Monthly Archives: January 2013

It Turned Out OK Before

Got my test results back today from my thyroid, kidneys and liver, and everything was normal. So that means my doctor was right in thinking my thyroid is not the issue with why my neck is “puffy” on one side. The nurse who called me reiterated that the doctor wants me to see a specialist and asked if he had already given me referrals, which he had. So I went ahead and made an appointment with a specialist I saw a couple of years ago who happened to be on the list of referrals. I’m going in next week.

It does concern me a tad that the problem isn’t as “simple” as a thyroid problem that can be resolved with medication, but I’m not particularly worried right now because today has been a fairly good day. I’m not thinking about all the possibilities. I’ll just have to wait and see what happens when I see the specialist.

Even so…my mother asked me after my doctor’s appointment last week if I was worried, and I said no. She should know better than that. When I was in the hospital in 2010 for nearly a week having my liver treated and then having surgery, I was never scared. When I had my surgery, I went to the emergency room first and just walked up to the desk and told the person there what was wrong. And he was like, “How do you know?” I shrugged and said, “I’ve been here before for this.” I should have had surgery a long time before I did, and I think that played a role in my liver getting infected. But telling him I’d been there before for the same thing got me seen immediately, unlike the first times I’d been there. I was first actually wondering if they’d let me go so I could go to work that evening (which was why I waited so long to have surgery). But then I found out about the liver infection and there was nothing I could do but let them admit me to the hospital.

It’s a good thing I went to the emergency room of my own free will or else I wouldn’t have known about the liver infection. I distinctly remember looking in the mirror that day to check for jaundice, which was on a checklist I’d been given months prior by a surgeon I’d seen and which would alert me that I’d need to go to the emergency room for emergency surgery. I didn’t see anything wrong but just had been in pain for 12+ hours and was tired of it.

Mainly, that experience was annoying and everything leading up to it was just physically painful. In the hospital, the staff was great, but they wouldn’t leave me alone. They also had me hooked up to so much crap that even before the surgery it was tough to just go to the restroom. And every time I tried, someone would rush into my room because they were alerted that I moved. I couldn’t sleep, either, for nurses coming in the middle of the night to give me medication and draw blood.

After the surgery, it was a good thing I wasn’t in pain (except for immediately after the surgery was over) because the painkillers they were giving me through the IV made me ill. They switched up the painkillers when I told them this, and they still made me sick. So I just quit pushing the button to receive any doses through the IV. Painkillers never made me sick on any of my trips to the emergency room or with any of the prescriptions they gave me, so maybe it was just the way it was being administered to me. Anyway, so I had the worst headache ever while I was in the hospital because of that, and all the nurses would give me was Tylenol because of my liver…which means my headache never went away.

So, yeah…annoying, but not scary. I think everyone I told or who knew I was in the hospital was more scared than I was.

So far, my mother seems not to be worried, and that’s what’s amazing. I’ll have to ask her how she feels. For my part, though, the news today was just not exactly what I wanted to hear, which I know sounds weird considering everything was “normal.” But that just means this isn’t over, and now I’m possibly waiting to hear something worse in a couple of weeks.

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Why I Needed A Day Off, And Why It Didn’t Go Well

Note: Thought I’d published this a long time ago, but, of course, WP decided to act silly that night. Written Jan.28, published Feb. 6

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that if my lazy co-worker was going to constantly come up with excuses to take off work or leave work early, then I was going to do the same thing.

So I took a day off this past week, and it couldn’t have come soon enough. The past week was horrible at work, as I think the previous week was, as well. Instead of it feeling like my new job is getting easier, it actually seems like it’s getting tougher. And that’s taking me to a point where my patience runs thin.

To top off the crappy week, my supervisor called a meeting that seemed an awful lot like one of those “you’re doing a good job, but…” and then insert a laundry list to the contrary. Two things in particular pissed me off…maybe three things:

1) He’d already sent an email about this “mistake” we’d all made earlier in the week, and then he brought it up again in the meeting. According to him, he’d asked us to give him some information over email and none of us followed instructions. He kind of lectured us about this, twice. Now, in my opinion, if none of us followed instructions, then maybe he needs to question how clear the instructions were instead of automatically saying we didn’t pay attention to his email. I’m still not sure what he’s saying we didn’t do. But just as if an entire class full of students is failing then that means the teacher needs to look in the mirror…just sayin’.

2) He told Lazy Tech and I that we still go to other techs for help too much. LT has been working there for about four months, and I have been there for two months. I don’t perceive LT as going to other techs that much, so I feel like this was really directed at me because I do ask a lot of questions. Now, I had been told by both LT and that geeky tech who thinks he’s cool that I should ask questions instead of just doing things and doing them wrong.

