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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Would You Like Some W(h)ine with Your LJ?

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet




"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Would You Like Some W(h)ine with Your LJ?

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disgruntled
Lately, I've begun to wonder if the people around me are really as big of asshats as they seem or if I am just thin-skinned and hypersensitive. It just seems like the people around me are so unbelievably rude, and I am no longer able to tolerate it. Oh, I used to be good at tolerating rudeness: I "worked in food" for six years. Hungry people are crabby people; you get used to it or you get out. Lately, though ...

Take today. I had to file a detainer, so I called the detention center to confirm and, lo, their number had changed! So I took down the new Records number and new fax number, sent off my detainer, and then emailed the supervisor of the unit that puts our warrants into the computer to let her know that she could remove this one; that it had been served via detainer. Since I know that she also calls detention centers a lot to verify incarceration and file detainers, I thought I'd save her the trouble of having to figure out the new numbers, as I'd done, and sent them with my email.

She writes back: "We had their new numbers on file for some time now."

Wouldn't it have been enough to simply type back, "Thanks!" or even to say nothing at all? Why the effort to make me feel stupid just for trying to be nice and save her a little work? (And furthermore, why didn't she inform me of the change when it occurred, since it apparently has been "some time now" since they changed the numbers?)

Yes, I know how petty and stupid this is, which is why I wonder if it's me and not the world. In truth, I have been very crabby lately. It comes with the time of the year: I'm stressed because of the holidays, I'm exhausted, and I'm cold pretty much every moment that I'm awake. Right now, I'm dealing with a terrible glare from the setting sun on my monitor, but I won't get up to close the blinds because this is the first time that I've felt warm for more than a few minutes in ... well, weeks, probably. Ever since "winter" started (and yes, I know full well that winter doesn't actually start for a week yet, which is even more depressing). So I'll lean at an awkward angle whenever the cursor gets to the far right half of the monitor and deal.

Anyway. These little things just annoy me more and more the older that I get. And I'm not old! I'm 26! That's far too early to be jaded by humanity. Believe it or not, I used to actually like people. I chose to change from studying biology to psychology because I found the people that I worked with--customers and coworkers--so fascinating, back in my day at The Piece. If I hadn't graduated in the worst year for unemployment (and, therefore, by association, grad school admissions) and ended up stuck here, then I probably would be getting ready to graduate into a life of listening to and treating people all day. Now I think: Ick. Maybe it wasn't wholly bad that Bush fucked up the economy and cut funding for higher education, eh? (And there you have the misanthropic optimist! Weird, eh?)

These days, I think that I would be perfectly happy as a hermit, save my husband and my Goldens and maybe (occasionally) a friend or family member who also counts as a friend.

Well, that's all the time I have to whine today. It's almost time to go home, and I have to shut down all of the equipment in my office and unplug it because they're messing with the electricity tomorrow and are afraid of power surges. Crawling on the floor under my panel furniture: joy. Anyway, I suppose that this post officially marks the start of winter for me, in the emotional sense, soon to be followed by depression, profound lack of inspiration, and regret that the least-busy time of the year for me, when I could be über-productive, is about to be squandered on moping and self-pity.

I love winter.
  • *makes a warm mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream* Here you go honey.

    Sometimes people don't think further than their own desk and not everyone is used to, well think ahead. What can you do? I do think however that you need to get rid of that sunglare: it just isn't good. Is there a way to turn them monitor at let's say 90 degrees so that the sun still can warm your hands and you don't have to strain your eyes? I am very much a winter person, but I think nearly everyone has a January/February dip. I think I am a lucky mom to have a birthday to live towards end of January...

    These days, I think that I would be perfectly happy as a hermit, save my husband and my Goldens and maybe (occasionally) a friend or family member who also counts as a friend.

    There will be more pay back this winter Dawn, just think that now - instead of living in that appartment building with disturbances coming from every where, you can walk into nature any moment you feel like it, taking the pups and Bobby with you. Celegorm is agreeing here This year will be different, things will balance out.

    Oh and *huggles*
    • Thanks, Rhapsy, for your kind words (and so sorry that it took so long to reply. :( ) Short of closing the blinds, I'm stuck with sun glare for about 20 minutes each day; my computer is situated on the juncture of two desks. Actually, here is a picture from my old office to show what I mean:

      Photobucket

      But most of the time, during that time of day, I am reading and not working on the computer, so it is not so bad. :)

      Also, I am pretty much set in my mind that I would like to leave my job soon, so it may be a moot point anyway.

