Friday and how she just does all the work, whether you’re trying to do your part or not. So, when I told them she wrote that, one of the guys immediately mentioned how she barely even lets other people answer the phone. And I basically said that it doesn’t make any sense, today of all days, to say or think that no one else is doing their part with how much the phones rang. Last Thursday or Friday? Maybe. Today? No.

The thing is I am not sure if anyone goes through our tickets to see what everyone is doing, but I’m almost positive that there is some kind of checking up on us. I remember not long after I first started, a couple of the non-tech women complimented me about how I sound on the phone and one of them mentioned how detailed I am in my tickets. These are women I rarely send tickets. As boring as it is at work a lot of the time, these people have plenty of time to look at our tickets, and I would not be surprised if they do.

So, I opened that ticket back up and wrote in there that I was on a call during the time FTG complained about in terms of us not answering the phone, and I also mentioned that the afternoon guy had been on a call somewhere around that time, as well. I thought about linking to the ticket I’d been working on, as well–which had the exact same time on the ticket as the one she wrote that note in did–but, for me, it’s not that crucial and it shouldn’t be that crucial for anyone else there, either. And I think enough people who work there know that FTG is to blame quite  a bit for not everyone working an equal amount on technical issues.

There just was no issue today, and she created one.

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I Like People Who Eat Junk Food

When I first started this blog, I wrote one post that discussed work culture and I wrote another post in which I mentioned how people at my job talk a ridiculous amount about drinking alcohol. Talking about drinking seems to be part of my job’s cultural environment.

Another annoying thing that I’m noticing about my job’s cultural environment is that a lot of people there…gosh, how do I explain it…have a problem with junk food. See, someone is always bringing food to work for everyone to eat. It’s a nice thing about working at this place, but it’s yet another big cultural difference between me and everyone else there…because I’m not about to spend money on anyone there or bring food in for the entire suite. Yes, this probably means I shouldn’t eat anything anyone else brings in. But…oh well.  Anyway, most of the time it’s some form of junk food.

This means that half the suite is either not going to eat it, or they’re going to dance around the food and talk about how bad it is that someone brought it in, how tempted they are, how they shouldn’t eat it …and then eat it. Do I even need to mention this part–everyone I’m describing is a woman. There are guys there who won’t eat it, either, because they don’t eat junk food. But they don’t do the little dance that some of the women do, and they don’t act tortured like some other women do. Us female tech geeks are probably the only ones who don’t dance around the food or act tortured, but for different reasons. The female tech geek with whom I work is like the guys who just say “I don’t eat junk food.” I don’t dance around or act tortured because…hell, truth be told, I probably eat more junk food than anything else. That’s not always true, but it is these days.

I’ve grown up around white people all of my life, and I started noticing in college that many white women, in particular, have this sort of tortured relationship with food. It’s something I don’t really see with black women, and there have been a couple of times when I’ve mentioned this to a white woman and she has a black example to “show” me it’s not just white women or that some black women are like that or that the majority of women are like that. Of course, the one white woman whom I can remember doing this was from California and was, thus, talking about black women from CA. Somehow, I can’t help but feel this doesn’t count since people from CA are kind of…well…shall we say, at least a little bit more shallow than the rest of us. Still, I am sure there are black women who primarily eat healthy, will rarely eat junk food and who freak out when they see junk food. I just don’t know any black [American] women well who are like that. Consequently, admittedly, there are more of us who are overweight, and black women on the whole probably have more health problems (which is not just correlated with weight and eating habits).

My point today is not about weight or health, though. My first point is that I don’t understand. When there’s a box of junk food sitting there at work and one of my white female co-workers comes around, looks at me, looks at the junk food, looks at me again and starts the little dance…I don’t get it. It has been a long time since I denied myself anything I wanted to eat, so I don’t relate to it. And I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever danced around food I wanted to eat, so I don’t get that, either. And I think they think I get it because I’m a woman and they’re women. But that’s the other thing I don’t get. Look at me. How often do I look like I say no to junk food? These are three things that I’ve wondered about white women for years–why are they so much more strict about food than black women are, what on earth are they thinking when they’re whining about food to someone who weighs more than they do and what do they think when they see all these overweight black women.

My other point is that, regardless of the mentality a lot of people have about people being overweight and unhealthy, I just have a natural fondness for people who unashamedly enjoy food. It is just refreshing, especially the way things are today, to encounter people who eat what they want (including junk food), weigh what they weigh and don’t really worry about it. I understand the health risks, and I understand they are undisciplined. I understand it’s a strain on health care. But I think that my irritation with people who dance around food and show too much concern for weight, dieting–or whatever their problem is–is that I perceive them as being the ones who are somehow unhappy with who they are, while my fondness for people who eat what they eat and weigh what they weigh and are unapologetic about it is that they appear to like who they are. I also perceive the former–when they’re doing things like looking at someone such as myself while whining about junk food–as indirectly expressing dissatisfaction with certain types of people.

See, for me, if someone wants to be healthy or thin, that’s that individual’s own business. It’s one thing to complain about your weight to everyone but continue to eat poorly. The pounds are not going to just fall off over night with little to no effort, and no one wants to hear you complain when you’re not taking steps to change. But if someone is overweight and happy with who he is, let him be happy. If someone is thin and happy with who she is, let her be happy. If someone primarily eats junk food, that’s her business. If someone primarily eats organic food, that’s his business. We don’t have to understand each other when it comes to diet, but I think we should let more people be without all the negative judging when it comes to weight and eating. And more people need to be happy with who they are instead of feeling they have to panic every time they see certain types of food. Remember, your looks are not who you are.

At my job among all the thin, dancing white women who think they can’t even eat one sweet (but they can go out and get drunk–have seen this one for years and have never been able to figure it out), there’s this huge white guy who is always the first to roll confidently up to any food brought in by someone in the suite. When someone brought in doughnuts, this guy said, “I’m going to get two, because I’m a fat ass.” I just thought, “That dude is awesome.” He is fat, he’ll probably always be fat…and he’s fine with himself. He might not live to be 80, but, as overrated as life is, he’s probably cool with that. I know I am.

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