Frankly, going to other techs a lot two months into the job wouldn’t be necessary if they’d actually train new hires. And this was my problem with my last employer, but there are far more things to learn/know at this place. It’s not a matter of knowing things about computers; it’s that they have their own programs that employees use, I haven’t heard of half of them and don’t know enough about most of them at this point to help employees with the questions they ask. Having me come in and get thrown into the job on day 2 with the “training” being running after people to ask them questions is not training. And if that’s how you’re going to play it, then you can’t say, “You’re going to others for help too much.” It’s completely ridiculous, and it takes longer to learn information that way. The geek who was supposed to train me told me it takes six months to really feel comfortable with that position, and another tech told me it takes a year to really get a grasp of all the stuff you need to know to do that job. So, this just makes me feel like my supervisor is either unaware of what my position is like or he has unrealistic expectations even after knowing what it’s like.

3) He gave LT and I the “we’re a team” speech. And I’m not sure of all the reasons why. He mentioned that other techs who worked there before us communicated more with each other about the work. LT is not going to do anything like that because he’s lazy. If he’s going to do anything, he’s going to do it fast and then move on. He’s not going to spend time discussing unless it’s necessary. And then when I try to talk to him about things, he doesn’t really listen or respond because he’s too busy on Facebook. He leaves emails for me to do while I’m already busy, with the excuse that it’s stuff I need to learn, while he’s on Facebook…and then he’ll IM me telling me not to ignore those emails or wondering why I haven’t done them yet when he could have answered them an hour ago.

That geeky tech kind of pissed me off earlier in the week, too, because he basically told me I should have done more to help someone instead of sending a tech to her cubicle. And I was in the middle of a whole lot of stuff, some of it I didn’t know how to do, with LT sitting at his desk having fun on his laptop. So I just let his geeky ass know, “Hey, I’ve got all this schitt on my plate while LT is over here on his laptop.”

I very much suspect that this got back to my supervisor and that this is part of the reason we got that “team” bullschitt laid on us. It’s not going to make any difference. But another reason I think the geek told him about that is because our supervisor also announced that we can’t use our laptops at work anymore. And that’s good and bad. The “team” speech is not going to affect LT, but I wonder if he’ll do more work now that he won’t have his laptop. Part of me just feels like taking away laptops doesn’t matter if you’re not going to tell people they can’t have their cell phones out, as well. Cell phones nowadays do almost everything laptops do.

Plus, if I know LT as well as I think I do, all this means is he’s going to be up and away from his cubicle running his mouth more often. I was thinking about it the other day, too, and he might think the way he runs his mouth with everyone makes them like him…but it doesn’t. Everyone at our last job disliked him because they knew he was lazy and unfriendly with customers. I was surprised when even the guy who trained me said he never liked LT, saying that he always seemed annoying. I think the same thing is starting to happen at our new job. He does act semi-needy with other guys.

So the next time my recruiter from the agency that placed me in this job asks me how it’s going, I’m thinking of just being a little more honest with him. I don’t want to tell him over lunch because I think he’s always going to invite LT to lunch, as well. And LT is happy with this job because of the money. There were things I didn’t like about the job all along, but I also understood I had to get to a point where I learned much of what I needed to know, regardless of not liking the method they use for me to learn these things. But now I’m feeling like, because of how the past couple of weeks have been and then that meeting with my supervisor, that I’m not getting the understanding or support I need, considering what they’ve thrown me into. I have never gotten the impression that I was supposed to be fluid in doing this position after two months, as cited earlier in this post. One thing I can say for my last employer is they were understanding about how difficult the position was, given that they don’t really train people on everything upfront.

I had told the recruiter upfront that this is not the kind of position I’d prefer, so now I can kind of be like, “Yeah, this, this and this are the reasons why I said that,” i.e. the lack of training you receive and how that affects you the whole time you work a position being paramount. And, of course, although the people I support are generally more tolerable than at my last job, I still would rather not have a job where I communicate with people all day long and get a few assholes every day and/or annoying “regulars” who always have the most difficult issues in the world.

Going in a bit of a different direction…

So, yeah, I needed a day off…really, more than a day off. And I might be getting another one off sooner than expected. Here’s the story:

My mother has been bugging asking me to go see a doctor. She’s always looking at my neck and saying it looks bigger on one side than the other. This has been going on for longer than I care to admit, and she has been accusing me of being one of those people who “won’t go to the doctor until it’s too late.” That’s not really true, although I probably am one of those people who has his/her priorities a bit out of order. As my father pointed out, I would gladly take off work to go to Michigan and see a football or basketball game, or even just to hang out around campus. But when they talk about stuff like making a doctor’s appointment, I say I don’t want to take off work–which is true. If I weren’t working or still worked nights, I’d have no issue with going to the doctor.