      *hugs back*
      • Hmmmm *hugs* So that is the well famed desk huh?

        It sounds like you made a big decision, so perhaps 2008 will bring many exciting things for you. Are you feeling better today?
        • Yes, much better; today is the first day I have gotten by entirely without painkillers and NyQuil to sleep. :) Thank you so much for asking. *hugs*

          And yep, that is the famed spot where AMC and a host of other stories were written, where my love for The Silmarillion was cultivated, and where I "spoke" to many of you for the first time. Aww ... now I'm getting all sentimental ... ;)
  • I bet it's part you and part the rest of the world. You strike me as an incredibly idealist sort of person who holds the world to admirably high standards. As you grow up and become more sure of yourself and your values, your expectations for other people grow stricter. You're bound to notice more rudeness and be more disappointed at what you see. Kind of poetic in a way -- your best qualities are what cause you the most frustration in your daily life.

    I think that part of it has to do with being 26, too. It doesn't matter that you're married and a two-Golden mommy; people keep seeing you as still a junior member of society. You've got the brains and enough wisdom to see people's pettiness for what it is, but you don't yet have the authority or the rest of the wisdom to do anything about it. One of the nicest things about coming into your prime is that there will come a moment when you realize that you have the personal gravitas to say, "I can't be having with this sort of thing," and you'll be able to put that into effect.

    For me, a lot of it came with my M.A. Suddenly, I had a master's degree! I was a Master, and I had the (slightly) grand(er) title of "Ph.D. student." I was advanced enough in the world that most people stopped seeing me as some sort of dilettante and my words began to carry more weight. Of course, my face, for some bizarre reason, still looks about 25, so I should amend that to say that my words carry weight everywhere except the liquor store, where they still card me.
    • Thank you for your comment here--and my apologies for taking so long to reply. :) I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head in a lot of regards, as often you do.

      I am an idealist. (Duh, right? ;) And rudeness irks the hell out of me because, for the same amount of effort as it takes to behave rudely, a person could behave considerately and yet, maybe, have a positive effect on the world instead of the opposite. So people like the upstair's supervisor drive me batty for the misery that their mere existence seems to bring.

      I'm also "blessed" to look young for my age, and I am already the youngest person at the new office. When I was introduced around, I got comments like, "Oh, we hire interns now?" and "She looks like she's still in high school!" which I know people didn't mean nastily--both people to make these comments have been two of the nicer coworkers at this new place--but I'm sure reflects the attitude that a lot of people have: a young female employee who looks like she's still in high school must be 1) really dumb and 2) not to be taken seriously.

      Oh, and some people still insist on referring to me as "Mr. F____'s secretary," despite the fact that 1) we have an office secretary already, 2) Johnny the Boss has corrected people on this numerous times and publicly introduced me as "Dawn the research analyst" on several occasions to put a stop to it, and 3) my duties in no way lend the impression that I am a secretary. Yet I suppose young, blond, female, what else could I be, right?
      • I have a RL friend who also looks incredibly young for her age -- when this friend got married, she and her wife both wore matching gowns, which would have been lovely except that they both looked like they were twelve years old. You look at the picture, and you don't see two lovely brides, you see what looks like two flower girls. This does not help my friend in her quest to become either a mother or a clinical psychologist.

        Yet I suppose young, blond, female, what else could I be, right?

        I wonder if it's that no one really understands what a "research analyst" does, and their minds edit it to "secretary?"

        a young female employee who looks like she's still in high school must be 1) really dumb and 2) not to be taken seriously.

        And that is why I did not hesitate to throw my weight around on my job at The TV House from Day One. If you're 25, look 21, and have a weird title like "librarian," you just gotta step up and let those "producers" and "associate producers" know that the technical definition of "library" is "fiefdom," and that the "librarian" is "liege lady of the realm," one who is not afraid to throw around "scare quotes."

        Gotta go. Little Sister Pony is begging for attention. (She's 26, acts 5.)


        • This does not help my friend in her quest to become either a mother or a clinical psychologist.

          That's one of the crappy things about being female, I think. Even if you're a male with a baby face, you can grow a beard and people understand, "Oh, okay, he's at least hit puberty." Short getting gray highlights, I don't see a similar solution for a woman.

