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I Pissed Her Off

Yeah, so it has been a while. I got kind of caught up with college basketball, as my alma mater actually did end up making it to the Final Four and playing for a national championship after I lost all hope for that happening some time back in February, I believe. I didn’t go down to Atlanta to see it, which was my plan before I stopped believing in my team, but I also don’t regret it. I looked at the cost of the trip (tickets to the games, plane trip, hotel), and it was just more money than I wanted to spend. Plus, when my school lost the championship game it pissed me off/depressed me enough to be glad I didn’t spend all that money to see it live. I’m so proud of Michigan for making it so far, but it still hurt(s) and I would have been livid if I spent $1500+ (and it was close to $1500 before the Tournament, so no telling how much it would have been during) to watch Michigan give up a nice lead and to watch Louisville carve up Michigan’s defense.

My entire family watched the game from various parts of the US, including members of my family who never watch Michigan play, just because it was my school playing for a national title, so that was great. On the positive, we did pick up national titles in Swimming, Men’s Gymnastics and Cheerleading over the last few weeks. 😉 We just could have had three national championships in about a week’s time if we’d won that bball one!

I also recently started taking a new programming class, so that’s keeping me a little busy after basketball, as is supporting Michigan softball. That’s the other good thing about my not spending all that money to go to ATL and the NCAA Tournament–I had to drop money on a new Macbook Pro for my class, in addition to the enrollment fee for the class. Typing on it right now! Rarely have I taken classes where I couldn’t wait to do the work, but pretty much all IT-related classes I take are like that. I wish all the lessons for this class were already out–I’d probably be done by now, and I’m only a week into the class.

Now that you’re caught up on some non-work-related things, I’ve got a work/love life cross for you.

About a month or two ago, I wrote about this lady at work whom I noticed eyeballing me a couple of times in the dining area at work. I also wrote several posts that related to my “ex-girlfriend.” Well, I am over my “ex-girlfriend.” I kind of realized some time during the NCAA Tournament, towards the end of it, that I really wasn’t thinking of her the same way anymore and that if I found out she has a girlfriend it wouldn’t really bother me. It’s more so like I miss companionship now. And when you miss companionship, not any companionship will do. Some forms are more fulfilling than others, and it’s just hard for me to find fulfilling friendships, relationships, etc. You really have to find someone with whom you click. I mean, there is a chick at work who is, in a way, trying to make me be her friend. And that’s okay, I guess, but…there are just people with whom you really, really fit. That’s what I miss.

Anyway, I bring this up to say, first of all, that I am still not sure that what I actually want or need is a date or another relationship. I definitely could use friends who are not guys, and right now my support system is guys and that’s in a work-related capacity. We have a great time talking schitt about Lazy Tech and annoying people who contact tech support and about our jobs and about how other people at work don’t do schitt while we do all the work…even talking about sports. But I do notice more and more that there are many attractive women where I work.

Second…well, I got an email today at work. Now, for the most part, I am not supposed to receive emails to my personal email account at work. We have a tech support inbox, so that’s where my emails are supposed to go. Still, people who work for my company do email me directly from time to time for work-related reasons. Usually, it’s people I’ve assisted before. But I got an email from this lady whose name I’d never seen before. It didn’t look familiar, didn’t recall speaking to her on the phone ever. So I’m not sure how she knew to email me at all. Anyway, she was asking if I could do something I knew I wasn’t allowed to do. I’ve done it before, and I’ve had my supervisor contact me about why, letting me know it’s not allowed, etc. And I’m tired of whiny-@ss schitt at work these days from my supervisor and otherwise.

So I had to respond that I could not do what she wanted. And I knew it wasn’t going to make sense to say I couldn’t do it, because it seems harmless…my job is just so f*cking silly that way. They have the most convoluted rules and they make everything 50 million times harder than necessary. Not my fault, though. Like I said, I’m tired of hearing/reading whining about garbage from my supervisor and this other department at work that whines about just dumb schitt and gets my supervisor involved in it. Like, they’re basically whining about receiving an email alert. Anyway.