Well, to get them off my back–because my father has started joining in on this with my mother–since I wanted desperately to take a day off work, I decided to coordinate it with a doctor’s appointment. My mother has been worried that I have a thyroid problem. She has one, and so does her sister. I do have other symptoms consistent with a thyroid issue, to be honest, and when I was sick back in 2010 (yes, I know) with another issue I had a surgeon poke around my neck and ask me if anyone ever talked to me about my thyroid. She did this after she took my heart rate and found it to be abnormally fast. I made the “mistake” of telling my mother this, which she, of course, used constantly to support her position that I needed to have my thyroid checked.

So, I finally went to a doctor. And I haven’t been until now because I really didn’t think anything was wrong. When I feel my neck, it just feels like extra skin. It doesn’t hurt, there are no lumps or nodules…nothing, but it’s bigger on one side. I do have an asymmetrical body and issues with weight fluctuation, so that’s all I thought of it.

The doctor was awesome, but he kind of did as my mother does, i.e. stared at my neck a lot while I spoke to him. So eventually, he examined it. And he told me he would take blood from me and he’d test my thyroid, liver and kidneys (my liver was part of my problem in 2010…told him about that, as well as that cancer runs in my family and he wanted to know what kind). He left the room and came back eventually. I thought I was about to have a blood sample taken, but he gave me sheets of paper. Basically, I gathered from what he said that he suspects I do not have a thyroid problem; he thinks it could be something else. He agreed with my mother that my neck doesn’t look right, and he suggested that I see a specialist. That’s what the papers were for–they were names and addresses of specialists.

After that, I waited quite a while and then had a blood sample taken by a nurse who was from Michigan and, seeing my Michigan shirt, talked to me about the state, my alma mater, Ann Arbor and her family. When she was done, I looked around and, gosh, it’s like they took enough of my blood to supply half the hospital I stayed in back in 2010. I was fine for a couple of hours, and then I wanted to do nothing but fall on my face. They took a lot of blood.

Still waiting on the results, but I figure either way I’ll need to see a doctor again soon. With this doctor agreeing with my mother that my neck is not normal, plus wanting to run tests on my liver and kidneys and wanting me to see a specialist…now I have a feeling that something is actually wrong. With both my mother and my aunt taking thyroid medication, I know that’s not too big of a deal, relatively speaking. It’s easily treatable if it’s an under-active thyroid. But with the doctor telling me, “There are other things in the neck” and seeming to think my thyroid is okay, I don’t know what to expect. It’s to the point where I’d rather the test results tell me my thyroid is under-active.

Plus, I may or may not have mentioned this here before, but I have always “known” that I would get cancer. Whether or not it’s now, that is just something that has always been matter-of-fact to me. I can’t explain it, but I know how I’m going to die. I’ve known since I was a kid.

You see the name of my blog. So, I’m not worried about dying, per se. I just now have a feeling that something is wrong. I might find out it’s nothing, or it might be easily treatable. I’m guessing I should hear what these tests turned up, if anything, tomorrow or Tuesday.

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How A Tech Geek Spends Money Frivously

So, I’m about to admit something that’s totally silly.

There’s one particular thing I’ve thought I’d do if I were rich. The average rich person always seems to have three or four houses and multiple expensive cars.

Me? I’d buy a bunch of cell phones.

This is particularly nonsensical, given that I barely talk on the phone. I’m not even into texting. Having minutes is a waste of money. I primarily use my iPhone for music and applications and the internet.

I tend not to be swayed by commercials, but there’s one type of commercial that always seems to get me interested in the advertised product–cell phone commercials. Being somewhat of a tech geek, I always wonder about the phone’s features and want to try them out.

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I’m really enjoying making more money. I might have also mentioned previously on this blog that I don’t really have a lot of self-control when it comes to having money. The more money I have, the more money I spend. I’m not a saver. Still, unlike a lot of people who are like me and don’t make a special amount of money, I do have a lot of money saved. It’s just that when I want something, I go ahead and buy it.

Yep–I broke down and bought another cell phone. Those Samsung commercials, in particular, were absolutely killing me. I couldn’t take it anymore. I ordered a Samsung Galaxy S III. It arrived in the mail on Thursday, and I have been having an awesome time with it.

So, now I have two cell phones, and I’ll be keeping both. The iPhone is on a Sprint plan; the Samsung isn’t. So, aside from buying a few apps, the Samsung isn’t going to cost me more money per month, because I downloaded an app that will let me make and receive calls and texts as long as the Samsung is connected to wifi. But for the most part, I won’t be using the Samsung as a phone–it’ll be used for everything else, kind of like my iPhone is currently used.

Even though my fantasy has been to have a bunch of different phones, I’ll likely get rid of my iPhone eventually or get the Samsung activated with Sprint while deactivating my iPhone and leaving it to collect dust. See, anyone who loves the iPhone–and I have loved my iPhone–would probably love a Samsung Galaxy. They’re basically the same phone–except Samsung has taken the iPhone a step or two further. It’s better in most ways that I can think of, or at least most ways that matter to me. It’s the bigger, faster, less restricted, less block-y/bulky and seemingly less buggy iPhone. Almost every app I have problems with on the iPhone works a lot better on this Samsung, and I have yet to see an app open up and then just shut down in the middle of usage or almost immediately. It also has the best app I’ve found for making my music sound the way I want it to (Poweramp).