          My cousin (a year older than me) once went to her daughter's elementary school to pick up an order from a fundraiser. The woman who was handing out orders gave my cousin a simpering smile and said, "Sorry, honey, but your mom needs to come and get your sister's order," and she had a helluva time convincing them that she was "mom!"

          I wonder if it's that no one really understands what a "research analyst" does, and their minds edit it to "secretary?"

          In an era where every "menial" job title gets edited to some kind of engineer, I could understand this if I didn't work for the State. But State jobs (in Maryland anyway) only come with a limited number of titles that are then numerically defined as to how far one has progressed in that particular title, and each title (and numerical designation) has pre-determined job duties and requirements. So secretaries are "Office Secretary X" and it's a matter of office etiquette that one is very careful to call a person by that proper, official title because it often designates who answers to whom. So it's not like a normal office where a boss wants to make a secretary's job look nicer so calls it a "research analyst," but the person is still responsible for answering the phones, making copies, and keeping the coffeepot filled.

          A Research Analyst for the State of Maryland does statistical analyses and interprets research and requires a bachelor's degree with at least nine credits in stats and research methodology. This is true of every Research Analyst in the State of Maryland, and every Research Analyst makes the same amount of money too. But having such a rigid system (though a pain in the ass when debating the finer points of whether So-and-So is an Office Secretary 2 or 3) does mean that there's really no way for a person to say, "Oh, 'research analyst' must be a 2007 way of saying 'secretary.'"

          And that is why I did not hesitate to throw my weight around on my job at The TV House from Day One.

          Yeah, being buddies with the now Assistant Executive Director has certainly kept me from being abused to a great deal. Everyone had in their minds when I started at the new office that I would fill in for the Office Secretary when she was out, and that notion was corrected right away without me having to say a word. I am careful in setting boundaries. I do not mind helping people; I do mind doing for people. (I had to be careful to remember the "for" in that last part there! :^P) So if someone comes in and needs copies and the OS isn't there ... sure, I'm happy to show them how to use the copier. No, I am not going to do it for them. It's not my job, and I'm not going to do menial work for people with the same educational background as me just because I'm young and female. Somehow I doubt that if Bobby was sitting at my desk (and he's the same age as me) that they would expect that of him.

          I've been abused plenty in jobs in the past. In fact, part of the reason that my job now is becoming so overwhelming is that I am too helpful to the Warrant Officers ... but it's usually a matter of doing something for them or expecting that it won't get done at all. If I'm suffering from a 100% increase in the warrants we receive from when I started there four years ago, and all I do is the background research, then I know they're overwhelmed doing the full investigations and driving all over Maryland to check addresses.
          • Even back when I was a wee receptionist, I threw weight around. One of the editors, years after the fact, remembered his first encounter with me. He'd come in for his job interview, and had to fill out some form and leave it with me. He kind of filled it out half-assed and tried to wander away. I would have none of that, and reached out and grabbed his wrist to make him come back and finish the form. He was impressed, and said that he'd never met a receptionist with quite so much of a spine before.

            This is probably why I was receptionist for only six months before being transferred to the library, where I could go about building my queendom in peace and quiet.
            • That's awesome. :^D That was one of the things I loved about being a kitchen manager: It was "Dawn's Kitchen," and I got to have things done how I liked them done. I used to leave "love notes" for the other cooks about what needed to be done. Everyone's favorite was the time that I left them a reminder that knives needed to be cleaned and sanitized every night so that when I opened the kitchen the next morning, I could see my smiling face in them. Sometimes, I think that but for the fact that I was friends outside of work with many of the other cooks, they all would have hated me.

              And I got to be evol to the servers. That, of course, meant ensuring that the servers did their jobs in such a way that they didn't make the kitchen staff's job any harder, which was immensely satisfying after years of putting up with their BS, first in making desserts, then as a cook.
  • *hugs*

    Part of it may be sensitivity, but don't I know this too well! You actually make the effort of thinking about others and informing people about a change and instead of a "thank you" you get a "well duh, that's so yesterday's news" (or, on a smaller scale, which happened to a friend on lj just a few days back, find something amusing and post it in your journal only to get a lot of replies along the lines of "duh, I've known that for ages"). There's that vague urge to explode and go "Well then why didn't you tell us yesterday?!"

