Archives for posts with tag: people

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I pack my lunch almost every day, and even if I buy, I usually eat at my desk. This leaves me open to every single person I work with seeing what I have for lunch, and even worse, seeing me eat it.

Ugh.

I have a few co-workers who are fairly obsessed with what anyone and everyone is eating for lunch. Every day, one of them will come up to me with my food spread before me and ask, “What’cha got there?”

It’s an innocent enough question, but it kind of irks me because I’ve always been a private eater. I don’t like eating in front of people at all. The beauty of my last job was that while the room my office was in was home to several agents, they were almost never there, so I could eat in relative privacy every day.

My office now? I’m surrounded by coworkers at all times, and my desk is small. So, my food has to sit to the left of me (because my mousepad is to the right of me) and is in plain view of every person who walks by. I don’t know why I should find this bothersome, but I do…especially if I’m eating soup.

So I’ve toughened up, and become used to people looking at my food, and looking at me eating said food. It’s a fair price to pay to work at one of the best companies I’ve ever had the to honor to call my 9-5 home.

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Break the Silence.”


The other day my daughter and I were doing some food shopping, and as we turned to go down the bread aisle, we came across a family of four. Mom and dad were selecting pull ups while their older son (I’d say around 5) was mashing their younger son’s (I’d say 2 1/2) head into the bread shelves.

Now when I say mashing, this kid has his brother, who had a pacifier in his mouth, by the back of the neck and was forcing his head into the shelf while his body pressed fully against his back. This little fucker meant business. The little brother, head facing towards us, was grimmacing in pain and crying.

My reaction? I looked at the older brother and said, “awwwww” in sort of a “how could you do that to your little brother?” fashion. Then the mom looked at me, and told her son to “quit it.” As I grabbed my bread, I quietly said to my daughter, “I feel so sorry for that little boy – he doesn’t stand a chance with a bully like that for a brother.”

The scenario I just laid out is about as involved as I get when there’s trouble around. I rarely push my nose into other people’s business to add in my two cents mainly because I don’t like it when other people do it to me. Had I said something to the mother, she’d more than likely would have told me to piss off and I would have spent the rest of the day feeling like shit. Or, I would have said something snotty back.

I won’t start it….but I certainly can finish it.

For instance, once a lady got all in my grill as I was getting in my car for not returning my “buggy” to the cart corale. I had instead, leaned it up against a post next to my car. (And sorry, but in my eyes only a dipshit calls it a “buggy”). I looked at her and said, “You know what? I have cramps and am currently bleeding through my pants. Tough shit.”

While I had no trouble talking back to her, I find it near to impossible to initate something like this. It is not my place to school people on how to live their life. I hate people who do that – but I gotta say, I admire them as well.

One time at work, many years back, I had to speak up about the lack of work that was being done by the people in my department. I was doing the lion’s share of the work, and I knew I had to confront them. But my trouble lies in being the accuser…I just can’t seem to do it. I could barely get the words out – it was as if my throat had closed up, and I began to cry.

Yet if the tables had been turned and someone pointed the finger at me? I would have had no problem opening up a can of whoop ass. I guess because when you defend yourself, you are justified. But if you point the finger? You are a bitch.

Here’s an example; I could sit on my front porch and watch a guy let his dog crap on my lawn and I would not yell at him to pick it up. That’s how I roll. Afterwards I’d think of all sorts of scenarios where I tell the guy off and come out the big hero, but in real life I’d never actually confront him.

On the other side of the coin, if I have something good/helpful to tell you, no problemo. You drop your wallet? I’ll hand it back to you. Left your gas cap open? I’ll honk and point it out. Have one item in the check out line? Of course you can go in front of me.

But if you have something in your teeth or your tag is hanging out, my lips will usually stay zipped because although helpful, that could cause you embarassment and that’s where it all falls apart for me. I’m so odd.