The only thing I’d hate about making the switch is that I rely pretty heavily on Smart Playlists that I create in iTunes and sync to my iPhone and iPod Touch. But I could probably live without them, seeing as how the reason I use them is to make sure I’m not hearing the same songs all the time…and I still somehow end up hearing a lot of the same songs often. Well, and one other thing–the app I probably use more than any other is not available on Androids (ooTunes, which has just about every radio station). I’m working on finding a satisfactory substitute app on Androids.

But doing this comparing and contrasting is why I’ve wanted to have different phones, so it’s cool to financially be in the position where I feel I can afford to buy and try two different phones. I guess I need to remember that when I wake up in the morning pouting about having to go to work?

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The Reality of Online Relationships

Some of you might know that I’m a big sports junkie, but particularly college football and college basketball. I cover college football some and have been doing so for over five years. Well, there’s this big story in college football that I want to tie to the real world, because, ultimately, the story has nothing to do with college football…and the commentary by the football guys shows how out of touch they are while demonstrating a flawed way of thinking among many people, including many outside of sports.

You see, there is this football player at Notre Dame, Manti Te’o. I’ve watched the guy all season. My team/alma mater, Michigan, played Notre Dame and lost last year. Te’o had a nice game against Michigan, and his sob story was out there at the time. The story went something like his grandmother and girlfriend died on the same day. Te’o, as good a player as he is, largely rode the sob story to fame and very nearly to a Heisman Trophy (which goes to the best college football player each year…or that’s what they say; it’s not actually true…more like whichever player the media likes the best). Neither the fame level nor the Heisman campaign would have been what they were had that sob story not been out there.

Now it’s being reported that this girlfriend who allegedly died never actually existed. The question is whether or not Te’o made the chick up in order to get attention or if he was just tricked into believing she existed. Te’o had led everyone to believe that he had the kind of relationship everyone thinks of when they think of a girlfriend-boyfriend relationship, i.e. he’d spoken as if he’d actually met this girl before. He’d used the word “met” in interviews and made it seem as if they’d interacted heavily. He said he loved her. I read an article where his father said she could have been his daughter-in-law. Now that it’s out that she never existed, Te’o is trying to say it was an online/phone relationship and he never met her. In other words, he didn’t know she wasn’t real but believed she was. This went on for months. This is his story.

Now…sports media people, by and large, aren’t buying it. And if he didn’t know, then he’s “naive.” Translation: he’s stupid. So, to some, he’s either stupid or crazy for making up a story about a girlfriend dying of leukemia, but they don’t want to come out and say they think he’s lying. Then there are those sports guys who want to know how you can have a relationship with someone you can’t see, touch or be intimate with. That alone means he’s lying. There’s no such thing as having a boyfriend or girlfriend you met online and only know online, in their minds. Nobody does that.

That last paragraph is what my post tonight is about.

I want you to know this–all of these people talking about the Te’o story in the sports media are over the age of 40 and, I think, are all married. If you’re over the age of 40, you probably agree with these sports guys who think there’s no way someone has that kind of relationship. Perhaps some of you under the age of 40 agree, as well.

…there are those sports guys who want to know how you can have a relationship with someone you can’t see, touch or be intimate with. That alone means he’s lying. There’s no such thing as having a boyfriend or girlfriend you met online and only know online, in their minds. Nobody does that.

Except…there are people who do that.

Young people do that.

People who get cell phones as Christmas gifts at age 8, iPads as birthday gifts at age 10 and who have had a computer or a laptop for as long as they can remember do that.

People who work so much that they don’t have time to date the old-fashioned way or who have friends who met their boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance or spouse through match.com do that.

And I have done that.

I have “met” not only girlfriends and boyfriends online, but friends online. Some I met in person, but, honestly, most I haven’t. I’m in my early 30s, and I started making friends and girlfriends online back in my teens when technology still wasn’t what it is today. So imagine for a guy in his early 20s nowadays, when all young people do is stay glued to cell phones, tablets, laptops and social media. There is probably not a young person alive now who hasn’t spent quite a bit of time chatting with someone online he or she doesn’t know in person, and half have probably “dated” someone he/she doesn’t know in person. It doesn’t matter that he’s a football player and there are young ladies at Notre Dame–that’s not the point. This is a cultural issue. And today’s culture is that we interact with people in cyberspace in ways that some married 48-year with 5 kids probably can’t even begin to fathom, regardless of how hot or popular someone is.