    Of course, I'm kind of in the "well, that's yesterday's news" department when I tried to tell people, got ignored, and half a year later it's all the rage. But unless your supervisor actually sent an e-mail around and now feels frustrated that she got ignored and you sent her the news back, I do agree that her reply was rather rude and, on the whole, unnecessary. There isn't much to do about it other than swallow it and move on, but it's not the kind of thing one needs in all the stress of the pre-Christmas weeks.
    I think it was very thoughtful to let her know, at any rate. >_>

    Can you have your office furniture rearranged so you have the sunglare in your back rather than in your face? In Germany that's actually part of work law, the company has to make people's office space as (reasonably) comfortable as possible...

    Meteorologically, Winter has started two weeks ago, so you don't have to go with the 12/21 thing. Besides, the winter solstice is traditionally called "Midwinter", not "Startwinter", isn't it? ;)

    I've heard season-appropriate food, such as pumpkin and nuts and lamb's lettuce and white mushrooms, is supposed to help the body to compensate the lack of light and warmth of the winter months. I've been trying that at home but of course here I eat what the family eats (octopus! seaweed! vinegared rice!), so I can't really tell you whether it works...

    At any rate, here's wishing you all the best and as much sunlight as possible for the long, dark teatime of the soul. *hugs again*
    • Thanks, Oloriel. No, she didn't send an email about the changes in numbers ... at least not to me. Which I find bothersome in itself: We are separate units, but we work very closely with each other, and we do a lot of the same things, like file warrants as detainers. It's no wonder that government's so damned inefficient when a ten-second email could save multiple people ten minutes of work a piece trying to find the new numbers.

      I can't move my furniture, unfortunately. I posted a picture of my office setup from the old office in Rhapsy's comment above yours: just imagine the same furniture in a bigger room with a window at my back. :) It's panel furniture so it's all one piece, basically to make a cubicle in a common office. I can close the blinds, though, if I need to work when the sunglare is bad, but usually, I'm reading during that time and not working on the computer, so it's rarely an issue.

      Meteorologically, Winter has started two weeks ago, so you don't have to go with the 12/21 thing. Besides, the winter solstice is traditionally called "Midwinter", not "Startwinter", isn't it? ;)

      On my State-issued calendar, the 21st has the bold Winter Begins, so to me, that is the start of winter. ;) Though likewise, winter in Maryland shifts about two to three weeks ahead in both directions: winter weather starts at the beginning of December, usually, and it can start to warm up in the beginning of March. Now places like Minnesota where it can be "winter" for five months of the year ... I could not live there, plain and simple. Three months nearly kills me every year, and if I'm to move anywhere, it will be nearer to the Equator. ;)

      I'll also try your suggestions about the foods. Thank you!

      *hugs*
  • Yay for stupid people!

    I like Winter, actually. Much better than Summer. I prefer cold to hot & humid. :p
    • Ai, not me. I could live in summer (even Maryland summers) the whole year 'round.

      Besides the cold being physically straining for me, I tend to get depressed during the winter, or at least dysthymic. The only good thing is that there are more holidays, read: days off of work! ;)
  • Psh, I think winter starting on a certain day is silly. I'm pretty sure winter began back in October when it first snowed.

    For some reason, the Holidays don't really stress me out. Probably because I have finals to stress me out, so once I'm finished with those, holidays just seem like a piece of cake.

    Maybe you should put on more clothes to keep warm? It generally works for me...(plus, I like that my long underwear makes it feel like I am wearing pajamas all day, when I am actually wearing jeans). Or try those little hand warmer things...

    Anyways, Rhapsody is right - you're in a new place, and won't have to deal with icy stairways or the neighbor's yappy dog!

    *hugs*
    • Are you implying that I run around scantily clad in the winter? ;) Most of my problem is my hands and feet: the former aren't covered indoors (though I've considered getting a pair of fingerless gloves to further bolster me in my image as the freak of my office) and I can't wear most shoes all day on my left foot on account of this enlarged bone that hurts terribly if forced to endure footwear all day. So I usually sit on that foot, to keep it warm and to hide that my shoe is off! :^P

      When I was in uni, I was stressed because of the holidays only because I worked in a restaurant in a mall during the holidays. Which was much worse than the holiday stress I have now, which is all voluntary.

      And you know, I think I am turning you into a pie-eyed optimist ... ;)
      • Are you implying that I run around scantily clad in the winter? ;)

        Well, do you? :P I'll ask Finrod.

        My hands and feet get cold too. I usually shove my hands in my lap, since my laptop is nice and warm! (It probably looks rather inappropriate, but hey, it works!) You could always bring some warm, fuzzy socks to work to put on when your shoes are off.