So, this chick sends back this b!tchy email that was basically like, “Really? You said no to me? Don’t you know I’m Big Schitt around here? Are you serious? That’s f*cking stupid. What you just wrote me is so f*cking stupid that I’m going to copy someone I think I can use to get around you to get my way on this email and ask them to help.” Not in those words, but that was blatantly the gist. Yeah. Schitt like that is completely why I have to get off tech support and precisely why I’m taking programming classes–so that I can sit home on my @ss and create programs and apps and sell them from the comfort of my bedroom.

If you ever use Gmail, you know that Gmail users can upload pics that show whenever they email you. Our company basically uses Google for email. So I happen to glance to the side while looking at that b!tchy email, and I see Dining-Area Chick’s face in the pic. Now, I don’t put my pics on anything. People who know me will attest to that. So do I think she knows my name when she sees me? No, although there are people at our local office who somehow do know what my name is when they see me. So, I don’t think she knew that the person she was having an e-tantrum with is the same person from the dining area.

And that wasn’t the only b!tchy email from her, either. When I got the second one, I was kind of like, “Wow.” While I think my supervisors have come up with the dumbest schitt for rules, she definitely was overreacting. It says a lot about her, if she was so b!tchy about something that really didn’t warrant it to the degree she took it. And I’ve gotten just ridiculous reactions from people at the company, particularly over the phone, but those might have been the most ridiculous emails I’ve gotten since I’ve been working at this place. I also can never understand why people want someone to break rules and risk getting in trouble because someone else didn’t do what he/she should have done, and then they have more of a problem with the person who won’t break the rules than the person who didn’t do his/her part. We deal with dumb schitt like this all day every day in tech support, and it de-motivates me in terms of my job while motivating me to find something else to do for work.

Rarely do you get to see the kinds of things you need to see about someone in whom you might be interested in getting to know before you start the process of getting to know them. People in my family like to say I’m spoiled, but most people outside my family wouldn’t say that, at least not in terms of my demeanor and behavior with other people. When you don’t get your way, there has to be some semblance of grace in dealing with it, especially if it’s no big thing. I just do not operate with a sense of entitlement or act crazy with people I don’t know (notice how I included “people I don’t know”), and I don’t understand people who do. The way people act towards and speak to others amazes me every day. That’s why I f*cking hate people.

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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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Talkin’ (Writin’) Bad About the Co-Workers

Well, I’ve been working at my new job for about three weeks now, which means it’s officially time to talk schitt about it.

First, a whole new co-worker breakdown:

Lazy Tech (LT, formerly known as the Lazy Afternoon Tech)

Really, I could also call him “Let You” Tech. I will say that he actually does do work on this job, unlike the job we had together before. But when he doesn’t want to handle an issue, he always tells me “I’m going to let you do that.” Yes, “let,” as if it’s a privilege to me. And sometimes he even explains it as a privilege to me while other, less frequent times he’ll admit he just doesn’t want to deal with something. But more often, he tells me it’s “because I need to learn how to do it.” Even as a teenager, I picked up on “let” phraseology. I used to make fun of my mother and my oldest sister for using “let” in ways that benefited them more than it benefited me.

Wannabe Cool Tech (WCT)

This is the the dude who is “training” me at work. He’s a nerdy white guy–looks the part and is short enough for one of my company’s employees to refer to him as “short” before any other identifying trait)–but I don’t think he wants to accept that. The guys at my last job were tech geeks, they more or less fit that profile in terms of behavior and interests, and they were cool with it. He knows his stuff tech-wise. But the dude struts around, talking about how he’s going to this basketball game or that football game because he somehow got the best seats through someone at our company for all the major sports teams in our home state.

Er, first of all–no one here likes baseball. Heck, no one anywhere really likes baseball anymore. It sucks, and there are way too many games. Second, no one on this side of our state likes our NFL football team–no one. Except him, apparently. Guess he hasn’t gotten the memo that everyone else here thinks it’s cool to be a Dallas Cowboys or Pittsburgh Steelers fan. So, talking about going to those baseball and NFL games does not make him cool. Now, there are people who act as if they like our NBA team, but I have a hard time believing it. I mean, doesn’t everyone just like the Lakers and the Heat, maybe the Celtics? I wonder what my city even is doing with an NBA team. So, again, how does telling everyone every time it’s game night that he’s heading to the NBA game after work make him cool?

