Social Contract or Something I Can Blow Off

My coworker came in today eager to talk about her frustration with how expensive life is. She had to run her exemptions up again in order to get more back in her paycheck. I tried that last year. Note; don’t forget that you ran your exemptions up. The IRS always gets its money whether you can afford it or not.  Anyway, she’s bitching about ten thousand in credit card debt. I almost laughed in her face. Talk to me when it is twenty plus. My question is this; is listening to a friend bitch about her problems part of some social friendship contract? Am I allowed to tell her to go away and stop bothering me with things I can’t do anything about? She sometimes listens to me bitch so I guess there’s a reciprocal component to our friendship. I’m not as vocal (with the exception of this medium).  I don’t share a lot about my life with coworkers, even if I do consider them to be friends.  I do spend the majority of my waking life at work, though, so maybe I should be more open and forthcoming?!  Nah!  I’m just not comfortable with that.

So, does the friendship contract entitle the respective parties to use each other as a sounding board on which to vent the frustrations of daily life? That sort of negativity can have nasty repercussions on the listener. However, when I attempt to disengage from the gossip and the venting, I get comments like “you’re so quiet today, are you alright?” and “you seem like you’re upset about something?” or, my favorite, “what’s wrong?”.  It seems that I am expected, as a friend, to listen to all the negativity that my friends wish to send my way.

Bummer!

Oh Sweet Jesus, Please Make Them Shut Up

I came into work today with the intention of working on a project that I’ve been trying to get done for some time. Once I got here, I was immediately reminded of why it’s been taking so long. I work with some of the noisiest people in the world. My opinion, of course, but I think anyone would agree. We are one of the few departments who still have actual offices yet the people over in the IT department with their skimpy little cubicles have more peace and quiet than I do.  As I type this, I am simultaneously grinding my teeth and biting my tongue to keep from screaming out the words; SHUT UP. It all started this morning when one coworker decided to pop in to tell me about her son’s expensive Christmas list. The child does have expensive taste but I learned long ago not to offer my opinion on my coworker’s buying habits at Christmas. I do not have children, therefore I cannot know. Then the environmental service person (the woman who cleans our office) launches into a diatribe against her boss. She had good points. We work in an old, old office. There is no way to adequately clean the toilets. Her boss should understand that and move on. I agree one hundred percent.  Then it was another coworker who had to blast into the office with her usual mind-numbing rattling off of everything she has to do for her daughter’s wedding. Thankfully a friend stopped by to see her and she went behind closed doors to elaborate the details of said daughter’s wedding. Then a former coworker dropped by. She’s going through a divorce and had to describe and be counseled right outside my office. I do feel bad for her because she is a nice person but I’m not that close to her and I feel a bit uncomfortable with her describing some of the details RIGHT OUTSIDE MY OFFICE. I did get up and close the door at that point. Most people would take that as an invitation to move away from my door but not these three. They continued to talk at my door. After about an hour they went away but that only brought the environmental service lady back. She’s holding forth on a few other opinions now. Combine this with the wedding woman walking back and forth to the kitchen to check on the coffee (that she doesn’t know how to make). The environmental services lady helped her with the coffee, thank goodness. She knows I don’t drink it and don’t make it but she keeps looking at me like I might be holding out some savant coffee skill. Now the other coworker is back complaining about her back. She’ll be in soon to show me pictures of some obscure rat she’s found online. They’re cute and I enjoy looking at them but seriously, I was going to get work done today.

It’s lunch time. They’re gathering around the conference table. I guess I may as well give it up. I’m not going to get any work done today. I should just go out there and join in the conversation. It sure would be nice to duct tape their flappin’ lips closed before I sat down with my lunch. Would duct tape be considered assault or doing the world a favor?

Oh dear god, the wedding woman is back. Is there no end to this caterwauling? I may be exaggerating about the caterwauling but my brain is so tired it can’t tell anymore.

Day Four; No Caffeine

The headache is diminishing, thank goodness! I have to say that life without caffeine (and aspartame) sucks. I miss my diet sodas. Now that it’s just water, I don’t want to eat. Which is great for my waistline. Maybe I’ll get it back this way. 

Day two: no caffeine

It hurts!

Bond, James Bond

So I was watching “Skyfall”, which is the first of the Daniel Craig James Bond movies that I’ve seen, trying to decide which of the James Bonds I liked better. Daniel Craig is certainly easy on the eye. So was Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Dalton and Sean Connery. I never really cared for Roger Moore. Not that he wasn’t a good actor. I just thought his Bond seemed, well, prissy. Pierce Brosnan’s Bond came awfully close to prissy but redeemed himself with some nice action sequences. Craig came the closest to Connery, I think. In fact, he may have out Connery’d Connery, although I’m not sure that’s possible. Is it anti-feminist to say that I was troubled by a female “M”? Whether it is or not, I was. She just didn’t seem to like Bond at all. Was it because of the womanizing? He’s the best assassin she has and always seems to get the job done albeit with a lot of accompanying property damage. So I’m not sure what the deal is. I think I could overlook the womanizing and the property damage as long as he got the job done. I found the Craig movie to be more serious. Brosnan’s movies always had that bit of comedy relief that seemed a bit out of place for a spy movie. Moore’s movies always just seemed silly. 