        Which was much worse than the holiday stress I have now, which is all voluntary.

        Simply hearing the muzak would do that. Twenty-two repetitions of "Frosty the Snowman" would stress anyone out!

        And you know, I think I am turning you into a pie-eyed optimist ... ;)

        You? No way...:P
        • I usually shove my hands in my lap, since my laptop is nice and warm! (It probably looks rather inappropriate, but hey, it works!)

          *snicker* I always hug myself with my fingers under my arms but not actually in my armpits because that would look gross ... but then it looks like I'm grabbing my own boobs. Oh well. :^P

          Simply hearing the muzak would do that. Twenty-two repetitions of "Frosty the Snowman" would stress anyone out!

          Ha! You know, that's funny because I remember one of the things that I used to like least about working the mall at Christmastime is that they would blare the Christmas music and always overplay that Barbra Streisand version of "Jingle Bells" where it sounds like she's taking amphetamines with a Jolt Cola chaser! That song makes me want to twitch; add grumpy customers ...

          Finrod says that, in the summer, yes. In the winter? Disappointingly, no.
          • I always hug myself with my fingers under my arms but not actually in my armpits because that would look gross ... but then it looks like I'm grabbing my own boobs.

            Hehehe. Well, if guys are allowed to adjust themselves in public...

            That song makes me want to twitch; add grumpy customers ...

            Ick. Last year I heard Frosty at least twice - and I know we weren't in the store that long...

            Finrod says that, in the summer, yes. In the winter? Disappointingly, no.

            Too bad for Finrod. Maybe he can ask someone to strip for his Christmas present. ;P
  • Aren't you glad you can rant?

    (((HUGS)))

    You strike me as an über-productive person year round, so maybe it's okay to just take a break for awhile, ready to be rejuvenated when spring rolls around again?

    As for the hermit bit...humanity is hard to love. You meet people who just totally destroy your faith in the human race. And sure, sometimes you can be like, 'oh, they're just hungry/cranky/in a hurry/not thinking/mourning a recent death/whatever'...but even with excuses, you can only go so far.

    I know I really tick people off by not showing remorse for things I've done that they didn't like. I just say "I know" when confronted. It's a bad habit, but your rant just reminded me of why that's so frustrating!


    ...so, I guess now's a really bad time to try to sell you on a gathering of Tolkien fans sometime this spring? ;)
    • You don't even have to sell me. Tell me a date and a place, and I will be there. ;)

      You strike me as an über-productive person year round, so maybe it's okay to just take a break for awhile, ready to be rejuvenated when spring rolls around again?

      It would. ;) Now will I ...? Probably not. The good thing, though, is that I usually do work on things that I want to work on because, lacking motivation for anything else, that's pretty much the only thing left to do.

      I know I really tick people off by not showing remorse for things I've done that they didn't like. I just say "I know" when confronted.

      I had a terrible time learning to apologize for things because, in my mind, it's not my fault! From my PoV, even if I know that I didn't act perfectly, then there was still something of a reason for that. I've been working on that in recent years and so hopefully appear less stubborn than I once did. :) I was one of those people who could argue about something stupid for hours.

      On excuses for people ... I have tried with the woman I rant about in this post because I do try to understand why people behave the ways that they do. I mean, I know that her job isn't fun (because neither is mine) and is dull and frustrating ... but at the same time, much as I hate my job lately, I do try to be pleasant to the people I have to deal with because it's not their fault that the economy was in the tank when I graduated and grad-school funding got cut that year, and I've been too lazy (and in love with my writing time) to look for something since. Of course, she's much older than me; I look at my crappy job and say, "I'm just 26, and there's lots of time to find what I really want to do," but I suppose she feels stuck. Still, it's not an excuse to make everyone else miserable, imo.

      But there used to be customers at The Piece who would come in again and again and never be happy about anything. Yet they'd still come back; they'd start off their visit with, "The last five times I was here, it was terrible ..." and I'd always wonder, why did they come back? I've given up on restaurants after two terrible experiences. I think some people just like being unhappy, for whatever reason, and making everyone else around them unhappy too.
      • People are just crazy...but I should learn how to apologize. It would make my life easier, and my acquaintances' lives more pleasant ;).

        The moot is being planned here

        As of now, we have not picked a date or a place, so I don't have much to tell you yet. But I imagine we'll get that figured out in the next few weeks, and then I'll pass that along to you!
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