The kid also runs around saying stuff that black guys invented but have neither used nor thought was cool in the last 10-20 years. And the dude is obviously born and raised here, a Southern area. So imagine this short, nerdy white guy taking stuff black guys made cool in, like, the late 80s, trying to use his little “hip” voice…but he has a Southern accent. Huh? For example, the kid calls every guy at work “my man,” like “What’s going on, my man?” But he says it in his little “cool” accent that is all messed up because he’s a nerdy, Southern white guy.

Now, you can get offended if you want to. I’m just sayin’…for one thing, he doesn’t sound natural trying to mimic black guys, as most white guys don’t (and isn’t it always white guys? I hardly ever hear white females using 80s and 90s black lingo in an effort to be cool). For another thing, I don’t know a black guy who addresses guy acquaintances as “my man” anymore. The closest you’d get to that is “my mans an dem,” as in “That’s my mans an dem.” And even that became popular around the late 90s. So, it’ll probably be another 10 or so years before WCT and other wannabe cool white guys move on to that one. White guys who try way too hard always use outdated “cool” terminology that was, by the way, never that cool anyway–at least if you value standard English.

Final way this dude gets on my nerves? He sits in his cubicle all day playing with his cell phone. Yeah, the dude who is supposed to be training me. He expects me to just come ask him stuff all day instead of actually being with me, doing some training. And when he does help me with tech phone calls, he always has to tell the person that he’s training me, which I can’t stand (think about it–if you go to someone for help and find out he/she is in training, how much confidence do you have 1) in the person to actually be able to help you and 2) to do it in a way that won’t take all damn day? My mother and I have both been in situations where the person behind the counter was in training, and we just kind of rolled our eyes at each other.) The kid does next to no work himself. His iPhone is always in his hands. I don’t understand it, especially with one so damn nerdy. Who the hell could he possibly be texting all day? What else can he find to do on his phone all day long?

I don’t get people who are like that, but I really scratch my head over how he can text all day. Could it be that other people don’t see how poser-ish this kid is and actually think he’s cool or likable? Yeah, probably. After all, it seems like his type is taking over the white male community. It’s a shame, not to mention goddamn annoying–white guys really used to be a lot better than this.

He just seems self-important. I think all the talk about going to see pro games is flossing, as are telling everyone that he’s the one who provides training and being all into his iPhone as if people need/want to communicate with him 24/7.

Stanky Breath Tech

He’s probably my favorite, particularly when he keeps a good distance from me. If I go to him with a question at work, he almost always just takes over the issue for me instead of forcing me to do it like the above two do. It’s not the best way to learn my job, even though usually he will explain it to me at some point. This is probably what I’d do if I were training or helping a tech with something, as well, because it just is more efficient for resolving issues. It doesn’t totally make sense to have me on the phone with someone at our company for 30 minutes, putting them on/off hold a bunch of times so I can find out how to resolve their issue, for something that could be resolved in 10 minutes.

I think he probably gets that the way I’m being “trained” is tough to take because he used to ask me every day when I first got there if I was going to show up for work the next day. I kind of told him to stop asking me that, haha, and he has. But he is the friendliest person I work with, and he’s as helpful as he can possibly be. Lazy Tech is cool, but I wouldn’t say LT is intrinsically friendly. He is more naturally an ass, but he knows that, admits it, accepts it. That’s what I like–know who and what you are and accept it. Why can’t WCT be more like that?

The only thing about this dude is his breath, really. Sometimes the guy is several feet away from me, and it’s like, “Whoa…is that really his breath?” It’s not like that every day, I don’t think, but it has been like that on more than one occasion.

The Supervisor

I like him. So far, he’s cool and supportive. I’ve heard stories about some of the people he fired before I got this position. One of the guys was fired after three days because he didn’t seem to be “getting” what he was being taught. So, apparently, I’m not doing that bad. He checks in with me to see how everything is going and seems pretty genuine.