My best friend right today is a female I met online in 2001. It’s 2013. We’ve been friends for over 10 years. We’ve never met. There’s no telling if we’re ever going to meet. We have discussed it, and there have been two or three times when it could have happened. It just hasn’t yet. There are things called life (especially when you’re older) and money (especially when you’re younger) that get in the way. Still, I trust her, she trusts me and I know she exists.

The last woman I had romantic feelings for was someone I met online. We never met in person, and not because I didn’t want to. I wanted to meet her, but we never got that far.

The funny thing is how people nowadays like to blame technology for everything. That’s why young people today are stupid. That’s why people today want everything now. That’s why people today are more violent and more sexual. You can’t trust people you meet online. You can’t have a real relationship with them unless you know them away from the computer.

In a way, yes–to all of it. That woman I met online romantically? I wrote to her once that I don’t particularly want to do a long-distance relationship. At some point, I need to be able to be with someone. At some point, we have to be in the same place. That’s true for every online/long-distance relationship. That was not initially why I wanted to meet her. Initially, it was because I believed pretty strongly that we’d get along great in person even as just friends and that it wouldn’t be awkward, which has been my worry before about meeting people from the internet–that it’d be too awkward.

Assume for a bit that Te’o really did believe there was this girlfriend who existed and he wasn’t just trying to get attention. Remember, he said he loved her. According to him, she said she loved him. But they hadn’t met. I went through the same thing. And then some months later, after a breakup of sorts, I was told by my romantic interest that she looks back and doesn’t think it was romantic love she felt. I thought it was painful and ridiculous at first. But now I’m to the point where it’s hard to blame her for thinking that. Why? Because…how do you know if you love someone romantically when you haven’t met her? You can feel one way online, and then when you meet in person it can feel different. Ultimately, that’s why we needed to meet each other, if either of us had been in the place to pursue a romantic relationship…which we weren’t.

That makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense is thinking that you have to know people in person to actually know them. When online relationships or friendships don’t work out, people make the internet out to be the bad guy. It’s not.

“I’m not going to talk to people online anymore. Only in person.”

You don’t necessarily know people around you are more real than people online are. I know people who have realized they don’t actually know their spouse the way they thought they did. The spouse broke a trust through lying or cheating. It’s not just people online who do these things.

So, assume Te’o was fooled. Like we don’t meet fake-ass people in person? Like the chick at the bar who smiled at you and gave you her phone number didn’t give you a fake number just to get you off her back? Like a guy you wasted three years with has never told you, “I’m just not ready to get married” for two of those years, only to turn up married to the next chick six months after your breakup? Or like he wasn’t actually already married the whole time you thought he was single?

The internet isn’t the bad guy. Indeed, you can meet wonderful people online. I have. I met one of my friends online, spent a year chatting and emailing with her before we actually enrolled at the same law school and met in person there. We’re still friends. There’s nothing wrong with her. Have “known” her since about 2004, met in 2005.

I’ve had people lie to me online, but I’ve probably had way more lie to me in person. My romantic interest wasn’t always forthcoming with me, but I think I understand at least some of it. She didn’t tell me her real name. But she knew mine, so I dug around and found out. The first thing she did was beg me not to tell her parents. What??? Ohhhh….yeah, the lesbian thing. Never crossed my mind, since I’m not that kind of an ass. But yeah…now it makes more sense why she was secretive about some things. Still,  having met me online doesn’t automatically make me less trustworthy than the kid in the next cubicle at work. After all, she knows my full name and orientation; the kid in the next cubicle at work doesn’t. I have more faith in her not to blab it around than I do in him not to.

As always, it’s about judgment and alertness. Not seeing only what you want to see. People now question Te’o’s judgment, among other things. Assuming he’s telling the truth, meeting someone he liked online and sustaining a relationship with her for months shouldn’t be the reason why, though–at least not in and of itself. That happens. It’s a part of life today. If you’re 50 and don’t get it, then you’re 50 and don’t get it. But I’m 31 and I do. I’ve been there.

Oh, yeah…and I don’t believe Te’o. I think he was trying to see how much he could get out of the sob story. But that’s because, one way or another, he has lied to everyone. He definitely lied about how he and the chick met. When I realized he lied about certain aspects of his relationship with this mystery girl, I was done. Still, I thought the online dating spin on the story makes for a good discussion.

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Catching On To the Lazy Guy

Lazy Tech likes to run up to all the guys at work, kissing up and trying to make them like him. And just like where we worked before, he likes to spend more time socializing than doing work. As it turns out, all that eating cheese isn’t enough to disguise his shortcomings.

I wrote a while back about how people have a problem with introverted/more quiet co-workers, even though they’re often good workers. And it had really started appearing to me that the more social people at work get over-rewarded for being such, even if they’re not quite so good at their jobs or are not quite as qualified for a position. I still think that’s generally true, and I’m going to watch how this plays out. But I think my co-workers are getting a little sick of Lazy Tech, even though he is always all up in their faces. It might just be where I work, but my hope is this is indicative that being the guy everyone likes isn’t the end-all be-all in workplaces.