Last fall a UVA student, Hannah Graham, was murdered in our town. You may have heard of her. There were several witnesses that saw her drunk and saw her being taken away by the man that eventually (I should say allegedly, but I won’t) killed her. All these people saw her, and nobody questioned who this man was, or asked if she needed help. And off she stumbled to her death, with her killer’s arm around her.

But who am I to assign blame…had I been there, she’d still be dead. I wouldn’t have said anything either.

Yep, I am as spineless as they come. Maybe that’s why I never went very far in life.

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People are annoying me.

In most cases, I know it’s not them, it’s me. My moon isn’t in the 7th house or something, and little things make me want to bitch-slap random strangers.

Take yesterday. I had to make a quick run to the store, and everytime I needed to get something off the shelf or in a cold case, someone was in my way – in my way and not moving. Like the dude with the handtruck full of granola bars blocking all the other granola bars.

Or the old lady that was standing right in front of the Lean Cuisines carefully reading the back of the package. As I stood staring into the case trying to see what they had she did ask if she was in the way, but I told her she was good, because I didn’t really know what I wanted. In those cases, when I am the dope in the way, I move anyway because I know eventually I will be in the way.

She didn’t move. I had to open the next door down and snake my hand way in from the side to get the item I wanted.

But today I got annoyed at someone and it was 100% not my fault. I got assigned to design a gift certificate placard for an upcoming charity event. I work it up quite nicely, and sent a proof to the person for whom it was intended. They email back and ask if it’s 8.5 x 11. I email back, it sure is. They email again saying it looks great. I reply that I have some nice cream card stock I can print it on. They say wonderful.

I go downstairs to the printer, put in the special paper, come back up to my desk to print it, go back down to retrieve the print and bring it to their office. She looks at it and says to me, “Oh, this is horizontal. All the other placards are vertical.”

I inwardly roll my eyes because the proof I sent was clearly horizontal, and reply “That’s an easy fix. I can make it vertical if you’d prefer.”

Then she says, “Can we get any photos to jazz this up?”

I say, “I tried several times to contact them. Nobody ever returns my calls or answers my emails, and the photos online are too small to use.”

To which she replies, “Well this won’t do at all. It needs to be fancier…more attractive looking. You can take this back.”

As I take the finished, now rejected product out of her hands I’m inwardly thinking, “Am I high, or didn’t you just see a proof and approve this thing? If it was not what you wanted why did you approve it? Now I wasted paper and ink and time running up and down the stairs WHEN YOU JUST COULD HAVE TOLD ME RIGHT OFF THE BAT THAT IT WASN’T WHAT YOU WERE LOOKING FOR!!!!!”

Like I said, people are annoying me.

I’m going to make her wait a day or two before I get her another proof. Maybe until Monday. I think I’m suddenly swamped with more important jobs.

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I keep running into trouble at King’s Dominion.

We went back this past week because my daughter’s boyfriend was visiting. After our picnic lunch at one of the parking lot pavilions, we were walking back to the park entrance when I spotted a rather choice parking space. Always looking for a parking spot upgrade, I had the kids wait in the spot until I could get my car – a mere 3 aisles over – to the open space.

As I turned into the aisle, there was a red Kia angled into the spot. I rolled down my window and shouted to the kids, “tell him I’m here!”  They just shook their heads and shrugged. So I put the car in park, walked over to his window and said, “So sorry, I’m here – the kids were holding the spot for me.”

The man behind the wheel lowered his window and said, “You can’t hold a spot.”

wpid-wap-real-housewives-of-atlanta-season-6-phaedra-i-might-have-to-kill-himHis wife, who looked just like Phaedra from Real Housewives of Atlanta, leaned over and chimed in, “Yeah, you can’t save a parking spot!”

I started to debate with them, saying something along the lines of, “come on, they’re holding it, what’s the big deal?” when I noticed another spot open up one row over. I said, “look, there’s another spot right there!”