So, that’s basically who I work with. All in all, I prefer my previous co-workers, with the obvious exception of the female tech I worked with at my last job. There are certainly other techs where I work, but they don’t really sit in our area. There is a female tech, but I don’t really work with her. She seems okay, but I must say that I’m glad I don’t work with any women on this job. I’m not sure I know how to explain why. I guess I am not surprised by what the guys are like. I’ve known LT most of the year, so I knew what to expect from him. And, as I mentioned above, white guys–generally white guys 35 and younger, but I know of some older ones, as well–just seem to be trending towards being a lot like WCT, so I am, unfortunately, pretty used to guys like him. I just feel like I know what to expect from guys and feel as if they won’t view me as competition. And LT really should view me as competition, in a way, because we have to bill our time and try to bill 8 hours of tech assistance a piece during the day, which is usually not easy to do. But neither of us is worried about it, in part because we’re both lazy but also in part because he feels confident that he’s still going to get paid for a full 40 hours a week.

The Customers

I guess they’re technically my co-workers, since most of them work for the same company I do. They are a lot better than the people I helped with technical issues on my last job. I don’t really hate dealing with them the way I hated dealing with people at my last job. Mainly, I just don’t like how I’m being trained, especially since this job is more difficult than my last one was.

Happiness?

I have noticed that, though I am frustrated at times every day at work, still dread going to work and hate to go to work in the mornings, it’s not like it was before. My job is similar in a lot of ways to my previous job, but I’m more accepting of some things than I was before. I am not sure if this is because I make more money now, because it’s still too early or because I just know this is how it is with these types of jobs now. Or a combination. I do think that if I could reach a point where I’m mainly comfortable with what I’m doing, I’d still hate the thought of going to work–because I’m lazy and would rather sit around focusing on sports–but I’d be a lot more content otherwise as far as working goes. I also have realized working 8:30am to 5:30pm is pretty good…and that I used to be tired for hours in the morning at work and then again just a couple of hours after getting home from work because I was having to get up unnaturally early for me (I am a night owl by nature, and it wouldn’t take me long at all to fall back into a pattern of staying up all night). So, I’m a lot happier with my shift than I thought I’d be.

I have been wondering lately, though, if making more money does make people happier with their jobs. I took this job, knowing it would be like the one I was leaving, because I figured that I could at least make more money while hating what I do. But so far I don’t feel anywhere near the same level of hatred. And another factor could be that I no longer have a co-worker who is as bad as FTG was. Anyway, the money = happiness part is interesting to me, and I will monitor my feelings in relation to that and write more about it in the near future.

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Money and the Lack of Self-Control

Ever since I found out I was getting a raise at work, I have been trying to figure out what to buy. Every time I get extra money, I feel the urge to spend some of it. This is no different. Usually, there is some tech gadget that makes it an easy decision for me as far as how to spend some money. But there’s not really anything that I want. I was kind of thinking of the Apple TV, but I was thinking about that before I got the raise. And it’s not that expensive. I’m usually not happy unless I can spend $300+ on some big thing.

I got paid Friday. I was told when I found out about the raise that it wouldn’t apply until the next pay period. But apparently, they actually applied it for the two weeks before I’d even been told about it because my paycheck included that raise.

Oh, not good. Now I really feel the urge to spend some money.

If I could take off work, I’d just go somewhere. I’d go to another city and have fun. But that’s pretty much out of the question right now.

It’s got to be something very satisfying for me. Something that won’t be a waste of money. I hate to say it, but the last time I felt the urge to have something and I bought it…well, that item has just been lying around. It was the iPad. I just have no use for an iPad. I have a laptop, and I have an iPhone. What to do with an iPad? It’s cool and everything, but there’s nothing to do with it that can’t be done with a laptop, especially since I’m not paying for 3G on it (wifi really only makes it good at home, because I don’t hang out at hotspots). And even so, the iPhone is more mobile because of its size.

So far, all I’ve been able to come up with is…clothes?

Yeah, not a big clothes person. But I’m definitely tired of wearing the same shit to work all the time. I already ordered a few things, but I don’t think I’ve even broken $100 yet. Like I’ve said, there’s got to be one big, immensely satisfying item to make me not spend money for a while.