Now, I don’t think they yet realize that he’s lazy, but they’ve noticed other things about which they’ve started talking to me.

First of all, I want to mention for those who aren’t up to speed–Lazy Tech basically got me this job. And I had suspicions and reservations about working with him, knowing from where we worked together before that he is lazy. He does do a lot more work where we currently work, but his laziness still does fall on me at times (particularly with the way he’s always finding excuses to leave work early). I knew this was going to be the case going in, but I took this job knowing I probably wouldn’t like it but thinking, “If I’m going to hate what I do, I might as well get paid more for it.” And I get paid more for it–somewhere around $8,000/year more. From everything I’ve heard, LT lobbied hard for me to get this position, and I have been very happy with the extra money. There will probably be a post soon about how happy I’ve been with this extra money! That doesn’t mean I’m not going to rip LT on my blog. 😉

Here’s what happened:

One day last week after LT left for the day, I was on the phone with someone who needed help with a tech issue. And I was speaking to the person, but I could hear Stanky Breath Tech and the Wannabe Cool Tech in the background talking to each other and I figured they were talking about me from what I heard them saying. And then when I got off the phone with the employee I was assisting, SBT came to my cubicle and said, “We were just talking about you.”

I think I responded something like, “Yeah, I could kind of hear.”

He said they were talking about how LT and I handle the people we assist. Basically, LT is rude to people a lot of the time. You can hear how irritated he is or how impatient he is, and he talks to people like they’re stupid. And LT is certainly ones of those tech geeks who really does just think everyone is stupid when they have a tech problem or question, as are a lot of tech geeks. Now, I don’t sit around and talk about how stupid everyone with a tech issue is, and because I don’t really have that mindset I don’t speak to the employees we help as if they’re stupid. And a lot of people you assist in IT actually will approach you with a self-deprecating demeanor–some of them really do feel stupid for having the problem or needing to ask a question about how to do something. I reassure them that it’s completely okay. The people who get on my nerves are the ones who either contact us with a bad attitude or who contact us all the time with really difficult crap or one problem after another–which suggests they’re the problem or causing problems to occur (but usually they think you’re the problem if you can’t help them immediately)–so people with “stupid” questions don’t bother me at all…except maybe the people who don’t know what a “web browser” is.

So we were talking about how LT speaks to these people, and SBT was saying how even if I’m frustrated I sound like I have a smile on my face. To SBT, it sounds like LT hates the job when he’s talking to employees but LT is always talking about how where we work now is so much better than where we came from. It seriously amazes SBT because it doesn’t sound like this job is so much better to LT with how he sounds on the phone. At this point, WCT comes to my cubicle, as well. WCT is the guy who is “training” me–not really–and trained LT, and we go to him with everything and he also kind of acts like our boss, even though he’s not. And I respond to both of them that LT was way worse where we worked before with how he spoke to people, because he was. They couldn’t understand how he could be even worse than he is now. But since WCT seems to think he’s boss, he said that he’s going to have to talk to LT about how he speaks to people on the phone.

After WCT left the conversation, SBT kept wanting to talk about it because I think he still couldn’t believe how LT is always saying our job is a lot better now. He mentioned that repeatedly, and I told him that I can tell LT does like it better where we are and that’s in large part because of the money. But also, the people we help are generally easier to deal with than the clients we had where we were.

I didn’t think about this at the time, but I also think LT likes feeling that he has more flexibility in terms of leaving work when he wants to sometimes. He couldn’t do stuff like that where we worked before. That’s something that is going to make me just start taking days off work whenever I feel like it. I don’t think it’s always a good idea to run to supervisors to complain about issues or point out something another co-worker is doing wrong, so I’m going to retaliate in my own way. He’s probably taking off this Friday and I’ll be stuck with most of the work, so I will be taking off a day next week and sticking him with the work. I am so not kidding. Also, my birthday is in March–I will be taking off. And I am planning a trip to Atlanta in April to attend the Final Four (forecasting that my alma mater will be there), and if I go I’ll be out at least two days. The funny thing about LT is when he does stuff like this he always says something to me about how he doesn’t want to leave me with stuff or otherwise tries to make it seem like he gives a schitt, but he always does what he wants to do. Two can play that game.

LT has also started screwing stuff up more and more at work, and WCT has said to me a few times now that he has to talk to LT about how he’s overlooking emails that come in or not responding correctly. LT’s funny with this, too, when he knows he has messed something up. Once it comes to the forefront that he has screwed up–and he used to do this where we worked before, too–he’ll say to me that WCT or the supervisor “better not say anything to me.” At our last job, they always “said something to him” anyway, but it never worked. Unlike our last job, they actually fire people at this place. It would be kind of a nightmare for me if LT gets fired, which I don’t think he would, because I’d definitely have more work to do while they find and “train” someone else–and then I’d have to deal with the new person’s questions, a lot of which I won’t know the answers to because of how I’ve been “trained.” But WCT has influenced these decisions in the past, and if he gets sick enough of LT’s issues he could go to our supervisor and the employment agency that placed us with these things.