I’ve always wondered how James Bond would stack up against Jennifer Garner’s Alias character or Peta Wilson’s Nikita. It would be fun to see some woman kick his ass and walk away from that legendary Bond charm. Ha ha. I wouldn’t be able to. Either kick his ass or walk away.  I identify strongly with the Miss Moneypenny character. Fascinated with the man but knowing deep down inside that I could never hope to hold on to  someone like that. And in spite of it all, wishing I had the courage to try. Yeah, I’m not exactly sure what the plot of “Skyfall” was. Spent too much time thinking about all these other things. Maybe that’s way the James Bond movies appeal to men more than women. Women are more likely to want to know why he is the way he it. What about his childhood? What does he do on his days off? Does he eat pizza, drink beer and watch the game?  He’s so good at figuring out how to kill people and use weapons and escape places but I wonder if he’d know how to fix a dripping faucet. 

So who is your favorite Bond?

Is being single still an indictment in 2013?

I just read an interesting post on “Confederacy of Spinsters”. (Sorry, still learning how to use this site and haven’t figured out how to link back to other posts). I believe the gist of the post was that a single woman admitting to wanting marriage is scorned and pitied by society. I don’t know why I was surprised by this. I believe most people look at the persistently single woman as some sort of oddity. If she doesn’t fit into the hole society has allocated for her, it doesn’t know what to do with her. I’ve had people ask me some bizarre and oddly personal questions as they struggle to figure out what I’m about. Did I not want to get married? Could I not find a man? Am I a lesbian? Was I abused as a child? Did I have a bad experience in the past? I don’t consider this to be anyone’s business but it’s no secret. I never wanted to be married. I’ve never met anyone who made me consider otherwise. My childhood was happy. My parents provided a solid example of married life (60 years together this year). I’m a heterosexual and proud of it.

I’m concerned, though, that apparently it’s still considered an unfortunate state to be single. I’m an educated professional. I have a good job, a nice house, and nice things. I do have quite a few cats, so perhaps that part of the stereotype is true. However, I also have a huge dog that may or may not be part wolf. I have a fascination with firearms (recent development) and an insatiable love of learning. I don’t feel like I’ve “missed my chance” or that I’m “on the shelf”. I’m an individual worthy of being known despite my lack of a man. I would have thought, by this time, it would be considered a normal variation for a woman to choose to be on her own. Most of my friends are married. They appear to be happy, although I sometimes wonder by the way they talk to and about their spouses (but that’s a post for another time). I enjoy hearing about their adventures or misadventures with hubbies and kids. Sometimes I do envy them the position or respect that they are given because of their marriages. I have asked myself a hundred times if I wouldn’t have been better off if I’d taken that path. Each time, I remind myself that I’d probably be divorced (or in prison). Some people should not be married or have the responsibility of children and they should be applauded for making appropriate life choices. I believe that I should command societal respect and position because I am a functioning society member who contributes to the benefit of the whole.

A few years ago, I had a bout of severe clinical depression. As a healthcare professional, I believe depression to be an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. I believe that depression can be exacerbated by situational events but if brain chemistry is in balance, life events can be handled without sliding into a pit of despair. When I sought professional help from my colleagues in the medical community, the first question I was asked was if I thought I was depressed because I wasn’t married and was childless. To me, this illustrates the view that most people continue to hold. Single is sad. Thankfully, I was able to convince my colleague that being single and childless was not the reason for my despair. I received a prescription and have since rebounded from that illness. I can’t imagine what my “treatment” would have been if I had thought the depression had been caused by my life choices. One husband daily x lifetime with unlimited refills? 

Perhaps society hasn’t progressed as far as I would like to think. Maybe it will take another twenty years before a single woman can be a respected and valued member of society. What are your thoughts? 

There is no Erin

There is no Erin

Gotta love those demon kitties

Image

You know, I kinda like my job!

Happy Friday everyone! It’s been a fun week. I’ve been teaching ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) for the last few days and I always have a blast with that. It’s so satisfying to watch people, who’ve been dreading the class, get to the test or the Mega Code and realize that they do know the information and that it’s not as scary or  hard as they thought it would be. I work with some really bright people so I can’t take credit for them passing the course, but I’d like to think that maybe I help make it a little easier or a little less intimidating. It makes my day when someone tells me that she was really nervous but ended up having a great experience because I made it fun. That’s cool. I can see why all you teachers out there continue to do all that you do despite the obstacles.

I wasn’t sure this job and I would fit. There wasn’t the degree of busyness that I like to surround myself with and that makes me very nervous in a healthcare setting. These days, slackers get laid off, no mistake. However, since the holidays ended, my department has been amping up and the next few months promise to be filled with classes and seminars and opportunities to take our educational services out to the community. I’m glad I didn’t panic and run back to the familiar. I think this position will be much more satisfying.