All I have come up with is this cool jacket I found. Granted, it’s the coolest jacket I’ve ever seen. But $300 for a jacket? That’s not really me. Not sure I’d be properly satisfied. I also tend not to wear jackets. Look, I live in the South. The only seasons we truly have down here are warm, hot and booty burnin’ (it’s currently booty burnin’ season). And it rains, but it’s not like the damn jacket has a hood, even. If I moved back up to the Midwest, which I’d love to do, that might be one thing. But you’re talking about someone who sometimes wore flip flops in the snow and who had to lie to her mother when she asked if I was wearing the kind of crap she thought I should wear when it was, like, 7 degrees in Michigan and Illinois when I was living in those places (hats, hoods, gloves, scarves, a big coat…crap like that). Ironically, it was only when I had on shoes that were actually for inclement weather that I’d fall on my ass outside.

I keep looking at the jacket, saying “no no no.” But I don’t have a good feeling about that one. I just don’t really have self-control when it comes to buying stuff I want. That’s one reason I left Illinois–I was too poor there to hang. I kept having to look at stuff I wanted and actually leave it where it was. That wasn’t going to work. So, do I think I can or will resist here? Absolutely not. The only way I might not get it is if I can think of something better that is at least equally expensive.

Ideas?

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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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What Being Glued To the Cell Phone Means

Since this is a post about being glued to the cell phone, I felt it was only fitting to write it on my iPhone (or at least as much as possible). This is not easy for me, because I hardly text with people and I’m not good at it. I hate texting, actually, and I know several people who seem to insist on this method as a primary form of communication–and who get mad when they don’t get responses from people in a timely fashion over text.

I am, though, one of those people who can frequently be seen with a cell phone. I can certainly leave the house without it, especially since cell phones are not for calls–at least not in my world. They are for media. I am the kind of person who will pay $100/month for 200 talk minutes and unlimited data (internet, email, text), tv channels, music channels…really, 200 talk minutes is too much. So, it’s not essential to me to have my cell phone all the time.

Still, if I’m out and I’m fiddling with it constantly, there is one of three reasons–1) I’m bored, 2) I don’t want to look suspicious or lonely, or 3) I don’t want to talk to anyone.

Yes, I am saying that cell phones are not for talking to people, but for not talking to people!

A lot of people truly do prefer to text in order to communicate with others, and I suppose some people really are so important that they need to be one with their phone constantly. But I think the three reasons I just listed are the main reasons people play with their phones all the time or feel the need to have them near. I know some people really need to be in touch with someone, maybe a family member, and need to be easily accessible. But sometimes, you just need to not look as if you’re casing a joint–especially if you’re black, and especially if you’re a black male. I can’t just sit outside of an establishment and look around, you know? Cell phone time! Even though I know ain’t nobody emailed, called or texted me.

Not wanting to talk to people is huge, though, and not understood. One of the benefits of working with a bunch of white guys, as a black female, is that I’m fairly certain I won’t be getting hit on. I’m not saying white guys don’t like black women that way–just that the majority of them won’t hit on a black woman. Since I worked with a lot of blacks at my last job, I had to deal with a lot of black men. I’m not saying all of them were interested in me, but there is a lot wrapped up in what I am saying.

For one thing, I live in the South. My guess would be that black men expect black women to speak to them most places in the US just based on a shared racial identity, but I believe this is especially true in the South and that it’s especially in predominantly black environments. Southerners in general seem to believe in “speaking” and being friendly with random people in a way others don’t. It’s a good thing, but it can also be annoying–especially the expectation of speaking. I don’t have to deal with this with white people to the degree that I do with blacks because of race, but white Southerners definitely “speak.” People just “speak” more in the South than they do elsewhere.

Sometimes, though, a guy really is interested, and sometimes he’ll put you in awkward positions or will approach you in a disrespectful manner.

All of this is how my iPhone comes in handy.

[Switching to the laptop.]

See, at my last job, I couldn’t always avoid the expectation that I’d stop and either smile, return a greeting or engage in conversation. This almost exclusively was an issue with men. When guys clearly expect something from you or want your attention–especially when you notice this is happening with them and not with women–it’s hard not to get defensive and not want to show any signs of interest if you’re not interested. If this is going on with a number of guys, it’s hard not to get sick of it. If you’re someone like me who is naturally a loner, it’s hard not to just want people to leave you alone entirely.

That’s why on breaks, I’d immediately get “busy” with my iPhone. In fact, I’d take it a step farther than a lot of people do and shove earphones into my ears, whether I was listening to music or not. A lot of the time, though, I was. But usually what you see is people checking email, texting or finding someone to talk to on their phone (trust me, 90% of those calls are not essential). I strongly believe that, the majority of the time, these things are either a “don’t bother me” sign or an “I’m not a loser–I have a social life/I have imaginary business to take care of” sign if not just from flatout boredom.