He looks at me through half-lowered eye lids and says, “I don’t want that spot. I want this spot.”

I was looking into the face of a gutless bully – a man who was willing to angle his running car into that parking spot with the sole purpose of intimidating my kids.

For a parking spot.

And you know what? I lost it.

I began yelling LOULDY. I can’t remember it word for word – I called him a bully, and an asshole and I dropped an f-bomb.

Or two.

His wife? She went nuts. She went Hardcore Pawn apeshit on me. She was saying “Oh, no, you did not just cuss me out. Oh no you didn’t.” and she began unbuckling her seatbelt.

Ruh roh. As previous blog posts have shown, Slovie is not a fighter. Then I heard a kid say “Mom, DON’T!” Double Ruh roh – I had no idea there was a kid in the back seat – a teen, but still he shouldn’t have to listen to me swear like a sailor in the middle of a parking lot.

Not one of my best moments.

I quickly apologized, saying I didn’t realize they had a child in the car, but I was still really mad and not willing to totally back down. I knew there was no hope of getting the spot – we were at a stalemate. The driver said he had a full tank of gas and would sit there all day if he had to. His wife and son got out and walked towards the park.

I got in my car and thought I may as well find another spot – I wasn’t going to make my kids stand in a hot parking lot just to prove a point, but to the kids’ credit, they wanted to continue to block his entry until I found a new spot. They were as pissed at these people as I was.

I quickly found a spot that was also very close and returned to pick up my kids. The red Kia was in the parking spot, and the kids were sitting on the wall by the park entrance. Two security guards were waiting for me, and told me the rule was “no holding spots.”

Thank you Barney Fife. Then the guard shadowed us the entire way into the park. I have a feeling the Kia asshole was scared I was going to key his car or slash his tires and asked the guard to keep an eye on us. And as I thought about the event over the course of the day, it dawned on me why I got so angry.

Had I been driving in a parking lot looking for a spot, thought I found one, and saw people standing in it – holding the spot – I would have driven on by. I might have said “rats” or “crap” but I never, ever would entertain the idea of pulling my car in and making them move.

Why? Because that’s mean. It’s a douchebag maneuver. It’s a move that says “I deserve to get what I want regardless of the feelings of others.”

Think of all the things we do in our lives that may not strictly “follow the rules” but are still tolerated. Things like having 15 items in the 12 items or less line. Or draping your coat over a few seats at the movie theater until your family, who is in the popcorn line, shows up.

Hell, that very afternoon at King’s Dominion while waiting in line for a ride, a woman and small child excused their way close to the front of the line to meet up with the rest of their family. The child probably had to use the bathroom, and dad “held their space” in line. Were they breaking the rules? YES! But who cares? It’s a mom and her child wanting to join their family. It’s not that big of a deal that I may have to wait 3 more minutes in line!

Yet I strongly suspect that the Kia driving assholes I encountered would have blown the whistle on them. And these folks? They would make you change lines in the supermarket if you exceeded the 12 item limit. I’ll go one further. They are the type that with a full cart of groceries, would see you in line behind them with nothing more than a can of tuna and make you wait with a “sucks to be you” smirk on their face.

Because they have an inflated sense of entitlement. The world is theirs and we are just cluttering it up.

They are the unkind humankind.

And I’m glad I’m not one of them. I may not have handled this situation in the best way, but at least I’m nice to people. I hold doors, and let cars cut in front if they’re trying to make a turn on a busy street. And I always let the can of tuna guy go in front of me at the supermarket. 

But not them. They are mean. And I hope someday someone calmly tells them that they suck.

I just wish it could’ve been me.

My job requires me to take a lot of pictures. Luckily those pictures are usually of places and things, but very rarely people. I don’t seem to do well with people when it comes to my camera. Many times when I am walking around a neighborhood snapping photos of houses and historic markers someone will give me a suspicious, annoyed glance.