But LT makes mistakes in large part because he’s lazy, not because he doesn’t know any better. He probably wasn’t trained any better than I’m being trained, but he spends so much time socializing and on Facebook on his personal laptop. And he admits that he tries to do as little work as possible. LT does more work during the first half of the day, but he is definitely one of those people who doesn’t care at all around lunch time and after lunch. And I think that will become more evident to people at work as time goes on, as well. They can see what emails I respond to and which ones he responds to, and they’ll start to notice I do more work in the afternoons.

I was really pissed this morning when I got to work because he left work early yesterday, which meant more work for me, of course. And then first thing this morning one of his screw-ups came to the surface. I just kind of had to laugh to myself. I have to believe this–he’s going to get his. At our last job, I got a raise and was promised raises as long as I was there. LT had worked there approximately a year longer than I had, maybe even longer, and he never got a raise. We’re probably headed for the same type of thing at this place. It’d restore my faith in these dumb-ass employers we have nowadays.

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To Forgive and Forget

I’ve always wished I could hold grudges, but usually I can’t. I think not being that type of person has resulted in my being okay with people when I shouldn’t have been. I’ve always said that I get over things in about 24 hours, and if I’m not over it after 48 hours then it’s pretty bad. I’m not sure there’s a rhyme or reason as to what types of things I can’t get over. For example, some people can’t forgive lying. But I think everyone lies and that lying is natural, so why would I be a stickler for honesty? There are times when I can understand a lie.

Earlier today, I was reading about a falling out this guy had with a friend after coming out to him as gay. He described the situation, and one part really stuck out–his friend said something like he had to question why he was spending his time “obsessed” with the gay guy. This made me think about one of my friendships that fell apart a long, long time ago.

I met this friend whom I will call Katie back in, like, 2nd grade. We became best friends. To be honest, from about Kindergarten to some time in high school I had a different best friend from year to year most years. Katie was my best friend in between some years I had classes with this other girl who was my best friend…and then Katie and I had classes with each other again in junior high school, when we became best friends again and when I really started to like her.

Katie was not my first crush, but she was my first big crush. I never thought about whether or not she liked me in return. I never made a move or did anything to show my interest. I probably was just possessive, which I don’t think is abnormal between young female friends. Anyway, being possessive didn’t work. When I was a kid, my friendships with black girls always seemed to go the same way–I would really like a particular girl as a friend, and there would be this other group of girls who didn’t like me who would sabotage my friendships with the girls I liked. There was one b!tch in particular who was always involved in ruining my friendships, but her entourage wasn’t always the same. This was over several years, and it happened with both of the best friends I mentioned having early in elementary school, with Katie being one of them. So, I wasn’t ever able to “possess” Katie, but the b!tch club was. Katie and I spent long stretches of time not speaking to each other.

I don’t really know what the b!tch club was saying to Katie, although I had another friend whom I did find out some of the lies they’d said that I’d said about her. But I know now that the b!tch club wasn’t the only thing–and probably not even the predominant thing–ruining my friendship with Katie.

My parents had talked about moving for a long time, but they finally were ready to do that when I was going to the 8th grade. Unlike most kids would be, I was so happy. I wanted to go to another school. I wanted to live somewhere else. I told people at school I was moving and going to a new school the next year, and it was obvious I was excited. I wasn’t moving that far away, but it was far enough for me. I had kind of found a new “group” of friends, or, really, two, since things weren’t working well with trying to be friends with Katie and the b!tch club. I had two white guy friends, and we bonded over alternative music. And I had a group of white female friends, and two of them seemed to love me to death. Even after I moved, I had a hard time getting rid of them. But Katie seemed upset that I was moving and wouldn’t talk to me anymore after I moved, even though I tried to call her.

I’m kind of amazed, looking back, because as an adult I have a super-hard time getting over women…but it didn’t take very much time at all to get over Katie, even though I probably liked her for nearly two years. There were other girls after Katie.

Flash forward 5, almost 6 years. I’m in college, and it’s Christmas break. I’m home with my parents, and I get a phone call. It’s Katie!

Katie and I talked for a long time, and we talked about a lot of different things. But there’s really only one part of the conversation I remember.

Katie was going to college out of state, which was a little surprising because so many people where I’m from don’t really do that. They might go to school in the tri-state area, but that’s about as far as most people are going. Apparently, she was going to college with this other girl I remembered from back when I was going to school with Katie, and they were roommates. Katie started telling me about how everyone at her college thought she and this girl were lesbians, and they were being given a hard time about it. I remember she got really worked up about it and started kind of going off about how she’s not a lesbian.

