Monday, March 17, 2008
  man, i am going to be one grumpy/outspoken old lady

see, when i moved to florida, i was a real sweet girl. so they say.

fast-forward seven years. i'm now hardened and mean. well, not really. but my tolerance for bullshit is seriously, seriously lower than it used to be.

and i know where it started, and where it ended: my old office. the one where i first got a job when i moved here.

how do i know i had a tolerance for bullshit when i started there?

well, they all hated me there, from day one, for absolutely no reason... i was fresh off the bus (well, fresh outta the volkswagon fox) from wisconsin. and i took it personally, blamed it on myself. which is really funny, because i think nowadays if i got some cold-ass attitude from the entire office clique (save for one sweet girl named stephanie)... seriously, the room got quiet when i walked in, and they would just look at me... if the same thing happened now, i'd probably have a very different outlook on the whole thing. back then, it took me years to realize that the one girl probably was harboring a great deal of self-loathing due to a hugely disproportionate ass-to-rest-of-body ratio and therefore was taking it out on the world around her. (no, seriously. the thing was like its own entity. we were all mesmerized as it walked around the office, seemingly by itself. the ass got water and caramel frappuccinos. the ass made copies. seriously, whoa.) they all came around to me eventually, except for the butt girl, which is probably because i have no ass, and therefore she cannot relate to me at all... so hey, i guess it wasn't me.

now, how do i know that i changed while i was working there? they told me as much. i think of this fairly often since i now live basically two houses away from my old boss's old house, where i used to drop off files on a regular basis. i'd give her files, she'd give me tofutti cuties, mmm.

i had to train this chick. she was old and didn't catch on very quickly. that part was okay. she kept messing up. that part was okay too. it affected my job. that part wasn't so okay, but i was being patient. i made her little cheat-sheets. "before you do THIS, check the sheet to make sure you're following the steps i laid out for you, okay?" yet, i'd call other offices to do my job and find out she had done things that had messed things up for me, sometimes badly. this is a legal job, so it's not like this was all okay stuff to mess up. and one day, after i had told her and told her how to do things, she messed something of mine up again, and i happened to be in the throes of really bad pms (i plead the P), and went over to her desk after i got off the phone.

"did you use the sheet when you called them?"

at this point, i went kind of crazy, because she hadn't followed the steps. or she wouldn't have screwed up. i yelled something to that effect. yelled in a way that probably only my mother and ex-boyfriend have ever heard me yell.

so, um, yeah, my boss had a talk with me. i apologized, and i apologized to the lady, who they fired very soon after for messing up so many times (IF THAT TELLS YOU ANYTHING). but during our talk, my boss said: "you're not the same sweet girl you were when you came here." me and my buds at work had a good laugh at that because, you know... okay, i did go a little postal on that lady, granted. but aside from that, i was still myself, only without the welcome mat on top.

but now, a few years later, i'm finding it necessary to give strangers a piece of mind more and more often. you know, the kind of thing that a few years back i used to THINK about saying, i now am SAYING. like to the lady who was basically abusing her kid in the marshalls. i really wanted to steal that little girl, but seeing how that's a felony and all.. i told her to get help, because her daughter was scared of her. it was true, and so sad.

or like the guy who ran over my foot at the airport at grand cayman with his carry-on luggage because he was running to be first in the immigration line, realized it, and still did not stop to see if i was okay or apologize. later, when we were in line, i hobbled over to him in my flip-flops and told him how rude he was, and he continued to be rude about it, but at least i don't have to sit and think, "man, i should've said something." because i did. :)

or, this is really quite funny, because it happened in CHURCH... a couple of weeks ago.

this lady and who i presume to be her mom were sitting in front of us, basically heckling the priest the whole time.

now, this priest replaced a very well-loved guy named father pat who passed away last year. i know he has struggled with being the replacement to someone that everyone loved so much... he's made references to it.

he brings the kids up during the sunday service to tell the stories and sing with them and stuff like that. so while he was telling them a story, this lady in front of me was looking at her mom and making, "do you believe this crap?" faces the whole time. then they sang a song. the father started out singing a verse while playing the guitar, then the kids joined in. the ENTIRE TIME, this lady was making sour faces at her mom and rolling her eyes. AT A PRIEST.

i mean, i'm not a member of this church, or really even of this religion, but i recognize that this man has dedicated his entire life to his faith. whether or not you like his sense of humor or his choice of song is really besides the point... he's teaching a religious lesson, and you're at church to learn it. and, for god's sake, he has the KIDS UP THERE SINGING. KIDS! and YOU ARE MAKING FACES AT IT. AND YOU'RE PISSING ME OFF BY DOING IT. i want to be watching the kids, not be annoyed that the lady in front of me who is blocking my view of them is making faces at the song that they learned for the service this week.

so when the clapping ended at the end of the song (these two old bitties hardly clapped), i said just loud enough for her to hear, "that's a really christian attitude to have." chris elbowed me. i wondered if she heard it...

a little later in the service, the time came for you to greet your neighbor, when you shake hands and say, "peace be with you" to everyone around you. she refused to turn around. (i guess she heard me.)

later on i got a good look at her face, and it seems that she has one of those permanent scowls etched on her face... after a lifetime of being a miserable hag, it's imprinted on her face, i guess. honestly, who comes to church to be negative? go to a different church if you hate this guy that much, because no one wants to see this kinda stuff at a church service, even the girl who's just here to hold her boyfriend's hand...
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I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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