Now, I’ve seen many an article lamenting how people can’t let their cell phones be. I, myself, used to complain about how people could barely see where they were going–uh, walking–for looking at their phones. I once had a guest check into the hotel where I used to work, and she would not stop looking at her phone the whole while. I think I had another one who wouldn’t get off his cell phone while he was trying to check in.

Are these things annoying? To me, not as much as they were about 2-3 years ago. I think now, after dealing with hiding from men and working jobs with tons of down time, I understand better why people are always staring at their phones.

The most interesting complaint I’ve seen, though, about cell phones is along the lines of how it’s ruining socialization and tearing people farther apart from each other. Basically, the complaint is that cell phones and mp3 players and phones with mp3 players are “don’t bother me” signs. But a lot of these articles and blogs have been written as if they don’t understand that this might be the point.

I’m telling you now–I think that’s the point. I know it is for me. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to make new friends, meet someone with whom I could fall in love–although, for me, that would be a woman, not a man–or just have a nice conversation with a stranger. But I think cell phones and mp3 players give us more power in terms of how and when these things happen. In other words, if I don’t feel like talking to anybody (unless it’s someone I choose from my cell phone), I can use my cell phone as a way not to talk to anybody. If I don’t want to deal with the world, I can block out the world. I know I might be missing something that could be valuable along the way, but at least I made that choice. At least I’m not doing something I don’t feel like doing because it’s culturally expected of me.

And because most of us work or go to school, there will be plenty of times throughout the day when we just don’t have the choice–we simply have to deal with people, whether we feel like it or not. So, I’m fine when people take control of the times in their day when they do have the choice.

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Men Are Bitches, Too

I’ve been on my new job all of three weeks, and I’ve mentioned a couple of things I’ve learned in that short period of time–that hands-on tech work is more my thing and that I don’t like or want to work.

Well, I’ve neglected to fill you in on another learning point, this one more of a nugget of life that we all can benefit from knowing.

Er…men are bitches, too, y’all.

That’s right–it’s not just women. I know what you thought. You were wrong. And so was I.

See, I think a lot of us–especially those of us who are women–already realized that men can act in certain ways and women can act in similar ways, but only women will get called bitches or have that behavior labeled as negative. One thing men as a whole–not necessarily all individual men–do is demand their way. I’m almost positive you’ve seen this in public, maybe at a checkout counter in a store where some guy is thoroughly unhappy about something or another related to a purchase. I’ve seen women demand their way, too, but I think being demanding is more accepted in men than in women and the woman doing it is going to be labeled negatively.

Although I will say that whenever I’m with my father and he is speaking loudly about whatever some poor customer service representative has done–or, really, hasn’t done (because, having worked in customer service, I know that customer service reps have very little power to do anything and usually aren’t responsible for whatever a whiner is whining about)–I get embarrassed…because there are generally two types of women–ones who don’t see why they shouldn’t demand their way and ones who still have internalized that it’s rude, embarrassing, semi-childish and/or a sign of entitlement to demand their way. I am among the latter type, although I am not saying people who demand their way are wrong to do so. Sometimes it’s necessary, but sometimes it’s a matter of how you’re speaking to someone (and I also think sometimes it’s a matter of recognizing that you’re not demanding your way to the right person, i.e. when you’re dealing with customer service reps, i.e. you shouldn’t even be demanding your way at the moment). Men, by and large, appear to have very little problem demanding their way, regardless.

Anyway, I think we all kind of have seen what I’m talking about.

What I have never seen, which now has made me see very clearly just how bitchy men can be, is what guys at my job do.

Now, look–I complain a lot on my blog, and I will continue to do so. I love to complain. I think it’s cathartic. I know most people don’t value complaining, but, I assure you, I will not be dying of a heart attack or stroke any time soon because I find ways to let it all out. I also look hella-young for my age, and I think complaining has a lot to do with that. 😉

These dudes? They will complain about any and everything, to the point where I’m sitting around going “Really???” They’ve got the queen of complaining going “really?”