Sometimes they come right out and yell at me. I was taking photos of private schools in our area a while back, and when snapping a few shots at the Montessori school here in town a woman came running out of the offices asking what I was doing. I smiled and recited my usual line about taking pictures for the paper and rattled off my credentials. I never have a business card handy because nobody ever asks for them. I have a stack in my car and in my purse, but I rarely use them.

This woman was not mollified one bit about the fact that the photos were for a newspaper. She began to ball me out about just marching onto private property and taking pictures. I smile again, put the lens cap back on my camera and said, “That’s fine. We don’t need to run a photo of your school along with all the others. Have a nice day, and sorry to trouble you!”

This was when she realized that her privileged rich bitch Montessori School attitude was going to cost her some free publicity. She backpedaled faster than Lance Armstrong and offered to show me places that would offer me nice shots. I followed her, took my pictures, smiled and thanked her, and then ran the article without one single snapshot of her school.

You don’t want to fuck with the Art Director.

So last week I was out taking pictures of Gordonsville, VA – a nearby town that is jam-packed with adorable old homes, and I was really looking forward to exploring it a little. I turned down a street which has always caught my eye on previous trips through town, parked my car and started taking photos. Within 45 seconds, I was approached by an older gentleman in pants and a white tank top – I’d guess Fruit of the Loom. I immediately thought, “Here we go again.”

Boy, was I wrong. This man, upon hearing my spiel and credentials, perked up like freshly opened bottle of Dr. Pepper. He began to give me a tour of “his street” which was dotted with pristinely maintained old homes painted bright white and forest green each with a lush, green lawn meticulously mowed. I used the term “his street” because he proceeded to tell me how over the years he had purchased each and every home on the block.

I listened to this little history lesson with interest and amusement. He had been in the Marines, and moved to California for a while, but couldn’t stay away from his sweet little hometown in good old Virginia. He told me about each and every tenant in the three homes he owned on the street, all of which he rented to folks who were Gordonsville natives.

He then began to give me a lesson about his home. It sits smack on the railroad tracks which splits the town in two and is also painted bright white and forest green like the other homes on the block. His home was rich in history; I think he mentioned it used to be a hotel back in the day, and he spoke of hammock hooks that hang on two of the three balconies overlooking the railroad tracks where you could put an extra guest or two if the train were carrying more people than you had rooms for.

Suddenly he looks at me and says “Hey, the train is coming. You wanna get some shots of that?”

Would I! We trotted up a set of concrete steps and onto the rail bed. The train would appear around the curve – the sky was blue and filled with clouds, there was an old depot and coal tower in the background. It was going to be a great shot. As I was snapping away, he continued with his history lesson and as the train chugged past, he waved to the conductor and called him by name. Living that close to the tracks, it doesn’t surprise me that he’d know it.

After that I took a few more shots and thanked the gentleman for being so kind to me. I joked that I had gotten my cover shot thanks to him, and told him to look for my paper in the blue boxes next Thursday. He walked me to my car like a true Southern gentleman, and I drove away in search of other nooks in Gordonsville to take photos of.

But I thought about him the rest of the day. I thought about how people here and there step into your life for a brief time and make the tiniest bit of difference.  I was really hoping the photos I took of his house on the tracks came out nicely. I wanted to give back to him for his kindness to me.

The actual cover – Like I said, his house is “smack” on the tracks.

They did turn out well. I laid out the cover with his beautifully unique home on it and was relieved and thankful when I got the green light from both my publisher and my editor.

Yesterday at work I answered the phone, which is something I rarely do. I could tell immediately it was my Gordonsville history teacher, and as he said that his home was on the cover of our newspaper I have to admit I got a little scared. Maybe he wasn’t happy that I’d put his home on the cover for the entire Central Virginia region to see.