Currently, I’m working on a Medical Terminology class for the laypeople in the organization. Like many clinicians, I pepper my speech with clinical terms. Unless I’m talking to clinical people, I get a lot of blank looks. There are so many folks who haven’t come to health care from a clinical school. So I’m hoping to share some of our secret language with my teammates. In the process I’m learning a few new things, myself. For instance, did you know a form of the salmonella virus is responsible for Typhoid fever? How about this, the Duodenum (which is the first part of the small intestine) literally means 12 finger breadths, which describes it’s approximate length. Huh! I didn’t know that! I love the fact that I have been in this business for over 20 years and I can still learn new stuff. It’s just fricking awesome.

Of slackness and survival and camping supplies

I have been so slack. Work intruded and I didn’t make the time to write. Instead I watched TV. That’s just pitiful. But I did learn how to use an analog watch to fashion a compass. How you ask? The truth is, I am addicted to survival shows. I started watching this one called “Dual Survival”. Love it!! One guy is a desert “hippie”. No offense to any free-spirited children of the 60’s, he calls himself that. The other is an ex-military “hillbilly”. Again, no offense to my Appalachian American neighbors, he calls himself that. They have different approaches to survival skills and sometimes snipe at each other throughout the episode. Those episodes are my favorites.

I know, if I found myself dropped in the middle of a rain forest or a desert, I’d have to just go ahead and die. I don’t think I have what it takes to eat a live scorpion or skin a snake. And to be honest, if I couldn’t find water in the desert, I would have a good cry, I don’t care how much water I wasted. I doubt I’d be able to kill an animal for food. It would be easier to forage for whatever greens and grains and fruit I could find. Although, knowing nothing of indigenous flora of my own state, I’m sure to get a hold of something poisonous and die. And I’ve got a serious problem with boundaries. When it comes to furry animals, I have none. When I was little, I’d run up to stray dogs, cats, horses, goats, birds, anything and everything. One of my dad’s favorite stories is how I squealed like a pleased little pig and hugged myself when I saw the Budweiser Beer Clydesdales on TV. (Evidently that was embarrassing when the preacher was over but honestly those horses still make me want to squeal and hug myself). So with no animal boundaries, I know that the first mountain lion or bear  or wolf that I see, I’m gonna want to hug it. So I may not get to eat poisonous berries, I may be killed by the grizzly I just attempted to pet. My brother once told me I should never, under any circumstances go to Alaska (polar bears! I mean, who wouldn’t want to hug a polar bear?). I should probably just extend his caution to any woodsy area where I might see a wild animal. But I still have this sneaking desire to get out there in the woods or the desert or Alaska. 

I know why people leave the safety of home to camp. It’s perfectly understandable. The camping stuff is just so awesome you can’t help yourself. The cute little tents, the clever outdoor shower, the flashlight that you can see in space. I mean, the toys are incredible. Personally I think that these folks get this awesome stuff and can’t wait to use it and don’t stop to think that they might need some more mundane stuff, like food and water. Then they get lost or get dumped in the lake by the kayak they don’t know how to use and all of a sudden they’re trying to survive in the wilderness. I really do understand. I got a fire starting kit and a small knife from the camping store and now can’t wait to try it out. There’s only one thing that’s stopping me. I don’t camp! Really! My parents had a motor home (2 of them) and I refused to go camping with them (and that’s not even real camping). I’m definitely a hotel and room service and internet and cable girl. So why did I get the fire starting kit and the small knife, you ask? Did you miss the part about the camping stuff being so awesome? I also got a paracord bracelet that you can wear so that in an emergency you have cordage. I’m telling you, to me and obviously to other non-wilderness experienced people, camping supplies are like catnip. Ooooh, I just thought of something I can use the paracord for, my cats love to play the string game.

I wonder if the cats would like to go camping??

 

Resolutions

I finally got around to writing down my resolutions for this year. It contains the usual suspects, of course. I want to lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more, spend less, and write more. I’m not holding out much hope, though. I seem to have a problem accomplishing much on my To Do Lists. I start out with good intentions and before I know it, I’m sitting in front of the TV watching National Geographic’s “Hillbilly Handfishing”. I know it can’t be me. I don’t like fishing and would never voluntarily stick my hand in murky water where snakes, eels and gators might be waiting to bite. I thought briefly that I might have been possessed but what self-respecting demon would inhabit my body just to watch “The Shahs of Sunset”. Although that could explain why I suddenly found myself watching it with no knowledge of how or why I turned the TV on. However, being a God-fearing Southern Baptist, I ruled out the demonic and settled on the only other thing it could be. No, not early-onset Alzheimers! Although, that does give me pause. No, I think I’m just really, really lazy. Yup, sad to say, I think that’s the culprit. So, this year, number one on my list of resolutions is to stop procrastinating.

I’ll keep you posted.

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