Examples:

1) Do not mention Apple products around these guys. EVER. Please. They make me scared to show up to work with my iPhone for fear that they spend my entire lunch break ripping me to shreds in the office, and I refuse to show up with my iPad because I know they will have something to say. They are snob…city about Apple products. They and Apple fanboys would physically throw down. It’s amazing that they manage to contain their pure Apple hatred when they are assisting our clients who have Apple products. But I promise you, each and every single one of those Apple product owners will be roasted behind his/her back immediately after the assistance is complete. Just substitute crap like another chick’s hair, clothes, makeup and reputation, and you have women.

And this has very little to do with the quality of the products. As I said, I am the hardware person. The best mp3 player I’ve ever used is the iPod Touch, and the best cell phone I’ve ever used is the iPhone. I will not hesitate to say that I think their laptops are garbage, though, and that PCs are superior in several (though not all) ways.

2) Speaking of the roast after the assistance…these dudes could have acting careers. They are that good at being fake with clients. When I spend time thinking about this, it makes me wonder what they really think about me, because they treat me very well. The more I listen to the A+ way they interact with clients and the more I listen to how they talk about the same clients before and after assisting them, the more I hope I never walk into the office at some awkward wrong time. If “smiling in your face, talking behind your back” isn’t good old-fashioned bitchiness, I don’t know what is.

Of course, two of these dudes would remind me of stereotypical gay men if they gave off a little bit more of a gay vibe outside of just their more in-your-face, cuts-like-a-knife style of bitchiness. Yeah, I try not to talk to them. Ironically, the guy who actually is gay is scared to death of people and hides in the area where the servers are all the time.

And then there is, of course, the office gossip. Yep, a [straight] guy.

3) Do not be a customer who calls in needing tech help on a regular basis. Apparently, using the service for which your company pays somehow makes a tech geek’s job a complete nightmare. If you call in or email a couple of times a week with the kinds of questions that they could probably handle in their sleep because they handle them so often, this is cause for these dudes to start talking about how they hate you, hate all people and are so stressed out that they need to go get drunk. Yeah…drama queens kings are bitches, in my book.

Oh, and I have been “warned” that I will become the same way, because this job is soooo horrid, thanks to the clients. No, dears–the job is boring me to tears, but I have seen and experienced horrid. This ain’t it. Try working in a hotel that is a complete dump and having to deal with every other guest rightfully complaining about it but always to you, never to the cheap-ass manager who is responsible for it being a dump. Try working somewhere you have to call the police out several times because random guys are showing you their penis, people’s cars are being broken into, people are getting shot next door, homeless guys keep sneaking into rooms and prostitutes have guys coming and going on a regular basis…oh, and you’re the only one working at the hotel when this stuff is happening. And try that only being #2 on your list of jobs you’ve hated the most.

4) Do not be that person who thinks Internet Explorer is “the internet” or who thinks all you have to do is start up your computer and never have to do anything special to connect to the internet. You can apologize all you want for your lack of basic knowledge, but you will be the butt of office jokes for years to come. Honestly, I can’t even begin to understand how it is that people do not know what version their operating system is or why anyone would want to use Microsoft Outlook to the point of calling me to help them get it working (it’s just so 90s-early 2000s to me, not to mention very blah-looking). But some people are good writers, some people are good builders.

While I think judging people is very necessary in society and I have no shame about the fact that I’m judgmental, I can definitely see how a lot of people can be technologically challenged–especially people over the age of 40 or so, or people who grew up without much tech access. In my opinion, the kinds of people best suited to work in tech support are people who are okay with the fact that a lot of people don’t know schitt that is practically common sense to them and a lot of people have different tech tastes.

This last one might be less of a function of being bitchy and more of a function of being highly intelligent or nerdy, because a lot of very intelligent people are at least a little bit highfalutin’ about their brain cells or a lack of brain cells in others. At the same time, it could go back to how I started this post, i.e. talking about things men do that you could call bitchy but they get away with. I think a lot of men associate intelligence with masculinity and, thus, show off, condescend to or flatout put down other people intellectually or verbally to prove their own intelligence/manhood. They do this to women a lot, and while they might especially do this to women they don’t only do it to women. But a lot of very intelligent women do it, too.

Either way, it’s bitchy bullschitt.

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