But he was thrilled. He spoke of the “affable young lady” who took the pictures, and I was happy to tell him that he was speaking to her right now. We chatted for a few minutes on the phone where he expressed his appreciation – he loved the photos both on the cover and inside the publication, and asked if he could get copies of them. He said he had scanned pages from the paper and posted them on facebook – they had received many positive comments from fellow towns people. Even the Mayor of Gordonsville weighed in.

It was a great way for me to end my day – hell my week. This man, who takes great pride in his home and his hometown, took time out of his day to help me do my job, and it was fun to thank him in my own way.

I like the idea that for this entire week, he gets to see his home every time he passes by one of our blue boxes. I like that I was able to bring him the tiniest bit of recognition.

See? It pays to be nice to the Art Director.

I always try to observe good cell phone etiquette. To me, that means taking your call in a place that offers some form of privacy. Not so much because of that nature of my conversations – I’m no secret agent divulging matters of national security. Usually I’m telling my kids how long you microwave popcorn for. It’s just that I don’t want to bother others with my conversation.

It amazes me how many folks don’t follow this rule of etiquette. A few years ago I was shopping in the Dollar Store for Christmas stocking stuffers. I was really looking forward to browsing the aisles trying to find cute little things for my girls (this was when our Dollar Store actually sold some good stuff). But one aisle over there was a woman, on the phone with her realtor, negotiating the purchase of her new home. Aisle after Aisle I had to hear her babble about the home inspection and the mortgage rate and the counter offer, blah blah blah blah blah.

I tried to ditch her by moving to another section of the store, but our paths kept crossing. Before long I was sucked back into her real estate vortex. It gave me a headache. Why in the world would you not find a quiet corner to have this long winded conversation or just go outside? Because those cell phone people are arrogant turds filled with so much self-importance that they think everyone is interested in their lives! Who needs to shop quietly with my own thoughts when I can listen to rich bitch negotiate?

A few weeks back I was sitting in the waiting room of my hair salon, when a woman walked in while on her cell phone. She conducted her sign in with the receptionist with the phone to her ear, then sat in the chair next to me and continued her “power meeting.” Good God, it was annoying.

First off, wouldn’t you try to end your conversation before you entered the salon? Isn’t the salon supposed to be a relaxing, some what pampered type of environment? I would think one would pause at the front door and say, “I’m sorry, but I’ll have to get back to you – I’m late for my hair appointment.”

Not if your one of those cell phone people! They are so self-centered that they feel a very small and crowded waiting room is the perfect place to talk about firing that totally ineffectual employee!

And that’s what this broad did. She sat there for more than 10 minutes in the chair right next to me discussing “the office manager.” How she was not living up to her resume and how she must have lied about her skill sets and how much leadership she required, and that the company needs a take charge self-starter blah blah blah blah blah.

She didn’t stop until she was called to go back for her shampoo – even that one hasn’t figured out a way to stay on the line with her head under water. But by then I was privy to the fact that somewhere in Charlottesville, a girl was hours away from losing her job and it bummed me out. One of those cell phone people managed to spoil my haircut.

As for me, I take all my calls outside or end them as quietly or as quickly as possible when in a public place. My husband can attest to this fact – I get super annoyed when he calls me while I’m shopping. He’s learned that if the realization that we need toilet paper comes while I am at the store, he’s better off texting me than calling me or he’ll be dealing with a very snappish Slovie.

Even at the office, I’ll walk outside the building if I feel I need to have more than a 72 second conversation. Although when I’m outside my office there are tons of people, they are en route to one place or another. They are not a captive audience forced to listen to my conversation about my daughter’s athlete’s foot or the cat’s fleas.

I’d be embarrassed to have a conversation where I knew others – total strangers –  could hear it. That’s what those cell phone people lack. They are such superstars in their own little bubble of a world that they lack humility.

If you are one of those cell phone people, my advice is to take it outside. We realize you are fabulous and fun. We know you have it all and everyone adores you. But you know what? Nobody wants to hear you.