But she also started telling me more about her “friendship” with this girl, and the way she was describing things sounded more like a romantic relationship–lovers’ quarrels and such. Apparently, they used to fight about me. Now, remember–I hadn’t spoken to Katie in over 5 years. The gist of these fights, if I remember correctly, just sounded a lot like Katie’s “friend” was jealous because she had reason to believe Katie was interested in me.

I don’t really remember a lot about my response–I think I just let Katie talk and talk. And at one point I think I said there’s nothing wrong with being a lesbian. I didn’t tell Katie I was a lesbian because I wasn’t yet thinking of myself as such. I didn’t have that worked out and was really nowhere near having it worked out then. And as far as her telling me all this stuff, I think I was just like, “Why is she telling me all this?”

Katie wanted to hang out since we were both home for break, so we did. It was awkward. She had changed. I don’t really know how to describe it. She had big baggy clothes on and was driving this big SUV, blasting rap music. You know, at that time, I had a bunch of white friends who mainly liked really commercial music. There were these girls who lived on my hall who were obsessed with *NSYNC and watched TRL on MTV every day because *NSYNC was a TRL mainstay. My friends and I used to burn mix CDs, and they’d have Britney Spears, Shania Twain, Vitamin C, Spice Girls on them. That’s the best example I can give of how culturally different Katie and I had become from each other.

Katie still wanted to communicate with me, though, but I wasn’t particularly interested. It wasn’t just how different we were.

See, one of the reasons I wanted to move and go to another school was I needed to get away from the b!tch club and girls like them, and just the whole dynamic of having friends who weren’t my friends because of them. I don’t think I was ever sad that I wouldn’t be seeing Katie, and that says something. I remember I almost ended up going to high school with Katie and the b!tch club anyway. Even though I no longer lived in the city, my address still was considered to be in their school district. My mother and I went through a lot to make sure I didn’t end up at that school. She knew I didn’t need to be around those kind of girls. My high school years would have been miserable. I’m also not sure I would have ended up attending the kind of universities I ultimately attended, because this was a bad school.

I mean, to be honest, there were tears shed when I thought I’d have to go to that high school. I’m not going into a lot of details about what it was like dealing with those girls and people like them, but it really was a big deal to me that I not have to go back to that. One of the reasons I was happy to move where I did was because I figured I’d be going to a different high school.

I guess if there’s anything that consistently leads to my holding some sort of grudge, it’s…not being a real friend and not being there. I could never be friends or anything else with Katie after she saw how those girls treated me and still sided with them and wouldn’t speak to me. Why would I ever consider dating someone like that? I know now that a lot of it probably had to do with her struggling with her feelings and such. Even though I know a lot of gay and lesbian people avoid people to whom they’re attracted or treat them poorly when they’re struggling with their orientation, that still actually makes things worse somehow. How could you have a thing for me to the point where it lasted for years, where you’re fighting with your current girlfriend over it when we haven’t seen or spoken to each other in years, but you couldn’t have my back? Why would I ever date Katie, or even just be friends with her, after that?

I don’t know what Katie feels today, but Katie actually tried to contact me again last year on Facebook. This would be over 10 years after she tried to contact me in college. I took a look at her profile, and I noticed that she was engaged to a woman. I had already found out years before that she came out, so I wasn’t surprised. I didn’t accept her friend request for a while. For one thing, I’d fully figured out at that point why I didn’t want to interact with Katie. For another, I was worried about what exactly she wanted with me. Eventually, I accepted her friend request…not sure why anymore. I think maybe I just wanted to see her full profile or something, just being nosy. Sure enough, she sent me a message afterwards.

I now would classify this as doing her a favor–I ignored the message. I never wrote back to her. Again, I don’t know what she wanted with me. I don’t even know how she found me, as I’m not in the Facebook search. Between that and history, I don’t feel safe in just chalking it up to her wanting to merely be Facebook friends. So, if she was engaged and contacting me for more than just Facebook friendship…yeah, I did her a favor. There’s no reason to contact another female if you’re trying to marry someone. I also look at the woman she’s with on Facebook and suspect that she’s a much better match for Katie than me.

After reading the gay guy’s situation today, I looked Katie up on Facebook. I noticed two things–1) it now say she’s in a domestic partnership with this woman, and 2) she un-friended me. I kind of laughed at the un-friending. Again, if Katie’s interested in me at all and she’s “married,” then it’s for the best that we have nothing to do with each other. If she hasn’t moved on, she needs to. It’s kind of disconcerting to think there might be someone out there who has been stuck on me for 15+ years. When we were kids, I had no clue she had any interest in me…and then one day I got that weird phone call.

I seriously hope she has moved on and I don’t hear from her again.

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